Everglades Day and Majorie Stoneman Douglas- April 7, 2019

Shero. Activist. Inspiration. Legacy.

All words to describe a woman I grew up revering as a modern goddess, in the sense of maternalism for wetlands.

Today, is Everglades Day and more importantly, Majorie Stoneman Douglas’ birthday. I learned about her greatness while in elementary school. Everything I know today about the importance of the Florida Everglades is a combination of living here and reading the work of Majorie.

While in law school, I wrote a paper about restoring the Florida Everglades. Majorie is one of the people who inspired that vision, but also brought to light why we MUST protect this wetland. Today, I would like to honor her by asking you to donate to the Friends of the Everglades Fund. They continue to fight for protection of the wetlands.

The Everglades is a one of a kind ecosystem, found only in Florida. Yes, there are other wetlands. Yes, there are other marshes. However, there is only one Florida Everglades. An ecosystem filled with so much biodiversity. Where the limestone and the aquifers are vital to the survival of Florida’s fresh drinking water. The animals and plant life depend on the restoration of the flow south.

The mangroves of the everglades acts of the first sign of defense when a hurricane wants to make landfall. Those roots are meant to dig deep into the ground and act as a natural barrier. The animals work together to carve the paths of the river and it flows and brings forth all the nutrients for plants and animal to survive.

Rapidly, we have destroyed the Everglades. Taking more and more land for development. By removing more water. Adding invasive plant and animal species which are destroying this once vibrant ecosystem. Lack of water flow from Lake Okeechobee is stifling the “River of Grass”, making it a barren wasteland.

The history stems all the way to the Army Corp of Engineers. I could sit here and talk about their involvement and the fact they destroyed the everglades creating all of these canals for waterfront properties. Also, the other culprits are those involved in “Big Sugar”, which is heavily lobbied here in Florida. Sugar = Poison. Yes, you read that correctly. Did you know the US subsidizes the price of sugar, just like they do gasoline! Mind-blowing. The East Agricultural Area is located right outside of Lake Okeechobee and that is where the water must be restore. Dilemma, that water is tainted and polluted. This is actually also the cause of the lovely Red Tide, I think you’ve heard of it. (The dumping of polluted water of the east and west coast of Florida, pouring into the estuaries. – FYI estuaries is where ALL baby sea life start, great start, poisoned water, but I digress).

What will you do to change your impact? We must stand up and speak to our government. Hold them accountable for the environmental atrocities and reckless negligence forced upon the Everglades.

I am doing my part, now it is your turn!

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Meatless Monday Chronicles!

I’mmmmm baaacckk!!! Guess what that means?! More fun recipes. Yes, I know my last food post was about salads, but it only seems fitting that my first post of the year, be about salads. We are all eating better for different reasons: to lose weight, to just eat healthy, for blood pressure, heartburn and any other reason.

I have had to continue to inspire myself and come up with more innovative ways to eat plant based. IT is not easy. I am going on 3 solid months of no meat consumption. I must say, how proud I am of my self.

Check out my lunch I made at work today. Yes, I made this whole salad. with all the components.

 

Anything can be an amazing in salads, you just have to get creative! I made this all at work. I took a whole avocado and cut it, strawberries, cut cucumbers, carrots, walnuts, dried cranberries, avocado, and spinach. It seems so simple, but this is so delicious.

What do you put on your salads? Tell me in the comments! I’d love to here you absolute favorite!!

World Wildlife Day 2019

World Wildlife Day 2019
I’m a day late, but yesterday, March 3rd was World Wildlife Day. The United Nations decides to proclaim March 3rd, which is also the day of the convention on International Trade in Endangered Species or Wild  Fauna and Flora. The purpose of World Wildlife Day is to raise awareness of the words beautiful species both plant and animal life. All life is precious. Our world relies on intricate ecosystem that support each other’s existence. It is the ever changing nature and balance between these ecosystems that we see life and purity. Keeping the “wild” protected is safer for the animals, but also for humans. Remove humans from the wilderness and most forms of life will thrive. This years theme is “Life below water: for people and planet”.

Today, June 5th, 2018, is World Environment Day. Yes, everyday has it’s own national or global purpose now. However, one like World Environment Day, should be celebrated everyday. I know, it sounds cliche.

But, it is true.

The environment brings forth life to all organisms creating plant and animal matter. We as humans, have destroyed much of the planet through our quest for profit.

Biggest Threat: Plastic!

Plastic pollution is currently the most disastrous product that was ever invented. Take a moment and look at your surroundings. How many items are made of some form of plastic? Uncanny, it’s a vast majority of items. I, myself, this laptop I am typing on, my lap desk for the couch, my wireless mouse, my cell phone, my FitBit, my clipboard, the pens and pencils, the television, the printer and so much more.

We have become infatuated with single use and disposable and durability. However, some durability has no other function or purpose. One it has served it’s purpose it is discarded. Ends up on the ground, oceans, and forests. Even the lowest point of the ocean, the Mariana Trench. This is located in the Pacific Ocean more than 36,000 feet, which is technically if “higher or deeper” than Mount Everest (at 29,026 feet).

That is insane!! we have literally found a way to pollute every part of the planet. The problem with plastic: there is no “shelf-life”. They live inevitable. There are no natural micro-organism to break down plastic. It may break into smaller pieces, but those pieces never go away. They continue to accumulate on land and in salt and fresh water bodies.

Many sea-life creature have been found dead with an accumulation of plastic found in their bodies. Animals unintentionally consume plastic and suffer dire consequences. Plastic is used for primarily every product. From food containers, microwaving products, food ware, school and office supplies, shoe wear, electronics, automotives, clothing, edible, non-edible. PLASTIC IS EVERYWHERE!

Conundrum: How do you avoid it? How do you prevent it from becoming more pollution?

  • Stop your consumption of plastic products:
    • Fast-Food Dilemma 
      • You do not need plastic silverware for lunch, dinner, fast food etc. First, fast food is not good for your health so, you should omit it. Also, fast food enterprises are primarily guilty for creating the supply and demand for “single-use” products. Everything you purchase for $5-$10 you will only use once, not recycle it and disperse of it.
      • Solution for fast paced life: MEAL PREP. Yes, it is time-consuming to an extent, but you are in control. All my meals are made fresh, no preservatives and no plastic use. I use glass container to carry my lunch and meals. I take my own silverware so there is no need to purchase plastic silverware, which you cannot recycle because of the food contaminants. It real is something, that small and simple to induce a change.
    • Buy items only sold in recyclable packaging.
      • Meaning no more plastic bags, containers, peanut butters, etc.
      • Solutions: purchase jars to keep products fresh. Go to stores that sell items not in plastic packaging, but wholesomely so that you may refill your from home jars.
    • Gardening!
      • One of the simplest things you can do is start your own garden. This will limit the amount of items you buy in stores that come in pre-packaged plastic bags or containers.
      • You can reuse old items and convert them into flower planters or use glass jars to start a garden.
    • Carry your own bag!
      • Many states have implemented an additional charge on plastic bags to limit the use and sale of them. Customers bring their own reusable bag to carry items home from any type of purchase. Thus, decreasing the use and demand for single use.
      • Plastic bags are not biodegradable and harm so much of wildlife. Animals get stuck or caught in bags. Ocean animals consume bags mistaking them for other sea creatures.
    • Convert your products.
      • Every item you have in your home, most likely has a eco-friendly or bio-degradable version. Please consider switching to that alternative. Toothbrushes are plastic, use a bamboo toothbrush instead! Most office supplies can be made with recycled materials. Home filtered water is the best alternative to single use plastic water bottles.
    • Save MONEY!
      • Huh, how does not buying plastic save me money? You pay for the cost of being lazy. That is right, I said it. You are LAZY. Humans are lazy. The single-use catasrophy has made humans lazy and dirty. We purchase one-time items and literally throw them away. We no longer take the effort to make meals, learn to cook, learn to garden, learn to make and create things. The average human is not that creative, because they no longer have to use their brains to form something to be useful. We literally rely on pre-made products to “function”.
        • When you purchase single use items, you get less of the actual product you are purchasing. For example, cookies. the quantity is less, but you are paying for more plastic or aluminum packaging. You then discard that packaging because it cannot be reused. Purchasing non-individually wrapped items that you have to portion, you pay significantly less, but you also reduce waste. Saying no to plastic will not only save the world, but it was help make you affluent.

Did you know it takes more water to create and produce plastic than there is on the planet to consume? Think about that. Water sources are depleting all around the world and they are being used for plastic production.

Take a moment today and analyze your home. See what products are plastic that you can do without or will no longer need to re-purchase. You will be surprised how much less you will have to throw away and how much money you may actually save.

Join the revolution against plastic! Say NO to plastic. No more plastic pollution.

Mentor from Afar, Dr. Jane Goodall

I became enamored with Dr. Jane Goodall as a child, watching her on television. I thought how remarkable her career must be to study animals for a living and traveling the world. Her passion inspired me to want to make a difference in the world. To be the change I wanted to see. She instilled something within that I have since tried to follow.

Dr. Goodall may not even know the impact she has had on my life or my choices, but everything she stands for is what I believe in. She made groundbreaking strides not only for women in a male dominated field, but for animals. The Chimpanzees are very lucky to have an advocate like her in their corner. Dr. Goodall also brings the protection of local and indigenous people into the realm of protection. We must educate the masses on their vital role to protecting wildlife. The local people are very much part of the problem, but also they key to the solution when provided with the proper tools.

Not only is she a brilliant scientist, but a phenomenal world leader. She is known for being a peacemaker around the globe. According to her website, she “travels the world, writing, speaking and spreading hope though action, encouraging each of us to use ‘the gist of our life to make the world a better place’.”

I may not have followed in her footsteps, but I have continued to follow her work. I may not have become the scientist my parents wished, but I instead chose to take the law into my own hands and pursue a career in the protection of the environment and animals.

Many people do not believe they can make a change, but Dr. Jane Goodall is the perfect example of one person “being the change they wish to see in the world.” She is the ultimate “shero”, most definitely one of my idols. My dream is to one day meet her in a world where animals are given rights to exist and coexist with humans. I aspire to one day achieve the incredible accolades Dr. Goodall has over her lifetime as a pioneer in the animal rights community. Thank you for everything you have done, Dr. Goodall. Wishing you the most fabulous 84th Birthday. Here is to many more, and one day meeting you.

One of your biggest fans, Elizabeth ❤

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Elusive Ghost Crab

The Elusive Ghost Crab
Probably my favorite creature on the shoreline. I absolutely love crabs! They are the cutest thing running across the beach, sideways. Have you ever notice tiny holes on the beach when you arrive early morning right before sunrise? Crabs are pretty active in the early hours, mainly because their main predators, birds cannot see them as easily. They tend to burrow into their holes. They are very shy and easily frightened. I had to stay pretty far to get a picture of this one. I am a huge proponent of beach clean ups. This little ‘fella’ was out while I was cleaning the beach with fellow law students. Beach clean ups are one of the best ways to give back to the earth and then being able to spend the rest of the day enjoying what nature has to offer. Whether it is finding crabs, watching birds dive into the ocean. Seeing, jellyfish, turtles or other fish in the water and even the rare stingray if you are lucky! I would never trade the ocean life. There are a multitude of creatures that can be found at the beach.Just remember to respect their space and admire them from a distance. They are just as afraid of us as we are of them.

The End of the White Rhino

What are you going to do to help prevent the extinction of animals? Poaching is not necessary. The horns of these animals are made of the same material as our fingernails and hair. Why is it so coveted throughout the world? If there is no demand then there should be no supply. The people who poach and kill many of these innocent creatures are doing it out of desperation to feed and support their families. They are forced. The extinction problem is a human caused problem.

Humans have an obsession with believing we are indestructible and our actions hold no consequences. Quite the contrary, animals such as the White Rhino coexisted with dinosaurs for millions of years before our existence. We single handily destroyed this species. For what? To exploit their horns and carve designs on them? Supposedly according to ancient culturales they held healing powers. However, we are not as ignorant as our ancestors. We have science that has proven we do not need any of those materials from a Rhino or any other animal such as elephants, tigers, pangolins and more.

We must come together to preserve what is late of the wildlife. Humans created this problem. Now, humans have to solve it.

What will you do to help?

In Memory of Stephen Hawking

Today is a day that will forever be remembered in our history, one of the greatest minds to have existed in out time has passed away. Against all odds he accomplished what many have dreamed. World renowned physicist, Stephen Hawking passed away today at the age of 76. He was more than a scientist, he was an inspiration. He did not let his illness or disability be a hinderance to his life’s work or to making great accomplishments throughout his career.

Professor Hawkins was diagnosed at the age of twenty-two with a rare disease , motor neuron disease. He was a cosmologist, astronomer, mathematician, and author of many books. His most famous book is, “A Brief History of Time”.

One of his famous quotes, “It will be difficult enough to avoid disaster on planet Earth in the next 100 years, let alone next thousand, or million. The human race shouldn’t have all its eggs in one basket, or on one planet. Let’s hope we can avoid dropping the basket until we have spread the load.” I have to agree, we are the caretakers of our planet and we have not treated her well over the years. It is only a matter of time before we bring about complete destruction. It is now we must begin to make an impact on ourselves and the future of our planet.

Philosophical Moment: Just Stop and Listen

Have you ever just stopped to listen to the sounds all around you? To inhale and exhale the scent of the earth? Yes, the earth has a unique smell. In the morning, when the ground is full of dew, there is a certain scent. Then as the day wears on and the sun is beating down, there is a different more neutral scent. At dusk and nightfall, the earth yet again, smells different with the coolness of the air.

As the morning comes, the earth is stirring during feeding time for most creatures. Listening to birds as they sing to each other. Right now it is Spring in Florida. I am lucky enough to live in an area where we have “woods” in the back. In the rainy season there is a creek that forms and we get to see turtles, frogs in every stage of life, to predatory birds, babies that are bunnies, birds, small fish, and so much more. On my runs, with Tolkien of course, we spot eagles soaring above us. They are indeed majestic.

When I run, I use that time to reconnect with nature. I block out everything from the day, all the stress of the modern world. I just allow myself to literally become one with nature. I find myself just as inquisitive as my pup, as we go on trails. We both look for alligators (duh, it is Florida), in the canals, or different fish and even snakes! This is time to listen to the wind as it moves through the trees. I’ll get all “Pocahontas” for a minute…I do “Listen to the colors of the wind” and (“Listen with your heart” is tattooed on me). Something about the meaning behind that song has always resonated with me since I was a child. It is a beautiful story the earth has to speak to us, we just have to listen.

Even with the cars on the street driving by as we run, it is easy to tune them out and just focus on my breathing and what the earth has to offer. When I listen to the sounds of the wind, rustling of the leaves on the ground, the crunching of sticks and brush by animals hidden from sight, it brings a sense of awareness. We are not alone. Other sentient beings exist and live among us. It is very easy to forget that in our mundane lives. Just because you have a pet, it does not equate to connecting with your inner soul and the earth. Most of our animals are our family and are given a sense of privilege already, so they do not count.

Take at least one day a week to go outside and just, listen. Listen to the sounds of the earth. If you do not live somewhere where you can just go in your yard, then go to the park, beach, river, lake, forest, whatever natural area you can find. Take a notebook, and just sit and listen. Write down what you hear.  Write down how you feel. Is there a new sense of self? Sense of awareness? Awareness of yourself or of other things? Sense of peace and harmony? I would love for you all to come back and write on this post and share what you experienced. It is amazing what one day in nature can do for your sanity, hectic life, and just a self-love project.

Nature is a natural painting, waiting to be captured.

 

Nature is a natural painting, waiting to be captured.
Even through all the hustle and bustle of a busy Disney Springs, it took just a few seconds of looking at the beautiful sky. How beautiful the picturesque scene, by nature.