EcoPost πŸ¦‰: Zero Waste Grocery Shopping

Or at least as much as you can! πŸ˜…

Sometimes, it’s difficult to shop completely zero waste, so I try to get as close as I can!

I bring 2-4 reusable bags with me, as well as an insulated cooler bag for cold items and reusable produce bags. These have eliminated A LOT of plastic bags! From my use, that is, and has often served as a conversation starter with other people in the store.

Other items that other people have used and that I would like to work into my zero waste shopping habit:

    Jars: a variety of sizes and the weight of the jar written on it, so the cashier can subtract that weight from the weight of the product.
    Containers for meat, like ground beef or bison, chicken, and seafood. Some cuts of meat are already wrapped, so I need a separate insulated cooler that I can easily clean if the package leaks. I want to avoid contamination, so I need to keep certain items separate.

I try to get some dry goods like flour, nuts, grains, and spices, in a Bulk Section. The produce bags and jars are ideal for these items. I also look for glass or cardboard containers instead of plastic, because I can easily recycle these items. Not all plastic is recyclable so I avoid that where I can.

Not every shopping trip is eco-perfect, but I try my best and have items with me to remember them easier. Other tactics I use to help include making a meal plan and shopping for meat and produce locally. The meal plan helps me know what fruit or veggie needs to be used up so it doesn’t go bad and is wasted, and shopping locally reduces the travel waste that comes along with transporting food long distances.

I continue to learn and grow in my efforts to reduce plastic and single use trash when I’m out shopping. Even when I’m not just shopping for food, I bring bags with me into the retail stores or say no to a bag and carry out my purchase. It makes an eco-difference in daily life and has the potential to start an eco-conversation to keep the eco-efforts rolling. Less trash is a good thing, no matter where you live! πŸ˜πŸ™Œ

What eco-efforts are you using while shopping for food or other retail items? I’d love to hear about it! πŸ˜ŽπŸ‘‹ 🌎 πŸ›’

Photo credits: Top 2 of produce bags are mine, and the Bottom 2 of jars and the Bulk Section are from Google.

Luna Lovegood the Lion πŸ¦

I love Luna Lovegood! Cheering on the Gryffindor Quidditch team πŸ™ŒπŸ¦πŸŽ‰πŸ˜

When I saw Funko Pops, I thought “oh, they’re cute,” but I wasn’t collecting them at the beginning. It was all over when I saw the one of Luna Lovegood in her lion hat! 😍 I love the gold accents within the lion’s mane, her eyes with the cute eyelashes, and her cozy outfit.

I also thought it would be a fun picture with this replica Saber Tooth Tiger skull, from the La Brea Tar pits in California.

Also, it was brought to my attention that these fun posts needed more photos, so I hope this accomplished that and as I do more of these fun Funko posts, I’ll add as many photos as I can. ❀️

Thank you!!! πŸ™Œβ€οΈπŸ¦πŸŽ‰πŸ™Œ

Adventure Thursday: Something Close to Home!

Summer is wrapping up, so I was remembering a trip that was a little closer to home…

The Brueggen Family Vacation out to Central Florida (ish) πŸ™Œ

    Snorkeling at Devil’s Den Park and Cedar Gardens right next door
    Exploring Cedar Key
    Kayaking the Rainbow River

First of all, to get the trip started on the right foot: CPR and First Aid Training. You know it’s a seriously fun trip when you get some safety training, LOL πŸ˜‚

Check! Ready to go! 😎

Now to have our Annual Summer Low Country Boil! This year, we decided to celebrate the 4th of July the week after, since the crowds would be lower. Fewer hoards of people= more, relaxed fun!

Next on the family adventure, we’re off to Devil’s Den Park…

There’s a hole in the ground. A cave where you crawl into chilly spring-fed waters (so chilly is 70-72F). Some people learn to SCUBA in a pool and then graduate to the cave, but we were just going to snorkel it.

I tried to stay warm in my long sleeves and Tiger Shark Waterlust pants, because you see those nearly naked people? Yup, they were shivering something fierce! Anyways, I got use to the temperature soon enough and felt comfortable to swim around. It was really cool to swim around cave walls and see fish swimming around. The park is rather nice and I won’t mind visiting again next summer. 🐟🐟🐟

Next door, you need to make a stop at the Cedar Lakes Gardens, which are just beautiful!

While walking around, we found this very HarryPotter-ish bird house. Too small for Buckbeak and not suitable for any Phoenix, but cute nonetheless.

There’s a nice large, beautiful lake with little ponds and some amazingly cool waterfalls. Plus giant lillipads!

Our next stop was Cedar Key, a sleepy little fishing town…

There’s a few shops, lots of artwork all around, a couple of restaurants, but plenty to do if you have a boat and can leave the island. Otherwise, we felt like it was fun to say we’ve been there, but there’s not much to bring us back.

This art shop had left food out for kitties running around, but I happened to see this little box turtle! Unlike the cats (which are invasive and destructive to native species), this box turtle is a native to the island and fossils have been found of these little turtles. Box turtles have the name because they can bring their head and limbs in close and through hinges in their plastron (bottom shell), they can completely close up. Very cool!

We had to stop for lunch because that Low Country Boil can only sustain one for so long, so I had to gobble down some Cedar Key Oysters! So delicious! I love eating fresh seafood. 🀀

Finally, we spent a morning floating and kayaking down the Rainbow River. 🌈 The river’s source is from springs, coming up from the earth at 70-72F all year round. We’ve seen all sorts of wading birds, some cool river turtle species, and American Alligators.

Family trips are great. Make memories and explore your surroundings. You don’t have to pay a lot of money or travel far to find great places to make great memories.

πŸ‘‹πŸ˜Š

EcoPost: Straws and Bags

Two basic and most used eco items I carry with me wherever I go:

  • Stainless steel straws
  • Reusable bags…more precisely, one made from recycled plastic bottles
  • Why you need them?
  • Because plastic straws are clogging up the waterways and getting into everything , like sea turtle noses! Blah! πŸ˜– I feel like I’m always finding plastic straws washed up on the beaches. Plastic straws are also difficult items to recycle because of their size and shape.
  • The above image is part of a research study, and is all the plastic that a young sea turtle had eaten over its sadly short life. Some baby sea turtles are found deceased on the beach or shortly after arriving at a rehabilitation center. With all this plastic inside their gastrointestinal tract, they aren’t getting enough nutrients to grow, let alone survive.
  • There’s also the issue of plastic shopping bags…
  • Plastic bags are floating around the driving lanes on the highways and threatening to get clogged under your car, as well as floating in the ocean looking like jellyfish. Lots of animals hunt and eat jellyfish…and also plastic bags, which do not digest. The ocean dwelling creatures end up getting clogged pretty bad and you know how much your midsection hurts when you get…clogged up. Ouch! 😣
  • Going with reusable straws and bags can truly eliminate a lot of these issues and these are great starting points!
  • I often hear: “But I’ll never remember to use them!” It took some effort for me at first, but it eventually became an ingrained habit for me to refuse straws and to bring in my reusable bags while shopping. It’s possible for you, too!
  • It goes beyond eliminating a few plastic straws and bags floating around the ocean, it sends messages to businesses and your community. We all love clean beautiful beaches when we go on vacation and getting the chance to see healthy wildlife, and by choosing to make this change, we can inspire others to make these plastic-eliminating habits, too.
  • πŸŒŠπŸŒŠπŸŒŠπŸ’™πŸ’™πŸ’™
  • EcoPosts: Coming to You Tuesdays

    Conservation is a passion of mine. I love finding new ways to be more eco-friendly and to spread the word.

    Every Tuesday, I’m going to post about my eco-adventures in my daily life. Talking about what products I’ve tried or actions I’m taking. I want to share my eco-experiences with y’all, and I’m hoping it inspires and encourages other people to take steps to be more eco-friendly.

    We can all pick up trash, consider the animals living in the habitats we live in, and be conscious of our everyday purchases!

    Let me know what you would like to see more of or have questions about, and I will take on the assignment. πŸ˜…πŸ™Œ Thanks for reading and I look forward to the future EcoPosts! πŸ¦‰ 🌎 🌍

    Turtles & Crabs = FireCrabs

    Crabs that look like bejeweled tortoises, and when threatened, fire exits their little behinds… 🐒 πŸ¦€ πŸ”₯

    Native to Fiji πŸ‡«πŸ‡― and protected there from poaching wizards, as well as Muggles. Their shells are so beautiful, wizards feel the need to collect them for outlandish cauldrons! A similar plight to the sea turtles we know and love.

    Different variants exist and they are identified by the jewels on their shells, coming in rubies, sapphires, and emeralds. Otherwise, they have grey skin, black eyes, and 6 legs (crab legs, crab claws, tortoise legs, who knows!?! πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™€οΈ)

    Sometimes these FireCrabs are exported as pets, however special licensing is necessary. Our dear beloved Hagrid (as we say in the South, bless his heart πŸ™„) decided to cross breed the FireCrab with the Manticore (a very dangerous beast with the head of a man, body of a lion, and tail of a scorpion, what the heck, Hagrid?! How the heck?!! 😳 Okay, another post for another day…)

    Let’s figuratively dissect this creature: Crabs πŸ¦€ Aquatic crustaceans in a variety of shapes and sizes. They have exoskeletons and many appendages, similar to spiders, so they shed their outer layer to continue to grow.

    In my area, we have lots of Ghost crabs, like the photo above, scuttling around the beaches, in fact a predator to baby sea turtles!

    Hehe, this is my watermelon FireCrab.

    But anyways, let’s look at the crabs that actually live in Fiji. Go to the location to better understand what FireCrabs might be about:

    Coconut crabs Birgus latro

    Also known as the Robber Crab or Palm Thief.

    Also found on other islands in the Pacific and Indian Ocean, they are the largest terrestrial crustacean at a span of about 3 feet and weighing about 9 pounds! They can be found in the purplish-blue color, like the photo above, or in orangish-red. Makes sense why FireCrabs come in similar colors!

    These crabs are enormous!!! They have 4.5 times more the amount of strength in their big claw than a strong human hand grip, and it’s similar to the bite force of hyenas, lions, and tigers. Yikes! But I guess they need a good handle on cracking coconuts…you know, coconuts kill more people than sharks or FireCrabs.

    The Coconut Crab also happens to be a grouchy, nonsocial creature…might help to explain the sociable nature of the FireCrab. You certainly don’t want them setting fires often.

    Moving on to other Fijian crabs, including the Golden Tree Crabs…

    Lemon yellow clawed Fiddlers… (apparently there are different Fiddler dialects within their unique sign language).

    Now we need to examine the other side to the FireCrab: Turtles & Tortoises.

    Quick Chelonian Facts:

    • Chelonians are turtles and tortoises.
    • Their carapace is the upper (dorsal) part of the shell (in the case of the FireCrab, the bejeweled portioned), and their plastron is the lower (ventral) part of the shell, with a bridge that connects the two on either side of the body.
    • The shell is covered in scales, known as scutes, and continue to grow with the chelonian as it grows. They can never leave it and find a new one…like hermit crabs, like the Coconut Crab.
    • They have endoskeletons, like us and unlike crabs. Their spine is fused to the shell as well as their ribs. They have nerve endings in their scutes, so they have been known to enjoy a good back scratching, just like us!
    • Tortoises are largely terrestrial and turtles are fully or semi aquatic.
    • Like the FireCrab’s issue with wizard poaching, many real turtles and tortoises experience poaching. Most notable the Hawksbill Sea Turtle is poached for their shells to turn into “tortoiseshell” products like glasses and hair clips, and it continues today despite the critically endangered status.

    Hawksbill Sea Turtle Eretmochelys imbricata

    Found throughout the tropical waters of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans, eating sponges, mollusks, and crustaceans, etc. They likely visit the same protected habitat of the FireCrab, perhaps if only to lay eggs on the sandy beaches.

    For a semi aquatic turtle to examine, we can look at the Common Snapping Turtle Chelydra serpentina

    These snappers can be found along the eastern side of North America, from southern Canada on down throughout Florida, inhabiting fresh and brackish waters.

    They have a grumpy personality and a nasty bite! Turtles have no teeth but they have serrated and sharp beaks, and these snapping turtles also have fleshy lures on the inside of their mouths that act like worms to lure prey closer and in the blink of an eye, chomp!

    Lastly, let’s look at the ultimate tortoises, the Galapagos Tortoises! Chelonidis species (there are about 15 species). As their name suggests, they live on the different islands of the Galapagos in the Pacific Ocean.

    Sometimes, these giant land dwelling tortoises are found floating in the ocean from island to island, even with ocean creatures (epibiota) attached to the shells!

    These guys love munching on watermelon! I can’t blame them, though; watermelon is my favorite, too!

    Watch out watermelon FireCrab! 😳

    Ooookay: the FireCrab looks like a terrestrial tortoise with crab claws, probably like the terrestrial Coconut Crab. So I wonder if they have strong claws like the Coconut Crab, personalities like the Coconut Crab and Snapping Turtles, and domed shells like tortoises…pondering…

    Then, there’s the defense mechanism…obviously no animal breathes nor farts fire…but wowsers! That would be interesting how that would happen. We know skunks are noxious, plus octopus and squid can disappear in an cloud of ink, but how would igniting a fire be possible? πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™€οΈ well, of course it’s magic, so that’s the easy out, but maybe a rough scale creates enough friction when the FireCrab is startled that it ignites the combustible substance. πŸ€”

    Or maybe, it’s like the Bombardier Beetle…

    Check out this YouTube Video for a great explanation:

    Amazing, huh?!?! So not that far fetched from reality!

    Thank you for indulging me on the FireCrab creature! I had a lot of fun with this one. So much so, don’t be surprised to see more FireCrab stuff on my social media platforms. πŸ˜…πŸ’πŸ¦€πŸ”₯

    P.S. I’m thinking of selling these FireCrabs and other creations to help support conservation programs. A MuggleZoologist Creature Shop? What do y’all think? 😊

    References:
    Pottermore; Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them; My photos are the watermelon FireCrab, decorated firecrabs, Snapping turtle, and Ghost crab; the rest of the photos are from Google Images. Information from National Geographic, The Galapagos Conservancy, Nature.org, and the Nature Conservancy.