7 Ways to Increase the Good Vibes in Your Home

By Morgan Potts

Guest Writer for Wake Up World

In the past I’ve written about raising your body’s vibration with clean, fresh, high energy foods. Eating this way makes you feel so much more alive, inspired and eager to enjoy the magic of each day. Now I’m taking it a step further, and giving you some tips to energetically cleanse the rooms in your home, office or space.

We cleanse our home energetically in order to welcome good, high vibration energy into your space, and clear away any negative vibes. This way, not only are our bodies vibin’ high and in total alignment with our dreams, but so is our home.

A home filled with good vibes brings on better conversation, meditation, cooking, working, creativity and so much more. There will be less fights, misunderstandings, arguments and sadness. The place you spend most of your time should be a space you want to spend time in, and create beautiful things.

Feel the energy, love your space, sink into its bliss!

1. Burn Sage

Burning smudge sticks made from sage, or any other purifying herb, like lavender, or sweet grass is energetically purifying to the home. Burning sage clears any unwanted energies out of the room, and welcomes high vibration, good energy in its place. After an argument or fight, it’s a great idea to burn sage to move that energy out, and move on. Go through each room of your home with a burning smudge stick, waving it in a clockwise motion with thoughts of cleansing and positivity.

2. Ask “do I really need this?”

Every few months it’s a great idea to go through your house and think about what things are truly necessary for you to keep. Figure out which of them you can donate, throw away or give to a friend.

As humans we tend to collect way too many items that we will never EVER use. Keeping these things in our homes is only making us cluttered, cramped and overwhelmed. It can be super therapeutic to get rid of the things that no longer serve us. Let go, allow the energetic release… go with it. The items we hold on to could be saying a lot more about us, and you may find a deep message about your self during this release.

Extra tip: you may find it easier to do this during a new moon, where our bodies and mind are releasing and able to let go more easily.

3. Pink Himalayan Salt Lamps

I absolutely love pink salt, and I use it for all my cooking. But there’s so much more it can do! Crystal lamps give off a sweet glowy vibe that makes you feel good just by looking at it. The pink/orange color affects us both physically and emotionally. It gives off a comforting feeling of safeness and security. It’s even said that this light is good for our nervous system, kidneys and bladder.

Salt lamps also give off negative ion particles. Negative ions cling to positive ion particles (which we don’t want) and weigh them down to the ground so that they aren’t floating through our air and putting us out of balance. This is a simple way of energetically cleansing and purifying the air. Good vibes!

4. Singing and Dancing

Moving your body with the rhythm of your emotions is healing to the mind and soul. And singing like no one can hear you, with fire and joy, can be such a release. Let the spirit move you!!!! As you swing and howl or scream with passion, you are filling each room with your uplifting, animating vibration.

[Also read: 9 Healing Benefits of Music]

5. Beeswax Candles

Another way to produce those lovely negative ions is by burning all natural 100% beeswax candles. Beeswax gives of a soothing deep yellow glow. This is stress reducing and puts us in a “feel good” mood. At the same time, negative ions are produced, cleaning the air, and also weighing down allergens and other irritating particles.

Plus, beeswax smells amazing. This is such an inviting aroma, the subtle sweetness of honey is oh so delicious. I could spend hours just gazing at a lit beeswax candle and breathing in its intoxicating aroma. This really soothes the soul.

6. Meditate

Having a clean energy in your home enhances meditation. And meditation enhances the energy in your home! So this is a win-win situation. There are countless benefits to this practice, and this inner work seeps into the space around us, too. I can definitely feel this good energy in the home of other meditators, too.

The meditation practice I do is Transcendental Meditation, which is done twice daily – and has quite honestly changed my life. If you think you’re ready to learn, reach out and I can get you in touch with a recommended teacher.

7. Diffuse Essential Oils

Essential oils are one of the best ways to vibe up your space with fresh fragrance and good energy. Each essential oil has its own qualities, and characteristics, and you can choose based on your mood. Sweet orange, lemon and grapefruit are very uplifting and cleansing. Lavender and frankincense will be calming, and good for stress relief and relaxation. You will need an essential oil burner to diffuse these aromas. This is also the secret to having the best smelling house on the block!!

[Also read: 8 Aromatherapy Scents and What They Can Do For You]

Love Your Space

These vibrations live in the walls, in the plants and the breaths of each human living here. Good vibes remain, and can always be recharged, cleansed and powered up again. You can never do any of this too much. Keep it going, and keep it energized. Love your space.

Dwelling in a home of good vibrations connects us deeper to our inner divinity. It brings us closer to unlocking the potential we all have within. This lets our hearts move freely. You will FEEL this energy. Let it charge you up, and come alive! Open up, and welcome this love and abundance into your life.

I’ve put together a list of the products I talked about in this article all in one place to help. These are brands I approve of and use in my home — you can see or purchase them here: Check out the Amazon store here.

(Keep an eye out for Part 2 of this article next week)

Love + good vibes,

XOXO
Morgan

Previous article by Morgan:

About the author:

Morgan Potts is a Certified Holistic Health Coach. Morgan received her training at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and works both locally in Rochester, New York, and over the phone with clients from around the world who are struggling with anxiety and nervousness, helping them to find balance in life, tap into their inner energies and sync in with nature. She teaches clients to really slow down and enjoy life, with increased mindfulness, awareness and connection.

Whole foods, green juice, and holistic methods for detoxing are also subjects of passion and inspiration for her work. She has an active juice blog full of recipes, photos and juicy online inspirations. Kale, love, and positive vibrations! Connect with Morgan via Facebook, Twitter, or visit her website balanceinnutrition.com

This article edited by Andy Whiteley for Wake Up World.

Here’s the Homemade Cannabis Oil Recipe that People are Using as a Chemo Alternative

By Arjun Walia from Collective Evolution

Awareness with regards to cannabis as a treatment and potential cure for cancer has been rapidly increasing over the past few years. Several studies over the last decade have clearly (without question) demonstrated the anti-tumoral effects of the plant. Cannabinoids (any group of related compounds that include cannabinol and the active constituents of cannabis) activate cannabinoid receptors in the body. The human body itself produces compounds called endocannabinoids and they play a very important role in many processes within the body to help create a healthy environment.

Since radiation and chemotherapy are the only two approved treatments for cancer, it’s important to let people know that other options do exist. There’s nothing wrong with exploring these options and finding out more information about them so people can make the best possible choice for themselves. It’s always important to do your own research.

A number of people have used this treatment to help treat their cancer. The latest article we wrote is a great example (amongst many), where a 9-year-old girl used cannabis to cure her cancer. You can read more about that HERE.

Below are some links to articles that have sourced studies and provide more human cases as examples. For more information you can browse through our website:

As more become aware of the healing power that this plant has, the next question to be asked is how is it used? Linked above (second from the top) is an article titled “Teenage Girl Uses Cannabis To Treat Leukaemia & Great Results Were Seen,” you can click on the case study embedded within the article and email the doctors, hopefully they can answer your questions if it is an emergency.

The article highlighted in the second paragraph about the 9-year-old girl who used cannabis to treat her cancer has a link to her website. Click HERE to go there. It goes through all the steps they took, they titled it “Making Medical Marijuana 101.”

So, you can start there. Another option that seems to be quite popular is Rick Simpson’s Hemp Oil. He is a medical marijuana activist who has been providing people with information about the healing potentials of Hemp Oil medications for quite some time. His inspiration came from his own experience when he cured himself of a metastatic skin cancer in 2003.

Again, I just want to help others further their research on how to do it. You can try contacting the doctors mentioned in the paragraph above, you can take a look at the way 9-year-old Mykyala (also mentioned in above paragraphs) did it and you can check out Rick Simpson’s way. Hopefully this will lead you to what you are looking for. Feel free to also contact me with any questions or concerns.

Here is Rick Simpson’s Hash Oil Recipe:

(HERE is his website)

To make Rick Simpson’s hash oil, start with one ounce of dried herb. One ounce will typically produce 3-4 grams of oil, although the amount of oil produced per ounce will vary strain to strain. A pound of dried material will yield about two ounces of high quality oil.
IMPORTANT: These instructions are directly summarized from Rick Simpson’s website. Be VERY careful when boiling solvent off [solvent-free option], the flames are extremely flammable. AVOID smoking, sparks, stove-tops and red hot heating elements. Set up a fan to blow fumes away from the pot, and set up in a well-ventilated area for whole process.
1. Place the completely dry material in a plastic bucket.
2. Dampen the material with the solvent you are using. Many solvents can be used [solvent-free option]. You can use pure naphtha, ether, butane, 99% isopropyl alcohol, or even water. Two gallons of solvent is required to extract the THC from one pound, and 500 ml is enough for an ounce.
3. Crush the plant material using a stick of clean, untreated wood or any other similar device. Although the material will be damp, it will still be relatively easy to crush up because it is so dry.
4. Continue to crush the material with the stick, while adding solvent until the plant material is completely covered and soaked. Remain stirring the mixture for about three minutes. As you do this, the THC is dissolved off the material into the solvent.
5. Pour the solvent oil mixture off the plant material into another bucket. At this point you have stripped the material of about 80% of its THC.
6. Second wash: again add solvent to the mixture and work for another three minutes to extract the remaining THC.
7. Pour this solvent oil mix into the bucket containing the first mix that was previously poured out.
8. Discard the twice washed plant material.
9. Pour the solvent oil mixture through a coffee filter into a clean container.
10. Boil the solvent off: a rice cooker will boil the solvent off nicely, and will hold over a half gallon of solvent mixture. CAUTION: avoid stove-tops, red hot elements, sparks, cigarettes and open flames as the fumes are extremely flammable.
11. Add solvent to rice cooker until it is about ¾ full and turn on HIGH heat. Make sure you are in a well-ventilated area and set up a fan to carry the solvent fumes away. Continue to add mixture to cooker as solvent evaporates until you have added it all to the cooker.
12. As the level in the rice cooker decreases for the last time, add a few drops of water (about 10 drops of water for a pound of dry material). This will help to release the solvent residue, and protect the oil from too much heat.
13. When there is about one inch of solvent-water mixture in the rice cooker, put on your oven mitts and pick the unit up and swirl the contents until the solvent has finished boiling off.
14. When the solvent has been boiled off, turn the cooker to LOW heat. At no point should the oil ever reach over 290˚ F or 140˚ C.
15. Keep your oven mitts on and remove the pot containing the oil from the rice cooker. Gently pour the oil into a stainless steel container
16. Place the stainless steel container in a dehydrator, or put it on a gentle heating device such as a coffee warmer. It may take a few hours but the water and volatile terpenes will be evaporated from the oil. When there is no longer any surface activity on the oil, it is ready for use.
17. Suck the oil up in a plastic syringe, or in any other container you see fit. A syringe will make the oil easy to dispense. When the oil cools completely it will have the consistency of thick grease.
For even further information, check out Rick’s written recipe here.
For dosage information, please click here. But remember, consult a physician and do your research before you do anything to make sure you understand how everything functions.

The Story of the Chinese Farmer

Posted by Chris Agnos on Films for Action

“The whole process of nature is a process of immense complexity and it is really impossible to tell whether something that happens in it is good or bad.” A parable about life and nature narrated by Alan Watts, animated by Steve Agnos, and with music by Chris Zabriskie.

Words of Wonder: Openings to the Natural World

By Caspar Henderson, Featured on the Ecologist

All too often language is used to objectify nature, writes Caspar Henderson. But there’s another, older vocabulary – introduced in this ‘counter-desecration phrasebook’ – that achieves the reverse: connecting us with the wonders of life and arousing delight in the natural world.

“The hollows of its trees were routes to other planets, its subterrane flowed with streams of silver, and its woods were threaded through with filaments of magical force. Within it children could shape-shift into bird, leaf, fish or water.”

Bedwos, crundle,rionnach maoim. Jammed against each other like pieces of rotting crud in landfill, the words may sound like nonsense – a line of Vogon poetry fromThe Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. But come closer, unfold them and listen.

Bedwos is a Welsh word for a grove of birch trees. Crundle, in the dialect of Hampshire and Sussex, means a thicket in a hollow through which a stream leads. The Gaelic phrase rionnach maoimrefers to the shadows cast on moorland by cumulus clouds moving across the sky on a bright and windy day.

Each denotes a capacity for attention, an echo of a life-way, in which, just possibly, ever-living joy and worth beyond price can be found.

That, at least, is the idea behind a project which Robert Macfarlane, one of Britain’s leading Nature writers, envisages in the introduction to Landmarks;

“We need now, urgently, a Counter-Desecration Phrasebook that would comprehend the world, a glossary of enchantment for the whole Earth which would allow Nature to talk back and would help us to listen.”

A delight and a fascination

And, interspersed through a set of eleven essays about some of the greatest writers in English about Nature and place, that is what he offers in this remarkable new book. In Landmarks, each stratum of a lexico-poetico-meteorologico-aesthetico Berlitz abuts a seam of ecologico-topographico-critico-politico belles-lettres.

As a phrasebook or glossary, Landmarks is a delight and a fascination. Its lumbering size and structure will, however, limit its use in the field. If you want to know the meaning ofglaab or wetchered, there is no overall index to show which sub-section of the nine completed sections – on Flatlands, Uplands, Waterlands, Coastlands, Underlands, Northlands, Edgelands, Earthlands and Woodlands – contains it.

Glaab, by the way, is a Shetland word for an opening between hills or between islands through which a distant object may be seen, while wetchered is what they say in Lincolnshire when you are wet through after being caught out in the rain.

The essays are vintage Macfarlane. They are studies of and reactions to the work of Nan Shepherd, the author of The Living Mountain, about her life in the Cairngorm mountains; Roger Deakin, who swam and wooded through the imaginations of millions of readers; J. A. Baker, obsessive of the peregrine falcon; and Richard Jefferies, Jacquetta Hawkes, John Muir and others less well known, including Peter Davidson and Richard Skelton.

Earlier versions of many of these pieces have appeared as introductions to new editions of works by these authors. (The introduction to Landmarks itself is a development of an influential essay first published in 2010.) They will be a great resource for those coming to them for the first time, and for others will richly repay rereading.

The ‘re-wonderment’ that language can bestow

Language isn’t thought, but it is a tool for thought, says the anthropologist and linguist Daniel L. Everett. But the power of this tool, for good or ill, should not be underestimated. Language that objectifies has, as Macfarlane writes, largely stunned the Earth out of wonder, facilitating the rendition of all living things and natural systems into a standing reserve ripe for exploitation.

But language is also “fundamental to the possibility of re-wonderment, for language does not just register experience, it produces it.”

And while every generation bears the weight of the past, it also creates new spaces of possibility. Preceding an astonishing revelation in the postscript to the book is a marvellous final chapter, drawing on work by Deb Wilenski and her colleagues, about the minds and words of children allowed to run free in a country park in north Cambridgeshire. As Macfarlane describes it,

“no map of it could ever be complete, for new stories seethed up from its soil, and its surfaces could give way at any moment. The hollows of its trees were routes to other planets, its subterrane flowed with streams of silver, and its woods were threaded through with filaments of magical force. Within it children could shape-shift into bird, leaf, fish or water.”

The book:Landmarks‘ by Robert Macfarlane is published by Hamish Hamilton, 2015.

Caspar Henderson is the author of ‘The Book of Barely Imagined Beings‘ and is currently writing ‘A New Map of Wonders’.

This article was originally published in Resurgence & Ecologist Magazine Issue 290 May/June 2015.

15+ Ways to Recycle Your Old Furniture into a Fairytale Garden

By Julija Nėjė

Just because a piece of furniture has outlived its use in your home doesn’t mean it’s no longer useful! With the right attitude and a mind for DIY projects and recycling, old pieces of furniture can find a second life as beautiful garden decorations!

Garden design is tons of fun because it lets you get very creative with materials that you might not be able to use at home, like live plants or rocks. Check out these cool ideas for pebble paths and broken pot fairy gardens, too!

#1 Piano Garden:

Piano Garden

#2 Bed Garden:

BedGarden1

#3 Cello Garden:

Cello Garden

#4 Dresser Garden:

DresserGarden1

#5 Succulent Garden on a Chair:

Succulent Garden on Chair

#6 Bed Garden:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

#7 Magical Bed Garden:

Magical Bed Garden

#8 Typewriter Garden:

Typewriter Garden

#9 Tub Garden:

Tub Garden

#10 Bathtub Garden:

Bathtub Garden

#11 Shopping Cart Garden:

Shopping Cart Garden

#12 Dining Table Garden:

Dining Table Garden

#13 Dresser Garden:

Dresser Garden 2

#14 Bed Garden:

BedGarden3

#15 Sofa Garden:

Sofa Garden

Click here to see the full list of these unique gardens from www.boredpanda.com!

If You’re Feeling Sad About the State of the World, Listen to These Wise Words from Eisenstein

By Sophie McAdam on True Activist

‘The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is Possible’ is a short film featuring Charles Eisenstein, author of Sacred Economics and The Ascent of Humanity. Produced by Sustainable Human and with stunning direction by Ian MacKenzie, it is an incredibly sad, yet hopeful, video.

Filmed at dusk on a beautiful Scottish beach, Eisenstein is captured in a moment of grief and reflection. The familiar story of the past is crumbling, while the new story has yet to arrive. In a time of social and ecological crisis, what can we as individuals do in this space between? “In order to find your way, you must get lost,” Eisenstein advises, pointing out: “There’s a vast territory for what we’re leaving behind, and where we want to go. We don’t have any maps for that journey.”

Eisenstein has some wise words to say about the dire state of the modern world, touching on many issues such as the media’s role in society and the destructive military-industrial complex. He wonders philosophically how humans can treat each other so badly (could the perpetrators also be victims?).

But here’s the good news: “I think the ideological core of our civilization is hollowing out.” Good news, because we can fill this void with something more sustainable, something more profound. But Einsenstein tells us to bear this in mind: “A movement is not something one can create. A movement creates us.”

This is a very thought-provoking, touching and soothing film, despite the tragic subject matter of a dying biosphere.
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50 Awesome Art, Music and Culture Documentaries Full-Length and Free on YouTube

By Glenn Hickling on Creative Boom

Watching documentaries is a healthy pursuit for creatives: it fills your brain with more dots to join up, and can make you feel more arty and up for it just from being in the ‘company’ of masterpiece-makers such as Banksy, George Harrison and Matt Groening.

If you must procrastinate, do it proactively. Check out this list of 50 super interesting docs instantly streamable on Youtube, all of them produced by reputable outfits like the BBC, Discovery Channel and Martin Scorcese (yes, the Stones movie is on there).

Art

1. Exit Through The Gift Shop: A Banksy Film
Banksy’s witty, subversive movie project. Starts as a straight up documentary and goes on a wonderful quirky tangent. 96% on Rotten Tomatoes, feature length on YouTube for free!
Watch the Video

2. Picasso Love Sex and Art
Influential Cubist, Surrealist and genius who couldn’t keep it in his pants…a 20th century hero laid bare by the BBC.
Watch the Video

3. Style Wars
Seminal 1983 doc on the graffiti epidemic in New York, a city where graffiti is a vocation, handed down through the generations.
Watch the Video

4. The Art Hitler Hated: The Sins of the Fathers
The eye-opening story of the art movement that the Nazi’s banned, labelling it ‘degenerate.’
Watch the Video

5. Andy Warhol: Master of the Modern Era
Explaining how Warhol is a key influence of everything from music videos, and reality TV to Facebook.
Watch the Video

6. How Art Made the World
5-part BBC series delving into how without art, the human experience would be completely different. Full of interesting insights into humankind’s relationship with images.
Watch the Video

7. The World’s Most Expensive Stolen Paintings
Every year, more than 100,000 paintings are stolen from homes and galleries…this doc dives into the hows and therefores of major heists.
Watch the Video

8. Salvador Dali: Master of Modern Era
From anxious, troubled childhood to Freudian, rhino-obsessed king of surrealism.
Watch the Video

9. Treasures of the Louvre
Cracking history of the Louvre that captures the spirit of the Renaissance movement.
Watch the Video

10. Raphael: A Mortal God
Ace BBC dramatized doc on a mission to find the ‘real Raphael.’
Watch the Video

11. The Medici: Makers of Modern Art
How the Medici family transformed Florence through sculpture, painting and architecture and created a world where masterpieces fetch millions today.
Watch the Video

12. Paradise Found: Islamic Architecture and Arts
Interesting piece on Islamic Renaissance Men, their creations, how they influenced European art.
Watch the Video

13. Roy Lichtenstein
The life and times of the New York pop artist who was heavily influenced by comic books and ad campaigns.
Watch the Video

Music

14. The Distortion of Sound
Short film about how digital media affects the listening experience, compared to tangible media like vinyl and CDs. 20 mins. Essential viewing.
Watch the Video

15. How the Beatles Rocked The Kremlin
Intriguing film about the Beatles’ pivotal role in liberating Russians and bringing about the end of the Cold War.
Watch the Video

16. It Might Get Loud
Jack White, Jimmy Page and The Edge get together to discuss guitars and rock music, and have a bit of a jam. The opening scene features Jack building a guitar out of a coke bottle and a bit of driftwood, and it gets even better…insightful and delightful!
Watch the Video

17. Something From Nothing: The Art of Rap
An intimate journey into the heart and soul of hip-hop with the legends of rap. 92% on Rotten Tomatoes. An important film.
Watch the Video

18. Rolling Stones: Shine a Light
Martin Scorcese’s Stones film, full length for free on Youtube.
Watch the Video

19. George Harrison Living in the Material World
Scorcese’s feature length doc on George, not the most lauded of the Beatles, but probably the one who lived the most interesting life.
Watch the Video

20. A Year with Armin Van Buuren
Ever wondered what the life of a bona fide superstar DJ is like? Follow Armin round for a year and find out. In Dutch, with subtitles. Really enjoyable.
Watch the Video

21. Northern Soul: Living for the Weekend
Northern Soul is so hot right now, popping up everywhere, influencing new songs and many an ad campaign. Here’s 2014’s take on the full story of what it is and what it means…
Watch the Video

22. Northern Soul: This is England
…and here’s a 30-min Granada TV doc from the 70’s, when Wigan Casino was in full swing and going dancing all night was regarded as shockingly indecent.
Watch the Video

23. Soul Survivor: The James Brown Story
Feature length doc on the hardest working man in showbiz, who really did pay the cost to be da boss. Epic rags to riches tale.
Watch the Video

24. Queens of Disco
BBC doc on the story of disco, told through a prism of the divas who sung those still-popular and oft-sampled songs e.g. Gloria Gaynor. Without disco, the contemporary music landscape would look very different: people said it was dead, people said it sucked -but it’s never really gone away.
Watch the Video

25. The Legend of Woodstock 1969
The story of the legendary 3 day music festival attended by 400,000 young American hippies, with music from Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and The Who, amongst many others.
Watch the Video

Culture

26. Shakespeare’s Mother the Secret Life of a Tudor Woman
Shakespeare’s mom has got it going on…this BBC doc proves we know much more about the Bard than is popularly believed. Essential. Down tools and watch now.
Watch the Video

27. The Secret World of Lewis Carroll
In-depth look at the creator of Alice in Wonderland, a huge influence on everyone from John Lennon to James Joyce, and beloved by billions of children worldwide.
Watch the Video

28. Sincerely, F Scott Fitzgerald
Super-interesting bio: the somewhat bumpy ride of the 20s lit icon’s life, told through studying letters he wrote to his daughter, wife and editor. Simply brilliant.
Watch the Video

29. Bright Lights, Brilliant Minds: Paris
Paris in 1928, the high point of an unusually creative decade, where one city was home to all the key artists and thinkers of the day. With Hemingway, Gershwin and Cole Porter lording it up, this is the story of ‘the bash before the crash’… makes you feel more artistic just for watching…
Watch the Video

30. Nietzsche – Human, All Too Human
If Nietzsche is a name you’ve heard of, but you don’t know much about, check out this sharp BBC doc on the influential existential philosopher/ author.
Watch the Video

31. Imagine – From Pencils to Pixels
2003 BBC doc on the rise of Pixar and the inner workings of the creative powerhouse.
Watch the Video

32. My Wasted Life: Matt Groening
One hour up close and personal with the creator of the Simpsons, talking inspirations, motivations and influences.
Watch the Video

33. The Simpsons and their Mathematical Secrets
Illuminating talk explaining how the Simpsons creative team is full of maths geeks, and highlighting their habit of slipping mathematical in-jokes into the show.
Watch the Video

34. BBC Culture Show: The Mormons are Here
South Park geniuses Parker and Stone take us behind the scenes of the Book of Mormon, and also discuss Mormonism.
Watch the Video

35. That’s Not Funny
Really interesting doc on the premise that with comedy, there’s a line between funny and bad taste. This 2014 doc goes in search of the line, to analyse it.
Watch the Video

36. Dream Interpretation
Cutting-edge experiments and anecdotal evidence on the hunt to find out, where do dreams come from? Do they have meaning? And ultimately, why do we dream?
Watch the Video

37. Planet B-Boy
Feature length global perspective on competitive breakdance culture, following breakers from the USA and Korea as they compete at what’s essentially the World Cup of breakdancing.
Watch the Video

38. The Story of Musicals
Ace BBC4 doc on How West End theatre came to be dominated by musicals, from World War II to the present day.
Watch the Video

39. The Real Blow Up Sixties: Fame, Fashion and Photography
Swinging London, when fashion photography comes of age, and photographers become as famous as pops stars…
Watch the Video

40. The Saatchi and Saatchi Story
Taking you on a rollercoaster ride from the legendary agency’s inception in the 70s to the ‘split’ in 1995, when M&C Saatchi was set up.
Watch the Video

41. Treasures of New York: Building Stories
Private life and creative process of Costas Kondylis, a modern architect thought to have more influence over the NYC skyline that any other.
Watch the Video

42. Great Britons: Isambard Kingdom Brunel
The most creative Brit who ever lived? Check out this awesome doc on the works of multi-talented designer IKB. Bridges, ships, buildings…easy. What a man. Legend.
Watch the Video

43. 10 Lost Cities That Have Been Found
Fascinating rundown of long lost towns that have been found during excavation.
Watch the Video

44. Peter Ackroyd’s London
London’s best biographer has written several epic, 500-page lurid histories of the capital, but did you know he’d also condensed them into a documentary series? Essential viewing for all London-lovers.
Watch the Video

45. The Bizarre World of Ancient Greece
BBC doc on the lifestyles of the people who set the blueprint for civilisation as we know it…
Watch the Video

46. Sex in the Ancient World
The sex secrets of Ancient Egyptians, inc. the Turin Erotic Papyrus…ooo er.
Watch the Video

47. World’ Strongest Materials
The latest innovations in materials. From bacteria that can make gasoline to gossamer thread that can hold up bridges.
Watch the Video

48. The Next Black: The Future of Clothing
Innovative fashion companies discuss 21st century garms, inc. sustainability, wearable tech and biocuture, which means growing clothing. Sound crazy? Embrace the future.
Watch the Video

49. Future of Glasses, Wearable Technology 2015
From wearable robots to give us super strength, to machines that can read our minds…
Watch the Video

50. Bionics, Transhumanism, and the end of Evolution
Scary Discovery Channel doc on how the human race is on its way out and we’re all becoming cyborgs.
Watch the Video

 

So there you go, proof that procrastination can be inspiration. Just be sure to set a time limit! Enjoy!

Addicted to Sugar

By Melissa Baird

In the last issue of Green Home magazine I ran a review on the book that offers an 8 week programme to kick the sugar and carb habit. I never believed I would write about this issue as if I was writing about the highest form of drug addiction (pun intended) however the more I research the more it points to the road that high intakes of sugar will lead to severe health impacts further down the line.

As I watch friends feed their children endless amounts of sugar and watch their children turn into little monsters as a result I predict that in less than five years time sugar will be as demonised as the tobacco industry. But like all smokers can testify – knowing the health risks does not necessarily enable giving up the habit with any form of ease because addiction is addiction and unless one has a steely resolve and is able to change one’s mind about an entrenched habit, sugar will remain on the ‘fix’ list.

Sugar is in pretty much every prepared food, certain health products, fruit juices and sauces and if you don’t read the labels you will be unaware of just how much sugar dominates the ingredient list.

The South African sugar industry is responsible for many jobs and the viewpoint held by this country’s largest sugar producer is somewhat guarded with reference to sugar use as part of a ‘balanced diet’. However due to the amounts of sugar hidden in food products that are ‘healthy’ options like snack bars, cereals and yoghurt it is certainly up to the consumer to work out just how much sugar they are consuming per day. The main ingredient in a product appears first on a food label and I have been surprised to note how often sugar leads on the label above that of what I would term ‘real food’.

According to this leading sugar producer even though there is a growing body of evidence proving the links between sugar and diabetes, cardiovascular disease and obesity; dementia and Alzheimer’s disease they are still saying that these reports are “unbalanced and scientifically inaccurate” and that “eminent bodies such as the World Health Organisation and the Food and Agricultural Organisation agree that sugar, like other carbohydrate-containing foods, has an indispensable role to play in balanced diets.”

There is a growing body of evidence that proves the very opposite of this claim and as in the days when doctors were paid to say smoking was good for you I would view these blanket statements with a degree of skepticism. The most sensible thing to do is educate yourself about what the sugar content is of the foods you choose.

Did you know:

Excessive sugar intake leads to type two diabetes which is linked to being obese. If you are diagnosed with type two diabetes you can look forward to a lifespan that is shorter by 6 years. And it is avoidable.

High levels of blood sugar are linked to dementia the fastest growing mental illness in the developed world.

Source: Agnes Flöel, a neurologist at Charité

Sugar rush: There are 108 grams of sugar in a litre of coke (around 26 teaspoons of sugar). According to a 2011 study by Euromonitor International, on average South African’s purchased 66 litres of carbonated soft drinks per person in 2011 ranking it as 27th in the world. The United States is ranked first; the average American bought 170 litres of soda in 2011.  (http://slate.me/1EwTW49)

Germany is the second-most sugar-loving nation in the world; people eat roughly 103 grams on average per day. The average South African consumes 41.5 grams and the average Indian consumes just 5.1 grams of sugar per day. (http://wapo.st/1LmbMhU)

Sweet tooth: 44% of South Africans surveyed said they used between three and five teaspoons of sugar and 29% used 6 or more teaspoons of sugar. (AMPS2014B)

Safe estimates no more than 5 teaspoons of sugar per day for women and for men 7

Not sure about this?

Watch more:

THAT SUGAR FILM is one man’s journey to discover the truth about sugar and documents the effects of excessive sugar intake on a healthy body, consuming only foods that are commonly perceived as ‘healthy’.

You can also download a free ebook with amazing sugar and carb free recipes to help get off the white stuff.

www.thatsugarfilm.com

The truth about Sugar – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_dqKmOLpofo

That Sugar Film – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vntLlBjOEAU&spfreload=10

BBC production – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ONXNKacNU_4

Abundance of Water

In this video, Alosha shares his knowledge of the current water situation in a drought-stricken South Africa. He also provides us with some great water wise tips and practical solutions for our own gardens and homes so that we too can help conserve water and sustain our beautiful environment!

Hunted to Extinction

By Jean Dunn

Contributing Editors: Ashwell Glasson, Melissa Baird

Hunted to Extinction:

A Flawed Legal System Wreaks Havoc on the Leopard and other Endangered Species

During the massive public outcry that occurred in the aftermath of Cecil the Lion’s death, it became clear just how many of you are out there who care about animals and hate to see them suffer such cruelty. But the hunting of animals that should be protected is nothing new; it happens every day, all over the world, and especially in South Africa where the Big Five roam. Most of these animals do not have names. They might not be as majestic as Cecil, or remind you of a live-action Lion King either. Instead, their suffering is going unnoticed. They are out there this very moment being stalked by the world’s most dangerous predator—man.

People often say that this hunting is economically beneficial, or that it contributes to and promotes conservation practices “when it is done right.” But in regards to several endangered species, we are now finding out just how easy it is for it to go wrong. Take the leopard, for example, another big cat. This fascinating species is getting closer and closer to extinction, and yet it is still legally permitted for the cat to be hunted down and its spotted trophies exported in horrifying and unsustainable numbers.

While I personally cannot condone taking the life of a leopard or any other animal for the “thrill” of the hunt or for a magnificent trophy, I understand this is a topic of heated debate and I do not intend for this article to serve as a platform for that. Instead, I would like us to set aside our differences in opinion for a moment and take a look at the real issue at hand: the fact that we are not hunting for conservation; that we may be wiping out a species by simply not making an effort to monitor its population, properly manage its trade, or enforce the law. If wildlife hunting is going to remain legal, the least we can do is ensure that it is actually “done right,” so that these iconic creatures do not wind up confined to the pages of history books.

A leopard rests in a tree in Kruger National Park. Photo by: Tom Dooley

A leopard rests in a tree in Kruger National Park. Photo by: Tom Dooley.

The Current State of “Conservation”

Year after year, we are becoming increasingly aware of humankind’s massive impact on nature—the continuous changes in climate and environment, and the widespread loss of species, some of which existed long before us. Fortunately for the future of this planet, there are some who are taking action. Environmental and wildlife organisations have been created and meaningful legislation has been passed in order to help combat these issues. But is everyone following through? Recent evidence suggests they are not. Specifically in regards to this hunting and exportation of endangered wildlife, we are currently driving species towards extinction out of pure laziness—laziness in observation, in management, and in enforcing the necessary regulations meant to protect and sustain these species for the long-term. This demands change.

CITES and How it Works

Over 35,000 plant and animal species (species of concern and of non-concern) are currently listed in a document called CITES (The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora). CITES is, in simplest terms, an international agreement between governments aimed at protecting species. States, or “Parties,” which have joined CITES adopt and adhere to its framework voluntarily in combination with their own national laws and domestic legislation. In its entirety, the Convention is meant to ensure that the ongoing trade of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival. This past July, the European Union became an official party to CITES and its goal to ensure that trade remains legal and sustainable. This is a positive sign for managing, implementing, and regulating proactive wildlife trade in Europe.

In South Africa, the Scientific Authority, a body administered by the South African National Biodiversity Institute, regulates the trade of CITES-listed species. One of the ways they accomplish this is through creating and publishing scientific reviews regarding whether or not trade endangers a species. These reviews are furthermore referred to as “non-detriment findings” (NDFs). This process is part of the commitment that a CITES party must undertake in order to assess and inform wildlife trade and its viability and impacts on species. The most recent NDF, published in May 2015 by the Department of Environmental Affairs, is a topic of major alarm and distress for conservationists and animal-lovers alike.

CITES Exposed

CITES recognizes that, “Levels of exploitation of some animal and plant species are high and the trade in them, together with other factors, such as habitat loss, is capable of heavily depleting their populations and even bringing some species close to extinction.” In theory, having CITES in place should therefore be extremely beneficial to our environment and wildlife populations. According to its own mission statement, CITES should be helping to prevent humans from causing serious damage to ecosystems and eradicating various species for their own pleasure or economic gains. The issue is—this is not happening. In the case of many of the CITES-listed species, as revealed by this latest NDF, trade quotas (the number of specimens of a species that can be traded and exported per year) are being issued without proper scientific data or substantial information to back them up. The consequences of this could be disastrous. Especially with species that are already threatened or endangered, these flawed and arbitrary numbers amidst an already flawed and poorly regulated system could be putting many on a path straight towards imminent destruction. This is particularly true in the case of the leopard, a species very close to my own heart.

A Cape mountain leopard on the prowl. Photo via The Cape Leopard Trust.

A Cape mountain leopard on the prowl. Photo by: The Cape Leopard Trust.

Non-Detriment Findings for the CITES-listed Leopard

The leopard (Panthera pardus) is listed on Appendix I of CITES, meaning that it is considered to be a species threatened with extinction and may be negatively affected by trade. Trade in leopards and their parts are therefore to be permitted only in “exceptional” circumstances. This new NDF provides more than several reasons as to why this should be the case.

Although it has proved to be a relatively resilient species, the leopard, like most plants and animals, is still susceptible to human disturbance and has now been wiped out from at least 37% of its African range. Their current threats include, but are not limited to, habitat loss, excessive off-takes (legal and illegal) of presumed damage-causing-animals (DCAs), poorly managed trophy hunting, the illegal trade of leopard skins for cultural and religious attire, and incidental snaring. Leopard populations are especially at risk with trophy hunting due to there being no restrictions on the sex, age, or size of leopards that can be hunted. In fact, South Africa is the only country permitted by CITES to export leopard trophies that actually allows the hunting of female leopards. This is particularly disturbing. Research has shown that leopards may be resilient to human disturbance only if there are healthy females that are still able to reproduce. A population viability analysis conducted for the South African leopard population also concluded that the risk of extinction almost doubled when females were on the trade quota. The hunting of female leopards carries the additional risk of her cub(s)’s death(s) as well, as cubs are not likely to survive after their mother is killed or taken from them. This is just the tip of the iceberg of concerns that this new scientific review addresses in its summary.

Hunted While Facing Extinction

Regardless of all of these negative facts, South Africa is still permitted under CITES to export 150 leopard trophies annually. The NDF explicitly states that this number was arrived at based on speculative population estimates and an analysis of data that was extremely poor. It even acknowledges that, “There is no rigorous estimate for the size of the South African leopard population, nor reliable estimates of leopard population trends at national or provincial scales.” Some of the key role-players in the allocation of these CITES export permits and hunting activities are the provincial conservation authorities (e.g. CapeNature, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife). I find it extremely unusual that a group of intelligent individuals such as this was able to decide how many leopards it is safe to hunt while having little to no knowledge of just how many leopards are left in their increasingly fragmented habitat.

It is also important to note that this export number refers only to the permitted and documented exportation of the animal. According to the NDF, legal trophy hunting and DCA control are poorly managed and rarely properly documented. Illegal forms of harvest are frequent and are obviously unregulated and unmonitored. The limited data that does exist suggests that the levels of illegal hunting and export of leopards exceed the levels of that which is legal, making it even more difficult to access reliable records and monitor the true effects of trade on leopard populations. When we consider all of this illegal harvesting that takes place and the weak regulation in the provinces, the number of leopards exported could reach well into the thousands. This begs the question, are we making informed evidence-based decisions on leopard off-take? This NDF suggests otherwise…a real concern for many of us.

The NDF goes on to conclude, “The legal local and international trade in live animals and the export of hunting trophies at present poses a high risk to the survival of this species in South Africa.” In some areas such as Limpopo and KwaZulu-Natal, the review states that trophy hunting is proving it may not be sustainable at all. Instead, excessive quotas, over-hunting of the same areas, poor trophy selection, DCA control, and other illegal activities have been extremely detrimental. How are we then, in good conscience, still permitting the widespread killing of leopards when we are clearly being shown that it is likely doing far more harm than good?

The Cederberg Leopard and Caracal Projects checked two remote cameras in Klipbok Kloof. They were rewarded with a great image of this male leopard, "Titus." Photo by: The Cape Leopard Trust.

The Cederberg Leopard and Caracal Projects checked two remote cameras in Klipbok Kloof. They were rewarded with a great image of this male leopard, “Titus.” Photo by: The Cape Leopard Trust.

Time for a Change

For CITES to actually do what it aims to do and protect species, we need to develop a coordinated national strategy that can provide standardized guidelines to all provinces for the management of leopards and other species that are at risk. This will enable us to have reliable, scientific data that can lead to more accurate and sustainable quotas. It will also ensure that all legal policies and recommended guidelines are adhered to so that species may still thrive amidst human disturbances.

The work of conservation organisations like the Cape Leopard Trust and Panthera, such as the ongoing monitoring of leopards with camera trap data and seeking faux alternatives to leopard skins and trophies, may also be replicated throughout the provinces to help ensure this species’ long-term survival. These are programs of constant action; for it is constant observing, constant amending, constant educating and engaging that is going to save species in the long run.

How You Can Help

The NDF makes more than several references to a lack of data, poor management, poor documentation, and unregulated practices involving the hunting and exportation of the leopard. If we, as both citizens and as concerned stewards of the earth, can urge the government on local and national levels to address these issues, we may have a fighting chance at keeping these magnificent creatures alive and roaming freely in our wild lands.

I therefore implore you to take action. Become a “citizen scientist” for the Animal Demography Unit and help to map leopard distributions through their MammalMAP project to ensure that there is reliable data out there for these quotas. Or, if you want to learn more, follow organisations like the Cape Leopard Trust, Panthera, Conservation Action Trust, and the Animal Demography Unit, who are all actively working to positively influence the leopard hunting quota issues as well as broaden our understanding of South Africa’s amazing large predators, like leopards. But they cannot do it alone. Without your help, it is unlikely that we will have a strong enough force to create change and move forward into a brighter future.

You once demanded justice for the illegal hunt of a protected lion, now you have a chance to demand justice for these leopards. But, more importantly, you have a chance to become a voice for all of these threatened or endangered animals that cannot advocate for themselves. We need this voice to make a difference. With your support, we get one step closer to fixing a flawed system and ensuring that these incredible creatures still have a future alongside us. So act now, support these organizations, and make your voice heard.

Inquiries:

For all citizen scientist inquiries, please contact Ashwell Glasson, Chairperson of the Animal Demography Unit: glasson.ashwell@gmail.com

References:

Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. (1973). Washington, D.C.

Molewa, B. E. (2015). Government Gazette (pp. 12-15) (South Africa, Department of Environmental Affairs).