• Hard to Recycle Plastics

    In our last blog we covered the basics of recycling, and this week we will be diving into a more niche topic of “hard-to-recycle” plastics. As we know from last time plastic recycling is the process of collecting and processing plastic waste into new products. It is an important way to reduce plastic pollution and conserve resources, as it allows plastic materials to be reused rather than being discarded and sent to landfills or the ocean.


    The first step in the plastic recycling process is the collection and sorting of plastic waste. This can be done at a recycling facility or at the point of disposal (such as at a recycling bin in a public area). Plastic waste is sorted by type and cleaned to remove contaminants such as food residue or labels.


    Once the plastic waste is sorted and cleaned, it is processed into small plastic flakes or pellets. These flakes or pellets can then be melted and molded into new products, such as plastic bottles, containers, or even clothing.


    The process of plastic recycling can vary depending on the type of plastic being recycled and the end product being produced. Some plastic types are easier to recycle than others, and some products are more in demand than others. Today we will be discussing harder-to-recycle plastics. As you likely know, recyclable plastic comes with a number embossed on the bottom that tells you if and how it should be recycled. You probably also know that your local facility takes some numbers and not others. This is because different kinds of plastic have different properties like hardness, colour, or melting point, which means they need separate machinery to process it. This can be too costly for many facilities, so at least some percentage of recyclable plastic is always being landfilled. Similarly some plastics make for a less expensive output, meaning it is not profitable to create that recycled plastic, which also results in recyclables in the landfill. 

    Z22, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons


    There are also plastics most people would deem non-recyclable, like wrappers, face masks, or makeup applicators. These are often considered non-recyclable not because they cannot physically be recycled, but because the cost of processing is too high to make a profit. 


    However, there are people working to change that balance. For example, the company Terracycle is focused on recycling these hard to recycle products. They do this by partnering with large corporations to create recycling programs for their products. For example, Terracylce and Crest have partnered to accept all forms of dental care waste like toothpaste tubes, flossers, and toothbrushes of any brand. This is a great example of a corporation taking some responsibility for their impact, and working to make their product more sustainable. Terracycle also provides services for small scale business and community groups to pay to subsidize the cost of recycling their personal waste. 


    Fundy Biosphere worked with the Salisbury Elementary school to give that program a try. FBR purchased a box from Terracycle for candy wrappers, and left it with the students for the month of November to collect up their Halloween waste. Together we were able to divert hundreds of wrappers from the landfill, and teach the students about how their plastic use can affect the environment. We will soon be giving some boxes to elementary schools in the area to collect their valentines day garbage.



    People at home can improve recycling by cleaning and correctly sorting their waste, and by reducing the amount of non-recyclable plastic they use.

  • Microplastics: a Macro Problem

    Welcome back to the fourth installation of our Plastics Series! We hope that you’ve been enjoying the journey of recognizing the problems that come with the overconsumption of plastic, and are challenging yourself to reduce your impact. Now that we’ve talked about what happens to plastic once it’s been disposed of, we want to shed light on an important and increasingly alarming side effect of improper waste management: microplastics. 


    What are microplastics? Exactly like it sounds, they are small pieces of plastic. Officially, microplastics are defined as any piece of plastic smaller than 5mm, or about the size of a grain of rice. Common types of microplastics include: 

    • Fragments: which are small pieces of larger plastic objects, 
    • Fibers: found in plastic strands of clothing, 
    • Foam: such as pieces of food containers & coffee cups, 
    • Nurdles: plastic pellets commonly used in manufacturing for a wide variety of products, and 
    • Microbeads: beads used in soaps & cosmetics. 


    Microplastics are currently categorized into two main groups: primary and secondary. 

    Primary microplastics are types of plastic that were manufactured to be small, like glitter, or those microbeads and nurdles mentioned above.

    Inkwina, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons


    Secondary microplastics are essentially the leftovers of other kinds of plastic items.They are initially made to be larger, but are broken down in the environment, like styrofoam falling apart into little balls or a plastic bottle breaking apart in the sea. This happens because of a process called mechanical erosion, wherein the waves of the ocean currents repeatedly wear down the weak spots in larger pieces of plastic and eventually tear them apart.  

    Oof.cc, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons


    Microplastics have been identified just about everywhere, from our fresh and saltwater, to the food we eat, and the air we breathe. Major sources of microplastics include: Agricultural runoff, Aquaculture, Cruise ships, Ocean dumping, Stormwater, Fishing & shipping industries, Urban runoff, and Waste management. All of these sources contribute to large amounts of plastic being swept up in our oceans. 


    As you can probably imagine, this can be damaging to animals as it is common for them to eat plastics. It is hypothesized that microplastics can affect the physiological functioning of animals in multiple ways like: blocking their digestive system, leaching harmful chemicals into their bodies, and making them feel less hungry because their stomachs are full of it. Microplastics both absorb and give off chemicals and harmful pollutants, and this creates the potential for adverse effects on humans through bioaccumulation. Many animals that have microplastics in their bodies are used as food by people.  This is concerning for sure, especially for the one-fifth of the world’s population that relies on seafood as their primary source of food. 


    National Marine Sanctuaries, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons


    As of yet the health impacts of microplastics are not well understood because the problem has only been acknowledged recently, but that doesn’t mean that the issue isn’t being taken seriously. Microplastics are now listed as a toxic substance under schedule 1 of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act. 


    Long-term solutions to the problem are still in development, but luckily there’s ways that you can help today. It’s obviously impossible to eliminate all sources of plastic in your everyday life, but there’s no denying the fact that reducing the amount you use can make a difference. Some other options to help are to switch out products with microbeads, choose organic clothing or use a mesh washing bag to catch microfibers, and avoid styrofoam where possible. 

    This blog is part of our Trash Talks project, funded through the NB Environmental Trust Fund

  • National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

    This year Canada instated a National Day for Truth And Reconciliation. Today, on Sept 30 we honour the lost, and the survivors of residential schools, their families and their communities. Reconciliation and reparations for the tragedy of residential schools and how indigenous peoples have been overtly treated for decades will not happen overnight. It’s an ongoing effort to overcome the systematic racism in this country and despite the province New Brunswick choosing not to recognize and honour the day we wanted to take the opportunity to allow some voices to be heard.
    Now, Desmon and Raven in no way represent all indigenous people in New Brunswick. There are a number of Wabanaki communities throughout New Brunswick that, I’m sure, would love for you to join them with an open heart and an open mind if you’re interested in learning more. For online resources I’ll include a few links below and I’d encourage everyone to ask for themselves:

    "What does Sept 30th mean to me?"

    Video Credits: Desmond Simon
    Huge thank you to: Desmond and Raven!
  • Ocean Conservation Expedition

    SOI Expedition


    This September the Students on Ice Foundation set off on their Ocean Conservation Expedition. The expedition brought together experts, researchers, artists and indigenous youth aboard the icebreaker the Polar Prince, to build awareness and education around ocean conservation and the amazing ecosystems around the Bay of Fundy. Fundy Biosphere conservation manager Clarissa Hoffman was lucky enough to join the expedition for 4 days to share the story of our biosphere and the work being done to protect our unique ecology. 


    The first day began overcast and early at the Port of Saint John. After a quick tour and safety demonstration it was off to our first event. Port Saint John was showing a screening of the documentary “The Last of the Right Whales”, which documents the plight of the North Atlantic Right Whale, and what is being done to protect them. Danielle Dion, Senior naturalist and marine biologist with the Quoddy Link Marine Whale Watching Vessel, also joined to discuss the film, and offer updates on some of the featured whales. It was emotional to see and hear about the harm being done to these animals, but heartening to learn about the actions being taken by industry to reduce risks, right here in Canada. At the end of the evening we all convened in the hangar to discuss what we had learned that day, and discuss our plans for the next day. Each of us was also asked to share what the ocean means to us. Answers ranged from discovery and mystery to connection to relaxation; each person with a unique answer and their own unique region for being so passionate about ocean conservation.  


    On day 2 we visited the Minas Basin. Early in the morning we passed through the stunning cliffs of Cape Split, and witnessed the power of the tides as the ship was slowed to a crawl as it fought the current out of the Minas channel. We hopped on the zodiacs for a short ride over to a pebble beach at Scots Bay. Here we got to observe some interesting geological formations, and do a small beach cleanup. After a quick lunch back on the ship it was back out on the zodiacs. This time we went to Cape Blomidon, where we got to view the stunning cliffs, help the researchers from the Huntsman aquarium to gather samples for their DNA barcode library project, and some of the braver among us took a swim in the bay.


    For the 3rd day we were back in the Fundy Biosphere Region! We started off the morning bright and early with a wet and wavy ride in the zodiac up the Point Wolfe River. We were all so lucky to be able to enter Fundy National Park from this unique perspective. We all disembarked at Point Wolfe beach. At this Fundy Biosphere Amazing Place we were able to witness the famous Fundy tides, as the water receded almost a kilometer from where we first parked the zodiacs. Parks Canada representatives then took us on a short hike, and shared about the ecology of the region, and some of their projects to protect it. Next we hopped back on the zodiacs, and the developing storm made for a very exciting ride back! Unfortunately the rough weather prevented us from making our next stop in the biosphere, Amazing Place Martin Head. Luckily for us some of the participants were able to come up with last minute games and presentations to keep us entertained and educated during our rainy afternoon on the ship. It was the last night aboard for many of us, so we stayed up late singing, dancing and playing games, which was a perfect ending for a trip so focused on connection. 



    Photos by Jenna Savoie-Joy

  • SDG Report

    The Sustainable Development Goals and Fundy Biosphere Region

    The United Nations’ Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is one of the most important global agreements in recent history. The agenda, with the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at its core, is a guide to tackling the world’s most pressing challenges – including ending poverty and bringing economic prosperity, social inclusion, environmental sustainability and peace and good governance to all countries and all people by 2030.

    The SDGs cover a wide range of complex social, economic, and environmental challenges and addressing them will require transformations in how societies and economies function and how we interact with our planet. UNESCO Biosphere Reserves have a critical role to play in the implementation of SDGs, utilizing both their mandates, and their connection to both their own region and the worldwide network of Biosphere Reserves can play an important role in SDG implementation and research.

    Engaging with the SDGs will also greatly benefit Biosphere Reserves by helping them demonstrate regional impact, capture demand for SDG-related projects, build new partnerships, access new funding streams, and define a Biosphere that is sustainable and responsible within its own region and globally aware.

    Biosphere regions


    Conservation is one of the central features of the SDGs. Conserving the worlds natural wonders is an essential precondition for social justice and economic development. If we do not achieve the goals related to clean water and sanitation, life below water, life on land, and climate action, the world will fail to achieve the remaining goals.

    Conservation also concerns cultural wellbeing, although no specific goal concerns only culture, goals that focus on quality education, sustainable cities, economic growth, gender equality, and sustainable growth will allow for the continuation of local cultural practices within biosphere boundaries.

    What can biosphere regions do?

    Utilizing the goals and targets that are specifically related to conservation, biosphere regions have an important role to play within their communities. Some specific examples of how biospheres can contribute include:

    • Provide public with the knowledge, skills, and motivation to participate in environmental issues
    • Increase awareness of biodiversity loss
    • Seek out funding and government policies and actions that conserve valuable ecosystems
    • Become role models and educators as stewards of the environment
    • Empower and mobilize young people for future conservation efforts•Habitat stewardship

      Economic Development

    The SDGs promote sustained economic growth, higher levels of productivity and technological innovation. Encouraging entrepreneurship and job creation are key to this, as are effective measures to eradicate forced labour, slavery and human trafficking. With these targets in mind, the goal is to achieve full and productive employment, and decent work, for all women and men by 2030.

    Within biospheres, economic development plays an important role in involving stakeholders in projects and balancing the economic needs of local communities with a high level of protection of the natural environment.

    What can Biosphere Regions do?

    Utilizing the goals and targets that are specifically related to economic development, biosphere regions have an important role to play within their communities. Some specific examples of how biospheres can contribute include:

    • Ensure all events held are accessible to all
    • Promote economic growth through youth employment, entrepreneurship, and sustainable tourism
    • Assist and promote marginalized communities living within their regions
    • Apply for funding to strengthen the sustainability of the region
    • Ensure the community benefits, and the projects conducted by the biosphere region benefit the community for years to come.

      Climate Action


    Climate change presents the single biggest threat to sustainable development everywhere and its widespread, unprecedented impacts disproportionately burden the poorest and most vulnerable. Urgent action to halt climate change and deal with its impacts is integral to successfully achieving all Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).Sustainable Development Goal 13 aims to “take urgent action to combat climate change and its impact”, while acknowledging that the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is the primary international, intergovernmental forum for negotiating the global response to climate change. Other goals of the Global Agenda also focus on the changing climate and both mitigating effects while also promoting resiliency and general awareness on the topic.

    Biosphere regions may already researching climate change within their region, or at the very least are aware of the adverse effects that their communities are facing. Providing knowledge on what the region can expect, developing projects that look into the effects of climate change are an important part of what makes a biosphere a “living lab”

    What can biosphere regions do?

    Global warming is unequivocal. The average global temperature is rising and the consequences present enormous challenges for humankind. In some biosphere reserves the effects of climate change are already visible. Although climate change extends beyond the borders of the biosphere there are several things a region can do to assist in mitigating effects:

    Advocate for local legislation to support mitigation efforts•Support and apply for funding that directly relates to climate change•Provide public with the knowledge, skills, and motivation to understand and address the challenges of climate change•Provide training on native species•Enhance opportunities for capacity building of communities to address challenges

    pdfSDG Report 2021.pdf

  • Swimathon 2021


     The first ever Swim-a-thon for a cleaner ocean is a partnership between many organisations to engage the community in a fun active way while also contributing to cleaner oceans and a dedication to sustainability. We will start off with a huge kickoff event with booths from organisations who will inform participants on different ways to reduce plastic usage a long with a fun game where swimmers can collect clean garbage from the pool for a chance to win a gift basket!

    Then comes the actual swim-a-thon. Swimmers will sign up to swim however many kilometers of "coast" that they can. Then members from the community will pledge them however many dollars for however many meters.

    Ex: I pledge to swim 3km in the 2 weeks. My neighbor pledged me 10$ for every km I swim.

    The proceeds from this will go towards supplies for a beach cleanup to happen later in the summer. This is a super cool way for the community to get active, while also making a positive difference on the world stage, and spreading awareness on a serious global issue!
    Sign Up Now!

    Download Pledge Sheet

  • Top 5 Things to Do in St Martins, NB


    St Martins, NB is one of my favourite coastal towns in the Fundy Biosphere. Here's why!

     10.jpgfundy trail635.jpg


    Who doesn't like hard ice cream?

    With sprinkles you say?

    There's nothing quite like a scoop of moon-mist ice cream with sprinkles to make you feel like a child again! Octopus Ice Cream is a must stop on any summer road trip through the village of St Martins. Their ice cream and vast selection of toppings are refreshing on a hot summers day as you walk the beach or traverse the sea caves; and might I recommend a bowl? No one likes sticky fingers!

    Be sure to stop in to Octopus Ice cream next time you're in St Martins. You'll be glad you did!






    Arguably the most accessible, and family friendly, way to visit the Fundy Coast.

    The Fundy Trail may not be exclusive to St Martins, but the views are exceptional and allow easy access to sights via pull offs just off the road. The trail now easily connects St Martins with Alma making it easier than ever to visit the coastal communities of the Fundy Biosphere.

    Whether your looking for an easy way to see the sights or out for a quick road trip the Fundy Trail should definitely be on everyone's "To Do" list every summer and fall to see the sights and the change of seasons! 








    There's no wondering why the chowder is world famous... It's delicious!

    Located Just before the sea caves The Caves Restaurant is certainly one of the best places to eat in St Martins, and maybe New Brunswick.

    The chowder is amazing, but they have plenty of other things on their menu if that's not your style. Enjoy their patio seating and watch the tide come in over the sea caves!









    Exploring the Bay of Fundy at low tide is one thing but seeing it at high tide? That's special!


    If you've never had the opportunity to see the St Martins coast at high tide you're missing out! For less than $100/person you can embark on a memorable tour of the sea caves or enjoy a boat tour of the picturesque cliffs. For those more adventurous you may want to check out their multi-day offerings of sea kayaking or supported, guided hike of the fundy footpath!

    Check out the Red Rock Adventure Facebook and Instagram pages or visit their website (https://www.bayoffundyadventures.com/) for more information or to book a tour!







    There's so much history and geology stored in these cliffs that's different every time you visit!

    Many are familiar with the primary sea caves that you can see at high tide, but did you know that there is an entire beach and secondary caves accessible for only a few hours at low tide? The sea caves are certainly a sight to see and incredible to walk into too!

    The St Martins sea caves are part of the Stonehammer UNESCO Global Geopark with plenty of geological lessons to be learned from these cliffs that are hundreds of millions of years old.

    To learn more about the Stonehammer Geopark and the geology of the St Martins sea caves visit: https://www.stonehammergeopark.com/


  • What are Plastics?

    The Problem with Plastic


    By now you’ve probably heard a lot about the issues with plastic. The plastics problem has moved to the forefront of environmental issues in recent years, and many new laws have been created aiming to reduce plastic. While most of us are at least aware that a problem exists, many may not fully understand what the negative effects are, and how to mitigate them. Over the coming weeks we will be releasing short blogs explaining various plastic related issues, and what can be done for each.


    This week I want to cover what exactly plastic is, why it’s so ubiquitous, and why we can’t just get rid of it.

    So what is plastic? While the definition can vary a bit based on who you ask, generally all varieties of plastics are synthetic polymers, or long repeating chains of molecules that are most often made from petrochemicals. These long repeating chains are what give plastics their strength and prevent them from degrading. Different chemicals and treatments are then applied to give the plastic different qualities like hardness and colour. The new plastic is then turned into small pellets called nurdles, which is the raw form of plastic. The nurdles then get transported around the globe to be made into new products. To make plastic products the nurdles are melted down and molded into their new form. Though records show primitive versions of what we know as plastic today being invented as early as 1839, they didn’t actually come into everyday use until just after the second world war, in the early 1950s. Plastic consumption took off at that time and continues to be valued now because of three big reasons: it’s a substance that is cheap to produce,  it’s long lasting, and it can be made into just about anything you can think of. 

    Though plastics often get a bad wrap because of their significant contribution to environmental degradation, they actually have many important benefits, including to the environment. While non-plastic alternatives are often touted as more sustainable that is not always the case. Plastics often have much lower carbon and water footprints than non-plastic alternatives. Plastic packaging can also save on carbon post-manufacturing, because its light weight reduces the amount of fuel needed in the transportation of goods. It can also preserve food better than older methods, leading to less food waste. And perhaps the most groundbreaking -  it can be made into inexpensive and sterile medical equipment, which leads to wider access to medicine and thus reduced disease transmission. Plastic can even be credited with the reduced market of 

    certain animal products, like ivory, tortoiseshell, and fur; saving the lives of countless elephants and tortoises among many other endangered species. 


    But of course, plastics have huge downfalls that have been getting more attention in recent decades. The things that make them so useful, like their long life and ease of manufacturing, mean that they are produced at a higher rate than required for consumption and then degrade  extremely slowly. They have completely taken over every aspect of our society, and a lot of us have never known a life without them. Plastic is so ubiquitous that geologists now believe that there will be a layer of it in the rock record to mark our current era, much as other time periods are marked by fossils. Plastic can take up to 1000 years to break down, so most of the plastic ever made is still around somewhere, whether it be at a landfill or directly in our surrounding environment. This overflow of plastic is very damaging, so much so that mitigation efforts to address the problem have yet to be widely successful. A large portion of plastic waste does not even make it into recycling or other waste management facilities and is instead released immediately into the environment, becoming inescapable. 


    Strat188, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons


    Because of this animals, both wild and domesticated, can easily be killed by ingesting it or getting tangled up within it. This has been proven to decimate wild populations and endanger the food supply and income of livestock owners. Plastics can also serve as a vector for invasive species that can destroy entire ecosystems. Additionally, plastic holds standing water, which creates breeding grounds for disease-spreading bugs like mosquitoes. They can even block drains and cause flooding and property damage. Worse still, pieces of plastic that break apart, commonly called microplastics, can be transported around the environment much more easily and at greater volume. They eventually find their way into the food chain, thus representing a threat to human health that has yet to be fully quantified, especially for communities near bodies of water. 



    Here around the Bay of Fundy, we are fortunate enough to live in a stunning ecological landscape that has yet to be significantly altered like other parts of the world, but that does not mean that the problem doesn’t affect us every day. Obviously plastics are neither all good or all bad, but as a global community we have to understand that a virtually indestructible substance should not be used to create single-use items, and we need to be conscientious about all the plastic we use. 


    Join us again next time as we investigate how plastic move throughout environment, based on how it was thrown away

  • What Can You Do?

    Welcome back to the 5th installation of our plastic waste series. This week we will be discussing proactive ways you can get out in nature and help the environment at the same time. 


    One of the major ways we do that at FBR is trail and beach cleanups, which we have been conducting as part of our Trash Talks program. While beach cleanups may seem like a very simple action, and it is, it also can make a real difference in an ecosystem. Cleanups and removal of litter from beaches is important for several reasons:


    • Environmental Protection: Litter on beaches can harm wildlife, damage ecosystems, and pollute waterways. Removing litter helps to protect the environment and maintain a healthy balance of marine life.


    • Aesthetics: Litter on beaches can detract from their natural beauty, making them less enjoyable for visitors and residents alike.


    • Health and Safety: Litter on beaches can pose health hazards to people, animals, and the environment. For example, discarded fishing line can entangle wildlife, and discarded syringes can pose a serious health risk to beachgoers.


    • Economic Benefits: Clean beaches can attract tourists, providing an economic boost to local communities.

    By conducting beach cleanups and removing litter, communities can help protect the environment, promote public health and safety, and boost local economies. It's a simple yet effective way for individuals and groups to make a positive impact on their community and the world.


    Organizing a trip with your friends to clean up a beach might be a bit of an undertaking, so if you are looking for something easier that you can do solo is plogging. Plogging is a unique hobby that combines physical activity with environmental activism. It involves going for a walk or run while picking up litter along the way; the term is a combination of plastic and jogging. Participants collect trash they find in parks, along streets, or on beaches, and dispose of it properly. Picking up just a couple of pieces of garbage on your daily walk can do wonders for keeping your neighbourhood or trail system clean and beautiful. On top of helping the environment plogging can boost your workout. The action of bending down to retrieve the garbage and standing several times over the course of a walk will strengthen your legs and core, while burning a few extra calories. 


    Plogging has become popular in recent years as a way for individuals to make a positive impact on the environment. It’s a simple and easy way to clean up your community and help preserve the beauty of nature. Additionally, plogging is a great way to stay active and get exercise, as participants are walking or running while picking up trash.


    In summary, plogging is a hobby that benefits both the environment and personal health. Beach cleanups, plogging or anything else you do to remove garbage from the environment can be a fun and easy way to make a positive impact on your community and help preserve the beauty of nature. While it would be best to keep garbage from getting into the environment, that is not always possible, so there will always need to be those willing to cleanup the mess.

  • What Can You Do?: Part 2 Fast Fashion

    In our final blog post we are going to take some time to discuss a topic that might not seem obviously connected to waste issues, but is actually a major problem, and that is Fast Fashion. Fast fashion is a term used to describe the quick production and turnover of new fashion styles and trends, often at the expense of quality, sustainability, and ethics. This model of fast fashion has become increasingly popular in recent years, with many clothing companies releasing new styles on a weekly to even sometimes daily basis in order to keep up with the latest trends and consumer demand. These quickly changing trends, poor quality, and often dirt cheap prices encourage people to buy ever increasing amounts of clothing. In the past, people often had only a handful of outfits, and even as recently as the 90s people bought on average 20 garments a year. In 2021 that number was up to 68. This number doesn’t include all the returned or unsold stock that companies purposefully destroy rather than donate, which is estimated to be in the tens of billions of dollars each year. All that clothing has a real impact on the environment, and on people.


    Water pollution: The production of clothing requires large amounts of water, and the toxic chemicals used in the production process often end up contaminating local water supplies.


    Chemical pollution: The production of clothing involves the use of numerous chemicals, including dyes, pesticides, and other toxic substances. These chemicals can harm local ecosystems and wildlife, and also contribute to air and water pollution.


    Waste and Landfill: Fast fashion encourages consumers to purchase clothing that is worn only a few times before being thrown away. The culture of free returns online are also a contributor. While you might think returned clothes are re-sold they are often just destroyed due to damage, being out of season, or simply pose a logistical problem. Similarly unsold stock, which is up to 30% of clothing produced, is destroyed and disposed of, all leading to a significant increase in textile waste. This waste often ends up in landfills, where it can release harmful chemicals into the environment. Many fabrics made today are plastic, or plastic blends which will last indefinitely in the environment, and shed microplastic fibers.a You may also think donating unwanted clothing solves this problem, but the vast majority of donated items are not sold and are landfilled or turned into rags. Much is also shipped overseas as aid, but there is so much excess clothing that even in these poverty stricken areas it is burned to make space. It is so bad some countries are looking to ban used clothing imports.



    Energy consumption: The production of clothing requires a great deal of energy, including energy for growing the crops used to make fabric, energy for manufacturing, and energy for transportation. This energy consumption contributes to greenhouse gas emissions and climate change.


    Deforestation: The production of crops like cotton and the harvesting of materials like leather also contribute to deforestation and the loss of wildlife habitat.


    Human Rights: All clothing is made by people. Many people imagine that their clothes are manufactured by machines, but in reality all clothes are made at least in part by a person. Fast fashion can only maintain its cheap prices by abusing their workers. Workers in garment factories are most often severely underpaid, overworked, and are in extremely dangerous working conditions. Many are also children. 



    Choosing to buy fewer, higher quality items from ethical and sustainable retailers can go a long way to helping both people and planet.

  • What is a Biosphere



    What is a biosphere reserve?

    Biosphere Reserves are United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) designated regions that form a World Network of Biosphere Reserves established by the Man and the Biosphere Programme (MAB). Biosphere Reserves are areas of terrestrial and coastal ecosystems promoting solutions to reconcile the conservation of biodiversity with its sustainable use, by bringing together research, education, tourism and human settlement. The programme began in 1970 and now there are over 700 designated Biosphere Reserves around the world in more than 124 countries and 21 trans-boundary sites, which are home to about 257 million people. Eighteen of these Biosphere Reserves are in Canada, however the CBRA has decided to change all sites in Canada to “biosphere regions” out of deference to indigenous peoples . These regions are significant to sustainable development initiatives for many reasons, including their unique governance structure, their ecological and cultural significance, and the presence of strong community leaders and participatory action that occurs within them. Biosphere Reserves are independently managed, and thus take many different forms and approaches to pursue the MAB goals. Despite the individual uniqueness of each Biosphere Reserve around the world, they all share in common a three-pronged mandate established by the MAB that is dedicated to the sustainable development of the regions that includes:

     1) Establishing and facilitating research and education through logistical support,

     2) Implementing ecological conservation efforts,

     3) Encouraging sustainable economic growth

    Together they make up a network that facilitates knowledge sharing and best practices for conservation, sustainability and community development.


    Who is the Fundy Biosphere?

    The Fundy Biosphere Region received the MAB designation in 2007 after a lengthy nomination period. The biosphere spans the Bay of Fundy watershed area, from St. Martins to Sackville, and inland to Moncton. Fundy Biosphere Region holds this prestigious UNESCO designation because this region uniquely showcases initiatives to preserve outstanding natural and cultural heritage, and for sharing ideas and research for biodiversity conservation, climate action, developing quality sustainable tourism infrastructure, delivering educational programs, and ensuring responsible human development. We believe in local solutions to global environmental challenges. Our vision is a world where Canadians are leaders in adapting, nurturing and financially supporting our sustainable communities that thrive alongside unique, biodiverse ecosystems. We pursue our goals by implementing a range of environmental and educational programs, but more importantly by bringing together local stakeholders and community groups to solve local problems.


    Why Here?

    The UNESCO-designated Fundy Biosphere Region is a 440,000 ha area of land in the upper Bay of Fundy region that stretches from the Tantramar Marshes near Sackville, around the cities of Moncton, Riverview, and Dieppe, to the coastal village of St. Martins. Fundy Biosphere Reserve boundaries exist as the upper Bay of Fundy watershed to the Petitcodiac River (the major source of freshwater draining into the upper Bay of Fundy), as well as several other smaller rivers and creeks. The Biosphere Region includes many communities and cities, different land uses including industrial, agricultural, forestry, urban and rural settings. FBR spans a variety of ecosystems and natural habitats including inland and coastal environments. This area has a rich cultural heritage, given that there is a long history of First Peoples, principally Mi’kmaq, inhabiting the area followed by French settlers from Europe beginning in the early 17th century and English settlers beginning in the mid-18th century. This diversity of culture and language is still strong today; French and English are both commonly spoken in our biosphere, and Moncton is the only officially bilingual city in the province. We are also increasingly becoming home to newcomers to Canada, who are bringing with them a new infusion of cultures and ideas to our community. The area is also ecologically diverse, with a number of natural ecosystems found in a relatively small area. It is this vibrant cultural and natural heritage, as well as the presence of the world’s highest tides that contributed to the designation of the area by UNESCO as a World Biosphere Reserve.


    Governance and Operation 

    The Fundy Biosphere Region is managed by an incorporated non-profit organization called the Fundy Biosphere Initiative Inc. The FBR is overseen by a Board of Directors composed of directors from various government, industry and community stakeholders while day-to-day operations and projects are administered by a small staff. FBR receives no funding from UNESCO, nor direct core funding from any federal, provincial, or municipal government. FBR solicits annual funding for individual projects, and receives some funds from its Membership Program, as well as from donations. Our work is guided by the Lima action plan for Biosphere Reserves, the CBRA guiding documents, and our own strategic plan. We also work to contribute to the UN Sustainable Development Goals in all our projects. 


    Our Work

    The projects we pursue at within FBR are centered around our four high level goal areas:

    1.Biodiversity conservation and protection of ecosystem services

    • Restore and maintain the ecological integrity of the region by engaging visitors, residents, communities, businesses and decision makers, participating in the development of policy, resources, and programming for promotion of land stewardship and protection and connectivity between protected areas.

    2. Sustainable relations between people and nature

    • Support, promote, and celebrate sustainable development, initiatives, and innovation in the region in all sectors,
    • Build a culture of sustainability through education, stewardship, and awareness of the region's natural assets as well as individual and community ecological footprint.

    3. Celebration of natural and cultural heritage

    • Enhance awareness of the regions natural and cultural heritage through education, programming, and storytelling

    4. Knowledge Sharing

    • Support opportunities for information and knowledge sharing at the local, provincial, national and international levels through partnerships, networking, and collaboration

    Under these strategic priority areas, we create and contribute to a variety of programming in the region. A few of our most significant projects include our Amazing Places program, which was created by FBR and has since been adopted by biospheres in Ontario and BC, Canada. Another of our flagship programs is Forests of the Future, which identifies naitve Wabanaki-Acadian Forest tree species that will suffer, tolerate or thrive during the climate crisis, and subsequently share that knowledge with stakeholders and the community. We also play a role in regional tourism through partnerships, hosting tours and attending and hosting outreach events, festivals and workshops.

  • Where does plastic go?


    Last time we learned what plastic is, and some of the pros and cons. This week we will be talking about where plastic goes once you throw it away. 



    Litter is the careless or intentional disposal of waste in a public place rather than in a designated trash receptacle. Litter is not only unsightly and can reduce the aesthetic appeal of an area, but it can also have serious negative impacts on the environment and wildlife. 

    Kate Ter Haar from Cedarville, MI, USA, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons


    Litter can clog waterways and harm or kill aquatic animals, as well as create breeding grounds for pests and diseases. It can also be harmful to humans, as it can contain sharp or hazardous materials that can cause injury or illness. In addition, litter is a costly problem for communities, as it requires resources to clean up and can decrease property values. 


    Once in the environment litter can travel all over the world on the air and through waterways, and usually ends in the ocean. In the environment plastic will be degraded by the elements. Sunlight and weathering will cause the plastic to break into ever-smaller pieces called micro-plastics. These small plastic particles can then be ingested by animals, and by humans from our food, water and air. The health risks microplastics can hold to humans is not yet well understood, but some potential risks include leaching chemicals, and accumulation of particles in the body. Microplastics pose a direct risk to wildlife, as they can mistake the plastic for food, but since they cannot digest the plastic it will accumulate in their stomachs until there is no room for food, causing them to perish.

    In order to protect the environment and improve our communities, it is important that we properly dispose of our waste and take steps to prevent litter.




    A landfill is a designated area where waste is deposited and then covered with soil or other material. Landfills are used to dispose of solid waste, such as household trash, construction debris, and municipal solid waste.

    Ashley Felton, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons


    Here is a brief overview of how a landfill works:


    Waste is delivered to the landfill and unloaded onto the site. The waste is spread out and compacted to create a stable surface for the next layer of waste. Each layer of waste is covered with a layer of soil or other material to contain the waste and prevent it from spreading.


    Landfills are carefully designed to minimize the impact on the environment. They are lined with a layer of impermeable material, such as clay or plastic, to prevent the waste from leaching into the ground. Landfills are also equipped with systems to collect and treat any leachate (liquid that has come into contact with the waste) that may be produced. They are monitored and regulated by government agencies to ensure that they are operated safely and in compliance with environmental laws.


    Landfilled plastic is any plastic that was thrown into the garbage, and includes both non-recyclable plastic and recyclable material that was not properly sorted. Since many places do not have recycling programs available, and many people do not always properly sort their waste when recycling is available, the majority of the plastic in the world is landfilled. 


    While landfilling is better for the environment than littering, there are still some environmental concerns. Some kinds of plastic can leach harmful chemicals under prolonged exposure, so landfills must take costly measures to prevent the chemicals from leaking into the environment. The other major issue is the plastic itself leaking back into the ecosystem. Plastic in open landfills and dumps can easily be caught by the wind and carried just about anywhere, and pose the same risks as littered plastic, as outlined below. 


    Overall, the goal of a landfill is to safely contain and manage waste in a way that minimizes any negative impacts on the environment and public health. While landfilling is often the only option for disposing of plastic waste, it can still be damaging to the environment so as always the focus must be on reducing use of plastics. 



    Plastic recycling is the process of collecting and processing plastic waste into new products. It is an important way to reduce plastic pollution and conserve resources, as it allows plastic materials to be reused rather than being discarded and sent to landfills or the ocean.


    The first step in the plastic recycling process is the collection and sorting of plastic waste. This can be done at a recycling facility or at the point of disposal (such as at a recycling bin in a public area). Plastic waste is sorted by type and cleaned to remove contaminants such as food residue or labels.

    University of Scranton Weinberg Memorial Library from Scranton, Pennsylvania, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons


    Once the plastic waste is sorted and cleaned, it is processed into small plastic flakes or pellets. These flakes or pellets can then be melted and molded into new products, such as plastic bottles, containers, or even clothing.

    SOOATSIMC 223 Tsaueng TTPMRA, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons


    The process of plastic recycling can vary depending on the type of plastic being recycled and the end product being produced. Some plastic types are easier to recycle than others, and some products are more in demand than others. Overall, plastic recycling is an important way to reduce plastic pollution and conserve resources, and it is important to continue to improve and expand plastic recycling efforts to address the growing problem of plastic pollution.


    However recycling is not the cure to the plastics problem. At present new plastic is always less expensive than recycled plastic, which means companies are incentivized to choose new. This is especially concerning for lower income countries that receive recycling waste. Countries like Canada, the US and many in Europe ship our waste to these countries under the pretense that it will be recycled. However the sheer amount of waste combined with the lack of financial incentive makes it so that this waste is regularly burned, landfilled, or loose in the environment instead of being recycled. Burning plastic is now a major health concern in some places because of this practice. Recycling is an important tool to combating the plastic problem, but reducing the amount of new plastic created is the most important step.

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