Dolphins

Eighty-six different types of dolphin species exist in our waters today, all unique individuals with character and personality. They use their senses of sight, taste, and touch, in addition to echolocation, to navigate through the seas. Dolphins are very social animals who live and travel in pods. Within these pods, dolphins sustain social relationships with one another to thrive as a community within their environment. They are commonly seen playing games and interacting with one another. Growing up in this nature, dolphins teach their young behavioural habits which will pass through many generations of the pod. These mammals mature as they are exposed to different life experiences and can live into their fifties.

Dolphins use echolocation, a form of communication through sound, to communicate with each other. Scientists have found through many years of research that different sounds can resemble different forms of conversation and behaviour. Not only can dolphins hear sounds ten times over that of humans but they can also feel sound waves as they travel underwater. Check out Could we speak the language of dolphins?” with Denise Herzig to learn more about the communication, behavioural , and interactive habits of dolphins and how her and her team are continuing research in this field.

It has been identified that dolphins can distinguish the two elements of human language: symbols and syntax. They are able to recognize themselves in a reflection which indicates that dolphins have an internal understanding of their own body and thoughts. These empathetic animals are very in-tune with their surroundings and have been seen to develop different behavioural habits to best adjust within their environment. One example of this is their intelligent use of tools. For example, the bottlenose dolphin off the Australia Coast have adapted the use of tools for self protection. By pushing a sea sponge with their rostrum (beak) through sharp corals they eliminate the risk of injury. This knowledge is past down within generations of the pod and is unique to this region of dolphin. All of this and more can be discovered in this Ted-Ed addition of “How Smart Are Dolphins?” by Lori Marino.

An example of this unique behavioural strategies in feeding can be seen when comparing the bottlenose dolphins in the Bahamas to those in Florida. The bottlenose dolphins that reside in the Bahamas perform a feeding strategy that scientists have identified as crater feeding. By listening closely to the movement of fish in the sand, these problem solving mammals then dig into the surface creating a crater and are able to catch their prey. The bottlenose dolphins in Florida strategize and work as a team when feeding. One of the dolphins splashes around the muddy water making it murky and hard for the fish to see, resorting in the need for the fish to jump out of the waters. This required action of the fish is intentional by the dolphins as the others in the pod work together to collect and catch the jumping fish in their mouths. Feeding is a social activity and a key component to survival and these mammals have intelligently created unique strategies to best perform in different competitive environments. To learn more on this research I invite you to watch National Geographic’s talk titled “Dolphins: Even Smarter Than You Thought”.

Dolphins are amazingly intelligent mammals and the research scientists are continuing to learn more. As humans, we can relate to dolphins in many ways and understand some of their patterns and character based on observation and study. Although we have many answers on this species, there are still many questions. What an amazing time to be exploring the life of dolphins!


The journey of your disposable cup

Your morning routine has become a ritual. You wake up, get dressed, grab your bag and you are off for the day. What comes next? COFFEE! You might make it at home but the average consumer is getting it on the go at their local coffee shop. Enjoying a cup of coffee, or any hot beverage for that matter, is often a part of the average consumers daily routine.

The Coffee Association of Canada indicated in early 2018 that Canadians drink more coffee on a regular basis than water. I challenge you to think about this for a moment! As humans we are told that we need water in order to survive, but coffee?

From 2016 to 2017 coffee consumption outside of the home increased from 39% to 44%. This increase is positive for cafe owners, coffee distributors, and those interested in specialty coffee as cafes and unique coffee experiences will only continue to grow. However, this also indicates an increase in demand for disposable cups as the majority of customers do not bring their own reusable cup.

Do you remember the last time a disposable cup leaked a liquid hot mess all over your hands? NO! This is because of the wax-like coating that lines the interior of the paper cup. This lining is called polyethylene, also referred to as PE, and is used in almost all disposable cups in the market. Maybe you’ve heard of polyethylene or maybe you’re wondering why I’m even bringing this up. Do I have your curiosity? Good!

Let me explain the life cycle of your disposable coffee cup

When consuming a beverage on the go, cafes will supply a disposable paper option for you to own. After you take that cup on your days adventure you are posed with a challenge; put it in recycling or send it to landfill? Despite signs and directions of action on the product itself, not all of your disposable cups are recyclable. This is where polyethylene comes into the conversation, a plastic material lining the inner layer of your standard paper disposable cup.

This leads us into the discussion of post-processing. Although you have filtered your trash appropriately, there is another filtering stage during post-processing that could impact it’s ultimate destination. However, were you aware that the polyethylene lining in your paper cup causes it to be non-recyclable in most systems? For example, disposable coffee cups in Toronto, Canada are NOT recyclable. This piece of information may seem confusing as most coffee chains will suggest you recycle your cup. The harsh reality though, your cup is going to landfill no matter how hard you try to do your part as the end user of this product. What part of the cup can you recycle? The cardboard sleeve and lid (as long as it isn’t black) as these are solid material that can be recognized and sorted in the processing plant. Unique recycling systems will accept the paper cup, although they require an expensive process to separate the plastic lining from the paper cup.

Compostable cups may seem like a great alternative, however, they are not compostable unless they are subject to the proper environment to decompose in. The typical composting system cannot support their decomposition and label these cups as contaminants.

Summary

The first problem is that your cup is not always recyclable or compostable. The second, even if you recycle it, the chances of it going to landfill are high! Overall, what is the solution? CURA! A program supporting your daily routine while using a reusable coffee cup that eliminates the need for single-use cups. Learn more about our program HERE.