The West Coast Is Preparing for Another Super Bloom

iStock.com/Ron_Thomas
iStock.com/Ron_Thomas

In spring of 2017, people flocked to Southern California's deserts to see fields of wildflowers brightening the normally sparse terrain. That level of vegetation, also known as a super bloom, is an event that only occurs after winters of heavier-than-average precipitation. Now just two years later, the rare sight is about to return to California's Anza-Borrego desert, the Los Angeles Times reports.

The 2018/2019 winter season was an unusually wet one for California. Between October 1 and the beginning of February, Downtown Los Angeles saw 12.91 inches of rain, which is approximately 167 percent more than the seasonal average. All that precipitation will produce an explosion of color when spring arrives in Anza-Borrego desert three hours southeast of Los Angeles. Experts predict the 2019 super bloom could start as early as late February and last through March.

If the last super bloom is any indication, this year's event will attract crowds of sight-seers. Anywhere from 250,000 to 500,000 people visited the desert to look at and snap pictures of the flowers in 2017. Many local communities were overwhelmed by the influx of tourists, but this time around they know what to expect. Portable toilets will be set up around popular sites, and thousands of maps of showing where the flower fields, gas stations, and toilets are located are ready to be passed out to drivers.

Visitors also have a few things to learn from the past super bloom. Two years ago, foot traffic in places like the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve was so heavy that trails had to be closed down to protect delicate flowers from selfie-taking tourists.

[h/t Los Angeles Times]

These Nature Posters Show the Most Endangered Animal in Each State

NetCredit
NetCredit

The U.S. has more than 1300 endangered or threatened species, from South Dakota's black-footed ferret to Colorado's Uncompahgre fritillary butterfly to the blue whales that live off the coast of Alaska. These wild animals could disappear if prompt wildlife conservation measures aren't taken, and people are largely to blame. Globally, human activities are the direct cause of 99 percent of threatened animal classifications, according to the Center for Biological Diversity.

Some of these animals may even be in your backyard. A research team commissioned by NetCredit used data from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to highlight the most endangered animal in each state. For this project, "most endangered" refers to the animals that face the greatest risk of extinction. An art director and designer then teamed up to create gorgeous illustrations of each animal.

Since some regions are home to many of the same creatures, a different animal was selected from the shortlist of endangered species in cases where there were duplicates from one state to the next. The goal was to cast light on as many threatened species as possible, including the ones that rarely make headlines.

"We hope this will start a conversation around the fact that it's not just the iconic species we see on nature documentaries that we're at risk of losing forever," the research team said in a statement.

Take the black-footed ferret, for instance. It's the only ferret that's native to North America, but its ranks have dwindled as its main food source—prairie dogs—becomes harder to find. Prairie dog eradication programs and loss of the ferret's habitat (due to farming) are some of the factors to blame. A ferret breeding colony was established in the past, but only 200 to 300 of the animals still remain, rendering them critically endangered.

To learn more about some of America's most at-risk species, check out the posters below and visit NetCredit's website for the full report.

California's Point Arena mountain beaver
NetCredit

Alaska's blue whale
NetCredit

South Carolina's frosted flatwoods salamander
NetCredit

Minnesota's rusty patched bumble bee
NetCredit

New York's Eastern massasauga snake
NetCredit

West Virginia's Virginia big-eared bat
NetCredit

Florida's red wolf
NetCredit

The poster of endangered wildlife in all 50 states
NetCredit

These Reusable Personal Care Products Can Make Your Morning Routine Less Wasteful

By Humankind
By Humankind

Modern life is full of waste. Even if you've ditched one-use Ziplocs and plastic straws, started bringing your reusable coffee cup to cafes, and given up your toilet paper in favor of a bidet, your morning routine probably still creates a lot of trash. Nearly all personal care products come in plastic containers: toothpaste tubes, deodorant sticks, mouthwash bottles, and more—and most of them are difficult, if not impossible, to recycle.

But a new line of products from the personal care company by Humankind aims to make getting ready a lot more environmentally sustainable. The company just released deodorant, mouthwash, and shampoo that use almost no plastic packaging.

A green deodorant refill tube
By Humankind

Much like the recently released Myro deodorant, by Humankind's B.O.-fighting, eco-friendly formula comes in a reusable tube. While the outer tube is plastic, it's designed to last you forever. Instead of throwing it out and buying a new tube every month, the company sends you a refill of the aluminum-free natural deodorant formula in a cardboard pod that fits neatly inside the hard plastic casing. The company also donates $1 for every reusable container it sells to removing plastic from the ocean.

Deodorant isn't the only waste-producing bathroom product that by Humankind is looking to innovate, though. The company has also released mouthwash tablets—which look like fancy mints—that you can dissolve in a cup of water or chew directly. The effervescent tablets (in mint, spearmint, orange, lemon, and grapefruit flavors) are designed to normalize the pH of your mouth without the burn of alcohol. Your first shipment of the tablets comes in a reusable plastic container, with subsequent refills arriving in eco-friendly paper packaging.

The new product launch also includes a shampoo bar that further eliminates the need for plastic bottles in your bathroom. You use it just like a bar of soap, lathering it in your hand or against your head. It's available in lemongrass, thyme, or lemon lavender scents, and is designed to reduce dryness so that you don’t need conditioner at all.

Mouthwash tablets in three piles
By Humankind

The refill containers themselves are either made of entirely paper or mostly paper, and all reduce the single-use plastic normally associated with the product by at least 90 percent. (The deodorant refill tube, for instance, has a little plastic cap on it, although most of the tube is cardboard.) All of the packaging materials, meanwhile, are made of compostable fibers like bamboo. They're not only recyclable, but they can be disposed of right in your backyard. According to the company, you can bury the packaging in the ground and it will degrade within 90 days.

All the new products are sold on a subscription basis. A shipment of deodorant costs $15, mouthwash costs $10, and shampoo costs $13. Order them here.

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