Bill Passed New Zealand Recognizes Animals are Sentient Beings

Animals are sentient beings

A landmark decision by the Kiwis sets a precedent that other countries should follow.

New Zealand has just set a great example to the world by recognizing what animal lovers have known forever- that our furry friends are as sentient as we are, and (obviously, dur) they have feelings just like we do. It’s a theme we have covered time and again here at True Activist, but this landmark ruling by NZ is the first time this shift in perception and policy has been extended to all animals, not just chimpanzees, orangutans, or dolphins.

The Animal Welfare Amendment Bill, passed last month, aims to make it easier to prosecute people in animal cruelty cases, as well as banning animal testing and research, and making all hunting, capture or ill-treatment of any wild animal illegal.

Animal rights activists have celebrated the decision. “To say that animals are sentient is to state explicitly that they can experience both positive and negative emotions, including pain and distress,” said Dr Virginia Williams, chair of the National Animal Ethics Advisory Committee. “The explicitness is what is new and marks another step along the animal welfare journey.”

New Zealand Veterinary Association president Dr Steve Merchant said the bill greater clarity, transparency and enforceability of animal welfare laws, according to the country’s regional newspaper the Nelson Mail.

“Expectations on animal welfare have been rapidly changing, and practices that were once commonplace for pets and farm stock are no longer acceptable or tolerated,” he said. “The bill brings legislation in line with our nation’s changing attitude on the status of animals in society.”

You can read the entire Bill here. Let’s hope the rest of the world follows suit!


7 Plants Proven to Naturally Repel Mosquitoes

7 Plants Naturally Proven to Repel Mosquitoes

It’s happened to me countless times and I’m sure you as well.: You invite some friends over, you’re sitting on the patio, and the mosquitoes are just swarming! Some might suggest that you pick up some bug spray, but did you know that bug spray has some potentially harmful chemicals in them? They’re especially bad for kids.

I’ve taken a more natural approach to repelling those pesky ‘skeeters, and one part of that is planting mosquito-repelling plants.

Here are 7 Plants Proven to Naturally Repel Mosquitoes

1. Basil (Ocimum basilicum)

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For me, summer isn’t complete without a few big, beautiful basil bushes producing beautiful flowers the bees love as well as the perfect herb for a variety of dishes. It’s not just good in the kitchen though. When placed near doors, this aromatic herb deters both mosquitoes and flies.

2. Lemon thyme (Thymus X citriodorus)

7719950310_565e7282f5_zImage credit: John Vonderlin, Flickr

This is another summertime favorite of mine. This aromatic herb loves dry, sunny conditions and fits well as a ground cover along walkways. As you walk among it, you bruise the leaves causing it to release an aroma that mosquitoes just hate!

3. Catnip (Nepeta cataria)

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This one’s perfect if you have cats at home. This perennial herb blooms throughout the summer and deters mosquitoes quite well. It’s especially effective if your cats get into it. They’ll get the scent of the herb all over themselves and then probably all over you too. But it’s not a particularly potent smell, so don’t worry about that.

4. Citronella Grass (Cymbopogon nardus)

Ahmad-Fuad-Morad-citronella-grassImage credit: Ahmad Fuad Morad, Flickr

Citronella grass is a clumping grass native to Asia that blooms in full sun. The plant is used to make citronella oil, commonly used as a pest repellent and found in most mosquito candles. It is not edible. It can also cause dermatitis for people with sensitive skin.

5. Mint (Mentha spp.)

Grandmother's mint lives on...

Any type of mint will do, really. This herb is very easy to grow but should be planted in pots, not in the ground. When planted in the ground, the mint will spread and take over everything. You can rub the leaves on your skin for a fragrant mosquito repellent.

6. Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis)

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Also a member of the mint family, lemon balm is said to naturally repel mosquitoes with its lemony aroma. This herb, however, doesn’t spread like mint does so it’s safer in the ground. it often re-seeds every year, which can be nice if you want it to come back, but can also cause it to become rather prolific.










8. Lavender 
Mosquitoes and many other insects don’t like the smell of lavender. This trait makes lavender a welcome addition to any garden, especially considering how attractive this plant is when it blooms. Aside from planting lavender around seating areas to deter pests, try making your own natural insect repellent with lavender leaves

There is something of a debate over whether or not plants are actually effective at repelling mosquitoes and other insects. Some experts think that these plants only release their mosquito repelling oils when they’re crushed. Other suggest that their presence is enough to keep mosquitoes away. In either case, I love all of these six plants and there’s no harm in keeping a few around, right?



Planting Trees Can Cut Your Energy Bill by 25-50%

planting trees

Your trees are an important part of your yard. They not only provide shade and comfort to your family and add value to your house, they provide an important cost-savings opportunity. You can dramatically reduce your heating and cooling bills by planting trees and caring for them!

Try this test: Take a walk through the woods on a hot day. Notice how much cooler it is? Leaves block sunlight. Take the same walk in the winter. It feels warmer because the trees, now without their leaves, allow sunlight through, while the trunks and limbs serve as a wind-breaker, thereby reducing windchill.

According to the Colorado State University Cooperative Extension, your winter heating bills could be reduced by as much as 25 percent and summer cooling bills by 50 percent if you place trees in the best locations around your home.

The east and west sides are most important to shade because of the path of the sun. Try to keep the south side of your home unshaded so winter sun can warm the house during the cooler months.

The ideal shade tree is about 25- to 50-feet high with a big canopy. A tree that size will partially shade the roof of a one-story home but will not get too big for most properties. You want to plant your trees at least 10 feet from the foundation to prevent roots from breaking through. Plant trees even farther from your house to avoid damaging it in a storm. Your home and garden center can recommend appropriate tree species for your landscape.

So there you have it! Not only are you giving back to nature, which is a great feeling, you are also saving a whole whack of money!! I’d say its a perfect time to get planting!

Fossil Fuels Just Lost the Race Against Renewables

renewable energy

According to Bloomberg “The race for renewable energy has passed a turning point. The world is now adding more capacity for renewable power each year than coal, natural gas, and oil combined. And there’s no going back.”
“The shift occurred in 2013, when the world added 143 gigawatts of renewable electricity capacity, compared with 141 gigawatts in new plants that burn fossil fuels, according to an analysis presented Tuesday at the Bloomberg New Energy Finance annual summit in New York. The shift will continue to accelerate, and by 2030 more than four times as much renewable capacity will be added.”

Is FREE Electricity From Thin Air for Real?Click Here!

13 Reasons For Buying Your Next Car Electric, Installing Solar Panels and Supporting 100% Renewable Energy In All Nations:

  1. Solar is way better than coal, oil or natural gas which spew 100-1000 times more carcinogens in the environment per unit of energy produced, besides far more CO2.  How long does a solar panel system have to operate to recover the energy used for making the panel? Energy payback for rooftop panels is 1-4 years depending on type.   Assuming a life of 30 years for a panel, that means that most energy produced will be free from pollution of any sort

  2.  Help humanity since you no longer generate carcinogenic exhaust, otherwise known as smog, which kills millions of people each year  Also, note that according to a study done by Cornell University 40% of deaths are due to pollution.  Smog kills billions earlier than their normal time.

  3.  Save lives since you reduce heart attacks caused by traffic noise. Electric cars are much quieter.

  4.   Save humanity from oil wars that destroy the environment and kill countless civilians.  Iraq war– trillions could have powered all US with solar/wind

  5.  You no longer have to change oil (because there is no oil to change) or spark plugs; no more smog check either; electric cars have 60% less parts, so you will go for repairs much less.  Combustion engines are noisy and only 15% efficient;  electric motors are 90% efficient.

  6. Reduce heat and AC costs, because electric cars produce 5 times less heat than combustion engine cars per mile, reducing the heat-island effect in cities

  7.  Bring the end of gas stations that poison the water wells with MTBE or other compounds leading to billions of dollars wasted in cleaning up the well water

  8.  Save money as you spend 4-8 times less money on “fuel” depending what area of the globe at the current low prices of oil.  If you have enough solar panels,  you get free CLEAN fuel for life, since you charge at home and utilities pay you for energy you put on the grid.  Likewise, Tesla Motors offers free solar ☼ charging for life

  9.  Save money for noble purposes because electric cars are cheaper than many oil cars after the federal and state rebates:  in Colorado, you can buy a Nissan Leaf for only 15, 000, while in most other states for 18-21, 000.  A Smart EV costs only $12, 000 in Colorado,  Mitsubishi i-MieV is only $13, 000 in California and $10, 000 in Colorado

  10.  Save money since it is cheaper to buy solar panels over 5-12 years than to pay the electric bill without panels – so you save MONEY and the environment – just choose the best deal, they got 12 year loans for 2-3% interest rate – plus after 12 years you get free electricity for the next 30 years or longer if panels last 50 years.

  11.  Electric car batteries and solar panels are far greener than alternatives.  Battery recycling for today’s oil car lead batteries is happening at a 97% rate globally. It will be even better for the far safer lithium car batteries.   Lithium Ion batteries are classified by the federal government as non-hazardous waste.  Lithium ion batteries are made from nontoxic lithium carbonate (used in ovenware), nontoxic cobalt oxide (in pottery glaze), nontoxic graphite (in pencils), and a polymer (plastic) membrane. The most toxic components are the electrolyte and lithium cobalt oxide, neither of which are persistent in the environment and both of which are increasingly being replaced by safer compounds.  Wang Chuan-Fu, CEO of BYD, demonstrated the safety of the electrolyte in their lithium ion batteries by drinking it. Zero Motorcycles founder Neal Saiki said that the Lithium Ion batteries they use are safe to eat.

  12.  Save time, thus money, since you are allowed to use the carpool lanes to avoid traffic if you drive an electric car, in many countries, even if there is only 1 person in the car.

  13. Natural gas and Coal can be replaced with solar-wind immediately as a public health priority, especially since they are cheaper in many areas than fossil fuels and storage eliminates the need for sun-wind 24-7   In China’s worst areas, smog makes people live only four decades.  Coal-fired plants also lead to birth defects in China, In all nations, including USA, people near coal-fired plants often die of cancer at 45 or so, Clean coal doesn’t exist


Environmental and Economic Impacts of Eating Organic

organic earth

If you are interested in switching to organic foods, you may first do a little bit of research. If so, you are likely looking to find more information on the benefits of eating organically. When doing so, you will see that there are a number of health benefits to eating organically, but did you know that there are also environmental and economic impacts of eating organic?Did you know that they help to improve the environment and the economy? They can and for more information on how so, please continue reading on.

It is no secret that many farmers use pesticides and other chemicals when growing many fruits and vegetables. Although many of these pesticides are “technically,’ considered safe, many still have concerns. After all, if the chemicals can be used to kills bugs and bacteria, what can they do to our bodies? This is a huge concern for many individuals, especially those who are concerned with their health and exactly what it is they are putting in their bodies. Also, does simply just rinsing a vegetable make the food any safer? What about the impact on the environment? These are all common questions that many have.

Speaking of the environment, did you know that many soils become contaminated when pesticides and other similar chemicals are used? Contamination is more than possible. In fact, did you know that many of the farmers who wish to switch to growing organic foods need to overhaul their fields or wait a specific period of time until their soils can be considered clean again? This is true in many cases. This just goes to show the impact that unnatural foods an have on the environment.

Another one of the many ways that organic foods can help to improve the environment and the economy is with the survival of quality food manufacturers. All organic food should be certified by the QAI (Quality Assurance International). This certification process is not easy to pass, as there are a number of strict rules that must be followed and certain qualifications must be met. Unfortunately, not everyone is able to meet these standards. This means that only the quality and dependable organic food makers are likely to survive. Although many do not look at it from this point of view, it can be good for the economy.

In keeping with the economy, many farmers are getting a second chance with organic foods. Now, it is costly to run a farm. In fact, that is why many farms are shutting down. Although some farmers are choosing to give up their operations, others are choosing to make the switch to organic foods. Although it does take a lot of hard work, determination, and a large investment to make the switch to organic, many farmers are finding big payoffs. There are also many economists who believe that switching to growing organic foods is the only way that many farms, especially those that are small in size, will be able to survive.

As you can see, there are a number of ways that organic foods can impact the environment and the economy. Fortunately, these ways are all positive in nature. As a reminder, organic foods are also safe, healthy, and natural to eat. What does this mean for you? It means that there are a number of benefits to eating organically. For that reason, if you are interested in making the switch to organic foods, you should go ahead and do so.

Urban Farms are 40 Times More Productive than Traditional Farming

urban farming

Simply put “urban agriculture” or urban farms are terms used to understand the growing or producing food in a city or heavily populated town or municipality. Urban farming is often confused with community gardening, homesteading or subsistence farming. What distinguishes the two is that urban agriculture assumes a level of commerce, the growing of product to be sold as opposed to being grown for personal consumption or sharing. In community gardening, there is no such commercial activity.

You don’t have to be a corporation to be an urban farm or have a large tract of land. An individual, a couple of friends, a nonprofit entity, or neighborhood group can start and run an urban farm. There is no one correct sales outlet for an urban farm. Food can be the sold to restaurants or at a farmers market, given to a local soup kitchen or church, but the food is raised primarily to be moved (through some form of commerce) from the grower to the user.

As more of us begin to understand our food system, more of us seek to have more input into how food is grown, how it is treated after being harvested and how it moves from one place along the food route to another. People have begun to understand how far food travels, and that they, as the consumer, have had no say in what is grown or how it is grown. Urban agriculture can change that and in doing so it can take a rightful place is the larger food system.

See more at:

beijing urban farm

Photo credit:

The Dutch firm van Bergen Kolpa Architecten,is on the cutting edge of indoor agriculture and estimates that producing food for the entire world could one day  take place in a space much smaller than the area occupied by Holland alone. There system uses just 10% of the water needed by traditional farms and Japan already has one prototype urban farm that is said to be 100 times more productive than farmers’ fields.

According to PLantLab The vast majority of people will live in cities in the coming decades and therefore suggest ” a solution that involves using existing basements and purpose-built structures for our future food production. This means less energy, space, time and water than conventional methods. Urban farming in controlled environments lets growers take full advantage of variables like custom lighting, using far-red LED lamps in this case that reduce moisture requirements for plants. Naturally, interior spaces are also free from the uncontrolled variables of weather and pests as well, increasingly reliability.” “Automatic systems can optimize yields based on crop types, making indoor farms more effective than greenhouses and far more productive than fields. The ever-increasing efficiency and lowering costs of LEDs mean this method will only become more viable over time”



Making Urban Inner City Vegetable Gardening A MOVEMENT

gardening movement

JUDITH ESTRADA, a housewife from Pateros, has always liked planting gardens. Resourceful and diligent, she likes seeing things grow. Last year she got the push she needed to grow her garden. Now she’s harvesting tomatoes, chilies, okra and eggplants from her backyard. She’s able to feed her family fresh vegetables, at virtually no cost. This is… Continue reading “Making Urban Inner City Vegetable Gardening A MOVEMENT”

Eating Less Meat Will Cut Water Use and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Substantially


A diet that is higher in plant-based foods, such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts and seeds, and lower in calories and animal-based foods, is healthier and is associated with less environmental impact than is the current North American diet.

According to the Scientific Advisory Committee For The Federal Nutrition Guidelines “The average U.S. diet currently has a larger environmental impact in terms of increased greenhouse gas emissions, land use, water use and energy use.” That is partially because North Americans, the (United States specifically) eat more red meat and poultry per capita than anywhere else in the world.

“Studies show that reducing red meat and poultry consumption is a key way to cut water use and greenhouse gas emissions. Beef is the main culprit: A 2014 study found that beef production in the United States requires 28 times as much land and produces five times as much greenhouse gas emissions as the average production of other livestock. And a 2012 comparative analysis (PDF) of water use across a wide variety of foods found beef was the most water intensive, with a water footprint per gram of protein six times as large as for legumes” – says Anna Lappe 

The typical American consumes 70 percent more protein than his or her body can even use. A modest reduction should be an easy ask.

This is a small step that’s based on common sense and science. As Bob Martin, the director of food system policy at Johns Hopkins’ Center for a Livable Future, said, “Even just cutting meat out of your diet one day a week can significantly reduce saturated fat in your diet while providing a big environmental benefit.”

Credits: Anna Lappe —


Could Smoggy Air Raise Your Anxiety Levels?


Exposure to air pollution increases the risk of dying from stroke say British researchers. A new review found a link with short-term exposure to carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide and soot particles. The review shows a rising risk of hospital admission or death from stroke over the week following exposure, in line with higher concentrations of pollutants.

A second study from US researchers shows a possible link with anxiety in people recently exposed to air pollution. Among over 70,000 U.S. women in the study, those who lived in relatively polluted areas were more likely to report multiple anxiety symptoms.

The anxiety study, conducted by researchers at Harvard and Johns Hopkins University, showed a significant connection between exposure to fine particulate pollution and symptoms of anxiety for more than 70,000 older women (mean age of 70 years) in the contiguous United States. Bigger particles appeared to have no effects, interestingly, nor did living close to a major road. The connection was present over a variety of time periods from one month to fifteen years, but was stronger in the short term. This evidence shows a clear need for studies to be done in other demographic groups, and to elaborate on the biological plausibility of the connection.

The stroke article, meanwhile, is a meta-analysis of 103 studies conducted in 28 countries and including 6.2 million events. Researchers found that both gaseous and particulate air pollution had a “marked and close temporal association” with strokes resulting in hospital admissions or death.

The studies, published online March 24 in the BMJ, only link these factors; they do not prove that air pollution is the direct cause of either strokes or anxiety. There could be other explanations, said Melinda Power, a researcher at Johns Hopkins University, in Baltimore, who led the anxiety study.

She said her team included the other possible factors that they could account for, such as whether women lived in a big city, or had heart or lung conditions. “But you can’t account for everything,” said Power, who was with Harvard University at the time of the study.


Study links air pollution with anxiety; calls it a “leading global health concern”

This Urn Will Turn You Into A Tree When You Die

Bios Urn is a biodegradable urn designed to convert you into a tree after you die. The urn is made using 100% biodegradable materials, coconut shell, compacted peat, and cellulose. It has two parts – a top capsule with the proper medium to allow a perfect germination of the seed, and a bottom cone where you can place the ashes.

The design of Bios Urn allows the seed to germinate separated from the ashes. Once the urn starts the decomposing process the tree roots are already strong enough to contact the ashes and grow through the Bios Urn.

Bios Urn is ready to be used with any seed from a tree, shrub or plant. The urn doesn’t have expiration date, so you can buy it when you want and keep it saved for a long time. And you can also use it with old ashes, just transfer them into the Bios Urn and plant it where you want.

We think death is one of the most important moments in human life, so we want to convert it into a transformation and a return to life through nature. Bios Urn aims to reintroduce man into the natural cycle of life.

And remember: there’s life, after life 🙂

More info:

What Bios Urn  contains

How it works

Bios Urn

Bios Urn instructions

The Earth will thank you

Find more information here.