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  • Mark Piazzalunga

    DESERTEC project, Sahara Sun could power Europe by 2050

    By Mark Piazzalunga

    Sahara desert climate is hot and arid, everybody knows it. So how can this simple and well-known fact become the idea to power a continent like Europe? Let’s start from the principle: renewable energy is the future of energy; we assume that this sentence is true since all facts gets to this point. Second principle: European territory is restricted and allows the construction of a few plants that could use renewable energy. Paradoxically, countries like Africa have renewable sources, particularly solar, in abundance but scarce funds to make the best of these resources. Now find the connection. Is it possible to produce huge amounts of solar energy in Africa and transport them to Europe through energy infrastructures? Apparently yes, according to DESERTEC project developers and supporters. And what is DESERTEC? It’s an initiative of the Club of Rome (a global think tank that has its headquarters in Switzerland) started in 2009. Directly from the official website of the project (Desertec.org): "The DESERTEC concept was developed by a network of politicians, scientists and economists from around the Mediterranean, from which was born the DESERTEC Foundation. Demonstrates a way to provide climate protection, energy security and the development of sustainable energy generation from sites where renewable energy sources are at their most plentiful." In practical terms? Connect renewable energy power plants in Africa to Europe through a network of HVDC (High Voltage Direct Current) systems. The Foundation target is to build several renewable power plants of various types (mainly wind, photovoltaic and solar concentration) throughout North Africa. To support the project financially, the Foundation and other 12 companies (including Deutsche Bank, E.ON, RWE and ABB) created an industrial initiative: Dii GmbH. The construction project would continue until 2050 and for that date, the cost is estimated at € 400 billion, which means $ 546,720,000,000, approximately seven times Bill Gates’ fortune. It’s little bit expensive (life on Mars seems cheaper) but the entire network could provide Europe with the 15-20% of electricity that it needs. We must also consider the drastic decrease of pollution, direct effect of the project. This project isn’t just an idea but it seems an accurate and long-term plan. This could be an opportunity to connect two continents and to give them economic opportunities and jobs. There could be some problems like the wars and the instability of some of North Africa countries or how to get all 40 nations to agree to an arrangement for subsidizing the green electricity. There’s also the possibility to build the plants in Europe, just $ 54 billion more, and doing some math it brings to a shocking number: €2 per citizen per year to keep tens of thousands of jobs in Europe -- and to prevent Europe from becoming dependent on foreign countries for its electricity. Well, the project just started and it has the funds to go forward. We can't wait to see the results. Photo from Desertec.org
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  • Joseph Ramondeli

    Black Friday Promotes Over-Consumption and Waste

    By Joseph Ramondeli

    Black Friday Promotes Over-Consumption and Waste               Every year Thanksgiving weekend is overshadowed by Black Friday and in recent years Cyber Monday as well. Thanksgiving is supposed to be a time when families can get together, even if it’s just for a day or dinner, to talk and reconnect. However every year more American’s are focused on shopping. Stores are now open by 8:00 pm on Thanksgiving Day resulting in people sitting at the dinner table with their families while browsing on their phones for the best deals that they hope to buy in a few hours.  This is just another example of how our modern, technologically advanced society is constantly becoming more materialistic. Aside from Black Friday overshadowing an American holiday and tradition, it is an annual example of how Americans over-consume and by doing so are very wasteful.  A huge fraction of purchased goods during Black Friday and Cyber Monday are things that people don’t need, they are things they think they need. Advertisements and social trends play a big role in the impact of this event (I refuse to call it a holiday) and in our consumption behavior in general.             Companies are tricking and forcing us to buy un-needed goods through the use of planned obsolescence and perceived obsolescence.  Planned obsolescence is disappointing because it refers to how companies purposely make products to only last a few years and by doing so force consumers to by new products from them every couple of years. The most common example of this is electronic devices. Apple creates a new IPhone every year so that once yours break “accidentally” there’s a brand new, more expensive one to purchase as a replacement. Not to mention that such companies stop making old models, forcing you to buy the newest model. On the other hand, perceived obsolescence is promoted by companies but ultimately results from our own social actions. Companies, through advertisements, constantly throw the promotion of new goods in our face. It’s almost impossible to go anywhere or do anything without seeing an advertisement of some sort. These advertisements tend to increase around the holiday season, hence the origin of Black Friday. The main reason such advertisements work is due to the social pressure we put on each other and ourselves. Everyone wants the next new model or brand and once a friend or family member purchases something then we are pressured and attracted to buying it as well. The biggest example of this is the fashion industry, where new trends come and go each season resulting in constant purchasing of new, unnecessary clothing. These companies are clearly getting the better of us based on the success of such events as Black Friday and Cyber Monday.             So why is over-consumption such a bad thing, why should we care if people waste there money on unnecessary goods? It’s simple: overconsumption leads to waste! One of the downfalls to the technological advancements of today’s world is that we create materials that cannot be found in our natural world. This means that when we throw something out in the garbage it will never decompose. Purchasing many of today’s consumer goods is bad enough because most cannot be recycled and will sit in landfills, but over-consumption takes this once step further in that we buy more than we need! We buy new clothes or new phones before our old ones are worn our or broken. By doing so we are creating more waste because we constantly thrown away products that are still functional and contribute the ever-growing amount of waste humanity has created on this planet. In order to help reduce the waste we create of course we should recycle and reuse as much as possible. However, I believe that the creation of waste should be stopped at its source, and that’s our consumer purchasing. Buying less and using goods to there fullest is a sure way to decrease waste. Resisting social pressure and advertisements is key to getting this accomplished. So next year put the phones away and turn the TV off at the dinner table during Thanksgiving, you don’t need them. Joseph Ramondelli  
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  • Megan Bonetti

    Conferencing Climate Change: Teamwork or Tug-of-war?

    By Megan Bonetti

    India. Culture, cows and rubbish. As an Aussie living for a short time in India it is such an intriguing country. Indians love their diverse nation yet they use the streets like rubbish dumps. Even my friends here tell me it’s ok to throw my paddle-pop wrapper out the car window. I can’t… so I just hold it tight and wait till I get home. Growing up in Australia, those ‘emu hunts’ in primary school have willed my littering days away. Yet I suspect that even my household trash bin will just be dumped across the road for the cows to eat or worse still, burnt on the street…for the cows to eat. This is India. Love it or hate it. (#tii) As an Australian social worker volunteering with an NGO in Southern India I witness the large divide between the rich and poor of this incredibly colourful nation. I work with many children whose whole families have had to migrate from various parts of India due to the rapid effects of drought on their land and the significant urbanisation of major cities in the last 10 years. It turns out India has seen a boom in it’s industrial and technological trades a little later than it’s western neighbours and they are loving it. But India’s urban boom is threatened with westerners telling them they have to stop producing and polluting. The earth doesn’t like it. Sorry India…We made our big capitalist bucks, but you don’t get that chance. Just when things are getting good and you’re developing astronomically, your main source of energy is being taken away. It turns out fossil fuels are the cheapest form of energy for the developing world, especially as they try in earnest to develop the same standard of living as we have. So as one the most formidable countries in the developing world, India not only has the pressures of navigating a massive population but also has to figure out how to go green on the cheap. It’s interesting that the Turnbull government has reluctantly agreed on a 5% reduction in carbon emissions in the next five years. “Phew! Glad we got through that one boys.” They wipe their sweaty brows while developing countries are drowning, burning and trying to survive on scant resources. These countries are just trying to make a crust, while Eurocentric nations are slowly turning a baguette into organic multigrain sourdough (and throwing the crusts to their hobby cows). If the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris is truly the last attempt for international cooperation, leaders cannot just show and tell their contribution and sit back with folded arms. But how can mere human individuals promote serious teamwork? This brings me back to the children I work with here in India. Every day their parent’s lives are tied to corrupt building associations. They are bonded labourers—gypsies moving from construction to construction. These families have no hope of returning to their now desolate homeland and are not provided social security measures that protect their livelihood. Then there is India’s neighbour, low-lying Bangladesh, experiencing saltwater intrusion that poisons whole water supplies for entire villages. In our own backyard we see Australian farmers shooting all their cattle only to turn the gun on themselves under the shadow of unprecedented drought. This is human impact. Global warming is not just about penguins and polar bears. Climate change is a social justice issue. We live in a globalised world. The industrial revolution brought us here; and climate change is the consequence. No longer do we just neighbour cities, we neighbour nations. The leaders of Australia must be held accountable to all their neighbours including the ones just trying to keep their head above water. It simply won’t do for wealthy nations, such as Australia, to show the world their own country’s carbon reductions and sit back down. This summit can’t work as a set menu; it has to be a potluck dinner, a time for sharing, understanding and safeguarding. For the sake of our beautiful earth and the many diverse cultures of the human race, this time I hope and pray that the leaders of the world provide a resounding voice for the marginalised. This summit and our government must not stop at figures, but uphold the basic democratic and human rights principles that cradle modern society. The United Nations was created so that man-made and worldwide calamities could no longer grasp our world with such authority. Well, it turns out a world war with Mother Nature is knocking on our doorstep. Will we listen and respond? I hope so.   For more information please visit the below links. They offer great insights into climate change realities and are positive and accessible resources for engaging the conversation. The reality of climate change | David Puttnam | TEDxDublin https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SBjtO-0tbKU India: Climate Change Impacts http://www.worldbank.org/en/news/feature/2013/06/19/india-climate-change-impacts Climate Change and the End of Australia http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/climate-change-and-the-end-of-australia-20111003 The Critical Decade: Climate Change and Health (Australia) http://www.climatecouncil.org.au/uploads/1bb6887d6f8cacd5d844fc30b0857931.pdf GoPro: Climate Change and the Optimistic Future https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sT6jtTtsG_M Paris Climate Conference: COP21 Explained https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1-qd8YCaoQ4 Why is the Paris UN climate summit important? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lnztR5JllA4 Adam asks new PM Malcolm Turnbull on climate change in Question Time https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cqXtKt-Is54 Morgan Freeman's Powerful Climate Change Short Film https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8YQIaOldDU8  
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Our community blogs

  1. When it comes to dirty jobs, there aren't many as challenging and dangerous as roofing. There are a lot of hazards when it comes to repairing and installing roofs. Despite the dangers however, many roofers continue to do the work day in and day out because it's what they love. Here's a look at some of the hazards roofers face every day.

    Heights

    The obvious first danger any roofer faces is the risk of falling. When your primary work environment is one to two stories off the ground, that's always a concern. If you have a fear of heights, roofing is not the job for you. And if it isn't already bad enough, most residential roofs have at least some slope to it. The combination of sloped roofs, and working two stories in the air can be a deadly combination. Every year hundreds of roofers end up falling. Roofers learn pretty quick to be constantly aware of their surroundings and to know where they are in relation to the edge of the roof at all times.

    Weather

    Another hazard roofers face every day is the weather. It isn't always 70 degrees with a calm breeze. In summer months temperatures can easily reach triple digits. With the hot sun beating down on them and reflecting off the asphalt shingles, roofers may feel as though they are working in an oven. Heat stroke, heat exhaustion, and dehydration is a major concern for roofers in the summer. To deal with extreme heat roofers will work early in the morning and later in the evening when the temperatures are lowest.

    Summer isn't the only season when roofers have to worry. Cold winter weather can lead to slippery conditions while working on a roof. Combine that with strong winds and you have a recipe for disaster.

    Burns

    What many not familiar with the roofing industry don't know is that roofers are frequently working with hot materials such as tar. Contact with hot sticky tar can lead to very serious burns for roofers who must be constantly vigilant especially when working with these materials.

    Insects

    Finally there's the insects like wasps and bees. Roofers who've been in the industry long enough will eventually encounter a beehive or wasp's nest. Up on a roof with no where to hide, roofers sometimes have to make a split second decision to endure the stings and bites or take the plunge to the ground below.

    Call the professionals

    While a do-it-yourself attitude is admirable, roofing work is very technical and involves many hazards. It's always best to leave roofing work to the professionals who have the proper training and equipment needed to do the job safely and effectively.

    Home improvement news brought to you by bartonroof.com

    Source: nanaimodailynews.com/opinion/dirty-jobs-roofing-can-be-dangerous-and-uncomfortable-1.866281

    B)

  2. Nowadays more and more people and institutions become really concerned about the environmental issues the humanity faces up every day. A lot of organizations were established in order to make people understand the importance of preserving the natural beauty and resources. The fashion industry has always been blamed for being careless towards the nature. A lot of campaigns against the animal abuse and the fur used for making over expensive clothes. Luckily a great number of world famous designers took the standpoint of the society into consideration and slowly but surely we see the first signs of the eco - friendly also known as a sustainable fashion worldwide.

    The term organic fashion itself is mainly associated with materials such as cotton, wool, silk etc. Although these materials, at its initial condition, are harmless, their usage in the fashion industry is a subject to fierce discussions. We are constantly encouraged and advised to keep the nature clean, to eat organic food and use non – toxic cleaning detergents but the reality is that even if we buy a piece of clothing made of organic we fool ourselves. The cotton and the other eco – friendly materials go through a thorough process where bleach and other chemicals are used, which makes the eco fashion tendencies useless.

    Let's take the most popular material – cotton as an example. It is thought to be the most popular clothing material but how can it be eco- friendly when there's a soil erosion, the usage of water should be reduced and the soil is treated with different pesticides and chemicals whose intention, by all means, is not to help the cotton grow as an ecologically clean product.

    And despite the fact that the sustainable fashion has it's opponents, more and more Hollywood celebrities become fans of the eco clothing and obviously they are the main reason for its popularity lately. Their dedicated fans follow every action of their idol and if he is wearing a cotton shirt, made of organic cotton that's a fair reason for the fans to buy the same. This method really works and the world designers see perspective in it. The attention of the international press has also been attracted towards the eco- friendly fashion benefits.

    In other words every newspaper and environmentally concerned website would recommend making a clearance of your wardrobe, stop wearing clothes made of a material different than cotton, wool, silk and even bamboo and buy stuff that doesn't pose a danger to the biodiversity. You probably know that the organic fashion items are a way more expensive but if they help us to preserve the environment clean, then the amount of money pays off.

    You can easily find on – line stores where the clothes are believed to be eco – friendly and the fact that designers, whose names have always been associated with luxury and stylish dresses take part in such a tremendous initiative such as making the eco- fashion clothes popular and desirable items is more or less convincing reason that the organic fashion is somehow better than, say it, the nylon.

    Even if you can't afford to have all your clothes made of natural materials you can at least be mindful about what and how you recycle. Every attempt to keep the nature clean is worthy of trying.

    Author Bio: Connie Jameson is passionate blogger who loves to write about fashion, beauty, health, cleaning and many other topics. She currently works as a manager of London carpet cleaners and she has a lot of knowledge and creative ideas to share.

  3. A lot of people are shipping Jack Frost and Elsa these days despite coming from different movies--Rise of the Guardians and Frozen, respectively--because of their similar abilities. The cool pair seems like they would make a match in frozen heaven and if we were whimsical, we would blame all this freezing weather to this icy couple. Whimsy aside, it’s important that we set our focus on how to keep warm in frigid temperatures and do it in a way that won’t be harmful to our environment.

    Pile on the Layers (clothing not fat)

    Putting on a jacket is always a good idea when it’s chilly outside. But the layering takes on a completely different level when you’re faced with below zero temperatures even when you’re just inside your home. It’s so tempting to just turn up the thermostat so you can immediately feel the toasty warmth slowly permeate the house. Cranking up the heat is an inviting idea but you won’t think so when your next energy bill arrives. The next best option you have a simple one--pile on as many layers of clothing as you can. I talked with my friend Amari from New York and she put on six layers of clothing and she was still cold. The number of layers depends on what works for you and this way, you can conserve energy by keeping your hand off the thermostat.

    Shut the Cold Out

    “Baby it’s cold outside,” croons the lyrics of a romantic winter song by Frank Loesser. And while this is an apt description for the freezing conditions outside, if you don’t take care in keeping the cold out, pretty soon you’ll be changing the lyrics to “Baby, it’s cold inside”. The cold has a way of sneaking up on you, whether it’s under the door or through barely there gaps that are almost unnoticeable. The point is, there should be no gaps. You have to fill in the gaps so that you can shut the cold out. A simple yet eco-friendly way of doing this is to make use of the things you already have to create draft dodgers of blockers. If you have very worn and ripped towels that you weren’t able to throw out yet, you can use them to fill in the space between the floor and the door. Make sure not only the doors but also vents are closed especially in rooms that are seldom used. If you shut out the cold, you will keep heat from escaping as well, which means that you won’t need to crank up the heat anymore.

    Use Alternative Energy

    We need energy to help generate heat in our homes to keep us warm. We also need it to help us fix hot meals that seem heavensent on particularly cold days. Energy is needed but to do it the green way, using alternative energy is better. While mother nature’s freezing breath casts a cold spell in whatever town or city you’re in, at least you have the energy you need to help generate the heat in the face of icy temperatures. There are alternative energy providers like Ambit Energy that can help you keep up with your green goals and at the same time keep you warm. If you haven’t tried alternative energy yet, you can browse through testimonials like this Ambit Energy review to give you an idea of why alternative energy is better for you and the environment.

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    Recent Entries

    Backyard barbecues can pollute the environment and cause the climate to change. However, you can choose to grill greener to help protect the earth and the air that you breathe. Gas grills produce fewer air pollutants than the charcoal grills do. Because charcoal grills release higher levels of carbon monoxide and other components into the air, the environment will experience more smog, which can harm your health and the environment.

    Scientists conducted a study to discover which type of grill was the most eco-friendly. It was discovered that a charcoal grill could emit up to 2,200 pounds of carbon dioxide during its lifetime. This is three times the amount that a natural gas grill emits. Therefore, propane and natural gas grills are the most eco-friendly grills. The reason for the large difference in the carbon emissions was because the gas proved to be a more efficient way to cook. In addition, it takes more energy to produce the charcoal than it does the gas.

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    Chemically treated charcoal is discarded in the trash, which can add to the environments pollution problem. However, with propane and natural gas, you do not have waste to discard. The empty tanks can be refilled to use again. However, some people do not want to stop using their charcoal and lighter fluid because they enjoy that smoky flavor that the charcoal grills produce. However, if we want to protect the planet, we should try changing the way we grill by using a greener method.

    Charcoal briquettes come from waste wood, but they are treated with harmful chemicals. Lump charcoal are created from trees, which means some forests may be depleted for this type of charcoal. If you desire to use charcoal, you should use lump charcoal that is made from environmentally and certified harvested wood. These forests will be managed properly to prevent depleting the forest of the trees. In addition, to grill green, you can buy wood chips that are a certified sustainable product to flavor your food when you use a gas grill. The chips will allow you to get that smoky flavor with less harm to the environment.

    Even though gas grills are better for the environment than the charcoal grills are, they are not perfect. The process used to get the natural gas from the shale deposit and the production of the natural gas will take a toll on the environment over the years. For less environmental impact, we should go green with our grilling to produce less air pollutants, chemicals and deforestation. To go green, an ideal way is to use a solar oven.

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    The solar oven will convert the natural rays of the sun into heat energy. It allows you to bake, steam or boil a meal. You can use your solar oven to cook anything. It works like a conventional gas or electric oven. Cooking time can be similar to a regular oven. In addition, it can be used similar to a crock-pot for slower cooking. You can buy a solar oven or make one yourself from ordinary items such as foil, cardboard, thermometer, black spray paint and glass.

    Besides the method used for grilling, you should consider the items that you are grilling. For instance, beef has a larger carbon footprint than vegetables and poultry do. Therefore, grilling beef will impact the environment more than grilling other foods. The planet's future depends on preserving the air we breathe and the environment.

  4. Cylindrical roller bearing series introduces cylindrical roller bearing roller bearing sales hotline spot cylindrical roller bearing manufacturer. Cylindrical roller and race for line contact bearing. Load capacity is big, mainly bear radial load. Roller and ring guard friction small, suitable for high speed rotation. According to the ring presence of guard, NU, NJ, NUP, N, NF, such as single bearing, double row bearings and NNU, NN. The bearing inner ring and outer ring is separable structure. No guard of cylindrical roller bearing inner ring or outer ring, internal ring and outer ring can be to relative axial movement, so can be used as free end bearing. The one side of the inner ring and outer ring with double guard, on the other side of the ring has a single guard cylindrical roller bearing, can withstand a certain degree of axial load in one direction. General use of stamping steel cage, cage or copper alloy car system. But there are also part of the use of polyamide forming keep frame.

    1. The roller and raceway for the line contact or offline contact, radial bearing capacity big, apply to under heavy load and impact load.

    2. The friction coefficient is small, suitable for high speed, the limit speed close to the deep groove ball bearings.

    3. The N type and NU type axial movement, can adapt to shaft caused by thermal expansion or installation error and shell the change of relative position, can be used for free end bearing.

    4. On the shaft or hole of the processing and the demand is higher, bearing outer axis relative deflection after installation to be kept under strict control, so as not to cause contact stress concentration.

    5. The inner ring or outer ring separable, easy to install and disassemble. . Is mainly suitable for high speed and high speed running, and very durable, need not often maintenance. These bearing small friction coefficient, high limit speed, simple structure, low manufacture cost, easy to achieve high precision manufacturing. Size range and variety in form, used in precision instrument, low noise motors, automobiles, motorcycles and general machinery and other industries, is the most widely used type of bearings in machinery industry. Mainly bear radial load, also can withstand a certain amount of axial load.

    Deep groove ball bearing is my company's main products, the selection of its larger radial clearance when the axial bearing capacity increases, under pure radial force when the contact Angle is zero. With the axial force, the contact Angle is greater than zero. Usually use stamping ribbon cage, car solid cage, sometimes also used nylon frame. Main application:

    Large and medium-sized motor, locomotives, spindle, internal combustion engines, generators, gas turbines, reducer, rolling mill, vibrating screen and lifting transportation machinery roller bearing series introduces cylindrical roller bearing roller bearing sales hotline spot cylindrical roller bearing manufacturer.

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    Recent Entries

    Smartphones and portable digital assistants play a significant role in our daily lives, in the fulfillment of our businesses, communications, and entertainment needs. However, these gadgets carry some negative impacts on our beloved planet. By frequently charging our mobile devices, we are vehemently exhausting our non-renewable energy. The moment we upgrade to the latest trendy tech pieces, our existing handsets will just contribute to the proliferation of electronic wastes on our landfills. As part of our environmental awareness, the best option we have is to opt for greener devices. If not 100% ecological, at least it’s made up of non-toxic substances, complies with the international energy standards, and biodegradable packaging. For this entry, we’ll give you the indicators that a smartphone is not eco-friendly.

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    Low Quality Battery Life

    If your smartphone doesn't last a day of operation despite of moderate usage, it isn't a green gadget. By using this type of phone, you’ll be spending more electricity on a day-to-day basis. But, since mobile devices these days are feature-packed, it’s not really surprising if you need to recharge your juice more than twice a day, with continuous voice calling, web browsing, and music playback. According to Verizon, at least your phone should include an “energy-efficient charger that knows when the phone is fully charged and automatically reduces the draw of electricity.”

    Contains Toxic Materials

    Nature-inspired cellular phones doesn't have harmful elements inside. It shouldn't have mercury, PVCs (polyvinyl chloride) and BFRs (brominated flame retardants). These substances when released to the environment upon disposal becomes contaminants. PVCs are commonly found in plastic phones, since it’s the element used to create cheap mobile casing. BFRs, on the other hand, are agents used to inhibit fire production caused by gadget overheating. Check your mobile documentation if they used toxins such as arsenic, cadmium, and polybrominated biphenyls as these are harmful elements not only to the environment but also to the user.

    Doesn't Have A Biodegradable Packaging

    A mobile device that comes with a 100% biodegradable packaging is a green one. If your phone comes with a plastic packaging, its company doesn't have a green initiative. These containers when not recycled, will just add up to the pile of non-biodegradable garbage in landfills. It takes them thousands of years to decompose. On the other hand, paper boxes decay faster upon disposal, and doesn't bring any further harm to our planet.

    Doesn’t Comply With International Energy Standards

    Greenpeace released a greener electronics guide, which states that all items should comply with the international energy standards. These items were approved since they don’t emit too much greenhouse gas and proven to be power-efficient. They also have minimum levels of radiation. If your phone’s documentation or packaging doesn't boast of an Energy Star Logo, then it’s because the gadget didn't comply with the requirements provided by the firm.

    Shorter Product Warranty

    A nature-inspired product should last for a long period of time and this is an important criterion that you should consider when purchasing any electronic device. Gadgets that have a longer product warranty have longer life span, since it doesn’t break easily, which means less reason to change a device. In opposite, products with shorter cycle are usually made of cheaper materials such as plastic that cannot be sent to recycling facilities to create a new one.

    These are some of the pointers that you should seriously consider when purchasing a mobile device, as part of your environmental awareness. Electronic wastes, according to a 2013 EPA report, have predominantly reached an alarming rate of almost 2.4 million tons in the United States alone. By owning a green product, in a small way, we are battling against the deterioration of our beloved Earth. What other criteria should we look for in a green smartphone?

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

    Sookie Lioncourt is a British tech writer who is fascinated on technological innovations. She is a self-confessed environmental advocate. Some of her influences are Al Gore and Greenpeace. She loves covering green initiatives of various companies. Follow her on Twitter and connect with Sookie via LinkedIn

  5. If you’re anything like me, your hunt for perfect Christmas gifts for your friends and family must have started weeks ago. I like to put in a lot of thought into my gifts, so I can make them as meaningful as possible and you’ll agree with me that last minute scramble for gifts is not the best way to do it.

    But that’s just me. I know there are a whole lot of people out there who thrive on the pressure of last minute shopping. They not only manage to buy gifts at the last moment, but are able to do a fine job of it too. Kudos to them!

    Anyway, my point is not to talk about merits and demerits of your shopping behavior. This post is to appeal to the environmentalist in you to consider gifting your loved ones Eco-friendly Christmas presents this year.

    Why gift green?

    Gifting is one of the most endearing Christmas traditions. As a kid, I remember waking up early Christmas morning to find my stocking filled with goodies and bright colored gift boxes piled under the tree. The sweet anticipation of finding what’s inside has stayed with me for all these years.

    Young or old, we all love giving and receiving gifts on Christmas. Imagine how you’d feel when you get or give a gift that gives back. That’s exactly what Eco-friendly gifts do – they give back to the environment because they've been made using green practices and/or materials. Eco-friendly gifts can truly make Christmas extra special for you and the people you love.

    And don’t worry, green gifting doesn't mean you’re stuck with buying things like solar panels or energy efficient light bulbs (I know that’s an exaggeration, but I am trying to make a point here). There are a wide variety of Eco-friendly gifts that are both stylish and sophisticated and the best part is that you’ll find them in all budgets. Here are some Eco-friendly gift ideas I found interesting:

    Organic Wine: Who doesn't like a fine bottle of wine? A bottle of wine corked open and shared with loved ones to mark a special occasion makes the whole thing even more memorable. Gifting someone a bottle of wine is as classy as it can get, but gifting someone organic wine takes it to a whole new level altogether.

    Vegan cosmetics: All of us have heard horror stories about our everyday makeup containing ingredients that are derived from animals. What’s more horrifying is the practice of testing these cosmetics on innocent animals. Vegan cosmetics are an effort to offer natural, eco-friendly, and cruelty free cosmetics to people who care about animals and the environment. There are a whole range of brands that offer this line of cosmetics for the compassionate buyer.

    E-books: The romantics still swear by the joys of holding a paper book in their hands when they read. As much as I like the idea of turning the pages to a book, the environmentalist in me just can’t ignore the fact that many trees are felled to make that book. That’s why I switched to the more Eco-friendly e-books when the option arrived. A lot of online booksellers such as ebooks.com have now made it possible to gift e-book vouchers for devices like Kindle and iPad.

    Recycled jewelry: A woman can never have too much jewelry. Take it from one who loves her jewelry, has loads of it, and still never misses an opportunity to buy some more. If you’re stuck for ideas on what to buy for the women in your life, jewelry is your answer. You just cannot go wrong with it. However, make sure that you buy jewelry made from recycled precious metals. That’s the only way to fight dirty gold mining practices.

    Awakening tour: Okay, this one is for the parents who want to introduce their children to the concept of recycling and awaken their environmental consciousness. In addition to all the goodies and expensive gifts you intend to shower your kids with this Christmas, bring them on a tour to a recycling facility where they can see for themselves how waste is turned into useful material. It will probably take a couple of hours of your Holiday time, but will leave a lasting impression on them.

    You can check with private recyclers like SIMS Metal Management if they give a tour of their facilities. From NYC to Richmond, Virginia, SIMS Metal Management owns recycling facilities in many parts of the country.

    These are just a few Eco-friendly gift ideas. Invest some more time and you’ll be able to find thousands of such ideas to make your Christmas more special, more memorable, and more meaningful. Let’s shop, then!

  6. It is time for humanity to bid farewell to one of its oldest friends -- petroleum based energy. Surely, it has served us well over the course of centuries, but it has become too great a source of political turmoil and adverse environmental effects. It is high-time that humanity found a suitable alternative.

    But of course it’s all easier said than done -- the break-up is going to be anything but pretty. Oil has been used by humans since ancient times, with one of the earliest documented references to it made by ancient Greek historian Herodotus. In the olden days, oil was primarily used in medications. In the area that is now Western Pennsylvania, for instance, Seneca Indians collected oil from natural springs and used it in many medicines. The first oil well was drilled in that region by Edwin Drake in 1859, was 69 feet deep and produced 15 barrels a day. The area quickly boomed and the modern oil industry was born. Later, Texas and Oklahoma became the centers of US oil production, and then following World War II, the Middle East became a major oil supplier for the US. In Texas today, there are also concerns about deregulation, and of course petroleum remains the backbone of the economy and main source of energy in Humble, Texas and other oil towns, but thinking long-term, getting away from oil is a major concern.

    In the 18th Century, oil became commonly used as a fuel was for various lighting apparatuses, thus replacing the animal, vegetable and coal oils that had been used previously. It also came to be used in furnaces. Its biggest use, however, came with the development of the automobile in 1886. Today, almost all forms of locomotion -- cars, trucks, buses, trains, ships and airplanes -- are fueled by oil, diesel or gasoline. Fuel oil has also been burned to produce electricity, although coal was traditionally used for this purpose.

    Traditionally helpful, oil is now more of a hinderance than anything else, considering its devastating ecological and political consequences. Humanity has developed a dangerous dependency on oil and other fossil fuels. In order to keep thriving as a society humanity needs to consider alternative fuels that are renewable, and thus, more sustainable. Researchers and scientists are actively pursuing several alternatives, with front-runners including: hydropower, solar power, and geothermal power.

    Hydropower

    Hydropower uses water to generate electricity. Water is the most common renewable source of energy in the United States today. The kinetic energy of falling or running water can be used to generate power via turbines, which rotate axles when water rotates the blades or propellers of a turbine. The axle has a coil which is placed between the magnets. The coil and magnets work together using electromagnetic induction to convert the kinetic energy of flowing water into electrical energy.

    500px-Hydroelectric_dam.svg.png

    It is a fascinating process which has been around far longer than the modern applications of oil. In early Mesopotamia and ancient Egypt, water power was used in irrigation, starting in the 4th millenium BC. Water clocks had been in use since the early 2nd millenium BC. Despite the amazing benefits of hydropower, it fell out of favor during the late 20th century due to the disruptive ecological and social effects of large amounts of water control. Hydropower is enjoying a slight comeback in 2013 as international institutions try to find solutions to economic development that avoid emitting substantial quantities of carbon to the atmosphere.

    Solar Power

    800px-Giant_photovoltaic_array.jpg

    Solar power harnesses sunlight and converts it into electrical power. There are a couple of ways that this can be accomplished. Energy from sunlight can either be converted into electricity directly using photovoltaics, or indirectly using concentrated solar power. Concentrated solar power systems use lenses and tracking systems to focus a large area of sunlight into a small beam. Photovoltaics convert light into electric current using the photoelectric effect. Both have been used in large commercial solar power plants since the 1980s. With solar power becoming more and more ubiquitous, it is clear that this form of renewable energy is quickly becoming one of the most viable alternatives.

    Geothermal Energy

    800px-Krafla_geothermal_power_station_wi

    Geothermal energy is another resource which humanity has been utilizing for much longer than oil. During Paleolithic times, the hot springs were used for bathing, and in ancient Rome it was used for space heating. Today it is better put to use for electricity generation. Among the many renewable power options out there geothermal power is one of the most cost effective, environmentally friendly, and reliable. Its major drawback is its limitation in terms of location. Historically it has been limited to areas near tectonic plate boundaries. Recent technology has been able to expand the range of use somewhat. Forecasts for the future of geothermal power depend on assumptions about technology, energy prices, subsidies, and interest rates.

    Alternative and renewable energy sources offer a means of producing energy that reduce the amount of pollution that is typically a by-product of more conventional energy sources. Renewable and alternative energy sources promise to be a low cost, effective and safe way to power the industrial and residential needs of the modern world. And we must always bear in mind that there are several variables to consider; with each region of the world possessing different resource advantages and greater or lesser access to the materials needed to make use of these sources of power, the best source of alternative energy needs to be considered on a case-by-case basis. With new advances and breakthroughs into renewable technology, the opportunities to make use of it are only increasing. Renewable energy is playing an increasingly important role in our lives, the future promises to be one that will see even greater use of these power sources.

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    One of the world's oldest car maker DAT-GO, which is going to launch its small and compact hatchback in the Indian car market as well as in the South African market in the end of the next year. The car will be known as Datsun Go. It is a perfect four-wheeler for the developing countries because the company is going to launch it with a very limited price range. Since, it is a very small in its dimensions and that is why the hatchback is also perfect for the small city roads. The company has decided to keep the Datsun Go price range below Rs. 4 lakh (Ex-showroom, New Delhi), which is quite affordable for the middle class. But this price tag is not announced by the company but it is expected because it is prepared on the platform of Nissan Micra and this car is available at the same price range approximately.

    The officials of Datsun cars have said that the engine specifications of this small and stylish hatchback is almost same as Micra, which is loaded with a 1.2-litre petrol engine with a displacement of 1198cc. This engine is expected to churn out the maximum power of 67bhp along with the maximum torque of 104Nm, which is quite good. At the same time, the engine is very impressive, and that is why it is capable to return a very healthy mileage of 18 kmpl, when it is driven under the standard conditions. At the same time, the acceleration and pick up is also very nice because of its top speed of 150-160 kmpl, which is quite good for the hatchback segment. This power packed engine quality is capable to deliver a very decent performance with its manual transmission.

    This small and brilliant compact car is expected to come with a lot of good and impressive features, which can easily attract the buyers. Since, the car comes with a very low price, that is why the Datsun Go features are not going to be very luxurious but it is for sure that it has all such features, which make it standard and safe. In this respect, we can say that this is going to be loaded with all basic features such as an air-conditioner with a heater, music system, comfortable seats with proper arrangements and many other such things, which make it perfect for the buyers.

    Apart from these, the company is going to bless this with a lot of safety aspects too, which can easily protect the passengers as well as the car. The Datsun Go pictures depend upon its exterior, which has unveiled by the company recently. The front part of the vehicle is very good and loaded with a lot of striking features. The list of inviting aspects includes, grille with a lot of chrome, body coloured bumper with head light cluster and a pair of fog-lamps, which are well- designed and helpful in enhancing the visibility of the driver during the bad weather conditions. All these things make this compact car perfect and also affordable.

  8. Intus Windows announces new super energy efficient wood window line!

    New Intus line Premier 78 Alu Mira Advance was presented in the end of September at DesignDC Expo in Washington, DC

    Intus Windows, manufacturer of top-of-the-line high performance windows is proud to announce their newest energy efficient window; the Premier 78 Alu Mira Advanced. These triple pane wood windows are Passive House suitable and are a great choice for anyone looking to install energy efficient PH type windows but at a very competitive price. The high-tech windows feature beautiful pine wood frames with a high-density composite foam material that is integrated into the window frame. This design increases the window efficiency and provides a thermal break in the frame profile. According to Intus managing director Aurimas Sabulis, “This window started with a focus on energy efficiency but has grown into much more. The Premier 78 Alu Mira Advanced provides a beautiful wood window with the highest values at competitive price.” The Premier 78 Alu Mira Advanced window debuted at the September 2013 DesignDC Expo in Washington, DC.

    It all starts by utilizing sustainable timber from German and Austrian forestry and then introducing a high-density composite foam material into the wood window frame. This was crucial in order to create a window frame that had a thermal break to limit the transfer of outside heat or cold. The triple pane glass has a a U-Value of 0.088 (Btu/hr/ft²/F)* and when combined with the insulated wood frame produces a window assembly with a U-Value of 0.14 (Btu/hr/ft²/F) or an R-Value of R-7. The triple pane windows are filled with argon gas for improved thermal performance and can accommodate 56mm thick glazing. Triple gasket weather-stripping creates superb air tightness. The warm edge spacers increase the glass surface temperature and reduce condensation on the glass. The hybrid spacers insulate the pane edges so as to reduce heat transfer through the window. Numerous SHGC options are available based on your climate and design goals.

    The aluminum clad exterior frames can be finished in an array of colors from the RAL color selection chart and provides for a very durable exterior finish. An extrusion is installed to allow both the wood and aluminum to thermally expand and contract independently of each other. The pine wood frames can be finished in either water based or lacquer finishes. Different hardware choices are also available as the windows are customized to your specific order.

    So whether you are designing to achieve Passive House standards or just trying to build an energy efficient building, the new Premier 78 Alu Mira Advanced from Intus Windows is an excellent choice in your window selection. In addition to that window, Intus also offers Premier 78 Alu Mira Advanced lift and slide, folding, entry and balcony doors. You may also consider uPVC and all aluminum window, door and curtain wall lines offered by Intus to fit all budgets and applications including commercial, residential and industrial. Intus Windows will continue to pioneer high-performing energy efficient windows and doors. Intus Windows can be reached at 1888-380-9940 or info@intuswindows.com.

    *All values and calculations are based on EU standards: EN 10077, EN 673, EN 410 and other references; CE Mark, DIN Standards – Construction Materials and Building (European Standards), DIN 1027/12208 – Windows and Doors – Water Tightness, DIN 1026/12207 – Windows and Doors – Air Permeability, DIN 12211/12210 – Windows and Doors – Resistance to Wind Load, DIN 1191/12400 – Windows and Pedestrian Doors – Mechanical Durability, DIN EN ISO 10077 – Thermal Performance and other.

    ###

    For more information press:

    http://intuswindows.com/intus-windows-announces-new-super-energy-efficient-wood-window-line/

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    Ever since electric fireplaces have become popular in the market, these gadgets are now replacing the old and traditional fireplaces. But just like most appliances, if you don't take proper care of your electrical fireplaces, then you may have to contend with a faulty electric fireplace that might cause a lot of problems in the future. In fact, just a month ago, a neighbor lost his house because of faulty wirings durin the fireplace installation. Well, at least nobodty got caught in the flames, but still, losing one's home because of a faulty device is kinda depressing and frustrating at the same time.

    At the same time, an electric fireplace also helps Mother Nature. Since you are not using real fire and charcoal, you are not contributing to the disturbingly gigantic greenhouse effect that is weakening the ozone layer.

    If you don't want such accidents to happen to your family, then my advice would be to take care of your electric fireplace. If you have no idea how to do so, then you may want to check out this article for your reference:

    1. Always remove dust that that is found in the outer part of the fireplace. It should be cleaned and vacuumed regularly to avoid dust accumulation. Don't forget to include the inside areas and the control compartment; this is where dust is most likely to accumulate because some people don't bother cleaning those areas. Because the front panel of the electric fireplace is made of glass, use mild liquid soap and water to clean the glass. Never use abrasive cleaners as it can cause scratches on the surface.

    2. Don't forget to check the power outlets. There are times when you might carelessly plug your electric fireplace in a broken plug. This could short circuit your gadget or worse, cause a house fire when the fire is undetected. Also, don't connect the fireplace to a socket that is already connected with a lot of appliances inside the house. It's one short way of burning your house to the ground!

    3. As a rule of thumb, always remember to replace the light bulbs regularly. While there are no problems in using the same set of bulbs all the time, it's advisable to change the bulbs in order to retain the natural image of wood burning in a fireplace. If you feel that it's time to replace some of the bulbs, just observe the fireplace. The flame looks uneven when the electric fireplace is on.

    4. Keep all flammable objects away from the electric fireplace. Sure, it's powered through electricity, but it can still ignite any flammable object, especially when it starts heating up! Make sure that the fireplace is placed in an area where other electrical objects may cause problems for the appliance. Also, make sure that the fireplace is placed far away from an aquarium; you don't want the fish inside the tank to die because the water got too hot!

    In any case, simply follow these simple steps and protect yourself from the harsh, cold weather with an electric fireplace. It's a ozone-layer friendly way of keeping yourself warm while it's snowing outside. You can buy one from Electric Fireplaces Direct, Ebay or Amazon online or at any other appliance center near you.

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    KQB has developed a campaign calling for the prohibition of the release of helium balloons in the state of Queensland because of the threat to wildlife and source of litter forced into waterways. When deflated balloons are floating in waterways they can be ingested by marine life such as turtles, fish and dolphins. Despite being made from biodegradable latex, Balloons floating in the ocean can take up to 12 month to degrade.

    Balloons have a devastating impact on wildlife and the environment. Helium balloons climb until the atmosphere and then slowly deflate falling on the land and in the vast oceans. This is the main reason why balloons is clearly considered litter. The Queensland government spends a considerable amount of money collecting a growing number of balloons off beaches, hiking trails and in the middle of the ocean. Balloons are often swallowed by turtles, birds, dolphins and whales getting lodged in the digestive tract and causing, in most of the cases, death. As a consequence, every year millions of animals die around the globe due to ingestion of balloons.

    In addition, Helium is the second most abundant element in the planet but this is not a reason to continue wasting tons of this gas every year until our stock is at risk of burning out. Probably, in the future, our grandchildren will not believe that we have used such an important gas to fill balloons. For this reason, our community should not be wasting such a precious gas on non-essential purposes such as party decoration.

    Unfortunately, the world’s reserve of helium is fast depleting and most experts are predicting that we will run out of the element within the next 25 to 40 years. Scientist warn that helium is becoming so scarce that its use in balloons has to be limited or stopped. Helium is used mostly in hospitals for keeping magnets cool in MRI scanners and is mixed with oxygen to aid the breathing of the seriously ill and newborn babies. It has been reported that the use of helium resources for filling party balloons constituted up to 10% of global helium consumption in 2009 (Wothers, Royal Institute Christmas lectures, 2012). For this reason, this element should be properly managed and only used for scientific and medical purposes.

    The Canadian government no longer allows the release of balloons in public festivities and most of the states of the USA have also banned balloon release. European members have banned or put restriction on the sales and use of helium balloons. In Australia, NSW have also banned the release of the helium balloon in private festivities such as wedding or birthday parties and offenders are penalized with a $200 fine. Based on discussions with a number of governments that have already instigated a ban, it seems that this action has been most successful in preventing the well-known consequences of helium balloons.

    Millions of balloons get released into the skies in many celebrations every year. This means that there are millions of deflated balloons littering the ocean floors and countryside throughout Australia and the rest of the world. The impressive visual impact of thousands of balloons being released into the sky may last a few minutes, but the impact on wildlife and the marine environment may last many months with potentially harmful and fatal consequences. Mass releases of balloons are a symbol of wasteful society, while smaller release and balloon races, result in a high number of litter that require different kind of resources to clean it up.

    Also, we must therefore look for other ways to conserve this non-renewable resource. Helium cannot be made artificially and it is produced by separating it from natural gas. The scarcity of Helium is a really serious issue and once it is realized in the atmosphere it is gone forever. Helium supplies are limited and we should not be filling balloons with it and sending it into the atmosphere to be wasted when supplies are getting low.

    KQB’s campaign have had an important impact, either in discouraging the release of helium balloons in Queensland or at least awareness of issues for consumers to take into account purchasing them. However, KQB aim to ban the release of helium balloons in Queensland with an appropriate penalty to ensure that the use of helium is minimized by citizens and controlled by the Queensland Government.

    To get this important purpose, Keep Queensland Beautiful needs the support of our community to gather the most possible signatures in this E-Petition:

    http://www.parliament.qld.gov.au/work-of-assembly/petitions/e-petition?PetNum=2128

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    We're looking forward to the release of the 2013 World Nuclear Industry Status Report tomorrow. The Greens-EFA in the European Parliament (EP) will host the international release of the World Nuclear Industry Status Report, elaborated by a team of six experts from France, Japan and the UK under the direction of renowned nuclear expert Mycle Schneider.

    “The Report sets forth in painstaking detail the actual experience and achievements of nuclear energy around the world”, writes Peter Bradford, former commissioner of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) in his foreword to the 140-page reference document. In addition to the careful assessment of the global industry, this year’s report also contains chapters on nuclear economics and an overview of the status of the ongoing Fukushima crisis.

    Key findings of the 2013 edition include:

    • A record drop of nuclear electricity generation in the world in 2012.
    • Rapid aging of nuclear power plants: almost half of the world fleet has operated for at least 30 years.
    • In 2012, for the first time, China, Germany, India and Japan generated more power from renewables than from nuclear plants.
    • Water management at the Fukushima site is critical, with an estimated 400,000 tons in precarious storage, containing many times more radioactivity than was released to the air in the weeks after 11 March 2011.

    The report will be released on Thursday, 11 July, 4:30 a.m. EDT. A livestream will be available here: http://www.greenmediabox.eu/live/

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    Choosing a natural gas supplier in Ohio can be an easy decision for the residents of the state to make if they do a little comparison shopping. Selecting an Ohio natural gas supplier is the same as shopping for anything else.The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio allows Ohio residents to choose the provider that is right for them and their household. You want to choose the provider that offers you natural gas at the best price and that provides the best service for you and your family. There are 4 natural gas providers from which Ohio residents can choose.

    Using the Apples to Apples Chart Provided by the PUCO

    The price of natural gas can be obtained from each supplier. As prices fluctuate, you'll need to take into consideration that the quote you get today may change by the beginning of the next week, so ask your the supplier if the price they quote you is a fixed price. Also ask if there is a minimum amount that you will be billed for the month. Inquire about the price of 100 cubic feet and 1000 cubic feet. See if the provier offers budget billing, which means that they will estimate your usage over a 12-month period and bill you by dividing the estimated amount by 12; this may help make paying your natural gas bills for the winter easier on your budget.

    Customer Service

    Make sure that the provider that you are considering has a customer serivce center that can help you with any questions or information that you may need. You might also want to ensure that they have a website that you can use to assist you. Check to see if they offer other services or products that may be useful to you and your family, as well.

    Terms of the Contract

    Enquire to see if there are any termination fees that you will be charged if you choose to discontinue service with the provider that you are using. Some providers will offer a month-to-month contract, some will offer a 12-month contract, some use a yearly contract, while with others it can be up to 3 years. Some natural gas providers will also charge new customers a deposit, and these rates can vary as well. Be sure you know the details of your existing contract if you are considering changing providers to ensure that it will be worth it financially if your expiration date is not close.

    Keep This in Mind

    Having more than one natural gas provider makes the market more competitive, and this means you could get a better price on your gas. However, you have to read the fine print for the details of any cancellation fees and service start up costs with a new provider. Warmer winters can drive the prices of natural gas down, making your decision easier.

    Take advantage of being able to choose from more than one natural gas provider in Ohio by doing your homework and visiting their websites so you have a clear understanding of their terms and prices. You don't have to go with the provider that sends you their direct mail marketing information. Feel free to call and ask all of the questions that you need to so that you can make a smart decision on choosing the best provider for you and your family.

    Ruth Samuels works for a gas company in Ohio. She spends her free time writing to help home owners understand this important industry better. Click here to learn about Ohio gas companies.

  12. It is likely before 2015 the government will announce an end to the free plastic carrier bag in England. Should a tax or ban be introduced on carrier bags?

    Governments and local authorities around the world have already banned or taxed free issue carrier bags, and there is pressure for legislation in England. They argue that cities must spend vast sums to clean up the bags and the damage caused by them, money that's better spent elsewhere. Not to mention that plastic bags are a nuisance on the environment, polluting waterways and other natural areas and killing off animals. Banning plastic bags, the activists say, will redirect funds to infrastructure and spur entrepreneurial efforts to come up with alternatives to plastic. Is this the answer?

    Plastic carrier bags make up less than 1% of litter on our streets. Most litter is from snack food packaging, bottles and cans, banning or taxing plastic bags will make little or no difference to the volume of litter on our streets. However, litter is a problem of social behavior, and is not specific to any one material or product.

    In 2011, 8bn plastic bags were issued in the UK and that was a 5.6% increase on 2010. The recession may have been a contributory factory with families changing their shopping behavior with smaller, more frequent shops each week. Just over a year ago a 5p charge was introduced in Wales and the amount of single-use bags has fallen significantly. Latest figures show a 70-96% reduction in the use of single-use plastic bags. Northern Ireland is set to bring in a 5p charge in 2013; Scotland had completed a consultation on a proposed charge of 5p that, if adopted, would leave England the only country without one.

    In the UK, the packaging industry employs tens of thousands of people people and generates over £10bn into the economy. The answer to the problems associated with plastic bag use is not a ban or tax, but better environmental management. As consumers we must be aware that we can make positive choices to help the environment in the way that we shop. Everyone who cuts back on the number of bags that they use makes a contribution to saving resources and reducing waste. Many materials need to be managed if they are not to harm the environment. Indeed, if not properly managed, paper can be a worse polluter than plastic bags; it occupies nine times as much space landfills, and does not break down substantially faster than plastic. If a free-issue bag can be made from renewable materials that allow the bag to be multi-use and then compostable in the home, should this be part of a tax or ban?

    Carrier bags are a distraction and a diversion. Major supermarkets don’t want to be the first to introduce a self-levy and do have voluntary agreements in place. There is growing public support and media spin that will go in favor of government action. Unfortunately, of all the bigger environmental problems we face today, carrier bags are not one of the critical issues. If only politicians were as keen to address climate change, biodiversity loss, the collapse of marine fisheries, and a lot more of the environmental problems rather than ‘window dressing’.

    A proposed tax or ban in England would discriminate unjustly against plastics and would represent an anti-competitive move and a serious restraint on trade, damaging jobs and an industry already battling against over-regulation and under-investment.

    Shameem Kazmi E s.kazmi@my.open.ac.uk Twitter: sjkazmi

    Linkedin: Shameem Kazmi Skype: shameem.kazmi

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    It was believed that maybe, we humans have just managed to preserve some parts of our world from global warming. Covered in ice and inaccessible for most part of the year, some believed that Antarctica was one part of the globe which was untouched by human proliferation and that it would, at least, stay cold and steady for a few more years. How wrong we were. Like all other places, Antarctica too has been affected owing to the harsh consequences of climate change. According to a new research, a group of glaciers which were once stable, have started melting rapidly since 2009.

    The glaciers along the Southern Antarctic Peninsula were believed to be stable between 2003 and 2009. However, new satellite observations reveal that the area suffered a sudden destabilization in 2009 and the change in conditions is now responsible for the melting of glaciers. It is believed that these glaciers are now shedding around 56 billion metric tons of ice annually which is enough to raise sea water levels by roughly 0.16 millimeters.

    The research points out that the warm ocean water is melting the underside of the ice which is undermining the region’s stability and causing the sudden decline. And the conditions are supposed to be so bad that even if the warm ocean water goes away, the ice will continue to melt until a new equilibrium is reached.

    The report says that, “The melting and weakening of ice shelves reduce their buttressing effect, allowing the glaciers to flow more quickly to the sea.” This is quite scary considering the rate at which it will contribute to the rise in sea levels. 

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    It is expected from an HR to come out with strategic and routine reports. These reports play a significant role in making more effective use of available human resources in small businesses and in large companies alike. HR reports are potent tools of communication that affects the decision-making at the highest levels of a corporate institution.

    •You have to be absolutely certain about the information that is to be conveyed, the purpose behind the communication as well as who you are communicating with as this will dictate the format, depth, content and details of the report.

    • Next you have collect all the information. Some organizations opt for database systems about their employees and statistics can be gathered through in-built or personalized queries. In absence of such databases you may have to rummage through traditional documents or a simple database or excel spreadsheet. Routine HR reports include statistics about HR activities in a specific time frame like new hires, salary info, resignations and promotions. There may also be a need for detailed reports about the local market of the workforce, budgets for salaries and requirements related to skills depending on the nature and utility of the report.

    • Try to find a pattern in the garbled up data of statistics thrown up at you. Absence on particular days, higher turnover of staff may all have special meaning. Try to analyze the meaning behind any pattern. Take for example high rates of absence or resignations in a particular department could indicate management problem which require further analysis or possible action that may be taken. Personal problems are also a possibility in case of some patterns.  

    • Make a draft of the report in the style favored by your company or make use of templates of typical hr reports and customize. As an alternative especially if you are a HR student writing an assignment you can hire a specific person or ask for online hr homework help.  If the report requires you to be more formal, then start off with a summary and remember to include a cover page in your report.

    • Prepare explanations about targets, were they achieved or if not met how the shortfalls are expected to be accounted for. Set targets for the commencing period such as retention as well as recruitment and how you plan to reduce absences. Make the HR activities in accordance with the goals of the organization.


    • Single out external factors that may have effect on your business and as a matter of consequence HR operations in the near future. A political, environmental, social and technical analysis may point out possible issues and ways to address those.

    • Maintain clarity of language and avoid HR technicalities especially if colleagues from other departments or stakeholders are among the intended audience.

    • Try to stick to a system for numbered paragraphs and sub paragraphs. This will enhance readability while maintain clarity. The title should be inclusive of the date, purpose as well as the audience of the report.

    • Try to keep the report brief and focus on the primary issues by use of bullet points, graphs and charts as and when necessary. Readers will be keen on simply reading the facts.

    These steps will help you in writing an effective HR report that does its job well.

    Lisa Rose has been a helping hand for management students including those in the HR sector and provides online hr homework help of outstanding quality for budding managers and entrepreneurs alike.

     

     

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