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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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  • 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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  • 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. 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.

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    In the beginning of its outset, Movember was a small movement founded by a couple of men in Adelaide. They came up with the name of the charity event over a pub gathering and soon decided to turn their quirky idea into reality. They started small, later on adding more men from Adelaide and other big Australian cities to the so called “Movember Committee”. Their idea was to raise money and bring awareness about men’s health problems along with helping other non-profiteers such as RSPCA.

    Not long after the dawn of Movember, the event kicked off quickly today reaching thousands of men throughout the world. It has since raised more than $174 million after joining South Africa, Europe and North America. For its nation-wide popularity, the Movember movement thanks its supporting community at the official website and throughout the world. With the help of guys such as Tom Rickard ( last’ years Man of Movember ) and smaller companies who try bringing the event to people’s attention, the movement manages to reach more and more people each year and raise money for health research programs.

     

    Each and every voice helps bringing the cause to the crowd. The fastest way of supporting the idea is donating to the official website. Along with that, men are encouraged to grow their own mustache and use it to start conversations about the importance of the whole project. Women are able to help, as well, trying to raise awareness amongst family, friends and colleagues. And even tho Movember is all about mo's, not overall facial hair, some creative individuals have managed to bring the cause to their community through rather more abstract ways. But then again, the previously called November, aims to bring men's health to people's attention and any form of help is of an essence. The guys at the official website have seen all sorts of mo' bro teams having registered as fund raisers. Along with the bros, even company teams are welcome to the crew. The Paul's Sydney Cleaning team, for example, has came up with a bunch of fun, engaging posters aiming to use the power of visual content to engage the audience. Here are some of them:

    We all have different approaches towards engaging our friends and family and the diversity is what makes our attempts alive and evolving. And even though women are not the center of this movement's cause, they are the base of its development. Without the support only a wife, sister or girlfriend can give a man, raising awareness of the Movember cause would be much harder. The future of the prostate cancer medical researches depends on us and if we don't join forces in fighting for our health, no one will.

    Are you ready to make the first step into creating a better world? What would be your approach towards raising awareness this November? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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    Environmental disasters take many forms, with some of the more common ones being oil spills, air pollution, water contamination, and landfill issues. Though these disasters can be massive in scope and environmentally devastating, innovative companies have developed amazing solutions. Here's a quick look at some of the solutions in use today.

    Cleaning Up Oil Spills with Microbes

    Microbes have a purpose: they feed on dead and decaying organisms. This natural process cleans our environment and returns nutrients to the earth. Microbes are now being used to clean up oil in a process known as bioremediation. In some forms of bioremediation, microorganisms are added to the spill; in others, nutrients are added to the area with the goal of growing existing bacterial populations (Source: "How Microbes Clean Up Our Environmental Messes", Popular Mechanics).

    In another form of oil spill remediation, a solution made from plant-based materials is used to penetrate and break hydrocarbons into smaller, bite-sized units which are more readily consumed by bacteria.

    Tackling China's Air Pollution Problem at the Source

    As China has become more prosperous, its air pollution problem has grown increasingly worse. A new catalytic converter by ACAT Global, Advanced Clean Air Technologies may be part of the answer. Cars in China account for nearly 80 percent of China's emissions, making them an excellent target for improvement. This catalytic converter has been shown to reduce a car's particulate matter emissions by 44 percent. ACAT Global makes catalytic converters for cars, heavy equipment, diesel engines, boats, and motorcycles.

    Using Electrolyzed Water to Clean and Disinfect

    Imagine spraying water from a spray bottle and zapping germs with just water, salt, and a slight electrical charge. Believe it or not, water electrolyzed with a low-level of electricity can do just that. Electrolyzed water systems are being used to clean dairy equipment, decontaminate some foods, and disinfect surfaces. Though intriguing, this technology is still fairly expensive.

    Harnessing the Power of Landfills

    What if you could capture landfill gas emissions and convert them to energy? This technology solves two problems (containing undesirable emissions and capturing energy), and it is in use today. For example, anaerobic digesters are used to decompose green, animal, and food wastes. From there, the energy is converted by fuel cells. Thermal conversion is another technology used to convert organic and inorganic wastes into various compounds and basic molecules which can then be used for other purposes (Source: "Emerging Technologies", CalRecycle).

    Oil spills, air pollution, water contamination, and landfill emissions aren't going to go away in the near future. We can't ignore these potential problems. Fortunately, many innovative companies have been focusing on them.

    Sources:

    "How Microbes Clean Up Our Environmental Messes", Popular Mechanics, http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/environment/waste/how-microbes-will-clean-up-our-messes

    "Emerging Technologies", CalRecycle, http://www.calrecycle.ca.gov/swfacilities/TechServices/EmergingTech/default.htm

    "Oil & Fuel Spill Remediation", E&B Green Solutions, http://www.ebgreensolutions.com/applications/oil-fuel-spill-remediation

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    When most people envision a landfill, the images that most likely come to mind are those of great heaps and mountains of garbage with a steady stream of dump trucks running day and night and piling more and more on top of what is already existing. While, part of this image may be accurate, the modern landfill is quite different. With people becoming more aware on a daily basis of the impact their actions have on the earth, even landfills are being designed with conservation and sustainability in mind.

    The Environmental Protection Agency summarizes modern landfills as "well-engineered facilities that are located, designed, operated, and monitored to ensure compliance with federal regulations." In order to ensure that these regulations are being followed in modern landfills there are various protocols in place.

    One of the first things considered in the planning of a landfill is location. They must be built in a suitable geographic location, away from wetlands, faults, or any restricted areas. Once a location is chosen some sort of liner must be laid in place to prevent any contamination of groundwater and underlying soil. One of the more popular liners currently being used is a geosynthetic liner. These liners are made up of a very thin layer of clay sandwiched between two layers of some sort of geotextile. These are durable and more efficient to install than the more traditional clay liners. A geosynthetic liner is also highly popular in areas with significantly varying temperatures. They stand up well to freeze and thaw cycles. Many modern landfills also consist of some sort of leachate collection and removal system. This is installed on top of the liner and acts to remove sludge and other harmful leachate from the landfill for treatment and removal.

    Modern landfills have a much smaller impact on the environment than landfills of the past. Once in place, operating practices are strictly monitored. Periodically, the waste is covered with a layer of compact soil. This helps to protect public health by minimizing odor, insects, and rodents. There are also scheduled ground water checks to ensure that nothing harmful from the landfill has leached into the groundwater. When it does come time for the landfill to close, there are strict protocols in place to continue to protect the environment and help to provide long term care for the closed landfill areas, making our earth a better and cleaner place for all.

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    Although the problem of protecting the environment may seem like an insurmountable one, there are many simple steps that every person can take to make a small positive impact. If everyone begins to take measures to reduce carbon use and waste, saving the planet will become a much easier proposition. Here are four simple things you can do to help save the environment in your own small way.

    Walk and Bike More

    Driving is one of the most common ways in which practically everyone releases greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. By walking or riding your bike for short trips, you can considerably reduce the amount of carbon dioxide produced as a result of your transportation needs. As an added benefit, walking and biking are excellent forms of exercise, meaning you’ll get some great physical activity as well.

    Plant Trees on Your Property

    If you have a large enough piece of property, consider planting a few trees to help absorb carbon dioxide. A single tree can sequester a full ton of carbon over the first 40 years of its life. By planting several trees on your property, you can create a passive form of carbon sequestration that will continue for decades to come.

    Get into the Habit of Recycling

    One of the best ways to prevent unneeded waste from polluting land and water is to recycle as much of your garbage as you can. Plastics, glass and paper can easily be recycled by most municipal governments, meaning that you just have to sort them appropriately. Iron, steel, copper, and aluminum scrap metal recycling are usually handled by specialized processing centers, but it isn’t too difficult to find these facilities in most cities. By recycling more of what you use, you can prevent waste from ending up in landfills and keep extra energy from being expended in extracting new natural resources.

    Grow Some of Your Own Food

    One of the more difficult environmental problems to address is the fact that the agricultural techniques needed to supply food for more than 7 billion humans are extremely harmful to the planet. Forests are often destroyed to clear land, while herbicides, pesticides and fertilizers pollute groundwater reserves on massive farms. One thing you can do to partially reduce your impact in this area is to start an organic garden at home. Growing your own food with environmentally friendly methods will lower your carbon footprint and give you access to plenty of fresh, healthy produce.

    These are just a few of the many small actions you can take to play a role in saving the planet. You should also try to encourage friends and family members to do the same, as the effect of these small steps will grow as more and more people begin to take them.

  6. Many people discard unwanted items in the landfills. The emissions from the landfills produce a gas that is harmful to the environment. When you move the eco friendly or green way, you are reducing that rubbish. This helps to eliminate or reduce the emissions from the landfills. You can relocate to a new area more responsibly by following a few tips on eco friendly moving.

    Give Away or Sell Items

    Some items that you no longer need can be donated to others. For instance, books can be distributed to local schools or libraries. Other avenues for disposing of non-essential items are charities or thrift outlets. You can take your old clothes, recyclable items, old computers and other unwanted things to these places instead of the landfills. By discarding these items properly, you will be protecting the environment and providing others with items that you no longer need.

    Packing Eco Friendly

    To pack green, you will need to use recyclable packing materials. These can include cornstarch packing peanuts, recyclable packing paper, reusable boxes and twine. According to DMV, reusable boxes can be reused around 500 times. Therefore, once you have finished moving, you can share the packing materials with others in need. When you use the proper packing supplies, you will be protecting your valuables and the earth. In addition, it is recommended that you pay special attention to detail and preparation to ensure that everything is packed safely and responsibly. Being prepared can eliminate potential problems when moving, and it can save you some time and money.

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    Image source: Reusable boxes by

    Man And His Van

    Cleaning the Eco Friendly Way

    When you move, you will want to leave behind a clean place. You should use cleaning supplies that will not harm the environment. These eco-friendly cleaning supplies are nontoxic cleaners that are biodegradable. Green cleaning will be healthier for you and the next occupant.

    Recycle, Reuse and Donate

    Many things can be reused or recycled. At Recyclenow website, you can learn about the importance of recycling your items. When you recycle, old products are made into something new. These items are helping to reduce the consumption of the earth’s natural resources. When a new product is made, it requires raw materials obtained from the forest or mines. Recycling helps conserve these raw materials. You can donate all of your items that are no longer important or useful to you to a recycling center in your area. Recycling will save the earth’s energy while it helps to protect your environment. The donated items are reducing the necessity of using raw products, which require extracting, processing and refining. The process of making new products causes the air and water to be polluted.

    Reduce to Save Time and Money

    By reducing the items in your home, you will have less to move. This means less packing materials will be needed, and it will take fewer trips from each location. This will save on fuel for transportation.

    Moving can be time consuming and costly. However, eco friendly moving can be done easily and safely when you follow these tips to make the right choices for packing and reducing your unnecessary items.

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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.

  8. 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.

  9. The world is going green, and so can you! Having an Eco friendly kitchen starts with what’s in your fridge and extends all the way out to what materials and tools you use, food preparation that is energy efficient, and cleaning using sustainable materials instead of toxic chemicals. These are all super important for having a kitchen that is truly green and Eco friendly. The great thing about converting your space from a regular, unhealthy kitchen to something that is phenomenal and efficient is that the change will be fantastic for your well being as well as save you dollars while saving the planet. What could be more amazing?

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    Trade In Your Cookware And Cheap Kitchen Supplies

    You may not think of it, but the tools and materials that you cook with actually have a big impact on your health. For cook ware and utensils, you want materials and cookware that is going to last a long time as opposed to being ultra-disposable. Plastic has to go. Teflon pans, while perhaps convenient, are not very green. They also cause cancer which makes them a big no-no in the kitchen. The best thing you can do is purchase cook ware that is sustainable as opposed to convenient. That means investing into a thick, classic cast iron skillet. These babies last forever and are a dream to cook with. Go for bamboo and environmentally friendly spoons and stirrers, and ditch all the plastic and low quality stuff that’s hiding in your kitchen. Instead of buying paper towels over and over, purchase some nice cloth towels that can be washed. Lastly, invest in ultra high quality knives that can be sharpened and used for decades.

    Having Ecological Enlarged Windows

    Having enlarged windows can bring the element of light into a kitchen and really work to open a space. When you enlarge a window, you can make a room more bright without spending more energy and money to bring that extra light in. Rooms have natural light during the day, and when you extend a room you can cut back on overhead lighting powered by electricity. This is a simple way to enhance your kitchen and cuts back on overall energy costs, making your kitchen even more green.

    Cooking And Being Energy Efficient

    Cut back on energy costs by cutting out preheating. Modern ovens heat up easily. Try to change the way you cook by putting the food in as soon as the oven is turned on. Then turn off the oven a few minutes early and allow the dish to cook in the remaining heat. Cooking multiple things at one in an oven will also save energy. Use a toaster oven or microwave for smaller dishes and you can save 80% of the energy you would normally use by putting in the big oven.

    Using Gas Or Electricity To Cook

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    There are different advantages to each cooking method. The best thing to do to be green is to purchase the electricity from a source that is sustainable and use electric equipment. The cost is a little more now but carbon prices will change that and save you more. Electricity sourced from a station that uses coal as a power may be worse for the environment, so in that case going with gas is a superior option. Most electric cooking equipment is the more efficient choice because the energy created goes towards what you are cooking, where gas a lot of the energy dissipates and goes to waste. Electric induction tops cook faster and are more efficient than gas by up to 55%. Emissions for electricity are lower than gas since the emissions for gas are generally higher at the start of use. Electricity for cooking is more sustainable and is even more environmentally friendly when you buy electric appliances that are efficient.

    4.5% of the energy used at home comes from cooking. That’s only a small part of carbon emissions, but they matter. Gas burners can give off heat that is instant and have more control over temperature, so that is an advantage of using gas. Electric stoves do take more time to heat up and cool. However, new oven models that utilize electric ignitions in place of a pilot light use 40% less gas, making them an energy efficient choice.

  10. Why is organic waste contamination that bad ?

     

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    1.6 billion tonnes of food is being wasted every year around the globe. It’s worth approximately 750 billions dollars and doesn’t solve the problem with world hunger or the economical crisis. Despite the loss of financial and food resources, discarded foods have strong negative impact on wildlife as well. Landfills that consist  primarily of dumped food supplies are the perfect feeding destination for all kinds of wild animals, especially birds. The relation between organic rubbish and the population of the birds that feed on it is so strong that removing a landfill causes a chain reaction such as reduction in the population of the flying animals or the cause of reproductive diseases.

     

    How come food can make animals suffer ?

     

    Such study was made in France. A landfill has been deliberately removed and 49% decline in the fertility among the gulls was measured and confirmed by ecologists. Seems like that dump site has been the prime food source for the flying creatures and after the waste removal the animals have either moved to a better location or some have starved to death.

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    Small part of the organic waste thrown away by people is actually fish discards  estimated at 6 million tonnes every year. Even though that is not that much compared to 1.6 billion tonnes, more than half of the seabirds rely completely on the leftovers of the fish, produced by the industry and feed entirely on it. In nature, it’s a commonly seen process for an animal to stop hunting when it is being fed by people. That is how some wolves evolved into dogs and then many dog breeds appeared  after experimenting with crossbreeding.

     

    Birds are not the only animals that are affected by the discarded organic trash

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    Predators like wolves, bears and leopards become significantly more active if their natural habitat becomes affected by pollution with organic waste. The grizzly population has increased 4 times in 2014 compared to 1970s. Even some of the world’s most vicious predators like the leopard prefer to inhabit areas polluted by organic rubbish which they consume, usually that is butchered animal bodies. The leopards also hunt on creatures living nearby the landfills which you have to stay away from. Their common prey is pigs, dogs, goats and rats that also seek for sustenance at the dump sites.

     

    Composting help to solve the food waste issues

     

    Composting is the perfect way to fight food rubbish contamination as it is not expensive and can be done by anyone who wants to learn how to do it. It is beneficial as it also helps you save some of the family budget which you usually would spend on buying fertilizers for your garden. Compostable things are divided in two main categories based on what they emit - Carbon or Nitrogen. You can compost stuff like: banana peels, dog food, egg shells, flowers, leaves, peanut hulls, weeds, tea bags, vegetable peels etc.

    Rubbish removal companies are trying to minimize the amount of organic waste being generated in households by giving advice and raising awareness about efficient waste clearance, especially these operating in London.

  11. First and foremost, knowing exactly what organic wine is, is the key to making it properly.

    Grapes grown organically are the first thing required for making of organic wine. When a certain fruit or vegetable is grown organically it means there were no pesticides and/or chemicals involved in its growing. Many manufacturers of wine tend to break the rules of organic. It certainly pays off more to include some manipulating in wine-making, just to have it last longer and taste better. But since you have decided to make wine yourself, we don’t question your aspiration to get that organic wine just right, in a proper way.

    So, what you first need to do is gather supplies. Naturally, this sounds like a logical step to take and you are wondering why do we even mention it. Well, because more often than not beginners in wine making tend to omit certain things which then leads to the wine getting ruined by bacteria or bugs. To avoid that, gather these supplies:

    - An airlock

    - A 1-gallon carboy (a glass container with a small neck)

    - Clean wine bottles with corks or screw caps

    - A 2-gallon crock or glass jar

    - A thin plastic tube to be used for siphoning

    - Campden tablets (optional)

    Once you have all this, the games of wine making can begin! For the record, wine can be made of any type of fruit. So, if you want to experiment and try something unusual choose something else rather than berries and grapes. The most important thing is to choose fruit at the peak of its flavor.

    Cleaning the fruit

    Washing the fruit is easy - clean it of any dirt and/or rotten parts. Remove the leaves. Rinse it thoroughly. Done!

    You’d think everyone is cleaning the fruit before doing anything with it, right? Well, not really. Some wine-makers like not to wash the fruit before crushing it. Given that fruit has natural yeasts on its skin, wine can be made with using only the yeast from the fruit's skin and the air. The negative aspect of not washing the fruit is that wild yeast get to grow and they are likely to produce foul flavors. While, when you wash the fruit you can control the taste and adjust it to you liking.

    Crushing the fruit

    Crushing the fruit is done with your hands or a potato masher. All you should do is squeeze the fruit so that it releases its juices. You should repeat the process of until the crock you have previously put washed grapes in is filled with 1/2 inches of the top with fruit juice. If there isn’t enough fruit and juice, top it off with filtered water.

    To kill bacteria and wild yeast, add a a Campden tablet. It will release sulfur dioxide into the mixture which will effectively kill wild yeast and bacteria. If you’d rather not use a tablet, you can alternatively pour 2 cups of boiling water over the fruit.

    Also, when using water, avoid tap as it contains additives and it will affect the taste of your wine. Make it your business to use filtered or spring water only.

    Add honey for sweetness of your organic wine. Limiting honey to two cups will give your wine not so sweet a taste. You can, of course, add more if you like your wine sweeter. If you don’t like honey, you can add (brown) sugar instead of honey.

    After this is done, it’s time you added the yeast! Stir it into the mixture with a long-handled spoon.

    Fermenting the Wine

    To keep bugs out of the crock, cover it with something firm yet such a fabric that will allow air to flow in. Perfect cloth would a t-shirt or a stretch cloth. Just make sure you secure it in place with a large rubber band. The covered crock should be placed in a warm area overnight, with a temperature around 70 degrees. The day after you have made the mixture, you should follow the process of stirring it thoroughly.

    The stirring should go on for 4 days:

    - 1st day - stir every 4 hours or so- other 3 days - a few times per day

    You’ll know fermentation process when you see it - as the yeast moves into action, the mixture should start bubbling. This will lead to delicious wine.

    Three days after it begins, the bubbling will slow down which is a sign it’s time to strain and siphon the liquid.

    - Siphon the liquid into your carboy for longer-term storage

    - Affix the airlock to the opening to prevent oxygen from coming in and spoiling your wine while allowing for the release of gas

    Let the wine age for nine months. If you are in a rush to try it, then leave it for at least one month.

  12. blogentry-7854-0-40878300-1424295222_thu

    Neil DeGrasse Tyson, best known for his work in astrophysics and Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, has kept environmental concern in the public eye. Through his public appearances and social media presence, he has done much to enrich public discourse — he has even helped to boost scientific literacy. This is of great importance in the modern age, especially with the environmental hazards at hand.

    Tyson is frequently compared to Carl Sagan, the well-known astronomer and television personality. Sagan taught at Cornell University, wrote more than twelve books, worked with NASA, edited a scientific journal, and served as the house astronomer on Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show. He co-created and hosted Cosmos: A Personal Voyage in the 1980’s and was the most famous scientist in America.

    More recently, Tyson has been in the public sphere with his radio talk show, Star Talk; a reboot of Carl Sagan’s show, Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey; and will host a late-night talk show starting April of this year on National Geographic. His shows broadcast the most up to date information about astral bodies, and other scientific tidbits relating to outer space. Each episode explores the laws of nature, and attempts to create an emotional and spiritual experience through scientific exploration.

    Tyson, like Sagan before him, embraces modern media as a means of engaging the general public. Both men explain complex methods in layman’s terms, helping households not only understand certain principles, but also engage in conversation with one another. Political and civil discussions about global warming and the value of NASA’s space exploration would have been completely different without these men.

    Looking toward the future, Tyson sees the ability to harness the power of natural disasters and utilize them as a direct energy source. Such technology would be adapted for tornados, hurricanes, earthquakes, and volcanoes, allowing us to tap into that energy source like tapping into a keg of beer. In an interview on renewable energy’s future, he states that he is “looking forward to the day when a hurricane is building in the gulf, and then just before it hits land, we capture its energy to drive the city that would otherwise have been destroyed if the hurricane’s power had been left untapped.”

    By encouraging scientists to share their knowledge with the public, Tyson believes the public’s excitement and education will expand. While public interest in science is growing and evident, it is a challenge to convince scientists to break convention and use modern information channels to share their findings with the general public. Tyson urges scientists to share fun and interesting information that they learn everyday. His personal Twitter account, which has over 1.5 million followers, does just that. One of his recent posts reminds the public that education is more than just in the books: “Good education is not what fills your head with facts but what stimulates curiosity. You then learn for the rest of your life.” From quips to scientific “fun facts,” Neil keeps his followers on their toes.

  13. Every once in a while there comes the time to freshen up your garden and it is important to remove your green waste the responsible way. A common problem that arises is what to do with all that garden leftovers. If you are looking for Eco-friendly ways to get rid of your yard waste you are in luck because what follows is a comprehensive guide on how to dispose of your green waste without harming the environment. Read on and enjoy.


     

    Turn your waste into an eco-friendly fertilizer

    Much of your yard waste can be turned into compost that may be reused later as a fertilizer in your garden. Grass, veggie scraps and flower cuttings are ideal matter for this purpose. You will need a DIY composting bin or specially designed composting station. Do get in touch with your local government administration, as the office may provide composting bins for free to encourage sustainable gardening practices. It is important to take proper care of your composting bin – keep it moist and secure and add layers of different materials regularly. Unprotected composting bins may attract insects and rodents. Take a look at composting know-how to learn more.


     

    Use the worms

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    Beware fellow gardeners as vermicomposting is on the rise! More and more home-grown and professional gardeners are drawn to using worms as green waste disposal system which can turn garden and organic home waste into the ultimate soil enricher. Designated worm species, such as red wigglers and white worms will gradually consume your waste and turn it into nutrients-rich worm castings that can be used as a top or side dressing for the plants or worked into the soil without burning the roots. You can get worm boxes from your local gardening store or make them yourself. If you opt for the latter, do remember to line the box with fabric and drill little holes for drainage.


     

    Arrange waste pick-up

    Many countries have implemented regular yard waste pick-up – you simply need to bag your waste and leave it on your parkway. Unfortunately, there is a significant drawback to this method, as you are allowed to dispose of limited amount of garden leftovers. When you are planning a major clean-up or you are about to finish an extensive yard project it is a good idea to hire professional waste removal company to tackle your garden waste problem. Companies such as 1300 Rubbish will take care of as much of green waste as you need. The undeniable advantage of waste pick-up is the fact that you won't have to lift a finger, as the heavy lifting will be done by the professionals.


     

    Take it to the nearest waste collection center

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    If you do not want to arrange for organized waste pick-up you can always take your garden trash to the nearest collection service yourself. This method might be time-consuming, but it gives you the comfort of knowing that your waste has been disposed of legally and safely. You can also find tailor-made facilities designed specifically to handle large quantities of green waste. Collection centers and dumps may charge you a small fee per weight or load and you will be expected to unload your deposit in the right section of the tip.


     

    Garden waste can build up pretty quickly, therefore it is essential to implement efficient and sustainable strategy for green waste removal. You no longer need gas-guzzling chippers or heavy machinery to get rid of excessive waste, as with the help of our 4 tips you will be able to handle your green waste like an expert!

  14. Obesity is a common and costly disease in America. The Center for Disease Control estimates over one third of Americans are obese which is defined as having a BMI of over 25. This third of Americans also cost our healthcare system an additional $147 Billion in 2008.

    The best way to lose weight and improve your health is through a combination of diet and increased physical activity which always should be started and managed under a healthcare providers supervision.

    Ways to improve your diet

    Simplify – Avoid diets that require complicated recipes or including more than 5 ingredients per meal. Remember KISS – Keep It Simple Silly.

    Track – Track to a level that provides you feedback on what you are eating. If you are detailed orientated, consider a diet diary app to calculated your daily intake down to the calorie. But if that’s not your style, use a simple tracking system like these so you know if you are having more good eating days or more bad eating days.

    Improve basic nutrition – An effective diet will need to restrict your calories by about 10% so eliminate any empty calories first so you don’t notice the reduction.

    Ways to improve your physical activity

    Make a schedule – And stick to it. One of the biggest challenges in working out is recovering from a missed workout. You are significantly more likely to miss a second and third workout if you miss the first planned workout. From the beginning, make a realistic schedule that fits your daily demands so you can set yourself up for success and positive reinforcement from consistently working out as you planned.

    Get a workout buddy – If you are highly social or are motivated by not letting a friend down then consist a workout buddy as they motivate both types of character traits. In addition, a partner can provide peer advice and words of encouragement to keep you on track.

    Pick activities you naturally enjoy – While variety is great, consistency is more important. Research has shown that learning a new cardiovascular exercise increases your risk of skipping future workouts while people who pick one favorite workout such as running or spin are more likely to continue working out.

    Fighting through mixed results

    It’s extremely common to try and to fail a few times. Don’t get discouraged and learn each time from what worked and what didn’t go so well. If you have managed to meet your weight loss goal but still are discouraged by a few ‘trouble spots’ where the fat seems to linger, you are not a lone. There are 3 places that personal trainers report seeing toning problems.

    1. Cheeks
    2. Neck
    3. Back of Arms

    The best way to tone all of these classical trouble areas start with improving your diet and increasing your cardiovascular active. However, once you reach a BMI under 25 and still have negative body images of yourself, you may want to find specific ways how to get rid of chubby cheeks or how to lose neck fat. The best specific strategies include adding highly targeted stretches and small movement strengthening exercises. These ultra targeted activities will NOT burn the fat from the specific area but you will be able to tighten the muscles in the trouble area which will help naturally hide the fat with tighter muscles.

    References

  15. Just about everyone has at least a few things in their home that are difficult to recycle, with some of the hardest things being old CDs and DVDs, mattresses, and household hazardous waste. These are also things that for the most part cannot simply be thrown in the trash. CDs and DVDs are made of plastic and do not break down in landfills, mattresses are simply too big just to throw in the trash, and household hazardous wastes are too dangerous to carelessly throw away. Fortunately, it is still possible to recycle these items; it will just take a little extra work.

    Recycling CD's and DVD's

    With the rise of streaming video and downloadable music, CD and DVD use has been steadily declining. This will soon lead to a surplus of obsolete compact discs that need to be dealt with. Unfortunately, these discs simply cannot be mixed in with the rest of a home's recyclable plastic. CDs and DVDs are made from type 7 plastic, the most toxic kind of plastic available. Type 7 plastics contain polylactides and polycarbonates, some of which are too toxic for the average recycling center to handle.

    Instead of simply being thrown in the trash, old CDs and DVDs should be sent to the CD Recycling Center of America. There is no charge for this recycling service, although the center does accept cash donations.

    Recycling Mattresses

    Although it is illegal to just leave a used mattress on the street corner, it's understandable why so many people do exactly that. There aren't many opportunities to recycle an old mattress, and most donation centers won't take mattresses unless they are brand new. Still, there are some options available when it comes to recycling old mattresses. A mattress that is still in decent condition can be offered for free on Craigslist or similar sites, and there are some recycling centers that can disassemble a mattress and reuse the majority of its components. Some people even opt to do this themselves; it's much easier to recycle pieces of springs and fabric than it is to find a way to reuse an entire mattress.

    Recycling Household Hazardous Waste

    No matter how "green" a family may be, they will still probably use some toxic household products. Unused paint, chemical cleaners can leach toxic materials into the soil or groundwater if they go into a landfill or down the drain. These should never be thrown in the trash, but they can be dropped off at certain recycling centers that accept hazardous materials. Some services even offer to pick up household toxic materials from homes for a small fee. There are such centers and services in most major cities, and they can be found with a Google search.

    Sources:

    http://www.fasthaul.com/ecoblog/2014/10/21/recycling-cds-dvds-what-to-do/

    http://www.sfenvironment.org/article/toxic-products-disposal/toxics-product-disposal-for-residents

    http://www.fasthaul.com/ecoblog/2015/03/09/what-to-do-recycling-mattresses/

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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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    Organic foods are quickly becoming one of the most popular choices for persons who want to eat healthier while being environmentally responsible. However, many persons do not know about organic foods, and there are twelve things in particular that you should know about them.

    1.) What is in organic foods?

    Organic foods are grown without the use of fertilizers and pesticides. This means that there is less of a chance of your body being harmed by the toxins found in them.

    2.) What makes organic meats different?

    Organic meats are not grown with the use of synthetic hormones that are commonly used to fatten up cattle.

    3.) Are organic meats processed differently?

    Organic meats are processed in the most natural way possible. This means that they aren’t packed with preservatives, and they are not irradiated to kill bacteria.

    4.) How are organic foods packaged?

    Organic foods are packed in the most environmentally friendly way possible. This includes the use of packaging this is all natural, and that will biodegrade in the quickest manner possible.

    5.) Organic food is oftentimes more nutritious

    Organic foods are grown in a manner where their size is not increased with artificial additives. This means that they oftentimes have more vitamins and minerals per weight than other kinds of foods.

    6.) Why organic foods sometimes cost more?

    Organic foods are oftentimes grown on small farms that do not have the same efficiency as large farms. In addition, the process of growing organic foods may result in less of a yield. As a result, farmers may have to charge more for the sale of organic foods.

    7.) Do organic foods always cost more?

    Organic foods do not always cost more than other kinds of foods. It is possible to purchase organic foods that cost less than other kinds of foods. In addition, many organic foods are naturally processed, which costs less money than other methods of production.

    8.) How does one save money while buying organic?

    There are a number of different ways to save money while purchasing organic foods. It is a good idea to looking into local organic markets, and food delivery services. Many food delivery services offer food that comes directly from local farms, and so you do not have to pay a markup on the products. Some person can even get bags of organic foods for only a few dollars.

    9.) What are some things to avoid when shopping organic?

    Many companies attempt to sell processed foods under the guise of sounding organic. Phrases like natural and free range are not regulated by the food and drug administration. It is a good idea to do some research on each one of the products you buy.

    10.) Does organic mean less cruel?

    Organic oftentimes means that animals suffered less while being raised. However, the process is not regulated by the FDA. It is a good idea to look into where you organic meats came from, and to see if the animals were given proper treatment.

    11.) Can non-organic items go into organic foods?

    Depends, there are about forty different ingredients that the FDA allows to be included in foods that are considered organic. This includes items like salt, processed sugar, and different kinds of spices. Looking at the nutrition list will allow you to know if these ingredients were added to your organic foods.

    12.) Does a person have to be completely organic?

    No!!! Eating organic a personal choice. Many persons choose to purchase organic items because they want more nutritious food items, or because they simply like the excellent taste of organic foods. Even more people eat organic food because they are priced less than name brand items. Even more people simply eat a few different kinds of organic foods. One should eat organic foods based upon their personal choices.

    Overall, organic foods are an excellent thing to try out. One should try eating organic meats, vegetables, and dairy products in order to see if they like them.

    Image credit: CLJ Photography

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    Everybody loves a clean house, but not everybody likes to clean. You don't have to be a cleaning freak to keep your home clean and tidy, though. All you need is to learn how to keep everything under control. Tackle small messes before they grow bigger and get your family in the routine of helping you out by performing certain chores right away. Check out some of the habits that you should acquire for a cleaner house.

    Take off your shoes. Shoes are a very convenient way for dust and dirty to enter your home. So, in order to prevent this, make sure you and your family get into the habit of taking their shoes as soon as they enter the house. Forget what you see on movies where everybody is walking around the house with their shoes on - they don't have to clean anything afterwards, but you will have to if you enter with your muddy sneakers.

    Regular vacuum sessions. You don't have to clean thoroughly everyday, but it is a good idea to vacuum high-traffic areas in the house every two days or so. Pay special attention to the carpets and doormats because they are the ones get dirty the fastest. Also mop the kitchen floor too in order to remove any crumbs, stains and other residues.

    Don't forget the windows. You would be surprised how many people neglect their windows. However, a regular cleaning can save you plenty of time and effort in the long run. So instead of washing your windows only once every year, trusted window cleaners from Sydney suggest doing so every 3-4 months.

    The fridge is another place which should be maintained systematically. Before you put the groceries you've just bought, do a quick check up of the current food in the fridge. Throw away everything that has expired, smells funny or it's getting mouldy. In this way you will not only free up some space, but you will also avoid having your refrigerator smelling horrendously. Just make sure you also give it a quick swipe with some glass cleaner for disinfecting the area.

    Dealing with the bathroom. Keep a small squeegee in the bathroom and get your family in the habit of using it after they finish bathing. Wiping down the walls regularly will prevent the build up of soap scum and will keep the mould away. And while you are in the bathroom, it is also a good idea to start cleaning the sink daily. Use baby wipes to remove hair and toothpaste stains or mascara drips.

    Finally, sprinkle some baking soda in the rubbish bin, add a cup of distilled vinegar and half a lemon (or orange). Let it sit for about 20 minutes and then rinse. The vinegar is a natural disinfectant and the lemons will provide you with exotic scent.

  19. Growing concerns for the environment has caused many to seek out green solutions, but some of the approaches to being more eco-friendly, such as urinals that pipe pee into the garden for use as fertilizer, simply aren’t all that appealing. What’s really needed is innovative ideas that meet or exceed LEED standards while creating a beautiful 'wow’ factor.

    For those working on an apartment building renovation project, the benefits of truly innovative green design include lower project costs, an increased ease of attracting potential tenants, and even the ability to charge higher rents. Read on to learn about a few novel and ecologically sound renovation concepts.

    Green Walls and Vertical Gardening

    Back in 1938, a professor of landscape architecture at the University of Illinois named Stanley Hart White, who just happens to be the brother of famed author E. B. White, created an invention called botanical bricks, which could be used to create plant-covered vertical surfaces of any height. About fifty years later came French botanist Patrick Blanc, who took the idea and modernized it, coming up with the green wall.

    Still, it wasn’t until the new millennium that the idea of vertical gardening truly caught on. Of all the green walls and vertical gardens known to be in existence today, a whopping 93 percent of them only date back as far as 2007.

    Those who would incorporate vertical gardening into their renovation projects can help to offset society’s carbon footprint. The building’s exterior and interior walls can be covered with beautiful, luscious, even edible plants.

    When used as exterior surfaces, green walls reduce smog and produce cleaner air while insulating the building and protecting it from the elements. On the interior, these eco-friendly walls can improve indoor air quality significantly, and can even be used as part of a wastewater system that’s very innovative, making the gardens virtually maintenance-free.

    Cork Covered Bathrooms

    A significant part of green construction focuses on the type of building material used. Many go the recycling route by using post-consumer products in their renovation designs while others look to materials that are biodegradable and have less of an environmental impact. Then, there’s the option of using pre-owned building materials, and even reclaimed wood, but few have yet learn to consider cork as one of their options.

    It’s amazing what can be done with cork. One of the reasons many wouldn’t dare consider it is because the material has a reputation of being soft and breakable. They worry that it would be high maintenance and need frequent replacement, but that’s hardly the case.

    Today, cork is becoming more commonly found in bathrooms, but it’s being used only by those on the cutting edge of innovation and who want to make sure they do their part in protecting the environment. Some of the surprising elements that can be made of cork include floor tiles, toilet seats, and even bathroom sinks.

    The benefits are that cork is recyclable, fire resistant, and waterproof. Since the extraction of cork does no harm to trees, it’s a very eco-friendly, sustainable material. This is not to mention how attractive it looks. Using cork in the bathrooms of multi level apartments (like these) definitely produces a 'wow’ factor.

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    Becoming Environmentally Conscious

    As you might have known, air pollution threatens the livelihood of both humans and the environment every day. According to the EPA, “680 to 1,700 premature deaths have resulted in heart or lung disease,” which may be attributed to hazardous air pollutants linked to cancer. Continual exposure to the toxic environment has decreased the longevity of the average human life. Fortunately, many parts of the United States are fully dedicated to becoming environmentally conscious and want to provide a sustainable lifestyle for everybody to enjoy.

    There are several criteria for becoming an eco-friendly state, which includes usage of renewable resources, effective recycling and management of waste, access to organic/local food, green transportation methods, air and water quality, and land dedicated to quality green space, such as parks and recreational areas. By meeting this criteria, carbon footprint decreases dramatically.

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    Vermont: The Road to Becoming Environmentally Conscious

    Vermont is considered the number one most environmentally conscious state in the United States. Being the second least populous state, Vermont is devoted to providing healthier living for their limited number of residents. It has the lowest carbon footprint and the fewest carcinogenic toxins, helping to provide that well-known, crisp, mountain air. This is due to policies that promote renewable and alternative energy, recycling, and many local food choices.

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    Living the Vermont Lifestyle

    Vermont promotes healthy living by providing plenty of outdoor leisure activities. There are many areas in the state that allow swimming, biking, horseback riding, boating, golfing, and walking – many of them throughout Vermont’s vast mountain ranges. Quechee Lakes is an example of healthy Vermont-style living, located just south of Burlington. It’s a community that provides outdoor activities for all residents around the area.

    It is also home to one of the best skiing locations in the country. Burlington, which is Vermont’s main hub, has a growing business community that attracts many friendly entrepreneurs, delicious local restaurants, and a lively nightlife.

    Vermont is also very family-friendly. Many leisure activities are kid-friendly, and include public parks, walking trails, rock climbing, and fishing.

    Conclusions

    Being environmentally friendly is no easy task, but is becoming necessary to sustain a practical level of health. If you want this type of risk-free environment, Vermont is the perfect place to enjoy both a healthy lifestyle and an eco-friendly environment. Start making the change today!

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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

  22. Most people don’t change their air filters as often as they’re supposed to. It often takes months before they’re changed out, and sometimes, only after a significant amount of dust has settled on the furnace vents.

    However, changing your air filters on a regular basis is a necessity in order for proper indoor air filtration to work. Read on to find out more about why this is necessary.

    Changing them regularly avoids damage to your HVAC system.

    Dirt and neglect are both leading causes of HVAC systems failing. The good news is that this is completely avoidable. One way of avoiding this is by checking on the air filters regularly, as a clogged air filter can cause damage to your system. Instead of having to change your system due to this damage, try to change out the air filter as regularly as possible.

    It ensures consistently cleaner air inside the house.

    Air filters collect dust and other small particles, and prevent them from being circulated around your home where they can just as easily be inhaled. Keeping air filters cleaned, or changed out to new ones, translates to cleaner, healthier, and all-around fresher air that is better for your home and the entire family - especially those suffering from respiratory conditions such as asthma.

    It can save costs.

    Air filters not only prevent unwanted particles from circulating around your home, they can also, in a way, protect the HVAC system from unnecessary damage. A clogged filter is bad news, as it means your HVAC system will need to work harder in order to produce cleaner air, and these could lead to your system being damaged. Repairs for HVAC systems tend to be costly, so avoiding something like this would not only keep your home’s air clean, it also keeps you from shelling out money just to have the system fixed. We’re looking at up to 15% savings on utility costs by using an air filter.

    There are certainly various kinds of air filters available in the market, and you can even find some of them through their respective websites. Regardless of the filter you use to keep your indoor air healthy, all types and sizes of filters need to be cleaned and changed in order to keep functioning properly.

  23. Office-Design-Fit-Out-Environmental-Audi

    For decades, business has been depicted as an unstoppable force of pollution and wasteful practices victimizing the natural world. Now, however, increasingly efficient technology has made it both affordable and easy to reduce your company's impact on the environment. These are ten of the most quick and effective ways to green your office and contribute to the conservation movement.

    Mind the Lights

    In busy offices, it can be tempting to leave lights on at all times. Not only does this harm the environment by wasting electricity and requiring the manufacture of more light bulbs, but it also runs up your energy bill. A simple reminder to turn off the lights as employees exit a room is all that is needed to be more eco-friendly.

    Reduce Paper Consumption

    Despite operating in the digital age, many companies blow through reams of paper without a second thought and then throw it into a landfill to decompose. Paper waste is easy to overlook and even easier to correct. Set printers to print double-sided pages to automatically cut paper use in half, or buy recycled paper to save a few more trees. Whenever possible, keep documents digital and distribute them through email or cloud sharing. Even the paper cups seen so often in break rooms or by a water cooler can be replaced by personal mugs.

    Organize Car Pools

    Offices tend to draw in employees from miles away, driving alone for the entire trip. With some careful planning, commuters can lower their monthly gas bills while adding less carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. Encourage your workers to make plans based on geographic proximity and to trade off driving duties. Although it takes coordination and responsibility, an established car pool is easy to maintain and beneficial to all parties.

    Minimize Heating and Air Conditioning

    The perceived need to keep air at a steady temperature throughout the year leads to an overuse of heating and air conditioning when people are perfectly capable of acclimating to seasonal variations. A difference of a few degrees, lower in winter and higher in summer, will in all likelihood only be noticeable to accountants tallying up savings in your heating and air conditioning budget.

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    Promote Recycling

    Recycling is one of the oldest methods used to improve eco-consciousness, and it remains one of the most valuable. Giving resources a second life removes pressure from the environment, which sustains a massive load of new development and mining in large part due to inefficiency and a reliance on immense landfills. Encourage recycling by placing bins next to regular trash cans and hosting educational workshops to refresh knowledge about what can and cannot be recycled. Businesses can further recycle paper, cardboard boxes and packing supplies, which is again likely to save money.

    Use Green Cleaning Products

    Air quality in an office can contain more pollutants than the outside world because of toxic cleaning supplies. These chemicals, when flushed down a drain, also contaminate water supplies and local soil, leading to a buildup that damages plants and animals in the area. Nontoxic cleaning supplies result in the same sanitary surfaces but are less damaging to employees and the environment.

    Buy Used

    Recycling supplies manufacturers with more eco-friendly materials, but it is better to recycle equipment as well. Used office furniture is just as practical as new and often shows little to no signs of wear. Even better, they come at a steep discount for the same quality. Another option is to rent serviced offices, which may be fully furnished and use fewer resources with every transition.

    Optimize Computer Settings

    Electronics are now so ubiquitous in office settings that they are left running without much regard for their energy consumption. Besides being kept on to needlessly sap electricity, they may also be running at a higher performance level than standard office work requires. Change computer settings to power saving modes so that they will go to sleep during stretches of inactivity and moderate performance. At night, unplug the power strip as well as shutting down the machines to prevent electricity leeching.

    Grow Plants

    Office plants are a beautiful accent that also improve air quality in a building. Businesses with grounds can take this one step further by planting trees or even converting some acreage to a natural ecosystem. Lawns, though pleasant to look at, demand far more water, nutrients and fossil fuels to maintain while providing no value to local wildlife.

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    Consider Telecommuting

    More and more businesses are turning to telecommuting as a cost-effective way to reduce the space needs and environmental impact of their offices. There are still concerns about employee productivity, but dedicated workers can actually get more done without the worries of commuting and office politics. The move can cut costs for everyone involved and drastically reduce the environmental footprint of each employee.

  24. Solar power is not a new concept. Ever since ancient times, people have used skylights and windows to light their homes, used passive solar collectors such as stone or cement to warm chilly nights, and located rain barrels in sunny areas to heat water for bathing. More recently, technology has produced new and efficient ways to collect, store, and use solar energy to power individual homes and businesses. Solar energy has many benefits. Here are five of the best.

     

    Lower Utility Bills

    A solar system can begin lowering your power bills the day it is installed. Even a small system will take a solid bite out of your electric bill, and a properly sized and installed system can provide nearly three quarters of your home’s power. That is free energy that no one can make you pay for. Solar photovoltaic systems can last as long as 30 years or more and typically pay for themselves within 5-10 years if you live in a state that offers rebates or credits for solar power installation. Even if your state does not participate, the federal government has generous programs that help offset the cost of a new solar power system.

     

    Increased Home Value

    Solar power is one of a small set of home improvements that can actually raise your home’s value by more than its own cost. Additionally, a solar system will make your home more attractive to potential home buyers, giving you a distinct advantage over other sellers even in a tight housing market. To sweeten the deal even further, most states will not increase your property taxes when you install a solar power system even though your home’s property valuation will almost certainly go up. Check out Legend Solar for more information about solar power in Utah.

     

    Clean, Effort-Free Energy

    Solar panels require little to no maintenance because they have no mechanical parts to break down. Once your system is installed, there is not much for you to do but sit back and enjoy the security of knowing that you will have environmentally responsible, quiet, free energy for many years to come.

     

    Independence from the Power Company

    For years, you have been at the mercy of the power company’s whims. If they decided to raise rates, you paid more of your hard-earned money. If they took days or weeks to restore power after an outage, you waited patiently for their employees to get around to your neighborhood. With solar power, your electric bill can be reduced to a fraction of what you pay now. Even better, many states now allow you to save the excess energy your system provides during peak hours and use that energy later. A large number of states even allow you to sell your extra power to the power company. These strategies can result in a zero balance on your utility bill month after month.

     

    Sustainability

    Solar energy is an incredibly abundant resource. Solar does no damage to the earth or its inhabitants. It is the ultimate in renewable resources. When you choose solar power, you are not just providing a more solid financial future for you and your children, you are also preserving the earth and its limited resources for your children and grandchildren.

     

    Thanks to modern solar technology, you can now harness the sun’s power to an extent that was unimaginable throughout most of history. Installing a solar photovoltaic system is more than just a wise financial decision. It is also an investment in your own future and the future of all humans.

  25. Do you have any idea how many cigarette butts are littered in Australia each year? Billions. Those small things, combined together, have some serious impact on the environment around us. Let’s see how. For starters the cigarette smoke contains about 4000 chemicals, and every second the butt is alight those toxins are released in the environment. Another problem, that carelessly flicked cigarettes cause, are fires. But the true problem is caused by the material the butts are made from. The filters are made from cellulose acetate which causes a lot of problems, when not disposed properly.

    Now imagine what happens with all those billions of cigarette butts, when it starts raining for instance. They are washed off the streets and alleys to the nearest water reservoir or even worse the ocean, where the toxins from the filters poison the water. And that could be deadly for the marine life.

    And do you know how long does it take for one cigarette butt to break down entirely – up to 12 months. But in water that period is much longer – it could take up to 5 year. Can you imagine that?! And each year new cigarette butts are added to the pile, again and again.

    Cigarette butts could be mistakenly eaten by some of the sea animals, there are cases when cigarette butts are being found in the stomach system of birds and fishes. The chemicals contain in the cigarette filter ( lead and cadmium) could leach in the water. There are plenty more ways in which the cigarette butts affect the nature.

    What can you do in order to prevent all that from happening and preserve the environment. According to Paul's cleaning team in Melbourne, there's nothing easier that leading a green lifestyle. Dispose the cigarette butts the proper way not by flicking them wherever you like. Use ashtrays. It’s only a small step, but if everyone take it you will see how big impact it could have.

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