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  • Mark Piazzalunga

    DESERTEC project, Sahara Sun could power Europe by 2050

    By Mark Piazzalunga

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

    Black Friday Promotes Over-Consumption and Waste

    By Joseph Ramondeli

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

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

    By Megan Bonetti

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

  1. Going green is a trend that isn’t going away anytime soon. More and more people are incorporating a lot of great green initiatives into their daily life to make a difference for their planet. Many people think, in fact, that there is not much more they can do to go green.

    Even though it seems like there is not much the average person can do, there are a lot of new an uncommon ways to save the planet and its resources. Anyone can try to add these practices into their daily lives. Here are six new ways to go green you haven’t tried yet.

    Get a better energy provider

    Every year there are more and better options for green energy from some of the most popular companies in the business. Everyone should reevaluate their options and compare energy rates every year to make sure they are getting the best price for the best, cleanest energy they can get to their home.

    Make your own green products

    There are a lot of good options for green products on the market today. However, many of these products are quite expensive and most still use a lot of valuable resources in the manufacturing process. Instead, try doing some DIY to make homemade products, trying out everything from cleaning products to beauty products.

    Ditch all plastic

    A lot of plastic is used and wasted in the world every day. This is a major issue that many people cannot seem to get away from. Though using no plastic whatsoever may not be possible every day, everyone can make big changes to use less plastic regularly, like switching to paper or reusable bags at the supermarket, as a most basic example.

    Try CO2 dry cleaning

    There is a new dry cleaning method that is hitting most major chains around the world. This method uses cleaner practices that create no carbon dioxide to keep the air clean and everyone’s clothes clean as well. This is still a new method, so make sure to ask the local businesses if they are able to get it at their establishment.

    Make the home smarter

    Smart homes used to be just a futuristic fantasy. Today, smart homes are becoming a very real possibility to many people, to some extent. Everyone can make their home smarter by helping it use the least amount of energy every day automatically. A couple basic changes to make are installing an automatic thermostat and a universal power controls to help the home use less energy without home owners having to even lift a finger.

    6_New_Ways_to_Go_Green_You_Havent_Tried_

    Find a new way to use animals to benefit the planet

    Though many people reduce their consumption of animal products already to reduce pollution, there are other ways to use animals to the benefit of the planet. Many people are opting to let animals, like goats and sheep, to mow down their grass. This may sound bizarre, but it is a practice that more people are getting on board with. 

     

  2. When the topic of solar energy for homeowners is discussed, it often concentrates almost entirely on the cost of installation and the amount of money that can be saved on electricity bills. Both those topics are important, but they’re entirely about the financial side of solar energy. There are also many practical topics about a solar installation that must be worked out before the homeowner can enjoy the carefree benefits of harvesting energy from the sun. The number one topic for any solar installer will always be the location on the house where the solar panels will be located.

    Some of the limitations on the number of places on a home that solar panels can be installed are obvious. If the available sunlight is blocked by nearby structures or trees, part of the roof will be unsuitable for a solar panel array. Most housing in the United States was built without any consideration for the possible effectiveness of passive solar gain, never mind an active solar collection plan.

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    Image by OpenClipartVectors

    Solar Panel Installers Work With What You Have

    Most houses are built from plans taken from a catalog that doesn’t take into account the direction that the house will face when compared to a compass heading. The house has a front façade that is designed to face the street, and the random direction of the way the street is laid out governs the orientation of the house. When a solar company like SunBugSolar.com is hired to design and install panels to supply solar energy for homeowners, they have to work around what is in place.

    Luckily for homeowners, solar installations can be placed effectively in many different locations on a home while still delivering big savings on energy bills every month. If the roof on your home isn’t well suited for a solar panel array for any reason, there are many alternate locations that will work almost as well. Here’s a short list of alternatives to conventional roof locations for solar panels:

    Solar Panels on Sidewalls

    If your south-facing roof surface is unsuitable for a solar array, the south-facing building façade is often the next place an installer will look for a location for your panels. Solar panels work best when they face the southern sky, but they also work better when they’re angled properly to catch the most rays. Panels that are laid obliquely to the sun’s rays collect less energy. That’s why sloped roofs generally make the best locations for solar panels. Roofs on single-family homes are almost always pitched to shed rain and snow away from the house. While the angle of the roof will vary depending on the kind of house design that is used, it’s always preferable to laying the panels on a flat surface.

    In a way, vertical sidewalls are the opposite of a flat roof when considerations of the angle of the sun’s rays are taken into account. Sidewalls still have the problem with amount of rays hitting the panels at an oblique angle, but they are at 90 degrees compared to a flat roof. Installations on a flat roof will usually be made with the panels angled toward the sun. This is accomplished by putting the panels on racks, with the end of the rack pointing south or southeast lower than the end that is facing north. Every degree of incline is useful to lower the angle of the panel in relation to the sun.

    When panels are installed on a house’s sidewall, the bottom edge of the panel can be tilted out on brackets in much the same way. More of the suns rays will hit the panel at as close to perpendicular as possible, increasing the yield of the panel overall.

    Solar Panels on Garage and Outbuilding Roofs

    The electrical service panel in your home will no doubt be the nerve center for your new solar installation as well. It’s natural to think that the main house is the only appropriate place for solar energy for homeowners to consider, but there’s no reason why a garage or other outbuilding can’t serve as an appropriate location for a solar array.

    It doesn’t really matter if the garage is attached to the house or freestanding to make it a candidate for a solar upgrade. If the orientation of the structure and the pitch of the roof make it a superior place for solar collection, there’s no reason that the service panel for the solar collector can’t be located inside an outbuilding. The service wires for the collected electricity can be buried in a conduit between the outbuilding and the main house, in the same way newly constructed houses have the electrical service run without stringing wires from a telephone pole. In some installations, this might also be desirable because no part of the new solar installation will affect the existing house itself.

    Solar Panel Ground Installations

    If the house roof is not suitable for a solar array, but you have a great deal of unobstructed area around the house, the solar panels can be mounted on the ground on racks. This has many advantages. The panels can be installed, cleaned, monitored, and repaired without ever leaving the ground. This is much safer and more convenient than roof locations.

    Because the solar array is designed from scratch, and isn’t dependent on the existing structure, it can be aimed at the point of the compass that will collect the most sunlight. The angle of the panels can also be easily configured to collect even more sunlight. It’s generally easier to add on to a ground-based solar array, and the total installation can be expanded past anything even the largest roof can offer.

    Eventually, House Designs Will Be Ready for Solar

    As solar panel installations become more common, home designers will inevitably begin to alter their plans with an eye towards integrating solar arrays. Architects and builders have integrated a great deal of technology into houses in the last two centuries, including things we take for granted like indoor plumbing, electrical service and fixtures, phone lines, and cable and Internet service. There’s no reason that houses can’t be designed to accommodate solar energy for homeowners like any other technology. Until then, solar installers will continue to use ingenuity to work around the existing designs.

     

     

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    The adults pride themselves with mature thinking and behavior, but if you take a closer look at some pattern of behavior of some adults, even the ones in charge of leading the society, you will find a lot of childlike decisions and acts. What would a responsible adult tell a child if he insists on throwing all the garbage on the floor of his room, and never cleaning it? Moreover, the child also likes to smoke in his room, and spray the bugs with toxic sprays, without ever opening his window to get some air in. Naturally, an adult person would dramatically react, and demand that the child stops behaving in such a foolish manner, with full right. But what gives an adult the right to criticize the child, if he follows the same patterns of behavior, doing the exact same things, in the only house he will even have, the planet. The pollution of the planet has reached alarming levels, and adults keep acting childish, pretending that everything is ok, and that there is no reason to worry, and refusing to change their habits. With the current tempo of pollution, experts expect that the planet will become inhabitable in less than 400 years from now. That may seem as a lot of time, but compared to the amount of time life has existed on Earth, it is only a second of existence.

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    One of the biggest issues with pollution, and why we so selfishly decline to change, is that is often a result of progress and industrial development. Even though the progress of the industry and the entire civilization gives us short term benefits, in the long run, we are digging our own grave. The energy sources like oil, natural gas, coal, etc. all result in toxic waste being emitted in the atmosphere, creating ozone layer holes, causing global warming and polar cap melting, and changing the complete climate conditions of the planet. With the resources of these fuels running low, we must ask ourselves is it a good, or a bad thing? Certainly, the economy and the industry would suffer, end the entire civilization would pretty much collapse, but the polluting would stop.

    Fortunately, there are solutions which can provide the necessary energy for the further progress of human civilization, without causing the world to end. Renewable energy sources, like the wind, geothermal power, waves and others are the only way we can make our civilization and industry sustainable. The most efficient and the cleanest method of harvesting renewable energy is through solar power. Solar power uses the sunlight and the radiation of the Sun to create electricity. Already, some environment conscious cities and countries are investing in solar street lights, which save lots of energy, and protect the nature. At http://streetlights-solar.com/ you can find affordable solar power solutions for street, parking lot, airport and other lighting, which will pay itself of in record time. As the sunlight is free, and will probably remain free forever, we can look forward to a bright future, in every sense of the word. 

  3. Even in 2016, people still need the extra push to get them to do the right thing. As a business owner and employer, you have a specific advantage in ways to help them! Here's some ways to get your employees as excited as you are about saving the world around you!

     

    1) Offer Them Prizes!

    There's nothing more immediately incentivizing as compensation for doing good. That said, giving candy bars or soda to those who choose to recycle a certain amount, carpool, or ride their bikes to work isn't a bad place to start. What you want is for people to start doing the right thing. However, for someone to actually become interested in making a life change, it isn't so easy. See, immediate incentives help in the moment, but how can you encourage them to make the same choices outside of the office that they're making for prizes inside of it?

     

    2) Educate them!

    A useful idea is to offer free classes to anyone who will take them on things like climate change, saving energy using breakroom and office equipment wisely, and even ballpark subjects like bike safety. If you don’t think classes would work, try monthly newsletters or pamphlets. They could be incredibly informational, or even more brief (this, for example, is a good amount of information). Every little bit counts!

     

    3) Group Events!

    Group activities are motivating to people. Organizing groups of employees to clean up litter in a nearby park is what I first think of when talking about group environmentalism, but it’s not the only way. I would recommend staying away from protests as you want your business to have a good reputation, however to each their own.


    Any more recommendations? Let me know in the comments.

  4. photo-1470472485155-0e1e392b8322?ixlib=r

    Australian attitudes towards climate change have been shifting considerably over the past few years. While many Australian’s don’t believe in climate change, more do. The majority also believe the Australian government should be doing more to address climate change on a global scale.

     

    An Ongoing Disagreement as to the Cause of Climate Change

    According to CSIRO’s 2014 annual survey of Australian attitudes to climate change, a strong majority of Australian’s believe that climate change is happening and support a variety of initiatives to address the potential impacts. However, the study concluded that there was an ongoing disagreement as to whether the cause of climate change are natural fluctuations or are the consequences of human activity. The CSIRO survey also found a pattern of ‘optimism bias’ – the belief that one is less likely than others to experience something negative. Many Australian’s believed that they would be least harmed by climate change while those most unlike themselves (those in poor, developing nations and people in the world generally) were more likely to be harmed.

    Contracted by the Garnaut Climate Change Review team, the CSIRO reviewed a number of recent studies examining Australians’ views of climate change. A total of 22 studies were reviewed and analysed. From this existing research it was concluded that most Australians believe that climate is changing, but fewer believe that the change is attributable to human activity. This belief in climate change and its drivers has waned during the last few years, reflecting trends in other Western countries. Beliefs about climate change are strongly related to political preferences, voting behaviours and gender, while no clear relationships between these beliefs and location, income or age have been shown.

     

    Australia Needs to Take Action on Climate Change

    While there was no clear consensus on what policy actions Australians prefer, such as setting a carbon price or establishing an emissions trading scheme, the study did conclude that most Australians believe that Australia should take action on climate change without waiting for a global consensus.

    A recent ReachTEL survey of 2400 people concluded the same. Conducted for a coalition of environmental groups, 64 per cent of respondents stated that they were more likely to vote for a party seeking 100 per cent renewable energy in 20 years. 48 per cent of respondents also said they were more likely to support a party reducing Australia’s net carbon emissions to zero by 2050. The survey concluded that 56.4 per cent of Australians want the government to do more to address climate change. 27.8 per cent believed the current policies were correct and only 9.9 per cent wanted less action on climate change.

    Australia has one of the highest per capita emissions of carbon dioxide in the world. If every person in the world produced the same green house gas levels as each Australian, the world would produce approximately 560% more green house gas emissions. To combat this, Australian’s need to do more to lower their own personal carbon footprints, while continuing to push their government for a tougher stance on climate change.

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    According to EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), indoor air pollution is one of the top environmental dangers and causes a lot of health confitions as well. Some of the symptoms include fatigue, headache, irritation of the throat and more. If you don't keep your home clean, thus indoor air fresh, the pollution in the house could cause respiratory diseases and even cancer. On the other hand, the labels on most of the cleaning products warn that they are harmful and you should use a protective clothing in order to use them. And here it's the paradox, neither cleaning nor leaving your home full of dirt will help save the planet or your health.

    What Should We Do?

    We can make our own green cleaning products for every room and every spot! It would be efficient as a professional product, but cheaper and better for your health.

    Green Cleaning Cheat Sheet

    What do you need? White vinegar, baking soda, olive oil, essential oils, lemon and borax, although some of the people believe it's dangerous to the health, there isn't any proof of that. What you should know? White vinegar removes mildew, odors, stains and has disinfectant properties. Baking soda is great odor remover and water softener, it's used for cleaning, scouring and scrubbing. Lemon is very effective against most bacteria. Borax is a strong disinfectant, which cleans and deodorises. Here are some DIY green cleaning recipes:

    Mirror, Glass and Window Cleaning

    You need: 1/4 cup of vinegar and 1/4 cup of water;

    How to: Mix the ingredients in a spray bottle and spray onto the surface. Wipe with crumpled newspaper or with a clean cloth.

    Tip 1: For а better smell you can add a few drops of your favourite essential oil.

    Tip 2: It's better not to clean your windows on a sunny day because the mixture could dry too fast and leave unpleasant stains.

    Water Stains

    You need: lemon;

    How to: Slice the lemon into two halves and scrub the stain with the one part;

    Tub Toilet and Sink Cleaning

    You need: baking soda / borax and white vinegar;

    How to: sprinkle some baking soda onto your toilet brush and scrub the grime. For the outside of the toilet surface, apply some white vinegar on a sponge or cloth and wipe off.

    Tip: To disinfect the toilet use borax, instead of baking soda.

    Floor Cleaning

    You need: 1 cup of vinegar and 1-gallon hot water;

    How to: mix them and use the solution to mop the floor. This works for ceramic tile, vinyl and wood floor, as well as linoleum.

    Tip: add a few drops of essential oil for fantastic smell.

    Wooden Furniture Cleaning

    You need: lemon juice and olive oil;

    How to: apply equal parts on a cloth and rub into the wood.

    Countertops and Tiles

    You need: baking soda, white vinegar and water (1:2:4);

    How to: apply the mixture on a sponge and wipe off.

    Carpet Cleaning

    You need: white vinegar and water (1:1);

    How to: spray the dirty area of the carpet with the mixed solution and soak up with a towel.

    Tip: if the stain is still there mix equal parts of white vinegar, salt and borax (the mixture looks like a paste). Rub it into the carpet and leave for two hours. Vacuum after that.

    Cleaning Product For Everything

    You need: 1/4 cup of baking soda, 1/2 cup of white vinegar and 1/2 gallon of water;

    How to: mix the baking soda and the white vinegar into the water and store the solution somewhere safe, in order to use it when it's needed. You can use it for everything: water stains, window washing, countertops, upholstered furniture, etc. You should simply apply the solution on a clean cloth and wipe.

    Tip: For better smell you can add a few drops of your favourite essential oil.

    Air Freshener

    You need: baking soda, lemon juice;

    How to: mix equal parts of both ingredients and put the solution in a dish. That will absorb the odours and it's very useful, especially if you have pets.

    Wall Cleaning

    You need: baking soda;

    How to: apply the baking soda to a sponge, rub and wipe;

    One of the most important things in order to have a clean and fresh home, is to open the windows wide at least twice a day - in the morning and in the evening. The smell in your house will be better through the day and you'll sleep better through the night. If you haven't got enough time to make your own green cleaning products, hire a cleaning company. I recommend you to use a local cleaners, who use non-toxic cleaning detergents. Those types of cleaning products are natural, environmentally-friendly, and safe for humans and pets. Contrary to Kermit The Frog's popular quote: 'It's not easy being green', it actually is that easy. Go green.

     

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    There are quite a few lighting options for those who wantto make their homes greener and more environmentally friendly.  We will take a look at some of the best and most commonly used ones and see how they compare to traditional lighting methods.

    CFLs

    Compact Fluorescent Lights, or CFLs, are those twisty light bulbs that give off very bright light. They can actually come in quite a few shapes, but they are most easily recognized in their spiral form. The average CFL will keep working for around 10,000 hours. Compare that to traditional light bulbs (incandescent bulbs), which only last for about 1,000 hours.

    So while the CFL bulbs do cost a bit more, you will easily save money on them over time. CFLs also emit less heat than their incandescent counterparts. So your house will stay cooler, and you will spend less on air conditioning in the summer months.

    The only downside to these is that they do contain mercury, so you have to be careful about how you dispose of them. Many cities have a special program for CFLs, so check with yours to see what is offered as a safe method of disposal.

    LEDs

    Light emitting diodes, more commonly called LEDs, give off light consistently for as long as 40,000 hours. Now they are a bit more expensive than any other light bulb you can get, but they are also the longest lasting. By choosing LEDs, you cut down on the amount of waste going in to the environment and you can save quite a bit of money over time.

    Another benefit of these bulbs is that they use very little energy. Studies show the average LED uses as much as 90% less energy than even a CFL. That can give you some serious energy savings. If you want to save on your energy bill, just changing out your light bulbs can be an effective first step. If you are worried about theinitial cost of these bulbs, you can take comfort in knowing that their cost is slowly declining. They may never reach the very low cost of incandescent bulbs, but they don’t need to in order to save you lots of money.

    Save the Environment through Your Lighting.

    There are other ways you can cut down on energy costs and ensure that your lighting methods are protecting the environment. One of the easiest ways to do that is to use natural lighting as much as possible. By opening windows and curtains instead of turning on a light, you will make your bulbs last longer and save yourself some money on your energy bill. Natural sunlight is also healthier for your skin, eyes and mental state.

    If you have any power strips or wall warts that are plugged into the wall, be sure to unplug them when you aren’t using them. These can become warm even when they are not in use, which means that they are drawing power from your outlets even when you aren’t actively using them. This applies to power bricks for computers, laptops, chargers and video game consoles as well.

    One of the old energy-saving standbys is to turn off lights when you are not using them. But do you know how long you need to be absent from a room to actually make turning off your lights worthwhile? It’s important to know since constantly turning on and off lights depletes their lifespan quickly.

    So if you are using conventional incandescent bulbs, you should turn off the lights every time you leave the room, even if it is just for a few seconds. For CFLs, you can turn off the light if you plan to be absent from the room for more than a few minutes. And for LEDs, you wantto turn them offonly if you plan to be gone more than 15 minutes.  For more information on LED bulbs and lighting visit Led hut.co.uk

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  6. Today is the International Coffee Day. If you start every single day with the cup of aromatic brown drink, you are one of the millions that are celebrating today. Drinking coffee is not just a habit, it’s a ritual. What’s more pleasant than making a big cup of good coffee with milk (or without) and drinking it in bed while reading a book or a magazine?

    “Let’s have a cup of coffee". I’m sure you all get excited when you hear that. It means not just drinking coffee, but also meeting a friend, sharing some stories and emotions.

    Except of the emotional delight here are 5 more benefits of drinking coffee:

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    It contains a lot of antioxidants

    An antioxidant is a molecule that inhibits the oxidation of other molecules, so if you want your body to function properly, it’s good to make sure you provide yourself enough of it. Some fruits and vegetables are rich of antioxidants. Coffee too. So, it you have concerns that your coffee addiction is bad for your health… well, that’s not 100% true.

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    It helps you concentrate

    You get up at 8 o’clock in the morning at your first thought is “coffee, please”, you are not the only one. In fact, drinking coffee is not only an usual morning habit. It’s proven that coffee actually helps you not only to wake up, but also to stay focused. So, if you have a list of important tasks to do today, make yourself a cup of excellent coffee. If you have to learn for an important exam, coffee will help you stay concentrated. It gives you energie too - if you are moving home, for, example, have a cup of coffee first... or call professional removalists in Melbourne to do the job for you.

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    It boosts metabolism

    There are few health benefits of drinking coffee in the morning and one of them is that it boosts metabolism. So, don’t miss your mug of coffee, guys. A glass of warm water before you have breakfast helps too.

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    It’s a great reason to meet friends

    “Let’s go for a coffee” is one of the most common used invitations when you want to meet somebody. We always serve our guest a cup of coffee after the meal, too. In some societies drinking coffee is a whole ritual. There are special ways of making it and serving it in Turkey, for example. In some offices people enjoy drinking coffee together and talking about the weekend or their free time for a while before we start dealing with the daily tasks.

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    Some more reasons why coffee is actually great for your health

    A fact that you may don’t know about drinking coffee is that it can lossen the symptoms of Parkinson disease!

    If you are a woman, coffee could reduce your chances of getting skin cancer.

    Coffee can make you more intelligent and it keeps your brain in great condition.

    It reduces the risk of getting Type 2 diabetes.

  7. Whether it is a largescale construction for businesses, government offices or residences embracing green energy is the current trend. Integrating sophisticated technologies that are energy efficient with the use of green construction works and recycled materials have become a mainstay now. These measures in addition to increasing energy efficiency form sustainable designs and effective solutions for homes and businesses. 

    The need for such solutions has become imperative, as the normal heating and cooling solutions used at present lead to a very high level of CO2 emissions. For instance, the air conditioning used in automobiles consumes about 5 percent of the vehicle fuel and is responsible for CO2 emissions that go over 2 million tonnes in the UK alone. To effectively check the harmful emissions and improve energy efficiency, here are some of the top three heating and cooling technologies in use now.

    Geothermal solution

    The central core of the earth has an endless supply of steam and hot water, and the temperature increases as you go deeper. But this limitless supply can be tapped without digging too far, using geo thermal systems. The systems use energy underneath the earth surface to cool and heat any type of industrial warehouse, building or domestic homes.

    While direct tapping is possible, heat pumps are used by the geo thermal systems, which recycle the heat extracted from the geo thermal wells present underground. In winter, the fluids in the pumps absorb the heat underneath and warm the air above, while in summer the reverse happens resulting in cool air. Using pre- insulated pipes for district heating and cooling is another simple, but effective way to boost energy efficiency, as they prevent thermal leaks from the pipes reducing heating costs considerably.

    Solar energy

    Solar panels have become a regular fixture in many commercial and residential properties. The photovoltaic materials present in the panels convert sunlight into power for heating, cooling and lighting in buildings. While installing the panels is expensive, the money saved in the energy bills over the years is more than the expense incurred making it a highly viable option.  Cheaper alternatives also exist in harnessing solar power. Air, water, or liquid absorbs sunlight via a collector, which transfers the heat to a storage system or building directly.

    Biomass

    Biomass is a natural and sustainable energy form that is considerably cheaper, when compared to propane, oil, or natural gas. The biomass systems in use now release minimal pollutants and burn in a clean way making them a highly desirable largescale heating and cooling solution. The amount of carbon dioxide produced by biomass is very less and is comparable to the carbon dioxide level released by a plant. Using biomass can save you a huge amount on the power bills and keep the environment safe too.

    The heightening concern regarding the impact of harmful greenhouse gas emissions has forced the world to look at green energy measures. From improving energy efficiency with proper insulation to using renewable and environment-friendly fuels several solutions have been tried out with varying degrees of success. Research is still underway to find more such sustainable energy solutions, which are cost efficient and feasible for all.

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  8. There are many people who lose hope easily and get them indulged in the activities which can be harmful to them, but they are unable to see those harms and keep getting addicted. Mostly the reasons and factors vary that contribute toward the development of drug addiction and dependence on the person. The basic factor is environment and the company of the person which causes this habit to develop and eventually get worse. Mostly, people consider the person who is taking drugs as weak and also that one can get rid of the problem if he has a willingness to do so. But drug addiction is a complex term and it is a disease which impacts the mind of the person so it is not easy to get rid of this addiction easily. If you are looking for a top rated drug rehab Texas through which you can treat the person effectively, then it is best for you to browse top drug rehab centers that can provide you the best treatment.

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    Drug addiction is the chronic disease and causes damage to the brain and the compulsive drug seeking, and uses despite the harms and damages it causes to the other person around them. It changes the structure and function of brain and causes damage to the mental and physical health of the patient so it is very important to cure the patient before it is too late. You can find a good alcohol rehab El Paso by browsing top rehab company in the area and by consulting the professionals, you can treat the patient. It is true that the habit of consuming the drugs develops very easily and their decision to take drugs is voluntary, but with the passage of time, due to the continuous usage of drugs, it can affect the person’s self control and the ability of thinking and making sound decisions.

    The common drug which is very popular among the patients is the drugs of marijuana, heroin, cocaine, prescription drugs and others which are extremely difficult to leave. But the highly reputed treatment centers are highly experienced and help addicts finally be free from their addiction. You can visit this source of company’s web page to get all the information about the drug treatment and the advisor will also be there to guide you in letting you know about the treatment and the expenses in treating the patient.  The centers have the highly professional team who know how to deal with drug patients effectively and they offer both impatient and outpatient treatment programs so that the patient remains comfortable and easy. So, view the website, and you will surely get all the information which you are looking for about the drug types, treatments and related info. The world class and highly skilled staff of the rehab centers are trained to deliver the best services and support to the patients. The prices are also highly affordable as the basic purpose behind the treatment is not to earn money, but to give patient as new and healthy life. 

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    Recent Entries

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

    Using the Apples to Apples Chart Provided by the PUCO

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

    Customer Service

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

    Terms of the Contract

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

    Keep This in Mind

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

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

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

  9. As humans, a world without mosquitoes may seem like a little slice of heaven! No more itchy bites, no more stinky mosquito repellent, no more swatting arms and legs trying to get the little buggers before they bite, and no more annoying buzzing around your ears.

    Just imagine how nice it would be to sit around campfires at night without having to worry about being bitten, or taking hikes out in the woods and worrying about having brought along the "bug juice" to ward off the "skeeters." You'll never have to worry about welts on your kids' arms and legs, diseases like Zika, malaria, West Nile virus, and even such things as heartworm in dogs, among others, would become a thing of the past.

    Yes, it certainly would seem like a beautiful world if mosquitoes were just suddenly gone. Or would it be?

    Is There Anything Good About Mosquitoes?

    On the face of it, it certainly doesn't seem like it. Mosquito control products are meant to either keep them away or kill them, and probably no one ever said that a mosquito is their best friend. Mosquito borne diseases kill approximately a million people every year, and if you ask anyone if there was anything good about a mosquito, they would most likely say "No!"

    Mosquitoes Are a Food Source

    You may not know this, but there are many types of birds, mammals, and fish that feed on both mosquitoes and their larvae. Dragonflies, bats, and purple martins eat mosquitoes as a major food source, and they are some of the best natural mosquito control predators around. However, none of them are dependent on mosquitoes for survival. Sure, they will eat them when they can get them, but if there weren't any mosquitoes at all, they would eat something else.

    Yet, there is one ecosystem that almost wholly depends on mosquitoes as a food source, and without them, it would fail. Some migratory birds flying over the Arctic Tundra depend on mosquitoes as a food source to keep them alive during their migration. Without the lowly mosquito, they would not be able to sustain the journey and they would perish.

    So in an ecological sense, certain types of migratory birds that depend on the mosquito for sustenance would become extinct, and that alone is reason enough for the mosquito to exist.

    Mosquitoes Are a Gold Mine

    Here is where the real value of the mosquito comes in, and it's not what you might think.

    Mosquito control by humans is a gigantic source of income for tens of thousands of workers in the pest control business. This does not take into account the factories that produce mosquito repellents, the research into mosquito lifestyle and habitats, and the scientists who study the mosquito, both in a biological sense and as it relates to mosquitoes as pests.

    As you can see, the job force to combat mosquitoes is huge, and from an employment standpoint, mosquitoes support thousands upon thousands of families. Just that fact alone makes mosquitoes a literal gold mine in the business community, so think about that next time you get bitten by one.

    A World Without Mosquitoes

    As far as day-to-day life goes for humans, a world without mosquitoes would be a happier and healthier place. But for those people employed in a mosquito-related industry, such as mosquito control, developing and packaging mosquito repellents, or doing the research for all of the above, their lives would not be as financially rewarding. Couple that with certain types of migratory birds that would starve, and a mosquito-less world doesn't look so appealing after all. 

    The good news is that mosquitoes aren't going anywhere. Even as humans spend billions of dollars each year in mosquito control and eradication, the mosquito population is stable, with no end in sight. Try as humans might to get rid of them, those pesky little mosquitoes are never going away, and that familiar buzzing noise on those hot and humid summer nights are here to stay. 


  10. There are a lot of factors to consider when selecting a roofing contractor for a roof installation. It goes without saying that you want a roofer with plenty of experience. It’s also important that you select a roofer with a good reputation in your community and a proven track record of doing high quality work. Of course, the quoted price also has to be taken into consideration. One factor that many homeowners overlook when choosing a contractor is the roofer’s warranty.

    Don’t rely solely on the manufacturer’s warranty When you have a new roof installed, the roofing materials come with a warranty from the manufacturer. This protects you in the event the roofing materials fail prematurely. But sometimes, a problem with the installation itself can cause the roof to fail sooner than it should. Many manufacturer’s warranties will stipulate that a problem in the first two years isn’t covered. When the problem is with the installation, the manufacturer’s warranty won’t be any help. In this situation, you hope that the roofer will stand by their work and fix the problem.

    Check the fine print

    Any reputable roofer will offer some kind of warranty on their work, but not all warranties are equal. When selecting a roofer, it isn’t enough to just ask if the roofer offers a warranty, you need to pay attention to the details and read the fine print when comparing roofing warranties. There’s a big difference between a warranty that promises to “fix all defects” and a warranty that says it will “keep the roof watertight.” Pay attention to the language used and be wary of warranties that use exclusive language to limit what the roofer will fix. Also see how long the roofer’s warranty is. Some will offer free repairs for the first couple of years and a discounted rate thereafter.

    Other considerations

    Even the most generous warranties can be voided if you don’t properly care for the roof. If you never have your roof inspected, or if you don’t clean out the rain gutters and allow debris to accumulate in the roof valleys, you can’t expect the roofer to honor a warranty since a lack of roof maintenance could be to blame for roofing problems.

    To be safe, only work with a roofing contractor who has a brick and mortar location in the area. If you have a fly­by­night roofer or storm chaser install your roof, there’s a good chance they won’t be available to make repairs down the road. A local roofer with a good reputation in your community, however, will be there to honor a warranty should it be needed.

    Home improvement news brought to you by bartonroof.com

    Source: everybodyneedsaroof.com/News/Details/2040

     

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    Carbon dioxide pollution is the greatest contributor to the global warming. The top two sources of carbon dioxide pollution are coal-burning power plants (the largest in the U.S.) which emit 2.5 billion tons of CO2 yearly and automobiles which produce 1.5 billion tons of CO2 every year. But did you know that browsing the internet can also produce carbon dioxide emissions?

    According to an Environmental Fellow at Harvard University, Dr. Alexander Wissner-Gross, who researches the environmental impact of computing, every second that someone spends browsing a website produces an estimate amount of 20 milligrams of CO2. Every single activity like sending an email, downloading a song, or video streaming that happens in the web has an impact on the environment. That desktop computer you and you’re family are using whose electricity came from coal power plants is giving carbon emissions equivalent to a sports car!

    Several studies showed that with the increasing demands for energy of computers from manufacturing, utilization and disposal of data and communications technology creates nearly two percent of air pollution which is equal to the amount generated by the whole aviation industry.

    Some researches estimated that in a decade, the internet will be creating 20 percent of the world’s CO2 pollution.

    McAfee, an anti-virus software company, stated that the energy needed in transmitting trillions of spam emails every year is equivalent to the electricity needed to power two million houses in the U.S. and generating the similar amount of CO2 emissions as more than 3 million cars.

    The worst offenders in harming the environment are the data centers whose hundreds to thousands servers are storing everything from emails, company websites, social media photos and videos. Based on the Climate Group and Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI) study in 2008, data centers all over the world emitted 76 million tons of CO2 in 2002. This amount may had tripled or more after a decade.

    As millions of people use the Internet each year, the necessity of making an environment-friendly Internet ecosystem is urgent and very important. But how can we achieve this?

    The energy department of WMD hosting agrees that one of the answers is switching to “green” web hosting, know as the eco friendly version of the traditional web hosting.

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    Web hosting operations need a huge amount of electricity to power web servers and other equipment. To minimize the CO2 emissions, more and more companies are resorting to “green” web hosting – an eco-friendly alternative to the conventional web hosting.

    The main purpose of the mentioned “green” web hosting is to compensate for the CO2 emissions of the data centers in the environment by applying several approaches. Some of these are:

    · Purchasing of Renewable Energy Credits (RECs).

    · Reducing the consumption of energy by using solar power, recycling or eliminating the use of paper.

    · Car pooling.

    · Planting a tree.

    Opting for a this kind of web hosting rests entirely on you. You have seen what CO2 emissions have caused in the environment. It is more expensive than the traditional, yes, but think about the help that you can give not just today but the future generation as well.

  12. Green Computing- A Necessity

    Uncurbed maneuvering with the natural resources in the recent century has brought us to a point where we must walk safe or we will perish. Environmental degradation has reached almost the unbearable level in many ways which is why the only sustainable way forward is adopting ‘eco-friendly’ techniques.

    Green Computing is a step to safeguard against the degrading environmental conditions on the planet. From manufacturing to usage to disposal, computers have a considerable amount of contribution to the environment illness. Green Computing is meant to minimize this effect on the environment and if possible do something to improve the environmental conditions.

    Today, most of the businesses are pivoting around the computer-based operations and hence, there is a lot that Green Computing has on offer. From SMBs to leading global MNCs, all have their specific needs of computers and related resources. Their contribution to environment degradation may vary but cannot be neglected. So, it is crucial for all levels of businesses to adopt Green Computing for a better future.

    Why Your Business Should Adopt Green Computing?

    The hope of a good future is hardly a substantial reason to attract the money-focused business minds. Still, we have seen many businesses coming up openly in the support of Green computing. Here are the reasons for which businesses can benefit from green computing.

    1.       Save Money on Bills: As a business, if you believe in ‘Saving money is earning money’, then adopting Green Computing is definitely meant for you. Green Computing involves the usage of devices that consume low energy that eventually saves your expenses as bills on electricity, etc.

    2.       More Space for Work: Green Computing aims at using technologies that constrain the need of hardware, such as- server, fax machines, etc. and replace them with software-based technologies, like- virtual servers, internet fax, Hosted PBX, etc. This serves the businesses in diminishing the requirements of hardware and dedicated space. The space saved can be used many other productive and eco-friendly efforts.

    3.       Brag about Green Computing: Many surveys and studies have proven that customers prefer services from the brands that highlight their work for social and environmental causes because going with Green Computing creates a positive influence among the customers. Some studies have also revealed that such businesses even gain priority from other businesses for partnership and other dealings. If you are contributing to the environment, make sure that claim for your efforts.

    4.       Recognitions and Marketing: Many government agencies, NGOs, environmental groups, media houses, etc. offer special certifications and prizes to businesses for their work for the environmental benefits. It comes as a free advertising for the business as news related to such recognitions keeps you in the limelight. Also, such certifications and recognition logos can even be used on the website and pamphlets that help in creating a reputed-brand feeling in the market.

    How to Adopt Green Computing?

    In case you are not impressed with the goodness of Green Computing mentioned above you should still take a look at the ways in which you can adopt it and help the planet. Possibly, the ease of adopting it will impress you.

    1.       Adopt Energy Efficient Devices: To simplify it further, Energy-Star rating for most of the electronic devices has been declared mandatory by most governments across the world. Check out the Energy-Star ratings for the devices that you purchase for your business. Usual recommendation by experts is to opt for the devices with 4-star or better ratings.

    2.       Switch to Cloud-based Solutions: With the introduction of the cloud, Green Computing has got the real fuel. Basically, it replaces huge server rooms with a simple software installation. Furthermore, with application hosting, it can even replace software installation. Cloud-based solutions eradicate the need of dedicated cables and wires, stores more data than physical storage drives can imagine. One can keep on counting on the benefits of cloud hosting for environment forever and the list might keep growing.

    3.       Avoid Printing or Make Most of Each Printed Page: Use emails, Internet Fax, etc. instead of usual printed pages. Minimizing page consumption is a multi-way benefit as it saves on manufacturing, disposal, and maintenance cost to a great extent. However, running a business with zero consumption of pages is not possible for all. In such cases, using smaller fonts, narrow margins, both-side printing, etc. can be a very valuable contribution.

    4.       Encourage Employees to Follow Eco-Friendly Practices: Most operating systems offer an efficient mode, which can be used for saving expenses on the energy. Employees must be encouraged to use the devices in such modes. Switching off the computer when not in use, sharing of devices, etc. are some of the practices that can be introduced into office culture without much hassle.

    5.       Recycle and Smart Disposal: Electronic waste (e-waste) is a big issue that the world is facing right now. Try to recycle the electronic devices in a smarter manner and at the time of disposal make sure that you follow the government and manufacturer guidelines.

    Final Note

    Business means profit and many businesses have belief in a myth that if they adopt Green Computing, they will have to suffer on the financial terms, which keeps them from helping the environment. However, the results so far have been completely opposite. For almost all levels of businesses, the green computing has brought significant cost cutting in many ways. There are certain procedures that appear to be inviting expenses, such as- buying energy efficient devices.  But they have long-term benefits.

    Also, various governments are thinking about making it mandatory for businesses to adopt a specific level of Green Computing and the decision is certain to arrive. The only question is when – sooner or later. Today it is ‘making a choice’ and tomorrow it will be ‘following an order’. 

    Green Computing Whitepaper

  13. In today’s economic uncertainty and fluctuating weather Calgary homeowners are increasingly interested in reducing their home’s impact on the environment, which can also help lower energy and utility costs. 

    Built Green Canada, a national organization with a certification program that rates the level at which a home is energy-efficient, measuring factors such as the materials and methods used in construction, ventilation, waste management, water conservation, and indoor air quality. The Calgary Herald has reported that Calgary and area builders enrolled more single-family homes in the Built Green Canada program in 2016 than a year earlier, and again more homes in the Calgary area were enrolled in the program over the first three months of 2017 than the same time last year. 

    Built Green Canada notes that there are a number of roofing materials and methods that improve thermal performance and offer energy benefit including recycled-content roofing systems and those with a minimum 30-year manufacturer warranty on roofing material. To help you make eco-friendly choices when you need roofing and siding replacement our roofing contractors at Century Roofing Limited have pulled together these common roofing related ways to make your home environmentally friendly:
    •    Proper insulation and ventilation of a roof system - reductions in power and fossil fuels used in the heating and cooling processes will help make a more environmentally efficient household.
    •    Daylighting - bring natural daylight into your home will benefit the environment by reducing electricity, and provide healthy natural light to the household. 
    •    Landscaping - keeping vegetation growth from encroaching on a roof area will aid in air circulation and reduce wear and tear on your roof system. Extending the life of the roof system reduces the material usage over time, saves money, and lowers the environmental impact. 
    •    Proper roof maintenance - keeping the gutters, downspouts, and roof area free of debris will help extend the life of a roof system. By utilizing the full life span of a roof system homeowners can delay replacement, which in turn results in cost savings and less material waste. 

    Albertans are increasingly embracing eco-friendly building options as evident in Built Green Canada’s efforts and events such as Edmonton’s Eco-Solar Home Tour, now in its 17th year (June 3-4, 2017), showcasing ways to maximize energy efficiency at home. Century Roofing Limited can help you to fill all those needs. We handle virtually everything having to do with roofing. No project is too big or small for our roofing contractors; see what our Calgary roofers can provide:
    •    Historical renovations;
    •    Custom designs/installations using quality craftsmanship and materials;
    •    Large-scale commercial or varied sized residential roofing projects;
    •    Roofing, eavestroughing, soffit and fascia renovation and repair; and 
    •    Siding maintenance and repair.

    At Century Roofing Limited, we handle virtually everything having to do with roofing and offer a host of eco-friendly options. If you have questions about your homes or business exterior contact us at 403-235-5457 today to plan your next project and get a free estimate. Serving central and southern Alberta and eastern British Columbia.

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  14. Does Ireland really get enough sunshine to make Solar Energy worthwhile?

    Yes.   Believe it or not, Ireland actually gets the same amount of sunlight as most of central Europe (the best approximation would be southern France).  This is more than enough to make Solar Panels a viable energy option in Ireland.

    Do Solar Panels only work when it's sunny?

    No.  Even when it is cloudy, the sun's rays provide plenty of harvestable energy.  This is known as 'indirect sunlight', which accounts for 60% of all energy provided by the sun.  Only 40% of solar energy comes from direct sunlight, so a bright sunny day is not necessary for generating a viable source of solar power.

    What do Solar Panels actually generate?

    Over the course of the year, the energy converted by solar panels can provide roughly 65% of a household's hot water.  During the summer months this can rise above 95%.

    What's the difference between Evacuated Tube and Flat Plate Solar Panels?

    Evacuated Tube Solar Panels are generally more efficient in terms of energy in cloudy weather conditions (i.e. the weather typically observed in Ireland).  Flat Plate Solar Panels, while somewhat less efficient in terms of energy production during periods of poor weather, are more durable and are far less likely to require maintenance at any point, making them more budget efficient options for households.

    My house is quite old.  Can Solar Panels still be attached to it?

    Yes.  Some roof tiles may have to be removed to facilitate the Solar Panels, but this is not a major operation and it will not disturb the interiors of a home in any way.  The panels themselves are very light so no structural reinforcement is needed.

    Do I need planning permission to install Solar Panels?

    No.  Planning permission is not required to install Solar Panels on domestic buildings in the Republic of Ireland so long as the panels are smaller than 12 meters squared.

    Where is the best place to put Solar Panels?

    The optimum position for Solar panels is facing south and at a 45 degree angle.  This will catch more sunshine (and will create more energy) over the course of the year in Ireland than any other layout.
    While Solar Panels can be placed on walls or even on the ground, the roof is generally considered the best spot as it tends to be away from areas of activity, limiting the chances of them getting damaged.

    Once installed, what are the running costs of Solar Panels?

    As there are virtually no moving parts (with the exception of a small circulation pump), the cost of running Solar Panels at full energy producing capacity is negligible - in the region of 20c per year.

    How long does it take for Solar Panels to start 'paying for themselves'?

    After approximately 4 or 5 years the savings made from energy created by Solar Panels will have completely  covered the cost of purchase and installation (as well as the aforementioned small ongoing maintenance costs).  After that, the Solar Panels will essentially be creating free energy on an ongoing basis.

    What other benefits do you get from installing Solar Panels?

    In addition to the energy savings you will make, the addition of Solar Panels will greatly increase a house's resale value.  The house will also benefit from an improved BER (Building Energy Rating).  

    How long do Solar Panels last?

    Due to a lack of moving parts, the Solar Panels themselves last a very long time and almost never require maintenance.  As it is the only moving part in the whole system, the circulation pump is susceptible to minimal natural wear and tear.  It is recommended that the pump is replaced once every 10 to 15 years.  Luckily, a circulation pump is an inexpensive item which is easily replaced, usually costing between €10 and €20 - not much of an outlay over the course of a decade or so; working out at about a euro a year.

    Do Solar Panels come with a warranty?

    While different companies have different policies, it is usually possible to get a 10 year guarantee which covers repairs and maintenance when it comes to purchasing solar panel products.

    Are there any grants/subsidies available for buying Solar Panels?

    Yes.  Among the money saving options available to Irish consumers is grant of up to €800 for the purchase/installation of Solar Panels from the SEAI's Better Energy Homes Scheme. More information on this scheme and other means of reducing the cost of Solar Panels can be found here.

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    The 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference was a rousing success in Paris this year… for people in international trade.

    There is some hopeful talk as well as some fluff published by the United Nations left to show that no one really cares about the environment. The motto was “eat, think, save.”  People get carried away with the spirit the event is supposed to create that it becomes harder to even consider what such catchphrases mean.

    Recyclable cups were championed? Sure, the concept sounds noble to get people to return and reuse them for a credit. For a conference with a theme of cutting down greenhouse gasses, how about just not supporting the idea of plastic materials at all?  How about people bring their own ceramic mugs and reuse those?  And not do it because there is some financial incentive, but because the collective effort of the world promotes conservation?

    All the food was “rescued.”  That’s a pretty ambiguous statement. I can only assume they didn't go dumpster diving for the food, but was the food purchased from a nearby farm that has no distribution network because they’ve been priced out by corporate agriculture?  The fluff piece gives no insight into what the rescued food even means, what it was or how that helps the overall cause. There was certainly no mention of it being locally sourced or anything like that.

    Then there is the promotion of “eco-cars.”  Instead of dressing up the emperor, how about just encouraging people to not drive?  Electric cars still have moving parts, which need grease and oil to operate. They may help with emission standards, but to how much of a degree? Until more people start getting rid of their cars, getting exercise and considering real alternatives, there will be little to no improvement to the earth or humanity.

    The article closes with an admission that maybe the conference should have discussed bigger and better things like heating and air conditioning. Nice that someone was willing to note that. Better luck next year, Morocco!  

    To keep it all abstract seems exactly how the world’s richest nations want things to be, something that looks good yet accomplishes nothing in the way of progress.

    On the heels of the climate conference, the United States is all in trying to push through a trade agreement to do away with just about any environmental effort that stands in the way. Meanwhile, the Japanese Prime Minister made it perfectly clear that the environment comes second to economy.

    Sketchy dealings to push through the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership send multinational efforts toward complete corporate control. European health markets “reduced safety and backdoor privatization” is the reality people are grappling with. Governments that don’t care about the health of a person certainly aren’t very likely to care about the health of the earth.

    International trade is a barrier to environmental efforts as Matt Carthy from Sinn Fein was quoted, the Paris talks just echoed that governments “must not allow any countries to limit trade and investment opportunities for European corporations seeking to penetrate new markets around the world.” Not only is international trade a barrier to local market economies, it also distinctly contradicts the feel good mission of the conference in not wanting to truck in fresh bagels every day. Priorities are obviously skewed. Until the corporate power structure changes, the environment is still hell bent on destruction.

    As Green Blog contributor Megan Bonetti pointed out in the wake of the climate conference, it's the "developed" countries that hold all the cards in the debate. It makes sense that the United States is at the forefront of environmental atrocities, where fifty percent of citizens don’t believe in anthropogenic global warming. As long as information is withheld and fluffy conventions take the place of meaningful dialogue and actionable steps, people will continue to believe exactly what they are supposed to believe.

    International trade is a barrier to environmental efforts as Matt Carthy from Sinn Fein was quoted, the Paris talks just echoed that governments “must not allow any countries to limit trade and investment opportunities for European corporations seeking to penetrate new markets around the world.”  

    International trade is also a barrier to local market economies and distinctly a contradiction to the feel good nature of not wanting to truck in fresh bagels to the conference every day. Priorities are obviously skewed. Until the corporate power structure changes, the environment is still hell bent on destruction.

  15. blog-0145058001418224702.jpeg

    When it comes to the whole problem with the global warming, sooner or later everyone will realize that we have to do a lot more, even individually, to prevent a major catastrophe that is about to happen. But when it comes down to it, we are a particularly lazy species, and even though we are faced with inevitable threat, we are not so quick to make all the needed adjustments. For example, even switching from simple increscent light bulbs to a fluorescent kind has not happened everywhere around the world, which means that somewhere, people are spending energy inefficiently.

    It might sound funny, but that is just a small example of how small things can influence the bigger picture. When it comes to taking care of our gardens, there are many thing we are still doing wrong. We spend too much chemicals and pollute the soil, we use excessive amounts of water, or the total opposite – we simply don’t care about our gardens. But, what can be done to truly create an eco-friendly garden? We’ve made a few notes for you to remember.

    1. Do Not Be Wasteful

    This is what being green is all about. Just look at nature, nothing is wasted there, everything has its purpose, and once nature is done with it, it is used again and again, in one form or another. Humans, on the other hand, are not as clever. Humans throw away so much food each year with which we could easily solve world hunger once and for all. The clear solution to this is to think about everything that you do and eat more carefully; the next time you see a banana go brown, do not throw it away – use it to make compost, and all the kitchen scraps can be used for that purpose as well. Composting is adding nutrient rich humus that plants would later use to grow and develop. This is also done to restore depleted soil so that it returns to its normal state.

    2. Do Not Be Harmful

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    The next important thing to know is that you should try and do no harm to the existing ecosystem that already exists in your garden. Sure, you are going to arrange it the way you want it to look, but do not use chemicals or other kinds of unnatural fertilizers that can pollute nearby water, rivers and ultimately – oceans, and even damage the plants that naturally live there. Pesticides and herbicides, usually do more harm than good, and there is certainly a better way to achieve weed-free garden – use your hands and physically remove them. By creating this eco-friendly habitat, you will create a suitable place for many organisms to live and thrive, both under and above the ground.

    3. Eco-Friendly Can Be Pretty Too

    Once you’ve prepared everything, you will need to carefully select the plants that you will use for your garden. The best thing would be to use native plants and flowers, because those are already accustomed to your type of climate and specific regional conditions. They will require less care and water to grow, while they will be beneficial for the local habitat. Plant a tree – it will not only produce oxygen for you, but it will also provide you shade, housing for the birds, and not to mention a few tasty apples if you choose to plant an apple tree. Use natural pebbles or rocks or other kinds of decorative aggregates for additional aesthetic effects, as they can create walkable paths and emphasize certain areas, creating the effect you want.

    4. Water with Care

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    Water is an especially touchy subject, especially if you are used to turning on the garden sprinklers whenever it is too hot outside. Remember that some regions of this world are still struggling with clean, drinkable water, and you are wasting it. Altering your habits might save a lot of water, especially during hot spells in the summer. More compost the soil has, the more likely it is to keep all the vapor inside, and prevent further evaporation. Soaker hoses use much less water than sprinklers during the summer and provide you with the same results, as each and every drop is directly transferred to the ground, without having time to be evaporated by sun or carried away by wind. Having an eco-friendly garden is not hard as people might think, and the effect it will have is small, but if everyone does it – it will quickly add up.

  16. Once the spring sets in, expect those bees to go looking for new places where they can place their hive. The fact that bees help with the environment is very much appreciated, though it is not really nice to have them building their nests near your home as you are in serious risk of getting bee stings! You can consider different DIY methods of removing them, or you can get a professional bee removal service to save yourself the effort. But either way you go, it is important that you decide which is more convenient for you. You can get rid of the bees in a lot of different DIY methods. But before you do any method, you have to be absolutely sure that you are really dealing with bees. You can do this by taking a dead one and looking at it closely.

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    Once you confirm that those are bees, you can set up a trap on where the bees are hiding. For this method, you can use a wire cone and to trap the main entrance and exit point of the bees. Just make sure that there are no other spots for them to go. Leave the cone placed on and wait for most of the bees to come out, then once they're out, put pesticide on the whole to kill the queen and the remaining brood. You can also use aerosol pesticides, but you have to make sure that you cover yourself well before you spray it on. Pray the pesticides on all entry and exit points during the night, when the bees are most likely resting but you should be aware that the pesticides only kill the ones that get directly hit by the aerosol spray If you see the bees on a tree outside your home, you can carefully cut off the branch that has them, and bring them to a secluded place where no one will get stung. These methods are easier said and done, and we have to warn you that this is a difficult method. It's also dangerous. So make sure that you do lots of research on how to do it correctly and check online for a helpful site to see the details on how to safely remove the bees on your own. If you feel that bee removal is something that you cannot do on your own, and then you can go for the bee keepers and bee removers. Some companies offer both services, so it's a good idea to do comparisons of pricing first before you go for a specific bee service company.


    For bee removal and bee keeping, you can go for Tustin Bee Removal Service and Bee Control Experts. They have major services that can effectively remove bees. If you don't want to kill the bees, then you can have them relocated with their bee keeping services. For more information, contact them today to find out how their services work and to know how your home will be free from live bees today.

     

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    According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), many roofing contractors aren't taking the necessary safety precautions when working on top of roofs. Complaints against roofing contractors for unsafe practices are more common than they used to be and OSHA, along with the Better Business Bureau and various roofing associations is working to correct the problem.

    Just how dangerous is roofing?

    Nearly a third of all fall related deaths in the construction industry occur from the rooftop. Contrary to popular belief, this isn't usually due to inexperience (though it is sometimes the case). Even the most experienced roofers can fall when the work environment is unsafe. Uneven sheathing, a sudden gust of wind, loose roofing materials, tools lying about, and wet surfaces all commonly lead to falls resulting in serious injury or death. Even a bee sting or some other on-the-job injury can distract a roofer causing them to fail. Many of these work place hazards, such as leaving tools where a person might stumble on them, are the result of human error. Others, such as sudden gusts of wind, are completely outside the worker's control. However, with the proper safety measures in place, even these types of hazards are less likely to result in a fall.

    What this means for roofers

    According to OSHA, while the cost of providing the property safety equipment to all roofers could be a setback to roofing contractors, that cost is nothing compared to the worth of a human life. OSHA urges that roofing contractors make sure to train all of their workers in the use of safety equipment and to make sure that equipment is being used every second that they are working on a roof. Also make sure that each roofer has proper footwear that will protect them from slipping and from injury that could lead to a fall.

    What this means for homeowners

    Homeowners also need to be concerned about the danger of a roofer falling while on-the-job. First off, they need to make sure that any roofing contractor they hire has the necessary insurance to cover such injuries. Otherwise, the homeowner could be liable for an injury. Even with insurance, however, no homeowner wants to feel responsible that a serious injury or death occurred from his/her rooftop. It's important when hiring a contractor to ask about safety measures. Homeowners shouldn't be afraid to ask about what safety equipment and what safety measures will be used on the job. As the saying goes, it's better to be safe than sorry.

    Home improvement news brought to you by bartonroof.com

    Source: safety.blr.com/workplace-safety-news/construction-safety/fall-protection-construction/OSHA-says-Denver-contractors-are-falling-down-on-f/

    :)

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    No matter how small your areas is, we have some great ideas for gardening in small areas. Perennial plants works well in small areas as does small shrubs, ground cover plants and some vegetable plants like tomatoes, cucumbers and okra.

     

     

     

     

    If you've got a bit of a green thumb but don't have much space to work with, it's still possible to create lush spreads of garden plants. The key is choosing the right flora for your particular situation. Here are a few excellent choices that will fit into fairly confined spaces and create a welcoming garden environment.
     

    Perennials


    Getting the most from perennials is all about selecting relatively tall flowers with small footprints. Veronicas, peonies, daffodils, hostas and hibiscus are all popular choices for gardeners without much square footage to work with. Daylilies are another solid option if you're looking for maximum color in the minimum amount of space.

    Image result for daffodils

    Berry Plants


    Nothing beats fresh produce plucked from your own backyard. With the right soil in place, berry plants can look great and crank out tons of tasty treats during the summer. Raspberry and blueberry bushes are both fairly dense, easy to care for and give the backyard a particularly verdant look.
     

    Image result for berry plants

    Shrubs


    The great thing about shrubs is that they can serve several purposes at the same time. For starters, they beautify any space and don't require a lot of hand-holding to thrive. Even better, they allow gardeners to build living privacy walls as they see fit. Popular shrubs include cotoneaster, boxwood and wintercreeper.
     

    Image result for small shrubs

    Fruit Trees


    You don't need to plant a citrus patch to enjoy fresh fruit and jazz up your small gardening space. A handful of fruit trees can thrive even in confined enclosures. Horticulturalists have created dwarf varieties of nearly every fruit tree available. Grapefruit, mandarin orange, apricot and pear trees are always winners.
     

    Creeping Vines


    Nothing creates an enchanting atmosphere like a slew of creeping vines. The added benefit of vines is that they grow vertically given the right trellis system. Try some coral honeysuckle, moonflower, clematis or trumpet vine to start with. If you're a home brewer, any number of hop strains would be a good call.
     

    Small Footprint, Stunning Looks


    Obviously, avid gardeners with limited real estate have no shortage of options when it comes to plant variety. If you select plants, shrubs and trees that are appropriate for your local climate, you'll be amazed at how well your small-area picks complement your miniature garden.

     

    Author

    Trees For Sale Online Nursery offers state certified low prices garden plants, perennials, ferns, wetland plants, live garden mosses, trees, shrubs and much more at the best prices online. When you buy from the grower, your cutting the middleman out and getting the lowest possible prices on all your landscaping needs. A 57 year old authority in the wholesale nursery grower industry and licensed to ship to all states and 13 foreign countries.
     

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    Thanks to our modern, busy lives, many of us experience health problems related directly with stress or improper lifestyle habits. The choices we make every day impact our health greatly and by making few simple adjustments, you can start living more productive and most importantly healthier life! Just follow these easy tips and you will start to feel the difference in just few weeks:

    #1 Try to Avoid Driving

    With most of us working stuck in offices most of the day, in front of a computer, the lack of exercise can cause quite a lot of health problems. A simple 15-20-minute walk can change everything and also since you will not be using your car, you are actually contributing to preserving the environment.

    #2 Go for Green Foods

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    The local supermarkets are often filled with quite a variety of green foods, but many of them are not seasonal thus imported or grown in orangeries. Experts advise to always go for seasonal greens - these are packed with the exact vitamins and minerals you need during the particular time of the year.

    #3 Grow Your Food

    You don’t necessarily need to have a yard, you can place few pots in the kitchen and grown your own herbs or even vegetables. As simple as it may sound, growing your own crops can be beneficial for your health in many ways, plus you will always know what you eat.

    #4 Learn More About Herbs

    Herbs contain large quantities of important vitamins and minerals for your body. They can be combined with one another to deliver not only great taste for your meals, but a bunch of supplements you can’t get into your body. Once you try cooking your favorite meals using fresh herbs, you will never want to change this!

    #5 Get Comfortable Shoes

    Shoes are a lot more than just a fashion accessory – comfortable shoes can increase your energy and help you feel much better when walking or exercising. Furthermore, many studies show that a pair of comfortable shoes seems to be quite an effective weapon against fatigue, a lot better than coffee for example.

    #6 Garlic 101

    Garlic is part of the everyday meal of humans for thousands of years, there are even studies that suggest the same people, who built the pyramids ate it on daily basis. With incredibly effective antibacterial properties, the garlic is the ultimate weapon against common colds and other health problems, common mostly for the winter season. Small amounts of raw or lightly cooked garlic can do miracles with your overall health!

    #7 Have a Casual Conversation

    Multiple studies conducted over the past few years suggest that casual conversations are great for maintaining focus and even help preserve memory. Take just 10 minutes to sit down and have a casual conversation with a friend!

    #8 Drink More Water

    Our bodies are made mostly from water and due to our modern lifestyle, many of us forget to drink sufficient amounts of water every day. Drink between 6 and 8 cups of water every day to ensure your body is properly hydrated. This has incredibly positive impact on many body functions and can greatly improve your overall health!

     These 8 green tips can do wonders for your overall health, but remember that its always necessary to consult with a general practitioner, like BroadGateGP.

  17. Hair health is of utmost importance; not only for women but men too. So, if you are looking for ways in which you can make your hair healthy, here is an option that should help you.

    Apple cider vinegar is a remedy traditionally used in keeping one’s scalp and hair healthy. It is a proven method, and you can expect it to be a cost-effective method to have healthy hair. One can easily prevent dry scalp, dandruff and itching with the help of apple cider vinegar. Opting for organic apple cider vinegar is a great idea.

    Vinegar is considered to be a good solution in this case because it can control the growth of fungi and bacteria that often clog the hair follicles. These hair follicles are found where the hair grows.

    Apple Cider Vinegar benefits is even used as a food preservation health remedy and as a remedy for cosmetic problems in the skin. Improving and maintaining scalp health is possible with the help of apple cider vinegar.

    This is a remedy that also helps because it contains antiviral, antifungal, anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that often assist in the prevention of various infections that cause hair loss. Also, it helps in maintaining the pH balance of the scalp. This prevents the scalp from infections and dryness. So, it is a good idea to opt for apple cider vinegar to be sure that your hair is healthy.

    Another interesting fact is that vinegar contains essential nutrients like iron, potassium, Vitamin A, C, B1, B6 and many more that can help in maintaining your hair’s health.

     

    One of the ways in which you can use vinegar to prevent itchiness and flaking and also keep your scalp healthy is to opt for a vinegar rinse.

    If you want to treat itchy or dry scalp and hair problems, you should use plain white vinegar or apple cider vinegar.

    A less known fact is that if you want to prevent scalp buildup, one can use apple cider vinegar for the said purpose too. Shampooing helps, but to make the process extremely effective, you should opt for an apple cider vinegar rinse. It will help in removing scalp buildup effectively.

    Want to know more about it? You can think about books that are written on this topic. So, make sure that you learn more about it and make the most of the advantages you can enjoy at the store. Target.com is a place where you can get such informational books. So, visit Target.com and make sure that you enjoy discounts at the store while looking for some of the most exciting discounts that can be enjoyed with the help of promo codes. Promo codes are good, and you should find exciting for Target coupons codes available at popular third-party sites. Look for the expiry dates too before choosing a promo code.

    Apart from this, how do you think apple cider vinegar help in improving one’s scalp and hair health? Share your views in the comments.

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    Navigating in the 21st Century: Where To?

    When you go on a road trip, what do you use to navigate? Google Maps, a GPS system, maybe a printed map of the area? How about a map printed in 1776? Probably not - there have been so many changes since then that it wouldn't be an accurate guide, and you might not reach your intended destination.

    The Map

    In a way, we are using an old map in our economy when we use the concepts and practices originally set out by Adam Smith in "The Wealth of Nations", published in 1776,1 which formed the basis for the market economy model of economic transactions.

    It's not a matter of the principles being "wrong", it's that there have been significant changes since 1776 and new information needs to be incorporated into our economic framework so that it reflects the realities of the world today, and better guides our choices for the long term.

    Then and Now

    In 1776 our impact on the world was a tiny fraction of what it is today. The world population was short of a billion (about 900 million)2 and the Watt steam engine was just beginning to power the Industrial Revolution in Europe. The combined rise of powered industrial technology and human population since then has hugely expanded our ability to impact the world around us. Today over 7.3 billion people3 need food, water, shelter and other resources; projections for peak human population are in the range of 9 to 10 billion4 , and the technologies to extract and process natural resources into products have expanded along with population.

    As products were made and sold in 1776, there were adverse impacts, and costs were incurred that were unknown, thus not considered as Adam Smith created his economic model. For instance, air pollution from coal-burning engines began around that time, but it wasn’t recognized as being harmful to human health. In contrast, a recent World Health Organization report estimated that around 7 million people died in 2012 as a result of global air pollution exposure5. Similarly, other forms of pollution and various other adverse impacts occur, and these costs are often not reflected in the accounting of the businesses which cause pollution as they manufacture and sell their products.

    Incentives and Externalities

    Logic and ethics might suggest that the costs of adverse impacts from the making of products be added to the books of the firms making and selling those products. For example, those cost figures could be for pollution abatement equipment, installed to prevent or reduce the health impacts to people downwind from the plant. More commonly, these kinds of costs are incurred by the public, and measured by public health agencies, in terms of hospital visits, reduced productivity and premature deaths.

    One of the primary tenets of the market system is that the purpose of a business is to maximize profits for investors and management. This is typically done by maximizing sales and profits, and in order to maximize sales and profits, and to maintain a competitive pricing position in the market, production costs must be minimized. So businesses have a fundamental disincentive to add to their costs, including the costs to public health and the health and productivity of natural resources, both of which have been left out of the market model and are referred to as “externalities”. Protecting the public interest is not the function or purpose of business; this is the responsibility of the representatives we elect to govern in the public interest.

    Natural Capital

    Another development not envisaged when the Wealth of Nations was published was the depletion of natural resources, sometimes to the point of species extinction. This is reflected in the following statement from “TEEB - The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity: Mainstreaming the Economics of Nature”:

    “The invisibility of biodiversity values has often encouraged inefficient use or even destruction of the natural capital that is the foundation of our economies.” 6

    Consider the example of the Cod community population, a rich fishery around the Grand Bank in the North Atlantic Ocean. In 1950 there was a total population of about 2.5 million metric tons; by 2000 the population was down to around 0.25 million metric tons – a 90% reduction in population7. U.S. and Canadian fisheries agencies coordinated to manage this valuable natural resource and prevent the extinction of Atlantic cod. The same story has played out in the Chesapeake Bay with the oyster population, which is estimated today to be about 1% of the population that existed when Europeans arrived in the 17th century8. Why were these resources so overfished and jeopardized?

    From a business perspective the market economy is based on competition and individual decision making, so each fishermen seeks to maximize their catch, not to manage a regional fishery resource. There is no provision for rational, science-based natural resource management within the market economy. The actions of individual producers and consumers pursuing their self-interest determine resource utilization, and left to the mechanisms of the market will consume the resource if the demand is high enough.

    Buyer Beware

    This is rational for each individual fishing company and consumer, but collectively the result is irrational. The market economy does not address the combined effects of individual actions. So despite the litany of comments from some business leaders, and, not coincidentally, some politicians, that government is wrong to “burden” companies with regulations, it is clear that the incentive structure of the market model needs to be updated to incorporate “external” costs and to protect ecological and human health in the public interest. From the TEEB study, what is needed is:

    “To recalibrate the faulty economic compass that has led us to decisions that are prejudicial to both current well-being and that of future generations6.”

    Consider an example of making a rational decision on public health, in the public interest. If you take steps to reduce air pollution in compliance with the Clean Air Act, it will cost up to $65 billion a year by 2020. The benefits of these steps have been estimated at $2 trillion per year9. That’s quite a return on investment - what would you do? What would be rational?

    Predictably, a relentless sales campaign by the vested parties of the status quo uses the tools of modern advertising to push emotional buttons and manipulate public opinion. Words like “freedom”, “individual liberty”, “God-given right”, “consumer choice”, “big government”, “extremists” and “socialists” seek to portray any efforts to support and protect the interests and well-being of the public at large as un-American, or worse.

    It’s ironic, and cynical, to consider such messages, when more and more of the benefits of our work – profits – are going to fewer and fewer very rich and politically connected people. It is undermining the very foundation of proportional representative government (votes) with vast sums of money. Lobbyists, lawyers and unlimited corporate campaign contributions are powerful tools with which to defend the status quo, on behalf of less than one percent of the population.

    Adam Smith considered the importance of human motivation in establishing his model of a system of economic transactions:

    “It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard for their own interest”

    Adam Smith, “The Wealth of Nations”, 1776, p.24.

    Certainly this is an important truth, one with deep roots in our survival instincts. Another important truth is that for humans, survival and success in evolving and expanding has been based on our social nature and the power of groups to accomplish things that single individuals cannot. Specialization of activities, which is the prerequisite for exchanges and economy, requires the interdependence and coordination of individuals within the group, and a balance between the needs of the individual and the needs of the group.

    By the 1980’s, Mr. Smith’s notion of self-interest had morphed into something else:

    “Greed … is good”

    Gordon Gekko, in “Wall Street”, 20th Century Fox, 1987

    Fooled Again?

    Nature is the foundation of our continued existence. Natural capital is the foundation of our economies. Short term greed and willful ignorance are serious threats to our current and future well-being. Business as usual is not a viable option. United (and diverse) we may stand, if we can agree on the fundamentals of how to live together, in accord with nature.

    Jack F. Brennan, 2015

    References

    1. http://www.econlib.org/library/Smith/smWN.html
    2. http://ourworldindata.org/data/population-growth-vital-statistics/world-population-growth/
    3. http://www.prb.org/pdf14/2014-world-population-data-sheet_eng.pdf
    4. http://www.un.org/esa/population/publications/sixbillion/sixbilpart1.pdf
    5. http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2014/air-pollution/en/
    6. TEEB (2010) The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity: Mainstreaming the Economics of Nature: A synthesis. http://www.teebweb.org/our-publications/teeb-study-reports/synthesis-report/
    7. http://ram.biology.dal.ca/~myers/depletion/
    8. On the Brink: Chesapeake’s Native Oysters http://www.cbf.org/document.doc?id=523
    9. http://www.epa.gov/cleanairactbenefits/feb11/summaryreport.pdfnav21.pdf
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