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  • Joseph Ramondeli

    Black Friday Promotes Over-Consumption and Waste

    By Joseph Ramondeli

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

    DESERTEC project, Sahara Sun could power Europe by 2050

    By Mark Piazzalunga

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

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

    By Megan Bonetti

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

  1. Canned food has become a new trend in India. People like to buy ready to eat products, because they think they are easier to prepare and tasty too. So, why they should spend time in cooking and related chores? But, it is wrong and they don’t have any idea what they are doing. Yes, there is no doubt that all the info about ingredient is printed on the attractive packing of product and people also read every single detail before buying any item. Thus, unluckily all efforts are useless, because it’s all about the procedure of food processing.

    Check these 5 reasons, why you need to avoid canned food for a healthy lifestyle-

    1. BPA-

    Mostly packed food is covered in the plastic packaging to keep the food fresh. But, the inner layer of plastic packing leaves harmful elements on the food stuff. Plastic contains BPA, which is not suitable for the human body as it won’t make for the consumption of the plastic. The packet of plastic covering contains little but unsafe materials, which are responsible for serious illness, such as cancer, hypertension, obesity, aggression, heart disease etc. 

     

    2. Low quality-

    Let’s admit this truth that if the food is really of the high quality and fresh as described, then obvious the company will sell the product at highest price to make profit. But, big names launch their products at attractive offers and promise to give high quality ingredients. It is a way to mislead the customer and it is a direct fraud. Moreover, shopping malls also rob innocent customers on the name of big billions day to increase their shop and sell the old stored items. So, stop being a fool and say no for the low quality food material. 

    3. Harmful Preservatives-

    After a specific time, all the food materials are going to be decomposed. Preservatives work as a miracle to increase the life of canned food. No doubt that it is a touch stone for the manufacturers, but it causes great harm to human body. Processed foods such as meat items contain exceptionally high amount of preservatives such as sodium, sulfites, etc.

     

    4. Imported canned food-

    Imported canned food is more injurious than the local products. The international suppliers add less nutritious and low quality supplements to gain more. Apart from the quality, these imported products come at the high price. So, why to pay for the bad quality food material?

     

    5. Presence of unhealthy elements -

    Manufacturers add unhealthy supplements and artificial flavors in the food to make it tasty and popular. They do not care about the health of people. And, the word “Natural” is just use to trick a customer. You are not able to differentiate between the natural and artificial flavors and producers know it very well. This is how they make people fool on the name of 100% natural foodstuff.

     

    These reasons are enough for any conscious foodie to make a strong decision for the healthy lifestyle. If you love yourself and your family, then say a strict “NO” to canned food. Take it as a new year’s resolution and adopt a step towards a happy and healthy life.

     

    For More Info: RTI Act 2005 India

     

  2. The UK is already behind in their environmental targets, so what could an exit from Europe do to our environment credentials? Some of the EU’s biggest achievements are in the field of environmental conservation, with stringent targets placed on things like recycling and renewable energy. It remains to be seen if the UK’s exit from the EU will simply allow them to take the easy way out and ease up on their targets.

     

    Farming and Fishing

    Two of the the most vocal groups throughout the Brexit campaign were farmers and fishermen. The fishermen had hoped that a vote to leave would mean that they would gain control of their fishing quotas again, but this has proven to be fruitless. An EU memo has revealed that UK fishermen may not win back waters following Brexit, which means the UK will have no further control over fishing stocks.

     

    Farming is also set to be delivered a blow, as British farmers will see the end of EU subsidies. A report by Informa Agribusiness Intelligence estimates that 90% of British farms will collapse without these subsidies and land prices would crash.

     

    Sustainable Energy

    One of the biggest concerns that many people have is that the environment will suffer the most because of a decrease in focus on sustainable energy sources. The good news is, The North Sea Link will go ahead despite Brexit. However, German energy firm Siemens has frozen future investment in wind power following the vote.

     

    STEM Research and Employment

    One of the most obvious impacts of Brexit is that it could prevent key talent in the field of science and technology from choosing the UK as a place to work or study. We’ve already seen a downturn in university-educated professionals making the UK their destination of choice. There has been a scramble in recent months to secure EEA permanent residence for those already in the UK, but some have been asked to leave rather unceremoniously, despite being settled in the UK for a long time.

  3. Change is the most inevitable thing that occurs at wide range of areas in our day-to-day life. Much has changed from our lifestyles, dressing sense, food habits, mode of transport to even how we offer gifts to other people. Gifting is an important way to celebrate any occasion or event and people are exploring new options to gift their near and dear ones.

    If you are bored from gifting flowers, cakes, greeting cards, chocolates and other stuffs, it is important to go for green gifting with these various lucky plants. Here are the few reasons why people want to buy plants as gifts for their special ones.

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    Plants improve the aesthetic and visual appeal- Everybody loves greenery around their homes as it gives a soothing effect to your mind. Green plants improves the internal environment of your home and adds to the visual appeal in a big way. You can keep them anywhere from your balcony to the stair case, front or back courtyard, pavement areas or any other places of your choice.

    They improve the air quality of your home- To ensure the better air quality in your home and surroundings, it is important to have green plants in abundance. There are various plant varieties such as Spider Plant, Dracaena, Ficus, Snake Plant, Aloe Vera and others that are known to remove various air pollutants such as Benzene, Formaldehyde, Trichloroethylene, Xylene and Ammonia.

    They can help in improving your health, luck and well-being- Nobody wishes a frail health and it will certainly be a great idea if you could gift something that can improve the health of your recipient. If you are short of time, you can visit online plant nursery and check out the numerous plant varieties out there. It is time to replace those traditional gifting ideas with green plants for improving the overall health of your family, friends and well-wishers. You can order lucky plants such as bamboo plant, money plant, basil plant and others for better luck, prosperity and well-being.       

    They can be maintained easily and consume less space- One of the benefits of these green plants is that they don’t require high maintenance and require less space. Any individual without proper knowledge about plants and gardening activities can manage these indoor plants in a seamless manner. So, buy plants online and gift them to your family, friends or special ones without worrying about their maintenance.

    They are a step ahead from the usual gift options- By sending plants to your loved ones instead of chocolates, candies, flowers or cakes, you are actually establishing a new gifting trend. You will also receive much appreciation from your recipients due to your out-of-box idea of gifting green plants and will be emulated by other people quickly.

    So, abandon those old gifting practices and buy plants online that add a new aura to the internal surroundings.

     

  4. As geoengineer promoters enter Trump organization, arranges progress to shower sun-reflecting chemicals into environment 

    A ring around the sun, is seen over Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Friday, May 17, 2002. The corona is an uncommon impact on the sun brought on by a layer of ice precious stones in the environment refracting light from the sun. Photo: Lou Toman/AP 

    Harvard engineers who launched the world's greatest sun oriented geoengineering research program may get a hazardous lift from Donald Trump, ecological associations are cautioning. 

    Under the Trump organization, excitement has all the earmarks of being developing for the dubious innovation of solar geo-designing, which expects to splash sulfate particles into the air to mirror the sun's radiation back to space and diminishing the temperature of Earth. 

    At some point in 2018, Harvard engineers David Keith and Frank Keutsch plan to test showering from a high-height expand over Arizona, keeping in mind the end goal to survey the dangers and advantages of arrangement on a bigger scale. 

    Keith crossed out a similar planned experiment in New Mexico in 2012, however reported he was prepared for field testing at a geoengineering discussion in Washington on Friday. 

    "The setting for talking about sunlight based geoengineering research has changed considerably since we arranged and subsidized this gathering almost one year back," a discussion instructions paper noted. 

    While geoengineering got little support under Obama, abnormal state authorities inside the Trump administration have been long-term advocates for planetary-scale control of Earth frameworks. 

    Donald Trump's initial 100 days as president – day by day refreshes 

    Perused more 

    David Schnare, a modeler of Trump's Environmental Protection Agency move, has campaigned the US government and vouched for Senate for elected support for geoengineering. 

    He has required a multi-stage plan to reserve research and lead certifiable testing inside year and a half, send gigantic stratospheric splashing three years after, and keep showering for a century, a term geoengineers accept would be important to dial back the planet's temperature. 

    Geoengineers contend that such strategies would be a cheap approach to diminish an unnatural weather change, yet researchers have warned it could have calamitous results for the Earth's climate frameworks. 

    Logical demonstrating has shown that stratospheric splashing could definitely shorten precipitation all through Asia, Africa and South America, bringing on serious dry spells and debilitating nourishment supply for billions of individuals. 

    "Obviously parts of the Trump organization are extremely eager to open the way to heedless plans as keith David, and may well have unobtrusively given the gesture to outside analyses," said Silvia Riberio, with innovation guard dog ETC Group. "Worryingly, geoengineering may develop as this present organization's favored way to deal with a worldwide temperature alteration. In their view, constructing a major lovely mass of sulfate in the sky could be an immaculate reason to permit uncontrolled fossil fuel extraction. We should be focussing on radical outflows cuts, not risky and vile technofixes." 

    A White House provide details regarding environmental change research submitted to Congress in January required the first run through ever for research into geoengineering. 

    Inside Republican positions, previous House speaker and Trump partner Newt Gingrich was one of the first to begin freely supporting for geoengineering. 

    "Geoengineering holds forward the guarantee of tending to an unnatural weather change attentiveness toward only a couple of billion dollars a year," he said in 2008, preceding propelling a geoengineering unit while he ran the conservative research organization American Economic Enterprise. "We would have a choice to address an Earth-wide temperature boost by remunerating logical advancement. Bring on American resourcefulness. Stop the green pig." 

    US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has additionally seemed to bolster geoengineering, portraying environmental change as a "building issue." ExxonMobil's subsidizing of the atmosphere refusal industry is under investigation by lawyer commanders in the United States, yet it's less outstanding that ExxonMobil researchers under Tillerson's rule as CEO were driving designers of geo-building innovations like carbon dioxide evacuation. 

    Gotten some information about answers for environmental change at an ExxonMobil shareholder meeting in 2015, Tillerson said that an "arrangement B has dependably been grounded in our convictions around the proceeded with development of innovation and built arrangements." 

    "We are not unalterably dedicated to doing the test," said David Keith on Friday. "We're going not far off of doing that, yet relying upon what a counseling panel says and what we realize in fact we're positively ready to stop. Our long haul objective is to construct a practical exertion in sun based geoengineering research that permits us to say more in regards to ways it may really give open advantage." 

    Faultfinders like Riberio call attention to that the individuals who don't trust in human-initiated environmental change may even now bolster geoengineering, which can be exhibited as a strategy to manage the results of a warming planet without halting the consuming of fossil powers. 

    The Harvard test may contradict a ban on geoengineering embraced in 2010 by the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity, which was reaffirmed in December in Mexico. The United States is one of only a handful couple of nations to not approve the UN tradition, making a potential escape clause for tests. 

    The examination's site in Tucson, Arizona may likewise summon issues of jurisdictional debate with Mexico – stratospheric winds can explode to 200 miles for each hour, and the outskirt is just 75 miles away. 

    Other geoengineering tests like cloud whitening may proceed in the United States, and also tries bolstered by the administrations of China and Russia, however both are signatories to the UN ban. 

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  5. Humanity’s effect on the environment is pretty high up on our list of things to worry about. Rarely a week goes by without some new information about the increased rate at which Polar ice caps are melting or waste is piling up or natural disasters are occurring. So what can we do to help prevent irreversible damage to our planet?

    Making your life more sustainable is easier than you think. Just by taking your own bags to the grocery store, cycling rather than driving the odd journey and thinking more carefully about the energy you use, you could greatly reduce your own impact on the natural world.

    These seven great iPhone apps are designed to give you a helping hand when starting a more sustainable life:

    SolarChecker
    Solar panels can reduce your energy costs and provide a cleaner form of power. This app can help you to decide whether solar panels at home is a good idea. The app can measure solar radiation in different areas around your home and tell you whether investing in solar energy is right for you.

    JouleBug
    JouleBug offers a social way to go green. You win points and badges for the various sustainable activities you engage in throughout the day. That could be cycling to work or using a reusable coffee mug. You can take green inspiration from friends and compete with them to be the most environmentally friendly. This app also allows you to see how much you are saving in energy bills by being more careful with how you use your gas and electricity.

    Carma Carpooling
    If you have no other option but to drive to work, make your journey less damaging to the environment by carpooling. This app helps you to find neighbours looking to share a ride and reduce carbon emissions, traffic jams and your own costs in the process.

    HowGood
    Shop more consciously with HowGood. The app allows you to input a grocery item and discover details about its manufacturing process, the way it sources ingredients, its treatment of workers and the waste it produces. Each item is given a HowGood score that acts as an indicator of the item’s social and environmental impact, helping you to make informed shopping decisions on the go.

    Your Garden At Home
    This is a great app for those wanting to grow their own food at home and reduce the carbon impact of growing and transporting produce across the world. The app offers information on different plant varieties, advises you on when to grow and harvest them and how to take care of them.

    PaperKarma
    If your heart sinks at all the junk mail you get coming through your letterbox, PaperKarma could be the answer. The app allows you to take a photograph of any junk mail you receive. Once submitted to PaperKarma, the app will contact the various mailing companies and take your name off their mailing lists.

    Recyclemore
    This app helps you to find the nearest recycling centres for your recyclable waste products. Whether you’re looking to get rid of batteries, clothes, appliances or garden waste, this app can help you to find the right place to take it.

    Going green is made that bit easier with these great iPhone apps. And if you really want to live more sustainably, you should ask yourself if you really need that latest iPhone upgrade. Discarded electronics are piling up in landfills around the world and tons of emissions are produced by manufacturing new ones. Buying second hand and unlocking the handset is a great way to reduce your carbon impact.

     

     

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  6. Remodeling your kitchen is an excellent chance to upgrade it in term of eco-friendliness. You will finally get a chance to separate waste and apply natural cleaning solutions in order to cause the least amount of harm to the environment. The best thing is that these changes will not require a huge amount of money because you can work with what you’ve got and the little you do need to invest is a small investment compared to the benefits you get.

    You will see how a remodeled kitchen will soon turn into a hub of social activity in the house as even the children will want to join the whole ecological hype that their parents became part of. We provide you here with a 5-step checklist that will help you transform your kitchen into an eco-friendly space that will work with Mother Nature, not against it.

    1. The labels have to be green

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    Whatever additions you decide to introduce into your kitchen, whether it is something as simple as a new teapot or even a brand new countertop, this product must bear a green label. This means that the product has been subject to testing on how the ingredients of materials for it were produced. A label of the color green usually stands for sustainability, like the Follow to Frog sign and the Forest Stewardship Council stamp that indicates that fruit or timber have been outsourced from regions that care about protecting the local environment.

    2. Cork for flooring

    The bark of the cork tree is used for kitchen flooring as a cheap and efficient replacement for linoleum, hardwood floors, and tiles. It is fairly easy to install, as it is simply glued to the existing surface, like concrete. Once in place, it is coated with acrylic that will ensure cork is waterproof and slip-resistant. Because it has a rather soft texture, it will act as a natal spring that will adjust to the weight of your body, so you can even walk barefoot over it. This can come in handy when children play around the kitchen and if one of them falls down, the cork will cushion the blow.

    3. Plexiglas in the kitchen?

    kitchen-2165756_1280.jpg

    The material you never thought belonged inside the kitchen is Plexiglas. Well, the automotive industry does not have exclusive rights over it as kitchen walls can benefit from it too. A thin layer of Plexiglas over the kitchen tiles impregnates their joints and ensures they are 100% waterproof, so no mold or mildew will ever form. The best thing about Plexiglas, that you can outsource from Plastic Wholesale Online is the fact that it is an eco-friendly material that does not hurt the environment. Basically, anything around the kitchen that needs waterproofing could be treated with Plexiglas in order to decrease the impact on the environment.

    4. Reducing energy consumption

    In terms of reducing the carbon print, you want to make sure your new kitchen is as energy efficient as possible. This is done by introducing green energy through house appliances and the reduction of total energy used. For the latter, a simple change in the type of light bulbs you use can make a huge difference. Replace the incandescent light bulbs with LED ones and just look at your energy consumption going down. As with everything else, when shopping for new appliances look for the Energy Star logo that ensures the manufacturer took great care of energy inefficient.

    5. Composting

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    The last item on our checklist concerns the way we manage organic waste. Recyclables should go into separate bins but food leftovers should end up outside, not in the trash can but in the garden compost. You can create it in order to decrease the total amount of waste you generate and later use the compost in your garden instead of buying hummus from the local garden center.

     

    Finally, going eco-friendly is more than possible in the kitchen and in every other room in the house. Use our 5-step checklist as the guide during the initial phases of the kitchen remodeling project.

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  7. 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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  8. flowers-to-gurgaon

    Flowers are meant to make any celebrations truly amazing and magnificent. You can send flowers to Gurgaon online or in any other place to give a unique look and feel to any celebration. The company is known to deliver fresh fragrant flowers to its customers for occasions like birthday, marriage anniversary, office promotion, farewell and other events. Customers have the freedom to choose any flower types based on their preference and the type of occasion.

    The company has the stockpile of blooming fragrant flowers that are available in multiple colours, floral arrangements and bouquet styles. Customers can choose the flowers such as roses, tulips, sunflowers, daisies, lilies and other varieties that can be delivered anywhere in India and other countries with the support of its express delivery services.

    Avail the flower delivery in Gurgaon, Noida, Delhi and other cities of India and abroad in a time bound manner. Speaking for the development, the company officials reiterated that “Flowers are a part of every other celebration and the company is working to deliver them anywhere to its customers in India and other countries through its express shipping services”. Get the desired flowers at the doorstep from a wide coverage network of express delivery services.

    The company is committed to deliver fresh fragrant flowers to its customers in a time bound manner. It can offer the best flowers that will reach the destination without getting wilted. Customers don’t need to search for any florist shop as people can send flowers to Gurgaon online with this online florist shop.

    So, avail the flower delivery in Gurgaon and other places in India or abroad through the time bound express delivery services.

    A well-known name in the domains of sending online flowers, cakes and gifts delivery to make every occasion truly memorable. The company is capable to deliver the orders anywhere in India and overseas through its reliable express delivery services.

  9. Going eco-friendly seems to be the next big trend. Big companies, small businesses and individuals altogether have teamed up to reduce the impact that human life has on the planet. Sustainable homes have increased in popularity, not only because they leave a much smaller footprint on the environment, but because they are a far better investment in the long run.

    The list of benefits you get by living in a green house is long and constantly updated, but the most important ones still remain the same:

    Low maintenance costs

    The main purpose of eco-friendly homes is to be built from materials that are both less invasive for the environment, but also more durable, so that you don’t have to constantly fix or rebuild things and waste more resources. This way, even though some green materials cost more than traditional ones, you will end up saving more in the future.

    When you buy or build a new house, don’t think only about the initial investment, but also about the impact it will have on your wallet in the next 10 or 15 years. For example, building a house that has lots of big windows, which allow sunlight to pass through, will help you save tremendously on energy costs.

    At the same time, the materials used have a much smaller impact on your health. Conventional construction materials give off chemical emissions that, although small, can affect the air you breathe. This is why lots of people recur to humidifiers or other appliances to help get rid of the dry, unbreathable air. Eco-friendly materials are not only safer, but help with air circulation and ventilation.

    Energy efficiency

    Possibly one of the first reasons people decide to move into eco-friendly houses is that they are extremely energy efficient, which means you utility bills will be much lower. One of the prime sources for energy is coal. But coal is a non-renewable resource, not to mention that mining coal is extremely polluting for the environment.

    A sustainable home is designed is such way that it takes advantage of as many natural resources as possible. For example, when setting up the layout of the house, rooms that are the most used, such as kitchen or living room are placed on the side of the house that receives the most natural light throughout the day, to avoid having to use artificial light. Big windows are also a part of the design, for the same reason.

    On top of that, green building constructors also recommend installing solar panels, so you can make use of the energy from the sun as much as possible.

    It makes for a good long-term investment

    The popularity of green buildings is increasing tremendously, which means that, in 10 years, traditional homes are going to become less and less desirable. Investing in an eco-friendly home now means staying ahead of the market and laying the ground for profit in the future. Even owners of luxurious homes are looking to make adjustments so that their houses are more environmentally friendly.

    Those adjustments help increase house value and turn their properties into mines of gold. The reason that people are looking to spend more on a sustainable home precisely because they will get more out of it in the future. Eco-friendly houses are also easier to sell and retail for more than traditional ones.

    Better living conditions

    Less invasive materials and more use of natural resources are what make a sustainable house better to live in. When you take advantage of natural light all day long, you are more prone to be productive, feel relaxed and enjoy living in your house.

    The materials used have a lower emission of chemicals, lowering the risks for asthma or allergies that may occur due to mold. Thus, the air inside is more breathable and makes for a healthier indoor environment.

    Temperature regulation is also one of the key elements that constructors take into consideration when building eco-friendly homes. Eco-friendly materials are designed in such way that they help with insulation and temperature fluctuation much more than traditional ones.

    Smaller environmental footprint

    Last, but not least, you will help the planet. By using materials that are not damaging the environment, you will become an active part of the movement that is trying to make Earth a better place. Meeting your needs does not mean you have to endanger the world around you and it is entirely possible to live comfortably, while at the same time thinking about nature.

    All processes of traditional building are affecting the environment in one way or another. Be it because constructors are not disposing of materials in a conscious way, or because traditional energy systems are leaving a huge carbon footprint. Green buildings contribute to reducing the greenhouse effect and lay out a better world for future generations to live in.

  10. The foundation of your home, is, by no surprise, the most important aspect of it. While others may argue, the fact that your entire house depends on the integrity of your foundation means that any damage that might occur to it, can be drastic. Since your entire house literally sits on top of this concrete base, any little mistake in its design means that the problems will increase as you go up. Ensuring you protect your foundation will mean longevity and hassle-free home maintenance. Here are ways you can protect your home’s foundation.

    What is the Foundation?

    To begin with, for those who are unaware, the foundation of your home is made from a combination of materials, with the most common being made from poured concrete or concrete block, and a poured concrete footing system. With the majority of North American homes being built this way, it’s safe to assume that your house was also. During the construction process, it is vital that the foundation is poured and dried at level. Any dips or slants will cause structural problems throughout the rest of the house, making it a headache to fix and to sell.

    Ways to Protect Your Foundation

    Now that you are enlightened on what your home’s foundation actually is, here are some ways in which to ensure it is protected, and remains its integrity and strength.

    1. Make Sure the Ground Slopes Away: Keeping water away from the foundation of your home is critical in ensuring it stays dry and protected. Ensuring your backyard or front yard are sloped away from the house will enable runoff water to flow away from the house, instead of towards. If it is sloped towards, water will likely seep into the foundation, causing flooding in your basement and structural damage to the concrete base. If the ground is sloping towards, you’ll have to either call a professional (depending on the severity) to level out the ground, or fill in the areas with dirt yourself, if it’s not too difficult.  

    2. Clean Out Your Gutters: While generally keeping your gutters clean is a good habit for good water runoff, it’s especially important to ensure the water from rain and other precipitation doesn’t get backlogged and then seep into your house. Ensure they are pitched correctly so that they water flow is away from your home, and clean them at least twice a year to remove any buildup that can cause clogs.

    3. Inspect Your Downspouts: As with your gutters, make sure your downspouts don’t have any leaks or holes present. Also, make sure they are pointing away from the foundation of your house, rather than just next to it.

    4. Monitor the Foliage: Especially during the fall, leaves, trees, and foliage tend to shed everywhere. Managing plants and vines that are up against your home is helpful in ensuring they don’t have an active part in trapping moisture and dampness against your home when they are wet. Try not to plant any trees near your foundation either, as they can soak up the moisture that prevents the foundation from cracking.

    5. Water your Foundation: While this may seem contrary to what we’ve been saying about keeping water away from your foundation, no moisture at all can result in cracking and shrinking in the spoil of your foundation. Giving it a good soaking during the summer at periodical intervals will help prevent this from happening.

    Warning Signs You Have a Problem:

    While you may have implemented these preventative measures, if there is a problem with your foundation, you should be able to see warning signs pretty clearly. Here’s what to look out for:

     

    1. If you see pooling occur, especially after a rainstorm, this is a good indication that something isn’t right. Water gathering in pools around the foundation of your home means the ground isn’t level and water is seeping towards the base. Hiring a professional to both level the ground and pump the water away from the house is most likely the best course of action here.

    2. Water leaks don’t always show up easily, so looking out for water stains on the walls or ceiling is a good way to tell if anything is wrong with the house. You might notice it as well with discoloured baseboards or musty smells.

    3. Inspecting the perimeter of your home will let you know if there is a problem. If you see cracks or breakage, this is not a good sign. Making sure the siding, whether it’s brick, wood, vinyl or metal, is at least six inches above the bottom of the foundation is helpful, because often times, dirt and debris can make its way in there and shrink the clearance area. This provides a place for moisture to invade. If possible, power wash and clean away this dirt and buildup to improve the clearance.

  11. More than 1 million U.S. homes now sport solar panels on the roof. That number is expected to double in the next two years as the cost of solar continues to decline and solar awareness continues to rise.
     
    While making the shift to solar is good for the environment, that’s not the only reason to invest in solar technology. Here are just a few of the many benefits homeowners can realize by going solar. 

    5 Reasons So Many Homeowners Are Going Solar

    1.    Solar is a good investment. While the exact ROI for solar varies according to location and other factors, research indicates that in most states it makes financial sense to go solar. Specifically, solar brings a better return than a five-year CD in 86 percent of states. If you live in one of the top 13 states for solar, you’ll actually do better with your solar panels than you would by investing in the S&P 500. 
    2.    Solar is reliable. With any technology comes the potential for failure, but solar bucks the trend by being one of the least likely of your home’s systems to break down. While solar panels are typically warranted for 25 years, 90 percent of them last 30 years or longer. One report showed that many 40-year-old panels are still generating power at 80 percent of their efficiency. In addition, a residential solar system typically has no moving parts, and almost never needs repair. 
    3.    Solar is security. Concerned about power grid security, future energy price hikes, and/or the escalating effects of global climate change on the weather? Installing a solar system with battery backup is an excellent way to ensure that you will always have the power you need at a price you can afford. 
    4.    Solar protects our planet. Sunshine is a clean, renewable energy source that does not contribute to global climate change. While all manufacture has an impact on the environment, solar panels create far more energy in their lifetime than is consumed by making them. In fact, an average 4 KW solar power system offsets nearly 200,000 pounds of carbon dioxide in its first 25 years. It would take planting more than 2,000 trees to equal that amount of carbon offset.  
    5.    Solar is hot — and that’s cool. Who doesn’t like to be the cool kid on the block? Solar is an undeniably hot and trendy technology, so why not add a system to your roof and enjoy witnessing the “panel envy” of your neighbors and friends?   

    How to Go Solar at Home

    According to Google’s Project Sunroof, nearly four out of five U.S. homes have enough unshaded area to install solar photovoltaic (PV) panels. So when you’re ready for a larger investment in your home (similar to what you would pay for a kitchen remodel or home addition), chances are good that solar will pay off for you.  

    That said, PV panels aren’t the only way to go solar in your home. Here are more ideas, at a variety of price points for any budget:
    •    Solar water heater — A typical solar water heating system saves 50-80 percent on monthly water heating costs, even in a cloudy climate.
    •    Solar landscape lighting — Solar outdoor lighting doesn’t just save electricity. It’s also safer and reduces maintenance because you won’t have to run power lines outside. 
    •    Solar chargers — A solar phone charger lets you charge your phone from anywhere, even on a hiking trip or in a boat! 
    •    Solar Christmas lights — Solar LED holiday lights are convenient to set up, and can save you up to $10 for every 300 hours they’re lit.

    These are just a few of the many benefits you can realize by going solar at home. Check out this infographic to discover even more compelling reasons why so many Americans these days are choosing to add solar to their homes. 

    Ryan McNeill is the president of Renewable Energy Corporation, one of the largest residential solar energy companies in the mid-Atlantic region. It is committed to providing homeowners with high-quality, American-made solar panels and solar energy products. 

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    Eco-landscaping is about making a difference in your yard, the one that results in making surrounding a healthier place that reduces water, soil and air pollution. The advantages of such responsible approach are reasonable savings in time, money and maintenance. The eco-friendly method is growing in popularity for its obvious reasons while creating and designing an eco-friendly landscape is not more complicated than designing a traditional garden. It does take some planning and involves maintenance, but all the efforts invested in a project like that are nothing compared to benefits.

    Planning

    For starters, you will have to make basic analysis and assessment of the yard. Determine the ground thickness by running the water to see how it is draining and where the ground is soaked the most. That way you’ll know where to plant as well as where to place hardscape. Check which areas get most of the sunlight and which ones are in the shade. Decide which area will serve its specific purpose, meaning where you will place a patio, play area or flower beds. This way you’ll know ahead what materials and plants you will be using and what will structure the basis of your eco-friendly yard.

    Downsize the lawn

    Having a smaller lawn means there will be less mowing and you will use less water. Limit your lawn by placing artificial grass or synthetic turf. Create walkways and paving and make sure to use low-maintenance materials like concrete, bark or gravel. You can use permeable pavers to direct rainfall back into the ground. Place gazebos or benches to fill the space in the yard that won’t require any watering.

    Eco-friendly mowing

    Since there will be a lawn that needs mowing, consider using a reel lawn mowers. Although mowing can go a bit slower than with gas or electric mower, reel mowers are true eco-friendly device since they are a perfect example of energy conservation. An alternative to reel mowers are the mowers powered by rechargeable batteries.

    Plant low-maintenance plants

    Consider planting native plants since they are best suited for the environment. Also, try choosing drought-resistant plants because there will be less maintenance while planting them will save water in the long run. To reduce the usage of water, try to group plants with similar water requirements. Plant some ornamental grass, pansies, and marigold. Planting clover is recommendable since it is insect and weed repelling plant.

    Clever landscaping

    Strategically planted trees and shrubs around the house can act as an insulation and save you up to 20% of your heating and cooling costs. One of the best landscape design firms advises planting deciduous trees on the sunny spots next to the house. That way the trees will provide the shade in the summer, while they will allow more sunlight in the cold months. Also, vines can be used to cool some areas.  

    Watering

    To reduce water waste, install drip irrigation system that brings water directly to plants. Watering with automatic irrigation is more effective while the technology allows you to program it the way you want. You can set the system not to release the water while it rains. You can use rainwater, previously conserved in barrels to water the lawn and the flower beds. When watering in the summer, always water in the late evening and early in the morning to avoid evaporation.

    Weed and insect control

    Avoid using chemicals to fight or to control weed, but take some preventive measures like planting in raised beds, preparing the soil, using landscape fabrics and mulching. To get rid of the weed you can use corn gluten or vinegar, only make sure to use it carefully since it a strong herbicide that can harm other plants.  The last stage of fighting the weed is an old-fashion move of pulling the weed from the ground.  As for insects, learn more about companion planting and see how your plants can benefit from it.

    Fertilizing

    Learn to make and use compost and keep the chemical fertilizer away. Composting is the best possible way to keep your ground properly fertilized, aired and watered, while it will significantly reduce the amount of trash that ends up in the landfills. Almost anything can be used for compost, starting from grass clippings and leaves to fallen branches, food scraps, coffee filters, tea bags, newspapers, cardboard, etc.

     

    Going green takes a bit more than these few tips since it extends further on the maintenance and how you care for the environment aside from the yard. Remember to recycle and reuse all the materials and to establish a sustainable eco-system in your home and your yard. Do your research and create an eco-friendly garden that you will enjoy in years that come. An effort toward the healthier environment is worthy of praise so design your garden and be proud.

  13. Ever since people started realising the need of keeping the environment clean and healthy, that’s when the concept of using reusable shopping bags came into existence. There was a time when people used to use paper bags for carrying their essentials, but then came plastic bags. Well, now people do understand the dangers plastic bags bring with them, hence efforts are being made to cease their usage. The best solution to both of these varieties is these bags. Yes, canvas shopping bags do rectify all the flaws posed by paper and plastic bag, and undoubtedly these bags are here to stay. These bags are durable, sturdy, and capable enough to bear heavy weights. Here is why you should use these bags.

    Because Canvas Bags are Eco-Friendly

    Canvas bags are loaded with several benefits. Not that these bags are long-lasting and durable, these do not harm the environment as well. How? The answer is quite straightforward and simple. These bags can be used for a long period of time, unlike plastic and paper bags. In this way, lesser amount of waste is produced. And that is not where the benefits of these bags end, these are biodegradable as well, so no need to regret if you get bored with one of your previously favorite canvas shopping bags. But do keep in mind that you need to use these bags for quite a long period of time in order to recompense their extensive carbon footprint and hazard to the environment.

    With the increasing demand, canvas bags bulk are available in various stores of the market. To give a tough competition to paper and plastic bags, these bags are available in different variants and hues. Ladies are often seen flaunting their beautiful canvas bags on the streets. So, what are you waiting for? Grab one for yourself today to keep the environment clean, green, and healthy.

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    Every generation has its own defining issue, and unfortunately, ours is climate change. Climate change is affecting people and communities all over the world. Apart from being a major threat to humankind, climate change has far-reaching impacts on the entire ecosystem. For over a quarter of a century, activists and concerned citizens have been discussing climate change through public broadcasting. Back in the In the 80's, the main focus was on recognizing and discussing the potential threats. In the past 30 years, we have thoroughly examined the actual impacts and yet failed to effectively address global warming. We’re all aware that Global Warming is happening as a direct consequence of human activities. That’s why activists and concerned citizens like Solly Assa, are struggling to keep the American public informed.

    Over time the conversation has changed, but the problem has remained unsolved. Solly Assa calls everyone to become emotionally, practically, intellectually and politically and involved in this battle to save our planet. The effects of Climate Change are already with us and if we continue down this path, the planet that as we all know it, may be given a 10-year deadline. The actual impact has caused heat waves, droughts, ocean acidification, and floods. Global warming has also exacerbated poverty, hunger, and spread of diseases. The consequences of climate change are very real, and if we don’t take drastic changes, it can even lead to the worst consequence, which is leaving that planet

    As an individual, Mr. Assa has helped by taking action to reduce his personal carbon emissions and encourages more people to do the same. We all need to take responsibility and reduce Carbon Emissions now. Once we start dealing with the problem on an individual level, together we can get the support needed to build a community that can make a difference.  To fully address the threat of global warming, we need to seek action from our leaders who have the power to implement comprehensive solutions. In December 2015, world leaders agreed to limit Global Warming to 2°C, but since then we haven’t seen some life real action. For example, countries like Denmark have committed to 100 percent renewables, while China has increased their renewable energy consumption.

    Because of climate change, humans and wild animals face new challenges for survival. If we don't reduce greenhouse gas emissions drastically, then the results will be catastrophic for the climate. Education and information play important roles as facilitators of climate understanding. Nowadays there is a wide range of documentaries and other informational media that can help us get to the bottom of this issue. But in order to succeed, we all need to be a part of the solution. Together we have the power to limit the effects of climate change. We have all participated in the over-use of our planet, and now the time has come for us to unite and start fighting for our home.

  14. The sustainable building trend is not just good for the planet, but for the economy — green construction is expected to account for 3.3 million jobs in the U.S. alone by 2018, a 143.5 percent increase over 2015. Green construction involves the design, construction and/or operation of buildings in ways that reduce any harmful impact on the environment and/or on human health. Some of these include reducing the carbon footprint of manufacture, preserving air and water quality, minimizing toxic emissions, and increasing energy efficiency in building operations. Sustainable building also can be economically beneficial. Using green materials and practices often benefits local economies, and the focus on energy efficiency frequently results in significant savings for property owners.

    The following infographic was created by Accurate Perforating Company and highlights 10 green building materials to consider for your next green building project.

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    green-building-materials.pdf

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    For people who have become more conscious of what goes into what they eat, the good news is that an escalating amount of food manufacturers are proposing organic options, making organic food one of the fastest-growing sectors of food production in the United States. The bad news is that all of those options can be uncertain, especially when factoring in food made without GMOs (genetically modified organisms). Some people could be trying to eat an all-organic diet, and others may simply be trying to dodge GMOs. Although foods may be labeled as USDA-certified organic or Non-GMO, consumers may not understand the difference. In some cases, there is an overlap between the USDA Organic and Non-GMO labels, but there are some key differences consumers should be aware of when trying to make the distinction between organic foods and foods made without GMOs.

    Normally, foods with the USDA Organic label have been manufactured without the use of GMOs as well as other standards that certify that the food has been produced with at least 95 percent organic ingredients. Foods that have been labeled as Non-GMO, on the other hand, only need to meet the criteria that they contain less than 1 percent of GMO content. Foods certified as Non-GMO may have been exposed to fertilizers or chemical pesticides, animals may have been subjected to hormones or antibiotics, and livestock may not have been fed using 100 percent organic feed. In short, all USDA Organic certified foods are Non-GMO, but not all Non-GMO certified foods are organic.

    The inflated variety and selection accessible at the grocery store today may be more confusing, but anyone who is concerned about what goes into their favorite organic chocolate brands will need to know the difference between the labeling and what the labels mean. The following chart helps delineate the differences between USDA Organic and Non-GMO labels, so review it the next time you check the labels on your favorite snacks.

    Check out the useful infographic that spray drying company, PacMoore has created below:

     

    Pacmoore-GMO-Organic-Infographic-V4.jpg

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    So you want a home that's cool in the summer and warm in the winter, but you're sick and tired of paying ridiculous monthly energy bills. You look around and wonder if there's any way to keep your home comfortable, while not giving the utility company another dime. What options do you have for changing the temperature of your home's air while staying "off the grid?" Actually, more options than you probably think.

     

    Let the Outside In

    If the idea of high utility bills and constant maintenance don't sound like your idea of a relaxing summer, consider opening some windows to drop the temperature in your home. The key here is to allow air to flow through your home, as moving air feels much more refreshing on the skin than standing air. So, open up windows on the front and rear of your home, as wide as you can, and enjoy nature's free air conditioning.

     

    Go Old-Fashioned

    If the thought of chopping wood and wearing flannel get you fired up, consider heating your home the old-fashioned way, with a wood-burning fireplace. Though requiring more effort than a traditional furnace, a fireplace can efficiently warm the common areas of your home, supplemented by heavy blankets in bedrooms. Additionally, if you can access an inexpensive wood supply, you will have constant heat all winter for a fraction of the cost.

     

    Go Hi-Tech

    Solar is another option when considering going off the grid, though it has a high initial cost of investment. While many panels would be needed to adequately power an HVAC system, using smaller heating and cooling units, supplemented by other heating and cooling methods on this list, could allow you to meet your entire power need. Not to mention, many utilities and local governments offer substantial rebates for significant solar investment, resulting in a shorter time for you to recoup your initial cost.

     

    Go Down Under

    Geothermal systems can also be a practical component of off-the-grid living. These systems use pipes buried deep in the ground to take advantage of the more constant temperatures found at that depth. Always more refreshing than the surface in the summer, and warmer than the surface in winter, a decent-sized installation will enhance the effectiveness of other methods you use to reduce your utility bills. In more temperate climates, you may be able to rely solely on a geothermal system for all your heating and cooling needs.

     

    Charge It Up

    A large rechargeable battery, while not creating any energy of its own, is still a critical component to employ in an off-the-grid system. Large batteries store excess energy from other off-the-grid sources for many days, meaning that they can power heating and cooling appliances for a substantial amount of time. If you're planning on going completely off-the-grid, but don't want to change your lifestyle more than you have to, a battery is essential.


     

    Whether you choose to go off-the-grid only some or go all the way, off-the-grid heating and cooling methods can save you a vast amount of money, over time. Knowing the right techniques to integrate for your home and using them effectively will ensure that you have the best results, and are the envy of your friends and family when you tell them how you kissed the energy company goodbye.

     

    Resources

    Telegraph

    Classic Air

    Texas Fireframe

    House Logic

    HowStuffWorks

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    For you, pets might be a valued part of your family, so you want to make sure they’re treated right. For example, the RSPCA noted that 19% of dog owners take man’s best friend with them on holiday, so it’s important to plan their journey ahead of time.

    In Sydney, there are various rules that explore the transportation and safety of pets on public transport. These refer purely to regular pets, as all guidance/assistance animals are accepted on public transport, provided you have an Assistance Animal Permit from the Transport Concessions Office.

    No pets are allowed on Sydney Metro/Train or coach services, or at any of their stations. They are, however, available on bus, ferry and light rail services. For all services, you need to gain permission from either the driver or the crew.

    If allowed, the pet must be restrained in a suitable box or container, not be placed on any seats, and must be kept clean and calm. The driver has final say on the admittance of the animal. Other states such as Victoria and South Australia are slightly more lenient with train travel, provided the animal is fitted with a muzzle or contained.

    Traveling by car can be an entirely different story, as everyone’s car houses pets in different ways. There are still some important rules to cover, however, to ensure that your pets enjoy the trip as much as you do.

    Before you leave you should keep the number for your vet and pet insurance handy, so they can be contacted in the event of an emergency. The animal should also be taken to the vet before the trip, so they can receive the necessary immunisations and treatments.

    Dogs are legally required to be restrained with a dog seat belt or harness, while cats should be placed in a cat carrier. Air-con should be kept on to ensure your pet is kept cool and comfortable, or at least allow for adequate ventilation if this is not possible.

    It’s a good idea to prepare some treats, toys and bottles of water for your pet while on your trip, in addition to having your leash handy if they need to go for a walk. Having a pooper-scooper and/or plastic bag ready to pick up any droppings is also recommended.

    Plan ahead to allow for regular breaks and rest stops – at least every two hours or so - so that both you and your pet can get out and stretch. Make sure they are fitted with updated ID tags or are microchipped, so you can be contacted if they are lost.

    Perhaps you can plan a stop ahead of time and allow your pet to let out some excitement. If you’re going through the city, find a fun area with Parkhound and you can rent out a one-time space for you to stretch your legs and have some fun with your pet.

    If you intend on taking your furry friend with you on a plane – for a domestic flight, for example – check with the airline to ensure what their policies for animals are. Some may allow you to keep the animal in the cabin, while others may only allow you to store your pet in the cargo in a carry case.

    As with all transportation, it’s important that you weigh up the pros and cons of any forms of travel so that you can keep your pets healthy and happy. Some pets may not take well to the movements and sounds of cars, trains and planes, so make sure to research what may be the best ways to transport your pet to your next destination.

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