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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
    • 2 comments
    • 4,041 views
  • 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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    • 1,557 views
  • 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  
    • 0 comments
    • 1,704 views

Our community blogs

  1. pexels-photo-796602.jpeg?auto=compress&c

    More businesses are taking an active role to protect the environment. Although this may seem like a daunting task requiring extensive amounts of time or money, it really is fairly easy to make your company eco-friendly. Here are some basic tips for going green at your business.

    Reduce Utility Usage

    Wasting electric, gas, and water not only runs up the monthly utility costs, but it can also strain and waste our natural resources. Switch off lights in areas that are not currently being used. Turn down the thermostat to lower levels that protect people’s health and the company assets while lowering the use of heating sources, such as gas, propane, or electric. Check the hot water tank and consider lowering the temperature to a usable but not wasteful temperature. Any electrical equipment not being at night or over the weekends can be turned off or shut down to save power.

    Reuse Equipment and Supplies

    If your computer begins to act up or the printer is not working quite right, think about buying a used replacement or a rebuilt model. When you buy new equipment, it costs more and also uses more new materials. Buying a used or recycled brand gives older equipment a second life to avoid wasting new materials and products that will eventually add to the growing trash collection that leads to soil and water pollution. Shop for paper supplies that are recycled, along with other office products that have been refurbished or made from eco-friendly substances that won’t harm the planet.

    Clear Unneeded Debris

    If your office is harboring broken machinery or equipment, don’t leave it sitting around to use valuable space and utilities. Rent a dumpster when cleaning out a new business space to get trash where it belongs. You may be able to recycle certain types of fixtures and equipment so that others can get additional use from them in other forms. Dispose of toxic products appropriately to prevent local contamination.

    Buy Eco-Friendly Products

    Look for environmentally-friendly cleaning products, computer supplies, and virtual storage to reduce paper use. Ask about biodegradable materials that can gradually disintegrate into the soil, air, or water. Even décor like draperies or carpets can be made from eco-friendly materials.

    It doesn’t take much time or effort to operate your office efficiently while protecting the earth and our environment. Start switching to eco-friendly practices and products to keep our world green for generations to come.

  2. An efficient HVAC system in your home can help keep the temperature more consistent and save you some money. There are a variety of ways that you can go about ensuring its efficiency. Here are some of the tips that you can employ in order to maximize the efficiency of the heating and cooling system in your home. 

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    Clear Out Debris 
    Changing out the air filter regularly will help to keep your unit operating at peak efficiency. More air exchange allows the unit to work more efficiently. Another thing that can help is to have your ducts and registers cleared of debris. You want as much of the hot and cool air to be able to get into the living spaces of your home. Adequate air exchange is another consideration, as you want air circulation that can be achieved without creating different temperature climates around the house. 

    Invest In An Efficient Unit 
    Upgrading your older unit will also maximize the efficiency of your home. The energy rating calculates the average energy usage over the course of the year. If you have a poor energy rating, looking into new ac installation companies can help you save money—especially since newer appliances tend to be efficient. It will increase the comfort level in your home and most likely pay for itself in lower energy costs. 

    Use Technology Assistance 
    programmable thermostat is another way that you can control the temperature in your home. There are even thermostats that learn about your habits, so that they can more closely regulate the temperature. These types of technology assistance programs are becoming popular means and can help you maximize the energy efficiency of your home. Some apps will even let you control the temperature of your home when you're away. 

    Take Precautionary Measures 
    There are the standard means that you can maximize your energy efficiency. These include things like using environmental options to help regulate the temperature in your home. Opening up the windows at night when it's hot or blocking out the sun are some of the ways that you can reduce your cooling costs. You don't have to run your HVAC system all of the time when there are free methods to maintain your comfort. 

    Take control of your HVAC system so that you can become more energy conscious. Another bonus of increasing your energy efficiency is saving some cash. Use these tips to keep you started down a more energy efficient path.

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    Cranking up the thermostat is one of the most common ways for people to stay warm indoors throughout the winter, but this is also one of the most expensive methods. You may not be able to afford to use your heating system as much as you would like to this winter, or you may not want to spend a fortune unnecessarily. The good news is that there are several effective ways for you to stay warmer at home without relying heavily on your furnace.

    Keep Your Heater Well-Maintained

    Your heater will use more energy to heat your home when it is not well-maintained. Consider those dirty or worn out components may reduce efficiency, causing your heater to work harder than necessary. Scheduling residential heating maintenance services annually is a wonderful way to improve efficiency and to save money when your heater is running.

    Re-Seal Doors and Windows Annually

    You may decrease the frequency with which your heater turns on by re-sealing your home’s doors and windows annually. When heated air escapes from cracks in these seals, your heater may need to run more frequently to keep your home warm. This unnecessarily increases heating-related energy costs. In addition, cool air may penetrate through these seals, and this could create draughts that can be uncomfortably chilly. Re-sealing doors and windows is an affordable project that may deliver a great financial return.

    Add More Insulation to the Walls and Attic

    Another idea is to supplement your home’s existing insulation with an extra layer. Some homes are built with low-quality insulation, so upgrading the insulation may have incredible benefits on energy efficiency and overall comfort in the home. If your home is older, the insulation may have deteriorated or been damaged. Adding more insulation may be essential for superior warmth indoors. Spray-in foam may be particularly effective. While this step requires a significant financial investment, the return over the years can be substantial.

    You can see that relying solely on your heater to keep you warm in the winter can be expensive and may not be as effective as it could be. Each of these steps can reduce home heating costs while improving your comfort level indoors. Keep in mind that wearing warmer clothes indoors, burning a fire in the fireplace, sitting underneath a blanket and drinking warm beverages may also have a beneficial impact on your comfort throughout the winter. Consider combining all of these ideas for a comprehensive approach and exceptional results.

  4. Microorganisms widely exist in nature and are closely related to human life and production. They are generally divided into fungi, actinomycetes, bacteria, spirulina, rickettsia, chlamydia, mycoplasma and viruses. Microbial whole genome sequencing is an important tool for mapping genomes of novel organisms, finishing genomes of known organisms, or comparing genomes across multiple samples. Sequencing the entire microbial genome is important for generating accurate reference genomes, for microbial identification, and other comparative genomic studies. Comparative genomic analysis based on whole genome sequencing plays an irreplaceable role in studying pathogenic mechanism of pathogenic microorganism, evolution of pathogenic genes and screening of novel, efficient drug targets. Microbial whole genome sequencing can be widely used in various fields.

    Diseases

    Pathogenic microorganism includes all kinds of microorganisms that cause human diseases, food corruption, animal infection in animal husbandry and breeding industry, and plant diseases. Researches focus on disease-related genes, regulatory and interaction systems, metabolic systems, genetic variation, laboratory diagnosis and specific prevention, drug resistance genes, virulence genes and so on. Specifically, microbial whole genome sequencing can be applied to:

    · Diagnosis and identification of pathogens

    · Epidemiological investigation and tracing

    · Rapid identification of pathogen character

    · Analysis and prediction of disease prevalence

    · Vaccine variation monitoring and efficacy evaluation

    · Surveillance of foodborne pathogens

    · Drug targets discovery

    Foods

    Whole genome sequencing of microorganisms in food and bioinformatics analysis of data can help people predict genes that play an important role in the fermentation process or product quality, providing information about the metabolic pathways of microorganisms and their interaction with the environment. Microbial whole genome sequencing opens up the possibility of modifying microorganisms to make them more efficient in the production of vinegar, liquor, yoghourt, and many other fermentation processes.

    Agriculture

    Microorganism in agriculture involves in planting and breeding, processing of agricultural products, agricultural biotechnology, agricultural ecology and other research and application. Microbial whole genome sequencing can make people have a better understanding of agriculture microbe from genomic level, and the subsequent studies on genome structure and function lay an important foundation for agromicrobiology in the field below:

    · Establish agricultural microbial gene bank

    · Soil microorganism (including root microorganism)

    · Plant nutrition

    · Biological nitrogen fixation

    · Microbial pesticide

    · Microbial fertilizer

    · Feed additive

    · Biogas fermentation

    Environment & Industry

    Microorganism is one of the important factors to maintain the energy and material circulation in the ecosystem, it plays an important role in the degradation of various pollutants and harmful substances, and has great application value in energy production and renewable utilization. Some environmental microorganisms can adapt to special environments, such as high temperature, low temperature, high pressure, acid, alkali, heavy metal, and high substrate concentration.

    Microbial whole genome sequencing allows people to know about the secrets of these microorganisms’ adaptation to extreme environments, and provides a lot of assistance in pollution control, environmental protection, oil exploitation, preservation and transportation of food and medicine, biofuel, fermentation industry and many other fields in environment and industry.

    At CD Genomics, our expert team with extensive experience can help you fully understand microbial communities and take advantage of them. For this purpose, we provide the following services:

    16S/18S/ITS Amplicon Sequencing
    Metagenomic Shotgun Sequencing
    Viral Metagenomic Sequencing
    Metatranscriptomic Sequencing
    Microbial Whole Genome Sequencing
    Viral Genome Sequencing

  5. When buying a vehicle, you should not consider just the brand name, the beautiful appearance or other ephemerals, but also consider the safety aspect of the vehicle. The so-called ephemerals are also important, but not as important as safety. Never forget to read the safety reviews about that car and also find out about the crash test result. Steer clear of the automobile if there is no assurance of safety in the vehicle. 

    Safety measures are being updated in automobiles these days. Find to how many of these safety measures are available in that vehicle before you buy. Some safety features are added as standard, while you have to buy some other ones by yourself and get them fitted to the vehicle. Those safety measures may cost you extra greenbacks, but they are assured lifesavers. In this write-up, we will consider several safety features you can add to your vehicle that can ensure your safety and that of your environment.    

    The HGV Audible Warning Systems

    The HGV Audible Warning Systems is designed not just for the safety of the driver and the occupants of the vehicle, but also for the safety of other road users, like cyclists and pedestrians. What it does is to give an audible warning to other road users when the vehicle is about to turn to the left. Consequently, these individuals can be warned ahead of time so that they can leave the way. The safety system, aside from protecting the other road users from vehicular accidents, can equally prevent damage to your vehicle and prevent a drop in its market value 

    This safety device can work perfectly in all kinds of automobiles, be it a truck, coach, car or even a bus. You can, therefore, go for this unique security device if you need Heavy goods vehicles safety technology.

    Other safety features to consider

    Apart from the safety device discussed above, there are still some other safety features that can protect you and your environment from auto accidents. Some of these other safety features are discussed below.

    Airbag

    The airbags are usually fitted to the front and back of the automobile so that they can protect those at the front seat, as well as, those at the back seats. They are standard features in automobiles and this dated as far back as 1998. Airbags also became standard inclusions in light trucks in 1999. The airbag technology is fitted with crash sensors that detect a frontal collision, which will then trigger the airbags. The bags only need milliseconds to inflate. However, they also start deflating immediately after getting inflated.

    Antilock braking systems (ABS)     

    This safety feature makes it easy to steer the automobile on slippery surfaces.  It makes use of sensors at each of the wheels and also uses a computer to maximize the braking action at each of the wheels towards preventing lock-up.  With the aid of this feature, the driver can easily maintain firm control of the steering wheel when applying the brakes. As a result, the automobile will not be difficult to manoeuvre around obstacles.  The system is developed to apply the brakes and provide maximum control and power.  The driver only has to push hard on the brake pedals and leave the ABS to complete the rest of the job.

    Traction control

    It is an electronically controlled system built to limit wheel spin when accelerating. As a result, the wheels will have 100% traction on the road.  You will find this safety feature useful when you are kick-starting the automobile on an icy or wet road.  You will also find it useful when launching the automobile with relatively high horsepower.  Bear in mind that some traction control systems developed today only operate at low speeds and some other ones operate at all speeds.

    Electronic stability control

    This is yet another fundamental safety feature in automobiles capable of protecting both the driver and other road users.  It is more or less an advanced form of traction control.  The system is developed to keep the automobile in its right path when turning the automobile so that you will not end up skidding or sliding.  The system is linked directly to several sensors, making it able to detect rotation (yaw), sideways motion, steering angle, and wheel speed. If the vehicle ends up drifting outside the intended direction, the system is designed to brake the vehicle momentarily and lower the power of the engine, which will pull the vehicle back to its intended path. If you are looking for reliable Heavy goods vehicles safety technology, you will find the electronic stability control to be the best for this purpose

    Conclusion

    The many safety features mentioned above can ensure complete safety for you and everyone in your automobile. The beauty of it is that the safety features mentioned above can be fitted to any kind of automobile.

  6. Omega-3 fatty acids are one of the most important nutrients that people should be taking but that most people don't. Years and years of scientific research have determined that omega-3 fatty acids have so many health benefits, and in many cases, like pregnancy, are actually necessary to prevent problems. The human body does not produce its own omega-3 fatty acids so it is an essential nutrient that has to come from the diet.

    There are two main forms of omega-3 fatty acids that the body utilizes for various biological functions. These are docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). The problem is that these two forms of omega-3s come from oily fish, and those that eat oily fish do not want to consume such vast amounts of them because many of them are endangered.

    The solution is plant based omega-3 fatty acid supplements. They give you all the omega-3s you need without harming the fish. Click here for more about omega-3 fatty acids. This link is to authority Health, a website designed to discuss your health while remaining true to natural and organic methods.

    Why everyone should be taking omega-3 fatty acids

    Omega-3 fatty acids form part of the most basic unit of our life, the cell. Cells are surrounded by a membrane of fatty substances that keeps the contents of the cell inside but they also have a very active chemical role. Omega-3 fatty acids are incorporated into cell membranes and help to create chemical messages that cells can send to one another, to improve their overall survival and health.

    The most important of these messages is a pathway involved in inflammation. When cells get injured they cause a reaction with their cell membrane that releases chemical messages called prostaglandins. Prostaglandins help induce the feeling of pain and they help the blood to clot around the injured area. But there are also other prostaglandins that are anti-inflammatory to make sure that the inflammation does not destroy the healthy cells. Omega-3 fatty acids are much more involved in producing the anti-inflammatory prostaglandins.

    The anti-inflammatory effect they have significantly reduces the chances of developing heart disease and other chronic disorders. They also have other benefits like improving brain function and skin complexion, to name but a few.

    The problem for the environment

    So omega-3 fatty acids are really great but the problem is that for everyone to get the right dose, we would have to kill millions of endangered fish, krill and seals. Some environmental organizations report that the demand for krill has moved from 100 000 tons to several million times over the last 5 years because of new technologies to catch them. A large reduction in the krill population can have knock-on effect because it will cause a reduction in all of the species that require krill as a food source.

    The major species that will suffer are seals, whales and penguins. Some untrustworthy manufacturers have also been known to put seal oil in there supplements because of the large amount they can get from each seal.Other edible sources of omega-3 fatty acids are fish like salmon and tuna which are under immense pressure.

    So the problem exists where eating the natural sources is harmful to the environment and so are some of the supplements, but there is a solution.

    The solution for the individual

    In response to the problem many people would turn to certain omega-3 fatty acids from plants. These are different forms of omega acids namely alpha linoleic acid. These omega-3 acids can be converted into the ones we need by the body, but the process is slow and inefficient. The fortunate thing is that there are manufacturers that care about the environment and choose to make their omega-3 supplements from sustainable sources. That is to say that when choosing an omega 3 supplement, be sure to look at ones that are krill free and seal oil free.  Many of the same manufacturers also pursue other environmentally friendly conquests like using completely recyclable packaging and not adding any artificial ingredients to their supplements. This means that by choosing the right supplement you can get all of the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids with none of the harm to the environment.

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    You may have heard about the growing trend in construction toward “going green” and the benefits that it can offer the environment. This extends beyond the industrial fields, however, allowing even home builders to be more environmentally friendly in their construction. There are certain things that can be done when building a house that will reduce the carbon footprint of the household initially and going into the future. Here are some of the ways that construction can be sustainable and environmentally friendly. 

    Consider Environmental Concerns 
    Installing sources of renewable energy and incorporating them into the needs of the house will help to make the project greener. This could include items like solar panels or even solar shingles on your house. For larger-scale construction projects, another thing to consider is waste water runoff. You should have some way for water to drain or invest in soft-scaping in your yard and driveway. This includes using paver stones instead of the traditional concrete driveway. 

    Invest in Energy Conservation 
    The types of appliances that you install in your home will make a difference when it comes to your energy needs. Take time to carefully consider your heating and cooling methods. The majority of your energy bill comes from heating and cooling your home and therefore should be as energy efficient as possible. Installing a modern heat pump and having the right level of insulation will help to eliminate wasted energy in the colder seasons. Talk to sellers and installers in your area to ensure that all systems installed match the needs of a home the size you are building and talk to them about energy efficiency options. Foam insulation will also help to seal out more drafts, and getting Low-E window glass will maintain heat conservation, as well, without having to keep your blinds or curtains closed.

    Use Natural Elements 
    Natural features of the site itself should also be taken into consideration for green construction methods. Using a civil engineering firm may help you to incorporate some of the landscape into your construction project. For example, preserving trees and using the natural slope of the land will reduce the amount of destruction that will need to occur in order to prepare the site for construction of your home. With civil engineers, you can discuss various benefits of the current lay of the land and figure out what needs to be removed and what can be preserved.

    Select Low VOC Finishes 
    The type of finishes that you select in your home also makes a difference when it comes to green construction methods. For example, some types of carpeting and sheathing release chemicals into the atmosphere. These are called volatile organic compounds (VOCs.) Going with more natural products helps to eliminate the amount of gases that are released into your home and the atmosphere. Hardwood flooring, natural stone, and using paints that have no VOCs are some of the finishes that are available. Talk to your contractor about what materials are most environmentally safe and feel free to check labeling on paints if you are picking them out yourself.

    It can be a bit of a challenge to factor in green construction methods that are sustainable and earth-worthy, but well worth the effort. Being environmentally friendly is beneficial both for the earth and for saving money in energy efficiency in the long run. Use these tips so that you can get started on your green construction project in a way that helps everyone.

  8. Most people today would agree that the world and environment is in far worse shape that it was even just 50 years ago. While increased emissions, growing mounds of garbage, and other factors are impacting the world, this trend can be reversed if all people work together. There are several ways in particular that you can help to mend environmental damage. Save the Planet 5 Tips to Going Green in Your Startup Cafe.jpg

    Be More Environmentally Friendly 
    If you are trying to find ways to help mend the environmental problems of the past, one of the best things that you could do would be to be more environmentally friendly with your choices. Today, there are many great things that you can do including being sure that you recycle, trying to reduce the amount of time that you drive, trying to use renewable sources of energy, and looking for ways to help clean up the Earth. 

    Encourage Others 
    One of the best ways that anyone can leave the world in a better place is to encourage other people to be more conscious and friendly towards the environment. While you can do all that you can to recycle and make good decisions, being able to make others make good choices can go even further. You should try to motivate and encourage other people to make good decisions and find ways to reduce their carbon footprint. 

    Recycle Materials 
    If you are trying to improve the environment, another great thing to do would be to recycle as many materials as possible. Today, most people will take the small step of recycling their goods when it is available and convenient. However, there is often far more that you can easily do. For example, if you have an old car, you could sell it to a scrap metal company that will then be able to use the metal again. 

    Collect Rainwater 
    One of the largest growing environmental concerns today is the water supply across the world. While some areas are very rich in water, others are lacking it considerably. One way that you can reduce your public water usage is by collecting your own rainwater. If you have a well or other storage system, you could collect water that could then be used for some services including gardening. 

    Ultimately, when you are trying to improve the environment, the little changes that you make do add up quickly over time. If you are able to find even a few small changes, it could lead to a big improvement for the environment.

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    Keeping your neighborhood clean can be good for aesthetic purposes. It can also be good for keeping the planet happy and safe for all for generations and generations to come. If you want to do your part in helping the planet, you should think about setting up a trash cleanup project in your community.

    Set a Great Example

    If you want your neighbors to follow suit, you should begin by setting a great example. Pick up trash around your neighborhood in the middle of the day when other people can easily see you. You may just motivate others to do the same exact thing. If people ask you what you’re doing, tell them proudly.

    Reach out to Your Neighbors

    Don’t hesitate to reach out to neighbors who are friendly and cooperative. You may want to call or email them to ask them if they’d be interested in joining forces with you in your cleanup effort. They may not be able to resist taking part. If you make your cleanup project sound fun and interesting, it may encourage more and more people to team up with you.

    Post a Listing on the Internet

    Word gets around rapidly on the Internet. If you want to spread the word about your neighborhood cleanup effort, you can choose to post a free listing on a classified website. Look for a classified website that caters to your specific neighborhood. It’s critical to mention your community name in the header for the listing, too. If people learn about your project on the Internet, it may persuade them to reach out to you to lend a helping hand.

    Rent a Dumpster

    You can simplify your neighborhood garbage cleanup project by getting your hands on a sizable dumpster for disposal purposes. There are trustworthy companies that offer durable skips for rent. If you rent a roomy dumpster or two, you can get rid of significant levels of garbage. This can spare you a lot of frustration. Dumpsters can make doing away with trash straightforward and speedy.

    Trash and a gorgeous planet simply do not go hand in hand. If you want your neighborhood to be immaculate and lovely, then you need to prioritize cleanup work. You can make prioritizing a clean community a lot easier by getting help from other people who live near you. Remember, doing things in groups can be fun. It can also be a lot more efficient.

  10.  

    Air conditioning is one of the crucial components for creating a pleasant, comfortable atmosphere in a commercial environment. However, choosing the right air conditioning system for a specific commercial property is of the utmost importance. Not only will the system be more effective, but it will also provide owners with more savings opportunities.

     

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    For instance, a single-split air conditioning system is more appropriate for small commercial buildings, such as small offices, cafés and shops, because they cool down and heat up individual areas. On the other hand, a multi-split AC system is more appropriate for restaurants, shops and offices because a single unit can provide heating and cooling for up to nine indoor areas. Finally, VRF (variable refrigerant flow) or VRV (variable refrigerant volume) systems are suitable for medium to large spaces, such as hotels, spacious offices, retail spaces and mixed-use properties, since they can meet complete heating and cooling needs of a large building.

    1. Conduct an energy audit

    The first step in maximising the energy efficiency of your commercial AC system is conducting a comprehensive energy audit. This will provide you with a clear insight into the building’s energy consumption, which will enable you to identify possible areas for improvement. Performing an audit will also help you address certain HVAC problems more efficiently.

    2. Learn how your entire HVAC system can affect your savings

    Your commercial HVAC system can have a crucial impact on your building’s energy consumption. Since it accounts for around 50 percent of your company’s energy consumption, it’s essential that you ensure that your HVAC system runs efficiently. If it’s damaged, aged or improperly installed, it will consume more energy without providing you with the desired results. Proper and regular maintenance, retrofitting and proper installation are key to your HVAC system functioning properly.

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    3. Have your AC unit regularly serviced

    AC units need to be regularly checked, properly maintained and repaired in a timely manner. Otherwise, their air filters can become covered with mould and dust, which will hinder their performance. An overlooked damage can lead to more serious problems and drastically increased energy consumptions. Therefore, proper maintenance and regular checks are of the utmost importance for preventing unnecessary costs and increased electricity bills, reducing your energy consumption by up to 40 percent. However, you should always leave this job to experienced professionals, especially in countries like Australia where unlicensed work is strictly prohibited. Namely, professionals for air conditioning in Sydney specialise in commercial AC maintenance and repairs, ensuring that their clients’ units are functioning properly. Thus, you should always hire highly trained and licensed technicians to make sure that the job is done properly, quickly and efficiently.

    4. Opt for programmable thermostats and smart technology

    Maintaining a stable indoor temperature can be quite challenging, especially in spacious commercial buildings. Frequent fluctuations often cause tenants to keep the AC units running at all times, which consumes a lot of energy. Sometimes these units are even left overnight in order to create a comfortable atmosphere that occupants will enjoy. However, by installing programmable thermostats and smart tech features, you can easily solve this problem. They will help you maintain a pleasant indoor temperature by adjusting it depending on the time of day, or the presence or absence of tenants. Certain configurations can also be set up to help you conserve energy. For instance, these high-tech features can turn on air conditioning right before the opening hours.

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    5. Insulate properly

    Proper and quality insulation of your commercial space can also help you reduce your energy consumption and create a more comfortable indoor atmosphere. By insulating walls, floors, ceilings and attic, you can prevent heat loss or gain during winter or summer. Consequently, this will reduce the need for your AC system, enabling you to increase your savings in the long run. Improved insulation can help you cut your energy bill by up to 10 percent.

    6. Seal the heating and cooling ducts

    Properly sealing the heating and cooling ducts of your commercial HVAC system is a simple upgrade that can enhance the energy efficiency of the system by around 20 percent. There are different ways to seal the ducts. For instance, blown-in duct sealant or mastic, foil tape can be used for this purpose. They can also be wrapped in insulation for enhanced efficiency. It’s advisable that you tackle the unprotected areas first, such as storage spaces or areas underneath the building. Of course, you can always leave this job to experienced technicians who can apply the most appropriate sealing solutions.

    After choosing an AC system appropriate for your commercial space, you should apply different measures that will enhance its sustainability and energy efficiency while also providing you with money-saving benefits.



     

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    Owning an older home can be a wonderful way to enjoy some unique character that simply can’t be found in a newer home. At the same time, it’s rare to find an older home that can operate as efficiently as a newer home, specifically in the area of water conservation. Fortunately, though, while you might not be able to implement every last water-saving device, there are several great and easy ways to save water in your older home.

    New Fixtures

    If you have an older home, it’s likely that it’s equipped with older plumbing fixtures, as well. Unfortunately, these older fixtures do very little to conserve water. In order to save water, then, you can replace these fixtures, whether it’s a shower head, bathroom faucet, or kitchen faucet, with low-flow models to start seeing savings right away. Just be sure your home’s plumbing can adapt to these newer fixtures, as many have special water pressure requirements that your home may not be equipped for.

    Find Leaks

    The materials in pipes of any kind inevitably break down over time due to the different substances found in water. Over time, this can lead to leaky pipes, which can waste a lot of water. If your water bill is higher than expected, or if you have a visible leak somewhere, it’s important to call a plumber to complete these plumbing repairs as soon as possible to ensure the water doesn’t cause any damage and you don’t waste any money.

    Collect Rainwater

    If local ordinances allow, collecting rainwater can be a great way to reduce your water bill. Especially if you can’t install a water-saving irrigation system due to the older construction, collecting rainwater allows you to keep your landscaping well-watered without having to depend on the city water supply. Plus, diverting rainwater in this way helps prevent erosion on your property since the water is being prevented from continuing on to the sewer.

    Install a New Toilet

    In addition to new plumbing fixtures, a new toilet can be a great water-saving investment for your older home. If your toilet has been around since before 1994, it’s using almost two gallons more per flush than a modern toilet. If you consider how many times a day you use the bathroom, that can add up quickly. Installing a new toilet is a fairly easy and quick process that will more than pay for itself over time.

    Be Water Smart

    Whether your home is old or new, you can save water using other methods, as well. Turning off the water while brushing your teeth, taking shorter showers, and watering your lawn in the morning or evening to prevent evaporation are all great ways to save water. Ultimately, it’s important to treat water as a precious resource that is worth working to save. With a few easy fixes, it’s an effort that is totally accessible

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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

  13. In the last couple of decades, people became more conscious of the different ways we affect the environment. Our interested in ecology opened up topics like what damages we've done up until now, can we reverse them and can we prevent them from happening in the future. With global warming, polluted waters and deforestation more people want to take part in protecting our planet, bringing the conversation to our homes. Now we do our research and make conscious purchases.

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    Let's talk about cleaning for example. Some of the products we used to think are harmless, are now proven to be dangerous. They go down the sewer or into the ground on their way to disturb the natural eco-system.

    Some companies gained a bad reputation for using not-so-eco-friendly chemicals in their cleaning solutions. Behind the beautiful packages and expensive commercials stands something very ugly. The truth. "Kill all the germs!", "More powerful than ever!". What about when this solution goes into the sea? Nothing is lost, the poison just changes locations. Be sure, those chemicals are as bad for the fish, plants and you, as they are for the germs. Simply following the cycle of water, we can see how easily the dangerous chemicals find their way back into our homes.

    No wonder people have second thoughts about over-the-counter cleaning products. More people opt-in for professional cleaning services because they offer safe cleaning solutions. But beware! A lot of companies saw this demand as a possibility to break through the market, so they started labelling their products as "eco" and "organic". Some of them really are but most are just as bad as the previous ones. Their lie is hidden on the back of the labels.

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    People often get discouraged, as they feel like an insignificant speck in the cosmos. But we should all remember that big changes happen with one step (person and household) at a time. We shouldn't wait for others to change. We should take care of ourselves first and set a good example for everybody else.

    The number of bad things we should watch out for seems to be growing. From where do you begin?

    The first step is conscious purchases. Be aware that mass production is in fact "mass" because consumers buy the stuff. Think about it this way – with every choice you make, for every product you buy, you claim what world you want to live in. If you buy products with heavy, harmful chemicals or made by industries that exploit their workers, it's like giving them thumbs up for it. You invest in it, you give it green light. Having this in mind, you can now start applying it in your everyday life – from grocery shopping to what kind of paint you use for your house.

    The second step is to swap disposable items with reusable ones. Why do you have to spend who-knows-how-much dollars in your lifetime on something that you use only once? Like wet wipes for example. They don't disappear into thin air or dissolve in water as lots of people seem to think. "But it's only one wipe," said a million people while flushing it down the toilet. They build up, causing problems for plumbers, as well as for nature. Simply washing with water and soap should do the trick. And they should be replaced with reusable cloths in our households. We can at least try to cut down the usage.

    Getting back to the chemicals in the domestic cleaning products. Some of them (actually a great deal of them) are labelled as dangerous to the environment picturing a real wasteland – with a dead fish and a dead tree. This is pretty straightforward. But other companies slip under the radar. Thanks to laws and policies, the businesses are not obligated to list all of the ingredients of the product if there is very little of the toxins in it. Okay, so they're harmless then? Well, no. Combining cleaning solutions can be dangerous and the toxic chemicals build up.

    Even those that are labelled as “toxic-free” and “green” can be misleading. Watch out for phonies, who use “eco” or words like this only to decorate their label. They should be certified, not just state it freely. People can start feeling discouraged as they seemingly cannot be sure about the trustworthiness of anything.

    But do we really need to use chemical-based products that much?

    There are ways to clean without any cleaning solutions. Like using a squeegee and purified water – for windows. Steam treatment technique – for carpets. Pressure cleaning – for outside walls. The later is effective even if the surface has graffiti on it. Those are maybe the best ways to do domestic (and corporate for that matter) cleaning. The equipment for these methods is professional and quite expensive so it's usually used by cleaning experts. If you are looking for service here's a list of what you should be looking for:

    • Environmental Policy
    • Energy Saving processes
    • Responsible products
    • Low energy usage equipment
    • Recycling policy

    Even if we don't like it, we do have an effect on the world. Why don't we turn that into something positive and actually be the change in our choices? We try our hardest not only to repair the damages done by previous generations but to prevent any of them repeating in the future. And we can do it. Minimising the negative effect on nature has become more important than ever and every household counts. Are you in?

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    A good well is a priceless part of off-the-grid living, and maintaining one can be surprisingly easy. However, first-time well owners may find that there is a bit of a learning curve. Unfortunately, mistakes can be costly if they damage the well or cause contamination. Here are three simple ways to avoid those troubles and keep your well running smoothly.

    Keep An Eye On The Calendar

    Regular water testing is an important part of maintaining a healthy well. In most places, an annual test for bacteria and other contaminants is enough. Check with your local health department when working out a maintenance schedule, however, because some areas may have specific risks that require more frequent testing. During this annual check, it’s also a good idea to give your system a routine flush with chlorine as a preventative measure, as well as checking the flow rate to make sure your system is working as well as possible.

    Watch For Changes

    Most of the time, wells run just fine with just a little preventative maintenance. However, even properly maintained wells can develop contamination issues for reasons ranging from failing equipment to flooding from major storms. If you notice any changes in your water quality, schedule another water test immediately, and consider drinking bottled water while you wait for the results. These changes can include cloudy or discolored water, new odors or a strange taste.

    Changes in the rate of the water flow can also be a sign of trouble. Pumps may become sluggish or inefficient before they break down completely, or a broken pipe may be causing you to lose water pressure without totally disabling the system.

    Know When To Call The Professionals

    The average homeowner can handle some minor maintenance, but for most issues it’s best to call in qualified professionals, like those at Taylor Heating Inc. Wells are more complicated than they seem, so a problem that would be minor and easy to fix for an experienced technician may turn into a major headache for a homeowner. Inexperienced people also may accidentally introduce dangerous bacteria into the system while doing something as simple as removing the well cap.

    Wells are a major investment, so it’s important to take the time to keep yours running smoothly. Preventative maintenance may seem like an unnecessary expense, but it can save you thousands of dollars in the long run. By scheduling routine testing and treatments, addressing any potential problems and finding qualified professionals to work with, your well can last a lifetime.

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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.

  16. 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.

  17. Amazon is one of the largest online retailers in the world. With an estimated net worth of nearly $20 billion dollars, this massive portal has changed the ways in which online shopping occurs. It is therefore understandable that the recent announcement of Amazon entering into the Australian marketplace and the intention to use Melbourne as their base for operations has turned quite a few heads. Why is this movement so important and what could it potentially mean for the average Melbourne business? Let's take a closer look at the answers to both of these questions, as the face of the retail industry could be forever transformed.

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    The Potential Winners

    The answer to the first question, primarily depends upon the type of business. For example, it is predicted that online sellers within Melbourne will reap the greatest number of benefits. As they will soon be presented with an entirely new venue to digitally promote their items, their overall ROI should dramatically increase.

    This same observation can be made for international sellers who have been looking to tap into the lucrative Australian marketplace. As they can ship their products directly to the consumer, these sellers will likely enjoy a greater amount of business. However, we should keep in mind that this relationship will partially depend upon the strength of the Australian dollar in relation with other major currencies such as the pound and the euro. 

    The Possible Losers

    The bad news is that traditional retailers might not fare so well. When Amazon does indeed enter into the Australian marketplace, consumers may opt for cheaper goods from international sources as opposed to purchasing similar items from a local business. This is particularly the case in terms of Melbourne-based electronics firms, as Amazon has always had a strong market share within this industry. The only possible trade-off is that those businesses which are able to translate their operations into the e-commerce sector will likely enjoy success over time. Still, these predictions have yet to materialise. 

    The Employment Sector

    Many are rightfully concerned as to whether the introduction of Amazon will bolster or deflate the job market. Robert Bruce,
    Amazon’s director of operations for Australia attempts to alleviate concerns stating “Over time, we will bring thousands of new jobs to Australia and millions of dollars of investment as well as opening up the opportunity for thousands of Australian businesses to sell at home and abroad through Amazon Marketplace.”

    Those businesses within Melbourne (and throughout the entire country) which are able to adapt to the online retail community could very well see their businesses expand at a rapid pace.

    Thanks to the new warehouse to be located in Dandenong East, local trades such as sales, customer service, HR, Operations Managers and warehouse operatives will all be in high demand.

    However, the verdict is still out as to whether traditional retail businesses will be forced to downsize. 

    The Real Estate Impact

    We should also expect to see some changes within the real estate market. As The
    Financial Review highlights, dropping brick-and-mortar sales may impact the number of commercial leases being renewed throughout Melbourne. However, there is a potential bright side as well. Businesses centred around the field of e-commerce could very well experience increased sales. Thus, they might require more office space to store and ship goods to the end user. This will particularly impact the Melbourne metropolitan area thanks to the looming presence of a truly gargantuan Amazon warehouse. 

    The entrance of this giant online retailer into the Australian marketplace will certainly shake things up a bit. However, few analysts are surprised at such a move and it only makes sense in a world increasingly defined by digital purchases. The main question is how Melbourne businesses will adapt to this shift and if they will be able to capitalise upon such a profound move into the future. 


     

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    Your bedroom should be a place of leisure where you can kick back and let every nerve and muscle in your body just chill. By doing this, your body can fully recuperate from hassles and stresses of your everyday life. But is it possible to enjoy this rejuvenating power of your bedroom if your bedroom contains unhealthy elements such as a bed or bedding that’s made from synthetic materials filled with hazardous compounds, or if you have poor ventilation and no fresh air? Probably not.

    There are lots of reasons to keep your bedroom natural and ensure that it maintains its powers of rejuvenation and some of these reasons include;

    1. Improper lighting messes with your sleep cycle.

    Natural lighting is hands down the best no matter the situation you are in and that includes when you are resting. If you have bright glaring light in your bedroom when you should be resting, it tampers with your sleep and can lead to you waking up feeling totally unrested. Keep lighting natural in your room by installing the right LED lights for night time, especially if you are one of those who aren’t comfortable sleeping in total darkness. This will help ensure your body can sleep properly and rest your mind as well as everything else to strengthen you for the coming day.

    1. Poor ventilation is unhealthy.

    Fresh air is very important for both overt and subtle reasons. If your bedroom’s window is constantly closed, it simply means you are breathing in all the old air and stale gases your body has expelled and this isn’t healthy in the long run. Open your windows as frequently as possible to let fresh air in and clear out the old air. This will keep you cool the right way instead of depending solely on recirculated air from fans and air conditioning. And if you are totally averse to opening your window for some reason, place some leafy potted plants in your bedroom. These plants will absorb carbon dioxide and other unhealthy elements from the atmosphere of your bedroom and give you clean, fresh oxygen in return. These potted plants should be natural, not synthetic ones.

    What about the bed?

    You can heighten the comfort and enjoyment of your bedroom by also throwing out your old synthetic mattress and replacing it with a natural organic one. According to Brentwood Home, “…organic mattresses are some of the most comfortable natural sleep products you can use to get the best night's sleep…”

    If you opt for a natural mattress, you can expect to enjoy the following benefits;

    1. Synthetic mattresses are well known for harboring dust mites, mold, and certain forms of bacteria. All these elements can be causes of irritation for you while you sleep. But with an organic mattress, all that goes out the window because the composition of an organic mattress ensures that it is mold-resistant, anti-bacterial, as well as capable of repelling dust mites.

    2. Organic mattresses are made from wholly natural materials and are thus free of the harmful chemicals found in synthetic mattresses. Some of these toxic chemicals in synthetic mattresses have been found to cause cancers as well as trigger allergies.

    3. Natural mattresses have moisture wicking capabilities which means no more sweat drenched sleepless nights for you.

    4. Instead of depending on hazardous chemicals, organic mattresses have their own natural fire resistant properties.

    5. The 100% natural wool and cotton mix of organic mattresses make them more breathable and ensure you can keep cool in summer, and warm in winter while you sleep.

    6. And best of all, natural mattresses are biodegradable and environmentally friendly. This means when you throw it out, it will be absorbed back into earth without negatively impacting the environment.

     

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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:

     

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


     

    Turn your waste into an eco-friendly fertilizer

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


     

    Use the worms

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


     

    Arrange waste pick-up

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


     

    Take it to the nearest waste collection center

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


     

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

  20. Based on the findings of the US Department of Energy (DOE), homeowners shell out $2,000 or more every year to heat their private pools using conventional electricity. If we go by data, there are approximately 800,000 pools in Florida alone, including the above-ground ones.  Although Florida hardly gets cold, you can extend the swimming season by opting for solar pool heating in your Tampa home.  Here are some of the most important reasons to choose the solar option over traditional pool heaters:

    Efficiency

    Solar heaters have the capacity to heat your pool efficiently provided the panels are professionally installed to harness the sun’s free energy. With proper installation, you can expect to raise your pool’s temperature by up to 15 degrees, especially when you experience a nip in the air. During the cooler months, you can consider using solar blankets as well to maintain the water temperature. You can use them when the pool is not in use. The blankets will trap the heat and stop the unnecessary evaporation of water.

    You can also lower the water temperature during the hot summer months if you have a solar pool heater installed. Obviously, you cannot cool the water when the temperature is 90 degrees Fahrenheit. But if you run the heater overnight instead of turning it on during the day, the water circulating will cool by several degrees, making the pool water more comfortable to take a plunge.

    Extended Swimming Season

    A solar pool heater together with covers can extend your swimming season, especially during the summer months from May to October. These pool heaters are designed to adjust the water temperature for a comfortable dip. It depends on the season and the amount of sunlight received.  When the Florida Solar Energy Center monitored pools in the Sunshine State some two decades ago, they found that most of the homeowners enjoyed swimming for approximately 110 days in a year. Eventually, with the advancement of solar equipment and technology, people with private pools could extend the swimming season to about 290 days. It means that you can enjoy a refreshing dip with your family and kids a little longer than you have expected.

    Durable

    Gas heaters with a lifespan of about five years are not as efficient as solar ones. Moreover, they call for a lot of care and maintenance. And it is needless to say that periodic upkeep will add to your pool heating costs further. Solar pool heating systems, on the contrary, come with a 12-year warranty and last for 10-20 years requiring little or no maintenance at all. With your pool’s filtering system and chemical balance working fine, they will last for years to come. Solar panels are designed from high-quality polypropylene. They include an additional 35 percent of the material. Solar pool heaters also have UV stabilizers, making it more durable than conventional heaters.

    Eco-Friendly

    Solar pool heaters are extremely environment-friendly. In fact, you are contributing to the green cause by installing a photovoltaic (PV) system. That’s because the sun’s energy is pure and clean.

    The benefits of solar pool heating in Tampa are hard to ignore. With the significant drop in the prices of equipment over the last few years, installing PV systems is a safe and economical option for homeowners in the city. So, are you ready to take the plunge?

  21. 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

  22. 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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  23. 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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    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.

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