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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
    • 4,032 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  
    • 0 comments
    • 1,546 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
    • 1,699 views

Our community blogs

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    Renewable energy companies have been in a tough situation for more than twenty years (since the beginning of renewables' sector). Two fires, two enemies to fight, the first is the entire fossil fuels' sector, the second is the internal competition in its own sector. The first is a strong, old and rich institution, with thousands of billion of dollars and has exponents like Shell, BP, Total, Exxon and Chevron. The second is also strong and in a long-term can monopolize the entire energy market, it's the internal competition in renewable energy sector, where companies double their profits in less than a year (like First Solar or SunPower) and hydroelectric sector growth rises every year of 3.1%.

    The slow but inevitable ascent of renewables in the energy market can't be stopped although it can be delayed and this delay can represent a high environmental price and the Earth (and also us) will pay it. We're talking about the deadly consequences of climate change, triggered by an abudance of fossil fuels usage. It's vital, for our lives and for our environment, that fossil fuels leave the market in the fastest way as possible and to do that alternatives are required, strong alternatives. To improve and strengthen remewable energy market one of the two enemies must be fought: fossil fuels (already happening) and internal competition. How can renewable energy companies overpass this obstacle and become a strong, united market? Joint ventures.

    Someone already thought about that, like Solar Power Inc. The company, which 71% is owned by China's LDK Solar Co., has formed a partnership with Wircon GmbH to build projects in the U.K. The joint venture intends to own and sell the projects it develops in the U.K., Roseville, California-based Solar Power said today in a statement. The company initially intends to build about 55 megawatts of capacity. This will go to reach U.K. goal of the 30% of the country's power from renewable sources by 2020. In Japan the lack of land territory brought Kyocera Corp. and Century Tokyo Leasing Corp. to build two solar power stations designed to float on the surface of reservoirs.

    I've mentioned it already before but it's here again: DESERTEC project, building renewable power plants in territories with an abundance of solar and wind energy and connecting three continents with energy infrastructures. The consortium which administrates the project is one of the biggest companies union in the world. The Dii GmbH is composed by E.ON, ABB, Siemens, Enel Green Power, Terna, State Grid Croporation of China, Deutsche Bank, Flagsol, Abengoa Solar, Schott Solar and RWE. This consortium administrates more than $500 billion and operates in three continents.

    Another consortium focused on energy infrastructures is Medgrid (focused more on Middle East) and formed by Abengoa, GDF Suez, EDF and other companies. Between the many examples of joint ventures in the world there's the cooperation between First Solar and BELECTRIC for the construction of PV power plants or 3SUN, the biggest solar power joint venture in Europe including Enel Green Power, Sharp and STMicroelectronics.

    Joint ventures help new companies to invest in foreign countries and strengthen relationships between companies increasing the profits and the total capacity of renewable energy power plants all over the world. But if we want to accelerate the process the number of joint ventures and consortia have to double. The final target? A global renewble energy network, connecting all the companies of the sector. In fact, a renewable energy OPEC doesn't exist, it must be created. In a world where everything is connected it's unthinkable that renewable energy companies are isolated and under the pressure of fossil fuels companies. Like oil is transported from Middle East to the U.S. so renewable energy must be an international fuel to power a clean and green future.

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    If you have any interest at all in saving the environment or even in saving money, repurposing old or useless possessions should hold a certain interest for you. With a bit of creativity and a quick peek at the Internet, you can find hundreds of ideas on how you can put old possessions to new uses. Here are just a few tips to get you started.

    Consider a Fresh Design

    Getting tired of looking at old furniture is a common concern among many homeowners. After all, having something fresh and clean to look at can enhance one’s mood and can even give the home a new feel. Instead of trashing a piece of furniture, consider whether a fresh coat of paint, a new texture or a small change, such as a new lampshade or different knobs, could give the piece new life.

    Get Professional Help

    If you feel that you do not have a single creative bone in your body or simply do not have the time to repurpose your belongings yourself, you can count on professionals to get the job done for you. Look for a junk removal company, like AAA Rousse, that recycles old items from your home. They can help you clean out boxes of unwanted possessions from your home, and you can be relieved to know that your possessions will be put to good use elsewhere.

    Improve Your Organization

    One of the easiest ways to repurpose a variety of belongings is to use them for storage and organization. This is a simple way to put such items as vases, bowls, old drawers, pots and similar items to use. Also, consider putting larger items to organizational uses, such as by using an old ladder for a bookshelf.

    Use Items as Decor

    Not everything has to be used for its original purpose. As you saw when using items old items for organizational purposes, you can use your creativity to use items for interesting decor as well. For example, consider hanging plates on your walls, framing jewelry, or turning an old sweater into a cover for a throw pillow.

    Repurposing your old possessions means that you no longer waste space storing them and do not have to add to the already-crowded nature of landfills. Plus, you can save money when you realize that you do not have to buy a new piece of furniture or decor because you have repurposed something you already have. Of course, when you absolutely cannot find any way to put some of your belongings to use, you can count on professionals to recycle or upcycle your belongings well.

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    My family and I recently moved from Darwin to Caulfield, a Melbourne suburb in Victoria. I wanted to be close to my job, I work as an acupuncturist in one Melbourne clinic; and my wife and I were beginning a new phase of our lives with the birth of our third child. Of course the question of what to use for energy source came up during the planning stages.

    We wanted to minimise the cost of heating for our home. With energy rates going up, standard baseboard heating for the cold and wet winters in Caulfield would leave a dent in our ability to support the growing family. We also didn't want to depend on carbon-spewing brown coal that the majority of Victoria households use.

    So my wife and I did a little bit of research and consulted our builders. With their help, we came to our final decision, that the best option for our home would be geothermal heating. Our builders told us that Victoria has a rich source of from several natural underground geothermal bores and other artificial ones. Some have been used to power towns, but direct heating to homes is also available from several companies that are developing Sedimentary Geothermal Systems (from existing reservoirs) and Engineered Geothermal Systems (artificially created reservoirs).

    The System Installation

    Once we'd decided we were going with geothermal water for heating, the construction guys helped us with getting the permits. If you're a landholder, you will need to obtain an Exploration Permit from the authorities if you want to extract geothermal energy from land that belongs to the Crown. The company that installs your system should also have an Extraction License.

    Our builders were a great help throughout the process. They also got us in touch with a company that had already installed 20 such geothermal units in Victoria in the last 10 years and were licensed to use the technology.

    Next, the building process had already begun and it was time for the pipelines to be laid. Our land had the perfect layout to let us easily bury the plastic tubing about 1.8 meters to 2.4 meters into the ground. Ours is a typical horizontal system. But you can also install a vertical system, in which the pipes are laid through holes that are about 40 meters to 60 meters deep. A mixture of antifreeze and water is circulated through the system and the home is heated. The building company helped us through each step of the way, explaining our options and being completely transparent all throughout. (Thanks guys!)

    The Cost

    While the initial cost is a little hefty, at around $20,000, I believe the operational costs more than make up for it. We've been using ours for a while and each month I pay only $200 towards energy costs monthly. That is at least half of any other major household energy source. The initial capital will certainly pay back down the line in 10 or 20 years when energy becomes more expensive.

    The Advantages of Geothermal Heating

    The direct heat obtained from geothermal energy can be used for heating water, forced air conditioning and for hydronic slab heating, among other things. The technology uses the fact that the hot water in underground reservoirs remains within a constant range of temperatures. Heat is transferred from these reservoirs to the house with a very high efficiency.

    We've been using our two 14 kW heat pumps for a while now with their two fan coil units. They heat water to about 40 degrees C for our domestic hot water and the floor heating. Inside our home the temperature is a comfortable 22 to 24 degrees C, but we can change cooling or heating requirements.

    Our heating providers worked with the builders and gave us a choice between indoor and outdoor units. We chose an indoor one, as no ventilation is required. The system is very safe to use and incredibly quiet as well, so I'm immensely pleased with it. It remains to be seen if it is the same a few years down the line!

  4. Under en presskonferens på Gotland meddelande klimat- och miljöminister Åsa Romson att Ojnare blir ett naturskyddsområde – vilket troligtvis sätter stopp för den planerade stenbrytningen i området.

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    Klimat- och miljöminister Åsa Romson meddelade i förmiddags att regeringen kommer att utnämna området kring Bästeträsk till ett Natura-2000 område. Beslutet betyder att det blir näst intill omöjligt för bolagen Nordkalk och SMA Mineral att få tillstånd till storskalig stenbrytning i området då de i sådana fall måste förhålla sig till betydligt tuffare lagar.

    – Området kring Bästeträsk är ett världsunikt och omistligt naturområde. Dagens beslut visar att regeringen tar skyddet av Sveriges natur på stort allvar, säger Åsa Romson i ett pressmeddelande.

    Beslutet är början på slutet för den långvariga och segslitna domstolsprocess kring Ojnareskogen som har pågått i tio år och ställt miljöintressen – främst en oro över stenbrytningens påverkan på Gotlands grundvatten – mot nya industrijobb.

    Världsnaturfonden WWF, som tillsammans med andra miljöorganisationer har arbetat länge för att stoppa planerna på kalkstensbrytning i Ojnare, välkomnar regeringens beslut.

    – För WWF är det självklart att detta unika område ska skyddas både för sin unika natur och dess betydelse för vattenförsörjning för både människor, djur och natur. Vi hoppas nu att Naturvårdsverket och Länsstyrelsen går vidare och gör nationalpark av området som planerat, säger Håkan Wirtén, generalsekreterare på WWF.

    Men på Nordkalk och SMA Mineral är man idag besvikna på regeringens beslut.

    – Jobben, det gotländska samhället och nordisk industri kommer också konkret att lida av detta beslut, säger Nordkalks VD Jarkko Kaplin i ett pressmeddelande.

    – Jag känner djupt för de medarbetare och entreprenörer som vi tvingats varsla. Jobb växer ju inte på träd på Gotland som alla vet, säger Daniel Juvél, vd för SMA Mineral, i en kommentar till SVT Nyheter.

    Regeringen meddelade samtidigt att ett näringslivspaket för Gotland om 100 miljoner kronor ska tas fram i samråd med regionen, näringslivet och facket.

    – Regeringen anser att det är viktigt att Gotland fortsatt har en livskraftig industri och näringsliv. Därför kommer vi tillsammans med regionen att ta fram ett näringslivspaket som särskilt fokuserar på framtida industriell utveckling, säger Åsa Romson.

    Förslag på nya Natura 2000-områden:

    Regeringen föreslår följande nya områden på Gotland att ingå i Natura 2000-nätverket: Bruten, Stenstugu skog, Jusarve skog, Hajdhagen, Sajgs, Sigfride, Suderbys hällar, Kyllahajdar, Ormhällar-Bromyr, Pärkhagen, Stora Vikers, Stadshagen, Slättflis, Törrvesklint och Jungfrun.

    Områden som föreslås utökas: Bungenäs, Asunden, Herrgårdsklint, Fide prästänge, Hässle klint, Bojsvätar, Storsund, Uppstaig, Danbo och Bästeträsk (inklusive området vid Ojnare). 

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    Our members regularly publish good and interesting blog posts here in our community. And we often feature some of the best posts. Featured blog posts gets highly visible on both the Green Blog frontpage and the Community Blogs page, as well as next to all our regular environment news. Simply put: if your blog post gets featured it will be seen by a lot of people.

    We tend to feature posts that are topical, interesting and thought-provoking. Here are some friendly tips on how you can make your post even better, and more likely to get featured:

    We cannot stress this enough. References are important! Add links to news sites, Wikipedia entries, blog posts, etc., that supports the claims you make in your blog post.

    Everyone likes photos! So add an Entry image on your next blog post. You can also upload and add individual images as well as photo albums to your blog post using our Green Blog Gallery.

    Label you post with a category and tags, tags, and more tags! Different categories for your posts are also useful. While you can use several tags that are relevant to your blog post's content, we recommend you to only use one category per post.

    Good luck and maybe we'll feature your blog post next time! :)

  6. Maintaining a house is a great responsibility, and that list of chores only builds up when you have a garden to take care of as well. However, like with anything else, you only need some practice until you create a routine that can fit into your regular daily schedule. In order to help you get this done faster and more efficiently, I created the next five steps which I’m sure you’ll find helpful.

     

    Regular Mowing Is a Must

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    If you want to get anything done, you need to have a clean slate. This is why you need to start with cleaning your lawn thoroughly, especially if it has been covered with snow until recently. After you get rid of all that clutter, it’s mowing time! If you want your grass consistency to be tick and healthy, you should set your blade on 2 cm, and maintain that height for a while. Afterwards, you may lower it down a bit if you want to deal with mowing less often, but you should leave it at 2 cm at least for a month. When you’re done with mowing, you’ll want to apply a layer of moss and some weed killer.

    Don’t Forget about Constant Watering

    If you don’t pay attention to watering, all previous efforts will be in vain. There’s another shortcut here – if you want your chores regarding gardening to be minimized, and you still want to create a peaceful environment that you can relax in, you should water your lawn once per week, but water it deep. By investing some additional time into making small holes that are only a couple of inches deep, you’ll enable your grass to breathe properly, and your watering treatment will definitely be more efficient.

    Deal with Pests on Time

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    The minute you start noticing holes in your yard or if your plants get damaged with no reason whatsoever, you obviously have a pest problem. Now, it’s quite important to deal with them as soon as possible – right after you determine which unwanted species is invading your home. If you don’t, you’ll just give them more time to multiply and develop, which will directly affect your overall billing to increase. So, don’t waste any time and call an experienced professional to deal with your problem.

    Flowerbeds or Garden Pots?

    This is the next dilemma that needs to be solved. Flowerbeds are recommended for larger gardens, because then you can fit your outdoors furniture and other garden items as well. However, if you only frame your garden with flowerbeds or make neat lines on the surface, it’ll work for a smaller garden. On the other hand, remodeling your garden afterwards may take too much time, which is exactly why I prefer pots. It may take some time to transfer from flowerbeds to pots, but I’m sure you’ll find it more practical, no matter if you plan on using your garden for vegetables or flowers only. There’s an appropriate size of outdoor planters for any type of plant you might have in mind, so you don’t have to worry about that.

    Enjoy Your Summer Hideout!

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    The only thing left is to pick out your outdoors furniture set. The size of your garden is the most important factor here, obviously. If you’re dealing with a smaller one, you should definitely go with a set that’s lighter, and that’s simple to storage. Besides, it doesn’t have to be a set at all – make things interesting and pick out different pieces in order to create a set of your own! When it comes to large gardens, the only thing to worry about is your budget, perhaps. You should also consider building a summer house, or some kind of storing facility, where you can place all your gardening tools.

    Although it might seem like it, this won’t take too much of your time after you’re done with heavy work. One last piece of advice – make some plans and sketches before you start rearranging your garden, so you know exactly what you’re doing. I’m sure it will look amazing!

     
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    Not only do new windows make your home look and feel updated, they can also do a lot for the energy efficiency of your home. If you upgrade your windows, your home could become more efficient and your bills could get lower.

    They Reduce Drafts

    Old windows can be drafty especially if they are not installed correctly. New windows reduce the draft and can make it easier for you to keep your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer. It’s important to recognize that drafty windows can cause huge changes in your electric bills.

    Double Panes Are More Efficient

    When companies like Valley Glass Utility install new windows, they do so with double panes. This is the standard for replacement windows and new-build windows now. Double panes are more energy efficient because of the way they trap heat inside or cool air inside. They can help reduce your energy bill.

    Old Glass Isn’t Insulating

    There are not any insulating properties in old glass windows. Along with it being single-paned most of the time, there might also be issues with the way the glass was put into the windows. Even if you have a home that wasn’t built too long ago, the windows may not have all the insulating properties new windows do. It’s important to get new windows so they can act as another barrier against the outside. They need to be able to help your home stay warm or cool while also providing protection from the elements.

    Your Home Will Be Easier to Heat

    Heating a home with old windows might seem impossible. Since they don’t trap heat like they should and they’re not efficient, you might not be able to have the best heating system in your house. For this reason, many older homes feel like they’re cold all the time. Getting new windows might make it easier for you to heat your home. The right windows will allow your home to heat up and can make it easier for you to take advantage of a great heating system when you were unable to do so in the past because of drafts or other issues in your home.

     

    Not only are window replacements a good idea to change the aesthetics of your home but they’re also great for increasing the efficiency. If you want to see drastic changes in your energy bills, upgrading to new windows is the way to go.

  8. Fox facts ! Learn about our flame haired friends. Foxes are a common site in the British countryside and gardens this is a fantastic infographic that helps educate us about these amazing animals. Also touches on the fact they are used across culture. Thanks DrVegas who have a fantastic fox based game 'Foxin Wins!'.

    fox infographic.jpg

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    Who would have thought that from the simplest and the most basic things would pave the way to the introduction of much more comprehensive and convenient concepts of machines and equipment that most often than not, help people in accommodating their day-to-day routines ensuring the best outputs later on?

    Construction, with the advancement of technology, has incredibly experienced staggering developments aiming to improve quality of lives.

    Starting from the drawing up of blueprints up to acquiring environmentally and healthy designs of infrastructures, it has now been touched by technology and innovation.

    If one would care to look deeper into this, they’ would be surely introduced to the concept of LEED certification.

    The LEED Certification Concept

    LEED, which basically stands for Leadership Energy and Environment Design, is a certification program for third-party clients. This initiative has started in the year 2000 by the US Green Building Council or USGCB aiming to offer standards and concepts for designs, operations and the overall construction of high performance buildings tailored to the specifics of the environment.

    The LEED encompasses a whole lot more objectives as opposed to what it may seem since it does not only focus on ensuring that buildings are designed with compatibility to the health of the environment but also for business and company owners to have an infrastructure that is profitable.

    Ask why profitability? Well, that is simply because acquiring the LEED certification would allow one to have the means and the knowledge to practically and successfully cut down the operational costs from the ever increasing bills for electric and water consumption.

    Yes, as you have realized by now, any kind of infrastructure is often packaged with all sorts of machines that consume a lot more energy and water than you can imagine. This then equates to overwhelming energy and water bills that cut a huge chunk from the company’s earnings.

    With the great performance of buildings that have acquired this certification, LEEDhas been awarded with points thus acknowledging its edge for sustainability and energy efficiency. Going Green with LEED and Its Notable Advantages

    At the surface, one could simply read that acquiring certification would help in cost cutting of utility bills. However, looking closer into it would surface more convenience and advantage than just simply lowering your operational costs.

    With such certification, one could simply achieve and experience the following benefits:

    • Ensured cooled and heated infrastructures as needed with minimal energy usage
    • Tested to minimized duct-work and envelope leakage
    • Minimized indoor and outdoor water usage
    • Predicted to only utilize approximately 30% to 60% less energy compared to other established buildings without the LEED Certification.
    • Recycling materials that can be used for building constructions
    • Supplying power and energy via renewable and unharmful methods
    • Reduced and minimized environmental impacts during construction as well as maintenance as with this certification emission of greenhouse gases and other substances and elements that often occur with just the traditional design of buildings

    The LEED Tiers

    Since we have already tackled about the basics of LEED, let us get to more detailed and important elements about it such as the Tiers. There are 4 known tiers of the certification. This tiers indicate the increasing sustainability of building practices among clients.

    The first tier is the Certified equating to 40 to 49 points, the Silver for 50 to 59 points, the Gold for 60 to 79 points and the platinum, which pertains to 80 points and above.

    While it is true that the higher levels of LEED can be quite challenging to achieve, there are still efforts that one could do to achieve it. After all, nobody knew before that we could have things we have right now, right?

    Achieving higher levels would surely provide one with much overwhelming benefits, which they could later on take advantage.

    An example of which is a high LEED certification level making a great selling point that are often used by corporations to court environmentally aware and conscious consumers as well as investors toward their business.

    Aside from this, it has also been noted that there are respective incentives in the form of local and federal tax benefits or other subsidies that are made available for high level certified LEED infrastructures. Some Well Known Buildings with LEED Certification

    To give you more facts about the incredibility of this program, let us make a quick list of some of the known buildings that are certified with LEED. One of the latest most buzzing names when it comes to this is the Serbian IT park. Its known as the first infrastructure which is certified with LEED in the region.

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    This has greatly affected their operations making the management more productive while having the means to save money and to have a healthy and comfortable workplace for the whole team.

    Another LEED certified building is the Hearst Tower in New York City. With its continued efforts to live green, this building has now gained Gold level with over 90% of its steel used for structure that came from recycled durable materials.

    David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh is known, on the other hand, as a gold and platinum level holder being the first convention center in the globe to acquire the LEED.

    The Connecticut avenue building in Washington D.C. also has a LEED platinum status and is known as the first redeveloped office building on the US East Coast to acquire the LEED certification.

    University of Texas at Dallas, Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens as well as the Yale University are proud infrastructures having the LEED certification, which they acquired through thick and strict efforts to go green and live a practical and energy-efficient office lifestyle.

    Be among them now and start making a lot of profits than you can imagine without posing harm to the environment. LEED Certification would also enable you to provide the best working environment to your clients, partners as well as business investors pushing them to be more productive.

    Invest in this venture now and harvest the fruitful and unimaginable benefits it could provide, not just to you but to the people and the community surrounding you as well.

  10. 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.

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

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

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

    Why gift green?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  12. 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. 


     

  13. 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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    With so many housing developments today, forests are slowly dying. Forest serves as the natural habitat to a lot of animal species. What will happen if the forests are gone? First possibility is that animals will dwell with human in cities or towns. Can you imagine sleeping soundly then you realize that a python is next to you? Or a big bear is sitting in your veranda? Second possibility is that wild animals will die, which eventually affects the food chain.

    Dead forest is sure to have negative impact to the next generation. There will be no more forest to hike or trek.Lush green environment will become limited. Needless to say, many other detrimental effects will likely happen. This is why it is critical to help save the forest. In our own little ways, there are things we can do. If you cut trees, be sure to replace it new seedlings. For instance if you want to cut 1 old tree, you should plant 5 new trees. If all people share the same mission, our forest will stay until the next generation and the next.

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    It’s almost that time of year again- cue the mince pies, tinsel, personalised gifts, chirpy carolling, and most importantly, the endless string of decorated Christmas trees.
    But at what a cost? In an age where we have the appropriate knowledge and technology to investigate the real impact of nationwide gorging and extravagance, shouldn’t we care about what the festive season does to our environment?

    Hundreds of thousands of Christmas trees are cut down each year, each to fulfil their destinies of being draped in tinsel, adorned with the angel or star of your choice, and housing the piles of gifts kids each year. Many opt for an artificial festive symbol instead, all with the misconception that Christmas trees are leading to deforestation and further negative environmental impacts. In actual fact, Gary Chastegner, professor of plant pathology at Washington State University has stated that "most Christmas trees are grown as crop and replanted, so it is really no different than harvesting corn".  Chastagner goes on to explain that a natural reseeding takes place in forests, and permits are distributed in areas where the trees need to be thinned.

    The National Christmas Tree Association have stressed that using real pine and fir trees is actually a more green thing to do than purchasing an artificial Christmas tree for your living room.  According to research, most fake Christmas trees are only used for 6-9 years and then disposed of. Keeping the plastic tree for longer than this period would eventually be thrown away into a landfill. These trees, unlike real trees, are not recyclable or biodegradable. In addition to this, in 2010, The New York Times reported that fake trees usually contain a harmful chemical called polyvinyl chloride or PVC. Essentially, just manufacturing these trees can be harmful to the environment.

    Recent years have introduced the most ethical choice of all. You can now ‘rent’ your Christmas tree for the festive period. This means that you can choose the Christmas tree of your choice, which comes with its own sustainable root system. This tree is delivered to your door (which saves you time and money on travelling to purchase the tree yourself), and then picked up at a date which suits you, early in the New Year. The tree is then returned to the soil, and grown on for the new year.

    If you really are trying to limit your carbon footprint this Christmas, don’t let your efforts stop at your choice of tree. Make sure you opt for LED fairy lights for example. These new style lights help save energy and money. What is more, their relatively cool heat will make your tree less of a fire hazard too.

    This may sound like stating the obvious, but don’t forget to recycle after you’re done with celebrating for the year. Figures suggest that a mere 10% of Christmas trees are recycled for wood chipping and compost each year in the UK. In our capital alone, almost 1 million trees are just thrown away each January.

     

  17. Eco-friendly changing of your habits

    Every person counts. This is not only the case when it comes to elections, but when it comes to something far more serious, like saving the planet we live on. Whenever you think you are just one person and your deeds don’t really count much, think about this: “Your beliefs become your thoughts. Your thoughts become your words. Your words become your actions. Your actions become your habits. Your habits become your values. Your values become your destiny.” Like Ghandi put it, if you chose to think differently today, you can influence the others tomorrow, and maybe it’s your destiny to eventually make a crucial change. After all, it’s in your best interest.

    Transportation alternatives

    Try to imagine yourself riding an eco-friendly car. If you’re not in situation to invest into one right now, consider switching to compressed natural gas. It is way cheaper and it will save your environment from bad vehicle emissions. Also, you can walk more or ride a bike. This way, not only will you be in better shape, but you will also save money.

    Saving energy

    The world is energy deficient. Making enough energy for all people directly affects of pollution. Unfortunately, people are not aware of the fact that turning off even one lamp can be significant. Turn around while reading this and check if we were right. At least one device is unnecessarily turned on, we’re betting on it. Take first step in order to help your planet and turn it off. Were we wrong? Congratulations. You already have a high level of conciseness. So what else you can do to save the energy loss? You can switch to LED lights or even consider making your own energy investing in solar panels.

    Recycling

    This is another way to act ‘green’ and keep earning money. Different materials have different recycling prices. For instance, metals like aluminum and copper are the most expensive. Glass is a lot cheaper while paper and plastic are the cheapest. If you have huge amounts of these materials and don’t know what to do with them, here’s an opportunity to get rid of it – recycle! However, if you will still be needing it but you have nowhere to keep it, consider investing in container shelters.

    Cultivation of organic food

    Did you ever consider planting some agro cultures in your own garden? Wouldn’t it be wonderful to harvest a cabbage, carrots or radishes that you grown? Eating more organic vegetables and less meat will make you feel healthier, stronger and happier. But, it’s even better thing to know that you’ve help your planet by saving energy for its production. Therefore, you increased pollution too.

    Become and stay ‘green’

    If you’re involved in media or politics use your influence to contribute to the better future of our planet. It will only take a few minutes from your day, but to someone else it would mean a lot. Remember that you owe it to your kids, because they are stay on Earth, after you’ll gone. Imagine a place where you would like to leave your offspring, and fight for it.

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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.

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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

  20. Nature around us ought to be one of the things nearest to everybody's heart as it is the exceptionally thing that permits us to live, manages us, and keeps us alive. The nature fulfills all our needs as much as possible; it gives us the assets for our eating, dressing needs, and in addition empowers us to fabricate all the astounding things we develop. In such an era of modernization, when it is clear that nature is enduring our filthy deeds to destroy the sanctity of environment, and is beginning to demonstrate the strain of so much pollution and contamination, it ought to be our duty to do our best to ebb the harm by any possible means.

    Efforts on Individual Level

    Individuals may say to themselves, what would they be able to do? I am only one individual; I cannot do anything to protect the environment. Let it happen, as it may; it is the disposition that must be disheartened to interfere on your way. Each individual can do his effort in protecting environment by recycling, switching off lights and other electrical gadgets when they are not in use and additionally by opting not to use his car when it is just to travel a short distance. Individuals today can also switch to renewable energy sources that fulfill the daily power needs. This practice saves the non-renewable resources and the environment alike. More understanding of this can be obtained from sources like EnergyProvidersNewYork.com. Such little efforts from most of the people would have an immense effect on the quality of environment, causing an immediate and constructive outcome on the nature.

    Use Environment friendly Power Resources

    The increase in the utilization of environment friendly power sources, i.e., renewable forms of energies is an extremely positive sign and it has been established that these advancements do work. They accordingly decrease our dependency up to some extent on the traditional power resources, such as coal, oil, gas, and atomic energies. In supporting these renewable forms of energies, we are helping the planet to partially overcome the harm done till date.

    There are numerous systems and means by which we can help nature. One of these techniques is minimizing the utilization of pesticides that are unsafe for the environment which also cause harm to numerous types of natural lives. In addition to this, nature preservation and saving its sanctity is crucial, as it permits those species or creatures that are most badly affected by pollution to recuperate and conceivably, survive. The best example, for instance is, Amazon rainforest, where severe deforestation is bringing about irreversible harm to a great number of animal varieties. If we do not do something soon for the preservation of their natural habitat, we will begin to see the eradication of a wide range of creatures.

    This earth is of most extreme significance to every one of us and everybody should be made mindful of, how important it is that they should take the time to do something for the betterment of our earth, nature, and environment. 

    Author Box:

    Stephen Heyer is a specialist on environment protection issues and suggests using clean sources of energy with carbon credits. He also advises using the services offered by EnergyProvidersNewYork.com for minimizing the harm caused to our environment.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  22.  

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

    Cleaning Up Oil Spills with Microbes

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

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

    Tackling China's Air Pollution Problem at the Source

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

    Using Electrolyzed Water to Clean and Disinfect

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

    Harnessing the Power of Landfills

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

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

    Sources:

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

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

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

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