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  • Mark Piazzalunga

    DESERTEC project, Sahara Sun could power Europe by 2050

    By Mark Piazzalunga

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

    Black Friday Promotes Over-Consumption and Waste

    By Joseph Ramondeli

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

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

    By Megan Bonetti

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

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    Get The Best Of The Virtual World

    The internet is not only a place where we can address our buyers, or where our buyers can get additional reading on our services and products, but also a place where we can find reliable partners, which can greatly improve our companies. There is literally nothing that can’t be found online, so searching for a partner company to which we can outsource some important aspect of a business, like marketing should always start online. At www.redmeetsblue.com.au/brand-building/logo-identity-design you can find a reliable and respected Perth graphic design company which can provide you with a wide range of graphic design services, at reasonable prices. By using the services of the best experts in graphic design in Perth, you are not only getting the expert service, but also reaping the benefits of vas experience of the Red Meets Blue company in both the local, and the global market.

    Design Your New Identity With Red Meets Blue

    With the best Perth graphic design company, you will provide your business and entirely new image and visual identity. Starting from the creating of a new logo, which is the most important element of any marketing strategy, the professionals at Red Meets Blue will establish a powerful presence on the market for your company, and convey a strong message through the logo design. As the logo is crucial for brand recognition, it will be carefully put in all those places which are integral for the operations of your company. A new business card, brochure, catalogue, and all the other solutions of the best designers in graphic design in Perth will have the logo of the company on them, meaning that a symbol of your company will be omnipresent.

    Use The Online Solutions Online

    Once you have used the internet to find your perfect graphic design partner in the finest Perth graphic design company, Red Meets Blue, you can rely on the services of the best experts in web design in Perth, to create a wonderful new website for your company. Not only are the creative and graphic skills of the web designers responsible for the aesthetical segment of the website, but they are also important for the overall functionality and responsiveness. Having a website which is responsive to all the latest mobile platforms is one of the imperatives of the modern online marketing.

                

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    Over the years there are a few things in life that I’ve learnt. Over a period of ones life, one can expect to pay taxes, die and have a few laughs along the way. Another thing that is certain in life is that one can expect Americans to love their pick up trucks! Now being from the United Kingdom, I’ve always had a fascination with pick up trucks and why they are such a big pull to our American cousins over the pond. I’ve never quite understood the fascination of them, mainly because there’s not many around where I live. I’ve also got into my mind that pick up trucks are notoriously bad for the environment. Recently though, I did a bit of research online after spotting a pick up on the roads near me, and apparently there’s a new type of pickup truck called the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel which Dodge have created to have minimal impact on the environment. So I did a bit more research and here’s what I found.

     

    What precisely makes it an Eco Truck?

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    It’s simply really. Most trucks that you can name off the top of your head have terrible miles per gallon figures. The EcoDiesel uses very advanced diesel technology that enables it to use the latest biodiesel available. How does this affect the truck? Well it puts out the best miles per gallon of any truck the same size.

    Why do this?

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    Well many people like myself are intrigued by pickup trucks, especially those living outside of the USA, but don’t want to buy them for fear of hurting the environment. This is a really good move by Dodge to cater for those in the USA and abroad who are interested in a pick up but know that many have a negative impact on the world due to fuel and oil consumption. Not many pickups are available to buy in the UK but there’s a reason this one is and it’s because it eco friendly.

    So what are my overall thoughts of this vehicle? Well its great to finally see that a pick up truck is being made which takes the environment into account. If all other truck companies were to take a leaf out of Dodge’s book, the world would be a little less polluted and a better place to live!

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

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

    Get a better energy provider

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

    Make your own green products

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

    Ditch all plastic

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

    Try CO2 dry cleaning

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

    Make the home smarter

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

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    Find a new way to use animals to benefit the planet

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

     

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    So your best friend lives across the country or if you are in my sad situation, on another continent – (sob) but there are ways to get around this. Here is a list of things everyone who has a best friend far away knows to be true. Keep reading to find out more!

    Texts about Messy Nights Happen EVERY Weekend

     

    Speaking About Phone Calls – Your Bill Skyrockets

    Total phone calls to London:       $1,250

    Total phone calls:                             $1,300

    Oh well, those phone calls are really important and worth the ramen you end up eating to make up for it.

     

    And Sending Pictures about Where You Are and Who You’re with is Just Another Part of a Night Out

     

     

     

    You know how lethal those jelly shots are from that one night where we finished three trays in about two hours…

    Of Hot Dresses…

     

     

    Because while everyone is entitled to their own opinion about what you’re wearing, how you live your life and who you date, there is only one opinion that really counts. Hers is the opinion. You don’t listen to anyone else because they have absolutely no clue what they are talking about. You know this is true. #StayTrueToTheCode

     

    Planning Holidays Together is the Thing to Do

     

    The further away you live from each other, the more important that precious week off together becomes. You plan everything from how you are going to paint the red (or purple in my case), who you should be hooking up with and who you will be seeing. You also plan who you will be avoiding. Oh, and it goes without saying that you wonder whether the world is ready for this. Deep down inside you know this is not the case.

     

    And you’re Always Proven Right

     

    Time together is so rare that you really do go all out. From bar crawling to teaching men a thing or two about what it means when the two of you are together. These holidays are the kind that go down in history. They also leave you in fits of giggles while you sit back at the office. You know, looking all innocent in your oh-so-pretty and demure dress. Surrounded by twenty men who have no clue. Absolutely none. And they never will. Obviously. Because you are a nice girl. Or that’s what you want them to think.

     

    You don’t get to choose your best friend. It just happens and the connection is there. From meeting her on your first day of university absolutely terrified, the bond is there. Why not stop worrying about your phone bill and having to wait two years to see her. With a win from EuroLotto after you play the lotto online you can definitely afford to see each other more often.

     

     

     

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    Dealing with a bee infestation is not an easy thing. Unfortunately, bee infestation issues are more and more common in areas in which the urban development has destroyed the natural environment and most of those who are dealing with such issues simply don’t know how to get them solved. If you are one of these people and you have just noticed that there are thousands of bees buzzing around in your garden, building a hive, then you are absolutely dealing with a bee infestation issue. In these cases, the best thing you can do is to hire a team of professionals and avoid the area in which the bees are working as much as possible. Don’t try to make them go away, as this will not happen. Since they are already building a hive, they have clearly found your garden as the perfect place for making a home, so they are simply not going to go away. They will have to be removed as soon as possible if you want to avoid unpleasant, dangerous situations, but this is not a task that you can handle all by yourself. You need to contact a team of professionals and the best thing you can do in this respect is to visit http://beebusters.com/huntington-beach-bee-removal-service. This is a great company specialized in bee removal services, a company that first started in the beekeeping industry. Since the company started its activity in the beekeeping industry, it is more than clear that the services it provides are of a top quality and that the company will come with some highly efficient bee infestation solutions.

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    In fact, if you are interested in getting some additional information on how this bee removal company is going to get your problem solved, all you have to do is to click here. By doing this, you will learn the fact that the problem will be solved by a team of experts who will be using special tools and equipment in order to collect all the bees buzzing around in your garden and relocate them. This is what makes this bee removal company such an excellent choice. By opting for its services, you will learn the fact that the bees are relocated in areas in which they are not going to threaten anyone, so they can build as many homes as they want without being disturbed anymore. This company does not use all sorts of chemical substances in order to get the problem solved by killing the bees and this is great. Unfortunately, there are bee removal companies that get the problem solved in this way and this simply isn’t humane. Bee infestation issues can absolutely be solved in a humane way, so people should start understanding this and start refusing the services that imply having the bees killed by using all sorts of chemical sprays. You have a choice to make and there are two options available: one that gets the bees killed and one that gets the bees relocated. Make sure that your choice is right. 

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

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

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

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    The industry has evolved so much throughout the history, with new inventions and discoveries changing the course of development of the entire civilization. When ships and boats were the only way of traveling and transporting large amounts of cargo, the ship building industry was one of the most important in the world. When one industry is thriving, it usually includes lots of smaller industries to provide it with the materials, and so the ship building industry encouraged the growth and development of lumber industry as well. Naturally, things changed with the invention of trains, cars, airplanes, and other forms of transportation. This sequel of events goes for every branch of industry, as the civilization is ever changing, opening new horizons, and closing some old doors. The modern industry relies heavily on the industry of energy and the computer industry, which are probably the most important players on the today’s global economy scene, along with the weapons industry. It goes without saying that food industry is a constant in all civilizations, and all societies in history.

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    The electronic industry became a huge player in the 20th century, with the technetronic revolution.  With everything being modernized with the use of electronics, and with the electronic devices being introduced to every aspect of life, it is only natural that that the consumer electronic industry is one of the fastest growing in the world. As soon as the first scientists discovered electricity and found a way to harvest its awesome power, the development of various electrical machines, devices and patents begun. By the middle of the 20th century, almost every household had some kind of an electronic device, and each decade brought more and more electronic appliances and gadgets to our homes. Today, we are sounded by hundreds of electronic devices every day, from the basic ones, to the most complex. All the scientific breakthroughs of the 20th century were made possible by electronic devices, an all the fields of science still rely heavily on the electronic industry, to provide them with the necessary instruments for further development. We live longer, our life quality is much higher, we are far better educated, and we can experience so much more things, all because of electronics.

    The modern electronic industry is mostly based in the East, where the material are easily accessible, the cost of labor is low, and the experts are highly trained and educated. The electronic industry of China is the biggest in the world, and the vast majority off all electronic devices on the market is made in China. Even the devices made in the West are composed of electronic components made in China, like the printed circuit board. A printed circuit board, or a PCB, is an integral piece of every electronic device, and the quality standards of the Chinese PCB manufacturers is the highest in the world. At http://project-pcb.com/ you can find amazing high end printed circuit boards, and even get an immediate online quote on the order, regardless of the quantity and the design of the PCB.

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

     

     

     

     

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

    Perennials


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

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    Berry Plants


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

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    Shrubs


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

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    Fruit Trees


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

    Creeping Vines


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

    Small Footprint, Stunning Looks


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

     

    Author

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

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

                                    38GtC0G.png

     

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


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

     

  4. Master craftsman, eco-designer, furniture hero - words that Stephen Staples, maker and co-owner of Staples Cabinet Makers, embodies. Allow me to tell you a little bit more about our eco-superhero Mr. Staples. No, he doesn’t wear a red cape with a large S on his chest, nor can you summon him with your magic ring. But this guy really does know how to save the environment - this hardworking artisan makes gorgeous and natural looking furniture from reclaimed wood from old barns and houses found throughout the New England area. Following a Japanese philosophical style known as “wabi sabi,” which roughly translates to “flawed beauty” in the art world, Staples truly believes that the real beauty in his work lies in the natural contours, knots and stains that have naturally formed in the wood throughout time. With his dedication in using reclaimed wood to create unique furniture laced with historical and aesthetic value, Stephen Staples is our green superhero/super-artisan of the year! To learn more about his beautiful furniture pieces and about his inspirations.

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  5. What is green electricity? What are the types of green electricity and how are they generated?

    The search for alternative energy sources is pointing out to green electricity production as the only sustainable method to power our home, transport system and industries in a future that seems to be only several decades away. This also represents the way to avoid the carbon footprint, a legitimate concern nowadays.

    What Is Green Electricity

    The term of 'green electricity' means electric energy obtained from renewable sources. Green methods refer to obtaining cheap gas and electricity from sources which are friendly to the environment and which can replace the limited fossil fuels. It is cheaper to obtain, highly convenient for small (homes) and large consumers (cities, states).

    Types of Green Electricity

    Green energy types are defined by ways in which power is generated and by its source. Thus, we have the following main types:

    1. Biomass Power

    An effective method is obtaining energy from organic sources, which are renewable. One way is by burning the biomass waste – like the fibre-rich sugarcane residue or hemp. Additionally, common algea is used to make biofuel. Sewage gas is also valued as an energy source.

    2. Wind and Tidal Energy

    green-electricity.thumb.jpg.85773359c9aa

    The best known image to illustrate the validity and efficiency of wind power as energy source is represented by the wind farms. These facilities can address the energy demands of communities located in geographical areas that get windy weather on a constant basis. The future looks even more interesting – flying wind farms will be created, in order to harvest power from wherever it is available. On the other hand, tides are much more predictable than wind, which make them truly reliable when generating energy.

    3. Solar Energy

    Although intermittent and rather 'diluted', solar energy is still able to supply small and average sized communities alone. Moreover, solar heaters are great for heating water. There is no use for additional processes, the sunlight is directly converted into energy by the photovoltaic cells in solar installations.

    4. Hydroelectricity

    The hydro-power is not left aside – it's the methods that need adjusting. Current ambitions support installations on fast flowing rivers and streams, or on existing dams, employing approved hydro-electric generators.

    5. Geothermal Energy

    Cheap, cost effective and reliable, geothermal energy depends on the tectonic plates. These small scale systems are great for residences in compatible areas. The natural processes within provide a form of renewable energy that was known to Romans. Geyser regions are very good places to install geothermal power plants or heat pumps. No fuel is required, as the energy is produced directly. A large plant is said to be able to power a whole city.

    6. Waste Heat

    Electricity can also be gained from all the industrial processes that generate heat. Heat is a form of energy and, when harvested and directed, can be used to create electricity. There are no such facilities yet, but researchers are currently working on methods to capture the heat that would otherwise be wasted.

    Green electricity is part of a sustainable economy and lifestyle. Future electricity generation should be too.

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    When choosing a wedding venue, there are so many things to consider, because as always, location is the most important part of any event, besides from the guests of course. But as this is your wedding, and you get to choose who to invite, the guest element is all set, so you just need to take care of the location. Regardless of your geographical position, these are some factors to consider, when choosing a wedding venue.

    First and for most, always keep the number of guests in mind, as this is the most important thing when deciding upon a wedding venue. If you are only having your closest friend and parents at the ceremony, you can easily fit anywhere, so the options are limitless, but if you are throwing an old fashioned traditional wedding, with tens, if not hundreds, of people, be sure to provide enough room for sitting, walking, and of course, dancing!

    If you are religious, and wish to have a religious ceremony, it is always wise to consider the distance between the wedding reception venue and the religious object. With wedding reception venues sometimes being distant from the city centers, where we can usually find the religious objects, perhaps a smarter choice would be finding a place nearby, as you don’t want you guests traveling an hour from the ceremony to the reception.

    Obviously, once they are there, there is always the issue of parking, especially if it is one of those big weddings, with a lot of out of town relatives coming. This is where the fore mentioned out of town venues shine, as they usually provide unlimited parking to the wedding guests.

    Regardless of the wedding venue you choose, be sure to make a smart and reasonable decision, as your entire wedding can depend on it. 

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

    CFLs

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

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

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

    LEDs

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

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

    Save the Environment through Your Lighting.

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

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

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

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

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  6. You do not need to use chemicals and harmful insecticides in order to get rid of ants in your house. Not only because they can cause allergic reactions or even harm your children, pets, or yourself, but because you have an option of getting rid of ants all by yourself using very simple natural pest control methods. Every day more and more people choose the natural way: healthier food instead of fast food, herbal remedies instead of pharmaceutical drugs, natural prevention instead of potentially dangerous vaccines, and so on. Why don`t we use natural insect exterminators, as well?

    We will show you only five simplest possible methods of eradicating ants in a completely natural way. There is nothing easier than applying these methods. Here is the list of our preferred top five herbal exterminators of ants and other insects:

    1.     Peppermint powder. If you have stomach troubles, drink some peppermint tea; but even if your stomach is fine, take dried peppermint sprigs and leaves, crush them and make a powder. Apply this powder on areas with ants. On the other hand, you can just place dried or fresh peppermint herb on the same areas without making the powder. Actually, put a bunch of peppermint all over your house, since the peppermint and other mint herbs` odor repels ants and all other insects, such as mosquitoes, while it will suit your senses.

    2.     Lemon juice. Another efficient natural pest control agent, which is perhaps even easier to use than peppermint, is a lemon juice. That`s right, a plain lemon fruit. Squeeze the lemon, make a juice, mix with water, and spray it all over the ant infested areas. After that, make yourself a nice lemonade and enjoy.

    3.     Vinegar. Another natural ant exterminator at hand is vinegar from your fridge. Again, mix it with water, make a spray, and apply it. That`s all you have to do. Moreover, use vinegar for cleaning the counters and floor instead of chemicals.  Also, you can use lemon juice for cleaning the dishes. Or better yet, mix vinegar, lemon juice and water, add some peppermint, and you got yourself the best natural ant exterminator and detergent.

    4.     Dish soap. Maybe you have already noticed, but all of these items used for ants and other pest control are already in your own house. Mix your dish soap with water, and spray the solution over the ants. The same thing as in case of vinegar and lemon juice.

    5.     Salt and pepper. More of the kitchen ant exterminators! Just boil water and then add salt and pepper.  Make a spray and apply it on areas infested with ants.

    You could perhaps mix all of the mentioned natural pest control agents and make your own ant exterminator spray. Mix salt, pepper, dish soap, vinegar, lemon juice and peppermint, and put it in a spray bottle. However, if you are not satisfied with these and many other natural methods, or if you become terrified at the sight of too many ants in your house, then call a bug exterminator to solve the problem (http://bugsycal.com/).

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  7. GO_GREEN.thumb.png.e6f325eb943a55614ebcb

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

    What Should We Do?

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

    Green Cleaning Cheat Sheet

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

    Mirror, Glass and Window Cleaning

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

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

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

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

    Water Stains

    You need: lemon;

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

    Tub Toilet and Sink Cleaning

    You need: baking soda / borax and white vinegar;

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

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

    Floor Cleaning

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

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

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

    Wooden Furniture Cleaning

    You need: lemon juice and olive oil;

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

    Countertops and Tiles

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

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

    Carpet Cleaning

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

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

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

    Cleaning Product For Everything

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

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

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

    Air Freshener

    You need: baking soda, lemon juice;

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

    Wall Cleaning

    You need: baking soda;

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

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

     

  8. Martha Morales has had a difficult couple of years. Last year she nearly lost her home to foreclosure but she was just barely able to save her home by working long hours to keep a roof over her four children’s heads. Then this year, she noticed that her roof was leaking. She got a number of estimates all for around $10,000. Then she found a roofer who claimed he could do the work for half. Thinking she was getting a great deal, she paid him the $5,000 up front and the roofing work began.

    Unfortunately, just one week into the project, the roofer and his sole employee vanished with her money never to be seen again. A little investigative work on Martha’s part revealed that the roofer was never licensed to begin with and that he had pulled similar roofing scams in other communities. Now she still has a leaking roof and is out $5,000 and doesn’t know how she will afford the repairs. Unfortunately, this story is all too common. Though the majority of roofers are legitimate, licensed business people, there is no shortage of fly-by-night roofers who either intentionally scam people, or simply lack the motivation to finish the work they start. To prevent this from happening to you, here are four tips to protect yourself when having roofing work done.

    Look out for suspiciously low bids

    A reputable roof knows what their services are worth. Even if you get several estimates, the range in bids shouldn’t be too great. If there is an outlier on the low end of the spectrum, for instance a roofer that offers to do the same work for half the price other roofers are asking, that is a bad sign. Likely, the roofer knows their work will be of lower quality or the roofer has no intention of finishing the work to begin with.

    Check with the BBB or local chamber of commerce

    Many communities keep tabs on construction workers and roofers to prevent scams. You can check with your local chamber of commerce or Better Business Bureau (BBB) to see if a given roofer is registered with them. The BBB keeps a record of complaints brought against companies and whether or not they were resolved.

    Ask for credentials

    In most communities, roofers are required to have a roofing license which proves they have the proper training. Don’t be afraid to ask to see a roofer’s credentials. Any reputable roofer will have a license, the proper building permits for roofing work, and insurance to protect their employees and your property.

    Never pay upfront

    Finally, never pay upfront. The majority of roofers don’t take payment until after the work is completed. Though not every roofer who asks for payment upfront is out to scam you, the risk is certainly higher. Play it safe and hold onto your money until the work has been completed.

    Home improvement news brought to you by bartonroof.com

    Source: news10.net/story/news/investigations/2015/04/24/unlicensed-roofer-on-run-and-cslb-offers-tips-to-protect-self/26337975/

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  9. Climate change is the biggest threat facing humanity today and yet our political systems refuse to move quickly enough to do anything about it. It threatens to undo all the gains that have been made against poverty in recent decades.

    But how does it affect Ireland and where does it fit in the global picture? The film ‘Drop in the Ocean?’ talks to some of Ireland’s leading environmental scientists, writers and activists to find out.

    You can watch it here

    What people are saying about Drop in the Ocean

    'Deserves to be seen widely' Philip Boucher-Hayes, RTE

    'This eye-opening video from Trocaire on climate change in Ireland and around the world is a must watch for everyone.' Sorcha Pollock, Journalist, Irish Times

    'Very well-made short climate change documentary by Eoghan RIce and trocaire team - really worth watching' John Burke, RTE, This Week

    'Maybe the most urgent 27 min clip you will ever watch. Thanks trocaire .' Trevor Sargent

    'If anyone cares about Climate Change there's a film worth seeing at http://www.trocaire.org/drop' Liz McManus

    'Really brilliant documentary joining the dots on Climate Change -please watch (even if you know it all already!)' Anja Murray, Ecologist, Eco Eye Presenter on RTE

    'Stunning film about Ireland and climate change by Eoghan Rice and Alan Whelan for Trocare. Watch, be informed. Beautifully shot and produced, balanced and objective and overall thoroughly compelling.' Tom Halpin, Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland

    How long is it?

    The film is just under 28 minutes long.

    Who's in it?

    Among the interviewees are:

    Dr John Sweeney, Climatologist, NUI Maynooth, Ireland

    Paul Melia, Environment Correspondent, Irish Independent

    Oisin Coughlan, Director of Friends of the Earth Ireland

    Ciara Kirrane, Stop Climate Chaos Ireland Coalition coordinator

    John Fogarty, Templederry Community Windfarm

    John Gibbons, Environmental Writer

    Stephen McCabe, Environment Scientist

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    Navigating in the 21st Century: Where To?

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

    The Map

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

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

    Then and Now

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

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

    Incentives and Externalities

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

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

    Natural Capital

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

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

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

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

    Buyer Beware

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    “Greed … is good”

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

    Fooled Again?

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

    Jack F. Brennan, 2015

    References

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