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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. Murray

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    There is no doubt that snakes serve an important part in our ecosystem, especially with regards to keeping populations of rats and mice under control. However, there are situations where you wish to restrict the areas they can access, such as chicken coops, dog pens, aviaries and backyards frequented by children. It is therefore important to limit their access in a way that do not harm them or the environment. Several methods of discouraging snakes are being bandied around various forums with everything from old-wives tales to innovative technologies. This post aims to discuss the various options and their effectiveness.

    Keeping it short

    Keeping the grass short is a frequent advice to limit snakes, as the snakes do not like to be out in the open, as they are exposed to flying predators. However, during the warmer months, snakes desperate for water can easily venture over short grass, dirt and paved areas, attracted by the pets’ water bowls.

    Snake Fencing

    As Australia is heading into snake season with the warmer weather, Murray Stewart, owner of The Fencing Store has noticed a significant increase in enquiries for snake proof fencing mesh as people are taking precautions to protect pets, livestock and children from the slithering animals. Murray recommends a fine 6.5mm or 9.5mm square wire mesh that will keep most snakes out as long as the fence is constructed in the right manner. On his website, Murray has added a blog post about a customer who created a snake proof fence for their beloved dogs.

    Setting up snake proof fences is undoubtedly one of the best ways to keep snakes away while not harming the environment, as it keeps the snakes free to roam outside the fencing while not harming them.

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    Naphthalene

    This falls under the old-wives tale category. I read regular forum posts advising to use naphthalene as snake repellent. Naphthalene is an ingredient in mothballs, and it’s scent is supposed to repel snakes. Naphthalene is also a toxic substance as covered on epa.gov. It is not recommended to place this substance out in nature, where it can be ingested by wildlife and cause terminal damage. Besides, studies show that Naphthalene is ineffective in repelling some snakes in the first place.

    Vibration

    Most snakes are wary of humans and larger animals, and sense our presence by the vibration our footsteps make when moving around. If awake, this vibration normally results in most snakes evacuating the area. Dogmaster.com.au retails a solar-powered snake shield, which in effect is a stake that emits a vibrating pulse into the ground, which should deter the snakes without hurting them or the environment. The only negative, is that it might repel the snakes from your shed as well, leaving rats and mice to roam free.

    Liquid snake repellent

    Liquid Fence have created a liquid and granular snake repellent that according to their website works by emitting a scent that “confuses and irritates the snake’s chemosensory systems”, making them look for another place to inhabit. The website further claims that the product is all natural, but at the time of writing, I have not had the opportunity to test it out, so I cannot cast any judgement on it.

    Conclusion

    For permanent areas, I recommend setting up a snake proof fence to keep snakes out. The vibrating snake shield would be a great investment for portable applications, such as camping trips.

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

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

    1. Do Not Be Wasteful

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

    2. Do Not Be Harmful

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

    3. Eco-Friendly Can Be Pretty Too

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

    4. Water with Care

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

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    Did you know that there is more salt water on Earth than fresh. Only 3% of the Earth's water supplies is fresh water and only 1% is drinkable because the other 2% is ice. We use 70% of the drinkable water for farming, 22% for industry and 8% for drinking, washing, cleaning, watering and other home uses.

    The amount of water nowadays is exactly the same as before millions of years it just recycles and changes it's place which is also called water cycle. Which explains the growth of deserts today and the drastic change of the climate. The water you use today could be used from another person, animal or even dinosaur thousands of years ago. There's even a theory that there are little particles of the big bang in every living being on Earth nowadays. But it's just a theory you decide whether to believe it or not.

    If you are interested of the life of one drop of water you could study it's life through the years and what you would find is that: It's been 98 years in the ocean. Ice has been its home for around 20 months. It spent approximately two weeks in rivers or lakes and no more than a week as water vapour in the atmosphere.

    Water could be found not only as water. It has four forms: liquid, solid (ice), gas (water vapour) and plasma. Water supplies which are drinkable, we receive from lakes, rivers and dams. Even the bottled water is bore water which is mostly just packed in nice bottles.

    400 litres of water are being used from Australian households. This could be compared to the poor countries where people use no more than 20 litres of drinkable water each day.

    We consume water with our meal too. The food we eat contains embodied water. The amounts are more than you've ever imagined. For example: to produce dinner for four in Australia for just a single day it's being used around 25,000 litres of fresh water. There are products that require a huge amount of drinkable water for its production.

    Did you know that it's being used 2,400 litres of water in the production of a bar of chocolate. To grow an apple you need 70 litres of water. There are many other shocking examples but I think these were enough to imagine the importance of water in the production of food.

    When being just born, the baby's body is 80% water. When we grow up and get older the levels of water reduce in our organism but they are still up to 65% water. Even the human bones contain water. They are about 25% water. The most interesting fact is that our brain is 80% water.

    There is a huge amount of people who have no access to clean water, which is extremely sad because the statistics show that every minute child dies from drinking dirty water.

    The bad reality is that 90% of sewage drains into streams and rivers from which we get water supplies for drinking, washing, cleaning and other home needs.

    There is always an option to do something good for our planet. We just need to develop some habits like stopping the water after watering out teeth brush or while shaving. We could take shorter showers. We can reduce chemicals we leave in the water by using (or hiring  home cleaners that use) more eco-friendly cleaning products instead of these commercial dangerous detergents. All these habits must appear in our early childhood year and that would be a great opportunity for a better future.

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  3. For the very first time in Germany’s history, clean power is supplying nearly all of its power demand, making a milestone for the “Energiewende” policy of Chancellor Angela Merkel which aims to boost renewables and eliminate dependency on fossil fuel and nuclear energy. Just recently, the country’s renewables supplied 45.5 gigawatts of the 45.8 gigawatt demand, according to an energy consulting firm in Berlin, Agora Energiewende. Power prices dropped during periods of 15 minutes, going as low as -$57 (50 euros) per megawatt hour based on Epex Spot’s data.

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    European countries are building more and more renewable capacity to lower carbon emissions and increase supply security. More and more energy consulting firms are being hired by companies who want to become energy efficient. In 2015, Denmark’s wind farms provided 140% of the demand. In the United Kingdom, no coal-fired power stations were used for roughly 4 hours on May 10th.

    Bloomberg’s analyst for New Energy Finance, Monne Depraetere, said that it is events such as these that show that at some point in the future we may begin limiting due to an oversupply. This may eventually provide a case to create technologies that will help manage such oversupply including energy storage and inter connectors.

    Germany’s shift to clean energy has gripped coal margins while increasing cost for consumers in the biggest power market in Europe. The increased clean energy flow have also put pressure on the grid and now Germany is considering excluding some regions from wind power auctions in the future if local grids are already having a difficult time keeping up with the high volume of renewable energy supplies.

    According to Depraetere, although Germany used 100% renewable energy for a day, it’s unlikely that the current generation will see a 100% supply of clean energy.

    Meanwhile, Europe’s clean technology industry overall has fallen into a fast decline and last year’s low carbon energy investments have plummeted to a record low.

    In 2010, Europe comprised 45% of the global clean energy investment but in 2011 after peaking $132billion, the EU investment dipped by around 50% with just $58billion invested in 2015.

    Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF)’s chairman of the board, Michael Liebreich, stated that the global financial crisis is partly to blame. However, he also pointed out that policymakers also made their share of mistakes and they collectively created a boom-bust cycle by first showing strong support for renewable energy and then rowing back due to their fear of the costs of subsidies.

    Manufacturers in EU have also suffered. They were once the world leader in solar panel manufacture and now they no longer have any companies that belong to the top 10 globally. Jobs have been lost and in Europe, employment in PVs have fallen to over a third. The future of clean energy technology is still uncertain in Europe and in most parts of the world however, awareness still continues to grow among the general population. 

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    Employees of the Magor Brewery arranged a clean-up effort of the shoreline at Magor Pill and Caldicot to recognise World Environment Day.

    20 of the brewery’s staff joined the Keep Wales Tidy team to remove waste that had accrued at the site.

    The team was building on last year’s event which removed three skip loads of rubbish from local reens

    AB InBev, owner of the Magor Brewery, is dedicated to protecting the environment and praised its staff for participating in the clean-up.

    The manager of the Magor Brewery, Tony Monteiro, said his staff were delighted to be able to work with the Keep Wales Tidy tem for this event.

    Chris Partridge of Keep Wales Tidy said his team were very happy to work with the brewery staff too and said they had set a great example.

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    There’s been a lot of back-and-forth about hybrid (HEV) and electric vehicles (EV) in terms of their benefits to the environment and their monetary benefits, which, to me, was a surprise. My initial thoughts were, “Well how could there even be a debate? Anything to start moving us away from our dependence on fossil fuels, especially our dependence on the oil industry.” My view was idealistic, and I’d say it hasn’t changed. In general it’s a good idea to move away from our irritable, messy oil neighborhood and into a cleaner place where we can breathe. But when buying a hybrid or electric vehicle there are some things to consider if you want to make the most environmentally-conscious decision.

    1. Where Do You Live?

    When buying an electric vehicle one of the main things to consider is where you live. If you’re buying one of the new plug-in electric vehicles, for example, the well-to-wheel emissions are going to differ based on your location.

    Well-to-wheel emissions are the total amount of emissions that result in the effort to power your car. If you’re like me, you live in an area where the majority (%49.61) of electricity is generated through burning coal.

    In this case if I were to buy a plug-in here the annual emissions (62 pounds of CO2) are going to be higher than if I bought a regular EV (54 pounds of CO2) or even a hybrid (57 pounds of CO2). So although that new plug-in might be appealing, the EV or HEV is going to be better for the environment.

    2. What About Your Wallet?

    In the case of hybrid vs fully electric cars there are some variable considerations as well. I checked out this article about the comparative difference in money saved over time, and the basic synopsis is that the fully electric vehicle is going to pay off the difference in price quicker than the hybrid will. By this, I mean a regular car costs less out of the gate, but over time the hybrid or electric saves you money on gas.

    Since you don’t have to pay anything for gas to power an electric, you’re going to make back the extra money you spent faster with an electric than you will with a hybrid. Those figures come from when gas was on average $3.52 per gallon.

    Now that the national average is $2.20 per gallon, my calculations (doing the same type of calculations as the article cited above) show that you would have to drive about 116 thousand miles to make up the price difference between the Nissan Leaf (EV) and the Toyota Prius (HEV), and that’s if gasoline’s average price remains at $2.20. So in this case the HEV is going to be less expensive, and, in terms of well-to-wheel emissions, if you live in a coal-powered area the Prius (HEV) will spew out 57 pounds of CO2 vs the Leaf’s (EV) 54 pounds. In the short term, that 3 pound difference might be enough to tip some scales toward the hybrid.

    3. In the Long Run?

    The EV is the way to go because of the recent regulations on coal emissions, which stipulate that plants have to cut their CO2 emissions up to 30% by 2030. That means EV’s will have to rely less and less on coal-generated power by 2030; if we can move further into an age of wind and solar energy, and as long as EV’s can run longer than 116 thousand miles, you’ll earn your money back and benefit the environment.

    But will consumers be able to look past immediate monetary factors and into the more distant future? The current gas prices make it easier for someone who’s strapped for cash to go out and purchase a high-performing 30 mpg vehicle like the Corolla for about $10K less than you’ll spend on the Leaf. And instant gratification is what got us into this climate change mess to begin with. So let’s hope the long-term benefits of the Leaf, as well as the $7,500 tax credit, can tip the scales as the 2015 auto-buying year plays out.

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  6. Hello Everyone!

    I'm a volunteer for TEXAS EDEN PROJECT, an agriculture program that not only grows organic pesticide free fruits and vegetables but also provides what is grown to the public for free. You can learn more about the project on it's website which is TexasEdenProject.org

    On this blog I will post updates about the project as well as information about farming and agriculture.

    Thank you for reading!

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    Modern times are difficult where every homeowner is trying to do their best to save some money. At

    such times, any effective solution is much appreciated. One of the ways in which you can save some

    money is through your utility bills. You can easily save on your electricity and gas prices if you compare

    energy rates offered by various companies and suppliers.

    A Quick Way to Compare

    While it is possible to compare energy rates manually by checking with the management of every

    company, there is an easier way to do things. The internet offers the easiest and the quickest method of

    comparison. The internet has definitely made our life much easier today and like everything else the

    internet also makes it simpler to compare energy suppliers and the rates they charge. This is definitely a

    great way to save some valuable time.

    There are several websites today that offer you easy options so you can compare energy rates offered

    by different companies at the same time. You will also be able to compare energy rates easily by

    providing additional information on the site like your utility bills. These websites allow you to

    understand how much money you would be saving if you switch over from your current company to the

    one that offers better rates.

    Taking Benefits of Promotions and Offers

    Since the competition level in the industry is quite high today, these companies always offer incentives

    in order to attract more customers. Sites that allow you to compare energy rates will also offer you

    information about ongoing promotions and offers so you can take benefit of these offers and save as

    much as possible according to your lifestyle and budget.

    Because of the UK open market, there is a healthy competition in the market today among various

    suppliers. Users today want to compare energy rates and want to find a company that is also reliable. In

    UK there are several reliable energy companies like EDF Energy, Scottish Power, E.ON Power and British

    Gas. These companies have official websites where you can get information about their offers and

    compare energy rates. However, the easiest way to compare energy prices is through a comparison site.

    Capped Rates

    When you compare different suppliers and their rates you should also ensure that you go for a company

    that provides capped rates. Capped rates mean that for a fixed time frame your utility rates will remain

    unchanged even if other factors change. In the long run this is a good idea since it will protect you

    against price hikes. However, for short term it is preferable to go for un-capped rates since you may not

    always get the same deals or offers later. When you compare these companies, it is advisable to check a

    few websites since these sites often have special offers of their own for their customers. With a little

    research and some time, you can easily compare energy companies and their rates and save a

    substantial amount of money each month.

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  8. There has been a lot of discussion about the climate in recent years, and there is no doubt that doing everything you can to conserve the resources of the planet is the right move. Is it worth it to make the exterior of your home eco-friendly? Yes, it is. It will not only save you a lot of money but will also allow you to contribute towards making this world a better place. Moreover, you can take the opportunity to apply architectural designs that enhance the beauty of your home. The following four tips will help you make your home environmentally friendly.

    Go for Green Materials

     

    There is no better way to make the exterior of your home environmental friendly than by using green materials. What are green materials? These are materials that are, for the most part, renewable. Examples of these are recycled and reclaimed wood. Normally, they are cheap, not toxic, and can be used to conserve energy. You can use these materials to create a deck for your home. There is no better way to spend an evening than feeling the soft breeze of the summer as you admire the wonders of nature in your backyard made from materials that are in harmony with the planet.

    Upgrade Your Energy System

     

    Few things are as eco-friendly as a solar power system. The addition of solar panels to your home will not only allow you to energize every bit of it with a renewable source of energy but also save you a ton of cash on your electricity bill. Of course, while the cost of solar panels have dropped over the years, they can still be a bit pricey. If they are out of your price range, you can opt for energy-efficient lights such as LEDs that emit less heat and reduce the consumption of electricity in your home.

    Create Natural Soil

     

    Why spend money on mulch when you can make your own. Select a small area in your backyard to make a compost pile from food scraps and dead leaves. Turn it often, mix, and after a few months, the components will become a nutrient-rich dark soil mixture. This can be used to grow any vegetation that you want to have in your garden, which will add extra oxygen to the planet.

    Implement a New Water System

     

    Keeping a luscious garden can be more expensive than you think. Instead of using a sprinkler or water hose, you can reclaim the water with a drainage system that takes rainwater from the roof and deliver it to your lawn or backyard. This allows you to enjoy abundant vegetation without an exorbitant water bill. You may also use septic tanks that prevent contaminants in the wastewater from leaking to groundwater.

    There are endless ways to make your home eco-friendly. Using green materials, upgrading your power, making natural soil, and implementing a new water system are a few approaches you can use to save your hard-earned cash, conserve the planet, and remodel your home. Apply at least one of the strategies discussed and show everybody you know the benefits of going green.

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