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Found 99 results

  1. It seems inevitable that pollution and temperature levels around the world will increase with growing populations, mass consumption, and related industrial processes. The environmental toll will do more than impact wildlife though. Humans can expect more diseases, food and water shortages, and conflict over habitable land. Business owners have the means to lessen the negative impact that their companies have on the environment. Utilize the following earth-friendly shipping processes to help safeguard everyone's future and make your systems work a little better. Streamline Processes Whether you ship packages or raw materials, any process that forces you to waste energy adds to the ever growing amount of damage to the environment and climate change. Streamline your entire shipping process so you're wasting less electricity, clean water, and fuel. Identify areas where work might be slowing down and come up with a few solutions to speed up common practices. Ship Smarter Most consumers hate big retail shipping boxes filled with more air and packing materials than products. Instead of generating waste, invest in materials that provide better protection in smaller spaces and ship products in boxes that are only slightly larger than product packages. Upgrade Transportation If you are shipping anything using diesel-fueled trucks, it is time to invest in new or used semi-trucks powered by environmentally-friendly or renewable alternative fuels, such as vegetable oil and electricity. If you plan to stick to fossil fuels, invest in designs that cut down on tailpipe emissions. You can ask sellers like Arrow Truck Sales what models they might recommend for better mileage and gas economy. Additionally, try to only run your trucks when they have full loads so they are not pouring pollutants into the air for light shipments. Use Recyclables Make certain you use recyclable materials and previously recycled materials as much as possible throughout your shipping process, including recycled cardboard boxes, packing materials, invoices, and shipping labels. When you replace equipment or parts, ship the old elements back to manufacturers. Metal, plastic and e-waste recycling centers re-purpose the materials or have used equipment or parts repaired so they can be resold. Choose Wisely Some common shipping tools are incredibly cheap, but fail to degrade in landfills, come from environmentally unfriendly manufacturing origins, or waste precious resources. Use products labeled "biodegradable”, "environmentally-friendly", or "green" such as biodegradable packing peanuts and environmentally-friendly lubricants and adhesives whenever possible. Although many of these changes seem expensive and labor intensive, any business can achieve these types of results by making the changes through carefully planned out steps over a two to five year period. Some changes like switching to recyclables can be made even sooner. Make your shipments a little more earth-friendly by implementing some of these changes today!
  2. With so many cars, machines, and chemicals involved in our everyday lives it's no wonder that the earth is starting to show signs of distress. And not only is Earth sending up red flags, but our wallets are weeping in despair because our mechanized, chemical rich lifestyles are expensive. But what can be done about it? Here are some great tips to keep both your budget, and Mother Earth happy. Tip #1: Distilled Vinegar Common household cleaners are expensive and chocked full of harsh chemicals that destroy the earth. Distilled vinegar is an unsung hero in the cleaning world. It's cheap, natural and a powerful disinfectant. Put it in a spray bottle or soak a rag in it to clean glass, tile, counter tops, walls, grout and more. Improve its smell and cleaning effects by adding lemon juice, and/or baking soda. These natural products are, cheap, earth-friendly, hypoallergenic and totally safe to use around your kids and pets. Tip #2: Conserve Water There is only so much water in the world and your water bill could be draining your wallet every month. Cut down on water usage and expenses by either purchasing a low-water toilet or by simply filling a water bottle with rocks or sand and putting it in your toilet tank. This will cut back on how much water your tank uses to flush the toilet saving you money, and saving the world one flush at a time. Tip #3: Go Solar Power and gas bills are astronomically expensive and excessive usage damages the earth. With an upfront investment you can convert to solar power-- saving money in the long run and doing Mother Nature a little favor. Companies like Degree C Pty Ltd offer solar powered alternatives for hot water systems. These typically last longer than traditional designs. Cut your gas bill every month and reduce the amount of natural gas harvested by letting solar power your home. It’s easy to think the little changes you make won’t make a difference in the grand scheme of things, but it’s the simple steps that can often make the biggest impact. Going green can be the most cost effective change you make. Reduce waste, cut harsh chemicals, and lower your power and water bills by using these easy tips. You’ll watch your wallet get fatter as your carbon footprint gets smaller.
  3. Nowhere is the phrase, "start them young and early", more appropriately applied than when referring to teaching kids about recycling, sustainability, and being good stewards of this planet. Hopefully they'll be learning about it at school, but the burden falls on parents to assume most of their responsibility and teach youngsters how to keep their environment green. Early Childhood Training Beginning as early as three years old, let kids see you set the example first. In other words, verbalize out loud what it is you're doing as you're doing it. For instance, as you drop a plastic bottle in the blue bin, you might say something like, "This is a plastic bottle, and plastic things always go into this blue container." Doing so can teach them how to sort items and how to dispose of them in their proper place. You might even have them scribble a sign to hang over the proper bins that read, Plastics Here! or Papers Here! You can also have children tape a small plastic jar to the blue bin acquainting with plastic materials. To further involve younger aged children, begin a reward system of giving out little sticker stars with a prize like a sourdough pretzel goes to the child with the most stars. As they grow older, you may substitute little stars for returning bottles, and encourage them to keep the change. Make a Game Of it At this environmental protection government (EPA) website, you'll find imaginative, interactive games to stimulate young minds in the vision for protecting their environment. The Dumptown Game actually makes your child into a city manager with critical decision-making activities that engage municipal residents in their own waste management and waste reduction at-home programs. Use games and prizes to make learning and treating the environment right fun and educational. Young Children to Teens Having learned the basics of colors and plastics, your next job as a parent would be teaching them about composting. Easily done by setting up a separate bin for discarded tea bags, grass cuttings, veggie peelings, coffee grounds, egg shells, toilet paper rolls, and paper towels, this cuts down not only on the waste, but saves you money on fertilizer supplies as well. It all comes down to example. Set the stage for how your home runs and try to make a habit of throwing natural waste into the compost pile, using safe fertilizers like Nature Safe on your lawn, and routinely picking up trash and debris from your yard and local parks. When kids see you doing the right thing, they will naturally follow. Reusing Usable Items As many items can be reused for other purposes, make your kids aware that a peanut butter jar, for instance, can be transformed into a coin bank once it's been washed clean first. Empty tissue boxes are great for storing grocery plastic bags and a small plastic bag can be used in the family car as a trash bin. If you visit your local waste management, you'll see what your municipality recommends as far as dumping and recycling materials go. However, all initiatives really must begin at home by educating the children early.
  4. Creating a garden or flowerbed that can come back for a season or two is a talent that requires not only a green thumb but soil and compost rich in nutrients and minerals. For the gardener who wishes to create their own compost, the process is easy and can save money on mulch or other store bought soils. Creating Compost When creating a compost pile, choose a spot in the yard that will not be disturbed by animals or children. This spot should be near the waterspout, but not so close it gets washed away. It should be relatively dry, unless there is rain and it would be ideal if there were shade in this spot as well. It will keep the compost pile cool while completing the decomposition process. Some gardeners choose to create their compost in a wooden box to keep it separated from the dirt. The box makes stirring the compost easier because it is in a separate container. Compost Materials Once the spot and container for the compost is chosen and built, choose the materials that will be placed into the compost pile. Typically, these include any unused fruits, peels, vegetable left overs, lawn clippings, dry dead leaves, any tree waste, like branches and twigs, and leftover coffee beans. Some gardeners use the remains of stalks and husks to help with the decomposition. After all the materials are placed into the container, water is used to wet everything. Then the compost pile is left alone to decompose. Optional Covering Covering the compost pile is also a good idea. It will keep bugs and other animals out of the pile and will allow the water to keep the waste moist enough to continue the decomposition throughout the year. A tarp, which can be purchased at any farm or garden online store, can be used to keep the pile exactly the way the gardener wishes. It will also help keep the smell of the decomposition in the container and not disturbing the gardener. Time Frame The decomposition of the materials depends upon how much heat and water is used in the pile. It can take anywhere from three months to a few years for the pile to decompose. If the decomposition of the pile is needed quickly, placing a few items into the box will start the process, allowing the gardener to have some compost when they need it. You can also find products like fertilizers that can speed the process up at places like Nature Safe. Creating a compost pile does not need to be difficult or overly-complicated. Using these easy steps will help create compost that will nurture a garden for several seasons.
  5. Soil excavation is a process of digging soil with an aim of cleaning the soil, making trenches for water drainage and infrastructural purposes. The excavated soil may be used for treatment or for disposal in a landfill. Excavation has various advantages as it helps to unravel the harmful debris that could contaminate groundwater and also pollute the soil. Agriculture makes the back born of different economies in the world. Soil fertility is of key importance for plant growth and development. When a soil is contaminated, agriculture is affected negatively and hence affect productivity of a nation. The excavation process might take long depending with status of the contaminated soil. It may take long if the soil is highly toxic and requires extra safety precaution. It will also take some time to dig a deep, large or below the water. Time will also be consumed if the soil contains a lot of rocks, debris etc. Excavation is a process that involves various stages including; Identification of contaminated areas: This involves a thorough research of the site by identifying what could have led to soil contamination and testing the soil for impurities. Choosing the right instrument for exaction: After the soil has been found to be contaminated, right equipment is used to dig the soil. Depending with the purpose of excavation there are different types of excavators. This equipment are mainly leased as they are costly and purchasing them for a single project might not be cost effective. Therefore, various companies offer these hire business e.g. Eastern Plant Hire. The contaminated or unwanted soil is excavated by standardized excavators such as backhoes and excavators track hoes. It all depends on the location of the site e.g. a site surrounded by buildings will require a smaller excavator. Some sites may have soil contaminated in a deeper situation requiring use of long arm excavators which can dig up to one hundred feet below ground. In some cases, soil might be excavated from below the water table which require pumping of water to facilitate dry excavation. Soil transportation: When the soil is disposed of, it may be loaded directly into a dump truck to the landfill. It is deposited elsewhere for treatment and covered to prevent soil erosion through water, or by the wind. If excavation is aimed at infrastructural purposes, the soil is used to fill holes and landscaped to prevent erosion. In conclusion, excavation is a soil engineering technique with more benefits such as cleaning the environment for healthy plants and landscaping to make planet earth beautiful.
  6. It's almost impossible to avoid being confronted with waste. Wherever we look, people and industries produce mass amounts of it, littering our environment and spreading toxic chemicals. This alarming trend can however be reversed by using green technologies, like the following. Vertical Farming In vertical farming, plants are grown indoors hydroponically on stacked shelves under artificial light. The crops grow far more quickly than with traditional soil farming methods, plus the land use area is drastically reduced. This can make vertical farms up to 100 times more productive than outdoor fields. LED Lighting LED lights reduce the waste of electricity since they use much less power than regular incandescent bulbs. However, an even more exciting fact might be that using LED lights can help reduce the impact of diseases like malaria, a deadly plight, in places like Africa. LED lights have helped the development of vertical farming there, which takes place indoors, without mosquitoes around. Fuel Cells A fuel cell combines hydrogen and oxygen to produce electricity, heat, and water. Both the fuel and the by-products are clean, making the device waste-free. Most fuel cells run silently, and are commonly used in buildings, but, so far, there are only a few car models running on fuel cells. Think about the huge improvement of our environment, especially in big cities, if cars were quiet and emission-free. Free Fuel for Your Car How would you like to run your car on free fuel? Any diesel vehicle can be readily converted to run on waste vegetable oil instead of toxic diesel. This bio-degradable fuel can be picked up for free from restaurants, who throw it away anyway. The methods of recycling this type of waste have improved with cities like San Francisco even picking up collected food waste. Wave Energy Numerous studies have found that wave power could contribute massive amounts to the energy production worldwide. However, many obstacles have prevented the development of larger wave power plants. Cost, design issues, the hostile environment of saltwater and the ocean, have been reasons why wave energy hasn't been developed yet on a larger scale. Water Treatment We all need fresh, clean water to survive, but getting it can be a challenge. Lead plumbing in older buildings can pose a risk to people, and water waste contaminated with everything from medications and plant waste has been known to harm animals when simply dumped. Luckily companies like Seidler Chemical are making changes by supplying the right kinds of water treatment chlorinators. You can see common ways chemicals are used in this process here. Green Burial Finally, if you care about your environmental dead or alive, you may consider a green burial when that time comes. You can choose to be buried in everything from a biodegradable casket to a mushroom death suit. Another approach could be to have your ashes converted into reef balls for restoration of coral ecosystems. Would you like to reduce the waste in the world by using these green technologies? If so, which do you find most interesting?
  7. You have a lot of impact on your natural environment. Whether large or simple, the effort you put in will play a major role in maintaining the good health of our environment. The rate at which people impact their environment negatively can be moderated through several ways. Change Daily Habits To save energy, switch off any gadgets that use electricity when they are not in use. Also, walk or use a bicycle instead of using electronic exercise machines. Conserve water by taking short showers, and monitoring your outdoor irrigation. To help reduce landfill space, recycle all you can and avoid using disposable items such as bottled water. Change Your Eating Habits Attempt vegetarianism by eating less meat and dairy products. Meat and dairy production is extremely inefficient and resource-intensive. Avoid wasting food and store your leftovers so that you can use them up at your next meal. New Transportation Habits When going to a close destination, consider walking or using a bicycle. If your job permits, you can try telecommuting or working from home one day a week. Instead of driving your kids, arrange a “walking school bus” or take mass transit to school. Also, consider driving a hybrid car that can run on both gasoline and electric motors as they release less emissions into the air. Adapt Your Home You can install skylights or solar panels to reduce the electricity you need to light up your home. You can also switch to LED light bulbs because they use less energy. To maximize energy conservation, choose curtains and blinds that will keep your house warm in the winter and cool in the summer. In the yard, plant a tree or other air-cleansing plant. Avoid herbicides, pesticides, and man-made chemical fertilizers. Use what fertilizer you need and ensure that no excess fertilizer is washed into waterways. Engage In Awareness Campaigns and Courses Donate to, or join an environmental organization. This will go a long way in enlightening others on the importance of protecting our environment. You can also enroll in online classes such as HazMat training that will help you learn more about ecological disasters and hazardous management. For instance, National Environmental Trainers, even offers refresher courses in mobile formats for easy access. Ecological disasters affect the environment in different ways: • Tornadoes lead to destruction of property such as buildings and trees • Loss of human and animal life • Water contamination • Global warming • Because of man-made global warming, scientists predict that there will be an increase in tornadoes and other severe weather. Sometimes it is inconvenient and hard to live an environmentally sustainable lifestyle, but it is a way of life that guarantees you a greater peace of mind. The little things we do mean a lot, and the more eco-conscious we are in our daily life, the more we keep our planet alive.
  8. Whether you are thinking about converting to an electric or hybrid car or simply making a few green changes to your existing ride, eco-friendly cars are significantly more beneficial to the environment. You might be surprised by a few of the benefits and additional perks. Environmental Benefits When you use less gasoline, it creates a positive environmental chain reaction. The first perspective most people consider is the immediate reduction in emissions which directly affects the reduction of pollution. This is increasingly important in cities with high pollution and smog which is negatively affecting quality of life of millions of people and creating significant health problems in children and adults alike. It also directly affects the state of the ecosystem. When you use less gasoline or eliminate your need altogether, you will decrease the demand for new drilling and pipelines which can have devastating environmental repercussions whether it be land, air or sea. Another benefit resulting from a reduced demand for oil is that it greatly reduces the number of short-haul and long-haul trucks on the road which release even more environmental-destroying emissions than your car. When you reduce or eliminate your need for gasoline, you are actually taking more vehicles off the road than simply your own. You can also choose a number of ways to make your existing car more eco-friendly. You might choose refurbished or recycled materials for everything from tires to car seats. These are materials that are typically taken to landfills and pollute the ground which can, in turn, eventually pollute ground water. Additional Perks In addition to saving the environment, you will also be able to save money. You do not have to buy a new car to go green. You can start by using ethanol gasoline, which is often less expensive than premium. Also, routine maintenance allows your existing vehicle to operate cleaner and longer than normal. To save more money, check the daily updated carparts.com coupon codes and other sites that provide discounts on the car parts upgrades and the replacements you need to make your existing vehicle environmentally friendly. And, do not forget that the government provides tax rebates to people who buy environmentally friendly vehicles. Every effort you make to create a more eco-friendly car will help save the environment. All it takes to start is to replace old tires or an old muffler. After that, you can work up to more significant changes to have an even greater impact. Each person does make a difference.
  9. There are about 15 million cars on the roads of Australia and half a million motorcycles, compared to the 255 million cars in the U.S., account for 40% of their fuel consumption. Interestingly enough, only 16% of the consumed fuel is used for driving, the rest is for heating and supporting other systems in the vehicle. A professor from Virginia Tech's College of Engineering, named Lei Zuo has the solution. He developed a way to harvest energy from the car’s suspension. There are three ways to generate energy while driving, he said. First one is through the heat released by the working engine, second one consists in recovering kinetic energy captivated during braking, and the last one is via vibrational energy given off by the car’s shock absorbers. Zuo’s innovational shock absorbers translate the vertical vibrations into circular motion, which rotates a generator. The electricity, produced in it, is delivered directly to the car’s electrical devices or battery. What was challenging until now, is the conversion of bidirectional motion into a unidirectional one, necessary to drive a generator. Zuo invented a brilliant combination of gears which allows the two-way motion to convert into electricity. Virginia’s professor calculations suggest that among 100 and 400 watts of energy can be provided by the vibrations of car’s shock absorbers. And this is only if you are driving on a normal road. Rougher tracks would generate even more energy. It will increase the fuel efficiency up to 5%, which will save up to $19 billion spent on fuel per year. Zuo says that his innovation helps the generator to work at a constant speed, which decreases the load on the gear teeth and makes the whole system more stable and efficient. Additionally, the generator keeps spinning even after the shock absorber have stopped vibrating, which increases the volume of harvested energy. His students have built the exemplary model with off-the-rack components and have tested it on the campus roads. Their model has managed to harvest 60% of the available energy, which is an essential progress in comparison to other designs. Besides, Zuo is certain that with quality components and precise manufacturing the efficiency could come up to 85%. Furthermore, Zuo explains that his invention can be modified entirely in terms of function and space, and can be joined in every vehicle without changing anything on it. Resources: mechanism.com Geelong house cleaners phys.org
  10. If you are one of those folks shying away from jumping on board the recycling train, this is for you. It's a fact - not everyone wants to recycle. Not everyone wants to wash dirty plastic cups or break down stiff cardboard boxes, either. How about you? Do you think recycling is a waste of time and effort? Did you know that recycling can help us all actually breathe easier? Think of ten of your friends and two of them have allergies due to air pollution. By using recycled glass items where manufacturing processes are reduced, we are left with a whopping 20% less muck to cloud up our breathing space. That may not sound like a lot. Then again, are two lives or 20% of your friends important enough for people to take advantage of the benefits of recycling? Not just yes; but heck yes! Recycling not only helps clean out your cabinets filled to the brim with old plastic butter containers; it enhances the quality of life for billions of people while salvaging and preserving Mother Earth's greatest assets. Is Recycling Trendy? During the entire stretch of the 1900's, U.S. citizens proudly recycled. WWII recycled approximately 1/4 of waste. Prior to WWII, various recycling programs had been established within 70% of U.S. cities. Many folks can remember as children being motivated to recycle soda pop bottles for the $0.05 they could earn in return. Is recycling trendy. Not so much. Why Recycle? Most of us understand there is some benefit to recycling. What doesn't necessarily ring loud enough is why we should bother to care. Supporters like Lakeshore Recycling can provide lots of information about recycling for the home and businesses. We need folks who get the big picture about the benefits that recycling provides for us all. Recycling participation is a hands-on support system for people and the environment. Compacted landfills take up valuable land space while infusing toxicity under and above ground, negatively affecting natural resources. With over 7 billion people worldwide producing approximately 7.5 pounds of garbage daily, that leaves approximately 54,112,192,470 pounds of waste, that is something we simply cannot ignore. In conclusion, there is extensive profit to be made on all levels of recycling. Cleaner air and land, healthier minds and bodies, and earning a buck are about as many reasons as we need to step up our recycling game. The recycling train is standing by. Come on! Jump aboard!
  11. Air pollution in many cities is caused by emissions that are produced from automobiles. Other issues pollute the environment too, such as household waste. However, if you make a few small changes, your contributions will benefit everyone in your community. Save Energy The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reported that homeowners can lower carbon emissions by using less energy throughout the day. When families leave their lights on, various energy sources are used at power plants, which rely on fossil fuel. To help clean up the environment, invest in a timer that controls your lights and appliances. By using an energy management tool, your devices will shut off automatically whenever the technology senses inactivity. Cooling and Heating Considerations During the winter, keep the thermostat set at a low temperature. In the summer, program the thermostat so that it will raise the temperature whenever you are away from home. If you have an advanced water heater, adjust the temperature to 120 degrees to lower the energy consumption. To conserve heat, ensure that the insulation in your home meets industry standards. Disposal Considerations If possible, try to avoid products that are wrapped in plastic packaging. When packaging material is produced at manufacturing facilities, the production equipment pushes toxic emissions into the air. You can reduce environmental waste and pollution by recycling cardboard, glass, paper, plastic, and aluminum. Paints, solvents, batteries, and pesticides are highly toxic, so you must give these substances to a local waste management facility. If you need to remove waste out of a commercial building or a large home, consider using a recycling service like Lakeshore Recycling. Companies that offer this service deliver containers to various locations. Drive Less Since automobiles emit pollution in the atmosphere, you should try carpooling around the city. According to transportation experts, Americans can save about $1,000 a year by carpooling on a regular basis. When traveling short distances, a bike is the best transportation option because it doesn’t produce any harmful emissions. Boost Your Fuel Economy The EPA reported that if drivers improve their fuel economy by one percent, carbon dioxide emissions will reduce by one percent as well. To lower fuel consumption, do not accelerate and brake quickly on the road. Also, avoid driving at a high speed on busy freeways. If you implement these procedures, less air pollution will generate in the environment.
  12. Most of us never think about where our water comes from and often take for granted that when we turn on a faucet, water comes out. We take a showers and never think about how much water we use. Watering plants and lawns on a summer day is typical of many suburban homeowners. How quickly are we using up our water supply? Read on and you might be surprised at what you learn. Our Major Supply Typically, our supply for water comes from rivers, lakes, and streams. Over time, however, that water supply begins to become diminished and must be replaced. This is where groundwater comes in. This is water beneath the Earth's surface. Groundwater supplies drinking water for more than half of the US population, and almost 100 percent for rural populations. It helps crops grow, is used in various industries, and recharges our freshwater. In other words, groundwater is critical for survival. Water Scarcity Water scarcity is the lack of available water resources to meet the usage. Over time, our population has grown tremendously, and continues to grow every day. In fact, the population is growing and using water much faster than it can be replaced. Water scarcity affects the entire world. Over a billion people at this time lack access to clean drinking water. Other factors water scarcity can affect includes climate changes, pollution, and waste. Waste is often seen in industry. Used for crops and factories, water is often wasted before it can be used. T. Luckey Sons, Inc. who do dam repair in Ohio are often called to projects where leaks and excavations wasted more water than they saved. The Effects Water scarcity is affecting all of us and many of us don't even realize it. Man-made products can often get into groundwater and pollute it. Examples might be pesticides, road salt, and oil. Drinking this water can cause diseases and our wildlife is harmed continuously through this. If we have lower water levels, wells will no longer be able to reach some groundwater and more energy must be used to pump the water. This causes costs to rise significantly. Lakes and rivers are diminishing rapidly, and the supply to replace is simply not coming in fast enough. Water is constantly wasted by industries and homeowners. For example, many sprinkler systems are set on an automatic timer. Our children and grandchildren are facing limited water supply in the future. Wildlife are dying out due to contamination and low supply. Where will our new water source come from? We need to pay attention and help take care of the environment. This is our future home for our families. Disease, famine, and drought should not be their future.
  13. Nature around us ought to be one of the things nearest to everybody's heart as it is the exceptionally thing that permits us to live, manages us, and keeps us alive. The nature fulfills all our needs as much as possible; it gives us the assets for our eating, dressing needs, and in addition empowers us to fabricate all the astounding things we develop. In such an era of modernization, when it is clear that nature is enduring our filthy deeds to destroy the sanctity of environment, and is beginning to demonstrate the strain of so much pollution and contamination, it ought to be our duty to do our best to ebb the harm by any possible means. Efforts on Individual Level Individuals may say to themselves, what would they be able to do? I am only one individual; I cannot do anything to protect the environment. Let it happen, as it may; it is the disposition that must be disheartened to interfere on your way. Each individual can do his effort in protecting environment by recycling, switching off lights and other electrical gadgets when they are not in use and additionally by opting not to use his car when it is just to travel a short distance. Individuals today can also switch to renewable energy sources that fulfill the daily power needs. This practice saves the non-renewable resources and the environment alike. More understanding of this can be obtained from sources like EnergyProvidersNewYork.com. Such little efforts from most of the people would have an immense effect on the quality of environment, causing an immediate and constructive outcome on the nature. Use Environment friendly Power Resources The increase in the utilization of environment friendly power sources, i.e., renewable forms of energies is an extremely positive sign and it has been established that these advancements do work. They accordingly decrease our dependency up to some extent on the traditional power resources, such as coal, oil, gas, and atomic energies. In supporting these renewable forms of energies, we are helping the planet to partially overcome the harm done till date. There are numerous systems and means by which we can help nature. One of these techniques is minimizing the utilization of pesticides that are unsafe for the environment which also cause harm to numerous types of natural lives. In addition to this, nature preservation and saving its sanctity is crucial, as it permits those species or creatures that are most badly affected by pollution to recuperate and conceivably, survive. The best example, for instance is, Amazon rainforest, where severe deforestation is bringing about irreversible harm to a great number of animal varieties. If we do not do something soon for the preservation of their natural habitat, we will begin to see the eradication of a wide range of creatures. This earth is of most extreme significance to every one of us and everybody should be made mindful of, how important it is that they should take the time to do something for the betterment of our earth, nature, and environment. Author Box: Stephen Heyer is a specialist on environment protection issues and suggests using clean sources of energy with carbon credits. He also advises using the services offered by EnergyProvidersNewYork.com for minimizing the harm caused to our environment.
  14. Alternative bagging materials have exploded in recent years, and canvas is one of the most popular. This is mostly based upon the fact that it is very friendly to the environment, but canvas’ benefits go far beyond that. Waterproof and Windproof Canvas is woven extremely tightly, meaning that it boasts outstanding waterproof qualities. This is why canvas has been used throughout history in the great outdoors. It may even be made to qualify as ‘marine grade’, in which case it can be used as a sail making material. This is good news for modern shoppers since it provides a material which protects belongings from water, but which doesn’t employ any chemical treatments to do so. It also means that canvas is slightly better for carrying anything which may leak. Extremely Sturdy As well as being both wind and waterproof, canvas is an incredibly strong fabric. This is another reason why it has been used historically for making sales – canvas does not yield easily to the stresses caused by frequent tugs and pressures. Of course, a shopping bag isn’t likely to need to put up with the same conditions you’d face out on the high seas, but canvas’ natural toughness remains useful. Other bagging materials – particularly plastics - can quickly become misshapen due to the constantly shifting weight of heavy items. In contrast, a canvas bag will hold its shape for years to come. Retains Colour Effectively As stated, canvas benefits from a tremendously tight weave. This also means that it retains dyed colour extraordinarily well, even when facing harsh environmental conditions. This makes canvas a solid choice for promotional bags. Nearly all promotional products are chosen based on their ability to remain in use for years to come, providing a constant reminder to those using them of the business which supplied the product in the first place. If you’re giving out promotional bags, you’re naturally going to want the printing to remain clear for a long time, so canvas is often the way to go. Strong, water resistant, and very long lasting, it should come as no surprise than canvas is becoming more a more popular as a bagging material.
  15. Three Incredible Uses of Paper Bags

    Since their invention over 100 years ago, paper bags have become one of the most ubiquitous products on the planet, and they continue to impress in the modern age due to their eco-friendly credentials. You can use an old paper bags to cook popcorn, protect your plants, cover your children’s text books, make puppets, or construct luminaries, and that’s just a small list. Some people have taken reusing paper bags to the next level. Paper Bag Stairs Rachel Evans’ staircase is one of a kind. Upon first inspection you might imagine that they are made of either cork or burled wood, but look very close and you might just notice that they’re MDF covered with stained brown paper. Of course, you probably wouldn’t guess that real wood hadn’t been used. This inexpensive solution made the treads look totally authentic, and Rachel did it all using just the brown craft paper from which paper bags are made, white glue, dark walnut stain, and floor-grade polyurethane semi-gloss. Paper Bag Lamp Shades Perhaps not quite as striking as Evans’ paper bag stairs, one homeowner decided to do something a little more immediately arresting. When you turn a lamp on in their house, you’ll find yourself bathed in the warm, homely glow produced by light filtering through a paper bag. Folded cleverly around and they attached at each end, the paper bag lamp shade looks great even when the lamp is off. Turn it on, and something usually seen as drab becomes something completely out of the ordinary. Paper Bag Wall A man named Duane posted something similarly eye-catching on popular creative site Cottage in the Oaks. Duane reported that he have saved up every square inch of wrapping paper and decorative paper bags for years. Once he felt like he had enough, he began to wallpaper his foyer with them. The result is a fascinating patchwork construction of corporate logos, strikingly patterned wrapping, and odd bits and pieces which would otherwise have been long forgotten. Each piece was stuck down to a patch of wall covered in wet paint. They were then smoothed out and covered in a water-based sealer. Of course, you don’t have to take things that far, but it’s always fascinating to hear about those who have done so.
  16. Conserving energy is a really big thing. The environment has really been suffering, and we need to something about it. Well, there’s a lot you can do, and starting with your home is the first step taken towards a greener, more economic home, and a healthier world. Energy efficient homes are becoming a real trend in the world, and that’s not without a reason. A lot of funds have been put into creating ideas for more energy efficient funds, and today, we can give you some tips on how to make your home more energy efficient. It’s actually quite possible to make your home more energy efficient while keeping the same comfort level, or even increasing the comfort level in the home. Energy efficient building practices can do wonders in that field. When you are building a new home, or you are renovating your current home, you can save a lot of money by going green. And even if you are not trying to renovate your home or build a new home, using green power can reduce the energy consumption from fossil fuels even more. The carbon footprint can always be lowered, and it’s the most green thing you can do. Going green is imperative in today’s world, since the world we have is taking a turn for the worse. So, why not save energy, save money, and contribute your little part in saving the world today? Make your home more energy efficient to do just that. But how do you do that? Where do you actually start? Try going small. Take the small steps towards achieving the big goal. For example, if the energy bill is really high, try cutting down on it. You can do a lot to reduce that number and actually help save the environment, and save money too. You should calculate the energy usage per every room in your home, and actually figure out what the cause of that much energy spending is. Maybe you are keeping the lights on too long. Maybe your windows aren’t really sealed well and are costing you a lot of energy. A lot of energy can be lost through windows, and it doesn’t really depends on curtains or blinds, they need to be sealed properly to prevent the endless wasting of energy in your home. Your light bulbs can also be a big waster of energy in your home. Lights bulbs that are outdated or that don’t fit the right power you need will spend a lot more energy than is needed, and will cost you a lot of money and energy, which in turn is not really a good thing for the environment. Lastly, you can always consult an expert. If you really don’t have a solid idea on what should you do to make your home more energy efficient, there are people who are in charge of that and can help you with that.
  17. Each year, over 1 trillion plastic bags are used worldwide. Yes, that’s a 1 with 12 zeros. Most of these bags are used only once, after which they are discarded (only a tiny percentage are recycled). It’s quite hard to imagine such an enormous amount of plastic rubbish, but it’s not hard to realise this is not a good thing. Each of these plastic bags can take 500 - 1000 years to degrade, or maybe even longer, scientists don’t really know, but they’re pretty convinced it’s a very, very long time. These bags pollute our oceans, kill sea life and sea birds, and may be poisoning us humans as well. They also make beaches around the world look very unaesthetic. So how do we tackle this huge environmental problem? We could simply start using fewer plastic bags and reuse any that we do use. This may be a tough sell however. Another solution may be switching to paper bags. But are paper bags really that much better than plastic ones? Let’s have a look at some of the environmental benefits of paper bags. Paper bags are easier to recycle Most paper bags are recyclable. Almost any paper bag that does not contain any plastic and isn’t contaminated with food can be recycled. Paper can’t be recycled endlessly however. After having been recycled 5 - 7 times, a paper bag has to be discarded. If the paper is not or minimally inked, it can then be composted. Recycling paper does not come without its environmental issues unfortunately. Harsh chemicals and significant amounts of water and energy are needed during the paper recycling process. Not as harmful to marine lifePaper bags degrade faster in water than plastic bags and they will often sink to the bottom, whereas plastic bags usually float. Paper also doesn’t soak up pollutants as plastic does. This means paper bags are much less likely to cause harm to marine life. Paper bags hold more stuffOn average, a paper bag can hold more than a plastic one because they hold more volume and are stronger. Although there are some environmental benefits of using paper bags over plastic, neither are very environmentally friendly. Paper bags require more natural resources to produce than plastic bags, and recycling them still requires significant use of energy and water. A better option is to use reusable canvas bags.
  18. 5 Alternative Uses for Paper Bags

    With concerns about the environment, shoppers are now being advised to avoid using plastic carrier bags. One alternative to these is paper bags. Once you have accumulated a few of these at home, you may wonder if there are any other uses for them instead of leaving them stashed in a cupboard. Here are five unusual ways to utilise any spare paper bags. Make a Gift Bag Paper bags are ideal to use as a cheap gift bag. It is simple to transform a plain bag into something really pretty. Either tie a colourful ribbon at the handles, ass some glitter or sequins, paint a design or add a collage of interesting pictures from magazines. Let your creativity run wild. Store Mushrooms Most people will have encountered the problem of buying mushrooms in a plastic container, putting them in the refrigerator and coming back the next day to find that the mushrooms are all slimy. The best way to avoid this problem is to put your mushrooms in a paper bag when you get home and this will keep them fresher for longer. Rehydrate Stale Bread If your bread has started to go stale, then most people will usually just throw the remains of the loaf away. However, this is not necessary as it is easy to rehydrate stale bread. Just put the bread into the paper bag, pour some water over the outside and put into the oven. This then creates a steaming effect and returns your bread to its original condition. Clean the Windows A crafty cleaning tip is to use the paper bag to clean the windows. Spray the windows with white wine vinegar and then wipe off using paper bags scrunched into balls. They absorb any grease and leave a streak-free finish. Ripen Fruits If it seems to be taking your fruit a while to ripen, then put it into a paper bag at the top part of the refrigerator. This will help your fruit to ripen faster. There is so much more to a paper bag than meets the eye and there are lots of different uses for them. So, unless you are planning to recycle them, don't throw your used paper bags away, give them a new purpose instead.
  19. If there's one thing without which modern society would seize to exist, it's oil. (Well, living without Internet will also positively suck, but that's a whole different story right here.) Realistically speaking, for the time being, despite the billions of dollars that are being put into the development of green technologies, oil remains essential to the proper functioning of our lives. Oil supplies our factories and makes our means of transportation move, it helps trade, makes manufacturing and transportation of goods, including food and medicines, possible. All in all, we need oil to survive. But the huge demand for oil we've experienced since the Second Industrial Revolution comes at a great cost for the planet and respectively, for the entire human kind. Each year we drill about 14 trillion liters of oil. That alone has tremendous environmental consequences which are next to impossible to be countered because, hey, "Drill, baby, drill!". But there's another negative side of oil consumption, and it's the fact that during transportation a significant quantity of oil is spilled, thereby destroying entire ecosystems, polluting the habitat of all kinds of plant and animal species. And because oil is mostly transported across oceans, this is where most spills occur. The results are both immediate and long-term, so looking for ways to eliminate the spill and counter its effect is crucial for the preservation of Earth's oceans. But cleaning something so vast as an ocean is not an easy task. Luckily, technology has evolved and continues to rapidly do so to such an extent that we might already have a working solution to the issue – drones. We've seen drones being deployed in various places, efficiently handling all kinds of situations. Recently a startup in the Netherlands even introduced a project which aims to develop a fully functional house cleaning drone. So if the technology could be utilized for the needs of home cleaning, it's only natural for it to be used in the quest of preserving our oceans. Airborne Emergency Response to Oil SpillsHere's where AEROS (Airborne Emergency Response to Oil Spills) comes into play. Essentially, AEROS is an unmanned, robotic system which locates oils spills and deploys robots and inflatable booms at spill sites by an airplane. Once in the water, the booms inflate themselves and surround the spill. Then the unmanned robots start purging the water. The water-cleansing robots suck the contaminated water in and spin it inside. The swirl that forms leaves the oil at the center and then collects it in a special bladder, while it pushes the pure water outside. Each robot has an incredible capacity, filtrating over 7000 litres per minute. And the oil that is recovered, up to 90% of the spill, is later collected from the bladders and can be later sold as an additional stream of revenue. Just in comparison, the methods that is being used by far could only filtrate and recover about 5% of the oil. Protei ProjectThe Protei Project is another promising startup which aims to counter oil spills. The people behind this large-scale international project have developed a shape-shifting sailing robots which will patrol the oceans, clean up oil spills and collect plastic waste. The autonomous robots will essentially sail upwind, using the power of the wind, and pull a long boom-tail which will absorbs oil. What makes the Protei boat prototypes so innovative is their hulls which are flexible and are made to move left and right like a fish. That movement allows the drone boat to utilize the power of the wind to the fullest and never lose power, easily pulling the heavy boom tail. Large oil spills like the Deep Water Horizon in the Mexican Gulf don't happen too often, but when they do, the effects to the environment are catastrophic. And as I already mentioned, at that point in time it's impossible for oil companies to cease oil transportation, however, they can use technology to contain the spills and counter the negative impact of the spills. For now the technology is not market-ready, but with some backing it will be there we we most need it.
  20. Paper bags can be recycled and repurposed in numerous ways, and some of the most advantageous uses can help keep your garden in tip-top condition. Here are a few ways in which your paper can aid your plants. Include in Composting Paper bags are relatively thick and highly absorbent, so they make the perfect brown matter for your compost. Dense paper can be shredded into small, narrow pieces, and then mixed in normally, while thinner paper bags can be torn into larger bits and scrunched up into small balls which improve airflow. The paper will break down eventually, so it makes a great material for composting. However, you will want to make sure that all plastic parts – such as handles – are removed. You should also avoid using bags which use anything other than soy-based inks. Block out the Weeds Open up your paper bags so they cover a large area, and then use them to stop weeds from infesting your garden. All you need to do is remove the top layer of soil – working around plants – and then lay sections of paper over the bare ground. You can then cover this layer with a few inches of mulch, compost, or any other organic material. This will help stop weeds coming through, and it’s a far cheaper solution than using shop-bought weed-blockers. The paper will eventually break down naturally, but give the soil a good tilling during early autumn to help it on its way. Protection from the Cold Most garden plants are hardy enough to last out the winter, but freezes have the potential to either damage or kill them. The best – and easiest – way to ensure that a cold snap doesn’t do away with your garden involves simply tying a paper bag around the top of the plant. This acts as insulation, keeping the warm air in and the cold air out. This is best done overnight. In the morning, be sure to remove the covering. Remember to never use plastic bags to cover a plant, as plastic will damage it. Next time you’re shopping, ask for paper bags instead of plastic, then use these tips to keep your garden looking great.
  21. Indoor air can be more polluted than the air that you breathe outside. Shocking, but true. And it isn’t just because you keep your windows open at night, thereby allowing the pollutants in outdoor air to waft into your house. Chemicals commonly found in each households, such as floor cleaners and insecticides also add to the growing list of pollutants that are making your indoor air quality bad. But while there are certainly dangers lurking in every room in the house, the good news is that there are affordable and easy solutions for most of them. 1. Increase ventilation. Ventilation should be a priority in every household. Not only does this allow fresh outdoor air in, it also lets the bad air inside the house out. Increasing ventilation promotes good air circulation and prevents molds and other harmful substances to grow and lurk within the confines of the home. 2. Keep your house clean. While good ventilation allows healthy air circulation, the dust and dirt that settle on the surfaces in your home throughout the day don’t really clean themselves up. Keeping the house clean not only involves dusting and sweeping, it also means taking out the trash to avoid the accumulation of bacteria that could become airborne, and keeping toxic substances away when not needed. 3. Turn on the air conditioner. It may come as a surprise to some, but turning on your energy-star-labeled air conditioner, especially in the summer, can actually remove particulate matter and pollen from the air. Air conditioners work by cooling the air and removing the water from the atmosphere, and as a lot of pollutants are soluble in water, they are also removed during this process when the air conditioner is working. 4. Install an air filter. For utmost protection against the negative effects to health caused by bad indoor air quality, having an air filter installed is the best solution. As their name suggests, these filter out particles of dust and other substances in the air, leaving the air that you ultimately breathe in cleaner than it once was. Good quality air filters, such as those from Filter Buy, can remove even very small particles, and are an especially great installation in households with asthma-stricken family members. Indoor air quality can be worse than the air just outside your home, but it doesn’t have to always be the case. By taking steps to clean, ventilate, and install air filters, having improved indoor air quality is not an impossibility.
  22. Whether we’re ready or not to surrender more of our sovereignty to the omnipresent influence of technology in our lives, we will soon face another achievement that will have a profound impact on society, the economy and environment. Within this decade, driverless cars will cruise into our lives and harness our energy expenditures. The potential impact on our environment and energy efficiency could be unprecedented. Driverless Cars Are More Energy Efficient Despite an ongoing debate about the various pros and cons surrounding driverless cars, one aspect of them has gained universal acceptance. According to researchers, current cars greedily require up to 85% of their total gas just to move the steel of the car, as opposed to moving the person. The advent of driverless cars will usher in a dramatic decrease human error, and in turn, accidents. This means smaller cars with less need for steel and accident protection. Gas savings will be enormous and lessen our dependence on foreign oil. The way we drive will also greatly increase the amount of gas we save. Fuel Economy Revolution Although no universal agreement has been reached, many industry insiders widely believe that driverless cars will all communicate wirelessly. Envision a hive mind controlling smart navigation of car colonies across the nation. Fuel economy will be improved in a variety of ways due to this vehicle matrix. According to one estimate, cars will save between 20-30% more gas by drafting. By communicating wirelessly, cars will be able to drive in packs on expressways and interstates, thus reducing wind resistance. There are also added benefits in regards to parking and intersections. The need to drive around the block endlessly looking for a parking spot will be eliminated, as cars will communicate to each other about when and where the first spot is available. Lastly, it’s suggested that cars will be able to coordinate passing through intersections without stopping, thus saving gas by not idling at stop lights. Auto Manufacturers Are Green For Go Earlier this year, Audi conducted an open road test on a Tampa expressway with Governor Scott riding along. Besides Audi, BMW, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Infiniti, Lexus, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Tesla, Toyota, Volkswagen, and Volvo all are actively researching driverless cars and pouring millions into their respective R&D programs. Driverless cars will likely be seen on the roads by 2020, but may not be common until 2030. Additionally, they will likely hit the market with hefty price tags, likely restricting their ownership to companies and the affluent. Regardless, they will radically alter our economy and society, perhaps starting with teamsters, mailmen, package delivery companies and even pizza delivery drivers. With absolute certainly, the driverless car revolution has arrived, and brings with it profound benefits for our economy and environment. Bio: Jason Hall is blogger for Budget.com.au
  23. Taking the First Step

    In today’s world, it’s surprisingly easy to forget about the ramifications of our actions. Even though we are “connected” through the developments in technology such as the internet, our so-called “flat world” isn’t all that flat when it comes to addressing the consequences that do not directly affect us, on a personal and individualized level. Living as an Indian in the United States, the “West” as people back home would call it, I understand that I have been given a privilege, that many are not able to experience. Recently, in a commencement speech by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, one of my long time standing idols, this “privilege” was aptly addressed. Adichie stated that privilege is often blinding, and sometimes results in us not being as aware of the circumstances that surround those who have not been extended similar opportunities. This couldn’t be truer. As I sit in my air-conditioned home in Boise, Idaho, reading the latest in environmental policy making, I often forget to think about the people who are actually going through the effects of climate change – like the people in India, my home, who are dropping like flies due to a recent heat wave like none before. It’s easy to be a by-stander, watching the world go by, and shirk off responsibility. The truth is though; we all have a responsibility – a responsibility to change, to inspire, and to TRY (even if we fail) to be better. It’s not simply up to world leaders to help save the world from the inevitable reality of climate change; it’s up to all of us, to take small steps in our everyday lives that will ensure a cleaner and healthier world. This is something that I, from my position of privile, sometimes forget. And so today, I am taking the first step (albeit a small one) to live a greener and cleaner life – I urge you all to take it with me. Even if it’s a small personal change, let this act as a gateway to bigger and better lifestyle decisions. Start turning off the air-conditioner when you don’t need it. Or maybe, use online coupon codes instead of printing out coupons. Have a separate recycling trash can, and take it to your local recycling center over the weekend. If you aren’t ready to alter a significant part of your lifestyle, the acts of spreading awareness can go a long way. Volunteer at a local NGO that supports the environment. Shop at a farmers’ market. Write out your thoughts and opinions and start a blog. Spread awareness about non-invasive technologies in examining subsurface hazards. Learn about the key players in environmental policy making. Really, the possibilities are endless. I truly believe that with a concerted effort, we all can make a difference. Mahatma Gandhi, one of the most prominent leaders of my home-country once said “Be the change you wish to see in the world”. So go forth, and make a change.
  24. A recurring claim in articles that warn against “environmental catastrophism” is that alerting people to the threats posed by climate change will only produce apathy and despair. To win broad support, they say, we need to stress positive messages. Robert Jensen, a professor in the School of Journalism at the University of Texas and board member of the Third Coast Activist Resource Center, argues the exact opposite. His recent book, We Are All Apocalyptic Now, opens with the provocative statement that “responsible intellectuals need to think apocalyptically.” He argues that unless we clearly understand and explain the threats confronting humanity in the 21st century, we will not be able to build a movement based on real hope, as opposed to fairy-tale dreams. “Thinking apocalyptically can help us confront honestly the crises of our time and strategize constructively about possible responses. It’s simply about struggling to understand – to the best of our ability, without succumbing to magical thinking – the conditions within the human family and the state of the ecosphere, and not turning away from the difficult realities we face.” Jensen’s radicalism is rooted in Christianity, but his argument deserves careful attention from all green-lefts and left-greens. He has kindly granted me permission to post the article below, which summarizes some of the key points made in his book. Thanks to Andrea Levy for drawing it to my attention.   Get Apocalyptic: Why radical is the new normal Feeling anxious about life in a broken economy on a strained planet? Turn despair into action. by Robert Jensen Feeling anxious about life in a broken-down society on a stressed-out planet? That’s hardly surprising: Life as we know it is almost over. While the dominant culture encourages dysfunctional denial — pop a pill, go shopping, find your bliss — there’s a more sensible approach: Accept the anxiety, embrace the deeper anguish — and then get apocalyptic. We are staring down multiple cascading ecological crises, struggling with political and economic institutions that are unable even to acknowledge, let alone cope with, the threats to the human family and the larger living world. We are intensifying an assault on the ecosystems in which we live, undermining the ability of that living world to sustain a large-scale human presence into the future. When all the world darkens, looking on the bright side is not a virtue but a sign of irrationality. In these circumstances, anxiety is rational and anguish is healthy, signs not of weakness but of courage. A deep grief over what we are losing — and have already lost, perhaps never to be recovered — is appropriate. Instead of repressing these emotions we can confront them, not as isolated individuals but collectively, not only for our own mental health but to increase the effectiveness of our organizing for the social justice and ecological sustainability still within our grasp. Once we’ve sorted through those reactions, we can get apocalyptic and get down to our real work. Perhaps that sounds odd, since we are routinely advised to overcome our fears and not give in to despair. Endorsing apocalypticism seems even stranger, given associations with “end-timer” religious reactionaries and “doomer” secular survivalists. People with critical sensibilities, those concerned about justice and sustainability, think of ourselves as realistic and less likely to fall for either theological or science-fiction fantasies. Many associate “apocalypse” with the rapture-ranting that grows out of some interpretations of the Christian Book of Revelation (aka, the Apocalypse of John), but it’s helpful to remember that the word’s original meaning is not “end of the world.” “Revelation” from Latin and “apocalypse” from Greek both mean a lifting of the veil, a disclosure of something hidden, a coming to clarity. Speaking apocalyptically, in this sense, can deepen our understanding of the crises and help us see through the many illusions that powerful people and institutions create. But there is an ending we have to confront. Once we’ve honestly faced the crises, then we can deal with what is ending — not all the world, but the systems that currently structure our lives. Life as we know it is, indeed, coming to an end. Let’s start with the illusions: Some stories we have told ourselves — claims by white people, men, or U.S. citizens that domination is natural and appropriate — are relatively easy to debunk (though many cling to them). Other delusional assertions — such as the claim that capitalism is compatible with basic moral principles, meaningful democracy, and ecological sustainability — require more effort to take apart (perhaps because there seems to be no alternative). But toughest to dislodge may be the central illusion of the industrial world’s extractive economy: that we can maintain indefinitely a large-scale human presence on the earth at something like current First-World levels of consumption. The task for those with critical sensibilities is not just to resist oppressive social norms and illegitimate authority, but to speak a simple truth that almost no one wants to acknowledge: The high-energy/high-technology life of affluent societies is a dead end. We can’t predict with precision how resource competition and ecological degradation will play out in the coming decades, but it is ecocidal to treat the planet as nothing more than a mine from which we extract and a landfill into which we dump. We cannot know for sure what time the party will end, but the party’s over. Does that seem histrionic? Excessively alarmist? Look at any crucial measure of the health of the ecosphere in which we live — groundwater depletion, topsoil loss, chemical contamination, increased toxicity in our own bodies, the number and size of “dead zones” in the oceans, accelerating extinction of species, and reduction of biodiversity — and ask a simple question: Where are we heading? Remember also that we live in an oil-based world that is rapidly depleting the cheap and easily accessible oil, which means we face a major reconfiguration of the infrastructure that undergirds daily life. Meanwhile, the desperation to avoid that reconfiguration has brought us to the era of “extreme energy,” using ever more dangerous and destructive technologies (hydrofracturing, deep-water drilling, mountaintop coal removal, tar sands extraction). Oh, did I forget to mention the undeniable trajectory of global warming/climate change/climate disruption? Scientists these days are talking about tipping points and planetary boundaries, about how human activity is pushing Earth beyond its limits. Recently 22 top scientists warned that humans likely are forcing a planetary-scale critical transition “with the potential to transform Earth rapidly and irreversibly into a state unknown in human experience,” which means that “the biological resources we take for granted at present may be subject to rapid and unpredictable transformations within a few human generations.” That conclusion is the product of science and common sense, not supernatural beliefs or conspiracy theories. The political/social implications are clear: There are no solutions to our problems if we insist on maintaining the high-energy/high-technology existence lived in much of the industrialized world (and desired by many currently excluded from it). Many tough-minded folk who are willing to challenge other oppressive systems hold on tightly to this lifestyle. The critic Fredric Jameson has written, “It is easier to imagine the end of the world than to imagine the end of capitalism,” but that’s only part of the problem — for some, it may be easier to imagine the end of the world than to imagine the end of air conditioning. We do live in end-times, of a sort. Not the end of the world — the planet will carry on with or without us — but the end of the human systems that structure our politics, economics, and social life. “Apocalypse” need not involve heavenly rescue fantasies or tough-guy survival talk; to get apocalyptic means seeing clearly and recommitting to core values. First, we must affirm the value of our work for justice and sustainability, even though there is no guarantee we can change the disastrous course of contemporary society. We take on projects that we know may fail because it’s the right thing to do, and by doing so we create new possibilities for ourselves and the world. Just as we all know that someday we will die and yet still get out of bed every day, an honest account of planetary reality need not paralyze us. Then let’s abandon worn-out clichés such as, “The American people will do the right thing if they know the truth,” or “Past social movements prove the impossible can happen.” There is no evidence that awareness of injustice will automatically lead U.S. citizens, or anyone else, to correct it. When people believe injustice is necessary to maintain their material comfort, some accept those conditions without complaint. Social movements around race, gender, and sexuality have been successful in changing oppressive laws and practices, and to a lesser degree in shifting deeply held beliefs. But the movements we most often celebrate, such as the post-World War II civil rights struggle, operated in a culture that assumed continuing economic expansion. We now live in a time of permanent contraction — there will be less, not more, of everything. Pressuring a dominant group to surrender some privileges when there is an expectation of endless bounty is a very different project than when there is intensified competition for resources. That doesn’t mean nothing can be done to advance justice and sustainability, only that we should not be glib about the inevitability of it. Here’s another cliché to jettison: Necessity is the mother of invention. During the industrial era, humans exploiting new supplies of concentrated energy have generated unprecedented technological innovation in a brief time. But there is no guarantee that there are technological fixes to all our problems; we live in a system that has physical limits, and the evidence suggests we are close to those limits. Technological fundamentalism — the quasi-religious belief that the use of advanced technology is always appropriate, and that any problems caused by the unintended consequences can be remedied by more technology — is as empty a promise as other fundamentalisms. If all this seems like more than one can bear, it’s because it is. We are facing new, more expansive challenges. Never in human history have potential catastrophes been so global; never have social and ecological crises of this scale threatened at the same time; never have we had so much information about the threats we must come to terms with. It’s easy to cover up our inability to face this by projecting it onto others. When someone tells me “I agree with your assessment, but people can’t handle it,” I assume what that person really means is, “I can’t handle it.” But handling it is, in the end, the only sensible choice. Mainstream politicians will continue to protect existing systems of power, corporate executives will continue to maximize profit without concern, and the majority of people will continue to avoid these questions. It’s the job of people with critical sensibilities — those who consistently speak out for justice and sustainability, even when it’s difficult — not to back away just because the world has grown more ominous. Adopting this apocalyptic framework doesn’t mean separating from mainstream society or giving up ongoing projects that seek a more just world within existing systems. I am a professor at a university that does not share my values or analysis, yet I continue to teach. In my community, I am part of a group that helps people create worker-cooperatives that will operate within a capitalist system that I believe to be a dead end. I belong to a congregation that struggles to radicalize Christianity while remaining part of a cautious, often cowardly, denomination. I am apocalyptic, but I’m not interested in empty rhetoric drawn from past revolutionary moments. Yes, we need a revolution — many revolutions — but a strategy is not yet clear. So, as we work patiently on reformist projects, we can continue to offer a radical analysis and experiment with new ways of working together. While engaged in education and community organizing with modest immediate goals, we can contribute to the strengthening of networks and institutions that can be the base for the more radical change we need. In these spaces today we can articulate, and live, the values of solidarity and equity that are always essential. To adopt an apocalyptic worldview is not to abandon hope but to affirm life. As James Baldwin put it decades ago, we must remember “that life is the only touchstone and that life is dangerous, and that without the joyful acceptance of this danger, there can never be any safety for anyone, ever, anywhere.” By avoiding the stark reality of our moment in history we don’t make ourselves safe, we undermine the potential of struggles for justice and sustainability. As Baldwin put it so poignantly in that same 1962 essay, “Not everything that is faced can be changed; but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” It’s time to get apocalyptic, or get out of the way.
  25. As the State of Pennsylvania continues to battle with various oil drilling companies regarding environmental violations, fracking sits at the top of list. Comparing the elemental damages to the amount of these proposed fines may mirror a lopsided playing field of sorts. Proponents of the fracking phenomena apparently see nothing wrong with polluting the groundwater contained in nearby streams via mishandled wastewater, thus killing off seemingly countless schools of fish, and rendering otherwise healthy water supplies undrinkable. Many of those who oppose these fracking methods may have stronger legal legs to stand on, as the practice itself has gained some notorious national attention. The fracking (aka fracturing) process is designed to extract fossil-based energy sources that lie deep beneath the earth’s surface. Drilling is one thing, yet injecting toxic chemicals into the core in order to hit pay-dirt is another. The increased risk of chemical leakage is now clear and present, as literally thousands of drinking water contamination complaints have been filed against subsidiary drilling companies that actually have legal permits to use the Marcellus Shale drilling site; one case in particular involves felony criminal charges that are still pending. Exxon Mobil Corporation District Judge James G. Carn ruled that each of the eight charges recently filed against the oil giant were all valid enough to warrant criminal proceedings. Two of these charges included violating the state’s Clean Streams Law and the Solid Waste Management Act. Exxon Mobil is chiefly being accused of wastewater tank tampering; the removal of a plug from one of their refuse receptacles resulted in 57,000 gallons of the liquid seeping into the soil and subsequently causing harm to local residents and the surrounding strata. Contesting these charges, Exxon Mobil representatives asserted that the spill had “…no lasting environmental impact.” Range Resources The Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) fined the Texas-based gas and oil company $4.15 million for employing the same illegal practices used by Exxon Mobil, all of which took place between 2009 and 2014. Range Resources repeatedly violated a number of the state’s environmental protection laws, yet the mishandling of wastewater topped the list of many fracking infractions committed at the very same Marcellus Shale drilling site. Even though the imposed fine is the largest in Pennsylvania DEP history, the profits made from these extractions heavily outweigh the penalty amount, which may simply be the price of doing business for big oil. These two incidents are merely a drop in the bucket when it comes to the fracking boom and its latent functions. Exxon Mobil is the first company to face criminal charges, which may turn out to be a benchmark case to be used as precedent for future criminal fracking violations. Hopefully future companies can learn from their example, and the example of good green practicing companies like Great Canadian which does green roofing in Edmonton. The future will be brighter when businesses can raise the standard of their practices and incorporate more beneficial green works.