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MargaretSw posted a blog entry in Sustainable Lifestyle in The Land Down UnderIn the last couple of decades, people became more conscious of the different ways we affect the environment. Our interested in ecology opened up topics like what damages we've done up until now, can we reverse them and can we prevent them from happening in the future. With global warming, polluted waters and deforestation more people want to take part in protecting our planet, bringing the conversation to our homes. Now we do our research and make conscious purchases. Let's talk about cleaning for example. Some of the products we used to think are harmless, are now proven to be dangerous. They go down the sewer or into the ground on their way to disturb the natural eco-system. Some companies gained a bad reputation for using not-so-eco-friendly chemicals in their cleaning solutions. Behind the beautiful packages and expensive commercials stands something very ugly. The truth. "Kill all the germs!", "More powerful than ever!". What about when this solution goes into the sea? Nothing is lost, the poison just changes locations. Be sure, those chemicals are as bad for the fish, plants and you, as they are for the germs. Simply following the cycle of water, we can see how easily the dangerous chemicals find their way back into our homes. No wonder people have second thoughts about over-the-counter cleaning products. More people opt-in for professional cleaning services because they offer safe cleaning solutions. But beware! A lot of companies saw this demand as a possibility to break through the market, so they started labelling their products as "eco" and "organic". Some of them really are but most are just as bad as the previous ones. Their lie is hidden on the back of the labels. People often get discouraged, as they feel like an insignificant speck in the cosmos. But we should all remember that big changes happen with one step (person and household) at a time. We shouldn't wait for others to change. We should take care of ourselves first and set a good example for everybody else. The number of bad things we should watch out for seems to be growing. From where do you begin? The first step is conscious purchases. Be aware that mass production is in fact "mass" because consumers buy the stuff. Think about it this way – with every choice you make, for every product you buy, you claim what world you want to live in. If you buy products with heavy, harmful chemicals or made by industries that exploit their workers, it's like giving them thumbs up for it. You invest in it, you give it green light. Having this in mind, you can now start applying it in your everyday life – from grocery shopping to what kind of paint you use for your house. The second step is to swap disposable items with reusable ones. Why do you have to spend who-knows-how-much dollars in your lifetime on something that you use only once? Like wet wipes for example. They don't disappear into thin air or dissolve in water as lots of people seem to think. "But it's only one wipe," said a million people while flushing it down the toilet. They build up, causing problems for plumbers, as well as for nature. Simply washing with water and soap should do the trick. And they should be replaced with reusable cloths in our households. We can at least try to cut down the usage. Getting back to the chemicals in the domestic cleaning products. Some of them (actually a great deal of them) are labelled as dangerous to the environment picturing a real wasteland – with a dead fish and a dead tree. This is pretty straightforward. But other companies slip under the radar. Thanks to laws and policies, the businesses are not obligated to list all of the ingredients of the product if there is very little of the toxins in it. Okay, so they're harmless then? Well, no. Combining cleaning solutions can be dangerous and the toxic chemicals build up. Even those that are labelled as “toxic-free” and “green” can be misleading. Watch out for phonies, who use “eco” or words like this only to decorate their label. They should be certified, not just state it freely. People can start feeling discouraged as they seemingly cannot be sure about the trustworthiness of anything. But do we really need to use chemical-based products that much? There are ways to clean without any cleaning solutions. Like using a squeegee and purified water – for windows. Steam treatment technique – for carpets. Pressure cleaning – for outside walls. The later is effective even if the surface has graffiti on it. Those are maybe the best ways to do domestic (and corporate for that matter) cleaning. The equipment for these methods is professional and quite expensive so it's usually used by cleaning experts. If you are looking for service here's a list of what you should be looking for: Environmental Policy Energy Saving processes Responsible products Low energy usage equipment Recycling policy Even if we don't like it, we do have an effect on the world. Why don't we turn that into something positive and actually be the change in our choices? We try our hardest not only to repair the damages done by previous generations but to prevent any of them repeating in the future. And we can do it. Minimising the negative effect on nature has become more important than ever and every household counts. Are you in?
For the first time, the CO2 levels in the atmosphere have hit 400 ppm (parts per million). This threshold represents the growing influence of humans on the climate. The man-made emissions of CO2 have increased the concentration in the atmosphere from about 270-280 ppm in the 1700s to the current record – a 43% increase. According to scientists, this is surprising considering the rapid growth of global CO2 emissions from the frequent burning of oil, coal and natural gas. Last year, the global CO2 emissions reached 38.2 billion tons. This is an increase of around a billion tons more compared to the previous year. This means that over 2.4 million pounds of CO2 are spewed into the atmosphere: Every second. The increasing CO2 emissions are accelerating global warming, also known as the greenhouse effect. Future temperatures depend on the amount of CO2 that accumulated in the atmosphere and so, there is a need to reduce those emissions in order to minimize global warming. Official data: http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/ghgemissions/global.html http://www.eea.europa.eu/data-and-maps/data/data-viewers/greenhousae-gases-viewer How To Reduce Global CO2 Emissions Since the increasing CO2 emissions are often associated with burning of oil, coal and natural gas, the best way to reduce them is to adopt green practices. For example, coal power should be replaced by zero-carbon nuclear power and renewable wind power. Natural gas which is used for heating and driving motors should be replaced by heat pumps and electric motors. Finally, transportation sector consumes over 70 percent of petroleum as motor fuels. The consumption of transportation petroleum can be significantly reduced by using electric vehicles. The Current State Of Green Car Industry With the need to reduce CO2 emission, electric cars have emerged as the viable alternative to the polluting cars that most people drive today. An electric car relies on an electric motor for propulsion. They use battery and not petrol. The current green car industry is dominated by the 6 car makers: Chrysler Ford GM Toyota Honda and Nissan The price of electric cars is much more than gasoline vehicles of the same size. For example, the price of the least expensive electric car on the market now, the Smart ForTwo Electric Drive car, is twice as much as the gasoline ForTwo. However, the operation cost of electric cars is a much less. For example, if gasoline costs $4 per gallon, your 25-mpg gas car will need a fuel of $16 to cover every 100 miles. On the other hand, an electric car uses $1-6.50 in electricity for the same distance. One of the most popular electric car models is the 2013 Nissan Leaf. It has recorded the highest sales. According to Klosters, (Australian car dealer) and their News section page about this vehicle , the new 2013 Nissan LEAF car is 6 times cheaper and more efficient as compared to a petrol-fueled car. More About LEAF If you are driving the Nissan LEAF for the first time, you will be impressed by the little difference between the car and comparable internal combustion hatchbacks. It is not a golf cart, and accelerates well just like most gasoline-fueled cars of the same size. It can comfortably accommodate four people (or even five for shorter distances), and has a considerable cargo room. The LEAF is a highly capable daily car whose operating cost is a fraction of gas-powered cars provided you pay attention to the battery charge state. The 2013 LEAF maintains the same styling as its 2011 predecessor, which is a good thing. It has a contemporary and conventional look and even its allowances for aerodynamics (such as the protruding headlights) look decent on the car. The base models have 16-inch steel wheels (along with wheel covers), while other models have alloy wheels. The distinguishing feature of the range-topping SL models is the solar panel attached to the roof spoiler, which provides supplemental charging for the 12-volt battery of the LEAF. The car is powered by an 80-kilowatt (107HP) electric motor which is driven by a 24-kWh lithium-ion battery. Although the vehicle is single-speed, it takes 10 seconds to run from 0-60 mph thanks to the instantly available motor torque of 207 pound-feet and the car can hit a maximum speed of up to 90-mph. Both figures perfectly fit its intended purpose. The 2013 LEAF handles competently and predictably. However, people who are seeking maximum entertainment behind the wheel may not be satisfied with the numb steering and detached road feel of the car. But since the primary mission of the car is to move from one point to another in relative comfort, that cannot hinder sales. As mentioned earlier, you need to pay careful attention to the car’s battery charge state. When completely depleted, the 24 kWh battery pack may take nearly twenty hours to reach its full charge capacity on standard home current (110V). Installing a 240V Level 2 charging station (sold by Nissan dealers) in your home will significantly reduce that time, and the new 2013 6.6-kilowatt charger (which comes with all Leafs except base models) can charge the battery to its full capacity in only four hours. That’s a great improvement compared to the previous 3.3-kilowatt charger, which took up to 10 hours to fully recharge from a 240V Level 2 charging station. With the advancement in technology today, a smartphone can be used to operate or control almost anything and the LEAF is no exception. Through a smartphone app, you can set charging times to maximize on off-peak rates, heat the cabin and cool the cabin for summer comfort. The smartphone app also allows you to keep tabs on the charging process as you will be alerted in case charging is interrupted. But if you don’t have a smartphone, don’t worry as most of these functions can be controlled via the display screen of the car. Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tYWjd0-NuBI The Future Of Green Car Industry Although the electric cars are a bit costly today, the price will obviously reduce. More and more people will opt for the cars due to their benefits to the environment. There shall come a time when combustion cars would be so few and the air would not be full of CO2 that gasoline-fueled cars are often associated with. In fact, Nissan has tried to capture that period by creating an aromatic blueprint’ which imitates how the world would smell like in a green future with zero-carbon emission cars. Resources: http://www.greencarreports.com/news/leaf http://www.thegreencarwebsite.co.uk/blog/index.php/2013/12/12/nissan-creates-scent-of-the-zero-emission-future/ http://www.thegreencarwebsite.co.uk/blog/index.php/2010/12/09/cost-of-nissan-leaf-falls-as-experts-predict-47-residual-value/