Archive for January, 2010

PostHeaderIcon Recycle Your (Green Tip) Plastic Bags


Recycle Your (Green Tip) Plastic Bags

If you have not given up plastic bag for your own reusable bags yet, no worries, you can still make a difference! Recycle them! How? Well, there are many ways you can recycle plastic bags. We have listed a few to get you started. Use your imagination!

21 Ideas for Recycling Plastic bags:

* for filler when sending packages or when you want to store fragile items.

* use old plastic bags for liners in your bathroom or office trash can.

* to pick pet waste.

* use them as baby bib.

* arts and crafts. (off site link)

* reuse plastic bags over and over when you grocery shop.

* store wet bathing suits in them when at the pool or beach.

* dispose of dirty diapers when out and about.

* put hubbies lunch in them instead of a lunchbox.

* litter box liners.

* use plastic bags instead of Ziploc bags when possible.

* store holiday items in them.

* as a cap when giving yourself a hot oil treatment.

* make a kite with your kids.

* as a toiletry bag when traveling.

* shred and cut them to make plastic bag confetti.

* use them as gloves when cleaning.

* have your kids put them over their shoes when playing in the snow to keep shoes dry.

* cut them in to big squares and let your children finger paint with them. (under supervision, of course)

* send them to the recycle bin at your neighborhood grocery store.

* or…avoid using plastic bags all together and REALLY make a difference!

This is just small list to get you started. There are MANY ways that you can recycle and reuse plastic bags. You can also Google “recycle plastic bag ideas” and you will find tons more!

Copyright © Green Christian Network, All Rights Reserved

About the Author: Cindy Taylor is a Christian stay at home Mom who love the Lord and cares about God’s planet. You can see her passion and writing at her website, Green Christian Network (http://greenchristiannetwork.com).


Satellite Captures Solar Eclipse from Space | Universe Today

The recently launched Proba-2 satellite was able to observe the annular solar eclipse on January 15, 2010, with stunning results. The PRoject for OnBoard.


Marcegaglia to Install 4-MW Solar Panel System · Environmental …

Steel maker Marcegaglia group is partnering with Italy’s biggest renewable energy group Enel Green Power to install a 4-megawatt rooftop solar panel system, reports Reuters. Construction is expected to start this year at a plant in the …


Sharp SH6230C – Sharp SH6230C comes with solar cell module

Sharp SH6230C – Folks in China have another chance to go green with the Sharp SH6230C cellphone, as that particular handset is equipped with a solar cell module behind to keep it going longer than usual. Features of the Sharp SH6230C …


Yurt Living: Solar Power Potential : Feelgood Style

Research results revealed an obvious solar trend for businesses. Nestled in the mountains of central Portugal, for example, is a vacation yurt with solar-powered energy. Takes care of reading lights and is sufficient for a laptop. …


Sixtron's new coating aims to prevent solar cell degradation …

Canadian startup says its new Silexium product is targeted at solar cell and module manufacturers that face light induced degradation issues.

PostHeaderIcon Earthday Business on Your Mind?


Earthday Business on Your Mind?

The sun is shining across the hills of West Cork as I listen to the story of Earthday told by a team of evangelists with nothing but Earthday business on their minds. In 2008, visionary Simon Ford started a group to bring like-minded, positive people together in socially conscious activities. He called the group Social Traffic and right now that group has Earthday business on its mind.

The group’s first major campaign centers around Earth Day with an event named, Earthday Birthday a global birthday party for Mother Earth. Earthday 2009 and the celebrations that will go with it is all set to clamor its way across the social media landscape like some all embracing vine, covering the sometimes harsh elements of the online world with a softer, greener facade which many hope will last for more than a lifetime.

Earthday 2009 is a global celebration and a day to spread awareness of people’s destructive impact on the planet. But before you jump right in there and start changing the world on a massive scale here’s a few simple things you can do to make a difference right now, tomorrow and every single day after that.

Here’s my list of top five things to do to celebrate Earthday 2009 and reduce your impact on our planet;

1. Plant a tree or two. If you’re feeling energetic plant a whole field full.

A tree will absorb CO2 and other forms of pollution, provide a home to hundreds of creatures, help to create and retain soil and performs a whole host of other ecological functions. And, in case you needed a reminder, will leave a lasting legacy of your time on the planet.

2. Walk to work for a day, a week or a whole month. You’ll feel better and the earth will be a much healthier place to live too.

You might even want to think about joining a car sharing scheme and make it a permanent part of your work life balance to drive to work only one day a week and sleep the other four in the passenger seat while someone else does all the hard work!

3. Dry your dishes naturally. Turn off the dishwasher at the dryer stage of the cycle and leave your plates and cutlery to dry themselves for a change!

4. Turn off all your plug sockets before bed. Maybe spend the evening in the dark for one day a week and treat the kids to a few ghost stories before bedtime!

5. Don’t be a water importer.

Get rid of your supply of bottled water, keep a jug of fresh tap water in the fridge and reduce the damage we do to the environment by producing plastic bottles to hold gallons of mineral water that tastes no different to the clear, fresh water that is piped through your home.

So, if you’ve got business on your mind this Earthday, perhaps you should take a few minutes to look around you and realise how precious our planet is and how beautiful that small piece of turf is right outside your window.

If you want to know more about this subject and how you can make a difference take a look at this great squidoo lens all about Earth Day Birthday right now.

Neil Ashworth is a member of Simon Ford’s Social Traffic Team who are raising awareness of environmental issues using the power of social media marketing to support the Earth Day Birthday campaign.


Apple gadgets going solar? | MNN – Mother Nature Network

3 new patents just filed by Apple indicate the company is getting into the clean energy business.


Advantages Of Homemade Solar Power Energy | Handy Man Source

Profit Homemade Solar Power Energy With increasing pollution and population, people these days are thinking of ways and means by which they can save on.


Reasons Solar Energy for Your Home | Alternative Energy HQ

Solar energy works by harnessing the light of the sun and converting this free and easily available source of energy into electrical power. There are so many benefits of adapting the use of solar energy to your home. …


Suntech Solar Panels | BiofuelsWatch.com

Suntech, one of the few China based major solar power cell producers, is a strong player in the solar energy market and is rapidly expanding both its commercial and product scope around the world beginning in 2009 and pushing strong …


En Passant » Solar panel subsidies: it seemed like a good idea at …

With upfront costs of between about $12000 and $25000 to install cells on roofs (depending on size, quality and the like) the people who can afford these solar panels will not be poor or, as a generalisation, average income earners. …

PostHeaderIcon Green Tech News


Green Tech News

Green Tip – Buy Used

A lot goes into making new products; energy, fuel, non organic materials and more. If we buy more items used, we will use less of the things that contribute to hurting God’s planet. Plus, we are being good stewards by making the most of everything we buy and use!

Some things we can buy used:

* movies. what’s the difference, really. used is cheaper, the same and better for the planet.

* music. see above.

* clothes. thrift stores can save you tons of money as well.

* books. buy them used or go to the library.

* cars. how used is up to you.

* furniture and appliances. garage sales and eBay are great places to start.

* homes. old houses are cool anyway.

* household items. there are many items you can pick up at a local good will or garage sale that are just as nice as going to the store and buying new.

* electronics. just be careful and always try it our before you buy.

* bikes. have you ever seen the price tag for a new bike recently. yikes! buy used and ride the bike as often as you can instead of driving. Double green for your trouble! lol.

* video games and systems. places like game stop are great. you can buy used, beat the game and then trade it in for another used game. too cool, right?

* toys. obviously clean and good condition are key here. if you look you can find some goodies. i have found a lot of cute items that my kids love.

As you can see, there are many ways we can help contribute to being good stewards of God’s planet. Including, buying used and spending our money wisely!

Copyright © Green Christian Network, All Rights Reserved

About the Author: Cindy Taylor is a Christian stay at home Mom who love the Lord and cares about God’s planet. You can see her passion and writing at her website, Green Christian Network (http://greenchristiannetwork.com).

PostHeaderIcon Recycle Your Second Hand Clothes


Recycle Your Second Hand Clothes

Landfill in the UK is becoming a huge problem. With the drop in the price of recycled products, the issue is what to do with all of the waste that we produce. The breakdown of waste in landfill sites creates huge amounts of the greenhouse gas methane. There are also many products that will not breakdown and will remain in the environment for ever with the potential to contaminate water supplies.

Traid, a charity specializing in the recycling of textiles reports that 900,000 tons of shoes and clothing are thrown away each year in the UK. Only 200,000 tons per year are recycled and the rest is dumped in landfill. The government estimates that similar amounts of between 550,000 and 900,000 tons of textiles are thrown away each year.

In addition to the problems of waste and landfill in the UK, there is also the consideration of the energy used and waste generated by the manufacture and distribution of clothing and textiles. Growth of cotton uses a huge amount of chemical pesticides and environmentally damaging cultivation methods. The manufacture of man made fabrics also has a huge environmental impact with. Demand for polyester the most widely used synthetic fabric has almost doubled in the last 15 years. The manufacture of polyester uses large amounts of crude oil and an energy-intensive process. It releases emissions including volatile organic compounds, particulate matter, and acid gases such as hydrogen chloride, all of which can cause health problems for workers by causing or aggravating respiratory disease.

Second hand clothing is becoming more popular as people begin to recognise the real costs of fast fashion. Consumers are becoming more aware of their buying choices and ways that they can help the environment.

Finally, there is one more great reason to recycle second hand clothing. Just because you are fed up with a piece of clothing or it does not fit you nay more, it does not mean that it has no worth. You can make sure that the worth of your second hand clothing is realized by swapping it at a swishing party on a clothes swapping website, selling it or donating it to your favorite charity.

This article was written by Ceri Heathcote for posh-swaps.com, a website for swapping, buying and selling second hand and vintage clothing.

Clothes swapping and buying and selling second hand clothes is a great way to reduce the impact of fashion on the environment and to save money.


Solar: German Subsidy Cut Makes Street Rev, EPS Ests Too High, FBR …

The solar-stock sell-off triggered by the recent move in Germany – which thanks to aggressive subsidy support is by far the world’s largest solar market – to cut its feed-in tarrifs to the sector could have further to go, according to …


Apple gets greener with solar device patent | VentureBeat

Apple has been getting greener every week, it seems. First we reported on Greenpeace’s finding that Apple was moving up …


MercuryHouseOne: Space-age Solar Powered Pod House Unveiled …

The MercuryHouseOne is a mobile lounge powered by solar panels and decked out with all the latest and greatest sound equipment and lighting. Architecture and Vision designed, built and then debuted it at the Venice Biennale, …


Will Apple Gadgets of the Future Be Solar-Powered?

While we all anxiously await Appleâ â?¢s announcement on Wednesday â â? presumably unveiling the Apple Tablet to the world â â? speculations have taken a decidedly greener turn. The website Patently Apple has uncovered some patents filed …


Solar Powered Bird Repeller » Coolest Gadgets

solar-bird-repeller Having birds in the garden might be something folks want as their general chirpiness is perfect to perk up your day, but it comes with a downside â?? they tend to poop all over the place, and their number one target …

PostHeaderIcon Is Australia’s Emission Trading System Going to Work Effectively


Is Australia’s Emission Trading System Going to Work Effectively

In Australia the government are introducing an emission trading or cap and trade scheme.  There are major concerns about the level of reduction the government wants to sign up to and also whether it will actually work.

As Australians we do need to take action about carbon reduction.  We are both the most vulnerable continent for feeling the effects of global warming and also we are the worst greenhouse emitters per head than any other country on the planet.  We emit even more than the USA and Canada who are our nearest competitors for this wooden spoon.  This is at least in part due to our huge coal industry.

The head of the Australia Institute’s Think Tank says that the Federal Government’s emissions trading scheme will have too many permits and will not reduce carbon emissions.

The Australia Institute’s executive director, Dr Richard Denniss, said the scheme’s flaws related to the 5 to 15 per cent emissions reduction targets, which he described as ”ridiculously low”, and he said there would be too many permits.  Dr Dennis said that “We won’t achieve the policy goal, which is to reduce emissions.”

Dr Denniss told the Senate that ”[If] we pass this legislation, we’ve got it for the next 10 years. And anyone that’s got a good idea a year later, it’s not going to help. This legislation is designed to not be tinkered with.”

Professor Clive Hamilton, from the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics, said the proposed scheme had damaged Australia’s reputation. A reduction target of at least 25 per cent needed to be set if the Government wanted credibility on the world stage.   Australia would be better off taking no policy than the proposed model to the December climate change talks in Copenhagen, he said.

”It not only lowers the ambition of the world community but also excludes Australia from being a forceful player in negotiating … a strong international agreement.”

It is hard to see how exempting large emitters ignoring the 1.9 million small to medium businesses is going to help us reduce our carbon footprint. These same small businesses are currently suffering from financial stress, the business owners and managers are overworked and simply don’t feel able to handle anything new. Many don’t really understand what global warming is about or why it matters. 

We urgently need unambiguous communication so that small to medium businesses accept the reality of the need for change and also how easy it can be to make significant reductions with minimal time input and save money at the same time.

We also need to help low income households reduce their carbon footprint with more efficient heating and cooling and effective public transport.  We should NOT be giving them even more cash hand outs as “compensation” as currently promised by the government.  All households need to come on board and stop wasting power.

We need a clear message that going green applies to all of us, is easy and saves money – just “go for a grumpy walk and just turn it off”.  If every small business and householder just went around each office and home and did this it would be relatively easy for every one to reduce their carbon emissions and their power bill by 15-20%. At present we are told it will be difficult and it only applies to big business.  Such a wrong message – we all need to pull together.

A Brief given to the Victorian Government advises that the state should only bother with green measures if they are more cost-effective than alternatives.  They have been told to rethink programs such as subsidies for solar farms and hybrid car fleets because these will not contribute to any additional emission cuts under the federal scheme.

The Greens have concerns about the cost of emission permits being reduced by the actions of households, councils and governments, hence reducing industry’s incentive to cut emissions. This is more than simply an economic debate. Individuals and households should also be reducing their emissions. Achieving sustainability is a grassroots exercise that involves the entire community, and Australians are becoming aware of the need to remake the economy and society. The momentum must not be lost.

An additional concern is whether the legislation and also the international agreements reached in Copenhagen will be flexible enough to take account of emerging technology.  At present this does not appear to be the case.  Senator Wong, the Minister for Climate Change, rejected spending on biochar, a form of carbon capture in soil research because that is not listed in the protocol.  Thankfully some soil carbon storage research will now be funded in the agriculture budget but that begs the requirement for the legislation to be flexible and allow for new and future technology.

If the ETS cannot deliver real carbon reductions it is really a form of “greenwash” saying we signed Kyoto and have done something before the next election. The big problem is that the government looks ahead 3 years to the next election, Big Biz CEO’s also look to the short term of their contracts and bonuses.  Who looks ahead for our children?

Jean Cannon is an energy management and sustainable business consultant. If you would like more information about how to go green in your home or business and increase your business profits why don’t you go to http://www.itiseasytobegreen.com and download a chapter of my book of almost the same name and find out how to reduce your carbon footprint.

Green Technology

PostHeaderIcon Real Threat is Hazardous Waste


Real Threat is Hazardous Waste

For those staying in urban and suburban areas, we enjoy the regular collection of waste and recyclable materials. However, what most of us are not aware is the waste that is brought to dumps is actually many times more toxic than it was 30 years ago.

Hazardous Home Wastes

It is surprising just how toxic our world has become in just a few years. Synthetic chemicals didn’t even exist in any significant numbers before the turn of the 20th century. In the past, home furnishings were made of natural materials, such as carpets, pillows, curtains, bath items and towels. The things that are in the most and close contact with us each day, especially those made before 1980, were made of sustainable and renewable resources.

However, this is no longer true today. Every time when we replace our furnishing, we are trashing away materials that could contain chemicals, such as batteries and electronics. These home wastes are part of the hazardous waste brought to dumps each day.

Hazardous Waste In Overwhelmed landfills

In many countries, the problem of hazardous waste is compounded by the crisis of overwhelmed landfills. The danger from this waste getting loose in the environment is even more serious and precarious than ever. Increased danger of containment systems being breached is very real.

As pressure on forest and agricultural lands mounts, erosion due to major storm events could unleash these toxins into the ecosystems that is already fragile and damaged. Hazardous waste is becoming an acute problem beyond management in many countries.

Ben provides consultancy to real and virtual estate owners. Eco-Renewable Resources is one of Ben’s interest, with particular business focus on Sustainable Development


american idol - green brain

PostHeaderIcon Vocabulary Green People


Vocabulary Green People

The international passion to protect our planet from the ravages of pollution and to preserve our natural resources for future generations has become an everyday fact of life. With international support by “green” political parties, consumer organizations, celebrities and politicians, the green movement has become a powerful force with an agenda that needs to be addressed by industry, politicians and consumers. Discussions about the environment are taking place in corporate board rooms, legislative hearings, and by consumers in supermarkets and department stores.

Can we fully understand environmental concerns and energy implications without a working knowledge of basic green vocabulary? Do we understand all the issues relevant to tax incentives for oil companies? Can we properly compare the organic and nonorganic products that we decide to eat or wear every day? In essence, to think and live green you need to speak and understand green.

Understanding some key green terms and their implications can help us evaluate alternatives between our planet and sacrificing aspects our personal lifestyle. It can help us decide how we cast our vote or spend our money or how we live our lives. A green vocabulary can help us reduce our “carbon footprint “. The following represents what is best described as a green vocabulary of definitions and commentary to help eco-oriented consumers make informed green decisions.

A Green Vocabulary for Green People

Organic identifies products made under the authority of the Organic Foods Production Act. Organic production guidelines are established to use organic materials and practices that improve ecological balance. Organic production incorporates agricultural system components to enhance natural biological systems.

Organic Agriculture is an ecological farming system that promotes natural chemical and biological cycles that improve soil fertility and maintains a balanced and productive farming system. Any products introduced to this system for fertility or pest protection are of natural composition. It eliminates the use of harmful synthetic pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, growth stimulants or antibiotics. These essential restrictions can reduce contamination or pollution to our air, water or food supply.

Natural Fibersare “certified” organic fibers derived from organic agriculture such as cotton, bamboo and hemp.

Certified Organic Cotton is derived from organic agriculture. The cotton is grown without artificial pesticides or fertilizers. Conventional cotton farming ranks about fourth in the use of pesticides in the US. Several of the top pesticides used in nonorganic cotton farming are EPA recognized carcinogens. It takes 1/3 of a pound of pesticides and synthetic fertilizers to make one organic T-shirt disregarding the use of any toxic dyes (Organic Trade Association). A typical organic tee shirt is also about the same weight but without these harmful chemicals. Organic cotton is produced using conservation minded or “sustainable” approaches to crop production. Such practices help to retain and promote soil fertility and the natural recycling of soil resources.

Organic Certification is provided by various organizations. The most widely recognized standards are GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) which is the basis for the statement “100% certified organic cotton” used by many green companies.

Fair Labor Practices are not necessarily restricted to agriculture but generally support fair wages and healthy working conditions.

Fair Trade Certification “…guarantees consumers that strict economic, social and environmental criteria were met in the production and trade of an agricultural product.”(www.transfairusa.org).

Sweatshop-free describes the absence of manufacturing conditions currently existing in many countries, referred to as “sweatshops”. They are production facilities or factories where goods are produced cheaply by minimizing workers’ salaries, and increasing working hours. Proper environmental health standards are diminished, yet demands for high levels of productivity still remain. These sweatshops may thrive from corporations seeking to increase profits by subcontracting inexpensive labor.

Sustainable means conserving and preserving limited natural resources and energy supplies. It is connected with the term “recycling” when natural products are re-used like rubber (for tires, shoes) or paper/trees (for books, business cards, magazines etc.), or wood (for recycled furniture). They are made from or made into recycled, carbon based products. A good example of preserving our resources is Trees for the Future, a charitable organization dedicated to replacing and planting trees. Unfortunately, most of our energy production is derived from organic (carbon based) fossil fuels that cannot be recycled as compared to wind or solar energy. All of this is connected to our lifestyle and our “carbon footprint” discussed next.

Carbon Footprint is a descriptor of environmental impact. It describes the consumption of carbon based natural resources or the production of carbon by-products like carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide or “greenhouse emissions”. It’s about lifestyle and the amount of carbon based resources we consume through transportation, climate control, manufacturing etc. Basically it relates to how much each of us consume in terms of natural resources to meet our needs. In general each of us should be committed to reducing the size of our “footprint” to sustain resources for present and future generations.

Eco-fashion is a general term describing organic clothing that has addressed the needs of the environment as well as socially responsible working conditions.

Eco-friendly suggests a product or process than has a reduced impact on the environment.

Low Impact Dyes refers to dyes used the manufacture of goods that should have minimal impact on the environment. Sometimes the term non-toxic is used here as well.

Green is a generally positive term referring to the environment, organics or even a green lifestyle to be discussed shortly.

Conscientious Clothingdescribes organic clothing has addressed environmental, ethical and socially responsible standards.

The Green Lifestyle

Green Lifestyle or Green Living describes a lifestyle reflecting a strong commitment to the environment. In addition, it addresses compassionate and positive thinking. It means choosing a life with charitable deeds and practices, reflecting compassion for the environment and others. Green living is being proactive and incorporates spiritual growth leading to ethical thinking.

Social Responsibility can be defined as accepting responsibility for others and taking action against social injustice. It includes meeting the needs of others through charitable giving.

Charitable Giving describes a sense of genuine compassion and reacting to it with charitable practices towards others.

In summary, a green lifestyle represents caring for the environment combined with positive thinking leading to ethical behavior and compassionate living. Ultimately, your deeds represent positive thoughts in action. The result can be a clean, safe environment and a better quality of life for yourself and others.

If you learned some green vocabulary, be sure to use it to make decisions and set priorities in your life. Think about adopting a greener lifestyle!

Bob Folkart is Vice-President of Live Life Organics, a company devoted to encouraging the living of a passionate life through environmental awareness. Live Life Organics has created a range of eco-friendly, organic cotton clothing from adults to babies. Every item of apparel displays positive inspirational messages promoting courage, hope and compassion and includes a plantable hang tag that recycles and grows into wild flowers. To view these organic products, go to: http://www.livelifeorganics.com.

BBC World News America


Masdar shopping for North American wind and solar projects …

Company executive today welcomed investment inquiries from project developers in the US and Canada.


Stunning Solar Roof Rises Over Perugia, Italy | Inhabitat

A Green Design Blog, Sustainable Design Blog, Future-forward design for the world you inhabit – your daily source for innovations in sustainable architecture and green design for the home.


GT Solar Signs More than $40 Million in New Contracts with GCL …

MERRIMACK, NH–(BUSINESS WIRE)– GT Solar International, Inc. (NASDAQ: SOLR), a global provider of specialized production equipment, process technology and turnkey manufacturing.


BP Solar Germany, Energiebau solar power sign three-year supply …

Your daily dose of Photovoltaic Technology Developments and Solar News.


Michigan Gov to Repower Detroit With Solar Roofs for as Low as …

She took their advice and budgeted $25 million for solar rebates. Now the local utility, DTE Energy, as part of the its compliance plan under the state Renewable Portfolio Standard – which requires that it buy more renewable energy each …

PostHeaderIcon MTV News Of MPSystem in Hungary


MTV News Of MPSystem in Hungary

USA – China – A G2 For Climate and Economy?

China appears to view global warming as an economic issue, Obama’s administration is primarily focused on the current economic crisis as well, but climate change is also a serious crisis and a threat to the world’s economic system itself with all its present and predicted impacts. Don’t these global problems require an integrated economic and environmental strategy? The hypothesized summit between Barack Obama and the Chinese president, Hu Jintao, could be an important step to accelerate urgent actions needed both to face the global economic downturn and to build a solid climate pact.

China, in its last 5-year plan, sets targets to reduce national energy intensity (energy used per unit of GDP) by 20% between 2006 and the end of 2010. According to Deborah Seligsohn, China Program Director on Climate, Energy and Pollution of the World Resources Institute, this target seems to be realizable given their latest remarkable record (-1.8% in 2006, -3.7% in 2007, and -4.2% in 2008.) Last month Hillary Clinton met experts from the Asia Society and the Pew Centre for Climate Change that together wrote a report that could help the creation of this US-Chinese partnership on climate change. But the good examples from China, although not directly referred to CO2 emissions, and Obama’s ambitious plan on energy and climate will need decisions from other 13 countries (or federations such as the EU), including Russia, India, Japan to get 80% of world’s emissions “under control”. Nowadays the other 173 countries account for about 20% of total CO2 emissions, but population increase and old development patterns could dangerously increase their “pollution share” in the future: every nation will be then required to cut the CO2, but large amount of money are needed to do so. Where will our leaders take Dollars, Yuan or Euros these days?

Next steps: -264 days to COP15:
Two events along the path to Copenhagen will take place in Bonn from March 29th to April 8th: the 7th session of the AWG-KP (Ad Hoc Working Group on Further Commitments for Annex 1Parties under the Kyoto Protocol) and 5th session of the AWG-LCA (Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action under the Convention). As we can read on the UNFCCC website “this is the first of three planned negotiating sessions before COP 15 in December” and can hopefully prepare a good ground for delegations and political leaders to decide upon.

Written by Luca Marazzi on behalf of Responding to Climate Change.

For further information on Climate Change please visit the Responding to Climate Change website – http://www.rtcc.org

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Luca_Marazzi

PostHeaderIcon The 3 R’s – Our Family’s Commitment to Do More


The 3 R’s – Our Family’s Commitment to Do More

So How You Do’ing? In the spirit of recycling, I thought I would use those famous words from Friends character Joey. I have shared with you in other articles ideas that my family are using to cut our carbon footprint on this precious Earth that we call home.

Reducing is always a challenge, because it goes in the face of our societal values of having more and doing more, but it is the highest form of recycling.

Re-using is something that has been natural for me through out my life. It may be challenging at times to creatively transform old household items into new uses, but this has become one of the staples of our family’s efforts to be more environmentally friendly…and save money.

Recycling has become the catch phrase for the 3 R’s, but is strictly speaking altering one thing into another. It is important that we recycle as much as we possibly can, because making consumables from recycled goods is always cheaper and better for the environment than making them from raw materials. But we should recognise too that recycling should only be used after we have reduced and re-used. For our children and their futures, we must use all the arsenal of tools embodied in the 3 R’s: reducing wherever we can, re-using everything that we possibly can, and recycling every item that our councils and recycling centres will accept.

Today I am wanted to look at those things that my family could do better:

1) Reducing excess packaging. I think this might be the most challenging to tackle; partly because a great deal of it is beyond our control. We are, I admit, large consumers of electronics (blame techie husband). Have you ever noticed how much packaging goes into one tiny piece of plastic? A memory stick that is one inch by two will most often come in a plastic (non-recyclable) package with a large cardboard inset and an information packet. I recognise that this is an anti-theft device, but aren’t there other alternatives? What about putting such items behind the counter? The other side of that is that the packaging contributes to the cost of that piece of plastic and metal. Of course, this is an issue that will require a concreted effort from consumer and most likely government intervention to address. What I can do for now is to choose to purchase my fruit and vegetables loose. I am also hoping this will cut down on both spending and waste by purchasing only what we need.

2) I am going to remember to use those little switches on the power plugs. As I mentioned, being American we do not have such things. It has been hard for me change a lifetime of habits. But with my husband’s help, I am going to use these magic little buttons more often.

3) We are going to replace all batteries with rechargeable ones. About half of our batteries are rechargeable; mostly the ones in our keyboards and mousse. But over the coming weeks, we will replace all batteries with rechargeable ones…since these are particularly toxic waste in our landfills.

4) I am going to use less water when washing dishes. I have this habit of running the water to rinse dishes as I go. The new plan is to wash everything and sit it on the counter until I am done. Then use the same pan to rinse the dishes in cold water.

5) I am going to have a spring clean out. I may be doing pretty well at re-using but I could help others to do better by donating all the stuff I am not using to Freecycle, the Islington Swap Xchange, or my local Mind shop. This will make my husband very happy as he has been complaining about my daughter’s toys for a while now.

So what can you do better? Remember though this is not about being perfect, but the little things that we can realistically do and continue to do. The things that may seem so small that you don’t think they will make a difference: things that if we all did would make a huge difference. I invite you all to share your list with me.

Terri O’Neale is the mother of six; ranging in age from 3 to 22. She has been both a working and stay-at-home mother at various times in her life. She was also a single mother for almost five years, before re-marrying the love of her life at the age of forty. Obviously, she has a life-time of training in raising a family on a tight budget. In addition to these real life experiences, she possesses a bachelors degree in health education and a minored in environmental management in her masters programme.

Terri feels strongly that this is one of the most challenging times in history for the family, but she also believes that families with the will and resolve to address the pressing issues of saving money, becoming greener, leading healthier lifestyles and spending more time with one another can endure these challenging times and come out victorious in the end.

Through Frugal Family articles, blogs, videos and social networking, she helps modern families rediscover some lost art forms such as cooking, sewing, and gardening. The goal is not to go back in time or become fanatical, but to help all families find simple and effective ways that fit into their lifestyle to make moderate changes with huge impacts. For more information, check out her blog http://frugalfam.wordpress.com/.


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PostHeaderIcon Water Efficiency – The Resource Matrix Part 2 of 4 – Water’s Role in Global Warming


Water Efficiency – The Resource Matrix Part 2 of 4 – Water’s Role in Global Warming

Last week, we introduced you to the Resource Matrix, which is everywhere, it is all around us. It is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth.

We showed you how economics leads to people maximizing their benefits in “win-lose” propositions: you want diamonds and gold for nothing and they want to give you useless junk for a king’s ransom. And how we’ve been hypnotized in believing what they want is also what we want.

But the scales have been falling from our eyes, we’re beginning to see the truth, and the power has been shifting away from the “I want your goodies for nothing” crowd:

  • Do-gooders have increased our awareness and worked to change deals from “win-lose” to “win-win”
  • There is no “free lunch:” finite energy resources will run out; actions have consequences, and the consequences of our actions are already visible, rather scary, and quite irreversible; and that the “I want your goodies for nothing” crowd hasn’t been telling the truth

We now realize we’re all in this together: we have greater awareness of our actions and the desire to change, and have ways to change.

Hallelujah and Praise the Collective!

Today, we introduce the resource called water, its parallels with fossil fuels, and its role in global warming.

None of this is to dismiss or diminish the contribution of fossil fuels in global warming. Hey, just like the Special Olympics, if you participate, you get a medal. We just think that gold-medal winner Fossil Fuels has stolen the spotlight, letting silver-medalist Water Use keep us hypnotized in believing that water is a free lunch, and that nature will clear up polluted waters while getting away with breaking the rules.

Water, water, everywhere,
not a drop to drink.

According to our friends at How Stuff Works, who I wrote about sarcastically for their oxymoronic clean coal article in discussing how true public relations stuff really works, gives us this data:

  • 98% of the planet’s water is in the oceans. It’s salt water – we can’t drink it or irrigate our crops with it.
  • 2% is usable. Of that 2%:
    • 80% is locked up in polar ice caps and glaciers
    • 18% is underground in aquifers and wells
    • 1.8% is in lakes and rivers
    • 0.2% is elsewhere: either floating in the air as clouds and water vapor, locked up in plants and animals (and your body), and in foods and beverages.

Okay, so 20% of the usable water (only 0.4% of all water on Earth) is accessible, right?

Well . . . no. Many of the aquifers, wells, lakes, and rivers have been sucked dry like a once-juicy fly carcass in a spider’s web. (The 18% and 1.8% you see above is like the money in the Social Security Fund: there actually is nothing there.)

And many of those water sources that do still have a drop to drink are worse than the ocean’s salt water. Drink salt water and you’ll need to yawn into a bucket. Drink this water and you’ll kick the bucket.

And I know you aren’t asking this burning question:

“So . . . global warming to release fresh water from ice caps and glaciers is a good thing, no?”

Percentage this, percentage that.
Talk my language, will you?

I know I’m pulling the disgusting old government trick: drowning you in an ocean of water statistics.

So let’s make it plain and simple:

You bring in $10,000 a month. You’re also living high on the hog and doing your personal best to outshine every bling-bling Hip Hopster Musical Artist in materially conspicuous consumption:

  • $9800 goes to the McMansion mortgage and gold-plated Rolls Royce lease
  • $160.00 goes to investments in clothing and accessories
  • $0.40 has been lost in the sofa cushions
  • $39.60 a month is for everything else: food, phone and electric bills, income taxes, and all the other non-essentials: Don’t spend it all in one place!

Aquifers and wells and lakes and rivers:
Dry or polluted, oh my!

Fred Pearce, author of When the Rivers Run Dry, helps us quickly understand it:

We can all save water in the home. But as laudable as it is to take a shower rather than a bath and turn off the faucet while brushing our teeth, we shouldn’t get hold of the idea that regular domestic water use is what is really emptying the world’s rivers. Manufacturing goods … consumes a certain amount, but that’s not the real story either. It is only when we add in the water needed to grow what we eat and drink that the numbers really begin to soar. (emphasis mine.) (Fred Pearce, When the Rivers Run Dry, Boston: Beacon Press, 2006. p 3)

Here are a few numbers he gives:

  • to grow a pound of rice: 250 to 650 gallons of water
  • to grow a pound of wheat: 130 gallons
  • to produce a quart of milk: 500 to 1000 gallons
  • to produce a pound of cheese: 650 gallons
  • to produce a 1/4 pound of burger: 3000 gallons

He kindly puts water use into perspective in annual terms:

  • 1 ton (265 gallons) for drinking
  • 50 to 100 tons (13,250 to 26,500 gallons) around the house
  • 1500 to 2000 tons (397,500 to 530,000 gallons) for food and clothing

—————————————–

sidebar:
How Many Gallons to Produce One Pound of Beef?
Lies, damned lies, and statistics

US Beef industry’s Cattlemen’s Association: 441 gallons
Fred Pearce: 12,000 gallons
Water Footprint Network: 1854 gallons (calculations: 15500 litres of water per kg; 4079 gallons per kg; 1854 gallons per pound)

In an industrial beef production system, it takes an average three years before the animal is slaughtered to produce about 200 kg of boneless beef.

The animal consumes nearly 1300 kg of grains (wheat, oats, barley, corn, dry peas, soybean meal and other small grains), 7200 kg of roughages (pasture, dry hay, silage and other roughages), 24 cubic meter of water for drinking and 7 cubic meter of water for servicing.

This means that to produce one kilogram of boneless beef, we use about 6.5 kg of grain, 36 kg of roughages, and 155 litres of water (only for drinking and servicing).

Producing the volume of feed requires about 15300 litres of water on average.

—————————————–

Where does all that water come from?
From virtually everywhere

If it comes from imported goods (Thai rice or Egyptian cotton), the water comes from those countries.

When the water is collected from rivers or pumped from underground, as it is in much of the world, it’s:

  • increasingly expensive
  • increasingly likely to deprive someone of water (nothing to drink)
  • increasingly likely to empty rivers and underground water reserves

And when the rivers are running low, as they are more frequently, there is less water to grow anything at all.

The water used in growing and producing goods around the world is known as “virtual water” and the trade of these goods is known as “virtual water transfers.”

And who’s the biggest water exporting Mouseketeer of them all? The United States.

When you drink coffee from Central America, you are influencing the hydrology of the region, virtually taking a share of the Costa Rican rains. The same is true within a national and regional boundaries. The Colorado River is drained so Californians can eat their Big Macs and have friends over for a Sunday afternoon barbecue.

In the same way that your use of fossil fuel is measured as a “carbon footprint,” your water use, actual and through virtual water transfer, is measured as a “water footprint.”

How big is my water footprint?
I’ll show you mine if you show me yours

Arjen Y. Hoekstra, professor at the University of Twente, the Netherlands, introduced the water-footprint concept in 2002. It “shows water use related to consumption within a nation, while the traditional indicator shows water use in relation to production within a nation.” (Hoekstra and Chapagain, Globalization of Water, Malden: Blackwell Publishing, 2008, p. 3)

With Hoekstra and Chapagain’s water footprint calculator (waterfootprint.org), you select your country, input food, domestic water use, and industrial goods consumption, press a button, and you get your:

  • total water footprint for the year
  • bar charts for the three components
  • bar charts for individual food categories

For example, you’re in the US, eat only 1 pound of cereal a week (.4545 kg) and have a low-fat, low-sugar diet, use a low-flow showerhead, use a no-flush eco-toilet, and never run the tap while brushing your teeth. Two extremes:

  • You’re the hippiest of the hip: making $10,000 a year: Your water footprint: 245 cubic meters (65,170 gallons)
  • You’re the hippiest of the Yuppies: making $120,000: Your water footprint: 2979 cubic meters (792,414 gallons). Difference due to your income’s effect on industrial production.

Three notes on the calculations, because Professor Hoekstra is European and lives in the social welfare country that started birthing hippies in Amsterdam decades before they showed up in the US at Woodstock:

  1. You input kilograms for food:
    • 1 kilogram = 2.2 pounds = 35.2 ounces
    • 1 ounce = 0.028 kilograms. 1 pound = 0.454545 kilograms
  2. Your water footprint is in cubic meters per year:
    • 1 cubic meter = 35.3 cubic feet = 266 gallons
  3. The higher your income, the greater your water footprint, even if you don’t personally consume anything: you’re a capitalist pig supporting the Establishment Regime, I guess

So how is Cinnamon’s capitalist water footprint? Answer: 650 cubic meters (172,900 gallons)

I showed you mine. Now you show me yours:

Get the naked truth: Calculate your waterfootprint now:

Water’s running out:
I get the fossil fuel analogy so far.
And what about climate change?

We return to Fred Pearce’s book to find an example, of which he has oceans:

China’s Yellow River: The fifth longest in the world, it begins high in the mountains of eastern Tibet and journeys more than 3000 miles. Almost half a billion people depend on it for drinking and crop irrigation, and it’s made China the world’s largest wheat producer and second largest corn producer. Yet more than half of the lakes it feeds have disappeared over the last 20 years, and a third of pastures have turned to desert. This desertification generates huge dust storms that choke lungs in Beijing, close schools in Koreas, dust cars in Japan, and rain dust on mountains across the Pacific and Western Canada.

State irrigation projects along the Yellow River soak up the majority of its water – the total official allocations are greater than the actual flow.

The resulting drought could be an early warning sign of global warming.

Much of the declines in moisture reaching rivers is in line with prediction of climate researchers. So how does this global warming happen?

Higher air temperatures from desertification increase evaporation from oceans and intensify the water cycle. This increases atmospheric water vapor – 8 to 10% more than today. This increases global rainfall, but the rain is being redistributed: middle latitudes (read: the US) are becoming drier. Higher temperatures increase evaporation on land, meaning soil dries out faster, meaning less rainfall is reaching rivers.

The higher temperatures melt glaciers and snowpacks. At first, this leads to unpredecented floods. After the glaciers disappear, meltwaters that feed rivers disappear. The combined decreasing rainfall and increasing evaporation will lower moisture by 40% in the southern and western states.

The Sierra Nevada snowpack could diminish by 70 to 80 percent over the next 50 years. And some of the world’s most productive agricultural regions could dry up.

Global climate is becoming more extreme: the dry areas become drier, and the wet areas become wetter. And more areas are becoming dry deserts. Loss of habitat and agricultural lands. It’s a vicious cycle.

So what can you do?
Navigating through the Resource Matrix

As Fred Pearce points out, your drinking and bathing account for 0.05% of your total water consumption. Your food and clothing weigh in at 95.00%, although I find his 12,000 gallons needed to produce a pound of burger rather wild.

As Professor Arjen Y. Joekstra shows with his Water Footprint Calculator, your consumption of meats accounts for a lot, as does your guilt by association of being in an industrialized country.

The obvious solution: eat fewer e-coli burgers from your neighborhood Salt and Fat Slop Bucket restaurant.

The wiser solution: like your choices in energy use, become more aware of the resources needed to produce anything and the consequences. Such as luxurious cotton grown in the Egyptian desert.

Next article in the water efficiency series:
How an illiterate, lice-infested, foul-mouthed
peasant on some other side of the globe affects you

We continue going with the flow of water, when we show the parallel between the current hot Oil Wars and in the future cold Water Wars.

And all of this is for one purpose:

To help you see the Resource Matrix, everywhere, all around you.

Thanks for letting us keep you updated . . .

To your green, brighter future,

Cinnamon Alvarez,
A19

And now I would like to offer you free access to powerful info on energy efficiency that’s easy to read and cuts through all this “green” information clutter — so you can literally start making positive changes today.

You can access it now by going to: http://www.a19.com/pub/articles/

From Cinnamon Alvarez: Founder, A19 — woman-owned green manufacturer of hand-made ceramic lighting fixtures

Green with Pure Water Technology


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