Archive for October, 2010

PostHeaderIcon Earth Day and Christians


Earth Day and Christians

Earth day is coming soon (4/22/09). This month we have Easter as well…so it got me thinking. How should Christians respond to Earth day?

First, I think we need to keep it all in perspective. Yes, we are to be good stewards of the planet. However, we are not to be earth “worshipers.” The earth is just another thing in our lives that God wants us to be a good steward with. Yes, it is important…However, Jesus Christ and His shed Blood is much more important. Saving souls should be above saving polar bears. You know what I mean?

So, do I think Christian’s should celebrate Earth Day?

Sure. Just make sure you have this whole eco, green planet stuff in perspective. Make sure that you are lined up with the Word and that God is your priority and His will. Do not let being green override sharing the Love of Christ and your true God-given purpose.

All that said, I thought it would be cool to add some fun stuff to do for earth day…

Earth Day Activities:

Plant a tree. This could be a fun family project.

Recycle. Take those cans you have been saving and turn them in.

Make the whole day green. Make eco choices all day long.

Clean up. Take your family to the park and clean up the junk left by others.

Make a point to add more green. Add at least one more green activity to your life.

Go on a nature walk. Enjoy the beautiful environment that God created for you.

Organic. Visit your local Ma and Pa farmer and shop for some earth friendly stuff.

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).

science-news,callin,opinion of Invasion Earth


Solar Power Supports Mongolian Villages | EarthTechling

Kyocera recently completed installation of two small scale solar power systems in remote Mongolian villages to provide a more stable source of clean energy.


Brian Keane: The Incredible Power of Solar

Walmart recently announced it’s adding thin-film solar panels to another two-dozen stores in Arizona and California.


Wireless Headphones Concept Uses Solar | EarthTechling

The wireless Hexound headphones concept is solar powered and features detachable speakers which could be used to entertain a small group of people.


NSS, India to Launch Space-Based Solar Power Initiative …

NSS PRESS RELEASE The National Space Society will hold a press conference Thursday, November 4 at the National Press Club to reveal one of the first.


GSK Claims Largest Rooftop Solar Array in North America …

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) Consumer Healthcare has started to install what it claims as North America’s largest rooftop solar array at its Northeast Regional Distribution Center (RDC) in York, Pa.

PostHeaderIcon 5 Easy Tips For Saving Money and Conserving Water


5 Easy Tips For Saving Money and Conserving Water

Everyone is looking for ways to save money and help conserve our natural resources. There are many methods that are easy to start in your own homes, but one very simple and obvious way to save is by reducing water consumption. Here are just a few easy water saving tips that you can begin doing today.

1.  Turn off running water in your sink or shower when you’re actually using the water. You can easily fill the sink with a enough water to wash your face, or fill a cup to brush your teeth. You may consider turning off the shower faucet while you’re washing your hair and then turn on again to rinse. Think about how much water is wasted. The same goes for dishes in the kitchen, turn off the water until you’re ready to rinse.

2.  There are low-water consumption toilets available that use only a couple of gallons of water each time they are flushed. If you have a standard toilet, one green living tip you may consider is placing a plastic bottle filled with sand into your toilet tank. This little trick helps the tank fill up faster and use less water.

3.  The laundry is another area where it is easy to waste water, and just as easy to save. Do your laundry in large loads rather than several smaller ones.

4. Limit your water waste outdoors. Don’t wash your car or driveway as often as you have been, and when you do, turn off the outside faucet until it’s time to rinse your car.

5. Look throughout your home, checking the faucets, toilets and pipes for any leaks. The very smallest of drips coming from a leaking pipe can eventually cost you a lot of money. Fix any leaks that you find.

If you are looking for simple ways to save the planet and save yourself money, start at home with these 5 easy steps. The planet and your wallet will thank you.

Learn more Green Living Tips and Ideas at http://greenlivingtipsandideas.com

LAUGH OR CRY TV


Solar Power Systems from Solar Sphere: sustainablog Approved …

Thinking about going solar? Check out our interview with Kriss Bergethon, owner of online solar power systems store Solar Sphere, for details you’ll need.


Brian Keane: The Incredible Power of Solar

Walmart recently announced it’s adding thin-film solar panels to another two-dozen stores in Arizona and California.


NASA Solar Shield – NASA works on solar shield to protect power …

NASA Solar Shield – We have gotten news that NASA is working on solar shields so that those can be used to offer protection to power grids that are in outer space. After all, solar storms are no small matter, being seen from…


VIDEO: Breaking Ground on the Massive Solar Thermal Farm …

Ivanpah is on! The massive 392-MW solar farm that is being built next to the Ivanpah Dry Lake, in San Bernardino County, Calif., is now officially under construction and will be the first of its kind to use BrightSource’s solar thermal …


California Approves 663.5 MW Solar Plant | EarthTechling

The California Energy Commission has given final sign off to the 663.5 MW capacity Calico Solar Project, adding yet more clean energy to its portfolio.

PostHeaderIcon 5 Easy Tips Conserving Water


5 Easy Tips Conserving Water

Everyone is looking for ways to save money and help conserve our natural resources. There are many methods that are easy to start in your own homes, but one very simple and obvious way to save is by reducing water consumption. Here are just a few easy water saving tips that you can begin doing today.

1.  Turn off running water in your sink or shower when you’re actually using the water. You can easily fill the sink with a enough water to wash your face, or fill a cup to brush your teeth. You may consider turning off the shower faucet while you’re washing your hair and then turn on again to rinse. Think about how much water is wasted. The same goes for dishes in the kitchen, turn off the water until you’re ready to rinse.

2.  There are low-water consumption toilets available that use only a couple of gallons of water each time they are flushed. If you have a standard toilet, one green living tip you may consider is placing a plastic bottle filled with sand into your toilet tank. This little trick helps the tank fill up faster and use less water.

3.  The laundry is another area where it is easy to waste water, and just as easy to save. Do your laundry in large loads rather than several smaller ones.

4. Limit your water waste outdoors. Don’t wash your car or driveway as often as you have been, and when you do, turn off the outside faucet until it’s time to rinse your car.

5. Look throughout your home, checking the faucets, toilets and pipes for any leaks. The very smallest of drips coming from a leaking pipe can eventually cost you a lot of money. Fix any leaks that you find.

If you are looking for simple ways to save the planet and save yourself money, start at home with these 5 easy steps. The planet and your wallet will thank you.

Learn more Green Living Tips and Ideas at http://greenlivingtipsandideas.com


US Government Approves World's Largest Solar Plant | Inhabitat …

The Blythe Solar Project, the world’s largest solar plant, has been approved by the US government.


Eco Tech â?? Solar Spark Lighter « Thoughts from The EcoMaker

The Solar Spark Lighter is a compact solar charged lighter that is great for Boating, Camping and Outdoor Survival. The disk of the Solar Spark is a.


Solar VPS Launches Unmanaged Linux VPS Brand VPSColo | WHIR Web …

Solar VPS Launches Unmanaged Linux VPS Brand VPSColo | The Web Host Industry Review – Web Hosting News.


Massive Lunar Solar Power Tower Beams Energy to Earth | Inhabitat …

The winner of the 2010 Moon Capital International Design Challenge has been announced as Bryna Anderson.


State's Largest Concentrating Solar Power Project Celebrates …

HONOLULU â?? A ground blessing ceremony was held today in Kalaeloa, O’ahu for the largest Micro-scaled Concentrating Solar Power (MicroCSP) project in the State of Hawai’i. The Kalaeloa Solar One project will produce 5 megawatts of …

PostHeaderIcon Copenhagen’s Spring – Scientists Ask For Higher CO2 Cuts


Copenhagen’s Spring – Scientists Ask For Higher CO2 Cuts

The International Scientific Congress on Climate Change was held in Copenhagen between 10th to 12th March and organised by the International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU): the conclusions will be published into a full synthesis report next June. Almost 1,600 scientific contributions of researchers from over 70 countries have been received, and more than 2,500 delegates attended the event.

Connie Hedegaard, Minister of Climate & Energy of Denmark said that we have “to avoid the unmanageable and manage the unavoidable” and she pointed to their example: this European country has become a net energy exporter in 30 years, creating a green growth as a stable solution of the 70s oil crisis. The messages of the congress are various. The risk that current trends of the climatic system will accelerate has a more defined and significant meaning: more probable abrupt and irreversible shifts, and we are already above the worst scenarios published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 2001. Thus the big problem is trying to at least slow down these trends if not reverse them. The experts tell us that fast regional and global mitigation strategies are needed and that the more we wait the more expensive and ambitious actions will have to be taken in the future. The fact that scientists have come to the point of saying that “Inaction is Inexcusable” means also that people who studied relentlessly for decades are frustrated by the inaction of governments, businesses and people: it is understandable given that their work has not been considered and used enough, if not at all, up to now. They are speaking louder and clearer now. The different roles of politicians and scientists have to be combined. It is time for leaders to rely firmly on science as a basis for tough and unavoidable decisions. A “societal transformation” is being asked for by a wide group of the most intelligent people on the planet including diffusion of sustainable behaviours, innovative leadership, removal of subsidies and reduction of “vested interests”. These are all very explicit messages to politicians and public alike: there is a lot of work to do between now and next December’s COP15.

In the final debate the Danish Prime Minister, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, summarised the six messages given by scientists as 6 keywords: Urgency (of the climate change challenge), Direction (long term target to be defined), Action (short term targets to be set), Fairness (to the poorest and most vulnerable), Opportunity (to originate large benefits), Governance (creation of a new global multilateral era). He stated firmly that “Business As Usual is dead” and asked his colleagues to follow Obama’s call for a Green New Deal, already asked for by public opinion and by many political parties in the world.

After the final debate with the panel of scientists an impatient Rasmussen asked for clear words on the CO2 emission target to be set in the new treaty. Prof. Daniel Kammen, Obama’s Senior Policy Advisor, stated that an entire new industrial revolution is needed to cut 1990’s CO2 emissions by 80% in 2050 and Prof. Stefan Rahmstorf agreed on this point. The feeling was that the other panelists didn’t mind… At this point the Prime Minister concluded that the ambition for COP15 can be this -80% long-term objective following the precautionary principle to avoid worse impacts (than the ones presented in 2007 IPCC report) already hypothesized by new works. Overall a more direct communication between scientists and policy makers took place in this huge meeting: now it’s time for delegations to study and prepare the ground for brave steps forward to be made by the international community in Copenhagen’s crucial Conference of the Parties #15. Will we be able to navigate better our “ship” in the solar system during the over 200 rotations it will make before then?

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

*Next event: Copenhagen, 24-26 May 2009. World Business Summit on Climate Change

Free Computers of Your Green Life Segment!


Thin-film solar system rate of return exceeds poly-Si for the …

With Germany’s feed-in-tariff (FIT) slash in the third quarter of 2010, and strong demand from other solar markets buoying upstream prices, the internal rate of return (IRR) of installing a crystalline silicon (c-Si) solar system has …


NASA's Solar Shield to mitigate damage to power grid from severe …

The solar storms that cause the stunning aurora borealis and aurora australis (or northern and southern polar lights) also have the potential to knock out telecommunications equipment and navigational systems and cause blackouts of …


Blythe Solar project in Riverside County gets federal approval …

A proposed solar plant that would be the largest in the world, doubling the amount of solar electricity the US can produce, got the go-ahead from federal regulators Monday to begin construction. The Blythe Solar Power Project, …


World's Largest Solar Park to be in South Africa? â?? CleanTechnica …

South Africa gets an astounding 1800 to 2200 kilowatt hours per square meter (kWh/sq m) of insolation (i.e. amount of â??solar radiation energy received on a given surface area in a given timeâ?). The best possible in sunny California, …


New solar thermal tower power plant being built that requires only …

Even newer solar thermal power plants concentrate the sun’s rays to heat water into high-pressure steam to drive a turbine. But with water not always readily available in locations suited to harnessing solar energy, such as deserts, …

PostHeaderIcon Google Vs Yahoo – Who’s Greener?


Google Vs Yahoo – Who’s Greener?

Silicon Valley is known for both innovation and hype. Recently, this pool of innovation has extended beyond bandwidth to the protection the environment. Google and Yahoo, the search engine giants, are both headquartered in the Valley and have been making headlines by greening their offices, reducing energy consumption, and carbon trading. The PR motivations are obvious, but are the green benefits really there? To set apart the hype from reality, we have analyzed the green value of both Google and Yahoo’s headquarter facilities.

We looked at the ecological services provided by green landscape features such as trees and open space (i.e. grass). Grass and trees are pervious surfaces, meaning they allow water to permeate into the ground. Roofs, sidewalks, patios, and asphalt parking lots are examples of impervious surfaces, where rainwater drains into the public storm drains. Heavy metals, oil, and other pollutants are carried off parking lots in rainwater, which often lead directly to open water habitats, where fish, birds, and reptiles live.

In terms of ecological services, trees and grass have been proven to:

1.      Remove and store carbon from the atmosphere,

2.      Remove certain airborne pollutants,

3.      Permits rainwater to seep into the ground as opposed to draining into the stormdrains, and

4.      Remove certain waterborne pollutants.

Here is a look at how green Google and Yahoo really are and how the measure up against each other.

Google Green Report
Google’s headquarters, the Googleplex, covers 44 acres, nearly 50% of which is grass or tree canopy. This is an impressive paved to open space ratio. The grass and trees on the Googleplex remove roughly 2 tons of carbon from the atmosphere per year, or 0.04 tons per year per acre. In addition, 530 lbs. of air pollution are removed per year (e.g., ozone, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, and particulate matter), or 12 lbs. per year per acre. It was assumed that the parking lot of the Googleplex is asphalt, and not a type of porous pavement, so the cost of managing rainfall runoff from the Googleplex is $4,474 per year, or $103 per year per acre. The abundance of grass and tree canopy on the Googleplex go a long way to offset the water quality impacts of the paved surfaces (mainly the parking lot). On average, the grass and trees reduce water pollution by 6%, as opposed to the entire property being paved.

Yahoo Green Report
The Yahoo headquarters, Yahooplex, covers 28 acres, a third of which is grass or tree canopy. This is a classic ratio of paved to open space for large office complexes in California. So far, par for the course. The Yahooplex removes 0.36 tons of carbon from the atmosphere per year, or 0.01 tons per year per acre. 114 lbs. of air pollutants are removed per year, or 4 lbs. per year per acre. In terms of rainfall, the cost associated with runoff is $9,219 per year, or $331 per year per acre. The grass and tree canopy help offset the paved areas with a 2.3% reduction in water pollution as opposed to the entire property being paved.

The final green analysis?

Google kicks Yahoo’s butt, largely due to the forethought, or luxury, of the Googleplex having 50% of its property surface providing green services. The good news for both Google and Yahoo is that over time, as trees grow, so will the tree’s canopy and mass, thus storing more carbon and removing more air pollutants.

Green next steps for both Google and Yahoo is to:
 

  1. Install porous parking surfaces, allowing up to 80% of rainwater to seep into the ground,
  2. Install green roofs, absorbing rainwater while reducing cooling costs and energy consumption, and
  3. Planting larger trees on the south and west sides of the buildings to reduce cooling costs and energy consumption.

While we crunched the hard numbers to settle the Google vs. Yahoo green debate, this report illuminates the great opportunity that awaits these two Silicon Valley giants to harness the ecological services of green surfaces.

Chris Erichsen is a GIS Mapping consultant with the Erichsen Group, GIS and Mapping in northern California. He has over 10 yrs of GIS experience and helps many industries around the world apply GIS mapping technology. Learn more examples of GIS mapping capabilities.

Solar Building Blocks


In New Jersey, a quiet solar revolution is underway – SmartPlanet

One hundred and thirty years ago, inventor Thomas Edison was granted a patent for the first electric lamp â?? the precursor to the modern light bu.


Worldchanging: Bright Green: Solar Round-Up: World's Largest Solar …

South Africa Unveils Plans for ‘World’s Biggest’ Solar Power Plant: Giant Mirrors and Solar Panels in Northern Cape Would Reduce Carbon Emissions and Generate One-Tenth of the Country’s Energy Needs …


Residential Solar Permits in Central California Way Up

Despite the recession and a huge drop in construction activity across the board, the number of solar panel permits for homes in a four-county area in California’s Central Valley more than doubled during the first half of 2010 compared …


World's largest solar energy project approved | Machines Like Us

Solar Trust of America, LLC today announced that its project development subsidiary, Solar Millennium, LLC, has secured a Record of Decision (ROD) from the Department of Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) approving the Blythe …


Ken Salazar's Quick Pen Signs Off Sixth Solar Farm in 25 Days …

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has become a favorite in the solar business lately, approving six solar farms in this month alone, including a 1000MW project (the world’s largest) in California. If it seems like he’s racing against the …

PostHeaderIcon Earth Day and Christians


Earth Day and Christians

Earth day is coming soon (4/22/09). This month we have Easter as well…so it got me thinking. How should Christians respond to Earth day?

First, I think we need to keep it all in perspective. Yes, we are to be good stewards of the planet. However, we are not to be earth “worshipers.” The earth is just another thing in our lives that God wants us to be a good steward with. Yes, it is important…However, Jesus Christ and His shed Blood is much more important. Saving souls should be above saving polar bears. You know what I mean?

So, do I think Christian’s should celebrate Earth Day?

Sure. Just make sure you have this whole eco, green planet stuff in perspective. Make sure that you are lined up with the Word and that God is your priority and His will. Do not let being green override sharing the Love of Christ and your true God-given purpose.

All that said, I thought it would be cool to add some fun stuff to do for earth day…

Earth Day Activities:

Plant a tree. This could be a fun family project.

Recycle. Take those cans you have been saving and turn them in.

Make the whole day green. Make eco choices all day long.

Clean up. Take your family to the park and clean up the junk left by others.

Make a point to add more green. Add at least one more green activity to your life.

Go on a nature walk. Enjoy the beautiful environment that God created for you.

Organic. Visit your local Ma and Pa farmer and shop for some earth friendly stuff.

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).


The A2Z Articles Directory | Flexible Solar Panels for Sale

You don’t have to beat yourself for being so forgetful or disoriented; relying on ad add-on gadget such as a flexible solar panel may be a worthy cause after all. We have the flexible solar panels for sale with the best deals in the …


New reports say American solar outlook is bright, but Germany …

Iris Kuo is the VentureBeat’s lead GreenBeat writer. She has reported for The Wall Street Journal in Hong Kong, Houston …


dashassecret: JA Solar Upgraded to Outperform – Analyst Blog

JA Solar is based at Ningjin in the Hebei province of the People’s Republic of China and manufactures high-performance solar cells. The company is a recent start-up entity, established in May 2005, which commenced manufacturing …


IEEE Spectrum: Portable Solar Power Plant Purifies Water, Makes …

The Hydra’s 3.65- by 2.74-meter polycrystalline silicon solar panel array, which Strizki says is 8 percent efficient, generates 2.88 kilowatts. According to Strizki, that is enough to do the following: power a 900-watt pump that draws …


The Solar Boom in California | zero hedge

There is a gold rush of a different kind going on in California, the solar variety. There is a stampede by 49 alternative energy projects, including nine solar ones, to get final approval from the California Energy Commission before …

PostHeaderIcon Common Policies For Common Good


Common Policies For Common Good

Concerns about dangerous climate change and large biodiversity loss are visible throughout the world: unprecedented rates of temperature increases and species extinctions are a reality. In 1999 Dr. Peter Raven, president of the International Botanical Congress, published a paper in which he states that “current extinction rate is now approaching 1,000 times the background rate and may climb to 10,000 times the background rate during the next century, if present trends continue. At this rate, one-third to two-thirds of all species of plants, animals, and other organisms would be lost during the second half of the 21st century, a loss that would easily equal those of past extinctions”. He then outlined seven “Points to Slow the Extinction of Plants”, including financial and capacity building instruments to help developing countries protect 80% of the world’s biodiversity they host. As far as climate change is concerned, the responsibility of developed countries is high in providing the most threatened regions in the world with good instruments to cope with this challenge (or at least examples of them to implement autonomously).

Climate change plays a significant role in this human-induced mass extinction because it is increasing the already large biodiversity losses caused by habitat destruction and fragmentation, water and air pollution, introduction of invasive species. Marine ecosystems will be affected by an increase in sea temperature, but also by ocean acidification, because of the higher concentration of dissolved carbon dioxide (carbonic acid): in fact this reduces the shell formation ability in many organisms. Polar (and mountain) ecosystems are particularly vulnerable to climate change, with effects such as thawing permafrost, decreased snow cover, losses from ice sheets and changes in ocean temperatures. Large impacts on Arctic biodiversity are already evident, pictures of polar bears wandering lost on small icebergs being a scary and sad symbol of the era we live in (even former U.S. President Bush, at the end of his mandate, recalled this image to show his fellow citizens he cared about climate change …)

In this rapidly changing environment it is therefore extremely important that conservation plans include adaption measures for ecosystems accordingly to the predicted regional climate patterns (but models need still to be improved a lot at this scale): dynamic approaches are needed to set good options for future ecosystems and landscapes. It will be necessary to facilitate the movement of species to new geographical locations, as they follow the shifting habitats.

The public concern is growing: in Africa last 28 February young people organized a march from impoverished urban areas to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro to raise awareness on climate change, together with the Kilimanjaro Initiative and the UN’s global UNite to Combat Climate Change campaign. It seems though that the global attention on climate change doesn’t fully consider implications for biodiversity yet: while the negotiations and speeches on climate issues are very popular (and the Nobel Prize was awarded to the entire IPCC together with Al Gore in 2007) the meetings and decisions of the Convention on Biological Diversity (http://www.cbd.int/) don’t raise comparable interest. Is it because the anthropocentrism is (still) the prevailing philosophy and animals and plants are mainly seen by people as beautiful “supporting actors” on the planet we live on? Right when we are losing control of the global situation it is probably time to reflect on our role of dominant species and acknowledge the fundamental contribution of other organisms to our livelihoods, despite many of us live in the so called Technosphere.

Policies to protect the climate avoiding irreversible effects on the ecosystems need to be strongly interconnected with conservation strategies: preserving natural areas while helping them adapt to the changing climate means hopefully to leave better, or not as compromised, ecosystems to future generations. Climate and biodiversity, though ever changing and evolving, are common goods and they need common policies: if we reduce the human Ecological Footprint both the atmosphere and the biosphere will be better off (and our children and grandchildren living in them).

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

The Ecological Footprint is a measure of human demand on the Earth’s ecosystems. It represents the amount of biologically productive land and sea area needed to regenerate the resources a human population consumes and to absorb and render harmless the corresponding waste. Using this assessment, it is possible to estimate how much of the Earth (or how many planet Earths) it would take to support humanity if everybody lived a given lifestyle. For 2005, humanity’s total ecological footprint was estimated at 1.3 planet Earths – in other words, humanity uses ecological services 1.3 times faster than Earths can renew them. See also: http://www.footprintnetwork.org/

Detroit Auto Show, WTOL News


Varian Looks to Enforce Moore's Law in Solar : Greentech Media

But Moore’s Law doesn’t really map to solar. Moore’s Law is about getting small. With solar, shrinkage doesn’t work. Shrinking a solar cell reduces the surface area that is exposed to the sun, which reduces the amount of power it can …


Connecting owners and renters of solar-friendly rooftops – Springwise

Solar power is not quite as straightforward in the United States as it is in many other countries, largely because there is no countrywide policy on solar encouragement. Nonetheless, rooftops and other sunny spaces remain a desirable …


Making cheaper solar cells – Physics Today News Picks

New York Times: A Massachusetts company, 1366 Technologies, has found a simpler and more economical way to produce solar panels. The current method of producing silicon wafers, the basic building block of solar cells, is to cast the …


Using Lasers and Solar Cells to Fight Cancer | Science Not Fiction …

Electronics | By bringing the field of photovoltaics into medicine, researchers hope to create a far more precise method of drug delivery for fighting cancer. That’s right: t.


Solar eclipse, from space! | Bad Astronomy | Discover Magazine

Astronomy | For their Picture of the Week last, uh, week, the Solar Dynamics Observatory crew chose a fantastically cool shot: the Moon cutting across the disk of the Sun!W.

PostHeaderIcon Takes Care of Two Things at Once: Composting Food Waste


Takes Care of Two Things at Once: Composting Food Waste

Years ago my dad taught me the benefits of composting food waste. It had nothing to do with any type of “green” movement or being environmentally friendly, no, it had everything to do with reintroducing nutrients back into the soil.

Here is what he taught me then and it still holds true today. By burying your food waste and kitchen scraps (no steak bones though), you are providing a quality food source for the creatures that live in your soil. From micro organisms and those creatures that the human eye can not see, up to worms, which of course we do see.

See, what happens is these creatures eat the food (and of course each other) and then finally the worms eat basically everything and their castings (worm poop) create the best nutrients your soil could ever have. By continually supplying your garden soil with food waste you are feeding the earthly creatures and they reward you with healthy soil. Now where can you get a trade off like that!

Ok so here is how you do it. Get yourself a fairly large Tupperware bowl. One large enough to hold at least a week’s worth of food scraps. Then after each meal dump everything and anything into that bowl. Just do not put steak bones in there, they wont biodegrade or be eaten by the worms. Banana peels, apple peels, coffee grinds, fish, vegetable scraps, egg shells and basically anything you don’t eat, all qualifies.

When your Tupperware bowl gets full, take it out to your garden and dig a hole about a foot to two feet deep and then dump the food scraps into the hole. Fill in the hole with the dirt and mark the spot with a stick or something else so that you do not dig up that area again for another three months. You need to give those little rascals some time to eat it all.

Now you simply repeat this process as the Tupperware bowl gets full. If you find that you live in colder climates where the ground may freeze for lengthy periods of time, then consider starting a warm box to recycle your food scraps. That goes beyond the scope of this article but I am sure if you Googled the search term “vermicompost” you will get all the information you will ever need.

So what are the two things I was talking about earlier? Well obviously the first is you are adding nutrients to your soil through composting food waste. The second is by composting your food waste you are limiting the amount of garbage that ends up in a landfill. The average four person house hold creates about 8 pounds of food waste per week. If every family in America followed this process we would eliminate nearly one billion pounds of food waste garbage a year. Now that is a lot of trash!

Do your part and compost your food waste. The worms in your garden will love you for it and so will everyone else in the environment.

About the Author
Bruce Tucker is a contributing writer to Mike’s How-To Blog, a blog that covers a wide variety of topics and how to do them. You can also follow him on Twitter.

Free Computers of Your Green Life Segment!

PostHeaderIcon An Environmental Tax to Reveal a Product’s True Cost?


An Environmental Tax to Reveal a Product’s True Cost?

Sometimes, simple acts such as going to the grocery store can turn into a moral dilemma. Is it better to choose the piece of organic fruit produced on the other side of the country or the non-organic version grown locally, 50 miles away? Are the benefits of chemical-free shampoo worth an extra 5 bucks a bottle? Will I really be able to enjoy a cheap chocolate bar knowing that the growers of the cocoa beans were likely not fairly compensated?

As much as I’d like to say that I always buy the product that is environmentally safe and sustainably produced, in reality, that’s not always the case. First, the sheer amount of information required to be able to distinguish between products is staggering. You need facts regarding environmental impact, transportation costs, and fair trade practices, to name just a few. And there are plenty of misinformation and greenwashing campaigns out there to steer you in the wrong direction.

Second, of course, there are times when the high cost of an ethically made product turns me off from buying it. Even consumers with the best of intentions have their breaking points.

The thing is, companies who go out of their way to implement sustainable practices endure a greater cost of production. Sure, they can sometimes capitalize on this by marketing to conscientious consumers who are willing to pay a bit more, but the fact remains that in today’s system, environmentally minded production is punished.

On the other hand, companies who move their factories (and jobs) to developing countries with lax environmental standards and cheap labor are able to make products at a fraction of the cost and undercut their competitors (while shipping materials and finished goods all around the world and adding to our greenhouse gas problems).

The way it’s set up, high environmental standards in one country drive companies to relocate in places where it’s permissible to pollute in order to compete in the marketplace. Chaco, the Colorado-based athletic sandal company, is a prime example of even a well-intentioned company being forced to follow suit to maintain competitive pricing on their products. In fact, 95% of all footwear in the world is produced in China, whose poor environmental regulation and sometimes dangerous environmental problems are well known.

With current talk about cap and trade emissions programs, this phenomenon may only get worse.

So how do we even the playing field and reward companies for good business practices?

When I think about this problem, I keep coming back to an idea I encountered in a casual conversation with a stranger while traveling. I can’t remember his face or his name, but his idea has stuck with me and festered in my mind for the better part of a year. His take was that putting the financial burden of environmental responsibility on the companies just doesn’t make sense for the reasons I’ve given above. In a global marketplace, it renders companies less competitive than those that operate free of environmental and labor regulations.

Wouldn’t it make more sense to put an “environmental impact” or “ecological footprint” tax on the product itself?

Ugh, a tax?

Initially, I didn’t warm to the idea either. But think about it: adding a tax proportionate to a product’s ecological and social footprint eliminates the cost advantage of irresponsible production. All those environmental costs that are currently not included in our economic system would be factored in and would increase the price of unsustainably made products.

This, in turn, would make moral dilemmas at the grocery store much easier. Is it more sustainable to buy distant, organic produce or local, non-organic produce? The tax-adjusted pricing should inform my decision. Can I afford the chemical-free shampoo? Yes, because the price of its chemical-laden competitors would be raised through the environmental impact tax and eliminate the cost advantage of choosing that product.

The money raised from the tax could fund its implementation and other sustainable programs such as public transportation (high speed rail, anyone?) and alternative energy. Perhaps it could even make a dent in our gaping budget deficit.

Won’t this cost me money?

You may be thinking, “Sure, that’s a good idea in concept, but that will raise my bills – grocery, clothes, everything.” Well, yes, that’s true. But maybe if we see the true cost of the products we casually consume, we can make a more informed decision about what is really necessary to our lives.

Additionally, programs such as this often have the greatest impact on the poor. But this could be compensated for by using some of the tax revenue for need-based assistance programs.

Regardless, running an economic system on the assumption of infinite resources is fundamentally flawed. Currently, environmental impacts such as air pollution, water pollution, and deforestation are not factored into the cost of a product: they are considered “externalities.”

These costs need to be included in the system in a way that does not punish those who engage in sustainable business practices. By taxing a product’s environmental impact, it levels the playing field for the consumer.

Disclaimer

Of course, I am not an economist or policy guru. I don’t know how to implement such a tax or if it would even be possible (though compared to creating a carbon trading market, perhaps it’s not that difficult). This is only the musing of a concerned, intelligent citizen trying to brainstorm ways to make our economic system fit within the bounds of our ecological constraints.

What do you think? Would such a tax have a beneficial effect on our production system? Join the conversation over at our website!

Jill Mueller is a conservation biologist, avid cyclist, and freelance writer. She has combined forces with a good friend and dietitian to start The Barefoot Badger, a blog promoting healthy, sustainable living. Check us out!

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PostHeaderIcon How Can We Cope?


How Can We Cope?

The world has some decisions about sources for future energy. The increase in population and increasing demand present a problem. The cost of conventional non-renewable energy sources is on the rise. Oil, gas, water, coal, and other natural resources have a limit to their supply.

Gas, Oil and petroleum products are more expensive than ever, and the supply is running thin. Many may think that the planet may never run out of these however it seems that drilling these supplies is becoming ever more difficult. There have been three major energy crises thus far.

Due to the shortage of resources and decreased output, the cost of these energy sources has increased rapidly over the years.

How long will it take before all of these resources are exhausted? The truth is that we really do not know. Experts say that 50% of the world’s supply of available oil has been exhausted. Every day the demand is increasing and it could take mere decades to exhaust the supply of crude petroleum.

What could possibly be done about this situation? How can we as a society cope with the energy crisis at hand? What can we consumers do about this? We can all start by understanding the importance and impact that energy has in our lives. These supplies of energy should not be taken for granted. Additionally we should avoid wasting energy.

There are simple things that we could do to conserve such as getting involved with a car pool, check our car tires for proper inflation, and using fuel efficient vehicles. If we can cut down on our use of fuel and oil in everyday activities we can be further prepared for the impending energy crisis.

Another way that we can cope with the energy situation is by utilizing renewable energy sources. Solar and wind power systems are becoming ever more available. These power solutions are feasible, cost effective and environmentally friendly. In addition, you save on your power bill and help contribute towards a better future for our world.

Make power at home with solar and wind energy to eliminate your power bill. Get our complete guide at EnergySolutionsDIY.com.


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