Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Does It Matter

I have no idea who these climate scientists are that are allegedly misrepresenting data; nor do I know the individuals trying to hang them.

This I do know. It is our duty as human beings to respect the world we live in so that those that follow in our footsteps can have at least the same experiences that we have enjoyed (possibly better).

It is our responsibility as beings of cognition (able to think and discern) to live in a manner conducive to life on earth be it land, sea or air.

We know that over hundreds of millions of years life has evolved. Some plants and animals have died because of climate changes caused by natural disasters time and time again.

We also know that some have transformed themselves and adapted over time; adjusting their lifestyles to the living conditions in which they found themselves; they've adapted.

I don't believe we can continue to live the way we have, full steam ahead, burning fossil fuels and obscuring the view of the sunrise and polluting the water. We can't continually drill further and further off shore; deeper and deeper just to satisfy the worlds thirst for oil.

We cannot keep pumping water from the worlds fresh water aquifer's and think we will always have fresh water. Like oil wells; water wells are being drilled deeper and deeper to access water around the world.

There are a couple things that come into play when I read stuff like this from the extreme right:

#1) These people are scared to death of what they are unfamiliar with.

#2) There are trillions of dollars at stake in the fossil fuel industry. They will do or say anything to keep people from right thinking.

#3) There are those that have read the Bible and misinterpreted the statement in Geneses that we are "stewards of the Earth". They think that the world is here for us.

They do not realize that we created the world and therefor are responsible for its condition and the condition with which we hand it to our posterior. We are not alone here; there are many animals and plants that depend on our ability to create, preserve and enjoy. There are those to come which depend on us to preserve enough of the earth for them to enjoy.

I shall stand aside and let the media, once again, make fools of themselves.
Right thinking is the only thing that will get us out of this mess.
Running scared or doing nothing won't help!
As stewards of the Earth it is our responsibility to do what we can to help make and keep the world a cleaner place for all to enjoy.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Problems with Coal-Based Electricity Generation

The Big Stone II Coal Fired Power Plant Project met it's demise this week in NE South Dakota. On the one hand I 'm not sorry to see it shot down. On the other in the process of building another Power plant they were supposed to clean up the plant already on line.
Ottertail Power Company announced that they would abandoned the project this week.

The following is a blurp on coal from another site.

Courtesy of,

Beyond the environmental problems with coal mining, burning coal to generate electricity is notoriously dirty. While great improvements have been made over the years in air-pollution-control technologies for coal plants, many old, fume-belching plants remain online. Despite industry proclamations of the wonders of "clean coal" technology—coal-gasification combined cycle (CGCC) power plants are indeed a quantum leap from plants with even state-of-the-art emissions scrubbers—almost none of the coal plants currently under construction or on the drawing boards around the world are this super-clean type.

Even if you give the coal industry and its political allies the benefit of the doubt and assume a wholesale move to clean coal-burning technology, that would still leave the intractable issue of the pollution and environmental damage caused by coal mining. There are no easy solutions for that problem, and increasing the demand for coal will also increase the environmental problems associated with coal mining.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Trading in Dinosaur Power On A Better Model.

I thought this Series of articles worth presenting to the readers of this blog. I will post one. everyday for the next few days.

Courtesy of

Thanks Guys,

Peak Oil Solutions — Real Energy Solutions for
Declining Energy Supplies

In our article Peak Oil and Environment, we outlined how non-conventional oil, biofuels, coal, and nuclear energy are peak oil solutions that have both inherent limitations and an environmental dark side. To that list, we added methane hydrates, biofuels from animal fat and offal, and hydrogen. None of these are technologies that we feel can provide a real solution to the problem of peak oil—or at least can do so in the long term without causing environmental problems that are just as bad as the peak oil problem.

No doubt our future will include some energy from all of those sources, and hopefully any chaos resulting from a liquid-fuels crisis will not be so bad that the public abandons its desire for clean air, pure water, and unpolluted land—i.e. that there won't be an energy disruption so bad that they tell their elected officials, "give me energy, no matter what the environmental cost."

This is Part 2 of a three-part series. Article 3 is coming soon. Why not sign up for the free GP email service so you don't miss it.

If you need a primer on peak oil, please see our Peak Oil FAQ or this Peak Oil article.

But if the "old guard" of energy technologies—coal, oil, gas, nuclear—are unsuitable for solving the coming liquid-fuels crisis because of supply limitations or because of unacceptable environmental consequences or other risks; and if the "new dog" technologies like ethanol, biodiesel, and hydrogen fuel cells are found to be lacking for various reasons, what would real energy solutions look like? Today, we offer our ideas for peak oil solutions, with a focus on energy technologies that have a real chance of long-term sustainability

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Boating & the Environment

Boating is, arguably, one of the most environmentally sensitive past times we encounter. It is a very tough subject to address but it is being addressed, nevertheless, by companies, bureaucracies and individuals every year.

Florida's Department of Environmental Protection has recognized Boat marina's in their state for a few years now.The reward is based on educational venues used by each marina effort put forth to educate new boat owners on procedure to keep boating safe for the environment as well as fun for the whole family.

Caribee Boat Sales (this years winner)hands out flyers as well as distributing DVD's to their potential customers on tips to keep boating safe for the environment as well as giving personal instruction to all customers purchasing boats from them.

It is good to see that keeping the coastlines and reefs clean has not escaped the marina's as they pursue a livelihood so closely intertwined with the environment.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

How Does Gas Win An Environmental Debate

Well today in Washington the Senate was debating environmental legislation that will put natural gas in the forefront on generating enough electricity to curb a demand for electricity that has run rampant in recent years.
Coal is to dirty and wind and solar are not dependable enough according to their line of thinking.
There is no doubt coal is dirty as anyone can see simply by looking at a coal miner at the end of the day. At the same time companies are ramping production on photo voltaic cells that are more stream lined as well as more efficient. They should be more cost effective as well. Ampulse Corporation, Golden CO. has raised $8 million along with various partners to step up production of PV products.

“Ampulse has assembled a strong management team along with key strategic partnerships with two renowned laboratories to develop a low-cost, high efficiency, c-Si thin-film PV solution for the residential, commercial, and utility-scale solar markets,” said Daniel Leff.

Wind is well positioned in the market place simply because development has momentum and oil is beginning to be so volatile because of supplies needed in countries like China and India. The shear number of cars alone added to just one of these countries is scary indeed. China's demand for oil alone is to exceed a jump of 150% by 2020.

In any event, the Republicans, today, were clearly trying to either obstruct or derail any progress on environmental policy as the Senate struggles to put rose colored glasses on the rest of the world.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Busy Summer

I've been away for a time. I travel all over NE, KS & SD working for an engineering company. Summers are very busy between trying to keep up with work, get home some and creating family time.
I will again make a valid effort to keep this blog up to date with pertinent information we can all use to better our lives and the lives of those around us.
Each and every person we come in contact with on a daily basis is affected by our outlook on life and our response to them as individuals and members of society.
I will use this time to try to catch all of us up on issues that matter to us that can see far enough into the future to realize, like it or not,we will leave a legacy for our posterior to deal with.
What will that legacy entail? Will we as a Collective Nation be able to bite the bullet making the hard decisions that will leave our Home (Earth) a better place for our grandchildren? Like it or not; the good old US of A is a leader in the cause against global warming. After all, we have been the ones that have benefited the most from the build-up of Greenhouse gases.
China claims that we (USA) should contribute more because of what we have gained in the past. They may be right. Look for information coming out of the Copenhagen Climate Summit in the second week in December, 2009. It will be interesting to see how this shakes out. What roll will the USA take in this Summit? What roll will they be willing to take on a global scale to curb the rampant expansion of greenhouse gases world wide.

We are the beneficiaries of a great deal. Much of which has caused the problems we are faced with today.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

It's Not To Late For Some Winter Camping

Camping in winters has its own thrill and adventure. For some it is snow camping but actually it is beyond that. It a feeling of chill and mist in the chilly weather. At this time the winter camping is enjoyable and exciting, especially if you are an avid camper or hikers. Oh yes! You should be fully prepared once you plan your winter camping.

Winter camping can be dangerous unless you make proper preparation. Winter campers take layers of good fabric that keeps them warm and helps in maintaining temperature. Big no for cotton stuff. Use the stuff which does not soak humidity. Sleeping bag is also one of the good options. And make sure you have ample food material.

Carrying cook stoves, lanterns depend upon you. All things should be proper planned. Once planning, campers need to check the weather reports. Keep yourself updated with the complete forecast for the day. It is generally better to go in groups and mentions your friend or family back home about the route. At times taking a knowledgeable guide for trip is also good and helpful.

With winter camping comes number of an activities including camping in snowy areas, mountain climbing, skating, horsing around the snow. And don’t forget the pleasure of making master structures with snow. Though winter camping involves less travel unlike summers, but it gives a feeling of coziness around the fire places. The enjoyment and scenic beauty of nature is marvelous as very few people think about outing in winters. So the entire pleasure of winter camping is enjoyed by avid campers. The clear plants, undisturbed nature gives a feeling of peace and satisfaction

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Responsible Camping - Sustainable Camping

We campers are recognizing the significance of an unspoiled environment as a precondition for our activity. We know, that clean and fresh nature is essential for an enjoyable camping - it is the place where we spend our free time, relax with our friends and collect strength for our coming duties.
When camping we are placing a burden on the environment but responsible camping does not endanger the environment. Responsible camping will allow us to enjoy the environment without taking this privilege out from future generations. Showing our responsibility means that we have to adopt to our camping activity only sustainable operating models.

When our goal is to adapt camping to meet the requirements of environmental protection and to steer our activity in a direction which protects the nature and the environment, we can talk about sustainable camping.
Developing sustainable camping requires cooperation between us campers, authorities, campsite owners and also local population. However, we campers, we play a central role in adopting environmentally friendly practices. Whether or not sustainable measures are carried out depends more than anything else on us ourselves.

The following is a brief summary of the basics of sustainable camping:

* In campsite planning environmental viewpoints should be taken into consideration from the beginning.

* When determining the campsite location alternatives which place the least possible burden on the environment should be studied.

* Local traditions should be taken into account in construction. Architecture should be in harmony with the environment and landscape. Construction materials and technical solutions should be environmentally friendly.

* Attention should be paid to preserve traditional landscapes and the diversity of nature. Asphalted surfaces should be avoided and space should be saved for plants.

* Traffic noise and other problems caused by traffic should be reduced as much as possible.

* Campsite operators and users should make use of local products and services as far as possible.

* Campsite operators and users should act in every aspect in accordance with the principles of sustainable camping.

* Sustainable camping includes the use of public transport as far as possible.

* Hiking and biking are examples of environmentally friendly exercise.

* In nature we campers should stick to trails. Nature programs should be designed so that they use existing trails and routes. The goal of guided nature trips should be to improve our knowledge of the environment and awareness of the nature.

* We should regulate our water consumption as well as the use of lighting and heating energy. Use of electric hand dryers etc. should be avoided.

* Use of environmentally harmful products as disposable plates, mug, toilet articles, etc. should be avoided. Also we should avoid of use of canned drinks and drinks in plastic bottles in favor of glass bottles.

* Also we campers should take care of sorting the waste. Lubricants and other problem waste should be sent to enterprises qualified to dispose of them. Organic waste should became composted and all waste should be removed from the nature.

By:Lars Dahlberg
President of the F.I.C.C

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Diffusing Oils For Healthy Living

One of the most common things that are needed for aromatherapy is a diffuser. This is an accessory that is used to diffuse essential oils that are primarily consumed in an aromatherapy session. Today, there are so many kinds of aromatherapy diffusers available on the market. They come in various shapes, sizes, colors, styles, and types of materials.

However, not all diffusers are surefire hits in terms of safety. The following are just some of the most commonly used aromatherapy diffuses out there with their advantages and disadvantages.

1.Candle Diffusers.

These are considered as one of the cheapest and most convenient to use aromatherapy diffusers out there. It comes with a candle and a small plate where the essential oil should be placed. It comes in various sizes and colors.

- Advantages:

They are cheap. They come in many styles to choose from. They are available almost everywhere in health stores and aromatherapy shops. They do not consume electricity. You don't need to spend money to buy batteries.

- Disadvantages:

Utmost care is needed when using it because it can easily cause a fire. You need lots of replacement candles on hand to ensure sustainability. Candle diffusers can destroy the therapeutic properties of the essential oil especially when not used properly.

2. Fan Diffusers.

This is basically a small fan used to blow the essential oil into the air with the help of a pad or tray that is disposable. They come in different shapes, sizes, designs, and styles.

- Advantages:

You can choose from a wide range of styles and different brands. It is effective in diffusing the aroma of essential oils into large areas.

- Disadvantages:

They require large amounts of electricity. You need to replace pads very often. They are too noisy especially if it has accumulated lots of dust.

3. Electric Heat Diffusers.

This is quite similar to fan diffusers only it comes in a more convenient package.

- Advantages:

This is effective in diffusing fragrance in larger rooms. It can efficiently diffuse the aroma even of those hard to diffuse essential oils such as patchouli or sandalwood.

- Disadvantages:

You may not achieve the therapeutic benefits of the essential oil because heat can destroy some of its properties.

4. Clay Pot Diffusers.

They are made of terracotta and come in various. It comes with a cork and an opening for the essential oils.

- Advantages:

These are cheap. They are environmentally friendly. They are easy to use. You don't need electricity or batteries to operate them.

- Disadvantages:

The aroma is short lived. It can easily break if used too often.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Global Farming

Many farmers who traditionally grew pulses and millet and paddy have been lured by seed companies to buy hybrid cotton seeds and other GM crops, which were supposed to make their lives easier and wealthier. Instead they faced bankruptcy and ruin.

Their native seeds have been displaced with new hybrids which cannot be saved and need to be purchased every year at a high cost. Hybrids are also very vulnerable to pest attacks. All pesticides have to be bought from the company that sold them the seeds; there have been reports of blatant profiteering from these companies.

It is experiences such as these which tell me that we are so wrong to be smug about the new global economy. It is time to stop and think about the impact of globalization on the lives of ordinary people. This is vital if we want to achieve sustainability.

We are repeatedly told that without genetic engineering and globalization of agriculture the world will starve, it is constantly promoted as the only alternative available for feeding the hungry.

Everywhere, food production is becoming a negative economy, with farmers spending more buying costly inputs for industrial production than the price they receive for their produce. The consequence is rising debts and epidemics of suicides in both rich and poor countries. Cows in the European Union receive on average $2 per day in subsidies. Over 1 billion people live in the world on less than $1 dollar a day.

Farmers in the Third World are encouraged by the IMF and the World Bank to produce cash crops for export. There are usually commodities that can be easily bought and sold on the World Markets. With fluctuating world prices, Fair trade is what can drag farmers and communities out of poverty. In some African countries it is cheaper to buy American sugar and coffee than it is to buy locally produced goods. This is because of over production and subsidies in the West which means that they then dump these goods on Africa destroying local markets.

When patents are granted to companies for seeds and plants, as in the case of basmati, saving and sharing seed is defined as theft of intellectual property. Corporations which have broad patents on crops such as cotton, soy bean and mustard are suing farmers for seed-saving and hiring detective agencies to find out if farmers have saved seed or shared it with neighbors.

As Gandhi reminded us, "The Earth has enough for everyone's needs, but not for some people's greed."

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Detox; The Natural Way

Ayurvedic herbs have long been used for detoxification and cleansing. They were used in ancient India but increasingly, they are becoming more popular as more people discover about their healing properties. For detoxification, there are certain Ayurvedic herbs that aid in liver cleansing. These herbs can be easily added to your detox diet.

The liver is an important organ where your body wastes are eliminated. These body wastes then turn into bile which comprises of metabolic waste and other toxins that are filtered out from the liver. The bile then goes to the gallbladder and to the intestines where fats are broken down. It also becomes a lubricating agent that prepares the body for bowel movement.

Ayurvedic herbs such as Triphala and Curcumin can help to jumpstart the production of bile. Curcumin is an active compound for bile production. Being an antioxidant, it doubles up the normal production of the bile, thus results to a more efficient bowel movement and excretion of body waste. You should expect that as dietary toxins are eliminated in a more frequent manner, you would become healthier.

Triphala is also used as treatment for gastrointestinal conditions and improves digestion. It increases bile excretion and keeps cholesterol at a normal level. It is also a potent antioxidant that fights free radical.

For thorough cleansing, an individualized detoxification regime involving Ayurvedic herbs can take as long as 45 days. You should however not fast or skip on your liquid diets as this may create an imbalance. Instead, you would need to avoid foods that may clog up your waste channels. Such foods are usually very hard to digest and add to your constipation problems. These include frozen, packed, canned and processed foods.

Ayurvedic herbs work best when added to fresh foods that promotes digestion. Examples of such foods are organic vegetables and fruits, soups and flat breads. To prepare for a detox diet that uses Ayurvedic herbs, you should first go on normal meals that include leafy green vegetables like Brussels sprouts and cabbage. Light grains are also recommended like barley, quinoa and small servings of rice. You also need to drink plenty of warm water to flush out toxins through the process of urination.

If you intend to adopt a detox diet, consider including Ayurvedic herbs. They can help in the removal of toxic waste from your body and can greatly improve your health and enhance your energy levels.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Bicycling Benefits Are Legion

Bicycles have been around for a very long time. In fact, bicycles have been around for so long that it is a very common tradition, especially in the United States of America, that one of the first thing that a young child is taught along with his or hers ABC's and 123s is how to ride a bicycle.

As we get older, most people often lose interest in cycling. The thought of riding a bike becomes mere nostalgia of times when we were younger. However, if you stop to think about it, there are many benefits to riding a bicycle.

Health Benefits

The health benefits of riding a bicycle are tremendous. A daily or weekly regular exercise regime is hard to maintain because the lifestyles that we may have. Most of us have at least one full time job and many have families to take care of and spend time with in addition to secular work. Because we all have these type of mundane tasks, this makes it harder and harder to keep up with a regular exercise schedule.

Now, if you were to travel via bicycle, this can double as exercise. Depending on how fast you go, you may be able to get a great cardio aerobic workout. If you cycle uphill and off-road, you may also be able to squeeze in some fitness training and strengthen your leg muscles.

Riding a bicycle in lieu of an automobile sometimes can afford you the time to get a work out. If you can set aside some time to cycle strictly for exercise, that can prove to be even more beneficial.

Financial Benefits

There are also financial benefits to riding bicycles. In this day and age, gas prices are on the rise and they continue to be priced higher and higher seemingly every single week. Some times the price of gas can be so financially taxing to people who are on a budget, that they have no other choice but to seek a cheaper alternative. Well, one great alternative is cycling.

Regular, manual bicycles require absolutely no gas at all. All that is required is a little bit of leg muscle and elbow grease. If you live near your workplace or school, why not travel the gas-free way and cycle to your destination?

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Ways To Live Green; Simply!

Where can you start? At home as always.

* Change your light globes, re-cyle everything you bring into your home - compost, recycle services, free-cycle networks, charity stores. Reduce the amount of waste you produce and take responsibility for it's disposal.
* Look to your consumption patterns and habits - you can cut your energy consumption by turning off lights and appliances that you are not using right now, by walking to your friends house, by riding your bike to school, by doing more than one thing when you take the car out, by car sharing or pooling, by using public transport even once a week.
* You can create a healthier you by changing your eating habits - eat at home more often, grow some of your own food, even herbs on a window ledge have health and climate change benefits. Cut down your consumption of meat - up to 25% of your carbon emissions are coming from meat consumption. That is an enormous amount - try one vegetarian dish every week and see if you discover a new family favourite. I bet by the end of the year you can halve your meat consumption and not even miss it.
* Share what you are learning with people you know. If you found something that is great for your family or for you personally, share it with someone you love. You would do that if you found a great deal on shoes somewhere right? It's only natural to share good ideas, great recipes, fun activities and so this part of the process will be even easier.
* There are so many more things you can do. REDUCE, Re-Use and Re-cyle are the words you can use to remind yourself of your new commitment to life on earth. REDUCE is the most important component. We all just want to be happy and healthy, we can do that without consuming all the 'stuff' we currently consume - take a look at your life, your family, your community and see what consumption patterns you can reduce while at the same time increasing your levels of happiness and health.

What a challenge, what a reward. Climate change could be just the opportunity we need to re-envision our whole lives and the way we live them. Now I'm feeling grateful to climate change, go figure.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Junk Yards; The Ultimate Recyclers

Most people don't think about a junk removal business until they need one, if you have something that's so large that your local garbage men won't take it, if you've recently moved and need to dispose of some large things quickly or if you are in need of cleaning out a cluttered estate then a junk removal service becomes something that you may need.

Junk and scrap collectors have been around as long as scrap metals and the like have been a commodity that can be exchanged for cash. Most of them collecting empty cans and bottles, scrap copper or aluminum to make a few bucks, but the idea of franchising a junk removal service or opening a sustainable business with junk removal at the forefront of the profits is actually pretty new.

For about the last two decades companies like 1-800-Got-Junk have taken the business of junk removal to new levels, creating a necessary niche and providing a service that can help both the people who have the junk to get rid of it, and the community around them by recycling or donating the materials collected.

How it Works
Virtually anything you have that you need to get rid of, with the exception of hazardous materials can be picked and hauled away, many junk removal service businesses even offer same day pick ups in the event that you need to get rid of something quickly.

Old furniture, appliances, construction waste and old electronic equipment can all be hauled away with a simple phone call. Many junk removal businesses have close relationships with charitable organizations and recycling centers so you can feel confident that much of the material that is getting hauled away will either go to help people in need or will get recycled if possible rather than getting put in a land fill. This gives the homeowner precious space that was being taken up by things that were going unused, provides lucrative jobs to those who work for the junk removal companies and aids in the preservation of the environment by sending much less material into dumps and landfills.

Some people are pack rats that can never let anything go, with attics, garages and basements loaded to the gills with things that will never get used. Others hold onto random items in hopes of having stock for future flea market trips, online auctions or yard sales but there are some things that just aren't able to be sold. For the run down refrigerators, broken bathtubs and construction scraps there are the trucks with the able bodied employees of the junk removal businesses

Junk removal has gone from a part time hobby to a big time business; some larger companies have dozens of trucks on the road every single day of the week. There are franchises nationwide, each with a small fleet of box trucks and a few dozen strong employees who are willing to load and haul whatever junk you happen to have, provided that in isn't dangerous or hazardous.

In the past twenty years the business of junk removal has grown substantially, and as long as people get improvements done to their homes, upgrade their appliances or downsize to a smaller living arrangement the business will continue to grow. Paying the small fee for the removal is well worth it to most people to just be rid of the items that they would otherwise be forced to hold onto or to haul away themselves. Paying the one time cost for removing all of the junk that you don't need and don't use will clear up valuable space in your home and free you from potentially have to put some of your things into a storage unit and by using a reputable junk removal service, you'll be able to be confident in the fact that whatever you are getting rid of will either be donated to someone who needs it or recycled, so you won't be contributing to the overflow occurring in the landfills.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Green Living Tips

Do you care about the environment and your health, but want to be stylish with your home décor at the same time? Luckily, there are plenty of green living options that can be implemented in your home in order to create a great look while remaining eco-friendly.

Making Sustainable Choices

Making sustainable choices are an important component of green living. Making sustainable choices means purchasing products that don’t cause a negative impact on the environment and that will not make it more difficult for future generations to continue to sustain themselves. Making sustainable choices during the design process is referred to as 'green design' or 'sustainable design'. Some great sustainable choices to consider when decorating include:

• Natural stone counter tops
• Cabinets and other products made from woods such as bamboo, eucalyptus, or recycled wood
• Carpet made from natural fibers, such as wool and cotton, or made from recycled materials
• Green-friendly paint and home wallpaper, which is being offered by a growing number of manufacturers
• Antiques – after all, they are being recycled!

You don’t have to create a bland and boring home décor in order to enjoy green living. In fact, there are numerous options out there that will allow you to make your home look great while still protecting the planet.

Appliances for Green Living

When it comes to green living, a great place to start is in your kitchen. Remodeling can add a great deal of value to your home, can make it more functional and attractive, and can help you make your home more eco-friendly.

When buying for your kitchen, look for modern appliances to help bring your home up-to-date. By purchasing those appliances with the Energy Star rating, you can potentially cut the amount of energy you use to power those appliances in half. Adding faucet aerators to your kitchen and bathroom faucets will also help reduce the amount of water you use while still providing you with a high pressure stream of water.

Obtaining Green Products

Fortunately, green living is rapidly growing in popularity. In response, many manufacturers are offering lines of eco friendly products that can be used for decorating purposes. In addition, a growing number of online and offline stores that are dedicated solely to green living are becoming a more common occurrence.

Although it may take a little more time and effort to find and purchase eco products for your home, the effort will be worth it. Not only will you be doing your part to help conserve and protect the environment, green living is better for your health and can save you money in the long run.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Renewables; Should We care??

With a vital need for the world to review its method of electricity generation, the topic of renewable energy is high on the environmental agenda. Indeed, the last ten years has seen the issues of global warming and sustainability brought to the fore, with both businesses and the public now playing an active role in trying to find alternative ways of producing, and using energy.

Currently, much of the world’s energy supply is produced by burning fossil fuels like oil, gas and coal. However, not only does this method emit a lot of carbon dioxide (CO2) which is harmful to the world’s atmosphere, but resources are also finite, meaning they will eventually run out.

One of the biggest concerns scientists and environmentalists have is that of rapid climate change; and with temperatures increasing around the globe, the effects are already noticeable. For example, polar ice caps are melting and environmental habitats are changing.

Consequently, there has been a huge global drive to find alternative natural resources that can provide humans with the electricity and power they require, and which won’t become depleted over time. An additional requisite of this task is to use natural, environmentally-friendly sources that won’t harm the surrounding environment.

Due to the increased interest in the subject - coupled with rising oil prices - there are now numerous research projects and trials dedicated to finding the most cost-efficient and clean sources of energy. As a result, the energy from natural sources like sunlight, wind, rain and the tides is being harnessed to replace the more traditional methods of energy creation.

In fact, according to research, around 18 percent of the world’s final energy consumption came from renewables in 2006. Thirteen percent of this was extracted from traditional biomass, like wood-burning, whilst hydroelectricity contributed towards 15 percent.

Wind power is also growing by 30 percent year on year, with European countries and the Unites States using it widely. In fact, as of 2008, global wind farm capacity reached 100,000 megawatts and produced 1.3 percent of the world’s energy consumption. In the US alone, this provides enough energy for around five million households! Whilst in the UK, approximately three percent of all electricity comes from renewable energy resources. However, it is hoped that by 2010, 10 percent will be produced sustainably with this figure reaching 15 percent by 2015.

What's more, the major power companies in power and Scottish Power have played a big part in the research of alternative energy sources, particularly as they seek more sustainable solutions to customers. It is believed that in the near future, the switch to using renewable energy will serve to improve the surrounding environment and make for a more positive future.

Andrew Regan writes for a digital marketing agency. This article has been commissioned by a client of said agency. This article is not designed to promote, but should be considered professional content.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

What Everyone Should Know About Renewable Energy

It has long been observed and proven that nature has already provided man with enough resources for energy—sunlight, geothermal heat, tides, and wind. Because these energy are abundant, in fact, so abundant that they could be replenished perpetually, they have come to be known as renewable energy.

Though extended discussions about renewable energy and its sources can become winded and more complex, every average person interested enough should at least know the basics in order to grasp the concept of how incredibly beneficial these energy sources are.

Man has long harnessed the power of wind and had applied it for practical purposes, albeit in smaller scale such as the power produced in windmills. Current technologies had long converted these simple renewable energy mechanisms to develop wind farms that generate energy supply without the associated risk of pollution
. A lot of wind farms have been established in the United States and abroad to generate electricity. This provides proof on the increasing attraction of using wind power as source of renewable energy while decreasing environment risks and hazards. One critical consideration in establishing wind farms would the presence of constant strong winds, which is why many wind farms are located in elevated areas and even offshore locations are considered viable settings for this kind of renewable energy facility.

Renewable energy from water comes in many different forms. The most common would be the hydroelectric energy that is generated by waterfalls while some areas of the world also generate micro hydro systems that produce smaller amounts of electricity. Renewable energy is also tapped from currents deep under the ocean. This is termed as tidal stream power and several technologies have been developed to harness these viable source. Other sources of renewable energy generated from oceans would be tidal changes, temperature difference, tidal motions, and of course, waves.

Another viable renewable energy source is sunlight, which earth certainly has in abundance. There are numerous technologies developed to tap the solar energy and convert it into electricity, heating systems, and even cooling systems. Though most of these technologies are still in the initial stages, there is no denying the potential benefits promised by this renewable energy source. One of the leading concerns is cost of the materials used, though several affordable yet more efficient designs are still expected to be introduced into the market.

A lot of geothermal power plants had been built and have long been operational in several parts of the world. This is because this source of renewable source of energy generates power at low operating cost. Though some experts may contend that geothermal energy would not last as long as the others and is technically not renewable, it is still expected to provide large amount of power for a long time, even for a hundred years or so. However, it is still classified as a renewable energy source by the International Energy Agency and, like all other sources mentioned above, geothermal energy is reliable and environmentally friendly.

Though none of the renewable energy sources are considered to compete with fossil fuels just yet, it still provide some form of alternative for environmentally conscious individuals and communities in doing their share of lessening environmental degradation and destruction, something we can all ultimately derive benefits from.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Is There A Pattern Forming Here?

"Green Building" is a broad term used to describe the design and construction of sustainable and environmentally conscious buildings.

The driving force behind this is to lower our negative impact on the environment and, at the same time, make the buildings we live and work in safer and healthier for us.

According to the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) statistics,`buildings are responsible for all of the following:

* 39% of US carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions

* 70% of US electricity consumption

* 15 trillion gallons of water consumption

Even though there is still some controversy over the effect of greenhouse gases on the environment, the last two statistics are very important for those of us living in urban areas experiencing continuous growth, especially the American Southwest. With our population expansion, aging water and electrical infrastructure, and shrinking landfills, designing and constructing green and sustainable buildings makes practical sense from a utilitarian perspective.

In fact, USGBC data shows that green buildings use 36% less energy, require fewer raw materials, and divert less waste to our landfills. Furthermore, the "increased" cost of green building is only one or two percent more expensive than a conventional building. This minute difference exemplifies the tangible and long-term benefits of sustainable design, primarily due to the fact that green buildings conserve water and electricity. Thus, while they are more expensive to build, green structures will save money by conserving more energy over time.

Another push towards the green build movement is by local governments. More and more municipalities
are adopting the USGBC LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) guidelines for new
and renovated buildings. In 2006, at the USGBC Greenbuild expo, the Mayor of Denver challenged other major cities to see who can have the most LEED® certified green buildings. They are accomplishing this by offering tax breaks to private corporations and mandating sustainable construction for city-financed projects.

This has led to a dramatic increase in the number of sustainable projects built by LEED® Certified general contractors. However, this growth has not come without challenges. Currently, the following issues are restricting the number of green projects being built:

* Increased demand for green products has lead to long lead times

* New and unspecified materials are labeled “green” products which are not necessarily certified

* Building officials are struggling with a steep learning curve on how to evaluate these new products and sustainable building techniques

Despite these difficulties, the USGBC, sustainability advocates, and green building construction management firms are meeting to overcome these challenges.

The LEED® process is constantly under review and continues to adopt the latest codes and products. This includes Standard 189, a new minimum standard for green building. The USGBC is currently developing LEED® 3.0 and working with national code writers to include new products and techniques.

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has even rolled out a new initiative called "Sustainability 2030," which at its roots, is looking to design all buildings by the year 2030 as carbon neutral. The USGBC has even initiated the Green Advantage Builders Certification for contractors to certify their knowledge in green building

So what does green building mean at the end of the day? It's simple yet profound: Do the right thing for you, the environment, and the next generation. While most companies are concerned with their bottom line, they ought to embrace the idea that energy and water conservation, green building, and the use of "green materials" in construction stands to increase their savings over time while positioning them as a leader in environmental stewardship.

According to the USGBC, we spend 90% of our time indoors. Due to this fact, scientists have identified an increase in allergies, asthma, absenteeism from school, and even work. There have been numerous studies done on post occupancy productivity levels, which have increased within "green" built facilities. Not only does
green adaptation result in less sick days taken, but also shows an increase in productivity, job
satisfaction, and in the case of schools, better grades.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Sustainability in the News

It has been no secret that the nature seems to be bearing the brunt of human existence and that the state of the environment has slowly been degrading as time went by. Environmentalists have long championed environmental sustainability as the solution to this dilemma and its concept has slowly been spreading and being accepted in different parts of the world. In order to help increase awareness and understanding of sustainability, a lot of news websites has been created and maintained diligently by different environmental groups and concerned individuals who want to contribute to this good cause.

Such is which presents lots of news related to the environment and natural science but still has a nice section focused on environmental sustainability. News on human health and on the political and social aspects of science is also included in the site. It is well maintained and up-to-date with pictures and illustrations to enhance browsing experience. There are also videos on scientific matters and subjects.

Another similar site is which is maintained by the Ecological Internet Inc., a nonprofit organization focused on promoting environmental conservation through the creation of online portals, search engines, and blogs. The website is comprehensive in the sense that it collects environmental sustainability news from all over the world. It is a good site to visit for those interested in knowing about developments and policies being formulated in foreign territories to protect their environment. There are also excellent links to related websites for comprehensive searching and knowledge collection.

For some local news, there’s the maintained by the University of California, Santa Barbara campus. Though most of its news items are related to the university and its efforts toward the practice of environmental sustainability, there are still several articles on local activities promoting sustainability.

Those interested on knowing about sustainability and its impact on the business world should visit Furthermore, it promotes environmental responsibility among business enterprises, be it big or small. It is maintained by the Greener World Media Inc., which maintains other related websites such as and The former focuses on developments regarding designing commercial and industrial buildings to be environmentally sustainable while the latter presents news on the efforts of companies to come up with product designs that are also environmentally efficient and sustainable. Other websites presenting news on the efforts of different industries to attain environmental sustainability include and

Still yet another good website to browse for sustainability news would be which collects news and developments on a regular basis. What’s good about this site is that it also collects blog entries on issues related to sustainability and on the environment in general. It also dedicates a portion for green products and companies offering related services.

The website brings more than sustainability news, it also focuses on living the natural way. There are also videos, podcasts, and cartoons on environmental issues and its impact on human health and nutrition.

There are definitely more environmental sustainable news websites found in the internet and there is no doubt that more will be created and maintained because of the increasing interest and awareness of the general public. It is worthwhile to consider these websites as front liners in the fight against environmental degradation and damage that could hugely impact the very existence of humans in the planet.g

Monday, February 16, 2009

Support the Sustainable Farmer

This means that Fairtrade goods are often more expensive than those without the Fairtrade logo. Although people are now arguing that supermarkets are fueling their excessive profits by adding large mark-ups to these products This premium that the producer charges covers the basic food, housing, health and education needs of the local communities in countries such as India and Brazil. The Foundation awards a consumer label, the Fairtrade Mark, to products which meet internationally recognized standards of Fairtrade. It is the only such certification in the UK.

Examples of Fairtrade products:

*Fairtrade coffee
*Fairtrade Tea
*Fairtrade Chocolate
*Fairtrade Bananas
*Fairtrade Honey
*Fairtrade Sugar
*Fairtrade Fruit Juice
*Fairtrade Wine and Snacks
*Fairtrade Babyfood

The list of goods certified Fairtrade is growing daily as is the range of products available. The co-op changed all their own brand chocolate to Fairtrade a few years ago and now all the other big supermarkets are beginning to move into the Fairtrade market. Nestle have just released a Fairtrade brand. There has been huge controversy over this as many people are asking how a company that is subject to a boycott can pertain to have Fairtrade and therefore ethical principles?

Why buy Fairtrade?

Millions of small farmers around the world cannot get enough money to feed their families, send their children to school or invest just a few pounds into their farm. This is because people want to buy the cheapest goods possible and don't think about the people that working in poor condition and often receive less than £1 per day in wages.
Buying products that display the Fairtrade logo ensures that the producers of products such as tea, coffee and chocolate receive a decent income. Rather than being hit by the ever-changing price of their product on the world market, or being fleeced by a middleman who takes a chunky share of the profits, producers in a Fair Trade scheme are guaranteed a decent, stable price for their produce.

By buying Fair trade products that buy direct from farmers at better prices, consumers are improving the lives of producers all over the world. In Ethiopia, farmers can often get more then twice the price for their fair trade coffee then those that sell it on the open market. This extra money enables the farmers to educate their children and to break the cycle of poverty.

Many people struggle to find a reason not to support Fairtrade. Fairtrade is about better prices, decent working conditions, local sustainability, and fair terms of trade for farmers. Fair trade is not about charity, it is about settling the imbalance which exists.

How do I know its Fairtrade?

Look for the Fairtrade Mark when you shop and make the choice to support small farmers and workers in the developing world, and encourage your workplace to switch to Fairtrade tea and coffee.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Listen To The Wind

Wind generators are one of the most reliable forms of alternative power sources on the planet.

They manufacture power by transforming the kinetic energy of the wind into mechanical energy.

This energy is then either harnessed directly (in the case of windmills, for example, which were once used to change wheat into flour, or to pump water for farming) or coupled to a generator that creates a direct current that can be used in a more general sense.

In this article I will be talking about the type of wind generators that produce electric energy, as this is more useful to us in our daily lives.

Wind turbines are basically large windmills, with gigantic blades that rotate in the wind and produce power from the conversion of the wind’s force. Wind turbines are made of plastic, aluminum, steel and numerous other space-age metals.

Wind turbines do have a few negative effects on the environment.

One such negative effect is sight pollution. Wind turbines are very visible and quite unsightly because they must be put in proximity to windy, open terrain to be useful.

Wind turbines also require a great deal of energy in their manufacture. This energy is typically fossil-based, and it can take up to five years before wind tunnels are positive in terms of total carbon emissions.

Wind turbines also are linked to the mauling of rare species of birds. Birds have been mutilated as they passed through the turbine fans during migration.

Despite all of the downsides, however, wind turbines should be a choice when talking about a broad plan for renewable energy.

Once erected, wind turbines are amazingly efficient in a larger sense. They generate power from a natural, eco-friendly renewable resource, without the hidden social or environmental penalties that we incur with the use of fossil fuels.

There is no need to mine for fuel or to transport it; there are no global warming pollutants created and no need to store, process or dispose of toxic wastes.

At the low end of the scale, turbines can be as tiny as 5 feet in diameter and are capable of only a few hundred watts.

On the high end of the spectrum, turbines can be as big as 300 feet in diameter and are capable of generating two to five megawatts of power.

As with photovoltaic solar power generation, there might be rebates available for construction of wind turbines, and excess energy can be sold back to the power company.

Wind velocity is affected by topography and increases with height above the ground, so wind turbines are generally installed on top of large towers.

In a typical application, the wind turbine sits on top of a tall tower and generates low voltage direct current, which is used to charge a battery store.

This stored potential energy is ultimately used by routing it through an inverter that changes the low voltage direct current power into an alternating current that can be used in household applications.

By concentrating a substantial number of turbines into wind farms, a substantial amount of electricity can be stored and used, perhaps, for an entire city.

Because the wind doesn’t blow all of the time in many areas, wind turbines are used as adjuncts in hybrid configurations with many different technologies – photovoltaic panels and diesel generators, to name two – to provide a consistent source of electricity.

Unlike fossil-fuel stations, wind turbines are clean and green. They don’t create the carbon dioxide emissions that are causing greenhouse gases or the acidic emissions that cause acid rain.

Today’s turbines are divided into 2 categories: horizontal turbines and vertical turbines.

Horizontal axis wind turbines are actually far better at capturing the wind than vertical axis turbines given the same amount of swept area (which is the diameter of the circle traced by the outside tip of the rotor blades).

Although the public application of wind power has gotten widespread attention, there potentially is an even better use of this gift from Mother Nature, better than the massive wind farms you see on TV.

In fact, this alternate use of wind power could be a financial windfall for you.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Picking a Sustainable Yoga Mat

It does not matter whether you are a yoga newbie or have been doing yoga so long you've memorized your instructor's routine, asana-by-asana - sooner or later you'll be in the market for a new yoga mat. I used to think every yoga mat was created equally until I bought a jute yoga mat and discovered that it didn't smell like chemicals. Of course, it fell apart within two months...

That's when I decided to write an article about the different types of yoga mats out there, how to choose one that's best for you, and how to choose one that isn't terrible for the environment either.

The Standard Cheap Yoga Mat

Many people get a cheapo mat the first time. This is fine, especially if you're not sure whether you are going to be a yoga fanatic yet. You can usually find these from between $5 and $10 at any mega-store like Target or Kmart.

There are several problems with a standard yoga mat. First, they are often very thin and do not provide much cushioning. Most importantly, however, they stink like chemicals and are made using a very environmentally hazardous process. Furthermore, the chemicals used may be bad for your health. They are made using phthalates, which turn hard plastics into soft plastics. Studies on rodents involving large amounts of phthalates have shown damage to the liver, the kidneys, the lungs and the developing testes.

I know a lot of people who use standard yoga mats and they're not dead or dying (that I know of). Just don't leave them in the trunk of your car because they tend to release a chemical smell when they get hot.

Jute and Cork Yoga Mats

Jute and cork yoga mats are an affordable, eco-friendly alternative to the standard yoga mat, but they have some drawbacks of their own. Cork and jute mats both come from very porous plants. As the material absorbs your sweat during yoga classes, it becomes A: a bit stinky and B: a little weak. While it is not going to fall apart in your hands like wet paper, don't expect one of these to last a long time if you do yoga more than once a month.

Rubber Yoga Mats

Rubber yoga mats are my favorite. They are durable, affordable and - best of all - they are made from rubber, which is a fairly sustainable material that comes from the rubber tree. Just make sure that you are buying a "natural" rubber mat because the material can be produced synthetically as well - although synthetic rubber isn't nearly as bad for the environment and your health as phthalates.

Natural rubber yoga mats should be avoided if you are allergic to latex. Instead, try one of the phthalate-free, latex free mats from this page . They are a little more expensive, but if you are allergic to latex, don't want to work out on chemicals, and need something that isn't going to fall apart on you - this type of mat is definitely the way to go.

Using a Pilates Mat for Yoga

Pilates mats are much thicker than yoga mats. This is required because you are spending more time on the floor, often with pressure points like hips, knees, shoulders and elbows supporting some or all of your weight. It is also very important for cushioning to keep your spine from getting injured when doing rolls while lying on your back. Can you use a pilates mat for yoga? Sure, but they are more expensive, bulkier, and you will need to make sure they have a non-slip surface. Yoga mats do tend to be "stickier" which is needed when doing most asanas. But if you do yoga and pilates, try buying just the pilates mat and see if you like it for yoga as well. I do not, however, advise using a yoga mat for pilates, as it can cause injury.

Places to find yoga mats online: - Gaiam Yoga Products are well known for their quality and for including many eco-conscious options like jute and rubber. The can be a little pricey, but if you look for items on sale there are deals to be found. - Eco Mall's yoga and fitness section has a huge list of online resources, most of which have a "green" outlook on business. - First Page Fitness has a directory of businesses in the fitness industry, many of which sell yoga mats online. - Target has a lot of inexpensive yoga products, including a few different types of standard yoga and pilates mats. If your goal is to just buy something cheap to get started with, I'd advise skipping all of the expensive shops and just going to Target.

Using the Class Yoga Mats

I strongly discourage using the communal yoga mats found in most fitness centers and studios. These are breeding grounds for germs and bacteria. You can buy yoga mat wipes if you must use a communal mat. Most of these wipes are just expensively packaged alcohol pads, so you can save a lot of money by getting a box of wipes from Walgreens.

Going Without a Yoga Mat

People have been practicing yoga for thousands of years without modern mats. The reason why most people these days use a yoga mat is because they wear socks, which cause their feet to slip during poses. Even if they do their yoga routine without socks (which can be very unhygienic in most fitness centers and yoga studios) today's yoga routine typically takes place on a tile or hard-wood floor, which becomes slippery as the feet sweat. Thus, a sticky yoga mat provides the necessary foundation on which to perform the asanas. However, if you regularly practice in an environment that does not have a slippery surface - such as outdoors or on carpet - there really is no need for a yoga mat at all. I have also found that a pair of yoga socks like these - - works just as well as a mat without all of the hassle and a fraction of the cost.

Whether you go with a standard mat, a Pilates mat, socks, or one of the many "green" options available these days, there is a yoga mat made just for you! I hope the above information helps you decide.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Is Cotton Really That Green?

You might think you know which fabric is superior; you may even have debated the issue. But do you know which is better for the environment? The confusion lies in the fiber itself. Cotton is natural and polyester is synthetic. Natural has become synonymous with green and clean. So cotton is better, right? Not entirely.

Let’s be honest textiles are toxic to produce, energy consuming and water intensive given the raw materials required to produce them.

Cotton can be replanted and is therefore renewable but this doesn’t count for much if it is not grown sustainably. Cotton production contributes to an inconceivable amount of global pesticide and insecticide use. Organic cotton is fantastic in that does not use these but it is still incredibly water intensive, often diverting water away from communities. Cotton irrigation is a major contributor in the depletion of the Aral Sea.

Polyester requires less water but is more energy intensive requiring wood and oil to produce, thereby contributing to global warming from harmful greenhouse gases. Polyester however, is 100% recyclable and in some countries, like Japan, garment recycling is possible through recycling centers. This will hopefully be undertaken by many more countries, until perhaps
recycling our polyester clothes will become as commonplace as recycling other paper and plastic products. In addition to being recyclable, polyester fibres are now starting to be produced from post-consumer and post-industrial recycled materials.

Combining all these factors it is easy to assume that there is no clear winner for the environment in terms of production and perhaps there isn’t. But a garment’s ecological footprint does not end once it is produced. To derive a meaningful evaluation the life-cycle of the product must be assessed. For apparel this can include low-impact maintenance, as it is the energy and water consumption expended over the lifetime of a garment that must be considered.

Polyester is more stain-resistant. It can be washed in cold water and dries quickly. Cotton garments waste energy. They must be washed more frequently as they are less stain-resistant, often require hot water to remove stains and need to be tumble-dried to dry in a comparable time frame. Synthetic fabrics like polyester do not lose their shape like cotton and therefore increase their wear life, further reducing environmental impacts.

The nature of clothing and seasonal fashion means that the textile industry is a major contributor of global warming. The industry needs to become eco-conscious and as with all solutions there needs to be a multi-pronged strategy. Until manufacturers and growers are required to factor in environmental costs, products that do less damage will cost more. It is up to us as consumers to dictate demand. The real challenge is not people switching from natural fibers to synthetic ones as we have been wearing polyester for decades now. The real challenge lies in convincing the consumer to pay for more ecologically sustainable clothing. Would you?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

What's In Your Tap Water

One of the consequences of being "one nation under drugs" is being exposed to toxic, prescription drug metabolites via your tap water! Fortunately, with the right water filter, you can avoid it.

Drug giant Merck recently warned that "There’s no doubt about it, pharmaceuticals are being detected in the environment and there is genuine concern that these compounds, in the small concentrations that they’re at, could be causing impacts to human health and aquatic organisms." To wit, officials in Philadelphia identified 56 pharmaceuticals or by-products in tap water. Such medications included pain meds, cholesterol lowering drugs, birth control pills, antidepressants and blood pressure meds! None of which belong in little Johnny’s "sippy cup."

Don’t expect your city to be any different. The federal government doesn’t require any testing or safety limits for drugs in tap water. Protect yourself with the right water filter!

The market is flooded with various types of water filters - microfiltration, ultrafiltration, nanofiltration, reverse osmosis, electrodialysis reversal, membrane bioreactors, and combinations of membranes in series. For about $180, you can rest assured that your water is free and clear of "other people’s drugs.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Sustainable Waste Management Defined

A recent report produced by the Brundtland Commission (formally the World Commission on Environment and Development) provides an excellent definition of what sustainable development is. The UK Government’s Sustainable Development strategy, published by the DETR also defined it, and that definition can be found online.

However, these definitions need to be acted on and not just thought up. The idea is after all very simple to understand so here is a breakdown of what these definition might mean to you:

Sustainable development starts with the theory that the most sustainable aim for all is a better quality of life, not only today, but for generations to come.

To achieve this, sustainable development is about achieving economic growth, in the form of higher living standards. It is definitely not about scrimping and not buying things, or punishing ourselves for enjoying the use of the world's resources now.

But it is about protecting and enhancing the environment we live in, not just for its own sake but for our own enlightened self interest, because a damaged environment would quite soon begin to hold back economic growth and lead to a lower the quality of life.

To be truly sustainable, history shows us that things only work in the long term if we all make sure that economic and environmental benefits are freely available to the whole society and not just to the privileged few.

Sustainability is compatible with all the major faiths and can be supported by all. Therefore there should be no excuses for not meeting your objectives. It is commonly accepted that sustainable development must encompass four broad objectives;

*Social progress which recognizes the needs of everyone.

*Effective protection of the environment

*Prudent use of natural resources

*Maintaining stable levels of economic growth and employment.

One of the most important areas of sustainability for society to act on is the disposal of waste. Nothing else, other than fossil fuel energy over-use causing climate change, and war, has the potential to do so much accumulating damage.

Unsustainable waste management poisons watercourses and underground water, leaves litter around everywhere that harms our wildlife, encourages rats and vermin, pollutes the air with odors and unhealthy aerosols and can render vast areas of land damaged or largely unusable.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Doing What Green You Can; When You Can!

More and more people are realizing how important it is to lead a life that makes a minimal impact on the environment. Every person making their own individual contribution can lead to substantial difference for the future and protection of our planet. A big step that you can take is to use sustainable materials when constructing your home or commercial business. Appreciating how these green materials can be included into your life can go a long way to lessening your impact on the environment.

The best place to start when trying to understand what sustainable materials are-is to first understand what the term "sustainable" refers to. Sustainability means consuming quantities and categories of resources in such a manner that will make sure that the resource will be there for generations to come. Another way to think about this is as resources that renew themselves. This concept can be better understood through illustrations. Building with wood is an excellent example of sustainability. By Planting trees, a forest can be re-grown. Then wood can once again be used as a building material A counter example would be the use of steel for a building. Although steel cannot be replenished, it can at least be recycled.

The other aspect to sustainability is recyclable materials. Many materials are recyclable. You can use these materials for areas like floors, walls and countertops. You can also get recycled stone to use as a material as well.

As you pick and choose materials for your home, if you are going for sustainability, an aspect of the issue is understanding how much energy is used to get materials to you. Try to locate materials that have taken less energy to transport. For instance, if you fancy granite for a countertop, then go with the local manufacturer rather than purchasing it from a far-off provider such as Malaysia. Much more energy will be consumed getting that material from the Malaysia to your home than from the local supplier.

Using sustainable materials is just one step on the path of having an eco-friendly property. You also want to bring all of the other elements together, such as the architecture, materials, and the construction methods. Map out your plans for things like your water usage, energy usage, and make sure that the building site blends in with the natural locale of the home. You want to take as little as possible from nature and be mindful of your consumption.

Converting your home to a sustainable household is not something that you have to do all at once. Instead, you can convert your home over the course of time. When you have occasion to renovate or improve, pick sustainable materials. In place of of paint, use natural fibers that will make your home's air quality better. Rather than tile, use bamboo as a floor covering. For countertops, give cork a try in place of granite. Each of these changes will help make a difference.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Swiss Cheese

The future of building technology is here and it’s full of holes. The Swiss cheese exoskeleton shell of COR, the first sustainable, mixed use condominium in Miami, Florida is a hyper-efficient smart skin simultaneously providing the building structure, thermal mass for insulation, shading for natural cooling, terrace enclosures, armatures for energy producing turbines, and loggias for congregating at the ground level.

COR, represents a dynamic synergy between architecture, structural engineering and ecology. The design is not only revolutionary in sustainable terms, but in visual impact. The impression of this building is arresting even in light of the current architectural trend towards irregular, non-linear features exploding upon the recent architectural landscape.

The building rises 400 feet, and seems to float over the city as a futuristic and ethereal being, punctuated by a multitude of round Swiss Cheese holes, which at times come together to form a living bubble-on-pond effect.

The architect credits the developer for being receptive to the unusual design wherein the structure of the building is both the skin and an aperture to hold the wind turbines. Oppenheim notes that COR evolved from a complex architectural study including careful analysis of its site.

The surprise of the design arises from its functionality and its vision in creating an energy efficient sustainable building. Oppenheim states that he views building materials as opportunities to provide dual uses—for example, the skin of COR is not just cladding, it provides an armature for wind turbines, protection from the sun and forms an arcade at the ground level.

Rising 25 stories above Miami’s Design District, COR extracts power from its environment utilizing the latest in advancements in wind turbines, photovoltaic technology and solar hot water generation. With an estimated completion date of 2010, COR is 480,000 square feet, with 113 residential units ranging in size from 700 to 2,000 sf, with prices from $300,00 to 1 million. COR will have a café, 2 restaurants, office space and live work galleries.

Sustainable design is architecture that creates a minimal impact on the environment and makes maximum and intelligent use of the world’s dwindling resources. Sustainability and green design also includes creating healthy indoor environments.

Water is becoming the new frontier for concern, both through density and drought. Green and sustainable elements in COR include water harvesting, capturing rain water and roof run-off in cisterns, using filtration systems in recycling grey water produced from washing machines, dishwashers and other household and light business use, and filtering it for use again as irrigation.

The wind farms on the roof of COR will generate power-reducing dependency on electric power and saving energy by producing solar hot water. Energy efficient appliances with energy star features will be using less water overall. LED lighting will be used instead of incandescent, natural daylight will flood interiors through energy efficient glass, and the multi use building shell provides thermal mass for insulation and shading for outdoor terraces and cooking.

COR has been received with applause. Unanimously approved by the Urban Design Review Board of the City of Miami, the project represents the ideals fostered by Miami Mayor, Manny Diaz for its properties of green and ecologically sustainable sound design. Oppenheim is a part of Mayor Diaz’ Green Committee.

Oppenheim notes that this project may represent solutions for the concerns of global warming, dwindling resources such as land and water, and competition for fewer and fewer resources. Certainly it blazes across the new frontier of sustainability.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Sustainability in Building

More and more people are realizing how important it is to lead a life that makes a minimal impact on the environment. Every person making their own individual contribution can lead to substantial difference for the future and protection of our planet. A big step that you can take is to use sustainable materials when constructing your home or commercial business. Appreciating how these green materials can be included into your life can go a long way to lessening your impact on the environment.

The best place to start when trying to understand what sustainable materials are-is to first understand what the term "sustainable" refers to. Sustainability means consuming quantities and categories of resources in such a manner that will make sure that the resource will be there for generations to come. Another way to think about this is as resources that renew themselves. This concept can be better understood through illustrations. Building with wood is an excellent example of sustainability. By Planting trees, a forest can be re-grown. Then wood can once again be used as a building materials A counter example would be the use of steel for a building. Although steel cannot be replenished, it can at least be recycled.

The other aspect to sustainability is recyclable materials. Many metals are recyclable. You can use these materials for areas like floors, walls and countertops. You can also get recycled stone to use as a material as well.

As you pick and choose materials for your home, if you are going for sustainability, an aspect of the issue is understanding how much energy is used to get materials to you. Try to locate materials that have taken less energy to transport. For instance, if you fancy granite for a countertop, then go with the local manufacturer rather than purchasing it from a far-off provider such as Malaysia. Much more energy will be consumed getting that material from the Malaysia to your home than from the local supplier.

Using sustainable materials is just one step on the path of having an eco-friendly property. You also want to bring all of the other elements together, such as the architecture, materials, and the construction methods. Map out your plans for things like your water usage, energy usage, and make sure that the building site blends in with the natural locale of the home. You want to take as little as possible from nature and be mindful of your consumption.

Converting your home to a sustainable household is not something that you have to do all at once. Instead, you can convert your home over the course of time. When you have occasion to renovate or improve, pick sustainable materials. In place of of paint, use natural fibers that will make your home's air quality better. Rather than tile, use bamboo as a floor covering. For countertops, give cork a try in place of granite. Each of these changes will help make a difference.