Sunday, April 26, 2009

Green Living - The New Zeitgeist?

Gift of PeaceImage by YardSale via Flickr

Green Living - Solidarity and Inner Peace by Kristy Snow

Green Living

Going green is included in just about everything these days. There is green food, green clothing, green homes, green energy, green gadgets, and just about anything in existence being classified as green. What this means is that the products are sustainable and make a small imprint on the earth.

For example, you might use less oil-based products and more plant products because it is sustainable and healthier for humans. This is a great trend that has caught on because of the growth in high educational attainment and in the recent trend of huge price increases in poor quality commodities. Additionally, the recent gas spike, alone, helped a ton of people decide to go green.

The trend is heavily product-focused. You need the right green food because you will live longer and be healthier. You need some hemp fabric because it is so much better for your skin. The list goes on and on. It is great that we have green products, but you can get lost in all the details. We need to remember that being green is more than just buying the right things. It is a way of life that brings solidarity and harmony to one's life and society.

All Living Things Connected

Can you see the happiness of a child compared to that of an adult? How can you feel the joy of a baby or a puppy? The joy of each living thing comes from being connected in a spiritual way. It doesn't always make sense. For example, babies and children have little control over their surroundings and yet they are so happy. What makes sense is that we are learning through our culture that happiness comes from a certain way of life. We might call it the good life. It usually has something to do with a house, an education, a nice car, and family vacations.

Fortunately, there are true green enthusiasts that understand connection to the earth in a different way. In the movie, Into the Wild the main character says that life was the most exciting when he was penniless. This is a true story of a man who gave up all his possessions and burned his money on a quest to connect with God.

Native Americans have long understood the relationship between connectedness to earth and joy in life. The earth gives to each of us and in return we should give back. Many cultures believe that God rewards Good for Good and Evil for Evil. You do something good and it comes back to you. Hence, do a lot of good things to and for people.

How Does Green Living Connect Us?

First and foremost green living gets you to think about how we all interact in society. It is more altruistic because your main focus is not maximizing every dollar. Your focus changes from consuming as much as possible to consuming what you need responsibly and giving of yourself. Many people in this trend will say that one day it just hit them that the only thing they will leave on the earth when they pass on is their legacy. And, how do you leave a legacy? You need to connect with people and make a difference to those around you. You're not going to do that sipping cokes, and watching 35 hours of television a week.

Living Simple and Green

It all starts with little changes. One good thing to do is to sit down and make a list of all the items your regularly purchase and put a w (want) or n (need) by the item. If you are truly honest, the needs are not really all that high. Many of us are struggling because of our wants without realizing it. It's still fine to plan for wants and to have them. The important thing is where your focus lies. Does your focus help you connect (happiness) or disconnect (unhappiness)?

At some point, many in the green movement will actually feel a sense of relief from not purchasing items. There is that rush and good feeling from shopping that a lot of people get. However, the more connected you feel, the less your desire will be for shopping. And, in fact, many will eventually feel a sense of true peace without longing for any one thing. Some people in the green movement actually feel sorry for these obsessive materialists. They don't do it mockingly, but sincerely want everyone around them to feel the same connectedness.

Some Green Steps

The first thing for many of us is that we start to recycle things. We find a certain joy in knowing that we are being good stewards of what we have. Then, the big jump might come from purchasing a green car or a green wardrobe. Some of us might just think it's a cool thing to do.

The biggest step, perhaps, is when you start to simplify your life. It's different for everyone. You might want to drink out of one cup instead of using several every day. You may go through your home and eliminate items not being used. In fact, you may start finding joy in getting rid of things because you realize that the less stuff you have the more easily you can be connected. You begin to feel a sense of freedom in spirit that goes beyond the norm. Your style becomes minimalist and purchases are based on holistic ideals that increase connectivity. You will no longer crave, but will instead find intense joy in just being alive. How do you find that joy?

Know Thyself

Some spiritual teachers believe that the greatest knowledge of happiness is to know thyself. As William Shakespeare said, "To thine own self be true". How can you be true to yourself unless you know who you are? This is a hard question, but on the face of it, there are some certain things I am sure of. I can connect with living things. I can connect with people much better in person than through television. I can connect to natural products much better than man-made products. The concept of knowing me comes through serving others.

Consumerism and materialism tend to drive much of our culture. The focus, for many, is on self. This inward focus blinds the true self. In some cases, self-concept is stripped away and the void is filled with countless hours of television, food, and shopping. The bigger the void the stronger the feeling of getting more grows because people unconsciously think that the void can be filled with things. It is logical because that is what the culture has taught them from birth. Corporations spend billions of dollars reinforcing the idea that things will make us happy and defining our needs for us. Many of us erroneously believe that we are immune to all the clever advertising.

Wouldn't it make more sense that we determine our own needs? It is vital that we listen to our own hearts. Don't ignore the little voice inside you! Pay attention to it, follow it, and the voice will get louder. In time, you will become more connected.

We haven't focused much on product here, but going green is about a lot more than buying the most fuel-efficient car, wearing bamboo clothing, or eating organic foods. Green living is ultimately about solidarity and inner peace.

For further information about green living, please visit Solar Home or another favorite site called Green Energy.

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Saturday, April 25, 2009

Soul-Flower Newsletter - Earth Day

Earth day symbolEarth Day Symbol - Image via Wikipedia

We love our mama... Mother Earth that is. So, we felt it appropriate to send out a newsletter in honor of her and in celebration of Earth Day - hopefully it won't get lost among all the other dirt-digging, earth-loving, eco-conscious companies and organizations you love and promote. But, well, we want to do everything we can to spread the love.

Treat the Earth well. It was not given to you by your parents. It was loaned to you by your children (Kenyan proverb).

In honor of this year's Earth Day, we are offering 25% off of all the items in our organic CircleTees line (this week only), just use the code REVOLUTION when you check out. Here are a few earth-loving lines and ideas we are promoting at Soul Flower:

Organic Circle Tees

Buying organic cotton and other natural fiber clothing is a small thing you can do to help our environment. Circle Tees display eco-friendly messages on super soft tees and hoodies for the whole family. We use organic cotton and other eco-friendly fibers for this line of clothing - we also use earth-friendly (water-based) inks and nonreactive dyes on many of our t-shirts. And for this week only, get 25% off all circle tees (use coupon code REVOLUTION when you check out). Circle Tees: Making a revolution one tee at a time.

Earth Loving Accessories

We recently added a few new jewelry items, all of which have an eco-origin and are hand-made. Our newest hemp necklaces are a step above the typical hemp necklace and are beautifully interwoven with gorgeous beads (all hand-made by our bud Sherri). Our recycled belt bracelets are made by reusing old belts (hand-picked and made by our bud Kimberly). And our latest collection of necklaces and bracelets are made entirely from recycled seeds. Eco-Friendly Jewelry.

Organic Body Products

Our body products are made with simple, raw ingredients. We work with Mama's Herbal Soaps and Prairieland Herbs, both of whom promote green living by creating products in small batches and using only organic and other natural ingredients. No synthetic colors, synthetic fragrances or synthetic oils in these! Maggie and Shauna have worked closely with us to create our own special scents, Soul Flower exclusives such as Patchouli Soul and Patchouli Flower.... Love Your Body.


We continue to try to green up our work environment and day-to-day practices. Most of what we do is simple stuff, like reusing boxes and printing on recycled paper - but the key to everything we do is to just be mindful of our mother earth always. It isn't about celebrating the earth just one day a year - we think about things we can do to lessen our footprint every day. We love hearing about customers that do the same and have other green-i-fying ideas. So keep the ideas coming.


Your Buds (Mike, Peggy, Chad, Jennifer, Joe & Becky), Soul Flower

Friday, April 24, 2009

5 Water Saving Tips and Conservation Ideas for Your Bathroom‏

Brenngasbetriebenen Therme (oben) und Warmwass...Image via Wikipedia

These 5 water saving tips and conservation ideas are very cost-friendly and will effortlessly lower your water usage at home, not to mention save money on your monthly utility bills for years to come.

Household water consumption can sometimes be overlooked but according to the U.S. Department of Energy, water usage alone can account for up to 17% of your total utility bills. And this doesn't even factor in the extra cost of heating water.

The subject of saving water at home has been a constant as of late, due to continuously low yearly rain levels and droughts, primarily in the southeastern, southwestern and western regions of the United States.

Wherever you live, seasonal conditions and environmental motivation aside, water conservation at home will without doubt translate into monthly and annual savings for your pockets.

It's also important to note that some of these water saving tips and conservation ideas can significantly reduce your natural gas and electricity costs. How you ask? The unavoidable and additional cost of heating water is also reduced by reducing hot water use.

For instance, showering accounts for up to 20% of a homes total indoor water use, but what's often overlooked is that showering also accounts for an estimated 20% of the average homes total water heating cost.

Considering that the bathroom is where more than half of water use occurs, your bathrooms are the ideal place to start saving water. Here are the 5 water saving tips and conservation ideas for your bathrooms.

5 Water Saving Tips And Ideas For Your Bathroom

1) When possible attempt to cut you're showers, or singing sessions, by just a few minutes. You can save up to 150 gallons of water every month by just cutting your shower short by just 2 to 3 minutes, not to mention the much deserved break shorter showers will provide your water heater.

2) Consider replacing your old shower heads for newer water-saving shower heads. If your current shower heads are 9 years old or even older, they can have flow rates as high as 5 to 7 gallons per minute. Low-flow shower heads have reduced flow rates of 2.5 gallons per minute or lower, while providing the same or even improved water pressure. And water-saver shower heads are very inexpensive and easy to install.

3) For even more savings potential, consider purchasing water-saving shower heads with shut-off valves. They are just as inexpensive in most cases and you save warm water while you're shampooing, conditioning and lathering. Low-flow shower heads with shut-off valves can be more effective at reducing hot water use and when the switch is turned on again (after shampooing and conditioning) the water remains at the exact same desired temperature as before.

4) Don't ever take your bathroom toilets for granted. Remember each flush can use anywhere from 1.6 gallons to 5 gallons of water. So don't use your toilets as bathroom trash cans. Besides excess tissue and paper waste can easily result in the always annoying clogged toilet.

5) Every so often check all of your toilet tanks for possible leaks. Even the smallest leaks can have a huge effect on your water bills. A toilet tank leak test is easy to do, quick and very accurate. Your local hardware store and big box home improvement retailers have toilet tank leak test packs. These packs cost just a few dollars each.

Again water use can be overlooked even by conservation-minded homeowners. Visit for many other water saving tips and conservation ideas. Visit for your complete home energy savings guide.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Earth Day - Parenting Ideas

Recycling and rubbish bin in a German railway ...Image via Wikipedia

by Alexander Alaric

The significance of Earth Day lies in taking stock of the atrocities we are doing to our planet knowingly or unknowingly and taking steps to reverse them. It's a day which calls for all of us to participate in order to restore the fresh air, unsoiled rivers and green environment and live in accord with the existing flora and fauna.

The day of our planet's consciousness aka "Earth Day" is celebrated on 22nd April.

The whole notion is to ignite a sense of responsibility and imprint this on the receptive subconscious of our children through plenty of fun-filled activities. The activities are the primary footsteps in shaping a generation that is empathetic and consciously concerned about our planet. By assisting kids in participating in Earth Day activities, regardless of how huge or tiny, fathers and mothers can lend a hand in spreading the implicit message - "This Earth belongs to everyone and all of us should keep it clean and green".

There are plenty of activities which you can undertake. As a father you can arrange a planting activity for your son. This can really be rewarding when you see your son excited about the sapling and its growth. Imagine the feeling he will have when he sees it growing.

You can also organize an Earth Day drawing and poetry competition. Let your kid produce some innovative works of art based on the theme of Earth Day and ecosystem; locate a site to exhibit them where such works will be appreciated. This way you're giving him the right platform to succeed.

Mothers can help their daughters to think about how to have a healthy and hearty lifestyle living on high-quality nourishment. Subsequent to learning about the food groups and selecting a few tasty, nourishing fruits and vegetables, encourage your daughter to arrange an earth-healthy lunch. Insure that she does so with negligible trash. You can emphasize reusable lunch stuff, for instance paper napkins can be replaced with cloth napkins and a reusable lunch box.

Fathers and mothers can encourage their sons and daughters to initiate recycling in the house. Allow them to learn "trim down, recycle, reuse and revamp" and go through the house, selecting areas to concentrate on. Assist kids with newspaper recycling in addition to a recycle bin for used cans. It is also wise to let them know the positive benefits these actions will have on the planet.

Father-son activities can also include encouraging the boy to craft a collage of leaves from either green or autumn leaves accumulated from nearby areas or parks. Help them in forming shapes, people and animals with the leaves and paste them onto cardstock. This helps clean up the park and stimulates your son's creative mind.

Your contribution as father or mother can really work wonders in shaping the opinions and interests of your sons and daughters. It's your job and responsibility to lead.

Make sure, that you set a fine example by being compassionate to the environment. Some thoughts to get started:

* Recycle - Use reprocessed or reusable grocery bags for visits to the supermarket. Quit the juice containers and bottled water. Opt for a reusable water bottle instead.
* Switch from paper to cloth napkins - Children will gain a feeling of maturity this way and cloth napkins are tiny enough to be incorporated into your usual pack of laundry with no additional hassles.
* Train children to recycle - Your kid will be glad to lend a hand and discover significant cataloging skills simultaneously.
* Have separate bins available for plastics, paper and glass and let your kid chuck recyclables into the suitable bin.
* Tag along with your child on a mini-tour to recycle ink cartridges, plastic bags and batteries.

Take Pleasure in the process.

* What could be a more suitable Earth day activity than to be grateful for our planet and enjoying the outdoors with your sons and daughters?
* Invest time acknowledging and appreciating nature - full of flowers, trees and beautiful surroundings. This would not only help your son or daughter to also enjoy nature but can also help you strengthen your parent child bond.
* Lead by example - take your child to pick up trash with you at a local park or playground. Even if it's only for 10-15 minutes because this builds good work ethic and character.
* Preserve energy by switching off your AC and getting outside to enjoy some clean air.

Our Earth is a bighearted mother; she endows with overflowing abundance food for all her kids only if they nurture her soil with cleanliness and care. Earth Day Activities are not confined to just one day of the year.

In this era, we must comprehend the significance of being kindhearted to our planet. We can train our children at very early ages how to 'Go Green' through activities which train them to be more responsible towards Earth. Besides, the activities can give us just the right mix of spending some cherished moments with our sons and daughters while teaching them valuable lessons.

Alexander Alaric - Get more practical parenting tips at and you can join the conversation getting your questions answered.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

CASE STUDY: Ohio to Mandate Solar For Schools?

dug out of the earthImage by circulating via Flickr

Ohio to Mandate Solar For Schools? by Tina Metcalf

Desperate times lead to desperate measures, and this is one of the good ones. Ohio lawmakers plan to introduce a bill to mandate solar panel installation on all schools to cut electricity costs, stimulate the market, tap into the 30% federal tax credit, and boost the states green energy industry.

This isn't a mandate so much as it is a tactic of survival. The downturn of the economy and all of it's business hardships have proven one thing for sure. Alternative energy is where it's at, there is growth, there are jobs, and there is hope with alternative energy.

A mandate is change, something which people are always hesitant to do. But change is what is exactly needed for this country. We cannot keep draining fossil fuels from the ground to produce energy that can be just as well or better done with solar panels. Solar energy is free energy, non-polluting energy, sustainable energy, and an energy source that is slated to grow in leaps and bounds for decades to come.

Mandates for Ohio schools should be taken nationally and enforced on a federal level to have all schools across the country mandated for solar power. How many millions of jobs would that type of mandate bring about, as well as how many billions of dollars would be saved getting our energy from solar as opposed to coal of petroleum?

The facts must be faced, fossil fuel to power our needs must be stopped. We are at the mercy of those that pump oil or mine coal, instead of taking the reins in our own hands, mandating solar use across the board, and being free of the fossil fuel nightmare, along with all the pollution, high prices, and wars that are fought.

Fossil fuels are a dead end, while solar power and other sustainable fuel sources are the true shining light. The sooner and faster we get out from underneath the fossil fuel scourge, the better off this planet and economy will be, even if that requires mandates to do it.

Cooler Planet is a leading solar resource for connecting consumers and commercial entities with local solar Installers. Cooler Planet's solar energy resource page contains articles and tools such as our solar calculator to help with your solar project.

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Friday, April 17, 2009

Green Motoring - More Important Than Ever

Sign No. 274.Image via Wikipedia

Tips For Driving Green by Lisa A Mason

Are you trying to make changes in your lifestyle that will help to preserve some of the natural resources being used everyday? There are many things that individuals can do to make a difference. However, one of the biggest concerns is the problems caused by all the vehicles being driven today. Everyone knows that vehicles put out gas emissions that add to the amount of air pollution already causing problems for humanity. But what can you do?

Very few people can do without some sort of vehicle in today's society. It would be almost impossible to get from one location to another without driving most of the time. Still, it's important to do all you can to reduce the amount of pollution being emitted into the air. Since buying a hybrid is not an option that everyone can take advantage of, here are a few tips for driving green that will help reduce pollution caused by vehicles.

• Proper Maintenance - One of the best things that you can do to make sure you're driving green is to keep the maintenance up on your vehicle. Keep it tuned up, air filters changed and make sure the tires are inflated properly.

• Carpool When Possible - It may not always be possible to carpool but do so whenever you can. This will make more of a difference than you might think.

• Plan Your Trips: If you plan your trips in advance you can cut down on your driving time. You can plan the shortest route that will accomplish everything you need to get done. Stop by the store on your way home from work instead of going home first and leaving again. Anything that reduces your driving time will help.

• Walk More - When you're visiting a neighbor, going to the local park or anywhere that is near your home, try walking whenever it's practical to do so.

• Cut Down on the AC - Only use the air conditioning whenever it's absolutely necessary. You can roll down the windows other times to let a breeze blow through.

• Drive Smart - Driving smart includes avoiding sudden stops and starts and driving the speed limit. Speeding uses more gasoline and produces more pollution than necessary.

These are all simple and easy things that everyone can do to help the environment. If every driver were to make these changes it would make a huge difference in the amount of pollution created each day.

Lisa Mason is a freelance writer with a specialty in Internet content and SEO articles. She has written thousands of articles, hundreds of ebooks and thousands of website pages and related content. She has also authored her own books and works as a consultant to other writers, Internet marketers and Internet businesses.

Lisa Mason, Professional wordsmith for hire: gamer, wife, mother, entrepreneur, published poet, co-owner of game guides company (, public speaker and Internet business consultant. You can learn more or follow Lisa's blog from her website:

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Thursday, April 16, 2009

Alternate Energy Grants from the Government

Wave energy briefingImage by Oregon Sea Grant via Flickr

Government Grants - Alternate Energy Grants by Matthew Salvinger

The need for using alternate sources for energy has been steadily rising as the environment is getting worse due to human consumption. For those people who wish to make a difference in their lifestyles, or want to help find better energy sources for everyone, there are government grants that will provide the funding to do so.

There are many different ways a person can put an alternate energy grant to good use. In the home and at a place of business, energy efficiency has become easier to do, although it can be costly.

Improving on the insulation in older homes and replacing windows with newer models can reduce the amount of energy it takes to heat the home. There are even new ways to heat a home that cut back on the amount and sometimes the type of energy used for warming a house. People can also provide energy for their own home and to their community by installing solar panels if they live in a location that gets a lot of sun. Any of these home improvements could qualify for a government grant.

Hybrid cars can be a way to receive government assistance. While it may not be a grant per say, people who purchase hybrid cars may qualify for a tax break. Some local forms of government do give these grants to people investing in a hybrid car, it just depends on the state.

Research is also a means of receiving government grants. Alternate energy grants may be used for finding a new source of energy and can fund studies for various power sources. These grants can apply to research or current energy sources and searching for ways to improve upon them or how to use less of them. This type of grant is the key to changing the future.

The US Government and private foundations award millions in grants to people just like you who are in need of financial help. The best part is, most grants come with absolutely NO INTEREST! Get more details.

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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Cellulosic Ethanol - An Advanced Ethanol Fuel that Could be the Answer to Our Global Energy Needs

{{es|Emisiones globales de diĆ³xido de carbono ...Image via Wikipedia

Cellulosic Ethanol - An Advanced Ethanol Fuel That Could Be the Answer to Our Global Energy Needs by Bob Randooke

We live in a society that has made it easy for us to develop very bad energy consumption habits. We have been spoiled over the last 50 years because of the fact that oil from fossil fuels is a very rich energy source, but the problem is that it is not a renewable energy source and therefore it will run out one day in the near future.

We got a little glimpse of what a shortage of oil can do to us as a nation last summer when gasoline prices went over $4.50 a gallon. Now this was just a temporary shortage. Imagine what will happen when we are close to using up the global oil supply. President Obama, has started to earmark millions of dollars towards research on alternative energies. In this article we will take a look at some alternative energies that continue to show promise.

Ethanol is a pretty good alternative energy fuel source and it is already being used in a few foreign countries. Brazil for example, powers most of the vehicles in its country of ethanol fuel and while it is a very green energy since it is made from corn and other farm sugars, it can really exhaust the global food supply really fast if we do not have ways to manufacture it on a large scale. There must be another alternative fuel source which is readily available that we really don't depend on as our main food sustenance.

Cellulosic ethanol is one of the most exciting advanced ethanol fuel sources that is being talked about globally and it is one that can potentially solve our future energy crisis. Cellulosic ethanol is an advanced type of biofuel that is made from the different parts of plants and trees that are not edible.

Cellulosic ethanol is made mainly from Lignocellulose, which makes up almost all of the mass of vegetation and it is mainly made up of three different types of cellulose. Woodchips are an example of material that can be used to make cellulosic ethanol, and it can be found all around us in abundance. When we cut our lawn and trimming trees with chips or byproducts of this, so instead of throwing these woodchips away we can use them in the future to create cellulosic ethanol. Another great benefit of this type of fuel is that it has been proven to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 85% compared to conventional gasoline fuel, and this is something that regular ethanol fuel cannot even come close to matching.

The only drawback to this alternative fuel is that it takes a lot more processing to get it to the end result of becoming an actual fuel source. If our government really get serious about this and pours in billions of dollars into this research they cut down the processing steps which will enable us to make this a readily available global alternative fuel. Let's hope the Obama administration lives up to its promise of funding these alternative fuel sources.

I love writing about alternative fuel sources such as Biofuel. You can read about the newest advances in biofuels at which is updated regularly with the newest, most exciting biofuel technologies coming out.

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Monday, April 13, 2009

CASE STUDY: Google Vs Yahoo - Who's Greener?

@ GoogleplexImage by ~C4Chaos via Flickr

Google Vs Yahoo - Who's Greener? by Chris Erichsen

Silicon Valley is known for both innovation and hype. Recently, this pool of innovation has extended beyond bandwidth to the protection of 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. Permit rainwater to seep into the ground as opposed to draining into the stormdrains

4. Remove certain waterborne pollutants

Here is a look at how green Google and Yahoo really are and how they 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 goes 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
  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.

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Sunday, April 5, 2009

Mobile Phone Disposal: A Rapidly Growing Problem

mobile phone recyclingImage by jontintinjordan via Flickr

Mobile Phones Not Being Recycled - Over 600kg of Gold and Silver Being Thrown Away
by Sam Maney

Every year in Britain over 15 million handsets are still being thrown in the bin and ending up at landfill sites. This equates to about 600kg of gold and silver with a value of around 6 Million pounds. Only 2% of all disposed mobiles in the UK are actually being recycled correctly. A spokesman for Umicore, a company in Belgium that operates the world's largest mobile processing plant, said that when 50,000 handsets are recycled just over a kilogram of gold and a kilogram of silver can be extracted from them.

Gold is used on the circuit boards within mobile phones and silicon chips are stuck in with it to prevent corrosion. Silver is used on the soldering. Mobile phones also contain tiny amounts of other precious metals including Platinum. Greenpeace, the environmental group said in a recent statement: "Mobile recycling rates are rising but are still quite low."

Many of the biggest recycling plants are located within Europe in countries such as Belgium and Germany. Umicore who also process other electronic equipment currently extract around six tonnes of gold every year which is worth around 30 Million pounds. The recycling industry has recently been given a boost by gold prices hitting $1000 an ounce last month for the first time in just under a year.

In Japan manufacturers are desperate to receive their old electronic products back because they desperately need the materials. In the long term it's likely we will see material security as one of the main drives for recycling throughout many countries around the world.

77% of people in Britain now own a mobile phone and are gradually becoming more aware of recycling. The new WEE directive forcing manufacturers to help dispose of their old products is helping to lift recycling rates. Nokia is advising their customers to recycle at dedicated centres or via the internet.

Get cash for your old mobile by recycling your mobile phone. To compare the UK's mobile recycling companies visit Mobile Phone Money.

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Saturday, April 4, 2009

Why Do Power Companies Not Like Solar Power?

Lluc sewage treatment plantImage via Wikipedia

Why Do Power Companies Not Like Solar Power? by Rodney Goodall

Actually, power companies don't so much dislike solar power as such. They just don't want people who own houses to set up their own solar panels. The reasons are simple yet selfish. The more people that set up solar panels on their roof tops, the less power the companies can sell to them.

So while you hear about how power companies are doing a lot to save the environment by producing cleaner energy or encouraging power saving by you using less electricity, bear in mind these very same companies almost exclusively use coal, petroleum and an abundance of other dirty means to produce their profits. Not that you can blame the power companies, it is their job to make money, not to save the world.

So, why is it that you also want to save money and save the world that you allow profit driven power companies to take your money when you don't have to?

Do not be fooled into thinking solar panels are expensive to make and install and that there is some mystical knowledge required to make your own. In fact, making solar panels is something almost anyone can make. The materials you need can be bought from your local hardware store. And the tools you need are already in most home handyman toolboxes.

What may also surprise you is that all you really need is clear instructions. If you have that, you can make solar panels.

And with solar panels, if you make enough of them, you can keep your money, do your part in saving the planet and send a clear message to the energy makers of the world that dirty energy is no longer acceptable.

To achieve the above, your first step is to find clear instructions. They are out there if you look hard enough. To get you started though, take a look at this URL below. has an excellent manual that will show you in easy step by step instructions how to make solar panels, and how to install and save on the materials. You will also find information on anything else you may want to know about solar energy for homes.

Rodney Goodall is a well known online authority and an author on a variety of subjects.

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Friday, April 3, 2009

Who Killed the Hemp Plant?

Cannabis sativa, scientific drawing.Image via Wikipedia

Who Killed the Hemp Plant? by Roland Ratliff

What's better, hemp or cotton? I bet you probably already know the answer, but I'll elaborate anyway. Cotton has been our major textile crop in the U.S. for many years. Why? Well, one can only guess. While cotton does make a nice fabric and is relatively strong, hemp has proven to be a much superior plant with a plethora of attributes that begs the question, why?

It has been cultivated for at least 12,000 years. The ancients knew the basic benefits and relied on it as a textile crop for many things. The seafaring folk used hemp for sails and ropes for millenia. As a matter of fact, the word canvass is derived from cannabis. It was a required crop of the American colonies, and remained a major crop until the 1950s. Did you know...

  • Henry Ford experimented with hemp in his auto manufacturing.
  • BMW is experimenting with it to make cars more recyclable.
  • Much of birdseed has hemp seeds.
  • The oil once greased machinery.
  • Most paints, resins, shellac and varnish were made with flax seed and hemp oils.
  • Rudolf Diesel designed his motor to run on hemp oil.
  • Kimberly Clark uses it in their factory in France to make bibles because it lasts longer and doesn't yellow.
  • Construction products like MDF, OSB, beams, studs and posts.
  • Can be used superiorly in over 25,000 products.
  • George Washington and Thomas Jefferson both grew hemp.

Industrial hemp and marijuana are both classified as Cannabis Sativa. A species with hundreds of varieties. It is a member of the mulberry family. The industrial strains are bred to maximize fiber and seed and/or oil, while marijuana is bred to maximize THC.

While they look alike to the untrained eye, they are easily distinguishable. Industrial breeds have a THC content of .05% and 1%. Marijuana's content is much higher, around 20%. This renders industrial breeds all but unsmokable.

Many of the varieties in North America have been lost. Seed banks were never maintained and therefore will have to be re-introduced by new genetic breeding, using both foreign and domestic 'ditchweed' strains that went feral after cultivation ended. What's worse, is many state National Guard units spend their weekends eradicating these strains in the ignorant belief that they are helping stop drug use. Duh...

There was a Popular Mechanics issue, back in 1938, that claimed hemp to be the "New Billion Dollar Crop". The reason? Hemp is much stronger than cotton. The fibers are longer, stronger, more absorbent and more mildew resistant than cotton. And, fabrics made with at least one-half hemp block the sun's UV rays more than any other fabric. It can be made into a variety of fabrics, including linen quality. Did you know...

  • Growers cannot hide marijuana in their fields. The tight rows and pollenisation will ruin any marijuana attempts. And, the industrial breeds are usually harvested before they go to seed.
  • It can be made into fine quality paper. The long fibers allow such paper to be recycled several times more than wood-based paper.
  • Because of the low lignin content, it can be pulped using less chemicals than with wood. It's natural brightness can do away with the need to use chlorine bleach, which means no toxic dioxin being dumped into rivers and streams. Instead, they can use hydrogen peroxide, which is gentler and kinder to the environment.
  • It grows well in a variety of climates and soil types. It is naturally resistant to pests, which eliminates the need for dangerous pesticides. No herbicides are needed, due to the tightly spaced competitive nature of the plant. On top of that, it leaves a virtually weed-free field for growing a following crop.
  • Hemp can displace wood fiber and save forests for watershed, wildlife habitat, recreation, oxygen production, carbon sequestration (which will reduce global warming), and many other benefits.
  • Used as a rotator crop, the soil needs no fertilizer, the plant actually replaces vital nutrients into the soil drained by vegetable crops.
  • It can yield 3 to 8 tons of fiber per acre. This is four times whan an average forest yields.
  • There are many uses for this 'high' quality plant. Not just in industry, but in make-up, food stuffs and medicine. So, one must wonder...."who killed the hemp plant?"

    Written by R. D. Ratliff

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