Saturday, June 27, 2009

POLLUTION: Abandoned Mines, Acid Mine Drainage, and the Promise of Bioleaching

Danger sign at the entrance to an old mine in ...Image via Wikipedia

Abandoned Mines, Acid Mine Drainage, and The Promise of Bioleaching by Christiana Moffa

The worldwide damage caused by abandoned mines is widespread. The magnitude of the problem is considerable, especially in countries with a long history of mining, where toxic chemicals leach into the surrounding areas.

The Abandoned Mine Problem

There are tens of thousands of sites around the world that contain mining-related arsenic and other substances. The effects of such contamination include polluted water, contaminated land, air pollution, loss of useful groundwater and land, and significant negative health consequences to humans and animals living in the area. More than a century of mining has left many areas around the world filled with highly-toxic materials and known carcinogens.

The issue is so widespread across the globe, and has been going on for so long, that the exact extent of the contamination is unknown and a complete list of affected sites remains unavailable. Studies of various geographic locations and anecdotal evidence, however, provide a robust understanding of the contamination and public health problem.

According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, there are approximately 420,000 abandoned mines, over 13,000 of which are categorized as "abandoned mines with potential environmental hazard," in the states of California, Arizona and Nevada alone.

Acid Mine Drainage

This process during which the sulfides contained in the tailings react with the atmosphere to create an acidic solution that expands to the surrounding area, is called "acid mine drainage." This long-term neglect has left many areas around the world severely polluted with known toxins.

A specific example of the toxic impact of unregulated mining can be seen in Thailand. The effect on human health related to arsenic poisoning in a southern province of Thailand was first recorded in 1987. This area, the Nakhon Si Thammarat Province, has a long history of bedrock and alluvial mining, producing significant amounts of waste products such as ores containing arsenopyrite. In 1994, an international group studied the extent of the impact on the surrounding aquifer systems in the area. The team discovered that the local drinking water contained 500 times the World Health Organization's potable drinking guidelines for dissolved arsenic. One thousand people were treated for skin problems by the late 1990's.

Bioleaching and Environmental Remediation Efforts

Until recently, little was done to address the negative environmental consequences of global progress toward modernization and an industrial economy. In some regions, no remediation efforts have been taken.

Bioleaching is a ground-breaking, eco-friendly technology for the mining area remediation process. An added benefit of bioleaching, in addition to stabilizing arsenic and capturing heavy metals, is that it oxidizes sulfides in the tailings, thereby eliminating a major source of acid mine drainage. The technology also recovers precious and base metals from the tailings for sale to market. In other words, bioleaching is an environmental clean up solution that can also create a profit.

Bioleaching uses naturally occurring bacteria, harmless to both humans and the environment, to oxidize the contained sulfides and separate metal from the difficult-to-process tailings. In the process, toxic elements such as arsenic are stabilized. The tailings created by bioleaching are benign, and zero environmental damage occurs as a result of the process. An added bonus is its ability to recover valuable metals such as silver, cobalt and nickel that remain in the tailings.

The author is a consultant to BacTech, a publicly-traded Canadian company that is pioneering environmental remediation efforts to offset the contamination caused by abandoned mines. For more information about BacTech's proprietary bioleaching technology, visit or call 416-813-0303.

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GREEN LIVING: Eat Less Meat to Save the Environment

MEROM HAGOLAN, GOLAN HEIGHTS - MAY 22:    Free...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

Eat Less Meat to Save the Environment by Cathleen Woods

Global climate change is already negatively affecting the lives of millions of people across the world. The Global Humanitarian Forum released a document in May 2009 setting the number of people's lives that are seriously affected by climate change at 300 million, and the number who die from it at 300,000 annually. Ninety percent of the deaths are from "gradual environmental degradation" like climate-related malnutrition, diarrhea, and malaria, not direct weather-related deaths.

The document said that 90% of the deaths are in undeveloped countries that contribute less than 1% of the total world's emissions. Forty-five million of the 900 million chronically hungry people across the world are hungry because of climate change. As food production is falling, prices will continue to increase and push more and more people into the hungry group. That is simply not fair.

We can no longer dally about pretending everything is fine and ecologically cyclical. We need to make changes now, and diet is one of the easiest and most effective changes we can make.

Unless you've been living under a rock, you are well aware that the transportation industry contributes to global climate change. In an effort to reduce their impact on the environment, many people have been flocking to fuel-efficient cars, hybrids, and electric cars. While that is incredible, studies show that changing your diet reduces more greenhouse gases than switching from an SUV to a Prius.

"The greenhouse gas emissions arising every year from the production and consumption of cheeseburgers is roughly the amount emitted by 6.5 million to 19.6 million SUVs. There are now approximately 16 million SUVs currently on the road in the US." If we cut out all cheeseburgers, we do as much to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as taking almost every single SUV off the road.

Most people know that turning off unused lights in our houses and buying energy-efficient light bulbs and appliances can make a huge difference on how much energy we personally use. Did you know that just 2.2 pounds of meat does as much harm to the environment as leaving all the lights on in your house while you drive for three hours?

How many people are aware that their diet choices also affect global climate change? Did you know that if you reduce or eliminate your use of animal products, that you can make a bigger difference than trading in all your SUVs for hybrids and all your old light bulbs for compact fluorescents?

If you simply stop eating meat for two days each week, it would have the same effect as replacing every single one of your appliances with a more energy efficient option.

News about how the meat industry is destroying the environment is making its way into the mainstream media. If you are an American, you should know that we are personally responsible for much of this damage to the environment. The average American eats about 275 pounds of meat each year, much more than any other country (the average Chinese person eats 108 pounds). While in the U.S. our population takes up only 5% of the world, we produce 18% of the world's emissions. Other Western countries follow the same pattern and account for the majority of total emissions.

More and more people seem to be aware that a plant-based diet takes less of a toll on the world around us than a meat-based diet. Choosing a vegetarian or vegan diet is the most beneficial choice you can make to help curb global warming and future environmental destruction.

Cathleen W. tells you how the animal industry is destroying the land, air, water, and oceans in A Fresh New Vegan You, an ebook that shares the benefits of a plant-based diet done the right way. Join the insiders and subscribe to her newsletter to stay up-to-date on your health.

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ZEITGEIST: And Sustainability For All

Al Gore: An Inconvenient TruthImage by Juampe López via Flickr

And Sustainability For All by Mary Preiser Potts

Recently, I read Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth", adapted for children, to my 7-year-old. He knows so many things at his tender age that I had no clue about until I was in my late teens, at least. We have lots of dinnertime conversations about how to conserve and how we can treat the planet more respectfully. My son usually begins with, "Get rid of the car! Get rid of the car!" Of course, he has never carried heavy grocery bags onto the city bus and then lugged them 1/2 a mile home, but at least he's thinking!

So, how can we turn things around on this planet when sustainable goods are priced out of range of the masses?

How can we back organic and healthy foods when, for example, organic cow and soy milks cost $5 a gallon?

Sure, it would be great if we all drove hybrid vehicles that got 50 miles to the gallon, but the fact remains that they are cost prohibitive for most people.

It would be wonderful if all new houses were built using sustainable materials and equipped with solar energy and efficient appliances, but with so much of our country (world) living at or below poverty, who can afford to be green?

And, how much better would it be if we all practiced good preventative health, like getting regular checkups, eating organic foods, getting regular exercise and taking high quality supplements - but with the stresses of just trying to survive and pay the bills, aren't cigarettes and alcohol just a cheaper mind-numbing means of escape? I don't mean to offend. I am an ex-smoker and regular user of small quantities of alcohol. It feels good to feel good, right?

One of my quests is to find out how "we the people" can create "sustainability for ALL" and heal our planet in the process. Perhaps part of the answer involves buying sustainable products in larger quantities by joining coops and coalitions so that we can eventually create a "sustainable" demand.

Mary Potts is a freelance writer who resides in Portland, OR. Her skills include copy writing, article writing and creative writing on a variety of subjects from parenting to health care for low income families. She also contributes a once a month blog about handmade home decor at (she is a clock designer in her 'spare' time).

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CONSERVATION: Sustainable Agriculture

Farmers in AP, IndiaImage via Wikipedia

Sustainable Agriculture by Segun Olowookere

Sustainable agriculture is the ability of a farmer to produce food in such a way that the environment and surrounding ecosystem is unaffected by their agricultural activities. There are a couple of issues that are connected with this form of agricultural activity which are biophysical and social-economic in nature.

The biophysical is related to the biological activities such as crop rotation, usage of fertilizers and artificial nutrients and the availability of other resources such as water, wind and sunlight whereas the social-economic is concerned with the employment of farmers, the cost of production and total yield.

The physical attributes of sustainability is not well understood. Most farming practices show that the end result of these practices has resulted in soil erosion, salination and water-logging. Most forests and tropical areas have lost their fertility due to over-cultivation and conventional farming techniques. These conventional farming techniques are being replaced by sustainable agricultural techniques. These techniques include usage of modern fertilizers, genetically-engineered crops, artificial nutrients and usage of renewable sources of energy.

There are many sustainable techniques for extracting nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium which are essential for plant growth. For nitrogen, we can use nitrogen-fixing bacteria and the Haber Process to industrially extract nitrogen from the air. As far as phosphorous and potassium are concerned, the right amounts of them can be mixed with nitrogen to produce high-yielding fertilizers.

In most areas, rainfall is sufficient for water supply needs but in other areas irrigation is required. These irrigation systems should be properly utilized in order to make the best use of the water available. Channels should have proper and adequate distribution. Moreover water logging and excessive use of chemicals should be avoided as these lead to salination. Some technologies such as tube wells and water drilling have considerably increased the spread and availability of water.

Natural resources these days are scarce and bad agricultural practices mean their extinction. Moreover, these habits also contribute to pollution and damage of the ecosystem. Crops at the time of their distribution should be accounted for in the sustainability equation. This means that all the expenses of crop production and distribution should be taken in account before doing the final cost benefit analysis.

There is a big debate between different businesses, farmers and scientists on making agriculture sustainable. One of the few practices can be growing many crops in a single field. This will reduce the loss of nutrients and will eliminate the chance of soil erosion. On the other hand, climatic conditions and water resources will be best utilized. Monoculture is another method that pertains to sustainable agriculture. This process consists of growing only one crop in a field, but it's not highly encouraged because it will result in soil losing it's fertility over time.

Over-grazing is also a factor that is contributing to soil erosion. This factor's impact can be greatly reduced by introducing a sustainable approach known as grazing management that includes dividing grazing areas into paddocks which are easy to manage and take less space.

Sustainable agriculture does affect the overall food yield and it needs to increase because of the ever-increasing world population but these techniques sometimes do negatively affect the environment e.g. usage of fertilizers use to eutrophication and burning of forests to clear land for cultivation may lead to carbon dioxide emissions.

Some exponents who favour sustainable agriculture agree on using organic farming. Although this technique yields comparatively low but can be used as an alternative in those areas which are drought-prone. It's an expensive method but if people are educated about the usage of this technique, then there are fair chances that it will be used widely and new techniques will be introduced which will increase the output in future.

Another recent idea is the introduction of vertical farms which will isolate the crop from pests, provide full year production and on-site production. Again, cost is the major concern which disallows this sustainable agriculture technique.

We can simply deduce the fact that sustainable agriculture is needed in the modern world but considerations need to be made as the implementation of these techniques is not quite feasible and requires some thought. Although, really beneficial this technique still remains a dream for under-developed and developing nations.

Segun Olowookere recently started his own clothing company called Lowooke who speciallise in designing, producing and distributing a range of clothing aimed at the urban and youth market. The apparel that Lowooke sells is produced using organic materials that have been ethically sourced. You can view their range of Urban Clothing London at

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GREEN LIVING: Organic Farming

Organic farm at CERES - wind turbine, office a...Image via Wikipedia

Organic Farming by Segun Olowookere

The word organic has a number of ideas attached to it. The definition cannot be narrowed to a particular area of study; in fact, the word "organic" spreads over a larger range of areas where it can be applied. The basic definition, however, remains the same because the derivation of the meaning of the word is unanimously universal.

Organic is derived from or relates to, living organisms. In the simplest sense of the word, organic is simply organic matter obtained from the use of living organisms. Anything that involves the use of fertilizers or pesticides which are strictly and solely obtained from animal or vegetable origin are organic in nature.

Raised or carried out without the use of drugs, hormones or synthetics chemicals deems products to be organic in nature, example being organic Cattle rearing. Lifestyle of people can also be organic if it is close to nature or simple and healthy.

Organic farming is described as an ecologically balanced approach to farming which does not rely on artificial means to yield products. It is basically not treated with any kind of chemicals or at the most, the minimum amounts of chemicals are used. Foods which are organic are usually believed to be free of artificial additives and processed with the least use of artificial methods.

Surveys and studies have revealed the environmental effects of organic farming and the consensus across these surveys is that organic farming is less detrimental for the following reasons:

1 - Organic farms do not consume or release synthetic pesticides into the environment, which may prove harmful for soil and aquatic life.

2 - They are capable of maintaining a diverse eco system and a balanced one.

3 - Uses less energy and produce less waste.

4 - Adds fertility to soil.

5 - Provides boosts the natural resistance of plants and animals against diseases by encouraging the number of natural organisms to flourish.

Apart from benefiting the environment, it is also accredited to organic farming that it increases the yield. However, there are certain critics who refute it by claiming that organic farming can feed a meager number of people compared to the world population and that too after destruction of eco systems and an excess waste of resources.

A rebuttal to this statement shows that materials needed for organic farming are easily accessible than those used in conventional farming, and thus organic methods could produce enough food to sustain the world population. The fact of the matter is, that organic farming may benefit the yield in some countries while it may not do the same in others, depending on how developed a country is and obviously because of the availability of materials needed in organic farming. Studies also reveal that organic farming is more energy efficient.

Moreover, organic products are known to have more nutrients as compared to conventionally grown products. Since the soil quality improves as a result of organic farming better taste is also attributed to organic products for this reason.

As given above, organic products are more improved and provide many benefits to the consumers. Usually all organic products have similar characteristics. All such products are free from the use of any synthetic chemicals and are extremely original in nature. Generally organic products are more costly and higher demands of these products are directly related to higher incomes. A number of other factors determine the demand for organic products and the need for an organic lifestyle. The propensity to buy organic products has been related to people's concern to external or direct personal effects of their usage.

Segun Olowookere recently started his own clothing company called Lowooke who speciallise in designing, producing and distributing a range of clothing aimed at the urban and youth market. The apparel that Lowooke sells is produced using organic materials that have been ethically sourced. You can view their range of Urban Clothing London at

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POLLUTION CASE STUDY - Recent Developments in China Air Pollution

Shanghai at sunset, as seen from the observati...Image via Wikipedia

Recent Developments in China Air Pollution by Barry Lough

China has seen great economic development over the decades. This has taken place largely to the benefit of their population, but some problems have arisen. Air pollution in China has become quite a significant concern. They are aware of it of course and some progress has been made in rectifying it. That said, they have a long way to go.

Since 2007, China has been the world's #1 emitter of greenhouse gases, making air pollution in Asia, including China, a serious global issue. It is at least as serious a problem for the Chinese people. Chinese air quality contributes to the deaths of three quarters of a million people every year, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

China's economic growth, combined with industrial equipment that could now be replaced with cleaner technology, is largely responsible for the current Chinese air pollution situation. A major example is cement making. China's construction and infrastructure-building boom have led to this country becoming the world's leading maker of cement. Just over half the worldwide output now comes from China. Concrete production is polluting and highly energy intensive and methods currently used in China compound the problems.

Many producers use inefficient shaft kilns, which the West started to abandon at the beginning of the 20th Century. Overall, 6% of the nation's electricity is used in operating cement-making plants, and much of it is wasted. These unscrubbed kilns also emit vast quantities of mercury, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, particulate matter, and other polluting and toxic substances. Being unscrubbed also means that the facility is operated without the use of additional technology specifically designed to reduce emissions.

Much of the power requirement of these kilns is met by old-fashioned, unscrubbed coal-burning power plants. Almost 70% of China's electrical demands are met using coal. The overwhelming majority of China's greenhouse gas emissions come from this type of source and fuel.

These issues came to the fore during the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, which opened with the city clouded in smog. Although the skies did clear up, to what degree air quality improved is a subject of speculation. The Chinese government closed the only independent agency monitoring air pollution in Beijing, the Cambridge Environmental Research Consultants (CERC), for the duration of the games.

The data available comes from either independent, but untrained journalists, or the Chinese government and the impartiality of these numbers has been identified as suspicious. Even if the Chinese officials accurately reported China air quality statistics, the standards used for comparison leave something to be desired. While they consider any day with a particulate matter rating below 100 to be a "Blue Sky Day," the WHO draws their line at 50.

They are making some efforts to reverse the trend towards ever-greater air pollution. Their reforestation project, "the great wall of green," will become the world's single greatest re-planting of forest when completed. However, the country's progress in other ways has been less promising. In 2000, their government promised that it would reduce the China air pollution by 10 percent by the year 2005. However, China grew to surpass the United States as the world's biggest greenhouse gas emitter. home page for author's meteorological website. gives more detail on China air quality.

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GREEN LIVING: Why Consumers Demand Natural Products

Whole Foods MarketImage via Wikipedia

Why Consumers Demand Natural Products by Collin R Sullivan

Recently, there has been a new trend in the consumer market. This new trend is all about natural, organic products. The demand for natural products is at an all-time high. Some such products include mineral makeup or mineral cosmetics, natural foods, and chemical-free household cleaners.

The reason for this trend is that many people are finding out chemicals used in cosmetics, foods, and cleaners may be harmful to the environment and themselves or their families. Ever since this realization, consumers began buying products that are all or mostly natural, which created the natural products movement.

Some cosmetics companies such as Aveda and The Body Shop began their businesses by selling only natural products. Natural makeup means the cosmetics do not have chemicals in them like normal makeup. Usually, natural makeup is made mainly from plants without adding additional chemicals. Natural makeup does not have the chemicals that normal cosmetics have, which should be better for one's skin. Natural cosmetics also come in more shades than regular makeup, which makes it easy to find a shade that is perfect for each individual skin tone. More and more women are buying natural makeup that will not harm their skin nor make it seem like they are wearing makeup.

Grocery stores like Whole Foods Market and Trader Joe's have recently become very popular since consumers are looking for natural, organic food for themselves and their families. Organic food has little to no chemicals in the food, therefore, it does not go through the regular food process that non-organic food does.

For example, organic meat is meat that is nearly hormone free and usually the animals are fed a natural diet. Another example would be fruits and vegetables. Organic fruits and vegetables are not sprayed with pesticides and they grow in natural soil. Some, however, argue pesticides are not as harmful as people think. Either way, people are buying more organic food than ever. The natural food movement has gained momentum over the years as consumers are demanding products that will not harm them or their families.

One of the newest trends in the market is chemical-free cleaners. For years, when people cleaned their homes, they sprayed chemicals on the countertops, the floors, and the windows. Now, many companies offer chemical-free household cleaners.

Companies began selling more environmentally-friendly cleaners because consumers began to worry the chemicals they were using in their homes could be harmful to their families and the environment. Chemical-free household cleaners are better for the environment than normal cleaners because they are made with natural products, usually from plants. Therefore, the chemical-free cleaners are reportedly less harmful than the regular cleaners to humans.

It does not seem as though there will be decrease in demand for natural products any time soon. Natural makeup sales are on the raise, as well as sales for natural foods and natural household cleaners. Americans have decided they want their products to be natural and safe for themselves, their families and the environment.

Collin Sullivan has noticed a huge increase in mineral makeup and mineral cosmetics sales in the last few years.

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CONSERVATION: What is Your Carbon Footprint?

Lowering Carbon FootprintImage by GreenNetizen via Flickr

What is Your Carbon Footprint? by Jerry Dyess

The number of pounds of carbon dioxide each individual generates a year is astounding; in the United States the average is 15,000 pounds. This number takes into account the amount of carbon dioxide produced when the products and services we use are produced, the fuel we use to travel and the amount of energy we use in our homes. It is however possible to reduce and eliminate this number and live a "carbon neutral" life. Reducing our "carbon footprint" is an important step towards clean Texas energy sources.

Texans can start reducing their carbon footprint by becoming more energy efficient. This requires individuals to use less energy while maintaining their current lifestyle. This can be done by:

• Switching to energy efficient appliances and light bulbs. Energy efficient light bulbs can save over 100 pounds of carbon dioxide in a year's time.
• Reducing the amount of hot water used. People can invest in efficient on demand hot water heaters, low flow shower heads and wash clothes in cold water. This reduces the carbon dioxide load by over 300 pounds.
• Recycling reduces carbon dioxide waste by 2,500 pounds. Start a recycling program if one is not available.
• Planting trees can reduce carbon dioxide in the atmosphere by about one ton for each tree planted. The trees not only absorb carbon dioxide, they provide wind breaks to keep buildings warm in the winter and shade to keep them cooler in the hotter months.

Another step towards the goal of clean Texas energy sources involves switching to renewable or clean energy sources such as solar and wind. Texas has always been synonymous with the oil industry. As sources of fossil fuel dwindle (oil production in Texas is down 73 percent since 1972) the state has to find new energy sources. The state has renewable and clean Texas energy sources to supply as much or even more sustainable energy than that which was supplied by fossil fuels. The potential for clean Texas energy is found in the renewable energy sources of wind, geothermal, biomass and solar power.

Wind power is considered sustainable and cost effective and is perfect as a clean Texas energy source. Texas has the potential to produce enough energy from wind to be self reliant. Calculations also show an overflow of wind power, this excess can be sold within the region.

Texas' location is perfect for solar power generation. The state has many long sunny days, perfect for harvesting solar energy. Solar energy requires an investment but the returns make it worth it. With the diminishing fossil oil reserves, Texas will have a substantial number of abandoned wells. These wells can be geared up to produce geothermal energy. This is another way to convert fossil energy dependency to clean Texas energy usage. Waste from agricultural and landfills can be used to produce biomass energy. Biodiesel has already been used to power some vehicles in some Texas cities effectively reducing some those cities carbon footprints.

Purchasing green power at the individual, city or government level can lead to widespread use of clean Texas energy. Texans can reduce their carbon foot print by building small scale renewable energy sources suitable for businesses or homes. The parts are affordable with wind and solar energy kits readily available. Individuals can also invest money in companies that sell, research and manufacture parts related to clean energy.

About the author - J. Dyess has specialized in Texas electricity and owner of Choose Energy ( for the past 7 years. You have full permission to reprint this article provided this box remains unchanged. Your source for lower Texas electric bills.

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An increasing share of world energy consumptio...Image via Wikipedia

Energy Demand by Ian Ramsey

Over the last 150 years demand for energy has soared as countries all across the world become more developed and require vast amounts of energy to fuel their expanding economies. With some of the largest countries in the world still developing this rapid increase in energy, demand is set to continue as countries such as China and India grow economically.

The majority of the world's energy is still generated from traditional fossil fuels. However, this is somewhat concerning as these non-renewable resources are inevitably going to be exhausted one day, hence the need for a major shift towards renewable energy sources.

Renewable energy resources such as solar power and wind power are a very attractive alternative to fossil fuels as they are for one renewable and never going to be exhausted and they are also environmentally friendly as opposed to fossil fuels which produce a large amount of environment damaging green house gasses when burnt.

The leading source of renewable energy at present is hydroelectric power. This method of generating energy relies on water draining down from higher ground and turning a turbine which then produces energy stored in a generator. The most effective way of using such energy production is to build a dam that filters through water to produce energy.

After the initial production costs of building a dam this energy production is seen to be a relatively cheap method of production. In recent years around 15% of the world's electricity has been generated by hydroelectric energy, with some countries going as far as having nearly all their domestic electricity generated via this method.

Renewable energy resources are the future of gas and electricity production as countries all across the world invest in these methods.

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ZEITGEIST: New Thought, Ancient Wisdom For a Modern Age

Universal Declaration of Human RightsImage by Jordan Lewin via Flickr

New Thought, Ancient Wisdom For a Modern Age by M. Daniel Walsh

Ancient Origins

In order to grasp the scope of just how old this movement is, it's probably best to start right at its origins, Ancient Egypt. Now, this may shock some people, but historians and modern Egyptians agree: the Pyramids weren't built by slaves, nor was the foundation of the great Egyptian culture based on slavery.

The whole culture, along with all its massive implications was built atop the same principles we now call "New Thought Principles." The big difference being, they were originally called, "The Th'out Principles" long before we ever added the word new to them. Th'out was an ancient Egyptian man/deity who set forth a set of guiding principles upon which the bulk of western culture has been formed.

Permit me to explain, unlike Adam Smith who taught "Self interest is the highest interest," Th'out taught that, "Creating the most good for the most possible people results in the most good for you." In simple terms, giving precedes receiving.

That simple concept is the cornerstone of the lessons he laid forth. So how did that one simple idea build the pyramids and civilization as we know it?

The Most Possible Good

Northern Egypt has some very fertile lands. But every year, for almost half the year those lands get flooded and farmers get displaced with no place to farm but the barren dessert. Imhotep (a student of Th'out) presented the Pharaohs with a plan: They would store grain all year long in massive stone warehouses, then once the floods came all the people would migrate to the city and wait until the waters subsided.

You see, "The most possible good for the most possible people" was the source of this idea of storing and sharing grain on such a massive scale. When the farmers had tried to store enough for just themselves, the system became too unstable, but when organized into a collective, there was actually more than enough for everyone and Egypt became the largest food exporter in the early world providing even the grain upon which Rome was built!

Here's where it get's interesting:

  1. Roads: In order to transport all that grain and all those people, roads and other new technologies needed to be developed. Within a short time all of northern Egypt became a tightly interconnected civilization.
  2. Cities: With all those people migrating to the center each year, housing grew, culture was shared, art Flourished, and the first major cities of the western world emerged.
  3. Pyramids: But what do all the farmers do with half a year off? Massive projects were created including temples, libraries, and of course the world famous pyramids!

A simple idea of trying to find the most possible good for the most possible people and voila! From the desire to care and nurture the Egyptian people came one of our civilizations first, largest, and most influential accomplishments.

The Accomplishment wasn't the Pyramids...

The Pyramids are an easy to see testament to the prowess of these principles. But the real accomplishment was an idea, a new way of viewing each other. This idea manifested as the notion of a proper written Constitution of Rights guaranteed to all.

For us in the modern era, nearly every country around the world has some form of constitutional rights. These are the guarantees societies make to their members. Before Th'out there is no record of any formal constitution ever written.

The principle he set forth nearly 5,000 years ago gave rise to the very idea of having human beings organizing together to guarantee each other certain agreed upon rights and privileges well beyond the old standard of: "Might Makes Right."

The Modern New Thought Era

Over those 5,000 years many of these constitutions have strayed very far from the original principles of human equality he set forth. But recently, in 1948 the United Nations passed the "Universal Declaration of Human Rights" which represents the first truly global constitutional of human rights.

Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states: "All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood."

Imagine our world with its modern technology and tools all working together as a global community in the spirit of kinship, dedicated to the betterment of all. This is no small group adopting this declaration either. Leaders from the 192 nations comprising the United Nations have ratified this constitution as the guiding principle for the next era of humanity...

It may take some time before 100% of the planet recognizes and agrees that the best results will come from all us working together in a spirit of kinship, but what an amazing time it will be!

Welcome to the Modern New Thought Era!

End Note: The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the single most translated document in the world!

To learn more visit: New Thought Ancient Wisdom.

The author, M. Daniel Walsh is an avid leader within the New Thought Movement who specializes in teaching others how to get Real World Results using New Thought Concepts. He now offers a completely free mini-version of the New Thought Practicals Strategy School at:

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CLIMATE CHANGE: Is There a Global Water Shortage?

The surface of a freshwater lake in daylight.Image via Wikipedia

Is There a Global Water Shortage? by Tal Potishman

The worlds water supply is receiving significant attention recently, and with good reason. Water is our most precious resource, but it has been mismanaged, wasted, and poorly distributed for decades, leading to shortages in many areas of the world.

The worlds population today consists of more than six billion people, which is double the population in 1950. Water usage across the globe has tripled during this same time, leading to the current statistic indicating that one-third of the worlds population lives in water-deprived situations. Many cities experiencing significant growth lack the infrastructure to handle the water and sewage needs for their expanding populations.

The worlds agricultural industries use most of the worlds available fresh water. There is room for improved water conservation in the agricultural sector, and new methods are required to ensure adequate fresh water for crops. Loss of fresh irrigation water is common in the worlds hot and dry areas, while water and soil run off is common in the more moderate growing locations.

Crops can grow and thrive just as well with non-potable water as with fresh water, but new developments for safe non-potable irrigation water need to be researched. More attention is being channelled to these areas, and the desired result is that more fresh water will be diverted to urban areas surrounding agricultural locations. Experts report that water used for agriculture can feasibly be reduced by up to fifty percent.

The International Water Institute has reported that governments across the globe must take responsibility for saving the worlds water supply and preventing water shortages. Water management topics that need immediate attention from world leaders include the consequences of tourism on water supplies, water and sewage infrastructure improvement, saving the worlds remaining wetlands, water contamination, and prevalent practices that result in wasted water.

Notable progress has been made in countries where water shortages loom as populations continue to grow at a surprising rate. Saudi Arabia, China, and Algeria have all invested billions of dollars in contracts with water suppliers with the intention of improving their existing systems and solving water management problems.

The Saudi Arabian government is concentrating on replacing aging water pipelines and instituting water management strategies, and China is focusing on adding or improving water services to its cities and developing treatment and water recycling processes. Desalination plants are the major water project for the Algeria government.

The world is beginning to realise the importance of paying attention to current and impending water problems. As governments across the globe recognise the need for action to correct years of water mismanagement, we can begin to protect the future of the worlds fresh water supply.

Tal Potishman, editor of Heating Central, writes articles about boilers, central heating, Bradford plumbers, underfloor heating and solar thermal. He specializes in helping save money by advising on efficient heating.

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Thursday, June 25, 2009

RECYCLING: How to Get Cash For Recycling Old Electronics

Electronics recyclingImage by AxsDeny via Flickr

How to Get Cash For Recycling Old Electronics by Philip Badeau

Recycling is something more and more people are getting involved in. There is a lot of news today on the television and online about how our environment is suffering and how we need to take better care of it. We all have electronics that we want to replace so why not help the environment and get cash for recycling old electronics?

Today your electronic equipment is outdated so quickly because new stuff comes out all the time and we all want the latest and the greatest electronics. For example, the average person gets a new cell phone at least every two years if not sooner, and computers do not last too much longer before they are replaced.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has found that old electronics that get put in landfills totalled more than 2 millions tons in 2005. Our electronics are full of chemicals and other dangerous material that can damage our environment and pollute the soil. More and more people are realizing it is necessary and even financially beneficial to recycle old electronics.

Many areas have programs set up to collect old electronics for recycling. Often people can get cash for recycling old electronics through these programs. There are limitations, however, like specific days they accept old electronics and limited locations for dropping the electronics off. Because of this, there are many areas where people would like to get cash for recycling old electronics but they do not have the opportunity.

Set up Your Own Cash for Recycling Old Electronics Business

If you are considering starting a business to provide cash in your area because you think there is a need, you should first look at your local community government website. Here you will find everything you need to know about legislation about recycling, what reports you are required to file and how you can register with your business with your local government.

Your state may not have any programs offering incentives like cash but that doesn't mean you can't look into the federal government's programs. You could always work with the EPA through its Plug-In program that supports the effort to recycle old electronics around the country.

You should also see if there is a demand in your area for cash in this business. Who would your customers be? Would they be homeowners replacing electronics one at a time or companies who would do more bulk recycling because they have to have the most current equipment for their employees? Businesses definitely provide more volume in the cash for businesses since they are not doing a piece at a time generally. Some vendors will let you recycle your old electronics through them but that is not always as easy as it sounds. It can require a lot of red tape and running around for the business owner.

Now is the time to consider a cash for recycling old electronics business and start making money! As long as you know what you are getting into, you can help the environment and run a successful business at the same time.

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CASE STUDY - The Biotech Research Role in Energy Conservation

The Biotech Research Role in Energy Conservation by Bryan E Anderson

Background And Introduction

In this report we will share some good news. As a result of the recent government stimulus bill, there are extensions of valuable tax credits and tax deductions to reward energy conservation. There are also some significant increases in the benefits for home owners. We are confident that the information provided in this report can benefit millions of people and that makes it good news indeed.

The good news is that contractors can build energy efficient new homes and get credits ranging from $1000.00 to $2000.00. Owners of commercial buildings can make their buildings more energy efficient and get tax deductions of up to $1.80 a square foot depending on the situation. Home owners can make their homes more energy efficient and get tax credits of 30% with a dollar cap of $1500 in benefits.

Heating and cooling homes and buildings is a major energy cost. One of the products that will help get these credits and deductions is insulation. Due to scientific advances coming from the NASA Space Program, there are new and very flexible forms of insulation that come in the form of energy saving paint and additives to make energy saving coatings. One way to understand these products is to think of liquid applied insulation.

These energy saving products greatly extend the options that can be used to make a home or a building more energy efficient. Note: BioTech Research may soon be marketing a ceramic paint additive that when mixed with regular paint, creates a "thermal paint" that saves energy (a complement to their EdenPure infrared heaters which also save energy).

The background for this information comes from the big tax bill that passed in 2005 which introduced these tax breaks for home owners and business owners. At that time the tax deduction for making a commercial building was very attractive and the tax credit for new energy efficient homes was worth pursuing. However the benefit for home owners was limited to only 10% with a cap of $500., which was only marginally beneficial for home owners.

In the new bill, there are significant time extensions on the commercial building deduction and the new home credit. However the beefed up credit for home owners has gone up in a major way and will probably drain a lot of money from the government that will go into the pockets of wise home owners. It is no surprise therefore, that the window on this benefit is limited to products placed into service during the years 2009 and 2010. At midnight on the last day of 2010, the carriage turns into a pumpkin and the tax credit window is closed.

Because there are real benefits here and because there are significant time windows to work with, we feel this is a good time to report on these benefits. The goal of this report is make the benefits easy to understand and to identify some products that might be used to take advantage of the offer from the government to pay for people to make their homes and buildings more energy efficient.

We see this as a win-win situation. New business opportunities will open up and new jobs will be created. Major savings on energy will take place and people will lower the cost of becoming more energy efficient while putting themselves in a position to enjoy long term energy savings. On the global scale, there will be less pollution put into the air and reduced dependence on energy from far away unfriendly places.

How The Energy Efficient Home Tax Credit Can Benefit Homeowners

Before going into detail on this, it is important to direct all decision makers to talk with their tax advisors because we at New Energy Solutions do not claim to be official tax advisors. I do have a PhD, and I have studied this information, and I have a background in energy conservation that goes back many years. It is therefor reasonable for me to provide information and analysis. However, I am not an official tax advisor and so people who use these advisors and pay money to them to help do taxes, should take advantage of the fact that they are indeed official tax advisors.

Another important point is to identify the financial benefits that can accrue to a homeowner who wants to benefit from this tax credit. There are four advantages for the homeowner:

A. Thirty percent of a portion of the up front cost can be recovered in the first year. This is because the tax credit is paid by the government and most homeowners pay taxes. A guaranteed thirty percent return on a portion of the money is a good bargain. It is made possible by the government. The total amount that can be gained is $1500. If one were to earn that net amount, it would require more costs such as taxes to get this equivalent savings. So the net gain is more that this amount. This is a good deal for home owners.

B. There is a potential pay back in energy savings that can last a lifetime and that can be very significant. At some point, the savings on the cost of the utility bill pays back the money put into the project. After this, the lower cost of the utility bill is profit for the home owner. Even a small amount of savings every year, can add up to a large amount over time. Saving money is a good thing.

C. The green movement is alive and well in the US. Surveys show that people will pay more for a home that is energy efficient. Bankers will loan more money in what is known as a green mortgage since the cost of the utility bill is lower and the load of the mortgage payment is reduced. The equity value of the home goes up as it becomes more energy efficient.

D. In many cases there are additional benefits that come from making a home energy efficient. Often the home will have a reduced danger of fire. Many times there will be reduced problems from water. Sometimes the carpet and furniture will be protected. Often the comfort of the home increases. Equipment can be down sized, which reduces the expense. Equipment will run less often; thereby reducing the cost of maintenance and replacement. The energy demand of the building is reduced and this opens up the possibility of using renewable energy as a source of energy. In some cases, the need to keep on repainting can be greatly reduced. There are very positive benefits.

The key steps to take advantage of this credit are as follows:

A. Identify products that will qualify for the tax credit. The Department of Energy and the IRS have information on this. Asking for this information from the Internet will produce results. One of the products that does qualify is insulation. Traditional insulation will qualify. More innovative insulation such as radiant barrier and liquid insulation coatings will qualify.

B. Check to see that a Manufacturers Certificate will be available. This will be provided by many of the venders of these products and it is a form that goes to the IRS at tax time.

C. It is important to understand that the 30% tax credit is for the material and not for the labor. We imagine that business people will in some cases adapt to this by charging higher on the material side and lower on the labor side. For the do it your self home owner, it will be very clear what the cost of the materials will be.

D. The product must be placed in service before the tax credit window closes. Remember that there was a carriage until midnight and then it turned into a pumpkin. The open window is in 2009 and 2010. When 2010 is over, the tax credit will then expire. Remember that this is a very good credit and the government will lose lots of money because of this credit. That is why the window is so narrow. Wise home owners will take advantage of a gift from the government while it is available; just as wise farmers will harvest the crop before winter sets in.

How Energy Paint, Or Liquid Insulation Can Help People Get Government Benefits

There are millions of people who can benefit from the governmental benefits that are offered as a reward for making homes and buildings more energy efficient. The three main groups that will benefit are:

A. Home owners who make their homes more energy efficient.

B. Owners of commercial buildings who make their buildings more energy efficient and owners of public and non profit buildings who get indirect benefits from contractors.

C. Contractors who build new energy efficient homes.

This report will not go into detail about all of these situations. We have done other reports on this general subject. What we will note however, is that insulation can be used in all of these situations to save on the cost of heating and cooling.

The dictionary definition of insulation is: "to separate a conductor of electricity, heat, or sound from other conducting bodies by means of something that will not conduct electricity, heat, or sound". This comes from one of the Webster dictionaries. The key point to understand is that insulation stops heat. The normal flow of heat is to move from a warm place to a cold place. When insulation is placed between these two places the flow of heat is stopped or slowed down.

It is traditional to think of insulation as pink packages of fiber glass or masses of chopped up paper. The visual image is that the mass stops or slows the heat. More space efficient insulation comes in the form of various types of foam. Some of the most innovative and efficient insulation comes in smaller packages and it is predicted that in the future it will help modify home building in a positive way. For the present it is too expensive to be cost effective and we do not currently recommend it.

There are two types of insulation that are innovative and cost effective that we do recommend. One is radiant barrier and the other is energy paint or liquid insulation. Both of these products come from the work done in the NASA Space Program. They were created to provide major insulation with just a small amount of material. The radiant barrier works only by reflection. The paint insulation works both by reflection and by heat traps to stop the heat. Venders of both products will provide Manufacturers Certificates so that both products can be used to qualify for tax credits.

The benefit of insulation (thermal, ceramic) paint or liquid insulation is that it is very cost effective and very flexible and very space efficient. It can go on as a permanent coating in many parts of the home or building. It can be on the roof, the outside walls, the inside walls, the ceilings. It can go in the basement and under the roof just over the attic. Because it will reflect a major amount of heat and then trap a major amount of heat, it is very energy efficient. It can be used to make the home warm in winter and cool in the summer. It over comes many of the problems of traditional insulation.

Insulation paint can be purchased in liquid form. It can also be purchased in bags of small very heat efficient additives. This provides great flexibility, since the quality additives can be mixed in a great variety of paint. Both the pre-mixed paint and the additives that are added to paint, will qualify as insulation.

Dr. Bryan Anderson is a Biotech Researcher with the Biotech Research group. He has written numerous articles on the technology behind the Biotech Research: Eden Pure Heaters.

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