Tuesday, September 29, 2009

SOLAR ENERGY: Solar Power in Space Can Power the Planet

By Nathan Lew

The 21st century is full of examples of sci-fi becoming just plain science, and none is more startling than PowerSat Corporation's determination to float solar panels in space to trap sunlight and beam the energy back to earth in the electromagnetic equivalent of radio waves.

It's an idea ahead of its time, but solar radiation is five times stronger than any place on Earth because all the atmospheric particulates and carbon dioxide don't reduce solar inputs. There are also no clouds or storms to worry about; thus the Sun transfers nearly 100% of its energy to the solar panel.

There are, however, obstacles to space-based solar power, one being getting the panels into the ionosphere without spending a gazillion dollars, and the other involves wiring the array.

PowerSat recently filed a patent meant to solve both problems. Of course, we can't give you the precise details, but it seems the company will build a solar array and use the power from that (code name SPOT, or Solar Power Orbital Transfer) to launch some (half, one-quarter?) of the panels into orbit via electronic thruster technology - a move that reportedly saves $1 billion.

The second solution is similar to cloud computing, or linking remote desktops to create a more powerful computer. Reportedly, PowerSat's system - code name Brightstar - could connect as many as 300 smaller arrays into one huge one, convert the direct-current (DC) energy into radio-frequency energy, and beam that down to earth to be converted into electricity at the substation. Scotty is not part of that plan, however.

PowerSat says the inventions could save $1 billion of the estimated cost of putting 2,500 megawatts of solar panels in space, but doesn't say how much money is still required to accomplish the feat. A 2007 Pentagon report suggests $1 billion per megawatt, with the project technically doable by 2016. Still, if one does the numbers, the distance to grid parity remains enormous. At least on earth, we're getting close to parity, with the U.S. aiming for $.10 cents in 2010 and Europe, with its much higher utility costs, expecting parity within a decade.

Parity is the point at which renewable energy technologies like solar and wind cost customers the same amount per kilowatt hour as traditional energy sources like coal and oil.

PowerSat isn't the first company looking to space for solar energy. Two months ago, Solaren announced a contract with California-based Pacific Gas and Electric (PGandE), which has promised to buy its entire output of space-based solar power - 200 megawatts by 2016.

Solaren, now 10 years old, remains confident it can meet that deadline. PowerSat, a mere eight years old, seems equally confident of its expertise. Is it the optimism of youth, or do these guys know something that has eluded the rest of us science neophytes?

Time will tell, perhaps in as little as three years, when PowerSat launches a low-earth-orbit, 10-kilowatt demonstration project at a cost of about $100 million, followed in 2015 by a prototype. If success ensues, the company will seek out a partnership with a utility or the government, or offer an IPO to generate the funds needed for step two. Projections estimate the cost of a 2.5-gigawatt project at about $4.5 billion.

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 about solar panels to help with your solar project.

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

GREEN LIVING: Four Exciting New Green Technologies

By Luke Blahnik

Green communities and residential buildings are gaining popularity all across the nation. As the green housing movement gains momentum, developers and architects are rolling out exciting new green technologies and features. Below are four communities that are changing the "green" movement for the better.

1. Porous Streets and Sidewalks
Pringle Creek, a 132 home development in Salem, Oregon is being built with entirely porous streets and sidewalks. Porous surfaces allow 90% of rainwater to run back into the surrounding soil. This dramatically cuts down on the negative effects that polluted storm water runoff can have on surrounding river and lake systems. The community also captures excess rain water in storage tanks for use on community gardens.

2. Homes Frames Made From Recycled Steel
Sonoma Mountain Village in Rohnert Park, California is taking a whole new approach to building homes. The community will feature an on site solar power facility where home frames are made from recycled steel. Each of the communities 1,900 homes will use the equivalent of 6 SUV's worth of recycled steel and will save 40 trees.

3. Living Completely Off The Grid
Quay Valley, a 50,000 home community still in the conceptual stages in Kings County, California have laid out an extraordinary plan in regards to power. Quay Valley aims to be the first entirely solar powered development in the world. They hope to accomplish this through the construction of three, 100 acre solar arrays. The developer of the community actually estimates that the panels will produce excess electricity which will be sold back to the neighboring townships.

4. Maximizing The Sunlight
Enso, a stunning new 19 story condo tower in downtown Seattle, Washington aims to take advantage of natural sunlight. Every unit features floor to ceiling windows with a large "curtain wall". The window wall is designed to let abundant light into the apartments without overheating them through the use of insulated glass and a retractable curtain. Maximizing sunlight exposure can help to keep units much warmer in the winter months and dramatically cut down on the need for artificial lighting.

Information about these and dozens of other sustainable communities can be found at http://www.GreenHousingDevelopments.com. The website is dedicated to bringing consumers an objective guide to eco-friendly communities and residential buildings across the country. Interested visitors can request floor plans, brochures, and MLS listings from communities in which they are interested.

This article is written by Luke Blahnik for GreenHousingDevelopments.com. Get information about green homes and green home for sale in USA from Green Housing Developments.

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

ZEITGEIST: Copenhagen Can Open New Era of Clean and Economical Energies

By Klaus H Hemsath

Highly paid government bureaucrats will be descending in masses on Copenhagen in December of 2009. They all have instructions to defend the status quo and make sure that the world will follow the outdated and ineffective recommendations and provisions of the ill conceived Kyoto Protocol.

Only a few, if any, officials have any concept of the coming horrors that continuing overheating of our planet has in store for its trusting citizens.

For two centuries, coal has powered the rapid industrialization of many countries. These countries are enjoying the countless benefits and the increased wealth that advanced industrialization has bestowed on them.

Since the midst of the twentieth century, a potentially fatal flaw of accelerating industrialization has become visible. Planet Earth is heating up. This phenomenon was barely visible early on, but is now escalating at a quickening pace.

Physicists can easily explain this rather sudden rise in global temperatures. Oceans and lands were capable to originally absorb huge amounts of heat and carbon dioxide with only minor indications of global warming and acidification of surface waters.

This period is ending while combustion of fossil fuels is increasing at continuously accelerating rates, caused by the explosive growth of energy consumption across the world.

China has become the most prolific user of coal for generating electricity and for supplying energy to its extremely rapid and successful industrialization efforts. This growth will accelerate further. Other countries are following the example of China and are beginning to produce and import more and more energy for powering their quickly growing economies.

Europe and Japan have been trying to reduce energy use and limit greenhouse gas emissions. Such efforts are rarely successful in creating wealth and economic growth. Adhering to Kyoto Protocol provisions seldom makes economic sense.

Several countries may continue to follow Kyoto concepts. Others like the BRIC countries, made up of Brazil, Russia, India, and China, will be better off to abandon Kyoto and continue with their intensifying energy utilization. Following the axiom of "do as they do, not as they say", these countries are entitled to imitate highly industrialized and wealthier nations.

But will such advice not accelerate global warming even further? Yes it will. However, as long as the major industrial countries cannot find the will to stop fossil fuel burning altogether, it is hypocritical to prevent less fortunate countries from joining the establishment.

Instead, the most prosperous countries can and must be the first to establish a concept and a plan for saving Earth from continuous warming. World energy supplies must be changed completely from fossil fuels to renewable and economical energy sources. Otherwise, the Earth will overheat severely long before the end of the twenty first century.

The consequences of severe overheating will be devastating. Climates will change and will spawn more violent windstorms, more destructive floods, and more severe droughts. Most dangerous and most damaging will be the indefensible rise of sea levels. Low-lying coastal lands will be submerged, precious and irreplaceable infrastructures will disappear, and large populations will have to flee to higher grounds.

Does the world really have to watch helplessly as it is being destroyed by the greed and stupidity of its most powerful nations, its clueless corporations, and its powerless governments?

The world's most dominant economies, the USA and the European Union, have all the resources, the infrastructures, and the skilled workforces that must be mobilized to improve and deploy those advanced energy supply technologies, which can still rescue our Earth. A few, critical technologies are still missing but can be fully developed within one single decade.

World economies can continue their essential growth into the next century only, if the US and the EU decide to act decisively and soon.

It will be scandalous, shameful, and contemptible if the two, industrially most advanced, and wealthiest superpowers will wait for China to snatch the world from otherwise inevitable economic collapse.

It will be a moral disaster if the Earth's wealthiest nations cannot agree to leave a better world for future generations!

Dr. Hemsath's books, Climate Change-Gold Rush or Disaster? and Clean Energy For Centuries, offer a comprehensive plan for saving Earth from overheating. He is now writing a follow-on book, Petroleum Substitutes From Biomass. For fifty years he has worked on advanced energy technologies as scientist, engineer, inventor, Corporate R&D Executive, CEO, entrepreneur, and author. He holds more than 60 US Patents. Go to http://www.thermalexpert.com.

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

CONSERVATION: Bamboo - Helping to Save Hardwood Forests‏

by David Sands

Bhutan's efforts might not be enough to save even their ecological haven. Global warming experts and scientists agree that the rise in climate temperature is bringing an onslaught of problems to untouched remote forest lands.

In the sub-Arctic and Arctic, milder winters are creating drier summers, leaving hardwood trees weak and increasingly vulnerable to pests and wildfires. Of the past ten summers in Siberia, eight have seen extreme forest fires. And from Colorado to Washington State, an epidemic of the mountain pine beetle has destroyed a forest area twice the size of Ireland.

The world's demand for wood and paper products is another huge factor. In 2005, the United Nations released a State of the Worlds Forests report estimating that 3 to 6 million trees are cut each year.

The US alone consumes 90 million tons of paper each year, about 12,430 square miles of forest. It is a problem that creates an ecological domino effect. When hardwood trees like spruce, pine and other conifers are lost to fire, pests or turned into timber for construction or paper products, less carbon is absorbed in Earth's natural carbon sink, which means more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and higher global temperatures.

Fortunately Bhutan is not the only country looking to bamboo as the sustainable alternative to hardwood. Fifteen years ago I, David Sands, LEED accredited professional in Maui, wanted to see if we could build the kind of high-end homes that clients wanted with bamboo.

Over 150 bamboo homes later, we have not looked back. It was simply the right thing to do. I could not go on designing homes unconsciously. People want to build green, but they want something that is as strong as a traditional wood-built structure. Sometimes they are surprised to find out that using bamboo is not only as strong, but it is even stronger.

Bamboo is also becoming the material of choice not only for obvious products like flooring and fencing, but things you might not immediately associate with bamboo, like super soft bath towels. Bamboo Textiles created a process that turns bamboo into rayon-like fibers making bamboo a contender to replace another high water consumption crop, cotton.

In fact the May 2007 issue of National Geographic stated this upstart fabric may someday compete with King Cotton. Totally Bamboo, a company based in Southern California has found a lucrative niche selling over three hundred different kinds of bamboo products, including kitchen items like rolling pins, countertops, even sinks.

And there is more good news for forests. From 1933 to 1965 an experiment in Alabama by the Agriculture Department showed that bamboo produced 14 tons of wood per acre (compared to 8 tons of wood per acre of pine). And a study in 2000 by A. Janssen of the Technical University Eindhoven in the Netherlands showed that bamboo groves also function as a carbon sink, storing four times the amount of CO2 as a comparable sized hardwood forest, and releasing 35 percent more oxygen. That is a lot of carbon storage for a world producing too much CO2.

What has me personally excited about the potential of bamboo is that if we plant enough, we can sequester all the current excess carbon in the atmosphere. It would take a significant amount of acreage, about the size of Texas, but spread out globally it is a real possibility.

Of course that would only sequester the current CO2 in the atmosphere, green energy initiatives and a major time out from burning fossil fuels and clear-cutting forests would be necessary to reduce emission levels to a sustainable amount. But bamboo could give us the time needed to develop current green technologies and create new ones that will power the world more efficiently.

But will bamboo make us happy? In these tough times, the green economy is providing a light at the end of the recession tunnel. By 2012, the bamboo industry alone is estimated to grow to $25 billion, creating new companies and providing jobs to a nation beleaguered with unemployment. With numbers like those, maybe the future will see a rise in Gross National Happiness instead of CO2.

David Sands is a renowned green building architect and bamboo expert. You can learn more about bamboo and green homes by visiting http://www.bambooliving.com.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

ANNOUNCEMENT: New Book Release - The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer

Hi all,

I have just been emailed the details of an interesting new book which has just been released. Read on for the details.

"The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind is the immensely engaging and inspiring true account of an enterprising African teenager who constructed a windmill from scraps to create electricity for his entire community.

William Kamkwamba shares the remarkable story of his youth in Malawi, Africa — a nation crippled by intense poverty, famine, and the AIDS plague — and how, with tenacity and imagination, he built a better life for himself, his family, and his village.

The poignant and uplifting story of Kamkwamba’s inspiration and personal triumph, co-written with Bryan Mealer, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind has already won ringing praise from former Vice President and Nobel Laureate Al Gore, Paolo Coelho, internationally bestselling author of The Alchemist, and has often been compared to the international bestselling book Three Cups of Tea.

Here is the remarkable story about human inventiveness and its power to overcome crippling adversity. The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind will inspire anyone who doubts the power of one individual's ability to change his community and better the lives of those around him, not to mention finding new ways to sustain our earth's resources.

If you are interested in a review copy, please email me your address. To find out more about William, watch this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=arD374MFk4w

MEDIA RELEASE: Australian Company Sets Off to Offset World's Computer Carbon Footprint

BRISBANE - 17 September 2009

Australian company Little Green Genie (LGG) has embarked on a cause to help reduce the emissions created by the world's billion-plus computers through the introduction of world first computer carbon offset software.

Launched this week by the Hon Kate Jones MP, Queensland Minister for Climate Change and Sustainability, the LGG is a program that calculates how much energy is being used by a computer, and then uses this information to buy a proportionate amount of carbon credits to offset this use.

LGG spokesman, Bruce Nelson, says with the manufacture and energy used to run computers creating as big a carbon footprint as the global airline industry, green minded computer users now have an option to offset their PC's carbon emissions.

"We think the public really feel a sense of duty to help offset carbon emissions, but many feel it can be too much of a hassle to really do anything," Mr Nelson says. "The Little Green Genie program is easy to download and calculates the computers emissions from energy use".

"It then automatically purchases carbon credits from Climate Friendly, a founding member of the international carbon reduction and offset alliance, which in turn supports renewable energy equal to the computers energy use."

For the average computer user this will cost roughly ten dollars a year with the simplicity of the program and its accuracy in calculating the emissions identified as major factors in its potential popularity with personal computer users as well as businesses.

Climate Change and Sustainability Minister Kate Jones says her Government supports businesses that are making sustainable choices, because reducing our carbon footprint is everyone's responsibility.

"I congratulate Little Green Genie for developing such a simple and effective tool that can make reducing our carbon footprint easier," Ms Jones says.

Little Green Genie is part of a growing number of social entrepreneur businesses that recognise a social problem and uses entrepreneurial principles to organise, create and manage a venture to make social change.

Enquiry about the program has already been received from over 103 countries including Bangladesh, Slovenia and Lebanon, with subscribers already on board from 39 countries, proving the broad international appeal of carbon offset initiatives.

As computers become more and more crucial to the running of our everyday lives, Mr Nelson sees the LGG as an excellent opportunity to keep the green message in front of people's faces.

"We're already seeing other by-products of the initiative such as users reporting that the program is causing them to look at improving their environmental behaviours in other parts of their life," Mr Nelson says.

For more information or to download the Little Green Genie visit:

For all media enquiries contact Bruce Nelson on +61 (0)423 403 449.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

CASE STUDY: Austin Energy is Building a Greener Tomorrow

By Joe Cline

Taking advantage of Austin Energy's incentives for energy efficient homes and businesses makes good financial sense. Rebates and loans are available to help Austin residents make environmentally friendly choices. In some cases, low and moderate income customers of Austin Energy can even receive free home improvements, even if they rent their homes rather than own them. By participating in one of a variety of incentive programs, homeowners can reduce their energy costs and save money while helping to keep Austin green.

Austin Energy has a longstanding and demonstrated commitment to saving energy and environmental responsibility. As a result, Austin Energy has partnered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy to offer Energy Star rebates to qualified customers. These rebates, available on purchases of high-efficiency air conditioning and electric water heater systems, solar photovoltaic systems, solar-powered water heating systems, as well as certain energy-saving home improvements, are intended to promote the use of green technology and alternative energy sources.

The efficiency of air conditioning systems is measured by two different systems. The Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) provides a measure of a specific unit's energy efficiency over the entire cooling season, and as such is a more general assessment. The Energy Efficiency Ration (EER) measures the unit's efficiency under prolonged and constant use, as in the hottest days of summer.

Austin Energy offers rebates for the purchase of new air conditioning models that achieve a SEER rating of 14 or higher and an EER rating of 11.5 or higher; some window air conditioners also qualify for these rebates. Split system air conditioners and heat pumps may also qualify if they meet these SEER and EER rating requirements. Rebates range from $50 for small window units to $650 for the most highly rated energy efficient air conditioning systems.

Solar photovoltaic technology rebates work differently than appliance rebates. Since these solar panels actually generate electricity, Austin Energy offers low-cost, no-fee loans for the purchase and installation of solar photovoltaic systems, and then gives a rebate per watt to its customers for energy returned to the electrical grid. This makes solar energy an affordable and financially sensible alternative for private homes. Photovoltaic cells create energy without polluting the environment, so they are a sound environmental choice as well.

Solar water heaters also qualify for rebates from Austin Energy ranging from $1,500 for new construction to $2,000 for installation in an existing home. These technologically-advanced water heaters also qualify for a tax rebate of as much as $1,000. Solar water heater systems must be certified by the Solar Rating Certification Corporation in order to qualify for these incentives.

To help customers decrease their energy consumption, Austin Energy also offers rebates for certain home improvements, such as adding insulation to attic spaces, air duct repair, adding caulking and weather stripping to windows and doors, and radiant barrier insulation. Low-income families can qualify to receive these energy-saving improvements free of charge as part of Austin Energy's Power Saver Program.

In order to qualify, you must meet certain income guidelines, the home to be improved must be a single-family residence, and in most cases the house cannot be valued at over $150,000. Renters who have lived in the residence for at least three months can also qualify if the landlord consents to the improvements.

Other Austin Energy programs include the Power Partners program, which gives customers a free programmable thermostat in return for allowing Austin Energy to cycle electric power usage during peak consumption periods; the Refrigerator Recycling program, and other incentives to save energy. But perhaps the most important incentives are the environmental benefits of these programs. Together with Austin residents, Austin Energy is looking to the future and working to build a greener tomorrow.

Joe Cline writes articles for Austin real estate. Other articles written by the author related to Austin Texas Realtor and Lakeway real estate can be found on the net.

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

ZEITGEIST: Vegans and the Environment

By Martin Fuzzington

If you want to help save the planet you could do no better on a personal level than to become vegan. The world is not big enough to support both humans and farm animals without the resulting damage to the planet and everything that lives on it.

What's in it for the planet?

If you were vegan, you would no longer require that cattle, sheep, chickens and pigs be bred and fed, with all the wasted food and land that that entails, and all the pollution they cause. Farm animals give off vast quantities of methane, carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide. All gases that add to climate change. Farm animals produce -- errrr -- waste products that pollute the soil and rivers.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations, cattle emit 37 per cent of the methane, 65 per cent of the nitrous oxide and 64 per cent of the ammonia that are produced by human-based activities. Methane is about 22 times, and nitrous oxide is about 295 times more potent than carbon dioxide in their effects on global warming. Ammonia contributes to the production of acid rain.

The FAO reports that 33 per cent of the world's arable land is now occupied by farm animals or is used to grow food for them. And that they occupy 30 per cent of the world's land surface. In the Amazon, 70 per cent of the forests have already been cut down to provide grazing.

Grazing herds have degraded about 20 per cent of pasture lands by overgrazing and by the churning effect of their hooves on the soil.

If you were vegan, large areas of the Amazon rain forest wouldn't have to be cut down to allow cattle to graze on soil that can only support them for a few years before it becomes exhausted and more forest has to be cut down so they can move to pastures new. More forest wouldn't be cut down to grow soya beans that are later used as cattle feed. Lions, elephants, giraffes, tigers, gorillas and a host of other animals wouldn't be displaced by cattle in Africa, India and elsewhere if people gave up meat and planted crops instead. They might still need to cut down some forest to plant crops as human numbers grow but it wouldn't be anywhere near as large an area that would be destroyed.

Farm animals take land from humans.

Farm animals require large areas of land to be planted with crops to feed them. This land could be used to feed humans. Much of the land used to feed farm animals in rich countries is in poor countries. It takes just a fraction of the land to feed humans on a vegan diet as it does to feed humans on a mixed diet. Every mouthful of meat you eat, every glass of milk you drink, could result in a human somewhere in the world going hungry. The food that was fed to the animals you eat might have been grown in a poor country and exported from there. You will literally be taking the food from the mouths of hungry humans if you consume animal products.

Grass-fed beef, did I hear someone say? Not enough room on the planet to breed and feed enough cattle to feed every human by this method - or any other method. Even the open prairies and ranges of the USA couldn't support the cattle needed to feed all Americans with grass-fed beef. And the destruction and pollution mentioned in an earlier paragraph would be multiplied many times if such madness was attempted.

What's in it for other animals?

Oh, and another thing -- if you were vegan, you wouldn't require that innocent animals be strung up to have their throats cut so that you can eat their meat. You wouldn't require that chickens be kept in tiny, crowded cages until they were relieved of their suffering and misery by a trip to the slaughterhouse. Fish wouldn't be hauled from the sea to suffocate on the decks of fishing boats so you can have fish and chips. Lobsters wouldn't be boiled alive so you can have lobster paste in your sandwiches.

Cows wouldn't have their calves taken away from them each year until the time comes when the cows are no longer financially viable and they too are sent for slaughter.

Fifty per cent of chickens -- the males -- in the egg industry wouldn't be killed soon after birth because they are not egg producing machines. This grisly fate faces male chicks even in so-called 'free range' egg production -- they don't lay eggs so they are of no use. They are either gassed or thrown into meat shredders whilst still alive.

In the UK and Ireland, there would be no excuse for hunting foxes if there were no chickens or lambs to protect from them. Incidentally, foxes kill very few lambs. They sometimes take already dead ones which people think they've killed. Shepherds in Europe have the wit to use large dogs to protect their sheep from wolves, so protecting lambs from foxes should really be no problem. People who keep chickens should have enough intelligence to build hen houses that can keep out foxes. It doesn't take much brain power to do so. Foxes don't go equipped with crow bars and wire cutters.

In huge areas of prairie in the USA, there would be no need to slaughter wolves, coyotes and foxes if those areas weren't home to cattle and sheep. The rivers in those places wouldn't be polluted and other herbivores wouldn't be displaced or killed.

But what will happen to all the cattle, pigs and sheep in our countryside? Most will no longer be there. What we could have are wild varieties roaming the hills and woods, but in much smaller numbers. We could have older breeds or wild forms that can live without human interference. Not cows that produce so much milk that their calves could never drink it all. Not mother pigs so big they can hardly walk. Not sheep who need to be sheared in the Summer so they don't overheat. Wild sheep and cattle could keep the grass short in areas that have been grasslands for centuries. Wild boars could root around in forests. We could delight in the sight of these animals without feeling guilty that the lambs, piglets and calves are destined for the dinner plate.

What's in it for you?

A direct benefit to you will be a healthier diet that could improve or cure many ill health conditions that many people suffer from. Vegan diets have helped people who have such conditions as diabetes type-2, coronary artery disease, rheumatoid arthritis and obesity.

If you switch to a balanced vegan diet you won't become weak or emaciated. There are vegan strength athletes and bodybuilders whose strength and muscles don't come from the consumption of animal products. There are endurance athletes whose incredible stamina is fed by plant foods.

It wouldn't be easy to convert the world to veganism but you can do your bit for the planet, for the abused animals and for yourself. That is easy. Give veganism a go. You know it makes sense.

If you want help or advice about changing to a vegan diet you can find all you want at http://www.thesaucyvegan.com where you can get support in making the change to a more compassionate and planet-friendly lifestyle.

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

ZEITGEIST: Community Supported Agriculture

By Sharon Porter

By word-of-mouth, I recently heard about a national organization known as Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). If there is one organization I'd like for people to be aware of, it would be this one! This organization's purpose is to support the organic farming industry, local farming and in return, support your well-being and overall health.

Farms associated with it are the small, independent, labor-intensive, family farms. The CSA arranges to deliver fresh produce (sometimes meat and dairy) to your door on a weekly basis. Due to the low cost of distribution, these foods tend to be competitive with conventionally grown produce. I find this to be one of the strong points in signing-up for this organization.

Sure, you can go to your nearest major grocery store and choose from a variety of produce but they all traveled miles and miles away. You can't even be sure where they traveled from! Wouldn't it be great to scan your produce and see where it was grown and how it was grown? That'll be the day. At least with CSA farms, you can be sure of the story behind what you are eating.

I am currently reading an excellent book entitled, "Animal ,Vegetable, Miracle" in which the author outlines several major grocers who control their intake of organic foods. Grocery stores control the number of times organic farms distribute their produce. There are also strict guidelines to which organic farmers must be approved for in order for their produce to be accepted to major grocers. Major grocers will not accept produce that is below a certain weight, is discolored, does not follow specific shape/size requirements, etc.

Keep in mind that even though this organic produce may have a shorter stem or is lop-sided, it still tastes the same and contains the same amount of nutrients and minerals. Major grocers control what we eat and waste food on a purely subjective basis. I can hardly walk through a produce section in a major grocer without being disgusted with their ways.

If you don't want to sign-up for this organization, at least get yourself familiar with the farmer markets in your town/city and support local farming and be pesticide-free!

For more information and other relative information, please visit my site http://www.shar-on-nutrition.com/. I'd love to know your thoughts!

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

GLOBAL WARMING: The Effects of Global Warming on Wildlife

By Lynne Mueller

Global warming is defined as an increase in the Earth's temperature and is caused by a rise in greenhouse gas emissions. There is no doubt that the warming is affecting the planet and forcing every living creature to adapt to a changing climate. As the Earth's temperature increases, wildlife will have a difficult time adapting.

The National Wildlife Federation considers global warming to be "the most dangerous threat to the future of wildlife." Global warming has adverse effects on both people and wildlife. It has been blamed for the severe hurricanes, droughts, and floods that have plagued us in recent years. These natural disasters and climate changes have had a significant impact on wildlife and may cause many species to become extinct. Global warming is happening too quickly and most animals do not have enough time to adapt to the quickly changing environment.

When we think of the impact that global warming has had on wildlife, we automatically think of polar bears and the melting ice which is caused by global warming. This is mainly due to the media attention that is directed towards them. Many experts feel that polar bears will become extinct due to the melting ice. Polar bears rely on the ice to hunt and they need the ice because they are unable to swim long distances. However, polar bears are not the only species of animal struggling to survive due to the climate change caused by warming affect.

Birds are also impacted greatly by the warming of the planet. As the climate changes, birds are starting to migrate later and later in the season and many are not flying as far south to find open water. Migratory birds have a set migration pattern that they follow which depends on their ability to get food. These changes can have an adverse affect on the earth's various ecosystems.

Global warming might have the greatest impact on the oceans and the animals that make their home in our oceans. The warming of the planet is causing the icecaps to melt which causes the oceans to rise. The rising oceans cause fish to lose their habitat and coral reefs to die. Global warming causes carbon dioxide to become trapped in the oceans which raises the acidity levels of the oceans which damages the food chain.

We have to remember that the planet does not just belong to us but to every living creature on Earth. The increased temerature of our planet is a huge problem and we all must take action to preserve our planet not only for the animals but for our survival and the survival of future generations. We all must strive to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions in our home, car, and workplace.

One of the best and most effective ways we can help the environment is to stop using fossil fuels. Renewable and alternative energy technologies offer many options to do just that. We can do this even on a personal basis. There are many options for individual home owners to replace conventional grid power with greener technology and save money while doing it. As a matter of fact they can even make you money.

Please have a look at our new book "Renewable Energy Explained' and get informed. You can find the link in the resources section below. Thanks for reading today.

Author: Lynne Mueller

Our Green Life Biz -- http://www.ourgreenlifebiz.com.

Renewable Energy Explained -- http://www.renewableenergyexplained.com.

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

CONSERVATION: Keeping Honey Bees From Extinction - 5 Ways That You Can Hel

By Jane Vaughan

The decline of honey bees across the world is a hot news topic right now. The reasons for the decline are complex and many are interlinked - for example, is our over use of pesticides weakening the honey bees immune system, so that they are more likely to suffer from common viruses?

Becoming a honey beekeeper is a great way to help, but there are other simple steps that everyone can take. Here are five of the easiest:

  1. Stop using chemical insecticides. Rather than buying the chemical products available from most garden centres, try using more natural ways of ridding your garden of pests. Try also to encourage your neighbours to do the same and work together.
  2. Get a bird bath. It may surprise you but the bees get thirsty too. Fill a birdbath or similar container with water, especially on hot days. It doesn't matter if the water gets muddy as this will provide the bees with much needed nutrients. It's a good idea to keep it shallow or put a few pebbles in the container to make it easier for the bees to access the water.
  3. Keep your garden (a little bit) wild. It's a good idea to leave an area of your garden a bit untidy with a few wild flowers growing, and some dense foliage. These days too many of us are paving over our gardens, or installing decking. This may look nice to us but doesn't provide food or shelter to wildlife.
  4. Lots of variety in your garden. It is believed that one of the reasons for the disappearing bees is the lack of variety in their diet - vast fields of one crop for example. Like any animal, bees need a variety of nutrients to function correctly, so vary your plants and also remember the winter months.
  5. Plant wild flowers secretly. This may sound slightly mad, but why not buy a packet or two of wild flower seed and scatter it in areas of local wasteland to provide more areas of food for the local bees. Just be careful of the spot you choose - don't select an area where the seed could blow into local gardens, or spoil a local flower display.
These are just a few of the ways in which you can start keeping honey bees from extinction. If everyone works together to tackle this problem we can still save the honey bee, if not, we may just find out whether Einstein was right.

My name is Jane Vaughan and I enjoy researching how a natural lifestyle can improve our quality of life. If you share my concern about keeping honey bees from extinction and would like to learn more about beekeepng visit my website at http://www.trustnature.info.

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ZEITGEIST: The Organic Debate Heats Up

By Paul Hargreaves

With organic food fortnight coming up, organic food is back in the news as I mentioned briefly in my post at the beginning of August. I notice some more coverage on this in the September Speciality Food Magazine. This debate has been brought about by the fact that organic food sales are falling for the first time since organic appealed to the mass market around 10 years ago.

The decline in sales is clearly due to the public not having as much money in their wallet as they did and switching to non-organic is an easy way to save a few shekels. Some journalists have used the opportunity to wonder whether organic is all it is cracked up to be and doubting the health benefits.

My own personal view on all this is that organic within the baby and children's sector will remain strong. Indeed the tremendous growth of brands such as Ella's Kitchen are testament to this. However, there is a certain amount of sceptism amongst the general public that if the organic message is pushed too hard by the supermarkets they must be getting something extra out of it - i.e. extra profit! But then people are generally sceptical about a lot of things the multiples do - and rightly so. Let's look at organic food within the independent sector.

Through talking to retailers and consumers, I am convinced that if organic is the main message on the packaging of a product, this will not, in our sector, be enough to sell the product. There has got to be another good reason to buy, whether that be provenance, local, a good story or simply a great brand. The fact that the product is organic is then a good additional or secondary reason to buy the product. The yogurt-knitting brigade are not growing as a food-buying group within the UK, but those who care what they eat, and want good quality real food made by real people are. Let's remember them when making our buying decisions.

If you liked this article and would like to read more visit Paul Hargreaves Speciality Bites.

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Hyperconsumption - A Non-Green Element

By Andy Balasis

Sometimes it becomes really difficult for us to figure out the amount of things we consume from our nature. Hyper-consumption is in fact one of the root causes of all our environmental problems. We as humans simply try and buy a lot of things. We even buy what we may not need or what we don't ever want. The fact is we waste so much of our money buying things that are not necessary for us.

Almost half of the world lives on less than $2 a day. America is one of the leading countries for hyper-consuming things. Nearly 60% of private consumption spending is done in America. In America every dozen inhabitants certainly does have one car. In a population of 6 billion people nearly 500 million cars are present. Americans consume nearly two thirds of all the grains harvested in the world.

An average American consumes around 222 pounds of meat products in his average life. Global oil production is certainly falling. We are responsible for using most of the oil resources of the world. With 500 million cars on the road, it is hard to imagine the consumption of oil on a daily basis. Production has simply dropped to 39 million barrels per day from 88 million barrels per day. Our population is increasing at drastic levels, and so are our needs. In satisfying our needs we have simply started consuming most of our resources in a much faster way. We have in fact accelerated the process of ending our natural resources.

Our consumption have simply increased the level of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere to around 20%. We simply burn all the fuel to produce electricity, run our cars and other things. Most of the industrialized nations consume around 87% of the worlds printing and writing. We have certainly increased the global production of our printing and writing paper to nearly 87%. We know that paper is used almost everywhere from packing to writing and wrapping. Paper industries are some of the largest consumers of natural pulp and resources. A large amount of energy is required in making paper.

Millions of tons of fossil fuels are simply burnt down every single day. Some of these industries are also the largest greenhouse gas emitters including the chemical and steel industries. Americans buy 53 times more products than anyone in the world. One American consumes resources that may be equivalent to nearly 35 Indians. They simply create 15 times more damage to our environment as compared to others. An average American consumes around 575 liters of water per day per person. Water is an important resource. Consuming more fresh water means leaving less water for future generations.

This is really frightening. Its time we start thinking if it is really necessary to shop today. Do we need to consume things at the same rate as we are doing today? We try to label ourselves as environmental friendly people, but we need to ask ourselves that are we really environmental friendly people?

Welcome to A Green Living Blog. There are many useful tips and information related to green living. Feel free to browse around and help spread the green living messages.

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CASE STUDY: Energy Management - A Guide to Four of the UK's Most Inefficient Public Buildings

By Sarah Maple

Research by the Department of Communities and Local Government detailing the energy efficiency of the UK's public buildings was made available to the BBC at the end of August. Until recently, such data would never have been made public, but with energy management becoming an increasingly discussed and important aspect of the upkeep of public buildings, the largest must now show Display Energy Certificates so every visitor is aware of their efficiency (or inefficiency). What follows is a short guide to four surprising energy inefficient public buildings.

1. British Library

The British Library in London is responsible for 15,142 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions every year - and is listed at number 72 by the Department of Communities and Local Government. In a list where the top 100 is dominated by hospitals and universities, it is perhaps surprising that a building where silence and offline media are its primary assets can produce so much CO2. Yet, when one considers its 388 miles of shelving to maintain, as well as its amount of digital content then one can begin to understand where a lot of its emissions must come from.

2. Open University

Perhaps it is the online power of the Open University - one of the UK's most prestigious higher education institutions - that is its downfall when it comes to energy efficiency. The OU is ranked at 106 and is responsible for 12,626 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions a year - yet, for a university which is continually becoming more digital this isn't really surprising. However, for a university that its students don't physically attend it perhaps is. The University of Manchester and University of Bristol both produce more CO2, mind.

3. Met Office

The Met Office located in Exeter, Devon is perhaps even more surprising - and has already been the subject of a few press articles. Ranked at 103 and with 12,701 tonnes of carbon dioxide produced yearly, it is the simple fact that the institution which is at the forefront of knowing the degree of damage bad energy efficiency is doing to our planet, which is fairly shocking. Intriguingly though, the simple matter of computer power is the reason here - and the Met Office is famous for its super-computational power. Today the Met's IBM Power6 is capable of calculating 140 trillion floating point operations a second.

4. University of Manchester

I couldn't really finish this article without pointing to the building that holds the coveted number one spot in the Department of Communities and Local Government rankings. That place goes to the University of Manchester (Oxford Road Campus) with an astonishing 51,601 tonnes of CO2 emissions each year. The University of Manchester is the biggest single site university in the UK and the Oxford Road probably its busiest campus. It caters for 40,000 students and includes the Manchester Museum.

Sarah Maple writes about energy management and renewable energy. The Green Project has been set up to give you and your community the best advice and recommendations on ways to make your home more energy efficient to reduce energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions.

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

ZEITGEIST: Renewable Energy, a Paradigm Shift and the Climate-Industrial Complex

By Alain Prud'homme

Although I am no eco warrior, environmentalist or survivalist my interest in renewable energy started a long time ago when the cost of renewable energy was extremely prohibitive.

My interest in renewable home energy is purely a selfish one; I want to retain as much of my earnings as possible and to spend it as want to. And I ultimately want to be able to live off the grid, which means no longer paying ever-increasing electricity bills.

To that end, I search out all the latest technological advances that could be utilise to reduce one's energy requirements without reducing one's personal comfort. The funny thing is that some of the so-called new ideas are actually quite ancient whilst others are cutting edge.

Amongst others, these include the following; passive solar energy, hot water heating solar panels, electricity generating solar panels (Photovoltaic cells), electricity generating wind turbines for the home, zero point magnetic power generators, house design, calculating your energy requirements and energy storage including battery types.

I'll start with an explanation of where I stand on some of the issue that in effect affect the above.

My paradigm or worldview provides me with a framework to organize new thoughts and information. This is how we all "make sense of the world around us." Our paradigms filter out what doesn't fit from our worldview. However it appears that for some reason or other we cannot seem to be able to learn what doesn't conform to our paradigm and because of this, our paradigms can either liberate us or imprison us, depending on how true to our reality they are.

My paradigm has shifted many times in the past. At times the shift is slow and gradual, whilst at other times the shift has been rather sudden and violent. Some 13-years or so ago I had a series of paradigm shifts. I have always been an avid reader and to some extent I have always known that governments, religion, mainstream media, big business and the education system were actively sabotaging society.

With these paradigm shifts I learned not to ever take anything for granted, to cross reference any story, to see through the propaganda and most crucially to follow the money i.e. who benefits.

Repeatedly, through time, some grand fraud or other is concocted by the unholy alliance of governments, religion, mainstream media, big business and the education system, each with its own agenda and vested interest.

This unholy partnership of self interested businesses, so-called scientists, grandstanding politicians, alarmist campaigners and a main stream media pushing their sponsors agendas provide a new twist on a very old practice; companies and individuals using public policy to line their own pockets.

This loose grouping, to put them in the same category as the military-industrial complex, can I supposed, be called the climate-industrial complex. A grouping that does not promote any discussion or free thoughts on environmental matters but will attack and vilify any detractor or person not on message. They would really make the Spanish Inquisition proud by their labelling of any and all dissenters as heretics.

This loose grouping however have their own vested interests and agendas and will at times work against each other, which in my mind is a blessing in disguise.

For the last few years, they've been trying to terrorize us into accepting that human society was on the brink of extinction because of man-made global warming. We are warned that, unless we take drastic action to reverse it - then islands will disappear, whole cities will be destroyed and polar bears will drown. However, when the universe conspired against global warmist's by giving us rather cool summers and a really long and cold winter it quickly became climate change.

The B-B-Q summer predicted by the Met Office for the British Isle certainly did not materialise. The weather conspired against predictions of their £33 million computer. As they say garbage in, garbage out. It's a simple equation.

Climate change has occurred long before man made his apparition on this planet and will continue to do so long after we will disappear from this earth. As this planet has been considerably hotter and colder than it is at the moment, is it not rather egotistical of man to assume that he has an effect upon the earth's temperature?

Global warming / climate change is being discredited almost on a daily basis and the faithful are slowly dissipating. The word "faithful" is the only word one can use for a movement that had taken a religious like fervour and works such as heretic and blasphemy used against those who wanted to debate the issues or simply did not believe.

With each deathblow to this false religion, the climate-industrial complex along with complicit governments has less and less authority in their appropriation of our wealth. And they know it. But it won't stop them from trying it on.

I only wish that the environment movement had not hitched their wagon so firmly to this scam as they too will loose credibility along with those of the climate-industrial complex. Governments as we know are not included as politicians hardly have a shred of credibility left at all.

For me the use of micro-generation of renewable energy, either through the use of photovoltaic cells, wind power or zero point magnetic power generators, opens the road to individual freedom.

Alain Prud'homme is write about the issues surrounding the micro-generation of renewable energy for homes as well as on the contentious and controversial issues surrounding global warming and climate change. You can find more resources at http://www.renewablehomeenergysolutions.com.

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CONSERVATION: Protecting the Brown Pelican

By Laura Evans

The brown pelican, the state bird of Louisiana, is a distinctive bird that lives along sea shores. They live along the Pacific, Gulf and Atlantic coasts. If you have been to the beach, you may have seen a brown pelican performing an airborne dive into the ocean in search of food; it's the only pelican that does this maneuver.

Brown Pelican Information

With a wing span that can reach over seven feet, this bird is generally 4 to 4.5 feet tall. The bill is usually at least as long as its head. This pelican has short legs with webbed feet and a short tail. While these birds are awkward when on their feet, they literally soar over water.

One of the amazing characteristics of the brown pelican is its pouch, which extends down from its bill. This pouch acts in two different manners. First, the pouch helps them to catch fish. After diving down for a scoop of food, the bird allows to the seawater to drain from its mouth and then swallows the catch of the day, hopefully menhaden, the brown pelican's favorite type of fish. In addition, the pouch helps keep them cool during hot weather.

Males and females live together in flocks. You will usually see them flying in single file, although the birds will sometimes fly in a "V" formation.

Both male and female brown pelicans participate in incubating the two to three eggs that are laid during the spring. However, instead of sitting on the eggs, they warm their eggs by covering them with their webbed feet.

Brown pelicans have been threatened by human beings and our activities since the early 1900s. During this period of time, the birds were hunted for their feathers. In addition, they were destroyed because commercial fishers incorrectly thought that the birds threatened their livelihoods.

However, hunting these birds was not the only push towards the pelicans' extinction. They almost became extinct between the 1950s and 1970s. During this period of time, DDT, or dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane, and endrin were widely used as pesticides, both with disastrous results on these birds. DDT made the brown pelicans' egg shells extremely thin. This led to bird parents literally crushing their eggs during incubation periods. In addition, endrin poisoned the birds.

Brown pelicans were added to the Endangered Species List in 1970.

Fortunately, these birds have made a comeback. However, while they have been removed from the U. S. Endangered Species List in states such as Alabama, Florida, Georgia and South Carolina, they are still being negatively impacted by oil spills and loss of habitat.

For more information on endangered birds, visit the sports section of Life123.com.

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

Saturday, September 19, 2009

ZEITGEIST: Alternative Trading Systems and Organization

By William King

Fair trade is a relatively old phenomenon that presents an alternate trading system, which facilitates small scale producers and workers (mainly from undeveloped countries), so that they can sell their products in the developed markets without being duped by the middleman or the capitalist who pay these workers the smallest amount but sells the product to consumers at a hefty price.

At the end of the day, it is the middlemen or industrialist, who takes home the larger profits while the real worker is left with little or no opportunities to grow, which is quite unfair. For that reason a fair trading system has been introduced that tends to be directed more by socialist viewpoint than the capitalist.

Alternative Trade Organizations:

Fair trade (also known as alternative trade) calls for market access for low level producers, so that they'll be able to sell their products at reasonable price. This is what these alternative trade organizations (or fair trade organizations) works for. Fair trade movement, which was started back in 1940's, was initially based on religious or ethical commandments.

With the passage of time, as more and more people including NGO's and students joined in the cause, it is now becoming more and more popular especially in Europe and North America. For the reason that it's not only the worker who benefits, but the whole society, especially the consumers who will be paying fair price.

To achieve their ultimate goal (which is to empower destitute workers towards economic prosperity), fair trade organizations works toward promoting this trade system, and spreading awareness among consumers. Such products are not easily available in all markets, so these organizations have to endorse the locations and stores where such merchandise is available.

There is a type of certification known as Fair trade Certification, granted to businesses who meet the standards (works pretty much the same like ISO certification). Some of these standards are no gender discrimination, decent wages for workers, no child labor and safe working conditions. Though there's no restraint but till now the fair-trade is normally limited to simple household stuff like tea and coffee, fruits, chocolate or handicrafts.

Alternate trading systems:

Some people confuse alternative trade with alternate trading system, because of the similarity in the names. Alternate trading systems are actually unconventional trading system set up for the convenience of stocks buyers and sellers. These are not necessarily stock exchange, though a set of regulations made by SEC applies on them. Online trading system is an example of alternate trading.

William King is the director of UK Wholesale Distributors and Manufacturers and Australian Wholesale Suppliers Directory. He has 18 years of experience in the marketing and trading industries and has been helping retailers and startups with their product sourcing, promotion, marketing and supply chain requirements.

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

CONSERVATION: American Clean Energy Act HR2454

By Spencer Holly

The American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, H.R. 2454, better known as cap and trade, passed the House on June 26th. The vote was 219, to 212. This bill will not become law until it has been voted on by the Senate.

According to the bill, the purpose is to create clean energy jobs, achieve energy independence, reduce global warming pollution, and transition to a clean energy economy.

Interestingly enough, now days, because of our horrible financial troubles, all bills seem to emphasize that jobs will be created. If the economy were good, then the global warming argument would come first, and the job creation may not be mentioned at all.

The purported purpose of the cap and trade bill, which no one denies is a massive tax increase, is to reduce pollutants, by offering financial incentives, and penalties, to polluters. The stated motivation is to reduce global warming by reducing pollution.

Now, regardless of how one feels about the global warming debate, the idea of reducing pollutants is a good endeavor. I come from a pre-pollution-control world where air pollution caused eyes to burn, and it would hurt to breathe, and I can attest to the great success of smog control devices on our automobiles.

It has been expensive. I am sure that smog equipment on our automobiles adds thousands of dollars to the price of a car, plus additional maintenance costs, and, of course, government imposed smog checks. But, it is has been worth it; the quality of my life has been better.

So, cap and trade, on its surface, seems like a great idea.

In twenty-five words, or more, the idea is this:

1) The government sets a cap on the amount of allowable pollutants that a given entity can emit.

For example:

a) Company A, a coal-fired power plant in Iowa, purchases a permit from the
government to emit 100 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2), each year.

b) Company B, a coal-fired power plant in another State, also purchases a permit to emit 100 tons of CO2.

c) Company A invests money in new pollution control equipment, and reduces their CO2 emissions by 40%, or 40 tons; they now have a pollution credit of 40 tons.

d) Company B, on the other hand, is not able to reduce their emissions, and, in fact, their emissions are 140 tons, instead of 100 tons.

e) So Company B goes to Company A, and purchases 40 tons of emission credits from Company A.

f) Company A is receiving a return on their investment, and Company is being penalized for not investing in emission control equipment.

It is not clear to me what the penalties are if a company exceeds their emission permits; I assume that there are heavy financial penalties; perhaps fines.

Theoretically, consumers who receive their electricity from Company A, should, proportionally, have lower rates than those of Company B.

BUT, the rates will not necessarily be lower because Company A has made an expensive investment in new equipment and technologies, which, as always, means the consumers will pay higher rates.

Quite possibly, Company B consumers could pay less than Company A consumers, because the cost of polluting could be less than the cost of purchasing and installing new equipment.

I am no genius, so I'm sure that our legislators have envisioned the same thing, so I am guessing that Company B, the polluters, will be subjected to ever increasing caps/fees, until they will need to install new equipment just to survive (perhaps they can even be prosecuted).

Either way, Company A, and B, consumers will only see increases in their energy costs. And those costs are more than just their personal energy usage, such as their electrical power, but in all the other items that they consume that require some sort of energy usage (which, is everything). Groceries will cost more, clothes will cost more, housing, transportation, public services, etc, etc. Everything will cost more.

It all sounds fairly simple, on it's surface. It is clever. But I don't see how it reduces pollution. In my example, the net change is zero; pollution is neither increased, nor decreased.

The only thing that changes, is that the tax payer, and consumer, have less money in their pockets.

In fairness, the government defined caps are supposed to be lowered as time goes on, and credits can be retired to never be used, again. So an environmentally conscience organization could purchase emission credits, and retire them, effectively reducing the pollution caps, and, therefore, reducing pollution. But, the government could simply issue more pollution credits, effectively raising the caps.

I am not against the idea of controlling pollutants. My understanding is that a major pollutant is carbon-dioxide, or CO2, produced by coal-fired power plants. While we have done a great job of removing visible pollutants from the smokestacks of power plants, the CO2 levels are still there.

CO2 is an invisible pollutant; we all know that humans cannot breathe CO2. It's not difficult for me to support the idea that we need to control the CO2 pollutants. The Earth is very big, but, still it is an enclosed bubble, and it would be illogical to believe that we, as humans, do not have some effect on that bubble. Again, I am from that era where smog hurt, and we had smog alerts, and were cautioned not to play outside, etc, so it's not a great stretch to believe that we can effect our environment on a global scale.

But cap and trade does nothing to reduce the pollutants. All it does is bring more tax money to the government, at the expense of the individual consumer. It is a tax increase, with no clear benefit, with the Global Warming issue is being used as a scare tactic.

Fear, and crisis, are effective means of gaining the consent of the populace, the government needs voter consent, or apathy, to enact any sort of tax increase.

Our government reduced vehicle emission by passing laws that required automobile manufacturers to solve the emissions problems. And they did, and the consumer paid the cost. And the cost is ongoing, and there is no doubt that the consumer is benefiting from such controls.

But if the principles of this Cap and Trade Bill had been applied to the problem of automobile pollutants, the smog levels would be higher than ever; our eyes would be burning worse than ever, and our breathing would be labored, and painful.

Think about it. Imagine that GM builds a huge family-size SUV that is a gross polluter, and Ford builds an identical SUV, but with pollution control equipment. Under a Cap and Trade scenario, GM would simply buy pollution credits from Ford. The total amount of pollution would be unchanged.

The whole idea of 'reducing' Global Warming depends on worldwide cooperation; it does not do any good to reduce the pollution in the United States if Mexico, and Canada, and China, and, etc, etc, do not also reduce their pollution.

But, this Bill is about the United States, only, so how in the world can it reduce Global Warming, when most of the rest of the world is doing as they please?

It just seems like a boondoggle to me, because, in the first place, it's based on the premise that somehow Global Warming is man-caused, and the further premise that man can mitigate it. There is no consensus, and there is no agreement about Global Warming, yet a majority of our legislators who voted for Cap and Trade ignored that reality, and voted to enact a Bill that has no real purpose other than to generate tax dollars.

Second, I still don't see where there is a net decrease in pollution.

Third, I just see it as an ingenious way for governments to tax their citizens, in the name of a good cause, i.e., Global Warming.

If our intent were really to reduce polluting emissions, we could simply tax dirty energy to the point that it will encourage the creation, and development of alternate forms of clean energy.

If we want to have more efficient automobiles, increase the taxes on gas so a that a gallon of gas is over six dollars a gallon. Does anyone doubt that we would have more efficient cars in no time at all ? Heck, the oil companies would investing their own money in developing new technologies.

The taxpayers/consumers will foot the bill, as we always do, but at least the money won't be wasted on a feel-good thesis that we are saving the world, and we won't have to run our hard earned money through some inefficient governmental bureaucracies in Washington, who only want their share of the environmental activism pie.

Cap and Trade is a massive tax increase with no clear benefit, and the proponents are taking advantage of the good intentions, and good ideals, of honest American tax payers.

By the way, as I recall, President Obama promised that there would be no new taxes for any American making under $250,000?

I guess promises are just another pollutant that needs to be eliminated.

And that is just my opinion.

The author is old guy with blog, AngryCalifornian blog, that strives to inject some balance, and perspective, and common sense into the existing political environment, which seems to be overwhelmingly hostile, and hateful, and polarized. He possess a mind that is open to differing political perspectives, and abhors pettiness, and unjust hatred, and hostility. He thinks it would do the country good if the entire political establishment were sent to their rooms for a long time-out.

Cap and Trade Online Video Clips.

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

ALTERNATIVE ENERGY: The Politics of Alternative Energy

By Jonathan Gal

When we think of alternative energy we automatically imagine solar, wind and bio fuels. These technologies will eventually save the environment because they will help to greatly reduce, and in some cases entirely eliminate, the emissions that come from energy production and consumption.

This obviously means that they are such beneficial technologies that they should be at the forefront of government, corporate and business investment and research. Interestingly, they really aren't being explored and examined with the kind of passion that might be expected.

Why is that? Well, there is a lot of money at stake where alternative energies are concerned and hundreds of billions of dollars in profits that will quickly and inevitably evaporate when those technologies are readily available to most people. Consider the record-breaking profits posted by the leading oil companies since the end of 2001. As the cries for more alternative energies reach a fever-pitch, they are charging higher and higher prices for auto and home heating supplies. To many it would appear that these massive corporations are "cashing in" while there is still time to do so, and the politics of alternative energy demonstrate that the oil companies and their affiliates are being allowed to do that.

Of course it isn't all about oil either. There are also the energy producers who pour unbelievable amounts of pollutants into the air - this is from such locations as coal burning power plants. The politics of alternative energy have helped to create systems in which these corporations are permitted to operate their shoddy factories in exchange for the purchase of energy credits. They purchase credits from cleaner suppliers, such as nuclear plants, and use them to "balance" their pollution.

Clearly, this is totally illogical, but that is the system that now stands in the United States. Luckily there is an ever-increasing awareness on the part of the general public, and now millions of consumers have become aware of their own "carbon footprint". They understand the need to do more than just conserve energy, and are investing in alternative energies themselves.

Millions of homeowners install solar lighting, solar panels and wind turbines on their property. Millions more are purchasing "carbon offsets" which provide them with a tax deduction, but also with the knowledge that their contribution will fund a solar energy program, a wind farm or some other alternative energy effort. Finally, millions are purchasing vehicles that operate on bio fuels or are "hybrids" that use little to no gasoline.

Jonathan Gal is a solar lighting expert and owner of YCA Solar Lights, an organization dedicated to promoting clean, energy efficient solar lighting technology. To find out more about how solar technology is changing the way we live, especially with respect to lighting, you are invited to visit: http://www.ycasolarlightstore.com.

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

CONSERVATION: Trees Offer More than just Shade

by Ki Gray

Austin takes it's trees pretty seriously. This spring the Austin City Council considered rules for how developers can both treat existing trees on a property and quotas for planting future trees. This effort comes through the city's Watershed Protection Department and would represent the first major change to Austin's tree rules in 25 years.

As reported by the Austin-American Statesman, these rules are part of an ongoing effort to reduce the effects of urban heat islands, which are exactly what they sound like: urban areas dominated by buildings, roads and parking lots that trap heat. These non-permeable, dry surfaces cause temperatures that are 50 to 90 degrees warmer than the actual air temperature.

The Environmental Protection Agency reports that shaded, moister areas, more commonly rural areas, remain close to air temperature. That means that on a 100 degree day a parking lot is giving off temperatures closer to 200 degrees.

These urban heat islands affect energy consumption, particularly in denser city centers. There is a vicious cycle of increased energy consumption, which leads to elevated emissions and greenhouse gases that warm the surface temperature that cause an increased need for energy consumption to air condition buildings ... the cycle goes on and on. The elevated temperatures caused by these non-permeable urban heat islands impair air and water quality. In other words, as Austin grows the quality of life diminishes in some respects.

It's not just the shade that trees offer that makes them so central to environmental efforts. Trees absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, largely considered to be the principal gas that is the cause of increased temperatures in the earth's atmosphere. Efforts like these in Austin to maintain current trees as well as plant more trees are beneficial on many levels.

The Los Angeles Times recently reported that efforts in California to save forests by restricting logging have long lasting benefits to combating climate change. A tree saved here improves the quality of air for the neighborhood; a forest saved in California can improve the air quality for an entire state.

And Austinites are all about saving trees, as the recent uproar of the possible removal of trees at Barton Springs Pool has shown. In April city officials announced that as many as 29 trees would need to be cut down around the area of the pool and Zilker Park playscape. For obvious reasons this did not go over well with the city's residents. Through the power of the people, only three trees are now slated to be cut down sometime this summer.

The reasons to plant trees and care for existing trees are both environmentally and aesthetically compelling. Unfortunately, there are many issues at the root of the future tree rules and rulings, like the one about the trees in Zilker Park. The fact is, trees, old and new, cost money. The rules proposed by the city council will cost developers more money, which at some point gets passed down to the consumer. The same thing with a city that is compelled to care for its aging trees; eventually that is going to come out of the taxpayers' pockets. However, the cost to the planet in the loss of trees may be one we can't afford to pay.

Ki helps buyers interested in Austin real estate http://www.escapesomewhere.com his website has a free search of the Austin MLS http://www.escapesomewhere.com/realestate_searchthemls.html along with updates on his Austin real estate blog http://www.escapesomewhere.com/austinblog/.

SOLAR ENERGY: A Short History of Solar Power

By Detlef Warner

Solar power is quite common today. It may come as a surprise to you, but people have been using this method of energy for a long time.

There are other technological uses that go back millennia, apart from the fact that the sun provides the proper amount of energy for plants that are used to feed us.

The Greeks were the pioneers of this method of using solar energy for various things that they would use. What they knew how to do was to use the steam power, that was provided by the solar radiation. A large magnifying-type glass was used to set enemy ships on fire, and was designed and built by Archimedes. Much of the Greek science was adopted by the Romans, and this was a method that they used as well.

Over the years there have been many new technologies that have come about that rely on solar energy to operate such as heat storage and thermometers. Since their inception these devices have become more sophisticated and diverse.

Not knowing that it would take another 100 years for devices based on it to become practical, a giant leap occurred in 1839. This giant leap was found by Becquerel who discovered the photovoltaic effect.

Electrons in the atoms will get knocked loose from there associated atoms, when the sunlight hits certain materials. Electrical current generate when electrons are moving within the material. Once the electrons are running through the material can be hooked up to a circuit board and the power that is generated can power light bulbs, or even heat water.

Solar heating has also made big advances.

In order to trap solar energy back in the 1920's, some public heating systems would use large storage tanks. They would then take the heated water and supply it to the homes. These systems became somewhat obsolete because of the fall in gas and electricity to the point where it was cheaper to use the gas and electricity.

Even though these systems were no longer in use, it didn't mean that they were forgotten. These systems were a cost effective alternative and at the time it worked.

Solar light can be used in a variety of different ways, hundreds to be more precise. These ways include taking the solar energy at the surface and harnessing it to heat water, power devices or other energy saving needs.

In today's world there are many uses of satellites to funnel the solar power down to provide what is needed. These panels are very expensive but seeing what they actually do is well worth it. This type of technology is used on the home front powering up your phones or lights along roads and highways.

Detlef runs Budget Solar Store where you can learn more about solar power history.

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

ZEITGEIST: Advice For Environmentalists

By Chuck R Stewart

If you're like many people in a growing percentage of Americans who are becoming more aware of the consequences that their actions have on the environment and are wanting to do something besides switching your plastic carryout bags for paper bags and paper sacks, then you will be glad to know that there are many other things you can do to initiate change and to make mankind's interaction with the environment more friendly. This article gives many tips on how you can change your actions and change the way you live so that you will not harm the environment as much as you have been already.

We all know that cars are one of the worst things for the environment, so many people are wondering what they can do to reduce the bad effects that their car has on the environment, and of course one of the easiest things you can do is to avoid driving whenever possible, which you can do by taking a different means of transportation like the subway or a bike, and also try to keep your trips closer to home.

You can be more efficient with the gas you use to fuel your car and decrease emissions by driving 55 miles per hour instead of 70 miles per hour, and making sure that your tires are inflated and that you drive slowly and do not accelerate too quickly can make a difference when you're concerned about the environment or even just your own gas consumption.

A big environmental concern is the great distances that our foods travel over before they reach us in our super markets and grocery stores, as this process creates extra pollution that is unnecessary and can really be easily avoided in many cases. If you make an effort to buy your food from local sources like from farmers markets, or a community garden, you will be helping the environment by reducing the pollution generated by shipping masses of produce all over the country, but you will also be preserving the great nutrients and the delicious flavors of the food you are buying because those are lost many times in the long transit from their origin to where you live.

Packaging is another huge source of pollution in the United States and accounts for as much as a third of the garbage we throw away every year, so if we stop buying things that have a lot or excessive packaging, stop buying single servings of items and try to buy things in bulk we can reduce a lot of the waste that is produced by packaging. Fast food and any take out that we might purchase means that there is just that much more pollution that we are creating, and if we buy fresh foods and cook everything at home then we will be saving a lot of pollution. Another thing you can do to reduce packaging to reduce the amounts of things you buy a lot of when they are available in concentrated forms like cleaning supplies for kitchens, dishes, clothes, as well as other things.

Chuck R Stewart recently purchased several cases of carryout and paper bags for his restaurant.

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

Sunday, September 13, 2009

ZEITGEIST: The Ethics of Meat Eating

By Kathleen Ford

The United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization (UNFAO), intensive animal rearing reports that five per cent of the world's greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming are caused by the rearing of meat to eat and transporting that meat from the supplier to the consumer accounts for thirteen percent.

In real terms that is nearly a fifth of the world's greenhouse gases that account for global warming is down to meat production and that is more than all of the world's private transport both on planes and on the road; vegetable production has no where near the impact on the environment.

For every kilo of chicken meat that is produced it takes between four and five kilos of grain, which means that every chicken your family eats it could have eaten over ten kilos of grain. Beef is over three times that amount of grain. Over ninety percent of the world's soya is grown to be used as animal feed. The cruelty of meat eating is an appalling indictment against the meat industry, as between five and fifteen pounds of vegetable protein is needed per kilogram of meat. One sixth of an acre of land can feed one vegetarian for a year.

In the USA the meat industry uses a half of all the water consumed which is 5000 gallons per kilo of beef, whilst wheat uses just over 50 gallons per kilo. To put that in real terms that mean something to all of use every time we eat a hamburger we have eaten something that has taken 527 gallons to produce and that is only for a single 150 g burger.

Unfortunately the European habit of consuming meat and dairy products has had an impact on the destruction of the Amazon rain forest. Vast tracts of land and on either side of the Amazon basin is being used to grow soya for cattle feed or to graze cattle. The carbon dioxide emissions arising from the production of one kilo of beef could fuel a car for 250 kilometers or 155 miles.

However the Western world used meat rearing as a step in the process of development and there are compelling arguments as to why the third world should be allowed to do so. However there is a compelling case that meat should be more expensive. Our society reveres money and meat at a higher price would be revered and valued as a luxury product.

In America the current price for meat is extremely low when looked at from both a historical perspective and also from the relative price on other countries. Cheap food impoverishes the producers the farmers, and worse still it makes unethical and inefficient methods of food production the norm. One of the challenges of the twenty first Century is to more sustainable meat produced in humane conditions using sustainable environment practises.

We do not have to become vegetarians but small cuts in the way we view meat and dairy would make a big difference if we restricted our meat eating to 500g or a pound of meat a week, a litre of milk and a 100g or three and a half ounces of cheese a week the world's greenhouse gases would be cut by a greater level than if we left our cars at home a half of the time. What is the price of a chop in global terms.

Italian food is simple elegant and fabulous, it makes the most of the freshest ingredients. Italians don't ask how much food is they ask how fresh it is. The concept of a weekly shop is alien to them, their fruit and vegetables are bought every day. The fantastic thing about Italian food is the fact that they have no such thing; Italy was a separate conglomeration of states until 1870.

Each area has its own cuisine and that cuisine has been forged by Centuries of geographical area and history. For instance the food in the North West bears a closer relationship to mid European food because it was influenced by its neighbour the Austro- Hungarian empire. In the South the flavours of the Mediterranean prevail, the olive oils, the fresh and dried fruit influenced by the Moors, the tomatoes brought from the New World.

Read my introduction to Italian food and peruse the general recipes, then follow the links to the tastes of Tuscany, Lombardy and the tastes of Sicily Italian food is the ultimate comfort food celebrating the family, family life and family celebrations with a passion for food.

Because Italian food celebrates the magnificence of the food and not the chef it is easy to recreate at home. Generally it is fast and flavorsome, you can have home made pasta dish on the table in half an hour even if you have made the pasta yourself.

Antipasti, Lasagna, Chicken Saltimboca, Italian Meatloaf, Spaghetti alla Puttanesca, Zuppa di Pesce, Sole Florentine, Italian Meatloaf, Braised Artichokes, Zucchini Parmesan, and Ricotta Easter Pie are all described so vividly that you can taste them before you make them.

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

POLLUTION: Agricultural Crop Dusting - Effects on Humans, Animals and the Environment

By Debbie Davis

Agricultural crop dusting has become a cost effective and accepted way to eliminate pests from crops. Many who live near farms have come to accept it as a part of their lives. Great care is taken to spray the designated fields, but an unexpected gust of wind, a sudden change in wind direction, or a miscalculation can live you in the middle of a cloud of chemical dust.

What are the effects of crop dusting on the health of people, pets, and the earth? There is still great debate on the subject. Those who are a part of the industry say that if the dusting is properly done, there are very few health threats can be linked to it.

Others who live nearby have reported dead fish floating in nearby streams and rivers, many people have reported increased respiratory problems, and others attribute the death of love ones due to exposure to these chemicals.

So who is right? Research continues to be done to determine if these chemicals are really at the root of many of the occurrences that people report, but there seems to be no definitive answer that all can agree on.

There is a way to take matters into your own hands rather than wait for conclusive results from research. If you are sensitive to the chemicals, or just want to insure that you and your family are breathing the cleanest air possible you do have options.

Even though you may not be able to control the air quality outside, or prevent crop dusting, you can control your indoor air by eliminating chemical dust from your home or office with a high efficiency particle arresting (or HEPA) air purifier that has a filter specifically designed to remove airborne chemicals.

HEPA technology is the same filtration method used in hospitals, and by definition is designed to eliminate 99.97% of particulates down to .3 microns. This means that for every 10,000 particles in the air, 99,997 of them will be eliminated.

As the debate continues about whether these pesticides are harmful, if you are unwilling to take a chance with your health by breathing this dust that is nearly impossible to avoid, other than selling your home and moving far away, HEPA filtration is your best chance at keeping your air quality as fresh, clean, and healthy as it can be.

An excellent HEPA air purifier to remove indoor airborne chemicals that come into your from crop dusting is offered by PurerAir.com - the HealthMate Plus Air Purifier. See it now at http://purerair.com/healthmate_plus.html.

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

GREEN LIVING: The Hybrid Electric Vehicle - Saving Money While Saving The Environment‏

by Anna Stenning

The word 'Hybrid' doesn't really inspire images of cars with British people; though the vehicles have been available for many years over here, the technology hasn't quite penetrated the way it has in America just yet, but that seems to be changing in recent times with vehicles by Honda and Toyota being both commercially and critically successful.

Though the word 'Hybrid' may remind us of such diverse subjects as science fiction films or plants, the hybrid electric vehicle ranges from manufacturers such as Honda, Toyota and Ford are soon to be added to that list.

Combining both traditional fossil-fuel and modern electric propulsion systems, the hybrid contains many facets of power saving technology, including kinetic energy battery charging, shutting down the conventional engine when the vehicle isn't in motion and purely electric propulsion at lower speeds on some models, these vehicles are an excellent way of getting around while saving money on both fuel and electricity, making them both good for you and for the planet.

In the current economic climate, many of us are trying our best to save money and purchasing a hybrid vehicle such as a Ford Escape, Honda Civic or Toyota Prius is an excellent way to save ourselves money on fuel, but this technology is also kind to the environment. Requiring less petrol than most traditional vehicles, this saves on both environmentally damaging emissions and non-renewable fossil fuels, while the inbuilt recharging of the electrics will save on your homes carbon footprint as the battery will need to be recharged less often.

Although the economy will recover from its current state, any damage done to the environment is permanent until we develop a way to reverse the effects that we have had on the ozone layer and as such, it is important that we all take steps towards minimising the damage we do with our daily activities and a hybrid vehicle such as a Honda Civic is one of the best solutions to this if other transport methods aren't viable.

Often costing far less than you may expect, hybrid electric cars such as a Ford Escape or Honda Civic can be as kind to your bank account as they are to the planet and, with both the economy and the health of the planet being overarching concerns for many of us, choosing a greener way to travel is one way we can allay these fears.

Anna Stenning is a car journalist with many years of experience driving and writing about hybrid vehicles. Find out more about hybrid cars from Honda at http://www.hondainchcape.co.uk/