Tuesday, April 27, 2010

How to Recycle Computers

by Louise Longworth

Recycling is undeniably one of the best things you can do to make a positive impact on the environment. The amount of garbage we fill the earth with is building up every day and it's our responsibility to recycle as much as possible. An everyday item that seems to be ignored seems to be computers. Recycling a computer is not as straightforward as putting it in another bin, so it's important to know how to recycle computers properly.

As you know, many older computers are being thrown out as new technology is replacing the old. In some cases, computers need to be thrown out due to damage. Whatever the situation is, the bottom line is that we need to take responsibility and take the necessary steps to recycle them properly.

Before disposing of your computer, you need to consider how to protect your personal information or data such as passwords, bank accounts, and tax information. A lot of individuals have the notion that deleting the files in the computer is sufficient. However, this is not so. If the computer reaches the hands of a computer expert, he can probably rebuild much of the computer's hard drive.

This is definitely something you don't want to happen. The last thing you need is for your identity to be stolen and your financial information to be known. In order to permanently delete the files, it is vital that the hard drive is completely destroyed and not repairable. A professional company that recycles computers can solve this issue and gives you a certification that your data has been completely destroyed.

When searching for companies that recycle computers, ensure that you opt for a company that does more than just taking the computer off your hands. Look for an accountable and highly regarded company which strictly adheres with WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) regulations. Find out exactly what they do with the computers once collected.

Consider only companies that either reuse or recycle close to 90% of the whole bulk of the computer. Many advanced technologies are now employed by specialised computer recycling companies. Avoid companies that use landfills and are not able to safely discharge toxic materials such as lead batteries, mercury lamps, and other chemicals.

Everybody is encouraged to recycle their computer with the aid of recycling companies. It is a sad reality that many people don't think of recycling their computers and other electronic gadgets sensibly. According to research, millions of tons of electronic trash were produced last year. This is completely avoidable, and now that you can use dedicated computer recycling companies there really is no reason not to do it properly.

Find out more about how to recycle computers by visiting http://www.recyclingyourit.co.uk/pc_recycling.aspx

Monday, April 26, 2010

CASE STUDIES: Examples of Sustainable Development

By Michael Duggan

Sustainable development was coined in 1987 by the Bruntland Commission where they defined it as, 'development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs'. Since then, sustainable development theory has been greatly expanded and these ideas have been utilised around the world.

The need for development to become more sustainable is important, as many of the planet's ecosystems are degraded. Without the essential services provided by these natural systems, the planet cannot sustain life. For this reason, sustainability has been integrated into development at an ever-growing pace.

There are many different examples of development for sustainability around the world, with sustainable cities, eco-industrial parks, and corporations all moving towards greater sustainability. The following article will describe the above movements and provide examples of sustainable development.

A sustainable city considers the natural environment in its design and aims to reduce the input of energy, water and other resources, as well as minimising the generation of waste and other environmental disturbances. Vitoria-Gasteiz in Spain is one example of a sustainable city or eco-city. It has implemented a policy of mixed land use and high density development along its major transport routes. An upgraded public transport system allows more residents to live there, while remaining green belts still provide habitat for wildlife and recreational areas for people.

Eco-industrial parks are areas where industries are placed together to co-operatively manage the use of resources and environmental impacts caused by their operations. By sharing resources they improve efficiency and create less waste. An eco-industrial park in Kalundborg, Denmark has a number of businesses that utilise the by-products of other manufacturers. The waste created by a power station in the park is used to make cement by another firm. Other businesses use heat generated by the power plant and cement factory for some of their processes.

Corporations are also recognising the importance of incorporating sustainable development principles into their operations. In America, Interface Inc., a major carpet tile producer has greatly improved its ecological footprint. By using recycled and more environmentally friendly products, and more efficient manufacturing processes, they have reduced their energy and water consumption. The levels of waste, particularly hazardous waste have also been greatly reduced.

By the adoption of sustainable development, all of these examples have improved their environmental performance. As more and more governments, industries and individuals incorporate sustainable development, the future of the planet will begin to look brighter.

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

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Is It a Good Thing That Eco-Friendly is Trendy?‏

by Stephanie Foster

Lots of people are hopping on the green bandwagon these days. Eco-friendly products are appearing all over store shelves, even at Walmart. You can buy cheap, environmentally-friendly goods and you can buy designer eco-friendly products. It's quite a change from just a few years ago.

But is it a good change? It is and it isn't, in a lot of ways.

It is good because it means more people are thinking about the environment as they shop. It's good that more goods are being made from renewable resources. It's good that more goods made from recycled materials are available.

It's bad in that it is nothing more than a way to show trendiness for a lot of people. Being eco-chic is just another kind of consumerism in many cases. The thoughts are heading in the right direction, but they just haven't gone far enough.

It's bad that as a trendy lifestyle some people aren't as committed to the environment as they want others to think. They're talking about it, but they aren't doing. Aren't cutting back. Aren't planting gardens. Aren't enjoying simplicity.

It will be interesting to see how things go over the next few years. Will eco-friendly products be more or less popular? Will more people understand that you need to consume less, not just change the types of things they consume.

It is good that the current popularity of being eco-friendly means more interest in things that can make a big difference. The trendiness of finding alternative energy sources gives us the chance that they will become more affordable and practical in years to come. That's wonderful.

It's good that businesses are realizing how much more environmentally-friendly practices can save them in some areas. Not in all areas sadly, which is why products will continue for some time to be made in ways that have a high environmental and human cost.

It's good that with the introduction to being eco-friendly as a trend more people will recognize in time that there's more to it than buying a dozen organic cotton sheets. That they need to rein in their habits as consumers.

But it's bad that so many figure that because they're buying eco-friendly, they can keep on shopping. Keep on consuming because, darn it, they're doing something good for the environment, right?

It takes time to get the lesson across that even eco-friendly has an environmental cost. That the cost is less than conventionally produced products, bu that it isn't zero. It's not a happy lesson. But it's vital.

Stephanie Foster blogs at http://www.greensahm.com/ about raising an eco-friendly family. Learn how to find eco-friendly products when you shop at http://www.greensahm.com/how-to-be-eco-friendly-when-you-shop/

Energy Saving Methods That Could Change The World‏

by Terry Mickelson

Humanity has always faced challenges to its survival and the well-being of its societies. Today is no different. Regardless of where you live, global warming will change how you live, work and eat. Thankfully, people have always been able to rise to the challenges before them, and this crisis will be no different.

Some methods are easy and some are hard, but these different ways of saving energy could change the world, indeed. These broadly drawn methods are a framework on which our energy future can be changed.

Forging World Partnerships

In the past couple decades, the economies of China and India have made serious strides. Both countries are industrializing exponentially, which boosts the level of pollution they generate. According to Wired Magazine, China is planning to build 30 nuclear power plants by the year 2020. This power starved nation also constructed the Three Gorges Dam, which changed the path of major rivers and flooded large parts of the country in order to generate hydroelectric power. By working together and sharing technology, everyone could benefit from evolving methods of energy generation.

Streamlining Public Transportation

Getting from place to place takes a lot of energy. Public transportation reduces the personal amount of energy one uses while traveling, but it has its problems. Buses and trains are often extremely inconvenient, and can cost the same as simply driving to one's destination. Airline travel uses massive amounts of petroleum. The Japanese have made strides to increase the efficiency and comfort of travel; their extensive use of electromagnetic bullet trains get people where they need to be quickly and at a relatively low cost to the environment.

Improving Private Transportation

Let's face it, people are not going to give up the convenience of automobiles unless they have no other choice. That's why private and public agencies are working to improve the energy efficiency of automobiles. While a completely solar-powered car is pretty far off, Ford Motor Company is developing technology that will incorporate roof mounted solar cells to contribute to charging the hybrid battery. Plug-in electric cars are also a future necessity, and these will be powered by the same clean electricity that powers your home.

Getting Back to Basics

The conveniences of the modern world are amazing. Heating and air-conditioning allow us to live where we please in comfort and all of our electronic devices keep us in constant contact with our loved ones. While we're certainly not going to give up our climate control or cell phones, the cumulative effect of millions of people could reduce our energy usage enough to mitigate the effects of global climate change.

Instead of shutting out nature with sealed windows, we can open windows in the evening to let cool air in, and close blinds over them to keep out the hot sunlight. As they draw energy even when not in use, we can unplug phone chargers and flat screen televisions to reduce our energy consumption even further. Even something as simple as planting bushes can moderate the temperature in our homes. Vigilance by a few can mean success for the many.

Reduce Energy Transportation Cost

Americans use a lot of fossil fuels to generate their electricity and power their cars. Currently, we get a lot of these materials from far-flung regions. Eliminating some of the transportation cost would make a dent in our energy costs and would also help influence American foreign policy. For example, accessing the oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge would bring ready energy from within our own borders. Refining the techniques used to reclaim shale oil in Canada would also accomplish the same effect.

Help Reduce the Pollution Caused by Industry

The skylines of yesteryear were blanketed with heavy smoke from dirty manufacturing plants. Thanks to a progression of advances in green technology, these plants give off far fewer greenhouse and other gases. Most smokestacks are currently equipped with scrubbers that cut down on the volume of sulfur and other gases bellowed into the atmosphere. With further research dollars, these methods will only get better, reining in air pollution, even as our population increases.

Education is the Key

Education is the solution to so many problems. The more people learn, the easier it is to effect meaningful change. In addition to making more Americans aware of what they can do to change the world, it's also important to reach out to the rest of the world. The Internet and other methods of communication make it possible to put everyone on the same page.

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CASE STUDY: In the Middle of Nature - Finally Going Green in Gatlinburg TN

Surrounded by the beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains, the residents of Gatlinburg are aware of the precious environment that they live in and just how necessary it is to preserve it.

Many move or choose to vacation here to get away from their noisy, polluted cities and towns, breathe the fresh mountain air and "go back to the basics." As our country becomes more modernized and is susceptible to higher pollution rates, garbage disposal problems and other environmental crises, preserving the areas that are still considered natural and completely green has become an important issue. There are many ways that you can choose to be green while staying in Gatlinburg, a choice that is now being heavily endorsed by the area's various vendors.

It can start as small as making sure not to leave any garbage behind on one of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park's many trails; follow the hiker's motto "take only memories and leave only footprints." This keeps the mountains clean and beautiful while also helping to reduce the incidence of bears along these walkways, they certainly aren't the type of fellow hiker you want to see walking up ahead of you!

To honor those businesses that make regular efforts to stay green the Gatlinburg Chamber of Commerce recognizes and announces the members of a voluntary educational program Gatlinburg Goes Green! By committing to reduce their carbon footprint on a daily basis the stores and restaurants of the town have really come together to help make Gatlinburg a better place to live and visit all year long. The CC also holds events to help raise public awareness about their new program that include a swap shop, Earth Day Festival and other educational events.

As a visitor to the area what can you do to help Gatlinburg stay green? Review this checklist to see how environmentally-conscious you have been during your stay:

* Shorter showers = less water used
* Turning off appliances and A/C when not in use saves a ton of energy per day, even per hour!
* Reuse sheets and towels rather than washing them daily
* Take note of your hotel or cabin's recycling program or ask how you can dispose of your recyclable goods if you do not see it listed
* Walk around when possible or take a bike-ride around town
* Bring a canvas tote for shopping rather than accepting plastic bags

Before being green became a fashionable choice Gatlinburg has been organizing events to keep the area clean for over thirty years. Starting with the Sparkle Days program in 1979 where a week was dedicated to spring cleaning and most recently with the Fluorescent Light Bulb Recycling Program of this year residents have always been environmentally-conscious.

The only way to live in nature peacefully is to live in accordance with it; although this is more difficult to do as of late, it is still possible for everyone, residents and visitors alike, to do their part. Help us keep Gatlinburg beautiful so that people just like you will continue to visit for generations to come.

Joe Glad is an avid traveler and resident of the Great Smoky Mountains, growing up and spending most of his life there when not traveling. Joe's blogs can be found at http://www.elkspringsresort.com and include many topics about the Gatlinburg area and the Great Smoky Mountains.

Monday, April 19, 2010

A Serious Look at the Green Elements of Home Buying Or Renovation

By Laurel R. Lindsay

Home builders and developers of new residential units are now instituting major changes in their design and development priorities in response to the growing desire of buyers for homes that meet higher standards for health and safety concerns for the household and Mother Earth.

Home developers are now actively engaged in the development and promotion of their respective green home dwelling options that have the following major features:

• Use of alternative steel framing which are more structurally sound and healthier than wood frames
• Low emission and energy-efficient window system
• Installation of HEPA air filtration modules
• Use of kitchen sinks outfitted with water filters
• Use of ceramic or hardwood floor materials as alternative to carpeting or vinyl floor materials
• Ventilators with heat recovery capability

Another home developer that is based in the British Columbia area has included in the mix of their home development specialties the use of healthy house features. If you are in search of new home design concept, regardless of whether you are buying from a home developer or going for custom-built units, it is important that you discuss with builders, architects and contractors about the use of healthy features in your dream home. This option may turn out to be more expensive upfront. However, the extra cost of using green elements in your home can easily be offset by long term benefits.

What are your options if you are not in the market to purchase or construct a new home property? What are your alternatives in incorporating earth-friendly aspects in your home renovations and improvements? If you are replacing something old in your home, or adding elements in order to enhance your level of comfort, you also have the opportunity to make your home a healthier and safer place for you and your family. It is also an opportunity for you to consider home repair and improvement concepts that are earth-friendly. With the incorporation of green elements in your home renovation and improvement projects, you instantly reduce your operating cost, increase home value and decrease waste and reliance to fossil fuels.

Here are some alternatives that you can consider if you are planning to incorporate green features in your home:

1. For your insulation, you may use cotton as your insulating material. Cotton delivers the same level of performance as fiberglass. It is also a safe and earth-friendly alternative.
2. You can use CA-B pressure treated wooden materials instead of the usual pressure-treated lumber for the external structures of your home. You have to remember that the latter type of lumber are treated with hazardous or toxic chemicals to prevent infestation and rot. You may also consider using sustainable construction material such as ipe, a type of Brazilian wood, for your outdoor constructions or decking. It is an attractive material aside from being rot-resistant and long-lasting building material.
3. You can also opt for the reclaimed type of redwood shingles if you require natural wood shingles in your home construction or renovation.
4. It is also wise to choose smoke detectors that don't incorporate radioactive materials. While these trace amounts of radioactive materials in smoke detectors don't affect the health of the inhabitants, proper disposal of these hazardous materials is a major issue.
5. You will significantly improve the quality of air in your home if you are going to replace the ordinary filters of your air conditioner and furnace with genuine HEPA filters.

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If you're looking to buy a home from an FSBO listing check here: FSBO Listing

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Laurel_R._Lindsay

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Is an End to the Continual Exploration of the Antarctic in Sight?

By Thomas Eric

When the whaling ship Antarctic set anchor down on this wind-battered volcanic coast and sent the first longboat through the dangerous Ross Sea, it was 100 years ago. The land was found as part of a journey to unclaimed waters for the purpose of killing whales. Captain Leonard Kristensen and his party were the first people to place their feet on this continent.

The continent of Antarctica's baptism was bloody. The machinery used in the Industrial Revolution required greasing, therefore scores of whales and penguins were slaughtered for their oil, along with millions of seals, who were killed in order for their fur to be harvested. It was on Macquarie Island that hundreds of thousands of scared penguins were rounded up, forced up boards leaning on pots of boiling oil, and forced to fall in to add their own oil to the mix.

Now, 100 years later, this Frozen Continent is going to be used as a natural preserve of nature and science forevermore. This means that humans can no longer voyage to Antarctica in search of a quick way to make money through killing. There's even talks of establishing a park where people from all over the world can visit.

Many scientists see Antarctica as a place to study the effects of global pollutant threats like the depletion of the ozone layer and the greenhouse effect. When you consider mankind's rather brief presence on this continent, this turnaround had happened rather quickly. It was not until the 1957-1958 International Geophysical Year (also known as IGY) that more coastline, islands, and a handful of paths to the South Pole were even investigated.

From the very first, the appearance of men on this continent has resulted in a convoluted story of nationalism, aggression, idealism, and unchecked slaughter, with sporadic, cavalier attempts toward scientific research.

Whaling in this region increased during World War I because the oil was refined into glycerin which was used for artillery shells. Jet engines required extra-fine oil as a lubricant, which led the Americans and Soviets to seek out sperm whales after World War II. It was not until the International Geophysical Year that Antarctica was referred to as anything but "Terra Australia Incognita," a term used by medieval mapmakers to describe this undiscovered southern continent.

It may be surprising to note that the first person born in Antarctica was born there out of patriotic pretentiousness. In 1978, Emilio Marcus Palmer was born at Esperanza Base, owned by Argentina in order to reinforce claims by Argentina to large portions of the territory.

This incident occurred only nine years after America 'claimed' the moon by planting a US flag when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed there. In 1911, Roald Amundsen's trek to the South Pole, honoring King Haakon VII of Norway, was the most productive, determined venture of this sort. The British Empire gained honor through the works of Robert F Scott and his group who undertook a similar journey, with the addition of rock and fossil sample collection which they carried with them in their homemade sleds.

It is believed that between the discouragement felt when they found out that Amundsen reached the Pole a month sooner, eating a poor diet, having to haul the rocks and fossils, and utter bad luck caused Scott and his team to perish on the return trip, making them the first people to die in Antarctica for the sake of science. America staked their claim to the South Pole when Richard Byrd took a flight over it in 1929 using a Ford Trimotor. In 1821, the soviets utilized Russian Admiral Thaddeus Bellingshausen's voyage passed Antarctica in 1821 to justify their interests in the continent.

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

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Is Global Warming Warming Up?‏

by Knight Pierce Hirst

Nearly half of the fish that is eaten globally depends on coral reefs for feeding and spawning, but the reefs are dying. Coral reefs are a vital source of food, medicine and livelihood for hundreds of millions of people worldwide; but at least 19% of the world's reefs are already gone and another 15% could die within 20 years.

Global warming, pollution, coastal development, bottom-dragging fishing boats and international trade in coral jewelry are killing it. According to the 2010 Global Marine Species Assessment, all coral could be extinct in 100 years if those killing coral aren't "corralled".

Global warming seems to be making allergies worse. Warming seasons across the U.S. are longer and cooling seasons are shorter. Not only are plants producing more pollen because of longer growing seasons, but also because of increased carbon dioxide in the air.

Based on pollen scores, allergy medicine use per patient and board-certified allergists per patient, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America determined that Knoxville is the country's allergy capital for 2010. Of course, Louisville, Chattanooga, Dayton and Charlotte - which came in second, third, fourth and fifth respectively - don't have numbers to sneeze at.

Faster growing trees are another result of global warming. When the trees at the Smithsonian's Environmental Research Center outside Washington, D.C. were measured in 2010, the forest was increasing 2 extra tons per acre per year - up to double the usual growth rate for some trees. This is attributed to global warming - to the average temperature increasing three-tenths a degree Celsius in 23 years, a week-longer growing season and an increase of 12% in the carbon dioxide level. Because similar increases in tree growth rate have been seen worldwide, I guess it's not caused by hot air coming from the United States Congress.

Finally, Glacier National Park in northwestern Montana lost 2 more glaciers in 2010 because of global warming. In 1910 when the 1.4 million acres of wilderness became the 10th U.S. national park, there were 150 glaciers. Now there are only 25; and according to the U.S. Geological Survey, many of those could be gone by 2020.

In recent years glacier melting has increased as global temperatures have increased. In the past 100 years the park's mean summer temperature has gone up approximately 3 degrees Fahrenheit. The warmer temperatures shrink the rivers of ice until they stop. It's another type of man-made meltdown.

Knight Pierce Hirst has written for television, newspapers and greeting cards. Now she writes a 400-word blog three times a week. KNIGHT WATCH, a second look at what makes life interesting, takes only seconds to read at http://knightwatch.typepad.com

Monday, April 12, 2010

How Do I Choose An Appropriate Onsite Wastewater System: A Look At The Wastewater System‏

by Adriana Noton

Wastewater is a reusable resource. It can be treated and recycled back into groundwater. This article takes a look at the wastewater system and answers the question: How do I choose an appropriate onsite wastewater system?

Cities and towns use a central wastewater system. On the other hand, in smaller communities or homes separated away from the city, the onsite wastewater system must be used. First, take a look at your land. Is your land hilly or flat as in the plains? Second, is your property located near rivers or lakes? Third, what kind of soil is your property on?

Onsite wastewater systems are made up of a septic tank, a treatment unit, a filter, and a dispersal unit. Some systems may combine the treatment unit with the filter unit. Picture a pit latrine or outhouse. The hole in the pit is a septic tank. If there is a ventilation pipe that is put into the pit, it allows for air to flow out of the pit. The bad odor is transported out of the pit through heat convection during summer.

In winter, the excreta get frozen. In this case, inside the pit, wastewater is filtered out through the sand into the surrounding soil. The sand acts as a filter and a natural dispersal unit. The treatment takes place naturally in the pit with bacteria but it is not efficient. This system can still be used until the pit is full. The pit is covered up and a new one dug and the cycle repeats.

The only thing bad about this is if there is a river or lake nearby, the effluents from the pit latrine will contaminate the river or existing well water. This system would probably be used in cabins or in a remote location.

The other more common type of onsite wastewater system is the one which uses the flush latrine located within the home. The wastewater flows into a septic tank, out into an aerobic treatment unit (ATU) and a gravity effluent distribution device. The septic tank is a watertight covered container. The sewage comes from the sewage pipe running from the flush latrine. The septic tank is normally placed underground.

As the wastewater goes into the tank, solids and liquids are separated through gravity. Solids sink and become sludge while fat and grease float. In between is a clearer layer of effluence which flows out of the septic tank into the ATU. In the ATU, air is mixed into the wastewater and aerobic bacteria break down and remove the solids. The wastewater flows into the effluent distribution device through gravity. Here, sand or peat can be used as filters. As the wastewater goes through the sand, particles are trapped and clearer water is obtained. The wastewater is then dispersed to the surrounding soil.

So, it really depends on your locality and what type of home you are staying in. The above should help answer the question nagging you, How do I choose an appropriate onsite wastewater system?

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Sunday, April 11, 2010

CASE STUDY: Wind capacity continues to grow in South Australia

Article on SA Biz Website at: http://www.southaustralia.biz/News/2010/04/06/Wind-capacity-continues-to-grow.aspx

Premier Mike Rann says another milestone in the State’s position as a leader in renewable energy will be reached when the 1000th megawatt of wind power is switched on. Mr Rann says the combined investment by private energy companies in wind farms across the State since his Government was elected in 2002 is now nearly $2 billion.

"There are currently two more wind projects under construction with a combined capacity of 150 megawatts (MW). These projects are Infigen Energy's 39 MW Stage 3 project at Lake Bonney and Roaring 40s 111 MW Stage 1 project at Waterloo. Both are expected to be commissioned by July this year," Mr Rann says.

"These wind farms will add to the 868 MW of wind power generation already installed - which means that total wind generation will pass the 1000 MW mark in July. This is another step toward realising our targets. We expect to meet the first target - generating 20 per cent of the State's electricity from renewables - ahead of our 2014 schedule".

"We are also well on the way to achieving our next target of 33 per cent from renewables by 2020, matching California's ambitious target. If South Australia were a nation State, it would rank second in the world behind only Denmark in the amount of wind energy it hosts as a proportion of its total electricity generation. The State Government is investing in a Sustainable Technologies Precinct at the former Mitsubishi site at Tonsley Park that will help to further maximise job opportunities and economic benefits from renewable energy and clean technology industries, including advanced manufacturing."

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Going Solar - Frequently Asked Questions

By Ray Boreham

People interested in joining the highly commendable movement referred to as the Solar Revolution and going solar usually have many questions before they're ready to make the potentially life- and planet-changing move to solar.

As with any sizable financial investment, it's best to go into the world of solar energy with your eyes wide open and with as many facts under your belt as possible so you can make an informed decision. With that in mind, here are some of the more pressing questions and a discussion of the answers to those questions.

1. What Exactly Is "solar"?

Solar refers to the energy from the sun, which, as far as we know, has been with us since the beginning of time, and continues to be a constant and reliable source of free energy, day in, day out. Despite the fact that mankind has used the sun's energy for many purposes over the centuries, we're really only just starting to realize the potential power available to us from the sun. Even then, we're still only taking advantage of a microscopic amount of the solar energy available to us. Amazingly enough, one hour of solar energy would be enough to cover the energy needs of the whole planet for more than a year, which makes you realize just how much energy remains untapped.

2. How Does Solar Work?

The type of solar we're discussing here is solar electricity, which is produced by sunlight (or photons) striking a small amount of silicon, which in turn reacts with the sunlight to produce a small charge of electricity. This is known as the "photovoltaic effect", which was discovered by Edmund Becquerel, a Frenchman working in the field of physics in the 19th century. The silicon is formed into a cell, a certain number of which, depending on the amount of electricity to be produced, are wired together inside a frame to create a solar, or PV, panel. Two or more solar panels are then wired together to form an array, which is then placed on the roof of a building or on the ground nearby to produce solar electricity.

3. How Can It Benefit Me?

The first and most obvious benefit is economic, in that you'll see your electricity bill either reduced dramatically or even eliminated, enabling you to hang onto much more of your hard-earned money. Not only that, but you'll reduce your dependence on the utility company and the effect of future price increases due to the ever-increasing costs of fossil fuels. By reducing your dependence on fossil fuels, you'll also benefit indirectly from cleaner air as a result of the decrease in carbon emissions. Long-term, this will also benefit you and your family and future generations by helping to preserve the planet.

4. How Do I Get Started?

If you're ready to get started on your "Going Solar" project, the first step is to make sure your home is as energy-efficient as possible. This means that you should look at all the appliances and devices, computers, etc., you use and ensure that, wherever possible, when they're not in use, they're not only turned off but unplugged. Replace incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs. Turn your thermostat down in winter and up in summer, if your family's health allows.

Next, have a solar energy expert come out and check your house for system location and sizing. Then, get several bids from solar contractors or installers, being careful to ask for references and evidence of previous installations.

Set an appointment to have the contractor you've chosen come and do the installation of the system you've picked, then sit back, knowing your worries over your ever-increasing electricity bills are at an end and that you've done your bit to help the planet.

There are many more questions you should ask and get the answers to before taking the leap into the wonderful world of solar, but these are amongst the more important ones, so, with these answered, you're hopefully feeling more empowered and informed to take the next step.

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

Monday, April 5, 2010

Why Are Our Honey Bees Dying Out in the UK?

By Bob Brightside

Bees are disappearing, fast. The population of honey bees in the UK and in the rest of the world has dropped by around 70 per cent in the last 35 years and it seems that no one knows why our honey bees are dying out so rapidly.

Why does it matter that our bees are dying out I hear you ask, honey bees just make honey right? Not so, a third of all food production in the UK and worldwide relies on bees for pollination. This means that without honey bees for pollination, many of our basic foodstuffs would not survive and the future of humankind would be precarious to say the least. Pretty scary stuff isn't it?

Honey bees are essential to food production, pollen sticks to their fuzzy bodies as they search for food and they carry this pollen huge distances, making sure that plants are successfully pollinated. Poorly pollinated plants produce fewer fruits and lower yields of seed and this in turn inevitably impacts on the quality, availability and price of food. A farmer can actually increase yields of crops by finding ways to manage bees and encourage good pollination. The destructive effects of the Varroa mite and the use of pesticides are just two of the things that mean conservation of wild bees is more important than ever.

So what exactly will happen if bees die out?

Commonplace foods that we eat every day, things such as apples, beans, tomatoes and onions, would die with them. No human activity could ever replace the work of bees and typically, we have taken them for granted and it is only now that we are starting to appreciate exactly what they do for us - they allow us to eat and to survive.

As part of Plan Bee, a film was recently commissioned and released called Vanishing of the Bees, which documents the difficult plight of our honey bees. The fact that a film has been made and shown in cinemas across the world highlights just how important this subject is - the need to save the bees is really gathering momentum but is it too little too late?

No, it's not - we can all help to save the bees by stepping up and taking note of advice from DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs), the British Beekeepers' Association (BBKA) and large co-operatives who are taking their corporate social responsibility extremely seriously.

The save the bees campaign is in full swing has many followers, you can find out more by visiting the Coop website where there is more information.

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

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Pink Dolphins - How Did They Become Endangered?

By Charles Cridland

You may wonder how did pink dolphins become endangered. As with most every other endangered species on our fragile planet, the finger can be pointed squarely at people. Man and his impact upon the environment is directly to blame for the endangerment of this unusual and beautiful mammal.

Pink dolphins are only distantly related to their ocean going cousins and live in the rivers of the Amazon rainforest and can also be found in the Orinoco and Madeira rivers in South America and in the Pearl River in Hong Kong.

They are the friendliest of the five sub-species of dolphins and it is reported that their pink colouration is due to the large amount of crustaceans that they consume. It is reported that their numbers are decreasing at a rate of 10% per annum, with the biggest culprit being degradation and pollution of their natural environment. River contamination is one of the most serious causes, with gold mining spewing out large amounts of mercury as a by-product of the mining process. This is killing the pink dolphins at a rapid rate.

The increased traffic upon the waterways plays havoc with the pink dolphins' delicate guidance and navigation system, resulting in many accidental deaths of this magnificent creature. The construction of several dams along the waterways will result in the dolphin pods being cut off from one another, further lowering their breeding rates.

Fishing is another cause of pink dolphins becoming endangered. The dolphins become entangled in the fishermen's nets and the fishermen view them as competition for their catch. They either drown as a result of becoming entangled in the nets or they are killed by the fishermen to prevent them eating all their fish.

The reasons why pink dolphins have become endangered are many and we can only hope that man will see the error of his ways before these amazing creatures are forced into extinction.

Find out more about bottlenose dolphins and the other types of dolphins.

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Why Are Giant Pandas Endangered?

By Charles Cridland

One of the reasons why pandas are endangered is due to the nature of their highly specialised diet. Pandas live almost exclusively on a diet of bamboo and must consume vast amounts of this plant to sustain their vast bulk. They may also supplement their diet with honey, bananas, oranges, yams, shrub leaves and fish or eggs.

The giant pandas natural habitat can be found in the mountain ranges of central China but it is gradually being driven out of its natural habitat by farming and deforestation. The situation is now so dire that only 1,590 giant pandas are recorded as living in the wild. Pandas have a very low birth rate, further threatening the survival of the species.

Poaching had a far reaching effect upon the giant panda population, with the demand for giant panda skins from the West and such places as Japan and Hong Kong causing an alarming drop in the population of wild panda bears. The hunting of these beautiful animals was banned as far back as 1930, which lead to illegal poaching as the demand for the exotic pelts grew.

Conservation efforts are having a positive impact on giant panda bear numbers which are estimated to have risen to 3,000 and in 2006 as many as 40 panda reserves existed in China. These areas have been designated as UNESCO world heritage sites in an attempt to preserve the natural habitats of the giant panda and its smaller cousins.

Specialized reserves, parks and zoos are now taking an active interest in the preservation of the natural habitat of the panda, fighting to preserve this unique animal and its natural environment for generations to come. Breeding programmes in captivity are now increasing the numbers of pandas, though some argue that this is a pointless exercise as there is not enough natural habitat left to sustain them.

Find out more about pandas and panda conservation efforts at Animal Adoptions UK.

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Time For Eco-Citizens to Declare Global Transformation

By M Hidalgo

A Solar Explosion

The struggle with over reliance on traditional fuels to provide energy has become painfully obvious. Political instability, depleting resources and rocketing energy costs have all negatively impacted the economy on a global scale. While our narcissistic politicians cuddle together in the snow and gossip about global warming in Copenhagen, the rest of the world waits for them to act. They lecture to us about conserving energy as they emit globs of carbon dioxide gas in the air. They scream at us about how to save the planet against Armageddon. They do all of this while their unworthy sponsors slither about ready to make billions on false scientific data.

Meanwhile, the environmental effects stemming from decades of dependence on dirty fossil fuels are destroying our communities. Devastation to the air, sea and surface is causing health hazards and toxic landscapes. People are suffering as a result of air, water and soil contamination. Infection is prevalent even in the United States. Government bloviates but does nothing to fix the problem! Need proof? Conduct your own research about brownouts, air pollution, river contamination and hazardous waste landfills.

For example, a massive power outage completely crippled and left people vulnerable in parts of the northeastern United States and eastern Canada on August 14, 2003. It was the largest disruption of power affecting national security, communications, businesses, homes and farms in our history. Italy suffered a larger disruption of power in 2003. Luxembourg experienced a smaller disruption of power in 2004. The estimated financial loss of 6-billion dollars was not attributed to global warming or natural causes. It was blamed on human error and neglect. At least eight fatalities were reported. During the same period, in the hot and humid summer in the northeast, utility rates were spiraling out of control. There were deaths reported in the elderly population who could not afford to pay for the costs of using air conditioners.

Do any of these preventable events have any direct correlation with global warming? No! These are not isolated cases. It is a global crisis. Where are our impervious leaders?

Old Fashioned Innovation

There are new technologies based on clean energy alternatives. We need to develop them. Before the industrial age, there were passive solar technologies used over the centuries. We should bring them back and develop them also. Back to the present, protecting our natural resources begins at home. Insulate the attic, tint the windows and properly frame the doors. Install water-efficient heads and faucets. Purchase energy-saving appliances. Reduce energy consumption before slapping expensive solar panels over the entire roof. Done properly, increased energy consumption generated by photovoltaics could be the result but then the power is free.

Solar is great, but there are an assortment of active and passive technologies that are more suitable and cost effective for particular applications. Sometimes, doing simple activities brings people back to life. It is easy to recycle plastic, paper and metal products without the need for government interference and corporation games.

Old Fashioned Living

In a nutshell (pun intended), let us find ways to have fun. Planting a garden and opening a window with a big shade tree nearby are simple ideas to improve air quality, lower the ambient temperature and reduce energy consumption. Preparing lemonade is much more refreshing from ingredients grown in the garden. Tomatoes grown at home are tastier than the sexy ones displayed at the store. Have you ever eaten canned sweet peaches, chomped a juicy dill pickle or brewed your own beer?

One neighbor can pick extra lemons from the old faithful citrus tree in the yard and place them in a basket for people to grab while another neighbor picks extra chilis to give out. Do not let the fruits or vegetables drop to rot. Hey city slickers. Learn how to grow and cultivate tea, herbs or flowers in small containers. Start your own community swap meet. To give thanks, hugs and kisses! Love is in the air. Say what? Yep, too close for comfort. Just say "Thank you." Let us discuss ways to improve our lives before saving polar bears at the North Pole.

On the Brink of a Global Revolution

We are on the brink of a global revolution that will finally see the end of the industrial age. Avoid the fast lane and toss the time clock. A completely new lifestyle is emerging to embody all facets of our lives. Before it can happen, we must put the greedy Narcissists back in their cages. It is our turn to bust loose! We must address pressing issues in coming years as the demand for energy in developing regions such as China and India envision unprecedented growth. Political instability and turmoil in the global economies will not permit energy prices to remain low.

Generating power from alternative energy sources to support conventional energy systems is no longer an option; it is an absolute necessity. A radically different lifestyle is emerging in the 21st century. Introducing disruptive technologies are part of the solution. A coordinated effort led by a courageous society of eco-citizens can make it happen.

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

UK Government Says No Upfront Fees For Household Environmental Upgrades

By Chris Floate

On March 2nd 2010, the UK government released its strategy for household energy management - Warmer Homes Greener Homes - which sets out its plans to deliver the already promised 29% cut in carbon emissions by 2020, from UK homes.

The main thrust of the document is to use the previously announced Renewable Heat Incentive, which plans to levy those using fossil fuels to pay those demonstrating green energy usage an amount per kW. The thinking behind this latest strategy is that the payment made for the energy saving (the current proposal for thermal solar is 18p/kw for 20 years) under the Renewable Heat Incentive should be enough to pay back the cost of installing the system and give a saving to the household. This idea is then taken a further step to include the financial sector that could then offer loans for the installation that will we paid off by the Renewable Heat Incentive payments.

On the face of it, this all sounds a pretty good deal for everyone. The government gets to hit its target, the householder gets cheaper heating at no cost to him/herself and the banks get to make guaranteed loans backed by the houses. Another interesting feature of the idea is that the loan and the payment stays with the property if it is sold. This means it should be a benefit for the seller.

So where's the snag?

Everything in life has to come from somewhere and this is going to come from the householder who is using fossil fuels and the power companies who will no doubt see added taxes to cover any further requirements.

The government is naturally claiming that many new green jobs will be created and that demand will mean we are in a shortage situation of qualified installers for a long time. I am really pleased to see an initiative that really encourages the individual to seriously invest in a greener lifestyle but one has to raise concerns about pricing. Whenever governments get involved and manipulate situations it tends to adversely affect pricing as it destroys competition. I will explain what I mean. If I, for example install a £10,000 solar system and the government guarantee me a payment each month that will pay off the loan and give me a little bit more then it makes sense for me to do it.

That part of the equation is great. We have a householder who will commit to reducing substantially his/her carbon footprint and when done en masse it is easy to see that this can have an impact. The other side of the equation is not so good though. If you create a situation where the demand is so much greater than supply there is only one thing that will happen, the costs of the systems and their installation will go up until the sums don't add up anymore. The banks will not be interested as the returns will no longer guarantee payment and when that happens we will be back to square one as the financial incentive will then be discouraging rather than encouraging the householder.

In a scenario similar to the one above the opposite of what needs to happen will happen. Increased demand for green products and systems, (provided it is within natural proportions) should mean prices actually reduce as scales of volume and improved manufacturing and installation techniques kick in. I like the Renewable Heat Incentive as it does what it says on the box - it incentivises the home owner to install green power.

Unfortunately, when a government starts meddling with finance they create distortions that will lead to a bubble in green energy and we all know what happens to bubbles in the end. Renewable energy could be set back a long, long time. If you take away the need for the householder to beat the price as low as possible then you're heading for a fall.

Another worrying aspect of the government document is their requirement for added layers of bureaucracy and further certification for installers which will give a perfect carrier for the justification of increasing costs. Also, there is no allowance for the DIY installer. There is no reason why many systems cannot be installed by a competent DIY'er which can give real cost savings and also allow for perhaps a larger system than could be afforded otherwise. Unfortunately, with government assistance comes control.

There is another fly in the ointment, the UK has an election coming up and who knows what a new government will want to do or change. Looking at the people who run the UK, I wouldn't want to rely on their word for a long term financial commitment!

If you would like to know more, the strategy document can be downloaded at:

Chris Floate has been writing for magazines in the recycling and landscape arenas for the last 20 years. He is currently developing an online resource, realityGreen which focuses on
sustainable living. Chris is also involved with natural swimming pools.

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

Blanding's Turtle - Won't You Help Preserve This Endangered Species?

By Karma Williams

Perhaps you have already heard of the Russian Tortoise, the Red Eared Slider Turtle, and the Painted Turtle. Perhaps you know that these, and other turtles, are commonly kept as pets. But have you ever heard of the Blanding's Turtle? Here are some interesting facts about this endangered species.

Blanding's turtles (Emydoidea blandingii) may look charming to people, with their medium size of six to nine inches in length. Belonging to the semi-aquatic type of turtles, it has a high-domed shell like a box turtle, but its carapace has the shape and size of a football. Their shells are black with yellow spots. The distinctive marks of Blanding's turtles are their brilliant yellow chins and throats.

Blanding's turtles are shy and non-aggressive. In fact, the Blanding's turtle has a tendency to stay at the bottom of its habitat for long a time when it senses danger. Unlike other turtles, they rarely bite, and, aside from being good swimmers, they can also catch live fish. Like most other turtles, they are confirmed baskers, and must sun themselves to dry off and stay warm.

Blanding's turtles prefer to inhabit areas with low, slow-moving water and with an abundance of aquatic vegetation. Blanding's turtles are found around swamps, weedy ponds, and marshes throughout North America, in the Great Lakes region, from southern Ontario to Michigan to northern Ohio and Indiana; west from Illinois, Wisconsin, southern Minnesota, Iowa, and northeastern Nebraska. (Benedictine University, 2009)

This species hibernates from late October until early April. After hibernation, mating in Blanding's turtles usually occurs in April and May, with nesting beginning in early June and ending the same month. The Blanding's turtle takes quite a while (from 14 to 20 years) to reach sexual maturity. Blanding's turtles can live for 70 years and are omnivores, feeding on plants, vegetable debris, and fish.

Blanding's turtles are listed as threatened species in Massachusetts, Illinois, Minnesota, and Iowa, among other states. It is against the law to keep this threatened species in captivity. However, even in the wild, this turtle is in jeopardy. For example, in New York, a major concern is the devastation of the Blanding's turtle's territory due to the building of housing development projects, beach properties, and other summer leisure facilities. These facilities encroach on and destroy the wild habitat of the Blanding's turtle.

This alarming trend is forcing people to realize that now is the right time to become aware of the importance of keeping the population of these endangered species of turtles. If they become extinct, people will surely notice a negative impact on their ecosystem. People must follow and enforce the laws strictly to make sure of the Blanding's turtle's continued existence. We must take action now to ensure that our children, and our children's children, see these beautiful creatures not only in pictures, as part of history, but alive, in their natural habitats.

Karma Williams is a turtle care enthusiast who has raised turtles for over 23 years, and enjoys helping others get started in this amazing hobby. You can discover more about turtles by visiting the turtle hibernation and turtle mating pages of her website. Her newest eBook is entitled "The Ultimate Guide to Pet Turtle Care".

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

The Economic and Environmental Impact of the Automobile

By Kris Kolanko

There is no such thing as a car. So what does this mean to you? What does this do to your lifestyle? Can you see the point I am trying to make? It is this: you could not visualize your present day way of life, if somehow, incredibly, the automobile were suddenly subtracted from our midst. The longer you think about the consequences of such a hypothetical event, the longer becomes your list of all the ways that you would be affected.

Starting with the obvious point, most people would quickly find that their travelling range was sharply limited. The number of places they could visit, or the things that they could do, would be cut in half at the very least. At the simplest level, the scope of interesting experiences open to most people would be greatly reduced without the widespread availability of the automobile.

Look at the problem in another way. For a great many persons, the car is the only practical means of getting to work. Without cars, nearly everyone who now lives in suburban areas, for instance, would be unable to go to work. Something would have to change; either their work would come to them, or they would have to move. It wouldn't take much time to figure that unless the whole structure of the industry were to alter, the suburbs would virtually disappear. Or to juggle slightly with the framework of our imaginary discussion, it is entirely reasonable to claim that the automobile is a major factor explaining why the suburbs are continuing to grow.

Nor does the discussion of this particular point end here. People living in suburbs want expressways that can get them to and from their job in the middle of the city in the shortest possible time. People who live in metropolis areas don't always think so much of this idea. They claim - or at least many of them do - that expressways carve up the cities and leave them ruined. Who is right? That is a question that may well turn into one of the most controversial political issues regarding infrastructure and domestic policies in the future.

Cars are built by people. Self-evident but significant. The automobile companies collectively are the largest employer in the industrialized world today. Quite obviously, cars and their manufacture are a vital component of our economy.

Beyond the manufacturing sector of the auto industry are the people who design, advertise and sell automobiles, there is almost an endless succession of men and women who earn their livelihood in an occupation that is connected in some way with that one central object, the car. The miner who extracts iron ore from the ground, the smelter-worker who converts the iron to steel, the metallurgist who decides the exact composition of the steel according to what function it must perform - these persons operate at the beginning of the process. The chemist who synthesizes artificial rubber for the tires, or invents a new plastic for the tail light, is equally involved in the creation of the automobile.

How about the engineer who designs the highways and bridges we drive on? How about the truckers carrying gravel to the construction site, or the pavers who finish the asphalt surface? Don't forget the geologist who searches for crude oil, or the well driller who brings it to the surface, or the engineer who separates the crude oil into gasoline, oil, grease, and related products.

Driving instructors depend on the car for their living. So do mechanics, rust-prevention specialists, chauffeurs, race car drivers, taxi drivers, truck drivers, and countless dozens of other drivers. Tax collectors, traffic policemen, lawyers, and judges all have the car to thank for some portion of their income. Accessory manufacturers produce anything from fancy hubcaps to state of the art stereo systems, GPS systems, etc. Finally, at the end of the cycle, there is the auto wrecker. The next person on the scene is the car salesman and the process starts over.

A large percentage of Americans either work directly for an auto manufacturer or make their bread due to the automobile industry. If the automobile were to suddenly disappear, the economic consequences would be utterly impossible to predict.

Our dependence on the automobile is the root of two particularly worrisome problems presently facing our society.

Problem one is that automobiles damage the environment. The fear of a future landscape completely covered with asphalt is a topic that many environmentalists and the next generation are extremely concerned with. Automobile junkyards and roadside billboards are only beautiful by those who are making money from them.

But the aesthetics of paved roads, junk yards and billboards isn't the primary concern. By far the most immediate and serious worry posed by our involvement with the automobile is the danger of air pollution. The petroleum based fuels used by car engines emit small quantities of carbon monoxide, nitrous oxide, and other green house gases. Given the tremendous number of cars being put on the road each day in emerging countries such as India and China, the problem only promises to get worse.

Despite the danger that exists, considerable progress has been made towards minimizing the emission of green house gases. Perhaps as important a change as any is that public awareness of the problem now exists, so that the pollution caused by automobiles is no longer ignored.

The second major problem with the automobile is that it is dangerous. Even with the introduction of additional safety features over the past thirty years such as air bags, anti-lock brakes, and traction control a North American is killed in a car accident every hour. More North Americans have been killed in automobiles than in wars. These are incredible statistics if you stop and think about them.

What can be done about this highly unpleasant side-effect of the car? The problem can be tackled in a number of ways. One approach is that of improved highway design. Better lighting, better signs, better intersection control, less rigid light standards and guard rails, and other improvements have all contributed to a less painful accident per mile figure than might otherwise have been the case.

Another approach is to improve the design of the car from the point of view of safety. Unquestionably, great steps have been taken. Fifteen years ago, air bags were an oddity; now, even passenger side air bag and side door air bags are becoming common.

Despite these measures, "consumer protection" groups have been outspoken in their criticism of the manufacturers, whom they accuse of dragging their heels, being more concerned with designing glamour into their cars versus designing them safely, with the intention of attracting a younger consumer base. Given the fact that they are obliged to pay satisfactory dividends to shareholders, the manufacturers not surprisingly are opposed to any change that threatens to decrease their profits.

However, by and large, the car companies have been agreeable to accept government imposed safety standards. All car manufacturers are on the same playing field, so none will suffer a competitive disadvantage. Despite this acceptance, however, there has still been some resistance in recent years by the manufacturers, on the grounds that some government standards are too tough to be met in the time allowed.

Nevertheless, innumerable objective studies have all pointed to the same conclusion - that the greatest single cause of accidents is, in fact, the driver. The reasons for this vary with the circumstances - in one case, the problem may be lack of driving skill; in another, a momentary lapse of attention. Or poor vision. Or failure to compensate for bad conditions. Or intoxication. Or over confidence. Or a combination of several of these, or a different reason altogether. But these problems we ourselves can correct - and that is the whole point of this article. Anyone can learn to drive. But expert driving - and really, safe driving is exactly the same thing - it is a skill that takes time to acquire, and has as its benefits the pleasure and satisfaction that come from doing any task properly.

My name is Kris Kolanko. I am co-owner and operator of the site http://www.wannadrive.com. Our goal is to provide new and current drivers with information and education products that will help them obtain a license or find a driving school, anywhere in the United States. Feel free to explore our site and take advantage of all we have to offer.

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

Loopholes in the Whale Sanctuaries?

By David Urban

Over the last 72 years, the International Whaling Commission (IWC) has established whale sanctuaries in order to protect the species from uncontrolled whaling. In 1938, the IWC established a sanctuary in the Antarctic. Forty-one years later the Indian Ocean Sanctuary was established and in 1994 the IWC adopted the Southern Ocean Sanctuary as another area in which commercial whaling is prohibited.

So why does whaling continue in these sanctuaries?

Well, according to some interpretations of the legal language describing the sanctuaries, whaling is still allowed for scientific research. This interpretation is used by several countries, including Norway and Japan, to continue whaling operations in protected waters.

For example, Japan runs a scientific program under the acronym of JARPA, which stands for JApanese whale Research Program in the Antarctic. Under JARPA, Japan kills over 1,000 whales annually in the Southern Ocean Sanctuary alone.

In 2007, the IWC attempted to clarify the issue and passed Resolution 2007-1. The resolution called for countries to narrow the scope of any whaling done under the scientific research claim, but it met with little success.

Activist groups, such as the Sea Sheppard Society, have protested against Japan and Norway for years over the whaling issue. The Sea Sheppard regularly patrols the Southern Whale Sanctuary looking for whalers and clashes between the Sea Sheppard and whalers have been filmed for the Animal Planet shows on the Discovery Channel.

The main body of the IWC still hopes to add more protections to the whale sanctuaries, and new resolutions with stronger language are being considered. But these resolutions must be approved by the majority of the 84 countries that are ICW members, and there is strong disagreement over the scope and regulation of whale sanctuaries.

David Urban is an avid hiker, backpacker, and environmentalist who has traveled extensively across the American Southwest. He is also the owner of Green Man T-Shirts, supplier of organic t-shirts featuring designs by artist Rob Juszak, which donates 25% of all profits to environmental groups. http://www.greenmantshirts.com

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

Green Apartment Living in New York

By Christina Cole

Green living, what in the world is that? In today's world, it means to live in such a way as to leave as small of a carbon footprint as you possibly can. We all have a carbon footprint, it is up to us to determine how much of one we leave. The smaller the carbon emissions the better it is for the environment.

There are many ways to reduce carbon emissions and even some large companies and even apartment complexes are getting in on the action. In New York green apartments are popping up all over the place. Apartment buildings are cutting emissions by improving on things like insulation. They make sure that the heating and cooling systems are working at top shape. They ensure that their windows and doors have the proper sealant and that the shower heads are of the types that conserve water. They also make sure that the paint used is of low or no VOC content. They could even have installed solar panels to increase efficient production of clean energy.

You can do your part inside your apartment to help the environment too. By using green cleaners, and using reusable shopping bags when you go to the market, you help the planet. You can also do your part by recycling everything that can be recycled. If you have pets that require walking, clean up their messes with biodegradable pet doo bags. You can conserve water by only running your washing machine and or dishwasher when there is a full load to be washed. When possible you should use a ceiling fan instead of the main heating and cooling system to conserve energy.

Everyone should be doing their part to keep the environment as clean and healthy as it can possibly be given the rate of growth and progress for the sake of the welfare of our children. Are you doing your part?

Christina Cole
Staten Island Premier Realty
Green Apartment Living

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The Rise of Windmills in Europe

By Brandon Kamins

Years ago, windmills were an important part of the US agricultural industry. They took advantage of a blustery day to help farmers pump water and grind grain. In fact, that is where the word windmill came from - the simple fact that it utilized the wind to run a mill and grind grain. But these days there are far easier ways to accomplish these tasks and windmills have become little more than a quaint, often inoperable conversation piece on old farms.

However, the windmill business is alive and well in many parts of Europe, though they are no longer called windmills, but rather wind turbines; and they are no longer used to run farms, but rather to generate cheap, clean electricity.

Why have the Europeans gotten behind wind technology?

Only recently the European Union announced that they would embark on an ambitious plan to cut CO2 emissions by twenty percent by 2020. To accomplish this goal they have invested heavily in alternative energy sources such as solar and wind power. These alternative sources are far cleaner and do not produce any harmful byproducts like more mainstream energy sources, like nuclear.

While the American politicians and citizens continue to debate the merits of global climate change, in Europe they have pretty much come to a consensus that humans are harming the environment and are expediting climate change, specifically global warming. As a result, their leaders were able to introduce a number of new solutions that are aimed at stopping climate change in its tracks. To begin with, they offer substantial government subsidies to companies and individuals who are interested in investing in clean (or green) alternative forms of energy.

And windmills or wind turbines are leading the charge. In fact, according to recent estimates, the market will grow to over $15 billion a year by 2015. This makes Europe the world's largest producer and consumer of wind technology. In fact, the largest producers of wind power in Europe, Germany and Spain, have committed to adding nearly 2,000 megawatts of wind power a year for the next five years. In Eastern Europe alone the windmill industry is expecting double digit in annual growth over that same period.

Brandon Kamins is a short fiction writer and a freelance writer. He has penned thousands of articles on every imaginable topic and he somehow still enjoys it.

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

Return of the Wolf

By Frank Loethen

For many years the wolf has been feared by ranchers for attacking their livestock. Because it attacks sheep and cattle for food, many have been killed almost to the point of extinction.

The timber or gray wolf dates back to almost 300,000 years and shares a lineage with the domestic dog. It can lived in forests, tundra, deserts, mountains, grasslands and cities. It can be up to 37 inches tall, 170 pounds in weight and 6.6 feet in length. It can reach speeds up to 40 mph. Because of the anatomy of its paws, it can travel over most surfaces especially snow without freezing. The bulky two layered coat of the animal protects it from dirt and water.

They travel in packs usually made up of 8 wolves. The packs are territorial and continually search for food. The pack has a leader and an unknown wolf will be killed if it tries to join the pack. It eats any meat that it can kill. Prey are bitten repeatedly until weakened and then pulled to the ground. The prey will be eaten according to the ranking in the pack.

It plays a significant part in the food chain. Since it is near the top of its chain, it feeds on weaker game. It also keeps the elk population in check avoiding overgrazing that has occurred in the past. It provides food for smaller game from the scraps it leaves behind after feeding.

In 1974, the U.S. government classified the animal an endangered species despite heavy opposition from the livestock industry. In 1995, 29 wolves were brought from Canada to Yellowstone Park. After a time caged in the park, they were released to the wild. The next year, 37 wolves were released into the Idaho wild. Since then, they have experienced a 30% growth rate.

Unfortunately, the attacks on livestock has increased with the growth rate but the elk population has been depleted by 50%. The U.S. government is allowing it to be killed only if it is attacking livestock. If a wolf pack becomes too aggressive, the pack is being relocated.

The U.S. government removed the animal from the endangered species in March, 2008. Some western states still allowed the wolf to be hunted. Conservationists filed lawsuits and in July, 2008, a federal judge placed the wolf back on the endangered species. The debate goes on if the benefits of the wolf outweighs the shortcomings.

Frank Loethen lives with his wife and three cats, Sunny, Sinclair and Midnite, in Georgia. If you enjoyed this article, please visit my cat products website, http://www.purrfectcatproducts.com, your one stop site for all your cat and kitten needs. Cat food, cat toys, litter accessories and cat treats are among the many items on the site. You can also see my three cats on the site.

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Why We Really Must Save Our Honey Bees

By Janette Marshall

Bee populations in North America are in danger of extinction, this is true. However, this is now fast becoming a world-wide problem, one which we should all take a certain amount of responsibility for. The cause of the precipitous decline in population is still not known, but the world's scientists are certainly worried since bees are central to maintaining both ecological balance and maintaining agricultural production. This article examines the reasons why bees are important, what is causing the collapse, and looks at how people can work together to help save the honey bees.

Though often thought of as a nuisance due to their irritating stings, bees are a vital part of the ecosystem as they are tasked with the pollination of many different species of plants. In order to gather the nectar and pollen it needs to survive, bees travel from plant to plant. As they travel, pollen is transferred between flowers, causing the plants to become fertilized and allowing them to produce fruits and seeds. Due to this process, several species of wild plants have become dependent on bees for reproduction.

Due to this same process, agricultural production also relies on bees. Apples, peaches, oranges, cucumbers, squashes, and pumpkins, indeed nearly all vegetables and fruits, depend on bees for pollination. Therefore, the sharp drop in bee numbers is a threat to the continuance of agricultural production.
As such, many people are worried about the reduction in the number of bees. Wild honey bees can no longer be found in many parts of the North America. Furthermore, both amateur and professional beekeepers have lost many of their hives.

Known as Colony Collapse Disorder or Disappearing bees' syndrome, the scientific community still does not know why bee populations are declining, but they do have some ideas. For example, bees have become vulnerable to many different parasites, including fungi, mites, and viruses. Furthermore, the use of pesticides continues to increase and this also is very likely one of the factors in the bee decline.

In the case of California, from 1994-2005, pesticides were used in 35 X the number of fields as before, and this seems to be correlated with the decline of bees in that state. Beekeepers tend to feed bees nectar from one plant source, which also may make bees vulnerable as some studies have shown that this single-source diet is linked to weak immune systems. They like variety just as we do.

Though the situation is grave, there are many ways in which people can help. One thing that you can do is grow bee-friendly flowers around your house. Disc-shaped flowers and tall flowers are particularly attractive to bees. Leave mowing the lawn so often, the bees just love those weeds such as dandelions!

Your local home garden store should be able to help your choose flowers that will grow best in your climate. Reducing your use of chemicals, especially pesticides, is important as well.

You can also buy honey produced by local beekeepers in order to help support local bee populations. This is particularly important since cultured bees are the only types of bees that live in most regions of the United States. Honey from local producers comes in a variety of flavors, depending on what flowers the bees visit.
If you have the time and the space in your yard, you can try beekeeping for yourself. Contact your local apiary society for information on how to proceed. Furthermore, by writing to state, local, and federal officials, you can ask that they support funding for more research into the causes of Colony Collapse Disorder. After all, no honey bees = no us!

Janette Marshall writes and owns http://www.health-benefits-of-honey.com She is passionate about the benefits of honey and the honey bees who produce this as part of their extremely important work which is vital to our very survival.

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

The Largest Turtle in the World - Is it Too Late to Save the Leatherback?

By Karma Williams

Classified as critically endangered, the world's largest turtle is the leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea). The largest leatherback had a recorded weight of over 1 ton! The Leatherback Turtle is so named because it has no distinctive bony plates on its upper shell; rather, its carapace is flexible, and covered with a thin layer of leathery skin. Dark in color with white and pink spots, a leatherback turtle can be easily recognized because of its seven fine ridges lining the length of the carapace and, of course, because of its large front flippers.

Leatherbacks are found in the tropical and sub-tropical waters of the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian Oceans. In the United States they are seen in southeastern Florida; in the Caribbean, they are found on Culebra Island, Puerto Rico, and St. Croix. They can submerge up to 4,922 feet in order to search for soft-bodied prey such as jellyfish. World-wide harvesting of the leatherback's eggs has led to a massive decline in their population.

As we have so sadly learned, our ecosystem is co-dependent and very delicately balanced. The over-harvesting of eggs has led to an increase in the jellyfish population, which can then harm power plants, clog boat motors, and can seriously injure, or in some cases kill swimmers in the shallow ocean waters.
Once the male hatchling enters the water, it never leaves. Only the female leatherbacks leave the water and crawl onto land to nest. As with other aquatic turtles, mating takes place at sea. To gain the female's acceptance, the male leatherback makes head, flipper, and biting movements.

Interestingly, female leatherbacks can mate every two to three years, and leatherbacks can breed and nest every year. The nesting seasons of this largest turtle depend on its location. Leatherbacks native to Parismina, Costa Rica nest from February to July, while turtles native to French Guiana nest from March to August. While other female turtles always return to the same beach from which they hatched to lay their eggs, female leatherback turtles can switch to another beach in the same general region.

Female leatherback turtles create a nest above the high tide line by digging into the sand with their flippers. One female leatherback turtle has the capacity to lay as many as nine clutches in one breeding season. One clutch contains approximately 110 eggs, of which 85% are viable. The eggs take an estimated 60 to 70 days to hatch. After hatching, the newborns must avoid land and air predators by themselves, and crawl back into the water to survive. Of those fortunate enough to make it back into the water, most will die, either from drowning or from other predators in the air and water.

Leatherback sea turtles have been in existence for 150 million years. Sadly however, their fate is now similar to that of many other turtles and tortoises - they are in critical danger of extinction. From 91,000 known nesting female leatherbacks in the Pacific Ocean, the number is down to an alarming low of 5,000.

It is urgent that we realize the need to take care of these wonderful creatures. If leatherback turtles disappear, it will surely have a terrible effect on our fragile ecosystem. Should we not be able to stave off the extinction of this turtle, scientists predict the subsequent domino effect - the extinction of a host of other marine species. For this reason, there are federal and state laws that cover the life of the world's largest turtle. These laws must be strictly followed and enforced to make sure of the continued existence of the leatherback. It is not enough that the great leatherback be seen only in pictures. We must assure that this magnificent creature can be seen in the wild by future generations.

Karma Williams is a pet turtle care enthusiast who has raised turtles for over 23 years, and enjoys helping others get started in this amazing hobby. You can discover more about turtles by visiting the turtle types and turtle diet pages of her website. Her newest eBook entitled "The Ultimate Guide to Pet Turtle Care" teaches turtle lovers everything they need to know about acquiring, caring for, and feeding pet turtles so that they stay healthy, contented, and will thrive for years and years to come!

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

The Indian Tiger - Just 1,411 Left

By Dr. Nitha Thejal

The magnificent striped tiger (Bengal Tiger or Panthera Tigris), the national animal of India is on the verge of extinction. According to the latest statistics, there are just 1,411 tigers are left in India, including the ones spread over the different wild life sanctuaries across India. The main cause of the perishing population of these beautiful animals include:

Poaching for pelts, teeth and nails

Tiger skins fetch huge amounts of money in the international market. There are underworld mafia who trade tiger skins. The nails and teeth of the tiger are used to make jewellery. The tribal people also kill tigers to make traditional medicine from the animal's various body parts. But no studies have proven that these medicines have any curative power.

Unplanned and uncontrolled urbanization

Urbanization and encroachment into forest areas not only destroys the natural habitat of the tigers, but also affects the other smaller animals which are the food for these predators. Even though there are more than 40 tiger reserves in India, there are signs of human encroachment on the outskirts of these reserves by people for farming etc. The farmers organize and set traps to kill these animals saying that they attack their cattle.

Fear of life

People fear that a tiger might kill them for food. But actually the tiger doesn't kill humans; they might do so only if they are old or injured, starved and unable to hunt. They are solitary creatures who protect their territory and become angry and try to defend it when there is interference in its territory.

Wildlife Protection

The Indian Government has set up numerous initiatives to protect these animals. One of the major ones among these is Project Tiger, an initiative by the government of India to protect the national animal from the verge of extinction. It was started in 1972 and helped increase the population of these animals from 1,200 in the 1970s to 3,500 in 1990s. But it seems that their efforts seem to be decreasing; and the latest census in 2008 shows that the number of tigers in the whole of India is just 1,411. Now the Indian Government has set up a tiger protection force for strict control of poachers and has allocated funds to relocate people away from wildlife, to reduce tiger-human interaction.

It is not only India where these animals are endangered; it is facing this threat in all the other inhabited countries too, like Bangladesh, China, and Malaysia.

I am writing this as an animal lover.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Dr._Nitha_Thejal

Save the Earth by Going Green with Alternative Fuel Vehicles!‏

by Robert Stolz

Do you know what is the most important problem facing us today? One which might end up in destroying humanity for all time! Not only that, but destroy the world as we know it? Global Warming!

I am sure you must have heard of it. But it does not seem so dire when we just think about it offhand, does it? Not nuclear warfare or diseases but global warming and environmental pollution are going to be the worst causes of destruction of the earth! So what are you going to do to save this planet that we live in? Start limiting pollution, of course! You can use alternative fuel vehicles as a small part of stopping pollution.

According to records, there are about 600,000,000 cars around the world. That is one car for every 11 persons and the ratio is far higher in the developing countries like China and India. These vehicles use petroleum and petroleum products as fuel, which results in polluting the air due to emissions. This affects people causing various diseases and might even lead to death. Over 500,000 Americans die every year due to diseases caused by air pollution. So now you know why it is so important to stop pollution of our environment.

Alternative fuel vehicles use fuel which is different from the 'traditional' fuels like petrol or diesel. They can use bio-fuels, electricity or solar energy or compressed air as fuel for their engines. This means that there is less pollution by their use. Bio-diesel is a great option for those of you who already use vehicles with a diesel engine. You can switch from diesel to bio-diesel without any problem.

But one thing you must remember is that these alternative fuel vehicles are not entirely emission free. If you want a vehicle which has zero emission, you might want to go for a vehicle which is powered by electricity. However, this does not mean that they are preserving the environment. The electricity they consume is produced by burning other fossil fuels most of the time.

But using electric cars as alternative fuel vehicles is better than others because of the low emission, which prevents the greenhouse effect. This means lower global warming overall.

There are several guides which help you to choose the best alternative fuel vehicles. You can refer to those to get more information about this subject. So what are you waiting for? Get an alternative fuel vehicle and do your bit for the Earth!

Alternative fuel vehicles are a great way of preventing global warming and saving the earth. To learn more about how you can do it, visit here: http://www.squidoo.com/Alternative-Fuel-Vehicles