Saturday, July 31, 2010

Gold Mining and Its Effects on the Environment

Netted solution pond next to cyanide heap leac...Image via Wikipedia
By Lawrence Reaves

Few people are aware of the immense waste of natural resources involved in the mining of gold. The production of a single gold ring requires up to eighteen tons of ore. A jewelry box full of watches, bracelets, and chains represents an environmental impact that would stun most people. It involves dynamiting mines, allowing drainage of hard metals into the ecosystem, and sometimes, dumping the remains of the process into streams and other natural habitats.

These facts aren't widely-publicized. If they were, there would likely be far fewer people buying gold jewelry. Below, we'll describe the mining process, so you'll understand the enormous environmental cost it entails.

How Gold Is Mined

Mines are either blasted or dug in order for workers to gain access to gold-laced ore. Open pit mines are typically created with the liberal use of explosives (e.g. dynamite). Large pieces of land are blown open, wreaking havoc with the nearby ecosystem. Tunnel mines, on the other hand, are created via excavation. While seemingly less destructive than open pit mines, tunnel mines also cause environmental problems.
Once a mine has been created, the challenge then turns to digging up, and getting rid of, waste rock.

The Problem With Waste Rock

While both mining methods (e.g. open pit and tunnel) produce a significant amount of waste rock, much more is produced during the creation of an open pit mine. In both cases, however, there is so much rock produced that removing it is cost-prohibitive. So, it is piled near the mine. Several tons, rich with sulfur, sit out in the open. This is thought to contribute to the production of acid rain.

Acid rain poses another environmental issue. The rain washes over the rock, which contains lead, mercury, and other metals that can be harmful to the ecosystem. These metals are released from the rocks, and can eventually drain into the environment.

Heap Leaching Explained

Heap leaching is the process used to separate precious metals from ore. It is usually done by first grinding the large ore-rich rocks excavated from the mine into smaller pieces. Then, these pieces are irrigated with cyanide. The cyanide "leaches" out the gold and other precious metals, all of which land in a liner located beneath the small rocks. This process can require several weeks, and usually involves a significant volume of cyanide. As you might expect, there is a negative environmental effect.

Getting Rid Of Cyanide

The "pregnant solution" (i.e. the mixture of cyanide, gold, and other metals) is taken to a processing plant for chemical treatment and separation. Recall from earlier that the production of a single gold ring takes several tons of ore. Once the gold has been separated, the waste material (called tailings), must be dumped.
These tailings include the cyanide used during the heap leaching process as well as other harmful hard metals. They are often dumped into the environment, which causes additional problems for the surrounding ecosystem.

Selling Your Gold Is Good For The Environment

The mining process described above produces a stunning amount of waste. Most people who buy gold jewelry have little idea regarding the environmental impact their purchase decision poses. You can reduce this impact by selling your old gold jewelry online.

When you sell your pieces to a refiner, the gold content is extracted and smelted. It is then sold to jewelry and product manufacturers for use in new products. Your gold is essentially recycled, which makes mining new gold less necessary for meeting the market's demand. While new customers will remain unaware of the recycled gold, you'll know that you're improving the environment.

Another reason to sell your gold is to take advantage of the recent high price. Not only will your decision help preserve the environment, but you'll be able to enjoy a healthy injection of funds in the process.

Help save the environment by recycling old gold, old jewelry with a refinery such as Refinity.com. Recycle and sell gold coins to make a few dollars and do your part to save the planet.

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OPINION: British Petroleum Isn't the Problem - We Are!

By Fred Tutwiler

We've been actively and passively encouraging BP to do exactly what they were doing when the Deepwater Horizon exploded. According to John Hofmeister, former CEO of Shell Oil, this crisis is actually the unavoidable outcome of the twisted relationship that exists between oil companies, politicians and the voting public.

Oil Companies

Oil companies are driven to make huge short term profits. No secret there. Many argue that they have a moral responsibility to do just that because they owe it to their stockholders. They are, after all oil companies. The latest outrage from our British cousins demonstrates the very point. BP may not be able to pay the dividends and returns they have come to rely on. A LOT of people expect oil companies to make wads of money. When they don't, those folks get really pissed.

Politicians

At the same time, the last eight American presidents, and the last EIGHTEEN congresses, have patriotically trumpeted the impossible aspiration of "dependence from foreign oil". The con only works if you pretend that we can achieve this sham by drilling for more oil in U.S. controlled reserves.

TA DA! No surprise that the oil companies' thirst for money, and the politicians' thirst for power ended up on a common path - drill, Baby, drill! According to Hofmeister, everything that happened leading up to the tragic blowout in the Gulf is simply an inevitable result of that unholy alliance.

The pathetic truth is that as long as we are dependant on oil, we will be dependant on FOREIGN oil. America inhales 25% of the world's oil and we only control 4% of the world's oil reserves. Do the math. For obvious reasons, neither side wants to fess up to that reality. So, we just keep cranking out billions of barrels of oil and pretending like we're actually doing something different.

The Voters

But none of this could happen without the approval of the American voter (aka gas user). When something goes wrong, like the Gulf oil spill, we LOVE to blame elected officials. Sure, there's tons of evidence exposing how regulators have crawled into bed (literally and figuratively) with the oil industry. But, that's nothing new. Apparently, even when we know they're cozying up to big oil (and big auto) - WE KEEP SENDING THEM BACK TO D.C.

For the most part we just don't want to be bothered. As long as our gas is cheap and we don't actually have to do anything, we'll pretty much believe anything we're told. As recently as May of this year, Americans favored offshore oil drilling by more than two to one: 62 percent said that they were in favor of it, while only 28 percent said the risks were too great. Seems you can sell us just about anything, especially if you wrap it all up in an American flag and rail against too much government regulation.

An absurd conspiracy has evolved between big oil, big government and the voting public. We all pretend we want clean independent energy, but as long as nobody actually calls us on our greed/wastefulness/power-grabbing we go along with whatever the plan is. And all this attention we're putting on the Gulf Oil spill itself, just enables us to keep on missing the point! Even now, we still don't want to deal with the reality that WE, the gas-guzzling public, are the ones who drove this black, gooey bus over the cliff.

Deja Vu All Over Again

"Our Neck Is Stretched Over The Fence And OPEC Has A Knife" - President Jimmy Carter, 1979

The last time an American President seriously tried to get the people's attention about using less gas was in 1979 when Jimmy Carter gave his infamous "malaise" speech, in which he tried to address the causes and remedies of the growing gas shortage. But (surprise!) nobody wanted to hear it. He warned us way back then that the energy crisis was a clear and present danger to our nation. But, he made the mistake of actually asking us to do something (gasp). He asked us to conserve gas (double gasp!) He passionately asserted that every act of energy conservation was an act of patriotism. Silly wabbit!

Hey, Mr. Prez., Don't Tell Us What To Do!

He was rewarded for his efforts by being ridiculed and dismissed as a Southern yokel who didn't understand how politics work. Well known TV journalist Brit Hume was a Capitol Hill correspondent for ABC News at the time. He correctly (and a bit arrogantly) noted that Americans don't like to be "scolded" by their President, and sure as heck don't appreciate being told what to do. Amidst a chorus of wailing about government intrusion into our lives, Hume's commentary was roundly agreed with by pretty much everybody in America.

The message got delivered loud and clear. No president in 40 years has dared suggest that we voters actually DO anything on our way to that illusive "dependence from foreign oil". A timid effort was launched by Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential campaign when he suggested we could save lots of gas (as in BILLIONS of gallons) if we would just check our tire pressure regularly.

His political opponents pounced on his "shallow understanding" of the country's energy needs and promptly produced boxes of tire pressure gauges printed with the words "Obama's Energy Policy". His Republican opponent, John McCain, even used the props as $25 fundraiser items for his campaign. A political PR coup it was. And nothing much more was said of THAT ridiculous idea (until my book came out).

A Conspiracy Of Idiots?

But the thing that makes this all so idiotic is that we don't do anything about it! And it could be so easy. The gas saving solutions we hear the most about - such as hybrid cars and biofuels - are expensive or inconvenient for the average driver. But there are PLENTY of things we can do right now to reduce the amount of gas we use. And many of them don't cost a dime! Why isn't anyone talking about that?

Most of today's car engines WASTE 75% of the energy they consume, and we waste BILLIONS of additional gallons with our ridiculous driving habits. That "shallow" idea that Obama offered during his campaign (the one about regularly checking your tire pressure) could reduce the amount of gas we consume by 2-3%. THAT'S 3 BILLION GALLONS OF GAS A YEAR! Anybody got a better idea? If so, it's time to step up.

186 Billion Gallons a Year

That's how much gas we run through our passenger cars every year. And that doesn't include the massive fuel demands of our military, which incidentally, is the largest organizational consumer of oil in the world. Nor does it include planes and trains or police cars. Just the passenger fleet.

258 million passenger cars rack up about 3 TRILLION miles of driving each year in the U.S. of A. All those miles suck up billions of gallons every week. Until we do something about THAT annoying statistic, we're not going anywhere with our energy policy. Except deeper into the Gulf oil reserves.

We will NEVER be energy independent if we keep using the amount of gas we currently use. And as long as we are dependent on oil, we will be dependent on FOREIGN OIL. Even if we could deploy every technological breakthrough in the world right now, it's STILL going to take twenty years to make a dent in the amount of gas we burn.

What Are We Waiting For!

Why aren't we SAVING GAS NOW! We keep hearing people talk about bringing a national passion to our energy woes, kind of like the single-mindedness that drove our wildly successful space program in the 1960s. Why can't we do that with conservation?

According to multitudes of studies over the last thirty years, voluntary conservation can reduce our gas consumption by 20% in a matter of months! Pooh-pooh the idea if you want. But the alternative to trying is that we invite greater government intervention and greater touchy-feely games between energy providers and regulators. Worse than that, we continue sucking down oil at a pace that demands risky drilling and ensures corruption. On the other hand, there is no downside to making conservation a national project.

But, Will It Work?

Consider this ... the combination of skyrocketing gas prices and plummeting economy in the Fall of 2008 were more than enough pain to get the average driver to act. No regulations passed, no new cars bought, no rationing. But, collectively, America reduced its gas consumption by over 4% in the 2nd half of 2008. That's right, 4%! Almost 7 BILLION GALLONS OF GASOLINE!

The impact of that reduction was felt for months. One BIG reason gas prices stayed so low for over a year was because a surplus of refined gas resulted from that drop in consumption and it took months to be absorbed by the market. What if we did that all year long, every year?

Will it work? You bet it will work! A couple of gallons of gas saved each week may seem irrelevant to a single person, but if 100,000,000 people do that, WE'VE got a tsunami. And it is the only solution that doesn't cost money! NO GOVERNMENT SPENDING. Woo Hoo.

Do This NOW!
    1. Tell your friends to get into the REAL game. An act of conservation IS an act of patriotism. 2. Demand that your elected officials make conservation a priority in their energy agenda. 3. Learn how to use less gas. Use the internet, read my book, talk to people. Whatever you do - JUST DO IT!
British Petroleum screwed up, and they need to fix it. But for the next few decades, we need them and all their oil buds to get us oil. Regulators screwed up and they need to get their cajones back, and we absolutely need them to be our watchdogs to make sure that energy companies don't cut corners. Technology is on the march and needs a major boost. But, none of that changes anything about the present.

All the chatter about energy independence is nothing but hot air if we don't admit the truth - we've got to use less gas. The good news is, we can do that. We don't need government permission, or government regulations, or Congressional hearings, and we don't need to wait for technology to get to us. Every single one of us can start using less gas TODAY. Who knows just how big a deal that can be? Let's find out.

USE LESS GAS NOW!

Fred Tutwiler is a best selling author who has written on such topics as pirates, breakthrough performance and cruising in the Caribbean. He is the author of A Conspiracy of Idiots: The Ultimate Gas-Saver's Guidebook. Fred's book is available on his website, and at Amazon.com.

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Friday, July 30, 2010

10 Reasons Why Going Vegan is Good For the Environment

Description: Concentrated animal feeding opera...Image via Wikipedia
By Hugo Essog

Ten reasons why going vegan is good for the environment involves a basic respect for animals, a fundamental point of view that protects animals from being exploited by mankind. Vegans choose not to consume animal products - cattle, pigs, all birds raised for human consumption, hens for egg-laying, feeder and dairy cattle. Vegans choose rather to eat natural products that don't involve the killing of animals and therefore live a more compassionate life.

1. Going vegan prevents the exploitation of all animals

The exploitation of animals is not only cruel but inhumane. Living in cramped conditions and many times standing in their own feces, animals being raised for conventional slaughter can develop resistant strains of e-coli which is passed down to meat eaters. Their meat also contains massive antibiotics and hormones they are fed as slaughter animals, remaining in the meat to consume. Even organic meat cannot be proven that the animal was raised in humane ways, simply because it was not fed antibiotics or hormones.

2. Going vegan decreases the use of fossil fuels

Going vegan has a lot to do with the production of fossil fuels from livestock area, responsible for about 64% of the ammonia emissions. Also, one calorie produced from animal protein for fossil fuel is made at a cost that is ten times the amount of one calorie of plant proteins. With this in mind, approximately one-third of all fossil fuels go toward the production of animal agriculture. A problem that is easily solved, going vegan for the average individual will save one-and-a-half tons of carbon dioxide per year.

3. Going vegan protects the rain-forest

With the United States importing several million pounds of beef from the dense Central America, the rain-forest is fast disappearing from site. Part of the top ten countries ranked by highest loss of forests used to be Central America's Costa Rica, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Honduras. Due to the high numbers of cattle ranching, at one time Costa Rica lost over 83% of its forests by 1983 - with over 300 million pounds of beef shipped annually to the United States for hamburger - due to the need for vast amounts of low-quality cheap meat.

4. Going vegan decreases global warming

Something that nobody knows but cattle breeders, is the fact that cattle fart - in fact, they fart a lot due to their diet. These farts (and probably our own) produce methane gas which is released into our earth's atmosphere where it absorbs heat, the same way as carbon dioxide does. The only difference is that methane gas is not a direct cause of environmental effects, but a global warming contributing factor. Once the heat absorption begins to increase the earth's temperature, many things begin to occur: the temperature of the ocean begins to rise; melting of the glaciers begins; the permafrost begins to melt; flooding increases; severe intensity of weather patterns and more.

5. Going vegan decreases water pollution

Unfortunately, the production of livestock accounts for increases in water usage for the irrigation of crops to feed cattle and other forms of livestock. Livestock are the largest source of water pollution, contributing to dead zones on coastal areas, human health problems, antibiotic resistance and the degradation of coral reefs. The water pollution originates from run-offs of animal wastes, tannery chemicals, eroding pasture sediments, crop fertilizers and pesticides.

6. Going vegan respects the ocean's ecosystem

More than 20% of 220 profiled companies have been convicted or hit with criminal charges from seeping urine and feces flowing into rivers, streams, lakes, wetlands, groundwater - and eventually the ocean. Over 10.6 million fish have been killed from 1995 to 1997 because of manure spills from cattle lots, pig farms and meat companies. Pathogenic organisms are spreading in waterways from poultry and pig waste, also killing humans.

7. Going vegan promotes fair trade and decreases worker exploitation

With the United States consuming over one-third of the world's resources, there are many countries that have children doing adult work at very little pay and unsanitary conditions. They also have adults working long hours seven days a week for pennies. Vegans often refuse to eat anything that does not have "fair trade" on the food labels. The label should tell a consumer where the food or product has been made. By removing the need for industries which promote child labor and sweat shops, companies are forced to pay higher wages which help the people buy healthier food and live in sanitary homes.

8. Going vegan takes a political stand on environmental violations by the meat industry

By not going vegan, the meat consumer promotes environmental pollution through the over-breeding of all animals. This in turn promotes huge amounts of grain and water being needed, petroleum for transporting and producing the meat, pesticides to control weeds around the lots and in the mass grown crops, and drugs to give the animals- hormones and antibiotics.

9. Going vegan helps to remove the world wide water deficit

With the meat industry the largest cause of fresh water depletion, this is a time in history when millions of global wells are going dry in India, North Africa, China and the United States. They have been forced to pump more water from the aquifers than the earth's rain can ever replenish. One such example is the Ogallala aquifer - also referred to as the High Plains Aquifer beneath the US Great Plains - and considered the largest aquifer in the world. By 2005, the aquifer had reached a low of 253 million acre feet since the irrigation development began - estimated to deplete in 40 years after taking half million years to accumulate. According to the World Watch Institute, one hamburger costs as much water as 40 showers with a low-flow nozzle.

10. Going vegan protects federal land and endangered species

Over 26% of the United States federal land has been affected by cattle grazing, along with the loss of endangered species. An ecological impact, eliminating the massive grazing of feeder and dairy cattle on federal lands and in South American will protect the earth's lands more than anything else. Ranching deforestation is a primary reason for the loss of plant and animal species.

Hugo Essog is a recipe tester for the vegan recipe website http://www.vegancooking.com/. He is currently busy helping Claire Gosse launch her vegan cookbook with pictures.

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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Nuclear Pollution Is Deadly

A thermal power station near Sofia, BulgariaImage via Wikipedia
By Kk Subramanian

Even our Prime Minister tells us that nuclear power projects do not cause pollution. The fact is that radiation, resulting from the "burning"of uranium fuel is much more deadly than carbon dioxide or fly ash coming from the conventional thermal power station.

Plutonium formed as a result of using uranium as fuel, is so deadly that a milligram of it, if dropped on land, will render the surroundings wasted for thousands of years to come. Under certain conditions, accumulation of plutonium may cause an explosion. It is very difficult to remove spent fuel from the atomic reactors and to store it. This is being done through special trains.

The problem of dismantling the reactors has not been solved yet. Every part of it has to be decontaminated. The cost of dismantling, decontamination, etc, is still not estimated.

After the blast at Chernobyl in Russia, a country in Europe (I don't remember the name) decided to abandon a newly constructed reactor. If all the reactors in the world are dumped in the sea, nothing will survive there.

URANIUM ENRICHMENT

Naturally occurring uranium is harmless, as the radio active isotope is only a small percent of the ore. For use in the nuclear reactors, the active ingredient has to be in concentrated form. This is called enriched uranium, which is harmful.

As the number of reactors in all Nuclear Power Plants all over the world, especially in rich countries, is very high, this will be a very big problem for future generations. There should be a ban on construction of new reactors.

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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Ecology of You - How to Keep From Depleting Your Own Energy Resources

Basic overview of energy and human life (See a...Image via Wikipedia
By Tambre Leighn

Living a green life where we honor the fact that natural resources are not to be wasted is, thankfully, becoming the norm. For most of us, it is a natural thing to turn off the light in a room no one is using, separate our trash for the neighborhood recycling program and support other smart ecological programs.

The green movement was very much a grass roots effort that began with individuals recognizing it started with them. So let's start with you ... are you applying these same principles to how you are living your life? Do you give the same respect to your personal life energy as you do to concerns over the decreasing availability of fossil fuels? How are you using your own energy? How can you practice self-ecology?

What if you began to think about your energy as being like money in a bank account? The only way you increase the dollars is to invest money into the account. When I salsa dance, get a massage or enjoy lunch with a friend, I add to my energetic bank account. Witnessing one of my clients have a breakthrough also equals a deposit in my energy account because I value being able to make a difference for others. Each person will have their own sense of what brings new energy into their life. Identify what that is for you and begin to include regular doses in your week. It's a great self-investment and will increase your longevity to achieve goals and your ability to be there for others.

The other aspect to banking is withdrawals. Each time you take money from your account, you are reducing the available balance. Becoming more aware of how you are expending your energy will help you make wiser choices and create priorities. If you find drama drains you, take time to evaluate how you are choosing to participate in those situations. Is there a way to engage without getting drawn into unnecessary drama?

Check your relationships to see if they are two way street situations where you are not only giving support and time but also receiving it in return. If you are in a job you hate, you are definitely withdrawing from your energy bank every day you continue living that scenario. Find a way to resolve what's not working or get real about making a change.

Begin to practice self-ecology with your own personal energy and respect it just as we now have learned to respect our exterior environment. It is never too late to begin live green in your own internal life!

Tambre Leighn, M.A., Ct.H., CPC, ELI-MP is a certified professional life coach specializing in guiding clients through periods of major transition and grief recovery. She also works with those facing mid-life challenges to uncover their own brilliance so they may lead extraordinary lives.

Go to http://www.coachingbytambre.com to sign up for my complimentary newsletter and other great info weekly.

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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Building Yurt Walls

By Robert Frederick Lee

There is an easy way to build a yurt: seek out a quality supplier of yurt kits, select your options and size, and then make your purchase. There is a more difficult way to build a yurt: tour the yurt demonstrations of a variety of suppliers and build based on those model units. Then there is the road less travelled: design and build your own. This is the option my wife and I have chosen.

Conventional, commercial yurt walls are constructed using lattice wrapped with PVC tarpaulin material. A thin aircraft cable is interlaced in the top openings of the latticework, and tightened using a turnbuckle. This structure holds the walls inward in a circle, while the weight of the rafters resting on the cable pushes the walls outward. Stasis, strength and stability thus are achieved.

Our wall structure begins with a 2*3 framework installed around the inside perimeter of a 24" by 84" piece of 7/16" thick oriented strand board. Since our yurt is twenty-eight feet in diameter, with a circumference of approximately eighty-eight feet, 44 sections are needed. Each section meets the next at an eight degree angle, requiring that one of the two vertical 2" by 3" studs is cut with an eight degree taper.

To lay out the bottom plate, forty-four 2-foot lengths of 2 by 3 are cut in a slight "vee" shape, at an eight degree angle, as well. Each wall segment will meet the next at the point of the "vee," with a one-foot extension extending into the adjacent section base. By fastening the wall to these bottom plate segments, a solid circular frame is created.

As each section is placed standing adjoining the next, a top plate, identical to the bottom plate segment, is secured along the top 2" by 3" horizontal piece of the wall. After making sure that all wall segments are vertically plumb, metal joining plates are fastened to join the segments at the top and bottom of each wall segment. Next, windows and the main door are framed in place, in the same manner as a conventional wall and door or window buck are installed.

For our yurt, we purchased the 7'6" high by 94' long tarpaulin from a New Brunswick supplier. The fabric intentionally was ordered longer than the actual circumference of the yurt, to allow for gathering and darts around the doors and windows.

Prior to installing the tarpaulin around the perimeter, window and door edges are caulked and sealed. Along the bottom of the wall segments, a strip of Velcro is fastened. The tarpaulin will extend one inch below the bottom of the wall, so that water will run off and away from the floor. After wrapping the tarp around the yurt walls and temporarily holding it in place, six 15-foot long ratchet tie-downs are connected and tightened along the upper perimeter of the walls, permanently fixing the wall tarp into place.

Walls are now complete. The next article will describe how to construct the roof rafters and install the assembly onto the yurt.

Bob is a former business consultant, who currently operates a pesticide-free, herbicide-free market garden in Manitoba, Canada. He and his wife, Janice, have designed and are building their own yurt, where they will live year-round. He is recording his progress on his blog, http://movingtoayurt.blogspot.com

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Building Eco Friendly Homes

By Adam C Sorenson

Human endeavor is the one and only cited cause for the host of environmental problems facing mankind today. Sad but true that although man was supposed to have dominion over all creation and serve as ambassadors, the human race has instead created havoc. But what remains to be the saddest part of all is that humans are also the ones to reap the consequences of their actions - after all, as put forth by Newton, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

To alleviate the host of environmental problems, each should pitch in and do his or her share to help the Earth by engaging in eco friendly activities. Building eco friendly homes can be of great help in toning down the negative effects of human activities.

Using eco friendly materials in building of homes is a viable alternative to those which produce harmful substances to the environment such as PVC (polyvinyl chloride) or vinyl used in pipes and produce dioxin - a toxic contaminant - when burned. Many sustainable earth friendly materials are available nowadays. Adobe style homes, which use sundried bricks made of mud and sand, are very common in the southwestern part of the United States. Bale buildings that utilize baled straw stacks for extra wall insulation is also becoming more and more popular.

Using earth friendly materials inside the home is also another way of building eco friendly homes. Composting toilets work the same way as regular toilets but has the end goal of composting human waste. Solar lights absorb energy from the sun during most of the day and convert it to light energy at night.

To complement the above mentioned strategies, people should also employ earth friendly ways in their everyday living. The three Rs of recycling, reducing, and reusing can greatly decrease the problem of pollution, global warming, and acid rain from use of plastic. Helping save on home resources such as using rain collecting barrels is another way of helping the planet.

Building eco friendly homes inside and outside might be a small step for mankind but this can be of great help to our ailing planet.

Discover the secrets to making a solar power generator for less than $325! Come get my FREE ebook "The Secrets To Making Your Own Solar Power Generator For Less Than $325!"
Eco Friendly Homes

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3 Simple Tips For Creating an Excellent Compost Pile

Compost heap on a frosty morning. The rising s...Image via Wikipedia
By Tyler A Weaver

Of all the things you can do for your home to become more eco friendly, composting is one of the easiest and most fun to start. The result is your trash load is cut in half, and you have a bottomless pit in your backyard that converts food into excellent gardening soil.

What am I going to do with this compost?

Before you create your pile, you may want to ask yourself what you want to use it for. Personally, I don't use my compost for much of anything. I just enjoy keeping all that material from the landfill and in my yard instead.
The reason I ask is because I think if you can avoid putting paper in your compost pile, you should. If you're looking to use the compost for gardening, then it shouldn't be a problem to add paper. However, if you want to grow vegetables, I'd advise against using paper scraps in your pile. Some examples would be: coffee bags, tea bags, and especially newspaper. There's a lot of chemicals that go into making paper products, and keeping them out of your food is definitely a good idea.

So how do I make this goofy thing?

There's a couple different ways to do this. Personally, I advise against using a proper compost container. Reason being that they take up a fair bit of space, and most of the designs you see are pretty poor ... they don't mix up the compost as adequately as they claim. However, if you're living in a city on top of your neighbors who may be opposed to a compost pile, then it would be considerate to have it contained.

I like the old trench composting approach. Get a shovel, dig a hole a few feet in diameter, and start throwing your food in it. Add twigs, leaves and branches to keep a good ratio between carbon and nitrogen, and let the pile do its thing. I wouldn't overthink it. Try and overturn the pile every day, but if you don't, the pile isn't going to explode. However, if you're adding your dinner scraps to it each night, you're doing your job.

Get Friends and Family Involved With Your Project


Involve the kids in the process if you don't feel like doing the work. Kid in a candy store, or a kid in the backyard with a shovel...same thing. Chances are, your kid may already know about composting from school.
Composting is a good gateway project that can lead to even greater things, such as building solar panels, a gray water system or vertical gardens. Be careful, green living is quite an addictive hobby. Get your friends interested and bounce ideas off each other for your next project.

Composting is going to become more and more common in the states as landfill space continues to be used at an ever-growing rate. Do your part now, have fun with it, and involve the family. As you can see, it's really not hard at all. Chances are, you will become curious about other sustainable projects to try. The green lifestyle is the way to go, as it entails making do with less, and saving plenty more.

Of course, these suggestions are just the beginning of your green journey. So remember: Composting is easy and it will benefit you greatly. Get your friends involved and keep at it with new ways to live simpler and for less. You will quickly see that living responsibly is quite rewarding.

Tyler urges you to put your thinking cap on and devise a plan to reduce your energy consumption and be rewarded with saving money and feeling good about yourself. Free sustainability report reveals how you can achieve dramatic results in little time. Uncover it here: http://www.tylers-ebook-reviews.com

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Watch Pinta Island Tortoise - Galapagos Islands Lonesome George

Lonesome GeorgeImage by tony tea via Flickr
By James M. Jennings

Pinta Island Tortoise: Galapagos Islands Lonesome George - Pinta Island tortoises are mostly extinct but one of them can be found on Pinta Island. They were believed to be completely extinct, until one lone tortoise, dubbed Lonesome George, was found to still be alive on the island. Since that time, researchers and activists have offered rewards for anyone who is able to locate another (preferably female) tortoise on the island.

The island was once filled with tortoises. They were eventually killed off over the period of many years, along with many other animals that once inhabited the area. Efforts are currently underway to restore the once thriving island back to what it was

Thirty nine tortoises were rounded up and taken to the island, so that they may breed. The island is the northernmost in the string of Galapagos Islands. George is estimated to be between 60 to 100 years of age as of this time.

Every one of us need to support the conservation being made for this gentle species so that this animal does not just become another page in the history books but remains alive. The hope is that they will be able to reshape the areas ecosystem. Reshaping an ecosystem is no easy task and there are many different variables that can go into it. It is a precise effort, and you must make sure that the balance of life on the island is as close to perfect from the start as possible.

Efforts like the Lonesome George Pinta Islands restoration project are becoming more common each and every day. With so many areas that once teemed with wildlife slowly dying off, it can be hard to cover all of the region and raise enough funding.

Pinta Tortoise new video http://today-news00.blogspot.com/2010/06/tortoise-lonesome-george-is-lord-howe.html

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Monday, July 26, 2010

Toxic Heavy Metals Found in Whales

A Humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae), a m...Image via Wikipedia
By Karen Armitage

Whales Polluted with Heavy Metals

Startling results from a study carried out over 5 years of almost 1,000 tissue samples, has exposed high levels of toxic heavy metals in the blubber of sperm whales. Revealed at the recent International Whaling Commission's annual meeting, biologist Roger Payne, president and founder of Ocean Alliance, which conducted the research, found levels of cadmium, aluminium, chromium, lead, silver, mercury and titanium are the highest found in marine mammals.

The scientists warn the health of both ocean life and the people who consume seafood could be at risk. Fish is a primary source of animal protein for one billion people. Mr. Payne is quoted "These contaminants, I think, are threatening the human food supply. They are certainly threatening the whales and the other animals that live in the ocean"

"The entire ocean life is just loaded with a series of contaminants, most of which have been released by human beings" said Mr. Payne, who is best known for his discovery and recordings of songs by humpback whales in 1968 as well as his findings that some species of whales can communicate to each other over long distances.

Starting out in March, 2000 from San Diego in the ketch 'Odyssey' the object of the study was to document the health of the ocean by taking tissue samples from the sperm whales during their annual migration from the tropics to the poles. By August 2005, 955 samples the size of a pencil's eraser was collected using a dart gun that the animals barely noticed. The samples were then sent to marine toxicologist John Wise of the University of Southern Maine. The animals' DNA was compared to ensure they were only tested once.

Remarkably, the study of the heavy metals was an after thought as the main purpose of the research was to measure chemicals known as persistent organic pollutants. It has been deduced that the contaminants in the whales' blubber had formed in the Polar Regions suggesting the animals had absorbed the metals far from where they were emitted. This shows that pollution is reaching to the ends of the oceans and every where in-between. The contaminants were most likely carried by wind and currents.

"When you are working with a synthetic chemical which never existed in nature before and you find it in a whale which came from the Arctic or Antarctic, it tells you that was made by people and it got into the whale" said Mr. Payne, who went on to say "The biggest surprise was chromium." Used in stainless steel, paints, dyes and the tanning of leather, chromium is a corrosion-resistant material found to cause cancer in people who work in the industries where it is commonly used. John Wise found the chromium concentrations in the whale tissue were several times higher the levels required to kill healthy cells in a Petri dish.

After 30 years in the 'beauty' industry, Karen Armitage was astounded to find that the cosmetic companies she had trusted included toxic ingredients in the products they produced and marketed. You will never believe a skin care promotion again once you have read her free reports at http://www.nochemicalcosmetics.com

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The Real BP PR Lesson

A beach after an oil spill.Image via Wikipedia
By Anthony Mora

This is the worst spill in U.S. history. But as long as there is drilling, there will be spills. It is inevitable. The question is how we are going to prepare and demand that our government and the oil companies realistically prepare from this point on?

BP is anathema. We all agree. The company is responsible for the worst oil spill on record. It is reported that oil has been flowing at a rate of 60,000 barrels a day. And the gulf spill wasn't BP's first mishap; in 2005 an explosion at one of its Texas refineries left fifteen people dead. Our outrage and anger at the company is appropriate. They should pay and be held responsible for what they've done. The company's stock has plummeted. It is going to be paying billions and legal battles will go on for years. But, if BP remains the sole focus of this tragedy, we've missed the lesson and squandered a valuable opportunity

BP is indicative of a much larger, more serious problem. As was revealed at the Senate hearings on June 15th, other oil companies had emergency plans eerily similar to that of BP. It seems as though there was one ineffectual, cookie-cutter plan that was shared by the entire industry. The plan included the phone number of a dead expert to call in case of emergencies. It also included strategies for saving seals and walruses that were threatened by a spill in the Gulf Coast. The only downside to the plan was that calling a deceased expert probably wouldn't do much good and there are no seals or walruses in that part of the world.

Sadly the BP spill was an accident waiting to happen. The company's attitude seemed to be that they'd risk taking the consequences of a spill, as opposed to putting in the necessary time, money and effort to safeguard against a spill happening, or developing a workable action plan in case a spill did occur.

This spill has become a huge media story. Apart from the tragedy of lives lost, wildlife decimated and businesses destroyed, it is a devastating PR debacle for British Petroleum. But if we are to benefit in any way from the 24/7 media coverage of the spill, the focus needs to shift solely from BP to the oil industry as a whole. Yes, BP must be held accountable and pay to cleanup the gulf and compensate those who are losing their livelihoods, but let's use this as a call to action to look deeper at the core causes.

Obviously we need to look at other forms of fuel and energy, but that is going to take time. In the short term, the oil industry and the government (who is every bit as much at fault as the oil companies) need to do all that they can to ensure that such a spill does not happen again, and develop effective action and response plans that actually address the problem when a spill inevitably does happen. The media is reporting, the government is fuming, BP is apologizing and lives are being shattered. Let's take this devastating episode and use it to demand that the government and oil companies alike develop true action plans that will both safeguard our natural resources and our country as a whole.

Copyright © Anthony Mora 2010
I'm Anthony Mora, President and CEO of Anthony Mora Communications, Inc. and author of Spin to Win. We specialize in public relations, image development, media training and Transformational Marketing, http://anthonymora.com.

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Green Living - Teaching Your Kids to Be Eco Friendly

By Joel Dreher

Conserving and recycling should become habits for all family members, including the children. The younger generation will be the most affected by today's practices, so they should play an active role in green living. Teaching your kids to be eco friendly can be fun if it is approached in the right manner.

There are Web sites that contain information and games to help children learn about conserving natural resources, eating healthy, and engaging in environmentally friendly practices. Look up some of these and pick those that convey the most important lessons, sharing in the education whenever possible. Local zoos, science centers, and museums have other great educational tools and the family can make a day trip out of visiting one of these.

Children tend to mimic the actions of their parents, so in order to get the youngsters to reduce, reuse, and
recycle, the parents should do it. Let the children place the recyclables in the proper bins and have them help carry the containers to the curb on trash day. Allow them to pick organic and environmentally friendly foods at the supermarket or help plant fruits and vegetables in the home garden.

Make sure that children turn off lights, appliances, and electronic equipment when these are not in use. Make it part of their chore charts and reward them with stickers or small treats when they engage in these practices. Have them help sort clothes that no longer fit and take them to a thrift store where they can be resold.

Teaching your kids to be eco friendly involves including them in the practices in which the adults already engage. Recycling, conserving, organic diets, and repurposing clothing are just a few ways for the family to engage in green living. Children have great ideas, so listen to them, because they may come up with even more environmentally friendly practices.

Would you like to breathe fresh clean air free from man made and natural allergens? Then you should check out the Iqair Healthpro Air Purifier, a great addition to any green home. You should also become very familiar with Hunter Air Filters another great product.

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History of Solar Energy - It Has Just Got Interesting in the Last Decade

Photovoltaic Q-cellsImage by Irish Typepad via Flickr
By Chris R Hartley

Believe it or not the history of solar energy goes back over 2,000 years to the Greek and Roman ages who were the first civilization to actually plan their houses to make the best use of the suns rays, for both light and heat. The famous Greek philosopher Socrates, in histories first recorded writing on renewable solar energy concerning the power of the sun when he commented that all buildings should be south facing so that they got maximum sun in the winter.

The Roman aristocracy took it a step further when they made the first historical use of glass window panes on the south facing side of the villa's, the immense cost meant that only the very richest class could do this. Two ancient civilizations both suffering from what might be regarded as a modern predicament that of energy shortages, in this instance the was not enough wood to go round, wood being the dominant source of heat.

Following the fall of the Roman Empire solar energy was forgotten about for well over a thousand years.
Until well into the 1800's it was generally assumed that the worlds supply of fossil fuels was so vast that it would never be exhausted, particularly when new resources were regularly being found. In 1861 Auguste Mouchet built a steam engine that was heated entirely by the sun, however the machine proved to be expensive to maintain and coal prices were falling so he could not secure backing for more development. He then went on to make a study of the burgeoning needs of industry and commented that industry's demands for coal would soon deplete reserves and then what would happen?

There continued to be an interest in solar power and in everything electric from then on, an fascinating fact is that although we think of battery powered vehicles as cutting edge technology, up till around 1905 there was a larger proportion of electric vehicles on the road till modern times. Their development was stopped because battery technology was unable to practically overcome the weight of the batteries themselves. The World speed championship of 1905 had more electric cars entered than gasoline engine vehicles, it was won by a gasoline engine car with a top speed of 60 miles per hour, that and the falling cost of gas prevented commercial research until the oil crisis of 1973 refocused attention on solar and other alternative types of energy, this almost brings the history of solar energy up to date.

Serious interest in solar power, up until the 50's, was limited to scientific research, although the 1921 Nobel Prize for Physics was awarded to Albert Einstein for his research into the principle of photoelectric effects on electrical generation. However it remained almost entirely a scientific research project till 1953 when Bell Laboratories created a silicon based solar cell that was able to create some electricity, however after three years of development it still cost sixty times as much to generate a watt of electricity making use of solar as opposed to using fossil fuels. So research was cut right back till the oil crises of 1973.

Governments of every country suddenly had to wake up to a world where the oil prices doubled overnight so huge investment was put into the search for more cost effective solar cells and twenty years later in the 1990's we had efficient residential photovoltaic cells, but by then the oil crisis had been over for some time and gas was again inexpensive and plentiful but for how long?

Over the last 10 years solar cells have risen in efficiency and fallen in price to a point where homemade solar panels are a viable option for Do It Yourself home solar energy, ready to start writing your own history of solar energy.

Chris R Hartley is an advocate for Green Energy Solutions and affiliate for green products. www.homebuildgreenenergy.com is my site and contains lots of information and ideas for your Green Energy Projects. Take a look at my review. homemade solar panels.

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Green Living - How to Make Your Own Greenhouse

L├ęgumesImage via Wikipedia
By Joel Dreher

Using a greenhouse, a gardener can grow a much wider range of plants, fruits, and vegetables throughout the year. The family can enjoy fresh food and fresh cut flowers without the need to purchase these items from the store. Knowing how to make your own greenhouse will also contribute to green living because it reduces the amount of chemically processed foods ingested into the body.

It is not costly to build a greenhouse on the property, with the price of this version running under $25. The supplies needed are four sections of ½ inch PVC pipe, four ½ inch corner elbow connectors with three ports, four ½ inch adapters, PVC cement, primer, scissors, and long zip ties. First, assemble the PVC pipe in a dry, ventilated area. Cut two 10 foot pipe sections in half, yielding four five-foot sections. Use the primer to coat inside the pipe ends and elbow pieces, but do not coat inside the threaded portion of the elbows.

Once the primer has dried, secure the elbows on all ends of two five-foot sections of pipe using PVC cement. Attach a 10-foot pipe to an unthreaded elbow end with the cement, pressing together. When the cement has dried, bend this 10-foot section and attach it to the unthreaded side of the five-foot pipe, using the cement. Follow these instructions to make the frame for the other side.

Lay the frame down on plastic sheeting, then cut the sheet about six inches wider all around, cutting edges on an "L" shape. On the curve side, cut pleats halfway from the edge of the sheeting to the pipe. Starting with the straight edge, use the zip ties to secure the plastic sheeting on the frame. Tuck the plastic around pipes and make small holes in an area of the plastic near the frame. Screw the threaded adaptors to the threaded elbows and attach one of the other 5-foot pipes to the each adapter. Brace the base using cement blocks or sturdy tape. Cover the frame with sheeting and cut it to fit, then use zip ties to attach the sheeting to the frame halfway down.

Knowing how to make your own greenhouse will save money and require only a small amount of time. Air will flow through the bottom half of the structure and the sun will heat the plants and flowers, creating an optimum growing environment. There will soon be fresh flowers on the table and healthy fruits and vegetables for eating.

Would you like to breathe fresh clean air free from man made and natural allergens? Then you should check out the Iqair Healthpro Air Purifier, a great addition to any green home. You should also become very familiar with HVAC Air Filters an important part of your clean air mission.

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Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Benefits of Native Plants

By Bobbie Hamilton

Gardeners have a lot of different plants in their gardens or backyard. Some choose colorful plants in order to make it more aesthetically pleasing. There are some who choose more trees to provide good shade. For those who want to create a garden or a backyard that can look good all year round, it is wise to really consider a selection of plants and trees that are Oregon native plants. There are many things that a gardener can get from using Oregon native plants. Here are just a few:

1. It saves time

Oregon native plants are those that can be easily be seen anywhere within the area. Such plants grow naturally without the requirement of extra care. With the climate and the conditions surrounding it, plants have higher chances of survival as compared to those that are imported from someplace else.

2. It can last longer

The life span of indigenous plants is often longer as compared to those that are taken from somewhere else. This is because these types of plants can withstand the conditions present in a place. The climate, the weather, the soil and the other organisms that go in contact with it go hand in hand in making these plants healthy and thriving. This is not common with imported plants and trees as one missed maintenance routine and the quality and look of the plant may wither.

3. It's easy to find

Since it is a native plant or a plant that naturally grows in the area, there is no trouble in finding it and placing it in the garden. It can be easily found in local landscaping and gardening shops within the area.

4. It benefits all other organisms

Birds and insects like plants and trees that are familiar to them. Native plants and trees offer this familiarity. The natural way of pollination and other necessary processes are easier done with these types of plants and trees.

5. It's cheaper

If a gardener purchases an imported plant, it will definitely cost more. Think about the transportation expenses that will go with it. The maintenance of an imported plant is also a concern as it will require a higher degree of care and attention. It is unlike native plants and trees which are easy to find and easier to maintain.

Oregon native plants and trees offer convenience like no other. Make sure to include these types of plants in your backyard or your garden for a more natural look without the maintenance and the costs. Find out more of Oregon's native plants and the species available in the state by visiting http://www.schollsvalley.com/.

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American Fundamentalism

By Anant Tripati

American Fundamentalism Has Placed The Human Rights of Those In The Gulf Of Mexico In Danger Because Due To Corporate Influence The United States Has Refused To

Regulate The Environment And Ecosystems

As corporate profits are adversely impacted in the short term by stringent laws on the environment and ecosystem, the Congress of the United States has refused to put in place laws stringent enough to regulate the environment and ecosystem. In fact states like Arizona have promulgated laws forbidding their agencies from taking any action which would benefit the environment H2442.

Laws and policies which encourage the economic and social progress of a select few at the expense of the middle class, poor and backward regions has been the Congressional mantra. In order to ensure inequalities exist and there is no equality, with slick media, politicians put fear in people as to the impact of stringent laws on the environment and ecosystem on the citizenry.

The United States Congress refuses to integrate environmental and ecosystem protection requirements into policies and laws. Cameron International Corp. built the blowout prevention equipment that was used in the Deepwater Horizon Rig which Halliburton Corp. cemented at about 18,000 feet and which was being operated by Transoceanic Ltd, leased by BPPLC. On April 21, 2010 the rig caught fire in the Gulf of Mexico. Cementing is a process which prevents oil and natural gas from escaping by filling gaps between the outside of the well pipe and the hole in the ocean floor.

BPPLC drills about 400,000 barrels of oil a day in the Gulf of Mexico using Deepwater Horizon Rigs. Foreign nations except the United States require that additional failsafe mechanisms and also remote controlled shutoff devices be incorporated into blowout protection mechanisms in Deepwater Horizon Rigs.

When there are cracks in the cement or when the cement does not properly settle, gas escapes with a great deal of pressure and ignites because gas is highly combustible. If there are faulty cement plugs at the bottom of the well or if the cement between the pipe, the well and the walls does not harden properly the gas escapes. The failsafe mechanism and blowout preventer which should be remote controlled activate and control the leak.

18 of the 39 explosions in the Gulf of Mexico over a 14 year period involving Deepwater Horizon Rigs were caused by cementing, contends a 2007 study by Minerals Management Service. Halliburton cemented the Deepwater Horizon Rig in the Timor Sea off Australia which exploded with thousands of barrels of oil escaping into the sea over ten weeks.

Robert McKenzie of Capitol Markets states that cementing has historically been problematic. According to BPPLC they have not tested the ability of the blowout preventers to work. They rely on a device they do not know whether it works. It is established that huge amounts of gas have escaped into the ecosystem, more than the Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska. BP LLC has used unmanned submarines controlled by robots to activate the shut-off valves but has been unable to. It will take about three months to drill a new hole to cut off the damaged hole.

Now that this explosion has happened additional regulations may be put in place and there may be possible moratoriums on offshore drilling. Citizens in the areas affected by this ecosystem disaster are in the wetlands area richest in shrimp, oyster and fish breeding. Many species of birds breed in the area and the area serves as the nesting area for brown pelicans at night. Due to natural disasters like Katrina, Ike, Rita and Gustav, 90% of the oyster industry has been wiped out. Louisiana has spent millions of dollars to rehabilitate oyster reefs and had recently begun harvesting oysters. The Gulf of Mexico oil fire is having a devastating effect on the local community.

One third of the fishing industry has been adversely affected and tourism is in decline because the white-sand beaches are blackened. Previous eco-disasters in Alaska, Massachusetts and Spain have had long-term disastrous impacts. Shellfish, seabirds, whales and sea otters have had their chemistry altered, including high stress hormones, erratic behaviour, contaminated eggs and long-term population declines.

The National Marine Fisheries states that there is no sign of two types of herring and salmon. "It is sad to see an already fragile habitat face a crisis like this one" states Grey Butcher of National Audubon Society. "The oil will make it hard for the animals to swim or fly and wreaks havoc with their food supply."

The welfare of marine life should always be considered. American Fundamentalism is refusing to promote sustainable development, economic and social progress of regions and peoples who are in backward regions. Environmental and ecosystem protection must be integrated into policies and laws. The livelihoods of people in the long-term is at stake.

Laws targeting Hispanics under the guise of immigration reform (S1070) denying the poor protection that is given by Patient Protection And Affordable Health Care Act (S1001 SCM1001) refusing to regulate greenhouse gases (H2442) all promote inequalities and adversely affect the livelihood and welfare of the poor and minorities. Congress needs to put in place legislation to protect the environment and our ecosystem. Short term political gain and financial benefit to corporate entities must not be put above the goals and interests of the people, the citizenry, the environment and our ecosystem. "Drill Baby Drill" is not the solution without environmental and ecosystem protection.

BY ANANT KUMAR TRIPATI

Anant Kumar Tripati is a student in the Postgraduate Law Programme at the University of London External System.

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Professional Or DIY Enthusiast - Learn How to Conduct an Energy Audit

By A. Shon

Having the basic knowledge of how to conduct an energy audit will help to determine the amount of energy your home uses and will teach you what steps to take and make your home energy efficient. An energy audit will surely save you money. Home energy audit can be done by a professional auditor, or you can choose to conduct it in the DIY way. Home energy audit is an essential tool to help you decries daily home expenses. Here are points to stress how to conduct an energy audit:

How to Conduct an Energy Audit by Professional Auditor

A professional audit begins with understanding the usage pattern of the family that leaves in the house. After that will come a thorough examination of the exterior of the house: number of windows and their corresponding sizes, wall area and the house size. A professional auditor will ask questions relating to the number of people residing in the house, the amount of time family members spend in the house, the average thermostat setting and the amount of time each room each room is been used.

The first test is a blower door test, it will reveal. How airtight is your home? He will use a fan that mounts into the frame of an exterior door and pulls air out of the house. This lowers the inside air pressure and causes the outside air flows in through any cracks or openings that are not properly sealed.

A thorough thermo-graphic inspection is another impotent test worth doing. They are done by infrared video and still cameras that measure surface temperatures. Insulation test can be done either from the interior or exterior, the norm is the interior inspection. The results will show the auditor the places in the house more insulation is needed. PFT measurement is the final test that some auditors may decide to perform. It will help to determine the air infiltration rate and can also detect radon gas.

How to Conduct an Energy Audit by DIY Homeowner

DIY enthusiasts should use a check up list and walk with it through the house it will help you to highlight any problem areas. Begin looking for air leaks inside the house. Check for cracks along the ceiling and walls. More air leaks can be found around electrical outlets, light switch plates, window frames, doors, fireplace dampers, and window or wall air conditioners.

Examine windows and doors, area around pipes, foundation seals, and electrical outlets. If you see daylight around a door or window frame that means air leaks exists. Then move outside and check exterior corners, roof, and the point where siding and the chimney meet. To prevent leaks use weather stripping or caulking.

The following Free Guide will help you to learn more information about How to Conduct an Energy Audit it includes a check list that will walk you through the process.

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Monday, July 19, 2010

Today's "Green" Home is Going to Be A Typical Home Tomorrow

By G. Kisselev

We all are living in a world which is turning green. Have you noticed that? It seems like every man, every woman and child, every organization and product, really want to become "green" and Eco-friendly. Lots of time and energy are powering the green changes which is a wonderful idea. We hope our children and grandchildren are going to appreciate it.

However, a ton of what's happening is often just "greenwashing", where any excuse to label something" green" brings you to the circumstances which are sitting on very thin ice. Really, besides its green color, how "green" may your car be? And what about Eco-friendly cleaners or genetically engineered food? These products are stretching out the definition of "GREEN" beyond any reasonable meaning.

The good thing is that during the construction and restoration of America's housing, we are able to combine designs, practices and materials, which help protect our environment. And, to assist this effort and hard work, those who are in the business of building and remodeling homes as well as those who are buying and owning homes are becoming more and more knowledgeable and more dedicated to this idea.

The good thing is that the most significant tips for effectively "greening" America's existing inventory of housing can be obtained from 203k loan and Energy Efficient Mortgage. The 203k Mortgage is truly a "Green Mortgage" because it comes with a simple, cost-effective solution and provides funds for "green" housing innovations.

Typically the 203k Mortgage permits home owners to amortize the cost of improvements offering long-term cost benefits within the lifetime of the home loan, benefiting them with a lower interest rate than short-term financing would ever offer. Implementing an Energy Efficient Mortgage, "green" improvements can easily be included to a 203k mortgage loan, enabling home owners to surpass the Federal housing administration loan limit total by the approved energy efficient costs. For many people this offers a chance to not just offset the cost of these improvements along with utility cost savings, but also lowers the overall cost of home ownership. Plus, along the way, we are helping to reduce America's energy dependence.

While an increased exposure to preserving our environment and saving of our natural resources continues, it would make sense for all of us to accomplish our best to help more American people not only make their home dream come true, but with the effectiveness of the 203k, even turn these dreams genuinely "Green."

Guennadi Kisselev
Lic. Real Estate Broker
Vice President Florida Green Homes Marketing, LLC
http://www.MyGreenHomeinFlorida.com

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The Acid Rain Problem in China

By Lv Hongyu

Among all the air pollution problems in China, acid rain is the biggest one. Acid rain is rainfall that has been acidified. It usually has a pH lower than 5.6. It is formed when pollutants called oxides of sulfur and nitrogen, contained in power plant smoke, factory smoke, and car exhaust, react with the moisture in the atmosphere.

Dry deposits, such as soot and ash, sleet, hail, snow, smog and low level ozone are forms that acid rain can take. As the emission of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide keeps increasing, the problem has becomes more and more serious. Now China is the third largest acid rain area, only next to Europe and North America.

There are many problems and effects caused by acid rain. It can cause buildings, statues and bridges to deteriorate faster than usual, and will pollute thousands of lakes, rivers, and streams worldwide. It will damage the ecosystems of the lakes and kill wildlife in these affected lakes, rivers and streams. It can also damage soil and the tree roots in it. When soil is acidified, tree roots are damaged, leaving them not able to draw in enough nutrients to support the tree.

It will bring great harms to forest plants. Under this effect, nutrients in soil will be released, and leached out with the rain. As a result, the soil will become barren. In addition, it can make the aluminum elements in the soil released out from a stable state, so that the activated aluminum in the soil will be increased, which could seriously inhibit the growth of trees. When acid rain falls on trees, it will make their leaves turn brownish-yellow and the tree can no longer carry out photosynthesis properly.

The main areas affected by acid rain in China are the areas in the south of the Yangtze River, such as the Sichuan Basin, Guizhou, Hunan, Hubei, Jiangxi, and some coastal provinces such as Fujian and Guangdong. According to a preliminary survey, the forests in the Sichuan Basin are the largest area damaged, which is about 28 million hectares, accounting for 32% of the woodland area.

China has made great efforts to research acid rain for nearly 30 years. However, it is still quite limited in the funding, size and depth of the research. As a result, China still has a lot to do to solve these problems.

Lv Hongyu is the freelance writer for e-commerce website in the chemistry. LookChem.com is just a place for you to Look for Chemicals! Our LookChem provide the most convenient conditions for the international buyers and let these leads benefit all the business person.

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Facts About the Rainforest You Need to Know

By Annie Horkan

Every second, a piece of rainforest the size of a football field is being destroyed while we go about our business. Did you know that rainforests are being destroyed because the value of rainforest land is perceived as only the value of its timber by short-sighted governments, land owners and global companies seeking to extract its wealth.

The rainforests once covered 14% of the earth's land surface, and now they only cover a mere 6%. It is being estimated that in less than 40 years the last remaining rainforests could disappear forever. Almost half of the world's species of plants and animals that dwell in the rainforest may soon disappear completely as a result of rainforest deforestation. We are losing 137 plant, animal and insect species every single day due to rainforest deforestation which equates to 50,000 species a year and rising.

Many possible cures for life-threatening diseases may now never be found because of the extinction of so many rainforest species. Today, 121 prescription drugs sold worldwide come from plant-derived sources.  Less than 1% of these tropical trees and plants have been tested by scientists while about 25% of all Western pharmaceuticals are made from rainforest plants.

It is estimated that more than 90 indigenous tribal people have been destroyed by colonists since the 1900's in Brazil alone, and with them have gone centuries of accumulated knowledge of the medicinal value of rainforest species, and all that wisdom. Today there are less than 200,000 Indians living in the Amazon Rainforest when five centuries ago there were an estimated ten million. The world loses thousands of years of irreplaceable knowledge about medicinal plants when a medicine man dies, and has failed to pass on his wisdom to the next generation.

Rainforests are so biologically diverse that the loss of them will have a devastating impact on the whole world. The destruction of rainforest species and rainforest habitats is apt to be the one thing our children will never forgive us for.

More facts

There are more varieties of fish in a single pond in Brazil than all the rivers combined in Europe. The total tree diversity in North America is about 700 varieties. This same amount is found in a single 25 acre plot in Borneo. More species of birds are found in a single Peruvian rainforest reserve than in all of the United States. Forty-three different species of ants were found in just a single tree in Peru. The number of different fish species in the entire Atlantic ocean is surpassed by the number of fish species in the Amazon river alone.

Today, rainforests occupy only 2 percent of the entire Earth's surface and 6 percent of the world's land surface, yet these remaining lush rainforests support over half of our planet's wild plants and trees and one-half of the world's wildlife. Hundreds and thousands of these rainforest species are being extinguished before they have even been identified, much less identified and studied.

We must stop destroying the rainforest. These facts about the rainforest are crucial. It is vital that we learn all we can about rainforests before humanity makes an irreversible mistake. It is estimated that ninety percent of all rainforest ecosystems will be destroyed by 2020 if deforestation continues at the current rate. There is no more time.

You can help the rainforest by owning a piece of it!
http://www.helprainforest.org
Determined to help save the rainforest before it is too late.
Annie Horkan

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International Car Free Day - September 22

By Lv Hongyu

"International Car Free Day" was first born in France on September 22 in 1998, when people from 35 French cities voluntarily rejected using private cars that day. On the same day one year later, 66 French cities and 92 Italian cities participated in "Car Free Day" activities. Then in 2000, "Car Free Day" was included in the framework of the EU's environmental policy. And September 22 has became "European Car Free Day" as well as "International Car Free Day". There are about 1488 cities in the world joining in this activity.

Entering into the 21st century, more and more ordinary Chinese consumers are starting to own private cars. But at the same time, the traffic congestion, air pollution and other problems brought by private cars begin to greatly affect people's daily lives. Statistics show that at the beginning of the 21st century, the exhaust gases emitted from automobiles accounted for 30% to 60% of total air pollution. With the increase amount of private cars, the pollution caused by exhaust gases will become more and more serious. And city residents in every country will become the direct victims of the exhaust gases from automobiles.

The car has been called the "city killer". In addition to traffic accidents, it brings a lot of pollution to the air. There are a lot of harmful gases exhausted from cars, such as carbon monoxide, oxynitride, aldehyde, and so on. The problem of traffic pollution is very serious in China, and traffic congestion is damaging the heart of the cities in China. A well-known economist estimates: the annual economic loss brought about by traffic jams in Beijing is about 6 billion Yuan, with an average of 1.1 Yuan for each person every day, and 400 Yuan for a year.

The promotion of "car-free day" is to call on people to choose using a bus, a bike or to walk when they go out. Above all, it is a way of life that people reflect on themselves. People always buy cars for more convenience and higher speed. However, more private cars mean more traffic congestion on the roads.
 The aim of "World Car Free Day" is not to exclude all the cars, but to arouse people's attention to environmental issues. On the day of September 22, let us go back to the freedom of walking, and enjoy the happiness of a quiet life.

Lv Hongyu is the freelance writer for e-commerce website in the chemistry. LookChem.com is just a place for you to Look for Chemicals! Our LookChem provide the most convenient conditions for the international buyers and let these leads benefit all the business person.

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Benefits of Vertical Farming

By Michelle Q Ching

More and more people are showing an interest in vertical farming these days. People like large scale farmers, entrepreneurs and investors in particular are getting into this whole new farming craze. So you might be thinking, what is vertical farming?

Vertical farming is an alternative way of growing plants and produce. Traditionally, we grow plants and produce in the ground or a pot with soil. We tend the plants every so often and water them everyday until they grow beautifully. This new type of farming method however, has a different approach to growing plants. The use of soil is eliminated in this agricultural technique and plants are grown either by aeroponics or hydroponics within farmscrapers.

As we all know, we only have limited water and land resources so vertical farming was introduced as an alternative option to minimize land use. This kind of farming is believed to be more efficient and safe because all the produce is grown without using pesticides and insect repellents like that of conventional farming. The environment is more controlled so there is no chance for pests and other insects to attack the plants.

This type of farming also reduces the use of water which is really a huge positive factor since water is a scarce resource that we should conserve. Another advantage of this agricultural technique is that being in the urban scene, it helps in reducing the costs of transporting the produce from the farmscrapers to the markets.

Vertical farming is just in its early stages as of now. It's not yet fully utilized all over the world since it's just a fairly new concept. However, I do believe that this new farming technique will be the next big thing in the agriculture industry.

AeroFarms delivers aeroponic technology and comprehensive business expertise to help you grow your bottom line and pioneer the future of vertical farming and urban agriculture.

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