Monday, January 31, 2011

Benefits Associated With Using Public Transportation

Rush hour at Shinjuku Station, Tokyo.The stati...Image via WikipediaBy Lisa A Mason

If you live in the city or suburban areas you probably have access to public transportation. Commuters travel to and from work, school and shopping every day by use of these services. Many people use this form of transportation to visit friends and family and to take care of all their personal needs because it an excellent way to travel without having to worry about doing the driving.

Public transportation includes but is not limited to, buses, street cars, subways, commuter trains and ferries. People use these services for a number of different reasons. For example, some commuters don't own a vehicle so this is a dependable way to travel where they don't have to depend on someone else to carry them everywhere they need to go. Many others choose to use this type of transportation so they help to reduce the carbon footprint they leave behind.

There are many benefits associated with using public transportation and some of these are listed below:

· You don't have to worry about dealing with all of the traffic on your way to and from work or waste time looking for a parking space. Someone else does the driving for you so you can sit back and relax. Once you arrive at your destination, you're dropped off with no hassles and when it's time to return home, you'll be picked up the same way.

· You won't have the expense of owning a vehicle such as car insurance, car payments and maintenance.

· It's economical and helps provide income for thousands of families by creating jobs.

· Public transportation has a set schedule so you always know what time they'll be running. This makes it easy to make a schedule around the hours the transportation is provided.

· It helps to reduce the harmful emissions released into the air when you drive. In other words, it's a greener way to travel from one location to another.

· Using this type of alternative transportation gives you the freedom to use your time wisely. Instead of spending time behind the wheel of a car stuck in traffic, you could be reading a book, preparing documents or doing a number of different things while someone else deals with the rush hour traffic.

Even if you only use this alternative transportation for your commute to and from work and drive when you travel personally, you're still helping the environment by cutting back on the use of gasoline and the amount of harmful emissions you emit into the air.

There are many benefits associated with using public transportation and it's so easy to do. As the concerns over the environment become more wide-spread, this form of transportation will surely become even more popular.

About the Author:
Lisa Mason is a freelance writer with a specialty in Internet content and SEO articles and the author of How to Earn a Living Writing for the Internet. She has written thousands of articles, hundreds of ebooks and thousands of website pages and related content in more than 10 years as a professional writer.

See her website for a free article writing template guide as well as more information about writing and the writing services she offers.

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Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Peace and Tranquility of Nature

Touring the countryside, 1887Image via WikipediaBy Allie Watkins

What most people love about nature is the feeling of peace and tranquility amidst natural surroundings. This is also the reason why people who ride bicycles love to be in nature because other than achieving a healthier lifestyle, they get to enjoy a peaceful and clean surrounding.

A famous saying goes like this: "Take time to stop and smell the roses." It reminds people to stop and enjoy life despite one's busy schedule. It is also a reminder that when you are in the middle of Mother Nature, you have to stop and enjoy the beauty of creation.

Bicycle touring around the countryside is a very nice experience as you get to enjoy nature at its best. Instead of the noise of cars and trucks in the city, you get to experience the beautiful sound and smell of nature.

One invigorating experience is going camping outdoors. It is relaxing and peaceful to enjoy nature. While camping, you can visit nature riding the bicycle or on foot. You will certainly see the beauty of untouched nature.

Riding the bicycle to the top of the mountain can be tough. In fact, it feels like forever before you can reach the top. But once you are up there and you get to see the spectacular view, you cannot help not to be thankful to be on the spot where you get to experience such profound beauty.

Going on tours can be annoying with you following the tourist guide everywhere, listening to what they have to say about the place. However, tour around places you haven't seen is very exciting once you get to the place where natural beauty surrounds you. You simply can't help not to take pictures as souvenirs.

If you are planning a bicycling experience in the future, hopefully you get to learn a little bit on how to enjoy the beauty of nature.

Enjoy your ride but most of all; enjoy what nature has in store for you.

Buying tongue scraper and fireplace blowers is not all easy, you have to know something about them first.

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Earth's Warming

The first sign of the spring melt - a stream i...Image via WikipediaBy Dean G Weber

It is the year 2025, just a very short 14 years from now. People are moving, in droves, to the various equatorial regions of the world. In our country, the U.S., there is a mass exodus to places like Florida, and Texas. Any locations north of North Carolina, are cold - ice cold.

New York, my alma mater, is freezing all of the time. Summer in the northeast, which used to be temperate, is now quite cold - with temperatures in August not exceeding 40 degrees. What happened and why did no one envision such a future?

While the above described near future may sound like a famous Twilight Zone episode, sadly, it is a very near future that is all too likely. The reason for this dismal prediction is the facts that are based on facts - such as those that were outlined and discussed in a very recent New York Times article, front page - discussing the dwindling of the "Arctic fence" - which is a protective barrier of whirling air above the Arctic region. This barrier, or "fence", serves to keep frigid Arctic air in, and it keeps non-Arctic, or warm air, out, but amazingly, this "fence" is being breached.

The cause for this breaching is very likely due to the great increase in moisture in the earth's atmosphere. For complicated reasons, as the moisture increases, the "fence" diminishes. And why is there a moisture increase in the atmosphere? It is because the Arctic ice is melting, at a very alarming, and INCREASINGLY fast pace.

In the Times article, there were graphic photos of Arctic ice - from 1979 and from just a few months ago, 2010. In that span of time - 31 years - the Arctic ice has melted by more than 30 percent! That is huge, and is leading to a much worse situation.

When the ice melts - as it has - that leaves more sea water exposed to the direct sunlight. When ice is present, sunlight gets reflected back into space. But without ice, the seawater ABSORBS the sunlight, and there is a concomitant rise in the seawater temperature, thereby causing MORE ice melt. And, this causes a vicious cycle - more ice melt, less reflection, more temperature rise. This cycle causes a pace of ice melt that is EXPONENTIAL in nature. That is, the ice melts at an increasingly faster pace.

What this means is that, although it took 31 years for 30% of the Arctic ice to melt, it is NOT GOING TO TAKE ANYWHERE THAT LONG FOR THE NEXT 30% TO MELT! And, when more than 50% of the Arctic ice is gone, then logic would dictate that all hell is going to break loose.

At that stage - where 50% of the ice is gone, there would, in all likelihood, be an irrevocable hastening of the total loss of ice - a complete melt, and an ensuing massive amount of water in the atmosphere causing huge storms of snow and other really horrible meteorological phenomenon. The alters of the world - our oceans and lakes, would also rise in temperature, as most of the sun's light would no longer be reflected by the ice.

There will, in all likelihood be, a vast increase in the earth's temperature. This rise in temperature is ALREADY happening. The year 2010 was the hottest year ever recorded, and the last decade saw the largest increase in temperature ever recorded.

One would think that what has been described herein would be the biggest story of the year. Not jobs, not wars, not famines, not cancer, not AIDS, not the Oscars, not the Superbowl, not the Mid-East conflict, not the housing crisis, not the subprime collapse and its ensuing near depression sequellae. No, one would think that the demise of our planet might be a bit more important.

In the famous Twilight Zone mentioned at the beginning, people were moving to the equator. But, in the main part of that episode, the earth was heating up - not getting cold - and it is the earth, as Venus, which is probably the more likely future, based on the vast ice melt.

But strangely, 50% or more ice melt might, by some strange twist of fate, cause the earth to become super cold. That could occur if the vast increase in moisture in the atmosphere causes a huge, huge increase in the amount of snow. This vast amount of snow could possibly super-cool the earth, by causing TOO much reflection of light - and thereby sending us all into a new, horribly cold, Ice Age.

The key thing to know is that all of this is happening RIGHT NOW, and whether we end up as Venus (super hot) or as Pluto (super cold), in either case, it is all too horrible to even contemplate. And yet, for our own sakes, we should indeed contemplate it all - because very very soon, just a few short years - we will all be facing a vastly different reality - and that horrid reality, is well underway, and may well be irrevocable. Perhaps some major politician or citizen's group will speak up about this frightening situation. I hope so, because we - and our children - will have nowhere to hide, when the world changes.

Dean Weber is the founder of, a worldwide fitness and karate club. Dean is a black belt in karate and he has helped many people get into shape. He is the author of several books, including "Grandmaster", The 30,000 Days", "Existence", and, Adventures in Being". Dean can be reached at

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Saturday, January 29, 2011

Why Recycling Helps the Environment

glass and plastic (bottles) recycling in PolandImage via WikipediaBy Laura Kaeding

Recycling is the third step that should be resorted to when deciding what to do with an item that no longer has initial use. After reduce and reuse, recycling is the option that takes the item out of your home and into a factory.

Certain items are ideal for recycling because they can be remade into new products that are of the same (or very close to it) quality. Other materials have little benefit when it comes to recycling because the quality of the 'new' material will be so poor it will not be useful for many things.

Paper is one of the materials that are beneficial to recycle. When paper is broken down and recycled into new paper products, it is of the same quality. It may not always be turned into a material of equal quality, such as recycled content toilet paper or paper towels, but it has the capability to be turned back into usable paper.

Glass and metal can also be turned into new products of equal (or greater) quality than the original product. It is hard to know the portion of recycled glass or metal in the things that you buy, because unlike plastic and paper, manufacturers do not currently advertise the level of recycled content in packaging made of glass or metal. However, these two materials are the second easiest to recycle, as well as being the sturdiest materials that can be recycled.

Plastic, in contrast, is one of the materials that cannot be turned into a new product of equal quality. It is instead turned into a lesser quality product, such as fake lumber, which is not technically recycling. When an object loses its quality and cannot be remade into what it was originally, it is considered down-cycling instead.

It is for this reason that despite being able to recycle plastic, it is more beneficial to the planet to just avoid it whenever possible. Recycling is better that simply dumping it in the trash. So if you do end up with some plastic, metal, glass or paper that you have no reusable purpose for, recycling is a viable option.

The less packaging and products that end up in the landfills, the better. Remember that recycling is the third in importance from all of the three R's and therefore it should be the option you consider third. Support the recycling business by purchasing items that are made of post-consumer recycled content. This will keep the process running full circle, which will benefit both you and the environment.

For more thoughts and posts on the above subject, visit my Simply Green webpage.
Share your thoughts, opinions and ideas there!

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Green Homes

Environmental HouseImage by Matthew Burpee via FlickrBy Carl Chute

Green homes are emerging everywhere and are inspiring a new way of thinking and living. Have you tried it yet? It really doesn't matter where you live or what you do. This is not just a passing trend. Regardless of whether you want to make small, incremental improvements, or make world changing improvements, the green lifestyle will be beneficial to you.

Green homes have come a long way in the last few years. Once it was a bit of an underground concept, now there are entire corporations devoted to green home design. This doesn't necessarily mean that you have to make major changes to improve the efficiency of your home. There are many small things you can do right now to cut back on energy costs and reduce your global foot print.

The sun can start providing more free energy to you, even if it is for recreational purposes. There are many systems that utilize the energy from the sun. This can even include water heaters for you pool! On that same note, you also want to make sure that your filters are clean and that your pump is not running constantly. Do these small things and you can see a big saving in your home energy usage.

You can save a lot of cash by installing a house cooling fan. Convection cooling is a better more efficient option. This makes the house a lot more comfortable in the days where it isn't hot enough to turn on the air conditioner. Everyone likes fresh air. Most people do not think of these systems, but they really are a great way to live a sustainable green life.

So those are just a couple easy ways that you can incorporate some green home design into your existing assets. These systems are not nearly as expensive as they once were so they should be affordable for almost everyone. Think about investing a little bit of money in green living, it will certainly pay off in the long run.

Carl J. Chute is an electrical engineer and writer speciliazing in renewable energy and power systems. He is an expert when it comes to green homes and sustainable living.

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Friday, January 28, 2011

Critically Endangered Black Rhinos

Black Rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis), picture t...Image via WikipediaBy Gareth Westhead

The Black Rhino is one of Africa's most endangered animals and is listed as critically endangered by the IUCN meaning it is in real danger of becoming extinct in the foreseeable future. Also known as the hooked lipped rhino due to its hook like upper lip, this magnificent animal is found in eastern and southern areas of Africa.

The Black rhino is usually a solitary animal, only coming together to mate, although mothers with young may occasionally come together in small groups. These animals have very poor eyesight and this has led to them gaining a reputation for being highly aggressive. This reputation is somewhat unfair as the rhino doesn't usually attack in the same way as say a lion would. They attack more out of fear and panic, which is a state they often find themselves in due to their poor eyesight. Researchers have seen them charge at trees and even termite mounds, which highlights how easy it is to startle a black rhino into charging.

At the start of the 20th Century the black rhino was the most numerous of all the rhinos and estimates suggest they numbered several hundred thousand. However, ruthless hunting for prized rhino horn saw these numbers shrink rapidly down to an estimated 10,000 in the early 1980's. More recent reports from 2005 showed further decline, with numbers estimated to be as low as 2,500.

Rhino horn is made up of keratin, which is the same substance that makes up human hair and nails. However in China and other parts of Eastern Asia people believe it to have medicinal properties and so seek out rhino horn to use in traditional medicines. Scientists have found no evidence of these medicinal properties, but herbalists continue to use it claiming it can cure fevers and even revive people from comas.

In the Middle East Rhino horn is carved into ornate patterns for ceremonial jambiyas. During the 1970's there was a huge increase in demand for these daggers, which are traditionally worn as an accessory by all men above the age of 14. This increased demand contributed to the 96% reduction in Black rhino numbers during the 1970's, 1980's and 1990's.

Adopt a Black Rhino and help halt the decline in their numbers. Without sustained conservation this magnificent animal could become extinct within the next 50 years.

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OPINION: Wind Farms

Wind turbines.Image via WikipediaHi readers,

The following article represents the other side of the alternative energy debate. What do you think? What's your opinion on this issue?

Let us know by posting a comment. Cheers, Robert.

Wind Farms by Val Oliver

As we live in the middle of England with the nearest coastline some sixty miles away I don't often get to see it. So on Christmas Eve last, as a passenger on a drive to Holyhead, I was quite looking forward to the trip.We were to avoid the snow in Snowdonia by travelling the A55 along the north coast of Wales, a route I had not driven for quite a few years.

For those who don't know this area the whole coastline is a holiday destination. Towns and villages are interspersed with sand dunes, endless beaches and craggy headlands. It also must have the largest compilation of holiday camps and caravan parks in the country, but then you look out to sea. I have to say, I was very pleased I was not driving, because there, stretched before us like an army from the ''War of the Worlds'' wind turbines, scores of them, what an awful sight.

This once beautiful coastline has been defaced in the name of renewable energy. I have seen four or five of these turbines lined up inland but nothing on this scale. What are the people involved with approving these things thinking. They must be able to do better than this.

It would appear that we must spend money like water to foreign companies to erect these monsters on the basis that we may get some power if the wind blows at the right speed and it doesn't get too cold. They tend not to work when you need them most, especially in very cold still weather such as experienced before Christmas. Are we so afraid to look at the obvious. Here we are surrounded by water, well blessed with rivers and lakes and we have knowledge of its power, it never stops, unlike the wind.

I have looked at many websites since Christmas Eve in the hope that maybe one could convince me that wind turbines are a good idea but not one can. They can produce figures on how much CO2 they save, providing it is windy but they cannot or will not say how much these things cost to start up and run. They will tell you that the UK is the best place in Europe for them as luckily 40% of Europe's wind comes across us, their words not mine. Why do we have to ruin the planet to save it? If we spent half the cost of wind generation on further research into wave power we would have it by now .It would be clean, reliable, constant and invisible.

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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Why Is the Orangutan Endangered?

dave 59 took it myself at the Orang rehabilita...                                   Image via WikipediaBy Gareth Westhead

With its distinctive red/brown fur the Orangutan has become an icon for conservation, with images being used around the world to highlight the threats that many species face. Orangutans are known to be one of our closest relatives in the animal kingdom sharing almost 95% of our DNA.

In the wilds of Borneo and Sumatra orangutans have very few natural predators. This is because they spend much of their life living high in the trees, only rarely venturing to ground level. However if an orangutan does spend too much time on the ground they face threats from leopards and tigers.

Why then, is the Orangutan one of the most endangered animals on the planet?

It is not natural predation, which has led to them becoming one of the world's most endangered species but encroachment from humans. We are responsible for the destruction of around 80% of the rainforest habitat in Borneo and Sumatra in the last 20 years alone. Conservationists predict, that by 2020 almost 98% of the Indonesian rainforest could have been destroyed.

There are several reasons behind the large-scale destruction; Borneo and Sumatra have become densely populated in recent years, with the growing population requiring ever more space in which to build their homes. The rainforest has provided that space at the cost of habitat for the animals.

Furthermore the pet trade in orangutans is huge with many people in Indonesia seeing them as status symbols. Adult females are often killed so their young can be sold on the booming black market.

Perhaps the biggest contributor to the large-scale habitat destruction has been the world's insatiable appetite for palm oil. Palm oil is used in a huge variety of products consumed by humans and as the demand has increased so too has the space needed to harvest the palm oil. Currently around 6.5 million hectares of rainforest in Indonesia has been cleared to make way for these plantations.

As their habitat is destroyed the orangutans are being forced into smaller and smaller areas forcing them into greater conflict with other animals, including humans. When an orangutan comes into conflict with humans carrying weapons there is only going to be one outcome.

Unless swift action is taken to reverse the downward trend in orangutan numbers, we face losing one of our most loved animals in the very near future which would be a tragedy, not only for conservation worldwide but for the fragile Indonesian ecosystem in which they live.

Adopt an Orangutan and help conservationists around the world carry on their vital work designed to save one of our closest relatives in the animal kingdom.

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Reducing Carbon Emissions With Energy Storage Systems

© Guerito 2005Image via WikipediaBy Salman Hassan

With several countries, including major economic power houses like the US and China, taking a strong interest in generating energy from renewable sources, it has become even important that renewable energy is used in the best possible way.

A main reason for using renewable sources for energy generation is to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. One way of achieving this goal is the use of energy accumulators for storing the generated energy. This will eliminate the need of backing up renewables with fossil fuel-based systems.

An example of an accumulator for storing renewable energy is the NaS Plant announced by Mexico's President Felipe Calderón. This plant will be capable of storing 1,000 MW. It will be one the largest single storage systems in the world.

The term NaS used with the plant is for the batteries that store the energy and means that batteries consist of sodium (Na) and sulfur (S). A NaS battery is made from inexpensive materials and possesses high energy density, long cycle life, and high efficiency of charge/discharge.

This NaS plant in Mexico is also a good example of countries collaborating with each other to store vital resources. The accumulator is being built at a site near the north-western border with the US and will store energy generated by the large-scale solar projects being developed in the neighboring country.

While there are still issues regarding green energy that need to be addressed, it is clear that several countries have a profound interest in increasing their dependence on renewable sources of energy. In such as scenario, the best way to move forward is to first make sure that generation from renweables is not itself affecting the environment, and then store the generated energy so that the need to back up green energy with fossil fuels is eliminated.

Salman H searches and shares information related to smart energy and renewable energy. For related news visit Smart Metering

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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Many Effects Of Global Warming

Mean surface temperature change for the period...Image via WikipediaBy George M Gibson

You may not recognize the effects of global warming, but you do not have to look far to discover the many consequences of ignoring this growing problem. Global warming is not something that is going away any time soon and it is up to each individual to begin thinking about how devastating this problem can be if nothing is done to combat it.

One of the effects that is very disturbing related to global warming is the freakish weather patterns that many places are beginning to experience. This can create conditions that can be unstable in places where the weather has not been an issue for many years. This can be a very disturbing effect but one that scientists are predicting will continue to be unstable.

The rising sea levels are something that you may have heard about, but you may not know how impactful this can be on our planet. If the sea levels rise by even a fraction, there are many consequences and this can create widespread flooding and land may be lost forever.

Desertification is something that you may not have heard much about, but it is a real and growing problem. In places where land was once viable, some areas are turning into a desert landscape and this is affecting the poorest populations in the world.

There are many other effects of global warming and it is something that each person should take very seriously. Global warming will not stop suddenly, and it is up to everyone to be more vigilant and recognize these growing problems in our world.

George Gibson asks the question Are you interested in Going Green and helping the environment? His goal is to save you months of research AND thousands of dollars. Visit his site and you will find lots of great information on going green and helping the planet.

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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Can The Earth Survive "Overshoot-And-Collapse"?

12 29 08_0015Image by bucklava via FlickrBy Wendy Moyer

Ecologists are saying that the Earth is in an "overshoot-and-collapse" mode. Our forests are shrinking, our soil is eroding, and our water tables are falling. In addition, throughout the world the number of heat waves that can decimate crops is increasing, fisheries are collapsing, deserts are expanding, rangelands are deteriorating, and coral reefs are dying.

Our glaciers are melting, which is causing our seas to rise. Consequently more powerful storms are arising and species are disappearing. And because we've been so dependent on oil for so long the supply of oil is shrinking.

Although many people have been aware of these destructive ecological trends and - some have even been reversed at local levels - none of them has been globally reversed.

In the past the demand for resources on local levels has exceeded the sustainable yields of natural systems. There's nothing new about that. However, what has been happening at an accelerated pace is that, for the first time, demand is exceeding supply on a global level.

Our forests are shrinking virtually everywhere around the world while on every continent our grasslands deteriorate. CO2 emissions are above CO2 fixation throughout the world and many countries are seeing their water tables fall.

According to a report by the Global Footprint Network, mankind's demands surpassed the Earth's regenerative capacity for the first time around 1980. And since then the demand has been accelerating the consumption of the world's natural assets. This has all set the stage for the decline and potentially for the ultimate collapse of our ecosystem,

What Is "Overshoot-And-Collapse"?

A well known example of "overshoot-and-collapse" began in 1944. At that time 29 reindeer were introduced to a remote island in the Bering Sea. Nineteen men were stationed on St. Matthew Island at that time.
When World War II ended the following year the base closed and the men were evacuated from the island. Then, in 1957, David Kline from the US Fish and Wildlife Service visited the island and found that the original population of 29 reindeer had grown to 1,350. And they all were thriving on the 4" thick mat of lichen covering the one hundred twenty eight square foot island.

Because there were no predators the reindeer population continued to explode. It continued to grow until 1963, when there were 6,000 reindeer on the island.

Kline returned to St. Matthew Island three years later. When he arrived he found that almost all of the reindeer had perished. There was very little lichen and reindeer skeletons covered the island. Now there were only 41 female reindeer and 1 male. There were no fawns. The reindeer population was dying.
By 1980 they were all gone.

Like those reindeer, the worldwide growth of population is over consuming the Earth's natural resources.

However, there still is hope. For example, since 1970 a small scale dairy producer relying almost exclusively on crop residue as a source of feed has multiplied its production more than four times. India has recently overtaken the US as the world's leading producer of milk.

And in China a sophisticated ecologically sound crop polyculture has made that country the first in the world whose fish farm output has exceeded its oceanic catch.

Next, to find out about various Environmental Services go to

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Monday, January 24, 2011

2 Ways You Can Help Urban and Rain Forest Conservation Efforts From Home

Deforastation in Rain Forest Rio de Janeiro - ...Image via WikipediaBy Charley Q Dapper

Advocates of rain forest conservation are working to preserve the plant and animal species living there, especially the ones the have yet to be discovered by scientists. For example, the Amazon Basin is home to 8,235,430 km2 of dense tropical forest covering parts of Brazil and Peru. Much of this area is unexplored and contains many living organisms that we haven't even discovered yet. Environmentalists fear that undiscovered species may be extinct long before we have a chance to study them due to an increasing problem called deforestation.

Illegal logging has greatly effected the natural climate of the Amazon. A rapid deforestation frenzy driven by greed for the production of soy beans, charcoal, and livestock is responsible for clearing as much as 17% of Amazon Forest cover. That's not the worst of it, studies report that land cover changes caused by deforestation have actually increased over the last decade. The more trees that are removed, the greater the change in world water circulation patterns, not to mention the negative impact on remaining wildlife and vegetation in the area.

"Brazil's environment minister, Marina Da Silva, said the drought was linked to record sea temperatures in the south-west Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico that had also contributed to last year's record Atlantic hurricane season. But the destruction of the rainforest by illegal loggers has also been named as a cause, as rivers become choked with silt swept from the denuded land. Ecologist Carlos Rittl said the continued removal of trees was a crucial factor in the drying of a region that has already lost 17% of its forest cover. 'The science shows that 50% of the rain comes from the trees recycling the water through evaporation, which creates more rain. If you lose the trees you lose the rainfall. It cannot continue like this,' he said." News source:

Because of the shear size of the Amazon rain forest, it literally drives weather systems around the world. as more and more trees are removed. Weather systems are sent off their regular paths resulting in either too much (storms) or not enough (drought) rain fall for other parts of the world.

Wide spread deforestation is a world issue and it's going to take all of us working together to stop it. There are two ways you can contribute to the cause. You can adopt a tree to ensure it's protection for the next 30 years, or advocate an increase in the tree and shrub population in your own community.

A non-profit organization called Treems is a web based organization that guarantees the protection of any rain forest tree that is adopted by one of their clients. You can help protect the rain forest from the comfort of your own home, simply go to their website (use link above) and pick the tree or trees from their maps that you would like to adopt. Your donation goes toward ensuring the protection of the trees you have chosen for the next 30 years. Your tree will be protected by three different lines of defence in addition to the Treems personal guarantee. The three lines of defence are:
  1. Land-lease contracts to ensure control of the property that your tree is located on.
  2. Active Rangers patrolling the area to report suspicious activity.
  3. A satellite monitoring system providing real time updates to track any major changes to your tree.
The Treems organization is so confident in their tree protection systems that they guarantee 100% the protection of your tree. If something should happen to your adopted tree, they will transfer your protection efforts to another tree at no extra cost to you. You can check out this service at

The other place you can contribute is in your own back yard. Research is showing that an increase in the tree population in urban areas over the last few years is contributing to massive energy savings and other benefits for urban communities. You can read more about the benefits of planting trees by following the "planting trees" link below. If we all do our part to care for a bit of nature weather it's located in the Amazon or right in your own back yard, eventually everyone will get the message that as our trees survive, so shall we.

Planting Trees: The many benefits we get from our trees.
Tree Pruning: Get information and tips on tree trimming to help you care for the vegetation in your landscape.

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Concentrated Solar Goes Commercial

Illustration: Different types of renewable energy.Image via WikipediaBy Mike Nemeth

Concentrated photovoltaic technology appears to be emerging as a serious contender in the solar energy field.

French semiconductor manufacturer Soitec reported today that the company's concentrated photovoltaic, or CPV, system in Jordan reached daily peaks of 25 percent efficiency, "two to three times higher than standard photovoltaic installations" over the summer and fall. Soitec acquired 80 percent of Concentrix Solar, a CPV supplier, about a year ago.

In October, Mountain View, Calif.-based SolFocus Inc. announced plans it was teaming with Vision Electro Mechanical Co. to build a 300-megawatt CPV installation in Saudi Arabia's Bahra region.

Concentrated solar squeezes more electricity out of the sun's rays than conventional panels, using advanced optics to concentrate the sun's rays onto solar cells. It's come a long way since I wrote about a San Jose start-up attempting the same thing on an Alaska project back in the late 1980s.

Conventional solar panels without optics come in three varieties: thin film, polycrystalline and monocrystalline, with the latter generally the most efficient and thin film on the tail end. However, the efficiency rating of the best doesn't quite reach 15 percent, according a comparison by

Efficiencies in the lab report big gains in various technologies but lag in commercial application. And that's what makes the implications of Soitec and SolFocus projects so interesting.

The big divide between renewable energy and that derived from fossil fuels is cost per kilowatt. Until recently, solar, wind and other renewable sources came with a premium that only government rebates, subsidies or feed-in tariffs made palatable to developers. However, efficiencies, technological changes and fossil fuel price increases are bringing parity within reach.

Should solar become competitive on a cost-per-kilowat basis, more people will be interested in adding the technology.

Hansjorg Lerchenmuller, a senior vice president at Soitec, said his company's CPV technology has proven itself with "very high performance even under very high temperatures.... We are ready for high-volume deployment."

SolFocus CEO Mark Crowley dubbed CPV "the world's most efficient and resource-friendly solar technology," while in the same statement Hassan Chahine, Vision Electro general manager, said he believes the Bahra plant "will serve as a model for the further research and study of clean water and power solutions that diversify the region's energy mix."

No dollar figures were disclosed, but investment will be substantial. Many others will be watching and evaluating, eager to learn if either gamble pays off.

Mike Nemeth, project manager of the San Joaquin Valley Clean Energy Organization, spent 24 years working as a newspaperman editing and reporting from Alaska to California. The SJVCEO is a nonprofit dedicated to improving quality of life through increased use of clean and alternative energy. The SJVCEO is based in Fresno, Calif. and works with cities and counties and public and private organizations to demonstrate the benefits of energy efficiency and renewable energy throughout the eight-county region of the San Joaquin Valley. For more information, go to

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Sunday, January 23, 2011

Green Energy and More: The Latest Tips for Cutting the Carbon Footprint

SANTA MONICA, CA - FEBRUARY 27:  Employees of ...Image by Getty Images via @daylifeBy Paula Webster

Whether or not it's part of a contemporary trend, there has been a move towards more conscientious consumption lately. Whether it's those small touches, like remembering to bring a reusable bag to the grocery store or fixing leaky faucets or something more substantial, the urge to go green has made major inroads into the culture. And that's great not just for the environment, but also for the average citizen's pocketbook.

Finding ways towards energy savings while also doing good deeds for the environment is a win-win situation, and the interest in cutting one's carbon footprint is a great way to get started today.

Whether it's a serious leap forward or simply making changes around the house, there are plenty of ways to find superior methods for powering a household and beyond. Anyone who is seriously committed to embracing alternatives to traditional ways of powering a living space should consider the possibility of solar power, which can make a serious impact on one's bills after the installation period is complete. Depending on location, investing in solar cells (also known as photovoltaics) for stored energy can be a great idea or something that might not be that feasible.

It's also possible to invest in passive solar power, another green energy that makes a difference for less capital. Whether installing a solarium on the house, maximizing window placement and wall materials to store thermal energy, or changing the way that landscaping is done, it makes lots of sense to think of solar power as a way to heat a home or power certain aspects. This can even be applied to heating water, particularly for those who aren't living in climates where freezing temperatures are common.

With circulation systems that run water through a solar heater, it's possible to get on board with green energy and enjoy a hot shower without feeling bad about what it might mean for the planet. It's also possible to just make simple changes and still be green, like taking shorter showers, only washing clothes in chilly water, and not leaving the sink running while doing the dishes.

Not everyone has the cash to invest in major changes, so it's also helpful to think about the small steps that can really make a difference over time. Something as simple as switching to rechargeable batteries means spending less money over time and also helping out the environment, since those used batteries won't be cluttering up a landfill.

It's also worthwhile to consider products that have a better track record with the planet, like soaps and detergents that steer clear of unfriendly chemicals and stick to natural ingredients. And when it's time for a new dishwasher or washing machine, looking for something with the EnergyStar logo is a great way to ensure that there is proper energy savings going on, rather than excessive amounts of electricity being used.

So whether it's a move towards the newest technology designed to help out the environment and the consumer or simply taking those first baby steps to reduce the carbon footprint, there are plenty of different ways to save money around the house while also doing one's part for the planet. After all, conscientious consumption is one of those very rare things that is actually good for all involved, which makes it worth embracing today.

Energysavings is an important concern for today's consumers. Those who are considering a switch to more green energy or simply want to learn more should visit inc and get better educated today.

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Saturday, January 22, 2011

Italy Outlaws Plastic Bags: Impact on Packaging and Plastics Industries

MILAN, ITALY - JANUARY 20: Shoppers carry plas...Image by Getty Images via @daylifeBy Len Ostroff

Italy has historically been among Europe's top consumers of plastic bags, but not anymore. As of January 1, 2011, the Italian government has banned non-biodegradable plastics bags from shops and grocery stores.

Enter the controversy: this ban stands to have a positive environmental effect, but what does it mean for the plastics and packaging industries? There has been a backlash in Italy for fear that the ban will hurt the plastic film industry.

Yet the controversy is not just centered around Italy. Italy may be the most recent political body to ban plastic bags, but it's not the only one. In the U.S., cities such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Baltimore have banned or are considering banning plastic bags. It's only a matter of time before the idea catches on globally.

The first factor to consider is the impact on viewing the environment as important in business and industry ethics. Companies, especially industrial companies, now have to reckon with the ethical implications of having products that are not environmentally friendly. Companies that do not jump on the environmentally friendly bandwagon will be left behind, and find their reputations sullied.

The second factor is realizing that environmentally friendly products will play a crucial role in business survival. Companies that provide environmentally friendly solutions will have a significant advantage in the future.

"Environmentally friendly" has already entered the marketing lexicon, but it's much more than just a slogan. For many, it's a rallying cry for changes to the law to support their beliefs. Today, it's legislation on plastic bags. Next year, perhaps it's other packaging materials. And in the future, entire industrial markets will be forced to adapt. How is your company responding?

Third, industry must realize that before too long, sweeping solutions will emerge to environmental problems. Currently, environmentally friendly efforts focus on incremental improvements. Bit by bit, improvements and industry changes are being made. Soon, however, people will be ready to re-think their style of living and doing business in radical ways. Companies who follow their customers' new requirements and take advantage of these changes will have a head start.

Businesses who listen to these three key trends, indicated by the spread of plastic bag bans, will survive, whereas businesses whose models involve waste and pollution will face great challenges moving forwards. How is your business changing to become more environmentally friendly? Or is it not changing at all? Do you agree or disagree with our predictions?

Len Ostroff is the President and CEO of Informous. Check out Informous' blog for more like this. Find information on packaging and plastics on Informous.

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Friday, January 21, 2011

Eating Organics Is Good for You and the Planet!

Organic cultivation of mixed vegetables on an ...Image via WikipediaBy Deborah Brightstar

What does "organic" actually mean? Why isn't everyone demanding that all our produce be grown using organic farming methods? It is healthier for us and our environment. Once you find out you will never go back to commercially grown produce again, unless of course, you are complacent and just don't care about filling your body full of toxic chemicals while polluting our water, air and land. Why would anyone choose that when they have a healthier alternative? Organics are even convenient now. And, the more we demand them the more available and affordable they will become until there isn't any other kind of food available. Wouldn't that be nice? It is possible in our lifetime!

Organically grown produce is healthy for us and for our planet! When something has been grown organically, it simply means it was grown in a way that honors the earth-without artificial chemicals, in its natural state. Organically grown crops are healthier because they don't have any toxic chemicals on or in them. Organic produce is also more nutrient rich than commercially grown produce. That's because organic farmers respect the land and let it rest periodically so the minerals in the earth have a chance to be replenished for the next crop. When something is grown organically it is grown in its natural state and without harmful toxic chemicals that are killing us and our planet. Now why would you eat anything else? Something to think about.

Besides the fact that eating organic produce is healthier for us there are other reasons it is a good idea. Organic farming doesn't hurt the land and deplete the earth of its minerals like commercial farming does with all its chemicals and trying to get as much out of the land as possible to earn a buck. Commercial farming does not honor the land. Spraying our air and crops with toxic chemicals poisons us and pollutes our water, air and land. Why on earth would anyone choose that? Well, because America has become a country of "sheeple" who ignorantly, complacently, lazily buy what we are sold by big business. We as a nation have sold out our health, integrity and the health of our planet to capitalism. We have believed the lies big business has sold us and gone naively into the gas chambers of toxic foods that are causing all sorts of diseases such as cancer, heart disease, obesity and diabetes.

We have grown accustomed to hearing the phrase, "It's nothing personal. It's just business." Since when did we become so desensitized that we have been willing to sell out our humanity and compassion for the all mighty dollar?

Be alarmed and angry! Be very alarmed and angry and then do something about it. Take action with your choices, wallets and votes or else nothing will change and we will continue to become an obese, sick, bankrupt nation that is enslaved to other countries because we were too busy and lazy to care. Our choices of what e buy, what we say, who and what we vote for and the behaviors and actions we live our life by determine not only the quality of our lives but those of our neighbors and future generations. When we choose to buy and eat locally grown organic produce we are taking a huge step towards healing ourselves, our nation and our planet. So simple isn't it? Save the planet, eat organics!

Deborah Brightstar is a business owner and concerned health conscious citizen who volunteers, writes, teaches and educates anyone who cares and will listen about issues of heath, the environment and animal wellfare. She is passionate about making a positive difference in the world.

She owns and operates Doggie Diva Pet Care, LLC, a licensed, bonded and insured, pet sitting business in Tucson, AZ. She customizes her service with a, "We take care of your pets and home as if they were our own!" approach, providing the highest quality of care and service to all of her clients. Deborah's intention is to exceed her clients' expectations by tending to thoughful extra details to show she cares.

She shares her active, creative and fun-filled life and heart full of love with her two rescued greyhounds Kali and Dora and the love-of-her-life, Pepper, her English Springer Spaniel and Pet Therapy partner. In her spare time, she enjoys, yoga, meditating, reading, writing, hiking, wine tasting and traveling. For more information, visit her website at or follow her at

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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Answers to Critics of the Solar Power Industry

Solar Array récupéré de http://en.wikipedia.or...Image via WikipediaBy Ray Boreham

Dear Critics Of the Solar Power Industry,

While nobody could ever claim there's nothing wrong with the solar power industry, it, like every other fledgling industry, is doing its best to learn from its mistakes and rectifying as many of the facets of the industry that are problematic as possible.

But, let's look at the reasons you have for criticizing the industry in the first place and see if we can't respond to those criticisms and present the industry in a more favorable light.

Pollution Resulting From The Manufacturing Process

One of the major criticisms leveled at the solar industry is the amount of pollution created during the process of manufacturing photovoltaic panels. However, it should be noted that the solar industry is one of the most highly self-regulated industries there is. After all, it's somewhat counter-intuitive for an industry whose main goal is to reduce pollution from fossil fuels by generating clean renewable energy to then turn around and produce the type of pollution it aims to eradicate!

The fact is that the pollution levels produced by the solar manufacturing industry have been found to be acceptable by such U.S. funded agencies as the NREL (National Renewable Energy Laboratory). Not only that, but the solar manufacturing industry is one of the best at recycling and re-using materials among major manufacturing industries, further reducing the effects of pollution.

Manufacturing PV Panels Takes More Energy Than They Produce

Another criticism you critics raise is that more energy is used in the manufacture of PV panels than the panels actually produce.

Well, not so, and here's why. The energy used to produce PV panels is recovered within 2 to 4 years, but the really great news (and this is something you critics won't enjoy hearing) is that PV panels produce energy for 25-30 years, which means they continue to produce energy for another 20-25 years beyond the amount of time it takes to cover the amount of energy used in production. In other words, PV panels produce from 5 to 10 times more energy than the amount needed to manufacture them, which would appear to render that particular piece of criticism null and void, in a big way.

While we're sure you critics will continue to find arguments against solar power and the solar power industry in general, for now we believe the benefits of solar power discussed here answer the major criticisms you currently bring against solar power.

The amount of pollution being created by traditional forms of energy is at a level that is unsustainable, and solar power and other renewable energies are the only way we can hope to ensure there'll be a planet left for future generations to enjoy, so please consider that as you criticize an industry that has the potential to help us avoid a total catastrophe.

Grab your FREE report, and learn more about the facts as they relate to the solar power industry by clicking on the only solar power resource you'll need. Ray Boreham suggests you'll find a wealth of information and tips on solar and renewable energy at

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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Reclaimed Wood? What on Earth Is That?

How to build a loft : acquire lumber and recla...Image by proforged via FlickrBy Patrick Preston

What on Earth is Reclaimed Wood?

7:30pm. On time. You've entered into the eating house Wayne and Nara have been bragging about. The entire ambiance buzzes from discussion and laughter. All of the bartenders politely assist men and women waiting right behind the grey and green marble bar. Wax lights improve a dim yet tension free ambience. After which you detect it.

The walls seem to be adorned in some of the most amazing wood you've really noticed. Ripples of golden darkish brown and even dark chocolate unite within each plank of wood, effortlessly fastened plank by plank. The totally exposed wood beams beautifully stay overhead, aged and solid in their position. And hence your current mission for Reclaimed Wood began when you least envisioned it.

Precisely what is it?

Reclaimed wood is re-collected wood that has been historically utilized within a different building or structure. If this particular building or structure is ripped down, all of the wood that is accumulated and re-used in a different establishment or project is in fact known as Reclaimed Wood.

Hefty wooden supports out of worn out barns, industrial facilities or warehouses are usually some of the widely picked up Reclaimed Wood pieces. Ordinarily these enormous pieces are then simply machined down directly into manageable, lumber pieces - planks - sizes of which are normally noticed at your city wood distributor. Although with this being mentioned, virtually any wood which can potentially be re-used - envision wood flooring, walls, barn siding and far more - should be able to be picked up, re-used and known to be Reclaimed Wood.

Precisely what is the draw of Reclaimed Wood?

Like a high-quality Scotch truly does, as wood becomes older it can also fully develop undoubtedly well. Rather than flavor, you'll discover that this wood can develop completely brilliant colors, impressive patterns, and extraordinary appearances.

The tones grow after some time. A variety of factors come into play. The trees conditions - the actual time-span of winter months and summer months, the variety of nutrients the tree may have access too - and the actual kind of tree are generally some of the most notable components. Nevertheless as soon as a tree is chopped down and machined into wood, there seem to be various other factors which help determine the woods tone.

Imagine, throughout the course of 190 years, a one piece of wood from a vintage manufacturing plant or development could possibly have experienced countless distinct finishing treatment methods, layers of painting and all sorts of oils. Every different treatment method might have seeped in to the wood, and accordingly helped to cultivate its outstanding shade. Blended together with the large selection of grain patterns - colour/design versions actually are limitless.

What does Reclaimed feel like?

The feel of the wood will certainly change depending on the piece itself. As an example, reclaimed wood that has been through the snow and rain of 150 years feels completely un-like almost any piece of lumber you've chosen at your community wood retailer. Provided that you've held a 150yr old Barn Board Siding you'll understand precisely what I'm talking about. The humps, grooves, and swirls are undoubtedly not like all others.

You truly can't "make" this particular kind of wood. It simply ages in to being.

Pitch a little bit of historical background in the mix, and you've got an exceptionally special product. The old Barn Board mentioned above. Just why not re-use it for a bookcase? 1805 Chapel Oak - buried beneath tones of dirt for years? Let's re-use the very beams on your lounge room ceiling, or make an elegant dining room table.

Yet, there's more charisma to this wood. The geographical impact is extremely positive. As an example, as Designers and Architects know, gathering up LEED credits for wood is remarkably difficult. Yet Reclaimed Wood quickly qualifies for LEED credits resulting from its praiseworthy ecological impact.

What does this mean for your Reclaimed Hardwood Floor or Kitchen Table? It means you'll benefit from an exceptional, historical and eco friendly piece that your family and friends will treasure for many years to come. Reclaimed Wood is an alternative you should probably think about on your next wood related investment or venture.

Serious in finding out even more about Reclaimed Wood, Salvaged Wood, What to Consider Before Buying, How to Treat Reclaimed Wood and other questions? Join the discussion with Reclaimed Wood Canada dot com. It's free, and is jam packed with content and resources.

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Monday, January 17, 2011

America's Seafood, Is It Safe? Does Anyone Really Know? What Can We Do?

Anchor-handling tugboats battle the blazing re...Image via WikipediaBy Stephen Harkeli

As Americans, we take a lot of things for granted, our freedom, our way of life and the quality of the food we eat, particularly our seafood. Just about every nutritionist out there will tell you that we should eat seafood regularly as part of a healthy diet right? But what if the seafood that we are buying and consuming is not safe at all? What if we are causing long term damage that is being passed on to our children?

Prior to the BP Oil Spill, our seafood had issues but nothing was done, why, because most of us only listen to what we hear on mainstream media. As 2010 fades away, the devastation that occurred because of the BP Oil Spill remain.

Although we can no longer see the oil, experts agree that 75% of the oil remains below the surface, slowly killing everything in its path. While BP continues to run its calculated commercials trying to show how much they care, our government assures us that all is well when it comes to the safety of the seafood coming out of the gulf waters. If this is true then why are people who live near these places refusing to eat the seafood they are catching?

Well Mr. President, I hope for the sake of your children's health, you open your eyes soon. The tests that are being paid for by the American people do not come close to providing accurate information about the safety of our seafood.

The NRDC has long been an advocate for the American public and its safety. According to Dr. Gina Solomon, the Senior Scientist at the NRDC, the tests that are being performed are too few and are non- scientific in nature. Dr. Solomon states her grave concern for the invertebrates like shrimp, oysters and crabs that cannot flush toxins out of their bodies. She also has great concern as to the dangers that these toxins can cause to pregnant women and children.

Someone needs to step up and bring this problem into the light. We as Americans are getting too dependent on what the media tells us is right or wrong, safe or not safe and even what is good or bad. There are those Americans who are reaching a point were we will bi-pass government regulations when it comes to insuring the safety of our children.

With the image damage that has been done to the seafood industry, the logical solution would be for BP to offer a fully funded 10 year independent testing program to ensure that this problem does not carry the "long term" damage that would harm our future generations to come especially if they are to continue to drill for oil in US waters.

Stephen Harkeli/ Founder
National Safe Seafood Council
Contact info:

Stephen Harkeli is the Founder of the National Safe Seafood Council and has over 30 years of experience in the Business Marketplace. As a lifelong seafood consumer he is extremely concerned with the safety of our Nation's Seafood. The NSSC was formed to provide Americans a central source of non-bias information.

Please visit and sign his Global Petition for the testing of our seafood.

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Sunday, January 16, 2011

Tips On Growing A Healthier Lifestyle! Join The Local Food Movement

SAN FRANCISCO - AUGUST 11:  San Francisco City...Image by Getty Images via @daylifeBy Douglas Michaels Jr.

For anyone growing bamboo and using it to cook some delicious bamboo recipes, welcome to a small niche of the increasingly popular local food movement. The local food movement is a "collaborative effort to build more locally-based, self-reliant economies - one in which sustainable food production, processing, distribution, and consumption is integrated to enhance the economic, environmental and social health of a particular place."

Many farms involved in the local food movement embrace sustainable agriculture techniques so they not only raise healthier food for the consumer (as opposed to many of the corporate food farms for large groceries) but they lessen their impact on the environment by opting for eco-friendly farming practices.

If nothing else, think about this - the food on your plate from large grocery stores has traveled an average of 1500 miles to get there!

Here are some ways to become involved with the local food movement:

1 - Grow your own garden! From lawn to lunch (as they say), starting a garden will add one more local grower and can provide a green thumb with plenty of fresh veggies for the year. If the First Lady can get her hands dirty on the White House lawn, surely we can all follow her lead.

2 - Eat more veggies! If gardening is not your thing, you still have to eat. 18% of all greenhouse gas emissions are created by meat production so whenever possible, fill your plate with vegetables and keep meat to a minimum. Not only will this help the environment but it could benefit your health as well.

3 - Host a preserve party! If you got a little overzealous with your canning and have too much tomato sauce or pickled bamboo but no apple butter left, invite some other local foodies over and swap goods. Expand the selection to include baked goods as well!

4 - Shop local! This is the most obvious way to get involved but sometimes not the easiest. If you're lucky enough to live near local farmers markets and food stands, take advantage of that. If you're not sure where they might be in your area, visit Local Harvest to find locally-grown food sold nearby. Other resources to find affordable and environmentally-grown food include Sustainable Table or the Eat Well Guide.

5 - Start a community garden! Urban dwellers often lack the land to grow their own garden but all over the country, neighbors are finding available land and growing food together. People can be in charge of individual plots or the garden as a whole can be a shared responsibility. Make sure to meet regularly to swap seedlings, share advice and celebrate your harvest with a potluck! For more information on starting your own community garden, visit

6 - Consider the Hungry in your area! Many local homeless centers and food pantries are taking matters into their own hands and starting gardens to help their communities. Consider donating some of your bounty or contact local non-profits to see if they have a garden that needs volunteer help. (If they don't, suggest starting one!)

7 - Host a locally-produced dinner! Want to pique your friend's interest? Host a dinner party made with as much local food as possible and let your friends know why this is a movement they should get on board with!

Douglas Michaels Jr. writes educational articles for Green Earth News, the authority on everything Bamboo. For more information on Sustainable Bamboo. Check out Green Earth Bamboo for bamboo sheets, bath towels, duvet covers, clothing and baby products, all made from the world's most sustainable and renewable resource on the planet.

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Saturday, January 15, 2011

Peak Water and Arizona Landscaping Practices

Map of Phoenix Metropolitan Area Valley of the SunImage via WikipediaBy James Eberly

The Phoenix metropolitan area, with an annual precipitation of approximately 7.7 inches per year, is designated as a desert region. Nonetheless, grass lawns are a surprisingly common occurrence in the Valley of the Sun, and in those lawns, sprinkler systems are nearly omnipresent.

At the same time that Phoenicians are watering their lush, green lawns and gardens, the Southwest is progressing ever closer to what is known as Peak Water, or the point at which the demand for water extends beyond physical, economic, and environmental limits on meeting that demand.

Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California in San Diego has assessed the Peak Water situation and predicts that Lake Mead, which is the primary reservoir in the Colorado River system, the major source of water for most of the Southwest, and the largest reservoir in the United States, may run dry by 2021. Already, the water levels in the Colorado River are so low that the river no longer reaches its natural delta.

With major supplies of water reaching these dire conditions, the Southwest can no longer sustain its current water consumption.

Large industries and utilities like Intel's manufacturing plants in Chandler, the Palo Verde Nuclear Plant outside of Phoenix, and agricultural projects on the outskirts of the metropolitan area share a large portion of the total water usage, but average citizens, particularly homeowners, also consume considerable amounts of water per year. With the Phoenix metropolitan area's rapid population growth, homeowners increasingly share a role in the Peak Water situation. According to an article on Peak Water in Wired magazine, the population of the greater valley "is expected to nearly [sic] double in the next 20 years."

With the understanding that water is reaching such a startling scarcity and the demand is consistently rising, time has come to rethink the ways in which water is used in the Arizona. Arizona is simply not equipped with the resources to sustain any frivolous applications of its water supply, and maintaining a lawn is, unfortunately, one of the many water allocations with which Arizonians could do without.

Although Arizona's climate and its water resources cannot sustain most landscaping practices indefinitely, some possibilities for creative, sustainable landscaping projects still do exist. The natural biodiversity of a desert region is surprisingly high. Xerophytes (literally "dry-plants") have the water conservation mechanisms and heat tolerance necessary to survive in a desert climate, and Arizona has a plethora of indigenous xerophytes. Brittlebush, mesquite, desert hollies, hackberries, poppies, sotols, ephedras, ocotillos, cacti, prickly pears, paloverdes, junipers, yuccas, Joshua trees, and desert pines are all xerophytes indigenous to Arizona.

The best way to limit water usage when landscaping is to conform to the limitations and demands created by the local ecosystem and climate, and try to cultivate as many indigenous species as possible. In addition to the ecological sustainability of indigenous-only planting, there are also a manifold of other benefits behind indigenous-only planting. Indigenous plants are cheaper and easier to obtain, transport, and transplant. Indigenous plants require drastically less maintenance than non-indigenous plants.

Aesthetically, non-indigenous plants, such as palms, may appear exotic or paradisiacal, but indigenous plants create a more unique and authentic appearance of natural beauty and continuity with the surrounding landscape. Many Arizonian species, such as saguaros, have distinctive, sometimes bizarre colors and shapes, which, through Western films, National Geographic spreads, and postcards, have become icons and symbols of Arizona and are embedded in the popular conception of the Southwest. Perhaps the greatest reward for focusing on indigenous planting is the profound connection with the land that is engendered by studying the climate, soil, flora, and fauna of Arizona and learning how to cultivate plants under the challenging conditions Arizona presents.

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