Category Archives: Blog

Solar Air Heater

Solar Air Heater:

Did you know you can heat your home using the sun’s energy? There are many designs and systems available that heat the air using solar energy.

Heating your home generally involves using fossil fuels which in turn generate pollution, smog and greenhouse gases. Here we’ll show you some simple ideas for heating your home, or at least partially heating your home using solar panels.

solar air heater

Benefits of solar air heating

No repair bills – One of the great things about these heaters are that they last a long time with no moving parts to service except maybe a simple fan to draw the hot air into your home. So unlike gas heaters that require servicing every few years, you won’t need to do anything much once installed.Reduce your heating bills – Once installed you basically set and forget and watch your heating bills reduce, while your neighbours are complaining about their utility bills constantly going up you can breathe easy and know you are helping the environment.

Basically you have two options:
1. Buy an already manufactured solar air heater. If you are time poor and have the cash then choose one of these solar home heaters that are readily available.

2. DIY – if you have the time, are reasonably handy and want a cheaper option then building a home solar air heater is not difficult.

Ready Made Solar Air Heating

Here are some of the products we have found that are available straight off the shelf which you can either install yourself or have installed for you. Installation can be relatively easy depending on factors such as: do you have a double storey home, how far does the ducting have to be run.

SolarSheat The SolarSheat 1000G is a modular solar air heater designed for supplemental room heating. The SolarSheat 1000G can heat a room from 71 to 300 ft2 (or 7 to 28 m2) when the sun is shining. Air is drawn through the SolarSheat, heated up, and pushed back into the room.

SunMate™ Solar Panel The SunMate™ Solar Panel from Environmental Solar Systems is the ideal choice for homeowners that want environmentally friendly and low-cost alternative heat. EASY INSTALLATION! Our solar panels allow you to enjoy FREE HEAT from the sun without any adverse effects on the natural world!

Cansolair Cansolair Inc. has developed a forced convection solar heating unit called the Model RA 240 SOLAR MAX. A dwelling of 1000 square feet can have a complete air change in 1.5 hours. Working experience indicates that comfortable room temperature can be maintained in a 1000 square foot dwelling with 15 minutes of sunlight per hour.

U.S. Solar Heating U.S. Solar Heating is a manufacturer of Solar Air Heat Systems for residential and commercial customers. Our solar air heating system creates a warm, soothing feeling by using air as the working fluid for absorbing and transferring solar energy. Solar Air Heat is designed for installation in new construction and existing houses.

DIY Solar Air Heaters

Do it yourself solar home heating comes in two forms, either using pop cans or just a glass or Perspex solar box as shown in the video below. I’m really not sure which is more efficient but either will give you free heat from the sun and if you take your time and use good materials will last a long time and cost almost nothing to run. Below are two video’s one using a straight glass box and the other using pop cans, the pop can method takes more time because you need to collect the cans and spend time cutting the cans to suit their use to heat air. My only concern with using glass as the panel is that with the increase in storm intensity, hail could smash the glass but if you’re getting it for free as in the video that may not be a concern.

Great video showing how to build your own solar air heater.

Video showing how to build your own Solar Pop Can heater

If you have any great tips about solar air heaters, please Contact Us by just clicking the link.

You might also like these……

How to Build Your Own Solar Panels
All About Solar Pool Covers

Pros & Cons of Solar Energy
Return from Solar Air Heater to Solar Energy

Return Solar Heater to Easy Green Living – Homepage

Led Christmas Tree Lights

Led Christmas Tree Lights – Why buy led holiday lights? Well for starters they’ll last upto 100,000 hours, if you run them for all of December, 24 hours per day they will last 134 years!! That is what I call long life!

This beautiful Time Square New Year’s Eve Ball was produced entirely using LED lighting, it uses the equivalent to just 10 toasters, while also delivering twice the brightness of previous years’ balls.

led christmas tree lights

As you can see from the image above, LED’s can operate in almost any color, creating beautiful lighting effects. There are even solar led christmas lights for outdoor use, just place the solar panel facing the sun and away you go.

LED’s also use 95% less power than old fashion Christmas lights, reducing your power bill and of course creating less pollution at the same time. A string of Xmas lights using LED’s will use around 5 watts per hour.

LED’s generate almost no heat and therefore reduce the risk of fire.

LED’s are also non-toxic, so if you do ever have to dispose of them, won’t give off harmful toxins in landfill.

Lastly LED’s are becoming very common so are very reasonably priced and are available in many stores both online and in your neighbourhood.
Read more about LED lightbulbs and how they can lower your energy usage.

If you have any questions regarding led christmas lights please Contact Us

OR

would you like to add a green living article about some aspect of green living you are passionate about.

You might also like these……

Facts About Solar Energy
Solar Energy Advantages / Disadvantages
Solar Energy

Greener Homes are the Future

by Sachi Jayatilleke (London)

Spring is calling already and it is finally time for the good old spring cleaning of your whole house. It is also time for some clingy home improvement steps to get your property back to the usual prosperous beauty once known. However, why don’t you set your aims a bit lower and start taking a greener step towards home improvement? There is always the risk and issue of how much money will be involved in this total makeover. Is the actual outcome going to be worth the investment?There are many governmental schemes, such as the Green Deal Initiative in the UK, which helps to overcome the financial hurdle with loans and bursaries. Don’t worry if you aren’t able to find the extra cash right now! Here are five simple tips, which will have a positive impact on the environment without spending ridiculous amounts of money:• LightsDon’t leave unnecessary lights on during the day or keep computers on overnight – we all know these little tips and tricks mummy and daddy told us back in the days. Fact is that about every four homes in the US have electronic products running on standby. However, people need to change habits, like leaving the heating on while the windows are open, as many homeowners still believe that they themselves as an individual won’t make a difference. That is completely WRONG, because saving energy on something as easy as flicking a little switch is better for the environment.• InsulationHome Insulation is quite underestimated by homeowners, as its results can help you greatly with your savings. Recent studies have shown that at least one fourth of your heat is lost through the roof. Hence, insulating your big roof can help you keep the heat in the rooms and reduce you energy bills – it’s a WIN-WIN situation! 😉

• CurtainsAnother way of keeping the heat in your room is to install curtains instead of blinds. Before turning on the heating system, high quality curtains can trap the heat in your room easily and avoid it from escaping through your windows. If you are working on a low budget currently, this minor change can make you save a lot of money in the long term, when the nasty winter hits again.• DoorsAn interesting fact is that over 10% of your heat at home is lost through the windows and doors. This will slowly add up on top of your energy bills. One possibility to avoid those immense heat losses is to purchase a composite door, which will keep your home sufficiently heated. Most of these doors have a so-called U-Value of 1.8, which is a legal requirement. U-value is a simple measure of heat loss through your door.• Greener ElectricityIt is widely known that there is a significant connection between the on-going global warming and the output of carbon dioxide (CO2). It is very worrying that half of our electricity output is supplied through the burning of coal, which produces amounts of CO2 as a waste product. But don’t worry, as there are several ‘green’ electricity suppliers out there, who use only electricity sources that do not affect the environment negatively. So make your move NOW and register to one of the many green electricity suppliers!

Green Travel

Green Travel – Planning your next holiday break and wanted to lower your carbon footprint, well here are some handy hints to help you. You can still have a great time, it’s just a matter of thinking of your impact on the planet when you travel and getting into the habit of thinking of ways to be greener when you travel and in your everyday life.

Of the various forms of transport air travel is the worst for polluting the earth and train travel is probably the best, consider where you are going and can you choose a green travel option. Road trips using a car or RV can be a reasonably green travel option depending on the vehicle you use. Bike travel holidays are also a great way to see the country but usually you have to first get to where you want to start your bike journey from and that is normally by air!! Green travel

There are many reputable companies offering carbon offset schemes, work out your milage you’ll be travelling and then logon to one of these companies online. Basically they work by either planting trees to offset the carbon you are putting into the atmosphere or by investing in renewable energy schemes in your country. It’s worth checking which companies offer the most efficient schemes, here are some links to the best carbon offset companies we have found.LINK by US, Europe, Australia, Asia.

Lastly remember the little things also count, recycle your waste as you go, if there is recycle bins where you are staying take the waste with you and drop off at the next recycle point. Most towns will have recycle facilities. Try to use less water, don’t put your towels out for washing unless they need it, turn lights off and air-conditioning when leaving your room for the day.

Have a great green travel trip and have fun!!

Road Trip

If you’re planning on hiring a rental car, search for some green travel options, many of the larger rental car companies offer hybrid car rental and now with the release of the Nissan LEAF and GM Volt, some may even offer electric car rental.

If it’s your own car you can do some basic checks:

-Get your car serviced so it is running more efficiently

-check your tire pressure, tires that are properly inflated have less road resistance therefore improving your fuel economy

-if possible try not to use roof racks, these lower the efficiency of your vehicle by creating drag, we drive a Prius and manage to fit 4 people and two surfboards inside the car!

If buying an RV to travel in make sure it’s the most efficient available and offers solar power, do you really need to the biggest available, the less your RV weighs the less fuel it will use and therefore save you money on your travels. You’ll also get better resale if it’s more efficient, especially as the price of gasoline rises due to Peak Oil. Currently in 2011 the most fuel efficient RV is the ……., which emits 999gms of CO2 per mile, compare this to a Toyota Prius which emils around 89grams per km.

Accommodation

Check the place you are planning on staying, do they offer any green features, such as solar hot water, solar power and water recycling? What sort of building materials have they used, does the accommodation have a energy rating? These are some of things to consider when booking. Are recycling facilities available?

Air Travel

Currently this is the worst form of carbon intensive travel, so think twice before getting on a plane. Maybe get back to basics and enjoy a road trip and holiday in your own country rather than jet-setting around the world. If you must travel then most airlines offers carbon offset when booking your flight, once again it’s probably best to check first to make sure they offer the best carbon offset scheme, check here. Richard Bransons airline Virgin Atlantic is currently testing biofuels and hopefully should offer this as a fuel option in the not too distant future. Of course biofuels are only good if they are using non-food based crops, otherwise they are just pushing up the price of food and taking food off the table.Some other things to consider when flying:-reduce your baggage weight, do you really need to carry so much, can you do without that extra set of clothes? Basically the less weigh on your flight improves the efficiency of the aircraft and therefore less carbon output.

As the price of oil rises with peak oil, this should encourage more efficient flying and air craft manufacturers will invest heavily in efficient aircraft design.

Sea Travel / Crusing

Travelling on a cruiseliner can be an efficient way to holiday, but do your homework, check with your cruise company to see what environmental features they offer. Do they dump waste water straight into the ocean rather than using special dump stations? Are the cruise company including solar panels in their new ships? There are some cruise companies that use huge sails to propel their ships, here is an example of greener cruising.

Train Travel

Travelling by train is ‘the’ best green way to get around, trains can run on renewable power and offer a very efficient form of transport. Also the more people travel by train the better the service will be, for example in Europe train networks are extensive because they are so heavily used. Train travel will become much more important as we start to feel the effects of peak oil, many airlines have starting imposing fuel surcharges to their flights to cover the rising cost of oil.

Coach travel

Another more efficient method of travel, but maybe not so comfortable as train travel. Good for shorter journeys upto a few hours.

If you have any green travel tips of your own, or any questions regarding travelling green please Contact Usorwould you like to add a green living article about some aspect of green living you are passionate about.

Green Natural Parenting

Green Natural ParentingGreen Natural ParentingGreen Natural ParentingGreen Natural Parenting

Green Natural Parenting: – “is a sign of greater awareness for our earth, our health, and the responsibility we ALL share!”.

Parents are choosing to give their children a head start with all natural products and concepts. They have fully adopted the phrase “reduce, re-use, & recycle” and taken it completely to heart.

This is a great move, not just for the world today, but also exciting for all our children’s future’s.

How To Reduce Your Carbon Footprint on HowcastThis is although a well informed route, not completely without it’s pitfalls, as we navigate ourselves around this not so natural world as we endeavour to heal our ill’s WITHOUT the use of the very latest pharma drugs!.

As our society develops at an ever increasing speed we get further & further away from the natural world and I believe this is not only to our own detriment & that of our children, but also to the detriment of our beloved planet.

Cloth Diapers v’s Disposable Nappies

The Facts:

* A baby /infant goes through between 7,000 and 8,000 diaper changes before entering potty training.

* Estimates are that 450 billion disposable diapers are used each year.

* They contribute nearly 77 million tons of waste to landfills.

* Nearly 3% of ALL global landfills are made up of disposable nappies.

* Every single disposable nappy uses one cup of crude oil in it’s construction.

* A disposable nappy takes approximately 500 years to fully degrade.

Despite all the facts that disposable nappies are so bad for the environment, there are two MAJOR contributing factors:

1/ in areas of low water availability/drought, choosing disposable nappies would make more sense!.

2/ in areas where landfills are busting at the seams, choosing the green Cloth Diaper option would make more sense.”

Therefore the overall “total environmental impact” of choosing between green cloth diapers or disposable nappies is a tie, don’t sweat over this one, just enjoy your babies growing up, whichever route you follow.

The other thing that could bring about instant improvements to the current situation is by the use of “Elimination Communication” which is just another term for the early potty training of babies, which if adopted successfully is of considerable benefit to both the local availability of both water & landfill!!.

If you have got tips of your own about green natural parenting, or questions about any aspect of green natural parenting Contact Usorwould you like to add a green living article about some aspect of green living you are passionate about.

 

Green Living

Green Living; Reuse Reduce RecycleGreen Living; Reuse Reduce RecycleGreen Living; Reuse Reduce RecycleGreen Living; Reuse Reduce Recycle

Green living and frugal living actually have a lot in common. In fact, frugal living is based on the re-use, recycle and reduce principals. Frugality for Today delves deeper into those principles to help you look after what you have, make what you have, last as long as possible and help you reduce costs.

Green Living is all about being a responsible member of society & acting intelligently towards the planet we all share!, it’s no longer socially acceptable to merely state “it’s not my problem!”.

There are no excuses as to why every single person in every country cannot make their own contribution towards green living, and the best thing of all is that it does not cost you a single cent to enjoy green living, but the benefits it brings will be hugely appreciated by all future generations! Find out the quickest and easiest way to reduce your carbon footprint.

When we used to go to school, we were always told that to make the very best of our lives we had to follow & adopt the three R’s which were Reading, Riting & Rithmetic. The modern day “green living” version of this acronym is still the same three R’s, but the definition now is “Reuse, Reduce & Recycle”.

“What does this mean & what is involved” I hear you say!

Green Living; Reuse Reduce Recycle

Green Living is……“showing that you care for future generations!”

Green Living; Reuse Reduce Recycle

Go Green & Save Green!

Discover “125 Ways To Go Green … Save Green at the Same Time!” & make a BIG difference to the environment!, check it out here .Download now for only $4.99(download URL supplied upon Paypal payment)Buy Now

Reuse:

* Plastic Carrier / Shopping Bags – can be reused next time you shop or as bin bags around the house.

* Coffee Cups – you can now buy cups that can be used again & again.Reusable coffee cups

* Envelopes – by carefully sticking labels over the address you can reuse envelopes, additionally, old envelopes can be used as scrap paper to jot notes on.

* Glass Jars & Pots – by cleaning your glass jars & small pots, you can use them as small containers to store your bits & pieces in.

* Old newspapers – cardboard and bubble wrap make really useful packing material when either moving house or just to store items.

* Old clothes – can be made into other textile items such as cushion covers or teapot cosies, or merely cut up & used as dusters.

* Scrap Paper – can be used to make notes and sketches, don’t forget however to recycle it when you no longer need it.

* Vehicle Tires – old tires can be given to your local petrol station where they will be recycled. Or you could make a tire-swing by tying a strong rope around a tire and attaching it to a tree.

* Old wood – used wood can be used in woodcrafts for making objects such as a spice rack or a bird table, or alternatively just use it as firewood.

Green Living; Reuse Reduce Recycle

Green Living is……“a simple lifestyle change that benefits all mankind!”

Reduce:

Reducing the amount of waste that your house creates starts when you write your shopping list:

* Don’t purchase items that will only rarely be used – borrow them.

* Take along your own shopping bags or if not keep the amount of shopping bags to an absolute minimum.

* Wherever possible buy “refill” packs & reuse the original container to store in.

* Only buy what you need, reduce purchasing on things that you do not need, they are typically left in cupboards, then thrown out.

* Buy multiple use items such as household cleaner rather than all the different alternative “speciality” products, they all do the same job.

* Buy products who’s packaginging can be reused or recycled.

* Buy glass/plastic bottles & re-chargeable batteries, as these can be reused many times in the home.

* Always buy products with little or the minimum packaging, huge amounts of add-on packaging are immediately thrown away, & occupy landfills for generations to come.

* For item you use regularly, buy bulk packs, this will both save you money & cuts down on packaging.

* Take positives steps regarding the ludicrous amounts of “junk / unsolicited” mail you receive, you can very easily remove yourself from most National & Regional Mailing Lists ,remember this fact “every American household each year receives the equivalent of 1.5 fully mature trees worth of junk mail!!, thats over 100 million trees a year….just on junk mail.

Green Living; Reuse Reduce Recycle

Green Living is……“acting responsibly when making all purchasing decisions!”

Recycle:

Today, most materials that we come into contact with in a typical day can be recycled, such as paper, plastic, metal and glass. Other items such as furniture, electronic equipment, building material and vehicles can also be recycled but many people don’t often think to do so.

* Glass jars, tin cans & plastic bottles: – always buy products that can be recycled, when shopping at the supermarket, buy products that can be recycled easily such as glass jars, plastic bottles and tin cans.

* Packaging: – buy products that have been made from recycled materials, you can easily tell if a product is eco-friendly by looking at the label on the packaging.

* Hazardous Materials: – avoid buying hazardous materials, the containers are typically difficult to recycle as traces of the hazardous materials will still be present long after the container has been dispensed with. Instead always try to find safer alternatives to household cleaners and buy Non-Toxic Products wherever possible.

* Recycling Bin: – make sure you have a recycle bin in your home, keep it in an obvious place so that it’s easy to use & doesn’t give you the temptation to just throw everything into the normal dustbin. Many local authorities should be able to provide you with a recycle bin that can be used for materials such as glass, paper, aluminium and plastic, it is then simply placed by the roadside with your normal dustbin.

* Recycling In The Garden:Composting in the garden is a process where waste products degrade into completely organic compost, which can then be used in your garden to help it grow. It is an excellent way to recycle garden and kitchen waste such as plant trimmings and leftover food.

*Grass trimmings: – after you have cut the lawn, don’t clean up all the grass cuttings, just leave them,they will turn into nutrients and act as a fertiliser in the soil.

Green Living; Reuse Reduce Recycle

Green Living is……“making the earth’s precious resources go further!”

Just Remember This!

* Up to 60% of the rubbish that ends up in the dustbin could be recycled!.

* As much as 50% of waste in the average dustbin could be composted!.

* Today in the U.S. one in every six trucks is a garbage truck!.

* As much as 16% of the money you spend on a product is for the packaging, which ultimately ends up as rubbish!.
Recycling is a fantastic way to save energy!,here’s are a few recycling facts that help focus the mind! :

Paper:* every person on the planet on average uses the equivalent of a 100 foot tall tree per year in paper & wood products.(EPA, 2008)

* recycling 1 ton of paper saves 17 mature trees, 7,000 gallons of water, 3 cubic yards of landfill space, 2 barrels of oil, and 4,100 kilowatt-hours of electricity — enough energy to power the average American home for five months.(EPA, 2008)

* recycling paper instead of making it from new material generates 74 percent less air pollution and uses 50% less water. (EPA, 2008)

* producing recycled paper requires about 60% of the energy used to make paper from virgin wood pulp. (EPA, 2008)

Metal:* recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to run a 100-watt bulb for 20 hours, a computer for 3 hours, or a TV for 2 hours.

* when you next toss out one aluminum can, just think you waste as much energy as if you’d filled the same can half-full of gasoline and poured it into the ground!.

* recycling aluminum saves 95% of the energy used to make the material from scratch. That means you can make 20 cans out of recycled material with the same amount of energy it takes to make one can out of new material.

* aluminium cans can be recycled and ready to use in just 6 weeks.

Plastics:* Americans alone go through 25 billion plastic bottles a year.

* for every extra one recycled plastic bottle we save enough energy to power a 60-watt light bulb for 3 hours.

* plastics including disposable nappies take up to 500 years to degrade in landfills.

* approximately $0.11 in every $1 spent by Americans on food goes for packaging – much of it ending up in landfills.

* styrofoam/polystyrene – IS UN-RECYCLABLE – you can’t make it into new Styrofoam. The industry wants you to assume it is- don’t accept it!.

* every year American’s throw away 25 BILLION Styrofoam cups, enough every year to circle the earth 436 times!.

Glass:* glass never wears out – it can be recycled forever.

* most glass bottles and jars contain at least 25% recycled glass.

* for every extra glass bottle we recycle we save enough energy to power a computer for 25 minutes.

* glass that is discarded and ends up in landfills will never decompose.

Water:* if all U.S. households installed water-efficient appliances, the country would save more than 3 trillion gallons of water and more than $18 billion dollars per year!.

* every man, woman & child in the U.S. on average uses 100 gallons of water – PER DAY, that’s 3x the amount used per person just 50 years ago.

* approximately 75% of the water we use in our homes is used in the bathroom.

Green Living is……“YOUR OWN PERSONAL CHOICE!”

For lots more great tips & suggestions on Living Green and how to improve your green living lifestyle with landscaping ideas please just follow the links.If you have any additional suggestions regarding green living, or alternatively any questions about green living, please Contact Us by just clicking the link.

 

Green Commuting

green commuting

Green Commuting – How do you get to work or study? Car travel in the US (yes including SUV’s, Pickups, etc.) accounts for upto 62% of all greenhouse gases in the US.

How did people in the past get to work before we had cars? Well most people lived close to their work until the rise of cheap gasoline and then of course car use soared. Now people can live 60 miles or more from where they work, the problem is all this car driving is causing massive polution problems and contributing to climate change.

Green Tips for Commuting to Work or Study

1. If you have public transport nearby then give it a go, take a book or listen to music and relax instead of getting stressed on the way to work.

2. If you live close enough, try commuting by bicycle, it offers great benefits such as: get healthy & fit, saves money and it is often quicker than driving.

3. Telecommute – If you have a job that lends itself to working from home, ask your boss if you could work from home one or two days per week.

4. Consider carpooling, there are many website available that match up people who make similars journeys and could share their drive. You will meet new people, save money and help the environment with less cars on the road.

5. Maybe next time you are looking for a job, find a job closer to home even if it is a bit less money, you’ll have less stress in your life and arrive home in time to spend extra time with your family….

6. Finally if you must drive and have no other way to get to work, then drive greener or buy a greener car such as a hybrid or better still an electric car.

If you have additional tips on greener commuting, or alternatively questions about green commuting, please Contact Usorwould you like to add a green living article about some aspect of green living you are passionate about.

You might also like……

Hybrid Cars
All about how to Recycle Plastic

 

Environmental Compliance and Fulfillment

by Charon (Canada)

Obtaining environmental compliance information and details of applicable environmental norms requires time consuming communication and coordination with suppliers. Each region is governed by its own set of regulations and directives.

Furthermore, the time and effort, the drain on resources, and the focus required to remain current with the constant changes are more than most businesses can handle. Considering these options it is best to outsource Environmental Compliance Services from consultant firms. They have necessary experts who can work on your company projects and help you achieve all necessary compliances.

Environmental Compliance means in compliance to environmental laws, regulations, values and other necessities. Environmental consultants provide direction to organizations involved in large-scale, outdoor projects. They often have advanced degrees in engineering or science, as well as experience working in the industries within which they consult. Even more important, they have the tools needed to work with. Every industry has statutory obligation and must comply with established environmental legal mandates, regulations, lease stipulations, mitigation measures, approved plans and permits. But this is not easy!

Considering the global markets in which the corporate work, there are varying compliances observed. It is not possible for every company to observe environmental compliance in all scenarios. Thus, they normally resort to consultant firms for their environment compliance services who are specialists in this field. Global warming and emission science are forcing dogmatic reform in virtually all business sectors, and corporations are facing significant liability and financial responsibility for reducing hazardous emissions including small and big businesses.

 

Eco Printing – Pull a Captain Planet on Your Daily Life: Go (A Little) Green 

Eco Printing? Read On: If you’re a child of the 90s, you probably remember the ill-fated children’s show “Captain Planet,” about a wacky superhero and his minions “The Planeteers” (creative, I know!) as they sought to save the earth from the evils of Hoggish Greedy, Duke Nukem, Sly Sludge and more. As outlandishly psychedelic as Captain America may seem to the novice viewer, some valid points were made.

We’ve all heard the old saying “we only have one earth,” or something similar, but don’t let it fall on deaf ears. According to the study by the World Wildlife Fund, if the human race continues devouring resources the way we have been, the earth will pretty much be “expired” by 2050. So, unless we want your kids to grow up in a toxic Mad Max-esque world, we should all start making small changes toward big solutions for our lovely home planet.

Paper Capers

When garbage dumps and landfills come to mind, our brains are filled mostly with visions of dirty diapers, plastic bottles and rotting, fetid food. This is not the case. According to the EPA, a whopping 40 percent of our landfills are over-run with office paper. This is disgusting, especially when it’s taken into consideration that almost all paper is recyclable. Unfortunately, all that junk mail, those phone books and old bills are creating one of the most abhorrent trash crisis in the world.

Unless you’re a superhero, you can’t single-handedly solve this problem, but every drop in the bucket helps. If you haven’t gone paperless with your bills yet, now is the time. Even little things like replacing post it notes with white board notes can end up making a difference.

Vampire Electricity

Although it’s extremely difficult to gauge exactly how much electricity is wasted every year on idle, sleep or standby. Or exactly how many lights are being left on but unused, however, The Economist highlights a study by Alan Meier, a staff scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) that estimates 7-15 percent of our electricity usage could be labeled “vampire electricity”. This is enough electricity to claim 18 power plants and billions of dollars.

 

Although technologies like Energy Star are helping to combat our excessive use of vampire electricity, it is still up to us to remember to turn electronics off when we’re not using them, or unplug them if you don’t intend on using them that day. We have become so technology dependent, that it’s easy to forget how close we are to snuffing out the very thing we’re most dependent on.

Go Green at Work and at Home

For those essential home and business expenses, like laundry detergent or if you order business cards online, there’s a buffet of excellent businesses to choose from— the kind who are looking to create a legacy beyond their own immediate profit.

 

Companies like Ecos.com create exclusively environmentally friendly products for your household. Ecos used to produce products with harmful chemicals, but a radical shift in focus inspired the owners to completely re-vamp their company into a Mecca for the Earth (and they smell good too). Overnightprints.com is another example of a company that gets their job done well while crusading for the environment. Their eco printing techniques not only use waterless technology (traditional printing wastes copious amounts of water), but every piece of paper and card stock they use is offset by a Japanese company that plants trees for them. Every little thing you do for our ailing environment helps make you a little bit more like a hero, and you don’t even have to wear the awkward green tights.

 

Don’t Forget About Mother Earth While You Travel…

by LeAnn Kurtz (San Francisco, California, USA)

There are many ways to live “Green” but let’s not forget Earth Stewardship while we travel as well. Have you heard of Fair Trade Tourism? How about Eco-Tourism?Tourism can have a very negative effect on the Earth if it’s not developed properly. Let’s take a look at a typical tourist area…Environmental quality and local culture is essential to tourism, but tourism doesn’t always look after the local populations, indigenous people and the environment. The relationship is complex.Developers of tourism construct roads, airports, resorts, hotels, restaurants, golf courses and marinas that can eventually destroy the environment and tax the water supplies where water is often scarce to begin with, causing local populations to have to compete for the resources.Local people make money from tourists, but often, the businesses that drive tourism and make money for them don’t give them incentives to look after the environment. This type of tourism is not sustainable or desirable in the long run. It creates soil erosion, pollution of land and sea and natural habitat loss. The people making most of the profits are the big developers, hotels, and tour operators while locals are losing farm land and small businesses. Fair Trade tourism encompasses a lot of different ideas, but generally it is travel set up to respect the environment and help poor communities. Ecotourism is similar, but not as culturally centered, set up to respect the environment.They both ensure that the economic benefits of tourism go to those whose land, natural resources, knowledge, labor and culture are used for tourism activities. Fair trade tourism aims to foster environmental development and income distribution in rural communities which produce fair trade products through mutually beneficial and equitable partnerships between national and international tourism stakeholders in the destinations.Many of the world’s least developed countries have the warm climate, cultural diversity and beauty that make them valuable as tourist locations, but these same countries need more protection. By traveling more consciously we can offer them income and sustainability. Fair Trade and eco-tourism supports communities economically as well as environmentally. Check out some of my favorite Eco-Spas and Fair Trade adventure travel destinations.

Comments for Don’t Forget About Mother Earth While You Travel…