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Keep the Future Clean: Ten Ways To Go Green

Keep the Future Clean: Ten Ways To Go Green

A happier environment is feasible if everyone would pitch in and contribute to a cleaner society. There are many fun and creative ways to make a greener future possible. From taking public transport to making homemade cleaning products, thousands of solutions and ideas are out there to live an environmentally friendly lifestyle.

Ten Ways to Become More Eco-savvy

Re-purpose

From bottles to fabric, everything has a secondary use. Before throwing those egg cartons and cereal boxes out, think about how you can use them around the house. Cereal boxes can be transformed into magazine holders. Egg cartons make great ink wells for paint. Think outside the box and look online for ideas on how to re-purpose everyday household objects.

Consume Less

Evaluate what your household needs and focus on buying fewer things to do the same job. Bring your own reusable bags to the store, and return them to your car or bike basket once you’ve put away your items.

Get Crafty

Make your own cleaning solutions and body products. This can be a fun activity to do alone or with children. There are thousands of different recipes for soaps, candles, and cleaning products available on the web.

Go Back To The Basics

Be earthy. Decorate for holidays and special occasions all year round with natural sticks, leaves, stones and flowers that you find in the park or the neighborhood.

Mug It

Bring your own mug to the local coffee shop, work, or school.

Have some splendor in the grass

Enjoy nature. Exercise by taking a walk or run in your local park or trail. Have a picnic and enjoy natural light, just don’t forget to wear sunscreen. read more

Major Environmental Issues of Climate Change: Environmental Science Study of the Toxic Effects of Global Warming

Major Environmental Issues of Climate Change: Environmental Science Study of the Toxic Effects of Global Warming

Three classes of toxins and their role in climate change, “…induced by anthropogenic [effects of human activities] warming of the earth’s atmosphere…” where the focus of an environmental study by the Integrated Toxicology and Environmental Health Program of Duke University, Durham, NC, USA. The broad categories of the toxins listed in the Duke study article are air pollution, persistent organic pollutants (POPs), and pesticides.

The article, published April 16, 2009, on the ScienceDirect website is titled, “The Toxicology of Climate Change: Environmental Contaminants in a Warming World.” The review (abstract) article, and study outline, is available for reading free of charge. The full study can be purchased from a link on the ScienceDirect article page. The Duke article addresses the major toxic issues related to the environment, wildlife, and human health due to climate change.

All of the contributing authors of the study are associated with the Duke University Integrated Toxicology and Environmental Health Program. Some of the contributing authors are additionally associated with the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Triangle Park. NC. USA. The authors are:

  • Pamela D. Noyesa.
  • Matthew K. McElweea.
  • Hilary D. Millera.
  • Bryan W. Clark.
  • Lindsey A. Van Tiema.
  • Kia C. Walcotta.
  • Kyle N. Erwina.
  • Edward D. Levina.

Study Lists Environmental Problems

Information for the Duke study came from reviewing scientific research articles, reviews, and government reports. The article theme is “…the interactions of toxicants with…temperature, precipitation, and salinity, as altered by climate change.” read more

Live Green and Prevent Ocean Pollution: Eliminate Plastic to Help Seabirds, Marine Life, and the Ocean

Live Green and Prevent Ocean Pollution: Eliminate Plastic to Help Seabirds, Marine Life, and the Ocean

Plastics are the greatest source of ocean debris worldwide. While everyone who uses plastic likely contributes to the problem, they can, with a few very low-cost changes, become a solution.

Sources of Ocean Pollution

According to the organization Plastic Debris Rivers to Sea, land-based sources of marine debris include all of the usual suspects: litter (especially bags and single-use disposables), garbage transport and landfills, construction debris, and commercial sources (think Yankee Stadium after a ball game or manufacturing waste).

Even people who live in America’s heartland can contribute to the problem, since much of the plastic pollution travels through storm sewers to waterways that end in the ocean. In the words of Charles Moore, “the ocean is downhill from everywhere.”

The Extent of Plastic Pollution in the Oceans

The extent of the marine plastics problem was discovered by ocean scientist and crusader Charles Moore of the Algalita Marine Foundation on a voyage across the Pacific in 1997. He traversed an area known as the doldrums – usually avoided by sailors. He soon found himself sailing through a “plastic soup” of floating garbage concentrated by slowly circling currents. It’s now known as the Eastern Pacific Garbage Patch.

His research published in 1999 stunned scientists and the ocean-going public. He showed that plastic fragments, which do not degrade chemically but only break into smaller and smaller bits, were six times more plentiful by weight than zooplankton, tiny organisms at the base of the food chain. His later research found that plastic outweighs plankton by a factor of more than 2 in waters off the coast of Southern California. read more

The Importance of Water in Regulating Earth's Climate

The Importance of Water in Regulating Earth's Climate

Overall, water on Earth is cheap on a per liter basis, but increasing population pressures have made fresh water a declining resource. Water is essential to life as we know it, and unfortunately, in those societies where water is short, much human suffering can result.

The Earth’s climate is part of a coupled system including the atmosphere, the oceans and the frozen icecaps. The lower atmosphere contains a large amount of water, which is close to its saturated vapor pressure in many places. The oceans and ice caps are in contact with the atmosphere and play a major role in regulating the climate.

Frozen Water and Climate

Water freezes in a variety of ways. On the surface, frozen water is often in the form of glaciers while precipitation in high latitudes produces low density snow which over decades becomes compacted into ice.

Fresh snow and glaciers are highly reflective. Heat from the sun is reflected back into space, cooling the surface. With overall climate warming, more ice and snow are melted. Less heat is then reflected back into space, warming the climate even more. Snow melt from land, such as Antarctica and the Greenland ice shelf release additional water into the sea, raising sea levels.

Liquid Water and Climate

The Earth is 70% covered with oceans. As the atmospheric temperature rises, heat is transferred to the deep ocean over decades. This leads to thermal expansion of the ocean and increasing sea levels.

In the long term, the heat exchange with the atmosphere can be accommodated by the deep ocean, but eventually, the ocean surface warms. Because of its contact with the atmosphere, warming oceans have climate impacts such as increased hurricane frequency. read more

Clean Natural Gas: The Alternative Green Fuel: Natural Gas is the Green Alternative Fuel to Power America's Future

Clean Natural Gas: The Alternative Green Fuel: Natural Gas is the Green Alternative Fuel to Power America's Future

In an age of environmental awareness and preservation, pollutants are becoming a primary target for elimination. The chief offenders of emissions are fossil fuels and their combustion in the production of energy. Fossil fuels are the dominant source of energy produced in the world today. The by-products emitted from the combustion of coal and diesel oil have become all the more unacceptable.

New innovations are under development and in use that will one day drastically curtail the need for fossil fuels. However, until the infrastructure is fully established to deliver and make full use of alternatives such as wind powered turbines and solar energy farms, an alternative such as clean natural gas is positioned to bridge the gap. Its use in transportation and energy production today are evidence of its potential.

Natural Gas in Transportation

Regardless of the position taken on global warming or climate change in general, the poor air quality and smog looming over every major metropolitan is undeniable. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, transportation vehicles that predominately rely on diesel fuel or gasoline as their fuel source are among the largest contributors to smog and ground level ozone in cities and highly populated urban areas.

Nitrogen oxides and carbon monoxide are but two of the ingredients emitted by transportation vehicles that when in the presence of the sun’s heat, spawn a chemical reaction that produces smog. As reported by the U.S. Department of Energy, if the same vehicles were converted to operate on natural gas, the production of harmful emissions such as nitrogen oxides, carbon dioxide, and other toxic emissions, could be significantly reduced. read more

Narwhals Help Study Climate Change: Deep Diving Whales Transmit Temperature from Baffin Bay

Narwhals Help Study Climate Change: Deep Diving Whales Transmit Temperature from Baffin Bay

Deep sea temperatures in Baffin Bay are being measured by narwhals (Monodon monoceros) in an effort to learn more about the effects of climate change on Arctic waters. And the whales themselves are being studied as the satellite transmitters track their movements. Because narwhals remain in the high Arctic year round, they have been able to provide the first winter sea temperatures for the region. Diving to nearly a mile deep in an area that is of concern for scientists studying global warming, the data they provide will aid in understanding the severity of ocean temperature increases in critical Arctic habitat. Knowledge of narwhal natural history will help protect the species as well.

The narwhal is seen as a semi-mythological creature linked to unicorn fables because of their tusks. But hard data on these whales is actually very scarce. Their habitat is difficult to work in for most of the year and the whales are very wary of humans, having been hunted by Inuits for centuries. Populations of narwhal are estimated at somewhere between 10,000 and 45,000, but the IUCN lists this species as Data Deficient. Much like some of the dolphins, there is just not enough known about them to make a clear determination of their status. This study from the University of Washington will shed light on both the narwhal and its critical habitat in the waters between Greenland and Canada.

The currents that pass through Baffin Bay bring warmer waters north, tempering the severity of weather in northern Europe. Tracking changes here will provide better predictors of what is really happening to those currents. What is known is that the sea ice in the area was expanding until recently. Now it is shrinking very quickly. It is unclear whether this is linked to long term climate change. read more

Atlantic Hydrogen Greens Natural Gas: Company Can Remove Carbon From The Fossil Fuel Before Burning It

Atlantic Hydrogen Greens Natural Gas: Company Can Remove Carbon From The Fossil Fuel Before Burning It

As scientists around the World race to develop carbon capture techniques and companies find ways to cash in on carbon credits, a Canadian company is set to bring a new technology to market that removes carbon from natural gas before it’s burned. Using a plasma charge, the device breaks the bond between the carbon and hydrogen atoms found in methane, allowing some of the carbon to fall as a solid into a collection bin. The resulting combination is a cleaner, hydrogen-enriched natural gas, or HENG. No carbon dioxide is produced during the process.

Technology Earns Companies Carbon Credits

Called “CarbonSaver,” the device was developed by Atlantic Hydrogen in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada, where they recently passed the tests they needed to go online with natural gas giant EnCana [NYSE: ECA]. Since natural gas travels through pipelines under pressure, Atlantic Hydrogen had to prove that their device could operate safely without having to slow down the gas. CarbonSaver can be scaled large enough to be installed at the city gate of any major natural gas pipeline, taking out the excess carbon electric generators and home appliances don’t need before they’re burned. Since the technology can be made small enough to install in manufacturing plants, companies can earn carbon credits at the same time doing what they can to reduce the effects of global warming.

“Within the next few months, Atlantic Hydrogen expects to announce demonstration projects in electricity generating micro-turbines and compressors,” says CEO David Wagner, “we will show the environmental benefits of operating them with a CarbonSaver.” read more

Green Funerals: Environmentally friendly Funerals

Green Funerals: Environmentally friendly Funerals

Conventional funerals and methods of disposing of human remains are environmentally harmful. How can we adopt an alternative approach to make this procedure more ecologically acceptable?

The Eco-Problems with Cremation

Crematoria currently release a large quantity of carbon monoxide and hydrogen chloride into the atmosphere. Legally they are required to burn at a temperature of 850°C, using up valuable fossil fuels; but lowering the temperature would result in still higher chemical emissions.

Mercury emissions arise from bodies’ mercury based dental fillings. Larger crematoria are installing mercury abatement equipment to limit this global pollutant but the cost of such high tech equipment is prohibitive for smaller operators.

The Eco-Problems with Burial

Grief stricken people tend not to ask many questions. They buy standard expensive coffins made from man-made plastics or exotic hardwoods incorporating polluting metals. Preservation is not eco-friendly either. Bodies are embalmed in formaldehyde, which is carcinogenic and corrosive. Embalming should be a choice, not a standard service, since dry ice or refrigeration is sufficient.

Green Funerals

Cheap cardboard coffins are available to the public direct from wholesalers. Biodegradable coffins can also be made from sustainable resources such as willow, bamboo, and even banana leaf or water hyacinth; shrouds from jute or wool. Natural fibres and materials are greener and more attractive, and may be decorated with a more individual touch than a conventional veneered casket, with flowers, pictures or messages. read more

Climate Change Effect on Waterfowl: Ducks Unlimited Recognizes Impact on Population and Migration

Climate Change Effect on Waterfowl: Ducks Unlimited Recognizes Impact on Population and Migration

Although involved in conservation efforts for over a century, hunters and anglers have recently become more dedicated to protecting habitats affected by climate change. A recent report, “Seasons’ End: Global Warming’s Threat to Hunting and Fishing” released on April 10, 2008, by the Wildlife Management Institute and eight other hunting and fishing organizations, focuses on the impact of climate change on fish and wildlife.

The new study emphasizes the expected impact on fish and wildlife species, and the future of hunting and fishing. The report’s purpose is to help boost understanding about climate change, the long-range effects and direct and indirect impacts on wildlife habitats. The hunting and fishing organizations aim to educate on climate change impact and generate strategies to face the challenge.

Hunters and Anglers For Conservation

As sportsmen have been amongst the majority of conservationists in North America, providing resources for wildlife habitats and wetland conservation, directing attention to the potential climate change impacts is only second nature. Hunters and anglers pay billions of dollars in license fees and taxes, in order to participate in hunting and fishing activities annually, according to Ducks Unlimited. These citizens are now planning how to face the challenges of climate change, in order to continue their traditions of hunting and fishing.

Ducks Unlimited Report on Waterfowl Habitat Impacts

Ducks Unlimited, which began in 1937, is the “world’s largest and most effective private waterfowl and wetland conservation organization.” Ducks Unlimited has over 700,000 members and 1 million supporters, the majority in the United States and Canada. The organization’s mission is simple: Habitat Conservation. read more

Why Does Society Not Act On Effects Of Oil On The Environment?

Why Does Society Not Act On Effects Of Oil On The Environment?

Presently, people around the world are on the edge of their seats watching the oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. There are many people being blamed and there is no consensus about who is liable. Worse yet, no one can figure out how to stop the oil spill or how to clean it up. What is society’s role in this unfolding event? How does society contribute to environmental disasters? How bad is water pollution really? Can society take ownership in stopping future water pollution from taking place? If society can, why haven’t they done so already? This article will attempt to answer these questions.

What are the Causes and Facts?

Land activities (“Water Pollution Facts – In Numbers and Stats,” scipeeps.com/May 8,2009) are considered 80% of the problem when it comes to water pollution. Society can’t blame beachgoers and water activities for the majority of water pollution. Water pollution is caused by everyone in their daily activities and routines.

It has been discovered that discarding plastic and other similar types of litter accounts for the annual deaths of 100,000 marine animals like porpoises and sea otters and at least a million sea birds like pelicans and gulls (“Water Pollution Facts,”). When people throw away plastic containers, they often end up in water sources like oceans in a variety of different ways. When marine animals hunt for food, they get caught in these discarded plastics or swallow them, almost always dying a slow, grueling death. The food sources for these marine animals may have also consumed small plastic items, which are then ingested by the predators. read more

Community Power Works is a Seattle neighborhood-based building retrofit program that will achieve deep energy savings and create green jobs.