I despise sidewalks. The hand made paths that they are. The pulled up earth and soil and crushed together new materials to nothing more than a broken conveyor belt for people to follow on. A rule that goes largely unquestioned when walking. Why step here? Why not step though the earth and grass? Is it gross? Is it dirty? Is it unclean? Is it unnatural? Whats more natural than earth and more unnatural than synthesized paths that funnel you along on a single path. I’d rather enjoy the grass and soil in my toes than cement under rubber shoes. I want more earth.
“Humans are creatures with a longer history of living in the outdoors than of living within the confines of concrete and artificial light. We have an atavistic sense of well-being when immersed in the natural world.”
10 ways you can help earth everyday - Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
1. Turn off the lights
Use less electricity.
Coal and natural gas are the most common sources of energy that gets turned into electricity. The burning of these substances is a major factor in world air pollution. Reducing your reliance on electricity is a great way to play a part in saving the planet.
Here’s what you can do:
Use solar power for home and water heating.
Shut off electrical equipment in the evening when you leave work.
If you have central air conditioning, do not close vents in unused rooms.
Lower the thermostat on your water heater to 120.
Turn down or shut off your water heater when you will be away for extended periods.
Turn off unneeded lights even when leaving a room for a short time.
Set your refrigerator temperature at 36 to 38 and your freezer at 0 to 5 .
When using an oven, minimize door opening while it is in use; it reduces oven temperature by 25 to 30 every time you open the door.
Clean the lint filter in your dryer after every load so that it uses less energy.
Wash clothes with warm or cold water instead of hot.
Turn off lights, computers and other appliances when not in use.
Use compact fluorescent light bulbs to save money and energy.
Plant trees to shade your home.
Replace old windows with energy efficient ones.
Keep your thermostat higher in summer and lower in winter when you are away.
Insulate your home as best as you can.
Drive and fly less often.
Cars, trucks, planes and other vehicles emissions are another big source of air pollution that has led to global warming. The manufacture of the vehicles, the gas needed to run them, the chemicals they burn, and the production of roads all play a part. If you can drive and fly less often, you’ll be doing a lot to help save the planet.
Walk or ride your bike instead of driving, whenever possible. Find bike routes in your town and use them!
Join a carpool or vanpool to get to work if biking or walking isn’t an option.
Report smoking vehicles to your local air agency.
Maintain your vehicle properly. Purchase radial tires and keep them properly inflated for your vehicle. Paint with brushes or rollers instead of using spray paints to minimize harmful emissions.
Recycling helps to conserve raw materials and often helps to save on additional energy that manufacturers would otherwise use in producing new products from scratch. Recycling also reduces the amount of material going into landfills, which is a big bonus given that many countries are fast running out of space for landfill. In addition, recycling can lessen pollution involved in waste disposal and reducing the consumption of raw materials helps to conserve our natural resources.
Unfortunately, not everyone feels motivated to recycle and indeed, it can sometimes seem like a complex undertaking. Yet, coupled with understanding the benefits, once you know how to recycle, you’ll realize it’s not that hard and it soon becomes second habit. Start by making the commitment to recycling in your household and work your way right through to persuading others of its benefits too.
Know what can and cannot be recycled.
Many items are recyclable and over time, more items are added to the list of what can be recycled. Although recycling is dependent on your local collection point’s capacity and facilities, as a general rule, most of the following items are recyclable but you do need to read the policies relevant in your area:
Glass drinking bottles (leave the lids off)
Milk cartons and other cartons
Paper, including magazines, newspapers, waste office paper and Contact books (Contact books can have a special collection time in some places); and don’t forget your greeting cards and cereal boxes
Aluminum drink cans; in some places foil trays and foil wrap can be collected, but not all recyclers will collect these latter items
Steel food cans (also known as “tins” in some places), paint tins, aerosol containers (minus lids and note not all places accept these), coffee tins, bottle tops and jar lids––how do you know it’s steel? Use a magnet. If it sticks to the can, it’s steel.
Plastics with recyclable symbols on them; usually PET or type 1 plastic and H.D.P.E or type 2 plastic; leave the lids off bottles
Some supermarkets collect plastic bags (unless they’ve been banned completely, in which case, bring your own bags)
However, see the next step for exceptions, which can include recyclable products just because there are no practicable recycling facilities in your area.
Items that cannot be recycled yet. (keep an eye on what new items can be recycled in your area):
Light bulbs (although some places provide drop-off areas for compact fluorescent bulbs, to avoid mercury contamination of the landfill)
Plastics without recycling symbols might not be recyclable
Drinking glasses, crockery, Pyrex or other oven-proof glass, ceramics
Carbon paper, foil wrapping, laminated paper, gift ribbon, gift wrapping
Foil potato chip/crisp bags
Aerosols are not accepted by all recycling places
Mirrors and window glass
Items contaminated with food spills such as take out containers and pizza boxes; this can vary according to municipality though
Items such as Tetra-paks (wax coated or lined cartons), batteries, paint (tins), oil, polystyrene, tin foil, clothing, etc. may be recyclable depending on what processing plants are in your vicinity. In most cases, these items need separate sorting and often require a specific drop-off rather than being collected from your household; even then, they may not be able to be recycled at all in some areas… yet.
If your area doesn’t collect milk or drink cartons, reuse them for many home uses including garden use or donate to a school or kindergarten for art projects. Ditto for foam peanuts, polystyrene and clothing.
And some things that shouldn’t even have to be said but have unfortunately turned up in recycling from time to time––dead animals, medical waste, used diapers (nappies) or sanitary ware, used syringes and unwanted live animals. Adding such items (and in the latter case living beings) is simply irresponsible, cruel or ignorant.
3. Save your leftover
Buy local goods.
Buying local helps combat air pollution in two ways. You don’t have to travel as far to get what you need, and products don’t have to travel as far to get to you, either. Making smart choices about where your food, clothes, and other goods come from can help make a dent in air pollution.
Shop at farmer’s markets and buy food that was produced as close to your home as possible.
When you’re online shopping, pay attention to how far the items you order will travel before they arrive. Try to find items that won’t have to travel long distances.
Pay attention to where your clothes, electronics, home goods, and other possessions were made. As much as possible, buy items that were made in your region.
Never throw away the remains of food, and when it is possible in restaurants ask for a doggy bag.
4. Be nice to the worms
As an earthworm feeds, organic matter passes through its body and is excreted as granular dark castings. You may see these small casting piles in your garden. An earthworm produces its weight in castings daily. Worm castings are a wonderful fertilizer, rich in nutrients otherwise unavailable to plants.
5. Share a book
Ever heard of BookCrossing? Leave a book in a public place to be picked up and read by others, who then will do likewise. We all keep old books unused, and sharing is a way to promote culture and avoid wasting and save precious books from waste.
Think before you print. Do you really need to print it?
If you only need one page of a document, only print that.
When printing a web page, copy and paste the text into a word processor so that it is formatted correctly for printing.
You can print on both sides of the paper with most modern printers. This is often referred to as print ‘duplex’.
Adjust margins on your documents. The smaller margin of .75 inch (1.90cm) is becoming more common.
8. Save water
Wasting water is one of the biggest ways individuals impact the health of the planet. Taking measures to use less water is something you can start doing right away. If you live in an area with a water shortage, this is even more important for the health of your region’s environment. Try to check off as many items as possible from this list:
Check and fix any water leaks. A leaky faucet can waste a lot of water.
Install water-saving devices on your faucets and toilets. A low-flow showerhead could be a good start.
Don’t wash dishes with the water running continuously. Use a method that requires less water to get the dishes clean.
Turn off washing machine’s water supply to prevent leaks. It doesn’t need to be on all the time.
Replace old toilets with new ones that use a lot less water.
Wash and dry only full loads of laundry and dishes. Doing a half-load wastes water.
Don’t use too much water to water your lawn.
Don’t leave the faucet running while you brush your teeth.
9. Clean up trash
Before adding some items to recycling, ensure that they’re clean. Rinse food or drink residues out of bottles, cans and drink water. Do this at the end of your dish washing, to save water and to benefit from using the suds.
Don’t add broken glass or sharp items to recycling.
Don’t add non-recyclable items just because you can’t be bothered doing anything else with them. This sends an unhelpful message to recycling authorities that citizens aren’t so capable of sorting! Be recycling proud and use common sense about the additions to your recycling.
Dispose of toxic waste the right way. Paint, motor oil, ammonia, and a host of other chemicals should not be poured down the drain or into the grass. They’ll soak into the earth and end up in the groundwater. Contact your local sanitation department to find out where the closest toxic waste disposal site is.
10. Put your underwear in the freezer
What You Need
A pair of dirty (feeling) jeans
A large Zip-Lock Bag
A freezer with some empty space (ie. not too much ice cream)
Fold your jeans neatly and place inside bag. Seal bag and insert in freezer. Remove after one week and wear as new.
While this process won’t remove stains and isn’t really intended for “work jeans” (I think), it is touted to kill any living organisms and make your jeans FEEL crisp and clean again.
Huge ‘dead zone’ predicted in Gulf of Mexico; climate disaster ever increasing June 21, 2013
The massive Midwestern drought of 2012 reduced rainfall and fertilizer carried into the Gulf of Mexico by runoff, meaning the algae blooms that cause the Gulf of Mexico’s dead zone were unusually small. 2013 will be different. (Source - Time)
Heavy rainfall in the Midwest this spring has led to flood conditions, with states like Minnesota and Illinois experiencing some of the wettest spring seasons on record. And all that flooding means a lot more nitrogen-based fertilizer running off into the Gulf. According to an annual estimate from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) sponsored modelers at the University of Michigan, Louisiana State University and Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium, this year’s dead zone could be as large as 8,561 sq. miles—roughly the size of New Jersey. That would make it the biggest dead zone on record.And even the low end of the estimate would place this year among the top 10 biggest dead zones on record. Barring an unlikely change in the weather, much of the Gulf of Mexico could become an aquatic desert.
Emails reveal that Exxon Mobil misled the public about the extent of contamination in Lake Conway from the recent Pegasus pipeline oil spill in Arkansas. (Source - TreeHugger)
Migratory seabirds are starving to death, a problem biologists are linking to climate change and overfishing. (Source - Washington Post)
Rolling Stone has compiled the ten dumbest things ever said about climate change. (Source - Rolling Stone)
The Obama administration is preparing to impose limits on existing power plants as part of his soon-to-be-released plan to combat climate change, the White House’s energy and environment adviser said Wednesday. (Source - New York Times)
Billionaire climate activist Tom Steyer is launching a new online campaign to press President Obama to do more on climate change and to reject the Keystone XL pipeline.(Source - SFGate)
A new report by the Center for American Progress finds the federal government spends far more on cleaning up after storms than it does on preparing communities for extreme weather. (Source - Los Angeles Times)
The unseasonably hot, dry weather in Alaska has helped spurn wildfires in part of the state. (Source - Washington Post)
About 350 Walgreens stores will soon be equipped with solar power. (Source - Chicago Tribune)
BP is trying to convince lawmakers to keep current rules mandating the use of renewable fuels, instead of abolishing them. (Source - Bloomberg)
New Zealand’s worst drought in decades has hurt the country’s economic growth. (Source - Wall Street Journal)
Despite a wet spring, drought conditions are returning to Northern Colorado (Source - The Coloradoan)
Within five years natural gas could challenge oil as the world’s dominate transportation fuel, according to the International Energy Agency. (Source - Market Watch)
Clean Technica updated their rankings of the top wind power countries per capita, drawing from the Global Wind Energy Council’s latest numbers. (Source - Clean Technica)
And here’s their latest ranking of all 50 U.S. states by policies friendly to solar power, taken from Solar Power Rocks. (Source - Clean Technica)