Forever Living Products Aloe Vera Health and Vitality

Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas tree recycling - Contact your local council for facilities

If you are wondering what to do with your real Christmas tree after the festive season, you can visit the website of your Local Borough Council to check what facilities they have in place for recycling and reuse of used Christmas trees.

A number of local councils have designated dates which they have allocated for collection of Christmas trees. Some local councils will collect the trees as well as Christmas cards to be recycled. Christmas cards can be put in the paper and card recycling boxes or bags provided.

Real Christmas trees can be left on the side of the pavement next to your wheelie bin along with other recyclable items, which will be picked up at the allocated times or days specified by your local council. Please contact your local council for information.

Recycled Trees can be used for a number of things such as firewood, mulch, which helps to keep weeds out. Those are already two uses I can think of. If you can think of any more, then leave a comment in the comment section below the post.

Related Blog Links

Recycling your Christmas cards and other materials

Weeds - Mulching helps to control them

Related External Links

Directgov - Local Councils Directory - Find your Local Council

Christmas recycling and refuse services

Sunday, December 28, 2008

If you find you have an infestation...

If you find that you have an infestation of rats, mice or other crawling creatures, before calling the pest control people, call your local council and look on their website under pest control as some local councils provide services such as these. In some cases, some services are free of charge. Also, it is in their best interests to help with these types of problems because infestations by rats and other crawling creatures are a serious health hazard, especially if you have small children. I was talking to my neighbour who has two small children and she had found a rat living in her back garden. Additionally rats and mice breed very quickly and unfortunately carry diseases harmful to humans.

Off topic

While I was standing on the platform at Waterloo tube station yesterday, I saw 3 mice running up and down the platform and more running up and down the tracks, this was enough to make me shudder physically, apart from that, I could not sit on the seats provided on the platform and I definitely did not put my bags down because I did not want those little creatures jumping into my bag and coming home with me...LOL

Related External Links

Rat infestation threatens UK

Ealing - Rats and Mice Leaflet - pdf document

Ealing - Rats info

A plague of super rats

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

National Climate March 6th of December 2008 - Part of a Global Day of Climate Protest

National Climate March - Part of a Global Day of Climate Protest

When: Saturday 6th December 2008
Where: Hyde Park, Speaker's Corner.
(Marble Arch Tube, 5 minutes walk from Grosvenor Square

Click picture to enlarge

"Join people all around the world to demand action now to prevent the catastrophe that threatens to engulf us all" says one banner, "Save our planet for our children" says another....."Global Warming Reality!! Be aware and take action", "Fight climate change today". These are a selection of banners held up by people on previous climate change marches.

These events are meant to be a peaceful affair, but a March on Parliament to Protest about Climate Change and demand that Governments around the world take more action regarding this issue.

For events happening in your area of the world, see the website below.

Related External Link

Global Climate Campaign

Friday, October 10, 2008

Sustainable Development Policy Group Launch at London South Bank University

On Thursday 9th October, I attended the launch event for London South Bank University's (LSBU's) Sustainability Policy Group. It was an enjoyable event, which I attended for an hour. The two-hour sustainability event was buzzing from the beginning with Green Issues Stakeholders milling around and discussing topics such as FairTrade, Sustainability at LSBU, recycling, water conservation and much more...

After a short buffet luncheon and drinks, the event began at 12.00pm with a welcome address by the Vice Chancellor, Deian Hopkin followed by a speech given by Ros Wade, Joint Course Director, Education for Sustainability giving an insight into the history of the Sustainable Development Group and the educational aspects of Sustainability at LSBU. Further speeches were given by Alan Dyer, Associate Director of the Centre for Sustainable Futures at the University of Plymouth and Nordin Jahar, President of LSBU's Students’ Union gave a brief presentation on how to save energy which included practical things that we can all do to save the environment and go green.

Nordin Jahar, President LSBU Student Union and a delegate

Key Travel Stand

LSBU was then presented with a FairTrade award by Sarah Jewell of FairTrade and Tolis Marinos, Deputy Head of Residential & Catering Services at LSBU promptly received it.

Finally, Mike Wilkinson (Chair of the SDG) gave a closing speech bringing the event to an end and encouraging attendees to network and view sustainability posters designed by some 1st year BSc (Hons) Product Design and Engineering Students, and various stands promoting energy efficiency and Sustainability as well as some new recycling bins which were on display.

Green Recycling Bin

Also present at the event were delegates from Key Travel, Nova-Flo
- an invention by James Barnham, a Masters degree Graduate of London South Bank University who featured on the BBC's Dragon's Den, Office Depot & RM Computers.

James Barnham demonstrating his Nova-Flo invention

Nova-Flo - Water conservation by stopping baths from overflowing

Some posters from M2, LSBU's new in-house printers

Office Depot Stand

Other highlights of the Event

SWAP SHOP - As I and a friend arrived at the event, we were encouraged to help ourselves to some swap shop items. These were "freebie" items, such as pens, mouse-mats, mugs, keyring, and the little knick knacks that we sometimes pick up but do not get around to using much, which end up sitting in a drawer or on a shelf gathering dust. We were encouraged to bring unwanted items along to the event so that they could be left for someone who would put them to good use or alternatively swapped for something more useful. I thought this was a great idea!

All members of staff and students attending the event were reminded to bring their I.D. badges with them so that they could easily be identified. The reasoning behind this was also to save resources usually used to make name badges such as paper, plastic and metal.
I made a small observation while having lunch, our buffet lunches were served on real ceramic plates as opposed to plastic or paper disposables, I thought this was in keeping with the ethos on sustainability.

Additionally, the event further highlighted the role that Engineering and Product Design Students play in the field of Sustainability.

Comment - 27th June 2014

I am a Graduate of London South Bank University.  I studied BSc Business Information Technology and graduated with a 2.2.

I have worked at the University before and after graduating from there.

Related External Links

Sustainability Posters by LSBU Students

Research at LSBU: Solar energy scientist looks to power planet

Setting up a People & Planet group in a post '92 university

Sunday, July 27, 2008

VOA News Video New Vertical Wind Turbine Design ideal for Urban Areas

While watching a few videos on Youtube, I decided to look up wind turbines and wind power. I found an interesting video about a new wind mill design wind turbine inspired by the ancient Egyptians, which can be used in the urban setting. It is made by a company called Mariah Power and looks very interesting....

Wind spire demonstration

Friday, July 25, 2008

Event - Canal Bridge Green Fayre Peckham - Saturday 20th September 2008

While attending and working at the recent Village Fete held by London South Bank University, I found out about the Canal Bridge Fayre which is to be held in Peckham later this year.

The aim of this event is to help raise awareness about Green Issues by promoting positive activities including how to Save Money.

Date: Saturday 20th September 2008
Time: 12 Midday - 6:00pm
Place: Peckham Square

There will be....

* An exciting programme of International dance on stage

* Solar and Pedal Powered Stage and a Solar cinema

* A busy marketplace of stalls of Local and London-wide environmental initiatives

* Environmentally friendly and recycled items

* Fun activities for all

* Information on how to join local community projects as a volunteer

Now, some history about the Fair...

* The first Canal Bridge Green Fayre in Peckham was held on the May Bank Holiday 1993, in the meadow of Northfield House in Peckham Park Road. (The bridge was removed as the road was widened and the local B&Q store was built).

* That first Green Fayre was a great success and for the next 3 years an annual Canal Bridge Green Fayre was held - first at Livesey Square in Peckham Park Road, then at the newly built Peckham Town Square. The Canal Bridge Green Fayre in 1994 was the first community event to be held in the Town Square at Peckham.

* The Green Fayres of the 1990s were organised by a group of local residents. Each year the planning group raised funding for the event from charitable sources and from the London Borough of Southwark, and each year the attendance grew.

* By 1996, the Fayre was so popular it attracted 4,000 people and positive media attention in the local press. The focus was young people, and attractions included rap artistes and musicians who would appeal to local youth.

* Sadly in 1997 a glitch in the planning process meant that the Fayre could not go ahead as no license had been obtained, and after this episode, there was a period of a decade where no Green Fayres took place in Peckham.

* In 2007, with a renewed interest locally in re-establishing the local Green Fayre, Peckham Voluntary Sector Forum via their project the Peckham Healthy Living Network brought together a number of local environmental organisations – the “Green and Healthy Peckham Fair” took place and 1,200 people attended the event.

Green and Healthy Peckham Fair 2007

The Canal Bridge Green Fayre working party is made up of Peckham Residents supported by Peckham Voluntary Sector Forum.

Contributors to the fair include:

  • Peckham Community Council
  • Peckham Wardens
  • Sustainable Services Southwark: Eco Schools
  • Friary Environmental Network
  • Southwark Cyclists
  • Peckham Green Ventures
  • Peckham F.O.E and Peckham Green Groups

Date: Saturday 20th September 2008
12 Midday - 6:00pm
Peckham Square

More Volunteers are urgently needed to help with organising the event!

There are some general requirements for volunteering on the event

* You must have time to attend a meeting once a month
* Be willing to carry out tasks
* Be available on the day of the event

Specific Needs

*Event management
*Design leaflets
*Design our Website
*Write press releases
* Recruit and manage volunteer stewards on the day
* Provide general administration support

What is in it for you if you volunteer at the Event?

* Meet new people who have similar interests like you.
* Knowing that you have made a contribution to a community event in your area
* Making a difference to our environment
* Receive support and training as a volunteer
* Learn new skills and gain valuable experience

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer at the event...

Ring Lesley on 07972 687 930 for details of the next meeting or send an email to: greenfayrepeckham [@]
(remove the [] to make one word before emailing)

See the map below for location of meetings

Address: PVSF, 48 Willowbrook Rd
SE15 6BW
Tel: 0207 358 9777

Willowbrook Rd is located between Peckham Hill Street and Trafalgar Avenue.

Are you a Trader who would like to be involved at the event?

* Do you have a product or a message to sell, advertise or to share with the public that is consistent with sustainable living?
* Are you working towards reducing your Carbon Footprint?
* Invitations are open for you to make applications for a stall at the Green Fayre

They are seeking Peckham Traders in particular, but others are welcome too!

To book a stall or a space please contact:

Lesley at the following email address:
greenfayrepeckham [@]
(remove the [] to make one word before sending your email)

Related Blog Topics

Peckham Green Fayre September 2008 - Applications open for Traders, Musicians, Artists and Schools

Monday, July 07, 2008

Green Architecture and Renewable Energy Buildings, An Ideal Home Scenario

If you were to design your perfect energy efficient house, what would it look like?

Mine would have Solar panels along the side wall that would open visor style to make a shade on hot days in the garden while collecting energy from the sun's rays. Also in the garden, there would be solar garden lights to provide light from dusk until dawn when they automatically switch off ready to store energy for later in the day.

In the toilet, I would have infrared toilet flush and infrared taps (no need to touch the handle to flush the loo or taps), which would be powered by solar and wind energy, you know those small wind turbines on the roof.

The infrared toilet flush and taps are also hygienic because you do not physically have to touch them. You just wave your hand in front of it, it detects movement and then automatically flushes the toilet or switches on the tap in order for you to wash your hands. Below are some examples of infrared flush and taps so you can see what they look like. The pink light is the sensor to detect movement.

Infrared toilet flush at my old gym

Infrared tap at my old gym

There would be small wind turbines in the garden to generate energy for the house, and possibly a small roof mounted wind turbine or possibly two. (I have recently seen two large roof mounted wind turbines on some flats on the Old Kent Road, near Elephant and Castle and some smaller ones on my journeys around London).

I visited an acquaintance a few years ago and in the bathroom there were heated floor tiles in the bathroom, which was great because you did not have to walk around on cold tiles. These tiles used electricity and apparently the heating device was laid onto the floor before the tiles were assembled over them. In my ideal futuristic house, I would have a similar layout in the bathroom, but it would be powered solely by solar (photovoltaic panels) and wind energy.

 Solar garden lights

Another acquaintance who lived outside London in Reading had a house with Solar panels along one side of the roof and halfway down the side of the house, the energy generated from these solar panels was enough to provide central heating for the whole house, a two bedroomed property (this was about 9 years ago). It would be nice to see more of these energy efficient buildings built for residential and commercial purposes making use of the space outside the buildings.

Off topic

While in conversation with a woman about a week or two ago, she told me that her neighbour had solar powered roof panels and sold her unused electricity back to the national grid. (see links below). It is amazing what you can learn while talking to people in random conversations.....Interesting!

Related Blog Topics

The future for energy efficiency

Related External Links

Quarter of UK homes to be offered a green makeover - The Guardian, Mon 9th Feb 2009

YouGen - How to store your solar generated electricity to use in the evening

Ways of Storing Electricity From Wind Turbines

Better Generation - Selling Electricity to the Grid

The Energy Saving House / Home Improvements

Sunday, July 06, 2008

The Day After Tomorrow Movie Trailer

The Day after Tomorrow is a film that highlights the events of global warming, climate change (whatever you want to call it) in a doomsday scenario of what could possibly happen as a result of climate change with extreme whether changes shown throughout a number of continents, from hailstones the size of grapefruit to extreme flooding, as well as hints of an ice age.

The Day after Tomorrow is one of several disaster movies which came out a few years ago, the message in the film is more relevant today than when the film was released. Stars Dennis Quaid as the Eco warrior trying to save the planet from imminent disaster before time runs out....

The Day After Tomorrow Movie Trailer

Related Blog Topics

Please take your rubbish with you

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Flood Risk - What can we do now to prevent it?

 Flood in the UK

What is causing the flooding that we have experienced in the past few years?

Global warming or global cooling (whatever we want to call it) is posing a huge problem in terms of rising sea levels. This, in turn leads to the persistence of flooding in areas nearer to rivers and seas, we have seen examples such as the persistent flooding in Gloucestershire in the UK and many other countries experiencing tsunamis and severe flooding.

The current flood risk such areas in the UK are now facing is being caused by heavy snowfall and rain.

How can we manage the flood risk more effectively?

Improve drainage systems - I have observed and inspected several blocked drains in and around London and after a few short bursts of rain, these areas become flooded very easily due to the poor drainage channels in the area.

More trees and conservation of woodland - Conservation and preservation of trees and woodland areas is of paramount importance. Trees and woodland areas provide shade and shelter for us as well as much needed oxygen in the air that we breath. Trees help to absorb excess water and will facilitate in helping to prevent flooding.

How can we be adequately protected from flooding when all the trees and forests are being cut down? How can trees help to protect us when they are being cut down to make room for housing developments? Conservation of wooded/forest areas is important in order to keep the ecological balance.

Trees help to regulate the environment and balance the eco-system by providing us with fresh oxygen and absorbing carbon dioxide, therefore we need woodland areas to be preserved not sold off to the highest bidder for housing developments etc. This is just common sense to me.

Development and housing in the inner cities is causing a great deal of the green spaces and parks to be turned into concrete areas, this in turn means that there are fewer places with soil and green spaces to soak up, absorb and drain the huge amounts of water deposited during the raining and snowy seasons.

As mentioned above, blocked drains filled with rubbish, leaves and paper will not allow water to escape effectively in the event of heavy rainfall or snow causing low level flooding in general.

Blocked drain full of leaves

Make use of Technology and Architectural building designs - I watched a documentary a few years ago and some of the houses in the USA were built on strong stilts raising them from the ground in order to prevent water entering and damaging the building during a serious flood. These raised buildings in turn would have to be strong and sturdy enough to withstand the pressure and force of the rushing water if there were to be serious flooding. These houses on stilts could be implemented here in the UK at high risk flood areas.

Flood contingency planning - If you live in a flood prone area, have a flood contingency plan on what to do before the floods come in for example the use of sandbags to absorb excess flood water. Also around the UK, we need to have a huge amount of money pumped into sturdy and strong flood defences to protect the United Kingdom from the threat of severe floods.

Flood barriers - The use of sophisticated flood barriers to shield areas that are prone to flooding. This is mainly effective to deflect water where there are rivers, lakes and large bodies of water.

Improve methods of detecting and dispersing flood water in high risk areas - We now have many ways to detect rainfall and adverse weather conditions such as rising tides and sea levels and should be able to predict some types of bad weather including extreme and heavy rainfall as well as a shift in weather patterns that would indicate that we were under attack from a serious flood. In improving our drainage systems and sewers, this would protect us from the threat of short term flooding.

Move water from flood prone areas to drought prone areas.

What can we do to protect the coastline from flooding?

Consideration should be given to the construction of an artificial coastline in flood ravaged areas near to the sea - A few years ago, I watched a documentary on TV where an artificial coastline had been built in a flood prone area. White sand had been shipped in from one of the desert areas and a new coastline built to keep the sea from flooding the seaside town, which had had a receding coastline opening up the threat of a serious flood from the sea.

An artificial coastline combined with high-strength flood barriers will help to keep the water from flooding, drowning and overtaking and burying built-up, populated areas.

Update 26th January 2011

I have been looking at other ways that floods can be prevented and remembered a number of dams that I have read about, one of them being the Aswan dam in Egypt. I think that in flood prone areas, consideration should be given to building a high dam to prevent flooding. Also this water can then be used to service other areas in need of water when shortages occur.

If you have any other flood control tips, leave a comment.

Related Blog Topics

Related External Links

To be continued.....

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

What are the benefits of recycling?

Family recycling at a supermarket

Last week, after an event I was walking around gathering drink bottles to throw into the recycling bins. One of my colleagues asked me "what is the point of recycling?"

I went on to explain briefly that recycling:
  • Saves landfill as most things that are not recycled end up going into a hole in the ground somewhere, a landfill site
  • It helps to conserve our resources and so helps the earth, so that we do not have to manufacture new things, we can just re-use the ones we already have
  • Recycling helps to save energy and so helps to reduce global warming
Although it may seem amazing, but many people do not actually know much about Green Issues, although sometimes we assume that they do. Take for example people who do not want to live near a landfill site because of pollution and health risks, but do not recycle at all and do not care to do so.

Recycling does not always mean that you have to necessary remanufacture the product or item, it can also mean that you can find other uses for the item instead of burying it in a landfill site somewhere.
These other methods of recycling, not necessarily remanufacturing:

There is one website/blog I subscribe to where the woman recycles old materials and items into purses and bags. See the blog called The Purse Project.

Another company, Escama studio uses old drinks cans and makes them into bags and even clothes from what I have seen. See a video of the bags and clothing in the video below....

Escama Studio - Recycled clothing from aluminium cans

Related External Link

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Recycling your Brita Water Filter Cartridges

About a month ago, I was shopping in Argos with a friend of mine. While we were in the queue waiting to pay for our order I noticed that they have a recycling facility for the Brita water filter cartridges, seeing as I have used these filter cartridges and their filter jug for the past 17 years, I was really interested to know that the cartridges can be recycled separately.

If you are familiar with Brita, they make water filter jugs and replaceable filter cartridges that you change after a month of usage. The water filter cartridges are made of a type of plastic and contain little filter grains.

Brita Recycling Drop Box at Argos

The point of my post is that Argos have a facility for recycling your old Brita water filter cartridges in-store in the form of a recycling drop-box, so instead of throwing your cartridges in the bin, you collect them and drop them off at your nearest Argos store for recycling.

Related External Links


Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Green Information Technology - Energy Efficient Laptops

I was recently having a conversation with some friends and came up with the idea of a solar powered laptop, I had already given away my money spinning idea and quickly pulled my fingers across my mouth in a gesture showing that I was zipping my mouth closed and we all had a joke about it...

A quick search online and I realised that my idea was not that original as there are countless results showing the solar powered laptop or something remotely similar incorporating the same idea (oh well, there goes my patent).

Solar powered laptops would work because they are portable and can be easily left in an area where they can catch natural light and recharge effortlessly. I saw one website with a man and his lightweight foldable solar powered panels which looked as though they could easily be plugged into a cable to power the laptop, this looked quite interesting....

It really would be nice to see more solar powered laptops for sale or in fact some kind of technology which could be adapted to mains powered laptops, that would be really cool. I guess this is known as green IT.

I've already seen solar powered mobile phone chargers and even seen a solar powered car, so it would be interesting to see solar powered laptops being sold, this would be especially useful if you are in an area where there is little to no electricity available to charge your mobile phone or laptop. 

Related External Links

BCS launches green IT qualification

Green IT needs public sector support

Sunday, March 09, 2008

The Garden - Nature's reserve on your doorstep

These days there are key housing developments happening around the United Kingdom, some of them look like a concrete jungle while others look like a work of art, but for those people lucky enough to have a beautiful garden either at the front or back of the house it can be quite exciting making it look nice and especially seeing the sometimes invisible creatures living inside. Here is a short article discussing the benefits of a garden, not only as a place for quiet reflection, catching some sun, relaxing with friends or just a nature reserve for birds, animals and other wildlife....

A garden can be a great refuge for birds and animals such as squirrels to play in, it is a great artificial countryside providing a comfortable sanctuary which allows wildlife to exploit it for food and shelter. Birdtables attract all kinds of variety of birds and provides food especially in the winter months when it gets cold and dark a lot earlier than the rest of the year.

A garden hedge can provide a nice shelter for birds to burrow in, nest and shelter away from the cold and frost while a pond provides a nice cosy home for tadpoles (I used to keep tadpoles and baby snails when I was a child), frogs and fish to breed balancing out the Ecosystem.

For people who do not have a garden, there is always the opportunity of visiting nearby green spaces such as parks, some people have allotments in the city or outside in the country and others opt to keep plants and flowers indoors transforming the inside of the house into an indoor garden where they have artificially running water, fish tanks, aquariums or potted plants bringing nature inside transforming sometimes dull surroundings into a green haven.

Related Blog Links

What is so good about trees?

What is deforestation?

Related External Links

Chelsea Flower Show 2011: Daily Telegraph garden is a modern classic

Friday, February 29, 2008

Fairtrade Fortnight - UK News and Events - 25th of February to the 9th of March 2008

Well, it looks as though the Fairtrade fortnight is in full swing....

The Fairtrade Foundation is holding a series of events to promote Fairtrade products around the UK.

The events are taking place from the 25th of February to the 9th of March with coffee mornings, breakfast days featuring Fairtrade foods and opportunities to sample, taste, view and buy Fairtrade products. There are also a variety of events such as film screenings, raffles, stalls, treasure hunt, games, fashion shows, presentations and many more events with various Schools, Colleges, Universities, Churches and Faith Groups, Individuals and Groups and Organisations taking part.

Take a look at the events calendar to see what is going on in your area...

Related External Links

Fairtrade Events Calendar

The Fairtrade Foundation

Fairtrade Campaign New and urgent actions

Related Blog Links

The Co-operative Fairtrade Cotton Carrier Bag for Life

Friday, February 08, 2008

The Co-operative Fairtrade Cotton Carrier Bag For Life

I popped into the Co-operative supermarket yesterday to pick up a few bits and pieces and at the till I spotted a nice Fairtrade cloth carrier bag, it looks quite cute and neat so I thought I would grab one. It's a nice cream and black colour, it also holds a nice basket of shopping quite comfortably too. You can fold it into your bag or pocket, and you can also wash it. The best part is that it only costs 99p.....What a bargain!

My shopping

On their website, the Co-op have this to say about the bag....
"Fairtrade Bags for Life, made from unbleached, biodegradable cotton, which is hand washable to prolong life. We expect this will eventually replace the 3.5 million plastic Bags for Life we currently sell each year.

As well as being less harmful to the environment, the Fairtrade cotton bags guarantee a fair price and a better deal for disadvantaged Indian cotton growers.
The production of the bag has created 300 new jobs in India, and for every one sold a donation is made to children's charity The Wings of Hope."

One blogger added this comment:

I saw the thread and wanted to let you know about our campaign for reusable bags.

Buying one of our Re-usable Bags at Tesco, CO-OP Fairtrade, Debenhams or Boots does not only help the environment, but provides a profession and livelihood to thousands of workers.

As the UK’s leading producer of Fairtrade and Organic reusable bags, a lot of work has been created at our own textile factory in Pondicherry, South India.
In fact, we now directly employs over 1000 local workers and provides them with on-the-job training to become stitching and printing professionals.
This indirectly helps support around 5000 family members.

For more information on our ground breaking work see our website

We were pioneers in introducing organic cotton bags and now are manufacturing Fairtrade certified cotton bags.
Our factory is Fairtrade accredited, ethically audited and Carbon neutral.

It has been independently audited for:-

Freedom of association and collective bargaining with employees having the right to join a union
Employment is freely chosen
A safe and hygienic working environment
All employees over 18years of age
Living wages paid
48 hour working maximum week
No discrimination

To encourage the use of reusable bags we have recently launched an online webshop and hope to introduce more new products. Your ideas welcome!

Related External Link

The Fairtrade Foundation UK

Supreme Creations - Bag for Life Producers

Planet Earth's new nemesis

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Pesticide may negatively affect estuarine health

PESTICIDE MAY NEGATIVELY AFFECT ESTUARINE HEALTH; NOAA Study Identifies Potential Impacts on Aquatic Food Sources — NOAA National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science researchers have identified potential effects of the commonly used herbicide atrazine on phytoplankton—free-floating algae forming the base of the food chain for aquatic animals. Published in the January 2007 issue of the journal Pesticide-Biochemistry and Physiology, the study indicates protein levels in phytoplankton significantly decreased as a result of atrazine exposure....

Click on the link above to read the rest of the article...

Monday, January 28, 2008

What is Deforestation?

Deforestation is the systematic destruction of forest areas and woodland around the world, not only does it affect wildlife and the food chain, it also affects the ecosystem. Cutting down trees and older woodland areas puts us at a greater risk of environmental disasters such as flooding, erosion, land slip and landslide. Such activities can include logging of timber for commercial purposes without replacing or replenishing lost woodland. Although we rely on trees for a number of everyday living activities, it is of paramount importance that we conserve and preserve our woodland areas for our own safety, protection and wellbeing.

Taking a quick look around my current environment and I can easily see so many uses for the wood from trees:

Paper, Newspapers, cardboard
Houses made of wood
Wooden bedframes
Furniture - tables, chairs, doors, floor boards
Storage and shelving

We have a multitude of uses for wood products, but our focus now should be on reducing such activities.

I think our emphasis should be on recycling.....

Planting new trees in the place of the ones we cut down to replenish and replace.

The following is a very quick and brief video but it does show some quick tips on how we can all participate....

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Some Energy Efficiency Tips For Your Home

  1. Fit Draught Excluders - to keep the house insulated and to keep the cold out from places such as your letter box and underneath doors.
  2. Make sure taps are tightly closed and check the hot water tap is completely turned off to prevent waste of water and to save your energy bills.
  3. Close curtains to keep the heat in during the winter and to keep the house warm and insulated.
  4. Make sure radiators and heaters are not obstructed - Foam in upholstery and household furniture, including sofas and chairs act as insulators and block the heat from circulating around your home, so place armchairs away from heaters and radiators in order for heat to circulate effectively.
  5. Close your windows - when you have the heating on, close windows to keep the house heated and to keep the heat inside the house and not outside.
  6. Turn off the lights and any appliances which are not in use in order to conserve electricity and save yourself money at the same time.
  7. Fit double glazed windows - Professionally fitted double glazed windows keep your home insulated and will help to keep the heat in and save on energy bills.
  8. Loft insulation - This will help to keep the heat from escaping through your roof and will also help to keep the warmth inside, this will also help to keep draughts out.
  9. Fit Carpets - Many people seem to like laminate flooring, however, these do not necessarily keep the heat in. You can fit carpets in order to provide a warmer and cosy home. On the other hand carpets accumulate dust and dirt where laminate or wooden flooring does not.
  10. Fit an energy efficient boiler - This will ensure that your home is warm with plenty of hot water at the turn of your tap.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Why is using biodegradable materials useful for the environment?

First of all, before this question can be answered, the meaning of biodegradable first has to be established...

What does biodegradable mean?

Biodegradable is the term used for anything that can be broken down or decomposed when exposed to the environment eg wind, rain, bacteria in soil, when exposed for lengthy periods of time.

You have probably seen some plastic bags in recent years, which say that they are biodegradable. Well, this simply means that they can be broken down or will disintegrate naturally when exposed to the environment.

So, why are biodegradable materials useful for the environment?

Simply put, they do not clutter landfills and cause a build-up of harmful toxic materials. They can be broken down as if they were not there in the first place.

I found the following YouTube videos on some available biodegradable materials quite interesting...

Zelfo - 100% biodegradable material made from hemp

ecoXpac - Biodegradable wine holder packaging to protect wine bottles

Biodegradable plastic: How does it work?

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Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Green tip of the day - Quick tips for defrosting your freezer

Ice and frost can build up in your freezer, particularly if you tend to leave the freezer door open for long periods at a time.
Energy output of the freezer can increase due to the build-up of frost inside the freezer and your energy bills increase as a result because your freezer has to work almost twice as hard with all the frost encrustations inside it.

Defrosting your freezer often will keep it as energy efficient as possible. If you have to buy a new freezer or fridge freezer, look for the frost free variety which either defrosts itself or does not collect frost at all. This will also save you a lot of your valuable time.

Quick defrosting methods
  • Turn off your freezer
  • Get a big bowl and fill it with hot water and then leave it inside the freezer so that it loosens the frost inside the freezer
  • Wear some rubber gloves
  • Use an ice pick (usually provided with your fridge/freezer) to pick off the ice and frost in the freezer, which should be loose as a result of the steam from the hot water.
  • Alternatively, switch off the freezer and leave it overnight to defrost. Make sure you have some rags ready to soak up any water that would leak all over the kitchen floor due to all the built up frost in the freezer.

Happy Green New Year!

Happy Green New Year 2008!
Let's hope this year is a lot greener than the last...

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