it's about how to save our planet from global warming.
Why?? cause not just ME stay in this planet there are YOU, THEM, OUR KIDS AND MANY BEAUTIFUL THING. so come on let's save OUR PLANET!!

Oct 30, 2009

Shipping Container Health Clinics For Developing Countries

Good design has the potential to provide better education, access to safe water and improved health care. Take for instance our very own Emily Pilloton of Project H Design, whose design projects are bringing vast improvements to their surrounding communities. Along the same line, a new non-profit initiative called Containers 2 Clinics is creating modular health care clinics for developing countries. To do so, they are rescuing shipping containers and then outfitting them with all the necessary equipment to treat women and children. Not only is this company delving into the fascinating world of shipping container architecture, but they are developing a much needed service for humanitarian aid.

The start-up organization’s plan is to retrofit and standardize shipping containers for use as health care clinics. These structures could be shipped in a standard way and easily transported on the back of a flat bed truck to the needed location. The standard configuration would consist of two shipping containers, renovated to allow space for patient consultation rooms, a laboratory, an office for staff and an inventory area. A container clinic could serve as a stand alone facility or augment a current facility. The containers are modified to provide ventilation, lighting, sterile lab and consultation space. At this time, the containers are meant to connect with current utility lines drawing on power from the grid, but they could easily be adapted to run off solar or wind power for off-grid applications.

Along with providing much needed health care facilities for developing areas, Containers 2 Clinics also plans to provide additional value in the world of health care and the local community. C2C will also be a vital part of a data collection system to capture health and epidemiological data to gain a better understanding of disease vector control. Staff for the clinics will be found within the local community and job training will be provided by C2C. The clinic model also includes a low-cost pharmacy for medicine and essential health commodities, which will help provide revenue for the clinics as well as a chance for local entrepreneurship.

Currently Stack Design Build, a Rhode Island-based green builder, is constructing the first prototype, which should be complete this November. This is definitely an exciting humanitarian design concept that could have incredible results. Low-cost and easily transportable, these standardized clinics could become part of the solution for better health care in many parts of the world. -inhabitat

LED-Equipped Solar Timbuk2 Bag Creates a FLAP at PopTech

Attendees at this year’s PopTech conference in Camden, Maine, were handed the Swag Bag to End All Swag Bags on Thursday: a messenger that transforms into a portable, solar-powered light source. A collaboration with Timbuk2 and the Portable Light Project, the FLAP (Flexible Light and Power) is a next-generation messenger bag with solar panels that can be charged in the day, then used to power a built-in LED light—or a small mobile device—at night.

CLEAN, MOBILE ENERGY

Renewable energy that is untethered to one spot isn’t a new concept to The Portable Light Project—the nonprofit has been working with the Rocky Mountain Institute to create portable solar textile kits for impoverished communities living without electricity. These energy-harvesting textiles offer the promise of clean, mobile technology for education, healthcare, and economic development, along with the potential for self-sustaining renewable energy even in the face of extreme poverty.

These energy-harvesting textiles offer the promise of clean, mobile technology even in the face of extreme poverty.

Buoyed by Timbuk2’s manufacturing expertise, working on the FLAP offered both teams of designers the unique opportunity to draw up, prototype, and field test a new—and affordable—multipurpose energy-generating and lighting design—one that could serve developed and developing nations, as well as be adapted to local materials and skills.

MODULAR, FLEXIBLE DESIGN

With a detachable flap that incorporates the solar panel, LED reading light, and a mini-USB port for charging small devices, the FLAP can be used to cast light or power a cell phone with or without the rest of the bag attached. Ingeniously, the flap’s reflective inner lining helps increase the range of the LED light, creating a makeshift lantern.

The detachable flap allows you to use the LED light and USB port with or without the rest of the bag attached.

Practicality and real-world performance, of course, was key, and White African and AfriGadget editor Erik Hersman was tasked with carting 10 partially fabricated bags and 10 solar light kits through Ghana, Kenya, and Uganda. Feedback ran the gamut, from quibbles over the oversized nature of the American-style Timbuk2 bags to observations that the electronics would need to be ruggedized for African use.

It’s what you might call a work in progress, admits Sheila Kennedy of the Portable Light Project. “The FLAP bag is a freeze-frame snapshot in our ongoing process of collaboration,” she says. -ecouterre

Oct 27, 2009

Smog

What is this?

Smog is a type of air pollution that accumulates in the lower atmosphere over towns and cities, emanating from vehicle exhaust pipes, factories and especially where a great deal of coal is burned. The word “smog” was coined and became fashionable in the early 20th century. It is a so-called “portmanteau” word. This means two words have been conflated to form a new word. The two root words in this case are smoke and fog.

Although this might have accurately described London smog early last century, today the word is a misnomer as smog commonly is a mixture of smoke and sulfur dioxide, not smoke and fog, which is simply moisture in the air. Modern smog is not as visible as smog of coal-burning origin but mainly from vehicular and industrial emissions that are acted on by sunlight to form secondary and less visible pollutants that also combine with the primary smog to form photochemical smog. The sum total of smog on earth is causing the ozone layer to degrade, leading to global warming and climate change, with inevitable consequences for life everywhere on the planet.

What impact does it have?

Smog constitutes a major health problem in most large cities. Ground-level ozone, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and carbon monoxide are especially harmful to the old and the young, and those suffering from heart and lung conditions. It is well-known that people with conditions such as asthma, emphysema and bronchitis are susceptible to the ill effects of smog. The lungs are simply unable to cope with the pollution in the air. Smog also causes eye and nose irritation and interferes with the body’s immune system, increasing the risk of illness. There is a proven link between the number hospital admissions and the ozone levels in the air, especially in warm summer weather. Some government agencies have estimated that the number of premature deaths caused by the presence of smog number in the thousands in large cities.

What has been done about it?

The Kyoto protocol, an agreement made under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC), has since1997 when it was introduced to 2008 been signed by 182 nations. This was the first international attempt to global co-ordination to reduce the amount of photochemical pollution, which is alleged to have created and to be widening the hole in the ozone layer. The nations that have ratified the treaty committed themselves, with effect from 2005, to reduce the emissions of carbon dioxide and five other so-called greenhouse gases (GHG), namely methane, nitrous oxide, ozone, CFCs and water vapor, or to engage in emissions trading if they maintain or increase emissions of the GHG.

Is this action working?

The United States has not ratified the treaty and the other main culprits namely Mexico, European Union, China and South East Asia have had little success in trying to reduce the amount of smog produced in their industrial cities.

Why is this?

Politics and economics have hampered governments from reaching their emission reduction goals.

Should it continue? On one side, there are those who are against

On one side, there are those who are against the entire notion of the Kyoto protocol and who say that global warming arguing that it has not been scientifically proven, although admittedly this a minority. Others see the Kyoto protocol as a scheme to slow the growth of the world’s industrial democracies, or a kind of global socialism initiative. Other critics of Kyoto are environmental economists who say the costs of implementing the treaty will outweigh the benefits. They see the protocol as fatally flawed -- too optimistic, unfair or impossible to implement. Some critics argue that 1990 should not have been used as a base year for all the signatories. Other critics are simply lobbying to protect their vested interests in heavy industry.

Should it continue? On the other side, there are those who are all for it

On the other side, there are those who are all for it, the 182 governments that ratified the treaty in particular. They had clear mandates from their electorates, in the case of the democracies, to accept the treaties. However several signatories, such as India and China, did not commit themselves to reducing emissions but merely to monitoring and reporting them. Some of the signatories, small countries such as Niue, the Cook Islands and Nauru, actually felt that Kyoto did not go far enough. It is worth noting that a UK government sponsored report (Stern Report) into the economic effects of climate change said that one percent of all global GDP was needed to counter the effects of climate change and the consequences could be a recession worth up to a quarter of global GDP. Green organization and NGOs are vociferous about Kyoto. Friends of the Earth have even taken countries to court for failing to reduce emissions. That being said, it is probably desirable, in the absence of anything else, that Kyoto’s ideals be pursued and developed as a global initiative. -supergreenme

Young Professionals


1. Gain a competitive edge, build your career

By being attuned to popular citizen concerns and staying current on green practices and technologies, you can help your employer solve environmental issues specific to your workplace. This makes you look good and can be very beneficial for your career. Helping your employer stay green reflects well on the company or organization and can help attract clients.

2. Practice what you preach

Maybe you're a professional that works in the environmental field, but have yet to adopt some environmental practices yourself. By adopting current environmental practices, especially those you may deal with at work on a daily basis, lends you credibility and shows others around you that the ability to be green isn't just theoretical, that it actually works in the real world.

3. Expand your career possibilities

There is increasing media focus on environmental problems, and citizens are becoming more concerned about the impact we are having on the health of the environment. The number of environmental problems that need to be tackled in combination with citizen and media focus on these problems means there is demand for environmental professionals. Society needs environmental engineers, lawyers, marketers, policy makers and business people. Going green can help you expand your career possibilities.

4. Gain experience

Volunteering for a local environmental group or starting your own green business can be a great way to get experience and fine tune skills employers are looking for. By being in charge of your own experience, you solve the "No job without experience, no experience without a job" dilemma.

5. Save money

Many of the things you might do to be green are not only good for the environment, but also good for your bank account. For example, hanging your clothes to dry saves power, and using sustainable modes of transportation (like biking and the bus) are much cheaper than owning a car. Some actions might require a large initial investment, but will save you money over the long run. Purchasing energy efficient appliances can save money on your water and electricity bills for years to come.

6. Gain valuable time

When you live so close to your work that you can walk or bike, you cut out long commuting times you would otherwise be spending stuck in rush hour traffic. This leaves more time for the activities you enjoy the most.

7. Keep fit and healthy

By walking, biking and taking the stairs instead of elevators, you'll have effortlessly fit some exercise into your day. In addition, you'll get to your destination without generating greenhouse gases, and help reduce smog in your city.

8. Meet new people

Getting involved in green initiatives by carpooling, listening to speakers and working with environmental community groups can be a great way to meet new and interesting people who share your interests.

9. Get to know the city you're living in

Maybe you've moved to a new town for a job or are moving back to your hometown after having been away for years of school and work. Getting involved in local environmental groups can help you connect (or reconnect) with local issues, from waste planning to urban development and local food from your city.

10. Help create your future

You're young and you've still got lots of time left on the planet. Help create a desirable future for yourself and your children. By acting responsibly today, you can help ensure resiliency and health of the earth's ecosystems. -supergreenme

Oct 24, 2009

Stencils and Mud Make for Artful Eco Graffiti

Youngster Jesse Graves has been running around Milwaukee stenciling his artistic messages of eco-sanity on sidewalks, walls, and concrete pylons. But lucky for his lungs and his criminal record, he's doing it with mud instead of paint. Graves, who signs his work MSR (mud stencils rule), writes: "I use mud or earth because it is a fundamental life-giving substance, logical for my messages. Mud stencils are an evolving medium, intended for art and social justice, not corporate advertisement."

Graves' iconography is well suited to the muddy medium (or maybe it's vice versa): his pieces show a cow dreaming about eating grass instead of industrial corn feed, he adds "compost" to the reduce/reuse/recycle loop, and a wispy dandelion says "eat wild." Most of his pieces are pretty bite-sized, but some are larger, like this one created to protest abuses at the Tamms prison in Illinois.

We've seen moss become graffiti-esq public art, and we've seen activists use pressure washers to create "reverse graffiti." Graffiti has been used to bring attention to scummy beaches, and by Greenpeace on Hewlett-Packard's roof.

Graves gives his recipe on his website. To do your own mud stencils you'll need: a utility knife, a roll of mylar, a sponge, and tape. He also seems to use a paint roller for some jobs. Oh yes, and mud. Graves suggests mixing it with a whisk to the consistency of peanut butter. We wonder how different muds would yield different colors and textures.

Although Graves writes his graffiti under the pen name of MSR (mud stencils rule), he isn't trying to hide his identity. In fact he invites anyone else working with similar materials to contact him directly. In this video, the too-young-to-shave propagator of the mud stencil art describes his approach. -treehugger

All Natural Homemade Mouthwash Recipes

Mouthwash is a neat little invention. It’s an easy way to feel like your mouth is totally clean and fresh smelling in a matter of seconds…and you can achieve all of this without a toothbrush on hand. It’s no wonder that mouthwash is so popular. My only question is this: Why should we grow so acquainted with pouring chemicals into our mouths, supporting the production and manufacturing of products that cause pollution, and spending money we don’t have to spend? There are natural ways to make mouthwash from items you very well may have around the house. Here are a couple recipes. Enjoy!

Spearmint

Boil 6 ounces of water and 2 ounces of vodka together. Add in 4 teaspoons of liquid glycerin and 1 teaspoon of aloe vera gel. Remove from heat and let cool. When cooled, add 10-15 drops of Spearmint oil and shake the entire mixture together well.

Rosemary Mint

Boil 2.5 cups of water. Add in 1 teaspoon of fresh mint leaves, 1 teaspoon of rosemary leaves, and 1 teaspoon of anise seeds. Let this boil for about 20 minutes. Once it is cooled, you’ve got your mouthwash! -Elizabeth Seward/Planet Green

Oct 22, 2009

Ten Reasons Why School kids Should Go Green

1. Because you’ve got energy and enthusiasm!

You’ve got all sorts of energy and enthusiasm; just the qualities that are needed to help solve some of the most interesting and also most complex problems. Your energy and enthusiasm can also help inspire others who are working on the same problems.

2. Learn about cool new technologies

Many of the newest technologies have been designed to decrease their negative environmental impact. Others have been designed specifically to tackle the problem. Either way, learn about new and exciting technologies that reduce your negative impact on the planet.

3. Develop good habits from an early age

By going green while you are still young it will become natural and easy for you to live sustainably. Teach yourself early for good habits through the rest of your life.

4. Get outside and have fun!

By walking or biking to school you get a bit of play time on the way to school. Get outside and enjoy the fresh air and nature around you!

5. Get great ideas for science fairs and projects

By going green, you will start finding challenges in your everyday life that need solving. These can lead to great ideas for science fairs, like Daniel Burd, who won the Canada-wide Science Fair for having found a way to make plastic bags degrade faster!

6. Teach your parents and family how to go green

Being in school you have a great opportunity to learn about some of the environmental problems our world faces and the new and emerging ways we might be able to solve those problems and go green. You can help show your family how to solve those problems through leading by example.

7. You’ve got the freedom to speak out and act on environmental issues

While you’re still young, you’ve got plenty of freedom and time to speak out and act to solve the environmental issues. Take advantage of the opportunity for as long as you have it; make your voice and your opinion heard!

8. Help solve environmental issues

Be a part of the solution! You have the power to work towards a better world, so make a commitment to doing so. Teach others, learn how you can become greener, and find new ways to live sustainably.

9. Expand your career possibilities

There in an increasing demand for people who are aware of environmental problems, and for people who work to solve these issues. By learning from a young age, you’ll be well prepared when it’s time for you to go to work.

10. Meet new people

Getting involved in green projects, like starting a compost or garden at your school, gives you a great chance to meet new friends who will have the same interests. -greenandsave

Oct 20, 2009

Eat Less Meat for More Sustainable Living


Overconsuming Meat Hurts the Planet and Your Body

People mistakenly believe that they need protein from animal flesh to survive. This is only true if you’re stranded at the North Pole in winter with no provisions! The reality is, you should eat less meat. Animal flesh provides too much protein for the human body to process, which leads to obesity and cancer. Rampant meat consumption harms is not sustainable for your body, and it’s definitely not environmentally sustainable for the Earth.
  • More than one-third of all grain in the world is used to feed livestock instead of people
  • Growing massive quantities of grain for cattle requires more toxic, cancer-causing pesticides and herbicides
  • Cattle take up 24 percent of the world’s land mass; massive deforestation occurs, including in the Amazon rainforest, to make room for pasture
  • Overgrazing depletes rich topsoil
  • A full one-half of all water consumed in the U.S. is to grow grain to feed cattle
  • It takes only 25 gallons of water to produce one pound of wheat, but it takes 2,500 gallons of water to produce on pound of meat
  • If water used by the U.S. meat industry weren’t subsidized by taxpayers, ground beef would cost $35 per pound.
  • It takes one gallon of gasoline to produce one pound of grain-fed beef
Factory Farms

Many people also mistakenly believe that the cows, pigs and chickens they eat are raised on sustainable, environmentally friendly family farms. But the ugly truth is, cows, pigs and chickens come from massive factory farms, also called confined animal feeding operations. These massive operations are the polar opposite of sustainable living and being environmentally friendly.

Manure

Livestock in confined animal feeding operations produce 500 million tons of manure. This manure is not processed in an environmentally sustainable manner. It is sprayed onto croplands at rates the ground cannot absorb or stored in open-air waste lagoons. These behemoth pits leak and spill into groundwater, streams, rivers and lakes, killing wildlife and posing serious health risks to humans.

Waste

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, cow, hog and chicken waste has contaminated 35,000 miles of rivers in 22 states and polluted groundwater, which supplies underground drinking water aquifers, in 17 states.

Solution

Eat Less Meat to Help Conserve Natural Resources

Go Green Tips

Eat chicken, fish and vegetables instead of red meat one day per week; this will reduce the same amount of global warming and greenhouse gases as driving 1,000 miles less

Eat less meat by limiting yourself to no more than three meat meals per week.

Eat less meat, especially red meat and dairy products, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and global warming. Cows produce an inordinate amount of methane gas. That’s right, cow farts exacerbate global warming and climate change! You have to remember, thousands upon thousands of cows are pent up in buildings the size of several football fields; they never venture outdoors into fresh air.

When you do eat meat, opt for organic and/or local sources. These sources are raised in a sustainable and environmentally friendly manner, and they contain more nutrients. If you really want to go green, go grass-fed!

Don’t forget about fish in your quest to eat less meat: It’s a lean source of protein. But don’t eat more than once per week to reduce mercury intake. Types that are harvested in an environmentally friendly and sustainable manner that also provide omega-3 fatty acids are wild Alaska salmon and sardines.

Super Green Tips

Eliminate beef, pork and poultry from your Eat Less Meat Diet Strategy altogether. It’s easiest to go green in this manner gradually over time by choosing to eat less meat instead of going cold turkey. This will give your teeth time to adjust to softer textures.

Shifting to an entirely meat-free diet reduces global warming and climate change greenhouse gases the same amount as driving 8,000 miles less

Protein
When you eat less meat, it’s very, very important to remember that your body still needs protein. Ideal protein sources for the human body include beans, nuts, seeds, tofu, hummus, nut butters and the occasional fish. You should get more protein than carbs at every meal and snack.

Save the planet and your health

When you go green and eat less meat, you’re not only saving the planet, but you’re saving your health. Let’s just say that you don’t want to know what animals in confined animal feeding operations are fed. But here are some hints: stale junk food from bakery outlets; other dead animals, which causes Mad Cow Disease; and other animals’ feces. Now that’s something that will definitely make you want to eat less meat! -supergreenme

Oct 18, 2009

Ice Caps Melt Faster than Ever

The Arctic ice caps are melting at a faster rate than scientists had predicted, a rate in which there will be little ice present within the next decade and is expected to melt completely within the next 20 to 30 years, according to expedition leader, Pen Hadow.

Hadow lead a 73-day expedition across the ice caps making over 6,000 observations and calculations. These measurements included the thickness of the ice, density of the fallen snow, along with the temperature of the sea and climate.

Along the 250-mile trek they found the average thickness of the ice to be 6 feet, typical in a first year piece of ice. These new findings allowed Cambridge Professor, Peter Wadhams to calculate these new findings in the cap’s ever increasing melting rate. Wadhams concluded, “In about 10 years, the Arctic ice will be considered as open sea.”

Once the ice is completely melted the earth will begin to change drastically and temperature will increase even more. These changes can include flooding, more extreme weather conditions, and stronger carbon emissions. This unexpected increase in the level of melting contributes to the importance of a global change. -greenandsave

Oct 15, 2009

Heroes’ Greg Grunberg: ‘How I’m Really Saving the World’

An Exclusive Interview with the Actor-Activist

Some celebrities create clothing lines. Others sponsor colognes. Greg Grunberg has created an eco-friendly iPhone app.

Greg, who plays the mind-reading cop Matt Parkman on Heroes, has started a mobile couponing application called Yowza!!. He took time out of his day to chat with Green & Save about his current projects and future plans.

Quite simply, Yowza!! is replacing the printed coupon. Although many retailers jumpstart ad campaigns by creating paper advertisements, coupons, and flyers, Yowza!! provides a more targeted, effective way to reach consumers—without all the paper waste. Instead of spreading the word through cardboard signs or window decals, Yowza!!’s first approach is to reach consumers through emails, texts, and social media outlets.

Yowza!! uses GPS technology to find retail locations within a certain mile radius—stores are listed with locations, contact information, and three money-saving offers. To access the deals, users either show a coupon code to the cashier or pull up a scannable barcode directly on their phone screens. Retailers are no longer at the mercy of paper advertisements floating around with outdated information because Yowza!! enables them to make changes and distribute new deals within minutes.

As altruistic as it may be to help both the environment and people’s wallets, the business plan makes sense. The product is free on the user’s end, whereas retailers pay to feature their special deals.

What, you ask, would inspire Greg to create this?

The idea began one day when he and his family went to Bed Bath & Beyond but left their coupon at home. Greg immediately started brainstorming for ways to change the whole system. “My character on Felicity [an entrepreneur who invents items ranging from edible marzipan boxers to a sleep mask/alarm clock combination] was kind of written for me,” Greg laughed, “and it was basically me. I’ve always been business-minded, and my father’s always had different businesses. I always try and come up with a new idea, the next big thing, that’s just how I’m built, how I’m wired… This is gonna be a global company. There’s nothing that’s gonna stop us from going all over the world, and it’s exciting!”

A self-proclaimed control freak, Greg is the sort of person who has trouble sitting by when there’s something to be done. “People look at what I’m doing, and they’re like, ‘When does that guy have a moment to sleep? How does he take his kids to school?’”

For the record, he does, in fact, take his kids to school.

One of his key aims is to convey his environmental consciousness to his children. “I’ve been paid over the years by different companies to do different things,” Greg said. “I don’t do it unless I’m passionate about it.” He points to a series of commercials for the Honda Insight Hybrid. “That was something that I could easily talk about,” he remembered. “We have solar panels on the roof and we recycle. And, you know, we watch our gas consumption and our carbon footprint… We’re trying to teach our kids.”

Greg’s message is one of empowerment. Whether that means pursuing environmental goals, starting a business, or supporting a meaningful cause, his message to his children and others is, “Just do one thing.”

When his oldest son Jake started suffering from epileptic seizures six years ago, Greg jumped to action by working with the National Epilepsy Foundation. “I have the ability to do a major, major thing and affect the whole world, really, by creating talkaboutit.org [an epilepsy awareness campaign],” he said. He also started a rock band called Band from TV to raise money for charity. Band members include Hugh Laurie and Jesse Spencer from House, Teri Hatcher and James Denton from Desperate Housewives, Bob Guiney from The Bachelor, and Heroes costar Adrian Pasdar. The band donates all proceeds to various charities and they have raised over $2 million for charities ranging from the Epilepsy Foundation to the Conservation Fund over the past three years.

From the aptly-named Band from TV to Yowza!!, the success of these endeavors hinges upon Greg’s celebrity, and he’s not ashamed to admit it. “Yowza!! is absolutely a bulletproof, incredibly intuitive, easy-to-use app for the consumer and also for the retailer, but it’s also got a celebrity attached…Across the board I’ve used my celebrity, and I’m proud to do it because I’m passionate about it.” He has accessed a huge audience via Twitter alone. He recalls his wife laughing at him, “Why do you care to tell people that you’re eating pasta right now?” Now, however, nearly a million people follow him personally, not to mention those following Yowza!! on Twitter.

How does he balance his never-ending projects? “I’m just kind of saying yes to everything and seeing how the chips fall. There are times when I… can’t go to a certain event, I can’t do certain things… Heroes obviously comes first, I have to shoot when the schedule comes up, but I just try and make it work. I have two great partners with the business, and I have the greatest partner in the world at home… But, you know, it’s just like anything else… You take it day by day.”

In the end, I couldn’t help but ask: Can we expect to see Matt Parkman shopping with canvas bags or being green in other subtle ways?

“You know what, I actually never even thought of mentioning that to the producers! I’m gonna do that, I’ll definitely say, why don’t we show that? It doesn’t have to be a story point, but no, that’s a really good idea… Saving the world and saving the world!” -greenandsave

Green Shaving – Making Your Shave Organic

Problem

Plastics Production
Switching to an electric or straight razor will keep plastic disposable razors from being made and filling up the landfills when you are done with them.

Hidden Cancer-Causers
Triethanolamine (TEA) or diethanolamine (DEA) are both present in a lot of shaving products as emulsifiers, and are known carcinogens. Do you really want to be using these when there is a good chance that they can get into your bloodstream?

Energy Consumption
When using an electric razor, you could be drawing a lot of energy. Purchase an Energy Star rated razor to cut down on energy consumption, or use a straight razor.

Solution

Stop Using Disposables
Disposable razors fill up landfills and waste petroleum through the plastics production.

Go for Disposable Blades
If you can’t afford an electric razor and simply wish to avoid a straight razor, disposable blade razors are the next best thing.

Clean Up before you Trim
Wash your face before shaving – this will make a huge difference in how good your shave is. Good old soap and water or your girlfriend’s cleanser will do fine (just ask her first!).

Shaving Gel & Cream
Avoid all of the carcinogens and opt for a more natural shave. Aveda’s Rosemary Mint shaving gel will give you a close shave without making you smell like a girl, and it is all natural. Similar products are available from most health food stores, or from herbancowboy.com.

Aftershave
Avoid drying alcohol aftershaves as they not only dry and irritate the skin, but may contain harmful chemicals as well.

CFC-Free – Of Course it Is
Don’t be fooled by this particular greenwashing label. CFC’s have been banned by most of the world for 30 years. You will probably want to avoid products with this label – what else are they hiding?

Super Green Me Tips

Straighten Up
Purchase and use a straight razor and shaving soap. Your grandfather’s old method of shaving is also the best for the environment. If you need to get the technique down and nobody in your family can show you, take a trip to your local old-school barber to get a lesson. They’ll be happy to show you how to do it yourself for an extra little bit in the tip cup!

Or simply go with Mother Earth News’ helpful how-to article:
http://www.motherearthnews.com/Do-It-Yourself/1972-03-01/How-To-Use-A-Straight-Razor.aspx

Not only will you be saving the earth, you won’t ever need to prove your masculinity to your friends again.

Effectiveness / Result

The Facts

Braun claims that using their Energy Star shaver over other electric shavers will save 12 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions per year.

2 Billion disposable razors are purchased annually in the US alone. -Supergreenme

Oct 13, 2009

Make a Chair from on Old Barrel

Use a found object to make functional furniture

It doesn't take much imagination to turn a barrel into a chair—all you have to do is sit on it, and voila! But it does take imagination to turn a barrel into a chair that you want to sit on.

Instructables' contributor Monkeybrad presents great instructions on how to take a 55 gallon barrel and turn it into a cool, modern looking arm chair.

You can add your own style and flair by sewing up some unique cushions or upholstering it with found fabrics, and you'll have yourself a comfy new piece of furniture made the green way.

There are other cool found material options for making chairs, including street signs and road blocks. Keep your imagination open, and you'll have a set of one-of-a-kind chairs in no time. -planetgreen.discovery

Alarm Clocks: Easy Greening

Cultures across the globe believe that waking up suddenly is actually dangerous for the soul. Somehow, that really resonates. At the very least, the heart-rattling bell or shrill startling beep beep beep of a standard alarm clock is just a crummy way to start the day. Scientists don’t study safety hazards for the soul, but studies have found that gradual awakening increases sleep quality. Read about alternative alarm clocks here and discover how to wake up on time gracefully.

Studies have shown that waking gradually improves sleep quality. In these trials gradual wakening was done through dawn simulation, a technique in which light is gradually increased in imitation of a natural sunrise.

We have inherited biological rhythms that are in tune with our environment—which is to say that our internal clocks are set to the sun. Dawn simulation helps to reset the body clock in a way that allows our bodies to start waking up the way the body naturally wants to wake up. By coordinating awakening to our bodies natural rhythm and our surroundings, overall sleep improves. In studies, dawn simulation not only improved sleep quality, but increased well being overall!

Personally, waking up with the sunrise is my favorite way to start the day and suits my schedule well in the summer. But with shorter days and later sunrises, I need to get up before the sun does. I find that a softly beeping alarm clock is preferable to something more startling, but I think there’s something to this dawn-simulation theory. It just makes sense. And if indigenous cultures across the globe share a similar theory about sudden wakening, I am prone to think there must be some universal wisdom in the belief.

To that end, there are a number of non-alarming alarm clocks designed to ease your way from slumber to bright-eyes. Generally referred to as dawn simulating or sunrise clocks, they have a light that gradually increases—and apparently they actually do wake you up. One even has an aromatherapy option with which you can choose to wake up with the scent of brewing coffee. These just seem like much better options than, say, the Sonic Bomb Clock with its 113 decibels (louder than a jackhammer) and 12-volt bed shaker. Soul, take cover.

Sunrise clocks are more expensive than your average clock, but there is a range in price and less expensive ones can be purchased for under fifty dollars. Some other less expensive, gentle awakening, alternatives to sunrise clocks are listed below as well. And if you’re worried about sleeping through the “sunrise”—most people report that it works even for sound sleepers, but sunrise clocks come equipped with a back-up alarm just in case.

Alarm clocks to prevent a rattled soul:

The Peaceful Progression Wake-Up Clock is one of the least expensive ones on the market, and comes equipped with nature sounds and an aromatherapy bowl.

BioBrite has a whole line of award winning dawn simulating clocks—you can check out the range of their products here.

Lighten Up isn’t an alarm clock, but an adaptor to use with your own lamp that will gradually turn on the lamp. There are other similar products on the market, but at twenty-five dollars this is the least expensive one we found—it is privately distributed.

If a sunrise clock is out of your reach, this Nature Sounds Alarm Clock can give you a similar wake up call, in the form of crickets, water, birds, seagulls, or rooster—all that soul-soothing nature for under eleven dollars! -Melissa Breyer/care2

Oct 10, 2009

Mercury Contamination Found In Fish Nationwide

Mercury was detected in every fish sampled in 291 streams across the country in a U.S. Geological Survey study released Aug. 19.

Nearly a quarter of the fish contained mercury at levels above the amount the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency considers safe for people who eat an average amount of fish, USGS said. The study also reveals an alarming risk to mammals that eat fish.

“This study shows just how widespread mercury pollution has become in our air, watersheds, and many of our fish in freshwater streams,” said Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar. “This science sends a clear message that our country must continue to confront pollution, restore our nation’s waterways, and protect the public from potential health dangers.”

The study found high levels of mercury in fish in “blackwater” streams in North and South Carolina, Georgia, Florida and Louisiana, undeveloped watersheds in the Northeast and the Upper Midwest, and in areas of the Western United States affected by mining.

Mercury is a neurotoxin that seriously threatens U.S. waterways, USGS says. The main source of mercury to natural waters is mercury that is emitted to the atmosphere and deposited onto watersheds by precipitation. However, atmospheric mercury is not the only source. Each state has a mercury monitoring program, while the EPA also monitors mercury emissions. In early 2009, EPA said it would control airborne emissions of mercury from coal-fired power plants under the Clean Air Act. -Vivi Gorman/greenandsave

Timberland Presents Recyclable Boots

Timberland’s Earthkeepers line of footwear has a new role model: the Earthkeepers 2.0 boot, designed to be taken down to its parts and recycled or reused at the end of its life.

The apparel and footwear company launched the Earthkeepers line in 2007, with requirements for recycled, organic and renewable material and solvent-free adhesives. The new boot takes the sustainability commitment a step further, designed with soles made from discarded rubber tires, via a partnership with Green Rubber Inc., and to be disassembled and returned to any Timberland store for recycling. It will be available this fall.

Eighty percent of the Earthkeepers 2.0 boot can be recycled or reused: the leather is refurbished at a Timberland facility in the Dominican Republic, the Green Rubber soles are sent to a plant in Georgia for recycling, removable metal hardware can be reused in new footwear or recycled and polyester lining can be recycled into new polyester products.

The soles are composed of a blend of Green Rubber compound and virgin rubber through Green Rubber’s DeLink technology, for which the company was recently awarded a Global Green product design honor, Timberland says. Green Rubber is owned by The Petra Group of Kuala Lumpur and its U.S. office is located in Ohio. By 2012, Green Rubber intends to recycle the equivalent of more than 200 million discarded tires every year.

By partnering with Green Rubber in the Earthkeepers line production, Timberland expects to displace 42 tons of virgin rubber with recycled tire rubber. -Vivi Gorman/greenandsave

Oct 8, 2009

Biological Pest Control

Biological pest control involves the use of natural predators in order to control pests, rather than relying on chemical compounds such as insecticides. Often times the numbers of natural predators are simply increased, though sometimes a new predatory species is introduced into the area, usually with government supervision.

Some very popular predators include ladybugs, which are voracious predators of aphids, flies, and wasps. Lacewing flies are especially popular because they require large amounts of food during their lifetimes. Introduction of new species is always done carefully, because sometimes new species turn out to be a poor predator and instead become invasive.

A good example of this is the Cane Toad, which when introduced to Australia, proved toxic to its natural predators and also couldn't jump high enough to eat the cane flies it had been brought in to control. -supergreenme

Oct 6, 2009

Going Green in Your Bedroom

Top Ten Ways to Go Green in Your Bedroom
You may wonder what exactly you can do to go green in your bedroom. After all, it's not like you have an energy sucking refrigerator in there, or a water guzzling toilet. You may be surprised then to learn that there are many things you can do to create a more eco-friendly bedroom, and a bedroom that is healthier for you as well. Here are the top ten tips to help on the road to a green and healthy bedroom.
 
1. Insulate Your House

A well insulated home will keep heat in during the winter, and out during the summer. A well insulated house will help cut your energy bills tremendously, and some utility districts (especially those owned by the public) have assistance programs for some people who want to better insulate their homes. A well insulated bedroom means no noisy heaters and no fights over the covers at 2 am.

2. Use Blankets, Not Heaters

Another good way to cut down on your electricity consumption and go green in the bedroom is to invest in good blankets for the winter. These will trap your body heat during sleep, making outside heaters unnecessary. Down insulates well, as does wool. If you are allergic or don't use animal products there are several hypoallergenic options on the market.

3. Windows, Fans, and Blinds are Your Friends

Air conditioning is a huge source of power consumption; one unit can raise bills by as much as 25%. Instead of turning on the AC open your windows and turn on ceiling fans to circulate the air. Also invest in good blinds and drapes to block out the glaring sun.

4. Use CFL's in Your Light Fixtures

A compact fluorescent bulb can be four to five times more efficient than a regular light bulb, saving you big bucks in the process. Of course, remember to turn off the lights when you are not in the room as well.

5. Buy Vintage Furniture

I think everyone can agree that we need more trees on this Earth, rather than less. To go green in the bedroom you need to reduce, reuse, and recycle, and furniture is a great place to start. You don't need to pay big bucks for fancy antiques though, look in the newspaper for castoffs that are only a few years old, and hundreds of dollars less.

6. Choose an Eco-Friendly Mattress

One of the scariest events in your bedroom happens in the mattress you sleep on every night. Most conventional mattress give off gas chemicals like formaldehyde and PDBE's, which are carcinogenic flame retardants that have been found to cause learning disabilities in children. Instead, get a emission free mattress, or one made of natural materials like wool that are inherently flame-retardant. Latex mattresses are also considered safe.

7. Buy Organic Linens

One of the easiest ways to go green in the bedroom is to buy organic linens for your bed. Cotton is one of the most pesticide and synthetic chemical intensive crops on the planet, and conventionally grown cotton is very hard on the land. Also, conventional sheets are soaked in chemicals to make them softer before you buy them. Steer clear of these slimy sheets and buy organic cotton or bamboo sheets, which are readily available at most department stores.

8. Consider a HEPA filter

The EPA estimates that indoor air is anywhere from two to five times more polluted that outdoor air. Part of going green in the bedroom involves safeguarding your health, and a quality HEPA filter can help do that. Your breathing helps determine your quality of sleep as well, and a HEPA filter can help improve this. If you don't want to go for an air filter, at least buy a vacuum with a HEPA filter to help improve the quality of the air in your home.

9. Choose Hypoallergenic Materials Over Down

Some people are allergic to down while others protest the methods of producing it. Whichever way you feel there are tons of hypoallergenic and eco-friendly options on the market. Some options include wool, cotton, millet hulls, buckwheat, and shredded latex. Just make sure that whichever you choose, it was organically produced!

10. When You Redecorate, Choose low-VOC Paint

Volatile organic compounds, or VOC's, can emit toxic fumes not only while you are painting but for years to come. To go green in your bedroom choose a paint with little to no VOC's or look for a paint with the Green Seal stamp of approval. This is just one of the ways you can help turn your bedroom from a toxic environment to a healthy and peaceful place.

As you can see, going green in the bedroom not only benefits the environment but also your health. Most of the tips above are easy to follow, so why not get started today? -supergreenme

Oct 5, 2009

Disney Earth Available on DVD and Blu-Ray

The widely popular nature documentary, Earth, is scheduled for release on DVD and Blu-Ray this Tuesday. Earth is the first feature film developed by Disneynature, which is an independent film label create by the Walt Disney Company. This documentary earned over $32 million at the box office and is poised for strong DVD sales.

Earth is narrated by James Earl Jones (your children will recognize his voice as the father of Simba from Disney’s The Lion King), and tells the remarkable story of three animal families and their amazing journey across the planet we all call home.

Earth combines rare action, unimaginable scale and impossible locations by capturing the most intimate moments of our planet’s wildest and most elusive creatures. The acclaimed creative team (directors Alastair Fothergill and Mark Linfield) who created the Emmy Award winning “Planet Earth” combined forces again to bring this film to life. This movie is destined to be another Disney classic and is perfect for the whole family. 

Disneynature already has six more projects in the works with Oceans scheduled for release in theaters on Earth Day 2010. -greenandsave

October Is Energy Awareness Month

October is Energy Awareness Month, which was first proclaimed in 1991 by President George H.W. Bush.

Promoted by the U.S. Department of Energy, the theme for 2009 is “A Sustainable Energy Future; Putting All the Pieces Together.” The campaign aims to encourage all of us to see how we fit into the big picture.

Each of us has the power to make choices every day with regard to using power and reducing how much we consume. Energy Awareness Month should propel us toward energy independence as a nation.

DOE announced Sept. 14 that it will allocate $454 million to a new program to make energy efficiency retrofits happen in homes and businesses. New construction is increasingly incorporating ways to conserve energy and water use, but existing buildings continue to gobble up energy. The “Retrofit Ramp-Up” initiative will save $100 million per year in utility bills.
Energy Saving Tips

But you don’t have to wait for rebates and tax credits. Trimming energy use through efficiency can take several forms related to heating, cooling, lighting and power sources. At home, energy-efficient appliances use less electricity, natural gas and water; turning off computers, televisions and entertainment systems when not in use substantially reduces the amount of electricity consumed; installing a programmable thermostat cuts down on the amount of heat generated; and changing old, incandescent light bulbs to energy-efficient compact fluorescent lamp bulbs makes an enormous impact on electricity consumption.

Yes, light bulbs make a difference! Lighting accounts for as much as 20 percent of energy use. Compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs utilize 75 percent less energy than incandescent bulbs, last ten times longer and provide the same amount of light. If every home in America replaced just one incandescent light bulb with an ENERGY STAR-qualified CFL, in one year it would save enough energy to light more than 3 million homes and would prevent the release of greenhouse gas emissions equal to that of about 800,000 cars.

Read on to learn twelve ways to save money in under an hour. Get more information on heating tips from the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-conditioning Engineers or find out about geothermal heating and cooling for your home.

Businesses can benefit from deriving their power from alternative energy sources and using more efficient technology for lighting, heating, and insulation. Many businesses have undertaken lighting retrofits to save energy and money. Several, including the U.S. Navy, Wal-Mart, the New York Times, Holiday Inn, and Arizona State University have undertaken lighting retrofits, including light emitting diode (LED) lighting, according to Environmental Leader.
Lighting The Way

On Aug. 24, DOE allocated $6.2 million for researching and developing next generation energy-efficient lighting, including solid-state lighting such as LED lighting, which reduces electricity costs by 80 percent. One private sector company, LED Saving Solutions focuses on cost containment by offering $100 million in LED lighting retrofits at zero out-of-pocket expense to hospitals, schools , office buildings, manufacturing plants, warehouses, hotels and other businesses around the country and is also sponsoring a rebate program for organizations to trade in old light bulbs for efficient LED bulbs.

In September, Business Week reported that the LED market, while a small portion of the lighting industry, is expected to be the fastest-growing segment in the next 10 years.

“U.S. goals to improve new building efficiency by 50% and existing building efficiency by 25% over the next decade will lead more companies to turn to LED,” Business Week said. -greenandsave

Oct 2, 2009

Cycling Tip of the Week: Keeping Your Bike Clean

Regular washing of tires, chains, and more will keep your ride running smoothly.

Just about everything on a bicycle is exposed to dirt, grime, grease, and other stuff best left to your imagination. Keeping your bike clean will not only help it run better and last longer, regular cleanings can familiarize you with bike parts and enable you to recognize the early signs of wear and tear. It's win-win...as they say.

Cleaning the frame and wheels

Be sure to use a green soap and, of course, the least water possible (no need for a hose). Rags or sponges will do the job but you might wanna try an old toothbrush for those hard-to-reach spots.

Cleaning the chain and gears

Remove the chain before cleaning and soaking it in a non-toxic cleanser. As for the gears, either remove the rear wheel or shift the chain to the lowest gear beforehand.

Don't forget the accessories

Your helmet is subjected to as much dirt as just about any part on your bike. Soapy water and a rag should do but a fun green idea is to wear your helmet into the shower to clean it and yourself at the same time. As for your trusty water bottle, it seems the traditional cleaning methods involve...wait for it...bleach (cue ominous music). We'd suggest you skip that idea and go with the old reliable combo of white vinegar and baking soda. A green cleaning brush will come in handy. -planetgreen.discovery

Polar Bear: Fight for Habitat

Country: Canada
Location: The polar bear lives in the icy waters and frozen tundra of the arctic. 19 subpopulations exist in Alaska, Canada, Russia, Norway and Greenland.

About :The Polar Bear's Physical attributes
  • The polar bear lives for 20-25 years and is the largest species of all bears.
  • It stands 8-10 feet tall. Males weigh in at anywhere from 550-1700 pounds. Females weigh 200-700 pounds. Their extra blubber is needed for warmth in arctic temperatures and frigid waters.
  • The polar bear has the thickest fur of any bear species; it’s needed for warmth. Its white color serves as camouflage for the hunter.
  • The polar bear has oversize feet to distribute its substantial weight. These feet make great paddles for swimming and it uses its hind legs as rudders. The feet have vacuoles that act as suction cups on the ice.
  • The polar bear can swim for many hours and travel up to 43 miles a day.
Food source

Ringed seals are the polar bear’s main food source. They will hunt some bearded seals and an occasional walrus. Given the chance, they will eat a beluga or other arctic whale and feed on carcasses, birds, berries, kelp and other vegetation.

The polar bear needs to eat 1 ringed seal every 6 and ½ days to sustain itself.

Social behavior
  • Polar bears are solitary animals except for mothers and their young.
  • Although the polar bear is a solitary hunter, it does not fight over territory and will feed with other bears.
  • The polar bear has the little-understood ability to navigate from drifting ice to dens in autumn.
  • Most of these arctic bears do not need to hibernate because their food supply is available year round. Females do hibernate while pregnant.
Reproduction
  • The polar bear has one of the lowest reproductive rates of any mammals.
  • Mating occurs in March or May but implantation is delayed until September and October.
  • Females bear 5 litters in a lifetime. Litters usually consist of 1-2 cubs. Litters of four may be born but they rarely all survive.
  • Pregnant females dig out dens by coastal waters to hibernate while gestating.
  • Cubs are born November through January while the mothers are in hibernation.
  • Cubs remain with their mothers for 2 and ½ years so females only reproduce every 3 years.

Reason they are engangered

Global warming
  • The Arctic ice cap has shrunk by 1 million miles in the past 30 years. The ice cap is shrinking at a rate of 9% each decade. All summer sea ice could vanish by year 2040.
  • As the sea ice melts, fish and seal populations decline.
  • Polar bears are swimming for longer and farther and are drowning in their search for food.
  • The melting ice creates movement of sea ice that leaves many bears stranded in unsuitable habitats.
  • Increased rainfall causes coastal birthing dens to collapse upon hibernating mothers and helpless infant cubs.
  • Females are not producing enough fat to survive the reproductive process and hibernation. They are now seen to cannibalize their own young.
Conflict with humans

Food shortages and increased human contact has polar bears feeding on garbage dumps, often ingesting poisonous substances.

Polar bears are unaware of the dangers fire presents, so burning garbage can often takes thier life as well.

The melting sea ice has made tourism an easier endeavor. Increased human contact (and garbage) results in more conflicts between bears and humans. This danger often results in the shooting and killing of polar bears.

Pollution

The arctic is often thought of as the “sink” for toxic substances. Chemicals and pesticides end up in arctic waters and affect the whole food chain.

The polar bear is at the top of the food chain and so ingests the most toxins.

The concentration of these poisons has been found to be extremely high in polar bears. It creates physiological damage and hormonal imbalances. It compromises their immune systems and drains them of necessary minerals for bone density and reproduction.

Hunting

Subsistence hunting of the polar bear has been allowed in Canada, Greenland and Alaska. Scientists feel that the dwindling numbers and increasing habitat threat should spark legislation to impose limits or quotas on the bears that are taken.

Sport hunting of the polar bear is allowed in Canada and Greenland and may be one of the reasons Canada refuses to declare the polar bear endangered.

Although the US Marine Mammal Protection Act is supposed to prohibit Americans from killing marine mammals or importing their products, exceptions are made for American hunters returning with trophy bears from Canada.

In 2007 Russia lifted its 50 year ban on killing polar bears to try and stop poaching. Poaching has always been a problem since the ban and has increased with the ease of hunting in the melting cap. Officials hope that a legal quota will appease hunters.

The search for oil

The melting sea ice and easier navigation through arctic waters has also triggered the interest of oil seekers.

President Bush leased almost 30 million acres of polar bear habitat in the Chukchi Sea for oil and gas drilling. This happened even though the $3.3 billion in bids from 7 giant oil corporations did not include any proven way to clean possible oil spills in broken-ice waters.

After a 3-year legal battle waged by the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), The Center for Biological Diversity and Greenpeace against the Bush administration, the classification of the polar bear as a “threatened” (but not endangered) species was finally won.

The protection plan provided for the polar bear has loopholes for oil companies and other pollutant sources. It does not designate critical habitat areas or recognize global warming as a cause for the polar bear’s disappearing habitat.

Present legislation

President Bush is now pushing a plan to weaken Endangered Species Act laws. His plan will:

  • Eliminate informal consultations with the Fish and Wildlife Service. Companies have to request these preliminary consultations to determine the impact of their product or service on wildlife and habitat.
  • Reduce the number of formal consultations on impact needed to introduce a new product or service. If the company or agency unilaterally decides that there will be no impact: formal consultations will be eliminated.
  • An agency or company can avoid or minimize consultations by the “Lack of Causation” argument. This avoidance can occur if they determine that their product or service will only have marginal impact on a species. Cumulative marginal impact is the cause of extinction.
  • Impose an arbitrary deadline on the consultation process. If an agency like the Fish and Wildlife Service fails to respond to a request for a consultation within a certain time frame, the company or agency can go ahead with development and production with impunity.
How you can help

Visit the National Resources Defense Council site for their plan to stop global warming and help Polar Bears http://www.polarbearsos.org/. -supergreenme