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May 2010

05/28/2010

How Science Is Improving Our Understanding Of Nature

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Birdmigration For centuries, scientists have engaged in research that has increased our understanding of nature and    how natural forces work to create and sustain the world and universe we see today. The purpose of science is to follow a process of making careful and unbiased observations in order to generate knowledge about the world through tested theories based on the scientific observations. Although theories may not guarantee the absolute truth about a particular scientific theory, the idea is to get as close to an accurate approximation of the truth. The result will lead to a more accurate and credible understanding of how the natural world works.

Scientists seek to learn as much as possible about the nature of the world. By using intellect, the aid of scientific study devices, and formulated scientific hypothesis, scientists now have a better understanding of nature. For instance, the principles of motion and the law of gravity are applicable when studying other parts of the universe, even if we have yet to travel to these areas. The same principles can be applied to other forces such as seeking to understand ocean tides, bird migrations, earthquakes, and hurricanes. Scientists study patterns both in the natural world and in laboratories using technologically advanced research devices to gather data, take measurements, and make their observations and create their scientific theories. The result is an improved understanding of nature.

Science also helps us understand how we evolved. By studying such elements as fossils of species that once roamed the earth millions of years ago, various rocks and other matter located deep within the earth, skeletal remains of dinosaurs, and the remains of prehistoric man and early primates, scientists have made many significant discoveries about how we evolved. In fact, such famous scientists as Stephen Hawking, Carl Sagan, Albert Einstein, and Charles Darwin, have all contributed important theories and data that have brought us even closer to understanding how the universe emerged and developed.

Globalwarmingpipes How science has reconstructed the events in the history of the planet and its life forms have led to remarkable improvements and insight into how nature works. For instance, by studying the contours of the ocean floors, the shape of continents, the effects of a volcano eruption and earthquake, and where different fossils have been found, we get a better understanding of why our continents reside where they are and how human populations and species migrated and evolved to what we see today. We also get a better understanding of the results of the ice age and the effect it had on the types of species we have today. Understanding how the world evolved and the changes that took place also helps us to better understand current world problems such as the effects of Global Warming which is essential to finding ways to slow it down. By understanding how nature and its natural forces work, we are better able to come up with ways to manage the planet and its inhabitants.

Because science relies heavily on accurate and unbiased data, there is a constant development of advanced techniques and instruments which has lead to many astounding discoveries in the world and universe. For instance, the Hubble Telescope has resulted in many astounding discoveries about the stars, planets, black holes, and even far away galaxies. With advanced computer systems and other technologically advanced instrument, the future for scientific discovery looks bright concerning our understanding of the history of the universe and the history of life on earth.

It will be interesting to follow the progression of nature and science in the years ahead. physics research will also be developed and integrated into even more systems that we use in everyday life.

Distributed by ContentCrooner.com

05/27/2010

Ford Commits to Water Usage Transparency

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Ford Waste Water Last month, Ford Motor Company became the first automaker to officially commit to total transparency about their water usage. The CDP (Carbon Disclosure Project) Water Disclosureinitiative is a move toward managing our shrinking H2O resources, and Ford is joining them in hopes to raise awareness on water conservation and eco-responsibility for their own company, the rest of the auto industry and corporations around the world.

“Water scarcity is quickly becoming a critical global issue with significant social and environmental implications and all of us need to be part of the solution,” said Sue Cischke, Ford group vice president, Sustainability, Environment and Safety Engineering. “For the past decade, Ford has made it a priority to conserve water and joining CDP Water Disclosure is another important step in our commitment to this issue.”

According to the CDP, it is through water that the impacts of climate change are most likely to be felt, with changing patterns of precipitation and water runoff affecting the supply of this critical resource. At the same time, population growth, urbanization and rising per capita consumption are expected to result in rapidly increasing demands for water. Ford is one company who has taken action, and since the year 2000, has reduced its global water consumption by 62 percent, saving an estimated 10.5 billion gallons from manufacturing operations.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development forecasts that 47 percent of the world’s population will be living in areas of high water stress by 2030 unless new policies are introduced.

05/26/2010

Is Being Eco-Friendly Too Much Work?

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TiredwomanHow do you think of being eco friendly? Is it something that’s just a part of your day or is it something that takes a lot of work? How you view it is probably a big part of whether or not you’re succeeding at being green.

It’s Too Much Work!

Work. Effort. Time consuming. Expensive. Inconvenient.

Those are some of the ways many people see being eco friendly. It’s no wonder people don’t want to concern themselves about the environment when that’s how they see the steps required.

And it’s true of some eco friendly things you can do. Having your own organic garden takes work and is time consuming. Organic and local produce can be expensive and inconvenient. Putting in solar panels is expensive at the start. Reusing things instead of throwing them away is time consuming and may be inconvenient.

Thank goodness not everything that’s eco friendly is really hard to do.

Some things take just a small step and they become easy. Switch your incandescent bulbs for CFLs and you’re saving energy with no extra effort. If you find the bulbs discounted by your local power company they aren’t even particularly expensive.

If your recyclables all go into one bin, having a recycle bin next to your trash cans is easy. It’s a small inconvenience having to empty two cans instead of one, but it’s overall not that hard to manage.

Turning out the lights as you leave a room is easy once you build the habit.

Organizing your errands so that you drive less actually saves you time. It also saves gas, which means you spend less money.

Adjusting the thermostat is easy and saves money. An extra sweater in winter or dressing a little cooler in summer while letting your body adjust to warmer temperatures is surprisingly easy.

Some efforts can become a pleasure. If you like being outdoors or just want to be a bit more active, that garden can provide that while producing wonderful vegetables for you that are far superior to what you can buy at the store. It’s not heavy exercise once you’re done with the digging, but it’s getting you off the couch and into the fresh air.

Isn’t that what parents are always trying to get kids to do? It’s still good advice.

Take Small Steps

If you’re feeling overwhelmed and don’t know where to start, just pick one simple green step to start yourself off. Small changes are easier to make than big ones. When you’re comfortable, add another, then another.

There’s not much in life that comes with no effort at all. That’s true even of your bad habits. Put in a little more effort and build better ones.

Stephanie Foster blogs at http://www.greensahm.com/ about raising an eco friendly family. Learn more ways to build healthy, eco friendly habits for your family at her site.

For more earth friendly tips from RTM, click here.

05/25/2010

Five Disposable Products You Don't Need

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Recycle bags Using disposable products for cleaning around the home has been getting more and more commonplace lately. It’s as though the fear of germs not only extends to using antibacterials in just about all soaps, but to using all cleaning materials just once to ensure that the germs don’t stick around at all.

I get it some ways. I know about the science projects kids can do to show how many germs grow in kitchen sponges and so forth. But a certain amount of germ exposure is a good thing, and for the rest, why not use a cloth you can wash after using rather than throwing the cleaning cloth of whatever sort in the trash after just one use.

Take a look at these products:

Kleenex Hand Towels
These are the monsters that set me off. Bad enough using paper towels to dry my hands off in a public restroom when they’re the only choice, but to use them at home, voluntarily? Yuck!

Really, the germs on your bathroom hand towels aren’t going to grow all that fast, at least not any of the ones you might rationally need to worry about. Just wash your hand towels regularly and you’ll probably be fine. Plus you’ll have less trash than if you’re using the Kleenex Hand Towels and save money because real towels last for years and years.

Paper Towels
Paper towels have been used in the kitchen for a while now. It’s hard for many people to picture their kitchen without them. But you really and truly can live without them.

Get a few more kitchen towels. Microfiber ones work great for cleaning in the kitchen and bathroom. If you aren’t concerned with appearances, you can also tear up old bathroom towels for cleaning rags.

Paper towels are easy. I’ll give them that. But so are kitchen towels once you get used to reaching for them rather than paper. Toss them in the laundry when they get dirty and they’ll be ready for use again the next time you do laundry.

Paper Napkins
Sure, it’s easy to toss some paper napkins on the table so that the kids have some way to handle the inevitable mess. Know what? They do that pretty darn well with cloth napkins too. And cloth napkins can handle bigger messes.

I don’t know about your kids, but with mine that can be a huge plus.

Swiffer
Whatever happened to a plain old broom? Is a broom and dustpan really that hard to use. And when it comes to mopping, I love my steam mop. No cleaning chemicals required, and the microfiber pads are washable and reusable. It’s so easy my kids do the mopping for me. Until I made it a regular chore they’d even argue over whose turn it was to mop.

If you own a Swiffer already, just stop using the disposable cloths you have to buy for it and attach a washcloth or microfiber cloth to it for your cleaning routine. It will do the job well enough and you can just toss them in the laundry when you’re done. No need to replace it just because you’re trying to be more eco friendly. You can spray your floor with vinegar rather than use their cleaning liquid.

Plastic Grocery Bags
This is one of the most challenging items in my experience. It’s not always easy to remember to grab your reusable bags when you’re heading out to the store. Plus you’re using something you had to buy, while plastic grocery bags are currently free.

Have you ever noticed how fast the damn things add up in your kitchen? It’s ridiculous.

While many grocery stores have recycle bins for plastic grocery bags, the simple truth about any plastic is that it’s not all that recyclable at this time. Plus rather few plastic grocery bags actually get recycled.

If you want to learn more about how to raise an eco friendly family, Stephanie Foster’s http://www.greensahm.com/ is a great resource. If you’d like to get creative around your house, she has tips on some fun toys you can make for your kids, including a cardboard playhouse.

For more earth friendly tips and advice, visit RTM's Earth Tones channel.

05/24/2010

Stepping Back In Time To Save The Planet With Candles

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Candles   We are all constantly being told about the effect that global warming is having on the planet and how we need to do our upmost to reduce the negative effects that mankind is having on the resources of the world. We will at some stage run out of oil resources and the oil that we currently pump by the gallon is currently utilised to power our motor vehicles and a number of other products and machines that deal with delivering power to our homes.

One of the main uses of electricity around the house is to power light bulbs in the evening and night time. Obviously the hours that we have to utilise lights depends upon the particularly season of the year. The average home in the UK will probably use upwards of eight light bulbs every evening to light up their home and surrounding area. Sometimes a lot of that could be covered by alternative lighting resources, for instance candles.

Candles were used centuries ago as the only form of lighting. However, since the light bulb was invented few people use candles to light up their homes our illuminate their lives. There is usually a good reason for this; light bulbs do have a number of advantages over their counterparts, for a start no-one has ever burnt the house down from using a light bulb. When a light bulb breaks it just fails to illuminate anymore.

Also unlike candles, light bulbs life expectancy is significantly greater than that of any other lighting source, and with the new low energy efficiency bulbs the country has been able to make significant headway into the power deficit.

However, for all of their positive effects there is also a negative side and that is the cost, light bulbs were cheap, but the new environmentally friendly, energy efficient light bulbs have sky rocketed in price and although a number of people what to be helpful and help out they simple can’t afford to keep purchasing these expensive bulbs.

We can all do something to help out the environment, for a start most homes around the country have several lights that could be turned off every evening that is merely lighting empty space. If you are not in a room then turn the light off. Secondly why don’t we head back to more romantic days, purchase some candles, light the room with a warming glow and save the planet at the same time.

Dominic Donaldson is an environmental officer with many years of experience in the environmental industry. Find out more about candles at http://www.thecandlelightcompany.co.uk/

05/21/2010

Keeping it Green: New Environmentally Friendly Products for your Home and Office by Erica Ronchetti

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Recycle There are many products that are "switching"  over to the green side.  Recycled goods sometimes get a bad rap of being poorly constructed or unattractive, but with more and more paper products being "converted" to environmentally friendly solutions, why not explore your options?  When the New Year rolls around, many of us throw out our old desk planner and wall calendar and buy a new one with very little thought.  Keeping the environment in mind, there are many terrific paper products available that are made from 100% post consumer fibers and 100% recycled paper:  wall calendars, memo pads, desk pads, and appointment colanders as well.  Some of these green products will surprise you as they're not too expensive and the quality is better then ever! 

Companies like the "House of Doolittle"  have set out to make products "that keep tomorrow in mind", featuring paper products with soy ink, USA made, and entirely crafted out of reusable and recycled paper.  Products like these are an excellent way to protect the environment.  Is your office a green office?  Consider using these products to make your workplace or home environment a more eco friendly space. Becoming "green office certified" entails using energy wisely, recycling, and purchasing papers, cardboard, and other materials that are recycled and environmentally efficient.  The new recycled planners, calendars, and paper available will allow you to save trees. 

Businesses are becoming increasingly aware how the usage of green office supplies (such as calendars, planners, notebooks, and paper) are contributing to a more environmentally friendly and sustainable world.  The implementation of these practices can result in decreased costs for businesses and the purchasing of earth-friendly products can have a significant effect on greenhouse gas emissions, landfill space, and help conserve natural resources as well. 

Ensure all office supplies are environmentally friendly, recyclable, and high in PCW contents (Post-Consumer Waste).  Sustainable office products that are easy to purchase include paper, envelopes, calendars, cartridges, charts, and planners.  Choosing to buy these office products will help reduce the consumption of energy, greenhouse gas emissions, other toxic emissions, wastewater, solid and material waste, and garbage.  If you're interested in purchasing planners, calendars, and other supplies for your home or office, learn more information about companies like the House of Doolittle as they can provide attractive, affordable, and environmentally friendly office supplies. 

Erica Ronchetti is a freelance writer for Greenline Paper Company, America's green office supply store. Visit their website for more information on environmentally products and the House of Doolittle. House of Doolittle's products may be purchased from GreenLine Paper Company's Website.

Article Source: http://www.ArticleBiz.com

05/20/2010

The Environmental "Awareness" Paradox by Eric Ecki

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LHourglasset's take a fresh look at a couple of tired old sayings you've probably heard a million times, and examine what they mean when comes to raising environmental awareness and encouraging everyday citizens to do their part to preserve the planet for future generations.

Here's the first: "Which comes first, the chicken or the egg?" In our world, this classic dilemma could be rephrased as "Which comes first, environmental awareness or environmental action?" You could be forgiven for answering that environmental awareness comes first, because that it is how it appears to the untrained eye.

But social and behavior research often finds otherwise -- small actions lead to big attitude changes, and then on to the big behavior changes. In his classic book, "Fostering Sustainable Behavior," social marketing guru Doug McKenzie Mohr cites a number of cases where the simplest possible behavior -- such as holding a flashlight for an energy auditor -- becomes the first step in a journey that leads to major energy conservation efforts around the house.

I like to tell my clients that the smallest and easiest of environmental actions -- replacing an incandescent lightbulb, making a $30 donation, signing an electronic petition -- matter. They matter a lot if you see them as a kind of "gateway drug" for the person who does them. If you can make that person aware of how good it feels to make a little difference, some will come back looking for a bigger fix. Next time around, they might insulate their attic, make a large donation, or speak up for the environmental at a public hearing.

Here's the second old saying, from the world of physics: "A body at rest stays at rest, a body in motion stays in motion." In the world of behavior change psychology, that might be rephrased this way: "a body that pays lip service to the environment will probably keep doing that, but a body that takes a first step for the environment is likely to take a second."

When we set out to just raise environmental awareness, what we often end up producing is lip service, instead. If you want that awareness to lead to some action, it helps a lot to define that action and aim for that directly.

What both of these reinterpretations have in common, is that they point to the importance of beginning with behavior for your environmental communications. Set a goal of motivating your audience to take some small action, and follow up afterwards to lavish your audience with praise and gratitude -- and suggest the next, more meaningful action they can take.

Eric Eckl writes a blog that provide tips on how to raise environmental awareness conservation action. The company has developed the Due Diligence Test Panel, organizations used to pre-test their environmental message.

Article Source:
http://www.articlebiz.com/article/612445-1-the-environmental-awareness-paradox/

To read more earth friendly articles, visit RTM's Earth Tones Channel.


05/19/2010

Tips on How to Make Your Home More Energy Efficient

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Energy efficient symbols Your home uses energy every day, all day long. It uses energy to keep you warm in the winter and cool in the summer. It uses energy to provide you with light when you need it. It uses energy to provide you with hot water. And it uses energy to run all of your appliances and home electronics.

Here you can learn how to use the energy in your home more efficiently. You can also learn how to use renewable energy to provide your home with electricity, heating, cooling, and water heating.

Apartments
Save energy in your apartment and reduce your utility bills.

Appliances and Electronics
Reduce the energy your appliances and electronics consume in your home.

Design and Remodeling
Create a home that consumes less energy and uses renewable energy.

Electricity
Reduce your electricity use, buy clean electricity, or make your own using renewable energy.

Energy Assessments
Assess your home's energy use and loss to learn how to make it more energy efficient.

Insulation and Air Sealing
Improve your home's energy efficiency and comfort through proper insulation and air sealing techniques.

Landscaping
Design your landscape to help lower your heating and cooling costs.

Lighting and Daylighting
Incorporate energy-efficient lighting and daylighting strategies into your home to reduce electricity costs.

Space Heating and Cooling
Minimize your utility costs using energy-efficient heating and cooling systems.

Water Heating
Improve your water heating efficiency to reduce energy costs.

Windows, Doors and Skylights
Lower your heating, cooling, and lighting costs using energy-efficient fenestration.

Source: U.S. Department of Energy

05/18/2010

Alternative Energy Solutions from Honda

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"No one can tell us when we'll run out of oil, but we will. Everyone will tell you we will."
--John W. Mendel, Executive Vice President, Honda, Acura Auto Sales in Racing Against Time
 
A deep focus on environmental concerns has been a part of Honda's DNA for over three decades. Our spirit of innovation and belief in the power of dreams embolden us to meet every new challenge and drive us to race against time in our quest to discover the best alternatives to our society's current dependence on oil.
 
Solar Power
Solar-power honda Power from the elements, especially the sun, can provide a natural energy solution. Next-generation solar cells developed by Honda use thin film made from a compound of copper, indium, gallium and selenium (CIGS) to convert energy from the sun into electricity. Honda Soltec Co., Ltd., produces and markets the next-generation thin film solar cells in Japan. These solar cells are mounted on Honda's experimental Hydrogen Refueling Station (HRS) in Torrance, California, which helps efficiently produce hydrogen using renewable solar energy. We're fully committed to bringing Honda solar cell technology to the mainstream through innovative applications like these.
 
Electric Power
Electric-power honda Electric power is a cleaner solution to overcoming our dependence on oil, although it is not without its challenges. We feel strongly that an investment in electric-powered vehicles is teaching our engineers valuable lessons in environmental technology. The Honda EV Plus battery electric vehicle, for example, helped pave the way for Honda's subsequent leadership in introducing gas-electric hybrids, fuel cell electric vehicles and other alternative-fuel vehicles. Our vigorous commitment to bringing an electric vehicle to market continues.
 
Compressed Natural Gas (CNG)
Looking for a clean-burning fuel resource that occurs naturally in America? Compressed natural gas powers the Civic GX Natural Gas Vehicle (NGV). Honda took the popular Civic package and created a commuter-friendly vehicle that achieves near-zero emissions with an AT-PZEV CARB emissions rating.*
 
Hydrogen Power
A car that emits only water vapor may sound like something from the future, but it's here today in the eye-catching design of the FCX Clarity Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle. The FCX Clarity FCEV is already in the hands of select Southern California drivers. Curious about how the FCX Clarity FCEV works? You can learn all about this revolutionary new sedan at our FCX Clarity FCEV Web site.
 
Another new hydrogen fuel cell vehicle concept is our futuristic FC Sport Concept. It demonstrates a whole new way of thinking about hydrogen, and previews a future where environmental responsibility and performance can co-exist.
 
Hybrid
Honda will continually strive to increase the efficiency of our existing internal-combustion engine products so that we can minimize our use of oil. First to the U.S. market with a hybrid vehicle, the original Insight, in 1999, we continue to build on our hybrid knowledge—from the popular Civic Hybrid to the all-new Insight with its sophisticated Eco Assist™ feedback system. On the horizon: a sporty, fun-to-drive hybrid — the new Honda CR-Z.
To get a quick overview of Honda's long-term commitment to the environment, please visit their  environmental timeline.

05/17/2010

Dirty Cabin Air Filters Can Hamper Easy Breathing Inside Car

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Brought to you by Car Care Council

Peopleincar During the hot summer months, contaminants, such as pollen, dust, mold spores and smog, can easily enter a vehicle's passenger compartment through the air conditioning, heating and ventilation systems, making the air in the car six times dirtier than the air outside, cautions the Car Care Council.

Motorists can protect themselves and their passengers from these containments by replacing the vehicle's cabin air filter annually or more often in areas with heavy containments, or whenever heating or cooling efficiency is reduced. Cabin air filters clean the incoming air and remove allergens - especially beneficial to people who suffer from allergies.

If your vehicle is model year 2000 or newer, there's a good chance it is equipped with a cabin air filter.

"There are about 30 million vehicles in North America that currently have cabin air filters," said Rich White, executive director of the Car Care Council. "However, most people have never heard of a cabin air filter or don't know if their vehicle is equipped with one. Vehicle owners should refer to their owners' manuals for this information."

If the cabin air filter is not replaced, it can cause musty odors in the vehicle, and over time, the heater and air conditioner may become damaged by corrosion. A dirty or clogged cabin air filter can also cause containments to become so concentrated in the cabin that passengers actually breathe in more fumes and particles when riding in the car compared to walking down the street.