Green housing in Hawaii

January 6, 2010 by  
Filed under Hawaii

With the worlds focus turning to sustainability and keeping earth green, Hawaiis homes have shifted to become more green and supportive of the global initiative to keep the planet clean for generations to come. Many of Hawaii real estate properties on Oahu have benefited from the Curbside Recycling Program initiated in 2007 and expanded to the rest of the island in 2008. Sponsored by the City and County of Honolulu in an effort to improve the sustainability and greenness of homes in Hawaii, the program has made recycling and disposal more efficient and environmentally-friendly.

Three years ago, the only curbside bin residents had access to was a simple black one for all refuse. Today, most Oahu residents have three similarly-sized bins: the black one for most trash, a blue one for mixed recyclables, and a green one for green waste. While most people are familiar with the black receptacle, the green one now takes grass, tree trimmings, and other landscaping waste. Most importantly, the blue container helps to recycle and re-use many renewable products, including newspaper, corrugated cardboard, glass bottles and jars, aluminum cans and plastic containers #1 and #2 plastic codes. Items picked up from blue disposal bins are sorted and re-used in order to lessen the strain for resources on the environment.

Some Ways to Make Your Home More Eco-Friendly

August 1, 2009 by  
Filed under Environment

A Sanax 15W black light bulb. To the human eye...
Image via Wikipedia

If you dont have the money or simply dont want to invest in solar panels or a new hybrid car, you can still find some easier, and cheaper, approaches to make your house more environmentally friendly. Whats better is that if you are planning to sell your house in the future, making a few small green upgrades to your home will most likely not only make your house look better, but also make it worth more. These days, many home buyers are searching for more environmentally friendly houses and will be willing to pay a little more to make that desire come true.

Some of the more common changes you can make to have your home go green is by replacing all standard light bulbs with compact fluorescent ones. Known as CFLs, these bulbs uses much less energy, last a lot longer, and give off less heat. You should also add motion detectors to any outdoor lights you would normally leave on, because then the lights will only turn on when you need it to. It is also important to save water by fixing any leaks, installing low flow shower heads, and turning off the water when you dont need it while taking a bath or brushing your teeth. Some other changes that may not seem as obvious including creating a compost pile which will you can use as an alternative to throwing biodegradable materials such as food in the trash can. Installing an aluminum-clad storm door, window tinting, fans, and better insulated roofs will help to keep your house cooler in the summer, and warmer in the winter, reducing the need for air conditioners and heaters. And of course, remember the three Rs: reduce, reuse, and recycle.

Renewable Energy

January 10, 2009 by  
Filed under Featured

Green Earth Movement
David Tanguay asked:
Renewable energy is made from resources that Mother Nature will replace, like wind, water and sunshine. It is also being called “clean energy” or “green power” because it doesn’t pollute the air or the water. It a power source that is not limited, as fossil fuels are.

Renewable energy is considered a very important solution to a problem that has{readmore}grown out of control worldwide. It has been determined to be a clean alternative energy source.

Renewable energy is ready for a global takeoff, and has become the answer for a better tomorrow.

Renewable energy is a broad category of sources that draws from the energy around us naturally. Renewable energy is seen as one of the important components of climate change solution. It is astounding that so much of the worlds fossil fuels have been depleted, and that renewable energy is just now be sought as a viable alternative.

Renewable energy is the main component of eco-energy planning. It is available in a variety of methods of use, which can reduce energy consumption, preclude energy utilization and eliminate our dependence on non-renewable energy sources.

Renewable energy is produced from continuously available natural processes that do not involve the consumption of exhaustible resources such as fossil fuels. Renewable energy is also called clean energy or green power because it doesnt pollute the air or the water.

Renewable energy is used for electricity generation, heat in industrial processes, heating and cooling buildings, and transportation fuels. It is assisting America in meeting its energy needs. Renewable energy effectively utilizes natural resources such as sunlight, wind, tides and geothermal heat, which are naturally replenished. Renewable energy systems encompass a broad and diverse array of technologies, and the current status of these can vary considerably.

Renewable energy power generated from the nearly infinite elements of nature such as sunshine, wind, the movement of water, the internal heat of the Earth, and the combustion of replenishable crops is very popular with the public and governmental officials because it is an unlimited and environmentally gentle source of power, particularly compared with the supposedly limited and environmentally challenging alternative of reliance on fossil fuels and nuclear power.

Renewable energy can help the United States rely on domestic sources of energy, which will eventually eliminate our need for oil or slow the growth of our consumption. Renewable energy can meet our energy requirements while decreasing our greenhouse gas emissions.

Renewable energy can provide significant opportunities for developing countries and rural areas as well as in industrialized countries.

Dreaming of a Green Christmas

August 30, 2008 by  
Filed under Featured, Home And Family

With the holidays fast approaching, many people are ramping up to prepare for decorating, celebrating, and, of course, gift giving. Those who are concerned about the environment have more options than ever this year to ensure that their gifts are not going to have long-lasting negative effects on the world.

Celebrating

1. Decorating

At this time of year, the decorating options abound. From plastic banners to plastic trees, it can be a real dilemma to be both festive and environmentally conscious. Luckily, some of the best decorations this time of year are natural, and you can find all kinds of wonderful, naturally-biodegradable options in your backyard and supermarket. Fruits like cranberries and oranges make a big statement when placed in large glass containers, and holly and evergreen boughs can be draped over almost everything to add color and fragrance to your home. The most important thing is to try and think about decorating from a natural standpoint so that when the holidays are over in your home they don’t live on in your landfill.

2. Place Settings

It’s true that disposable place settings make clean-up a breeze during the holidays, but plastic and Styrofoam plates, cutlery and cups end up clogging our landfills with materials that almost never decompose. Luckily, there are choices for the eco-friendly hostess. Look for recycled and/or biodegradable options instead. Products made from corn are durable and useful, but the break down in a landfill after a few months. By using these products instead of paper, plastics and Syrofoams means less energy is used to create them and there is almost no damage to the environment.

3. Food

When planning your menu choose organic and locally-grown foods, which require less of energy to get to your table and leave less of an impact on the Earth’s resources. Foods certified USDA Organic are produced without the use of petroleum-based pesticides and fertilizers. Additionally, they are based on meat not treated with antibiotics and growth hormones, both of which have been shown to pollute water sources like lakes, rivers and the ocean. Genetically modified organisms, which reduce biodiversity, are not used in Organic foods. Finally, Organic foods do not undergo irradiation to kill bacteria.

4. Drinks

At the very least, remember to have a recycling bin available at all of your holiday gatherings so that all those cans and bottles can be easily recycled by your guests. You may also want to seek out some great organic and natural choices when it comes to the drinks themselves. From sodas to wines, you can seek contents and packaging that are more environmentally friendly. For example, Whole Foods carries an organic wine packaged in Tetra Pak paper-based cartons.

Gift Giving

1. Intangible Gifts

Some of the most eco-conscious gifts are those that don’t involve any wrapping paper. These gifts provide resources that last long after the holidays are over and are an excellent way to give someone something that does good for the world. Ideas include: donating time or money to a charity that means something to the recipient; buying carbon offsets on behalf of the recipient; planting a forest in the recipient’s name; or sponsoring an endangered animal.

2. Educational Gifts

If you have people on your list who have expressed interest in being more green, but simply don’t know where to begin, you can give them something that helps them become more aware of the Green movement. Almost all bookstores carry a broad array of choices, including books like “Green Goes with Everything: Simple Steps to a Healthier Life and a Cleaner Planet.” If the recipient enjoys cooking, you could try one of many organic food cook books, like “The Organic Cook’s Bible,” and if he enjoys gardening, “Organic Gardening for Dummies” might be a nice choice.

3. Traditional Gifts

You don’t have to look far to get wonderful traditional gifts like toys, linens and clothing that don’t negatively impact the environment. For example, you can find clothing made of organic cotton in many major retailers today. Bamboo towels, socks and bathrobes are amazingly silky-soft, and have antibacterial properties in addition to being environmentally sound. Wooden toys built from sustainable trees are also an excellent choice for children.

There are many healthy, green options available on the market for the holidays, so make the extra effort this year to pick products that will bring joy today without negatively impacting our tomorrows.

Spiritual Ignorance – Vedanta Philosophy

May 13, 2008 by  
Filed under Self Help

Green Earth Movement

One will gasp in disbelief when one is told that various colors seen in this world of objects are actually non-existent. Every object is basically colorless but when it is exposed to solar rays these objects absorb certain colors from the rays and reject others. It is only on this basis that we see ‘colored’ objects. That color not absorbed by an object is sent back i.e. reflected. This reflected light enters our eye and thus we think that object to be of the reflected solar ray’s color. Plants in reality are not green in color since basically they are colorless. Yet they appear green because plants cannot absorb the green color of solar rays falling on them. Since this green color gets reflected it enters our eye which assumes that the plant is green in color. When the green unabsorbed color gets reflected it enters our eyes and thus the latter out of delusion says ‘the plant is green in color’. This illusory information is taken to be a die hard truth by us all. Bye and bye we keep proving to the world with various hypotheses that plants are green in color. If someone challenges these hypotheses he/she is mocked at and called a deluded fool. No one is willing to delve deep into the fact that our senses and mind are all the time giving illusory information from the absolute standpoint. It should be noted over here that no doubt the mind and senses are needed to carry out worldly transactions yet what we are trying to say is that such information cannot be taken as an absolute truth. They fail to accept that our mind and senses are deluding us by falling prey to the illusory wiles of Mother Nature (Prakriti). Over here the green color of plant is merely an example. This example is meant to show how our senses deceive us with reference to the colors and other qualities of various objects in the world. We say that our eyes, ears, mind, intellect etc is the ultimate proof. But if they are prone to get carried away by illusory information the very theory of direct proof becomes faulty.

According to us all black is darkest among all colors and that there is nothing like white color. Yet the reality is bang opposite to or above observations. Black color is perceived when no other color is experienced and an admixture of the 7 colors is white color. Darkness in reality can be called ‘just about nothing’ when it is perceived as blackness. Hence the state of no-thinking is experienced. Vaisheshik Darshan (Indian Philosophy) does not accept darkness to be material in nature. Other philosophers emphatically proclaim darkness to be a principle. Darkness absorbs all light rays in its womb. Thus nothing is experienced by us due to the resultant darkness.

Those objects that are incapable of absorbing any color appear white in color. All the unabsorbed colors get reflected from the object and enter our eyes. All these colors being an admixture appear white to our eyes. This is indeed an irony as to how our eyes get deluded. From the worldly transaction standpoint we cannot ignore our sense experiences but from the absolute standpoint our sense organs and mind are all the time giving us illusory information. The question torments us all as to how could we ignore modern scientific achievements like technology etc. Heaviness, lightness, darkness etc are definitely great puzzles. Darkness is sometimes very intense and elsewhere it is very little. All this depends on how much light is absorbed in a particular area. The proof that black color results when an object absorbs all colors lies in the fact that in daylight it becomes hotter with greater speed in comparison to objects of other hues.

Now the question arises as to where the 7 colors present in solar rays come from? The answer to this question becomes even stranger. The difference of the width of light waves gives an illusory effect called color. In reality the very concept of color is non-existent in the entire cosmos. What we see as color (red, blue etc) is in fact sheer illusion.

Light is nothing but electro magnetic waves. The width of each type of wave is different. Hence our intellect experiences their resultant effect variedly. These varied experiences give us illusory information of various colors. The 7 colors and their resultant colors due admixture is nothing but the experience of the intellect which is exposed to waves of varying widths. Principally colors have no absolute existence.

Our wonderment does not end here. The world of colors is gigantic and in this melee our identity is very small in stature. All else remains very much ignored. In an area of 1 inch the number of red waves present is 33,000. In 1 inch area green colored waves number to 16,000. In 1 inch infra red waves only 80 are present. As against this the widths of radio waves vary between 20 to 2000 miles. All this is with reference to excess width. If we deal with very small widths an example that comes to mind is light green colored waves. A 1 inch area holds 2 million of these waves. A 1 inch area holds more than 0.5 billion of X-ray waves and 220 arabs of Gamma rays. Despite this their movements are similar i.e. these different waves move at a speed of 186,000 miles/sec.

Instead of seeing the abovementioned light rays with scientific apparatus if our eyes had the capacity to see them with naked eyes one would be amazed that instead of the 7 colors perceived today we would be capable if visualizing 469 (67×7) other new colors. Today modern science has unearthed only 7 basic colors (VIBGYOR) which on mixing give other innumerable hues.

One gets a glimpse of the illusory nature of the concept called color when we see the red ball of sun shining in the early morning hours of the day. The sun in fact is colorless but during early morning hour it is not vertically up in the sky and is in fact diagonal. Hence its rays have to cover a greater distance in the Earth’s atmosphere. While traveling thus these rays come across a lot of dust particles which cannot absorb the color red. Thus by the time the rays reach our eyes the red reflected color enters them and we say that the ball of sun is red.

How our eyes and frail intellect fall a prey to illusion is proved via the concept of color. In other areas of life too our senses and intellect get deluded intensely. In a certain sense they have totally misled us as far as life’s nature and goal is concerned. They wrongly tell us that material objects are the ultimate reality and that attaining them is the sole goal of life. They also falsely induce us to accept that the vicious cycle of transitory pleasures and pain are a part and parcel of life and that there is no cure in sight. If only one could attain divine wisdom i.e. God/Self Realization could one realize that this world of material objects is one long painful dream and hence illusory. True bliss is attained only via divine wisdom and that too for eternity.

Indian Vedanta Philosophy calls this world Maya (illusion from the absolute standpoint). It says that this world is a long painful dream. This does not however mean that the objects perceived and used by us have no existence at all. In the present tense these objects very much do exist but the fact is that they were not there in the past and that they will not exist in future. If this were not the case why would the Theory of Karma (actions) be valid? What need would there be of performing meritorious deeds (Punya) and enduring hardships while performing penance? What then would be the difference between a man working hard daily and another remaining idle and indolent? Why would one aspire to imbibe great ideals and human values in life? Why would one abstain from and fear illegal and unwholesome acts?

According to Vedanta Philosophy Maya means that which is not real principally. The world appears real in a superficial/relative sense but it is non-existent from the absolute standpoint. The question asked is whether the material world perceived by us all is in fact real from the absolute standpoint? The answer is that whatever we perceive with our 5 sense organs is not exactly as it appears to us. Our intellect collects information based on the directives given by our sense organs. But the problem is that time and again our senses fall prey to illusion and hence the information gathered by our intellect is not free from error.

When we consume alcohol, drugs etc our inner intoxicated state does not allow an apt contact between the sense organs and our brain. The result being that our senses say one thing and our intellect interprets information erroneously. An intoxicated state does not allow a person to think, talk, view things etc aptly. There are other more intense intoxicants which induce our brains to become that much more deluded (example cocaine, LSD etc).

Ordinarily even in our daily lives we experience certain situations etc which cannot be called real from the absolute standpoint. Are the scenes perceived on the movie screen absolutely true? Individual static pictures move so speedily one after another that our eyes falsely visualize them as ‘moving’. That is we see actors walking, talking, running etc. The speech of actors heard by us actually comes from another audio gadget. It is the light from the projector that helps us see various scenes on the movie screen. Thus movies too are illusory from the absolute standpoint.

A moviegoer least realizes that he has spent 3 hours in a maze of cinema technology. All his emotional experiences like sorrow, joy etc experienced while seeing a movie are nothing short of an illusion. There was no real event experienced in a movie theatre. It was only the movie projector that created illusory scenes on the screen which made people cry, laugh etc. The moviegoer falsely thinks these scenes to be real events and hence gives vent to his/her emotions. Maya is nothing but the sense organs falling prey to illusory situations and looking upon them as real in an absolute manner. From a gross standpoint Maya is ‘real’. If this were not the case how could movie projectors and hence scientific technology induce emotional and other experiences in the bosoms of people using them? If one delves deeper on this subject movies can be called a mesh of illusion due to the efficiency of technology and the fact that our eyes are as a result unable to pinpoint this illusory effect of technology (movie projector). Both these aspects are right in their own way. The fact that this material world is very much tangible its events too are very vividly experienced by us. Hence at the gross level these events appear real but a deeper analysis tells us that relatively this material world and its events are real but certainly not from the absolute standpoint. In fact from the absolute standpoint this world and its events are illusory like a dream.

It is very clear that material objects are but the manifestation of various permutations and combinations of varieties of molecules. Every atom is moving speedily. In this manner all atoms of various objects are moving at amazing speeds. Despite this our naked eyes fail to perceive this movement and instead say that all objects are inert and motionless. The same thing happens to our planet Earth. 1) Earth rotates on its axis very speedily. 2) It revolves around the sun. 3) Along with the solar system it circumambulates the super sun. 4) While moving thus its movement is akin to a rotating top which sways on either side. 5) While moving in the cosmos it goes far away from its previous position in inter stellar space. Thus the Earth moves in 5 ways as mentioned above. This ‘ecstatic dance’ of Earth is not experienced by us at all and we erroneously believe that right from our birth to death our planet has remained static in its appointed place in inter stellar space. It is only when our intellect starts deeply analyzing the ‘direct proof’ given by our sense organs that it will realize that in the absolute sense they are misleading us totally. This ‘direct proof’ is only relatively true that helps us carry out our worldly transactions but from the absolute standpoint it is totally null and void. In Vedanata Philosophy this power of illusion which induces our senses, mind and intellect to experience the material world as real from the absolute standpoint is called Maya. Maya means existence of the world only in the ‘now’ or present tense and hence the world did not exist in the past and will not do so in future. This is like a dream which appears true temporarily but disappears the moment you wake up. Our daily dreams are for a few hours only but the dream of Maya lasts for eons together. It is only when spiritual wisdom dawns in our heart can this terrible dream of Maya end.

The reflections of the sun and moon can be seen in ponds, rivers etc. and it appears as though their waters are dazzling with light. Their reflection falls on every rising wave and hence we erroneously see many moons and suns dancing on each wave. A man traveling in a train wrongly thinks that he is seated motionlessly and that the trees, stars in the sky etc perceived by him outside the moving train are moving speedily in various directions. The question to be answered is that are all these experiences true or illusory?

Many of us get dreams at night. The events seen in a dream seem very real while the dream lasts. At that time we feel joyful, sorrowful etc. While dreaming we sometimes yell etc also. But as soon as you wake up you realize that all the events seen in the dream are actually non-existent. In the dream it was our subconscious mind that weaved various movie-like events which appeared very vivid while the dream lasted. Our subconscious mind and intellect was fooled into thinking that the dream events were tangible and real.

If you trek in a dark forest the bushes appear to be ghosts. A rope seen in very dim light appears to be a snake. A mirage in a dessert gives an appearance of a water pond from a distance. All these vivid experiences are far from what they appear to be. Gigantic air planes flying very high up in the sky look like tiny birds from the ground level. There are stars far away in inter stellar space which are n-times larger than planet Earth and more brilliant than the sun. Despite this we denizens of Earth perceive these stars to be like a small flame lamp. The question that needs to be answered seriously is whether all the above experiences of our naked eyes are as real as it appears to be? The same question arises with reference to other sense organs apart from the eyes. We have to perforce conclude that our sense organs have serious limitations while interpreting external worldly events and that there are many instances as mentioned above where the information gathered by them is nothing short of an illusion. When someone gets fever in the winter season he/she experiences heat and in summer he/she experiences cold. When one feels nauseous even a delicious cake appears bitter. A bout of common cold makes us experience foul smell all round us. An attack of jaundice makes our eyes yellowish and objects perceived by the eyes appear yellow in hue. The question asked is that are all these ‘tangible experiences’ true in the ultimate sense?

The taste of an object is not exactly as it seems to be. For example neem leaves seem bitter to a healthy human being but for a camel it is tasty food. The reason why one particular food item tastes differently to animals, birds etc of various species is that the overall designing of their taste buds differ. When food enters our mouth these taste buds experience a particular reaction depending on its anatomical structure and this information is passed on to the brain. The brain then categorizes the taste as bitter, sweet etc. The actual chemical nature of the food eaten is very much different from the taste experienced by taste buds of various creatures of the world.

Anatomists tell us that the body is made up of billions of cells. Amongst these many die and many more are produced. This trend goes on continuously and time and again old cells die which are then replaced by new cells. In this manner our bodies are transformed again and again. Older cells are destroyed and newer ones replace them. One could say that there is a permanent ‘graveyard’ in our body since old cells die continuously and that there is a permanent ‘womb’ because new cells are generated to replace dead cells. Despite this, what is amazing is that none of us are aware of these tremendous activities taking place in our own bodies on a continuous basis. Our 5 senses on whom we depend cent percent for our daily life’s transactions not only have no power to change external circumstances but that they fail miserably in even giving us information of our own inner bodily activities. Thus how can we emphatically say that our 5 senses give us ‘direct proof’ of various events taking place in the external world? Our intellect too is incapable of telling us whether our body is suffering from a particular disease or not. For this we have to take external help from the medical fraternity to diagnose our illnesses. Thus if our own intellect cannot inform us about our own inner bodily state how can one be so sure that its analysis of external worldly events would be error free?

Knowledge/wisdom is the most vital aspect of human lives. Hence it has to be apt and error free. If our consciousness gives us knowledge that is illusory and error prone know for sure that this consciousness has been veiled by the darkness of ignorance (Ajnana). If this veil of ignorance is not lifted and destroyed our consciousness is bound to lead us astray in this world of illusion not for merely one life but for innumerous lives put together. This veil of ignorance is called Maya in Vedanta Philosophy which is the root cause of strife and pain undergone by spiritually ignorant human beings. Maya is not some external object or event of sorrow in the external world. Maya is the deluded state of our individual minds. If we succeed individually in lifting this veil of ignorance i.e. Maya our bondage to the material world will be cut asunder eternally. Salvation which is the eternal limitless fount of spiritual bliss (Ananda) can be attained by just about anyone and everyone.

Municipal Composting Programs–-a Way to Go Green

January 28, 2008 by  
Filed under Environment

Green Earth Movement

Composting has occurred since plants first existed on the earth. When leaves and fruit fall from trees, and when plants die, they drop to the ground, enriching the soil through the process of natural decomposition. This is nature’s way of composting.

Humans have been composting for decades, maybe even centuries. In our recent history, agricultural communities have used composting as a way to enrich their gardens and farmland. In the last two decades, a much larger movement of composting in urban areas has begun, and in recent years, composting has taken on its own popularity as a new way to “go green.” City dwellers are becoming more aware of the benefits of compost in their gardens and flowerbeds, and they are realizing that it is best to recycle natural products back to the earth.

Municipalities have had a major influence in this movement with programs to dispose of recyclable waste. These programs allow, and sometimes require, citizens to collect their organic waste such as leaves, branches, grass, and other yard trimmings for composting. These programs vary in season and structure but they all have the same goal of recycling natural material to the earth’s benefit. In many cases, after the material has been composted, the city sells the compost back to citizens who wish to purchase it for their yards or gardens. In this way, city composting programs provide two services: they allow city dwellers to compost their organic waste, and they also make compost material available for sale at reasonable prices.

A municipal composting program may seem simple, but it can be a large project to manage. First, the citizens of the municipality must be educated about what types of products can be collected and how they are to be contained. Some city composting programs only collect yard waste, while others also allow food scraps. Second, the city must decide how they wish to collect the waste. Some municipalities use bulk collection, where leaves and waste are piled in the street or yard and trucks come collect the debris. Another way to collect the waste is through drop off sites where citizens can take their waste to a central collection area. Other communities use container collection, where the waste is put in specific types of containers such as biodegradable brown paper bags or in reusable containers and is collected by trucks.

After trucks have picked up the organic waste, the material must be transported to a central composting site to be processed and composted. Several months later, the waste you threw out will be available again for resale to citizens as premium compost. Compost can be used in many ways. Premium compost is a great way to enrich your soil, control erosion, or simply help your plants grow bigger and stronger!

The US Environmental Protection Agency indicates that 24% of the United States’ solid waste is made up of yard trimmings and food scraps. Just think how much waste we could keep out of landfills if more cities began composting programs! With the ability to convert all this waste into premium compost and return it to the earth, these programs are hugely beneficial. If your city doesn’t have an organized composting program, contact local officials in your area and prompt them to begin one. This is a way to get involved and give something back to this planet that we inhabit.

Go Eco-friendly This Christmas With Green Printing

January 17, 2008 by  
Filed under Environment

Green Earth Movement

Ronn Jones asked:

Its almost Christmas, a time of the year when probably the highest proportion of stationary is used all around the world. Its a time of joy and happiness, a time when everyone gets together with their near and dear ones to celebrate the birth of Jesus and await the advent of a new year. Its a time when people sit back and relax after a long hard year to see it silently pass by.

As I said, its the time when stationeries are probably used more than in any other time throughout the year. Greeting cards are sent in bulks to families, friends and colleagues. Gifts are exchanged and surely they need to be wrapped in proper attractive gift-wraps to make them appear just more than presentable.

Christmas today is more commercialized than it ever was. With new gifts and products coming up especially for the occasion, they need to be marketed more vigorously than other products at other times of the year. This requires the companies coming up with these products and services to rev-up the newsletters, periodicals and posters in order to boost their marketing strategy and get an edge over competition. New booklets and brochures are designed for the same purpose.

By the time Christmas is over everyone starts preparing for the New Year. A time to remember and bid adieu to all the good and bad things that marked the current year, and welcome with open hands, the beginning of something new. By this time, calendars for the New Year starts circulating and notepads and other office stationeries are replaced with newer ones.

Amidst all the joy and celebration, Christmas is probably the most wasteful time of the year. Piles of gift-wraps, ribbons, old stationeries and decorations fill up the lands. And this in turn, adds to the causes that could bring the entire mankind and the world we live in under great danger. All the printed materials, which are so abundantly used during this time and disbursed, require a lot of petroleum-based inks, laminates, varnishes, and adhesives for production. And these materials cause the printing houses to produce VOCs. VOCs or volatile organic compounds are organic chemical compounds that have a high vapor pressure under normal conditions and have the potential to vaporize and enter the atmosphere.

These VOCs in all forms are potentially harmful to the environment. When released into the atmosphere, they can actively damage soil and groundwater. Moreover, vapors of VOCs released into the atmosphere cause air pollution and this increases the risk of asthma attack and other health hazards.

But this does not mean that the only possible option to save mankind and earth is by giving up on Christmas. Nowadays, most of the printing houses are going green in a bid to contribute towards the global cause of anti-pollution movement. Green printing is what most of the sensible minds behind the printing industry is adapting to. They are using advanced techniques and recyclable raw materials to conserve energy for the future of the planet. They keep track of their total energy usage and implement strategies for offsetting the environmental impact of their businesses. They are trying to minimize the consumption of electricity and use papers only from companies certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) as it proclaims that the paper comes from well-managed forests that adhere to strict environmental standards.

With the option of green printing on our hands, its time celebrate Christmas in a new way-a Christmas without worries and guilt of causing harm to mankind and the planet, a Christmas thats all celebrations!

Paper ? Plastic ? Reusable Bags ?

January 16, 2008 by  
Filed under Environment

Green Earth Movement

Billions of plastic bags are consumed each year. Less than 1% of plastic bags get recycled. The rest of the bags end up in landfills, lakes and rivers polluting our earth. Plastic bags are responsible for the death of thousands of marine animals and for nearly 7% of debris found along the US coastline. The effects of this abuse have been catastrophic to our environment. To add to the devastation, over 12 million barrels of oil are required annually to produce plastic bags for the US alone.

Eliminating the use of plastic bags is one thing we can ALL do. Its one simple way to join in the force to save our planet. Going Green is not a new fad. It is a necessity. We are already feeling the effects of global warming. We must all take responsibility and do our part.

Most, if not all, major retailers and grocery chains have begun promoting the use of reusable bags. Yet, a very small percentage of consumers are actually using them. Do consumers just dont care? A recent poll, conducted by The Bag Movement, LLC determined the two main reasons people are not using reusable bags. The main reason is consumers have not yet developed a habit of using reusable bags. The second highest reason was consumers dont like using bags with a particular retailers logo.

click here

The Bag Movement has taken consumers concerns and developed reusable bags that are sure to set a trend. Theyve designed bags that are lightweight, washable and compact. The design also promotes awareness for causes such as breast cancer, AIDS/HIV, Child Abuse and Neglect and Heart Disease. The company donates 15% of all net proceeds to organizations such as St. Jude Childrens hospital, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, AIDS Research alliance, and Operation Homefront.

Even during these tough economic times. Our community must get together and do whats right. Simple steps that can make a difference. One small habit we can develop that can change the world and save lives.

The Deforestation In Africa

January 7, 2008 by  
Filed under Environment

Green Earth Movement
Paul Hata asked:

Africa has been well known for its cosmic lands rich with sunlight, vegetation and the wild. Like other jungles, it is a home to millions of celebrated species. It has also become one of the greatest advertised tourist hot spots; and people came from all over the world for the mere purpose of Safari adventure.

If such lands are as abundant in resources as they say, why is it facing extinction? Why does deforestation in Africa continue to rise and take almost 5 million hectares annually, and why hasn’t it stopped for the past ten years considering the green movement’s focus on the matter?

Like many rich forests scattered all over the Earth, the population in Africa is among the poorest of all groups. Almost all diseases hover in their lands, and food is scarcely provided for the people. If it is still not known to you, millions of communities perish every year due to malnutrition; and about half of the statistics reveal that the critically distressed and affected nation is Africa.

Poverty And Deforestation

Millions of people in all parts of Africa suffer from poverty, and the problem hasn’t been addressed to for many years now. About 217 million of the African population is now experiencing hunger, and these people divert to activities which can provide them with food. Truly, when life begets you of something, a person tends to deflect in other ways and seek measures to suffice their growling pit. Africa’s condition has been as pitiful ever since; sadly though, it has not received much aid from the neighboring worlds.

When the African people found no means of getting food, they redirected to ways which can provide them with the money to buy their basic needs. Some of the population began to be laborers of huge logging companies while the others went to find their own fortune by cultivating plant and animal life. Thus, deforestation became a widespread solution for most of the African people; and since they are uneducated about its effects, they have mindlessly been doing harm to our world.

When you see it in the bigger picture, you’ll be able to think that the problems of poverty are far from the issues of deforestation. However, when you try to see things on a smaller scale, you’ll be able to see how poverty affects the bigger world. If this would go on in years, and the African nation still do not have means of responding to poverty, then deforestation would never come to an end.

How To Cut The Poverty Line

How can the African people make a real and lasting world when in fact they’re presently living in a very disturbed place? The actual question is where and how to start the changes in order to make the people survive and at the same time save the forests. Truly, big things can only be acted upon with strong movements. If the walls built are weak, then the support given will easily fall apart.

Poverty is an issue that can be alleviated only with proper governance and aid from other countries. If Africa does not have both of these, then the need to establish strong financial incentives should be started. How things can begin is a question that can only be answered by their government. If honest and true people work for the survival of Africa, then saving the nation would be greatly possible.

If proper guidance and aid will come, the deforestation in Africa will totally be forgotten; and the chance of survival for both Africa and the planet Earth is a promising thing to happen. Remember, the world needs better people, and one of them could be you.

Green Dragons, White Tigers, Black Turtles – New House

November 23, 2007 by  
Filed under Home And Family

Green Earth Movement

Feng shui, for the few folks out there who havent heard about it, is the ancient Chinese science of determining and altering the effects of the environment on our lives. If you listen to some of the claims made for feng shui, it holds all the secrets to health, wealth and happiness wrapped up in a few coins and some wind chimes. All you have to do is anchor your house with a Black Turtle, get a Red Phoenix to nest in front of it and find a White Tiger and a Green Dragon to protect its flanks. If all that sounds suspiciously like semi-mystical mumbo-jumbo, it may be because our practical English isnt informed by the cultural mythology of China. Before you run out to find green dragon and white tiger statues, read on and learn a little about finding your perfect home with feng shui.

Feng shui proposes that in addition to the energy forces that we can see and feel like wind there are also invisible and unfelt forces of energy that affect our bodies and our minds. Some practitioners have tried to explain these forces by using the metaphor of a magnet. We cant see the attractive and repellent forces themselves, but we can see their effects if we try to push together the wrong ends of two magnets. The magnetic forces repel each other.

In feng shui, the life force is called chi (or qi). There are two opposite types of chi yin, the female, passive, receptive force, and yang, the male, active and repellant force. These forces are in constant flow and movement on, in and above the earth. Certain land formations and structures can help attract, channel and direct both types of chi. Thats the basic concept that underlies most practical feng shui.

So whats that got to do with picking the right house?

When you choose a house, you look for congenial neighbors, good schools, the distance to and from work and other destinations, the view why not look at the land forms and structures around the house and how they may or may not encourage positive energy to flow into your home and stay with you? Thats essentially what a feng shui consultant does examines the flow of energy and makes suggestions based on his or her observations. Ideally, a feng shui consultant will also want to know the birth dates of the people who will live in the house to help him or her determine specific suggestions for locating rooms and furnishings, but there are some general guidelines for situating houses that you might find helpful.

In feng shui, every house has four guardians. These guardians are given the names of mythical Chinese animals. If you stand facing your house, the left side is the place for the Green Dragon and the right is where you should find the White Tiger. At the back of your house, there should be a Black Turtle and in front of it, a Red Phoenix. The Green Dragon should be stronger than the White Tiger. The Black Turtle should be higher than the house, and the Red Phoenix should be lower than the house.

Now lets cut away the poetry and talk in plain English. Ideally, your home should be protected on both sides and in the front and the back by some structure or land formation. You can see how practical this advice is if you consider that wind is an energy force. If energy currents carry life force, then it only makes sense to locate your home in such a way that it is protected from destructive forces while inviting and holding protective ones.

Black Turtle

Feng shui experts will tell you to look for Black Turtle behind your house. Black Turtle supports your house. Traditionally, its a hill or a mountain, but these days a wall or building behind your house could serve the same purpose. If you can find or build your house so that there is a hill, mountain or other tall land form behind it, Black Turtle will have your back. If not, you can always build a wall or plant a hedge of trees. Practically, it makes sense to shield your house from high, strong winds and lashing rains.

Red Phoenix

At the front, the feng shui ideal house would have a lake, pool or meandering stream which encourage the good energies to pool and remain with your house. A lawn or grassy field makes a good Red Phoenix, as does a street with little traffic. According to feng shui wisdom, a house with a strong Red Phoenix, like one facing a busy highway, will tend to drain its residents of energy. Imagine the unconscious stress of the constant rush and noise of a busy street right outside your front window and you begin to see how it all makes practical sense.

Green Dragon and White Tiger

The auspicious home also has protectors to the right and left sides of the house, usually in the form of elevations a hill, a wall, another building even a row of hedges or a fence can serve the purpose. In feng shui terms, the green dragon and white tiger guard your home (and you) against bad energy. In practical terms, they serve as privacy screens and wind breaks.

What if the house you love has bad feng shui?

You could just figure that if you love the house, the feng shui cant be all bad. But any good feng shui consultant can recommend cures to mitigate any bad feng shui. You might plant a hedge on the right side of the house to bolster the white tiger, or put a fountain in the front yard if your red phoenix needs help.

When you consider how practical many of the suggestions offered by feng shui consultants are, its really not surprising that many of the most beautiful and congenial houses youll view have good feng shui. If you dont believe me, look for the white tiger and green dragon next time you go house shopping. Youll see.

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