Really bad Beatles allusion aside, there are more reasons than ever these days to focus on fuel efficiency when shopping for your next car. If gas prices continue moving in the upward direction we've seen over the past few years, "summer driving season" may become a contradiction in terms! By making fuel efficiency a priority when you shop for your next vehicle, you can take a bit of the sting out of gas prices, and also green up your life.
Hybrid-electric vehicles have gotten incredibly popular for their high efficiency (upwards of 60-70 miles/gallon), but they still may be a bit pricey for some buyers (even with the tax credits offered by the federal government). The Green Life Guide points out a variety of more efficient vehicles that are available on today's market, including:
High-mileage vehicles - conventional cars that achieve higher-than-average fuel economy. These include the Honda Fit, the Toyota Corolla, and the Hyundai Accent (all manual transmissions, though).
Flex-fuel vehicles - cars that can run on multiple fuels such as unleaded gasoline, gasoline-ethanol blends (or gasohol), and natural gas. The cars themselves are fairly widely available; the fuels, unfortunately, aren't.
Electric cars - these require no liquid fuel, as they run on rechargeable batteries. Unfortunately, they're also not widely available on the market.
Of course, there's another option for some - do you need to own a car? Could you take advantage of carride-sharing services, or public transportation, or your bike, or your feet, and avoid the costs of insurance, gas and maintenance completely? Not owning a car is always an option... and
Your Action for Today: Look at Greener Car Options
You may not be in the market for a car right now, but it's certainly not too soon to start looking at your greener vehicle options. Some sources you might want to check:
We're down to the last third of 30 Days to a Greener You, and from here on out, we'll take a look at various steps you can consider to move beyond the "low-hanging fruit." Keep in mind that greening your life doesn't have to involve big investments; at the same time, we all do make larger purchases, so keeping our environmental footprint in mind when shopping for bigger-ticket items is a natural next step in greening our lives.
If you're a homeowner or house renter, keeping the yard and garden healthy takes a lot of work, and various kinds of tools, particularly power tools, help ease that work load. If you're cranking up a gas-powered lawn mower, leaf blower or rotor tiller, though, all of your efforts to green your gardening may be offset by the pollution that tool is belching into the atmosphere: according to a 2001 Swedish study, small engines such as lawnmowers may contribute up to 5% of the US' total air pollution.
Fortunately, greener alternatives are available. Reel mowers (you know: the "old-fashioned" lawn mowers) use only human power, and are a perfect tool for a small yard. If you still need some power for a bigger yard, consider an electric mower (many of which are now cordless), or even a solar-powered mower (they're still a bit pricey, but what a way to impress the neighbors - and avoid any emissions).
Your Action for Today: Take a Look at Some New Tools
While you may not currently be in the market for a lawn mower, it's good know what's available. Take a look, and record what you think might work for you (and why) in your Green Journal.
Reel mowers are likely the greenest alternative - no fuel or batteries.
Solar-powered mowers have batteries that are charged by sunlight - Appropedia tells you how to build your own!
Electric mowers require plugging in at some point, so while they don't emit pollutants themselves, they're drawing electricity that may come from a dirty power source. Overall, they're slightly better than a gas-powered model.
And a tip for organic lawn care: leave the clippings on the lawn - they don't contribute to thatch growth, and do provide organic material for your lawn.
Look at what you're wearing... go ahead, look. What you see, whether made from cotton, wool, silk, rayon or leather, likely has a pretty hefty environmental impact. A recent report (in PDF) from the UK's Cambridge University notes that the clothes we wear represent large expenditures of energy, toxic chemicals (esp. fertilizers), and water (both in production and cleaning), and also create huge amounts of waste because of changing fashion trends. On average, every American throws away 68 pounds of fabric per year - that's over 10 million tons of waste annually.
Fortunately, greening your wardrobe doesn't have to mean buying all-new clothes (clearly, that's part of the problem). Rather, it involves choosing carefully when you do buy, and then lowering the use of energy and toxic chemicals when caring for them.
Your Action for Today: Take a Look at Your Wardrobe
Take a look at the clothes you own, and think about your normal buying patterns. Answer the following questions in your Green Journal.
Are you a "dedicated follower of fashion?" We all like to dress well, but constantly buying "the latest thing" contributes to an awful lot of waste. More timeless styles don't have to cleaned out every season.
Do you buy all of your clothes new? Used and vintage clothes can be inexpensive, and carry a much lighter footprint - think of them as "offsetting" the purchase of a new item. Clothing swaps are becoming popular social gatherings, and allow you to change up your wardrobe frequently without as heavy an environmental footprint. On the flip side, when you're done with an item of clothing that's still wearable, donate it - don't throw it away.
Do many of your clothes need dry cleaning? Traditional dry cleaning uses perchloroethylene (or "perc"), a highly toxic chemical. While some efforts are underway to change this, and some cleaners are adopting more eco-friendly practices, avoiding dry-clean only clothes prevents this dilemma altogether.
Do you ever use a clothesline? Drying is the most energy-intensive part of laundering clothes. Cut your electric or gas bill (as well as your carbon emissions) by using a clothesline. If you use a liquid fabric softener, dry the clothes for five minutes to activate the softener, and then remove them and put 'em on the line.
Are most of your clothes made from cotton? Traditionally-grown cotton needs lots of water and fertilizer; add the drying time and ironing needed to keep it looking good, and you've got a fabric with a massive environmental footprint. Organically-grown cotton is better, and much more available than in the past - Wal-Mart, in fact, is the biggest seller of the fabric. Synthetics that require little drying time and ironing are even greener. Fabrics like hemp and bamboo, while not yet as widely available as cotton, are catching on with designers... and they're much more eco-friendly.
Doesn't make a lot of sense, does it? Yet, we do this every day: we buy paper towels, napkins, plates, cups and tissues. We buy plastic cups and utensils. We use them once, and then we throw them in the trash. We also buy products in perfectly usable containers that we throw away when the product's gone. Is this convenient? Certainly! Is it green? Hardly.
Reusable Rocks! Recyclable Rolls!
We discussed recycling in Day 2, but reusable items are even greener: beyond the materials and energy used to create them, items we reuse only require a little soap and hot water to return to their useful state. We wash clothes and dishes regularly, so the inconvenience involved isn't life-changing; rather, it usually involves a few extra items in a dishwasher or laundry load.
Still, sometimes we will want the convenience of disposables, especially if we're going to be away from home, or are casually entertaining a large group of people. Occasionally choosing disposable items shouldn't send us into paroxysms of green guilt; it should, however, make us look at the products we do buy, and ensure that we're purchasing the greenest items available. Many paper items, for instance, come in varieties with post-consumer recycled content - that's a good place to start. Other convenience items are compostable - throw them into the backyard compost pile to turn them into soil nutrients for your lawn or garden (Note: some materials will require industrial-grade composting - check your local phone or business directory for services in your area).
Finally, many of the products you buy come in reusable containers. So, why not reuse them! You may find that you can buy refill quantities of soaps, cleaners and other household necessities.
Your Action for Today: Take a Look at Your Disposables
Take a look around your home, and notice the things you buy regularly that get thrown away. Paper towels? Plastic utensils? Liquid soap? Identify three items you regularly throw away that have non-disposable or greener (recycled, compostable) alternatives. Commit to buying those items in your Green Living journal. A good place to start looking: Green Options' "Tip(s) O' the Day".
WHY I DON'T WEAR WOOL: TAKE A HARD LOOK AT HOW SHEEP ARE TREATED DOWN UNDER by Amy Elizabeth (www.citizen-times.com)
March 21 - As I write this, I'm warding off the winter chill with a cotton turtleneck, a polyester fleece pullover, polyester long underwear, cotton corduroys and acrylic socks. But not so much as a stitch of wool. Why not? Because I don't buy wool. For ethical reasons.
Most people look at you funny when you say you don't wear wool. "Oh, you're allergic, right?" Nope. "Hate the dry-cleaning?" Yes, but that's not the only reason. "It's too heavy? Smells funny? Takes too long to dry?" Yes, yes and yes, but still no cigar.
When you confess that your primary reason for forgoing fleece is for the benefit of the sheep, foreheads start to pucker. Most people envision a sheep farm to be something like Farmer Hoggett's in the movie "Babe," sans the talking pig, of course. You know, rolling hills, perky sheep dogs, cozy barns, that sort of thing. While bucolic, blissful farms like this may still exist somewhere in James Herriot's Yorkshire, that's not where most of the wool we buy comes from.
Chances are, no matter where you live, your wool comes from the land down under. With 120 million sheep, Australia is the world's largest producer of Merino wool (the kind used for most clothing). Flocks usually consist of thousands of sheep, so it's impossible for farmers to treat them with the tender loving care Farmer Hoggett and his talented pig would provide.
Australian sheep are basically on their own. They get rounded up and tossed into the sheep dip every once in a while, but mostly, it's just them, the kangaroos and the, uh-oh, dingoes.
When the shepherd does "tend" to them, lambs have their tails amputated without anesthetic. Little boy lambs are particularly blue because they are castrated without painkillers. Ouch. Shearing isn't a walk in the park, either, since it is automated and done at lightning speed to accommodate such huge numbers of animals. Protruding sheep parts accidentally get lopped off. Shades of Lorena Bobbitt, if you catch my drift.
The Australians mainly raise Merino sheep because their wrinkly skin produces more wool per animal. Trouble is, the wrinkles collect urine and moisture, which attracts flies, which lay eggs, which hatch into maggots, and ... you get the picture. So the colonists came up with an ingenious (or egregious - you be the judge) solution: They slice a chunk of skin off the lamb's rear end in order to create a massive scar that pulls the skin tighter, reducing wrinkles. Yes, it's just as gruesome as you're imagining, and the wounds often become infested with flies before they heal. But, hey, if it was good enough for grandpa, it's good enough for me, mate.
The worst is still to come for these fuzzy denizens of the outback. Once sheep become old or unproductive, they are shipped to slaughter. In Australia, this usually means being herded onto trucks and transported huge distances overland to the coast, where they are loaded onto ships bound for the Middle East.
The ships are huge - up to 14 tiers high - with up to 125,000 sheep packed like sardines into each one.
The journey can take several weeks; many sheep die of sickness, trampling or starvation when they are unable to reach the food trough.
Why not just kill the sheep in Australia and ship the meat to the Middle East? Because Middle Eastern consumers want flesh that has been butchered ritually, which means no prior stunning. The sheep's throats are slit while they are fully conscious.
So that's why I boycott wool. And you know what? I manage to keep quite warm and toasty without it. No matter what the wool industry may say, nothing keeps you warmer than polyester fleece. It's lightweight and water repellent, two things wool is not.
Throw on a layer of Gore-Tex and you're ready for a kayak trip down the Nantahala in February - or even just a stroll around the grounds at Biltmore. Your body will stay plenty warm without wool, but warmest of all may be your heart.
Amy Elizabeth has a degree in cultural anthropology from the University of Colorado. She lives in Morganton.
According to wiki; "A
classic staple of science
fiction and superhero
is matter composed
subatomic particles that
have mostly exactly the
same properties (mass,
intrinsic angular mo...
Beginning in the 1950s,
American and Soviet
scientists engaged in a
dangerous race to see who
could build and detonate
the world's largest bomb.
In the Soviet Union,
Andrei Sakharov was the
architect of this
According to the movie,
According to NIRS;
"Marine life in all
forms, from endangered
manatees and sea turtles
to essential microscopic
organisms, is being
harmed and killed by
systems, used to remove
waste heat at nuclear
3/18/11: "The source term
provided to NARAC was:
(1) 25% of the total fuel
in unit 2 (SFP) released
to the atmosphere, (2)
50% of the total spent
fuel from unit 3 (SFP)
was released to the
atmosphere, and (3) 100%
of the total spent fuel
The world is green where
the trolls dwellThe
forest is deep where the
trolls dwellWhere the
trolls dwell is peace and
calmFar away from human
ill and harmThe trolls'
home is a peaceful placeA
pleasant placeFar from
the grey human worldMany
I had seen some great
beautyBut it hadn’t
been much on my mindMere
beauty didn’t much
move meCute was not
enough to catch my eyeI
could appreciate it but I
itUntil I saw her that
morningIn her long dress
as black as the ...
Every nuclear reactor
is a military industrial
complex stocked up with
1300 weapons of mass
destruction that if
released for ANY reason,
can wipe out all life on
the planet, from just ONE
nuclear reactor. If a
Carrington Event happens,
ect.org A nuclear
workers at Fukushima to
cover their dosimeters
with lead to lower
official levels of
radiation would be
workers to work longer
hours inside the plant.
Event Presented by
the Green Party of Sonoma
An Evening withGreen
Party Candidate for
GovernorLuis J. Rodriguez
will be collected for the
Andy Lopez family)
It took one month after
3 reactors melted down
and multiple spent fuel
pools caught on fire and
dried out to raise the
Fukushima mega disaster
rating to 7, despite the
nuclear plant operators
knowing within hours that
3 reactors had melted