Archive for Environmental
When we think of environmental problems, they seem so large that we feel powerless to do anything about them. We think that just us making small changes will not do anything. You are right, the changes may seem small, but if a lot of people make them, it can have a big impact. These small changes made by many is a key factor in saving the environment. One of the biggest problems facing our planet and its inhabitants—humans and non-humans alike—is deforestation; there are many things you can start doing today to do your part in saving valuable trees.
Enjoy Vegetarian Options More Often
People the world over have an insatiable desire for meat. One of the biggest contributors to deforestation is clearing out land to produce the space needed to raise animals for food. You do not need to go all-out vegetarian, but if more people made a conscious choice to go meatless even once a week, it could help preserve much-needed forest.
Reduce Paper Consumption as Much as Possible
In the age of the internet, it is easy to get information online rather than through the mail. Most of us have at least a few bills to pay each month and almost all companies offer the option for paperless billing and/or making payments online. Imagine the amount of paper we could save if we all utilized these options?
Instead of using paper towels in the kitchen, use cloths. Buy toilet paper made from as much post-consumer content as possible. Unsubscribe from junk mail that just goes in the garbage or sits on your kitchen table for months. Only print absolutely necessary documents and when you do print, use both sides of the paper.
Patronize More Eco-Friendly Companies
The push to be more eco-friendly is geared towards businesses especially as many common practices are disasters for the planet. By using products and services provided by companies who employ more environmentally friendly production, packaging and other types of services, you can help save trees. Look for the FSC logo on products—created in 1993 by the Forest Stewardship Council, this seal certifies the company used sustainable manufacturing practices and no forests were destroyed in the process. Buy products where packaging is made from 100 percent recycled material. If eco-unfriendly practices start to affect a company’s bottom line, it can spur them into action.
Recycling is one of the most powerful actions an individual can take to reduce deforestation. Failure to do it often results from sheer laziness or forgetfulness, and not because it is inherently difficult. Familiarize yourself with the types of recyclable items in your area and how to dispose of them. It really will not take up much time and it is a vital part of saving trees.
We have reached a point where we can no longer ignore the damage we have done to the planet or argue that it is not a real problem. We are the problem, but we are also the solution. By integrating simple changes into your life, you can make a real difference.
Kelli Cooper is a freelance writer who enjoys writing articles regarding the environment. She consults with Bradley S Cohen often on content for her articles; she finds him to be a great resource.
Tapping into the power of nature is a great way to contribute to our mental and physical health. We can accomplish this in a number of ways that do not have to involve in depth knowledge or great expense. If you are looking for ways to improve your well-being naturally, consider getting some indoor plants. They also provide the added bonus of making your house look nicer!
Create Better Overall Sense of Well-Being
The environment we surround ourselves with can make a huge impact on how we feel overall; think of the difference in how you feel when your house is a disaster and when it is sparking clean? Plants make for a more attractive, calming atmosphere, which can help you feel more at ease and more tranquil. They are nice to look at and can really brighten up the room. Having something to take care of and tend may ease anxiety and depression.
Promote a More Healing Environment
Surrounding yourself with plants may help you heal faster from illness and injury. Research has shown that hospital patients with a view of a garden from their room recovered more quickly than patients who simply had nothing to look at but a wall. This type of research supports the idea that our mental state is integral to our physical health.
Reduce Risk of Illness
By contributing to more ideal humidity levels and reducing dust build-up, indoor plants may help reduce colds and related symptoms such as sore throat and fatigue by up to 30 percent. Tending to plants has been associated with reduced blood pressure; this makes sense as gardening-type activities can be pleasurable and reduce stress. Exposing children to plants early in life can help them strengthen their immunity and reduce the risk of developing allergies.Improve Indoor Air Quality
The air we breathe inside can sometimes be worse than the air we are taking in outside. Plants increase the amount of clean air circulating in your home. They also help clean the air in your home by filtering harmful substances such as benzene, formaldehyde and the myriad chemicals found in cigarette smoke. Breathing cleaner air is not only better for your overall health, it may specifically help with problems such as headaches and allergies
A two-year study by NASA found that the following plants were most effective in improving indoor air quality: English ivy, golden pothos, spider plant, Chinese evergreen, peace lily, bamboo palm, snake plant, heartleaf philodendron, selloum philodendron, elephant ear philodendron, red-edged dracaena, cornstalk dracaena, Janet Craig dracaena, Warneck dracaena, weeping fig, gerbera daisy, pot mum and rubber plants.
There are so many natural, simple ways that can contribute to our well-being. Who knew that a simple houseplant could offer so many benefits for your overall health? Take advantage of the healing power of nature to live your best life and feel as good as you can.
Kelli Cooper is a freelance writer who specializes in health and wellness content. If you are interested in optimizing the health of your indoor plants, consider purchasing LED grow lights.
Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/faroutflora/
New Life for Old Tires in the Garden
There are millions of tires which end up in landfill every year, but there are a number of uses for old tires which will help you get the most out of your garden too. You can use old tires for a variety of uses within your garden – as planters, protection nurseries, bringing on vegetables and many more uses.
First of all, a question I’m frequently asked is whether it is safe to use tires, especially as they do contain some toxins, such as heavy metals. The answer is they are perfectly safe to use because the chemical components of a tire are “fixed” within the rubber and will not leach into the soil to be taken up in the roots of plants and vegetables you are growing. Some elements in tires are in fact desirable, zinc for instance, but the issue of harmful toxins getting into your soil and harming plants is fallacious.
A major advantage of using old tires is that they will not rot. They will last for decades and they can be painted to blend into the environment you are creating. From this perspective, tires are a really useful adjunct to landscaping and practical useful in the garden. You can also find old tires easily enough – most tire dealers will gladly let you look through their piles of old tires and take what you want – if they keep them it will cost them money to dispose of them properly, so you taking some of their hands is worth money to them.
Let’s take a look at some uses of old tires in the garden.
Creating a Hotbed
Once winter starts to loosen its grasp, the thoughts of many gardeners turn to planting for the next season. Take an old tire, preferably as large as you can find and take a tool knife and cut the tire into a half around the center of the tire. Take one half and sink it into the ground. Take some manure, making sure it is fairly well rotted but not completely, and pack the manure around the tire and in the bottom of the pit you cleared and in which the tire now sits. Fill the inside of the tire with compost and you have a first class incubator to bring on salad seedlings. The manure will continue to compost which will generate heat enough to make sure your new plants do not freeze if there is a cold snap.
If you live in a cold region, you are already probably aware of the advantages of growing vegetables in a raised bed. You can use old tires to do this easily and conveniently, and there are numerous advantages to doing so:
The soil temperature rises faster because the soil is above the colder surrounding ground and there is an effect from the rubber itself plus the black color retains more heat from the sun;
The tire beds will dry out faster which helps drainage;
Plant roots have deeper soil to take hold of;
Planting can be done sooner in the season; and
The tire will help congregate and concentrate your seedlings and provide physical protection.
Selling our old gold jewelry is something many of us are thinking about more and more. The price of gold is at an all time, record high (currently more than $1,300 an ounce!) but at the same time, our finances are under severe pressure because of the economy. The question isn’t whether we should sell or not; it really is a question of how to get the most value out of the transaction and do it safely and conveniently.
Finding a Buyer for Gold Jewelry
There are plenty of buyers waiting to hear from you, however as the price of gold has soared, the dealer market has become populated with numerous outfits offering “top dollar”.
Who do you trust to get the best price?
There are three main categories of gold buyer – refiners; jewelers; and third party broker operations.
You always should look to sell to a refiner because they are the ones who will ultimately buy your old gold. A jeweler may buy them at a decent price to sell on as intact pieces, or they may refine the gold themselves for use in making new jewelry, however it is just as likely that they will be selling on to a refiner themselves too. Third party brokers will be selling on to refiners as well and what this all means is that if you are dealing with someone between you and the refining operation than you are losing part of the value in your gold to that middle man.
All That Glitters is Not Gold – Look Out for Diamonds and Jewels
Your gold jewelry will contain other valuable items and metals, such as diamonds, rubies, pearls and sapphires. There may be other metals aside from gold which are valuable too; however you need to be careful because the dealer may only be offering you a price for the gold (and not the rest of the valuable stuff!).
Make sure you get a price which includes diamonds and such; where there is no price offered, you should arrange to have these valuable items removed before you sell them to the gold merchant and look to dispose of them elsewhere. This way you maximize your money and profits from the transaction.
Timing – Should You Wait to Sell Your Old Gold Jewelry?
The price of gold has increased dramatically in the last two years because of the economic climate. When recessions occur, institutions and national governments buy gold in increasing volumes as a hedge against inflation. This drives the price upwards until the recession starts to end and the recovery starts. When recovery signs start showing, gold is sold in huge quantities to raise the money to buy back into the stock markets. Selling such huge quantities of gold means the price falls, and it falls very fast; it can be so quick that it is an overnight collapse.
This means that now is the best time to take your profits because the recession has ended and recovery is starting to appear. It is therefore only a matter of time before the top price you can get for your gold disappears.
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The Welsh slate industry has a long and storied history that dates back to Roman times. In today’s times, slate is not an enormous industry in Wales. Penrhyn Quarry still produces slate – and in fact accounts for almost half of UK’s slate production – and works in conjunction with Oakeley Quarry and Penyrorsedd Quarry. Oakeley Quarry recycles slate waste, a fairly new practice, and the Wales Millennium Centre utilizes many different colors of waste slate in its construction. But what of the boom slate industry of the past? Why, when people say slate, do so many people say Welsh slate?
During the height of the Holy Roman Empire, Rome held a fort at Segontium, Caernarfon in Wales. Many levels of this fort were both roofed and floored in slate. It was a local resource, and the Welsh builders who were at the mercy of the Romans used slate because they knew it would last, not just because it was readily available. There is some evidence to suggest that the Romans had to learn about slate first – as the original roof of the fort was tile, not slate. The tile might have leaked in the rainy Welsh climate, and the Romans might have had to have found a better way.
There are records of slate work going on as early as the 12th century, and records from Gwilyn ap Griffith suggest that his tenants were being paid to work with slate. The first commercial slate operation out of the Aberllefenni Slate Quarry occurred when the house Plas Aberllefenni acquired a slate roof out of slate from that quarry.
Slate is heavy, so transportation was a bit of a problem. 1713 saw the transportation of 415,000 slates from Caernafon to Dublin, and in 1760, the industry really took off. The industry was still very much under the control of the landowners. Even if a quarryman was entrepreneurial enough to start their own slate pit, most had to pay royalty to the landlord. This immediately saw a competition between two major quarries – Penrhyn, where quarryman had to pay the landlord, and Cilgwyn, where they did not.
The growth of the industry continued until 1830, after the Padam Railway was built and transportation became easier. By this time, Wales was producing more than 50% of the United Kingdom’s slate supply and export. The United Kingdom government imposed a 20% tax on slate that was transported inland, but there was no tax on the slates sent out by sea, so Welsh quarries began exporting to the United States around 1798.
Steam locomotives and other technological and mechanical advances grew the industry, which enjoyed its peak from 1831 to 1878. This improved the economy in Wales considerably, leading into shipbuilding and engineering companies that worked with the slate industry.
Because of labor disputes and political struggles, the slate industry saw a decline in the late 1800’s, well into the twentieth century. In addition, the tile industry managed to streamline its process, making tiles less expensive than slates and hurting the slate industry.
World War I saw Cilgwyn close for a time, and deeper blasting and the use of electronic saws (resulting in silicosis) saw slate workers becoming injured and even dying. World War II saw an even deeper drop in trade, and many workers went off to war. Slate was used to repair bombed out buildings, but was forbidden for use on new buildings until 1949, so the industry suffered irreparably, and the slate industry never saw a rise again.
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