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Tag Archive | "sustainable materials"

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5 Ways the Average Person Can Promote Sustainability

The environmental movement is becoming more robust by the year. Soon, America will experience the initial stages of a green revolution in which environmentally-friendly technologies will become the new standard for consumers. Until then, the average consumer can take a few small steps to promote sustainable living and “green” technologies and products. In terms of specific, actionable steps, here are five things that the average person can do in order to promote a sustainable lifestyle.

1) Change driving habits

A person can take the first and easiest step by using their car less and when they do use it, use it intelligently. For example, for short trips, try walking or riding a bicycle. For longer trips, take public transportation like buses. When driving, make sure the engine of the car is functioning properly and that there is plenty of air in the tires. On average, using public transportation can save enough money to cover food costs for the year.

2) Change light bulbs

The original incandescent light bulb invented by Thomas Edison is unfortunately very inefficient. The bulb gives off much more heat than light, which wastes electrical power. The most successful light bulb design to date has been the compact fluorescent lamp or CFL. Other alternatives include halogen light bulbs and light-emitting diode lamps or LED lamps. Both of these technologies have their own problems, mostly to do with excess heat. Unfortunately, CFL technology is not without dangers, as well. The mercury contained in the lamp bulb itself presents a health problem for consumers.

3) Pay bills online

Paying bills electronically instead of by paper can save significant amounts each year. By eliminating the need for paper bills, checks and envelopes, the administrative costs of companies are lowered and trees are saved. Online bill paying works either automatically or by the customer manually reviewing each bill individually. Either way helps the environment.

4) Change eating habits

There are a lot of resources used in order to raise animals for food. Shipping animals to slaughterhouses or farms and then shipping the food to stores is expensive. Buying foods that are grown and harvested at local farms helps support the local economy while reducing the expenses. Buying locally-produced foods can also be healthier. Better yet, the concerned person can even start their own farm if they feel so inclined. Producing their own food obviously cuts down on expenses considerably.

5) Make the home more green

There are many products that are used for home applications that can be abandoned in favor of greener products. For example, replacing the hot water heaters can save both water and gas costs. If they are so inclined and they have the money to do it, they can build their house using environmentally-friendly materials and technologies. This is the best way because the home is green from the ground up.

Guest author Louise Baker is a freelance writer and journalist who currently writes about online schools for Zen College Life. She most recently wrote about getting an online criminal justice degree.

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Rock Resorts Starts Soap Recycling Program

The Rock Resorts, a luxury hotel chain based in the United States, has recently partnered up with Clean the World Inc. in helping collect barley-used soap and shampoo and providing the much needed supplies to people in homeless shelters in the Colorado area as well as impoverished countries around the world.

Every year, close to 3.5 million children die due to acute repertory illness and diarrheal disease. Clinical studies have shown that these deaths can be reduced buy up to 65% with soap interventions and hand washing education. By providing soap to impoverished people, Clean the World hopes to greatly reduce these deaths.

This effort and new partnership has a duel benefit of not only saving lives but reducing waste. Currently nearly one million bars of soap are discarded into US landfills daily.

“Rock Resorts is proud to partner with Clean the World to help provide supplies to homeless shelters and impoverished countries around the world,” said Paul Toner, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Rock Resorts and Vail Resorts Hospitality. “This partnership is a perfect complement to the Rock Resorts “ECHO” corporate social responsibility program, which aims to protect the environment, promote social responsibility and foster community engagement.

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Alila Villas Uluwata Embraces Sustainable Design

Set on a cliff top plateau on the Bukit Peninsula is one of the most beautiful luxury hotels in Bali, the Alila Villas Uluwatu, Bali’s first hotel to get the highest level of Green Globe certification for Environmentally Sustainable Design (ESD)

Designed by the award winning Singapore architectural firm, WOHA they have created an amazing resort comprising of 34 residential villas and a hotel with 40 villas suites offering panoramic views of the sea and horizon. Inspired by Bukit’s dramatic, savannah landscape much of the hotels exterior is comprised of local plants which are being raised in a nursery on site at the resort to encourage local birds and animal life.

The creation of Alila Villas Uluwata met many ESD measures by including materials which were all locally sourced supporting local community , water conservation with soaks and rain gardens and recycling with grey water systems, heat pumps for water heating and salt water pools to name a few.

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Edward Norton to Judge ‘Green Effect’ Sustainable Contest

Actor and activist Edward Norton will be among the judges for the Green Effect competition, which awards $20,000 each to five people or groups that have the best ideas for green change. National Geographic and SunChips are teaming up for the project,which they hope will inspire and generate new green initiatives – with the $20K payout to be used to fund the projects.

The five winners will also be profiled in National Geographic, and the winners will travel to Washington, D.C., to meet with environmental leaders.

Think you have a good idea to help green your community? The contest is open until June 8th and on July 7th, the top 10 finalists will be announced, with online voters deciding one of them. The judges, who include Norton, National Geographic’s Boyd Matson, Jayni Chase (wife of Chevy Chase), CEO of Green for All Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins, and Dave Haft, Group Vice President, Sustainability and Productivity, Frito-Lay will choose the remaining four winners.

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The Staying Power of Sustainability

From a worldwide concert, to a motion picture, it seems that everywhere you look Al Gore is urging people to decrease their carbon footprint. With the latest elections it seems that Al Gore isn’t the only one who is discussing this topic, but does it have the staying power to actually have an impact on our everyday lives?

From the hippies of the 60’s, to the liberal colleges of the 90’s, to the youth of today, there is a growing concern about the stresses that our fossil fuel use is having on the environment. With the rise in the price of gasoline, the market for hybrid cars has taken the country by surprise. What was once thought of as a gimmick is slowly being accepted as normal.

The fact that people are starting to drive hybrids does not necessarily mean that people are putting the environment first. Being “Green” is an expensive and sometimes inconvenient title to have. So what is the solution to making sustainability more than just a hot button topic to those that don’t really care? Some people are finding that the solution is to affect them in areas where they do care – their wallet.

While the rise in gasoline has made the change to hybrid cars an appealing one, it still is in the hands of the consumer to decide whether or not they want to make the change. One solution to the growing concern with the abundance of plastic bags is to ban them in certain cities. This will force consumers to buy reusable bags or shop at a different store. While some people might find this to be a bit dramatic, Ireland has gone even further. In 2003 they introduced a fee of approximately 29 cents for each plastic bag that a shopper uses. Shoppers who do not want to fork out the extra money stop using the bags. This one act reduced Ireland’s bag consumption by 90 percent. This may be the type of action that is needed for the United States to put their best green foot forward.

While all the buzz surrounding sustainability is likely to only grow, there is no magic bullet that will suddenly make our emissions problems go away. The only way that there will be a paradigm shift is if these green issues affect people on a personal and financial level.  Now that the election has drawn to a close, we will see if maybe real environmental change will come to Washington not seen since Solar Panels graced the White House during Jimmy Carter’s term.

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Bamboo Industry Could Bolster Developing Nation’s Economies

According to information in a recent report released by the International Network for Bamboo and Rattan, up to 1.5 billion people currently depend in some way on bamboo products. Many organizations are currently looking into how cultivating bamboo in economically deprived areas can bolster the income of the people of those countries, such as small-scale local farmers. There is a good chance that these farmers and their families could avoid poverty by connecting with domestic and foreign buyers.

Currently, China is the global leader in bamboo production with 80% of the world market. They also use 60% of it. According to experts, smaller and less affluent bamboo-producing countries like Vietnam are in an excellent position to compete with China by supplying bamboo and rattan at lower prices.

The reason that growing bamboo increases income levels more than other types of crop is due to its versatility and the speed at which it it can grow. Bamboo is the fastest growing woody plant in the world, with an astounding growth rate of up to 60 centimeters a day.

This makes bamboo is a truly renewable resource which is durable, strong and has a vast number of practical uses — particularly in the building industry. The global bamboo industry is currently worth around $11 billion per year and is projected to reach $15-$20 billion per year in the next decade.

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