Monday, July 6, 2009

A Paperless Society with a Wireless Reading Device

What is a paperless society? Obviously and as the name implies, it means living and working in an environment where paper will hardly be in use whether at home or in offices. To go paperless is the main aim to lessen our demand for raw materials derived from our already depleted forest.

Records show that about 80% of the world's forests have already been overused for different human purposes, fuel, lumber, paper and other wood products man could think of. However, it takes 10 to 20 years before the trees could grow back into maturity and be fit for consumption. What's worst, others tend to be indiscriminate in the use of these trees by not even waiting for the trees to reach full maturity.

If the paperless society will prevail, then our demand for raw materials derived from these forests will lessen. The European Environmental Paper Network berates UK for using 12.5 million tons of paper yearly. That is nothing compared to what the US posted as paper consumption in 2006 which amounted to 99,778,437 tons or an average of 663 pounds per US citizen. Here are some more facts about the paper industry's demand from the forests and which will greatly lessen in a paperless society:

1 ton of uncoated and non-recycled office paper uses about 24 trees

1 ton of coated, low grade magazine or catalogue paper uses about 8 trees

1 ton of coated high-grade magazine paper uses about 15 trees

10 reams of copier paper uses about 0.6 tree of a tree or a tree is used to produce about 8,333.33 sheets of copier paper

Ninety-five% of the raw materials used in producing paper come from the cellulose fibers of trees. These fibers are derived from softwood species like spruce, fir and pine and from hardwood species like birch, oak and maple.

Based on EPA's records, only 10% of the paper consumed will be retained to form part of a user's records, like photos, books, magazines and documents while the remaining 90% will all go to wastes. Although some recycle used paper, EPA records still show that recycling is not enough. After considering paper trash that went into recycling, paper wastes still represent one third of the country's garbage.

Hence, the paperless society promotes going paperless through the use of e-mails and e-cards, of online banking and payment of monthly bills, of using payment gateways and online shopping, and storing all our records in electronic devices such as flash drives and memory cards.

Further, technological development has brought improvement in the use of eBooks. Thus, electronic reading will no longer require a PC just to read eBooks. Today, there is the "wireless reading device" which can store as much as 1,500 eBooks and download almost all types of publications from newspapers, to magazines and blogs. In fact, everything will be in real time and covers almost all US states.

This "wireless reading device" runs on rechargeable batteries and a single charge is said to run for about 4 days. Very lightweight at about 10.2 ounces, a reader can bring "wireless reading device" anywhere even to the beach because of its adjustable lighting features and glare reduction capabilities. Driving alone in long distance travels will no longer be as boring because you can use the "talk-to-me" features of this "wireless reading device". You can choose either a male or female voice to read the book to you aloud.

The paperless society doesn't looks so dreary anymore because you will now have your reading pleasure using the "wireless reading device" for your eBooks. Besides, there will be no more shelves with books that gather dust aside from lessening our demand for paper.

There are other features you will find convenient about this "wireless reading device". Check it out at the The A consumer's guide to green products and a good place to learn more.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Harmful Household Cleaning Products and What They Can Do to Us

We live in a society that lives in constant fear of germs, dirt, bacteria and virus; hence manufacturers of household cleaning products can easily scare us into buying their wares. Regardless of the chemistry in household cleaning products, millions still choose to ignore how these household chemical hazards, affect not only our environment but also our health.

During the time that these products were introduced and in use for about twenty years, we were given a false sense of security that said cleaning materials truly eliminated the dreaded germs and bacteria. However, if this is really the case, haven’t you noticed that we are globally experiencing even worst cases of flu epidemics? In fact, a chronic disease such as asthma is now considered as a global epidemic. Recent statistics have shown that there is a growing incidence of respiratory illnesses common all over the world.

A recently published article A Closer Look at Asthma and Why it Reached Epidemic Proportions reported several reasons why asthma has reached epidemic proportions today, which include the harmful household cleaning products. Further, women are said to represent a large part of the asthma statistics because of their constant exposure to fumes emitted by these household chemical hazards. This and other chemical materials that were used to manufacture and build most of our household furnishings and building materials, contributed to the pollution of our indoor air.

Researches in Birmingham and Warwick universities in the UK fear that drug resistant bacteria developed through the run-off wastes of household chemical hazards, found in most of UK’s waterways. Part of the scientists’ fears is that the medicines available today will no longer be effective in controlling the diseases brought by these drug immune bacteria.

Most people are unaware of the fact that whatever is sent through the drain will be recycled and eventually form part of the local water source. The toxic wastes only encourage the growth of microbes carried in sewers, leading to streams and rivers and forms part of the local watershed where the community’s water supply comes from. Water supply may be treated but does not guarantee that all microbes therein have been eliminated. Hence, humans drink and use this water and will allow a microbe or two to thrive in the human body system. Any incidence of disease sparked by these bacteria can make any form of anti-bacterial or antibiotic medication become ineffective in combating the disease.

According to scientists, there are now drug resistant pathogens in our midst, slowly spreading out and creeping into communities. Over-prescriptions and misuse of antibiotics have caused this resistance and the medical community fears that their ability to control infections has eroded.

As of this period, the Earth is expected to experience another season of hurricanes, storms and floods which will render our houses susceptible to the wetness, dampness and growth of molds and mildew. Waters will surge with great amounts of debris and will leave our surroundings infected by all kinds of microbes. We will yet experience another of those urges to use these strong and potent chemically formulated household cleaning products.

However, stop for awhile and reflect. We have been using them for about twenty years now, but are we any safer and free from diseases since we started using them? Is it just us or even every nation all across the globe, who experience environmental degradation as well as health deterioration, in spite of our use of these products?

In fact, our condition is not any better than that of our old folks, who only used baking soda, lime, vinegar and other similar substances in keeping their homes clean. Today, household cleaning products contain some of the following household chemical hazards, and why they are considered as harmful:

Sodium hypochlorite or chlorine bleach is composed of chlorine gas absorbed by sodium hydroxide solution. True, it is effective when used as a disinfectant and stain remover, but it is also carcinogenic when mixed with other organic materials. The fumes of the chlorine compound can burn the eyes and skin on contact but the mere inhalation of its fumes can burn the mucus membranes.

Nitrobenzene, this chemical substance cannot be dissolved in water and is often used shoe polishes, floor polishes and other cleaning materials. It has been determined to cause damage to the nervous system, affect vision, impair kidney and liver, and cause anemia as well as lung irritations when a person has been subjected to prolonged exposure. It can be absorbed by the skin and can speed up the heart rate, cause convulsion and in rare cases, death. Fume inhalation can induce headaches, nausea, fatigue, dizziness; weaken the arms and legs and even death.

Phenol or carbolic acid widely used in cleaning materials, cosmetics, drugs and a host of other products used by an ordinary consumer. This substance is an alternative embalming ingredient to formaldehyde, also a substance widely used even in foods as a preservative. Prolonged skin contact to these substances lead to dermatitis, its vapors are corrosive even to the respiratory tract causing lung edema, and can affect the nervous system, heart, and kidneys which can cause impairment and eventual failure of the organs. In fact, this substance is a suspected carcinogen or cancer causing ingredient.

The above mentioned chemical substances form part of the chemistry in household cleaning products, and they are only examples of the rest. They affect human health as well as the environment when they are carried as waste water run-offs that pass through our drains and goes back down the streams and rivers. As time passes, they will continue to pollute our waterways and sources of water. They will come back to wreak havoc and maybe not in our lifetime but in our children’s and the generations that will succeed them.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Ten Green Strategies to Help Improve Our Environment

If you think you need to join movements and lobby in Congress just to become an environmentalist, think again. There are many ways you can contribute to help the environment. Our air is largely polluted because of combustion emissions coming out of our cars. Our streams, rivers, and oceans became polluted because of industrial wastes from manufacturers whose products we patronize; only to carelessly throw them away later once we’re done with them. Our land resources are almost depleted because all we did is take and hardly gave back anything to ensure sustainability 

We all took part in ravaging the Earth and we all benefitted. If the results of our actions before created a monumental impact to destroy our environment, then it is possible that all of us can work together to restore our environment to what it used to be.

Let us all “go green”, that way we can demand from manufacturers to produce eco-friendly products that won’t produce harmful wastes and emissions. Let’s all adapt to green living strategies because the Earth is already suffocating with greenhouse gasses and detrimental wastes. Checkout these green strategies, once you start on in, you’ll find out that it’s not so hard after all:      

1.     Organize and participate in carpools; if it’s not too far, walk, jog or pedal.   

We all need to cut down on gas money anyway, with its constantly rising costs. Organize a carpool, or if there’s already one, be a part of it. Less cars on the road on the way to the grocery, mall or school, means less combustion to pollute the air and damage the ozone layer. Get some exercise by walking, jogging, or riding your bike to do some errands, you need to exercise more often.

2.     Clean with Green

Use natural or organic cleaning products for your housekeeping needs. You can also use vinegar, baking soda, and lemon juice, these are the same basic materials used by manufacturers sans the harmful chemicals and less on the costs. There’s nothing wrong with going back to basics, people used them in the olden days and everything was also spotlessly clean.      

3.     Feed and Groom You Pets Green

Since the whole household will “go green”, green your pets too by feeding them natural and organic pet foods and by grooming them with “green” based shampoos, flea and tick repellents and other innovatively green pet supplies.

4.     Consider Other ways to Keep Cool or to Stay Warm

Save on energy and save on your energy money during the summer. Sweating it out a little isn’t too bad for your health. Beat the heat by wearing cool light clothes and by drinking lots of fluids. Health advocates tell us, drinking plenty of water helps in detoxifying our body. During the winter, bundle yourself up with enough warm clothes and warming gear to conserve on energy costs. Drink hot beverages to keep your body warm from the inside.      

5.     Patronize your Local Market

Patronizing your local market and commercial areas makes your community self-sufficient. You’re not only helping your community to grow but you’re also cutting down costs on your purchases. Make some sort of community wish lists for products not available in your community, perhaps your local grocer or suppliers can make them available. This way, the energy and fuel used for shipping will be limited to a few.  

6.     Maintain Proper Waste Disposal by separating Biodegradables from Non- Biodegradables

This simply means separate those that can be recycled from the non-recyclables. Recyclables include those that can be used for compost while the non-recyclables can be re-sold to manufacturers who are also into recycling.

7.     Try to Eliminate Paper Wastes

Try to keep your transactions electronic by e-mails, e-banking, e-shopping, and most other activities that use paper, which are now accessible online. Keep your files secured in flash disks instead of maintaining paper documents in dust gathering files.   

8.     Insulation for Conservation

Consider the use of solar power and heat giving insulators. They were designed to cut down on energy and to lessen the demand for electricity. The less electricity that each household consumes, the less production can be expected from the pollution emitting power plants.

9.     Go easy on Meat

 Lessen your demand for meat and you’ll lessen farm run-offs carrying animal manure. Besides, less meat  in our diet is not only healthy it’s also budget friendly. 

10.  Recycle or Buy Recycled

There’s nothing wrong in re-using things; the Internet offers many ideas on how to make things look new and re-usable. If you can’t recycle, buy recycled. You’ll be surprised on how imaginative and creative recycled things are coming along nowadays.

Work hand in hand with the community and perhaps ask your local government to provide more spaces where trees could be planted to make your community green. Trees will provide you, your protection from the scorching sun as well as give off fresh oxygen your community can inhale.

For your guide to green products visit The Green Ability, it's also a good place to learn more . 

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Thursday, April 30, 2009

How Global Warming Affects Our Pets

Global warming has brought about extreme weather conditions, extreme cold or extreme heat, which can even come unexpectedly. Have you noticed how the weather nowadays can seem to be out of date or out of season? Yet when they come, they always seem to be at an intense level.

The Department of Pathology and Animal Health, University of Naples "Federico II", Naples, Italy warned, that the effects of these climate changes include the increase in numerous vector borne diseases. Vector in biology means an agent or organism capable of transmitting disease-causing microorganisms from one infected human being or animal to another. The most common vectors are mosquitoes, fleas, and ticks.

Humans are not the only ones susceptible to the effects of these severe climate conditions. Even our pets who are supposed to have built-in adapters for wild life condition can be affected. Why not? We have sheltered and protected them just like our own offspring. We feed, bathe, and care for them to make them feel comfortable so they would never run away from home. Just like humans, pets would prefer to stay snug, cared for, and cozy in a loving home. However, they are the likely carriers of fleas and ticks.

According to the paper reviews of the university, one such vector borne parasite is called "Dirofilaria" and poses a great risk of infecting humans and animals because they are mosquito-borne parasites. The past summer temperatures had been ideal for the incubation of these parasites and its impact can spread in different parts of the world.

As winters have become shorter and milder, ticks have more time to be active during the year. In Europe, dog tick is said to be responsible for spreading a malaria-like disease called "canine babesiosis" to other countries that rarely experienced any such diseases in their communities. In other cases, ticks called  "Ixodes' medically pinpointed as responsible for tick-borne encephalitis that occur in horses and dogs, are now gaining greater density in Europe. Cat flea typhus, which used to be a rare disease, is now feared to become widespread in both dogs and cats.  

As responsible pet lovers and owners, our tendency is to treat our household pets with anti-flea products that contain insecticides. They may come in the form of shampoos, spray or dusting agents to make sure fleas will not thrive to cause discomfort in our pets. However, there is still another problem to contend with.

As early as June 1999, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) gave out its warning that flea control products sold as shampoos, dips, and other forms of flea insecticides pose a threat to its users, handlers and the pet itself. Most of them contain some of the most dangerous pesticides collectively known as "organophosphate" (OP). Individually there are seven known "organophosphates" widely used in pet products. These are: malathion, dichlorvos, phosmet, tetrachlorvinphos, diazinon, naled, and chlorpyrifos.

The CDC came out with this warning after several cases of children being hospitalized for "organophosphate" poisoning as a result of their exposure to pesticides found in their respective dogs or cats. The CDC further warned that children who will continuously be exposed to these toxic hazards face an increased risk of impaired brain development.

It was established that a child who is still in the developing stage of his or her nervous system is highly vulnerable to the toxic effects of "organophosphate". This report aims to bring to the consumer the knowledge that the anti-flea product they have patronized not only contribute to our environmental ruin but also threaten our health, especially that of our children.

Anti-flea shampoos are carried in water-run offs that will eventually find its way to canals, rivers and streams. Aerosol sprays evaporate and mingle in our atmosphere while dusting powders are particulate matters that contribute in polluting our air. There is a call to go green, which means changing our lifestyle including that of our pets, by utilizing products made from less hazardous raw materials.

There is a green and safer alternative to care for our pets.  The Natural Resources Defense Council suggests a little extra effort like regular washing and combing of pets as well as cleaning of furniture and vacuuming of carpets can control cases of mild flea infestations. If necessary, there are other newer substances known as insect growth regulators not classified as pesticides but as chemicals that are effective in arresting the propagation of young fleas. They are safe to spray and apply on our pets since the ingredients were verified to be non-hazardous.  

Based on the above report, the facts presented to the buying public aim to convince them of the need to go green. Change must also come from them because they are the end users and hazardous wastes result from their use of non-eco friendly goods. Increasing the public's demand for green products can lessen the demand on products made from toxic raw materials. 

Hopefully, we will finally see the day that environmental concerns for toxic wastes and pollution will become a thing of the past.  Don't you think it's about time we stopped using toxic products and all other consumer goods that result to toxic wastes? 

For your guide to green products, visit The GreenAbility. it's also a good place to learn more.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Quality of Air We Breathe

Accordingly, air pollution in the U.S. stems not only from the pollution originating from the country’s sources of air pollutants but also includes air borne pollution coming from global sources. Hence, tracking which source is the greatest contributor to air pollution, presents difficulties. The air moves along with the pollutants thus, the levels of pollution will differ from one place and one moment to another.   

This being considered, it would be best to place greater concentration on the sources of air pollutants in general. The most powerful emitters of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide are the power plants, cars and trucks, and industrial smoke stacks. Most of the pollutants travel while in the air and eventually forms the acid rain that we now know of. As soon as they precipitate, it rises in the form of rain or snowfall and goes back to the ground.

The major sources of mercury pollution are the coal-fueled power plants and industrial waste incinerators. All these sources include carbon dioxide in their emission hence; it remains the most inexhaustible of all the greenhouse gasses that has continued to damage the Earth’s atmosphere.

The American Lung Association’s listings of the most air polluted state are based on the number of hospital admissions within a particular area; this admissions or hospital visits pertained to treatment of patients for health problems linked to long or short-term exposure to particulate matters that pollute the air. The statistics included deaths aggravated by the said type of air pollution. Hence, the state with the most number of health cases linked to air pollution reported, qualifies as the area with the highest level of pollution.

In the U.S., the consensus is that, California still holds the title of being the state with the highest level of air pollution. In fact, four of California’s metropolis, San Bernardino, Riverside, Bakersfield, and Fresno lead the pack of California’s collective cities and counties listed in the American Lung Association’s State of the Air Report as of 2006. Liberty, Pittsburgh comes in next as the first area outside of California to have the highest level of air pollution while Dearborn, Michigan holds the title to being the second area outside of California to have high level of air contaminants. 

Certain political views blamed the Bush administration for the worsening of the air pollution in some state. Certain changes in the enforcement of policies to ensure air quality involved relaxing inspection requirements. Under the relaxed rule, states are required to inspect pollution sources only once in every five years, in spite of the presence of factories that were previously monitored to have given off tons of harmful pollutants during the past years.

America’s children are reportedly paying the price for this disregard in ensuring clean air in our environment. Asthma has become prevalent   and now a major health issue since medical statistics shows asthma as the leading cause of children’s hospitalization during the past years. Parents are now faced with the dilemma of forcing their kids to stay indoors.

However, indoor air pollution is another issue.

Read a related article about Air Pollution in the U.S.  

Do We Keep Our Kids Safe from Pollution by Keeping Them Confined Indoors?

Staying indoors most of the time does not guarantee our protection from air pollution. People, particularly children, often suffer from asthma attacks despite staying within the confines of their homes. Some of us may not be aware of it but indoor pollution is also a threat to our health and that of our children’s. Some of the medically verified allergens we should be aware of are:

  • The secondhand smoke exhaled by a family member, as he or she exhales the cigarette, pipe, or cigar inside an enclosed room or car. 

  • The dust mites, who are too minute to be perceived by the human eye but can be sensed by our olfactory system; these allergens can be present in almost every home, in bedding materials, mattresses, stuffed toys, curtains, and upholstered furniture.

  • Molds that thrive on wet or damp areas often found in bathrooms, kitchen, and particularly the basement. The growth of mold spores is accounted during rainfalls followed by great humidity or in rooms where there are cold and dry conditions.

  • Cockroaches and other insects are carriers of allergens in the form of their droppings and secretions. We know for sure that these pests are capable of these things but it is something not totally visible to us. Hence, they merely evaporate in our surroundings and become part of the air that we breathe indoors. Eliminating them in our households as much and as often as possible lessens the composition of our indoor air pollution.

  • Our pet’s skin also sheds off flakes and fine particles of hair not to mention other secretions they may leave in their litter boxes or in the specific spots in our homes that they consider as their special places. We may have provided them with scratchboards or mattresses, but could take us a week or more before we could attend to. The accumulation however can rise in the air and becomes part of the air we breathe.

  • Nitrogen Dioxide, the emission that comes from our indoor fuel burning equipment especially if our homes do not have enough air vents. These are fuel burners such as gas stoves, gas space heaters, wood stoves, gas or oil furnaces, and unvented kerosene fueled heaters.

Our children are at risk from both indoor and outdoor pollutants. Statistics gathered from hospitals, place asthma as the number one cause for hospitalization among children while schools have recorded asthma as the leading reason for student absences.  

These are certain environmental issues that cause detrimental risks to our health. The call for change and order can get a good start right in our own homes.


Monday, March 16, 2009

The Main Reasons Why We Should All “Go Green”

Looking Back in the Pre-“Green” Era

In the early 1960’s, being “green” was a cool idea only among the hippies. Environmentalists then were considered as radicals and merely needed an excuse to become recluses. The acceptable norm was that the Earth had limitless capacity to absorb all the wastes of modern technology. People saw only the vastness of the lands, the immensity of the oceans and the endlessness of the skies. 

Today, after more than forty years, the vast land is almost depleted, marine life is disrupted, and the skies are detrimentally polluted. Now the concept to “go green” seems to be the only way to rectify all that was neglected. How our resources and environment came to be are the obvious reasons why there is now a global effort to “go green”. We, as individuals should consider several underlying reasons why we should be in agreement with this “green” movement. Take awhile and ponder on some of these reasons: 
Think About the Living Conditions of Future Generations

Has it ever crossed your mind that the ones who will suffer are the children we cherished and kept protected all through their growing up years? Soon, these young ones will bring forth future generations. Consider the kind of legacy we have in store for them. A world full of contamination and less of the life sustaining resources that their forefathers enjoyed during their lifetimes.
Wouldn’t it be better if our children and the next in their line learn and enjoy the values of an Earth-friendly way of life? 

Think About the Safety of the Weak and the Geographically Disadvantaged

Have you noticed the harshness of the weather? Where heat and cold could be at extreme levels, some members of our global society don’t have the means or capacity to protect themselves from its ill effects. Global warming has transformed hurricanes, cyclones and “tsunamis” to something more dreadful than before, because they can come unexpected and leave a place totally devastated. Consider the health of the young ones and the elderly as they breathe in air full of pollution particles and potent gasses. 

Do we wait until we become the next victims or be proactive and get into green living?

Think About the Advantages of ”Green”

To “go green” in our lifestyle means not only the promotion of health through eco-friendly sustenance, but the creation of a demand for naturally grown and organically based products. Manufacturers often take their cue from what the public demands. Soon these manufacturers will supply a demand for eco-friendly products without need for smokestacks, chemicals, and harmful synthetics. 

In fact, the small businesses have been the fore runners in adapting the green living concept in their products. There are now green cleaning materials, organic fertilizers,  solar powered batteries and chargers, organic foods, organic coffee,  and countless other green products just to save the Earth that we live in.  

The “green” way of life will eliminate wastes that pollute the rivers, streams, and estuaries. These are where polluted rainwater run-offs carry the wastes and debris used by man in his day-to-day life.

Greening the environment will mean more plants and trees to give shade and provide fresh sources of oxygen. We can walk with leisure, ride our bikes, and have less demand for carbon dioxide emitting vehicles that contribute the most harm to our ozone layers.

The best part of all? Less green bucks will be taken out of our wallets because “green” products cost less.

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Read a related article about Sustainability via this

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