Apr 232014
 

By Kim Robson:

Darkness does good things for our health and psyches. In fact, medical research shows that excessive light causes a variety of adverse health effects. Many lighting design textbooks use human health as an explicit criterion for proper interior lighting. Over-illumination and improper types of light can compromise health, resulting in headaches, fatigue, stress, decrease in sexual function, and increase in anxiety. Lab animals exposed to unavoidable light have shown negative effects on mood and anxiety. Exposure to constant bright light is considered a very simple and effective torture technique.

In “Blinded by the Light?” (2009), Professor Steven Lockley of Harvard Medical School states that the human health implications of light pollution are great, and that “light intrusion, even if dim, is likely to have measurable effects on sleep disruption and melatonin suppression. Even if these effects are relatively small from night to night, continuous chronic circadian, sleep, and hormonal disruption may have longer-term health risks.”

We can reduce light pollution and our environmental footprint by simply turning off unneeded lights. For instance, we

http://www.hhlt.org

http://www.hhlt.org

should be lighting up stadiums only when there are people inside them. Participating in World Lights Out events, which encourage public buildings and bridges to turn off their decorative lights for one hour, is a nice thought; but instead of practicing Lights Out only once a year – and only for one hour –  why aren’t we doing it every night?

Turning off a few lights is a great start, but let’s explore other ways we can reduce our electricity consumption. In our technology-driven world, rarely a day, or even an hour, passes without using some electronic device, whether it’s a smart phone, tablet, laptop or desktop computer.

A significant portion of the population never turns these devices off, preferring to leave them in “sleep” mode, in which they are still drawing energy. The same applies to device chargers. You know how all chargers have a little black box attached to the plug end? That little black box is a capacitor, which is a mini electrical storehouse. Left plugged in at all times, chargers are constantly drawing power, even if the device isn’t charging or plugged in.

There are countless appliances that pull this sort of “ghost draw,” using electricity even when the thing seems to be turned off. All those little red lights on televisions, radios, tablets, speakers, telephones, etc. are showing there’s a capacitor ready and waiting to make your device spring to life at a moment’s notice. Appliances with clocks, like the microwave or coffeemaker, also draw power constantly, even when turned off.

Socket_5Unplug all your devices and appliances with a ghost draw (most everything has one nowadays), and you could reduce your carbon emissions by about 274 kilograms a year. Annually, U.S. households spend $100 a year on average for gadgets that aren’t even being used. Idle devices and appliances use 100 KW of power a year, enough to power 8.7 million houses, costing consumers about $11 billion.

All of humanity uses approximately 62,000 terajoules of energy, spending $2.68 billion per hour. By comparison, the atomic bomb that exploded over Hiroshima released about 63 terajoules. If we had an Earth Hour every day and used that saved money to fund sources of renewable energy, we could build two solar arrays, 30 geothermal generators, four tidal generators, 37 wind turbines, 102 wave energy converters, or six hydroelectric dams. That’s for ONE HOUR.

If we did that every day, we could build enough renewable energy to meet global electricity demand in just eight months and 10 days. Suddenly, Earth Hour doesn’t sound so irrelevant and silly, does it?

Apr 222014
 
How To Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

 By Larraine Roulston: Happy Earth day! Since today is about celebrating Earth and reflecting on what we can do to save it, tips on how to reduce your carbon footprint is appropriate I think. The ecological footprint is a measure of human demand on the Earth’s ecosystems.  Conspicuous consumption, waste and the accumulation of material possessions place unnecessary pressures on natural resources and the environment. If we [READ MORE]

Apr 212014
 
The Humble Spud—the Vegetable with a Bad Rep.

 By Fredrica Syren: Tomorrow is Earth Day and why not celebrate this day by planting some potatoes? With a bad reputation for being high in carbohydrates, white starch, potatoes are one of the most misunderstood vegetables.  I think its reputation was born from weight-conscious eaters cutting out starch as a way to lose weight. With today’s society fearing carbs, many people are skipping these wonderful little [READ MORE]

Apr 182014
 
Earth Day Celebrations 2014

By Fredrica Syren: I can’t believe that I almost forgot about the upcoming Earth Day on April 22nd.  Earth Day is a day to celebrate our planet and to reflect on what is going on with Earth. Now the most celebrated environmental day worldwide, Senator Gaylord Nelson founded Earth Day on April 22, 1970, to promote ecology and respect for life on the planet, as well [READ MORE]

Apr 172014
 
Rescue Dogs Help Veterans

By Kim Robson: United States military veterans are committing suicide at more than double the rate of the civilian population. Records from 48 states show that the annual suicide rate among veterans is about 30 for every 100,000 people, compared to a civilian rate of about 14 per 100,000. About 49,000 veterans took their own lives between 2005 and 2011. Nearly one in every five suicides [READ MORE]

Green Easter

Category: Home and Personal Care//   Author: Guest Writer  No Responses »
Apr 162014
 
Green Easter

By Valerie Yoder: Easter is a time to celebrate rebirth and renewal, to shake off the winter and awaken with a new sense of appreciation for the surrounding springtime beauty. In that spirit, my family and I have been seeking ways to have fun on Easter while remaining healthy as well as kind to Earth. Here are a few ideas we are mulling over for our [READ MORE]

Apr 152014
 
Eggs: Choosing the One You Want

Dawna Matthews: Spring has arrived in all its glorious splendor. It is my favorite season – a time to be outdoors and celebrate the light with occasions like Easter, Passover and the Spring Equinox. We are surrounded with sunshine, flowers and gardens bursting with vibrant delights. Fresh sprouts, shoots, the promise of newness, birds singing, baby animals, blossoms, and the rebirth of life after winter remind [READ MORE]

Apr 142014
 
Japan Whaling Stopped after UN Court Decision

By Fredrica Syren:  The United Nation International Court in Hague ruled that it’s illegal for Japan to hunt for whales in Antarctica, and revoked its whaling licenses. Japan will not be granted any further permits. Critics of Japan’s whaling practices, Australia and New Zealand, applauded the UN court’s ruling. But they also caution that Japan may continue its controversial Antarctica whaling for “scientific” reasons. Japan already has been known to [READ MORE]

Apr 112014
 
Smile Big, Smile Green: Eco-dentistry

Dawna Matthews: Environmentally friendly goods and services are present in so many parts of our everyday life. These green companies offer goods and services or follow policies that reduce their impact on the earth, or have little to no harm to the environment. Take a look around and see all the many varied eco-friendly products and services. Available are eco-friendly clothing, recycling, earth friendly foods, fair [READ MORE]

Apr 102014
 
Starting Off Morning the Right Way

By Fredrica Syren: I think most of us have had mornings when we’re running around like crazy, trying to get ready for work. Now add three kids to that equation and every morning is like a marathon, working hard to get to the finish line: all kids dressed, fed, and ready to head to school and daycare on time. After many mornings of total chaos – [READ MORE]

Apr 092014
 
Tips on Reducing Waste

By Centehua: We are living in the most exciting and important time of our evolution. The world is rapidly changing, and we must recognize how the way we live impacts our environment. This is the perfect time to make vital changes in order to shift the course we are heading for, and steer it into a sustainable bright tomorrow that future generations may enjoy. We must [READ MORE]

Apr 072014
 
The Stinging Truth about Stinging Nettles

By Fredrica Syren: The other day someone told me they found stinging nettle and I could barely contain my excitement. Stinging nettle is one of the earliest green plants to emerge each spring in many cold climates and is worth the hard work of finding them, picking them without getting a rash, and then taking care of them. Here is a great web site with information [READ MORE]

Return to Your Roots. Compost!

Category: Gardening//   Author: Larraine Raulston  No Responses »
Apr 042014
 
Return to Your Roots. Compost!

By Larraine Roulston: Neither snow, nor sleet, nor rain will stop an avid person who loves to compost.  Indeed, this year many North Americans had their share of all three. There were times when my backyard composter was completely buried in snow. If you are already familiar with composting, you will know that during the winter, the cycle slows down and your unit will fill up faster. As [READ MORE]

Apr 032014
 
Tiny Home Makes A Big Impact

By Kim Robson: Tiny homes (also called accessory dwelling units, or ADUs) are living spaces of 800 square feet or less, built on wheels and ready to be towed around to their resting grounds in backyards, RV parks, and state and national parks. A customized tiny home also makes a great backyard office, studio, or private living space for an elderly or college-age relative. The size [READ MORE]

Apr 022014
 
UN Scientist Warns Of Global Warming Risk to Humans

By Fredrica Syren: Global warming is real, is putting humans at risk and it’s only just the beginning, United Nation scientists reported. According to them, everyone on this planet will be effected by global warming and the time to take action is now, before it’s too late. Global warming is causing extreme changes to the weather world wide, like killer heat waves in Europe, wildfires in the United States, droughts in Australia and deadly flooding in Mozambique, Thailand and Pakistan. Global warming affects [READ MORE]