on October 19th, 2014 | Posted in Activism
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There’s tremendous freedom in letting something go. We’ve all been hurt or felt betrayed in our lives, and many times it’s difficult to let it go. It could be anything from something small- a hurtful word or insult, perhaps- to something much “bigger”, as in the case of the Japanese comfort women of World War II, whose plight has recently been in the news again.
While we’re not sure how much of the issue is politicized- the Chinese and South Korean governments definitely have something more on their agenda, what with each country having ongoing islands disputes with Japan. Adding to the confusion is the recent story of The Asahi Shimbun, Japan’s oldest news publication, making corrections on their previous coverage on the comfort women, as well as the controversial comfort women statue erected by the Korean Community of Glendale, California.
Consider, too, that nearly 20 years ago, the Japanese government made their own investigation into the comfort women issue, released a public apology (known as the Kono Statement), letters of apology to all survivors, and millions of dollars to the victims as well through the government-run Asian Women’s Fund Foundation.
Earlier this year, the Pope visited South Korea and blessed a group of Korean comfort women before celebrating a mass for reconciliation. Apt, because reconciliation is what’s needed most in Asia today; and it starts with forgiveness.
See, the truth is that you can’t heal a negative action with another negative action. The surviving comfort women are in their 80s now; many have already passed away. What they need most at this point is peace; the knowledge that their stories have been documented, and that the atrocities won’t be repeated; only then can they- and the countries involved- move on.
on September 23rd, 2014 | Posted in Eco Home
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The tiny home movement has gained popularity in recent years. Budget-friendly and mobile, micro dwellings range in size, shape, and amenities. People have been able to build tiny homes for very little money using reclaimed materials. Solar panels and wood burning stoves are cost-effective and easy to acquire. Hot tubs, however, are a bit more challenging.
One company, Tinywood Homes, in Warwickshire, UK, saw a need for something a bit more luxurious. Hot tubs and gazebos are among the many options tiny home dwellers have to choose from. Three models of homes exist. There’s the Tinywood One, the Tinywood Two, and the Tinywood Three. Each offers a specific amount of space and amenities.
The company was founded by Aidan Reeve and his friend who wanted to create a home out of a 20-foot shipping container. The Tinywood Three is based off the blueprints used in Tinywood Homes’ first project. It is the largest of the homes offered by the company.
Up to eight people can sleep in the micro house. It also has a large kitchen and a woodstove-heated living room. All Tinywood homes are small enough to be hauled by truck. The Tinywood Three is also offered as an off-grid version. Homeowners will be pleased to see the composting toilet, water tank, and solar power. It is, however, on the pricier side. The off-grid model sells for $57,000 USD. It’s only available for UK residents to buy at the moment.
For a budget-friendly version of a tiny home, interested parties can check out LaMar Alexander’s website. He’s written a book on how to build a 14 x 14 cabin for under $2,000. He even includes information on how to craft a solar composting toilet just in case it’s something a person wants to add to their tiny home.
Photos Courtesy of Tinywood Homes
on September 22nd, 2014 | Posted in General
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Eco-friendly hotels are environmentally and socially responsible as well as cost effective. More and more companies are jumping on the green bandwagon as a way of protecting valuable resources like water and trees as well as appealing to clientele concerned about the toll their actions have on the planet. One lodge in Voi has decided to take an entirely different approach to irrigating its gardens and 3,000 trees. It recycles sewage and dirty water in a recycling plant and turns it into a clean, safe resource that saves the accommodation money.
On the Cutting Edge of Eco-Tourism
The Voi Wildlife Lodge hotel made the changes as a way of becoming the leading eco-tourist lodge in the Tsavo region. Tourists from around the world come to see the wildlife in nearby Tsavo East National park roaming freely. General Manager Permenus Riungu told the Star that, “We want our hotel to be the leading in terms of environment conservation and management. The machine recycles sewage from the hotel and water that comes out is pumped for irrigating 3,000 trees planted around the hotel.”
The lodge also has a biogas system. Kitchen waste is collected in a tank and then converted into biogas, the hotel’s main energy source. It is the most cost effective form of energy available. Water at the lodge is heated using solar energy. It makes sense because Voi is hot and sunny.
Eco Responsibility and Social Responsibility
Voi Wildlife Lodge donates to the Kaloleni Childrens Rescue Centre several times a year. Rubber shoes, slippers, sanitary pads, milk, bread, food items, toys, stationary, and books are among the items donated. School fees and scholarships are also provided to some of the children. Choosing to spend your hard-earned money on eco-friendly accommodations helps support programs like these.
Leaf Photo Courtesy of Stuart Miles
Recycling Symbol Courtesy of KROMKRATHOG
By Teresa M+
on September 10th, 2014 | Posted in Green design
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With so many projects being sought to be funded through crowdsourcing platforms like Kickstarter, it could be anybody’s guess which ones will succeed. Among the possibilities are the more practical ones that can be used by the public. This leads to a scenario where people actually buy Kickstarter projects. Here are some environment-friendly Kickstarter projects more likely to succeed than the others.
OpenFarm: Learn to Grow Anything
This project is so simple that it is most likely to succeed because of its usefulness. Targeting farmers and gardeners all over the world, it seeks to offer what has not been offered so far – specific relevant information. Most information that can be found online are general which may not be useful to particular questions and problems arising from specific situations and areas. Some advice can be specific, too specific perhaps to be of any use to any other person intent of making good in his farming or gardening efforts.
OpenFarm is designed to be a free and open database for farming and gardening knowledge. Anyone is allowed to contribute content. Contents will be structured in a way that would make it easy for readers to find the information they want. The Prerequisites and Timeline sections will tell readers the conditions required to follow the guide successfully.
LED Light has already proven its energy efficiency prowess. This project just takes it a notch higher in terms of creativeness and fun. Playbulb Candle is a mobile app controlled device that allows lighting control and color changing. It is the perfect night light for kids since it’s flameless and will not pose any risk.
Again, it is likely to succeed because of its sheer simplicity plus the added fun factor. There will always be use for energy-efficient lighting. Playbulb Candle just made having them more fun.
Products that are multi-functional are good for the environment. The less products needed to accomplish tasks, the better. This survival belt does not only look good but is actually useful for a lot of things. This project seeks to find funding for their belts with 3 new buckle types. One comes with a fires starter. Another comes with multi-tool in addition to the firestarter and still another comes with a GPS in addition to the multi-tool and fires starter.
Two things come to mind when determining probable success of a product: creativity and usefulness, both best achieved while taking into environment issues into consideration.
on July 15th, 2014 | Posted in Eco Tips
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Consumers are becoming increasingly responsible with water and energy conservation. With multiple U.S. states experiencing exceptional levels of drought – including California, Nevada, and Oklahoma – residents are seeking to lower their resource consumption. This doesn’t necessarily include major shifts in your lifestyle. You can cut down on resource consumption by making slight changes to your everyday habits. Here are four mobile apps that can help your household improve its conservation efforts.
This fun and engaging app allows families to keep track of drought news and monitor their home water use indoors and outdoors. By answering a few simple questions regarding your shower, appliance, and gardening habits, you’ll be able to identify opportunities to cut down on water consumption. If you notice someone being extremely wasteful with water, you can also use this app to report these issues to your local water supply. Households can also compare their water usage with others in their city, so you can see if you’re on par with your community’s efforts. Read the rest of this entry »
By David Glenn+
on June 9th, 2014 | Posted in General
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Sometimes, it’s the littlest things you can do that can have the biggest impact over time. This is the case when you implement a few but effective changes in how you use electricity that will result in slashing your energy bills.
In mid-summer, it’s hard to cool down a home. Turns out, there are several ridiculously simple things you can do to radically reduce your energy bill – and they don’t require a large investment of your time or money. Here are a few easy ways to successfully cut down on your energy bill:
Read the rest of this entry »
on May 30th, 2014 | Posted in Eco Home
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Today, eco-friendly individuals and families are trying to import energy savings and a green approach to life into their homes. Among the tactics they use are making informed purchases, activating energy-save modes on electronics, unplugging unused devices, and repairing electronics that have power drain issues.
These are just a few of the ways you can reduce energy drains at home and save on your power bill. Below are specific details on these energy-saving strategies.
1. Purchase carefully
Some consumer electronics and home appliances have higher energy efficiency ratings than others. Look for labels like Energy Star, which indicates that a particular product uses less energy than alternatives.
The Energy Star program is run by the federal Environmental Protection Agency, which aims to assist consumers in making smarter choices. While some of these products come with a higher retail price tag, they can guarantee you’ll enjoy substantial energy savings in the long run.
2. Energy-save modes
Newer home appliances and electronics such as computers, printers, video game consoles, and air conditioners have energy-save modes, which can reduce the power drain when a device is sitting idle.
These settings are ideal if you need to employ the technology quickly, without the inconvenience of having to turn it on and off. You can learn about the energy-save mode on various products by referring to the instructions provided by the manufacturer. Read the rest of this entry »
By David Glenn+
on May 20th, 2014 | Posted in General
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Is Recycling Really Worth It?
Most people support the concept of recycling, which is the act of taking waste products and turning them into new forms that can be used again. It is a practice with many obvious benefits, but it can also have some potential drawbacks as well. Here’s a look at some of the positive and negative effects of recycling.
A definite plus for recycling is that it saves natural resources in a number of ways. For one thing, whenever the raw materials that went into making the original product can be reused, it becomes unnecessary to invest energy into getting new raw materials for more products. Since there is a finite amount of resources in the world, recycling helps to ensure that our resources don’t run out and are available for future generations.
If you have to constantly manufacture products from scratch, then you must continually invest the same amount of time and energy. However, recycling cuts out a lot of the expensive process of making new products, thereby allowing manufacturers to save money that can then be turned into higher profits for the businesses and lower prices for the consumer. In this sense, recycling is not just good for the environment, it is good for the public purse and the business bottom line as well.
A major cause of pollution is the industrial waste created by manufacturing consumer products. However, much of the pollution causing manufacturing process can be reduced or eliminated through recycling. Instead of throwing products away and manufacturing from scratch, recycling allow the same materials to be used again in ways that avoid the need for new raw materials and the landfills for discarded products. It is similar to how an e cigarette reduces the waste from cigarette butts and pollution from tobacco smoke.
Recycling doesn’t happen by magic. Someone has got to go out and gather the objects to be recycled and then ship them to where they can be processed. The act of retrieving and then selling the recovered materials also requires people who know how to do these things. In other words, recycling creates jobs, thereby strengthening the economy and reducing unemployment.
Unfortunately, there is also a downside to recycling, and that is the fact that not all forms of recycling are cost effective. In some cases, the technological cost of recovering the materials surpasses the amount of money you can make from selling it. In those cases, government subsidies by taxpayers may be required, which is something that is not always popular with voters. Where the cost is too prohibitive, we may simply have to wait for the technological breakthroughs that will allow recycling to make economic sense.
Another potential drawback is the fact that not everything recycled is of the same quality as the original. For some substances, the act of recycling cause a degradation in the grade of the material. In those cases, recycling may not make sense from a quality control perspective.
Recycled products are clean and safe, but the facilities for doing the recycling may be another story. Recycling by its very nature requires gathering all kinds of waste, some of which may pose pollution and cleanliness issues of their own. Many recycling processes involve water, which poses the potential of pollution leaking from the recycling site into drinking water. Generally, this is something that can be controlled by technological precautions, but these measures cost money that can make the recycling process unprofitable.
Like most things in life, recycling has both positive and negative aspects. Increasingly, the negatives of recycling are being reduced by technological innovations that are lowering costs, improving quality and eliminating any negative ecological impact of recycling facilities. In the long run, the positive effects of recycling such as savings on energy, resources and pollution control, will cause the levels of recycling to increase.
5 Ways to Go Green in the Home
Going green in the home is not only a way to provide a safer and healthier lifestyle for your entire family, but it is also a way to ensure you are also reducing your carbon footprint as much as possible at all times. Learning about various ways to go green in the home is a way for you to determine the best options for you and your household based on your intentions as well as any budget you have available to invest.
Upgrade Kitchen Appliances and Electronics
Upgrade your home’s kitchen appliances and electronics in the home to go green instantly. Most kitchen appliances and new electronics today are Eco-friendly and offer a wide range of energy-saving features and capabilities. Many Eco-friendly kitchen appliances today use a fraction of the water and electricity that traditional dishwashers and other appliances use daily.
Unplug Electrical Items When Not in Use
Unplug any and all electronics in your home when they are not in use to ensure you are minimizing the amount of electricity and energy you and your entire family are using on a monthly basis. Keeping your electronic unplugged until you need them can drastically reduce the amount of energy you use over a year’s worth of time. Be sure to inform your children and any members of your household about unplugging electronics that are not in use. While simply shutting off televisions and computers helps to cut down on energy usage and cost dramatically, it still requires energy when the electronics are plugged in. Unplugging all electronics ceases the ability to use up more energy throughout all areas of your home.
Using Electronic Cigarettes
Consider the option of using the electronic alternative version of a cigarette when you are seeking new ways to go green around the home while reducing your carbon footprint and the toxins you release into the atmosphere. Using an electronic version of a cigarette is a way for you to not only reduce your own carbon footprint, but it also ensures you are not putting anyone in your family or household at risk for smoke inhalation or related diseases and illnesses.
Invest in a Home Warranty
Having a warranty for your home is another way for you to go green while you have the ability to ensure all of your appliances and electronics can be repaired at a known price to maintain your green state. Getting a warranty for your home can be done by first determining the type of coverage you are interested in for repairs in addition to also calculating estimates for the value of any items and electronics or appliances you wish to cover that are currently in your home itself.
Use All-Natural Cleaning Solvents and Solutions
Use all-natural cleaning solvents and solutions as opposed to traditional cleaning sprays and materials, masked with chemicals and toxins that are not always healthy for the body. Becoming more aware of label ingredients as well as the type of materials you are exposing yourself and your entire family to each day is a way for you to make more informed decisions the next time you are browsing for the right cleaning solvents and solutions for your home. It is also possible to go green at home by getting creative and making your own all-natural cleaning solutions with the use of basic ingredients, ranging from bleach and water to vinegar and lemon, depending on the type of surface you want to clean and the area in the home which requires cleaning.
Understanding how to go green in any home regardless of where you live is a way for you to cut down on energy usage and waste at all times throughout the year. The more effort you put into consciously reducing your carbon footprint and going green, the more you are ultimately positively contributing to your surrounding environment.
For those homeowners who spend long, busy days confined in drab office spaces, bringing the outdoors into the home helps to create a warm and inviting living space that fosters a calming environment and creates an atmosphere that does wonders for the soul. By addressing 5 fundamental areas of design and décor, bringing basic outdoor elements inside is something that every homeowner can accomplish.
Wood flooring offers homeowners the perfect solution for creating a warm, organic feeling that is visually appealing and inviting for virtually anyone’s tastes. While traditional wood or bamboo are considered the perfect choice, the expense is often a deal breaker. Innovations in laminate flooring offer homeowners the look and feel of natural wood products without the costs associated with traditional materials. Homeowners are able to choose from a variety of patterns that take on the look and feel of oak, pine, bamboo, and a host of other natural flooring choices.
Using colors that are inspired by outdoor elements is a fun and cost effective way to create an outside feel in virtually any room in the home. Even in basements! Whether it’s various shades of green to represent grass and plant life, or it’s subtle shades of blue that represent the sky and water, there are endless color combinations that will bring the feeling of the outdoors, inside. Adding neutral tones will help to create a clean feeling that will also produce the illusion of a larger space. Color doesn’t have to be limited to walls, trim, and ceilings. Outdoor colors can be used to create a natural feeling when used in furniture, bedding, window treatments, and tile on floors, counters, and shower walls.
3. Natural Light
Natural light is by far the most economical way to bring the outdoors into any home. Avoid keeping blinds closed and curtains drawn when there is natural light just waiting to lift the spirits. Even in those areas where some type of window covering might be necessary for privacy, using fabrics that are sheer or light weight will help to let the outdoors pour freely into your home. Natural light has an uncanny ability to help make us feel healthier and is a great natural remedy. When weather permits, opening those windows and breathing the fresh air is just an added bonus. For those homeowners with sliding glass doors, a little bit of routine maintenance will help to make opening, closing, and securing them, much easier. For doors that have been out of service, newly installed sliding door hardware will do a world of good for older, stubborn sliders.
Natural textures will help to create that outdoor feeling and add a level of dimension to any interior living space. Again, this fundamental tip does not have to break the bank. From materials used to upholster furniture to accents like whicker baskets, area rugs, lampshades, or a rustic barn door the sky really is the limit when it comes to using textures to welcome in the outdoors. The only science behind this tip is simply how a particular texture makes the homeowner feel. If a whicker basket filled with magazines makes you feel as if your sitting on the porch, that means the whicker basket has done its job.
5. A Room With A View
Sometimes working on your interior living space means doing a little bit of work outdoors. When your windows are cleaned and your blinds are open, nothing kills the mood more than an obstructed window. Taking some time to trim branches, remove overgrowth, and eliminate man-made clutter will help to create the perfect view. Bringing the outdoors into your home is essential to help keep refreshed, excited about life, and ready to tackle each day with a smile on your face. While improvements like flooring may come with a price, there are plenty of projects to keep you busy until you’re ready to commit to larger renovations.