Environment

The Earth isn’t just what’s outside your window; it’s the home of your home.

The Earth is not only the home of many living creatures, but it is also a complex inter-connected environment which functions to maintain all the important processes vital to keeping the Earth “livable”. When a problem becomes too big for nature to neutralize, it usually means bad news for the environment-dependent life forms; as in the case of the dinosaurs. More current events include acid rain, polluted drinking water, and environmental damage cause by careless (and sometimes accidental) dumping of waste. A big part of the problem is not only a general lack of awareness and or knowledge about environmental concerns, but also how people can help. That is why we have dedicated a whole section of our site to providing information about these concerns and how everyone is capable of helping out!

Recycling

Recycling is not only a way of protecting our living environment and ecosystems, but it is also a method of processing valuable resources in a more efficient way and keeping the costs of producing almost all end-products stable and low(er). Lower than what they could be if the costs of procuring the materials to manufacture said products became increasingly high due to the scarcity and difficulty of scavenging them.

What Not to Recycle:

Any items that contain food (especially very greasy ones) and items like chip bags and juice boxes with shiny, glossy coats shouldn’t go into the recycle bin. Items like paper towels and napkins would do better in a compost (again unless they have very fatty, grease on them). For additional reading go here: (http://planetsave.com)

Special Condition Recyclables:

Some common items such as: plastic grocery bags, cosmetics, electronics, batteries, light bulbs, and ink cartridges require a different recycling process, and many of these items if recycled incorrectly actually decrease the recycling process efficiency and become a burden.

In such cases, it would be best to find an enterprise or location that collects these “special-case-recyclables”. For instance, some Staples (office supply store) collect batteries and ink cartridges. Staples even offers $2 in rewards for each cartridge; check it out at: (http://www.staples.com/sbd/cre/products/150927/31729/index.html)

Aluminum

Aluminum should always be recycled. It is a widely used material that not only retains its quality consistently after processing, but in which the costs for producing(mining & processing) new resources costs substantially more than it costs to collect and re-melt the recycled material.

“Recycling aluminum saves more than 90 percent of the energy that would be needed to create a comparable amount of the metal from raw materials. Tossing away an aluminum can wastes as much energy as pouring out half of that can’s volume of gasoline. Nearly 75 percent of all aluminum produced is still in use today.”-(www.aluminum.org)

Energy back to top

Renewable energy with low environmental costs and impact is the primary goal for scientists, researchers, businesses, and also for an increasing number of homeowners as well. Some general innovations are well known such as solar panels and wind powered turbines, but as more and more people become involved in the quest to find a healthier energy source, more possibilities and solutions are can be, and are being, explored.

Buildings: In your home or in any building you could be “leaking” energy. From the windows to the walls… heat or cooled air may be seeping out and reducing your energy efficiency, as well as costing you more money.

Water back to top

Water is a precious compound that is vital to much, if not all, of what we know as life itself. Not only is it chemically unique, but both fresh and salty waters play an integral part o in the lives of many creatures. Yet water is often taken for granted, and it is almost assumed that nature is fully capable of filtering and redistributing any number of quantities of the utilized fluid.

Ocean Dumping: The ocean has been a dumping site which, only until somewhat recently, has become a concern in which people actively volunteer to clean up and amend. Plastics, garbage, chemicals, and other categories of environmentally damaging waste now populate the ocean. There are many organizations dedicated to helping the Earth’s water system, for starters, you can check out this one:
(http://www.oceanblueproject.org/oceanblueinthenews.html).

Chemical Water Pollution: While clean-up events can be held for some of the waste such as plastic and garbage, chemical waste materials can be bio hazardous. One example chemical is triclosan. The FDA has banned the anti-bacterial chemical known as triclosan from products such as soaps and hand sanitizers. Decades of research has shown no particular harm in human usage, but they also showed no benefits of the chemicals usage over the usage of regular soap and water. More importantly, the chemical was found to attack bacteria in a way similar to that of an antibiotic. This approach gives the surviving bacteria the potential to “learn” from this event and mutate to increase its chances of survival (similar to evolution). This is also the reason why once you start taking a prescribed antibiotic medicine, you should never quit in the middle of a cycle. For more information, check out the information provided by the FDA (https://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm205999.htm).

News &/ History back to top

Energy: Solvay Solar-Powered Plane: This chemical company successfully completed a would tour using a solar powered plane… read more at: (link)

Energy: Desert of 10,000 mirrors: In the Nevada desert sits a circle of around 10,000 mirrors; all pointed at a large tower in the middle. This structure provides a solar powered energy source that is capable of supplying energy to tens of thousands of homes. In addition, it can store up to 10 hours of energy for times when the sun is not out.

“The trick is to have all those mirrors heat up a massive tank fullof sodium and potassium nitrates that are pumped up to the top of the tower. There the molten salt can reach temperatures as high as 565 degrees Celsius. When electricity is needed, the hot salt is used to boil water and produce high-temperature, high-pressure steam, which turns turbines that generate electricity. The rest of the time, the molten salt can be stored in another insulated tank on the ground.”- (www.scientificamerican.com).

Energy: Eversource: Helping people make their homes more energy efficient – and saving them $.

Renewable Resources: Landfill Mining, the concept or practice of “mining” landfills for useful resources such as: metals, plastics, rare earths, and more. (read more)

Eco-friendly Building: Although China once widely publicized plans for a beautiful efficient city, they failed to see the whole reality of the project, and it became abandoned. However, the need to build one has yet remained. I’m sure many would agree that any place that requires the current levels of unhealthy (and sometime toxic) air pollution to be measured frequently, and has a system to warn citizens about dangerous levels, should probably be working on building a healthier city. In China, there is even a color coded scale for the levels of dangerous air smog, which recently (2016-2017) reached a level-red danger level- resulting in a warning being sent out to 24 cities.

Check out this article: (CNN) to get a glimpse of how life is with serious air pollution. To read about future plans for healthier and sustainable cities: (digitaltrends.com) and (huffingtonpost.com). (The first link is more about design and the second includes insight to the cultural and economic perspectives.)