April 25, 2012

Why Ecology is Important in Vancouver?

Vancouver EcodensityVancouver has long enjoyed the status as one of the world’s most livable cities. But despite this reputation, the fact is our city has a large ecological footprint. If everyone lived like we do in Vancouver, it would take four planets to sustain us.

Today, our city faces three important challenges:

  • how to continue to grow in a way that is sustainable and reduces the city’s ecological footprint;
  • how to grow in a way that maintains our livability; and
  • how to grow in a way that improves opportunities to create more affordable types of housing.

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April 20, 2012

Living in a Global City: Housing and Affordability

Global CityRelating EcoDensity to amount and type of housing in neighbourhoods

Housing options Imagine a young Vancouver couple who has just had their first child. They are enjoying being new parents, and are eager to provide their child with a good home. They think it would be best if they lived near their own parents, but they can’t find affordable rental units in the neighbourhood. They also would like some outdoor space for their child to play. They could leave Vancouver, but they know that this will mean more driving and make it harder to arrange child minding with the grandparents.

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August 24, 2014

The Importance of Ecological Engineering in Today’s World

With the considerable improvement in science and technologies, human beings have evolved from depending entirely on the environment for survival to becoming the master of it. Unfortunately, the irrepressible increase in people’s consumption of natural resources and the rapid population growth put great pressure on the environment, leading to environment-related issues including:

  • pollution
  • climate change
  • resource depletion

As the impacts of those issues become clear, more efforts have been made to address them and save the Earth. Within this context, ecological engineering emerges as a field that combines ecology and engineering to design, develop and construct a human society that is also friendly to the environment. Ecological engineering encompasses a wide range of sub-fields such as restoration ecology, which seeks to renew and revive the damaged ecosystem, and sustainable engineering, which explores ways to simultaneously accommodate increasing human’s needs and protect the Earth’s natural support system, you can read about other types of engineers here. In today’s world, ecological engineering proves to be increasingly popular and important.

Place enormous emphasis on ecological principles

Unlike traditional engineering, ecological engineering goes to great lengths to incorporate ecological values into its practice. In fact, it is developed from the science of ecology, giving ecological engineers fundamental understanding of the way the ecosystem works and how to create and operate an eco-friendly system that also serves human objectives. For example, when planning a construction site, ecological engineers assess the impacts of human activities on the natural systems and take into consideration the complexity and interconnections among various environmental elements such as plants, animals, insects, landscape, air, water and other factors. This also contributes to the knowledge of the science and raises people’s awareness.

Restore and reconstruct the destroyed or structurally compromised ecosystem

As the result of many human economic activities, wars, and other destructive behaviours, many natural habitats and ecosystems are permanently damaged or even lost forever. Ecological engineers actively study the affected areas and initiate projects to interfere and prevent further damage and gradually restore the area back to their original condition. The restoration process is implemented at the same time as the construction process of the project to establish human presence at the site without causing any disturbances to the newly-recreated area. Consequently, these efforts help to preserve many species and natural systems, reinstate natural resources and lessen the severity of climate change.

Contribute to the economic development as well as environmental improvement

Green technologies and sustainability have generated huge demands from people and companies in recent years in the face of growing concerns about environmental quality and the government’s stricter regulatory mandates. Ecological engineering with its outstanding characteristic as a combination between ecology and engineering arises as an ideal approach to economic and technological solutions. Many companies invest millions of dollars in developing ecological engineering technologies and methodologies and make substantial profits. Moreover, not just the companies enjoy the benefits, the environment also sees remarkable enhancement thanks to these advances.

Overall, ecological engineering can be considered the future of ecology’s science and engineering practices. Although it is a relatively new field, the gains from it are very promising for both people and the environment. Ecological engineering can solve many current issues of alternative energy, biodiversity and sustainable development. Other types of engineering can also be adapted to better serve our environment, for more information about engineering, visit www.typesofengineers.org.

August 22, 2014

Vancouver Recycling Drive 2015

Next spring, Vancouver is starting a new trend in recycling. The Vancouver Recycling Drive 2015 is going to be the first, of hopefully many, ‘mass recycling’ events held by the city in and effort to help people live cleaner, and simpler, while also giving the participants a tax credit for certain items and weight limits.

The idea behind the event is sort of a ‘spring clean’ for the entire city. Get rid of everything you don’t need, while giving the province tonnes of material to use in manufacturing and development of upcoming sustainable projects.

One of the goals of the city is to collect enough reusable metal, like steel and aluminum, to frame a low income housing project on the downtown east side. 55 Water Street is a proposed 4 storey low rise which will be able to house up to 45 low income residents of the city. The design of the building is entirely sustainable, making use of solar power, and the city’s abundant rain supply for grey water needs. The city expects to collect enough donated metal to frame the development, while utilizing a paper mix concrete alternative which the university campus alone should be able to supply!

There are similar projects planned for neighbouring Burnaby and Coquitlam, which are also holding local recycling drives.

Tax credits will be given to those who are able to donate 50 or more pounds of steel or aluminum. Also, anybody donating 2 or more pieces of furniture will receive a carbon tax credit also.

All furniture which is in usable condition will be refurbished through the province’s correctional facilities, which have developed a new rewards program for inmates who participate. This will then be donated to underprivileged families in the area.

Larger items can be arranged for pick up and are eligible for a $100 tax rebate. This can be anything from backyard items like trampolines, barbecues, and swing sets to old freezers, fridges, washing machines, and other household appliances. On top of the credit, the province will waive the PST on the purchase of a replacement appliance within six months of the recycling drive. Not a bad incentive if you were already thinking of doing some upgrades in your home!

While the general purpose of the Vancouver Recycling Drive is to bring awareness to sustainability, the campaigns also focus on bringing attention to all of the advances in recycling facilities in the past decade. Many people are currently unaware of what items are recyclable or not. In the old days, it used to be pop cans and water bottles, however, recently almost anything can be recycled. Paper, almost all plastics, electronics, woods, just about anything non organic is able to be repurposed in the city’s recycling plants.

The other purpose is to bring awareness to living with what you need, and not buying in excess. While this might seem counter intuitive to a sustainable economy, the purpose is to encourage residents to spend their money experiencing the city and promoting the LOCAL economy through dining, social events, and ecological activities. There is plenty to do in Vancouver and the Lower Mainland and plenty of businesses which will thrive from local investment in their services.

The drive takes place over the May long weekend and each neighbourhood will receive instructions from local radio stations through advertisements running December – May, or by checking out the Vancouver Recycling Drive’s website which will be up and running by October.

August 19, 2014

Sustainable building design that could mark the beginning of the green era

Sustainable architecture is architecture that seeks to minimize the negative environmental impact of buildings by efficiency and moderation in the use of materials, energy, and development space. Sustainable architecture uses a conscious approach to energy and ecological conservation in the design of the built environment. The idea of sustainability, or ecological design, is to ensure that our actions and decisions today do not inhibit the opportunities of future generations. According to www.playadelcarmenrealestateagents.com, the Playa del Carmen area is at the forefront of sustainable design in Mexico.

Energy efficiency over the entire life cycle of a building is the single most important goal of sustainable architecture. Architects use many different techniques to reduce the energy needs of buildings and increase their ability to capture or generate their own energy. The most important and cost-effective element of an efficient heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) system is a well-insulated building. A more efficient building requires less heat generating or dissipating power, but may require more ventilation capacity to expel polluted indoor air. Significant amounts of energy are flushed out of buildings in the water, air and compost streams. Off the shelf, on-site energy recycling technologies can effectively recapture energy from waste hot water and stale air and transfer that energy into incoming fresh cold water or fresh air. Recapture of energy for uses other than gardening from compost leaving buildings requires centralized anaerobic digesters. HVAC systems are powered by motors. Copper, versus other metal conductors, helps to improve the electrical energy efficiencies of motors, thereby enhancing the sustainability of electrical building components.

In relation to the growing and changing trends in these days buildings are getting more high-tech to respond to growing concern over Climate Change. Making sure that buildings are designed to be more efficient when it comes to water and energy needs is necessary. Environmental sustainability meets social sustainability in Mexico, Playa Del Carmen which is located the Riviera Maya, which runs from south of Cancun to Tulum and the Sian Ka’an biosphere reserve. Through its rapid development over years, the building specifically the new luxury residential condominium buildings, restaurants, boutiques and entertainment venues were designed to promote the green era. You can see some great examples of these kind of development initiatives in real estate from Playa del Carmen and Riviera Maya at www.buyplaya.net

The buildings utilize innovative technology as well as use the natural environment to help the building run better. In order to save on electricity used in the building, the architects designed the spaces inside the building to capitalize on natural sunlight. Rooms on the first floor feature floor-to-ceiling windows that let in sunlight in the daylight hours, reducing the need for artificial light. The sun, in turn, takes care of about 80 percent of the Common’s hot water need by heating it up without the use of electricity. The building also boasts a grey water system that collects water from showers and washing machines and uses it inside the toilets. According to the Playa del Carmen real estate experts at www.buyplaya.info, this in turn brings down the cost of water and associated living expenses, something that the architects considered extensively.

August 16, 2014

Environmental Friendly Ways to Create Food Labels

Recent trends on health have raised the need for eating organic products. These are products, which are farmed and produced without the use of chemicals, which includes pesticides, fertilizers herbicides, antibiotics hormones and ionizing radiation. This means the process used in production must be environmentally-friendly ways to create food labels. For a food label to be considered organic, it must meet the set standards by the government. This includes certification upon inspection in accordance to the set organic standards of the government. Inspection ranges from the farm where the food is grown to the factories where it is processed and the food label should always be clear and accurate.

Determining the Process

There are set standards in varying legislation to determine environmental friendly ways to create food labels. However, some of the standards are the same in all the legislation. These include among others ensuring that no chemical substances are used in farming or growth of the product. The same is considered in industrial production of the said products as well as packaging. The working conditions of those working on the farms and firms involved in production is also a great consideration. The workers require to be treated in accordance to the laid down standards as set out by their trade unions and basic human rights organizations. Animal products also require to have the animals treated in effective ways to ensure they are not fed or treated with hormones and other enhancements.

Gains in Using Environmental-Friendly Food Labels

Using environmental friendly ways to create food labels comes with a large number of advantages. The major advantage comes with overall health of the user. This owes to the fact that foods created with chemical are known to carry on the chemical components to the body of the user and hence posing a health risk. This has been attributed to a number of health issues prevalent today. Using eco friendly methods is also known to impact positively on the environment. Recent researches have indicated that there is great change to the environment which has been occasioned by the chemical used in foods and in its production. This has led to changes in the eco system, where lives of plants humans and animals have been greatly affected.

Common Labels

When you buy any food item, it is important to consider what will happen to the container that has packaged the food. This will determine if the product is packaged using environmental friendly ways to create food labels. The packages available come either in a reusable or disposable form. This means the package in which you buy your food item if it is reusable, you can effectively use it for other personalized packaging of other items. Disposable packages are ones which after removing the package you can get rid of it easily without posing any environmental risk

It may sound a difficult task when it comes to ensuring environmental friendly models. However, owing to the fact that health is of paramount importance, there is need to have in place models that will effect the same. Governments have created agencies which provide information and education on the best and environmental friendly foods and food packages and accessing this information can be a great way to understand and identify the best.

August 13, 2014

Is a Healthy Environment a Human Right? David Suzuki Says Yes

On September 24, 2014, David Suzuki will meet Canadians from all walks of life at the Holy Heart Theatre in St. John’s, Newfoundland to start the Blue Dot Tour. The blue dot being celebrated is the earth as it is seen by astronauts thousands of miles away. This will be Suzuki’s final Canadian tour, and he has an interesting mission: to spark a movement that may eventually give all Canadian’s the official right to breathe clean air, eat healthy food and drink clean water.

While many countries do have regulations regarding the right a healthy living environment in their constitutions, Canada has no such rights listed in the Constitution. Suzuki’s ultimate goal is to ensure a healthy Canadian living environment with rights stated in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

That is a big goal, but he also has a smaller goal: to work with as many Canadians as possible to help them protect and care for their local environments. His dream is that all people in his country will have clean air and water as well as healthy food for the rest of their lives and generations to come.

Where Do You Live?

You don’t have to live in Canada or attend the Blue Dot Tour to share David Suzuki’s vision. He is working within his country because he wants to get specific environmental rights into the Constitution, but his mission extends to the rest of the world as well. What an amazing world it would be if every human had access to clean water, fresh air and healthy food for their entire life.

There are some things you can do to take the sentiment of Suzuki’s tour to whatever you happen to reside in the world right now:

1. Research the constitution for your country. What environmental rights do citizens in your country have? Is there room for improvement? Do you think the government is living up to the rights that have been granted? Even if you never take action on this information, being informed is important.

2. Give your own family members, friends, colleagues and community members the right to healthy food and clean water. If you look around your community, you will find people who don’t always have access to healthy food or who live in deplorable homes without running water. There are people struggling with these issues in every country of the world today. What can you do to help some of the people in your own backyard?

3. Support organizations like the David Suzuki Foundation as they lead the charge for a healthier planet and healthy living environment. You can find similar organizations operating in most countries around the world.

Start at Home

David Suzuki is leading his Blue Dot Tour through Canada because he is starting in his home country. You can take action by starting at home as well. Literally, start with your home. Are you feeding yourself healthy foods, breathing clean air and drinking lots of water?

Start by looking at your diet. If you know your mid-afternoon vending machine visits aren’t healthy, replace them a couple times a week with fresh fruit or celery sticks and peanut butter. If you are using protein powder loaded with artificial sweeteners and chemicals, switch to a healthier option. These protein powders are now available and there are many made without sugar, GMO, preservatives and other additives.

If you drink more soda or alcohol than water, correct that immediately. You have access to clean water, and you should treat yourself well in appreciation of that luxury. Remember, not everyone has the resources that you enjoy in your corner of the world. Correcting that starts by correcting your own living environment. From there, you may want to look around to the neighbor’s who live on your street. Start at home, and watch how the goodwill spreads.

If you are in Canada and want to participate in Suzuki’s Blue Dot Tour, he will appear at The Orpheum in Vancouver on November 9. In addition to David Suzuki, participants will include Neil Young, Feist, Raine Maida, Shane Koyzcan and Robert Bateman. Other writers, politicians and celebrities will appear at other stops along the tour.

August 13, 2014

Tips for Reducing Your Carbon Footprint

Many people are becoming concerned about our impact on this planet and looking for ways to reduce our carbon footprint. It is not as difficult as many people seem to think, though it does require a bit of a lifestyle change. To reduce your carbon footprint, you need to become more conscientious of your actions and how they affect the planet, and then take steps to change them. It might seem difficult at first, especially if you’ve gotten accustomed to living a certain way, but once you implement the changes, you’ll barely notice the differences.

One of the most important lifestyle changes you can make involves transit. If you live in a city that has a good public transit system, then you should make use of that. Not only will it cut down on emissions, but a public transit pass will likely be less expensive than the gas your car would require for daily trips. This doesn’t mean you don’t have to have a car at all, for some people it is a necessity, but you should try to cut down on how often you use your vehicle. If possible you should use public transit for short, local trips and save your car for longer, out-of-town trips or for trips when it is absolutely necessary.  You may find this inconvenient at first, but it is one of the best ways you can lessen your impact on the environment.

Changing your mode of transportation is a big part of reducing your carbon footprint, but there are other big changes that can be made and most of them need to be made in your home and your day-to-day life. There are many little lifestyle changes you can make that will have a positive impact on the environment. Many of these changes are things that you didn’t even realize you were doing and changing them will have little to no impact on your life, but a big impact on your carbon footprint.

You can start by making a few simple changes to your home. One of the first things you can do, is change your light bulbs. Fluorescent light bulbs require less energy to run and will be better for the environment and for your electricity bill. For the same reason, you also want to make sure that your appliances are energy efficient. It might not be practical to replace all your household appliances, but if you are in a position where you were considering replacing them anyway, then do so with ones that are energy efficient. You also want to make sure your home is weatherproofed and well insulated, this eliminates drafts and reduces the amount of energy it requires to heat your home, which will in turn reduce your heating bill.

As you can see, living a more eco-friendly life can actually save you money. Taking public transportation can cut down on your gas costs, choosing energy efficient appliances and light bulbs can reduce your electricity bill, and weatherproofing your house can reduce your heating bill. These are actions that have a positive impact on the environment and on your finances. Making an effort to watch the way we live and try to reduce our waste, helps us cut down on needless spending, something that all of us can benefit from.

Cutting down on waste and unnecessary purposes is key to reducing your carbon footprint. One way to do that is to stop buying thing that you don’t need and to repurpose things that you already have. For example, many people have many small household appliances, which take of space and use energy. Instead of buying several appliances, each with a different purpose, why not buy one with many different functions? A lot of people buy a blender, a hand mixer, an immersion blender and a food processor, without realizing that there are several different heavy duty blenders on the market that can be used for multiple functions, so that you no longer need to have several different appliances.

That is one of the most important aspects of living an eco-friendly life, to see how you can reduce and reuse. This goes for your transportation costs, your household items, and many other things. A lot of parents are turning to cloth diapers and cloth wipes for this reason, because disposable diapers are filling up the landfill and creating more waste. It’s the same reason, why grocery stores are encouraging reusable bags instead of giving our plastic bags to all their customers as they used to. The little things add up and make a difference and if we make changes in the way we live our life, it will have a positive impact on the environment.

 

August 13, 2014

Environmentally Friendly E-Readers

Reading has always been one o f my main hobbies. I tend to read at least a book a week, sometimes more.

Every now and again I have a bit of a clear out, all those books take up a lot of space. It’s always a surprise, though I don’t know why it should be, when I collect all of the books together and pass them on to friends or the charity shop. Maybe it’s seeing them all assembled together and realizing just how many books I’ve gone through since the last clear out.

Of course, passing them on means that someone else will get some benefit from my old books. However, I travel a lot and I’ve lost count of the number of finished books that I’ve left on hotel night stands and stuffed into the back of aeroplane seats. Anything to make the hand luggage a little lighter.

Making the switch to an e-reader and e-books seemed like a smart move, so that’s just what I did. I got myself an entry level Kindle and it has proven to be one of the best gadgets I’ve ever bought. It lets me carry hundreds, thousands if I want, of books with me in a small lightweight gadget. My hand luggage is definitely less weighty these days.

It also means that I am responsible for the death of fewer trees. Obviously e-readers use resources in their production – and they also need electrical power to run – but they are still better, environmentally speaking, than old fashioned dead tree books.

Of course, it does depend on just how many books you read. Estimates of the “break point” vary. Some studies suggest that if you read fifteen books on your reader then you’re better off. Others suggest a higher number – around about forty five. However, at a book a week, I have read well over two hundred on my little Kindle so far, so I am definitely being more environmentally friendly.

As far as use of electricity to charge the reader goes, the above figures do take that into account. The e-ink screens used on e-readers are really quite miserly when it comes to power usage. They only draw current when the page is being refreshed, which is why they only need charged up once every few weeks or so.

It would be a different equation if I was using a power hungry tablet computer of course. They need a lot more juice to keep the color touch screen running – but since even the best tablet computer isn’t as good for reading on as an e-reader, it’s not a problem for me. My little entry level Kindle doesn’t even have a light – plugging it in to charge it is a rare event, even for someone like me who reads a lot.

All things considered, I am delighted with my e-reader. It’s a great gadget for me and helps to keep my luggage weight and volume down. I’m also happy that it is, for me at least, a much more environmentally friendly option than buying “real” books printed on paper.

August 13, 2014

Environmental Health is a Global Issue

As the environmental health of countries around the world continues to be threatened, steps taken locally can no longer be counted on to alleviate the issues involved. Rather, global initiatives are necessary, as conditions that constitute a threat in one region will invariably affect other regions as well. That suggests members of the various communities must cooperate in efforts to mitigate environmental health issues. However, communication between different areas is often compromised due to language differences. Learning new languages is a virtual necessity if real cooperation is to develop.

Because of the complexities of the global environment, clear communication related to existing issues, as well as rapidly developing problems, can only occur when all shareholders are able to express their concerns in a way that others can grasp. Different languages compound communication issues, and relying on interpreters is not always an ideal solution, especially in written materials, as nuances are easily lost during the translations.

Other significant concerns that often develop are cultural and geographical differences, which often lead to miscommunications. Here again, having more than a rudimentary grasp of another language is crucial for understanding others who share the concern for environmental issues. Nuances that are easily understood within a specific community are lost when attempting to communicate with someone who is not fluent in local dialects. Truly grasping a different culture is difficult even when the language used is understood, but not being fluent in the language can quickly damage a relationship. People attempting to bridge the gap would do well to brush up on their language skills with learn at home programs as well as traditional classes.

With the current environmental issues threatening entire hemispheres, global initiatives are imperative if solutions are to be discussed and agreed upon. That will require efforts by a wide variety of participants to learn a new language. As many languages are used in even small geographic areas, it may become necessary for participants to agree on a handful of languages to be used by participants in global initiatives. The challenges facing all countries must be addressed cooperatively if solutions are to be agreed upon.

Learning a different language is, in itself, not extremely difficult. However, the nuances are far more difficult to learn and understand. Participants in efforts to achieve global level agreements must be willing to invest their time and effort in learning more than a language, they must learn to communicate at a cultural level as well. This is because different cultures have different opinions on how to treat the environment. Some cultures do not even think twice about abusing natural resources for their personal gain, and other cultures stay more green as a whole. It’s incredibly important to be sensitive to the culture at large, and to take steps to ease into eco consciousness if a culture is not already like that. Forcing ecological restraints on a culture without first educating them can be counterproductive.

All in all it’s extremely important to consider global health first and foremost, but to also pay attention to the small steps you can make even in your own home. The longest journeys start with a single step, and sometimes that first step can simply be encouraging your friends to shut their lights off when they leave a room.

August 9, 2014

The Growth of Eco Cosmetics

In recent years many people have become increasingly concerned with the state of our planet, its eco systems and the effect that human activity has on climate change. This growing concern has created a demand for products that are eco friendly and sustainable. The past ten years have seen an exponential growth in the number of products available on the market that cater to the growing number of consumers concerned with the state of their health and the earth. Just a quick tour through my local drugstore and I am able to choose from several brands of biodegradable laundry detergent, or organic natural foundation in several price points, not to mention virtually every other product on the shelves which is now being sold next to a more natural alternative.

This is great news for consumers, because it shows that increased demand for a better solution does yield results. However not all products are created equally, and many companies in the rush to grab a share of this market, have created products that claim to be ‘natural’ all while still hiding dangerous chemicals and preservatives within. When it comes to the world of makeup, this is a particular problem, as the word natural is not regulated, it doesn’t mean much except that the product probably has some natural ingredients . However a few natural ingredients is not the same thing as the absence of harmful ones.

So then what should you look for when shopping for makeup that is both good for you and the earth? Here are some tips to get you started.

Read Labels:
Just because a product is marketed as natural, doesn’t mean that it isn’t crawling with harmful chemicals within. Always take a good look at the ingredient label on the back, and look for things like parabens, phalates, sulphites and artificial coloring . If you don’t know how to identify these ingredients on a label, just stick to the rule that if there is something in there that is hard to identify, the product may be suspicious. If you are a really conscientious shopper, you can jot down those ingredients you are unsure about and do a quick google search on them.

Stick to Brands that Only Make Sustainable Products:
Brands like Loreal and Neutrogena have been around for a long time, and today they each produce their own lines of natural products. But how deep is their commitment to organic cosmetics, based on the fact that they still produce plenty of more mainstream products, the guess is not high. So can you trust them and others like them then? Well, maybe, but if you want to err on the safe side, it is best to purchase products from lines that are exclusively dedicated to organic and sustainable makeup. Not sure where to start, well here are some brands to take a look at – Physician’s Formula, Tarte, Jane Iredale, Josie Maran and Aveda.

Price Does Not Equal Quality:
This one goes for makeup in general, but for those of you wanting to buy organic makeup, this is true as well. Not wanting to break the bank by purchasing an expensive organic mascara or foundation. Not a problem, physician’s formula is one drug store brand that creates incredible natural products, all for very affordable prices. In foundation alone they have a range of mineral powders and even organic bb creams , all designed to be gentle to your skin and the earth.

Get Educated and Have Fun:
Whatever your preferences and ideas, being a smart consumer is always a good thing. Do your own research on individual products and ingredients and think for yourself as you come to your own conclusions. Above all, shopping should be fun, so enjoy yourself!

August 6, 2014

Walmart Green Initiatives

In 2006, Walmart – the world’s largest retailer – launched an environmental sustainability program that would help them do business responsibly and successfully. Since then, the retail tycoon has been the poster boy of other companies – all aiming to create a great, green business.
Want to build an environmentally-responsible business just like Walmart? You can do so by emulating the company’s green initiatives:

Energy
Walmart’s energy commitment is summarized by two words: renewable and efficient. Since the launch of the green initiatives, the company has been working hard to operate at a low cost – whilst being a good steward of the environment.
From its on-site solar project in 2005 and large-scale wind power agreement in 2006, Walmart currently has 335 renewable energy ventures under its belt. All in all, these create 2.2 billion kilowatt hours of energy, which correspond to 24.2% of the company’s requirements. True to its’ goal, Walmart is working on producing and procuring 7 billion kilowatt hours (the company is currently at 32%) by the end of the year 2020.
Apart from creating renewable energy, Walmart is also committed to reducing energy use in their buildings. To make this possible, the company has ordered the use of LED lights and the retrofitting of refrigerators and freezers. Walmart has also developed a secondary loop refrigeration system for its stores, in order to cut the carbon footprint brought about by refrigerant emissions.

Waste
It can be said that Walmart’s goal of zero waste is ambitious, but the company is doing its best to meet this bold mission. To date, the company is recycling, repurposing and reusing products such as plastic, aluminum, paper and cardboard.
Apart from these materials, Walmart also practices “Electronics Recycling,” wherein customers can trade in their old mobile phones for credit ranging from $50 to $300. Apart from fostering savings, this program stops users from dumping their phones into their trash bins. True to its goal of ‘no waste,’ Walmart is also working with its suppliers to convert cooking oil into bio-diesel, animal feed supplements or soaps.

Sustainability Index
In order to deliver sustainable products to its consumers, Walmart has created an index with the Sustainability Consortium. Launched in 2009, it aims to:

  • Improve product sustainability
  • Assimilate sustainability into buying and selling
  • Lower cost, boost product quality and create a more durable supply chain
  • Enhance customer trust

Guided by the sustainability index, Walmart has effectively eliminated 20 million metric tons of greenhouse gases last year. Inspired by this impressive result, the company is striving hard to meet its goal of reducing 18 million metric tons of greenhouse gases by 2015.

Water
Recognizing the importance of water to the company and its clients, Walmart has enacted a revolutionary water stewardship program. In order to decrease the company’s water usage, the stores were fitted with faucet flow reducers, low-flow toilets and high-efficiency urinals. With these installations, the company saves 500,000 gallons per Walmart Supercenter annually.

Truck Fleet
In order to double its fleet efficiency by the year 2015, Walmart has launched the Advanced Vehicle Experience Concept Truck. This environmentally-friendly automobile is made with a hybrid power-train and advanced control systems, to name a few. This truck is expected to augment the delivery process, alongside the promotion of efficient driving techniques and better processes/systems. Guided by the goals of 100% sustainable energy, zero waste and sustainable products, Walmart’s green initiatives have helped its customers save money – whilst creating a better world.

Distribution centers
All of these initiatives come together at Walmart’s warehouses and distribution centers. When employees starts their Walmart distribution center jobs, they comment on the difference. The warehouses generate their own electricity with sustainable resources and the docks are designed for efficiency. All packaging waste is recycled. The center is lighted using LED and refrigerators are well insulated to reduce waste. All of these initiatives not only help the environment but save money in the long term.

July 31, 2014

Interesting Benefits of Opting for Temporary Tattoos

Getting permanently inked seems to be a trend in today’s society, not so much temporary tattoos. From elementary school Math teachers to punk rockers, the art of tattoos transcends across all backgrounds, tastes and habits. One of the reasons why is because tattoos are totally customizable. There is not one mold or design that everyone has to conform to. You could ask for a grim reaper tattoo spread out across your chest or a snake swallowing a man head first on your lower back and it would be doable. Now with the introduction of colored inks, tattoos are quickly becoming intricate works of art. However, the problem is that these pieces of art are permanent. It is not like you can take the canvas down from the wall and shove it in the corner of your basement if you find that you do not like it five years from now. Tattoos are for life. That is why it is advisable to get a temporary tattoo first, especially if you are seriously considering a permanent version.

Why Consider Getting Temporary Tattoos?

Just like taking your dream car out on a test drive before committing to it, it is advisable to get the temporary version of your dream tattoo before sealing the deal. You always have to remember that once the tattooist starts inking, it is going to be on forever. Always think long and hard before committing yourself to a permanent tattoo. Here are some reasons why getting something temporary first is a good idea.

1. Eco-friendly

Colors in tattoo ink are created from heavy metals such as lead, nickel, and cobalt. A temporary tattoo contains none of these.

2. Easily Removable

Obviously the biggest upside to getting something temporary is that it is easily removable. You can use some remover and rub it off anytime and not have to endure painful and costly laser surgery.

3. Customizable

Because getting temporarily inked is not going to last forever, you can play around with the design as many times as you want. You can get something intricate and make adjustments to it whenever you want. You do not have to color over, make do with what is possible to edit, or live with something that you do not really like. Instead, you can make minor adjustments or completely revamp the entire design even after it has gone onto your skin.

4. Changeable

Say you get a butterfly on your lower back and after a couple of days do not like its location. When it comes to temporary ink, it is not a problem at all. You can opt to get rid of what is on your lower back and move the very same design to your ankle. Your tattoo could act like a traveling circus and make its way all over your body. You could also just get something different every time you pay a visit to your artist or order something online.

5. Pain Free

Unlike getting something permanent, temporary ink is completely pain free. It is more like body paint than anything else and does not break the skin in any way. So if you love body art but know that you cannot tolerate the pain, then temporary ink is the perfect solution for you.

6. Save Money

Another reason why temporary ink is a great option is because it is significantly cheaper than the permanent version. Depending on the size and intricacy of the design, many people pay thousands of dollars to get permanently inked. Temporary tattoos are cheap, especially the kind that you can order online. For only a few dollars, you can get something just as complex as your friend who is getting the same thing, but in permanent ink.

Tattoo designs courtesy of Tony’s Tattoo Gallery.

July 31, 2014

7 Healthy Supplements to Fight the Fat

With the new weight loss drugs entering the market – and engendering debate as to their safety – several folks are now looking to supplements to help in their weight reduction. But after a visit to the local Whole FoodsStore, and you are undoubtedly going to feel confused. Which supplements really perform and which don’t?

So here they are – the top 7 supplements to get you to shed your pounds – safely and naturally.

1. Hydroxycitrate/HCA

HCA is actually a salt derived from the rind of dried fruit, such as Garcinia cambodia and brindal fruit. HCA was originally a traditional Indian folk remedy used to treat gut and joint problems.

Research backs the effectiveness at increasing fat metabolism, reducing fat absorption, inhibiting hunger, and decreasing LDL cholesterol.

2. Whey protein

The main benefit of whey-protein is its ability to suppress the desire to eat, hence helping you consume less food. Whey protein, which as you may have figured out, is based on the whey of milk, and is an easily-to-digest form of protein. The added benefit is that having muscle assists with weight loss also.

3. Chitosan

Chitosan is a fiber that comes from chitin, the main element in the shells of insects. Urged by wholistic professionals to lower cholesterol , chitosan has additionally been promoted as a type of dietary fiber which could help reduce the absorption of fat.

4. Beta Glucan

A dietary fiber produced from yeasts and fungi – beta glucan has been shown to decrease cholesterol with the additional advantages of fat loss.

5. Essential Oils

Believe it or not, there are a number of essential oils for weightloss you can start using right away to start shedding you pounds. Some of the best are: Neroli essential oil, grapefruit and essential oil and rose geranium essential oil.

6. CLA

Omega 3 fatty acids and healthy fats are favorable for a wide range of things, from brain to heart health. But one, CLA, seems to help with weight reduction as well. CLA is found mostly in dairy products and beef, therefore in case you’re vegetarian or all-vegetable, you’re probably lacking in it. CLA-enriched dairy products are currently in development, but today you have to just take a nutritional supplement, many which derive from safflower oil.

7. Glucomannan

Extracted from an Oriental plant, glucomannan is a fibre regarded exceptionally successful for fat loss, for blood glucose and diabetes control. Glucomannan has usually been a vital food source–whether melted, cooked, or as a sweet. The fibre helps the consumption of water via the alimentary canal, lowering carb and cholesterol intake, and its function is supported by study as an obesity therapy. Glucomannan is also typically employed by being placed on your skin, making it one of the only topical fat loss remedies in the list here.

So there you have it! Before you riush to the pharmacy to stock up on potentially damaging pain pills, be sure to check out the myriad natural remedies available first. You’ll be dropping those unwanted pounds in no time!