Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Bathroom greenness

Wipe your behinds with leaves, do not use the whole tree!
Worldwide, the equivalent of almost 270,000 trees is either flushed or dumped in landfills every day and roughly 10 percent of that total is attributable to toilet paper.
Do not pee in the toilet!
A Brazilian environmental group is trying to get the country’s residents to urinate in the shower. The group says that if a single household flushed the toilet just one fewer times a day, it would save a whopping 1,157 gallons of water each year.
Prefer showers over baths!
Showers use less water. Don't forget to install an efficient showerhead.
Use soaps and detergents that contain no phosphates!
Use a mixture of water and vinegar to wash your windows. Wash clothes in cold water to avoid consuming energy to heat the water. On sunny days, use a clothes line instead of a clothes dryer. Your clothes will smell fresher and the sun's rays ensure that germs are successfully sizzled.
Install low-flush toilets in your home!
These use 1.6 gallons per flush, instead of 3.5 gallons, cutting water consumption by more than half.
For the ladies out there, consider using cloth (as in, reusable) tampons and pads, or using a menstrual cup!
It may seem gross, but it can't be grosser than the thought of the amount of pads and tampons women use yearly piled up in a landfill, now can't it?
Use rainwater to wash your face, teeth and hands!
Wash clothes with warm or cold water instead of hot!
Wash and dry only full loads of laundry!

Martin & Meelis Linde

Here are some tips how to save the environment:

Help out in your community
  • Donate Goods – If you no longer need something that might be useful to someone else, try to donate the goods rather than throwing them away.
  • Celebrate Earth Day– Start an activity on Earth Day so that others in your community can become involved in saving the environment.
  • Contact Your Government – Tell local officials that you are concerned about the destruction of the environment and find out what the city is doing to stop it.
  • Don't Dump Chemicals – Avoid putting oil, grease, antifreeze, pesticides, fertilizers, paints, and cleaning agents down the gutters on sidewalks. Encourage others to do the same.
  • Find Recycling Facilities – Find out where you can recycle in your community. Help to make others aware of the local recycling opportunities as well.
  • Go To Schools – By telling young people about environmental problems and what they can do to save the environment, you can help to ensure that the environment will be safe in the future.
  • Pick Up Garbage – Many people litter or do not properly dispose of garbage. While removing it from streets and urban areas is very important, equally important is getting rid of garbage that has found its way into the environment, especially coastal areas.
  • Support Family Planning Programs – Population growth is a major threat to the environment and its ability to provide humanity with sufficient natural resources. By helping family planning programs, we can prevent the population from growing out of control.
  • Start An Organization – Start a community group to ensure that others recycle and that there are plenty of recycling opportunities in your area.
  • Write to the Media – Keep the media aware of environmental problems in your community and projects to help keep the local environmental clean. By contacting the media, you will be able to get through to a large audience.

Help out on the road

  • Avoid Overfilling the Tank– The gas pump will eventually click and tell you when your tank is full of gas. Do not try to fill the tank beyond that point because doing so will create pollution.
  • Do Not Tailgate – By having to stop and then accelerate again often, you waste gas quickly.
  • Get a Fuel-Efficient Car – Not only will a fuel-efficient car pollute less and use up less gas, it will save you money too.
  • Inflate Your Tires – By keeping your tires inflated, you can prevent them from wearing out as fast and increase their lifetime.
  • Recycle Your Motor Oil – Every year, the United States puts about 350 million gallons of motor oil into the environment. It is possible that this oil can enter the ground and our water supply. As a result, you should always take your motor oil to a gas station to have it recycled.
  • Take the Bus – Taking public transportation helps to cut down on the number of vehicles on the road, reducing the amount of pollution that is created.
  • Take the Railroad – When travelling long distances, railroads are by far the most environmentally friendly option.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Green Driving = Save gasoline

How can you save gasoline/diesel?
Drive the right car.

See the list of dirtiest cars:
Hummer H2
Hummer H3
Jeep Gran Cherokee
Chevrolet Trailblazer
Dodge Ram 1500
Doge Dakota
Chrysler Aspen

1) Check your tire pressure (ask tire shop)
Low tire pressure works like a brake
- you need more gasoline/diesel

2) Check how much unnecessary things/weight you have in your car.
Every pound raises your gasoline consumption.

3) Check your air filter
An engine needs air to burn the gasoline/diesel
When the air filter is clogged up, the engine has to suck harder and you need more gasoline/diesel

4) Think about how fast you drive
The faster you drive the more gasoline/diesel you burn
Our recycling truck gets 18 mi/gallon
when we drive 70 mph
BUT it run 22 miles a gallon
when we drive 53 mph

Sure, it takes more time, but just take your calculator
When you have to drive 35 miles with 70 mph
you need 1/2 an hour or 30 minutes
Now, you want to save gasoline/diesel and
you lower your speed to 53 mph
you will drive 9 minutes longer

5) Think about using synthetic oil for your engine
Synthetic oil provides less friction
less friction =
less gasoline/diesel usage

6) Think ahead when you drive and
you will save gasoline/diesel

Don't speed to the next light
When you see it is red, take your foot from the pedal
Every time you hit the brakes, you destroy energy = your money.

7) Save a lot of gasoline when reducing the time you idle your engine
The good thing about green driving is
that you save a lot of money and
eco friendly Driving
helps our environment!

Karolina Noor 12B

Green cars

It is estimated that over 600,000,000 passenger cars travel the streets and roads of the world today. Most of them use petrol or diesel for their source of power. But at the end of 20-th century engineers and scientists started to develop more alternative fuels for cars.
Innovative technology makes today’s automobiles cleaner and more fuel-efficient than ever. Ongoing advancements in fuels and technology will continue to drive future progress. Auto engineers have developed sophisticated emissions-control technology that is putting cleaner automobiles on the road everywhere. Catalytic converters use precious metals to reduce smog-forming emissions from cars. Automakers have dramatically reduced evaporative emissions with tighter gaskets, hoses and better gas tanks. Computers have revolutionized clean vehicle controls by precisely metering the fuel and air that go into the engine, reducing the smog-forming emissions coming out of the engine. And, a computer system called aeon-board diagnostics constantly monitors the performance of the vehicle to help keep clean technology working. Automakers are developing clean, fuel-efficient technologies that run on diverse fuels.
The most dramatic changes are occurring this century. Automakers have invested hugely in developing diverse automobiles that run on alternative fuels like clean diesel, biodiesel, ethanol, hydrogen, and compressed natural gas or that run on hybrid technology using both conventional combustion engines (gasoline or diesel) and electric engines. These advanced technology vehicles are being introduced for sale as quickly as possible. Because consumers, as well as different regions of the world, favor different technologies, automakers are developing a range of automobiles that run on different fuels.

1. Ethanol

Ethanol or Ethyl Alcohol can be made chemically from Petroleum or by the more traditional method of fermenting sugar derived from vegetable matter. In this case it is often known as “Bio-Ethanol”.
The main sources of sugar required to produce ethanol are fuel or energy crops, grown specifically for energy use and include cereals, sugar beet, sugar cane and maize. Obviously there is a possible conflict between the need to grown these crops for food and for fuels, and next generation processes to derive sugar by hydrolysis from waste straw, sawdust, grass and other cellulose sources are now being piloted. There is also ongoing research into the possible use of municipal solid wastes.
The main environmental benefit of bio-ethanol is that the CO2 generated when it is burned comes originally from the atmosphere. The plants used to make ethanol absorb CO2 as they grow, so the cycle of making and then burning bio-ethanol does not increase atmospheric CO2.

2. BioDiesel

BioDiesel is a transport fuel oil made mainly from organic vegetable oils by a production process called trans-esterification. General feedstocks for such an oil are soybean or rapeseed.
Biodiesel can be used alone, or blended with petrodiesel. All modern diesel engines can run on up to 5% bio-diesel and higher concentrations up to 10% can be used in some vehicles, subject to limits set by the vehicle manufacturer.
In 2007, biodiesel production capacity was growing rapidly, with an average annual growth rate from 2002-06 of over 40%.

3. Electricity

Battery Powered Electric Vehicles have been around in limited quantities for some time and have useful applications for inner city use because of their zero local emissions, but if the energy to recharge the batteries is generated using fossil fuels, there is no overall environmental advantage. In addition, the limited range provided by even the best current battery technology is a limiting factor in their usefulness for general use. Nevertheless, they have their place – especially where they can be recharged using electricity which is generated without using fossil-fuels – and the electric vehicle technologies that auto manufacturers have developed for battery-powered vehicles will provide the basis of future fuel cell powered vehicles.

4. CNG

CNG (Compressed Natural Gas) is composed primarily of methane. It is stored under pressure on the vehicle at pressures up to 250 bar (3600 pounds per square inch). CNG cylinders are manufactured to internationally approved standards and made from light, high strength composite materials.
There are three types of Natural Gas Vehicle: Dedicated, Bi-Fuel and Dual Fuel. Dedicated vehicles run on natural gas only.
Bi-Fuel vehicles operate on CNG whilst retaining the ability to use petrol as a reserve fuel. The engine can operate on either fuel but not on both simultaneously. The compression ratio of the engine must remain at a level suitable for petrol. Currently this type of engine is used almost exclusively on vehicles below 3,500kgs.
Dual Fuel engines are derived from diesel engines. A small amount of diesel is retained as a pilot source of ignition. The primary fuel Natural Gas, is mixed with the incoming air as the bulk fuel.
Because of its relatively high Hydrogen content it produces less CO2 (and more H2O) than Gasoline or Diesel which have a higher proportion of Carbon. It also burns at a lower temperature and so generates less NOx.

5. Hybrid

Two main types of hybrid-electric vehicles exist, and they have different advantages and different applications, but both have fuel efficiency advantages over conventional internal combustion engined vehicles.
Parallel hybrids can run simply on battery power when zero emissions are required – say in the city – and purely on their parallel internal combustion engine for higher speeds and/or longer distances. In this mode they can also recharge the battery for the next phase of battery operation. In addition they can usually use both power sources together to give additional acceleration, and this means that the internal combustion engine can be relatively small and low powered, and largely avoid inefficient “transient” operation, because of the boost provided by the battery power.
Series hybrids run solely on battery power in all conditions, with a relatively small internal combustion engine available to recharge the batteries when zero-emissions are not required and to act as a “range extender”.
Because the internal combustion engine is only driving a generator, it can run at a constant speed and reasonably constant load, which is very efficient.

6. Hydrogen Fuel Cell

The Fuel Cell is a means of converting the chemical energy in a fuel directly into electricity, very efficiently, without any burning, which is a wasteful process with undesirable side effects (like pollutants).

Hydrogen is often called the fuel of the future because it contains no Carbon (and therefore produces no CO2) and it can be made from water.
However there are considerable problems to be overcome:
• the amount of energy required to make it, by separating the Hydrogen and Oxygen in water,
• its highly explosive nature when mixed with oxygen
• its very low density (the lightest material in the universe!) and consequent low energy density
So it is likely to be some years before it becomes a serious contributor. Nevertheless, Auto manufacturers are already working hard on the technology to use Hydrogen in internal combustion engines, and in the longer term in fuel cells, which produce electricity directly from the fuel, without burning, making it more efficient and much cleaner than a combustion engine.

* Fuel Cells

The fuel cell principle has been known for many years but they only became usable devices thanks to the space race – NASA developed usable fuel cells to provide safe, clean efficient electricity generation in space craft and other organisations, including auto manufacturers, have further developed them for commercial use.
Although fuel cell vehicles (FCVs) are still an emerging technology and are not likely to be in mass production for some years yet, they are seen by many as the long term solution for personal transportation energy. Fuel cells have the potential to very significantly reduce energy use and pollution and also to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels.
Like series hybrids, FCVs operate solely on electric power, but in this case there is no need for a battery or an internal combustion engine as the fuel cell does the job of both, and it does so more efficiently.
FCVs are fuelled with hydrogen, either stored on board, under pressure or in liquefied form, or converted from hydrogen-rich fuels; such as methane (CNG) or methanol, using an onboard device called a “reformer.;
FCVs fuelled with pure hydrogen emit no pollutants; only water and heat; while those using hydrogen-rich fuels and a reformer produce only small amounts of pollutants.

So our future is not covered with CO2 after all. Toyota has released a new hybrid Prius. Chevrolet's electrical Volt reaches sales by end of the year and Honda is testing hydrogen fuel cell FCX Clarity. So, when it’s time to buy a car, do it the green way = the right way!

Henry Tiirik ja Martin Lapp 12B

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Nuclear energy - bad idea

A technology that for years suffered ignominiously in scientific purgatory has been resurrected. Its virtues have been heralded by the likes of British Prime Minister Tony Blair, the famed scientist Sir James Lovelock and even a few renegade environmental activists. The nuclear accident at Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania in 1979 and the horrific meltdown at Chernobyl in the former Soviet Union in 1986 have become distant memories. Now, facing rising costs of oil on world markets and real-time global warming, nuclear technology has been given a public relations face-lift and is touted, by some, as the energy of choice in a post-oil era. However, before we let our enthusiasm run away from us, we ought to take a sober look at the consequences of re-nuclearizing the world.

First, nuclear power is unaffordable. With a minimum price tag of $2 billion each, new-generation nuclear power plants are 50% more expensive than putting coal-fired power plants online, and they are far more expensive than new gas-fired power plants. The cost of doubling nuclear power's share of U.S. electricity generation — which currently produces 20% of our electricity — could exceed half a trillion dollars. In a country facing record consumer and government debt, where is the money going to come from? Consumers would pay the price in terms of higher taxes to support government subsidies and higher electricity bills.

Second, 60 years into the nuclear era, our scientists still don't know how to safely transport, dispose of or store nuclear waste. Spent nuclear rods are piling up all over the world. In the United States, the federal government spent more than $8 billion and 20 years building what was supposed to be an airtight, underground burial tomb dug deep into Yucca Mountain in Nevada to hold radioactive material. The vault was designed to be leak-free for 10,000 years. Unfortunately, the Environmental Protection Agency concedes that the underground storage facility will leak.

Third, according to a study conducted by the International Atomic Energy Agency in 2001, known uranium resources could fail to meet demand, possibly as early as 2026. Of course, new deposits could be discovered, and it is possible that new technological breakthroughs could reduce uranium requirements, but that remains purely speculative.

Finally, nuclear power represents the kind of highly centralized, clunky technology of a bygone era. In an age when distributed technologies are undermining hierarchies, decentralizing power and giving rise to networks and open-source economic models, nuclear power seems strangely old-fashioned and obsolete. To a great extent, nuclear power was a Cold War creation. It represented massive concentration of power and reflected the geopolitics of a post-World War II era. Today, however, new technologies are giving people the tools they need to become active participants in an interconnected world. Nuclear power, by contrast, is elite power, controlled by the few. Its resurrection would be a step backward.

Instead, we should pursue an aggressive effort to bring the full range of decentralized renewable technologies online: solar, wind, geothermal, hydro and biomass. And we should establish a hydrogen storage infrastructure to ensure a steady, uninterrupted supply of power for our electricity needs and for transportation.

Our common energy future lies with the sun, not with uranium.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Probably the best way to save money is not to buy plastic bags to put your groceries in them. People should just buy one bag, which are available in most supermarkets, that are reusable. That way we save money and also the environment. Also, while brushing your teeth or doing the dishes , you should not let the water just run, use as much as you need. The best way to do that is to fill you sink with water, wash your dishes in that same water and then later rinse it in fresh water. It saves more that it might seem. When you leave the room, turn the lights off and when you are not at the computer just turn it off.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Kuidas korraldada keskkonnasõbralikku pulmapidu?

Miks valida roheline pulm?

Tihti inimesed kardavad, et säästvad pulmad kujutavad endast äärmuslikku kokkuhoidu, mida hiljem keegi meenutada ei taha. Linnalegendid räägivad lausa keskkonnaaktivistidest, kes pakuvad külalistele lauatäit tofuroogasid ja aktsepteerivad vaid jalgsi või jalgrattaga saabujaid.

Õnneks on olemas ka palju vähem ekstreemseid viise oma elu ühe olulisema sündmuse keskkonnasõbralikumaks muutmiseks.

Miks me neid nippe aga üldse kasutama peaksime? Põhjus on väga lihtne. Pulmad, eriti suured pulmad on väga ressursikulukas ettevõtmine. USA-s ja Suurbritannias, kus tavatsetakse pidada suuri pulmi, on koguni välja arvutatud, et 178 inimesega pulm kulutab keskmiselt 16 tonni süsinikdioksiidi. Välismaa olusid kajastavad arvutused ei tähenda muidugi, et meie tagasihoidlikumad pulmad sama suured CO2 röövlid on, aga mõtlema paneb pulmade süsinikukulu igal juhul.

Ka roheline pulm algab planeerimisest

Nagu ka tavalise pulma puhul saab kõik alguse visioonist, milline pidu olema peaks. Otsus, et korraldatav üritus saab olema keskkonda säästev, peaks sündima kohe alguses, sest siis saab oma soovidest teavitada kõiki pulma osapooli - korraldajatest külalisteni.

Valige sõrmuseid hoolikalt

Roheliste pulmade korraldamine eeldab, et teete oma valikute suhtes taustauuringut. Te ei taha ju terve elu vereteemanti kanda või kahtlustada, et teie sõrmuses olev kuld on saadud loodust saastavast avatud kullakaevandusest.

Eestis ei ole teemantide kandmine väga levinud. Meil pole ka kombeks armastust kivi suurusega tõestada. Seetõttu ei taba siinne tarbija ostusid sooritades oma ehete päritolu isegi küsida. Kui soovite tingimata briljandiga sõrmust, siis küsige müüjalt kalliskivide sertifitseerimise ja päritolu kohta. Kui müüja teile vastata ei oska, siis paluge tal teemat uurida. Vereteemanditeks kutsutakse sertifitseerimata teemanteid, millest saadud tuluga rahastatakse näiteks sõdu Aafrikas.

Kulda kannavad eestlased palju sagedamini kui teemandeid, ent kulla keskkonnamõjule pole enamus inimesi samuti mõelnud. Kas teie teadsite, et iga unts ehk 30 grammi kulda toob enesega kaasa 30-80 tonni kaevandusjäätmeid. Need sisaldavad tsüaniide, elavhõbedat, arseeni ja teisi tapvaid aineid. Mõned kullakaevandused on muutunud sama ohtlikuks kui tuumajäätmete ladustamispaigad. Kulda pestakse sageli kivimitest välja tsüaniidilahusega, sest nii on kõige odavam.

Kulla keskkonnamõju saab vähendada, kui lasete sõrmused valmistada vanadest ehetest või võtate taaskasutusele perekonnas edasi pärandatud sõrmused.

Kutsed näidaku teie suhtumist

Kui te olete pannud paika, kui palju külalisi on teie meelest otstarbekas kutsuda, siis hakake mõtlema kutsete peale. Eelistage ümbertöödeldud paberist kutseid, mis on trükitud keskkonnasõbralikke trükivärve kasutades. Või olge originaalsed ja tehke kutsed ise!

Pidutsege kodu lähedal

Kui suurem osa teie sõpradest ja sugulastest elab kindlas piirkonnas, näiteks Tartus, siis korraldagegi pulmad seal. Lisaks väiksemale transpordikilomeetritest tingitud keskkonnamõjule, on teie valik ka rahakotisõbralik, sest külalised peavad transpordile vähem kulutama.

Transpordi keskkonnamõju saab vähendada ka sel viisil, et palute autodega saabuvatel külalistel võimalusel eelistada autojagamist. Sedasi väldite ka probleemi, et külaliste autod ei mahu peokoha juurde ära.

Kui valite kaugema pulmapidamise koha, võite külaliste jaoks tellida ka bussi. Bussi tellimine vabastab teid hirmust, et mõni külalistest istub pärast pidu autorooli joobnuna.

Kaunis ja loomulik pruut

Kaunis pruut on iga pulma ehe. Säästvat pulma korraldades on tähtis, et ka abiellujad ennast mugavalt tunneksid. Pruut võib liivakellakujulise ja pingul korsetiga kleidi valimata jätta ning loomulikku kehakuju järgiva kostüümi valida, kui ta seda soovib. Loomulik naiselikkus on väga ilus ja sobib rohelise pulma ideega.

Kõige keskkonnasõbralikum on pulmakleit laenutada, aga see lahendus ei pruugi kõigile sobida. Võib-olla tasub hoopis originaalne olla ja lasta mõnel noorel moekunstnikul ökokangaid kasutades pruudile ainulaadne kleit õmmelda.

Pulmatoidud säästvaks

Pulmamenüü läbivaatamine on rohelist pulma korraldades möödapääsmatu. Loomulikult võib pakkuda vaid mahetoitu või loobuda lihast, ent see ei saa olla kohustuseks. Menüü osas ei pea langema äärmustesse! Isegi, kui tehakse vaid mõni samm säästmise suunas, on sellest abi.

Miks mitte pakkuda külalistele koduseid hapukurke või oma aia õuntest tehtud mahla poekauba asemel? Võib-olla tasub noorpaaril teha külalistele enne pidu ettepanek võtta enda tehtud kooke kaasa? Või paluda pulmakingiks koduveini? Võimalusi on palju!

Paluge säästvaid kingitusi

Pulmakinkideks tasub kinkida ja küsida asju, mis on oma olemuselt säästlikud. Hästi sobivad energiatõhusad seadmed, ökokangast voodipesu, puhkusereis kahele turismitalusse vms. Kindlasti tasub teha nimekiri asjadest, mida pulmakinkideks oodatakse, sest siis ei kingita asju topelt.

Laske mõtetel lennata

Kõige tähtsam on roheliste pulmade korraldamise juures abielluva paari avatus uutele lahendustele. Kui fantaasia vabaks lasta, tulevad ka head ja õiged säästmise ideed, mis just sellele paarile sobivad.

How can we make our planet a safer place to live

Is our planet a safe place to live for animals, fish, birds, ourselves or plants? Many people think it is. But they don’t really understand that our planet is in great danger. And what is more, we ourselves are causing most of the problems. Of course, all of us don’t cut down trees and pollute the air on purpose but we are all slowly destroying our planet with unawareness. We just don’t notice the problems and therefore we can’t fight them. This way the air is being more and more polluted and forests are being cut down right in front of us.
There are many problems that we could actually solve. One of them is air pollution. It is mostly caused by cars and factories. So what can we do? A very good idea is to use more public transport instead of cars. But to put this in practise, public transport should be improved – the buses should be cleaner, they should drive more frequently and there must be buses driving to more destinations. This way people would understand that this is an easier, faster and a cheaper way to get where ever you want. You do not have to worry about parking and gas prizes.
We can also fine factories that pollute the air. We can force them to put filters on chimneys. If they do not agree doing that, they will be closed. This way they would be facing a dilemma and whatever they decide, the air will be cleaner.
Another big problem is deforestation. A lot of loggers are right now cutting down the forests – and what is worst, they also cut down a lot of valuable rain forest, which is home to many endangered species. If this cutting continues, these species will be wiped off the planet. So how can we fight this? One way is to hire supervisors that keep an eye out on illegal loggers. This way we get to know who they are and who hired them and finally we can fine or even put to jail these criminals.
Our world is facing a problem that directly affects our living standards. It is water pollution. Water pollution causes the death of many species of fish and water plants that grow in rivers or lakes. This problem has dramatically increased in the last years and
fortunately the governments have already started to realise that this is a problem we can solve and they have started solving it. But how do they do it? First of all, they take tests
from the polluted rivers to find out what causes the pollution. This leads them to the factories and companies who have caused the pollution. If they can prove the polluting by the factory, they fine them, make them use alternative ways to get rid of their residues or even close them up. This way pollution reduces and the fish and water plants will survive. People can also go swimming again, which is forbidden during the pollution, because pollution can be caused by chemicals which cause people allergies, cancer or even death.
I hope that people are starting to notice the problems around us and realize that there is so much they can do to make our planet a better place to live in. It is so easy to sit and wait until someone does it, but why not start and be an example for everyone else? As Malcolm Bradbury said: ’’If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem’’. So let’s all try and make a difference.

Simple Ways to Save the Environment
  • Why not resolve to plant some trees every year? If each of us plants one little tree, it can amount to a great amount of afforestation making the environment healthier. Increasing the use of bicycles or making a habit to walk down short distances can contribute to reduction in air pollution. Try to minimize the use of vehicles. Use CFC-free products. For some destinations, the use of vehicles has no better options. But at least maintain your vehicles; clean their exhaust pipes, keep the pollution they cause under strict control.
  • Look at the gadgets you use at home. Are all of them necessary? Do you maintain them well and use them efficiently? Replace the air filters for your air conditioning unit once a month. Turn off the ACs as also the lights and fans in unused rooms. Make sure to switch off the lights, the television or radio systems before you leave the house. Do not keep your computer switched on while you are not using it. Did you know that your refrigerator and water heaters consume a lot of power? A careful use of these gadgets is a good way to save the electricity.
  • One of the most important constituents of the environment is water. Preventing the wastage of water and curbing water pollution is one of our primary duties. Turn off the taps; do not let the buckets overflow! The use of bath showers and heavy-flushes in toilets leads to an excessive usage of water. Do not dump garbage down a storm drain. Do not pollute water bodies.
  • Recycling is one of the best measures of saving the environment. Try to use renewable sources of energy. Resort to the use of renewable natural resources. A simple way to do this is to lessen the use of rubber and plastic. Instead, use paper bags and cardboard containers. Even a simple habit of buying in bulk can save a lot of packaging material, thus contributing to saving the environment. Buy the products that you can reuse.
  • When in office, print only when it is absolutely necessary. Printing every soft copy leads to a heavy wastage of paper. Remember to switch off your computer when no one is using it. Avoid an excessive use of air conditioners in the office. Use emails instead of paper correspondence. Do not use disposable cups when you have an option of using the ceramic ones.
  • Minimize the use of animal products, which involve their killing. Animal fur and ivory are some of the excessively used products that are gradually leading to the extinction of the animals that provide them. Resolve not to hunt animals. Follow the principles of saving the environment and encourage others in taking to environment-saving activities.

Triinu, Liina 12e

Friday, April 16, 2010

Conscious Consuming

One basis of economic lifestyle is conscious consuming. It is important in buying everyday food products and also in purchasing clothing and footwear. Next I bring you some useful tips on how to be a conscious consumer.

What to keep in mind while buying food products?

*Prefer local products over imported ones. Their transport doesn't require so much fuel and there is a bigger chance of them not containing preservatives. For example the preference for buying apples regarding the environmental effect should be(if living in Estonia): Estonian apple, then Polish, Spanish and the most condemnable choice would be Australian apple.

*The less package, the better. Preferably buy one big than many small ones - you get more product and less package. If you get to choose between paper and plastic, then it's more economical to select packages, which are made out of renewable natural resources, like wood for example. When going to the store, take with you your paper or plastic bag, which you already have before. Small plastic bags are easily reuseable for buying open candy, bread or fruits.

*While choosing drinks, your choice, in aspect of packages, should be as follows: Reuseable glass(beer bottle) > recycleable glass (non-standard wine bottle) > reuseable plastic (all PET plastic bottles) > plastic packages (packaged milk) > cardboard package (wax, plastic or aluminum and paper composite)

*Eco-signs on products show that no artificial fertilisers or poisonous chemicals were used.

*While finding the balance between meat and vegetables it is recommended to increase the percentage of vegetarian foods, because the production of meat requires 5 times more energy(growing provender, pasture, feeding, barns and slaughter-houses)

Plastic bag, paper bag or fabric bag?

The most eco-friendly is to purchase a fabric bag and avoid buying plastic bags every time you go to a store. Fabric bags have many advantages over plastic or paper bags. Fabric bags are made out of flax or cotton, which are renewable resources, also fabric bags are longer lasting and easy to wash. If we compare plastic and paper bags, then they can be treated as equally environmental-friendly, but only if the plastic bag is used repeatedly. Paper bags have the advantage of renewable raw-material; plastic bags have the advantage in the duration of use.

Disposable dishes?

Disposable dishes are an eyesore for the environmentally-conscious people. The production wastes a lot of nonreproducible natural resources and their usage time is very short. After throwing them away it takes a hundred years for plastic dishes to decay and many years for cardborad dishes to turn into soil, because the last are covered with a layer of wax. It isn't allowed to burn used dishes because they contain plastic in them and they can only be recycled if they are clean and washed. For domestic birthdays and garden parties it is recommended to use regular dishes, because they leave a more solid and dignified look to the occasion. If there aren't enough dishes, then you can borrow them from friends or, for a symbolic price, buy them from the Recycling Centre and later return them. It is more environmental-friendly to wash dishes in a bowl and not under a running water, that uses less water.

By Rauno Rüütel and Alan Väli

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Saving the Environment at Home

  1. Turn off appliances. Turn of the computer, and the computer monitor when not in use. Approximately 40% of the time computers are in use, they are idle with no operator. Turn off the lights that are not necessary. Use your judgment and determine when to turn off lights at night or day. There are timers that can be put on to control automatic lighting. Unplug major devices that are not in use. Cable boxes and digital receivers still consume about 40 watts- that adds up to hundreds of dollars a month.
  2. Lower your thermostat. In winter, try to maintain air flow between rooms by not closing the doors unnecessarily. Find the best temperature setting. Try to put a thermostat in every room to give you better control. One degree change can save you a big percentage, as the heater will be idle longer. In summer, try to use efficient air conditioners and do use the thermostat. It can lower your consumption by half.
  3. Switch to florescent lighting. It can save 30% of your electric bills.
  4. Let dishes dry by mere air flow. Just turn off the dishwasher before it drys the dishes. Just leave the door slightly opened and the air will dry the dishes.
  5. Wash clothes with warm or cold water instead of hot. Your clothes will get just as clean.
  6. Copy and print on both sides of paper.
  7. Clean Your Fridge. Refrigerators use a tremendous amount of energy every year. To cut down on waste, clean the condenser coils every year. Also, do not keep the temperature unnecessarily low.
  8. Recharge Your Batteries. If you recharge your batteries, you will save money and help stop multiple environmental problems. You can prevent potentially hazardous metals from getting into landfills or the air, where they can be dangerous. So, buy rechargeable batteries and recharge them.
  9. Stop Junk Mail. If you stopped all the junk mail that comes to your house, you would save the equivalent of 1.5 trees every year.
  10. Use Reusable Goods. Everything that you throw away at home ends up in a landfill. Whenever you can, use reusable goods in place of disposable goods. For example, in the kitchen, use rags instead of paper towels.
  11. Just say no to plastic bags.The plastic bags you bring home from the supermarket probably end up in a landfill. Every year, more than 500 billion plastic bags are distributed, and less than 3% of those bags are recycled. They are typically made of polyethylene and can take up to 1,000 years to biodegrade in landfills that emit harmful greenhouse gases. Reducing your contribution to plastic-bag pollution is as simple as using a cloth bag (or one made of biodegradable plant-based materials) instead of wasting plastic ones. For your next trip to the grocery store.
  12. Use the microwave to cook small meals. It usses less power than an oven.
  13. Keep drinking water in the refrigerator instead of letting the faucet run until the water is cool.
  14. Wash your teeth with cold water. You normally are finished by the time the water gets hot anyway. The cold is more pure since hot water tanks are source of impurities.
  15. Do not flush sanitary napkins or Kleenex down the toilet. It wastes water and septic space, whether public sewer or private sepic system. It is expensive to pump out your septic system.
  16. Do not dump any oils or other hazadous wastes into the sewer. This changes the chemical balance in your public sewer system, and can cause extra maintenance to your septic.
  17. Leave the milk, eggs, juice out in the morning so refrigerator is opened only once. You will save energy if you leave these items out of 45 minutes instead of bringing them out each time someone else needs them.
  18. Use cold water to fill the teapot or sacepan. It heats almost as fast, costs less and has fewer impurities.
  19. Go paperless.There are so many benefits from going paperless, mainly by signing up for online services. Your information will be more secure, you’ll save a lot of paper and help businesses cut down on the costs of mailings. Imagine having to get rid of an extra filing cabinet or two at home!
  20. Use traps instead of rat and mouse poisons and insect killers.
  21. Put leaves in a compost heap instead of burning them or throwing them away. Yard debris too large for your compost bin should be taken to a yard-debris recycler.
  22. Take your car to a car wash instead of washing it in the driveway.
  23. Maintain and repair durable products instead of buying new ones.
  24. Buy used furniture – there is a surplus of it, and it is much cheaper than new furniture.
  25. When using an oven, minimize door opening while it is in use. it reduces oven temperature by 25 to 30 every time you open the door.
  26. Join a carpool to get to work.