Category Archives: Environment

Two Environmental Actions You Can Take to Address Multiple Problems at Once

Every day brings more reasons to be concerned about the modern economy’s environmental costs. These costs were once effectively hidden from view, but mass media, social networking, and the scale of consumer activity have all brought knowledge of environmental destruction into everyone’s backyard. A walk in the local park will more than likely reveal tires, abandoned construction materials and other toxic trash, and almost every waterway features a polluting industry upstream that makes parents warn their kids to not go swimming.

The scale of pollution and abuse being heaped on the places many adults safely enjoyed just decades ago can be disheartening. The idea that dealing with these problems effectively requires sacrifice is a popular one, and it adds to the hopelessness. Everyday people have shown time and again, however, that caring for the land provides benefits far in excess of the sacrifice. Positive actions can even provide savings in your budget. Consider these two actions to begin visualizing what is possible.

Master Gardeners 015

Organizing Clean-ups

American culture is filled with stories of rugged individualism where one person begins doing something for the benefit of all only to be joined by others in the same pursuit. Why not start off with community involvement? Some parks are regularly maintained by municipal areas for public relations purposes. Other parks, and even out of the way places in popular parks, are often left uncared for by bureaucracies with limited budgets. There may be ordinances against dumping, but these areas become filled with waste. A lot of it is toxic.

Partnering with a local environmental group to sponsor a clean-up of your favorite park will have profound effects. The water will be cleaner for starters, and outdoors enthusiasts will find these more isolated areas enhance their ability to enjoy the local flora and fauna. Removing old tires in these locations will dramatically reduce mosquito populations.

This action could easily be combined with local recycling programs or efforts to replace invasive plants with native vegetation. The possibilities depend only on your dedication and community resources.


The combination of pesticide use, monoculture farms and yards, and a general fear of insects and germs has combined to reduce wildlife and put species diversity in danger. The most common remedy for this is planting native plants that provide food for native wildlife. If attracting local butterflies and songbirds to your yard isn’t enough of a benefit, native plants can always be chosen based on their usefulness. A little research will reveal every region has a number of native plants that once provided inhabitants with food, medicines, and aesthetic pleasure.

Any individual can make this effort, but community efforts will create more opportunities. Partnerships with native plant societies and trusts created by concerned citizens can ensure larger tracts of land will always be available to future community gardeners. Summer and after-school programs can receive grants with the right non-profit partnership, which will ensure a safe place for children to get exercise and learn local lore from older generations.

Of course, native gardening is only part of the picture. Vegetable gardens and miniature forests can also be used for the same effects. Many gardeners combine all of these with composting, vermiculture, chicken cooping, and other efforts. A combination of clean-ups and gardening will reduce your impact on the land and reduce the community’s impact on the global systems everyone relies upon.

Billie Seddon is a conservation writer who works with NRDC and other organizations to protect our health and environment. She urges everyone to learn about the damaging effects being caused by extreme weather conditions.

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Can The New Policy Of Zero Waste-Full Recycle Help Our Environment?

A new philosophy that could possibly produce results to completely change the world is zero waste. This school of thought is to continue reusing a product over and over again. Often, nature is hit the most by the inaction of men and women. That is the precise reason they need to be made aware of the full recycle policy, as well as zero waste. Once this policy is put into place, it is a must for each person to cooperate by recycling as much as is doable. Implementing this policy will require separating waste products into different bins based on category. Business enterprises trying to become green may also want to use this approach.

Always start at your home. Try to find some old batteries in the house. These batteries can easily be thrown away because it is disposable. But these batteries are harmful to our environment and also adds to our trash. An alternative to that would be using rechargeable batteries. There is a 12 volt solar charger that you can install to charge your phones or those rechargeable batteries that you have. There are also many 12 volt solar panels that you can easily install in your home. It can save you a lot from your electricity consumption.

Placing collection bins by the side of the road would be one more way to carry out this policy. Several collection bins would be designated for the different things to be recycled. Things that should be collected separately are plastic bottles, tins, cardboards, and other dry items. Paper is made from cut trees and so it has to be recycled frequently. It is not that difficult to recycle paper when it is kept separate from other items. Plastic should be collected in its own collection bin as it is hard to recycle.

Food scraps can be placed in biodegradable bags and then stored in pails. Glass, which is considered to be more valuable, should be put in a separate bin also. It could be placed in the dry waste material bins, but due to its non-contaminated material, it has to be separated. Perishable garden waste can be thrown in the same bin as food waste. Anything else, in addition to what has been mentioned, must be disposed of according to its nature. Materials should be thrown away based on their rate of decomposition. By observing these procedures, complete recycling and zero waste can be accomplished.

Disposing of waste can be easily accomplished by separating and collecting it at your home. With numerous folks following this policy, the world can be stopped from becoming more adulterated. Implementing this policy would be really beneficial in the long haul. Think about how things would change in our surroundings if nothing goes to waste. The superb idea of zero waste and full recycle has to be enforced to save our planet. It is time to save the planet from more suffering by carrying out the big picture in going environmentally friendly.

While the harm that our planet has already sustained is unlikely to be reversed, we can prevent future damage with the dedicated effort of a lot of people. If we all choose to follow a green lifestyle, this may be the best solution. It is no longer just a craze but is becoming a necessary policy. If more men and women are willing to do what it takes, we can look forward to a better world with less pollution.

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Solar Farms – The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

Utilizing solar energy is something we should be doing more of since it’s clean and renewable, at least cleaner than biomass energy. That’s the good part about solar energy. Right now we need more infrastructure built up. That’s the bad part. To do so requires a large investment in solar which investors don’t like because they can find better ROI’s elsewhere. That’s the ugly part. This holds true for personal systems and larger scale systems, at least until the solar world becomes more profitable.

There hasn’t exactly been landslide success for solar panel farms. There have been a few successful small scale operations. There are plenty of companies that will fill your personal, or possibly small neighborhood or community needs. If this is all you need and you’re willing to commit the capitol upfront then start making a few calls to find the right developer or installer.

Solar systems are actually pretty simple, especially off-grid connections. Expenses go up when you need to tie into the grid because it normally requires an inverter, special permits, and sometimes certified installers. It all depends on your local, state, and federal laws. Again, total off-grid usually doesn’t require much in the way of permits, and if you can change the battery in your car you can likely do most of it yourself. Always check with local authorities though. You don’t want to build any small solar panel farms and then have to change it, or worse, tear it down.

When it comes to larger investments, there may or may not be great opportunities in solar farms. The field of photovoltaic science is advancing extremely rapidly. Think computers in the early 90’s. Are they going to be a part of everyone’s life, like computers seem to be today? That reality is entirely possible. However, no one seems to have deciphered the right code or formula to bring solar power into the mainstream. Just like on the small scale, solar farming requires a pretty significant upfront cost with a somewhat questionable payback return. Some critics argue that without government incentives and subsidies, it wouldn’t be profitable in the least. However, if we look at computers, the first generations were exorbitantly expensive. So the great questions, and where the inherent risk lies, is whether or not the technology advances will bring the upfront costs down and payback and return on investments up. Someone needs to be the Bill Gates or Steve jobs of solar energy and eventually the cost of solar will decrease to a good level that nearly all can afford, and profit greatly from.

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The Role of Marshes in Ancient City Sustainability: Recent Findings & Modern Applications

Until current research brought the prevailing opinions of leading archaeologists into question, it was widely believed that ancient cities in Mesopotamia sprang up alongside rivers. The theory was that river proximity allowed ancient city inhabitants to irrigate the surrounding desert, thus making the land arable. It was thought that cities such as Ur, which is believed to have originated near the mouth of the Euphrates River sometime in the 25th century B.C., were able to sustain themselves because of their ability to irrigate the surrounding areas with river water.

New Ideas

Interestingly, Dr. Jennifer Pournelle of the University of South Carolina has been pursuing a different explanation for the connection between water and ancient cities. She posits that early urban areas in Iraq were sustainable because of their location in marshes, not beside rivers.

Marsh Arabs in a mashoofThis might seem like a technicality, but it’s an insightful observation that’s changing the way archaeologists perceive the origins of ancient urban areas. If Iraq’s ancient cities thrived in lowland marshes fed by rivers, their inhabitants used resources in different ways than they would have if they had relied on irrigation to provide them with a way to grow food from the land. Pournelle and her research team have reason to believe that Iraq’s ancient southern cities were successful because of their location in marshes that easily sustained rice crops.

Digging Deeper

Together with an archaeologist from Pennsylvania and a geologist from Missouri, the South Carolinian research assistant combined excavation records, archaeological site maps, and aerial and satellite images to recreate an accurate representation of the ancient environment in southern Iraq. Pournelle’s work differs from previous efforts to study the ancient urban characteristics of this area in several ways. First, her efforts are the most recent after a short burst of interest from 1900 to 1950. Additionally, her work includes a comprehensive study of flora and fauna where previous archaeologists focused mainly on objects and architecture. And with recent developments in technology, she’s been able to combine research strategies to reveal a more holistic view of the ancient cities that thrived in the marshes of southern Iraq.

According to Pournelle’s work, marsh resources, wildlife, and environmental conditions were vital to the process of sustaining cities. These same conditions are also integral to our understanding of these civilizations and how they were able to function. In an interview published in a article, Pournelle confidently states that the key to these cities’ long-term survival, as compared with cities in other environments, was the wetlands. Marsh areas have their own distinct ecology, different from riverside environments, and those unique characteristics were vitally important to some of the oldest cities in the world.

Iraq and South Carolina

Connecting past and present, Pournelle points out some of the commonalities between ancient (and modern) Iraq and the current problems being faced in South Carolina. She thinks that the two  regions, which have  similar environmental characteristics, can inform us about important modern-day issues. Both Iraq and South Carolina are working to overcome problems with water resource management, pollution control, coastal and port development, and environmental management.

Pournelle plans to continue her research in Iraq, hoping to uncover ancient sustainability strategies that might have parallel applications in her own century and state.


Maria Rainier is a freelance writer and blog junkie. She is currently a resident blogger at First in Education where she writes about education, online degrees, and what it takes to succeed as a student taking a bachelors degree program remotely from home. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.

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Making Profits through Green Investing

Green investing, as the name suggests, involves investing in the companies that are committed to protecting the environment through eco-friendly policies. These companies, for example, might be utilizing methods to reduce environmental impact by utilizing alternative and renewable energy sources. More and more people are investing only in environment-friendly companies by buying their stocks, as well as buying eco-friendly mutual funds.

While generally green-related financial products currently come with a premium price and are relatively scarce as well, it promises a great future nevertheless. After all, investors do not do this solely for the environment, as a golden rule in investing for dummies, they also want to earn profits since this is still business.

There has been a constantly growing interest on the alternative and renewable energy. People have also become more conscious of the consequences of the use of fossil fuels. As a result, this has opened a great opportunity for green investing. Many people believe that green investing can provide sustainable and long-term income. It won’t be long until this will be a common entry for financial and business references for all investors.

Green investing covers a wide array of areas–green stocks include different sectors, company range and value. A lot of potential green investments are small, young, and uncertain, but an investor can make an environment-friendly portfolio out of big name companies. For example, an individual may invest in an electronics company that provides cooling system for buildings to help lessen their power consumption.

To put it simply, green investing will be the trend of the future. Many industry leaders of today are poised to lead the changes towards investing for the benefit of the environment. Making profits is good, but it will be much better if the business is helping nature first–and this can be made through green investing.

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