Working from Home Can Be Good for Environment

Telecommuting, also called teleworking, is gaining respectability in today’s business climate. Running a home based business, or working for a company but working out a home office makes sense on so many levels. Some of the main advantages to teleworking are saving the time and expense of commuting and to saving the environment.

Teleworking is becoming a mainstay in the current work environment. According to the U.S. Labor Department, about 14 million workers were telecommuting part-time in 2004 and 7 people million were running businesses from home.

Teleworking saves the expense of driving to work every day. Anyone who drives a car knows the many expenses of fuel, maintenance and insurance. While you might not want to get rid of your car, working from home can save wear and tear and the subsequent expense.

While saving the expense of driving, teleworkers also help the environment because they are not adding to carbon emissions from commuting. People who live and work out of their home are able to put their time to most efficient use while saving the expense of commuting.

Teleworkers do use energy and incur additional costs in operating their home office. Equipment like computers, lights, cell phones, fax machines and copiers all use energy. Use the equipment wisely to cut down on electric usage and energy costs.

ComEd Electric Company has recommended several tips to help the environment and to save money when working from home.

1. Pay close attention to home energy use. About 15 percent of household electricity use comes from consumer electronics.

2. Turn off or unplug any unnecessary electronics. Equipment that is left on 24 hours a day eats up energy. Turn off copiers, printer and fax machines when they are not in use.

3. Look out for phantom load. Phantom load is the energy that electronics use even when they are turned off. They may only use a small amount of energy, but it does add up. To prevent this unplug the equipment entirely.

4. Unplug any unused equipment when not being used. This includes battery chargers, power adapters and cell phone chargers.

5. Turn off lights and electronics in your home while in your home office, including stereos, video games and televisions.

6. Light your office with compact fluorescent bulbs.

7. Select office equipment that has the ENERGY STAR ® designation because it is more efficient and saves energy costs.

Managing energy usage in your home office is one of ComEd’s 12 Ways to Green campaign. The campaign aims to education customer in ways to save money and to reduce their carbon footprint.…

What to Look for in an Environmentally Friendly Paint

At one time you had to pick either a paint color you really wanted or a color that was just ok, but had fewer chemicals. Today you can have both. Environmentally friendly paints now come in more colors than ever before. More paint companies are mixing in fewer chemicals and some have reverted to using earth and food materials. Using an environmentally friendly paint will help lower or eliminate volatile organic compounds and you won’t add pollutants to the air indoors. What should you look for when buying an eco-friendly paint.

 

Low or no-odor – If your main concern is what happens to you while you’re painting, go for low- or no-odor paints. Anyone with chemical sensitives or is prone to headaches needs to be cautious when using paint. Low- and no-odor paints have no odor once dry and no off-gassing. These are a good idea when you need to use the room soon after it’s painted. 

Zero VOC
 – Expect to pay more for paints with the least amount of VOCs (5 grams/litre or less). Be aware that added biocides and color tint will raise the level of VOCs listed on the paint can. Look at the label when buying paint to read the precise number of VOCs. For a truly environmentally mfriendly paint avoid ingredients like acetone, ammonia, and crystalline silica (a known carcinogen).

Water-based paints – Enjoy a lower-odor painting experience with water-based paints, rather than oil-based paints. You can wash these paints from brushes and rollers with water, no extra solvents required.

VOC content – Don’t just go by a big “low-VOC” label on the front, which is the paint equivalent of “low-fat” label on cookies and crackers in the snack aisle. Read the details of the VOC content on the paint label. A paint with up to 250 grams per liter (g/l) of VOCs can be labeled low-VOC.

Seal of approval

Since government regulations and industry standards have been slow to match consumer fervor for environmentally-friendly paint, finding an environmentally friendly paint can be hit or miss.

A number of non-profit organizations set specific environmental standards for different products, including interior paints. The organizations independently certify products and brands meeting those scientifically-tested standards with a seal. Look for products with certification from any of these organizations when buying an eco-friendly paint: Green Seal or GreenGuard.

Natural substances

* Paint like an Egyptian – One option is to look to the earth. Paints made with a mix of water, porcelain clay, chalk, and pigments are eco-friendly and natural.

* Go vintage or retro with milk paints – Milk paints, used in Colonial America are an eco-friendly option. They also gained popularity in the 1970s. The paints use milk casein, combined with other ingredients including food-grade bamboo cellulose and food emulsifiers. Some ancient wall paintings were made with a combination of milk, lime, and earth pigments.

Bees’ wax, mineral and plant dyes, and essential oils – Other natural paint products use these natural ingredients. If you want a naturally good scent while painting look for an eco-friendly brand containing essential oils. Typical scents tend to be in the citrus family, with refreshing aromas of lemon or grapefruit.

Sources:

Green Seal

Green Guard

Paulette Rossi, “VOCs: It’s More than the Odor,” Northwest Renovation

Joe Barrios, “Three Certified Eco Friendly, Low VOC Paint Brands,” Eco Village Green

“Non-Toxic Paint – No-VOC Paint,” Greenhomesofmaine.com…

Green Life After Death

Many of us do our best to live an environmentally green lifestyle, making changes in our routines that include everything from adjusting the thermostat to putting bricks in our toilet tanks. But what about continuing that green commitment into our deaths and even beyond? The preparation of our bodies and subsequent rituals upon our deaths can be environmentally destructive. From carcinogenic embalming fluids to hardwood caskets, following traditional funeral and burial protocols take their toll on the environmental health of those we leave behind. We do have options, however, that allow us to leave this world in the same manner we occupied it – eternally green.

Embalming – One of the major components in traditional embalming fluid is formaldehyde, which is a proven carcinogen. A study released in 2009 by the National Cancer Institute reported a link between exposure to formaldehyde and a higher incidence of death from myeloid leukemia. There are eco-friendly options for embalming, however, including one substance that is formulated from nontoxic and biodegradable essential oils. In addition, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), no US state actually requires embalming. So unless a body is being transported in between states or on an airplane, it may not even be necessary.

Burial Vessels – The UCS reports that, ” Caskets, grave liners, and vaults in U.S. cemeteries use more than 30 million board feet of hardwood, 100,000 tons of steel, and 1.6 million tons of concrete each year.” Green alternatives include sustainable soft woods, or even biodegradable cardboard. You will need to shop around for an accommodating cemetery, however, as many have their own requirements, including some that are mandated by state law.

Cremation – The process used in traditional cremation produces significant amounts of carbon dioxide, and with about one-third of Americans choosing this option, that’s a lot of greenhouse gas. A more environmentally-friendly option is called resomation. This process “uses water, heat, pressure, and potassium hydroxide to decompose bodies; the bones that remain are processed into a fine powder.”

The Eternal Gift of Green – If cremation is your decision, you may want to take the ultimate green step and consider having your cremated remains mixed with concrete and fashioned into part of a memorial reef to provide valuable habitat for hundreds of aquatic species of both flora and fauna. Family members can even be involved in the casting of the reef, and choose their loved one’s final resting place from a list of reefs in progress. See Eternal Reefs for more details.

Sources: 

“Formaldehyde: Understanding the Newest Study On Cancer and Exposure in Funeral Service,” National Funeral Directors Association

“FAQs and Fictions,” Green Burial Council

“When It’s Time to Leave, Go Green,” Union of Concerned Scientists

“The Memorial Reef Process,” Eternal Reefs…

How to Make Your Kids Environmentally Conscious

What better way is there to create more environmental activists than by educating them from a young and tender age. However if you haven’t done this yet, it is never too late to start. There are many ways in which to do this. Here are some ideas.

 

The first and most important step is to lead by example. Show your children how you separate your trash and recycle, avoid littering, save electricity by not leaving unnecessary lights on, support green efforts and generally care for the environment. Let them see how you make your own green cleaning products. Get them a pet or pets like goldfish, which should be their responsibility to take care of.

Make environmental activities fun. Plant your own organic vegetable garden and let your kids help you with this. Involve them by getting their input on what to plant, let them plant the actual seeds and encourage them to care for the garden by watering it everyday.

Go on nature outings. Take them to nature reserves and game parks if you can, where they can see animals in their natural habitat. If you don’t have one near you, take them to the zoo, as well as aquariums, bird parks and aviaries. Take them for nature walks, pointing out interesting plants and birds en route. Give them disposable cameras and encourage them to take pictures of the interesting things they see.

Education is paramount. Read stories to your kids about Earth Day and saving animals and the environment. Let them see documentaries on saving the environment. Talk to them about environmental issues, like oil spills and endangered animals, and mention extinct animals like dinosaurs and dodos by way of example. Ask them for their ideas on how to save the environment and reducing our carbon footprint.

On rainy days, get your kids to make items by using recycling discarded items like egg cartons, plastic bottles, corks, bottle caps, toilet roll holders, grocery bags and popsicle sticks. They can even make a bird feeder or bird house. There are lots of ideas on the Internet on how to make these things.

Celebrate environmental days like Earth Day by going to a public park and picking up litter. 

Spend some environmentally conscious quality time together. Have an outdoor picnic (weather permitting) with healthy, green foods. If the weather permits, have a night party. Gather everyone, get some warm blankets, lie on the lawn and look up at the stars! You can play a game of Spot the Stars. This way they learn about astronomy too.

Together, we can save the planet, by making a difference, one by one.

Source: National Geographic Kids…

How to Have a Clean Environment for Successful Work

If you are like me, it’s hard to sit down to get anything done if your desk is cluttered with trash, empty plates or cups, and other items that are not necessary to being productive. Today I set to clearing the clutter.

 

You can view photos of the process here.

Separation of Work and Play 
Since I am returning home from college and using freelance writing as my summer job, my bed room has become my office. To separate work and play, my desk faces away from my bed, books, and stereo. I’ve learned that even looking at the items will distract me. Oh how tempting naps are.

For many, the situation is much different. If possible, it would be best to set aside an office space (another room, large closet, etc.). For me, dedicated on half of my room to a space to write.

Clearing the clutter 
I always begin cleaning by throwing away all of the trash. This leaves you only the items that need to be sorted. From there you can organize your belongings, put them in storage, or donate them if they are no longer something you need.

Since the space I use is also my bedroom, I disposed of trash, put all my clothes away, and organized the necessary items for writing such as pens, pencils, sticky notes, etc.

Beware getting distracted 
When you begin to sort items you can get side-tracked in many ways. For instance, I came across some of my possessions that held significance with me, when placing them in their correct location, I found other things of significance. My items of significance were old year books, which I spent nearly two hours looking through. It’s great to have these moments, but not when you should be working. So set a time frame on cleaning and stick to it.

Tips 
– Decide where you are going to work and what environment you work best in. 
– Separate work and play as much as you possibly can. 
– Clear away all unnecessary items like trash, plates, or anything that will distract you. 
– Set a realistic time limit on preparing this space and keep track of that time.

Once you have a clean environment to work in that is specific to you, you will feel much more productive. And, everything you need will be within an arm’s reach.

Other projects lead to restoring the environment, such as conservation of coral reefs, or rain forests, this can often lead to eco-tourism opportunities.

For other projects such as land restoration, soil remediation, we have seen mining companies and land developers working together with environmental companies to restore the lands and develop new projects.

But overall, some of the new opportunities such as carbon credits, water rights and biodiversity are new financial instruments that you should certainly consider in your revenue model, and you maybe surprised of the upsides they can bring to you.

Question 3: Do CleanTech / Environmental Investors invest in these projects?

Yes, they do, and there are specialized investment funds dedicated for these projects (see our report Global CleanTech & Environmental Capital Providers Guide for more details) ‘” there are certain investment funds investing in forestry managements and eco-tourism projects, even though they are not usually mentioned on their website as part of the mandate.

In terms of locations, our research has shown that investment firms in Australia, Canada, US, Switzerland, Germany and UK are particularly the ones worth investigating. There are also different Government grants and incentives available ‘” some are available in Asia Pacific and Middle East (if they relate to water management and soil remediation). You should certainly look at international opportunities when comes to capital raising.…

Advertising, Promotions, Marketing and Public Relations Managers

Public relations, advertising and marketing management are highly coveted jobs for the ratio of high wages to freedom of work environment. Those in these positions often can work from home, travel and have an office supplied to them. While many positions require a raw talent for marketing, some of the intricacies can be easily learned for a lucrative career

Job Duties

An advertising, marketing or public relations manager is responsible for the strategy, sales, promotion, pricing, public outreach, development and marketing of a product or company. Advertising managers focus on the ad campaigns and may work with the finance and promotional departments to find the most beneficial advertising campaigns available. A public relations manager is responsible for the design and implementation of public promotions including events on social media, through bloggers and writers and through the broadcast media.

Skills Required

This career path is full of schedule changes and requires an employee to be flexible as well as work under pressure. Anyone in the field of public relations, marketing and advertising must have excellent customer service skills as well as the ability to blend with special interest groups. Long hours, weekends and evenings are sometimes required, as are above average computer and media skills.

Education and Requirements

A bachelor’s degree, preferably in a business administration, is typically required for marketing, sales and promotions manager. In fields that are dependent on knowledge of electronics, a degree in engineering or science is preferred. Required coursework for these degrees include classes in advertising, public affairs, speaking, communications and political science, among core requirements. Many successful promotions, public relations and marketing managers are fluent in multiple languages, and an extensive knowledge of social media is preferred.

Courses Required

Many colleges offer four-year degrees specifically in advertising, promotions and social media. Typical courses required include advertising and society, mass communication, media writing, principles of advertising, digital communication, brand solutions, social networks, search engine marketing and design in media. These courses teach a broad range of current trends in mass media including print, broadcasting and digital media. Technology, sociology and psychology courses are also suggested electives for any position in promotional media career paths.

Outlook and Salary

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the field of advertising, marketing, promotions and public relations will continue to grow by more than 13 percent through 2018. In May 2008, the average annual wage for an advertising and promotions manager was $80,200, more than $108,000 for marketing managers and $89,430 for public relations managers.

 
 

Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook, Advertising, Marketing, Promotions, and Public Relations…

Green Methods for Removing Paint

Removing your old paint can be a messy and time consuming process-especially when chemical paint strippers are involved. But besides being a pain in the neck, chemical paint strippers and removers can pollute our land, air and water. No matter what type of painting removers you plan on using for your next home improvement project, be careful. Paint that was applied prior to 1978 can contain lead. You may need to hire a lead abatement service to prevent exposure to this deadly toxin.

Isopropanol Alcohol

This is one of the best paint removers for soft woods and other delicate materials because it doesn’t leave stains. This ecofriendly paint remover evaporates quickly, so any residue that’s left behind is only old paint-and not the stripper itself. Typical rubbing alcohol that is bought at the store for medicinal supplies might not be strong enough to use to remove more stubborn paints. Higher concentrations of rubbing alcohol can be bought when stronger and tougher paints don’t come off with conventional isopropanol alcohol.

Canola Oil

When latex paints or other light water based paints are being used, canola oil can help to remove them quickly, safely and eco consciously. To remove paint using canola oil, spread a small amount onto a terry cloth towel or wash cloth. Rub the paint vigorously to begin the process of cleaning up the old paint. Canola oil shouldn’t be used on clear stained wood products as the heavy oils will permanently stain the wood. Older oil based paints have a hard time coming clean with canola oils.

Adhesive Backed Stripper

Exterior paint products that are stuck on difficult-to-clean material like stone, brick or stucco can be super tough to remove. That’s where adhesive backed paint strippers come into play. They help keep the messy paint chips and other paint materials from scattering all over the ground. By adhering to the paint with its super adhesive backing, it bonds permanently with paint-but not the materials underneath. Once hardened, peel it away and toss it in the trash.

Electric Heat Guns

These blow dryer looking devices work excellent for removing paint without any dangerous chemicals. These will peel even the most stubborn of paints away from their base material for easy and safe disposal. Electric heat guns should never be used on plastic materials that may melt under the extreme heat.

Citric Acid

This fruit based paint remover uses citric acid-typically found in oranges-to safely remove paint in an environmental friendly way. These materials are safe for all household cleaning as well as removing many paints from their substrate. Be careful not to use any citric acid-based cleaners that have dyes or scents as these can easily stain wood materials for good.

However, when I picked up the bottle of the new formula of Windex at the store last week, and it was simply labeled “vinegar,” I realized that all these years, I have been duped. I was about to pay over $3 for a small spray bottle of chemically enhanced vinegar and water! I promptly determined to go home and make my own green cleaners. So after some quick research online, I began using my trusty vinegar cleaner on everything, my glass tabletop, doors and windows, mirrors, kitchen countertops, stove top, and more! You would not believe my sparklin’ house, ya’ll! Even Juan was pleasantly surprised, it does not smudge, smear, or streak!

Here are a couple of quick tips for any first-timers out there wondering how to get started on making your own green cleaners. (I know I wasn’t the only one still buying those chemical cleaners, cuz the products are still on the store shelves!)

1. To make the vinegar and water cleaner, simply put half water, half vinegar into a spray bottle ‘” Voila! No really, it’s that easy ‘”

2. When I first start wiping the vinegar with newspaper, paper towel, rag (your choice ‘” you already know what’s greener!) it looks as if it is going to smear ‘” keep wiping, and you will see the shine!

3. There is a great green bathroom cleaner you can use ‘” hydrogen peroxide and water ‘” see http://www.using-hydrogen-peroxide.com/ for valuable information on this green product, as …

Save Environment

Our surrounding i.e. plants, air, water and living beings make environment around us. These resources are invaluable to us. But by polluting and over using we are disturbing the balance of nature.

 

The world is facing the threat of Global Warming because of imbalance created by human beings.

There is a need to save environment by saying no to cutting down of trees; no to wastage of water and no to use of plastic bags etc.

We should encourage plantation of trees. Each and every child must be educated about the importance of all these resources in our life.

We should not waste water and should teach our children to use water economically.

We should save electricity by switching off lights and fans while leaving the room.

Promote using paper bags and cloth bags instead of plastic bags as the plastic bags are big cause of pollution.

We should keep our vehicles pollution checked.

By controlling air and water pollution and by economical use of our natural resources we can surely save our environment.…

Environmental Issues

Our world has many environmental issues. These issues impact the environment, and all other areas in which humans inhabit. Ecosystems all over the world are being devastated, causing a shift in the equilibrium of our wilderness and the atmosphere. Biodiversity in our worldly community of animals and humans is vastly being affected. They might not realize it but everything on earth is directly related. There are a handful of countries that are industrial societies, one of them being the United States. There is enough trash in a landfill to go to the moon, there are an astonishing amount of pollutants in the air that human society breaths, migration patterns of species are being affected by climate change and many species are on the verge of extinction. An interesting theory is the “chaos theory”. This theory suggests that ecosystems can be very sensitive to little changes in the environment. There is a lot of evidence to prove this true, and there should be a conservation policy that prevents much change to the developing ecosystems. The risk assessment is incredibly high this day in age where society has a lot to lose, but the human population needs to become more malleable, and bend with new policies to make the world better, and preserve what mother earth gave. There are very many environmental issues, all are related in one way or another to humans and how they treat they’re land.

 

The popularity of wood stoves has risen, and so has the deforestation process. When there are no forests in an area, like a field or pasture, the animals graze the land until there is no hope for the plants. This is the desertification process. Once the land is like a desert, it can be like an all year drought season. When the land is arid and dry it makes the top level of the soil horizon more prone to erosion. Marine life are least affected by desertification, obviously, but other habitats like wetlands can be. Habitat destruction is a major environmental issue. Once the trees and other plants have been withered away and destroyed, either by human cause or by natural causes such as leaching, the micronutrients can be killed. Life, any life at all, needs nutrients to survive; otherwise the life forms suffer from malnutrition. Once an area has become desert, it disrupts the food chain of the area, and can cause famine for a hunter-gatherer society. Cash crops could still be grown in the area, but only with some help. The crops would need some sort of irrigation system, like drip irrigation, which uses a tube to deliver small amounts of water to the roots of the plants. Other people would use the area for different purposes, such as government agencies dumping radioactive wastes on the land. This could be a limiting factor for the area to ever get life again.

The biomedical revolution has made a huge difference when it comes to how the environment can affect the human race. There hopefully will be no more cases of the bubonic plague thanks to this revolution. Other diseases that can be cause by environmental factors cannot be as easily cured like cancer, or lung diseases, such as emphysema, that are caused by the air pollution in the cities. As the human population grows the germ theory of disease grows and becomes an issue. If a pathogen was to come into contact with a popular artesian well or aquifer or if the pathogen was to be deep-well injected, or come into contact with a popularly eaten carnivore or autotroph, it can be spread to most of the human population. This is possible because the demand for food is high, an obvious fact since everyone needs to eat food to survive. The consumer(s) eats the contaminated product. Alpha particles found in contaminated food can affect the growth rate of a population, and cause a mass extinction. Today in 2010, safety is a huge part of our food production, as well as other manufacturing companies throughout the United States. There are many steps and procedures companies must go through to make sure food is not holding any bacteria, like filtration, distillation, and sterilization.

The …

Live the Green Life

While some people think that it is just too much of an effort to –think green and live green–the environment is
what will suffer and many animals are certain to become distinct. Playing a part in reducing the carbon fallout 
on the Planet Earth is a role that anyone and everyone can play, regardless of age or where they live.

 

Recycling- Newspapers

Sunday mornings are usually a time when the newspapers are read and poured over for all of the multiple 
advertisements they contain. They are read a section at a time usually with morning coffee, and then tossed 
aside. This can go on for almost an entire morning, depending on how many sections the Sunday Papers contain.

When finally they are finished being read many have a habit,(almost without thinking), of gathering them, 
section by section, and placing them in the trash. Stop! Save the earth by saving the newspapers and advertisement pages and using them instead to light the fireplace, outdoor grill, or place under the mulch in the garden.

Recycling-Torn or One of a Pair of Missing Socks

Socks are great to use for dusting. They work well when cleaning the blinds. Put your hand into one of the socks, place it on top of one of the slats, and dust both the upper and lower slat at the same time. For washing the slats dip your hand, with sock into a mixture of Baking Soda and water. Do the same thing to wash the blinds after being dusted. Use a dry sock to dry the blinds. Launder the socks and reuse them for another chore at another time.

Recycling-Old Cotton Tee Shirts

Torn Tee Shirts are great to use to wash the car. Take two buckets and fill one with water and the other with 
baking soda in water and a dry tee shirt. Use one to rinse the car, the other to wash and the third to dry. Tee 
shirts are reusable so instead of throwing them out clean them and hang them to dry and use again.

Produce-Fruits and Vegetables

Buy home grown produce whenever possible. Purchasing them from the local farms or growing them in 
back yards will keep our farmers recycling the soil. We will be assured of eating fresh produce minus all 
those chemicals being sprayed on them. Even those that do not have large gardens can plant tomatoes, small green onions, radishes or a variety of herbs (usually purchased) in boxes outside on the patio.

Cleaning Products

Buy and use Baking Soda and Vinegar in place of store bought disinfections and spray deodorants to help keep chemicals out of the atmosphere. Both are very inexpensive and clean most anything using little effort. Open a box of baking soda and keep it in each bathroom. It eliminates odors without using the spray cans that are tossed into the garbage instead of being recycled. Baking soda and vinegar poured weekly down the drains, will result in having them smell sweet and clean.

There are many ways to Save the Environment – some take more effort than others – but the above suggestions take little effort, time or expense and anyone can do it-as long as they are not hospitalized.…