An environmentally friendly lawn beckons

environmentally-friendly-lawnsA great number of homeowners yearn for a perfect, green lawn, but this can be problematic when, for instance, there is drought in the United States and hosepipe bans are a possibility in the United Kingdom. Not only that, but the use of fertiliser and pesticide is discouraged. While green, lawns can be decidedly ungreen, figuratively.

Studies have connected pesticide use in schools with illness in staff and students and use at home with a greater prospect of childhood leukemia. Pesticides can even kill. While use of agricultural chemicals declined by 12,189 tons in the United States from 1992 to 1997, chemicals used on lawns grew by 7,747 tons.

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Unsustainable household products and their alternatives

unsustainable-household-productsThe developing nations of the world are slowly moving along the same ‘industrial revolution’ processes as their first world counterparts, in a bid to improve their economic and social status. Countries like China and India tend to provide the widest range of economic growth matched with enormous poverty and class disparities. The under-developed world is seen as a negative state of being, compared with the developed first worlds players like Sweden, Norway, Canada and so on. However, these people are using less carbon and lead far more sustainable lifestyles then the materialistic west. That is not to say some of their practices are best but a lot can be learned to improve our own sustainability.

Here are some lessons from developing countries on 3 unsustainable household products and their alternatives.

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TV presenter Kate Humble implores you to get nekkid

45-year-old Kate Humble, who first appeared on television in 1997 and is now the presenter of BBC Springwatch and Lambing Live, has told that her way to get closer to nature is to get nekkid. She often walks around thusly and wishes “everyone to try it.” She owns a 117-acre farm along with her husband of 22 years’ standing, one-time television director and producer, Ludo Graham. They have no children: “There are far too many people in the world already.”
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Three Ways to Make Your Car More Efficient

With the cost of petrol rising unceasingly and people growing more environmentally-conscious, how your car can achieve maximal economy is a burning question. There are various ways to accomplish this and put more pounds in your pocket, never mind saving the world.

The first step is to check whether you have a problem: get hold of the maker’s stats and see if your fuel consumption differs from the norm. Your driving habits play a major part here. Good driving habits include turning off the engine when stationary, not driving with the windows down, keeping tyres inflated properly but not to excess, not speeding, coasting to a halt instead of slamming on the brakes and accelerating slowly from rest. Another unexciting way to improve fuel efficiency is to remove roof racks and trailers when they are not in use, thereby reducing weight and drag.

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California ban on plastic bags set to go ahead

California seems destined to ban plastic bags. During a gubernatorial debate on September 4, 2014, the sitting governor of California, Jerry Brown, announced that he “probably will” sign SB 270, a bill approved by the state legislature the previous week that would accomplish this.

Californians are estimated to use 19 billion of the things each year, although there were enough places to ban plastic bags that this had been brought down from 30 billion in 2006. Already, intoned Brown, around 50 cities in the state ban plastic bags and even the California Grocers Association had been converted and was calling for a statewide ban. Brown’s challenger, Neel Kashkari, ranted that there was “no chance would I sign”. He trails Brown in the polls by 34 to 50 percent. Nyah.

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Perhaps US swimming pools are a thing of the past for environmental reasons

You could be convinced that swimming pools are a thing of the past. In the midst of California’s Mojave desert, somewhere between Joshua Tree and Apple Valley, lies a swimming pool that is five feet wide, five deep and eleven long. It’s a piece of art devised by Alfredo Barsuglia, an Austrian, which he named “Social Pool.” To see it, you’d have to visit and not just phone the MAK Centre for Art and Architecture in West Hollywood to receive the top secret GPS coordinates and a key which must be returned within 24 hours.

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Betting on edible seafood to face the sustainability food crisis

Alberto Sanchez, his sister Maria and his colleague Sergio Baamonde are young Spanish entrepreneurs who have bet on an edible seaweed sustainable business to have a better future. The trio begun their edible seaweed company a few years ago and continue to produce most of their product by hand (production of the goods, harvesting and washing the seaweeds).

In this short interview I spoke with Alberto, the CEO of the company, about the impact of Spain’s austerity programme post the financial crisis, and the emergence of edible seaweed businesses over the past decade or so.

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Warka Water Towers

Ethiopia is located on the Horn of Africa and is home to a diverse mix of cultures with civilisations originating from North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East. Ethiopia is a popular destination for tourists, yet, similar to many other African countries faces water shortages, a lack of access to clean water sources and poor sanitation. Ethiopia’s location means that drought, famine and conflict are major causes of water shortages and over 70 million people living in Ethiopia do not have access to adequate sanitation.

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Go to China and see a blood-red river

Just like it says in the Bible, rivers in China have been turning the colour of blood. One of the signs of the impending end of the world is detailed in Revelation 16:4: “And the third angel poured out his vial upon the rivers and fountains of waters; and they became blood.” Most recently, this occurred in the Jian River in the east of China.

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