Category Archives: Energy Articles

10 Ways To Be a Better Environmental Steward in 2018


The actions most of us engage in harm and degrade the environment in various ways and it’s the reason people are called upon adopt and engage in practices that promote a better and healthy environment. The initiatives are as simple as the manner in which certain items should be recycled or how to reduce waste in our households. In spite of all this, the road towards optimal environmental control should start with the lifestyle of an individual.

Accordingly, it is essential for us as people living in this planet to first take care of our acts by adopting eco-friendly ways of doing things even before venturing into other areas of environmental growth. The outcome of this hence qualifies as the standard definition of environmental stewardship. In this sense, how can we become better environmental stewards in 2018? The answer to this question simply entails changing our consumption patterns and other activities that degrade and harm the environment either directly or indirectly. Here are 10 ways we can be better environmental stewards in 2018.

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1. Buy Food From Local Farms

It is encouraged and even the most viable option to acquire foodstuff from local farm stores. For starters, these are crops with the surety of freshness as they are from the farm and do not contain any additives or preservatives and are thus, healthy. Moreover, there is a large variety from which the consumer can choose from. Having a farm is also important since one will save on transportation costs from the store and thus, less carbon emissions.

Also by purchasing groceries from a local farm, it increases the demand for commodities in the farm, more crops are grown, and more farms are established. The major advantage of the local farms is that they are naturally grown and for this reason, are cleaner and better than those in supermarkets which have been grown under intense use of pesticides and fertilizers.

2. Volunteer in Environmental Projects

The initiative is one that ensures expansion in knowledge on the environment and its various components. It is through volunteering that one is able to be informed on the environment, not just in books but from the physical aspect. Again, by volunteering, an individual is able to make an impact in the community. Most of the individuals are busy during weekdays with jobs and related activities.

Therefore, in order to be in touch with the environment, they can seek to volunteer in such projects when they are free. Projects such as planting trees has a lot of good for the future generation because, for instance, it aids in protecting water catchment facilities and supports a healthy environment. Supporting environmental projects financially is similarly an impressive way of promoting volunteering initiatives.

3. Be Dynamic in the Mode of Transportation

There are a lot of initiatives that discourage the use of cars due to the release of carbon to the atmosphere, which is toxic to the ozone layer. The matter is even made worse by the manufacturing companies making cheaper cars thus encouraging consumers to buy more cars, which is detrimental to the environment. In order to be a better environmental steward in 2018, other forms of transport should be deployed to offset the use of cars.

For instance, the use of bicycles has proven to be effective since it does not require any energy consumption and does not emit carbon. What’s more, the cost of purchasing bicycles is way cheaper and guarantees that one is physically fit. There are also other ways of cutting back on the use of cars such as car sharing and the use of trains. Again, for short distances, walking is encouraged.

4. Minimize the Carbon Footprint on Food

To be an environmental steward in 2018, it is essential that we are informed about the sources of the food we eat and the manner in which it is produced. The reason for this is because there are a lot of practices that are harmful to both people and the environment that are used in the process of food production.

Some of the practices include the transportation of food, the use of land, the waste that follows the production of the crop, the type of water that is used, and the various chemicals used in the name of fertilizers and pesticides. With such knowledge, consumers are able to cut back on the edibles that are produced in manner that will pollute the environment.

5. Participate in Environmentally-Charged Public Events

There are various events organized in different regions both locally and globally with the sole aim of sensitizing people about the environment. Events such as marathons and rallies have been used regularly to aid in championing for the conservation of the environment. It is the duty of all individuals who want to be good stewards of the environment to take part in such initiatives by being there physically and if unable to, they can fund the drive financially or seek sponsors who will support the cause.

These events are vital since they aid to raise awareness on the plight of the environment and in doing so, people who are oblivious of the environment around them are able to relate and connect with it.

6. Minimize the Purchase of Single-use Plastics

Over the years, there has been tons of plastic converting into waste in our landfill and in the water bodies as well. This has not augured well with the environment which has seen the death of fish due to suffocation in water and the poor growth of crops.

With the tons of plastic in the earth, the purchase of plastics should be avoided as much as possible especially the single-use plastics such as water bottles and plastic bags that form the bulk of the landfill. Purchase of other containers such as reusable water bottles and cotton bags as substitutes would aid the environment a lot.

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7. Minimize the Consumption of Meat

Regular consumption of meat is harmful to the consumer’s health. A lot of environmental pollution is realized in agricultural practices, particularly from livestock rearing. Examples include the pesticides sprayed on fodder that the livestock feed on and the water washed away into rivers from the earth where fertilizers have been applied which they end up drinking.

For this reason, cutting back on livestock meat consumption and instead focusing on other protein foods in the form of crops and vegetables such as beets is a great way of becoming a better environmental steward in 2018. The added advantage is that by reducing the intake of meat, one is able to control his or her eating habits and thus, strike a balance in his diet.

8. Compost Your Natural Waste

Our environment is full of waste that is both natural and artificial. As an environmental steward, it is the duty of each individual to ensure they either have proper information on the various ways to make a compost pit or on how to compost natural waste.

Refuse from vegetables can be dropped in the farm which will in the end form compost that enriches the soil thus providing nutrients to the crops. Also, there are companies that offer composting services for a fee thus ensuring proper and professional disposal of natural waste.

9. Stay Informed and Vote for the Various Environment-Friendly Policies

Voting as a citizen of a given country is democratic and it is every citizen’s right. In terms of adopting and enacting certain environmental policies, polls are sometimes essential and this means that to be a better stewards of the environment, it is vital to vote for policies that will improvement the environment.

Notable examples in the past include polls on the ban of plastic bags and the production of some pesticides due to their adverse effects on the environment. Furthermore, it is upon people as individuals to keep themselves updated with the current affairs in their countries as well as with the global world in matters of the environment to be well equipped when making decisions.

10. Stop Buying Fast Fashion

The modernization of the world has not only seen the innovation of gadgets but also growth in fashion. There are very many fashion houses that are in existence and they are all trying to penetrate the market. In consequence, and to beat competition, there are lots of releases of the finished products to the fashion world. If the reception of the product is poor, then the fashion house moves to another product until it comes up with one that will provide a niche in the market.

This means that there will be a lot of waste in the landfill since the consumer will buy the product, realize it has dropped in fashion sense, dispose of it and seek to purchase another and the trend continues. Consequently, to prevent this and to be a better environmental steward in 2018, one should be smart when purchasing clothes. Since fashion is dynamic, it is upon the consumer to observe the trends and patterns before deciding on what fashion to go with and thus, save the environment.

Image credit: Sandhy , pixabay

Rinkesh

Rinkesh is passionate about clean and green energy. He is running this site since 2009 and writes on various environmental and renewable energy related topics. He lives a green lifestyle and is often looking for ways to improve the environment around him.

Latest posts by Rinkesh (see all)

11 Airlines That Offer Carbon Offset Programs


When it comes to the discussions about pollution and emission of greenhouse gases, the airplanes are the largest contributors. They produce so much carbon during each travel, but due to their efficiency and swiftness they remain a preferred mode of travel. As a consequence, most people would not give up the travel using planes.

Regardless, instead of avoiding planes one can opt to use airlines that offer carbon offset programs. There are carbon calculators that calculate the amount of carbon footprint left per travel and it also calculates the cost of offsetting. On this basis, customers are allowed by most airlines to voluntarily pay the costs. The following is a list of 11 airlines that offer carbon offsetting programs.

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1. The Emirates

According to the Emirates website, the Emirates airline does not believe in passing on the responsibility of minimizing emissions to the customers but rather they do it themselves. Therefore, they believe in the principle that the emitter should pay the price. Emirates has one of the quickest, most modern low emission fleets in the world. Their age in average is 6 years as compared to that of the globe which is 14 years.

In order to reduce their carbon footprint and the negative impact that flying a plane has on the environment, the emirates has spent billions of dollars in low emission aircrafts that are efficient. Additionally, the program is backed up by other on ground projects such as recycling and waste minimization processes, water efficiency projects and investment in conservation based tourism developments for example the Wolgan Valley Resort in Australia and UAE’s Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve.

2. Qantas

Being one of Australia’s largest international and domestic airlines, Qantas is at the forefront in reducing their carbon emission through various programs and projects. Qantas has been certified carbon neutral under the NCOS Carbon Neutral Program since the year 2007. Qantas has been ranked the largest carbon off setter in world with over 2.5 million tons of carbon emission.

It provides customers with the opportunity to offset the carbon footprint left by the airline and all the funds are passed on to the relevant projects without it profiting the airline. The carbon offset projects have invested in both social and environmental projects including empowering rainforest communities in Papua New Guinea, supporting North Kimberly Fire Abatement Project in order to reinvigorate traditions that are indigenous, and protecting wilderness areas such as Tasmanian forest which consists of 7000 hectares of land.

3. Virgin Australia

Virgin Australia seeks to minimize environmental impacts caused by their operational activities, therefore pushing them to implement initiatives that help reduce carbon emission. Virgin Australia has a fleet of young planes that are efficient on fuel; the 777 aircraft, ATR 72s, Boeing 737 and Airbus A330s. The airline has also invested in reducing the aircraft weight, supporting the growth of sustainable aviation biofuel and enhanced flight planning through their technological and operational initiatives. Virgin Australia launched its carbon offset program in 2007 being the first airline to get government certification when it came to carbon offset programs.

Virgin Australia also passes the emission costs down to willing customers who can pay an offset cost while booking a flight. The money collected is then entirely used on carbon offset initiatives that have social, environmental and economic benefits. The Tasman Land Conservancy project is one of the initiatives which aim at protecting biodiversity, invest in scientific research, and the protection of rare species.

4. Delta Airlines

Delta Airlines has been investing in carbon offset in order to promote carbon neutrality in both domestic and international flights since 2012. Delta Airlines has invested in fuel efficiency, electric powered tugs, and the exploration of carbon markets to accomplish their goal of carbon neutrality. Further, they have ensured their carbon emissions do not reach 2012 levels. It offers customers the chance to offset the carbon emission caused by their flight through donations made to their carbon neutrality initiative and environmental projects.

They then work with environmental conservancies to ensure the funds are well invested in environmental protection initiatives that reduce the emission of greenhouse gases. In order to make calculation of the carbon offsetting costs easier, the airline provides a flight carbon calculator. Each year the airline gives a Corporate Responsibility Report that gives a review of their initiatives.

5. British Airways

British Airways recognizes that in the activities they carry out, they impact the environment negatively since they emit carbon which leaves carbon footprint. Hence, they have set out initiatives that are meant to ensure that they neutralize that effect. British Airways gives its customers a chance to willingly pay for their carbon emission costs and the money is used in funding environmentally friendly initiatives. The airline believes in the reaching the target of carbon neutrality by the 2020 and reducing its net emission by 50% by the year 2050.

The funds raised by the British Airways goes into waste minimization through increased recycling and reusing and reduced disposal eventually improving the efficiency of resources. Also, they have taken part in community investment programs working with over 120 communities and conservation agencies worldwide. British Airways also has an extensive environmental education program, which aims at children and young people at their community learning centers.

6. Jetstar

Jetstar was certified carbon neutral under the NCOS Carbon Neutral Program in 1st July 2010 for its carbon neutral flight option. It allows customers the opportunity to pay for the cost of carbon emission caused by the flight. The funds collected by the airline goes into environmental conservation initiatives that contribute to the carbon offset program.

They also fund environmental and community programs that protect endangered species in Australia as well as improve educational programs in developing countries. They also hope to reduce the weight of their airplanes as well as the fuel efficiency. Jetstar is one of Qantas’s low cost airline carrier and it flies to about 85 destinations and it is committed to offering their carbon neutral program. Jetstar airlines hope to reach carbon neutrality in the near future and also significantly reduce its carbon emission.

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7. Air New Zealand

Air New Zealand is an environmentally friendly airline that is concerned with making sure that it neutralizes the effects of its operational activities. It has set up carbon offset programs that allows it carry this out. Additionally, Air New Zealand allows its customers to take part in the carbon offset program by voluntarily paying for the costs of carbon offsetting. They provide a carbon offset calculator in case a customer needs to calculate the cost of offsetting.

The money received has been used to setup New Zealand Environmental Trust fund which aims at supporting small projects within its geographical area, for example, Mangarara Station in Hawke’s Baye where they have planted close to 85000 trees. The New Zealand Airline hopes to keep the carbon offsetting program up and eventually reduce the general emission by more than half.

8. United Airlines

The United Airlines understand the grave impact emission of carbon has on the environment and so they are committed to making sure they neutralize the effect caused by their flights. A customer travelling on their airplanes is given the opportunity to choose whether or not he or she is willing to pay for the carbon offset. Each flight has a carbon calculator that calculates the carbon footprint per travel and allows one to also calculate the cost.

Plus, the airways has gone ahead to implement changes on its aircraft like, for example, reducing fuel efficiency through technological improvements. It also uses advanced environmentally friendly and cost efficient fuel. The money raised for offsetting has been used for forest conservation in California, development of renewable energy in Texas, and in community based conservation in Peru.

9. Air Canada

Air Canada is also among the airlines that choose to ensure their flights play a major role in carbon offsetting. They offer their passengers the opportunity to take part in carbon offsetting through paying of cost calculated by a carbon calculator during each travel. They money they get is used entirely for environmental protection and conservation.

10. JetBlue Airways

JetBlue, which is one of American low cost income airline, has also taken into account the initiative of carbon offsetting program. The airline allows its customers to contribute to the offsetting program in order to reach carbon neutrality. The funds are used to improve the environment and the natural resources in it to neutralize the carbon footprint left by the airline. The funds obtained from the carbon offset programs are also used to preserve various tourist destinations.

11. Gulf Air

The Gulf Air Airways is also a contributor when it comes to carbon offsetting. They provide their customers with the chance to take part in carbon offsetting by paying a price during each flight. The funds are then used to make investments in offsetting programs that save the world from the carbon emissions by the airways.

Image credit: adege , Holgi

Rinkesh

Rinkesh is passionate about clean and green energy. He is running this site since 2009 and writes on various environmental and renewable energy related topics. He lives a green lifestyle and is often looking for ways to improve the environment around him.

Latest posts by Rinkesh (see all)

9 Environmental Jobs for Going Professionally Green


It is one thing to use your spare time and money to clean up community parks, plant trees and other flora, reduce your emissions and waste, and perform other sustainable activities. It is quite another thing to devote your entire career to saving the environment. Yet, if it weren’t for those who committed their lives to going green — and convincing others to go green, too — the world would likely be in a much worse environmental position. Plus, many sustainable jobs offer outstanding opportunities to gain high salaries and prestige.

If you want to transform your sustainable tendencies into a lifelong career, here are the most profitable and most impactful professions to consider.

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Environmental Lawyer

Because the training is so specialized and the service is so essential in modern society, lawyers almost always take home healthy salaries. Fortunately, lawyers can also lend significant support to environmental efforts through their practice. Environmental lawyers work tirelessly to enact and protect pro-environment legislation. Some lawyers specialize in different aspects of environmentalism, such as clean water, renewable energy, or land management, and others are generalists that work to protect the Earth at large.

All you need to practice environmental law is a law degree, bar certification, and relevant experience; then, you can enjoy a long, beneficial career with a median salary of around $113,530.

Environmental Engineer

Like law, engineering is a recognizable career field that understandably offers high salaries. Environmental engineering is a broad field of engineering that renews natural environments, reduces pollution and waste, and otherwise protects the environment. Environmental engineers often obtain degrees in other engineering fields, such as biochemical engineering, mechanical engineering, and civil engineering, and apply their knowledge and skill to environmental efforts. For example, agricultural engineers might function as environmental engineers by evaluating a region’s soils and devising systems to return its composition to natural levels.

You can function as an environmental engineer with nearly any bachelor degree in engineering, but by obtaining an online master’s degree in engineering, you can qualify for more impactful positions. The annual median pay for environmental engineers is over $84,560, but with greater credentials, you boost your earning potential.

Urban Planner

To some, it might seem odd that a primary professional pathway to environmentalism concerns designing cities. However, organizing urban environments, as an urban planner does, is an excellent way to impact how people interact with the natural environment. Urban planners understand how to optimize land use, and they often work with other environmental professionals — including engineers and lawyers — to ensure that a city does not substantially detriment the surrounding environment.

Though it is possible to work as an urban planner with just a bachelor degree, most impactful positions require a master’s or higher. Fortunately, the median salary for urban planning is about $68,220.

Hydrologist

The first profession on this list that few readers will recognize, a hydrologist is an expert in water. Usually, hydrologists study water movement; thus, they can assist municipalities, corporations, researchers, and others in understanding water availability and quality. Though hydrologists might take occasional trips to natural water sources, including rivers and lakes, most of their work is performed in laboratories, analyzing samples and developing models that predict future water systems.

To work as a hydrologist, you need a strong background in natural sciences as well as a master’s degree in hydrology — and some states require appropriate licenses. You stand to earn roughly $80,000 per year by studying water.

Conservation Scientist

Perhaps the most obviously impactful career in sustainability and environmentalism, conservation science monitor the health of different natural regions and endeavor to protect these regions with a variety of efforts. Like hydrologists for land, conservation scientists often work alongside organizations and governments to optimize land use. Some common duties of conservation scientists include enhancing animal habitats, facilitating public recreation, and recognizing threats to environmental safety.

A bachelor’s degree in a related field, such as forestry, agriculture, ecology, biology, or natural resource management, is the minimum requirement for work in this field, but most professionals continue their education to the master’s degree and doctorate levels. Pay for conservation science varies wildly from state to state, but the median salary around the country is higher than $61,810.

Sustainability Director

For those with backgrounds in business but deep-seated interests in saving the environment, becoming a sustainability director might be an ideal career move. These professionals guide organizations toward more sustainable activity, be it cultivating paperless offices or implementing largescale recycling and renewable energy efforts. The objective for sustainability directors is to develop policies that benefit both their employers (or clients) and the environment. On one hand, this bolsters the organization’s brand, improving sales; on the other, it also saves the environment from unnecessary devastation.

Sustainability directors are relatively new, and generally, only large organizations have sustainability staff. You need experience in management — perhaps even an MBA — as well as appropriate credentials in sustainability. Then, you can qualify for sustainability directors’ average $142,000 salary.

Environmental Protection Technician

Though the name of the profession might be a mouthful, these workers are essentially environmental police. Working closely with other environmental professionals, including hydrologists and conservation scientists, environmental protection techs monitor the environment for sources of contamination and pollution. If contamination is identified, techs investigate and pursue violators to prevent further detriment to the environment.

Considering the relatively low level of education and experience required for this job — you only need an associate degree — the pay and positive impacts are astounding. You can expect to earn a medial salary upwards of $43,030.

Hazardous Materials Removal Worker

The environment is under threat from all sorts of toxic contaminants, and the proper disposal of those contaminants is vital. Hazardous materials removal workers are experienced with cleaning up dangerous substances like asbestos, arsenic, lead, and even radioactive waste to ensure that these toxins do not leech into the environment to poison and kill plants, animals, and people. It might not be a glamorous job, but fighting for the environment rarely is, and removing hazardous materials is utterly essential for safe and healthy environments.

To become a hazardous materials removal worker, you don’t need any kind of degree — just 40 hours of OSHA training. Some positions do require licensing, which may demand additional training. Still, in such little time, you can qualify for a median $40,640 in salary and a satisfying and essential career.

Solar Panel Installation or Wind Turbine Tech

As the costs of fossil fuels climb, more and more individuals and organizations are becoming interested in options for renewable energy. Solar and wind are the two top contenders, so the demand for professionals skilled with solar panels and wind turbines is growing fast. Solar and wind technicians are responsible for installing and maintaining these progressive technologies — and continuing to understand their installation and maintenance as the technologies develop. Indeed, because solar and wind tech is hardly at peak efficiency, it is likely that the tools that harness these energies will continue to change in the coming decades. Thus, solar and wind technicians will likely need to be willing to adapt with the tech.

Training at a technical school is likely all you need to secure employment with a solar or wind energy provider, but you will likely need to engage with continuing education efforts in the future. You will likely earn an hourly wage of about $15.72 per hour, but some advanced technicians can earn salaries upwards of about $51,000.

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Rinkesh

Rinkesh is passionate about clean and green energy. He is running this site since 2009 and writes on various environmental and renewable energy related topics. He lives a green lifestyle and is often looking for ways to improve the environment around him.

Latest posts by Rinkesh (see all)

The Growth of Sustainable Tourism and How You Can Take Part


When we travel, we risk disrupting the local economy, leaving our carbon footprint, and impacting that culture’s way of life — and that’s why sustainable tourism has become so important. As the world becomes more of a global village, travelers are taking it upon themselves to leave the world as they found it, and certain destinations are catching on.

With the goal of zero impact, sustainable tourism can help preserve the world’s treasured places. Here’s what you need to know and how you can take part.

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What is Sustainable Tourism?

It’s not just about going green. There are three aspects to the term “sustainable tourism”: socio-cultural, economic, and environmental. Let’s unpack what each means:

Socio-cultural sustainability

Socio-cultural sustainability focuses on the impact travelers have on a people. With more tourists comes many other things: the possibility of more traffic, bigger crowds, pidgin languages, commercialization, and perhaps even more crime. Migrant communities move in for employment opportunities, and the destination — which was perhaps once fairly homogenous — becomes a melting pot of cultures, no longer a reflection of what it once was.

Of course, diversity can be a very good thing, but like an invasive species in an ecosystem, it changes everything. Socio-cultural sustainability is needed to preserve the local community and its — often ancient — way of life. Otherwise, the destination you came to see will no longer truly be there.

Economic sustainability

Economic sustainability is, rather obviously, the impact travelers have on a location’s economy. When tourists flock to a destination, the money flocks right behind them. This all sounds well and good, but if tourists — and the community at large — aren’t careful, profits can leave the area and end up in the hands of international chains and businesses instead, leaving only the negative footprint of this booming industry behind. This focus is the main driver behind the local business, or “shop small,” movement: Keep the money in the community, and you’re doing it the biggest service you can.

Environmental sustainability

You’re probably the most familiar with this concept — solar power, recycling water and plastics, and preserving nature in its untouched form. Environmental sustainability has the goal of limiting resource usage and keeping Mother Earth intact, largely separate from man’s existence. Of course, this includes our impact on wildlife, too.

This is the kind of sustainability most of us picture when we think of being a zero-impact traveler. And while a destination is not sustainable if it is not green, just being green does not make it sustainable. Each of these aspects of sustainability are needed to be truly zero impact.

How You Can Help

Travel will never truly be 100% sustainable — it’s hard to avoid the impact of your flight’s fuel consumption. But there are things we can do to bring that number as close to zero as possible, and the sooner we start, the better. As sustainable tourism becomes more and more a badge of honor — and a prerequisite for some travelers — they list of ways you can help is only growing. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Book local. Hostels, family-run hotels, and Airbnbs are the name of the sustainability game. Anything that keeps money in the hands of locals is where you should be hanging your hat.
  • Shop small. The smaller the business, the more it needs your valuable tourism dollars, and the more locals are encouraged to pursue their passions.
  • Travel by foot, bike, or bus. Foot and bike are your two best options, and travel by bus is the most carbon efficient means to get around, should you need to go longer distances.
  • Leave no waste behind. Think of any destination as your campsite — bring out what you bring in. If that means traveling with a small sack on you at all times and eating only unpackaged goods, so be it.
  • Reuse your wares. The simple act of carrying your own water bottle prevents you from buying other bottles and containers and using straws.
  • Support charities and local non-profits. Often, these businesses know exactly where money needs to go in the community, giving your dollars the most bang for their literal buck.
  • Attend workshops and programs put on by locals. If a local indigenous community can teach you a skill, that is infinitely more valuable (and less offensive) than a touring company taking you for a photo opp.

Things to Avoid

As with anything, what we don’t do is just as important. Any positive impact you may have is automatically negated if you leave a trace in other ways. Here’s what to avoid:

  • Traveling solo, first-class, and driving. Simply put, these methods of travel have the largest impact on the environment and are not an efficient use of (limited) resources.
  • Patronizing areas that disrupt nature or wildlife. Did that new beach resort force a small community to up and move? Is that zoo confining healthy animals meant to be wild? It’s not worth your money.
  • Spending money at large, international chains. From restaurants to hotels, your money should be spent where you are. The comfort of recognizing a brand is nothing compared to the comfort of knowing you’re supporting a community.
  • Littering. This is simple — don’t do it. In fact, if you see someone else doing it, leave a better example and pick up after them.
  • Choosing large tours over local-run companies. Try not to go by the number of Yelp reviews — instead, ask around at the location for more off-the-beaten-path, locally-run experiences.
  • Purchasing certain foods and souvenirs. If you’re questioning it, don’t buy it. Anything from a cool tropical fish to shark fin soup to something possibly mass-produced in not-so-ethical ways doesn’t deserve coming home with you.

Resources that Can Help

Need more information on how to travel sustainably? It’s the 21st century, and there’s an app or website for that. Here’s a few to check out:

  • Green Globe. This app curates everything you could possibly need: sustainable hotels, resorts, restaurants, cruise ships, tours, you name it. Everything they deem “sustainable” has passed a rigorous checklist.
  • Green Travel Choice. This app tracks your carbon emission no matter how you’re getting around (and logs it, too).
  • The Goodguide. It’s hard to know what products are produced in the most sustainable ways. With the Goodguide app, you scan the barcode, and up pops a set of product details related to its sustainability.
  • Glooby. This is a search engine that helps you find sustainable flights and eco-labeled hotels by giving them a rating. For example, you may end up saving $100 by having three stopovers, but your carbon emissions skyrocket, increasing your impact.
  • Visit.org. It will look like you’re booking tours or excursions, but each one is focused on benefiting the local community at large. In addition to searching by location, you can also search by cause, focusing on what you truly care about.
  • Impact-tourism.net. Similar to Visit.org, this website offers immersive programs into a culture — not tours — often putting you to (light!) work, helping out local businesses.

Which Destinations Are Leading the Charge?

Each year, the most sustainable and least sustainable destinations are determined by organizations like The International Ecotourism Society and the Impact Travel Alliance. More and more places are vying for their own sustainable designation. Even the United Nations is taking part!

So where should you consider jetting off to? For 2018, the Faroe Islands, Norway, New Zealand, Costa Rica, Slovenia, and Kenya have been topping lists. And falling to the bottom? Venice, Machu Picchu, the Great Barrier Reef, Bolivia, Iceland, the Taj Mahal, and the Great Wall of China. Essentially, if it’s all the rage, odds are it’s struggling with limiting impact. The more visitors a destination has, the bigger the hurdle to zero impact.

Still, you’ll be able to find small, sustainable movements just about anywhere. You are the key factor here — not where you’re going. Book sustainable hotels and excursions, shop locally, reuse your wares, and limit your carbon emissions, and you’ll be a traveler who doesn’t leave footprints behind.

About Bio:

Jacqueline Kehoe is a freelance travel writer and editor for kimkim.com. A competitive Scrabble player and self-professed national parks geek, she also takes a decent photograph and makes a mean chocolate cake.

Image credit: rawpixel

Rinkesh

Rinkesh is passionate about clean and green energy. He is running this site since 2009 and writes on various environmental and renewable energy related topics. He lives a green lifestyle and is often looking for ways to improve the environment around him.

Latest posts by Rinkesh (see all)

The Explosion of Renewable Energy Industry


The term energy is by definition the amount of motion, labor, transformation a human being, a machine or even a system can exert. In the electrical energy sector, the power generated is counted by kilowatt (kWh). Electrical energy has become an indispensable part of our daily life on the earth and the universe without it everything will stand still. What is incredible about energy that it cannot be produced! Energies are only changeable and convertible to other forms and other manifestations.

Given that, in planet earth, there are two types of energies: nonrenewable energy (Fossil Fuel and its derivations) and renewable energies. The latter as its name explains, is generated from sheer nature. It is true that not all sustainable energies are derived from the sun but basically solar energy is the most known and prominent energy source. In addition to solar energy (thermal and photovoltaic), we can talk about wind energy, biomass, hydroelectric power (from water), geothermal and other forms.

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Obviously, the world needs energy eagerly. Thus whether renewable or not, these source of powers are used in majority of case to supply the huge demand of electricity.

Why countries are going green?

Consumers think first and for most about the quality price relationship. Green energies are cheaper this is a fact. For the market prices, renewables present a stabilizer of energy prices. Renewables are the market equilibrium creator.

Moreover, companies of solar power for instance are providing the best collectors and panels to the consumers. These renewable energy companies are building a bright reputation. Other would think about the hazardous impact of fossil fuel on the planet. Greenhouse emissions are catastrophic on the environment. The repercussion of these emissions on global warming is tremendous. For these reasons, countries and consumers in general are shifting into the green choice.

A Global Decision of Renewable Energy Orientation

The criteria of renewable energy industry

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), renewable energy orientations would be a reality that is concretized by 40 per cent of total global energy generation by 2040. This is almost half of total the power generation of the world. This is apparently, an explosion in the renewable energy industry. Consequently, the portion of electrical generation using green energy is planned to be the fastest among other resources.

The criteria that make the renewable energy industry more prominent than nonrenewable energy are a lot. Namely, the criteria are: more technological advancements, risk management assets, advanced monitoring systems, sustainability and positive environmental influences. Taking the case of First Solar that is one of the top renewable energy companies; it produces 89-98% less CO2 emissions comparing to nonrenewable energy generation emissions.

Distinguishable feature of renewable energy industry

One of the most distinguishable feature of renewable energy is that energy generation producer and consumer lines have become blurry. Thereupon, thanks to green energy installation the consumer has become a beneficiary of both self-energy satisfaction and energy production. This is due to the fact that any excess of energy produced can be sold to the neighbor circle.

Knowing that there is a drastic increase in the energy demand in the world. Therefore, the need to renewable energy is expanding too. In explicit numbers, sustainable energy investments seize two thirds of worldwide market investment in the global energy sector.

Rapid Growth of Renewable Energy Sector

Facts and numbers about renewables sector

China and India are the biggest solar photovoltaic (PV) power generators in the world, but also they are the biggest consumers of energy.

As far as European Union (EU) is concerned, the green industry is supplying about 80 per cent of the energy generated. To be more precise, wind power would become the chief power source of electricity by 2030 in Europe. This is why European Union countries such as Germany are inaugurating the biggest offshore and onshore wind farms in the globe. Of course, these plans are consolidated by encouraging strong regulations and policies.

Equally important, renewable energy companies are not only providing electricity (direct energy needs) but also a set of other essential needs. To enumerate, renewables can be useful to heat water, to use for electric mobility (cars and means of transportation) and even for food dehydration systems and wine industry etc. IEA has found that, for example, Brazil portion of renewable energy (in its direct or indirect use) is increasing from 39 per cent to almost 45 per cent by 2040.

Baring in mind that the global population will reach 9 billion human being by 2040, one should strongly think about the global supply of energy. Together with the growing number of cities around the world, the energy industry is certainly going to witness the fastest growth and explosion ever.

Is it possible to go 100 percent green?

According to CDP (used to be called Carbon Disclosure Project), around 40 city in the world are now totally free of CO2 of fossil fuel emission. These countries have adopted fully the renewables. The list includes Burlington, Vermont, Atlanta and San Diego. Other cities are planning to be 100 percent green by 2030. For now numerous countries are almost 70 percent green. The list includes Seattle; Eugene, Oregon; and Aspen, Colorado, Montreal, Vancouver, Winnipeg, North Vancouver and Prince George, British Columbia.

To conclude

The electrical energy sector is a swing market among energy sector in general. Although renewable energies are expanding, the demand is sometimes decreasing. The decrease is due to the market economy crises, orientations, policies, taxations, infrastructure, culture and awareness. The energy industry is more and more challenging and controversial. However, no one can deny that there are hopeful signs of an emerging and insightful green culture in the horizon of world.

The world is in front of a dangerous environmental diversion.  It is a crossroad that humanity should think about it deeply and decide which road to undergo. If we are going to undergo the green path and substitute fossil fuels, we are in the right direction. Otherwise, humanity is in a great danger.

It is true that this cannot be done overnight, however, it is not impossible. The suitable infrastructure, sufficient political determination, the will to change are the bases of this great decision. Furthermore, renewable energies are a very effective way towards decentralization of energy. Under those circumstances, The combination of friendly environmental decisions and energy sufficiency is the successful recipe of well-being.

Rinkesh

Rinkesh is passionate about clean and green energy. He is running this site since 2009 and writes on various environmental and renewable energy related topics. He lives a green lifestyle and is often looking for ways to improve the environment around him.

Latest posts by Rinkesh (see all)

Energy Efficient Campgrounds in the US


When you search and book campgrounds for your vacation or adventure, you want to find a space that fits your goals. If you want to enjoy an energy efficient camping experience, you must start with campgrounds and RV parks that offer efficient solutions for your experience. By selecting a campground with solar panels, wind energy or alternative energies, you will enhance your holiday or vacation experience.

Here we have listed few energy efficient campgrounds in the US that will not only help you to reduce your carbon footprint but also make your vacation more memorable.

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The Auburn RV Park

Part of the fun when you enjoy camping is the natural setting and environment. The desire to preserve the beautiful surroundings is the key reason you want to consider RV parks and campgrounds with energy efficient solutions. The Auburn RV Park in Auburn, California is an example of an energy efficient campground.

The campground uses solar energy to help reduce carbon emissions and power microwaves, air conditioning and other electric devices. The campground noticed that the cost of electricity has risen in recent years and decided to invest in solar panels. Although the campground has not yet seen a return on the investment, they expect that it will eventually help with costs. It is particularly important at Auburn RV Park because they have larger RVs visit their campground and the RVs use a greater amount of energy.

Carlsbad KOA

Carlsbad KOA in New Mexico is one of the highest rated RV parks for their energy efficient system. The RV park uses wind energy to power electronics and devices throughout the park.

The use of wind energy gives them the flexibility to cut back on the use of other energy sources. Their goal is providing a clean energy source for their visitors to limit fuel emissions and to maintain the natural environment.

Buttonwood Campground

The Buttonwood Campground in Pennsylvania is taking the step to improve their energy efficiency. The campground invested in solar panels with the intention of using the panels for hot water and electricity. They are also using an 18-kilowatt system for solar energy. That allows them to store a certain amount of energy from their solar power.

An advantage at the Buttonwood Campground is the beautiful natural settings. The campground plans to preserve the stunning Juniata River Valley by using energy efficient systems and solar panels. They offer interesting events and activities throughout the year to fit your schedule and plans.

Clay’s Park Resort

Clay’s Park Resort is a campground that strives to improve their energy efficiency. They decided to invest in solar panels to heat water and for electric power. The park uses the solar energy to heat the pool and for other water sources. It decided to switch from chlorine in the pool to saline, which reduces the amount of chemicals used by the RV park.

The RV park does take their goals to improve efficiency further by changing out their heating system. They decided to remove the original propane heating system in their office in favor of a wood burning stove that uses clippings from the trees around the campground.

Sandy Pines

Sandy Pines in Michigan is a campground that focuses on sanitation and energy efficiency. The beautiful campground has changed out the water in the pools from chlorine to saline. The saline pool has a filtration system to keep the water clean for campers. They are also using a geothermal system for their heating and cooling throughout the year.

Geothermal systems use the earth as a source of energy. It allows the campground to heat and cool different spaces at various times in the year. That gives the campground more flexibility and helps cut back on energy costs.

Jellystone Park

Jellystone Park is a campground and resort in Maryland is another campground that strives to enhance their efficiency and start working on green projects. The park takes the time to gather aluminum cans, plastic bottles, cardboard and other recyclable materials. It then recycles the materials through a non-profit organization that works with individuals who have developmental disabilities.

The goal at Jellystone Park Camp and Resort is helping others in their local community. They take the time to work with different groups that help those who have disabilities. They also focus on improving their campground through recycling programs that reduce materials in landfills.

Grand Haven Resort

The Grand Haven Resort in Ohio has decided to start working on energy efficiency and green projects. The campground geothermal heating and cooling systems for their front desk, fitness center and outdoor pool. A key reason for their switch to energy efficient systems is the reduced cost. Since the campground has roughly 2,880 square acres of land, the energy costs added up quickly. They have reduced their expenses with the geothermal system by 90 percent.

An advantage of campgrounds that use an energy efficient system is a lower cost. Geothermal systems reduce heating and cooling costs by a large percentage and allow the campground to use more funds to maintain the space.

The Cooperstown Beaver Valley Cabins and Campground

If you want to enjoy a campground in New York with a beautiful natural setting, the Cooperstown Beaver Valley Cabins and Campground are a good choice for your goals. The campground has focused on energy efficiency for years and started with a recycling program in 1988. They maintain their commitment to the environment by recycling cans and bottles. They also focus on composting to reduce waste and help the environment.

The owners of the campground focus on conservation efforts by taking measures to maintain the 300-acre campground. They also recycle materials to build up parts of their campground. When music festivals, colleges and other buildings decide to throw out certain materials, they obtain the materials for their building projects. The campground also uses energy efficient lighting and prefers to confirm reservations through email to cut back on paper waste.

When you want to find the perfect campground for your vacation, you do not need to give up on energy efficiency or environmentally friendly surroundings. You can search and book campgrounds that use solar panels, geothermal systems and wind energy as part of their core value. You can also find campgrounds that believe in recycling to help reduce waste in local landfills. Make your next adventure exciting, fun and energy efficient by focusing on the campgrounds that meet your high standards.

Image credit: pixabay

Rinkesh

Rinkesh is passionate about clean and green energy. He is running this site since 2009 and writes on various environmental and renewable energy related topics. He lives a green lifestyle and is often looking for ways to improve the environment around him.

Latest posts by Rinkesh (see all)

Are You Doing Enough as a Business Owner to Go Green?


All businesses have ethical responsibilities that they should follow. Part of this includes a responsibility to treat employees fairly, equally and morally, as well as providing quality goods or services to customers.

In addition, business owners have a duty to consider ethical issues relating to the environment and the impact your business’s actions may have on it. Awareness of these issues is important for numerous reasons and going green can have many benefits.

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In this post, we’ll take a look at some of the ways businesses can be more environmentally aware.

Benefits of Going Green

Analysing the impact of your business’s actions on the environment and making an effort to go green will increase your environmental consciousness and potentially spur you on to make more improvements. Here are some business benefits of going green:

Customer Perception

Businesses require customers to thrive and, as a whole, customers are becoming increasingly green-minded. This means that the way your brand is perceived can be important, with many customers now considering ethical responsibility and carbon footprint before choosing where to buy products.

Consumers in the millennial category are more likely to do business with ethical brands and businesses that are considered green. This shouldn’t be ignored by businesses, especially since the spending power of this market is growing considerably and currently estimated as being worth $200 billion.

In short, going green could help your business’s image, help to retain and bring in new customers, as well as helping you to stand out among competitors.

Reduce Costs

Although many owners worry about implementing greener practices, fearing they will cost a small fortune, going green can save businesses money. This means that adopting environmentally friendly practices could reduce company expenditure, while also helping to boost profits through brand appeal.

Some of the ways in which your costs could be reduced include:

  • Fewer overhead expenses – going paperless can save you money on paper, printer and maintenance costs
  • Using less energy – encouraging green practices like switching off computers and controlling the heating to only switch on when it’s needed could have a significant impact on bills. Replacing old appliances with green counterparts can contribute to savings too (e.g. LED lighting that lasts longer and uses less energy)
  • Use teleconferencing to save money on travel and accommodation costs

Attract Staff

While customers are important, don’t forget about your employees. Staff care about the kind of organisation they work for and tend to choose employers whose ethical practices align with their own.

As mentioned earlier, this is an increasing concern for millennials and businesses should be aware of this as this age category enters the workplace. This means that going greener could attract better talent. It could also boost retention rates, providing savings on recruitment, too.

Ways to Go Green

Go Digital

Printing lots of documents, increasing file storage, and upgrading hard drives all cost money. This is unnecessary as you could store everything online. This means you can stop buying paper, replacing ink cartridges and adding to landfill. All of this is greener and could save your business money. It also allows staff to access documents from anywhere.

Telecommuting

While most businesses require some form of physical office space or facility, you can reduce this by employing a virtual workforce. This could help your business to save money on rent and utilities, while also reducing the number of cars on the road. This provides savings for your business and makes it greener, too.

Green Transport

Telecommuting may not be practical for every company, but there are ways to adopt green forms of transport. This could include introducing a Cycle to Work Scheme, encouraging staff to use public transport (particularly for meetings and company events), or starting a car sharing scheme amongst your workforce. You could even introduce incentives for green employees.

Reduce Energy

Spending on utilities can cost a business a small fortune. Instead, look for ways to reduce energy usage, to save money and reduce your company’s carbon footprint. This includes switching to LED light bulbs, upgrading old energy-guzzling equipment for new efficient models, turning off electricals when they’re not in use, turning down the heating, and reducing waste.

All of these could save your business money and make it greener. For further potential savings, you could switch to a different business utility provider, with a business energy broker such as Utilitywise helping you to find the right contract – including renewable/green energy contracts.

Ban Convenience Items

The majority of offices will be filled with convenience items, most of which probably aren’t recyclable. These range from throwaway coffee cups to paper towels for hand drying and plastic water bottles. Simply encourage employees to bring their own reusable cups and refillable water bottles, both for use in the workplace and if they regularly buy hot drinks from a local coffee branch. Some have even begun to offer small discounts for using them. Single-cup pod coffee makers can be an efficient choice, as can converting to warm-air hand dryers rather than using paper towels.

Use Biodegradable Cleaning Products

Biodegradable cleaning products not only reduce the chance of whoever is involved in cleaning your workplace from being exposed to harsh toxins but eliminates them being introduced into the environment. There are many high quality natural cleaning products available to switch to, from dishwasher tablets to toilet cleaner.

Replace Inefficient Appliances

Getting an energy audit done on your workplace can highlight areas for improvement. It’s likely that if you have some appliances such as microwaves, fridges and dishwashers that have been there for years, they won’t be the most efficient options. Do some research and replace any highly inefficient appliances with much newer, greener ones. It will cost more in the first place, but the savings made on bills in the long run should be worth it.

Source Green Products

Any business that provides regular free food for its employees and client meetings should focus on where this is coming from. Use sustainable sources that are local, such as getting fruit from a nearby farm and that use sustainable methods. Try to avoid places that use excess packaging or ensure that it can be recycled if possible.

Give Back

Finally, most businesses donate to at least one charity on a regular basis, so why not make this one that promotes a greener way of living? It could be a local community recycling project, environmental charity or any other kind of sustainable idea.

Rinkesh

Rinkesh is passionate about clean and green energy. He is running this site since 2009 and writes on various environmental and renewable energy related topics. He lives a green lifestyle and is often looking for ways to improve the environment around him.

Latest posts by Rinkesh (see all)

Top 11 Most Polluted Rivers in the World in 2018


Generally, rivers are the main source of life because they provide fresh water, which is critical for survival of both flora and fauna. The uniqueness of rivers is that they provide homes to fishes, reptiles, mammals and amphibians. For this reason, the conservation of rivers is needed since the cycle of the ecosystem is dependent on it. However, there has been massive global pollution on rivers thereby causing a shift in the ecosystem. This has been caused by the increased pressure on the water bodies and the rapid increase in human population.

Moreover, the releases of toxic wastes from industries, urban centers, and agricultural pollution have saturated rivers with pollutants resulting in serious water problems such as the lack of clean drinking water. To get an idea of how expansive rivers are polluted, this article presents a list of the top 11 most polluted rivers around the world as of 2018.

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1. Ganges River

The Ganges is the most sacred river in India. The Hindus believe that the river cleanse people clear from their sins. It is the third largest river in the world with a consumption base of over two billion people. The ever increasing pressure on the river has led to dumping of raw sewage into the river leading to its massive pollution.

Due to the combination of chemicals in the river, water used for basic uses such as drinking or cooking leads to the spread of waterborne diseases. The river has a layer of floating plastics and other wastes which provide a poor image of the holy river. In addition, there are wastes which come from performances of religious rituals.

2. Citarum River

The Citarum is arguably one of the most polluted rivers in the world. Like the Ganges, it serves a big population. Indonesia, the home of the Citarum, may not be as populous as India or China but it is still in the top league with a population of over 200 million. The river flows in an area where there are heavy human settlements coupled with a number of factories.

The industrial wastes have led to an increase in the mercury levels of the water far above the legal level. The river is dirty and polluted from the source, all the way to the outlets. Unfortunately, both entities use the Citarum as a dumping side rendering it polluted. Since the river serves a large population, the residents are forced to use the water source despite its state. However, the river has continually robbed the country of people with over 50,000 deaths annually.

3. Yellow River

China is the fastest growing economy and this is attributed to its rapid industrialization. The Yellow River has yellow sediment ‘loess’ which attributes to its yellow colour. This river is home to industrial waste from various industries including chemical factories rendering the water too toxic even for agriculture. More specifically, the coal mining industry releases a lot of waste back to the river after using water from the same river to run its operations.

Nevertheless, people are still dependent on the river for drinking water. It is because of this that the area around the river has seen a rise in the occurrence of waterborne diseases, cancer and birth defects. Most recently, there are efforts to dissuade people from drinking the water from this river since it is unsafe for human or animal consumption.

4. Sarno River

This is arguably the most polluted river in the European continent. The river that flows in Italy has overtime become a poison to the residents. The source of the river is clean and safe for drinking. Nonetheless, its flow is faced with releases from industries and agriculture leading to a polluted river downstream.

The toxicity of the river has caused an alarming increase in liver cancer cases in the area. What is more, the river easily floods leading to mudslides and toxicity in the earth. Poor waste treatment control has led to the increased pollution of the Sarno.

5. Buringanga River

This river is a source of life for millions of Bangladesh residents. It is also a major economic resource for the country since it is the biggest river in the country. The river is mainly polluted by the tanneries which boarder the river. Also, there has been a lot of human waste in the river. There are a lot of floating waste materials in the river such as plastics and dead animals. This has contaminated the water and rendered the discharge so intense that the river has turned black. Consequently, the aquatic life of the river has since died.

6. Marilao River

This river is home to millions of Philippine residents who use the water for drinking and also for irrigation. The pollution of the river is mostly from wastes from tanneries, dumping and gold refineries. The dumping of non-recyclable materials such as plastic bottles are present on the surface of water. In addition to this, the water has rocks bearing heavy metals, which pose a health hazard to the residents.

The river, like the Sarno, is prone to flooding which brings the wastes to the land thus leading to soil degradation. The pollution of the water is detrimental to the fish industries in Philippines since toxic metals such as lead contribute to the death of aquaculture.

bike-river-absorbed-münster

7. Mississippi River

The Mississippi is one of the longest rivers in the world. As such, it serves millions of US residents. The river is brown in color owing to the constant release of waste into the river. The marine life in the river has reduced alarmingly due to various oil spillages in the past. More waste comes from industries and farmers who use harmful chemicals and release them into the river. The river has a high level of nitrogen-based fertilizer run-off, which instead of leaching in the soil, upsets the food chain and reduce the oxygen levels in the waters thus death of aquatic life. The major pollutants are benzene, mercury and arsenic.

8. Jordan River

The source of the river is clean and fit for human consumption. However, as the river flows, it increases in toxicity due to the many wastes disposal. This has caused the increase in the salinity of the water. Most of the pollution comes from the refugee crisis of the country coupled with the increase in population, both local and international.

9. Mantaza Riachuelo River

The river is based in Argentina and is arguably the most polluted river in South America. The presence of industries around the river has not made any cleaning easier. The reason for this is that there are millions of tons of sewage released into the river on a daily basis.

Also, there are heavy metals in the river such as mercury and lead, which lead to the high cases of cancer. These have come to existence due to the release from chemical industries. Further, the river, also known as Slaughterhouse River, is home to wastes from slaughterhouses and tanneries, which are rampant along the river. Due to this, the river has a foul smell.

10. Yamuna River

This is the second most polluted river in India after the Ganges. It boasts it source as the Himalayas but the river gets more polluted as it moves. The major issue is the poor management of raw sewage by the Indian government. There are few functional sewage plants in the city of New Delhi, which dampens the glory of the big capital city.

Further, agricultural and industrial wastes have also played a role in the pollution of the Yamuna. The river has been polluted too much that the establishment of water treatment might not reduce the level of toxicity in the river. More to this, unlike normal water with a pH of 7, the pH level of the Yamuna is 11. This has been caused by traces of poison in the water thus, the pH.

11. Yangtze River

Like the yellow river, the Yangtze River is also found in China. The rapid industrialization in the country has had its toll on the river which receives a lot of the release. As a result, there has been a growth in algae through eutrophication. There are many negative effects of this, including the death of aquatic life since there is minimal source of oxygen in the water.

Reference: listaka
Image credit: byrev , pixabay

Rinkesh

Rinkesh is passionate about clean and green energy. He is running this site since 2009 and writes on various environmental and renewable energy related topics. He lives a green lifestyle and is often looking for ways to improve the environment around him.

Latest posts by Rinkesh (see all)

6 Trends in Eco-Friendly Construction For 2018


Each year, the eco-friendly trend is becoming more and more popular. Thinking about our planet and trying to preserve our environment is of the utmost importance which is why there are numerous experts  coming up with new ways to preserve them.

The starting point of making a difference is our homes. However, this doesn’t only mean doing some minor changes around the house in order to conserve more energy and water. Rather, the entire structure of a building or a house needs to change; that is, it needs to become more eco-friendly in order to help preserve the environment. That is why we have acquired some big construction trends. Those trends may vary from year to year, but this year, we are getting some new improvements in eco-friendly building.

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Resilience

In the past couple of years, the climate change has been a lot more notable and it has caused some major disasters. All around the world, a lot of households, and even cities, were destroyed due to catastrophes caused by climate change. What is more, those natural disasters are only expected to increase in frequency and intensity in the future, and that is why the sustainability trend is being replaced with resilience.

In order to prevent the climate change from becoming the number one enemy of the construction business, professionals are changing their game a bit and increasing their standards. Thus, more durable materials and designs are becoming an important part of building, as well as non-toxic materials.

This is because if the buildings which are made of toxic materials were to be destroyed or damaged, they can greatly pollute the water, air and soil. Luckily, we already have technologies and materials that can prevent such pollution, in addition to prefab homes which can withstand strong winds, fire resistant cladding materials and battery systems that preserve certain amounts of electricity in case of power outages.

Another reason resilience is becoming so popular in construction is the financial damage. Each natural disaster and destruction of buildings is a huge financial hit for the market. However, with resilience, every extra dollar invested in construction can result in thousands of dollars saved on recovery.

Energy Efficiency

Increasing the energy efficiency of a building doesn’t not only mean simply buying Energy Star labeled appliances. Don’t take this the wrong way, those appliances are definitely making a difference, but today, people are building and renovating their houses in a more energy-efficient way. Since buildings and houses account for 70% of energy use and a great amount of CO2 emissions, builders and homeowners are relying on energy efficiency as much as they can.

Thus, they are using super-insulating materials for walls, as well as energy-efficient doors and windows, and they rely on on-site renewable energy sources. These renewable energy sources, of course, include solar panels and batteries from various providers like Skylight Energy for example, which can significantly reduce the energy consumption of a building.

Biophilic Design

Nature can benefit us, both biologically and psychologically. Unfortunately, in the past several centuries, buildings were designed in such a way to separate us from nature, but with today’s trends that has significantly changed. The primary aim of the biophilic design is to bring nature and its elements back into homes and buildings.

According to professionals, our inner biorhythms can be positively influenced by changing the dynamics of shadows and pools of light in buildings during the day. This can be easily achieved by making the buildings follow and capture the movement of the sun by using windows, patterns and other architectural details.

Innovation

This year and the upcoming ones will be a period of great innovation in construction. Since we have the need for better, more resilient and sustainable buildings and homes, it is safe to expect that this year will combine highly-adaptable designs with technological advancements. These will unlock so many new solutions when it comes to building. Two of those solutions include all-electric homes and home automation.

In an all-electric home, gas is completely replaced by electricity. This will allow us to use induction range cooktops instead of gas stoves, heat pump water heaters instead of gas ones and radiant heating and cooling instead of those gas furnaces. This can lead to major improvements in energy use, since there are various ways of recycling and preserving electric energy through solar and water power.

On the other hand, home automation will help us connect to our houses more easily. The so-called Internet of Things allows us to create smart homes and connect all of our devices, allowing them to interact with each other. Smart homes have become a norm in sustainable building and people are becoming more used to the fact that they can turn on their coffee machines or preheat their ovens while on the way home.

There is no need to hesitate when it comes to home automation. For example, innovative smart devices for home monitoring, HVAC systems, lighting, heating and even devices such as ovens, washers and refrigerators will make our lives much easier.

Healthy Homes

It goes without saying that a home should be healthy, but that’s not the case if the home’s structure is toxic. As it turns out, green and eco-friendly homes are not only eco-friendly, but they also have a lot of benefits for our health. There have been a lot of studies that show that if a house or a building is green, the people who live or work in there benefit from them a lot, both mentally and physically.

In order to make your home or building greener you should utilize natural light as much as possible, improve the indoor air quality and use eco-friendly materials. This will not only contribute to your health, but it will also raise your productivity and overall happiness levels. Thus, consider using air purifiers and low or zero VOC paints and materials in order to preserve your health. Additionally, having an excellent ventilation system will help you keep the indoor air clean and fresh, eliminating all the harmful elements from it.

Sustainable Landscaping

Today, going green and being sustainable is not limited to the inside only. A few years back, having a perfect grass lawn was the ideal, but this year, try to bring native and low-maintenance plants into your yard instead. With such drought-tolerant plants, shrubs and trees, you can save plenty of water, and avoid using pesticides and fertilizers, while supporting the local wildlife.

Lately, people have been focused on the interior design the most. Even though the interior design is important, it is even more important that the entire structure is safe, resistant and sustainable. So, with these eco-friendly construction trends of the year, you can make a big difference in the world and help preserve the environment. Explore, research and decide what’s best for your home or any other building and renovating project, because even though you initially have to invest a bit extra, it will certainly pay off on many different levels.

Rinkesh

Rinkesh is passionate about clean and green energy. He is running this site since 2009 and writes on various environmental and renewable energy related topics. He lives a green lifestyle and is often looking for ways to improve the environment around him.

Latest posts by Rinkesh (see all)

Effects and Solutions to Reduce Impact of Air Travel on the Environment


Flying is indeed bad for the planet because it contributes to global warming, pollution, and leaves a huge carbon footprint. Airplanes run on kerosene fuel, which when combusted, releases large amount of carbon dioxide and other gases into the atmosphere. Even though aviation is not a large industry, it has large impact on the climate system.

The aviation industry is one of the fastest-growing sources of carbon gases in the atmosphere. Airplanes are important to the economy in various ways such as imports, exports, tourism and business. But the importance of the industry comes with adverse effects, which continue to affect the climate with little or nothing to do because of how the industry is tremendously growing and there being no alternative to kerosene as fuel.

silhouette-of-airplane-during-sunset

What’s more, the amount of carbon footprint left on the planet by a single flight is a huge contributor of global warming. And to make matters even worse, the increased use of airplanes in travel due to its efficiency and the fact that it helps travelers save time does not make it any better. The high rate of combustion of the fuel increases the amount of carbon emission, which directly affects the erosion of the ozone layer and therefore leading to global warming.

Effects of Air Travel on the Environment

1. Emission of Greenhouse Gases

Aircraft engines combust fuel to emit carbon dioxide, water vapor, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide and soot. Nitrogen oxides emitted by aircrafts contributes to global warming and is a pollutant in the lower atmosphere whereas it destroys the stratospheric ozone layer in the high altitudes. The impact of carbons released by airplanes is no small issue considering that the emissions are realized at a higher altitude and faster.

Emissions at higher altitudes pose a greater danger because they trigger a series of chemical reactions and atmospheric effects cover wider areas. It is even recorded that travelling by air has a greater environmental impact per kilometer as compared to other forms of transport such as driving. Even as other industries receive significant improvements on emission levels; that of aviation industry stagnates.

2. Noise Pollution

Noise as a result of the aviation industry can be regarded as debatable. This is because noise produced by aero planes is short-lived. However, to those residing or those near airports are affected hugely by the noise.

Some of the adverse effects that these people face include sleeping disturbances, performance effects, and interference with communication along with cardiovascular and psycho-psychological effects. Noise of an aircraft is the responsibility of the airport operator and he or she should then ensure proper mechanisms to set, monitor and ensure noise insulation schemes are in operation.

3. Contrails Leading to Global Warming

Contrails, water vapor, released by air planes forming condensation trails, trap heat that would otherwise be released from the earth. This brings about global warming. According to studies, night flights cause global warming more compared to day flights because contrails help in reflecting sunlight during the day.

The contrails in the sky condense at higher altitudes and can spread up to two kilometers from where they have been realized. They tend to trap heat that would otherwise be dispensed from the earth, greatly contributing to global warming.

Solutions to Reduce Impact of Air Travel on the Environment

1. Setting up of Regulations

As a solution to environmental degradation as a result of air travel, regulation of the industry is needed. International Civil Authority (ICAO) in 2016 proposed the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) which gives airlines restriction on carbon emissions. If the limit is exceeded, then airlines will buy offsets from other sectors.

This however did not perform as expected proving to the complexity of regulating airlines therefore leaving the responsibility of regulating amount of carbon emissions to Kyoto Protocol whose responsibility is limited to domestic flights. The issue of regulating the aviation industry should therefore be treated as other transport policy and its consistency maintained so as to protect the climate. In order for regulations and policies to take place, international cooperation should be enhanced to achieve its efficiency.

airplane-aircraft-airport-jet

2. Use of Technology

To deal with the problem of climate impact by the aviation industry, technology can be used in design and systems of planes to make them more efficient. A breakthrough in use of another type of fuel that is greener, like biofuels, hydrogen, solar panels and batteries, could save the world from the degradation of the environment by aircraft engines running on kerosene.

However, the rate at which this progress is made cannot be compared to the rate at which number of passengers are buying tickets. Also, the fact that aircraft have to carry their own fuel is one that should be dealt with and have such engineering problems looked into and a solution is reached.

3. Carbon Offsetting Programs

Charging the amount of greenhouses emitted into the air by aircraft could go a long way in discouraging pollution. These charges should be made payable by airlines for every ton of greenhouses emitted. Like other transport operators, it obliges airlines to pay for the pollution they cause thereby limiting them to lower amounts of emission because it comes at a price.

In addition to emission costs, the government can also add environmental and social costs. Most airplanes have embraced this and have been coming up with projects that help offset their carbon footprints. There is a mechanism that helps in the calculation of the amount of carbon footprint created by a flight and the money generated in offsetting allows the airplane companies to start projects that protect the environment.

4. Using Alternative Means

One of the most effective ways to reduce amount of carbon footprint is by flying less often. This means in the case where other forms transport are available, it is not a must for an individual to fly. Instead, driving or taking the train to the destination as preference for majority of the people would mean airlines burn less fuel. Taking holidays that are not so far away could also help in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

5. Use of Computer Programs to Reduce Noise Pollution

As a means of preventing noise pollution by airports to its neighborhoods, computer programs can be used to simulate aircraft operations to identify areas that are prone to such disturbances. Virtually predicting the extent of noise levels using the International Noise Model can be used to address the issue. The model is widely used to come up with aircraft noise footprints for a certain number of aircrafts at average weather conditions.

6. Optimization of Flight Routes

In a bid to protect the climate, optimizing flight routes can reduce negative effects of flying. Having a flight plan that avoids weather conditions, which results in the creation of clouds is among the best strategies. By limiting the formation of clouds, it aids in release of earth’s radiation into space resulting in a cooling effect. With proper formulation of routes, climate protection by aircrafts can be achieved. Plus, airlines with routes that pollute less can be charged less money for pollution certificates.

7. Invention of Alternative Energy Sources

Aircraft engines unlike other engines have no other greener alternative such as the use of solar or other renewable energy. Technological advancement in the sector might lead to electric planes that emit less and are more fuel-efficient. However, the sector remains negligent to matters of the environment.

For instance, most airline websites mention little about environmental protection or have completely nothing to do with the environment. Also, NGOs that deal with the environment are reluctant on the matter. Such negligence can be attributed to huge concentration on profits earned by airlines that has seen the industry continue to grow irrespective of how bad flying is for the planet.

Image credit: pexels , pixabay

Rinkesh

Rinkesh is passionate about clean and green energy. He is running this site since 2009 and writes on various environmental and renewable energy related topics. He lives a green lifestyle and is often looking for ways to improve the environment around him.

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