Solar Panels: The Positive and Negative Impacts on the Environment

Solar Panels: The Positive and Negative Impacts on the Environment

guest post by Derek Lotts

Environmentalism is a hot topic in the modern world, and rightfully so. With the rise of industrialization over the past two centuries, the burning of fossil fuels and the overuse of limited natural resources for energy generation as well as the decrease in clean water supply, the Earth is quickly moving towards a perilous future.

Humanity is in need of a radical change in the way energy is harvested, stored and utilized. Although fossil fuel companies want you to believe otherwise, solar energy is the only sustainable, eco-friendly and inexhaustible source of clean energy.

Solar power is the way of the future, as it will allow the Earth’s population to thrive under an unlimited supply of energy, decrease energy expenses, and preserve the environment. Here’s how solar panels can benefit the ecosystem, promote long-term health, and allow for financial independence.

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Revisiting our collective past with a stroll through community gardens

Revisiting our collective past with a stroll through community gardens

(part 2 of 2)

Sometimes, community gardens have the power to embody our collective memories of the past. While they can enable us to build new relationships and create opportunities to sustain a more food-secure future, they also tell us something about the struggles, strengths, and legacy of generations ago.

I explored some of these issues in an interview with Pastor Willie Wilson of Anacostia’s Union Temple Baptist Church on June 24th, the occasion of the 2017 opening of the church’s community garden to the public. The community garden at UTBC is a partnership between the University of the District of Columbia and the 11th St Bridge Project. Besides serving as a gathering point for the local community, it also provides a means to promote some of the ethics embodied by the church, most prominently spiritual development, fellowship, communication, and the uplift of marginalized African-American communities in the metro Washington, D.C. area.

Our interview quickly took on the overtones of a series of stories of past injustices, struggles of the present, and an unvarnished, if bleak view of at the future should the status quo remain in place, told through the lens and the experience of a man who has lived, worked, preached, and fought for this community for over 31 years as the lead pastor of UTBC.

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Could Water Pumps “Refreeze” The Arctic?

Could Water Pumps “Refreeze” The Arctic?

guest post by Ian Craft

Whether you keep abreast of global issues or not, chances are you will be aware of global warming and the threat that it poses to our planet.  Polar ice caps are rapidly melting due to steadily increasing global temperatures, and if it doesn’t stop soon then we could be looking at nothing short of a global catastrophe.

So how do we combat this problem before it’s too late? The most effective solution is to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, but that of course is easier said than done. So as this is not happening, scientists are working hard thinking of alternative ways to try and reverse the situation.

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How to Reduce your Use of Plastic (infographic)

How to Reduce your Use of Plastic (infographic)

Guest post by Quill.com

Plastic waste has become a global problem that affects the world’s population in an increasing number of ways. More than 5 trillion pieces of plastic pollute the world’s oceans, much of which is consumed by marine animals that we humans subsequently consume. Less than 10% of plastics worldwide are being recycled annually, while 8.3 billion tons of new plastic are produced each year. Plastic does not biodegrade easily – it lasts anywhere from 500 to 100 years -- and the chemicals used to produce it are known to harm the health of humans, animals, and the environment. It’s safe to say we are facing a plastic crisis that will only continue to worsen if we don’t do something to address it.

Fortunately, an increasing number of people are becoming interested in learning how to minimize their use of plastic (and the less demand there is, the less will be produced). This infographic by Quill Corp tells you how you can reduce your use of plastic and be a part of the solution to this growing environmental problem.

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What Gardens Can Teach Us about the Power and Challenge of Community

What Gardens Can Teach Us about the Power and Challenge of Community

(part 1 of 2)

There are many advantages to community gardens, but also a lot of misconceptions about them. Most studies have focused on their health benefits, with some citing reduced risk of obesity, improved mental health, and encouraging diets that are richer in fruits and vegetables. Other studies challenge these views, pointing out that people who engage in community gardening are already likely to maintain fairly healthy lifestyles. Some have also pointed out that community gardeners engage in gardening practices that create a high carbon footprint (using synthetic fertilizers and chemical pesticides and growing things that require large amounts of water are 2 such practices), and that most urban gardeners demonstrate a lack of agricultural experience.

Doubtless, community gardens can have a dark side, but overall, the consensus is that they are a positive development, improving the life and health of local communities and addressing problems like urban blight, food deserts, and stormwater runoff.

The view from history, though, suggests that there is another important aspect of community gardens that is hardly explored. My interviews with Brother Rashad and Pastor Willie Wilson of Union Temple Baptist Church in the Anacostia neighborhood of Washington, DC suggest that community gardens embody our collective pasts as well as enable us to build new relationships of trust and mutual appreciation. This post is the first of two posts that explore some of these aspects of community gardening in the Washington, DC area.

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How to Choose the Best Solar Panels

How to Choose the Best Solar Panels

Guest post by Reviews.com

Solar panels are the best way to get your power for free. And while they're built to last for 25 years or more, it'll take some time to recoup your investment — and not every manufacturer or installer will be around as long. An engineer and a solar expert confirmed our findings: The best panels have efficiency ratings that pack a powerful punch and come from manufacturers with a proven track record.

Reviews.com, a small group of obsessive consumers, dedicated months to finding which solar panels were worth it, and which ones were a waste of money. They evaluated 188 contenders and found 5 top picks.

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DIY Green Roofs

DIY Green Roofs

Guest post by Matt, writer and editor at Georgia Roof Pro

“Going green” and being eco-friendly is both environmentally and financially favorable, so it is no wonder green roofs are becoming more and more popular. A sustainable, green roof is partially or completely covered with vegetation. It protects the building from moisture, leaks and water runoff. It significantly decreases energy consumption, has a longer service life, and therefore requires less overall maintenance. It is both environmentally and economically more beneficial.

You can build your own green roof, and here is how...

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11 Go-To Green Beauty Products You Should Know (roundup post)

11 Go-To Green Beauty Products You Should Know (roundup post)

For the third post in this series, I asked this question of several professionals in the beauty and wellness industry: what are your go-to green beauty products and why would you recommend them to others? Some of these responses might surprise or intrigue you, so read on to find out more...

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Saving the Planet One Mile at a Time

Saving the Planet One Mile at a Time

Guest post by Helen Green (infographic)

This infographic contains tips on reducing your emissions while on the road.

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6 Reasons Why You Should Care about the Green Beauty Movement

6 Reasons Why You Should Care about the Green Beauty Movement

Second post in a 3-part series on Green Beauty

As my previous post on the Green Beauty Movement mentioned, more people have become aware of the presence of harmful chemicals in many commercial personal care products. As a result of that growing awareness, as well as a general increase in public discussions about major climate-related and public health crises, there is more interest than ever in environmental issues. The Green Beauty Movement represents one small aspect of this phenomenon, but it is more important as a bellweather of healthy living trends than you might have realized. Here are six reasons why the Green Beauty Movement matters for the collective, global push towards a greener environment and a healthier you.

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The Importance of Clean Air in Education

The Importance of Clean Air in Education

Guest post from Envirotec

Continuing to tackle climate change, reducing dependence on fossil fuels, improving working conditions for millions of people – an impressive list of achievements we’ve all been jointly responsible for over the past few decades.  So what’s the next target? Something that concerns each and every one of us – clean air.

Tackling air pollution will be one of our generation’s biggest challenges.  Increased urbanisation, road, sea, and air congestion along with the ever increasing demand for power impacts the cleanliness of the air we breathe.

Nowhere is clean air more important than in education. Children are particularly prone to the effects of poor air quality and education is crucial for the young to improve their chances in life. It is imperative they are given every opportunity to succeed and are not held back by issues out of their control, of which, unclean air is a major one. Because of the fact that we spend, on average, around 90% of our time indoors (a number which has been on the increase for the past half century), it is more important now than ever before that the quality of the air we breathe in is of a sufficiently high enough level.

(click here to read more)

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The Green Beauty Movement: fad or new direction in the beauty industry?

The Green Beauty Movement: fad or new direction in the beauty industry?

Last month, actress Olivia Wilde was named “chief brand activist” for True Botanicals, a luxury skin care and makeup line that leverages science and technology to create toxin-free products. She is not the only A-list celebrity promoting green beauty products. Emma Watson, currently on tour promoting her “Beauty and the Beast” movie, is using the opportunity to call attention to the eco-friendly products she uses in her beauty routine. In 2015, Gwyneth Paltrow began a partnership with Juice Beauty organic beauty products as the company’s Creative Director of Makeup and in partnership with her own green venture, Goop. Also in 2015, Jessica Alba and Chris Gavigan’s successful eco-venture Honest Co. which markets to moms and their tots, expanded its line to include skin care, cosmetics, and hair care products.

The significance of these endorsements and ventures goes beyond the usual lamentations about famous people latching onto the latest beauty fads. I believe they signal a major shift in the beauty industry, one that reflects consumers’ growing awareness and alarm about the prevalence of harmful chemicals in most commercial personal care products, chemicals that have contributed to an epidemic of chronic allergies, ailments and diseases. Cosmetics are no exception: the chemicals they contain have been linked to symptoms ranging from skin rashes to cancer.

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Be Power Smart This Summer (infographic)

Be Power Smart This Summer (infographic)

guest post by Jennifer Adams, with introductory paragraph by Green and Prosperous

Energy waste is a problem that most developed, and developing, nations are guilty of, with the US and UK being among the top 5 nations that contribute most to energy waste. The problem isn’t only an environmental one: it costs businesses and households billions of dollars and pounds each year, consigns millions of homes to fuel poverty, and squanders opportunities to put all that wasted energy to use in the renewables industry to provide resources for domestic, commercial, and industrial markets.

Many people think of winter as the season with the greatest energy use, as people consume more fuel in order to heat their homes and businesses. However, with temperatures in many parts of the world reaching unprecedented highs, cooling structures eats up an enormous amount of fuel, too. Whatever the season, it’s increasingly important to find ways to decrease our energy consumption. The infographic below contains many tips to help you cut consumption and energy costs at the same time.

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Global trends in recycling: how does your country measure up?

Global trends in recycling: how does your country measure up?

guest post by Penny Klein

An infographic that describes recycling trends and statistics around the world. How does your country measure up? 

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Organic vs. Non-GMO Labels

Organic vs. Non-GMO Labels

Guest post by PacMoore

There was a time fairly recently where you were lucky if food labels listed the ingredients. In keeping with the Information Age, however, today there’s a surplus of information on labels in every aisle of the grocery store. Food labels tell you what’s in your food, how many calories it contains, how large a portion is, and so on and so forth. And, as the food industry and consumers continue to become more demanding, the amount of information those labels contain is increasing.

For example, more people today are apprehensive about eating non-organic foods or foods prepared with genetically modified organisms (GMOs), so organizations such as the USDA and the Non-GMO Project are labeling foods to help consumers make better-informed decisions. For many people, especially people trying to uphold a vegan diet, food labeling has become an important component of their lifestyles.

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