How to Reduce the Ecological Footprint of Wind Turbines

Wind power is the second most widely used renewable energy source in the U.S., just behind hydropower. Unlike solar, wind power creates little to no pollution and requires very little maintenance. However, it has one significant problem — a detrimental effect on wildlife and the local ecosystem.

Industrial wind farms wreak havoc on bird and bat populations, plus they pose an ecological disturbance to the land. While the energy generation is incredibly sustainable, the influence turbines have on local wildlife populations adds controversy to the success of this energy source.

wind-farm-Lake-Turkana-Kenya

The future implementation of wind as a leading source of energy will depend on our ability to reduce its ecological footprint. Employing best practices that work to minimize adverse effects on local habitats will play an integral role in the construction of new farms.

Analyze Data

Determining the exact impact of wind turbines on wildlife is hard to discern. The number of birds and bats killed from direct contact is only one variable. The long-term effects on food chain supplies, population and habitats are hard to quantify. The first step in reducing the environmental impact is determining where the influence is greatest.

Research estimates that in North America alone, wind turbines kill an estimated 140,000 to 328,000 birds each year. This statistic does include other flying creatures, like bats, whose populations have been significantly affected by wind farms.

Bats are essential to the function of our ecosystem and food system. In 2015, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) added guidelines about the voluntary process of halting turbines at lower speeds during periods of the night when these animals are most active. These efforts may reduce deaths by up to 30%, though research demonstrates an extra delay could potentially increase that number to 90%.

Land Use Planning

Close attention to site selection and preparation may curtail the consequences of wind farms on the surrounding environment. Construction is a major ecosystem disruptor, as installing transmission lines and removing soil can hurt plants and animals in the vicinity. Experts encourage many wind companies to engage in erosion control practices, which includes re-establishing native vegetation and other restoration techniques.

Wind farms are generally criticized by their inflexibility when it comes to site location. Compared to solar panels, which can be installed on buildings and utilized across a diverse array of environments, wind farms are more limited. One benefit, however, is that people can establish these turbines on abandoned industrial land. The ability to re-purpose previously degraded land with a renewable energy source is a victory for wildlife and humans alike.

downned-pylons-windfarm

If the wind is too strong, wind turbines can’t operate safely and must shut down.

A final consideration when it comes to reducing ecological impact includes preventative measures, such as monitoring a habitat before construction. By tracking the environment before breaking ground, builders can better determine the best location for the farm.

Innovative Technology

As wind power becomes a cost-effective and energy-efficient option, advanced technology will lessen the impact of turbines on wildlife. According to U.S Energy Information Administration, the wind industry is collaborating with the U.S government to find optimization solutions.

Several ways exist in which wind farms can reduce their impact on local habitats and take preventative steps affecting animal and bird populations. One example includes Ultrasonic Acoustic Deterrents (UADs), which emit a loud noise that deters bats but is incomprehensible to the human ear.

Other solutions include painting wind turbines purple or shining ultraviolet lights on the structures to alert migratory species. Some manufacturing companies plan to make innovations in how to construct these structures. Changes include alterations to the blade surfaces and more sound-absorbent materials.

A Comprehensive Approach

The cost of wind power has dropped almost 50% in the last four years. With an increased incentive to invest in renewables, experts predict the number of wind farms around the world to grow rapidly in the next decade.

Wind power has many benefits, one of which being that, unlike solar, return on investment for the production and installation of turbines is five to eight months, with each structure designed to produce for at least twenty years. With an increase in implementation, the ecological impact is unavoidable. As a result, the focus will be on reducing the environmental impact of wind turbines, rather than decreasing their utilization as an energy source.

Top 5 Environmentally Friendly Construction Materials

Whether you are a custom home builder, or you are designing your own custom home, it’s worth your while to know about eco-friendly construction materials. Eco-friendly construction materials are becoming increasingly more important as more and more people are realizing the importance of creating a more sustainable world.

Eco-friendly construction materials are a great way to minimize the negative environmental impact that building a home may have. Additionally, homes that are constructed with sustainable building materials are increasing in popularity because of the vast amount of benefits that they have to offer.

An expert from a custom home builder in New Jersey pointed out, “There are a variety of benefits of using sustainable materials when building a home; the most notable is that green materials ultimately save the homeowner money down the line; in addition to the amount of waste that they [green materials] eliminate.”

Sustainable construction materials save homeowners money because they typically keep a house more insulated; cutting down on the use of heating and air conditioning systems, therefore using less electricity, gas, and oil. Below are some environmentally friendly construction materials to consider including in a custom home design.

Top Eco-Friendly Construction Materials

Eco-friendly construction materials should not only be sustainable, but they should also not cause any negative effects on the environment. Typical construction materials are detrimental to the environment because of the harsh chemicals they produce; directly causing air pollution. Or, they are detrimental because they use resources that are limited. Here are some safe alternatives to typical construction materials:

1. Hemp Concrete

Hemp concrete is a biocomposite material which is made up of hemp and a lime-based binder. Hemp concrete is a great alternative to regular concrete because it’s biodegradable and more sustainable.

Not only does hemp concrete act as an insulator and moisture regulator, but it is also extremely durable and will last just as long as regular concrete. Hemp concrete is a great sustainable material to include in your custom home design and will keep both cool and warm air, reducing the need to run heating and cooling systems, therefore also conserving energy.

2. Sheep’s Wool

Sheep’s wool is a great construction material because it can be regrown quickly and the sheep are not harmed in the process. Sheep’s wool can be used for its insulating benefits in ceilings, attics, and walls. In fact, sheep’s wool is a great insulator for both thermal and acoustic insulation purposes.

Though sheep’s wool is slightly more expensive than other insulation options, the longevity of this insulator is much longer and will reduce electricity bills significantly by keeping cool and warm air in.

3. Recycled Steel

Rather than using new steel during construction-which uses natural resources during production – consider using recycled steel. Recycled steel will produce less amount of waste in the environment, and will prevent the use of resources that are necessary to create steel.

Steel is relevant in the construction process, especially for beams that will hold up the house, therefore it’s practical to choose steel that is kind to the environment.

4. Bamboo

Bamboo is an eco-friendly building material that can be used for a number of different things. Some of the main benefits that bamboo has to offer include:

  • A durable surface
  • Strength to support other materials upon construction
  • It grows quickly, so is a very sustainable option

Bamboo can be used for both flooring and walls of a home and has a long lifespan, meaning, walls and floors that are designed with bamboo will not have to be replaced often, creating less waste in the environment.

5. Cork

Similar to bamboo, cork is a fast-growing material and is harvested from a living tree, so no trees need to be cut down in order to produce this material. Cork is most commonly used for flooring because of its resilience and durability. However, cork is another insulation option too because it is impermeable, meaning water will not make its way into it; it’s also soundproof.

Cork, if left uncoated, is naturally fire-resistant so it will not produce toxins if it is burned after replacing it with new cork later down the road.

Make Environmentally Informed Choices in Your Home

If you are a home builder or if you are simply a homeowner that wants to assist in the building process, it’s’ important to know how to make environmentally informed choices when it comes to custom home building. These eco-friendly building materials will not only benefit the environment, but they will also positively impact the homeowner. Keep these sustainable and green building materials in mind as you begin your custom home design.

Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage: Role in Climate Mitigation

With increasing concern and awareness of climate change, there has been a growth in the renewable energy sector through government subsidies and private investment, allowing for the replacement of current sources of energy with less carbon-intensive fuels. However, renewable energy technologies are yet to topple the traditional fossil fuel-powered electricity market. With the increasing trajectory of global emissions, climate research has been exploring other methods of climate mitigation, for instance, through the use of large-scale geoengineering technologies.

Biomass-Resources

A quick glance at popular biomass resources

Of particular focus are the carbon dioxide removal techniques, namely Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) and Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS) that have been prominently featured in emission scenarios of climate models, particularly for their direct influence in reducing carbon dioxide emissions.

CCS involves capturing carbon dioxide emissions from industries and storing them under geological reservoirs either on shore or offshore. You can read more about this technology on a previous EcoMENA article.

What is Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage

One of the main concerns about CCS is the use of fossil fuels for its operations. In the pursuit for greener climate mitigation technologies, Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS) has emerged as a climate saviour, featuring in prominent emissions scenarios and climate models to achieve the 1.5-degree target.

In the place of fossil fuels, biomass is instead used as the primary fuel source for BECCS as seen in the picture below. The two-step absorption of carbon dioxide, first during the growth of the biomass, and second through capturing of the biomass emissions, makes BECCS, in theory, a net negative emissions technique.

Source: Can we deploy enough BECCS to achieve climate targets? AVOID 2

Of the 116 climate scenarios suggested by the IPCC, BECCS was seen to have a significant role in 101 of the scenarios to help prevent global temperature rise above the 1.5-degree target. In fact, UK electricity generator Drax, has chosen to invest in the BECCS technology and started its first trial earlier this year, making it the first of its kind in Europe.

Risks associated with BECCS

While the combination of bioenergy and CCS provides an ideal carbon negative mitigation strategy, it also combines the existing risks associated with both technologies. In addition to lack of investment and long-term economic policies for CCS, large scale deployment of BECCS is hindered by uncertainties such as land, water and resource availability. Studies have shown concerns regarding the carbon intensity and the scale of land and resources required to sustain the bioenergy component required for BECCS.

While the net negative aspect of BECCS may work in theory, studies have revealed significant proportions of emissions associated with indirect land use change for biomass production for BECCS. In addition to technical challenges, one of the key constraints for the deployment of such climate technologies is social acceptance, where sections of the general public, or specific stakeholders, remain unconvinced with certain aspects of the technology due to ethical or political reasons.

Conclusion

As such, while CCS and BECCS may offer the ideal climate saviour solution to reduce overall carbon dioxide emissions, the technologies are still overcast with various technical and social challenges that limit their commercial usage for climate mitigation.

How to Minimize Air Pollution While Growing Cannabis

As the medical marijuana, recreational marijuana and CBD markets each grow into multi-billion dollar industries, the demand for cannabis is at an all-time high — and canny entrepreneurs across the country are starting commercial cannabis grow operations in earnest. However, institutions like the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) are studying the potential effects of cannabis farms on air pollution and finding worrying results.

Aurora, Colorado, which is the second most popular locality in the nation for commercial cannabis farming operations, currently has the country’s 8th worst air quality according to the American Lung Association. The CDPHE asserts that this has much to do with cannabis farms and their output of what are known as volatile organic compounds, or VOCs.

cannabis-growing-tips

What are VOCs, and why are they a problem?

VOCs are naturally released by a wide range of plant life, and are generally harmless on their own. An example of well-known VOCs are terpenes, which are present in everything from lavender to black peppercorns. The terpene profiles of different cannabis strains give them their respective identities, like the Lime OG strain which is incredibly popular among consumers.

The problem with VOCs occurs when they combine with combustion gases and become harmful to the ozone. Cannabis farms are commonly positioned along stretches of highway, with frequent car traffic through all times of day. This makes them uniquely problematic, as unlike other VOC-emitting plants like lavender, they are positioned to release VOCs en masse to combine with automobile exhaust and produce air pollution.

We can’t alter the release of VOCs in agriculturally and industrially-grown crops like marijuana at present, but there are ways farmers can offset these emissions with the use of environmentally-friendly alternatives to onsite operations. In this post, we go over three important examples of how cannabis farms can reduce or counter their own VOC emissions with little to no impact on productivity.

Strategic Positioning of Cannabis Farms Using Road Hierarchy

The first and most obvious step that can be taken to reduce the harmful interaction of VOCs produced by cannabis farms with motor vehicle exhaust is to position them along less traffic-intensive roads. The current road hierarchy within the United States and Canada is as follows:

  • Freeways are categorized as interstate or intercity roads, limited access roads and on- and off-ramps.
  • Arterial roads are designed to accommodate plenty of traffic throughout the day, and are subdivided into minor and major arterials for urban and rural areas respectively.
  • Collector roads are the convergence points for local roads, ultimately distributing local street traffic to different arterials.
  • Local roads carry low traffic volume and can typically be found in residential areas or specialized districts. In rural areas, these are sometimes unpaved depending on budgetary constraints or development timelines.

Cannabis-friendly states like California, Oregon and Colorado would benefit from the creation of more specialized farming counties and districts, where cannabis farms are positioned along local roads connected to a single collector a respectable distance away. This would prevent anything other than essential traffic, such as transport or supply vehicles to and from the farms themselves, from being in frequent proximity to the VOCs produced by onsite crops.

cannabis

Use of Biofuels in Tractors, Tillers & Other Onsite Utility Vehicles

Continuing on from the concept of using road hierarchy in positioning cannabis farms: the risk of VOC conversion from approaching transport or supply vehicles could be further diminished if they were either electric vehicles (EVs) or made use of currently available biofuels.

This also applies to utility vehicles operated onsite, such as tractors, diggers and tillers, all of whose emissions are in contact with VOCs far more often than those from logistics vehicles.

Green Energy to Power Onsite Machine Processes

While they may not yet have the output specifications to effectively power entire farms, solar panels can provide ample energy for common onsite machine processes, such as the extraction of cannabinoids and terpenes to make isolates or the wet-mixing of hemp hurds to make hempcrete.

Depending on the products onsite facilities are purposed to manufacture, the use of green energy could be feasible for several farms across the country that haven’t already made the switch.

Why Energy Access to Refugees Matters?

There is a strong link between the serious humanitarian situation of refugees and lack of access to sustainable energy resources. According to a 2019 UNCHR report, there are more than 80 million displaced people around the world, the highest level of human displacement ever documented. Access to clean and affordable energy is a prerequisite for sustainable development of mankind, and refugees are no exception. Needless to say, almost all refugee camps are plagued by fuel poverty and urgent measure are required to make camps livable.

refugee-camp-energy

Usually the tragedy of displaced people doesn’t end at the refugee camp, rather it is a continuous exercise where securing clean, affordable and sustainable energy is a major concern. Although humanitarian agencies are providing food like grains, rice and wheat; yet food must be cooked before serving.

Severe lack of modern cook stoves and access to clean fuel is a daily struggle for displaced people around the world. This article will shed some light on the current situation of energy access challenges being faced by displaced people in refugee camps.

Why Energy Access Matters?

Energy is the lifeline of our modern society and an enabler for economic development and advancement. Without safe and reliable access to energy, it is really difficult to meet basic human needs.

Energy access is a challenge that touches every aspect of the lives of refugees and negatively impacts health, limits educational and economic opportunities, degrades the environment and promotes gender discrimination issues. Lack of energy access in refugee camps areas leads to energy poverty and worsen humanitarian conditions for vulnerable communities and groups.

Energy Access for Cooking

Refugee camps receive food aid from humanitarian agencies yet this food needs to be cooked before consumption. Thus, displaced people especially women and children take the responsibility of collecting firewood, biomass from areas around the camp. However, this expose women and minors to threats like sexual harassments, danger, death and children miss their opportunity for education. Moreover, depleting woods resources cause environmental degradation and spread deforestation which contributes to climate change. Moreover, cooking with wood affects the health of displaced people.

Access to efficient and modern cook stove is a primary solution to prevent health risks, save time and money, reduce human labour and combat climate change. However, humanitarian agencies and host countries can aid camp refugees in providing clean fuel for cooking because displaced people usually live below poverty level and often host countries can’t afford connecting the camp to the main grid.

So, the issue of energy access is a challenge that requires immediate and practical solutions. A transition to sustainable energy is an advantage that will help displaced people, host countries and the environment.

Energy Access for Lighting

Lighting is considered as a major concern among refugees in their temporary homes or camps. In the camps life almost stops completely after sunset which delays activities, work and studying only during day time hours.

Talking about two vulnerable groups in the refugees’ camps “women and children” for example, children’s right of education is reduced as they have fewer time to study and do homework. For women and girls, not having light means that they are subject to sexual violence and kidnapped especially when they go to public restrooms or collect fire woods away from their accommodations.

Rationale For Sustainable Solutions

Temporary solutions won’t yield results for displaced people as their reallocation, often described as “temporary”, often exceeds 20 years. Sustainable energy access for refugees is the answer to alleviate their dire humanitarian situation. It will have huge positive impacts on displaced people’s lives and well-being, preserve the environment and support host communities in saving fuel costs.

Also, humanitarian agencies should work away a way from business as usual approach in providing aid, to be more innovative and work for practical sustainable solutions when tackling energy access challenge for refugee camps.

UN SDG 7 – Energy Access

The new UN SDG7 aims to “ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all”. SDG 7 is a powerful tool to ensure that displaced people are not left behind when it comes to energy access rights. SDG7 implies on four dimensions: affordability, reliability, sustainability and modernity. They support and complete the aim of SDG7 to bring energy and lightening to empower all human around the world.

All the four dimensions of the SDG7 are the day to day challenges facing displaced people. The lack of modern fuels and heavy reliance on primitive sources, such as wood and animal dung leads to indoor air pollution.

Energy access touches every aspect of life in refugee camps

Energy access touches every aspect of life in refugee camps

For millions of people worldwide, life in refugee camps is a stark reality. Affordability is of concern for displaced people as most people flee their home countries with minimum possessions and belongings so they rely on host countries and international humanitarian agencies on providing subsidized fuel for cooking and lightening.

In some places, host countries are itself on a natural resources stress to provide electricity for people and refugees are left behind with no energy access resources. However, affordability is of no use if the energy provision is not reliable (means energy supply is intermittent).

Parting Shot

Displaced people need a steady supply of energy for their sustenance and economic development. As for the sustainability provision, energy should produce a consistent stream of power to satisfy basic needs of the displaced people.

The sustained power stream should be greater than the resulted waste and pollution which means that upgrading the primitive fuel sources used inside the camp area to the one of modern energy sources like solar energy, wind power, biogas and other off-grid technologies.

For more insights please also read this article Renewable Energy in Refugee Camps 

9 Eco-friendly Sustainable Landscape Design Ideas to Lead an Aesthetic Lawn

Landscape designing has been an independent profession for a long time. It revolves around analysing, designing and planning exterior living spaces. Building an eco-friendly landscape design helps to combine nature and culture while designing the exterior living places.

Eco-friendly landscape designs not only provide a conducive living environment but also can influence the social, aesthetic and environmental qualities of the overall housing areas. It also helps you manage your time, money and efforts. Eco friendly landscape design helps to nurture the ecosystem, reduce pollution and also maintain healthy surroundings.

how to maintain a wooden fence

Best sustainable landscaping design ideas

Xeriscaping your landscape

Xeriscaping is a method of landscaping which eliminates the need for irrigation. In simpler words, it is using drought plants and grass to design your exterior living areas. In this, you use agriculture which needs little or no water other than what is provided by the climate of the place.edru9

Adopting this method does not mean turning your landscape into the barren land, it is merely the use of Drought-tolerant plants, Sand, Permeable hardscapes, Mulch etc. this method helps you conserve water that would otherwise be used up in maintaining huge green lands with grass. People have been using this method since 1981.

Despite Earth being 71% water only 2.5% of it is freshwater that is fit for usage. Since converting saltwater to freshwater is possible but it is not a viable solution as too many resources are needed. Thus, we need to conserve water and use it carefully.

2. Install Solar Lights on your Lawn

Installing solar lights lower your electricity bill to a great extent. Moreover, it will let you show off the beauty of your landscapes even at night at a very minimal cost. Instead of connecting the lights in your lawn to a power source, you must install solar panels that convert and store the solar energy into electricity during the day and use the same energy to light up your lawn at night.

Solar lights, unlike regular garden lights do not require to be wired. This makes them highly portable and less messy. Solar lights use batteries instead, eliminating the need of sockets, wires and other electrical components.

solar-based landscape lighting

Solar panels are a one-time investment with a great resale value. It is environmentally beneficial and needs very less to no maintenance. It is an energy-independent source which will help you add beauty to your lawn and at the same time not be harmful to the environment.

3. Rock Garden for landscape

Rock gardens are a unique way to design a landscape. Carefully and creatively arranging rocks in a certain pattern will help you get a very beautiful and unusual landscape. The best part of having a rock garden is that you hardly need to do any work to maintain it. They are visually very appealing and need little or no water.

Rock gardens are very long-lasting as they can withstand harsh and extreme weather conditions and thus look great all year long. It also increases the value of your property as it gives an illusion of free space as they don’t need much greenery and plants

4. Wildlife Garden

A wildlife garden is a garden that is sustainable and habitable for wildlife and domesticated animals. Wildlife gardens contain a variety of habitats that cater to native and local plants, birds, amphibians, reptiles, insects, mammals and so on.

Building a wildlife garden is also better as it helps you reduce your cost for fertilizers and get access to natural chemical-free fertilizers. Wildlife gardening also allows us to connect to nature and provide a sense of peacefulness. It also gives you a sense of well-being and improved mental resilience.

5. Adding a Compost Station

Compost is a waste management facility where solid waste is managed and processed using composting technologies. This processed waste can be reintroduced into the environment. Waste like autumn leaves, grass clipping and yard trimmings can be dumped into the composting pit.

benefits of applying compost in garden

People misjudge the compost station as they think it would look like a pile of garbage on their lawn, but that is not the case. In fact, it is one of the most thoughtful ways to reduce waste in your home. You can make a homemade compost station and manage it pretty well using attractive wooden bins, beautiful flowers and other garden ornaments.

6. Vertical Garden

This method is the best way to make your lawn look beautiful even in a small space. All you need to build this is a vertical wall, it can even be built on a fence.

A vertical garden is a garden in which the plants are supported to grow along vertical, often tiered surfaces, especially fences, posts, trellises, and walls, rather than along the ground. these gardens help save space and also cleans the air we breathe.

It can be made very attractive with the use of gardening ornaments like plant pots etc. since they take up lesser space than traditional vegetable or herb gardens, they use significantly less amount of water. There are some vegetables that work better with vertical gardening than others too. Vertical gardening has become very popular in overpopulated cities due to the lack of space to have an on-ground garden or a lawn.

7. Permeable Hardscapes on Landscape

Permeable hardscapes are an attractive way to improve the sustainability of your property. In case of storms and floods, it decreases stormwater runoff and prevents soil erosion.

Due to its permeability, it helps the rainwater to enter the ground and recharge the groundwater reserves, which in turn can be beneficial for the plants in your lawn.

8. Native plants

Native plants are plants that have been growing in a particular area or habitat for a long time. Planting native plants can always be easier as they have been growing there naturally without any human interference while non-native plants have been introduced by humans.

Thus, native plants can thrive naturally and won’t need as much care as non-native plants. The native plants won’t even require chemicals to maintain and preserve them. The usage of lesser pesticides and fertilisers in turn helps in maintaining the quality of the soil and the plants.

Native plants have a deeper root system which also helps us to save water as they can extract water from the earth’s crust. Native plants are sustainable for your wallet too as you’ll save cash by spending less on chemicals. You also save more if you plant perennial natives because they bloom year after year.

bee-friendly garden

9. Green Wall

Green walls are intentionally created vertical green structures, that have different types of plants or other greenery attached to them. The greenery is often planted in a growth medium consisting of soil, stone, or water. Because the walls have living plants in them, they usually feature built-in irrigation systems.

Both interior and exterior living green walls function to cool the air in the warmer summer months Exterior living green walls can reduce wall surface temperatures resulting in significant energy savings and air conditioning costs.

You can easily grow herbs and flowers here using containers and planters. Apart from serving as an area for more plants, it also improves the appearance of your yard.

Conclusion

An eco-friendly and sustainable landscape is a way by which we can repay society. Having an eco-friendly landscape will make the surrounding a better place for future generations.

With the growing urbanisation and population, we must not forget to take care of our planet, adopting the above methods will help us to be around nature and keep it from being exploited. Moreover, it is budget-friendly so instead of approaching fancy materialistic stuff to improve the visuals of your landscape, we must adopt eco-friendly landscaping ideas to quench our thirst for aesthetics.

5 Easy Ways Businesses Can Reduce Their Carbon Emissions

As businesses continue to feel the pressure to operate more environmentally friendly, many are looking for ways to reduce their carbon emissions. Here are five easy ways that businesses can make a difference:

Ways Businesses Can Reduce Carbon Emissions

Increase Energy Efficiency

Lighting businesses and offices are bulky, expensive, and incredibly difficult to manage, particularly in the long run. Not only do bulbs require frequent, if not downright constant replacing, but they also generate a considerable amount of heat and suck up enormous amounts of energy. Utilizing LED lighting also has many benefits, ranging from improved utility bills to greater health and safety benefits for employees.

Promote Sustainable Practices Among Employees

Sustainable practices can include recycling work materials, turning off lights and electronics when unused, and unplugging devices from the wall. It would be best if you also considered donating or repurposing office furniture, electronics, and other materials that still have some life. You can also avoid using disposable products or single-use plastics whenever possible. Instead, opt for reusable items and consider investing in a recycling program for your business.

green entrepreneurship

Additionally, consider creating a green team to promote environmentally-friendly initiatives within your business. This can be a great way to get employees involved and build company culture as you strive for sustainable practices. By encouraging your employees to adopt sustainable practices, you can reduce your business’s carbon emissions, save money, increase efficiency, and boost morale in the long run.

Switch to Renewable Energy Sources

Installing solar panels is one of the most effective ways to reduce your business’s carbon footprint and contribute to the fight against climate change. Not only does it reduce your dependence on fossil fuels and traditional electricity sources, but it also allows you to take advantage of available tax credits, which can end up saving you money in the long run.

Additionally, since solar power uses energy from the sun rather than power grids or other non-renewable resources, you won’t be subject to price hikes and other fluctuations associated with traditional electricity providers. If you are considering switching to renewable energy sources, explore local providers and their available options. Working with an experienced Commercial Solar Installer can help you get the most out of your solar panels and the peace of mind that comes with a worry-free energy solution.

Implement Green Transportation Solutions

Encouraging public transportation, cycling, and walking are all great ways to reduce CO2 emissions in your business. Additionally, consider transitioning to electric or hybrid cars if you have a fleet of vehicles for deliveries or other purposes. This switch can significantly reduce your carbon footprint and save money on fuel costs over time. If you organize business trips, encouraging carpooling is also a great way to save money and reduce emissions.

Reduce Risk of Injury When Cycling

Support Eco-Friendly Initiatives in the Community

This can include sponsoring green events, volunteering with environmental organizations, and donating to make a difference. In addition, consider offering incentives or discounts for customers participating in sustainable activities. This can be a great way to reduce your business’s carbon footprint, engage with the community, and create a positive public image.

By taking these proactive steps and promoting sustainable practices, you can play an essential role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and helping preserve our planet’s resources. Not only will this benefit the environment, but it will also give you a competitive edge in the market.

The Global Green Economy Index 2016 – Key Findings

green-economyThe 5th edition of the Global Green Economy Index (GGEI) is a data-driven analysis of how 80 countries perform in the global green economy, as well as how expert practitioners rank this performance. Since its launch in 2010, the GGEI has signaled which countries are making progress towards greener economies, and which ones are not. The comparison of national green performance and perceptions of it revealed through the GGEI framework is more important than ever today.

Top Performers

Sweden is again the top performing country in the 2016 GGEI, followed by the other “Nordics” and Switzerland, Germany, and Austria. Amidst these strong results, the GGEI identified areas where these countries can improve their green performance further. These opportunities – focused around innovation, green branding and carbon efficiency – could propel their national green performance forward even more in the future.

Developing countries in Africa and Latin America–including Ethiopia, Zambia, Brazil, and Costa Rica– also perform well in this new GGEI edition, ranking in the top fifteen for performance. While Brazil and Costa Rica receive similarly strong results on our perception survey, Ethiopia and Zambia do not, suggesting a need for better green branding and communications in these two African countries.

Like in 2014, Copenhagen is the top green city, followed by Stockholm, Vancouver, Oslo and Singapore. This new GGEI only collected perception values for green cities as lack of data availability continues to impede our efforts to develop a comprehensive green city performance index. Given the significant role of cities in the global green economy, city-level data development is an urgent priority.

Laggards

No country in Asia ranks well for performance on this new GGEI, with the exception of Cambodia, which was the most improved country as compared to the last edition, rising 22 spots to 20th overall. China, India, Indonesia, Japan and South Korea do better on the perception side of the GGEI, but continue to register concerning performance results.

While many European Union (EU) members perform near the top of this GGEI edition, others including the Czech Republic, Estonia, Poland, Romania and Slovakia rank near the bottom. These results are worrisome and suggest uneven national green performance across the EU.

Many of the countries with high annual GDP growth today rank poorly on the GGEI, further highlighting the limits to GDP as a growth indicator. These countries are mostly in Asia (Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines) and Africa (Nigeria, Tanzania).

The top green economy performers worldwide

The top green economy performers worldwide

Countries with a high reliance on fossil fuel extraction and export generally perform poorly on the GGEI, with a few exceptions. Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Russia all perform poorly while Norway and Canada do much better.

Continuing Trends

Rapidly growing economies, China and India continue to show performance weakness on the GGEI Markets & Investment dimension. Given the large investment required to achieve their climate targets, green investment promotion, cleantech innovation, and corporate sustainability should be developed further.

The United States ranks near the top of the GGEI perception survey and it is widely viewed as a vital market for green investment and innovation, yet overall the U.S. continues to have mediocre performance results, ranking 30th of the 80 countries covered. However, the GGEI found that U.S. company-level initiatives to green supply chains and reduce carbon footprints are accelerating.

Despite having a new prime minister, Australia continues to register a poor result on this new GGEI, ranking 55th of the 80 countries covered for performance. While green markets there are showing some strength, the overall carbon intensity of the Australian economy remains extremely high.

Hosting the annual Conference of Parties (COP) can positively impact the host country’s green brand. Yet this short-term image boost does not always translate to improved green performance in the longer-term, as demonstrated by the low GGEI performance results for Poland (COP19), Qatar (COP18) and South Africa (COP17).

The United Kingdom’s GGEI performance continues to lag behind its EU peers, ranking 25th of the 80 countries covered. While the UK does very well on both the perception and performance side of the Markets & Investment dimension, inconsistent policies supporting renewable energy and green growth continue to hurt the UK on other parts of the GGEI.

Note: The full report can be accessed here

Is Global Warming Causing Stress Among Young Students?

Climate change is a pressing global issue and has only grown in the public eye. After many decades of suspicions and then confirmations of the negative impacts of humans on the environment, there are ever-increasing environmentalist movements that strive to bring awareness to the issue and try to stop and reverse these destructive forces.

The current generation is likely the most vocal and aware of the grave dangers of climate change. Because of the impact of the current environmentalist movement, increased education, and mainstream entrance, many young students are constantly thinking of ways that they can help the planet.

However, the weight of climate change remains heavy. Many young students report increased levels of anxiety and depression and cite global warming as a cause of their “climate anxiety”. Anxiety, especially climate anxiety, can be very harmful, and therapy or counseling as listed here may be a good option to help address it. Climate anxiety, and anxieties in general, should not be taken lightly.

climate anxiety

Why are young students stressed about the climate?

For people who don’t experience climate anxiety or tend to think about the environment, it can be confusing and distressing to see young folks so distraught. Many people believe that young students don’t have much at all to be worried about, except maybe for school and their social lives, and so they shouldn’t be experiencing anxiety.

However, the truth is that this stress can show up in young people for a number of reasons, and should not be discounted. The feeling of responsibility for global problems many generations in the making can be intense, especially as many of the worse consequences of climate change are getting more obvious and are only expected to increase.

1. This is the first time they are learning about the environmental crisis

For many young students, this could be the first time they’ve heard about global warming or at least the first time they are truly aware of what that means. The crisis feels very imminent and scary to them. Science does not lie to spare feelings, and indeed an understanding of the gravity of the situation may be necessary to fight it.

climate anxiety

2. Their brains are still in development

For any young person who is still developing, emotions may feel more intense. This does not mean that they are any less valid or that the stress is less founded in reality. This simply goes to show just how powerful the feelings of stress and anxiety can be for young students.

3. They perceive the impact on both their immediate and long-term futures

Many adults do not necessarily see the climate crisis as a large issue because the consequences seem as though they will only arise once their lives are over. This is not the case for young students who feel as though they will be personally impacted by the consequences.

What can we do about it?

Global warming and the anxiety and stress that individuals may experience surrounding it are not lost causes. Not only is it possible to develop coping mechanisms for the stress, but also to divert the negative feelings of stress and anxiety towards helpful practices that fight climate change.

1. Learn more about ways we can help in our daily lives

One major way for anyone to cope with anxiety is to learn and input concrete practices to counter that anxiety into their daily life. For climate anxiety, this may look like decreasing plastic waste, taking public transportation, or eating lower on the food chain.

2. Increase activism

Many young students look up to other youth activists, like Greta Thunberg, as role models in the fight against global warming. Allowing young students to participate safely in protests and strikes can help them to feel like they are part of the change. Parents can vocally support policies that aim to reduce the effects of global warming and may implement environmentally friendly practices and habits starting at home.

3. Attend therapy

Climate anxiety is a real aspect of general worry and can contribute to an anxiety disorder. Therapy can help young students establish personal coping mechanisms for their anxieties that can help them feel better in the long run. If anxiety does not seem manageable on one’s own, consider speaking with a therapist or setting an appointment for your child to do so.

good-therapist

Climate anxiety is a powerful emotion for a young student, but it is also a sign that this student is a caring, empathetic person. The awareness, engagement, and leadership visible in the next generation may in fact create a better world, free from global warming, for future generations. One must just remember that taking care of one’s own mental health is just as important as the health of the Earth, and self-care will make a more effective, long-lasting activist in the long run.

7 Eco-friendly Gift Ideas For Couples This New Year

This New Year, why not surprise your partner with an eco-friendly gift? Going green is a great way to do something meaningful and lasting for our planet, and it also shows that you care about your partner’s values. Eco-friendly gifts come in all shapes and styles, so you can find something special for your loved one without buying new items. Consider reusing products, like buying vintage or recycled jewelry and accessories or purchasing upcycled decor or furniture.

small things to help the environment

You can also opt for materials made from natural sources instead of petroleum-based synthetics like bamboo sheets or paper products made from post-consumer waste. On the practical level, giving renewable energy-sourced power sources like reusable solar batteries can help keep your significant other charged up while doing their part to reduce carbon emissions. Whatever you decide on, gifting an eco-friendly item will be appreciated by your partner and Mother Nature alike! Keep reading to learn more about eco-friendly gifts and how they can make a big difference this New Year!

Here are some eco-friendly gifts for couples to explore:

1. Reusable Water Bottles

We all know that plastic water bottles are terrible for the environment. Helping couples kickstart their journey towards an eco-friendly lifestyle starts by gifting them reusable water bottles! Reusable water bottles can come in many different materials, such as stainless steel, glass, bamboo, or even silicone. Not only do they look great, but they’re also convenient and sustainable! Many companies even offer personalization options so each couple can have their own unique set of reusable water bottles.

2. Cannabis Gummies

This New Year, cannabis-infused edibles are an exciting option for couples who want to give each other something special. Gummies offer a discreet way to enjoy cannabis-infused products and feature consistent doses that make it easier for you and your significant other to pace yourselves. These delicious gummies come in different flavors and dosages, making them perfect for all occasions. Whether you are gifting a seasoned pro or someone who is trying these treats out for the first time, there’s no reason to miss out on this unique new opportunity.

HHC Gummies are the perfect way to show your eco-friendly side. They come in an assortment of flavors for everyone to enjoy without guilt! Due to their packaging-free nature, cannabis gummies are 100% biodegradable and free from preservatives, making an excellent choice for those looking to do their part in protecting the environment.

So this New Year, why not make sure your celebrations go off with a bang with some delicious and discrete cannabis gummies?

3. Clay Statues

Clay statues may be a great option if you’re looking for the perfect eco-friendly gift this new year. People have been making clay sculptures for thousands of years and today’s process for creating these unique items involves minimal energy consumption, thus limiting the environmental impact of their production. Plus, clay statues can last generations and require no additional energy to maintain them, making clay a great material to give as a new year’s gift to someone special (or even to yourself).

Each statue is unique in its design and texture, giving it character and charm that other materials can’t replicate. Clay statuettes are an excellent way to commemorate special occasions without damaging the environment or your wallet.

4. Organic Cotton Beddings

Another tremendous eco-friendly gift idea is organic cotton bedding! Organic cotton is grown without harsh chemicals or pesticides, making it much better for the environment than traditional bedding made from synthetic materials. Organic cotton beddings also tend to be much softer and more comfortable than synthetic counterparts. Plus, they come in various colors and styles, so you can find something that matches every couple’s style!

eco friendly gifts for couples

5. Plants and Seeds

This New Year, a great gift idea for couples is to give plants and seeds as a symbol of love and growth. Plants and seeds offer the perfect way to represent the couple’s shared journey in the coming year. They add a unique touch to the home — flowers for bright, blooming moments or succulents for infinite resilience — providing aesthetic and practical value. Plants are also known to have incredible therapeutic effects making them a significant present from partners to each other such that they can tend to these little reminders of their bond throughout the year.

6. Compost Bin

This New Year is a great time to look for sustainable gifts, and what better way to do that than with a compost bin?

Composting is an easy and green way to reduce landfill waste and help the environment by turning food scraps into nutrient-rich soil. Composting encourages a balanced cycle of organic matter, which helps build healthy, “living” soils for gardening. It’s also great for plants because it helps replenish nitrogen and potassium levels, opens up soil structure, and buffers pH. People looking for ways to help the environment can try getting a compost bin as a gift or even give one as an excellent present!

liquid fertilizer

They are exceedingly beneficial to the planet and can also be aesthetically pleasing when cheerfully placed in gardens or on balconies. So this New Year, let’s spread joy while helping the environment with eco-friendly gifts like compost bins!

7. Energy Saving Appliances

A great way to help couples save money and be more eco-friendly is by giving them energy-saving appliances. This could be anything from an energy-efficient washer/dryer set to LED light bulbs or solar panels! Plus, many energy-saving appliances come with tax incentives, making them even more attractive gifts! By investing in energy-saving appliances now, couples can save money on their electricity bills while still doing their part to reduce their carbon footprint.

energy efficient home

Conclusion

This new year has plenty of unique eco-friendly gift ideas that will make perfect gifts for any couple! From reusable water bottles to compost bins to energy-saving appliances, these sustainable gifts will bring joy and help couples on their journey towards living a more eco-friendly lifestyle. So why not start 2023 on a green foot by giving the special people in your life some thoughtful yet practical gifts this holiday season?

Happy shopping!