How Artificial Intelligence is Saving Our Planet

It takes a high level of data analysis to predict the effects of climate change and the implications of our actions to stop and adapt to it. Often, scientists have terabytes of data, but not the computing power to make sense of climate issues like hurricanes. But this level of analysis is possible with artificial intelligence (AI). In fact, AI may be the best weapon we have to combat and adapt to the effects of climate change. That’s because it can analyze large chunks of data from past events and make accurate predictions about future ones.

Today, AI is helping to monitor and predict everything from glacier retreat to commercial waste management. As innovations in “deep learning” march on, AI’s prescience will help inform scientists about climate impacts and policymakers on the most prudent steps for adaptation. Here are some critical ways AI is helping to preserve our planet.

Smarter Home Energy Use

AI is helping save the planet by assisting homeowners through energy-efficient smart homes. The Internet of Things and today’s “smart devices” let homeowners control their energy use and lower their monthly bills. Smart thermostats can adjust temperature settings for specific rooms in a house. Smart water sprinklers can change water usage based on weather forecasts. And smart security systems can cut down on false alarms calls — so fewer gas-guzzling trips by first responders. The automation, connection, and prediction power built into these smart devices allow homeowners to lower their carbon footprint.

But smart energy use is not just about conservation — it’s also about the best time to use energy. Peak energy hours like evenings are higher-demand, higher-cost times. Smart devices can automate energy use for low-demand hours. Plus, off-peak times like mid-day are when alternative energy sources like solar and wind contribute the most. Therefore, smart technology promotes renewable energy.

Soil Conservation

Soil degradation is a problem often overlooked in the media. But it has serious consequences for humanity’s ability to adapt to and survive climate change. It takes a millennium to generate only three centimeters of topsoil, and soil degradation is happening at a much faster rate. Chemicals, deforestation, erosion, and global warming are major contributors to soil degradation. And if the current rate of degradation continues, the planet’s farmable land could disappear within 60 years, according to United Nations officials.

But farmers and scientists are using AI to help conserve the soil by marshaling complex algorithms along with robots and drones to detect erosion and monitor soil health. For example, one company has developed an agricultural app to help farmers identify nutrient deficiencies within their soil. And farmers are using machine learning to predict the best times to plant, irrigate, and harvest crops based on weather changes. Accurate predictions mean less need for pesticides and fertilizers, which degrade the soil.

Exploring and Protecting Oceans

Scientists watch and test the health of oceans because they’re the best indicators of Earth’s health. Microplastics, increased CO2 levels, and ocean acidification are changing the surface of the planet. The key to protecting oceans is exploring and monitoring them for changes. Climate scientists and oceanographers are using AI technology to drive autonomous marine vehicles to the deepest depths. And some companies are developing autonomous garbage collection systems that would help remove plastics and floating debris.

Another emerging technology — blockchain — is helping to track fishing and identify illegal behavior. Blockchain is the same technology that powers cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. The technology acts as a transparent ledger for transactions. Blockchain is a decentralized system, which means it operates autonomously and isn’t subject to misuse and abuse. Trust is critical to international treaties that regulate fishing quotas and manage overfishing. Blockchain technology can record each fish (e.g., tuna) with a scannable code uploaded to the ledger. Therefore, retailers, customers, and regulators can confirm that fish are legally caught.

Air Pollution Detection

AI is becoming an invaluable tool for tracking our air quality and identifying sources of pollution. During accidental emissions, city air quality officials need to identify and respond quickly. Some European cities are using leak sensors and AI to help create emission maps, predict mortality rates, and estimate financial costs of emergency responses. These data points give decision makers a more accurate view of the air pollution along with more targeted remediation.

In addition to monitoring air pollution, AI is also cutting tailpipe emissions. AI manages self-driving cars to make getting from point A-to-B more efficient. Self-driving automobiles can cut oil consumption and greenhouse gas emissions by 2% to 4% annually. AI and global positioning systems operating driverless tractor-trailer rigs will make deliveries non-stop, faster, and less costly to the planet. Complex algorithms, sensors, and traffic lights are directing traffic flow in some cities. These systems are currently reducing travel time by 25%, braking by 30%, and idling time by 40%.

Evaluating the Efficacy of Action

AI is bringing powerful ways to monitor and predict threats to our environment. Synthetic thinking adds value for scientists, officials, and policymakers by giving them deeper looks into current environmental situations. Perhaps, more than anything, AI’s biggest potential lies in figuring out where solutions hit the mark and where they miss. It’s counterproductive to invest resources and time into bad solutions. But that’s highly likely, given the complexity of climate change and adaptation.

Where do we invest? Which coastline needs saving the most? What communities are at a higher risk? With dwindling resources and bigger dangers, we will face some hard decisions in the future about where to deploy our efforts. At some point, those decisions will mean life or death. We will need quick thinking and accurate data. Evaluating our options and predicting their implications is where AI will bring the most value.

How to Choose Weather-Resistant Siding for your Home

There used to be only a couple of options available to cover the exterior of your home. Nowadays, new products are hitting the market with fervor. The problem is that with added options come both advantages and disadvantages. It is no longer just a question of wood, aluminum, or vinyl siding. Now you have better and longer-lasting materials to choose from, but the price can vary significantly, and it can become overwhelming to choose a material based on budget, weather conditions and aesthetic desire.

weather-siding

The biggest problem with exterior siding, especially in warm or humid regions, is going to be its weather resilience. Water build-up is going to be one of your biggest enemies.

There are four types of siding to choose from. Each has their own advantages and disadvantages. If you are limited either by your climate or the money you must spend, below is a breakdown from farming tips canada, to help explain which might be the best for your area, seeing as how the harshest home sidings are tested on the farm.

Vinyl siding

Vinyl siding is going to be one of the least-expensive materials you can put on the exterior of your home. That makes it one of the most common types of materials used. The advantages to vinyl siding aren’t just the price. It is impervious to water and many insects.

The biggest disadvantage is that it can melt, burn or crack. In high winds, it can also make rattling noises. Also, if you are going for an upscale look, vinyl doesn’t have the same aesthetic appeal that other siding materials can deliver, and it typically isn’t used on higher-priced homes.

Plastic siding

Plastic siding is a relatively new alternative. The advantage of plastic siding is that it can resemble more expensive roofing material and requires very little upkeep. It is much thicker than its vinyl alternative, but that makes it more expensive.

Although it’s costlier, if you are looking for a good weather-resistant siding, it is a grade above vinyl and may save you money in the long term as it is less prone to damage or necessary repairs.

Fiber cement siding

Fiber cement siding is also a new material on the market. It is typically a blend of cellulose, sand and cement and gives a much more aesthetically appealing look to the house. It looks much more like real wood than both plastic and vinyl. Its advantages are that it is insect- and fire-resistant. However, if you live in a harsh climate, it is probably not going to be your best choice.

Plastic siding is one of best options for weather-resistant conditions

Plastic siding is one of best options for weather-resistant conditions

Water that can accumulate from the freeze-thaw cycle can damage the siding if you don’t maintain it correctly by painting it with water-resilient paint. You can buy it pre-painted, but it is much costlier and the colors that you must choose from can be somewhat limited. The pre-factory paints tend to last longer. Although higher-maintenance than plastic and vinyl siding, it still requires less maintenance than wood siding.

Wood siding

Wood shingles and clapboard are considered the most aesthetically pleasing materials for your siding. They are also going to be the costliest and require the most maintenance. Wood siding is easily attached using a coil siding nailer and they have a traditional charm that you can’t get from other materials. Clapboard is going to be less expensive than wood siding, but it is still pricier than other alternatives such as vinyl, plastic and cement board.

Wood shingles are not going to be the best weather-resistant materials for harsh conditions. It is not uncommon for them to succumb to insects, be less fire-resistant and to twist or warp when subjected to harsh climates. Overall, it requires the most maintenance too. Painting frequently is a must. Although being capable of being factory-primed and painted, it will take periodic maintenance to keep it looking good and safe from exterior conditions.

Conclusion

Of all the choices, available, plastic siding may be the best for weather-resistant conditions. Offering you a hardy material, it can stand up to a lot. It may not be as aesthetically appealing as the other options, but you don’t have to worry about maintaining it or having to replace it. Whether budget is an issue or not, plastic siding offers the best protection against the harsh conditions of nature.

Producing High Precision Machine Parts From Non-Hazardous Ceramic Waste

Never before has our society had such a massive and noticeable predilection for recycling. Many industries now want to show that they have a minimal carbon footprint and are doing everything in their power to reduce the burden they cause on the planet as a whole.

This desire has now come to the machining industry. Ceramics often go unused in many industries. This can be things such as broken or excess tiles from a construction site or any other number of ceramic using industries. Previously, we didn’t really know what to do with this excess waste and carted it off to landfills for it to live out the rest of its days.

Now, we are able to grind the ceramics into a fine powder that can then be repurposed for a staggering number of alternative uses. Turning this powder into useable machine parts is just one of these uses that is now seeing some major traction.

Why machine parts?

Many people are woefully unaware of just how prevalent ceramic parts are in the industry. Everything from electrical insulators to use in high-powered lasers and even as durable nozzles for dispensing materials from. Ceramic is highly prized for its thermal resistance, toughness, and applications in the electrical field.

Any of these parts, however, require careful machining of ceramics to get the parts to the right specifications. What this means is that there is a huge demand for people who can take ceramic waste, break it down, and then change it into a useable part.

Okay, but why ceramic?

Ceramic parts are one of the biggest places for growth in industry application currently. Both designers and engineers are finding new ways to apply ceramic to their needs, and part of this requires heavy testing. It can be prohibitively expensive for consistently machine parts from new ceramic for testing in ways that haven’t been proven to be economically viable yet, so using repurposed and recycled ceramics are a great way to test ideas before taking them to market.

The low weight and toughness of ceramics mean that over time, many parts thought only usable if they were made from metal or specialized materials can now be created from relatively simple ceramic materials. As chemistry advances and allows us to create new forms of ceramics in all manner of shapes and sizes, so do our possible applications for these ceramics.

 

In short, nobody wants to be left behind as better ceramic products are created which in turn is creating a huge demand for ceramic waste for recycling purposes.

They say that technology advances at an exponential pace, meaning that the time it takes for us to double our relative amount of technological advancement is shrinking with each major technological milestone. There’s very little opportunity for those who can’t manage to keep up, with obsolescence coming quickly, there is a major incentive to be on the cusp of any given field’s knowledge. Having the newest and best ceramic parts is just part of this drive for future-proofing businesses, meaning ceramic waste is at a premium currently.

12 Ways Small Businesses Can Save Energy

Saving money is important for businesses and saving energy is important for all of us – so here is the perfect mix of both and some great tips for small businesses to save on energy.

  1. Get A Free Energy Audit

A full energy audit helps identify issues that might be causing energy wastage – these include insulation issues and air leaks. Most electricity utility companies offer these audits free of charge. The inspection not only helps you determine how energy is used but also ways to address energy wastage.  The audit report will also recommend ways to keep your energy usage on the low, such as investing in energy efficient lighting and equipment.

Inquire with Josco Energy Corporation about a free audit.

  1. Invest in Energy-Efficient Office Equipment

Energy efficient (energy-star rated) appliances use up less energy as compared to older non-rated ones. That said, it would be advisable for you to lease/buy energy star rated office electronics.  This should help see your energy bills drop significantly, hence substantial cost savings in the long run.

  1. Avoid Peak Demand

Peak demand can be defined as the time of the day when there’s a high demand for energy. These are the hours when energy usage is the highest. The typical peak hours start from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Reducing your demand for electricity during these times and only running the factory and heavy equipment early in the morning, and later in the evening can help reduce energy consumption. Reducing your demand for energy during peak hours also means the business spends less on energy usage at the end of the day.

  1. Use Programmable Thermostats

Smart thermostats make it easy to monitor and control temperatures in the workplace when everyone is in the office (9 – 5), and away. The thermostat can be programmed to turn OFF the heating and cooling appliances during the night, and back ON a few minutes to ‘work hours’. This in return sees you save lots of energy that would have otherwise been wasted had the HVAC systems remained on through the night.

  1. Switch Off Lights in Unused Areas

Most offices have an always-on lights setup. This means the lights in all rooms including bathrooms, conference rooms, breakrooms, and even unused corridors. This leads to energy wastage which can be preserved if lights were only turned on when needed. Installing sensors to turn the lights on or off when required could help too.

  1. Switch to Energy-Efficient Light Bulbs

Incandescent bulbs use up more energy for the same amount of light when compared to CFLs and LEDs that use just a fraction of it. Switching from incandescent bulbs to CFL or LEDs should help the company use less energy in lighting. This is the simplest and easiest ways to save energy in the workplace.

  1. Make Use of Natural Light

Always take advantage of the natural sunlight whenever you can. You can do so by drawing the blinds, curtains, and opening the windows to allow the sunlight in. Be sure to switch off lights in well-lit areas well. Letting the sunlight in also means you get passive heating from the sun, hence no need to have the heaters on. While it may seem like nothing, taking advantage of the natural sunlight should help save the business a few kilowatt hours a day.

  1. Run Fans

Have fans installed in showrooms, warehouses, kitchens, and offices alike. The fans will help keep the air moving, hence facilitate optimal air circulation. This means the HVAC system will run more efficiently and smoothly translating to lower energy consumption.

  1. Power Down Computers and Other Office Equipment When Not in Use

Having everyone power down their computers at the end of the day should help save lots of energy. You might also want to set the laptops to go to sleep or hibernate if not used for a certain number of minutes or hours. Be sure to turn off and unplug other electronic devices from the mains sockets.

Although modern toasters, coffee makers, printers, and other office appliances have a ‘sleep’ mode when not in use, these continue to draw some current if left plugged. Unplugging these will save some more kilowatts. 

  1. Avoid ‘Phantom’ Energy

As mentioned earlier, some equipment will continue to draw electricity when plugged in.  That said, making it a habit of unplugging such devices or using a power strip on them, can help save some energy. With a power strip, a simple flip of the switch will cut electricity supply to the connected devices. 

  1. Make Adjustments to the Surrounding Landscape

If you have control over the landscape around, you can then use it to your advantage. Energy-efficient landscaping, such as planting trees strategically to block winds and provide shelter, will go a long way in reducing heating and cooling costs.

  1. Involve the Employees

Encouraging the employees to take on energy-efficiency practices can help reduce electricity costs and energy wastage too. Train the employees to turn off their computers after work, switch off lights, as well as use energy efficient appliances in the workplace.  Inspiring them to save more energy should work well for the company. You can see more tips and tricks on how to improve employee energy-saving practices here.

Renewable Energy Industry in Africa: What Are the Opportunities For Foreign Consultants?

Currently, more than 600 million people living in Sub-Saharan Africa, out of a total population of 900 million, do not have access to electricity. Even those with some kind of electrical connection suffer from unreliable supply, lack of sufficient power on the grid, high energy prices, or a combination of these, meaning they lack full access to power.

 

However, the solution is in sight, and it is green. It could be that the majority of the “dark continent” will skip fossil fuel- based energy entirely, and skip straight to renewable energy solutions, from those living in refugee camps, to the cities. The renewable energy industry in Africa represents great opportunities for many, not only the local populations who will benefit from a stable electricity supply, but also local workers and international consultants whose expertise are greatly needed. Not to mention of course the benefits for the environment.

If you are a foreign consultant looking to work in the renewable energy industry in Africa, here is what you should know.

Opportunities in Renewable Energy Industry in Africa

The renewable energy industry is booming in many African countries, most notably Nigeria. Here, it is hoped that biomass will help to bridge the gap between the current electricity capacity of 12,522MW and demand of 98,000MW. This dramatic shortfall, despite Nigeria being an OPEC nation and the world’s 13th largest producer of oil, certainly shows the need for renewable energy solutions. Currently, only 1% of Nigeria’s electricity is powered by renewable energy with a small percentage of this being biomass. However, the country’s rich resources in biomass fuels such as agricultural residues and municipal solid waste means that biomass could represent the solution to the country’s energy crisis.

Across the continent, many countries are already implementing small-scale solar, wind and geothermal technology, particularly to provide energy to remote and under-serviced populations. The World Bank is committed to promoting sustainable energy solutions in developing nations, particularly in Africa. From 2014 to 2018, the World Bank funded $11.5 billion worth of renewable energy projects in developing countries. This continues to be a funding priority for the developing world’s largest financier.

Funding from the World Bank and others has led to a variety of renewable energy projects across Africa, which is only set to increase in future years. These projects have an intense need for foreign consultants, due to the demand for expertise outstripping local availability in many cases.

Guide For Working in African Renewable Energy Industry

Working in the renewable sector in Africa offers the opportunity not only to be part of an exciting, booming industry, but also one which has the potential to make a difference to the lives of millions of people. Working in the sector, and in Africa in general, does come with its own unique challenges, however, so it is important to be prepared.

1. Research Local Laws and Regulations

Firstly, it is important to be prepared that working in a new country will mean that many things will be unfamiliar. One of the key differences will be when it comes to laws and regulations. The company or organisation you are working with should be able to advise you on these matters, but it is also a good idea to do your own research ahead of time to get an idea of local regulations, and how these will impact on your work.

2. Be Open to Local Customs

A big part of working in another country is adjusting to the local customs. Understanding local culture and traditions will not only help you feel more comfortable, but it will also make you more effective in your work. After you arrive in the field, make it one of your key priorities to absorb as much as you can of the local culture.

Additionally, you should be prepared that infrastructure and logistics may be very different from what you are accustomed to: this can impact on everything from internet connection and availability of supplies to transit times.

3. Make Sure Your Training is Upto Date

Availability of training while on site may be limited, so it is important to make sure your qualifications are up to date and that you have skilled up with all relevant training before you leave home. Consult with a UK-based company such as We Do Training to see what courses are on offer, and what may be helpful for you while in the field.

Eco-friendly Benefits of Fiberglass Insulation For Metal Buildings

Fiberglass insulation was first put on the market in 1938, and in all the years since, no alternative has really challenged its preeminent position as the most effective choice for insulation on both commercial and residential construction projects. Fiberglass insulation improves a structure’s energy efficiency, reduces heating and cooling costs, and makes occupants more comfortable. These are just a few of the advantages that make it the insulator of choice, even in the latest eco-friendly projects. Below are  additional benefits of fiberglass insulation:

1) Moisture Resistance

Fiberglass insulation does not absorb or retain water according to www.cyclonebuildings.com who utilise it in some instances. It can still be contaminated or compromised by moisture; insulation that has gotten wet needs to be inspected and dried to ensure that it does not lose its insulating properties.

Wet insulation can be successfully re-installed and deliver its full R-value as intended by the manufacturer so long as installers confirm that the insulation and the area around it in the structure have not been compromised by water.

In order to provide full insulating value, fiberglass insulation requires a vapor barrier. When properly selected and installed, a vapor barrier catches condensation before it can penetrate the building envelope and reach the insulation. The vapor barrier’s perm rating must be appropriate to the structure and the local climate, and it must be sealed into place with a proper adhesive so that it does not leak.

2) Fire Resistance

Fiberglass insulation is inherently non-combustible because the materials from which it is made – sand and/or recycled glass – are non-combustible themselves. Fiberglass insulation does not need to be treated with chemicals to make it fire-resistant, and it does not become any more combustible as it ages.

In many areas, local building codes even allow the use of fiberglass insulation as an effective fire stop in wall assemblies made of wood or steel.

3) Sound Dampening

Fiberglass insulation absorbs sound, and this means it reduces sound transmission through walls, ceilings, floors, and HVAC ducts where it is used. As a general rule of thumb, one inch of fiberglass insulation increases the sound transmission class, or STC, of a building assembly by three or even four points. Additional inches of fiberglass insulation each add two more points to the STC rating.

4) Use Of Recycled Materials

The manufacture of fiberglass insulation has come to rely on incorporating a significant amount of recycled material. Between 1992 and 2000, insulation manufacturers used over 8 billion pounds (3.6 billion kg) of recycled glass from pre and post-consumer sources. Using this material productively saved millions of cubic feet in landfill space.

The total amount of recycled material used in fiberglass insulation varies from brand to brand and product to product, but some products are made with as much as 80 percent recycled glass. Fiberglass insulation also requires the use of silica sand, which is an abundant and naturally-renewing resource.

Bottom Line

Fiberglass insulation remains a highly competitive and attractive insulation option, even when considered according to environmentally-friendly “green” priorities. In the decades it has been used, it has proven time and again to be a reliable and effective material.

What Determines the Price of a Home Solar Panel Installation?

People are leaning toward installing solar panels to have a “green” source of energy that would eventually cost them nothing. However, the price point is one of the major concerns that worry homeowners. People feel more inclined to check the price tag on solar panels to decide whether they are going to go for them or not. Just like any renewable source of energy, the initial cost may sound very expensive, however, afterwards, the fuel price comes down to zero. The average cost swings between $15k and $25k, this gap in the range of prices depend mainly on the solar panel size.

But other than the size of solar panels, what other factors affect the price of installation?

The Size Of Solar Panels

The cost of solar panels is calculated by dollar per watt depending on how much electricity you need to generate. A bigger system requires more work to install and that’s how the size affects the cost of installing solar panels. 2kW would averagely cost around $4k, while solar panels that would generate 25 kW costs $53k. Crunching the numbers, it does sound that solar panel cost a lot more than average electricity bills paid per month, thanks to low-interest installment plans, buying big solar panels won’t cost you an arm and a leg.

Variation Of Price Between States

Solar panel prices may seem like they’re all the same across all states, however, you can use the same exact solar panels at two different states and you will get different costs. The reason behind these variations depends on the cost of electricity in every state. Let’s take Washington, for example, the cost of 6kw generated from a solar panel will cost around $9k, while the same in New York will cost $12k.

Solar panels are becoming more accessible, for homeowners and businesses

The prices definitely seem costly, however, if one thought about the overall cost of electricity from solar energy and normal sources, solar is definitely cheaper.

The Quality

Prices differ according to the manufacturer brand; prices can range from $13k up to $17k. The local Sandbar Solar not only provides high-quality panels, complex commercial and residential setups, but also cares about the community by sponsoring many events with their eco-friendly Solar Trailer.

Other than the panel brand you are going to choose, other factors must be kept in mind; the experience of the installer, racking equipment, and the location also affects the prices. So, when you are choosing the brand for the installation project, you need to be careful and consider all the factors and aspects.

Clean Energy

Choosing a renewable source of energy is the best thing one can do these days. The greenhouse effect that is caused by coal, petroleum, and gas will put an end to the earth at some point. It’s our responsibility to go “green” to save the Earth for a better world. Other than that, even if you don’t care about the environment, a clean source of energy that depends on wind or the sun, would definitely cost you a big amount at the beginning, but in the long run, they are cheaper sources of electricity.

Creating a Sustainable and Energy-Efficient Home on a Budget

In the US, the typical home and family spend an average minimum of $2,200 on energy costs per year, according to the US Department of Energy. Understandably, homeowners are aiming to cut costs and seeking to save oodles of money down the road. With that being the case, it isn’t surprising to find that more and more people are turning to smart home technology. What about those that can’t exactly afford all the tech-led bells and whistles, however?

Think Long-Term Package

Instead of looking at the things to put in a home, it’s smart to consider the entirety of the home itself—from conceptual plans to layouts and building materials. Planning and choosing a home that is affordable and fashioned to be conducive to a sustainable and energy-efficient build will save you thousands of dollars in the future.

For example, you can try living in a mobile home. Lenders and lending institutions like mobile and manufactured homes so you won’t have trouble securing a loan. These types of homes come in a wide gamut of sustainable materials to choose from like recycled steel. So it provides a good marriage between budgets and sustainability.

Enforcing Helpful Practices

Beyond having a home that’s built to be conducive for sustainability and energy-efficiency, you need to take a long hard look at the habits of the people in the home. When you’re on a budget, fancy things like smart thermostats can be a tad out of reach. So what can you do? You can try enforcing helpful practices.

For example, lowering the water heating temperature can lower your energy consumption by 22% annually. Other good practices are sealing any air leaks so you can avoid any excessive use of heating. Not only will these help you save money but they’ll help keep everyone on the same page when it comes to being energy-efficient.

Seek Sustainable Technology

All the savings you get from a well-built home and sustainable practices will eventually give you more options. Sustainable technology can help boost your home’s energy efficiency. While tech like solar panels can be expensive, it is always worth noting that there are Federal Tax Credit plans that allow homeowners to claim at least 30% of installation costs, according to NerdWallet. Other good options are biogas digesters and active recycling posts on the property.

When it comes to creating a sustainable and energy-efficient home, there are always a lot of options to choose from. It is all a matter of doing the right research to find which solutions help you best with the budget that you presently have. Always remember that whatever you spend now toward sustainability will eventually mean triple in savings and more down the line.

15 Simple Ways Your Family Can Save the Planet

Life, the miracle of the universe, appeared about 4 billion years ago, and we, humans – only 200,000 years ago. But we have already succeeded in destroying the balance that is so important for the life on Earth. What do we actually know about life on Earth? The tenth part? Or maybe the hundredth? Earth is a real miracle. Life remains a mystery.

Trees grow towards the sun, which feeds their foliage. Animals are adapted to their pastures, and their pastures are adapted to them. As a result, everyone wins. Animals satisfy hunger, and plants flourish again. In this great life journey on Earth, each species has a particular function and takes a certain place. There are no useless creatures. They are all balanced.

And Homo sapiens – a man of sense – enters the arena of history. He received a fabulous inheritance that the Earth has carefully preserved for 4 billion years. He is only 200,000 years old, but he has already changed the face of the world. Despite his vulnerability, he captured all the habitats and conquered the territory like no other species before him. Today, life – our life – is only a link in the chain of countless lives following one another on Earth for 4 billion years.

For a long time, the relationship between people and the planet were fairly balanced and resembled a natural and equal union. Now, we rarely think about global issues, being lost in everyday concerns. Meanwhile, we are on the verge of a disaster. Thanks to the achievements of science and technology, people learned to satisfy their needs, but some inventions brought us much more harm than good. We are killing our planet gradually but purposefully.

Planting more trees and vegetation will go a long way in reducing heat in urban settings.

These 15 simple tips do not require you either time or extra effort. Only by changing your habits quite a bit, you and your loved one can make the world cleaner and safer.

  1. Make the most of natural ambient light. Turn off the light in the room or the computer monitor when you do not need it. And do not forget about the chargers in the appliance receptacle!
  2. Teach yourself to turn off the water at a time when you do not need it – for example, while brushing your teeth or rubbing the pan with a detergent. On average, according to statistics, 5-10 liters of water (depending on pressure) flows out of the tap per minute. Also, reduce the time spent in the shower for 1-2 minutes.
  3. Replace incandescent bulbs with LED: they save energy and last longer.
  4. Change to a bike. It is cool, fast, and comfortable. Having tried only once, you no longer want to get on the “hot bus” or spend time stuck in traffic jams. In addition, a bicycle is an excellent vehicle as it does not pollute the air with dangerous gases.
  5. Use phosphate-free detergents. On the Internet, there are many resources offering ecological household chemicals.
  6. Buy less plastic bags, go to the store with your eco-bag.
  7. Replace plastic with paper and glass. If you cannot do without disposable tableware – for example, when going on a picnic – use paper plates and cups rather than plastic ones.
  8. Choose cosmetics and chemicals especially carefully. You should give preference to products that have not been tested on animals and do not adversely affect the environment at different stages of production.
  9. Though it is as simple as ABC but very effective – try to bring plastic, glass, and paper for recycling.
  10. Bring batteries to special shops and institutions because this is a dangerous and very toxic type of waste.
  11. Refuse semi-finished products. Experts say that today, the manufacture of these products is fully controlled by monopoly companies that abuse antibiotics, overload the ecosystem, and apply the principles of intensive management for their own profit. Of course, in such conditions, quality suffers. Homemade food is much better. Do not know how to cook? A dating site may be helpful.
  12. Buy local food – the one that is made in your area. This food undergoes less chemical treatment which is sometimes used for long-term transportation.
  13. Use water filters. In this case, you do not need to spend money on bottled drinking water. Thus, you will not only save your family budget but also reduce the environmental impact caused by the production and transportation of plastic bottles.
  14. Plant flowers on window sills and trees in the courtyards. Do not let anyone cut down green spaces near your house.
  15. Support environmental organizations and encourage your family to do it.

“Orbiting Earth, I saw how beautiful our planet is. People, let us preserve and increase this beauty, not destroy it!”

– Yuri Gagarin

Zero Waste Trends to Watch

Most people have heard about concepts such as single-stream recycling, but there’s another approach known as zero waste. People who support the concept of zero waste agree that, in a broader sense, it means reducing dependence on landfills and increasing reliance on material recovery facilities. But, after that, the definition varies primarily based on industries, manufacturers and even entire countries.

Even so, there are inspiring trends that show how people and companies are working hard to reduce the amount of waste produced, thereby getting ever closer to that desirable zero benchmark. Below are some of the major trends taking place across the world in the field of zero waste:

More Reusable Packaging

We live in a world where it’s possible to order almost anything online and have it quickly arrive on a doorstep — sometimes the same day a person placed the order. And, society loves the convenience, but the dependence on delivered products causes an increase in packaging materials.

It is often astounding how many packing peanuts, layers of bubble wrap and cardboard cartons come with the things we buy. And, the manufacturers and shipping companies consistently bring up how boxes get dropped or otherwise mishandled during transit, making the extraordinary amounts of protective packaging products necessary.

On a positive note, a company called Limeloop makes a shipping envelope designed from recycled billboard wrapping people can reuse thousands of times. Another company called Returnity communicates with distributors to urge them to use the establishment’s boxes and envelopes, both of which people can rely on dozens of times instead of throwing them away after single uses.

If you are a business looking to adopt eco-friendly practices, you should read this article on green packaging methods.

Ceramic Mugs in British Coffee Shops

In some regions of the world, customers who visit coffee shops don’t get asked whether they’ll be drinking their coffee on site or taking it with them to go. However, many leading coffee shops in the United Kingdom find out that detail from customers who order drinks, then serve the beverages in non-disposable mugs to people who’ll enjoy their purchases on the spot.

Also, all 950 Starbucks locations in Great Britain recently began charging customers five cents for getting their drinks in disposable cups. Conversely, it rewards them by taking 25 cents off the costs of their orders when they bring reusable cups into the stores.

Creative Ways to Cut Down on Farm Waste

Manure (or fertilizer) is a reality on farms around the world. And, the commercially bought versions of it contribute to excessive waste and inflated costs. Some even harm future growth when farmers apply manure too heavily and negatively affect the soil’s balance.

But, besides avoiding commercially-sold manure and not applying it excessively if used, what else can people in the agriculture sector do to make farm waste more manageable? They can look for unique outlets that may want to buy it.

One startup uses a detailed manure-refining process to extract the cellulose from cow dung. Business representatives then use the cellulose — a byproduct from the grass and corn cows eat — for a new kind of fabric.

What about using animal waste for energy? A forward-thinking farmer did that with his manure lagoons, making them produce biogas that powers homes.

These unusual solutions highlight unconventional use cases for animal droppings, such as poultry litter, that support zero-waste goals, provided farmers want to explore them.

An Uptick in Reusable Food Containers

People often pack their lunches in plastic containers before heading off to work, but when they get food delivered or pick it up from a provider to eat at home later, the associated containers usually fill up garbage cans after people chow down.

Some facilities are trying to change that. At The University of California Merced campus, a pilot program occurred where students who stopped by dining halls for meals to take away brought reusable containers with them. After people ate the food from them, they could return them to get washed and ready for future meals.

Moreover, a pizza restaurant in Wales provides an aluminum box for people to use again and again when taking their pies home. One of the problems with cardboard pizza containers is they can’t be recycled when contaminated with grease. However, people can buy the metal ones for a small, one-time fee.

Opt for reusable containers for food and beverages

Then, by using them, they get 50-cent discounts on their pizza. The restaurant also backs the boxes with a lifetime guarantee and will replace them for no charge if necessary due to breakage or damage. Also, because metal conducts heat, the material helps pizza stay hotter for longer than it would in cardboard boxes.

Innovations to Complement Commitment

Adhering to a zero waste lifestyle undoubtedly requires dedication and a willingness to look beyond old habits. However, for people who show those characteristics, numerous inventions and improvements make it easier to do away with the throw-away culture.