Archive for January, 2010

Non-electronic play with unplugged fun

As most of us might know, the Discovery green in Houston was home to about 50 globes that send out a very important message to all of us. The globe that I thought sends out the most important message and fun for everyone to enjoy was the “non-electronic play” globe. This globe was design by many students from Francis W. Parker School. The message they were trying to send out to everyone is to spend less time playing with your electronic toys and spend some time with family and friends as well as to conserve energy. This globe is covered with drawings of kids performing different activated what do now require electricity to enjoy. Some of which these activities are; reading a book, riding a bike, surfing, playing sports and much more, fun activities to do with friends and family to promote “TV tune out”. What is “TV tune out”? Well “TV tune out” is a week that every one turns off their electronics in their home and gathers together to enjoy activities that don’t use up electricity. By participating and promoting “TV tune out” week we can reduce the amount of green house gasses that are release in to our air.

-Betsy Garcia

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A Plant Based Diet

As we look around, fast food restaurants are being occupied 24/7, seven days a week. We no longer eat healthy organic vegetables or whole grain foods. We are driven by a sense of taste and forget that the most important thing is that we lead healthy and productive lifestyles. It seems that we care more about our food than the fact that our lives are deteriorating or about our families and health. Our eating habits greatly affect who we are. We must revert back to eating more vegetables and fruits in order to maintain a healthy people and planet. Studies have shown that a low-fat vegetarian diet is the single most effective way to stop progression of coronary artery disease or prevent it altogether. Several other health conditions, such as diabetes,2 obesity,3 gallstones,4 and kidney stones,5 are much less common in vegetarians. If we care about ourselves we will go greener. It is understandable that a greener diet can take more work but now with modern minds have made available healthier and yet tasty dishes. Cookbooks can be purchased toenhance the meatless lifestyle.

-Gift Nleko

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Step Away From The Chemicals: An Organic Outlook on Food

The USDA certified sign for OrganicSalt, Oil, Transfat, Cholesterol, those and more always circulate the minds of those who are concerned with their own health. However, when people who are most mindful of their own health skim the ingredients list, they tend to look towards things which sound more synthetic and ignore that which seems inconspicuous. Take for instance, a comparison between the names of “Sulfur Dioxide” and “Diced Apples”, the latter seems much less dangerous and intimidating, but in reality, that innocent sounding apple may have lots of pesticides that are linked with causing cancer. Now of course, this doesn’t mean that the next apple you eat will surely end your life, but one should be more mindful of what they consume and purchase. Many of the pesticide residues don’t even exceed the allowed levels for adult consumption, but the problem is that the pesticides themselves have been proven to cause not only cancer, but a multitude of other conditions (brain and nervous system damage, disruption of the endocrine and immune systems for starters). These conditions are incredibly unsafe and can rend apart millions of lives.

Even so, the dangers of eating these foods spans not only with the actual consumption. Indeed, the longer lasting effects of employing pesticides prove to be highly detrimental to the planet as well. Soil erosion is a main issue, and it’s been said that America loses tons of topsoil a year due to run off! The depravation of nutrients also plays a major part, with artificially synthesized nutrients being added to the soil to make up for what is used. These chemicals are not only synthesized, but they also fail to replace the mineral elements in the soil. Worse yet is the fact that they can actually pollute sources of water if applied excessively, this leads to a growth of certain aquatic plants that can literally strangle the life out of the water source, along with effectively poisoning the people who depend on that water source for drinking water.

Even though organic foods seem to cost ever so much more in the short run, they inevitably cost so much more in the long run. So the next time you see organic foods, take those, and step away from the inorganic. You’ll be doing both your body and the environment a favor.

-Dennis Chau

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Saving the Environment: One Search at a Time

At Kerr and schools nationwide, many of the students commonly use a popular search engine, Google. Now there have even been many phrases that go around, including the ever so popular, “just google it.” With many people today attempting to save electricity, “every single watt helps” to save electricity, but the saving of watts goes even further, every watt saved is not only one that you don’t have to pay for, but its one less that electricity companies have to generate, saving both you and the company money. A win-win deal sounds nice doesn’t it?
Of course, one of the multitudes of websites out there that are devoted to saving electricity through internet searches is “Blackle” a search engine that has the same basic formatting as Google, except with a black background instead of the customary white. In fact, the search is even powered by Google so you can get the same results that you look for while helping to reduce electricity costs. In fact, the interesting thing is that it even has a counter of sorts under the bar for the search query. The next time you look up some elusive fact for that English paper, or simply wish to learn something new, don’t just “google it” go ahead and “blackle it!”

-Dennis Chau

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Copenhagen Predicts 2010 to be the Warmest on Record

Met Office predicted that 2010 will be the hottest year on record. And with  the way the weather has been going lately, it’s no surprise.

A new forecast for 2010 predicted that it will be almost one degree higher than the long term average of 57°F across the globe as a result of natural weather patterns and global warming. The new forecast predicted 2010 will warmer than 1998, that was 0.9°F above average and the hottest year on record so far. The warming is expected because of the El Nino, an atmospheric phenomenon over the Pacific, which warms the Southern Oceans.

“As a result of the absence of any recorded 21st century warming trend, the formulation now favoured by climate campaigners is that the last decade has been the warmest since records began,” Lord Lawson of Blaby said. “It is rather as if the world’s population had stopped rising and all the demographers could say was that global population had been the highest ever recorded.”

~Almayra Porrata-Doria

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Finally Some Clarity

The hopes of new automotive technology that will not only reduce fuel emissions but also drastically sever our dependence on foreign oil, has become a reality. But fuel cell vehicles will also have other benefits as well. Fuel cell vehicles (FCVs) are propelled by electric motors. But unlike a battery-electric car, which uses electricity from an external source and stores it in the battery, FCVs will create their own electricity through a chemical process using hydrogen fuel and oxygen from the air.

In 2008, Honda introduced a hydrogen fuel call automobile in Japan, known as the Honda Clarity. In 2009 the mid-sized 4-door sedan was released in the United States, but only in the greater Los Angeles area. Honda engineers are hoping to mass-produce the car by the year 2020.

Not only is this car stylish, but it is also 20% more fuel efficient (something everyone loves nowadays), over 397 pounds lighter than the average mid-sized sedan, has 120% better power-to-weight ratio, and is 45% more compact and 10% more energy-efficient.

If it’s safety you’re worried about, then worry no more. The FCX Clarity comes with six airbags, a reinforced unit-body structure, and a Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS). The CMBS helps alert the driver to certain potential collisions and, through the use of visual and audio alerts plus an automatic tug of the seat belt, prompt the driver to take action. If a collision cannot be avoided, the system automatically retracts slack in the front seat belts and applies braking force to reduce the vehicle’s speed and help lessen the force of the collision.

The bonuses with this ride just keep rolling.

~Almayra Porrata-Doria

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In today’s auto industry many hybrids are being made to satisfied the consumer needs of a fuel efficient car and the environment’s needs of lower carbon dioxide output but what about the price of these hybrids. The cost of a Toyota Highlander hybrid is around 34,700 dollars compare to a regular Toyota Highlander which cost about $25,705. Which goes to show that a hybrid cost around $1,000 more compare to a regular car but in today’s economy can we really afford to waste $1,000? Luckily for the consumers there’s the Smart car. With an estimated MSRP of 16,990 dollars and fuel efficiency the Smart car is a Smart choice for people who are trying to go green without breaking the bank. The idea of the Smart car came from creating a car that take up half the parking space of a regular car. The latest model of the Smart car is the Smart for two which is available in many colors especially GREEN.

phil pham

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Discovering – “Food for Thought”

When the Green Debate Team went to Discovery Green we were greeted by smiling children, hobos, and 50 fantastic globes by artist from all around the world. However, the one that caught my eye was entitled “Food for Thought” this globe, as you can see, featured fruits and vegetables shaped into the face of a grinning man. The plaque under the globe gave a description of how green foods, and I literally mean green foods like vegetables, are environmentally friendly as opposed to meat.

We use so much food and millions of tons of fertilizer and pesticides used to grow these animals, as well as the waste produced by them, the fuel needed to operate the machinery that plants, fertilizes, harvests and transports the crops and the mature animals, and the grasslands, forests and rainforests that have been leveled to either grow the feed or to provide space for cattle to forage. These operations release enormous amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, therefore contributing greatly to global warming. A diet that is more plant based is better for the environment because it contributes less to the problems mentioned before.

The point is that making and consuming animal meat is environmentally unsustainable. We can dramatically decrease our contribution to global warming by eating meat rarely and making plant foods the basis of our diet.

– Jesse Anyalebechi

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