Archive for March, 2011

Renewable Portfolio Standards

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An RPS is a regulation or incentive that promotes the use of alternative energy such as wind, solar, geothermal, or biomass. The RPS system forces electricity and utility companies to produce usually 20% of their energy from renewable energy sources. Not only do companies gain profit from the 20% switch, but customers are happier as well as the environment for a small shift in a brighter future.

The use of private market implementation ensures success and efficiency that produces energy as the lowest possible price that competes with cheaper fossil fuels. The United States still trails behind large countries like Britain, Italy, and even Belgium. With the annual extensions of PTC’s or production tax credits, the RPS system is more reliable because its mandated and obligated nature forced upon electric companies.

Not only would the fossil fuel market be allowed to stay afloat ensuring strong relations with huge importers such as Russia and Saudi Arabia, but our world is bound to last a bit longer and the satisfaction of a greener energy source in our homes makes us not feel as bad when we flick on that light switch. Finally, the light bulb has lit up, a new idea and new found transition backed with potential and support.

-Nicholas Chan

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LUSH

LUSH cosmetics is a new market line that advertises bath supplies, make-up, and soap that are made from fresh and organic fruits and vegetables.  The company focuses on the idea of creation natural cosmetics that requires little to no preservatives in the product, packaging and transportation. The line also fights again animal tested products for animal rights activists. They only buy their resources from companies that have proven not to test on animals. It markets products that make the smallest impact on the environment to keep our green Earth green. The products are made with common natural vegetarian resources such as vanilla bean, rose oil, almond oil, seaweed, and even charcoal. The cosmetics are meant to make humans beautiful as well as our planet and ecosystem. The company has over 700 stores world wide and is continuing to grow and branch out not only the products, but the message of a drive toward a greener future. In Houston’s local First Colony Mall, in the Macy’s Department store, a LUSH product stand is actually inside the store. With personal experience, the workers there are incredibly friendly and even have live demonstrations of popular products such as the butterball bath bomb. The cosmetic line has hair, skin, bath, and shower products. In not only attracts a younger generation, but can appeal to an older generation that enjoys the same cosmetic products they normally enjoy with a great overall cause that helps our environment.  The LUSH product line has come along way and went from Constantine and Weir, Cosmetics to Go, and finally the brand name we’ve come to know and love today.

-Nicholas Chan

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Bees

Bees are a really underrated species. Their entire specie is extremely organized. They have developed social classes as we humans have, and they have a wonderful bee hive structure. Every bee is born into the world with a purpose, and sadly, from the day they’re born, to the day they die (which is around three days later..), they are worked to death. Other than that, bees provide a lot of wonderful natural benefits for the entire world.

Everyone knows bees pollinate flowers and plants and provide the growth of plans throughout the world. Their honey is used in a lot of things consumed by humans. Honey honestly is used in just about everything. From lotion, and lip balm, to teas and food additions. It is a natural sweetener, that’s also healthy.

The recent problem is, for a while now, the number of bee population is been depleating and humans had no reason why, well that’s up until now. As stated by Katherine Butler, “Experts already knew that dying bee colonies had a large presence of disease organisms, but the disease itself has been previously unknown. Bromenshenk shares that the virus-fungus combination has been found to be present in every decimated bee colony the team studied. As Bromenshenk told the New York Times, “It’s chicken and egg in a sense — we don’t know which [virus or fungus] came first. They’re co-factors, that’s all we can say at the moment. They’re both present in all these collapsed colonies.” At present, experts are merely certain that their combined presence proves completely lethal.”

Bees are an important species in our ecosystem, imagine a world without bees the next time you swat at one.

-Tiffany Thai

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All Bottled Up.

When we first think of water, it carries the connotation of a natural thing necessary for life that we’re surrounded by with our oceans. However, the container carrying the resource is actually a bit more harmful to our environment than we ever imagined. In attempts to live a hydrated a what’s thought to be a cheaper and safer alternative to tap water, are we all willing to pay the price of harming our environment? The plastic bottles that are purchased by consumers actually rely on fossil fuels. The raw plastic material is heated and shaped into a bottle; however, the energy used to heat the material comes from electricity or natural gas. The shipping and transporting process also has a hefty price because trucks travelling across the country also run on fossil fuels. Combined with the cardboard boxes needed to ship the bottles and the mere production of this product is a disaster. Even though it is a common misconception that we can simply recycle the plastic bottles when we’re through drinking our water, rarely do they even land inside a recycling container and instead decompose excruciatingly slowly in landfills. And finally, as they decompose, a harmful gas is released from the plastic bottles. A simple alternative to this problem is to stop purchasing bottles of water and begin using filters that easily attach to our sinks. This process will s afely purify our water and make it a healthier resource without all the excess baggage…or bottles.

-Nicholas Chan

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Replenish

Do you know how eco-friendly cleaning supply bottles are becoming a trend in the past few years? Acturally, eco-friendly everything is becoming a trend. But now, how do you really know if something is really eco-friendly? Maybe the bottle says it uses “35% less plastic”. Maybe the solution is “non harmful” to the environment. Maybe these claims are true, but do they really benefit the environment in such a big way?

Now, lets go back to specifically cleaning supplies. Theres this new cleaner that would put most others who claim to be “eco-friendly” to shame. It comes in a pack equipped with a big bottle with a spray nozzle where you fill with water and a smaller concentrated solution bottle that you connect to the bottom. There is enough concentrated solution that you can refill the bottle for use equivalent to four bottles worth of other solutions. It is stated by Matt Hickerman, “The Mix Local concept saves consumers money (pre-mixed cleaners are only 5 percent cleaner, the rest is just plastic and water) while reducing plastic, energy, and CO2 emissions by 90 percent compared to factory-mixed cleaning products. And on the topic of local, all components of Replenish are made in Wisconsin within a supply chain radius of 200 miles.” With that maybe this innovation will spark a steam roll of many other truly eco-friendly products.

-Tiffany Thai

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From Brownfields to Greenfields.

P1010195Brownfields are abandoned once industrialized locations that suffer from pollution and deserted heavy factory industries. Unfortunately, as hazardous as these locations might sound, the poor make up a large population in these dreadful lands.

A newly proposed green movement actually advocates a full sweep of a green revolution into these neighborhoods. With the combination of reducing poverty and protecting the environment, a switch to a greener life-style can actually be what those in poverty need. With greener jobs and a switch to new forms of alternative energy, these brownfield dumps can be the starting point for the domestic transition to a greener world.

Not only is equality and the economic status change to a richer community, but the abandoned locations can make as great wind farms, solar power sites, nuclear power plants that give the poor jobs and incorporate them into the policy making process that opts for the green movement. Is it a coincidence that both “eco” show up in both economy and ecosystem? The two are both dependent on each other and luckily, we’ve found our starting point in the revolution.

-Nicholas Chan

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Green Cleaners.

 

For all the busy housewives, there comes a new and fun activity to spend with family in helping tidying up your own household. By making your own cleaning supplies, many households could prevent using toxic and hazardous chemicals in their own homes and around their children. Windex, Pledge, and Mr.Clean all come with their eye catching commercials, but they also come with toxic chemicals that we’re exposing to those we love the most. A sit down family activity can end the toxic nightmare and create a new alternative many never dreamed of. Currently, Congress members are attempting to ban the use of phosphates in cleaning supplies. They are toxic chemicals that are used to clean, but affect algae growth. However, a secret kept quiet to many American households is that you can make very effective and non-toxic cleaning products. And luckily, the ingredients can be found at home in our own cupboards and pantries. With a simple mix of ingredients ranging from baking soda, vinegar, lemon, and even soap, many families can control what they’re using around their children and what they’re putting on their countertops. Making your own cleaning products at home can save you time and money because you no longer need to run out to the supermarket to purchase a bottle of toxic hazardous cleaning product. The products that allow our furniture and floors to sparkle and shine contain phosphates that pollute groundwater and contain hazardous substances.  Even though they’re cleaning our homes, they might irritate our skin, eyes, and allow for us to breathe in chemicals we shouldn’t be exposed to. By making your own products at home, you’re guaranteed a spotless shine and a satisfied peace of mind.

-Nicholas Chan

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