Dec 112014
 
LED bulbs are better!

You know what they say, environmentalism begins at home. Indeed, a large percentage of greenhouse gasses come from the energy used by homes. If everybody just did a couple of things to reduce their own house’s carbon footprint, it would add up over time. Better yet, these 5 ways to reduce carbon footprints at home do not reduce the quality of your life and are very simple. In fact, once you try them, you might wonder why you never did them before.

1. Buy Local Food

This is pretty shocking, but WorldWatch Institute says that the average food travels 1,500 miles between its source and its market. Also, if you can buy food that is both grown locally and grown in its season, you can reduce the amount of energy needed to transport it and enjoy cheaper food prices. Besides, fresh food that is harvested in season tastes great.

2. Improve Home Insulation

This could be as simple as sealing up drafts under doors and around windows with weather stripping. Adding adequate insulation to an attic is a bit bigger of a project, but it also tends to be one of the projects that pays for itself quickly. Your house should be cheaper to heat and cool and more comfortable. You can visit the Environmental Protection Agency at EPA.gov for lots of tips on adding insulation yourself.

LED bulbs are better!

LED vs. CFL

3. Change Lightbulbs to LED

Those CFL bulbs never really worked out as well as they were supposed to. At least, the promised long lifespans never really materialized for most people who used them. Add to that the fact that CFL bulbs contain mercury and shouldn’t be disposed of in regular trash, and the investment hardly seems worth it. LED bulbs cost more, but they can be disposed of in regular trash, provide very nice light, and actually do last longer.

You don’t have to buy enough for your whole house at one time, but you could make it a habit to replace burnt out bulbs with LED versions. Forbes Magazine says that the old-style incandescent bulbs are no longer being made in the US, but you may still find them on the shelves for awhile. Still, you might as well skip the line and move up to LED.

4. Ditch Disposable Water Bottles

The worst thing to do is buy imported water in disposable water bottles if you can avoid it. Not only do you have the waste from the water bottle, you have water that was transported from far away when you could have gotten it out of a tap.

Even in the US, it takes 20 billion barrels of oil to produce plastic water bottles, and there are concerns that these products leech chemicals into the water and into the environment after disposal. According to Earth Sense, Americans use an average of over 200 disposable water bottles each every year, and most of them end up in landfills, not being recycled!

The tap water quality in the US is usually high for most regions. If you don’t find yours adequate, you could install a filter or buy larger quantities of pure local water in large reusable containers. Buy reusable water bottles and wash them out. You’ll find it costs less in the long run, your water will taste just fine, and you can enjoy all sorts of quality bottles.

 

Sources

The WorldWatch Institute: http://www.worldwatch.org/node/6064

EPA: http://www.epa.gov/greenhomes/attic.htm

Forbes: http://www.forbes.com/sites/trulia/2014/04/25/led-vs-cfl-which-bulb-is-best/

Earthsense: https://earthsense.wordpress.com/category/disposable-water-bottle/

Dec 102014
 
Losing beans would be bad

There is a lot written about wildlife that may be threatened by climate change. It’s sort of ironic, but little publicity has focused on domestic sources of animal and plant food that we could lose, or at least, enjoy a lot less of. David Lobell, from the Stanford University Center of Food Security, says that losses may not be total catastrophes, but they will be losses we need to adopt to.  In other word, these kinds of food will still be available, but they are likely to get a lot more expensive.

1. Corn (And the Domestic Animals That Eat It)

It’s not just corn that we need to worry about, but also, the animals that rely upon that corn for feed that should concern us. All over the world, farmers have already began to suffer in terms of productivity. World corn production has declined by four percent.

Some factors that get the blame are droughts, both low and high temperature spikes, and even milder seasons. For example, some plants require a dormant phase during a cold winter to reach their greatest potential, and some parts of the world just aren’t freezing during the winter like they used to. Also, stay tuned for even more increases in the price of beef and poultry.

2. Coffee and Chocolate (Anything but that….)

Warmer tropical temperatures have encouraged the growth of threatening fungi species. Brazil suffered through a recent drought that have already caused the price of coffee to climb. While Latin American coffee producers are considering a move to Asia, African coffee-growing regions are expected to suffer through a decline in coffee product that could be from 65 to 100 percent.

African chocolate-growing regions are also expected to radically lose productivity if the temperature increases even two degree on average, as is expected, by 2050.

3. Beans (This is Bad)

Just when the doctors got around to telling us how healthy beans are because they provide lean protein and plenty of fiber, we may face global shortages. However, what may be healthy and budget-friendly choice for Westerners is a staple food in vast tracts of Asia, Mexico, Central, and South America. Rising temperatures cut cut expected production by as much as a quarter.

4. Grapes (Yes, the Kind That Make Wine)

Higher temperatures and changing rain patterns are really going to sour the party when almost all wine-growing parts of the world lose production, or even, entire fields. Australia and California are expected to lose the most wine-growing lands, but the problem will also be felt in Europe, South America, and Africa.

Increased temperatures are also expected to change the flavors of the wine crops that do survive, so this will have a major impact on the industry. On the other hand, these grapes usually become sweeter and produce wine with higher alcohol contents, so you won’t have to drink as much of your more expensive wine to get giddy.

5. Wheat (Yes, cake is made out of wheat, too)

By 2050, products made mostly from wheat could get 3 to 84 percent more expensive. Wheat product has to keep increasing to keep up with demand, but that increase has been slowing to alarming levels over the past few years. Already, rising bread prices have contributed to political instability in some parts of Africa and Asia, and they have pinched the budgets of Western consumers too.

Is There Any Good News About the Food Supply and Climate Change?

A few scientists have speculated that increased CO2 levels are good for plants. They “inhale” CO2 the way that we inhale oxygen. But critics contend that extra CO2 doesn’t do any good, and if it did, it would be negatively balanced out by lack of water and temperature changes. On the other hand, some countries may experience increased square miles of arable land, and this could help them increase production. Whatever the case, it is likely that the source of many common foods is likely to change along with our definition of affordable groceries.