Friday, October 24, 2008

Stop Burning Leaves!

Although you might think that it is easier than raking them and bagging them up, burning leaves may be hazardous to your health, not to mention that the smoke does pollute the air.
When you burn leaves they usually burn slowly because of the moisture that can be trapped in them. This can cause airborne particulates, such as dust, soot, and other solid materials, which can cause coughing, wheezing , chest pain, shortness of breath and sometimes respiratory problems.
Leaf smoke may contain carbon monoxide and benzo(a)pyrene. It can also irritate the eyes, nose and throat of adults and affect people that have asthma.
There are some alternatives to burning leaves, you can always rake them and bag them up. I know this is a major chore, but it is a lot healthier than burning them and many towns offer curbside pickup for leaves and other yard waste. So all you would have to do is set the bags in the street by the curb or simply rake them to the street, just make sure they aren't too far into the street because that could be an accident waiting to happen.
Leaves also make good compost and you can shred your leaves to use as mulch to help your lawn or protect garden and landscape plants.
So please, the next time you think about burning your leaves not only think of your health, but the health of the people around you.

Another Reservoir to Store Colorado River Water?

A groundbreaking ceremony took place this week to provide more water for southern Nevada, central Arizona and Southern California, a good thing in light of our drought conditions, right?

The $172 million reservoir being built in the Imperial Valley of Southern California will store more Colorado River for the three states building it. However, this means less water being delivered to Mexico. Mexico has been receiving excess water from the Colorado River when available, more than they are “entitled” to under a 1944 treaty.

An Imperial Irrigation District board member said, “It’s not Mexico’s water, it’s California’s water.” But is water really something countries (or states, or individuals) should “own”?

Before the United States began diverting Colorado River water, the river ran free from it’s headwaters in the Rocky Mountains to the Gulf of California. This fresh water carried silt to the Delta which once covered 1.9 million acres. The delta wetlands supported abundant plant, bird and marine life. Diversions of freshwater for the U.S. resulted in a loss of freshwater for the Delta, consequently, the Delta has been reduced to about 10% of its original size.

So, if you haven’t already gotten the message that conserving water is a good thing, here’s yet another reason not to be wasteful. Water is a natural resource that has benefits beyond our use around our homes and businesses, water is necessary to support ecosystems such as the Colorado River Delta. For more information regarding ongoing work to heal the delta visit


How would you like to be saving hundreds of dollars just by using a certain light bulb? An energy efficient home is not only good for wallet but also good for our planet. So here comes the big question... Do you use Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFL'S) in your home?

It is estimated that just one CFL will save you $30 in electric costs over a lifetime. Doesn't sound like much; now, take that and multiply it by the number of CFL's you use in your house and you really could be saving some serious money.

A CFL is a spiral-type integrated compact fluorescent lamp that is combined with a tube and electronic ballast. This spiral shaped style has reduced efficiency compared to the tubular shaped style, due to the thick layer of phosphor that is on the lower layer of the twist. This type of CFL has become the most popular type of lighting among the Northern American consumers.

Here are a few interesting facts about CFL's...

*If every home used just one ENERGYSTAR light bulb, we would save enough energy to light more than 3 million homes for one whole year.

*ENERGYSTAR CFL's use 75% less energy and last 10 times longer than a standard bulb.

*Incandescent bulbs waste 90% of their energy generating heat; while a CFL uses only 20% as much energy, emits 75% heat and still produces the same amount of light.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Generating Electricity at Sea Takes the Cake

One of the biggest complaints against off-shore oil drilling is the possibility of an oil spill that would destroy ecosystems, threaten coastal communities, decimate miles of coastline and cost untold millions of dollars in cleanup costs and restitution to families and businesses. What if we could still meet our energy needs but instead of drilling offshore we put up wind farms to harness coastal breezes and turn it into electricity? That's exactly what the UK and Denmark have been doing.

The UK has completed it's most aggressive campaign to harness offshore winds opening up a 194MW (megawatt) wind farm off the coast of Lincolnshire. The new wind farm can produce enough electricity to power 130,000 homes and makes the UK the worlds largest producer of offshore electricity.

Now that's thinking green!

Photo by emily_well_mannered via Flickr.

7 Green Vacation Spots You're Going to Need to Visit

No matter whether you're an Obama supporter or a McCain supporter, one thing we're all going to need after this Presidential Election is a vacation.

National Geographic's Green Guide had a great article the other day on 7 Green destinations for travelers. The destinations were picked based on their sustainable practices, recycling and resource conservation efforts, and ambiance. Here are the top 5 from the list.

First on the list was Camp Denali in Vice-Presidential hopeful Sarah Palin's home state of Alaska. Camp Denali is located in Denali National Park and Preserve home of Mt. McKinley (Denali), the tallest peak in North America.(

Second was the Orchard Garden Hotel in beautiful San Francicsco, California. The Orchard Garden is a LEED-certified hotel in the heart of the city, just a couple minutes walk from Fisherman's Wharf, the beach, fine Italian food in Little Italy, or breathtaking views of the city from Telegraph Hill. Forget driving in San Francisco and hop one of the cable cars or rent a hybrid car and take day trips around the bay area to Mt. Tamalpais, Tomales Bay, Half Moon Bay (where the pumpkins are great right now), or even visit the Computer History Museum. (

Number three on the list is the Rock Harbor Lodge in Isle Royale National Park, Michigan. Tucked away on a remote island in Northwest Lake Superior, Rock Harbor Lodge offers seclusion and beauty giving you ample opportunity to unwind (

The Sundance Resort in Sundance Utah has long been a favorite getaway destination and with 6000 acres of wilderness and some of the best skiing anywhere it's no wonder it was number four on the list.(

For the rest of the list be sure to check out

Photo by Tyler Westcott via Flickr.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Want Green Employees? Reward Them For Being Good

So your company's gone green. You're doing all your printing on recycled stock. You're shipping with recycled cardboard containers and using biodegradable foam for packing and you've switched to more efficient lights in the office. The only problem you still have is getting your employees in the game. You could always do what Earth911 of California did, offer the prime parking spaces to employees who frequently carpool or drive hybrid vehicles.

Earth911 is located in San Francisco California, a city notorious for minimal parking and rampant crash and runs. You're more likely to get your car damaged by simply parking it on the street than stepping in front of a moving train. Well...ok...I'm over exaggerating a little. Just a little. But in a city where parking is hard to come by incentives like this can really make the difference to your employees.