Wanting to help reduce the pollution in the world in your own small way? You just need to look around and see anything you could do quickly to help. Everyone has a hectic schedule nowadays, and these three things could help you lower your electricity costs too.
Replacing your lights with LED lights instead of fluorescent lights, you can save lots of power. LED lights only spend around ¼ of the electricity generated by fluorescent lights. If an entire country switched to LED, it actually reduces the power consumption of about one million cars out on the road.
Energy Saving Appliances
Energy saving appliances are quite expensive, but that is because they are a huge investment for you. Modern dishwashers do not need to rinse. Most of them nowadays use steam to clean your plates without having to turn on the faucet. So turn off the tap and avoid the dishwashing bowl in cleaning your dishes.
Ovens are crucial especially to households that have no time to cook. Most of them pre-heat TV dinners and ready-to-eat meals when they get home. Pre-heating ovens costs lots of energy from your oil consumption, a very bad idea if you’re trying to save the environment along with some money on the side.
Most guides ask you to invest in renewable energy and create a huge garden on top of your home. Those don’t actually sound like bad ideas. However, they take much time and effort to start. You want to start with something instantly achievable, and here are three eco-friendly adjustments you could easily do at home.
Insecticides, pest-killers, air-fresheners and other aerosol sprays are made from deadly chemicals. Aerosols also emit destructive carbon emissions that damage the Ozone layer. Plant-based products for household cleaning, fragrance and maintenance are available in the market. They may cost a bit higher than usual, but they do the job very well and reduce the risk of lung diseases in your home.
Spending a Day Eating Only Veggies
Livestock and not cars are the main reason for increased greenhouse gas pollution. Methane gas produced from livestock digestion gets trapped in the atmosphere. Imagine if each family in a country spends a day eating only vegetables for just one day. They would be helping reduce the production of livestock, and consequently greenhouse gases.
Insulation is a small modification in your home that allows your HVAC to trap the temperature inside the house and keep the outside temperature outside your home’s walls. You could improve your home’s energy savings by 30% too. Add thermal shades with your windows, and you could block the sun or lower the thermostat’s numbers during the winter.
According to the European Environment Agency (EEA), a handful of power stations and industrial plants in the United Kingdom is costing the National Health Service and the UK Economy about £10 billion yearly. Their survey, which involves 14,000 major industrial plants in the 27 country-bloc, found the Selby Drax Power Station and the Longannet Plant in Scotland’s Kincardine as ranking in the 5th and 10th position for air pollution between 2008-2012.
Drax’s air pollution has cost the economy £2.7-6.3 billion and Longannet with £1.8-4.7 billion.
Meanwhile, the Corus Steel Works in Redcar had ranked 27th. Alcan Aluminium in Durham came in at 34th.
Having 10 air-polluting plants in the United Kingdom had cost a combined £12.6 billion in air pollution damages between the years 2008-2012.
EEA Director Hans Bruyninckx said “air pollution cost [European] society at least €59 billion, (£46bn) and possibly as much as €189 billion (£149bn) in 2012. The upper estimate is roughly the same as the GDP of Finland or half the GDP of Poland. In Britain, the cost is estimated to be between £31-99bn in the five years from 2008.”
“While we all benefit from industry and power generation, this analysis shows that the technologies used by these plants impose hidden costs on our health and the environment. Industry is also only part of the picture – it is important to recognise that other sectors, primarily transport and agriculture, also contribute to poor air quality.”
According to a UN report due for approval late this week, governments would have ample time to avert the worst effects of climate change. According to a report done by delegates from more than 100 governments and top scientists who met in Copenhagen on October 27 to 31 to edit the report and with the intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
The report sums up the risks of the continued rise in world greenhouse gas emissions is “increasing the likelihood of severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts for people and ecosystems.” The report also indicates that a combination of adaptation and substantial sustained reductions in greenhouse gas emissions can limit climate change risks.
The European Union commended the report and said that the IPCC should indicate that “all regions are affected, regardless of wealth”.
Examples of the damages include the immense melting of Greenland’s ice that would raise the water levels and overrun coastal homes.
The IPCC said that at least 95% of human activities, due to the burning of fossil fuels, is the main cause of the world’s climate change since the 50s.
However, many people remain unconvinced. Around 50% of the populace in the United States do not agree with the report. Instead, they blame natural climate variations.
According to University of York Researcher Kathryn Arnold, pharmaceuticals draining drugs and other chemicals in sewages are causing damages to the wilderness. According to a study, the drugs are still potent despite being dumped and animals may consume them.
However, her statement in the special issue of the journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, she cannot fully explain the decline of animal life in human altered landscapes except by trying to tackle emerging challenges to preserve wildlife worldwide.
A September research revealed that half the world’s wild animals were wiped out in the last 40 years. Animals living in freshwater habitats, common dumpsites for drugs, had 75% of its preliminary species lost.
They discovered male fish feminised and fathead minnows wiped out by birth-control pills and its hormones.. The and Indian vultures wiped out due to cattle consuming anti-inflammatory drugs.
University of York’s Tom Bean had also shown that antidepressants disposed in the environment had also led fishes to feed less. Despite this, other chemicals disposed in the wilderness may also be a factor.
According to Annete Kuster and Nicole Adler from the German Federal Environment Agency, hormones, antibiotics, antidepressants and anti-cancer drugs were the biggest risks in the environment.
These pollutants and drug wastes often came from China, India, Pakistan, Korea, Denmark, Norway and Croatia according to Unviersity of Gothenburg Professor Joakim Larsson.
British Prime Minister David Cameron’s government had failed to live to its promise to become the “greenest government ever” after the Environmental Audit Committee gave it a “red card” after its investigation of the government’s environmental efforts from 2010. The government scored very low on reducing emissions, managing invasive species and rising water levels.
According to the Environmental Audit Committee (EAC), the emissions of airborne pollutants had increased in 2013, a great rise from its stability in the previous years. The European Commission had taken legal action against the UK government to rapidly clean up and reduce the emissions. The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said that London and two other regions will not meet the legal limits until 2030.
The EAC had also found that the invasive species in the United Kingdom had increased with of three of the four bird populations indicating with its wildlife situation lower in population. The Japanese Knotweed had also threatened the UK’s fish stocks. Plants such as the Brazilian Rhubarb and specific types of rhododendron have also grown in number.
According to the Wildlife and Countryside Link in 2013, natural flood alleviation measures were very poor as nine of 24 water areas in England and Wales are experiencing severe water stress. The EAC pointed out that 2.4 million properties are at risk from flooding from the rivers and surface water.
The Australian Environmental Protection Authority had refused the extension of its shark culling program because of a “high degree of scientific uncertainty” regarding the wide usage of baited drumlines resulting to some endangered Great White sharks ensnared in the traps. The Western Australian government said that about 25 Great White sharks could be trapped on the 70 hooks spread 1km from the popular beaches of Perth.
Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt said that he will only approve of the culling only if it proves that Great White sharks and other endangered species will not be impacted by the use of the drumlines.
The controversial shark culling intends to trap sharks longer than 3m, larger than the size of the average Great White shark. During its three-month trial earlier this year, about 14 sharks below 3m, including Great White sharks, were trapped on baited hooks and found dead before maintenance crews could reach and release the smaller sharks.
However, WA Premier Colin Barnett said that he was disappointed by the decision, but he said that the WA government will not appeal to change the decision.
The shark culling intends to keep Perth’s famous beaches safe from shark attacks, which have become common over the recent years in different areas of Australia. The Australian Geographic had released a timeline of shark attacks from different parts of Australia noting 700 attacks had happened since 1788.
The city of Napa in California was engulfed in flames, damaged some century-old wineries and historic buildings, and sent more than a hundred people into hospitals after a magnitude-6.0 earthquake hit. It had ruptured water and gas lines. The earthquake struck at 3:20 AM.
Napa residents ran out of their homes and remained in open areas fearing aftershocks to return to their own homes. Napa’s downtown area saw huge boulders and broken glass littered all over the street. Some historic, Victorian-era buildings had huge holes, rendering them unhabitable.
About 120 people injured during the earthquake are now confined in the Queen of the Valley Medical Centre in Napa. To avoid disorder, the officials have set up a triage. Many of the injured had huge cuts, bumps and bruises. Twelve people were in critical condition.
Around 60 main water lines have been ruptured and six gigantic fires began in the city, which exhausted the Napa Fire Department’s efforts to contain the situation. The fires began at mobile home parks. The delayed arrival of the pumper trucks due to the ruptured water lines made it impossible to quickly put out the fires.
Many of the wineries have lost 300-400 bottles and the harvesting of grapes would be delayed a few more days.
A peer-reviewed research by the Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment (FEE) said that only a handful of research tackled the environmental consequences of fracking or hydraulic fracturing shale’s effects on the environment. As North America continues its fracking activities, the FEE’s study showed the impact of the fracking boom on wildlife and the environment.
According to the ecologists studying the effects of fracking, earlier researchers did not conduct analysis of water, air and wildlife impacts. According to University of Wisconsin Ecologist Sara Souther, one of the researchers, chemical contamination of the ground and surface water is happening with fracking, but the consequences of such are minimally explained due to the lack of analysis for water.
Souther also highlighted that local governments are not even asking fracking companies about reporting minor spills and accidents. They only encourage companies to report, but not to report mandatory.
Meanwhile, the industry said that no long-term water contamination effects is possible, but Souther became wary of the baseline studies that were not conducted in an area before fracking began.
The US Environmental Protection Agency also does not regulate the chemicals used in shale gas wells. According to researchers, about 75 percent of shale gas wells have used an undisclosed chemical in their wells, which could be a potential contaminant.
Shale gas accounts for 39% of natural gas production in the United States.
The Energy Minister Matthew Hancock had called to cut wind power subsidies, which the new Energy and Environment Ministers echoed on Tuesday. The opposition of the development of renewable energy was the first in history. The Energy and Environment Ministers had also supported the development of fracking and agreed that Green subsidies are damaging the UK’s steady economic development.
Hancock said that he supports green and renewable energy, but he opposes the execution as it must give leeway for the economy in a way that it will also not destroy the environment. He also opposed the turbine instalment in Suffolk because it affects the aesthetic of the Suffolk rural region.
Liz Truss, the new Environment Secretary and Employee of Shell, said renewable energy was “extremely expensive.” She said that she would like to see the rollback of green taxes because she sees that the UK’s lead in implementing green taxes is alarming because the energy generation in the country is becoming greatly expensive.
Truss became more controversial when she said that she will support fracking and that shale gas is used in the country. She was also considering the use of nuclear power in the United Kingdom to help reduce the hazards brought about by conventional power generation. She had made no more mention of fracking, or the killing of badgers in different rural areas of the country, in her later statements.
Both Truss and Hancock have made no public statements about climate change and their plans to counter-act its continuing hazardous effects.