Girls just want to have fun. Or at least they don’t want to have as many babies as before. This is true in places like the United States, where a Western lifestyle has changed behavior, but also in other parts of the world where women are becoming more empowered and making the decision to have fewer children. Thus, the population around the world is aging.
Americans just don’t make babies like they used to. The U.S. birthrate is the lowest in nearly a century, according to a study released last year by the Pew Research Center. It’s half the level of the Baby Boom years after World War II. American women, on average, are likely to have fewer than two children during their lifetime, which means not enough babies are being born to maintain the current population size. Even among new arrivals, the trend is declining: The birthrate among Mexican immigrants to the U.S. has plummeted 23 percent since 2007.
This reproductive recession is not unique to America; it’s a global phenomenon. Women just about everywhere are having fewer kids and having them later in life. The world is about to get a lot older very fast.
This will present some challenges for economic growth, but the article explains that efficiencies could save us there.
More importantly, population explosion is one of the biggest challenges we have for the environment, so this trend could actually be a very good thing.
If you’re looking for a hybrid with superior mileage per gallon, then compressed air may be your thing. PSA Peugeot Citroen says its new C3 VTi 82 hatchback–which it unveils at a motor show next month–will go 81 miles, in optimum conditions. That’s compared to the Toyota Prius’s roughly 45 mile performance. And there’s no need for expensive, and heavy, lithium batteries. The compressed air system provides power as well as storage: as with other hybrids, it recovers energy from a gasoline engine when you brake or slow down.
From the video, you can see that the Air Hybrid system works in three modes, depending on the neighborhood. Above 43 miles per hour, it uses a conventional engine. Around town, it goes on air alone. And then there’s a combined mode when you need more power at lower speeds. An electronic management unit switches modes automatically.
The idea of powering a car using compressed air isn’t particularly new–several companies have explored the technology. But PSA Peugeot Citroen is the first major one to go big on it, developing a drive-train it hopes to use across several models, including light commercial vans. The company hasn’t released prices yet, saying only that the vehicles will be “competitive both in European and international markets,” but that is likely to be a major draw. Lithium batteries remain uncompetitively expensive.
Hybrids and plug-in hybrids offer incredible potential, and we’re seeing progress with hydrogen fuel cells as well. But with compressed air you have a novel approach that produces ZERO emissions when in that mode. That’s pretty impressive. Expect to hear much more about this, as it’s also much more practical than things like the AIRpod, which relies totally on compressed air but doesn’t have the size and range of this hybrid.
If we are going to make it as a society, we are going to have to make some tough, potentially gross decisions. One of those decisions centers around the toilet. A standard toilet in the average American household uses five gallons of water per flush and is flushed four times per day per person; that comes out to an average of 30 thousand gallons of water per year for a family of four.
If you want to reduce the water used by your toilet, you have four options.
Option 1: Get a low flow toilet.
Total potential water savings: 18, 500 gallons per year
There are a variety of low flow toilets on the market, and they way better than you think. Sure, some of them may have flushing problems for bigger “loads,” but with a little research, you can find the right one for you. Additionally, many of these models use different amounts of water for solid and liquid waste.
Option 2: Try to flush half as often.
Total potential water savings: 15,000 gallons per year
Total savings if combined with a low flow toilet: 20,000 gallons per year
If you have a standard toilet you would be saving around 15,000 gallons. With a low flow toilet, you would save around 5,000 additional gallons per year.
Option 3: Flush only for solid waste:
Total potential water savings: 22,800 gallons per year
Total potential water savings with a low flow toilet: 27,700 gallons per year
If you want to save even more water, you can try to only flush your toilet for solid waste. Sure, things may get a little grosser, but if you close your toilet seat every time, things shouldn’t get too bad.
Option 4: Compost that crap!
Total potential water savings: 30,000 gallons per year (Everything!)
If you want to almost completely eliminate the water that passes through your toilet each year, you could consider a composting toilet. With a composting toilet you take what normally passes through your toilet and simply bury it, or even use it to fertilize your flowers. Contrary to what you may think, composting toilets can be rater sophisticated and do not smell if properly maintained (as with any toilet). However, it is entirely understandable if you don’t want to go quite that far. However, if you are interested in this option, you could check it out here .
However you choose to save water, just be sure it works for you. Good luck!
If you are reading this blog, chances are pretty good you are concerned with the environment. Unfortunately, many of us don’t do as much as we can as far as conservation goes. Most typically, this is because we either don’t know what we could do, or we think measures are overly difficult or expensive. These inhibitions are not completely unfounded. Installing solar panels can be quite expensive, and gray water systems can be quite an ordeal. There are a plethora of simple changes that we each can make that are simple, inexpensive, and can positively impact the environment. This is the first of a series of articles that provide you with such solutions.
Today’s topic is reducing or eliminating unneeded lighting. In less sophisticated circles, this is known as ‘turning off the freaking lights when you leave the room.” I know I may sound like your parents when you were a kid, but I am going to put you on the spot. Are there any unneeded lights on in your house right now? If you are anything like me, the answer is probably yes. However, if you have more than just a few lights on, don’t feel too bad. Energy use is often overlooked because, unlike physical waste, it does not sit around our house until we take it out. In the United States, approximately 50 percent of electricity is produced by coal-fired power plants. These plants emit sulfur dioxide, carbon dioxide, nitrous oxides, and heavy metals (including mercury).
Turning off unneeded lights is simple and free. In fact, it is better than free; it can save you money. It is simply a matter of changing habits. While the exact level of energy conservation depends on the type of bulbs you are currently using, your region, and the size of your dwelling, it is a reliable rule that if you are not using a light, you should turn it off.
If the environmental benefits are not enough to entice you, energy conservation through lighting can be a very frugal option. A very nice breakdown can be found here. Using natural lighting may also have health benefits. Many people find transitioning to natural light from artificial calming. This calming effect may be caused by renewed exposure to full spectrum lighting, which is very difficult to recreate via artificial light sources.
The hardest thing about turning off lights is breaking bad habits. Here are a few tips to help you change your behavior and save money.
*Try putting reminders next to switches or room exits/doors.
*Try going without artificial light during the day. You will be surprised how much energy you waste simply because you are in the habit of turning on switches when you enter certain rooms.
*At night, consider using task lighting instead of lighting the whole room. For example, if you are writing, use a desk lamp instead of lighting your entire office.
*If you have outdoor lighting, consider putting it on a timer or switching to solar powered lamps.
I hope you found these suggestions helpful. Check out the site next week for your next Simple Way to be a little more green.
As a company, Google has a bunch of issues. They have absurdly terrible customer service and treat their affiliates like crap.
But they treat their employees well, and they are also one of the companies leading the charge in carbon emissions and sustainability.
As the double-decker bus turns onto Charleston Road and starts winding through Google’s Mountain View, Calif., campus, I stretch out in the business-class-size seat, admiring the smoothness of the black leather and the plush gray carpeting at my feet. A spacious table expands to hold a laptop, which can connect to the vehicle’s Wi-Fi system. This $800,000 luxury double-decker is one of 73 buses that Google owns and operates. (It leases 26 others.) Each day the fleet transports about 4,500 employees, or about a third of those working at the Googleplex, as the company’s headquarters is known.
It turns out that Google (GOOG) isn’t offering a free ride simply as an employee perk — the buses actually save the company money. Yes, there’s the added productivity of 4,500 employees working an extra couple of hours each day while riding to and from work. But Google’s bus service is about much more than that. Real estate in Mountain View is expensive. Underground parking spaces cost as much as $85,000 to construct. (Really!) If Google had to build a parking space for each of the bus riders, the price tag would run to almost $400 million. And that’s not counting the lost opportunity cost of not using that land for new office buildings.
Google has made other investments in transportation too. If, during the day, a Google-ite needs to run an errand or pick up a sick kid at school, he or she can hop into one of 52 electric and hybrid cars parked on campus. The company also encourages employees to drive electrics. It has spent an estimated $3 million to $4 million to install 395 chargers — the largest corporate electric-vehicle infrastructure in the country.
Finding creative solutions to energy issues has become a major priority for Google co-founder and CEO Larry Page in recent years.
Read the entire article. Other companies may not have the resources to do everything Google is trying, but they can set a great example when it comes to cost-effective solutions for responsible companies.
There are tons of things in our society that suck up tons of energy. Just think of casinos and all the opulence, including the massive fountain you see above in front of the Bellagio in Las Vegas. Of course it’s a beautiful attraction, but we definitely generate some juice to power all of those fountains and lights.
The fiscal cliff discussions, unfortunately, aren’t being used to advance conservation or green power, but there is a push to get a consensus regarding online poker, which at least doesn’t fuel the construction of new, power sucking fountains.
The American Gaming Association is using the fiscal cliff as its inroad to present a new bill to Congress. The bill would make it legal to play online poker in US. At the same time, the bill would also prohibit other types of online gambling, such as states allowing online gambling for table games and slot machines. According to president and CEO Frank J. Fahrenkopf Jr. from the American Gaming Association, the passing of the bill can boost state revenues.
The next logical step is for states to legalize the sale of lottery tickets and scratch-off tickets online.
The opposition of the passing of the online poker bill seems to be the state lottery representatives. Several states are sending representative to Washington D.C. to oppose the passing of the bill. The opposition is also on the state level.
While six states, including Pennsylvania and the District of Columbia, have had failed online gambling proposal, other states are pushing to pass the bill as a way to boost their local economies. Advocates of the bill believe that state-by-state economic progress contributes to the overall boost of the American economy.
Another concern the opposition has for selling online lottery tickets or permitting online gambling in the US is that the integrity of the game can come into question.
The Reid-Kyl Bill, which proposes federal regulation of Native American tribe gambling options by the Commerce Department, proposed a 15-month waiting period for online poker and other online gambling options in the US to begin. Others argue that if a modified version of the bill passes it can open the door to online poker and gambling as early as January 2013.
State lotteries are a legalized form of gambling. Foreign countries have legal online gambling. If the new bill passes Congresses, it can soon be legal to gamble online in the good old United States of America.
Many people had very high hopes when Steve Jobs introduced the iPad. Some were excited about the ease of use, while others thought it would have a huge effect on how we work and play. Of course it turned out to be a smash hit, and it has sparked tons of competitors and has also negatively impacted laptop sales.
One area that garnered attention had to do with sustainability. The idea was that with the use of tablet computers we would see less use of paper. This seems to be having an effect, as recent articles have suggested that sustainability is a significant benefit resulting from the use of tablets.
. . . the growth of tablets is causing a steep decline in the use of paper, a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions, and a decrease in water consumption for the production of electronic devices.
Of course there is also the issue of e-waste that is the negative byproduct of more electronics.
That said, print is not going away. It’s still very important in our business and personal lives. Yes, we read more books now on e-readers, but printed materials remain the preferred option for many people. This also applies to things like brochures and marketing materials. Of course you can surf the web with your tablet to get a printing deal at places like 48 hour print, but those services aren’t going away.
The key is that we now have many more options, and we can decide what is most effective for our purposes. There will definitely be many sustainability benefits, and for that we can all be thankful. But let’s not pretend that everything will change overnight.
A bicycle made almost entirely of cardboard has the potential to change transportation habits from the world’s most congested cities to the poorest reaches of Africa, its Israeli inventor says.
Izhar Gafni, 50, is an expert in designing automated mass-production lines. He is an amateur cycling enthusiast who for years toyed with an idea of making a bicycle from cardboard.
He told Reuters during a recent demonstration that after much trial and error, his latest prototype has now proven itself and mass production will begin in a few months.
“I was always fascinated by applying unconventional technologies to materials and I did this on several occasions. But this was the culmination of a few things that came together. I worked for four years to cancel out the corrugated cardboard’s weak structural points,” Gafni said.
“Making a cardboard box is easy and it can be very strong and durable, but to make a bicycle was extremely difficult and I had to find the right way to fold the cardboard in several different directions. It took a year and a half, with lots of testing and failure until I got it right,” he said.
Check out the video above and the entire article. It’s a truly amazing story and I’m dying to see this bike out there. For $20 bucks I’ll definitely get one!
Many of us dream of the paperless office, and in today’s world of computers, tablets and smartphones, we can eliminate a ton of paper from our personal lives along with at the office by making some common sense changes. We send less snail mail, and fewer meetings require a ton of paper. Still, you have to be mindful of these things, follow best practices, and try to set standards in the workplace. Basically, more devices often lead to more printing if you don’t try to control people’s impulses. At work, you need to make conservation a priority. By doing that, workers will respond and act more responsibly. Also, in today’s environment, with all the Internet sharing tools, it’s also much easier to implement. We don’t need all of the paper, so now we just need to break bad habits.
Still, there are important uses for some paper. The key is to identify what’s important, and explain to your staff that they shouldn’t cut out necessary items. For example, brochures are very important for many businesses, particularly in consumer settings or at trade shows. So here you want people to just be better shoppers by using tools like online printing services to get better quality and efficiency by choosing services like business brochures printing at UPrinting or other great options you can find online.
But, for many meetings, the agenda can be something people refer to on their tablet or smartphone – there’s no need to print it out and send it around. The same goes for reports; do you really need to print out 10 copies for everyone at the meeting? Ask yourself these kinds of questions and you’ll save a ton of trees!
General Motors first began selling the Chevy Volt, as the first ever plug-in hybrid vehicle, in December of 2010. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Volt achieves about 94 miles per gallon. However, with a price tag of around $40,000, consumers have been slow to jump on board with the plug-in electric car concept. In fact, production was halted back in March-April, 2012, due to sluggish sales. However, General Motors resumed production this past April, a week earlier than planned, as Volt sales have begun to turn around. Some say that this past summer’s high gas prices have encouraged more consumers to invest in the Volt. The following is an article, out of the NY Daily News, discussing the Volt’s return:
What a difference a few months made for the Chevy Volt. From underselling political deadweight to automotive press darling, GM’s plug-in hybrid electric vehicle went back into production this week after a shorter-than expected shutdown announced in early March to reduce the inventory levels of unsold vehicles.
At that time, the Volt’s future looked bleak — it was being rounded on by US Republican presidential candidates and was still suffering from the aftereffects of a series of damaging headlines after a federal investigation into battery safety.
But that was then and this is now.
Check out the entire article. It’s inspiring to see that although progress has been slow, we are moving closer to achieving energy independence and reducing our carbon footprint…One car at a time.