Since we are so focused on helping the earth, we thought we would share some ways that the older generation can help. We often focus on the youth, and rightfully so since most are so progressively minded. However, we all need to play our part new and old alike. As the earth’s population continues to skyrocket, so does the overall stress level placed on our living environment. While there are many things people of all ages can do to help the environment, this article will focus on ways that senior citizens in particular can help to keep Mother Earth much happier.
Conserve on electricity: Throughout all of our homes there are countless electrically run appliances and gadgets. This is especially the case with seniors who often times spend much more time at home due to the fact that they are retired. It is a great idea to walk through your home once a day and attempt to spot anything electrical that can be turned off. If you aren’t using an electrical appliance or gadget, then always be sure to switch it off, or unplug it completely. Not only does this greatly reduce the strain on the overall environment due to energy conservation, but it also greatly reduces the household risks for fire.
Unplug Unused Appliances: Similar to the advice given in the paragraph above, senior citizens should unplug any kitchen appliances that aren’t being used, such as toasters, blenders, and other appliances. Most people are not aware of the fact that when these appliances are plugged in, they are still consuming a very low level amount of electricity. By unplugging these appliances you can be saving a lot of energy on an annual basis.
Make sure that your home energy sources are renewable: Many electric companies these days offer consumers the ability to choose if they want to receive electricity from renewals sources, such as wind, solar, or hydro power. In some cases this renewal electricity can be more expensive than power derived from coal plants, however, it is far better for the environment. It is proven that senior citizens per capita use more electricity monthly than average consumers, and thus opting for the renewable energy option can greatly help the environment over the long run. In many cases you can also receive a tax deduction for using renewable energy, which depending on your location may even end up saving you money at the end of the year.
Use a clothesline during the summer: As senior citizens generally have more free time, they can save a lot of electricity throughout the year by setting up a clothesline to dry their clothes on instead of using an electric dryer. Depending on the climate in your specific location, clothes will generally dry on a clothesline in just several hours. In places like Southern California, Florida, and Arizona, you can use a clothesline year round due to the hot average temperatures. Besides saving electricity with a clothesline, most will agree that clothing is way softer when it is aired dried.
In the end, senior citizens can help the environment just as much as a young person. We found many other resources for senior citizens at http://www.senioritycomplex.com and would recommend you have any older people visit that site. Together, we can save this planet and preserve it for future generations.
One of the many environmentally friendly choices we make at the Levesque household is using energy efficient drapery and blinds.
Energy saving blinds can help reduce your electric bills in both summer and winter by reducing how often your furnace and air conditioner run. They are beneficial to keeping your home comfortable when the weather turns cold and when the summer sun and heat come barreling down on your home.
Traditionally, most window coverings are not thermal in nature. Without thermal drapes during the winter months you can actually feel the cool air radiating from the curtains or blinds. Larger windows are more susceptible to this, that is why it is important to utilize a thermal widow covering. Many companies offer a a great selection thermal window coverings for very reasonable prices. You can even order your blinds through the internet also.
At issue though can be the cost of purchasing all new drapery and blinds for your home. We had to consider this when we decided to go that route. This is what we did…well my wife did because she sews. We actually took our existing drapery and simply added a thermal lining. This proved to be substantially less expensive than buying all new drapery. Plus, we really like the the drapes we have. I believe there was a 78% difference between adding a thermal lining versus buying new drapes.
Once the drapes were completed and after hanging them, one thing we noticed almost immediately since it was approaching winter was the amount of draftiness that was gone from the home. Even with our diligence in making sure our windows were sealed properly. There was a certain comfort level that we had not experienced before.
While we heat overall with wood during the winter, we have the furnace as a back up for the coldest of nights when the wood stove cannot keep up. We have experience less furnace time with the new thermal lined drapes than we did prior to adding the lining.
As the cost of energy continues to increase, it is vital that we look at all ares within our homes that we can better insulate from the outdoor elements. We do not use an air conditioner at all during the warmer months of the summer. The sunshine blasting through the widows can certainly heat up a home quite quickly. The new thermal drapery liners have reduced the amount of radiant heat that is generated through the windows during the day. This keeps our home considerably cooler during the day and very comfortable at night. Well, except when the temperature hits the 90′s with high humidity…whew!
Other than great insulation here are a few more benefits of insulated widow coverings: The help with sound reduction. We have all wood floors throughout so the echo can sometimes be a bit much especially with two young children and two dogs running around. They add to your privacy as they are not transparent. Along with this they allow for more light control, too. Plus they are longer lasting. The thermal lining is like a second drape which adds to the life of the main drape.
Seriously consider either adding a thermal lining to your current blinds or if you can afford to do so, purchase new ones for your home. You will see a great difference in your electric bills and feel the difference in your home.
For those of you not familiar with hybrid vehicles they are an eco-friendly mode of transportation that run on traditional gasoline and electric power. They have a rechargeable battery systems that you recharge every evening. These electrical systems work in conjunction with the gasoline engine to reduce the use of gasoline and reduce emissions caused by fossil fuels. There are many brands of these hybrid vehicles that you can choose from like the Chevrolet Volt, Honda Prius and the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid to name a few.
Hybrid Car Owner Insurance Advantages
Why is it that Hybrid vehicle owners can receive a preferred rate for car insurance, sometimes up to 10%?
- Hybrid vehicle owners are typically are more mature drivers.
- They are on average 41-60 married men and women.
- They have a financially stable background.
- They are not as likely to have a moving violation or a traffic accident.
- Less likely to present an insurance claim.
William Glasser of Glasser Insurance states that “research has shown that people who own and operate a hybrid vehicle typically drive fewer miles throughout the year and are not as likely to be in a car accident.”
On average a hybrid vehicle owner can expect fuel costs to be around $1,700 versus an owner of a Suburban that can easily cost $100 per week to operate in gasoline alone.
Total Reliability on Electric.
Aside from the popular hybrid vehicle is the purely electronic vehicle, running completely on battery power. These vehicle may receive the preferred insurance rate just for the fact they are electric. Some insurers have specific departments to deal with the increase in electronic and hybrid vehicle insurance.
Electric vehicles are less likely to be stolen. With mileage range of approximately 100 miles and top speeds not conducive for running from the police, these vehicles are not at the top of the list for seasoned car thieves. The batteries may be of value to them, but the trade-off is not in their favor.
Other Incentives and Discounts
Another issue to consider apart from insurance benefits is the federal incentives that may be in place to entice you into buying a hybrid or electric vehicle. States and cities may have incentives also such as being able to drive solo in a HOV lane (High Occupancy Vehicle) while traveling on the freeway. These are often found in large cities around the country.
You may also be eligible for reduced rates on loans. Many banks offer reduced rates of .25% or more when lending money for an eco-friendly vehicle.
Our suggestion is to make a list of the potential hybrid or electric vehicles that you are interested in purchasing. Then contact your insurance provider, make an appointment and sit down to review your options, discussing the pros and cons of owning a hybrid or electric vehicle from an insurance standpoint. After that consult a tax adviser to see what incentives, if any, are available for you. You may be surprised how affordable a hybrid or electric vehicle may be beyond the cost of insurance.
Setting up your website is only one step in a series of things that you have to do to be successful in an online global marketplace. It’s really not that different from maintaining a physical store because you have to set up shop, market your products, and look for ways to get more clients to check out your store and hopefully, to make a sale.
But the best thing that you have on your side when you venture in an online business is accessibility to virtually everyone in the world. This makes the world a smaller place and allows collaboration with business partners and people that you have similar interest in from around the world. I like to keep in touch with people on the cutting edge of environmental issues including what some governments are involved in like Canada and the United States. I have built a business surrounding this as well. But I digress.
Your reach is definitely a lot wider with an online shop. And while being present on the Internet does not guarantee an overnight success, the improved exposure helps a lot in building your client and partnership base. Any business worth keeping requires a lot of work and a personal touch. Maintaining one on the internet is no different. You stand to gain more if you are updated about the different aspects involved in having a presence on the internet.
In the same way that maintenance is a top priority for a brick and mortar shop, your primary concern for an online business is your website. Your objective is to make people aware of your existence. To do this you require marketing techniques and effective advertising and word of mouth. The environmental movement is at its base, a grass roots movement. With the right people behind you, you can maximize the use of your website.
I have become accustom to hiring professionals to create and manage my website. It is the equivalent of hiring an advertising firm to do the marketing plan for your company. Remember that the Internets’ advantage is also its bane. It is a fact that you have a good potential of reaching consumers but the odds are the same for anyone else who is interested in having an online presence. Your goal should be to stay ahead of the game and have better visibility than your competitors.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a critical way of directing traffic to your site. This is a sound investment for any website owner because these companies are well versed in improving a site’s visibility. This can later on translate into actual sales for you. It’s important though that your site matches the kinds of products and services that you are offering. Elaborate designs do not necessarily mean effective ones.
Social media is at the forefront for promoting your cause or business. I personally use this and find it very effective collaborating with like-minded people. Take advantage of the large volume of users that are using this resource. Facebook has over one billion users. Creating an account for your business in Facebook for instance, is cost-free and it allows you to display your products and communicate easily with clients.
A website can connect you with people you would have never come in contact with prior to the internet. Take a look at using the internet to promote whatever it is you wish to promote. I have come to rely on it heavily.
For the past several years it has been recognized that there has been an increase in the transportation of tar sands crude oil. Tar sands crude is an extremely corrosive, volatile and acidic mixture of a substance known as bitumen, which is essential for use in manufacturing asphalt. It carries with it a natural gas liquid distillation which increases the likely hood of a major disaster along the route of the pipeline. It is also know to have, as part of its chemical make up, heavy metals in much greater proportion that that of a standard grade crude. They are not able to be absorbed into the earth and the effects are toxic to animals, land and water.
The production of tar sands has a long history of negatively impacting the environment. In our great country of Canada alone it has destroyed portions of our amazing Boreal forests, polluted our wetlands and is a cause for increased levels of greenhouse gas pollution which directly effects climate change, all the while leaving in its path the remains of toxic waste in our lakes. It has been reported that persons living near an oil spill of tar sands have experience symptoms consistent with that of benzene poisoning such as respiratory, neurological and gastrointestinal problems. Long-term exposure to benzene has been linked to cancer.
The biggest issue that is quite often overlooked is transporting of this substance through pipelines to oil refineries. Many oil companies are using pipeline technology that is insufficient to safely transport tar sands. It requires a pipeline construction that can handle increased temperature and pressure due to its heavier consistency over regular crude oil. There have been numerous reports of increased leaks along these pipelines due to its more corrosive nature. One pipeline system that runs through Alberta has seen a 11.9% increase in pipeline failure since transporting tar sands beginning in 1999. Previous to switching to tar sands, the Alberta system only recorded a 1.375% leak rate when transporting standard crude.
The companies that make up the oil pipeline industry need to be very careful when dealing with this form of crude oil. It is my belief that not until there have been many strict environmental regulation put in place concerning the transportation of tar sands that all pipeline construction for this type of crude should stop immediately. Pipeline and oil companies must be able to detect, find and repair the tiniest of leaks in a very short period of time. As the age of the pipeline increases the oil companies must keep a closer eye on any possible point of deterioration that could be the source of a leak or catastrophic oil spill. They also need make sure that if there is a major spill that there are enough spill containment mechanisms along the pipeline for immediate containment.
We can certainly chip away at our overabundant need for crude oil thus eliminating the health risk tar sands poses by exploring and developing alternative sources for energy especially when it comes to our vehicles. Providing government programs and incentive to develop more efficient hybrid vehicles and alternatives for farming tractors and any other gas powered driven machine is something every government in the world should be considering.
I absolutely love the internet. It allows me to stay in touch with those people involved in the global environmental movement. I hope that some of this information will help you discern your internet presence to make it stronger which in turn, will help make a difference in whatever cause you are involved in. If it has to do with the environment, that is awesome because we need all the help we can get.
To help you assess the quality of your website, try looking at it from different angles. Keep in mind that you are competing with thousands of other people who are all trying to get noticed by the search engines. If you do the foundations right, your site can generate a lot of traffic.
Evaluate your site. Try to notice both the positive and negative angles. It’s probably best to ask a friend or colleague to do this with you. Write down your observations and concerns. If you have employed technical people to develop manage your website, discuss your findings with the technical staff to advise them of your assessment. Be specific about what meets your approval and what features you’d like to change. Your site design should be relevant to the type of products and services that you are offering.
The details like the font size, style, and color may seem like small things but they contribute to the over-all impact of your website and your brand. Make sure that these are consistent across each page and, if you are a blogger each post. Graphic images and videos are generally placed on websites but make sure that you don’t overdo it. If there’s too much techno blinking and scrolling going on, it can turn off guests and cause them to leave your site.
Another element that you should use sparingly is an animated presentation. Aside from being expensive to make, this multimedia element takes a long time to load and the ROI is typically poor at best. On the plus side, it gives you a cutting edge and professional look but if it doesn’t suit your product, don’t force it. Potential visitors who just want the bare info about your company may not have the patience to wait for the entire presentation to load.
Always include a short company background, what the mission is and a little bit about yourself or management team. Keep you main links to five or six. Too many main menu links can be distracting and cause confusion. From my experience it is better to have drop down menus as sub categories of the main menu links.
Balance out the information that you’ll put on your page. It’s pretty tempting to publish all your accomplishments but the thing that will keep visitors on your site is not what you have done but what you have to offer. Most are looking for specific answers to problems and they tend to move quickly from site to site to find the perfect fit. A simple design is easy on the eyes and can be inviting to potential visitors.
This will be my last post on concerning getting yourself up and running with a website to promote your cause or online store. There are many factors to consider as you work to get this accomplished.
The Internet has become, quite simply, one of the most used resource in the world. It’s been considered a critical tool in business and has led to the concept of a global community. In a way, it has made the world smaller because it allows people to easily touch base with each other. Shopping, which is a favorite pastime of many people, has moved on to a whole new level as virtual boutiques appeared providing a world-wide client base. These online stores give clients the chance to view the items at their leisure and to compare the price of other retail shops.
Another advantage of the net is that entrepreneurs or those promoting a specific cause with a blog get to do their different business transactions online like ordering their stocks and supplies, shopping for raw materials, advertising for manpower requirement, and managing their financial accounts. On the home front, it provides users a chance to easily hook up with other family members and friends. This creates stronger family ties that can be sustained by just logging in to the system. Getting the latest update on news and advisories can also be done by following online postings and articles.
But along with these benefits comes threats on various levels. The availability of personal information on the net has given unscrupulous individuals an open door. This has led to a lot of cases of identity theft where victims suffer both personal and financial loss. The challenge for users is to find the right level where they get the most out of using the Internet and still remain safe. Here are some tips that could help you surf the web without subjecting yourself to potential abuse:
• Make sure that all your electronic devices that require Internet connection have the latest versions of both web browsers and operating systems. You also need to install the newest security software in these gadgets. The bottom line is that your machine should be kept clean at all times so you can keep track of harmful elements.
• Take advantage of automatic options on software updates. This gives you continued and improved protection against all kinds of malware and computer viruses.
• If you are using a wireless router, which allows you to simultaneously use several devices to access the web, make sure that it is secure. You can do this by modifying the name so you won’t be identified easily by people in the near vicinity, creating a unique password composed of alpha-numeric characters he password, and adjusting the security options.
• Scan all external devices like USBs with your security software before using them. These are ready carriers of harmful data which can corrupt all the contents of your PC or laptop.
• If you are going to make a financial transaction, check the details of the web address to ensure that you are in a secure site. Generally those with “https:// signifies that the site is safe and can protect your personal information.
• Make a back up copy of all your important files including videos and images and store it in a separate place.
• Pay attention to the emails that you receive and do a thorough review before opening them. If an email with an attached document is sent to you by an unfamiliar source, delete it immediately. Do not click on any attachment or links if you don’t know the sender. A lot of harmful computer viruses are transferred in this manner.
While I have never been hacked, I do know of a couple people in my travels that have. It has turned their life upside down trying to reclaim their identity. Don’t be afraid of the internet, just be cautious.
You can save money by booking your flight through the resort. Some resorts will provide you a flight credit, spa specials free nights with additional savings depending on your length of stay.
Everything you need to relax and have fun are right at your fingertips; entertainment, dining and lodging. You can take a leisurely walk along a sandy beach, dine in a variety of restaurants that meet your nutritional requirements, find entertainment like volleyball, dancing and other activities. Most people really enjoy simply staying at the resort for the entire length of their stay. But some people like to venture out into the countryside to absorb the local culture and experience the bright heritage some of these areas have to offer. There are some that will even take what is called an Eco Tour. this is an “environmentally friendly” tour of the local area.
Planned Tours Outside of the Resort.
Most resorts offer guided tours throughout the countryside. The benefit to this is you do not have to concern yourself with finding your way around an area you are not familiar with. If you rent a vehicle you can waste precious gasoline resources wandering through the countryside. This is not all bad if it a beautiful area and have the time, but if you get lost you run a strong possibility of running out of gas.
Tour buses are a great fuel-saving option and more environmentally friendly simply for the fact that it is one vehicle transporting several people to some great locations in the area. You will have no worries about getting lost or running out of gas. It makes your journey more pleasant and relaxing. Besides aren’t you are vacationing to relax?
If you are adventurous and want to drive yourself, typically these countries where the all-inclusive resorts are have smaller vehicles as their roads are narrower. You may even want to try a motor scooter for a bit more adventure. This mode of transportation will cost virtually nothing in fuel and leave a very small carbon footprint during your travels. Remember to wear a helmet though! On one of our trips Claire and I rented scooters and, I think between the two of us used less than a half of a tank of gas even being gone for the better part of the day.
You can check with your concierge for travel details and planning your day trip.
When you are out among the beautiful countryside, be conscientious of those living in the area. Be sure to clean up after yourself, don’t litter. Stay on your designated routs when driving. If hiking around be sure to stay on the designated trails. As with driving you are in an unfamiliar area and straying from the designated trail or road may present you with a difficult situation if you become lost. Many of these outlying areas do not have cell phone service. So be very careful while away from the resort.
Do not let these little cautions prevent you from traveling outside of the resort. Soaking up the local culture can certainly add to your vacation experience and will likely provide you with many great memories of your trip to share with family and friends for years to come.
We all enjoy a vacation getaway. Typical vacations include tropical resorts or maybe a western states vacation, perhaps a snow adventure in the mountains of Canada. These are great family times that that are full on fond memories.
I would like to challenge you to consider what is called an Eco Tour.
What is an Eco Tour?
An Eco Tour, or Ecotourism, is a trip that involves going to area in the natural environment with the purpose of education you and your family or being part of activities that do not negatively affect the environment. These trips cause minimal effect to the area environment and the people from the area to which you are traveling.
The main emphasis of an eco tour is education the participant on environmental issues for that particular area they are visiting. This would include the natural resources and endangered species as an example. This can be accomplished through the means of demonstrations, participating in certain projects, educational lectures or through the highly-educated tour guide.
Your trip is really open to your imagination. Whatever you can think of there is likely a tour or very similar tour available.
Here are just some examples;
- Wildlife PhotoTours in Africa
- Dolphin Experiences in Tropical Areas
- Nature Retreats in Coasta Rica
- Giant Panda Tours in China
- Viewing the Mountain Gorilla in Rwanda
- Camping Tours in Australia’s Outback
The list goes on.
A couple years ago I took my family to Costa Rica to learn more about the topical climates and rain forest and how they affect our global temperatures. In addition we were amazed at the enormous variety of wildlife that exist within the jungles of Costa Rica. Check out this picture of the poisonous red tree frog. Beautiful to look at but do not touch!
There are many reputable companies that cater to those who wish to take a trip of this nature. The easiest way to find one is to look them up on the internet. Take your time and contact several companies to see what they have to offer as far as travel discounts, itinerary, and specifically, the types of tours that they offer. You may find that several companies offer the same tour so you will want to compare what each company offers with what your expectations are.
Plan your trip well in advance of your departure date. Also keep in mid that traveling to other climates there will be differences in the season compared to what we are used to in Canada. You certainly do not want to take a trip during a rainy season or when the weather is at its hottest. Big mistake. Don’t forget your passport and be sure to research if any inoculations will be required for the location you are traveling to. You will need a couple months lead time for this.
Taking an Eco Trip can be a very rewarding vacation for you and your family. In my experience, our trips far exceeded our expectations and we returned more dedicated to our cause of environmental education and sustainability.
Take an eco trip, you will not be sorry.
We hear more and more about the benefits of eating organic foods including vegetable, fruits and meats. What makes them organic is the fact that no artificial fertilizers are used to help spur growth in the vegetables and the meat; beef, pork and poultry, are free from steroids and other growth hormones. Typically the meat farmers will feed their livestock organically grown grains and grasses.
How can we do this in our own neighborhood and home? In a recent post I spoke about building your own compost pile for fertilizing your garden. One thing you need to take care of is to use only matter that has been grown organically. It will defeat the purpose of growing an organic garden if you are fertilizing with compost that has been grown with artificial fertilizer..
When choosing to start your organic garden consult with a organic farmer in your area. They will provide you with the best information you can get to ensure its success. These organic farms will likely have resources for you to acquire Non GMO seeds to begin your planting and will have organically grown seedlings for your tomato and pepper plants and other seedlings of your choice.
You will want to steer clear of GMO seeds. These are seeds that have been genetically modified to produce a greater yield but there is so much controversy as to their effect on human consumption through the grown plants that it is better to stay clear.
Depending on your living situation will determine the type and style of garden you will want to develop. If you are in an urban setting you can grow some magnificent produce using boxes. Frame in an area about 8ft x 8ft with tall enough sides to hold one foot of soil. Mix in your compost at a ratio of one part compost to four parts soil. You can vary the size of the boxes as you see fit. Proceed to plant your seeds and seedlings as you typically would do being careful not to over crowd. Watch out for those over reaching zucchini and cucumbers!
During the growing season you will want to lightly dust the earth and mix in additional compost to fortify the minerals in the soil. But do not over do it. Adding too much can cause distress to the plants.
In a larger setting, till the earth with your favorite tilling device. Plan out your rows and mounds then mix in your compost. This is less time consuming and less difficult as you are pinpointing your fertilization efforts to a specific area.
On a side note, if you have a great amount of leaves available in the fall till those into the soil where you will be planting or have planted your garden. This will provide much of the needed nutrients to give your soil the boost it needs.
Remember you need to start with organic if you are to finish with 100% complete organic. If it is not possible to know 100% for sure that you are starting with organic seeds, simply use what you have and proceed as if you would using your organic compost. Enjoy!