Small Habits To Make A Smaller Footprint

Most of the readers of this blog are people who would love to make a smaller footprint in the environment, and they are always looking for ways to make small changes in their lives in order to accomplish this goal.  Here are a few tips that we’ve come up with that can make it very easy to save some energy, materials, and even time.

Use A Reusable Coffee Cup

keepcupWe know; some people just have to have their morning pick me up. And that’s fine!  However, do you really need to get a disposable paper cup and plastic lid every time you go to the cafe?  Recently I got a Keepcup, a small glass coffee cup that I can reuse.  It saves a cup every time I visit the coffee shop, and it adds up really fast.  What if everyone saved 365 paper coffee cups and lids per year?  Think of how much we could all save!  Remember: every little bit helps, and every little bit really adds up if everyone gets on board.

The baristas really like my little Keepcup.  It’s nice looking, and I get a bit of satisfaction every time I use it.  Also, I avoid that papery taste that often infects the cups I use.  Other people have also commented on it and it’s quite popular.

Turn Off Your PC When You’re Not Using It

I am always shocked at the amount of people that leave their computers running 24/7.  When I asked one of my friends about why he does this, he replies that he hates how long it takes to boot up the computer when he wants to use it.  I can understand this; I know how frustrating it is to have a slow computer that takes ages to boot up.  However think of how much energy you could save by turning it off when you’re not using it?  Many computers use a lot of power, especially desktop computers and monitors.

If you’re not happy with the performance of your computer, why not clean it out so that it boots up faster?  If you’ve got spyware or malware then getting rid of it with a software tool such as Spyhunter is a great way to get things running smoothly again.  If you have to clean out junk files, then a program such as PC Health Advisor or RegCure could be the ticket to a faster computer that boots up more quickly.  We Hate Malware is a great blog that outlines these different programs and why you might want to use them.  Check it out for other PC tips that could help you rehabilitate your sluggish computer.

Ride Your Bike!

This goes without saying, but I like to remind people now and then that biking is a great alternative to starting up your car and driving down to the local bar or coffee shop.  Not only do you save gas, but you give yourself a lot of good exercise.  Sometimes I definitely need to be reminded that biking is an option, so that’s why I put it here.

Here’s a video with more energy saving tips for around your home:

On Getting Rid Of Plastics

I like to tell people to start thinking more creatively on how to reduce their use of plastics–specifically “single use” plastics.  Plastic does have its place in our society, but one time use plastics need to be phased out.  It’s unnecessary.  BUT WAIT: does choosing paper over plastic always mean less environmental impact?  Here is a great TED talk on the subject:


Watersheds And Diversity

watershedNew approaches to conservation biology were well underway in 1992 when this report was written.  It’s interesting to look back and see what was considered cutting edge and new.  Conservation isn’t a new concept but looking back just 30 years or so and you can see how much things have changed.

With exponential population growth we can only do our best to keep up with the changing times.

“Conservation biology contributes to understanding the internal small-scale dynamics of populations and species within isolated ecosystems (Soule 1986). Landscape ecology identifies the dominant landscape element or matrix and identifies other islands and corridor and network features that may link islands into functionally larger systems. Landscape ecology suggests quantitative measures of landscape structure and function and provides a framework for outlining the processes of connection and change between protected areas and other landscape elements (Forman and Godron 1986, Turner 1989). Ecosystem studies are critical to understanding the actual processes within particular ecosystems at various scales. Such understanding permits us to anticipate and remediate alternations caused by internal or external threats (Rapport et al. 1985).

Planning and management presupposes information on an ecosystem. This information can range from basic descriptive data such as are found in state-of-the-environment reports or environmental audits and indicators (GEMS 1989) to more strongly theory-based efforts to define and measure ecosystem integrity. Ecosystem integrity is a difficult thing to define, let alone to measure (e.g., Anderson 1991). Such efforts depend on recognition that an ecosystem is a complex, connected system with functional and organizational properties inherent in, and particular to, the individual ecosystem. They draw on a range of systems and other theories to emphasize the self-organizing, self-maintaining abilities of intact ecosystems (Kay 1991, Slocombe 1990). The effects of scale and hierarchical organization are also central to understanding the dynamics of ecosystems and the interaction of biophysical and socioeconomic processes (O’Neill et al. 1986).

If the goal is management of an entire watershed, bioregion, or ecosystem, natural-science information alone is not enough. The management unit includes people, their social and economic activities, and their shared and individual beliefs. In redefining the management unit through these concepts, we must also reconceptualize the system to include many more dimensions. A human ecological or sociobiophysical system view helps to make this clear (e.g., Boyden 1992, Slocombe 1990). We want better understanding of local and regional economies, cultures, societies, and their points of interaction with the natural environment.

Gaining this knowledge requires using information and methods more familiar to community development, social impact assessment, and historical and ethnographic researchers and practitioners than to environmental planners and ecologists. Such approaches provide new information that can be integrated with the biophysical to provide significant new theoretical perspectives with practical implications (e.g., ecological economics; Costanza 1991). Several basic research needs for application and exploration in case studies include:

* multidisciplinary data collection, including monitoring, on past and present system state, behavior, and functioning;

* exploration of methods to organize, display, and illustrate the interrelationships of data collected, for example, geographic information systems and computer simulations; and

* exploration of methods of transdisciplinary synthesis of varied data, for example, multipurpose, integrative targets and indicators.

The case studies provide examples of these efforts. The first national scientific symposium of the Australian Alps as a result of the Cooperative Management Program dealt with its natural scientific significance. But the second, soon after, dealt with the Alps’ cultural and historical significance. Thomas et al. (1991) provided an eminently useful synthesis and organization of existing information on the Greater Prince William Sound ecosystem as a basis for future planning and management. Probably the longest-lasting benefit of the aborted Greater Kluane Regional Planning exercise will be the wide-ranging background studies and information collected in a bibliography and geographic information system as a base for planning, management, and decision making.”

Slocombe, D. Scott. “Implementing ecosystem-based management: development of theory, practice and research for planning and managing a region.” BioScience 43.9 (1993): 612+.


Importance Of Power Saving

Ben in Mrs. Alpine’s 3rd grade class won the essay contest this month.  Congratulations!  Here is his winning piece on the importance of saving power:


savingpowerIn today’s world almost everybody depends on power for smooth running of life,it is an absolute necessity that helps people in cooking, traveling, and working among many other vital things that we can do without power, you only need an hour to understand the usefulness of power and reality of life in absence of power. Governments from different regions have started educating their citizens on the importance of conserving power so as to end power crisis which has became rampant in the world, the cost of fuel as well as electricity is shooting up day in day out due to change in climate as well as inappropriate use of power.

Saving power is not all about minimizing the use of it or denying ourselves some luxuries things such as traveling in cars only but also involves the use of alternative sources of power such as fossils, solar energy among other sources, by doing so you will be helping yourself as well as the entire nation.

Below are the importance of conserving energy on our day to day activities:

Saves money

We all want to save money regardless of how little it is just to use on other things thus why if you want to save a good amount of money then work on conserving power. Energy saving is very simple and requires no training because all you need to do is to minimize the use of power in your offices or houses by using energy saves such as gadgets with less kilowatts and also using solar heat from the sun,by doing so you will save 20 to 30% of the money you normally spend on power.

Reduces air pollution

There is nothing that reduces air pollution more than energy conservation,for many years pollution has been a great challenge to many countries as it is the main cause of global warming thus why we need to conserve power by all means and look at other ways of power that does not pollute the environment we leave in,we should opt for vehicles that do not emit unnecessary smoke and use cooking equipment that are free from smoke as well and by doing so we shall be making the environment we live in more conducive and health.

Saves water

We all know that the electricity we use in our homes or place of work is generated from water thus why if we want to first save on our water then we must started by saving electricity,normally a one unit of electricity requires two litres of water to be generated and millions of units are used daily in the world so imagine if you start by saving two units a day,it will be as good as saving four litres of water per day which is very recommendable .

To reduce green house gas emission

Green house gas emission has became a threat to the environment we live in,it is what cause global warming as well which has altered the good climate we use to enjoy back then and this has come to the emission of gases to the air from factories,cars and planes,it is high time for the world to come up with a better way of solving this great challenge as well as discouraging people from emitting gases to the space.

It is vividly clear that energy conservation is of much importance to us and the government thus why we need to start today conserving power,energy saving starts with you and me.