Category Archives: Environment

Understanding Extreme Weather Conditions Using Weather Simulators

So many people have experienced severe weather conditions ranging from hurricanes to wildfires, storms and even dust storms, all of which can be very disastrous on people and property. These people have firsthand experience what it means to survive these weather situations already.

Some others have not experienced any sort of extreme weather condition, which explains why they seem not to care when told to evacuate because a serious storm is coming.

So what if some weather simulators were developed that could allow people have the experience of an extreme weather condition like a storm in real life?

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The truth is that most people living in some parts of the world really don’t know what wildfires are like, neither can they imagine how strong wind storms can be. Such 140 miles an hour winds that can literally blow people away. Maybe by blowing strong air on people that could knock them onto soft surfaces, they’ll get an idea what wind storms are like.

These could be set up in amusement parks, or can be built in such a way they are taken round the communities during events. This will also be very vital for the kids to know what storms are like. And more importantly, learn how they can survive during such situations.

When this happens, you won’t be surprised to see some these kids choosing to become Coast Guards, or join humanitarian units that help people trapped in such extreme situations in the future. Their minds will begin getting ready to solve future challenges associated with weather circumstances.

Tips To Survive Severe Storms

With climate change has come increasing weather disturbances, not only for those living in the coastal parts of the cities, but inland dwellers too. When there is a warning for a hurricane or a severe storm, there are important tips to abide by that will ensure that the effect of the disaster is at least minimal on your home.

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Tip 1 – Always ensure that you keep a rechargeable LED lamp with you, as well as extra batteries for flashlights. Where these are not available, use slow burning candles instead of the scented ones. Make sure they are not left unattended to while sleeping. Watch the kids too when they go near them.

Tip 2 – Before things become too disorganised, contact the local Red Cross or authorities and keep their numbers with you. Find the closest shelter in your neighbourhood especially if you have too much damage in your home.

Tip 3 – Prepare a bag that can contain about two days clothing for each member of the family. Also go with necessary toiletries, while keeping the things a baby might need in a different baby bag.

Tip 4 – If you have more than one car, separate them by a good distance. This will prevent you from losing both cars in the case of any disasters. It is usually a great idea to keep one of them in a shelter while the other is kept away from trees, tall objects or power cables that could fall on them.

Tip 5 – Always stay away from doors and windows and try not to vacate immediately except if the home suffers enough structural damage that is significant to leave it for the storm outside. Else, with minor damages like shattered windows or a fallen tree on the roof, it is safer to remain in there.

Tips on Choosing the Right Type of Garden

So you have a space in your home where you have decided to get your hands dirty with some humus? That is good, because there’s nothing as satisfying as eating the fruits of your garden labor. However, you really have to make up your mind as to which type of garden is most suitable for you to cultivate – especially if you are just starting out.

Some factors such as your garden space, the time you will have for the garden, the weather conditions in your area, water supply, the quality of the soil and even the current condition of the garden right now; have to be put into consideration when making your decision.

If the garden space is large enough, you can consider planting flowers, fruits and flowers in different segments of the farm at the same time. More time is also required if you are going to do this.

The easiest type of garden to start with is a flower garden, stocked full of perennials that give you firsthand experience with gardening. You can visit a local horticulturist for some advice.

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A vegetable garden is also good, as it provides you with food from your own garden and also requires less of your time. You just need to know and consider the right ones to plant in their seasons and wait for them to mature.

Though time demanding, a fruit garden is a great choice for gardening. You also have to stave off the infestation of insects and pests to your fruits. However, if you enjoy eating fruits a lot, the time spent in taking care of your fruit garden is really worth it and should not discourage you.

So whichever choice you make, you will really enjoy the freshness and natural foods that appear on your table at meals.

Tapping Energy from Lightning for Electricity – How Possible?

We all know how incredibly strong some lightning strikes can be – especially during storms. Lightning is caused by the release of electrons as a result of friction between the earth and the atmosphere.

The lots of energy at the end of the earth’s atmosphere where it is in contact with space can really be tapped and even recycled for generation of electricity by humans.

It is important to also note that lightning does not only take place in the earth. It has been discovered that Mars, Jupiter and some other planets experience strong lightning storms in them. There really is a lot of energy involved when lightning takes place.

Based on scientific discoveries, some lightning bolts that happen carry so much energy and power that if harnessed can provide enough electricity to meet the needs of a whole city. You can then imagine what it would be like if we could store and convert this energy for our use.

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The truth is that the energy produced by wind power for instance, may not exceed that that we could tap from lightning. The negative effects of wind power are well documented, ranging from its disturbing environmental noise, and the fact that it is not a steady or reliable source of energy.

And so we could begin researching to find ways of making use of the energy released during lightning. Though it may be unclear yet how we could tap into this potential, it still represents another alternative we can pursue to achieve a green and safe planet.

How Sufficient Is Earth’s Natural Gas Reserves

We have heard and read it over and over again, that soon we will run out of natural gas for our use. This has been propagated by environmental enthusiasts who are promoting the use of alternatives to fossil fuels – the wind, solar or hydroelectric sources of energy.natural-gas-stove-burner

However, a lot of times, we come to realize that our energy requirements really surpass what these alternatives could handle, even when they are combined together. The truth is that, we are yet to ascertain how reliable these energy sources are, that could lead us to clearing fuels out of the way in our world.

We do not know yet how reliable these energy sources are, bearing in mind the how costly a failure in energy supply could be to the system.

We’ve had several predictions as to how soon we will run out of natural gas, most of which will at best be described as false. The challenge now is this: do we continue to listen to these predictions? How do we know that these predictions are purely motivated by a care for our planet?

A lot of billions have been spent by the US on the basis of these predictions, but until today we cannot boast of an efficient alternative to fossil fuels, neither are the natural gas reserves looking like they are about to be depleted.

Either way, there is need to assess our options for clean renewable energy sources while minimizing the burning of fuels into our atmosphere. Meanwhile, it has to be at the best interest of our planet, and not for any form of economic gain.

How Modern Energy Technologies Can Minimize Over-Population Impact on Earth

We all know that human population on the earth is growing at an alarming rate. This has led to speculations that at some point in our existence here on earth, we may run out of energy resources as a result of increased pressure and over-use.r621244_4172517

It is true that the resources on the earth may be limited as compared to the growth in its population, and over-population will definitely affect the availability of freshwater, wildlife and even fossil fuel.

However, we all know that the amount of food produced in the world today has actually surpassed that produced several years ago from the same space of land – even with the increase in human population. Also, in the computer industry, we have learnt to produce powerful computers whose chips use very little energy.

All these are made possible by innovation and technology.

Why then do we think it is not going to be possible in our energy sector? Is it not going to be possible that entrepreneurs are going to figure out ways of conserving the world’s energy resources? The manufacture of some energy efficient devices in recent years is testament to this.

The fight between demand of a large population on earth, and the supply of limited energy resources is going to stimulate innovations to ensure our continued existence on this planet.

Well, this does not in any way mean we should neglect the issue of overpopulation, it simply means that we can come up with ways of using the earth’s resources efficiently without living on the brink of its exhaustion.

Planet-Friendly Additions to give Your Kitchen a Healthy Green makeover

Saving the planet essentially starts from home. Instead of worrying about the big picture, sometimes it is best to do whatever little you can to help take the growing green wave forward. As both architects and consumers are becoming more ‘eco-conscious’ with each passing day, the latest homes and hotels coming up are becoming far more energy efficient and planet-friendly. That in no way means that existing home owners cannot tread the same clean path.

Turning your kitchen into a healthy and green abode is the perfect start indeed.

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Saving up energy that is used in the kitchen helps not just cut down on your carbon footprint, but also saves up cash thanks to the reduced power bills. With growing energy bills becoming a huge concern in both UK and across the world, this is an incentive enough to switch to energy-efficient gadgets along with smart LED lighting. Plastic is another vice that you could do without and replacing plastic with organic materials also is a step forward in the right direction.

Most of the modern homes have a small dining space in the kitchen or a dining area that is visually attached to the kitchen. Opt for a dining table set that is organic in nature and certified green. There are plenty of options in this regard as makers like www.oakdiningsets.co.uk offer tables, chairs and shelving units crafted using wood from sustainable forests that are certified as planet-friendly. Always check with your furniture and décor company and ask them for the same.

Create a gray water management system that allows you to recycle and even reuse all the water flowing out of your kitchen sink. Replacing glass and plastic surfaces with organic materials such as wood and bamboo for your kitchen countertop makes sure you are far less prone to bacterial infections. For those who love their home garden, a compost system is a great idea as it provides for natural fertilizer while reducing on waste.

Top all of this off with recycling and reduction of waste and your kitchen is on the fast track to green goodness. At the end of the day, it is essential to remember that going green is much more than a few changes here and there – it is a way of life!

The Problem with Dependence on Rainfall in Parts of Africa

It is no longer news that parts of Africa are ravaged by extreme droughts and devastating food shortages. In most of these places, farming is the main stay of the economy.

Over the years, farmers in Africa – both small and large scale have depended on rainfall as the source of water for their large expanse of farmlands. But things are about to change.

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With the current change in the world’s climate, leading to infrequent rainfall and unusually long dry seasons, farmers all over the world need to re-position themselves in order to remain productive.

One major way of ensuring they remain in the game is look for alternatives to rainfall by using irrigation in providing water for their farms. The damages already recorded in the severe effects of drought in many parts of Africa really far outweigh whatever costs implementing an irrigation system could take.

Sometimes, the costs involved may not even be astronomical in some environments considering that some farmlands are located beside large bodies of water, like dams, lakes or rivers.

However, the topography of Africa, and the fact that so many of these places that really need help are usually remote, makes them difficult to access for aid during difficult agricultural seasons.

The truth is that African governments need to make long term plans for providing rainfall alternatives for farmers. Large scale farmers also have to learn modern ways of irrigation used in other parts of the world.

The times when rainfall determines crop yield in farms is becoming a thing of the past, and farms all over the world need to rise up to the challenge of drought and food scarcity.

The Raven

The Raven is North America’s largest perching bird. They are actually referred to as passerine birds, which mean they have distinguished feet that is adapted for perching.

The Raven is an Omnivore and known to be very effective hunters that make use of cooperation during hunting. Teams of ravens are known to have been able to hunt large animals in the wild. They can feed on smaller animals like rodents, insects and worms, as well as grains which make them omnivores.

A lot of times too, they feed on carrions – decaying flesh of dead animals, and human garbage; making them scavengers.

During their breeding seasons, ravens are seen displaying magnificent aerial skills. These displays are mostly mating rituals, involving dances, rolls and dives. They usually make croaking sounds, and other forms of sounds.

In the winter months, groups of ravens flock to search for food together during the day, and at night they roost. They are always in groups or in twos. Ravens are known to mate for life, especially during the remaining months of the year.

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When they begin to lay eggs, they make large nests with sticks; laying up to three to seven eggs. Because the ravens are always coupled, they take care of the young together. When the eggs hatch, they are dependent on their parents for several months.

The average life span of the raven is about 13 years, and could weigh up to 1.3 kg. The ravens are really sleek and remarkable birds and make for a beautiful sight when they are together in their flock.

Tips for offices keen to become paperless

With electronic devices such as tablets and smartphones playing an increasing role in both our personal and professional lives, it’s probably not surprising to hear many businesses have embraced the paperless trend in recent months. If this is something that you’re keen to do within your organisation, it’s important to make the transition as smooth as possible.

Here are some of the things you ought to take into consideration.

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How will information now be stored?

One of the vital issues to be aware of when making the move to a paperless office is that you’ll be doing away with offline storage systems. So, where you once may have had paper copies of important business documents like contracts and invoices kept in filing cabinets, these will now all need to be stored electronically.

These documents may be already stored on an individual computer, but failing to have them backed up elsewhere in a non-paper format will mean that if a PC is damaged, lost or stolen, this information will be lost forever.

Consequently, I think it’s a good idea to invest in a least one backup solution. This could take the shape of having a secondary main hard drive in your office or distributing removable storage devices such as USB sticks among employees, but whichever you choose, you need to have a way to minimise the chances of losing data in the event of a computer failure or theft.

I also advise you to use a cloud storage system. Doing so not only allows employees who are out of the office to access vital documents while working from home or out on a client meeting, but also means precious data will not be lost in the event that a hard drive or server in your office is damaged.

The change will take time

Despite its many benefits, the transition to a paperless working environment can cause significant upheaval in an office, so it is not a change that you should expect to happen overnight. The process of creating electronic versions of documents is likely to take some time, especially if you have to scan pieces of paper to be stored on a computer, and you may still need physical copies of contracts while the move progresses.

As such, it’s a good idea not to destroy any paper files until you are completely sure that you have comprehensive electronic records in place. If you attempt to make the switch too soon, you could accidentally get rid of data that you have no way of getting back.

Communicating the changes you’ve made

Once it is established, a paperless office offers a multitude of benefits to a business. Not only will the absence of paper make a workplace look less cluttered and more professional, but it also provides the opportunity for a company to reduce the environmental impact of their operations and produce less waste.

This, of course, is something to be proud of and it’s a good idea to highlight your changes to both staff and clients. As I mentioned before, USB sticks can play a vital role in creating a paperless office and by distributing branded memory sticks, you can publicise these efforts to recipients as well as encourage them to use less paper.

Flash drives can be customised with your call to action as well as marketing information such as your telephone number and Twitter handle. Each time a recipient goes to use one of your USBs, they’ll be reminded of your company’s environmental credentials and should think of you in a positive light.
Are you creating a paperless office? If so, please share your experiences of doing so by posting a comment below. Don’t be shy, we’d love to hear your views on the subject!

How Plants Can Survive Climate Change

With climatic change plants are now in real danger of facing increased and unusual temperatures in the near future. But there seems to be hope, with the discovery that certain plants could adapt to climates by activating and deactivating certain genes that better preserve them in such conditions.

Epigenetics

The ability to activate and deactivate genes depending on climatic conditions is under the field of study called Epigenetics. Epigenetics is the study of chemical markers that bring about temporary genetic changes as a result of external factors.

What causes activating or deactivating of genes?

The activation and deactivation of genes by plants take place under certain conditions of stress. In drought conditions for instance, a plant may have to adapt to the limited available water.

Epigenetics unlike the genetic adaptation we already know takes place very fast; as evidenced in the study of A. thaliana that can produce a new generation every eight weeks.

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The significance of diversity in genes during climatic change

The study of Epigenetics and gene diversity preserve seeds with desirable qualities. Qualities that enhance the survival of the plant in extreme climate conditions will now be readily available.

What this means is that scientists will no more have to go to the wild in search of seeds with the ability to withstand heat, drought or change in climatic conditions. Epigenetic variations will now be available in genetic labs.

Although this research is still in its infancy, it still promises to reveal another interesting aspect of plant breeding.

Top 5 ways businesses can become greener

Making your business more eco-friendly can bring some great benefits; as well as helping the environment, you’re also likely to save money. There are lots of ways in which to go green – read on for our top tips.

green businesses1) Go paperless

If you’re getting tired of dealing with huge piles of paper files and making the effort to store them every time you or your staff have finished with them, going paperless is the solution for you. You’ll save a significant amount of space that would otherwise be filled with documents, and you’ll also reduce waste to boot.

Some of the ways in which you can start minimising your reliance on paper include implementing a policy that encourages employees to email files to each other or transfer them via branded USB memory sticks rather than print them out, and electronically store documents in the cloud or on shared server space instead of in filing cabinets.

2) Get energy efficient

Business energy consumption can be alarmingly high – consider the cost of running multiple PCs, having the lights and heating/air conditioning on all day, operating company cars, and offering kitchen facilities for your staff, and you’ll soon realise that you ‘re using more electricity than you should.

Ways to reduce energy usage include installing lights with motion sensors, so they only come on when someone is nearby, as well as asking staff to turn off their PCs and/or monitors at the end of each day, so they don’t keep running overnight or over weekends. It’s also worth turning off the air conditioning or heating altogether when cold or hot air isn’t really needed and, when heating is required, turning down the thermostat if it’s set above 21 degrees C.

3) Reuse and recycle

Reducing waste is a great way to become greener – and it’s also easy if you know how. One popular practice involves placing recycling bins around your office for different types of recyclable rubbish, such as plastic, cardboard and paper, and arranging for your waste handling company to empty them on a regular basis. Ensure your staff know where to go to deposit specific kinds of recyclable waste and consider reducing the number of ‘normal’ bins dotted around the workplace to make employees think twice about where they should go with their rubbish.

You should also establish a policy encouraging employees to reuse whatever they see as waste where possible, rather than throwing it away. As an example, unwanted folders and mostly empty notebooks can easily be given new life simply by sticking new labels over old ones and ripping out used pages, respectively.

The business benefits of going green

If all of this sounds like more hassle than it’s worth, consider the stats relating to the benefits of going green for businesses of all sizes:

• Two-thirds of small and medium-sized enterprises have either recorded a boost in sales or expect to do so after establishing a system for environmental management, according to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
• Employees of companies that voluntarily follow international green standards are 16 per cent more productive than staff at firms that do not do this, says the University of California, Los Angeles.
• Large businesses waste £1.6 billion on energy consumption, some of which could easily be saved by putting in place some of the above measures, the Carbon Trust reports