Friday, February 26, 2010

Feel the Wrath of El Nino!!!

I woke up sweating again. It's been super hot these past few days and I read an article on CNA that our dearest friend El Nino is back with a vengeance.

Its the hottest February we had so far and also the driest. (Scientists are still discussing on whether global warming affects El Nino. In my opinion, if the world's temperature is rising, El Nino would be harsher. It just makes sense to me. Our lalangs, grass and vegetations didn't manage to escape the clutches of El Nino as well and are sporadically burning away. I know, you might say "switch on the air-con lah", but unfortunately I can't sleep in an air-conditioned room as I'll wake up with an irritated nose and plus I love the soothing noise of my old fan and the movement of the air created by my old trusty fan puts me to la la land within minutes :)

Thinking about it makes me sleepy on this hot hot day... It was also reported that the dry spell is causing a record water consumption. Around 590 Olympic-sized pool is being consumed daily on average, which is 7 percent more than last February and plus that's a huge amount of water! Its the driest month and yet we are consuming much more water than we should!

I do understand that people want to take an extra shower or two in this heat but maybe we can keep it short and simple. Switch on the tap, rinse yourself and get out. Or better, hit the local swimming pool and have a swim in the cooling water. You'll save water and workout as well! And instead of turning up the air-con throughout the night, maybe you can switch on the air-con and cool down the room first before heading to bed then switch it off and turn on the fan. Or best of all, go to the beach and enjoy the sun and get a tan (I love the sun and the beach!). Frolick in the water or play a game of beach volley ball with your friends and make new friends!

Yes, sometimes I can't stand this heat but hey, on the brighterside of things, you can do much more when it's sunny than in the rain.

Tip of the Day: Please read the above for the tips of the day :)

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Welcome to the Air Age.......

Have you seen this car? Well it'll be out in the market this year (but not on our island yet). Its called the AIRPOD and runs on air.

It was invented by French auto engineer Guy Negre, who is in his mid-60's and used to design race engines for Renault. So basically, this neat lil auto runs on compressed fresh air (believe it or not) and produces only a fraction of the carbon emissions of a standard engine, reaches speeds of 30mph and can travel 65 miles on a one minute recharge. Best of all it cost only around $7500, but of course if it reaches our shores that'll be a different story heh heh. These three-wheeled buggies, which will also include a range of four-wheeled, five-door family salons, have a joystick instead of a steering wheel. Thats not the only funny thing, the driver has to use the windshield to enter the car and passengers the rear. Since these air-powered engines run very cold, thick ice quickly forms on the engine, air conditioning is free! A plus point for our hot tropical climate!

Each car has an onboard pump that can refill the tank overnight and dear Mr.Negre has also developed a high-pressure air pump that can fill the tanks in less than a minute. These small nifty cars are great for urban driving but there is also a hybrid, battery assisted version for longer journeys which Negre claims can reach 100mph and travel 900 miles on one gallon of petrol. Well its pretty cute and looks comfortable enough for me and my baby boy to zoom around in and if it's good for Mother Earth then its good enough for me. Peace out!

Tip of the Day: Remember to switch off all main power when you leave the house and when appliance is not in use. Don't get lazy with stand by appliances - they use 'phantom power' too!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Is putting a price tag on nature gonna work?

I just read an article about the UN estimating the cost of damage done by world's top firms which is estimated to be $2.2tn. That sounds like a hell lot of money to me. But is this enough?

I mean, would it actually stop these firms from damaging the earth further and make them change their ways? I'm sure they have the means to pay the hefty fines (if it's imposed on them). It might actually mean nothing to them. Wouldn't it make more sense to punish these people more harshly, make them see and realize the damage they have done and the affects it has made and make sure they change into a more environmentally friendly business instead of slapping a fine on them as if issuing them a speeding ticket? This fine system is just like a short cut for them to me and they probably won't take things seriously. They'll probably whip out their cheque book and write the amount on it without batting their eyelids. Any comments? Maybe you can make me see thing from another perspective.

Tip of the Day: Print on both sides of paper when printing or photocopying!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Claps out to BA!

Good morning everyone! Soon we will be feeling less guilty when traveling to far away destinations, but only if we fly with BA (British Airways).

British Airways, partnering with Solena Group, is to establish Europe's first sustainable jet-fuel plant and plans to use low-carbon fuel to power its fleet. This new eco-friendly fuel is made from waste materials, which is usually destined for landfills. The state-of-the-art facility, located in the UK, will convert 500,000 tonnes of waste per year into 16 million gallons of green jet fuel through a process that offers lifecycle greenhouse gas savings of up to 95% compared to fossil-fuel derived jet kerosene. This is like taking 48,000 cars of the road per year!

Not only that, it will reduce the volume of waste sent to landfills thus reducing another global warming agent, methane! The Solena-British Airways BioJetFuel project is completely carbon neutral, hence it will not produce any polluting emissions or undesirable by-products. This will happen from 2014 onwards. It's in another 4 years but hey, at least they are doing something about it and leading the way to a greener aviation industry! I for one, am looking forward to a less guilty plane flight. And maybe the next thing they should be doing is eliminating or cutting down on the usage of plastic cups of where every 6 hours, 1 million cups are used and thrown by the airline industries. Do the maths....

TIP of the Day: Bring your own bottled water (using your own water bottle) instead of buying bottled water in shops. You'll save money and save on plastic as well :)

Earth Hour is back! Show your support

In 2009 hundreds of millions of people around the world showed their support by turning off their lights for one hour.

Earth Hour 2010 will continue to be a global call to action to every individual, every business and every community. A call to stand up, to show leadership and be responsible for our future.

Pledge your support here and turn off your lights for one hour, Earth Hour, 8.30pm, Saturday 27th March 2010.

It’s Showtime! Show what can be done.

Monday, February 22, 2010

A Gentle Green Reminder....

Hello hello....I hope you all had a good weekend and enjoying your Monday:) No more 'Monday Blues' - but instead let's have 'Monday Greens'!

It's not about being "in" or a phase in life but it has to be instilled in our every day life. Not only will it benefit your health and everyone around you, but it will benefit Mother Earth and all living, breathing species which we share our planet with. A little bit of effort from each of us will go a long way. Even if our actions have been obvious (all the extreme weather conditions due to global warming), we are still taking things for granted and moving at a sloth's pace (or a snail, whichever is slower, or maybe a turtle)to change. We should all take a pause from our busy schedule and think about ways which you and I can help heal Mother Earth before its too late and the damage done is irreversible. So having said that, I will leave tips of the day that will help you achieve a greener life.

Today's Green TIP Of The Day: Walk or cycle and take the public transport instead of driving :) Its easy and its free (except for the public transport which does not cost much)!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Eco Friendly Cleaning Franchises Available Now - Come Join Us!!

Are you passionate, looking for a fresh challenge and have a desire to run your own business?

What if you could improve people’s well being and have a positive effect on the environment, whilst making great money and building a successful business for the future?

Interested? Then we’d like to hear from you! Join GREEN CLEANERS - the leading eco friendly cleaning service in Singapore. We're currently seeking interested parties to help launch into Australia (Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Gold Coast, Adelaide), New Zealand, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Phillipines and Japan.

Our focus is cleaning to protect health, without harming the environment - through eco friendly cleaning services, products, trained staff, planning and certification. Franchising means working for yourself - but not by yourself! We offer the opportunity to achieve entrepreneurial success, by working together to provide you with the skills and knowledge needed to become successful now and the flexibility to help you grow in the future.

If you are interested in obtaining exclusive development rights to a specific territory using the Green Cleaners brand, training and strategy system - act now and join us in this exciting, rewarding and satisfying green business venture. Contact the Green Cleaners’ Head Office in Singapore for more information

We look forward to hearing from you!!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Top 100 Green DIY Skills

Honing your green skills is part of growing and learning to walk softly on the earth. How many things do you really know how to do in order to increase your green and decrease your carbon footprint? Here is a list of 100 essential skills for the green DIY-er.

Essential Food Skills

1. Read and understand product labels

2. Bake bread

3. Make your own bread starter and keep it going

4. Make cheese, yogurt, and kefir from local milk

5. Preserve food by canning

6. Preserve food by drying

7. Forage for local wild foods safely

8. Raise a couple of backyard chickens

9. Make your own tofu,tempeh, and soy milk

10. Eat locally and in season

11. Grind your own flour

12. Grow your own produce

13.Grow your own herbs

14.Grow your own sprouts

15. Blend your own herbal tea

16. Have a repertoire of vegetarian recipes you can use for various occasions

17. Fish or hunt responsibly if you eat meat

18. Make homemade pastas and other pantry basics

19. Cook a variety of foods well

20. Utilize a menu to minimize food waste

21. Throw a party without compromising your green values

22. Make Your Own Vanilla Extract

23. Sharpen kitchen knives so they last

24. Make homemade granola bars, granola, waffles, and other breakfast items

25. Make baked goods from "scratch".

26. Understand terms like, "organic", "Fair Trade", "all natural", and "GMO"

Essential Household Skills

27. Sew well enough to repair clothing

28. Sew well enough to make your own clothing and reusable shopping bags

29. Sew fitted cloth diapers for your baby

30 .Knit or crochet dishcloths

31. Know how to reupholster a chair

32. Make your own laundry soap

33. Make your own dishwasher detergent

34. Make your own house cleaning supplies

35. Use diatomaceous earth, bay leaves, and other "eco-friendly" natural pest deterrents

Home Maintenance and Repair Skills

36. Use non-electric appliances rather than electric

37. Know where to find non-electric appliances

38. Program a thermostat

39. Tile a counter top

40. Use 0 VOC paint

41. Repair a screen

42. Use a caulk gun

43. Make simple appliance repairs such as replacing belts

44. Find what you need by bartering, or using CraigsList, eBay, and thrift stores

45. Repair a leaky toilet

46. Repair a leaky faucet

47. Replace a faucet

48. Check your home for energy leaks using incense, a candle, or a device that is created for that purpose

49. Unclog a drain without using Drano or harmful chemicals

50. Insulate an attic with eco-friendly insulation

Gardening Skills

51 .Build a compost system

52. Use compost to enrich your soil

53. Plan a garden for your climate

54. Understand xeriscaping

55. Plant a multi-seasonal vegetable garden

56. Build a simple cold frame for salad all year

57. Build frames for raised bed gardens

58. Make a rainwater catchment system

59. Use a manual reel mower

60. Use companion planting methods to control pests

61.Build a bat house to encourage bats and decrease mosquitoes

62. Use predator insects like Praying Mantis to control garden pests

63. Know what heirloom seeds are and why you should use them

64. How to plant open pollinated vegetables for best yields

65. How to save seeds from your own produce

66. Plant trees and bushes to cut your energy bills

67. Use soaker hoses to conserve water

68. Sharpen and maintain tools

Health Skills

69. Know how to use herbs and natural remedies to treat common illnesses

70. Make your own soap

71. Make your own skin care products

72. Use essential oils for health and cleaning

73. Make your own deodorant

Transportation Skills

74. Tune up a bicycle and make repairs

75. Do simple maintenance on your car

76. Arrange or locate a carpool

77. Learn to use hypermiling techniques

78. Plan eco-friendly air travel

Energy Skills

79. Install exterior solar lighting

80. Install a solar panel

81. Know where to find the most eco-friendly, green power source available to you

82. Connect home electronics to power strips for easy shut off

83. Check the wattage of an appliance

84. Calculate annual kilowatt usage

Conservation Skills

85. Use email rather than conventional mail

86. Switch to a paperless office

87. Locate the local library and use it rather than buying books, DVDs, and tapes

88. Adjust your settings on the computer to make it more energy efficient

89. Use skype and other technology to limit the need for travel to conferences

90. Learn to plan eco-friendly vacations, such as camping (and leave no trace)

91. Replace a hobby with an environmentally friendly hobby

92. Locate and use recreational green spaces such as hiking trails, parks, and public gardens

93. Understand and be able to explain what cradle to cradle means

94. Understand and be able to explain what carbon emissions are

95. Understand and be able to calculate a carbon footprint as well as explain what it is

96. Know where to recycle technological items like computers, microwaves, televisions etc.

97. Identify and sort a variety of recyclable materials

98. Know where reusable items can be substituted for disposables

99. Understand and be able to explain cap-and-trade

Do you agree with all of those? Are there others that you feel are important? Let us know your thoughts!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Join Healthy Child, Healthy World movement

Healthy Child, Healthy World is a site dedicated to improving the wellbeing of our children with so much interesting information and everything explained in easy to understand speak.

Here's a good introductory video on their community. Green Cleaners is more than happy to be part of it too :)