Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The discovery of the new Arctic ozone hole - a time for thought

The news:

According to a ScienceDaily report from yesterday (03.10.2011), a new ozone layer hole 3 times the size of Germany has opened on the Arctic during the winter. Between 18 and 20 kilometres up, over 80 per cent of the existing ozone was destroyed. The hole was similar in size to those seen in Antarctica in the 1980s.

The implications:
The stratospheric ozone layer protects life on Earth from the sun's harmful ultraviolet rays. Depletion of the ozone layer allows more ultraviolet radiation to reach the surface. Increases in UV radiation are known to have harmful effects on living things (more particularly causing skin cancer, high blood pressure and general discomfort).

The triggers:
The ozone hole forms when extremely cold conditions trigger reactions that convert atmospheric chlorine from human-produced chemicals into forms that destroy ozone. The scientists found that at some altitudes, the cold period in the Arctic lasted more than 30 days longer in 2011 than in any previously studied Arctic winter, leading to the unprecedented ozone loss. Further studies are needed to determine what factors caused the cold period to last so long.

The conclusions:
I leave this to you, my readers.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

7 ideas what to do with your unwanted clothes

I've been very quiet recently and the reason is my recent move out of my old apartment, where I lived for nearly 5 years. When you live somewhere for so long, you pile up clothes, books, CDs, birthday presents and cards, unwanted mail, some old magazines and newspapers, love letters and sacred presents from old loves, loads of cables and non working electronics, and so many other useless things, which fill up our lives and make us dependent possession addicts. As a proud owner of all these useless stuff, you are bound to decide their destiny. I decided to get rid of it all, because I believe that past is past and should be left behind. So here my problems started. Where to throw all these stuff as green as possible and as quick as possible?

It turns out that finding a green, efficient and fast way getting rid of unwanted stuff is quite difficult in Bulgaria. There is no OXFAM shop here, where you can pop up and donate your favourite books and clothes for a good cause. Orphanages are difficult to locate, do not do pick ups and accept only almost new childrens' clothes.

For those in similar situation as mine, I suggest the following ways for getting rid of unwanted clothes:
1. Donation (if possible). You have to note that while donation is the best way to get rid of your clothes, it is not always possible. Usually they do not accept worn out clothes or those with little strain. They also want them washed and ironed, which we not usually have time for. It's important to note, that if they do not do pick-ups and you have to drive there long distance, it may be totally useless.
2. Dispose them in the special bins for clothes, but only if you do not have to drive too far!
3. Leave them in a cartoon box near the container, so that it is picked up from the homeless (or just give to homeless people you know).
4. Burn them! If you have a house and a stove, it may be a good idea to burn these clothes. It's fast and does not leave any rubbish behind.
5. A more creative idea if you have some time is to make a bag or a carpet from different jeans pieces. This is not a very practical suggestion though.
6. Give to friends and relatives as much as you can.
7. Ebay them? While looking for ideas, I found this post on the Internet, which gives ideas on how to make some cash of branded clothes you no longer like or cannot wear! I think this is the best to do, if you have the time, of course.

Good luck!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Power of Green

"To accomplish great things
We must not only act
but also dream
not only plan
but also believe."

I bumped into this quote on facebook and I related it to the green idea! All of us, who try to contribute to it, should remember these words - we should not only plan and act, but also DREAM and BELIEVE! If we all do it, the power will be extraordinary!

Happy Easter, dear readers!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

How much food we throw away?

I recently read an article in the Economist claiming that about 30-50% of all food produced rots away uneaten, both in rich and poor countries. In poor countries this percentage is so high, because of post-harvest waste, due to ill treatment of mice, rats and other animals who eat the food on the farm or in the storage. There is also the problem with short existing foods that spoil during transportation.

In the rich countries, however, the situation is totally different. This staggering percent of food is lost because it is thrown away from restaurants and shops. As the article states, top of the list are bread, salads and fruits, which are foods that people are most likely to order and never eat. In America thrown food amounted for 43m tonnes in 1997 and in Britain - 4m in 2006 !

Population is growing and reading about food prices going up, while so much food is carelessly thrown away makes me angry at the spoiled habits people in countries like America and Britain have developed. Unfortunately, it will take years until these bad habits, a result of easy gains, disappear. Until them, the controversial current state of people dying of obesity in America and children dying of hunger in Africa will continue to widen the gap between the rich and the poor countries.

Read more on the topic and join in the Zero Waste Europe campaign here : www.zerowasteeurope.eu

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Biofuel – the wrong shade of green

It is not a well known fact that in the last decade maize has been the most favoured plant by the farmers (rising by 1,8% a year since 1990) and that is because it is used in biofuels. The reason for the popularity of this plant and the biofuels is that most of the rich governments such as European Union, China and USA have set ambitious targets for biofules to reach 10% of the total fuel consumption by 2020 (USA’s target actually is 30% by 2030). The energy market, being much worthier than the market of food, has lured many of the farmers to abandon the wheat and start farming maize.

Well, isn’t it controversial and ridiculous? Everyday we hear about the deaths from famines, soil becoming abandoned because of overuse and food prices going up because there is not enough food for everyone, and at the same time farm land is used for the production of fuel, guided by the governments.

Governments green targets are good on paper. In practice, however, they are not well thought of and some are controversial and even dangerous.

A thing we can all greens do is NOT BUY THE “BIOFUEL” and spread the news for its damaging effect of soils and food!

(Figures are taken form the special report on the Future of Food, by the Economist)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A Disaster!

I think that every one of us watching the footages from Japan in the last few days is thinking the same thing: our planet is punishing us for our greediness!

In the last few years, floods, hurricanes, devastating earthquakes, unseen before tsunamis, forest fires and other natural disasters have become permanent in the world news. But only when a disaster like this in Japan happens and we all see the scenes of houses, cars and people of one of the most developed countries in the world swept by mother nature like toys, that we know that human life is so insignificant, short, unpredictable and dependant on our planet.

Enough said. On this link you can see pictures from Japan before and after the disaster. These are devastating must-see puctures taken from an airplane.

Sendai Airport

© Google, Digital Globe, GeoEye

Hover over the image to toggle before/afte

Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Greenpeace Rainbow Warrior

The rainbow warier is a real ship, built by Greenpeace with the help of donations from different people, who buy "a part" of the ship where their name will be written. When you donate, you get a gift certificate for ownership.

The role of the Rainbow Warier will be to watch and protect from environmental crime such as: illegal ships carrying timber, oil spills in the ocean, illegal fishing operations, illegal ships caring generic modified food, toxic chemicals and many others. I think we all agree that such kind of "environmental police" is highly needed.

The ship should be finished by October 2011 and so far 29% of the construction has been built. So go ahead and donate for this beautiful cause by Greenpeace on: anewwarrior.greenpeace.org.