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.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

We Are What We Eat

If you are what you eat, and especially if you eat industrial food, as 99 percent of Americans do, what you are is "corn." This quote is taken from the website: www.ecoliteracy.org. The authors of this sentence argue, that after examining the food chain of popular foods in the USA (mainly fast food) it almost always lead to the corn field in Iowa. I was surprised and shocked to learn for example, that french fries in McDonalds are fried in corn oil!

This website made me think more deeply into this topic. How important is food in our lives? Very important, indeed, but do we really know what we eat? Although we are living longer now, most of the people are overweight and a very big percent do not really know from where their food comes from (Argentina, Africa, Chile?). When I pick up food from our grocery store, I basically look for the following features:
- Food is local. This is the MOST important matter I consider when buying fruits & vegs, fish, meat or cheeses. If we all choose the local food, millions of transport cost would be saved. When food is transported across the ocean, God knows what ingredients they add in order to preserve it for long time.
- I read the labels. It may take some longer time shopping, but it is worth it. Be sure to read the small letters and signs. Reading the labels is important, because after all, the governments are trying to protect us somehow and there are some regulations about labeling the food properly. We are all literate humans, so we should READ more carefully, especially the expiry date.
- Disregard colourful packing. It may look good, but over-packed items are to be avoid. If the supermarket has a stand for fresh food, visit it more often.
- Food diversitication. Do not stick to one kind of food only, because if it turns bad, you will be way more affected if you eat it every day, than if you eat it once a week. This is also very important for your diet, of course.

And finally, I would like to share another very interesting link on the topic, which I found on facebook today - www.giyireland.com. It is a charity, which is there to inspire people to grow their own food. There are some really useful ideas and tips for food growing. An amazing website and an amazing idea! I wish them good luck!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

World Meter

I've always been fascinated with figures, because they can be a life-changer and always bring some food for thought. That's why I was struck by a website I discovered just recently: www.worldometers.info - a site for world statistics updated in real time. At first I though it is a joke, but it turns out it is a project, which involves many institutions and many people. With the help of algorithms and data from the "most reputable organizations and statistical offices in the world", the website provides "just in time" statistics in 32 languages about current world population, number of births and deaths this year, health care, education and military expenditure for the year and many others.

The reason for posting this info on my green blog is the figures in the environmental, food and energy sections of the site. We all know that hundreds of hectares of forests are cut each year, but when you see the figure 1 555 952 hectares of cut forest for THIS YEAR ONLY until now 20.02.2011 it really hits you. I was also shocked by the fact that there are more overweight and obese people in the world than undernourished, or that there are exactly 15 628 days until the end of oil. Well, enough said. Check the website or the statistics copied below for yourselves and make your own daily changes and global conclusions.

Forest loss this year (hectares)
Arable land lost due to soil erosion this year (hectares)
Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions this year, in tons
Current average temperature (Celsius)
Desertification this year (hectares)
Species that have gone extinct this year
Toxic chemicals released by industries into our air, land, and water this year (tons)
Kilometers Earth has traveled in space within our Solar System this year

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Green Religion

The religion does not have such power over new generations that it had with old ones. Maybe it is the advance in technology or the globalization, but this is a fact. However, there is a new "religion" born - the green religion. If you search Google with words like "green", "eco", “organic”,"veg", etc. you will find thousands (if not millions) of blogs dedicated to it, movies, publications, campaigns, and what not. People are passionate in the green idea - they truly believe that any one of them can make a difference. The God of the green people is our planet - the Earth.
As it is common with religion, people turn it into business. So is with the green idea – there are now organic cheese, milk, chocolate, muesli, clothes, vehicles, fuel even wine. They all usually have the distinctive green packing and sign and are little more expensive. There is also green energy, which is actually the true deal breaker. The first movers turned millionaires from this business.
The green religion also has its sacred signs and rituals. These are, for example, doing the recycling, saving paper, changing all bulbs at home with energy saving ones, shopping in organic shops, and others.

Green is even into politics, winning more and more votes every year in almost all developed countries (The Green party). In some countries green people are able to affect the ruling. Every child knows about environment and green practices today. Green is everywhere we look. It is the colour of our generation. It is the colour of the 21st century.

Out of all these, the green religion has been born. Its followers are young, educated people, who would like to live in a greener planet and to breath clean air. They are global people from all over the world, who share the same believe, no matter where they were born. Let’s just hope that this new religion will not bring along new conflicts and wars. Like the old religions did.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

10 Ways to Cut Your Paper Waste

Today, 90% of paper pulp is made of wood. Paper production accounts for about 35% of felled trees,and represents 1.2% of the world's total economic output.Recycling one ton of newsprint saves about 1 ton of wood while recycling 1 ton of printing or copier paper saves slightly more than 2 tons of wood.

Well, here are my recommendations to cut your paper waste:

1. Migrate to electronic bills. Ask your bank, water and electricity supplier, etc., to send you an electronic copy of your balance/invoice. Yes, I know it will take you an effort and maybe some of your time, but it is worth it! I keep receiving tones of neat letters with my bills, which I never read because I check them online, much earlier. I usually send them straight to the bin without even bothering to open them. So what is the point of these neat letters?
2. Fight the leaflets. Just imagine this - millions, maybe even billions of leaflets are printed every day and distributed to houses, offices, malls, etc. According to the marketing people, about 2-3 % of the leaflets are actually read and some action is taken. This means that 97% of these millions leaflets (tons of paper) are.. well, wasted. Furthermore, leaflets are unwilling by the receiver, pushy and annoying. Obviously, we cannot stop this overnight. But I suggest the following: never pick up a leaflet from a street-giver and put a note on your mailbox at home and in the office with the following sign: SAVE A TREE. NO LEAFLETS IN THIS MAILBOX, PLEASE!
3. Say NO to newspapers. Ok, I wonder every single day: what is the point in reading the news with a day delay from a difficult to fold paper! And what is the point in buying a glossy magazine with articles taken from the internet, where you can actually read them for free? Some people say that it is a habit. Well, I hope twenty years from now no one will have this expensive habit, which costs us tones of paper every day!
4. Say NO to paper wish cards. Yes, it is great to let your loved ones know that you love them, but make it in an environmental and modern way - send them an electronic card, an electronic gift voucher, an MMS or just a smile. It will show much more awareness , believe me!
5. Add the green sign in your e-mail signature. As I mentioned, some people add it because it is trendy. But, hey, if it is a trend, it means it actually DOES some good by spreading the news! So go ahead and add it in your e-mail signature. You can read more about the campaign here and copy the .JPG file below to your e-mail now!

6. Use recycled paper in your office.
It is a little bit more expensive, it is not very smooth, it is more difficult to find, but hell - it is worth it. And when you start using it, you do feel like doing good. Also, remember to always use both sides of the sheet and collect the useless paper for recycling.
7. Do the recycling. Just remember that by sending any paper or package to the bin, you are cutting a tree. Make an effort and make a difference. Collect your paper waste and dispose it to the nearest blue bin or drop-off center.
8. When possible, fill in your forms electronically. Nowadays we are forced to fill in all kinds of forms and most of them are online. Although, there are still many paper forms in the offices for older people who do not use the internet, you can at least save time and some paper by filling the form online.
9. Avoid buying products in a cartoon package. Yes, I know it is difficult. Nowadays, only the coke is not yet in a cartoon box. Your favourite milk, your favourite juice, even the wine may come in a cartoon! But in order to stop this, all consumers should prefer glass package, or no package at all.
10. Plant a tree! Old people say that a human life is worth only if you have built a home, brought up a child and planted a tree. It's your turn!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

2011 - The Year of the Forests

The UN has announced 2011 to be the year of the forest. As you will see from the WWF video below, every year we loose about 3000 animal spices, because of the forest cutting. Every second, a football field of forest is cut. This has a tremendous effect not only on wildlife, but especially for the green gas effect and the global warming. As we all know, trees are keeping the nature in balance by absorbing the CO2.

The human greediness for timber, pulp and paper is non-stoppable. So, if we all join forces and reduce our paper consumption, as well as not buy wooden furniture, each of us can contribute for limiting the forest theft of our planet.
Furthermore, there is a saying in my country that if you have not planted at least one tree in your lifetime, your life was not worth it. So let's all do it at least during the year of the forest - 2011!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


I should start to rotate good and bad green news. Now, I will finally share with you a good initiative, which I find amazing - the only eco friendly outdoor advertising company. Here is some info about it:

GreenGraffiti® is an environmentally friendly form of outdoor advertising with a clear message; clean is green. GreenGraffiti® is completely carbon neutral, is one of the first companies in the world to compensate for our water footprint and contributes in a unique way to a healthier environment. That is why we can say with a clear conscience: the more GreenGraffiti® the better.

How does it work?

With the help of a template and a high pressure water sprayer an advertising message is cleaned out of the dirt.The result is a high impact message and a cleaner street.

For more info,hit their website.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Bureaucracy vs Trees in the European Union

The projects funded by the European Union are a major topic in countries like Bulgaria, Romania, Lithuania, Czech Republic, Poland and other newly accepted members in the European Union. All of them rely heavily on the funding for their development, and all of them compete with each other how much money they have acquired.

I have recently been involved in the development of several projects in Bulgaria for a medium sized enterprise. Fairly small projects. I will lead you into some details in the preparation process: the project itself was 45 pages long. There were about 25 additional pages in different kinds of declarations and about 70 pages in required documents with financials and translated company offers from suppliers. Total of more than 140 pages a single small project! And this project had to be accompanied by two identical copies. Total of 420 sheets of paper! The three fat folders were squeezed into a cartoon box, which weighted about 25 kilos! 25 kilos of white A4 paper and one cartoon – this is more than a tree! To my horror, when I delivered the project, in the waiting room there were thousands of even bigger projects than mine. Piles of wasted paper! Bigger projects (from towns and for the roads) weight from 250 kilos to 500 kilos! Just imagine the impact bureaucracy does on nature!

My project was rejected in the first stage for missing one stamp. So were 62% of the projects and more than 20% more will be rejected on the second stage. What will be done with the thousands of paper and energy spent in this nonsense? What will be done with all these papers which are rejected for stupid reasons?

I cannot believe that in the 21st century, thousands of kilograms of paper is sent to the rubbish, instead of just investing in a software product that will accept projects electronically! I intend to write a letter of complaint to the European Commission, and whoever is in, please give me a shout!

The Garbage Patch

What you will see in the video below is striking! Over 7 million tons of plastic spanning an area twice the size of Texas. The so called "Garbage patch" in the North Pacific tropical gyre is an entire island of plastic garbage. In the waters in the area there are six time more plastic than plankton. Birds and fish are often deluded that plastic is food and poison themselves eating it. It is even more striking to think that all the plastic ever produced worldwide stays in the planet forever, because it takes thousands of years to decade and the recycling of plastic is negligible. Michael Moore, an ex-sailor, is researching this topic and there are many movies about it on YouTube. Alternatively, you can check his website, for more information.

As a conclusion, I just want to shout: REDUCE YOUR PLASTIC WASTE! Look what we've done to our planet!

Sunday, January 23, 2011


Among all the environmental videos on the net, MEAT THE TRUTH stands out, because it is about a topic, which has been neglected for too long - the life-stock farming and their impact on the global warming. The striking figures are that this kind of farming is responsible for 18% of the green-house gases, while the transportation is the mere 13%! How is this possible? Find out in this amazing video and I hope that more people join the vegetarians club!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Perfect Gift

Although Christmas holidays are over, there are new ones coming and finding the best gift for the loved ones is always tricky - is he/she going to like it?, is he/she going to just throw it in the bin?, etcetera, etcetera. In order to save you this trouble I will recommend you the perfect, original, unique and most of all - REALLY WORTH IT present for your loved ones - a gift voucher for donation for a cause supported by the World Wildlife Fund. This is a present with true value that will never be thrown in the bin. It is a present for the future!

On this website you can choose from a range of donations - from helping a panda finds its home, to sending turtles to rehab and giving a polar bear a tattoo. Your present recipient will receive a gift voucher on their e-mail with an explanation what the cause is about and a picture with a cute, happy animal-friend smiling to say "Thank You".

Make a difference by choosing the best present!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Organic yellow cheese

Today I picked up from the supermarket organic yellow cheese (on the pic). I never tried it before, because the price is twice as the normal cheese and I've heard rumours that it is tasteless. Well, here I have to confirm that fact. The cheese is just like rubber! No taste at all! Looking at the label, I see nothing different from a normal cheese, except that it has been made from bio cow milk. What does this mean is not explained further.

Observing these disadvantages of the organic yellow cheese - tasteless and expensive, I cannot help but wonder how these people are fighting the competition with the other cheeses and who on earth buys their product? Do they only count on this tiny percent of people, who try to eat only organic and who can really understand that IT IS organic (well, there are some signs and numbers on the packing which might mean something!?). Do organic products have any future?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Eco batteries?

Last year in Bulgaria emerged a new law for batteries' storage, which obliged all shops who sell them to have the so called "eco bins" where the customer is supposed to dispose their old batteries (picture on left). Well, I happen to know a shop where batteries are sold. The sales people there carefully collect all batteries by customers and politely explain to them what this bin is for. Everybody seems to welcome the idea and customers even bring old batteries from home and put them in the bin. BUT! There is always a BUT in Bulgaria. The eco bin is supplied by the batteries supplier, who sometimes refuses to take the full box, because for them their disposal is very expensive and they are cutting costs by simply not collecting the batteries! I am wondering who is controlling the application of the new law, and is it actually just on paper?

Monday, January 17, 2011

European Citizens' Initiative Handbook

Hi all,

Tonight, I would like to share with you a very important link, where you can download the latest version of the "European Citizens' Initiative Handbook" by the Green European Foundation in English. There is also a translation in several other languages, Bulgarian included.

The handbook is a step-by-step guide of how to make a difference as a citizen of the European Union, by using the new European Citizens' Initiative (Article.11.4 of the Lisbon Treaty of the EU), which gives the opportunity to interfere with agenda settings of the EU legislation to 1 million people in different Member States.

For all those young and motivated people, the time has come!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Earth Song - RIP Michael!

This song was released in 1996 when in most countries environmental protection was still unknown as a term. Somehow, Jacko always succeeded in catching the trend and has written the most real song related to environmental protection ever!

"What about sunrise
What about rain
What about all the things
That you said we were to gain...
What about killing fields
Is there a time
What about all the things
That you said was yours and mine...
Did you ever stop to notice
All the blood we've shed before
Did you ever stop to notice
The crying Earth the weeping shores?"

"Let the nature remains in Bulgaria"

My first post will be about a community in my native country called "Let the nature remains in Bulgaria". These people are doing extraordinary things in order to save the beautiful and extremely rich nature in Bulgaria from ruthless money-makers and bribed politicians.

They make petitions, protests in front of the parliament, writing lett
ers to the ruling people and what not, with only one thought in mind - to save as much nature as possible. The main problems of Bulgarian green people are the illegal forest cuttings, building hotels and ski runs on protected areas and killing biodiversity.

Believe it or not, they have succeeded on several projects so far: almost closing the "Natura 2000" ecological network, which will protect 34% of the country's area, stopping of the building of the illegal ski run Panichishte, and the salvation of national parl Strandzha. If you want to become a memeber or sign their petitions, check out their website: http://en.forthenature.org.

Hello World!

This is my place on the www, where I will share my views, emotions and opinions related to everything green - ecology, environmental protection, green living, etc. I would like to contribute, if little, to the world cause of saving our planet's resources, beauty, natural landscapes and healthy food. I am not an activist, rather a believer, that if all of us make a little change in our lifestyle and a little effort, we can still save our planet!

I hope you will enjoy my little, green world here!