Preparing Your Garden for Spring

It may still be chilly, cold and wet outside, but there are plenty of things you can do to prepare your garden before spring arrives.

Plants and bulbs may be laying dormant, but as the days grow longer and the earth begins to warm up things are stirring underground. It may be too late to plant spring bulbs for this year, but other plants and shrubs can be looked after and when it's raining cats and dogs you can also use the time to tidy the shed, make sure your tools are ready for use or even build a new compost bin.

In this infographic we offer ideas and tips on how to prepare your garden ready for spring. We take a look at a variety of gardening related chores that could, and should, be carried out prior to your garden bursting into life.

We've also included suggestions for flowers that will provide colour to your borders, along with ideas for mapping out your garden and planning a seed graph; both of which can be carried out indoors, so there's no excuses for inclement weather putting a dampener on your garden projects.

Read on to find out what you can do to prepare your garden ready for the start of spring and into the warmer months.

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Posted by Eco Warrior - February 15, 2017 at 4:05 pm

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The Many Benefits of Going Solar at Home

Solar power has continued to advance in technology over the past few years. It has become more energy efficient cost effective than ever before, making solar technology affordable for households across the United States. Learn about the variety of benefits of going solar at home with this infographic from Renewable Energy Corporation.

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Posted by Eco Warrior - February 7, 2017 at 7:32 am

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Unexpected Congo Peat Lands the Biggest in the Tropics

Think peat and you might picture Ireland, where vast tracts of the stuff were systematically dug up over hundreds if not thousands of years, leaving huge black scars marring the landscape. Or you might find yourself picturing a garden centre with stacks of peat-based potting compost. It's unlikely the Congo Basin would spring to mind, but a vast peatland in the Congo Basin has just been mapped for the first time, and it turns out it's the biggest in the tropics.

Stashing 30 billion tonnes of carbon safely

It's called the Cuvette Centrale peatlands, it's located in the central Congo Basin, and as little as five years ago nobody had a clue it existed. But it covers a whopping 145,500 square kilometres, a chunk of land bigger than England. Importantly, this huge tract of land sucks up and locks in an awesome 30 billion tonnes of carbon, and it's one of the richest carbon ecosystems on the planet, stashing an amount the same as three years' worth of the planet's total fossil fuel emissions.

Understanding what makes the peatlands tick

Professor Simon Lewis and Dr Greta Dargie, from University of Leeds and University College London, discovered the peatlands on a 2012 field trip to the region. They contain almost a third of the world's tropical peatland carbon, equalling around two decades' worth of fossil fuel emissions given off in the USA, and the resulting peatland map created by the team marks an important first step in understanding exactly what makes this remarkable ecosystem tick.

A vital resource in the fight against climate change

Peat is made from partly-rotted down plants, and it tends to be made in cooler areas of the world. Peat acts as a powerful carbon sink, sucking carbon out of the atmosphere via plant growth. Because it's waterlogged, the plant matter doesn't completely decompose, locking carbon in. If peatlands dry out, the decomposition process kicks off again and CO2 gets released back into the atmosphere. As you can imagine, intact peatlands are a vital resource in the fight against climate change, and it's important to maintain them.

An urgent need to consider peatlands in conservation plans

Carbon has been steadily building up in the Congo Basin's peatlands for almost eleven thousand years. Destroy it and billions of tonnes of CO2 would be released into the earth's atmosphere. The Congolese peatlands are such a new discovery they aren't taken into account in conservation plans, which puts them at serious risk.


Guest post by The Rainforest Foundation.

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Posted by Eco Warrior - February 4, 2017 at 8:32 am

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How to Create the Perfect Environmentally-Friendly Wedding

Eco-friendly weddings have become increasingly popular over the years as couples look for new and inventive ways to say “I do”. Being eco-friendly is important, not just for the environmentally conscious among us, but also because planning an eco wedding has a number of other benefits.

Not only will an eco-friendly wedding have a positive impact on the environment, it will also help your big day become an extra special event. Plus, many eco-friendly weddings tend to end up being cheaper than more traditional or extravagant weddings – more money left in your pocket at the end of the day is never a bad thing!

The perfect eco-friendly wedding will only come from plenty of research and careful preparation, so have fun and get stuck into planning your dream wedding! Here are a few ideas, tips and tricks to help you create the perfect environmentally friendly wedding.

Venue

Nowadays, you can get married virtually anywhere. The church is the traditional venue of choice, but if you fancy something a little different, there are plenty of other options.

Getting married outdoors makes for a memorable eco-friendly wedding, and can be used for both the ceremony and reception. Of course, this is dependent on the season and the time of year, but outdoor weddings can look just as good as indoor weddings. Think vintage style and bohemian chic to really maximise the impact.

Ring

The ring is one of the most important aspects of the whole wedding. The wedding ring symbolises eternity and was traditionally worn on the fourth finger of the left hand because it was believed a vein from this finger ran directly to the heart.

A vintage ring or one passed down through the generations of your family is a lovely way to incorporate the past into your future together. If there isn’t a vintage ring in your family, an ethical wedding ring is the next best option.

Dress

Similarly, vintage wedding dresses are the way to an eco-friendly wedding. A few tweaks, adjustments and alterations can lead to a brand new wedding dress that looks as good as new. Plus, vintage dresses are one of those timeless trends, so you’re guaranteed to be looking both gorgeous and stylish on the big day. There’s also something about wearing a beautiful dress that you know someone else wore on their own wedding day that just screams romance!

Environmentally Friendly Wedding Flowers And Rings

Décor

Decoration is key when it comes to weddings. The right décor can finish off the look of your wedding, pulling off the theme and making sure your wedding is remembered for all the right reasons.

If you’re feeling creative, have a go at making some of the decorations yourself. There are plenty of DIY tutorials and wedding décor ideas out there, so do some research and try your hand at crafting your own unique wedding decorations!

Some popular options include handmade bunting (perfect for outdoor weddings), candles and hand-decorated vases or repurposed jars for flowers.

Flowers

The best way to save money and create a truly unique bridal bouquet is to use home-grown flowers from your own garden. However, if you aren’t green-fingered, go organic or choose a local florist to take care of your bouquet. Flowers can also make great additions to your theme and add to the rest of your decoration, so get creative and experiment with a stunning floral display!

Honeymoon

Many people see their honeymoon as the perfect excuse to jet off to exotic destinations, but there are plenty of environmentally friendly alternatives that are guaranteed to save you money as well. Go glamping and embrace the great outdoors, take a trip in a narrowboat or caravan, or find a picturesque cottage tucked away in the countryside. Your honeymoon doesn’t have to break the bank or even include a sunny destination abroad – sometimes the simplest trips can make the best memories.

Of course, these are only helpful suggestions designed to give you some ideas of your own. Your wedding is going to be one of the most important days of your life, and it is an incredibly personal event. Do plenty of research and go for what feels right for you and your partner – it is your big day after all!

Eco-chic Weddings: Simple Tips to Plan a Wedding with Style and Integrity

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Posted by Eco Warrior - February 4, 2017 at 7:56 am

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New prize fund for environmental and social regeneration

Ethical Consumer has teamed up with Lush Cosmetics to launch a new £200,000 prize fund to help projects around the world that are working towards environmental and social regeneration.

Beyond sustainability

For many years, environmental campaigners have focused on the idea of sustainability – that we should be creating systems which use resources at a sustainable rate. For some campaigners, thinking has now shifted towards the idea of regeneration.

Many of our environments and societies are already damaged, so sustaining these in a damaged state makes no sense! What we need is systems that can regenerate damaged environments – by putting back more than they take out.

Funding inspiring projects

People all over the world are developing ways to live in harmony with nature and each other. They are generating renewable resources, restoring ecosystems, nurturing solidarity and making societies stronger.

Ethical Consumer is hoping to reach a diverse group of applicants that are trying to move beyond the sustainable to create systems and projects that help do this.

In doing so, they hope the prize will highlight inspiring and alternative ways of living, and for it to start creating a supportive network for regenerative projects around the world.

How they will do it

The Lush Spring Prize is here to support this regeneration movement through:

  • an annual £200,000 prize fund open to individuals, communities, and organisations from the earliest ideas stage of a project, through to established organisations, and campaign groups
  • a high-profile annual conference, bringing people together to share their skills and experiences, and raising awareness of regeneration and its potential

How can people nominate themselves for a prize

The project’s website contains more details about the prizes as well as application forms and background information. Nominations will close on February 28th 2017, and applications are welcomed from anywhere in the world.

The awards will be presented in May 2017 where they hope to gather a diverse group of stakeholders for a participatory conference.

Nominate and find out more at the new Spring Prize website.

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Posted by Eco Warrior - January 20, 2017 at 9:07 am

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Is Bamboo The Timber Of The 21st Century?

With large scale deforestation occurring at an alarming rate along with the associated rise in global climate change, the situation around the world is tense. Increasing concerns over food security, water availability and an ever increasing pressure on the planet for finite resources is pushing entrepreneurs, businesses and governments to develop innovative solutions to address these growing concerns.

Timber forms an essential raw resource for various industries which produce items that as humans we have come to utilise and rely on daily. But our forests cannot sustain the increase in demand for these products driven by exploding populations and the rise of a global middle class with increased spending power.

A postgraduate from Yale University and an expert in forestry and forestry related climate change, Camille Rebelo came up with a unique model of making bamboo the timber of the 21st century. She, along with serial entrepreneur and businessman Troy Wiseman launched EcoPlanet Bamboo in 2010, to industrialise this plant to produce a sustainable, deforestation free fibre that can provide an alternative resource for our daily needs. They urge the population to be aware that the majority of products that we use daily, from toilet paper to packaging to some of our clothing, still come from the unsustainable harvesting of old growth natural forests, and invite the new generation of consumer to switch to sustainability certified bamboo as an alternative fiber, with the simple motive of putting an end to deforestation.

The great thing about bamboo is that it can be harvested sustainably without killing the plant and therefore can potentially provide an endless source of raw material that can be used to make a wide range of products, more than anyone could imagine.

Since Camille Rebelo and Troy Wiseman are trying their best to turn bamboo into the “tree free”, “deforestation free” timber of the 21st century with their initiative EcoPlanet Bamboo, let me brief you on what things can be made from bamboo under this new concept of bamboo fiber as an industrialized and realistic fiber. Here goes the list-

For Manufacturing Paper Products

Every year a large number of trees are cut down to manufacture paper products. Some of these trees that we use for toilet paper take more than 100 years to grow. The right species of bamboo can be used to produce toilet paper, tissues, cleaning paper as well writing paper, cards and different types of packaging.

Disposable Coffee Cups

Although also a paper product this is amazing – the world throws away billions of cups from coffee shops every year. Bamboo fiber can be used to grow all of these, making them a sustainable renewable product.

For Manufacturing Diapers

Disposable diapers can be made with bamboo. And instead of taking years and years to regrow like the current source of trees, the same bamboo plant will keep producing raw fiber each and every year, so long as it is managed correctly!

For Manufacturing Textiles

Bamboo can not only replace rayon and viscose which come from trees (yes our clothes come from trees!) but also cotton. Bamboo fiber has a unique antibacterial property and it uses way less pesticides, fertilizers and land to produce each ton of raw material. Bamboo can be used for clothes, sheets, towels and more!

For High End Construction Products

Bamboo flooring has been gaining popularity over the past years, but recently technology has become available for bamboo to be made into products that can replace timber. These include structural products, door and window frames, outdoor decking and more! If the bamboo is certified these bamboo products are sustainable, renewable and are beautiful as well.

For BioEnergy

Timber is used on a large scale to produce energy using everything from pellets to charcoal to biofuels. But, did you know bamboo can be used in the same way – its fiber has similar properties and an almost identical calorific value. Plus it’s renewable!

There are hundreds of other uses but just switching out wood for those above and replacing it with bamboo that has been grown only on degraded land, is certified as sustainable AND is renewable, would have a huge impact on the planet!

Positive Economic Impacts

With more research on the potential for bamboo to be used in major markets and for everyday products, the economic impact of the same is rising. This in turn is leading to the emergence of more new and cleaner technologies, innovative solutions and the turning of a full industrial wheel. From the traditional use of bamboo only for handicrafts, baskets and flooring, the last few decades have witnessed the production of pulp for paper and textiles, veneers, plywood, composites and many 2nd and 3rd generation products. The 21st century has resulted in the development of bamboo as an entirely new and high tech industry.

Bamboo can offer a large number of advantages and as more and more research is being conducted, the way to grow and manage the plant, its benefits and the true potential of its products are coming to the forefront. One must admit that EcoPlanet Bamboo is doing a great job in having laid the framework for there to be a global resource of sustainable and certified bamboo resource, and for urging the world to replace timber from natural forests with the environmentally friendly option of their bamboo. If you are still using some wood products, toilet paper from trees or drinking coffee in disposable cups, start thinking of replacing it with products made from EcoPlanet’s Bamboo and help Camille Rebelo and Troy Wiseman in their initiative of turning bamboo as the timber of the 21st century.

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Posted by Eco Warrior - January 19, 2017 at 7:01 am

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‘Lost City of the Monkey God’ Discovered in Central America

Rainforest conservation hits the headlines regularly for the most important global reasons, things like climate change, habitat destruction, oil pipelines and deforestation. Now the ‘Lost City of the Monkey God' has been uncovered in the rainforests of Honduras, one of the last great unexplored areas on earth.

The city's original inhabitants fled some time during the 1500s, believing their city to be cursed with disease and bad luck. In fact the natives were suffering from illnesses brought in by invading and settling Europeans, who also enslaved them.

An American author, one Douglas Preston, and a team of explorers set off to explore the dense Honduran and Nicaraguan rainforests and find the ancient city. The journey was exceptionally hazardous, studded with threats from poisonous snakes and involving fighting their way through incredibly thick vegetation.

The secrets of the massive Mosquitia rainforest revealed

The team's journey kicked off in the stunning Mosquitia rainforest, which covers a massive 20,000 square miles of Central America. The city was thought to be a legend, sometimes called the White City, other times the City of the Monkey God, and rumours have tantalized adventurers since the 1600s. One explorer, Steve Elkins, had been hunting for the city since the 1990s without success when he brought Preston in to document his latest expedition.

They are just two of many adventurers who have entered the jungle in search of the city. People have been looking for the ancient metropolis for hundreds of years, coveting the potentially precious objects left behind by its fleeing citizens.

High tech equipment reveals the lost city

This time around Elkins and Preston used contemporary technology to locate the ruined city, namely clever laser imaging equipment designed to scan hundreds of miles of jungle in just a few days, ‘seeing' through the trees with ease to map the ground remarkably accurately. On locating the city they soon uncovered a fascinating treasure trove of artefacts, including personal belongings.

See the documentary, read the book

A documentary about the expedition is currently being produced and there's a book too, just out, called The Lost City of the Monkey God and published by Grand Central. If you fancy a real, old-fashioned adventure full of thrills, it's a great read.

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Posted by Eco Warrior - January 16, 2017 at 3:25 pm

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Ethical Markets grow by 8% finds latest Ethical Consumer Markets report

This week Ethical Consumer launched the latest version of its flagship Ethical Consumer Markets Report, this year sponsored by Triodos Bank.

It was more good news for ethical markets with the value of all ethical spending in the UK growing to a robust £38 billion in 2015 up 8.5% from last year.

More ethical goods available

It was clear from the research that more companies, from small entrepreneurs to large multinationals, are bringing more ethical choices than ever before to modern consumer markets. These range from tiny, one person, operations making organic food products in their own kitchens, to Nissan’s latest range of electric cars.

This is the thirteenth consecutive year of growth for their Ethical Purchases section, reflecting the continued appeal of ethical markets in the UK.

This continued growth in ethical buying is also an encouraging trend at a point in time where global political developments, for those concerned about environmental and human rights issues, are not all that positive.

Key Trends from the report

1. Ethical Food bucking the trend. Strong sales of Organic and Freedom Food (RSPCA)-certified products helped Ethical Food & Drink sales grow by 5.3%, despite a 0.9% decline in the value of the overall UK food & drink market.

2. The Green Car revolution. The Green Car industry (which includes electric and hybrid cars, as well as cars that emit less than 100g of CO2 per km) continued to boom and is now worth £8.4 billion, owing to improvements to infrastructure and increased consumer awareness.

3. Local Shopping for ethical reasons grows significantly in 2015. Consumers increased ethical spending in their community by 11.7%.

The full Ethical Consumer Markets Report is available from their website.

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Posted by Eco Warrior - January 6, 2017 at 3:24 pm

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10 Insane Facts About Tesla Motors and Elon Musk

Tesla Motors first came onto the car scene with the release of the Tesla Roadster, an electric sports car capable of 0-60 mph in between 3.7 and 3.9 seconds (challenging the likes of 2017 Audi R8 V10) and breaking records at every corner.

CEO Elon Musk has long been promising to change the world, creating affordable electric cars for the everyday person, planning trips to Mars and even developing AI in a way that is safe and beneficial to humanity.

Tesla and Musk have pledged to produce 500,000 cars a year by 2020 and have fully autonomous cars capable of doing everything in the near future. But many people know virtually nothing about Tesla or Musk, except that they produce electric cars. Here’s 10 Insane Facts About Tesla Motors and Elon Musk from Stanley R Harris.

Tesla Motors: How Elon Musk and Company Made Electric Cars Cool, and Sparked the Next Tech Revolution

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Posted by Eco Warrior - January 5, 2017 at 7:58 am

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RAND Boats at London Boat Show – Press Release

From the 6th to the 15th of January, RAND Boats welcomes you at the London Boat Show to present the newest version of the Picnic.

The RAND Picnic introduces a brand new approach to leisure time activity at sea. Built on principles of modern Danish design and hydrodynamics, the elegant 18ft open day-cruiser offers a low-key luxury
and user-friendly boating experience with exceptional steering and stability, 10-person seating rows, and an adjustable center-table making it the perfect object for social activity at sea.

The Picnic is sustainably produced in Denmark at RAND’s shipyard with a focus on optimizing hydrodynamic efficiency for pleasurable sailing.

RAND Boats’ goal of constantly pushing the boundaries within design, technology and sustainability is found within the Picnic’s wave-piercing hull that is optimized for electric propulsion to achieve better performance, deliver higher speeds and longer battery life.

The lightweight hydrodynamic construction makes the ride much more efficient resulting in the Picnic consuming less electricity or gas than traditional motorboat designs. The electric engine and solar power option provide a silent and environmental friendly sailing experience.

The Picnic is available with engines up to 60HP in gasoline, or electric propulsion up to 20HP for those who seek the pure nature experience free of noise and fumes.

RAND Boats look forward to welcoming you at stand no. C135 for a talk about the Picnic and the future of electric and user-friendly boating.


RAND Boats is a newly founded Danish producer of luxurious motorboats hand-built with exception detail, and offered with the newest within electric propulsion. For more information please visit our website on www.randboats.com

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Posted by Eco Warrior - December 23, 2016 at 12:57 pm

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