A New Water Crisis Caused by…Your Favorite Outfit?

We all know that water is in crisis. Water scarcity impacts over 2.8 billion people around the world, with 1.2 billion lacking access to clean drinking water. Growing contamination concerns threaten us all.

When we think about what makes drinking water dangerous, we often reach for the big, dramatic examples the news media and Hollywood have put forward. Julia Roberts as Erin Brockovich, revealing the crimes of PG&E, fracking films starring Matt Damon, the stock image of the factory sitting on the edge of a lake, spewing toxic sludge into the town’s drinking supply.

If we broaden our question about what pollutes our water, we may conjure up images of the Exxon Valdez tragically sinking into the Prince William Sound, disrupting the delicate balance of the single largest biome on earth.

The truth is, these things greatly contribute to the pollution facing our water systems, but they’re not the whole picture. In the 21st century, we are well aware of the fact that the pollution of one commons leads to the pollution of another commons, as Sherri Mason explains in this TIME article.

What might surprise you is that you are probably wearing, sitting or standing on one of the biggest threats to our water supply: fabrics comprised of microscopic plastic fibers. Everything — from your cozy blanket to your shag rug to your favorite outfit — is shedding minuscule fibers too small to be filtered out in the water treatment process.

These toxic fibers come from synthetic textiles — specifically polyester, nylon and acrylic — the “ubiquitous three”. In the past five years, synthetic fabrics have begun to exceed cotton and other natural fabrics in consumer demand, so even if you upcycled your most adorable patchwork dress, you’ve likely used a patch here and a patch there that contain harmful contaminants.

Microfibers are showing up in the guts of marine life in food markets. A recent study by the University of Minnesota estimates that as much as 94% of U.S. tap water is contaminated by microfibers. Bottled water is similarly affected. And at this point, experts have no idea how this pollution will impact human health.

So what can we do to halt this problem in its tracks? Here are a few solutions:

  • Wash differently. “Lower, shorter, colder” is your new mantra when it comes to washing and drying your synthetic fabrics. Wash your spandex pants as infrequently as you can. If you’re able to customize the wash, wash synthetics for the shortest time possible. Switch to liquid laundry soap since the grains in powder soaps tend to be more exfoliating, stripping the clothing of more fibers during the wash cycle. Use a colder wash setting. And whatever you do, don’t wash lint down the drain. Throw it away.
  • Spread the word. Speak up about microfiber pollution. It can be difficult to build awareness around eco issues, especially when it means your aunt Sally might not be able to buy a new pair of her favorite yoga pants in good conscience. Talk to your friends and family in ways that invite them into the action. Sign petitions. The more people we mobilize, the better.
  • Buy different fabrics. This is more of the long-game approach, but it’s worth it. In a society run by capitalism, where we put our money matters. It doesn’t make sense to say you’re going to throw out every fabric shedding microfibers currently in your house. You’d probably be left with a bare house. But it’s a goal to aim for in the moving target of keeping our earth safe and habitable. Whenever you can moving forward, buy products made from natural fibers — cotton, linen, and wool, etc.

Like most environmental crises, cleaning up our water is going to be a tough task. One that will take grassroots awareness efforts, growing commitment and a change in the attitudes of consumers. But our environment is worth fighting for, worth changing for…one favorite outfit at a time.


About the author

Stuart Berman is a style and fashion industry vet, designing and launching successful men’s fashion brands that have been sold in the catalogues of Saks Fifth Avenue, Harrods of London, and on MTV. After going through an organic awakening with his wife and wanting a better future for his family, Stuart turned to natural fabrics, and is launching his new clothing line, Blue Zipper, in the fall of 2017.

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Posted by Eco Warrior - October 30, 2017 at 4:26 pm

Categories: Eco Clothing   Tags:

12 plants that improve your health and home

From lavender to lemongrass, rosemary to aloe vera, plants can do wonders for our wellbeing, emotion and the environment around us. We’ve looked at our favourite outdoor and indoor plants renowned for improving both our health and our homes.

Flymo explains all, with some top-tips on how to grow these twelve plants for yourself, with a little bit of folklore on each for good measure. For example, Native Americans call aloe vera “The Wand of Heaven.” – did you know that?

12 plants that improve your house and home12 plants that improve your house and home

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Posted by Eco Warrior - October 26, 2017 at 5:43 pm

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Energy-saving tips for fridges and freezers

Fridges and freezers account for a large proportion of home power usage; after all, they are always on. However, there are ways to save on the electricity output if you have a little knowledge and a solid plan. With that, not only will you be cutting down on your bills, you’ll also be saving energy to help the environment. Let’s check out some of the best energy-saving tips for fridges and freezers, from learning how to defrost a freezer quickly to discovering where to best place your appliances.

Keep It Full

One of the main ways of overworking and wasting energy courtesy of your fridge and freezer is empty space. Every time the door is opened your fridge or freezer has to work hard to replace the cold air that flows out. If you keep your freezer two thirds full less air can get out and therefore less energy is leaked. When you’re getting low you can replace big gaps with water bottles or anything else that fills gaping spaces. Coming back to the door opening, don’t leave it open unnecessarily!

Perfect Placement

The key here is to make sure that there’s airflow around your appliances. Keep things off the top and, if you can, try to maintain a little room round the sides and back. In addition to that, avoid sitting your fridge and freezer next to the cooker or in a position where it’ll get direct sunlight. You don’t want it to have to work extra hard to combat the heat.

Control The Temperature

Keeping things at a certain temperature definitely helps efficiency and makes food last longer – that’s a double save on wastage! Your fridge should be between 3-5 degrees with freezers operating best at -18 degrees. Keep a check on the gauges, don’t put food in whilst it’s still hot and maintain the equipment to ensure optimum temperatures.

Regular Maintenance

This is probably the most important tip. If you let your fridge or freezer run down into a state of disrepair you are going to lose on a number of fronts. Food and drink won’t last as long, you’ll be paying for the extra electricity required as your appliance fights to work properly, and you’ll have to replace it much quicker than you would if it was looked after. A poor conditioned appliance can be a huge drain on energy, so follow these 3 steps to be more efficient and less wasteful:

  1. Clean the condenser. This will either be underneath or behind your appliance and is the engine. Dust and grime can easily build up here and if not monitored can cause big problems in temperature control and overall efficiency.
  2. Check the seals. If these become too worn or worse, split, the door will not close properly. That will mean that air can leak out and a lot of energy will be used to try to keep things cold.
  3. Avoid ice build up. Keep an eye on things and regularly check to see if a lot of frost has built up. If your freezer doesn’t defrost automatically you can easily learn how to defrost a freezer yourself.

Doing your bit for the environment really isn’t that much hard work and the less you make your fridge or freezer work the more eco friendly it is. From keeping your appliance nice and full to knowing how to defrost a freezer, it’s easy to save energy. Put these simple steps into practice and not only will you be playing your environmental part; you may just see a decrease in your electricity bill too.

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Posted by Eco Warrior - October 16, 2017 at 3:27 pm

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The Cost of Wasted Food

At a time when the global economy is producing more food and making a greater profit than at any time in history, one could be forgiven for thinking that the issue of feeding the global population is yesterday’s news. However, both in the UK and across the world, we are wasting more food than ever before.

This has a huge financial cost and an even greater implication for humans, animals and the planet itself.

  • The UK wastes the equivalent of 1.3 billion meals every year
  • YET, 590,000 people in the UK used food banks in 2016/17
  • £10 billion worth of food thrown away by households each year
  • BUT, 60% of people believe they never waste food

A little goes a long way when it comes to cutting down on food waste. In This infographic we take a closer look at some of the shocking statistics around food wastage. A stark reminder of the cost to our pockets, our population and our planet.

The Cost of Wasted Food

 

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Posted by Eco Warrior - October 6, 2017 at 3:28 pm

Categories: Eco Home, Issues   Tags:

Top 5 Green Building Trends in 2017

Green building projects are gaining traction worldwide and shifting the residential and commercial landscape. They are a breath of fresh air that promises to reduce carbon emissions and improve energy efficiency. At the same time, we have the chance to improve the quality of life, save money, and preserve our health. The higher green performance standards are in place and building codes are getting tighter.  So, it is a small surprise that there is a burgeoning demand for green products, cost-effective components, and cutting-edge systems, and that supply has no intention of lagging behind.

Solar continues to rise

As green engineering advances by leaps and bounds, solar adoption is on the roll across the globe. In the wake of this surge and the rising environmental awareness, the solar tech is getting more affordable and efficient. We no longer have to rely on clunky panels to tap into renewable energy. Companies like Tesla have presented novelty solar shingles, micro-grids, and photovoltaic cells that can be integrated into windows, plastic sheets, and other lightweight, cheap surfaces. Some countries have already managed to supplement much of their power needs and others are on their way to do so.

Proliferation of passive design

This type of innovative design aims to reduce the need for heating, cooling, and electrical lighting. Namely, advanced techniques are used to ensure a maximum amount of daylight as well as to minimize unwanted heat gains and losses. The building is well-insulated in the winter and shaded in the summer. An orientation of the home plays a crucial role and the same goes for critical components such as green roofs, soil systems, and plants. The principles of passive design are also applied to numerous structures in order to create zero-energy buildings that operate solely on self-produced renewable energy.

Passive Design

Green retrofits and remodelling

Renovation projects account for a great amount of spending on green products and natural resources. It is estimated that smart improvements allow homeowners to recoup the initial investment in less than 5 years. What is more, properties that implement green systems tend to achieve a 20% increase in the value. Some of the most common upgrades are in the areas of electrical, thermal, and mechanical systems as well as moisture protection. Resilient proof buildings, in particular, show much promise, with their natural lighting and toxins-free indoor climate.

Widespread usage of sustainable materials

Green materials are integrated with construction practices and lay the groundwork for a greener way of life. Reclaimed wood and recyclable steel dominate the green market, but efforts have been made to turn even materials like the concrete into green staples. After all, it is still the world's most used building material and now we have discovered that solutions like self-healing concrete are viable. Apart from recyclability, bio-degradability, and non-toxicity, the sturdiness and maintenance are still in focus, and products from TDK Formwork and other forward-looking businesses successfully blend them together.

 

Green Hotel

Water conservation

Water consumption is one of the major expenditures in most homes and besides, the transparent liquid of life is becoming a scarce resource.  To enable the adequate supply for future generations, we have to protect and conserve water in our buildings. This can be pulled off by optimizing the treatment and transport systems on site. Various water-saving features are utilized to pump, head, store, and collect clean water with the minimum input of energy. That way, it is possible to decrease water use by 35% and further improvements will raise the bar even more.

The green path into future

Green buildings are transforming the way we live and work, fuelling the necessity for various eco-friendly technologies and products. We spend most of our lives inside and it is only natural to be concerned about the way buildings affect our health and well-being as well as natural habitat. The population is scrutinizing the impact of the building sector, awareness is spreading, and global environmental problems bring us together. The marvels of technology and prowess of engineering have joined forces and the future is looking greener for everyone on the blue planet.

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Posted by Eco Warrior - October 6, 2017 at 3:01 pm

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How to Recycle Water by Having a Water Fountain

Hello everyone! Today we are talking about two topics I’m very passionate about, recycling water and having a great looking yard! I have always been a bit obsessed on how my garden looks, not only because it’s one of my favorite places to be but also because it’s where me and the family spend most of the time during a family event. For me, having a garden with a great presentation is very important and taking care of it it’s part of the fun. Every season I decorate my garden with something new, I make a few changes and everyone who comes over to my house seems to love it too.

Recently, I have been trying to find a new water fountain to embellish my garden. However, I’m also very keen on doing what is best for the environment. Now more than ever, we as a society must always take our planet’s health into consideration. I want my garden to look, I want it to captivate my family, neighbors, and friends, I want them to have a green space in the city where they feel comfortable, relax and forget about all the urban stress. But I also want to:

  1. a) recycle the water I use, not only because it’s economically viable but also because water is a key source we must not waste.
  2. b) use solar power instead of electric current.

Water Conservation

With this in mind, I set myself to find a way to embellish my garden in an eco-friendly way! That’s when I found solar outdoor fountains. Eco-friendly water fountains are not a new concept, fortunately it’s turning into a trending option to transform an average garden into an oasis while saving water. These water fountains use recycled rainwater that keeps being reused continuously without the need of taping into external water sources. By using rainwater, we are preserving water and energy. Water conservation is a great way to help preserve the environment while enhancing the beauty of the garden. Keep in mind this water is not suitable for consumption, it’s only for aesthetics. Also, water fountains with recycled rainwater require a bit more maintenance when it comes to cleaning the fountain.

Solar Power

Why spend money on electricity to keep your garden looking good if you can get all the power you need from nature itself? That’s right, we are not just saving water, we are also using solar power to keep the whole system running. These water fountains have a built-in solar panel that converts sunlight into energy. At first, I was worried about the filter, I worried the panel wouldn’t be able to produce enough energy for the filter to operate continuously. I talked to a few experts, and then I got to see for myself, there’s exactly nothing to worry about. The energy generated from the solar power is more than enough to maintain the water circulation and the cleansing. The filter pumps in fresh rainwater, the water is treated and cleansed with oxygen. The clean water is then pumped back into the fountain.

Aesthetics vs Price

There is a big misconception about eco-friendly products. To be completely honest, I was part of that group too. That is until I started doing my own research on the subject. People think eco-friendly products are expensive and don’t have an appealing design. This is completely wrong. In fact, it’s the other way around. After looking everywhere online and on my local shops, I found that solar outdoor water fountains are very affordable. Plus, considering we will be saving money by using rainwater and solar energy.

I have also come to the conclusion I preferred the overall designs of solar water fountains to normal water fountains. Of course, this depends on everyone’s personal taste, however, I’m sure you will be surprised at the designs, especially the most recent products.

Why I Love an Eco-friendly Garden

Because I’m using the tools nature provides me. Planet earth was already beautiful before electricity and tap water were invented. I like to see my garden as an extension of the nature surrounding is. Nowadays, people are so used to the city and pollution they forget having a little bit of green around us, at home, keeps us connected to the earth and makes us a bit less ‘plastic’. Therefore, I use what nature provides me, sun energy and rainwater, to keep my garden beautiful.

What About You?

Let me know what you think. Do you own a solar water fountain? Are you looking to buy one? I would like to know your opinion and suggestions you may have. Me personally, I can’t go back to using electricity and tap water on my fountains and ponds. Now that I know there’s an ecological way to keep my garden beautiful, I feel it’s my obligation to what’s best for our environment, while still feeling good about my garden. Leave a comment, share your opinion. Have a great day!

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Posted by Eco Warrior - October 4, 2017 at 7:41 am

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Smoking’s Effect On The Environment

Smoking is a grave problem causing serious health issues like chronic lung diseases, heart diseases, pregnancy-related issues, cancers etc. Though the human race is aware of its ill effects, every day thousands of teens stepping into their adulthood take their first puff, and consequently leads to the increase in the number of daily smokers and chain smokers. The dreadful first smoke is usually done in enthusiasm but then engulfs the young adults in its addiction.

It is appalling that smoking is not only injurious to the one who smokes but to other mankind and the environment as well. From the start of cultivation to processing and towards the end stop of being stocked in the store, and finally, the disposal of the cigarette butts as litter is another major issue resulting in water pollution. The whole journey of Tobacco impacts the mother-nature irreparably.

Here is an Infographic from Gray Haze which enlightens with some eye-opening statistics about the effect of Smoking on the environment.

Smoking's Effect On The Environment

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Posted by Eco Warrior - October 4, 2017 at 7:26 am

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USA uses enough oil to fill the Empire State Building 3 times over

Oil Consumption has grown leaps worldwide, over the last decade. So has gone up, the issue of global warming & its effects. Nations are coming together to fight the menace and curb the damage as much possible. And it was a major setback, when USA withdrew from the Paris Agreement deal, as the USA undoubtedly, leads the pack of Highest Petrol Consuming Economies.

But what astounds is the amount of gasoline, consumed by the USA alone in a day. Here is an infographic that shows some astonishing figures of the petrol consumed per day by the chief economies of the world.

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Posted by Eco Warrior - October 3, 2017 at 2:24 pm

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The largest source of renewable energy per country

Renewable energy technology, development and demand is becoming evermore popular as we move towards meeting the 2020 European Union deadline of increasing renewable energy consumption to 20% of consumption.

A number of things such as environmental impact, diminishing fossil fuel stocks and unpredictable oil prices have had  impact the desire to increase the generation of renewable energy.

Between 2010 and 2014, renewable energy consumption of the top countries has effectively doubled from 168 million tons to 316 million tons of oil equivalent. RS Components latest graphic uses Energy Information Administration (EIA) data to reveal that hydropower is the most widely-used renewable power source with the global hydroelectric installed capacity exceeding 1,000GW.

What's the most popular source of renewable energy in your country? Take a look below to find out.

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Posted by Eco Warrior - October 3, 2017 at 2:14 pm

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Australia’s Rainforest Foundation is in Big Trouble

As reported in the Cairns Post newspaper, so far Rainforest Trust Australia has bought more than three million acres of rainforest spread across the nation's famously beautiful and unique Wet Tropics World Heritage Area. It has cost them millions of Australian dollars. But now they're being investigated by the authorities for allegedly ‘misappropriating' money they were given as grants.

About the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area

The Wet Tropics World Heritage Area sits between Townsville and Cooktown on the north-east coast of Queensland. It covers a vast area of almost nine thousand square kilometers, 450 km long and consisting largely of lush tropical rainforests. Many plant and animal species in the Wet Tropics are unique,  found nowhere else in the world.

A grant that wasn't spent on weed control

Apparently the Commonwealth grant in question was for $775,500, a sum that was handed over in 2014 to pay for weed control at a chunk of land near El Arish, at the Mission Beach cassowary corridor. It looks like the promised weed control hasn't been done, a delay that contravenes the grant's guidelines. Local people have a similar complaint – that the land bought by the foundation is in worse condition now than it was when they bought it. Far from there being fewer weeds, there are actually more, and there has even been some re-vegetation.

The case now rests with the Commonwealth DPP

The investigation was recently confirmed by Australia's Federal Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg, who is keen to look into a  government grant awarded to the organisation, which was previously called Rainforest Trust Australia. Now the case has been sent to the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions, who will be considering what direction to take the investigation in next.

RTA defends itself

In the charity's defence, Rainforest Trust Australia chairman David Butler said there wasn't a case to answer because an ex-employee, who was responsible for the fraudulent behaviour, has already been charged by the Department of Public Prosecutions and no longer works for the organisation. Furthermore, because the matter is still being dealt with by the court, it's sub judicae and the charity can't comment further. He also said that since the enquiry started they've been busy putting in place better processes and procedures as regards governance and financial management, so this kind of thing can't happen again.


Guest post by The Rainforest Foundation.

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Posted by Eco Warrior - October 3, 2017 at 1:54 pm

Categories: Conservation   Tags:

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