Blog Archives

ECO – HOUSING: What, Where n’ Why ?

What is Eco Housing ?

Eco Housing is the practice of increasing the efficiency with which buildings and their sites use and harvest energy, water, materials, and reduce building impacts on human health and the environment through better siting, design, sustainable construction practices, lowered use of natural resources, operation, maintenance, and removal — the complete building life cycle.

green_home

 

Where and Why is it useful ?

Buildings significantly alter the environment. Different activities like design, construction, extraction, production, maintenance, demolition, disposal of building materials have caused a tremendous impact on our environment and our natural resources over the last few decades. Environmental performance must be balanced against economic performance. So a dire need of identifying environmentally and economically balanced building products, and all the more designing an assessment system focusing on eco-building materials, has surfaced up, which needs to be attended to immediately.

soon we will post articles about green housing activities going around in our country, INDIA

stay tuned..!!

http://www.indiagetgreen.com

Go Green This Ganesha Festival

Green Ganesha

[1] Use clay Ganesha idols

Only Ganesha idols made out of clay should be used as they dissolve in water easily.

[2] Use natural dyes & colours

If a colourful Ganesha idol is being purchased during the festive season, then it should be painted with natural dyes. Dyes are available in many places across the state.

[3] Stop immersing, start exchanging!

The immersion of idols pollutes water bodies. To reduce pollution, Ganesha mandalis could retain the same idols and exchange them with other organisations every year. This will ensure the usage of existing idols without polluting the water. Such a trend is already taking place in Pune and Mumbai.

[4] Immerse idol in bucket of water

Instead of using drinking water, the people should immerse idols in pushkarnis and other places specified by district administrations. Immerse idols in buckets of water. Before the immersion, remove all decorative items, like flowers, plastic, garlands etc. Do not immerse idols in rivers, lakes and wells. Avoid using plastic decorative items. Use natural leaves, plants and flowers.

[5] Avoid bursting Fire Crackers

People should control the use of crackers which cause noise, air pollution and generate solid waste. Avoid blaring music from loudspeakers or organising orchestras. Sound pollution causes extreme discomfort to the elderly, patients and infants.

Shocking Amur Falcon Massacre in Nagaland

This is a documentation of the shocking massacre of tens of thousands of migratory Amur falcons (Falco amurensis) in the remote state of Nagaland in India’s northeast. We estimate that during the peak migration 12,000 – 14,000 birds are being hunted for consumption and commercial sale everyday. We further estimate that a mind-boggling 120,000 to 140,000 birds are being slaughtered in Nagaland every year during their passage through the state.

This is probably the single largest congregation of Amur falcons recorded anywhere in the world and it is tragic that they meet such a fate. Our team has alerted all appropriate authorities in Nagaland. Government officials we spoke to have committed to put an end to the slaughter and have initiated specific action steps outlined below. Conservation India will continue to monitor and report on the situation.

It is significant to note that India, as a signatory to the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS), is duty bound to prevent this massacre, provide safe passage, as well as draw up appropriate action plans for the long-term conservation of this bird. In the recently concluded Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), of which India is the president for the next two years, the importance of CMS in conserving species, and especially in stopping bushmeat hunting, was repeatedly stressed.

Source: http://www.conservationindia.org/campaigns/amur-massacre

 

Living with Leopards in Mumbai

Livingwithleopardssnap

Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) is said to be the lungs of Mumbai and provides the bustling metropolis with clean drinking water among other ecosystem services. Biologically rich, SGNP is often in the news as the site of conflict between people and wildlife, mainly leopards. The forest department of SGNP has taken a proactive step to help manage the park better, mitigate conflicts and engage with the interested citizens of Mumbai. The Forest department has launched a project called ‘Mumbaikars for SGNP‘ to assess and assist leopard conservation and mitigate man-animal conflict in and around the park, by involving scientists, students and other members of the civil society. The project will be carried out by the Forest Department and the Centre for Wildlife Studies (CWS), Bangalore.

The main objective of the project is to use basic scientific methods and involve interested people in Mumbai to better understand the beauty, importance and challenges the leopards and the Park face, in an effort to focus positive action by Mumbaikars to better manage the park.

One such initiative of the project is the attached poster to increase awareness on how to deal with leopards in and around human-dominated areas, typically on the periphery of the park. Often, the interaction between leopards and humans depends on how the human/s react to the presence of the leopard. The best practices in dealing with leopards has been presented in this poster.

What is ECO-TOURISM ?

eco tourism

 

Eco-tourism is defined as, responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people. Eco-tourism is more than a catch phrase for nature loving travel and recreation. Eco-tourism is consecrated for preserving and sustaining the diversity of the world’s natural and cultural environments. It accommodates and entertains visitors in a way that is minimally intrusive or destructive to the environment and sustains & supports the native cultures in the locations it is operating in. Responsibility of both travelers and service providers is the genuine meaning for Eco-tourism.

Eco-tourism also endeavors to encourage and support the diversity of local economies for which the tourism-related income is important. With support from tourists, local services and producers can compete with larger, foreign companies and local families can support themselves. Besides all these, the revenue produced from tourism helps and encourages governments to fund conservation projects and training programs.

Saving the environment around you and preserving the natural luxuries and forest life, that’s what Eco-tourism is all about. Whether it’s about a nature camp or organizing trekking trips towards the unspoiled and inaccessible regions, one should always keep in mind not to create any mishap or disturbance in the life cycle of nature.

Eco-tourism focuses on local cultures, wilderness adventures, volunteering, personal growth and learning new ways to live on our vulnerable planet. It is typically defined as travel to destinations where the flora, fauna, and cultural heritage are the primary attractions. Responsible Eco-tourism includes programs that minimize the adverse effects of traditional tourism on the natural environment, and enhance the cultural integrity of local people. Therefore, in addition to evaluating environmental and cultural factors, initiatives by hospitality providers to promote recycling, energy efficiency, water reuse, and the creation of economic opportunities for local communities are an integral part of Eco-tourism.

Historical, biological and cultural conservation, preservation, sustainable development etc. are some of the fields closely related to Eco-Tourism. Many professionals have been involved in formulating and developing eco-tourism policies. They come from the fields of Geographic Information Systems, Wildlife Management, Wildlife Photography, Marine Biology and Oceanography, National and State Park Management, Environmental Sciences, Women in Development, Historians and Archaeologists, etc.

Eco-tourism is considered the fastest growing market in the tourism industry, according to the World Tourism Organization with an annual growth rate of 5% worldwide and representing 6% of the world gross domestic product, 11.4% of all consumer spending – not a market to be taken lightly.

Conservation

Offering market-linked long-term solutions, Eco-tourism provides effective economic incentives for conserving and enhancing bio-cultural diversity and helps protect the natural and cultural heritage of our beautiful planet.

Communities

By increasing local capacity building and employment opportunities, Eco-tourism is an effective vehicle for empowering local communities around the world to fight against poverty and to achieve sustainable development.

Interpretation

With an emphasis on enriching personal experiences and environmental awareness through interpretation, Eco-tourism promotes greater understanding and appreciation for nature, local society, and culture.

 

Principles of Eco-Tourism

Eco-tourism is about uniting conservation, communities, and sustainable travel. This means that those who implement and participate in Eco-tourism activities should follow the following Eco-tourism principles:

  • Minimize impact.
  • Build environmental and cultural awareness and respect.
  • Provide positive experiences for both visitors and hosts.
  • Provide direct financial benefits for conservation.
  • Provide financial benefits and empowerment for local people.
  • Raise sensitivity to host countries’ political, environmental, and social climate.

 

Green Article: Things you should never Compost or Recycle

Though recycling and composting are two of the most important green practices, there are some items that are bad for the environment.

NEVER COMPOST:

Bread Products, Milk Products, Meat Products, Sawdust, Cooked Rice, Used Personal Products, Garden Weeds, Diseased Plants, Cooking Oil, Walnuts and Printed Papers.

NEVER COMPOST
PRODUCTS INCLUDES Y NOT ?
Bread Products Cakes, Pasta and most baked goods attracts unwanted pests
Milk Products Milk, Cheese, Yogurt and Cream attracts unwanted pests
Rice Cooked Rice It attracts varmints.  It is a fertile breeding ground to bacteria.
Used Personal Products Tampons, Diapers and Items wet with blood or any other fluid. too much of a health risk
Walnuts Walnuts It contains Juglone, a natural aromatic compound toxic to some plants.
Printed Papers includes Magazines, Catalogs, Printing Cards, Foils. includes printing chemicals
Meat Products Bones, Blood, Animal Fat and Fish acts as a pest magnet
Sawdust Wood Dust may be from untreated wood
Garden Weeds & Diseased Plants Kudzu, Ivy, Dandelions, Diseased Plants helps breed Fungus and Bacteria into compost
Cooking Oil Cooking Oil upsets compost moisture balance
Human or Animal Feces Pets (Dog & Cat) Poop, Human Feces too much of a health risk

 

NEVER RECYCLE:

Spray Cans, Battery, Ceramic & Pottery, Tires, Plastic Bags & Products, Medical Waste, Diapers, Hazardous Waste, Household Glass and Wet Papers.

NEVER RECYCLE
PRODUCTS INCLUDES Y NOT ?
Aerosol Cans / Spray Cans Metal Spray Cans contains propellants and chemicals, treated as hazardous waste.
Batteries Inverter / Car Battery handled seperately from both regular trash and curbside recycling
Ceramics & Pottery Coffee Mugs, Tea Cups Re-Use them in your gardens
Diapers / Napkins & Paper Towels Diapers, Paper Towels commercially not feasible to reclaim the paper and plastic from used diapers
Hazardous Waste Household Chemicals, Motor Oil, Other Coolants They are handled usually seperately.
Medical Waste Syringes, Tubings, Scalpels and other bio-hazards They are handled usually seperately.
Household Glass Window Panes, Light Bulbs, Mirrors, Tableware impractical to recycle.
Tetra Pack / Coated Cardboard Boxes Pizza Box, Juice Box only the marked tetrapacks need to recycle. Food boxes are too much grease.
Plastic Bags & Products Plastic Bags, Plastic Food Boxes, Plastic Screw top, Plastic without recycling mark. If possible, Clean and Re-use the plastic bags. Rest needs to be disposed off safely.
Tires Tires Should be disposed off safely, or re-use it appropriately.
Wet Papers Wet Papers recyclers take a pass on a paper exposed to water.

Natural Enviromentalists: 6 animals take “reduce, reuse, recycle” to the next level.

Natural environmentalists
Most animals live in a delicate ecological balance with their natural surroundings. It’s simply the most efficient formula for survival: Take only what is needed, and waste as little of it as possible. But a few animals take “reduce, reuse, recycle” to the next level. It’s a good thing, too: Someone needs to help clean up the mess that so many humans leave behind. Here’s our list of six animals that are nature’s extreme recyclers.
.1. Birds
Perhaps nature’s greatest recyclers are birds. Many urban species have adapted to life in human environments by building their nests with whatever is available, which often includes anything from discarded string and newspapers to paper clips and plastic.
 browerbirds
Bowerbirds from New Guinea and Australia, which construct elaborate and garish “bowers” in order to attract mates, will often collect colorful trash (such as bottle caps and plastics) and repurpose it for bower decoration. (In other words, recycling is considered sexy for these birds!)
Birds like pigeons and gulls also take advantage of all the food waste that is left behind by people, gobbling up what they can.
.2. Hermit Crabs
As a crab grows, it must often seek out new shells that provide a better fit. In this way, these cute crustaceans are constantly recycling dwellings that would otherwise go to waste.
hermit crabs
Hermit crabs don’t grow their own shells, so to protect themselves they have to salvage shells abandoned by other sea life, usually from sea snails. But really they’ll use whatever they can find, which often includes glass bottles, cans or shotgun shells. People who keep hermit crabs as pets also have the option of providing them with artificial shells, which can be made from recycled materials.
.3. Spiders
All spiderwebs represent remarkable engineering feats, but few match the eco-friendly design showcased by some orb-weaver spiders. Take for instance the species Cyclosa ginnaga, which decorates its webs with whatever debris it can find, such as leaves and twigs. Though the ultimate purpose of the decoration is rather sinister (for luring in prey, or for concealing the webbing), this spider’s eco-cred is still worth noting.
 orb weaver spider
Many orb-weaver spiders rebuild their nests every day, so they are always busy recycling. This helps keep both their webs and their surrounding environment clean.
.4. Dung Beetles
Many dung beetles are actually referred to as “rollers,” since their waste-collection strategy is to roll excrement into balls so that it can be easily wheeled away.
dungbeetle
It’s a dirty job, but somebody’s got to do it. Yes, even poop is too valuable a resource to let go to waste, and perhaps no animal understands this better than the dung beetle. This insect lives to collect and repurpose your poop. Not only do dung beetles build their homes out of feces, but they also eat it and lay their eggs in it.
.5. Octopus / Octopi
Octopi are probably the smartest invertebrates on the planet, and nothing quite displays their cunning as much as their tool use. Several species, such as the veined octopus, have been seen building shelters out of discarded debris. These makeshift homes are built from anything found lying around, from cracked coconut shells, to abandoned sea shells, to glass jars and other containers thrown away as trash. It just goes to show that one creature’s waste is another creature’s treasure.
octopus
.6. Corals
It has been estimated that 75 percent of all coral reefs around the world are threatened, but there is also reason to hope. Though sensitive to variations in their environment, these animals are also remarkably adaptable in that they are willing to attach themselves to just about any hard surface they can find. This includes shipwrecks, undersea pipelines and even oil rigs. By repurposing wreckage on the sea floor, they also provide habitat for the countless other species that rely on the ecology of coral reefs for sustenance.
corals

How to “getgreen” at workplace ?

A greener workplace can mean a lighter ecological footprint, a healthier and more productive place to work, and good news for the bottom line. Whether you’re the boss or the employee, whether your office is green already or still waiting to see the light, some practical steps can lay the groundwork for a healthy, low-impact workspace.

 

Turn it OFF..!! when not in use

For many people, a computer is the central tool at work. Optimizing the energy settings for computers and other devices can be more than a modest energy saver. Set computers to energy-saving settings and make sure to shut them down when you leave for the day (“standby” settings will continue to draw power even when not in use). By plugging hardware into a power strip with an on/off switch, the whole desktop setup can be turned off at once (make sure to power down inkjet printers before killing the power–they need to seal their cartridges). Printers, scanners, and other peripherals that are only used occasionally can be unplugged until they’re needed. And of course, turn off lights in spaces that are unoccupied.

 

Say no to paper …Get Digital !!

It does seem a bit strange that in the “digital age” we still consume enormous amounts of mashed up, bleached tree pulp, most of which gets used once or twice and then tossed or recycled. The greenest paper is no paper at all, so keep things digital and dematerialized whenever possible. The more you do online, the less you need paper. Keep files on computers instead of in file cabinets. Review documents onscreen rather than printing them out. Send emails instead of paper letters.

 

Greening your Commuting

Indian workers spend an average of +100 hours every year commuting through rush hour traffic. This adds up to 23 billion gallons of fuel wasted in traffic each year. We can ease some of this strain by carpooling, taking public transport, biking or walking. If there’s no good way to phase out your car, consider getting a hybrid, electric vehicle, motorcycle, scooter.

 

Use of Green Materials

Some paper use can’t be avoided, so use recycled paper and envelopes that have been processed and colored using eco-friendly methods. Pens and pencils can also be made of recycled materials, and refillable pens and markers are preferable to disposable ones. Use biodegradable soaps and recycled paper or cloth towels in the bathroom and kitchen, and provide biodegradable cleaners for the custodial staff. Buy in bulk so that shipping and packaging waste are reduced, and reuse the shipping boxes. Recycling printer cartridges is often cost less, and recycled replacements are cheaper than new ones.

 

Greening the Workspace

Greening the space in which you work has almost limitless possibilities. Start with good furniture, good lighting, and good air. Furniture can be manufactured from recycled materials as well as recyclable. Incandescent bulbs can be replaced with compact fluorescents (CFLs) and there is an ever-growing selection of high-end LED desk lamps that use miniscule amounts of energy. Not only is natural daylight a free source of lighting for the office, it has been proven to improve worker productivity and satisfaction (as well as boost sales in retail settings). Workspace air quality is also crucial. Good ventilation and low-VOC paints and materials (such as furniture and carpet) will keep employees healthy.

 

Green XEROX

When buying printer paper, look for recycled paper with a high percentage of post-consumer content and the minimum of chlorine bleaching. Even recycled paper gobbles up a great deal of energy, water, and chemical resources in its processing. When using the real stuff, print on both sides of the page when appropriate and use misprints as notepaper. Try to choose printers and photocopiers that do double-sided printing. If your office ships packages, reuse boxes and use shredded waste paper as packing material.

 

Work From Home… give it a try..!!

Instant messaging, video conferencing, and other innovative workflow tools make effective telecommuting a reality. If you can telecommute, hold phone conferences, take online classes, or otherwise work from home, give it a try. It’ll save you the time you would have spent on the trip as well as sparing the air. Also, consider the possibility of working four ten-hour days instead of five eight-hour days (a consolidated workweek), cutting the energy and time spent on commuting by 20%.

 

Lunch Time

Bringing lunch to work in reusable containers is likely the greenest (and healthiest) way to eat at work. Getting delivery and takeout almost inevitably ends with a miniature mountain of packaging waste. But if you do order delivery, join coworkers in placing a large order (more efficient than many separate ones). Also, bring in a reusable plate, utensils, and napkins. If you do go out for lunch, try biking or walking instead of driving.

 

Get Others in on the Act

Share these tips with your colleagues. Ask your boss to purchase carbon offsets for corporate travel by car and plane. Arrange an office carpool or group bike commute. Ask the office manager to get fair trade coffee for the break room and make sure everyone has a small recycling bin so that recycling is just as easy as throwing paper away. Ask everyone to bring in a mug or glass from home and keep some handy for visitors so that you reduce or eliminate use of paper cups.

Composting – What, Why & How to Compost ?

What is Compost ?

Compost is organic material that can be used as a soil amendment or as a medium to grow plants. Mature compost is a stable material with a content called humus that is dark brown or black and has a soil-like, earthy smell. It is created by: combining organic wastes (e.g., yard trimmings, food wastes, manures) in proper ratios into piles, rows, or vessels; adding bulking agents (e.g., wood chips) as necessary to accelerate the breakdown of organic materials; and allowing the finished material to fully stabilize and mature through a curing process.

Natural composting, or biological decomposition, began with the first plants on earth and has been going on ever since. As vegetation falls to the ground, it slowly decays, providing minerals and nutrients needed for plants, animals, and microorganisms. Mature compost, however, includes the production of high temperatures to destroy pathogens and weed seeds that natural decomposition does not destroy.

 

Benefits of Composting:

  • Reduce or eliminate the need for chemical fertilizers.
  • Promote higher yields of agricultural crops.
  • Facilitate reforestation, wetlands restoration, and habitat revitalization efforts by amending contaminated, compacted, and marginal soils.
  • Cost-effectively remediate soils contaminated by hazardous waste.
  • Remove solids, oil, grease, and heavy metals from stormwater runoff.
  • Avoids Methane and leachate formulation in landfills.
  • Capture and destroy 99.6 percent of industrial volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) in contaminated air. See Innovative Uses of Compost: Bioremediation and Pollution Prevention.
  • Provide cost savings of at least 50 percent over conventional soil, water, and air pollution remediation technologies, where applicable. See Analysis of Composting as an Environmental Remediation Technology
  • Reduces the need for water, fertilizers, and pesticides.
  • Serves as a marketable commodity and is a low-cost alternative to standard landfill cover and artificial soil amendments.
  • Extends municipal landfill life by diverting organic materials from landfills.

 

Materials to be used for Composting

Food Waste – More food reaches landfills and incinerators than any other single material in municipal solid waste (MSW). In 2010 alone, more than 34 million tons of food waste was generated, with only three percent diverted from landfills and incinerators for composting. Reducing the amount of food wasted has significant economic, social & environmental benefits.

Yard & Wood Waste – When you throw yard waste away with your trash it is sent to a landfill where it takes up space and produces methane gas, which contributes to global climate change. Burning of yard waste, such as leaves and trimmings, creates air pollution and is a fire hazard. That is why many communities ban or restrict trashing or burning yard waste. Many communities now have drop-off sites or curbside collection programs for yard waste. Or better yet, don’t let your yard trimmings go to “waste” in the first place. so goes for the wood waste doing a home renovation project? Consider donating any unused or recoverable building materials to a charity in your area. You can also purchase recovered wood and recycling wood products. Clearing your land as part of routine maintenance or cleaning up after a storm?

BioSolids – Biosolids are the nutrient-rich organic materials resulting from the treatment of sewage sludge (the name for the solid, semisolid or liquid untreated residue generated during the treatment of domestic sewage in a treatment facility). When treated and processed, sewage sludge becomes biosolids which can be safely recycled and applied as fertilizer to sustainably improve and maintain productive soils and stimulate plant growth.

 

Green up your sex life – Green Tips

Set the mood with candles.

Choose candles made from more eco-friendly materials, such as soy, beeswax or palm oil — the greenest options being the ones made locally (which eliminates the additional fuel used to ship the candles).

 

Have Sex, Save Energy.

Save money and make your home a little bit greener by adjusting your thermostat and heating things up the old-fashioned way: under the covers. Among its many health benefits, sex raises your body temperature. And to top it off, an average 160-pound person will burn about 55 calories with 30 minutes of vigorous sexual activity — keeping you warm and helping you save some green

 

Green Dating

There’s something in all shades of green, from vegans and vegetarians to organic farmers. Green dating services cater to singles with environmentally friendly values and people who care about sustainable living, healthy lifestyles and a healthy planet. When you meet someone who is like-mindedly green, you just might stoke a red-hot romance.

 

Sexy Scents

Scent can evoke memories, relieve tension, ease anxiety and make us feel attractive. Sandalwood, cedarwood, ylang-ylang, jasmine and patchouli are scents thought to boost the sex drive, and ginger, while best known for its anti-nausea attributes, may also help.

 

Slip into something Sustainable

When you slip into something more comfortable, make it something crafted from sustainable, environmentally friendly fabrics, such as organic cotton and silk, or sustainable materials like bamboo and hemp. When they aren’t organically produced, fabrics such as cotton contribute to the problem of climate change. Farmers who grow cotton using conventional methods rely heavily on toxic and synthetic pesticides and fertilizers that degrade the environment

 

Use Birth Control

Save the planet, don’t have children — or choose to have fewer children. The world’s population is growing at an alarming rate. Right now, the world is home to more than 7,116,750,000 people

 

Organic Lubes

Yikes! Not only are some ingredients in many popular lubes unsafe, but they’re also unregulated when it comes to your personal safety, leaving you at risk for bacterial and viral infections. Instead, look for personal lubricants made with organic or nontoxic alternatives, and types that are free of glycerin and paraben. Most organic and nontoxic lubes are not only people-friendly, but they are eco-, latex-, rubber- and plastic-friendly, too.

 

Green Sex Toys

Don’t be turned off by toxins. Instead, choose toys made from medical-grade silicone or natural materials such as glass and stainless steel. Trade batteries for the rechargeable type, or if you want to up the ante, try the new naphthalene-free, solar-powered vibrator on the market that, when fully charged, lasts about two hours.

 

Choose a Better Condom

Most condoms on the market are made of latex (rubber) or polyurethane (plastic), and they come in all sorts of colors, flavors and sizes. They’re one of the most popular forms of birth control around the world.

Choose a greener condom by looking for organic, fair trade and vegan types (which are made from natural latex and lack the milk proteins added during processing). Lambskin condoms (made from sheep intestines) are biodegradable, but they only offer protection against pregnancy, not against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

Also, when the time comes to dispose of a condom, don’t flush it down the toilet. Flushed condoms can clog up your plumbing, cause problems in the waste system and possibly end up floating in our oceans. While latex is biodegradable, condoms have additives that make them stronger, and their strength makes them degrade more slowly in landfills. Regardless, the best way to dispose of a condom is to throw it out with your trash.