Could This Bike Replace Your Car?

Tony Pereira designsTony Pereira designs bikes that he’d like to ride, so when he began thinking about the bike he’d enter in this past weekend’s Oregon Manifest challenge, he wanted something with his retro-inspired style that could do a bit more than what he typically rides. The challenge asked bike designers to create a utility bike, a vehicle for the “millions of Americans who want to live healthier, more sustainable lives, but don’t think of themselves as ‘cyclists.’”

Pereira’s bike, painted fluorescent pink, took first place. It features an electric assist, which can boost a rider’s power, a lockable storage container, and a sound system that lets the rider pump music or NPR. This bike, Pereira told the judges, could replace a car for many Americans who are turned off by the idea of commuting by bike. …

Does Daylight Saving Time Really Save Energy?

While we change the time, let's change our behavior. Photo Source: Google Images,
While we change the time, let's change our behaviour. Photo Source: Google Images,
We found this article in Earth911.com about daylight saving. Please visit their website where you can find recycling centers near you in the largest recycling directory in the U.S.

This Sunday, most Americans will set their clocks ahead an hour for daylight saving time. But does the original motivation for “springing forward” – saving energy by taking advantage of summer’s extra hours of sunlight – still hold weight in today’s world?

While Benjamin Franklin originally conceived of the idea for daylight saving time, laws mandating a national time change weren’t instituted in the U.S. until World War I and II, in an effort to conserve the fuel needed to produce electric power, according to the Institute for Dynamic Educational Advancement’s (IDEA) Department of Commerce-funded “online museum exhibit.”

In 1966, Congress passed the Uniform Time Act, creating a uniform system of daylight saving time across the country for each time zone. States are allowed to opt in or out of daylight saving time, which is why Arizona, Hawaii and several U.S. territories do not observe the time change.

Since World War II, a mandatory national daylight saving time was only re-established once more – this time, to save energy during the 1973-74 Middle East oil embargo.

Over the years, Congress has extended the length of daylight saving time several times with the goal of achieving additional energy savings. Starting in 1986, daylight saving time began on the first Sunday in April and ended on the last Sunday in October. But since 2007, Americans were asked to set their clocks forward on the second Sunday of March and move them back on the first Sunday of November.

More daylight, less demand for electricity
So how does daylight saving time reduce the nation’s energy consumption?

It’s a relatively simple idea: If we set our clocks an hour ahead, we can make the most of the longer periods of daylight during summer, gaining an extra hour of sunlight in the evening when we can spend time outside of the house and avoid using home lighting and appliances. If we don’t move the clocks forward, we waste that additional hour of sunlight in the morning, which may occur before many of us have even gotten out of bed.

Try It Yourself: 7 Surprising Ways to Save Energy

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) carried out a study of daylight saving time’s effect on energy use in 1975, according to IDEA, and found that it cuts the entire country’s electricity usage by about 1 percent each day – an amount that may seem small, but is actually quite significant considering the nation’s enormous energy consumption. The DOT attributed these energy savings to less electricity used to power home lighting and small appliances like TVs and stereos, finding that an average ‘70s home used 25 percent of its electricity to power lighting and appliances and that much of that consumption occurred in the evenings when families were home from work and school.

The Department of Energy (DOE) confirmed daylight saving time’s potential to conserve energy in 2008, when the agency made a report to Congress, concluding that 2007’s extension of daylight saving time by two months reduced national electricity usage by an additional 0.5 percent per day. The report also found that southern states benefit the least from the time change, possibly due to increased air conditioning use in the evenings, and that California saw the greatest energy reduction: 0.93 percent per day.

“The fact that daylight saving time saves energy is well established. That’s why countries adopt it whenever they have an energy crisis. It’s saving energy here [in the U.S.] and in 70 other countries around the world,” says David Prerau, author of “Seize the Daylight: The Curious and Contentious Story of Daylight Saving Time.” Prerau has also served as a consultant to Congress and the United Kingdom’s Parliament on daylight saving time legislation.

Daylight saving time doesn’t just decrease the amount of energy consumed, Prerau says, but it also changes when energy is used, spreading it out more evenly over the course of a day and reducing peak times of energy demand when energy providers have to run their least efficient backup power plants.

The extra hour of daylight in the evening also has advantages beyond conserving energy, Prerau says.

“It reduces traffic accidents, and some countries consider that the most important benefit,” he says. “There’s also the public health benefit: People can stay outdoors longer and exercise.”

Daylight saving time may even help the economy, according to Prerau. While less time spent at home in the evenings may not help the broadcasting industry – Prerau points to studies that show a decrease in TV ratings during daylight saving time – other businesses may cash in, since people tend to shop more when they’re out of the house.

Critiques of daylight saving time
But not everyone is convinced that daylight saving time achieves the energy savings its advocates tout.

One common criticism of daylight saving time is that an extra hour of daylight will encourage Americans to drive more and consume more fuel, cancelling out any energy saved from not using indoor lighting and appliances during that time. But Prerau calls attention to the DOE’s 2008 report, which found no increased traffic volume and oil consumption during daylight saving time.

Further skepticism has been fueled by the findings of a 2008 National Bureau of Economic Research study, which examined Indiana’s statewide adoption of daylight saving time in 2006. Because 15 of the state’s 92 counties observed the time change prior to 2006, researchers were able to compare energy usage before and after daylight saving time was introduced.

Rather than find a 1 percent decrease in electricity consumption, as predicted by the DOT’s 1975 report, researchers saw an increase in electricity demand, especially in the fall months, when electricity consumption rose between 2-4 percent. Why the growth in energy usage? Researchers theorize that an increased demand for cooling more than offset the reduced demand for lighting: That is, Indianans returning home in the evening didn’t need to turn on the lights, but they did need to turn on the air conditioning to cool down from the extra hour of hot sunshine.

But Prerau thinks this kind of study misses the mark because it focuses on too small of geographic area.

“The vast majority of studies – in the U.S. and in other countries – show that daylight saving time saves energy over the whole of the country,” he says. “The studies that found [an increase in energy use] studied just one state or one area.”

He also points back to daylight saving time’s original intent – encouraging people to spend time outside of their homes – which he says should decrease air conditioning use overall.

Prerau acknowledges that daylight saving time has its negatives, including darker mornings during fall, but maintains it is a simple, effective way to reduce energy use without raising taxes or adopting more regulations.

Plus, most Americans seem to like it, he says.

“Most people enjoy having that extra sunlight in the evening to get out of the house,” he says.

100 Ways To Conserve Water

100 Ways to Conserve Water
#1 There are a number of ways to save water, and they all start with you.
#2 When washing dishes by hand, don’t let the water run while rinsing. Fill one sink with wash water and the other with rinse water.
#3 Some refrigerators, air conditioners and ice-makers are cooled with wasted flows of water. Consider upgrading with air-cooled appliances for significant water savings.
#4 Adjust sprinklers so only your lawn is watered and not the house, sidewalk, or street.
#5 Run your clothes washer and dishwasher only when they are full. You can save up to 1,000 gallons a month.
#6 Choose shrubs and groundcovers instead of turf for hard-to-water areas such as steep slopes and isolated strips.
#7 Install covers on pools and spas and check for leaks around your pumps.
#8 Use the garbage disposal sparingly. Compost vegetable food waste instead and save gallons every time.
#9 Plant in the fall when conditions are cooler and rainfall is more plentiful.
#10 For cold drinks keep a pitcher of water in the refrigerator instead of running the tap. This way, every drop goes down you and not the drain.
#11 Monitor your water bill for unusually high use. Your bill and water meter are tools that can help you discover leaks.
#12 Water your lawn and garden in the morning or evening when temperatures are cooler to minimize evaporation.
#13 Wash your fruits and vegetables in a pan of water instead of running water from the tap.
#14 Spreading a layer of organic mulch around plants retains moisture and saves water, time and money.
#15 Use a broom instead of a hose to clean your driveway and sidewalk and save water every time.
#16 If your shower fills a one-gallon bucket in less than 20 seconds, replace the showerhead with a water-efficient model.
#17 Collect the water you use for rinsing fruits and vegetables, then reuse it to water houseplants.
#18 If water runs off your lawn easily, split your watering time into shorter periods to allow for better absorption.
#19 We’re more likely to notice leaks indoors, but don’t forget to check outdoor faucets, sprinklers and hoses for leaks.
#20 If you have an automatic refilling device, check your pool periodically for leaks.
#21 Check the root zone of your lawn or garden for moisture before watering using a spade or trowel. If it’s still moist two inches under the soil surface, you still have enough water.
#22 When buying new appliances, consider those that offer cycle and load size adjustments. They’re more water and energy efficient.
#23 Shorten your shower by a minute or two and you’ll save up to 150 gallons per month.
#24 Upgrade older toilets with water efficient models.
#25 Adjust your lawn mower to a higher setting. A taller lawn shades roots and holds soil moisture better than if it is closely clipped.
#26 When cleaning out fish tanks, give the nutrient-rich water to your plants.
#27 Use sprinklers for large areas of grass. Water small patches by hand to avoid waste.
#28 Put food coloring in your toilet tank. If it seeps into the toilet bowl without flushing, you have a leak. Fixing it can save up to 1,000 gallons a month.
#29 When running a bath, plug the tub before turning the water on, then adjust the temperature as the tub fills up.
#30 Walkways and patios provide space that doesn’t ever need to be watered. These useful "rooms" can also add value to your property.
#31 Collect water from your roof to water your garden.
#32 Designate one glass for your drinking water each day or refill a water bottle. This will cut down on the number of glasses to wash.
#33 Rather than following a set watering schedule, check for soil moisture two to three inches below the surface before watering.
#34 Install a rain sensor on your irrigation controller so your system won’t run when it’s raining.
#35 Don’t use running water to thaw food. Defrost food in the refrigerator for water efficiency and food safety.
#36 Use drip irrigation for shrubs and trees to apply water directly to the roots where it’s needed.
#37 Grab a wrench and fix that leaky faucet. It’s simple, inexpensive, and you can save 140 gallons a week.
#38 Reduce the amount of lawn in your yard by planting shrubs and ground covers appropriate to your site and region.
#39 When doing laundry, match the water level to the size of the load.
#40 Teach your children to turn off faucets tightly after each use.
#41 Remember to check your sprinkler system valves periodically for leaks and keep the sprinkler heads in good shape.
#42 Use a water-efficient showerhead. They’re inexpensive, easy to install, and can save you up to 750 gallons a month.
#43 Soak pots and pans instead of letting the water run while you scrape them clean.
#44 Don’t water your lawn on windy days when most of the water blows away or evaporates.
#45 Water your plants deeply but less frequently to encourage deep root growth and drought tolerance.
#46 Know where your master water shut-off valve is located. This could save water and prevent damage to your home.
#47 To decrease water from being wasted on sloping lawns, apply water for five minutes and then repeat two to three times.
#48 Group plants with the same watering needs together to avoid overwatering some while underwatering others.
#49 Use a layer of organic material on the surface of your planting beds to minimize weed growth that competes for water.
#50 Use a minimum amount of organic or slow release fertilizer to promote a healthy and drought tolerant landscape.
#51 Trickling or cascading fountains lose less water to evaporation than those spraying water into the air.
#52 Use a commercial car wash that recycles water.
#53 Avoid recreational water toys that require a constant flow of water.
#54 Turn off the water while brushing your teeth and save 25 gallons a month.
#55 Use a rain gauge, or empty tuna can, to track rainfall on your lawn. Then reduce your watering accordingly.
#56 Encourage your school system and local government to develop and promote water conservation among children and adults.
#57 Learn how to shut off your automatic watering system in case it malfunctions or you get an unexpected rain.
#58 Set a kitchen timer when watering your lawn or garden to remind you when to stop. A running hose can discharge up to 10 gallons a minute.
#59 If your toilet flapper doesn’t close after flushing, replace it.
#60 Make sure there are water-saving aerators on all of your faucets.
#61 Next time you add or replace a flower or shrub, choose a low water use plant for year-round landscape color and save up to 550 gallons each year.
#62 Install an instant water heater near your kitchen sink so you don’t have to run the water while it heats up. This also reduces energy costs.
#63 Use a grease pencil to mark the water level of your pool at the skimmer. Check the mark 24 hours later to see if you have a leak.
#64 If your dishwasher is new, cut back on rinsing. Newer models clean more thoroughly than older ones.
#65 Use a trowel, shovel, or soil probe to examine soil moisture depth. If the top two to three inches of soil are dry it’s time to water.
#66 If installing a lawn, select a turf mix or blend that matches your climate and site conditions.
#67 When you save water, you save money on your utility bills too. Saving water is easy for everyone to do.
#68 When the kids want to cool off, use the sprinkler in an area where your lawn needs it the most.
#69 Make sure your swimming pools, fountains, and ponds are equipped with recirculating pumps.
#70 Bathe your young children together.
#71 Consult with your local nursery for information on plant selection and placement for optimum outdoor water savings.
#72 Winterize outdoor spigots when temperatures dip below freezing to prevent pipes from leaking or bursting.
#73 Insulate hot water pipes for more immediate hot water at the faucet and for energy savings.
#74 Wash your car on the lawn, and you’ll water your lawn at the same time.
#75 Drop your tissue in the trash instead of flushing it and save water every time.
#76 Direct water from rain gutters and HVAC systems toward water-loving plants in the landscape for automatic water savings.
#77 Make suggestions to your employer about ways to save water and money at work.
#78 Support projects that use reclaimed wastewater for irrigation and industrial uses.
#79 Use a hose nozzle or turn off the water while you wash your car. You’ll save up to 100 gallons every time.
#80 Share water conservation tips with friends and neighbors.
#81 If your toilet was installed before 1992, reduce the amount of water used for each flush by inserting a displacement device in the tank.
#82 Setting cooling systems and water softeners for a minimum number of refills saves both water and chemicals, plus more on utility bills.
#83 Washing dark clothes in cold water saves both on water and energy while it helps your clothes to keep their colors.
#84 Leave lower branches on trees and shrubs and allow leaf litter to accumulate on the soil. This keeps the soil cooler and reduces evaporation.
#85 Report broken pipes, open hydrants and errant sprinklers to the property owner or your water provider.
#86 Let your lawn go dormant during the summer. Dormant grass only needs to be watered every three weeks or less if it rains.
#87 Plant with finished compost to add water-holding and nutrient-rich organic matter to the soil.
#88 Use sprinklers that deliver big drops of water close to the ground. Smaller water drops and mist often evaporate before they hit the ground.
#89 Listen for dripping faucets and running toilets. Fixing a leak can save 300 gallons a month or more.
#90 Water only when necessary. More plants die from over-watering than from under-watering.
#91 One more way to get eight glasses of water a day is to re-use the water left over from cooked or steamed foods to start a scrumptious and nutritious soup.
#92 Adjust your watering schedule each month to match seasonal weather conditions and landscape requirements.
#93 Turn off the water while you wash your hair to save up to 150 gallons a month.
#94 Wash your pets outdoors in an area of your lawn that needs water.
#95 When shopping for a new clothes washer, compare resource savings among Energy Star models. Some of these can save up to 20 gallons per load, and energy too.
#96 Apply water only as fast as the soil can absorb it.
#97 Aerate your lawn at least once a year so water can reach the roots rather than run off the surface.
#98 When washing dishes by hand, fill the sink basin or a large container and rinse when all of the dishes have been soaped and scrubbed.
#99 Catch water in an empty tuna can to measure sprinkler output. One inch of water on one square foot of grass equals two-thirds of a gallon of water.
#100 Turn off the water while you shave and save up to 300 gallons a month.
#101 When you give your pet fresh water, don’t throw the old water down the drain. Use it to water your trees or shrubs.
#102 If you accidentally drop ice cubes when filling your glass from the freezer, don’t throw them in the sink. Drop them in a house plant instead.
#103 To save water and time, consider washing your face or brushing your teeth while in the shower.
#104 While staying in a hotel or even at home, consider reusing your towels.
#105 When backflushing your pool, consider using the water on your landscaping.
#106 For hanging baskets, planters and pots, place ice cubes under the moss or dirt to give your plants a cool drink of water and help eliminate water overflow.
#107 Throw trimmings and peelings from fruits and vegetables into your yard compost to prevent using the garbage disposal.
#108 When you have ice left in your cup from a take-out restaurant, don’t throw it in the trash, dump it on a plant.
#109 Have your plumber re-route your gray water to trees and gardens rather than letting it run into the sewer line. Check with your city codes, and if it isn’t allowed in your area, start a movement to get that changed.
#110 Keep a bucket in the shower to catch water as it warms up or runs. Use this water to flush toilets or water plants.
#111 When you are washing your hands, don’t let the water run while you lather.
#112 Look for products bearing the EPA WaterSense Label for items that been certified to save 20% or more without sacrificing performance.

Rise Above Plastics This October with the Surfrider Foundation

During October, Surfrider’s Rise Above Plastic (RAP) initiative is teaming up with clothing brand Rusty to celebrate Raptoberfest. They’ll be sharing plastic-related facts, as well as tips on how to reduce your own plastic footprint.

A little over 25 years ago three people in Malibu, California found out that their favorite wave was about to be destroyed. Think about that for a second.

Think about something you love… something that gives you enjoyment. Taken away.

First Point, pictured to the right, the quintessential perfect, California wave was about to be destroyed. Those three people organized and worked with the local municipalities until they were satisfied that their efforts to preserve that iconic wave would be successful.

This was the genesis of Surfrider Foundation.

Today, Surfrider Foundation are doing this same thing in about 15 countries around the world.

You can take volunteer action to protect our ocean, waves and beaches through campaigns, programs and educational initiatives in your communities.

Stop Drinking Bottled Water

It seems easy enough to stop drinking water bottled in plastic, yet, we’re primed for convenience. It’s easy enough to buy a bottle at the convenience store, out at a sporting event, or on a long road trip.  And bottled water marketers are selling you a vision – spring pools of fresh water, mountain streams ripe for crisp, cool, refreshment. It’s a sham. Here’s a great infographic from the creative team at Term Life Insurance.

Term Life Insurance
Via: Term Life Insurance

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