Green Building Materials

Green Building Materials: What Is It All About

Contents

– Ecological materials: their usefulness

– The characteristics of green materials

– The obstacles to the use of ecological materials

Ecological materials are construction materials whose impact on the environment and health is limited, as much for their production and transport and use. However, the numerous environmental problems linked to buildings have been known for a long time and have necessitated an awareness of the sector through ambitious reforms.

Ecological materials: their usefulness

The building industry is one of the largest energy-consuming sectors. This consumption is multi-faceted: from the energy needed to extract raw materials, transform and package them to the energy used for on-site implementation, including transport and recycling at the end of life. The will to be in a reduction of the consumption of resources and fossil energies thus obliges to think according to two ways:

– We can use traditional materials that require less energy consumption in the different forms mentioned. This implies working on production processes and logistics.

– We can also use more “natural” materials, i.e., materials that exist in their natural state. When these materials are derived from plant or animal biomass, they are called bio-sourced materials.

Thus, ecological materials are less polluting not only during their manufacture but also once installed. It is essential to keep in mind that many building products continue to emit chemical compounds once installed, polluting the indoor air.

The reduction of the types of pollution is to be taken in a broad sense, with, for example, materials that require less noisy tools to install them (fight against noise pollution) or that are better sound insulators.

The characteristics of ecological materials

The ecological materials must present a certain number of characteristics.

Renewable

For example, they must be easily renewable, i.e., they must not come from a limited source depleted with use. They must consume as little energy as possible for transportation, favoring short circuits (local materials used locally). Finally, the manufacturing processes must be as energy and raw-material-efficient as possible.

Recyclable

They must be recyclable so that they can be reused at least once as is, or even several times, reconditioned to obtain the same new material, at the end of the product’s life cycle and introduced into another process, still at the end of its life, to contribute to the manufacture of a different new product. Residues from the production of green materials should be used to provide low-cost, low-emission energy or be part of the production process for other green materials.

Non-polluting

Ecological materials must preserve the health of the operators who manufacture them and those who use them or of the final customer (for example, fewer pollutants in the indoor air).

Close to conventional materials

The dimensions and quantities of materials to be used should not be too far from the same characteristics of conventional materials so that construction workers can easily install them. Also, their performance according to the sector concerned must be compatible with the requirements of the regulation.

Note: The energy contained in the building materials must be taken into account and also be related to the expected life of the building. And that whatever the body of work, for example in insulation.

Use of ecological materials

Green Building Materials

The list is long because ecological materials exist in all sectors; we can only mention a few:

– For the shell, wood (provided it comes from sustainably managed forests with FSC label) and raw earth bricks for walls, green roofs for roofing.

– For insulation, vegetable wools (based on hemp, for example), animal wools, wool or wood fiber panels (same remark as for the shell), and cork correspond to many of the criteria stated.

– For coatings, you can choose organic paints and natural fabric textiles.

Important: Many building products called “natural” or “ecological” are not because there is no global standard certifying all ecological materials and guaranteeing this characteristic to the consumer. Be careful because some manufacturers do not hesitate to “self-label” their products with an extensive communication campaign without their proven ecological character. 

The brakes on the use of ecological materials

Among the brakes, the price. Indeed, ecological materials generate an additional cost of 10 to 30% for the same surfaces; this argument tends not to be a priority anymore, on the one hand, because these materials often allow having a lower energy consumption during the dwelling, on the other hand, because their more and more frequent use brings the prices down.

It is also necessary that the raw material is present in sufficient quantity, which is not always the case. In particular, there are conflicts of use; some materials are already used by other industrial transformation sectors (in the food industry, for example).

The argument of the use of local materials or even of the manufacture of materials on the building site (house in raw earth bricks or straw) is difficult to support within the framework of important construction programs which require a massive production of materials, corresponding to precise specifications, thus industrialization of the process which can be carried out only in some factories.

It is not always easy for them to comply with existing (non-ecological) technical standards, mainly when they are derived from natural substances. In this case, their conditioning, drying rate, or other characteristics may vary depending on the region of origin.

Ecological materials can sometimes require a specific technicality for their installation (straw house, for example), which not all construction workers have.

But an unstoppable argument.

In front of all these opposing arguments, we must put a positive one, which could erase them all: using materials coming from a reasonably managed biomass, i.e., producing more than the consumption we want to make of it, is the only way to build sustainably and to guarantee an efficient mix between:

– performance of the building;

– preservation of natural resources

– non-relocatable jobs;

– the fight against environmental pollution and the health safety of manufacturing personnel and building professionals.

Read more:

Towards Sustainability | Building Your Home With Natural Materials

save water (3)

Towards Sustainability | Why & How to Save Water

Summary

 – Why save water?

 – How to save water?

Water is the source of life; let’s preserve it!

It is relevant to know better our needs to manage our resources better.

To do this, we can save water, produce our electricity, use ecological heating or even carry out energy-saving work.

In this post, we will be looking at why save water?

The recovery and use of rainwater are some of the commitments of the US towards sustainability. However, rainwater harvesting is still not widespread in our homes despite being beneficial, very economical, and respecting our environment.

You can use rainwater:

 – for use outside the home;

 – inside the house.

The table below gives an idea of our daily water consumption.

Distribution of our daily consumption

Consommation

%

Drinking

1 %

Cooking

6 %

Tableware

10 %

Linen

12 %

Sanitary

20 %

Bath and shower

39 %

Cars – gardens

6 %

Miscellaneous (pool upgrades, floor cleaning)

6 %

Cost of water consumption

The cost of water is prohibitive because the water we use is collected, treated, distributed, stored, disposed of, and cleaned.

In addition to the cost of water, there are also fees, various other taxes, and VAT.

Therefore, it is essential to preserve it to reduce our water bill while protecting our environment.

How to save water?

save water (3)

To preserve our planet and reduce our water consumption, different ecological means, some of them not very expensive, are at your disposal, such as

    – rainwater harvesters to recover rainwater for non-drinking uses;

    – water consumption reducers;

    – and the good daily gestures that cost nothing.

Rainwater harvesters

It is not necessary to have a well to recover rainwater; other systems exist: concrete or plastic tanks, buried or on the surface. These are rainwater harvesters.

It is an ecological and economical solution. To do this, we collect the rainwater that runs off the roof through the gutters.

    – The water can be filtered and sent to a storage tank; it is then dispatched according to the needs (WC, washing floors, washing machine);

    – Water is collected in outdoor tanks or rainwater harvesters. These tanks are easy to use; this means of storing rainwater is used for:

        ◦ watering the garden;

        ◦ cleaning the car;

        ◦ making a pool replenishment.

Read more here: 

Consumption reducers

save water (3)

 

Simple and inexpensive devices, such as consumption reducers, allow us not to waste our planet’s water while reducing our consumption, namely:

    – the flow limiter-regulator placed on the end of the sink faucets, the sink, or on the shower hose;

    – the aerator-foam nozzle;

    – the shower stop which is mounted just before the showerhead and stops the water when you are soaping up;

    – the water-saving showerhead reduces water flow by up to 6 liters/minute while maintaining the same power as a conventional shower head;

    – Equip yourself with an economical two-speed toilet flush or a controllable speed toilet flush.

Good everyday gestures

Simple everyday gestures also allow you to consume intelligently, such as

    – taking a shower instead of a bath;

    – using a bucket and a sponge to wash the car;

    – repairing leaking taps and flushes because a tap that leaks one drop of water per second means 200 to 500 liters of water wasted per day.

 

Do you want some more ideas for sustainability? Continue reading our recent publications on:

And, don’t forget to share your comments below.

Towards Sustainability | Building Your Home With Natural Materials

Summary

 – The natural wood frame

 – The natural roof

 – Natural walls

 – The natural insulation

 Do you want to build your home with natural materials but don’t know where to start? No problem, this post tells you everything you need to know. The different ways to build an ecological house are:

 Natural materials can be used at each stage of the construction, from the frame to the roof, through the walls and insulation.

 The natural wood frame

 What type of wooden house to build?

 Wood is an ideal solution for building a solid and environmentally friendly framework. This natural material allows a quick assembly of the frame in a few days and a clean and dry building site.

 

 In addition, wood can be combined with brick, stone, or wood panels according to preference.

 

 For a reduced cost and a limited grey energy balance, you will take care to adopt a local wood species.

 The natural roof

 Roofing requires a high-quality choice of material and installation. Several options exist for a natural and robust roof.

 Wood roofing

 Shingles, or wood shakes, are back on the scene after being neglected.

 Lightweight, insulating, environmentally friendly, and able to withstand years of use, wood shingles require a budget comparable to that of traditional clay tiles (about $30/m²).

 Clay roofing

 Terracotta tiles are now widely used around the world. The most natural and dye-free tiles are the most durable, lasting up to two centuries! Light, non-flammable, they are aesthetically pleasing and develop a patina over time.

 There are three types of tiles and terra cotta:

 – the canal tile of conical shape,

 – the flat tile,

 – the mechanical tile with a system of grooves allowing the interlocking.

 Natural walls

Several realistic possibilities are possible to build the walls of the house.

 Wooden walls

 Wooden panels are frequently used in wood-frame houses. Durable, suitable hygrometric regulators, insulating and warm, they are ecologically sound.

 It is important to choose wood with the FSC or PEFC label (i.e., from responsibly and sustainably managed forests) and avoid imported exotic woods.

 Brick walls

 A noble and natural material, brick has good thermal and sound insulation qualities. It also has good inertia and fire resistance. It is one of the most attractive ecological materials for the quality/price ratio.

 Raw earth walls

 Indeed, the raw earth is a perfect thermal and phonic insulator. It is the simplest and most ecological material, along with wood. It is used to build walls or to reinforce the insulation. Moreover, it is an excellent thermal regulator throughout the year.

 The natural insulation

 Insulation is a crucial step in the construction process since the comfort of a home depends mainly on the quality of its thermal and sound insulation. In this field, many natural and efficient solutions exist.

 Cork

 This insulating material, which comes from the cork oak tree, offers profound environmental and mechanical qualities. Lightweight, it is available in sheets, in bulk, or granules. It is used in non-habitable attics, floors, walls, and roofs.

 It is moisture resistant, rot-proof, self-extinguishing, and stable over time.

 Price: about $31/m² for 100 mm thickness.

 Wood fiber

 Excellent thermal insulation, it is also effective for soundproofing. Perfect for floors, walls, roofs, and partitions, it is available in rigid, semi-rigid, and loose boards.

 Wood fiber insulation:

  • ages well 
  • is not very flammable,
  • and acts as a hygrometric regulator.

 Price: From $15 to $20/m² for 100 mm thickness.

 Hemp wool

 This natural wool offers excellent thermal and phonic insulation qualities for walls, partitions, attics, and roofs. Hemp is naturally rot-proof, anti-fungal, and thermo-regulating.

 Price: about $15/m².

 Flax fiber

 This insulation is made from flax fibers that are too short to be used in the textile industry. It is impregnated with boron salt to resist insect, rodent, mold, and fire attacks. It provides good insulation for attics, roofs, and walls. Rotproof, it resists well to fire and settling.

 Price: about $15/m².

 The sheep wool

 It is an excellent thermal and phonic insulator, in particular on-air noises. Sheep’s wool exists in panels, rolls, felt, or in bulk. It is generally reserved for the roof and lost attic. The wool of sheep and little inflammable and tends to the auto-extinction. It is, however, reinforced with a boron salt treatment.

 Price: 12 $/m² approximately in 100 mm of thickness.

 Duck feathers

 The thermal and phonic performances are good. Available in rolls or panels, this insulation is used for non-habitable attics, added ceilings, walls, wood-frame houses, or under floating floors.

 Price: between $20 and $25/m².

 Cellulose wadding

 Ecological and efficient, this insulation has one of the best inertia. It can be found in panels, in bulk or granules, for many uses: lost attics, walls, partitions, floors, construction voids, false ceilings. Lightweight, cellulose wadding effectively prevents thermal bridges.

 Price: $20/m² for 100 mm thickness.

 

 Hope that this article will have brought you enough ideas on what kind of home you can build using natural materials while respecting sustainable development.

4 Materials That Will Help You Be More Sustainable During a Construction

The levels of pollution reached in recent decades may affect the quality of life of future generations, and have led to measures to reduce environmental impact in all areas. In the case of buildings, it is estimated that between 40 and 50% of CO2 emissions into the atmosphere come from the construction and use of buildings. This is perhaps the reason why awareness of sustainability and environmental friendliness has increased in recent years.

There are many measures that can be implemented to construct an environmentally friendly building, and one of them is the use of sustainable building materials. These elements are those that, both in their manufacture and in their placement and maintenance, have been made with a low impact on the environment. But what are those sustainable building materials you might ask. In this article, we are going to introduce you some of them for your own general knowledge or help you make a positive impact when building a property. Keep reading!

1. Wood

Sounds simple? Yes maybe! But while wood is no new material, this does not make it less sustainable. Wood has been used throughout history, but its properties are sometimes misunderstood. It is considered the material with the lowest environmental impact in its production, since during its life cycle it is able to eliminate a large amount of CO2.

It is necessary to highlight its insulating capacity, which is estimated to save between 50 and 60% in heating and cooling. In addition, wooden constructions tend to be built more quickly and can be up to 30% cheaper than brick or concrete options.

There are wood-based products used for insulation, such as fiberboard, made from waste generated by sawmills, or Oriented Strand Board (OSB) formed by layers of chips or wafers oriented in the same direction. In all cases, it will be necessary to certify that the wood used comes from a responsible forestry operation, which implies that the responsible company plants new trees for each tree felled.

2. Cellulose Fibers from Recycled Paper

Cellulose Fibers from Recycled Paper

Another material that can be used as insulation is cellulose fiber from recycled paper. It is made from reused newspaper sheets that have been treated with borax salts to give them fire retardant, insecticidal and antifungal properties.

Its properties are very similar to that of wood, which allows it to balance temperatures in winter and summer. It also has a low thermal conductivity coefficient and the energy required for its manufacture is very low, not exceeding 5 Kwh/m3.

3. Agglomerated Cork

Agglomerated cork is a natural product with very good thermal and acoustic insulation properties. It is a material with very low conductivity, fireproof, does not accumulate static electricity and does not absorb moisture. For this reason, it is mainly used for thermal insulation of homes.

In addition, cork comes from the bark of cork oaks and can be extracted without cutting down the tree, recreating itself over time, making it a highly durable material.

4. Fired Clay

Fired clay

This is a clay that has been heated to a temperature below 950ºC and to which certain natural treatments have been applied. These actions allow to preserve the low radioactivity and the good thermal inertia.

Another of the properties that make terracotta sustainable is its recyclability, as it is an inert and very stable material. Thus, the waste generated by its production can be reincorporated into the manufacturing circuit. It has a wide variety of uses in the construction sector, but it is mainly used for walls, facades and tiles.

You now know more about sustainable materials that can be used for construction and have a better idea of how they can help in making a positive impact on our planet. Have you ever used any of those materials, apart from wood which is very common? If yes how? Let us know more in the comment section below.

 

Sustainable Development

How to Contribute to Sustainable Development

Sustainable development is defined as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” The concept of needs goes beyond simply material needs and includes values, relationships, as well as the freedoms to think, act and participate – all amounting to sustainable living, morally and spiritually.

It is such a crucial subject that in 2012, the United Nations met to discuss and develop a set of goals to work towards. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) eventually came up with a list of 17 items that included, amongst other things:

  • the end of poverty and hunger
  • better standards of education and healthcare, particularly as it pertains to water quality and better sanitation
  • to achieve gender equality
  • sustainable economic growth while promoting jobs and stronger economies
  • sustainability to include health of the land, air and sea

As this is an issue that all countries are facing and we all want to leave a better world for future generations, here are a few tips on how each and everyone can contribute to save our planet.

  1. Good Health and Well-Being

    This refers to reducing the number of global deaths and injuries from road traffic accidents.

    – Don’t drink and drive

    – Lower the speed while driving

    – Drive considerately

     

  2. Responsible Consumption and Production

    This refers to reducing the global food waste at the retail and consumer levels and reduce food losses along production and supply chains, including post-harvest losses.

    – Don’t “overbuy” – plan meals and use shopping lists

    – Freeze fresh products and leftovers if you don’t have the chance to eat them before they go bad

    – Eat less meat, poultry and fish. Producing meat takes a lot more resources than producing plants.

    – Buy and eat seasonal produce from local growers

  1. Reduced Inequalities

    This refers to empowering and promoting the social, economic and political inclusion of all, irrespective of age, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, origin or religious belief.

    – Don’t be judgmental to differences but be open-minded

    – Embrace differences and learn from people different than you

    – Be helpful, be a friend and take your time to listen to peoples’ different opinions and situations

  1. Responsible Consumption and Production

    This refers to substantially reducing waste generation through prevention, reduction, recycling and reuse.

    – Donate what you don’t need – clothes, books, furniture or food. By donating, you also contribute to other goals aiming towards no poverty, zero hunger and reducing inequalities.

    – Shop second-hand or trade clothes with colleagues, friends or family

    – Use refillable water bottles and coffee cups

    – Use reusable cloth bags rather than plastic

     

  2. Decent Work and Economic Growth

    This refers to drastically reducing the proportion of youth not in employment, education or training.

    – Encourage youth to work and get an education

    – Provide jobs, trainee spots and internships

    – Inspire youth by showing the value of having a job, earning your own money and being able to provide yourself and your family

    – Show value in contributing to society

  1. Clean Water and Sanitation

    Sustainable Development Goal #6: Clean Water and Sanitatio… | Flickr

    This refers to achieving universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water.

    – Convince your company to commit to a water, sanitation and hygiene pledge (WASH). This will not only help keep your community clean but set a standard and expectation for others to follow, including your competitors.

  1. Sustainable Cities and Communities

    More and more people are packing into urban areas each year. The sustainability of cities is vital to the future of humanity but they are eating up our natural resources. As big consumers of energy, businesses can take the lead in reducing energy consumption by investing in renewable energy resources such as solar, wind and biofuel.

As we move forward, we can all continue in our resolutions for the new millennium – ensuring that no one is left behind on the way to a safer, happier future.

What is your way of contributing to the goals? Share your thoughts in the comment section below because there is no such thing as too many ideas when it comes to making the world a better place.

The "to-Do List" of Things to Stop Doing

The “to-Do List” of Things to Stop Doing

The “to-Do List” of Things to Stop Doing

Let’s be clear when we say “not to do anymore”, we must understand, “to temper or slow down considerably”. The consumer society has created a multitude of needs in our lives. The question today is whether or not we are strong enough to say “stop” or whether we prefer to continue to keep our blinders on, making us, in the end, selfish.

So, what do you think? Would you be willing to:

1. Eat less meat

The idea of becoming vegetarian, vegan, or vegetarian overnight puts the followers of these dietary practices directly in the extremist box. Imposing is not the right method. It is better to explain, to show, to repeat, rather than to impose.

In the case of meat, two factors come into play: pollution and animal suffering. Regarding pollution, it is essential to know that to produce one kilo of beef, the greenhouse gases emitted are equivalent to a 60 km car journey and require between 20 and 50 times more water than what is needed to produce one kilo of wheat or rice.

Regarding animal suffering, we have always been comforted that only cats, dogs, hamsters, rabbits, and birds were pets, worthy of having feelings. Other animals were considered wild and destined to be eaten, regardless of their age. But, unfortunately, we have to accept what we have on our plates to make a difference.

So, if eating meat is not vital, it may be that it remains unavoidable for reasons of terroir, roots, etc. The idea is not to eliminate it, but to consume less and better quality meat so that our food looks more like it should. At present, our children consume too much meat and proteins, according to a study conducted by Greenpeace and relayed by the Food Observatory. Our eating is no longer vital; it is a need created by the consumer society, thus generating a multitude of diseases—obesity and diabetes in particular.

2. Get rid of your car?

The "to-Do List" of Things to Stop Doing

Sell your car and use public transportation. Could you do it? The vehicle is accused of releasing an average of 2.5 tons of CO2 per year. The proposed alternative solutions (hybrid cars, electric cars, etc.) are only a shadow of so-called “sustainable” vehicles. Ten years ago, almost half of the people said they were ready to leave the car in the garage. Today, the number of vehicles in the world is constantly increasing and is on the way to reaching 2 billion.

While the public transport craze still bothers some users, the government is not doing anything to reverse the trend. However, there are incentives to buy an electric bike or ride a bike to work every day!

3. Don’t take the plane anymore?

Flying is undeniably polluting. It would help if you only did national air travel in case of emergency. The idea of making airlines pay a pollution tax would be pure nonsense since, in the end, it would be passed on to the ticket price, and therefore to the consumer. So what to do? Ban them? Too many economic stakes… What if reason and common sense were finally enough to decide? Flying, yes, but not every day and not on national routes.

Flying is not only harmful. It can also motivate new experiences, such as discovering certain civilizations, visiting family, etc. Of course, it is sometimes possible to use other modes of transportation, more respectful of the planet.

But in some cases, the plane is almost unavoidable, like going to the other side of the planet. It’s all about balance. If you have to fly once a year, try to balance your carbon impact by eating less meat, driving less daily, or funding a tree-planting organization accordingly, for example.

4. Consume better?

This is the simplest effort to make and the starting point for taking a more ecological approach to our daily lives. Better consumption has repercussions on at least three factors: economic, environmental, and sanitary.

Consuming tomatoes in winter is not normal. Consuming products from Asia or Africa every day is not normal either. Of course, if you eat one pineapple a month, your impact will be almost zero. However, if you eat avocados at practically every meal, the consequences are not the same.

Eating local and in season does not prevent you from having a mango once in a while. But the idea is to favor the cycle of nature and consume what it offers us in real-time. It is also necessary to put on one’s apron, try recipes, and start cooking again to become aware of what we eat and eat better. Forget about overpriced, fatty, salty, and sweet prepared meals. Going back to basics is within everyone’s reach, even if you are not a cordon bleu and don’t necessarily have the time to cook elaborate meals.

Organic food is becoming more and more popular, but here again, be careful, not all labels are equal, and sometimes a vegetable grown by a market gardener near you without an organic label is often of better quality (and cheaper!) than a vegetable with an organic label sold in a supermarket.

Moreover, consuming food by limiting over-packaging is also beneficial. The hunt for single-use plastic is on, so why not use the many alternatives that exist today? Reusable bottles, food films with beeswax, washable paper towels… are habits to adopt to change things at home and thus have a less polluting impact on the planet.

As for non-food products, repairing rather than throwing away to buy again is also an option to be favored to make objects last in time and save money.

5. Downsizing your wardrobe?

The "to-Do List" of Things to Stop Doing

The minimalist trend has followers all over the world. However, brands are still very much alive, even though some have very un-human practices to design their clothes (low wages, child labor, fur, dyes harmful to health, wastewater discharges into rivers, etc.). After the oil industry, the textile industry remains the most polluting in the world.

Some brands are now “green” and show their difference while following the fashion; they tempt fashionistas to jump the gun and assume their passion for ecology. Therefore, buying less and better is also valid for the dressing room.

6. Consume water sensibly

Taking a bath costs not only a lot of money but also wastes a lot of water. Showers are the best alternative for washing. Many tax credits or aids are now available for water heating retrofits. Thermodynamic water heaters, solar water heaters… allow real savings, quickly making the initial investment profitable.

Teaching children to turn off the tap while brushing their teeth or rubbing their hands is very easy, especially if you take the time to explain to them why you are doing it. Fortunately or unfortunately, the best (or worst) habits are formed and kept for life at a very young age. Think about it!

Thinking that abundance is unlimited is a utopia. Thinking that possessing something gives meaning to life is just as utopian. Consuming less, in general, is good for the planet, for the wallet, and people. So, what do you think? Would you be ready to make such changes in your life to save the planet?

Global Warming

How to Explain Global Warming to Children

There are indisputable facts, and there are embellished facts for children. Many adults don’t know how to talk about global warming with young children. When words are lacking, then the right gestures must be passed on because they often explain better than words.

After years of neglect and opulence, we are living in a world of transition where ecology is now taking an important place. Our children will be the first generation to suffer the consequences of our actions. As such, they need to know and understand what global warming is and what it does. Here is how to talk to them about the ecological emergency.

Don’t scare them, but make them understand the magnitude of things.

Global Warming

Are they aware of the current situation? How do they live it?

Fires are blazing all over the planet; drought is getting more intense every summer, storms are becoming more and more numerous, icebergs are melting in plain sight… Children see it and suffer from it too.

Talking about the end of the world or the extinction of the human race does not make sense. Indeed, to make a child panic will only frighten him and probably make him do nothing. On the contrary, it is essential to explain that there are simple steps to take. The ones you already practice in your daily life, for example. Please explain why you sort your waste, why there is so much plastic in the ocean, why it is crucial to avoid single-use plastic, etc.

Books to help parents find the right words

Some parents think that children are too young to understand the importance of global warming. On the contrary, they will be the first to be concerned and must understand the situation’s stakes very early on.

Far from demonizing things, global warming is explained with accurate and straightforward words. Hearing about disasters all the time can also quickly worry children in a wrong way. Positive communication is the key. They respond better to a message, even if it is disturbing, when explained with plenty of solutions.

How do you do this?

Tell a story. Ideally, this is the best way to capture their attention and help them put together the puzzle between real life and fiction. For example, you can start by explaining to children the importance of ecosystems. The fact that even though they are different, they work together to create a real balance.

Global Warming

Older kids tend to take it to the next level by directly asking the question, “What is global warming? “. To illustrate, tell them that the Earth is sick and has a fever. So is he when he is in the same situation. The planet has a temperature, so it is scorching; this is called global warming.

It’s a safe bet that the next question will be “Why?” Again, the answer is to explain that it’s mostly our fault because our lives generate too many greenhouse gases. You won’t have to do a monologue. Children understand very well and often lead the questioning. You have to find stories and metaphors to picture things in their minds.

Reassure children, but make them aware that their behaviour is important.

After painting a rather bleak picture of the situation, it’s time to explain that they have a role to play in remedying this and healing the planet.

They also need to be reassured that adults and children worldwide are working together to make things better and protect the planet. There are things we can do on our own and things that need to be done on a more significant level.

Drawings to express their feelings

Many children express their thoughts and feelings through drawings. It is therefore essential to let them express themselves through this medium.

Remember to set a good example.

Children adore their parents and often take them as an example. In this sense, show them the model to become a superhero of the planet. Sort, compost, limit car trips, pick up paper from the ground, buy less plastic, etc.

5 Ecological Inventions That Could Save the Planet (Part 2)

5 Ecological Inventions That Could Save the Planet (Part 2)

Faced with the cataclysm announced in Part 1 about the death of our planet, some people decided to work at their level to save the world. They were ecological inventions, innovative and eco-friendly products, good initiatives, etc. The hummingbird effect brought by Pierre Rabhi touches more and more citizens around the world. Here are some initiatives to follow closely, support, or adopt to give a little air to the planet.

1. 100% green boats for maritime transport

The idea comes from the Dutch company Port-Liner who was proposing to make maritime transport greener. To do this, it has developed some 15 electric cargo ships powered by solar and wind energy. Called “Tesla ships“, they are already being used in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and Antwerp.

The EU has financed a large part of the project, and if the effects are conclusive, this boat could replace the most obsolete cargo ships of various fleets. The performance is promising; on average, this type of green transport could also replace more than 20,000 trucks!

2. Even greener and more sustainable bikes

Ecological Inventions

Bernice Dapaah is a Ghanaian entrepreneur. To meet the needs of her country, she has developed bamboo bicycles, 100% natural, ecological and recyclable. Faced with the growing poverty in Ghana, she wanted to allow everyone a minimum of mobility. But that’s not all. The price of these bamboo bicycles is much lower than those imported. In the end, local activity is favored, and the ecological impact is reduced. 

Awarded many times for her initiative, Bernice Dapaah also encourages the improvement of air quality. Indeed, bamboo generates 30% more oxygen than trees. Moreover, it grows without pesticides.

3. Raw earth bricks instead of concrete

Construction is a highly polluting field. Sometimes, degrowth is a good thing, especially when we use renewable, natural, and robust materials. In the south of France, in Albi, Etienne Gay manufactures raw earth bricks designed by a unique machine in the world.

Not only are raw earth bricks excellent thermal and sound insulators, but they are also recyclable! Low cost, high tech, it is an ancestral building material that could give a little oxygen to the world of construction.

4. Clean up the oceans

Many projects to remove plastic from the oceans are in the experimental phase. But the Lady Landfill Skyscraper, proposed by a Serbian company in 2011, remains one of the most impressive.

It was to implant a recycling center in the ocean. It would be immersed up to 30 m deep to suck up the waste. They would be stored in reserves provided for this purpose before being recycled on the upper level of the building. This would have been a closed-loop project as the remains would have been transformed into energy to run the building. 

Note: In 2021, I tried but could not get any updates on this project. Did it ever take form? If you have the information, please don’t forget to share it in the comment section below.

5. “Making” drinking water

Ecological Inventions

Faced with the drought and the lack of water that threatens to strike humanity, the Italian artist and architect Arturo Vittori has designed a unique solution in the world. The Warka Water allows capturing the humidity of the air to transform it into water. Per day, each structure can then recover nearly 100L of water. It is a real feat to bring water to the most deserted regions of the world.

Warka Water was installed in Ethiopia, Haiti, Cameroon, and Togo. Arturo Vittori did not stop there and proposed other innovative projects in the same countries, namely the Warka Tower, the Warka Garden, etc.

6. Urban farms

To fight against deforestation, urban farms could well see the light of day on a large scale. These are large towers in which the production of fruits and vegetables would be installed. Such an innovation would allow continuous production while preserving forests and bringing food directly to city dwellers, limiting transportation.

The company Refarmed launched in 2016 in Denmark, already offers this type of concept on the roofs of some shopping malls to resell the crops directly in the store! 

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5 Ecological Inventions That Could Save the Planet (Part 1)

Specialists constantly sound the alarm that our planet is dying, mainly because of human activity. Governments seem to remain deaf to the alarmist discourse of scientists. However, some good ideas are emerging and could give the planet some respite. 

First, let’s look at the current state of the planet.

It is no secret that the ecological state of the Earth is extremely worrying for the future. Humanity seems to be at a turning point in its existence. A turning point that it is having trouble getting into and whose outcome seems inevitably disastrous. Here are some extremely striking figures about the current ecological situation of the planet:

– Every 20 minutes on Earth, an animal or plant species disappears

– A quarter of all animal and plant species could disappear within 50 years because of human activity

– Global warming is increasing, to the point that the world’s largest glaciers are melting

– Many underwater species are dying, and their corpses reveal stomachs filled with plastic

– Endangered animals are still being trafficked

– Big companies are dumping polluted water into rivers

– Air pollution kills nearly 9 million people every year

– Water sources (lakes, rivers, etc.) are drying up fast

– Forests are disappearing to make way for fields of crops or commercial, residential, hotel, etc. 

And the list of casualties is still long… However, there is also good news. This post looks at 5 futuristic inventions that could well change our lives. 

1. Bicycle paths made of recycled plastic

This initiative was born in the Netherlands. The Dutch are known to appreciate the bicycle and use it mostly as a means of transportation. It is composed of no less than 500,000 bottle caps and thus allows cyclists to circulate easily. The plastic corks, although in nature, do not risk polluting or suffocating any animal.

2. Ecological cell phones, yes: it exists!

Again the work of a Dutch company, Fairphone offers cell phones whose components are all from responsible sources. They can be repaired when they are broken or no longer work and are fully recyclable. 

3. Autonomous buildings

SolarEdge is probably the most successful when it comes to autonomy. Their solar panels have provided enough energy to run computers, smartphones, lights, and electric vehicles. Equipped with thousands of sensors that measure live temperature variations and movements, energy consumption is adapted according to a building’s activity. Moreover, these solar panels consume far less energy than a corporate building of the same size.

In another example, the Galapagos Islands replaced their airport on Baltra Island with a 100% green building. It is made only of recycled or reused materials to maintain harmony with the archipelago’s environment—solar panels and giant wind turbines power this airport. There is no air-conditioning and no windows.  

4. Biodegradable tableware

Biotrem is a Polish company offering dishes made of natural wheat bran. It is therefore biodegradable and edible! It takes only 30 days to degrade if it is thrown away in nature. The plates, bowls, and cutlery are perfectly waterproof and solid. They are even microwave-safe.

The company produces 15 million biodegradable products each year, a real opportunity to reduce single-use plastic. 

Respect the planet and support it. It’s the best footprint you can leave on this planet. Please read part 2, which covers 5 more ecological inventions that could save the world.

Don’t forget to leave us your comments and share this article. Also, do not hesitate to request a topic of your particular interest. We promise to respond without delay and revert with as much information to help you save the planet.

You Will Never Believe: Common Daily Habits That Are Killing the Environment

Many claim that it takes only three weeks for a person to form a habit. But the problem is that there are many daily human activities that are slowly, slowly destroying the environment. If you want to know what these activities are, read the article below!

 

#1. Commuting

Steering Wheel, Car, Mercedes-Benz

Buying a car and commuting to work by car is now a trend, especially since now vehicles have become surprisingly affordable. For example, there are around 273.6 million motor vehicles in the United States alone. But, what people don’t realize is that when gasoline is burned, hazardous substances are released into the atmosphere and it is the precious environment that pays the price of these fumes. And, imagine if there are at least 200 employees in a company, how many greenhouse gases are being generated when these employees are driving their cars to work.

Now, I am not asking you to walk or cycle to work every day (especially if it concerns long distances), but what you can do is to take public transport or to carpool with your colleagues.

#2. Improper Disposal of Batteries and Ink

Battery, Recycling, Energy, Batteries, Rechargeable

When your life is taken up by work, family problems and even the Covid-19 pandemic, you don’t give much, if not any, importance to the disposal of batteries and ink. But, what happens if household batteries are not disposed of properly?

Well, as household batteries have traces of mercury and some other toxic chemicals, they can affect both wildlife and aquatic life if they are released into the ecosystems.

However, did you know that ink cartridges can have a more toxic impact on the environment? When they are disposed of incorrectly, they can poison the soil they enter with chemicals and these chemicals accumulate in animals (through a process called biomagnification). And, of course, when these substances are passed through the food chain, they can also end up causing harm to human beings.

#3. Throwing Food as Waste

Why farmers are throwing away food amid rising demand for food

In some countries, such as China, Russia, Thailand and the Philippines, it is a formal and cultural courtesy not to eat everything on your plate. Instead, if you empty your plate completely during a meal, it would mean that you are still hungry and were not given enough food. However, throwing food is not recommended at all. And no, I am not saying that only because there are many unfortunate people who cannot have access to this basic necessity (even though that’s entirely true).

Throwing food is not a good idea because many forests are cleared and emissions are produced in the process of cultivation, transportation, and processing.

In addition, if waste food is not disposed of properly, it can increase organic matter in waterways and other aquatic environments and thus stimulate algae growth.

#4.Boiling Water With Electrical Appliances

File:Water boiler.jpg - Wikimedia Commons

Do you often boil water in the kitchen for your morning cup of coffee or use electric heating for hot showers? If so, let me tell you that these are extremely inefficient. Why? Well, the amount of energy required to boil water with electricity makes it one of makes it one of the most costly methods as compared to gas. And, since most of the electricity is produced by coal and diesel engines, using a boiler or a simple coffee maker can have a big toll on the environment.

#5. Washing One’s Face

15 Easy Rules for Washing Your Face the Right Way

Ok, let’s get this straight: I am neither blaming you for washing your face nor am I asking you not to wash it at all.

According to researchers, face washes that most people tend to use consist mainly of plastic exfoliating micro-beads, which pose as a serious environmental problem. These beads are dangerous to the marine life as they are not usually filtered during sewage treatment as they are too small. But once they are released into water bodies, they are swallowed by aquatic animals and as a result, these swallowed beads can poison their organs and damage their gills.

Do you know some other activities that can affect the environment? If yes, please share them with us in the comment section below!