A Look at the Bright Side of Nuclear Energy

When you hear the words nuclear energy, what is the first thing you think of? Hiroshima and Nagasaki? Or the Chernobyl disaster?

It’s sometimes easy to forget that nuclear energy is actually one of the cleanest and safest energy sources around. This article aims to re-introduce you to this oft-forgotten fact.

What Is Nuclear Energy?

Nuclear energy, also known as atomic energy, refers to the energy in the nucleus (the core of an atom). This energy is released through something called nuclear fission, where atoms are split through chain reactions in a nuclear reactor. Nuclear fusion is another process which releases nuclear energy from atoms but differs from nuclear fission in that it involves combining two light nuclei to release energy.

This same energy is used to create electricity and as a result, it is noted that nuclear energy can easily replace the use of fossil fuels in the world. But, due to the heart-wrenching tragedies that occurred, countries and governments are scared to use nuclear energy, unaware of its vast benefits, which include:

1. Low Cost

Although the construction of nuclear power plants may be very costly, it is very cost-effective in the production of electricity. Electricity produced by nuclear energy is much cheaper than that produced by gas, coal or oil.

Furthermore, in contrast to the rise in prices of fossil fuels, there is no price inflation for nuclear energy which means that its costs are more likely to remain stable. It can either stay the same or even decrease due to advances in technology.

 

2. Job Creation

It is noted that nuclear power stations can provide job opportunities to people. For example, in the United States, the nuclear industry provides nearly half a million job opportunities to people and contributes approximately $60 billion in its Gross Domestic Product every year.

 

3. Land Usage

The most shocking benefit of nuclear energy is how not only can it produce more carbon-free electricity, it can also operate on a smaller amount of land. A great example is a nuclear facility in the United States that uses a little under 1 square mile to produce electricity whereas a solar power plant would need 75 times more space to produce the same amount of electricity.

 

4. Carbon Emissions

One huge criticism over the use of fossil fuels is the tons of carbons emissions it produces. However, did you know that using nuclear energy will not result in any carbon emissions?

When a significant amount of carbon is being released in the atmosphere, both our climate and our ozone layer are being deeply affected. The overabundance of carbon dioxide produced is in fact the main reason behind climate change and global warming.

However, with nuclear energy, our planet is safer. As per the Nuclear Energy Institute(NEI), the electricity produced by atomic energy stops 528 million tons of carbon dioxide from being released in the atmosphere. Hence, nuclear energy helps us in our combat against climate change and global warming.

 

5. Protection of Quality of Air

When we burn fossil fuels to produce energy, there are also some pollutants that are released which affects the quality of the air we breathe, like sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, mercury and other harmful pollutants. However, nuclear energy does not contribute to the production of such contaminants in the air! Instead, if we switch to nuclear energy, we can ensure that our precious air is free from these air pollutants that can cause acid rains and lead to lung cancer disease in human beings.

 

6. High Reliability

Despite being renewable sources of energy, solar and wind energy require the sun and wind to function. These climatic conditions are not always present in the required amounts, which can lead to lower production of energy. However, nuclear energy can be generated at any time, irrespective of outside conditions, which increases its level of reliability.

 

7. High Energy Density

The process of nuclear fission is said to generate more significant amounts of energy compared to the amount of energy produced through the burning of fossil fuels. The process is said to be very efficient and as a result, lower amounts of nuclear fuel is required by the nuclear power plant. This not only leads to a reduction in nuclear energy production costs but also in an increase in energy produced within one nuclear power plant.

 

8. Future Energy Supply

The most important advantage of nuclear energy is that it represents a unique and inexhaustible source of energy for future generations. If it is adequately regulated and controlled, no fatal disasters can occur and the Earth can enjoy the benefits of nuclear energy.

So, do you still think that using nuclear energy is not the right decision? Please share your comments!

How Sustainable Are Biodegradable Plastics?

In the current world, great strides are being made to eliminate the use of plastics in our everyday life. However, it can also be argued that while we should aim to use less plastics, we can’t forgo it completely. For example, there isn’t a better alternative to plastic when it comes to food packaging, which is essential in keeping foodstuff fresh while in storage or in transit. This is why there has been a sustained push towards developing biodegradable plastics out of plants, or even food scraps and sewage. Unlike traditional plastics that maintain their chemical structure even when broken down into smaller pieces, biodegradable plastics decompose into molecules that can safely reintegrate into the environment.

There are already several environmentally friendlier plastics on the market, such as plastic cups and bottles made from plants, which have a smaller carbon footprint when compared to traditional, petroleum-based plastics, and made from renewable resources.

However, not all biodegradable plastic is created equal, and the biggest challenge scientists face is identifying or designing the right material for a particular job. Also, just because something is made from plants does not automatically mean that it’s biodegradable. In fact, some bioplastics persist in nature much longer than their traditional plastics counterparts.

This discovery has actually led to stricter definitions for « biodegradable » or « compostable ». A plastic is now only considered biodegradable if it breaks down into fragments that can be completely consumed by microorganisms in the disposal environment within a defined time period. The general consensus is that 90 percent of the organic carbon must be used by compost microorganisms in no more than 180 days.

Is Biodegradability the be-all and end-all?

One thing that most proponents of biodegradable material tend to overlook is whether the term actually means anything. Take human feces for instance. It’s completely biodegradable, but that doesn’t mean you can fling it anywhere you want. Also, different materials biodegrade under different conditions, and if those conditions aren’t available, then the material can be just as bad as regular plastic. For instance, the popular PLA (polylactic acid) cups that are labelled as biodegradable only break down in industrial composting centers. So, without the relevant infrastructure, these cups will stick around for almost as long as a traditional plastic cup.

Furthermore, bioplastics can’t replace traditional plastic in all applications. Can you imagine pipes or bulletproof vests made from biodegradable plastics? The whole point of these products is to NOT break down after all. The key is to develop the right material for the right application, and that adds yet more challenges. For example, the temperature needed to mould, shape, and process biodegradable plastics is often near the temperature under which it degrades. To raise the degradation temperature, for instance, researchers can add chemicals that prevent or impede the polymer chain from breaking down. Or they can use tactics to lower the melting temperature, for example by using additives called plasticizers.

A Different Approach

The current methods of making bioplastics are relying on food crops like corn, potato and sugarcane, and the microbes that feed on the sugars within these crops to create the building blocks of PLA can be considered quite effective, provided that the underlying agricultural practices are also sustainable.

However, researchers are actually looking into the incredible power of microbes that feed on sewage and food waste to create fuels and useful products, including plastics. A team of environmental engineers at Columbia University, led by Kartik Chandran have built bioreactors that use a mix of microbes to first break down the waste into volatile fatty acids. Then, in a second step, another mix of bacteria stitches those acids together to produce PHA. Other teams from companies like Mango Materials in California are using microbes to produce PHB from methane captured from facilities such as wastewater treatment plants and landfills.

How sustainable are bio-degradable plastics? We may not be a long way from saying – very. What is your opinion? Let us know in the comments below!

Sustainable Gardening Tips for Every Gardener

Gardening is not always green or environmentally friendly, even if it is part of the green movement. It is sometimes seen as a process of doing your part to help and give back to Mother Earth what you have received. Sustainable gardening helps to maintain the health of your garden and the environment in which you grow your vegetables and fruit.
You may be wondering what a sustainable garden is, to put it simply, a garden that works in harmony with nature. There are many techniques that can improve the health of your garden and minimize any negative impact on the environment.

There are many benefits you can reap from a sustainable garden. Grow food, you want to eat, so you are motivated to keep growing, to grow economically, to make it worthwhile and to make taking care of health and environmental issues a great benefit of sustainable gardening. Not to mention the environmental benefit that the soil will continue to support the cultivation of healthy plants.

Choosing the right plants for your needs can be difficult, especially since you have to consider the limitations or requirements of the space in which you plan to grow your sustainable garden. You should try to find the most appropriate plants that will meet your needs throughout the year and limit your choices to those plants.

You need to keep these tips in mind to get the most out of your sustainable garden:

* Remove all weeds from the garden area before planting and during the growing season.
* Preparing the growing area for ideal plant growth
* Water only the root zone of the plants.
* Cultivate plants in a protected environment for a quick, healthy and solid start.
* Harvest all plants at maturity to avoid letting pests and diseases multiply.

Here are some ideas of plants you should consider in your sustainable garden:

Lettuce

It would be considered a summer vegetable when you grow it in your garden, but you can also grow it indoors and it will give you a year-round supply. Lettuce is an excellent vegetable, especially the many new varieties that can be picked indiscriminately and continue to grow.

Potatoes

Potatoes are excellent to eat because they are a source of carbohydrates and can grow for at least nine months of the year. If you store your potatoes in a cool, dry but dark place, you should be able to keep them in storage for most of the year.

Carrots

It is an excellent vegetable that you can grow all year round, but if your area is too cold to support them during the winter, you can blanch and freeze them.

Onions

Onions are an excellent option for the self-sufficient garden of the house. They keep very well and are excellent producers.

Apple tree

It is a great choice and a source of winter fruits. The advantage of apple trees is that they produce fruit in abundance. If you take care of your apple trees, you can also have apples for most of the year.

Tomatoes

You should definitely take tomatoes because they are the best vegetables that the self-sufficient gardener can grow. They are delicious during the summer months and you can easily grow enough to keep them in the cooler months.

Beans

There are many types of beans, which can be grown for almost six months of the year. Beans are an excellent vegetable that whitens and freezes easily during the winter months.

I hope these tips will help you plan your own sustainable garden. You’ll have fun while stocking your shelves with quality vegetables. It really is a win-win situation.

Happy gardening!

How Compost Is Ecological and Good for Your Garden

Making compost is ecological and very good for the garden. It means recovering rainwater for watering, combining crops, adopting natural fertilizers, etc. In this post, you will learn how composting is one of the most immediate actions on your waste because of its ‘recycling’ virtues.

Made from garden and kitchen waste, a natural fertilizer rich in organic matter, nitrogen, phosphorus, etc., is obtained from compost. Individual composting is also a simple activity, full of advantages since it reduces the production of household waste treated by the community and contributes to preserving the environment. Explanations to get started.

What is compost?

Whether you use a balcony composter, an indoor vermicomposter, or a garden composter, the principle remains the same. Composting is an operation that consists of degrading organic waste in the presence of oxygen from the air, under controlled conditions. Two phenomena follow one another in a composting process. The first, bringing the residues to the state of fresh compost, is an intense aerobic degradation (capacity or need of an organism or a microorganism to develop in the ambient air):

  • Essentially the decomposition of fresh organic matter at high temperature (50 to 70°C) under bacterial action;
  • A less sustained degradation will transform the fresh compost into a mature compost, rich in humus.

This maturation phenomenon, which occurs at lower temperatures (35 to 45°C), leads to fungi’ biosynthesis of humic compounds.

Compost or the art of composting

Compost is a rich material made by billions of microorganisms. It is the result of composting, a natural process that transforms organic matter into an earth-like product.

The organic matter is broken down by microorganisms such as bacteria and fungi that transform it into the simple elements that plants feed on.

How does composting work?

Composting is an easy recycling method that can be done at home. It is an easy way to reduce the amount of waste produced by households by a third. Also, composting has an excellent soil amendment used for gardening and landscaping.

What is the benefit of compost?

Compost improves soil quality and strengthens the stock of humus in the soil, improving soil fertility and promoting soil life. Gardeners will use it for all their plantings (vegetable gardens, flower beds, trees, etc.).

Organisms living in the soil

Healthy soil is active and is home to microorganisms such as bacteria, fungi and yeasts, and larger creatures such as earthworms. The survival of these organisms depends on the availability of air, water, and nutrients in the soil.

In return, these organisms provide unparalleled recycling. They break down organic matter to release the nutrients needed for root development and plant growth. Also, they mix the soil to improve its aeration, texture, and structure.

Feeding the soil (and plants)

Fertile soil contains macro and microelements. Plants need both elements to grow.

Macroelements include nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), potassium (K), calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg), and sulfur (S). These elements provide the primary nutrients to plants. The first three, nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, are consumed in large quantities by plants. They all contribute to specific functions such as leaf and stem growth (N), root growth (P and K), flower and fruit development (P), and general vitality (K).

Plants also need microelements called trace elements. These include iron (Fe), manganese (Mn), copper (Cu), and zinc (Zn). Their presence in tiny quantities is essential to plant life. A balanced and optimal supply of these microelements has a critical impact, as excesses can be harmful to plants. Compost provides a balanced and reasonable supply of these microelements(1).

Moreover, this approach has a lot of interest in sustainable development since it promotes the recycling of organic matter in short circuits on its territory. This method reduces greenhouse gas emissions and fights against runoff phenomena (organic matter helps retain water in the soil).

Two good reasons to start composting

Therefore, compost reduces waste and the number of garbage trucks on the roads. It also allows a reduction in the number of incinerators and, therefore, landfills.

For the garden, making household compost allows the production of natural and non-polluting fertilizer. Besides, it improves the soil’s quality, contributes to the growth of plants and flowers, and helps plants develop a sound root system.

The Reality of Disposable Diapers

It is no wonder that babies do a lot of pooping and the average baby goes through six to eight diapers a day. Diapers are soft, absorbent cloth that are folded and arranged between the legs and around the waist of the baby to absorb and contain excretions which is intended to be discarded and cleaned after a single use in full. Diapers can be categorized as disposable and washable types. However, the question is still left unanswered as to which is good for the environment. A baby uses between 6,500 to 10,000 diapers before they start their potty training at the age of 3 years old. According to a study, one-third of the US mothers are limiting to buy basic necessities so that they can be able to buy diapers for their children. Disposable diapers cost individual families and they cost even more to the environment.

With industrialization and modernization, the use of disposable diapers has increased enormously and it is continuing to be a productive market over the past decades. Disposable are more bought than washable ones as it is easy to use and most people find it convenient when it comes to doing the job quickly. Washable diapers are somehow perceived as an old product that are produced using the 70s technology. You may easily attract public attention if they know that your baby is using washable diapers. Well, the environmental impact is really present as the excessive usage of disposable diapers is affecting the environment.

According to a report by the Environment Agency, a reusable diaper is responsible for 560kg of greenhouse gas over the first two years of a baby’s life, whereas a disposable nappy is accountable for 630kg. Almost six million nappies a day or two billion a year end up in landfill where they emit methane, a greenhouse gas that is dangerous for the environment. The weight of disposable nappies is equivalent to 70, 000 double decker buses going to the landfill every year. Alarming, isn’t it! Well, in the UK alone, disposable diapers create more than 400,000 tonnes of waste each year, which is roughly the size of the city of Birmingham.

It is known that conventional diapers take hundred years to disintegrate, which means that the diapers you once wore as a kid is likely to be intact, sitting in a landfill. Out of all the non-durable goods, diapers were the second most generated waste by weight, which is more than clothes and shoes that are discarded. The company Eco Pea Company is changing the damage done by diapers before by creating diapers that use more natural materials that have an easier time in breaking down and be good to the environment.

The Debate: Reusable vs Disposable

According to the supporters of disposable diapers, they found out that reusable nappies are not exactly good for the climate, because of the energy that is put to keep them hygienically clean. This report was later called bogus for the research report being too confusing. However, there are many companies that have started producing biodegradable diapers, by using plant-based materials instead of polyacrylate stuffing, artificial dyes, toxic materials, and plastics. Nevertheless, the higher price for these diapers are due to the manufacturing costs that exist, there are people buying it as they know their child won’t be affected by any chemical content and also they are doing their part in helping the environment. If you can’t digest the high price for these biodegradable diapers, the reusable cloth diapers are the solution to disposable ones. Reusable cloth diapers came a long way since they were actually used earlier during our childhood days. The image of the cotton cloth sheet held on with safety pins is no longer there as they have updated it with contours, velcro or snaps and leak protection, all while having some pretty and stylish prints on it. These diapers are more breathable and do not require to be soaked before washing.

It is not wrong to agree that reusable cloth diapers came a long way since their creation and all you need to do now is to shake the solids from the diaper and throw them in the washing machine and after two wash, it is new as before.

So what’s your take? Reusable or disposable, let us know in the comment section!

What Role Does A Land Management Consultant Play in Sustainable Development?

We are constantly being told about various land conservation and sustainable development drives being carried, and famous land management consultants being called in to give their opinion. Have you ever wondered what exactly IS a Land Management Consultant, and what precise role they play? Since I was curious, I decided to dig deeper, and met with the folks over at Land Management Systems in Ringwood to see how they could enlighten me.

The first question I had was – what is a Land Management Consultant? While the job title seems pretty self-explanatory, it involves a lot more than just looking at a plot of land and deciding what you can and can’t do with it. Whether it’s a piece of land being considered for protection or a long-held parcel in need of a management plan, a Land Management Consultant needs to develop a thorough understanding of flora and fauna to offer detailed recommendations for maximizing its potential in a sustainable way.

It’s a career path that suits those who shudder at the idea of spending time in an office. If you prefer fields to filing, you meet one of the criteria for a career in land management.

What Does the Job Involve?

The main focus is to help landowners, farmers and construction contractors maintain and manage their plots of land in the most environmentally friendly manner. You’re likely to be working with a wide range of clients on any given day too. One moment, you could be devising a plan to help Famer McDonald get the most out of his land, the next, you’re working with the local council and using your expert knowledge of environmental and sustainability issues to help preserve the wildlife in national parks and conservation areas, whilst making them accessible for all kinds of people. You could also use the same knowledge to review development plans and help a construction firm obtain their environmental impact assessment report. Like we said, this is not a career path for those who don’t like getting their hands dirty.

What do I Need to Work in Land Management?

If you want to work in this area, it is highly important that you have a passion for the environment. That’s not to say that you should have been implementing land management schemes in your local area since the age of eight, but when applying for these roles you need to demonstrate the fact that this career path genuinely means something to you.

This is where work experience, volunteer work and internships come into play. This will give you a great insight into the industry, help you build up the key skills that you need and show that you care about the environment too.

Some people choose to specialise in one area of land management. For instance, some people might focus their efforts on agricultural land use. Other people decide to focus on the management of forests and woodland areas.

The other important thing you need to make a successful career out of Land Management is people skills. It’s all well and good being passionate about the environment, and you could be a real analytical prodigy, but if you can’t communicate effectively, you won’t get very far. Experience matters a great deal too. Experience helps each consultant understand the job and helps build a network of professionals who may play a role in the management work. A good consultant will know the right loggers, the best seed and plant distributors, and the most reliable labour sources for each job.

I’m sure we can infer that a Land Management Consultant plays a bigger role in conservation and sustainability than a lot of us give them credit for. How about you? Do you feel like Land Management might be something you are interested in? Leave a comment below and share your views!

Read This Before Considering Renewable Energy At Home!

What is renewable energy?

What type of renewable energy?

Why use renewable energy?

Using renewable energy at home

Our planet enriches us with renewable energy, so let’s make the most of it!

What is renewable energy?

There are different forms of energy, such as:

    • traditional energies: gas, fuel oil, coal;
    • electricity from nuclear or thermal power;
    • and renewable energy, which is clean and comes from continuous and inexhaustible sources offered by our planet.

What type of renewable energy?

Renewable energy is an alternative solution to replace or complement other traditional energy sources.

5 types of energy are therefore available: solar – wind – hydraulic – geothermal, and biomass.

Solar energy

Solar energy comes, as its name suggests, from the sun. This energy can be usefully transformed into heat, electricity, or biomass.

This energy is mainly used by industry and private individuals.

It allows the development of photovoltaics, where sunlight is transformed into electrical energy through solar panels.

Wind energy

This energy is used to produce electricity through a generator.

Wind energy, therefore, uses the force of the wind.

Its disadvantage is that it generates a significant noise nuisance.

There are also mini wind turbines for individuals. These domestic wind turbines are installed on a roof or a slope.

Depending on the wind turbine’s size, the individual concerned can consume the electricity produced by it or resell it to an electricity supplier.

Hydraulic energy

It is an ancient process that allows the storage of large masses of water to transform into electricity. It is also called hydroelectricity.

It can be produced by hydroelectric power stations, some of which are fed by dams.

Geothermal energy

Geothermal power plants make use of the heat released from the earth’s core. The advantage of this energy is that it does not depend on climatic conditions or seasons.

Geothermal energy comes in two forms:

  • low temperature to heat homes;
  • high temperature, in this case, it is a means of producing electricity.

Biomass energy

This energy concerns wood, forest residues, organic and green waste, and biofuel or green gasoline.

This green gasoline is classified into two types:

  • ethanol from wheat, corn, beet, sugar cane and ;
  • biodiesel from rapeseed, sunflower, soya.

These biofuels are often blended with conventional fuels to limit the greenhouse effect.

As for wood, it has been used since the dawn of time for heating and cooking.

Why use renewable energy?

The various fossil fuels are not renewable energies and produce carbon dioxide (CO2) and other harmful gases such as methane.

The Energy and Climate Act updated the energy policy’s objectives to consider the previous years’ climate plan. It provides for the following purposes:

    • carbon neutrality by 2050;
    • a 40% reduction in the consumption of fossil fuels compared to 2012 by 2030;

To avoid an increase in the greenhouse effect and the destruction of the ozone layer, it is possible to change our habits by using renewable energy that is less dangerous for our environment.

It can also help us to reduce the cost of our electricity bills!

Using renewable energy at home

We pollute less by using renewable energies instead of fossil fuels (oil, natural gas).

Therefore, you can :

    • consider building an energy-saving house;
    • undertake energy-saving work in your current home;
    • make energy savings in insulation;
    • produce your electricity using solar or wind power;
    • use energy-saving accessories such as energy-saving light bulbs;
    • use water recuperators to save water and thus reduce your consumption bill.

The list is far from being exhaustive to use renewable energy at home or for transportation and consumption.

So that’s what you should know about renewable energy for sustainable development. Thank you for your reading, and thank you in advance for your efforts to add even more info in the comment section below to make it a hot topic.

Why Underfloor Heating Is A More Sustainable Option

When it comes to sustainable heating in modern times, there is a good case to be made for opting for underfloor heating. Let’s have a look at why so many people claim that underfloor heating truly is the superior option when considering Eco-friendliness and cost-effectiveness.

Energy Conservation

Provided that your home or office is properly insulated, you will notice that you can make incredible saving on your energy bills. New buildings that are built to code will automatically be insulated to the level where underfloor heating is effective, but it isn’t hard to fit adequate insulation and draft proofing to ensure that underfloor heating is able to completely heat the room.

The Standard Assessment Procedure, used to calculate a new buildings energy performance, records an energy saving of 5% when using an underfloor system with a condensing boiler, as opposed to a radiator system. Pairing the system to a renewable energy source, such as solar heating or a ground source heat pump can see these savings jump to as high as 40% or more, depending on the installation and size of the particular room.

Why such a big gap, you ask? The answer lies in the method of heating. A typical central heating system relies on convection, where heat rises and creates a very warm layer of air at ceiling level, leaving a much cooler temperature at floor level. Therefore, some of the heat is wasted through the roof as the room is heated sufficiently to achieve a comfortable temperature lower down.

On the other hand, underfloor heating radiates heat into the room from the whole surface of the floor, which creates a comfortable temperature from ground up. This radiated heat is absorbed by people and by furniture and objects in the room, which allows underfloor heating to create a comfortable temperature at approximately 2°C lower than what is required by conventional systems.

Cost Effectiveness

Since an underfloor heating system requires less energy to create a comfortable temperature for occupants, it stands to reason that your energy bills will be lower. While we mentioned a 2°C difference previously, underfloor heating actually runs at much lower temperature ranges than conventional central heating. A typical underfloor system runs in the range of around 30-50°C, whereas radiators typically run at 60-80°C. As you can probably tell, that is a lot of saving over the course of a single billing period.

Can Underfloor Heating Run With Renewable Energy Sources?

Without a doubt, underfloor heating can be linked to any type of renewable energy source, which provides even greater potential for conserving energy and saving money. Photovoltaic systems, ground source heat pumps, solar panels and wind turbines could all be used to heat an underfloor heating system, and eventually the systems combined could provide free sustainable energy.

Photovoltaic systems use solar heating to power a buildings electric supply, some buildings with a large roof surface are able to produce enough electricity for their demand and are able to sell electricity back to the grid. While most homes may not have the roof space to power the entire house, an underfloor heating system can be installed with a photovoltaic system to power it, which will result in cheaper running costs.

An underfloor heating system that is powered by water rather than gas is suitable for use with ground source heat pumps and solar water heating systems. Ground source heat pumps involve the laying of pipes in the garden or somewhere suitable on the property, and extracting the heat directly from the ground.

A heat pump could provide the hot water for a wet underfloor system exclusively, helped by the fact that it runs at lower temperatures than radiators, offering completely free heating.

In Summary

Underfloor heating is more energy efficient than most types of heating, given the right circumstances. Well insulated, double glazed and draft proofed houses will conserve energy and save money by using underfloor heating, particularly if it is linked to a renewable energy source such as a ground source heat pump or a photovoltaic system.

In new buildings underfloor heating is becoming the more popular choice as the installation costs are no different to a central heating system, but running costs are much lower in the long term. Add this to the energy saving grants available that offer further savings. Looking for a reliable team to give you more personalized information and provide quick and affordable installation services? Look no further than the folks over at North East Hydronic Radiant!

The Sustainable Beauty of A Green Burial

There are many people to whom their impact on the environment is a great concern, and they wish to pass on the same way they lived, in respecting and minimizing their carbon footprints. That is the reason behind the growing popularity of eco-friendly ‘green’ burials.

If you haven’t considered the environmental impact of a traditional burial before, these facts may cause you to re-evaluate. Traditional burials often involve using toxic embalming fluids that leach into the earth over time and non-degradable grave liners to keep grave sites looking flat — techniques that are good for preserving a body (sometimes indefinitely) but terrible for the environment. Even cremations release harmful emissions like carbon monoxide and mercury into the air and soil.

How A Green Burial Solves All These Issues

The main idea behind a green burial, as you might have guessed, is to lessen your environmental impact and reduce your carbon footprint. There are many people who view this method as a return to the way people were buried before the death care industry evolved into what it is today. For others, natural burials are actually prescribed by religious law, for instance those of Jewish or Muslim faith.

There are three core concepts behind any green burial – conservation of resources, conservation of the environment and sustainability.

Conservation of Resources

This is achieved through using sustainably produced materials from renewable sources for caskets. These range from biodegradable linen to untreated wood. Conventional caskets, on the other hand, are often made from treated wood or metal, which is not sustainable.

Conservation of Nature

Green caskets and shrouds are made from materials that decompose easily, with minimal impact of the surrounding soil, water and air. Any emissions that may be produced are carbon-neutral, so the impact is negligible. In contrast, commercially produced caskets can take ages to break down, even more so if they contain metal parts like hinges or handles. Also, these types of caskets are often treated with chemicals like paint and veneers, which seep into the soil as the casket breaks down. Also, the manufacturing and transport of conventional caskets and outer burial containers requires a huge amount of energy and causes significant carbon emissions.

Another point to consider is the actual burial ground. Conventional cemeteries often use herbicides to maintain the grass, which can be absorbed into the earth; outer burial containers, which impede the decomposition of the body and take an extremely long time to decompose; and allow embalmed bodies to be buried, which results in formaldehyde and other embalming chemicals to enter the earth.

Green cemeteries require that every effort is made to maintain the natural habitat of the environment, including maintaining clean groundwater, preserving the natural landscape, and providing an environment for native plants and animals to thrive. This is why you won’t ever see elaborate grave markers in a green cemetery. At most, you may find a tree or a flat stone with engraving. However, that’s not to say you won’t be able to find the grave of your loved ones again if you choose to visit the grave site. Most green cemeteries provide GPS coordinates that you can use to find your way back.

In Conclusion

By taking advantage of green funeral options, individuals planning ahead—and their families—can find comfort in knowing their passing will not negatively impact our environment. Many people also take refuge in the fact that their green burial will allow them to become one with nature. Those who have lived well take pride knowing they have also died well. Green funeral options may offer solace to those who wish to minimize their environmental footprint in death as they did in life.

What are your views on the matter? Share your comments below.

Dairy Milk and Its Impact on the Environment

Like most of us, you probably grew up drinking hot choco and hot tea with some good amount of milk to make your drink creamier. In fact, you still enjoy a warm cup of milk every morning, but you’ve perhaps recently heard that dairy milk was not good for the environment. And the truth is that you are a bit of an environmental activist, and you’ve been trying to find out why cow milks are not eco-friendly and what the alternatives are. Look no further! In this article, we explain the issue about dairies and look at the best possible alternatives that will ensure you continue to enjoy your creamy hot choco and tea with the minimum effect on the planet.

How Does Dairy Milk Have a Negative Impact on Our Earth?

Dairy lovers, if you are an eco-warrior, you will definitely want to slow down on your milk consumption! At least on cow’s milk. Why? Think of all the natural resources needed to feed a cow throughout its life to produce milk for us! And these resources, which include grains, require a lot of water and pesticides during their growth, which further adds to the negative impact of cow’s milk on the environment. Cows also need a considerable amount of water to stay hydrated, spacious land, and constant electricity to live.

Another significant detrimental effect is that cows emit excessive amounts of greenhouse gases, such as methane, when they burp and do their number two. Yes, you read that right! And these emissions pollute the air and waterways considerably.

Will the Consumption of Non-Dairy Milk Reduce Your Carbon Footprint?

It is difficult to reach a consensus when it comes to deciding which plant-based milk has the least negative impact on our world. Whether milk is made from nuts, seeds, or beans, it has less effect on the planet than regular cow’s milk. In 2018, a study by Joseph Poore of Oxford University showed that stopping the consumption of meat and dairy products is one of the best things to preserve our planet.

What Are the Best Non-Dairy Alternatives?

Soy Milk

Soy milk is one of the most preferred milk when it comes to saving our Earth. Globally, the production of one liter of soy milk emits one kilogram of carbon dioxide (CO2) or equivalent gases, which is 2 kg less than when milk is produced from cows and 200 g less than rice. Soymilk also needs the least amount of water and land for its production.

Oat Milk

Oat milk is also doing well in terms of CO2 emissions and water consumption. Besides, this crop grows at more moderate temperatures. As a result, it is less associated with biodiversity loss and forest fires than other crops. Although oats need more land to grow than soybeans, almonds, and rice, they require much less space than cows.

Rice Milk

Rice milk is another alternative to cow’s milk found on the market. However, although it uses less water than almond milk, rice still requires 54 liters of water to produce milk. But the most critical impact lies in its growth process. Because rice fields must be flooded to promote growth, it also encourages bacteria’s development, which carries methane gas into the atmosphere.

Almond Milk

While almond milk production emits the least greenhouse gases and its raw materials demand the least amount of land to grow, it uses a huge amount of water when it is produced. The manufacture of one liter of almond milk alone is equivalent to the consumption of 371 liters of water.

Although you now have more information about milk and vegetable milk, choosing which one you consume will be a matter of preference. If you have ever come across another non-dairy milk that you find has a limited impact on the environment, don’t forget to comment in the section below.