Wood Burning and Data

Wood burning

Given the rising costs in fossil fuels, and subsequent rising heating costs, many Americans are looking for alternatives to contemporary heating options. Among other means of heating, traditional wood-burning has surged, especially in areas which are anticipating cold and extreme winters like the northeast United States. Wood pellets are being used, instead of logs, due to the lessened impact on the environment, and also the reduction in toxic emissions. The wood pellets also burn better and stronger, resulting in stronger, longer fires, which also contributes to the efficiency. It has to be kept in mind though that while technically a… read more

Safe Sources of Energy?

Safe Sources of Energy?

Hydraulic fracturing processes hold many secrets. Safety information held by Michigan state regulators state that one ingredient, an unidentified solvent, can cause damage to the kidney and liver. A subsidiary of Nabors Industries Ltd. (NBR) pumped a mixture of chemicals identified only as “EXP-F0173-11” into a half-dozen oil wells in rural Karnes County, Texas, in July. A year-old Texas law requires drillers to disclose chemicals they pump underground during fracking, but the law was unable to compel transparency for EXP-F0173-11. The solvent and several other ingredients in the product are considered a trade secret by Superior Well Services, the Nabor… read more

It’s Getting Warmer

Climate change study

In a new study released by the Pew Research Center shows that more Americans are finally coming to the realization that climate change may really be occurring. According to Pew Research Center, 67% of people say that there is now solid evidence that the earth’s average temperature has been getting warmer over the past few decades. That number is up four points since last year and up ten points since 2009. An increasing number of people say that the rise in the earth’s temperature has much to do with and may be directly caused by human activity. As of today,… read more

Noise Pollution

Noise pollution affects animals

Noise pollution is a phenomenon that is least understood by lay persons because human beings have a higher tolerance for noise than animals. What may be normal to a human being may be discomfort for animals in the wild, which is why we need to raise awareness to noise pollution vis-a-vis wildlife. Swaziland has a number of game and nature reserves spread throughout the country. These reserves are home to a variety of animal species, which if left unprotected would be under threat of extinction from hunting and disease. In and around the reserves, there are road signs that caution drivers… read more

Exploiting Nature’s Gifts

Resource conservation

There is no doubt that we live in an age rich with possibility and opportunity is in abundance. The ability to generate a significant amount of income in a short period of time has led to the unprecedented levels of consumption that the world is experiencing currently. High levels of resource consumption are largely to blame for the resource shortage that the world is experiencing today. Exploiting the gifts brought forth by nature in an unsustainable manner robs the future of any hope for human, plant and animal survival. When one considers the effects of resource shortage today, it becomes… read more

Solar Industry Growth

Solar industry growth

Fueled by falling solar panel prices, job growth in the U.S. solar industry will outpace employment in wind energy, according to a new report issued by CleanEdison Inc. Wind energy is facing the expiration of federal wind credits at the end of the year, which has contributed to the rise in solar industry employment, along with diminishing confidence in the wind industry—making the wind industry weaker. CleanEdison expects around 36,000 people will be certified as technical employees in the U.S. solar industry in 2020, including the incredibly important position of installer. If these estimates are correct, then there will be… read more

Irresponsibility Punished

Gulf of Mexico oil spill

BP has agreed to pay the largest criminal fine in U.S. history—$4.5 billion—to resolve all criminal charges arising from the fatal oil rig explosion and subsequent catastrophic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The company said that it had agreed to pay $4 billion to the U.S. government over five years, and $525 million to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) over the next three years. However, the settlement does not resolve all of the claims against BP for the April 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster, and the company could face billions in restoration costs to the waters, coastline, and… read more

Two Different Paths

Greener communities

Since the federal government in the United States has been met with its fair share of delays and inaction, the opportunities for individual communities to take action on conserving the environment and combating climate change have largely increased. Cities and neighborhoods are able to bypass a lot of the red tape surrounding implementing “green” strategies and programs, which makes it much easier for small-scale success. There are expected green cities, such as Portland, OR, which has excellent public transportation and an extensive network of bike trails; the city also offers financial incentives to homeowners and businesses which use solar energy; Boulder, CO,… read more

Flushing It Away

Effective water use

In 2011, I bought my husband a dual flush toilet for Father’s Day, and he bought me one for Mother’s Day. I installed them one weekend when he wasn’t looking, for his birthday – best gift EVER.  We live in a 1,200 square foot home in Albany, NY. It is approximately 90 years old with one and a half bathrooms (hence the two toilets).  We reduced our overall potable water usage by 25%. Now, there’s not really any money savings for us in this.  The cost of water in Albany is not much at all.  Only one of the toilets… read more

Prepaid Electricity Bills

Benefits of prepaying electricity bills

For the longest time, the Swaziland Electricity Company has used the traditional billing system whereby the company sends a monthly electricity bill to consumers through the postal service. Recently, the utility company embarked on a countrywide project in which it completely abandoned the aforementioned system for prepaid electricity. Prepaid electricity brings much needed hope in energy conservation and alternative energy sources in that, consumers no longer have the luxury of grace periods which allowed them to compound or accumulate a bill while continuing to consume electricity. The consumer is now forced to be vigilant and careful as to the amount… read more