Glass is infinitely recyclable and it takes less energy to recycle glass than making it from scratch!
Recycling glass saves energy
- 587,000 tonnes of glass recycled in 2001 saved enough energy to launch 10 space missions.
- Recycling one bottle will power a 50-watt light bulb for two hours.
- 290 kilograms of CO2 is saved for every tonne of glass recycled.
- Provided you take at least two wine bottles and don’t drive further than one kilometre, you’re saving CO2.
- For every tonne of recycled glass used, 1.2 tonnes of raw material is saved.
- 14 million glass bottles and jars are needlessly sent to landfill everyday (lingering there for centuries).
UK Glass data
- On average, each household in the UK uses 331 glass bottles and jars a year.
- Recycling mixed glass is worth £153 million.
- Glass accounts for 7% of the waste in the average dustbin.
- Annual UK glass packaging waste is 2.7 million tonnes. 1.6 million tonnes is recycled leaving 1 million tonnes in landfills.
- Recycling glass may eventually lead to a lower council tax bill. In 2009, councils across England spent £620 million landfilling waste from homes.
- Reports suggest more than 50,000 new UK jobs would be created if 70% of waste collected by councils was recycled here in the UK.
Being green doesn’t require spending lots of money on fancy gadgets. An environmentally-responsible home not only saves you money, but saves the earth too.
- Replace bulbs – You will save 66% more energy by replacing incandescent light bulbs with Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs (CFL).
- Use CFL bulbs – it will save 400 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions if you trade in one incandescent light bulb for one CFL bulb.
- Use extension leads – by using multi-socket extension leads and turning it off when not in use, you can reduce your home’s energy consumption by up to 15%.
- Unplug – TVs are left on standby for 17 hours per day. Unplug your TV when it’s not in use to save electricity.
- Bamboo is better – bamboo is the fastest growing plant on earth. This quick rate of replenishment means it’s more environmentally-friendly than timber trees to use as hardwood flooring.
- Open the blinds – 10% of energy can be saved on heating when you open the blinds during the day to let the sunlight in.
- Magic carpets – using rugs on wooden floors can save 4%-6% on energy bills.
- Party – invite friends over in the winter. Each person can generate the same amount of warmth as a 100-watt heater.
- Cuddle up – 13% of people cuddle their cats or dogs as an alternative way to keep warm.
- Turn it down – you can save up to £60 annually by turning your thermostat down by 1°C.
- Shady fridges – having your refrigerator in the sunlight forces it to work harder to keep cool. Move your fridge into the shade.
- Refrigerator gazing – peeking into the refrigerator can cost £18 to £36 per year. Decide what you want before opening the door.
- Low-energy appliances – ‘Energy Star Qualified’ appliances use 10% to 50% less energy than standard models.
- 7.6cm – the recommended space between the refrigerator and the wall to ensure proper airflow.
- Compost kitchen scraps – separating and composting kitchen scraps not only reduces the amount of household waste in landfill but also eases the costs associated with rubbish collection.
- Clean with vinegar – it’s a natural way to kill bacteria, germs, and mould.
- Use a microwave – 50% less energy is used by a microwave than a conventional oven.
- Use energy-efficient cookware – use glass, silicone, or ceramic dishes. They’re the most efficient to use in the oven and can reduce the cooking temperature required.
- Smart dishwashing – save energy by avoiding pre-rinsing, always running a full load, and air-drying the dishes at the end.
- Multitask in the oven – use both oven racks at the same time to bake, roast, or warm up food.
- Keep it closed – the oven temperature can drop by 65°C when opening the door for 30 seconds. Don’t be tempted to keep unnecessarily checking-in on your cooking.
- Eco-scents – instead of chemicals and synthetic fragrances, opt for 100% essential oils and non-aerosol scents.
- Grow houseplants – be literally green and improve the air quality in your bedroom.
- Use eco-paints – they contain very low levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
- Repurpose – get creative. Reuse and repurpose old furniture instead of buying brand new.
- Sleep on organic sheets – cotton linens account for 25% of the world’s insecticide use. Switch to organic cotton or sustainable bamboo instead.
- Wool not polyester – if you have a choice between wool and polyester blankets, go for wool. It’s more eco-friendly to produce.
- Energy-efficient windows – energy-efficient windows will keep you cool in the summer and warm in the winter due to their better insulation.
- Non-toxic mattress – purchase a new mattress that has not been treated with synthetic chemicals and non-toxic materials.
- Turn it off – remember to turn off the tap when brushing your teeth.
- Install a low-flow toilet – flushing toilets account for 30% of total indoor water used.
- Stop leaks – 182 litres of water is lost per week from a leaky tap.
- Buy recycled toilet paper
- Open your windows – excess humidity causes mould. If there’s no toxic mould, there’s no need to use any harmful chemicals.
- Shave smart – use a cup of warm water to rinse your razor rather than using the tap.
- Install a low-flow showerhead – a family of four can annually save 160,000 litres of water by installing a low-flow showerhead.
- Get a spider plant – having a spider plant in the bathroom will help purify the air.
- Fix leaky toilets – a leaky toilet can waste 757 of water everyday. If it’s leaking, get it fixed ASAP.
- Shower instead of bath – taking a shower can take as little as 14% of water used during a bath.
- Hang dry – 2 to 3 kilograms of carbon emissions is produced for every hour a dryer is used. Hang dry your clothes instead.
- Wash at 30°C – washing clothes at this temperature uses around 40% less electricity than washing at higher temperatures, saving £13 annually on energy bills.
- Energy star – an energy star washing machine can save 50% more water compared to a standard model.
- Cold is better – 85% to 90% of energy goes into heating water when washing clothes. Use cold water instead.
- Use soap nuts – these are the berry of the saponus bush. Completely natural and hypoallergenic, they can be used for washing laundry and can be composted once they’re no longer reusable.
- Use concentrated detergent – these have reduced packaging and a smaller carbon footprint due to their cheaper transport cost.
- Install a water butt – water butts can reduce your council’s water system strain by 70%.
- Compost organic matter – composting organic waste can reduce the need for water, fertilizers, and pesticides.
- Fire pit – burning logs made of alternative materials will release 80% fewer emissions than regular wood when burned. Options include logs made from recycled sawdust, used coffee beans, and soy.
- Native landscaping – protect your local environment by growing plants that are native to your area.
- Use homemade pesticides – chopped tomato leaf spray or garlic oil spray are just a few recipes that can keep bugs away.
The average American
- Has a carbon footprint that exceeds 20 tons.
- Sends 64 tons of waste into a landfill during lifetime.
- Throws away 15 tons of plastic from food packaging during lifetime.
- Throws away 43,371 cans during lifetime.
- Creates about 500 pounds of dirty laundry a year.
- Owns 15 computers during lifetime. 530 lbs of fossil fuels, 48 lbs of assorted chemicals, and over 1.7 tons of water are used to make one computer.
- Drives an average of 11,000 miles a year, 627,000 miles during lifetime. This is equivalent to travelling around the world 25 times. This requires 31,350 gallons of gasoline which is enough to fill 3 large oil tankers.
- Burns 3 quarter tons of coal using a hair dryer during their lifetime.
- Lives in 10 homes which equals more than 64 trees used for lumber.
- Takes 28,433 showers during lifetime which uses over 700,000 gallons of water.
- Uses 1.277 million gallons of water over lifetime beyond showering. This is equivalent to keeping the tap running continuously for 62 weeks.
- Uses 272 sticks of deodorant.
- Uses 656 bars of soap.
- Owns 10 televisions.
United States as a whole
- Americans represent about 5% of the world’s population however, they consume 25% of the world’s energy.
- Garbage produced in the US would reach the moon with filled up garbage trucks in a line, OR cover the entire state of Texas two and a half times, OR cover more than 990,000 football fields under six foot high piles of waste.
- Americans alone throw away enough aluminum to duplicate the full commercial air fleet of the US.
- If the CO2 emissions of one person were made into a solid mass of carbon, it would fill 40 trunks. This is six times more than a person from France and twenty times more than a person in India.
- Avoid west-facing construction – this minimizes sun exposure and keeps the home cool.
- Use Structural Insulated Panels (SIPS) for construction – these are efficient, lightweight, and structurally sound.
- Select environmentally-friendly materials – use low VOC or no VOC stains and varnishes.
- Avoid cabinetry and fixtures containing chemicals – look for cabinetry and fixtures with no formaldehyde, heavy metals, and dyes.
- Insulate the home properly – this reduces energy consumption in all weather.
- Use energy star windows and appliances – low energy consumption refrigerators, clothes dryers, hot water heaters, etc. You can also install low water consumption toilets, water heaters dishwashers, washing machines, and showers.
- Think green HVAC – get a geothermal heat pump, radiant floor heating, or Energy Star HVAC system.
- Protect the property – make sure the construction isn’t obtrusive to wetlands, protected wildlife, or vegetation.
- Optimize for solar power – install solar panels on the roof.
- Ventilate the attic – this lowers cooling costs by preventing heat build up.
- Use eco-friendly lighting – optimize sunlight with lots of windows and supplement with LEED certified light fixtures.
- Install a cistern – collect rainwater for greywater uses such as toilets and sprinkler systems.
- Choose indigenous landscaping – local plants are better for the environment than exotics.
Climate change will not only affect the planet we live on but will threaten our health, our food supply, our livelihoods, and the air we breathe. Primary health care will play an important role in preparing for and responding to these changes.
- After the last Ice Age, it took 12,500 years for global temperature to rise by 13°C. That’s 1°C every 951.5 years.
- The projected increase in global temperature by 2100 is 1.1 to 6.4°C.
- For every degree centigrade the temperature rises, the death rate could increase by 2% to 5%.
- Heat events are summers substantially hotter and/or more humid than average.
- By 2050, ‘heat events’ will occur every 2-5 years instead of every 20 years.
- ‘Urban heat island effect’ can raise temperatures by another 5°C.
- Urban heat islands are urban areas where heat is more severe due to dark roofs, reduced airflow, and other factors.
- Increased UV radiation could alter the human immune system.
- If the heat doesn’t get you, drought or infectious diseases might. Droughts are associated with an increased rates of mental illness and suicide. An Australian study showed a 15% increase in male suicide rate as the drought index rose.
- Malnutrition will decrease our ability to fight infections as the food supply dwindles.
- Warming trends will affect disease transmission by increasing insect geographic range and population. Mosquitoes are the most creatures on earth.
- Pollution will affect air quality: respiratory illnesses will be far more common. Chemical air pollutants increase the amount of pollen in the air and make it even more irritating to breathe.
- Rising ocean temperature and sea level will lead to more waterborne infectious and toxin-related illnesses.
- Most common allergies are caused by pollen.
- Experiments show that ragweed produces 60% more pollen when CO2 concentration is doubled.
- 235 million people currently suffer from asthma worldwide.
- $73 billion is spent on asthma by Europe and the US combined, every year.
- In 2008, there were 1.3 million premature deaths in urban areas from breathing outdoor air pollution.
- 677,000 children under five die each year.
- Over 8% of global deaths are a result of pneumonia caused by household air pollution.
- Household air pollution is caused by cooking and heating with solid fuels on open fires or traditional stoves.
The effects of climate change is already happening
- Europe, summer of 2003 – Extreme heat killed over 70,000 people across 16 countries. The death rate was 4x – 5x the expected level.
- Hurricane Sandy – 72 US deaths, $50 billion in damages, 1,000 mile diameter storm.
- U.S. Midwest Drought – 1,584 counties in 32 states designated drought disaster areas.
- Beijing Air Pollution – 1.2 million premature deaths in 2010 linked to air quality.
How does it all relate to our health?
Climate change will impact our health in a number of direct and indirect ways. How well we survive will depend on how well we adapt.
Extreme weather events
- Mosquito borne illnesses
- Waterborne illnesses
Drought and dry conditions
- Fresh water scarcity
- Reduced food yields
- Higher food cost
- Heat stress
- Disaster related injuries
- Mental illnesses
- Loss of livelihood/displacement
- Poor nutrition
|Pathogen groups||Food-borne agents||Indirect weather effect||Direct weather effect|
|Viruses||Shellfish||Storms increase water contamination from sewage and wastewater sources||Survival increases at reduced temperatures and sunlight (ultraviolet)|
|Bacteria, cyanobacteria, dinoflagellates||Shellfish||Enhanced zooplankton blooms||Higher salinity and rising temperature encourages bacterial growth|
|Protozoa||Fruit and vegetables||Contaminated water used for plant irrigation||Parasites such as cyclospora thrive in warm, contaminated water|
How do we deal with it?
- Early warning systems for insect or waterborne diseases.
- Improved early warning for extreme weather events.
- Preparation for heatwaves, forest fires, or coastal surges.
- Forecasts from climate models must be integrated with local and regional data on demography, geography, and infrastructure to predict the effects on local areas.
- Public education of climate change health risks and the benefits of alternative fuels.
- Outreach and education to developing nations about the risks of using fossil fuels for heating and cooking.
Healthcare needs to step up
- Hospitals need to focus on emergency preparedness and resilience. Moving critical equipment like generators to the roof, as well as installing operable windows to provide natural ventilation should be done.
- Reduce hospital dependence on fossil fuel energy through conservation efforts.
- The less energy hospitals require, the longer they can operate when power is out.
- Alternative sources of power independent from the electrical grid should be utilize.
- Education and advocacy about climate change policy as it impacts public health.
- Increasing the health system’s ‘surge’ capacity. Surge capacity is a hospital’s ability to deal with an influx of patients due to a large scale incident or disaster.
What is e-waste?
As the consumption of electronic products has increased, so has a new type of waste called e-waste. The term e-waste is applied to all waste caused by discarding electronic devices, especially consumer electronics.
What contributes to e-waste?
According to Gartner, IT spending by Chinese end users grew by nearly 14% in 2011. This is astounding when one considers that over ten years ago, under 1% of China’s population owned a computer.
Aside from computers, other contributors to e-wastes are mobile phones, toasters, microwaves, lamps, refrigerators, and washing machines.
E-waste by the numbers: How much are we getting rid of?
- The average user replaces his or her phone once every 18 months.
- In the US in 2010, more than 130 million mobile phones are trashed a year. This means everyday, we trashed or recycled over 17,000 tons of e-waste.
- In 2010, 152,000,000 mobile phones were disposed of. 135 million were trashed while only 17 million were recycled. The result is 11% recycling rate — one of the worst recycling rates for 2010.
What have people done with their old mobile phones?
40% kept it as a spare
18% gave it to a friend or family member
14% (other reasons)
12% recycled them
9% sold/traded for a new phone
The best recycling rates in the US in 2010
- Computers had a recycling rate of 40%. Out of the 51.9 million units disposed, 31.3 million were trashed while 20.6 million were recycled.
- Monitors, on the other hand, had a recycling rate of 33%. 35.8 million units were disposed where 24.1 million were trashed and the remaining 11.7 million were recycled.
- In the US in 2010, we got rid of 384 million units of e-waste. This means that everyday we trashed or recycled 142 units of computers and 416 units of mobile devices.
The reported recycling of last mobile phone in different countries
USA – 15%
Argentina – 2%
UK – 15%
Finland – 7%
Germany – 10%
Spain – 15%
Nigeria – 1%
U.S.E – 2%
India – 9%
China – 9%
Indonesia – 1%
What about the numbers of electronics we are buying?
- From 2010 to 2012, smartphones had the biggest increase of consumer electronics bought worldwide at more than 1 billion units in 2012. Desktops and laptops saw a slight increase at 404 million units. Televisions bought, on the other hand, remained almost consistent during the three-year period at 254 million units.
- We are buying more electronics year on year, adding more emphasis to the fact that we should be trying to manage our e-waste as best as we can!
- In 2011, the average US household spent $1,179 per year on electronic products.
- The number of Americans purchasing new TVs for the Superbowl were 2.6 million in 2009, 3.6 million in 2010, 4.6 million in 2011, and 5.1 million in 2012.
- The NY Times also reported that consumers seem to be more willing to upgrade their television than they did in the ‘tube’ era. The replacement cycle back then was every 18 years whilst now, it’s TVs are replaced every 5-7 years.
- The EPA estimates that by the end of 2007, there were over 99 million TVs stockpiled or stored in the USA.
What can we gain from our e-waste by recycling it?
E-waste contains many valuable and precious materials, up to 60% from the periodic table can be found in complex electronics. Physical components in mobile phones can be harmful if left to decay, and there are two ways to go about recycling them.
Break down the mobile phones and source the materials inside them
- Recycling 1 million mobile phones can recover 9 kg of palladium, 24 kg of gold, 250 kg of silver, and 9,000 kg of copper.
- The material content of a mobile phone is 45% plastics, 35% metals, 10% glass and ceramics, 9% battery electrodes, 0.1% precious metals, and 0.9% of other materials.
- 6,000 mobile phone handsets contain 3.5 kg silver, 0.34 kg gold, 0.14 kg palladium, and 130 kg copper. The average mobile phone battery contains another 3.5 grams of copper. The combined value of these materials in today’s prices is over $15,000.
- Despite these benefits, e-waste is still the fastest-growing sector of the US waste stream.
- 1 metric ton of electronic scrap from PCs contain more gold than that recovered from 17 tons of gold ore. In 1998, the amount of gold recovered from electronic scraps in the US was equivalent to that recovered from more than 2 million metric tons of gold ore and waste.
Take unwanted phones and send them overseas to developing countries
- These phones can then provide people with the ability to communicate, as well as creating new jobs and business opportunities.
- When ten more people out of 100 in developing countries use mobile phones, the GDP rises by 0.59% per capita.
What about resources we use when manufacturing electronics?
- According to a UN study, the manufacturing of a computer and its screen takes 240 kg fossil fuels, 22 kg chemicals, and 1.5 tonnes water. That’s more than the weight of a rhino!
- Recycling metals from e-waste uses a fraction of the energy needed to mine new metals. Recovering 10 kg of aluminum via recycling uses no more than 10% of the energy required for its primary production. This prevents 13 kg of bauxite residue, 0.11 kg of sulfur dioxide, and 28 kg of carbon dioxide.
- The life cycle energy use of a computer is dominated by production at 81% and operation at 19%.
- Compared to disposal, computer reuse creates 296 more jobs per year for every 10,000 tons of material disposed per year.
How can we combat e-waste and create a recycling culture?
Top 7 reasons why people didn’t recycle their last phone
- I prefer to keep my old mobile phones as backup – 33%
- It didn’t occur to me to recycle my mobile phone – 20%
- I don’t know where to go to recycle my mobile phone – 17%
- There are no mobile phone recycling facilities near me – 15%
- My old mobile phone was worth good money so I didn’t want to give it away for nothing – 15%
- I didn’t know that I could recycle old mobile phones – 12%
- I was concerned about the security of my personal data that was stored on my phone – 10%
The main results from this survey show that awareness and phone hoarding are the barriers for not recycling.
Nokia phone recycling campaigns
- These campaigns together managed to collect 53,000 phones. When consumers sent in their old devices for recycling, Nokia either donated money to a certain cause or the consumers received free music, games, and navigation.
- To try and tackle the obstacles behind why people didn’t recycle their phones, Nokia started a Twitter campaign that included phones tweeting about recycling in an attempt to make it fun and interesting.
- During the three weeks of the campaign, it reached 170,000 people online, 44 countries, and 2,000 Facebook likes.
- The campaign was also translated into Chinese and ran in Chinese social media channels. These types of digital marketing campaigns help to change recycling attitudes and move towards a recycling society.
There have been so many great recycling initiatives
- The NY Times was the first major publication to report the recycling of computers on the front page on April 14, 1993.
- Ebay launched a computer recycling initiative called “Rethink”, which was designed to encourage users to recycle old PCs by: selling them on Ebay, donating them to charity, or disposing them in an eco-friendly way.
- Only 3% of consumers recycled their phones in 2007 which increased to 9% in 2011.
We are living in a technology obsessed world and are always buying new gadgets, however, due to campaigns run by big tech companies, and the emphasis on being “green” getting bigger and bigger, we will see an increase in the number of pieces of tech being recycled.
Despite miners digging up more precious metals, production alone cannot meet global demand. Global silver mine production is up 33% since 1999.
Could we harness recycling to satisfy demand for consumer electronics?
- Electronic waste, commonly called e-waste or e-scrap, is the trash you generate that’s made up of obsolete, broken, or surplus electronic devices.
- Electronic waste can include any number of things, such as video game consoles, laptops, televisions, cell phones, DVDs, CDs, and other storage mediums, and video cameras.
- Some of the most used electronics that are frequently replaced are cell phones (every 22 months), desktop computer (every 2 years), television (every 10+ years), portable music player (every 2 to 3 years), DVD player (every 4 to 5 years), and printer (every 5+ years).
- Our electronics addiction is an expensive habit, too. The average American household spends almost $120 every month (nearly $1,400 annually) on electronics with the total rising every year.
How much we are wasting
- Every year, the world tosses 20 to 50 million metric tons of electronics, recycling only 10% to 18%. That’s like throwing away 45,500 to 125,000 fully loaded 747s annually.
- Electronic waste is the fastest-growing portion of the municipal waste stream. While other types of municipal waste are decreasing, e-waste is growing by close to 5% annually.
- Yet, electronics are full of valuable resources, including silver, gold, titanium, fossil fuels, aluminum, iron, tin, copper, and much more.
- Material content of mobile phone:
- Producing one computer and monitor requires 530 lb fossil fuels, 48 lb chemicals, and 1.5 tons of water.
- 81% of the energy associated with a computer is used during manufacture, not during operation.
- Electronics make up 2% of the municipal waste stream in the USA. That’s enough to occupy more than 60 US landfills.
E-waste and human health
- Many of the materials used to make electronics are not at all healthy for us. If they ultimately end up in our bodies (easier than you think), they wreak havoc on our health.
- Electronics toxins
- Antimony – poisonous
- Arsenic – poisonous
- Barium – gastrointestinal, neurological, and cardiovascular toxin
- Beryllium – carcinogenic, Acute Beryllium Disease
- Cadmium – carcinogenic, organ toxin
- Chromium – organ toxin, carcinogenic
- Dioxins – carcinogenic
- Lead – central and peripheral nervous system toxin
- Mercury – central nervous system and endocrine system toxin
- Nickel – carcinogenic, respiratory toxin
- Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) – blood, skin, and organ toxin
- Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) – organ toxin, endocrine disruptor
- Health impacts
- Nosebleeds, seizures, retardation, child development, sinus perforations
- Mouth, teeth, and gum damage; thyroid damage
- High blood pressure, irregular heartbeat
- Lung damage, asthma, bronchitis, cancer
- Kidney, liver, digestive system damage; fetus neurological damage; ulcers
- Skin cancer, paralysis
Where e-waste ends up
Those people manufacturing and deconstructing e-waste are the hardest hit with health problems. Even when you send your e-waste to a recycling facility, it may not end up where you think.
Much of the electronic waste created in the US is exported to countries like Ghana, Nigeria, Pakistan, India, and China. There, it is deconstructed by men, women, and even children, who are rarely protected from the toxins.
When it isn’t recycled, all of those toxins end up in the environment, at home, and abroad. In all, electronics contribute to many environmental hazards:
- Climate emissions released during manufacture and operation
- Manufacturing wastewater dumped in rivers and streams
- Incineration and disposal of electronics
- Toxins released during mining of metals and minerals
Ultimately, water is poisoned, air turns toxic, soil becomes dead, and as a result, wildlife, aquatic life, and plant life all suffer.
How you can help as a consumer
- Buy durable electronics that can last longer.
- Care for electronics to lengthen their useful life.
- Donate old electronics to charities.
- Recycle broken or obsolete electronics responsibly through e-Stewards approved by the Basel Action Network.
Current World Population = 6,872,274,588
- The world population is currently growing by 74 million per year. That’s the equivalent of a city the size of San Francisco every three days.
- The United Nations estimates the world population will reach 9.2 billion around 2050.
- Out of 6.87 billion people on Earth: 2.6 billion lack basic sanitation, 1.3 billion don’t have access to clean water, and 1.1 billion lack adequate housing.
- Nearly 900 million people have no access to modern health services of any kind.
- The richest 20% consume 83% of resources while the poorest 20% consume just 1.3% of resources.
- 1 in 7 people don’t have enough to eat.
Where do we all live?
- Asia (60%), Africa (14%), Europe (11%), North America (8%), South America (5.3%), Australia (0.3%).
- In 1800, only 3% of the world’s population lived in the cities. By the 20th century’s close, 47% did so.
- The UN forecasts that today’s urban population of 3.2 billion will rise to nearly 5 billion by 2030, when three out of five people will live in the cities.
- The world population was 45% urban in 1995, and cities are expected to hold most of the projected increase in humanity for the next 25 years.
The best cities to live in
- European cities dominate the Mercer top 10 ranking for Quality of Living, with Canada, New Zealand, and Australia also featuring.
- The best city to live in the US is Honolulu with an index score of 103.1.
- The top 5 best cities in the world to live in are Vienna (108.6), Zurich (108), Geneva (107.9), Vancouver (107.4), and Auckland (107.4).
- Baghdad remains at the bottom of the table, though its index score has increased slightly from 14.4 to 14.7 in 2010. A lack of security and stability continue to have a negative impact on Baghdad’s quality of living and its score remains far behind that of Bangui (27.4) in the Central African Republic which is second to last.
Birth Control Statistics
- The number of women using contraception in developing countries has increased 10 times since 1970 from 50 million to 500 million.
- Worldwide, 50% of married women are using modern contraception, compared to 10% to 12% in 1970. However, if current funding rates continue, 97 million people who would choose contraception each year will not be able to do so.
- According to U.N. estimates:
- Unintended pregnancies will rise by 130 million.
- Abortions will increase by 50 million.
- Unwanted births will rise by 59 million.
- Maternal deaths will rise by 300,000.
- 3.6 million infants will die from poor health care.
- The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) reports that most of the 22 million people who came under its wing in 1997 were fleeing from conflict, both domestic and international. Most of them fled to poor countries.
- Only 406,000 sought asylum in Western nations.
- The root “push” causes of migration are armed conflicts, human rights violations, environmental degradation, lack of sustainable economic growth, and insufficient social resources.
‘Ecocide’ can be used to refer to any large-scale destruction of the natural environment or over-consumption of critical non-renewable resources.
- An average American’s environmental impact is 30 to 50 times that of the average citizen of a developing country such as India.
- Every 20 minutes, the world adds another 3,500 human lives but loses one or more entire species of animal or plant life — at least 27,000 species per year. This is a rate and scale of extinction that has not occured in 65 million years!
- The world’s forest have shrunk from 11.4 to 7.3 square kilometers per 1,000 people since 1970. The loss is concentrated in developing countries, mostly to meet the demand for wood and paper by the industrialized world.
- The burning of fossil fuels has almost quintupled since 1950.
- Human action has transformed between one-third and one-half of the entire land surface of the earth.
- We have lost more than one-quarter of the planet’s birds.
Two -thirds of the major marine fisheries are fully exploited, over-exploited, or depleted.
Insulation – installing environmentally-friendly insulation in your home can reduce your annual heating and cooling bill up to 30%. Uninsulated exterior walls can account for more than 20% of the heat loss in your home.
Solar Panels – not only providing an average savings of 50% on annual electricity bills, solar panels also qualify for government tax credits of up to 30% of system costs. Solar panel systems can pay for themselves within 5 years of installation and last up to 25 years.
Toilet – as much as 40% of our drinking water is flushed down toilets. Modern high-efficiency toilets use less than 2 gallons per flush. If your toilet is leaking, get it fixed. A leaky toilet can waste 200 gallons of water every day.
Shower – standard shower heads uses 4 to 6 gallons per minute. Low-flow shower heads use 1..5 to 2 gallons per minute. Low-flow shower heads can save a family of four 350 gallons of water a week — about $73 per year.
Bath – baths use three times more water than shower.
Refrigerator – nearly 20% of homes have at least two refrigerators. Getting rid of that old fridge in the garage could save you as much as $150 a year. Appliance use comprises about 18% of an average home’s total energy bill. The older the model, the more energy it uses.
Sink – by placing an aerator on all household faucets, you can cut your annual water consumption by almost 50%.
Dish Washing – the average dishwasher uses more than 10 gallons of water. Dishwashers can use up to 1,000 kWh per year. Washing by hand can save $100 per year on your electricity bill.
Electronics – a phantom load is the energy that is consumed by electronics even when they are turned off. By completely unplugging electronic devices when they are not in use, you can save at least $200 on your annual energy bill. Energy-efficient TVs consume 100 watts or less, which results in around 35% savings on your annual electricity bill.
Fireplace – convert traditional wood or gas fireplaces to a modern EcoSmart Fire. These clean-burning fireplaces will heat your living room without releasing any harmful emissions. EcoSmart Fires are fueled by e-NRG bioethanol — a denatured alcohol manufactured from biological products. Their vent-free nature also makes them incredibly efficient since you won’t be losing any heat up your chimney!
Light Bulbs – Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs use 66% less energy than a standard incandescent bulb and last up to 10 times longer. By replacing a traditional 100-watt bulb with a modern 32-watt CFL, you can save $30 in energy costs over the life of the bulb.
Washing Machines – energy-efficient washing machines use 20% less electricity than conventional machines and 35% less water. Also, clean your clothes with cold water. Almost 85% of the energy used to wash your clothes goes towards heating the water.
Even energy-efficient washing machines use around 40 gallons of water per load. Washing full loads reduces the number of loads per week and saves time, money, and water.
Dryers – avoid wasting energy by using the moisture sensor function that allows the dryer to stop once a certain level of dryness is reached. Hang dry your clothes if possible. Clothing will last longer, it reduces household costs and cuts energy consumption.
Solar panels are electricity-generating structures that work through photoelectric effect. This was discovered by Bequerel (1839) when he observed that certain materials would produce a tiny electrical current when exposed to a light source.
This started the production of Photovoltaic Solar Panels, where sunlight was converted straight into energy. First pioneered on spacecraft in the 1960’s, today they can be found across the globe atop of houses, offices, and even boats.
In some places, where irradiance is high, they can produce huge amounts of electricity and act as an alternative to fossil fuels, producing clean, renewable energy.
What makes up a solar panel?
The solar panels that you say day-to-day are actually made up of much smaller units, which are called photovoltaic cells. This is because one cell produces very little electricity. These cells rely upon electrons, which are small subatomic particles with a negative charge, to generate electricity. Each cell is structured in the same way.
In layman’s terms, each cell consists of two sheets of wafer-thin silicon crystal placed together, sandwiched together by two metal contacts, creating a ‘silicon sandwich’.
The top silicon sheet is coated in phosphorus, which has an excess of electrons, whereas the bottom sheet is coated with boron, which is in need of electrons. This creates an imbalance, but without energy, the electrons have to stay put.
Electricity starts being generated from energy created by light, such as from the sun. When energy from the sunlight hits the solar panel, the electrons begin to get ‘excited’, and gain enough energy to start moving. Naturally, they want to move from where they are abundant (the top layer) to where they are less so.
This causes a flow of electrons to occur, making an electrical current, and because there are metal contacts on either side of the cell, it functions as a complete circuit. On sunnier days, more energy is transferred to the electrons, which makes the current stronger and generates more electricity.
Accessing the electricity
There are two main types of current: direct current (DC) and alternating current (AC). Solar cells tend to generate DC electricity, which whilst useful to items such as batteries, cannot be used for household appliances.
This is because items such as televisions and fridges run off AC electricity. The last step therefore goes through an inverter where DC is converted to AC, which is then compatible with household appliances.
Why should I care?
Solar power can save you money! In fact, thisismoney.co.uk hypothesized that you could save up to £800 per year after installation. This comes from your supplier, selling power to the national grid and just using the power you generate.
These panels will last for approximately 25 years, which saves you an insane amount of up to £20,000. After installation, you could save up to double the installation costs
The environmental cost of bottled water
- 200 billion bottles of water are consumed globally each year. Of which, 176 billion will end up in landfills or the ocean.
- Bottled water is 2000 times more expensive than tap water.
- It takes three times the volume of water to manufacture the plastic for one bottle than it does to fill it.
- There are 1500 water bottles consumed per second in the USA.
- In 2011 (peak year), Americans drank, on average, 131 bottles of water per person. While in Britain, 300 million bottles are consumed per year.
- 17,000,000 barrels of oil are used per year to manufacture bottled water.
- Pumping, processing, transportation, and refrigeration of bottled water is estimated to use around 50 million barrels of oil per year.
- 10% of all plastic manufactured worldwide ends up in the ocean, never degrading.
- 1.2 million people around the world don’t have access to clean water, yet we are happy to pay over the odds of branded water.
The corporatisation of water throughout the world
Water is being called the “Blue Gold” of the 21st century. Thanks to increasing urbanization and population, shifting climates and industrial pollution, freshwater is fast becoming humanities most precious resource.
Multinational corporations are stepping in to purchase groundwater and distribution rights wherever they can, and the bottled water industry is an important component in their drive to commoditize what many feel is a basic human right — the access to safe and affordable water.
What can you do?
- The best thing to do is to avoid bottled water completely.
- Install a filtered cold water tap if you are concerned about the taste or quality of your local tap water.
- Buy a reusable bottle.
- Pick up and recycle any plastic bottles you find as rubbish.
- THINK before you DRINK.
Set a timer when you shower
- An 8-minute shower = 34p = £124.10 per year
- A 5-minute shower = 21p = £76.60 per year
- A family of four can save £190 a year from from shorter showers. An average family of four with a garden spends £587 on water a year.
Put a hippo in your loo — save 1 litre per flush
A water displacement device called a Hippo, dropped into your cistern saves water and is often free via your water company.
Washing up — 50% less water used
A washing up bowl or plug in your sink can reduce water wastage compared with running a tap. A tap that drips once a second wastes 27,000 gallons of water annually.
Trigger hoses — costs £5-8
Switch from continues flow to stop/start trigger hoses. They can save up to 50% on the amount of water used. Water the garden in the evening to minimise evaporation. Mulch reduces water evaporation by 75% and suppresses weeds.
Fill your washing machine up
A full load is a more efficient use of water and electricity. Upgrade to a modern washing machine to save over 50% on water waste. Similarly, don’t run a half full dishwasher. Plates also don’t need to be rinsed before they go in first.
You could save up to 36 litres per day. They aerate the water so you use less without compromising on flow. It’s also free or cheap from most water companies. The tap water in the UK is amongst the best in the world.
Get a water butt
Collect free rainwater to feed your plants. The kitchen accounts for 8% to 14% of a household’s water usage.
Think about installing a water meter
Once your consumption is down, a water meter is a cheaper way to pay for your usage. In the 1970’s, 20% of homes had a shower. Today, it is 85%.
- Install water-saving showerheads and try to limit your showers to 4 minutes.
- Use full loads in your dishwasher and washing machine. Use an ‘Eco’ setting when possible.
- Do not use your toilet as a place to dispose of rubbish such as used faced clothes, cigarette butts, etc. — use the bin.
- Check and repair all possible leaks, from the toilet to the taps to the pipes.
- Install a dual-flush toilet.
- Do not leave water running for: brushing your teeth, shaving (fill the sink), and washing the dishes (fill the sink).
- Water the garden or other plants around the home at times of least evaporation such as early in the morning and late in the evening.
- Install a collection tank for the eve-shoots of your home. This can be used for toilet water or gardening.
- Do not wait for the tap to run to get cooler water. Keep some water refrigerated instead.
- Use buckets for cleaning floors, windows, and cars.