Tips On What You Can Do To Help Protect Ozone Layer

The ozone layer in the Earth's atmosphere protects us from the harmful ultraviolet rays from the Sun, but it is at risk of depletion. This article explains the problem, what is causing it, the international and local efforts to reduce the production and use of ozone depleting chemicals, and how you can help to protect the ozone layer.

Ozone Layer Depletion
The ozone layer is a shield of ozone gas in the stratosphere, between 15 and 35 km above the Earth's surface. The result of a reaction between ultraviolet light from the Sun and oxygen molecules, it stops most ultraviolet (UV) radiation reaching us. However, in 1975 scientists detected a severe drop in ozone levels over Antarctica that repeated each Spring, and by 1987 half of the ozone over the continent had disappeared, creating an enormous "hole" twice the size of the United States. This "hole" in the ozone layer threatens the Earth's environmental balance and human health, with increased cases of skin cancer, eye cataracts and damage to the immune system.

Cases of Ozone Layer Depletion
The stratosphere is being depleted of ozone by man-made chemicals including chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), halons, methyl chloroform, carbon tetrachloride, methyl bromide, hydrobromofluorocarbons (HBFCs) and hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs). These chemicals are commonly used as cooling agents for refrigerators and air-conditioners, propellants for aerosol sprays, blowing agents in the manufacture of foam and some plastics, fire retardants for extinguishers and in cleaning agents and solvents in industries. In other words, they are widely used in our everyday lives.

What You Can Do?

Although most ozone depleting substances are used in industry and commerce, what you do at home can still make a difference. The most effective way of protecting the ozone layer is to reduce or even stop using ozone depleting chemicals. You can do this by:

  • buying air-conditioners that do not use HCFCs or CFCs as refrigerants;
  • regularly inspecting and maintaining your air-conditioners and refrigeration appliances to minimise refrigerant leaks;
  • recovering and recycling HCFCs and CFCs in air-conditioners and refrigeration appliances when they are serviced; replacing and retrofitting such equipment to operate on non-HCFC and non-CFC refrigerant should also be considered.
Overall, the best way to help protect the ozone layer is to stop buying all products, big and small, that contain ozone depleting substances. Together we can make a difference.


20 Tips to Help Save Our Threatened Species

What is Threatened Species?

Threatened species are any species (including animals, plants, fungi, etc.) which are vulnerable to extinction in the near future. Or any species which is likely to become an endangered species within the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its range. Below are 20 tips to save them to become endangered species:
  • Join a community group and offer to do voluntary work.
  • Give your local Threatened Species Network office a call and find out what activities are happening in your area. They may need help with field and office work.
  • Participate in local clean-up, tree planting and weed control activities.
  • Find out what threatened species live in your area what they look like, what they eat, where they live.
  • Plant some native trees in your garden to provide food and shelter for birds.
  • Replace your water thirsty lawn with some native grasses.
  • Build nest boxes in areas that only have young trees.
  • At Easter, eat chocolate bilbies, not bunnies.
  • Learn how to care for abandoned or injured wildlife by contacting the RSPCA (they can give you contacts for your local wildlife rescue service).
  • Build a frog pond in your back yard.
  • Desex your cat, put a bell on its collar and keep it indoors at night.
  • Cut up the plastic collars on your milk and soft drink bottles before throwing them out.
  • Report any sightings of unusual animals or plants or feral pests and weeds to your local Parks and Wildlife Service.
  • Throw back fish that are too small when you are fishing. Be careful not to lose your nets, lines, hooks and sinkers in the water. These entangle or choke many animals such as whales, fish, birds, platypus and water rats.
  • Take some binoculars with you when you go bushwalking and keep notes of the different plants and animals you see.
  • Take pictures, not souvenirs.
  • Support industries that support the environment.
  • Extinguish your camp fires and cigarette butts when you are in the bush.
  • Drive slowly at dawn and dusk, and where trees grow near the road. Many native animals get killed on the roadsides at these times.
  • Take your own bag shopping. Plastics can choke whales, seals and seabirds if they get into the ocean.
Why we should save them not to become endangered species?

Plants and animals hold medicinal, agricultural, ecological, commercial and aesthetic/recreational value. Threatened and Endangered species must be protected and saved so that future generations can experience their presence and value.

Medicinal Value
Plants and animals are responsible for a variety of useful medications. In fact, about forty percent of all prescriptions written today are composed from the natural compounds of different species. These species not only save lives, but they contribute to a prospering pharmaceutical industry worth over $40 billion annually. Unfortunately, only 5% of known plant species have been screened for their medicinal values, although we continue to lose up to 100 species daily.

Agricultural Value
There are an estimated 80,000 edible plants in the world. Humans depend upon only 20 species of these plants, such as wheat and corn, to provide 90% of the world's food. Wild relatives of these common crops contain essential disease-resistant material. They also provide humans with the means to develop new crops that can grow in inadequate lands such as in poor soils or drought-stricken areas to help solve the world hunger problem.

Ecological Value
Plant and animal species are the foundation of healthy ecosystems. Humans depend on ecosystems such as coastal estuaries, prairie grasslands, and ancient forests to purify their air, clean their water, and supply them with food. When species become endangered, it is an indicator that the health of these vital ecosystems is beginning to unravel.

Commercial Value
Various wild species are commercially raised, directly contributing to local and regional economies. Commercial and recreational salmon fishing in the Pacific Northwest provides 60,000 jobs and $1 billion annually in personal income, and is the center of Pacific Northwest Native American culture. This industry and way of life, however, is in trouble as salmon decline due to habitat degradation from dams, clearcutting, and overgrazing along streams.

Freshwater mussels which are harvested, cut into beads, and used to stimulate pearl construction in oysters form the basis of a thriving industry which supports approximately 10,000 U.S. jobs and contributes over $700 million to the U.S. economy annually. Unfortunately, 43% of the freshwater mussel species in North America are currently endangered or extinct.

Aesthetic/Recreational Value
Plant and animal species and their ecosystems form the basis of America’s multi-billion dollar, job-intensive tourism industry. They also supply recreational, spiritual, and quality-of-life values as well.

Each year over 108 million people in the United States participate in wildlife-related recreation including observing, feeding, and photographing wildlife. Americans spend over $59 billion annually on travel, lodging, equipment, and food to engage in non-consumptive wildlife recreation. Our national heritage of biological diversity is an invaluable and irreplaceable resource. Our quality of life and that of future generations depends on our preservation of plant and animal species.


9 Easy Tips To Save Mother Earth

Here are a few tips from David de Rothschild that can help people save money as well as be environmentally friendly:

Replace a Lightbulb

If one million homes replaced four of their traditional incandescent bulbs with Energy-Star approved compact fluorescent bulbs (the ones that look like soft-serve ice cream cones), 900,000 tons of greenhouse gasses would be eliminated, and people would save approximately $30 to $50 dollars in electricity over the life of the bulb for each bulb they replace.

Kill Phantom Power

Even when most household appliances are turned off, their standby modes continue to suck power that wastes electricity and increases your electric bill. The worst offenders are cell phone chargers, where only 5% of the power they draw is used to charge your phone, while the other 95% is wasted when left plugged in. What to do? Unplug your cell phone charger when you aren't using it, and plug all of your big appliances (especially TV's and home entertainment equipment) into an easy-to-reach power strip that you can turn off when you aren't using them.

TV's and VCR's in standby mode waste an estimated $1 billion dollars in electricity each year, but if one million households halved their phantom power load, we'd eliminate 150,000 tons of carbon dioxide a year.

Put On a Sweater

By lowering your thermostat by just 2 degrees in the winter, you'll save up to 4% on your energy bill, and prevent 500 lbs. of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere. Plus, as David writes, the more people who wear sweaters, the happier Jimmy Carter will be.

Paper or Plastic? Neither!
We've long been told to ask for paper instead of plastic bags at the grocery store, but the truth is, although paper bags are biodegradable, the waste of resources used to produce them makes paper almost as big a drain on the environment as plastic bags are. What to do? While paper is still preferable to plastic, the best option is to bring your own reusable bags to the grocery store, be they canvas or nylon or hemp, and skip paper or plastic altogether.

Lobby Your Hotel
In a given year, a single hotel room uses more than 80,000 gallons of water and generates 5 tons of garbage. Given that there are approximately 3.3 million hotel rooms in the U.S., hotels generate a lot of waste, and that's not even counting the near-continual use of air conditioning in every room. How do we do our part? Many hotels now offer guests the option to use one set of linens and towels during their stay. If one million people used just one set of linens for a week, it would save 1.5 million gallons of water.

Build a Straw Home

Building a home using straw insulation instead of traditional building materials will cut heating and cooling costs, reducing your energy usage by two-thirds. If one million households halved their gas-heating bill, 2.75 million tons of carbon dioxide would be eliminated per year.

Harvest the Sun
If one million homes installed solar panels on their roof and switched to solar power, we could reduce C02 emissions by 4.3 million tons a year. Currently, it is an expensive investment, costing over $20,000 to install solar panels on the roof of your home. However, homeowners can save potentially hundreds or even thousands of dollars a year in electricity costs; most people will still be connected to the power grid, and will simply use the traditional electricity as auxiliary power.

Install a Windmill
If 100,000 homes installed and relied on wind power, C02 production could be reduced by 900,000 tons. The cost of installing a wind turbine starts at $7,000, and an average wind speed of 10mph is required to generate an adequate amount of power.

Drive a Frybrid

For between $500 and $1000, you can convert the engine your old Mercedes diesel sedan to run on used french-fry grease (aka vegetable oil). According to David, more than one million gallons of fuel could be made from waste vegetable oil collected from restaurants in San Francisco alone.

6 Major Environmental Problems of Asia

Throughout the Asia-Pacific region, rapid economic and population growth creates serious social consequences from environmental problems of urban excess, deforestation/desertification, overfishing, global warming, air pollution, and limited safe water supplies. The Asian economic crisis has aggravated this trend. Economic policies have encouraged growth in some sectors while ignoring damage to others. Further, little regard is given to sustainability of the exploited resources. The social costs in terms of health, economic efficiency, and cultural dislocation are immediate, while the long-term costs of environmental rehabilitation are humbling. Left unbridled, environmental damage can lead to economic decline.

Urban Excess
Environmental problems arise from the urban by-products of transport, industrial activities, and the overcrowding of human habitation. Economic policies have encouraged mass migration of labor to urban industries. The shift from rural to urban Asia will accelerate in the coming century, aggravating urban crowding and increasing the risk of social and political conflict. Asia’s urban profile increased from 27% (0.7B people) in 1980 to 38% (1.4B) in 2000 and will rise to 50% (2.3B) in 2020.

To date, governments have stimulated urban migration by maintaining low food costs, which reduce rural incomes and increase the flight to the cities. About a third of the people in the Third World’s cities live in desperately overcrowded slums and squatter settlements, with many people unemployed, uneducated, undernourished and chronically ill. Conditions will worsen as their numbers swell and transport, communication, health and sanitation systems break down. One solution to urban excesses is to divert industry and its induced labor migration away from the mega cities towards surrounding areas. This requires significant infrastructure investment, however, and establishes competing centers of political power.

Asian food security is threatened by deforestation and desertification. More than a third of the arable land in Asia is at risk. Nearly 75% of Southeast Asia’s original forest cover has been destroyed at an annual loss rate that is the size of Switzerland.

The loss of forests and agricultural land is due to both the exploitation for profit and the ignorance of good practices. Isolated, rogue regimes such as Burma exploit timber, oil, and mineral resources to support their governments. Poor farmers across Asia use improper irrigation and fertilization practices, resulting in increased salinity and toxic soils.

Regardless of motive and method, the loss of workable land hurts not only the harvester, but also has broad consequences for his neighbors in terms of erosion, downstream flooding, and pollution.

Indonesia’s provinces refuse to properly manage the annual smog threatening the health and productivity of its own people as well as in neighboring Singapore and Malaysia. These failings point to an obvious need to invest in improved oversight, management, monitoring, methods, and conservation.

Landmines and Unexploded Ordnance After years of conflict, large quantities of mines and other unexploded ordnance (UXO) litter the landscape, killing and maiming thousands of innocent victims annually. The problem is most acute in Cambodia, Vietnam, and Laos.

In Cambodia, one out of every 245 individuals is an amputee. Landmines and/or UXO maim or kill 100 people per month in Cambodia. Death or injury remove many victims from the work force during their productive years, further debilitating economically disadvantaged families.

Landmines and UXO create vast numbers of internally displaced people, remove valuable real estate from productive use, serve as physical barriers to the movement of people, goods and services, and dramatically increase the mortality rate of both people and livestock.

Cambodia’s 4 to 6 million landmines are scatter over 1,800 square kilometers, or roughly 1% of the country. Estimates are that 200,000 tons of UXO affect up to 50% of the Laotian landmass.

Major projects have been delayed, and, before activities proceed, accountants must set aside up to 10% of project costs for mine clearance. Large-scale development is difficult or impossible because of landmines.

Agricultural production could increase by 135% in Cambodia without the impediments of mines and UXO. The United States has provided millions of dollars in monetary aid and has carried out or proposed a number of projects to help these countries deal with this problem. Progress toward removing all mines and UXO is slow, and may be impossible due to technical difficulties in identifying mines and UXO in the field.

Areas of greatest economic value should receive highest priority for clearance, barriers need to be constructed for those areas that cannot be cleared at this time, and educational programs should be initiated. The U.S. military’s unique technical knowledge helps these clearing efforts, but domestic programs need sound funding and implementation.

As the demand for water grows with population and the economy, water supplies will be increasingly polluted from untreated sewage, from industrial discharges, and from salt-water intrusion of overexploited water tables.

In Jakarta, it costs $20M to $30M annually to boil water for home use. In Manila Bay, heavily polluted by sewage, fish catches have dropped 40% in the last decade. Fish catches near cities in India and China also have experienced major declines. Of Taiwan's 20 million people, less than 1 million are served by sewers. Each day in Hong Kong, about 1 million tons of sewage and industrial effluent pour untreated into the sea - a volume to fill 500 Olympic swimming pools, according to Hong Kong officials. Projecting to 2025, water shortages will affect India, China, North and South Korea, Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines.

Water disputes have affected international relations for years. Although an agreement was reached in 1996, India and Bangladesh have disagreed on the sharing of the waters of the Ganges for more than 20 years. Greater numbers of international disputes will arise and be more difficult to resolve as populations increase and economies grow, thereby placing a greater demand on scarce resources.

A domestic resource allocation problem that is common to the Pacific Islands soon will prevail over Asia: high-use agriculture will compete with populations for scarce water supplies. While more than 80% of the water consumed in Asia is used for agricultural purposes, 60 to 75% is lost to evaporation before reaching the crops. A technological solution may be to encourage the use of water-efficient drip irrigation techniques, which are employed in less than 1% of all irrigated areas.

Fish are a key source of food for virtually all Asian states, providing one of the largest sources of animal protein to the world's fastest growing commodity market. The world’s largest tuna fishery crosses the jurisdiction of at least 21 countries—as well as extensive high-seas areas of the Pacific Ocean—and involves harvesting by fishing vessels from 26 different nations.

Across the Pacific and in many coastal and riparian parts of Asia, fishing is a significant part of the economic base, providing food, employment, revenue, and foreign exchange earnings. World fisheries are being overfished as marine catches increased from 17 million metric tons (MMT) in 1950 to a peak of 87.1 MMT in 1996. As a result, there has been a steady increase in the frequency of clashes and incidents at sea caused by foreign fishing trawlers illegally encroaching into Exclusive Economic Zones and territorial seas.

Aquaculture production is a growing part of the fisheries sector. In 1996, 20% of all global fisheries production was from aquaculture. Asia dominates world aquaculture for fish, shrimp and shellfish, with China producing 68% of the global total. If done in an environmentally friendly manner, aquaculture can be a positive contributor to the world food supply.

For example, giant tiger prawn production in Thailand has exploded from 900 to 277,000 tons in the last decade. However, reckless pumping of seawater into shrimp ponds can damage neighboring fields and hurt coastal marine life.

To protect fisheries and insure sustainability, cooperative resource management schemes such as fishing quotas need to be established and enforced. Militaries, coast guards, law enforcement, and courts should cooperate to reduce the possibility of disputes, collisions, and pollution, such as negligent oil spills.

Global Warming
Carbon dioxide, chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), methane, and nitrous oxide act like a glass in a greenhouse, letting the sun’s rays in but trapping heat that would otherwise be released back into space. Carbon dioxide accounts for more than half of the warming affect, while CFCs contribute about a quarter and methane and nitrous oxide cause the remainder. Temperatures have increased .3 to .6 degrees C over the last century, consistent with the rise in greenhouse gases as predicted in recently developed computer models. Climate models predict that temperatures will be 1 to 3 degrees C higher in 2100.

Rising ocean temperatures and melting polar caps will elevate sea levels by 15 to 95 cm in the next century. Bangladesh could lose 17% of its land area to rising seas, while several island nations, such as the Maldives and Tuvalu will become uninhabitable or disappear. Parts of Northern Europe and Canada will benefit from better harvests, but crop yields in India could decline by 30% by 2050.

The controversial solution of the Kyoto Protocol of December 1997 places legally binding limits on greenhouse gas emissions. The protocol aims to reduce emissions from developing countries to approximately 95% of their 1990 levels by the 2008 to 2012 timeframe.

Air Pollution
ir pollution from vehicles, power plants, incinerators and industry is a major problem in Asia. Outdated pollution control technology and the use of high polluting fuels compound this problem.

Health. Nine of the fifteen cities with the highest particulate levels in the world and six out of the fifteen cities worst affected by sulfur dioxide are in East Asia. Air pollution in China caused more that 175,000 premature deaths in 1995 and nearly 2 million cases of chronic bronchitis. Damage to health and buildings cost Bangkok $1B annually, while air pollution in Delhi decreased crop yields by 30%.

Cross-impacts. Air pollution, in the form of acid rain, can be transported hundreds of miles by wind before being deposited through fog, rain or snow. The acidic deposition damages buildings, degrades the environment and reduces crop yields. In India, wheat growing near a power plant suffered a 49% reduction in yield compared with that grown 22 kilometers away.

Transnational interest. South Korea and Japan are concerned about economic and health effects of airborne pollutants and acid rain from coal burning power plants in nearby China. China's heavy use of air-polluting coal blurs the distinction between domestic economics and transnational threats.

Technology. The developed countries have dramatically reduced the amount of pollutant emissions in the last 20 years through the implementation of new technologies. Widespread use of these proven technologies in developing and advanced Asian economies, coupled with cleaner burning fuels such as unleaded gasoline, natural gas and low sulfur coal can reduce total emissions regardless of rising energy consumption. Implications for Cooperation Since trade has a significant effect on environmental conditions, the World Trade Organization (WTO) is making efforts to address these problems in a multilateral forum. Also, the APEC forum is discussing environmental policy, technologies, sustainability, and education and information.

Countries are increasingly participating in global and regional conventions on atmosphere and oceans, protection of wildlife and habitat, and the handling of hazardous substances. The United Nations and the World Bank are providing aid through the Global Environment Facility (GEF) for countries suffering from spillover pollution of neighboring countries.
  • Fledgling regional organizations are develop a dialog for resolving contentious issues by discussing environmental management; nature conservation; industrial, marine, and urban settings; and education, training, and information.
  • Among these organizations are ASEAN, the South Asia Cooperative Environment Program (SACEP), the South Pacific Regional Environment Program (SPREP), and the Lower Mekong Basin Development Environment Program (LMBDEP). The latter organization links economic cooperation and development in Laos, Vietnam and Thailand, addresses food and power production, flood control, and navigation in the lower Mekong River basin.
Environmental issues are an underlying—and often neglected—cause for conflicts, disasters, or dislocations. Militaries in the region may be called upon not only to resolve conflicts, but—like the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers—to use their organizational skills and resources to address both crisis relief and long-term issues of security and infrastructure. Further—at the micro-economic level—each country's military faces a broad array of environmental challenges from the impact of their infrastructure and operations. The U.S. military is highly skilled in confronting these challenges. By sharing these environmental security practices with other countries, the U.S. military promotes good governance and sets an example for reducing environmental threats.


6 Things You Should Know About Candle Making: A Greener Way

I just wanna share with you this article i have come across while browsing on how to start candle making as home business. To be honest, i have no idea that candle making posses a threat to our environment. Here is the full article:

"Did you know that the candles you are burning could be harming the environment or worse, you and your family, especially if they contain lead core wicks? Before lighting or buying another candle be sure to read the research information we have gathered and find out why our soy candles are a healthier, greener choice.
  • Soy wax burns cleaner resulting in less toxins for you, your children and pets to breathe, not to mention not damaging your home with black soot all over walls, ceilings, drapes, carpets, furniture and electronics
  • Soy wax is non-toxic and over time it won’t harm the environment making soy candles a “greener” choice
  • Soy wax burns cooler providing a 20% - 50% longer burn time so you get more for your money
  • Stronger scent throw cold and while burning means a more prominent scent throughout your home or office
  • Soy beans are a renewable resource and are grown in the USA which support american farmers and the american economy
  • Soy wax will clean up with soap and hot water
Based on our research we believe that Soy Wax is a better, safer alternative t paraffin waz candles. While many may argue the facts, we still feel that since paraffin wax comes from petroleum or slack wax if you will, which is the left over sludge from making fuel and oil which contains toxins. Slack Wax is very toxic in its rare form and paraffin wax is made from refining slack wax. Although the refining process reduces the toxins to FDA "Safe Levels", paraffin in abundance and over time could still pollute the environment and be dangerous to our health. True, paraffin wax is biodegradable but its what it leaves behind that's the problem. Before making your next candle purchase please visit our Soy Facts page to help you form your own opinions regarding soy and paraffin waxes."

I hope this article will reach to people who are fond of making candles either as a hobby or as business. We will go hand in hand in protecting and saving our environment for our children and children's future! Please send this article to all your friends who are making candles.

By choosing Soy Candles you are helping the future of our environment. Are you doing your part?

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