The end? Or just the beginning?

Today marks the beginning of my hiatus from environmental blogging.

Have no fear: I am not wondering far. Instead, check out my newest blog, Kevinaroundtheworld.blogspot.com, in January to follow me as I circumnavigate planet Earth. Starting in the Bahamas, I will be traveling to Puerto Rico, Brazil, South Africa, Mauritius, India, Malaysia, Vietnam, China, Japan, Hawaii, Costa Rica and returning to Miama, FL as part of the Semester at Sea Progam.

I can’t wait to see the world, and I hope you can join me.

Sincerely,
Kevin

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’tis the season to be greener

The phrase “kill 2 birds with 1 stone” comes to mind– but on a blog concerned for the environment, that might not be the best choice.

 Let’s just say that you can: buy a unique Christmas gift AND do your part to “save the world.”

Check out some of this season’s more greener items, and see if you can’t spread some holiday cheer!

Kill a Watt

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We buy appliances everyday and have no idea how much electricity it is actually costing us. That new gift may look cool, but how much energy is it sucking away? And what is it doing to your electricity bill? The Kill a Watt allows you to plug it in to an electric wall outlet, and then plug your appliance into that. The Kill a Watt then tells you exactly how much energy you’re using. If you leave it on, it will count killowatt-hours. I wonder what’s worse: the new HD TV, or your constantly running fridge. ($24.99)

Solio Hybrid 1000

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About the size of a remote control, the Solio Hybrid 1000 allows you to charge a normal cell phone with 10-12 hours of direct sunlight. It’s perfect for a hiker or outdoorsman also, who just may never be near electricity! If you have no sun available, the Solio also charges via a computer’s USB port. ($79.95)

 Hydrocar

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You never know when the kids want to go “green.” Ths Hydrocar is a toy car that contains a fuel cell and runs on hydrogen gas. The fuel cell splits water into hydrogen and oxygen with direct sunlight. If your kid is a future-engineer: the car requries set-up for a fully functioning automobile! ($85)

ZipCar Gift Certificate

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Last post, I discussed the ZipCar program. Don’t forget to buy your friend, especially those in college, a ZipCar membership or gift certificate. The ZipCar allows those living in urband areas to “rent” a car by the hour, starting at $5/hour, for quick errands and trips. For the extra environmentally friendly, many of these cars are hybrids. It’s a great alternative if a bike can’t do the trick.

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The ZipCar

  Below, I report on the newest car rental company that attempts to deal with urban living and the impact of automobiles. 

 For more information, you can log-on to www.zipcar.com

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For Earth’s sake, don’t divorice!

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 Around the world, divorce rates have been increasing. Now, one expert proclaims divorcing is not being resourceful! 

According to Jianguo Liu, an ecologist at Michigan State University, Americans spend an extra $3.6 billion annually on water as a result of extra households created when people divorce.

“A married household actually uses resources more efficeintly than a divoriced household.”

Need examples? A household uses the same amount of heat or AC no matter if there are 2 or 4 people living in it. One person or several people will use just one refigerator. And two people in two seperate houses will cause 2 dishwashers to run. Two people share the same stove, watch the same TV, listen to the same radio and use the same lights.

The impact is big.

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In 2005, there were 16.5 million divorced people who headed their own household. This means $6.9 billion in extra utility costs annually, in addition to the extra $3.6 billion for water.

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Liu also studied other countries. By looking at 11 of them, which included Brazil, Greece, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Mexico and South Africa, he determined married couples could have saved energy. In fact,  he determined there could have been a million fewer housholds using water and energy in the 11 countries.

All the research was funded by the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health and the Michigan Agricultural Experiement Station.

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A picture is worth 1,000 words.


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A picture of one of the Maldive Islands in the Indian Ocean. Rising sea levels threaten areas like this, as well as coastal cities in the U.S.

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 Penguins such as these are some of the first to be effected by melting ice glaziers. Their friends, the polar bears, are also experiencing the same. Their numbers are decreasing to an all-time low.

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 Animals aren’t the only ones being effected by climate change. Inhabitants like this Inuit in Alaska worry about their future, and their children. Fishing patterns, for instance, are shifting and making living that much more difficult.

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 A hurricans rips through a small town. Changing climate patterns have brought on some sudden weather patterns, some of them ending in catastrophe.

 

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Awkward in the White House

The Whitehouse hasn’t seen awkward since President Clinton got down and dirty with the interns.

But, alas, awkward has revisited again. 

 Al Gore was invited by former rival and favorite environmental-ignorer George W. Bush to his Pennsylvania Avenue home, a.k.a., the White House .

 How’s that for a party??

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 It was all part of a recognition party for the Nobel Prize winners.

 CNN had the Oval Office play-by-play: 

“The two men stood next to other, sharing uncomfortable grins for photographers and reporters, who were quickly ushered in and out.

‘Familiar faces,’ the former vice president said of the media. Bush, still smiling, added nothing.”

 

Bush and Gore met for 40-minutes, although Whitehouse spokesmen declined to comment what the meeting was about. Gore, however, disclosed that the entire meeting was devoted to the topic of global warming.  OOoooo.

Call me crazy, but I don’t think Gore and Bush saved the planet in one 40-minute session.

So those of you worried about rising sea water taking over your backyard– there’s no need to worry. George booked almost a FULL HOUR in his day-planner to solve the problem!  It’s getting cooler already.

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Students find a seat

At University of California, instead of focusing on normal college things (sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll), they’re thinking about the environment (namely, trees).

 Who says we’re not the generation that will change the world?

 Students at UC-Berkley are protesting the potential athletic center that is heading for right smack-dab in the middle of an oak grove.

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They’re not monkeys, but the students are spending up to a week literally sitting on the tall branches of the oak trees. Their friends come by and hoist water and food up to them. This, believe it or not, has been going on for a year!

Last month a judge ruled that they had the legal write to remove the protestors. The thought has brought on a rampage of online-suggestions for their removal: tranquilizers, skunk spray and fire hoses. So far, the University has only put up a chain-link fence.

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The students wear masks and provide fake names to authorities and journalists. In fact, one tree-sitting student “Dumpster Muffin” said she feels “awesome.”

Saving the environment is not all fun and games, however. Two students have broken several bones from falls.

Broken bones? It’s all relative when it comes to preserving the future, right?

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