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Thursday, 28 June 2012

61 Benefits of Bicycling

  1. On-going use of a bicycle has virtually NO carbon footprint.
  2. You will be a leader in your community.
  3. Bicycles increase mobility for those who don't have access to motor transport.
  4. Bikes increase mobility for those who don't qualify to drive a car.
  5. Bicycles increase mobility for those who can't afford motor transport.
  6. Bikes increase mobility for those who don't want to drive motor vehicles.
  7. Bicycles increase mobility for some people with arthritis, back problems and other mobility issues.
  8. Bicycling can be faster than walking, transit or motor vehicles.
  9. Bicycling is the most energy efficient form of transportation ever invented.
  10. You get healthy exercise from bicycling.
  11. Save travel money by biking. If the switch is from a car this includes purchase price, gas, tires, fluids, insurance, maintenance, washing, parking, etc.
  12. Reduce stress by bicycling.
  13. Biking is therapeutic for the mind and spirit -- is fun and can make you happy.
  14. Cycling is therapeutic for the cardio-vascular system, live healthier.
  15. Regular cycling provides better muscle tone, bone mass improvement, clearer skin
  16. Regular bicycling helps with personal weight management -- new full-time bicycle commuters can expect to lose an average 13 pounds their first year of bicycle commuting if they maintain the same eating habits.
  17. Bicycling is a great initial activity for people who are obese and help them on their way to a healthier life.
  18. Regular cycling can lead to lower health care expenses -- save money for a nicer vacation.
  19. Allows the rider to appreciate the more of the nuances of the natural and built environment around them.
  20. Your commute will be the best part of your day instead of the worst part of your day.
  21. The exercise increase your productivity at work
  22. Cycling improves your self-esteem.
  23. Primary school students will thing you are "cool" or "hip" or "neat" or "rad" or whatever the current term is.  In time even older people might come to appreciate your leadership.
  24. Save on the membership to a health club, get your exercise bicycling to work, school, shopping, etc.
  25. Bicycling is nearly a life-long activity.
  26. Bicycling is a great full family and friends activity.
  27. Cycling is low impact on the body.
  28. Cycling is low impact on the environment
  29. Bicycling in your neighborhood is a great way to meet your neighbors and build community.
  30. Camaraderie of cyclists makes it a great way to meet a nice stranger with a similar interest.
  31. Bicyclist can ignore the highway traffic jam reports.
  32. Feel the satisfaction (liberation, freedom) of biking past a traffic jam in the bike lane.
  33. Predictable commute time.
  34. Easier parking.
  35. Cheaper parking.
  36. Leaving your car at home provide a parking space for someone less fortunate.
  37. If you are lazy, your bicycle provides door-to-door transport (you don't have to walk across a vast parking lot).
  38. Reduces the demand for new roads and paving the earth with asphalt and concrete.
  39. Reduces the demand for parking lots and paving the earth.
  40. Reduces energy consumption (see below).
  41. Reduces air pollution -- bicyclist emit few poisonous gases. A four mile bicycle trip keeps about 15 pounds of pollutants out of the air we breathe.
  42. Reduces greenhouse gas emissions.
  43. Reduces water pollution -- bikes don't drip brake fluid, anti-freeze, transmission fluid, toxic dust, etc.
  44. Reduces noise pollution -- even without a muffler bikes are quiet, creating a quieter community.
  45. Reduces road wear -- even if cyclist feel like they have the weight of the world on their shoulders.
  46. Reduces deforestation for planting of rubber plantations and bio-fuel crops, because bicycles use very little rubber and fuel/lubricants.
  47. Reduces crime -- a huge amount of crime is associated with access to motor vehicles.
  48. Reduces road kill and saves animals.
  49. Demonstrates a concern for the future -- walk (ride) your talk.
  50. Prevent and protest the sanctioned murder of innocent responsible citizens (homicide by motor-vehicle).
  51. Bikes small profile reduces congestion.
  52. Easy to vary your route by bicycle.
  53. Increased bike use generates bike facilities which increase property values.
  54. Bicycling gives you more fresh air than a sauna and you can still sweat and clean your pores
  55. Bike Commuting is a license to dress weird and still feel smug.
  56. Urban cycling keeps you humble.
  57. Bicycling can be enjoyed in a wide variety of topography.
  58. Cycling can be enjoyed in a wide variety of climates
  59. Bicycles are a great means to see the world.
  60. Bicycling is cool.
  61. Biking Is Fun.
(Source: ibike.org)

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Tips for Recycling Household Furniture

We love our homes and we love making them by creating the feel of our space with furniture to reflect our style. As we grow out of what we have, though, or it gets worn out, most of us throw our old furniture into the landfill.

By both recycling our old digs, sprucing up those we want to keep and buying used pieces when we crave new ones, we are opting out of the energy-intensive furniture supply chain.

If there’s any hope, revive your furniture with some updated upholstery or a snazzy new paint job (using eco-friendly paint, of course). Chairs are the most common piece of furniture thrown away. To revamp them:
  • Seats are usually screwed on, so simply unscrew them. 
  • Remove the fabric (making sure the foam is still good).
  • Use a staple gun to cover it in the remnant or organic fabric of choice.
If you need to get rid of it, recycle it through reuse. To give or sell your own furniture to others, you can go to:
  • Craigslist: A site where you can scope out opportunities to buy new and free furniture in its “for sale” listings. Also try Ebay.
  • Freecycle: Creates localized lists where you can track what people in your neighborhood are giving away for free.
  • Donate: Your furniture will be a great addition to Goodwill or Salvation Army, and you can receive a tax deduction.
  • Garage Sale: This is a great thing to do when you feel the “spring cleaning” bug coming on. You can also tell your friends and neighbors that you have items to sell and give them first choice.
If reuse doesn’t work out, or the item is beyond repair, recycle it. Check with your local curbside program for bulk days to find a recycling location.

(Source: earth911.com)

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Water conservation at home

1. Check faucets and pipes for leaks
A small drip from a worn faucet washer can waste 20 gallons of water per day. Larger leaks can waste hundreds of gallons.

2. Don't use the toilet as an ashtray or wastebasket
Every time you flush a cigarette butt, facial tissue or other small bit of trash, five to seven gallons of water is wasted.

3. Check your toilets for leaks
Put a little food coloring in your toilet tank. If, without flushing, the color begins to appear in the bowl within 30 minutes, you have a leak that should be repaired immediately. Most replacement parts are inexpensive and easy to install.

4. Use your water meter to check for hidden water leaks
Read the house water meter before and after a two-hour period when no water is being used. If the meter does not read exactly the same, there is a leak.

5. Install water-saving shower heads and low-flow faucet aerators
water-saving low-flow shower heads or restrictors are easy for the homeowner to install. Also, long, hot showers can use five to ten gallons every unneeded minute. Limit your showers to the time it takes to soap up, wash down and rinse off. "Low-flow" means it uses less than 2.5 gallons per minute.

6. Put plastic bottles or float booster in your toilet tank
To cut down on water waste, put an inch or two of sand or pebbles inside each of two plastic bottles to weigh them down. Fill the bottles with water, screw the lids on, and put them in your toilet tank, safely away from the operating mechanisms. Or, buy an inexpensive
tank bank or float booster. This may save ten or more gallons of water per day.

Be sure at least 3 gallons of water remain in the tank so it will flush properly. If there is not enough water to get a proper flush, users will hold the lever down too long or do multiple flushes to get rid of waste. Two flushings at 1.4 gallons is worse than a single 2.0 gallon flush. A better suggestion would be to buy an
adjustable toilet flapper that allow for adjustment of their per flush use.  Then the user can adjust the flush rate to the minimum per flush setting that achieves a single good flush each time.

For new installations, consider buying "low flush" toilets, which use 1 to 2 gallons per flush instead of the usual 3 to 5 gallons.

Replacing an 18 liter per flush toilet with an ultra-low volume (ULV) 6 liter flush model represents a 70% savings in water flushed and will cut indoor water use by about 30%.

7. Insulate your water pipes.
It's easy and inexpensive to
insulate your water pipes with pre-slit foam pipe insulation. You'll get hot water faster plus avoid wasting water while it heats up.

8. Take shorter showers.
One way to cut down on water use is to turn off the shower after soaping up, then turn it back on to rinse. A four-minute shower uses approximately 20 to 40 gallons of water.

9. Turn off the water after you wet your toothbrush
There is no need to keep the water running while brushing your teeth. Just wet your brush and fill a glass for mouth rinsing.

10. Rinse your razor in the sink
Fill the sink with a few inches of warm water. This will rinse your razor just as well as running water, with far less waste of water.

11. Use your dishwasher and clothes washer for only full loads
Automatic dishwashers and clothes washers should be fully loaded for optimum water conservation. Most makers of dishwashing soap recomend not pre-rinsing dishes which is a big water savings.
With clothes washers, avoid the permanent press cycle, which uses an added 20 liters (5 gallons) for the extra rinse. For partial loads, adjust water levels to match the size of the load. Replace old clothes washers. New Energy Star rated washers use 35 - 50% less water and 50% less energy per load. If you're in the market for a new clothes washer, consider buying a water-saving
frontload washer.

12. Minimize use of kitchen sink garbage disposal units
In-sink 'garburators' require lots of water to operate properly, and also add considerably to the volume of solids in a septic tank which can lead to maintenance problems. Start a
compost pile as an alternate method of disposing food waste.

13. When washing dishes by hand, don't leave the water running for rinsing
If your have a double-basin, fill one with soapy water and one with rinse water. If you have a single-basin sink, gather washed dishes in a dish rack and rinse them with a spray device or a panful of hot water.
Dual-swivel aerators are available to make this easier. If using a dishwasher, there is usually no need to pre-rinse the dishes.

14. Don't let the faucet run while you clean vegetables
Just rinse them in a stoppered sink or a pan of clean water. Use a
dual-setting aerator.

15. Keep a bottle of drinking water in the fridge.
Running tap water to cool it off for drinking water is wasteful. Store drinking water in the fridge in a
safe drinking bottle. If you are filling water bottles to bring along on outdoor hikes, consider buying a personal water filter which enables users to drink water safely from rivers or lakes or any available body of water.

(Source: eartheasy.com)