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Thursday, March 20, 2014

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Feng Shui Tips for Rainy Days


spring daffodils

We are all ready to say goodbye to this long, long cold winter! Spring brings bursts of colors! Tulips of ruby red, daffodils in screaming yellow and the vibrant greens of young grass will begin the celebration of this season-bring it on!

Although we dream of sun kissed days and warm gentle breezes we are entering the season of rain. April brings grey clouds, drizzles and downpours and often makes travel uncomfortable but rain is a blessing that should be embraced. Fresh water is one of our most precious resources. In many parts of the world our water supply is drying up so fast that experts wonder how to bring fresh water to the parched mouths of humanity today and in the future.

The Wood element is the energy of spring and represents rebirth, renewal and fresh beginnings. What a perfect time to think of rain as the gift of emotional healing and the nourishment needed to create a new chapter in your life. Take your personal message from this integral part of the cycles of Mother Earth. Think about how the natural world responds to rainy weather as the animals get cozy in their nests and early blossoms close in tranquility.

Spend a day or two at home. Open your window and listen to the rhythmic patter of raindrops as you feel your connection to nature. A rain storm changes the energy so this is a great time to start your spring cleaning! Wash, wipe, dust and get rid of that clutter in your home and in your office. This makes good sense and great Feng Shui! Remember to recycle and donate whenever possible. Now you are on your way to bringing new and wonderful experiences and opportunities into your life.

In Feng Shui the Wood (spring) energy is associated with the color green. I call it a pillow for the eyes as it is the most restful color for us to look at. Like a walk through a forest, it fosters feelings of balance, harmony and hope.

Feng Shui Tips for Rainy Days

  • Bring nature indoors with a houseplant. Indoor trees and plants are not only pleasurable to look at but they bring us additional health benefits. Plants purify the air through tiny pores in their leaves that act as air filters.
  • Turn up the music! The vibrations clear out the old energy and make room for new energy. Play music that makes you happy, and smile. Studies have shown that smiling improves your health, your stress level and your attractiveness!
  • Have a cup of Herbal Tea. Try Spicy Orange, Chamomile or Peppermint to enhance those quiet moments!
  • Listen to a guided meditation CD. This is a great way to alleviate stress and lower blood pressure. Studies show that meditation can even renew damaged DNA!
  • In your personal journal make a list of all of the things in your life that you are grateful for-so uplifting!

Debra Duneier is a Feng Shui Master Practitioner, Certified Eco-Designer, accredited LEED® Green Associate, award winning Author of EcoChi: Designing the Human Experience and Reality TV Feng Shui expert on Veria Network’s “Natural Reboot.” www.ecochi.com

related: more articles from Feng Shui expert Debra Duneier on The Alternative Consumer

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Monday, March 17, 2014

Eco-News Roundup


plant grows in the desert

  • I start this week’s eco-news roundup with an article about a study conducted by the University of Leeds showing that global warming of only 2 degrees Celsius will lead to reduced crop yields from the 2030s onward. This study shows us that “crop yields will be negatively affected by climate change much earlier than expected.” “The impact will be greatest in the second half of the century, when decreases of over 25% will become increasingly common.” Learn more about the study and read the article here: physorg.com
  • Next we have an article about the negative effects of global warming on fisheries. Global warming “affects chlorophyll production which is vital for phytoplankton,” which is a main food source for shrimp and sardine. Ocean acidification is also a consequence of global warming which leads to “less shelled organisms and less food for fish” and disruption of the oceans’ food chains. Read more about the fisheries and climate change here: guardianlv.com
  • A third article discusses a study that says “climate change is accelerating Greenland’s ice loss.” Most of us know that global warming has led to the accelerated melting of ice, but this new study has proven that “ice loss in a region of Greenland’s massive ice sheet that scientists had previously believed was stable has actually tripled in the last decade.” Read more about this surprising and unfortunate news here: time.com
  • And to wrap-up on a positive note, the United Arab Emirates is hosting (more…)
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Saturday, March 15, 2014

Businesses Doing Their Bit for the Environment


As consumers we are often trying to find ways to improve the way we go about practices in our homes – not only for the good of the environment, but also for our wallets. However it isn’t just us who are doing this, as businesses both big and small are also getting in on the action. We thought it would be interesting to highlight a few examples of this so you can see how society as a whole is coming together to tackle the issues that make green living a necessity.

Tata Steel
One of the world’s top ten steel producers, Tata Steel, has an entire section on their website about sustainability. As a company with approximately 80,000 employees across five continents, they have a good amount of knowledge especially due to their industry. They have helped to explain the concept of sustainability, identified driving factors behind why sustainability needs to exist, and they have outlined a number of key themes that other businesses can use in order to follow processes better. Most of these are to do with construction and production, which actually contribute to a large percentage of energy consumption on a national basis – therefore it is good to know that it is being taken seriously.

renault hq

Renault, JLR, Nissan and Toyota
The Guardian recently published an article on Europe’s automotive industry which makes for some interesting reading. Some of the big names in the industry are coming up with ways to drive sustainability through remanufacturing and materials innovation – this makes plenty of sense when you consider the sector’s heavy reliance on raw materials. Renault’s Choisy-le-Roi factory has been doing this in some respect since 1949, but they have most recently started doing this with turbo compressors. According to the company, one remanufactured part uses 80 percent less energy, 88 percent less water, 92 percent fewer chemicals, and generates 70 percent less waste production compared to a new part.

cars in traffic

Colibri (Innovative Mobility Automobile)
Also in the automotive sector is a new car that you might not have heard of before. In Jena, Germany, the Colibri made a debut prior to it going into commercial production this year. This is one to note as it is said to have zero CO2 emissions and low energy consumption, making it the greenest car on the market. This is something that consumers can truly appreciate as it will be something they can use themselves if it is of interest. Named after the world’s smallest bird, it is clear that the car won’t be suitable for a full family of people, but it could be ideal for one-person city trips whether for commuting or delivering items.

Of course, there are many other businesses out there who have taken measures to ‘go green’ – these are just a selection of them. We’d love to hear from other companies and the techniques they use to be more sustainable and eco-friendly, regardless of how little or large the gesture is.

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Monday, March 10, 2014

Eco-News Roundup


planet Earth in landfill

  • First up in recent environmental news – China will toughen its environmental laws to target polluters with possible penalties, suspensions, or shutdowns of those polluting. However, these punishments towards polluters have been met with skepticism as no legal reforms have been implemented to back these statements up. Read more about China’s “war on pollution.
  • Even with 97% of climate scientists agreeing that “carbon emissions are dangerously heating up the planet” and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warming that “it’s 95% likely that most of the temperature rise since 1950 is due to greenhouse gases and deforestation” there are still adamant climate change deniers. This problem is “at its worst in the Anglo-Saxon world” because we don’t have to bear the costs of the coming climate change just yet and corporate interests influence these climate change deniers. Read more about corporate influence and climate change deniers in this article from the Guardian.
  • I don’t know if many of you have heard, but during an oil drilling operation in northern Ecuador, it was alleged that Chevron deliberately dumped “billions of gallons of toxic wastewater and spilled roughly 17 million gallons of oil in the rivers and streams of the once-pristine (Amazon) forest.” The consequence was “a severe public health crisis amongst the indigenous people and farmers of the region” in the form of “cancer, birth defects, and disease.” (more…)
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Tuesday, March 4, 2014

BioBag: the green plastic bag for food, yard and pet waste


Biobags

Did you know that less than 2% of plastic bags get recycled? How about this: Regular plastic bags often take over 100 years to degrade. Though cheap and convenient, plastic bags fill our streets, waterways, and landfills, and often do not ever become plastic bags again (even if recycled).

biobags for waste

BioBag is a company that provides bags and films for the collection of organic (food, yard and pet) waste for the purpose of composting. Unlike your typical plastic bags which are made from polyethylene/polypropylene-based plastic, BioBags are created from an entirely unique material – a resin derived from plant starches, vegetable oils, and compostable polymers from renewable raw materials and fossil raw materials – a material called Mater-Bi. It can be readily composted (more…)

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Monday, March 3, 2014

This Past Week in Eco-News


plant grows in the desert

  • With California facing extreme drought conditions, the rain this past weekend has been met with relief. However, this rain will not get California completely out of the drought it is facing. To create more drinking water the state is building a new facility in Carlsbad, calling it “the largest seawater desalination plant in the Western Hemisphere.” This plant will be finished in early 2016 and is expected to “provide up to 50 million gallons of fresh drinkable water every day.” The plant – which will cost $1 billion dollars – is “drought-proof” and will help alleviate San Diego’s and the rest of California’s need to import water. Read more at: npr.org
  • Ocean acidification is taking a toll on marine life everywhere, and now its effects have claimed about three years worth of the scallop population in British Columbia. The waters of the Georgia Strait have “increased so dramatically that the PH levels have dropped from 8.2 to 7.3 in the past year.” Weather.com has a great article outlining the impact this event and the effects ocean acidification could have on the U.S. oyster industry.
  • “Experts are more certain than ever that human activity is changing the global climate” and the U.S National Academy of Science with the United Kingdom’s Royal Society hope to move the debate about climate change away from (more…)
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