Archives for posts with tag: health
Please stop smoking, it's good for you and the environment! :)

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The detrimental health effects of cigarettes in relation to the body of a smoker are well known, and are actually printed on most advertising and packaging. There is even research that suggests the smoke that is exhaled can have adverse heath effects on people, children, and pets that are in the immediate area. One area that is not often considered, however, is the environmental impact that the entire process of smoking has on the planet and its population.

The amount of resources that are spent in order to produce a pack of cigarettes is much higher than some other products. The agricultural methods that are used to produce tobacco use an excessive amount of water and deplete the nutrients in large areas for many years. The plants themselves sometimes have negative reactions with surrounding fields, making it impossible to integrate the crop. The genetic engineering that is involved in creating drought and disease resistant tobacco plants has also caused problems with germination in surrounding areas.

A single cigarette requires paper that is produced from trees, and the filters are made in such a way so that when a smoker is done, the filter still contains many of the thousands of chemicals that are produced. Cigarette butts account for a large percentage of the waste from many countries and can take up to 25 years to decompose. When improperly disposed of, the butts can be consumed by animals in the environment and can cause intestinal blockages. Even after the butts have broken down into component parts, the chemicals from the treated tobacco can contaminate an area so it is unhealthy for habitation.

There are few immediate solutions for many of these problems. Campaigns to reduce or stop smoking are the most effective way to prevent damage to the environment and to people. Advanced agricultural methods can help reduce the water and energy needed to grow tobacco, and new materials can make cigarette filters that are recyclable, although without strong governmental regulations the chemicals they contain can still be harmful.

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recycle juice containers

Well ex-squeeze me!!!!

Processed orange juice is convenient and relatively good for you, but it harms the environment in many ways. Here are some of the reasons why processed juices aren’t green…

1. Fuel: Manufacturers often transport orange juice hundreds or thousands of miles. The oranges or concentrate may come from Canada, Brazil or another country.

2. Packaging: Most processed juices come in plastic or cardboard packages. Many people don’t recycle the containers, and they end up in landfills or incinerators. Plastic production requires oil and leads to additional drilling. Cardboard harms the environment through increased logging.

3. Water: It takes 44.2 gallons of water to produce one cup of processed orange juice, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. One reason is that evaporation is required to concentrate juices.

4. Pesticide: Compared to most other foods, farmers use more pesticide and fungicide to grow oranges. Pesticides often cause unintended harm to animals and insects that do not threaten crops.

Sometimes they also find their way into fruit juices. Traces of fungicide were found in products from Brazil during December 2011, according to Bloomberg News. Studies have found that this type of fungicide may cause liver tumors in animals.

These practices damage the environment by promoting extinction, pollution and desertification. This is unsustainable, and it may eventually harm the orange growers as well. Fortunately, there are some relatively green ways to make or obtain fruit juices…

A. Buy oranges and make your own. If possible, compost the peels.
B. Purchase it in a large container that you can easily recycle.
C. To reduce pesticide and fuel use, obtain organic or local products.

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Remember Audi’s 2010 Superbowl ad portraying “Green Police” engaging in quasi gestapo tactics, hauling away citizens not properly recycling? The marketing executives at Audi may have been more on the cutting edge than we know.

Though the ad mocks government intervention in the everyday lives of citizens, it is actually targeted to a green conscious audience. The automobile being featured is diesel powered but boasts lower emissions than gasoline fueled vehicles.

Audi’s depiction is an increasing reality. In Dayton, Ohio, the city has equipped each resident’s trash bin with a type of tracking chip which catalogs what residents are putting in the bin, according to FOX News. Other cities, including Flint, Michigan, Cleveland, Ohio and Boise, Idaho are tracking their citizen’s refuse. Call it the trash police.

In fact, the city of Cleveland actually issues $100 fine for homes that do not meet the municipality’s recycling guidelines.

Like any other story, the trash police scenario has more than one side. There are benefits to such monitoring but those benefits may be outweighed by the cost of privacy concerns.

* The “Green” Argument

Cities are engaging in these new enforcement provisions to reduce costs. For instance, not sorting your trash means a trip to the landfill. The landfill isn’t infinite. Eventually, the landfill will be full.

Cities looking to cut costs can find revenue savings by cutting down on having to sort trash. Separating glass, plastics and other materials makes the conversion from refuse to reusable material more simple. That reduces not only time but cost.

Moreover, any tracking devices cities use tell them useful information. It helps them identify habits. That translates into marketing revenue. It also means green conscious residents will qualify for rebates. Those rebates encourage other citizens to become more prudent in separating their trash.

* The “Privacy” Argument

Of course, with any government tracking comes concerns about privacy. The social website Facebook has come under fire from both private citizens, elected officials and consumer rights advocacy groups for its “tracking” of subscribers.

The same concern goes for tracking trash. Call it the “slippery slope” phenomenon. Privacy rights organizations and advocates believe once any government engages in keeping tabs on its citizenry, there is little recourse. Moreover, once instituted, tracking becomes more wide spread to other facets.

The bottom line is recycling is not only environmentally responsible, it does reduce costs. The trick is to balance public stewardship with personal rights.

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