Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Is the World Series Green?

With the start of the World Series today also basketball season starting yesterday and this being the only time of the year when all 4 major sports are in swing. I wanted to take a look at sporting events form an environmental point of view. The act of attending a sporting event is not a very green activity in general since it is just for entertainment purposes only and is not a necessary part of our lives. But millions of people attend these events year after year and the gnome likes them to. Sports play a very important part in millions of lives and contribute to the economic and mental stability of several cities world wide. So with that being said here some things you can do when you go to the ballpark that will lessen the environmental impact of attending them:

1. Take public transportation.

2. Don't eat any meat products while at the event(the Gnome will cover why meat is not green in later post).

3. Make sure all your trash ends up the stadium recycling bins.

4. If your drinking beer or soda bring your cup back and have them refill it.

5. Use GoJo or any other waterless hand washing soap use it when going to bathroom (that is if your stadium has them).

If you do all these things you can have pretty environmental guilt free day at the ballpark or event. Also if your local stadium is not recycling or does not have a Green Initiatives program like the new Yankees stadium then write a letter demanding that your stadium do more for the environment. The gnome will talk more in later post about what more stadium owners and event organizers can do to really make all events super green.


Monday, October 26, 2009

Going Green: Avoiding Asbestos

Going green used to be considered expensive and a luxury for those who could afford the trend. Now it appears that we are learning that not only is adopting more environmentally conscious attitudes good for our economic situation, but also our health? yes, if we dig a bit deeper we can see that dirty industries and backwards policy is actually harming the health of the earth for our children and the health of her inhabitants today.

There are two levels of health consequences associated with dirty industry, both direct and indirect. The direct consequences are examples like increased asthma rates in areas with high smog indices. Chlorofluorocarbon release into the atmosphere has shown to decrease the filter of direct sunlight on the planet, resulting in more concentrated ultraviolet light reaching the surface of the earth. Perhaps it is no surprise then that in countries with depleted atmospheric gas, shin cancer rates are among the highest in the world.

The indirect health consequences are harder to see immediately, but closer examination reveals that these are, in fact perhaps the most hazardous. Bi-products of dirty and backwards industries, such as coal and oil processing, include cancer causing substances like asbestos and benzene. A U.K. study conducted in 2002 indicated that coal and oil industry workers are at much higher risk OK developing mesothelioma and leukemia.

Can we really afford to continue on the path we were on before? Investment in clean industry means not a healthier planet for our children and grandchildren, but also a healthier place for us to live today.

---This is a guest post by James O'Shea with the maacenter

If you want know more goto

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Kill the Vampires in Your Home

That's right there are vampires in your home! Not the blood sucking vamps you see on Twilight or Trueblood. These are energy vampires items in your home that suck energy while not in use or in stand-bye mode. This is also known as phantom draw or phantom load. These are items are usually electronic devices like your cable box, flat screen TV, cell phone chargers, computer, and ect. While turned off these items account for about 10-15% of your total annual energy use. So that means you are paying $150-$300 per year just to have your electronic devices in your home plugged IN and not in use. The home of 2009 uses about 5x more energy than a home of the 50's.

This is all great to know, but the question is how do we kill all the energy vampires in your home. Well here are some ways to do just that:

1. Have all your energy supplied by a renewable source: If you have all your energy needs supplied by solar, wind or some other renewable source then you have no worries. But if you have gone threw the trouble to do this you have probably put in all the devices necessary to kill your vampire draw. If you haven't you should because this lessening the load on your renewable system and could mean money in your pocket if you are still tied into the grid and get a rebate from your power company for the energy you put back on the grid.

2. Just unplug your vamps while not in use: This is the easiest and cheapest way to handle the problem, but is a pain and is just not practical for most people. No one wants to take 10-15 mins out of there day just to plug and unplug all there electronic devices in their home.

3. Install energy smart power strips: Energy smart power strips(pictured to the left) allow you just plug in your vampire devices and the strip recognizes when the device is not in use and cuts the power to them. More of these types of devices are coming on the market every day and come on many sizes, shapes, and prices. They can range anywhere from $15-$100 it just depends on the make and model. The type that most people would need runs about $20-$30 and is sold at most major retail chains. This is the cheapest and most convenient way for most people to get rid of the phantom draw.

4. Install a Greenswitch system: Greenswitch puts you in custom control of your electricity usage. With Greenswitch, you designate which outlets and lights are affected and you set the personal settings for your programmable climate control. Single-control outlets let you customize each outlet, allowing you, for example, to turn off the TV in one plug while keeping the digital video recorder in the other socket of the same outlet on and recording. You can also set your system up in zones, where one switch powers down your living area when you retire and another switch controls the home office that is used late into the night. This system also ties into your heating and cooling systems allowing you shut every thing off with one switch when you leave the house. This system is wireless and is great for large homes. The only down fall is that this is the second most expensive way to get rid of your vamps.(#1 is going renewable). If you want to know more just hit this link or you can look to the Internet for ways to get ride of phantom draws in your home.

If you do any of these things you can kill the energy vampires in your home!


Thursday, October 22, 2009

Stop Supporting Companies that Advertise in the Phone Book!

When was the last time you used a telephone book? I cant remember the last time I used one! If you have the Internet and you learned how to use it you have probably learned that there is no faster or easier way to look things up. So with the greenest most eco-friendly information storing and receiving device man has ever invented at our finger tips why is there still 540 million (double the U.S. population) phone books being printed and distributed every year in North America?! If you live in California you probably receive 10 different directories from 10 different publishers(just insane)!

So about a year back I called my 2 local directory providers to opt-out of having my phone book delivered both at my home and business. So around came the time for all the phone books to be delivered and guess what I got 2 sets of phone books at my business and 1 set for the home. In fact at my business adress 2 sets of phone books were delivered to every office and over half of all the offices in my area are empty! There had to be about 1000 phone books that were dropped off to empty offices just in my area alone! WOW just insane

For every 500 phone books printed 17-31 trees are cut down, 7000 gallons of water and 463 gallons of fuel are wasted! That's over 4,100 kilowatts of energy enough to power an average home for 6 months!

So I looked into why this is happening and what can be done to stop it. Apparently there is a practiced called "saturation distribution" that all the phone book publishers practice. In the past, anyone with a landline automatically received a printed copy of the phone book. But today, with the landline exodus to mobile phones, and considering drops at large apartment buildings or corporate campuses, directory publishers use "Saturation Distribution" to ensure that enough printed copies are available. This means that an over-estimated number of copies are dropped to ensure that everyone gets a copy.

So this means that if you call your phone book publisher to opt-out of having your phone book delivered most likely due to "saturation distribution" your still going to get phone book like I did. This got me thinking if you cant stop the phone book from being delivered what can you do?!

Well phone book publishers make money one way advertising if we stop supporting the companies that advertise heavily in the phone book or if we tell those companies that we don't approve of them advertising in the phone book and its waste maybe just maybe we can hurt them enough for them to change their waste full practices. So next time you go to you look up a product or service let them know that you found them online so that they know that any advertising they are doing in the phone book is a waste!

If you want to do more and really bring light to saturation distribution and stop the phone book being being wastefully printed and distributed here are some more things that you can do:

1. Opt Out (due this anyways maybe it might work in your area)
Click here to request that your name and address be removed from the Yellow Pages printed directory mailing list.

2. Get Just One (for people that live in areas like California)
If you still want to get one phone book, not 10 at a time. Call the individual titles directly. Tell them how many books you want a year and to stop unloading duplicates on your front porch.

AT&T/YellowPages (formerly SBC and Bell South):
Yellow Book:
1-800-373-3280 or 1-800-373-2324

3. Write a letter to the Yellow Pages Association
Yellow Pages Association (YPA)
Global Headquarters
Two Connell Drive, First Floor
Berkeley Heights, N.J. 07922-2747
(908) 286-2380
(908) 286-0620 (Fax)

4. Go To The Head Honcho
Hit up the president of the Yellow Pages Association for some one-on-one fire.
Mr. Negley (Neg) Norton
President, Yellow Pages Association (YPA)
Two Connell Drive, First Floor
Berkeley Heights, N.J. 07922-2747
(908) 286-2385

5. Sign the Petition
Tell congress to make unsolicited phone book distribution illegal. Sign the petition at

6. Recycle
Now what to do with all those old phone books collecting dust? Recycle them of course. In most cases, you can simply toss your old phone book in your curbside paper-recycling bin. Some regions, however, require phone books be dropped off at specified recycling centers. To learn the rules for your district, visit the "Keep American Beautiful" recycling directory.
If you don't want to recycle your old phone books, repurpose them for something useful. Yellow pages make excellent booster seats, cockroach killers and X-acto knife cutting surfaces.

Remember change happens when one person does something then another. So if you read this and don't think bye doing one of the things listed above will not make difference think again!

Together we can stop saturation distribution!


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Blacks Holes made on Earth could Revolutionize the Solar Industry

No, CERN hasn't started slamming protons into each other at the Large Hadron Collider early. And no, a top secret warp drive hasn't been test-driven in Earth orbit (not that the gnome knows of anyway). In reality, an electromagnetic black hole has been fabricated in the laboratory for the first time.

Before you start getting concerned that the planet will soon be swallowed up by a rampaging singularity, the black hole in question isn't the gravitational behemoth you might find after a supernova or in the center of our Milky Way. This particular table-top black hole mimics the curvature of space-time, creating a fabricated event horizon that swallows electromagnetic radiation at microwave wavelengths.

According to previous theoretical studies, mimicking the curvature of space-time around an analog black hole should be possible, guiding electromagnetic radiation around a cylindrical structure "consisting of a central core surrounded by a shell of concentric rings.

I'm sure right about your saying to yourself WHAT the hell is the Gnome talking about! I know I had to read several articles on this just to wrap my head around it. I will try to put this in layman's terms at the end of this post and although the physics sounds complicated (and I think I'd have to see the apparatus up-close to fully appreciate what is going on), the result is astonishing. What's more, theory has just been turned into a working model by Tie Jun Cui and Qiang Cheng at the Southeast University in Nanjing, China. This is the world's first working black hole.

The best thing is that this experiment isn't just for curiosity-sake, it has a practical application that could revolutionize future solar panel design, making the production of solar energy a lot more efficient than it is currently.

Current solar work by taking Photons from the sun that knock electrons off a silica based panel. Those electrons are used to make electricity. The problem is that current panels are only able to capture 10-30% (varies form make and model) of the suns protons making them very inefficient. This is why they are not cost effective and why we don't see them on every home. This technology could make solar panels be able to absorb almost 100% of the suns protons. This of coarse would make them very cost effective and would revolutionize the way we get our energy.

Still confused the greatest powers we control here on earth all come from nature. A nuclear reaction is a natural thing in the universe. We have just learned how to control it and make it happen when we need it. Why should this be any different in nature what does a black hole do? It swallows everything in its path even light. If we learn how to make mini or table top black holes that mimic the curvature of space time that swallow all of the suns protons. Then our energy problems will be solved forever!

Green Gnome Out!

P.S. I promise I will back to everyday things we can do to be green in later post sometimes I just have to let the green geek inside me come out sometimes, lol.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

How Can Traffic Jams Help the Environment?

I read an article recently in the Wall Street Journal that talked about how traffic jams are good for the environment. That's right, city planners in major cities are now using a practice called "congestive pricing".

Congestive pricing is when cities charge high fees for driving on high traveled roads. Major cities have stopped building extra routes and adding other traffic tools that help solve traffic jams(in other words more roads just equal more traffic). Cities are never going to make traffic jams go away and the hope is that if the cities make traffic so bad that people will start using subways and buses. City planners say that congestive pricing has dubious environmental value. So New York recently appointed Jay H. Walder as their chairman and chief executive officer of New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Jay Walder just got done with London's congestive pricing scheme. If you live New York expect to soon start paying tolls for roads you never paid tolls for and traffic to get worse(don't know how that would be possible).

I have mixed feelings about congestive pricing. Anything that causes more people to take public transportation is a good thing plain and simple. But the playing of the environmental card by city leaders about the reason for congestive pricing pisses me off. Why can't they just they just call a spade a spade! Due to the economy our major cities are broke and public transportation in some cities is ready to collapse. This is just a ploy from the city to make more money nothing else, but the city leaders know if they call it good for the environment people will accept it.

But none of this solves the real problem! There are now more cars in the U.S. then there are people. If we just made all of cars and public transportation carbon free all this would be a non issue. There are a million better ways to get Americans to stop driving their gas guzzling global warming cars then congestive pricing.

Green Gnome Out!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Blog Action Day:Obama Plays Poker with the Planet

Today is Blog Action Day and I'm supposed to write and article on climate change, but instead of looking in depth at what climate change is and what the negative effects are I wanted to look at why nothing is being done to stop Climate Change in Washington. Right now President Obama is playing poker with the planet! That's right, last night it was reported on CNN that the Obama administration has bet everything on heath care reform. The argument was that heath care reform is Obama's Waterloo and if he fails his administration will not be able to take action on any other major issues such as Climate Change, gay rights, and immigration. I believe this to be true because success equals power and power equals change. Remember this is the first President we have had that actually believes in Climate Change and that human activity is directly causing it. In the past the politicians have failed time after time to do the right thing when it comes to issues that effect Climate Change(just ask any livestock or oil lobbyist they will laugh every time the word Climate Change is even mentioned). The fact that the entire planets future may depend on what happens in the American political arena blows me away. This all-in move by President Obama is not OK with me because hes gambling with my child's future. If Climate Change continues to go un-checked the effects to mankind will make heath care reform look like a joke.

A recent survey American Climate Values Survey (ACVS) conducted by the consulting group EcoAmerica found that only 18 percent of survey respondents strongly believe that climate change is real, human-caused and harmful. WOW! So if you are non believer just look at the picture to the left(1979 on top 2008 on bottom) and common sense will tell you that the polar ice caps disappearing is a very bad thing. This ice has been there for thousands if not millions of years and is the planets thermostat. If Climate Change continues it will effect EVERYTHING! I will cover the cause and effects of Climate change in later posts, but for now if you are reading this and have only been involved in environmental issues or have not been involved in the political process at all UNDERSTAND THIS LIKE THE ENVIRONMENT EVERYTHING IS CONNECTED. Our political process may not work very well, but its the only process we have for change. So lets get out and support this President on heath care reform so he can move onto more important things like Climate Change!

Green Gnome Out!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

How will Internet Help Save the Planet?

As of June 2009 there were over 1.6 billion people using the Internet with a world population of almost 6.8 billion. This means that only 25% of the world is using the Internet! WOW the world has just barely started to plug into the Internet! Use of the Internet is up 362% worldwide since 2000 alone. This is great news for any Internet entrepreneurs that want to explore opportunities in social media or web based business'. There are still billions of opportunities yet to be had on the Internet! Throughout modern history every great invention has taking 30 years or more to really hit its mark. The Internet is less than 27 years old so if you think of the Internet in terms of car we are still in the first model year Internet Protocol ver.4 or (IPv4). This version has been in use for the past 20 years. The Next Generation Internet(NGI) or IPv6 is still in its infancy stages but once in place will certainly change and revolutionize the way the Internet looks and operates. This major change to the Internet will equal opportunity, so if your not sure if you want to try an Internet based opportunity understand this the Internet has only just begun to effect human kind!

But what does all this mean in terms of the environment? Well if you look at it terms of our carbon foot print the Internet has saved millions of trees from being used as paper and has let millions of people work from home. In the future the Internet will be integrated with every thing we own from our homes and cars to our coffee makers making them more energy efficient.

The only negative right now is that the Internet takes computers to connect to it. Computers are filled with toxic chemicals,carcinogens, and heavy metals and millions of them are ending up in land fills in the U.S. and China. There are several ways to out there to recycle your old computer. Most manufactures have recycle programs that you can use or you can turn to things like E-bays Rethink program and the EPA's Ecycling website for information on how to recycle your computer the right way. The good news is that a study done in 2005 found out that over 70% of all old computers were being recycled or being given to developing nations. That's the second highest recycle percentage of any product second only to the car.

So lets all find new ways to make money on the Internet and recycle our old computers together we might just Save the Planet!


Saturday, October 10, 2009

The United States of the Moon?

Yesterday NASA spent 79 million dollars to crash a spacecraft on the moon. The questions I'm sure you have is why and what does it have to do with environment? Well NASA's cover story is that they are looking for ice on the moon for future moon colonies to sustain life. This true, but why does NASA and the U.S. want to colonize the moon? NASA would say to develop the technology for a maned mission to Mars. This is not true the real reason is ENERGY. The moon has enough energy to provide the U.S. with power for more than 1000 years. The U.S. energy needs are expected to increase eightfold by 2050 as the world population swells to 12 billion. It might take the world a couple hundred years before we become completely sustainable. So scientist are working on perfecting on using Helium-3(He-3) with a form of fusion to make electricity. Imagine having a nuclear power plant that would have no radiation emit no greenhouse emissions and no waste! You could built a power plant in Central Park and it would be perfectly safe. Helium-3 has the cash value of 4-8 billion per ton depending on the price of oil. That's more than 100,000x more valuable than GOLD!

So in the future you will see rockets blasting off with Exxon(if not them some other energy company) written on the side of them. They would be going there to strip mine the lunar surface where Helium-3 is abundant. This will be a truly SAD day because it will mean that us environmentalist have FAILED!


Friday, October 9, 2009

Can Tinker Bell Save the Planet?

Last week the U.S. add council and the Department of Energy announce that they would be doing more adds using Tinker Bell as there sales person. In case you have been living under a rock Tinker Bell and her fairy friends have 2 commercials in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Energy. Their official statement for doing these adds is "To create an energy ethic for future generations". WOW! With the most important issue facing mankind socially, economically, and environmentally the government turns to Tinker Bell!..What? Maybe its because Tinker Bell has a new movie coming out "Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure" so the government got her rights from Disney for free. So when it comes to saving the planet it seems the government wants to save money too! There won't be any future generations if this generation doesn't make huge changes now! The add executives should all be fired! Can you see a mother her child at Wallmart buying light bulbs and the child saying to the mother "No mom Tinker Bell said to buy the energy efficient ones" I think not. The American public only makes changes in 2 ways one is fear and the other is greed. So maybe they should try scaring people with commercials saying this "Buy energy efficient products now or your grandchildren will die" or "Don't eat meat or you and your kids will get H1N1". I know those sound crazy, but I think I made my point. So how about using greed?
Maybe we can get the ShamWow guy (wait hes in jail for punching a hooker in the eye,lol) to do an info commercial selling us CFL's and LED lights I bet the American people would buy them up! Or maybe its just as simple as giving the American people a tax break for the amount of power they consume each year. We would just turn in our power bill with our tax returns and the amount of the tax break would vary depending on how much energy we consumed! Or maybe we should be teaching sustainability in our high schools and not just in universities. Sounds so simple but instead our government is wasting millions of dollars running useless television adds with Tinker Bell, unreal.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Americans Waste Energy in Their Sleep

That's right! Americans aren't happy with just wasting resources during the day we have to do it while we SLEEP. A recent pole found out that more than 52% of all Americans watch television for 2 hours right before they sleep and over half of them fall asleep with the TV on. So that means that 1 in 4 Americans are leaving the TV on all night(I believe that this number is much higher depending on the demographic). Now in the past I was the worst at this. I had to have TV on to fall asleep and it stayed on all night! That's right the Gnome was a late night eco-terrorist. TV has become the single most important single for us to sleep. Most TVs use about 80-400 watts of power per hour and that's just our TVs how many other things do you think we leave on in our sleep? I'm sure its just everything in homes that have an on/off switch. Not to mention all of our electronics devices that draw energy just being plugged into the wall. We will talk about how to UNPLUG your house in later post. For now lets just look at how ways we can get that TV off while we sleep.

The fastest and easiest way to get still get your TV fix and have it OFF during the night is to use that little magic button on your remote that says sleep. That's right there is a way to turn your TV off while you sleep. This how I broke my habit. Set the timer the second you get into bed fall asleep and wake in the morning with the TV OFF!

Here are some other things you can do to help induce sleep instead of using the TV.

1. Read
2. Yoga
3. Meditate
4. Write down all your plans for the next day
5. Have SEX! (the gnomes personal favorite)

Remember being Green usually comes down to making smarter choices in our everyday lives. If we all make these changes we can save this planet for future generations.


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Are CFL's Green?

Since we have so much stuff to cover I wanted to start with the basics for those of you that don't know anything about being green. Later on we will get into the really juicy and more controversial areas of whats green. This past weekend I went to BBQ at friends house and I noticed that my friend had changed out most of his old incandescent lights and put in CFL's (compact florescent lights). So I complemented him on making the switch in front of everyone. After I said that his wife said yes but they were NOT going to buy anymore because there other friend had told that they were bad for the environment because they contained Mercury. The Green Gnomes head almost exploded! Yes CFL's do contain a TRACE amount of Mercury, but when disposed of properly all the Mercury is recycled. And even if all the CFL's made in the world were not disposed properly the benefits of using them far out way the negatives. CFL's are a great start but are not the answer to our lighting needs in the world. LED(Light Emitting Diodes) and natural lighting will be all that we need in our homes in future. Here's the FACTS Standard Incandescents versus CFL's versus LED's:

Standard incandescent bulb turns about 5-10% of its consumed energy into light, the rest goes out as heat. This makes it harder to cool your home in the summer consuming even more energy. A standard bulb last about 1000 to 2500 hours depending on the make.

CFL's are 75% more efficient than standard incandescent bulb's and produce about 70% heat than standard bulbs. This saves you on cooling your home in the summer. Most CFL's will last you about 10,000 hours. And CFL's do contain a trace amount of Mercury so they need to be disposed of properly.
They do cost about 2x as much as standard bulbs. BUT DO THE MATH!

LED's consume 80-90% less energy than standard bulbs and produce even less heat than CFL's. This will save even more money on your cooling cost. LED's can last up to 50,000 hours! LED's have NO Mercury in them! LED's can be expensive about 5-7 times more than standard bulbs. AGAIN DO THE MATH! You might never need to buy a light for your home again! Maybe that's why there is not a big push to sell LED's buy the light manufactures. THINK ABOUT IT!

One last note you should have no need to ever turn on a light during the day! Open the blinds on your dungeon or install solar lighting your house. We will talk about extreme green solutions for the home in later post.


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

One Green Gnome Begins a Journey

I'm starting this blog at the same time I'm starting a new chapter in my life. This blog will be about one person search to become as green as possible. To transform my life from a non recycling hummer driving leave the lights on all night IDIOT into a person that keeps the environment in mind in every aspect of their life. My goal is to go from having the carbon foot print of Big Foot to having no carbon foot print at all. In this blog I'm going to ask what's green about certain things and what's not green about other things. I'm also going give you tips on how you to can be more green in your life as I discover how to change my own life. I believe that living a sustainable life is the single MOST IMPORTANT ISSUE FACING THE HUMAN RACE TODAY! Nothing else even comes close. So I hope you join The Green Gnome on his quest to find out how to lead a life that is not only sustainable and profitable,but without making to many sacrifices.
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