Take a Solar Shower (Like in the Caribbean)

When I visiting the Caribbean, I saw the best solar water heater that you can imagine.

Something we should all learn from.

It’s a simple way to get heated water and it makes use of the Earth’s resources.

You take a huge black tub and you catch rain water in it.

If it doesn’t rain enough, you fill it up with your own water sources and wait. Continue reading Take a Solar Shower (Like in the Caribbean)

China and the Environment continued…

China and Climate Change:

China is very attentive to the climate change factor.  As of today, they are the world’s leader in putting carbon dioxide into the Earth’s atmosphere.

Why is that a problem?

Excessive CO2 in the atmosphere means more particles in our air (elements…remember high school) and the more elements you have, the more heat can attach to (in a very rudimentary way) and if heat can “cling” to more in the atmosphere, then we now have a hotter climate overall.

Greenhouse emissions of all types do exactly this.  The sun shines on the Earth no matter what.   As it travels to the Earth’s surface it passes through trillions of particles all that soak up some of the radiation and consume a small portion of that energy.

If you have a lot of particulates in the air, that is a lot of particles that are absorbing the heat from the solar radiation….and therefore a lot of air is heated more than normal.

Pollution in China increases as China has industrialized which results in a larger problem with environmental and health problems.

China has increased their environment regulations and this has helped things a little bit. Beijing, one of the more polluted areas, actually has problems with pollution in the winter due to the air inversions which then, in turn, press more pollutants on the Earth’s surface area causing all sorts of health problems.
Controlling the pollutants year round can help change this.
The Chines government has been working on a multi billion dollar plan to fix the issue.  Their main focus is North China with a goal to reduce the air pollution by 25% or more by 2017 when compared to the 2012 levels.
It was reported that the coal industry in China is responsible for the higher levels of the pollutants at a tune of 19% and vehicles carry 6% within their emissions.  The world Health Organization recommends air pollutants to be no higher than 25mg per cubic meter, but in China the air particulates have raised to well over 993mg per cubic meter.

With 16 of the most polluted cities in the world located in China, it is no wonder that there is pollution in other areas (besides air) as well.

Pollution on the coast is getting out of control and run rampant by algal blooms. As a matter of a fact the world’s larger collection of algae in history was recorded in the Yellow Sea in China and could be seen from space!!!   Algal blooms decrease habitat quality and cause decline in coastal environments that they overrule.

The fact that more Chinese citizens are becoming more affluent does not help either as this has caused in influx in new car ownership which increases emissions.

Population Pollution is controlled with the one-child policy in China, however, it is not slowing down the population enough to help control the pollutants that come with such large amounts of growth.

What about Energy Efficiency?

Energy efficiency in China seems to be improving somewhat, however there is a battle between keeping energy efficient programs and growing out industry at the same time.

Steel factories in China use more energy than most on average and many chinese buildings pre existing have very little thermal insulation and use twice as much energy as their European and US counterparts.

It has been reported that over 95% of new buildings also do not meet China’s energy efficiency regulations.

With statistics like this, it seems like China has a huge challenge ahead of them that is not ending any time soon.

Environmental Issues in China

China’s Environmental Issues

China has environmental issues in may areas of concern. This post is was created to bring light to those areas with the hopes that a later post will relate what China has done to correct the problems created

Problem #1:  Water Pollution

Water pollution and water problems in China are vast. They range from the unavailability of water in some regions and lack of quality water in others.

As the population in China continues to increase and the cities continue to grow at what seems at an exponential rate, the demand for water and the amount of water pollution continues to rise.

China has built infrastructure for water and has increased their regulations to try and control this problem as well as put money into research for technological solutions to correct the situation. Continue reading Environmental Issues in China

Keeping Your Grass Green – Is it worth the cost?

Since this is an environmental site, let’s talk about how keeping your grass green can influence the environment and is probably not something that someone like you, the solar water heater supporters, should ever do.

Yes, having your grass green is a site to behold.

Beating your neighbor in a  little friendly competition to see whose lawn is really the master of all lawns in the entire neighborhood, county or state is a bit of a bragging right.

You know the work it takes to get there.

You seed.

Reseed.

and Seed again.

You water and you grow a a thriving yard.

Filling up your property with invasive species. (Did you know that most grasses in your yard are invasive?)

So there you are spreading the invaders and helping them grown with excessive amount of water use (more than your teenage daughter uses) for a miles of lush green bragging right.

Then you look over and you notice that Mr. Neighbor guy has this nifty little pusher thing with little pellets coming out of it.

You look across the street and you see a Lawn Care Truck on a lush green lawn.

You look up the street and you see yet another curious contraption.  A larger roller.

All these things are costly ways to help  your lawn look good.

Being the Mr. Keep up with the Jone’s person you are, you immediately start to research which is the best way to keep your lawn looking like a million dollars.

After all, you lawn shows the world the first impression of your home…and that must be the first impression of you.

Not wanting to taint your prominent expectations of yourself, you read about adding nitrogen, phosphorus and all sorts of other nutrients to your soil.

But, you….you wise soul, you decided to do a test spot because you don’t want to waste anything and clearly you can not afford to totally screw up your soon to be majestic lawn.

You do a great little research plot in the back yard where no one will notice.

You have 5 areas sectioned out and you place the recommend amount of fertilizer per square foot in the middle box.

To the left, you put 10% more than what is recommended and and to the left of that 25% more.

To the right, you put 10% less and then 20% less.

You are truly a scientific lawn genius.

You water for seven days and keep track of the progress or lack thereof and you take observational notes morning noon and night.

To your surprise, all plots of grass are thriving.

Even the lowest amount of fertilization looks good in comparison to the unfertilized pastures surrounding it.

On the far left is an immaculate lush pile of grasses.

There are so many that they are falling over each other and the color is a beautiful deep green.

Although all plots of grass are significantly better than any of your unfertilized grass, you fall in love with the excessively fertilized plot.

After all, it’s like a bald man winning the lottery……the hair lottery.

You decide to take things into your own hands and follow your own way.

You buy 25% more fertilizer than suggested and you go to town on your yard.

Days later you revel in the successful and thriving lush lawn that is bestowed upon your neighborhood.

You could swear that cars are slowing as they pass by to admire your lovely long grassy locks.

You quickly realized that more fertilizer means more work.

You have to mow more often but you are ok with that because you and the neighbors lover your new outdoor carpeting.

About two months or fewer down the road, you are talking to your neighbors about the pond just below the bend in your neighborhood where the kids USE to play.

You talk about how they would skip rocks and some would pretend fish or fish for real.

You, of course, are the problem solver are up for the challenge of solving a new mystery.

So you take some time, drink some beers and relax all the while trying to come up with a solution about that pond.

What’s wrong with the pond?

The pond is taken over by green algae.

It’s everywhere.

The kids think it’s gross.

The pond is one of the reasons you built your house in the neighborhood and you and your neighbors are peeved that the HOA won’t take care of this travesty.

So…once again…you must take things into your own hands.

You do a lot of talking with your equally upset neighbors and you all come to one conclusion.

It must be global warming.

 

 

Fun Fact of the Day: Algae will grow more when fertilized.

 

Does Recycling Work in the United States?

This site is mainly about solar water heaters but I want to throw some things in about the environment and green living too.

So let’s talk about recycling.

I started a recycling club in my high school in the mid 90s and it’s still going strong today.

But as I age as an adult and I live in a town that “requires” recycling, I start to question the whole “hassle” that I take to clean out and organize the recyclable items. Continue reading Does Recycling Work in the United States?

Solar Water Heaters Come in All Shapes and Sizes

Solar Water Heaters come in all shapes and sizes and they are everywhere!

One of my first experiences with solar water heaters was one of those Coleman Solar Water Heaters that you take camping with you.

Now I know what you are thinking…that’s not a real solar water heater….BUT it is.

It’s one of the first ways we heated water and probably the more natural ways we do it with direct sunlight exposure.

It’s simple.

You fill a bag with water, you put it in the sunlight and you cover it with a black cloth to absorb more sun energy and you get…TAA DAAA….warm water.

That, my friends, is a solar water heater.

I love the idea of solar water heaters and I might argue with you that water heated from the sun has a deeper penetrating heat than that which comes out of your faucet but that just might be my crazy talking.

Personally, I love hot water.

I was at a volcano once and at the bottom there were “hot springs” that were clearly heated by all the volcanic activity.

Everyone there that was getting in the hot springs did so gingerly.

Me?

I freakin dove right into it.

No little test with my toes and not silly little bouncing up and down and testing it out before I go in.

I know something about me.

It’s that I LOVE hot water.

I love water that is warm that surrounds my bones and my muscles and heats me up.

I live with arthritis in my back (I’m only 30) and my joints don’t always agree with pressure changes….so through the years, heat has been my friend.

But not just any heat.

It has to be heat that really gets inside you.

Yes, there is a difference.

For instance, I have a gas fireplace.

I HAD a wood fire fireplace and I’ve had the pleasure of being around a pellet stove.

I can tell you right now that the heat from a gas fireplace has nowhere near the therapeutic effects on my body that a deeper penetrating heat from a wood or pellet fire has.

I don’t know the science behind it or anything like that, all I know is how my body feels and it is a thousand times different feeling depending on the type of heat that I’m next to.

So when we talk about solar water heaters, besides being really good for the world and saving energy, I’m also going to be talking about other forms of heat that help my aching bones.

Solar water heaters are nice for someone like me, whether they are the very simple ones or the more complex ones available in today’s world, because I love taking time in the shower or filling up an entire bath to soak in.

That takes up a lot of water (which I know is not the most environmentalist thing to do) and it also takes energy.

If I put solar water heaters all throughout my house, then at least I feel like I’m somehow counter balancing the fact that I use a lot of water to take a bath.

When you have arthritis, you stop caring about wasting water when you know a deep soak for several hours can alleviate your pain and you don’t have to dose yourself up with percocet or some oxycodiene.

Pain sucks.

Heat rocks.

So there you go! My first post!

I plan on following this up with more crazy solar talk and environmentalist type things to maybe help others out there like me that don’t want to totally waste the Earth’s resources but at the same time wants to live in a convenient world.

If we all just do a little bit more conscientiously, then it’s a little better than being completely ignorant and we all don’t have to obsessively try to save the Earth on our own by depleting ourselves the fruits of what technology has to offer.

I tried being a gung ho activist and it wore me down. I’ve also tried being a total earth waster and that just never sat right.

So I’m finding the middle ground and hoping to find others that will live in the middle with me and collectively we can make a huge difference.

There’s no reason you have journey in this life alone.

Join me.

:)