Conserving Water the Green Way

New Water Routes: Where Gray Can Still Be Good

In this day of energy conservation and listening to the pleas of our dying, very much damaged environment, we are all in need of tips on how we can live better without depleting our natural resources. One such tip involves planting more trees and living in a greener world, where plants can use their natural ability to turn carbon dioxide in the air into oxygen. Another tip involves conserving water and making sure that one of our most precious commodities is abundant enough to sustain life for all animals, plants, and humans.

Thus exists a paradox: how can plants live on very little water if we must conserve it; and conversely, how can we conserve water well enough so that we can still allow plants to grow? Scientists are now hard at work trying to genetically engineer plants to grow with very little water, while still others are engineering important food crops to survive with no irrigation. While scientists are working in their laboratories, however, we can still do our part in conserving water while helping the environment through making our plants grow. We can undertake this through gray water rerouting.

Gray water is the waste water that we generate from our baths, after we wash the dishes, or after we do the laundry. Black water, on the other hand, is the waste water that we generate from our use of the toilet. The average family with a father, mother, and two children can use up to three thousand liters of gray water a week – water that is wasted and allowed to run down the drain, even though it can still be used.

Most of today’s gray water will contain small amounts of soap, detergents, and bleach. Soaps and detergents will contain minerals that are important for plant life, although these minerals can be mixed in with industrial chemicals that can do more damage to plants and the soil. Bleaches are even more dangerous: they can damage plant root and shoot tissues, and can persist in the soil for long periods of time.

Gray water, however, can be treated by being rerouted from your home and into your garden, all through the use of special filtration and treatment tubes. Once gray water is filtered and treated, it can be used to irrigate your home garden. Not only do you help save the environment by allowing more plants to grow, you also conserve water and use what would otherwise go to waste.

If you are planning to use gray water to water your garden, then take note of the following tips before you start. Remember that if you can’t afford the apparatus to directly lead gray water to your garden, you can still do your part in recycling gray water by placing a bucket nearby whenever you do your laundry, wash your plates and utensils, or take a bath. If you use the right soaps and detergents, then you can still use the water in this bucket to water your plants.

– Inquire at your local plumbing and house repair shops on what mechanisms or machines are available to reroute gray water. Some companies will offer surface or sub-surface drip irrigation, which will direct gray water to the roots of plants. These irrigation mechanisms are highly efficient, as they direct water to where plants need it most, and where they are at the best position to absorb it.

– Although most gray water won’t need treatment, you might still need to filter it out for debris or dust that might harm more delicate plants. Inquire at your local plumbing facility on how you can treat the water. For more information, talk to your local florist, horticulturist, landscape artist, or gardening expert on the feasibility of using gray water for your plants, and the safety of gray water for your garden or lawn.

– In general, gray water will contain potassium, phosphorous, and nitrogen, all of which can benefit plants. These minerals are in high abundance in organic soaps and shampoos, so look for the natural or organic label when you buy your detergents. Stay away from industrial chemicals and bleaches.

– If your plants seem to be getting damaged, stop using gray water and have a horticulturist or gardener look at them first.

– Do as much research as you can on the use of gray water. You might be growing vegetables in your garden that might not grow as well, or with the nutrients that you want, if you use gray water. You might also be a professional florist who needs a specific kind of water to irrigate your special flowers. Despite its promise, gray water has its exceptions, so be sure that your plants and lawn can benefit from your use of gray water.

Water Into Fuel?

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Environmental Sustainability – Is It A Mirage?

Environmental Sustainability – A Mirage?
By Dipak Chatterjee


Trying to have matured adults agree on one concrete definition of “Sustainability”, is by far one of the toughest jobs. Though various organizations and thought leaders have tried their best to explore, analyze and beat it down to one precise meaning without success, there seems to be the common thread of Environment, Society and the Economy, running through them all. Northwest Environment Watch, a not-for-profit research and communication center based in Seattle, has according to me given a definition that is by far the closest to appropriate. It said that sustainability is “an economy and way of life in which both people and nature flourish, a culture that can last.” The Executive Order 00-07, signed by Gov. John Kitzhaber of the State of Oregon, in May of 2000 says that, “Sustainability means using, developing and protecting resources at a rate and in a manner that enables people to meet their current needs and also provides that future generations can meet their own needs.” It also goes on a step further to say that, “Sustainability requires simultaneously meeting environmental, economic and community needs.” This again almost co-relates to the Northwest Environment Watch’s stand. Let us now venture to explore three of the most critical influencers, and analyze their roles in achieving the goal of sustainability.

Growth of World Population

Agenda 21, The Earth Summit Strategy to Save Our Planet. (Sitarz 1993) explains very well the relation between population growth and the environmental health of the planet: “The spiraling growth of world population fuels the growth of global production and consumption. Rapidly increasing demands for natural resources, employment, education and social services make any attempts to protect natural resources and improve living standards very difficult. There is an immediate need to develop strategies aimed at controlling world population growth.” (p. 44)

Scientists, since a long time, have been underlining that, the Earth, if we believe in the fact that it’s a spherical surface, does have a capacity and limit to which it can carry or support. The Population of the planet, rising in leaps and bounds, will soon lead to a complete utilization of the World’s depleting Natural Resources. As May observes (May 1993): “…the scale and scope of human activities have, for the first time, grown to rival the natural processes that built the biosphere and that maintain it as a place where life can flourish. Many facts testify to this statement. It is that somewhere between 20 and 40 percent of the earth’s primary productivity, from plant photosynthesis on land and in the sea, is now appropriated for human use.” This truly is matter of alarm. If we continue the growth of population at the current rate, we would be in a situation, where Sustainability would be a myth. Hence at no point of time should the Growth of Population be considered in isolation. Its growth in relation to the depleting Natural Resources in the planet is what heightens concern.

Governments, Association and Individuals of credibility, have continuously assembled and voiced opinions that “something” out to be done to “save the life and the planet”. Global Warming has been an issue within an agenda, in almost every summit. But all that came out of the discussions and the so called “action plans” are vague terms like “we need to Control the population”. Never has it moved towards action steps to actually stop population growth. The Report named Agenda 21, The Earth Summit Strategy to Save Our Planet, under the heading of “National Population Policies” goes to state that: “The long term consequences of human population growth must be fully grasped by all nations. They must rapidly formulate and implement appropriate programs to cope with the inevitable increase in population numbers.” (p. 45). Surprisingly such reports, continuously contradict themselves. Firstly they do not lay down concrete steps to stop the growth, even as they underplay the total problem at hand. On one hand they say that there is an immediate need to “control” the population growth to reach the goal of sustainability. With the same breath they point out, that population growth is “inevitable”. So when they do believe that the Population Growth is inevitable in spite of all, their claim of undertaking “appropriate steps” to curb or Control Population growth makes Sustainability sound like an oxymoron. Doesn’t it?

Consumer – Oriented Lifestyle

In the light of the definitions of Sustainability indicated earlier, the consumer-oriented lifestyle is best analyzed through a Social Practices Approach to Environment. We have been pushing the blame of an ever-increasing population for an Environmental crisis towards under-developed and developing nations so far. Apart from the fact that our home ground is also no lesser evil in this respect, there is a bigger problem of our consumer-oriented lifestyle that is contributing substantially to killing the existing Natural resources and has become an important issue to be addressed to reach the goal of sustainability.

According to Prof. dr. ire. G. Saracen in his The Social Practices Approach for Environmental Policymaking; theory, methodology and policy-development for sustainable domestic consumption, “The Social Practices Approach offers an integrative model to analyze and under-stand transitions towards sustainable consumption at the level of everyday life”. He also says that individual Consumers “develop ‘story-lines’ with respect to the environmental dimension of their lifestyles and provide legitimacy and rationality to the choices they make at the different segments of their lifestyles”. The three major consumption needs of an individual in a Society, namely Home and Maintenance, Food Consumption, Travel & Transport, have led to Rapid Urbanization & Home Construction, increasing vehicles and road construction, food preparation, and building Factories. As you see, a consumer-oriented approach is directly proportional to Industrialization, which in turn directly affects the Environment with its depleting Natural resources. When the need of the day is to increase rapid Agricultural Opportunities to counter the depleting Natural Assets of the Environment, isn’t a consumer Oriented Lifestyle with it’s need of sustenance a contradiction to the attainment of the goal of sustainability?


The last topic we would explore is the role of Stewardship. Sustainability is just not an individual problem or issue anymore. Though the life of every individual in this planet is affected, the magnitude of the problem is so vast, that no single department, or government can be held responsible. It is a Global issue, and needs to be addressed collectively. The inattention so far to attributing a direct responsibility, has been one of the major problems of not acting in the direction of attaining the goal. Hence every individual, every Government, every Organization or Association Body, and every Educational Institution has to own stewardship, to take steps, of reaching the goal of Sustainability.

This being said, the second aspect of Stewardship that needs to be addressed is “who leads?” We at United States, being the most developed, has a direct role in leading the world towards the goal. As they say that the best way to lead, is through example. “Our own country is the leading polluter on Earth, generating more greenhouse gases, especially CO2, than any other country. Not a word alone but by binding action, our nation has an inescapable moral duty to lead the way to genuinely effective solutions. We …call upon our government to change national policy so that the United States will begin to ease, not continue to increase, the burdens on our biosphere and their effect upon the planet’s people”. (Joint Appeal by Religion and Science for the Environment “DECLARATION OF THE ‘MISSION TO WASHINGTON” Washington, D.C,, May 12, 1992) What action steps have we really taken so far since then?


Bottom line: the word “Sustainability” has been continuously used so freely. If it is a sustained effort to cure today for a better tomorrow, what have we done for the immediate present? Every result of a meeting, every conclusion of a summit, has been filled with redundant usage of vague terminologies as “efforts will be taken”, “control will be exercised”, “reduction in population growth” etc. It has been interspersed with blame games. But never has any one body pointedly answered the specific question of “How”? It is about time, that we did this, unless everyone of us living today, every government in power, and every responsible organization wish to be accountable for the total extinction of the human species on earth.

Dipak Chatterjee is a thought leader, writer, deemed journalist and reporter. Please feel free to contact him at

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Save the Environment By Using Paper Bags

If you want to know more about the monstrosity of plastic bags, you have to delve to the very root…

Plastics are petroleum products. They come from polymers by virtue of ‘biogeochemical’ manipulation. One thing that plastic bags and paper bags have in common is that they are both recyclable. In recycling plastic bags, they are melted and reformed. Re-melting is the process that sterilizes the plastic. After this process, plastic can be used to create hospital products.

It can be recycled several times until unfit or brittle. The disadvantage, however, is that in the process of recycling, dioxins are given off. These dioxins destroy you and your environment. This is the reason why plastic bags are considered monsters – ogres that destroy the people’s environment and health.

Another drawback in connection to plastic bags is that they do not compost. There is no such thing as biodegradable plastic. That phrase is merely made to deceive. Plastic products stay in the landfill for centuries. Don’t be amazed when you see your plastic wares in your landfill still whole and strong. Bear in mind that they don’t break down.

Perhaps, you should start worrying about the 450 trillion of plastic bags that business is providing. Where do they go? Well, hanging around or under. Just imagine fast forwarding a few years. Whoa! We can be buried in plastic bags. That’s terrible!

Do you believe that it is high time to think about your children’s children? Do you think it is high time for you to consider reusing bags or opt for paper bags, which are biodegradable? When it comes to strength, paper bags are now vastly improved compared to the older version. Nowadays, paper bags are tough and cannot be easily torn.

When it comes to durability, paper bags already have the ability to be reused over and over again. In fact, they can even withstand snow exposure without damaging them.

When it comes to capacity, you may not know this but paper bags can hold four times the content of plastic bags. Hence, a paper bag can save you from carrying multiple plastic bags simultaneously.

Both paper bags and plastic bags destroy natural resources and ecosystem. Both contribute to green house gasses. However, plastic bags are more hazardous. When recycling or incinerating plastic, dioxins are produced and sent off to air. These dioxins are the ones responsible for ruining the ecosystem and the environment in general. Only one to three percent of all plastic bags are recycled. The rest are found in the streams, floating on the sea and flying around the streets.

The best solution is the use of reusable paper bags. Paper bags do not pollute the environment the way plastic bags do. They are also biodegradable. Paper bags compost and become fertilizer or material for brick thus, eventually become useful.

In time, paper bags have improved a lot. Materials are better, designs more diversified, shapes more experimental, quality more advance and recycling process more environment-friendly.

Reusable paper bags are the best alternative to save your ailing environment as well as your poor health conditions. When will you take part in this cause? When it is already too late to react? Or when the world is already a big mess?

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Save Energy and Money Through Lighting

Got A Light? Save Energy
By Helen Porter

In most homes, lighting accounts for around 10-15 per cent of an electricity bill. Energy Saving Recommended bulbs work in the same way as fluorescent lights. So how does an energy saving light bulb work? Well an electric current passes through gas in a tube, making the tube’s coating glow brightly.

Traditional bulbs waste a lot of their energy by turning it into heat. Replacing just one of your traditional bulbs to an energy saving bulb can reduce your lighting costs by up to £100 over the lifetime of the bulb thats £9 a year which more than covers the cost of the bulb. You can still get Bayonet and Skrew cap so you don’t have to last out on new light stands or fittings. These energy saving bulbs also last, on average up to 12 times longer than ordinary light bulbs

So which watt do you need to buy? Here is the guide to your new Watt Light Bulb.

If you currently have a 25W normal bulb you will need a 6W energy saving

If you currently have a 40W normal bulb you will need a 8-11W energy saving

If you currently have a 60W normal bulb you will need a 13-18W energy saving

If you currently have a100W normal bulb you will need a 20-25W energy saving

Prices range from £2 to £25 depending on the wattage, style and fixture.

In the Hall or your children’s bedrooms we have the perfect night light. The Moonlight plug is a low energy night light that fits into a normal wall socket, this slim energy saving unit will run continuously for about 50p per year. Perfect for a babies room or in hallways.

It’s not all about GLOBAL WARMING! Going green is about caring for the planet. It’s never been simpler to make your life a little greener! is a personal site dedicated to eco-friendly, organic and fair trade retailers, with top tips on how to go green. Helen & Johnny the site creators are just everyday people, making small but essential changes in their lives to give nature that helping hand.

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