Monthly Archives: July 2013

WATER CONSERVATION TIPS

    WATER CONSERVATION

I am reblogging the following National Geographic article, ‘Water Conservation Tips’, and the link may be found at the end of the article.  Please read the full article as I am certain that you will find many new suggestions for conserving water in and around your home.

TOILETS, TAPS, LAUNDRY, SHOWERS AND DISHES
•1994 was the year that federally mandated low-flow shower heads, faucets, and toilets started to appear on the scene in significant numbers.
•On average, 10 gallons per day of your water footprint (or 14% of your indoor use) is lost to leaks. Short of installing new water-efficient fixtures, one of the easiest, most effective ways to cut your footprint is by repairing leaky faucets and toilets.
SHOWERHEAD•If you use a low-flow shower head, you can save 15 gallons of water during a 10-minute shower.
HOT WATER TANK•Every time you shave minutes off your use of hot water, you also save energy and keep dollars in your pocket.
running bath water•It takes about 70 gallons of water to fill a bathtub, so showers are generally the more water-efficient way to bathe.
TOILET•All of those flushes can add up to nearly 20 gallons a day down the toilet. If you still have a standard toilet, which uses close to 3.5 gallons a flush, you can save by retrofitting or filling your tank with something that will displace some of that water, such as a brick.
washing machine•Most front-loading machines are energy and water-efficient, using just over 20 gallons a load, while most top-loading machines, unless they are energy-efficient, use 40 gallons per load.
•Nearly 22% of indoor home water use comes from doing laundry. Save water by making sure to adjust the settings on your machine to the proper load size.
DISHWASHER•Dishwashing is a relatively small part of your water footprint—less than 2% of indoor use—but there are always ways to conserve. Using a machine is actually more water efficient than hand washing, especially if you run full loads.
ENERGY STAR SYMBOL•Energy Star dishwashers use about 4 gallons of water per load, and even standard machines use only about 6 gallons.
•Hand washing generally uses about 20 gallons of water each time.

FOOTPRINTYARDS AND POOLS
•Nearly 60% of a person’s household water footprint can go toward lawn and garden maintenance.
LAWN•Climate counts—where you live plays a role in how much water you use, especially when it comes to tending to a yard.
SWIMMING POOL•The average pool takes 22,000 gallons of water to fill, and if you don’t cover it, hundreds of gallons of water per month can be lost due to evaporation.

DIET
WATER USED IN FOOD•The water it takes to produce the average American diet alone—approximately 1,000 gallons per person per day—is more than the global average water footprint of 900 gallons per person per day for diet, household use, transportation, energy, and the consumption of material goods.
QUARTER POUNDER•That quarter pounder is worth more than 30 average American showers. One of the easiest ways to slim your water footprint is to eat less meat and dairy. Another way is to choose grass-fed, rather than grain-fed, since it can take a lot of water to grow corn and other feed crops.
POULTRY•A serving of poultry costs about 90 gallons of water to produce. There are also water costs embedded in the transportation of food (gasoline costs water to make). So, consider how far your food has to travel, and buy local to cut your water footprint.
PORK•Pork costs water to produce, and traditional pork production—to make your sausage, bacon, and chops—has also been the cause of some water pollution, as pig waste runs into local water sources.
•On average, a vegan, a person who doesn’t eat meat or dairy, indirectly consumes nearly 600 gallons of water per day less than a person who eats the average American diet.
COFFEE•A cup of coffee takes 55 gallons of water to make, with most of that H2O used to grow the coffee beans.

ELECTRICITY, FUEL ECONOMY, AND AIRLINE TRAVEL
ELECTRICITY•The water footprint of your per-day electricity use is based on state averages. If you use alternative energies such as wind and solar, your footprint could be less. (The use of biofuels, however, if they are heavily irrigated, could be another story.) You would also get points, or a footprint reduction, for using energy-star appliances and taking other energy-efficiency measures.
WASH CAR•Washing a car uses about 150 gallons of water, so by washing less frequently you can cut back your water use.
GAS•A gallon of gasoline takes nearly 13 gallons of water to produce. Combine your errands, carpool to work, or take public transportation to reduce both your energy and water use.
FLYING•Flying from Los Angeles to San Francisco, about 700 miles round-trip, could cost you more than 9,000 gallons of water, or enough for almost 2,000 average dishwasher loads.
•A cross-country airplane trip (about 6,000 miles) could be worth more than 1,700 standard toilet flushes.
•Traveling from Chicago to Istanbul is just about 10,000 miles round trip, costing enough water to run electricity in the average American home for one person for more than five years.

INDUSTRY—APPAREL, HOME FURNISHINGS, ELECTRONICS, AND PAPER
•According to recent reports, nearly 5% of all U.S. water withdrawals are used to fuel industry and the production of many of the material goods we stock up on weekly, monthly, and yearly.
COTTON TEE SHIRT•It takes about 100 gallons of water to grow and process a single pound of cotton, and the average American goes through about 35 pounds of new cotton material each year. Do you really need that additional T-shirt?
RECYCLE•One of the best ways to conserve water is to buy recycled goods, and to recycle your stuff when you’re done with it. Or, stick to buying only what you really need.
LAPTOP•The water required to create your laptop could wash nearly 70 loads of laundry in a standard machine.
PAPER•Recycling a pound of paper, less than the weight of your average newspaper, saves about 3.5 gallons of water. Buying recycled paper products saves water too, as it takes about six gallons of water to produce a dollar worth of paper.

Link to article ~ http://environment.nationalgeographic.com/environment/freshwater/water-conservation-tips/

PREVENT ANOTHER CANADIAN RAIL DISASTER!!!

~ WE NEED YOUR HELP ~
WE HAVE THE POWER
TO PREVENT
ANOTHER SUCH TRAGEDY!

LAC MEGANTIC

The human loss of the Lac-Mégantic tragedy is almost beyond belief.  Together, we can make sure this never happens again.

On  July 5th, as most people in Lac-Mégantic slept, a freight train hauling 72 tank cars of crude oil derailed in the middle of the small Quebec town.1  Many of the old, dangerous tank cars split open.  The oil burst into flames and explosions shook the town as burning oil flowed through the streets.

The fires blazed for two days, destroying half of the downtown, and leaving 38 confirmed dead, with a dozen still missing in a town of 6,000.  This is the deadliest rail disaster in Canada in nearly 150 years.2,3   The human loss is almost beyond belief, and our hearts and prayers are with the people who are grieving and rebuilding in Lac-Mégantic.   Now, dozens of organizations across Canada, from Quebec’s Équiterre to Public Interest Alberta, are coming together to make sure a disaster like this never happens again, and they are asking for your help to make sure the federal government listens.

Send your messagePlease click here to tell Prime Minister Harper and the new Minister of Transport, Lisa Raitt, that you demand an immediate ban on using dangerous 111A tank cars to transport oil, and join the call for a full review of how dangerous fuels like oil and gas are transported through our communities – by train, pipeline, and truck.

Government and industry have known for years that it’s extremely dangerous to carry oil in the old “111A” tank cars that exploded in Lac-Mégantic.4   Yet, the government has removed common-sense safety regulations, and has failed to implement necessary oversight for shipping the dangerous fuel.5
Back in 1994 the Transportation Safety Board of Canada wrote that 111A tank cars have a flawed design and a “high incidence of tank integrity failure” during accidents.  Since then, the government has ignored repeated warnings while companies have used more and more old rail cars to transport dangerous fuels through communities across the country.6,7

Despite the tragedy, the federal government is still denying the need for a full review and better safety regulationsOn Friday, Larry Miller, the Conservative MP who chairs the government’s Transport committee, dismissed calls for a review of Transport Canada’s safety regulations.8

The tragedy in Lac-Mégantic shows us just how devastating it can be when governments put oil company interests before community safety.  As our hearts go out to all those affected, we can work together to make sure this never happens again in any community from coast to coast to coast.

Please click here to demand a ban on 111A tanker cars and an independent safety review of all oil and gas transportation.

http://www.leadnow.ca/lac-megantic

The quiet increase of oil and gas transportation in recent years – through pipelines, rail and trucks – is putting our communities, livelihoods and environment in harm’s way.  More and more people are concerned about the risks of these dangerous fuels, and we deserve to have a say in decisions that affect all of our lives.

We need to act now before the media moves on and attention fades. If enough of us speak out now, we can force the new Minister of Transport, Lisa Raitt, to take the first steps necessary to protect our communities.

Thanks for all you do. 
With hope and respect,
Matthew, Sanna, Cam, Jamie, Maggie and Emma on behalf of the Leadnow.ca team

P.S. Did you know the railway industry has been lobbying the federal government to make our safety regulations even weaker?9 An immediate ban on old, dangerous, tank cars and a full safety review is the first step in making sure a tragedy like Lac-Mégantic never happens again. Send your message now.

THANK YOU FOR CARING!

Please support the Leadnow.ca community!

We’re funded by people like you, and our small, dedicated team and growing community make sure your donation goes a long way.  Every dollar helps.  You can donate online at http://www.leadnow.ca/en/donate

Leadnow.ca is an independent campaigning community that brings Canadians together to hold government accountable, deepen our democracy and take action for the common good.  You can follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

Sources:

[1] The equation of a disaster: what went wrong in Lac-Mégantic (Globe and Mail)
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/the-equation-of-a-disaster-what-went-wrong-in-lac-megantic/article13214911/

[2] Lac-Megantic death toll climbs to 37 (CBC)
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/story/2013/07/15/quebec-lac-megantic-rail-disaster.html

[3] Quebec train crash’s missing all presumed dead, police say; attention focuses on CEO (The Washington Post)
http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2013-07-11/world/40499565_1_quebec-alberta-oil-sands-brakes

[4] Rail cars like those in Lac-Mégantic disaster are prone to puncturing (Globe and Mail)
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/rail-cars-like-those-in-lac-megantic-disaster-are-prone-to-puncturing/article13080359/

[5] Tories dismiss need for review of critical audit of Transport Canada following Lac-Megantic disaster (Vancouver Sun)
http://www.vancouversun.com/news/national/Tories+dismiss+need+review+critical+audit+Transport+Canada/8654008/story.html

[6] Safety rules lag as oil transport by train rises (CBC)
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/story/2013/07/08/f-lac-megantic-oil-rail.html

[7] Rail cars like those in Lac-Mégantic disaster are prone to puncturing (Globe and Mail)
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/rail-cars-like-those-in-lac-megantic-disaster-are-prone-to-puncturing/article13080359/

[8] Tories dismiss need for review of critical audit of Transport Canada following Lac-Megantic disaster (Vancouver Sun)
http://www.vancouversun.com/news/national/Tories+dismiss+need+review+critical+audit+Transport+Canada/8654008/story.html

[9] Railways have been lobbying against more stringent safety regulations (Montreal Gazette)
http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/Railways+have+been+lobbying+against+more+stringent/8654175/story.html

 

‘CAPTION THIS PHOTO’ CONTEST ~ HAVE FUN!!!

GREEN RUMPED PARROTSWhat does the photo BELOW say to you?
Pictured here is National Geographic grantee Karl Berg
holding a young parrotlet, a New World parrot species.
How would you caption this photo?

PARROT

I just received the above photo of Karl Berg (taken by Soraya Delgado) and the information below in an e-mail from National Geographic, announcing a fun new contest – “Caption This Photo Contest” open until midnight Wednesday, July 31st.

Hi,

A picture can often be worth a thousand words, but a photo with a great caption can help us see an image – and often the world – in a whole new way.
Share your caption for the photo above and you could be our July Caption This Photo Contest winner.
If your entry is selected, your caption will be shared with National Geographic supporters in our August email.
So what does this photo say to you? Don’t be afraid to be creative.
It’s easy to enter. Simply submit your caption before our deadline – midnight, Wednesday, July 31st. Only one entry per person please.
Pictured here is National Geographic grantee Karl Berg holding a young parrotlet, a New World parrot species. Dr. Berg is studying communication among green-rumped parrots in Venezuela.
He and his team have recently discovered that parrot parents use slight variations in their calls for each of their offspring. Baby parrotlets appear to recognize the specific calls designated for them.
But don’t limit yourself to what is actually depicted in the photo. There are no limits to what direction your caption can take.
Also, don’t delay. You only have a few days to enter your caption before the July 31st deadline.
And if you don’t want to submit a caption, but want to read the winning caption, just sign up here.
Thank you for making it possible for groundbreaking researchers like Dr. Berg to make important discoveries about wildlife communication and enabling us to share inspiring photos with you.
Sincerely,
Nancy Rehman
Vice President, Development

LINK TO ENTER CONTEST ~

https://donate.nationalgeographic.org/SSLPage.aspx?pid=1493&utm_source=NatGeocom&utm_medium=Email&utm_content=development_20130720&utm_campaign=Content

Did you know?
The National Geographic Society is a non-profit organization that relies on the generous contributions of individuals to help us inspire people to care about the planet.  Donations to Mission Programs – the core scientific and education programs of the Society – support the research and exploration behind the stories in National Geographic magazine, on the National Geographic Channel, and other media.Your donation helps us expand our efforts to fund the world’s top and emerging scientists, explorers, researchers, and adventurers.

Have fun with your captions and good luck to all. 

Please share your captions with us here at Rainsoft Ottawa, Eternally Pure Water Systems, Inc.

RAINSOFTHOUSEWITHLOGO

CANADA ~ A WATER SOLUTIONS COUNTRY

WATER SOLUTIONS COUNTRY1

“A WATER SOLUTIONS COUNTRY –  Strategic steps for a more competitive water sector in Canada lead the way to global opportunities” – excerpts taken from the May/June issue of Water Canada by David Crane.

The availability and quality of water is the overarching challenge facing the global community in the 21st century. It is also Canada’s opportunity.

WORLD POPULATIONA world population that is projected to add 2.5 billion people by 2050, a global economy that is forecast to quadruple in this same period, the prospect of adding one billion people to the global middle class, and a sharp increase in the number of people in big cities will mean a an unprecedented demand for water. GLOBE WITH TAPAs well as more people, which will mean much greater need for clean water and sanitation, a bigger population with rising incomes means a much higher level of consumption of food, energy, natural resources, and industrial products—all of which will also increase the demand for water.

CLIMATE CHANGEAdd the expected impact of climate change on the distribution and availability of water, which could leave large numbers of people facing severe water stress, and the threats of drought and floods to food production, and it’s clear water is the most serious challenge we face. We can substitute batteries for oil in automobiles, but there is no substitute for water. So we face a water-stressed world.

WORLD WATER FORUMNeed, however, equals opportunity. The challenge is for Canada to contribute to water strategies and help the world meet the global water challenge. How do we utilize our strengths—the excellence of our engineering and technical Graduates, our proven academic research capabilities, and our innovative companies that can deliver water goods and services to build up a strong water sector—to generate new jobs and competitive companies while helping to meet the overarching global challenge?

WATER SOLUTIONS COUNTRY3

Steps for a world water strategy: First, Canadians need to raise the level of understanding, not only among policymakers but also among the wider public; that there is an enormous challenge facing the world and that there is also a significant opportunity for Canada, by strengthening our research base and the strength of our companies. This is the first great challenge—to identify our water champions who will provide the leadership to make Canada a water-solutions country. These champions must come not only from academia and our clean water companies but also from the user community, our municipalities, and businesses that need a safe and reliable water supply. Water users have a significant stake in a solutions strategy. OUTDOOR CANADAThere is the risk of complacency due to a widespread public assumption that Canada’s abundant water supply means we don’t face water challenges. Yet Canada itself faces challenges—to improve water quality and sanitation performance, meet the threats of droughts and floods in agricultural lands, ensure the efficient and sustainable use of water in energy and mining industries, meet the water needs of First Nations, and improve water efficiency and conservation technologies and practices in the economy and society. LIGHTBULBMeeting domestic challenges through innovative solutions will strengthen the research base and the capabilities and competitiveness of Canadian water companies. This means efforts to balance federal and provincial budgets must not come at the expense of research or improvements in water infrastructure. Cutting these investments would mean a weaker future Canadian economy. Research and infrastructure spending are investments in a more secure and sustainable future. Another challenge needs to be addressed: How do we grow more small companies into mid-size or large companies? Canada is very successful in starting companies, but many water companies are small and remain small. They face significant challenges in obtaining the capital needed to develop new products or services, pursue new domestic and foreign markets, build the management strengths they need for success, and scale up so that users and systems integrators in Canada and elsewhere are confident in using their products or services. Many promising smaller companies fail to make the transition to significant scale, which means they can become takeover targets by large multinational corporations seeking their proprietary technologies. While federal and provincial programs that support company technology development are important, we also need to find ways to strengthen the equity base of promising Canadian companies. It is equity rather than debt that enables companies to innovate and to pursue new products or markets.

There are many advantages in Canada, including a well-developed research base, a significant number of companies with proprietary technologies and experience in the global marketplace, easy access to the U.S. and Mexican markets (which have huge future water needs), universities and colleges that graduate high-quality engineers and technicians, and some well-targeted government programs to assist small and mid-size companies. Given these strengths, failing to capitalize on them to meet the enormous world need for water solutions would represent a huge lost opportunity for Canada.

DAVID CRANEDavid Crane is an award-winning Canadian writer and the author of Canada as the Water Solutions Country: Defining the Opportunities, a discussion paper published by the Blue Economy Initiative.

DREAMS ARE WHISPERS FROM THE SOUL ~ INSPIRATIONAL!

INSPIRATIONAL QUOTES1“Dreams Are Whispers From The Soul” video was uploaded by simpletruthstv on May 26, 2009.


Two of my favorite quotes from this lovely video are ~

RUST COLOURED PEAKS2Far away there in the sunshine are my highest aspirations.  I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them and follow where they lead.” – Louisa May Alcott

 
ROOSEVELT2The future belongs to those who believe in their dreams.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
 
 
 
 
 
POEM GREEN FORESTWe have a dream inside ourselves,
A gift to us at birth,
To guide us and protect us,
On our journey on this earth.
 
We all have something special,
Each one of us unique,
You have to find the courage,
To find the peace you seek.
So dream your dream and live your dream,

Don’t be afraid to try,
Just take your soul by the hand,
And let your spirit fly. – Maureen Weiner, Australian poet
 
SUNSHINEI hope that the video has inspired you and will lift your spirits and warm your heart.

END BUILDING DECAY IN VENICE ~ FAKE PLASTIC REEFS

VENICEBefore we address this subject, I highly recommend that you watch this extremely well presented in-depth video, “Sinking of the city of Venice”, Part 1 published by Nova.  Parts 2, 3 and 4 are also available on YouTube.


The following excerpts are taken from Water Canada (with RenewCanada) ~ “Fake Plastic Reefs”. 
HESSELEINRay Hesslein, limnologist, offers his thoughts on how using protocells to make limestone structures might affect water bodies.

SYNTHETIC BIOLOGY
Rachel Armstrong
wants to use synthetic biology and smart chemistry to save decaying buildings in the Italian city of Venice.


Water Canada’s sister publication, ReNew Canada, recently profiled Armstrong’s TEDTalk, wherein the scientist details how she ARTIFICIAL LIMESTONEproposes to grow artificial limestone reefs under those buildings and use them as support structures. The metabolic materials Armstrong’s team designs are based on the protocell. One of the reef-building organisms Armstrong and her team have engineered naturally moves away from light and towards darkness. This behaviour would keep reefs out of Venice’s navigable canals and have them grow in the darkness under its buildings, essentially petrifying, and sustainably reclaiming, the city’s foundations.

We wondered how the approach might affect the water in the canal system and asked Dr. Ray Hesslein, recent recipient of the LIMNOLOGISTSociety of Canadian Limnologists’ Frank H. Rigler Award, to give us a lesson in calcium carbonate.

Water Canada: Can you tell us a bit about how limestone works?

LAKE AREADr. Hesslein: The ease with which organisms can produce precursors to limestone really depends on how much calcium carbonate is in the water. At the Experimental Lakes Area [in Ontario], where there is very little calcium carbonate in the water, organisms have a huge difficulty developing this material.  Even clams and mussels have difficulty making shells. That’s one extreme. At the other end of things, the ocean is at the point of saturation. That’s why we have coral reefs. It’s relatively easy for organisms to produce shells or that kind of thing by precipitating calcium carbonate from the water.

What do you make of Armstrong’s protocells?

The greater concern is not whether you produce an enzyme package that can precipitate calcium carbonate, but whether you can control it. How do you make it go where you want it to? How do you stop it from growing wildly in the canals?

How might the introduction of limestone affect the surrounding ecosystem?

CALCIUM CARBONATE CALCIUM CARBONATE2     If you put calcium carbonate into fresh water, it will corrode and dissolve gradually. If the water body is not saturated or near saturation, that water body will corrode the limestone. That’s a concern in the ocean right now. When you add more CO2 into the atmosphere, it goes into the ocean and acidifies it slightly. Some areas where calcium carbonates were stable in the past have become corrosive, and that is having an effect on reefs. An estuary is more complex and variable. There may be times when things will be stable or under-saturated and begin to corrode. If you have organisms in that area and it’s semiclosed, this process will compete with them. Other organisms will have difficulty precipitating unless you put in amendments. This is not to say Armstrong’s process won’t work in some places. The concept is interesting, but in my mind, there are more questions than answers. One would have to look at the situation in Venice, checking for seasonal variability and doing a proper engineering assessment.

Any other thoughts you’d like to share?

Armstrong talks about continuous renewal being something biology does that is different from manmade structures. Organisms die and are replaced. In Venice, we might want to preserve everything forever, but I’m not sure I agree with the whole notion of being able to make things last. Biology evolves as well.

YOUNG CANADIAN, ANN MAGOSINSKI ~ GOOGLE SCIENCE FAIR HOPEFUL

ANN MAGOSINSKI

The Hollow (Thermoelectric) Flashlight – Google Science Fair

Ann Magosinski, a fifteen-year-old from Victoria, British Columbia, has created a simple LED flashlight powered by body heat.

Ann, a Grade 10 student, took second place overall at the Vancouver Island Science Fair with her project, the hollow flashlight, which runs on the heat from a human hand. She will be bringing the unique design to the Canada-Wide Science Fair in May.

Watch the video below to see Ann explain her amazing invention.

Update 28 June, 2013:  Ann won gold at the National Science Fair in Lethbridge with her project as well as the Energy Challenge Award and prizes to boot. She has been selected as a finalist – and the only representative from Canada in the Google Science Fair 2013!

TILE2

In order for the flashlight to be powered by body energy, Ann used Peltier tiles – a device that produces energy when one side is heated and another side is cooled. Apparently, the light can last for about 20 minutes.

In depth article – CBC news ~

http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/story/2013/06/27/technology-google-science-fair-finals-ann-makosinski.html

Congratulations on your brilliant invention! 

Good Luck to you Ann.  Bring home the award.