Green News & Issues

17th october 2011                                     DONIE SAYS:-               Our Climate change’s are  making animals shrink

Many plant and animal species around the world are shrinking, thanks to climate change, NationalUniversity of Singapore researchers say.                                        Increasing temperatures, they claim, have had far-reaching effects on the body size of organisms from plants to polar bears. Many organisms are already getting smaller and more are likely to follow suit as warming continues.

The researchers cite a number of studies to support their conclusion. Fossil evidence from the Palaeocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum, 55 million years ago, shows that invertebrates became up to 75 percent smaller as temperatures rose three to seven percent.

Over the last hundred years, animals from toads to deer have started to shrink, they say.

The shrinkage can be explained by metabolic changes, they say.

“Many studies are corroborating this general trend, and as more studies come out saying the same thing, we need to understand why this trend is happening and what it will mean for society,” says assistant professor David Bickford.

“This is a very different frame of reference, scientifically. It implies that we are changing the planet’s climate enough to have an effect on most species and we do not fully understand what will happen when species get smaller.”

The effects, he says, will be difficult to predict. It could, for example, mean crop harvests getting smaller, and with plant fodder declining, animal species too could be hit.

But the real problem isn’t likely to be the shrinkage itself, but rather the fact that some species will shrink more or faster than others, potentially destroying ecosystems.   The study appears in Nature Climate Change.           ……………………………………………………………………………………………………..  6TH OCTOBER 2011                                                                                 How recycling can help save the earth – and your pocket!

                                                    It’s the great recycling divide. No, not between tree-huggers and people who could care less; it’s between our recycling habits at home and at work.

Strangely, where 77% of people recycle milk or juice cartons at home, only 30% do in the office, and while 82% recycle their plastic bottles at home, only 41% do in the office.

According to Repak’s research published this week for Recycling Week, the main reasons for this work place indifference are that people feel it’s not their responsibility or they simply don’t think about it.

There is a message there for all office managers and business owners to organise easy recycling systems in the workplace. Equally, let’s not forget the systems we employ in our own homes.

You see, we might not be as great at recycling as we think. While we claim to recycle over half of our household waste, according to the Environmental Protection Agency‘s waste database report only 30% of household waste is recovered; a bit of behaviour inflation there it would seem.

So how can we do better, or indeed do as well as we think we do?

Darrell Crowe, Head of Sales and Marketing at Repak says it’s all about changing mindsets.

“How have you set up recycling in your households”, asks Crowe. “In the early days it was about recycling in the kitchen, but how many people have twin bins in the bathroom for example,” he wonders.

Very few I reckon, which is why Crowe recommends putting a recycling bin on the landing or in a common area between rooms. This should remind you to add the shampoo bottles and tissue box.

“It’s about re-using our finite natural resources”, says Crowe, “but in addition, if you can get more into your green bin it will help cut your waste charge, as green bags are generally either free or cost one third of a regular bin charge”.

According to Repak the average cost of annual household waste charges are €220 to €250 but if you don’t recycle properly that would be €100 more.

Essentially the more you recycle the more you save. But how much will depend on where you live. For example, in Dublin you could pay €7 per lift of general waste but zero for the green bin, whereas in the Midlands you could pay €8 for the general bin and €3 for the recycling bin.

What exactly you can put in the green or brown bin will also depend on the contractor providing the service in your area, a practice that must add to consumers’ confusion.

According to Crowe there are a number of materials they all can take, but to find out what extras can be chucked in the green bin you’ll have to contact your contractor to find out.

Often forgotten items we all can recycle include: plastic trays from fruit; yoghurt drink bottles; steel food cans; empty aerosol containers (deodorants and air fresheners); foil trays from take-aways and tarts; sweet and biscuit tins and juice cartons.

Don’t forget the bathroom: shampoo and cleanser bottles, toilet roll plastic wrapping and toilet detergent bottles can all be added and if you have a brown bin, that will reduce your charge for general waste even more.

Do remember to clean everything first. Almost 8% of all the matter is currently rejected and it’s up to us to do better.

Oh, and please don’t put dirty nappies in the green bin (yes that does happen!).

……..                         ………                      ……….                       ………          ………..

Canon USA Launches Ink Cartridge Recycling Campaign

             Canon USA Launches Countrywide Ink Cartridge Recycling Campaign                                                       Canon has furthered its bid to be seen as an environmentally responsible company as it launched a nationwide ink cartridge recycling programme today, in partnership with FedEx, Sims Recycling Solutions and Close the Door.

Those using Canon PIXMA printers will now be able to drop off genuine Canon cartridges at any one of over 1,600 FedEx Print and Ship Centers across the US.

The empty ink cartridges will eventually reach Close the Loop, which specialises in removing components of ink cartridges to be used in other products.

The latest move is part of Canon’s Generation Green initiative, which Yuichi Ishizuka, executive vice president and general manager, imaging technologies and communications, said was a reaction to consumers becoming more aware of the environmental responsibilities everyone has.

“Environmental responsibility and awareness have always been a top priority for Canon, and recycling is one of the simplest yet most beneficial aspects of this,” he added.

Canon’s Generation Green initiative is designed to educate customers and consumers of the environmental and potentially cost-cutting benefits of ventures such as this.


  •  Please click above link to get a full printer friendly PDF file list                                                       
  • The Final 20 tips of 100 on how to save energy and money.
  • Ways to protect our water 
    81. Revegetate or mulch disturbed soil as 
     soon as possible. 
    82. Never dump anything down a storm 
    83. Have your septic tank pumped and 
     system inspected regularly. 
    84. Check your car for oil or other leaks, 
     and recycle motor oil. 
    85. Take your car to a car wash instead of 
     washing it in the driveway. 
    86. Learn about your watershed
    Create less trash 
    87. Buy items in bulk from loose bins 
     when possible to reduce the 
     packaging wasted. 
    88. Avoid products with several layers of 
     packaging when only one is 
     sufficient. About 33% of what we 
     throw away is packaging. 
    89. Buy products that you can reuse. 
    90. Maintain and repair durable products 
     instead of buying new ones. 
    91. Check reports for products that are 
     easily repaired and have low 
     breakdown rates. 
    92. Reuse items like bags and containers 
     when possible. 
    93. Use cloth napkins instead of paper 
    94. Use reusable plates and utensils 
     instead of disposable ones. 
    95. Use reusable containers to store food 
     instead of aluminum foil and cling 
    96. Shop with a canvas bag 
     instead of using paper 
     and plastic bags. 
    97. Buy rechargeable batteries 
     for devices used frequently. 
    98. Reuse packaging cartons 
     and shipping materials. Old 
     newspapers make great packaging 
    99. Compost your vegetable scraps. 
    100. Buy used furniture - there is a 
     surplus of it, and it is much cheaper 
     than new furniture
Ways to use less water
73. Check and fix any water leaks.
74. Install water-saving devices on your faucets and toilets.
75. Don’t wash dishes with the water running continuously.
76. Wash and dry only full loads of laundry and dishes.
77. Follow your community’s water use restrictions or guidelines.
78. Install a low-flow shower head.
79. Replace old toilets with new ones that use a lot less water.
80. Turn off washing machine’s water supply to prevent leaks.
Ways to protect our water
81. Revegetate or mulch disturbed soil as soon as possible.
82. Never dump anything down a storm drain.
83. Have your septic tank pumped and system inspected regularly.
84. Check your car for oil or other leaks,and recycle motor oil.
85. Take your car to a car wash instead of washing it in the driveway.
86. Learn about your watershed.
  •   In your office 24 Things you can do are:                                   

  • 49  Copy and print on both sides of paper.                           
  • 50. Reuse items like envelopes, folders and paper clips.

  • 51. Use mailer sheets for interoffice mail instead of an envelope.  

  • 52. Set up a bulletin board for memos instead of sending a copy to each employee. 

  • 53. Use e-mail instead of paper correspondence. 
  • 54. Use recycled paper. 
  • 55. Use discarded paper for scrap paper. 
  • 56. Encourage your school and/or company to print documents with soy-based inks, which are less toxic.

  • 57. Use a ceramic coffee mug instead of a disposable cup.Ways you can protect our air58. Ask your employer to consider flexible work   schedules or  telecommuting.

59. Recycle printer cartridges.

60. Shut off electrical equipment in the evening when you leave work.

61. Report smoking vehicles to your local air agency.

62. Don’t use your wood stove or fireplace when

air quality is poor.

63. Avoid slow-burning, smoldering fires. They produce the largest amount of pollution.

64. Burn seasoned wood – it burns cleaner than green wood.

65. Use solar power for home and water heating.

66. Use low-VOC or water-based paints, stains, finishes and paint strippers.

67. Purchase radial tires and keep them properly inflated for your vehicle.

68. Paint with brushes or rollers instead of using spray paints to minimize

harmful emissions.

69. Ignite charcoal barbecues with an electric probe or

other alternative to lighter fluid.

70. If you use a wood stove, use one sold after 1990. They are required to meet European emissions standards and are more efficient and cleaner burning.

71. Walk or ride your bike instead of driving, whenever possible.

72. Join a carpool or vanpool to get to work.

    ( New Irish website now available for car pooling)                                                         

29 TH JULY 2011                                                                                   The next 10 tips are for your Yard                                   

  1. In your yard
    38. Avoid using leaf blowers and other
          dust-producing equipment.
    39. Use an electric lawn-
          mower instead of a
          gas-powered one.
    40. Leave grass clippings
          on the yard—they
          decompose and
          return nutrients to
          the soil.
    41. Use recycled wood
          chips as mulch to keep weeds down,
          retain moisture and prevent erosion.
    42. Use only the required amount of
    43. Minimize pesticide use.
    44. Create a wildlife habitat in your yard.
    45. Water grass early in the morning.
    46. Rent or borrow items like
          ladders, chain saws, party
          decorations and others
          that are seldom used.
    47. Take actions that use non
          hazardous components
          (e.g., to ward off pests, plant marigolds
          in a garden instead of using pesticide).
    48. Put leaves in a compost heap instead
          of burning them or throwing them
          away. Yard debris too large for your
          compost bin should be taken to a
          yard-debris recycler.
    In your home—reduce toxicity
  2. 29. Eliminate mercury from
          your home by purchasing
          items without mercury,
          and dispose of items
          containing mercury at an
          appropriate drop-off facility when necessary (e.g., old thermometers).
    30. Learn about alternatives to
          household cleaning items
          that do not use hazardous
    31. Buy the right amount of
          paint for the job.
    32. Review labels of household cleaners
          you use. Consider alternatives like
          baking soda, scouring pads, water or
          a little more elbow grease.
    33. When no good alternatives exist to a
          toxic item, find the least amount re-
          quired for an effective, sanitary result.
    34. If you have an older home, have paint
          in your home tested for lead. If you
          have lead-based paint, cover it with
          wall paper or other material instead
          of sanding it or burning it off.
    35. Use traps instead of rat and mouse
          poisons and insect killers.
    36. Have your home tested for radon.
    37. Use cedar chips or aromatic herbs
           instead of mothballs. 
    ****************************************************************** The first 28 tips I will give this week are on Conserving Home Energy.  
In Your Home – Conserve Energy
  1. Clean or replace air filters on your air conditioning unit at least once a month.
  2. If you have central air conditioning, do not close vents in unused rooms.
  3. Lower the thermostat on your water heater to 120.
  4. Wrap your water heater in an insulated blanket.
  5. Turn down or shut off your water heater when you will be away for extended periods.
  6. Turn off unneeded lights even when leaving a room for a short time.
  7. Set your refrigerator temperature at 36 to 38 and your freezer at 0 to 5 .
  8. When using an oven, minimize door opening while it is in use; it reduces oven temperature by 25 to 30 every time you open the door.
  9. Clean the lint filter in your dryer after every load so that it uses less energy.
  10. Unplug seldom used appliances.
  11. Use a microwave when- ever you can instead of a conventional oven or stove.
  12. Wash clothes with warm or cold water instead of hot.
  13. Reverse your indoor ceiling fans for summer and winter operations as recommended.
  14. Turn off lights, computers and other appliances when not in use.
  15. Purchase appliances and office equipment with the Energy Star Label; old refridgerators, for example, use up to 50 more electricity than newer models.
  16. Only use electric appliances when you need them.
  17. Use compact fluorescent light bulbs to save money and energy.
  18. Keep your thermostat at 68 in winter and 78 in summer.
  19. Keep your thermostat higher in summer and lower in winter when you are away
  20. Insulate your home as best as you can.
  21. Install weather stripping around all doors and windows.
  22. Shut off electrical equipment in the evening when you leave work.
  23. Plant trees to shade your home.
  24. Shade outside air conditioning units by trees or other means.
  25. Replace old windows with energy efficient ones.
  26. Use cold water instead of warm or hot water when possible.
  27. Connect your outdoor lights to a timer.
  28. Buy green electricity – electricity produced by low – or even zero-pollution facilities (NC Greenpower for North Carolina – In your home-reduce toxicity.

Next week I will give you 9 more tips on Reducing Toxicity In Your Home – Says Donie.  *******************************************************************************

Friday 1st. July 2011,   Donie says

Is Extreme Weather Linked to Climate Change?

Fires, tornadoes and floods. Oh, my God what is going on!

This year we’ve seen weather so extreme that, in some cases, it’s making history–and we’re still two weeks shy of the halfway mark.

So what’s going on? Is climate change to blame for tornadoes like the one that devastated Joplin, Missouri last month or hurricanes like Katrina, which ripped through New Orleans in 2005?

Well, yes and no. Although it’s difficult to link a specific weather event to climate change, there is no doubt that climate change is responsible for the trend toward increasingly extreme weather worldwide.

If you’ve spent much time reading about the environment during the past few years, then at some point you’ve heard someone say that you can’t link individual weather events to climate change.

Environmentalists say it when climate deniers point to an unusually bad blizzard or ice storm in an effort to refute global warming, and climate-change deniers say it when environmentalists point to extreme weather events such as worse-than-usual hurricanes or wildfires or droughts as evidence of increasing climate disruption.

No matter who is making the claim, they are correct. You can’t say with any certainty that a single weather event, no matter how extreme, is a direct effect of climate change.

But you can link climate change to extreme weathertrends.

Extreme Weather Linked to Climate Change
In 2010 and the first half of 2011, climate change was responsible for:  The record-breaking pattern of tornadoes that swept across parts of the American Midwest and South, destroying Joplin, Missouri and killing 536 people by early June, nearly as many U.S. tornado-related deaths as in the previous 10 years.

The drought in the American southwest that is already worse than the Dust Bowl of the 1930s, which is still considered the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history. As a result of this drought, which has been under way for several years, parts of Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico are now drier than they’ve ever been.

The record snowfall and rainfall in the Rocky Mountains and across the Midwest, which led to record flooding along the Mississippi River. And the huge floods in Australia, New Zealand and Pakistan. Climate-change deniers often point to heavy snow and rain as evidence that global warming doesn’t exist, but the link between global warming and increasing snow and rain is inescapable. Warm air holds more water vapor than cold air. So as air temperature rises, we will continue to see a growing trend toward more rain and snow over time.

The Amazon region has experienced two hundred-year droughts in just five years (one in 2005 and another in 2010), which together have generated enough greenhouse gas emissions from dying trees to cancel out the carbon absorbed by the rainforest in the first decade of the 21st century (about 1.5 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide annually, or 15 billion tons over those 10 years). Scientists estimate that the Amazon will release another 5 billion tons of CO2 over the next few years as the trees killed by the 2010 drought decay. Worse, the Amazon rainforest is no longer absorbing carbon and balancing emissions as it once did, which is expected to accelerate climate change and to leave the planet even more vulnerable to its effects.

 How Climate Change is Changing the Weather

       There have always been extreme weather events. What’s different now is the increasing frequency of so many different kinds of extreme weather.

What we’re seeing is not the end result of climate change, but the leading edge of an extreme-weather trend that will continue to worsen if we fail to act.

Although it may seem counterintuitive that climate change can be responsible for opposites in extreme weather, such as drought and floods, climate disruption does create a variety of extreme weather conditions, often in close proximity.

So although individual weather events may be too isolated to link directly to climate change, one thing is certain: if we go on contributing to the problem and refuse to solve it, then the broad effects of climate change are not only predictable but inevitable.                         ***********************************************************************  MONDAY 20th. JUNE.                                                                                                  Art of Convergence – 16th Sustainable Living Festival,  Please help us afford to deliver this free event via Fund-It!

Working the Green Economy is a two-day event for those interested in working and trading in Ireland’s emerging green and social innovation sector.  Featuring insights from green leaders at the top of their game, to stories from stellar start-ups taking the world by storm, Working the Green Economy will showcase the greEntrepreneurs that represent the cutting edge of this country’s innovation and job creation potential.

Each day addresses several core issues over multiple spaces providing a fair-type feel where attendees can explore the best content, advice and contacts for their next career move.  From sourcing start-up or expansion funds to learning about new sustainable business models; from discovering new green-tech innovations and strategies to the market potential of green procurement; Working the Green Economy will help attendees get to work while showing how the green economy will work for them.

Event aim?   To inspire, encourage and support the recent unemployed to start their own green or social enterprise or consider working for one.

Who should attend?

  • People considering a career in the Green Economy
  • Companies who provide green products and services
  • Companies providing their products and services in a green way
  • Companies looking at going green
  • Active and would be social entrepreneurs
  • Anyone who wants to explore the business case for sustainability

Who / what will be there?  Green Entrepreneurs, policy makers, kaos pilots, social innovators

  • Thoughtleaders, business owners, funders, and trainers
  • Cutting edge techniques, tools and technologies for sustainability
  • Networking opportunities and spaces
  • Inspiration, collaboration and participation

Why speak, sponsor, exhibit? 

  • Help fledgling GreEntrepreneurs and social innovators take their next step
  • Share your story, build the community
  • Position your organisation as a leader in sustainability
  • Connect with green and social innovation leaders.  *************************************************************
  • Monday 20th June 2011 | 09.45 – 16.00 |
  • Sligo Glasshouse Hotel | €Free

TV Presenter Duncan Stewart will kick start a morning of talks and ‘life stories’ on how the green economy can create more jobs and help North West communities becoming more self-reliant.  The event will talk to those who have made, or are in the process of making, new careers and businesses within the green economy.  ***********************************************************************


Ireland’s environment is forgiving. There is a tremendous litter problem, but the rains break down much of the roadside crap, and tall grasses hide more. Most of the countryside is green and growing, and the threats to the environment are mostly not as obvious as elsewhere. They’re there, all right, but the sense of urgency that pervades the environmental movement in other places is just not so strong.

There are plenty of local battles and sometimes national battles, though. Some of the current issues are a dangerously leaky nuclear facility in England, the loss of access to open spaces, dump site placement, song bird and salmon declines, loss of bog lands and wild lands, animal rights, water pollution, proper oversight of chemical plants, proliferation of masts, inappropriate and destructive grants to farmers, and inappropriate forest plantings.

The Bad News

Every year the Environment Protection Agency releases a report on the state of the Irish environment. It generally makes for depressing reading.

Successive Governments, the report always complains, have dragged their feet, skimped on spending, bowed to vested interests and failed to implement the rigorous remedial programmes now being implemented in other EU countries. Even when useful legislation has been passed, the Government has left the implementation of it up to local councils without providing any money or support.

At the same time, the report’s authors say that the Irish people have a lot answer for. Everyone knowsthey shouldn’t litter, pollute the air and water or damage the environment. Many of them do so anyway, either from financial greed or, more damning, simply because they couldn’t care less.

Far more radical measures are required from the Goverment if Ireland is to halt the decline in water quality, growing air pollution and poor waste management. Unfortunately, these are measures that, let’s face it, we’re unlikely to get.

Specifically, the reports usually advocate the restriction of intensive farming near sensitive lakes and rivers; the imposition of a tax on fertiliser sales; phosphorous removal facilities in all waste water treatment plants; a coastline management strategy and restriction of tourist numbers in highly sensitive environmental areas. Several years after these recommendations first were made public, none of these recommendations has been acted upon.

The Good News

However, lest you feel overly down, I see the following good things happening. First, prior to 2001 local and national government was totally unwilling to start any kind of recycling programme. The fact that they’re now operating is a major plus.

Second, there are farm programmes which address the environmental issues. These are voluntary until an area’s waterways are designated as dangerously polluted. Then stringent conservation measures are instituted – too late! But, more farmers are taking up the new programmes designed to promote sustainable farming and reduce runoff of nitrates and the like from farms.

Third, the public is very aware of environmental issues and there is bound to be a local lobby group fighting for its piece of the planet when something damaging is proposed.

Fourth, change is coming to public bodies like Coillte, the Forestry Service. They are now planting some appropriate native trees amidst their vast plantations of foreign spruce. In fact, having dealt with the local Coillte representatives to save an archaeologically important site, I find the company responsive and very aware of its responsibilities to the environment and heritage of Ireland.

Finally, I spend part of every week wandering the hillsides and wild places of Ireland like Sligo. Yes, they’re under pressure, but it’s amazing how much is unspoiled. We must look after it




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