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4 Ways Driving Hurts the Environment and Your Health

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car fumes by Riley Kaminer via flickr (1)

Most Americans commute into the city from a suburban neighborhood rather than live close enough to walk to the office. Thus, the average time they spend driving to work is 25.5 minutes.

That totals nearly an hour that every day people spend in compulsory driving (as opposed to shopping or recreation), and all that time in the car is taking its toll on both you and the world around us.

For example, an hour of driving per day has considerable impact on the environment. More than 19 pounds per gallon of carbon emissions come out of the average vehicle’s tailpipe. That’s approximately 40 pounds per day per person!

We can see the effects of this kind of pollution in the environment and in your body. Here are some of effects of frequent driving that have the most notable impact.

1. Increase in Climate Change

Our atmosphere evolved to enable excess heat to slip through the atmosphere and beyond, which effectively keeps things cool down near the surface of the planet. As more carbon emissions float into the environment, they block that heat from escaping.

The emissions build up and form a kind of insulation that keeps heat trapped around the earth, and vehicles are a major source of those emissions. Last year, reports showed that the planet is steadily warming.

2015 was the hottest year on record, and 2016 is slated to be even hotter. These are strong hints that vehicle emissions are having a serious effect upon our comfort on this globe.

2. Higher Risk for Drunk Driving

Every year, nearly 10,000 people are killed in drunk driving crashes. That’s comes to about one fatality every 53 minutes. When you regularly put yourself on the road for a long commute, you’re significantly increasing the risk of running into a drunk driver, and perhaps even driving while impaired yourself.

This is not just illegal and likely to cost you a hefty sum in legal fees, but it could lead to an early death, whether yours or that of an innocent victim you hit.

3. Poorer Air Quality

Smog is a major issue in highly populated areas that suffer from poor air quality. It’s a direct product of carbon emissions, for which vehicles are a major contributor.

When people live in areas where the air has lower quality, this increases the risk for illnesses such as asthma, allergies, bronchitis, and other acute respiratory conditions. Air pollution can also increase a person’s risk of lung cancer and emphysema — chronic conditions that can often be fatal.

In short, people who live in areas with low air quality tend to experience a higher mortality rate.

4. Rising Blood Sugar and Cholesterol

Studies have shown that people who drive more than 10 miles per day tend to register higher levels of blood sugar and cholesterol. Both of these conditions can lead to other, severe health issues, such as diabetes and heart disease.

With relation to the blood-sugar issue, your blood pressure can also spike temporarily when you’re in a high-stress traffic situation. High blood pressure is known as “the silent killer,” because it strikes when we least expect it.

These are just a few of the ways that driving can have severe adverse health effects over time. Your mortality rate rises significantly with each hour you spend at the wheel, as does the declining state of the environment.

Seeking alternative forms of transportation and reducing your carbon emissions could do a world of good for you and everyone around you.

 

Environment

4 Common Items That Can be Reused Again and Again

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reuse reduce recycle plastic bottles etc
Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By Vanatchanan | https://www.shutterstock.com/g/vanatchanan%20buahom

As a society we are getting much better at taking our obligations to the world and environment around us more seriously. This is undoubtedly a good thing! The effects of climate change are beginning to manifest across the world, and this is turning the issue from an abstract threat into a very real danger. Trying to introduce some greener, more eco-friendly practices into your life isn’t just a great way of doing something beneficial for society and the world around you. It is a wonderful way of engaging positively with the world and carries with it numerous psychological benefits.

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Being a greener, more ecologically friendly person doesn’t require any dramatic life changes. Breaking or making a few small habits is all it takes to make your life a greener one. In this article we look at one of the easiest, yet most effective green practices to get into: reusing everyday items.

Jars and Containers

Glass and metal are widely recycled, and recycling is a good thing! However, consider whether any containers you buy, whether it’s a tub of ice cream or a jar of coffee, can be washed out and reused for something else. Mason jars, for example, can be used to store homemade pasta sauce and can be washed for future use. Once you start thinking about it, you will find endless opportunities to reuse your old containers.

Soda Bottles

An ice-cold soda is a wonderful treat on a hot day, but buying soda can get expensive, and the manufacturing and distribution of the drinks themselves isn’t great for the environment. However, by holding on to your old soda bottles and repurposing them as water bottles, you can save money on drinks, or use them to measure out water for your garden.

Plastic Bags

Most of the time groceries come in paper bags, which are better for the environment than the plastic alternatives, but they are less durable and thus harder to reuse. Whenever the store places your items in a plastic bag, hang onto it so you can reuse the bags again. If you want to take it one step further, consider looking into buying some personalized recycled bags. These bags are designed to last for a long time and are made of recycled materials. They look striking and unique, they’ll turn heads, and maybe even attitudes!

Seeds

If you’re a keen gardener, then you will already probably know how to reseed your plants in order to ensure a fresh crop after each plant’s lifecycle. If you have space in your garden, or haven’t yet tried your hand at gardening, then consider planting a small vegetable plot. Growing your own veggies means that you’ll be helping to cut back on the emissions generated by their transport and production. The best part about growing your own food in this way is that, by harvesting properly and saving the seeds, you can be set up with fresh vegetables for life!

Reusing and recycling common household items is an easy way to make your world a little bit greener. Once you start looking for these opportunities you’ll realize that they’re everywhere!

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Environment

These 5 Green Office Mistakes Are Costing You Money

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eco-friendly green offices
Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By Stokkete | https://www.shutterstock.com/g/cyano

The sudden interest in green business is very encouraging. According to recent reports, 42% of all companies have rated sustainability as an important element of their business. Unfortunately, the focus on sustainability will only last if companies can find ways to use it to boost their ROI.

Many businesses get so caught up in being socially conscious that they hope the financial aspect of it takes care of itself. The good news is that there are plenty of ways to go green and boost your net income at the same time.

Here are some important mistakes that you will want to avoid.

Only implementing sustainability on micro-scale

The biggest reason that brands are going green is to improve their optics with their customers. Too many businesses are making very minor changes, such as processing paperwork online and calling themselves green.

Customers have become wary of these types of companies. If you want to earn their business, you are going to need to go all the way. Bring in a green business consultant and make every feasible change to demonstrate that you are a green organization from top to bottom.

Not prioritizing investments by long-term ROI

It isn’t realistic to build an entirely green organization overnight. You will need to allocate your capital wisely.

Before investing in any green assets or services, you should always conduct a long-term cost benefit analysis. The initial investment for some green services may be over $20,000. If they don’t shave your cost by at least $3,000 a year, they probably aren’t worth the investment.

Determine which green investments will have the best pay off over the next 10 years. Make these investments before anything else. Then compare your options within each of those categories.

Implementing green changes without a plan

Effective, long-term planning is the key to business success. This principle needs to be applied to green organizations as well.

Before implementing a green strategy, you must answer the following questions:

  • How will I communicate my green business philosophy to my customers?
  • How will running a green business affect my revenue stream?
  • How will adopting green business strategies change my monthly expenses? Will they increase or decrease them?
  • How will my company finance green upgrades and other investments?

The biggest mistake that too many green businesses make is being overly optimistic with these forecasts. Take the time to collect objective data and make your decisions accordingly. This will help you run a much more profitable green business.

Not considering the benefits of green printing

Too many companies believe that going paperless is the only way to run a green organization. Unfortunately, going 100% paperless it’s not feasible for most companies.

Rather than aim for an unrealistic goal, consider the option of using a more environmentally friendly printer. It won’t be perfect, but it will be better than the alternative.

According to experts from Doranix, environmental printers have several benefits:

  • They can process paper that has been completely recycled.
  • They consume less energy than traditional printers.
  • They use ink that is more environmentally friendly.

You want to take a look at different green printers and compare them. You’ll find that some will meet your needs as a green business.

Poorly communicating your green business strategy to customers

Brand positioning doesn’t happen on its own. If you want to run a successful green business, you must communicate your message to customers as clearly as possible. You must also avoid the appearance that you are patronizing them.

The best approach is to be clear when you were first making the change. I’ll make an announcement about your company‘s commitment to sustainability.

You also want to reinforce this message overtime by using green labels on all of your products. You don’t have to be blatant with your messaging at this stage. Simply provide a small, daily reminder on your products and invoices.

Finally, it is a good idea to participate in green business seminars and other events. If your community has a local Green Chamber of Commerce, you should consider joining as well.

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