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Super typhoon in Philippines ‘most damaging’ storm of past century

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Millions of people have been forced to take shelter after what may be the strongest storm to ever make landfall batters the Philippines.

Official reports say at least three people have died, with confirmation yet to be received about a possible fourth, as sustained winds of up to 320 km/h (199mph) were recorded.

As many as 12 million people live in the path of the category five super typhoon, in a region still recovering from the effects of a powerful earthquake which struck last month. 

Philippines president Benigno Aquino III has allegedly resorted to using threats of force to remove people living in high-risk areas from their homes in a bid to save lives. It has been reported that many families are reluctant to leave their possessions for fear of looting.

“No typhoon can bring Filipinos to their knees if we’ll be united”, Aquino said in a televised address.

Anna Lindenfors, Save the Children’s director for the Philippines, warned that the charity expects the damage to be “extensive and devastating“.

“Children are going to be particularly affected, swept away in floods, hit by falling debris and separated from their families in the chaos. We expect thousands to be left homeless,” she said. 

Meanwhile, Jeff Masters, meteorology director at Weather Underground, said that the damage might prove to be “perhaps the greatest wind damage any city on Earth has endured from a tropical cyclone in the past century”.

Typhoon Haiyan is the 24th tropical storm to hit the Philippines this year alone. The islands lie in the most active typhoon belt on the planet.

After sweeping through the Philippines, the storm will turn towards the South China sea over the weekend. Meteorologists fear that it could gather even more intensity as it approaches the Vietnamese coast.

Research published in 2010 by a research group at the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology predicted that the frequency of violent typhoons, with winds exceeding 194 km/h (120.5mph), could increase 10-fold by the end of this century due to climate change.

Speaking in February, the then director of the Philippines National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council Benito Ramos said that climate change posed an “existential threat” to the islands.

“We are mainstreaming climate change in all government departments and policies. If we don’t adapt and adjust, we all agree we are heading for disaster“, he added.

The most recent report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) also observed that “it is virtually certain that the frequency and intensity of the strongest tropical cyclones in the North Atlantic has increased since the 1970s.” 

A recent study revealed that human-caused global warming may have played a crucial role in half of the extreme events occurred in 2012. Meanwhile scientists have warned that rising temperatures linked to manmade climate change would contribute to sea level rise in US coastal cities, as well as extreme weather in Australia. In July, the UN called the period of 2001 to 2010 a decade of “unprecedented extremes.

Further reading:

Rising carbon dioxide will amplify El Niño, say scientists

Cyclone Phailin leaves 18 dead in India

Half of 2012 extreme weather events linked to climate change, says study

Up to 5 billion people could experience extreme climates by 2050

UN agency reports on ‘decade of climate extremes’

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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