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The Organic Times Blog

The Natural Living Community

  • 5 Wacky Alternative Energy Sources To Produce Clean Energy

    alternative-energyPeople who are concerned about the environment would agree that fossil fuels are not here to stay. They are the major cause of pollution, climate change and even war. When it comes to clean energy sources it doesn’t stop with solar and wind energy. There are a lot of other ways to harvest energy. We have listed below some of the most bizarre alternative energy sources available. You could be very well aware of some of the clean energy sources like, geothermal, wave power, or hydroelectricity. But, these are not the kind of methods you are going to see in the list below.

    Get ready to find out the weirdest and in some cases the most bizarre ways to produce energy.

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  • Dam It? The benefits and drawbacks of hydropower

    Srinkarin Dam In Thailand Srinkarin Dam In Thailand

                            This morning, I was flipping through a photography book of the Columbia River Gorge. The pictures near the front of the book depicted native people harvesting salmon from whitewater rapids, narrow canyons, and river-wide waterfalls. Towards the end, the pictures essentially showed a lake. Some of the most beautiful, culturally-significant sights on the river are now invisible, buried beneath sixty to eighty feet of water. The reason: Dams.

          Dams, historically, have been built for a number of reasons. In Ohio, where I grew up, most dams were built for flood control or to increase recreation opportunities. The dams of the American West and most dams built in the last thirty years, however, were primarily built to generate electricity. Hydropower was, and sometimes still is, touted as the solution to the problem of fossil fuel dependence. The truth is that, while hydropower does have benefits, it also has some very serious drawbacks that are often overlooked.

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  • A Good Year For Alternative Energy

     

    Wind Farm courtesy of Wikipedia.com Wind Farm courtesy of Wikipedia.com        

               The past year went by way too fast. As I write this, on the eve of a new year, I am struck by how momentous this past year was. Horrible shootings occurred around the country, Russia became the first to drill for oil in the high Arctic, and Miley Cyrus proved to the world that she was going to reinvent herself. In spite of all this terrible news, I think the readers of this blog have plenty of cause for celebration as they look back on the past year.

                Devastating climate change is like a desert mirage that is not vanishing as we get closer. Recently, we have learned that our best bet to fight this catastrophe is to shy away from fossil fuels in favor of alternative energy sources. Herein lay our justification for celebration. Wind, solar, and even wave-generated energy have had new advances in this past year that leaves me optimistic for 2014.

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  • Defining Appropriate Energy: A Goal Oriented Approach

    Over the years I have been responsible for defining or re-defining the mission, vision, and objectives of a number of organizations.  In many cases I was an outsider called in by an organization to come and help facilitate long-term planning and visioning.  I enjoy the work very much, but I find it remarkable how many organizations cannot seem to figure out what it is they are trying to do.  The number of for-profit and not-for-profit organizations out in the world without a clearly defined set of goals is staggering.  In many cases, individuals on the boards of these organizations actually believe there is a goal, but it sounds something like, "save the world and make money."  I know I'm a bit obsessive about detail (I am a professor), but without a clear and distinct goal, how in the world do you know if you are doing your job?

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  • Ideas To Conserve Energy This Halloween

    Conserving energy this Halloween

    Halloween is a fun time of the year for kids and adults. It is easy to get caught up in the festivities and use a lot of energy, but there are steps you can take to conserve energy and still have a blast!

    Decorating is fun, it is a great way to express your creativity and to add a little spunk to your home. Instead of going all out with lights, consider putting candles to use. They will add an eerie glow to your displays without using a lot of
    electricity.
  • Sustainability At Southmost

       Max Pons Admiring An Indigo Snake           When he pulled out the homemade wine, I knew I was in for a doozy of a day. I was sitting in the cluttered, 1980’s-esque office of Max Pons. A tall, narrow-faced Texan with just a hint of that unforgettable drawl, Max poured his wine out of a Snapple container into a plastic medicine cup with a subtle grin. We brought our cups together, guzzled the delicious drink, and set out to explore a piece of property unlike any other in the United States.

                    Max Pons is the preserve manager of the Lennox Foundation Southmost Preserve, a 1,034 acre parcel of protected land occupying the southernmost part of the continental United States. The property is bordered on three sides by the Rio Grande, while the infamous (and unsightly) border fence separates the preserve from the rest of the country. Some of the last native sabal palm forest left in the United States can be found there, as can many animal species found nowhere else in the country. That’s the reason I traveled over 2,000 miles to pay this place a visit. It was with timid excitement that I parked my trusty rental van and began exploring this Nature Conservancy preserve with my eccentric, but brilliant, guide.

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  • Slowing Down The White Gold Rush: The Elephant Poaching Problem And What You Can Do About It

    Carved elephant tusk for sale in San Francisco. Carved elephant tusk for sale in San Francisco.

           

             The last few years have not been kind to African elephants. Recent estimates put the number of African elephants killed since 2011 at over 50,000. The total number of both African elephant species (forest and savanna) is estimated to be around 550,000 individuals spread out over Earth’s second largest continent. See the problem?

                The surge in killings is directly tied to a surge in demand. The gleaming tusks that elephants use to push down trees, dig for minerals, and battle rival males are their downfall. Wealthy consumers from East Asian countries, such as China and The Philippines, often like to decorate their houses with ivory carvings, representing anything from religious figures to, ironically, elephants. Those who purchase these carvings are frequently unaware that intelligent animals were shot repeatedly, young elephants were left orphaned and grieving, and several international laws were broken to get that ivory into their home.

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  • West Virginia's Toxic Water Problem: What would you do without a good water source?

    deepwater horizon, oil, planktonWhile 300,000 people are doubtful about having clean water tonight in West Virginia, the rest of us can only imagine what it would be like to not bathe, drink, brush our teeth, clean our dishes, clothes or even give our animals the life-giving liquid we all know as water. What happened to the Elk River is reminiscent of the BP Oil Spill, also known as the United State's Greatest Environmental Tragedy.  Both instances brought clean water, something the majority of U.S. citizens take for granted, to the fore front of our nation's conscience

    Clean water in our nation is mandatory for the population majority. Without clean, running water our homes and businesses can be declared uninhabitable by the states we live in...but it wasn't always this way. Whom do we have to thank for being able to trust the H2O that streams out of our taps?

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  • Gray Wolves De-listing Process Creating Teenage Thugs?

    Gray-WolfAs the Obama Administration works to remove the Gray Wolf from the Endangered species list, states who have been managing their Gray Wolf packs have seen several outcomes from the 1996 experiment to reintroduce the once native species into the United States.

    One is a large increase in the wolf population. Currently, the country has an approximate total of 6,100 wolves with 4, 432 in the Great Lakes region, including Minnesota and Wisconsin.  Idaho has the largest Gray Wolf population with 683 wolves and at least 117 packs in 2012, with Montana following closely behind with 625 of the predators and 277 in Wyoming.  Idaho also has the largest amount of livestock loss due to wolves.

    As Idaho struggles to find a balance between ranchers and the wolves, one possible byproduct has been the rise of wolf "teenage thugs" due to the loss of adult role models and pack leaders.

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  • Do babies really need iPads?

    ipad for babies? how young is too young?

    Toy makers capitalize on the Holiday buying season by rolling out new toys, hoping to be the latest "Tickle Me Elmo" of the year. This month, Fischer Price introduced their new infant bouncer, complete with an iPad holder on the "activity bar" placed 10-12" over the baby's recumbent form.

    Commercials show the infant merrily reaching out to touch the images flashing on the screen, while the smiling mother looks on,  seemingly content that her child is not only being entertained, but also educated.

    But are iPads really necessary for babies? How young is too young?

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