Bottled Water Vs Tap Water – the Verdict is in

Bottled Water Vs Tap Water – the Verdict is in

If you’ve been caught up in the controversy over bottled water vs tap water, I’m happy to tell you that the verdict is in. Unfortunately, neither side emerges as the winner. If you were hoping to make an informed decision between the two, I’m afraid you’re going to have to look for other solutions to your need for clean, safe drinking water. Let me explain.

The majority of our municipal water treatment systems continue to use outdated disinfection processes based upon chlorination. This process is inadequate when it comes to removing the extensive list of chemicals that wind up in our water supplies each year.

For example, the National Academy of Sciences points out that, “residues of 39 pesticides and their degradation products have been detected in the groundwater of 34 states.”

The National Resources Defense Council recently acknowledged this problem by stating, “Drinking water plants are old and out of date, and water supplies are increasingly threatened and contaminated by chemicals and micro-organisms.”

These contaminants cannot be removed by chlorination. They can only be removed by effective filtration technology. Updating our water treatment plants with this technology is an expense that most municipalities do not want to incur.

The issue of tap versus bottled water puts the spotlight on other problems. Medical experts have linked exposure to chlorine in tap water with an increase in cancer. The U.S. Council on Environmental Quality has expressed it concern by stating, “Cancer risk among people drinking chlorinated water is as much as 93% higher than among those whose water does not contain chlorine.”

Exposure to chlorine has also been found to trigger asthma.

But what when it comes to bottled water vs tap water, why isn’t bottled water a viable alternative?

Even though municipal water treatment systems are outdated, the federal government still requires them to meet certain safety standards. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the bottled water industry.

There are no governmental standards that oversee the safety and purity of bottled water. These companies are under no obligation to provide water that is any safer than tap.

There are also serious environmental issues that cannot be overlooked when it comes to bottled water.

The pollution that is added to our planet from the production, transportation and disposal of the 60,000,000 plus plastic bottles rivals the worst chemical manufacturing plants.

As a result, cities across the country are taking steps to prevent this harmful environmental impact by enacting legislation that makes it illegal to spend city monies on bottled water. Chicago has levied a 5 cent per bottle tax to discourage the consumption of bottled water by its citizens.

But if there is no winner in the bottled water vs tap water contest, how can we protect ourselves from this serious public health risk?

Fortunately, modern technology has made it possible to have effective home water filtration systems easily installed in our homes. Affordable, convenient, easy-to-install and maintain home water treatment appliances continue to be at the top of many family’s “must have” lists.

While reverse osmosis and distillation remain popular, they have serious drawbacks when it comes to getting rid of certain chemicals and bacteria. I have found that the best of these water treatment systems are based upon multi-stage filtration.

This health-guarding technology has been designed to protect against the harmful effects of chemical contaminants, including chlorine, guard older plumbing from heavy metal leeching, and provide you and your family with a convenient source of healthy minerals.

Now that the issue of tap versus bottled water has been solved, why not take a minute or two to look into this exciting, yet simple solution to clean healthy water. It can be one of the most important steps you can take to avoid the risk of serious disease.

Article authored by water purification researcher, Olivia Romero, who notes, “The purity of our water is one of the most important factors in the prevention of disease. With the risk so great and the solution so simple, why take the chance?” Visit http://www.cleancoolwater.com.

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Terrariums for Kids: Creative Ideas for Fun and Learning

Terrariums for Kids: Creative Ideas for Fun and Learning

Terrariums are a great project for kids because they encompass a lot of different things yet are not too hard of a project to make. This article gives you great ideas for terrarium making for kids of all ages and includes learning materials, container selection, plant selection, care, and more.

There are two basic types of terrariums and you can tailor the type you make to the age and skill level of the child. The first type of terrarium is an open dish type. This is simply an arrangement of plants in an open container. It can be a dish, bowl or just about any type of container that will hold at least a quart of soil.  This type is the easiest to make and the easiest to care for.

The second type of terrarium is the closed style.  It is completely enclosed in a jar, glass, or container. This type is much more attractive and fascinating but it is also more challenging to make and to maintain. This type of terrarium is also very well suited for explaining how an eco system works because it is a closed eco system.

The Perfect Compromise for a Container

A perfect compromise of closed and open terrarium is one that is made inside a large cookie jar. This is the type of glass cookie jar that has a large metal cover with a knob on it.  The cover is usually offset at an angle to the side. They usually hold about a gallon to a gallon and a half of liquid.

This container is perfect because the very large mouth makes it easy to put plants and other materials into it. And the easily removable metal lid makes it easy for a child to reach in and prune or water the plants.  And if the terrarium has been over watered the child can just leave the cover off for a couple of days. This will evaporate a lot of the excess water.

 If you do not have one of these glass cookie jars here are some guidelines for choosing an alternate container.  Choose a large container that is glass or plastic (preferably clear plastic if the project is for younger children) and insure it has a very large mouth opening so little hands can reach easily into it. Then finally, choose something with an easily removable lid. This will allow you to cover it for a closed system but also to remove it if it is over watered.

Plant Selection

You have a lot of options when it comes to selecting plants. If you want plants that will be very hardy and very durable you should consider using succulents or cacti.  They generally have a very high tolerance for sunlight and do not need a lot of watering.  (You can let the soil dry out before watering it again). They also generally require very little pruning or maintenance.  So they are a good choice for younger children – just avoid any cactus with dangerous or harmful spikes and thorns.

For older children you can use almost any small type of plant that can be bought in a home improvement store or nursery. Select plants that are labeled as hardy, and grow to less than six inches in height.  Keep all the information tags that come with them so you always have a reference for sunlight and watering.

The third alternative to plants (and the one I like the best) is to go for a hike and dig some up.  This adds a wonderful dimension of discovery to the terrarium.  Select small plants in a wide variety of shapes and sizes and choose them all from the same area. If they are all growing in a relatively small area you increase the chances that they will thrive in the little eco system you create in a jar or bottle. 

Final Thoughts about Plant selection

I recommend you purchase or find an odd number of plants. An odd number of plants generally makes for a more pleasing arrangement than an even number.  It has a more artistic look to it.  I also recommend you choose plants in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors; if the plants are different heights and colors the terrarium will be much more interesting to look at.  Finally, if you are purchasing plants, be sure they all have the same basic requirements as far as watering and sunlight is concerned. Being all in the same container they will all have the same amount of light and water so if they all have the same requirements you can treat the arrangement as one entity and not have to try to treat each plant differently.

Making the Terrarium

Here is the process for making the actual terrarium. You can vary from this process and I will point this out.

Put a layer of pebbles in the bottom of the container. Make it about one inch thick. This will allow for good drainage.

Put a layer of activated charcoal right on top of the pebbles approximately one half inch thick. This will filter the water. (This step is totally optional)

Put a layer of Sphagnum moss on top of the charcoal. Sphagnum moss is a dried and wiry material and what this does is act like a barrier so the soil does not slip down into the rocks at the bottom. (This is optional but recommended if you want a cleaner and sharper looking terrarium)

Put a layer of soil on the top of all of this.  The layer should be at least two or three inches thick but you can vary this according to the size of your container.

Poke small holes into the soil and transplant your plants into the container.

Place some miniature colored stones or figurines in the container for an interesting look.

Water it a moderate amount and cover it. Now just monitor it over the next few days. If it needs more water then add. If it is too wet then keep the cover off so it can evaporate.

 

 

A Thought about the Plant arrangement

Before you actually transplant the plants into your terrarium you should arrange them on a table. Move all the pots near each other then move them around to find an arrangement that is pleasing to the eye. Once you find an arrangement you like you then just transfer that to the container.

Learning Lesson for kids: Terrariums as an ecosystem

A terrarium is a miniature ecosystem which is a complex system of relationships between organisms and resources of different types. The predominant organisms in your terrarium ecosystem are plants and the micro-organisms in the soil. The major resources are water, sunlight, and soil.  These all work together to form a miniature little system that can sustain itself for long periods of time. If you have a good balance of plants, soil, nutrients, and water in your terrarium you will be able to seal it up and watch it grow and thrive for very long periods of time – sometimes even years.

The ecosystem inside your container is very similar to that in the real world. There is water accumulated in the soil and in the pebbles and sunlight will cause this water to evaporate and form droplets along the sides and top of the container. These drops will grow larger and then fall back into the soil. This is a circular process that will continue as long as there is water and sunlight and this rhythm will bring a constant supply of moisture and nutrients to your plants.  And if you have put activated charcoal in your terrarium it acts as a filter. As the water passes through the charcoal all the impurities are trapped so the water is more pure for the next cycle.  In the real world the same thing happens when it rains. Water is evaporated up to the clouds then released back down in the form of rain. It is a continuous cycle just like inside your container.  

Caring for your terrarium

A terrarium needs to be watched carefully for the first week. This is to insure it is getting the right amount of light and water. If you purchased your plants you should look at the tags that came with them and follow the watering and lighting instructions. If you found your plants outdoors you should try to simulate the environment they were found in.  Were they in an open field with lots of sunlight? If so then give them lots of sunlight.  Were they in a forested area with only moderate light? Then keep them in a window that only gets moderate amounts of light.  Finally, if you found the plants yourself, were they in rich and moist soil or dry soil? Simulate this when watering.

Watering

For the first week you should watch your plants very carefully.  Are water droplets forming on the glass? If so, this is great! But if the soil seems soggy then you might have over watered so you should take the cover off for a couple of days and let it dry out a bit. If the soil is dry and very few droplets are forming you should add a little bit of water. But if you are using cactus and other desert plants it will be ok to let the soil get a bit dry.  After about a week with the plants looking pretty good you can be confident that the cover can stay on it for long periods of time. And if sunlight only comes into the terrarium from one particular side (like in a window) you should rotate the terrarium every couple of days to ensure the plants don’t all grow at an angle pointing toward the window. Rotating the terrarium will force the plants to grow straight up.

Pruning and Trimming

Over the course of time the plants in the container will grow and you can reach in there and trim them gently with a small pair of safety scissors. This will keep it attractive looking and will keep the balance of the ecosystem.

A terrarium is a wonderful project for kids to make and it is a living system that will bring a child much enjoyment both in the making of one and the long term caring for one. It is a great opportunity for children to learn about plants and eco systems and it’s a great project because it doesn’t take too much effort or care to maintain. It is a closed system that will thrive with very little care.

 

Want to learn more about terrariums? Lots more interesting projects: Terrarium Man

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Going New Green Earth

Going New Green Earth

Our planet is in peril. It’s in the news and folks all over the planet are becoming kinder to our world. I know how to save the globe. Heck, get all the top scientists in the top scientists in the world together and they can’t even agree on ways to save the world, but they are going to agree that something needs to be done quickly.

Can one person save the Earth? No, but one person and another and another and so on can reserve it. So, why not be one of those people.

Be Green for the Good of Our Planet

We all should hold our government and big industries to their part in initiating green action. Industries absolutely need to stop polluting. Government wants to support clean alternative energy. Communities all need to work on every level to promote waste reduction. People can make massive gains toward a greener and cleaner world.

Do any of us expect regimes, communities, and industries to modify overnight? No. Don’t beat yourself up if you aren’t making some of these changes to your lifestyle overnight.

Anything you do to decrease the amount of the Earth’s resources that you use helps to reduce consumption helping you to guide a more sustainable life.

One of the simplest, yet most useful, paths to help our Earth is to buy items with less packaging. Look for the double rolls package. If each this, the savings in packaging would be astronomic. The energy that companies use to create that packaging might be cut in half and the world would breathe a little easier.

Recycle the toilet roll cardboard tubes and, when you open the package of toilet tissue, just slit it on the top and then use the empty package as a liner in a small trashcan.

You may use the cold water for drinking water or to water plants, but allowing it to go down the drain is not helpful to the environment. This is a straightforward way to be kind to our planet.

Remember, it’s up to all of us to help create a new green earth. Little things that we do on a daily basis can help ensure the survival of a new green earth for generations to come.
.

G. Donald Ttoca Is an avid internet user and currently runs a number of video based website built with Video Blizzard, a software platform that creates instant video websites. http://heroapps.com

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    Reusable Silverware

    Reusable Silverware

         According to the Annenberg Foundation http://www.annenbergfoundation.org/ , the average American throws away four pounds of trash a day, which adds up to 1,460 pounds a year. This makes us the country that generates the most trash. There are a large number of things that can be recycled and better yet, reused. Not only is it better on the wallet to reuse, but our landfills will be less filled up too.

         Cleaning supplies are one of the easiest things to reuse. Mops, sponges and spray bottles last a long time. Paper towels can be replaced with scrap cloths from old clothes and towels that can be used for cleaning glass and countertops. Some stores allow containers to be filled with detergents so that less waste is generated with containers. If a detergent container cannot be refilled, it can be used to water plants, spot clean, or even fill an iron. Pumice stones are great for harder work such as mineral deposits in toilets. There are also special dusters that can be washed in a regular washer that work by using static to attract dust. Cleaning is much more ecologically friendly when using reusable tools.

         In the kitchen, there are plenty of objects that can be reusable as well. Napkins and tablecloths work great for daily use and can be used multiple times before being put in the washer. When they are too worn for kitchen use, they can be used for cleaning rags. Tableware is another easy fix too. Instead of throwing away plastic items, they can be washed and used for years. Old food containers are great ways to carry lunches around without the risk of spills. Reusable coffee and tea filters can be bought at kitchen retailers. Jars can be used to hold food and are excellent for arts and crafts. The same goes for pie plates. Berry containers can be used as basket containers when ribbons or raffia are woven through. There are many more possibilities. The kitchen is one of the easiest places to reuse since many things were built to last.

         In other areas of the home, there are ways to reuse several objects as well. Old cards from birthdays, anniversaries, and other events, can be torn in half (on the blank part underneath the art) and used as gift labels or cards again. Corks can be used to re-sharpen dull razors for a few more uses. Cork can also be attached to boat keys so they can easily be found when there is water inside. Interesting corkboards can be made too. Old cushions from couches can be used as exercise pads or children’s’ sleeping pads. Sandboxes that have been outgrown can be converted into gardens. The car can easily be protected from dust or rain by using old shower curtains. There are endless ways to reuse our everyday objects in the home.

         Reusing everyday things in the home is easy. For other ideas on how to reuse things, contact your local recycling program or check out several college websites for useful tips. Together, we can all lessen what goes in landfills.

    Envirocitizen.org is a comprehensive ecommerce website that combines robust commerce, content, and community.  We believe that we have created the most comprehensive site to date to make eco-friendly products, services, and information available to individuals who wish to live a green, more eco-friendly lifestyle.  Our site offers a very broad and diverse array of eco-friendly products as well as comprehensive, authoritative information and environmental education.  Additionally, users can enjoy the sense of community created by participating in our Forum.

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