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Initiating Sustainability In Your Community

By: Guest Contributor, Jona Jone

No one really opposes green living and its benefits. Everyone knows it is a good thing, necessary, and urgent. It’s just that not everyone is willing to give it a try. Living a “green” life is like eating vegetables. Everyone knows it’s good but only a few actually eat it.

Sustainability is a great thing. It takes commitment and sense of obligation to the world and future generations to instill such lifestyle on ourselves and our own families. Imagine the challenge of building a sustainable community and warding off all pessimism and indifference. Yes, there are more and more urban developments that seek to address all these environmental issues by carrying out more sustainable designs. And yes, you and your family are also trying to live greener. But efforts should not stop there. A UNESCO module stated that sustainability is to be attained at the local level and the community if it were to really make a difference. This is the kind of community that thrives from generation to generation because it adapts to change, performs life sustaining functions, respects diversity, and recognizes social and ecological limits.

If awareness is any indication, then we are on the right track. People now are more aware than ever on the state of the environment and our ecological systems. People recognize the importance of sustainability and some even understand the impacts of living in an unsustained one. Even 73% of companies have made sustainability a top agenda. Now, let’s look at your community. How far are they willing to go? And what does it take to take them there?


Tell Them Stories


Photo by HND via Pixabay

Al Gore’s “The Inconvenient Truth” was a big move towards the right direction. Somehow, it brought environmental challenges to the mainstream. But it takes more than just one Hollywood documentary to convince people that green is good and furthermore, within reach.

Be your community’s own Al Gore by starting discussions and engaging community members on environmental issues. Inspiring lifestyle change isn’t easy and calling them to action is much harder. Begin with small talk and stories. Every time you have the chance to talk to someone in your community, motivate them to live a more sustainable life. Share how sustainable living has made wonders for you and your family. Don’t be technical about it. Hit them where it matters like health and savings. For example, share the benefits of making your kids eat fresh product from the market or the savings from going solar with your outdoor lights.


Build A Green Community… Online

Blogs, videos, and images are very easily consumed through social media. You may create a website or a social media page that seeks to educate people about environmental issues. Add and engage members of your community. This is a modern way to reach out about an age-old problem. Share interesting blogs and videos that members will find worth sharing. You can also host discussions there and encourage them to ask questions and make suggestions. Avoid sounding like a robot or a know-it all genius as that will only annoy your audience. You have to come off as friendly and positive. The content of your messages must be emotional, direct, and relevant to the lives of the people you wish to touch.


Start A “Green” Market

2Photo by perla123 via Pixabay

Whether you are living in a traditional neighborhood or a resident in vertical living conditions, you can start your own “green” market. In your yard or porch, offer local products to your neighbors. If you live in a condo, you can go door to door and offer your goods. It would be nice if you could sneak in a small sheet of paper in the box or bag letting your neighbors know of the benefits of their purchase. Not only do you encourage a healthy lifestyle, you also make friends with the members of your community.


Start A Bicycle Club


Photo by Unsplash via Pixabay

You and your neighbors probably take the same route to work. People living in condominiums also usually work in the same business district as their next-door neighbor. Why not convince them to park their cars and ride their bicycles? Biking is a hot thing right now. Sell the idea of biking as a cool, cost-efficient, and healthy alternative. If you can put up a club, then biking becomes more of an activity you can do with friends more than a responsibility to mother earth.


Buy Local


Photo by Stokpic via Pixabay

Invite friends in your community to visit a local market. Show them how convenient it is to go there and how local farmers and producers benefit from each purchase. In short, make them feel good about going there. Tell them how buying local helps the environment and the community — less fuel for shipping, products are fresh and organic, more jobs, and good business for local farmers, producers and small-time manufacturers.


Teach Them To recycle

Recycling comes off as an activity that requires too much time and too much effort. That could be true in some recycle projects but while it is too much work, it is also too much fun. Invite a few neighbors in your home for some snacks and show them recycled stuff in your home. If you are into recycling yourself, show them an unfinished project and impress them with your creativity. Show them what you can do with an empty bottle, your kid’s old work books, your husband’s old ties, etc. Show them that they can do it too.


Organize Nature-Tripping


Photo by Stocksnap via Pixabay

It is easier to convince your community to go green if they can see what they are bound to lose if they don’t take action now. Organize a few of your neighbors and their families and take them nature-tripping. An environment friendly community is one that understands and appreciates nature in such a way that they are duty-bound to protect it.

The idea of caring for the environment and going for sustainable living doesn’t have to be forced. It just needs to matter to everyday life. You can’t talk about carbon footprints, glaciers, weather disturbances, depleting rainforests, and damaged ecosystems like you are a science professor and expect people to take action. Apply sustainability in the context of their lives. Give them something they can’t resist and before you know it, you are living in a sustainable community that feels responsible for the future generations.

Jona Jone was a mortgage originator in Philadelphia, PA and is now a Business and Property Specialist. She writes about real estate investment, business, parenting and living. Follow Jona on Twitter

by Editor

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Are You Smarter Than a Reptile?

By: Guest Contributor, William B. Miller, Jr. M.D.


Are you smarter than a reptile?  In many respects, you certainly are. After all, no reptile is going to read this article. However, our clearly superior intellectual abilities for certain skills has seduced us towards a dismissive attitude towards the surprisingly deep and broad range of analytical gifts of our companion creatures. A growing body of research now indicates that other animals of all sizes and varieties are highly intelligent problem solvers within their own realms. After all, their cognitive skills have enabled them to successfully survive for eons and that may not necessarily prove to be true of we humans.

Cshutterstock_260232848onsider termites. They are strikingly social animals and have constructed elaborate societies for 200 million years. They engage in a primitive sort of agriculture, farming varieties of fungus for food. As individuals, they demonstrate remarkable intelligence and an even more surprising group intelligence that enables complicated feats of soil engineering in a diverse range of environments. Within their complex societal structure, termites divide labor between varied types of specialized workers, for example, infant care, manual labor, reproduction or soldiers for the defense of the colony. All of this proceeds via highly evolved and complex patterns of communication and signaling.

shutterstock_269700524Individual bees are intelligent and can even solve problems that are mathematically based. For example, they effectively decide the Traveling Salesman dilemma of optimizing the most efficient route to visit large numbers of locations in a single day. Bees communicate in a rich symbolic non-verbal language that enables them to transmit abstract concepts to others such as the location of particular flowers over large distances based on angles of the sun. They even seem to understand some rudimentary concepts of medical care utilizing medications within their hives. For example, honeybees colonies have been demonstrated to self medicate with plant resin to combat fungal infections.

Whshutterstock_177051125at about ants. They’re no slouches. They can navigate long distances to find food and can communicate its location to others with facility. As individuals, they can seek family members, memorize multiple alternate locations and can integrate a large number sources of information. They are even altruistic and will help other ants in distress.

 Modern research is teaching that intelligence is not directly linked to brain volume. All sizes can be demonstrate high intelligence.

Birds have small brains but are terrific problem solvers. They are highly cooperative and exhibit a wide range of highly intelligent behaviors. For example, they useshutterstock_129934394 vocal learning. Their songs are a complex language. Did you realize that they give lifelong names to their young? They are even known to mourn the loss of others. Birds also have a gyroscopic sense of geography and can store seeds in thousands of places that they can remember. Can we do that?
Perhaps you suppose that only humans are capable of understanding analogies. However, crows can use analogies to solve higher order tasks. They understand sharing, can use rudimentary arithmetic and can invent meanings for words. Cockatoos can solve puzzles with at least 5 steps. They can even keep time to music.

shutterstock_90963653Might fish be intellectually impaired? In fact, fish lead complex social lives and are highly intelligent. In a comparison of the intellectual capacity of primates and fish, who do you think should win? In a food test comparing fish with monkeys, chimpanzees and orangutans, it was the fish that proved more adept at learning the advantages of certain patterns of food choices and were faster at it.  And individual fish have personalities. Timid ones stay timid and aggressive ones remain bold. They also demonstrate individually distinguishable levels of curiosity and social ability. Fish can play, have excellent memories and perform complex courtship rituals. And Tusk fish even use tools to open shells for food, an act of intellect, which used to be considered as exclusive to humans but is now known to be widely distributed among species.

Certainly then, we must be much smarter than microbes. However, if intelligence is construed as using information to solve problems to successfully reproduce and survive in hostile environments, then they might be considered among the most intelligent. Some bacterial strains and even some viruses have survived essentially unchanged in any significant manner for hundreds of millions of years, in part this by using elaborate signaling patterns for communication among themselves and others.

So what might we make of this widely distributed world wide intelligence than had been previously understood?

  • Our intelligence might be of a unique kind, but it is not the only intelligence of consequence on this planet. Ours is just different and suited to the types of problems that we need to solve.
  • We have vastly underestimated the intelligence, feelings and complexity of the inner lives of our companion creatures on this planet. The implications are profound for our relationship towards them and our stewardship of the planet we share.
  • The ubiquity of refined intelligence requires a thorough re-examination of our evolutionary narrative. Intelligence exists at every scope, and scale underscores every aspect of evolutionary development.
  • This emerging understanding teaches us that all cognitive ability starts at the cellular level. All complex creatures must in turn be viewed as integrated collections of intelligent cells, vast collaboratives of cellular intelligence – we in our human package, and they in theirs.

While our form of collective intelligence may be privileged compared to others, it is not different in its essence. As a species, we would do well to grasp this vital truth.

Dr. Bill Miller has been a physician in academic and private practice for over 30 years. He is the author of The Microcosm Within: Evolution and Extinction in the Hologenome. He currently serves as a scientific advisor to OmniBiome Therapeutics, a pioneering company in discovering and developing solutions to problems in human fertility and health through management of the human microbiome. For more information, www.themicrocosmwithin.com.

 Lizardtermitebeeantcockatoo, and fish image images via Shutterstock.

by Editor

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11 Nature-Inspired Home Design Ideas

By: Guest Contributor, Jona Jone


It’s not surprising if you find yourself concerned about the perils that cripple mother earth. Just like everyone else, you’re probably into the mainstream trend of prioritizing a sustainable living environment.

Of course, you need to have brilliant green home design ideas to make eco-living work. You can’t deny the fact that the marketability of green-friendly materials is on the rise.

ELEA’s Rory Vinokor informed readers that overall consumer spending on eco-friendly products have increased in the United States as of 2014.

Creatively design your home in beneficial, eco-friendly ways. Help preserve the beauty that nature has to offer before it’s too late.


Create a Desk Garden


Photo courtesy of The Virally via Pinterest

If you have a large house, naturally, you’ll want the entryway leading to your residence to emanate a pleasantly sustainable ambiance.

Use your desk to create a garden in your home. Care for your plants in your desk garden. Make sure to water them just like what you’ll do in a garden outdoors. Inspire your home visitors with this creative nature design.

You may find yourself missing doing some of your daily activities in lieu of creating a garden in your desk. Putting up a garden in your foyer may take a lot of your effort and time. However, you’ll eventually find that reaping the fruits of your labor will make all of your sacrifices worth it in the long run.


Hang Out on Your Grassy Bed


Photo courtesy of The Virally via Pinterest

Want to take the green home design tips you’ve got on your mind to the next level? How about having a picnic on your very own grassy bed lounger? You can still have a picnic indoors when undesirable weather strikes. Enjoy a picnic on a grassy bed in your spare room with your entire family. Let the show go on even when there’s a storm on the horizon.

Alternatively, eco-friendly grassy bed cools down your body on a hot summer day. The grass lets your body absorb colder air for better relaxation. Pillows and blankets will let you improve enjoyment of a good night’s rest on this green-friendly bed.


Leafy Bookmarks for Your Reading Pleasure


Photo courtesy of The Virally via Pinterest

Extend your green-friendly campaign to the mini library in your home. Ingeniously leave leafy bookmarks on your library’s books to propel reading pleasure and concentration, and to give you an outdoor feel.


Write the Green-Friendly Way


Photo courtesy of The Gadget Flow via Pinterest

Don’t forget to conceptualize green interior design ideas for your home office, too. Own a plant display and a collection of eco-friendly pens in one package. Use your eco-friendly pens and pencils while doing your office work. When not in use, make sure to turn your pen collection to a plant display to bring in fresh air to your home office.


LED Mushroom Lamps for a Brighter Room


 Photo courtesy of Earth Porm via Pinterest

Be subtle in lighting up your room at night in an eco-friendly way. Use battery-operated yet adorable LED mushroom lamps to keep your room well-lit during bed time. Amuse yourself and your kids when they look at these cute LED lamps. LEDs maximize healthy living by producing low-intensity infrared light.


Your Interactive Cloud Lamp Brings a 3D Feel


 Photo courtesy of Earth Porm via Pinterest

The list of eco friendly home design ideas is not limited to the traditional ones. An interactive cloud lamp lets you live an exciting and environmentally-friendly lifestyle. Activate your senses as this lamp emanates a 3D thunderstorm feel in your home. Your entire family, especially your little ones, will never cease to be amazed as they witness the special effects this lamp brings.


A Garden-Like Stand Your Umbrella Needs


 Photo courtesy of Earth Porm via Pinterest

Put container gardening to good use. Decorate your home with a grassy umbrella stand. To avoid spending a fortune on a green-friendly umbrella stand, you may choose to incorporate the grass beneath the container stand. Care for the grass yourself by being responsible in keeping it watered regularly.


Sea-produce Waterdrop Magnets


Photo courtesy of Rachel via Pinterest

Nurture a sea-nature inspired mood by decorating your home with waterdrop magnets. Use these to keep papers posted on your refrigerator door intact. Appreciate the treasures nature has to offer by having these rare green home decors.


Go Green When Telling Time


 Photo courtesy of Technocrazed via Pinterest

Find ways to create garden in your home with practical benefits. Care for a mini-garden in your home while checking the time. Design your home with an organic clock. Keep yourself preoccupied caring for your garden, while you successfully keep track of time on a busy day.


A Porch Made with Plastic Bottles


Photo courtesy of HGTV via Pinterest

Eco-friendly homes don’t need to look literally simple. A porch made with plastic bottles makes your home stand out. Plastic bottles add colorful appeal to your porch. What’s more, these materials are sturdy enough, just like any traditional wood. Choose from multiple shades and textures plastic bottles offer when constructing your porch. Alternatively, there are also different types of eco-friendly materials to choose from if you’re not into plastic bottles such as coconut wood, bamboo, eco rock, and bio glass.


A Professionally-Designed Bonsai Tree


Photo courtesy of Denice via Pinterest

Design your home office’s bonsai tree in such a way that will motivate you to work harder. Entice a professional mood to shine through your office by putting a miniature businessman and corporate ladder displays on the branch of your bonsai tree.

As an article in DMCI Homes Leasing pointed out, maximizing your living space to accommodate a garden in your home lets you live your life to the best of your satisfaction. Always appreciate God-given creations in amazing ways possible. These wonderful green home design ideas can both motivate and boost your vivid imagination.


Jona Jone was a mortgage originator in Philadelphia, PA and is now a Business and Property Specialist. She writes about real estate investment, business, parenting and living. Follow Jona on Twitter

by Editor

EPA study: Climate Change to Wipeout Eastern Trout, Salmon by 2100





According to an EPA study, in less than 90 years there will no longer be any trout or salmon east of the Mississippi River (barring a small area on Vermont’s northeast border) and populations in the west will only persist in the most mountainous areas.  Current projections suggest climate change will render enormous swaths of habitat too warm to support these ecologically, and economically important cold-water fish.

fish-fig-1-downloadIn a press release this morning, Adirondack Council Executive Director William C. Janeway spoke on these findings, “’This report is shocking. Its map of trout and salmon habitat in the year 2100 shows a big blank space over the entire Adirondack Park. Without immediate action to curb the warming climate, EPA is predicting that all Adirondack trout and salmon populations will be dead within 85 years. A change like that would fundamentally alter the nature of this park, its water, wildlife and the economy of the communities. The Adirondack Park would never be the same again.

fish-fig-2-download“ Janeway noted that many Adirondack trout and salmon populations are genetically unique and valuable to the entire web of life in the park. They are food for loons and other iconic wildlife, while also serving as a top predator in the waters they inhabit. Their loss would unravel the park’s web of life.”

Janeway’s statements should resonate throughout the U.S..   Not only would the loss of these fish be an ecological catastrophe, but it would deal a devastating financial blow to the communities supported by the fishing tourism industry.  The national loss in revenue is estimated to run as high as $1.5 billion per year.

Viable cold-water habitat is projected to drop by 62% by 2100.  However, there is hope.  With global greenhouse gas mitigation that number could change to a loss of only 12%.  Nationally, proactive mitigation efforts could preserve approximately 360,000 acres of cold-water habitat, as well as the previously mentioned $1.5 billion of revenue per year.

Trout Image via Shutterstock

Figures 1&2 via EPA


by Katharine Galpin