AMERICAJR NETWORK :: COACH'S CORNER PRO SHOP :: SAND CREEK RECORDS :: LIFE MADE EASY

:: DETROIT, MICHIGAN USA << >> LIVE STOCK TICKER :: MESSAGE BOARDS ::
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

COPYRIGHT

© 2009 AmericaJR.com.
All Rights Reserved.

Unauthorized duplication or use of Text, Photos, Videos, Site Template, Graphics and or Site Design is Prohibited by Federal and International laws. See our Notice/Disclaimer and Privacy Policy.
 

AMERICAJR EMAIL

Email Login
Password
New users
sign up!

Detroit's Only FREE E-mail Provider

 
Find a Job
Keywords:
Location:
Job category:
 

SPONSOR

Banner
 

SPONSOR

Get your NHL hockey tickets such as Detroit Red Wings Tickets, Detroit Pistons tickets if you like NBA, as well as Rose Bowl, Sugar Bowl, and Orange Bowl Tickets for exciting college football. 
 

SPONSOR

<< News >>

Environmental News

"EARTH TALK"

From the Editors of E / The Environmental Magazine

THIS WEEK'S COLUMN

Dear EarthTalk: I’ve heard that many air fresheners contain toxic chemicals. Are there any green-friendly, non-toxic air fresheners out there, or how can I make my own?
—Jenny Rae, Bolton, MA

Many air fresheners use harsh chemicals to eliminate or overpower odors or coat your nasal passages to temporarily block your sense of smell. But there are nontoxic alternatives, including make-your-own concoctions, indoor plants and simply opening the windows and letting fresh air in.

Photo © iStock/Thinkstock

It is true that some air fresheners on the market today make use of harsh chemicals to eliminate or overpower odors. “Many air fresheners contain nerve-deadening chemicals that coat your nasal passages and temporarily block your sense of smell,” reports National Geographic’s The Green Guide. Some of the most offensive ingredients—volatile organic compounds (VOCs), benzene and formaldehyde—can cause headaches and nausea and aggravate asthma, and have been linked to neurological damage and cancer.

Perhaps even more worrisome, though, are dispersants known as phthalates that cause hormonal and reproductive issues, birth defects and developmental disorders. A 2007 review by the non-profit Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) found that 12 out of 14 widely available air fresheners contained phthalates. Some of the air fresheners that tested positive for phthalates were labeled as “all-natural” or “unscented.” Two of the worst offenders analyzed by NRDC were sold at Walgreens stores under that company’s own generic label. As a result, Walgreens removed the products from its shelves, and the manufacturer which made them reformulated their product line without phthalates.

Given such problems with air fresheners, many of us are looking for non-toxic alternatives. Of course, first and foremost would be opening a window or two, as nothing beats good old fresh air for shooing away offensive odors. But sometimes the weather doesn’t cooperate for leaving windows and doors open. The website greenhome.com suggests filling a small spray bottle with a mixture of four teaspoons baking soda and four cups of water and then spraying the solution in a fine mist to neutralizer odors. Similarly, The Green Guide suggests mixing a few drops of an organic essential oil (lemon, orange and lavender are popular choices) with distilled or purified water and spraying with a mister.

Another all-natural way to get rid of nasty smells is by wrapping cloves and cinnamon in cheesecloth and boiling them in water. Yet another consists of leaving herbal bouquets standing in open dishes where the fragrance can dissipate throughout a room. And don’t underestimate the air-cleansing power of houseplants, which can improve indoor air quality by filtering toxins out of the air. Mother Nature Network reports that aloe vera plants can filter benzene and formaldehyde out of the air, that spider plants are known for their ability to take xylene and carbon monoxide out of the indoor environment, and that gerber daisies excel at removing the trichloroethylene that may come home with your dry cleaning.

Greenhome.com also sells a variety of non-toxic air fresheners for those less inclined to making their own. EcoDiscoveries AirZyme makes use of natural enzymes to eliminate smoke, pet or other smells with a few sprays. Other options include The Natural’s Air Freshener & Deodorizer and Tru Melange’s Beeswax and Soy candles.

CONTACTS: The Green Guide; Greenhome.com; Mother Nature Network.

 
 

 

Dear EarthTalk: Why is Greenpeace upset with some leading tech companies for so-called “dirty cloud computing?” Can you explain?
—Jeremy Wilkins, Waco, TX

Greenpeace wants companies like Apple, Amazon and Microsoft to make smarter, cleaner energy choices now that "cloud computing" services have ratcheted up power consumption considerably.

Photo © Wichary, Flickr

Leading tech companies like Google, Apple and Microsoft are now offering unprecedented amounts of data storage and access to “apps” on huge Internet-connected servers, saving consumers and businesses the hassle of installing and running programs and storing information on their own local computers.

This emerging trend, dubbed “cloud computing,” means that these providers have had to scale up their power consumption considerably, as they are increasingly responsible for providing more and more of the computing horsepower required by the world’s two billion Internet users. No doubt, sharing such resources on centralized servers is more efficient than every individual and business running their own versions separately. In fact, the research firm Verdantix estimates that companies off-loading data and services to cloud servers could save $12 billion off their energy bills and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 85 million metric tons within the next decade. But for the greenhouse gas savings to be realized, the companies offering cloud computing services need to make the right energy choices.

Greenpeace has been tracking sustainability among tech companies for over a decade, and recently released a report, “How Green is Your Cloud?” assessing the green footprint of the move to cloud computing. According to the analysis, some of the major players (Google, Facebook and Yahoo) have gone to great lengths to ensure that significant amounts of the power they need come from clean, green sources like wind and solar. But Greenpeace chastises others (Apple, Amazon and Microsoft) for relying on so-called “dirtier” sources of power, such as coal and nuclear, to run their huge data centers.

“When people around the world share their music or photos on the cloud, they want to know that the cloud is powered by clean, safe energy,” says Gary Cook, a Senior Policy Analyst with Greenpeace. “Yet highly innovative and profitable companies like Apple, Amazon and Microsoft are building data centers powered by coal and acting like their customers won’t know or won’t care. They’re wrong.”

Greenpeace’s report evaluates 14 major tech firms and the electricity supply chains in use across more than 80 different data centers that power cloud-based services. Some of the largest data centers are in buildings so big they are visible from space and use as much power as 250,000 European homes. If the cloud were its own country, says Greenpeace, it would rank 5th in the world in electricity consumption.

“Companies like Google, Yahoo and Facebook are beginning to lead the sector down a clean energy pathway through innovations in energy efficiency, prioritizing renewable energy access when siting their data centers, and demanding better energy options from utilities and government decision-makers,” reports Greenpeace. But unfortunately the majority of the industry is not marching in step. As such, Greenpeace is calling on all tech companies with cloud services to develop siting policies based on access to clean energy sources, invest in or directly purchase renewable energy, be transparent about their energy usage, share innovative solutions so the sector as a whole can improve, and demand that governments and utilities increase the percentage of clean, green power available on the grid.

CONTACTS: Verdantix; Greenpeace.

A SYNDICATED COLUMN ONLY ON AMERICAJR.COM

 

 

 

 

 

SEND IN YOUR QUESTIONS...

GOT AN ENVIRONMENTAL QUESTION? Send it to: EarthTalk, c/o E/The Environmental Magazine, P.O. Box 5098, Westport, CT 06881; submit it at: www.emagazine.com/earthtalk/thisweek/, or e-mail: earthtalk@emagazine.com. Read past columns at: www.emagazine.com/earthtalk/archives.php.

 

Find a Job
Keywords:
Location:
Job category:
 

>> Bookmark This Site Now! <<

doteasy.com - free web hosting. Free hosting with no banners.
 

Google
 
Web AmericaJR.com

 

BACK TO THE AMERICAJR ONLINE HOMEPAGE

Copyright © 2010 AmericaJR.com. All Rights Reserved.
Unauthorized duplication or use of Text, Photos, Videos, Site Template, Graphics and or Site Design is Prohibited by Federal and International laws. See our Notice/Disclaimer and Privacy Policy.

AMERICAJR NETWORK :: COACH'S CORNER PRO SHOP :: SAND CREEK RECORDS :: LIFE MADE EASY