While we clearly need an alternative to this system, the answer does not lie in personalized bottled water for each employee, as this still contributes to water contamination and waste. (Case in point: Only 23% of the plastic water bottles used in America are recycled each year, which means that 38 billion end up in landfills.) Therefore, we present to you a better option: Klean Kanteens.
These reusable containers are made of 100% stainless steel, contain no BPA, and are conveniently dishwasher friendly. Some people prefer to use Sigg, another popular brand, but we prefer the delightful minimalism of the Klean Kanteen bottles.
As far as the nitty gritty details, a 27 oz. Klean Kanteen bottle is $19.95, and shipping is $11.00, making your total around $31. While you may initially balk at the price, paying $31 is definitely preferable to continuing to buy bottled water or utilizing a water cooler for the rest of your life. So, we propose this solution to the water and health dilemmas, and encourage you to explore your stainless steel water bottle options further.
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You've been cooped up in your office all day long. Even though you've stocked your workspace with the most eco-friendly furniture possible and purchased reusable, recycled supplies, you still feel out of touch with the natural world. You decide to eat your lunch outside today, in order to feel a little better about your eco-standing.
However, as soon as you step outside your office doors, you are met with a chokingly-thick cloud of particle-filled smoke. That's right - the smoky haze traditionally covering coal-rich areas like China and Japan is now making its way over to the U.S., and environmentalists are suing the Environmental Protection Agency for failing to prevent it.
According to Earthjustice attorney Jennifer Chavez, the EPA has not met deadlines set by the Clean Air Act for controlling smoke and air pollution. The haze is now threatening the beauty of large national parks such as the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, and the Great Smoky Mountain areas.
The lawsuit was just filed today, so EPA spokesman Nicholas Butterfield was not yet able to comment on its contents. It remains to be seen how the organization will deal with the charges, but part of the plan will be to establish environmental mandates for each state. State governments will be required to submit a plan detailing how they are dealing with the pollution problem, and what they plan to do to stop it.
Hopefully all of this drama will eventually lead to cleaner air for all of us.
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Umaru Musa Yar'Adua, president of Nigeria, announced in a speech today that the country's annual losses stemming from environmental degradation total nearly $5.1 billion. This loss can be attributed to the constant exploitation of Nigeria's goods, as well as the increased urbanization of the formerly natural land spaces. The above picture of Lagos, the former capital of Nigeria, serves to demonstrate the effects these factors can have on the environment.
Yar'Adua spoke at the National Environmental Summit in Abuja, saying that the state of the environment is having a disastrous effect on the citizens of Nigeria, both socially and economically.
"Increased incidences of flooding across the country constitute clear evidence of stress and ecological imbalance in the environment of many of our community’s today,” said Yar'Adua. "Our key environmental challenge is to combat land degradation, deforestation and devastation, drought and desertification, loss of biodiversity, flooding, erosion, urban decay and municipal waste disposal and the adverse effect of climate change."
This news should be a warning to the U.S. that our economy will not be able to thrive unless we begin to invest in more sustainable systems of energy. Without these key ingredients, our business and corporate sectors are likely to collapse under the immense financial pressure of supporting fossil fuels. It only goes to show that our office life is directly effected by the environment, and vice versa.
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Many of you are familiar with Colin Beavan, the environmental activist from New York City who decided to try a No Impact experiment for one year. Basically, he gave up pretty much anything even remotely energy-sucking, including plastic, cars, toilet paper, and so on, and documented his journey in a well-known blog.
Colin got us thinking: is there such a thing as a No Impact office? You're probably thinking "Uh, don't think so. How are we supposed to work if we can't even, oh, GET TO WORK?!" But Colin's experiment wasn't just about eliminating negative impact, it was about increasing positive impact as well. According to the No Impact website, his theory is as follows:
Negative Impact + Positive Impact = Zero.
No net impact. Get it?
So it's not that a No Impact office would have to give everything up necessarily, it would just need to find ways to contribute to the environment in a positive way (build trees, host eco fundraisers, etc). Intriguing.
If you're wondering, the results of this experiment were measured with a device like a TerraPass, which is a gadget that computes carbon emissions. Pretty handy, huh?
What do you all think? Based on Colin's philosophy, could a No Impact office exist? We're waiting to cast our vote until after the No Impact book and movie come out, but we're betting it wouldn't be that hard. And we'd be the first to offer to furnish it!
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Since many areas of the country received their first frost this past week, finding eco-friendly ways to heat your office space is top on everyone's mind. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution recently printed an article on the best way to reduce energy while still keeping your workplace nice and toasty: clean and maintain your heating ducts!
Although having your heating ducts cleaned does cost a small fee, this amount of money is peanuts when compared to how much you can potentially save on your heating bills. Basically, when your heating system is not maintained, the registers, coils, heat exchangers, and other small parts become covered in dust and particles. Along with blocking the flow of air, this buildup can eventually result in mold growth, which will then contaminate your breathing air.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recommends that ducts be cleaned on an as-needed basis, according to the following indicators:
*mold on the hard surfaces of heating and cooling registers
*workers experiencing new unexplained, allergies
*visible dust on the inside of your ducts
To keep your office heating ducts clean, change your filters regularly and make sure they are installed tightly. You should also vacuum your office often to remove airborne particles. Doing these quick and easy things can help to green your office for the upcoming winter season, and save you quite a bit of money in the end. Talk to your supervisor or maintenance team to explore your options further!
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