Conserve Water: Navy Shower

The “navy shower” is a great way to conserve water and save money on your water bill. It’s a very simple concept that can go a long way in conserving water. It’s certainly a better concept than the idea of “shower pooling” that the company Axe thinks is so environmentally friendly. The idea of the navy shower was invented by midshipmen that had to conserve their freshwater supply on the ships.

Fair warning though, if you’re the type of person that enjoys taking long showers with the water on full heat, you will most likely absolutely hate the idea of the navy shower. However, if you’re the type of person that prefers to try and help out the environment in any way possible and save some money, then this is a great idea for you. There are just a few simple steps to the navy shower.

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Converting Your Diesel to run On Waste Vegetable Oil (WVO)

In the constant push to find sustainable living strategies we tend to overlook the impact our vehicle and the fuel it consumes have on our so called “sustainability”. The unfortunate truth is that when it comes to transportation forgoing the personal automobile is not a realistic option for many people. So what to do? Many choose to buy new cars that will travel further while polluting the environment then do others. Still others decide to use public transportation where it is available, all modern transportation systems are powered by petroleum or electricity generated by coal. As you can see, transportation is a difficult area of one life to clean up.

The common diesel engine offers a wonderful compromise between carbon emission and personal mobility. The first diesel engine prototype was designed to run on peanut oil! Everything from vegetable oil, to used motor oil, to transmission fluid can be run through a conventional diesel powered vehicle. Before you can pour your motor oil right back into the tank you must make a few modifications. Below is brief overview of the items that must be modified to make you diesel green.

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Living the Good Life, the Right Way

One of the most crushing aspects of non-sustainable civilization is the abuse of our energy resource which cannot be renewed. What makes this such a difficult problem to analyze and solve is the fact that non-renewable energy consumption is embedded in (arguably) literally every part of our lives as citizens of the modern civilization. Some uses of energy from oil and coal are obvious: personal transportation, electricity usage, heating/cooling of the home, running appliances and machines, etc. What I want to draw attention to are maybe the less obvious ways in which we consume energy behind the scenes: any and all outsourced food products which must be transported, nearly every commercial product that comes from a factory, including the technology we use.  In my opinion, we need to address energy cost of the amenities we say make us “advanced.” Is having a fancy phone worth depleting our energy resources?

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How to Save Energy in the Laundry Room

As the end of the semester nears something that weighs on my mind is laundry. It’s something we all do, and how much of it we do will undoubtedly impact our energy consumption. Hand washing and line drying may be the most eco and budget-friendly options for doing laundry, but the truth is our busy schedules and geographic location have made these greener practices unfeasible. Currently my dorm room is covered with clothes, the “clean” and wrinkled heaps have begun to cover the floor, while the neglected and dirty fill the two baskets in my closet. Clearly this is an issue, an issue resulting from bad habits and laziness, and the absolute last thing I would do is hand wash them. Without a doubt this mess will influence the amount of laundry I do this weekend, meaning I will use more detergent, water, money, and ultimately more energy.

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It is pretty obviously that part of the issue originates from an organizational standpoint, but I want to argue that there is still a way to undo some of this damage and reduce my energy consumption in the future.

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Tankless Water Heaters

Every one is familiar with the conventional water heater. It hides in a storage space, closet or basement, holding gallons of hot water on standby 24/7. Obviously, a lot of energy is needed to keep this amount of water heated at a constant temperature, and even more energy is needed to replace the heated water once it is used. Considering hot water is the U.S. consumer’s third largest energy expense, a more energy-efficient water heater may be beneficial in the long run.

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Crash Course: Ecology

              Crash Course Ecology is a twelve part documentary spanning over 2 hours, each episode focusing on a certain topic of ecology, from “The History of Life on Earth” all the way to ”5 Human Impacts on the Environment”.  

This documentary is easily found on YouTube.com, and is provided by the channel crashcourse, which is run by Hank Green (such a fitting name) who talks straight to the viewer, a noticeable change up towards most documentaries.  What is great about this documentary is that it doesn’t focus solely on one topic, but instead gives you a broad view of the environments we find ourselves in everyday, and how it has all led up to where we are today.  After giving a basic history of our Earth, Hank explains population ecology as he leads into the episode, “Human Population Growth”.  In this episode he states that if being alive on Earth were a contest, humans would win, hands down.  We’re like the Michael Phelps of being alive, but with 250,000 times more gold medals.  Which, while true in many ways, will ironically become our downfall unless we figure out how to be in balance with this planet we find ourselves on. This is addressed in the final two episode of the series, “Conservation and Restoration,” and, “Pollution.”   

What I find interesting about Crash Course is that it gives you tons of information in a relatively short amount of time, while simultaneously being a fun experience.  Hank Green’s delivery is anything but stale, and he provides an entertaining twist to ecology to the very end, even when diving into the bleak situation we’ve gotten ourselves into.

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Movie Night: The Day after Tomorrow

               Hey you, yeah you, come here. I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “Boy, I’m really craving a movie right now, but not just any movie. I want to watch a movie that makes a statement about the global environmental crisis!” Well good news my friend, I have just the perfect film for you. It just so happens that about 9 years ago now a wonderful masterpiece graced this earth that you keep begging me to tell you about. The answer to all your worries and woes is to settle down with your choice of refreshment in your choice of cozy furnishing and pop in The Day After Tomorrow.

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