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Month: October 2012

Up in Smoke

Cigarette smoking is far more harmful than just on our bodies.  The environment takes a hard blow from cigarettes.  Cigarettes contain over 4000 chemicals which are exhaled and released into the atmosphere.  Approximately 30% of North Americans are smokers, and a much a higher rate in developing nations.  Trees are like lungs, they filter out the pollution in the air, but cannot possibly filter out the added pollution from smoking cigarettes.

Cigarettes impact our environment negatively in more that one way.  First of all it affects the land we live on and the water we drink.  Cigarette butts by the millions are discarded onto the ground daily.  Many end up in rivers and lakes where fish and animals eat them by mistake and quite often die from it.  The ones left on the ground to decompose can take an average of 25 years while all of the chemicals and additives leach  into  the ground and pollute the soil and the plants.  Not to mention being a major fire hazard in dry weather.

The actual production of cigarettes can be just as damaging to the environment.  Tobacco is a very fragile plant and needs to be sprayed with a lot of potent chemicals and pesticides.  It takes a lot of trees to produce and package cigarettes.  Cigarette manufacturing uses four miles of paper an hour just for the rolling a packaging process.  One tree is wasted for every 300 cigarettes produced.  The energy and water wasted in manufacturing also adds a strain to the environment.  Trees filter  out pollutants and are essential to clean fresh air.

Smoking is a really bad habit to have.  It makes the smoker's clothes have a natural smell of cigarettes and also the person's hair and breathe smell terrible. When a smoker smokes for years their teeth begins to turn rotten and yellow, sometimes even  black  depending on how much they smoked.  There is no upside to smoking even though smokers claim it relieves their stress, even if it did relieve their stress there are so many consequences for it.  In my opinion, instead of having a habit like smoking to relieve stress why not chew gum or have  a stress ball or find another habit that will not harm the body.  Perhaps playing sports or lifting weights.  While a smoker is at school or work and needs to have a "smoke break" it would be better for them to chew some gum or have a snack, much better for their breathe as well.  In my experience chewing gum helped me while confused about something or while I was doing homework and had a lot on my mind to help focus better.

In conclusion, smoking is just a bad habit for the body in general, the nicotine is what what gets the human addicted to the cigarette smoking and it acts like a poison when inside the body.  Also smoking can lead to lung cancer and eventually even death.  The body and environment  are tremendously affected in a negative way.  Tobacco companies are not concerned with polluting our bodies, so the environment is really not their priority either.

Out of the Air (Chimney’s from Hell)

I made a trip several years ago to Mexico City, Mexico. Besides being a very busy, congested city, one of the most profound memories for me was that of the pollution in the air.  Upon returning to the hotel each evening, the water running off from me in the shower was dirty (a soot like dirt).  Even  blowing my nose I could see dirt.  This is what led to my recent readings about a company that produces smog-eating tiles.  What a unique concept.

Smog is defined as:  Nitrogen oxide is emitted as a by product of burning fossil fuels in vehicles and electric power plants.  Smog is formed when nitrogen oxide mixes in the air with other chemicals in presence of sunlight and heat.  Smog is linked to number of respiratory illnesses and can cause coughing and breathing difficulties.

The top ten cities that have the most smog in  the United States are Los Angeles, Visalia-Porterville, Bakersfield, Fresno, Merced, Sacramento, and Hanford all in California. Then Houston and Dallas in Texas, Knoxville in Tennessee.  China and Russia have many cities that are smog infested as well.

A roofing  company named Boral Roofing is a U.S. company that has introduced a line of roof tiles that they say have pollution-busting properties.  Smog eating tiles contains a specially prepared catalyst embedded in the upper part of the tile body.  When exposed to sunlight, the catalyst speeds up the oxidation process; resulting in reduced pollution in the  the atmosphere.  The photo catalytic properties in the smog eating tiles are long lasting and kind to the environment, also destroying organic dirt that contact the tile.  This excess is then rinsed off with rain.

Air  pollution is one of today's biggest urban problems.  Although the smog eating tile is a new concept, perhaps in the future it will be used readily and the benefits will make a difference in the air we breathe each day.

Per Janice Nolen, American Lung Association:  " The best way to tackle the problem is to clean up the source."

Organic Foods Today

Why do organic foods cost more than non-organic? Why are the sections divided and priced differently in our grocery stores? Why do we have to pay more for non-chemical foods? Did our forefather have to worry about this?

What are organic foods? Organic foods are pesticides and chemical fertilizers free.  Organic foods are safe to eat, have good nutritional value and taste better.  It is healthier and good for the environment.  Organic produce contains lesser amount pesticides.  Organic meat and dairy product are important as vegetables and fruits, therefore, Organic livestock must have access to outdoors.  They should not be given growth hormones, antibiotics, or any animal product.

What does pesticides in food do? Pesticides are highly toxic to the human body.  This chemical is mostly used to kill insects.  According to the EPA, pesticide foods cause dizziness, fatigue, long-term neurological disorder.  Also it causes asthma, autism, and learning disabilities, birth defects, diabetes, Parkinson's Disease and Alzheimer's diseases.  Farmers are suffering health damage from these toxic substances.

We need to help ourselves.  We need to start buying organic foods; more we buy cheaper it's going to get.   Where can we find them?  We need to start plant fresh vegetables and fruits if we can.  We need to support our local farmer's market.  That's how we can keep our money within the community as well.  We will be able to eat fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables by getting them from local  markets.  Seasonal fruits and vegetables are cheapest and freshest.  These foods can be more expensive than in the regular grocery store.  There is only one thing to keep in mind that most organic farms are too small to receive government help.

Overall,  organic farming is better for the environment as well.  It helps remove synthetic chemicals from the air, soil and water; thus produces healthier foods, better for our health.  It requires less energy and may pump less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.  But we must also change our eating habits to make organic foods truly sustainable and environmental friendly.  Consuming less meat, eating produce when  it is in season, buying from local sources can help organic agriculture achieve its true eco-friendly potential.

These facts exist:

Organic farms do not consume or release synthetic pesticides into the environment.

Organic  farms are better than conventional farms at sustaining diverse ecosystems.  When calculated per unit area, organic farms use less energy and produce less waste.

Perhaps one day organic will be our only choice and the we will all reap the benefits.


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