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24 posts from December 2012

December 05, 2012

Global Warming Fries Housing Values

Burned houseThe increased severity of wildfires, heat waves, hurricanes, and floods are all negative consequences of climate change. But at the same time, they can seem distant and vague, occurring "somewhere" to "someone" who isn't you, until suddenly it is. However, there is a way that the increased cost of natural disasters inflicts a cost on everyone, and that is through insurance.

Housing insurance premiums have been going up as the climate does, and a new study by Movoto Real Estate found that for every .25 degrees Fahrenheit (.14 degrees Celsius) that the temperature climbs, insurance premium rates rise in turn by 1 percent. That leaves less money to buy the house, and causes housing values to drop. So, even with an extremely mild .25°F heating, the entire country loses $18.7 billion worth of real estate, about $250 per house. But the IPCC estimates for future climate change are much greater than that. Even in their lowest-emission scenario, temperatures may rise at least 1.9°F (1.1°C). That's over 130 billion dollars lost in housing values alone, not counting the cost of damage to public works and agriculture that are bound to ride along with rising temperatures.

Continue reading "Global Warming Fries Housing Values" »

10 DIY Gifts for Family

Handmade GiftsWho needs the hustle and bustle of holiday shopping? Making gifts for your family is a whole lot more fun and personal. Not to mention all the green you'll save, monetarily and environmentally speaking. Whether you're a master crafter or a newbie, check out our list of homemade gifts that would put a smile on anyone's face. 

1. Plastic-Bottle Cell Phone Holder- Anyone in the family with a phone would enjoy this stylish holder, which cleverly repurposes a shampoo bottle, and you don't have to be a crafting genius to make it.  

2. Rustic Jewelry Holder- If you have a sister, she will go ga-ga over this fashionable and eco-friendly jewelry rack, and it'll take you less than 10 minutes to make.

3. Homemade Cup Koozie- For that family member on the go, make a cup koozie to protect his or her hands from that piping hot cup of coffee or tea. 

4. Tennis Racket Table- This nifty table made of old tennis rackets would go great in Dad's garage or your brother's man cave. 

5. Olive Oil Soap- Your aunt would probably love to sport these homemade soaps in her bathroom; it would give her the chance to brag about her crafty niece or nephew to visitors. 

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December 03, 2012

Christmas Trees: Real vs. Fake

Christmas Trees Real vs FakeAside from the American tradition of playing continuous Christmas music the day after Thanksgiving on local radio stations, we also know that the tradition of putting up a Christmas tree goes in tandem with the passing of Turkey Day. 

But before you purchase your Christmas tree, we've provided some information as to why a real tree is more sustainable than its fake counterpart. 

Pros and Cons of Fake Christmas Trees

The obvious advantage of a fake Christmas tree is that you can reuse it every year. This not only saves you time and money in shopping for a tree and having to haul it onto your car, into the house, and leaving a trail of pine needles behind; it also prevents many trees from being cut down and wasted. However, there is a very real and serious disadvantage in the way these trees are produced that are both hazardous to the environment as well as our health. Many fake trees are made with polyvinyl chloride (also known as PVC), a non-renewable and petroleum-based plastic, and lead. Making PVC produces carcinogens that are emitted from such factories that further puts people in neighboring neighborhoods at risk for cancer while lead exposure can lead to neurological or reproductive problems.

Pros and Cons of Real Christmas Trees

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Deck the Office Halls Green

Festive candleholder'Tis the season to start planning that office holiday party, ladies and gents, and we've got some great ways to help you keep it green. First up? Decorations. Try out these eco designs and the environment will be happy -- and so will your wallet.

How to Throw a Nature-Themed Holiday Party

If you want to keep it simple and reduce your office's carbon footprint with bright ideas, let nature be your guide while decorating. Table decorations are often the easiest way to go. Just rent some tablecloths (or make them yourself if you have some extra time on your hands) and let the centerpieces be the main attraction. 

Festive Candles 

Soy or beeswax candles make a simple yet elegant table decoration. Many items can be used as candle holders, but we've got two variations to share with you. Pine cone candleholders would make a great decoration for the dinner table if you have the time to go on a scavenger hunt for the pinecones. (Note: Grab them from your yard or ask neighbors to share cones from their trees.) Just make sure to soak the pinecones in a mixture of vinegar and water first to make sure you get all the grime off before using them as decorations. If you've got less time on your hands, gather up some pinecones, tree clippings and maybe some fruit, throw it all in a basket and place tapered candles inside.

Tabletop Evergreens

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