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LOCALLY

SPRING KLEIN MAGAZINE

SUMMER 2019 VOL. 8, NO. 3

OUTDOOR ROLLER SHADES

es g a p e Se 16-17

8 Ways Kids Can Go Green Go Green with Your Fitness Routine Recognize the Risks to Drinking Water


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LOCALLY

SPRING KLEIN MAGAZINE

SUMMER 2019 VOL. 8, NO. 3

Neighborhood Publications LLC 9337 Spring Cypress Road, Suite #205 Spring, Texas 77379

www.springkleinmagazine.com Editor Leanne Donelson Head Writer Candy Cruz

Assistant Editor Erin Lewis Contributing Writers Josh Arcemont

Social Media Editor Madi Wheeler Graphics Photography Mike Reeves Audree Garcia, Kellie Cataldo Publisher Neighborhood Publications Summer is coming and many of us are spending more time outdoors enjoying this beautiful weather before we melt in the full heat of summer. When the weather is warm, many people take time to relax at the beach or poolside. While such relaxation can provide a welcome break from busy schedules, it’s important that men, women and children prioritize protecting their skin when spending time in the sun. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, basal cell carcinoma, or BCC, is the most common form of skin cancer. The American Cancer Society notes that each year there are more new cases of skin cancer in the United States than the combined incidences of cancers of the breast, prostate, lung and colon. Despite that prevalence, many people still engage in risky behaviors in the name of outdoor enjoyment. Being safe in the sun won’t take anything away from enjoyable outdoor activities, but exercising such caution will help summer revelers reduce their risk for skin cancer and other conditions. • Know the risks of UV exposure. • Use only broad-spectrum SPF sunscreen. • Know the difference between water-resistant and waterproof sunscreens. • Cover up whenever possible. Summer fun does not need to be threatened by overexposure to the sun. By exercising caution, everyone can spend quality time in the great outdoors all summer long.

TABLE

of CONTENTS

6 How Everyday People Can Cut Energy Consumption 8 8 Ways Kids Can Go Green 10 Get the Facts On Going Solar 12 How to Replace Energy-Hungry Appliances 13 Explaining the Layers of the Earth’s Atmosphere 14 3 Eco-Friendly Approaches To Buying & Eating Food 15 Maximize Your Farmer’s Market Trip 16 Outdoor Roller Shades 18 Self-Respect 20 Go Green with Your Fitness Routine 22 Recognize the Risks to Drinking Water 23 How To Conserve Water At Home 24 How To Compost At Home 28 Travel Can Be Fun and Eco-Friendly, Too 30 How To Reduce Vehicle Emissions See page 8

Thank you, Leanne Donelson Neighborhood Publications DISCLAIMER: All articles, information, website addresses and cartoons in this publication express the opinions of their authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Neighborhood Publications LLC or its employees.  Neighborhood Publications LLC is not responsible for the accuracy of any facts stated in articles, information website address and cartoons submitted by others. The Publisher Neighborhood Publications also assumes no responsibility for the advertising content with this publication and ad warranties, representations and endorsements made in the advertising content are solely that of the advertiser and any such claims regarding it’s content should be taken up with the advertiser. Neighborhood Publications LLC disclaims and denies any and all liability, therefore The publisher Neighborhood Publications LLC assumes no liability with regard to its advertisers for misprints or failure to place advertising in this publication except for the actual cost of such advertising. Although every effort is taken to avoid mistakes and /or misprints in this publication, the publisher assumes no responsibility for any errors of information or typographical mistakes. Under no circumstances shall the publisher be held liable for incidental or consequential damages, inconvenience, loss of business or services, or any other liabilities from failure to publish, or from failure to publish on a timely manner. This is not an official publication of your particular subdivision, (although we print more interesting information and take better photos) and your particular subdivision does not endorse, affiliate or associate itself or its affiliates with this publication. Neighborhood Publications and it’s Associate Publications/Business Interest, whether business or person, do not accept any assumed benefit of the QR Bar Code Readers/Bar Codes, etc. published in any of the Neighborhood Publications or it’s affiliate publications whether in print or electronic. The publisher is not liable for ANY DAMAGES for failure of the Post Office to deliver the magazine in a timely manner, so long as the publisher has delivered the magazine to said delivery point by the contracted date. All articles and photos in this publication are copyrighted. PUBLISHED BY: Neighborhood Publications, 9337 Spring Cypress Road, Suite 205, Spring, Texas 77379.

4 Neighborhood Publications

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How Everyday People Can Cut Energy Consumption

work harder, and thereby consume more energy, to function. Routinely clean the filters on window air conditioners, replacing them if they’re worn down. In addition, have HVAC units serviced annually to ensure they’re operating at peak capacity. Replace older appliances, including refrigerators, that are no longer effective.

Ceiling fans can help homeowners and apartment dwellers reduce their energy consumption and save money.

Install a low-flow shower head.

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urtailing energy consumption is a great way for people to protect the planet’s natural resources and save money at the same time. Part of the difficulty with regard to reducing energy consumption is that energy plays such a big role in our lives. Smartphones and tablets have become must-have items, and these items, though not necessarily big consumers of energy, must be plugged in and charged. But individuals won’t have to unplug from their lives to reduce their energy consumption. In fact, there are several easy, non-invasive ways for everyday people to reduce their energy consumption.

Start with your windows. The windows in a home can help homeowners and apartment dwellers reduce their heating and cooling costs.

6 Neighborhood Publications

On cold days, pull back curtains so the natural sunlight can come in and warm the house, reducing the need to turn up the temperature on the thermostat. When the weather outside is especially warm, hang blackout curtains to prevent the hot sun from warming rooms and increasing the need for air conditioning. In addition, address any leaks around windows to ensure hot and cold air is not escaping and contributing to excessive energy consumption.

Maintain appliances and replace older ones. While reducing reliance on energy-thirsty appliances is a great way to reduce energy consumption, no one needs to throw away their refrigerators. Instead, maintain appliances so they are not forced to

The U.S. Department of Energy recommends that eco-conscious consumers looking to reduce their energy consumption install low-flow shower heads with flow rates less than 2.5 gallons per minute. This is especially important for people living in homes with dated fixtures. Water fixtures installed before 1992 might have flow rates as high as 5.5 gallons per minute, which is both wasteful and costly. Test the flow of a shower head by placing a one-gallon bucket beneath a shower head running at the pressure you normally use. If the bucket fills up in less than 20 seconds, install a low-flow shower head.

Install ceiling fans. Ceiling fans can be installed to reduce energy consumption in both summer and winter. In summer, ceiling fans can make home interiors more comfortable by circulating air around a room. That circulation can make rooms feel cooler, providing the same benefit of an air conditioner while consuming considerably less energy. In winter, reverse the rotation of ceiling fans so they circulate warm air and reduce reliance on heating systems. Reducing energy consumption does not require substantial sacrifice, but it can produce substantial savings and benefit the planet in myriad ways. h

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Neighborhood Publications 7


8

Ways Kids Can Go Green

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aising eco-friendly children is less complicated than it once was. From very early ages, today’s kids are exposed to environmental topics and how they can do their part to maintain and protect the planet’s resources. Between activities at daycare and lessons at school to information they receive from educational television programming, some kids are taking their own environmental initiatives – and involving their parents along the way. Inspiring children to be eco-friendly can be enjoyable and get those creative juices flowing. The following are eight ways children and their families can work together to protect the environment. 1. PRECYCLE. Kids can attempt to reduce waste by recognizing products that could be wasteful and then avoiding those items. Toys or everyday items with excessive packaging that we use without thinking are just some examples of items that can be precycled. 2. REPURPOSE. Look at items that normally end up in the trash and find new and fun ways to repurpose them. Children can make crafts out of junk mail, catalogs and old newspapers. Juice boxes or plastic containers can be turned into boats or accessories for dolls and action figures. Use natural materials found in the yard or on a nature walk to make a fairy garden or imaginative world for small toys.

8 Neighborhood Publications

Changes says that a 10-minute shower with a standard shower head can use upward of 80 gallons of water and generate up to four pounds of CO2 emissions. Simply reducing shower time can save energy and water. There are other ways to conserve as well. Make it a family project to collect rain water to use for washing cars or watering plants.

3. REUSE. Toting lunch or snacks around can be more eco-friendly when reusable containers are part of the equation. Explore the many lunch bags, beverage cups, thermoses, Bento boxes, and other packaging available. Many are made from recycled materials as well. 4. WALK. Encourage getting around without firing up the car. Walking, jogging, biking, or scootering around the neighborhood is more eco-friendly than driving. Many adventures can unfold when seeing the world from a pedestrian’s vantage point, but things are easily missed when riding inside cars or trucks. 5. CONSERVE WATER. Lessons learned in conservation are important. Water is one resource that is crucial to human life. Kids can explore ways to cut down on water consumption or use water more efficiently. The environmental resource Green Lifestyle

6. RENT RATHER THAN BUY. From toys to video games to movies, people have more entertainment options than ever before. And nowadays it’s easy to access a fresh supply of entertainment without making purchases that require the manufacturing of new items. Streaming rented content rather than buying packaged versions can reduce waste in a number of ways. 7. TURN OFF/TURN DOWN. Turn off lights, appliances, electronics, and much more when they’re not in use. Also, encourage children (of an appropriate age) to unplug certain electronics so appliances aren’t consuming electricity while in standby mode, which is called vampire power. 8. CHANGE BODY CARE PRODUCTS. Introduce kids to earth-friendly soaps, shampoos, toiletries, and cleaning supplies. Children are the next generation to take on the task of protecting the continued

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planet. When they begin an ecofriendly lifestyle early on, they may be more likely to employ the same strategies in adulthood. h

Did you know? According to a 2015 study from researchers at the University of Georgia, in 2010 alone, between four and 12 million metric tons of plastic trash found its way into the oceans from coastal countries. That was the first estimate of how much plastic enters the ocean in a year since 1975. In that 1975 study, researchers working with the National Academy of Sciences estimated that 0.1 percent of global plastic production found its way into the oceans. But the 2015 study examined the volume of plastic waste produced by every coastal country in the world before estimating how much of that waste could wash into the oceans due to littering, open dumps or landfill leaks. The study’s authors determined that roughly 15 to 40 percent of plastic litter or waste enters the ocean each year. Where that waste ultimately ends up, and the impact that it has on marine life and human food supply, remains a mystery. In addition, the study’s authors predict the amount of plastic waste entering the oceans will double in the next decade.

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S T U DY

Neighborhood Publications 9


Get the Facts On Going Solar

S

olar energy is gaining traction, installing solar energy systems in particularly among homeowners their homes. The following are some who are realizing that the sun’s things homeowners should consider rays can be used to power to their as they ponder whether or not to homes, businesses and cars while install solar energy in their homes. benefitting both the planet and their Ideally, panels should face the bottom lines. The Solar Energy Industries Patio Covers, Association says that, with Outdoor Living Rooms, more than 135,000 installations in the first half of 2015, Outdoor Kitchens, nearly 784,000 U.S. homes Screened Porches, and businesses have now Room Additions . . . gone solar and a new solar and More! project was installed every two minutes. There are now SEE MORE PROJECTS ON OUR WEBSITE more than 22,700 MW of cumulative solar electric capacity operating in the United States, enough to power more than 4.6 million American homes. The government of Canada says wind power and solar photovoltaic energy are the fastest growing sources of electricity in Canada. Recognizing that solar energy has so many cost benefits and so much potential in protecting natural resources, more and more homeowners are investigating the idea of

southwest, but the direction of the panels isn’t as important as you might think. Panels can face various directions with acceptable results. Homeowners should not let the continued

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10 Neighborhood Publications

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layout of their properties deter them from installing solar energy. The addition of solar panels should not adversely affect the assessment value of a home, nor increase property taxes. According to SolarEnergy, a resource on residential solar products, there may be different “tiers” of usage that determine utility companies’ rates concerning energy. The top tier may be removed from the billing formula when solar power is used in conjunction with an electric energy provider. Speak with a utility company representative to learn more. Assess just how much energy you will need to determine which solar options will be available to you. In addition, make other changes around the house to reduce energy consumption, such as putting HVAC systems on timers, shutting off lights when leaving rooms, opening the drapes to let in more natural light, and replacing traditional light bulbs with more efficient alternatives. Solar energy can be a viable option for homeowners looking to curtail costs and do their part to preserve the planet’s natural resources. h

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Did you know? Solar energy and harnessing the power of the sun for reasons beyond natural light is not a new concept. British astronomer John Herschel converted solar power by using a solar collector box to cook food while on an expedition in Africa in 1830. And in 1931 Albert Einstein collected a Nobel Prize for his work in solar and photovoltaic experimentation. According to Solar Energy World, a solar energy and green living resource, by using renewable energy sources, such as solar power, one can greatly reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. This includes emitting 20,000 fewer pounds of carbon dioxide each year into the atmosphere; 50 fewer pounds of nitrogen oxide; and 70 fewer pounds of sulfur dioxide.

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Neighborhood Publications 11


How to Replace Energy-Hungry Appliances

LOOK FOR REBATE PROGRAMS Rebate and recycling programs can help reduce the initial cost of purchasing new appliances. The government may offer tax incentives to those people who purchase a new, energy-efficient models.

THINK ABOUT FUTURE SALABILITY Homeowners who do not intend to stay in their homes much longer may find energy efficient appliances make their homes more attractive to prospective buyers. Energy efficient appliances can reduce homeowners’ carbon footprints while also saving them considerable amounts of money over the life of the products. h

H

ome improvement projects often involve remodeling. But homeowners can improve their homes without ever picking up a hammer. Upgrading a home’s appliances with products that are more eco-friendly can add value to a home and make the home more attractive to buyers who want their homes to look good and pay dividends for the environment. The United States Department of Energy says the average American family spends about $2,200 each year for energy costs, and large, inefficient appliances no doubt contribute heavily to those expenditures. Appliances that are several years old, including refrigerators, washing machines, dryers and even ovens, may no longer meet the stringent energy-saving specifications required of new items. That means such appliances are negatively affecting the environment and their owners’ bottom lines. According to the Energy Star program, a refrigerator that is at least 15 years old may be consuming twice as much energy as a newer Energy Star-rated refrigerator. Even though purchasing new appliances will require a financial commitment,

12 Neighborhood Publications

such items may help save money while benefitting the environment at the same time.

READ THE LABEL Familiarize yourself with the “EnergyGuide” label that appears on most appliances. This label gives consumers an idea as to how much it will cost to run the appliance, as well as how much energy the unit uses on average. Use this label to compare the different models you are considering. Choose appliances that are part of the Energy Star program, which helps consumers find products that reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

DOWNSIZE TO A SMALL MODEL Large appliances tend to consume more energy than small appliances. Scaling down the size of the appliance can reduce energy consumption. Empty nesters may no longer need a refrigerator capable of holding food for a family of four, while those who routinely dine out may find they don’t get much use out of their larger refrigerator.

Did you know? A 2016 study from researchers at the University of Eastern Finland found that it is possible to slow down and even temporarily stop the progression of global warming by increasing atmospheric aerosol concentration. The study found that, when injected into the stratosphere, aerosol particles were highly efficient in cooling down the climate. That injection can happen naturally when volcanoes erupt and send particles into the stratosphere, where the particles reflect solar radiation back into space, thus cooling down the climate. While this method of climate engineering appears promising, the study’s authors note that restricting greenhouse gas emissions must remain a priority. If greenhouse gas emissions continue to grow, a larger number of aerosol particles would need to be injected into the stratosphere, resulting in larger relative particle sizes that would not be as effective at cooling the climate.

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Explaining the Layers of the Earth’s Atmosphere Many people are familiar with the term “ozone layer.” But some may not know that the Earth’s atmosphere consists of several layers. The lowest layer of the Earth’s atmosphere is the troposphere, which the U.S Environmental Protection Agency notes extends from the Earth’s surface to roughly six miles in altitude. The troposphere is where nearly all human activities occur. Even climbers who make it to the peak of Mt. Everest are still in the troposphere, as Everest is less than six miles high. But anyone who has ever boarded a commercial flight has likely left the troposphere and entered the stratosphere, where the majority of commercial airplanes fly. The stratosphere begins at six miles above the Earth’s surface and extends to about 31 miles above the surface of the planet. The EPA notes that most atmospheric ozone is concentrated in a layer in the stratosphere that’s roughly nine to 18 miles above the Earth’s surface. The ozone layer in the Earth’s stratosphere absorbs some of the sun’s radiation, including the UV and UVB radiation that has been linked to cancer. The third layer of the Earth’s atmosphere is the mesosphere, which extends from 31 miles above the Earth’s surface to roughly 53 miles above the surface of the planet. The height of the next highest layer, the thermosphere, varies due to changes in solar activity. The exosphere, which contains many of the satellites that orbit the Earth, is the outermost layer of the Earth’s atmosphere. h To advertise, call 281-401-9143 or email: info@NeighborhoodPublications.net

Neighborhood Publications 13


3 Eco-Friendly Approaches To Buying & Eating Food

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rotecting the planet and preserving its resources are goals many people aspire to. Energyefficient electronics have been around for decades, and advancements continue to be made with regard to eco-friendly building materials that can dramatically reduce the carbon footprint of the homes and buildings

14 Neighborhood Publications

where we live and work. Men and women with an eye toward protecting the planet also can employ several eco-friendly eating habits that don’t require substantial lifestyle changes but can produce substantial, long-lasting and positive effects on the environment. 1. USE REUSABLE CLOTH BAGS TO TRANSPORT GROCERIES. According to the nonprofit Earth Policy Institute, more than one trillion plastic bags are used across the globe each year. That’s a cause for concern among environmentalists who know that a single plastic bag can take as long as 500 years to degrade. In addition, the United Nations Environment Programme estimates that every square mile of ocean contains approximately 46,000 pieces of plastic floating in it. By opting for reusable cloth bags over plastic bags, consumers can dramatically reduce their carbon footprints and benefit the planet in a myriad of ways.

2. BUY LOCALLY GROWN FOODS. Locally grown foods do not need to be transported across the globe or across the country. That means less fuel is consumed to get your dinner from farm to table, and less emissions are finding their way into the air you breathe. 3. ONLY BUY WHAT YOU NEED AND FINISH YOUR MEALS. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations reports that 28 percent of the world’s agricultural area is used annually to produce food that is lost or wasted. In addition, the FAO reports that the total volume of water used each year to produce food that is lost or wasted is three times the volume of Lake Geneva. To reduce food waste, which can release harmful gases into the environment, only buy what you need, preparing adequate portions so you don’t end up throwing much of your meal away. The right approach to purchasing and eating food can have a dramatic and positive impact on the planet for decades to come. h

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Maximize Your Farmer’s Market Trip

that in mind when planning their visits. If you love trying new foods, arrive early to the farmer’s market before the more unique offerings have been snapped up. Foods that have small yet devoted followings may not be available in abundance, and you may end up leaving emptyhanded if you arrive late. If it’s a bargain you want, then visit later in the day when farmers with substantial remaining inventory may be more inclined to lower their prices.

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ommunity-based farmer’s markets can introduce shoppers to an array of foods they may otherwise never experience. Farmer’s markets are great places to find fresh, locally grown foods and many market customers are happy to know they’re benefitting both the environment and local businessess with every dime they spend. Farmer’s markets can range from the very large to the relatively small and first-time visitors may not know where to begin. The following are a handful of ways to maximize your visit to farmer’s markets of all sizes. TAKE TIME TO EXPLORE. Farmer’s markets tend to have many of the same fruits and vegetables you can find at the local chain grocery store, but farmer’s markets also are known for offering more than what you may find in the produce aisle. Take time to explore the market and you may just find foods you typically only find at your favorite restaurant. Exploring also may introduce you to new foods you may otherwise never have tried. CONSIDER THE TIMING OF YOUR VISIT. The popularity of farmer’s markets has increased dramatically as more and more people embrace the concept of buying locally grown foods. While that’s great news for the planet and local farmers, shoppers should keep

KNOW YOUR SEASONS. Some fruits and vegetables are better at certain times of the year than others. Freshness draws many people to farmer’s markets and foods that are inseason are more likely to have that unforgettable freshness than those that are out of season or nearing the end of their season. Knowing the seasons is important for budgetconscious shoppers as well. If you’re shopping on a budget, purchasing foods while they’re in-season may save you some money, and you can always stock up on your other favorites later on when it’s their turn to be inseason.

intimate than shopping at the chain grocery store, and many sellers would be happy to offer you some tips and make some suggestions based on the meals you like. Farmer’s markets are great places to support local businesses and find fresh foods. h

SPEAK WITH THE SELLERS. First-time farmer’s market shoppers may feel like they’re lost in the woods while everyone else seems to know exactly what they want and where to get it. If you find the farmer’s market somewhat intimidating, speak with the sellers. Shopping at the local farmer’s market tends to be more

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Neighborhood Publications 15


OUTDOOR ROLLER SHADES Smart Home Automation Has Increased the Use of Outdoor Roller Shades To Make the Outdoors More Fun! This is the perfect time to enjoy our outdoor entertaining spaces before the heat of summer descends upon us. When taking advantage of this brief period of moderate weather, the pitfalls of having an open outdoor space become apparent. Many people have patios directly facing the sun so they lose out on several hours outside every day because of the heat and glare of the harsh sunlight.

16 Neighborhood Publications

Insects are a major nuisance that deter people from spending time in their outdoor spaces. Outdoor roller shades can solve these problems and can now be automated to smart home platforms including Amazon Alexa and Google Home providing total home automation. Smart home automation is the leading trend for many people because of the convenience automation creates throughout the home, particularly with window treatments. Automating window treatments is now the standard and the cost of automating window treatments has decreased with the increasing demand for automation. Interior and exterior shading products have evolved with the technology especially with outdoor roller shades. Outdoor roller shades can be programmed to roll down

at specific times of day or when the temperature reaches a specified limit. They also have a wind sensor that can be programmed to roll them up if the wind is too strong. As with other smart home products, interior and exterior shading products can be operated from a smart phone. The rising popularity of smart home automation has inspired the industry to utilize the technology with really cool results. Automated window treatments can operate through digital assistants like Amazon Alexa or Google Home or as part of a smart home platform like Savant or Control14. Whichever platform is used, automated window treatments can be operated through voice control or through an app on a phone or tablet. These window treatments can be programmed to raise and lower at certain times of the day to meet personal preferences, temperature continued

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and light control needs. When linked to a smart home platform like Savant, automated window treatments operate through the associated software. Preferences also known as scenes are set to raise and lower the window treatments based on temperature, time of day and privacy across all

automation platforms. Technology is always evolving and the results often make our lives easier. Smart home automation is quickly becoming the norm and people are integrating the products they buy including interior and exterior shading products.

The window therapists at Spring Shutters and Blinds can help you with your interior or exterior shading treatments. Call us at 832-6989789 to schedule your free in home consultation. h

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Neighborhood Publications 17


SelfRespect Tips from Master Josh Arcemont

We teach others how to treat us by the way we treat ourselves. Respecting ourselves means doing things that are good for us, like taking care of our bodies both mentally and physically, educating ourselves, finding mentors to help us improve our lives, using uplifting communication with ourselves, making the right choices, and caring for our possessions and our personal appearance. As we show self-respect, others learn that they too must treat us with respect. How can we build our self-respect? Martial Arts and Leadership Training is one of the best ways to develop self-respect. Through the physical training in martial arts, we keep our body in good shape, thus showing respect for our bodies. The mental training, the practice of Leadership Skills, allows us to demonstrate respect for our minds by pursuing personal growth. The more you push yourself out of your comfort zone and force yourself to achieve new things, the greater self-image you will have. This self-image will then build your self-esteem and will in turn enhance your overall self-respect.

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Go Green with Your Fitness Routine Exercise in the great outdoors. Fitness enthusiasts can reduce their energy consumption by exercising outdoors whenever possible. Replace running in place on a treadmill with running through a park or on a beach outside. Men and women who work out in their homes can take the free weights outdoors to the backyard on nice days, allowing Mother Nature instead of the electric company to supply the lighting.

When possible, exercise outdoors to reduce energy consumption and green up your workout routine.

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any people aspire to live as healthy a lifestyle as possible, and regular exercise is an essential component of such a lifestyle. One of the hidden benefits to regular exercise is that it presents numerous opportunities to benefit the planet. Going green with a fitness routine can create a healthier planet, which can only benefit fitness enthusiasts and their families in the long run. Creating a fitness routine that benefits people and the planet is simple and can even make workouts more rewarding.

Walk, run or ride to the gym. Many people get the bulk, if not the entirety, of their exercise at a gym. For those who live outside of major cities, that likely involves driving to and from a gym before and after workouts. Instead of driving, consider walking, running or riding to the gym. Each option provides great cardiovascular exercise that can reduce or replace the time people spend on treadmills or elliptical machines. And cutting back on driving reduces fuel consumption and auto emissions, greatly benefitting the planet.

Join gyms that offer eco-friendly exercise equipment. More and more gyms are taking steps to reduce their carbon footprints, and ecofriendly fitness enthusiasts can look for such facilities before purchasing or renewing their gym memberships. Some efforts gym owners make to reduce the carbon footprint of their facilities include using only ecofriendly, biodegradable cleaning products; installing low-flow toilets, faucets and shower heads in facility restrooms and bathing areas; and installing user-powered cardiovascular machinery that consume considerably less energy than traditional machines. Inquire about a facility’s carbon footprint before purchasing a membership. Purchase eco-friendly accessories. Another way to make a fitness routine more environmentally friendly is to purchase workout accessories that do not have large carbon footprints. Instead of single-use plastic water bottles, purchase a reusable water bottle made of recycled materials. In addition, opt for workout gear made of organic or recycled materials. Such items can be found online or at sporting goods stores or retailers that cater to outdoors enthusiasts. Fitness enthusiasts can take various steps to make their workout routines more eco-friendly, benefitting themselves and the planet along the way. h

20 Neighborhood Publications

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Recognize the Risks to Drinking Water

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s environmental issues continue to garner more attention across the globe, certain concerns that represent the public’s collective unease continue to emerge. Contamination of drinking water has long been a hot-button issue, and one that was once again brought to the forefront in 2015. In 1993, the town of Hinkley, CA., became national news when legal clerk Erin Brockovich investigated the apparent cluster of health illnesses in the community. She found there was a link between those illnesses and the local water supply and its high levels of hexavalent chromium – a carcinogen – which had purportedly been leaching into the water from a natural gas transmission compressor station since 1952. Contaminated water from cooling towers was stored between uses in unlined ponds, which allowed it to seep into surrounding groundwater. Contaminated drinking water is not exclusive to California. Water contamination can occur anywhere in the world. Recently, the subject has come into the limelight again, this time in Flint, Mich. Residents of Flint had been noticing strange health symptoms, including hair loss, rashes, abdominal pains and even stunted growth. Upon further examination, it was discovered that residents of Flint were slowly being poisoned by lead, which may have been initiated when the city’s water supply was switched

22 Neighborhood Publications

from Detroit’s water system over to the Flint River in 2014. The maximum concentration of lead allowed by law is 15 parts per billion (ppb). Tap water measured from Flint was nearly 400 ppb. According to the World Health Organization, the neurological and behavioral effects of exposure to excessive levels of lead are believed to be irreversible. Based on the news coming out of Flint, many people have expressed concern about what is hiding in their own water supplies. Nearly 286 million Americans get their tap water from a community water system, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, while others rely on well water. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says that the United States has one of the safest public drinking water supplies in the world. Worldwide, things have begun to look up as well. In 2015, 91 percent of the world’s population had access to improved drinking water, says the WHO. That doesn’t mean individuals shouldn’t remain cautious. Contami-nated water can transmit diseases such as diarrhea, cholera, dysentery, typhoid and polio. It also may be hiding potentially cancer-causing substances – both natural and manmade. Those who want to be proactive in protecting their communities from contaminated water can follow these tips.

Get drinking water tested. Find a reputable local laboratory that specializes in testing drinking water. Start by calling the water authorities where you live or in surrounding towns, which may have a list of local, independents labs. The EPA may be able to help as well. Contact their safe drinking water hotline at 800-426-4791. You also can buy a testing kit from home improvement retailers to conduct routine tests yourself. Install a water filter. Water filters may be connected to the main water source in a home or attached to faucets. These devices can help filter out any other impurities that may be affecting the taste or quality of drinking water. Watch groundwater contamination. Be cautious about what you release into the soil in and around your home, especially if you rely on well water. County health departments may test for nitrates and bacteria, but you may require more in-depth testing from an outside service if you suspect a problem. Get connected with municipal alerts. Water-main breaks and other instances may require the shutting off and flushing of municipal water systems, which may introduce contaminants. Always follow suggested water-boil and cleaning guidelines issued in your area. By heeding these tips, residents can protect themselves against contaminated drinking water.h

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How to Conserve Water At Home

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onservation is an essential component of an eco-friendly lifestyle. Conserving the planet’s natural resources can have a profound impact on the planet, and conserving at home is a great way for men and women to get the ball rolling on their conservation efforts. One of the most effective ways to conserve at home is to reduce water consumption. Few people give much thought to how much water they consume at home, as water bills tend to be considerably lower than other utilities like energy and phone. But even if efforts to conserve water at home may not make a dramatic impact on monthly utility bills, the following measures can go a long way toward preserving one of the planet’s most precious resources.

Taking a vehicle to a professional car wash that employs water reclamation technology rather than washing a car in the driveway is one way to conserve water at home. that reuse water. According to San Diego Car Care, a professional car wash that employs water reclamation technology, each car washed at their facility consumes just nine to 15 gallons of water per wash. That’s a considerable savings compared to washing at home, as the State of Maryland’s Department of the Environment estimates that 100 gallons of water are consumed during a single 10-minute car wash at home using a garden hose. Install shower heads that earned the WaterSense label. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says that showering accounts for nearly 17

Fix leaky faucets. Leaky faucets in a home might not seem like they waste much water each day. However, the U.S. Geological Survey estimates that a single home with three leaky faucets that each produce one drip per minute will waste 104 gallons of water per year from these faucets alone. This waste is easily prevented by simply fixing leaky faucets the moment drips are noticed. Wash your car at a commercial car wash. Some vehicle owners may enjoy washing their cars at home in their driveways. But getting a car washed at a professional car wash can conserve substantial amounts of water. That’s because many new car wash facilities employ water reclamation systems To advertise, call 281-401-9143 or email: info@NeighborhoodPublications.net

percent of home water consumption. For the average family, that translates to almost 1.2 trillion gallons of water each year. Shower heads that have earned the EPA’s WaterSense label have met various conservation criteria established by the EPA. Such shower heads are 20 percent more efficient than the average product that does not have the label. According to the EPA, the average family can save 2,900 gallons of water per year by installing shower heads that have earned the WaterSense label. Use a dishwasher. This particular effort to conserve water is one that everyone can embrace. According to the GRACE Communications Foundation, an organization devoted to developing innovating strategies to increase public awareness about the issues facing our environment, using an energy-efficient dishwasher instead of hand-washing dishes can save as much as 15.5 gallons per wash. Conserving water at home can have a profound impact on the environment. And efforts at conservation are often simpler than many people may think. h

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Neighborhood Publications 23


How To Compost At Home their piles. Build the pile over lawn or soil instead of over surfaces like asphalt or concrete. Add materials as you collect them. The EPA notes that composting requires three basic ingredients: water, brown materials and green materials. Brown materials include dead branches, leaves and twigs, while greens include grass clippings, vegetable waste, fruit scraps, and coffee grounds. Chop larger materials as necessary, adding both brown and green materials as you collect them and watering dry materials as necessary.

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any homeowners spend substantial amounts of time and money tending to their lawns. A lush lawn can be a point of pride for homeowners, and well-maintained landscapes also have a positive effect on property value. Homeowners who want to take care of their lawns and gardens in an eco-friendly way may want to consider composting. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, food scraps and lawn waste make up about 20 to 30 percent of what we throw away each year. Composting such waste can enrich the soil in homeowners’ yards while also reducing the size of local landfills, where food scraps and lawn waste contribute to the production of methane, a potent and harmful greenhouse gas. Composting is relatively simple and serves as a cost-effective way to enrich soil and suppress plant

24 Neighborhood Publications

diseases and pest infestations. Homeowners who want to try their hand at composting can consider the following advice from the EPA. Purchase the right tools. Composting is not expensive, but you will need a few tools to help maintain your compost pile. A pitchfork or square-point shovel will be necessary so you can periodically mix or turn the compost. In addition, a water hose with a spray head can help maintain the pile. Choose the right spot. A compost pile or bin should be placed in a shady area close to a water source. Shade will help ensure the pile does not dry out too quickly, especially for those homeowners who live in warmer climates. Those who live in colder regions may want to locate their piles in spots that get some sun exposure to trap some solar heat in

Bury fruit and vegetable waste. When adding fruit and vegetable waste, bury it beneath 10 inches of compost material. You can do this by mixing your pile with your pitchfork or shovel. If necessary, cover the top of your compost pile with a tarp so the pile can retain moisture. Compost may take as long as two years before it’s usable, but when materials are dark and rich in color, they’re ready to be spread.

How To Determine If Items Can Be Composted Compost is an eco-friendly way to grow a healthy and flourishing garden bed or landscape. Full of nutrients and rich organic materials, compost is often called “black gold” by gardeners for the many benefits it provides. One of the main advantages to comcontinued on 26

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Neighborhood Publications 25


be discarded. Vegetable peels, fruit rinds, eggshells, coffee grounds, and the like can be put into a compost pile. Meats and poultry should not be placed in a compost pile because of the threat of harmful pathogens and bacteria. Other items that are not foodrelated also can be added to compost piles. It may be challenging to determine which ones are applicable. These products are usually considered safe:

post, apart from the way it boosts plant growth and health, is that it is relatively low cost to produce. Compost is created by food scraps and other materials that are left to break down naturally. Backyard composting speeds up the natural process of decomposition. In optimal conditions, organic matter can decompose more quickly. According to the University of Illinois Extension, microorganisms like bacteria, fungi and actinomycetes account for most of the decomposition that takes place

in a compost pile. However, insects also can do their part to create compost. Such insects are referred to as “physical composters” because they break down materials by chewing, grinding and digesting them into smaller pieces. Bacteria create an oxidation process that heats up the compost pile and aids in its decomposition. Homeowners can create their own compost piles with just a few items. Some of the staples of composting include foods that normally would

• paper plates with no coating • products made from bagasse, a fibrous matter that remains after sugarcane or sorghum stalks are crushed • cardboard boxes • paper towels • wax paper • wax-covered paper cups • products certified as compostable by BPI • certified bio-plastics Anything that is coated in plastic that is not a bio-plastic must go into the trash or be reused in another way. Composting is a cost-effective, viable way to reduce trash and produce a beneficial product for gardening and landscaping. h

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Neighborhood Publications 27


Travel Can Be Fun and Eco-Friendly, Too hotels now ask guests to reuse towels in order to conserve water. Guests who want to make their hotel stays as eco-friendly as possible should work with hotels and reuse their towels for as long as possible. If visiting a resort, try to use the same pool or beach towel for as long as possible as well.

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any people go to great lengths to adhere to eco-friendly lifestyles at home. That devotion to the environment may or may not continue when those same people travel, but it is entirely possible for travelers to take their eco-conscious behaviors with them on the road. Whether traveling for personal or professional reasons, travelers can implement a handful of simple strategies to reduce their carbon footprints while away from home. Rent a hybrid or eco-friendly vehicle. If you will be renting a car during your trip, book a hybrid vehicle or a small, fuel-efficient model to cut back on fuel consumption. Many vehicles are now equipped with “eco mode,” a feature that typically forces the transmission to upshift sooner than it normally would in an effort to conserve fuel. Cars in eco mode may seem somewhat sluggish, but that sluggishness is actually the eco mode doing its job. It might take some getting used to, but driving in eco mode can help travelers reduce their vehicles’ fuel consumption. Reuse towels at the hotel. Many

28 Neighborhood Publications

Patronize restaurants that offer locally grown foods. Another way to be ecofriendly when traveling is to eat your meals at

restaurants that use only locally grown foods and ingredients. Eating local reduces the need to transport foods across long distances, cutting back on fuel costs as a result. In addition, proponents of eating local foods insist that locally grown foods taste fresher than foods brought in from afar. Use mass transportation. When possible, use mass transportation rather than relying on taxis or car services. Take a bus or train from the airport to your hotel, and ride the subway or just walk when sightseeing. Many travelers insist that riding mass transportation when visiting a city provides a much more realistic experience of life in that city than traveling by cab or driving alone. Travelers need not leave their ecofriendly sensibilities at home when traveling. h

Endangered Species List Continues To Grow

While few people may give the endangered species list much thought, it’s worth noting that many animals are being wiped out at alarming rates. An endangered species is one whose numbers are so small that the species faces extinction. Extinction is a natural phenomenon, which scientists and conservationists say occurs at a natural background rate of about one to five species per year. However, due in large part to overpopulation, climate change, infringement on animal habitats, and the introduction of foreign diseases and parasites, some scientists, according to the social change network Do Something, now speculate that the world is losing species at 1,000 to 10,000 times the normal background rate – with dozens of different animals going extinct every day. Some species may already be gone, much to the surprise of the general public. The World Wildlife Federation notes that the following species could disappear if nothing is done. • Amur Leopard • Asian Elephant • Black Rhino • Bornean Orangutan • Chimpanzee • Cross River Gorilla • Hawksbill Turtle • Mountain Gorilla To advertise, call 281-401-9143 or email: info@NeighborhoodPublications.net


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Neighborhood Publications 29


How To Reduce Vehicle Emissions Telecommuting to work can save professionals money and greatly reduce the transportation-related emissions produced by commuting to and from the office every day.

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ecognizing the threat posed by climate change, many people have resolved to live more ecofriendly lifestyles. Reducing vehicle emissions can have a strong and positive impact on the environment and may even benefit motorists’ bottoms lines. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, 26 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. can be traced to transportation. But the task of reducing vehicle emissions is not as difficult as it may seem, as there are many steps ordinary citizens can take to cut back on the greenhouse gases their vehicles are producing each day. TELECOMMUTE TO WORK. Recent research from Global Workplace Analytics, a firm that helps organizations understand and communicate emerging workplace strategies, found that 50 percent of the American workforce holds a job that is compatible with at least partial telework. The company also found that as recently as March 2016 a typical business would save $11,000 per telecommuter per year, while workers who telecommute can save between

30 Neighborhood Publications

$2,000 and $7,000 per year. But the financial benefits may pale in comparison to the effects that mass telecommuting can have on the planet. Telecommuters consume considerably less fuel than workers who drive or take mass transportation to work, and over time that can greatly reduce transportationrelated greenhouse gas emissions. PRIORITIZE VEHICLE MAINTENANCE. Poorly maintained vehicles can harm the environment and cost motorists substantial amounts of money. The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control notes that something as simple as replacing a clogged air filter, a task that can be completed in a matter of minutes, can improve gas mileage by as much as 10 percent. In addition, keeping tires properly inflated can reduce drag and improve fuel economy. Such steps also improve vehicle performance and reduce wear and tear on a vehicle’s engine, protecting motorists’ automotive investments. AVOID IDLING. Conventional automotive wisdom once suggested that idling a vehicle for several minutes can effectively warm up its engine.

But the EPA notes that idling is both ineffective and harmful to the environment. Idling for more than 30 seconds can increase air pollution unnecessarily, waste fuel and money and cause excessive wear and damage to engine components. Auto manufacturers now recommend that vehicles idle for no more than 30 seconds before they begin driving, as modern engines take less time to warm up than the engines of yesteryear. DRIVE LESS. Perhaps the simplest way to reduce vehicle emissions is to drive less. While walking or cycling can be a great and healthy alternative to driving, driving less does not necessarily mean motorists should abandon their vehicles entirely. Instead, drivers can organize weekend shopping and errand trips so they accomplish everything in a single trip. This can free up time and greatly reduce fuel consumption and vehicle emissions. Reducing vehicle emissions is a great way to help the planet, and such a goal is more attainable than many people may think.h

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