Monday, July 25, 2011

Water, Water, Wasted Water.

Water used to be an abundant resource on Earth. It was, and still is, one of the main reasons life does not exist (as far as we know) on other planets. A number of drinks have taken over the beverage industry, but water is still on the shelf. It’s a vital necessity for any living organism’s functioning. The water we drink today is scarce; yet we continue to waste water, not thinking about the implications this will cause in the future. Even if the water supply does not run out during our life time, what about the generations to come? Will they be able to sustain on Earth with a limited water supply?
In the last 60 years, the American people have increased water usage by 127%. Producing one kilogram of beef takes 15 thousand liters of water, proving that going vegetarian for just one day, all over the world, can help save a tremendous amount of water! Products we use, eat and drink regularly such as cane sugar, milk, and bread, require thousands of liters each to produce.
Zooming in on…
Cheese: The global average water footprint according to is 5000 liters for 1 kg of cheese.
The Wine Glass: About 125 ml of wine uses 120 liters of water, as it is used to grow the grapes.
Apple: An apple of 100 grams needs 70 liters to grow. 200 ml of apple juice takes 190 liters to make.
Coffee: 140 liters for one cup. International trade for coffee products requires 80 billion cubic meters of water!
Leather: 16600 liters for one kilogram of leather is atrocious. Skinning the hides of cows for material to wrap around our feet is scary, especially if it takes so much water to produce!
Water may seem abundant but when you take a close look at where all the water is going and how it’s being used, the truth is terrifying! Try to save water! Drink coffee and wine less often and try to resist buying those shiny, polished leather dress shoes. Remember, each effort you make saves water! :)   

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Rising CO2 levels, trapped heat, and…

As it rains in the summer and becomes warmer in winter, carbon dioxide levels increase, trapping more heat in the earth’s atmosphere. The result? Higher global temperatures and weird weather, for sure.

The “Down-to-Earth Guide to Global Warming” by Laurie David and Cambria Gordon claims that the following 7 things can result due to global warming.
1.       Larger and More Itchy Poison Ivy
Urushiol is the toxin in poison ivy that makes it itchy. When carbon dioxide levels rise, poison ivy produces even more urushiol!
2.       Dull Fall Leaves

We all love those fall leaves! The bright reds and oranges are at risk with global warming! Longer summers prevent frosts from changing the color of the leaves.

3.       Worsened Allergies and Asthma

Again it’s the notorious carbon dioxide! More CO2 in the air causes pinecones and plants such as ragweed to produce more pollen, which many are allergic to, all over the world.

4.       Shorter Ski Seasons

The Winter Olympics of 2006 in Italy actually had to use fake snow because there wasn’t an ample amount. At ski resorts in places like Oregon and Washington, it rains more than it snows in the winter!

5.       No More Outdoor Ice Rinks
Ice skating and ice hockey, played usually on outdoor rinks during cold winters, are harder to play during the warmer winters! Lakes and rinks aren’t completely frozen and there is a risk playing such sports, especially if the ice might break!
6.       More Disease Carrying Mosquitos In the World
Warmer climates encourage mosquito and tick breeding. These creatures bring in Lyme disease, malaria, West Nile Virus, dengue, and yellow fever to places where these diseases have never been seen before.
7.       Maple Syrup Depletion
In places like Canada and eastern United States, Maple Syrup is an important business. However, with warmer winters, the sap from the maple trees flows more easily and sugar tappers take too much of the supply, too quickly. This causes less maple syrup for the real winters, where everyone wants some to go around.

Only some of the effects of global warming, impacting us, are listed above. Many more worries and causes of concern are rising every day.

We should all try to reduce the happening of such events and save some maple syrup for ourselves! If more people in the world pitched in, more than just maple syrup could be salvaged! Help the Planet! Think Green!  

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Difference of Green

After coming back to India after a trip to California, I realize how much the US strives to be a green community, in comparison to the overall green atmosphere in India.

In California, everyone is required to recycle at home. The recycling bins are twice the size of the trash cans and most packaging, from milk cartons to wrapping paper is recyclable. Many grocery stores like Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods encourage foods grown in environmentally friendly ways.  Offices and schools have recycling bins in addition to trash cans and universities such as Stanford offer tremendous support to the idea of being green. For example, Stanford has some ‘green’ buildings, which focus on being energy efficient.
The story is a little bit different in India; although people claim to be interested in the environmental field, very few actually try and make the difference! India is slowly ramping up to a greener air around the country, but the air seems to get blacker every day! The numbers of vehicles on the road are unbelievable and on a clear night in the city, all that can be seen is smog. City lights ruin the view of stars of the night sky, most of the time, and don’t mention the garbage! It’s garbage galore in big cities like Bangalore, Hyderabad and Delhi. There are a few recycling programs, but nobody knows where they go.

I believe we need to make the difference! Awareness in India about the environment is minimal and we need to try and educate at least some of the one billion population. There is huge potential in such a big country for being green.

Start a green club, plant a tree, bike to school. These are ways you can help raise awareness, help the environment, and feel good about yourself anywhere in the world! 

Be Green. 

Friday, July 15, 2011

Summer Green

The Petroleum Free Water Bottle Sold at Ike's Place
Just finishing a summer course at Stanford’s summer institutes EPGY, I realized how much of a green atmosphere Stanford cultivated. The students strive to keep the green environment in place, along with the professors who encourage them too. Here are a few examples of the green dining experience:
At the dining hall, whether for hot drinks, ice cream, or just ice, Stanford’s dining provided drinking cups of the brand “Eco-Products.” On the back of the cup, Eco-Products claims the product is made of 100% renewable resources, made entirely out of plants. The cups are not made from oil, reducing the effect the cups have on global warming. The other option for drinking cups at the dining hall was hard plastic, washable and reusable. All utensils at the dining hall were stainless steel, and reusable. When plastic utensils had to be used, “Tater Ware” utensils were used. The bag with the spoon, fork, and knife states, “Cutlery, bag and napkin are biodegradable,” allowing us to throw even the cutlery into the recycling bin.
The sandwich shop, Ike’s place, sells water bottles manufactured by the company “Green Planet”. The bottles are petroleum and BPA free and made 100% from plants. The bottle is even compostable!
Such simple, but effective investments just related to dining at Stanford makes us feel good about helping the environment in our own way. Every biodegradable spoon used and recycled makes a difference! I hope that more of these products will be used by the world’s population.
For more information about these products, visit, and! =)