With a vital need for the world to review its method of electricity generation, the topic of renewable energy is high on the environmental agenda. Indeed, the last ten years has seen the issues of global warming and sustainability brought to the fore, with both businesses and the public now playing an active role in trying to find alternative ways of producing, and using energy.
Currently, much of the world's energy supply is produced by burning fossil fuels like oil, gas and coal. However, not only does this method emit a lot of carbon dioxide (CO2) which is harmful to the world's atmosphere, but resources are also finite, meaning they will eventually run out.
One of the biggest concerns scientists and environmentalists have is that of rapid climate change; and with temperatures increasing around the globe, the effects are already noticeable. For example, polar ice caps are melting and environmental habitats are changing.
Consequently, there has been a huge global drive to find alternative natural resources that can provide humans with the electricity and power they require, and which won't become depleted over time. An additional requisite of this task is to use natural, environmentally-friendly sources that won't harm the surrounding environment.
Due to the increased interest in the subject - coupled with rising oil prices - there are now numerous research projects and trials dedicated to finding the most cost-efficient and clean sources of energy. As a result, the energy from natural sources like sunlight, wind, rain and the tides is being harnessed to replace the more traditional methods of energy creation.
In fact, according to research, around 18 percent of the world's final energy consumption came from renewables in 2006. Thirteen percent of this was extracted from traditional biomass, like wood-burning, whilst hydroelectricity contributed towards 15 percent.
Wind power is also growing by 30 percent year on year, with European countries and the Unites States using it widely. In fact, as of 2008, global wind farm capacity reached 100,000 megawatts and produced 1.3 percent of the world's energy consumption. In the US alone, this provides enough energy for around five million households! Whilst in the UK, approximately three percent of all electricity comes from renewable energy resources. However, it is hoped that by 2010, 10 percent will be produced sustainably with this figure reaching 15 percent by 2015.
What's more, the major power companies in npower and Scottish Power have played a big part in the research of alternative energy sources, particularly as they seek more sustainable solutions to customers. It is believed that in the near future, the switch to using renewable energy will serve to improve the surrounding environment and make for a more positive future.
You are "what you eat". We as adults know the calorific value or the importance of what is right, what to eat and what is best kept away. Or so I feel. As a parent, I believe it is a dual responsibility of keeping ourselves fit and also see to it that the children get the right nutrition and eat right. It becomes our responsibility to guide and also inculcate the right eating habits in our children. Studies show that 32 per cent of children in the US are overweight and 16 per cent are obese. This sure is reason for major concern.
Yes, I do agree that getting kids to eat a balanced healthy diet with so many distractions around is a Herculean task. You are competing with world's best giant junk food companies. However, as parents we do have a responsibility to fulfill.
Going through articles on child obesity and new items in the papers has been really scary. Kids have a long life ahead of them and least we can do as parents is to ensure that they remain healthy.
When on one hand, getting your child to eat vegetables and other nutritious food can be difficult, they do get into the habit of nibbling on chips, burgers and hot dogs real fast. Guess what it is that makes these foods so addictive? The reason for wrong eating habits can be indeed dreadful. This is something that we are witnessing each day, what with the rising childhood obesity problem.
Child obesity has come to be one of the biggest problems or hazards of our lifestyle that we are facing today. Can you imagine a whole generation that is growing up on unhealthy eating habits and an obese lot of children growing up into adults with all kinds of medical problems? What are we moving towards? It is time we take stock of the situation and try to make a difference NOW.
One reason for this growing obesity problem is no or reduced physical activity. Taking to any sport and playing any game must be encouraged. They definitely need to spend some time everyday outdoors. Another contributing factor is "convenience". We find it convenient to take out a pre-processed packaged food and serve. However, no pain no gain. If we want to truly rectify the situation it definitely involves some effort. It sure is worth it.
One more thing in favor of child obesity is that many of us parents are really not ready to acknowledge the facts and accept that we have a problem at hand. A little awareness and introspection will make a positive difference according to me. Being a mom I can actually vouch that some understanding of eating habits and an effort to inculcate the right habits can make a big difference.
Whenever you make a major change in your lifestyle, having a strong support group around you is crucial. And the decision to become a vegetarian is definitely a major change of lifestyle. So one of the best ways you can ensure your success in making this transition is to build a strong support structure around you for support, friendship and advice. This does not mean you are not going to continue to maintain your existing friendships and relationships.
But our friendship network is always going to reflect our values. And when you make the change to a vegetarian way of life, your values to reflect the new priorities in your life. So you will want to be able to spend time with people who not only understand your reasons for becoming a vegetarian but know the ins and out of the lifestyle you are learning. So making it an ambition to find new friendships in the vegetarian community makes good sense.
The vegetarian movement is closely tied to the "green" and organic movements so you can find "haunts" around town where these kinds of people gather. Natural food stores or even clothing stores that focus on organic materials will also have a clientele that are no doubt vegetarian. Vegetarianism is also popular on college campuses and in the bohemian parts of society so you may find a good resource of new friends in those cafes and coffee houses. And these populations will provide you with very colorful and fascinating people as to build a support group around as well.
While you are visiting these local "hang outs" where the vegetarian community shops or dines, keep an eye on the public bulletin boards or other announcement resources. There you will find lecture series, clubs, vegetarian cooking classes and schools and other social events where the vegetarian community will gather. Any costs associated with being involved with these kinds of organizations and taking classes that further your knowledge of the vegetarian lifestyle will pay off. Not only will you learn a lot, you will come out of such events with plenty of new friends you can use to build your new vegetarian social world around.
The larger vegetarian world is a rich source of information for you about your new lifestyle. By subscribing to newsletters and researching vegetarian issues at the library or your local public library, you are going to be drawn to the local vegetarian subculture as well. By being proactive in finding new social contacts, your support group will grow quickly.
The internet is another rich source of new friendships and vegetarian social contacts that you can explore entirely online but might open up new contacts for you locally as well. Message boards, newsletters, email lists and chat rooms that are devoted to the vegetarian lifestyle. These online sources will also point you to local events and new groups forming up based on the vegetarian way of life. But you can take the initiative and build an online community that you then sponsor social gatherings.
By having your new vegetarian friends over to share recipes, enjoy a dinner and talk about vegetarian, green and healthy living issues, you not only make new friends that understand you, you are making the vegetarian community stronger for the next person who might come along after you who will also need the support and friendship of you and others in your local setting to encourage their big step into this lifestyle.