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U.S. Rejoins the Paris Climate Agreement: What You Need to Know

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On February 19th, the U.S. made an official return to the Paris Climate Agreement just slightly over three months after it left. The return marked the end of a 30-day notice period since President Joe Biden signed an executive order on his first day in office, recommitting the U.S. to the pact.  

The U.S., under former president Barrack Obama, had in late 2016 joined close to 200 countries in the historic agreement to tackle climate change. However, his successor Donald Trump announced the country’s withdrawal from the landmark climate treaty a few months later, a move that sparked outrage among world leaders.

The U.S.’ return to the accord is important not only to the nation but also to the rest of the world in many aspects, including food security and climate change. We look at the Paris Agreement’s key elements and why the U.S. sought to rejoin the deal.

 

The Paris Climate Agreement

U.S. Rejoins Paris Climate Agreement

The Paris Agreement is a landmark international deal adopted by 195 countries at a United Nations climate conference in December 2015. The pact, which came to force in Nov. 2016, aims to tackle global warming. Under its framework, countries seek to keep global temperatures below two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and at best 1.5 degrees.

Countries are also required to submit carbon emission targets, known as nationally determined contributions (NDCs) while reinforcing those commitments after every five years. Furthermore, rich countries are required to contribute to the Green Climate Fund to support developing nations in combating the impacts of climate change.

 

Why Trump pulled out of the Agreement

In June 2017, former President Donald Trump announced his plan to withdraw from the deal. He argued that it would be an “unfair economic burden” on Americans. By ‘cancelling’ the deal, Trump fulfilled one of his 2016 campaign pledges – saying that the unified fight by nations in climate change went against his “America first” vision. The exit, however, became official on November 4th, 2020, a day after he lost the presidential poll.

Despite Trump’s withdrawal announcement, a host of key industry players in the American economy, including investors, governors and colleges, declared their intention to support the Paris Agreement. Through initiatives such as ‘We Are Still In‘ and ‘America Pledge,’ the leaders sought to reassure the 194 parties to the Paris Agreement about the U.S.’ continued commitment to fighting climate change despite a lack of federal climate leadership.

 

U.S. Rejoins Paris Climate Agreement

climate action

Joe Biden, through his administration, has pledged to prioritize the fight against climate change which he terms as one of the gravest dangers facing the U.S. and the world alike. By rejoining the agreement, the U.S. is sending a strong message to the world that the future is net zero. The country also seeks to restore its diminishing leadership role on the global stage.

For President Biden, the rallying call to international leaders in addressing global warming couldn’t be any clearer. On his part, he has outlined an ambitious climate plan that is being touted as the most comprehensive ever undertaken by a U.S. president. Key among his plans include achieving carbon-free energy by 2035 and getting the nation to net-zero emissions by 2050.

Still, accomplishing these aggressive goals could seem easier said than done as he has to contend with an evenly divided Senate. This could well mean that Biden turns to executive actions in a bid to achieve the climate goals.

Experts are, however, encouraged by the President’s seriousness of purpose in combating climate change as well as his climate hires in John Kerry (Special Presidential Envoy for Climate) and Gina McCarthy (White House National Climate Adviser). Kerry, America’s first climate czar, helped broker the Paris agreement while serving in the Obama administration. He will represent the U.S. in international climate talks. McCarthy, who also served under the Obama reign as EPA administrator, will lead the Biden administration’s domestic climate agenda.

 

The Next Steps for the U.S. in the Paris deal

next steps for US in Paris agreement

Biden’s administration has an uphill task in trying to undo the damage caused by Trump’s administration’ that made the U.S. the only country to exit the Paris Agreement. The country will seek to rebuild its credibility among world leaders and demonstrate its seriousness in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The U.S. is currently the world’s second-largest carbon emitter after China.

Even then, the U.S. will have to approach the task with “humility,” as Kerry recently remarked. This is mainly because the country has lost ground on foreign policy ever since it walked away from the Paris Agreement four years ago.

The departure also meant that the country failed to honour its 2025 Paris Agreement target of reducing emissions by 26-28% below 2005 levels. Experts argue that the Biden administration would need to revitalize the U.S.’ domestic climate policy to achieve a better position to have a strong standing on its foreign policy on climate.

 

Conclusion

The U.S.’ return to the Paris Agreement has been greeted with optimism by the international community, with leaders such as U.N. chief Antonio Guterres calling it a “day of hope” for the world.

The re-entry is seen as an opportunity to restart the global agenda on climate change. The U.S. will now seek to rally the rest of the world to set more aggressive carbon emission pledges ahead of the global climate summit in Glasgow in November.

As the U.S. Rejoins Paris Climate Agreement, it’s expected to announce a 2030 carbon goal during an international climate summit that President Biden plans to host in April.

5 Ways to Create a more Eco-Friendly Garden

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make garden eco-friendly

Ecological awareness is a badge of honour in this day and age; no longer the prerequisite of a certain “type” but a normal and acceptable way to lead a life. We’re all recycling and saving energy daily and a lot of the time we’re doing it without even noticing. Energy saving light bulbs and solar powered garden lights are just the tip of the iceberg and because education is improving, more and more of us are doing our bit to create more Eco-Friendly gardens.

Becoming more ecologically aware in your gardening habits is far simpler than you might imagine and it can be a lot cheaper than conventional gardening too. There are so many ways to save energy and improve the environment that it’s hard to list them all…but for those who want to make a difference now, here are the top 5 methods!

 

Steps to a More Eco-Friendly Garden

1. Make your own compost heap

eco-friendly gardens - compost heap

Compost heaps are like gold to gardeners and they provide a constant source of nutrition for your plants and a great way to shift your waste!

Grass clippings, vegetable peelings and some cardboard and paper are all good for compost heaps… but never add meat to a heap! Meat attracts rats and other scavengers. It can also cause a nasty odour, so stick to green and brown waste…that’s anything which was once growing in the earth.

You can use a container or simply make a pile but all compost heaps need a lid…if yours isn’t in a container then a sheet of plastic will protect it.

 

2. Grow your own vegetables

vegetables - eco-friendly garden

What greener or more eco friendly activity could you possibly indulge in than growing your own food? It’s a great hobby and can become seriously addictive!

Start simple with tomatoes in pots or potatoes in grow bags before you dig up a portion to use for your patch. Consider growing lettuce, garlic, cabbages and potatoes which are all good staple foods and which also make great “swaps” with other gardeners for cuttings and soft fruits when in season.

It’s easy to get started with a vegetable garden.

First, decide what you want to plant. What vegetables and herbs do you most consume or like? Which ones work for your particular location?

Then, identify an appropriate location for your planting beds. If you don’t have much space, consider vertical gardens to maximize on available space.

Build out your soil too by adding compost and watering your garden regularly.

 

3. Get a water butt or rain barrel

Rain Barrel

Water conservation is a critical part in creating an Eco-friendly garden. As such, a water butt is a brilliant way to help in the fight for a cleaner and less wasteful world. It’s also a real money saver!

If you intend to use the water from your water butt (or rain barrel) for watering your plants, then get one with a tap at the base.

Some water butts come without a tap and they cost less but you will have to scoop water from the surface if that’s what you choose. Water butts also make a great car-washing supply; again choose one with a tap and then you can fit a hose to it and wash your car with fabulously “soft” water!

Ensure that your water butt has a lid in place at all times to prevent curious animals from falling into its depths!

 

4. Plant a wild meadow

meadow - eco-friendly garden

If you have enough space, then planting a “meadow” in your garden is quite literally a life saver for many species of insects in the UK and beyond.

Our honey bees and some butterflies are seriously endangered and wild meadow plants which feed and house these insects have been diminished through the years of building and developments that have damaged the country over the years and destroyed natural habitats.

Choose an area as large as you can spare and one which sees plenty of sunshine throughout the day.

Many people choose a patch of lawn…but before you plant your wildflowers you should spend a few months mowing the lawn very short on a regular basis and also removing all grass clippings. This helps to deprive the lawn of nutrients which will create a very infertile environment… which wildflowers love!

Autumn is the best time to plant your wildflowers and they do best if you plant them as “plugs” which are small plants.

Purchase wildflower plugs online at very reasonable prices; choose colours that appeal to you and then plant away! Drop a little compost into each hole before you add the plug and then surround the young plant with leaf mulch to protect it from other plants which may try to invade.

In the spring you will see the flowers begin to grow and for around 8 weeks of the summer you will have a gloriously thriving meadow which is full of color and full of wildlife!

 

5. Create a wild corner

birds

This is an area which is dedicated to small mammals. It can be nothing but a wood pile with a few old leaves for good measure but what it means to certain creatures is a safe place to call home.

Hedgehogs in particular will love to live in a quiet corner of your garden and most especially if you don’t own a cat! A sheet of corrugated iron laid flat on the ground provides an excellent home for slow worms. These amazing but shy creatures relish the long “tubes” provided by corrugated iron and will make their home under any handy corrugated iron which they find.

 

Final Thoughts

Eco friendly gardening is very satisfying and when you do begin to see the wildlife in your garden or when you harvest your own food you will be reaping the benefits of the research and efforts that you have put in!

{This article has been updated for freshness and consistency.}

How to Protect Trees from Construction Damage

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Protect Trees from Construction Damage

When modifying the environment to meet our needs, nature’s well-being is often a second concern. Somehow, whenever we have a problem with natural obstacles, we dig them out, hack them down, and remove them, never thinking about the environmental impact. On the other hand, we like to think we are concerned about the planet’s ecosystems.

Well, we should be worrying about the ecosystems in our backyard first. This is especially true when it comes to construction work. Among the many other things to take into account such as minimizing the noise impact, dust and debris removal etc, one of primary concerns should be related to trees at and around the building site. You should protect trees from construction damage around your home.

 

Why Preserve Trees?

Protect Trees from Construction Damage

What’s the point in preserving trees around your home during construction? Isn’t it cheaper to do away with them and plant afresh?

For most people, the cost of preserving trees around a construction site is a major concern. Sometimes the design doesn’t work with the tree location.

However, it’s worth keeping in mind that shade trees add value to residential and commercial buildings. Indeed, mature trees can be preserved during construction with minimal costs and effort. In most instances, the trees are valuable enough to preserve, and justify the extra cost. 

Trees around your property have other benefits too including:

  • They increase property value by as much as 20 percent
  • Trees absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen thus cleaning the air around your home
  • They reduce general property costs in areas such as air conditioning, soil replacement etc
  • Combat and offset emissions. A tree absorbs more than 1 ton of carbon over its lifespan. That’s equivalent to 11,000 miles of car emissions.

 

Site Preparation

You should get all the estimates on the eventual risks to the neighboring trees before the workers and the machines take over the site. 

Larger trees have thicker roots that are widespread around them, so that needs to be considered when digging ditches for plumbing, electricity or telecommunications. Ensure the ditch runs no closer than 6 feet to the nearest tree.

 

Protection or Removal

tree removal

The trees on a building site should also be protected by physical barricades. The size of the barricade should be proportional to the size and position of the tree. Arborists should give an opinion about the future relation between the tree and the construction. 

A small tree that doesn’t seem like a problem now will grow over the years, with its roots presenting a threat to the structure foundation and pipelines. In the case of a small tree, consider relocating it to a better position.

 

Indirect Damage – A Big Risk

Despite looking stately and powerful, tree trunks get easily damaged by the construction machines. One of the most common ways is stripping a part of the bark or plowing parts of the root. That aside, lower branches are also susceptible to breaking. Some indirect activities like digging ditches too close or leveling the ground are also hazardous.

Apart from leveling the smaller trees for good, leaving a big tree standing there with a damaged root is especially dangerous. That tree may start rotting and present a danger down the line.

Take precautions when using construction machines near mature trees. If possible, construct higher barricades to prevent destroying your trees accidentally.

 

The Importance of Roots

tree roots - Protect Trees from Construction Damage

Apart from providing support for the enormous tree mass to stand upright, roots have the role of sucking up essential nutrients from the soil.

A tree’s root system extends horizontally equivalent to the tree’s height. Furthermore, you must preserve at least 50 percent of the tree’s root system to maintain it in a healthy state. Consider constructing at least a few meters away from tree’s base to prevent root destruction.

A tree with damaged roots is, therefore, deprived of critical nutrients and may fall down in future, killing someone or damaging the property, perhaps the very construction that caused the damage in the first place, according to Sydney-based Priority Trees.

 

Lawsuits for the Irresponsible

If the tree gets damaged in the building process, despite precautions, experts from a tree pruning company should estimate the damage. Trees that lean to falling down should be removed, followed by charges against the irresponsible contractor.

 

Final Thoughts

Every tree is a valuable resource and a living thing in the first place. Learning how to cohabit with trees around us, is the only way to protect our clean air and rich soils for future generations. Regardless of the complexities in home designs, there is always a way to protect trees from construction damage while building with style and elegance.

{This article has been updated for freshness and consistency.}

Offsetting Our Global Carbon Footprint – Infographic

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global carbon footprint

Your parents encouraged you to make an impression on the world, but are you doing as they expected? While we strive for business and personal excellence, are we neglecting mother earth by living our daily lives?

Carbon Footprint

Carbon emissions, found everywhere in our day-to-day living, slowly, cumulatively, and surely impact the earth in a negative way. Electricity usage and means of transportation are two of the biggest offenders and contributors to carbon emissions.

Let’s wrap our heads around some numbers related to CO2 emissions. In 2010, the world released 31.78 billion metric tonnes, warranting $317.8 billion to remedy. That figure had rise to a whopping 36.8 billion metric tons in 2019. Addressing the problems caused by carbon in the first decade of this century beckons more than $3 trillion dollars – that’s almost 85% of Germany’s GNP!

We all contribute to the release of emissions, but what is your personal contribution? Families of four living in a house contribute almost 23 metric tonnes of emissions each year. Do you drive an SUV or minivan? You’re contributing more than 11 tonnes per year. Do you fly frequently? A flight across America generates about 2.5 tons of CO2.

If you’re feeling a bit uncomfortable about the world’s contribution as well as your personal responsibility, don’t worry; you can still make mom and dad proud, exacting personal contributions to curb emissions.

For instance, do you get coffee in the morning? Modern-day prices normally exceed $2 per cup, yet if every American donated (just) $1 per month, it would offset 374 million metric tonnes of CO2 every year. Additionally, those who want to make an extra effort each day, continuously search for renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar generation.

 

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions

While technology continuously strives to improve the state of our local and global environments, simple things remain effective. One model solution, focusing on carbon absorption, involves introducing more plant life to our immediate environments.

Additionally, biogas harvesting, the process of transforming discarded materials (food waste and yard elements) into reusable energy sources, helps reverse the damage done by CO2 emissions. Any entity grown through photosynthesis holds the power to generate energy. It’s being leveraged already in places such as Sweden (used to power buses and trains), and in Columbia, where biogas harvesting is leveraged to fuel waste management vehicles.

The numbers related to CO2 emissions, though alarming, are reversible. Yet, the macro problem is best addressed on a micro level, with each world citizen doing his or her part in conserving energy and being kind to mother earth.

Offsetting global carbon footprint - infographic

10 Small Changes You Can Make to Save Energy

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changes to save energy

Energy bills aren’t cheap regardless of where you live. Case in point: Texans have been getting insane power bills after the recent snowstorm that caused massive blackouts. In some instances, users got bills worth more than $15,000! However, you can make changes to save energy.

Indeed, reports indicate that energy prices are set to climb in most areas of the country. As utility bills get expensive, homeowners must get creative in reducing overall consumption and looking for cheaper sustainable power options such as solar power.

The first of the changes to save energy is, obviously, to reduce consumption. The second option involves making changes to your home to make it more Eco-friendly and sustainable over the long haul.

While cheaper Eco-friendly energy sources exist, most homes are yet to start enjoying their benefits. However, as you wait, here are ten small and easy ways to reduce your overall energy consumption around the house.

Make these simple changes to save energy at home

#1. Turn off the air conditioner when you’re not home.

changes to save energy - turn off air conditioner

When you’re away, turn off the air conditioner. It’s only consuming power without delivering benefits to anyone. Also, lower your thermostat by at least 3-5 degrees, mostly if you use electric heat. Reducing it by just five degrees could save you more than 10% of your energy bill, or roughly more than $120 annually.

 

#2. Do laundry only when there’s a full load.

This one’s a no-brainer. Unless you direly need that top or that pair of jeans tonight, don’t do a load of laundry until you know there’s enough to fill the whole machine. This helps to cut back on water usage and also helps to lower your utility bills.

 

#3. Take shorter showers.

Heating water is expensive. Now, imagine all the hot water your family uses on a typical day, especially in the shower. If everyone in the family cuts their shower time by just a minute each, you could end up saving a lot on both Energy and water, an increasingly precious commodity.

 

#4. Use reflective window film.

There are a few benefits to using reflective window film. First, the film helps to protect furniture and carpets from becoming sun-damaged. Because the light is reflected away from your furniture and carpets, they’ll look nicer for much longer. Second, heat is reflected away from your home as well, lowering the overall temperature. This helps remove the temptation to crank up the AC on those long, hot summer days.

 

#5. Vacuum your refrigerator’s coils.

clean fridge coils

Refrigerator maintenance isn’t the most common household chores, but it’s not less important than the rest. Twice a year, you should pull out your refrigerator and vacuum the coils on its backside. The whole process should take about 10 minutes, even less if you stay on top of this chore, and helps your refrigerator run more efficiently, saving you money on utility bills.

 

#6. Keep blinds and shades open during the day and closed at night.

By keeping your blinds and shades open during the day, you let in valuable, beautiful, and free light. With all of this natural light filling your living space, there’s less need, or no need at all, for artificial lighting during the day. At night, close the blinds and shades to keep the cold air out. Each of these tips helps you save on your electricity bill.

 

#7. Choose pale colors for your decor.

To make the most of all that light, you’re letting in (because you’re keeping your shades open during the day now), decorate your home with soft tones. Soft tones are much better at reflecting incoming light. This means you can use softer wattage light bulbs that use less electricity to light your home. On exceptionally bright days, you may not even need any indoor lights at all.

 

#8. Unplug devices and turn off unnecessary lights.

Electronic devices consume some power when plugged in, even when you’re not using them. In fact, standby power accounts for more than 10% of a household’s annual energy costs, meaning that unplugging may save you more than $50 and above a year. Simultaneously, turn off unnecessary bulbs and consider replacing all the bulbs in your home with LED light bulbs. These consume less energy and last longer.

 

#9. Plant a tree.

Planting a tree or trees near your home’s windows creates natural shade that blocks out the brutal sun on summer days. In addition to getting a beautiful new dogwood or oak tree on your property, you get the added bonus of a reduced electricity bill each month because you let the shade cool your home instead of the air conditioner.

 

#10. Utilize area carpets and rugs.

utilize area rugs and carpets

We turn up the heat in the winter because we think it’s colder than it is in our homes. Tile floors, in particular, do not capture heat, so it’s cold to the touch when we walk on it barefoot. Place an area rug over tile floors in your home in the winter to put something between the cold and your feet. This keeps you from running to the thermostat and cranking up the heat.

Conclusion

There are hundreds of changes to save energy like the tips above that any homeowner can make to make a more Eco-friendly home. Challenge yourself to find and incorporate a new Eco-friendly change into your home every week. Remember, the more you do, the less you pay when the utility bills arrive, and the better off the environment is in the long run.

{This article has been updated for freshness and consistency.}

Eco-Friendly Remodeling Ideas: Practical Ways to Turn Your Home Green

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Eco-Friendly Remodeling Ideas

There are more Eco-friendly homes now than ever before. More people have realized that greener homes benefit the environment while protecting your pockets. With these practical, Eco-friendly remodeling ideas, you too can start enjoying the benefits of living in a sustainable home, regardless of whether you consider yourself an environmentalist or not.

Green buildings and properties use sustainable materials, minimize resource-usage and even save homeowners money.

The following tips make it easy to turn your home “green.”

 

Perform an Energy Audit

Before you do anything else, have a specialist perform an energy audit on your home. The energy auditor identifies how much energy you currently use, itemizing the equipment that consumes the most power.

After an exhaustive examination, the auditor tabulates your energy use over a typical month and recommends simple changes to make your house more sustainable.

 

Select Eco-Friendly Materials

Once you identify the major areas to remodel in your home and start the planning phase, you must decide the materials to purchase for the project.

Look for low VOC (volatile organic compound) paints, sealers and caulks. Avoid vinyl since it is a particularly harmful plastic that is linked to health issues.

Also, rather than using carpet or hardwoods, opt for cork, bamboo or reclaimed wood flooring. Most carpets release volatile organic compounds. In contrast, cork and bamboo grow much quicker than trees, making them more sustainable in the long run.

For all other materials, seek out products certified by green organizations.

 

Reuse and Recycle

Remodeling gets costly and messy. Once renovations begin, a lot of materials and products make their way out of your house. To minimize wastage and to prevent all those materials from ending up in the trash, research any local businesses that can use your “waste.”

For example, Habitat for Humanity is always on the lookout for salvageable building materials. Also, take the time to figure out what can be recycled and get it to the proper location.

 

Buy Energy-Efficient Appliances

The chances are that your old appliances require replacing. Most older appliances consume lots of energy because they were designed for a less sustainability-minded era.

However, with advances in technology and a shift towards more sustainable living, you can now get energy-efficient appliances at affordable prices.

And, there are myriad benefits to having energy-efficient household appliances. These include:

  • They help you conserve water.
  • Help prevent or reduce greenhouse emissions.
  • Save you money by reducing energy bills at home.
  • They help reduce your carbon footprint.

 

Room by Room Recommendations

Every house is different, but there are a few green remodeling ideas that work in most spaces.

Kitchen

kitchen - Eco-Friendly Remodeling Ideas

The kitchen forms the heart in many homes. It’s where most of the action happens, including cooking, cleaning, heating etc. As such, it offers the most opportunities for sustainability.

Here’s what you can do to make your new kitchen greener.

  • Replace all the kitchen appliances with Energy Star models
  • Opt for formaldehyde-free products in your kitchen cabinetry renovations
  • Select water-efficient water faucets and other fixtures
  • Opt for energy-efficient lighting such as LEDs

 

Bathroom

bathroom

Install a water-efficient shower-head. The average U.S. shower spews a whopping 2.1 gallons per minute.

Change high-flow faucets and taps with low-flowing alternatives.

Opt for modern, motion-sensing faucets that only run when needed, eliminating water wastage in the bathroom.

Recycled tiles are another solid purchase when renovating this space.

 

Other spaces & tips

living room

  • Consider replacing all light bulbs in your new home with LED bulbs.
  • Consider pre-owned materials and appliances.
  • Opt for high-quality insulation all-around your house.
  • Consider switching to solar and adding skylights to let more light in and slash your energy costs.
  • Install energy-efficient windows

 

Conclusion

Not only is an Eco-friendly remodel good for the environment, but it can also help you save money over time. Plus, when the time comes to list your house with a real estate company, you’ll often find that it is more marketable because of the “green factor.”

{This article has been updated for freshness and consistency.}

What You Probably Didn’t Know About Veganism and the Environment

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vegan diet

While veganism is often spoken about in terms of animal rights, it is also a much greener alternative to a meat-based diet.

A vegan diet will produce around 7x less greenhouse gas emissions than that of a meat-eater.

Raising animals for food is wildy inefficient, and that inefficiency is having a calamitous impact on the environment.

Greenhouse gas emissions, inefficient water use and deforestation – these are all effects of a meat-based diet.

By going vegan you can greatly reduce your environmental footprint. Or, if that’s too radical, simply consider reducing the amount of meat in your diet.

In fact, if every American dropped just one serving of chicken per week from their diet, it would save the same amount of C02 emissions as taking half a million cars off the road.

How much meat do you eat in your diet? Would you ever consider going vegan? Leave a comment or tell us on Twitter, @GreenerIdeal.

Veganism & the Environment Infographic

Vegan Black Bean Burrito Bowl

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Vegan Burrito Bowl
Vegan Burrito Bowl
Yield: 2 servings

Vegan Black Bean Burrito Bowl

This black bean concoction over grains is a great one to throw into a Mason jar and take to work.

It’s great either warm or hot, and it can be topped up with corn and kale if looking for a more filling option.

Ingredients

  • 1 avocado, peeled and cubed
  • 1 lime
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup quinoa, cooke
  • 1 sweet red pepper
  • sea salt
  • black pepper
  • 5 plum tomatoes
  • 1 handful cilantro, chopped
  • chili flakes, to taste

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat a grill (or grill pan) over medium high heat. Add the black beans and red pepper. Drizzle the olive oil and squeeze the juice of one lime over the top.
  2. Mix and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Place the quinoa into two serving bowls or sealable food containers.
  4. Add the bean mixture over the top. I like to turn it into a composition, so I’d cut the avocado and slice it, then add halved tomatoes as well to the bowl.
  5. Add either chilli flakes, cilantro or both to the bowl as garnish.

Nutrition Information

Yield

2

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 461Total Fat 37gSaturated Fat 5gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 30gCholesterol 0mgSodium 324mgCarbohydrates 34gFiber 13gSugar 9gProtein 7g

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram

Why Water is the New Oil – Infographic

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is water the new oil

Forty percent of the world population will be facing water scarcity by 2035, according to expert projections.

Water, a free-flowing and abundant commodity, is something most people take for granted. However, as the effects of global warming continue to ravage the planet, more people increasingly face water shortages and have trouble accessing clean and safe water.

Consider this: The average American household uses roughly 350 gallons of water every day. In contrast, the world’s poorest survive on a mere 2.5 gallons a day.

And, it’s not just individuals pushing the water demand. Industries and agriculture also require massive amounts of water, further pressuring demand. In fact, industry consumes roughly a fifth of global water compared with just 5 percent for humans. The bigger chunk goes to agriculture.

As the problem worsens, more governments are advising industries to recycle water or set up desalination plants instead of pulling water from the ground because lakes and reservoirs are drying up.

 

The vanishing lakes, rivers and reservoirs

Residents in many urban cities are experiencing water shortages. Some go days without running water, while others have been digging DIY wells around their homes.

The problem begins with environmental degradation and carries on to a lack of investment in water infrastructure. According to the New York Times, more than 30 percent of Sao Paulo’s water is lost to leaks in ageing pipes.

The problem of leaky pipes extends to the United States as well, where estimates show that about seven billion gallons of water are lost every day in these pipes.

In fact, about 30 percent of the water infrastructures that serve cities of 100 000 or more people are at least 40 years old.

It’s a serious problem that will only become worse with time.

Check out this beautiful infographic by Column Five about America’s very real water crisis.

{This article has been updated for freshness and consistency.}

Water Conservation Infographic

What is the difference between Whey Protein and Casein Protein?

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whey or casein protein shake

Protein shakes have been the buzz word in the fitness industry for quite some time now. Protein is an integral part of maintaining a sound immune system and essential for repairing and maintaining our body’s cells and muscles.

Most people get their share of protein intake through regular everyday meals. But, protein supplements, such as protein shakes, can help you meet your protein goals if you are looking for extra proteins for your workouts.

 

How does protein figure in your workout goals?

Protein requirements differ from person to person. However, if you are looking to reduce calorie intake and extend your workout sessions, you will need a source of energy.

This is where protein comes into play. When calorie intake or absorption is less, protein takes up the role of an energy provider. Athletes and people undergoing strength training need sufficient protein intake for tissue repair and fuel the breakdown of amino acids in the protein.

There are several protein supplements available in the market, including both plant-based and dairy-based varieties. Whey and Casein proteins are both dairy-based proteins. They are a by-product of the cheese-making process when you add enzymes to the milk. This makes milk solidify, to some extent, in a curd-like state which contains the casein protein. The liquid that is left contains the Whey protein.

 

Whey Protein Characteristics

  • Whey protein gets absorbed into the blood system faster than Casein protein. Within 60 – 90 minutes, the bloodstream receives the maximum amount of protein it can absorb.
  • Whey protein is best taken after an intense exercise session since the body will have exhausted its energy sources and absorption rates are higher after an exercise.
  • It contains all the essential sulfur-based, branched-chain amino acids such as leucine, valine, and isoleucine, which are incredibly efficient in building and repairing tissues.
  • Compared to casein, whey is more useful for building muscles since leucine initiates the muscle-building process.
  • Whey protein supplements are known to carry active immunoglobulins that are highly beneficial to maintaining a healthy immune system.
  • It has been shown to have antibacterial and antioxidant properties, which means it can check the growth of harmful bacteria in our system and reduces the chances of tumors in the body. The protein also enhances the absorption of several vitamins and minerals, most notably vitamin A.
  • Whey protein is available in the markets in the form of protein isolates. These are composed of 90% protein and very little fat and lactose, protein concentrate in which the protein component is somewhere between 30% to 90%, and a higher level of lactose and fat, and a hydrolysate form which is considered to be faster in absorption.

 

Casein Protein Characteristics

  • Casein protein gets absorbed into the body at a much slower rate than whey. For this reason, you should use casein protein right before sleeping or if you fast for long periods.
  • It contains a lower amount of branched amino acids, slowing its absorption into the body. But when taken before sleep, it maintains a steady protein level in your system and slowly but effectively builds muscles while you are adequately rested.
  • Casein protein contains peptides that help boost the immune system and assist in the digestion process. It is known to help control blood pressure and generally enhance your heart’s health by minimizing the risk of blood clots.
  • Additionally, casein protein binds to calcium and phosphorus, accelerating their absorption into the bloodstream.
  • Casein is available in a colloidal form called micellar casein. This version is particularly slow in getting digested and absorbed. Most people prefer it that way because it’s usually taken together with a quick-fix protein such as whey.
  • Other forms of casein include caseinates combined with minerals such as calcium and sodium, and hydrolysate form, accelerating the absorption process.

 

Which is the better protein?

Both whey and casein are extremely rich and effective for muscle building, but they work differently at different rates. Your choice of protein should ideally depend on your lifestyle and your budget.

Protein powders are generally expensive, but between the two, Whey protein might be more affordable.

Whey protein is more palatable than casein and can go better with other substances.

Combining whey and casein proteins in your diet provides an effective way to maintain steady protein levels while also ensuring quick muscle building.

As mentioned, whey is best taken immediately after a workout, while casein works best during sleeping hours. Studies have shown that using both proteins can help build tighter, leaner muscles and enhance hormones that help metabolism.

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