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A Beginner’s Guide to the Circular Economy

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circular economy

The circular economy is an approach to resource use that focuses on keeping materials in use for as long as possible. It seeks to eliminate waste through reuse, recycling, or recovery.

Ready examples include re-manufacturing used products into new ones, repairing broken items instead of throwing them away, or leasing products instead of buying them outright.

Today, the circular economy is gaining momentum in business as an approach to minimizing waste and promoting efficiency. It drives economic growth by creating new products and markets to recover previously wasted materials.

The origins of the concept can be traced back to the 1970s when several scientists and environmentalists began raising concerns about resource depletion and waste buildup due to consumerism and industrialization.

Since then, numerous organizations have been working to promote more sustainable practices within their industries, culminating in increased interest in the circular economy concept.

Today we dive deeper into the circular economy to understand the growing interest. We look at the benefits for businesses, individuals, and society. We also explore the challenges to full adoption by companies.

 

At the core of the circular economy

creating sustainable economies

The circular economy represents a fundamental shift in our approach to business and manufacturing. At its core, it recognizes that overconsumption is one of the biggest challenges we face as a society. It attempts to address this issue by rethinking our relationship with resources.

In a circular economy, products are designed to be reused or repurposed once they are no longer needed.

This is accomplished through Eco-friendly materials and products that can be recycled or upcycled. It also involves creating new sharing and leasing models or even newer technologies such as mass customization and on-demand manufacturing.

Ultimately, the goal of the circular economy is to create a sustainable, efficient, and equitable system for all stakeholders.

There are many examples of businesses and organizations that have adopted more circular economy concepts into their operations.

For example, some companies now offer products that can be repaired or upgraded rather than simply replaced when they break down or become outdated.

Other businesses are working to minimize packaging used for their products and improve their operations’ recycling and waste management practices.

HP, for instance, recently launched a program called Closed Loop Fund to invest in new technologies and business models that support the circular economy.

Another example is the electronics manufacturer Philips, which offers a program called Lifecycle Services. It’s designed to help businesses adopt more sustainable practices by leasing rather than selling products, creating shared value with their customers through service offerings, and offering full-lifecycle management of products once they have reached the end of their useful life.

 

The Upside

upcycling in the circular economy

The linear economy, which has been the norm for businesses for many years, is based on a ‘take, make, dispose’ model.

In contrast, the circular economy is based on reduce, reuse, and recycling principles.

There are many benefits of adopting circular economy concepts for businesses, including reducing waste and costs, improving resource efficiency, and promoting sustainable development.

First, the circular economy can help reduce waste and costs. In a linear economy, businesses typically dispose of their products after use. However, companies can keep products in use for longer by repairing and refurbishing them in a circular economy.

The second benefit is that it can improve resource efficiency. In a linear economy, businesses often use new resources (mining) even when older ones are still usable. However, in a circular economy, businesses use all resources available before moving on to new ones. This helps to reduce consumption and improve efficiency.

Third, the circular economy promotes sustainable development. Businesses often focus on short-term gains rather than long-term sustainability in the traditional economy. However, the circular economy forces businesses to consider their environmental and social impacts.

 

The challenges

circular economy challenges

Transitioning to a circular economy can be a significant challenge, particularly for businesses.

On the one hand, switching to circular models often requires a significant shift in how companies operate and think about their products and services. This usually involves new technology, finding alternative materials, and retraining staff to work in different ways.

It also includes changing how products are designed, developing new ways to interact with consumers, and investing in new equipment or technologies that facilitate circularity.

Some businesses may struggle to overcome specific barriers to adoption, such as a lack of resources or expertise in circular economy concepts.

However, there are also significant benefits to pursuing a circular economy, including increased sustainability and the potential for cost savings through the reuse of materials. Given these pros and cons, it is vital for businesses to carefully evaluate their options before switching.

Ultimately, the key will be finding approaches that successfully balance environmental concerns with economic realities. Change can certainly be difficult; however, it can also help ensure long-term success for any business if done correctly.

 

How can businesses make the switch to the circular economy?

reusable cups

There is no question that businesses need to make some serious changes to adopt the principles of a sustainable economy fully.

After all, a truly effective circular economy requires a shift from viewing resources as “stocks” to seeing them as “flows” that can be reused and recycled indefinitely. But how can companies start making these kinds of changes?

At the core, adopting more Eco-friendly economy concepts typically comes down to two key factors: willingness and innovation.

On the one hand, businesses must be willing to think outside the box and experiment with new ideas for reducing waste, recapturing resources, and reusing or repurposing materials. Yet it’s also essential for companies to work together, collaborating on shared initiatives and sharing knowledge about new technology trends or best practices.

One example is the electronics company Apple, which has made extensive efforts to reduce e-waste and maximize recycling rates for old devices.

By focusing on an extended product life cycle, shelf life extensions, closed-loop recycling processes, and packaging optimizations, Apple has cut its virgin raw material inputs in half for many products.

Other companies making significant strides towards a more sustainable business model include Unilever, Puma, and the clothing retailer H&M.

These organizations have all undertaken ambitious strategies to minimize their environmental impact by reducing waste and boosting efficiency across their value chains. Ultimately, the shift towards circular economies presents exciting new opportunities for businesses looking to become more sustainable and innovative in the years ahead.

 

The circular economy and food

sustainable food supply chain

There is growing interest among business leaders and policymakers in exploring ways to integrate concepts from the circular economy into the food supply chain.

One of the fundamental principles of this approach is to extend the life of resources, for example, by recycling packaging materials and salvaging edible food scraps rather than throwing them out.

In addition, this approach emphasizes efficient use of water and energy and collaboration between various stakeholders within the industry.

At first glance, applying these concepts to the food supply chain may seem tricky or even impossible because many agricultural systems rely heavily on traditional methods like monoculture cultivation and chemical inputs.

However, several promising examples demonstrate how we can successfully apply sustainable economy concepts across the food system.

With support from government agencies and NGOs, forward-thinking businesses are implementing strategies such as livestock grazing management and small-scale farming techniques that help to eliminate waste and minimize environmental impact.

 

Circular economy vs. plastic

plastic pollution

Concerns about plastic pollution have grown more urgent in recent years. Many believe that this thick, pervasive material is a major threat to our environment and our health, with millions of tons of it ending up in landfills, waterways, and even our food each year.

But thankfully, there is an emerging solution to the plastic pollution crisis: the circular economy.

This system focuses on keeping materials in circulation for as long as possible, minimizing waste, and encouraging greater resource efficiency. It does this by using technologies like recycling to break down old plastics into new materials that we can use repeatedly.

Additionally, circular economy models often promote less reliance on single-use plastics like bags or disposable water bottles. As a result, this emerging model represents a promising solution to the scourge of plastic pollution that threatens our planet today.

 

Electronic waste meets the circular economy.

e-waste

With millions of devices discarded every year and ending in landfills and illegally shipped to developing countries, the e-waste problem has grown into a major environmental crisis.

Fortunately, many organizations have begun to adopt circular economy principles to address this urgent challenge.

By swearing off traditional product life cycles and instead of creating sustainable processes that allow for the reuse or recycling of used materials, these companies can successfully prevent valuable resources from going to waste.

This helps reduce the environmental impact of electronic waste and supports local communities by creating jobs for individuals who can recycle e-waste safely and responsibly.

 

Conclusion

Overall, it is clear that the circular economy concept has enormous potential for businesses and organizations looking to operate more sustainably.

However, making the transition into a truly circular economy will require significant individual and organizational changes. Nevertheless, the potential benefits of such a transition make it an endeavor that is worth undertaking.

Vegan Chipotle Mexican Bean Salad Recipe

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vegan chipotle mexican bean salad

The smoky sweet taste of chipotle peppers (smoked jalapenos) adds an incredible amount of flavor to a dish, one that pervades throughout and almost becomes better after a day.

However, they are spicy. Almost too spicy for many palates.

A means of making the incredible flavors of this pepper accessible to even the most fragile of taste buds is to purchase them en adobo, which means the peppers are swimming in a wet base.

Using several spoonfuls of the liquid and only a portion of the pepper adds the flavor without the spice.

If you are a vegetarian, and the salad is still too spicy, add some feta or shredded mozzarella cheese, as the dairy will calm the spiciness.

chipotle mexican bean salad

Chipotle mexican bean salad
Yield: 2 servings

Vegan Chipotle Mexican Bean Salad

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

The smoky sweet taste of chipotle peppers adds an incredible amount of flavor to this vegan bean salad. Using several spoonfuls of the adobo pepper liquid and only a portion of the pepper adds the flavor without the spice.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup chipotle pepper, minced, in 1/4 cup adobo (add more of the pepper if wanting a hotter dish)
  • 1 lime, juiced and zested
  • 2 tsp agave nectar
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp sunflower or another neutral vegetable oil
  • 1/2 white onion, minced
  • 3 Roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 1 x 410g can 12-bean mix, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped finely
  • 1 red pepper, seeded and chopped

Instructions

  1. Whisk together the chipotle pepper, adobo sauce, lime, agave nectar, salt, oregano, garlic cloves, tomato paste and sunflower oil.
  2. Toss the onion, tomatoes, beans, cilantro and pepper together. Pour the chipotle mixture evenly over top. Toss until the sauce evenly coats the salad.
  3. Serve alongside pita or with rice and beans. Pan-fry ¼ cup tofu in adobo sauce to add a protein topping to the salad.

Nutrition Information

Yield

2

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 1589Total Fat 20gSaturated Fat 2gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 16gCholesterol 0mgSodium 98mgCarbohydrates 271gFiber 74gSugar 17gProtein 96g

Did you make this recipe?

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How to Create an Eco-Friendly Home Office

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eco-friendly home office

Whether you run a business from home or simply trying to do your best for the environment, creating an Eco-friendly home office is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint.

When it comes to creating an Eco-friendly home office, the first step is often to look at your current setup and figure out how you could improve it.

You can make several key changes to help minimize waste and increase efficiency in your workspace. These include installing energy-efficient lighting, replacing outdated appliances with modern, more efficient options, reusing old office furniture, or moving paper jobs online.

It might also involve swapping out toxic cleaning supplies for natural alternatives. And don’t forget about your workspace itself – choosing sustainable building materials like recycled wood and striving for zero-waste by composting or recycling can be a great way to reduce your impact on the planet while still getting all of your work done.

 

The work from home movement

work from home

The work from home movement has been gaining momentum for years, but it wasn’t until the outbreak of Covid19 that it really took off.

With businesses shutting down and people being ordered to stay home, many employees were left with no choice but to work remotely. And while there are certainly challenges that come with working from home, many people have found that they prefer it to going into an office every day.

It eliminates the need for a commute, which can save a lot of time and money. It also gives people the flexibility to create their own schedules and take care of personal responsibilities without asking for time off.

As the world reopens, more and more people will likely continue to work from home, at least part of the time. And that could have a significant impact on the way we live and work in the future.

 

Tips for an Eco-friendly home office

Most of us are spending more time at home these days, which means our home offices are getting more use. If you’re looking to make your home office more Eco-friendly, you can make these simple changes.

 

1. Exploit natural light

natural light for home office

One of the best ways to make your home office more sustainable is to take advantage of natural light. This will help reduce your energy consumption, but it will also create a bright and welcoming space that is conducive to productivity.

To make the most of natural light, try positioning your desk near a window. If possible, avoid using artificial light during daytime hours.

 

2. Invest in energy-efficient lighting

When it comes to creating a home office that is both efficient and Eco-friendly, energy-efficient lighting is absolutely essential.

Not only does this type of lighting help to reduce your overall energy usage, but it also provides a bright, natural light that is perfect for working. Additionally, by investing in high-quality LED lights or compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), you can cut down on the amount of waste in your home office.

These lights tend to last much longer than traditional incandescent bulbs, which means that you won’t need to keep replacing them repeatedly.

Ultimately, by making an effort to optimize your home office for efficiency and sustainability, you can create a workspace that benefits the environment and helps boost your productivity!

 

3. Add some plants

eco-friendly home office

A home office is a great place to get work done, but it can also be a drab space. Adding a few plants can help to liven up the room and make it more inviting and Eco-friendly.

Plants can also provide some much-needed health benefits.

For example, they can help to purify the air and reduce stress levels. And if you’re looking for a bit of privacy, certain plants can also help muffle sound. So if you’re looking to add a bit of life to your home office, consider adding a few plants; they just might make the space more enjoyable to work in.

 

4. Consider sustainable office furniture

As more people work from home, the home office has become an essential space in the house. And as we become more aware of the need to be sustainable, Eco-friendly office furniture is a great way to make your home office more sustainable.

There are a few things to consider when choosing Eco-friendly office furniture.

First, look for furniture made from sustainable materials like bamboo or recycled plastic.

Second, choose durable furniture, so you often don’t have to replace it.

And finally, look for furniture that is easy to clean and maintain, so you can keep your office looking tidy without using harsh chemicals.

 

5. Opt for Eco-friendly gadgets

If you’re looking to create a sustainable home office, there are several Eco-friendly gadgets that you can use.

At the top of the list is an energy-efficient printer or laptop. These devices consume less power than their traditional counterparts, which can help to reduce your overall carbon footprint.

Additionally, using programs like Google Docs and Evernote can help to minimize paper usage. Digital organizers and cloud-based document management systems allow you to reduce the amount of paper your home office consumes and streamlines many everyday work tasks like organizing schedules and taking notes.

Another vital feature to look for in sustainable office electronics is energy efficiency. Examples of energy-efficient devices you might consider include smart lighting systems with motion sensors or dual-purpose charging stations that also act as backup power sources during power outages.

Finally, investing in sustainability-oriented equipment like an air purifier or natural cleaning products will also help to reduce your environmental impact while keeping your space clean and comfortable. With these tools at your disposal, creating a truly sustainable home office has never been easier!

 

6. Reduce, reuse, recycle

reduce, reuse, recycle

When it comes to living a more Eco-friendly lifestyle, the focus is typically on recycling. However, reducing and reusing are also key components of creating a more environmentally friendly home office.

For example, one way to reduce waste is to avoid printing documents that are not absolutely necessary. Instead, you can simply store these documents electronically or review them regularly on your computer screen.

Additionally, even with digital documents, you can reduce paper use by implementing double-sided printing. Only print several copies of your most important information at a time.

Another important part of living an Eco-friendly lifestyle in the home office is reusing existing items whenever possible.

This can mean using scrap paper for quick notes instead of buying a new notepad or using old pens and markers until they run out and then switching to new ones. Other materials that can be reused in the home office include storage containers, file folders, recycled paper, and rechargeable batteries.

Overall, you can go green without significantly altering your everyday routine. Simply incorporate reduced waste and reused materials into your home office space.

 

Conclusion:

By following these tips, you can create an Eco-friendly home office that will help you save energy and reduce waste. You’ll be doing your part to protect the environment while also saving money on your utility bills.

6 Reasons To Live In A Tiny House

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tiny house

A tiny house is a type of living space that is much smaller than a typical home. These houses typically have less than 400 square feet of living space, and they often combine various different functions into a single space. 

For example, many tiny houses include a kitchen, bathroom, and sleeping area in a single room. In addition to their small size, another defining characteristic of tiny houses is their emphasis on minimalism and simplicity. 

Lots of tiny homes are also mobile. You’re never tied down to just one place. You can take your home with you wherever your journeys take you.

Overall, the tiny house movement has become increasingly popular in recent years as more and more people seek out opportunities for more affordable housing and greater freedom from consumerism. If you’ve been wanting to live in a tiny house but you’re not just convinced yet, these reasons may just change your mind.

 

1. A tiny house allows you to be mobile

mobile tiny home

If you’re someone who values flexibility and mobility in your home, then a tiny house might be the perfect fit for you. Unlike traditional homes, which are usually stationary and attached to a specific property, a tiny house can easily be moved from place to place as needed. 

This makes them ideal for people who like to travel and explore new places. But they’re also great if you simply want the freedom to change locations without having to worry about selling or renting out your property. 

Plus, because tiny houses are so small and lightweight, they can even be towed by a standard car or truck. So no matter what your reason for wanting mobile housing, a tiny house is the perfect option!

Don’t be stuck in a mortgage that you’ll have to pay for many decades. A tiny house allows you to have a home without taking a huge financial risk. You can move wherever and you want, whenever you want while enjoying the comforts of home.

 

2. Frees up your time

Living in a tiny house can save you a ton of time on chores and maintenance. With less space to clean and fewer possessions to care for, your day-to-day life will suddenly become much more streamlined and efficient. 

Plus, you’ll have more time for the things you really enjoy, whether that’s hiking, reading, or simply spending time with loved ones. 

So if you’re looking to simplify your life and finally achieve that elusive work-life balance, why not give tiny living a try? You just might be surprised by what this simple lifestyle has to offer.

 

3. A tiny house is a statement on conscious living

tiny house

The notion of the American Dream has changed a lot over the years. For baby boomers, it might have been a picket fence and a 2-car garage. 

For millennials, it might be freedom from student debt and the ability to travel. And for many people today, it might be something as simple as downsizing to a more manageable space. 

The tiny house movement has been gaining in popularity in recent years, as more and more people embrace the idea of living with less. For some, it’s a way to save money and reduce their environmental impact

For others, it’s a chance to live a simpler, more intentional life. Whatever the reason, there’s no doubt that tiny houses are a statement on conscious living. A tiny house is a statement against the kind of mindless consumption that’s destroying our planet. It forces you to evaluate your lifestyle choices and only keep those that matter.

As we continue to reevaluate our priorities and rethink what we really need to be happy, it’s likely that the tiny house movement will only grow in popularity. Who knows? The American Dream might just end up being smaller than we ever imagined.

 

4. You’ll save money

When most people think of downsizing, they envision a cramped and cramped lifestyle. However, more and more people are finding that living in a tiny house can actually be quite liberating. 

Not only do you save on rent or mortgage payments, but you also reduce your carbon footprint and simplify your life. In addition, living in a tiny house can also save you money in unexpected ways. 

For example, you’ll spend less on furniture and decorations, and you may find that you need fewer belongings overall. You’ll also save on utility bills, as smaller spaces are easier to heat and cool. 

Again, because you’re living in such a small space, you’re able to make quality purchases from your floorings to your beddings. The money you would’ve spent on the mortgage can be used to buy items that make your space a more comfortable place to live in.

 

5. Good resale value

tiny house reslae value

When it comes to real estate, the old adage “location, location, location” still holds true. But when it comes to resale value, size matters too. That’s why many experts believe that tiny houses have a big advantage in the resale market. 

Because they are so compact, they can be easily relocated if necessary. Additionally, they require less maintenance than larger homes, which can save money in the long run. And finally, their unique design often appeals to buyers looking for something different. 

Being smaller than traditional houses, they are often more affordable, making them an attractive option for first-time homebuyers. 

And because they are easier to maintain and keep clean, they often require less work – and expense – to keep them in good condition. As a result, tiny houses typically have higher resale values than their larger counterparts.

 

6. A tiny house is more normal than you think

At first glance, a tiny house might seem like something out of a fairy tale or a faraway dream. But in reality, these diminutive dwellings are becoming increasingly common in the US today. 

In fact, according to recent statistics, more than half a million Americans now live in a tiny home. These homes can range in size from just a few hundred square feet to around 1000 square feet, though many people choose to go even smaller with their own unique designs. 

What makes these homes so popular is their affordability and minimal environmental impact. 

With property prices skyrocketing and environmental concerns at the forefront of people’s minds, it’s no wonder that so many are choosing to downsize and bring more simplicity into their lives. 

Small space living is more common than you think. It’s one of the reasons why IKEA has been thriving in the last few years. In cities like Seattle, Washington, and Texas, apartment sizes are shrinking while New York and San Francisco are seeing a trend in micro apartments as space in these cities are at a premium.

Despite what you might think, these tiny houses are much more normal than you might imagine.

Can you think of other reasons why tiny houses are the best? Let us know in the comments!


Editor’s Note: This post has been updated for freshness and consistency.

6 Lesser Known Electric Cars You Can Buy Today

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lesser known electric cars

Electric cars are becoming more popular by the day, and with good reason. They’re environmentally friendly, easy to drive, and generally provide a better driving experience than their gas-powered counterparts.

But electric vehicles aren’t just limited to Tesla anymore – over the past few years; many other manufacturers have developed their own full electric vehicles for drivers who want all the benefits of an EV without spending a small fortune.

Here are just six of the most exciting and lesser-known electric vehicles available to consumers today:

 

1. Nissan Leaf

Nissan Leaf - lesser known electric vehicles

The Leaf has been around for a while now, but it’s still one of the best options on the market for affordable, full electric vehicles.

Designed to be a simple and affordable option for drivers looking to switch to electric cars, the Leaf has become a favorite among consumers looking for low-maintenance, sustainable transportation.

The Leaf is an excellent choice for an Eco-friendly and reliable ride with its compact size, comfortable interior, and powerful engine. Whether you live in the city or out in the suburbs, this nifty little car has everything you need to get where you’re going without leaving a carbon footprint.

The Nissan Leaf has been on the market since 2010. It has a range of up to 151 miles and a starting price of $27,400 for the base S trim.

 

2. BMW i3

BMW I3 electric car

The BMW i3 is a state-of-the-art electric vehicle that represents the cutting edge of green automotive technology. With an innovative carbon fiber body, ultra-efficient electric motors, and a range that can exceed 150 miles on just one charge, the i3 provides an exciting alternative to traditional gas-powered cars.

The origins of this revolutionary vehicle date back to 2011, when BMW first announced plans for its development. Over the next few years, BMW worked tirelessly to create the ideal hybrid vehicle, including extensive testing and careful consideration of every aspect of its design.

Finally, in 2013, the first production models were released to the public. Since then, the i3 has continued to gain popularity among environmentally conscious drivers who prioritize high performance and sustainability.

It remains one of the most popular electric vehicles on the market and provides an unparalleled driving experience unlike anything else available today.

Whether you’re looking for a breathtaking day trip or a long cross-country drive, there’s no doubt that a BMW i3 is a perfect choice. At a starting price of just $43,000, it’s also more affordable than you might think!

 

3. The Hyundai Ioniq Electric

Hyundai Ioniq Electric

The Hyundai Ioniq is a range of electrically powered vehicles manufactured by the South Korean company Hyundai. The Ioniq Electric is the all-electric variant of the Ioniq lineup and was first introduced in 2016.

It is currently in its second generation, which Hyundai introduced in 2020. The Ioniq Electric is available in three trim levels: SE, Limited, and Ultimate. It has a starting price of $33,045 and is eligible for a federal tax credit of up to $7,500.

The Ioniq Electric has a range of 124 miles on a single charge and can be charged to 80% capacity in just under an hour using a Level 3 DC fast charger. Standard features on the Ioniq Electric include LED headlights, daytime running lights, and taillights; 16-inch alloy wheels; heated front seats; and an 8-inch touch screen display with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility.

Safety features include lane-keeping assist, blind-spot collision warning, and adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go functionality. If you’re looking for a new electric car that still offers unbeatable value without breaking the bank, the Ioniq Electric from Hyundai might be just what you need.

 

4. Chevy Bolt

2022 Chevrolet Bolt EV

 

The Bolt is Chevrolet’s answer to the Tesla Model 3, and it’s an excellent option for those who want an electric car with a bit more range than the Leaf.

The EV is a five-door all-electric subcompact hatchback first introduced in 2016. The Bolt has a range of over 200 miles on a single charge and can be recharged in as little as 9 hours with a Level 2 charger.

The Bolt was initially designed as an EV concept car and debuted at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show. After positive reception, Chevrolet decided to put the Bolt into production, and it went on sale in December of 2016.

The Bolt starts at $37,495 and is available in three trim levels: LT, Premier, and LT Limited Edition. Standard features include keyless entry and start, heated front seats, and an 8-inch touchscreen display. With its long-range and competitive price tag, the Chevy Bolt is one of the best EVs on the market.

 

5. Kia Soul EV

Kia Soul EV - lesser-known electric vehicles

If you’re looking for something a little on the funky side, look no further than the Kia Soul EV. This fun-looking car comes with great performance specs and is perfect for those who want to stand out from the crowd while they drive.

The Kia Soul EV is a battery electric vehicle produced by the South Korean automaker Kia Motors. The first generation Soul EV was introduced in 2014, and production ended in 2015.

The second-generation Soul EV was introduced in 2019 and is still in production. The Soul EV has a range of up to 150 miles (241 km) on a single charge and features a fast-charging mode that can charge the battery from empty to 80% in just 33 minutes.

The starting price for the Soul EV is $32,250, making it one of the more affordable electric vehicles on the market.

 

6. Fiat 500e

Fiat 500 electric vehicle

The Fiat 500e is an excellent choice for those who want an electric car with a little more character than your average e-vehicle. It has all the style you’d expect from a Fiat but with better performance specs and efficiency ratings.

The 500e has been one of the most popular electric vehicles on the market since its debut in 2013. With its iconic, stylish design and outstanding performance specs, it’s no wonder that this little car is sought after by drivers from all over.

Its production history began in 2008 when FIAT engineers first sketched out initial concepts for an affordable electric vehicle. Several years later, in 2013, the first 500e models hit dealerships and quickly became a top seller thanks to their excellent fuel efficiency and unique features like regenerative braking and dual-drive batteries.

In addition, with a starting price of just $32,500, the 500e offers exceptional value at a very accessible cost. If you’re looking for a fun, practical EV that doesn’t sacrifice style or performance, check out the award-winning Fiat 500e! You won’t be disappointed.

 

Final thoughts

As you can see, there are plenty of great electric cars available to consumers today besides Tesla. You don’t have to settle for a vehicle that doesn’t meet your needs or budget.

Whether you’re looking for something fun and funky or sleek and stylish like the Kia Soul EV, or something more practical like the Chevy Bolt, there’s an electric car out there that’s perfect for you.

How to Start a Basement Garden

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basement garden

How cool would it be if you could just go down to the basement to pick a few extra fresh and organic tomatoes and peppers from your own garden?

Yeah, you read that right – we are talking about a veggie garden, in your basement, while outside the soil is frozen. Is this really possible? 

As it turns out, having an indoor garden in a corner of your kitchen and having a basement garden involves the same elements and techniques. The only difference is that you probably have a lot more space in the basement than in the kitchen. 

Overall, growing plants indoors, you need three main things: light, soil, and seeds. Moving forward, we are going to discuss each of these elements and how you can use them to start an amazing and productive basement garden.

 

Light

basement garden lighting

While your basement may have some windows, the sunlight that manages to go through is not going to be enough for healthy veggies and herbs. Even though there are plants that don’t need as much sunlight, most of them need a specific wavelength of light to grow and mature. 

But don’t fret! Nowadays it’s rather easy to find a grow light setup that fits your needs and doesn’t break the bank. Still, there is the issue of finding the right grow light setup for your specific needs.

 

The Right Grow Light Setup

One of the most used systems for crop production and indoor plant growth is full spectrum lighting. This is a solution that can provide plants with the complete spectrum of light given by sunlight (the 380nm-740nm range, plus invisible wavelengths such as infrared and ultraviolet).

Plus, LED grow lights can be set up to produce different wavelengths that fit the plants’ growth phase, specific periods of the day and night, and growing conditions. 

 

Soil

soil for indoor gardening

The soil is where everything starts, so if you don’t get things right on this front, your garden may not become a reality. Specialists recommend keeping things simple with a mixture of compost, peat, and vermiculite (which is sterile). 

It’s important to work with soil that doesn’t bring in any pests since in an indoor growing environment pests don’t have any natural predators and can multiply at lightning speed.

Plus, your soil needs to retain water and nutrients, but also allow for free drainage (most indoor gardens suffer from overwatering.)

This is why the use of vermiculite (or materials with similar qualities) is important. Besides being sterile, vermiculite also helps aerate the soil, retains water and nutrients, and keeps the plants happy and growing. 

 

Finding the Right Containers

Now that you have the right soil, you also need the containers. First, you’ll need smaller containers where the seeds can become seedlings. These containers also need good drainage (holes on the bottom) and can be biodegradable if you want to plant the seedling with the initial container. 

Next, you’ll need containers, beds, or pots that fit each plant’s needs for space and nutrients. 

 

Seeds

seedlings for an indoor garden

What kind of plants can you grow in your basement?

With the right grow light setup and soil, you could, theoretically, grow any plants you want. However, the reality is that some plants don’t grow as well indoors even when you provide them with what may seem ideal conditions. 

Still, leafy greens and herbs feel quite at home indoors so, while most people rely on frozen or imported goods, you can have lots of fresh veggies for your salad and meals. Plus, the herbs are always better when picked fresh!

Here is a short list of plants to try growing in your basement garden if you’re just starting with indoor gardening:

  • Swiss chard
  • Lettuce
  • Spinach
  • Radishes
  • Tomatoes
  • Peppers
  • Bush beans
  • Peas

It’s also a good idea to get dwarf varieties if you’re not sure your basement can accommodate a full-grown regular plant. Also, dwarf varieties are more resistant to temperature changes and don’t need as much light. 

 

Build a Viable Environment

indoors grow environment

Before you start your basement garden, make sure plants really have a chance to develop. Basements can be quite finicky environments if they are prone to drafts of air (from badly insulated windows), floods, or lack proper ventilation. 

Plus, think about the energy costs.

Overall, if you use LED grow lights you can still keep costs down, but plants also need a constant temperature between 25 and 28 degrees C. Not to mention, you need to ensure the ideal level of humidity, which can be tricky when you’re using a heater that dries the air. All these make the energy bill grow, so you need to weigh the pros and cons. 

Sure, it is fun to have your own garden with delicious veggies and herbs, but is it worth the cost? After all, you can always set up an indoor herb garden for your kitchen!

 

Wrap Up

If you are ready to make a minimal investment and maintain it, then your basement can truly become a green oasis to get you through the winter months.

Plus, if things go well and you want to experiment more, you may want to add more advanced elements such as metal shelves, oscillating fans (for the airflow), automatic watering systems with timers, and so on.

In short, once you start gardening, you may not want to stop!

Cute Baby Animals That Will Melt Your Heart

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cute baby animals

There’s something about baby animals that just melts our hearts. Maybe it’s their big eyes, or their tiny bodies, or the way they stumble around trying to figure out the world. Whatever the reason, we can’t help but feel a little bit of love whenever we see a newborn animal.

Of course, baby animals are also incredibly cute. And who doesn’t love a good dose of cuteness? Watching them play is enough to make even the grimmest person crack a smile. They are also a reminder of the innocence of childhood.

Whether you’re an animal lover or not, it’s hard to resist the charms of a baby animal. So go ahead and enjoy the cuteness! Just try not to get too attached…they’ll be all grown up before you know it.

These photos have been collected from different Instagram accounts that champion animal appreciation, protection and conservation. Clicking on any item will open it in Instagram.

Baby gray fox

Baby ring-tailed lemur

Grey seal pup

White calf rhino

Baby bonobo

Baby wolf

Sleeping baby fawn

Silvered leaf monkey

Baby sperm whale

Lion cubs

Zebra foal

Puppies (coz why not)

Baby northern white-cheeked gibbon

 

The Link Between Climate Change and Animal Extinction

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animal extinction

Climate change is one of the biggest threats to animal extinction. As climates shift and become more extreme, many animals are struggling to adapt.

This is particularly true for those animals that are already endangered. A recent study found that climate change could cause the extinction of one in six species by the year 2100. Animals are being forced to move to new areas where they may not be able to find food or shelter, and their habitats are being destroyed by floods, wildfires, and other natural disasters.

Scientists have sounded the alarm for years, warning us that rising global temperatures and diminishing ice caps are putting many different species in danger.

Climate change is linked to animal extinction because critical habitats begin to shift or even disappear entirely as global temperatures rise.

For example, as glaciers retreat due to warming temperatures, animals that depend on those areas for food or shelter will be forced to relocate or die off. Likewise, changing weather patterns often result in droughts and wildfires that destroy crucial ecosystems, killing native plants and animal species.

In addition, shifting seasons can make it difficult for animals with narrow temperature requirements to adapt and survive.

 

Shrinking biodiversity

shrinking biodiversity

Climate change is also having a significant impact on biodiversity around the world. As temperatures rise and ecosystems are altered, many plants and animals struggle to adapt.

Some species are moving to new areas that are more hospitable, but others are not so lucky. With their habitats changing faster than they can evolve, many plant and animal species are struggling to survive. As a result, the world is losing biodiversity at an alarming rate.

But, the effects are not limited to the ground, climate change is also having a major impact on marine life.

As the ocean warms, many fish species are migrating to cooler waters. This is causing problems for species that are adapted to specific temperature ranges. Coral reefs are especially at risk from climate change. As the water gets warmer, coral bleaching becomes more common.

This damages the delicate coral ecosystem and makes it difficult for new coral to grow. As a result, reefs around the world are dying off, taking countless plant and animal species with them.

The loss of biodiversity is a major problem for the world. It jeopardizes the future of many plant and animal species, but it also undermines the health of ecosystems around the world.

 

Losses we may never reverse

animal extinction - polar bear

According to the World Wildlife Fund, there are currently more than 16,000 species of animals at risk of extinction. This is due to various factors, including habitat loss, climate change, and illegal hunting.

Some of the most endangered animals include the African elephant, the Bengal tiger, and the mountain gorillas.

African elephants are particularly at risk due to the demand for their ivory tusks. Although it is now illegal to harvest ivory from elephants, poaching still remains a significant problem. As a result, African elephants have declined by 30% over the past seven years.

The Bengal tiger is another species that is struggling to survive. There are thought to be less than 3,000 tigers left in the wild, making them one of the most endangered animal species on Earth.

Mountain gorillas are also facing an uphill battle. These gentle giants are found only in the Virunga Mountains of central Africa, and their population has been reduced to just over 1,000 individuals.

While the future may seem bleak for these animals, there is still hope. Conservation efforts are ongoing, and there is a growing awareness of the need to protect endangered species. With luck, we might save these animals from extinction.

 

Protecting animals and promoting biodiversity

biodiversity

One of the most important things we can do to protect animal habitats, stem animal extinction and promote biodiversity is to preserve natural areas. This includes both large wilderness areas and small pockets of undeveloped land within urban areas.

The loss of habitat is one of the biggest threats to biodiversity. Habitat loss can occur due to many factors, including deforestation, land development, and climate change. Natural areas provide critical habitats for many species of plants and animals, and they also help filter pollutants and improve air and water quality.

When natural habitats are destroyed or altered, the plants and animals dependent on them are also put at risk.

In addition, preserving natural areas helps ensure that future generations will enjoy the benefits they provide.

To protect animal habitats and promote biodiversity, we need to take action to protect and restore natural habitats.

This includes reducing our reliance on forestry products, planting native species of plants, and creating designated wildlife areas. By taking steps to protect animal habitats, we can help ensure that our planet remains home to a rich diversity of plant and animal life.

 

Final thoughts

By reducing our reliance on fossil fuels, increasing awareness about animal habitats, and taking other actions to mitigate climate change, we can help preserve precious ecosystems and protect vulnerable species from further harm.

So, while climate change poses a serious threat to wildlife around the globe, with careful attention and action, we can work together to safeguard our precious planet and all its inhabitants.

The Health and Sustainability Issues of Eating Fish

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sustainable fish consumption

Fish, shellfish and other marine animals have been an important part of the human diet throughout human history, providing vital nutrients and shaping much of our approach to food.

The ocean’s incredible diversity has even influenced the evolution of entire societies.

Today, as science learns more about how we benefit from eating fish and seafood, there are alarming trends appearing from industrial overfishing, pollution, and dwindling species on the edge of extinction.

For consumers the message is confusing in its complexity. Just what is safe to eat, and what should be avoided for sustainability reasons?

In the following sections we explore these issues, examining different types of fish, how often to eat them, choosing sustainable forms, the dangers of mercury, and finding alternatives for your diet.

 

Health Benefits

health benefits of eating fish

There are many health benefits associated with eating fish and much dietary advice recommends eating one or two portions of fish per week, including at least one portion of oily fish.

The reason for this has always been made clear; oily fish is rich in omega-3 fatty acids which can help to keep your heart healthy, reduce the risks and symptoms of disorders such as strokes, diabetes, arthritis, some types of cancer and digestive diseases, asthma and mental decline.

Essential omega-3 fatty acids are not made within our bodies so must be taken as part of our diet. In general, fish is high in protein and relatively low in fat when compared to red meats such as beef.

Fish is also a good source of vitamin D, which is important for bone health. Vitamin D helps our bodies absorb calcium, and it helps to maintain strong bones. Additionally, vitamin D has been linked with a reduced risk of several chronic diseases, including heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.

The healthiest ways to cook fish include steaming, baking, poaching and grilling. The Japanese, famously, also support the raw consumption of fish as sashimi and sushi. It’s a cultural trend which has spread across the world and is booming in popularity, aided by its appearance as a healthy diet.

 

Types of Fish and Dietary Recommendations

sushi

  • Oily fish contain high levels of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins A and D. Types of oily fish include species such as anchovies, carp, herring, jack, mackerel, pilchards, salmon, sardines, sprats, trout and whitebait.
  • The NHS recommends women and girls who may become pregnant in the future, pregnant women and women who are breast feeding should eat no more than two portions of oily fish per week. This is because this oily of fish may contain pollutants that can be harmful to babies in the womb.
  • Boys and men should eat up to four portions of oily fish per week.
  • White fleshed fish are very low in fat, particularly saturated fat. They also contain omega-3 fatty acids but in smaller amounts than in oily fish. Types of white fish commonly eaten include species such as cod, haddock, plaice, and Pollack.
  • The NHS states you can safely eat as many portions of white fish per week as you like, although obviously all foods should be eaten in moderation.
  • Shellfish are typically low in fat and a good source of minerals including copper, iodine, selenium and zinc. Types of shellfish commonly eaten include crab, langoustine, mussels and prawns.

 

Choosing Sustainably

choosing sustainable fish

In the last few decades it has become evident fish populations and marine environments have begun to face extreme pressure as a result of the global fishing industry.

The impact this billion dollar industry manifests in two key forms; overfishing faster than the fish population can replenish resulting in population collapse, and harmful fishing techniques that are either destructive (such as bottom trawling) or indiscriminate fishing that kills no-target species (such as dolphins killed during tuna fishing).

Research into the matter has been alarming, many sources indicating human fishing, at current rates, will bring about a global collapse in fish species by 2048. There have been attempts to combat this – since the 1990s there has been a growing interest in sustainability.

Sustainable fishing can be defined as fishing that does not upset the ecological balance of the oceans. Organizations such as the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) were developed with the aim of conserving the marine life of the oceans.

The MSC attempts to regulate sustainable seafood by certifying fisheries according to their practices and marking approved seafood with an ‘ecolabel’.

Consumers should look for the MSC ecolabel when buying fish to help reduce the impact their diet has on the marine environment, although some critics (such as Greenpeace) have pointed out some MSC-certified fisheries  are inadequate.

The MSC is working with campaign groups to find a resolution to this problem, as well as regularly updating lists of certified fish to eat on their website, whilst Greenpeace has also produced a list of endangered species which should not be bought:

  • Atlantic cod,
  • Plaice,
  • Albacore Tuna,
  • Tropical prawns (wild and farmed),
  • Haddock (except line-caught Icelandic),
  • European Hake,
  • Atlantic Halibut,
  • Monkfish,
  • Atlantic salmon (wild and farmed),
  • Swordfish,
  • Marlin,
  • Sharks,
  • Skates and rays.

 

The Menace of Mercury in Fish

mercury in fish

Due to the polluting of the oceans mercury is now prevalent in our seas. Fish and shellfish accumulate mercury within their bodies, usually in the form of methylmercury, an organic compound that is highly toxic for humans.

Many fish and shellfish only contain small amounts of mercury so are not harmful if eaten regularly, but certain types, particularly long-living predators higher up the food chain, do contain dangerous levels of the toxin.

Due to this it is best to avoid certain species of fish altogether, examples being; blue fin tuna, lake trout, marlin, northern pike, shark, dolphin, swordfish, and tilefish.

Mercury accumulates in the bodies of fish and shellfish by a process of ‘biomagnification’; small amounts of mercury are present in seawater, algae absorb the mercury in the form of methylmercury, fish and other organisms eat the algae, fish eat other fish and organisms containing mercury, and at each stage of the food chain greater amounts of mercury are accumulated.

Larger fish eat more small fish and the longer a fish lives the more mercury they can accumulate in their bodies. As a result there are guidelines to fish consumption;

  • The NHS recommends young children, women who are trying to get pregnant, women who are currently pregnant and breastfeeding women should avoid all types of fish that may contain high levels of mercury.
  • All other adults should limit there consumption of this type of fish to a maximum of one portion per week.

 

An Alternative Diet

For vegetarians or those who wish to stop eating fish it is important to ensure essential omega-3 fatty acids are a part of their diet.

While fish is recognized as a rich source of these fatty acids, omega-3 is also found in rapeseed oil, flax seeds, walnuts, and small amounts are found in whole milk and eggs. People who avoid eating fish should make sure their diet contains a variety of these foods.

The Vegetarian Society also recommends vegetarians who want to increase their omega-3 uptake should take algae or flax seed supplements.


Editor’s Note: This post has been updated for freshness and consistency.

Meatless Mondays: 7 Delicious Recipes from Around the World

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delicious recipes from around the world

Meatless Mondays is a global campaign that encourages people to cut out meat one day a week for their health and the health of the planet.

The benefits of going meatless are many. For your health, cutting out meat can help lower your cholesterol and blood pressure, reduce your risk of heart disease and cancer, and help you lose weight.

For the planet, producing meat requires a lot of resources – including water, land, and energy – that can put a strain on our limited resources.

According to a report by Vegetarian Times, nearly one-fifth of the world’s population is vegetarian. And while some vegetarians may be content to eat salads and steamed vegetables every day, others want to get a little more creative in the kitchen.

After all, there are a lot of delicious meatless recipes out there from cuisines all over the world. So why not try going meatless one day a week? It’s easy to do with these seven delicious recipes from around the world.

 

1. Black Bean Burritos from Mexico

black bean burrito
Source: namelymarly.com

Mexico is known for its delicious food, and one of my favorite dishes is the black bean burrito. Originating in the state of Guerrero, this simple but flavorsome dish consists of a flour tortilla stuffed with black beans, cheese, and salsa.

The beans are cooked until they are soft and creamy, and the cheese adds a lovely richness to the filling. The salsa can be either mild or spicy, depending on your preference. I like to top my burrito with sour cream and avocado, making it even more delicious.

Whether you’re in the mood for a quick snack or a hearty meal, black bean burritos will satisfy you. Give them a try the next time you’re in the mood for Mexican food – you won’t be disappointed!

Get the Black bean burritos recipe here.

 

2. Falafel from the Middle East

Vegan Baked Falafel Recipe

Falafel is a delicious and popular dish from the Middle East made from ground chickpeas or fava beans. The beans are soaked overnight, then ground into a paste with spices such as cumin, coriander, and garlic.

The paste is formed into balls or patties and fried in oil until crispy. Falafel can be served on its own as a snack or appetizer, or it can be added to a salad or wrapped in pita bread with vegetables and tahini sauce.

No matter how it is served, falafel is a delicious and healthy option that is sure to please.

Get the Falafel recipe here

 

3. Quinoa Salad from Peru

Meatless mondays recipes Lime Summer Quinoa Salad

This quinoa salad is a delicious, nutritious dish that originates from Peru. It is made with quinoa, a grain native to the Andean region of South America.

Quinoa is a high-protein food that is also packed with vitamins and minerals. This salad also contains fresh vegetables, such as tomatoes, red onions, and cilantro. The combination of flavors in this salad is truly unique and will leave you feeling satisfied and refreshed.

This dish is perfect for a light lunch or a side dish at dinner. So, if you’re looking for something new and exciting to try this spring, give this quinoa salad a try! You won’t be disappointed.

Get the Quinoa salad recipe here

 

4. Vegetable Stir-Fry from China

chinese stir fry

If you’re looking for a delicious healthy meal, look no further than a vegetable stir-fry from China. This dish is typically made with various vegetables, including carrots, peppers, onions, and mushrooms.

The vegetables are stir-fried in a small amount of oil until they’re tender and slightly browned. Then, they’re usually served with rice or noodles. Although vegetable stir-fries are typically associated with Chinese cuisine, they can be found in many other cultures.

For example, in India, a similar dish is called sambhar. Whether you call it a vegetable stir-fry or sambhar, this dish is sure to satisfy your hunger and delight your taste buds.

Get the Stir-fried recipe here

 

5. Portobello Mushroom “Steak” from the United States

portobello mushroom steak - meatless mondays recipes
Source: vegkitchen.com

It’s no secret that the United States is known for its steak. Juicy, flavorful, and cooked to perfection, American steak is a true delight.

But what about beef’s vegetarian counterpart?

Portobello mushrooms make a delicious “steak” full of flavor and just as satisfying as the real thing. While they may not have the same meaty texture, portobellos are packed with umami flavor and are sure to satisfy even the most diehard carnivores.

Best of all, they can be cooked in just minutes on the stovetop or grilled to perfection. So next time you’re in the mood for steak, give portobello mushrooms a try. You might be surprised at how delicious vegetarian fare can be.

Get the Portobello Mushroom “Steak” recipe here

 

6. Vegan Tomato Tofu Stuffed Eggplant from Turkey

Vegan Tomato Tofu Stuffed Eggplant Recipe

Eggplant is a delicious and versatile vegetable that you can use in different recipes. One of my favorite ways to prepare eggplant is to stuff it with a vegan tomato tofu filling.

This dish is packed with flavor and nutrients, and it’s sure to please even the most diehard meat-eaters. To make the filling, simply sauté some onions and garlic in a pan, then add crumbled tofu and diced tomatoes.

Season the mixture with your favorite herbs and spices, stuff it into halved eggplants and bake in a hot oven until tender. Serve this dish with a side of steamed rice or quinoa, and you’ll have a hearty and satisfying meal that everyone will love.

Get the Vegan tomato tofu stuffed eggplant recipe here

 

7. Ratatouille from France

Ratatouille - meatless monday recipes

Anyone who loves good food knows that ratatouille is a dish not to be missed. This humble dish of vegetables stewed in olive oil originated in the Provence region of France, and it has been delighting taste buds for centuries.

The key to a good ratatouille is to use fresh, seasonal ingredients. Tomato, eggplant, bell pepper, zucchini, and onion are the classic vegetables used, but feel free to experiment with other favorites.

The vegetables are first cooked separately to allow each one to retain its individual flavor, and then they are combined into a single delectable concoction.

Ratatouille can be served hot or cold, making it a perfect year-round dish.

Get Ratatouille recipe here

 

Final Thought

So there you have it – 7 delicious Meatless Mondays recipes from around the world you can cook today. Give them a try and see how easy it is to go meatless one day a week!

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