Facts on Solar Power Today and What’s in Store for the Future

by Guest in Environment

Facts on Solar Power Future

There is a lot of misinformation about what solar power is and how it can benefit people. These four facts will show you that solar is an important part of life today and in the future. 

Fact One: Solar Gets More Affordable Every Year

A lot of people avoid solar energy because they don’t want the upfront costs of adding solar panels to their homes. While it’s true that there are some expenses associated with purchasing and installing solar panels and related equipment, it’s undeniable that solar power gets more affordable every year. 

Some experts expect solar costs to fall by 40 percent by 2017. The technology has already become remarkably more efficient in recent years, and that trend is expected to continue into the foreseeable future.

Eventually, solar power may even become cheaper on a large scale than grid electricity generated from fossil fuels.

Many companies already offer affordable ways to add solar panels to your home. In most cases, you don’t have to pay the entire cost upfront. Instead, you can spread your payments over several years to make equipment more affordable.

Fact Two: Solar is the Planet’s Most Abundant Energy Resource

The sun bombards Earth with so much energy that, theoretically, it only takes 40 minutes to equal an entire year of consumption. The amount of solar energy that reaches Earth in one day could provide enough power to last 27 years.

People don’t currently have the technology to harness all that power, but solar panel designs come closer every year.

Solar is also a renewable resource that will never run out. As long as the sun shines, there is plenty of energy to go around. Homeowners just need the right technology to capture that energy and make it their own.

Fact Three: Solar Energy Creates Very Little Pollution

The use of fossil fuels introduces so much carbon into the atmosphere that it is ushering in a premature period of high temperatures. Reducing the amount of carbon and other pollution in the atmosphere is one of the only ways to avoid an incredibly hot future where crops die in the fields and ocean levels consume coastal cities.

Unfortunately, this isn’t something that people can kick down the road to future generations. Global warming is already happening and will have profound effects within just three decades.

Getting more energy from the sun would significantly reduce the amount of carbon in the atmosphere, and thus help prevent some of global warming’s worst effects.

Building solar panels and related equipment does create some pollution, but the benefits of solar quickly offset the effects. Current estimates show that somewhere between 87 and 97 percent of solar power will not create any pollution. That’s a benefit that no one can afford to ignore.

Fact Four: Solar Energy Has Been Used for Thousands of Years

Some people seem to get confused by solar technology. They ask what is solar energy? As if it is something completely new. It’s true that today’s solar panels can harness so much of the sun’s energy that there is enough leftover electricity to contribute to the grid, saving money and cutting carbon emissions. But people have used less advanced forms of solar energy for thousands of years.

During the seventh century B.C., people used magnifying glasses to intensify the sun’s rays and start fires. By the second century B.C., the Greeks had found a way to hone solar rays so well that they could set enemy ships on fire.

Of course, there were plenty of benign uses, too. Roman bathhouses were oriented toward the south so they could use the sun’s energy to warm water.

In a roundabout way, even the gas in your car is a type of solar energy, albeit a much dirtier version, since even fossil fuels are the result of ancient plant and animal life made possible by the sun.

The Future of Solar

Solar energy will keep getting more efficient. As other sources of energy start to dry up, solar will remain. The sooner you add solar power to your home, the sooner you can start reaping the benefits. As the technology improves, your home can keep improving with it.

Guest article by Shaun Chatman


Disney Vacations – Greener Than You Think

by Tiffany in travel

Disney Vacations Greener Than You Think

If you asked me a couple months ago if I thought about Disney as a green vacation destination I would have said no, not really. I mean I would have said that I am sure they do some green things but in general I would not have thought it was a primary consideration for them. That was my thinking until I spent a few days at various Disney World Properties in Orlando last month. I came away with a vastly greater respect for Disney, especially in regards to all the work they do in nature conservation and to be better environmental stewards as a company.

If you think about all that goes on inside the operations of any amusement park you think about all the garbage they generate, all the junk food they serve, and all the useless souvenirs they try to pawn off on you. Disney is not without fault of course but I never fully realized all that they do be greener and more sustainable.

“The land itself—should be as dear to us all as our political heritage and our treasured way of life. Its preservation and the wise conservation of its renewable resources concerns every man, woman and child whose possession it is.”  – Walt Disney

For instance, in January of this year Disney received the Governor’s Environmental and Economic Leadership Award. This award is California’s highest environmental honor, for waste-reduction efforts and boy have they achieved something impressive! Over the last 10 years, the Disneyland Resort has doubled the amount of waste diverted from landfills, and is working toward the long-term goal of achieving Zero Waste—a distinction already awarded to Circle D Corral at Disneyland park. In addition to recycling paper, cardboard, plastics and metal, Circle D Corral composts all animal waste, hand towels, laundry lint and coffee grounds from Disneyland Resort restaurants.

This is just the tip of a very deep iceberg. When collecting research for this post I ended up with so much information about their environmental stewardship and practices that I could not possible share it all but here are some highlights:

  • At Walt Disney World Resort, IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth show (which I was lucky enough to see last month) dazzles Epcot guests with new environmentally friendly lasers. The show’s solid-state lasers use the energy equivalent of a hair dryer, saving approximately 64,000 watts of power with each show.
  • To date, Disney Cruise Line programs have eliminated more than 6,400 tons of metal, glass, plastic and paper from traditional waste streams through recycling, and removed 31,000 pounds of trash and debris from beaches and waterways.
  • Disney has a Climate Solutions Fund and it is one of the tools the company uses to address climate change. They charge their businesses for the greenhouse gas emissions they generate, and the money goes to the Climate Solutions Fund. With the fund, Disney can use this money to invest in forestry projects and improved forest management techniques. They have projects around the world from California to Inner Mongolia. Since 2009, they have invested in more than 147,000 acres of forested land—the equivalent of four Walt Disney World parks.
  • The animal waste at Disney’s Animal Kingdom is composted.
  • The Disney Conservation Fund has awarded more than $27 million to projects in 114 countries. The aim of funded projects is the study of wildlife, protection of habitats and the development of community conservation and education programs in critical ecosystems around the world, and to help connect kids and nature through exploration and discovery.
  • Disney makes continuous technology improvements to reduce their footprint including the installation of a 1 MW fuel cell on their Pixar campus and LEED certification on their ESPN campus.
  • In 2014, 30 electric vehicle charging ports were installed at the Disneyland Resort—20 for guest use and 10 for Cast Member use. They have plans to add many more across their properties.
  •  Disney has committed to the following long-term environmental stewardship goals: Zero net greenhouse gas emissions, zero waste, conserve water resources.
  • Since 1995, the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund (DWCF) has supported the study of threatened species, the protection of critical ecosystems, and the development of community conservation and education programs in over 100 countries worldwide. In 2014, the DWCF funded more than 150 projects, surpassing a milestone of more than $25 million in cumulative giving.

So what does all of this look like when you visit the actual Disney parks? Well, here are some of my personal observations:

  • Upon check-in at the Disney’s Yacht Club Resort I received a stylish arm band that I can then use to enter my room, make purchases, enter the parks, use fastpasses to get on rides, etc. This reduces a lot garbage in the parks and resorts..no need for tickets, no need for paper receipts, no plastic room keys and so on. Plus you can reuse the same arm bands year after year.
  • A huge percentage of the land at the Disney resorts is left wild and virtually untouched. I was amazed by how big a part nature plays in the overall theme at each and every property I visited…which was several. In fact, nearly a third of the properties are dedicated wildlife conservation areas.
  • Disney parks provide a vast amount of nature related activities such as boating and fishing. Who knew??? I sure didn’t. In partnership with Take Me Fishing Disney offers onsite opportunities to go boating and fishing. I experienced two of them…cane pole fishing at Disney’s Port Orleans Resort—Riverside and Guided Bass Fishing Excursions on a 21-foot Tracker pontoon at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground.
  • There are hundreds of nature experiences provided to kids across Disney properties. It doesn’t have to be ONLY about a riding rides and seeing a mouse.
  • By offering so many adventures and opportunities onsite and providing group transportation you never have to go far to find the entertainment you want. This is prudent for them as a business of course but it also makes the most sense environmentally as well.
  • The Magical Express transportation system is genius. Get off your plane and board a bus with dozens of other guests. It provides a high occupancy transportation option and there is no need for everyone to get a rental car. You can use the same system to travel between resorts and parks as well.
  • Wildlife abounds on Disney properties. I love to see critters and birds happily living and playing on resort properties because I know that the impact is minimal…or the eco system surrounding it would not be thriving.
  • Healthy foods abound at Disney. There is no reason to eat junky food on vacation. I had some of the best food (tasty and healthy) I have ever eaten in my life while visiting there. They are also very happy to make sure you have gluten free everything if you need it.
  • Every Disney World theme park has organic and fair-trade products for sale. Yay!

I was very impressed by everything I saw at Disney World, Epcot, and the handful of park resorts I went to. While I have always been a Disney fan (heck I spent either Halloween or Christmas there every year!) I did have some outdated ideas about them. I am happy to find that Disney is leading the way for corporations on environmental issues AND providing a cleaner, greener vacation destination.

I leave you with a photo I took while fishing right next to the Disney World theme park. Recognize anything?

I spy space mountain from our fishing boat… #FirstCatch #WaltDisneyWorld

A photo posted by Tiffany Washko (@tiffanywashko) on






Should Your Child See a Chiropractor?

by Guest in Children

Chiropractic Care For Your ChildAlthough children haven’t had as much time to age or have the stress on the body that adults have had, children are still susceptible to the stress and physical ailments that plague many of us in our daily lives. In fact, this is a good reason why we should invest time in teaching our children healthy living practices and preventing many of the ailments and diseases that can occur later in life.

As most disease is related to diet and lifestyle, this is where it’s most important that our children are healthy and taught to take care of their health. So how does chiropractic fit into all of that?

Ensure Spinal Health

Taking care of your spine is more than just having good posture or not sleeping on your stomach. Many children have subluxations (minor dislocations in the spine) even before they have the chance to really do anything to get them. Subluxations can be caused by many things including exposure to stress, toxins, physical injuries or just bad posture, poor diet, not getting enough water, etc. However, even in the womb children can experience these things.

The health of the spine is so important. The spine is essentially a bunch of nerves in a column that connect to our brains and basically controls everything that goes on in our bodies. Your child’s nervous system is part of the system of things that ensures that your child is emotionally healthy, physically healthy, has optimal nerve communications, and good posture. The healthy nerve communication is key for the body to be able to successfully regulate everything from digestion to behavior to energy to sleeping well.

Encourage Proper Alignment and Healing

Our bodies have these amazing abilities to heal themselves. However, when the body doesn’t have the proper resources to take care of itself (such as good nutrition, essential accurate nerve communication, and enough sleep), it can’t properly do its job. This is why regardless of whether or not your child has had an injury or has developmental delays or even poor posture, it may be a good idea to take your child to a chiropractor.

Dr. Gil Kentof of Dr. Gil Center for Back, Neck, and Pain Relief in Franklin, Tennessee shares his experiences with children in chiropractic.

“Treating children with chiropractic care has many advantages: chiropractic adjustments insure a properly functioning nervous system. This helps the entire body function at an optimal level. Children respond very quickly to gentle chiropractic care, and adjustments can help prevent a lifetime of pain and suffering. I have personally seen improvement with neck and back pain in children suffering from sports injuries and falls. Babies with colic, torticollis (a painful condition in which the neck is locked to the side), and even chronic ear infections have shown improvement from chiropractic adjustments as well.”

What Does the Chiropractor Do?

Chiropractors are doctors that are trained for years to understand the spine and all its workings. An experienced chiropractor knows how to handle children’s spines as well as adult’s. In fact, some chiropractors are even able to adjust babies shortly after birth to ensure that their spines are healthy and working properly. This can also help with babies who are very irritable. The chiropractor will examine your child, with or without x-rays (your choice), and should be able to tell if certain areas are tight, if subluxations are present, and will most likely examine your child’s posture.

Getting adjusted may seem strange to your child at first, but it is generally painless and your child will probably feel better after getting adjusted. Chiropractors do not use pharmaceuticals or any other medications in their practice. The word chiropractic has roots in the Greek words “hands” and “practice”. So these procedures are very minimally invasive and are done through your clothes and only involve adjustments done with the chiropractor’s hands. An experienced chiropractor will be able to feel if the spine is out of alignment and should be gentle yet thorough with your child’s treatment.

If your child is experiencing any adverse health symptoms, it may be a good idea to take him or her to a chiropractor. Be sure to find one who is experienced in children. Chiropractic adjustments can help everything from the immune system to the respiratory system to proper development. Chiropractic adjustments can ensure your child’s development is healthy and create good postural practices for the future!

Guest post by Jenn Ryan

Chiropractic Care For Your Child


26 Nature Inspired Adult Coloring Books

by Tiffany in Tidbits

Adult coloring books are all the rage right now. Art therapy has long been known to help improve mood and reduce stress so it is apparent why so many adults are buying up coloring books. Below is a collection of nature inspired coloring books… just remember to frame and enjoy or recycle when done. They would make great gifts (the finished art) for nursing home residents and great gifts (the complete book) for adult friends and family. Enjoy!

nature coloring books for adults 2

1. A Coloring Book for Adults Featuring Mandalas and Henna Inspired Flowers, Animals, and Paisley Patterns – $5.87

2. Adult Coloring Book: Stress Relieving Animal Designs – $9.28

3. Secret Garden: An Inky Treasure Hunt and Coloring Book – $9.57

4. Enchanted Forest: An Inky Quest & Coloring Book – $9.57

5. Creative Haven Owls Coloring Book – $3.26

6. Adult Coloring Book: Butterflies and Flowers – $6.29

7. Lost Ocean: An Inky Adventure and Coloring Book – $10.17

8. Adult Coloring Book: Ocean Animal Patterns – $11.68

9. The Time Garden: A Magical Journey and Coloring Book – $8.79

10. Whimsical Gardens Coloring Book – $5.17

11. Animal Kingdom: Color Me, Draw Me – $10.67

12. Tropical World: A Coloring Book Adventure – $8.22

13. Creative Haven NatureScapes Coloring Book – $5.99

14. Midnight Forest Coloring Book: Animal Designs on a Dramatic Black Background – $5.99

15. Goddesses Coloring Book – $2.87

16. Enchanting English Garden: An Inkcredible Scavenger Hunt and Coloring Book – $13.46

17. Creative Haven Snowflake Mandalas Coloring Book – $5.17

18. Enjoy The Most Beautiful Landscapes Coloring Book For Adults As An Relaxing Activity and Stress Relief – $4.12

19. Butterflies Coloring Book – $3.88

20. Happy Campers Coloring Book – $8.99

21. Color Me Mindful: Underwater – $8.58

22. The Art of Nature Coloring Book: 60 Illustrations Inspired by Vintage Botanical and Scientific Prints – $12.88

23. Wonderful World Of Horses Coloring Book – $3.40

24. Owls Coloring Book – $3.09

25. Dream Catcher: A Soul Bird’s Journey – $7.99

26. The Language of Flowers Coloring Book – $3.99


Creative Ways to Use Fall Apples

by Tiffany in Eating Local

bushel apples sm

Who doesn’t love apples in the fall right? I usually have plenty because I buy them by the bushel. Soon I will be picking them by the bushel as my own apples trees mature. Yay! I know I will always be interested in MORE ways to use up apples!

YouTuber Ally helps welcome autumn with this tasty seasonal fruit. Tune in for her sweet-meets-savory recipe and a quick trick for turning apples into the perfect DIY centerpiece.