Earth Day is Tuesday, April 22.

Ideas for Celebrating Earth Day

Earth Day is April 18. Every year, the environment comes to the forefront of our attention (if it's not already), and we take an opportunity to do our part. It's time to honor ours gorgeous rivers, air and forests. If you want to help celebrate Earth Day, there are a bunch of things you can do. Here are four good ones: 

1. Leave the Car at Home
Since cars and trucks are some of the biggest contributors of greenhouse gases (created by burning fossil fuels), skip the ride and find an eco-friendly alternative. According to Slate, a single gallon of gas sends 19 pounds of carbon dioxide into the air. To get to work, you can carpool, take the bus or train, arrange to work from home or ride your bike. Besides, spring is in the air. 

2. Plant a Tree
This is quintessential activity on Earth Day. Not only does planting a tree clean the air by absorbing carbon dioxide, they also provide oxygen, help conserve energy and prevent water pollution. In one year, an acre of mature trees absorbs the amount of CO2 produced from driving your car 26,000 miles, according to Tree People. They also cool the streets and the city. In fact, trees can cool the city by up to 10 degrees Fahrenheit, shading streets, lawns and homes, breaking up urban "heat islands" and releasing water vapor into the air through leaves.  

3. Write a Letter to Your Senator or Representative
Though writing a letter may not seem like much, it follows the spirit of Earth Day. Contact your senator, representative or someone else with the power to make large-scale change through legislation. To find the contact information, visit the Website of your state government, where you'll find the e-mail and mailing address. Then pick a cause – clean air, forest preservation, recycling, water safety – and tell your congressman or congresswoman how you feel. 

4. Switch to Energy-Saving Light bulbs
​Nearly 70 percent of light bulb sockets in the U.S. still contain inefficient light bulbs. But there's no better day to upgrade than Earth Day! Twisting in energy efficient bulbs will save you money in the long haul and cut pollution dramatically. Talk about energy efficiency!

Ilchi Lee, advocate of a sustainable world, says Earth Day marks a great time to understand the vitality and relationship we share with planet Earth. We are each citizens of the Earth who need to cut our carbon footprints and cherish our natural resources.

Ilchi Lee's Lecture for Brain Education.

Ilchi Lee’s Brain Education System

Ilchi Lee, a New York Times best-selling author and the president of the International Brain Education Association, developed his own Brain Education System for the human mind. The brain, Lee points out, is something not only for scientists to discuss; rather, each individual should establish the authority to understand and manage his or her own brain. After all, to accomplish anything we set our minds to, we must first set our minds.

So, Lee introduced Brain Education to provide individuals with tangible tools to navigate their way down the path of their personal development. Creating the life you want as your greatest masterpiece is the ultimate use of the human brain. It is the birthplace of our behavior, gatekeeper of our memories and training facility to our happiness. To work on the mind-body connection, Brain Education helps us make choices that improve our circumstances. Here's are the five steps of Brain EducationLee's practices:

Step One: Brain Sensitizing
In the first step, practitioners use stretching, breath-training exercises and energetic movement to awaken their primary senses and hone self-awareness of between the brain-to-body connection. The act of doing something and consciously recognizing you're doing it is the key to the basics. Focusing on breathing also improves cardiovascular circulation.

Step Two: Brain Versatilizing
You may work on touching your toes to improve your body's flexibility. Now it's time to enhance the flexibility of both body and mind. Through careful observation and self-discipline, you can slowly alter behavior to produce healthier, more productive habits. What's crucial in this step is the plasticity, or rewiring the brain's activity.

Step Three: Brain Refreshing
At this stage, practitioners become acutely aware of the influence of stored emotions and preconception of the quality of their lives. Start to release the memories and ideas that are no longer useful. On a neuroscientic level, this is akin to pruning neurons that your brain does not use. Once you do this, you can face any situation with a clear, fresh mind. Emotional awareness and control not only dispels unproductive thoughts, it enables you to see that creating emotions can be a matter of choice.

Step Four: Brain Integrating
Incorporate various functional areas of the brain to unleash latent capabilities. This enhances communication between the left and right hemispheres, as well as between the cerebral cortex and subcortical structures.

Step Five: Brain Mastering
Like everything in life, practice makes perfect. Apply and re-apply the first four steps of Brain Education toward specific, concrete goals. This results in well-grounded foundation for personal development. At the end of the day, the goal is to improve quality of life for you and those around you. In this way, practitioners become the conscious authors of their lives.

Electronics scrapheap

Recycle Your Electronics!

Of the world's estimated 7 billion people, 6 billion have access to phones. As you know, electronics hardly have a long lifetime. So, when it's time toss our old devices, how many people would you guess recycle them? Less than 10 percent, according to Nokia's latest study.

But on the bright side, e-waste recycling is expected to grow at an unprecedented rate. According to a new reported titled Electronic Recycling (Copper, Steel, Plastic Resins) Market – Global Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Growth, Trends and Forecast 2013 – 2019, experts forecast an annual growth rate of 23 percent in the next seven years.

E-waste describes discarded electronic devices – phones, computers, electronic keyboards, scanners, fax machines and many other devices. These and other recycled materials are a must in our modern age!

Despite representing less than 4 percent of global landfill mass, e-waste contains more than 75 percent of the environmentally hazardous waste. Electronic equipment is made of numerous precious metals, including steel, as well as contaminants such as lead, cadmium, beryllium. Proper disposal of these products is crucial for a sustainable world. 

Europe led the charge in the e-waste recycling market followed by North America in 2012. Most of the e-waste from developed countries was imported to developing nations, such as India, Pakistan and China, due to cheap labor and lack of recycling regulations. At the same time, the amount of e-waste in South Africa is expected to jump 80 percent in the near future, as the country serves as a dumping ground for e-waste.

In some states in the U.S., it's illegal for individuals to dispose of unwanted electronics in their regular trash. In 2012, steel was the most recycled material from electronic scrap, and computers represented the largest segment of recycled equipment. Based on the Global Industry report, these patterns are predicted to remain consistent. 

What Do I Do With My Old Phone?
Research shows that nearly half of unused mobile devices are tucked away in the bottom of drawers. If you fit into this category, rest assured you're not alone. Fortunately, it's easy to recycle your old devices.

Step 1: Check first if a friend or family members wants to use it.

Step 2: Back up your phone memory. Save anything you may want on the phone. You can store it on your computer.

Step 3: Find your nearest recycling point. Go to ecyclingcentral.com to find a spot.

Ilchi Lee, an advocate of a sustainable world, notes how important it is to recycle your old electronics. This will help lower the hazardous materials in landfills and optimize our natural resources.

Environmental education is more important now than ever before.

Movement for All Students to be Schooled on Sustainability by 2040

We've started the talk about what type of world our kids inherit. A dirty, polluted one full of CO2 emissions or a greener, more energy-efficient world? Well, if those worries stem from the ground up, why don't some of our solutions? The U.S. Green Building Council is seeking to launch a massive project called the National Action Plan for Educating for Sustainability that would be a giant leap for reducing the carbon footprint.

The goal of the program is that all students would be educated for a sustainable future by 2040 through the integration of environment, economy and equity. It would incorporate the hands-on approach to apply systems thinking to problem-solving and decision making. 

"Education for Sustainability (EfS) empowers students to make decisions that balance the need to preserve healthy ecosystems with the need to promote vibrant economies and equitable social systems for all generations to come," program officials told Sustainable Business.

USGBC is a non-profit organization that has transformed one of the dirtiest industries of construction into a far greener one. Partnering with global education leader Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, the organization designed an action plan outlining a strategy for all 50 states to adopt a comprehensive green schools policy that features a graduation requirement around sustainability literacy by 2040.

"When the U.S. Department of Education published its Green Ribbon Schools award, which called for all K-12 graduates to be environmentally literate, we received that as a directive for the community to band together and figure out how we will ensure that happens," Rachel Gutter, director of the Center for Green Schools at USGBC, told the source.

By establishing working groups, launching a funding campaign and distributing best-case models and materials, the project has been laying the groundwork for what could be a revolutionary new curriculum policy in education.

Here's a brief timeline of the project:

  • Come June, USGBC will form the U.S. Teacher Education for Sustainable Development Network.
  • By 2015, EfS-related content is to be included in the next version of the ISLLC 2008 Standards for educational leadership, incorporated by state policymakers.
  • The goal for 2020 is that EfS coaches should be available for all school districts, and that sustainability professionals would be members of leadership teams in school districts by 2023.
  • Thirty-five states would have a comprehensive green schools policy by 2025, which includes an EfS graduation requirement.

Though certainly an ambitious program, EfS is backed by hundreds of the brightest minds in environmental and education reform. Ilchi Lee, a New York Times best-selling author and dedicated advocate of a peaceful, sustainable world, agrees that this project is exactly what we need. The next generation inherits our triumphs and shortfalls, and creating an educational foundation based on a sustainable world gives them a head start in solving one of the stickiest global problems.

The STARS report rates universities on their energy programs.

College Rankings for Sustainability

To pair with the much-anticipated academic ratings of colleges, a sustainability report evaluates college campuses to see where they land in going green. 

The comprehensive report is called STARS, short for Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System. It gives universities grades on their own for sustainability education and outreach efforts. As a result, universities gain a better focus on where to take eco-friendly measures, including energy efficiency, using recycled materials and cutting down carbon footprints.

Each participating university voluntarily submits institutional data on eco topics ranging from environmentally friendly buildings to education measures. Then the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education assesses each report in a scorecard-like method and provides a ranking based on the total score.

In the recent STARS report, University of Cincinnati, Ohio State University and Miami University received a silver ranking. This means that the universities are doing well with energy efficiency standards, but still have shortfalls on institutional funding and sustainability research. 

"It really points out places that could be improved," Claire Sweigart, UC sustainability coordinator, told The News Record. "It's going to help us moving forward to target our projects and try to work with different campus partners to try and move some of these forward."

The STARS report serves as a great tool for universities that want to gauge how "green" they are, and what they can do to improve.

Students Making Campuses Greener
While the bulk of the responsibility to take eco-friendly measures lands on the university itself, student bodies have proven particularly effective at getting the (electric-powered) wheels turning on such programs.

Emily Heine, the student government senator at UC, is a case in point. She has sustainability-themed ideas planned for the remainder of the academic year and plans on making going green a top priority in the fall semester. The first bill Heine pushed through student government after being elected was to bring a sustainability conference event to campus. The event, called Generation Waking Up, will take place on the last weekend in March.

Other simple steps to help campuses clean up include tree plantings, street clean ups and fun events like recycled fashion shows. If you are in college or know someone who is, this list might be a helpful step in putting environmental awareness into action.

Notably, though the STARS report isn't a definite snapshot of sustainability efforts, it certainly helps in targeting possible future areas that need improvement. 

Ilchi Lee, a strong supporter of a sustainable world, advocates efforts to reduce the carbon footprint of schools. Not only does it provide model for the upcoming generation, it teaches real-life programs that can bring about serious improvements.

Cloud computing can lower carbon emissions.

Going Green with Cloud Computing

The corporate carbon footprint has become a big deal for companies lately. That's why many organizations are moving their services onto the "cloud," a shared method to store mass data over the Internet, which not only saves time and money, it also cuts energy use. Without a doubt, the cloud is slowly transforming how corporate IT services are handled. Yet cloud-based computing boasts some environmental benefits.

Teaming up with outsourcing company Accenture and WSP Environmental & Energy, Microsoft conducted a study that compared the energy use and carbon footprint of cloud-based computing versus on-premise IT delivery. The research found that on the whole, cloud solutions reduced energy use and carbon emissions by more than 30 percent.

And the benefits stack up. For smaller deployments, or about 100 users, the upsides proved even more impressive: Energy use and emissions were slashed by more than 90 percent with a shared cloud service.

Boosting Energy Efficiency
For those of us who aren't technology buffs, how does that happen? Well, there are several key factors that contributed to the cloud's energy efficiency.

Unlike traditional computer hosting, the cloud is sold on demand, meaning a user can have as much or as little of the service as he or she needs at any given time; it is elastic. In turn, this cuts the amount of wasted computing resources through better matching of server capacity with actual demand.

Importantly, the cloud uses fewer machines. In many small businesses, server utilization rates stays around 5 to 10 percent. That translates to more servers to get the same amount of work done. Servers can be quite pricey to purchase and maintain, and with a low utilization rate, lots of cash may be spilling out of your company's wallet. With the cloud, utilization rates rise to as high as 70 percent. At the end of the day, fewer machines equals less energy used and fewer dollars spent.

The cloud encourages better data efficiency. Through improved cooling and power conditioning, the shared network diminishes the workload for companies, cutting power loss and downtime.

By taking advantage of the cloud, your company can cut emissions as well. Of course some cloud services are greener than others. If CEOs and leaders in business want to make save green while going green, it might be a wise idea to move applications to cloud services.

Ilchi Lee, a New York Times best-selling author and advocate of a sustainable world, encourages people and businesses to take all the progressive steps to create a greener planet. Cloud services not only make your company more energy efficient, it may boost your public image as well. While smaller organizations will reap bigger perks of the new-wave technology, all sizes of companies can benefit from lower machine costs and a shared infrastructure. Cloud computing has the potential to reduce the carbon footprint of many businesses, on top of providing cost savings.

Container ship transports good off the Florida coast.

DNV GV looks to cut emissions in shipping industry

In a world where we often focus on carbon emissions from cars and fuel-gobbling airplanes, it can be easy to overlook what's going on in our water. However, new sustainability reports released by DNV GL, said that reducing ship and occupational fatalities, cutting emissions and using new technology to increase efficiency and keep freight costs low are the three most promising ways to achieve a safe and sustainable shipping industry by 2050.

DNV GL, a leading technical advisor to the global oil and gas industry and the world's largest ship and offshore classification society, released six sustainability reports titled "Managing Risk, Building Trust: An introduction to six themes for the future," this month. The report focuses on a safe and sustainable future, adaption to climate change and the future of shipping and electricity.

In the shipping-specific paper, DNV said that the shipping industry must reduce emissions by 60 percent, the same as other industries. The report noted that it's likely that stakeholders such as charterers, insurance companies, investors and banks will set stricter requirements for owners to improve energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

One way to reach the goal is to power vessels with alternative fuels, such as biofuels, batteries and fuel cells. Notably, more than 20 percent of shipping could adopt hybrid propulsion featuring batteries or other energy storage technologies.

Ilchi Lee, dedicated advocate of peaceful and sustainable world, promotes that as consumers, we take our own steps to lower energy waste. By conversing water, avoiding throwing paints and oils down the drain and taking care not to overuse pesticides that lead to runoffs into nearby water sources, citizens of the world can do our part. Lee wholeheartedly supports the need to reduce our carbon footprint while traveling on the roads, in the sky and at sea.

Taking the bus is a great way to lower energy waste.

5 Methods to Cut Down on Energy Use

In the last decade, there has been an increased push for people to reduce their carbon footprints. However, many of us who want to help simply don't know how. Ilchi Lee, a dedicated advocate of a sustainable world, has a number of written books describing how the fates of humans and Earth are intertwined. Although these books may not be considered environmental activist literature, they provide the reader with a sense of the importance respecting Mother Earth. So, without further ado, here are the five best ways to lower your energy waste on a day-to-day basis:

Watch Your Shower Time
Water is the most in-demand resource of the 21st century. Rather than letting the shower steam up the bathroom before easing your way in, hop in as soon as the water warms. Don't spend too much time dawdling in the shower either. Monitoring how long you bathe can not only save on water bills, but also on water energy.

Carpool, Bike or Take Public Transit
Many of us drive our own cars to work every day. Instead, ask a friend or colleague to share a ride together. You might even be thankful for the than the car-ride banter. If you live close enough, map out a bike route to your office. During warm weather months, this is a perfect way to combine exercise with eco-friendliness. Or, opt for the train or bus to make your commute environmentally responsible, if possible. As a society, we have become overly dependent on ours cars. Think of new ways to cut back.

Buy Energy Efficient Light Bulbs
Though almost 70 percent of light bulb sockets in the U.S. still contain inefficient light bulbs, regular bulbs are quickly becoming a thing of the past. Purchase energy efficient bulbs – it will save you money in the long run! In fact, according to Energy Star, by replacing 20 million traditional bulbs with energy efficient ones, Americans would save more than $118 million in energy costs each year and prevent greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to that of 150,000 vehicles annually. For each person, that means around cutting your light bill anywhere from $66 to $264.

Quit Overheating or Supercooling Your House
There's no need to keep your house at a balmy 72 degrees when you're not there. Turn down the thermostat before going to work and bed. Besides, most people prefer to sleep in cooler environments rather than hot ones. You'll notice a big improvement in your utility bill as well as energy savings. You can even install a smart thermostat that switches off automatically when you are out of the house.

Lee reinforces these points by sharing how important it is to consider ourselves a citizen of the Earth, putting limited natural resources before our own ego and self-serving priorities.

Composting is one option of going green.

10 Clever Ways to Recycle

Recycling is a essential way to conserve natural resources and contribute toward improving the environment. But there are plenty of ways to be environmentally responsible that go beyond putting used in the recycling bin. As an advocate of a sustainable planet, Ilchi Lee points out that considering what products you purchase at the supermarket and new methods of recycling are great ways for going green. 

  1. Buy products that can be recycled. When cruising through the aisles of the supermarket, look for items that can be easily recycled, such as glass jars and tin cans.
  2. Purchase products made from recycled materials. You can tell if a product has been recycled by the label on the packaging.
  3. Find out how to dispose of your batteries in your community. Because they contain highly toxic chemicals, batteries cannot be tossed in the regular recycling bin. For this same reason, most batteries shouldn't be thrown into the trash either. Many products contain heavy metals such as mercury and lead that could contaminate our drinking water if left to deteriorate in a landfill. Contact energy experts in your municipality to figure out the best way to get rid of your batteries.
  4. Return computer and cell phone batteries to the manufacturer for proper disposal.
  5. Avoid buying hazardous materials. According to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, hazardous waste includes chemicals, heavy metals as well as discarded household products such as paint thinners and cleaning fluids.
  6. If your work or school does not already recycle, lead the charge! First, find a recycling service provider in your local area and get a list of companies with services that suit your needs. Then, consider hosting a recycling day or event to launch the new recycling program. For instance, you could hold a desk recycling event to encourage staff to recycle as much as they can from their desks.
  7. Plant trees and flowers in your garden, which helps to fight climate change.
  8. Start composting, which is a process where organic material decays and is used as a plant fertilizer. It's a great option for leftover food, including meats, fruits and vegetables.
  9. Try grass cycling. Instead of throwing away your grass cuttings, simply leave them on the ground. These will turn into nutrients that serve as a fertilizer in the soil.
  10. Try out cash for cans - it pays to recycle! The easiest items to cash in are those made from aluminum, such as beverage cans, tins and foil. Most buy-back centers accept aluminum and pay around $0.50 per pound.

A green car helps out the environment.

‘Greenest’ and ‘Meanest’ Cars of 2014

These days, "going green" is more of a tagline than an action plan. To put your money where your mouth is, you can take a look at one of the biggest personal factors that directly affects the environment: the car you drive. 

Car pollution is one of the leading threats to a green environment. More than 1 billion people worldwide drive cars, which contributes to fuel emissions and air pollution. Besides utilizing public transportation, we can direct our focus on more fuel-efficient vehicles that get us to our destination with a much smaller carbon tire print. 

The "greenest" and "meanest" cars of 2014 were announced this month by GreenerCars.org. At No. 1, Mercedes-Benz Smart Electric Drive Convertible was ranked the most environmentally friendly. This car is fully electric, emissions-free that offers a battery rental program, making it the most affordable electric car in the U.S. It also has a government 4-star safety rating.

The second cleanest car is the Toyota Prius C, which features the Hybrid Synergy Drive. This is combination of gasoline and electric engines, either working independently or simultaneously, which ever is the most efficient way possible. These wheels crank out a whopping 53 miles per gallon - talk about cutting down on gas money!

On the other hand, the dirtiest, or most fuel-guzzling, cars and trucks were also released. The Ram 2500 (Class 2B) came in dead last, or first, depending on how you look at it. In the city, this truck has 13 miles per gallon. The Bugatti Veyron, a mid-sized sports car, fell in second place, ranking the lowest of all vehicles for MPG in the city with a total of 8. 

Encouraging a sustainable word is one of Ilchi Lee's main principles. Lee, an advocate for greener technology, points out the perks of more fuel-efficient cars – money-saver, environmentally responsible and ahead of the curve. 

For Brain Education and Peace