When it comes to climate change, boundary lines between countries fade away.

New App Streamlines Sustainability Tips

When it comes to protecting earth's natural resources, we all have to do our part. And as technology becomes more advanced, it may help us work our way through the planet crisis.

With this in the forefront of their minds, an Arizona State University graduate and professor launched a social media app aimed to inspire people to take action to improve the conditions of planet earth. 

The app is called "eEcosphere," and it encourages collaboration between individuals on everything from heavy climate change topics to sustainability tips. More specifically, eEcosphere enables people to share and comment on one another's suggestions on articles like "how to do your laundry better" and "3 ways to reduce your impact when eating out."

"Sustainability is a human challenge," George Basile, co-founder of eEcosphere and a professor at ASU's School of Sustainability, told Arizona Central News. "It's a human problem. The social feature really builds on the idea of helping people, thereby helping global challenges."

The eEcosphere app lets you exchange action-worthy ideas with your friends and adopt the ones that connect with you. It can even help develop and materialize ideas by linking one another with the resources and people that can make it happen. The app also partners with business, sustainable operations and government entities to enrich content. 

For example, the U.S. Department of Agriculture provided information about flowers specific to each region, so users could figure out what to plant in their areas.

Andrew Krause, app co-founder and an ASU graduate, said his goal is to disseminate information on environment friendly concerns that can allow people to do things in their everyday routine – which often add up being the most impactful - more sustainably.

He said climate change is a pervasive issue for everyone, especially the Millennial generation. That's why Krause figured the technological platform of an app would be suitable. 

Ilchi Lee, an advocate of a sustainable world, couldn't agree more with Krause's principles. Lee constantly drives home the point that we are all part of this world together – and we are all earth's citizens. When it comes to climate change and lack of natural resources, the boundary lines between communities, states, countries fade away. There is only one group, and that is us. 

A woman strikes a yoga pose.

Comparing Healing Touch and Regular Meditation

Many people are looking for energy methods for healing. 

A simple touch from one person to another has been shown to promote a sense of trust and teamwork, but there is a little-heard of practice that incorporates the sense in a different way. It's called healing touch. 

Like many others, Anita Kiger, from Dover, Delaware, needed a change when she reached her mid 50s. She had constant back and neck pain and longed for new inspiration. 

She found it only 15 minutes away from her house at a meditation studio. From licensed professionals, Kiger started receiving healing touch, which combines meditation with physical touch to focus on parts of the body that are stressed or in pain. 

The method, a relaxing, nurturing energy therapy, helps bolster well-being by massaging energy into the body. In this way, the physical touch stimulates blood flow, playing a role in delivering essential nutrients to the area in pain. 

"When you're sick or in surgery or there's some kind of illness going on there, energy fields are out of balance," Dr. Frances Zappalla, a pediatric cardiologist certified in integrative medicine, told Delaware Online News Journal.

Although Zappalla said she was skeptical at first, after working with a number of patients with such healing touch practices, she said she sees real benefits. 

Zappalla emphasized the importance of the connection between the mind and body. Similar to practicing meditation and striking yoga poses, healing touch reduces blood pressure and heart rate. However, unlike these practices, healing energy has not been measured quantitatively in a reliable way, according to the University of Minnesota.  

There have been countless studies done on regular meditation benefits and the stress relief provided by yoga practices, but healing touch has not had a large body of research for proper testing. 

A big reason why integrative medicine might be effective in general relates to lifestyle choices, the cardiologist said. Healthy eating and mindfulness play a big role – instead of reaching for a cheeseburger, opt for the chicken salad, and instead of concentrating on negative thoughts throughout the day, try to harness uplifting experiences and positive self-reinforcement. 

Ilchi Lee, a master of meditation and The New York Times best-selling author, explains that every individual should find a relaxation technique that works for him or her. According to ancient Chinese practice, the body is made of channels, like veins, through which energy flows. When these channels become blocked from things like an injury, exploring healing treatments with yoga and meditation can prove instrumental in tearing down the energy blockades to feel like yourself again. 

Ilchi Lee recently visited Kerikeri, New Zealand.

Ilchi Lee Visits New Zealand, a Magnet for Meditation

As The New York Times best-selling author and acclaimed philosopher, Ilchi Lee has been frequenting Kerikeri, the largest town in Northland New Zealand.

In June, Lee visited Kerikeri for the second time, and he plans to return for a three-month-long stay. He says that Kerikeri, with Rainbow Falls, the friendly people and the peacefulness, is a magnet for meditation.

Of course, setting has a lot to do with mindful meditation. Reaching a sense of calm is given a big helping hand from the soothing, relaxing environment in which one practices. Kerikeri, a subtropical paradise, aptly fits the bill.

The 63-year-old South Korean has followers from all corners of the world. He combines the Korean Taoist tradition, known as Sun Do, with neuroscience and environmental wisdom, and he has written 36 books, many of which have been translated into several languages.

Becoming a Fun Person
All of us have gone through the struggle of figuring out who we really are and what we want to do with our lives. For Lee, becoming happier all starts with living in the here and now, and embracing life for what is rather than what it appears to be on the surface.

When you look at someone you think is fun, what characteristics do they have? Outgoing, generous, adventurous? No matter your personality, Lee says, you can become a "fun" person – someone who makes their existence beautiful.

"Becoming a fun person isn't hard to do," Lee told the New Zealand newspaper Stuff.co.nz. "Right now, at this very moment, change how you smile, how you speak, how you walk and how you breathe. Practice it every day, in every moment. Smile, talk about good news, walk with a spring your step and breathe."

From Struggle to Success
As a child, Lee grappled with the problem of attention deficit disorder. When he was a teenager he turned to the martial art taekwondo to help ease his restless mind. Although he initially didn't pass his college entrance exam, Lee ended up graduating with a degree in clinical pathology and opening a clinical pathology practice. Through meditation, Lee was able to fight off the problems of ADD, and he began to teach methods of meditation to classes gathered in a community park.

The classes were the starting point of a lifelong journey, as Lee has since opened hundreds of Dahn Centers in South Korea and the U.S.

When the entrepreneur visits places like Kerikeri, he sees a human potential that transcends national boundaries. One of Lee's biggest messages is that we should all consider ourselves citizens of the earth. Lee believes that peace can only be achieved if humanity gives up nationalistic identities and becomes more self-sufficient in health care. Instead of over-relying on pharmaceuticals and specialized health care, we should rediscover the natural means of health maintenance.

Lee notes that our minds are the driving force of our happiness. We have a lot of external and internal noise – people telling us one thing, and our minds telling us another. Get rid of the cluster and fill it with good news. Through meditation, we can learn to work with our minds instead of against them and form relationships between one another to build a stronger future.

Air travel emissions account for about 5 percent of warming, according to The New York Times.

What Air Travel Does to the Environment

We hear endless talk about the carbon emissions left by cars and trucks on the road. But what about the greenhouse gases emitted from airplanes? 

According to The New York Times, a round-trip flight from New York to San Francisco generates a warming effect equivalent to 2 or 3 tons of carbon dioxide per person. 

The average American creates about 19 tons of carbon dioxide a year. So, if you take five long flights each year, they may add up to three-quarters of the emissions you make.

Although air travel emissions currently account for 5 percent of warming – there are hundreds of thousands more auto vehicles than airplanes, not to mention the devastating impact of coal power plants – that number is projected to rise significantly. This is because the volume of air travel is growing faster than gains in flight fuel efficiency. 

"For many people in New York City, who don't drive much and live in apartments, this is probably going to be by far the largest part of their carbon footprint," Anja Kollmuss, a Zurich-based environmental consultant, told The New York Times.

What the FAA is Doing About It
But it's not all gray skies. 

In late June 2014, the U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx awarded a $442,500 Federal Aviation Administration grant to Denver International Airport to cut emissions and improve air quality at the airport through the FAA's Voluntary Airport Low Emission program.

VALE is designed to lower all sources of airport ground emissions in all areas of marginal air quality.

"This program supports President Obama's efforts to combat carbon pollution and reduce aviation's emissions footprint," said Secretary Foxx. "These funds will help airports around the country make the necessary investments to reduce fuel costs and help protect our health and the environment."

Since 2005, the FAA has funded a total of 66 VALE projects at 34 airports

For the Denver airport, the project will allow planes shut off their auxiliary power units while parked at the gate and link up to a cleaner cooling and heating system. All of this will save fuel and help improve air quality by reducing emissions. 

Through the VALE program, airports have sliced ozone emissions by about 466 tons per year, which is about the same as removing 26,000 trucks off the road each year. 

A strong advocate for a sustainable world, Ilchi Lee, remarks that there's no doubt that these are steps in the right direction for leaving a smaller carbon footprint. We just have to be more conscious about where we fly to, and the efficiency of our travel.

Although Millennials are less likely than older adults to describe themselves as environmentalists, they are the most sustainability-conscious generation yet.

Millennials on Sustainability

People born from 1980 to 2000, also referred to as the millennials or generation Y, will bear the brunt of the environmental burden as climate concerns are dumped on them from previous generations. So, in an effort to spur action and hear their perspective, strong advocate of a sustainable world, Ilchi Lee, among others, wants to find out what these problem-solvers are thinking, and how they might take action.

A recent survey conducted by the Pew Research Center suggests while millennials are the most sustainability-conscious generation yet, they don't call themselves "environmentalists." In fact, only 32 percent of Americans in generation Y see themselves as environmentalists, compared to 42 percent of Americans between the ages of 49 and 64 (born between 1965 and 1980), and 44 percent of those born after 1945.

Based on the younger generations' attitudes, it's likely that millennials simply reject the label of "environmentalist." Despite this, gen Yers are more likely to attribute global warming to human activity, more supportive of stricter environmental laws and more likely to favor environmentally friendly polices such as tax incentives for hybrid vehicles and green energy development. 

But getting the word out isn't the main problem. But before talking turns into action, accurate and relevant news needs to spread among the generation to get an incentive in motion. Right now, although almost every American has heard about climate change, even intellectual, forward-thinking youth are disengaged from the topic. 

University of Santa Barbara sustainability director Kathleen Merrigan recently hosted a panel about what the millennial generation thinks about biobased sustainability. In the discussion, the young people talked about the importance of social media and especially short video message to reach them. There are many stories that need telling, and getting them engaged in the learning process can be very effective.

"What they're doing is trying to teach young people to be storytellers," she said in a press release. "We'd like to send our students out to farms and help tell the story of American agriculture."

Indeed, sharing tales can come in the form of social media, since it shares plenty of ground with sustainability. Through Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other social media sites, we are able to capture and share moments in real time, sowing a tapestry of individual and shared experience. Although often posts may be trivial, the monumental ones stand a chance at influencing the viewer. Pictures on "Make Every Day Earth Day," links to eco-friendly videos and referendums to limit deforestation can all make a difference.

Help your company go paperless.

3 Easy Ways to Reduce Waste At Your Company

If the average person in the U.S. generates 4.3 pounds of waste per day, imagine how much a 100-person company throws out? Too much. Many businesses are even wasting more than they did two years ago. Cutting down on disposables not only saves money on waste hauling, but demonstrates industry leadership and social responsibility. 

So, check out these efficient ways to lower your company's wastefulness:  

1. Cut Down on Packaging
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, one-third of waste in developed countries comes from packaging. Take a look at the shipping and supply methods used in your business. Could you do away with single-use containers? Pepsi-Cola saved $44 million by switching from corrugated cardboard to reusable plastic shipping containers. 

What's more, with the shift onto the online world, consider emailing that 25-page handout instead of printing it for each employee.

2. Go Paperless
Paper consumption has tripled since 1960, and Americans produce 85 million tons of paper into the waste stream, according to Go Paperless Solutions, Inc.

There are better alternatives. Along the same lines as reducing packaging, companies can save lots of money on sending documents via email, the cloud or other virtual platform rather than printing, faxing and boxing. On the back end, it can easily reduce an enterprise's costs on ink, toner and electricity. 

3. Ditch Bottled Water
Bottled water spells disaster for our carbon footprint. The manufacturing, filling and shipping processes emit vast amounts of fossil fuels. 

At the end of the day, bottled water is just glorified tap water. In fact, 25 percent of bottle water comes from the tap, and the containers we toss out are being left for the next millennia to handle. That's not a wise global gift. 

Instead, provide glasses or reusable bottles in your company's break room. 

Before you decide to ignore the message that the world is sending us, consider this: More than 7 billion pounds of PVC are thrown away in the U.S. each year, according to the Clean Air Council. Only 18 million pounds of that is recycled. 

There's no doubt that we – not just your neighbor or your co-worker, everyone – need to lend a hand in recycling. Ilchi Lee, an advocate of sustainable environment, emphasizes that as citizens of the world, it's our job to keep it clean for generations to come. 

Solar panels on houses can save homeowners 50 percent on their electricity bill each year.

Solar Power Progress

The sun is one of our most powerful natural resources - it sets our circadian clocks and provides necessary vitamin D to our bodies throughout the day. Our central star powers not only our bodies, but our homes and companies as well. In the last decade, solar power has been growing rapidly, with a huge shift to replace fossil fuels. 

The largest solar-panel plant in the world was recently finished in Arizona, where the 290-megawatt project sitting between Yuma and Phoenix will send electricity to California for at least 25 years. Called Agua Caliente, which means "hot water" in English, the solar farm uses thin, film solar panels that rely on a compound of cadmium-telluride to convert sunlight into energy. Talk about a push toward a sustainable world!

At maximum production, the project can generate enough electricity for about 230,000 homes, although the panels depend heavily on the weather. A cloudy day could diminish production significantly. 

Last year the solar industry installed a record amount of solar capacity. In the U.S., California and Arizona have been leading the pack with a growing number of solar power projects. The construction boom reflects a movement to replace fossil fuel power generation with cleaner energy sources. For instance, California requires its utilities to get 33 percent of their electricity supplies from renewable sources by 2020. 

But your state does not need to have legislation in place for you to be part of the sunshine movement. Homeowners who install solar systems in their houses can save an average of 50 percent of their electric bill. The average American household uses 920 kilowatt hours (kWh) per month, and solar panels can account for as much as 840 kWh, according to Solar World. 

But perhaps the most exciting and ambitious project is Solar Roadways. Developed by two Idaho engineers, the technology would replace ordinary streets with a solar panel roads that could melt snow and ice and generate electricity. The road would consist of hexagonal-shaped panels that are made up of four layers: half-inch thick glass surface, followed by a layer of LED lights, an electronic support structure and a base layer made of recyclable materials. 

"We can produce three times more power than we use as a nation. That will eliminate the need for coal-fired power plants," Scott Brusaw, a co-founder of Solar Roadways, told Computer World.

The company, which has already received some federal funding, is now running a crowdsourcing campaign on Indiegogo.com. The technology is currently being tested. 

Ilchi Lee, who is an advocate of a sustainable world, explains that the next step is to be able to save solar power in a sort of battery form. If we can harness the energy for the cloudy and rainy days, we can revolutionize the energy efficiency game. 

Solar panels are a key investment in the going green effort.

Green Jobs Growing Worldwide

While going green has been a trend for the last few decades, only now are people starting to see the urgency with which we need to confront climate change and the energy crisis. As a result, the job landscape is growing – which is good news for citizens worldwide.

In 2013, about 800,000 new green jobs were created to reach a total of 6.5 million overall jobs, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency's (IRENA) Renewable Energy and Jobs Annual Review 2014. The largest employers were in China, Brazil and the U.S. Other noteworthy employers occurred in Spain and Bangladesh.

The main sectors of improvement were solar photovoltaic, liquid biofuels and wind power. IRENA showed that solar photovoltaic and wind power remain the most dynamic renewable energy technologies. 

These numbers are evidence of a clean energy economic shift. This is compatible with Ilchi Lee's belief that citizens of the planet should make a shift toward going green, aiming to improve energy efficiency and take advantage of recycled materials. 

O*NET OnLine, a partner of the American Job Center network and the nation's largest database for occupational information, classified 45 new and emerging green careers on top of 64 green professions in the U.S.

So, what exactly are green careers? Based on the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, they can be split into two categories: output and process. Jobs related to output produce energy efficient goods and services aimed to improve the environment or conserve natural resources, such as water filtration systems and organic products. Careers related to process harness environmentally friendly production processes, such as careers in sustainability. 

"With 6.5 million people directly or indirectly employed in renewable energy, the sector is proving that it is no longer a niche, it has become a significant employer worldwide," Adnan Amin, IRENA director general, told CleanTechnica. "The insights into shifts along segments of the value-chain revealed in the report are developing policy that strengthens job growth in this important sector of the economy."

One woman bikes to work.

National Bike to Work Day

This Friday, May 16, is "National Bike to Work Day." This biker-dedicated holiday is the perfect time to inflate the tires, shake the rust off the chain and pedal along a scenic route to work as spring has finally arrived. 

Besides giving you a great workout, biking is extremely eco-friendly. It requires no fuel, toxic batteries or motor oil and there are no carbon emissions as a result. If you're looking for a way to reduce your carbon footprint, tire tracks from your bicycle might be the place to start. 

Thousands of people all over the U.S. will partake in National Bike to Work Day. For those suiting up for the first time this season, be sure to check your tires, gears and chain. 

If the holiday itself isn't enough to pull you from your vehicle, consider this: In a 10-mile round-trip commute five days a week for year, a small car emits almost 1 ton of carbon dioxide, according to Grand Valley State University. 

Ilchi Lee, a dedicated advocate for a sustainable world, reminds us that bicycling significantly reduces transportation emissions while cutting traffic congestion and the need for petroleum. Cars are one of the leading culprits of pollutants that harm the environment, so be sure to partake in the national holiday.

For some people, every day is bike-to-work day. Stan Ricciuti, who lives in Philadelphia and works 10 miles away in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, is one of those people. Ricciuti has biked to and from work for the past three decades, averaging at least 30 miles a day. Talk about energy efficiency!

Pedaling to Work
To be careful along the road, make sure to pick a route that's not crowded, such as the lesser-known, small streets. To prevent getting sore or chafing from cycling, wear padded shorts and bring a change of dress clothes to swap into once you arrive at the office. 

Climate change is here and now.

White House Report: Climate Change is Here

Climate change is no longer a faraway concern lingering on the horizon. It is present here and now, and millions of Americans and people all over the world are feeling its effects, announced a new report released by the White House this month.

The National Climate Assessment report, the result of a three-year analysis by a team of more than 300 experts overseen 60 members of the Federal Advisory Committee, outlines the impact of climate change on the U.S.

Corn producers in Iowa, water managers in the arid Southwest, maple syrup producers in Vermont and city dwellers from Phoenix to New York are experiencing weather shifts. Summers are long and hotter and winters are typically shorter and warmer. Rain comes in heavier downpours.

"This is not some distant problem of the future," president Barack Obama told NBC.

In the last few decades, climate science has shown with increased certainty that we are now experiencing impacts associated with human-induced climate change. Carbon emissions from factories, power plants and cars all contribute to it. As the carbon footprint becomes larger, the outcome becomes worse.

Action Plan
Last year, Obama launched his Climate Action Plan that vouched that this report would be used to manage the risks of climate change. Now, the report urges citizens and the U.S. government to respond to the twin challenges of reforming policies to ameliorate further climate change and preparing for the consequences of climate changes that can no longer be avoided.

Take advantage of recycled materials and bear in mind energy efficiency – such as turning off lights when one is not a room, carpooling and not wasting water in long showers and baths – are steps to lessen the damage we have done.

The Assessment said that responses can be split into two broad categories. The first is "mitigation, which would reduce CO2 emissions and increasing the removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. The second is "adaption," to enhance the world's ability to cope with and steer clear of harmful effects.

Yes, It's Real
According to CNN, recent polling indicates that most Americans believe human activities cause climate change. However, it also shows that the issue is less important to the public than the economy and other topics.

The U.S. average temperature has jumped by 1.3 degrees Fahrenheit to 1.9 degrees since 1895, and the majority of this increase has occurred since 1970. 2012 was the hottest year on record in the continental U.S.

This is not just the U.S.'s problem or one for China, Brazil or any other country for that matter; it is a global issue. Ilchi Lee, a New York Times best-selling author and dedicated advocate of peaceful, sustainable world, shares that climate change is something that all of the citizens of the world must confront together. Party lines should no longer be an obstacle. There is no red or blue, only green. Lee also started The Earth Citizen Organization, a non-profit that lends a hand to environmental improvement.

If you think it doesn't affect you, think again. Coastal cities have witnessed their streets flood more regularly during high tides, and inland cities by large rivers are also experiencing more flooding. As a result, U.S. insurance rates are rising in some vulnerable locations, and insurance has been altogether removed in others.

The summer sea ice in Alaska that used to protect the coasts has receded. The report forecasts that sea levels will rise at least a foot by the end of the century and even as much as four feet, depending on how much of the Greenland and Antarctic ice shelf melts. The consequence could be catastrophic for millions living along the ocean as it could submerge tropical islands and creep up on coastal regions.

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