Tag Archives: Environment

Industrial Hemp: Eat it, Wear it, Burn it, Buy it, Sell it, Import it, BUT DON’T Grow it.

By Rachel Rimm

With America’s sudden concern to become more “green” and “eco-friendly”, one may have heard of a material called Hemp. Hemp comes from a plant called Cannabis Sativa. It is a green leafy plant that grows to be roughly ten feet tall and is very thin. In its most common form, Hemp is a twine-like piece of string that comes in spools, and is used to make jewelry and cloth. However, Hemp can be used for many other things. It can be used in different kinds of plastics, auto parts, carpeting, foods, animal feed, building supplies, and many other things. But Americans face a huge problem. Due to the fact that Marijuana also comes from the Cannabis family, officials feel that it would be difficult to tell the difference between the two plants, and therefore prohibit the growth of this plant in the United States. In reality, however, the plants are strikingly dissimilar. Marijuana generally only grows to about five feet tall versus Hemp’s ten to fifteen. Furthermore, Marijuana needs several feet between each plant due to its bud’s need for extra sunlight, whereas hemp plants can grow only inches apart from each other. Finally, the THC levels in Hemp are generally less than 1% and in Marijuana, the THC levels are usually between 5 and 15%. Even if someone was to attempt to smoke hemp, it would result in a headache rather that a high. There are more than thirty other countries that currently grow industrial hemp, and none of them have reported having any trouble enforcing their drug laws. With an estimated 50,000 different uses, America is doing itself a great disservice by not growing it.

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Part of the Bigger Picture

By Shannon Thomas
One of the biggest issues being discussed in the news today is the environment. There are many people in Connecticut that are concerned about the government’s involvement with saving resources and preserving the planet. Even though there aren’t many big cities in our state, we still contribute to the way the environment is today. The first way is with, of course, global warming. We all know that the earth’s climate is changing, and that if nothing is done to prevent this, then there will be many problems in the future (like Florida being submerged in water when the glaciers totally melt). In this state, unfortunately, there isn’t a lot of action being taken to prevent this. The Connecticut DEP has put items in place, such as the Global Warming Solutions Act, which is trying to decrease pollution by 10 percent by 2020. This is a step in the right direction for Connecticut, and hopefully we’ll achieve this.
Governor Jodi Rell passed a bill in 2007 that works to reduce the amount of energy used and invests in energy efficiency and clean, renewable energy. It includes tax breaks for energy star appliances and cars that get 40 miles or more to the gallon. “Green” building standards are also included with these new laws, making a lot of businesses better for the environment. The bill is going towards helping the country stop being so dependent on natural resources.

While all this is going on concerning preserving our planet for the future, there are still some things going on that are directly harmful to the environment. We all remember when the smell of dead fish surrounded the football field. Though that wasn’t caused by pollution, it’s an example of what the results are when people mess with the environment. Just recently in Branford there was a lawsuit about river. Atlantic Wire Company was accused of dumping toxic waste in the Branford River 21 times since 2005. That company has agreed to pay almost 2 million dollars to the state because of it (both the Department of Environmental Protection and the Connecticut Fund for the Environment). If something like this could happen in our own hometown, then we know that there are worse things going on in the more populated parts of the country. This begs the question: if no one cares what is happening to the environment, then how can it ever get better? If more people in places like Connecticut did care, then things would change, and the future of the planet wouldn’t nearly be as uncertain as it is right now.

Though we live in a small town in the state of Connecticut, our actions can make a difference in the overall condition of the environment. Learning about some of the problems that not only affect us, but other places in the country, is the first step that everyone must take. Protecting the environment is for the benefit of everyone that lives on this planet.

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How to Save Energy in Your Home

By Sergei Poljak

Although it may not occur to you, there is a special someone paying that electricity bill every month at your home. Unfortunately, citizens of Connecticut have the highest electric bill in the country, at 24 cents per kW/h. I’ve asked a few students to see what they were paying, and although I did not get any answers, the fact is that you are most likely paying over two hundred dollars a month for your power. That’s equivalent to about 2400 a year, and it’s only one utility bill! However, you don’t just have to sit and watch as you get ripped off every month. There are many simple steps you can take to combat high electric bills. You may ask, “Will I have to sacrifice my well being?” Well, you may have to give up a few simple luxuries but, at the end of the year, you will have saved much more money than you would have thought possible.

light-bulbImage from Wayne White Coop

You may have heard of simple measures such as unplugging your cell phone charger, but the simple truth is that it won’t make the slightest difference. You’re going to have to work slightly harder if you want to reduce. A good beginner step would be to replace all your incandescent light bulbs with CFL’s if you haven’t already. CFL’s will save you about $40 a year, and they last 5 times longer than regular incandescent ones. It may cost you an initial amount (about $2 per bulb) but, in the long run, they will save you a significant amount. Furthermore, simply turning things off when you’re not using them is a great way to save money. For instance, TV’s and computers can all be turned off when not in use. So can lights and radios. You may not think about these things very often, but they are a major contributor to the energy that we use. The average American is not home for at least 8 hours a day. Those are 8 hours when nothing should be running, not even the heat (This includes radios and computers, which should be turned off when not in use). Don’t worry, your pipes won’t freeze, and when you get home, the heat will warm you up within minutes. If it’s slow, well, why do you buy sweatshirts? Lastly, if you really want to get serious, purchase space heaters, which heat only the room you’re in. They may not be entirely practical, but they can save you up to $1000 a year.

If you’ve been looking to replace any appliances, try looking at the energy star rating. The lower the wattage is (big number on the sticker), the more energy efficient. Often times a more efficient machine will be less expensive in the long run, even if it seems pricey to start. One highly suggested switch is that of electric heat (stove, hot water heater etc.) to gas. Natural gas is cleaner for the environment, cheaper, and much higher quality than electrical heat. If you happen to be looking into air conditioners, try looking at ceiling fans. They are fairly effective, and can save you in upwards of $700 a year. Sure, your house may not be as cool as you’d like it, but would you rather be able to afford college, or have it five degrees cooler when you’re at home. Once again, whether you use ceiling fans or airconditioners, they should be off when you’re not home. I’m sure everyone will be able to wait those few painful minutes until the house cools down.

Even if you refuse to change your ways, I hope you think of the wasteful lifestyle that we, as Americans, live. Most people in the world don’t have heat or air conditioning, so at least be thankful that you do. Lastly, tell your parents about this. Take initiative and encourage them. Just tell them how much money they’ll save, and I’m sure they’ll agree.

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