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Green Fact Checking

A quick run-through of the arguments against going green.

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By P.A. Castro

The first Earth Day was marked 40 years ago – specifically in 1969, when US Senator Gaylord Nelson called for the establishment of April 22 every year as a day for “nationwide grassroots demonstration on the environment”; though the United Nations, in a tradition started by peace activist John McConnell also in 1969, also started Earth Day celebrations on the March equinox, which is often on March 20. The interesting thing is, in the case of environmental awareness, maturity does not come with aging – many beliefs that continue to persist about greening are fallacious.

Writing for the New York Post, Max Schulz cites in Green Myths: Enviro “Facts” That Aren’t a recent survey by Zogby International for the Manhattan Institute, which found that, “when it comes to energy and the environment, the public is more inclined to believe myths than to have a firm grasp of basic facts.”
Thus, especially during Earth Day, while “environmental ecclesiasts will once again call on their flocks to take action. By all means, let us safeguard the environment – but with steps rooted in fact, not myth,” Schulz says.
G Magazine looks at the truths that are not as far as greening is concerned.

Myth 1: Going green is expensive.

Arguably the most often used argument against going green is that it is costly – which is, in a way, true, since you may have to invest more, often quite expensively, and that’s even on something you may already have.
But this is a wrong way of looking at spending for green, according to Ronaldo T. Villon, president of UniSolar Inc., one of the few all-Filipino companies to sell solar panels street lamps (with local government units as the main clients). For its maiden project, the company undertook the exclusive importation and distribution in the Philippines of solar-powered outdoor lighting fitted into a lamp post structure that is aptly called Steel Intelligentized Solar Street Light, which makes use of polycrystalline solar cells to capture the power of the sun, and then stores them in a deep recycle lead acid battery to power compact fluorescent light bulbs to emit light. ISO-certified, the entire fixture and all of its components function in all weather conditions, for up to over 20 years.
While “it is costlier compared to electric outdoor lighting, it is more economical in the long term because of the savings in electricity and maintenance,” says Villon, adding that, even better, “our product has ROI (return of investment), which can never happen in electric lighting, as it also has residual value (through the possible interest money incurred on savings from expenses that using solar lighting cut).”
This way, going green is only expensive to begin with, but more than pays for itself in the long run.
Writing for guardian.co.uk, Dick Strawbridge, BBC TV presenter and green home expert, says that “you don’t have to be wealthy or a tree hugger to make energy efficient changes to your home.” Yes, there are expensive green products; but, yes, there are also cheaper alternatives, so that “if the cost is putting you off doing it, don’t think twice: buy the cheapest.”

Myth 2: Real effect can only be felt by grand efforts, not by small steps.

According to Dana Dratch, a freelance writer based in Atlanta in the US, in 10 Major Myths About Living Green (bankrate.com), “one of your biggest weapons in the green movement is your own wallet. Recent numbers demonstrate that a few smarter buying decisions translate to big changes in the planet. One that’s fairly easy: When you buy household paper goods (like paper towels, napkins, toilet paper, and copy paper), look for products that use high percentages of recycled or post-consumer waste.”
This is because, Dratch says, quoting Jennifer Powers, spokeswoman for the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental advocacy group, “a lot of the major paper manufacturers are cutting virgin forests to make the items you use. But some well-known green-label brands… use recycled materials instead. If everyone in the country elected to buy one package of 100% recycled napkins instead of the non-recycled variety, that act alone would save one million trees.”

Myth 3: Most eco-moves take decades to pay back the cost.

“Every time we decide to make an investment in an eco-project, the subject of payback comes up,” Strawbridge says. But while “it is possible to do the sums, and before we spend any hard earned cash, I like to make sure that it’s a good investment.”
A good example, according to Strawbridge, is an investment in a “DIY (do-it-yourself) solar thermal system to heat your hot water (at home. While it may only pay for) itself in four or five years, surely this is missing the point: when it comes to environmentally friendly projects we seem unable to accept the fact that it can be an investment and will add to the value of the house. What is the payback time for a new bathroom or kitchen? If you install solar photovoltaic (PV) panels (now), you can reasonably expect them to easily last 25 to 30 years. Everyone knows a new kitchen makes a house more saleable, but in the current economic climate, how much more saleable is a house that will cost the new owners very little to run or may even generate an income?”

Myth 4: You have to be some sort of a scientist to fully effect environmental strategies.

For Strawbridge, “in the 21st century, there is no excuse for not being able to get stuck into any eco-project. Information is readily available and all the materials you need can usually be sourced within 10 miles,” he says. “Of course, I have to acknowledge that there is some sensible legislation that means you are not allowed to fiddle with mains electricity, or get involved with structural engineering, unless you’re suitably qualified. That does not mean you can’t do most of the work yourself, which is by far the cheapest way.”
Simply, Strawbridge says, “if you have running water and a desire to have a water wheel, all you need is to know that the angle of the bucket is 114°. With a little bit of common sense, anything is achievable.”

Myth 5: There is only one green solution for every green concern.

Not!
Says Dratch: “The paper or plastic debate is the best example of this. Not even the experts can agree which is a more eco-friendly way to carry home groceries. The better answer, of course, is neither: Bring your own cloth bags to the store.”
The problem is that “conflicting information about what constitutes a green choice can leave many consumers stalled with indecision. The best way to break the logjam is to start by trying a couple of solutions that are doable and make sense to you,” Dratch says.

Believing that everyone's perspective is important, Zest Magazine has opted to provide an avenue for these perspectives to be known. care to hear the publication's contributing writers; or better yet, do some contributing yourself by contacting info@zestmag.com.

NewsMakers

How to get the best wedding photos ever

Finding the ‘right’ photographer for your wedding is a bit like dating; you can’t make a decision only after checking someone out online. A photographer’s portfolio might be really polished, but you can’t get a real sense of their personality or emotional intelligence. It’s wise to meet with a few photographers or videographers, either in person or via zoom, before you make a final decision.

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Photo by Joel Overbeck from Unsplash.com

According to The New York Times, 2022 will be the biggest year for the wedding industry since 1984. After two years of delays and cancellations, everyone is going to the proverbial chapel to tie the knot. One of the most important elements for many couples are the photos and videos, preserving this special moment forever.

“In the end, having tangible memories you’ll cherish for years to come is a better investment than party favors or fancy table linen,” said Rachel LaCour Niesen, Head of Market Intelligence

A graduate from the Missouri School of Journalism, LaCour Niesen forged a career as a professional wedding photographer and photojournalist where she developed the first CRM for pro photographers. While still continuing her passion in professional photography, LaCour Niesen also serves as Head of Market Intelligence at ShootProof, a platform used by 300,000 photographers to share, deliver, print, & sell their photos. Just in the last year, Shootproof managed wedding galleries received 2.8 million visits per month – and that number is anticipated to grow in 2022. 

Her advice when shopping for a wedding photographer? “Finding the ‘right’ photographer for your wedding is a bit like dating; you can’t make a decision only after checking someone out online. A photographer’s portfolio might be really polished, but you can’t get a real sense of their personality or emotional intelligence. It’s wise to meet with a few photographers or videographers, either in person or via zoom, before you make a final decision.”

For one of the most important days in someone’s life, Rachel has a few “dos” before you say “I Do”

  • Ask friends and family for recommendations. “Word-of-mouth referrals are a great way to curate a list of prospective photographers and videographers.” says Rachel. “After all, your friends and family know you better than anyone else.”
  • Spend time viewing their online portfolios. According to Rachel, “a lot of people can take a few great photos or videos. To tell a more complete “story” of a wedding celebration requires more skill, patience, and thoroughness.”
  • Look closely to see if the photographers and videographers you are interested in have shot weddings in many types of lighting conditions. “It’s pretty easy to capture stunning photos outdoors during “golden hour,” around sunset,” Rachel remarked. “But it’s much, much harder to capture stunning photos in a dimly-lit event space like a hotel ballroom or dance club.”
  • Ask whether photo products are included in their booking fee and/or package price. “To me, every couple should end up having a wedding album or book–a tangible one, not just an online slideshow,” Rachel said. “I still have copies of my grandparent’s wedding photos hanging in my home. They inspire me and bring back so many memories of our family stories. Plus my son is now curious to hear about his great grandparents too and I can point right to those photos and use them to spark conversation.”

Wedding photography does not just document the union itself, but all the family members and friends who came together to celebrate. “Sometimes, the most cherished photo is not that ‘kiss the bride’ moment but that last family image with a beloved grandparent. Weddings are those precious occasions where people rally together in a grand act of joy.”

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Health

How can the self-employed tackle burnout? Expert shares top tips

Self-employed people such as business owners or freelancers may be more susceptible to burnout due to long working hours and the weight of responsibility that they carry.

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Photo by Nubelson Fernandes from Unsplash.com

With workers returning to the office in their greatest numbers since the pandemic, the number of people suffering from burnout or stress-related illnesses is also on the rise.

Self-employed people such as business owners or freelancers may be more susceptible to burnout due to long working hours and the weight of responsibility that they carry. 

For many work and life have become intertwined, fortunately, Private Rehab Clinic Delamere has shared tips on how you can tackle burnout when self-employed and the common signs.  

How you can tackle burnout

1. Set Goals and Priorities

Having a mountain of work, with no plan in place to move forward can sometimes feel overwhelming. It can help to take a step back to assess which of your tasks need prioritising, and which ones will help you to achieve your goals.  

2. Speak to Your Colleagues or Clients

Being honest with the people that you are working with or for, about your mental health can often make things a lot a lot easier. You may be surprised at how understanding other people are of your situation.

By being open with others, you will have a better understanding of what to expect from each other, meaning that you will have a stronger professional relationship going forward.

3. Ask for Help

Never be afraid to ask for help if you feel that your stress is becoming too much to handle and you start to show signs of burnout. Getting external advice through counselling or therapy can give you a new perspective on a situation to guide you through any problems.

If you do not feel comfortable with counselling, then simply reaching out to friends and family can be enough to help you talk through your problems.

4. Schedule Time-Off

Sometimes when work life is becoming too stressful, all you need to do is take a short break from it all. Returning to work after a much-needed break can give a person a more positive mindset.

Those who are self-employed are often in charge of their own schedule and can over look the need to take holidays. In fact, some surveys have shown that nearly one in ten business owners go up to five years without taking a holiday.

5. Consider Changing Things

If your line of work is causing you constant stress and it feels that there truly is no way out, then it may be worth considering if you are genuinely following the right career path for you.

It may be the case that you do not need to change your career path altogether, but that your daily work routine simply needs to be altered. Consider making small changes such as your place of work. If you are stuck in an office or at home all day, you may benefit from finding a co-working space or coffee shop to work in.

Sometimes changes can be as simple as investing in new equipment or simply taking more regular breaks from your working day. By implementing these small changes you are less likely to burnout from stress.

6. Put Self-Care First

Work-life can be demanding, especially for any self-employed people who are under pressure to meet deadlines for various clients. However, when we demand too much of ourselves, it can be damaging to our physical and mental health.

Remind yourself that you come first. Maintaining a healthy sleeping and eating pattern, while keeping up a rewarding social life and strong relationships is more important to your mental well-being than anything you do while on the clock. 

Spotting the signs of burnout

1. Feeling Tired All The Time

If you are waking up feeling exhausted and find that you are still feeling drained even after you have been awake for a few hours and a cup of coffee in your system, then this may be a sign that you have burnout.

2. Lack of Motivation

During burnout, a person may find themselves completely withdrawn from their workplace or work tasks. Simply going through the motions while at work without any kind of motivation – or taking no joy whatsoever from your accomplishments at work – could indicate that you are experiencing burnout.

3. Recurring Health Problems

A person suffering from burnout may experience frequent and recurring headaches and muscle pains, as well as feelings of indigestion and stomach aches.

4. Feeling Irritable

Finding yourself easily irritated or frustrated, even by small things, and then snapping out at others is a possible sign that you are carrying too much stress from work.

6. Self-Deprecating Feelings

When someone is suffering from burnout it can have serious effects on their mental health. A person can have a heightened sense of self-doubt, feel like a failure and even experience impostor syndrome.

A person with burnout may also experience increased feelings of isolation and detachment from their colleagues, friends and family.

7. Increased Procrastination

When burnout occurs a person may find themselves avoiding their responsibilities, regardless of how small those responsibilities may be. Instead, a person will fill their time with procrastination and indulging in comforting distractions.

8. Coping Mechanisms

During burnout, a person may be more likely to turn to other comforts and coping mechanisms such as comfort eating junk food or even consuming alcohol and/or drugs. Engaging in any habit excessively to cope with stress may be a sign of burnout.

9. Change in Sleeping and Eating Habits

Stress can mess with our natural cycle and someone who is experiencing unnaturally high levels of stress may find that their sleeping habits are altered as they end up staying up late and sleeping in.

A person may also find themselves skipping or avoiding regular meal times, having a loss of appetite at some points in the day, or craving comforting junk food at others.

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Nutrition

Tips for great grilling

Follow these easy tips for even tastier meals.

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Photo by Myles Tan from Unsplash.com

Grilling is so fun and delicious – clearly a high point of any summer.  Follow these easy tips for even tastier meals.

  1. Start with a clean grill. 
    Starting with a clean grill will allow the flavor of whatever you’re cooking to shine through and not mix with flavors left behind from whatever you grilled last. It also helps prevent food from sticking. Clean the grill with a sturdy brush while it’s hot, as it will be much easier to clean.
  2. Oil the grill grates. 
    Oiling the grill grates will help prevent lean meats from sticking to the grill. Pour oil on a paper towel, then use tongs to rub the oil on the grill grates – don’t use cooking spray as it will flare up.  Or try this fun grill hack: cut a potato in half and rub the cut side of the potato on hot grill grates, this will make the grill naturally non-stick!
  3. Always make sure your grill is hot. 
    Adding food to a hot grill will give it a wonderful sear on the outside, while keeping it perfectly juicy in the center. It will prevent food from sticking to the grill, and it’s important for cooking safety. 
  4. Use an instant-read meat thermometer to check for a safe and desired temperature. 
    You always want to make sure that food on the grill is cooked to a safe temperature. Use an instant read thermometer to make sure meat is cooked to the proper temperature. Food safety is extremely important, as undercooked food can cause illness.
  5. Use a grill basket. 
    For foods that might fall through the grates and cause flare-ups, use Basquettes. These are incredibly handy for grilling vegetables, seafood, fish, kabobs, stuffed sliders, cheese and fruit. You can use Basquettes with a top so you can flip a whole basket of food over in one motion.
  6. Always let meat rest after removing it from the grill. 
    Depending on the meat, allow it to rest for at least 5-15 minutes before slicing into it. A large piece of meat, such as a tri tip will need more rest time than a smaller steak, like a tenderloin. Resting the meat allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat for a juicier, more tender piece of meat and tenting under foil helps keep it warm.
  7. Experiment with different cooking techniques.
    Grills can easily become smokers or rotisseries! Make a flattened foil packet of aromatic hardwood and pierce it a few times. Use your Basquettes with the legs on and slip the foil packet beneath. Or put the baskets together and make a rotisserie cage for delicious chicken!
  8. Know whether to cook your foods directly or indirectly. 
    Smaller pieces of meat, like a New York strip steak, that take 20 minutes or less to cook should be grilled over direct heat. Large pieces of meat, like ribs, that take more than 20 minutes to cook should be grilled over indirect heat.
  9.  Add sauce to meat at the end of the grilling process. 
    Adding a glaze or barbecue sauce, especially one with sugar, too early in the cooking process can cause your meat to burn and stick to the grill. If you plan to baste meat with a sauce or glaze, do it in the last 5 minutes of cooking, if the total cooking time is 30 minutes or less. If the total cooking time is over 30 minutes, baste the meat in the last 15 minutes of cooking time.

Bonus tips!

  • Never flatten meat with a spatula when it’s on the grill. This will release all of the juicy flavor in the middle of the meat.
  • Avoid putting cold foods on the grill. Bringing meat to room temperature for 30 minutes will help it cook more evenly.
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