Greenspiration: Home Design for the Eco-Conscious

Concerns about climate changes and the general state of our planet are constantly growing. As a result, many industries have started introducing new, green approaches and methods into their business models, trying to contribute to environmental preservation. The same goes for the eco-conscious interior design which has gained popularity recently, and many owners are now implementing sustainable practices when decorating their home. In order to help you follow in their footsteps and do something good both for our environment and your family, we’ve singled out a list of some awesome ideas and suggestion regarding this topic. Feel free to take a look.
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Food Deserts in America [Infographic]

Food deserts have been a big topic in the United States lately, and for good reason: 23.5 million Americans, about 2% of all households, live in food deserts. These food deserts are defined as areas where it is impossible to find adequate fresh, whole, and healthy foods, particularly fruits and vegetables.

Most food desert areas are impoverished, and many residents of these areas do not have a car to travel to stores that carry healthy options. Not even large cities are exempt from food deserts—according to a 2009 survey, 750,000 New York residents lived in areas without adequate access to healthy food, and in 2006, 500,000 Chicago residents reported the same.

Obviously, having poor access to healthy food has health ramifications. Many people with dietary restrictions like gluten allergies or lactose intolerance have an even harder time getting proper nutrition. It is estimated that healthy eating could save $71 billion in chronic healthcare costs by lowering rates of certain diseases. In neighborhoods with access to healthy food, a 45% decrease in diabetes cases over the course of five years was noted. Obesity was also lower in these areas.

Health costs aside, there are other negative ramifications of living in a food desert. Healthy food is more expensive at smaller stores, and many people don’t have time to venture out to larger stores, even if they do have transportation. Since many people who live in these areas live in poverty, they often have no choice but to eat fast food.

The good news is that there are many different initiatives working toward fewer food deserts in the United States, including school lunch programs and bringing grocery stores to impoverished areas. Learn more from this Tulane University infographic from their School of Social Work.

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Woodworking Hacks [Infographic]

This visual from Crowe Sawmills details 10 hacks that could work brilliantly for woodworking projects with regular household items performing a basic yet clever task. Check out some clever woodworking hacks in the infographic below.

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How to transition to Gray and embrace it [Infographic]

Finding your first gray hair can be frightening, especially with society’s pressure to stay young. But gray hair is beautiful and doesn’t signify the end of your prime.

Graying hair is typically a byproduct of the natural aging process, although there are other less common health-related causes. Grays can pop up after the age of 35, but can start earlier or later depending on your DNA. Genetics are even responsible for which hair sections turn gray first and the shade of gray produced.

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Environmental Impact of Tourism on Coastlines [Infographic]

Saving Our Beaches: Engineering Solutions for Tourists’ Impact

Everyone loves a beach vacation. In colder climates especially, more and more people are taking advantage of cheap airfares for a long weekend of sunbathing and swimming in the dead of winter. In fact, 12 of the top 15 destinations were in coastal countries.

In 1995, there were around 528 million international tourist arrivals. That number jumped to 1.138 billion in 2014, and emerging economies are experiencing faster tourism growth than advanced economies, making the increase in tourism an important part of many countries’ growth.

Local economies encourage increased tourism, as it helps to grow local wealth and jobs that pay well. Unfortunately, this relaxing trend is having some serious consequences on the environment that may outweigh the economic benefits.

Some of the downsides of increased tourism include resort development, boating, snorkeling, diving, and fishing, cruise ship presence, litter, coral reef damage, and even the creation of artificial beaches. These activities introduce toxins and other harmful substances, cause physical damage and sedimentation, and exploit local fish populations.

So what can be done to preserve the benefits of tourism for developing economies while balancing the need for environmental responsibility? Engineers have a few ideas. Eco-friendly roofing systems, designs that catch rainwater for later use, innovative wastewater management, and considering the landscape when constructing resorts and hotels can all help to reduce the impact tourists have on the local environment.

These innovative solutions are key for helping to ensure that tourists, locals, the local environment, and wildlife can all exist harmoniously now and in the future. Find out more about how serious the problems caused by coastal tourism have become and how engineers are working to solve them with this resource from Ohio University’s Master of Science in Civil Engineering Program.

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