Conserving Water

Choose water-efficient products and test your WaterSense - A family of four uses 400 gallons of water every day. EPA's WaterSense program helps conserve water for future generations by providing information on products and programs that save water without sacrificing performance.

More steps you can take:

  • Don't let the water run while shaving or brushing teeth.
  • Take short showers instead of tub baths.
  • Keep drinking water in the refrigerator instead of letting the faucet run until the water is cool.
  • Scrape, rather than rinse, dishes before loading into the dishwasher; wash only full loads.
  • Wash only full loads of laundry or use the appropriate water level or load size selection on the washing machine.
  • Buy high-efficient plumbing fixtures & appliances.
  • Repair all leaks (a leaky toilet can waste 200 gallons a day).
  • Water the lawn or garden during the coolest part of the day (early morning is best).
  • Water plants differently according to what they need. Check with your local extension service or nurseries for advice.
  • Set sprinklers to water the lawn or garden only - not the street or sidewalk.
  • Use soaker hoses or trickle irrigation systems for trees and shrubs.
  • Keep your yard healthy - dethatch, use mulch, etc.
  • Sweep outside instead of using a hose.
  • Landscape using "rain garden" techniques to save water and reduce stormwater runoff.

Reducing Air Pollution and Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Addressing air pollution in your home - The choices you make at home affect the amount of pollution outside your home as well as inside. Learn what you can do to pollute less and all the while save some money.

Climate change: what you can do at home and in the garden - Making a few small changes in your home and yard can lead to big reductions of greenhouse gas emissions and save money.

At Home and in the Garden

Saving Energy

Find Energy Star products for your home - Choosing energy-efficient products can save families about 30% ($400 a year) while reducing our emissions of greenhouse gases. Whether you are looking to replace old appliances, remodel, or buy a new house, you can help. ENERGY STAR is the government's backed symbol for energy efficiency. The ENERGY STAR label makes it easy to know which products to buy without sacrificing features, style or comfort that today's consumers expect.

More steps you can take:

  • Turn off appliances and lights when you leave the room.
  • Use the microwave to cook small meals. (It uses less power than an oven.)
  • Purchase "green power" for your home's electricity. (Contact your power supplier to see where and if it is available.)
  • Have leaky air conditioning and refrigeration systems repaired.
  • Cut back on air conditioning and heating use if you can.
  • Insulate your home, water heater and pipes.

How can I prevent marine engine pollution?

If you’re one of 12 million boat owners in the United States, you can find ways to reduce hydrocarbon and nitrogen oxides emissions from your engine.

How can I get resources to improve my local environment?

The Community Action for a Renewed Environment (CARE) program offers grants to fund collaborative partnerships of local residents, governments and businesses that reduce toxic pollutants in their local environments and minimize people's exposure to those pollutants.

Community Action for a Renewed Environment (CARE)

How can I protect my drinking water?

There are lots of ways that you can help keep your local water supply safe. You can help to protect the watershed that surrounds it.
For more information:

  • How you can protect your drinking water
  • Cómo puedo ayudar a proteger el agua potable

Is the air outside healthy?

EPA's Air Quality Index (AQI) provides daily air quality reports. The AQI tells you how clean or polluted your outdoor air is, and what associated health effects might be a concern for you. The AQI focuses on health effects you may experience within a few hours or days after breathing polluted air.
For more information:

  • Learn more about your air quality at the AIRNow Web site.
  • Hoja de datos sobre el índice de calidad aéreo

How can I help to prevent pollution?

Now you can prevent pollution in lots of environmentally and economically beneficial ways. Extracting and using raw materials creates pollution and uses energy. By changing the way you use products and resources you can prevent pollution and save money. Preventing pollution provides cleaner air and water, less waste in landfills, conservation of natural resources, reduced soil erosion, lower electricity and water bills, and increased property values.
For more information:

  • Reduce your "environmental footprint" at home and in your community through these pollution prevention activities

How do I learn about environmental conditions in my community?

MyEnvironment is a mapping tool that features a wide range of information about environmental conditions in an area of your choice. Enter your zip code, address, or a nearby water body, and MyEnvironment will show you sites nearby that report to EPA the storage, handling or emission of pollutants into land, air or water. It offers refined searching by industry (such as manufacturing), media (emissions to land, air or water), pollutant, or geographic location.
For more information:

Winner of 2010 Rangeland Stewardship Award

The Bureau of Land Management today announced the winner of the agency's Rangeland Stewardship Award for 2010. The award was presented to a Nevada ranch that has improved rangeland conditions in the Carson City area. BLM Deputy Director Marcilynn Burke presented the award in Pendleton, Oregon, at a meeting of the rancher-based Public Lands Council.

The BLM’s award recognizes the rangeland management of the Smith Creek Ranch near Austin, Nevada. The ranch owner, Ray Hendrix, holds a BLM grazing permit in connection with his livestock operation in the BLM’s Carson City District. With Mr. Hendrix's backing, ranch manager Duane Coombs has implemented innovative livestock management practices to enhance sagebrush, aspen, and riparian habitat. The Smith Creek Ranch has been particularly effective in improving sage-grouse habitat on the public lands that they use for grazing.

On March 5, 2010, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced that listing of the greater sage-grouse as an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) was warranted, but precluded by the need to complete other listing actions of higher priority. Proactive management in sage-grouse habitat is a high priority to prevent this species from becoming fully listed under the ESA. Having such grazing permit holders as the Smith Creek Ranch vested in this endeavor is imperative to providing healthy rangelands for future generations.

“The BLM is delighted to present the Rangeland Stewardship Award to Ray Hendrix and Duane Coombs of the Smith Creek Ranch for their efforts to manage and improve public rangelands in Nevada,” said Deputy Director Burke. “The work of Mr. Hendrix and his staff, which includes monitoring conditions and intensive herding to improve grazing management, has been truly outstanding.”

The Rangeland Stewardship Award has been presented every year since 2006. Previous winners include Jim Baker, Charles Thompson, Rob Rogerson, Chris Black, and Brian and Kathleen Bean of the Lava Lake Land and Livestock (all of whom are from Idaho). Jack Haworth of Colorado was presented the award in 2007. In addition, the BLM has previously presented two collaboration awards, the first to certain grazing permittees, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, the interested public, other groups, and government agencies collectively associated with the Cody Field Office in Wyoming, and a second one to participants in the Skyline Cooperative Weed Management Area in Price, Utah.

How to Grow an Olive Tree: Olive Trees in Container or Ground Read more at Suite101: How to Grow an Olive Tree: Olive Trees in Container or Ground ht

There is something deeply exotic about the olive plant, with its beautiful pale green leaves and versatile fruit. Grown in the Mediterranean for thousands of years, it is strongly associated with warm sun, gentle breezes, as well as ancient cultures rich in history and myth.

Yet the olive tree can be grown successfully in Britain, if given the right conditions and care and has, over the years, become increasingly popular. It is a small tree with attractive flowers and fruit, making it ideal for those with limited space.

Basic Conditions for Growing Olive Trees

An olive tree grown in the south of Britain will be able to survive most winters outside. However, it would be wise to ensure it is placed in a sunny spot, sheltered from the cold, winter winds. A patio, safe from the elements, or a south or south-west facing wall are the ideal situations.

Further north conditions can be much harsher in the winter. Because of these northern extremes, an olive tree is best grown in a container because this means it can be moved into a covered area for protection. Keep an eye on young olive trees which tend to be more vulnerable than older, more well-established trees.

Olive trees can be bought at varying heights, and the larger ones can be quite pricey. If economy is a factor, start out with a small tree in a plant pot as pictured above, and watch it grow (instructions below).

Tips On How to Grow a Tree from Seed

When planting a tree you can either buy a tree that has already started growing or you can plant it from seed. Planting from a seed is usually harder and will require more maintenance to get it to grow. However, most people would agree it is a lot more rewarding in the end.

The first thing to remember is that you won't want to plant your tree directly in the ground outside. This is one of the biggest mistakes when planting new plants. By planting directly outside the seed would be subject to the weather, predators (such as birds and squirrels), and bad soil. The best thing to do is to plant your seed in a small pot and repot it as the plant gets bigger. Some of the supplies you will need for planting are:
Seed. You will of course need the seed to plant. Make sure you find a tree that will thrive in your area.
Pots. As the seed grows you will need bigger and bigger pots to transplant it in. If your pot doesn't have any holes on the bottom it's a good idea to drill some so water will be able to drain out of the pot.
Water. You will need to remember to water your tree as it grows and matures.
Sunlight. Find a spot where you can give your tree some daily sunlight without putting it in any harm.

When watering your seed remember to keep it moist but not overly wet. If you keep too much water in the pot you have a chance of "drowning" your seed. Good ways to keep the container moist include a mister system or for a cheaper alternative you can put a piece of plastic over the pot. Remember, if you use plastic you need to put some holes in it for air to get through to the seed.

What Causes Thunder

Thunder is the sound caused due to lightning. The flash of lightning and the accompanying thunder occur around the same time. However, lightning is seen first, followed by the sound of thunder after few seconds. This is due to the fact that light wave travels much faster than sound waves.

In order to understand thunder, one needs to know about lightning. Well! Lightning is electricity discharged during a thunderstorm. It is caused due to the build-up and discharge of electrical energy in the thunderstorm clouds, which are about 15,000 to 25,000 feet above sea level. Lightning usually occurs within clouds, between the cloud and air or between the ground and cloud. Based on the nature of lightning, there are various types such as in-cloud lightning, cloud-to-ground lightning, cloud-to-cloud lightning, sheet lightning, bead lightning, ribbon lightning, ball lightning and bolt from the blue.

What Causes Thunder

The cause of thunder has been a subject of discussion for a long time. In the third century BC, it was believed that thunder is caused due to collision of clouds. However, the most accepted theory was developed in the 20th century. According to this theory, the bolts of lightning are very hot, much hotter than the surface of the sun. It is estimated that the bolt has a temperature of 30,000 to 50,000 degrees F (28,000 degrees C). When this high temperature bolt hits the surrounding air, there is an instant expansion of the air, sending out a shock wave or vibration, which we hear as a sound of explosion. Thus, in short, thunder is caused due to rapid heating and cooling of the air, near the stroke of lightning.

The sound intensity of thunder varies, depending upon the nature of lightning and the distance of the hearer from the origin of the sound. You can estimate the distance (miles) from the strike; first count the interval between the flash of lightning and the sound of thunder in seconds and then divide the interval by five. In case, you are near to the flash of lightning, you will hear thunder as a sharp crack; whereas, if you are far from the lightning stroke, then the sound will seem a low rumble. The rumbling sound is because of the echo, occurring due to the reflection of sound waves from the buildings, trees and hillsides.

Thunder can be dangerous, depending on how close we are from the stroke of lightning. If the sound is very loud, it can hurt our ears. However, it is to be noted that it is lightning, which is more dangerous. On an average, about one hundred people die every year in the United States and several people suffer from lifelong disability due to lightning. Most of the lightning casualties occur, when people are caught outdoors during rainy weather. In case, you are outside during a thunderstorm, it is advisable to avoid open fields, beaches and lakes and also stay away from tall trees. The safest way is to get inside your home or stay in the car. In the latter situation, you should not touch metal, as it is a good conductor of electricity.

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