Houseplants: Nature’s Air Purifiers

peace lilyA friend gave me a potted English ivy plant years ago as a gift, and it has been the gift that keeps on giving. A houseplant is a perfect gift for someone who has everything, and it can even help improve health.

Plenty of studies have shown that everyday houseplants act as air purifiers. In the 1980’s, NASA studied the air cleaning properties of plants and found that certain plants were incredibly effective at reducing airborne toxins like benzene, TCE (trichloroethylene) and formaldehyde. Since then, many more studies have shown that plants are also great at neutralizing carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide, as well toluene, octane and terpene (all toxic to humans).

Plants have also been shown to reduce stress and blood pressure. So if you sit at a desk all day, you may want to have a little greenery in sight.

Since many Americans, especially during the winter months, spend most time indoors, a pretty plant that cleanses the air and offers stress reduction, is a perfect gift. My favorite is the peace lily, pictured above. It is hardy and beautiful and is especially effective for benzene, formaldehyde and TCE. If you are looking for an effective, easy-to-maintain plant, the common ivy takes care of benzene, formaldehyde and TCE, as well as toluene, octane and terpene. Spider plants can neutralize carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide.

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How to Calculate Your Carbon Footprint

Most people have heard the term “carbon footprint” but far fewer know what it is and how to determine it.

First, it is essential to define exactly what is meant by the term “carbon footprint.” A useful formal definition is provided by the UK Carbon Trust: “A ‘carbon footprint’ measures the total greenhouse gas emissions caused directly and indirectly by a person, organization, event or product.”

It is important to recognize that your carbon footprint is not determined by simply looking at your daily activities and adding up all the carbon emissions that result directly. Secondary emissions are an important part of the calculation, as well. Those secondary emissions result from a variety of actions, including many that you probably never considered before. For example, food preferences, buying imported food and goods or locally produced items, the amount of packaging materials that come with your purchases, your use of electrical appliances, how much recycling you do, how you spend your vacation and recreational time, and many others.

Currently, the global average stands at roughly six tons per person per year, but in the United States that figure leaps to more than 20 tons per person each year.

Why such a massive difference? Continue reading “How to Calculate Your Carbon Footprint”

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October 2021