Tag Archives: Outdoors

How the Ski Industry is Working to Save Winter

The outdoor industry is upping its sustainability game, and the ski industry is no exception. Downhill skiing is notoriously known for its environmental impact?anywhere large amounts of people flock is bound to be a recipe for excessive waste. But?hitting the slopes may arguably be the?most carbon-intensive outdoor sport.

In particular, ski slopes use incredible amounts of electricity, from slope-side lighting?and fuel-intensive snow-making to keeping things toasty inside for patrons drinking their apr?s hot cocoas. But?energy isn’t the only hungry environmental monster. In the French Alps, it is estimated that yearly artificial snow production requires the same amount of water as would be used by 1,500 people. That’s a lot of water waste for just a little fake snow. And that’s not to mention the impacts of fake snow on the natural environment, which requires immense energy to produce, causes water displacement, and melts 2 to 3 weeks later in the season than natural snow, which postpones snowmelt. Scientists are still unsure about the ramifications of this.

No one can argue that ski resorts have a lot to lose when it comes to climate change and warming global temperatures. They rely primarily on a cold, snowy winter season, so it is in the industry?s best interests to do all it can to thwart a complete environmental meltdown. And that?s why ski resorts nationwide are looking to seriously green up their acts.

Many ski areas have pledged to do all they can to keep up with Paris Climate Accord goals, even though the US government has pulled out. Green building policies are being implemented for new condominiums in order to protect nearby animal habitats. Ski California has already set goals for water conservation, land preservation, increased clean public transit options and general increased efficiency and sustainability all around.?There are?plenty of?ways to reduce?the skiing industry?s carbon footprint, and that’s great for both skiers and the industry at large.

But the ski industry is looking to?get even greener.

Resorts across the country are working to reduce their reliance on fossil fuels and make the move towards renewable energy. Jiminy Peak in Western Massachusetts runs one third of its energy needs (two thirds in winter) off of wind power, and they are looking to reduce their carbon footprint more and more each year.

Even more impressive, California ski resort Squaw Valley has just released its plan to go 100 percent renewable by as early as December 2018. The move from fossils to renewables by the ski industry is hopefully the first step in a larger shift in outdoor recreation towards renewable energy. After all, in order to play outdoors you need a healthy, clean environment to do it in.

If you love skiing but have a green conscience, it is important to choose your resort destinations carefully. Factor in airline travel, the resort’s sustainability practices,?the gear and food you buy, weather and anything else to make sure you aren?t adding to the problem. And if your local slope isn?t greening it up, talk to the manager, show them what some other resorts are doing and discuss ways you think?cleaner practices?could increase their slope?s economic and environmental viability in tandem. Let’s be real: increased environmental consciousness will pay off for all of us?on the long run.

Do you love skiing? What do you think you could do on your own to make your season pass less carbon intensive? Share your best ideas below!? ??

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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How the Ski Industry is Working to Save Winter

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Top 5 Natural Places to Visit in Texas

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Top 5 Natural Places to Visit in Texas

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For Immediate In-the-Moment Happiness, Head Outdoors

Photo: Ian Britton

A wealth of studies have examined the hypothesis that spending time outdoors boosts our well-being, but until now not much was known about how being outside affects what researchers call “momentary subjective well-being,” a fancy term for how you feel in-the-moment. Unless scientists follow participants around with a clip board asking them “How do you feel?” every few minutes, collecting such fleeting data remains a challenge.

A new study on happiness conducted in the UK gets over this obstacle by using a specially-designed smartphone app. More than 20,000 people installed the app on their phone. At random intervals throughout the day, the app would pop up and ask them brief questions about what they were up to, who they were with and how they were feeling. At the same time, it registered the phone owner’s GPS coordinates.

All told, the team collected around 1 million datapoints from the app-wielding participants. The results were telling: even when the authors controlled for factors like weather, time of day, where people where, if they were with friends or family and what they were doing, being outside trumped all of that for predicting in-the-moment happiness. On average, they found, the participants were significantly and substantially happier when they were outside surrounded by green or in a natural habitat. This finding was especially true when compared with their happiness levels while in an urban environment.

The authors conclude, “This study provides a new line of evidence on links between nature and wellbeing, strengthening existing evidence of a positive relationship between [subjective well-being] and exposure to green or natural environments in daily life.”

So if you’re feeling down or unenthusiastic, head outside for a few minutes and soak up the sunshine in a local park or backyard. It might just provide the positive boost you need to turn your day around – or at least bring some emotional warmth for a fleeting moment.

More from Smithsonian.com:

We Have No Idea What Makes Us Happy  
The (Scientific) Pursuit of Happiness 

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For Immediate In-the-Moment Happiness, Head Outdoors

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There Are Three Basic Types of Aquaponics Setups

There are three basic types of aquaponics systems.

They are media filled beds, nutrient film technique and the deep water culture system. Within each category there are endless variations in the design and construction of individual systems. The important thing is that the plants and fish co-exist in their separate environments.

The local high and low temperatures impact the site conditions which cause specific changes to individual setups. Systems need protection from local wind and weather conditions. It is essential to protect against contamination from chemicals and other poisons. Sunlight and orientation to the sun are also important factors in your setup.

Another major factor in the design of the system is the budget and space constraint. Systems can range in size from small systems using an indoor aquarium to large scale commercial operations. Depending on the site conditions one of the following options will likely be best suited for your needs.

1. Media Filled Beds: This type of system uses small grow media balls that are used to support the root system of the plants. The media is flooded with waste water and nourished with plant friendly water. The media should not be limestone as the pH will be affected and certain nutrient reactions will be inhibited. Low cost and ease of setup make this a great choice for a beginner. The simple ebb and flow system has been used for many years for backyard systems.

2. The NFT (nutrient film technique) is another common way to setup an aquaponics system. Water is pumped from the fish tank and then allowed to gravity flow in a thin film through an enclosed gutter where the plants are placed until they are harvested. this is a great way to grow leafy vegetables, but is not as optimal for taller plants due to the lack of support for the roots.

3. Deep Water Culture is exactly what the name implies. Deeper water is used and plants are floated on the surface so the roots can dangle into the water. The water is aerated for the fish and the plants float on the surface. This is ideal for larger scale operations.

Flood and drain media filled beds are simplest and most reliable systems for beginners. It can be done in a variety of different containers and you can use recycled materials. The flood and drain system also doesn’t require extensive maintenance.

For bigger systems, the deep water culture method is a great fit since the overall costs are reduced a t the larger scale of production. This method is also highly expandable.

Build your own aquaponics system with complete aquaponics how to videos for your backyard paradise.

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