Green Tips

Food For Thought: There is no alternative to flying, especially for cross-continental travel. You can’t expect people to go back to boats.


”   There is no alternative to flying, especially for cross-continental travel. You can’t expect people to go back to boats.


 Two journalists raced from central London to central Paris. The one who went by train (using Eurostar) got there before the one who flew, and the cost was roughly the same.

Until the 1990s most people who went to France and onwards to other continental countries went by ferry. The ferry companies operated from lots of southern ports and competed vigorously with each other. Then came the Channel Tunnel and the competition got hotter. The ferry companies slashed their prices and became even cheaper and more comfortable. People would even pop across to France for the weekend. Though generally we took longer foreign holidays. Once in France, of course, it was considered easy to drive long distances. Or you could pop the car on the train – or travel by train without it, anywhere and easily.

Then along came the low-cost airlines. Within a few years we have got used to nipping across the Channel by air, at a frequency unthinkable a few years ago – so much so that airports are now becoming crowded and unpleasant. If you have ever been badly delayed, or diverted, or held up by security checks, you will know what I mean. In fact, given the need to get to airports earlier and earlier before a flight, the total travel time for a lot of continental journeys can be greater by air than by rail and even by ferry in some cases. (Try flying to Normandy.)

It is true that to travel right across Europe to, say, Hungary is bound to be quicker by air than by train and ferry. But speed isn’t everything, is it? There is a now growing movement towards ‘slow travel’, getting from place to place at a pace that creates no stress and is actually enjoyable. Many people are taking the train to Italy, say, rather than the plane; and counting their blessings. The process of travelling can be half the enjoyment. A comfortable ferry journey followed by a train ride is something to look forward to. There is no reason why we should be frightened of switching from flying will cost a great deal more than it does now. Oil is now over $100 a barrel, unthinkable a while ago. Some predict that it will double in price within a year or so.

Alastair Sawday (2008: 65-66) What About China?

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Today’s Advice: Drive smoothly.


” Today the world burns as much oil in 6 weeks as it did over the course of a year in 1950. Oil reserves are running out and, at current rates of consumption, will be exhausted in less than 50 years. Transportation alone accounts for half the world’s oil consumption.

You can help to preserve the planet’s reserves. In cities, take care to avoid accelerating and braking too hard and too frequently. This manner of aggressive driving increases fuel consumption by 40%, which means spending money needlessly and aggravating urban air pollution. “

-Abrams, “365 Ways To Save The Earth”, 2008

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Today’s Advice: Plant a tree.


” Eight thousand years ago, when human beings settled and began to grow crops, half the planet’s land mass was covered in thick forest. Today, less than a third is still forested. Worldwide, over the last 10 years, forest cover has been reduced by 2.4%. In order to live, all plants on the planet release oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide. Two acres of mature forest absorb the equivalent of the carbon emissions from 100 midsize cars over a period of a year.

Plant a tree: You will be joining the fight against global warming and the atmospheric pollution caused by carbon dioxide emissions “.

-Abrams, “365 Ways To Save The Earth”, 2008

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Today’s Advice: Kick the gadget habit.


” Some “innovations” are utterly useless and create complicated machinery meant to perform simple tasks. Do we really need special machines to sort our loose change, a heated bin to warm our bathroom towels, or digital devices (in addition to our computers, TVs, and PDAs) just to give us the weather forecast? Does an able-bodied person even need an electric can-opener?.

Don’t be fooled into replacing functional objects with appliances that require electricity or batteries and may break down quicker-and be harder to fix-than simpler tools.

      Also think twice before purchasing travel-size versions of all your life’s accoutrements. Traveling light is more luxurious anyway. Will the mini ionic air purifier really be that useful? “.

-Abrams, “365 Ways To Save The Earth”, 2008

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Today’s Advice: Find a better dry cleaner.

Dry clean-thumb-480xauto-2911

Traditional dry-cleaning operations use a solvent called perchloroethylene, which is toxic enough to be treated as hazardous waste by the EPA. Millions of pounds of this chemical are used every year. It can cause minor allergic reactions among customers and far more serious health problems for workers who are constantly exposed to it. Small amounts of perchloroethylene can seriously contaminate groundwater.

The best alternative is not to purchase clothes that require dry cleaning. Know that you can often hand wash silk, wool, and linen clothes that are tagged “dry clean only.”. Otherwise look for operations that offer either “wet cleaning” or a system that uses liquid carbon dioxide, both of which are safer treatments.

-Abrams, “365 Ways To Save The Earth”, 2008

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Today’s Advice: Follow the rules in protected areas.


About 34,000 plant species throughout the world, or a quarter of the total species of flora on the planet, face extinction in the coming years. Nearly 600 plant species in the eUnited States are listed as endangered; 448 animal species are considered endangered. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has also prescribed habitat conservation plans for 480 areas, where measures have been taken to minimise the impact on habitats, restore ecosystems, and sometimes relocate plants and animals.

Observe the instructions displayed at the entrances to parks – they are there for a reason. You will not disturb the wildlife if you keep your dog on  a leash, and by following the marked trails you can avoid accidentally stepping on protected plants.

-Abrams, “365 Ways To Save The Earth”, 2008

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Today’s Advice: Consider using rechargeable batteries.


The manufacture of a battery uses 50 times as much energy as the battery itself will produce during its life. The only exception is rechargeable batteries. A personal stereo battery lasts 6 days; if you use a rechargeable battery, it can last up to 4 years. Like disposable batteries, some rechargeable ones contain cadmium, but since they can be recharged between 400 and 1,000 times, their impact on the environment is considerably reduced (if they are properly disposed of at the end of their life).

The best alternative for most portable electronics is nickel-metal hydride (NiMH), as these batteries are rechargeable and contain no cadmium. The upfront expense of these and their charger is soon recovered: Their lifetime cost is 3% of the comparable amount of disposable battery power.

-Abrams, “365 Ways To Save The Earth”, 2008

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Today’s Advice: Cook with gas rather than electricity.


The 1,500 researchers of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCc), set up jointly by the UN Environment Program (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organisation, now agree that human activity is affecting the world’s climate: Every year, human beings emit more than 30 billion tons of greenhouse gases as they meet their energy needs in transportation, heating, air-conditioning, agriculture, industry, and so forth.

We should be equally aware of this when dealing with the little, day-to-day things in life. On average, a gas cooker uses half the energy of an electric cooker, as long as the burners are regularly cleaned. A clogged burner can use up to 10% more energy than a clean one.

-Abrams, “365 Ways To Save The Earth”, 2008

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Can citizens of Dubai adopt a bicycle culture?

Bike dubai

Entering my car early mornings everyday, leaving  home to go to work, my car is spewing carbon emissions, polluting the fresh morning breeze. While driving through our neighbourhood, and hearing the same routine roar from my car’s engine as I step on the accelerator, I always see a group of south Asian gardeners, bicycling around the neighbourhood, patiently & peacefully, at a very slow pace, in no rush.

Watching these bicyclists while listening to the sounds of birds early mornings everyday, gives me this feeling of peace and replenishment. Concurrently, I’m in awe of their daily routine ritual, which I very much envy. As I’m about to exit my neighbourhood to join all the other carbon emission vehicles heading to various destinations, to pollute every single corner of Dubai, at this very moment, I could wish for one thing only; if I could have  a single  day to drive a bicycle instead of a car to work,  that day, for me, would be a day to celebrate the breakage of a huge barrier, practically equivalent to the destruction of the Berlin Wall, to be precise.

Being a citizen of Dubai, you can go on all day long shooting at me various reasons why it is difficult to commute via bicycle, some of those reasons are:

  • It takes too long to reach to my desired destination.
  • I don’t want to come to work all sweaty and smelly.
  • It is difficult to carry a lot of of stuff with me, whether I’m carrying grocery items or a laptop along with maybe some office stationary.
  • Dubai’s weather is too hot and humid, am I nuts to drive a bicycle in this crazy weather.
  • I don’t have a bike. (This is one of those silly excuses that doesn’t make any sense, especially in Dubai, where every individual owns a car or two cars or more. If you have the budget to buy a car, then buying a bicycle for you must be peanuts).
  • There’s no way I could drive a bicycle from my house to Deira, BurDubai, Jumeira, JBR etc etc. (I would’ve understood the truthfulness behind this scenario a couple of years ago, but this excuse doesn’t seem too convincing anymore, and the answer to your question is: Why don’t you drive your bicycle to the closest Metro station, so you could catch a Metro to your desired destination).
  • Are you insane, It it is difficult for me to bike that far, I could get hit by a truck. (My answer to this question is: Everything is possible through practice and discipline. It is just a matter of building the habit of commuting via bicycle, and taking the necessary precautions prior to that. You just need to build the habit thats all).
  • biking is for kids, and for people who can’t own a motor bike or a car. (Sadly, this is the kind of response you would get from the majority of Dubai citizens, because as I mentioned earlier, most of us own a vehicle, and we’ve been brought up with this luxurious  means of transportation that, shifting from a car to a bicycle is considered, an insult).

These are just a few reasons why we opt out of picking a bicycle as a means of transportation in Dubai, I could offer you many more reasons and scenarios of why adopting a bicycle culture in Dubai is just impossible, but then the real question to be asked here is Can citizens of Dubai adopt a bicycle culture?

I deeply and emotionally understand that, for us to achieve such a goal, which if observed closely, is not practical, because of the rapid economic changes taking place in Dubai. But nonetheless, I’m happy to say that there are cities around the globe currently, whose citizens have already taught themselves and their children to passionately, confidently and proudly drive a bicycle. The Danish, with all their might and deeply rooted sporty culture, have been showing us how it is done.

If you are ambitious and adventurous enough to embrace driving a bike for your daily short/long travels, then you must be aware of  the many advantages that driving a bicycle could bring to the Environment:

  • Driving a bike, is like a free donation to clean the environment. It is not only a means to cut carbon emissions, but it also helps conserve natural resources that are used daily to produce automobiles.
  • You can save loads of money by using a bicycle for transportation instead of a vehicle. This includes the money to buy the vehicle, and the money used to fuel the vehicle. Imagine how much fuel money you can save every month, and multiply that by 12 months.
  • Biking daily can be the best means to stay fit, forever. You want to stay fit in Dubai and enjoy its delicious restaurants?  well then, the answer to your query is, drive a bicycle.

It is never too late to start a new habit, or to change a habit. it is just a matter of when, either today or never.



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Using T-shirts to create other cool stuff

Who would’ve thought that a day would come to finally discover what can be done with those old T-shirts in our drawers and closets which often takes a lot of space and you don’t have any clue what to do with it.

In such situations the first thing that comes to mind is to give them away for charity or use it to wash your car and polish its interior, or maybe select the most comfy T-shirts to make it your Pajamas.

However, interestingly Chris Keenan’s article on has described how T-shirts can be utilized to save some cash and at the same time contribute to the environment:

  • Laptop Case:  Creating a Laptop Case out of a T-shirt in easy steps. a complete tutorial can be found here.
  • Pillow: Cut two straight lines: one from one shoulder to the other and another from the sleeves to the hem along the bottom. Trim a little or a lot off the bottom based on your liking, then just stitch it inside out, leaving adequate room to turn and stuff it. Once you’ve stuffed it with the filling of your choice, use a whip stitch or ladder stitch to close it and you’re ready for bed.
  • Quilt: Yes you heard that right, a whole quilt can be made out of your favorite color T-shirts. Cut your shirts into square pieces and sew them together.
  • Skirt: For all the ladies out there, this could turn up to be quite fashionable. Full tutorial for creating a skirt from an old shirt in under 30 seconds!
  • Grocery Bag or Gym Bag: Why waist grocery and supermarket plastic bags for no reason, make your own reusable grocery bag from a T-shirt to help contribute to the environment, who knows, you might be able to encourage others to do the same. On the other hand as far as gym/fitness bags are concerned, this is your best chance to turn your favorite sport T-shirt into a cool bag to show off with it in the gym or sports club. Full tutorial
  • Underwear: The most crucial aspect of an underwear is that it should be as comfortable as possible, and the best way to make that happen is by using your T-shirt to customize it the way you fantasize it. Full tutorial

As far as myself is concerned, I have this awesome Football T-shirt that I’d like to turn into a Laptop case to use for my upcoming semester in college :D.

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