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18 Free Green Ebooks Worth Reading

Photo by Lori Greig
Photo by Lori Greig

Whether you like to read, enjoy learning new things, or just need a good resource to make your life a little greener – check out these free eco ebooks and satisfy your literary cravings:

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7 Ingenious Eco-Friendly Lighting Solutions

The days of lighting candles at sunset ended more than a century ago – in fact, most of us turn on a lamp to watch our bright TVs.  Lighting and appliances account for a quarter of household energy usage but that will soon change with eco lighting inventions like these:

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7 Offbeat Off-the-Grid Green Gadgets, Inventions, and Innovations

DutchTub, wood fired hot tub. Designed by Floris Schoonderbeek.
DutchTub, wood fired hot tub. Designed by Floris Schoonderbeek.

Who says you need electricity to have a good time?  These off the grid innovations can light up, cool down, and even serve you a hot cup of joe – all with absolutely no electricity required.  From magnetic fields to photoluminescent materials, tomorrow’s gadgets promise to take green technology to new levels…and they’re sure to start up some great conversations!

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Green Alternatives to Conventional Laundry Detergents

Let’s face it – there’s a lot more bad stuff out there than good, products that either can harm you, the environment, or both. Last week we spoke on scented candle alternatives. Let’s take a look at eco-friendly laundry detergent alternatives this week.

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9 Unusual Alternative Energy Options – the Potential of Biomass

Biomass Can Come from a Great Variety of Interesting Sources
Biomass Can Come from a Great Variety of Interesting Sources

Biomass energy and biomass fuel are becoming more and more viable options for a sustainable future. But Biomass is a lot more fascinating than most people realize, with fuel sources ranging from chicken excrement to human fat and even stranger substances you might never have guessed. The many, many different possibilities for biomass materials makes it one of the most fascinating forms of alternative energy – especially when you consider these unusual methods of biomass production:

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The Tyranny of King Corn (part 1)

We’ve all heard by now that corn-based ethanol has turned out to be a bad idea.

  • Corn is energy intensive to grow, gobbling up fossil-fuels at every stage of production, from transporting seeds to fertilizing the fields (with petrochemical fertilizers) to final harvest.
  • Corn is also a spectacularly water-intensive crop.
  • The ethanol production stage consumes more fossil fuels and water.
  • Once it finally reaches your gas tank, ethanol burns around 30% less efficiently than gasoline (meaning your per-mile cost is actually 30% more than you think it is).
  • Estimates of how much actual energy we get out of the process range from barely breaking even to around 20 percent more than the input energy.
  • And of course, every step of the process spews CO2 into the atmosphere.

It’s been almost a year since The New York Times editorialized on the subject:

The economics of corn ethanol have never made much sense. Rather than importing cheap Brazilian ethanol made from sugar cane, the United States slaps a tariff of 54 cents a gallon on ethanol from Brazil. Then the government provides a tax break of 51 cents a gallon to American ethanol producers — on top of the generous subsidies that corn growers already receive under the farm program.

And unlike our inefficient corn-based ethanol, that Brazilian product actually yields 370% of the energy put into it.

So, why are we doing this? What possible calculus could convince us to even consider corn ethanol?

Corn is big business – and big agribusiness hires the best lobbyists.

Here, the return on investment is spectacular: plant a few tens of millions of dollars in seed money in the form of campaign contributions to senators and members of Congress, and reap billions of dollars in federal farm subsidies.

And for agribusiness, corn is king.

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