How to Make Your Own Contribution to Energy Conservation


Mercury emissions need to be significantly reduced with immediate effect in order to curb, and begin reducing the poisonous legacy that we are creating for future generations. This news follows a recent statement issued by research scientists at HarvardUniversity’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS).

The Toxicity of Mercury

Mercury is one of the most toxic of the Earth’s elements. Once thought by the ancients to be beneficial to health, being used in some medicines and ointments, it has since been found to have serious adverse effects on health. It is can damage brain function and affect the central nervous system.

The Damage is Already Done

Mercury is still used today in the manufacture of fluorescent lamps. But, although health and safety regulations across most of the modern world now control the way that used fluorescent lamps are disposed of, preventing the Mercury they contain from entering the environment, the damage has already been done.

Existing Levels of Mercury Contamination will Last Many Decades

Mercury pollution dates back over thousands of years and has accumulated in large bodies of water, including, of course, the oceans. Even at existing levels it will take many decades, and even centuries to significantly reduce the levels that have accumulated in both seas and reservoirs. Whilst contamination in the reservoirs can be dealt with by modern chemical science, Mercury in the ocean is another problem altogether.

The Danger to our Fish-stocks

By far the largest source of mercury contamination comes from coal-fired energy plant emissions and gold mining. The emissions get released into the atmosphere, but are then returned to lakes and the soil, where they eventually get washed into the oceans by our rivers. Once the Mercury enters the aquatic ecosystem, it is then changed into a substance known as Methyl-Mercury by the microbes that exist there. This Methyl-Mercury then accumulates in aquatic life, including the fish that eventually finds its way onto our dinner tables.

Contamination Began Hundreds of Years Ago

Although mercury pollution was dramatically increased by the advent of the Industrial Revolution, it first began many centuries earlier. It was used both by the ancient Greeks and Chinese as a pigmentation in paints, and later by Spanish colonists in central and southern America when it was used as an agent for extracting silver. It was also used substantially during the California gold rush. In other words, Mercury pollution has been around for far longer than many people realise.

The Costs of Dealing with Mercury Contamination

The recent study carried out by the SEAS is based on environmental modelling, using the latest scientific techniques. It is estimated that the cost of dealing with Methyl-Mercury contamination in mainland Europe and the USA is in excess of $15 billion.

Make your own Contribution Now

Protecting our environment for the future is not just something that world governments need to be actively participating in, but ordinary citizens can make their contributions too. Conserving energy helps to reduce mining, and also helps to conserve and husband rare resources. So the energy solutions that eco-friendly companies, such as EcoSmart offer, afford homeowners a chance to make their own intricate contribution towards energy conservation. It’s something that we should all be championing for the sake of future generations to come.

Author Bio

The author is a writer who works tirelessly to raise the profile of the planets need for the conservation of rare resources, and mankind’s needs to protect the environment, especially for future generations. He has written many articles and blogs, plus other publications that have appeared on the World Wide Web.


Durban’s Business Climate is Reflected In The Limitless Possibilities Of This Coastal Town


Durban is South Africa’s third city, behind Cape Town and Johannesburg, and nestles on the east coast of the country. Many believe that it offers the perfect balance between a positive business culture and a wealth of attractions that enrich anyone’s social life.  Here are some of the reasons why people love living here.


Durban benefited from the development that went into the country’s FIFA World Cup, three years ago, and this brought with it improved road and transport links. Furthermore, its roads are very uncongested when compared to its size, and a relaxing commute is important for anybody’s wellbeing. And, as a more developed city, it comes with all the trappings of a modern lifestyle, including – large shopping centres, like the Gateway Theatre, cinemas, bars, restaurants and so forth, but by lacking the population density of other cities, this scene is much more relaxed. This is helped by the beautiful weather, something that means that the nightlife continues until the sun comes up.

The Beach

Being on the coast, Durban has a beautiful beach and a visit to the ocean is a sure way to reduce stress and summon mental wellbeing. And, as well as providing a social platform beating any social networking site, this means that the Durban Beachfront offers a wealth of water sports and submarine life. Dolphins are a common sight and their curiosity and playfulness brings them right into contact with the population here, while South Africa generally is home to a huge array of wildlife relative to its size.

Cultural Diversity

South Africa is nicknamed the “Rainbow Nation” and Durban embodies this perfectly. Beyond the Brit-rich expat community it also has a patchwork of African tribes and a large Indian population, which all enrich the social, culinary and entertainment experience, making it more cosmopolitan than most Western cities. Keen travellers understand that it is the people that make a place a home and, in contrast with Johannesburg and Cape Town, Durban is known for the laid back nature of its people and the way they value a good social life, as much as commercial success.


Whether it is the people, the beautiful climate or the wealth of activities afforded by this city, Durban is a very active place. There is no end to the range of sports actively pursued, while the mountains, national parks and beautiful scenery stretching out around the city provide an unlimited array of adventures to enjoy. The view here is that, with so much to do, there’s no point wasting time sitting inside.

It’s Not All Roses

Like any city in the world, Durban has its problems, and poverty means that crime can be a problem. Apartheid also still casts a shadow across the country and this means that advice should be taken about the business culture and local and national regulations, before setting foot on the butterscotch sand. However, advice is on hand to mitigate these issues and they do not spoil the positive atmosphere in the city.

With English one of the official languages, cultural assimilation is not a problem for Brits, who can also take advantage of the strength of the pound against the rand, a rarity today, considering Britain’s economic woes. Salaries are also high and there are many recruitment agencies in Durban that can assist with integrating expats into the working world here.

Author Bio

The author grew up in South Africa and first visited Durban as a young boy, where he remembers the excitement of wrestling with his brother under mountainous waves. He has been back recently since and sees it as an oasis of calm in a modern lifestyle that dries out social motivation. He is a blogger on African political, social and development issues, and has been doing so for four years.


Don’t Let Your Messy Finances Ruin Your Marriage

There is almost nothing that married couples fight about more universally than finances, or more specifically, the way they are handled by one or both partners.  The problem is twofold.  First, most people don’t get married because of their partner’s deft handling of a ledger.  People are joined in matrimony for emotional reasons; they fall in love and they want to start a family together.  The other problem is that everyone handles money differently.  Some people track their bank accounts to the penny while others don’t realize they’ve burned through their hard-earned money until they start getting overdraft charges.  And when individuals blend their finances without sitting down to talk about these things, that’s when the trouble really starts.  However, you don’t have to let these differences ruin your marriage.

You should start by having a conversation about finances.  It may turn out that you have fundamentally different views of the value and purpose of money.  One of you may think that we only get one life and we need to have all the fun we can right now, while the other feels that there is no greater purpose for money than sitting safely in a Roth IRA, waiting to support the two of you throughout your twilight years.  If you never have this discussion there’s really no hope that you’ll magically find yourself on the same page.

Further, you should consider NOT blending your finances.  This is going to seem shocking to many couples, who like to espouse the notion that any money made by one party belongs to both.  While this is true in the eyes of the law, most adults don’t really feel that way.  There is certainly some point at which it ceases to matter who pays for dinner.  But adults who work hard need to feel like they have some control over the money they earn.  And when all of it gets thrown into a pot, problems are bound to arise.

Consider for a moment what it means to have one account that two people use.  Suppose one person sets up a monthly withdrawal for the mortgage so that their scheduled check deposit will cover it.  Then suppose the other person uses the debit card to buy groceries, so that when the automatic payment comes through there isn’t enough money to cover it.  Ouch.  This is a problem so common that there are literally thousands of books devoted to the difficulties of managing money when married.

Even beyond the issues associated with joint checking, both parties may start to feel deprived, like they have to justify spending even the tiniest amount of “joint” funds (say to buy coffee, clothing, or other frivolous items).  This could lead to other problems like hoarding money, lying about purchases, and so on.  As productive adults, we all want to feel like we have a little fun money left after paying bills that is just our own.  So unless you want to end up in relationship counseling because of money, you may want to try something different.

Consider keeping separate checking accounts and splitting the bills according to what each person makes.  Then set up a joint savings and make it a policy to talk to each other before dipping into it.  This way you can have joint funds for household expenses and still have some money of your own to play with.  As long as both of you are responsible about paying your fair share, each spouse can manage their own money as they see fit without feeling like the other is constantly watching and judging.

Are you funding Christmas with savings?

If you’re like most people, you don’t have tons of money to spend on Christmas presents for friends and family members. Avoid falling into the trap of using credit cards for holiday expenses.

Putting large sums of money on credit cards just leads to more debt and frustration once the holidays are over. Instead, start saving early for the Christmas season. Here are some ways to store money away in an ISA so that your Christmas days will be merry and bright.

One of the best ways to set aside money for Christmas is to start a savings account, perhaps a tax-free savings account such as an ISA, specifically for holiday purchases and put a set amount into the savings account each month.

By setting aside a small amount of money on a weekly basis, you will quickly save money to use for Christmas presents or at least a plane ticket home for the holidays.

Everyone needs to eat, but that doesn’t mean we should eat out all the time. By fixing some meals at home, you can swiftly add more money to your Christmas savings or ISA account.

With so many people eating on the run, it isn’t unusual for them to spend a sizable chunk of their income on fast food, designer coffees at the local café or sit-down dinners at casual dining restaurants.

Eating more meals at home will help you finance your Christmas spending and avoid using credit cards to buy gifts or transport to relatives’ homes for the holidays.

Another smart way to save money for Christmas spending is to have a yard sale. Go through your closets, the basement and the attic to locate unwanted clothing and knick-knacks you would love to eliminate.

By selling your unwanted items, you can add some more money to your Christmas savings or ISA fund.

If you hate having yard sales, consider taking some of your unwanted clothes to the local consignment shop and have someone sell those items for you.

Start cutting coupons. Instead of paying full price for food and supplies at the grocery store, clip coupons and begin saving money.

Using coupons for the things you need helps you buy the same brand name products you are accustomed to using but keeps you from paying top dollar. Put the money saved into your Christmas savings account or ISA.

Cut back on entertainment. A night out at the movies can put a sizable dent in anyone’s budget. One way to enjoy a movie without breaking your bank is to rent a DVD.

Pop your popcorn at home and see a box office hit as you relax on your living room couch.

To save even more money, run down to your local public library and check out DVDs for free. Many libraries have recently released DVDs in their collections, promising families quality movies without asking them to spend a dime.

Saving money on entertainment in this way, in addition to what you’ve saved in your ISA, will help add to your Christmas savings account as well.

5 Simple Ways to Save on your Car Loan

There are a multitude of factors that go into the total cost of owning a car. In addition to the sticker price, owners must think about insurance rates, the rising cost of fuel, and a drop in value when it comes time to resell. Another issue to consider is your car loan. Interest rates, terms, and conditions can vary considerably among lenders. It’s worth taking the time to compare all options to find the best deal on financing. By following these tips, you can save hundreds or even thousands of dollars over time.

1. Buy an Affordable Car

One of the first ways to lower loan payments is to purchase a car that you can really afford. Although this seems obvious, it’s advice that is not taken often enough. It’s tempting to purchase a car beyond your means with the lure of available financing, but this can come back to be a serious burden over the next few years. Take your time to compare cars at Motoring or other top review websites, and decide whether or not you need a brand new car or could settle for something slightly used.

2. Avoid Taking out a Small Loan

If you’ve found a great deal on a used car and only need to borrow a couple of thousand dollars to make your purchase, it’s probably worth waiting and saving your money if possible. Although small loans are easier to repay, the bank will charge you a higher rate of interest to make the short term loan worth their while. It’s better to dip into savings if you can afford it rather than settle for these higher interest rates.

3. Look beyond the Dealership

You may have found the perfect Subaru Forester reviewed by Motoring at your local dealership, and are ready to buy. The car dealer can be a great first point of contact when it comes to discussing financing, but they shouldn’t be your only one. Just as the Subaru dealer is acting as a middle man in the purchase of a car, they also serve as a middle man when it comes to offering financial products. As such, they won’t be able to necessarily offer you the best deal. It’s a good idea to shop around both for your car and for the best deal on financing.

4. Consider Refinancing

Whether you’re finding it difficult to keep up with car repayments or wish to pay off your loan faster, it could be worth your while to refinance the loan. If your financial circumstances change, you can apply to reduce your interest rates and potentially pay off your loan at a faster rate.

5. Make Sure Credit is in Top Shape

A major purchase like a car is something that often can’t wait. But if you have time on your hands and less than perfect credit, you could potentially put off this purchase until you’ve cleaned up your credit score. Even the difference of a few points can lead to a savings of hundreds of dollars. This is because many lenders have strict formulas to issue loans based on credit scores.

These are just a few issues to consider when you’re looking for ways to save money on your car loan repayments. By taking your time and researching all options carefully, you can improve your chances of finding an affordable financing package.

The Myth of Get Rich Quick

Stories of getting rich quick are often believed to be too good to be true, and yet they still are available. It does not matter how many times people are warned about attempting to get rich quick, people become enamored with the idea of making immediate money to take care of their financial woes.

The Wealthy Are Seen Everywhere

No matter where you go, you will see people who are financially secure. With the number of people that you see who are wealthy, it is hard not to believe that there must be a get rich quick possibility. There must be some secret method that only a few know about.

The problem is what we see is only the tip of the iceberg. We have no idea how long it took those people with a lot of money to get where they are. Those who have become successful have often gotten an education in a field with high paying positions, live within their needs, making investments, and pursuing the life they desire.

Spend Money to Get Rich

One of the most dangerous get rich schemes are the ones that require you to buy into a program. There are infomercials, books, and internet sales. We see people being successful with the program, so it must be easy. We want it to happen for us, and we believe that we have done everything possible to make it happen. It is important to realize that there is nothing in life that comes easily, everything has a catch.

Looks Can Be Deceiving

The appearance of money can be covering a mountain of debt. Everyone is so concerned about what he or she appears like, and he or she is willing to charge everything to make it happen. They will turn to bank loans, payday loans, and credit cards to have nice clothes, a nice house, nice car, and plenty of other belongings that make them appear to have a lot of money. They will eventually have to pay back all of the money they have borrowed, and that could require them to sell their nice belongings.

Only Real Get Rich Method

There are only a few ways to make money quickly in a successful manner, but most are requiring you to live on a hope and a prayer. For example, consistently putting money down on lottery tickets may end up with you winning the lottery. It is not a guarantee however, and you can quickly go broke before you get rich.

You could always inherit money, have an investment succeed, or win a lawsuit. You cannot pay the bills on a hope for getting rich with free money come in. While you do not have to buy into all of them completely, you do have to pray that there is success with the limited money you do put down.

If you desire to live the lifestyle that the wealthy enjoy, then you need to push off the idea of getting there quickly. Becoming rich takes many years and many trials to succeed.

This article was brought to you by finance writer Brent Matthews through

Cloud Storage Will Significantly Simplify Your Life

Cloud Storage is the best thing that will ever happen to your company. It offers multiple advantages, which greatly outweigh the disadvantages. This new technology is more efficient than traditional storage mediums, and it will ensure that you do not lose valuable information if your computer ever crashes. More and more businesses and companies have started to use cloud storage for various reasons.

First of all it is a lot cheaper than having to buy a hard-drive once every few months. Furthermore, an offsite data storage option will save companies, like from having to pay enormous amounts of cash to replace storage devices in the purpose of making room for more data. Cloud storage services are extremely cheap, and they become even cheaper, the more memory you purchase. On the other hand, a 500 GB hard drive is expensive, and you can’t even use the entire memory available. If simple mathematics haven’t convinced you, let’s take a lot at some other great benefits.

Cloud storage occupies no physical space. Assuming that you are a small business, trying to work in an even smaller office, or you are part of an enormous corporation that is suffocated with files and storage units, the advantage of not having to keep all your information lying around senselessly is pretty reassuring. As if this weren’t enough, physical data can easily be destroyed, whereas Cloud storage units will take care of your virtual information. The worst case scenario could be a down-time from the server, but there is no risk of losing your data, at least not forever.

Speed and maneuverability are two other reasons why you should purchase Cloud storage space. Everything is literally one click away, and as long as you are organized, you will never lose anything ever again. Also, if you are part of a team, you won’t have to store lots of duplicate content on different machines, because you can share folders with the help of internet connection. This will increase productivity within a team, help share tasks and in the end, accomplish targets.

With so much mobile technology around, it should not come as a surprise that many cloud storage providers have decided to create aps for their services. As is the case with many internet marketing techniques, these providers are doing all they can to up their game, and this can only mean even more juicy features for the average user. According to some geeks, cloud storage apps like Egnyte have made it possible for business people and entrepreneurs to access their files while on the move. Available for iPhone, iPad, Android, Kindle and tablets, these little aps will enable you to monitor Word, PowerPoint and Excel files, as well as PDFs, images and folders.

For security purposes, every mobile user will be asked to type a username and password every time they log on. Notification tools will also let you know if there has been any file uploaded, assuming you have internet connection.

CDs may have made Floppy disks obsolete, sticks and hard-drives may have decreased the popularity of CDs, but according to the way that the future looks right now, it might just be that Cloud storage will push hard-drives to the brink of extinction. 

Are You Making These Networking Mistakes?

HandshakesWhen seeking opportunities to advance your career, look no further than networking. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 70 percent of all jobs are found this way. But the art of networking is not just about finding a great job. The goal is to create long-term business relationships. It seems simple but often people fumble and force networking interactions. Understand and avoid the following common networking mistakes.

You Only Network on the Job Hunt

There may be networking mistakes you don’t know you’re making. One common misconception is that networking only occurs when you are searching for a job.  But networking is all about creating and maintaining relationships. You wouldn’t start a romantic relationship by asking the person to marry you. The same is true in networking. Trust must be built before you can ask for favors, let alone a job. Therefore, effective networking should occur at all times, even when you are happily employed.

You are Clueless About the Goal

It’s difficult to accomplish anything without setting goals. When you walk into a networking event, make sure you know what you are seeking to gain. Do you want a job?  Are you seeking a mentor within the industry? People will expect you to have a unique outlook and reason for making connections.

It’s poor networking etiquette to lead with a pitch. It will always come off aggressive to someone who is just getting to know you. Instead, lead with a bit about yourself and try to find a connection naturally. Keep conversation primarily focused on business, but don’t be afraid to talk about other aspects of your life. Being open to personal conversation is an excellent way to build trust. While the first interaction should be noncommittal, it’s still important to be prepared with a business card that explains who you are and what you do. Make sure that the card expresses your personal style while remaining clean and concise in its presentation, because it will trigger a connection’s memory of your interaction.

You are Inconsiderate

This is not just a rule for networking. It’s a rule for all social interactions. If you approach a person at a networking event with a pompous attitude, your message will be rejected and you’ll probably be ostracized by this person and their contacts. So, don’t try to show off by telling them a
bout all of your achievements. They should come to understand your credibility naturally as your relationship grows.

Showing gratitude is one of the most important rules of networking etiquette. This can be as simple as saying thank you after your first conversation with a contact. It seems easy, but gratitude is often overlooked by people who are new to the networking game. Say you go out for coffee with a new contact to get business advice about breaking into their industry. The meeting went well, but a month passes with no follow-up. What kind of impression does that leave? The person probably feels unappreciated, like you are the one who never called after a first date. Don’t be that guy. Always follow up with an email, phone call or hand written note. It’s important that the notes are thoughtful and include specific things the two of you discussed. If you show courtesy to a new contact, your good impression will probably last until your next meeting.

Many people follow these rules but find that that their personality does not lend itself to networking. If you are an introvert, check out How to Network: 12 Tips for Shy People. Remember networking is about building relationships. It doesn’t happen overnight. So start small and don’t give up on the endless business opportunities out there.

Photo credit: Ambro on

Getting Creative with Your Holiday Budget

Most of us aren’t good at creating an overall budget for the year, much less tempering our spending during the stressful and demanding holiday season.  And yet, the two go hand in hand, because when your annual budget is in order, you can put aside money throughout the year to cover the glut of spending that occurs at the end of the year (so you don’t find yourself entering yet another New Year bogged down with holiday debt).  So if you’re dreading the orgy of spending that awaits you in the coming weeks, perhaps it’s time to step back, assess your financial situation, and take a different tack this year than you have in the past.  Here are just a few ways to get creative with your holiday budget so that you don’t overspend.

  1. Be realistic.  If you track your expenses at all, then you have a pretty good idea what you can actually afford to spend this holiday season.  And whether you set your budget at $100 or $1,000, there are ways to stick to it.  The idea is to meet your financial obligations first (mortgage, utilities, transportation, food, and so on) and see what you have leftover.  For most people this isn’t going to be much, especially if they haven’t been saving throughout the year, but once you have your budget set you can find ways to work with it.
  2. Put away the plastic.  There is no better way to ensure you pay a lot more for every purchase than by using a credit card.  You may be thinking about how many great deals are out there when you whip out the plastic, but consider for a moment just how long you’ll be paying on those purchases.  Even if you pay it down each month and don’t spend any more after the holidays, you payments could be spread out over several months, meaning the $100 worth of stuff you buy in December could end up costing you a lot more by June of next year.
  3. Consider charity.  If you only have a small amount of money to dedicate to family and friends, you can do the most good by donating it to a charitable cause in the name of your loved ones.  In this way you can all give to families that have even greater needs than you this holiday season, and isn’t that really what it’s all about?  You may just want to let people know about your intentions ahead of time so that they don’t feel the need to buy you a gift.
  4. DIY gifts.  If you find that the gifting experience is half the fun of the season, you can save money by spending time.  Instead of opting for consumer goods, get your family together one weekend to create gifts baskets with ornaments, photos, homemade cards, and baked goods.  You could even include some easy beeswax candles or jars of scented bath salts (simple recipes can be found online).  Your family and friends are sure to love the personal touches and it can save you a ton of dough.
  5. Go for gift cards.  Gift cards are a great way to save time, stick to your budget, and make sure that everyone gets exactly what they want.  And pre paid Visa cards ensure that recipients can go to the store of their choice.  It’s less mess and less stress all around.

Evan Fischer writes for Get Debit where you can compare and contrast debit cards like the Account Now Visa, to find the best fit for you.

The Mountainous Health Benefits of Mountain Biking


Anyone’s first thought on seeing a mountain bike whizzing down an almost vertical trail is that they probably won’t live to see out the week. However, this pursuit includes both downhill and cross country riding that, beyond giving you an opportunity to take in the natural beauty of the English countryside, is also well-known for its health benefits. Here are some of the advantages of this form of exercise.

Cyclists may look somewhat like Tyrannosaurus Rex with their tiny arms and gigantic thighs, but this is evidence in itself of the benefits of mountain biking to leg strength. It also works the buttocks and strengthens tendons, while the need for balance also means it strengths your core.

Lose Weight
When most people think of losing weight, running is the first form of exercise that springs to mind. However, and beyond how self-conscious some people will feel next to the toned athletes effortlessly gliding past them, the high-impact nature of running puts huge pressure on the knees of those carrying extra pounds. Mountain Biking does not and is, as such, a very good activity for weight loss.

Cardiovascular Benefits
A fit heart and lungs benefits the entire body and mountain biking is a form of exercise that allows you to push this system to the maximum. This means that over time you will be able to do more exercise for less effort – the holy grail for anyone really – while research has also found that 3 hours of biking per week reduces your risk of heart disease and stroke by as much as 50%


Since less clumsy people will be sitting on the bike for most of this activity, load bearing is taken away from your body. Indeed the very act of sitting means that weight is also taken off the knees. As such, this exercise is great for older people who have destroyed their knees over years of practicing high-impact sports like running. This feature of the exercise also means that it is good for people who are returning from injury.

Reduce the Risk Of Cancer

It is certainly the case that all exercise is good for reducing the risk of cancer, but studies have shown that cycling is particularly good in this regard. Rather than having to go out on an intense ride every day to take advantage here, Finnish researchers say that simply 30 hours a day is more than enough to this end.

Mountain biking is preferable to its cycling counterpart, in that being done away from roads, you sidestep the risks of both motorists and pollution. Enthusiasts love spending a day in the great outdoors and it can be a great social activity that allows you to get closer to friends and loved ones. There are still dangers however and specialist mountain biking stores can advice you on the right clothing and safety equipment.

Being off the beaten track also means that knowing your way around a map and compass is important, so that you don’t get lost, and to carry food, water and warm clothing in case you do. And, while many associate insurance with road cycling, the dangers that mountain biking poses are greater than bruises and scratches and, as such, it is important to look into mountain bike insurance so that you are prepared for wherever the trail takes you.

The author is an avid cross country mountain biking fan after his devil may care attitude at PORC on his first downhill trail resulted in a week in a hospital and scars he still bears 15 years later. His health and mountain biking blogs can be found scattered around the World Wide Web.

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