Frugal Transportation

According to the American Automobile Association, the average price for a gallon of gas in the US today is $2.86, and a recent article in the New York Times reported that carbon dioxide emissions from the use of coal, oil and natural gas increased 1.4% globally in 2017 after remaining steady since 2014. That’s like putting 170 million new cars on the road worldwide! But here’s the thing: making a few changes can save you money and help the environment. So let’s get started…

Make sure your vehicle is properly maintained. Replacing your fuel filter at least every 50,000 miles improves your gas mileage and helps protect your car’s engine.

Experts recommend replacing your vehicle’s air filter every 15,000 – 30,000 miles but you may want to change it more often if you drive on dirt roads or notice sluggish acceleration or rough idling.

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Slowing Down

Most of us live hectic lives, trying to cram into a day all the things we feel we have to do and a lot of what we want to do. It is a formula for stressful living that starts in school where we are expected to achieve, and continues when we go to work where we are urged to do more, more, more! In trying to do more, stress becomes an everyday presence in our lives, leading to health issues and relationship problems.

But what would happen if we just slowed things down? What if we didn’t check off everything on the to-do list? What if we were able to just focus on what really matters and let go of the rest? It’s not about slacking off, it’s really about being realistic about what your can do, and at the same time taking care of yourself physically, mentally and emotionally. It’s about spending your time in a way that is most meaningful to you and those you love.

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Greener Gardens

Americans use millions of pounds of chemicals each year to keep weeds out of their lawns and pests out of their gardens. And weed killers and pesticides work really well, but we pay a tremendous price for that effectiveness in terms of health and environmental problems. Of course, the manufacturers of weed and insect killers insist that their products are safe, but studies show otherwise…

Studies have linked household use of herbicides and pesticides with cancer, birth defects, and organ damage, as well as damage to muscular, nervous, and digestive systems. Children are particularly vulnerable to the harmful effects of pesticides. The American Cancer Society has reported that children whose homes and yards have been treated with pesticides are more likely to develop leukemia and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. And pets suffer too—a study by the National Cancer Institute found a link between pesticides and herbicides and dogs diagnosed with canine malignant lymphoma.

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12 Ways to Beat Stress

Most of us live stressful lives. We have too many commitments and too little time. We say “sure I can do that” when we should say “no, I don’t want to take on anything else right now.” Sometimes we don’t even know how stressed we are until we realize we are cranky and short-tempered or feel the tension somewhere in our bodies. We can’t avoid stress completely, but here are some things that can help reduce it:

1. Focus on your breathing. Slow things down by breathing in through your nose to the count of 4, then out through your mouth to the count of 4. You can also breath in and out through your nose if that is more comfortable. Take normal breaths and just focus on the breath going in and out.

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The Garbage Patch

Today is World Environment Day, first designated by the United Nations in 1974 to bring about awareness and to inspire people to take action to protect the environment. This year’s theme is plastic, so let’s talk a little about that.

Halfway between California and Hawaii, and floating just under the surface of the ocean is a soupy mix of trash and debris that has grown to more than twice the size of Texas. Known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, most of this mass of trash is made up of plastic water bottles and plastic shopping bags, and such things as toothbrushes, printer ink cartridges, syringes, and children’s toys. Most of this trash is generated onshore when discarded items find their way into sewers and storm drains and then are picked up by ocean currents that sweep it into the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre. This trash has been collecting there in a slowly swirling, ever-growing mass since the 1950s.

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