The Dangers of Drought: How You Can Protect Your Home

In the past year, we’ve faced a global health crisis that has significantly impacted the world we live in. However, what many don’t realize is that we were already in the middle of another crisis before the pandemic- the environmental crisis.

Climate change has been a decades-long issue, with humanity being the major cause of the global environmental crisis we’re facing to this day. This is due to the numerous human activities like deforestation, the burning of fossil fuels, overpopulation, and overconsumption, which in turn produce greenhouse gases and waste, among other pollutants. The effects of this crisis are seen all across the world, with ice caps melting, sea levels rising, extreme heat, and droughts. And not only are its effects threatening us, our livelihood, and wildlife, but it also threatens the future of our whole planet.

While we make the slow journey towards rehabilitating our planet, it’s also important to know how to protect ourselves whenever a natural disaster caused by climate change occurs.

How Droughts Affect Your Home

Across the world, drought affects more people compared to any other natural disaster, with 55 million people affected by drought every year. This poses a hazard not only to your health, livestock, and crops but also to your home.

With nearly half of the United States currently affected by some level of drought that is also expected to get worse in the near future, it’s important to know how it affects our homes and what we can do to protect our property. For instance, if your area is going through a serious drought and your home is built on reactive clay soil, this could significantly impact your home. This is because reactive clay soil expands and contracts, depending on the weather condition outside. If the weather is cool and the soil is moist, the material expands. If it’s extremely hot, on the other hand, this can cause any moisture in the soil to quickly evaporate and cause it to shrink.

In turn, your house sinks, which can put immense pressure and even damage the foundations of your home. Just like droughts themselves, the signs that it’s affecting your home are gradual, and in most cases, you won’t notice them until it’s too late.

What You Can Do to Protect Your Home in Times of Drought

As they say, prevention is better than cure, and the same goes for protecting your home from droughts. Knowing the preventative measures to keep your house safe during both mild and extreme droughts will not only help you avoid any damages to your home but will also protect you and the rest of your household. The best preventative measure for drought protection is maintaining your property, from inspecting your home for any needed repairs or cleaning to avoiding lighting fires. Use these tips to help you prevent foundation damage to keep you and your household safe during a drought.

Inspect Your Home Regularly

The first step to protecting your home from the effects of drought is by inspecting your home often. If you spot anything that you find worrisome, take a photo that you can use for comparisons later on. If it looks minor, just keep an eye on them and observe if anything else happens. On the other hand, if you notice something more serious, it’s important to contact a professional before it causes serious damage that could end up costing you more later on.

Some of the signs of drought-induced damage in your home include:

  • Sloping or sinking floors
  • Bouncing floors
  • Gaps between walls
  • Cracks around your home

Clean Out Your Gutters

During a drought, gutters are likely one of the last things on your mind. However, they’re more important than you think. You never know when the weather might change, and since gutters are your home’s way of rerouting water, it’s important that you keep them clean in the event that it rains. This way, you won’t end up over saturating your soil with water and end up damaging the foundation.

Keep Foundation Moist

When you think about watering, your mind may immediately think of watering plants. While this is true, what many people don’t know is that your house’s foundation needs watering too. You can help prevent your foundation from sinking by keeping your soil’s moisture at a normal level. You can do this by watering the ground and using a soaker hose around your house to keep your soil nice and moist. If you’re constantly busy, you don’t need to worry, as this only needs to be done every week.

You can also consider adding mulch to the soil near your home’s foundation, allowing moisture to evaporate more slowly, reducing your frequency of having to water your foundation.

Give Your Fire Pit a Break

Since both the air and ground are extremely dry during droughts, lighting a fire can become dangerous fast. Give your fire pit a vacation during this time to avoid any accidental fires.

If you live in areas that experience drought often such as Texas, New Mexico, and California, it’s important to always stay prepared. Remember to conserve water, make sure your home doesn’t have any leaks, and most importantly, take preventative measures to keep your foundation from drying out and damaging your home.

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How COVID-19 Might Change Teaching Forever

Over the past year, every major institution and industry in our lives has had to go through changes. Teaching and education are far from an exception, they are perhaps the sectors that have changed the most. However, as lockdowns begin to ramp down and the world starts to open up again, what are some of the changes to teaching that might be sticking around?

Source – Pixabay License

Is remote learning going to stick around?

The first big consideration is, of course, where the class is going to be doing all of its learning. A lot of people, teachers, parents, and kids alike, might be eager for classes to return to the classroom. However, they have discovered some benefits of long-distance which might lead to the rise of more remote learning platforms. Such platforms could be useful for extra or remedial lessons that don’t fit within the bounds of the normal teaching day, for instance. These platforms are also getting adopted much more widely in the world of further education.

The reliance on technology in the classroom

Aside from the fact that remote learning has become a more viable long-term solution for many, technology is likely to play a much greater role regardless of where lessons are being held in the future. Look at some of the organizations that bundle chromebooks and classroom teaching software for K-12 for instances of how this can be done. Making use of features like screen monitoring, screen sharing, push websites and more can help teachers interact much more freely with the learning experience of their students to make sure that they’re on the right track.

A greater focus on self-study

Homework has always been a tool of self-study or has at least been proposed as such. However, lately, students have had to learn to study more independently. While this might seem like a way of simply passing the buck from teachers, it also teaches a skill that will become invaluable in college. For that reason, schools may be focusing on helping students learn how to study more independently in the later years going forward.

The dangers of education disruption

For a lot of students, efforts to educate them over the past year have been fraught with difficulty, to the point that there is a serious concern that they may have issues with further education if the imbalance isn’t addressed. The after-effects of natural disasters on education have been measured, and find that children who have such experiences can have hindered results for the rest of their educational life, which can go on to affect their attainment both in school and in life outside of school. As such, there will be significant considerations of how the following years in school change to help kids catch up after the pandemic.

How much education will change in the coming years in response to COVID-19 has yet to be seen. There is a good chance that things will return to how they used to be, more or less, but that could be missing out on the opportunity to improve the sector, something that teachers and decision-makers in schools will have to consider.

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Three Commercial Services That Every Public Park Needs

The public spaces in communities are important because these are the avenues where people can bond with each other, meet new people, and discuss what can benefit their community. Parks and playgrounds also serve as recreational spaces where people can exercise or breathe in the fresh air.

Fortunately, most communities have their own public parks that can be accessible to everyone in the neighborhood. These places are perfect for children who want to play with others their age, for adolescents to spend time with their friends, or for adults with a strong urge to be in the presence of nature.

That’s why public spaces should be well-maintained to assure the members of the community that they won’t be harmed by using the facilities inside the parks. However, since such spaces are always open to the public, the maintenance, cleanliness, and safety of the utilities are questionable.

It’s a good thing that there are services created specifically to cater to this need. These businesses offer their products and services for a reasonable price, which can then be taken out of the community budget. To give you an idea, here are three commercial services that every public park needs:

Public Restroom Providers

It can be impossible to ignore the calls of nature when they come, especially when you’re out in the public. Unfortunately, clean and maintained restrooms aren’t always available when you need them. In addition to that, it’s even more difficult to find functional restrooms in parks or playgrounds.

This leaves people to struggle to answernature’s call in secluded areas in the park or rush to the nearest establishment to relieve themselves. However, if there were public restrooms in the area that people can use when they need to, then they wouldn’t have to cut their engagements short.

There are plenty of public toilet manufacturers that sell prefabricated structures for a reasonable price. These toilets are durable, functional, and easy to use, which means that they can be beneficial to all the members of the community who frequently spend time in the parks.

Outdoor Furniture Suppliers

A park is not a park just because it has a lot of open space. People in the community go to the park to relieve their stress, soak in the sun, breathe in the fresh air, and bond with their neighbors. These activities can be difficult to do when there are no dedicated areas for them to relax.

Good parks or playgrounds will at least have benches and tables where people can sit. Relaxing in the park can be uncomfortable if there are no functional chairs or benches, just like it would be impossible to play in a playground that has no equipment like swings, slides, or monkey bars.

For public spaces to cater to the needs of the community, they would have to be equipped to carry out their purpose. This means that the leaders of the community must work with outdoor furniture suppliers who can provide durable structures that people can use in their parks.

Park Maintenance Services

Grasses, trees, and bushes can quickly become messy when left untended. Moreover, weeds tend to grow anywhere the opportunity presents itself, and if no one stops them, these weeds can take over the entire expanse of the parks. An unruly park will be no place for children to be left unattended while playing.

Despite nature’s ability to take care of itself, letting nature take its course is simply not practical in a public park because people of all ages go there, and therefore, can be exposed to the dangers of an unmaintained space. Public parks need to be properly maintained to remain functional.

It’s the job of the community leaders to make sure that their parks are maintained by professionals. This can include hiring landscapers to mow the grass, plant flowers, and trim the bushes. Another important personnel is a janitor that can ensure the cleanliness and safety of the public restrooms or other structures.

In some cases, these employees are overseen by a maintenance supervisor that assigns tasks and manages the schedules regarding the needs of the park. They are also in charge of hiring and training park maintenance employees while keeping the community leaders updated.

Public spaces like parks and playgrounds are vital to the growth of the community. Even if these places aren’t profitable, they can be very beneficial to the health and development of the members of the community. As such, the parks need to well-maintained and prepared to cater to the needs of kids, teenagers, adults, and the elderly at any given time.

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How to Live an Energy Efficient Life?

The development of technology has brought us numerous benefits. We can get hot water whenever we want, and we watch TV shows at midnight. Everyone of us is enjoying the convenience of modern life. However, there are few people who are willing to stop a couple of minutes a day to think about saving energy for our planet. The recent news about Elon Musk building the solar roof in Canada brings the concept of green life to our attention. Is there any way for our normal people to contribute to our environment and planet? The answer is yes.

Avoid leaking at home

We use our home appliances every day and take everything for granted. However, whenever something goes wrong, we feel reluctant to get it right quickly. This is easy to understand because we work every day, and we naturally want to procrastinate anything which is not urgent. We intend to lay down at our comfortable couch and forget about the leaking faucet in the kitchen. After all, it will not cause any immediate danger. However, people might not realize how much water is wasted from a leaking faucet. There are millions of people in the world who can not access clean water every day. We can simply do our part by fixing the leaking parts in our home to save millions of lives.

Installing energy efficient windows

Although the world still has four seasons, we have been used to the mild temperature maintained by our air conditioners. However, you might not realize how important it is to have energy efficient windows and doors. A triple pane window has much better capacity than normal windows to insulate temperature, sound and outside elements. A professionally installed window will save a lot on your monthly energy bill. In this way, you are not only helping the environment, but also benefit your own financial situation.

Cultivate nice habits

The concept of saving energy should be everywhere in our life. For example, we can turn off the light when we leave our house or the office. For people who have a little budget, they can buy energy efficient appliances like toilets and washing machines. Of course, if we find any malfunctioning signs from our washer, we need to call a professional appliance repair technician to fix it right away. Moreover, we can tell our kids to bear the concept of energy saving in mind.

Conduct recycling strictly

You may not know how much poisonous garbage ends up in landfills, and all of those undegradable plastics will be washed into oceans. Then the scattered plastics will be absorbed by fish and other creatures. In the end, the fish will be hunted and get back to our tables. Yes, we are eating micro plastics everyday. Does it sound terrible? A lot of cities have programs to recycle plastic, bottles, glasses, etc. All we need to do is to comply with the rules to save our planet. Especially for construction sites, home improvement projects and small businesses, the garbage size will be enormous. It is important to contact local dumpster bin rental companies to take care of your garbage properly.

When we start to conserve energy in our life, it might be a little difficult in the beginning, but when we turn those greener tips into our daily routines, we are helping our communities, and the world to be a little greener every day.

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The 4 Most Important Elements of a Sustainable Home Build

Photo by JoĂŁo Jesus from Pexels

As environmental concerns and discussions about sustainability become more widespread, many prospective homeowners are looking for ways to make their build more eco-friendly. With new, innovative technologies coming out all the time and lots of strong opinions on which eco-friendly approaches are best, designing a sustainable home can feel like an overwhelming task. 

If you’ve been dreaming about building a sustainable home but aren’t sure where to start, take a look at the four factors that will have the biggest effect on reducing your home’s footprint and enable you to live a sustainable lifestyle. 

Use utility-efficient designs and supplies

All sustainable home builds should focus on reducing water, heat, and electrical usage. Some of the most popular heating options today include geothermal heating, solar panels, masonry heat systems, and hydronic heat systems. 

The best place to begin is to be aware of any issues with your current location. Any plumber can look at the area and see if there are major issues with sewer lines, or if your location is not conducive to efficient sewage. If you build a property on a faulty mainline, the quality of water you use could be compromised.

To conserve water, collect rainwater and recycle your greywater. If you have lots of outdoor space, consider putting in an irrigation system in place of underground sprinklers. If you have the space and a license, well drillers can provide you with your own source of clean, safe drinking water, saving you from purchasing plastic water bottles. 

Keep in mind that although some of these features have high upfront costs, many will save you money in the long run and increase the value of your home. 

Look for eco-friendly materials

When deciding on the materials for your build, there are three main considerations to keep in mind:

  • Is the material easily renewable? 
  • Can they be locally sourced? 
  • Are they free of contaminants and harmful chemicals? 

Bamboo and wool are popular materials, as they meet the first and third criteria. Having an extensive understanding of all potential building materials is just one of many things you should know before you self-build. Even if you’ve hired a builder to do the work for you, you shouldn’t expect to take a back seat in the project. Make sure you have a firm idea about what materials you want and be ready to negotiate this with your builder. 

Less is more

Energy-efficient design or not, larger eco-friendly homes will always use more energy than smaller eco-friendly homes. How much space do you truly need to live comfortably? Focus more on building a functional, comfortable space than your dream eco-mansion. 

There are lessons to be learned here from tiny house architects. While you shouldn’t feel pressured to live in a space that small, their designs are worth taking a look at to get some ideas on how you can maximize the space you have. Less space means less waste. 

Plant a permaculture-inspired garden

Living sustainably is all about seeking connection and mutual benefit with the natural environment around you. Your sustainable home should therefore not shut out the outdoors, but seamlessly integrate into it. 

Your garden is just as important as the house itself. Design your garden using permaculture principles, which take an approach to agriculture that mimics and supports natural processes. Cultivate your own fruits and vegetables to your heart’s content while simultaneously giving back to the environment. 

That being said, sticking exclusively to permaculture principles exclusively isn’t for everyone. To reduce your reliance on the supermarket and eat locally, factor space for a polytunnel into your build to grow produce that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to.

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Saving The Environment One Car At A Time

Saving The Environment One Car At A Time

It is not uncommon to find the local salvage yard filled with different car models. While this may seem like a waste, an extensive process goes into ensuring that whenever possible, all 30,000 parts of each car are put to the best use. 

So don’t be so worried about the environment when you sell your car for scraps. As you will see in this infographic below, lots of junkyards are protecting the environment by making sure that they recycle as many car parts as possible. Parts like the battery, electronics, glass, plastics, rubber, fabric, steel and aluminum, can and will be used in other ways, such as being turned into fuel for cement production and asphalt. This means that none of those components will get to the landfill, significantly reducing the amount of waste that ends up there. Considering how long it takes some of these components to degrade, that is very positive. 

Aside from making extra cash for yourself, you will be doing the environment a big favor by selling your old car to a junkyard. By helping to reduce landfill waste harmful greenhouse gases are lowered, as are the levels of additional pollutants and chemicals released into the surrounding land and bodies of water.

Whichever way you look at it taking your car to the junkyard is a win-win situation. But to fully understand what goes into it, you will need some vital information, all of which can be found in the infographic.


Infographic designed by http://JunkYardsNearMe.net

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Recycle More Efficiently with These Small Business Tips

If your small business has to deal with the disposal of hazardous waste, then there’s a high chance that you deal with non-hazardous waste as well. Waste like this tends to have an uncomplicated handling procedure, but that being said, there is always room for you to improve. One of the best ways for you to do this would be for you to recycle more. If you want some help with that then simply take a look below.

Make a Commitment to Recycling

The first thing that you need to do is commit to recycling. It’s more likely that your business will succeed if everyone in your team is committed and this is especially the case if you look at top-level management. Top-level employees should be doing their best to set a strong example if possible, because if they don’t then you may find that your entire business suffers.

Source: Pexels (CC0 License)

Take a Visual Inventory

If you’re ready to get started, then take an inventory of everything that your business disposes of. Remember that aluminium,  steel, plastic, cardboard and paper are all recyclable. If you don’t have the time to do this or if you want to hire a recycling service then remember that there are services such as: https://gfcommodities.com/our-services/yellow-grease-disposal which can help you with yellow grease disposal if you need it.

Do a Waste Paper Audit

You then need to try and perform a wastepaper audit. You need to know what waste you are creating so that you can design a management and collection program. An audit will help you to know what needs to be recycled, what type of waste it is and the value. If you do this, then you will be able to streamline your process and you will also be able to make it much more efficient overall.

Recycling Supervisor

Another thing that you need to do is dedicate a supervisor for your recycling. They can be crucial to your success. The time required to do this job is minimal, but you need to have one until your program can be operational and self-sustainable. Your supervisor can educate your team as to what can be recycled and what can’t, and they can also help you to know the difference between some containers and others.

Educate your Team

You need to do your best to educate your employees by implementing an educational program. This will help your team to get motivated about the changes you are making, and it will also help you to explain the goals or the methods you aim to carry out. If you implement measures without talking to your team first, then you may find that it is hard to get everyone on the same page.

Good Maintenance

It’s vital to make sure that your progress is maintained and that it is consistent. If you know that there is a problem or if you keep on running into issues, then you need to deal with them in a timely manner. Follow up with your team about the informational materials you have and work things out as you go.

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Here’s What Your Business Can Do To Protect The Environment

(Pixabay CC0)

We’re not doomed to extinction just yet, but we still need to pay attention to the way we live our lives in relation to the environment around us. We are talking about our business lives as well as our personal lives, as there is much we can do to make a positive difference. 

If you run your own business, there are a few things you can do to protect the environment. 

#1: Leave your car at home

Rather than exposing the world to the toxic fumes caused by your exhaust pipe, why not cycle to work instead? Or car share, as at least there would be one less car on the roads. You could even work at home if remote working was possible for you, as there would then be little reason to use your car at all.

#2: Assess your damage

If you want to know more about the damage you are doing to the environment, seek the assistance of the experts. From energy auditors from your local utility company to the water sampling teams affiliated to marine research services akin to Gravity – visit their site – you might be able to assess your damage to the world around you. You would then have the incentive to make the necessary changes to your business before word gets about the damage you are causing. 

#3: Limit your use of paper

Do you really need paper in your business anymore? Thanks to digital marketing techniques, you can reach your customers without being reliant on door-to-door leaflet drops. And thanks to the cloud, you can now store your files virtually instead of keeping them locked away in filing cabinets. By using less paper, you would reduce your paper waste. You would also use less electricity as there would be fewer power surges running through your printers and photocopiers. And you wouldn’t have to use a lot of ink either, so you would be adding fewer ink cartridges to your local landfill. So, in all kinds of ways, by using less paper, you could do much to protect the environment. 

#4: Create a green policy

By creating a green policy, you would have a list of rules for your employees to follow. So, you could include recycling, for example, with instructions on how your staff can properly recycle the waste within your business. You could mention the appliances you use, and have instructions on when they should be powered down. And you could have rules about general behavior, such as no littering outside your business premises, and the stipulation that lights shouldn’t be left on after leaving a room.

#5: Reduce plastic waste

Rather than handing out plastic bags to your customers, you could use sustainably made alternatives. Rather than using disposable plastic cups for drinking purposes, you could encourage your staff to reuse water bottles or to bring in their own mugs from home. These are just a couple of examples, but we’re sure you can think of more. 

When you make the effort to protect the environment, you will also protect your business as your reputation will be secured. So, consider our suggestions, and do your bit to save our world.

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Life in the Stimulation

Originally posted on March 26, 2020 on changeroots.com.

What’s the latest?

  • Cases / Deaths: US : 80,857 / 1,163;  Italy: 80,589 / 8,215; World : 524,010 / 23,670
  • U.S. health response: Testing and tracking are crucial to curbing the spread; the U.S. isn’t doing enough of either.
  • Economic response: The Senate passed a stimulus bill twice as large as one from the 2008 financial crisis. The House votes on it tomorrow, Friday March 27th.
  • Bottom line: The more COVID-19 spreads, the more people die, the more drastic actions the government must take, and the more economic damage occurs.

Economic Impact

  • How bad is it: The initial economic decline from the COVID-19 will likely be sharper and more painful than during the 2008 financial crisis. Unemployment could reach 20%, compared to 10% in the 2008 crisis. 
  • Gov response: The Senate just passed a $2 trillion stimulus bill. This is in addition to $8 billion for vaccine research and $100 billion in economic aid already passed. Tomorrow, Friday, March 27, the House will vote on it.
  • Compared to 2008: The 2008 stimulus and industry bailout bills totaled $1.4 trillion.

What’s in the stimulus bill?The stimulus is an attempt to boost employment and economic output through grants, loans, and tax breaks to state and local governments, individuals, and businesses both large and small.

Who gets what? Source Politico

  • Individual Americans: 
    • Single Americans who make under $75,000 would get $1,200
    • Married couples who make under $150,000 would get $2,400
    • Parents would see $500 for each child under age 17
    • People who are unemployed would get an extra $600 per week for up to four months (in addition to state unemployment) 
  • Airline and other industry loans: $500 billion
  • Hospital Industry: $100 billion 
  • State and local governments: $150 billion

How does it compare to the 2008 stimulus 

The 2008 stimulus and industry bailout bills totaled $1.4 trillion. 

  • Individuals would receive up to $600
  • Married couples would get up to $1,200
  • Those with children would be sent $300 per dependent child

Did the 2008 stimulus bill work?

The recession ended in July 2009, five months after Congress passed the stimulus. Economic growth immediately improved. It expanded 1.5% in the third quarter of 2009 after shrinking 4.4% in Q1 2009. Within 18 months, the economy added 4.1 million jobs, after losing more than 500,000 jobs a month during the recession.

Our Post-Partisan Take

This crisis is forcing both parties to remember that everyone’s common goal should be serving the American people. The Senate voted unanimously on this bill with aspects of it that each party had to compromise on. Hopefully, this can carry forward in tackling problems beyond COVID-19 and result in more prompt legislation.

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How Businesses Can Combat Metro Manila’s Pollution

(And pollution in many other cities around the world, too!)

Metro Manila is arguably the biggest hub for commerce and business in the Philippines, seeing a vast population of workers everyday bustling across the stretch of cities to stimulate the economy. Right in the heart of Luzon, the national capital region stands a consistently busy area seeing dense crowds, many activities, and with it, some of the worst pollution seen in the country.

This state has made taking action on sustainability more critical for companies and businesses for the environmental impact and the employees’ well-being. Here are some changes that can be adopted to create positive change in the metro.

  • Eco-friendly installations

It’s become more popular and accessible for companies to make use of installations that add an aesthetic quality to their offices and base of operations while providing functional green benefits.

One popular way to achieve this is the living moss walls for the buildings and structures in the Philippines. These have been adopted by businesses that showcase being “green” and industries that want to add a splash of life into their environment.

Their benefit is that they are visually appealing and can fit into different interior designs nicely. They also actively provide better acoustic insulation and improve the air quality of the area. These installations make use of moss, which carries the benefits of having plants without the hassle of needing to constantly water them every day and expose them to adequate amounts of sunlight. These durable wall fixtures are easy to maintain and can work for any workplace.

  • Energy efficiency

One of the biggest impacts that businesses have on the environment stems from their energy efficiency. There are a variety of ways to make sure that spaces aren’t wasting energy and contributing avoidable emissions, especially since Metro Manila sees startling levels of air and water pollution, among others.

Properly maintaining ventilation and using mindful set-ups can significantly help airflow so that cooling systems don’t have to work as hard. It is one simple change that is easy to manage. Practices can be implemented that promote better energy usage with lights, equipment, and water. The use of more energy-efficient appliances, equipment, and tech can also curb a lot of the harmful environmental effects that litter the cityscapes daily.

  • Sustainable innovations

From infrastructure to operations, some of the country’s biggest players are becoming leaders for the movement of sustainability, which could incite other smaller enterprises to follow suit.

As new infrastructures are built to service operations, using materials and practices that are eco-conscious can turn the tide in climate change. Then, using the business’s platform to fund and promote causes and programs geared toward innovation in this sector can help follow through and maintain those efforts. Combining those two factors not only creates a new avenue for mindful modernization but also connects to the public in a new way.

By integrating these suggestions into a company’s practices and processes, businesses in Metro Manila can hope for a cleaner tomorrow. Even in different ways, climate change can be addressed by the workforce.

And this can go for any city or community in the world as well.

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