A Guide to Saving the World and Saving Money in the Process!

Many of us want to help slow down the destruction of our environment, but just the thought of it may feel a bit overwhelming. At least it does to me. But when it comes down to it, there are many ways that basically anyone can help – and, as a bonus perk, save money while doing it.

A Guide to Saving the World and Saving Money in the Process!

So if you’re at a loss as to how to start “saving the world”, or are already there but just looking for even more tips and tricks, read on for this sectionalized guide to going green.

Water

With water being such an essential and finite resource, this should definitely be one of the top focus points when it comes to conservation. Less than 3% of the world’s water sources are fresh, and a lot of this even is out of human reach. With global water consumption that doubles every couple decades, the idea of preserving water should not be taken lightly.

On top of that, if water is included in the utilities that you pay for, you can save a decent amount of money by applying at least a few of these tips:

  • Don’t leave water running when it’s not in use. Though obvious, it has to be said – because most of us are guilty of this very thing. It may not be really paid attention to when we leave the bathwater running into the drain for several minutes to warm up, or leave water to flow from the kitchen sink in between tasks. It may not seem like much problem at all, but it does add up.
  • Reduce shower time. If you like to spend a long time in the shower, consider shaving some minutes off. This will not only help conserve water little by little, but you will also be helping your water bill as well as heating bill. Another option as far as conserving heating energy would be to simply not have it running as hot, or turn it to cold in the last few minutes of the shower of vice versa. Depending on how long you normally shower, you may actually use LESS water than you would if you instead took a bath.
  • Invest in a low-flow shower head. This will reduce the flow of water, automatically conserving the amount of water when showering, while still retaining most of the water pressure. Another very low-cost idea is to install faucet aerators on the faucets around your house – these also slow the water flow without really affecting the pressure.
  • Stop buying bottled water. This in itself is my toughest transition. I really love bottled water – the convenience, the taste…but it’s mostly a long-lived habit of mine I am working on kicking. Bottled water is truly an unnecessary extra expense as well as a product that just generates more waste with its plastic bottles. Instead, opt for a RO water filter to purify tap water and bring a reusable water bottle filled with your purified tap water when traveling or commuting.

Energy

  • Don't leave appliances on when not in use! Don’t leave appliances on when not in use! Another obvious tip that we’re pretty much all guilty of. Especially when it comes to lights around the house – it’s so easy to either be lazy and not get up to turn off a light you no longer need, or simply forget that you have lights on in unoccupied rooms. A solution to this would be to force yourself into the habit of turning off the light/appliance as you leave a room, even if you believe you will be returning shortly – if you do, it shouldn’t be that much extra hassle to turn the light or appliance back on. If you still have trouble, consider investing in some timers that automatically switch lights and such off after a certain amount of time or lack of motion.
  • Use compact fluorescent light bulbs instead of the more widely-used incandescent ones. Not only do these energy-saving bulbs last longer, but they are generally brighter, providing more light for less energy.
  • Adjust the refrigerator temperature. The refrigerator alone eats up tons of energy – it’s suggested to be kept at 37 F, and the freezer at 0.
  • Go easy on the thermostat. In the winter, set it a few degrees lower than normal if you usually keep it pretty high. For air conditioning in the summer, do just the opposite with setting it a few degrees higher. The money (and energy) this saves will add up.
  • Consider purchasing a smart strip. Just having an appliance plugged in can still create “phantom” energy loads, but a smart power strip will detect when a device is shut off. Otherwise you can try to unplug your appliance whenever it’s not in use, which can quickly become a hassle.
  • Use cold water when washing clothes. Most of the energy consumed while using a clothes washer is due to the heating up of water. You may also consider using a clothesline or, if the weather doesn’t permit or you lack a yard, a drying rack to dry clothes on naturally instead of using even more heating energy in a dryer.

Fuel

  • Carpool if you can, as it’s better for a couple or a few people to split the gas for one car than each pay their own on several cars.
  • Try walking or biking to work or school if it’s within distance. This way you’re not only helping the environment and your wallet, but your personal health too.
  • Consider moving closer to where you need to go. While this may not be a spur-of-the-moment decision to make for most, it may be something to consider if you are using a huge amount of gas each week to make it to school or work.
  • Invest in a no-fuel lawn mower.You can go simple and get a modern reel-style mower, as these require no energy but your own to push it – which is very good for you. Or, if you’d rather not do this, consider a battery-operated mower. Still saves money on fuel and is much better for the environment.

Electronics

  • Buy recyclable batteries. Yes, they are more expensive than ones you can toss in the trash, but they’re less costly in the long run as you can use them many times before they finally fail completely. They also tend to last longer in one use than normal batteries. Aside from expense issues, rechargeables will keep you from throwing batteries away, which is not a good thing. Speaking of which…
  • Don’t throw rechargeable batteries away! In some states it’s even illegal to. Wherever you are, it’s not too hard to find a place that will properly take care of (as in, recycle) batteries from cell phones, cameras, etc. that are no longer of use to you. Check out http://www.rbrc.org to find a place near you that will do this.
  • Cell phones are recyclable. More and more often I’m seeing cell phone depositories popping up, but they are still not widely known about. If you have a cell phone that no longer works or you no longer need, check out this site to find out how to recycle it.In the winter, set it a few degrees lower than normal if you usually keep it pretty high. For air conditioning in the summer, do just the opposite with setting it a few degrees higher. The money (and energy) this saves will add up.

Food

  • Support local farmers by purchasing food that is locally grown or produced. This helps keep your local economy thriving, and can generally be less expensive when it comes to buying organic foods like milk and eggs than it would be if you were to buy from out of the area.
  • Try eating a few meatless meals a week. This will not only be healthier for you and your family, but will cost a lot less than constantly buying meat from the supermarket for every meal.
  • Buy food from the bulk bins. Especially if it’s something you and you family consume a lot of. This is easier on the environment as much less packaging is used, and easier for you as by the amount you get it’s usually cheaper.

Shopping

  • Buy secondhand. Instead of always buying new things, don’t be afraid to shop thrift shops for cheaper, gently-used clothing, or sites like eBay and Amazon (or even craigslist) that have many options for just about anything used.
  • Don’t buy books. Instead of paying money for another book that uses tons of paper, head to the library and borrow it. You’re probably only going to read it once anyway! Unless it’s like your favorite book, then of course it’s excusable. If you really want to support the author, consider purchasing books in eBook form instead. As much as I love to have book-in-hand, I have taken to acquiring eBooks – the same story, but without all the publishing-on-paper bit.
  • Borrow things besides books. An interesting site known as BorrowMe lets people lend or borrow just about anything on a contracted basis.

While going green may seem like a daunting task to many of us, if each would apply even just a few of the above ideas to our everyday lives, we are on our way to not only saving money – but truly helping the environment.This will not only be healthier for you and your family, but will cost a lot less than constantly buying meat from the supermarket for every meal.

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Reiki Basic Questions

Reiki is one of the fastest growing alternative therapies in the world with millions of supporters and yet the claims made by practitioners are extraordinary by any standard. The essence of the Reiki business is that the therapist claims to be able to transfer a form of energy to the patient which enhances their body’s own healing potential.

Reiki Basic Questions

Some Reiki practitioners claim to be able to do this at a distance, some even say they can work across states and continents.

Practitioners say they can channel this energy, often called Qi, and obtain new quantities of it by first downloading it into their own bodies. They undergo training in the techniques and acquire qualifications based on three levels.

The first level simply involves self-healing, accessing their own native reserve of healing energy, but on progressing to the second level they get to transfer the energy to someone else. Finally, they are taught by a Master and can attain the third level. Once the practitioner has reached level three, they can train others. The refer to the levels as degrees.

Someone coming to the idea of Reiki for the first time will be struck by the appeal of the body’s own natural healing mechanism, the non-invasive nature of the treatment, the appeal to notions of a surrounding healing energy.

The idea that the body can heal itself is fundamental to conventional medical treatment too, but in clinical science there is a recognition that some illnesses, some traumas, will not heal themselves.

Where the body’s systems are too damaged, perhaps through infection or trauma, self-healing doesn’t take place and clinical intervention is needed. Reiki argues that in all cases, the healing energy can restore the body to health.

Most Reiki practitioners, cautious of the legal implications of some of their claims, state clearly that they would not contradict the diagnoses of clinical medicine.

How do we assess Reiki claims?

How to we assess Reiki claims?In a normal investigation, we would identify a phenomenon, show evidence of its existence and some reliable way of interacting with it. We would typically make some measurements and change the circumstances to see how the phenomenon behaved.

That would give rise to some theories of how it works, and we would make some testable predictions. We would experiment to test the theories and deepen our understanding.

In the case of Reiki, we encounter some major difficulties. Firstly, there is no evidence for the existence of Qi itself, the very basis of Reiki practice. Not only can we not detect it, but Reiki practitioners themselves claim only to feel its presence, and even then no discernable change is evident in the physical state of the person.

If Qi exists, it cannot be detected. If it cannot be detected, we cannot even speculate on its potential effects.

So we are left with a personal claim of Reiki practitioners that they can feel the energy. If they are lying, no-one can tell the difference.

But let’s assume for a moment that they genuinely believe they have in them a store of healing energy even though it cannot be detected. The next difficult step to understand is how it can be passed from one person to the next, especially across large distances.

Such a transport mechanism is unknown to science and would be of huge technological importance if it was possible.

But since the presence of the energy is undetectable, so too is its transfer. So there is no way of telling whether or not it was successful, nor even if it went astray. The only means of inferring that anything happened is the verbal statement of the recipient that the feel different.

But the problem doesn’t stop there. If the patient has an illness, the healing energy transferred would have to interact in a detectable way with the human body, accentuating the self-healing property of the body. But since the mechanism of interaction is mystical and not detectable, literally any change could be attributed to the energy transfer.

It is therefore equally plausible to blame a worsening of the condition on the same cause. Unless there is a clear mechanism to show how healing is improved rather than worsened, no claim can be made that healing energy is indeed healing.

So we have an undetectable energy which can be stored by someone who says they feel it, transferred by them by an undetectable mechanism, received by a patient whose state is unchanged but who claims they too feel it, and no mechanism to relate any of this to changes in the physical state of the body.

The placebo effect

This effect is a change in the brain chemistry based on conditioning and expectation. When we expect to catch a ball, the brain areas associated with the motor response in catching a ball are activated. We anticipate and that anticipation mimics on a smaller scale, the actual response to the actions. Our brain reacts as if we are already catching the ball.

This allows the brain to test the accuracy of its mental picture of the world. When the anticipation conflicts with the real action, the model is adjusted. The same mechanism is used in empathy, and in the placebo effect.

When a patient anticipates that a visit to the doctor will make them feel better, the brain releases endorphins and other opioids which makes the patient feel a little better. We are conditioned to expect that a visit to a doctor will make us better and so this is a conditioned response.

Of course, the placebo effect is not reliable since it depends on a sustained belief. If the belief is lost, the placebo response will fade too.

Since Reiki patients have already paid for the treatment, they have a clear expectation that it will do them good and will make them feel better – that is what they are buying. The expectation will produce the placebo effect, but the sale itself will provide a psychological predisposition to claim the treatment had an effect.

Such an inherently biased response cannot be accepted as evidence of anything happening. For that we need some independent, controlled trial.

In 1998, a schoolgirl in Loveland, Colorado called Emily Rosa, conducted an experiment with 21 therapeutic touch practitioners who claimed to be able to detect this energy. She conducted the trial under controlled conditions and demonstrated that their results were no better than chance. The practitioners could actually detect nothing.

Reiki fraud?

Fraud requires the wilful deception of someone else for personal gain and claiming the existence of something undetectable isn’t legally fraud. If it was, all preachers would be in court. But nor is the claim to be able to transfer something immaterial to another person. Since there’s no evidence one way or the other, it is simply a statement of belief. Again no fraud.

If the Reiki practitioner goes through some ritual and makes the claims to have transferred energy, no-one can show that it hasn’t happened, and therefore no-one can prove deceit. In that sense, Reiki is immune to the law on fraud. The complete absence of evidence takes it out of the courtroom.

Is it a scam?

Reiki claims cannot be justified and therefore can be addressed under consumer legislation. If you sell someone something, you have to be able to demonstrate that you are in fact selling them something. The problem here is that even if the claim was made, there is no way of proving one way or the other if anything happened.

There is no evidence that any Reiki treatment has any medical effect whatsoever and therefore paying for it is throwing money away. At best they are selling relaxation but any other claims are fanciful and misleading.

The organisation of the business is a traditional pyramid scheme in which practitioners recover the cost of their outlay by buying the Master qualification. That entitles them to organise training courses and recover their costs by charging others for similar qualifications. Reiki practitioners understandably claim that their “skills” cannot be self-taught.

It is undoubtedly a scam though the participants may genuinely believe they are doing good. Practitioners have little or no understanding of evidence and the nature of controlled clinical trials, and are often lamentably poorly educated in science. They have little or no understanding of the human body and the aetiology of illnesses.

A single effective question allows you to assess a Reiki practitioner. How can I, not you, tell if you are a fraud? They have no way of demonstrating this and so you are well advised to have nothing to do with them.

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