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The buzz on the street is that in fifty or less years that the United States will no longer have the superpower status that it has enjoyed since the beginning of the last century. There are quite a few reasons given as the cause of our country’s diminishing importance in the world community.

Some say that it’s because we have dropped the ball where originality and innovation is concerned. Others maintain that it’s not so much that we are sinking, but that other countries are rising to meet and greet us and possibly wave in delight (and scorn?) as they pass us by.

Do nations have to make it a competition? Aren’t we in this boat together? The one encouraging development on the horizon is that I see more thought along these lines. I find hope in the realization among the broader thinking of great minds that third world countries deserve to have clean water, pollutant free air and basic infrastructure. Nothing is to be gained by keeping the more deprived regions of the world from gaining in status.

Does America have to continue to decline to achieve these goals? The answer to that question is an unequivocal no. Will we? The answer to that question is yet to be determined.

It’s my opinion that we have an excellent chance to lead the world in new technologies regarding alternative energy resources if we will make that our focus and not drop the ball where funding and dedication are concerned. For the sake of the planet not just for ourselves, I hope that we are up to the task.



I was trying to remember when America became so germ phobic. It came to me that the early 90s was when antibacterial became a buzz word. Everything from antibacterial body wash to baby clothes was manufactured along with increasingly powerful antibiotics all with the purpose of keeping super bugs away from our families.

For those just cruising through, my baby has MRSA. And antibacterial products may have been a contributing factor. Yep, antibiotics and antibacterial products may be partially to blame for the misery and worry MRSA has put us through. Putting the questionable safety of the chemicals contained in household antibacterial products aside; we have killed the good guys and handed a free pass to the criminals and reprobates of the bacterial world.

The big joke is on us because it has been proven that triclosan doesn't wipe out the germs, but may cause them to mutate and become powerful beings intent on destroying all in their wake (read: become resistant). Indeed, early studies have found that e-coli that we were all sweating bullets about morphed into resistance when exposed to as little as 0.1 triclosan in soap.

That doesn’t exactly make me feel very secure when I see shelf after shelf in our family discount stores filled with products with these chemicals. It makes me wonder who is at the wheel and how many new germs are coming our way. I can't help but wonder why, when studies clearly show that plain soap is just as effective at bacteria removal as antibacterial soap, is this stuff still going strong? Would consumers go into a tailspin at the prospect of not getting their daily dose of toxic, superbug breeding chemicals?

Here’s something else that should be of interest to triclosan fans. The results of one study stated that when triclosan was exposed to sunlight after having been mixed with water the results were (drum roll) chloroform! Do we really want more of that in our planet’s water supply?
Here’s the rundown as I see it. Antibacterial soaps may have the ability to increase the number of super bugs. They may contain dangerous chemicals. Triclocarban, another handy dandy chemical with antibacterial properties, is believed to disrupt endocrine function in rodents and humans which could lead to an increase in cancer and reproductive issues. They are more expensive than more environmentally friendly household products. The average person should be able to find at least one reason to bypass antibacterial body wash in that list even they aren’t concerned with the world’s ecosystems.



Sometimes I ponder how home renovations got such a bad reputation. Very few people seem to realize that building an energy efficient house may not be as environmentally friendly as renovating an older home. It's true; the greenest house that you can buy may be an existing home. There’s no doubt that most existing homes, ancient as well as modern, can be made more environmentally friendly. But, it's rare for even the most extensive renovation to eat up even a fraction of the natural resources that building from the ground up requires. Why not devote your time and money towards bringing an older home up to snuff rather than engage in new construction that will leave an additional and unnecessary footprint?

Prospective buyers often say that it would cost more to renovate an older home and make it livable than to build a brand, new home. We have all seen the movies showing how those beautiful historical homes are bottomless money pits making home renovation seem a luxury afforded to only those who can afford to throw endless amounts of money at a property. However, as a person that has remodeled several homes with success I can tell you that the stories portrayed in the films were greatly exaggerated.

The key to home renovation where you buy an older home that can be made into a livable space is to make sure that the basic bones are sound and that the location is good. The rule of buying the worst house in the best neighborhood is sound advice. This is where the “money pit” myth may play out in your favor. Price the improvements that you want to make to the home and get reliable estimates on what the home will be worth once they are complete.

Leave yourself some wiggle room for fluctuations in the market and then rock back and enjoy the beautiful woodwork, the high ceilings and all that wonderful square footage that you would not have been able to afford if you have moved forward in building a brand new energy efficient house rather than to turn an old home into a green home. And give yourself a pat on the back for doing something positive for the environment.