Wiser Living
Finding a natural solution


How Electric Car Companies Are Improving Battery Life

In this new-age yearning for sustainable living, we are finding that many of the conveniences we have taken for granted are causing harm to the world we live in. For example, transportation has certainly taken one of the worst tolls on Earth’s environment. For this reason, scientists and researchers are doing their best to find ways to keep transportation fast and efficient, but with a lower cost to the earth.

As far as automobiles go, electric cars are being manufactured and popularized as an alternative to gasoline-run vehicles. This hasn’t been without trial, with the White House recently eliminating its subsidies for electric vehicles and leaving automotive companies to juggle electric- and gasoline-powered vehicles rather than focusing on the switch to the former. But there has still been a significant amount of headway in the sustainable vehicle movement.

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Despite these signs of progress, electric cars still have one big hurdle they need to overcome if they plan on overcoming gas-powered vehicles, and that is their battery lifespan. Currently, warranties on such vehicles run for about 8 years or 100K miles, which for electric cars means that’s as far as automobile companies are willing to trust them. If their battery life could long outlast the traditional automobiles, they may have a better shot at popularity.

Luckily, we know new technology in the automobile industry — especially that which is based around sustainability — generally has to go through some time lapses and mechanical trials before it catches on. We know that because, believe it or not, sustainability has been a part of the automobile industry for a few decades now.

Sustainability and the Auto Industry

Rethinking Prosperity believes that sustainability as a movement started all the way back in 1969, when the U.S. government initiated the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) in response to the Santa Barbara oil spill of the same year. This brought industrial pollution to the eyes of the public on a widespread level. Soon after, the health dangers of pollution were made well known, drawing attention to cars.

Gas-powered cars are convenient, but public pressure eventually caused some automobile companies to begin leading the way for sustainability within their own industries. As exemplified in an infographic by the Northeastern University D’Amore-McKim School of Business, companies such as Subaru and Honda have worked hard to reduce their carbon footprint. Notably, Subaru has produced 0 percent waste from their landfill since 2005.

We still have a ways to go, and electric cars aren’t perfect either. The batteries of these cars specifically have some dangers and drawbacks that electric automobile companies are working to address. Whether it’s been Tesla reducing cobalt, the Bollare group working to eliminate safety risks, or Pellion Technology’s work on energy density, the history of sustainability in the auto industry is still being written. However, these companies are ushering us into the future.

The Market Demands

So with the public becoming informed with factual information about environmental causes reaching the world at large, the market has begun to demand more sustainable options for cars they drive. People care about the world they live in, and have in turn given automobile companies a lot to answer for — and they have started getting responses.

There are already a number of electric cars in the making, from sports cars to even Volkswagen bus-type vehicles. These vehicles are being built to keep customers satisfied and will be incorporating more serious safety measures in addition to being eco-friendly. This could make them viable options from the get-go for young drivers, seeing as safety measures are one of the most important concerns in cars for young adults to learn to drive with.

The batteries of these electric vehicles are the key to their role in the sustainability movement and efficiency. While there are always improvements to be made, they have an undeniably positive impact on the world of automobiles, to the extent the government has even gotten involved. That’s right — the U.S. government actually encourages these kinds of batteries via a pretty hefty tax credit for using them (something that hasn’t yet been taken away by the Trump administration).

How This All Has Led to Long Battery Life

The fact is that electric cars have to compete with traditional cars. Right now, if you buy an electric car, you are going to have it for roughly the same amount of time as a non-electric vehicle. Since electric cars are so expensive to purchase upfront, people often choose to go with a gas guzzler because it makes the most sense for them financially. However, what if the eco-friendly cars could last you longer? For the rest of your life even?

That’s what researchers are looking into right now, and there has been a little bit of headway recently. A team of researchers in Dallas made some progress by switching from lithium-ion batteries to lithium-sulphur batteries, which hold more energy and are better for the environment. However, they’re a worse conductor for electricity, and can quickly become unstable with multiple recharges. Hopefully, they will be able to create a mechanism to fix this, however, so they are reliable for automobiles and general transportation.

It’s possible that the cost and efficiency of these new batteries and cars could popularize green driving. A life-long battery life would make a more expensive vehicle a smarter investment for a driver personally and offer more eco-friendly driving options to begin with for new drivers, which could propel them to become defaults in the modern world. Only time will tell how this plays out, though.

And we can’t forget that sustainability is a process, so sometimes the popularization of these things take time. Hopefully, the White House’s new rulings on electric vehicles don’t slow sustainability down for too long. The market is demanding it, and the world needs it. With this recent advancement in battery life for electric vehicles, we could have a very green future ahead of us.

Do you drive an electric car? How long does your battery generally last? Let us know in the comments below.

6 Tips on Balancing Your Family, Career and Your Anxieties

It can be difficult for adults to have to take care of their families and manage their careers at the same time. This can cause a lot of stress and anxiety for many people.

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Photo by Morgan David de Lossy on Unsplash

As a result, here are six tips on how to take care of your family and your career without getting overly stressed.

1Set Goals: Try to set goals for yourself when you manage your family or career. When you get up in the mornings, try to set some daily goals for you to accomplish. When you accomplish these goals, you will feel happier and more confident to do more things.

2. Delegate: When taking care of your family, get your spouse to help out. If your kids are older, get them to assist you. If you are at work, only take on what you can handle. Don't try to do everything all at once. Learn to delegate and work with other people.

3. Evaluate Your Situation: If you try to do everything, you will get stressed and anxious. A person can only do so much in a given day. Do not everything. Learn to manage your responsibilities. If you feel like you are doing too much, then take a break and evaluate your situation.

4. Prioritize: Try to do things in terms of their importance. Let's say that you have to clean the living room, go to the supermarket, and wash the dishes. You decide to go to the supermarket since that is the most important thing that needs to be accomplished You decide you can do the other two tasks later on. Determine what needs done right now and do those particular tasks in order of importance.

5. Plan Ahead: It is much easier to accomplish something if you know what you are going to do ahead of time. Proper planning will help manage the stresses and anxieties of getting want you want and help you to stay organized.

6. Communication Is Important: It is important to talk to your coworkers and family members in order to avoid any potential problems. Get into the habit of talking to others in order to get things accomplished. Don't get upset when things don't work according to plan. Learning how to work with others can help save you a lot of time.

How Climate Change May Impact Your Life Insurance Policy

Purchasing life insurance marks the soundest financial investment many make to provide their loved ones with the means to survive in the case of untimely death. It makes sense — even while we mourn, landlords and utility companies still demand payment if we hope to keep a roof over our heads and power our appliances. However, few among us give pause to consider how climate change may impact the monthly amount we pay to keep our families safe.

Recent increases in the severity of wildfires and hurricanes serve as an exclamation point that human beings need to change their polluting ways or risk extinction. However, despite the warnings of scientists, relatively few insurers have diversified their investment portfolios to include more renewable and sustainable business practices. The result may mean passing on rising costs to consumers.

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Bigger National Disasters Lead to Greater Mortality Rates

In recent years, the U.S. has experienced an increased number of hurricanes of Category three or higher. Hurricane Maria, which decimated Puerto Rico and parts of Florida in 2017, claimed anywhere from a few hundred to thousands of lives. Nor was Maria the only deadly storm to batter the east coast of the nation of late — Hurricanes Harvey and Irma likewise claimed dozens of lives while causing billions of dollars in damage.

In the west, a rampage of wildfires has caused death and destruction. The California wildfire season of 2018 proved the most deadly in recent memory. The city of Paradise, CA, will never return to its former grandeur as a retreat for wealthy celebrities and Silicon Valley bigwigs after the Camp Fire ravaged the city and claimed 85 or more human lives.

Should climate change continue unfettered, more severe natural disasters will arise. And this raises the hackles of actuary agents everywhere. Already in 2018, the life expectancy of U.S. citizens lagged behind that of other developed nations and earned the distinction of being the only industrialized nation where the average age of death fell below 80.

Given that insurance companies use a mathematical formula to determine rates, the increase in natural disasters paired with decreasing life expectancy will result in higher monthly rates for all. Young couples and families who have yet to shop around for policies should cease procrastinating as this may result in paying far more in premiums.

Climate Change Leads to Poorer Health Outcomes

Risks of sudden death due to natural disaster isn't the only factor that may drive up life insurance rates. Areas most affected by climate change see higher rates of infectious and chronic diseases.

In areas choked by smog, air pollution increases the risk of developing upper respiratory infections and lung diseases, including cancer. High particulate levels also cause more severe allergy symptoms which limits productivity in the workplace.

Increases in global temperatures result in the rise of dangerous strains of algae in many drinking water supplies. Additionally, as some areas of the United States continue to struggle with crumbling infrastructure, water quality remains dubious in many locations. As many as 63 million Americans suffered exposure to unsafe drinking water in the last decade.

Exposure to high pollution levels also impacts the brain and central nervous system. Many neurologists express concern about the role of increased pollution in causing or exacerbating diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease. Pollutants can cause changes in the blood-brain barrier, and some theorize that exposure impacts the recent rise in mental illness and death.

Finally, exposure to pollution lowers immune system functioning, making people more susceptible to infectious diseases. Areas with large homeless populations have recently witnessed the resurgence of diseases like typhus which were long considered eradicated.

Growing levels of pollution may likewise influence the increase in autoimmune diseases such as Crohn's and rheumatoid arthritis. In such illnesses, the immune system goes haywire, causing the body to attack its own tissue. Exposure to high ozone levels has proven to cause changes in the immune response of laboratory mice.

The Impact on Insurance

When life insurance companies issue a policy, they typically require a medical examination. While factors such as age and lifestyle do play a role — skydivers, for example, may pay higher rates — poor physical health drives premium prices out of reach for some. As climate change continues to impact human health, those considering buying a policy do well to act quickly in establishing one as soon as possible.

Environmental catastrophes such as hurricanes and wildfires mean insurers receive a glut of claims after such events. To meet demand, insurers need to maintain their own investments to continue generating sufficient capital to pay claims quickly. As many insurers hold real property assets in coastal areas often targeted by severe storms, each large-scale disasters may drive rates up further.

Protecting Your Family

Life insurance provides many Americans with the financial peace of mind that their loved ones will remain cared for after they pass. However, environmental disasters and declining public health outcomes may cause rates to rise. The best time to protect your family is now.

6 Tips on How to Overcome Your Depression and Persistent Fears

Some people have a difficult time in managing their depression. Sometimes, their depression and fears can become a huge factor in their personal life and professional career.

As a result, here are six tips that a person can use to help manage their depression.

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1. Challenge Your Depressing Thoughts: One of the ways to manage your depression is to challenge your negative thinking with positive statements and realistic thinking. When encountering thoughts that make your fearful or depressed, challenge those thoughts by asking yourself questions that will maintain objectivity and common sense. Your fearful thoughts are usually not based on reality

2. Distract Yourself: Some people can get depressed over doing a certain task. When this happens, a person should take a deep breath and try to find something to do to get their mind off of the problem. A person could take a walk, listen to some music, read the newspaper or do an activity that will give them a fresh perspective on things. Doing something will get your mind off of the problem and give you confidence to do other things

3. Worrying Makes It Worse: A lot of times, our worrying can make the problem even worse. All the worrying in the world will not change anything. All you can do is to do your best each day, hope for the best, and when something does happen, take it in stride.

4. Take It One Day At A Time: Instead of worrying about how you will get through the rest of the week, try to focus on today. Each day can provide us with different opportunities to learn new things and that includes learning how to deal with your problems. You never know when the answers you are looking for will come to your doorstep.

5. Read Positive Affirmations: Another technique that is very helpful is to have a small notebook of positive statements that makes you feel good. Whenever you come across an affirmation that makes you feel good, write it down in a small notebook that you can carry around with you in your pocket. Whenever you feel depressed, open up your small notebook and read those statements.

6. Ask For Help: Take advantage of the help that is available around you. If possible, talk to a professional who can help you manage your fears and anxieties. They will be able to provide you with additional advice and insights on how to deal with your current problem. By talking to a professional, a person will be helping themselves in the long run because they will become better able to deal with their problems in the future.

7 Tips to Overcome the Fear of Loneliness

Sometime or another we will experience a time when we are alone. Some people fear being alone for various reasons. The first step is to become comfortable with yourself and having the self-confidence that you will be able to manage being alone. There is nothing wrong with being alone. If being alone bothers you then seeing a counselor can help you with these issues.

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In the meantime here are seven tips on overcoming the fear of being alone.

1. Find An Activity: Find an activity that you enjoy and where you can meet a lot of people. Doing something that you like will make you happy and will increase your chances of making friends.

2. Spend Time With Animals: Spending time with an animal or pet can help us feel better. Animals can be good company to all of us, whether we are alone or not. There are many local shelters that could use your time and talents.

3. Helping Others: There are many people out there who could benefit from your time and skill sets. Helping others can give you a source of pride and accomplishment, and may also lead to friendships.

4. It Could Be Worse: It isn't fun being alone, but sometimes there are worse things. For instance, imagine that you are married or stuck in a relationship that you can't get out of, which also makes you miserable. As a result you are stuck living with someone that you can't stand and makes you depressed. With this viewpoint, being alone doesn't sound that bad.

5. Be Constructive: Sitting around and doing nothing will not make things any better, whether it is dealing with the fear of being alone or something else. Take it one day at a time and stay committed in trying to solve your problem.

6. Things Can Change: Nothing remains the same forever. No one can predict the future with 100 percent accuracy. Events change all of the time. Even if the thing that you feared does happen, there are circumstances and factors that you can't predict which can be used to your advantage. You never know when the help and answers you are looking for will come to you.

7. You'tr Not the Only Who Is Alone: Remember that everyone deals with loneliness sometime in their life. Focus on your life and don't compare yourself to others. Continue to seek friendships with other people and try not to feel sorry for yourself. There are kinds of people in various circumstances, so don't assume that you are the only who is alone.

Good Habits to Establish While Young

The goal of a healthy life can be challenging to achieve for many of us. When just starting out, it can feel like there is an insurmountable number of things to change about your lifestyle in order to be successful. It can seem as though healthy living requires giving up more than it is worth.

Fortunately, that is not necessarily the case. Small steps and minor changes can do wonders in improving your general health and well-being. Creating a pattern of healthy habits, such as brushing your teeth every night, can help to ensure you and your kids are on the way to lifetime health.

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This is especially true when our positive health habits are established at a younger age. Some research indicates that habits — both healthy and unhealthy — that are developed early in life are likely to stick and hard to break. It is critical to practice good habits early and often. Here are a few to get started with!

Junk Food Moderation

In this day and age, perhaps one of the most challenging things to avoid is unhealthy junk food. We all know that eating junk food in excess has the potential to cause some serious problems; for instance, we know that sugary drinks can wreck havoc on our teeth. But junk food seems to be nearly everywhere and can be difficult to avoid without special precautions, such as preparing your own food in advance.

When trying to give up junk food, there are a variety of ways to get started. Arguably the best way to begin combating unhealthy food cravings is by drinking more water. Aside from water being incredibly good for you in general, some research has actually linked thirst to the feeling of food cravings. When you are thirsty, your body may actually be interpreting that as hunger.

Another means of combating junk food cravings is by making sure that you get enough nightly sleep. Sleep plays a role in nearly all bodily functions, including appetite. Poor sleep can actually contribute to swings in hormones that ultimately lead to stronger cravings — often for foods that are sugary and will provide a quick burst of energy.

Bedtime Routines

Bedtime routines are another healthy habit that can make a significant difference in your overall routine. Ritualizing bedtime can help your body and mind prepare for a good night’s sleep. Furthermore, certain aspects of a routine can help make you more organized in the mornings, reduce stress after long days, and improve overall physical and mental health.

Nightly routines don’t have to be super complicated. Simple things such as brushing your teeth, washing your face, and taking out your contacts before bed can give your body cues that it is time for bed. If stress is a concern, doing things such as writing down your thoughts or practicing mindful meditation before bed can make a profound difference in avoiding restlessness at night.

For children, nighttime routines are imperative to developing good sleep habits and reducing fussing before bed. Sometimes it can be challenging to get your child into a bedtime routine that works for both them and you, but it is well worth the effort. Tips and tricks include things such as giving warning, reading a book, brushing teeth, and being firm once the lights are out.

Personal Hygiene

Another good habit to get into and stick with early is a good personal hygiene. This is particularly important for preteens and teenagers that are going through changes that require additional hygiene requirements. Things such as putting on deodorant, showering regularly, and maintaining facial hair suddenly become much more essential.

Regardless of age, there are plenty of good habits that can improve personal hygiene. For instance, facial cleansing products can help reduce acne, improve skin durability, and ultimately make it feel softer. Habits such as cleaning and caring for your skin can have long-lasting impacts that become increasingly obvious as you age.

Additionally, the habit of brushing your teeth and flossing twice every day can have profound impacts on your oral health and greatly reduce the risk of gum disease. This is a particularly important habit to get small children into early on as brushing teeth can be a difficult skill to learn and takes a lot of practice. When teach children to brush their teeth, be sure that they are reaching all corners of their mouths and not simply focusing on their front teeth.

Health habits can be difficult to get into, but they are well worth the extra effort. Things such as avoiding junk food, developing a nightly routine, and making a habit out of good personal hygiene can be great starts to healthy habits for both you and your children. Starting early is key to long-term success!

Stop Buying Books: Rent Them Instead!

Ya got me. I am terribly, terribly biased. As a former librarian, and a lifelong library aficionado, I’ve been raving about the beauty and necessity of libraries for aye! But in the land of zero waste, libraries are a gold mine.

Before starting this journey to zero waste, I regarded paper as one of the most innocuous types of waste we can produce. Yes, it costs us trees, but it’s recyclable right? Well, yes but…there’s a but…Did you know paper is recyclable only 4-6 times before the fibers are so over-processed that it’s no longer recyclable? Or that the paper production industry is wildly polluting. Or that, of the 4 billion trees cut down every year, 35% are directed towards the paper industry? Not to be a buzz kill or anything…

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But that’s where the library comes in! Instead of all of us buying our own copies of the same John Grisham novel, we can all rent the same novel from the library FOR FREE. Or DVDs or CDs. Depending on your local library, they probably have the latest issues of your favorite newspapers and magazines for rent, again FOR FREE. And, to go truly zero paper, many libraries offer FREE Kindle book rentals via platforms like Overdrive which allow you to download practically any popular book immediately to your e-reader or computer from the laziness of your sofa. FOR FREE. How beautiful is that?

If you need any help figuring out how to download books for free, ask a librarian. They are literally being paid to wait around for you to ask them that question. Or if you need a hard to find book, a librarian can order that book from any of the other libraries in their system (which can be state or nationwide) just for you because libraries share all of their materials with each other so we all have access to it. FOR FREE.

Some libraries even offer discounted passes for local museums and attractions. Other libraries allow non-traditional items to be checked out, like board games, musical instruments and tools. My local library has a ukulele and a ping pong game set on loan (among other things).

You know how much the average paperback fiction book at Barnes and Noble costs? $14.50. The average hardcover? Around $24.

You know how much the average library card costs? FREE!







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