From extraction through sale, use and disposal, all the “stuff” in our lives affects our world and our communities at home and abroad in ways that are sometimes hard to comprehend. Yet most of this is intentionally hidden from the public view.
The Story of Stuff is a 20-minute, fast-paced, fact-filled, behind-the-scenes look at the underside of our production and consumption patterns in today’s society. The Story of Stuff exposes the connections between a huge number of environmental, health, economic and social issues, and calls us together to create a more just and sustainable world.
It’ll teach you something, it’ll make you laugh, it will raise your awareness and it just may change the way you look at all the “stuff” in your life forever.
The Lexus Corporation, Toyota’s upscale luxury automobile division, believes that hybrid automobiles are more than just environmental friendly cars – they represent a new philosophy in automobile engineering that is in tune with today’s desires for comfort and luxury while being aware of environment realities.
Based on a new ecological design concept known as Super Ultra-Low Emissions Vehicles (SULEV’s) the Lexus Corporation has devoted much time and effort into producing some of the finest and most environmental friendly hybrid vehicles produced in the world today. The Lexus hybrid fleet are built around the following model designs: the GS Hybrid, LS Hybrid, and the RX Luxury Hybrid Utility Vehicle.
While the entire Toyota hybrid auto concept has produced the leading hybrid cars sold on the market today with it’s Prius hybrid line, Lexus has gone one step further by introducing three truly luxury hybrid models which are designed to appeal not only to the most discretional consumer tastes, but to their budgets as well. All of the Lexus hybrid vehicles are designed to run cleaner and more economically than previous models, without compromising comfort and luxury. Though all models follow the purest hybrid concept of balancing performance with both an electric and gasoline engines, Lexus hybrid vehicles are supplied with larger, more powerful engines which are designed to provide maximum performance and torque without causing harmful emissions and wasteful fuel consumption.
Customers who are looking for a hybrid model in a large luxury sedan, will find the Lexus LS Prestige Hybrid Luxury Sedan to be much to their liking. The LS is equipped with a fuel burning 5 Liter V-8 engine for maximum highway performance, and a sophisticatedly designed electric engine for city driving or driving in congested areas. The ultimate engineering balance between both engines includes the recharging ability of a specially designed generator to keep the electric engine’s storage batteries at full power.
The GS 450 Hybrid Sedan has a smaller 3.5 liter V-6 engine for greater fuel economy. It is the perfect choice for those who still desire a luxury sedan while having the economy and environmental advantages of a true hybrid car.
For those wanting the economy and environmental benefits of a hybrid, but desire a four wheel drive utility vehicle, the Lexus RX 400h definitely fills the bill. This rugged five door car with a 286 hp V-6 engine is rugged enough to take you virtually anywhere; while it’s electric engine allows quiet, clean and economical driving in the most congested city or freeway driving. The RX’s features make it a true SULEV vehicle.
All three cars come with a special Electronically Controlled Continuous Variable transmission (ECVT) and all wheel ventilated disc brakes for added safety and heat dispersion during emergency stops. All the luxury features you would expect to find in a fine Lexus automobile are standard on each car, including computerized Directional Service Providers (DSP) and even vocal directional navigation systems available on demand. Fine leather upholstery is also available on all models.
Lexus’ bottom line means that you don’t have to comprise on luxury to own a state of the art hybrid car.
Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore may not yet be running again for the Presidency, but his message is definitely clear: unless immediate steps are made to protect the environment and reverse global warming, our continued life on Earth is definitely at risk. Speaking during an hour long interview on CNN’s Larry King Live program last July, Mr. Gore related in dept his opinions on how lack of intense effort on the part of the present U.S. Administration is spelling disaster to our quality of life, if not life itself.
Mr. Gore’s Academy Award winning documentary film, An Inconvenient Truth, gave a not very optimistic account on how the worlds’ eco-system has been severely damaged by Man’s obsession with the use of fossil fuels and other dangerous pollutants, which, in Gore’s opinion, is largely responsible for the state of our environment, including melting Arctic and Antarctic ice shelves at an alarming pace. Gore’s concern for world environment problems goes back many years when he became concerned with many species of animals becoming extinct including a small species of owl that used to inhabit the redwood forest regions of Oregon and Washington State. That concern as well as for the decrease in the atmosphere’s ozone layer (that protective layer against the sun’s damaging radiation) gave him the title of “Mr. Ozone” and made him the brunt of jokes by entertainment comedians including NBC’s Jay Leno and Conan O’Brien.
America isn’t the only ecological culprit though, as fast developing nations such as China are consuming fossil fuels in alarming amounts with little or no ecological controls. China’s number of private automobiles alone has more than quadrupled in past five years alone; and its heavy industries have become one of the world’s prime consumers of fuels such as coal and fuel oil, and has turned this country housing more than a fifth of the world’s population into one of the worst polluted.
The melting of Arctic and Antarctic ice is expected cause the worlds oceans to rise at least 7 to 10 meters in the next 10 to 20 years. That’s enough to inundate most world coastal towns and cities, in which at least a billion of the world’s population live. Outside of the possible extinction of many varieties of animal species, including polar bears, seals and walruses, and many species of birds, The oceans themselves will be less able to support marine animals and vegetation as they will become too acid in their content, thus killing the marine vegetation on which many marine animals thrive, and reducing the water’s oxygen content by as much as 25%.
Judging from current realities regarding severe changes in our environment, particularly weather patterns, people are laughing less at “Mr. Ozone” and are now beginning to listen to his warning. An Inconvenient Truth has won Mr. Gore both an Academy Award and an Emmy, America’s most prestigious awards from both the motion picture and television industries.
And now, to crown his achievements for the benefit of Mankind, Al Gore has been awarded the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize along with a special U.N. scientific panel: the International Panel for Climate Change (IPCC). Both Gore and the IPCC will share equally in the prize which will be awarded in a special ceremony in the Norwegian capital of Oslo.
Whether of not Gore does decide to throw his hat into the Democratic Party Presidential race, his message is certainly worth listening to and acting upon. Despite the current Administration’s apprehensions, a few years of ecological ‘adjustment’ is paramount, including drastic curtailment of the use of fossil fuels and switching over to more environmentally friendly energy sources, such as solar energy and hydrogen based fuels. If this doesn’t occur, our future on this planet, an “island we cannot leave”, may be very unpleasant indeed.
Please continue your crusade, Mr. Gore; and perhaps more and more people will listen. We simply have to listen before it will be too late.
During the past 25 years, Americans and other people have become more interested in better nutrition involving organic and similar food products. A unique type of supermarket chain, called Whole Foods, was founded in 1980 in Austin Texas as one small store specializing in natural and organic foods. Since then, the company has grown to nearly 200 stores situated throughout North America, as well as in the UK.
The concept of this chain, in which customers find the highest quality produce, much of it certified as organic or locally grown and produced, is to ensure the consumer that the food products and other natural items found in these stores are as free as possible from pesticides, administered antibiotics, and other growth stimulants often found in commercially processed foods.
Though not all foods in these stores are 100% organic, many of them are and are offered in surroundings that are designed to please even the most discriminating natural foods purchaser. The quality of food items offered by the Whole Foods company is very high; and although both organic and non-organic products are offered in these stores, the main attribute to them is that customers have complete freedom of choice in the products they purchase. Packaged Organic products usually bear the label of the National Organic Program, including labels like 100% Organic, Organic 95%, and Made with Organic (at least 70% organic ingredients).
The ‘whole foods’ idea is not limited only to food products but also to helping make our planet a better place to live in by being involved in activities an public service projects that are beneficial to preserving the environment. The company is actively involved in all areas of organic farming as well as local and national activities which are geared toward helping the environment. These activities include being active in community activities to help clean up pollution and make people more aware of these issues.
Offering consumers the widest possible variety of top quality food products, as well as vitamins and other food supplements the Whole Foods marketing concept is to prove it’s customers with the best quality products possible. Whether that be cheese and other dairy products, meat and poultry free of antibiotics and growth hormones, or top quality fresh vegetables, you can find them at Whole Foods.
Walking into any Whole Foods supermarket, one finds a virtual “garden of earthly delights”, as samples of many items are offered for free tasting, especially fruits and vegetables. This also includes a rich variety of sauces, and other foods products often not found in regular supermarkets. Of course, some products such as “junk foods” ( potato chips and other snack foods, carbonated beverages, and the like ).
The old saying, “you are what you eat” is an excellent way of describing the message that Whole Foods and other similar companies and organizations are trying to convey to the environmental conscious consumer public.
A lot of information is being shown these days relating to how products high in anti-oxidants are very beneficial to increased longevity and better health. A new medical scanning device, know as the Biophotonic Scanner, marketed by a known multilevel marketing company, is alleged to be able to measure the amounts of anti-oxidants in your body which help slow down the ‘aging process’ in body cells, and can add as much as 10 years to a person’s normal lifespan.
For those who not aware, anti-oxidants are defense mechanisms against elements known as “free radicals” – those harmful agents found in air pollution, radioactive microwave and cell phone emissions, X-Rays, and even from sunlight (now more present than ever). To give an example of how free radicals react on human cells, place a sliced apple on a dish and within an hour it will already begin to turn brown. That process, as well as rust on iron and corrosion on other metals is known as oxidation and is the same destructive process that occurs in you body and causes deterioration of body cells, leading to old age and death.
By placing your hand on the bio-phonetic scanner, it measures in an instant your body’s anti-oxidant defense level, which in a healthy person should read about 40,000 carotene antioxidant molecules per scan. Carotene is a substance which causes certain vegetables to have their natural color; like carrots, for example. Stored in the body, carotenes produce certain essential vitamins, such as vitamin A, which are essential to good health. These carotenes are one of the main ingredients of anti-oxidants, which protect your body cells like lemon juice keeps an open apple from changing color.
Smokers and people who are exposed to heavy air pollution, including industrial pollution, auto emissions, etc., have much lower levels of carotene antioxidant molecules in their bodies, usually between 12,000 and 16,000 per scan. People who are very sick with chronic and terminal illnesses, may have practically no carotene anti-oxidants at all!
While the Biophotonic Scanner is a useful tool for measuring a person’s present anti-oxidant level it is unfortunately being used in order to market high price dietary and vitamin supplements, which are being claimed to be of much better effectiveness than what is normally available in pharmacies and health products stores. One can find products with virtually the same ingredients, at a much lower price, by simply going to a good quality health supplements store or pharmacy and seeking their advice for purchasing a good quality dietary supplement product which contains a full range of multi-vitamins and essential minerals.