Posts Tagged ‘Environment’

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One of the common queries or comments I receive when presenting on sustainability is the matter of costs.

“What will it cost me”?

“Is it cost effective”?

“What is the pay back period”?

“It is a waste of money”

“It will cost too much!”

All of these are valid questions and statements, especially as costs are the base for any business.

But there is obviously a lot of fear around the subject.

If sustainability is not cost effective, no one will use it; no person, no company will implement it. Irrespective of how much they are concerned about the environment.
I have good news though.

Sustainability is definitely cost effective.

In order to appeal to the CEO who is concerned about value, about life cycle costings, Return on Investment etc, sustainability must be practical, cost effective and have measurable outcomes.

It is interesting though, when one analyses a business from a sustainable perspective we usually find a massive amount of waste being generated by that business that is uncosted; yet it is an exact measurable cost against the bottom line of that business. Those costs of Natural Capital (Water, Energy, Waste etc) should be on the ledger.
Then we would take more notice of them as a cost
Conversely, quite often, it is the businesses that are concerned about the cost of implementing a sustainable philosophy that are the biggest wasters. And therefore we find outstanding opportunities for improvement, for benefit, for profit, for these businesses that are often the sceptical ones. Not to mention the environmental benefits!!

In all businesses we review there is waste in areas such as power, water, resource management including staff, loss of productivity, inefficient operational practices etc. Most of the business premises are inappropriately designed for their location, function and climate.

Yet these same businesses are run by the same people who will ask the question about cost, detailed above.
“No business makes money if it is inefficient” (World Business Council for Sustainable Development)
Sustainability is about, in broad terms, improving efficiencies.
It is about improving your profitability while at the same time improving your environmental outcomes.

Sustainability is not just about adding a water tank to your premises or changing light globes. It is a science and it needs to be integrated wherever possible right through your business operations, from the management philosophy right through to your built environment.

All businesses do have a connection to the built environmental whether it is through their offices, their production facilities, their operational facilities etc.
The biggest financial investment most businesses make is usually their built environment.
Therefore, it stands to reason that a lot of the inefficiencies that occur with running your business can be found in the built environment.

It is these inefficiencies, whether it be the design, the construction or the operations of your building where, with appropriate sustainable manage expertise, you can make the most improvement to those inefficiencies.
These include reducing wastage, while also at the same time providing the improved profitability opportunity while minimising the environmental loads currently produced by your business.

As we are all aware, the current climate change issues are now being linked to the waste of our Natural Capital. This Natural Capital is currently ridiculously undervalued, especially as it is a resource that we cannot reproduce in any way. We cannot produce water or air or earth or nature. The list goes on. Yet we consume them unabated, propelled by the massive cheapness of these integral components that are necessary for our survival, as well as the rampant belief that these resources will always be there for our use.
In addition we have a core belief that we have a right to use them as we wish, relatively free of charge.

How long can these beliefs sustain us?

But this is not a doom and gloom story.
The application of sustainable practice to your project is relatively cheap and has many benefits.

The US Green Building Council (USGBC) (Cost of Green Buildings 2004) has done significant research on this issue and has found that if there is any cost up front for a sustainable building it is usually around .6% -2% of total project cost. Sometimes there is no increased construction cost.

It has also identified that these costs are usually recoverable 10 times over within 20 years just through reduced energy useage.
Yet there is much more benefit to be found in defining a sustainable outcome from your business. This applies to new or refurbished built projects.
The earlier in a project you identify a sustainable outcome requirement, the greater these outcomes will be.

When deciding to take a sustainable approach, many options and benefits arise.
The design of your structure becomes suited to the local climate; the occupant comfortability is significantly improved, resulting in reduced absenteeism (25%, USGBC) of staff while increasing productivity.
Internal environment quality is greatly improved; resulting in improved occupant and staff health .The EPA (USA) has identified ‘Sick Building Syndrome’ as one of the top 5 health issues facing the world today!

A sustainable approach will significantly reduce that risk.
There is no need to be fearful of a sustainable approach. It is the way of the future.
It will measurably increase your profit while improving your environmental outcomes. These two features have for years been considered mutually exclusive. Sustainability changes all that.

Profit + Environment = Sustainability

John Brodie is a sustainability consultant with over thirty years experience in construction design and project management. He has authored numerous articles on sustainability for a range of magazines and journals.He has presented on sustainability at conferences and universities all around Australia and provides cost effective sustainable solutions to his clients.

If you would like further information on how John can improve your home or business through sustainable practice please visit his website.

Today, we are flooded with the words global warming, read articles about it, watched programs concerning it and among others. What is global warming, anyway? This is simply defined as the increase in the average temperature on the earth but scientists prefer to refer to it as climate change rather than global warming. A rise in as little as 1 degree Celsius has significant effects to the air temperature of the earth resulting to various chain reactions on the earths natural ecosystem.

Over the last one hundred years, studies revealed that the earths temperature rose to about 1.3 degrees Fahrenheit or 1 degree Celsius. The figure does not seem much yet it has brought several catastrophic disasters in our planet. There have been so many reports as to the causes of climate change and the contributing factors and its effects to nature along with campaigns to educate the masses. It is believed that mans unscrupulous abuse of nature due to inventions that emit harmful gases, chemicals that pollute rivers and oceans and practices that destroy the natural habitats of plants and animals may have caused what we are experiencing presently. Thus it is our duty as residents of the earth to help by starting in our own very homes.

Let us help mother earth through waste segregation right from our homes. Dividing biodegradables from non-biodegradables will definitely lessen the garbage collectors worries as their work will not only be lessened but also the amount of garbage that will possibly clog our drainage and pollute our seas is also decreased. Biodegradables can be buried in our backyards to rot and after some time, can be mixed with soil for our flower pots. Non-biodegradables can be given or sold to backyard industry involved in various recycling activities.

Avoid using aerosol sprays containing chlorofluorocarbons or CFC for hairs, deodorizers, insect sprays, refrigerators and air conditioners as they are harmful not only to the air such that it depletes the ozone layer of the earth but also to our health and the environment. Though there have been laws regulating the production of CFCs since 1970s because of their destructive components, it was only in the year 1990 that world leaders agreed to ban the chemical and that a protocol for its complete elimination in the year 2000 was called for.

Choose an organic way of farming or patronize agricultural products produced through organic farming. Some environment-friendly organizations such as organic farming industry are actively involved in educating farmers and assisting them through livelihood projects such as farming without using detrimental and poisonous chemicals in tending their crops. Research shows that chemicals that are being used in conventional farming such as pesticides and insecticides in farm produce served on our tables have hidden dangerous effects to our health and have caused some illnesses such as cancers and Alzheimers disease. Insecticides that kill bugs feeding on crops have harmful phosphorous content while fungicides that kill fungus that grow on and surrounding crops contain copper and mercury.

So, supporting environmental concerns and campaign does not need to be done actively such as marching into the streets with placards and banners shouting your purpose but can be done at home in a silent but productive manner. The results of studies have led to some manufacturers from food items to utility services to promote and use methods and materials that do not harm the environment.

Starting your own backyard farming at home will not just save you a few bucks from gasoline going to the market but more importantly, from using your car and emitting unnecessary air pollutants. Although not everyone is blessed with a green thumb, all you may need is to buy organic fertilizer around for a bountiful harvest. If you are having problems tending to your unhealthy ornamental plants, an liquid aerator may just be the answer to your gardening needs.

You probably heard about the greatest environmental threat of our time: the global warming. Maybe you think that your personal attitude and household consumption don’t have such a big effect on our beautiful blue planet. You’re right. But more people would change this situation. Now you think that you’ve heard it for thousands of times, and you know that other people think the same way and won’t do anything to protect our planet. It’s not your business, there are the green peace activists to solve this problem. But what makes you think that others don’t try to change? Nowadays more and more articles and films deal with this topic. So, let’s imagine that you are interested in the global warming problem, and you tend to take some steps.

A thick layer of atmosphere, which grows thinner further out into space, surrounds the Earth. The atmosphere is consists mainly of Nitrogen. 21% of the atmosphere is Oxygen while just around 1% of the atmosphere consists of other gases like Carbon Dioxide. When sunlight strikes the Earth, some of it escapes back into the atmosphere, but the presence of ‘greenhouse gases’ like carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, methane, prevents all the radiation from escaping out into space. These gasses trap the sun’s radiation, heat and energy, and therefore, the Earth’s temperature remains warm. So, more and more of the Earth’s radiation gets trapped by the atmosphere and the Earth gradually gets warmer and warmer. It is believed that over the past century the Earth has grown warmer by around 1 degree F. This is called global warming, which occurs due to the greenhouse effect.

Vehicles and their widespread use are the leading producer of greenhouse gas emissions and other air pollutants, such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides and hydrocarbons. So your car also produces a lot of greenhouse gases. There are several ways you can limit this. For example, you can use public transport or walk more often; you can choose a fuel-efficient model when buying a car; or you can drive more fuel-efficiently. But there is another great solution: carpooling.

Do you have more cars in your family? All members of the family leave from home at a different time? Usually you go to work alone by car? Then, you are a main enemy of your environment. If you can travel with your family, try to use one car. It may takes more time, but means less consumption of oil and you can also save money. If you don’t have a family, or you really can’t travel together with somebody, try to use carpool services. There are several sites helping you to find other people interested in carpooling. It doesn’t matter where you live, carpooling has become widespread all over the world. Leave your car home and share a ride with somebody who travels to the same destination. Just try to avoid empty seats in your car, carpool whenever possible, and you already did a lot.

Car exhaust fumes extremely contribute to global warming. The United States, as Al Gore writes, is responsible for some 30 percent of greenhouse gas pollution, more “than South America, Africa, the Middle East, Australia, Japan, and Asia — all put together.” Embarrassingly. You can watch his new film, An Inconvenient Truth, which might have little effect on you if you are not ready yet.

Fruzsina Csery is a freelance copywriter, she occasionally writes for Carpooling.

Saving the environment seems such a mommoth task. It simply leaves people immobile. Where does one begin?

Some things are easy. Don’t litter. Don’t damage. Don’t waste resources. But what exactly does this involve? What does the common person do to be saving the environment? Not everyone can research. Not everyone can make it the calling of their lives. Not everyone even knows what to do.

Yet, we have a huge number of people available, who would, if pointed out, definitely be happy to make small adjustments that together can result in massive change. The key is in identifying exact things, that are quick to do and watch out for, once people know.

If it doesn’t take too much time, doesn’t involve a great deal of effort, a large number of people will happily walk the path to feel a little more secure about the state of the world tomorrow.

I find that like any other dauntingly huge task, this one seems much more doable when we break it up into bits.

First, make a not of the words/issues that occur on the subject of saving the environment: plastic, paper, forest reserves, trees, water, energy, pollution, fuel, awareness……… We can keep adding to these as and when new words occur.

Let’s take each aspect and brainstorm on it (follow links, or subsequent articles). If you have ideas, please let me know, and I’ll add them in, so that we have a ready resource of stuff that is really easy to incorporate into our lives and has the potential to make a huge difference.


Ouch. That’s a tough first one. Plastic is very useful to us and very harmful to the environment. What can be done to find a compromise my comfort and conscience can live with? Keep the necessity, use thoroughly, discard carefully and avoid as far as possible.

We’ll need to keep the plastic bags for packing stuff on treks and monsoon hikes, but use them carefully and reuse them as much as possible, rather than using fresh ones each time.

Using a biggish purse/whatever bags men use, avoiding accepting the minor carry bags is no issue. Adding a small cloth bag for emergencies would avoid asking for a fresh one while shopping. We can make sure to carry a shopping bag when going out for shopping for sure.

Loads of plastic can be recycled. Rather than throw it into the dustbin, we can sell it to the recycle shops – kabadiwallahs, bhangarwallas, raddiwallahs, etc. That money can be put to good use, or simply into a box to donate to organizations that work for the environment.

Spending some time a day at the end of picnics, hikes or on treks to make the places we visit cleaner. A quick 15 minutes effort by a group can make quick work of the plastic lying around in a natural environment and inspire the people watching them into similar acts.

Annual get-togethers for outdoor groups can be held in places that need efforts like this and a huge gang of members can make their love for the outdoors far more concrete through a spectacular and quick clean up of the place.

Remember, the plastic that gets through human efforts will lie around defacing the place for over 500 years!


Using the paper you have, before buying excessive quantities. Old printouts, and other unwanted paper can be stapled together for a quick notepad to scribble notes on, rather than use good paper sheets.

Passing schoolbooks to other needy students helps support their educational expenses as well as decreases the number of new books brought into use. Old notebooks at the end of the year can be stripped of unused pages to be bound together to make cheap notebooks for rough work.

Use electronic media for mailing purposes, e-greetings, and storing information. It’s faster, more efficient and cheaper too. Unsubscribe from all publications you receive, but don’t bother to read. Try to subscribe to electronic versions where suitable for the ones you do read. Promote your email address more than your mailing address for contact.

Coloured newspaper makes for very interesting looking gift wrapping and some very interesting effects can be achieved through selecting the right page to use. A friend of mine marks news items and codes letters in the newsprint for special secret messages on the gift. Any old water colour works well for colouring the paper.

Printouts can be taken on both sides of a paper. This shrinks the size of the paper stack when stored or taken along, saves on ink costs, and uses the paper with maximum efficiency.

Washing hands keeps them cleaner than using tissue paper. Old fashioned reusable cloth diapers are far more light and comfortable for babies for use at home in warm climates. Plus they are cheaper.

Use recycled paper. It looks great for special purposes and creates a responsible image for you.

Remember, we are losing trees because of our very real need for paper.

Forest Reserves:

The next time you redesign your home, keep an eye out for the many very efficient and highly suitable alternatives for wood on the market and use them where suitable. Repair good furniture rather than discard.

Protest initiatives that cut forests for development unless they are a necessity. Insist that all cutting of forests also results in actions that plant trees in other areas.

Minimize use of wood products where possible, and use them carefully and sparingly where not.

Avoid campfires for fun when out in the outdoors, unless you need them for heat. The fun is in the company and what you do – not in a log of wood burning needlessly in a stiflingly hot place. Spare yourselves the smoke, spare the forests the hazard, and leave the dead wood for some needy villager to cook on. Never EVER cut a tree for your campfire. It’s not going to be dry enough to burn when you need it, and the tree will be dead by the time you realize that it will not burn. I’m telling you right now. Don’t do it. It will help neither the poor tree, nor your campfire.


Its kind of a part of the forests, but the separate mention is because trees are also in cities, villages, everywhere. Avoid cutting a tree if you can. If you know of a tree being cut needlessly, take action. Plant trees in open areas where you can.

Enjoy the trees and the pleasures they bring, rather than thinking of them as lost real estate. That well-invested real estate is helping you breathe.


Hear that dripping tap? Fix it. Now. About a fifth of the people in the world don’t have access to drinking water. I’m not asking you to feel guilty about them or supply them with water, simply use what you have wisely, so that it spreads further.

Don’t leave taps running when washing, brushing, showering, cooking, washing vehicles, etc. Turn it on, use it, turn it off when its time for soap. You can always turn it on for rinsing. Its not as much hard work as it sounds, and becomes a habit.

When you use a tap, you will notice that you can turn it a little, for a less powerful stream of water, and open it full, for gushing water. Most of the time, we don’t need that flood of water and sometimes we do. So keep the flow how you need it.

Avoid the fancy car showers. Your paint will thank you and serve you better, and it really doesn’t take that much water to get a car clean.

Begin rain water harvesting in your locality. Its amazing the amount of absolutely usable, clean water you will “produce”. It’s a sense of achievement that needs to be experienced to be believed.

In the outdoors, don’t pollute water resources. Cattle and wild animals use them for drinking water. Avoid using soap in streams and pools. Draw water from the stream for washing in a separate area at a distance rather than the stream or pool itself. Keep toilet areas away from water sources.

Run your washing machine on full load. Your electricity bill will be the same for both the loads, but you will save time and water.


That’s a big luxury and need today. In Mumbai, a powercut is rare, but in many other parts of India, uninterrupted electric supply is rare. Again, it is a matter of using what we have wisely.

Switch off lights, fans, and anything that consumes electricity when not in use. Decrease your bills by exploring solar power. Switch to lower consumption versions of appliances. Switch off all things not needed when leaving home. These measures will help extend the utility of existing power resources as well as save money on electricity bills.

When cooking, use gas wisely. A flame that extends beyond the base of that utensil is gas going waste and only charring food on the sides of the utensil. Turn it lower and save yourself some cleaning effort while you’re at it.

Keep your ingredients ready or easily accessible while cooking, so that you don’t cook food unnecessarily longer, consuming more fuel and making the food less tasty. Use pressure cookers to speed up cooking and save fuel too.

Solar cookers are great, if you live in a place where you have sunlight, and an area where you can place your cooker safely. Food cooks slowly, retains maximum nutrients, utensils are extremely easy to clean, and no bills of any sort. Sunlight is free  Solar cookers are extremely easy and inexpensive to make.


Keep an eye on what you are driving, and make sure you are keeping its pollution levels law. It is required by law, but its surprising how many people don’t really care.

Avoid using vehicles for going around the corner. The walk will do you good.

Use shared vehicles and public transport where possible. Use eco friendly fuels.

Keep an eye on what you are using. Many chemical products are harmful for the environment. Find out the effects of chemicals you use, and explore options that help you do your thing with minimum damage. Its probably healthier for you too.

Avoid cooking fires. Avoid campfires. Avoid all unnecessary smoke.

Don’t sit on the horn when traffic comes to a standstill. Your horn cannot physically move cars along. If it’s a jam, it’s a jam. If it looks like its going to take a while, switch off your engine, and have patience. Blaring horns only make a bad situation unbearable. Yeah call me fussy. I call it noise pollution.

This goes for other noise pollution stuff too. Bizarre loud celebrations in the middle of the night, loudspeakers, etc. near hospitals is a baaaaad thing to do.


Not only can we do things to save the environment, we can spread awareness about the environment and awareness of the choices open to people that they can easily make to create a large collective impact.

Creating awareness can be done in many ways. One of the best is actions. Do it, share it, encourage it.

Another way is sharing information and ideas. Like I’m doing out here, and in my interactions with people in relevant situations.

Another great way is to take an

Vidyut Kale is a mountaineer turned outbound facilitator and does extensive work with children through experiential learning programmes as well. Her site provides a great deal of information and support for the outdoor adventure scenario in India.

There are many reasons to become a vegan or a vegetarian. One of the popular reasons is because it’s better for the environment… but is it really? Our resident vegetarian Anthony Carboni did some digging to find the answer.

Read More:
One-third of our greenhouse gas emissions come from agriculture
“The global food system, from fertilizer manufacture to food storage and packaging, is responsible for up to one-third of all human-caused greenhouse-gas emissions, according to the latest figures from the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), a partnership of 15 research centres around the world.”

Eat Less Meat and Dairy, Save the World
“Eat less dairy and meat, save the world. It’s the vegan’s ultimate dream slogan, and Swedish scientists from the Chalmers University of Technology just might make it a reality.”

Vegetarian or omnivore: The environmental implications of diet
“The argument that a vegetarian diet is more planet-friendly than a carnivorous one is straightforward: If we feed plants to animals, and then eat the animals, we use more resources and produce more greenhouse gases than if we simply eat the plants.”

Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator
“Did you ever wonder what reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 1 million metric tons means in everyday terms?”

What You Eat Matters
“Americans’ appetite for meat and dairy — billions of pounds a year from billions of animals — takes a toll on our health, the environment, climate and animal welfare.”

Environmental Vegetarianism
“Environmental vegetarianism is the practice of vegetarianism or veganism based on the indications that animal production, particularly by intensive agriculture, is environmentally unsustainable.”

Vegetarianism and the Environment
“Along with the current trend of eating ‘organic’ and ‘local’ foods, one of the hot topics that has sparked debate among scholars and bloggers alike is the question of whether or not being a vegetarian affects the environment.”

Watch More:
Meet the Chicken from Hell!

TestTube Wild Card
Are Vegans Really Healthy?


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The global environment is the entirety of our planets natural systems. It encompasses ecosystems, climate, geology, regional environments, and human societies and artificial environments. It can also be termed as Mother Nature or Mother Earth in a broader perspective. It can also be described simply as the state of our surroundings.

Global Warming
Global warming is the phenomenon of abnormal changes in the global environment because of continuously increasing temperatures of the Earths near-surface air and oceans. One of the main causes of global warming is the thinning of the ozone layer due to the release of ozone destructive chemicals in the atmosphere that breakdown the O2 particles of the said layer. Such occurrence is also known as ozone depletion.

The green house effect is also considered a major, if not the biggest contributor to global warming. The green house effect warms the earth by trapping the heat from the sun, preventing it from rising out of our atmosphere. Carbon monoxide and other pollutants make heat remain near the earths surface, similar to how a green house absorbs heat and prevents it from getting out.

Through the years, global warming has become synonymous with climate change because experts believe that of all the effects of the earth surface heating up, climate change is the most disturbing and dangerous.
Abnormal amounts of rainfall occur all over the world because of the change in weather patterns brought about by changes in temperature. Days or even weeks equivalent of rain sometime pour down in a matter of hours. Such heavy rainfall can cause destructive floodings.
Abnormally high temperatures can also cause very high evaporation rates that lead to more frequent and longer lasting droughts. Such droughts can lead to famine and food shortage in some areas.
The rapid changes in temperature have caused more and stronger hurricanes and storms.
Another abnormal change in the global environment brought about by global warming is the rapid rising of sea levels. This is because abnormally high temperatures are melting the polar ice caps. Sea levels have already risen severely in the past decades and some countries are beginning to become submerged in water. Ocean waters in some regions have also become acidic and dangerous to life. Acidic waters coupled with high sea-surface temperatures have already claimed the life of over a quarter of the worlds known coral reefs.

Changes in the global environment due to climate change have caused sudden changes in the planets ecosystems. Hundreds of plant and animal species which have failed to adapt to the abrupt changes have already faced extinction.

Measures need to be taken now before even mankind is pushed to the brink of extinction. One move being pushed by the United Nations is the use of green sources of energy instead of the conventional ones that pollute the environment. Support for the sustainability industry is being called for and waste-to-energy processes are under extensive research and development. The newest discovery in green technologies is the biosphere gasification process which involves the efficient and eco-friendly conversion of solid wastes into green electricity.

Darewin Amio Ocampo is a technical writer for the Search Engine Optimization Department of True Bio Electric – a company belonging to the True Green Energy Group. TBE converts your waste into clean green electricity using the revolutionary Biosphere Technology.

With gas prices on the rise and an the ever increasing cost of living, people are looking for ways to cut back and save money. Electric mopeds, electric bicycles and gas powered scooters can reduce the use of gas and  also play an important role in  stopping climate change. Scooters are also a fun and safe way to travel.

So there are many benefits in owing either an electric moped, electric bicycle or gas powered scooter. If you care deeply about the environment but have to arrange your own mode of travel then either of these options would make an excellent choice.

You have to wear some protective gear when riding a scooter, as well as your passenger, because even though a scooter seems safe, even the smallest accident can prove fatal. So you always be careful and alert. And drive smart. And always, always wear the helmet. Getting auto insurance for your scooter is the next thing you should think of. Accidents can happen anytime and anywhere, so it is best to be prepared.

But what about the plethora of arguments in favor of scooters? Isn’t there something wrong with the balance? Scooters are cheaper to run, they use less fuel on average, they take up less space, are easier to park, less prone to severe congestion and more importantly they are better for the environment. One person commuting daily to work on a standard commuter bike uses less fossil fuel and produces far less CO2 and does far less damage to the climate than cars and SUVs. This is a proven fact.

If a pros and cons list is made, scooters would win hands down.If you use scooters for your business, say pizza delivery, it is still cost-effective and environmentally friendly to deploy scooters. So, you should make the right decision when buying a vehicle and weigh the necessary constraints.

Hank gives the run down on the top five ways humans are negatively impacting the environment and having detrimental effects on the valuable ecosystem services which a healthy biosphere provides.

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Table of Contents
Ecosystem Services 00:51
The Importance of Biodiversity 04:07
Deforestation 06:42
Desertification 06:49
Global Warming 07:59
Invasive Species 08:51
Overharvesting 09:20

Crash Course/SciShow videos referenced in this episode:
Hydrologic and Carbon Cycles:
Nitrogen and Phosphorus Cycles:
Ecological Succession:
Climate Change:
Invasive Species:
Food Shortage:

References and image licenses for this episode can be found in the Google document here: Support CrashCourse on Subbable: