Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Tyler Hedge's Exploration 6

  1.  I disagree with the statements in this passage about climate change. This winter alone is a perfect example of how things are really not getting that much worse. This article was written in 2007 which is around the time this whole topic was really big and yes many people would have seen it then but now it is a different story. What struck me the most was when they talk about returning to our roots of existence. I do think that we are bad for the environment in a lot of ways but I disagree with needing to return all the way to that.
  2. One current issue that I believe is huge is the use of nonrenewable energy. Although renewable energy is still not close to being there with nonrenewable, in the recent years it has been rapidly growing. Here is a quote from an article I found that really shows this growth, "Since 2007, electricity generation from coal has fallen 24.9% from 2.02 billion MW-hrs to 1.51 billion MW-hrs in 2012. Meanwhile, over the same time frame wind grew 309% to 140.8 million MW-hrs and solar grew 607% to 4.3 million MW-hrs. That doesn't include distributed solar on residential rooftops or any installations from 2013, which was a record year for solar, installing about 4.4 GW in the U.S."  This shows us how the trend of renewable resources will really fuel the future. In the near future we can expect to dwindle down the use of nonrenewable energy sources. However, the automobile is still something that I believe a percentage of will run on gas for a very long time seeing as how people still own cars from pre 1900 even. If the change does not happen though, our fuels will eventually run out, not saying anytime soon but they will. On top of that, nonrenewable energy sources cause great amounts of pollution as compared to renewable. There is a weakness to this solution though and that is cost. However, in recent years the cost has gone down a huge amount and will keep falling. 


Monday, March 24, 2014

Ben Kim Exploration 6

1) The author talks about how humans takes advantage of nature and never pay it back.  Climate throughout the years have never been in the state of balance due to human intervention causing it to change drastically.  He say's that climate is not like a pendulum because it cannot maintain its originality.  I agree with him that science can be a solution to climate change but also education to inform people of their responsibility corresponding to the environment.

2) In modern day society, this issue is and will be worth mentioning about in the long run.  Pollution is a serious topic to discuss and it can be fatal among people.  Pollutants in the air such as carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, CFCs and nitrogen oxide are emitted by industries and transportation.  The main focus of pollution are found in cities.  Cities are populated with people and it's the heartland of jobs and opportunities.  "The city never sleeps" is a saying that people use because everyone goes in and out of cities 24/7.  Imagine, all of the pollutants people are causing and harming the environment.  It's devastating what it would be like in the future, since cities are being overpopulated.  There has to be some sort of change in order to create an eco-friendly environment.  Alternative methods of power, such as solar, wind and hydroelectricity are examples to produce power without having harmful effects.  Also with transportation, people can switch to driving electric cars, riding a bicycle or even walking.  These examples I have shown can reduce the risk of having pollution in a particular environment, but the only catch is the cost.  Hybrid cars tend to be more expensive than regular cars.  If the cost outweighs the benefits, people are not going to buy that product.  If people cannot afford it, then we would assume that there will be no contribution to creating a good environment.  But that's not necessarily true, in fact, if everyone conserves energy and keep the planet clean from litter or waste, the environment can gradually change in a positive way.  We need to act now in order to make everyone else safe.
New Delhi traffic
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pollution, https://worldwildlife.org/threats/pollution

Julia's Exploration 6

I really like how Our Moral Footprint addresses certain ideas about climate change and how the world changes with time. We like to think that if we go green and change our society the earth will go back to how it was. Havel says “The climate is not like a pendulum that will return to its original position after a certain period.” We have to realize that no matter what we do the world is an ever changing place, adjusting and shifting with the times. Though it will never go back to how it was in the past it’s important to take care of what we do have and preserve it for the future. 

One large issue the planet has is our mismanagement of lands, specifically those transformed for use as palm oil plantations. The primary problem is the rainforest destruction in the tropics, such as those in Indonesia. As the forests grow smaller we are further threatening wildlife by limiting their habitat. This includes the Sumatran Tiger, the Javan Rhino (which could already be extinct), and the critically endangered Sumatran and Borneo orangutan (which are often caught when fleeing the fires to be sold as bush meat or the infants are sold into the pet trade). 

Palm oil affects people in a variety of ways, through our air, human rights, and health. As we clear the rainforest for these palm plants we create more CO2 by burning the rainforest and also by disturbing the peat moss bogs which trap CO2. Another issue we face is the fact that these companies are using child labor, modern forms of slavery, and are evicting indigenous people to produce their crops. Yet if this wasn’t enough they also try to pass palm oil as being healthy, which is unfounded as of yet due to limited research, yet multiple heath organizations recommend avoiding it due to the high saturated fats. While these issues aren’t often thought of by the consumer they should be kept in mind when shopping. 

I think one of the most important things we can do for palm oil limit how much of it we used. Just like with other crops, it's important to have a mix of products in our foods and in the fields. Though it can be incredibly difficult to identify and limit palm oil, as it goes by many names and is not always listed as palm oil, I think being conscious consumers is key. Another option would be to petition these offending companies or raise awareness of the troubles palm oil causes until a change is made in how it is grown. While there is no perfect answer, just acknowledging palm oil as an issue is important. 
Though these are the better known animals, many fauna and flora species are affected by palm oil production.   
Aerial view of deforestation in Indonesia
Palm fruit



Umer Haider Exploration 6

Our Moral Footprint by Vaclav Havel brought to light the problems our society would face in the future due to climate change. Scientific research has shown us that humans are part of the ever increasing problem of climate change. Vaclav brought about many good points such as explaining that whether or not our affect on climate change is enormous or minuscule we still must take action to help the future generations. He compared the debts that we have in our economy and compared it to climate change. Since we did not do anything about our increasing debt we are at the brink of a collapse, the same could occur with climate change. The climate is not reversible so there is no way we can go back so why not try to keep it the best we can? By staying in our ways we are guaranteeing that our future generations will suffer. Eventually the cost of climate change than it is now and we will not be able to do anything about it. Why not try to prevent the cost in the future and the problems that could occur? "We need not fear for our planet. It was here before us and most likely will be here after us. But that doesn't mean that the human race is not at serious risk." This was a very telling quote in the story Our Moral Footprint and I also believe that if we do not di something now we our risking the lives of our future generations. Many have predicted the end of the world, but eventually that day may come,but if we take care of our mother earth it will come later than sooner. By creating newer technologies, using better resources, and removing the shortcomings of our waste management we might be able to move on to create a better future.
Trees that were cut down
One of the biggest ways we are contributing to the changes in climate change is the deforestation of trees for our personal agendas. Forests cover a staggering 31% of the world, and by reducing this we are removing the ever ending benefits it has provided us. Destruction of food, clothing, fresh water, and even the air we breathe is affected by deforestation. If we keep partaking in this not only are we destroying ecosystems, but we will eventually get to the point where we will not have forests to cut. This would lead to a global crisis and reduce our natural resources substantially. Every year we lose 46-58 square miles of forest due to either logging, fires, and development  equating to about 36 football fields every minute! This is an appalling number that shouldn't just be reduced, but completely removed. If we don't reduce the amount of deforestation or plant more trees than we might not have any forests. By not having forests we are calling for a global catastrophe that could lead the the possible extinction of the human race.
This was a great picture because it showed how  the
forest is the lungs of the earth, and we are destroying it.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Srb's Exploration VI

1) After I had read "Our Moral Footprint" in the Essay Connection by Vaclav Havel, writer and former President of the then Czechoslovakia (Czech Republic), I was rather very amazed with the message he brings to us. He tells us of how the Earth as we know it continues to change at a fast rate (not necessarily for the best) due to our activities as an entire human race. Earth more than a fifty to a hundred to a thousand years ago is and was different from what it is today. Havel backs this claim with sufficient and concise facts in some condensed scientific detail for our understanding. Havel's background includes being a human rights activist and being an advocate for the preservation of whats left of nature and awareness of how our economic, cultural, and political conflicts take toll on it. What struck me the most of Havel and his message is in paragraphs nine and ten. Here, Havel tells us to stop, analyze, and think of how current world problems revolving around the human race worldwide, whether it be economical, societal, cultural, ecological, and even security-wise, effect the world we live in as a whole. From there he tells us of how he's always confronted with a moral question, and that question is: 'what action is responsible or acceptable'? He insists that we revisit once again the very 'roots' of human existence and consider the possible fates of our race as a whole in the many (hopefully) centuries to come. We should come together open-mindedly, unideologically,unobsessively, and utilize what we know and have to forge new practical policies. It's almost as if he's all for the globalization and unity of all peoples worldwide and put an end to the problems we have in the world, but primarily towards our planet. From this we can begin introducing new green-friendly and clean technologies that may help reduce the risk of damaging nature.

2) The research that I have done on an issue that corresponds with the environment is Recycling. Recycling is of great significance because it's a solution to a big problem we face: running out of supply of a useful resource. For that reason alone, recycling is pretty much the only thing we have that can overturn that, helping us conserve our well needed resources. It's one of the best ways anyone could have such positive impact in the world we live in. It greatly benefits us and the environment, after all, that's pretty much why we're doing it! If we don't or didn't recycle to begin with, then the amount of pollution that we have today would be far more than what we currently deal with. The importance of recycling is great, and an opportunity that would truly help us out, as waste has and continues to negatively impact us our natural environment. It is also vital to know that it takes a lot of energy to create something that we need from raw material. By recycling, we use much less energy to create the same item, helping us conserve our natural supplies. The many conflicted problems we face today such as global warming, habitat destruction, and when a country's in debt, pushes us to move towards risks and initiatives that would do great harm to our environment. One of such issues are deforestation and zoning of the rain forests and forest habitats across the globe, and when trees are cut, it does more harm than help, as trees provide's 20% of the earth's oxygen that we breathe, and sucks up the harmful carbon monoxide that kills the ozone layer. Recycling would help us reduce our need for raw materials so that our rain forests and trees could be preserved and live longer. Did I also mention that recycling helps reduce harmful pollution caused by waste at landfill sites and to the very air we breathe? Now you know! Cities continue to thrive and cities worldwide are beginning to over-exceed with more than just a million people. Recycling would have a great impact in these cities and the inhabitants of them. If we don't recycle now, then our kids and their kids will be paying the price, and there won't be a rose garden and the end of the tunnel... We also face the problem of over-populating and running out of space. Landfills are beginning to run out of these well-needed spaces. This environmental practice would also help us save lots of money, as it would cost less to create products. Recycling would also help preserve our raw material supply for our future generations to come. It not only costs less, but it uses less! !


Thursday, March 20, 2014

Tyler Stone's Exploration 6

1. I completely 100% agree with everything this man says in this passage. He's totally right. What struck me most as I read though this, actually, is how much like me it sounded. Not the words, but the message. Global climate change is something that is real, that's manmade, and that could possibly be a serious and legitimate threat, if not for us directly, to future generations. We have a responsibility, now, to not destroy beyond repair our one and only home. He absolutely nails this issue.

2. I researched how we produce energy in the US. In 2012, the power production by percentages of sources was:
  • Coal 37%
  • Natural Gas 30%
  • Nuclear 19%
  • Hydropower 7%
  • Other Renewable 5%
    • Biomass 1.42%
    • Geothermal 0.41%
    • Solar 0.11%
    • Wind 3.46%
  • Petroleum 1%
  • Other Gases < 1%
13% of the power produced was by renewable resources. Equally, 87% of energy produced was by non-renewable energy resources, that pollute the environment, and/or have serious potential risk. Every day these processes and operations are damaging the planet, and causing cumulative and increasingly noticeable effects. We need to change and stop the damage we're doing if we want to still have an inhabitable planet in hundreds of years. 

As of right now, this pollution is damaging air quality to people in areas where these burning power plants exist, and actively contributing to buildup of gases in the atmosphere that are contributing to global warming, which effects can be seen in the active melting of arctic ice. In the future, if this continues, all coastal cities and inhabitants could be relocated because of rising ocean water levels, more global climate change causing increased severe weather, lower quality air over larger areas, more extreme temperatures, and possibly other effects of these, such as I would imagine probably crop and food production would be harder in more extreme environments, resulting in maybe food shortages and starvation for groups of people.

The solution is actually really not a difficult one: Stop. It really is that simple. We just need to stop our usage of non-renewable resources, and switch to renewables. We have the capabilities, and we could actually, I would argue, very easily make the switch to near 100% renewable energy production. The reason we don't, largely, seems to be for 2 reasons:
1) People will stop making money.
2) People are extremely uneducated.

As long as people are making money on environmentally harmful energy production, and people are stupid enough to not see the problems that exist and the reasons to change, there will be opposition to this necessary switching of resources for energy production. 

Images from: http://disc.sci.gsfc.nasa.gov/gesNews/airs_christmas_ice_storm Shows how the cold from the arctic just barely comes down and tips the north central and northeast parts of the US, where we are, and how the extremely large amount of heat surrounding the north pole is a considerable threat. The third picture especially shows how much heat there is surrounding the cold of the north pole.

This picture shows how coal and other burning power plants release massive amounts of pollution into the atmosphere.

Annie Stevens Exp: 6

1) Havel makes a great point that humans need to preserve the earth. I like where he says, "Maybe we should start considering our sojourn on earth as a loan." "Nature is issuing warnings that we must not only stop the debt from growing but must pay it back."

 2) Crude oil or fossil fuel is drilled from Earth daily. Crude or petrolium is a black tary substance used to make gasoline, kerosene and other products. Oil comes from plants and animals that died 10-600million years ago heat and pressure over the years have created shale. Movement of the earth cause shifting, cracking and squeezing of the rock.
Survey ships are used to locate oil deep in the oceans or earths layers. Once a spot has been determined surveys are done to determine the amount of oil and how drilling will impact the environment.  Land needs to be cleared and roads built for trucks and diggers to come in and drill down to the oil. In the ocean rigs are used to create islands where the rigs can be built.
Holes are drilled and cement is pumped into plug the area. Fluid and acid are pumped in the well once found to extract the oil. A pump is installed over the well to extract. Sometimes a second hole must be drilled to push steam into the well for the oil to move.Massive amounts of equipment are needed at each sight to extract the oil.
More the half the natural gas in the US is under protected land. Thousands of these acres are leased to oil companies for drilling. In past years frogs and other small animals have been found to be deformed from oil waste.

The problem is destroying the earths surface to create much needed power.It affects everyone in the world.

Possible solutions are very expensive and may deplete the earth in other ways; through corn and chemical use. Hopefully there is a solution soon. It is predicted that there is enough oil for 95 years only.


An oil rig

Tadpole tail that never got absorbedDeformed frog

Groups and subjects for Presentations projects

Tyler Hedge and Brian: Elan Musk, Tesla and automobiles, modern
Buki and Chase: Anthony Bourdain, food, book, and TV culture, modern
Jesse Owens, Buckeye sports and cultural legend, historical
Shannon, Ben and Umer: Banksy, artist and activist, modern
Nicolaus and Erica: Frank Lloyd Wright, architecture, historical
Maggie and Tyler Stone: Ghandi, civil rights, historical
Annie and Julia: Jack Hannah, wildlife and ecology, modern

Brian Smith Exploration 6

    Vaclav Havel sets up a mood with his essay Our Moral Footprint that everyone should hold about climate change. I wish that everyone around the world held the same opinions about climate change that Havel does. Havel is conveying his wish for reducing our ecological footprint through a few striking parts in his essay. When he dives into our mindset as humans, this was perhaps the most striking section of the essay. Looking into it, he doesn't only discuss how we should feel about climate change, but about our lives on this planet. Then he explicitly states that we must bring about this change without having to eliminate our personal freedoms. I completely agree with the messages that Havel is trying to convey and hope that more people will begin caring about reducing our ecological footprint as much as Havel does.

    There are many ecological issues in our society as of present, one of the biggest currently being Renewable energy. One of the most important renewable energy sources is solar power. Eventually, most energy will come from solar power, and it is already one of the most popular sources of renewable energy. There is more energy coming from the sun than anything else on Earth, so the potential is massive. Solar power is not without its problems, though. Solar panels require quite a bit of energy to use and contain some harmful materials, albeit not as harmful as a coal or oil fired plant. The panels we have today are also extremely inefficient at harnessing all of the solar energy hitting the Earth, with panels only absorbing about 10% of the total energy. Solar power aside, there are a few other sources of renewable energy. This can come quite in handy, as should one renewable source not be available, there are other options to choose from. Two of the other renewable energy sources are wind and hydroelectric.

    The use of renewable energy is an issue that affects everyone the world over. Most of the energy used on Earth is produced by fossil fuel burning plants. This is the biggest concern in human caused climate change. Should humans start adopting renewable energy in a much more widespread manner, our ecological footprint will drop dramatically. There are still many problems with our methods of harnessing renewable energy, and these are being pushed back as there isn't a great enough sense of urgency towards using renewable energy. One of the solutions that I can think of would be to dedicate some of our Country's resources towards the advancement of renewable energy, namely solar power. Some of the strengths of this would be that, with government backing, advancements in solar technology could come a lot sooner. A negative to this would be that money would be taken from other endeavors. Though, most likely, the money would just be taken from the obscenely large military budget. This makes the most sense to me because solar power has the best energy potential and humans are doing nothing with all of the energy coming from the sun, it's free and it will never change for millions of years to come.

Kaylah's Exploration 6

In the "Our Moral Footprint" Vaclav Havel talks about the climate and human interaction.  I thought it was interesting how he compared the United States and Europe's debt to the way that the humans influence the climate.  He said that "Nature is issuing warning that we must not only stop the debt from growing but start to pay it back."   He is telling us that we can't just go around and do as we please because there will be consequences.  I also like the pendulum metaphor.  Once the climate is altered there is no going back.  It will not return to it's "original position" after a certain period of time.  The decision to alter the climate through technology is a moral choice that people will be forced to make and it could potentially mess up the climate altogether.

Recycling is important because it is good for the environment.  Waste has a huge negative impact on the natural environment.  Because of the waste, there are harmful chemicals and greenhouse gasses being released in the landfill sites.  Recycling helps to reduce this pollution.  It also helps save energy.  When making products from raw materials, huge amounts of energy are used, so with recycling less energy is used which helps to preserve natural resources.  Eventually not recycling will effect more than just the environment and the animals in the community.  The landfill sites are filling up fast and are going to start effecting the cities and the people living in them.  Therefore, by recycling the financial expenditure in the economy will be reduced and we will be able to preserve natural resources for future generations.  If every city requires people and places to have a recycling bin more people might recycle.  If the product is available, more people are likely to use it.  A strength of recycling is obviously that it helps save the environment and communities.  A weakness is that it has the potential to waste money.  If people don't decide to recycle, then all of the money that was spent to perform a route and make the bins would have gone to waste.  Overall, recycling reduces the need for raw materials and requires less energy making the environment a better place.