Archive for March, 2010

Mar 31 2010

Posted by under EnvProblems

“Managing For Sustainability”

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An ironic part of the ‘Tapped’ seminar I thought, was when the Poland Springs billboard was shown with their slogan being, “managing for sustainability”. I’m not sure what part of their plastic water bottle campaign they consider to be “manageable” and “sustainable” when only 23% of plastic water bottles are recycled in the United States. Not to mention the raw toxic materials necessary to make plastic water bottles, and the pollution that these materials are adding to our once pure water ways.

The article that I found this picture in was focusing on companies that have began “making improvements” to their products, so that they are more environmentally “friendly” and “sustainable”. To the average consumer (and to me, before I watched the tapped seminar), this ad along with other media sources presents Poland Springs in a positive light as if their product is now benifiting the environment. However, I think it’s ironic that they’re saying they’re “doing less” and that their “100% natural spring water” has lss impact on the Earth — when in reality, their product is not natural. According to the ‘Tapped’ seminar, dozens of chemicals were found in plastic water bottles that were taken right off the shelves in grocery stores. These chemicals are toxic and have been linked to obesity, ADD, and several forms of cancer. Which, I also think is interesting considering that obesity and ADD have been occuring in record numbers among American children. I think this entire add is a contradiction to “natural” products, because the real  natural product would be tap water. The plastic water bottle industry is a multi-billion dollar corporation that despite their denials, is trying to be the only supplier of “natural” and “safe” drinking water. Thirty years ago, this industry was virtually inexistent — and today, Americans are spending more money for a bottle of water than they would for the same amount of gasoline. We are told that tap water is not safe, and that water fountains are suspicious. However, in truth it is the exact opposite. Tap water is tested in facilities thousands of times a month, while in comparison, there is one person working for the FDA in charge of testing all bottled water companies in the United States. To me, following this seminar, it is obvious that this is simply the result of billions upon billions of dollars of well-researched marketing, coupled with ignorant consumers. While this is not necessarily the consumers fault (for these companies are supplying what we demand), we need to be the ones to end this process. Without demand, there will be no supply — or supply will greatly decrease.

“Environmental-wise, we go through about 50 billion plastic water bottles but the recycling rate is only 23%, so about 38 billion bottles are filling up in our landfills” (http://blog.case.edu/james.chang/2007/06/index). Another interesting fact that I found on this webiste was that while the Fiji water bottleing company “spits out more than 1 million bottles a day, half the people in Fiji do not have safe, reliable drinking water”. I’m sure this can be applied to dozens of other countries.

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Mar 30 2010

Posted by under EnvProblems

“Business Is The Source Of All Pollution”

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The quote, “business is the source of all pollution” from the documentary Food Inc., had significant impact on the way that I now view businesses, and their overall contributions to global environmental problems. Since civilizations began to transistion from nomadic lifestyles into domesticated agricultural lifestyles, economics has been the foundation for a successful life. After studying examples, such as Easter Island, Haiti and the Incas it is clear that we are neither learning from our past mistakes, nor making efforts to improve. Rather, in my opinion, I believe big buisness has essentially taken over. These corporations are non-governmental, yet they have significant power in the United States Congress through Congressmen with clear ties. It really was unblelievable to me that these businesses had so much power! For example,  I thought it was really ridiculous when the farmer being filmed in the Food Inc. documentary had to be darkened so he was unrecognizable. Farming and agriculure is one of our countries oldest practices — and to be at a point where simple farmers are being forced by big name corporations (Monsanto) to give up their life practices is very strange to me.

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I think that there should be a balance between economic gains, and environmental concerns. Right now, all the evidence shows is that we are a society driven by economics and that the consumer wants as much as an item possible, for the lowest price. Therefore, producers have found ways to provide consumers with economically efficient goods at extremely low prices to the consumer. However, environmental costs are hardly ever considered in this process. Extraction and manufacturing methods in almost all cases are horrible for the environment, and none of this economic gain is going towards the clean-up process. Even though the documentary Food Inc. was focusing specifically on agriculture, I related it to businesses in general because I believe big business is one of our greatest global environmental problems. However, until the consumer stops buying these low-cost goods or the raw materials run out, the producer is going to keep supplying without any regard to the environment. Futhermore, in my opinion, I believe that economists should be held accountable for their theories delieved. When economic theories are presented, the means and methods to which these goals are to be accomplished are completely ignored. This can lead to unrealistically priced goods and services for the genral public, which can thereby lead to higher demands of unsustainable products and practices. Therefore, the Earth’s current standing should be taken into consideration when creating these economic models, so that we can not only maintain a healthy economy, but a healthy environment.

This is just a simple video I found, but I thought it encomassed all that I’m saying! Also liked the background song :)

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Mar 11 2010

Posted by under EnvProblems

Are Bloom Boxes Our Future?

I saw this special on 60 minutes on "bloom boxes", and was really fascinated. I think the idea of the "bloom box" is amazing, but I wonder if it can be simplified enough to make it marketable for the average consumer.

Bloom Box (part 1)

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Bloom Box (part 2)

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Too Good To Be True?

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The ironic part of the 60 minute special I thought was that they believe the utility companies will buy the bloom boxes, rather than trying to crush the bloom boxes and wipe them off the market. I thought this was ironic because in many past examples (i.e the electric car, solar, wind, and natural gas), the coal and oil corporations have successfully forced these sustainable energy companies out of business, rather than working with them for a greener future. Maybe now the oil and coal corporations are coming to the realization that we must make a change benifiting the long-term, and that economic growth through unsustainable environmental practices, is no longer profitable.

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Mar 11 2010

Posted by under EnvProblems

The Truth About Coal

Adverse Effects of Coal

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Toxic West Virginia

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Mar 11 2010

Posted by under EnvProblems

Mountain Top Removal

The more I listen to people speak about environmental issues, and the problems that they encounter in an effort to counteract these issues, the more I realize how important scientific education is for the general population. Without education, politicians and large corporations can sway voters any way they want, simply through their rhetoric. For example, this website,  http://www.mountaintopmining.com/ specifically states in the first paragraph that it’s intentions are to educate people about mountain top removal, and to “provide a viewpoint no readily portrayed in the press to clarify many misstatements… so that individuals themselves can examine for themselves can examine the various viewpoints  and arrive at their own conclusions”.

This entire first paragraph however, is a complete contradiction. Not only does this webiste completely fail to present both sides of the argument, but it does not present any real data for the reader to “arrive [to] their own conclusion”. Instead, words are twisted, and data is skewed to present mountain top removal in a good light. That fact that an average citizen could be interested in learning more about this topic and to come across this website as one of the first on “google” — is not good. 

Numbers and data never lie. And I believe that members of the scientific community should specifically work to simplify their findings, in an effort to educate the general population — so that the average person with a minimal scientific background, can draw their own conclusions. I think that if more efforts are made, people will begin to support the environmental movement, rather than simply relying on their congressman or woman (etc.) to make decisions for them. Education can be applied to every scientific problem, and I really do not see large accomplishments coming for environmental groups without the support of the people.

There are many myths about mountain top removal that are circulating (such as, mountain top removal increases jobs, rather than decreases) — however, it is quite clear once presented with factual data, that this is not the case. There are many more negative side-effects to mountain top removal than there are positive ones, and they should be made known. That way, coal and oil companies will not be able to use intimidation and false education tactics to misinform their consumers. There is no mistaking the fact that mountain top removal contributes greatly to pollution and in the reduction of biodiversity, as well as significant long-term reductions in economic growth. We need to focus on a green future, with sustainable energy extractions — and mountain top remval does not fall into this future.

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