Archive for April, 2010

Apr 25 2010

Posted by under EnvProblems

Education!

If there’s anything that I’ve learned in this class, it’s that education is the key to our survival. From global warming, to deforestation and water pollution, I don’t think it’s a matter of whether or not people care — it’s simply a matter of whether or not they know. Until watching the ‘Tapped’ documentary, I had no idea the effects plastic water bottles had on the environment, our economy, small towns, small businesses, and our health. Since seeing the documentary, I plan on never drinking out of another plastic water bottle again.

California in particular has a huge water problem! And despite many attempts by the media, governor and legislators, there are still many individuals in California that do not understand how dire the water situation is. California is highy populated, and is continuing to grow at an unsustainable rate — in comparision, the state wide water-storage program has not been improved for the past 30 years. The water reserves are also extremely low, and are not able to sustain the growing population or meet the growing demand; 2007 was ranked as a record-dry year in some regions.

In order to help control this problem, mandatory water regulatin polices should be imposed throughout California. California also relies heavily on agriculture as a means of income, and rather than continuing to grow crops which require unsustainable amounts of water, farmers should switch to crops more suited for the hot, dry environment. Caps on water useage would also be an effect way to control water consumption, so that if businesses or homes consume more than their alotted amount of water, they will be forced to pay a fine. The most important aspect of this problem however, as mentioned above, is education! With general awareness and education, big businesses as well as individual citizens will hopefully be more encouraged to significantly decrease their water consumption.

Because water is so wasily attainable, I feel like people take it for granted. When you turn on your sink a washing machine, you don’t really think about where that water is coming from. However, with (hopefully) new legislation in California, this will not only help to mobilize individuals in California, but in the entire nation. It will force people to conserve water, and it will force people to see water as the non-renewable resource it actually is. Water is our most precious resource on this planet, and we need to start taking better care of it!

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Apr 02 2010

Posted by under EnvProblems

Facing the Mass Extinction!

This trailer explains the significant effects that we are having on our environment through our addition of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Throughout history, our Earth has experienced many mass extinctions. However, all of them have been a result of geologic and biologic forces -- never the result of something controllable, such as human activity. The Earth has never in its history been the way that it is today, and we are going to have to adapt to changes if we expect to be a species that survives a mass extinction.

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/XbOXUza9ZeE" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

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Apr 02 2010

Posted by under EnvProblems

Coral Reefs and Overfishing In Relation To Global Climate Change

“Climate change is as big a threat to people and the planet as international terrorism.”

          Mike Childs – Friends of the Earth campaigns director

I found this quote and agree with it entirely because I feel like a lot of people in the world today put international terrorism (along with other economic an social problems) ahead of gloabl climate changes. And while international terrorism is obviously a problem that needs to be solved, without a productive planet to sustain life, no other problems will matter.

Coral reefs specifically will be directly, and largely affected by global warming. Even the slightest temperature, and sedimentary changes can have detrimental impacts. Coral reefs are dependent on dinoflagelants, which are an algae that need specific environments to live in. These algae provide coral reefs with food and oxygen — they also need significant sources of light, meaning they require sediment-free waters.

According to the IPCC, the Earth is expected to warm by 1.5 and 4.5 degrees Celsius this century, and it is believed that even with the slightest 1.5 degree increase, coral reefs may not survive. Coral reefs are also composed of calcium carbonate, which is dissolved by carbonic acid. As the oceans take up more of the carbon dioxide we add into the atmosphere,  the oceans become more acidic — making will also hurt plankton and coral populations. Fish populations however, are also very sensitive to acidic and temperature changes. Furthermore, plankton populations make up the base of the food chain, and if their populations are hurt through environmental changes, it will affect entire fish populations within the entire ocean. Currently, we are fishing beyond our means in a completely unsustainable way. Global fish catches has decreased significantly since the peak a couple decades ago, yet much needed changes are not occuring at the rate they should be. As with other  environmental problems however, economc gains seem to outweight the environmental problems. And until consumers see the effect that these problems are having on the environment, producers will continue to supply at the expense of the environment.

As with the other environmental problems that we have discussed, I believe a lot of change rides on the push for education. Global warming is a huge problem that will affect all areas of the globe — and in the past couple of years especially I think that there have been efforts made to generate the general public. However, it is important to make it clear what the side-effects will be if we continue to burn fossil fuels the way we are, without any thought to the consquences.

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