Archive for February, 2009

Powering Water

So, it’s time for my third post here. My first one talked about fluorescent lightbulbs and introduced the theme of my posts and gave an idea on managing to achieve it. The second one concluded the two points by proposing a policy on recycling. Now, we shall go take a trip down memory lane and once again focus on saving electricity, except by different means this time.

This one, just like fluorescent bulbs, is extremely simple. That should grant it some appeal, and so I’m hoping some of you readers will be willing to give a couple a try in your own homes. Today’s post will focus on water conservation. In order for water to be used properly, it must be filtered, heated, and transported from water facilities. Though water is of an abundant supply here in the developed nation, fossil fuels are not. Performing these changes on the water requires an extremely large amount of electricity. As of now, a little more then 50% of power plants are coal-based. By reducing strain on them, fewer pollutants are thrown into the air. Almost 10% of electricity consumption in a household is used by water heating alone, and so saving water is a very simple way to not just reduce pollutants, but also save money.

There are numerous things that can be done to actually save water. Most of these involve getting new tools to replace old ones. More efficient showerheads are available and are able to use less water more effectively. Dishwaters filled with the toughest tech on the market rampage their water-saving fury on the plates that it consumes. Washing machines with top-of-the-line inner workings are able to blast the stains off of clothes while saving more than 25% of water used. There are all sorts of different tools that can be replaced, and it is only a short drive away from your nearest appliance store.

Of course, I’m pretty sure that a number of you people reading this thing right now are rather lazy and either you can’t get these things, can’t afford them, or just don’t want to bother your parents (if you’re an adult, you just don’t want to get into the car). That’s why people who are really dedicated to protecting the environment have an even greater number of easier alternatives. Fixing a leak inside of a bathroom doesn’t require much more than a wrench and actually has the capability of saving over 2700 gallons a year. It is estimated that an average American household unknowingly loses about 10% of their water to leaks from the toilet and faucets. Do not underestimate their capability. Another simple thing is to just reduce the time in the shower, and yet another is dispose of trash in a bin next to the toilet instead of flushing it. One of the simplest, but overlooked things is to just turn off the blasted faucet when you’re brushing your teeth but not using it. A faucet uses about 4 gallons a minute, and when that accumulates high enough from the 3-times-a-day-for-2-or-something-minutes brushing, the math reveals a figure that exceeds over 8000 gallons a year.

There are several more things that could be done, but this blog post is long enough as it is and most of those the new ideas revolve around replacing old appliances with better ones and making small changes to your lifestyle. And really, there’s no reason not to give these a shot. Many of them are extremely simple, and others can be done when a regular trip to the Home Depot is made. Protect the environment, one drip at a time.

Written by Jay Meza

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Recycling Challenge

For recycling-earthValentine’s Day I received a stuffed animal. It was a white and blue dog but the icing on the cake was when I saw the green tag stating that the fibers used to stuff it were made with 100% recycle plastic bottles. There is actually a lot of products being manufactured from recycled item now. I’ve seen bulletin board, string, and at Kerr High school they even sell smencils. Smencils are scented pencil made from recycled news paper. So I challenge you to go out and buy some product made from any recycled item.

-Written by Christine Umeh

 

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How Deep is Deep Ecology?

deep-ecology-7186481Wikipedia may not the most reliable source out there, but it explains deep ecology quite well. It defines the term “deep ecology” as “a recent branch of ecological philosophy that considers humankind an integral part of its environment. It is a body of thought that places greater value on non human species, ecosystems, and processes in nature than established environmental and green movements.”

In other words, deep ecologists  would argue that our “green” efforts should not be centered around human needs, desires, and improvements, but rather around the earth itself. We should not pollute not because it would contaminate the air we breath and make us sick, but rather because it would conserve the greenness of the trees and the health of the animals. We should recycle not because recycled bottoms are safer for us to drink from but because we don’t want to deplete the earth’s resources. Wikipedia continues by explaining that deep ecology could be contrasted with “utilitarian environmentalismwhich argues [that] resource management of the environment [is] for human purposes.” 

When I first learned about this term, I thought it was relatively buyable because our green efforts should not be so selfish. To me, it made utilitarian environmentalism very much seem like the bad guy. Yet as I thought more and more about this subject, it hit me that deep ecology does not make any sense. We recycle, conserve, save, reuse, and reduce for the betterment of humankind–not the betterment of the earth. This is true because the earth is ALWAYS going to be here. Environmental problems such as pollution, global warming, etc. are all issues that concern OUR survival and health–not the earth’s. Even if the human race gets thrown off the face of the earth, this planet will still be here.

As such, I believe that all our “green” efforts have been in our own benefit. Sure, there are other beneficiaries such as animals and plants, but our key motive is to improve our own lives. The syllogism is always traced back to humans because our primary goal, as humans, is to advance our species. This only makes sense.

What are you all’s thoughts on this issue?

-Written by Christina Phan

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Recycling Bins – An Actual, Non-satirical Modest Proposal

Side by side, the bins are almost the same and at identical locations

As I mentioned in a previous post of mine on fluorescent bulbs, there are two ways that seem to prove most effective when reducing pollution. Recycling and reducing electricity. Today’s blog post will focus more on the previous then the latter like my other blog post, and even this one won’t refer too much on actual recycling tips or what kind of stuff you can recycle, or even the benefits of recycling. I’m sure that many of us have already gotten far more than enough information on that subject, and so this post is instead proposing a new policy for Kerr, and even maybe other schools, to try injecting into their systems.

Inside each of the Kerr centers, one thing that I’ve definitely noticed is the number of trash cans that usually line the rooms. If you need to throw something away, most times you needn’t walk more than a few feet before you can toss the scrap into the bin. Most times when I’m about to throw paper away, I look for a nearby recycling bin that I can toss it in. More times than I can count, it involved a very annoying walk to and from the bin that happened to be halfway across the center. After getting up for the third time in a row to do that, I realized not just how few recycling bins there are, but also how obscure and hidden they are from people.

Why are there so many more normal trash cans then recycling bins? And why are recycling bins always smaller at ordinary places? I dug out of the trash can in the Speech and Debate room one day, not looking for food or anything mind you but finding some stuff to put onto a poster. That is an entirely different thing altogether so I’ll just stick to the main point – more than 80% of the stuff I dug out was recyclable paper of some kind. At the bottom were some Reeses Peanut Butter Cup wrappers, a water bottle, some admit one movie tickets, and a few other oddities that I can’t seem to recall as I type this. I’m going to bet my left hand that at least one of those things were also able to recycled along with the paper, bringing up how much I found to about 95% of the junk. That may not seem like much from just one trash can, but when if that statistic holds true for every single on in Kerr, think of all the paper that is needlessly thrown away when it could be recycled.

Another thing, which I partially alluded to in my previous paragraph, is the sheer obscurity the recycling bins are given. In most of the centers, there is one recycling bin hidden off in a deep, dark corner far away from all the other tables where people use paper the most. Until one of my friend’s told me, I didn’t even know the Social Studies Center had a recycling bin at all! The only label on it was a very faint “recycle” on the side of it. The thing itself looked like nothing more than a big cardboard box that was coincidentally enough put next to other big boxes. Doesn’t really make the thing stand out. Even when the box is big and visible, like in the English Center, it is still usually the only one there is and a walk across the entire center can discourage most people to just get up and go to the nearest regular can.

My proposition is that the school should have an equal number of recycling bins alongside the regular ones. These recycling bins should be of an EQUAL size, not smaller or bigger, of the regular trash. It should also be clearly labeled and distinct so that people look at it and know “only paper is supposed to go into this thing.” Really, it’s a very simple solution and could save gigantic amounts of paper. Over the course of a year, all of that could probably eventually pile up and save untold numbers of trees. So with my complaint filed and resolution explained, I am hoping that this will be brought to someone that is able to do something about it. Our reasons for not recycling paper at school are over the absurd distance and visibility that the recycling bins have, and this would solve the problem effectively.

-Created by Jay Meza

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The Power of Mindsets

Whether you believe in global warming, ozone depletion, or none of the above, the actions and thought that we are some way helping the environment is a wonderful thing. People are getting off their couches and contributing to the planet. People’s mindsets are changing and its all for the best.

The green movement is agreed upon our leaders because it has some benefits that can strengthen the economy, but although this is viewed in a capitalistic perspective, we have to evaluate the impacts that are affecting the people and the environment.

First, the people want change this year, and they will get it through putting effort into helping the environment. Our lifestyles are changing constantly. People are encouraged to live with the thought that they should not waste due to the reducing, reusing, and recycling slogan. Also, people are carpooling, strolling, and even biking to get to their destination. This allows communication between people when coming together, a chance to enjoy the earth, and a fun way of exercising.

The earth smiles at us through our green efforts and so do the animals around us. If you don’t think that gas contribute to global warming, then that’s fine, but it does contribute to pollution and biodiversity loss which hurts not only animals and plants, but also humans as well. Trash is piling up and the landfills continually need space. This ruins the beauty in nature.

The mindset that these environmental theories are flawed is an excuse not to help the environment. This thought of the monetary benefits that can come out of these actions should be overlooked if change can occur in our attitude and our lifestyles.  Regardless of whether or not you believe in global warming, an effort to appreciate and help the planet will not hurt.

– Written by Jessie Ho

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The Modern Hoax

ATTENTION: GLOBALWARMING IS A HOAX!

Oh come on, we all hear about it. Global warming caused by gas? Give me a break.  If gases were really covering the planet, I say we just build a giant fan and blow it into space.  The simple truth is that global warming is just a scare. It’s a ploy designed by extreme environmentalists in order to swing the public opinion. They give out statistics of how carbon dioxide and other “greenohouse” gases are trapping heat in the air, but with all due respect, there are probably a dozen other explanations with just as much statstics for the same conclusion.

Sure we cut down a tree here, burn a forest there, but if nature didn’t want man to be on top of the food chain, then she wouldn’t have made us.  Each organism is made to fill its niche (role) in the world, but who says our niche is limited to just surviving?  As people, we each have our own goals to fulfill and I, for one, am not going to let a bunch of tree huggers get in my way.   So you know what? I say cut down the forests. Destroy the reefs. The human race is destined for greatness, and a couple of fish and insects aren’t going to get in our way.

-Satire written by Thien Ngueyn

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Fire Down Under – Hot All Over?

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In recent news, Australia has suffered from extreme fires, that have seemed more intense than any other previous wildfires. While some of these fires were started by arsonists, the increase in temperature only helped to further damage. Thus the extremity of the fires have been attributed to climate change. The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) has stated that by 2020 there could be a 65% increase in raging wildfires due to climate change. The CSIRO also stated that by 2050, there could be a 300% increase in wildfires, compared to fires 1990. The cause is said to be climate change.

The reason why climate change is having such a lasting impact on Australian lands is because of the drought it causes. The drought dries the grasslands, and dryer land makes spreading a fire much easier. This is the reason why the fires were so intense, and it also explains the intensity of the Californian fires.

Looking at this, we can see the eminent danger of global warming and climate change. How many more natural disasters can we experience, before we truly realize the detrimental effects of global warming?

-Written by Rumana Kermalli

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