Archive for April, 2010

Education Flooding In

Without education, you probably couldn’t read this post right now. Learning is the essential component of every society. Without it, ideas and skills would not be passed on from one generation to another. Literacy is often one of the most often cited goals of education and one of the most common, being one of the most primitive and useful skills that can be learned. Unfortunately, too many countries are unable to afford to spend time on teaching even these basic skills, because there are higher priority activities that have to be learned. These involve something that is seen as even more important then reading, which is considered a luxury: surviving.

            In many of the provinces of Southeast Asia, poverty is rampant and teaching scarce. Subsidence farming and provisional skills are the rules of life’s crazy game. In Bangladesh, such attributes are required to withstand the seasonal floods that scar the country in raging waters and ungodly sanitary conditions. As one of the most densely populated places on the planet, it is a wonder the country manages to sustain relatively few deaths. Indeed, most of the danger lies not with the moving streams, but the mosquitoes and dirty water which people are forced to use. People are usually unable to be prepared to handle the floods, and end up resorting to using the same water they urinate in to clean their teeth.

            Luckily, immense strides have been taken place to handle these dangers. The government has recently announced that the education budget will be increased by littler over 2%: a 3 billion dollar investment. Although spread out, most of the new budget is concentrated towards the farmer class who will be taught basic skills on how to survive and maintain hygienic conditions during the floods that attack the area. Measures will include early-preparation by storing fresh-water, teaching how to farm on top of roofs, boat construction to rescue others, how to raise the level of fresh-water wells, and how to purge groundwater of arsenic which has managed to infest most of the wells.

            There is still work to be done however. Measures must be taken to help those who are unable to reach educational facilities, and improvements in health and an economic policy shift will have to be taken inside of the rural communities to make up the lost money. Despite this, the Bengali government has shown its compassionate side, and such measures will help the Bengali people use education to not only survive, but thrive.

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High School Congressional Debate Helps Encourage Discussion on Environmental Topics

Although Nuclear Fission has become a somewhat established source of energy, the potentially more efficient Nuclear Fusion source is still being developed.

Voluntary Carbon Offsets aimed torwards the general public do little to help with decreasing Carbon-Dioxide levels.

BP’s A+ for Energy grant has recognized the green debate team two years now for encouraging discussion on alternative energy among other topics concerning the environment. In the past, we’ve created environmental legislation for high school congressional debate under the guidelines of the Texas Forensic Association (TFA), the official high school speech and debate organization in Texas. As a result, we have encouraged high school students all across Texas to debate and discuss environmental issues. This year is no different, as we have submitted two pieces of legislation concerning nuclear fusion energy and carbon offsets aimed at the general public.

Our first piece of high school speech and debate legislation calls for the United States government to increase funding in nuclear fusion energy research. Nuclear fission, the more well know type of nuclear energy, has been proven to be commercial viable, but nuclear fusion is still being developed. Currently, although the United States has some involvement in international projects, such as the International Fusion Energy Agreement (IFEA), it lags behind in its own research. Simply put, the United States is a major producer of carbon-dioxide, so it must take up the responsibility of actively working to improve its own energy infrastructure instead of waiting for the technology to be developed by other countries.

Our second piece of legislation calls for the United States to ban the sale of carbon-offsets aimed at the general public. Companies and even environmental organizations that sell these types of carbon-offsets have been found to not live up to their claims. The issue of whether it would better to approach climate change through adaption versus mitigation has been a much debated issue, but there are some actions that are just obviously not right for us to take. People have been essential scammed for buying these types of carbon-offsets. The United States needs to stop these types of actions so it can put its efforts into more viable solutions that deal with climate change.

So, what do you think about nuclear fusion power and voluntary carbon-offsets? Post your comments below and tell us what you think.

By Anthony Phung

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Tragedy in the Gulf

Mark Wilson reports

Almost a month after President Obama repealed a moratorium banning off-shore drilling off the coast of the United states, a major BP pipeline broke, causing a behemoth oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Pumping about 1,000 barrels, or 42,000 gallons, of oil every day, the pipeline is reaking havok on the ecosystems in the gulf.

According to the CNM News Network, 20 turtles have been found ashore dead due to the oil.  But not just this, the oil is floating on the habitat of bluefin tuna fish, an endagenared species, during the rare time of year when it breeds and lays eggs. This wreckless accident also has negative effects on the economy. The governmenet has imposed a 10 day fishing ban on the areas affected, causing the huge seafood markets to come to a hault. Nationally, the price of crude oil rose 51 cents per barrel.

This event is bringing much national attention to the much debated issue of off-shore drilling. For years, global warming skeptics and conservatives have promoted off-shore drilling as a viable means of gaining energy dependency. This accident, however, proves that off-shore is still highly unsafe and brings catastrophic consequences to the people and wildlife nearby.

– Silvia Chicas

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The end

                 

               We’ve all heard about 2012 and how the earth will end. Some of us believe that theory, and lots of us don’t. Personally I don’t believe in that either, but I know if we don’t act upon saving the earth from destruction, we are all going to die. We can prevent this by cleaning up the earth and maintaining its good state. Many people all around the earth help to make our earth a better place. Some of the things they do are cleaning the ocean, sea and etc. These are big things that people commit to do, but we can also make a difference, starting from your home. There are things we do in our homes that contribute to messing up the Erath, but there are also things we could do to make the Earth greener, like recycling. Instead of putting plastic, cans, and papers in the same trash, we can separate them into their categories, so in that way we can save energy. Doing this things gradually lead to much more effective ways of cleaning the Earth. There are some places in this world that have been a victim of not cleaning up the Earth. Africa is one of the victims because they have gone through poverty war and still are. Above all these horrible things that happen to Africa, they still have hope. We have all we need to help our Earth, so if we don’t do anything it’ll be shameful that, as a leading country we aren’t be doing our job.

Eghosa Okundaye

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Talking is Walking

A lot of “action”, ironically, on climate change is all talk and not a lot is getting done. 

The first blog talks about how the EU (European Union) will stand by Bangladesh and other (LDC’s) in hopes of making a significant impact in climate change.

 Where the problem comes is in terms of what will actually be done. They talk a lot about what they plan on doing and what they have in mind, and although intentions are important in helping other countries, what makes this plan different from the others in the past?

 What is also more suspicious is that the EU has a very strong interest in Bangladesh even though is doesn’t contribute nearly as much as green house gas emissions as other countries, in which they concede.

 Moreover it is a low developing country. Who cares if they want to help if they can’t handle a huge burden of doing things that take funding? It is true they EU could give them money but they are a low developing country, they have more important issues to solve.

 Even if people disagree that their problem isn’t more important than global warning, what people can’t deny is that if you can’t handle your situation locally, how do you expect them to solve things globally and of more quantity.

 Towards the end of the editorial, they further this idea that promoting all of these meetings will provoke change, will this maybe true there isn’t any uniqueness to why these meetings specifically will perpetuate the outcome that everyone wants.

The same theme happens to reoccur in The New York Times editorial about how it’s a “New Day on Climate Change.”

 Apparently, Obama has directed the (EPA) Environmental Protection Agency to think about whether or not California should be able to set their own rules on green-house gas emissions in which President Bush rejected.

 While this deserves a gold star for effort it really isn’t doing much—this organization is only considering it. One must also take into a consideration that even with this big goal of reducing green-house by x percentage is wonderful and they give lots of statistics that would go into effect if this was passed but it hasn’t.

 Furthermore the bill in California hasn’t been passed either therefore we can’t say this is a stepping stone for American climate action.

 Another thing that must be considered is the likely hood that this will get passed. With president Obama standing behind this doesn’t guarantee the affirmation of this plan. Currently, the president isn’t the most popular president at this time with lots of the American people, disapproving of his actions so far.                  

            When will American and the World realize promises and discourse is only as useful as  the action that occurs?

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Green Surfing

Hi there.

Have you been feeling depressed lately?

Perhaps you’ve been hit by a case of the bubonic plague?

Or are you just sick of the complexities of life? The crazy whirlwind of confusion that often caresses its lips to your mind, embracing it into a cold, dark twister that savagely causes you to lose control and wish for the end of your own existence?

Do you frequently have images pop up on the street of deceased loved ones whose longing comfort you wish to have for one last, flickering moment before their spirits fade away like an armada of tiny flying rainbow unicorns?

If so, you are crazy. There is nothing that I can do for you.

However, if you’re looking for ‘green’ products, then there is a lot I have to offer!

In my previous posts, I showed the power of green-web searching technology through GreenMaven, and the sweet idea of planting trees for searches offered by Ecocho (Along with the demerits of Blackle).

Now searching the green-web is all nice and dandy, but lets say you want to narrow that down even more. Say… to products that you use around your household? Wouldn’t it be nice to own something that makes you feel like you’re doing something useful, besides sipping your morning coffee?

Welcome to EcoSeek, your useful green-product-searcher-thingy.

Ecoseek is similar to GreenMaven, in that it lets you search for green things, but EcoSeek limits this down even more, so that instead of searching the entire web, you’re just searching for products.

For example; you can search up “towel” and then have your vision gladly assaulted with tons of organic and resource-friendly products that place minimal strain on the environment. This way, not only are your habits getting better, but also what you’re buying is having a cool impact on the Earth (He he. I made a pun. Because you know, global warming is like, the earth is getting hot and stuff, and ‘cool’ makes it sound like it’s getting colder… and… yeah…)

So go on. Give it a shot. If you don’t like it, we’ll give you a 100% refund from reading this post, ABSOLUTELY FREE!!!

– Jay Meza

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The Green Web

In my previous post, I talked about Ecocho, and how the administrators plant trees depending on how many searches they get, and also how Blackle is still black and useless (no racist joke intended). Both of these have one thing in common though; they are aimed at trying to improve the environment in some way. There are several search engines on the internet that also try similar ideas to be ‘green’, and so the next couple of posts are going to talk about a couple of the useful ones I’ve come across.

The ‘green web’ is something that any environmentalist should use. It’s not a spider web silly; the ‘green web’ refers to the part of the internet that contains information about ‘green’ subjects. Inevitibly, a number of search engines have turned up that are dedicated just towards exploring the ‘green web’. GreenMaven is one such place.

GreenMaven uses a modified version of Google search to look up relevant environmental things for whatever topic you put in. The results it brings up more information about greener technology then a normal Google search would. For example: googling “Google” on Google will show Google’s latest news (That’s a googlin lot of Googles!) while typing “Google” into GreenMaven will show the latest environmental policies that Google has placed into effect, such as solar panels.

GreenMaven is thus useful for a number of different applications. First, it can be used to find out more information about your favorite businesses, and see the latest environmental news on them so you can stay informed on their policies and whether they hurt the Earth. Second, it can help for research on any green topic for essays, blogs, or even curiosity. And third, it can be used to actually give you ideas to search on. GreenMaven has a set of tag-bubbles that show the largest topics that are searched on, and so GreenMaven can give you a list of reliable sources to look to on things like global warming and carbon emissions.

The green web is a resource any serious environmentalist should consider using. It’s a resource any nonserious environmentalist should consider using. Heck, it’s a resource a nonenvironmentalist should consider using.

So I’ll just skip the fluff and get to the point; It’s something YOU SHOULD USE ALREADY.

~Jay Meza

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