Archive for Emissions

Green Cleaners.

 

For all the busy housewives, there comes a new and fun activity to spend with family in helping tidying up your own household. By making your own cleaning supplies, many households could prevent using toxic and hazardous chemicals in their own homes and around their children. Windex, Pledge, and Mr.Clean all come with their eye catching commercials, but they also come with toxic chemicals that we’re exposing to those we love the most. A sit down family activity can end the toxic nightmare and create a new alternative many never dreamed of. Currently, Congress members are attempting to ban the use of phosphates in cleaning supplies. They are toxic chemicals that are used to clean, but affect algae growth. However, a secret kept quiet to many American households is that you can make very effective and non-toxic cleaning products. And luckily, the ingredients can be found at home in our own cupboards and pantries. With a simple mix of ingredients ranging from baking soda, vinegar, lemon, and even soap, many families can control what they’re using around their children and what they’re putting on their countertops. Making your own cleaning products at home can save you time and money because you no longer need to run out to the supermarket to purchase a bottle of toxic hazardous cleaning product. The products that allow our furniture and floors to sparkle and shine contain phosphates that pollute groundwater and contain hazardous substances.  Even though they’re cleaning our homes, they might irritate our skin, eyes, and allow for us to breathe in chemicals we shouldn’t be exposed to. By making your own products at home, you’re guaranteed a spotless shine and a satisfied peace of mind.

-Nicholas Chan

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Lean Green Vegetarian Machines

vegetarian-IQGreenhouse gases and global warming is becoming a serious threat to the environment and it’s important now more than ever to change human history. Environmental organizations constantly look for ways to reduce and limit the emissions emitted, but don’t target the leading causes of it. Society is looking past the most logistical, probable, and effective strategy for global warming: vegetarian diets. Temperatures are higher than expected and have been climbing the charter much faster than we ever expected. Consequences of unchecked warming are coastal flooding, disastrous weather conditions, disease spread, and mass species extinctions. Domestic bills and legislation passed through Congress strictly focuses on fuel economy standards, capping emissions, and investing time and funds on alternative energy sources, but Dr. James Hansen indicates that C02 emissions are not the main cause of atmospheric warming. Many other gases trap heat and are evidently more potent and powerful. According to studies, the most important greenhouse gas is methane and is caused most by livestock and animal agriculture. Methane is 21 times more powerful than C02 and methane concentrations have doubled. Coal mining, landfills, and most of all animal agriculture produces more than 100 million tons of methane a year. About 80-85% of methane is produced by emissions from livestock and however comical the situation may be, targeting the root cause of global warming is incredibly important. The best way to reduce global warming is to eliminate heavy consumption in animal products. Simply promoting vegetarian diets and cutting back on meat leads to a reduction of supply and demand efforts for livestock. The overall benefits of vegetarian diets prove to be cost effective, empirically proven to work, and faster than any of the status quo initiatives to win a small battle in a larger war.

-Nicholas Chan

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Clean Up After Yourself

When you were a child, you most likely heard your parents talk to you alot about cleaning up after yourself when you eat, play, or do anything that may be messy. Alot of officials haven’t been listening to their parents. In the age of rapid modernization and “Empire”, the aim of most countries is to gain hegemony or global influence through economical means. They choose to go about their goals by building more to strengthen their economies, but they find it unnecessary to analyze their methods and the effects of them. This is exact problem that Dubai finds itself in at the moment. While their skyline is one of the most beautiful of the middle eastern area, the ground is a whole different story. The challenge of water is evolving to much more than just a problem: due to the recent growth much of their water has been tainted by waste and unfortunately the water treatments plants in the area don’t have the energy to clean all of it up. To respond to this problem, Dubai has decided to increase its erudition in nuclear energy. This venture seeks to solve the problem of desalination, and the lack of energy for the new buildings. It’s necessary to clean up after yourself, and, in fact, plan out clean up before you begin your endeavor.

Jesse Anyalebechi

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Hot, Helpless, and Soon To Be Homeless

polar-bear-sadAs discussed in earlier blogs, we see that natural disasters, like Hurricane Katrina, and unpredictable changes in weather are just some of the terrible byproducts of global warming. These events alone have much of the public shaking in terror, but if you think that only humans  are seeing the worst of it, you are wrong.

Our carelessness also impact many animals that are not to blame, but suffer none the less. Thanks to our pollution efforts polar bears are sitting on thin ice…literally. Last year the government officially decided to put polar bears on the list of endangered species, and pictures of polar bears floating around on chunks of ice have become almost iconic. Some of these pictures even illustrate cubs being separated from their mothers. Of the existing 25,000 polar bears in the Arctic scientist expect a 30% decline in population due to environmental issues. If ever you get too lazy to walk over to a recycling bin, just look at one these pictures, and remember that you can give them one of their “bear” necessities…a home.

-Christine Umeh

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Now, Switch!

grasssssFrom fossil fuels to corn ethanol, Americans need to switch over to brighter and greener forms of energy. Switchgrass, a fast growing plant is looking quite promising, but is overlooked among citizens. The Department of Energy truly believes that biofuels are the keystone transition from dependence to independence. The native crop can easily reduce reliance on foreign oil, curb greenhouse gas emissions, and strengthen the agricultural sector. The major problem with corn ethanol is the price fluctuation and the fast paced transition instead of a gradual switch over.  Switchgrass, however provides many benefits such as the cost competitiveness, the push in biodiversity, and the lack of a need for pesticides. It is one of the fastest growing crops that can be processed into a biofuel, but with corn ethanol and oil overshadowing the true potential of the grass, switchgrass is still stuck in the research and development phase. It is also empirically proven that switchgrass actuall adds organic nutrients to the soil ensuring a long lasting harvest. With its strong roots, the cash crop can last through the winter and prevent soil erosion. The air produced from the plant reduces carbon dioxide and it slows the buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Naturally, since we don’t eat grass, price spikes won’t occur as with corn ethanol. Only with determination and public knowledge can society bring this promising grass to the forefront, so American, now, switch!

-Nicholas Chan

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In A Nutshell

All of us each peanuts or sum sort of peanut product (actually all of us who aren’t allergic). One thing that we may not have know is that peanut shells release carbon as they decompose. But one thing that you could do to deter from emitting carbon into the atmosphere is to create biochar. Biochar is basically “green coal”. This sort of charcoal is created form the any form of biomass waste that is burned, in a kiln AKA  industrial oven, with an airless burning technique also known as pyrolysis. Then you take the coal and dig it into the ground that way the carbon is locked into the soil. By doing this you could anchor soil nutrients extremely well at a time when the planet’s soils have lost half of their carbon thanks to industrialized agriculture. In May 2009, the Biochar Fund received a grant from the Congo Basin Forest Fund to implement its concept in Central Africa. The Observer gives it a light bulb rating of 5 out of 5 which translated basically means this will mostly be one thing that steps in a will most likely save the planet and possibly humanity. One thing that should be noted though is that biochar is not limited to just peanut shells, but can be used for any type of biomass.

– Funmilayo Amubieya

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Trick or Trees

Many of us know that trees are beneficial, but a large percentage of those do not understand why. We constantly cut down forests and plants around us in order to satisfy our own need, yet we do not know that when we wipe out these trees, slowly it will begin to hurt us.

When we trash the land around us, it will continue to be there unless we get rid of it. This can be applied to the carbon dioxide in our atmosphere. Trees not only serve as the beauty that nature exhibits, but it also filters our air. When we breathe out carbon dioxide, trees intake it and release out oxygen. If this is true, why would we allow deforestation to happen? Our population is growing, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that we should go on an environmental rampage just so that we can have large houses and big backyards. Not only should we stop killing mass amount of trees, but we should grow more. For the immense amount of carbon dioxide we emit, it wouldn’t hurt to reduce the CO2 in the air to mitigate temperature change and to reduce the unhealthy substances in the air that we breathe.

~Christine Umeh

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