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BBC News published this article discussing how the increasing amount of light at night has resulted in less night in certain countries which affects the environments and species living there. It was thought that because developed countries like the United States had switched to LED lights as opposed to sodium lights which do not shine as bright in satellite images. However, a study showed, contrary to the hypothesis, that more developed countries, particular in large cities, emitted increasing amounts of light. The amount of light also increased in developing countries, and it only decreased in countries in the state of war. LED light in particular can actually be damaging to human sleep patterns and effects most prominently the lives of nocturnal animals and pollinating insects. Changes in pollination can easily affect crop growth among other aspects of human life.
Christopher Kyba, scientist, believes there are alternative ways of improving out ability to see at night than would minimize light and energy use. It is disheartening that their is minimal awareness of such issues and that we seem to be traveling in a counterproductive direction. It will be interesting to see how this issue develops and how both individuals and governments will go about finding and executing solutions.
This article, written by Karma Allen, Morgan Winsor, and Julia Jacobo, discusses the intense wildfires that have destroyed homes and other buildings in the Sonoma area of California. The article compares these wildfires to the 1933 Griffith Park Fire in Los Angeles, emphasizing how awful the effects have been. The fire has been spread and intensified by the strong winds which are expected to improve. Acres of land and numerous structured have been damaged or destroyed. In addition the death toll has been great, despite evacuation of multiple counties. Neighboring states has been of assistance by providing resources as well as fire departments across the state of California. Requests have gone out to even more states and Australia for resources. The article also provides images of charred remains in so many different places.
These fires had mentioned to me and I knew they were severe, however the true severity became obvious when winds brought smoke all the way to Turlock, CA. I walked into second period and I thought about how it was chilly, but when I walked out I could taste the air. This is incredibly concerning, and I cannot imagine how devastating these fires are to the residents of the affected counties. There homes have been destroyed and the air quality must be awful for their health.
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Jordyn Phelps and Meridith McGraw discuss President Trump's decision to review and repeal legislation created by the Obama administration aimed to diminish the emission of greenhouse gases. Trump arguing that The Clean Power Plan is burdensome to the American economy, and that reducing or eliminating it can help produce more jobs. However, this legislation capped the amount of greenhouse gases emitted by power plants and according to Obama was an important step in reducing climate change. Meanwhile, Trump claims the administration before him "devalued American workers" but enacting such legislation. The article elaborates on the reasoning behind the Trump administration's decision to review the Clean Power Plan.
I am a frightened to see the outcome of undoing the work done by the Obama administration towards the improvement of climate change. Also, I wonder if this will lead to further alterations to the United States' regulations regarding the protecting of our environment. Should this be the case, we would be worsening the environmental circumstances for generations to come. Urbanized countries tend to produce more greenhouse gas emissions as it is, without the Clean Power Plan, our country will be an even more at fault contribute to the deterioration of our plant.
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Douglas Quenqua discusses the circumstances of pandas in China and the health of their home in his article, "Pandas Are No Longer Endangered But Their Habitat Is in Trouble." After 28 years, pandas finally graduated from "endangered" to "vulnerable" after the efforts of China successfully acted to reverse, at least somewhat, the declination in the pandas' population. However, their habitat is in trouble due to human alterations to the environment including; logging, human encroachment, road construction and agriculture. Scientists and professors based on satellite data urged the Chinese government to make specific changes to assist in the restoration of panda-friendly environments, especially because China is the only country where giant pandas live outside of captivity. Climate change is a factor that works against those efforts. The population if giant pandas is up and they are no longer endangered, however climate change poses a threat to the their environment. Short term there has been some success, however longer term there is much to fear when it comes to this species and it environment.
This is incredibly disappointing, after all that has been done to restore the population, the giant pandas are still at risk. What is worse is that this is just one example about how the actions of human beings affect other living organism and yet so many people do not same to care enough to change their way of life. This article makes that idea more real for me because giant pandas have been an endangered species for so long and finally their population was elevated somewhat, and now yet another human caused problem, climate change, is threatening their lives.
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Jimmy Tobias describes the three national parks most at risk due to the decrease in funding for maintaining our environment under the Trump Administration in his article "Under threat: the three national monuments in Trump's sights. Several parks were review under President Trump's orders to decide if they should be set aside for economic opportunities and industrial use. The first location would be Bear Ears National Monument un Utah, which the Trump administration is recommending is reduced in size to an unknown extent. This monument is home to Native American archaeological sights causing resistance from the Native American communities. Second, also in Utah, is the Grand Staircase-Escalantes national monument. Clinton set aside this monument in 1996 and it is the largest terrestrial national monument in the United States. Similar groups as the ones resisting changes to Bear Ears resist change to this monument as well. Finally the Cascade-Siskiyou national monument in Oregon is the home to abundant animal and plant life as well as the remains of an ancient volcano.
These locations are places I would most definitely like to visit and explore, and it is disappointing that there is a chance I will never get the opportunity to. There is a limited amount of land protect buy the government the way national parks and monuments are, so it is concerning that the Trump administration would want to decrease it to even less. Once the land has been diminished and the resources used, it would be extremely difficult to return the areas to their original state. One of the most concerning aspects is that the Cascade-Siskiyou and other national monuments are home to animals that could be displaced and their ecosystems therefore tampered with in way that could be harm to a wide variety of species. There is no telling what the effects of harming these species could be long-term.
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Thousands upon thousands of people wait anxiously for thew generation of the iPhone. They want the new thing, no matter the expensive price. Jacob Passy describes how the iPhone may have an even greater environmental cost in his article "Why Apple's new iPhone is bad - for the environment". Passy cites other sources and informs us that since 2007 there have already been enough smartphones produced to provide one for roughly every person on the planet, and yet they continue producing and we keep buying more. Apple does offer a trade-in offer that allows the company to recycle previous phones, however the amount of people taking advantage of these sort of opportunities does not add up to the environmental costs. These issues involve the damage done to ecosystems after mining for metals used for parts of the phones like the rechargeable battery. Cobalt is mined from countries like the Democratic Republic of the Congo where drinking water is polluted by the waste from these mines. In addition, manufacturing of these products has a great part to do with Apple's ecological footprint. Not to mention, many of the company's products are not often repaired, but replaced; not only iPhones, but earbuds and other accessories become obsolete as the new phones are released rendering them useless and needing to be replaced.
It is disappointing that we choose to prioritize our wants over the needs of the planet, and I have to admit that I am part of the problem. People always discuss the financial burden with buying the next new iPhone every time one comes out, so it was impractical to do so. However, the environmental cost is not discussed enough. I never previously took into consideration how the acquisition of materials can affect people. Even worse, it does not seem like people consider the costs on a global scale. I think it would be really interesting to look into where all our common day materials come from and what it takes to obtain them.
Tim Lucas in "Unprecedented levels of nitrogen could pose risks to Earth's environment" describes how humans have increased the amount of fixed nitrogen on earth and the effects that doing so has caused. 60 years ago the human production of nitrogen was five times less and the effects of nitrogen are becoming comparable with carbon dioxide in terms of contribution to climate change. People have used nitrogen products for agricultural purpose for a long time, however it was formerly in naturally fixed forms. When a process was invented to manufacture nitrogen products on an industrial scale, the use of chemical fertilizers skyrocketed. The unprecedented levels of nitrogen could have huge consequences, although they aren't discussed as much as the climate change issues involved with carbon dioxide. An increase in nitrogen would result in the survival of certain species of plants that can thrive in such circumstances over others, resulting in less biodiversity. Also, nitrogen in ground water has been linked to illnesses and health problems like miscarriages and intestinal cancer.
This article was particularly surprising because I was unaware this was an issue at all to be honest. Living in the valley where agriculture is a huge part of our community and economy, this nitrogen is extremely pertinent. Its frightening to think that this sort of problem could directly affect most people I know living in this area. What is even more frightening is that nobody knows about it, or at least people do not discuss it much. This is definitely a subject that needs to be brought to the attention of people in Turlock, it is very likely that we could be unknowingly, personally part of the problem.
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Joshua Robertson in "Renewable energy generates enough power to run 70% of Australian homes" discusses how the energy sector in Australia is becoming heavily driven by renewable resources despite previous decline in financial and political backing. Hydro-electricity, wind, and rooftop solar have become important parts of the nation's energy sector. Currently, renewable energy sources like these can sustain 70% of the homes in Australia, and when the 2016-17 wind and solar projects are completed that statistic will grow to 90%. The power sector in Australia is reducing the carbon pollution, Robertson described the reduction as comparable to removing half the cars driven there. The previous prime minister, Tony Abbott, was not a supporter of projects like these, but despite him the Australian people pushed to proceed with them. Miriam Lyons was quoted saying that "everyday Australians are voting with their rooftops".
This sort of progress in Australia sets an example for the rest of the world. Hopefully, other countries around the world will follow their example. If more developed nations with the financial means to execute projects like this made it happen, the reduction in carbon pollution would be incredible. In addition, this article demonstrates to people reading it that it is up to everyone to make change happen. The people in Australia pushed for these renewable energy sources despite their leaders. By inspiring the masses to take charge, demonstrating the benefits of renewable resources, and showing other nations that it is possible, this article could be powerful.
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Alaska, which is sub-arctic, has a high rate of warming which concerns many scientist because of the affect that it will have on the permafrost. The permafrost exists deep below large amounts of Alaska's surface and contains organic matter; the organic matter that exists in the permafrost contains enormous amounts of carbon. As the carbon is released it is partially converted to carbon dioxide and methane gas which produces more warming. Scientists and students have been taking samples of the permafrost and other material found beneath the surface of Alaska in order to better understand what materials are there and what greenhouse gases, and how much, they will form. In some areas the temperature of the permafrost is rapidly approaching zero degrees Celsius. Other researchers are interest to see the effects of wildfire on the permafrost, some vegetation that could be burned acts as insulation. Because of the intense increase in emissions, Alaska is mo longer considered as somewhere that stores a lot of carbon, but somewhere that is a source of it.
The melting of the permafrost in places like Alaska should be taken as a warning. Evidently humans been a major cause of climate change, but now that temperatures are rising due to our lack of care we have created another source of methane and carbon dioxide. These materials result in global warming which heightens the risk of wildfires and severe droughts and increases the likelihood of flooding as sea levels rise. In addition, air pollution created causes more allergies, asthma, and outbreaks of infectious diseases.