Earth day started in 1970, when everyone had doomsday predictions. The first rallies were to warn people of overpopulation, a deforested planet, hundreds of starving people and a new Ice Age or the new greenhouse effects. Today, climate change has become a prime concern of environmentalists and governments. Here is an overview of how the world has changed since 44 years ago. We breathe cleaner air, for example air pollution in the once smog filled Los Angeles has dropped from 0.58 ppm to 0.151 ppm. Gasoline powered cars are more fuel efficient, like in 1970 the average per car was 13.5 mpg, now it’s 22.6 mpg. Fossil fuels per capita has dropped from $14.7 million in 1970 to $18.9 million today, but the economy and population have also climbed so it’s not bad numbers. In 1970, Americans produced 3.3 pounds of trash a day, most of it ending up in landfills, now Americans produce 4.4 pounds of trash a day but only 54% of it goes to landfills, the rest is recycled, composted or burned. Rivers no longer burn, and animal life is growing in those rivers again. The bald eagle is now also back, the population has grown by 10 times. The main problem is that there is still CFCs and the planet is getting warmer since 1970.
– Sean Sabogal –
Increasing temperatures are now found to be increasing the size of the malaria infected areas, pushing the disease father uphill. Malaria infects about 300 million people per year and it can occur judging on the temperature, rainfall, vectors, parasites, human movement, standard of human health or economics. That would mean that in order to stop the disease scientists would have to try to eliminate all those types of causes, but they have trouble figuring out which ones actually cause it the most. Recent research suggests that temperature only plays a minor role on the mosquito-borne illness or that it wouldn’t cause an increase of the disease in different parts of the world. But another research project found that the Plasmodium parasite that causes it reproduces faster when it’s warmer and that the Anopheles mosquito that infects people with it thrives in higher temperatures. They also found a pattern that the occurrence of malaria infections going uphill into communities increases in hotter times of the year, but decreases in colder times. The main problem is that with climate change, cities that are settled in the mountains, like most in Asia, South America and Africa, will see more malaria problems.
– Sean Sabogal –
The U.N.’s talks in Warsaw over global emissions, which included 195 countries, finally ended on Saturday evening with very limited results. Developed nations at the Warsaw conference refused to set targets for monetary aid to developing countries to help them cut their emissions over the next few years, as they had done before. The conference did not address any pre-2015 plans to cut emissions and in fact many countries lowered their amounts, such as Japan who promised a 25% cut by 2020 is now only promising 3.1%. Additionally, less developed countries refused to work with the market to cut emissions, if developed countries wouldn’t.
Some small goals were met however, such as the creation of the “Warsaw International Mechanism,” which would provide aid to the nations dealing with the losses caused by climate change. The Green Climate Fund will also provide funds to projects to halt deforestation in host countries, who in turn must set up agencies to oversee the money.
– Sean Sabogal –
On Thursday October 17, 2013, the World Health Organization’s cancer agency officially classified the air around us as carcinogenic to humans. The International Agency for Research on Cancer indicated that in 2010, about 223,000 deaths worldwide resulted from just lung cancer alone due to air pollution. Depending on how much pollution people are exposed to in different parts of the world, the risk is similar to breathing in second-hand smoke. Air pollution has also been found to raise the risk level of respiratory and heart diseases. China is of particular concern, as it is currently going through significant industrial growth and has large amounts of badly controlled air pollution. However, high exposure is found also in others parts of Asia, eastern North America, some places in Central America and Mexico, as well as North Africa. Some scientists hope that the United Nations and the World Health Organization will revise their recommendations on public health in regards to polluted air.
– Sean Sabogal –
The new poll conducted by the University of Texas shows how the American public is very disconnected from where and how energy is produced in the world. The poll was non-partisan and was a national poll covering environmental issues ranging from climate change and energy efficiency. Scientific American asked their own question based on this poll and it was stated in this article and the question was: Which country do you believe is the largest foreign supplier of oil for the U.S.? Most of the respondents thought it was Saudi Arabia, but it’s actually Canada, which is America’s main trading partner. America’s lack of understanding of environmental issues is a terrible sign of a lack of education on these topics. It’s important for people to know these topics as it can influence our future, so these poll results are disappointing.
The poll conducted by University of Texas is here: http://www.utenergypoll.com/
– Sean Sabogal –
Living a life that is too excessive is definitely not seen a positive thing. In this instance of excessive waste the results are having catastrophic effects on the health of the planet. Over the past twenty years food waste and obesity have nearly doubled at equal rates. Studies have shown that the surface area of an average dinner plate has increased by 36% since 1960. Along with this statistic the number of Americans diagnosed with Diabetes has tripled since 1987. This is a result of a lifestyle of excessive living and waste that can directly impact the world and future generations. Another recent study has shown that 50% of all food produced in this planet goes in the trash. Even more concerning, 90% of the water used in the United States is consumed through animal and crop-related farm uses which is put to waste when uneaten foods get thrown away. With these numbers in mind a study was conducted to analyze climate change and the economic impact of food waste in the United States. The results were horrendous. The study concluded that food waste in the U.S. exceeds that of 55 million tons per year, which in turn produces life cycle greenhouse emissions of at least 133 million metric tons and also costs the government and its taxpayers 198 billion dollars. Even more concerning is that this problem does not merely exist in our own country but also in other developed countries such as Canada and Great Britain. The good news is that this issue is 100% preventable. Through making smarter choices and buying half of a portion instead of a whole or starting up your own personal compost to put your uneaten food to good use we can slowly but surely rid our country of its health epidemic while at the same time improving the well being of out planet.
Greener Pastures: Where does your food come from?
When we are immersed in a grocery store we see food items everywhere. If we want eggs we go to the egg isle. Everything is their at our convenience. However, do we all really no where our food comes from and what is in it? No. We do not consider where the eggs was collected, how the chickens were hatched, their living conditions or anything like that. When food goes on sale we especially don’t consider these factors. Then we don’t ask if any growth hormones were added or any questions similar to this. Therefore, we do not know what we our feeding ourselves or our family. The origins of our food comes from marketers which is a problem. They can say what they like in reality. The comparison this article makes is that consumer spend hours researching what tv they want to buy or what computer they should purchase. However, when it comes to something they put in their bodies they just pick up the first one they see without doing any research. People need to start caring about what they eat so in the long run people do not hurt themselves or the animals