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Monthly Archives: September 2012

Why do environmentalists, automobile manufacturers and the government push hybrid cars on the general populous?  The main reasons that are spoon fed to the public are that, they have a low carbon footprint, high miles-per-gallon, and large subsidies.

The principle of storing energy in a battery is an excellent idea, the issue is that battery technology is in its infancy and inefficient for this application.  According to Toyota USA the average Prius Hybrid Synergy System in total weighs in over at 800lbs.

If you bought a hybrid, you most likely bought it for environmental reasons which go out of the window when it comes to battery disposal.  Batteries contain various heavy metals that are harmful, difficult, and expensive to recycle and dispose of.

Amount of energy and pollutants produced in order to build one hybrid car is astronomical, compared to the perceived savings of a few mpg.  The nickel and cadmium that is needed to create a battery for a hybrid car are mined in Canada using sulphur and other toxic chemicals, shipped to Europe in large container ships, refined and then shipped again to China where it is refined a second time and is manufactured into the finished battery.  The batteries are then sent to Japan, assembled into the cars, and then shipped to California, on another container ship. That is a circumnavigation of the globe, just for the batteries.

The car itself, from new and during its serviceable life, could never save the amount of pollution that went into manufacturing it in the first place.

Why does all this effort and cost go into trying to offset mans impact on the environment and squeeze out a few more miles per gallon, when there is a far more eco-friendly and more efficient fuel that could be used—Diesel.

A gallon of diesel fuel has a higher calorific value (stored energy) than a gallon of gasoline, and a much higher value than a gallon of ethanol.  And yes, fuels have calories!  This means that diesel has 23% more energy by volume than gasoline.  I would need 61.5 gallons of gasoline to do the job of 50 gallons of diesel.

This is something that European cars have done for years.  EU official figures reveal that 60% of all cars on European roads are diesel powered.  Everything from small sub-compacts to full-sized sedans, have a few choices of diesel engines to choose from.  The vast majority of the these diesels get in the range of 45-80mpg, without the need for large heavy weight battery systems.  Here in the states we are still just happy with 25-30 mpg.

Diesel engines last longer, have a lower carbon footprint (clean diesel), and far cheaper to manufacture.  They work by heating the fuel (with coils) and compressing it until it combusts.

The diesel engine is the truest form of a “flex-fuel” engine, whether it is Peanut, Palm, Vegetable, Canola, or the local greasy spoon oil. You can even use derived oils from Soybean, Switch grass, algae, or even the Jokoba planet.  If one of these fuels is efficiently harvested, they have a negative carbon footprint as the plant absorbs more CO2 than can be produced by the burning of the fuel it is turned into.  So the government should be paying you.

Diesels are cleaner for the environment, have a longer service life, and are more efficient than hybrid cars.  They cost less to maintain, run, and manufacture.  So, why are they still the vehicle of choice for environmentalists and the government?

Two cycle diesel engines could be the future that everyone has been looking for.  These engines are used in the shipping industry and are called Heavy Fuel Marine Diesel Engines.  The concept has been around for almost a century, but with the advent of new materials, sensors, and computerization we could be arriving in an age of compact, light, efficient, and powerful engines that run on the diesel principle, that is over a century old.

 

 

 

One of the sad truths of our generation is that the majority of us are less concerned with glaciers melting in the Arctic due to our harmful ways of life, and more concerned with whether hottie Ryan Gosling wears boxers or briefs.

But there’s one group of people that has combined the two sides in order to promote environmental awareness.

The Environmental Media Association has figured out an effective way to get the youth’s attention focused on environmental issues. They are a group that utilizes celebrities and the amazing power they have to promote environmentally conscious products and decisions.

Celebrities like Nicole Richie, Justin Timberlake, Amy Smart, Lance Bass, and so many more familiar names are members of EMA and they promote the importance of living a “green” lifestyle. The EMA Awards are held every year to recognize efforts of people planting gardens and trees or installing solar power in homes.

Here, Cameron Diaz and Gweneth Paltrow promote “greenness’:

The influence that celebrities have on the youth of America is astounding. When saying “Go green” isn’t enough, just get Justin Timberlake to say it.

By: Bridgette Potts

With the Presidential Election coming up it is very important to bring to focus that not only will our elected President oversee our nation, but they will in fact oversee what further becomes of our environment.  This post is in no way here to sway your vote but I do hope that it causes you to think of the impact our future president will have on the future of the development of our world consciousness as a whole.

Pictured above: Florida Everglades: Obama plans to make the restoration of these of national importance

In Matt Mcdermott’s article he labels the candidates as follows:

Stein = Dark Green, Obama = Greenish with Brown Spots, Romney = Dark Brown”

You can understand these relations in reference to the term I have used frequently “Green.”

It would be wise to read the article fully and you can find it here:

http://www.treehugger.com/energy-policy/obama-romney-stein-greenest-energy-policy.html

If I am to be general, it is no secret that Obama and Romney are now the clear competition for the final debate of our future president.  In this case Obama would be the more “green” candidate.

Here is a video of Bill Clinton backing up Obama’s Clean Energy Policies:

What better example can you find of Environmental Issues in Mass Media?  Which candidate is better for the future of your environment? Choose wisely.

-Ashira

In my previous post I compared the United States and Costa Rica in hopes to exemplify why Costa Rica’s environmentally conscious population produces a better ranking on the EPI than the United States.  Much of this can also be attributed to the amount of importance placed on environmental sustainability by surrounding media.  Without constant reinforcement by the media, which we rely on on for information, environmental sustainability becomes last weeks news.  The article below is a great example of how China transformed their Media in attempts to aid their environmental issues and further the bettering of the world around them.

Here is an excerpt from the article:

“Greater media attention, effective government initiatives and increased affluence have contributed immensely to environmental awareness in China. Sustainable growth is no longer everyone’s responsibility but our own.”

http://english.cri.cn/2946/2008/10/24/53s417625.htm

I encourage you to read this article and get inspired to enhance our global environmental consciousness.  I plan to speak in my next post of ways we can all contribute to being more environmentally conscious.

 

Till next time,

Ashira

Everybody has heard about global warming. We’ve been hearing about it for years and years. But why is there so much controversy surrounding the issue? It’s all the media.

First of all, global warming is obviously happening. Whether the cause is human-related or just happens naturally, the earth’s temperature is increasing and causing problems. So why does the media feel the need to create sides and point fingers as to whose fault it is? Because that gets people to listen to them. We want to take sides on anything we can because people like to have opinions, whether their information is accurate or Joe Shmoe down the street gave them their information.

What also fuels the argumentative rage is the movie “An Inconventient Truth”. This is a documentary starring Al Gore, a candidate in the presidential race of 2000. The movie was made only six years after Gore ran for president. Obviously half of the country already hates you, (whether they have a reason to or not… yet another social phenomenon fueled by the media) so people are automatically going to assume your information is biased and goal oriented.

Even searching online for accurate information about global warming… I couldn’t find anything that I could prove to be accurate. The media has gotten people up in arms about whether or not we are destroying the earth… we keep watching, and they keep getting paid.

By: Bridgette Potts

Greenpeace is an organization dedicated to protecting the environment. They start campaigns and petitions to protect the oceans, forests and various wildlife around the world.

When Greenpeace heard about oil spilling into the Gulf of Mexico and the coast of Greenland in 2010 from oil companies mining oil for gasoline, they began their drilling prevention campaign to stop it.

This video shows Greenpeace advertising themselves around the world in some very original, creative ways.

They even strapped themselves to giant oil rigs in Greenland and Russia in order to get attention to stop Shell from drilling there. They call it “one of the defining environmental battles of our age”.

The Arctic holds a fourth of the world’s undiscovered oil and gas reserves. So it’s no wonder that companies want to drill there and utilize those resources. But this causes oil spills into the ocean which damages wildlife and marine ecosystems.

Greenpeaces uses the media in many ways to advertise themselves and get their message out to the world, such as in the video above. Also, since June, 1.6 million people signed the online petition to make Arctic drilling illegal in most areas.

Greenpeace is an organization with great goals, and the issues they cover are issues that many people are also concerned about. They’re very successful in getting people involved in their projects because they really utilize the internet to advertise themselves.

By: Bridgette Potts

If I’m being honest, if it wasn’t for the Internet I don’t think I would even know what poaching is. That’s how much the issue is covered here in the United States.

          There are certain groups, as in The Humane Society, who spend their time and resources to try to spread the word and stop animal cruelty, including poaching. An example of this is on August 17th, The Humane Society offered a reward of $2,500 for information leading to the identification, arrest and conviction of the person(s) responsible for illegally killing a bear in Lake Tahoe, California. Jennifer Fearing, the California senior state director for the Humane Society of the United States, gave a statement on the Humane Society website that said,

“Poaching is a serious threat to California’s wildlife and we hope this reward will bring the person responsible for this appalling crime to justice.”

It is estimated that ONLY 1 to 5% of poached animals come to the attention of the law enforcement here in the U.S. Part of the problem is that we don’t hear about any of this in national or local news. The closest thing I have, and I’m sure most of us have come close to, is some hunters going out and illegally killing deer or turkey  out of season. But there are prized animals such as bear, puma and birds that make illegal trades very wealthy. Trophy heads, furs, paws and feathers bring in enormous profits.

The North American black bears are being threatened with extinction due to poachers looking to make some quick cash from the Asian medical market. Bear gall bladders are used in traditional Chinese medicine. Poachers also get money from bear claws, which is used in other Asian medication and for decoration.

As I have stated before, even though it’s not really covered in U.S. media, illegal poaching does affect our environment in several different ways.

  1. It damages the ecosystem. As soon as a number of animals are threatened and extinction becomes possible. The young may be living without their mothers and their chances of surviving are slim.
  2. One extinction leads to another. Animal species need predators and prey and they depend on each other to survive. This becomes disrupted with poaching.
  3. It disrupts the food chain. As stated above, it’s a predator/prey thing. The food chains are disrupted when animals are captured and pointlessly killed. It can become so bad that certain areas of the world may become devoid of animals that are vital to the ecosystem and environmental interactions.

Currently, poaching laws vary by state. In Pennsylvania, poaching is considered an offense with no chance of imprisonment but has very high fines. West Virginia has lower fines but have tough jail sentences. If you get a third offense, it’s a felony conviction with up to a $10,000 fine and up to 5 years in prison. The effects of poaching have a very wide range throughout the United States.

And as for media.. well like I said it’s just barely covered if at all. I still haven’t come across anything other than what animal right/protection agencies put out.. which doesn’t get much attention either. Hopefully, within the near future all that can change.

By:Abigail Tackett