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Monthly Archives: November 2012

I have tried to stay consistent with the types of posts I have made.  I have tried to make posts that take everyday things that many take for granted; from hybrid cars, air travel, or what powers the electricity that comes into your home.

This is the first step in trying to change the consumer habits of society; change the way they perceive climate change by changing their habits.

I plan on trying to continue this, whether it be here or on my personal blog (www.redcoatasher.com) … I would like to change people’s perspective of the common myths associated with environmental issues.

Happy blogging and ALWAYS do your own research, NEVER believe something someone says without validating their sources or sourcing yourself 😉

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I read a report today on Business Insider that said people are losing hope for green energy.

I feel the problem comes really just comes down to cost.  The chart below shows that solar is FAR more expensive to produce than natural gas, but that is the cost to the consumer, what about the environmental and legal costs.

https://i1.wp.com/static.businessinsider.com/image/50b9324569bedd433c00000d-590/most-studies-show-that-renewable-energys-per-unit-costs-are-well-above-fossil-fuel-costs.jpg

For example, lets take the BP oil spill.  Yes, it was a devastating disaster that continues to impacted the Gulf region, and BP has lost a boat-load (like the pun;) of money.

They were just ordered to pay $4.5 billion in criminal damages, has spend hundreds of millions in clean up efforts and civil liability claims from businesses and residents from Texas to Florida. Not to mention the money lost in oil that spewed from the well and the lost of property, such as the oil rig and other equipment, not to mention the amount of money lost when their stock’s share price fell in the wake of the disaster.

That is a large chunk-of-change that, i feel, could have been better spent in developing better, more efficient solar panels or even developing better technology to harness wave energy, which is an unlimited resource.

http://s1.reutersmedia.net/resources/r/?m=02&d=20121116&t=2&i=675254248&w=460&fh=&fw=&ll=&pl=&r=CBRE8AF1TAD00

Yes, BP wasn’t expecting to have an oil spill on their hands, but it is a risk that the company has to think of when harnessing  this form of energy. To put in perspective, BP could have funded 2.5 solar power plants like the one in the Mojave Desert.

Where would that money have been better spent ?

~by Asher Hudson

This is not a story about rising property prices, desirable places to live, or the city with the most beautiful population. This is a story about a city, literally on fire from the inside out.

In 1854, Alexander W. Rea, a civil and mining engineer for the Locust Mountain Coal and Iron Company, moved to the site and laid out streets and lots for development. The town was known as Centreville until 1865. In that same year the name was changed due to the fact that there was another town in Pennsylvania called Centreville.

All was quite and calm in Centralia until a fateful day in May 1962.  While there is some dispute as to what actually happened, what is universally clear is that is changed the course of the town’s future forever.

The ground under the town is on fire! Literally.  The coal mine located under the town caught fire in 1962, 50 years ago, and continues to burn to this day, without any sign of stopping.

The first theory is that in May 1962, the Centralia Borough Council hired five members of the volunteer fire company to clean up the town landfill, located in an abandoned strip-mine pit next to the Odd Fellows Cemetery. This had been done prior to Memorial Day in previous years, when the landfill was in a different location. On May 27, 1962, the firefighters, as they had in the past, set the dump on fire and let it burn for some time. Unlike in previous years, however, the fire was not fully extinguished. An unsealed opening in the pit allowed the fire to enter the labyrinth of abandoned coal mines beneath Centralia.

Joan Quigley argues in her 2007 book, The Day the Earth Caved In, that the fire had in fact started the previous day, when a trash hauler dumped hot ash or coal discarded from coal burners into the open trash pit. She noted that borough council minutes from June 4, 1962 referred to two fires at the dump, and that five firefighters had submitted bills for “fighting the fire at the landfill area”. The borough, by law, was responsible for installing a fire-resistant clay barrier between each layer, but fell behind schedule, leaving the barrier incomplete. This allowed the hot coals to penetrate the vein of coal underneath the pit and light the subsequent subterranean fire.

This was a world where no human could live, hotter than the planet Mercury, its atmosphere as poisonous as Saturn’s. At the heart of the fire, temperatures easily exceeded 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit [540 degrees Celsius]. Lethal clouds of carbon monoxide and other gases swirled through the rock chambers. — David DeKok, Unseen Danger: A Tragedy of People, Government, and the Centralia Mine Fire (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1986)

However it started, it is agreed that the fire remained burning underground and spread through a hole in the rock pit into the abandoned coal mines beneath Centralia. Every attempt to extinguish the fire was thwarted and the fire continued to burn through the 1960’s and 1970’s.

In 1979, locals became aware of the scale of the problem when a gas-station owner and then mayor, John Coddington, inserted a stick into one of his underground tanks to check the fuel level. When he withdrew it, it seemed hot, so he lowered a thermometer down on a string and was shocked to discover that the temperature of the gasoline in the tank was 172 °F (77.8 °C).

Statewide attention to the fire began to increase, culminating in 1981 when a 12-year-old resident named Todd Domboski fell into a sinkhole 4 feet (1.2 m) wide by 150 feet (46 m) deep that suddenly opened beneath his feet in a backyard. His cousin, 14-year-old Eric Wolfgang, in pulling Todd out of the hole saved Todd’s life, as the plume of hot steam billowing from the hole was measured as containing a lethal level of carbon monoxide).

In 1984, the U.S. Congress allocated more than US$42 million for relocation efforts. Most of the residents accepted buyout offers and moved to the nearby communities of Mount Carmel and Ashland. A few families opted to stay despite warnings from Pennsylvania officials.

In 1992, Pennsylvania governor Bob Casey invoked eminent domain on all properties in the borough, condemning all the buildings within. A subsequent legal effort by residents to have the decision reversed failed. In 2002, the U.S. Postal Service revoked Centralia’s ZIP code, 17927. [1][6] In 2009, Governor Ed Rendell began the formal eviction of Centralia residents.[7]

The Centralia mine fire extended into the town of Byrnesville, Pennsylvania and caused this town to also be abandoned.

Very few homes remain standing in Centralia; most of the abandoned buildings have been demolished by the Columbia County Redevelopment Authority or nature. At a casual glance, the area now appears to be a field with many paved streets running through it. Some areas are being filled with new-growth forest. The remaining church in the borough, St. Mary’s, holds weekly services on Sunday and has not yet been directly affected by the fire.

As of the 2000 census, there were 21 people, 10 households, and 7 families residing in the borough.  It is expected that many former residents will return in 2016 to open a time capsule that buried in 1966 next to the veterans’ memorial.

~By Asher Hudson

I have gone in many different directions when it comes to exploring the many relationships between mass media and the environment. It seems that the connections between the two grow more and more as technology becomes more advanced and environmental damages become more of a concern.

Celebrities speak out to younger generations to spread awareness of environmental problems:

Groups all over the world are organizing huge movements to help:

Animals and plants are directly affected by our damage to the environment like I talked about in my post about the M&M factory and the bees:

And one of my favorite subjects in relation to media and environment: the movies that inform and entertain (pictured below: “The Lorax”):

I think that the environmental issues that seem to keep getting worse are only going to increase as time goes by. However, the fact that the power of the media seems to be increasing at an equally fast rate is encouraging and sheds some light on a dark, sometimes hopeless-feeling situation for our beautiful Earth. Media has a power unlike anything else… the power to reach people and spread news and awareness on subjects that are crucial to our survival.

By:Bridgette Potts

One of the defining peices of technology for my generation is the electronic book, like the iPad and the Kindle. These are widly popular for many reasons, one of them being that everyone wants to be all tech-savvy to increase their awesomeness level, but the other is that these electronic books are thought to be better for the environment. Which seems perfectly legitimate, we don’t have to cut down so many trees to make trillions of sheets of paper to be used for the constant flow of books being published around the world.

But is it really that simple?

In this article by the New York Times, the benefits of e-books to the environment are examined, and the results are pretty surprising.

Many steps are examined, like the materials used to make the e-book versus a paper book. One single e-book requires the extraction of 33 pounds of minerals including exotic metals that are mined in war-torn countries like Africa. A regular book made with recycled paper inly uses 2/3 of a pound of minerals, and that’s really searching for an argument, because the article says most of that 2/3 of a pound comes from the gravel on the roads used to transport the books. “An e-reader also requires 79 gallons of water to produce its batteries and printed wiring boards, and in refining metals like the gold used … in the circuits”.

In the article, many more surprising comparisons are made in processes such as manufacturing, transportation, wasting energy reading on an e-book in the daylight compared to a book, and disposal.

I expected the comparison relating to disposal of the e-book and the regular book, but I was particularly shocked by this fact:

“If your book ends up in a landfill, its decomposition generates double the global warming emissions and toxic impacts on local water systems as its manufacture”.

The electronic industries that are making these e-books are working to decrease the amount of toxic chemicals used to produce the machines. But for now, the combined disadvantages to the environment for an e-book heavily outweigh those of an old-fashioned paper book. So instead of making a $200 investment on an electronic book, just go borrow a real one for free.

 

By: Bridgette Potts

Even when I was a kid, movies and television were very commonly used to teach me and just about every other child in America about the world around us. Media has been a crucial tool in education for quite awhile now. But that was 21 years ago. The amount of progress made by movies and television as teaching tools between now and then is astounding. Even more so now than when I was little, kids are being taught about the amount of damage we do to the environment and the importance of preserving it. One particular movie from my childhood sticks out in my memory as teaching me about rainforest destruction was the animated movie, Ferngully.

The movie teaches about the dangers of deforestatino and pollution. The main character is a fairy named Crysta. The movie says that humans and the environment used to live together in harmony, but now the very last rainforest in the world is in danger of being destroyed by humans. Crysta and her friends have to fight to keep the rainforest from being cut down and are successful, of course, because there’s nothing a determined fairy and her friends can’t do when they work together and fight for what they believe in!

Another movie that’s more recent (released in 2006: this will also show the amazing difference between technology now and then that I was talking about) is called Over the Hedge.

I saw this movie and I thought it was really cute and educational. The plot is a little different and less straight-forward than Ferngully (I guess kids these days are smarter than we were), when the forest critters wake up from their winter hibernation, they discover that a huge hedge has been put up and that behind it, there’s a huge new neighborhood. The movie is about the animals adjusting to their new environment, in both positive and negative ways.

Media has always been, and will continue to be a tool for education. Movies are used to teach kids morals, values and responsibilities, and it’s a good thing because upcoming generations have many responsibilities when it comes to the environment.

By: Bridgette Potts

I have focused on poaching and how it affects the environment in my blogs. I have tried to hit some continents that have the biggest problems with poachers and how or even if it covered in the media. My research found that it ranged from place to place. Some places would have journalists who would go out and inform the public but others it was hard to find anything. I believe this is parallel to how severe the country takes poaching. People in Asia hear about this a lot more than U.S citizens just because the Asian government has cracked down on poaching, unlike the United States.

Our world is made up of water, food and shelter. Our environment naturally give us this. These resources are REQUIRED for any species to survive and reproduce. We are someway all connected and we must have a clean, healthy and productive environment to thrive and live in.

However, poaching is one of the major reasons why OUR lives are being put at risk. Poaching not only kills wildlife but our environment. We have rules, regulations and seasons for legal hunting. This ensures that there are no overpopulation of a specific animal. However, almost the same amount of animals are killed illegally. If a mother is killed, her children will starve and cause a huge circle of unnecessary deaths.

Many of these that are poached are already endangered and they are slaughtered for their body parts so they can make medicine, ornaments, clothes, etc. Then some are only killed for fun. But most are killed cause its money. There are many black markets who will buy these animal parts and pay A LOT of money for them. It was reported that over 7,000 animals are sold online and estimated that $3.8 million is spent on illegal trade.

 

There are many organizations and people throughout the world who make it their top priority to stop poaching, but what can the media do? As journalists, we have a responsibility to the public to bring such issues, like poaching, and the problems they create, like harming the environment, to their attention. We should write about it in newspapers, magazines, books and blogs. We should broadcast it and make videos and films about it.

This is a serious problem and if it isn’t put to a stop, our environment will start to suffer drastically.

 

By: Abigail Tackett