Bottled is not Better!

There are many misconceptions that come with the use of tap water versus the use of bottled water. The individuals who often chose to buy and drink bottled water over tap believe that is going to be much healthier and regulated than that of the municipal tap water that they could be drinking. In reality, these claims could not be more untrue. The website, Food and Water watch, is dedicated to combat these exact misnomers for the general public. The website highlights the major issues in a comprehensible bullet point manor with extensive information on each point available if the individual choses to investigate. They are able to highlight numerous statistics that will draw the readers eye and influence them in the future to no longer buy and drink bottled water over tap water. The overwhelming environmental issue with bottled over tap is that it adds to the plastic that is disposed and added to the world. However, with the material that they provide one can see that it does not make much of a difference to choose tap water over bottled water. For instance, “more than half of all bottled water comes from the tap.”(Food and Water watch) Immediately this fact sticks out to anyone viewing the page not to mention that it is followed up with the fact that, “in the United States, our drinking water is continuously monitored and treated according to federal standards.”(Food and Water Watch) Meaning that higher standards are actually held to the municipal water that comes from the tap than are held the private company water that fill the plastic water bottles that many drink. Past the information determining the difference between the qualities in tap versus bottles water, one can look into the plastic that is used for packaging and distribution of bottled water. The website, Band the bottle, serves as another interesting, fun and fact filled website that can account for information on the issues of tap versus bottled water. In this case however some of the major bullet points highlighted are those surrounding the plastic used. Of the many that one could pull from this site to highlight its negative environmental effects I think that, “The recommended eight glasses of water a day, at U.S. tap rates equals about $.49 per year; that same amount of bottled water is about $1,400,”(Ban the Bottle) stands as a jaw dropper for most American’s. I could not believe this statistic when I read the website and truly believe that this would stop man from choosing bottled over tap. In the future, I will be sure to choose tap water over bottled knowing the large issues that it causes environmentally and the lack of health regulations that are misconceived by most Americans.

Climate control

For my Green Fee proposal, I would use the 25,000 dollars allocated to the project to reform the Union College heating and cooling systems that are used in numerous building especially Bailey Hall on campus. The system currently analyzes too many classrooms grouped together to turn on heat or air conditioning based on what temperature conditions are currently at. This system often turns on heat or air conditioning in classrooms not being utilized because they are adjacent to ones being used which causes an overuse of energy to power the systems to heat or cool the given space. With the added money, one would be able to increase the number of sensors so that it could be as close to room to room analyzation as possible. That way if one class is in session next to an empty room and has the windows open altering the temperature of the building and rooms adjacent to it the system will not kick on to try to fix and average the temperature of all of them, instead just the singular one which is in use. As we know not all classrooms are used at the same times and different professors and classrooms call for different temperatures to teach and participate in. If this could be put into action it would allow more individuality to the campus classrooms for heating and cooling saving the cost and process that revolves around it. It is not an inexpensive process nor environmentally friendly process to use air conditioning and heating mechanisms. This could cut down the overall energy allocated through the power system of Union College reducing the energy that is taken which is necessary to power them.

Will Fusion Change the World?

The form of energy that caught my eye originally was nuclear fusion, and more specifically this energy source on a global scale. I had previously not thought this was very feasible and it led me to want to investigate if there have been any new breakthroughs since the last time that I had heard about it. The idea of breaking apart an atom had always seemed like something not possible to be created synthetically by scientists, but after researching on the global scale i was very surprised by what I found.

According to the credible source, The Guardian and a US initiative, they now believe that it will be incorporated into the power grid within the next 15 years which over halves the original period of time that was believed possible. The project believes that they can transform the large and extremely expensive project into one of commercial possibility for national use. This would be a massive increase in energy production with a much smaller amount of resources. The major key to their upcoming proposed success falls on the use of superconductors that can produce more energy than the amount needed to create the reaction in the first place. That is the first major issue, the amount of energy needed to create a fusion reaction would be larger than the amount coming from the process, making it a non sustainable source and not commercially appealing. This would not draw the attention of those which we have looked at who address the financials with the processes used to create and use energy. If no one is appealed then there would not be noticable funding and further research since the process does not seem to make sense financially nor with resource use. Interestingly enough the leader of the private company heading this charge , Bob Memgaard of Commonwealth Fusion Systems, is quoted saying, “The aspiration is to have a working power plant in time to combat climate change. We think we have the science, speed and scale to put carbon-free fusion power on the grid in 15 years.”(The Guardian)

The company has already been able to attract over 50 million dollars in funding from just one Italian company in hopes of its completion. If the promise is completed the world would be able to utilize a, “zero-carbon, combustion-free source of energy.“(The Guardian) This would be an incredible help to the world’s issue of pollution around sources of power.

Overall, the process is fascinating. The power and heat emitted is a tremendous amount by pulsing in 10 second intervals after forging two hydrogen atoms together creating enough energy to power a small city. It is honestly a mind boggling project that would alter the entire world’s ideas behind creating energy.


Ebola Exponential Growth

Growth and decay are able to illustrate interesting phenomenon’s and are able to show the real issue with good and bad things as they change overtime. Although it is usually more negative in some cases for exponential decay, the article that I investigated was regarding exponential growth revolving around a terrible medical condition, Ebola. The article was able to first site the medical issues and causes that have come from this awful disease, however more shockingly was the graph that they provided showing the increase in diagnosis of Ebola since its initial outbreak and recording. Even within the article one doctor is quoted saying, “This is a disease outbreak that is advancing in an exponential fashion,”- Dr. David Nabarro. This is related to our class due to the fashion in which the data was collected and plotted but it is also such a terrible medical condition that is exponentially destroying the population- tying to our overall definition of sustainability. I found this article and topic to be extremely interesting, scary, and relatable to our course.

Another great aspect to this article is that they break down is where their initial data came from and why it may contribute to the overall Ebola outbreaks. This directly ties indo course regarding the sustainability of human population.


Predicting How The Ebola Epidemic Will Grow

Researchers at Columbia University developed a model to forecast how the current Ebola epidemic might continue through mid-October, based on the infection rates as of Sept. 7. The “no change” forecast assumes that current efforts at stopping the virus will continue at the same rate of effectiveness. The “improved” forecast assumes that interventions will become more effective.

·       Infections

·       Forecast: No change

·       Forecast: Improved


Source: Columbia Prediction of Infectious Diseases, World Health Organization

Credit: Alyson Hurt/NPR



Gentrification of Schools in Washington D.C.

This is an interesting topic to write about for the blog this week. When looking through the sub topics that Professor Wang provided my eyes immediately went to the gentrification section. Over this past year I was fortunate enough to spend a term in Washington D.C. and take one of three courses on the places and spaces of D.C. This included a major topic on the gentrification that has been taking place there for the past 50 or so years. It has been extremely influential to the population of people there and is a fascinating and debilitating. It does not only effect the ability for people to live there but also to raise their children in the proper and nurturing environment. Within the gentrification that occurs in DC one of the telling graphs that can be expressed is showing the inequality of education. Since gentrification is tied with income and the cost of living and rent, it can be brutality shown who can afford to send their children to a private school which are located in the gentrified areas and who is sending their children to the cheaper option of public school. This is not to say that there is anything wrong between the two types of schooling it is being used to simply look at the difference in wealth between the races of DC. Through the cost of education one is able to identify where more money is located and being spent as well as how the coast of educational institutions has changed over a multiple year period.


For my graphs I was able to find data on the races of public and private schools as well as the comparison in numbers of public versus private schools over multiple years.


Following the 2007 graphs are the comparison to 2014 after major gentrification had taken place.


One thing that I think is the most noticeable is the large increase in private charter schools over just a seven year period. Further it is then not surprising to see the jump in numbers of students enrolled in the charter versus TPS schools.

Correlation Between Shooting Violence and Increased Temperature Graph

The article that I chose to bring to the blog site is something that I never expected to appear on the NY Times environmental page. It is showing a correlation between the weather and shootings in the United States based on the highest cities who have dealt with gun violence and murder. In addition to the interesting comparison that is created throughout this article, it is fascinating due to how many different types of graphs that are used to highlight the different statistics of this study. It begins with a type if line graph, moves to a bar graph and then finishes with a plot graph. After going over the decrease on gun violence that led up to 2014, it highlights the rise in gun violence ever since. One overall point that the article brings up is that the cities who are documented experienced an increase in shootings when the days were warmer than in the past when they were cooler. Is there a real connection between whether and shooting statistics one may ask? It does seem rather far-fetched with the increase in weapons and technology over the years that there is a correlation, however the article does analyze multiple aspects. With one exception, San Francisco, to the data provided, all of the cities increased in shooting rates during hotter temperatures. This is the overall thesis of the article.


The answer that is provided to this weird question is rather simple. The overwhelming answer is that due to warmer temperatures, people in the cities are more likely to be outside more often. Due to being outside there is a heightened issue between conflicts of people. They use Philadelphia as the most prominent example to show the answer to this problem. Author Asher use this city because it provides data for both inside and outside shooting data which covers both of the variables to this problem. And although it may be small difference when looking at one city, across the whole country it becomes a significant difference. One quote from the article articulates this issue very well, “On average, about twice as many people are shot in Northern cities like Chicago, Milwaukee and Detroit when it’s hot versus when it’s cold (only nonfatal shooting victim data was available for the latter two). In Southern cities like Atlanta and New Orleans, the effect exists but is weaker.”(Jeff Asher, NY Times)


This leads me question though, whether these two issues can be related or if this is a stretch. Are there aspects that have not been analyzed that add to this or is it as simple as the solution that they have provided? Although the data shows a rather simple correlation between the rise in temperature and rise in shooting I believe that there is more to this issue than just these two aspects. I am curious to see if others feel that the issue is this simple or more complicated. Further the issue of weather on human population sustainability. Many know the issues that have risen for animals but not for people such as this article investigates.


The graph below was the best and most descriptive from the three within the article:


Introduction for Sustainability

Sustainability to me means successful problem solving in action. Since it can cover a variety of areas from economics to environmental conservation the problems that must be solved are endless. When someone fixes one of these issues for the better they are actively sustaining a better status for all and in the specific area. Growing up in a house hold with committed environmentalists has allowed me to see problem solving for sustainability first hand on numerous occasions. Some of the smallest examples seem to be direct fixes to the world’s largest of issues, like basic recycling or reducing your carbon footprint with better decision making on travel options. An issue that has always caught my attention with sustainability is that there seem to be a lot of people who think they are too little to make a change. That even if they recycled properly or carpooled to use less gas emissions that it would amount to a change worthwhile. It is one of the biggest issues I see with sustainability and seems to connect to many issues throughout the world today. I hope to explore the little things that are easy and will make a difference if we all just changed a habit or two for the better. Personally, I am a political science major who has taken classes and spent time in congress that have addressed actions taken to reverse and fix the effects of global warming. It has influenced me and my thoughts towards the environment directly driving me to enter this class and further my knowledge in the area.


I think that the article that you found is extremely interesting. That being said I would be curious to find a relatable article for your comments on CO2 levels and the corresponding physical damage to life on earth. I feel like many of us know that it is a major issue but do not understand what it directly is corresponding too. Possibly a good route for further investigation on this topic.


Your comments relating CO2 and photosynthesis needs for food and farming are extremely interesting. I wonder further however if there is a comparison between the photosynthesis CO2 produced and that of fossil fuels and artificial release. It could be a naive question but since it is a healthier production process is that different from the overall release of CO2 emissions.

China has Peaked

It does not come as a major surprise that the  worlds largest culprit per ca-pita for carbon emission is China. They do after all have the most citizens, creating the largest need for sources of power. Unfortunately through history, humans have identified coal power as the cheapest and most powerful source that can be used to power the needs and resources for humans. At the same time for being the cheapest power source which is very attractive to most countries and investors, it comes with major draw backs. Interesting about coal is that it is not even just the burning of the fossil fuel but also the mining of the material. When mining for the material massive pockets of methane are releases into the atmosphere adding to the overall process of carbon footprint into the atmosphere. Making it not only the burning but also the process of gathering that damages our environment.

With regards to China however, an interesting article written on July 2nd in Bloomberg highlights the amazing steps that they have taken to reduce their carbon emissions and footprint. The article sites that China may have peaked in regards to its carbon emission and that it has made enormous strides since 2016 to reduce its emissions. Their focus to stop it has been on “super emitting” industries to combat and stop the problem. Over these years they have risen as the main leader in “climate-change mitigation.” Overall, when looking at carbon dioxide and the major issues as well as solutions, China should be the major example investigated.

China’s Carbon Emissions May Have Peaked: