I chose climate action because to me, its the most pressing issue the list is trying to combat. Ice caps are melting at record pace and the amount of greenhouse gasses in our atmosphere is making the temperature Rise. I think that fixing this issue is the most difficult goal on the list because the change in climate can be attributed to more than one human action and in 2018 regulation is not easily passed by the government. The global awareness of this issue is high but, some countries disagree if global warming (Climate Change) is real or not. Because some countries have the perspective that Global Warming is not real it is difficult to truly fix the problem. For example, if you look at the countries with the most change in temperature they are also the ones who denounce global warming as being fake (China and USA). “According to scientists at the U.S Center for Atmospheric Research, if the current rate of global temperature rise continues, the Arctic will be free of Ice by 2040.” It is up to us to Reverse the effect of climate change through global engagement so that future generations will be able to live on earth.
My Idea for the $25,000 Grant to help Union Campus is to build a garden that is big enough to sustain all of the vegetables used for the union dining hall. I think that the perfect place to plant this garden is on the soccer field adjacent to the field house. There can be a portion of a sustainability class devoted to keeping the garden up and running. This garden will reduce the amount of vegetables we need in turn reducing the carbon emission of the transportation needed to bring the vegetables we use daily. I also think we should cut out the food corporation that provides us food and source the meat we need to cook locally from livestock in the capital region. This process would be very complicated but with the $25,000 I think It can be properly planned. There can be courses designed around management of the supply and demand of meat products and union can reduce the transportation needed to bring the meat to the school.
Solar Energy is an interesting way of taking the energy from the sun and using it. Solar energy can be broken down into two different categories, passive and active. The more commonly thought about way is active, which consists of solar panels that collect energy. This method is very helpful in generating clean energy. The passive method includes building with the intention of maximizing the sunlight the structure gets and also making advantageous designs to facilitate air flow. The architectural designs associated with passive solar energy is actually much cheaper than installing solar panels. However, solar panels are sometimes subsidized by utility companies. An informational article I found on a website that sells solar panels said, “the installed cost of solar panels was between $7-$9 per watt: A 5 kW system would cost around $25,000-$35,000. Many utility companies offer incentives, and some subsidize as much as 50% of system costs” So clearly the active method of collecting solar energy is more complicated than the passive method. I think that the cost should not be subsidized by private companies as it allows them to claim their return in a big way when the owner of the panels sells their house. The government should incentivize programs for residential clean energy.
Uber is the top ride share app in the united states. Over the past few months Uber has been in the news for the effect they have been having on traffic in NYC. The saturation of drivers got to a point where the congestion and traffic was so heavy that Mayor Bill de Blasio put a cap on the growth of Uber drivers, potentially starting a trend in major cities (major markets) across the us. This graph is the exponential growth of drivers for Uber over there starting years.
It is important to notice that this growth is exponential and driven by customer demand. What will happen when the demand increases and Uber legally cannot support it. A lot is yet to be seen and I am interested to see how their growth will continue.
I came across data from the Pew Research Center that has polled Americans over the last 20 years asking wether they think racism is a problem or not. The data is broken down further when presented in graphs in order to track the differences in answers over the past couples decades.
As you can see more people believe racism is a big problem today than they did 20 years ago. I thought this was interesting so I looked into some of the data further and saw graphs that compared these views with two other variables, wether the person was democrat or republican and wether they were white or black.
It is clear that both the whites and blacks that think racism is a big problem has increased over the past years. The republicans and Democrats also have seen this problem increasing. But, the democrats have exponentially increased the percentage of people who think racism is a big problem over the last few years while the republicans stayed at roughly the same percent.
AT&T Sustainability integration is a program, through AT&T, that connects sensor technology companies with farmers who are dealing with water management problems. The benefit to the farmers is that they make a profit while increasing their water/energy efficiency and simultaneously reducing their carbon footprint. The example the article uses is about a farm that produces rice.
Just as a point of reference, Rice is very prevalent and the production of rice covers about 1% of all land on earth. There are challenges growing rice. Specifically problems with irrigation because rice is grown on paddies or flooded fields. The problem with the flooding is that it creates methane (greenhouse gas). Methane, has “21-28 times as much warming potential as carbon dioxide”. So, if we can change the way we grow rice that will help. AT&T provides the connection to make water use more efficient and it allows farmers to use a method called “AWD” (Alternate Wetting and Drying) that reduces Methane creation and reduces the carbon footprint of rice farming. Hopefully, this type of technological advancement continues and helps farmers moving forward.
Sustainable Farming Article
Just to put it into perspective this article I found in the Washington Post has analogies of what 1 trillion gallons of water is:
“* It’s 9 percent of the total water needed to end the California drought, according to NASA (which reported in December that the state has a water deficit of 11 trillion gallons).
* It’s about 40 million swimming pools and 24 billion baths.
* It’s about equal to the capacity of Florida’s vast Lake Okeechobee.”
The Environmental protection Agency estimates that Americans alone waste this amount of water from things such as “leaky kitchen and bathroom faucets, malfunctioning toilets,(and) errant sprinkler systems”. The leaks that are preventable are adding up and actually contributing a large portion gallons of unused wasted water.The EPA has responded with a campaign called Fix a Leak Week that aims on raising awareness and hopefully stopping leaks that when combined add up to a lot of water wasted.
Personally I was curious about the math used to calculate these figures, I found that the article used a tool from the US geological survey to calculate how much water is wasted. The assumption is that one faucet that leaks at one drip per minute adds up to 34 gallons per year in wasted water. For every million homes with one leaky faucet the amount of wasted gallons per year is 34 million. I personally think this estimate is low and that there is a concentration of leaky faucets in certain houses that have old piping. That being said the epidemic of wasting water needs to stop. We should all do our best to use water at a reasonable rate while monitoring the leaks at our house that end up costing money and wasting water.
CO2 emission in the Netherlands was measured at 163 billion kilograms in 2017 which is the same as it was measured in the 1990s. But, methane, nitrous oxide and F-gasses all were measured at half the rate they were in the 1990’s. This may seem like a silver lining but the sectors causing the emission of CO2 has grown in scale, meaning the rate at which they emit CO2 has decreased. For example, Energy Companies in the Netherlands have produced more CO2 by 22 percent in this time period but they have increased production by more than 50 percent. Below is a table I found displaying the emissions of CO2 and greenhouse gasses since 1990.
In my opinion the shift of the focus should not be just decreasing the rate of emissions but creating renewable energy that does not emit greenhouse gasses at all. CO2 is by far the most common product of industrial progression. But, it is important to note that no CO2 or greenhouse gasses are helpful to our atmosphere. Serious changes need to be made in the types of energy we use before the damage we cause is irreversible.
Sustainability is something that is taken very seriously by my family. I grew up with a garden and livestock at my house. I fully understood the concept of composting and turning waste into a producer of sustenance. However, I always had an intellectual curiousity on how one could quanitify sustainability. I am an active believer in climate change and I want to see what effects humans are having and hopefully help stop the problem and contribute to the solution. I am a history major. However, climate change is not really written about in the history books I have read. It is a ongoing study and I am both curious and excited to see what this class can teach me in order to help save the world from man made issues.