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.

Mathematics, Sustainability, and Global Learning

The Earth’s natural systems provide an environment for living beings on Earth. However, overtime, the human population has grown at a very fast pace, especially over the past hundred years. Human societies, up until recently, have not been very environmentally conscious due to a lack of understanding and technology regarding sustainable living and treating the Earth respectfully. Human society, at out large current size, is at a global overshoot—this means that we are using more resources than we have, and eventually our environment will run out of means to sustain the human population. We calculate how to reduce overshoot by either linear or exponential change, depending on the rate at which governments could potentially set goals to reduce our extravagant and careless use of resources. Global learning needs to occur, and for this to happen it is important that humans work as a team to live more sustainably—this means that all humans need to recognize that there are significant issues with our environment and the way that we are living. Governments need to be the leaders that they are supposed to be, and implement policies to work towards this goal, and also to implement mandatory learning about our environmental crisis. There are clear relationships between our human activities and destroying the Earth’s natural system, and the biggest issue that I see is our amount of waste and our lack of properly dealing with our waste.

Global Awareness about Clean Energy Sources

For this paper, I focused on the use of clean and affordable energy sources as one of the global goals in the Mathematics, Sustainability, and Global Learning unit. I found this an incredibly useful topic to focus in on due to the fact that it is such a needed topic for people to know more about and for them to utilize in their every day lives.

Throughout this course, we have talked a great deal about the importance of utilizing renewable resources to create the energy we need for our everyday lives. However, the reason I am now choosing to focus in on the “awareness” aspect of the paper is because I feel as though this is not fully known to so much of our planet. The United States has one of the larger carbon footprints when compared to other countries, showing that we are in overshoot and are not living a sustainable lifestyles. With this in mind, it is impossible to imagine that our planet will be able to survive if we keep up these actions. For this reason, I think awareness of alternative, and clean energy sources is an incredibly needed tactic in order to help save our planet and move towards a more sustainable lifestyle, in which we utilize other forms of energy.

Mathematics, Sustainability, and Global Learning

I honestly think certain issues are best understood through specific, smaller-scale examples.

For instance, there’s the broad issue of global warming and climate change and human use of fossil fuels and all the corresponding problems that arise as a result. Yet instead of trying to tackle the issue broadly, I think it best to start small and work your way up. Which is why my paper focused on the U.S. relationship with Saudi Arabia, a relationship centered almost entirely around 2 fundamental, core values: cheap oil and defensive guarantees.

For too long, in fact since the end of World War II, the United States of America has guaranteed Saudi national security and defense in exchange for a reliable supply of cheap oil supplies. We have overlooked Saudi offenses and atrocities time and time again, to the detriment of our own values and the sacrifice of American lives.

The issue, of course, is U.S. reliance on Saudi oil supplies. On a daily basis, Saudi oil supplies represent roughly 5% of U.S. oil consumption (U.S.E.I.A.).  Obviously, this dependence results in an unwillingness to abandon Saudi Arabia’s record of abuse in favor of what we believe.

As a result, we sacrifice our own values as well as the present and future of our environment in order to maintain the status quo. Clearly, this trade-off is unsustainable to say the least. It requires necessary and immediate change, in both U.S. energy and foreign policy.

Global Learning and Sustainability

The 17 global goals outlined are incredibly ambitious, some of them can potentially be achieved, others are a bit idealistic and far-fetched.  Goal number 16, which highlights peace, justice and strong institutions is a goal that will likely never be completed.  To expect governments across the world to all be stable, and all have equal respect for human rights is close to impossible.  Freedom House is a nonprofit institution that analyzes and reports on the state of human rights across the world.  By their assessment, out of the 195 recognized countries in the world, only 87 are actually considered ‘totally free.’  49 are ‘not free,’ and 59 are considered ‘partly free.’  This means that less than half (49% to be exact) of the countries in the world show complete respect for human rights and civil liberties.  With half the countries in the world not adhering to goal 16, it makes accomplishing it a daunting task.  I don’t think activism alone is able to achieve a solid foundation of human rights and strong institutions.  Activism can only do so much in the face of violent and repressive governments.  In order for goal 16 to be fully realized, military interventions might be necessary to force governments to change their ways, and their leadership.  However, military interventions go against the very nature of peace, and can lead to death, poverty, and famine, thus violating other global goals.  It begs the question if achieving goal 16 is worth worsening progress on other goals.  Out of all the goals highlighted, I think goal 16: climate action, is the most doable.  It doesn’t call for solving climate change, it simply mandates that countries and people take steps to act in the face of climate change, something which is already happening with things such as the Paris Climate Accords.

Global Learning: Water Conservation

The key to making our world’s population more aware of the impact of the individual is to expose it. In general, we need to have higher standards and we need to do a better job to promote global learning from all three aspects: global awareness, global perspective, and global engagement.

In terms of resources, if a person was to cut his or her shower down from twelve minutes to four minutes, he or she would be saving sixteen gallons of water per shower, or 5,840 gallons per year. This could save a person up to $100 a year on water usage. It is these kinds of mathematics that provide people with the  incentive to change their unsustainable ways. But the big issue is getting this information out to the public, and actually making people relate the issue back to themselves.

Water consumption is a huge concern for today’s population due to how wasteful we tend to be. More water consumed results in higher energy costs and possible shortages in areas where water is not easily accessible. Certain cultures, simply by geographic location, are naturally bound to have a smaller water supply and a higher demand from the population. A huge part of global learning is having that perspective that just because you have a faucet with running water, doesn’t mean another person across the globe has the same luxury.

Below is one way we can start to spread more information to the public.

17 Global Goals

The 17 Global Goals for sustainable development, set for 2030, is all encompassing of everything sustainability has to offer. From global awareness and perspective, to global engagement and responsibility, the 17 goals for sustainable development touch on aspects of social as well as environmental partnership.

Sustainability from a mathematic and global standpoint is an incredibly crucial aspect. By computing our carbon footprint and other sources of measuring our energy on a global platform, we enhance our knowledge and understanding of just how important sustainable living is for our environment. To more accurately guide emissions and usage of our planet’s natural resources, as well as social issues surrounding these, it is crucial to look at the bigger global picture as a whole.

Using mathematical concepts like computing the total, as well as percentage changes throughout history or into the future we can more fully understand our societal impact. Without global awareness, countries would not take into account other countries’ impacts on our natural resources. Without fully encompassing the world’s total carbon footprint and emissions alongside  the planet’s biocapacity, a function or equation would prove to be widely inaccurate.

In evaluating how predictions of global sustainable goals reflect actual data, we can connect human societal issues with the more prevalent usage of earth’s natural systems. To increase the awareness of the interrelationship of human activity and our planet’s natural systems it is important to educate the public with accurate information.

I think the Global Goals does a great job encompassing a ‘we’ message, instead of a nationalist ‘us before them’ message that has been oh so present in our national politics as of late. It makes my heart warm to know that there are still enough compassionate people in the world to make an impact, and I am committed to these 17 goals by 2030.

Global Action Through Awareness

Global awareness through engagement can be achieved through a continuous effort by everyone on the planet. Our current generation has the largest ecological footprint in history and it comes directly from the developed countries who are harming the lesser developed countries. Together if the developed countries could work with those who are lesser developed to find more sustainable resources then we could begin to erase the tremendous hole in our ozone layer. By 2030, if developed countries can increase awareness through a continued engagement in developed countries to modernize infrastructure through sustainable industrialization then the developing countries will raise GDP and raise the industry’s share of employment.

Awareness is the most important trait to have because through communication we can make a difference whether it’s through word of mouth or through first-hand examples of sustainable actions. One in three people lives without sanitation which causes unnecessary disease and even death. Along with poor sanitation, access to nutritious foods should be expanded upon as well, in developing countries hunger is the leading cause of death. Again, unequal access and inefficient handling can leave millions of people battling malnourishment and hunger. One of the major examples of global perspective can be shown in ways that we can achieve this through the elimination of inequalities and discrimination. People should treat others how they would want to be treated because we are all created equal. The human race accounts for only a small portion of Earth’s history and it would not be fair to destroy it for future generations.

Reusable Energy at a higher level

Throughout this term, we have learned how to apply mathematics with sustainability. This course has taught us how to make predictions, understand variability in graphs and conversions. Week 6, we learned about different kinds of reusable energy. This is where I will be expanding my thoughts and global engagement. According to New York Times writer, Nadja Popovich, the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication pulled research from the American population on where they stand on reusable energy. One surprising statistic found is that in almost every county of the United States, Americans support they aspect of having at least 20% of their energy as reusable (that being wind, solar, hydro). In addition, 68% of Americans argue that there needs to be an increase in carbon taxes for drilling companies. Finally, because reusable energy is a growing industry, 85% Americans said they would invest funding on research for reusable energy.

For week 6, we were asked to describe what the reusable energy source was. This week, after reading this article should have a positive shift in how people view reusable energy. Although we already have 2 dozens states implementing a policy requiring some time of implementation of reusable energy, many of them fall short of reaching the goal. We need to take this data and spread awareness, communicate with others about the importance of reusable energy by increasing research and policies.

Global Goals

Goal #13, Climate Action, states that people need to make changes to their daily lives to protect our environment. This goal supports Global Awareness because it sets out to promote a healthy planet and ecosystem. More specifically, it aims to create new policies surrounding climate change, improve education on all things sustainability, and develop climate change-related planning in developing countries. In terms of daily sustainable living, people can contribute to this goal by using a reusable water bottle instead of a plastic one. It is recommended that people drink 8 eight ounce bottles of water each day, but if there are 7 billion people in the world and a typical plastic water bottle holds 16 ounces of water, then that wastes 28 billion 16 ounce plastic water bottles each day.

Goal #8, Decent Work and Economic Growth, falls under the global perspective category because it aims to promote employment opportunities for everyone and economic success. According to the Global Goals, if we can create more jobs, promote sustainable tourism, put a stop to human trafficking, and achieve equal pay for men and women, we would be able to satisfy society’s goals without compromising the capacity of future generations to do the same.