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Environmentalism for the 21st Century

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Environmentalism for the 21st Century

Curated by Samantha Rowling
Environmentalism is a broad philosophy, ideology and social movement regarding concerns for environmental conservation and improvement of the health of the environment. Environmentalism advocates the preservation, restoration and/or improvement of the natural environment, and may be referred to as a movement to control pollution. Already at this early stage in the 21st century, unique challenges and issues are associated to protecting the natural environment. This learning group is dedicated these issues and the impact of human made pollution on planet Earth.
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Discussions Discussion Nukes post-Fukushima
William C, Feb. 10, 2014

Hello, I’m William Crouch from Palo Alto High School in the San Francisco Bay Area. Some harrowing reports have just been released from the company that the radiation reports were less than one fifth of the actual amount recorded for 2013. It seems scary that this is a threat to Japan and possibly the Pacific Ocean, and even more creepy that Tepco, the company in charge of this nuclear plant seems to be producing incorrect information in possible attempt to maintain a level of complacency for the people of the world. It may be a while longer before the effects are fully known, but it is not so easy to simply evacuate people from their country when it is on an island. The costs of the occasional nuclear disaster seem to outweigh the benefits, and one wonders why the plants are all more than thirty years old. If this world is to allow companies to continue using nuclear power, plants must be built to a much higher standard so that they put the lives of civilians at a much lower risk.

William C

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Discussions Discussion Deforestation SOS
Ana Sofía AW, Feb. 10, 2014

Because I am so fortunate to have grown up in a place that values environmental education I often forget that this opportunity is relatively rare. My name is Ana Sofia and for the past four years I have been part of a small organization dedicated to teaching kids in Borneo, Indonesia about the devastating effects of deforestation on the world’s green house gas emissions and global ecosystems. Borneo is home to an incredibly large rainforest which is home to thousands of species some of which are only found in Indonesia. Increased logging both legal and illegal as well as the rise of palm oil plantations has greatly affected the habitats of Bornean animals as well as the lives of people. The programs goal is to bring pride to Indonesian students on an elementary to high school level and encourage them to make a difference in the future of their own rainforest.

Ana Sofía AW
Comments (1)
  • Wiebke Rahlf Wiebke Rahlf Feb. 22, 2014
    What can the people in Borneo actually do to prevent deforestation? Apart from teaching the kids about the effects etc., what does the organization do? I didn't get that from the link. And what could I do myself?

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Discussions Discussion Deforestation SOS
Dakota Donahue, Oct. 25, 2013

Despite attempts to recuperate the forested land of earth, deforestation has taken it’s toll on both local ecosystems, and on a global scale. It is estimated that 15% of the worlds greenhouse gas emission are derived from mass deforestation. Areas which are being deforested are primarily tropical, and therefore essential on a global and local scale.
Tropical rain forests are among the environments with the largest biodiversity in the world. They are being cleared for industries which rely on conditions found in these areas (i.e. humidity, and heavy rainfall). These industries would include beef, palm oil, soy and wood, varying by region. It is integral that efforts are made to replant Earth’s forests and retain only manageable deforestation, so that these environments can return to their natural state over the course of the following thousands of years.

Dakota Donahue

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Discussions Discussion Deforestation SOS
Jarod Markus-Brooks, Oct. 18, 2013

Deforestation is the silent enemy of the environment. When people think about the ecosystem, deforestation will often cross their mind. They think about how trees are being killed and how habitats are lost and that’s really sad. But then it’s on to global warming and it’s like they had never heard the word.

Forests cover over 30% of the earth’s landmass (that’s around 44 1/2 million KM^2), but are being cut down by the thousands of acres per day. While new plantations are being created, trees are dying faster than they’re growing. Rain forests will be gone within 100 years at this rate. Trees are a huge part of our carbon cycle. If this continues, we may just asphyxiate as a species

Jarod Markus-Brooks
Comments (1)
  • chase junnila chase junnila Oct. 28, 2013
    Deforestation is definitely something that people should pay attention to. Trees emit oxygen, helping us, humans, breathe! If we cut down all the trees we can't live!

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Discussions Discussion Deforestation SOS
Earl A-USA, Oct. 17, 2013

For this discussion, I shall be tracing the effects of deforestation. First of all, deforestation will, as the term expresses, shall lead to less trees and therefore less CO2 depletion in the atmosphere.

This slight decrease in CO2 depletion leads to more greenhouse gases in the air, which could lead to warmer temperatures. Those warm temperatures can cause certain species on land, who are used to the temperature in the past, to start depleting in population. The ecosystems that have these organisms will have their food chains tweaked to the point of possible species extinction from extinction or scarcity of food source, which could lead to overpopulation of another species which competed against the previously alive species for other resources that are separate from the possibly extinct food source of the now dead species. This dominant species could completely destroy their ecosystem by consuming resources faster than they previously did so due to competition from the now dead species. This could lead to the destruction of the resource in that area and, eventually, the destruction if the whole ecosystem.

Another consequence of CO2 levels being risen is the increase in acidic rain. H2O(water) could interact with CO2(carbon dioxide) and create carbonic acid(acid rain). This acid rain could increase acidity in the soil in which it lands on. Some consequences for this can be seen in the link: (http://soilwater.com.au/bettersoils/module2/2_3.htm.) If the plants in the area where to die because of the acidity, there would be a smaller amount of CO2 consumers AND a decrease in the overall food supply of that ecosystem. Consequences of that are shown in the previous paragraph. Also, if that was the primary food source of the entire ecosystem, then the ecosystem would die in an even simpler way, by lack of food.

Lastly, a consequence of the root of all these problems, deforestation, is what it is going to be used for. If it is used for firewood, firewood converts O2 and some of its carbon atoms into CO2. If it is used for building, it will eventually catch molds that will decompose it into methane and other greenhouse gases. So, in deforestation, both its absence and use create CO2 and/or other greenhouse gases. This is not good, and I would like to say that I am an advocate for the reduction and/or the destruction of deforestation.

Earl A-USA

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Discussions Discussion Let’s go environmentally responsible
Rylie B-USA, Oct. 17, 2013

Sarah B-United States, your post about shopping in person versus shopping online really interested me! There are many different pros and cons for each.
When shopping in person, you actually get to see the product, so you’ll know if you’ll be satisfied with it. This means you’ll be less likely to return said product. However it does use more fuel than if you were to buy it online, which I will explain in the next paragraph.
When shopping online, you may find you’re not satisfied with the product and want to return it. However, because shipping companies deliver multiple packages at a time, it’s also saving fuel! Rather than going to “x” numbers of shops in person trying to find one product, you can simply get on a computer and order from there.
What do you guys think?

Rylie B-USA

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Discussions Discussion Nukes post-Fukushima
zachary pick, Oct. 14, 2013

nuclear energy is a threat to everyone. other than fukushima, a nuclear plant in new jersey had a crack in its reactor. the radioactive water then cracked through the “inpenetrable” concrete safety walls and leaked into the river that flows throught the plant.

th comany reported noone was in danger becaue the radioactive water was contained on theri property and would not possibly leave the land. two days later, radioactivity levels were sky high 5 miles down the river and fish were found dead.

there are very few to no way s to 100%contain radioactive material and it is simply too dangerous to stil be in use. companies are using 70 year old designs and continuing to use outdated technology when we know it is not failsafe.

zachary pick
Comments (1)
  • Sean Harrison Sean Harrison Oct. 18, 2013
    I agree with you that radiation is very dangerous, but its a danger that has some great benefits. If the technology was better developed and monitored, we could replace the burning of fossil fuels with nuclear energy. Ending the entire crisis over climate change. Also, a lethal dosage of radiation for a fish is very different from a lethal dosage to a human. Thousands die from respiratory illness caused by inhaling particulates from coal burning plants. Radiation is the clean and dangerous way forward, it isn't perfect but with adjustments it can satisfy humanity's energy needs.

    How many lives did Fukushima end or will likely prematurely die due to high radiation exposure? under 200, a very low number considering how many people die daily of all sorts of causes, car crashes, murders ect.

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Discussions Discussion Deforestation SOS
Camilla H_EK11, Oct. 13, 2013

Deforestation is a serious problem that we can not ignore. There are organizations like WWF who tries to save the amazons and other areas with important forest. To help preventing deforestation keep on going in the same speed as it is destroying the forests today, we could become members of these organizations so we officially can show that we are against it. According to WWF (http://worldwildlife.org/threats/deforestation) 17% of the amazon forest has disappeared during the last 50 years. The forest provides us with oxygen and is a home for many animal species and humans. I suggest, just as WWF does, to pledge yourselves to only buy wood and paper products that have been produced in an, out of en environmental aspect, good way. You do this buy searching for the FSC label on the products. You could also, as I said above, become a member of WWF and get some great benefits that only members get to take a part of.
Deforestation does not only concern the people who lives in or by these forest that is in danger but also the whole world, therefore it is of highest importance to prevent and stop this. There are many horrible consequences coming out of deforestation, like an increase of deserts, extermination of many beautiful and unique animal species, etc. If you would like to read more about the consequences, (http://www.livescience.com/27692-deforestation.html). The fact that deforestation is considered to be the main contributor of the global climate changes going on simply explains its importance.

Camilla H_EK11
Comments (3)
  • Jason Hodin Jason Hodin Oct. 13, 2013
    Thanks Camilla, WWF is doing amazing work in places around the world, including Madagascar which I had a chance to visit 3 years ago
  • Charles B-france Charles B-france Oct. 14, 2013
    ah yo camilla have you a number? YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL GIRLS
  • Chase N-America Chase N-America Oct. 17, 2013
    Hello I completely agree with you Camilla, if we all don't start doing something right now then the forests will eventually completely disappear. Right now we are losing the forests at a rate of about 1 hectare every 7 seconds http://www.worldometers.info/ the speed with which modern machinery cuts down trees is grossly fast, and unless the WWF all of a sudden receive a gigantic check then there is not that many trees that they will be able to save.

    I might be able to get my grandparents to help, because they are fairly rich, but other than that there is not a lot that I can do, which is really frustrating. If I knew a way to stop the people cutting down trees then i would definitely try. Like you said, the Amazon is home to many animal species, and even some people live there. I learned a lot about the Amazon and all of the amazing creatures that live there.

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Discussions Discussion Life on the Reef: Amazing World of Coral Fish…
Isabella J-USA, Oct. 11, 2013

Hello my name is Isabella, I am a 11th grader in America. I wanted to bring attention to something that I have seen for a long time, the problems with our oceans, impartial the plastic in our oceans. For the last few decades, plastic has become a crucial part of our daily lives. Think about it, how many times do we rely on plastic a day? We use plastic water bottles(reusable or not), in our lunch containers, snack bags, shoes, pens, phones, trash cans, hair ties, grocery bags, ect, and as much as we continue to try to reuse, reduce, and recycle, much of this plastic still ends up on the ground, in invigorators, land fills, and a large portion of it ends up in the ocean.
A phrase I have heard, used to describe the amount of plastic in the ocean, is Plastic Ocean. To me this is a very large problem, because these plastics can be detrimental to our ecosystems. According to http://www.plasticoceans.net/ , a web site about the plastic ocean, the world uses 500 billion plastic bags a year (which have a working life or approximately 15 minutes), that is approximately 1 million bags a minute. These plastics are not only causing toxins to enter the ocean, but they are also one of the leading ways invasive species are transported. Furthermore, they result in entanglement, which can harm an animal and or even lead to its death. Lastly, these plastics (especially plastic bags) can be mistaken for food, which can lead to digestion and chemical problems.
Last year, I was lucky enough to get to go to Costa Rica on a science trip; while I was there I had the opportunity to study the leather back turtles as they came ashore to lay their eggs. In learning about them, I also learned that these animals often mistake plastic bags that are floating in the ocean as jellyfish, which is what they eat. This knowledge along with watching a documentary about the Plastic Ocean a while ago, has lead me to realize what a huge issue it is. So I encourage everyone to do two simple things; 1. Keep reducing, reusing, and recycling, and 2. Pick up any trash that you find on the ground. Hopefully if enough people around the world do these things, we can begin to keep plastic out of our oceans and other ecosystems.

Isabella J-USA

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Discussions Discussion Deforestation SOS
Amy M-USA, Oct. 10, 2013

Hello everyone!

Recently, I stumbled upon a Greenpeace article about the effects of deforestation on the environment. Whenever I think of the term “deforestation,” I usually form images of trees being cut down. However, This article gave me an entirely new perspective on deforestation and how serious it really is. It states that when forests are destroyed and burned for human settlements, the carbon dioxide initially absorbed by the trees is released back into the atmosphere. Trees also release methane as they decay. As a result, the production of greenhouse gases from the burning of forests produce as much as “thirty percent of the carbon dioxide added to the atmosphere over the past 150 years.” The increase of greenhouse gases combined with a decrease in the amount of trees to absorb carbon dioxide are even more damaging to the environment.

To ensure that we do not further increase the rate of climate change, we need to plant new forests, moderate the amount of logging, and protect existing forests. We also need to make sure no new forests are cut down. Check out the article below to find out more about deforestation and practices that promote sustainable forestry!

Comments (4)
  • Sara LUSA Sara LUSA Oct. 10, 2013
    I agree. We need to make a bigger effort to use fewer trees and leave a smaller footprint on the environment. For example, what if the labels and nutritional information for bottled drinks were printed on the plastic, instead of on a paper label? Think of how much paper we would save. Simple actions like this can make a huge impact on our carbon footprint as a society.
  • Betsy f-usa Betsy f-usa Oct. 10, 2013
    It is shocking how many trees are cut down by people each year. About 18 million acres of forest are lost each year due to humans. Not only does this release greenhouse gases that cause global warming, but it endangers many animals who live in those forests. However, there are many things that we need that come from trees, so completely stopping deforestation is very unlikely. I agree that planting more trees to make up for the ones we chop down is a good idea. This article gives many interesting details about the effects of deforestation.
  • Amy M-USA Amy M-USA Oct. 11, 2013
    Thanks for all your great ideas! I now realize that deforestation probably cannot be stopped completely. However, Elizabeth gave a great suggestion to plant a new tree to replace a tree cut down, which will reduce the environmental impact. I also like Sara's idea of printing the nutritional information of drinks on the plastic itself instead of a new piece of paper for each bottle. Doing so will definitely save a ton of paper! And Betsy's link gives a more in-depth view on the effects of deforestation. After reading her article, I learned that greenhouse gases are not the only negative consequence of deforestation. Many animal species become extinct as well when their homes are destroyed, which also hurts the fields of animal and medicinal research and the people who depend on the animals for survival.
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