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Environmentalism for the 21st Century

Environmentalism for the 21st Century Learning Group </> Embed Share Join Now 73

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 Deforestation SOS
Tiffany D-USA, Nov. 14, 2012

I live in America, but deforestation is a global issue. We use up more resources than need, and those resources are often wasted in the end. We are hurting organisms because we destroy their natural habitats. We continue to use up what we have because we think there is so much. We are being ungrateful. We are not the only creatures that rely on forests. We need to remember- If we cut down more trees to help ourselves now, in the future we will be out of resources. Considering how beneficial recycling is, we should not have to continue deforestation. We have so much paper that can be recycled and reused, but instead it is not being sent to the proper facilities and is just being wasted.
Besides being used to create products, trees are cut down to create room. This problem is harder to prevent. I understand land is needed to support businesses, local agriculture, and transportational services. However, it does not excuse deforestation. If it is necessary to clear out an area, more trees should be planted and cared for in a different, designated, and safe area. Deforestation will end up hurting us humans in the end, and it is selfish. We need to think of a resolution now, before it’s too late.

http://environment.nationalgeographic.com/environment/global-warming/deforestation-overview/
Tiffany D-USA
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Discussions Discussion Deforestation SOS
Jamie S-USA, Nov. 14, 2012

There are several causes of deforestation. One of them is the demand for trees to make paper products. However, there are greener ways to make these products than by cutting down trees.

One environmentally friendly way to make paper and paper products is to use recycled materials. Many cities have recycling programs that accept paper. If we recycle our newspaper, cardboard, and other paper, then we might be able to reduce the demand for new paper, thereby reducing deforestation. The article linked below lists some more benefits of recycling paper.

If we must cut down trees to make new products, then we should establish tree plantations. In a tree plantation, a new tree is planted for every tree that is cut down. Doing this could offset the negative effects of deforestation and could provide a sustainable source for making paper products.

http://www.epa.gov/osw/conserve/materials/paper/basics/
Jamie S-USA
Comments (1)
  • Cisandra Yent Cisandra Yent May 6, 2013
    More people should think this way. Recycled paper would save trees which would save the enviornment.

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Discussions Discussion Nukes post-Fukushima
Eryka M-USA, Nov. 14, 2012

Hi! I’m Eryka from the United States of America! I believe that the countries, like Germany (mentioned in the introduction), who moved away from using nuclear power made the right decision. They recognized the obvious threats that nuclear power has toward people and the environment.

To put this in terms where it is on a more personal level, people are in more danger from nuclear power. The USA, for example, is experiencing problems just being able to receive the materials and/or buy the actual materials necessary to make the power plant. The back and forth, unnecessary travel, only adds to people’s carbon footprint. We need to stop this. As of 2008 (noted in an online article by the Center for American Progress), only one company could make the bottleneck for the inside of the nuclear reactors containment vessel, and it was located in Japan. The reason this company is so important is due to the fact the inside it manufactured was made to help reduce radioactive leakage.

Another point I would like to talk about is the danger of radioactive materials in the environment.Radioactive materials have such long half-lives that they don’t get recycled out of the environment fast enough. This can have negative effects on humans who are exposed to it. Exposure to radioactive materials can cause hair loss, brain damage, and the damage of you reproductive organs. There are more body parts that can be affected, but these are just a few examples.

All in all I believe that nuclear power should not be a power source for anyone, we should look for another power source that does not have such dangerous threats to people and the environment.

http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/green/news/2008/07/08/4735/10-reasons-not-to-invest-in-nuclear-energy/
Eryka M-USA
Comments (3)
  • Marissa B-USA Marissa B-USA Nov. 14, 2012
    I totally agree with you! Our world has so many threats and nuclear bombs and energy are a huge part of those threats. Another huge defect of nuclear energy is how expensive it is! According to RT's website, over 55 billion dollars are spent on developing nuclear weapons for the United States. This is such a huge price to pay for a horrendous thing. I believe stopping the development of this energy could lead to a safer and less violent world.
  • Eryka M-USA Eryka M-USA Nov. 14, 2012
    My point exactly! It is nice to see that people are starting to realize the obvious threats that nuclear power has towards humans, and not just that. Imagine all the other animals that could be affected by the dangers of nuclear power. When you put it into a world perspective, anything that can harm a human can also harm any other living thing.
  • Kaitlin S-USA Kaitlin S-USA May 14, 2013
    I agree as well! It's not worth it to use nuclear energy as it is so unpredictable and highly dangerous. Also, it's not renewable as the uranium needed has to be mined, so eventually we will run out of that resource as well.

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Discussions Discussion Deforestation SOS
Albert Cheng, Nov. 13, 2012

Deforestation is a worldwide issue that results in about 140,000 square meters of forest being cut down every minute, which means that there are approximately 2.8 square kilometers of forest being cleared out while I’m typing this post. This is caused by loggers and farmers cutting down trees to gain farmlands and produce wood and paper products.
Deforestation has many bad influences to the environment. The most severe impact is the loss of animal habitats of millions of species. Secondly, it causes forest soils to dry out and became deserts since the canopy of the forest is destroyed. The third effect of deforestation is that it speeds up the rate of global warming. Since trees are essential for absorb greenhouse gases which caused global warming, as trees are removed, the amount of greenhouse gases entering the atmosphere increases and will result in speeding up of global warming.
There are some ways to solve deforestation, such as recycling, and planting new trees after cutting out some. These are some simple and efficient resolutions, so why not do it? After all, we are all in the same boat.

http://environment.nationalgeographic.com/environment/global-warming/deforestation-overview/
Albert Cheng
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Discussions Discussion Deforestation SOS
Jamie S-USA, Nov. 12, 2012

Hi, my name is Jamie and I live in Texas. Deforestation is a worldwide problem that results in thousands of square miles of forest being cut down each year. This process has many negative effects on the environment.

First, cutting down trees contributes to global warming. The shade from trees helps to keep the surrounding air at a controlled temperature. Removing these trees will take away the forest’s most effective cooling mechanism, so temperatures will rise. Also, trees and other plants in forests take in carbon dioxide, one of the main greenhouse gases. If we cut down the plants in the forest, we will have nothing to absorb the extra carbon dioxide. Since the carbon dioxide will have nowhere to go, it will move into the atmosphere and damage it.

Second, deforestation strips animals and plants of their homes. Removing the trees not only gives the existing flora and fauna less space in which to live and find food, but it also exposes the exotic animal species to illegal poachers. If we continue deforestation at the current rate, we might find many animal species going extinct as a result of poaching.

There are several ways to help put an end to deforestation. An example is to only buy products (e.g. paper) that come from recycled or sustainable materials. This would keep thousands of trees from being unnecessarily cut down. Another idea is to form tree plantations. Tree plantations are responsible for planting a new tree for every tree that is cut down as a result of deforestation. If we increase the number of tree plantations in the world, it might be possible to balance the negative effects of deforestation. These are just a couple of the ways we can protect our forests; what others can you think of?

http://environment.nationalgeographic.com/environment/global-warming/deforestation-overview/
Jamie S-USA
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Discussions Discussion Deforestation SOS
Camila P- USA, Nov. 12, 2012

Hello everyone,
Rainforests are home to 50% of all species on earth in only 2% of all earth’s land. Therefore, the earths oxygen production does depend on the rainforest plant life quite a bit because of the photosynthesis process. As you many know, photosynthesis is the process where plants use CO2 and sunlight to gain energy, and releases oxygen as a waste product into the environment. Because of increased deforestation, carbon dioxide levels are steadily increasing.
Carbon dioxide is a gas that absorbs the sun’s UV rays, and ruins the ozone layer that protects the earth from these harmful rays. Deforestation causes a weaker ozone layer, further leading to global warming. Not only does deforestation interfere with the earth’s way of removing carbon dioxide, but it also adds carbon dioxide emission because the trees are usually burned after being cut down. When deforestation is paired with other carbon emitting activities such as aviation, automobiles, telephones, or heavy use of electronics, global warming can become even worse condition than it already is.

Camila P- USA
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Discussions Discussion Nukes post-Fukushima
grace l, Nov. 11, 2012

Hi my name is Grace and I live in the United States. I think that nuclear testing is very dangerous, however, it seems to be good for the environment since it gives off little green house gases. Some pros to using nuclear energy is that it doesn’t give off smoke. Smoke is a major pollutant in the air. It also produces a lot more energy that wind and solar energys. The investment in nuclear energy could also create many jobs for the U.S.

Some cons however is that is very dangerous. Uranium is required for nuclear energy, and there is a lot of radioactive material. It is also not biodegradable. They energy is considered cheap, however it is very expensive to store the nuclear waste for a long period of time. The power plants would also have to use a lot of water which could harm wildlife.

Overall, I think nuclear power is a good idea and would reduce our carbon footprint, however, it may be too dangerous to use, and would be a big risk.

http://timeforchange.org/pros-and-cons-of-nuclear-power-and-sustainability
grace l
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Discussions Discussion Nukes post-Fukushima
Marissa B-USA, Nov. 11, 2012

Hi my name is Marissa and I live in Houston, Texas. Although I have not heard any dicussion of nuclear testing in the United States, I still believe it is incredibly dangerous, but could also be good as well. Nuclear energy gives off little to no green house gases (carbon dioxide, methane, chlorofluorocarbon, etc.), which are harmful to the enviroment and to the human race. If we found a safe, nonreactable source of nuclear energy, it would help the enviroment sufficiently. This is because the burning of the fossil fuels that we have to create energy contribute many harmful gases to the atmosphere. This nuclear energy would help lower the amounts of those gases being released into the air.

This would be a great source of energy for our world, if it wasn’t so dangerous. Nuclear energy has many disadvantages. Just because this energy does not release green house gases, does not mean it doesn’t give off other harmful substances. The waste products of this energy are relatively small, but they contain harmful sources of radioactivity and one of the only ways to dispose of this waste is to bury it in a site where it would not be able to harm the enviroment. Another major disadvantage of nuclear energy is the fact that dangerous nuclear bombs can be made from it. If the plants that hold this energy are not secured properly, these nuclear reactors could fall into the wrong hands. Another disadvantage is the accidents that happen with nuclear energy, like the one in Fukushima. These accidents are usually due to the core meltdown of the nuclear reactors. This becomes harmful because the core overheats and allows radiation to escape the building causing contamination to its surroundings.

These pros and cons allow us to see the different situations, involving our energy sources, that could effect our enviroment.

http://dsc.discovery.com/tv-shows/curiosity/topics/10-pros-cons-nuclear-power.htm
Marissa B-USA
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Discussions Discussion Nukes post-Fukushima
Albert Hung, Nov. 11, 2012

Hello, I’m Albert, studying at Dominican International School in Taipei, Taiwan.

Nuclear energy isn’t the exact solution for air pollution and global warming. It’s problematic to inhibit environmental pollution by producing another catastrophic nuclear disaster. Nuclear energy delivers human to an environmental crises.

First, consequences of a nuclear disaster are extremely shocking. The immortal radiation pollution stimulates mutation of organisms for generations. Additionally, radioactive elements are transported globally through mediums of rainfall, rivers, and oceans. For example, Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, the most significant nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986, brutally damaged the environment. Because of leakage of highly radioactive elements, Fukushima remained uninhabitable for decades. This massive destruction was simply caused by constructs of nuclear power plants. In brief, banishment of nuclear power plants is required.

In conclusion, usage of nuclear power not only threatens the environment but also our lives. Taiwanese, let’s generate electricity through renewable resources and abandon nuclear-powered generators. Although it requires more capital, it secures and protects our irreplaceable planet, Earth.

http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/fukushima_accident_inf129.html
Albert Hung
Comments (1)
  • Eryka M-USA Eryka M-USA Nov. 14, 2012
    Hello! I agree with your idea about starting more renewable resources. However, I think you should take into consideration the fact that renewable resources cannot be found everywhere. For instance, in America (where I live), we are trying to find more ways for greener energy, but it is becoming difficult because not every place in America can give wind power, solar power, and hydro power. Added building renewable resource power generators (as I'll call structures such as, wind turbines, dams, etc.) is also very expensive, and some countries do not have the type of economy to afford that. How do you suggest that other countries, unlike Taiwan and America, go about getting renewable resources if they can only afford coal and oil?

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Discussions Discussion Deforestation SOS
Natalia Garcia, Nov. 10, 2012

Hello, I am Natalia Garcia from Taiwan. I think deforestation is something very important to talk about, because if humans continue clearing large areas of land, it can lead to soil erosion and loss of animal habitats which means some animals that live in places that have deforestation may not be able to survive. In some ecosystems, it can take hundreds of years for reforestation. If deforestation continues, the world’s rain forests will be vanished within the next hundred years. So, I think deforestation is a serious problem.
Deforestation don’t only lead to soil erosion and loss of habitats, it can also affect global climates. By cutting trees down, rates of photosynthesis decrease and more carbon dioxide remains in the atmosphere. Just because of that, increased concentrations of carbon dioxide can cause Earth’s average surface temperatures to increase.
Desertification can also be spread around the world if we do not stop deforestation. The number of new tree plantations is growing each year, but their total still equals a tiny fraction of the Earth’s forested land.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m8nXltMZYtM&feature=fvwrel
Natalia Garcia
Comments (1)
  • Lea C-USA Lea C-USA Nov. 12, 2012
    Hi Natalia. I am a freshman at SAA and I comppletly agree with you. Deforestation is a problem that needs to taken care of. Deforestation can make animals lose their habitats and deforestation is now becoming a worldwide habit. I fear that if we do not fix the problem, then it will keep getting worse. What more do you think?

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