Monthly Archives: April 2016

Uniting Against Climate Change

Climate change is an issue that not only effects everyone, but can also be caused by everyone. Due to this, in order to prevent furthering the issue, initiative will have to be taken by a significant portion of the general population. We can make processes and technology more environmentally clean and efficient, but it does not matter if individuals refuse to utilize more environmentally clean means in their daily lives.


The first step that has to take place in combatting the issue of climate change is fixing the general ignorance held by some of society. Nearly thirty percent of Americans still believe that climate change is not going on. An environmental reform can not possible be completely successful in preventing harmful emissions into the atmosphere if only a fraction of the entire population is actively looking to take cleaner actions. Even many who acknowledge that climate change is present, don’t take everyday actions to decrease emissions due to inconvenience. Therefore, what must be done first is to get all of society to perceive the issue and to care about its implications. This is extremely hard to achieve due to the stubbornness of skeptics to change their opinions and for the fact that society has become accustomed to convience in their everyday lives. Although this could be difficult to achieve, it is crucial to halting the expanse of climate change. Actions that could be taken include additional attempt to educate individuals of the prevalent evidence of climate change and by providing cheap and efficient means of reducing carbon dioxide and greenhouse gas emissions. For instance, currently it can be expensive to own a clean electrically power car. If prices and popularity of these vehicles decreases, individuals will be more likely to stray away from fossil fuel power vehicles that harm the environment.


Additionally, pushing for clean sources of energy is critical in reducing our carbon footprint as a society. The primary candidate for clean energy in households is solar power. This form of energy has large potential to decrease the amount of carbon dioxide emissions if utilized by a larger percentage of individuals. Houses that are powered by solar power, are estimated produce enough power to drive approximately four hundred thousand miles by burning fossil fuels after a total of thirty year. The issue with these clean power sources is that they are currently expensive and do not make up for their large investigate for many years. Therefore, individuals are often skeptic of implementing solar power in their houses due to the long investment periods in order to make back their invested money. Hopefully, as more research and development is done on solar power, it may become cheaper to install in the future similar to the decreasing price of electrically powered vehicles.


Similar to the utilization of solar power, a crucial means in order to reduce carbon emissions comes from utilizing renewable resources to generate power from energy companies as opposed to fossil fuels. Wind power seems the best candidate to replace burning fossil fuels as it is both clean and efficient. Large wind farms have been recorded to be able to produce almost two and half times the electricity of power plants. The issue is that the wind can often be sporadic and unpredictable. This distrust of the wind from day to day often makes power companies worried about straying away from fossils fuels and investing in wind power. Additionally, some individuals call wind farms “ugly” and do not like living near windmills. Although it may be difficult to implement wind power on a large scale, it would play a significant role in reducing the total amount of carbon dioxide and greenhouse gas emissions.


Obviously, we still have a long way to go in the fight to halt climate change. There are still many individuals who have to get on board actively reducing their carbon emissions and seeking clean forms of energy. Luckily, the issue has been becoming more prevalent and well-known among Americans. I encourage you to do even just a small amount every day to reduce your contribution to climate change. There is no easy or quick fix to the issue. It is up to society as a whole to stand together united in order to protect the only home that they will ever have.



Long Term Effects of Climate Change

The effects that climate change has had on our environment is already prominent and noticeable. Data collected by NASA shows that carbon dioxide levels are the highest they have been in 650,000 years, nine of the ten warmest summers recorded have been documented since 2000, and the land ice loss each year has doubled in a short time from 1996 to 2005. These effects have been monitored after only decades of considerable fossil fuel emissions. If greenhouse gasses continue to be released into the atmosphere at this rate, even with the measures we have already taken, it could spell damaging implications for life on Earth.


Projected Rises in Temperature

Projected Rises in Temperature

Estimates for the state of climate by the year 2100, predict that the additional production of greenhouse gasses will cause the Earth’s average temperature to rise by an additional 1.2 degrees Celsius. It has taken an estimated two hounded years for the average temperature to raise by only .8 degrees Celsius, which depicts a seemingly exponential growth in the amount of emissions we are producing. The effects of the .8 degree increase can already be seen due to the effect that even a small increase in temperature can have on weather patterns. An additional increase could lead to a greater prevalence of droughts, wildfires, and the disappearance of more polar ice caps. These phenomena can severely hurt wildlife, and if they are not able to adapt, they may potentially face extinction. The ecosystem has a very powerful effect on the living creatures that inhabit it, and even a small change in temperature could vastly hurt wildlife.


Projected Rises in Sea Level

Projected Rises in Sea Level

A recent study by twenty six climate scientists called the Copenhagen Diagnostic, analyzed the long term effects of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. It found that carbon dioxide has an extremely long life cycle of up to one thousand years. This means that even if we were to obtain a zero-emission society, the effects of the already present carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will remain for a very long time. Additionally, the study looked at the effects of increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere on the oceans. Increased levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere causes the water temperature of oceans to increase. This is an issue because it not only increases the acidity of ocean water, which could harm marine life, but also because heated water expands. The expanding water coupled with meleting polar ice caps causes sea levels to rise. Estimates depict that at the current level of carbon dioxide emission, the average sea level will increase by up to five meters by the year 2300. This is alarming as such a large increase in sea level could severely hurt coastal areas due to flooding and salt water harming agriculture. The before mentioned phenomena of the long life cycle of carbon dioxide indicates that this increased sea level would be extremely hard to counteract once it has occurred.


The increased average temperature across the globe has implications to largely increase the variation of weather patterns. Over the last 50 years, there has been a recorded increase in extreme weather events including heat waves, heavy storms, and severe floods and droughts. Heat waves and droughts have been brought on by the increased temperatures in certain areas, which causes water to evaporate rapidly. Heavy storms and floods have been the result of mildly increased temperatures that increase the humidity of air allowing for a large increase in precipitation. These events have all been seem to increase in prevalence, especially over the last fifty years, due to the increased amount of carbon dioxide and greenhouses gasses in the atmosphere. The prediction of additional emissions in future decades could increase these events even more and could potentially produce even harsher conditions.


These future effects of a continuing neglecting of climate change can impose severe repercussions for society as a whole. It is almost impossible to revert the excess release of carbon dioxide and greenhouse gasses in a reasonable amount of time. Therefore, the only reasonable solution to the issue of climate change is halting the supply of these harmful molecules into the atmosphere. There is no doubt that society is starting to search for cleaner solutions, however while we are slowly integrating cleaner alternatives, harmful gasses are still being released at dangerous levels. Temperatures are slowly rising and if society does not recognize the issue as a whole early enough, we may reach harmful environmental conditions that we may not be able to easily recover from.




Our Current Actions

There has been a growing awareness of the issue of climate change in the media lately, which has brought more attention to the issue. However, there are still many individuals who do not believe that climate change is valid and are skeptical of imposing changes that may require spending money or inconveniencing them. Although there is not a united viewpoint about this problem, it is beneficial to examine the current actions that the United States is taking in order to halt harming the environement.


Initiatives can be separated into two different types. The first is department and legislative actions, which includes reforms and policies enacted by the United States Environmental Protection Agency and other government actions. The second are public movements that have gained traction through both social media and local community interactions, in a much smaller but individualized manner.


The work being done to halt climate change is largely being taken on through the United States Environmental Protection Agency. An important piece of the Environmental Protection Agencies work has been to continuously monitor emissions data in order to determine if the amount of pollutants is increasing, stagnant, or decreasing in certain areas. This allows them to analyze weather imposed regulations and actions have been successful in implemented areas, as well as locate places of extreme pollutant emission. This data also aids in informing the public of the general trend of the greenhouse gas emissions.


Additionally, this department has spearheaded reforms in order to take an active role in decreasing emissions responsible for climate change. They have established vehicle greenhouse gas rules, which require vehicle producers to meet a certain standard of environmental cleanliness in their vehicle engines. This is not only estimated to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by six billion metric tons by 2025, but also save drivers a total of $1.7 trillion in gas costs due to improved efficiency. In addition to this, one of the largest and most effective initiatives has been the Environmental Protection Agencies execution of the President’s Clean Power Plan. The plan targets multiple facets of the climate change issue in order to emphasize clean energy and stray away from producing harmful emissions. The main points of the plan aim to decrease the carbon emission from power plants and is estimated to reduce the total carbon dioxide emission by 32% by 2030. The other primary point of the plan is to expand the clean energy economy by emphasizing renewable resources such as solar, wind, and tidal energy. In order to do this, the government has not only provided incentive to companies for utilizing renewable resources, but have also made it more more easily accessible to the private sector. The plan is estimated to increase clean energy production by 30% by 2030. Other major points of the President’s Clean Power Plan include building a clean energy infrastructure, cutting energy wastes, and reducing additional greenhouse gas emission.


In a very different manner than policy and government intervention, many current initiatives to prevent climate change have been created through the use of technology. Television ads and campaigns provide effective means of conveying information about the prevalent issue of climate change and help to spread awareness. Additionally, social media has created a platform for individuals to express their opinions and ideas on the topic, as well as encourage others to take action.


Many local communities also help to promote prevent climate change by providing accessible means for individuals to partake in climate friendly actions. One such example is the Penn State’s Mobius initiative, which promotes recycling around campus by providing multiple recycling bins for various waste. Local communities who make being environmentally clean more accessible, naturally have a greater prevalence of individuals who use clean practices.


Even though much is currently being done in order to curb the expanse of climate change, there is still much more that could be done. Many individuals have little knowledge of the harm that their fossil fuels have on the environment and take no part in seeking cleaner forms of energy. Reforms and initiatives look promising, however we are still a long ways away from reaching a significant level of energy obtained through clean manners. Fixing the issue of climate change is a matter of getting everyone involved, a task that is getting increasingly difficult as people become more accustomed to the instantaneous lifestyle of the modern world.


Advocacy Project Blog

Topic: The effects of waste on the environment and how people can help solve these issues by attempting to recycle even just a little more than they normally would each day.

Purpose: In order to get individuals to care about where their waste is going when they throw it away, as well as encouraging people to begin and continue recycling.

Audience: Everyone, but especially targeting  those who generally don’t recycle such as college students.


  • A video showing the effects of waste on the environment and our lives, and how each individual recycling just a little more can make a significant impact.
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