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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.
  • Poster?

Issue Brief: Reforming the Current STEM Educational System

In my issue brief topic I will be looking at the current system for STEM education primarily at the pre-collegiate level. Currently, STEM related subjects are taught in a way that don’t teach students skills that they will use on an everyday basis and are often disregarded if students do not continuing in a STEM related field.


I will frame the issue by posing that our current society has taken a form in which the most prosperous and powerful nations are the ones that are able to embrace and further science and technology. The world has grown to become dependent on science and technology, yet almost no one knows anything about these crucial areas of knowledge. Our politicians are making vital decisions based on funding and regulations, although most of them don’t have any more than a baseline scientific knowledge. If this continues as we begin to exponentially expand the boundaries of these fields and uncover new possibilities, it could potentially be very damaging to our country. I agree with these claims and also feel like the current educational system is not focussing on underlying critical thinking principles of STEM related subjects that are often lost by many disinterested students.


The policy actors that I will be addressing will primarily be the groups responsible for education in the United States. Additional policy makers that I am debating including are network providers who may be able to produce short televisions series based on STEM subjects which recently have been successful in reaching a wider audience by provide information in an accessible and entertaining manner.


Tentative Thesis: The current STEM related curriculum of the pre-collegiate educational system  in the United States is not efficient at providing citizens with a sufficient working knowledge of science and technology that is crucial in today’s age, and should be reformed in order to emphasize its importance, critical thinking skills, and relevant knowledge so that citizens can make educated decisions.



Deliberation Nation Reflection

I attended the deliberation titled “The Dilemma of K-12 Education: Flaws, reform, and the future of America”. During this deliberation, the current educational system was looked at and analyzed in order to determine if there are flaws in the current system, and if there were possible solutions to current issues. This topic began to resonate with me after it was framed as I had not put much thought into the organization of the current pre-collegiate educational system prior to the deliberation.


The approaches were well set up and did a good job addressing the current issues and possible solutions to them. They involved career preparation, individuality, and equal opportunity. I found that the individuality and equal opportunity approaches struck more with me as well as most of the other deliberators. The big issues that were examined in detail were that the current educational system is focused too much on teaching in order to test students and that currently there is a large disparity in educational quality related to income.


The general consensus that was made by the deliberators was that schools are currently teaching in a manner that is not most effective to learning due to desiring more funds from standardized tests. In order to possibly fix this we agreed that the teaching style could be changed in order to emphasize personal problem solving and critical thinking skills rather than standardized test preparation. Additionally, there should be more of an effort to ensure equal funding to all schools, rather than prioritizing schools with higher standardized tests scores.


At the end of the deliberation I felt that we had addressed some very important issues facing our country today and had reached a sufficiently efficient consensus. However, I personally feel as if revamping the current educational system would be very difficult to achieve and would take a lot of time in order to be successfully executed.




The Underlying Principles of Climate Change

Although, climate change seems to be an issue which has only recently come up in the public eye, the underlying works of it have been present for many years. In order to start looking at the issue of climate change we will start with the history of the discoveries and issues that have sparked the climate change discussion.

The civic issue brought on by climate change claims that the temperature of the earth is steadily rising due to non-natural means. In order to understand our role in climate change we have to understand the principles that govern our influence with the environment.

Our understanding of our climate first originated when we first discovered some of our  greenhouyseproperties of our atmosphere. In the 1820’s Jean Baptiste Joseph Fourier, a famous mathematician, began inquiring about the temperature of the earth. He found that the temperature of the earth was higher than he calculated the temperature should be from being the distance we are away from the sun. He concluded that there must be something that is warming our planet other than the heat from the sun. His conclusion was that the radiation from the sun was being trapped in our atmosphere and heating the earth more than if it had just been reflected away. This is now known as the greenhouse effect.

We continued to refine our idea of our atmosphere’s part in the status of our climate near the end of 1860’s with the work of Svante Arrhenius. He began to look at the relationship of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere with the temperature of the earth. It was found that more carbon dioxide doesn’t just magnify the greenhouse effect, but it also increases the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere due to the increase in temperature causing a further increase in climate temperature. From this data, he calculated that doubling the total amount of carbon dioxide in the air would in term raise the temperature of the earth by roughly five to six degrees celsius.

From these findings we can look at the beginning of our carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere. The steam engine was invented in 1712 and began the process of burning fossil fuels in order to power technology. By burning fossil fuels we began to release carbon dioxide into the environment by non-natural means. This began to raise the temperature of the earth due to the increased gas in the atmosphere fueling the greenhouse effect.

The use of fossil fuels only began to increase after the invention of the steam engine with the increasing innovation brought on by modern technology. Before long everything ran on fossil fuels, from boats, to trains, to planes, and many other engine based objects.

Tcarbon dioxidehe effects of the burning fossil fuels began increasing as more innovations developed in society. One of the most notable was the creation of the automobile. Not long after the automobile was introduced to the public, did almost every household in the United States and many other developed countries own at least one. This lead to an exponential increase in the amount of fossil fuels that were burnt in order to propel our technology which in turn raised the carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere.

The measurement of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere has been monitored ever since it was noticed that it plays a role in our climate. Alongside, the rising carbon dioxide levels each year, the temperature of the earth also seems to be rising as well. This relationship has formed the basis for the issue of climate change.

We can for the most part clearly see that we as humans have a distinct role in the condition of our climate. By burning fossil fuels and contributing to the carbon dioxide emissions in the atmosphere we are actively taking a role in warming the planet, and in term hurting it. If we continue to not inform the public of our monumental effect on our atmosphere we may continue to aid to this issue of climate change. However, informing the public does no good if we consist of a society in which people would rather continue with their daily lives which are more beneficial to themselves in opposed to stopping the changing condition of our planet. What may be even worse, is if the general public is already aware of their impact on the environment, yet continues to hurt it without care.

Opening the Conversation

The issue of climate change has been a topic of interest for a long time in the eye of the public. It has been viewed in a multitude of ways from the belief that it is a tremendous issue that will impact the entire planet unless something is done, to the belief that it is mere myth. There are many angles and approaches to the issue of climate change that have to be addressed. In this blog I aim to disregard the stigmas and two sided polarization created by the media and politics, and rather look only at data and studies in order to get to the heart of this civilly minded issue and open discussion.


How can we be certain that climate change is even a prevalent issue? Looking at the raw data from NASA shows that carbon dioxide levels are the highest they have been in 650,000 years, climate-changenine 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 trends seem to be continuing and draw the question of what is causing them.


The main claim that is being made for this data is that it is somehow the result of human interaction with the environment. Humans have obviously had a large impact on the earth in various ways, such as enacting large expansive cities and exploiting the environment for our own gain. Is it possible that in our attempt to simplify and improve our lives, we somehow are hurting the earth in the process? Recent research and studies have been conducted in order to answer this question and have pointed towards the result that humans are one of the leading causes of the increasing change in climate.




Have the average temperature of the earth merely increased a couple degrees, or are there other implications? Although the data about climate change doesn’t seem monumental, it can have an exponential effect on our planet as a whole. Even small changes can destroy ecosystems and alter the very landscape of areas. This change can clearly be seen in maps creating that display the temperature anomaly from thirty years ago compared to today. Experts estimate that the temperature increase will only increase over time if the current rate remains constant.



We can clearly see from studies and research that something is happening and it could have drastic implications for us in the future. It has sparked the green revolution, alternative resources, and numerous other calls to action in order to fix the problems that we have started.


Our actions, and almost more importantly our inactions, display an image of the values and priorities that we share as a society. There are many people who actively fight climate change in every small way they can, yet there are others who believe that what they do will not have any significant impact on the world around them. Why is it that there is this disparity between people regarding a very prominent civic issue? I intend to explore this throughout this blog in a means to understand society’s outlook upon this issue as a whole.


In this blog I will analyze the evolution of the views and actions towards climate change in order to better understand how we got to our current position, while addressing our current efforts and models. We will look at various movements and efforts that attempt to better the condition of climate change while looking at their more far reaching implications about what we care about most.


If we as humans can’t currently find it in ourselves to think in long term, then what will eventually spark our desire to stop living as we do in our current lives? What will be the breaking point that completely shifts our way of thinking and viewpoint into one that sees climate change as a concrete and serious issue? If we don’t act now, it may require fear evoking event to open the eyes of the entire public. How many natural disasters at the hand of human tampering with the climate will it take for all people to see the magnitude of the issue at hand?


Of course, saying that we need to fix an issue and dealing with the issue are two very different things, which is why climate change is such a controversial issue. There are always many sides and aspects to consider in a civic issue such as this, which we will continue to explore throughout the course of this blog.

Civic Reflection

The first Tuesday of the school year, I walked out of the first RCL class lecture so confused. The entirety of my high school English experience was nothing like what I experienced in my first class session. On top of that, Professor Fonash kept talking about this mysterious entity that was the civic, of which I had no comprehension.

My confusion with the civic continued for about the next three to four weeks as I attempted to do the best I could to pretend I knew what I was suppose to be writing blog posts about. Luckily, over time I started to grasp the meaning as I began to formulate my civic artifact speech.

Ideas and events started to make connections in my head as I began to get an understanding of what the civic actually meant. Suddenly, I started to notice civic aspects in my everyday life as I flipped through the news or even walked down the busy sidewalks on my way to class. It took a while, but I soon became comfortable with civicly minded ideas.

Currently, I feel like my semester of RCL has been one of my most beneficial classes as it not only developed my communication skills, but it also helped me start thinking on a deeper level brought on by the civic. I now find myself looking beyond the obvious and asking myself the more difficult questions of “why?”.

The civc artifact, paradigm shift, and history of a public controversy assignments have all helped me in order to better understand what it means to be civic. Civic can sometimes be found in some of the most odd of places, but the importance is noticing the relevance. This semester has altered my understanding of the civic and has given me a new appreciation that I will take into next semester and the rest of my life.

‘Tis the Season

Over the last few weeks downtown State College has been getting progressively brighter due to the strands of Christmas lights decorating the houses. A big part of this has been from the work of  the fraternities who have taken the time to illuminate their houses. This effort has resulted in the spreading of the beloved holiday mood throughout the local community. fraternity lights

The holiday season is a time of year in which everyone attempts to take a step back and become more engaged in civic matters. Houses are decorated throughout the community, people have their neighbors and friends over for dinner, and individuals get involved in charity events for the less fortunate. Although these things are great, it draws the question of why it isn’t as prevalent in other times of the year?

People seem to be willing to donate their time and money during the holidays due to the mood of generosity built by the community. Donations are given to Santa Claus as he rings his bell on the side of the street and people provide Christmas presents to children whose families can’t afford them. The opportunity for civic engagement is almost everywhere during the holiday season after bypassing the frenzy that is holiday shopping. However, come mid January, the santa charitydecorations come down and with them the civic seems to go as well.

Granted, it would be difficult to maintain the same kind of unified community involvement the entire year, but if the community attempted to give back once every couple months it would do a lot of good. The holiday season seems like the most ideal time for outreach efforts however people can have large impacts on their communities at all times of the year.