EnvironmentCalifornia.org continues to encourage people to not use plastic bags due to the large amount of pollution they are causing to our ocean wildlife. More than 90% of ocean debris is made up of plastic trash. Since this article was written, the state of California has passed prop 67 (ban on use of plastic bags). Over 150 communities in California have already gone bag free. Just with the 150 communities participating, we have reduced use of plastic bags by 6 billion. If we continue to reduce the use of plastic bags we can save the ocean wildlife, one sea turtle at a time.
I believe that the plastic bag ban is beneficial to the environment and that we should work towards a plastic bag ban across the nation. Although this article was written a couple months prior to the election, we can still work to better the ban on plastic bags. Using reusable bags will help reduce the amount of plastic being shot into the oceans and will cut back on the amount of pollution in our waters.
NASA plans to launch ICESat-2 in 20118. They have collected data from Greenland as apart of their Arctic ice over survey in the past couple years. Airborne missions alone have advanced scientific understanding of Arctic sea and land ice since the program launched nine years ago. According to nasa spring 2017 was the most abundant in the data collection over Greenland. From these airborne surveys, scientists found that the layer of snow covering sea ice on the Eurasian side was thinner than models predicted. Previous surveys consisted of 39 8-hour flights over 10 weeks, with 13 expeditions focused on sea ice and the other 26 focused on land ice. This summer, IceBride will continue their data collection to see how the arctic sea and land is affected by the melt season.
The Swiss government's Energy Strategy 2050 called for the ban of new nuclear power plants and investment in renewable energy. Meaning that under the energy plan, the 5 nuclear power plants would stay active. The voting on this subject have not been totaled, however, the New York Times reported that initial figures show Swiss voters passed the energy plan with 58.2 percent support. (Since the country is a direct democracy, they can pass major policy issues.) Doris Leuthard, the Swiss energy minister, said the Energy Strategy 2050 will reduce the use of fossil fuels and foreign energy while supporting and expanding domestic production of renewable energy. If passed Energy Strategy 2050 is planned to take action in 2018.
This article states that an avalanche may help prove that climate change is real. Scientists believe that the cause of the avalanche was due to meltwater at the base of the glacier. The scientists had based their hypotheisis off of a satillite photos taken a few years apart. One of the scientist said "[G]iven that the average temperature at the nearest weather station has risen by about 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) over the last 50 years, it makes sense that snow and ice are melting and the resulting water is seeping down beneath the glacier,". Tibbets glaciers have been stable so far, so they had assumed that the meltwater might have been from additional snowfall in the past months.
Dan Egan writes about the great lakes in his book, The Death and Life of the Great Lakes. Scars left by retreating glaciers and a failed continental rift, lakes Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie and Superior are more like inland seas, holding about 20% of Earth's surface freshwater. The lakes were mostly isolated from international waters until a series of canals and seaways let in freighters from around the world. "These ships are like syringes," as one biologist put it, injecting into the lakes living pollution. Nearly 200 nonnative species now call the lakes home.Egan deftly explains the science of these complex issues, including runoff-induced toxic algal blooms and extreme fluctuations in the lakes' water levels attributed to climate change. The lakes still face overwhelming challenges, but their biggest threat, Egan argues, is our own ignorance: "We are still treating the lakes ... as liquid highways that promise a shortcut to unimaginable fortune." With few easy solutions and numerous political roadblocks, future generations are "Perhaps the best hope the lakes have to recover," he writes. If this book is any indication, there's no time to wait.
New evidence suggests that the earliest ancestors of modern sea turtles may have come from the Deep South in the United States. Working with two relatively complete turtle skeletons, the fossils help solve a long-standing debate as to whether this animal was a unique species. They also provide insights into the evolutionary history of living species of sea turtles, including the Kemp's Ridley, Loggerhead and the endangered Green sea turtle.
It's so cool that we can keep discovering old things. Such as those rocks that are literally hundreds of thousands of years old. It is crazy to me that we still do not know much about the depths of our oceans. I wonder what species could be out in the deep ocean that we do not know about as of now.
It has been discovered that the Mediterranean Sea may have the oldest oceanic crust. Scientists found an undisturbed piece of the Earth's outermost shell that may be as old as 340 million years. Although most oceanic floor is less than 200 million years old due to being recycled back into the earths mantel, the Mediterranean Sea may break this record. "Changes in the magnetic field's orientation over time are recorded in the ocean floors, creating a unique bar code that provides a time stamp for crust formation," study author Roi Granot, a geologist at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel, said in a statement. Granot proposed the ancient crust in this part of the eastern Mediterranean could be remnants of one of Earth's early oceans, Tethys, which had existed long before the Atlantic and Indian oceans. If that theory is correct, these findings show that the ancient Tethys Ocean formed much earlier than scientists previously thought.
This article was very interesting. I think that it is cool that the earth can still have remains from over 300 million years ago- especially in the ocean where one would typically think things would erode fasted from the water. It also makes me think about all of the other untouched water and what scientific discoveries are still yet to be made.
The most discussed & debated environmental effect today is CO2 emissions. Half of our CO2 emissions come from coal and nearly all CO2 emissions are fossil fuels. Reduction of CO2 emissions is widely discussed internationally in hope of reducing global warming and seeing the results it will have on the atmosphere. We control sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides are controlled to a certain degree internationally. Using water as power is beneficial but may become a problem in the future due to many people wanting to utilize utilize it. We have made progression in solar powered electricity, but it costs more money. The key to lowering the cost is to minimize environmental impacts while keeping the energy affordable.
How is Oil Made
Oil starts out as plankton which are tiny plants/ animals that live in oceans or lakes. When the plankton die they become apart of the sand, silt, and clay becoming apart of the mud. Over time, the planks and animals get crushed and heated into crude oil. (This process could take anywhere from 10 million years to 100 million years.) Once we get the oil we have to refine it. Half of the oil transforms into gasoline. A few other things produced from oil are jet/ diesel fuel, lubricants, propane, and asphalt. Oil is pretty much used in everything, from products to make clothes to products to make buildings. And, it all started out as little ocean plants and animals called plankton.
Coal is cheap and dirty. Nearly every country has an available available coal reserve, it is easy to find and cheap to collect. It is a very easy product to deal with in the fact that it is easy to mine transport and most importantly easy to turn into electricity. Because it is widely available it is cheap and beneficial for those who can't afford more expensive sources of energy, like solar power. The biggest downside to coal, however, is that it is dirty; and not only like the dirt that it comes from. Burning coal produces pollutants and large volumes of ash. Burning coal produces around half of all manmade CO2 emissions. It causes damage everyday, but it is the most affordable way of producing energy.
When plastic ends up in the ocean, it gives off a chemical that some types of birds often use to locate food. This might lead the birds to ingest harmful junk instead of a real meal. Researchers at the University of California, Davis let small beads of three common plastics linger off the coast of California. After a few weeks, the plastic accumulated grit, grime and bacteria that gave off an odiferous gas called dimethyl sulfide. Phytoplankton give off the same gas, and certain seabirds use the odor as a cue that dinner is nearby. Not only can birds be fooled by the false alarm, other marine animals that use the cue could also be fooled.
Environmental California encourages californians to go solar. Solar power has tripled in the past 2 years, and the price of solar has nearly dropped 50%. The rapid growth of solar use is worrying some of the "dirty energy" companies. Although solar may disrupt the dirty energy companies it has a major benefit for America. Arizona, California, and Hawaii are in the top ten states that used solar power, but don't let that fool you. Not only Sunshine states use the power of solar. New Jersey, Massachusetts, Colorado and Delaware also topped the list. These 10 states with only 26% of the population used 87% of the nation's solar power. There is a push for the governor of California, Jerry Brown, to make commitments of progressing the use of solar power. Gaining 10% of use of solar by 2030 is equivalent to taking 59 million cars off the road. Environmental California plans to continue to promote the benefits of solar power and push towards a cleaner environment.