Short Term Thinking?Part 2

The oil and mining industry

In the feverish drive for domestic energy, all energy sources are on the table. With renewable energy, such as wind and solar power, surging, and oil and gas continuing to be not only the primary source of energy, but also the prominent “evil-doer” in the energy industry, other sources have been able to slide under the radar of the public—for better or worse. After the disaster in Fukushima, nuclear energy has been on the ropes, but it is not down for the count. Despite the limitations placed on the nuclear energy industry regarding building new power plants, uranium is still… read more

The Child in Nature

Childhood memories

As a child, I spent much of my time outdoors and discovered an early fascination with the nonhuman world. It became the site for rich imaginings and great adventures. And it was home to the animals who became my friends, my confidants, the creatures whose comings and goings showed me many truths about life and death. Growing up in New Zealand, I lived with my grandparents on a 12 acre farm in the Waikato, central North Island. I was surrounded by farm animals – sheep and cattle, pigs, chooks, rabbits, cats and dogs. It was a simultaneously beautiful and brutal… read more

Rising Sea Temperature

Via Brian Burke on Flickr

Global warming caused by human activities that emit heat-trapping carbon dioxide has raised the average global temperature by about 1°F (0.6°C) over the past century. In the oceans, this change has only been about 0.18°F (0.1°C). This warming has occurred from the surface to a depth of about 2,300 feet (700 meters), where most marine life thrives. Coral and other organisms are affected by temperature change. Krill, ate by whales, may be an extremely important link at the base of the food chain. Krill produce in small numbers when the ocean temperatures rise.  The cascading effect can be a problem… read more

Urban Efficiency

City skyline

In our search to be closer to nature, we may actually be killing it. When we think of green living, we may think of solar paneled houses with compost bins nestled in vast, pastoral landscapes where one lives isolated from their neighbors, but this image is flawed. While such areas may allow you to live closer to nature, their distance from urban necessities – along with the creation of expressways to accommodate such distance – makes rural areas more damaging to the environment. On the contrary, urban areas that provoke images of pollution, crime, and over-population are actually more environmentally friendly. This is no accident, many factors that define… read more

Tarring and Caring

Tar sands extraction

On October 24th, the Utah Water Quality Board (UWQB) approved the first ever tar sands mine on U.S. soil, giving a permit to U.S. Oil Sands, a company which specializes in tar sand mining, and despite its name, has its headquarters based in Alberta, Canada. Incidentally, Alberta has been a hotspot for tar sand development and extraction, so it comes as no surprise a company from Alberta is involved in the U.S. tar sands industry and activities. The tar sands industry has made quite the name for itself in Alberta, wreaking havoc on the environment and people in surrounding areas…. read more

Is Our Water Safe?

Keystone - Cutting Corners

The Keystone XL pipeline has been moving forward without hindrance, although President Obama did place a delay on the proposal. However, it appears as though it will be approved, and will be installed, pumping oil across the country. One area the pipeline would traverse is the Ogallala/High Plains aquifer, which is one of the nation’s most important sources of drinking and irrigation water. It would make sense to ensure that if there were to be an unfortunate and disastrous leak or spill, an incredibly important water source would not be damaged or destroyed. However, sense did not prevail in the… read more

The Slick Spreads

The Slick Spreads

It appears as though the Deepwater Horizon saga is not over, with new reports suggesting there is yet another oil sheen in the Gulf of Mexico coming from the site of the 2010 spill. BP had confirmed the oil sheen that appeared in mid-September in the Gulf was leaking from the containment dome, an abandoned piece of equipment which capped the original spill. The company addressed that leak by plugging it, only to find more slicks surfacing days later. It is clear that despite the company’s (hopefully) best efforts, the job hasn’t been done properly, and there is little evidence… read more

Overfishing with FishLove

Fishing boat

An organization in the UK that is attempting to make a bold statement against over fishing has taken to celebrities posing naked with dead fish. If they wanted everyone’s attention I think they received it that’s for sure! Should the point be not to kill fish rather than kill them to pose naked with them? According to FishLove’s website, Scientists predict that all marine life will effectively disappear from our oceans by the middle of this century if nothing is done about over-fishing. The people in these photographs want over-fishing to stop. Of course, with over fishing you also have… read more

Climate Change On The Agenda

Climate Change on the Agenda

President Barack Obama was named as TIME Magazine’s Person of the Year for 2012 recently, and was interviewed by the publication on a variety of issues as part of its article on the person of the year. In the interview, the president said the economy, immigration, climate change and energy would be at the top of his agenda for his second term. Now, being on the agenda and moving toward progressive policies are two different things, but it can be assumed the president will feel more comfortable aggressively pursuing progressive ideology. However, the economy and immigration will likely be the… read more

Sustainable Schools

School children playing

Sustainability in schools encompasses six key areas: water conservation, waste reduction, energy efficiency, green spaces, environmentally friendly transportation, and sustainability education. The first step to making a school more sustainable is to establish a sustainability team that includes students, teachers, other staff and, ideally, parent volunteers. This team must evaluate the school’s environmental friendliness, determine which issues can be feasibly addressed, create both short- and long-term goals, and develop an action plan. It’s also beneficial to consult with other sustainable schools and organizations to learn about best practices and to celebrate successes in meeting sustainability targets. The following are specific… read more