O, So Much Pollution

This blog addresses many different issues, but they all have one thing in common: they are problems that are creating because of the things we consume or solutions we could create if we decided to consume in a different way.  These are problems that you probably find being talked about on the daily news, and that shows in the public’s opinion on how serious the problems are environment are. So while the Today show is trying to promote Facebook, I’m going trying to promote the solution to this:

So how can we make our oceans a bit cleaner?

1. Get educated and share your knowledge!

2. Don’t pour oil, engine fluids, cleaners, or household chemicals down storm drains or sinks.

3. Find approved motor oil and household chemical recycling or disposal facilities near your home, and make sure your family and friends use them.

4. Use lawn, garden and farm chemicals sparingly and wisely. Before spreading chemicals or fertilizer, check the weather forecast for rain so they don’t wash away.

5. Repair automobile or boat engine leaks immediately.

6. Don’t litter- trash gets blown in the wind. It’s more likely that it’ll find it’s way to water that covers 70 percent of our earth than to just happen to land in the landfill or even less likely, the trash.  If you find litter pick it up and recycle if you can.

7. The transportation to landfills and recycle centers isn’t always the most environmentally friendly practice. It uses a lot of gas, but also if the trash isn’t covered properly then it flies everywhere which leads to my last point, try to use as little packaging as possible. Fresh fruits and vegetables use less packaging. Use reusable plastic bags. By in bulk or the largest quantity and avoid small individual packages of any product or consumable greatly reduces the amount of paper or boxboard that you buy and throw away. Of course, don’t buy large quantities if the food would spoil before it is used.

8. Reuse any packaging that you can. Save plastic bags, newspapers, packing peanuts, other packing materials and reuse them as packing materials. Use boxes and big containers for storage, by real plates, cups and silverware instead of using plastic.

Click here for more solutions to reduce your use of plastic.

Alternative Energy: Hydro Power 2

http://science.howstuffworks.com/environmental/energy/hydropower-plant5.htm

Yesterday I talked about the basic set up of the hydroelectric powering and gathering system and the future of it. Today I will be talking about the pros and cons of said system.

Pros: Hydropower relies on the water cycle, which is driven by the sun, thus it’s a renewable power source.

Hydropower is generally available as needed; engineers can control the flow of water through the turbines to produce electricity on demand. It produces 7 percent of U.S. energy and 19 percent of world energy.

http://ga.water.usgs.gov/edu/wuhy.html

Hydropower plants provide benefits in addition to clean electricity. Impoundment hydropower creates reservoirs that offer a variety of recreational opportunities, notably fishing, swimming, and boating. Most hydropower installations are required to provide some public access to the reservoir to allow the public to take advantage of these opportunities. Other benefits may include water supply and flood control.

A hydropower project is suggested to have a life of between fifty and one hundred years, and they can quite easily be updated to meet new technological developments. This is also an environmental benefit as there is no need to create additional impacts constructing new projects each time a scientific breakthrough occurs.

 

Cons: Hydropower can impact water quality and flow. Hydropower plants can cause low dissolved oxygen levels in the water, a problem that is harmful to riparian (riverbank) habitats and is addressed using various aeration techniques, which oxygenate the water. Maintaining minimum flows of water downstream of a hydropower installation is also critical for the survival of riparian habitats.

Hydropower plants can be impacted by drought. When water is not available, the hydropower plants can’t produce electricity.

Fish populations can be impacted if fish cannot migrate upstream past impoundment dams to spawning grounds or if they cannot migrate downstream to the ocean, but upstream fish passage can be aided using fish ladders or elevators, or by trapping and hauling the fish upstream by truck. (Both those option sound horrible and traumatizing. And the truck thing sounds a pain in the butt. No one is going to want to round a bunch of smelly fish and take them upstream. Besides, there is so many. How are they supposed to get them all?) Downstream fish passage is aided by diverting fish from turbine intakes using screens or racks or even underwater lights and sounds, and by maintaining a minimum spill flow past the turbine.

New hydropower facilities impact the local environment and may compete with other uses for the land. Those alternative uses may be more highly valued than electricity generation. Local cultures and historical sites may be impinged upon. Some older hydropower facilities may have historic value, so renovations of these facilities must also be sensitive to such preservation concerns and to impacts on plant and animal life. http://www.envirothonpa.org/documents/19bHydropowerAdvantagesandDisadvantages.pdf

Hydropower involves fewer energy losses during the generation process. In comparison, the transformation of fossil fuels, such as oil, natural gas and coal, usually leads to substantial losses in the form of heat. For example, when coal is burned to generate power, two-thirds of its energy is wasted. Water, on the other hand, is used to the last drop as it pushes against the blades of a power station turbine.

Hydropower requires vast quantities of water. The consequences of this are that large quantities are stored and released to generate the energy required. In some instances, entire towns and communities are flooded to create massive scale dams. This not only has negative impacts upon the physical environment, but also significant social impacts. Families can lose their ancestral homes and ancient communities can be torn apart.

Due to alterations in the physical environment as a result of flooding, significant amounts of natural vegetation begin to decompose. This in itself produces greenhouse gas emissions.

A well-known impact is that of the effects upon fish migration and reproduction. Although, in some instances, runs are built to allow fish to continue their breeding cycle.

http://environment.nationalgeographic.com/environment/global-warming/hydropower-profile/

Spring Break Pictures

Here are some of the pictures from spring break. I kept forgetting my camera(I’m used to having my purse all the time, so when I left my purse in the car so I didn’t have to lug it around, I forgot there are actually things I need in there.), so some of the good ones are on my mom’s camera. These pictures aren’t all I took, but they, to me, are the most interesting, prettiest or most unique. I hope you enjoy them.