First of all, I must welcome you to my blog. This is my first attempt and I hope you like it. The focus of this is to explain the scientific concepts and future plans for renewable energy and causes of global warming. Now, I hear some of you saying “that’s boring” but that’s where I want to change your mind. I aim to make this topic more understandable for everyone and as ‘blogging’ seems to be the new trend, I thought I would give it a go.
So, how can I make environmental science less boring? Well, there are a few ways. First, not everyone likes reading chunk after chunk of writing, nor does anyone want to see nothing but pictures and learn nothing, so I have tried to combine the two and make a blog where the most up to date information will be portrayed in a format easy for any age to understand. Weather, climate change and saving energy aren’t the most interesting topics people want to read, but I want to raise their profile. I want to make them engaging so that everyone will take an interest. It’s not about everyone becoming an expert, it’s about everyone understanding just enough to change little things in their daily lives to contribute to a bigger picture.
I hope you find my blog informative and fun, and if you do, please share it with your friends so we can spread the word about the issues that could affect our future and that of our childrens’.
I’m not sure how many of you will have read about this on the BBC but climate change is back in the news and its wording is in the limelight. People are saying that using big fancy words puts you off the topic – do you agree?
The example used is about the Kyoto Protocol and says:
“Under the Clean Development Mechanism, emission-reduction projects in developing countries can earn certified emission reduction credits. These salable credits can be used by industrialized countries to meet a part of their emission reduction targets under the Kyoto Protocol.”
So if it said:
“Projects which are environmentally friendly can earn credits which is all part of the Kyoto Protocol.”
Would you be more likely to be enthused by the subject?
Personally I don’t think it’s a case of how it is worded – but more how it is presented. If it is shown to be a boring topic then people won’t give it a chance, but if we shine the spotlight on the captivating aspects then this is what will ignite the fire.
A few days ago, a group called Nuon Solar Team from Delft University, the Netherlands won the World Solar Car Challenge after crossing the finish line in Adelaide, Australia. The aim of the race is to promote greener alternatives in the transport industry and it proved popular with over 50 teams from across the globe joining in!
The race certainly wasn’t easy either – taking four days to complete the 3,000km course. What I would like to know, is would any of you do this? Does this type of event, in your opinion, raise the profile of renewables?
I’m sure most of you will have heard of this river at some point, but one flood in particular has put it in American history. 1927 was the year, and the state had seen several months of heavy rain. The Mississippi River flooded, along with many of its tributaries (streams that join the main river) and overwhelmed 27,000 square miles of land – which is the same amount of land needed today to grow today’s chocolate. To this day, it remains the most damaging river flood in US history.
The Yellow River in China is often referred to as ‘China’s Sorrow’ and the fact that it has flooded 1,500 times over the last 3,500 years helps you understand why. The majority of these floods have also resulted in high loss of life. For example, in 1887 (quite a while ago), it is thought a flood may have killed as many as 2.5 million people!
On the 22nd February 2000, a tropical cyclone named ‘Eline’ hit Mozambique. Now, at the time, the country was already dealing with flooding as a result of weeks of rain and the tropical cyclone brought but yet more downpours for the country. All this left almost 1 million people in need of aid (destitute).
Time for a trip back in history. An example of a severe flood can be seen in January 1910 in Paris, France. Three months of heavy rain and snow led to the river Seine flooding. Floodwaters peaked at more than 20 feet (which is about 6 meters, and higher than a double decker bus) above their normal level. These waters lasted for one week and 20,000 buildings were flooded in Paris.
Let’s start with Iceland. They have a lot to talk about when it comes to the environment. Its capital, Reykjavik, sits on top of an extensive geothermal resource which provides heat for the buildings there, whilst hydropower (which is renewable) makes up the rest of the city needs. Reykjavik is the greenest city in Europe and soon, all its buses will be powered by hydrogen!
Have you ever heard of the Blue Lagoon? If you have, you’ll know I’m talking about a geothermal spa in Iceland. Here, people can bathe in water which is around 37-39oC. To compare that, the average summer in Britain can be around 18-20 oC!
Now we’ve all heard people nagging us to turn off the tap whilst brushing our teeth or seen someone panicking to get that dripping tap fixed and some of you may be wondering – why? You probably understand that it saves water, but for the two minutes you are stood in front of the sink, you probably won’t realise the long term effects. Let me give you two examples:
Firstly, when you leave the tap running when brushing your teeth, you can waste up to 6 litres of water each minute! For a family, this means around 35,000 litres of water is wasted per year, per family and that’s really easy to change. All you have to do is wet your toothbrush, then TURN THE TAP OFF. It’s quite simple really, and can save you money too, as well as help save a valuable resource.
Secondly, if drip-drip-drip coming from your tap is common in your household, then you should get it sorted. A single dripping tap can waste 20,000 litres of water each year! Put it this way, that dripping tap can waste so much water, yet all you have to do is get it fixed – what are you waiting for?
There are other ways to save water too, and they don’t always have to be seen as a chore.
You could try doing these – and the beauty of the two below, is that they only need to be done once, and after that, the world reaps the benefits:
- Replace your shower head with one that releases a lower amount of water but at a similar pressure to your current one (these are water efficient shower heads).
- Put a hippo in the loo – well, not exactly. There are contraption called ‘Hippos’ which go in the cistern of the toilet, and each time you flush it, it reduces the amount of water you
Also, on a long term basis, you can try:
- When you finish a drink, and there are ice cubes left – don’t throw them, but use them on plants (it’s only a small thing but every little action makes a difference)
- Swap a bath a week for a 5 minute shower, this saves you money too
- Wash up using a sink full of water, rather than running a tap as that wastes even more water.
There are plenty of other things you can do too – just give them a go!