Sunday, December 05, 2004

 

Final Group Blog: The Environment

The Environment seemed like a dull subject when we were choosing topics less than a couple months ago. With all the excitement over the war and the election, who cared to talk about the environment? The environment seemed like a good choice for a topic for the group because everyone was tired of only talking about the war and what was going on in Iraq. We, as a group, have learned through replying to articles concerning the government and the environment that "The Environment" is far from a dull subject. The issue of the War on Terror during the 2004 Presidential Election has had a major influence on how much people hear and ever care about the environment. From some of the articles, however, we have found that there are many areas in which the environment is a very important subject. It should be important everywhere, but people who haven't read about the multiple oil spills that occur every year don't really understand what a major problem it is to the surrounding ecosystems. People who haven't read about how the government is trying to cover up scientists' findings of global warming don't really understand what a problem there is with the government actually taking care of the environment. The sad thing is that with the war going on, it will be near impossible for the environment to attract enough attention to become a major issue in the Presidential election. With all the neglect going on, it will not take long for the environment to deteriorate and become a major national issue for the future Presidential elections.

 

Fuel Solution


 

Response to Bush Mistakes

How has America's environment fared under President Bush? That is an excellent questing. According to the Seth Borenstein’s article, Bush had more wrongs than right with environment issues. The nation’s air and water were getting cleaner over the thirty year period, since Bush took office; it seems to go the opposite direction. From this article, it seems like that Bush and his administrations are making decisions that are causing great harm to the environment. One of their decisions is that the allow seventy-four more percent on drilling for oil and gas on public land in their first three years. The thing that I am wondering now is that what are President Bush and his administration going to do next in their second term? After reading this article, I am very concern how our future environment will hold because the decisions that the Bush’s administration have made looks scary. They seem to have no concern about the environment and the people’s health. Because of them the environment will get worse each year, and it might come to the point where the environment will be nearly impossible to improve. Those decisions will not only affect the environment but also the people health. When the environment worsens, people will get sicker and sicker. The Bush administrations seem to concentrate on the business aspect instead of both the business and the environment aspects. People in America are just going sit and watch their health and the environment go down the drain. I wonder how scary it will be in years to come.

 

Cover Up

After reading the article on Washington’s cover ups, it is quite scary. It is amazing how people are working behind the scenes to make the serious problem less serious too the public. They always have a person to blame for the incident if things go wrong, because the President and the staff at the Washington D.C. cannot afford of getting the blame and publicity. It is sad what is happening in our nation. When things go too bad, the government has to find ways to lie to the public or just act like stuff never happen. When people were trying to better the greenhouse gas emissions, their effort gets sabotaged by the Bush administration, because Bush has a relationship with industry. The news media, The Observer, have found inside emails between Washington D.C. and oil industries on how to make the bad situation into a “hush hush” situation. I guess Bush and his administrations and the oil industries are in a “I scratch your back you scratch my back relationship”. It seems like if Bush helps to make the oil industry look good even they are doing horrible acts to the environment like increasing global warming, and the oil industries will fund Bush and his administration. It is very sad how things work in our government. There are too many “hush hush” situation happening in our country. I wonder, “What other stuff is the government is hiding from the public?” If the real truth leaks out, people will lose all faith in the government. How sad is that?!?!?

 

Response to Resources for the Future Announces Sweeping Energy and Environmental Policy Recommendations for U.S.

I do agree with Chris about the written out plans. It is about time that someone has written out the plans and how the President can help change the problems with the energy, the environment, and natural resources. Not only this book point out the critical problem that that nation is facing, but they also give suggestions on how to face the problems. I know for sure why the government has not been doing many things to improve our environment status. These author took time and hard work to get this book publish, so the busy President can have access to their ideas and solutions to the problems in our environment, energy, and fuel that is happening in the daily world. I think that this book will have a great impact on our future environment. If the President does get a hold of a copy of this book, the president may take action on improving the situation that the book points out. I think that the changes will be slow, but the good thing is that some actions are being taken to improve the situations. Chris is right; we have let the environment go on for too long deteriorating, and ruining the people help. It is time for some changes to happen. Another good point that Chris brings up is that people can read the book along with the President. This book will bring many benefits if our government decides on using it.

Friday, December 03, 2004

 

Oops

Disregard one of the two blogs I wrote on oil spills. Blogger.com messed up at first and I thought that my first blog had been erased, so I wrote another. Evidently, blogger saved that first one somewhere and then posted both. So don't read both, they say practically the same thing.

 

Oil Kills

It seems to me that all of these reports of oil spills really does show the destruction it is doing to our environment. Not only does it take a sucker punch at the economy, but it also is the verdict in the mindless killing of millions of wildlife. Just as Friedman states in the article, you would think by now someone would have done something to stop all this. No organizations have been made to help stop the spills, and no money has been put toward it. It's almost as if the spills didn't happen. Maybe we should all just look to Kramer in Seinfeld, who in one episode tries to design a rubber insulent around the oil in the tankers, to keep them from busting.
When I was young, I remember the 1989 spill and how big of a deal everyone made about it. I also remember after about a week, the issue ended. No one spoke of it again. Now there were more spills in the 90's than there were in the 80's. This just goes to show how much progress we have made in not caring about the oil spills. We need all the oil we can get, and when 11 million gallons goes to waste, it's like losing all the effort and time that was put in to get the oil. President Bush should by now have at least looked all these oil spills, and noticed what is happening to the enviorment as a cause. Not good things are happening because of these spills; it destroys so much life.
Like Friedman says, it's almost as if we base it on luck, hoping that maybe we won't have another spill. I think once people realize how much life these mindless disasters destroy, and how it is ruining our environment, then we can begin the healing process.

 
In case people don't notice, there are oil spills all the time. Not only do they take a shot at the economy, they destroy thousands of wildlife and plants. You would think by now someone would step up and create an organization dedicated to ending these mindless disasters. Also, I would think by now the oil tankers would have been designed so that oil can't break free. Maybe we should all look to Kramer in Seinfeld, in the episode where he made a thick rubber insulation that held the oil. Instead of it busting on a woman's head, we could possibly keep it from bursting into the ocean, killing innocent wildlife. And all the effort and time that goes into cleaning it up could all be avoided.
I remember when I was young and I heard about that 1989 spill. Everybody made such a big deal about it for a week. Then after that, everything went back to normal. Then as the next spill hit, everyone freaked out again. Maybe if everyone could just do something about these problems now and not waiting for it to happen again, oil spills wouldn't be such a problem. The author of this article, Kenneth Friedman, has alot of the same issues with oil spills that most people do. He mentioned how easily people forget about the oil spills and how it seems as though we are just trying to get lucky from not spilling again. He thinks that we should do something about it before it happens again, which is the correct frame of mind.
President Bush should be looking at all these oil spills that keep adding up, and start trying to do something about it. It seems pointless to not do anything about it. It's just making our world look dirty, unkept, and is killing the life on it. In my opinion, I wouldn't act surprised when a group of environmentalists start protesting it right outside the White House sometime in the next couple of weeks.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

 

Cover up...

Oil Spills

Now while this article is old, it is still preposterous that there were that many oil spills going on. Yeah we heard about a few, especially that Exxon oil spill, but many of those spills went unnoticed to us because the media did not cover those spills. Because there was so many of them they became unimportant, however that is a very big issue. I believe that even though it would be hard to get rules which shipping companies had to abide by, because they’re from all over the world, I think that some sort of regulations need to be put in place in order to take care of this mess. Oil spills are devastating to the surrounding environment. That is why something needs to be done. I don’t know if oil spills are still happening, just because they are not reported on as much as they used to be, but I would imagine oil spills still happen and they go virtually unnoticed. This is a serious issue and no steps have been taken to prevent these spills. The fact that nothing had been done just amazes me. At least, I’d hope that the oil companies would have the decency to clean up after they trashed the environment. I would like to do more research on this topic. I remember that oil spills used to be in the news, but I do not whether or not they still happen or whether they are just not reported. I hope action will be taken on this issue.

 

Climate Research Cover-Up

Well it seems our government is at it again; Yet another scandal slash cover-up is taking place right now, althought atleast this time on kind of a lower scale. It appears that a report was written by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) which criticizes our government and its leadership for the action it has taken in protecting the environment. Specifically it targets the oil industry. This is good because of the previous article on this blog site about oil spills and how they need to clean up their act, pun intended. But of course in classic government fashion, when they are wrong they MUST cover it up. Now Bush has ties with the oil companies because they have donated over a million dollars to an organization who lobbies for his party, so naturally when something attackes them he will correctly use his presidential power and protect them because they give him money. This article indicates that what they are trying to do in the longrun is pull off a sort of fake lawsuit that will belittle this report written by the EPA. Let's keep in mind that the EPA was created BY the government, so in a wierd way, the government is fighting itself. Anyway, there is strong evidence that supports this EPA report, and Bush is acting with complete disregard for the environment. He is clearly only looking out for himself and any money-making opportunity. It kind of upsets me that everything in this world revolves around and boils down to money, and it is especially prevelant in this case. Bush should suck it up and realize that he is wrong, as impossible as that may seem to him, and put aside the fact that he might lose a few dollars, for the benefit of our environment and all future generations. After all, the oil industry is the world's biggest polluter... and do you really want to be buddies with a bunch of slobs? I guess morals go aside in this issue, and since they give him money, the answer to that question must be: Yes.

 

Response to oil spills article

Oil Spills

Now while this article is old, it is still preposterous that there were that many oil spills going on. Yeah we heard about a few, especially that Exxon oil spill, but many of those spills went unnoticed to us because the media did not cover those spills. Because there was so many of them they became unimportant, however that is a very big issue. I believe that even though it would be hard to get rules which shipping companies had to abide by, because they’re from all over the world, I think that some sort of regulations need to be put in place in order to take care of this mess. Oil spills are devastating to the surrounding environment. That is why something needs to be done. I don’t know if oil spills are still happening, just because they are not reported on as much as they used to be, but I would imagine oil spills still happen and they go virtually unnoticed. This is a serious issue and no steps have been taken to prevent these spills. The fact that nothing had been done just amazes me. At least, I’d hope that the oil companies would have the decency to clean up after they trashed the environment. I would like to do more research on this topic. I remember that oil spills used to be in the news, but I do not whether or not they still happen or whether they are just not reported. I hope action will be taken on this issue.

 

Respose to derek's article on bush and environment

Resources for the Future Announces Sweeping Energy and Environmental Policy Recommendations for U.S.

I agree with this article in how it says that the American people want environmental change to take place. I also agree with how this would be a good time for Bush to start making some adjustments in order to protect out environment. However, I do not think that this is possible right now. First of all it was not even a topic in this past election. People see more pressing issues at hand. Bush did not address any environmental issues in his first term, so I do not believe that in this term he will suddenly become concerned with the environment. If he does anything it will be something small in order to please the people. Compared to the war with Iraq and the war on terror, environmental issues seem miniscule. That is why before 9/11 we would hear about environmental issues in the news but more recently it has not been a regular topic. I think that new approaches to be taken towards the environment are very appropriate. I like the idea of the creation of the Bureau of Environmental Statistics because this way the statistics will come straight from the government and this will be the only focus of the bureau. I do not know who comes up with the statistics now but this sounds good. One good point I think the author made was that “Support enactment of a national Renewable Portfolio Standard, to step up the role of renewable energy and lay the groundwork for an even more potent "Green Power" sector in coming decades.” Cleaner energy is better as proven by the windmill article.

 

Oil Spills

Am I the only one who doesn't understand how there can be so many oil spills? I mean, how hard is it to just carry a big container full of oil? Does the top just bust off and all of it spill directly onto the poor defenseless animals below? This article details many of the oil spills that have happened recentley, and not-so-recentley. There are probably a lot more spills than you think there are. We've all heard of the Exxon thing and Amoco Cadiz spills, but there are quite a bit more than this. In my opinion, the government should force these oil refining companies to clean up their act, because the amount of oil, aka money, we've lost to these stupid spills is rediculous. The article says that controlling these companies is impossible because they operate in many different countries. I'm pretty sure that none of these companies WANT to spill their hard work all over the ocean, so I think they would probably all agree to some sort of standardization system to contorl spillage. The article goes on to agree with me in the need for regulation of all the oil companies, and will someone please hire a captain of a oil tanker who can actually CONTROL THE BOAT!? Too many of these spills have been the direct result of an oil tanker crashing into another boat, or coral reef, or something. That to me is just completely unnecessary. It's like running a marathon race and then being a quarter mile from the finish line and just falling over and breaking your leg. These big companies need to start being less concerned with money, because it seems like they have a bigger problem now... actually getting the oil back to the shore. This is just my opinion, but I bet you all probably agree with me; Something has to be done about these crazy oil tycoons.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

 

White House Undermined Chemical Tests

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/04/02/business/02chemical.html?ex=1102050000&en=25491c01a3077781&ei=5070&oref=login

 

Cover Up

http://www.guardian.co.uk/usa/story/0,12271,1046388,00.html

 

We Don't Need No Stinkin' SUV's

You might as well just tell mothers to stop having babies. As far as I can tell, if this plan is serious about getting put into action, Ford and General Motors better start getting to work. I would say less than 30% of vehicles in the states run over 30 mpg and majority of those in the 70% range run under 20 mpg. Soccer moms are as dependent on their source of transportation for their family as we are for our textbooks. The greatest fuel efficient vehicle that holds more than five passengers is the Honda Odyssey minivan and it has 28 mpg highway. So you tell me. Create a law keeping families under six people? Or just make every mother of four pay $1000 per year? Personally, it just seems to me like quite an odd plan to reduce the national debt or save gas consumption. I think the issue here is not so much as finding independence on oil, but to satisfy the Green Party. The fact is that we have other ways of finding our own source of oil. Bush proposed to drill in Alaska, but no, the liberals didn’t want that, which could have helped tremendously in removing the Middle East as a source. We’ll just have to find other options or propose a law that requires everyone to keep their engine under 3000 rpm’s at all times. Also, I would like to know how they came up with the set limit at 30 mpg. Either they played pick a number between 1 and 100 or this is the closest average of four-door cars' city mpg they could come up with. Frankly, I'm a little concerned about how the government expects every SUV and truck owner to pay this fee annually. But I guess we'll have to just suck it up and get that 25 grand Honda Hybrid we've always wanted; because surely now we will be able to haul our lumber and newly bought furniture back home.


Tuesday, November 30, 2004

 

Cutting Fuel Consumption in Half ... yeah right

The idea is nice. The goals are great. But it will never happen. I think the article understates how many cars get under 30 mpg. Implementing a tax of $1000 that increases $500 a year is asine. It's great for those people who just recently invested in a new automobile that gets over 30 mpg, but for the rest of the nation who can't just go out an buy a new car are screwed. If I have a car that gets only 23 mpg, and the government starts charging me $1000, $1500, $2000 a year (and it keeps going up, is there some sort of limit?), how am I supposed to find the cash to buy a new, fuel-efficient car? The letter is very unclear about what to do about the old cars. Rationing miles? Who's going to monitor and enforce that bologna? The letter does say how the tax will spur the production of smaller, more fuel-efficient cars. This may be true, but a large majority of the people will be hurt severely by that tax. What is to be done with all the old cars? Are we going to make one giant land fill? Or maybe we can sink them all to the bottom of the Pacific Ocean. The tax might spur new economic activity, but only for producers. I guarantee you there would not be enough people who are going to throw away their current cars (who are they going to sell it to?) to buy new ones. Like I said, the idea of cutting our fuel consumption in half is a great idea, but not practical at all, especially with people as stubborn as they are. At the end of the letter, the author speaks about sacrifice and alludes to the rationing and sacrificing that went on during WWII. I highly doubt that enough people see the need for fuel-efficiency to make a difference. Instead, your average person will continue right along driving their large SUVs and nagging and complaining about climbing gas prices.
 

Cutting Government Costs ... (in response to the letter to the president)

For the Bush administration to use this book would save the government a heaping pile of cash. Instead of directly hiring specialists in every field of environmental issues, the work has already been done and the administration can just buy a copy of the book for a microscopic fraction of what it would cost to individually hire all those professionals to assess the problems we're having with our environment today. Like Chris said, the book has been written by professionals, so their credibility is not to be questioned, especially since the book is written in a non-partisan manner. There has been no news as to how the Bush administration is responding to the new book, if at all. I think it would be an incredible waste of time and resources if the people in charge at the White House didn't even read it. And because the book is broken down into different sections, it is not like the administration would have to take in this whole book and do everything it says, but it can read each section and use it as a guide to what they should do. For example, Chris mentioned a section in the book covering a carbon tax. I haven't read the book so I'm not exactly sure what all that entails, but the government could read that, get the gist of what it is saying, and then form their own "version" of the carbon tax that would be helping the environment. Even if this book does not entirely change the state of our environment to something much cleaner, I'm sure, if taken into consideration, that it would do nothing but good things. The way I see it: it's not going to hurt the environment, so the government might as well give it a swing.
 

Oil Spills

It's true that we don't often hear about these spills. The news does not cover them with enough importance for people to realize what a problem it is. Reading through the article, it's frightening just how often these spills take place. The only ones I have heard of were the two big ones the article mentions first. It makes you wonder just how long it will take for the oil industry to pollute enough of the ocean to make it so uninhabital that we finally start to realize the effects. How are these companies punished for spilling oil in the ocean? There needs to be a board of officials that can take care of this kind of ordeal. And the article mentions how there is no central organization that takes care of transporting oil and other fuels. There needs to be just one organization that takes care of the transferring of these types of material that can enforce stricter rules and perhaps implement better technology to ensure that collisions with other boats were never to happen again. If the only problem left is human error, then eliminate the humans (eliminate them from driving the ship). With the technology we have today I'm sure the clever scientists can think something up to stop these life-threatening oil spills.
 

The Oil Article, week of November 30th.

Check out this article about oil spills. We can see how many accidents there actually are.

http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/environment/59060

 

Two more articles

Here are two more articles to blog on. One's about a letter to the President proposing a way to cut America's gas consumption in half over the next ten years. The other is about genetically engineered test crops could lead to contaminated food. Pretty interesting stuff.

Another letter to the President

GE Crops and Food Contamination

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

 

Finally, a written out plan.

Finally, someone has done it. A written out plan of how to actually do something has emerged. "New Approaches on Energy and the Environment: Policy Advise for the President," is a book that was just recentley launched. It outlines in detail the major key issues of the environment and its deterioration. Morever, it goes into how to correct these problems! Isn't that exciting? Our class keeps talking about how we want written out plans for things to let us know exactly what a candidate plans to do, and now we finally have one. Whether or not the President chooses to use this outline is another question. Anyway, back to the book. Some of the issues the book outlines are as follows: A carbon tax, zoning of the oceans, air pollution, foodborne illness, Bureau of Environmental Statistics, ground cleanups and revitalizing of neighborhoods, cut down on pollutants from power plants, and a number of other issues. The language of this book is perhaps what will make it a success. It speaks without any indication to it favoring one political party over the other, making it applicable to democrats and republicans, as well as any third party. Each section of the book was written by an expert on that section, so there are many co-authors. This way, we get a clear understanding of everything written in the book. I think that once the President gets his hands on this book, things may finally begin to change, if only slowly, with the environment. We have gone too long letting the environment deteriorate, and it is high time we do something about it. If Bush impliments any of the policies in this book, it would also be beneficial to the public's understanding because we would be able to read along with him and know what his plan really was. We must not discredit this book, for it may be the future of our environment, as many of our current practices have become obsolete and no longer protect the environment.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

 

Article for Week 4

I found this and thought it would be a good article to discuss. It talks about a report that included 25 "memos to the President" about environmental policy blueprints for the future of America.

Resources for the Future Announces Sweeping Energy and Environmental Policy Recommendations for U.S.


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