Health Impacts From Gulf Oil Spill On Children

April 22, 2012


This week was the two-year anniversary of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. While most of the oil has been cleaned up and many areas impacted by the oil are back to working order, there are still some areas effected by the spill that are not fully recovered. Julie Crepples lives in a mobile home right on the water, with her six children. She said her one child, 2 years, suffers from constipation and skin rashes. Almost her entire family suffers from daily headaches. Her one daughter must undergo cardiograms for her heart palpitations. In total the family fills 17 prescriptions at the local drug store for all their various aliments.

Many other neighbors of Crepples also have some of the same sort of health problems that they claim they did not have before the spill. During the Summer of 2010, Crepples says that when her and her children would go outside they could not stay out for long because they would start to cough, feel ill and their eyes would start to burn. She and her neighbors claim that the oil spill itself and then the clean up process is what caused her family to become ill. She says the fumes from the burning oil slicks and the chemicals used to clean up the spill are the sources of the family ailments.

Though Crepples and her neighbors claim to be sick from the spill, there has been much research done on previous oil spills as well as this spill that point out no health problems for people living near the spills. Though there are many skeptics how then did this seemingly healthy family become so ill after the 2010 BP oil spill?

Dog Poop: More Than Just An Unpleasant Smell

April 22, 2012


Dog poop sucks…no one likes picking up after their dog, but your dog’s poop may be more hazardous then you might think. According to the Huffington Post, dogs in the US create 10 million tons of poop each year. That much dog poop is enough to fill 3,800 trucks which would stretch from Boston to Seattle.  According to the article, just three days of 100 dogs poop is enough poop to cause serious problems. The article says that this much dog poop is enough to shut down 20 miles of watershed or bays for swimming and shellfishing because of the amount of bacteria in the poop.

K-Cups Cause Danger To Environment

April 22, 2012
Most Americans love their coffee, and with the creation of Keurig’s K-Cups making a cup of coffee has never been so easy. K-cups come is all ranges of flavors and even from your favorite coffee-house like Dunkin Donuts and Starbucks. What most people don’t think about after they make their cup of coffee is what happens to that little “pod” that you just throw in the trash?
K-Cups are made out of three layers. The outermost layer is the layer that scientists say causes the biggest issue to the environment. The third layer is supposed to be durable, this way no O2, or light gets into the Pod. Because of its sturdiness the Pods are not biodegradable and when they reach landfills that do nothing more than just sit there and pile up. Keurig does know that this has become a problem ever since their popularity has sky rocketed. The company has looked into ways to make their Pods just a durable but more environmentally friendly, but as of right now no solution has been made.


Tsunami Debris Reach Alaska Coast

April 22, 2012



A few weeks ago a fishing vessel from Japan was nearing the coast of Alaska. The boat was floating by itself, unmanned, since last years devastating tsunami in Japan. The unmanned boat was causing issues for boaters in the area near Alaska, and the Coast Guard asked ships to stay away from the boat. Because of the hazard the boat was causing, the Coast Guard decided to sink the ship, before it reached land. Now there is new debris making its way to the shores of Alaska, a volleyball. Radar near a small island is Alaska picked up a soccer ball, and a volleyball floating in the waters. The balls were retrieved and traced back to a school in Japan. These balls are one of the first pieces of debris to reach the US from the disaster last year. NOAA has been tracking a larger group of debris making its way across the Pacific, but the two rouge balls seem to be the first to make landfall in the US.

Transportation Surveys

April 18, 2012

So I re ran the survey Bobby came up with in the spring of 2011 that dealt with driving practices of OWU students.  For the most part there was little change in the responses from then until now.

Student Survey

Faculty Survey

Again there were two surveys one for students and one for faculty.

For both surveys I did receive less responses than Bobby did but that is mainly due to the fact that I could only run it for one day through the OWU Daily but that is a different story.

A few things to make note of that I did not include in detail on the comparison documents, is  that only about 10% of students drive to class, but they use their cars 3-4 days a week.  I feel this is explainable by the weekends in which students use their cars to go home or go out, that takes care of two days.  The other two days I assume that they use their cars to run errands or to drive to class to save time or avoid bad weather.  This also shows perhaps that the only places to go to do things or run errands are not within walking distance.  To get groceries or go shopping one has to go to Polaris or down 23 a ways.

Bad weather was really the only reason that students needed to drive to class, and also to save time.

Biking does not seem to be big at OWU, however people did make note that biking in bad weather is hard, and that possibly sheltered bike racks would be nice.

Faculty all drive to OWU for the most pat and most live fairly close to campus and only drive to and from work each day.

Faculty made note that they felt that it was alright for students to drive to class for obvious reasons, and that it was understandable to drive to save time, or to avoid bad weather.  Some also felt though that students should walk more, and that there is little reason not to walk or bike.  Some commented that the music department is too far away from the academic side of campus and that perhaps a shuttle or better scheduling could alleviate this problem.

most faculty don’t own a hybrid or electric car and their reasons for not owning one were mainly related to cost.  Most said that they already own fairly fuel efficient cars (30mpg on average) and that it costs a lot to buy a hybrid or electric car that would take years to pay for itself off of the savings that it made from consuming less gas.  Also electricity comes from coal which on faculty member mentioned is worse than gas. Furthermore one faculty member said that the environmental impact to build a new car from raw materials is greater than using a used car which they say they have always used.

As far as CNGis concerned both students and faculty either answered Yes they would consider it or they were unsure.  One faculty member said that if the CNG  was produced by fracking then that deter them from buying one, because fracking is as destructive if not more destructive to the environment than other fossil fuels.  Also CNG is a non renewable resource, and even though its cheap now it is still bound to the same fate as Gasoline as a limited resource there is only a finite amount of it.

Finishing Up Course Projects, Spring 2012

April 18, 2012

Our next thee meetings consist of presentations about your course project, progress on it, and work to do. The presentations will allow you to get feedback as the semester draws to an end.

Below find a series of project reports from previous courses and independent studies. Your project should be documented in a similar manner, and submitted as a Word document (so I can edit if need be).

Besides this project report, I need (from each of you) a Digital Portfolio and Individual Assessment, as detailed on the Final Evaluation tab of the blog.

Pipe Down!

April 4, 2012

That Noise Might Affect Your Plants

A recent article from NPR investigates a study on the effect of noise on plant growth.  At the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center in North Carolinathere are thousands of gas wells, about a third of them pressurized by ear-splitting compressors.  These compressors run 24 hours a day 7 days a week and since 2005, their effect on the the birds in the canyon has been studied.

They found the noise effects each species differently.

Black-chinned hummingbirds, tend to prefer and settle in Noisy landscapes, and Western scrub jays ten to avoid these noisy areas


These different reactions to noise from birds has an interesting side effect on the plants that grow in these areas. The jays are important for seed dispersers for pinon pine and they found fewer pine seedlings at noisy sites. In addition, the few that were found in these areas were often eaten by mice.

However, in contrast, a flower pollinated by hummingbirds did better near the compressors, since hummingbirds like the noise since it drives away competitors and predators that might eat the hummingbirds’ young.