Current Issues: Max Kerns

December 15, 2016

Oregon Wild Article: REPORT: Oregon Lost 500,000 Acres to Deforestation Since 2000

This article is a brief description of clearcutting, a form of deforestation that is occurring in the state of Oregon. Due to the fact that for the last two week I have been reflecting on deforestation I thought it would be a good idea to do a search for more local examples. Though the article is a little dated it highlights the ideas of what happens when major logging companies begin to do rapid clearcutting in order to keep up with foreign demands. It also primarily focuses on the effects deforestation has including landslides, soil nutrient depletion, heating of local water ways, and major implications to salmon migration.


Current Issues: Max Kerns

December 15, 2016

China makes headway in reversing desertification

This article is a very brief mention of the reforestation efforts now occurring in China. It states that China has reduced the desertification from roughly 10k km² in the 1990s to roughly about 2.5k km² average over the last ten years. This was done through a process of greening and it is stated that more efforts need to be made, due to global issues with desertification. The article goes on to say that China is projecting to reclaim over half of the countrys reclaimable deserts by 2020. Finally, it adds that businesses will be rewarded for these continued efforts of greening and those leading to deforestation will be punished.

 


Current Issues: Max Kerns

December 15, 2016

Groundwater discharge to upper Colorado River Basin varies in response to drought

This article highlights a study of the Colorado River and its tributaries that provide water to some 40 million people located over 7 states, provides irrigation, as well as hydroelectricity, with a closer look at the effects that climate and water demands have on droughts throughout the region. The study concludes that roughly half of the springs of the Upper Colorado River Basin are fueled by young groundwater which suggests that these are being replenished by shallow aquifers. Why this is problematic is that shallow aquifers are much more prone to droughts when compared to more substantial deeper aquifers.

 

 


Current Issues: Max Kerns

December 15, 2016

Geoengineering in the sky with diamonds

This article discusses the ideas of geoengineering to deflect sunlight as a possible option to reduce global warming effects. It talks briefly about the issues surrounding sulfate sprays and the negative impacts that are associated with them in regards to ozone layer depletion, due to the process of sulfates being introduced into the atmosphere that then can lead to sulfuric acid, and also solar energy output. The article goes on to explain that a group of Harvard researchers have suggested two additional alternatives that would be less damaging to the environment, alumina and, possibly more interesting, diamond dust. The researches go on to say that diamond dust would be twice as effective as sulfate sprays. However, they also warn that the risk of spraying diamond dust into the atmosphere is unknown at this time.


Garbage Matters Notes + CurrentEvent

November 16, 2016

By Amanda Apicella

I found the ways in which the author divided up the approaches/views towards waste in various works to be pretty interesting and a pretty accurate/effective way to distinguish between these schools of thought. We have talked a lot in this class about divisions and viewing things as “separate” from humanity/us and where those divisions lie or if they are not entirely founded in reality (aka are arbitrary to varying degrees) so considering how often it comes up this is a significant distinction when it comes to topics like this. This time though it is our relationship with waste and how it is treated. Although none are necessarily “wrong” as the author states, it does give insight into different ways people view waste and how it relates to us/our society as a whole. Considering that I don’t often hear of people referring to waste in a positive manner due to the word’s connotations, It is interesting to see how many different ways it is viewed/addressed that I never really considered before (most of the time I hear about waste it is in the “waste as hazard” way of addressing it). The waste as a resource section was particularly relevant to me as I have always been interested in recycling and the extent/effects of it. The idea of viewing recycling and waste as a resource in terms of being similar to other cycles/systems that we also see in nature was something I was aware of but never really fully thought about to be honest. When it comes to “nature” we tend to think of everything as a cycle when it comes to animal waste/leavings and even death but when it comes to our own waste/leavings we tend to fall into the “one way street” way of thinking, even if it isn’t intentional. The waste as a commodity section was something I didn’t even realize was a “thing” so to speak as it just never seems to be thought of that way by people not familiar with it. The trade and market regarding waste considered hazardous just never really came to mind and I honestly plan to look into it more as it seems to be a fascinating topic.

 

Current Event: Study finds limited sign of soil adaptation to climate warming

Soil is releasing 9x more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than all human activities combined due to natural respiration of soil microbes/plant roots. Due to the increased temperatures of soil across all biomes, there is significantly increased respiration as well as releasing of stored carbon dioxide in previously frozen soil in the Arctic. Data regarding the effects on and of soil in relation to climate change is needed to be studied and gathered more extensively as they also need to obtain data from non/under-represented regions to include in the wider dataset. Considering the significance of their contribution to atmospheric greenhouse gases we already know about, this is a serious issue that we need to look more into and potentially find a way to address it (or at least mitigate the problems it will likely cause).


Pacia Purcell: Current Environmental Event

November 16, 2016

Nation’s First Offshore Windfarm to Debut

NBC News

On a tiny island off of Rhode Island the nation’s first offshore wind farm has been built. This wind farm is going to provide energy for all of the island and some will even be sent to the mainland. Some of the residents of the island believe that this will be a good thing. One woman who was interviewed believes that this new form of energy will help bring down the cost of her electric bill and knows that this will reduce the use of diesel fuel burning, which is what is currently used to provide energy to the island. However, others believe that the wind farm will raise the price of their electric bill because it is coming from a third party company, who can jack up the prices as much as it wants. Additionally these same people are also displeased with the disruption of their coastline view.


Pacia Purcell: Current Environmental Thing

November 9, 2016

“Cooling Down Chicago: How Green and Cool Roofs Could Impact Urban Climate”

engineering.nd.edu

The majority of people today live in cities, and those populations are only growing. The great amount of infrastructure in cities causes there to be an urban heat island, meaning that the temperature in the city is much greater than that of the surrounding rural areas. The University of Notre Dame conducted a study that compared the effects of using non-conventional roofing, and the effects of Lake Michigan on the temperature and air quality of the Chicago. They found that both green roofs and cool roofs had significantly lower temperatures than conventional roofs. They also looked at wind patterns from Lake Michigan to see how they would affect air quality. They concluded that because the temperature of the city is cooled by the green roofs, there will be less of a difference from the incoming cool air from Lake Michigan. This will cause there to be less mixing of the air and may therefore be able to cause air to stagnate close to the surface.