Sunday, November 18, 2012

The Little People

Hey Guys!

I know that with everyone's hectic schedules and busy lives, protecting the environment isn't always a top priority, but now more than ever we must take action. Our planet is slowly deteriorating, and it is saddening to see just how much of that deterioration can be prevented. Humans are extremely wasteful, and we tend to think only about how something impacts us personally, but how one person treats the environment affects not only the other humans living on our planet, but the animals and plants as well. By becoming more aware of our effects, we can help prevent and stop the ultimate destruction of our home.

After listening to Wendell Berry's speech this past Tuesday and reading his essays, I realized that the Environmental Movement can only move forward if small organizations get involved and make a push for changes on the local level. We must start out small, if we want to have a large impact.  There are many things we can do locally to help reduce wastefulness and our carbon footprint. Some of these things include buying produce at local farmers markets, or simply turning off the lights when we leave a room that can help to reduce human wastefulness and our carbon footprint.

In his essay "Think Little", Berry also discussed the role of the government and that oftentimes political leaders only want to help the Environmental Movement when it best suits them and their political ideology. This isn't going to help us move forward; the voices of the small communities need to be heard. With respect to big government involvement in the Environmental Movement, I want to bring up the Lorax and remind everyone that while big business and government do help the people in many ways, the environment is often something they overlook or use as a way to gain votes.

I'm not asking anyone to drastically change their lifestyle to protect the environment, but I do believe that everyone should be aware of the problems we are facing and that its up to the "little people" to push the movement in the direction we want it to go.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Nice Day

Hey all,

Yesterday was a beautiful day, one I have enjoyed the most while at Villanova. It's days like these that encourage me to help the environment. Back home in California, almost every day was like this. I couldn't appreciate the beauty as much because it was the norm for me. However, the days I did stop to smell the roses, I couldn't help but think, "Wow, this is amazing. I want to do what ever I can to ensure that this wonderful world stays the way it is." My desire to sustain the earth was further nurtured by the fantastic time I had in my Environmental Science class. I decided I would become an Environmental Engineer so that I could construct things that could help keep our world pristine. Although, currently I don't have all the knowledge or resources to build any life altering machines or structures. Further, not everyone around me has access to the tools they need to radically change the world. So for now, I am doing "my part" on campus to lower my impact on the environment.

There are some very simple steps that can be taken to reducing your "emissions" on campus. One of the easiest things is to avoid using lights while in your room. Open a window, like I said, its beautiful outside. Let the sun do its thing and light up your room. If you have to use a light, avoid doubling up on both a desk lamp and the overhead if you can. Additionally, TURN YOUR LIGHTS OFF when you leave the room! Countless times I have walked into my room lit up with nobody inside of it. Although we don't have to pay the energy bills around here, the energy we use still creates an output.

When it comes to water, always use cold settings on your washing machine. Try to take cold showers if you can. If that's not your thing, then simply limit your time in the hot water. Just like at home, don't leave the sink running while brushing your teeth.

The last simple thing to do is just recycle. Several times I go to throw away my garbage and I spot recyclable  material in the garbage. The recycling bin is RIGHT NEXT TO the garbage bin. Take the little effort to make a big difference in our land fills and need for virgin materials.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Happy Medium

Sup guys,

I'm just going to rant here for a bit...

To be honest, I've never been that interested in the environment because it was never an issue I ran into at home.

Living in L.A., I've never had a close living experience with nature like the most of you guys have had. Conservation and taking care of the environment just wasn't a number one priority for me.

Yes, I did know about the amount of pollution and the growing worry about our energy sources running out, but I never really had a personal problem with it.

I have recently joined the Engineering Microproject Group dealing with Biofuels this semester, and it really is opening my eyes to the tremendous amount of potential we have in working with renewable energy sources.

However, people should not be automatically drawn to these new energy sources. The initial sounds of "zero-carbon emission" and "no pollution" are great, but one must actually research these himself.

The fact remains that the world needs a tremendous amount of energy to run. It is an engine that constantly needs to be fed fuel. The world uses 98 quadrillion Btu every year, and that number is only going to increase as the world's needs increase as well.

Between fossil fuels, biodiesel, and ethanol, the most efficient source in terms of output vs. input is fossil fuels. No matter how good biodiesel sounds, the world cannot purely run on it: It just isn't realistic.

I don't want to end on such a pessimistic note. It is not about "this" or "that." The world needs a happy medium between all the energy sources in order to work at an optimal level.

- Edward Chang