Looking Forward

sus·tain·a·bil·i·ty
səˌstānəˈbilədē/
noun
  1. the ability to be maintained at a certain rate or level
  2. avoidance of the depletion of natural resources in order to maintain an ecological balance

I kinda like this word of the day thing. Hello there! Let’s start simple.

Think about your average day. Alarm clock jolts you awake. Brush your teeth and shower. Eat breakfast. Drive to work. Type on your computer for a couple of hours.  Drive home. Eat dinner. Watch television. Sleep. Repeat.

It’s like clockwork. You have a pattern, a method to your madness that works. And it involves a lot of energy. But now, think of your average day with no electricity. No water. No technology to keep you busy or help you work. That is a day without natural resources.

Without electricity generated from various sources, your alarm clock, computer, and television would not work. Without clean water, you could not brush your teeth, shower, drink water, or cook. Without heat generated from whatever resource, you would not be warm on winter nights. We take our resources for granted, depleting them at a rate that the planet CANNOT hope to replace. We’re using up all of our dead dinosaur resources, more commonly known as fossil fuels.

Fossil fuels are a natural source of energy that was formed in the past from living organisms. This includes resources found underground that we have been mining, drilling into, etc., which include coal, oil, and natural gas. Fossil fuels are what we call nonrenewable resources, meaning that we cannot reuse them. Burn some coal, that coal will never come back.

Fossil fuels are the main resource used for energy consumption in the United States. Check out this super easy pie chart:

eia

Petroleum (oil), natural gas, and coal are the top three contributors to America’s energy. That’s 81% of our consumption that comes from fossil fuels. EIGHTY-ONE PERCENT. 81% of energy that we rely on for everyday comes from NONRENEWABLE RESOURCES.

We heavily rely on resources that will disappear within the next few hundred years. It may seem like we have a lot of time considering the current generation will probably be dead by then (unless we evolve into immortals but sadly I don’t think that’s happening), but we are leaving the future generations with nothing. Imagine counting down the days til your lights go out for the final time, and stay out. A dystopian future could be closer than we think.

However, that issue can be resolved by relying more on renewable resources. Renewable resources are simply resources that can be reused, refilled, etc. Solar, wind, geothermal, and hydroelectric sources are all renewable resources. Nuclear energy is a long story-we’ll get into that in a later post.

Renewable resources have been on the rise as sources of energy for many Americans. However, the new Presidential Administration could try to stop this growth. With the choice of the top fossil fuel companies as friends of the White House, we cannot be sure what direction the country will be going in. Each of the resources named are complex and deserve more time to understand. Be on the lookout for future blogs discussing them!

The only way to ensure an energy-filled future for our descendants is to make the switch to renewable energy, and stop relying on nonrenewable resources so heavily. With other countries aware of these environmental issues, that time is now!

What the Epoch?

Times Keep Changing- It’s Our Chance to Define What Comes Next

Hey guys! The first few posts are going to feature the basics, as promised. In this post, I want to touch on some basic ideas that are related to the environment. So, let’s get right into this!

Right now, the world has entered what most scientists refer to as the Age of the Anthropocene. It’s a real thing, I swear.

An·thro·po·cene
ˈanTHrəpəˌsēn/

adjective

1. relating to or denoting the current geological age, viewed as the period during which human activity has been the dominant influence on climate and the environment

The Anthropocene comes from the word anthropogenic which I promise is a real word. It essentially means “-from human activity.” Here it is in a sentence:

“Oh man, all this carbon dioxide is anthropogenic!” which loosely translates into “Oh man, all this carbon dioxide is from human activity!”

See? Quick and easy, and now you sound at least 30% smarter.

Anyway, it’s a term that is becoming more widely used as we have recently crossed from the Holocene to the Anthropocene. Geological eras are how we classify the Earth’s lifespan. The Holocene was pretty much the last 10,000 years to now, an epoch (pronounced epic. because I used to say ee-potch) that features the beginning of human activity, certain plant and animal species, things like that. Human activity in the past does not necessarily mean what it is today. Today, we would discuss human activity as things like creating bigger cities, new technology of the future, blah blah blah.

Human activity 10,000 years ago would be things like the decision to drop the nomadic lifestyle of moving place to place (hunter-gatherers) to become farmers and begin domesticating plants and animals. This would be the start of humanity becoming the species with the heaviest impact on the environment. The discovery of fire in efforts to keep warm was the start of negative emissions, although at that time the rise in gases in the atmosphere was imperceptible.

But, we clearly didn’t just stop there. Anthropogenic emissions has increased exponentially as we have progressed. In order to get further, we have ignored the ill side effects. Progress has not slowed but right now, we’ve pumped the atmosphere to the brim with greenhouse gases; we’ve polluted our oceans with garbage and near-constant oil spills; and we ignore the clear signs of climate change like the early spring we adore. Despite what our new, totally-qualified-and-not-random EPA director Scott Pruitt says, we are the cause of these issues and it’s time we took responsibility for it. Hell, we’ve affected the environment so much that we are legitimately in a NEW GEOLOGICAL ERA named just for us and our bullshit*.
*bullshit and other droppings are leading emitters of toxic gases, fyi.* 

Anyway, our activities have lead to huge changes in climate, land and water quality, animal extinctions, etc. And it will be through anthropogenic means that we clean up after ourselves.

Simply put, our goal cannot be reversed. It’s way, way, WAY too late for that. There is no going back to the world before, or the world that could have been had we had our thinking caps on. No, our goal now is sustainability; a complex term I’ll get into in the next post. But it is essentially holding on- holding on to the world we still have, holding on to the resources we have, in efforts to ensure that there will be a world to live on tomorrow.

That’s all folks. Hope you learned something new. Take it easy!
anthropocene

Lemme Explain…

A Basic Understanding

en·vi·ron·ment
inˈvīrənmənt/
(noun)


1. the surroundings or conditions in which a person, animal, or plant lives or operates.
synonyms: habitat, territory, domain

2. the natural world, as a whole or in a particular geographical area, especially as affected by human activity.
synonyms: the natural world, nature, the earth, the planet, the ecosystem, the biosphere, Mother Nature

Let’s talk about the environment. What does it mean to you? What does it mean to anybody? Is it just your surroundings, simple and evermore? Or is there a level of complexity to it that you have never even thought of?

Whether you barely understand the world around you or whether you’re a geological scientist, this blog is here to help: my words will be here to fall back on in times of head-scratching confusion AND in times of utter despair as the quality of our planet worsens. The environment, in essence, is the surrounding world that is directly connected to each of the living, breathing organisms found upon it. The most basic idea to understand here is that we are all connected.eco

Check out this badass image here. EGO, the far left image, shows the philosophy of the current world, whether we want to admit it or not. In this belief, man is more important and more superior to the other organisms of the planet. Even over women, who literally give birth to mankind- but we won’t get into that.

The image on the right, ECO, is a philosophy where everyone is equal: man, woman, jellyfish, dog, tulip, earthworm, whatever it is, it is equal to another. Humanity is not the only species to rely on the natural world, and we cannot be ones that ruin it for everyone else. It’s okay- it’s easy to get caught up in our own lives and forget about the rest of the world. But if there is one thing I want you to take away from this blog, it’s that we are connected to the planet and to everything on it. And so, our actions are affecting billions of lives, even if we don’t physically see it.

Respect the planet. Respect fellow humans. Respect the animal life. Try to learn about global environmental issues, like the cyclone that is currently devastating Madagascar, leaving hundreds of humans just like us homeless.  Or like the plight that our ‘beloved’ zoo animals deal with just so we can ogle at them from behind bars. We are all connected. It’s time to start acting like it.