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Our Take: Forests Laying Down on the Carbon Job

Okay, so climate change isn’t all caused by humans, at least not directly. Turns out that tropical forests have a big part too. Usually the world’s rainforests remove carbon dioxide from the air, through photosynthesis. In a recent article on the news magazine site “Quartz,”  writer Elijah Wolfson reports that scientists are witnessing the inability of forests to regulate and absorb carbon dioxide; tropical forests have been seen as a stabilizer to the growing carbon and greenhouse gas emissions that are effecting global climate. Wolfson links the article to a paper published on Oct. 13 by NASA about how “one of their CO2-mapping satellites, the Orbiting Carbon Observatory, detected the largest annual rise in the amount of the greenhouse gas in the atmosphere in at least 2,000 years.” The satellite images seemed to confirm that the natural carbon removal service provided by tropical forests is dissipating and the forests have been net emitters of CO2, thereby contributing to climate change. Any deforestation projects also compound the ability of forests to soak up CO2.

Scientists think this reversal can be attributed to the very strong El Niño the Earth experienced in 2015-2016. The droughts that accompanied El Niño caused a lot of trees to die; not only didn’t they take CO2 from the air, they rotted and released CO2 into the air. Humans didn’t help by widespread clearing of forests for agriculture and timber, especially in Brazil and Indonesia. Unfortunately, more atmospheric CO2 means more climate warming, means higher likelihood of more strong El Niños, means we have to reduce our own carbon emissions ever farther and faster to preserve a livable world for our children and theirs, and theirs.

 

 
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Bottled Water: A History by CityTech blogger Viki Bailey

Photo Credit: Pinterest

The history of bottled water, as written in a website I visited, states: “The first bottle of water happened in 1622 in United Kingdom’s Holy Well bottling plant.” In an effort to copy the fizziness of mineral water, Johann Jacob Schweppes manufactures carbonated water in Geneva, Switzerland. Marketed by the Schweppes company and the rest – as they say – is history.  There were signs of carbonated water being born in the USA in 1809. Perrier in 1977-1981 positioned itself as “Earth’s First Soft Drink”, benchmarking the moment when bottled water begins its commercial dominance (although the initial boom is just for sparkling mineral water — not flat water). U.S. annual consumption reaches 9.67 billion gallons — that’s an average of 30.8 gallons per person. Unabridged, we’re gulping more bottled water and less tap water, increasing domestic bottled water sales to $11.8 billion. Well, how did bottled water business become an 11 billion-dollar industry? And bottling something that comes right to your tap already. Where does this water come from really? Will there be a depletion?

 
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El Nino and Famine in Africa: Is Media Just? by CityTech blogger Viki Bailey

Slider Photo Credit: ABC News

Featured Photo Credit: blog.frontiergap.com

When I see a picture like the one in this blog, I see someone lionizing their image by posing next to a famine country. Many countries in East Africa like Ethiopia are battling crippling drought caused by record El Nino disturbances. However, the picture says to me: “I am fulfilling my community service and that is it.” I see someone taking advantage of this famine country, but I don’t see the money this person gave to help the famine situation. It may be that David Muir, the person in the featured picture, is trying to raise money by posing with the kids of Africa to bring attention to the situation.  Or is it, as I think, someone is praising their ability to seek attractive media experiences? I agree with the statement that “Today the images and stories coming out of Africa are similarly heartbreaking.” Is someone like Mr. Muir posing with the people from that country to bring attention to the situation? I have a very hard time thinking of the image in that way. My defiance comes from encountering the two personalities of ABC staff.  I once visited the filming of Good Morning America Times Square and was excited to be around the staff of the show. After hanging around the area during filming for weeks, I saw first-hand how pretentious the cast was. While they were on TV you get compassionate, concern, sensitivity, and a willingness to help. When they were off camera the brashness of “don’t bother me,” the numbness of “I am off air now”, the “I don’t have to put on a show now, and the “get away from me the cameras are not rolling” was there. There are two dissimilar people: the on air personality and the off air creature. I wonder which personality is in the picture?

 
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E-Cycling by CityTech blogger Viki Bailey

Photo Credit: NiloTech Ecycling

There is a new sherriff in town and it is called E-Cycling. What is E-Cycling? E-Cycling or E-waste is the practice of reusing, or distributing for reuse electronic equipment and components rather than discarding them at the end of their life cycle. It’s recycling electronic waste such as: televisions, printer ink, desktop computers, laptops, batteries of all kinds, and DVD’s (cellphones are the largest recycled product). These items need to be recycled properly to preserve landfill space, and most importantly make sure toxic elements get disposed properly. The TIA E-cycling central website gives lots of search results by state for those that want to recycle the electronics we treasure in today’s world.

We should recycle things like batteries, cellphones, televisions,and  laptop computers. However, there are many options to reduce the items going into landfills. We can also donate old items that can support schools, low income families, and non-profits. In addition, most electronic batteries contain materials that should not be disposed of in landfills. Items like computers and laptops can be de-manufactured, which involves manually dismantling the electronics in order to market the recyclable raw materials/products that are found. Demanufacturing and dismantling is usually done by trained technicians who use a variety of machine and hand tools. The items mentioned above can be refurbished and resold or donated. Organizations such as StRUT (Student Recycling Used Technology), the National Cristina Foundation, and the Resource Area for Teachers (RAFT) collect and refurbished donated computer equipment for redistribution to schools and charities around the world.

 
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Altering Environment by CityTech Blogger Nathan Persuad

Photo Credit: Nathan Kensinger / Curbed New York

The changing climate on Earth is something everyone is currently experiencing whether they like it or not. This type of shift refers to a change in climate or temperature in a specific region. It could also be a change in Earth’s overall temperature. Earth’s climate has always been constantly shifting. More geographically specific, here in New York City climate change is ongoing.

 

Climate change can be affected by many factors. This can include human disturbances. Humans use massive amounts of energy daily, and even hourly. Scientist this can range from driving your car to simply cooking or reheating food in the microwave. Before the power can reach into people’s homes it is produced by burning fossil fuels like oil, gas, and coal. By burning these fuels, the gas heats the air up and over time cause climates to change. Climate change can also be affected by events outside of man’s control. For example, a shift in the orbit of Earth from the sun, the sun can release more or less energy into space, or even when a volcano erupts there can be atmospheric change that can lead to climate change. All of these factors play a role in causing Earth’s climate to change over time and will continue to cause the climate to change on Earth and New York City.

 

Currently in the New York region, there have been several types of climate change. First, New York City has experienced a shift in temperature. The national average temperature has risen 2.4 degrees Fahrenheit since 1970 and winter warming exceeding 4.4 degrees Fahrenheit. This increase has occurred in the entire state. Secondly, precipitation cycles have increased rapidly in NYC. Since 1990 precipitation has risen every year and is expected to rise in a shorter period. We receive more precipitation in the winter than in the summer seasons. Also, the precipitation that has occurred is more heavy rain events than previously observed. Thirdly, the sea levels along the coast of New York are rising. They have risen more than one foot since 1990. This is almost twice the observed global rate per decade. Finally, some natural occurrences have been causing climate change. This includes a shift in the seasons. Compared to a couple decades ago, spring has begun a week earlier. By spring starting earlier than usual, this is a clear sign that the Earth is warming up; temperatures are increasing. Thus with temperatures increasing, during the winter season there is less snow cover. Snow covering allows the Earth to naturally cool down.

 

As you can see, these are just a few contributing factors that are causing climate change not only in NYC, but on the Earth.  In the future higher temperature increases could potentially cause bodies of water to dry up, start forest fires, or even cause more fossil fuels to be burned because people would need energy to cool their homes and huge apartment and office buildings in the city. More rain in the future can cause flooding. Climate change is constantly developing. We may not have total control over it but we can still help prevent it.

 
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