penorpencil

My Part

In pen-or-pencil? on May 6, 2009 at 3:59 pm

So, the next question is: “what can I do?” well, I don’t have a general answer that every one can adopt, but specifically for me: I am the Publisher of my school newspaper, The Lusher Post-Diluvian. Every month (or what’s supposed to be every month) we print 500 copies of our eight-page newspaper. Students, parents, and teachers typically read the paper, but merely dispose of it within 20 minutes after first picking it up from the stands. While, we only have one more issue left and I only have a week (if that) left as Publisher, there are certain steps I can take to promote the recycling of our newspapers and reduce our waste.

 Also, if we were to place regular paper-sponsored ads in the newspaper, it might encourage students to recycle and increase awareness and publicity.

 But, in the long term, I would eventually like to see the newspaper placing content on the Internet and decreasing the number of printed papers. The printed page is an important tradition and practice to keep alive. Newspapers across this country are going extinct, because of free online content, which is cheaper and easier to access. At Lusher we need to encourage active newsreaders and smart newsreaders, and having a tangible paper helps students identify what is a reliable news source and what is not (like a blog…). However, we must also prepare students for a world where all current events will be available on exclusively the Internet. If we begin posting content on the Internet and begin setting up a paper recycling program, not only will we save money, but also reduce the amounts of waste at our school.    

 Well, this is my last blog on here. It’s time for me to begin looking towards my first year at Emerson. Penorpencil has been quite an enjoyable assignment. 

Our Unseen, But Smelly Problem

In pen-or-pencil? on May 6, 2009 at 3:30 pm

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When posed with the question of: “how you I as a consumer contribute to the growing amount of waste produced by Americans”, my most immediate answer is: by printing out this assignment. I printing it so I wouldn’t have to keep alternating between my Internet and this document. I should have just left the assignment on my computer screen as opposed to printing it out. Hmm.

 But, as I begin to dive deeper into the dumpster which is my wasteful attitude, I am revolted with how much I waste. Now, I’m not one of those people that litters, I always put stuff in trash, but that’s the problem: I put too much stuff in trash. Cans, chipped cups, smelly clothing, slightly discolored bananas all of them can be used, but I just want to rid my wasteful self of them.

 It’s so easy to think of the trashcan as some magical black hole where anything you put in just gets lost in oblivion, but the truth is that our trash haunts the earth even after we’re done with it. And it has some pretty disgusting effects, like a  island of junk: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gyre.

 So, now whenever I’m about to throw that thing in the trash I think about: what effect is this going to have on my planet? Is it recyclable? Is this something I want to be stuffed in the ground I stand on? And if the answer is no, then I try to find an alternative way of using or disposing of the item like feeding it to the dog (just kidding). Trash is America’s unseen, but smelly problem. We have to begin rectifying this problem before we actually have to start making WALL*Es. aerobic

The Fork in the Energy Road

In pen-or-pencil? on March 23, 2009 at 2:26 am

Must…blog…must…blog. For some reason it’s very hard for me to blog today. (Gosh, that sounds so weird). Maybe it’s because I refuse to turn-off Family Guy as I write this…

In class we’ve been talking about new potential energy sources. Right now, especially in the South, we rely heavily on natural gas. Oil companies have drilled for liquefied dinosaurs in the Gulf of Mexico for years, descending further and further into open water. The problem with using natural gas is: 1) it’s dangerous to transport 2) it’s nonrenewable 3) the burning of fossil fuels has a dangerous to our atmosphere. It’s pretty obvious we need a change, but the problem is that the oil industry is one of the most influential forces in the nation. This lucrative and controlling industry has successfully influenced American politics for years (www.reuters.com/article/domesticNews/idUSKUA56732020070925). It’s going to take a while to turn this ship around. But, I’m confident eventually it will be done, especially with the new administration of hope, change, and awesomeness.

So, what are our options when it comes to non-polluting, renewable energy sources?

Well, first we have the option of nuclear power. This source has no dangerous emissions…well, that’s kind-of a lie…I mean you have nuclear waste, but who really cares about that? Besides, there are a lot of great ways of disposing of such hazardous waste, like shoving it in some mountain. (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yucca_Mountain_nuclear_waste_repository)

We can also use solar power. Now this is pretty interesting, according to a study in Scientific American, solar-thermal installations across just 19 percent of the most barren desert lands in the United States Southwest could power all of the nation’s energy needs without any solar roof-top installations. Sounds pretty swell to me, but these panels would require active maintenance, a reworking of the American power grid, and could potentially damage what little organisms live in desert lands.

Finally, one other major option is the installation of wind turbines. The United States is the Saudi Arabia of wind. If wind turbines were installed in most of our rolling meadows, windy coasts, and canyons, we could make a substantial dent in the amount renewable energy in America. The problem is that wind is unreliable, and it could potentially kills several birds during migration.

All of these options have their risks and benefits, lets not place all our eggs in one basket, and lets use the source that best fits a particular area. Wind and solar energy might be better in the Southwest, while nuclear power might be best here in Louisiana.

Wow, I’ve typed a lot! Family Guy is the best blog-writing inspiration ever!