Monday, April 23, 2012

We know and we care less?

Environmentalists, unite!.
...Except, a recent study showed that Americans have become less likely to say that they care about the current and future state of the environment. Leading on that, as consumers, we're also less likely to buy organic, all-natural or eco-friendly products. The excuse usually is, "But it's too expensive!"
Well, is the difference of a couple of bucks worth the future of your home?
A Harris Poll was conducted that showed these results. Similar "green attitude" polls have been conducted every year since 2009 and it seems, that in those few short years, we have lost our eco-consciousness.
The results showed that 27% of Americans described themselves as "environmentally-conscious" in 2012, and only 31% say they "care a great deal about the current state, and future, of the environment." The numbers in 2009, showed 30% of Americans as "environmentally-conscious" and 36% as caring about the future. In 2009, 43% of Americans said they cared about the plane they're leaving behind for future generations--the number has dropped to a scary 34%.
Americans now also say they're less likely to reuse things, make an effort to use less water, buy food in bulk and to purchase all-natural or organic products.
While it is true that money is always the biggest deciding factor in these choices, it is also true that it is worrying to think that we live in a society that is not afraid to waste away a planet and leave behind acid rain, increasing temperatures, severe pollution that will cause an innumerable amount of diseases--the list goes on; for their children.

So, really, what has changed from 2009 to 2012? Compared to the 2009 market, today's market contains many more eco-friendly products and tips. It has never been easier to take the small steps to be environmentally-conscious: Turn off the water when you're brushing your teeth. Turn off the lights when you leave a room. Unplug electronics and wires when you're not using them. Use reusable bags. Buy a permanent water bottle. Buy all-natural, organic foods. These are not big life changes--they are, and always have been, small changes to your everyday lifestyle.

So why don't we care anymore? As teenagers, this is the planet we will inherit, good or bad. We can't always think of an escape or an alternative Earth--we are here for a reason, and we haven't found life elsewhere--that indicates something. Should we not try to take the steps to protect ourselves, to protect this planet--because it means our survival?

If we don't care, who will?

Monday, April 9, 2012

A Coal-Free Chicago?

Chicago has been seeing a lot of activity with the closing down of several coal plants. Late in February, Midwest Generation agreed to shut down two aging coal-fired power plants. The city's mayor, Rahm Emanuel, pressured the company to shut down after they were linked to sever lung problems among citizens.
Similarly, GenOn Energy says it will close eight coal plants in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey rather than installing pollution controls.

This movement could have a strong connection to the increase in the U.S.'s oil and natural gas industry. Recently, an article in the NY Times foretold the U.S. is moving toward energy independence from foreign sources. Over the past couple of years, the U.S. has gone from importing 60% of its oil in 2005 to 45% in 2011.
The energy independence movement has been seen by the increase in oil rigging and drilling--situations such as the BP oil spill and several oil rigs have been evidence of this.
Of course, the down side to this is the effect on the environment. The process used for extracting oil and natural gas, called hydraulic fracturing or fracking, causes a lot of damage to the surrounding landscape and has been shown to cause alarmingly detriment to to rare and endangered species in the area.
Eco-tip: water bottle caps aren't recycled--often, they are thrown away into landfills or disposed of improperly. Start recycling your water bottle caps and check out Caps Can Do, a company that recycles these caps into new equipment.