Is Black Friday Contributing To An Increase In Waste?

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Every night on Thanksgiving to the night of the day after that, consumers have crowded stores in order to save big on one day sales known as Black Friday. Black Friday has been a successful shopping event for consumers and sellers due to the tremendous discounts some stores put, resulting in great deals for consumer while stores receive profits and revenue that exceed those of the previous years. However, because of the holiday craze for deals such as appliances, clothes and technology, consumers are more prone to buy things that may not be necessary. One example of this may be where a family decides to upgrade their 32” led tv to a massive 60” led tv because of a 40% off discount. The outcome of this is that the family no longer needs their 32” tv so they decide to throw it away. The old tv goes into a landfill thus decreasing the amount of space the landfill now has. Similar to the scenario presented from this family, there are countless of other consumers who discard their old belongings because of the new upgrades they get from Black Friday.

The gist of the problem pertaining to Black Friday is this: consumers buy/upgrade items, they discard their old items buy throwing it away (For this blog, recycling/ selling/giving away old items is not a factor), the thrown items accumulates and must go into landfills, cycle repeats every Black Friday (Not including other holidays or regular shopping days). Because of special deals such as Black Friday, landfills and other garbage disposal sites are getting filled up with old items that have been replaced. In theory, Black Friday is harmful to the environment because it promotes consumerism which leads to old items being replaced, thus requiring the old items to be thrown away.

Not to be a hypocrite but i went Black Friday shopping too, but it was to buy snacks for the dorm!

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Aquaculture: Sustainable or No?

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Aquaculture farm

 

Is aquaculture, the method of farming aquatic organisms, viable in today’s society? Aquaculture has been around since the 1970’s as a means of supporting the increasing demands of fish and other aquatic organisms for human consumption. Although the idea of farming fish to sustain human consumption is appealing and very similar to farming livestock, aquaculture has brought many negative environmental problems with its use. Problems associated with aquaculture range from the introduction of alien fish species, feeding farmed fish with natural fish stocks, and a wide range of other issues. 

The introduction of alien fish species among other fish species is a result of accidents in which aquaculture farms accidentally release the farmed fish out of their cultivated areas. These fish may then make their way into areas populated with other fish species and thus compete with them for survival. Additionally, another problem associated with aquaculture is the debated topic of feeding farmed fish with natural fish stocks. By feeding the fishes that we farm to eat with other dead fish, we are essentially losing fish in the end. 

In total, if humans are to employ the method of aquaculture for consumption, we must view the positive and negative aspects resulting from this process. Is it sustainable? Many environmentalists and scientists will argue that it is not while others will argue that it is. In the end, we must look at the long-term effects on the Earth and how we must be aware of our impact through this method. 

Interesting article on Aquaculture in current news: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-bank/impact-fund-invests-in-aq_b_4284828.html

Unsustainable Water Usage – Residential Hall Bathroom

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Lately, I have noticed that a urinal and one of the toilets in my residential hall’s male bathroom has a problem of unnecessarily wasting water. The urinal in my floor’s bathroom would flush right after someone leaves, regardless of that person flushing it. Additionally, in one of our stalls, a toilet randomly flushes throughout the day despite anyone going near it. Reflecting on these issues, the amount of water that is being used when not needed certainly adds up. I will give it my best effort to alert the custodians or whoever is in charge of the bathrooms to address this issue. Wasting water this way is definitely not sustainable because those unneeded flushes only increase the water bill and wastes water that may be used for something else.

Looking at this, the problem of water consumption does not just pertain to urban areas; it is a problem that relates to all aspect of life from agriculture to industry. Agricultural and industrial water usage constitutes more than half of America’s water usage. In addition to this, these two player in water usage certainly have unsustainable water usage such as growing crops which require lots of water or using water for machinery. Unsustainable water usage in these two major consumers must be dealt with if we are to ensure adequate amounts of water for every individual.

Biogeography tour of UCLA

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Chaparral Biome

 

This weekend, I took a biogeography tour around UCLA as part of my Environment and Sustainability class. The tour was very informational; we walked around campus (mostly the north-side) and were given brief information on what type of biomes and organisms resided in that particular habitat. Surprisingly, UCLA encompasses many different types of species such as: hummingbirds, monarch butterflies, small rodents, oak trees, rainbow eucalpytus and a range of other amazing plants and animals. Furthermore, on the topic of biomes, UCLA houses a multitude of biomes which include: Chaparral, temperate forests and a few more. Learning this, I was surprised that UCLA was so diverse in its habitats. Because of these biomes, different species are able to thrive here whereas they may not in other places. In addition to learning about biomes and species, we were shown the famous UCLA creek. Going under the trees to where the creek was hidden provided a refreshing cool air because of the abundant shade and the evaporation of water coming off from the trees. Lastly, near the end of the tour, our guide informed us that the area behind the residential building Hitch was going to  become an Olympic archery range from a UCLA donor who wanted it to happen. However, the with efforts of our guide and his local non-profit organization, the area was preserved because it was evident that the donor did not follow all the protocols and his reason for the archery range was never clear. In total, the biogeography tour was very informational and productive.

National Parks- Why they are important

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Everglades National Park

With the recent closure of the government, America’s national parks were closed to eager tourists. Fortunately, the government has resumed and the national parks are functioning again.

National parks are very critical in today’s society because they are priceless in the various positives that we receive from them. It is important to conserve national parks because of the biodiversity within each national forest. Some national parks such as Everglades National Park contains 22 endangered species nps.com. If not for the protection of the park, these species may have became extinct. Additionally, national parks house species that are not found elsewhere in the world. Due to the protection of these parks, endemic species are able to thrive without fear of habitat destruction.

Furthermore, national parks are important because of the social values they provide. One of the common result from the conservation of a national park is that they provide tourism of the site. People are able to visit each park and immerse themselves in the vast landscape. Another positive outcome that results from the conservation of national parks are the aesthetic values it gives and the visitation of each park. Not only do national parks allow people to visit and explore them, they serve as a beautiful asset to a region. National parks are very appealing in aesthetics because of the grand and majestic scenery they provide.

Coupled with the few reasons above and many more not stated, it is critically important that we continue in preserving our national parks. It is our duty to preserve our national parks so that future generations are able to benefit from them as we have.

Will Bananas Be A Casualty Of Monoculture ?

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Cavendish Banana

 

Is the use of monoculture a viable practice? In order to answer this, we must first examine what is monoculture?  Well, monoculture is an agriculture practice where one single crop or plant species is grown continuously. Monoculture has been utliized for many crops and plants; one such crop is the banana.

Back to the question, I would argue that monoculture is not a viable practice. As seen by the outcome of the total disappearance of the Gros Michel banana, the practice of monoculture yields very disastrous drawbacks.  The Gros Michel banana, a species of banana that was consumed by virtually everyone was hit by a disease called Panama Disease. This disease wiped out the entire population of Gros Michel banana because the Gros Michel bananas were practically the same in genetic structure Wikipedia. Similar to the outcomes of a low diversity in bananas, this issue may be seen in the the wild. In a community where there is low biodiversity, a single outbreak of disease may wipe out an entire population of species because there is very few genetic diversity.  If we are to learn from mistakes, we have to prepare for the worst- a new disease which could destroy the Cavendish population.  Unfortunately, this possible disaster has already emerged. A new strain of the Panama Disease has been identified in which it effectively brings ruin to the Cavendish species. In total, the take away message here is that we should reexamine the practices of monoculture because if we continue to rely on one single type of crop for consumption, it may disappear altogether if a disease were to emerge.

Learn more about Panama Disease here : Panama Disease

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Gros Michel Banana

 

 

Coffee Beans: Possibly Endangered In The Future

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Yes, coffee beans may disappear by the end of this century if global temperatures continue to rise. Coffee beans, mostly that of arabica beans face a daunting future due to the increase of temperature. Arabica beans which are primarily grown in Ethiopia, Uganda and Kenya depend on “conditions that are not too warm, not too cold, not too wet, and not too dry” usnews.  In these three countries and elsewhere, arabica beans thrive and flourish due to the suitable climate and temperature. However, with the rise in temperature, shifts in rainfall and harvesting patterns are negatively affecting crop yields huffingtonpost.

If humans continue on the path of negligence of burning fossil fuel and increasing the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, our daily consumption of coffee may come to an end. If we continue on this route, suitable temperatures may vanish and the coffee beans which consumers love the most, arabica, will cease to be able to be cultivated. In order to avoid this calamity, humans must live more sustainably and emit a smaller ecological footprint. Ways to do so are by walking instead of driving and going one day without meat every week. By walking, less fossil fuel will be consumed thus decreasing the emission of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.  Lastly, by abstaining for meat one day, potential CO2 and energy will not be  consumed due to the meat not being taken, thus requiring less production of meat.