State of the World

Last Updated March 27, 2016 7:00 p.m. EST

Source:nasa.gov, Earth stock photo

The state of the world is a comprehensive analysis on the current condition of our planet using a collection of tweets from credible scientific sources.

The construction of this post was created in reaction to the very little coverage of environmental issues in the 2016 presidential elections. Every issue needs to be addressed, not just the hot topics because these problems are a slow burn which is why most people so easily disregard them.

The following tweets are all articles of events that were tweeted in the past 12 weeks. Although not all events are necessarily related, each have a significant effect on the overall state of the planet in which we inhabit.

Solar energy is an important energy source because of it’s renewability. However implementation can be quite expensive and not all countries can afford such an undertaking. It’s good to see France is installing 621 miles of solar panels on their roads over the next five years. Anytime we can refrain from fossil fuels, the better it is.

Similar trends are popping up in Russia and Central Asia which are trying to go mostly renewable by 2030. Their model accounts for solar, wind and hydroelectric power.

2015 has been has been recorded as the hottest year since 2014. This is also the fourth time since 2000 that a global temperature record was broken. This is an alarming statistic which is no doubt linked to man-induced climate change. Solar energy, as stated above, is a good way to limit carbon emissions and thus decreasing these rising temperatures.

Currently, air travel and other shipping methods count for 5% on all of the greenhouse gases and are projected to account for 30% by 2050. These environmental aircraft standards are much too low and the 2028 fuel reduction plan doesn’t do enough combat the issue.

Global warming has been slowly melting away the glaciers. The Col du Dômeis being drilled to extract it’s ice core for transportation to Antarctica. There is can be properly stored and studied. Glacier cores have layers that get stacked on over time. Each layer has small pockets of air that contains pollutants which can tell us what were in the atmosphere at certain points in time.

One of the primary victims of global climate change is the vegetation. Native plants are struggling to continue existing in areas where they had no problems doing before, fuel burning and deforestation being the primary culprits. Plants are actually moving, their seeds are growing in areas they have not previously and are affecting the ecosystem. Not only are new ecosystems spawning  but some vegetation is unable to find a new place with acceptable circumstances for it to grow.

Michigan has awarded $3.6 million towards combating invasive species in the state which includes 19 projects. Invasive species are mostly brought in from their place of origin and can be extremely harmful to the food web. Right now Michigan’s big problem is their zebra mussels infestation in the Great Lakes. These mussels clog pipes, stick to boats, eat large amounts of plankton which the fish rely on and effectively kill them, and so on.

Beijing has raised the requirements to issue red alerts on air pollution. Beijing is already one of the most polluted cities in the world and there is absolutely no need to adjust such a criteria. If anything it needs to be lowered instead. This is an issue of public knowledge. Now the Chinese government is saying their already poor air quality is allowed to get worse and that it’s still healthy to breathe in.

It’s interesting to think of a farm growing something that is unintended to be consumed as food or something without a visual aesthetic appeal. In Veracruz, Mexico there is a crop that’s sole purpose to take carbon out of the air. If widely practiced, this method can take billions of tons of carbon out of the atmosphere.

Honeybees are a large part of the environment, specifically in agriculture. In Europe, the average honeybee has ben discovered to have on average 57 different pesticides in their system at a given time. Honeybees pollinate 80% of Europe’s crops/wild plants. Pesticides damage their immune system causing an increase in the chance of contracting a virus or parasite.

The 2015 world record for most money invested in renewable resources was broke with $286 being spent in 2016. It’s easy to say progress is progress but environment issues are races against time. Making progress should definitely be celebrated as long as we don’t become to complacent with the results.

A device designed to pull in garbage from the oceans has gone viral all over social media. The Oceanic Cleanup, a nonprofit that deployed the invention, racked in an astonishing $2.2 million in crowdfunding alone. However there are questions about whether it can withstand the true might of the ocean or how it’ll effect the wildlife.

It’s a shame that it might not be a complete working prototype but the underlying message is important. Dependence on technology and advancement won’t solve all the problems. Some of it is simply never getting to that position in the first place.

In conclusion, the state of the world is still in trouble. Advancements are being made but and equal or greater amount of regression is occurring constantly. All my examples don’t even begin to scratch the number if issues we face and it is our responsibility as a species to figure out how to fix these things as quickly as possible.

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Living on Earth; Weekly Podcast on Environmental Issues

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Living on Earth is a weekly environmental news program that contains features, interviews, and commentary on a wide range of ecological topics. They broadcast from the University of Massachusetts and have episodes archiving back to 1991.

 

Anna Boegehold: Zebra mussels have been infesting the Great Lakes since the 1990s [VIDEO]

Last Updated March 19, 2016 10:38 p.m. EST

 

Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Dreissena_polymorpha3.jpg

 

Zebra mussels are an invasive species that has been disrupting the Great Lakes ecosystem for many years.

Today the Great Lakes, especially Lake Erie, homes an explosive population of zebra mussels. They are an invasive species, native to Eurasia, and responsible for disrupting ecosystems around the globe.

As a filter feeding species, they eat food particles in the water thus filtering it and removing pollutants as well. However this can also be harmful because sunlight which previously was unable to reach certain areas can help grow macrophytes which damage water quality and taint beaches.

Anna Boegehold is a PhD student at Wayne State University (introduction above). She is currently researching how populations of zebra mussels react to certain kinds of bacteria in hopes of finding more information on zebra mussel population control.

Currently she is testing a type of cynobacteria that slows down reproduction  of the zebra mussels. Tracking the sperm swim patterns, the water containing cynobacteria has significantly hindered the sperm movement compared to water with healthy green algae.

“They messed up the entire food web.” said Ms. Boegehold. “They’re veracious consumers, eating lot of healthy green algae which some fish depend on. This problem magnifies as you move up the food web.”

The cost to fight these pests are over $500 million alone on just the Great Lakes, with an estimated $1 billion over the next 10 years. This includes categories like prevention costs, chemical treatments, planning/design/engineering, research/development and filtration efforts.

Via pub.med.gov

The zebra mussels have become an environmental epidemic, and their influence needs to be removed. It it no longer a Michigan issue. Significant signs of the species have been spotted southwest into the Mississippi tributaries and as far as the Colorado river.

There are many things you can do to help prevent further spreading as well as protect yourself against these invaders.

  • Wear water shoes whenever your in an infested area. The shells of the zebra mussels are sharp and can cut uncovered feet.
  • Clean out your boat’s rudders entering another body of water. Zebra mussels and stick to the bottom of passing boats.
  • Don’t move water from one area to another. A zebra mussel egg is invisible to the naked eye and can contain thousands of eggs in a relatively small amount of water.

 

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LinkedIn & Resume Workshop [PHOTOS]

 

Last Updated: March 1, 2016 11:12 p.m. EST

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On February 24, 2016, the public relations students at Wayne State University were treated to a LinkedIn and resume builder workshop, held at room 179 Manoogian Hall from 1:25-2:50. Here students were given advice from real-world PR professionals through an open Q&A, followed by personal sit-down critiques. Efforts to host this event were collaborated by Dr. Shelly Major and The Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA), Detroit Chapter.

The event was a remarkable success, filled with students eagerly looking for workplace perspectives. The panel was quite diverse as it represented three branches of PR; corporate, recruiting and agency. This allowed students to compare each one to see what parts they professionally identified with.

Many topics were covered such as…

  • Do I need an objectives part on my resume?
  • Do companies use LinkedIn to research new hires?
  • What should I consider when “connecting” with someone on LinkedIn?
  • Are references really a big deal?
  • And many more!

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