Welcome to our class!

We are an environmental science course at St. Benedict's Prep in Newark, NJ, taught by Mrs. T. We'll be blogging about environmental issues all term, so please stay tuned!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The Natural World

We, as a class, probably have a lot of different views about what the natural world is meant to do for us and what it is meant to be for our planet.  For instance, some people feel that everything in nature is at humans' disposal and we should take whatever we want, however we want.  Others feel that nature is to be cherished and protected, as it contains many life forms.  There are so many points of view.

What is yours?  You may find that your point of view is influenced by political, religious, or cultural beliefs and practices, and that is fine.  Your comment should clearly communicate your beliefs and why you believe them.  Always proofread, spellcheck, and read over your post aloud with a friend to make sure it makes sense.  

Monday, April 7, 2014

Kyoto Protocol Summary

The Kyoto Protocol is an agreement between industrial countries stating that they must reduce their greenhouse gas emission by various percentages as a means to allow better environments for less developed countries. Although there are multiple ways for countries to meet this requirement, some had chosen to secede from the project, thinking it was just a ploy to give money to third world countries. This entire mechanic is very important because the drastic climate change created by greenhouse gases can be very harmful to less developed countries without the support of the first world countries. Their economy may deteriorate.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Lipari Landfill

Lipari was a 16 acre landfill that one point and time was ranked the number one superfund in the nation. 1958 through 1971 this landfill was used as a dump site for industrial wastes. There chemicals that were dumped went into the ground and even went in the streams and lakes. The landfill was a victim of 40,000 barrels of waste. Eventually in 1971, New Jersey Solid Waste Authority closed this site down. The effects it had on the neighboring areas was that those living near the landfill were at greater risk to getting leukemia and giving birth to low weight babies. 

Sunday, March 30, 2014

U.S. Radium Corp.

It all began in the year of 1917 in Orange, New Jersey, where this company's operation began. In this company they create paint and use it to paint instruments and other items they could paint. This seems normal until the fact that the paint that was created had radium in it. Radium is a element so toxic for humans or other species. The people working in this company were mainly lady's who were lied to so that owners could make money. Scientist's told the lady's that it could cure cancer, diseases and protect them from anything. Many women were convinced and began working there. These woman were called the "Radium Girls" for the fact that they mostly had to handle the radium. After so long working for the company, these women started to get sick and suffer what was then called radium jaw. After the conditions the women were in, one by one many either died or suffered the consequences the scientist's had. After that the company closed down for good in 1926. At that year the U.S. created a a stronger protection law for all employees stating that jobs should be in good condition for them to work.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Love Canal Summary

The Love Canal is one America's worst Environmental issues to ever occur. A lot of the blame can be put on the Hooker Chemical company for they dumped 21,000 tons of chemical waste. Also Hooker Chemical's company failure to warn the people of Niagara Falls  that they should not buy this chemical infested land. During this whole fiasco that was Love Canal no seemed to take action. The people had clear indications that they were suffering yet no state officials took notice. All of this could have been avoided. The 17 million it cost could have been avoided if people took into consideration what these chemicals can do to people. We of course have to continue to be aware of the environment and what people are doing to it because we can easily find ourselves in a similar situation.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Clean Air Act

                                                              Clean Air Act

          The Clean Air was designed by the congress in 1970 for protecting public health, and welfare of the public. The act had two major revisions in 1977 and 1990. The revisions were due to initiatives to target newly discovered pollution. The Clean Air Act requires EPA to establish national regional air quality standards for certain common and widespread pollutants. These common air pollutants are called “criteria pollutants” found all over the United States. These criteria pollutants are: particulate pollution, ground-level ozone, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and lead.

States are responsible for developing enforceable plans that meet and maintain air quality that meet national standards.   EPA assist state efforts by providing technical assistance and issuing national emission standards for new sources. issuing national emission standards for new sources. If a state fails to provide an adequate plan, EPA must then issue a federal implementation plan for the state. A State plans for non-attainment areas generally are due within 3 years after designations for a new or revised air quality standard is issued.  These plans must provide for attainment of the standard air quality within 5 years of designation, or up to 10 years if  EPA determines additional time is needed due to the area’s severity of pollution and availability of controls.  

Monday, March 17, 2014

Exxon Valdez

   The Exxon Valdez was taking place on the day of March 23, 1989, when the Exxon Valdez ran into a Bligh Reef, spilling tons of oil that added up to approximately 10.8 million gallons.  The Exxon Valdez although was heading towards Long Beach, California until the tragedy happened.  As many as  2,800 sea otters, 300 harbor seals, 900 bald eagles, and 250,000 seabirds died in the days following the disaster. The spill caused over 300 million of economic harm to more than 32 thousand people whose live-hoods depended on commercial fishing. The cleanup required about 10,000 workers, 1000 boats and roughly 100 airplanes and                                                              helicopters. twelve years after the spill, oil still can be found on half of                                                               the randomly selected beaches. The spill although have made great                                                                progression to this day.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Mobro 4000 garbage barge

The Mobro 4000 garbage barge was essential in sparking the modern recycling revolution.  The Idea to move trash by barge was revolutionary but the situation was exaggerated by the media.  They claimed that there was medical waste on the barge. That caused the barge to go from place to place for five months.  The garbage ended up being burnt in a Brooklyn incinerator.  Because of the scare people started to recycle more and the amount of people recycling has steadily increased.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Deepwater Horizon

Deepwater Horizon is a computer controlled oil drilling rig. It is owned by one of the largest oil drilling contractors in the world, Transocean, which let oil and gas companies rent their equipment at an average of $282,700 a day. On April 20th, 2010 a gas release and immediate explosion occurred in the Gulf of Mexico. BP was the company that was using Deepwater Horizon at the time, and this event became known as the BP oil spill. The oil spill negatively affected the animals that lived in the Gulf. The oil spill decreased fish population, and feathers of birds were covered in oil. This event also caused a decline in recreational activity that happened in the Gulf. Days after the oil spill, BP teamed up with companies to restore the Gulf. As of December 2012, BP spent $14 billion on restoration projects for the Gulf. To this day, BP is still trying to restore the Gulf.

Grand Canyon

My project was on The Grand Canyon.  The Grand Canyon is located in Arizona and is one of the 7 wonders of the world.  The Grand Canyon has a 277 mile long river that runs from one end to the other.  That river is the Colorado river.  The Grand Canyon was formed by erosion.  Wind and water are the two key factors.  The Grand Canyon used to be home to many different civilizations.  The Grand Canyon also has three rims.  The North, South, and West.  The north rim is a rim that is only seen by adventurous people and  people that like to hike and just be away from things.  The south rim is the tourist spot. 90% of the people that visit the Grand Canyon go to this rim.  The last rim is the west rim.  The west rim does not belong to the National Park.  It belongs to Hualapai Indian tribe.  This rim is home of the sky walk but it still does not see a lot of people.  The Grand Canyon also has many things to do if you visit such as atv tour, helicopter tour, rafting, bus tour, sky walk etc.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Coniferous Forest

The Coniferous Forest is a generally frigid forest area with a myriad of animal species and an abundance of plant life ranging from mushrooms to its ever useful evergreen trees. These evergreen trees along with other pine shaped trees are long and narrow, covering many mountains as well. Evergreens being so prominent in the area do certainly hold importance to men today. From usage regarding Christmas holiday to using coniferous oil produce as cleaning supplies. The Coniferous Forest and its trees are certainly a benefit to society and should definitely be preserved.

Coniferous Forest : Cone Shaped Trees and bushes

You can find coniferous forests in Canada, Europe, Asia, and the United States

Animal food chain in a coniferous forest. *examples of Flora and Fauna*

Examples of Fauna: Lynx, Wolves, birds, Skunks, Owls, Weasels, Foxes, Moose, Elk, various insects, birds, and small rodents such as mice and squirrels.

Monday, February 24, 2014

James lovelock Summary

My presentation was on James lovelock and he was born on July 26, 1919 in Letchworth Garden City in the United Kingdom. He graduated as a chemist from Manchester University in 1941 and in 1948 received a Ph.D. degree in medicine from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. In 1959 he received the D.Sc. degree in biophysics from London University. He is the author of approximately 200 scientific papers, distributed almost equally among topics in Medicine, Biology, and Instrument Science. He has filed more than 50 patents, mostly for detectors for use in chemical analysis. The electron capture detector was important in the development of environmental awareness. It revealed for the first time the global distribution of pesticide residues and other halogen bearing chemicals. This information that enabled Rachel Carson to write her book, Silent Spring often said to have initiated the awareness of environmental disturbance. Mostly what he is known for is the Gaia hypothesis The Gaia hypothesis, also known as Gaia theory or Gaia principle, proposes that organisms interact with their inorganic surroundings on Earth to form a self-regulating, complex system that contributes to maintaining the conditions for life on the planet. The hypothesis, which is named after the Greek goddess Gaia, was form by James Lovelock.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Chernobyl Disaster

My presentation was about a disaster that took place in Ukraine. It was the largest uncontrolled radioactive released into the environment, that was ever recorded for any civilian operation. The disaster was a unique event and the only accident in the history of commercial nuclear power, where radiation-related fatalities occurred. It was caused while the testing of the reactor number four. They were testing the reactor, to determine how long turbines would spin and supply power to the main circulating pumps, which in that moment a loss of the main electrical power supply occurred. The reactor was on an unstable condition when the people tried to shut it down, and the explosion happened. It caused an explosion and a melt down.That caused reactor number four to spew over 200 times the amount of radiation. The Chernobyl Disaster affected over seven million people, including the areas of Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine. The incident caused people to evacuate the location, and some never came back home. After the disaster, it caused people to become disabled, dead, or some even committed suicide. There were health issues such as the rise in thyroid cancer or any thyroid disease, immune system disorders, lung,heart, and blood problems, and finally learning problems for children. To solve that event, $400 million, U.S dollars, was put into that event, to improve the situation. 600,000- 800,000 firefighters and emergency workers were sent to help out from the Soviet Union to put out fires, bury radioactive equipment, shut down all Chernobyl reactors, and they also created a tomb to surround the radioactive material that collapsed from the reactor.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Coniferous Forest Summary - Tristan James

The Coniferous Forest is a generally frigid forest area with a myriad of animal species and an abundance of plant life ranging from mushrooms to its ever useful evergreen trees. These evergreen trees along with other pine shaped trees are long and narrow, covering many mountains as well. Evergreens being so prominent in the area do certainly hold importance to men today. From usage regarding Christmas holiday to using coniferous oil produce as cleaning supplies. The Coniferous Forest and its trees are certainly a benefit to society and should definitely be preserved.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014


Creosote Bush
Bur Sage
White Thorn
Cat Claw
Brittle Bushes
Desert Bighorns



Hot semi-arid climates tend to be located in the tropics and subtropics. These climates tend to have hot, sometimes extremely hot, summers and mild to warm winters. Snow rarely (if ever) falls in these regions. Hot semi-arid climates are most commonly found around the fringes of subtropical deserts.

Cold semi-arid climate tend to be located in temperate zones. They are typically found in continental interiors some distance from large bodies of water. Cold semi-arid climates usually feature hot and dry (often exceptionally hot) summers, though their summers are typically not quite as hot as those of hot semi-arid climates.

physical characteristics:

Landforms in semiarid deserts are often carved by sudden torrential rains and flash flooding.

bodies of water:

water resources in arid and semi arid are very scarce due to the low rainfall and high evaporation.  

environmental importance:

Arid environments are limited and variable rainfall that supplies resources in pulses. Resource pulsing is a special form of environmental variation, and the general theory of coexistence in variable environments suggests specific mechanisms by which rainfall variability. might contribute to the maintenance of high species diversity in arid ecosystems.spiked lizard


What do you think about deer culls?

December 3, 2012 (Newark, NJ) – District 5 Freeholder Brendan W. Gill of Montclair, Chairman of the Freeholder Board’s Deer Population Control Committee, convened a meeting of his committee on Thursday, November 29, 2012, at the Hall of Records.  
Director Salvante gave an overview of pertinent statistics, including the fact that a total of 2,654 deer have been removed from county property since 2008 (818 culled, 545 unborn fetuses, 1,291 killed in vehicle accidents on county roads). He also pointed out that the success of the County’s deer management program (whether due to culling or to the effectiveness of roadside reflectors) was manifested in the reduction in the number of deer killed on county roads: 182 (2012), 233 (2011), 229 (2010), 283 (2009), 363 (2008) and 303 (2007).
Bernier discussed the various elements of the deer management program and emphasized that the hunting aspect “…is not in any way intended to provide recreational sport.” He added, “The hunt is intended strictly for the purpose of deer management, and has three goals: to preserve bio-diversity in the county’s woodland and fields (especially its parks) by allowing for forest re-generation to reverse the damage done by the over-browsing of deer; to provide aesthetic and financial relief to homeowners whose landscaping has been damaged by deer; and to reduce the threat to public safety caused by deer-related motor vehicle accidents.” He also discussed the extensive efforts to notify the public of hunts, the stringent rules in-force to make the hunt as safe as possible, as well as the effort to use skilled and experienced marksmen and to include as many Essex County resident marksmen as possible.
Bernier also responded to questions from Freeholder Gill, other freeholders and members of the public about alternative population control means besides hunting. Regarding “trap-and-transfer”, he pointed out that it was attempted years ago in Essex County and failed; that is very difficult to accomplish, logistically; and that it often results in the death of deer from trauma and injury anyway. He also discussed the current impediments to the use of fertility control/immunocontraceptive drugs such as PZP and GonaCon: legality – the State requires that deer first must be captured, the drug must be administered by veterinarians, and permission must be granted in writing from all property owners within 2,000 feet of the designated darting area if the deer are to tranquilized prior to inoculation; cost - recent analyses indicate the cost to be $1,000 per deer, and likely higher here in Essex County, due mostly to the mandated participation of veterinarians; and application, the most problematic of all - 90% of the female deer must be immunized, they must be captured, tagged and kept track of to know when they must be re-treated, and they must be treated at least every year, if not every year. He went on to add that even if all of these impediments were to be worked out, the use of these drugs will only “…allow you tomaintain a population at or close to what it currently is; what it will not do is reduce the population.” “So, if you have too many deer already, fertility control agents are not going to bring that population down for at least ten years.”
Freeholder Gill emphasized the importance of moving forward with forest regeneration efforts and asked, “When are we going to reach the point where the number of deer is low enough that we won’t need to hunt anymore?” Bernier answered by saying that forest ecologists generally say a population of 20 deer per square mile will permit a healthy forest to survive, “…but, your forests are far from healthy and current research suggests you probably need to get the density down to about 5 per square mile in order for forest regeneration to really have the opportunity to succeed.” At the current rate, he indicated that the hunt in South Mountain Reservation would probably have to continue for another 2 or 3 years, that it would take longer at the Hilltop Reservation, and that at Eagle Rock, perhaps a hunt every other year for a while would suffice.

Source:  http://www.essex-countynj.org/freeholders/site/index.php?section=120312DeerCmteMtg

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

                                                  Tropical Savanna
                           By, Colin Nestor

Info: The biome from the project was well constructed and expresses the Tropical Savanna characteristics flora, fuana, climate, etc.

Climate: Tropical wet and dry climates. The Tropical Grasslands is hot year around typically never dropping under 64 degrees Fahrenheit. rainfall annually if from 20-50 inches per year.

Physical Characteristics: The characteristics of a savanna are a grassland mostly dominated by grass and other plants such as shrubs and tree-sized woody plants.The tropical Savanna supports a great seasonal environment for large mammals and other populations of animals.

Flora/ Fauna:      


Tropical grasslands is dominated by grass, about 3 to 6 feet tall. The plants develop in regions where the climax community should be forest. Drought and fires although prevent the development of many trees.

Environmental Importance: Tropical grasslands are characterized by  very deep, rich soils and they are very important for the absorption, retention and purification of water.

                                         Baobab Tree

                             Savanna Elephant

Monday, February 17, 2014

Tropical Dry Broad Leaf Forest Corrections Darian Toms & Jovan Poggi

  L (Tropical Dry Leaf Forest)

         ( Bobcat)

The Tropical Dry Broad Leaf forest   are  in climates that are warm year-round, and may receive several hundred centimeters of rain per year.They have tress such as the Teak and the ebony mountain that looses moisture and their leaves shed allowing them to conserve water during the dry periods. Trees near the moisture parts tend to be the greenest. The Dry forest is home to monkeys ,deer ,cats many rodents and various birds. Dry forest is found is regions where there are several months of severe to absolute dry season, with most rain falling during a wet season. Dry forests found in very warm regions in the tropics where the mean annual temperature is greater then 17 degrees Celsius.