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!

Friday, January 30, 2015

The Precautionary Principle

The precautionary principle is:

Actions should be taken to prevent damage to the environment even in cases where there is no absolute proof of a causal link between emissions or activity and detrimental environmental effect.  Embedded in this is the notion that there should be a reversal of the "burden of proof" whereby the onus is now on the operator to prove that his action will not cause harm rather than on the environment to prove that harm (is occurring or) will occur.

In other words, should those who wish to introduce a new chemical, a new industrial process, a land-use change, and so on, have to demonstrate that their change will not harm the environment before proceeding?

QUESTION:  Do you accept or reject the precautionary principle?  Explain and defend your answer.  Examples are always good.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

David Attenborough

David Attenborough was born on May 8, 1929, in Isleworth, United Kingdom. David was raised in Leicester and went to Clare College, Cambridge to study Natural Sciences and graduated in 1947. After completing his degree in Natural Sciences, his first job was in the Navy. He is a Naturalists and nature documentary producer who created the documentaries Planet Earth and The Life of Birds. Before he began his career, he collected fossils, stones, and other natural specimens. He is believed to be one of the most travelled men in history. David travelled about 256,000 miles. That is equivalent to going around the world 10 times. In 1952, he joined BBC Television and began his famous “Zoo Quest” series. He presented political broadcasts, archaeological quizzes, short stories, gardening, and religious programs. He was responsible for the introduction of color television into Britain. He resigned in 1973. His services to television were recognized in 1985, and he was knighted. He has received honorary degrees by many universities across the world. David is a Patron of the World Land Trust. This organization buys rain forest and other lands to preserve them and the animals that live in them.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Exxon Valdez

The construction of the Exxon Valdez began on July 24,1985 in National Steel and Shipbuilding company in San Diego. A single hauled ship measuring at 987 feet long and capable of holding 1.48 million barrels of crude oil down the Alaska-California-Panama line (west coast of North America). It first set sail on December 18,1986 and began hauling crude oil for Exxon. On March 24, 1989 the Exxon Valdez collided into Bligh Reef in Prince William Sound immobilizing the vessel and rupturing eight of the eleven cargo tanks. Spewing 10.8 million gallons of crude oil into the pristine Alaskan waters contaminating over 1,500 miles of coastline. The cleanup effort was delayed by three days while Exxon scrambled to get the equipment together and that the crash site was so remote that it was only accessible by boat or plane. It costed Exxon over 2.1 Billion dollars and at its peak the clean up crew consisted of 10,000 workers, 1,000 boats, and 100 helicopters and planes. Nevertheless, less than half of the contaminated coastline was cleaned, the rest of the contaminated coastline has gone untouched to this day. The oil spill had devastating effects killing over a quarter million sea birds, about 2,800 sea otters and many other animals. Even today many species have not recovered from the spill over 25 years later animals like herring are on the verge of extinction. The cause of the crash was 100% percent human error at every reason of the blame from the captain being impaired by alcohol, the new radars for the US Coast Guard, lack of watch by the captain, and the inexperience of the third mate. Nevertheless, after the crash the Exxon Valdez was repaired for 30 million and renamed the Exxon Mediterranean and continued hauling oil for Exxon. It changed its name many times afterward and was sold to a ore hauling company in Honk Hong in 2008. It was beached in India on August 2, 2012 where it was scraped for metal. Positives of the Exxon Valdez oil spill were the Oil Pollution act of 1990, banned the use of single hulled oil ships by 2015 and all ships must be doubled hulled, and that scientists have been studying and learning of the long term effects oil has on the environment.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Mobro 4000 Garbage Barge

I was assigned the topic of the Mobro 4K Garbage Barge. I had never heard of this disaster but I knew what a barge was so I had some sort of idea of what this might have been. It turns out that a garbage company named Mobro was looking for a different way to get rid of garbage. So they decided to send out these garbage barges to the ocean and hoped that it would land in North Carolina. Instead the barge traveled all the way to Belize & finally ended up back in NY. A couple European countries decided this was a good idea & are now trying to import garbage to fuel their energy plants.

John Muir

My presentation was on a Scottish man named John Muir. I had heard his name before but I haven't really went into depth about him until i got assigned to do a PowerPoint about him. This man was basically the reason why half of the national parks are national parks. He wrote over 300 articles about his adventures in the woods or his journets throughout parks he been to. He met Theodore Roosevelt and helped found the Sierra Club, which makes notable parks national parks. For example, the Yosemite national park, if it wasn't for John Muir and his team, maybe this park would not have been a piece of American  nature history.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015


I feel like nature has its own style. Every tree is different from another tree and everything is just so originally made. We need nature for a couple of reasons. The first is that we need oxygen. Second, everything is so well done. No one can create something like it. Lastly, nature is something that is beautiful even if there are insects. What would happen to those insects if we don't have nature? They will be extinct! Without insects, who knows what can happen. Maybe there will be a big change in our world, and maybe there won't be a change at all.