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!

Monday, January 30, 2017

Cuyahoga River

The Cuyahoga River is located in Northeast Ohio and is known to have been one of the most polluted rivers in the history of the United States. The river was polluted by the waste, in particular the waste generated by factories during the industrial-technology transition. Creatures like leeches and sludge worms that thrive in wastes weren’t even able to endure life in the river.
There have been a total of 13 fires in the river, the first of which occurred in 1868. The most costly fire occurred in 1952, costing around 1.3 million dollars in damages. The most fatal fire occurred in 1912 and documented 5 deaths. In 1969 another fire occurred and was the most covered of all the Cuyahoga River fires mainly because the United States was becoming more eco-aware about the country and also due to the river fire headlining in “Times” magazine. Due to the amount of attention the fire of 69’ brought to the city of Cleveland, a great deal of pressure was given to hygienic regulation. The fire of 69’ influenced Congress to resolve the issue with land pollution in the United States as a whole and passed the National Environment Protection Act (NEPA). This later established the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) which manages environmental risks and sanitary-specific policies. One of the first actions the EPA enforced was to put forth the Clean Water Act (1972), which ordered that all rivers throughout the United States be hygienic enough to safely allow large amounts of swimmers and fish within the Cuyahoga River by 1983. Since the fire of 69’ the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District has invested over $3.5 billion towards the purification of the river and the development of new sewer systems. Another act that was established was the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement commitment between the United States and Canada. This restored and protected the waters of the Great Lakes and states that the EPA coordinates U.S. activities.This agreement was also a result of the awareness of pollution in the Cuyahoga River as well as the Clean Water Act. Without the Cuyahoga River, we would not live in the same country as we live in today. The river has brought worldwide attention to water pollution and how waste is treated in ecosystems that has large bodies of water nearby. The river is now home to about sixty different species of fish and new waste management programs to ensure the cleanliness of Cleveland's waterways.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Acadia National Park

Acadia was first established as Sieur de Monts National Monument in July 1916 by President Woodrow Wilson then it was later changed to Lafayette National Park and in February 1919 was when the park became the first National park east of Mississippi. In January 1929 was when the park was officially named Acadia National Park by an explorer named Giovanni Verrazano when he was sailing by the area back in 1524. One of the most historical aspects of Acadia's formation is because of the donations from private citizens such as George B. Dorr & Charles W. Elliot who discussed the dangers of the park that could have happened but prevented them before hand. The person that played a major role in this formation was John D. Rockefeller because he built carriage roads that were going to be for guests or people of the higher ranking but are for hikers, bikers, and horseback riders and he also donated 11,000 acres of land. Acadia supports more than 1,000 different plant species that thrive in conditions such as acidic, low-nutrient bogs, tidal estuaries, intertidal zones, lakes, ponds, and exposed summits. The animal species ranges from vital microorganisms to the predators and the types of species are birds, Mammals, Amphibians, Marine Mammals, and other sea creatures. There are 3 Campgrounds in Acadia which are the Blackwoods Campground, Seawall Campground, and the Acadia Wildwood Stables Campground, Blackwoods is in the south and is welcoming for tents and recreational vehicles, campfire programs, and running water with available showers, Seawall is near the southwest and is available for tents, motor homes, and group sites, and Acadia Wildwood Stables Campground is only open for visitors with horses. Some of the interesting facts about Acadia is that most of the building was provided by Civilian Conservation Corps, average summer temperatures is 67 Fahrenheit, Altitude is from 0 to 1,530 feet, there are over two million visitors per year. Acadia is frequently ranking one of the top National Parks in the U.S.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

David Suzuki

David Takayoshi Suzuki was born in Vancouver, Canada on March 24, 1936.  While being raised in Canada, he developed a passion for nature and genetics which led to him getting his Bachelor’s degree in biology from Amherst College, and later his PhD in Zoology from the University of Chicago. He voiced his views on the benefits of genetics and also on the ethical problems arising from it. He did this through his television shows such as Suzuki on ScienceQuirks & Quarks, The Nature of Things, and Yellowstone to Yukon: The Wildlands Project. He also wrote books like Genethics: The Clash between the New Genetics and Human Values, It’s a Matter of Survival, and The Sacred Balance. Because of David Suzuki’s love for science, he made a nonprofit organization that balances human needs with the earth’s ability to sustain life known as the David Suzuki Foundation. This foundation was established by Suzuki in 1991. Some rewards that he received are the Order of Canada, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Kalinga Prize and the Right Livelihood Award. David Suzuki will not only be remembered for his success as a science broadcaster, but also because he made people realize the need to coexist with nature. By being one with nature, people can help care for the enviroment and not take it for granted.
Image result for david suzuki

What Happens To your Trash?

Have you ever wondered what happens to your trash? Well it's not just simply taking out the garbage and thinking it's gone, but it isn't. Our garbage goes through a whole process of separating the trash and putting it in some place, but it's also not an ordinary place like a hole. The first destination is called a transfer station, where all of our trash is separated from trash and recyclables. Our trash could end up at a few destinations. They could end up at a landfill, where the waste is left to decompose. It can end up at a incinerator, where our trash is burned to ash and heat and could also be used as energy. They could also go to a recycling center where it will be transferred into a manufacturing plant so that the materials can be used to make new products. Lastly, it can end up in the ocean. This is why it is important that we put our trash in the right containers and recycle as much as we can. Garbage does not disappear when it leaves our homes. All of our trash ends up somewhere and has an impact on some person in some way.

Monday, January 16, 2017


Hydraulic Fracturing, commonly referred to as "Fracking," is a method employed by firms to harvest natural gas from deep underground. The method uses a concoction of water, sand, and over 700 chemicals, blasting them through underground shale in order to access the hidden natural gas. Fracking has brought some economic benefit in the form of 100 years of gas security in North America, the opportunity to produce energy at half the carbon emission of coal, an increase in US domestic gas production, and, consequently, reduced gas prices. However, fracking does come at a cost. Fracking can contaminate air and groundwater with dangerous, and even deadly, chemicals. Many of these chemicals are either carcinogenic, highly toxic, or outright deadly. Furthermore, scientists have found correlation between earthquakes and fracking operations. Certain parts of Oklahoma are seeing a spike in powerful earthquakes that have not been seen since the 19th century. So far, fracking has faced little resistance in the United States- the EPA has been unable to prosecute fracking firms for possible pollution since 2005. Many states are also embracing fracking, with half of the states allowing, or in the process of allowing, fracking operations. The other half either show no opportunity for fracking, have banned fracking, or do not partake for other reasons. Due to its numerous dangers as well as the small amount of resistance by the government, fracking has spurred much controversy. Many campaigners say that fracking's economic benefits only serve as a distraction from investment in alternative energies.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch

In a basic summary, the Garbage Patch is a whirl of marine debris particles in the central part of the North Pacific Ocean. It spans from our West Coast all the way to Japan. Marine Debris is any type of litter ranging from soda cans to balloons that have been dumped inside the water. Currently, it’s one of the biggest pollution problems that the oceans and waterways are facing.

Some facts about it are -

  • Double the size of Texas.
  • Over 7 Million tons of weight
  • About 9ft deep
  • By an estimation, over 80 percent of the plastic originates from land floating in rivers to the ocean or blown in the wind into the ocean.
  • The remaining percentage originates from oil platforms and ships
  • Majority of the trash patches consist of plastic
This is important to us because the patch has a major effect on us, and animals. Some of the plastics wind up in  the stomachs of these marine animals. The Laysan albatrosses, a type of seabird are usually found to have plastic  found in their digestive system causing their offspring to be majorly harmed from being fed plastic.The patch has an ability to absorb PCBs, DDT. and MAH’s which are organic pollutants (therefore they have a toxic effect). In regards to us, if these get inhaled they disrupt our endocrine system with our hormone’s. These are also swallowed by jellyfish who are soon swallowed by bigger fish therefore making a huge mess. I concluded my presentation with describing how it happened which was The upbringing of this patch was originally predicted by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association to happen long ago due to the giant accumulation of trash found in the ocean. The patch is not one whole pile of trash but instead multiple tiny islands that formed together in a vortex where multiple currents meet. As they converge they create a passage that keep these piles together called gyres.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Sir David Attenborough

Zoo Quest. Life on Earth. Planet Earth. These are all shows that were produced and hosted by Sir David Attenborough. David Frederick Attenborough was born on May 8, 1926 in London, England. He developed a fascination with the natural world early in his life. When he was seven years old, he assembled a collection of bird eggs and fossils himself. After graduating from high school, he was awarded a scholarship to study natural sciences at the University of Cambridge. 

In 1952, Attenborough began working for the British Broadcasting Corporation as a television producer. Zoo Quest, a series that he launched in 1954, was a program that filmed Attenborough with animals in the wild rather than taking them out of their natural habitat. This series established what is now the general standard for nature documentaries today. Another big show that Attenborough launched was the education series Civilisation in 1969, which was the first-ever color broadcast in Europe.

Despite his growing success, David Attenborough decided to resign from the BBC to begin writing and producing television series as a freelancer. Some successful programs that he produced as a freelancer were The Tribal Eye, Life on Earth, The Trials of Life, and Planet Earth. Attenborough is still very active in journeying around the world and producing TV series even at an old age. For example, in 2015, he dived 1,000 feet in a submersible off the Australian coast to film previously unseen parts of the Great Barrier Reef. In addition, he recently filmed a new BBC series, Planet Earth II, in Ultra HD.

Throughout his life, Attenborough has earned many achievements. In 1985, he was knighted and earned the privilege to add "Sir" to his name. He holds 32 honorary degrees from British universities, including Oxford and Cambridge. In addition, several species have been named after him, such as the dinosaur, Attenborosaurus. Surely, through his travels and numerous TV series and documentaries, Attenborough has helped millions of us to understand and appreciate the wonders of the world.