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, February 27, 2017

Yellowstone National Park

Image result for yellowstone hd wallpaper

Did you know that there was a super volcano capable of wiping out a large amount of the human population? This volcano is located in Yellowstone National Park. Yellowstone is located in Wyoming, but with small parts in Montana and Idaho. Yellowstone National Park is 3,500-sq.-miles of wilderness. The park also contains rivers, canyons, and waterfalls. European Americans began exploring the park in the early 1800s. 70 years later the first organized expedition explored Yellowstone and in 1872 the park was established as the first and biggest National park. A national park is an area protected by the government for the general public and for the preservation of wild life. Yellowstone is home to 67 species of mammals, 285 species of birds, 16 species of fish, 6 species of reptiles, and 5 species of amphibians. The abundance of food, water, oxygen, and organism interactions makes it a very suitable and stable environment. Yellowstone is also known for having geysers. A geyser is a vent in Earth's surface that periodically ejects a column of hot water and steam. A geyser erupts when super heated groundwater, confined at depth, becomes hot enough to blast its way to the surface.There are only 1000 geysers worldwide and 300 of them are located in Yellowstone. Yellowstone is a very unique place and is visited by thousands of tourist world wide, it is crucial that we understand that something as beautiful as this place need to be taken care of.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Love Canal- Mike Aguirre

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The Love Canal's reputation of being the most horrific environmental tragedy in American history, ironically, was once supposed to be considered a Utopian city. William T. Love had an idea, to power the city through the use of canals extending from the Upper to Lower Niagara Rivers. This project came to end, during the creation of the canals, due to a lack of funds. William Love was forced to sell the partially built canal to Hooker Chemical Company, at an auction. The company dumped chemicals into the canal and sold it to the city of Niagara Falls, after completely using it, for one dollar. This was a really bad financial buy as the chemicals in the canal would eventually reach surface; it would appear on the backyards and garages of local homes. It was not safe to live in one's house as the chances of getting cancer and other diseases was high. Some positives came from this tragedy. Chemical dumping was now taken serious, and the creation of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act, which taxed gas and chemical corporations to be used to clean up dumping sites. The Love Canal was officially removed from the Superfund List in 2004 as it was declared "clean", but recently some have stated that they have seen an increase in disease and a weird smell.

Light Pollution - Francois Benoit

Image result for light pollution    Light pollution is excessive, misdirected, or obtrusive artificial (usually outdoor) light, Light pollution is a side effect of industrial civilization. Its sources include building exterior and interior lighting, advertising, offices, and streetlights. Light pollution is a waste of energy and a determent to our environment. Lighting is responsible for one-fourth of all electricity consumption worldwide
Outdoor lighting uses about 120 terawatt-hours of energy. Over illumination wastes a lot of energy, the inefficient design of said outdoor lights wastes most of the energy put forward to light the area for only about 40% of the light that is used in the outdoor lights helps us see at night. Light pollution Interferes with the timing of necessary biological activities, from nocturnal species sleeping patterns to migratory patterns of other nocturnal birds. Life revolves around the natural patterns of light and dark, these patterns are built into most species on earth's DNA species on earth have lived with day and night for millennia and artificial light is only interfering with their daily processes. Certain species avoid light purposely to carry out some of their biological functions and artificial light is not helping. Artificial lights even affect us humans, production of our hormones, various cancers and even anxiety issues have all been linked to our output of artificial light. The most notorious thing associated with light pollution is that it blocks our view of the beautiful night sky.Even though we may be able to see in the dark now the light we humans create affects so much in negative ways.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

U.S Radium Corporation

The U.S Radium Corporation was founded by Dr. Sabin Arnold von Sochocky and Dr. George S. Willis. It is located in Orange, New Jersey. It emplyed numerous workers, mainly women. This company's main purpose was to produce luminous paints, produced under the name Undark. The luminous paint were mostly used to paint the faces of watches, which were sold to the U.S Amry for the soldiers. During this age, the thought process was that since radium could shrink tumors and destroy cancer cells , it should be good for anything. So they started using it for water, toothpaste, soda, and other daily products. Things began to turn for the worse when the women were suggested to use a method called lip-pointing which was to use their tongues to sharpen the edge of the brush. These girls would later be known as the Radium Girls. They would starting suffering from illnesses and cancer. The most affected area would be the jaw and mouth because the girls were using the mouth and ingesting radium. What's most concerning is that the girls were told that the paint was harmless. These problems were then taken to court and the company were sued. The company tried to cover up the mess by saying that the girls were in good health when they clearly weren't. The court cases would take years because the victims couldn't talk or walk to testify, and by then most of them died. One positive outcome out of all this tradegy is that the U.S Congress passed a law basically improving factory work condtions.

Monday, February 6, 2017

The Exxon Valdez Oil Spill

On March 24, 1989 a terrible event happened. The tanker known as the Exxon Valdez was grounded in Bligh Reef which is located in Prince William Sound,Alaska. The tanker was carrying crude oil as its cargo which it leaked out 11 million gallons of it once it was grounded on the reef. Grounded means a ship is immobile and cannot move. This oil spill was extremely hazardous to the environment and affected many different species of plants and animals. This harmful event could have been prevented if the tanker had a double hull however Exxon refused to have a double do to the expense. However due to Exxon trying to save money many animals, plants, and even people were affected by this event. Recovery from an event like this takes a long time as well. Over 25 years since the incident the different species have recovered due to human aid however their are many species who are still recovering, those not recovering, and some with their status being unknown. There was a good thing that came from this, since this made a huge mess and many people were furious the government stepped in and know we have better rules and regulations to prevent oil spills and if they do happen a better clean up process. In conclusion it is our duty as Americans to make sure we are doing our part to help out however we can to protect the environment.

Friday, February 3, 2017

John Muir

John Muir was born on April 21,1838 in Dunbar, Scotland. He was a naturalist,philosopher,writer,botanist, and geologist. Growing up, Muir was raised in a strict household. His father was a harsh disciplinarian and worked his family from dusk to dawn. Whenever Muir was on break from his work, he would go out into the woods near his home and explore the nature surrounding him. This is what made him become an inventor of all things wood. He created a horse feeder, a table saw, a wooden thermometer, and an alarm clock that pushed him out of bed. Muir attended the University of Wisconsin in the early 1860's and left in 1863 in order to study botany and explore the natural world by foot. In March of 1867, he had a serious injury while working in a factory. He pierced an awl into his right eye causing both eyes to go blind. Muir decided if ever did recover he would travel the world in order to see God's creation. It is presumed that while he was stuck in bed, Muir's friends would come over and read to him. This is when he most likely first heard about Yosemite. In September of 1867, Muir's eyes were healed and he set out on a thousand mile walk from Indianapolis to the Gulf of Mexico. After the walk he planned to head to South America. He eventually completed the walk however when he was in Florida, he contracted malaria and this made him travel to Yosemite instead of South America. Yosemite is a National Park located in California. It is 761,266 acres and the first people who lived in it was a group of native Americans called the Ahwahneechee. The europeans arrived in 1827 and because of their arrival it caused the Mariposa War between the Ahwahneechee and the europeans. In 1848, the California Gold Rush brought thousands of people to the area which spread the word of Yosemite's beauty. Nine years later, President Lincoln signed a bill granting Yosemite Valley and Mariposa Grove to the state of California. The ahwahneechee was a powerful tribe that was feared by Miwok tribes who called them Yosemite which means "They are killers". This is how Yosemite National Park was named. Muir wrote tons of essays and articles in order to push for the establishment of Yosemite National Park. He also co-founded the Sierra Club in order to protect Yosemite along with others of America's National Wonders. Muir also went on a three day camping trip with Theodore Roosevelt and his main focus was to convince for the need of forest preservation but also for Yosemite and Mariposa Grove be receded to the U.S for inclusion of the park. Muir was also a major figure in the creation of the Grand Canyon and Sequoia regions which gave him the nickname "John of the Mountains" and "The Father of our National Park System". Eventually their discussion ended with the signature of the president for the Yosemite Recession Bill in June 1906. John died on Christmas Eve of 1914. His legacy lives on in the species named after him like the Troglodyte Muirii also known as Muir's winter wren. His legacy also lives on in the books he wrote like The Mountains of California, Our National Parks, and My First Summer in Sierra. If it weren't for Muir we wouldn't have Yosemite National Park as we have today or other Wonders of the world like the Grand Canyon, Kings Canyon, Petrified Forest, and Mt. Rainer National Parks.