Archive for Vanessa Vazquez

Breathing Dirty In California

Do you live in California? Did you know that residents in California cities breath in the worst air? The Golden State currently has the most cities with the worst air pollution.

According to a report by HealthDay News, CA topped the list of U.S. cities with the worst air pollution. A study on air quality was conducted by American Lung Association.

They also found that 48% of Americans live where smog is too high, 20% live where there are short-term spikes of pollution, and 6% live where there is harmful, year-round soot.

But wait. There’s more. The article reports that about 17 million Americans affected by three types of hazardous pollution. Exposure to pollution can lead to low birth weights, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. (Those were just some on the list).

How do you think Californians can help decrease air pollution?
To learn more, visit the California Environmental Protection Agency website.

Air pollution in Los Angeles. A layer of smog hovers over the city.

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Deforestation Encouraged By Demand For Gold, Other Materials

In Peru, the demand for gold has resulted in illegal and destructive mining that in turn, has increased deforestation in the Madre de Dios region.

According to Mongabay.com, an environmental science and conservation news site, the loss of forests in Peru is only the beginning. Mining has detrimental effects such as an increase of mercury which contaminates the air and soil.

In addition, according to the article, social problems like drug trafficking, indentured labor, and child prostitution, have arisen from the illegal gold trade.

But Peru is not the only country facing this issue. Three years ago, officials in Tibet planned to ban gold mining to protect the environment.

According to an article by the Associated Press, many parts of China are polluted and water supplies are contaminated because of illegal mining. In parts of Tibet, water is used as a source for China.

What will the push for gold and other precious materials eventually cost us?
Deforestation in Peru. Photo by Mongabay.com

To learn 5 ways you can help stop deforestation, read the article by Mother Nature Network.

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Earth Day 2011

This year, Earth Day landed on April 22nd and provided people opportunities to take action and participate in helping to preserve the planet.

Earth Day Network gave people the opportunity to register and pledge an act of green for their “A Billion Acts of Green” campaign on their website. EDN is trying to prove that real change can occur if millions of people commit to their actions. So far, a little over a million people have made a pledge.

“Our family will use less water, plant a tree and grow a food garden,” “I pledge to use less styrofoam, as well as recycle all paper and plastic products…,” and “I will bring my own reusable shopping bags to the store,” are all examples of pledges people have proposed.

Pledges range by topic from advocacy, energy, transportation, and water. EDN’s reasoning behind this campaign helps raise awareness on the way we treat our planet. It is true, also, that if millions commit to their actions, then maybe a big difference can be made. What do you pledge?

Earth Day photo from space. Photo from National Geographic.

To learn more about Earth Day or how to make a contribution, visit Earth Day Network.

To view more photos of Earth Day, visit National Geographic.

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Plight of The Honey Bees

Without honey bees, many of the fruits and vegetables we consume would not be pollinated. If they aren’t pollinated, we simply can’t enjoy them and we would lose the majority of our food supply that feeds the world’s growing population.

But honey bees are disappearing. What in the environment is causing this to happen? Could it be pesticides? Global Warming?

According to an article by Associated Press, scientists believe that pesticides, disappearing habitats, wet weather, and a particular parasite are to blame.

In addition, United Nations Environment Programme, UNEP, has estimated that 70 species of bees pollinate 100 crop species that provides 90 percent of the world’s food.

UNEP also warns that if honey bees aren’t protected, their decline will continue to rise.

There remains hope however, that honey bee populations can be conserved and restored. For example, farmers and landowners are being provided incentives to help restore them.

In addition, popular ice cream makers, Haagen Daz has created a site where people can learn more information on helping save the honey bee population. On their interactive website, www.helpthehoneybees.com, Haagen Daz provides information on the honey bee crisis, what they are doing to help, and how you can help.

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Earth Hour Allows Clear View of Night Sky

On March 26th 2011, at exactly 8:30p.m., hundreds of people in cities around the world switched off their lights in honor of “Earth Hour,” allowing spectators to see the night sky clearly. In 2007, the World Wildlife Fund began this campaign as an international statement towards climate change.

According to WWF, participants send a powerful and visual message demanding action. Since its inception, Earth Hour has become a global movement including 4,000 cities in 87 countries.

In addition, according to National Geographic, this year’s record breaking Earth Hour had more participants than ever. However, despite efforts, light pollution continues to remain as a major form of pollution. Light pollution, or photopollution, is excessive artificial light.

From National Geographic. Hong Kong during Earth Hour, March 26th 2011, 8:30p.m.



View more photos of Earth Hour from National Geographic.

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Japan Quake Environmental Effects

The earthquake in Japan induced numerous environmental concerns and issues. According to an article by Los Angeles Times, officials are concerned about the dangerous levels radiation coming from the power plants. Attempts at dumping water on the power plants via helicopters were abandoned. Instead, police are using water cannons originally meant for dispersing riots.

In addition, it is feared that plutonium and uranium will leak into the environment because they are highly carcinogenic and can be detrimental to humans. Unfortunately, power plant workers are exposed to these dangers as they work to minimize damages. However, they are equipped with full protective gear and only work short shifts.

The tsunami, generated by the earthquake, is also at fault for having killed thousands of birds. According to the Associated Press, approximately 1,000 Layson albatross were drowned or buried by the onslaught of debris brought by the tsunami.

An 8.9 earthquake struck Japan on March 11, 2011. Short-term affects are being noticed. However, long term affects to the environment remain to be seen.

From Associated Press: A Laysan albatross chick washed ashore by the tsunami.

Find out what you can do to help Japan here.

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Water Shortage From Local to Global

As global water supplies are diminishing, demand is rising in energy and agriculture production. However, scientists warn that demands for water will spike, while catastrophic floods and droughts will occur within the next 40 years.

In Michael Comte’s article, “Scientists Warn of Water Woes,” the amount of money spent on water consumption, flood damage, improvements in infrastructure and distribution, and water in agriculture is expected to rise to a trillion dollars annually by 2020.

This means that by 2020, approximately $10,000,000,000 will have been spent on water.

This year, water experts and stakeholders are meeting in Canada for the Canada Water Resources 2011 conference to share ideas and tools on how to help other countries face the uncertain future of water.

According to the Canada Water Network site, while water demand will exceed supply in many countries by 40%, one-third of humanity will only have half the water they need for life’s basics.

CWN director, Margaret Catley-Carlson warns that we need to brace for one of humanity’s greatest shortages.

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