Thursday, April 05, 2007

- Teen Life Project Reflection ;)

We are now done with the Teen Life Project, so we need to reflect about how did we felt about it, what did we liked and disliked, and how did it helped us; basically is to tell what do we think about the project that we have made. So here it goes:

The first time that Mr. Hide talked about the Teen Life Project, the first thing that came to my head was that worries were about to come. You know that feeling of preoccupation that you have inside when you are not done with something, and you feel that the time that you have to finish the project reduces faster and faster? Well, I hate that feeling, and that’s exactly what I thought was about to come, so I really didn’t appreciate this whole idea of the Teen Life Project initially. As we moved on with the project, I began to care more and to gain more interest about it. I am that kind of person that loves to gain knowledge and to know every day more, so that when people are talking about for example history, I know what they mean and I can also get involved in the conversation, because one thing I really love is to socialize and to gain general culture too, because that is what we gain doing this project. And that was happening; I was gaining a lot of knowledge about different subjects because we needed to read what other people, from Malaysia and North America involved in the project, wrote. As well, we needed to research for choosing the issue that we wanted to know, write, and learn about.

From the very beginning I was interested in global warming, but I wanted to explore more things to see if I got interested in them, and I did, I got interested in poverty, animals rights, eating disorders, and several more. Even though I was interested a lot in poverty, I lead more to global warming, so I ended choosing global warming and I don’t regret, at all. I gained a lot of knowledge about this issue, and as I gained more knowledge my worries about a warming globe increased. Global warming is an inconvenient truth, like Algore’s documentary, which has a perfect title for a documentary of global warming because it is an inconvenient truth, and people still don’t care.

Doing this project I learned about politics, science, and about fixing some issues with a video camera. I got to solve problems with my partner we had never faced, and this is important because when we are grown ups and we go to college, and have our families we will need to face problems. Therefore, every person needs to know how to solve every kind of problem, and in my opinion every time a person faces a problem and solves it, learns more about how to solve problems.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Causes of Global Warming

This is my last research on global warming; I have learned many things about the issue. In this last post, I will like to write about some causes of global warming, I know I said on my last post that I will research on various causes and solutions, but I think it will be better if I focus more on the causes of global warming. I believe that it will be better if with opinions we give some ideas of how can we solve or reduce global warming, so I will continue and end up my research with solutions for global warming.

The factor that causes global warming the most is emissions of green house gasses into the atmosphere. Green house gasses in the atmosphere have risen by about a 30% since the past century. The green house effect happens by the sun radiating energy to the earth; energy passes through the atmosphere and earth absorbs much of the energy heating the Earth’s surface, but also some energy is reflected back into space. This process used to take place naturally in Earth’s atmosphere; making the planet earth more suitable for providing human life in it. Greenhouse gasses in earth’s atmosphere make Earth’s surface to absorb more heat energy and stops it escaping from the atmosphere. Usually, greenhouse gasses have molecules with three or more atoms. When the energy penetrates on the molecules, the molecule absorbs heat, it creates a vibration; it vibrates because the atoms are very close together. That vibration produces and releases radiation; this process repeats on and on. Since the industrial revolution, emissions of greenhouse gasses have increase by a lot, making temperature rise. This increase in temperature is causing a lot of damage on Earth.

Scientists believe that the increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is mainly because of human activities and the burning of fossil fuels. Also, did you know that plant respiration and decomposition of organic substances release more than ten times of Carbon dioxide to earths atmosphere than the amount that is release by human activity? But, don’t panic! Don’t panic! These releases of carbon dioxide have been in balance during the times before the industrial revolution, that's why nowadays, global temperatures have rise dramatically.

Another factor that strengthens global warming is deforestation. Trees and vegetation absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere turning it into oxygen, turning it into a way we can use it and decreasing the amount of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere. Unfortunately, humans do not take advantage of that support, and instead we are cutting them down. For example, the Amazon rainforest, the largest rainforest in the world, is being deforested. Several days ago, I was reading an article in the news that said that Brazil’s government proposed to turn more than 50% of the rainforest into an area available just for industrial activity. If the rate of deforestation continues as it is going right know, in a hundred years roughly, our great and beautiful rainforests will fade away. The effects on climate if this happens are unpredictable. The reasons for deforestation to take place are for agriculture, to sell timber and other woods, and in general is economy.

I think that all of what we do, we can undo it, like “ctrl-z”. Obviously global warming is not going to stop happening within juts a minute, but little by little we can improve it and discourage global warming until we reach the point where we will be proud of ourselves because “we did it”. Everyone is worried about global warming but there needs to be more action. People talk and talk and don’t do nothing about it. So why you don’t stand up and do something! I’m very happy with the general knowledge I got about global warming. Soon you’ll see the documentary...Hopefully!

Greenhouse Effect
Greenhouse Gasses

Monday, February 19, 2007

Next Effect of Global Warming

As more days go on, my research is going more into my topic; global warming. Every day I get more and more worried because I see that global warming is a fact, and the main thing that is causing it are humans. Its like if people didn’t realize that the more affected will be us; humans. Five effects of global warming will be: human health, weather, sea level rise, agriculture, and animals and plants. Global warming will affect human’s health by making some organisms to spread disease. As temperatures increases, people will die of getting too much stress do to hotter days. Also, mosquitoes will widen their variety, getting to places that are too cold for them. This will make them to spread more diseases such as malaria, dengue fever, yellow fever, and encephalitis. Allergies and respiratory problems will increase as temperature continues rising.

Weather will change dramatically in a future if global warming continues at this rate. Scientists predict that the parts that will be more heated up are the poles. Ice masses in the poles will melt making less ice bergs float on the Arctic and Antarctic oceans. In places where there is small snow fall, in a future there will be no snow fall at all. Nighttime and winters will have higher temperatures than usual. But, also scientists predict that while the globe continues warming, the atmosphere will become more humid making more water vapor go into the atmosphere. They still don’t know if water vapor will push or kind of slow down global warming. Water vapor is a green house gas, but in the other hand it will make more clouds in the atmosphere that will return sunlight rays into space. Storms will increase and will be more severe. Rainfall will increase one percent each time one degree Fahrenheit also increase. People expect that weather will be less predictable and more intense.

Seal levels are expected to rise about from 9 to 88 cm for the end of this century. If this is true, shorelines will change drastically and erosion will take place more frequently and making more damage. For example, the sea level rise will cover much part of the Everglades in Florida. Also, it will sink 6 percent of the Netherlands and also many islands will sink too.

Agriculture will be affected in both ways; good and bad. Good, because there will be places like southern Canada that will have a longer growing season and more rainfall, and also in places in which the climate is classified as semiarid and have some tropical farmlands will receive more water increasing crops or farming. But, forests and many trees will be in some kind of trouble because they will be bothered by more plant diseases and insects.

Plants and animals will be at risk. This is because it will be difficult for them to adjust to global warming effects or to move from their habitats. Both will be seeking for new homes in the poles or in higher elevations, do that were they are used to live will tend to be very hot in a future. For some of them, the move to the poles will not be so easy because they will find obstacle in their way such as, cities and farmlands that will block their way leading that specie to a sort of extinction.

My personal opinion about all these effects is that humans need to make something about it; we are causing too much harm to our very own world. As I said earlier scientists don’t know if the abundance of global warming in the atmosphere will speed up or slow down Global warming, so I think that weather is starting to be less predictable than before.

I will like to continue searching on various causes of global warming and some other solutions too. Then, my group and I will like, kind of choose the best two or something like that and will focus more on those.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Global Warming & The Arctic

The ACIA, which stands for The Arctic Climate Impact Assessment, was an international project that finalized in November 2004. This project was done with the purpose of collecting data, from many sources, to see how UV radiation, global warming, and climate change would affect the rises in temperature of the Arctic making the tides to increase and affecting the globe in many different ways. The project finalized with three reports; a synthesis report, a scientific report, and a policy report. The scientific and the synthesis reports were released on November 9th, 2004 and the policy report was released the 24th. This was important to be done because the Arctic temperatures are increasing at a rate faster than the rest of the world, so this project provided some kind of future result. From the twentieth century the temperature of the globe, without counting the Arctic, has increased 1ºF and in the Arctic the temperature has increased about 4 to 5ºF from the mid 1900’s. The reports that were done by the ACIA have been of much help for the world. They have been a source of veridical information for the people who are working to improve the future of the globe.

One of the effects of global warming will be sea level rise. As I said earlier, the arctic is warming at a faster rate than the rest of the globe, this makes the ice sheets and glaciers to melt and raise tides. According to the report made by the ACIA, the predictions are, that by the end of this century, the sea level will rise about 4 inches. This might not sound a lot, but indeed it is a lot; this will change coastal lines and will cause a lot of erosion. The Arctic Tundra is also involved, it contains a lot of carbon and it can release a lot of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere during a melt. When ice masses melt, because of released green house gasses, it adds more water to the ocean and it makes the ocean to warm. Also, one of the major source of fresh water the earth has are ice masses and by melting they will combine with the salinity the ocean contains making the solution to change because it will combine with other elements.

In my opinion, a way to end or improve this, is by following the Kyoto protocol. If the USA accepts it, Japan will follow up. If Japan follows up, the protocol will gain the support needed to make it an international law. If the Kyoto Protocol becomes an international law, emissions of green house gasses will decrease; the effects of this I think will be usual tides, the Arctic will recover its original shape of ice mass, also the temperatures will decrease until they reach their original point, etc. Climate change is affecting the world worsening it, because for example, the mosquitoes produce a lot of diseases. They are more attracted to places were temperatures are high, so they go to those places spreading diseases.

I will like to continue my research on one cause of global warming. I will like to have one cause, one effect, and one way to improve global warming in this project. This project for me is very interesting because I’m really worried about where the future of this planet will lead to. The cause that I will research will be about the emissions of global warming and how gasses get trapped in Earth’s atmosphere.

ACIA & Sea Level Rise
Global Warming and The Arctic

Monday, February 05, 2007

The Politics of Global Warming

Some days ago, I was looking at the BBC News web page and I read a remarkable article about the politics of climate change. While I read this article I learned a lot of interesting things about the Kyoto Protocol and how it is working in present days. For those who don’t know, the Kyoto Protocol is like a kind of treaty between the countries that are part of the United Nations to decrease the emissions of green house gasses, and by this way improving climate change. In other words,
The Kyoto Protocol is an agreement made under the United Nations Framework
Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Countries that ratify this protocol
commit to reduce their emissions of carbon dioxide and five other greenhouse
gases, or engage in emissions trading if they maintain or increase emissions
of these gases.

The Kyoto Protocol now covers more than 160 countries
globally and over 55% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

The major polluters are the following countries (in order):
United States of America
2. European Union
3. China
4. Russia
5. Japan
6. India

The United States is the only country in the globe that has accepted the Kyoto Protocol and then refused it. On March 2006, George W. Bush said that he would not ratify the Kyoto protocol because he thought it would worsen the US economy and because it doesn’t make the developing countries to cut their emissions. The US emits more, by much, green house gasses. It has increased its emission 11% from the 1990’s.

In the other hand, China has decrease its emissions and has improve a lot its economy, so it is not necessary that if a country cuts it emissions it will damage its economy. I think that is what President Bush meant on what he said last March. Although, China is one of the major polluters, it has decreased its emission of carbon dioxide by a 17% from the 1990’s. Even though China is not required to cut its emissions because it is an annex II country, which means that is not a developed country, it has cut its emissions by far.

Russia is a developed country; this means it is part of annex I. Russia’s gas emissions have decrease a 40% from the 1990’s till now. But, this hasn’t been of much help for the country due to that its economy has also fallen dramatically. Even though their economy is very weak, they ratify the Kyoto Protocol because it is a way of earning money. The plan is to use the money for projects of energy efficiency.

Japan, one of the most powerful economies in the world, has also decrease its gas emissions and it needs to because its part of annex I. They feel affection to the protocol; it has the name of one of its cities because the protocol was concluded there. But they say they will not ratify the protocol until the Americans do. Until the Japanese accept the treaty, the Kyoto Protocol will not have the support needed to be an international law.

As well, India, a developing country, has increased its emissions more than 52% from the 1990’s. In my opinion, at this rate it will be vulnerable to be a major polluter in a future. Maybe that is why President Bush doesn’t agree that all developing countries aren’t obliged to cut their emissions.

I think that in part, the Kyoto protocol has been of much help to the world on improving the green house effect. I think that if the United States accepts the protocol and Japan follows up it would be better because it will have the support needed. Imagine if the Kyoto Protocol wouldn’t ever be done what would be of this world? Any of those countries would have decreased their emissions.

For More information visit BBC News -Climate Change.

Monday, January 29, 2007

<----->Hunger and Homelessness<----->

While doing my network of Google reader yesterday, I read some great ideas of concerning issues. Although all of them were pretty good, the one that most called my attention was one of the issues that April, from Mr. Fisher’s class, wrote. She wrote about poverty mainly, but she specified on world’s hunger and homelessness.

Here in Colombia a huge percent of the population suffer from hunger and live in the condition of having no home. Is very sad when most of the times you are in your car with all your family going to hang out with them and you see that there is an old man that could be your grandfather. You see that man sleeping on a piece of carton on the street and maybe he’s hungry or maybe not, or maybe he is even dreaming that he has a little house, with some food, water, and a cozy bed, while some times we complain because we have to share the bedroom with our sister or because our bedroom is too small. There’s when you start wondering why you complain so much instead of being pleased with all of what you have. How many unfortunate kids right now will not be wondering why they live in the streets, why they don’t have a family, why they need to starve, or why do they work to feed themselves instead of being educated.

I think that where you can see most people living in these conditions is in developing countries more than in developed countries. For example, my teacher of Colombian history told me that in Canada, a developed country, elderly got a health insurance and got a house that the government gave to them. I’m not exactly sure but if this is true, this is the way things need to work in every place of the world. There is no reason why some children do not receive education or for old people to be in the streets begging for money so they can afford something to eat or a medicine.

Here in Cartagena, Colombia, you can see a lot of poverty. From time to time some people between 20 to 50 years old steal things. In some cases, this happens because they feel so frustrated since they cannot feed their families or that they owe somebody that has threaten them and they cannot pay, that they get to a point were the feel the necessity of stealing or to assault. Here there is a new route that was built by “La Cienaga de la Virgen”. This route is called “via perimetral”; people try to evade this route because it is very dangerous. If you are by that route you may be in risk because in that zone live people that is very poor and you see a lot of vandalisms over there.

I think people should think more of these issues. The issues that we’re facing are not jokes, they are reality and we should face them as a team; everybody helping a little. If everybody does something I think we will proceed faster. What are some possible solutions for this issue that you have or you can think of?
Ps: Feel free to leave comments. Inappropriate comments are NOT accepted.

Also if you want to look at map tha shows Global Hunger and also Global Hunger Map 2003

Monday, January 15, 2007

º::·.Teens and the Future of Our World.·::º

Hi, my name is Valeria, but my friends usually call me Vale, Val, or Valerie. I Live in Cartagena, Colombia, since I was born. I have 3 brothers older than me; I'm the younger, I am 14 years old. I just turned 14 in January; I celebrated my birthday with my friends in a house my family have in the Rosario Islands. I used to go to the Colegio Britanico, but in third grade i changed of school to the George Washington School, which in Spanish stands for Colegio Jorge Washington. I’m in seventh grade and my homeroom teacher is Mr. Hide. My friends and I usually call Mr. Hide, Mr. Hidesitow. My favorite subjects are social studies and math. I also enjoy science classes but not as much as social studies or math. Sometimes my friends call me Valerie because several years ago, when I was in third grade, I had a teacher, Ms. Holzgang, that called me Valerie and I didn’t like it because it was her who began calling me that way. When I was in third grade I used to be kind of like a little devil and I hated her, but now I’m okay with people calling me Valerie.

I follow a normal life here in Cartagena. My schedule begins at 6:00 A.M. when I wake up for school. Classes begin at 7:05 but students must be in their homerooms by 7:00 sharp to prepare and hear the announcements. I’m the vice president of STUCO which stands for the Student council, so I need to stay every Wednesday in a meeting after school. On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, I stay after school for soccer practices. I’m play as defense in the team of my school. I love soccer, for me soccer is more than a hobby, I enjoy every minute I play it. Also one important thing you must know about me is that I love to draw and paint; in a future I want to be a fashion designer. Another sport I play is tennis. I used to have practices on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, but know I go only on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Last year my academic elective was environmental science. In that elective I learned a lot about what is going on with our world, how we affect the environment, how gasses and the environment behave when they mix. One thing I got very interested about was when we learned a little bit about the Kyoto protocol and Global Warming; I continue thinking about it and I began to become concerned. This is and issue I’m interested about. I will like to know how it will affect the future of our world. I want to know more about how the Kyoto protocol works, the details about it, and which countries follow it. For example, one detail I want to know is the maximum amount of greenhouse gasses that is permitted to emit and what amount of money is the fine if you exceed of the amount of gasses permitted to emit. Also, what will be the consequences of following it, because this protocol is supposed to control emissions of gasses worldwide and also to control the greenhouse effect, but some of the countries, such as China and India, are about to become the major producers of greenhouse gasses.

Obviously, I have other issues I’m concerned about and that affect my life, such as the “guerrilla” here in Colombia or about AIDS. I’m not still certain of what issue I’m going to choose and also I will be with a partner, Valentina. You can let me comments telling me other issues that affect our teen lives and the world.