Tonight at 8:30pm is Earth Hour, and annual event where hundreds of monuments around the globe go dark for an hour in order to promote sustainable energy and conservation. This year more than 170 countries are taking part, from the Eiffel Tower, Big Ben, Times Square and even the International Space Station. Earth Hour started in Sydney Australia in 2007 and has grown each year. In order to support this tonight from 8:30pm to 9:30pm turn off all of your lights and share this link to spread the word!!
Today is EARTH DAY! Every year on April 22 Earth day is celebrated. The whole idea behind Earth Day is if the public could get energized and excited about air and water pollution that would in turn energize more people around the world. As a result each year millions of Americans take the streets, parks and auditoriums to demonstrate healthy, sustainable ways of living. Earth Day is a great way to challenge the environmental community to convey knowledge to those who may be in the dark and show those who don’t know the little steps that help one live a more sustainable life.
This year on the Lehigh Campus, like years before, Lehigh is hosting a Earth Day fair where organizations around campus set up tables showing people ways to live a more sustainable lifestyles, educating people on new technologies that have been created and fun games that promote sustainable practices.
What can you do? There are little and big things an individual can do to make a difference. From buying solar panels and constructing LEED certified buildings to recycling and reusing your plastic bottles one can make a difference. It is much easier to do small things so here is a list of easy things to do:
1. Switch your light bulbs to compact florescent light bulbs
2. Plant a tree or two
3. Turn off your lights
4. Unplug your chargers (they are using electricity even if your phone isn’t plugged in)
5. Carry your own reusable water bottle
and there are many more. Make a change and make a difference!
The history of Earth Day: http://www.earthday.org/earth-day-history-movement
Debates about how to become more sustainable, how to prevent more global warming, deforestation, loss of fresh water, loss of diversity occur more than one can count. Prevention of more harm to our planet is crucial but cleaning up our already wasted products is equally important.
recycled plastic Adidas sneakers
Over the years many products have been created using recycled plastic bags or bottles. From carpets to shirts to bags, plastics have been recycled to serve another, hopefully longer lasting, purpose. Adidas is jumping on the bandwagon by partnering with Parley for the Oceans to develop products that are made from plastic waste that originates from the ocean. Starting in 2016, Adidas in all 2,900 retail stores will retire from using plastic bags in order to support the environment and encourage everyone involved to raise awareness about ocean pollution. Like Adidas, Patagonia is trying to rid their materials of toxic chemicals, H&M is the world’s largest purchaser of organic cotton and has set up a recycling program.
Many companies in the different industries are making little sustainable steps towards helping the world. Little steps here and there do not seem to make a difference but it causes a chain reaction. Don’t be afraid to be the one to make the first step in the right direction!! Every step counts!!
It’s EARTH WEEK! From April 19th to 25th Lehigh University is hosting Earth Week! From guest speakers to the Earth Day Fair to Sustainability workshops students get the opportunity to learn about Earth’s natural beauty as well as how conserve and preserve that beauty. The schedule of events can be found at: http://sustainability.lehigh.edu/calendar-events.
Lehigh University has been making a sustainable effort all around campus. The Bethlehem Farmer’s Market is held weekly when crops are in season therefore allowing the students to buy locally grown food while supporting our local community. Students also have the opportunity to participate in the Community Gardens, Energy Conservation Month, RecycleMania competition, SustainabLEHIGH to live in sustainable housing and to take classes in LEED certified buildings. There are many groups and clubs on campus that are also trying to expand the initiative by starting to compost and taking little steps to sustainability.
Lehigh University celebrated Holi by holding a school wide event on the UC Lawn yesterday. People from all over campus and all different organizations came together with white shirts and a whole lot of colored powder. In honor of the Holi Festival, a spring festival also know as the Festival of Love, the students of Lehigh put on a show of flying colors and laughing faces.
Tomorrow I will be registering for classes for my Spring 2015 semester. I am mixed with emotions of sadness and enthusiasm. My freshman year at Lehigh is coming to an end and it has been quite a roller coaster! From acclimating to the social life and the dynamics of a new school away from home, to the vigorous and interesting classes I have taken, this year has been filled with amazing memories. I am reminiscing about this past academic year due to registration. Once again I was astounded by what the IDEAS Program can offer me. Next semester I will start taking higher lever engineering classes as well as electives like product design and sustainable policy that I am greatly interested in exploring. Bill Best is by far one of the best advisers. He knows each major inside and out, and a five minute talk with him will show you that you can do anything you want. His knowledge, outward thinking and dedication to his students are inspiring and I am thankful to have him as my mentor and guiding star.
Dynamic Tidal Powder is the newest idea to harness energy from the tides. Renewable energy is produced by the surge of the ocean waters due to the rise and fall of tides. It is a new idea therefore the amount of power produced thus far by tidal energy is small and there are very few power plants. The first Tidal Power Station is located in La Rance, France. Unfortunately the U.S. has not sites where energy could be produced at a reasonable price, but it is a great idea for other countries like China, France, England, Canada, and Russia to implement. There is a long road for tidal energy but once engineers develop a product that has a low Energy Payback Ratio, has little impact on the environment, and is profitable for everyone, it will be a highly beneficial sustainable solution.
Tidal Streams are bodies of high velocity water due to tides. Turbines are placed within these streams to allow the waters steady and reliable tides to produce a constant stream of electricity. The turbines blades move slowly to prevent marine life from getting caught in the system. The first tidal power station was constructed in 2007 and implemented in a narrow straight between the Strangford Lough inlet and the Irish Sea.
What is this strange plastic looking tree you might ask? It is the Arbre A Vent or “wind tree” created by French entrepreneur Jerome Michaud-Larivieve through his company New Wind. The 26×36 foot tree has 72 “leaves” that are silent power generators. A wind as light as 4.4 miles per hour can push a leaf, allowing energy to be produced potentially year round. Power is produced from these trees to power all the streetlights and some small surrounding apartment buildings. Even though this does not sound like much, in the long run it will be highly beneficial. Wind power has a high Energy Payback Ratio although it’s biggest criticism against their implementation is their appearance. This invention is great because it is allowing a great sustainable resource to be implemented without the criticism of those who will see it everyday.
Are offshore wind farms the future of renewable energy? Europe has already invested in 2,488 offshore wind turbines jumping on the next big thing. After much debate and protest, Deepwater Wind announced they would be the first company in the U.S. to implement the first U.S. wind farm. They secured a $290 million to build a small, five-turbine wind farm off the coast of Block Island in Rhode Island. Even though the farm is on the smaller side it is estimated to produce 125,000 megawatt-hours annually allowing it to produce enough power for 17,000 homes. I believe this is going to be one of the renewable energy sources that will aim the world in the right direction to becoming more sustainable.
California is facing one of their longest and harshest droughts in history. Dried up lake beds cause water shortages forcing residents to decrease outdoor irrigation. They face up to $500 in fines if they do not cooperate. The state was put under drought emergency as of January with estimated losses of $2.2 billion and 17 thousand jobs within the year. In addition to residents changing their outdoor irrigation ways, agriculture farms were forced to use less and less water as they watched their wells decrease year by year. The ultimate question is, what should be done in the future to avoid fresh water depletion in California? The country? The world?
In my opinion in areas where droughts are probable catchment systems should be implemented. Catchment systems can be implemented under buildings. By catching water on the roof and then storing under the building, the water can be used to make everyday life more sustainable and to have back up water in case of emergencies. Although, the main change that needs to occur is consumption. The majority of the United States is consuming more energy and resources than is available. We are at a turning point and need to change our habits.