Author Archives: Matthew Bacho

How Technology is Helping with our Impact on the Environment

Technology is an ever advancing aspect of life, growing smarter and smarter with our passion and progress towards better artificial intelligence. With climate change an inevitable outcome of our society, our only choice is to ameliorate the severity of the change, by reducing our effect on the environment. Most countries in the world and much of the United States believes in the effects of global warming but meager efforts are being made to actually reduce our effect on the Earth. Even with the Paris Agreement, Syria sought to join the agreement to agree to make changes to be greener and help the environment, as everyone acknowledges this very real threat. This leaves the US as the only country in the World that did not sign on the climate deal. Because of the nature of our advancing technology, it is only natural that we would have it help in our efforts to alleviate our effect on the environment. There are already large scale technological efforts including Harvard University’s crop pollinating robobees as well as the prominence of driverless cars. The former is important too because bees have been dying at an alarming rate due to a disorder in colonies which could be correlated to climate change. Harvard’s robobees would solve the issue (especially in the event that the pollinating bees go extinct) by pollinating and ensuring that part of our environment is maintained. However, despite all these efforts at a greener tomorrow, the biggest and most important factor is each and every one of us, personally to watch our lifestyle. For example, we now have smart thermostats that use the internet to check the weather and adjust accordingly and are also linked to smartphones so they can be set on and off during set times of the day. Like if a family goes to work and school, heating or air conditioning is not needed between roughly 0700-1500, which saves a lot of electricity and heating bills. Amazon sells a lot of smart thermostats, many of which are compatible with Amazon’s Alexa artificial intelligence. As such, changing the temperature is as easy as saying “Alexa, lower the temperature to 65 degrees please.” There is also smart irrigation systems, as to avoid over watering your plants when you decide to turn the sprinklers on in the summer. These smart irrigation systems like Skydrop, utilise the internet also, to check weather conditions and are set to work on certain times set by the user. Skydrop knows not to activate the sprinklers if it detects that it just rained the night before for example. Overall, technology is being used widely to combat issues we recognise as problems and gives us better accessibility for it. If more and more people invest in these technologies, not only will they save money in the long run, it will greatly help the environment, which is crucial for our future, our kids futures, etc.

Climate Change And Its Cost On The U.S.

Climate Change is a serious and impending issue that has not been addressed properly, particularly by this current administration. According to sources, the U.S. is in danger of losing billions of dollars. This is obviously a serious issue, considering almost all U.S. citizens know that the U.S. National Debt is over $20 Trillion, and rising. Clearly, an issue that could cost the nation even more billions of dollars of debt. The GAO or Government Accountability Office reported, according to US News, that the U.S. faces economic catastrophe if President Donald Trump does not act upon the issue. The Office of Budget and Management showed that all the extreme weather conditions and damage caused by the definite climate change in the past decade, has caused the nation around $350 billion. This is particularly important because we, as citizens and taxpayers, are spending more and more due to a distinct lack of attention to the serious issue that faces not only our country, but the world. We already know that Trump is making it his prerogative to undo all of the acts and efforts under the Obama administration, especially those related to climate, and that Trump willingly admits that he does not believe in any such thing as climate change, despite the clear scientific signs and evidence of it. The economic impact of not changing our efforts on climate change will be catastrophic and has to outweigh and be prioritised over the current political affairs. In recent news, sample prototypes of the Mexican border wall that Trump envisioned have been erected, though with no funding or concrete plan for the wall, will not be happening any time soon. With that in mind, Trump chooses to focus his attention on building walls and deporting immigrants, all of which involves lots of spending, rather than focusing on the important issues at hand. Senator Cantwell, one of the senators who requested the study on climate change be performed, hopes the current administration will focus on climate change, as by the year 2100, numerous deaths are projected to occur in the Southeast due to heat, roads and infrastructure will be destroyed, as well as issues with wildlife populations and marine life. The study also showed that short-term effects of climate change are just as detrimental, as the nation could be responsible for $4 to $6 billion from 2020 to 2039 just because of storms and rising sea level. The GAO recommended to the Office of the President, particularly the Office of Science and Technology Policy, to determine the issues with climate, and respond appropriately. The administration needs to focus on climate change and realise how important it truly is, and that if nothing is done, at the very least, billions of dollars will be lost.

Politics on Climate Change

Politics and its role in climate change affects each and every one of us in the United States. Politics affects how many of the citizens and residents in our country view topics and hold opinions, and more importantly, affects our ability to take any action towards a cause. In the topic of climate change, we have a man in charge who believes that the whole concept of climate change is a “hoax” and does not really exist. While many (rational) residents in the US know that be far from the truth and understand the gravity of the situation in terms of the perils of climate change, there are still plenty of people that listen and follow what people like the man in charge think and believe. Under Barack Obama’s administration, the Environmental Protection Agency proposed the Clean Power Plan, in efforts of reducing emissions to reduce our carbon footprint and reduce the climate threat. The idea, unveiled mid-2015, was to reduce the carbon dioxide that was emitted from power generators and lead to cleaner air and not lead to further global warming. Under the Obama administration, climate change was not taken lightly, as the EPA combated and regulated greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act. Under the Trump administration, the EPA is seeking to replace Obama’s Clean Power Plan and its rules as they are “bad for business.” Several rules are being targeted in the environment aspect, as the EPA is seeking to edit water regulations and car mileage standards. The EPA, after arduous processes, is finding ways to edit rules for the better and find a way to replace Obama’s Clean Power Plan with a newer and more efficient plan, instead of killing the plan as the administration would gladly have. In a study by Yale, US voters across the parties were surveyed and their results on action towards climate change were measured. For the most part, Democrats and Independents sided more with the idea of doing something about climate change particularly starting with our government and congress, whereas the Republicans, especially the conservative ones, thought otherwise. Nearly all parties agreed however, that corporations and industries, the big companies of America should be doing a big part in contributing to the reduction of emissions and aiding in addressing the issue of global warming. Around half of the voters believe that citizens, congress and especially President Trump, should do much more too. Half of the voters believed that climate change should be placed at a higher priority than it is now and Trump should consider it a real issue, rather than a hoax. Most voters believe overall, that the US should do whatever it can to reduce emissions, despite what other countries do. Overall, politics play a big role in our action to certain issues, particularly climate change. Many people want something to be done but are not able to with the current administration, but voices and opinions are heard and taken into consideration. Particularly because it is debatable that Trump will have a second term in office, and laws and rules need to be levied and put into effect before his term is over. The EPA is starting the process now and hoping to expedite their journey in replacing the Clean Power Plan as soon as possible in efforts to stay on the course.

 

Climate Change and the US Military

The United States Armed Services are a vital and integral part of our nation. The United States defence budget alone is $846.6 billion, the second largest expenditure in our federal government’s expenditures right after social security, which boasts a whopping $1 trillion. US military spending is greater than the next nine countries combined. Clearly the US values it’s military, as they are thought to be not only our fighting force, but relief effort. The United States military takes pride in assisting those that need aid like from disasters. With climate change acting the way it is currently, the world is seeing an increasing demand for support as several places are being ravaged by hurricanes and earthquakes. In such a short time span, hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Jose, and Maria have all come to wreak havoc on Texas, Florida, the Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico. While there are people that doubt climate change’s existence, our President included, the Pentagon and the Department of Defence, see the looming perils of climate change. Secretary of Defence Jim Mattis even noted that climate change is a “driver of instability” with the weather patterns destabilising regions and feeding into conflict. While the US military strives to assist the devastated states and islands to recover from the disasters, some military bases are already experiencing the negative effects of climate change. Naval bases by the waterfronts are experiencing hundreds of floods a year due to rising sea levels, and, according to calculations, these bases could be entirely submerged by the year 2100.

The military has already taken steps towards fighting climate change as they have been raising their naval bases, employing early storm warning systems, and utilising solar energy and other green, more efficient energies other than fossil fuels. Much of the country’s emissions come from the military and the production, and as a result, they seek to reduce that amount and help the planet. Climate change is happening all around us and needs to be handled. With just a mere three foot increase in sea level, would potentially threaten over 128 military installations, costing us over $100 billion.

While much of our efforts have been helping Texas and Florida recover from the hurricanes, Puerto Rico has not been so lucky. With Hurricane Maria striking a week ago, Puerto Rico still faces no power, no food, and is devastated. With FEMA’s response to Puerto Rico, the US military is now preparing to send over ships and aircraft in efforts to evacuate and help relieve the situation. Several C-17 and C-130 and C-5 aircraft from different bases are flying over to bring aid as well as Navy hospital ships are being sent over to aid. The US military knows how to aid those in need, particularly from disaster and recognises the global issue of climate change that could severely affect us and the next generation unless we do something about it.