As part of their module, Writing for Journalism, Media and Film students highlight the effects of climate change on our world, please see articles below:
Going Green – My Environment Advice and Tips
Ireland’s environment is a fundamental and high-quality national asset that provides a strong foundation for healthy and contented lives. Here are a few VITAL TIPS to make it better, cleaner and safer to be in.
Make Your Voice Heard: You can voice out your concerns on the issue to big businesses and corporations, do public volunteer work with many others or write a letter to a local newspaper.
Reuse Single-Use Items(eg. plastic): Find reusable options to use more than once other than straws, disposable razors and plastic grocery bags. You can reuse those items when they’re well and necessary after first use.
Buy Locally, Eat More Plants and Compost: When you buy locally, you can get foods in a FRESHER and FLAVOURABLE state and cut down on transportation and processing. Grow your own fruits and vegetables in your back garden and eat more, cutting down on several meat servings. Instead of dumping away wet waste, compost them for your other plants in your back garden. Composting also reduces volumes in landfills.
Plant Trees and Landscapes with Native Plants: Green living areas in cities and suburbs are VITAL as they do their part in keeping the environment clean. By planting a tree and a few plants today, water can be conserved, carbon pollution is reduced, local wildlife is supported and unadulterated oxygen can be made a reality for our kids.
Reduce Use of Greenhouse Gases: If this action is undertaken, the world can be more supported along with the local environments and prevent sunlight OVERHEATING the Earth. When this happens, this is a form of GLOBAL WARMING.
So please, follow these tips and make the world and the environment around you a much better place. Our actions are deemed consequential all the time but make sure you make the right choices this time around to ensure Earth’s survival for many more years.
BLOOD RED SKY
Since September 2019 Australia has been suffering from horrendous bush fires. It has been estimated that over 1 billion animals have died in these. Also 24 million acres of the forest has been decimated and turned to ash. This is larger than Portugal. This has been recorded as Australia’s worst fire season in history and this is due to the rising of temperature and wind speed. What fueled the situation even more was that before these fires had even begun the country had also been suffering from one of the hottest and driest years on record. What has been the root cause of these damaging environmental conditions? Climate change!
Scientists in the UK have suggested that the fires in Australia will be considered normal weather conditions in the future. If actions are not taken to reduce emissions that are damaging the ozone layer. The temperature of the world is rising by 3C each year. Australia itself has in increased by 1.4 degrees over the world average. The bush fires have also caused a vast amount of air pollution around the country. Images have shown the sky turning from bright blue to blood red. Smoke levels have surpassed alarming levels over major cities like Sydney and Melbourne. It was blatantly evident when a female tennis player collapsed in a fit of coughing during the Australian open.
This is just the beginning of a new world if no proper action is taken to reduce the effects of climate change. We have 30 years to do it.
‘’How you can help your environment?’’
There are numerous ways you can help your environment today. Recycling is a very simple thing to do, but easily ignored and this is devastating to our environment. Many garbage disposals offer recycling services, so check with a company you use to see to help you get started. For example, you could consider, Allied Recycling or Rubbish Taxi.
Water is wasted more often than we can see. Do you often leave the tap running when you are not using it? Some advice for you, turn off the faucet while you are brushing your teeth, don’t turn your shower on until you are ready to get in and try to limit your water usage as you wash the dishes. Try fill up your sink with water and detergent, turn off your tap and start to wash your dishes. Using a basin will make it more beneficial and easier for you.
Instead of buying individually packaged drinks why not consider buying a reusable water bottle. Not only will this help the environment but it will help you save money. The ability to be able to clean and reuse your reusable water bottle is invaluable!
Car pollution is one of the major causes of global warming. Cars and trucks emit carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases which harm our environment. Car pollutants can harm human health and cause respiratory problems to the human body. Taking public transportation, cycling or even walking will help benefit your environment to a greater extent.
These are some of the many tips and advice which will help benefit your environment!
By the year 2100, global temperatures are expected to rise by 2.6 degrees Celsius, 4.8 in the worst case scenario. A rise in temperature of this magnitude could come with some disastrous implications for the environment. Food shortages, the extinction of entire species and the loss of coastal towns and cities are just a few of the things that will happen if we don’t make a change now.
Since 1906, the global temperature has risen by 1.6 degrees Celsius. We don’t have to look very far to find evidence that suggests this rise in temperature has made a huge change to the environment. The bush fires in Australia and the polar ice caps melting are both down to human induced climate change. By 2050, the great barrier reef could be no more, this is just one of the many terrifying outcomes of global warming that will happen in our lifetimes.
It’s up to us to put a stop to this, if we don’t, no one will. As the young people of Ireland we have a responsibility to look after the earth because it’s our home. Start making small changes today!
Welcome to the green side...we have bamboo
Sarah O’ Sullivan
Over the past few years, going green has become mandatory. People are slowly coming around to the idea of renewability and recycling. So, here are some questions that are asked regularly on how to become more energy and renewability aware!
How do I start?
Consider using renewable coffee mugs instead of constantly buying the coffee cups and then throwing away the cup which can’t even be recycled. Most coffee shops give discounts to people who use renewable mugs instead of the throw-away cups. Stay warm people! If you like that idea, then move onto plastic straws and cutlery, maybe consider using your own plates and cutlery, instead of the plastic plates and forks. Although it might be a little bit more cleaning up, take advantage of the Eco setting on your dishwasher! You can get metal straws and a little cleaner to go with them. #SaveTheTurtles #ISwearImNotVsco #Sksksk #HelpMeICantStop
The next step in your ‘go to green’ life could be healthcare. You can start using biodegradable healthcare products like bamboo toothbrushes, cotton swabs and floss- although the floss isn't bamboo, it is biodegradable. The bamboo toothbrushes are literally so cute and are soooo soft. You can get them at www.bamboogaloo.com or even other bamboo healthcare sites. Don't let me stop you! These toothbrushes are made with bamboo, moso, that pandas don’t even eat so they can keep snacking all day long. To all my makeup users, the number of wipes or cotton pads that we use to wipe off makeup is substantial and obviously these can't be recycled. So why not use reusable makeup pads. They are washing machine friendly and even come in a little baggie you can put them in. You can get these on amazon or anywhere! So, start that online shopping and go green!
Tackling the Irish environment
Irelands fresh and green landscapes attract many tourists each year and our natural environment is renowned throughout the world. But is the Irish soil as clean as we think it is?
Due to global warming and economic problems, many countries are trying to have 100% renewable energy usage. At least 30 nations around the world already have 100% renewable energy contributions, but what about Ireland? In Ireland we use more than 14.4 million tons of oil equivalent. This is a major increase from the 9.8 million tons used during 1994.
Our energy consumption is rising year by year which is natural for a growing economy, but as a nation, and we aren't achieving as much as our other EU counterparts. shockingly, we are the joint second lowest in the EU. Germany, Sweden and the UK are a few of the many countries that are way ahead of us and are making a significant change.
The Irish water is also questionable. During 2017, a whopping 21,657 Irish people were affected by Boil-Notices for their drinking water, which surprisingly, is a reduction from the 83,044 people affected by boil notices in 2016. This ridiclous amount of effect can cause any of us to hesitate to drink the irish water ever again.
And as for the pollution? Breathing polluted air is thought to kill more than 1,100 people in Ireland each year. This goes largely unnoticed. Many things are causing this. In 2016, 71 per cent of new cars were diesel the highest share of any European country. With all these diesel cars, there is more nitrogen oxide on the road and street. The same roads and street that is occupied with children and babies. And the government isn't doing anything about it .
With all of this information, we are only left to think of the Irish environment and how much work we have to do. This idea of Ireland being fresh and green is a myth that we need to expose.
“The world’s on fire and it’s about to expire!”
These apocalyptic words from Prodigy came to mind as I watched events unfold across Australia on television recently. Such scenes appear with such alarming regularity that we have almost become desensitised to them. The causal effect between carbon emissions and the global warming that has given rise to similar climate catastrophes is proven. Yet, neither governments nor corporate bodies seem minded to intervene in any meaningful way. While I find the virtue-signalling of activists, including Greta Thunberg, to be both ineffectual and counterproductive, their criticism of these entities is wholly justified.
We must, therefore, act as citizens and consumers to effect such change, if we are ever going to regularise global temperatures to where they were a few short decades ago. Ultimately, we, as consumers, determine market trends and their corresponding production requirements. It is these powerful marketing forces that are driving the problems associated with global warming and environmental pollution. In changing our patterns of behaviour as consumers, we can become agents of change, either by reducing our consumption or in sourcing sustainable alternatives. As citizens we can no longer “whistle past the graveyard”. Some eco-systems may have already reached a tipping point and are irredeemable. The election of more ‘green’ politicians and public officials would send a signal to our political establishment that the old order is rapidly changing and requires the requisite response. Use your vote and become part of the solution and not just another net contributory factor in the steady decline in the quality of life on Earth. Time, much like many of the world’s once plentiful resources, is fast running out.
"COVID effecting driving lessons possibly a threat to the environment"
COVID has affected students transport immensely with more and more people waiting patiently for driving tests with a total of 43,192 people waiting on one at the start of October according to the RSA. The RSA also commented that they expect the waiting lists to worsen on the run up to Christmas and that it could possibly take 8 months on the waiting lists to get an appointment. This is anything but good news for the environment as students, especially in rural areas, will have to get a lift to and from college instead of taking their own car up and their own car back possibly doubling emissions in the long run. A gallon of petrol burns 8,887 grams of Co2 into the air while a gallon of diesel burns 1,293 more Co2 emissions into the air, with diesel cars being twice as popular as the next popular, petrol, in sales according to statista.com. With the average miles to the gallon being 25 miles according to thebusinessinsider.com, it would mean a car going from inner Dublin to Dunboyne would burn up 11 miles going up and then 11 miles going back, almost a full gallon. Now I know what some people might be thinking, public transport, that is another major issue as COVID rules will basically stop people from getting the bus with a maximum amount of people allowed on. This just makes people become lazy and impatient as many bus stops are every hour and people are unwilling and do not have the time to wait for that long. To summarize, the RSA have to fix this issue in the imminent future for all of our futures and need to figure out how to roll out tests quicker and more efficiently in order to prevent this catastrophe already in motion.
"5G and the Environment"
There are several conspiracy theories about the effect of 5G on the environment. 5G means the fifth generation of wireless technology. The new network promises us faster speed and the ability to use more devices at once. The main problem associated with the innovated network is climate change. Our energy is going to be consumed by 5G. Apparently, 5G uses technology that is very dangerous for many things. Birds will be impacted the most, which is devastating for the entire ecosystem. This fresh technology is untested, we don’t know much about it yet. It is somewhat possible that the network will get in the way of our natural environment. This will increase harmful radiation, mining of rare minerals, waste, and energy usage. We will receive faster internet and download speed but it worth the hassle.
Apple launched its new iPhone 12 Pro and a line-up of different iPhone 12 models which is available to pre-order now. “bringing the best 5G experience in the market and delivering our most advanced technologies to users who want the absolute most from their iPhone,” said Greg Joswiak, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. This whole new technology, even though it’s faster will have many consequences. It is going to be one of the first phones which will be able to use 5G data. I am not saying the Apple company is bad for making such a product, to be completely honest I love their products, and they really know how to capture a consumer’s attention. It is devastating.
5G will use millimetre waves, not radio waves. Before 5G was released, there was about 2% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions that were not certified to the ICT industry. It might be a small percentage right now, but it translates to around 860 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions. The input of Carbon dioxide from the ICT industry will have an impact on climate change. We use carbon dioxide the most in our environment. We will receive way more waste, as technology can’t be recycled. A mobile phone uses at least 68% of carbon emissions during the production stage only. 5G will give us the ability to use more devices which will increase our carbon footprint significantly.
In conclusion are we ready for 5G? Does this need to be the next move? Is it worth risking ruining the environment for better download speeds and quicker data? I think we need more research on it and test it out beforehand. We shouldn't release it until we know it doesn’t ruin anything.
"How veganism benefits the environment"
For a lot of people, it can be very difficult to make a change to their lifestyle. Some may think that vegetarianism is enough, but the dairy industry is even worse than the meat industry. Veganism has a lot of benefits, and one very important benefit is helping the environment.
How does going vegan help the environment? You may think that one persons’ change can’t make a difference, but if everyone had that mindset then change would never happen. Veganism is becoming more and more popular in recent years. According to a recent report on food and climate in the journal of Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences, if everyone went vegan, the worlds food-related emissions would drop 70% by 2050. According to Peta, it takes up to 7,500 liters of water just to produce one steak. Peta also reports that raising animals for flesh, dairy and eggs causes 65% of all nitrous-oxide emissions. The amount of plants that farmers use to feed animals is enough to end world hunger. Only 6% of the world’s soy is consumed by humans, but 70% is fed to livestock, according to www.onegreenplanet.org. So, by consuming meat and/or dairy and egg products, you’re supporting the farmers that use inhumane techniques to raise livestock that harms the environment. If you eat a heavily meat diet, your carbon footprint is estimated to be up to 16 pounds of CO2 every day, whereas if you’re vegan your daily carbon footprint is estimated to be an overwhelmingly smaller 6.5 pounds of CO2, Peta reports.
It’s unrealistic to change completely, but even just reducing your meat consumption can benefit the environment significantly. You can make an impact just by excluding meat from two of your meals every day, or by eating a plant-based diet one day a week. Try experimenting by buying different kinds of plant-milk, my favourite is oat milk. If you can, going plant-based would be the ideal lifestyle. Veganism doesn’t stop at the environment, there’s plenty of other benefits. To learn more, I recommend that you watch some documentaries, on Netflix there’s currently a few great documentaries about a plant-based lifestyle and how veganism helps the environment. Some of my favourite documentaries are ‘Cowspiracy’, ‘What The Health’, ‘The Game Changers’ and David Attenborough’s ‘A Life On Our Planet’. Whether you decide to reduce your consumption of animals and their products, or if you’re going full on plant-based, you’re doing an excellent thing for the environment and I’m so proud of you! I couldn’t recommend a plant-based lifestyle enough.
Biodiversity Loss in 2020:
In the past 50 years, the earth has seen the human population increase at a rapid pace. As a result of this, the levels of human consumption, global trade and urbanisation has rocketed upwards at an exponential rate.
The World Wildlife Fund recently stated that the population masses of mammals, amphibians, fish, birds and reptiles have suffered a regression of an average of 68% between 1970 and 2016. These numbers are staggering, but unfortunately this statistic isn’t even the worst of it. According to the Living Planet Report 2020, population sizes in Latin America and the Caribbean have bore the biggest loss of biodiversity, at 94%. Supplementary to this, freshwater species have too seen an enormous deterioration, decreasing 84% on average.
According to this report, the extreme decline shows a “fundamentally broken relationship between humans and the natural world.”
WWF-US CEO and President, Carter Robert, says “This report reminds us that we destroy the planet at our peril, because it is our home. As humanity’s footprint expands into once-wild places, we’re devastating species populations.” He then went on to state, “We cannot shield humanity from the impacts of environmental destruction.”
This report is heavy reading. We as humans, myself included, take the world for granted and overlook the fact that every single day, we are adding to the destruction of our planet, in ways we often don’t think twice about.
However, even with all the terrible statistics, there is some light at the end of the tunnel. There are several simple things we can do in our every day lives to aid the environment. These include shopping locally and organically and keeping our gardens chemical free. We can make these changes today and assist our world leaders in the fight against climate change!
Deforestation in Brazil
Between the years 2017 and 2019, 4500 square kilometers of the Brazilian Amazon (an area nearly twice the size of Luxembourg) was deforested and then burned. This is according to a study published last November which also states 65% of the slashing and burning of the rainforest was done in 2019 alone. There is no surprise that the Amazon is the biggest deforestation front in the world with 20% of the biome already lost and, according to the World Wildlife Fund, the trend is only going to worsen. The WWF estimates that 27% of the Amazon biome will be without trees by 2030 if the current rate of deforestation continues.
Fortunately, the rates of deforestation in the Amazon rainforest area have declined over the years but are still nowhere near stopping and are continuing at an alarming rate. The main cause for deforestation is to clear land for cattle grazing and growing cash crops like soybeans. A big factor slowing deforestation is lack of infrastructure; all of the largest “sub-fronts” are located along main roads, a rare sight in the remote rainforest. This however is changing for the worst.
But there is still hope for the Amazon. There are multiple ways to go about bringing deforestation to a halt both on the larger political scale and in your own community. The WWF recommends that the local administration of Brazil’s Amazon region and the countries 900,000 indigenous people need to facilitate cross border dialogue with other countries bordering the Amazon. However, a much smaller way you can help is by cutting down on your consumption of materials produced by deforestation. This includes cutting down on paper and wood consumption, soy beans and Brazilian beef but also includes using pulp paper (a form of paper made from recycled paper instead of new wood) and checking the country of origin of a product before buying it.
Donald Trump v’s Climate Change
Climate change is one of the most important matters of our time. Its consequences are immense and if there is failure to make changes it will keep getting worse. Temperatures are changing, glaciers are melting, and more forest fires are occurring. It feels almost impossible to save ourselves from the worst when people like Donald Trump holds so much power. Trump fails to understand that scientifically proven facts about climate change are legitimate and does not hesitate to share ignorant comments about the matter. Donald Trump has publicly said and tweeted on twitter such pearls of wisdom as “it’s freezing in New York where the hell is global warming” “the badly flawed Paris climate agreement protects the polluters, hurts Americans and cost a fortune. NOT ON MY WATCH ““We must reject the perennial prophets of doom and their predictions of the apocalypse”.
Trump’s view on climate change can appear confusing as he refers to climate change as “mythical and non -existent” yet he also stated in December 2019 that climate change was personally very important to him in 2012, he famously said climate change was "created by and for the Chinese in order to make US manufacturing non-competitive".
Clearly one of the most powerful men in the world enjoys making fun of such an extremely serious matter. Each time Trump decided to discuss climate change it causes great stress, as someone who can make a change finds entertainment in the subject and refuses to believe the truth, which is devastating. Although making a change to help our environment would be so much easier with Trump’s help, we as a people have strength in numbers and if we do not give up, we can make the change, with or without his help.
‘In with the new, recycle the old: why it’s important to recycle your old mobile phones’
How many people have phones in the world? According Statista, there are 3.5 billion smartphone users in the world. Every year, big mobile phone companies develop new and exciting products. And every year, around 80 % of electronic products are sent to landfills and incinerators. Since people change their phones so frequently, the manufacturers of these products do not have the environment in mind. There are many chemicals in our mobile phone that excrete the harmful toxins into the atmosphere. It takes 539 lbs. of fossil fuel, 48 lbs. of chemicals, and 1.5 tons of water to manufacture one computer and monitor. According to the Irish News, the tech industry will have the biggest carbon footprint by 2040. And only 12.5% of e-waste is recycled. Although there are billions of phones used daily, around 80% of the phone is recyclable. Three Mobile Network will take your old phone, it doesn’t matter what network you’re with and recycle it for free. As well as that, you can trade in your phone if it is still relatively new. It’s important to recycle old electronic devices to reduce the amount of carbon emissions in the environment.
Are you aware that In September of 1983 over 700,000 cartridges of various Atari games, most notably E.T were buried in a landfill in New Mexico? I see this as disgraceful as it seems that we have once again not learned from our history.
It’s no secret that consumer electronics are bad for the environment. Game consoles are built using computer chips, circuit boards, fans and are encased in a hard-plastic shell. These components are destined for a landfill once a newer shinier console is released. These electronics require the use of certain materials like tin, tungsten, tantalum, and gold to manufacture. Historically, the mining of these minerals has led to human rights abuses, land degradation, chemical pollution, water contamination and deforestation across countries like the Democratic Republic of the Congo in Africa.
These consoles and their components are usually manufactured in Chinese plants that use fossil fuels and more specifically coal energy. Millions of PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series S/X units are currently in production. Bloomberg has reported that Sony hopes to produce 15 million PlayStation 5 units before March 2021.
The process of creating these consoles has an incredible carbon footprint. Designing the boards to use increasingly smaller and smaller chips puts a heavier weight on the amount of energy required and shipping these chips across the world. Gary Cook, a global climate campaigns director at Stand.earth has described this as “kind of invisible to the average consumer, but actually has a really big carbon footprint that we’re all a part of.”
Finally, we move on to recycling. As speciality electronics, consoles are notoriously difficult to recycle. With the trend of parts being soldered onto circuit boards, consumers can’t really upgrade them when their specs become outdated by newer buzzwords. So, when a new generation leap in technology there is a proportional burial in a landfill.