There have been many arguments about whether or not nuclear energy is a reliable source of energy to power cities and even states. When people hear about nuclear power plants, people think of Chernobyl and Fukushima and the disasters that happened at their nuclear power plants. We all know that at both those places there was a nuclear disaster at nuclear power plants which gave nuclear power a bad rap for being a wide source of energy. However, do most people know why the power plants failed and had such catastrophic problems?
With Chernobyl, the scientists wanted to test to see if the turbines could pump enough coolant in the reactors in case of power outage. They turned off all the safety systems to test this which was one of the biggest mistakes they could have made. Turned out that the turbines could not pump enough coolant into the reactor but before the scientists could turn everything back on to normal, there was a high energy spike in the reactor which caused the gigantic explosion which turned Chernobyl into a vast wasteland.
At Fukushima, there was an earthquake that caused a tsunami which caused the power at the reactor to shut off completely. Usually in those certain situations the back up power would kick in but at the plant they had their back up generators on ground level which happened to be where the water was from the tsunami. Most nuclear power plants should have their back up generators on the roof to avoid problems like the one at Fukushima.
What I am trying to say is, that Nuclear power may be dangerous but only in rare situations and it could possible be a better alternative to fossil fuels. Nuclear power is non-renewable but it gives off little pollution compared to burning fossil fuels. Nuclear waste, however, is very harmful to humans and the environment. It is very expensive to build but once it is done building its costs go down because it is easier to generate electricity from plants than it is from the other non-renewable resources. Nuclear power may have a bad reputation with the events at Chernobyl and Fukushima but they both could have been prevented if they took better safety precautions.
With the world being covered in 70 percent water, there are so many possibilities to use the oceans currents and tides for some source of energy. In my high school biology ecology class, I did a project about tidal energy and I learned about these things that are underwater windmills. How they work is they are put underwater and they rotate from the tides and currents moving. This is a really good way to create energy because the tides and currents are predictable so people will know where to place said underwater windmills. With tides and currents so easy to predict you can make sure each underwater windmill is perfectly placed for maximum energy output.
There are some downsides to these windmills though which is why they are not widely accepted around the world. One reason is that they are so expensive to build and place which is a major factor why they are not everywhere. Another reason is that the windmills will be constantly bombarded with salt water which can cause damage to the windmill which would cost money in upkeep. The last thing that is a downside is it could kill sea wildlife while they are spinning because windmills on land can kill geese so I would expect the same for windmills underwater.
Like I said before it is a great idea they just need to find a way to make it safer for animals and less expensive before it is widely used around the world.
When you are on the road while it is snowing, you see a few of the snow plows driving around clearing snow and spreading road salt everywhere. Even though road salt is helping everyone get to work or school on time without slipping and sliding everywhere, but where does the road salt go when the snow goes away and is the road salt helping the environment? On Salting the Earth, it says that scientist tested some of the water streams after road salt was applied to the roads, that the chloride levels where much higher then they should be. The post also said that the salt can attract animals, such as deer, to the road which could end up becoming road kill.
Even though using salt is cheaper to use, there must be some cleaner and safer way to make the roads and sidewalks safe without harming the environment around it. The technological side of me says that they could create a strip of heaters that can be placed under roads to melt the snow but to be able to build that then somehow get it under the roads would be too time consuming, costly, and destruction to environments. There are other options currently for alternate road salt, but they too have environment problems and also cost more than road salt. Hopefully this post will make you think about where the salt will go and how it will effect the environment after seeing a snow plow dropping salt.
On November 19th, I went to the Great American Smoke out: Cigarette Butt Clean up for WAVES. I chose to go to the globe to clean up as many cigarette butts as I possibly could. I was given one glove to pick up the butts and two giant plastic bags to carry the butts in. I was collecting cigarette butts for two hours at the Globe. Before I even got to the Globe I had already filled up the half of the plastic bag just by picking up butts on the sidewalks. When I did arrive to the Globe I had no idea where to start because of all the butts in different places which confused me and disgusted me. I started by where the cars were parked and I had to reach inside the drains so none of the butts got into them. There was not that many there until I got to the side of the Globe where there was so many cigarette butts, I was considering stopping even though I just started. When I got to the front doors someone came up to me and said “I am so sorry and thank you so much” because there was just so much cigarette butts around the Globe. I felt some what accomplished because I felt like I was making a fool of myself in the pouring rain but then someone said thank you to me. A few minutes later another person came up to me and asked if I needed help. I declined his help because he did not have gloves and I was the one who signed up to clean up the cigarette butts. When I finished I was heading back, I was soaking wet and everything I was wearing was drenched and dripping with so much water. I got back to the stand and gave the one and a half bag full of butts and got my t-shirt. They later posted on how much cigarette butts they collected and it came to a total of 8,651 butts. After this event I felt happy and proud of myself for cleaning up Mason and keeping the environment clean.
I want to bring up the problem about how Pilot House does not use reusable plates. Every time I go to Pilot House, they always have cardboard containers and styrofoam cups and both of those are not reusable. Pilot House instead they use a bunch of cardboard plates that get thrown away almost everyday. In my opinion, I feel like they should use the empty counter space next to the drink machine to be a dish washing station. They could get real plates so they could clean them then reuse them for the more food that they put out. They could also use reusable cups and real plates instead of the cardboard ones, they could save money which would be better for them. Using real plates and real cups would also be better for the environment because they would not be wasting so much cardboard and styrofoam that is thrown away each day. They can not recycle the cardboard and styrofoam because it has food and drink contaminate on it. All the other dining halls on campus use real plates and reusable cups which makes you wonder why Pilot House does not use real plates. Maybe they do not want to spend money on a dishwasher but they are probably wasting more money in the long run with buy the cardboard plates. They do not even have to buy a dish washing machine, they could just hire somebody to clean the dishes.
Since I have gotten to GMU, I have noticed a large amount of cigarette butts on the ground and not in the proper disposal bins. They have been on the sidewalk, in the grass, and even in the rain garden. Seeing all the cigarette butts everywhere just shows how lazy people are to go a few feet to dispose of them. I just want to go one day without seeing a single cigarette butt on the ground but it will take a lot of work in my opinion. I plan to bring awareness to this problem while I am in my waste management group. If awareness is brought to this, people will start to notice cigarette butts and hopefully become as disgusted as I am. What we are going to do is go around campus and collect cigarette butts that are in the ground and put them in plastic bags. We then plan to take all of them to north plaza and pile them up or create a giant cigarette to show people how many cigarette butts do not make it to the proper disposal bins. If we have people just throwing cigarette butts on the ground and not in the proper bins, there is the risk of burning down gardens, trees, or even buildings. If we had that happen then we could possibly lose healthy food for campus and would have to spend money to buy packaged food. Not properly disposing cigarette butts can have a big effect on the world, some people just do not know that. I just want people to see that there is a easier way to solve this problem, and its to walk 2 feet to the cigarette butts bin. This can be a much more safer and a cleaner solution in my opinion.
A reason why I think there are so many cigarette butts on the ground is because people are in college. They are away from their parents and do not have any rules to follow. Students do not have to hide when they are smoking because they are, in their eyes, free from consequences. Little do they know that when they are throwing those cigarette butts on the ground, they are killing the ecosystem slowly but surely. To conclude, I just want to bring awareness of this huge problem and to clean up George Mason University one cigarette butt at a time.