Thursday, November 29, 2012

Environmental Variables Leading to Children's Health Concerns

Close proximity to high pollution areas will have an effect on your health and a child's development, it's only a matter of time
We all understand that air pollution has a negative effect on our daily health and lives, but research conducted by USC has shown that environmental variables surrounding children might have more profound repercussions on infants and their development.

A study group of 279 children with autism, as well as 245 children without was conducted, taking into account the mother's home address at birth to estimate pollutant levels. Using the EPA's air quality system, they cross referenced exposure levels to NO2, PM2.5, and PM10 to determine the subsequent outcome. 

In a nutshell, the study shows that significant exposure to airborne pollution during pregnancy and the first year of a child's life can increase the chances of developing nearly 2 times.

"We've known for a long time that air pollution is bad for our lungs, and especially for children," states Heather Volk, Ph.D., assistant professor of preventive medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC. "We're now beginning to understand how air pollution may affect the brain."

Autism was previously thought to be the result of genetics, but other prenatal variables such as advanced age in either parent, the use of drugs during pregnancy or diabetes have been theorized as the culprit. Whatever the cause may be, an unhealthy or over polluted environment while the child is in utero and at a young age can result in varying cases of Autism. This new USC study reaffirms the hypothesis. 

Though the study focused entirely on air pollution it is not the only environmental variable to worry about when bearing or raising a child. Mercury contaminated foods, such as fish, have been shown to have significant neurological effects on a child's development, and currently one million children have more iron in their blood than the currently accepted level for growth.

Regulations by the government have been put in place to protect individuals and their overall health, but pollution on a massive scale has become too prevalent to escape entirely. While we all cannot live in the mountains with the freshest air and cleanest water supply available, simply understanding the effects of pollution on childhood development can help parents better protect their children.
Monday, November 26, 2012

Rising Sea Levels A Major Result Of Climate Change
I had a fun argument with my mother over the holiday weekend about environmental policy and the path that we are currently on. I couldn't help but to laugh when she told me that there was no proof that the rising climate, extreme weather and other environmental effects weren't just the earth going through it's natural cycle. As an environmentalist myself, and a copywriter covering green issues, policy and business, I couldn't hold my emotions back. The most prolific example of how climate change can seriously affect life for humans as we know it comes in the form of the rising sea levels.

This past summer, the US shattered record highs forcing the majority of the country into a depressive drought. However, the rise in temperature occurred over the globe, specifically around the poles of our planet. Satellite images of Greenland show that about 40% of Greenland's ice caps had melted. This is a microcosm for what was happening around the globe, melting previously solid water forms which then dump off into the ocean.

Currently about 40% of the world's population lives within 100 kilometers of the coast. Water levels are expected to rise nearly three feet by 2100. Three feet may not sound like much, but to apply that over the entire ocean over the entire planet is a massive increase. Not only would this affect oceanic ecosystems but weather as well, since the majority of weather patterns are created from the sun evaporating water off of the ocean. The polar ice caps are also a major source of fresh water on the planet and comprise about 70 percent of our fresh water source, of which will simply melt and run off into the ocean.

New York is a major point of concern since the the island is only 8 feet above sea level at its lowest points. Hurricane Sandy was able to force water over the breakers at the current imagine the ocean several feet higher. New Orleans would not be able to withstand another tropical storm...period.

Human involvement in climate change and global warming is definite. The consistent burning of fossil fuels and the fact that the average life expectancy of humans has doubled since 1900 points to ourselves as being the major cause of a shifting environment for the worse. The only course of action is similar to Alcoholics Anonymous and simply admit that we are the problem; not doing so could be catastrophic to our well being.

On our current course with environmental policy and leniency with burning fossil fuels, we might not be able to prevent the damage that has been done. In a few years, going to visit New York will be like visiting Venice; scenic and beautiful but all the more depressing. Rising sea levels are a profound concern and one that cannot be pawned off on the next generation.

New York To Benefit From Delhi Clean Water Project

Read the full article on Inspired Economist

A new project could drastically improve NYC's water supply.

New York is going to have a handful of serious problems in the near future. Due to the rising sea level, New York will be facing a major flood issue, not to mention serious overpopulation and pollution in the metropolitan area. However, being one of the world's premiere and largest cities, there are projects and individuals vying to make it more environmentally friendly and sustainable. One such project is being undertaken by the University of New York at Delhi, which intends to rework the current water system in order to conserve fresh water and manage waste water more efficiently, all while boosting the local economy.   
"As the world’s population grows, so does demand for resources – especially clean water, which is becoming increasingly scarce. But efforts are under way to find solutions to this growing problem.
One potentially revolutionary water recycling solution has been developed at the State University of New York at Delhi. The massive project will divert a daily total of 200,000 gallons of treated wastewater into an underground irrigation and storage system, greatly increasing local water-treatment capacities, benefiting New York City."
Monday, November 19, 2012

How To Write An Email: I Am Jack's Email Voice

Read the full article on Business 2 Community

I am Jack's unrelenting sense of audience awareness.
I am, without a doubt, a huge Fight Club fan. For those of you who haven't seen it, shame on you. (seriously [I'm not even going to bother with a brief summary]) The central message rings true even today as the Occupy Movement and 99% issues are being worked out within the United States; you cannot treat everyone like a schmuck who is just another dollar sign for an organization. Especially with the advent of the internet, transparency and genuine behavior is the only answer for companies to still operate. This must be applied in every aspect of business, online or off, and especially when trying to communicate with the individuals who care about your business and keep it moving forward. That is why you should consider reworking how you speak with them, through social or in this case email. 

Talking at a potential customer instead of with them is the wrong way to operate, one that might be responded with piss in the clam chowder and a rubber band in new places. And while Tyler Durden would hate the idea of his message being applied to business, it still resonates; humanize your business and understand who you are communicating with. How you write an email is more important than you might think. 

"Author Chuck Palahniuk's searing look at the corporate world in "Fight Club" was spot on: You want your brand to stand out and avoid being just another star in the Microsoft Galaxy, an IBM Stellar Sphere or replica Planet Starbucks. You may represent your company, but the best thing you can do is represent yourself professionally. Fashion designer Tory Burch leverages her online voice by utilizing her Twitter for sharing experiences, off-the-cuff commentary and in-the-moment thoughts. This candid nature has driven more business for her that traditional marketing posts. How do you identify your own personal brand and its voice? How does that translate into your e-mail and social media communications?"

Beijing Makes Changes To Fight Air Pollution

Read the full article on Green Building Elements

Currently, looking at the sun in Beijing is like looking at a flashlight through a piece of paper
Beijing is one of the most polluted cities in the world. I visited China several years ago and it truly is a daunting spectacle; high rise building everywhere, an astonishing seven ring roads encircling the city and outlying parts, and people literally everywhere. It's not wonder that the air quality here is so poor since there is just a baffling amount of activity. China hasn't been the most environmentally conscious country in the past, but now is looking to clean up it's air quality, specifically in their capital city.

"For decades, air pollution has threatened the health of people in Beijing. Brown smog hangs over the city. The sun, when you can see it, is tinged a rusty brown, like looking at a flashlight through a piece of paper. City-dwellers wear surgical masks to protect their lungs from the pollutants and other chemicals that float in the air they breathe every day.

But the people of Beijing have had enough. Under pressure from the public and the United States embassy, the city has been forced to acknowledge the problem and provide accurate information about air quality."
Thursday, November 15, 2012

Scientists Discover Efficient Way To Absorb Oil Spills

Read the full article on Green Building Elements

A new material could expedite the clean up of oil spills, while saving the crude material.
The BP oil spill was one of the worst environmental disasters in the past decade, not to mention one of the worst all time in the Gulf Coast. Just today BP agreed publicly to plead guilty in causing damage to the region and paying heavy fines to groups in the area. Luckily though, scientists have just generated a new material that is capable of not only absorbing  oil from the water in mass quantities, but then can be sent to refineries to have the oil itself salvaged. This helps businesses maintain their profit, but vastly more importantly it expedites the cleanup process for oil spills.

"Two years after the Deepwater Horizon oil platform exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, restoration efforts are still under way. At the time of the accident, scientists struggled with how to contain oil in the gulf, which killed animal and plant life and took a terrible toll on many industries. Now, we may be better prepared to respond to such a disaster, thanks to a groundbreaking new material.

Scientist have invented a new super-absorbent material that can soak-up 40 times its weight in oil and contain it. This allows for the clean-up of water, but also preserves the oil for harvesting. The absorbent material can be sent to an oil refinery, where the oil is extracted."