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Save Your City, Ride a Bike


Save Your City, Ride a Bike

By: Melle Koper

 

Over the last few years, Global Warming has been a major political debate. Global Warming is the increase in temperature of the Earth’s atmosphere due to a buildup of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide. The increase in temperature in the atmosphere, causes for the sea levels to rise. Three major factors in the increase of the sea levels due to Global Warming are thermal expansion, melting glaciers and polar ice caps, and the ice loss from Greenland and West Antarctica. Thermal expansion is the expansion of water when it heats up, this is happening on mass scale in the Earth’s oceans. Glaciers and polar ice caps naturally melt a little in the summer, but the snow in the winters replace the ice lost that summer. However, recently the ice has been melting at a faster rate than the ice caps and glaciers are recovering in the winters. Similarly, the ice in Greenland and West Antarctica is melting at an accelerated rate. All three of these factors are rooted in global warming.

 

(Figure 2)

 

            In the United States the coastal cities are observing significant rises in the sea level. Both figure 1 and figure 2 represent the MSL Trends, which is how much the sea level has either risen or fallen in millimeter per year. As can be seen in figure one the median increase in the sea level is 2.285 millimeter per year. That might not seem significant, but for the century the median trend is .75 feet per century. The most extreme trend is found in Eugene Island, Louisiana, where the sea level is expected to rise by 3.17 feet in the next century. As can be seen in the second figure, the coastline of the Gulf of Mexico is most immediately threatened by the rising water levels. For cities like New Orleans this is a huge threat to their way of life.                                                                                                   

(Figure 1)

The rising sea level brings with it many consequences. Even the slightest increase of the sea level can have destructive effects on coastal areas. The sea water will slowly makes its way inland, contaminating agricultural soil, harming local farmers. The sea water will also flood wetlands, which in turn increases the risk of flooding in established cities during storms, and the loss of homes for the wildlife, the flooding will swipe away nests killing offspring, something that some endangered species, like sea turtles, can’t afford. The sea water will inevitably seep into the fresh water sources for drink water, removing the salt from water is an expensive and complicated process that most cities do not have the infrastructure and the funds for. As more salt water seeps into the soil, the chemical buildup of the soil will change, which many plants would not be able to handle. The plants and trees that can survive the change will have to work harder to pull water out of the salty soil, stunting its growth. These specific plants that can adapt to salty soil, still are unable to survive a repeated influx of salt water. On a financial level, recreational areas and beachfront properties will be ruined by the rising sea, this will mean that the real estate and tourism in coastal areas will take a major hit.

 

The atmosphere is so polluted, that extreme climate change is inevitable, however it can be slowed down drastically. On average, the American person produces 19.8 cubic tons of carbon dioxide, which is immensely excessive when compared to other countries, in Germany on average a person only 10.4 tons annually, while in China, the average person produces 4.6 tons. If the average person can lower their carbon footprint per year, then the carbon emissions for the United States alone will decrease significantly, because one ton less per person means that the U.S. will produce 325.7 million tons less annually. The main source for carbon dioxide is the burning of fossil fuels, so all that needs to be done is use less fossil fuels. A great way to reduce ones carbon emission is to use less electricity, people don’t realize that most electricity is generated by the burning of fossil fuels, but it’s one of the main sources of pollution. Another major pollutant is transportation, when asking kids who live close to school how they get to school, most respond by driving, which is unnecessary and wasteful. In order to slow down the rate at which the sea level is rising, turn of your lights when you are not in the room, make use of public transport and carpooling, and when you can, ride a bike because it could very well save your city. Please help the cause to save our coast by spreading awareness.

Sources:

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/datablog/2009/sep/02/carbon-emissions-per-person-capita

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/global-warming/sea-level-rise/

http://www.businessinsider.com/5-terrifying-impacts-of-rising-sea-levels-2015-2

https://data.world/noaa/sea-level-trends/workspace/file?filename=USStationsLinearSeaLevelTrends.csv

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COMMENTS: 17
  1. April 26, 2018 by Abhay.Katyal

    Hey Melle, your website looks fantastic! You discussed the negative effects that pollution has on the coastal states of the U.S. and you expanded on each of your facts. Furthermore, the visuals you added really added to your website. Overall, you presented your information in a very concise and detailed manner.

  2. April 27, 2018 by Rem.Sirimongkolvit

    Your website was great. It was really well thought out and informative. I really liked how it was short and succint yet delivered a powerful message. Your article really emphasized how awful global warming is an that is important. Also the amount of statistics and information in your article was great. Great job.

  3. April 28, 2018 by BBracker

    America has indeed had this notion of “the land of opportunity” for a long time; as the stats on carbon emissions seem to suggest, that doesn’t lend itself to moderation and conservation. What’s perhaps most troubling is that in the past century, Americans conserved resources most diligently during wretched disasters like the Great Depression and WWII. If it weren’t for folks such as yourself speaking up about the consequences of environmental damage, I can only imagine that the occurrences of disasters such as the coastal damage you mentioned would be the only things left that would influence people to change their habits, and by then it would be far too late.

  4. April 28, 2018 by Nakul.Bajaj

    So your reasoning for riding bikes when possible instead of using cars is very logical – but what do you think of a possible transition to solar-based power and electric vehicles?

    • April 29, 2018 by Melle.Koper

      I think that transition would be great, however those solar panels and electric vehicles need to be produced using power, which would currently come from fossil fuels. I believe that we should transition towards that but that transition should not be immediate, here is a good article, https://www.theguardian.com/environment/blog/2012/oct/05/electric-cars-emissions-bad-environment.

      • May 04, 2018 by Jason.Haas

        Well, even if the solar panels must be made using power, couldn’t the power be made from renewable sources in the first place? And also wouldn’t the energy they generate in the end outweigh the energy required to make them?

  5. April 29, 2018 by Esther Bedoyan

    I totally agree that climate change is in important issue that we need to talk about. It often seems like just because the effets of climate change aren’t seen by us personally, they don’t happen; however, I really appreciate how your graphs show that rising sea levels are a big issue for people who live on coasts, and how you explain in your paper the damage rising sea levels can cause to infrastructure, agriculture, and wildlife.

  6. April 29, 2018 by Naoya Okamoto

    Great article! I didn’t know how much of a problem even minor sea level rise is!

  7. April 29, 2018 by Jimmy Chen

    Coming from a city in China, it seems unavoidable that the US would produce more CO2 simply because of how people live. Many people live in suburban US, and they have to commute by car, most often a distance unrealistic for bikes. Meanwhile people can easily commute by bikes or public transportation in cities, where most people live in China and other countries. However, other ways of reducing CO2 production are undoubtly important.

  8. April 29, 2018 by Alison Selman

    I really enjoyed reading this article! It really makes me think about how much I use my car.

  9. April 29, 2018 by Jason Chen

    Cool article. China actually has a lot of bike riders.

  10. April 29, 2018 by Justin.Chen

    Last Summer, I broke my bike coming home from my YMCA. This article has motivated me to get it fixed and stop using my car as much. Great visuals as well!

  11. April 30, 2018 by Huy Tran

    Great article. I feel like I should ride more bike.

  12. April 30, 2018 by Mandy Friedlander

    I really enjoyed your article. I think this is a really important problem that was acknowledged for a while and then completely dropped off of everybody’s radar even though it is still a huge problem. I have a bike, but I like in the city and don’t really use it too often, I wish I used it more. Sometimes I skateboard, this summer I think I will start doing that more often, thank you for reminding me of this problem in the world.

  13. April 30, 2018 by Ananth J Josyula

    This is great. The health benefits of biking are endless. As for those who cannot bike, the MATE Bike (on Indiegogo right now) seems like a great alternative.

  14. April 30, 2018 by Cole.Biafore

    This is a really interesting perspective. Over the summer I got to attend a meeting about Climate Change at the University of Notre Dame and it was very interesting to see what everyone thought about the issue. While it will definitely be difficult to convince people to be aware of their impact on the environment, it is necessary that it is done. This is an issue that is becoming very serious and can be catastrophic if we choose to do nothing. I think your graphs are very informative but I’m a little confused on what the sizes of the circles mean?

  15. April 30, 2018 by Audrey.Acken

    Great article! Living in the bay area, this has made me think about how many people commute by car every day in my neighborhood and what I can do to reduce that.

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