Tag Archives: environment

For My Daughter’s Future

I openly oppose what Donald Trump has been doing. If you understand why, then we probably have similar opinions. If you don’t understand why, then you need to step back and examine the consequences of his actions. 

Why do I oppose him, but I’m not actually American? What the US does in many cases can have effects all around the world, especially the environmental issues. This has me worried for my daughter’s future. Still don’t understand? I’m not sure if you ever will. It doesn’t need to be explained. It seems like common sense to me. 

That’s all I’m going to write about this on this blog, unless something especially disturbing happens. I will continue to see what happens.

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City Workers Don’t Know How to Cut Grass

In Japan, grass isn’t a very common thing in yards. There are parks with grass, but most of them are covered in dirt and concrete with flower beds. Any grass tends to either be left to grow very tall or cut down too short.

Take this picture, for example.

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This is next to the park near our home. It was once covered with grass, but now seems to be bare soil. The city workers cut the grass so short that they were cutting into the soil. It’s as if they were intending to kill the grass. But you can see the effects easily. Clumps of soil have fallen out and the slope is beginning to collapse. At the top is a playground. If they destabilise the ground even more, a heavy rain storm could cause a minor landslide. All because they cut the grass so much that it’s nearly all gone. Don’t they know anything about the stabilising effects of grass roots?

Unfortunately, I see this all over the place. These workers are not landscapers or gardeners, that’s for sure. They have no clue what to do with grass.

Mission Statement – Passions and Beliefs

If you haven’t already done so, I recommend you read the following posts:

And now that you’re all caught up, it’s time for the fourth and final part of my blog Mission Statement. While those three posts talk about what you will see regularly on this blog in the future, this post will talk about some more behind the scenes things, passions of mine, and what drives me.

Education

I’m a big supporter of good education. As an English teacher and a former student, I believe in a good education. I strongly support the sciences, and think that they are an incredibly important part of education. They are what drive industry, innovation, health care, and research. Without these, society would stagnate. I’m extremely disappointed in how educators are regarded these days, and think that they deserve a lot of respect. They are what shape the youth of today and the future leaders of the world.

I’m also against misinformation by groups who deny responsible scientific research, such as anti-vaccination groups, climate change deniers, and creationists who want to take evolution out of science classes. Ignorance is not responsible education.

YouTube

Elsewhere on the internet, I’m active in making videos for my YouTube channel. At the moment, I have a huge number of Japan videos to edit and post, but in the future, I will discuss a lot about books, movies, and TV, as well as science. It’s a bit of a geeky channel. Whenever possible, I’ll be doing travel videos. I highly recommend subscribing.

Politics

In the past, I wasn’t into politics much. These days, I’m constantly watching what’s going on with the Canadian government, as well as other governments. I want to become more active politically, but not through this blog. I’m an Albertan, and my province is the most conservative in Canada. However, I am certainly not conservative. I’ve primarily been a Liberal Party supporter, and I have voted for them before.

Environment

I think this goes hand in hand with education. Good science education allows people to see the world as it is with an unbiased view. I love nature, and I wish to protect it. I’m all for research into alternative energy, and have the greatest hope in nuclear fusion. It’s clean and nearly limitless. I also support hybrid cars and advances in electric vehicles. Having lived in Japan for more than ten years, I’ve come to appreciate the train system here, and would love to see an all electric high speed rail system constructed in Canada, as well as extensive commuter rail systems in the major cities. And of course, let’s plant a lot of trees! I love homes that have trees and greenery.

While you may or may not see some of these things in my blog, I have mentioned them before. They won’t be a major part of the posts I make, but you can see aspects of them in my attitude and even my writing.

So, thank you to everyone for following this blog and reading it. I appreciate you all. You are also one of the biggest reasons I blog. The coming year will be exciting and full of new experiences, lots of writing, and hopefully a lot of books and movies. If you have any comments or questions, please leave them in the comments below.

The War Against Trees and Phytoplankton

People are always talking about rising carbon dioxide levels, talking about how to reduce emissions, and slow the rise in temperatures and sea levels. But what about increasing the rate of carbon dioxide being taken out of the atmosphere? That’s where trees and phytoplankton come in.

Trees in the sprawling metropolis of Tokyo, near the Imperial Palace.
Trees in the sprawling metropolis of Tokyo, near the Imperial Palace.

There’s a problem, though. It seems that with the rate of deforestation, especially in tropical regions, we’re eroding the Earth’s ability to reduce the greenhouse gas. Trees are also good at taking pollutants out of the air. It’s beneficial to have plants in your home, because they make the air cleaner and fresher. I look around where I live, and I see industrial areas surrounded by trees. But in the residential areas, people live on tiny properties with little to no plant life growing on their properties. It’s all concrete. In areas where people are living, they make them so unappealing to me. I like yards with grass and trees. It’s better for the air, too.

Trees are wonderful, but what about the plant that takes half of the job of removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere? That job goes to phytoplankton, which lives in the oceans. Over the past half century, the number of phytoplankton has actually increased by ten times. Sounds wonderful, and it seems that they’re able to handle an increase in ocean temperatures by about two degrees pretty well. However, with the increase of carbon dioxide, ocean water is acidifying, and that’s bad news for the phytoplankton, as they have chalk-like shells. Those break down in more acidic water. But increase global water temperatures by six degrees, and that’s the breaking point for phytoplankton. They will cease producing oxygen. And this will result in a very quick suffocation of the world’s animal life, including humans.

Oh, that sounds lovely, doesn’t it? This is something that hasn’t really been paid attention to before. While a six degree increase is a lot, and extremely unlikely to happen within our lifetimes, it could happen if left unchecked in our descendants’ lifetimes.

I, for one, do not want our generation’s mistakes to cause suffering to our children’s children’s children. But do people care? I find that there are a lot of people I know who post things on Facebook that are anti-science and claim to refute climate change, yet they have no clue that the things they are posting are written by people who have an agenda. They post articles that are from websites that are completely biased and leave no room for any debate. They pick and choose pieces of evidence, yet they don’t look at the whole picture. It’s a dangerous way of thinking, and I will argue against what they are saying. I dislike misinformation. They do it for the sake of local jobs and the economy. I’m far more concerned about my daughter’s future in a world that has more and more extreme weather, rising sea levels, and rising temperatures.

I wish it were an easy fix, such as planting more trees. More trees would help, but not enough. At least it would help slow the increase, even if it is a small amount.

What are your thoughts about this whole debate? I’d like to hear your opinions in the comments below.

Magazine in Danger: Rupert Murdoch Bought National Geographic

National Geographic is a long-running magazine that I’ve always enjoyed reading. The articles are all about our world, places you should visit, cultures, history, animals, science, and the environment. Well, it’s now a dark, dark time for the magazine. Fox now owns 73% of National Geographic Society. That means that Rupert Murdoch has way too much influence over the magazine.

Why is this a bad thing? Rupert Murdoch is a climate change denier. You can read all about this in the article I linked to, but here’s a quick summary. National Geographic Society gives grants to scientists. This includes climate change researchers. As it is an organisation that is concerned with the environment, Murdoch’s influence may destroy their efforts to raise awareness of environmental issues. This may be a bad thing for the scientists who receive grants from the Society. This is very worrying.

People like Rupert Murdoch should have absolutely nothing to do with anything related to the environment. His views are easily shown through Fox News. They obviously agree with him, because he’s their boss. Will this happen with National Geographic? Are we going to see articles that deny climate change? Maybe I’m overreacting. But I don’t think so. This is a legitimate concern.

What I’d like to know is who thought it was a good idea for the National Geographic Society to be bought by Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox? Thank you for potentially destroying a well-respected magazine.

According to the New York Times, James Murdoch has said “he was personally committed to continuing the culture and the mission of National Geographic as it has existed.” I certainly hope that’s true.

What do you think of this situation?

Why Is Cecil’s Death Important?

I’ve been reading the comments on Facebook about the news of Cecil’s death and the Minnesota dentist who killed him. I know, I’m reading comments on social media. I’m bound to encounter a few people who are very wrong on many issues. But it seemed that this has polarised people. On one side, there are those who are concerned and upset by this news. They want the dentist arrested or sent to Zimbabwe to face their justice system. On the other side, there are the people who think this news is unimportant, it’s just a lion, who cares? Human tragedies are far more important, they say. Well, I say those people are wrong.

Why is there an outcry about just this single lion? Why not cry about all the cows being slaughtered for food, or the people dying in wars, or people being killed by police? Well, people are crying about them, first of all. Secondly, this lion is bringing the attention of a bigger problem to the world. Lions are a threatened species. The death of Cecil is not only his death, but the deaths of his cubs. This will decrease the population of lions in that area. But on a larger scale, this brings up the fact that this is happening all the time. By that, I mean poaching and trophy hunting of threatened and endangered species. We’re driving many species to extinction.

What happens if one species goes extinct? The entire food chain in that area has gaps. Other species may fill in, but that doesn’t always work. Animal populations will change, and not always for the better. Take out the top predator, and you get far too many of their prey, who then eat far too much vegetation, which can promote desertification, and the environment in that area continues to degrade. What about ten species going extinct? One hundred? One thousand? Humans are driving thousands of species toward extinction, not just by hunting, but also by climate change, pollution, and destruction of habitats. All of this together can seriously damage not only local ecosystems, but also our own food supply. You know the problem with the bees? Well, if pollinators disappear, so do flowering plants, which pretty much means all fruit and many vegetables may disappear. That’s a big problem.

“But what about all the babies dying?” they say. “What about the women getting raped and the children being forced to become terrorists? We need to focus on them! They’re more important than a few animals!” Right. What about them? If we stop trying to save the animals, then we’re just going to destroy our ability to survive as a species. No animals, severely damaged environment, and we’re going to have starvation and wars worse than we’ve ever seen. Destroy our environment, we destroy ourselves.

Honestly, it’s unbelievable how humans can simultaneously be the most intelligent and stupidest species on Earth. It’s not just about Cecil. It’s about the entire world.

Reconnect With Reality: Look Around

Living in Japan, I see so many people looking down at their cell phones. In the train, in the park, in the restaurant, even while walking. Their world has been reduced to a glowing LCD screen in their hands. They aren’t living in reality.

What people need to do, especially while walking, is to look around. Reconnect with their environment. Writers can definitely benefit from this. They need to observe and take mental notes about places and things they see.

Something I like doing is going for a walk by myself to just look around. Sometimes take pictures. It clears my mind, and I often get ideas from what I see. Sometimes I don’t think about that at all, just enjoy the atmosphere and scenery. This picture is what I took while starting to write this post.

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It’s a train station in Machida, Tokyo. I go through it every week. But I often go on autopilot and don’t notice everything. I like to snap myself out of that.

Are you one of those people with their eyes glued to a cell phone screen? Or do you observe your surroundings?