Oil spills – Part 3 in a multi-part series about the environment

According to Marineinsight.com, an oil spill is when there is a contamination in the ocean due to oil being spilled, because of a accident and/or an error made by a human. Oil spills come in many different sizes. Climateiknterpreter.org reports that there are about 20,000 oil spills each year. These range from being small and quickly contained, to very large and taking a while to contain.

During the Gulf War, in 1991, there were about 240 to 336 million gallons of oil spilt. This happened because Iraq opened the oil wells and pipelines. This is was the largest oil spill, caused on purpose, history has ever seen. This spill affected the coral ecosystem and local fisheries.

Another large oil spill was the Deepwater Horizon plant spill in 2010. As reported by Telegraph.co.uk, this spill happened in the Gulf of Mexico. There were about 210 million gallons of oil that ended up in the ocean. This spill flowed for over three months: April 20, 2010 to July 15, 2010. This became the largest accidental spill in the history of the petroleum industry. This spill killed 11 men that were working on the plant platform, and injured 17 others. The leak was stopped by capping the wellhead after it spilled around 4.9 million barrels of oil – crude to be exact. This meant that about 53,000 barrels escaped each day. This affected the the marine and wildlife habitats, as well as Gulf’s fishing and tourism industry.

If you have a small vessel, there is a checklist to go through to prevent small spills. The first thing would be, tighten bolts on the engine. The bolts can loosen due to shaking while the engine is being used. The next thing would be, replace cracked or worn lines and fittings before they get lose and fall out. There is also a checklist for filling up your vessel. The first thing is to avoid overflows when refueling; you should know what the capacity of your tank and nosing you should leave room for the fuel to expand. The next thing is to use an absorbent pad to catch any drips. For more information about this, please visit: Responde.restoration.noaa.gov

Endangered animals – Part 2 in a multi-part series about the environment

A red panda (Ailurus fulgens) image taken from: https://www.mindfood.com/article/endangered-animal-day/

Have you ever wondered which animals are and aren’t endangered? The answer to that is very long.

Let’s start with what an endangered animal is before this article gets started. An endangered animal is, according to wonderopolis, an animal that is in danger of going extinct. There are sadly so many animals that are becoming endangered by humans. We are destroying their habitats, and their homes. How do you think you would feel if someone was taking away your home because they needed land to build apartments and cities for themselves?

The list of endangered animals goes on and on. From African wolf dogs, to green turtles, to many more. The list goes on and on, on the World Wildlife website about the different types of animals that are endangered.

The Amur leopard is one of the more critical animals. An Amur leopard is commonly found in a forest in Asia. These leopards are endangered because they are being taken for their gorgeous fur, of which is spotted. For more information about the Amur leopard, please visit: Mnzoo.com or World wildlife.com

Another animal that is in critical danger is the black rhino. A black rhino is going extinct because hunters are hunting them for their horns, which have an ivory color. This ivory color can be sold on the black market. As well as their horns, the rhinos habitat is slowly dwindling away. You can actually help these rhinos. You can raise awareness on World Rhino Day. Just by raising awareness of this issue can cause local donors to donate money for veterinary care. This money can also help to bring education of what hunting is doing to their population. The rhinos populations is already very small. For more information about the black rhino, please visit: Animalplanet.com

The Bornean orangutan is another of the of the more critically endangered animals. These orangutan’s habitat is becoming smaller and smaller due to deforestation and cleaning the land for plantations. The logging of trees is affecting the orangutans because they spend almost all of their time in the trees. Another thing is that the smoke of fires confusing them, which leads to them becoming very susceptible to death because their habitat is being burned down. You can help young infants that have been taking from their mother by adopting a little orangutan. It’s only $65 a year. Please visit Theorangutanproject.org for more information.

Lastly, the Cross River gorilla is critically endangered. There is about 300 individuals that remain. This gorilla is the most endangered African ape as of 2013. These gorillas are endangered because of hunters wanting to hunt and trade their meats. For more information, please visit: Birdlife.org

As you can see, all of these, and other animals, are endangered because of hunters and humans caring more about profits than these poor animals.

Impacts on teens through social media.

By Delaney Sis and Na’Riyah Johnson

Woman with negative surprised face looking something in smartphone. Sad teenager with mobile phone, scared of threatening, mobile abuse. Front view of a sad teen checking phone sitting on the floor in the living room at home with a dark background. Image taken from: https://www.freepik.com/premium-photo/front-view-sad-teen-checking-phone_1868534.htm

Today, so many teens are using social media everyday. According to the West Virginia Teachers Association website, the average teenager spends about 9 hours a day on social media/technology. Even if you are using it in increments, the amount of time adds up over time. 

Social media has both positive and negative impacts on people. There are a few more negative impacts instead of positive ones (for a more detailed list, please visit the Independent’s website). Many people believe even if they don’t have a phone, or they don’t have social media, they are still exposed to technology and the media.

Teenagers who use social media can use it to cyber bully other teenagers. Teenagers believe that if you are doing it through the phone, then teenagers won’t have to tell them face to face. Cyber bullying can get so bad, to where the one who is being bullied doesn’t know what to do, that they turn to hurting themselves; some even to the point of wanting to not live anymore. The bully doesn’t realize what they have done until it’s too late.

Teenagers who use social media can gain low self-esteem. You may be wondering: How does social media make you gain low self-esteem? Well, when you compare your pictures to others, you start to feel self doubt. Sure, many people have self doubt, but constantly scrolling through you social media feed isn’t healthy.

Aside from teenagers gaining low self-esteem, they can also gain a feeling of depression. If you don’t know what depression is, according to WebMD, it is a disorder that leads to many different emotions. Having depression can affect the immune system. 

Teens need to talk more with others. Talking to others is a key thing to expand who you are as a individual. Communication with others can also start to get harder because of how long time has been spent on social media, or just our devices in general.

Social media can also affect how your see you body. Looking through someone’s feed can only make things worse if you already see you body as poor, which could lead to unsafe diets. An unsafe diet can also lead to malnutrition. Malnutrition leads to an imbalance in the lack of nutritions in the body. Malnutrition affects 45% of children, which is about 3.1 million children each year. Those are just numbers from children who are under the age of 5. For more information on the effets of malnutrition, please visit: https://www.mercycorps.org/articles/growing-hungry-quick-facts-about-malnutrition

Pollution in our oceans – Part 1 in a multi-part series about the environment

By Delaney Sis and Na’Riyah Johnson

Have you ever wondered how much plastic is actually in the ocean?

Plastic doesn’t decompose, like other wastes, and according to theoceancleanup.com, there are 5 different offshore areas that have accumulated 1.15 to 2.41 million tons of plastic. These areas of plastic are called the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (GPGP). These patches are the largest accumulated areas ranging from Hawaii and California. The GPGP covers 1.6 million square kilometers. That’s about twice the size of Texas and three times the size of France.  

You may be asking why we should care; well according to the National Ocean Service website, 700 different marine species encounter debris. Sadly, 92% of the debris these species come across are plastic. Only 17% of the debris are on the list of threatened animals. There is 180x more plastic than marine life. Also, marine life can get entangled.

Some ways that debris enter water are from the rain and winds. For example, when you leave a water bottle on the ground and it rains, the rain water will carry it to the sewer, and it ends up in our rivers, streams, and lakes.

Some ways you can help with this issue is by using less plastic, recycling more, and helping with cleaning/volunteering or participating in shore cleanups.

Some other ways that you can help with this issue is by putting trash into designated areas. You can also help by using no plastic straws or plastic cups.

Starbucks was the business that first announced they were moving from plastic straws, to more compostable straws. You may be wondering why, well 4% of the plastic in the ocean is made up of straws. An average person uses 1.6 straw a day. This mean that 25,000 people have stopped using straws. For more information about plastic straws, please visit: https://squareup.com/townsquare/why-plastic-straws-are-being-banned