A Wake up Call

0

Let’s end our dependence on Fossil Fuels

Today, we have become extremely dependent on fossil fuels. 81 percent of America’s energy comes from fossil fuels. While this number has decreased, this is still an extremely high amount. We all know that fossil fuels are limited, yet we still keep using them in markets like the manufacturing and energy industries. Most of our Carbon Emissions come from Fossil Fuels, but still we have not made the switch. We are still too dependent on the old grid, fossil fuels and petrochemical products in general. My question is “Why”? There are practical solutions out there. Renewable resources technology has increased greatly over the past few years, along with more up and coming solar companies. America has always been in the front to adopt new technologies and innovations, especially in the Information Technology space. So, why haven’t we switched in the energy and manufacturing sectors? Why are we still dependent on petrochemical products and fossil fuels?

There are many answers to this question. Many say it’s because of decreasing oil prices, or the failures of Solar Companies like Solyndra. While these may be true, I believe that the reason we have not changed is because of a more psychological reason- an unwillingness to change.

This behavior can be explained through a very simple quote, “If something works don’t fix it.” This thinking can be seen in the petrochemical industry. During the 20th century, and the early 21st century, fossil fuels and petrochemical products were the answer to our demands. Clean Coal Technology was the solution. But, as time progressed and as more scientific research was done, we must come to a realization- Fossil fuels are not the answer. Studies show that an increase of Carbon Dioxide caused by Fossil Fuels is one of the biggest factors causing Climate Change. Fossil fuel extraction is also polluting our water, air, rivers, aquifers etc. Some places do not even have access to clean tap water anymore!

So, how long are we going to remain stubborn and not change? The more we procrastinate, the more we postpone signing treaties, and the more we argue; more lives are being put in danger and more people are being robbed of their basic necessities: clean air and water.

We MUST change. No longer can we go with the mentality of “If something works don’t fix it.” It is time that we break this habit and realize the severity of our actions. We must stop using fossil fuels in the manufacturing and energy industry. We must start the change NOW!

There is still hope. We have not completely lost. If we join together, and rethink, redesign and restore with environmental sustainability in our hearts, then there is hope. If we make environmental care, a priority and put it on the economic and social agendas, then there is hope. If we focus on the future generation and sustainability for years to come, instead of the short term gain, then there is hope. If we start caring more about our basic necessities, instead of short term profit, then there is hope.

So, this is why we must wake up and take action now. There is still hope, and if we join together and make changes, we can solve our issues and end our dependencies on all fossil fuels and petrochemical products.

 

About The Author:

Pavan-1Pavan is 14 years old and a passionate environmentalist. He is the founder of non-profit organization, Green Kids Now, Inc. He is also the founder of Green Kids Conference. Pavan has published two books, “Geckoboy-The Battle of Fracking” and “Two Tales from a kid”. He is a Climate Leader and also enjoys being a global reporter.

To request Pavan for a presentation, you can submit a request at: http://presenters.climaterealityproject.org/presenter/pavan-gowda_7084

Are we going to awaken to the energy crisis yet?

2

More than 100 years ago, when the great scientist, Nikola Tesla, spoke about the sustainability and safety of the sources of our energy, we refused to listen. We refused to awaken to the great inventor, Thomas Edison, when he proposed the need and benefits of renewable energy sources. When we adopted these two great scientists’ inventions, what made us not to listen to their advices about renewable energy sources? What are we waiting for, and most important question in my mind is, why are we still debating about renewable energy sources?

“We need to realize that Oil, Gas, and Coal can only be used for the short term. We have only so much more time left, until we completely run out” said, Nikola Tesla, who founded the AC-Alternating Current that we are using and so reliant on today.

Also, Thomas Edison the Father of electricity, warned us that, “Instead of waiting until we are in desperate need, and deep into the energy crisis, we should try to change now”, he said about a century ago, “We should avert this looming crisis, and make the transition to renewable resources.” Thomas Edison was aware of the need, and saw the possibility and potential of Solar, and Renewable energy! He was so passionate about the concept, that he said “I’d put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we don’t have to wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle that!”

Yet, most of our energy today still comes from fossil fuels. The United States gets almost 85% of energy from coal, oil and natural gas, and almost 10.6 million barrels of oil per day. Today, United States have actually reduced our dependency on Foreign Oil, and the government has put in plans to help America become completely Energy Independent, which is good. However, the way we are achieving this goal is controversial. The concept of “Drill, Drill, and Drill!” has had negative effects on human health and the environment, through processes like fracking.

This recent increase of drilling has caused Carbon Pollutions to increase. In fact, according to the EIA (U.S. Energy Information Administration), CO2 emissions from fossil fuels rose 2.39 percent in 2013 compared with 2012 and grew 7.45 percent for the first two months of 2014 compared with the same period in 2013. This increase puts an end to the 5 year decline that we had in for Carbon Emissions! An increase in Carbon, will greatly affect our planet!

Today, companies are imposing incentives to become more energy efficient and to reduce their Carbon Footprint. However, even with these initiatives, we still have not averted the energy crisis.

At least now, let’s awaken and further our knowledge on renewable resources. In an article Tesla wrote in 1905, he stated this fact, writing, ““Long before this consummation, coal and oil must cease to be important factors in the sustenance of human life on this planet. It should be borne in mind that electrical energy obtained by harnessing a waterfall is probably fifty times more effective than fuel energy. Since this is the most perfect way of rendering the sun’s energy available, the direction of the future material development of man is clearly indicated.” So, even in the 1900s people were aware of the consequences of over-using Fossil Fuels, and knew that Renewable Resources, like Solar and Wind, are the answer.

Let’s not wait another century and wonder how to handle our energy crisis. Wake up to the power and benefits of renewable sources of energy, which was the right way 100 years ago and is the right way even now!

 

Pavan-1  About the Author:

Pavan is 14 years old and a passionate environmentalist. He is the founder of non-profit organization, Green Kids Now, Inc. He is also the founder of Green Kids Conference. Pavan has published two books, “Geckoboy-The Battle of Fracking” and “Two Tales from a kid”. He also enjoys being a global reporter.

The 3 New R’s for our path forward

0

RRR-GKN-96dpi

When most people think about environment care they think of the current ‘R’s – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Rot. But, these ‘R’s, are not sufficient as it only focuses on Waste Management. Going forward I think we should adopt, “Rethink, Redesign, and Restore” with Environmental Sustainability in the core of everything we do. These new ‘R’s will dramatically help us, as it would provide us with new vision and new set of goals to redo, rebuild, and revive.

Rethinking can be applied in the manufacturing industry. For example, most of the problems we are having today in us not knowing how to use our raw materials properly and to dispose of an item properly, like plastics, are because when we were formulating these products we did not consider these important factors. But now we know from our previous mistakes that the correct way to make a product or solution is to think of environmental sustainability from the beginning. It’s time for us to rethink our manufacturing processes and our materials industry, by adopting natural processes like self-assembly process of nature, and expand green chemistry initiatives to ramp up the availability of new materials.

Our current systems are mostly outdated, and redesign is desperately needed to manage our current and future needs. Almost everything in our built world, like our energy distribution, our water storage and distribution, transportation and communication systems, requires rebuilding. Let’s take the electrical distribution system; in today’s world if one electrical line breaks, most of the city has a black-out. Scientists have been studying the vein structures found in leaves, for its efficient and redundant ways by which it distributes water, and other materials. Even when the main vein of the leaf is cut, it doesn’t affect the distribution to the rest of the leaf. Studying and adopting the natural systems will help us redesign for a more robust and sustainable built world.

Over the past years, we have destroyed too much in order to build and expand. That’s why we need to restore and revive our natural resources. We need to increase our preservation and conservation efforts. We need to also be aware that every time a plant or animal becomes extinct, we lose knowledge that could benefit us greatly. Remember, anything that affects our ecosystems, will affect humans too.

So, let’s collaborate to Rethink, Redesign, and Restore our world, with Environmental Sustainability in our hearts.

About the Author:

Pavan is 14 years old, founder of non-profit organization, Green Kids Now, Inc., founder of Green Kids Conference, Published author, Youth Speaker, and an International reporter for Primary Perspectives radio Show. (http://greenkidsnow.org)

Watch Pavan’s speech at the 4th annual, Green Kids Conference:

Founder’s Speech at the 4th annual, Green Kids Conference!

Saving The Frogs!

0

Did you know that 1/3 of the world’s amphibians species are about to become extinct and that 200 species have disappeared since the 80s? This rate of the amphibian extinction is scary and not normal.  Usually, one species would only go extinct every 250 years!  The rate of amphibian destruction has increased dramatically, and this is not good. Since frogs and other amphibians play a major role in our ecosystems, wildlife, and humans, if we don’t “Save The Frogs” our lives would be majorly affected.

Frogs help balance our ecosystem. Tadpoles are very beneficial to the streams, and rivers that they are in.  Since tadpoles constantly swim around, the water would be moving too. Because the water does not have a chance to become stagnant all the sediment, waste, etc. would also have to keep on moving. This helps the algae which is at the base of the food chain, to be productive and efficient. If the frogs weren’t there all the sediments would just be still, and all the debris would block the algae’s access to the sun, and it would not be able to photosynthesize properly, affecting the whole ecosystem. If frogs disappear, it would also affect our wildlife, since frogs play a big role in the food chain. Frogs eat insects that spread diseases like Malaria, and frogs’ eggs are food for birds and other animals. Also, snakes and other important reptiles eat frogs. So, if we were to lose frogs we would have a dramatic increase in insects, and diseases like dengue fever will increase and affect even more people.

Also, we use frogs for medical reasons. Did you know that some frogs in Puerto Rico can produce and fix their own limbs? Scientists are studying these types of frogs in order to revolutionize the regenerative medicine industry. Also, in the 1980s there was a frog species called the gastric brooding frog, which was found in the Australian rain forests. The female frogs in this species could produce enzymes in there stomach that could treat the human ulcer. But, sadly this frog soon became extinct and we lost this valuable medical asset.

Even though we have lost a lot of frogs over the past years there’s still time to make a change.  We all need to start taking action now, and protect our environment.

On April 27th, 2013, which was the 5th International Save The Frogs Day,  I had the opportunity to interview Dr. Kerry Kriger, Ecologist and Founder of “Save the Frogs” non-profit organization, focused on amphibian conservation.  This interview was broadcasted on May 21st, 2013 through Primary Perspective Radio show in Melbourne Australia. You can listen to the entire interview at: http://greenkidsnow.org/ewaves.html

About The Author:

Pavan is a very passionate environmentalist, published author, the founder of Green Kids Now, Inc. non-profit organization, and the founder of Green Kids Conference. He is the official Biomimicry youth speaker, and a Global reporter for Primary Perspectives radio in Australia.

Global Reporter Pavan Gowda, Interviews Dr. Kerry Kriger, Ecologist and Founder of "Save The Frogs" non-profit organization.

Global Reporter Pavan Gowda, Interviews Dr. Kerry Kriger, Ecologist and Founder of “Save The Frogs” non-profit organization.

Real Solution

0

In order to achieve true environmental sustainability, the whole community needs to take action. We need to change our ways and our behaviors, and environment care and sustainability must become the social norm.  Because, if only one person changes their behavior and no one else in the community does, then that person will be ridiculed and their actions will be deprecated.   Voluntary behavior changes and changes to social norms can be achieved by increasing awareness efforts and working together with the community leaders.

When you raise awareness, people would realize that their actions could have consequences, and it could affect other people, other communities, and even cause long term damages.  Once people understand this, they would want to change their ways voluntarily.  But when we enforce laws and force them, people won’t change, because they don’t understand the reason why they are being forced to do something. An example is the law passed to ban plastic bags in New Delhi, India.  However, this law has not made any effect on the number of plastic bags being used. People are still continuing to use plastic bags because they are not aware of the consequences.  As a result there has been no reduction in plastics bags in New Delhi. This is the reason why we have to educate people and raise their awareness, because if they know the effects of their actions they would want to change their behaviors.

For changes to be accepted by the society, the grassroots level actions alone are not sufficient and we need to work together with the community leaders. When the leaders are supportive and shows importance for environmental sustainability then all the people will also feel confident that they are doing the right thing and move in that path.  This will help make these changes become the social norm at a faster pace.  Usually for changes to become social norm it could take several ages and generations too. We do not have that much time to experiment when it comes to caring for this planet, as we are in dire need for fast changes.  A leader has a very powerful say in the direction for a community. So, grassroots level organizations and leaders must work together to bring fast changes that will be accepted by the community.

An example of a country were environmental sustainability has become the social norm is   Costa Rica. Everyone cares for their environment, and it is expected from people to live sustainably. Being caring and responsible towards the environment is a part of their daily lives.  We should all take a closer look at Costa Rica, and believe that it is indeed possible for environmental sustainability to become social norms in our country too.

Environmental Care and Sustainability is our Social Norm!!!

About the Author:

Pavan Raj GowdaPavan Raj Gowda is 12 years old, founder of non-profit organization, Green Kids Now, Inc., founder of Green Kids Conference, Official Biomimicry Youth Speaker, and an International reporter for Primary Perspectives radio Show. (http://greenkidsnow.org and http://greenkidsconference.org)

Listen to Pavan’s Radio Interviews at: http://greenkidsnow.org/ewaves.html

Don Juan’s Eco Farm

5

This year for our family vacation we visited Costa Rica, the most beautiful, green place with many wonderful sites and attractions, and is about to become the world’s first carbon neutral country! The highlight of our vacation was our visit to Don Juan’s Eco Farm in Arenal.

Don Juan’s Eco Farm is an organic farm that is environmentally sustainable, and I think that all farms should try to be like this one.  It was fascinating to speak with Don Juan the owner of this farm. He says that like the impatiens seeds which bursts open and spreads its seeds to long distances with just the gentle touch of rain drops, he would like to disseminate his knowledge to people all around the world. The purpose of his farm is to produce, conserve, and to spread knowledge to everyone on environmental sustainability and organic farming.

Don Juan grows everything organically and his farm produces almost everything they need for their daily use. During the tour around the farm, Don Juan showed us how he can make natural juices and delicious snacks from sugar cane, fruits, and even leaves. These juices were one of the best tasting juices I have ever had! As we walked around we picked things that we wanted to eat for lunch; later his family made us traditional Costa Rican food with all the items we picked, and it was very delicious!

We also learnt that his careful placement of various types of plants was to take advantage of the diverse properties of the plants, in order to maintain the rich nutrients in the soil, and also some plants were purposefully placed to detract pests.  This is a very smart method that I think all farms should start using, instead of pesticides.

Don Juan’s Farm is a great real life example of how we could truly be zero waste, and conserve resources.  He has solar panels on roof tops and instead of Natural gas to heat his stove and home, Don Juan showed us how he uses Bio Gas. He uses the methane from his cows to make an energy source, which also helps reduce the amount of greenhouse gases that his farm produces.  He reuses almost everything in his farm, and is very careful about making the right choices for his needs.

Don Juan is a very passionate educator.  Before Don Juan became an organic farmer he was a math teacher and school principal. So, if you look around his farm you would see geometric shapes in which plants are arranged in his fields.   I would never forget the way he explained to me why pi has a value of 3.14 with a little basket and string. Don Juan has educated lots of people from all around the world, on how to farm organically, and in the future Don Juan would like to offer labs and educate even more people.

I saw many researchers, students, and farmers from all around the world visit his farm to learn from him. Don Juan is a true role model and I think that we all should try to follow in his footsteps.

DonJuan's Eco Farm

Picture taken at Don Juan’s Eco Farm, Arenal Costa Rica

About the Author:

Pavan Raj GowdaPavan Raj Gowda is 12 years old, founder of non-profit organization, Green Kids Now, Inc., founder of Green Kids Conference, Official Biomimicry Youth Speaker, and an International reporter for Primary Perspectives radio Show. (http://greenkidsnow.org and http://greenkidsconference.org)

Listen to Pavan’s Radio Interviews at: http://greenkidsnow.org/ewaves.html

Beware of plastic lids and bottle caps!

12

In every nook and corner, on the roadsides, near the bushes, floating in the rain water and creeks, plastic lids and bottle caps are everywhere.  We know that plastic cans and bottles can be recycled, but what about the plastic lids and caps? Why are the lids and caps ending up in the landfills? What are the environmental impacts caused by the plastic lids and caps?

Most of the cities around USA do not recycle bottle caps and lids. If you look carefully at the bottle cap, and then at the bottle you would see that the type of plastic is different. An example is that a soda bottle would be PET Type 1 plastic, but the cap would be PET Type 5.  Sometimes, the bottle caps won’t even have a PET number. Since they are different types of plastic, many recycling centers request that the caps be separated from the bottles, because if they don’t it will contaminate the entire batch.  Also, while it’s being separated it could be very dangerous. When the machine is crushing the bottle, the bottle caps could fly off and hurt some of the people working at the Recycling station.  It could jam and damage the processing machines. When the lids are on and tight the items may not compact properly when crushed and could also explode with increase in temperature. It is also very hard to recycle bottle caps and the process is very expensive and time consuming.  Because of these problems, most Recycling facilities will tell you to throw bottle caps in the trash.

The lids and bottle caps can cause huge deleterious problems to our marine and land life.  Raccoons and seagulls, for example, sometimes hunt for food in the landfill, and they would mistake these bottle caps for food. Also, the bottle caps gets washed away into the ocean, and sea animals like fish will eat the plastic caps mistaking it for food. It could get stuck in their throats and suffocate the animals and also the polymers could break putting harmful chemicals in their body causing diseases and death.

Plastic lids and caps are indeed causing serious problems, and we have to take action on it immediately. Here are some small things we can do to help.  We should collect bottle caps in bulk and drop off at the appropriate recycling centers, like we do with batteries, because it could be recycled together. If we cannot dispose bottle caps in a proper way then we should try to make art work out of it. An example would be to make a Christmas tree or even a tunnel for the playground as shown in the picture below. We should reduce the usage of plastic bottles by carrying reusable water bottles, and choose metal cans and glass bottles instead of plastics.  If you have to buy items with a plastic bottle cap, you should buy in bulk/wholesale as this would help reduce the number of the plastic bottles needed.

Plastic lids and caps though it’s small item has caused huge problems and it is our responsibility to try to help this situation. We have ignored this huge problem for many years, and it will only get worse if we do nothing. We need to take action now and fix this situation. If we work together anything is possible.

Playstructure made of bottlecaps – Picture taken by Pavan, at National Institute of Biodiversity, San Jose, Costa Rica

About the Author:

Pavan Raj Gowda is 12 years old, founder of non-profit organization, Green Kids Now, Inc., founder of Green Kids Conference, Official Biomimicry Youth Speaker, and an International reporter for Primary Perspectives radio Show. (http://greenkidsnow.org and http://greenkidsconference.org)

Listen to Pavan’s Radio Interviews at: http://greenkidsnow.org/ewaves.html

How are we doing in Recycling?

2

If you look at nature, you would see that there is no waste. Every ecosystem survives on its local resources and everything is being reused and recycled. This is zero waste. Nature has perfected that recycling process that we are still having a hard time to do. So, I wanted to find out about our progress so far, how we can improve, and how much more do we have to do to reach a real zero waste community.

This summer, I made this as one of my projects to find out how we are doing with our recycling efforts. I visited my local Recycling and Transfer Station, and interviewed the Operations Manager to find out about it. I was encouraged to hear that as a community our level of awareness has increased tremendously, and we have shown good progress in diverting recyclables from the landfills.

However, we still have a lot more work to do. When the mixed recyclables arrive at the transfer station, there are several staff members who manually separate the items and sort the recyclables based on the materials. There is still a lot of trash found along with the recyclables and also there are recyclables still being thrown away as trash. We all need to take personal interest in educating ourselves and understand the products we use every day, how to dispose those items, and make smart eco-friendly choices when shopping.

One fact that bothered me was that every day we are shipping in large containers our recyclables collected from our curbside to factories overseas, mostly to China for processing and conversion into raw materials to be made into new products again. This contradicts nature’s principle of recycling locally and reusing it locally. There are currently no other alternatives, so we have to continue working overseas, despite the environmental risks of container ships polluting the ocean with oil leaks, and the large amount of energy consumed for the transportation.

I think that our progress would continue at this slower pace, unless we redesign our cities for industrial ecology where the waste from one factory becomes the raw material for another, and consumers are presented with better choices of products. Although many years of efforts have been done, we have only begun the journey and have a very long way to go for achieving zero waste community. Let’s all do our part to Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle!

About the Author:

Pavan Raj Gowda is 12 years old, founder of non-profit organization, Green Kids Now, Inc., founder of Green Kids Conference, Official Biomimicry Youth Speaker, and an International reporter for Primary Perspectives radio Show. (http://greenkidsnow.org and http://greenkidsconference.org)

Listen to Pavan’s Radio Interviews at: http://greenkidsnow.org/ewaves.html