Understanding Pollution: Why Global Warming is Not a Myth

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Global Warming.  Two very simple words that have started a debate that is consuming the world.  Many people will argue that global warming is a myth, and that there is no way that man could so completely alter the balance of the entire planet’s ecology.  We have the power to level mountains, dam rivers, destroy miles of forests and other wilderness to fuel our population, construct marvels that will last for centuries if not millennia, and split the atom, but altering the world in which we live is too farfetched an idea to contemplate.  Even as the United Nations is releasing a report claiming that they are 95% certain that climate change is caused by man,[i] still there are people who argue it.  People are entitled to their opinion, and here’s mine:  Climate change is a man-made problem, has dangerous effects on the world and human health, and no simple solutions.

Global Warming 1

Climate change is caused by the trapping of gases, with the biggest being carbon dioxide, in the earth’s atmosphere which ensnare the heat from the sun rays on earth, and as a result cause the world to heat up.[ii]  In fact, the world has been heating up faster over the last 50 years than in all of recorded history.[iii]  One of the biggest causes of global warming is the release of so much carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.  Carbon dioxide has many sources such as electricity.  Over 75% of all electricity produced worldwide is created through the burning of fossil fuels which release carbon dioxide and other heat trapping gases.[iv]  In fact, roughly 87% of all human created carbon dioxide is from the burning of fossil fuels, and other sources of carbon dioxide include any industry that uses fossil fuels and account for 4% of carbon dioxide, and the destruction of forests which accounts for 9%.[v]  Fossil fuel use in 2011 released 33.2 billion tons of CO2 worldwide, with coal accounting for 43% of that number, 36% coming from oil, and 20% from natural gas.[vi]  To provide some perspective, the moon is estimated to weigh 81 billion tons.[vii]  So, the amount of CO2 that was released in 2011 was equal to over 1/3 the weight of the moon.  That’s a lot of gas.

Global Warming 2

The effects of global warming are many and varied, but many of them have something to do with water, or the lack there of.  Water which makes up 65% of the human body[viii], and is essential for life is one of the most affected by almost all of Global Warming’s effects.  It is estimated that by 2050 over 1/3 of all counties in the United States will face water shortages.[ix]  Think about that for a moment.  One third of all counties in the United States won’t have access to water in less than 40 years.  Global warming is also having a dramatic effect on the polar ice caps, where temperatures are increasing twice as rapidly as in the rest of the world.[x]  Images from NASA satellites show that the ice caps are shrinking 9% every 10 years.[xi]  This means that in less than a century the polar ice caps could be gone.  Which leads us into the next effect of global warming: rising sea levels.  Over the past twenty years global sea levels have been rising twice as quickly as they did over the past century.[xii]  What does that mean?  It means that wetlands are more likely to flood, beaches to be eroded, inland water supplies to be contaminated by saltwater, more powerful waves when storms hit coastal areas, and of course, an increased chance of coastal cities flooding.[xiii]  Think back to 2012, and the damage that Hurricane Sandy inflicted on New York City alone.  Certain parts of the city were flooded by over 17 feet of water.[xiv]  Sandy caused the death of 117 United States citizens, 53 of whom were in New York.[xv]  That’s just one storm.  In 2004 a tsunami that is considered one of the deadliest in human history hit Thailand and permanently submerged several small islands, as well as wreaking havoc on thousands of miles of coastline.[xvi]  As the ocean level rises, there is legitimate fear that these storms will get worse.  These are just some of the effects that global warming is having on our world, and if scientists are right as to the dangers of global warming things will only get worse.  Do we really want to wait until whole islands are disappearing beneath the waves and entire cities are starved of water before we’ll stop arguing over whether it’s real?

Global Warming 3

There are things that you can do to help diminish, if not stop, the effects of global warming.  As mentioned earlier, electricity production accounts for a large percentage of greenhouse gas emissions, so conserve energy.  Turn off your lights when you’re not using them.  It helps the world, and it saves you money which sounds like a win/win.  Also, drive less, use energy efficient products, and use your heater and air conditioner less often.[xvii]  You can also recycle which helps reduce waste, and allows recyclable products to be reused thus reducing some of the need for fossil fuels in manufacturing.[xviii]  You can also reevaluate your food choices, and choose to shop at farmers´ markets instead of supermarkets. You´ll not only get healthier and cleaner produce but also limit the amount of plastic packaging and wrapping waste. Take a shopping bag and use less plastic bags. Reuse containers or use some for crafts with your children.  If you really want to help, lobby your state representatives, and tell them you want to see real action taken to help ensure that you have a home that you are happy to call such in 50 years.  Global warming is a global problem, and so that means every man, woman, and child has a responsibility to help.

Ultimately, I can’t force you to do anything.  I can’t force you to believe in global warming and its effects.  I can’t force you to do anything to help avert it, and I can’t force you to want to help.  But, I can try.  That’s what I am doing.  I am trying to make people see that we stand on the edge of a cliff.  We can continue to blindly walk along the edge and deal with the consequences.  What will happen when people don’t have enough water to quench their thirst?  I can think of a few things are most of them are bloody.  I don’t want to live in that world, and I don’t think you do either.  So, let’s not.  Let’s do what we can now to try and save the world we’re in before it morphs into something unrecognizable.


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About the Author

Dom resizeDominick Principe is a graduate of Rowan University with dual Bachelor Degrees in Elementary Education and Writing Arts.  He is a prolific reader who devours any book put before him, and feels that life is one great long book without an end.  He fills his hours constantly exploring new information, and seeking to educate himself in the ways of the world.  He puts all of that knowledge and his passion for learning to good use teaching English as a second language to students of all ages.  When his nose isn’t buried in a book, or in class teaching, then he can generally be found typing away at his computer working on some random piece of writing that he was inspired to do.


[i] “Human Cause of Global Warming Is near Certainty, UN Reports.” UN News Center. UN, 30 Jan. 2014. Web. 18 Nov. 2014. <http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=47047#.VGsD2fmUdg8&gt;.

[ii] “An Introduction to Climate Change.” Climate Change Facts. Web. 18 Nov. 2014. <http://www.nrdc.org/globalwarming/climatebasics.asp&gt;.

[iii] “An Introduction to Climate Change.” Climate Change Facts. Web. 18 Nov. 2014. <http://www.nrdc.org/globalwarming/climatebasics.asp&gt;.

[iv] “Causes Of Global Warming.” ConserveEnergyFuture. Web. 18 Nov. 2014. <http://www.conserve-energy-future.com/GlobalWarmingCauses.php&gt;.

[v] “What Are the Main Sources of Carbon Dioxide Emissions?” What’s Your Impact. Web. 18 Nov. 2014. <http://whatsyourimpact.org/greenhouse-gases/carbon-dioxide-sources&gt;.

[vi] [vi] “What Are the Main Sources of Carbon Dioxide Emissions?” What’s Your Impact. Web. 18 Nov. 2014. <http://whatsyourimpact.org/greenhouse-gases/carbon-dioxide-sources&gt;.

[vii] “Moon’s Weight.” Moon’s Weight. US Department of Energy. Web. 18 Nov. 2014. <http://www.newton.dep.anl.gov/askasci/ast99/ast99487.htm&gt;.

[viii] “The Water in You.” Water Properties: (Water Science for Schools). Web. 18 Nov. 2014. <http://water.usgs.gov/edu/propertyyou.html&gt;.

[ix] “Climate Change, Water, and Risk.” Water Sustainability. National Resource Defence Council. Web. 18 Nov. 2014. <http://www.nrdc.org/globalwarming/watersustainability/index.asp&gt;.

[x] “Global Warming Puts the Arctic on Thin Ice.” Arctic Sea Ice. National Resource Defence Council. Web. 18 Nov. 2014. <http://www.nrdc.org/globalwarming/qthinice.asp&gt;.

[xi] “Global Warming Puts the Arctic on Thin Ice.” Arctic Sea Ice. National Resource Defence Council. Web. 18 Nov. 2014. <http://www.nrdc.org/globalwarming/qthinice.asp&gt;.

[xii] “Sea Level Rise — National Geographic.” National Geographic. National Geographic. Web. 18 Nov. 2014. <http://ocean.nationalgeographic.com/ocean/critical-issues-sea-level-rise/&gt;.

[xiii] “Sea Level Rise — National Geographic.” National Geographic. National Geographic. Web. 18 Nov. 2014. <http://ocean.nationalgeographic.com/ocean/critical-issues-sea-level-rise/&gt;.

[xiv] “Sandy Survey of the Flooding in New York After the Hurricane.” New York Times. New York Times. Web. 18 Nov. 2014. <http://www.nytimes.com/newsgraphics/2012/1120-sandy/survey-of-the-flooding-in-new-york-after-the-hurricane.html&gt;.

[xv] “Hurricane Sandy Fast Facts.” CNN. Cable News Network, 5 Nov. 2014. Web. 18 Nov. 2014. <http://www.cnn.com/2013/07/13/world/americas/hurricane-sandy-fast-facts/&gt;.

[xvi] “The Deadliest Tsunami in History?” National Geographic. National Geographic Society. Web. 2 Dec. 2014. <http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2004/12/1227_041226_tsunami_2.html&gt;.

[xvii]  10 Things You Can Do to Slow Climate Change.” About. Web. 18 Nov. 2014. <http://environment.about.com/od/globalwarming/tp/globalwarmtips.htm&gt;.

[xviii] 10 Things You Can Do to Slow Climate Change.” About. Web. 18 Nov. 2014. <http://environment.about.com/od/globalwarming/tp/globalwarmtips.htm&gt;.

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Understanding Pollution: What We Should Know about Methane

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Methane is a colorless, and odorless gas that is commonly used, but is dangerous to both man and the environment.[i]  It is used commonly as a source of fuel, or to power lights.[ii]  Additionally, methane is used in the manufacture of organic chemicals.[iii]  So, needless to say, methane is a well-known, and well used substance in our world today.  But, with the sweet there must be the bitter.  Methane can have severe effects on human health, and its impact on the environment cannot be ignored.  Also, the sources of methane might surprise you; they did me.

Methane 1

Since it is a naturally occurring gas methane comes from a number of sources both manmade and natural.  The main man made sources of methane include fossil fuel production and livestock farming.[iv]  Fossil fuel production creates 110 million tons of methane a year, and accounts for 1/3 of all manmade methane emissions.[v]  In fact, natural gas, which many people use to heat their homes, is mostly made up of methane.[vi]  The other big manmade source is livestock farming.  Animals like cows, sheep, and pigs fart, and fart a lot.  When they fart they release methane.[vii]  Now, you may be laughing, but understand that the methane from livestock also accounts for about 1/3 of manmade methane emissions.[viii]  That’s a lot of gas.  Moving on, let’s look at some of the natural sources.  Natural sources of methane include wetlands, termites, and the volcanoes of our world.[ix]  Every day, a termite produces 1 microgram of methane, which isn’t much, but if you add up all the methane produced by every termite on the planet you are looking at 20 million tons of methane annually.[x]  That’s a fairly large amount of methane, and a huge number of termites!  We then move onto wetlands where chemicals reactions occur naturally, and account for roughly 1/3 of all methane release worldwide.[xi]

As mentioned previously, methane is a colorless and odorless gas, or a liquid if put under pressure.[xii]  Because of this, it is very difficult to know if you are being exposed to methane, until you are already suffering from its effects.  Methane replaces oxygen in the air, and the body inhales it just like oxygen.[xiii]  This can cause an increased breathing rate, an increased heart rate, loss of coordination, and can have an effect on what emotions we experience.[xiv]  These are just the early effects of methane exposure, and if you experience them you need to leave wherever you are and find fresh air as quickly as possible.  If your exposure continues for too long you will begin to experience nausea, vomiting, the possibility of collapsing, convulsions, falling into a coma, and finally death.[xv]  Needless to say methane is no joke.  Another issue with methane is that it is highly, highly flammable.  Leaking methane gas can cover a fair distance, and if exposed to any heat source or open flame will ignite all the way back to where it is leaking.[xvi]  That’s methane in its more common gas form, but its liquid form has its own hazards.  Liquid methane is also highly flammable, and if your skin is exposed to liquid methane it will cause frostbite, and even has the potential to completely freeze your eyeballs if somehow your eyes come into contact with it.[xvii]

Methane 2

Like carbon dioxide with which it shares so many traits, methane is a greenhouse gas.[xviii]  What does that mean?  Well, it means that methane that is released into the air travels into the atmosphere, and once there it traps the heat coming from the sun.[xix]  Methane does not remain in the atmosphere for as long as other greenhouse gases, but it is much more effective at trapping the sun’s heat than other gases.  Compared to carbon dioxide, which is the gas that most people mention when talking about greenhouse gases, methane is 84% better at trapping heat from the sun in the atmosphere, and it is estimated that methane accounts for 25% of manmade global warming.[xx]  That is methane’s effect on a global scale.  Locally, as mentioned earlier, methane is highly flammable.  Methane fires can occur in mines, over landfills, and wetlands if exposed to even a single spark.[xxi]  In fact, in September of 2013, 37 families were forced to evacuate their homes due to a leak from a methane gas line, and fire companies were forced to be on standby for days, such is the danger of a methane fire.[xxii]

So, we’ve discussed some of the sources of methane, its health hazards, and its effects on the environment, but you may be asking yourself what you should take away from all of this.  I mean, methane is used by 61% of all household in the United States for heat.[xxiii]  That’s a lot of people who are not going to want to give up their heat just because they read an article that explains a little about methane.  Still, knowledge is power.  By learning about what you are using you are aware that what you do has benefits and consequences.  Ultimately, it is up to every individual to decide for themselves if the benefits out way the consequences, and vice versa.  That’s what life is.  Making well informed choices with the understanding that what you do will echo down in some way shape or form throughout history.  Should we stop using methane gas all together, and get rid of every cow, sheep, and pig farm in the world?  Probably not, but you could think twice before ordering that steak at dinner.  By being aware that a problem exists a solution can be found.


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About the Author

Dom resizeDominick Principe is a graduate of Rowan University with dual Bachelor Degrees in Elementary Education and Writing Arts.  He is a prolific reader who devours any book put before him, and feels that life is one great long book without an end.  He fills his hours constantly exploring new information, and seeking to educate himself in the ways of the world.  He puts all of that knowledge and his passion for learning to good use teaching English as a second language to students of all ages.  When his nose isn’t buried in a book, or in class teaching, then he can generally be found typing away at his computer working on some random piece of writing that he was inspired to do.


[i] “Hazardous Substance Fact Sheet: Methane.” New Jersey Health Department. New Jersey Health Department. Web. 1 Dec. 2014. <http://nj.gov/health/eoh/rtkweb/documents/fs/1202.pdf&gt;.

[ii] “Chemical Fact Sheets–Methane.” Chemical Fact Sheets–Methane. Web. 1 Dec. 2014. <http://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/eh/chemfs/fs/Methane.htm&gt;.

[iii] “Chemical Fact Sheets–Methane.” Chemical Fact Sheets–Methane. Web. 1 Dec. 2014. <http://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/eh/chemfs/fs/Methane.htm&gt;.

[iv] “What Are the Main Sources of Methane Emissions?” What’s Your Impact. Web. 1 Dec. 2014. <http://whatsyourimpact.org/greenhouse-gases/methane-sources&gt;.

[v] “What Are the Main Sources of Methane Emissions?” What’s Your Impact. Web. 1 Dec. 2014. <http://whatsyourimpact.org/greenhouse-gases/methane-sources&gt;.

[vi] “What Are the Main Sources of Methane Emissions?” What’s Your Impact. Web. 1 Dec. 2014. <http://whatsyourimpact.org/greenhouse-gases/methane-sources&gt;.

[vii] “What Are the Main Sources of Methane Emissions?” What’s Your Impact. Web. 1 Dec. 2014. <http://whatsyourimpact.org/greenhouse-gases/methane-sources&gt;.

[viii] “What Are the Main Sources of Methane Emissions?” What’s Your Impact. Web. 1 Dec. 2014. <http://whatsyourimpact.org/greenhouse-gases/methane-sources&gt;.

[ix] “What Are the Main Sources of Methane Emissions?” What’s Your Impact. Web. 1 Dec. 2014. <http://whatsyourimpact.org/greenhouse-gases/methane-sources&gt;.

[x] “GreenHouse Gas Online – Greenhouse Gas News, Research and Resources.” GreenHouse Gas Online – Greenhouse Gas News, Research and Resources. Web. 1 Dec. 2014. <http://www.ghgonline.org/methanetermite.htm&gt;.

[xi] “Methane Emission from Natural Wetlands: Interplay between Emergent Macrophytes and Soil Microbial Processes. A Mini-review.” National Center for Biotechnology Information. U.S. National Library of Medicine. Web. 1 Dec. 2014. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19689973&gt;.

[xii] “Hazardous Substance Fact Sheet: Methane.” New Jersey Health Department. New Jersey Health Department. Web. 1 Dec. 2014. <http://nj.gov/health/eoh/rtkweb/documents/fs/1202.pdf&gt;.

[xiii] “Common Menu Bar Links.” Methane : OSH Answers. Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety. Web. 1 Dec. 2014. <http://www.ccohs.ca/oshanswers/chemicals/chem_profiles/methane.html&gt;.

[xiv] “Common Menu Bar Links.” Methane : OSH Answers. Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety. Web. 1 Dec. 2014. <http://www.ccohs.ca/oshanswers/chemicals/chem_profiles/methane.html&gt;.

[xv] “Common Menu Bar Links.” Methane : OSH Answers. Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety. Web. 1 Dec. 2014. <http://www.ccohs.ca/oshanswers/chemicals/chem_profiles/methane.html&gt;.

[xvi] “Common Menu Bar Links.” Methane : OSH Answers. Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety. Web. 1 Dec. 2014. <http://www.ccohs.ca/oshanswers/chemicals/chem_profiles/methane.html&gt;.

[xvii] “Common Menu Bar Links.” Methane : OSH Answers. Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety. Web. 1 Dec. 2014. <http://www.ccohs.ca/oshanswers/chemicals/chem_profiles/methane.html&gt;.

[xviii] “Ocean News | Issue 7 | Climate Change.” Ocean News | Issue 7 | Climate Change. Web. 1 Dec. 2014. <http://oceanlink.info/ONews/ONews7/methane.html&gt;.

[xix] “Methane: The Other Important Greenhouse Gas.” Environmental Defense Fund. Environmental Defense Fund. Web. 1 Dec. 2014. <http://www.edf.org/climate/methane&gt;.

[xx] “Methane: The Other Important Greenhouse Gas.” Environmental Defense Fund. Environmental Defense Fund. Web. 1 Dec. 2014. <http://www.edf.org/climate/methane&gt;.

[xxi] “Methane.” Pollutant Fact Sheet. Scottish Environment Protection Agency. Web. 1 Dec. 2014. <http://apps.sepa.org.uk/spripa/Pages/SubstanceInformation.aspx?pid=65&gt;.

[xxii] “Hawthorne Methane Leak Forces Evacuation of 37 Families for Third Night.” Hawthorne Methane Leak Forces Evacuation of 37 Families for Third Night. The Daily Breeze. Web. 1 Dec. 2014. <http://www.dailybreeze.com/general-news/20130916/hawthorne-methane-leak-forces-evacuation-of-37-families-for-third-night&gt;.

[xxiii] “What Percentage of Homes in the U.S. Use Natural Gas?” FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS. U.S. Energy Information Administration. Web. 1 Dec. 2014. <http://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.cfm?id=49&t=8&gt;.

Understanding Pollution: The Advantages and Disadvantages of Fossil Fuels

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When people talk about pollution, invariably the topic of fossil fuels will come up.  This shouldn’t be surprising to anyone considering the fact that 60% of the world’s energy consumption is fueled by fossil fuels, but what exactly are fossils fuels?  Despite the fact that fossil fuels are one of the leading causes of pollution there are benefits that are associated with their use.  There are also many disadvantages and problems that arise from their use.  It is impossible to have a discussion about pollution, or green energy, climate change, or the demands that society places on the energy sector without discussing fossil fuels.  They are a huge issue, and they are one that everyone should seek to have at least a basic understanding of.

Fossil fuels 1

Fossil fuels are “a fuel (such as coal, oil, or natural gas) that is formed in the earth from dead plants and animals.” [i]  That sounds pretty simple, and you’re probably thinking something along the lines of how are we running out of fossil fuels with plants and animals dying all the time throughout history?  The problem lies in how long it takes fossil fuels to form.  The coal, oil, and natural gas that we use today wasn’t formed a century, or even a millennia ago.  They weren’t even formed from dead dinosaurs as is a common belief.  In fact, they were formed hundreds of millions of years ago, and millions of years before the first dinosaur was even alive![ii]  It is difficult to estimate how much oil, coal, and natural gas are left in the world, because technology is constantly advancing and granting access to heretofore inaccessible sources. Until about a decade ago oil and natural gas in tar sands was impossible to access.  What we do know is the places that are already running out of fossil fuels.  Great Britain is set to run out of its own supply of fossil fuels within the next five years.[iii]  That means that the UK will have no choice but to import ever increasing amounts of fossil fuels as their population expands unless an alternative energy source is utilized.  France and Italy are two more countries that are finding themselves running out of their own supply of fossil fuels.[iv]

There are several advantages to the use of fossil fuels for energy consumption.  To begin with, the technology required to utilize fossil fuels is already in existence, and is in fact advancing quite rapidly.[v]  There is a reason for that however, and that reason is that we have been using fossil fuels for centuries, with coal being discovered as a fuel source sometime in the 1700s.[vi]  We know these fuel sources.  We know how to mine them, transport them, and utilize them, and familiarity breeds comfort.  That’s not necessarily a good thing as a sense of familiarity often hides disaster.  Another advantage to fossil fuels is that they are cheap and reliable.[vii]  Again, we know how to mine and utilize these energy sources, and we have had a great deal of time to perfect the processes associated with them.  Ultimately, the advantages of fossil fuels come down to convenience.  If we continue to use what we have used for centuries we don’t have to change.  We can blame the problems of fossil fuels on those who came before us for sticking us with this situation.  The problem with that is that there is no sense of personal responsibility.  By using the energy and enjoying the conveniences of fossil fuels you are responsible for the consequences.

Fossil fuels 2

The disadvantages of fossil fuels are fairly well known, and often much talked about.  That being the case, I won’t go too in depth here, especially as many of these issues are covered in other articles on the site.  To begin with fossil fuels all contribute to global warming specifically, and pollution in general.[viii]  There is then the fact that fossil fuels have been linked as one of the main causes of the increase of acid rain which causes immense damage to manmade structures, ecosystems, animals, plants, and humans.[ix]  As mentioned before, fossil fuels are a finite resource.  They will one day run out.  When that day comes humanity is going to find itself in a bit of an awkward predicament unless we have made a change to a more sustainable, hopefully renewable source of energy.  Another major problem is that when that day comes we will have an outdated and useless energy infrastructure.[x]  Think about it.  How much of what we use today is run from fossil fuels?  From cars and trains to planes, and satellite launches, electricity generation to manufacturing in general.  Almost everything runs on fossil fuels, and again it is a finite resource.  There’s an old saying about putting all your eggs in one basket, and I’m afraid to say that seems like what we are doing.

Fossil fuels are used to power our world today, and have done so for decades if not centuries.  As technology has advanced we have focused on improving our current tried and true methods for energy creation and use, and called it innovation.  True innovation lies in seeing the challenges that face us and finding new and better ways of doing something.  True innovation is in finding a way to power our ever expanding society in such a way that allows us to continue to dominate the world around us, but also preserve it so that we can continue to be the dominant species of Earth for centuries.  If we do not innovate, and move away from fossil fuels, we run the risk of our society breaking down when the day comes that we run out of them.


If you liked this article and would like to receive more, be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter.


About the Author

Dom resizeDominick Principe is a graduate of Rowan University with dual Bachelor Degrees in Elementary Education and Writing Arts.  He is a prolific reader who devours any book put before him, and feels that life is one great long book without an end.  He fills his hours constantly exploring new information, and seeking to educate himself in the ways of the world.  He puts all of that knowledge and his passion for learning to good use teaching English as a second language to students of all ages.  When his nose isn’t buried in a book, or in class teaching, then he can generally be found typing away at his computer working on some random piece of writing that he was inspired to do.


[i] “Fossil Fuel.” Merriam-Webster. Merriam-Webster. Web. 22 Nov. 2014. <http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fossil fuel>.

[ii] “DOE – Fossil Energy: How Fossil Fuels Were Formed.” DOE – Fossil Energy: How Fossil Fuels Were Formed. Department of Energy. Web. 22 Nov. 2014. <http://www.fe.doe.gov/education/energylessons/coal/gen_howformed.html&gt;.

[iii] “Fossil Fuels: UK to ‘run out of Oil, Gas and Coal’ in Five Years.” The Independent. Independent Digital News and Media. Web. 22 Nov. 2014. <http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/uk-to-run-out-of-fossil-fuels-in-five-years-9385415.html&gt;.

[iv] “Fossil Fuels: UK to ‘run out of Oil, Gas and Coal’ in Five Years.” The Independent. Independent Digital News and Media. Web. 22 Nov. 2014. <http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/uk-to-run-out-of-fossil-fuels-in-five-years-9385415.html&gt;.

[v] “Fossil Fuels Pros and Cons – Energy Informative.” Energy Informative. Web. 22 Nov. 2014. <http://energyinformative.org/fossil-fuels-pros-and-cons/&gt;.

[vi] “DOE – Fossil Energy: A Brief History of Coal Use in the United States.” DOE – Fossil Energy: A Brief History of Coal Use in the United States. Department of Energy. Web. 22 Nov. 2014. <http://www.fe.doe.gov/education/energylessons/coal/coal_history.html&gt;.

[vii] “Fossil Fuels Pros and Cons – Energy Informative.” Energy Informative. Web. 22 Nov. 2014. <http://energyinformative.org/fossil-fuels-pros-and-cons/&gt;.

[viii] “Fossil Fuels Pros and Cons – Energy Informative.” Energy Informative. Web. 22 Nov. 2014. <http://energyinformative.org/fossil-fuels-pros-and-cons/&gt;.

[ix] “Disadvantages Of Fossil Fuels.” ConserveEnergyFuture. Web. 22 Nov. 2014. <http://www.conserve-energy-future.com/Disadvantages_FossilFuels.php&gt;.

[x] https://www.udemy.com/blog/disadvantages-of-fossil-fuels/

Understanding Pollution: EPA, the Little Known Name behind Pollution Regulation

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As humanity has grown to recognize the dangers that pollution poses to humans, animals, and the environment world governments have taken steps to try and mitigate the dangers.  This is done through rules and regulations passed and enforced by government agencies.  In the United States the agency in charge of pollution control is the Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA for short.[i] Now, what does it mean to be an Environmental Protection Agency?  Well, there are reasons why the EPA was established, and the EPA has certain areas of responsibility and oversight that it is in charge of.  In this article I will explore the history of the EPA, its duties and responsibilities, and its perceived effectiveness in the United States compared to other agencies worldwide.

The EPA was established in 1970 as the American public became aware of the growing dangers that pollution was causing both worldwide, and more specifically, in the United States.  It was established to both control the effects of pollution, and reverse as much as possible the damage that had already been done.[ii]  Before the inception of the EPA there were multiple agencies dealing with multiple aspects of pollution.  These included the Department of Agriculture, The Department of the Interior, and the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare.[iii]  Since its creation in 1970 one of the EPA’s original mandates has been to ensure clean air throughout the country through the passing of the Clean Air Act.  As time has passed, the responsibilities of the EPA have grown.  In 1977 and 1974, the Clean Water Act, and Safe Drinking Water Act gave the EPA the authority to regulate the nation’s water supplies, and in 1990 the oil industry was added to the growing list of responsibilities of the EPA.[iv]  The important thing to take away from the history of the EPA is that even though it was established by President Nixon, and the Congress it was done so because the American People demanded that something be done.  The EPA is a living memorial to the power of people to positively change the world around us for the better to ensure that we have a world that we WANT to call home.

EPA 1

The EPA is in charge of many aspects of pollution control and environmental protection, but how do they go about controlling pollution?  It’s actually quite simple.  The way that pollution regulation works is that laws are passed in Congress that give the EPA, or another agency, the broad authority to regulate and make rules for specific areas of concern.[v]    The EPA then issues rules and regulations that apply at the local, state, and federal levels.[vi]  As pollution is an ever evolving issue, the EPA must have the ability to adjust and adapt to those issues.  Let’s look at oil waste removal for an example of how the EPA regulates.  The EPA classifies oil as a hazardous waste, and breaks down the different companies that use oil into three categories: conditionally exempt, small generator, and large generator.  Then, depending on which category you fall into you need to meet certain requirements.  These can include training in specific waste removal techniques, weekly inspections, the length of time waste can remain on your premises, how materials need to be transported, and keeping an accurate manifest of your supply of wastes.[vii]  The EPA makes rules such as these for every industry which it is required to regulate.  To ensure compliance with its rules and regulations the EPA has several things it can do to enforce its rulings.  For the most minor of infractions a simple warning letter is sent to whatever individual or business is violating the rules.  For the next level of infraction the EPA gets a court order requiring the business to bring its activities in line with current regulations.  If a problem persists the EPA initiates a lawsuit against the offender, sends another letter demanding that offender’s compliance with the regulations, and fines them.  Finally, for the worst of offenders the EPA has the authority to bring criminal charges which can lead to massive fines, and even jail time.[viii]  As you can see, the EPA is an agency that does seek to work with people, and has a well tiered system for ensuring compliance.

EPA 2

In terms of the rest of the world the United States is ahead of the game in terms of trying to regulate pollution.  The U.S. began with regulating air quality in 1970.  Most developing nations, such as Pakistan and most other Middle Eastern countries, do not seek to regulate air quality at all.[ix]  Even major countries like China who do have national regulations for air pollution do not enforce those regulations, or as in the case of Thailand, their regulations are more than 30 years old.[x] Despite the fact that the U.S. is leading the way in pollution regulation, there are still many who criticize the U.S. for not doing enough.  Part of the reason for this criticism is the lobbying of Congress done by the different industries, such as oil and coal that fall under the regulations of the Environmental Protection Agency.  The main purpose of most businesses is to make money, and the EPA regulations, while good for the environment and human health, are affecting businesses’ profits.  In 1982, the Noise Control Act was passed, which gave the EPA the right to regulate noise pollution.  Due to heavy lobbying by many business groups, the act was left with very little teeth to it.[xi]  If the United States wants to continue to ensure the health and long life of its people more needs to be done.

EPA 3

Ultimately, the EPA is not the panacea to pollution.  It is only one agency that effects only a single country.  Pollution is worldwide.  The air that we breathe today could be in Canada, Brazil, Germany, or China in just a few days, and the reverse is true.  The true value of the EPA lies in the fact that it was created at the behest of a populace that was truly alarmed by the dangers of pollution that they saw building.  It is a testament to the fact that if we want to change the world we can.  Together, there are no limits to what the human race can accomplish.  So, for the health and wellbeing of ourselves, and our planet we must once more, as we did in 1970, come together to tell the not just the United States Government, but the world that we want to see real solutions to the problems that pollution is forcing upon us every day.


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About the Author

Dom resizeDominick Principe is a graduate of Rowan University with dual Bachelor Degrees in Elementary Education and Writing Arts.  He is a prolific reader who devours any book put before him, and feels that life is one great long book without an end.  He fills his hours constantly exploring new information, and seeking to educate himself in the ways of the world.  He puts all of that knowledge and his passion for learning to good use teaching English as a second language to students of all ages.  When his nose isn’t buried in a book, or in class teaching, then he can generally be found typing away at his computer working on some random piece of writing that he was inspired to do.


[i] “The Environmental Protection Agency.” About. United States Government. Web. 17 Nov. 2014. <http://usgovinfo.about.com/od/technologyandresearch/a/aboutepa.htm&gt;.

[ii] “The Environmental Protection Agency.” About. United States Government. Web. 17 Nov. 2014. <http://usgovinfo.about.com/od/technologyandresearch/a/aboutepa.htm&gt;.

[iii] “EPA.” Duties Transferred to. Environmental Protection Agency. Web. 17 Nov. 2014. <http://www2.epa.gov/aboutepa/duties-transferred-epa&gt;.

[iv] “Pollution Issues.” Laws and Regulations, United States. Web. 17 Nov. 2014. <http://www.pollutionissues.com/Ho-Li/Laws-and-Regulations-United-States.html&gt;.

[v] “Pollution Issues.” Laws and Regulations, United States. Web. 17 Nov. 2014. <http://www.pollutionissues.com/Ho-Li/Laws-and-Regulations-United-States.html&gt;.

[vi] “Pollution Issues.” Laws and Regulations, United States. Web. 17 Nov. 2014. <http://www.pollutionissues.com/Ho-Li/Laws-and-Regulations-United-States.html&gt;.

[vii] “Used Oil and Hazardous Waste Management.” EPA. Environmental Protection Agency. Web. 17 Nov. 2014. <http://www.epa.gov/region10/pdf/owcm/EPA-910-K-13-001_UsedOilAndHazardousWasteManagement_web.pdf&gt;.

[viii] “Pollution Issues.” Laws and Regulations, United States. Web. 17 Nov. 2014. <http://www.pollutionissues.com/Ho-Li/Laws-and-Regulations-United-States.html&gt;.

[ix] Peltier, Ally, and Lucy Oppenheimer. “Do Most Countries in the World Have Some Sort of Air Quality Standards?” WiseGeek. Conjecture, 8 Oct. 2014. Web. 17 Nov. 2014. <http://www.wisegeek.com/do-most-countries-in-the-world-have-some-sort-of-air-quality-standards.htm&gt;.

[x] Peltier, Ally, and Lucy Oppenheimer. “Do Most Countries in the World Have Some Sort of Air Quality Standards?” WiseGeek. Conjecture, 8 Oct. 2014. Web. 17 Nov. 2014. <http://www.wisegeek.com/do-most-countries-in-the-world-have-some-sort-of-air-quality-standards.htm&gt;.

[xi] “Pollution Issues.” Laws and Regulations, United States. Web. 17 Nov. 2014. <http://www.pollutionissues.com/Ho-Li/Laws-and-Regulations-United-States.html&gt;.

Understanding Pollution: Irreversible Changes Global Warming, Oil Spills and Eutrophication Have on Our Water Supply

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In the ever-changing world in which we live, there is only one constant:  Water.  Throughout the history of the earth continents have shifted, land masses have risen up, and sunk, but through it all there has been water.  As mankind has advanced we have done so through water.  The earliest human settlements were near water sources, and as civilization expanded it did so by following along the rivers, lakes, and oceans of the world.  Why?  Because without water there is no life.  Despite the fact that water is so essential to life, humanity’s actions are having a negative impact on the water sources that are so vital to us all.  Actions such as the release of greenhouse gases which are increasing global warming, the spilling of oil into oceans, rivers, and lakes, and the release of chemicals into water sources causing eutrophication.

water pollution 3a

Many people argue the existence of global warming.  Yet, a recent report published by the United Nations has claimed that if something is not done to, at the very least, reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases then the world will be locked into an irreversible course of climate change.[i]   The report has caused UN secretary General Ban Ki-Moon to urge world leaders to act, and to quote the a UN press release concerning the report “if left unchecked, climate change will increase the likelihood of severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts for people and ecosystems.”[ii], The impact of global warming on water supplies is Threefold.  Firstly, as global warming causes the temperature of the water to rise it can devastate plant and aquatic animal life as they are unable to adapt to the increased temperature.[iii]  That may not seem like a big deal, until you consider the fact that 70-80% of the world’s oxygen comes from marine plant life.[iv]  Secondly, as the temperatures rise the polar ice caps are melting at a rate of 4% a decade, and Antarctica and Greenland are losing land mass[v].  Finally, as temperatures rise, and population continues to expand, there is an increased risk of desertification, which is the turning of land into desert[vi].  Let me break down desertification a bit.  No water equals no fertile land which equals no agriculture!  There goes our food supply. Global warming is not something that can be ignored.  It is having an impact on every aspect of the world’s ecosystems, from desert to ocean, and rainforest to urban cities.  As the UN report reveals that they are 95% certain that global warming is the results of man’s actions, are we really going to argue over the remaining 5%?  Or are we going to take action to ensure that future generations actually have a world to call home?

water pollution 3b

Anyone who has even seen images from an oil spill will agree the damage that oil can cause is tremendous.  One of the greatest dangers of oil is that even though water is known as the universal solvent, oil does not dissolve in water.[vii]  Instead of dissolving, oil simply gathers into a thick sludge on the water.  This sludge causes fish to suffocate, gathers on the feathers of birds weighing them down and denying them flight, and blocks light from reaching aquatic plant which leads to their demise.[viii]  Obviously, all of this devastates marine ecosystems.  The truly worrying thought is that as disastrous as oil spills are they account for only 12 percent of oil that enters the oceans.  The other 88% comes from shipping travel, drains and dumping.[ix]  It is estimated that 29 million gallons of oil enter the waters around North America alone.[x]  Think of the damage that is being done to the marine ecosystems around the world.  Then think about the long term damage that is being done to the waters of the world, which are essential for human life.

water pollution 3c

Eutrophication.  A word that most people have probably never heard before.  However, the effect that this word has on the waters of the world cannot be ignored.  Eutrophication is “The process by which a body of water acquires a high concentration of nutrients, especially phosphates and nitrates. These typically promote excessive growth of algae. As the algae die and decompose, high levels of organic matter and the decomposing organisms deplete the water of available oxygen, causing the death of other organisms, such as fish. Eutrophication is a natural, slow-aging process for a water body, but human activity greatly speeds up the process.”[xi] Phosphates and nitrates can come from such varied sources as fertilizer, sewage, or other artificial sources of nutrients.[xii]  Eutrophication is one of the most common dangers that face inland water supplies worldwide.  The problem with eutrophication is that there are so many different types of algae that can form.  Some algae can release toxins into the waters, while others can inhibit the ability of those who drink the water to take in oxygen.[xiii]  The only way to truly deal with eutrophication is to ensure that chemicals are not added into our water supplies.  While this process will naturally occur in older lakes, we should not exacerbate the issue by further polluting inland water.

water pollution 3d

Pollution can come in many forms and guises, but they all have one effect:  to degrade the environment around us.  The fact that we as a culture allow some of the most important resources on this planet to be polluted is a mark of our disregard for the future and our own welfare.  There are three things that are necessary for human survival:  Food, Water, and Oxygen.  While we can grow our own food, it requires water and oxygen to do so, and we continue to pollute.


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About the Author

Dom resizeDominick Principe is a graduate of Rowan University with dual Bachelor Degrees in Elementary Education and Writing Arts.  He is a prolific reader who devours any book put before him, and feels that life is one great long book without an end.  He fills his hours constantly exploring new information, and seeking to educate himself in the ways of the world.  He puts all of that knowledge and his passion for learning to good use teaching English as a second language to students of all ages.  When his nose isn’t buried in a book, or in class teaching, then he can generally be found typing away at his computer working on some random piece of writing that he was inspired to do.


[i] Warrick, Joby, and Chris Mooney. “Effects of Climate Change ‘irreversible,’ U.N. Panel Warns in Report.” WashingtonPost.com. Washington Post, 2 Nov. 2014. Web. 4 Nov. 2014. <Effects of climate change ‘irreversible,’ U.N. panel warns in report>.

[ii] “‘Leaders Must Act,’ Urges Ban, as New UN Report Warns Climate Change May Soon Be ‘irreversible’.” Un.org. United Nations, 2 Nov. 2014. Web. 4 Nov. 2014. <‘Leaders must act,’ urges Ban, as new UN report warns climate change may soon be ‘irreversible’>.

[iii] “Global Warming « Water Pollution Guide.” Global Warming « Water Pollution Guide. The Guides Network. Web. 4 Nov. 2014. <http://www.water-pollution.org.uk/globalwarming.html&gt;.

[iv] “The Most Important Organism? | Ecology Global Network.” Ecology Global Network. Ecology Global Network. Web. 12 Nov. 2014. <http://www.ecology.com/2011/09/12/important-organism/&gt;.

[v] “Of Warming and Warnings.” The Economist. The Economist Newspaper, 3 Nov. 2014. Web. 4 Nov. 2014. <http://www.economist.com/news/science-and-technology/21630639-most-comprehensive-climate-report-yet-issues-its-shots-across-bow-warming-and&gt;.

[vi] “EU and FAO Step up Action against Desertification in Africa, Caribbean and Pacific.”Preventionweb.net. The United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, 22 Oct. 2014. Web. 3 Nov. 2014. <http://www.preventionweb.net/english/professional/news/v.php?id=40016&gt;.

[vii] “Everyday Chemistry – Why Doesn’t Oil Dissolve in Water?” Everyday Chemistry – Why Doesn’t Oil Dissolve in Water? The Human Touch of Chemistry. Web. 4 Nov. 2014. <http://humantouchofchemistry.com/why-doesnt-oil-dissolve-in-water.htm&gt;.

[viii] “Oil Pollution « Water Pollution Guide.” Oil Pollution « Water Pollution Guide. The Guides Network. Web. 4 Nov. 2014. <http://www.water-pollution.org.uk/oilpollution.html&gt;.

[ix] “Oil Pollution « Water Pollution Guide.” Oil Pollution « Water Pollution Guide. The Guides Network. Web. 4 Nov. 2014. <http://www.water-pollution.org.uk/oilpollution.html&gt;.

[x] “National-Academies.org | Where the Nation Turns for Independent, Expert Advice.”National-Academies.org | Where the Nation Turns for Independent, Expert Advice. The National Academies. Web. 4 Nov. 2014. <http://www8.nationalacademies.org/onpinews/newsitem.aspx?RecordID=10388&gt;.

[xi] “Eutrophication.” Definition Page. United States Geological Survey. Web. 30 Oct. 2014. <http://toxics.usgs.gov/definitions/eutrophication.html&gt;.

[xii] “Eutrophication.” Definition Page. United States Geological Survey. Web. 12 Nov. 2014. <http://toxics.usgs.gov/definitions/eutrophication.html&gt;.

[xiii] “Why Is Eutrophication Such A Serious Pollution Problem?” Why Is Eutrophication Such A Serious Pollution Problem? United Nations Environment Programme. Web. 4 Nov. 2014. <http://www.unep.or.jp/ietc/publications/short_series/lakereservoirs-3/1.asp&gt;.

Understanding Pollution: The Truth about the Air We Breathe

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Every second of every day you are doing something so absolutely crucial that you normally don’t even think about it: Breathing.  The average adult takes 12-16 breaths per minute every minute every day 365 days a year.[i]  That equals out to between 6,307,200-8,415,184 breaths every year.  You would assume that because clean breathable air is so vital to human existence that it would be protected, and that a thing such as air pollution would not exist.  Sadly, this is not the case. Because the fact that breathing is so essential to human existence, air pollution is one of the most dangerous types of pollution out there.  Air pollution is defined by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary as “Release into the atmosphere of gases, finely divided solids, or finely dispersed liquid aerosols at rates that exceed the capacity of the atmosphere to dissipate them or to dispose of them through incorporation into the Biosphere.”[ii] Air pollution is not confined to only one area of the world, nor is it confined to a single type of pollutant.  There are legions of different pollutants that all cause some level of damage to the air that we so nonchalantly inhale every day.

air pollution 1

Every time that you breathe out you are releasing a gas called CO2, which is then used by plant life in order for them to survive.  Plant life is kind enough to provide us with Oxygen is exchange, and thus the circle of life is continued.  But too much of anything is bad.  In 2013 39.8 billion tons or CO2 were pumped into the atmosphere through the burning of fossil fuels alone.[iii]  To put that into perspective, according to the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory all volcanoes worldwide release only 200 million tons of CO2 into the atmosphere every year.[iv] In the year 1900 there was only 2.5 billion tons of CO2 released into the atmosphere.  That means that in a little over a century we have increased CO2 production roughly 16 times over.[v]  CO2 that is not then converted into Oxygen has only one place to go: up.  It gathers into the atmosphere, and there it waits.  You can debate the idea of climate change all you want, but the fact remains that CO2 levels are rising in the ozone, and we sadly can’t live off CO2.

air pollution 2

Now, air pollution is more than just CO2. Another danger of air pollution is called acidification. When certain chemicals such as sulfur dioxide are released into the air it is possible for them to mix with rain clouds.  When this occurs, we get what is called acid rain.[vi]  Just from the name itself, you know it cannot be good.  Acid rain can cause damage to plant life, animal life, manmade structures, and man himself.  Factor in the fact that if the rain is falling over a body of water those chemicals that are strong enough to damage manmade structures are now in ground water, and you can see the dangers.[vii]  The plant life in the waters will die, which will cause the herbivores in the water to die, which will cause the cause the carnivores in the water to die. Sulfur dioxide is released in many industrialized cities.  You see, Sulfur Dioxide is one of the chief ingredients in that oh so lovely thing called smog.  You know, those black clouds that you see pouring out the top of factories?  That smog.

air pollution 3

Having discussed CO2, and sulfur dioxide let us move onto another, very irritating pollutant: Odors.  Now, you may be thinking “Wait, odors?  As in smells?”  Well…yes.  Odors are chemical compounds that are in the air which falls in the definition of air pollution.  So, take a moment and think of some of the things that you smell:  Garbage, Sewage, Industrial by-products.  What does it mean that you can smell them?  It means that some chemical is in the air.  Garbage, sewage, and industrial by-products are all forms of pollution in their own right with their own risks and dangers to the environment and mankind, and their smell is both a by-product of that pollution, and a further pollution of the air.  Pollution has both earth-shattering consequences, and more minor consequences.  Some of the effects of pollution are so minor that we don’t even recognize them as such.  A really bad smell is one example of that.  However, there are earth shattering consequences.  As more and more manufacturing has moved from the United States to China, you would think that pollution is going down in the US…You would be wrong.  Due to the existence of what are known as Westerlies, which are powerful winds that travel from the east to the west, China is “exporting” pollution to the West Coast of the United States.  So much pollution is being added that to West Coast cities that they are violating National EPA standards on average of one extra day a year.[viii]

Air is one of the absolutely essential components required for humankind to not only prosper, but to even exist.  Air pollution is one of the greatest dangers to our lives.  It comes in so many forms, and because air is everywhere, it effects every aspect of our planet.  Since air pollution is such a huge issue with many contributing factors it is not something that can be easily dealt with.  Despite all of the issues involved in finding a solution, a solution must be found in order for us to continue to breathe that clean air that is so vital to not just a healthy lifestyle, but life itself.


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About the Author

Dom resizeDominick Principe is a graduate of Rowan University with dual Bachelor Degrees in Elementary Education and Writing Arts.  He is a prolific reader who devours any book put before him, and feels that life is one great long book without an end.  He fills his hours constantly exploring new information, and seeking to educate himself in the ways of the world.  He puts all of that knowledge and his passion for learning to good use teaching English as a second language to students of all ages.  When his nose isn’t buried in a book, or in class teaching, then he can generally be found typing away at his computer working on some random piece of writing that he was inspired to do.


[i] “Vital Signs (Body Temperature, Pulse Rate, Respiration Rate, Blood Pressure).”HopkinsMedicine.org. John Hopkins Medicine. Web. 10 Nov. 2014. <Vital Signs (Body Temperature, Pulse Rate, Respiration Rate, Blood Pressure)>.

[ii] “Air Pollution.” Merriam-Webster. Merriam-Webster. Web. 10 Nov. 2014. <http://www.merriam-webster.com/concise/air pollution>.

[iii] MailOnline, Ellie. “Carbon Emissions Reach 40 Billion Ton High: World Faces ‘dangerous Climate Change’ – and China, the US and India Are the Worst Offenders.” Mail Online. Associated Newspapers, 22 Sept. 2014. Web. 29 Oct. 2014. <http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2764323/China-US-India-push-world-carbon-emissions-up.html&gt;.

[iv] “Which Produces More CO2, Volcanic or Human Activity?” Which Produces More CO2, Volcanic or Human Activity? Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, 15 Feb. 2007. Web. 29 Oct. 2014. <http://hvo.wr.usgs.gov/volcanowatch/archive/2007/07_02_15.html&gt;.

[v] “Global Emissions.” EPA. Environmental Protection Agency. Web. 10 Nov. 2014. <http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/ghgemissions/global.html&gt;.

[vi] “Acid Rain: Do You Need to Start Wearing a Rainhat?” Acid Rain, from USGS Water-Science School. United States Geological Survey. Web. 10 Nov. 2014. <http://water.usgs.gov/edu/acidrain.html&gt;.

[vii] “Your Cool Facts and Tips on Air Pollution.” ESchoolToday. Web. 29 Oct. 2014. <http://eschooltoday.com/pollution/air-pollution/effects-of-air-pollution.html&gt;.

[viii] Landau, Elizabeth. “China’s Exports Linked to Western U.S. Air Pollution.” CNN. Cable News Network, 21 Jan. 2014. Web. 10 Nov. 2014. <http://www.cnn.com/2014/01/20/health/pollution-china-pnas/&gt;.