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Jack Lewis
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The vice article was striking, but not very surprising to me. As we discussed on Tuesday, people are at risk to more health issues when surrounded by polluted areas, whether it be from mountain-top removal or from petrochemical plants located in the neighborhood. I realized that the article was written at the beginning stages of the pandemic, and it is disheartening to learn that those living in Cancer Alley have to deal with worrying about more than just cancer. I'm currently working on a final project that focuses on cancer in Brazil, and I've found that one of the main reasons mortality rates haven't decreased drastically is many people in lower-income areas don't have access to the public hospitals that provide free consultations. Additionally, the number of healthcare workers in lower-income and more more rural areas is very sparse, so a lot of people can't get the help that they need from the lack of professionals. I feel that it is critical that New Orleans re-establishes a public hospital in the area. From the time of the article, it had been three years since the only public hospital in the area was destroyed from hurricane harvey. I was also taken aback by the statistic that African Americans make up 32% of the population, but account for 72% of all deaths. These predominantly Black and Latino communities surrounded by chemical plants have no way out. Due to financial burden it is difficult to find somewhere else to stay. My question is how can New Orleans citizens and others drive home the adverse health effects studied constantly in Cancer Alley to politicians and authorities? It is critical that we find ways to help out communities struggling with chronic health problems.
Toggle Commented Mar 30, 2022 on Last Post for the Semester at Jolly Green General
I found this paper to be extremely informative on the legislative implications of the four major climate bills. Additionally, by looking at how the effects of climate policy would affect households in a pessimistic sense versus an optimistic sense was useful to think about. Seeing the range of costs almost reminded me of a confidence interval that is used in econometrics. The range of the Waxman-Markey bill was relatively small, at between 0.23% of household income to 0.73% of household income. My first thought was that lower income households would be disproportionally affected by these potential costs, but was surprised to learn that low-income households are protected by these effects because increased expenditures from higher energy prices could be more than offset by the distribution of allowance value and indexing of government programs. Also it was interesting to see that households with the age range 50-64 bear a much larger portion of the burden. It was nice to see that groups that could potentially struggle more with costs such as the age group above 50-64 and lower-income households don't suffer as much because of social security benefits and the Low Income Energy Rebate Program.
Toggle Commented Mar 23, 2022 on Paper for Thursday at Jolly Green General
The article I focused on discussed air pollution-related illness. After reading plenty of economics based articles for the past couple of months, I enjoyed how scientifically driven the article written by Nel was. Scientific research gets rid of many doubts about certain issues because it is difficult to ignore the evidence. PM is harmful to humans and the article discusses how there is experimental support that describes the effects of PM being inflammation, cytokine and chemokine release, production of white blood cells, stimulation of irritant receptors, and more. Even worse, researchers believe the unregulated ultrafine particles are potentially the most dangerous. These ultrafine particles are a major component in vehicle emissions which are the largest source of air pollution in urban areas. Additionally, ultrafine particles have the ability to penetrate deeper into lung tissue than fine or coarse particles. With increased concern among professionals and the public, it is clear that further research must be conducted on the adverse health effects of PM. More implications may arise in the future from the negative health effects of PM, especially in major urban areas. People of older age and those at higher risk for lung issues will likely be advised to reside in more suburban or rural areas. Unless we can move to fully electric vehicles at a faster pace, this may be the reality for many.
Toggle Commented Mar 16, 2022 on Papers for Thursday at Jolly Green General
I especially enjoyed reading Shrag's article as it served as a huge wake-up call. Figure 2 was a great representation of what's been going on with the atmospheric CO2. It's crazy to think that nowadays the red line should be even higher since we are at around 415 ppm for CO2. I also thought figure 4 was mind-opening representation of the southeastern US if half of the Greenland ice sheet melted. As Shrag discusses in the article, it is clear that we need to expand non-fossil energy systems. This is a classic representation of substitution due to there being large negative externalities from fossil fuels. Shrag discusses how wind power is that it is the most economical and efficient. I think if we as a society and if authorities in our country fully commit to using renewable energy resources such as wind, water, solar, nuclear, biomass, and geothermal, the initial costs of implementation would become outweighed by the benefits realized in the future. Lastly, I like Shrag's realization that these debates over energy and CO2 emissions will not be hypothetical or just "talked about" for long. Sooner or later, major mitigation movements will need to take place.
Toggle Commented Mar 9, 2022 on Papers for Thursday at Jolly Green General
I enjoyed this article on fisheries as I feel this is an issue that is often neglected because it doesn't directly affect humans in a huge way. It was interesting reading Carter's experience fishing and it gave me a better understanding of how environmental police in certain areas do not patrol very often. Also, knowing how people have the tendency to be rebellious, I am sure they find ways to fish in areas where it is not allowed. Another thing that came to mind when thinking of people who have had similar experiences to Carter is when we discussed in class how business who scale back production or change their operations for sustainable purposes when there is no regulation will go out of business. Relating this back, fishers who choose not to fish in certain areas lose out on the experience meanwhile others reap the benefits of a fun experience because there is no strict regulation. Lastly, it is so unfortunate that coastal fisheries are quickly declining and their decline is even more pronounced because they are most affected by climate change. It goes to show that environmental issues can always be tied back to one another.
Toggle Commented Feb 9, 2022 on Paper for Thursday at Jolly Green General
China's influence over Brazil and the Amazon rainforest is truly unfortunate when considering the environmental effect of trade. On the other hand, economic prosperity for Brazil, China, and other countries that benefit from their trade. After learning about interdependence in macroeconomics, I learned that a lot of major economies depend on each other. For example, if the US were to stop trading completely with the UK, then the effects of the stoppage would be felt by a number of countries and their GDP could potentially be affected. So with this perspective, I understand the necessity to trade on China's part. However, there must be a way to mitigate the amount of deforestation to keep a biodiverse forest. We talked in class about how important biodiversity is, as our next cure for a significant disease could be found in the Amazon. Even more option value and existence value is very important to us. Unless we can somehow find substitutes for the lost species, we are trending in the wrong direction.
Toggle Commented Feb 3, 2022 on Reading for Thursday at Jolly Green General
I really enjoyed reading the Belize article as I learned about a new concept of sustainability with the PACT fee. I was surprised to learn that the fee was only $3.75 for 21 years until 2017. I feel that Belize could have taken advantage of their tourist attractions and increased the fee earlier to fund more projects preserving the coastline and more. Additionally, I found the research to be very interesting because I found myself agreeing with many of the other vacationers in being willing to pay even more than a $20 fee. I definitely would be willing to pay more and I'm certain others would not mind paying a small fee at the end especially when they've already spent a large amount for their vacation. We see evidence in the article that the PACT fee does not seem to affect tourism because March 2018 had the highest number of overnight arrivals, and at this point, the fee was at $20, not $3.75. Additionally, I am curious about how many other countries that attract tourists have a fee, and how that fee compares to Belize. For example, it would be a great idea for Australia to impose a similar fee to as much as they can to preserve the Great Barrier Reef. It is clear that research including WTP can expose potential advantages countries can jump on.
Toggle Commented Jan 26, 2022 on Readings for Thursday at Jolly Green General
I really enjoyed reading the Quiggin article because it gave me hope for our future, although some serious changes need to be made. A couple of points that stood out to me include the statistic that our use of coal, gas, and oil could be reduced by 90%, even while living standards increase greatly. It is comforting knowing that we have the ability to decrease carbon emissions tremendously, even while improving living conditions. The issue that Quiggins brings up and what I've thought about is how will these changes get put into motion. Who will be the ones to kickstart major change? A lot of these statistics even sound too good to be true. I question whether a 15 hour week work for everyone in society is possible because the wealth gap is so large, and some people may want to work more. I enjoyed learning about the possibilities of our society in the future when major change from leaders take place. However, in 10 years after the article was posted, I do not think Quiggin would say we can have a great future with the same optimism.
Toggle Commented Jan 19, 2022 on Readings for Thursday at Jolly Green General
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Jan 19, 2022