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Mohammed R Mourtaja
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One of the things that always surprises me is how actions from the past could affect our future in significant ways that we can not imagine. I have not learned about American history back in Palestine, but I have personally read about its history. I am going, to be honest, reparations for POC communities and especially the Black communities do not look unjust to implement. Decisions made more than a century ago are impacting POC today in significant ways, especially in the most important thing humans have: Their health. It is astonishing to me how POC that are affected in those areas are not even able to get free health care let alone reparations. I believe this is immoral and should be changed. Moreover, I believe that studies like Historical Redlining should be heard more. In Gaza, where I live, the UN reported that more than 95% of the water is polluted and can not be used even for non-drinking purposes. This is happening due to the political and racist agendas of different people who only care about their profits and political gains. I, personally, saw one of the closest people in my life dying of cancer because of pollution. I am really upset that I am reading and hearing something like that again, but this time in the richest country in the world.
Toggle Commented Mar 30, 2022 on Last Post for the Semester at Jolly Green General
I believe the paper was very interesting to read. I highly appreciated how it gave us both the optimistic side and the opposite one. I have never thought about how climate change or policies related to it directly could affect households. The Waxman-Markey policy might be very expensive, but from my own experiences in the US I could say that it can be affordable if it sticks to around $139 cost. I was wondering what would this policy or legislation look like in other countries, and if it is even possible to be implemented there. Now, the question would be: What is next, and is there a way to make it cheaper so low-income households could afford it? I believe politics will play a big role and the future of the policy.
Toggle Commented Mar 23, 2022 on Paper for Thursday at Jolly Green General
I have always known that air pollution is dangerous for us. However, this might be my first time seeing what kind of issues it imposes on us. It is significant. It is scary. It should be dealt with very quickly. One of the things that astonished me was that in 1991 in one country, Australia, the cost of Asthma is 600 million Dollars. This is only one disease in one country, but the cost of it is incredibly huge. It is directly related to air pollution. PM is a key ingredient of polluted air and is estimated to kill more than 500,000 people each year. Car exhaust, road dust, smokestacks, forest fires, windblown soil, volcanic emissions, and sea spray are key sources for PM. What is interesting is that if we look closer at the above sources, we can observe most of them would increase because of climate change. In addition, the government currently does not regulate the most dangerous kind of PM. PM kills 500,000 people each year, so I could see this number is only can get higher and higher each year especially when there is no action to end climate change. Moreover, we see how less educated people are more likely to be affected by air pollution. As we know, a higher percentage of this group exists in low-income countries. This raises the sentence we repeatedly talk about in the class: Why should be the least responsible for climate change bear the cost of climate change? I watched a documentary about the EPA under the Trump administration. I was shocked that someone with no knowledge on the environment, or climate change lead the EPA. I am worried that the US would keep electing officials who still deal with climate change as it is a political opponent. This is a critical time to act against climate change, but the US is not doing what the most powerful country is supposed to do. I hope that this does not continue. As we saw in the IPCC report, if we do not act by 2027, there is a big possibility of never reaching even a middle CRD.
Toggle Commented Mar 16, 2022 on Papers for Thursday at Jolly Green General
Comment about the IPCC report: One of the things that I liked about this report is how it reminds us that climate change is highly dependent on what we do as humans in political and economic reforms. What is so interesting about this report is that it mentions how inequality and demographic shifts play a big role in causing climate change, and not fixing those problems is just going to make it worse. In addition, even though we might reach an intermediate greenhouse emissions scenario, we are still going to exceed 1.5 C. Moreover, there is at least a greater than 50% likelihood that global warming will reach or exceed 1.5°C in the near‐term, even for the very low greenhouse gas emissions scenario. This is really scary because it shows how much behind we are and how quick and fast we have to act in order to be able to survive this catastrophe. I also relate this to the last graph of this report where we see that if we do not make the right choices by 2027, there is no way to reach the high Climate Resilient development and if we do not act by 2030, we will not even reach the medium level. Prof. Jim told us that the last real legislation for climate change in the US around 2002/2004, this was twenty years ago. So, Imagine this: If we do not act boldly in less than half of this 20-year old period, we will never reach half of the CRD. Impacts of climate change will also be enormous. Heat-related human mortality, more wildfires, rise is sea levels, and more. Africa, Europe, North America, central and south America, and the Mediterranean region are the most impacted by climate change. However, there are still a lot of things that have not been examined because of insufficient data, especially in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. Overall, however, mostly all ecosystems and human systems will hugely be impacted by climate change. One impact I saw, and I think is already happening because of climate change: Displacement. This issue as I imagine it would be the most catastrophic because people from countries affected the most, the majority from poor countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America, would travel to countries that are safer like Europe and America. The problem is that we already see big refusal for this immigration right now, which would be nothing compared to climate refugees. So, this would be a huge moral question for the developed countries them: Should they save those innocent people or keep the resources for themselves? What is interesting to think about is that those developed countries are the ones responsible for most of the greenhouse emissions, so why would not they act now not for the sake of humanity, but also because they would be in a huge problem if they don’t. There is more that could be discussed from the report. I think those reports should be shared and publicized more because they show the real damage of climate change, and it is the most existential threat we face as human beings.
Toggle Commented Mar 9, 2022 on Papers for Thursday at Jolly Green General
It was interesting to be in this seminar. Although all the 3 parts were amazing, I will comment on the first part specifically. The statement that you, professor, said struck me. You Said “ The question is not if can we afford to be sustainable, but rather: Can we afford not to be sustainable?” It is astonishing to me that we could only use from 1 to 3 percent of the global GDP to end the most existential problem we are facing right now. Some argue it is one percent, others argue it is around 3%. However, personally, I believe that this is nothing compared to what would happen to us if we do not start address this change in our climate. As you see, I keep use the word “us” because it literally everyone. It does not matter if you live in Gaza or Lexington, everyone will be affected by climate change. Nevertheless, we still see people who working so hard to keep the status quo, where the fusel foil industry is gaining billions of dollars and total negligence for the suffering of millions of people and most importantly OUR FUTURE! Moreover, it is interesting to talk about the one percent rule, especially because Dick Cheney is a big reason that the US has not done anything to solve this crisis. The world is subsidizing the fossil fuel industry with more than 5.9 T dollars, while the same amount could be used to end this problem. As always, politics intersect. Instead of doing what is good for the society, there are a handful of people who are using their power to increase their profits with no regard to our future. I know that short-run adjustments are not great, but are we going to wait until there is no way to get away?
When we took ECON-180 last semester, we were always talking about globalization and how it helps us because of the comparative advantages and our ability to trade. If I were given the data of trade between Brazil and China before this article, I would say this is beneficial for both countries because China is getting what it needs, and Brazil is getting money. However, this article tells us to think differently and what is at stake. It is our environment. We are losing it because of Brazil's corrupt system and China's careless actions. It was interesting reading this article, but it makes also asks questions: What do we expect from people who could benefit from trading with another country if we do not compensate them? Is china doing this on purpose because it does not want its resources disturbed? I do not want to make an assumption here, but it is an important question. Also, how do we produce enough products for all people? At this moment, I recall what was discussed in the seminar and say the developed countries must step in. This is because they use most of the resources in the world even though they are only 20% of the world's population. During Econ-180 and now, I always talk about the government's importance in those situations as I would marry a government. However, I still strongly believe that the governments, elected by people who are aware of these issues, should work on solutions because the market does not have an invisible hand to solve this.
Toggle Commented Feb 2, 2022 on Reading for Thursday at Jolly Green General
Although we, humans, have been here for around 12 thousand years, we are rapidly changing Earth. When I looked at earth’s history and saw that we are a very small part of its history, I was astonished. It is a small point on a big paper, but this point is ruining the whole paper. This point is humans. There were a lot of interesting ideas in this seminar. One that I totally believe in: We also have a moral obligation to the present. It also made more sense when I learned that sustainability is not only an environmental one but also economic sustainability and social-issues-related sustainability. If we cannot solve the issues of the present, how would this help the future generations? The developed world, which does not represent more than 20% of the world's population, is consuming most of the resources in the world. How do we, as humans, allow this while there are hundreds of millions suffer from hunger each day? Finally, I am quoting this from Professor Jim’s talk: The question is not if we can achieve sustainability, but will we? Here are some things I loved from the seminar: 1- Our age is a small sheet of whole toilet paper. 2- Is the world enough? If the consumption rate is the same as the US, we Would need 5 piles of earth. 3- We have the capacity to do produce enough food, energy, and eliminate energy. We could leave the world in a better place and address the present issues. However, the question is not if we can, but will we do those things?
Toggle Commented Feb 1, 2022 on Sustainability Webinar at Jolly Green General
Solow's writing, In the beginning, I was surprised that he disagreed with the definition given by the UN because no one disagrees with definitions from the UN. However, when he gave his belief about sustainability, I started to see his point. Why should we leave the same amount of resources to the next generation? I loved the way he presented the idea. That is because we can use those resources in building better alternatives or improving super beneficial technologies. In addition, I agree with one of his claims that we should not be forced to undo something that would be valuable to humanity just because it does not fit the UN definition of sustainability. I might not be fully convinced that we should not plan for future generations. I believe that planning is crucial for the economy of the country, and the infrastructure we have in Gaza is a big example. Previous generations thought it is not important, and today we are facing a huge problem because of that. One of the things I wanted to hear more about is how can we solve the rapid population growth that developing countries have? Will there be an integration between countries to solve such problems? My initial opinion is probably not, and that was proven through the pandemic. Instead of making sure that every human being is vaccinated, developed countries were giving 4th shot while most people in developing countries did not have their first one. Finally, Why should we be more concerned about the future generation of poor people, but not today's poor people? I believe that is true because if we could make sure that fewer people are poor and hungry today, future generations would not worry about it and have more resources to solve their own problems then.
Toggle Commented Jan 20, 2022 on Readings for Thursday at Jolly Green General
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Jan 19, 2022