California Road Trip Trough Big Sur

Adele Fadier, France

Does the idea of a California road trip makes you dream? From Santa Barbara to Monterey you will discover all the best spots of the Pacific Coast, driving on Highway 1.

The California Coast is one of the most scenic coastal drives in the world. By this way you can discover all the California’s amazing natural life. Obviously, when you drive alongside the ocean you are going to see incredible places and views. That’s the upside of a road trip-you can stop everywhere you want. So, now I will show you the most famous spots of this Highway 1.

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After leaving Santa Barbara, your first official stop will be in San Simeon. In fact, this city located on California’s Central Coast offers drivers many reasons to stop and stay a while. San Simeon is home to 17,000 different animals, offering many opportunities to commune with wildlife and especially the elephant seals. Thousands of these sea mammals can be viewed sun bathing on a sandy beach or having a jolly good time in the water. The second famous place to visit in San Simeon is the Hearst Castle. It’s a National Historic Landmark which was a residence for newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst between 1919 and 1947. Actually many people come to visit this castle because of its amazing Roman architecture.

Then, you can continue on the road until you reach Sand Dollar Beach, which is the largest unbroken stretch of sand in Big Sur and is considered to be one of the best surfing spots in Big Sur. Visitors said Sand Dollar Beach is a beautiful and relaxing spot to lay out or have a picnic. The beach is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and it costs $10 to park your car, but another thing that is important to know is that swimming at Sand Dollar Beach is considered dangerous – so be careful.

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22.1 miles later you will arrive to Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park. A main feature of the park is McWay Falls, which drops over a cliff of 80 feet (24 meters) into the Pacific Ocean. In the same area you will find the Henry Miller Memorial Library, a nonprofit arts center, bookstore, and performance venue, championing the late writer, artist, and Big Sur resident Henry Miller and other creative individuals living in or near Big Sur. But that’s not all, in this place you can also find the Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park and the Pfeiffer Beach. This state park is massive with several hiking trails, picnic grounds and watering holes where you can see picnickers swimming with joy. About the Pfeiffer Beach, I strongly recommend coming in just before sunrise so that you can have the beach all to yourself. Moreover, it’s an amazing place to take pictures of the sunset or sunrise thanks to the impressive rocks situated in front of the beach.

In the same area, there is Partington Cove which is a beautiful hike to take in Big Sur. As you make your way through a tunnel, you will start to see the beginning of one of the most beautiful coves you will ever see – the water is so clear you can see the kelp and what seems to be the ocean floor below.

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A few kilometers further you can find Point Sur Lighthouse. That’s the only complete light station open to the public in California and it offers you an amazing view of the Pacific Ocean.

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Then, you can continue your road until one of the most famous spot of the Big Sur, the Bixby Creek Bridge. It’s also one of the most photographed bridges in California due to its aesthetic design. It’s like a gate away to Big Sur.

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Now we arrive at the last area of this road trip, Monterey County, but don’t worry there are still many beautiful places to discover.

First, Garrapata State Park, an unknown Big Sur jewel – it’s a treasure to those who have discovered it. Garrapata State Park’s unpopulated hiking trails provide access to both the beautiful Big Sur coastline and the breathtaking Santa Lucia Mountains. So, you can’t miss it!

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After this, you can go to Point Lobos State Natural Reserve. This place is outstanding for sightseeing, photography, painting, nature study, picnicking, scuba diving, and jogging. The offshore area forms one of the richest underwater habitats in the world popular with divers. Wildlife includes seals, sea lions, sea otters and migrating gray whales. In this reserve you ought to go to China Cove and Gibson Beach, two amazing places to enjoy the view and the wildlife.

Point Lobos State Reserve at Highway 1 in California

Then, we will arrive at the penultimate city of this road trip called Carmel-by-the-Sea. Carmel is known for its natural scenery and rich artistic history. Here you can visit all the pretty streets of the city and the famous Mission San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo.

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Finally, we will arrive at Monterey, the last place of this road trip. This is one of the most beautiful coastal cities of California. It was originally the state capital of California but today it is best known for its beautiful coastline, its world-class aquarium and from the many John Steinbeck novels set there.

As a conclusion, Big Sur will offer you an amazing road trip to discover the California central coast trough the Highway 1. Do not hesitate to stop whenever you want to enjoy the view or the atmosphere of a place. Let appreciate the nature and the wildlife without human intervention. So enjoy it, but be respectful of all the places you will visit. Another important thing to know is that you have to work on your itinerary before you go. Sometimes, some parts of the Highway can be closed for any reasons, so it’s better to be informed in time.

You can find below a video of a road trip in Big Sur with some places to sleep and to eat.

Enjoy your trip!

World Wildlife Fund Takes Stock

Maxime Vautrelle, France

World Wildlife Fund released a report about wildlife’s situation since the last forty years, and the situation is critical. Including climate change and habitat loss, the planet have declined 60 percent of this population wildlife, most due to human activity.

60 percent in 40 years. As Carter Roberts, president and chief executive officer of WWF-US, said “This report sounds a warning shot across our bow. Natural systems essential to our survival — forests, oceans, and rivers — remain in decline,” this report is a real warning for the future of the planet. Also he claimed that we have to change our habits because this planet is our home and we need it. For example, 20 percent of the Amazon disappeared and that continue. The biggest decline is creatures that live in fresh water, the decline has estimated at 83 percent drop.

“Humanity and the way we feed, fuel, and finance our societies and economies is pushing nature and the services that power and sustain us to the brink,” said the report about the causes of the human activity on the nature. The consequences has been measured and the globe has lost about half their shallow-water corals in the last 30 years.wwf-feature

Earth’s temperature increase of 2 degrees in 2100

Ken Norris, director of science at the Zoological Society of London, who provided the data for the report, said that the statistics are “scary,” but it doesn’t mean we should give up and exactly the opposite. The report calls people, businesses and governments to do together a “global deal for nature” to preserve diversity of wildlife on the planet. Therewith, the director general Marco Lambertini of WWF explain “we have two main problems (…) First the greatest, is the cultural challenge. For too long we have taken nature for granted, and this needs to stop. The second is economic. We can no longer ignore the impact of current unsustainable production models and wasteful lifestyles.”polar-bear

Meanwhile, another report released from IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) about the urgent situation. Currently, our greenhouse gas emissions are warming up the earth. They estimated will reach 2 degrees Celsius at the end of this century. Exceeded two degrees is the limit, after that, the actual consequences we have noticed on the environment, will be amplified. Extinctions are likely to increase dramatically, and the majority of world’s corals (including on the Great Barrier Reef) will disappear.

To conclude, we have to change our habits, daily routines and make the environment our first priority. That’s a big actual problem which should solves others as economics or socials. The Earth is in global danger and neither political leader from a world power seems to be focused on this problem.

 

What’s Happening with the Pipeline Project in Canada?

Maxime Vautrelle, France

It is a big disappointment for the Canadian government. At the end of August, the justice  stopped the construction of The TransMountain expansion.

One of the biggest projects in Canada, the TransMountain is compromised. The goal was the transportation of energy (petrol, oil, gas…) across Canada and the north of the United States of America. Actually, a pipeline makes the transportation from Chicago (with different ways) to Edmonton in the county of Alberta (Canada). This one is called Embridge Alberta Clipper. Also, the other biggest one is the Express and Platte from Pakota (near Chicago) to Hardisty (Alberta County).

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The Federal Court of Appeal cancelled the executive order to continue the project on the 30th of August. For the institution, the Canadian government has missed these obligations. They should consulted the native populations before approving the project, and they didn’t in November 2016.

The Appeals Court is thinking about the consequences on the environment for the expansion. If  the TransMoutain is built he should do the transportation from Edmonton to Vancouver, and the Canadian president, Justin Trudeau, accepted the project of Kinder Morgan (the investment company) in despite this cost (Ten billion dollars).

In the ‘First Nations’ camp it’s a victory. The balance sheet of the jugdment said, the ONE (Office National of Energy) has been a big mistake in the evaluations of this office can’t  be use for the expansion. The public interest and the environment impact was disregarded altough the economic impact on the region : The weekly capacity of the TransMoutain’s transportation could be 300,000 barrels to 900,000 barrels. The numbers of the tankers will be 34 against 5 actually.

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Finally, the negociations between the different institutions should continue until an agreement, but the project raise so many problems. Actually it’s a public project bought by Trudeau’s administration, and many people in politic had criticized this spending. Greenpeace in head, the ecologic organisation asked the government to take these billions and spend it in favor of the renewable energies.

This case is pushing Justin Trudeau and this administration in the turmoil and it will be difficult for the President to find a positive issue. With the expansion of TranMountain the internationale figure of the Canada and his ‘green-values’, and the weakness of Justin Trudeau confront in the institutions, the Canadian government lives these worst hours.

Animals Facing Extinction

by Malena Julia Banjavcic, Switzerland

Help. What does help mean? Who needs help? And what help do they need? What can we do to help? These are questions we should ask ourselves every day. We are not alone in this world, even if it sometimes feels like it. There are people, who need help, but also animals. And we all need to start to ask ourselves how to make a change, because there are animals facing extinction and their time is running out.

So what does it mean when animals are in real danger facing extinction?

Plants and animals which are facing extinction are called Endangered Species. Particularly, it says that these species are very likely to become extinct in nearer time.  Of course, there are reasons in nature why animals become endangered, but for the most part we, humans, are the reason. Evidence of this is provided by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). According to it, we are now losing animal species at more than 1,000 times the normal rate. In 2012, the IUCN featured 3,079 animals and 2,655 plants as endangered worldwide. Whereas back in 1998, the figures were 1,102 animals and 1,197 plants.  People often don’t even know that animals, which are well known, are critically endangered. Examples of species which are facing extinction are the Amur Leopard (pic. 1), the Bornean Orangutan (pic. 2) or the Malayan Tiger (pic. 3).

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If nothing changes, we put ourselves in danger, too. The world is a whole, big ecosystem. Ecosystems depend on healthy plants and animals. Without them an ecosystem is not even possible; they are the foundation. When one of the species becomes endangered, the whole system slowly starts to fall apart. So every loss of a species triggers the next. Just like animals and plants, we, humans, also depend on healthy ecosystems like forests, oceans or grasslands. So we’re risking our health and environment when we don’t do anything about the contamination.

We, humans, cause the extinction of a lot of species only by living, but this can be changed. We have to live together with the animals. I once heard someone saying “it’s not our world, we just borrowed it” and I think that is the truth.

I  think something important to do is to educate. We need to teach people and especially children about what is happening right now. If people do not know about the problem, they can’t do anything, but it’s also the job of our governments. How do people still sell furs and skins of all these endangered animals without being punished for it? Another thing which helps, is ,of course, the support for several organisations which work on this problem. Support can mean financial for those, who either don’t have the time or the will to go to the affected places where help is needed, but volunteer work is also support. Not only do you help, but you also experience beautiful countries and learn something about our world, the different cultures and also about yourself. “Work” doesn’t always mean it’s not fun.

It’s not that difficult to change something, so why isn’t there a change going on? – Ask yourself.

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The Earthquake in Indonesia

Cedric Dauteuil.France.

Indonesia’s death toll from the earthquake and tsunami which struck  last Friday has risen to 1,234, according to officials.

The figures come after the bodies of 34 students were found in a destroyed church which was hit by a landslide during a bible camp in the mountainous Sigi Biromaru region.

The Indonesian government has begun mass burials for victims – most found in the city of Palu.

On Monday, about 3,000 residents flocked to Palu’s airport, trying to board military aircraft or one of the few commercial flights using the facility only partially operating due to damage.

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“Nearly 50,000 people have been displaced from their homes in Palu alone,” Nugroho said,” and hospitals were overwhelmed.”

Many people are believed trapped under shattered houses in the area, where the earthquake caused the ground to heave up and down violently. One official described the twisted buildings and rubble as looking like the town had been “blended”

 

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The Indonesian Air Force confirmed a Hercules aircraft carrying an unspecified number of survivors were able to leave Palu for South Sulawesi’s capital of Makassar.

More than 100 police officers from the capital, Jakarta, were sent to Palu and additional Hercules aircraft carrying soldiers and supplies, including food and water, from East Java were en route, local television reported.

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My opinion about that :

I think all of these people need our help. We need to send a food and money for helping all of these people because they have lost everything.

We can create an association for them or just check this association :

https://www.directrelief.org/

 

 

Self Driving Cars, Are They the Future?

Leonard Storch, Germany

Think of the self-driving car, an idea that seemed impossible 10 years ago and yet it’s already a reality on some highways.  It is not like they are regulary on the streets, but although some of them are being used by companies like Tesla or Uber. These companies are seeing like many others the future of traffic and cars in these autonomous vehicles. So, in case you are asking yourself why these cars aren’t used much more on a daily basis, it is because with every new invention comes also a new danger. Even though  the vehicles have an impressive safety record compared to the carnage wrought by human-driven vehicles, their excellent performance is largely enabled by machine-learning algorithms that have been trained on torrents of data about roads, intersections, street furniture, etc. But sometimes there have been fatalities. In 2016, for example, a  self-driving Tesla  drove into the back of a white tractor-trailer; in March this year, a self-driving Uber car killed a woman pushing a bicycle and so on.  These accidents are called “edge cases” because the cars’ software encountered scenes or objects that it didn’t recognize for the simple reason that they had never appeared in the software’s training datasets. Given that the real world is full of things that cars’ sensors and software have never seen before, these edge cases will continue.

So in the end I would say that there is certainly a need, and many benefits, for autonomous cars, but on the other hand, the current technology doesn’t quite seem ready for full autonomy all the time.

 

Plastic Trash – One of the Main Causes of Environmental Pollution

Lina Steffens, Germany

About eight million tons of plastic trash end up in our oceans every year, which is affecting the wildlife in the ocean and on the coast. Annually, about 100,000 marine mammals die due to plastic pollution and millions of birds and fish mistake plastic debris for food or get stuck in them. Along the shores, thousands of bird corpses rest on the beach with their stomachs full of plastic trash. From whales, sea lions, and birds to the zooplankton, plastic is greatly affecting marine life, and those who suffer most are the animals.

Why is the consumption of plastic so tremendous? It is lightweight, flexible, moisture resistant, strong and inexpensive, qualities that make the use of plastic in different areas of industry and production very attractive, which leads to an over-consumption of plastic goods such as plastic bags, packaging, straws or bottles. Coupled with littering and polluting, plastic represents a danger for nature, our environment and the animal kingdom.

A plastic bag takes about 10-20 years to decompose, while a plastic bottle needs about 450 years until it’s completely decayed. If you imagine the amount of already existing plastic trash, and the amount that is added daily, the likelihood to eliminate it from our oceans completely seems impossible.

One of the main problems is recycling, or the fact that many people are not aware what proper  recycling, and the conscious use of plastic goods could change. Different types of trash are usually put in one bin together, regardless of the possibility to help saving the environment by just separating it. Bags, bottles and packaging are often dropped on the ground where they start polluting the environment.

Each and every person that consumes plastic goods daily has to rethink their use of it. Even small changes of the amount we use and how we recycle it can make a big difference. Separating our trash, recycling plastic, minimizing the use of plastic or the use of biodegradable plastic can help. There is no way to undo it, but we can prevent the worldwide problem from getting worse.

Global Warming

By Romane Millet, from France

The Global warming has increase since the last 20 years. Global warming is already having significant and harmful effects on our communities, our health, and our climate.

 

The Global Warming cause a lot of difficulties in the world :

  • Sea level rise is accelerating.
  • The number of wildfires is growing.
  • Dangerous heat waves are becoming more common.
  • Extreme storm events are increasing in many areas.
  •  More severe droughts are occurring in others.

 

On our planet, many people use large quantities of products and objects every day for their daily work. Unfortunately, this craze is harmful for our natural environment, the product of the production and the waste of these products. Smoke and fumes from factories are concentrated in our atmosphere, leading to global warming. Carbon dioxide thickens in the ozone layer, a sort of shield that filters the major part of the UV rays all around the globe. The Earth is warming up little by little because of the greenhouse effect. Around the world, a random collection of waste affecting the health of animals and insects. Garbage destroy the beauty of our landscapes. In any case, there are many ways to contribute to the destruction of the planet. We must stop this for the future and for us. We must make efforts to limit pollution and for the next generation.

In conclusion, we must take immediate action to address global warming or these consequences will continue to intensify.  The global warming destroy the planet everyday. We need to stop this for the future and for us. We have to make effort for limited the pollution.

 

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Are Electric Vehicles green actually?

Michikazu Kitaoka, Japan

Now, we are facing global warming. Many countries, especially developed countries, are trying to reduce CO2 emissions. At the Paris climate conference (COP21) in December 2015, 195 countries adopted the first-ever universal, legally binding global climate deal. To achieve lowering 2 degrees above pre-industrial levels, they are taking actions in some way. It is said switching gasoline-driven cars to electric vehicles is one of the most efficient actions. They do not need gasoline to drive, so some researchers predict it is going to save amount of emissions. Some countries have already released banning sales of gasoline cars actually. Norway is going to prohibit them by 2025, India 2030, the UK and France 2040.

Electric vehicles have some advantages. As I mentioned before, there is no CO2 emissions to drive. In United States, a typical passenger vehicle emits about 4.6 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year. Cars and trucks account for nearly one-fifth of all US emissions, emitting around 24 pounds of carbon dioxide and other global-warming gases for every gallon of gas.

On the other hand, some people say they have bad effects for environment. Electric vehicles use electricity for driving, and we emit CO2 to generate it. How they are generated is really important. For example, in China, the biggest energy of generation is coal which emits lots of CO2 emissions. According to researchers, for environment, electric vehicles are less effective than gasoline cars in China. In addition to resource of generation, electric vehicles emit more than gasoline cars in manufacturing process. According to a research, manufacturing a mid-sized EV results in about 15% more emissions than manufacturing an equivalent gasoline vehicle. For larger, the manufacturing emissions can be as much as 68% higher.

Electric vehicles could be ‘earth savior’ in a way of emissions reduction. They have some proved advantages and people seem to be excited to this solution. However, I feel people are in blind to disadvantages of electric vehicles. There is possibility make the situation worse because of the electric vehicles. It depends on the resource of generation or manufacturing process. Now it is time to think about how they are green actually.

05/08/18 – Hawaii is on alert since the Kilauea volcano woke up on Hilo Island.

Chloé Nabavi – France

Kilauea erupted last week, and the increase in volcanic activity has forced a dozen vents, bringing with it spewing lava, earthquakes and toxic gas that made the island peaceful, now unrecognizable.

On April 30, the floor of a crater on top of thehawaiiiii Kilauea volcano collapsed, sending its pool of lava back underground and causing small earthquakes. Days later, the ground split open on the east of Leilani Estates. Molten rock burbled and splashed, then shot dozens of feet in the air. Soon, another such fissure had formed a few streets to the west. For days, hot steam and noxious gases rose from the vents, before magma broke through, with some lava fountains shooting as high as 330 feet into the air.

Images of lava destroying homes, cars and power poles have been increased. The Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency called it “active volcanic fountaining.” Some residents said it was Pele, the Hawaiian volcano goddess, coming to reclaim her land. About 1,700 Leilani Estates residents were ordered to evacuate because of “extremely high levels of dangerous” sulfur dioxide gas. Lava isn’t like water, snow or mud. It’s liquid rock, so it’s heavy, sticky and moving underground. And it’s also nearly 2,000 degrees.

Residents’s frustration and anxiety have been felt after being forced to evacuate their homes. Many of them fought with uncertainty, not knowing whether their homes are intact or have been engulfed in lava flows. On Monday night, Hundreds of evacuees have been waiting out at local churches, shelters or elsewhere on the island, seeking answers.

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Most people’s orientation on this kind of thing comes from movies. However, they forget how unrealistic it is. Even among evacuees, the attitude toward Kilauea’s latest explosion has seemed to be a blend of sadness, acceptance and, for some, respect to Mother Nature. 

In interviews and in online forums, several  residents have invoked Pele, the Hawaiian volcano goddess said to live inside Kilauea, when asked about the fate of their homes. Currently, it is impossible to say when the island will be safe for its residents.