Zhan Boxuan, Macau,China
By Arthur Gris, France
“Nuclear power will help provide the electricity that our growing economy needs without increasing emissions. This is truly an environmentally responsible source of energy.” assured American politician Michael Burgess, while former Finnish President Tarja Halonen warned “Nuclear power is not a miracle key for the future.”. People have been arguing about nuclear power since its creation in the 1940s, until today in 2017. And we’re pretty sure that it will last forever whatever happens. If it stays like this, the debate will remain the same as the pro-nuclear and anti-nuclear will keep on arguing, and if nuclear power is banned, it’s very likely to see the pro-nuclear continue to argue to get it back.
The aftermath of the Hiroshima bombing, 1945.
After its well-known and controversial use in the 1940s with the 2 atomic bombs in Japan which made approximately 250,000 victims, the nuclear power were used in the next decade to offer a brighter and peaceful future designed for the development of new technologies. In the 50s, people saw in the atomic power the actual key to the future. However, we soon learned the limit of that extraordinary power as it was expansive and complicated to maintain. That is when it became really disputed with on one hand industries that preferred to keep going with the traditional sources of power (such as gas, coal and oil) that were in their opinion more reliable and cheaper, and on the other hand those who wanted this power because of its plentiful of positive aspects.
The nuclear power reached its highest peak during the oil wars that started in the 70s and which caused oil prices to shoot up, leading to more and more investments in the atomic power: more than half of all the nuclear reactors were built between 1970 and 1985. Since then, what made this power controversial were mainly the catastrophes such as the Chernobyl one in 1986 and the Fukushima disaster in 2011 which both caused casualties when and after the accidents happened due to the mortal and extremely expandable radioactivity.
Nowadays, the nuclear plants are getting old though new ones are planned for the next years in some countries, mainly developing. The situation faced today by those “nuclear countries” is whether spend money to make their nuclear plants brand new with the latest technologies, or move towards other kind of power.
The “cons” of this power are well known and are the reasons why it’s so controversial and why people are protesting. One of them is the fact that developing nuclear power can lead to proliferation of nuclear weapons. These kinds of weapons, owned by both enemy nations are often said to be the cause of a 3rd world war. But a war with nuclear weapons on both sides would be an unseen massacre in the history of humanity and for the earth too. A less scary yet worrying situation is the pollution due to the nuclear rejections and wastes coming from the nuclear plants. We still don’t know what to do with it, and bury them in the soil of the earth is not a good and durable solution even though it is very little compared to greenhouse gasses and rejections and waste from the regular sources of energy. Lastly, the major accidents we seen had a radioactive spreading that was very serious and certainly the cause of cancer for the individuals located in many kilometers square around the area. In the most famous case of Chernobyl, the catastrophe will cause about 270 000 cancers (93 000 fatal) within 70 years, according to Greenpeace.
The “pros” however, are often ignored by most of people. They can be divided into two main points. At first, NASA scientists demonstrated that it is cleaner than the gases that fossil fuels produce. Which means that, in a way, there are a lot more deaths due to the fossil energy exploitation, but when people died because of the nuclear energies its mainly due to the catastrophes mentioned earlier in the article which always have a great impact in people’s minds. Actually, the NASA scientist said that in 2009, 1.8 million deaths have been prevented thanks to the nuclear energy replacing other kind of energy.
Fuel needed to power a lightbulb, nuclear is clearly the less consuming energy.
Second, the new technologies which will be used to rebuild the old nuclear plants will reduce a lot the risks of such disasters. If countries invest in those specific fields of technologies, they might be able to control the risks and use nuclear power instead of poisonous fossil energies. Yes, the aftermaths of the nuclear catastrophes are terrible and are what is frightening and repulsive to people regarding nuclear energy, but since there has been already not a lot of such catastrophes in the past 50 years with the old technologies, the newest being more secure might stop or prevent any catastrophes. It definitely looks like the best solution to produce energy, only before we can fully produce only with renewable energies (in 40 years in the best scenarios, according to experts).
So… Is it good? Is it bad?
By Cas Melk – The Netherlands
I bet many of you at one point dreamt about going to outer space, witness meteors and asteroids passing by and find out what happens to a human inside a black hole, but in essence, most of our knowledge about the Universe is made up of random bits from Hollywood movies and science fiction books, which are often quite far from reality. I will try to dispel a few of these myths for you. So, these are the 3 most common myths about space.
The first myth we are going talk about is Mercury. Mercury is the closest planet to the Sun and that is why many people think it is also the hottest planet in our solar system. This is obviously a myth; the distance from the sun doesn’t affect the average temperature on a planet. Mercury is indeed the closest planet to the Sun but it doesn’t mean it is the hottest one, during the day the temperature of the surface of mercury can reach 420 degrees centigrade, but, due to rotation differences, a day on Mercury lasts about 58 earth days. Since its atmosphere is very rarefied it doesn’t hold heat well and the temperature on the unlit side of the planet plummets to -173 centigrade. Our North Pole compared with this is a beach resort. The hottest planet of the solar system is actually Venus because of its dense atmosphere which consists of carbon dioxide and nitrogen. The average temperature on Venus doesn’t go much below 462 degrees centigrade.
Another myth is that the moon has a dark side. When we talk about the dark side of the moon we normally mean the side that’s unlit by the sun, but it would be way more precise to talk about that side that isn’t seen by humans. The moon and the earth move simultaneously which means that we can only see one side of our moon from the surface of our planet. The other so-called dark side of the Moon can’t be seen without leaving the Earth’s orbit but since the moon as well as the Earth spins around each other the sunlight reaches all the parts of the moon. So there isn’t actually any really dark side of the moon.
Many people think the sun is yellow but this is also a myth. Even though we see the Sun as a yellow orange or red circle, depending on the time of the day and its position in the sky, the sun is actually white. The color of any light depends on the temperature, and the temperature on the surface of the sun is 4.500 degrees centigrade, which glows white at this temperature. But why do we see the sun as yellow and not white? The thing is that the longer light waves from the yellow red part of the spectrum passes threw the atmosphere of the earth almost without loss of energy and the shorter greens of violet waves diffract a lot, so if you ever get the chance to look at the Sun from outer space you will see with your own eyes that the sun is white and not yellow.
So these myths are the most common ones in our solar system and definitely worth mentioning. It is always very interesting to research these myths/mysteries; there are still millions of things we don’t know about space or we think we know about space but are very different in reality. Space is the most overwhelming thing that exists and it is definitely worth to learn more about it.
A Stop-Motion Movie made by Jan Lubes (GER), Leo Schrot (GER), Julian Talou (fra) 🙂
This movie gives an explanation about the physical forces which eventually allow a plane to fly.
Leslie Ruys, the Netherlands
A lot of people think of a healthy lifestyle as a task, something that makes life harder then it already is.You always have to watch what you’re eating, can’t have a dessert, no chocolate, no sweets, always a structured diet you have to follow. But nothing can be more wrong. A healthy lifestyle is indeed about healthy foods like vegetables, salads, fruit, fresh meat, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a sweet or chocolate from time to time. Of course, if you want to lose weight or are training for a special competition you have to watch more than others what you eat. But a healthy lifestyle is about eating fresh and no processed foods.
First of all, for me it is easy to follow a healthy lifestyle because eating fast food or a lot of chocolate makes me feel dirty. Fast food especially is produced in a unhealthy, disgusting way with products that shouldn’t be allowed in your body. Of course I like a hamburger from In and Out sometimes. You have cravings for something fried or something that is bad for you, that is okay, you can eat it. A healthy lifestyle isn’t about torturing and forbidding yourself to eat something ‘bad.’ It is meant to make you feel happy and good about yourself. If a hamburger once a month makes you happy, then eat that hamburger.
Some people that start a healthy lifestyle begin to diet to an extreme level. They forbid all foods that can make you fat and eat less and less. They feel good but also miserable because in their heads they can’t go out to have a hamburger or pizza with friends, no ice cream in the summer and don’t get me started about chocolate.
A healthy lifestyle is about being happy and feeling good and energised about yourself, having a lot of energy and eating what you love. You can eat vegetables and fruits, fresh food as much as you like. 400 calories from risotto with vegetables is much better for your body then 400 calories from a Mars bar. After a while you feel heatlhier in your body, you will be happier and have a lot more energy.
Pierina Staub, Switzerland
Tropical deforestation and its impacts
We all know about the problems with the deforestation in our world. It reduces the amount of produced oxygen in the atmosphere through plants and due to this our earth, along with other factors, becomes more and more polluted. But in the tropical rainforests we face another, totally different problem.
Because of the high precipitation and humidity around the equator, the nutrients in the soil get continuously washed away. That means that most nutrients, which are essential for new growing plants, are found in the biomass like plants, dead animals and decomposing organisms. So if we cut down all the trees and plants in the tropical rainforests, nothing will be able to exist because the nutrients were cut out of the cycle. Contrary to the environment for example in Europe, the organisms can’t rehabilitate and the whole forest dies off.
The market for palm oil is booming right now. You can find the oil in any product like Nutella, usually convenience food, lipsticks and far more. These palms are planted in huge areas in the tropical rainforest and their planting area is increasing exponentially . In Malaysia alone 4.917 million hectares are planted and 20,000,000 tons of palm oil get exported every year. Of course all farmers and owners of these plantations want to earn as much money as possible and don’t care about the problems they need to face. The most dangerous thing is the slash-and-burn agriculture. Huge areas are burnt down and very often the fire rages out of control. The social, climatic and environmental impacts are immense; species die out, people have to leave their homes, thousands of orangutans get killed every year and the entire ecosystem is destroyed.
But how can we stop this process? The first thing for us would be to stop buying products which contain palm oil and for all governments to push through laws to forbid slash-and-burn or to protect new integral nature reserves. It is very important that all humans become informed about these problems so that we can act all together against the destruction of our earth’s forests and wildlife.
By Luara Garcia
Understand the importance of reducing waste
First thing: waste doesn’t start in your trash can. It starts before arriving at your home: at the markets, stores, shops, wherever you are shopping.
We are using too much stuff and to have all of these things we are using many resources and quickly running out of them. In the past five decades, more than 1/3 of the planet’s resource base has been consumed. 80% of the world’s original forests are gone.
The United States takes up 5% of the world’s population, and uses 30% of the world’s resources and also produces 30% of the world’s waste. If everybody consumed at the U.S. rates, we would need 3 to 5 planets.
In the production process, industries mix toxic chemicals to make our products, and also create a lot of pollution. When we discard our trash, it is dumped in a landfill, which is a big hole in the ground, and most of the time, it is burned and then dumped in a landfill.
When toxics chemicals (contained in the trash products) are burned, they turn into new toxics, like dioxin, the most toxic man-made substance known to science. Both of the discard processes pollute the air, land, water and change the climate.
A funny thing to think about is that about 1% of total materials we buy are still in use 6 months after the date of sale. That means that 99% of the stuff we buy is trashed within 6 months.
Each person in the United States produces 41/2 pounds of garbage a day.
These are just some of the reasons why we should stop producing so much waste.
Zero waste life style
Zero waste means not producing any trash, not sending anything to landfills, not throwing anything in a trash can.
This girl in the picture is Lauren Singer. She lives a Zero Waste life in New York. That jar in her hand is all the trash she produced in 3 years.
She decided to start living like this when she was an Environmental Studies major in college, where she saw this girl taking all her food in a lot of plastic bags and trashing it every day, which made Lauren feel frustrated. Then one day when she got home, she opened her refrigerator and looked at all that plastic. She felt like she was that girl and so decided to cut out plastic from her life.
This was the beginning. Today she composts and recycles; she produces her own tooth paste and other products. She goes into organic markets and places where you can use your own jars and bags to “package” things.
Kamikatsu, Japan, is a Zero Waste town. Is it possible?
Well, they are nearly.
Kamikatsu has no garbage trucks, so residents need to compost their kitchen scraps at home. They also have to wash and sort the rest of their trash into 34 different categories, and bring it to the recycling center themselves where workers make sure that the waste goes into the correct bins.
The town has a store where people can leave their old clothing and stuff and exchange them for others that other people have left.
They also have a factory where women make products from discarded products, like teddy bears from old kimonos, or new kimonos from old flags.
With a population just over 1,700, Kamikatsu recycles about 80 percent of its trash and only 20 percent goes to landfills.
The residents of this city take recycling very seriously. They started in 2003 and actually hope to become the nation’s first zero-waste community by 2020.
Tips to start reducing your waste
(These tips are not to become a zero waste lifestyle person; they are little things you can do that will make a big difference, but it is not that hard to change your lifestyle. There will be some links at the end of the article where you can find out more about how to become a zero waste lifestyle person)
- Have your own reusable water bottle; bring it with you everywhere so your not going to need to buy one which you are going to trash after the water is gone.
- Have your own reusable bag for shopping; use it in the markets, stores, so you’re not going to need a plastic or paper one.
- Only buy things you really need, try to use them until they can’t do their job any longer.
- Choose to buy things with less packaging.
- Reutilize as much as you can.
- Prefer to buy organic products when you can; they don’t harm the environment to be produced and you have less to be discarded.
- Remember: you awlays can do something more.
To know more about Lauren Singer and her lifestyle, here are some links that you might like:
To know more about Kamikatisu and its plans:
To know more about the world’s situation and production process (all 21 minutes worth it):
The two big earthquakes hit Kumamoto city of Kumamoto prefecture in Japan. First was April 14, magnitude 6.2 at 21:26 Japan standard time and next was April 16, it was main one and magnitude 7.0 at 01:25. It was midnight so everyone was sleeping when this big earthquake hit, as a result a lot of people were buried alive. There are residences for university student in Kumamoto and over 10 students were buried alive. A lot of students rescued each other but some people are still in destroyed residence. Least 49 people were died and injured about 3000 because of these earthquakes. Also more than 44000 people have been evacuated from their houses in Kumamoto.
Now big problem in areas affected by these earthquakes is that support materials are very shortage. Absolutely foods and water people the most need, almost houses were destroyed so they don’t have everything need for live such as blankets, paper, towels and diapers for child even houses. Now a lot of companies, volunteer organization and even individual people around Japan send many support materials on the other hand it is not enough. Some people waited 2 hours to get small rice ball. Everyone is on the line to get something with afraid for many earthquakes.
I was impressed by this picture. A woman is protecting her child into destroyed house of rubble. First when rescue team found this mother, they could not realize child into her arm because she wrapped her child in blanket and lied curled up for protect but after they helped mother and her child, mother was died but child was alive yet. One of rescue teammates found phone in this blanket with child. There is one message from mother “If you are still alive, please remember that how I loved you.” This message was read by everyone around there and impressed them.
Disaster such as earthquake destroys houses, buildings, families and everything and a lot of people are dead. It is really sad and we cannot expect before this but after serious disaster, a lot of people around Japan help for them although it is not enough. I hope many people will be rescued and helped and there will be good condition as soon as possible.
By Klara Keysendal, Sweden
Global warming is the increase of earth’s average surface temperature due to the effect of greenhouse gases. The gases absorb heat that would otherwise escape from the planet. The temperature is rising faster than before. Global warming has become one of the biggest environmental issues in twenty years.
We get additional information every year about global warming and how it affects wildlife. When the planet warms, the ocean temperature also rises. To survive on our planet, animals and humans need good temperature, fresh water, a place to live, and food.
As the temperature becomes higher the ice melts and gets warmer. Some fish need cold water to survive. The water level increases and the quality worsening’s, which causing more difficulties for the animals during the winter and summer to survive because they can’t find food and the water gets more acidic. When the water level is rising it also destroy the natural habitat, more than 100 million people live close to the sea and will have to move away from their homes. According to IPCC, until the next century the water level might increase one meter.
If we not do something about this huge problem it will be extremely difficult to prevent the world from collapsing from global warming. We can’t do it by ourselves; we have to do it together, for all humans, animals, nature, and for our future.
By Julia Konttila, Finland
One of my favorite things about living in Finland is the fact that we have four totally different seasons. All year –around-summer sounds amazing but I couldn’t live my whole life without snow, fall colors or rain and actually, living moths in coldness makes summer feel ten times better. When summer finally comes you feel like you have deserved it.
Here in California, I have learned to appreciate the Finnish summer even more, the stunning views, midnight sun and clean nature. In the north the sun doesn’t set below the horizon in over 70 days. I can’t imagine anything better than long summer nights with friends and family. Winter, on the other hand, is a very cold and dark season in Finland. In the same way as in the summer, the sun doesn’t set for a very long time. Now the sun doesn’t rise above the horizon in the north, and in the south the days are quite short. Luckily we have something to replace the sun, the northern lights. A white natural landscape with a dark sky full of northern lights is truly a breathtaking view.
You can see clearly when a season turns to another. When summer is over, the leaves start changing colors and it begins to get windy. People start to spend more time inside, having cozy nights burning candles and drinking tea or hot chocolate. Before you even notice, it is December and the weather gets a lot colder. Everyone is wishing for a white Christmas. When the snow finally comes, the whole country wakes up again. Everyone wants to enjoy the first snow, kids are playing outside, families are making snowmen together and a lot of people are ice skating or skiing. After a long and cold winter, it is time for nature to wake up again. The snow starts to melt and nature turns green. Flowers blossom, rivers start to flow and everyone is ready for the summer.