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Krystnell's Journal

First question.

It’s hard to imagine that fifty years ago, the biggest challenges that society faced were centered around issues such as extraterrestrial life and finding more efficient ways to communicate. We seem almost light years away from the idea of UFO’s and pagers and with the emergence of satellites and cell phones that can fit directly in your ear, the scientific and technological “problems we once had seem trivial. This forces one to question whether or not waste disposal, clean water, and replacement body parts will also one day be seen as trivial, instead of as the most important issues society faces today. All one has to do is walk through any neighborhood after Christmas Day to fully grasp why it is imperative that a solution be found for disposing of waste. The amount of cardboard, Styrofoam and other non bio-degradable products that have to be collected and thrown into a landfill somewhere has begun to pose a huge threat not only to the environment, but also to the way we utilize the shrinking supply of land that we have left. If scientists could somehow discover or create more materials that are bio- degradable then we could at least have garbage that is broken down at the same or a faster rate than it is being built up. Although advancing technology has provided us with products that are smaller and hence take up less space when they are thrown out, more can be done to make these products more easily compressed. If there was technology available that could take a car and compress it into something the size of a lima bean, then we might be able to put off the effects of over-flowing land fills for at least a few years! The situation that Haiti has found itself in concerning cholera is a direct effect of not being able to supply some of it’s citizens with clean water. Scientifically speaking, there are several ways of purifying water. However, these ways usually take a lot of technology and tend to be costly. If scientists could somehow figure out how to clean large bodies of water using cheap and easy to obtain chemicals. Then, technology could figure out a way to detect bacteria and other harmful organisms that might find there way into them and destroy them quickly. Being able to replace body parts is one problem that comes with a lot of social implications however, the benefits of such a scientific advancement would far out way that moral discrepancies that may arise. Firstly, the quality of lives would be improved and the mortality rate would take a significant plunge. The role of science in this would be to find an efficient way to harvest and supply organs that worked just as well as those that are formed naturally. Technology would bare the responsibility of making sure these organs could be properly stored and distributed around the world. The may concept seem extremely futuristic and in some ways too ‘artificial’ but the fact is that advancing science should aim to make life on earth not only sustainable but easy. Science and technology have found themselves inexplicably linked in our society today. It is a pseudo-partnership that should always run in tandem with each other to provide advancements that serve humanity and the environment.

Second question

One cannot help but be sucked in by the soft blue light that radiates from the atmosphere gallery in the Victoria and Albert Science Museum. The exhibits which focus mostly on climate science, make it pretty easy for just about anyone to become engaged with the issues and history of the world’s changing climate. In particular, I found the kiosk about different climates of the world to be informative. Although I have a basic idea of what climate is, I admittedly was not completely aware of how the changing climate was affecting different areas. This kiosk (Climate systems) allowed me to pinpoint areas of the world that I might not ever be able to visit and in a way ‘experience’ by visual aid, the climate of that region. Even more engaging was the option to see how a changing climate would affect those areas in the future. The kiosk that I did not find enjoyable was the kiosk that talked mainly about the United Kingdom’s plans for reducing carbon emissions. It merely stated that emissions would be reduced by 80% by 2050 but did not go into great detail about exactly how the government planned to do all of this. It was also the least interactive of all the kiosks in the gallery. I most enjoyed the non- interactive displays like the tree bark with the growth rings and the ice core. I was unaware that ice cores could also supply information about how much carbon is being emitted during different time periods. It was without a doubt the most surprising thing that I learned. These non interactive displays were basically exactly what I thought I’d find in a science museum. For me, they represented cold hard undeniable science that I could see and hypothetically touch. The source of the information seemed to be mostly textbooks, which I thought was quite interesting. There are a lot of theories associated with climate and climate change and it was a relief to see that the gallery focused mostly on providing information that was factual. It made the entire experience comparable to a really ‘cool’ virtual classroom.

Greenland Review

It’s the supermarket scene that really gets the feeling of guilt rolling in. As the actress suspended in the air shouts down at the shoppers about the amount of plastic that we use to wrap everything in, one begins to realize that dealing with the issue of global warming is a lot more within grasp than one would think. However, I got the sense that the aim in creating the play ‘Greenland’ goes beyond making the audience feel guilty about buying flowers wrapped in clear plastic. The show provided a strong sense of awareness and did well to inform listeners of exactly what the ‘situation’ is. It was quite impressive to see just how easily the actors portrayed the roles of persons with different levels of interest in protecting the environment. Most people are unaware that global warming is far more than a scientific issue and has managed to reach the forefront of the political arena. The story line of the play, despite being disjointed, was easy to follow once the actors got further into their roles. What is at first confusing becomes all of a sudden clear once one understands that the play is about the way different persons within society are linked by one common goal. There was the young girl who left her college ambitions behind to join protesters and the secretary who worked in the UN, these characters were going about affecting change but in vastly differing ways. I was impressed by the way the stage set up and lighting was used to keep the audience engaged in what seems to be an issue we hear about in some way all the time. The lighting, the music, the elements of ‘rain’ and ‘snow’ made the show not only visually appealing but quite simply stated, cool. I especially appreciated the monologue about using toilet paper. It was a clever way of bringing a serious issue like wasting to an audience without ‘preaching’. One aspect of the play that I felt could use clarification was the entry of the polar bear on the stage. Polar bears face one of the biggest threats to their habitat because of the melting ice. However, those far removed from the scientific world may not have understood the inclusion of this in the play. “Greenland’ is a play that can appeal to those who are aware of the issues associated with global warming as well as those looking to be informed. The fact is, no one can walk away from this production without a newly found sense of responsibility as a global citizen.

Reflection on Climate Change

As a science major, I have the privilege of being quite aware of the threat that global warming poses to our planet. Needless to say, I am always hoping to learn more. Having this subject presented to me in so many ways this semester has told me a lot about myself. The kiosks at the museum were well done and of course very enlightening but were probably the least effective in holding my attention. The reading exercise was easy to follow and definitely appealed to me more than the museum gallery. It could be that I prefer reading my material to feeling as if I’m playing a video game. The theatre performance was without a doubt my favourite mode of learning. In fact, I now think that all my classes should be taught as plays. It was intriguing to see scientific matters presented in such an entertaining way. The difference between the message that is delivered in London versus that which is delivered in the United States is simple. In London , the message appears to be to reflect the idea that, “each person should take responsibility for their own actions” whereas in the United States, the message more or less reflects that saving the planet has to be a group effort. Also, the way in which the message is delivered is different. In London there is much less ‘fashion oriented’ environmental awareness whereas in the States there seems to be a whole pseudo culture surrounding it.

Review Of Sustainability Lecture

The image of mirrors surrounding earth is the first thing that comes to my mind when I think about last Wednesday’s sustainability lecture. The information presented was not only current and informative but it helped me to understand exactly how much thought and care scientists are putting into the issue of global warming. I was surprised to realize that a bulk of what was presented dealt with ideas that I had never heard of. For instance, the fact that we could move into an age where instead of throwing ‘whole machines’ away we could simply deconstruct parts and reassemble them into a new machines, was an idea that had never crossed my mind. The lecture also brought up the issue of living in the city versus living in the country. The myth that city dwellers are the main cause of environmental degradation has been completely dispelled from my mind because it completely makes sense that they are not. They do indeed travel shorter distances and they usually share the transportation that they utilize which is far better than the way of life those living in less inhabited areas are accustomed to. I was also surprised by the fact that if more persons decided to move to one area, then disaster control could be vastly improved. If nothing else, the presentation revealed just how important it is for different areas of science to collaborate in combating the issue of sustainability. There is no single branch of science that can come up with a solution. In fact, I now realize even more how important public education on this subject is.