EMA Programs / Hot Button Issues

Hot Button Issues

Stay up to date with important environmental issues that are currently making headlines. Incorporate these hot button issues into story lines to help spread the word and raise awareness.

Fracking: Hydraulic fracturing is the process of drilling and injecting fluid into the ground at a high pressure in order to fracture shale rocks to release natural gas inside. The problem with fracking is that it has the potential to contaminate ground water, as well as add tons of pollutants to the air. Also, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) reports that earthquakes induced by human activity have been documented in the United States, Japan, and Canada.

See more: Dangers of Fracking

GMO Food and Labeling: GMO are genetically modified organisms that have been created using new techniques of recombinant DNA technology. However, the term is misleading because almost all domesticated animals and crop plants have been genetically modified over thousands of years by human selection and cross-breeding. GMO are viewed with concern because of public debate over the safety of the products and the fear that GMO foods represent a type of “biological” pollution. The battle has been particularly intense in Europe, where GMO have been banned since 1998.

See more: Genetically Modified Foods: Harmful or Helpful?

BPA: BPA stands for bisphenol A. BPA is an industrial chemical that has been used to make certain plastics and resins since the 1960s. In particular, BPA is found in polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins. Polycarbonate plastics are often used in containers that store food and beverages, such as water bottles, and baby bottles and cups.

See more: Facts About BPA

Electric Cars: An electric car is an automobile that is propelled by one or more electric motors, using electrical energy stored in batteries or another energy storage device.

See more: Electric Cars: A Definitive Guide

EV Range Anxiety: Range anxiety is the fear that a vehicle has insufficient range to reach its destination and would thus strand the vehicle’s occupants. The term, which is primarily used in reference to battery electric vehicles (BEVs), is considered to be one of the major barriers to large scale adoption of all-electric cars.

See more: AAA To Address EV Range Anxiety With Mobile Charging Trucks

Solar Energy: Solar energy, radiant light and heat from the sun, has been harnessed by humans since ancient times using a range of ever-evolving technologies. Solar energy technologies can make considerable contributions to solving some of the most urgent problems the world now faces.

See more: Discover the True Facts About Solar Energy

Nuclear Energy: Nuclear power is the use of sustained nuclear fission to generate heat and electricity. Nuclear power plants provide about 6% of the world’s energy and 13–14% of the world’s electricity with the U.S.France, and Japan together accounting for about 50% of nuclear generated electricity. In 2007, the IAEA reported there were 439 nuclear power reactors in operation in the world, operating in 31 countries. Also, more than 150 naval vessels using nuclear propulsion have been built.

There is an ongoing debate about the use of nuclear energy. Proponents, such as the World Nuclear Association and IAEA, contend that nuclear power is a sustainable energy source that reduces carbon emissionsOpponents, such as Greenpeace International and NIRS, believe that nuclear power poses many threats to people and the environment.

See more: 11 Facts About Nuclear Energy

Single Use Plastic Bags: Single-use bags, both paper and plastic, represent a huge threat to the environment. This threat is not only related to the sheer volume of them ending up in landfill, but also to the resources needed to produce, transport and (occasionally) recycle them, and the emissions resulting from these processes. Single-use plastic bags are also well known for their interference in ecosystems and the part they play in flood events, where they clog pipes and drains.

See more: Should Plastic Bags Be Banned?

Geo-Thermal: Energy that is generated and stored in the Earth. Thermal energy is the energy that determines the temperature of matter. Earth’s geothermal energy originates from the original formation of the planet (20%) and from radioactive decay of minerals (80%). Heat from the earth can be used as an energy source in many ways, from large and complex power stations to small and relatively simple pumping systems. This heat energy, known as geothermal energy, can be found almost anywhere—as far away as remote deep wells in Indonesia and as close as the dirt in our backyards.

Many regions of the world are already tapping geothermal energy as an affordable and sustainable solution to reducing dependence on fossil fuels, and the global warming and public health risks that result from their use.

See more: Ask the Experts: Why hasn’t the US tapped into its geothermal power potential more?

Permaculture: Short for permanent agriculture. The development of agricultural ecosystems intended to be sustainable and self-sufficient.

A concept which involves examining and following nature’s patterns. Permaculture advocates designing human systems that are based on natural ecosystems.

Permaculture can exist in everything from a basic garden to housing designs to city systems. A permaculture garden, if designed correctly (that is, mimicking nature) should be self-sustainable.

See more: Tropicalpermaculture.com breaks down what a permaculture garden would entail in easy to understand terms: Think about it, nobody digs and sows, plants and weeds, or sprays bugs in a forest. Still, all those chores are taken care of somehow. The forest grows and feeds its inhabitants, doesn’t it?

If any task in your garden is an unpleasant chore then there is definitely a better way to do it or to eliminate it. Learn from nature. Nature has already developed a solution to every problem that you could possibly encounter in your garden.

Conservation, careful energy accounting, reducing waste, using “green” resources, recycling, but also a healthy lifestyle, pure and fresh food, clean water and a clean environment to live in… It’s all part of permaculture, either as part of the design or as a result of the design.