Plan Your Op-Ed Connor Blomstrom

The debate or controversy in which I am writing about is if the United States should burn or bury its trash.
The debate in this topic is on whether or not it is more environmentally friendly to burn or bury or trash. Both methods come with some serious drawbacks, so by comparing the two, we will be able to discover which one will benefit us and the environment the most. The big drawback to burying our trash is what happens underneath the surface when these toxins sit for hundreds of years. When trash is buried it can pollute groundwater and could be harmful to people who may be drinking or using the water in some fashion. Burning trash is harmful because burning garbage is a primary source of cancer causing dioxins which poses a huge public health problem.

Articles that will help me in my research:
Kitto, John B., and Larry A. Hiner. “Clean Power from Burning Trash.” Mechanical Engineering 139.02 (2017): 32–37. Web.

Faden, Mike. “Burning Trash Has Major Pollution Impact.” Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 12.8 (2014): 431–431. Print.

Warshall, Peter, and Michael Stone. “To Burn or Not to Burn.” Whole Earth 99 (1999): 69–70. Web.

I feel like I have not gathered enough information on this topic for me to formulate a valid opinion on this argument.
Though I haven’t made a position regarding this topic yet, I hope to give the reader a similar experience to how I made my grounded opinion within my Op-Ed, so that they can see how and why I chose that side.

Connor’s Op-Ed Reaction

In the New York Times article named “Coronavirus Doesn’t Slow Trump’s Regulatory Rollbacks” written by Lisa Friedman she highlights the many changes being made by the Trump administration in order to cut the spending on environmental protection and scientific research. The explanation behind these cuts lies within protecting the oil companies and their businesses by cutting back on the amount of fines and restrictions they receive, and because of the current situation happening in the US right now it is much easier for these changes to be made with much uproar. Much of the cuts in spending will effect migratory bird species as well as the protection of birds around large oil rigs.

This article is an opinion editorial because the author focuses her argument around how and why these cuts are being made, but includes quotes and facts which sheds light on the Trump administrations faults, and in some cases show the hypocrisy in some of it. One quote from the article states, “The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has illustrated the importance of ensuring rapid access and response to scientific information, as well as the utilization of that information.” In this, the speaker is trying to show that if the Trump administration is able and willing to listen to scientific information on the virus, then why would he not listen to the overlying evidence and scientific research claiming that we need to put more focus on the environment.

Captive Dolphin Industry Sources

Documentary Source- “The Cove”-
I picked this source because the documentary goes behind the scenes of the process of capturing the dolphins in the wild. The film also depicts old dolphin trainers and their opinions and thoughts on the industry.
Magazine Article Source- “World Animal Protection Petitions to End Dolphin Cruelty in Entertainment Industry”-
This article goes over the change within how dolphin captivity is seen among the media and how many countries are taking action in order to stop this cruel form of entertainment.
Podcast Source- Joe Rogan episode 1297- Phil Demers
In this episode Joe speaks with a former professional marine mammal trainer from Canada. This source is important because like The Cove, it gives an inside perspective to dolphins in captivity and how they are really treated and the problems that they face in isolation.

Connor’s Post

Last winter I took a research trip to the Bahamas with some classmates and a couple of teachers. My intention for the trip was to have a relaxing getaway in a tropical location and enjoy the week off from school, but over the course of the week I began to see the ocean in a different light. The first day we got there I was overwhelmed by the amount of information I had to process whether it be learning different types of fish species to how to swim blindly under water with nothing but a scuba tank. The daily routine would begin with a three mile run/swim at six in the morning, then would transition to classes focused on marine biology, and would end with a scuba lesson. Since we would spend all day either in the water or on the boat, I began to appreciate the ocean and its inhabitants as we traveled from location to location glancing upon numerous different species. My favorite part of the trip was having the opportunity to work with turtle researchers on placing something called a turtle cam on baby turtles because there is little research done on younger turtles who’s mortality rates are slowly increasing.
Though it was very exciting to be able to work in the field with research professionals, I couldn’t help but get sad every time we would speak about the current state of the natural world. Every time our group would go on a scuba or research trip it got continuously harder and harder to find a certain species or the overall biodiversity of the spot would be much less than they were in previous years. On some scuba trips I would only see half of the corals still standing, making them look like a barren waste land. Invasive species like the lionfish eradicated some of the reefs that were once plentiful and full of life. One snail named the queen conch, which is crucial to the local ecosystem, is going extinct due to over-fishing and is predicted to be gone in the next two years. It was astounding to me that even though conch is on the verge of going extinct, that government regulations have still not been put in place to protect them, and that the snail is still one of the most popular items on every menu on the island. This trip made me realize the cold hard truth that in most cases a consumers themselves cannot change the way a business runs, but only through strict regulations and policy can something be accomplished. Consumers are not the ones that will change the ingredients in sun screen to help safe coral reefs simply because not enough individuals are educated on it nor will most of them put the effort into trying to change their habits. The best way to make an impact in this day in age is through advocacy and policy. One of the best things one can do to help improve the environment is voting in a leader who will make those changes rather than be ignorant. If we spread the word on how urgent this situation is and educate those who are uninformed then we can work towards encouraging leaders to take big steps in making this world a greener place.