Final projects will be presented on Tuesday! Here is a look at what each group is studying…
Dima, Kelly, Major, Wendy, Louis, Arisa
Topic: Legislative and executive responses of Chinese and U.S. governments to water pollution.
Abstract: Our project covers water pollution issues in the Dianchi Lake in China and the Onondaga Lake in the U.S. Both water bodies have similar problems, but the outcomes of the actions of the U.S. and Chinese governments are drastically different. Therefore, the major task of our group was to compare the economic, legislative and ethical aspects of the project, as well as to describe the science behind the pollution issues and the executive responses of the authorities. In the process of research our group came up with the following conclusions: first, in many ways the concrete actions taken by the two states to mitigate the effects of the chemicals on the lake are similar. Second, the differences between the governments of two countries define the ethical issues, the stringency of the law enforcement, which determines the effect on businesses, and the availability of data.
Lugu Lake Pod
Ling, Felix, Zachary, Rosa, Richard, Andy
In our research we compare the Deepwater Horizon spill of 2010 and the Yellow River spill of 2010. We compared these two spills through the lenses of Biology, Chemistry, Culture, Economics and Ethics. The Biological and Economic impacts of these spills were similar in type and scope. However the incentive structures within these companies and governments were completely different. As a result both countries had different priorities with regards to the environment. Therefore, solutions to these problems must keep in mind the differences in incentives and priorities.
Clara, Mika, Cathy, Max, William, Maddie
Our pod is studying the present drought in California and the recently ended drought in Henan province. Our presentation can be divided into four main parts: the reasons behind the drought, the economic ramifications of the drought, the solutions and ideas that have been implemented, and the idea of inequality in water distribution. Though these two areas differ significantly in many respects, both California and Henan are dry areas with low precipitation and a high reliance on agriculture. The lack of supply and high demand for water exacerbated the drought in both California and Henan. California’s ongoing drought is also affected by the weather pattern, El Niño. The economic expense is also quite high in both areas. Both California and Henan have large agricultural industries which require huge amounts of water. Farmland goes unplanted in California, while in Henan, farmers had to plant different crops. In Henan, water intensive companies are shut down while in California, water intensive companies must be more efficient without government subsidies. This brings up the idea of water distribution and inequality, and how different people have had to make different lifestyle changes. Perhaps the drought has been exacerbating inequality. Though Henan and California are located over 10,000 kilometers from each other, they both face the problem of drought. Our hope in this project is to compare and contrast the two different droughts, explore the role of water in society, and examine societal inequality through the lens of water distribution.
Stone Forest Pod
Sithya, Rachel, Josephine, Sam, Willow
This project will focus on the process of eutrophication and its scientific, economic, and ethical effects on Lake Erie in the United States and Lake Dianchi in China. It will also cover the governmental response to fixing it. Eutrophication is a natural or artificial process where an excess of nutrients – nitrogen and phosphorus – enter a body of water, which promotes algal growth. The resulting algal bloom begins to deplete the oxygen from the water, posing harmful threats to the animals and plants already there. Both of the lakes have had fairly recent problems with eutrophication, Lake Erie in 2011, and Dianchi in 1989. The eutrophication affected industries nearby and prompted governments to set restrictions on how much waste could be dumped into the lake, and for Dianchi, some waste treatment plants were started to clean up the pollution.
Yulong Mountain Pod
Fadzi, Jaylyn, Joel, Tim, Tiger, Alex
Tourism is rapidly becoming one of the most important sectors of economic growth in the world. However, while tourism is often seen as a welcome source of economic development, conventional mass tourism is associated with numerous negative effects. Tourism puts enormous pressure on an area’s environment, which can lead to impacts such as increased pollution, discharges into the sea, and natural habitat loss. More importantly, tourism can often puts a strain and greatly affect the quality of water resources, and it can force local populations to compete for the use of this critical resources. Our project analyzes the economic, scientific, and ethical effects that tourism has had on Lake Tahoe. The purpose of this research is to then project the possible future of Lake Lugu, an up and coming tourist destination. In turn, we hope to find possible solutions and projects that will keep Lake Lugu as fresh and as clean as it is today.
Tiger Leaping Gorge Pod
Gherardo, Max, King, Mae, Max, Mary
Shale gas is a growing source of energy in the U.S, but the technology to access these reservoirs is relatively young and controversial. Fracking involves the injection of huge amounts of highly pressurized water with numerous hazardous and unidentified chemicals into seams of shale rock, forcing trapped gas and oil to seep out to where it can collected. This process can prove detrimental to the environment if the used water is not handled properly, following strict regulations. As of now, the US is the leading country in fracking technology and usage. On the other hand, China is estimated to have the highest shale gas and oil reserves but hasn’t exploited it. However, like the US, it is slowed down by potential environmental limitations, like water scarcity, and expensive technologies that still need to be developed. The economics of fracking are interesting as its relation to industry development spurs demand and consequently also economic growth, regardless of possible technological and environmental costs. On the global level, fracking has the potential to shape international affairs and economics growth. Yet, on the local level, high environmental costs have to be paid by local communities in order to achieve a national benefit.