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Saturday, November 23, 2013

Teach In Environmental Sciences Green House Gases

Teach In Environmental Sciences Green House Gases to Kids:

This year again, I had the opportunity to teach environmental sciences and information technology to fourth graders.
My topic was Green House Gases. I started with the atmospheric layers and talked about the lower layers:
                        Stratosphere: 12 to 50 km (7 to 31 miles),
                        Troposphere: 0 to 12 km (0 to 7 miles).

Took a small car and globe model and compared them to explain the Green House Effect by showing how the car gets heated when parked in Sun. Explained to them that similar to the car, Earth gets warmer because of these GHGs acting like a windshield in the car. 

Then I started to show them the box model. I created a beach environment with sand and water (added blue color to make it look like ocean). In middle of the ocean I created a small island. I placed some small buildings made of Lego pieces on the coast and on the island. In one end of the box apposite to the beach I packed frozen ice (to simulate the Arctic frozen Tundra). 
Box Model - Frozen Area, Ocean, Island and Coastal Area

I closed the box with a glass lid and left a space to heat the ice using a hair dryer acting as a heat source (Sun). Ice started melting; water level rose and at one stage Whole Island was under the Ocean, Lego buildings were under water and beach area resided. Now they understood the greenhouse effect clearly and the damage it can cause.

Snow Covered Mountains

Then I talked about the Green House Gases and their sources:
Carbon dioxide (CO2) , Methane (CH4), Nitrous oxide (N2O), Ozone (O3), and CFCs 
CO2    -   Burning Fossil Fuels – Energy Uses – Fuel used for Electricity Generations, Petroleum and Natural                gas emissions.
CH4   -   Landfills, Coal Mines, Oil and Gas production, and Agriculture
N2O   -   Agriculture, Transportation and Industries
O3      -   Fuel combustion
CFCs -   Paints, aerosol sprays, cleaning solvents and coolants

Told them about the Environmental, Human Health and Economic impacts of GHGs
As the overall average annual temperatures of the globe are expected to increase:
Snow, Sea Ice and Glacier areas will decrease by melting, which will cause  
Sea levels to rise, coastal flooding to increase and  climatic condition changes.
 Storms and heat waves will occur more along with dreadful disease, famine and increase in invasive species.
Dehydration, heat stroke, respiratory, cardiovascular, skin problems and diseases such as cancers, and diseases from water, food, and rodent-borne will increase. Human health effects will not only affect health and social support systems, but also cause economic stress.
Agriculture, forestry, tourism and recreation and events including sporting events will be affected. Damage to human made structures such as roads, buildings, bridges will happen from extreme weather conditions.

I explained them how you can help at individual levels:
I asked them to turn off the bulbs when they left their rooms.
Tell their parents to combine trips when they go out.
I asked them to conserve water.
I told them to reduce the use of polluting materials, reuse and recycle as much as you can.
Also, told them to plant trees and plants whenever they are able to do. 

These are some of the small steps they could take to contribute towards protecting our planet. I told them how I analyze data that we acquire from the environment to model and predict after effects.  To do our part we created EA Farms and planted so many trees. This is how as an environmental scientist and as an information technologist, I contributed and still contributing to the benefit of the Globe and future generations to come.

Collaborating Environmental Scientists

I know there are several people including some scientists who do not believe in GHGs causing these effects. But as an environmental scientist, I believe they contribute to some extent, at least. However, deforestation makes the effects grow more exponentially.

At the end of the teach in section, all the kids were worried about the islands, coastal areas, its inhabitants, people who will be affected by storms, hurricanes, cyclones, typhoons, tornadoes, heat and drought. They all immediately wanted to contribute to protect the planet, our Mother EARTH.

I felt like I achieved something as an Environmentalist.
Latest GHG gas founded by researchers - That can contribute to GHG effect at an alarming rate - PerFluoroTriButylAmine (PFTBA) from fossil fuel burning.

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