To The Generation That Might Not Care, A Green New Deal Is Crucial

To The Generation That Might Not Care, A Green New Deal Is Crucial

Take care of our planet and our future.

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The reality of climate change and method to address the issue has been a source of contention in the United States for far too long. While Republicans trail behind Democrats a great deal in the percentage who believe long-term, irreversible climate change is a real problem, an equally if not more important gap to acknowledge is that between generations.

A universally taught science concept in elementary school is the difference between weather and climate. Weather is the day-to-day condition of the atmosphere — rainy, sunny, etc. Climate is the weather of a particular geographic location over a long period of time. The weather in an area may be snowy on a particular January day but might overall have a warm climate (Trump has yet to learn this concept).

The gap between generational support for not only believing in the reality of climate change but if the government should take steps to prevent further harm on our planet is apparent. A few reasons that older generations may not support aggressive climate change policies are that many are not going to see the lasting impact of their harmful actions, may not want to acknowledge that their way of life for a majority of their life was detrimental to the environment, or that they simply do not think it is the government's role to further regulate current practices and lifestyles in the name of the environment (an argument supported by many conservatives).

Data For Progress

The "Green New Deal," proposed earlier this month by Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Edward Markey is mainly a list of ideas and goals rather than a carefully laid-out plan, though aims to eliminate greenhouse emissions through the creation of millions of jobs in the renewable energy industry, moving toward public ownership (a major source of disagreement among Republicans and Democrats), and much more. This plan is a comprehensive overview of many sources of environmental degradation that our nation has not addressed, despite the majority of the nation believing the climate change is a real issue.

There will undoubtedly be a major shift in the operations of many companies due to aggressive climate change policies, which could have been avoided at a drastic level if our nation had chosen to make climate change prevention a priority. Unfortunately, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, global temperatures will rise to an irreversible level in 12 years if the United States and other countries that greatly contribute to rising temperatures do not take action. A sense of urgency has been lacking for far too long is crucial.

Written into the recently proposed Green New Deal is a section detailing how it will attempt to remedy the inequality of those most directly impacted by climate change. Vulnerable communities, particularly communities of color, are not seeing an equitable distribution in disaster funding to prevent damage inflicted by the increasing frequency and intensity of natural disasters that have resulted as an increase in rising global temperatures — Which, regardless of your age, should be a glaring flaw in our current system.

I personally doubt that the entirety of the recently proposed Green New Deal will be enacted, however, I believe that anyone who values the quality of human life, clean air, clean water, food sources, for not just those in the United States, but around the world, should be supportive of a Green New Deal.

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Irish-American History Is Just As Important As Any Other Culture, You Can't Prove Me Wrong

I cherish being Irish and I will not let anyone let me feel bad for that.

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Depending on when you're reading this, Saint Patrick's day has either just passed or is around the corner. For me, Saint Patrick's day is tomorrow. I've been debating this article for some time now because I didn't know how it would be perceived. At this point, though, I feel it's important for me to get out. No, Irish people were never kept as slaves in America, and I will never be one to try and say they were. However, Irish people were treated tremendously awful in America. A lot of people tend to forget, or just try to erase entirely, the history of the Irish in America. So much so that I felt shameful for wanting to celebrate my heritage. Therefore, I want to bring to light the history that everyone brushes under the rug.

In 1845, a potato famine broke out across Ireland. This was a big deal because the Irish lived off, mainly, potatoes. They were cheap, easy to grow, and had tons of nutrients. So when the famine struck, many people either died of starvation or fled to America in seek of refuge. When the Irish arrived in America they were seen as a threat to the decency of America. People viewed them as drunk beasts, sinful savages, barbaric, violent, belligerent, stupid, and white apes. When the Irish would go to look for jobs, many times they found signs that read "Irish Need Not Apply," even when the job was hiring. Therefore, the Irish did the jobs no one wanted, and even jobs African slaves wouldn't do. The biggest example of this is when Irishmen built canals and drained swamps. They were sent to do these things because of the enormous amount of mosquitoes; in the swamp, they would get bit and ultimately die of malaria.

Also, during this time, Irish people were poor and therefore lived in the same neighborhoods as the free African Americans. A lot of the Irish people were friendly with their neighbors of color and even got into interracial relationships. Because the Irish lived in these neighborhoods they were seen as dirty and even a lot of people at this time put African Americans higher on the totem pole than Irish. One person during the time even said, "At least the black families keep their homes clean."

The main reason American's outlook on Irish people changed was that most Irishmen took up fighting for the Union in the Civil War. I make this argument, not because I think the Irish suffered more than African slaves. I don't say this in means of trying to erase the struggles of the African slaves. I do not think that any of our ancestors should have been treated the way they were. I mean to say that the Irish did in fact suffer. Irish people were treated wrongly on the basis of...nothing. Simply because my ancestors hailed from the shores of Eire, they were treated with malice. And I write this simply because I want people to remember. I want people to understand what happened.

On Saint Patrick's Day this year, next year, and for the many years to come, I want people to embrace the Irish culture. I want the folks of Irish heritage to not be ashamed of where they come from; to not be ashamed to share their culture the way I have for many years. I want everyone to have a beer, wear some green, eat a potato or two, and dance the Irish step; to celebrate the history of Irish people with a bit more understanding than before.

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This Isn't The First Time That The Chemical Plant In Deer Park, TX Has Impacted The Environment

But it needs to be the last.

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A fire broke out Sunday (March 17th) around 11 a.m. in two tanks at the Intercontinental Terminals Co. (ITC) Petrochemical plant In Deer Park, TX (near the Houston area). The two original tanks that caught fire contained NAPHTHA and XYLENE. Both of which are components in gasoline.

Exposure symptoms to NAPHTHA include headache, fatigue, poor concentration, emotional instability, impaired memory, and other intellectual functions. It can affect the respiration system and be irritating to the eyes.

XYLENE can be fatal if swallowed and cause skin irritation. Other symptoms could include symptoms such as headache, dizziness, nausea, and vomiting.

A third tank caught fire early Monday morning containing Toluene, used in items like nail polish remover, glue, and paint thinner. Exposure to this chemical can make people sick immediately or possibly cause health effects over time.

Early reports had said that the fire would only last until Wednesday but now officials are unsure.

A definitive timetable no longer exists, said Harris County Fire Marshal Laurie Christensen in a news confrence.

Two additional tanks caught fire overnight due to the water pressure dropping. It had been previously contained to just six tanks spread to eight by 2:30 a.m.

Andrew Wheeler, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), said his agency is closely monitoring the air quality. So, there is no need to worry, at least for now, it is good but that doesn't mean it won't change.

The chemical plant is closed and evacuated. The fire burned for nearly four days before finally being extinguished early Wednesday morning. Although there might still be a possibility of reigniting a release from the company said.

The company involved has had a history of environmental violations and has had to pay more than $200,000 in fines over the past decade.

It has violated several clean air and water acts many times since 2009, doing so in the last nine out of the past 12 quarters according to EPA data. The most recent fine being in July of 2017, when the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality made the company pay $18,300 due to the release of cyanide in the San Jacinto River basin, which was more than 10 times the levels permitted.

And the fire at ITC is not the first time that this type of event has happened, but it needs to be the last.

In October of 1986, there was a major explosion, causing one death and injuring seven others as well as two fire trucks. Some of the workers at the time had been loading barrels of methyl tertiary butyl ether or MTBE on to a barge when it caught fire, which caused the explosion. This type of chemical is used in unleaded gasoline to help raise the oxygen content in it. About 13 thousand barrels were on board at the time. The fire went on for five days.

As someone who lives a few miles away from the area affected (and someone from a city that relies on these types of industries), I feel that there should be more safety measure put into place and while we are lucky that this time, no one was hurt. We may not be the next time.

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