Biofuel Greenwashing


Big oil companies, like BP and Shell, like to show off that they are environmentally clean by advertising their use of biofuel. These petroleum companies have a reason to be spending so much time and resources on biofuels. Oil companies have the worst image they have ever had to the public. BP has been restoring public relations since the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Since the image of oil companies are at the worst they have ever been, they have decided to spend more time and effort in Biofuels in order to improve their image.

Biofuel can be derived from organic matter by fermenting into ethanol to produce liquid fuel, or natural oils can be extracted from organic matter to blend with petroleum to create products like biodiesel. This organic material is grown specifically for this purpose, which takes away land and crops to be grown for food. Biofuel is taking away food for people that need it, just to improve a public image that their company is good for the environment. These big oil companies use greenwashing to make the public believe they are being environmentally friend;y, but really they are just investing in a new way to pollute the Earth.

Biofuel has been said to be renewable. That is why big oil companies are advertising that they are using and why people believe they are making a difference when they fill their car with biofuel. Biofuel is not quite renewable as many think it is. We can grow fuel crops over and over again, but that does not mean it is sustainable. We can run out of land to plant crops or the soil can loose all of its nutrients and we wont be able to produce crop. Big oil companies need to be completely transparent with what they are doing to the environment so the public knows exactly what they are buying.


David Lehn


Too Many People


Over population has become a large and controversial topic in recent years. Not many people want to address it or even acknowledge it. There are a few main causes for our spike in population growth. The main cause is the industrial revolution and the major advances in technology, specifically medical technology. This allows our death rate to decrease and our birth rate to increase because we can keep people alive longer and save more babies at birth. Another cause is immigration; people immigrate to countries with better medical technology, or better living conditions, which causes the density of that area to increase. This leads to people using all of the resources in that area faster than they are supposed to be consumed.

There are numerous effects of overpopulation on our planet. The number one effect is the depletion of natural resources. A few people have already blogged about the effects of deforestation and how bad it has gotten is recent years. This is a huge problem because we are using up the resources faster than we can reproduce them. Eventually we will just run out and have nothing left for us. Wars and conflicts are another effect of overpopulation. People will fight over what resources we have left. Clean water or land for development are fought over because we are slowly running out of them.

There are ways to solve overpopulation; we are not all doomed. We can educate better educate our societies about understanding our role to preserve what we have left of our resources. We can also educate our societies about safe sex and family planning so we aren’t creating unwanted life in the world or children that families, or the planet, can’t provide for. The main solution is to make people aware that overpopulation is a problem and it needs to be addressed and there need to be solutions to fix it. If we don’t do this soon, then I think we will get past the point of no return and we will be beyond the point of fixing our problem.


David Lehn

Can Coal Really Be Clean?

Candidates Hillary Clinton And Donald Trump Hold Second Presidential Debate At Washington University

During the second presidential debate, an American internet sensation emerged because of his seemingly important question. Kenneth Bone asked, “What steps will your energy policy take to meet our energy needs while at the same time remaining environmentally friendly and minimizing job layoffs?” Of course the candidates answered the question by attacking the past decisions of the other candidate’s career based on some sort of energy situation. But Donald Trump also mentioned a very intriguing idea by saying, “There is a thing called clean coal.” I have never heard of coal being clean so I decided to look into it.


When Donald Trump mentioned clean coal, we can only assume that he is talking about the most common process in which carbon dioxide emitted by coal burning power plants is captured and stored. This is a new process that is still in the experimental phase and is extremely costly. An example is Southern Company’s Kemper clean coal plant in Mississippi. This plant has costed near to $7 billion dollars, millions of which are from federal grants. Southern Company is now delaying the project again and raising the projected cost, even though the project is already $4 billion dollars over budget. Another clean coal project, that was in the works for over a decade, is FutureGen. It was so expensive that both the Bush and Obama Administrations cut federal support for it; it was never built. No major U.S. clean coal plant is operational. Clean coal technology does not exist yet as an affordable and environmentally friendly energy. Even if it did exist, the captured carbon dioxide would be used in a non-environmentally friendly manner. A company called NRG Energy plans on selling the captured carbon monoxide to oil companies to help stunt the production of oil from underperforming wells. This is ironic because we found a way to make burning coal into an environmentally safe energy source, but we use the product of clean coal to ultimately increase the burning of another fossil fuel; oil.

Enough about the science of it. We learned about how politicians and media can effect what we see and believe on the news in class. Our society has the tendency to agree with the ideas of politicians without doing any research on the subject matter. This gets dangerous when the subject matter is science related. I think communicating science is very difficult as a politician; there are many facts that you must know before you say something and you have to have accurate research to back it up. In this case of false communication, Donald Trump answered a question about clean energy with a new scientific technology to possibly reduce the carbon dioxide emissions. He implied that it is a fix to our pollution problem, but he actually was ill-informed on the matter. Due to his fans and the people that follow him during the election, I assume that many of those people believe that there is such thing as clean coal that can be used as clean energy. Clean coal is one of countless examples of miscommunication of science issues. Politicians and news providers will propose new scientific studies with false, little, or no information to support what they say. We need to be more educated and investigative when it comes to communicating in science so that we can be smart enough to correctly research that what we hear and see is actually true.

David Lehn


Environmental Norms are Changing

Blog #1: David Lehn

During class, we talked about how what was normal and healthy blood pressure thirty years ago is not the normal and healthy blood pressure now. Over time, what was normal and healthy can completely change. As we gain more information and knowledge on a subject, our viewpoints of what is normal and what isn’t can change. Not only does this happen in health, it happens in the environment.

NASA arctic sea ice 184 2012

Above is a before and after picture of Arctic Sea ice. This is a twenty-eight year difference. The normal sea ice level in 2012 would be an extreme low in 1984. This shows that over years, the normal sea ice level changed dramatically, just like blood pressure. The changing of what is normal and what is extreme is terrible for our environment. Over the past ten years, the Arctic Sea ice levels have not changed dramatically. In fact, the sea ice level has gone up the past year. This doesn’t mean that the levels we see today are normal, but since we compare them to a short period of time, we see it as okay. It is not okay. If we compare the levels today to the levels from around thirty years ago, we see that it is definitely not normal. It is an enormous change and at an all time low.

Even though we see that the Arctic Sea Ice is extremely low and continues to dissipate, we don’t think that it is a problem. It is normal to our generation for the ice levels to be this low. We don’t think we need to change what we are doing to stop the melting of the ice. If we change what we see is normal to what it was twenty-eight years ago, I think more people will notice that the ice is extremely low and that something needs to be done to stop the melting of the ice.