Archive | February, 2012

Climate change blog

23 Feb

In this week’s lectures we talked about climate change: what we may have caused and what we haven’t caused. There is scientific evidence that the climate has changed several times over the centuries without any human intervention. Unfortunately, many climate change sceptics use this fact in their argument that global warming doesn’t exist. We hear a lot about this argument in the media and unfortunately many people believe it. This creates a mentality of the population that there are no consequences of the amount of CO2 and other greenhouse gases we emit into the atmosphere. However, there is strong scientific evidence that CO2, methane and water vapour trap heat within the Earth’s atmosphere.

From Fridays lecture I see that countries aren’t committing to climate change at all most notably the USA. The USA is supposed to be the world’s leading country but it has shown a complete lack of leadership when it’s come to climate change. The USA has also one of the highest energy usages per capita in the world. We in Ireland, during the Celtic tiger, dramatically increased our carbon footprint even though we had signed up to the Durban agreement. Many of the governments of the world are showing the same irresponsibility of The USA and Ireland. ‘Small changes make a big difference’ campaigns intending to get people to shut off the light bulb or turn the central heating by one degree are expected to cut emissions dramatically. It’s just not sustainable. We need the governments to implement laws intended to reduce emissions from cars and Industrial factories. But, I can’t see this happening in the near future since everyone wants to make a better life for themselves.

So what’s going to scare the world’s Governments into  action? The recent series of natural disasters could be associated with global warming. We all know of the many tsunami’s that have struct in recent years. Is this the result of rising see levels and melting polar ice caps? Water levels are rising at an alarming rate and it’s only a matter of time before some major low lying cities such as New York are flooded.  I don’t think we can achieve a sufficient reduction in the emission of green house gases in this current system we live under. We need to think of new ways in which we can be more efficient and live sustainable.




Week 3

15 Feb

This week we were introduced to the concept of critical thinking. Critical thinking is a key skill in most professions, but it’s especially important in the career I intend to pursue. It’s very important in deciding what’s true, partially true or false. Critical thinkers ask important questions and raise vital issues when asked to solve a difficult problem or task. Francis Bacon defined critical thinking as, ‘Critical thinking is a desire to seek, a patience to doubt, fondness to meditate, slowness to assert, readiness to consider, carefulness to dispose and set in order and hatred for every kind of imposture.’ Critical thinkers suspend judgement on a claim until they understand the logic and reasoning of the claim and leave all assumptions and biases behind them.

From the image, it’s clearly seen that critical thinking is important in how to solve a problem or analyse a claim. In my future career I will be faced with many different, difficult problems and will hear conflicting claims from people from different walks of life. Critical thinking will prove a vital asset to have.

Critical thinking is not been thought in the education system in Ireland. From the test on Friday I learned that children build among the highest structures of spaghetti, second only to engineers.The children built numerous structures learning from their mistakes in the process, finally settling on the design that produced the best results. Where does this creativity and thinking of youth disappear to?  I believe it’s the way children are being educated. In the U.K. education system, Critical thinking is offered as a subject that 16 – 18 year olds can take as an A level. Teachers should be more equipped to educate children to think critically also. This would certainly be a benefit to the community and the entire democracy.

The following link explains the concept of critical thinking well and it shows how decisions should be made. Black and white thinking is talked about and should be avoided when making a decision. Critical thinking moves us towards intellectual discipline, clear expression of ideas and acceptance of personal responsibility for our own thinking. These are all valuable assets to have in any career. Critical thinking will be vital in solving the worlds environmental problems. There is no easy answer for but if we learn to involve critical thinking in our decision making and begin to communicate better, we will solve problems such as finding a new energy source and harnessing the natural resources of wind, wave and sun to create electricity.

Week 2

9 Feb

I found the past weeks lectures both interesting and challenging. I’ve learned that my generation is faced with, which many people agree, the most challenging problem faced by the human race. We have to find a way to live sustainably with very little pollution while still allowing for economic expansion and industrialisation. Greenhouse gases are at the highest levels in recorded history. 


The Arctic is feeling the effects the most. Average temperatures have risen by double the global average causing glaciers and snow mountains to melt rapidly. In turn causing the sea level to rise by around 3.3 mm annually which is sure to cause severe flooding in  low lying coastal areas. Many scientists believe that an upsurge of extreme weather events is attributed to global warming! But how will we prevent such pollution when economies like Brazil, India and China are set to boom. The Brazilian economy grew by over 7.5% in 2010 and will surely see similar growth in the future. During the week we discussed how to become more sustainable. The lecturer wanted society to become more self sufficient and not to over cultivate the land. In my opinion this isn’t sustainable. Where is the food to feed the worlds ever growing population going to come from? We need to develop systems and technology so that we can live sustainable and still have economic growth and expansion.