STEM education will likely always be a controversial topic and will consequently be debated for decades and maybe centuries to come. Unfortunately, in that amount of time we each are potentially negatively impacting our environment with every small action that we do. Everything from brushing your teeth to eating what you thought was a harmless steak and steamed vegetable dinner.
Climate change is another very highly debated topic. The majority of scientists that have done research on the Earth’s evolving climate have come to the conclusion that climate change is not only real, but is an extraordinarily damaging phenomenon. Google defines climate change as “a change in global or regional climate patterns, in particular a change apparent from the mid to late 20th century onwards and attributed largely to the increased levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide produced by the use of fossil fuels.” Essentially, that means that the human population on Earth is burning fossil fuels, a nonrenewable resource, so quickly that it is having a negative impact on Earth’s natural climate patterns. Scientists state that burning fossil fuels breaks down the ozone layer allowing more of the Sun’s harmful rays to penetrate Earth’s atmosphere. With this new trend, the Earth is forecasted to warm up at increasing speeds until Earth can no longer support life as we know it. As stated earlier, there are critics that will fight this theory in favor of the idea that the Earth simply naturally circulates through periods of warming and cooling trends. Our goal here is not to prove or disprove the concept of climate change, but to address the negative actions that we know are contributing to an unsustainable way of life. These negative actions contribute to climate change as it is currently defined.
We know that there is something going on with our Earth. We may not know if it is natural or if it is created solely by our negative impact on the Environment. We know that, regardless of whether or not climate change can be proven true, that we are harming the environment with our lifestyles. We cannot burn fossil fuels to power billions of vehicles on a daily basis and not expect that those emissions are not having an impact on the atmosphere. We can see evidence of our destruction in unnatural natural occurrences such as acid rain and smog.
So, what can you do as an individual to make your negative lifestyle into one that is more positive using STEM?
Your first thought may be that this is an entirely scientific problem with an entirely scientific solution and that everything listed here will be based on science. You may be surprised to find out that science, technology, engineering, and mathematics are all desperately needed to change our lifestyles.
Here is how we can use STEM to change our negative lifestyles:
Grow Your Own FoodWhat you eat can arguably make the most difference on this entire list. If you chose to grow all of your produce in your own backyard, you will save on the gas it takes to ship produce across the country as well as the gas it takes for you to drive to and from a grocery store. Hunting for your meat sources will not cut down on the water and resources necessary to process the meat you would otherwise buy at a store, but it will be better for your health.
Purify Your Own Water SourcesIf you live in an area that has a lot of salt water or unclean water, set up a desalination station right at home in your own backyard, patio, or roof. There are plenty of inexpensive tutorials on how to do so online for you to access. Purifying your own water will reduce the emissions necessary to transport water to you from far away.
Buy A Home That Is Environmentally FriendlyIf you cannot afford to build a bio-friendly home on your own, then consider buying one that has already been created. When looking for an environmentally friendly home, you should be looking for energy efficient appliances, induction cookware, a greywater system, and natural ventilation that will prevent you from having to use heating or cooling to moderate your home’s temperature.
Ride A Bike or Walk As Often As PossibleCars and public transportation are only in the beginning stages of using electricity as fuel. Even then, using electricity can have its own negative impact on the environment. Ride a bike and walking are two methods of transportation that do not require fossil fuels or electricity, therefore the only thing you will be breaking down on your commute is calories.
Measure, Measure, MeasureYou should be measuring every aspect of your lifestyle that you can. This measurement will help you keep track of everything from how many minutes you use to bathe, how many gallons of water you use to brush your teeth, how many ounces of food you are taking from your garden a day, and how many hours a day you spend on a mobile device to how many watts you use in electricity for lights, technology, and temperature moderation on a daily basis. The more you measure, the more you are aware. The more you are aware of, the more you can cut back on.
CompostThe goal of composting is to let nature break down your food waste instead of letting it rot in a landfill somewhere. The worms in your compost bin will break down your food waste and in turn provide you with a nutrient rich fertilizer that you can use on your garden.
Put Solar Power to The TestSolar panels are inexpensive and generally easy to find. You can make your own solar power chargers and lights by wiring together a few solar panels and setting them outside in the sunshine to charge. It is possible to power a house in this way with larger, professionally installed solar panels with built-in storage.
Install A Greywater SystemA greywater system is designed to take the water that you use inside of your home and recycle it into water that you can use to water the garden you eat from. If using all natural, organic soaps you can take dishwater, bathing water, and even laundry water and filter it through the greywater system to water your garden.
It is extraordinarily important to remember that this isn’t a fight between those that believe in climate change and those that do not believe in climate change. This is not fight between those that believe in STEM and those that are trying to find every way to avoid even talking about STEM. The fact here is that we are hurting our environment and that Earth’s human population as a whole cannot continue on this path of destruction infinitely. We can, however, use STEM concepts to make our actions less devastating or even positive for those around us. We can start reversing our forces of destruction one person at a time.