It is a universal understanding that in order for nature to survive, humans must live responsibly. In October 2018 at the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the world’s leading scientists issued a twelve year ultimatum to change our environmental habits (National Geographic, 2018). However, the critical issue of climate change has not evoked a correspondingly serious and crucial response among the general public.
Ecological identity, otherwise known as Environmental identity, refers to how one views oneself in relation to the natural world, and a part of how we form our self-concept (Clayton, 2013).
Past research has shown that humans feel a greater responsibility to nature when they are directly exposed to it. For example, Clayton, Luebke, Saunders, Matiasek, & Grajal (2014) found that feeling connected to animals at the zoo or an aquarium was significantly associated with cognitive and emotional responses to climate change.
Other research has proposed that having a strong ecological identity in adulthood may have developed through greater exposure to nature during one’s childhood (Kals, Shumaker, & Montada, 1999).
The purpose of the present study was to more closely examine the relationship between childhood exposure to nature and adulthood ecological identity
Alexandra Ham, Gabrielle Pecora, Hoaithuong Bui, Timothy Camarella, Victor Pham, and Marc Ting
The global energy economy is huge and thoughts of replacing large amounts of petroleum based fuels by massive levels of fermentation of grains are not realistic. On an energy basis what global agriculture produces for food will almost cover the energy demands if all of it is redirected to the production of fuels—either as alcohols for gasoline or as fat derivatives for diesel fuel. This means that chemical processes need to be developed that allow inclusion of non-food based agricultural and urban wastes as well as forest debris into the energy economy. These represent opportunities to capture new sources of energy that would otherwise not be captured. This project is based on the idea that every little bit helps, and focuses on a hands-on approach to isolating chemicals from fallen vegetation with an emphasis on adding to the transportation fuel pool. Hydrolysis of cellulosic wastes from various sources easily collected on our campus has been explored seeking ways to break them down to fermentable sugars. These sugars are then fermented to form alcohols suitable for inclusion in gasoline. Extraction of vegetable oils has also been explored. Finally an attempt has been made to quantify the impact such a strategy might have on global energy supplies if practiced on a wide-scale basis.
Sage Callaway-Keeley and Stephanie Huynh
The most effective ways to reduce CO2 emissions are to improve the energy efficiency of each economic sector and to reduce the cutting of tropical and temperate forests around the world. These options, however, may not fully reach their technical and economic potential due to various political and socioeconomic. The most practical of these is to increase CO2 sinks through photosynthesis in both standing tree biomass and in ocean primary producers. The use of marine algae as CO2 sinks is for large-scale CO2 mitigation: the use of phytoplankton through Fe fertilization and macro algal (kelp) farms, which can be used for energy production. The reduction of CO2-emissions that are damaging our climate is one of the major challenges of contemporary energy management. Nature itself offers us possibilities to produce energy CO2-neutral with the help of hydrogen producing micro-algae. Under certain conditions the light energy collected by photosynthesis is used to transfer electrons to hydrogen producing proteins called hydrogenases. A new type of hydrogenase that produces molecular hydrogen at relatively high rates was isolated (Happe and Naber, 1993) and characterized at the genomic level (Happe and Kaminski, 2002) for the first time in green algae. Processes were recently developed that allow long-term production of hydrogen by micro-algae (Melis et al., 2000). Under sulphur deprivation the green alga Chlamydomonas Reinhardtii adapts its metabolism from oxygen production and CO2-fixation towards hydrogen production. Therefore the biotechnological process is divided into the growth phase, the hydrogen production phase, and the resulting spent algae can be used for biomass production of fuel. Thus by control of growth conditions green algae can be used to produced hydrogen fuel, methane and a whole host of hydro carbons for fuel. Our planet is 75% ocean; it seems only natural to look to the ocean as a source of energy and a source to help lower our atmospheric CO2. The most appropriate regions for this kind of production would not only be the continental shelf regions but also in the open ocean where iron fertilization is being utilized to help with algal blooms. Algae and kelp may not be the holy grail of green energy sources, but they are a viable resource to help in our energy and environmental crisis.
Making Soap From Readily Available Agricultural and Household Wastes can Increase Cleanless in Rural Area
Eugenia Lucas and Thomas Ciaglo
In some areas of the world, soap is too expensive for many people to afford. For these people an alternative exists. They can make their own soap. In general, soap is made by the reaction of triglycerides and caustic soda. However, caustic soda, too, may be difficult to find or too expensive. The aim of this project is to develop a process for making soap from readily available agricultural and household waste materials, and other inexpensive chemicals. By using this process, rural people can get the benefits of readily available, inexpensive soap. Soap is made from animal fats or vegetable oils by saponification using strong base. The simple soaps can be isolated as cakes or bars, or it can be used as water solution. Many reaction conditions were studied to develop a recommended process that can be done using equipment and reaction conditions that can be performed in a kitchen or a fireplace. The soaps from this project were characterized primarily using infrared spectroscopy and several other analytical techniques as well as tests to show their effectiveness.
A collection of student-authored research posters on a range of topics related to the environment and sustainability.
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