Throughout this assignment we will be tackling the problem of global warming and climate change. We will be finding different alternatives of how we can raise public awareness on global warming and climate change. We will also be analysing the problems and the positive outcomes caused by this phenomenon, and also the strategies that are already being implemented.
1.2 Setting the sequence
White - Identify the current situation of climate change and global warming.
Black - Evaluate the problems and dangers caused by global warming.
Green - Provide solutions and strategies to improve the situation and awareness.
Yellow - Classify the benefits from introducing the above strategies.
Black - Outline what might not work from our strategies.
Red - Provide feelings on the subject.
Blue - Provide conclusion on what we believe is the right thing to do.
2. White Hat
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In order to arrive at certain solutions on how to raise public awareness on climate change and global warming, we have decided to examine the present situation by firstly using the White Hat which focuses on analysing the data available and other numerical figures.
2.1 What do we know?
In February 2007, the United Nations presented a report which stated that global warming (the name for the phenomenon "climate change") is happening and will continue to occur for centuries. Furthermore, the report also stated that human's activity has been the primary cause of increasing temperatures over the past few years. According to a number of studies it has been proved that the climate has been at its warmest in the last decade. The burning of fossil fuels (burning great amounts of oil, natural gas and coal in order to power homes and vehicles) is the major activity that is affecting the warmth of the Earth because heat gases are being trapped (carbon dioxide) into the atmosphere. These gasses are also known as greenhouse gases. Due to these warmer temperatures there are other changes affecting the climate, such as melting glaciers and stronger storms, since air, water and land are all linked to this phenomenon.
Today's bottled water companies promote their product as a convenient and a healthy one. The packages suggest that the product is "green", however the making, filling and shipping of these plastic bottles generates huge amounts of carbon dioxide emissions that eventually contribute to global warming. Although plastic can be recycled it poses a solid waste disposal problem. Therefore when it comes to satisfying short-term consumer wants, the bottled water industry may be potentially harming the environment and causing climate change in the long-run.
The progress in technology has been of great help throughout the years. There was the introduction of solar panels, geothermal energy, carbon capture and underground storage amongst others. Technology allows people to switch from burning fossil fuels to generate energy to other cleaner and more efficient energy sources.
People are aware of the present situation and technology been a great contributor, through the use of social networks and television programs. Schools also assist young children to be more aware of environmental concerns by "clean-up the world" activities etc.
2.2 What do we need to know?
It is still uncertain whether global warming is really happening, so why do we have to spend large amounts of money if maybe we are not at risk? We could invest our money in helping this climate change phenomenon; however one could ask whether we are making a big deal out of it more than we should.
Are people actually the major cause of global warming? We need to find out whether people are the only contributors to global warming or whether there are any other factors affecting it which we still don't know about.
Who and what is in danger if global warming increases? We need to identify the species that are in danger of extinction, the growth life of plants and trees and also the effect on human health.
3. Black Hat
By using the black hat, we have analysed the problems that are caused by climate change and global warming.
3.1 What could the possible problems be?
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There are several problems that could harm the Earth, some of which are:
The melting of the ice caps, which is full of fresh water, reduces the percentage of salt in the sea and also results in an increase in the sea level. If sea levels continue to rise many low lying countries will be under high risk of eradication.
The sea is also becoming warmer. As a result the probability of more frequent hurricanes also increases.
More erratic weather across the world. In certain areas there is lack of rain whilst in other areas there is severe flooding, which is one of the most crucial impacts of global warming.
If the planet continues to get warmer, dry areas of land are likely to be destructed by fires. This would also increase the problem of air pollution because of the amount of carbon dioxide emitted.
An increased amount of humid air generated by global warming will trigger more hazardous thunderstorms. These storms are common to initiate wildfires as mentioned above.
Most common diseases result from these climate changes, for example with the rise of temperatures there is an increase in the number of mosquitoes which will enable the spread of disease, e.g. Malaria.
Due to some weather changes across the globe, certain sports that are practiced in cold areas will eventually have to stop, such as: ice-skating, sledding, skiing, figure skating etc. The Bolivian Ski resort is a perfect example of such matter, which is the highest ski resort that has recently started disappearing due to warmer temperatures and the melting of ice.
4. Green Hat
The Green hat was used in order to get an idea of what one could do to help the environment as a whole and thus reducing Global warming.
4.1 What could we do?
One may think that a single person cannot stop global climate change. This is not true because those simple actions one does are the first steps that are multiplied by millions of other people everywhere.
In order to try to improve the situation we find ourselves in, we need to come up with certain changes that could help the global warming and climate change. These methods are already being implemented:
Use less heat and air-conditioning - by using less heat and air-conditioning in our homes we are using less power and therefore there is a reduction in burnt fossil fuels, meaning that there will be less greenhouse gases, which as we have already mentioned, are the major cause of global warming.
Reduce, Re-use, Recycle - by using the 3R's we would be reducing waste by separating paper, plastic, metal and glass into separate bins which can then be processed and transformed into other goods, such as recycled plastic and glass bottles, and recycled tissue paper. Besides recycling, plastic bottles, lunch boxes and glass bottles can be reused. We can also recycle batteries, electronics and wood.
Buy energy efficient products - lately we have seen the introduction of solar panels which absorb light from the sun and generate electricity in our homes. We can reduce power by buying energy efficient appliances such as fridges, light bulbs and others. We can also buy rechargeable batteries so that we can recharge them instead of having to buy new ones.
Reduce the use of personal cars - instead of using our personal car and thus emitting carbon-dioxide, we should try other alternatives such as: walking or cycling, sharing cars (if two people are going to the same place one should pick up the other) and make more use of public transport.
Planting trees - Plants and trees pass through a cycle called photosynthesis, which metabolizes carbon dioxide gases from the air and releases oxygen; this helps global warming by decreasing the level of CO2 emissions.
Encouraging others - for us to make an impact on the climate change and create more awareness on the subject, we need to act upon these methodologies and also encourage others to do so, because every little help can make a difference.
Use Less Hot Water - In winter, everyone would enjoy a hot bath after a long day at work. What people don't know is that hot water is the highest energy consuming variable. By doing simple things, such as taking a shower instead of a bath, keeping small amounts of water in the kettle and also trying to wash clothes at a lower temperature, we would be reducing the amounts of energy consumed.
4.2 What else can we try?
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Apart from the solutions mentioned above which are already being adopted, we came up with further ideas which can help in this situation.
Gyms that run by people's energy - we thought that there could be certain places, such as gyms or sports centres, where all treadmills, rowing machines, bikes and other equipment should have attached to them a compact generator that converts the motion of the wheels into electricity, which is then fed into the power grid thus transmitting energy produced by everyone into power for the same gym. By people's sweat, the use of burning fossil fuels is reduced because we are using less power.
Solar power instead of batteries - those electronics that use a lithium ion battery can be exchanged into items that work with solar energy, for example mobile phones which will eventually become lighter. Calculators that function without the use of batteries already exist.
Another thing that could help is to create chairs that whenever one sits on them they gain heat from the warmth of one's body and this heat is transformed into energy. These chairs can be used in schools or at working places where people are seated for a long period of time.
A different thing we could try is to surround buildings with solar panels. These buildings should be built in abandoned areas or on government grounds because they will not be ideal for people to live in as they will have no natural light and air. The government then could use the power generated from the solar panels for governmental departments and can also be distributed to people in order to reduce their bills. By surrounding the whole building we would gain light during any time of day.
4.3 What will overcome our difficulties?
Determination is the most important key that will help improve the situation. If people are not aware of the problem we need to help them understand more what is going on. From people's perceptions we could identify what do they know about global warming (through television programs, radio, social media etc.) however they need to pay more attention to the effects that their actions are having on the environment and also how they can improve the situation. Since people must be more aware of this problem, we should do something about it, like for example:
More school activities for young children - clean-up the world campaigns are not really instigated at schools these days. For younger children one could create plays that are more fun and educative.
Informative television programs - although there are already many programs and discussions, we have to be more specific on what one should do and what the real problem is because sometimes we take global warming for granted.
Presentations to young adults - young adults are pressured by friends, social media and also famous people so we need to create more awareness in them by means of entertainment, such as: produce movies on global warming, creating facebook pages on how they could help the situation, and also encouraging celebrities to promote this phenomenon.
From our idea of creating gyms that run by people's energy we could also give some incentives so that it will be more used. When people enter the gym, they should be given a swipe card before starting to exercise. Then, by the use of these swipe cards, the gym crew could monitor how much time each individual has spent on each machine and then calculate how much energy each individual has generated. Every year the gym crew will look at each individual's swipe card and give rewards depending on how much energy each individual has generated for the gym.
Door-to-door talks - we don't usually see people who come to talk to us about climate changes. This needs to be done because people may be more willing to learn if they are shown what could be done at home.
5. Yellow Hat
When implementing the strategies mentioned above, one may notice that loads of positive factors arise. We have used the Yellow hat to evaluate the benefits.
5.1 What could the positive values of global warming and climate change be?
The next ice age may be prevented from occurring: several studies show that in the future, sheets of ice will be formed due to the decline in the temperature of the Earth, which will cause the ocean levels to decline and the polar ice caps will cover most of the globe. However, present studies are showing that emissions of greenhouse gases (such as the carbon dioxide) are heating the atmosphere to a degree that the next ice age which was predicted, may be postponed indefinitely.
More Usable Land: As the globe warms, high-latitude zones could become agriculture-friendly (longer growing seasons) thus an increase in food production will take place. The presence of carbon dioxide has a fertilizing effect on the growth of plant life. Furthermore, natural resources would become much easier to extract.
Carbon dioxide is good for plants: Several researchers have stated that much of the plants will do better in a CO2 environment than in the current atmosphere, which contains only trace amounts of their basic food. As already mention above, a warmer world would mean longer growing seasons, thus providing more food for animals and humans.
Warmer weather is safer: Many people, particularly among vulnerable groups like the elderly, die from cold weathers. Therefore due to rising climatic temperatures less people will die. Furthermore, in countries where there is snow, fewer accidents may occur. This is because the streets will be free from ice and snow and driving will be a lot safer. Heating bills will also be significantly lower.
5.2 What are the benefits of the new strategies?
Apart from helping the environment and the climate, there are further benefits that we could gain from our inventions.
By instigating the idea of a gym powered by the people, we are reducing the burning of fossil fuels but we are also giving people the opportunity to do some exercise and live a healthier lifestyle. If we do give incentives people will be more willing to exercise as they will be gaining something while doing so. Thus we would be benefitting from a healthier community.
Mobiles - Using solar power instead of batteries is better for the environment compared to other electrical power. By using these solar powers for charging mobiles we would be saving the power of electricity and therefore reducing the electricity bill.
Chairs - We are continuously bombarded with advertisements regarding our health, stating that it is important to avoid sitting for prolonged hours. But if by sitting we would be doing something for the environment, then one might say that we are getting something positive out of it. By these chairs we would therefore reduce energy consumption and thus also reduce the high energy costs.
Since solar power is described as a zero emission or emission-free form of energy, the buildings covered with solar panels would therefore reduce greenhouse gases to a minimum amount.
6. Black Hat
We are using the black hat once again to outline what could be the malfunctions of our inventions.
The idea of creating client-powered gyms has some limitations. One limitation could be that energy output from a single exercise machine is quite low, thus not sufficient enough to transmit energy in the gym.
When we think about the mobile phones that work with solar power, we have to discuss what would happen if there is no sunlight during the day. This could be a problem because the mobiles won't work and the purpose of the idea would be redundant.
The creation of the chairs might have certain problems. The first problem is that one may doubt the idea whether it is even possible to reach such a high temperature enough to generate electricity. The second issue could be that in order for the seats to be warm enough to generate electricity it would definitely require a long period of time. Furthermore, chairs of this type will be costly and it would not be ideal for schools to make use of them.
Solar panels are expensive and so it could be difficult to cover a whole building. Also building solar energy projects does result in some greenhouse gases emissions, not from the solar panels themselves whilst they are working, but while we are installing the solar panels. When solar photovoltaic panels are damaged or disposed off incorrectly, they may create a more hazardous environment because they contain certain materials, like oils and molten salts, which are potential spills.
7. Red Hat
We used the red hat to express our feelings about climate change and global warming. We feel that this phenomenon is a serious problem that needs to be tackled in a way or another.
The red hat was also used in order to express our feelings on the process of making this assignment. We felt that the assignment came along really good and we had good teamwork.
Our feelings about global warming are that, whether it is really happening or not, we should still do something about it. Even if global warming is not really happening, we think that all the little things we have mentioned above do make a difference in improving our health and the environment. Thus if people are more aware about it they will be more willing to actually do something to help protect the environment.
8. Blue Hat
To conclude we used the blue hat to discuss what we think is the best solution. We all believe that we should start practicing some of the mentioned strategies and start making a change.
Although there is still no scientific proof that the major cause of climate change and global warming is human activity, we think that everybody (from the young to the elderly) should start cooperating with one another and start paying more attention for our own sake.