Fixing Asthma Alley

MEMORANDUM TO: New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio FROM: Patrick Spauster, Concerned Undergraduate Researcher, Davidson College TOPIC: Managing Air Pollution in the South Bronx DATE: March 20th, 2016 SETTING: The South Bronx is an integral part of one of the world’s greatest cities. But Bronx residents often feel like they live in a forgotten other world from the rest of the city. “We’re five miles from Wall Street… the Tale of Two Cities doesn’t exist anywhere like the South Bronxi.” Environmental activist Michael Johnson is fed up with air pollution in the Sough Bronx. The South Bronx, and in particular, Mott Haven-Port Morris is the poorest district in the country.ii The area has some of the highest urban pollutant levels in the country due to the presence of industry and heavy automobile traffic on roadways. It has been nicknamed Asthma Alley because of the negative health consequences of this pollution. The evidence is clear. Fixing asthma alley is a problem that requires unilateral action on the part...
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Film Response Paper

An Inconvenient Truth: A Knowledge Analysis Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth attempts to bridge a gap in knowledge. Gore defines the gap as a mismatch between public perception of climate change and the scientific realities of its causes and effects. Misconceptions about the climate change issue has prevented political change and kept everyday people from changing the way they behave as a part of the global environment. Gore’s pitch is one that leans heavily on communicating scientific evidence and global climate trends. Gore makes appeals to a couple different ways of understanding knowledge - consensus and body of knowledge and norms and practices. Ultimately the film is successful because it presents the elaborate scientific knowledge about climate change into a package that everyday people can understand. Gore leans on several key pieces of evidence in his presentation that demonstrate global warming is real, human caused, and potentially disastrous. First is a look at global CO2 levels that shows their rapid increase in...
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Case Response Paper

The Love Canal: A Narrative Analysis The story of the environmental disaster at the Love Canal lends itself to many different interpretations. The setting was in the late ‘70s in Upstate New York, at a time when environmental issues had particular salience. The people of Niagara Falls told a passionate tale about their safety and their families put into harm’s way. Regulators and local officials told a tale that pointed fingers and shifted blame. The media, both locally and nationally ran rampant with the story, creating controversy and salience nationwide. The federal government would tell a very different narrative – about how they were able to come in and rescue people from environmental disaster and local incompetence. However, the most compelling story was the one told by the media and the people of Niagara Falls, because without this perspective, the issue would not have gotten the attention and high level of government response that it did from other players. The narrative told...
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Current Events Response Paper

The Energy Policy Modernization Act: A Stakeholder Analysis United States energy policy is extremely outdated. This month the Senate considers the first update to energy policy in eight years. Progress on the bipartisan legislation has stalled, however, due to unexpected environmental crisis, competing interests, and passionate stakeholders. The existing bill has a number of goals. It also makes exporting of American natural gas easier by lowering obstacles to exports and improving oil and gas transportation.[1] Since the passage of the last major energy bill in 2007, the US has become the world’s biggest producer of oil and gas; all while the use of wind and solar power has been accelerating thanks to falling costs and government subsidies.[2] The energy grid is not developed enough to handle these changes. The energy bill will update many of these systems and create further storage for renewable energies.[3] One of these major changes would be a reclassification of hydropower and support for more hydropower projects. [4]The...
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