Electric cars, are they better than gas?

Michael Sheetz


Gerken, James. "Electric Cars May Not Be Better For The Environment In Places

Where Power Comes From Coal." The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 15 Dec. 2014. Web. 30 Jan. 2015.


Summary: This article is about a study done by the National Academy of Sciences that was recently published. In it they say how having and using an electric car may actually be worse for the environment depending on where the electricity that fuels that car comes from. In the article it states that in actuality if you use a car that gets electricity from coal, fossil fuels or natural gas from fracking, you are actually doing a significant amount more damage to the air pollution then if you were using a regular gasoline car. Around 3.6 times more damage to be exact. Or 86% more deaths from air pollution. This study didn’t just follow the air pollution created, but in fact looked at the whole life span of the car itself, from when and how they are built, to there components, and to what is done with them. The parts that are need to make an electric car versus a regular gasoline one, cause more over all damage to the environment and a larger footstep in general on the earth.

Ethical issue: its pretty obvious, the public is being shoved the idea that electric cars are better for the environment down there throats, while in actuality the majority of the time, they are hurting the environment more. So a few ethical issues are obviously occurring, the first of which is the lying to the American people by the big corporations, and our government itself. The second is the frivolous destruction of the environment that this product is only increasing at the current point in time. That’s not to say electric cars cant be better for the environment, just that currently they are worse for the environment do to our unsustainable electrical practices. The worst part in my mind is that humans are being rewarded for polluting. We are thought of as green by all those around us, we are allowed special privileges on the highway by being given access to the carpool lane. So in actuality, we are being duped into doing the exact opposite thing we were trying to accomplish by getting an electric car in the first place.

Position: I believe that electrical car production and distribution need to be slowed, while the overall electrical system needs to be addressed and revamped, in our country if not the entire world. Some said after reading this article that we should just not use electric cars anymore, and just go back to gas. Others say that we need to completely over hall the electrical system and make it completely sustainable. I personally believe we need to do both, go back to gas for now while we make the system better, then revisit electric cars when it is. What do you think should be done to fix this horrific turn of events, whether it be an idea on how to fix things from the environmental standpoint or the governmental one?

Raising Shasta Dam

Sarah Wolfe

Citation: Rogers, Paul. "Plan to Raise Shasta Dam Takes Hit after Federal Biologists Say They Can't Support It." San Jose Mercury News. San Jose Mercury News, 27 Jan. 2015. Web. 29 Jan. 2015.


Summary: This informational piece is about how in November, California voters approved a water bond that includes $2.7 billion for new water storage, and $1.1 billion of that is to be used to raise the height of the 521-foot-high Shasta Dam by 18.5 feet, allowing the lake to store 14% more water and an increase in average annual yield that would store enough water for 550,000 more people a year. The project would also require the relocation of roads, bridges, utilities, and railroad lines, but it was justified by U.S. Bureau of Reclamation officials with the statement that it would help boost the number of endangered Chinook salmon on the Sacramento River by allowing for the regular release of more cold water behind the dam into the river, particularly during dry years. But in their evaluation, biologists at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Bay-Delta office in Sacramento concluded that raising Shasta Dam would flood the habitat of several rare species and that any benefits would be offset by the degradation of salmon habitat downstream in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, which hadn't been considered in the Shasta Dam studies so far.

Ethical Issue: This event raises the ethical issue of anthropocentrism vs biocentrism, as the people moving forward with the project have to weigh the value of the species and habitats that they would be destroying and endangering against the good that would come to the people served by the dam. People voted for this water bond because they wanted to see investment in water storage, and that is an environmental issue that could be controversial, as we don't really need storage right now, with the lake only 42% full. There are also economic concerns, for the project will cost a lot of money if it is decided to go through with it. Whether the economic concerns will ovehwhelm the environmental issues is in itself an ethical example of anthropocentism vs biocentrism.

Position: I don't think that the dam should be raised, for at the moment, it wouldn't benefit us at all, due to California being in a drought, and opponents of the dam say that it would be cheaper to save water through water recycling, conservation, underground storage and storm water capture. We can't allow our greed and desire to build higher and farther to cause us to ignore other species' plight, and on the economic side, our tax dollars could be put to better use, as previously mentioned. Do you think that the project should still occur? Whose rights are more important in this case: humans or the rest of the natural world?