Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Sir Winston Churchill Secondary School

Sir Winston Churchill Secondary School
1715 Main Street East

Principal: Glenn Cooke
Vice-Principal(s): J. Thomas, C. Pillinini
Pulse Page Coordinator: Gary Watson

Environmental Studies students complete trust building activities at McMaster University’s Altitude Centre.

Students study wetlands while camping at Algonquin in October.

Environmental Studies students collect fish samples in Grindstone Creek to assess water quality.

Created by Tanner Jackson, Bekah Short and Natasha Hill (all Grade 12)

You Are What You Eat
Natasha Hill, Grade 12

Farming has existed since nearly the beginning of time. People in general have relied heavily on farming as a means of support. For thousands of years, long before this commercial age existed, humanity “made do” with all organic farming. It wasn’t until recently, generally speaking, that humankind turned to advances in technology that do not support organic farming. This approach includes different methods to raise farm animals, fight off pests and increase crop productivity. But these methods are responsible for causing a higher negative outcome then positive. The use of antibiotics, hormones and animal remains are some methods used in commercial farming. Artificial hormones, although often banned and very expensive, are injected into the animals to accelerate the growth process, and increase milk production. These animals are packed closely together in their confinements, and many of them are treated poorly. This leads to outbreaks in diseases, and a constant dosage of antibiotics is given to keep the animals alive until butchered. Nonetheless, when we eat this meat, we are ingesting large amounts of antibiotics. In turn, our bodies become immune to their bacteria fighting abilities, and super strains of resistant disease causing germs are born. Cheap feed is unfortunately the first choice for many commercial farmers, often at the cost of animal and human health. The remains of other livestock are often fed back to the farm animals, and this can lead to serious diseases. This practice contributes greatly to mad cow disease. If this meat is consumed by humans, it is extremely dangerous. The use of pesticides and herbicides is also another method, but has since been banned in most countries. They fight pest infestations, getting rid of insects and weeds, but are highly toxic. These poisonous chemicals have been found in the crops themselves, and have lead to public health concerns. The pesticides have been linked to many diseases and disorders, including birth defects, poisoning, infertility, damage to the nervous system, and potential cause of cancer. Another method used is genetic engineering, transporting traits from one organism to another. There are many concerns about genetically engineered foods and animals. With regards to genetically engineered crops, allergic reactions are a large concern. These foods can also increase the spread of disease throughout the world by making bacteria even more resistant to antibiotics. Genetically engineered organisms can also be harmful to the environment, and to date there is no solution available to the damage gene pollution causes. Therefore it is very important to go back to the original natural way of farming, the better way, to protect the environment, the soil, and most of all humanity.

Movie Review: Who killed the Electric Car
Josie Burgess and Michelle Georgeoff, Grade 12

With the current economic crisis, car companies are again looking at alternate fuel sources. The 2006 movie “Who Killed the Electric Car?” examines the history of the development of an electric car and attempts to explain what has stopped this technology from reaching dealerships across Canada.

This is an intriguing movie that informs you on the mystery behind the disappearance of the electric car. The movie begins by explaining the history of the electric cars and how it has always been dwarfed by the internal combustion engine. Beginning in 1990, the government of California mandated that 10% of all vehicles on the road be zero emission vehicles by 2003. By the summer of 2004 all of these electric cars had been destroyed.

In the format of a murder trial the movie tries to assess who is to blame for the death of the electric car. It raises a number of interesting questions revolving around who really makes decisions regarding the products we buy, what role corporations play, and do governments have the right to tell corporations what products to produce based on the well being of the general population.

Overall, I think this movie is good for informing the public about the issues around the electric car and why it didn’t seem to succeed in the state of California. They don’t just accuse one person or corporation for the murder of the electric car, but instead they put the blame on many different people and corporations. After watching this movie I personally think that the killing the electric car was not the smartest idea. If you are interested in the revival of the electric car then I highly suggest you watch this movie to help you understand the issue better.

How Green are You?
Bekah Short, Grade 12

How would you measure how environmentally friendly you are? What are the things that you are doing that can measure how educated and committed you are to the planet?

Scoring Key: 0 for an answer of No, Never

1 for an answer of Not usually

2 for an answer of I’m not sure or I might

3 for an answer of Usually

4 for an answer of Yes, always

1. Do you only wash your clothes as a part of a full load 0 1 2 3 4

using cold water?

2. Do you recycle at home? 0 1 2 3 4

3. Do you turn off lights / appliances when you leave a room? 0 1 2 3 4

4. Do you turn the water off when brushing your teeth? 0 1 2 3 4

5. Do you compost at home? 0 1 2 3 4

6. Do you use solar powered products at home? 0 1 2 3 4

7. Do you refuse to use pesticides in your gardens or lawn? 0 1 2 3 4

8. Do you use reusable fabric bags from the grocery store? 0 1 2 3 4

9. Do you turn the heat in your house down at night? 0 1 2 3 4

10. Do you walk or ride a bike for short trips? 0 1 2 3 4

My total score is: ______

If you got: 0-15….

If your score was between 0 and 15, you need to clean up your act. You don’t need to start making life altering changes but you may be harming our planet and you need to improve. Try to get a friend or family member to make some changes with you while you’re at it.

If you got: 16-25…

If your score was between 16 and 25, you’re about as green as the average person. You’re not contributing horribly to global warming but you’re not helping as much as you could. Keep doing what you’re doing but start making small changes to make yourself even greener!

If you got: 26-40…

Congratulations! You are doing an excellent job in trying to save our planet. The only thing left for you to do is spread the word. Convince friends and family members to be as green as you and together we can all make a difference.

The Environmental Studies Program at Sir Winston Churchill Secondary School would like to thank the following sponsors for their continued financial support.






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