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Cruz Vent

Cape Henlopen High School, 9th grade

What are we Working With?

Environmental injustice is an issue that is not heavily addressed here in Sussex County though it should be recognized and assessed everywhere. Countless problems could arise or worsen if this problem goes unsolved, so we need to think of ways to fix them and help our environment in the future. Some easy ways teenagers and adults can address these issues of not only the present but more importantly the future includes transportation changes. Most importantly, gas/electric vehicles, hydrogen-powered vehicles, and alternate options to either of those. 

Gas vehicles have been produced since 1886 and have been very commonly used since then. With how common gas vehicle usage has become, biofuel (fuel ethanol) production has leaped from 157 million gallons in 1980 to the estimated 13.8 billion gallons produced by these machines in 2020. This large amount of biofuel emission is a huge issue for our atmosphere and is the reason that these gas-powered vehicles are so bad for our environment. This issue can be resolved by using electric vehicles, though these also come with their issues. Electric vehicles emit a significantly less amount of harmful air pollutants but they present other efficiency concerns such as safety and battery range. However, these are not the only issues. EV batteries are extremely hard to recycle after the vehicle has reached the end of its driving life. These batteries are incredibly expensive and dangerous to dismantle which must be done to properly recycle them. BMW, Tesla, and Nissan EV packs are all different sizes, containing differently shaped battery cells bound together by welds and other connections that must be broken down. Because of all of these reasons, neither gas-powered cars nor EVs are the most efficient and safe options for our environment. 

Though they are much less common, only around 15,000 on our roads, hydrogen-powered cars seem to be the safest option for our atmosphere. Using pure hydrogen passing through a membrane to combine with oxygen, electricity to turn the wheels, and water vapor are produced. This means the only exhaust the vehicle dispels is water vapor. No harmful chemicals are entering the atmosphere as this car is run, making it the safest so far for our environment. 

Though they are less efficient, there are ways to work around these problems without needing to buy these vehicles. A good way to limit carbon emissions from vehicles is to simply use them less. People could attempt to walk or ride their bikes more places. Both of these options would not only limit carbon emissions but they would also provide the benefit of people getting more exercise regularly throughout the day. Another simple solution could be to carpool more often. Just by simply taking someone with you or riding with a friend, you are limiting the amount of carbon dioxide put into the atmosphere by a whole car trip. Eventually, that adds up to help save our earth. 

If everyone attempts to help save our earth from the ever-worsening issue, we can help each other make a change for the future. With us all contributing, the earth is getting fewer and fewer gallons of carbon dioxide emitted into its atmosphere every year.

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