We are three Grade 8 students from Lyford Cay International School (LCIS). As part of our curriculum, which emphasises community-mindedness and being well rounded, Grade 8 students explain how to take action to address an issue within our community. As part of our community project, we have chosen to spread awareness about how carbon dioxide, other greenhouse gases and harmful emissions produced by burning fossil fuels are harming The Bahamas while highlighting what can be done to fix it.
Emissions are being released into our environment causing harm to humans, animals and plants. To mitigate this harm we recommend using biodiesel, hybrid and electric cars.
We sent out a survey to parents at our school and only 13.3 percent of them had an electric, hybrid or a biodiesel vehicle. This may be too small a sample of the population of the Bahamas to accurately reflect how many people really have fuel-efficient vehicles, but we would like to see this number increased in our own community so that we can begin to curb our use of fossil fuels and make a positive impact on climate change.
Greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide, produced from burning fossil fuels, are accelerating global warming (Basic Ozone Layer Science, 2018). These atmospheric gases blanket our planet trapping heat radiating from the Earth to Space. The global rise in temperatures is melting polar ice caps and glaciers leading to rising sea levels, worldwide climate change, destruction of animal and plant habitats and weather extremes, such as hurricanes and cyclones (Lockwood, 2019). This will prove to be a global disaster particularly to countries at sea level like The Bahamas, where land area is reducing.
Harmful emissions released into our atmosphere are also contributing to the production of acid rain. Acid rain may ruin building structures and cause aluminium and other harmful chemicals to leach from the soil and into our aquatic environment, killing animal life, fish and plants.
Biodiesel is a renewable, clean-burning diesel replacement.
Biodiesel is safe to use in virtually all diesel engines and because it has less toxic particulates and greenhouse gas emissions, it has added benefits to human health and the environment. It can potentially increase the life of an engine, it works well with new diesel engine technologies and can lead to better engine performance. Biodiesel produces cleaner air to breathe, creates jobs and improves fuel security (What is Biodiesel, 2016). Biodiesel can be produced from vegetable oils (e.g. Canola oil), animal oil/fats, tallow, and waste cooking oil. The process used to convert these oils to Biodiesel is called fatty acid methyl esterification. The use of Biodiesel will become greater in the future as it can power boats, cranes, cars, trucks and much more.
Electric cars are an alternative to gasoline-powered vehicles. They should be the most driven vehicle in the future and they are becoming progressively more popular. Not only do these cars reduce harm to the environment, but they can also be designed as luxury cars such as those produced by Tesla.
There are many ways an individual or family may contribute to the reduction of harmful emissions into the atmosphere. By doing a few of the following you can help our environment immensely:
For your next purchase, consider an electric car. If an electric car is too expensive, consider a hybrid car instead. These cars are half gasoline and half battery powered. This type of vehicle is cheaper and is more “environmentally friendly” compared to cars that run on full gasoline.
Consider using solar panels on your house to reduce mainline energy use from fossil fuels.
Reduce energy wastage in your home by reducing unnecessary use of air conditioning, switching off devices, lights, etc when not in use, use washing lines instead of tumble driers. Reduce, reuse, recycle!
If possible use biodiesel as a replacement for gasoline. You can purchase biodiesel at the local company Bahamas Waste Biodiesel (located on Gladstone Road).
This Biodiesel works on any diesel engine. Biodiesel that can be purchased from the local company price is benchmarked, the price of the fuel is based on how much biodiesel is purchased and how often it is purchased.
XAVIER DUPUCH, VANCE WHEATON and ERIC CHRISTENSON