According to the World Health Organization, “Globally, there are nearly 1.7 billion cases of diarrhoeal disease every year”. Diarrhea is the number one cause of malnutrition in children under 5. It kills 760,000 children under five years old each year. Diarrheal illness can be caused by contaminated food or water, or lack of sanitation practices. Children come into contact with feces through many routes, like unwashed hands, open sewage, groundwater, or insects. The major route that SODIS closes off is contamination through water. SODIS stands for solar disinfection, and the type of disinfection referred to here is using Polyethelene Terephthalate bottles and UV radiation to kill off bacteria. PET bottles allow sun rays to reach the water without releasing chemicals from the bottle. Several bottles at a time are filled with contaminated water and placed on roofs or tables. After six hours water is safe to drink.  My only concerns are the cost (it appears as though the people who use SODIS were given a donation of PET bottles) and the quantity of clean water that is typically produced with this method. Nevertheless, this is a simple solution that can be easily implemented.

Here is more information: SODIS document.

The image of the SODIS bottle has changed a lot since 1991. Here is a more modern website: Solar Bottle.


Shoutout to Sarah Pieklik

My middle school math teacher went somewhere amazing for her summer break last month. She was selected for a Space Academy Program in Alabama sponsored by Honeywell Educators! While learning some peculiar things about surviving in space flight, Ms. Pieklik also got tips from the experts on how to create captivating curriculum. Here’s the article if you wish to read more: Pieklik goes to Space Academy

Green Lakes and Pratts Falls

At my school, geology is a vastly different subject than environmental engineering. It is a subject that I still have a lot to learn about. Aside from a small fossil collection that has mostly transferred into my algae covered fish tank, I couldn’t tell you much about geology. What I can tell you is that I went to visit the scenic Green Lakes and Pratts Falls on Independence Day weekend. The trail involved a .5 mile hike to Pratts falls. Once there, you can stand across from the falls or stand on a bridge that goes over the top. Like many others, Pratts Falls has been reinforced to prevent any more rock from falling away or receding and to preserve its state.

Green Lakes, on the other hand, involves a lot more history than it lets on. It is even the center of a few scientific studies. The lake is meromictic. This means that after it was created by a melting glacier the water on the top and bottom of the lake did not mix like a normal lake. Instead, the material on the bottom became denser and void of oxygen, which is a prime condition for calcium but not for plants or animals. Fossils survive best in those conditions. The water is very cold and crystal clear-the cerulean blue of the surface is because it is so deep and certain frequencies of light require certain depths. It’s also amazing to swim here when there isn’t a large crowd.



Walk in the Park

So I found out about this blog by an environmental educator in New York State called walkinpark. He had the most modern and clever idea to create minute long clips of each park that he’s been to in New York State. I thought, for the people who can’t get to see all of the falls that are hidden in parts of New York State, this is a great way to explore without actually having to go out and explore. Plus it’s only a minute long, and with my attention span that’s on the dot! If you’re ever wanting to adventure around the various water falls in New York, check out the link.buttermilk falls

Drink What You Read

The drinkable book is a handy little book with pages that are filled with tiny silver particles. The silver mixed with the paper creates a filter that will eliminate the risk of diarrheal illnesses that thrive in murky, contaminated water. I think these removable filter pages serve a great purpose- they bring both education and essential pure water to children in developing countries. Each page has two filters that clean 99.9% (that’s known as a log 3 kill) of bacteria for up to 100 liters of water. The product is still being tested, but the good news is that the students and professors who researched the project are working with a company to help make the product affordable for use abroad!

Killer Whales


All adult male Orcas in captivity have flopped dorsal fins. This is a result of a poor diet, a lack of space to roam, and mistreatment.

This is not on the topic of clean water, but rather, a species of animal that survives in open saltwater, and has faced many troubles because of human impact. This came into my thoughts with the recent Seaworld commercial. How are the lies that these trainers are reciting even legal to state in a commercial? One only has to watch the Blackfish documentary about Killer whales in captivity to know that whales have suffered extreme abuse at parks like Seaworld and are known to become extremely dangerous to trainers due to built up aggression. In the commercial, unconvincing trainers say that their Killer whales live just as long as wild Killer Whales. The truth is that Seaworld’s Killer whales live, on average, around 15 years. Wild Orcas live up to 80 years. Sure, captive Orcas should be able to survive as stated in the commercial, but as far as history shows, whale parks are not known for providing longevity for whales or any quality of life. Many are stillborn, die in infancy, or die young. My emotions on this topic are inconsolable. This website accounts for all documented injuries of trainers or park visitors committed by captured Orcas:

If you haven’t seen Blackfish, it’s on Netflix. Please watch. Trailer:

Access to survival rates of Killer whales here: