Vegetable Oil as Fuel

Description:  Vegetable oil can be used as fuel in both diesel cars and heating oil burners. Reclaimed vegetable oil that is used in food service industries could be used to reduce the amount of fossil fuels that are being used by humans. This phenomenon could be used in an energy unit related to either the physical or life sciences.

Web Resources:  Vegetable Oil Fuel - Wikipedia, Students Power Bus with Vegetable Oil - NBC


Algae Fuel and Food

Description:  Algae food and fuel hope to reduce human dependence on fossil fuels and avert food shortages around the world. Algae fuel works in the same way as fossil fuels but the carbon dioxide released during combustion is carbon taken from the atmosphere in algae photosynthesis. Algae can also be used to create animal feed which currently uses large amounts of soil and water resources. This phenomenon can be use in an energy unit or life science unit related to mass and energy.

Web Resource: Algae Fuel - Wikipedia


The Salmon Canon

Description:  Dams provide hydroelectric power and recreation to much of the Pacific Northwest. However these dams block the normal migration of salmon upstream to spawn. Whoosh Systems has created a "salmon cannon" that may the problem of salmon migration. Salmon are moved up a vacuum tube and launched into the water above the dam.

Web Resources:  Meet the Salmon Cannon - Geek Wire, Whooshh Innovations  


Google Maps Timelapse

Description: The Google Maps Timelapse engine allows you to see the impacts of humans on local environments over the last three decades. Use the search box to find local human impacts. 
Local phenomenon (e.g. housing developments, logging, shrinking water reservoirs, etc.) can lead to local solutions to human impacts on the land and water.

Web Resource: Google Maps Timelapse


Easter Island Deforestation

Description:  The island of Rapa Nui once supported a large community of Polynesians that are best known for the massive statues (moai) pictured below.  However when sailors arrived on the island in the 18th century the people were barely hanging on.  What is not pictured below are any trees.  Deforestation led to the collapse of this culture.

Web Resource:  How Easter Island Works - How Stuff Works


By Aurbina - Own work, Public Domain, Link