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Causal Ethanol

The Earth’s temperatures are rising slowly every year to where it affects our tundras, and continents like Antarctica where the ice is melting more rapidly than it should be. However if you ever travel to the midwest near the corn state of Iowa it will feel as though the Earth is getting colder. The dead of winter in Iowa with the wind can reach below freezing temperatures of negative fifty degrees with the wind chill factored. Which makes New Jersey’s winters of maybe fifteen degrees feel warm.The admittedly brutal midwest winds do not explain temperatures colder than Antarctica. Cold winter mornings we are taught to start our car and run it for a little bit before driving it to keep the car in good condition as well as it being  nice to not get into a cold car. However that is an extra fifteen minutes of emissions going into the atmosphere and only gets worse the bigger the car gets. Although it can feel cold and like the Earth is not actually melting, it is part of those emissions from the fossil fuels that contribute to climate change. How can this issue be fixed? Ethanol. 

Ethanol became popular because we are able to have that access to a reusable fuel source as well as lower the amount of carbon dioxide that is emitted into the atmosphere. Ethanol is sourced from almost any plant source such as corn, soybean, and sugar cane which gets broken down to create ethanol which is biodegradable and renewable. Ethanol was also popularized because it is a cycle of carbon dioxide where carbon dioxide is put off by vehicles and the equipment used to farm the corn or soybean the plants soak up the carbon dioxide to create that constant cycle. While this may seem like a great fool proof plan, what happens in the winter when there is no corn or soybean or even a small wildflower to soak up that carbon dioxide? Carbon dioxide not only comes from the emissions of our cars, it also comes from turning up our thermostats to stay warm or using all the energy to stay in the Christmas spirit and keeping lights on almost all night for a month. Due to these examples there is more carbon dioxide going into the atmosphere and no plants use it because most of them die off in the winter. Solutions to not put off as much carbon dioxide during the winter is maybe just bundle up in the house instead of turning the heat off which not only avoids carbon dioxide emission but also saves you a bit of money on your heating bill. You can also switch to LED lights year round and LED string lights during the holiday season. Lastly, instead of starting your car fifteen minutes before you leave, maybe try five minutes or even find someone that you can carpool with to work, school, or just going out and about and depending where you are this could help you avoid traffic as you could use the carpool lane. 

Yuengling, Blue Moon, Titos, Jim Beam, and Peach Schnapps. These are all beers and liquors but what could they have in common other than tasting bad? Ethanol. Yes, the same ethanol that is mixed with your gas and pumped into your cars is the same ethanol that is in most drinks that you decide to go out and get after a rough shift with your coworkers. The only difference is the ethanol that is added to alcohols, beers, and liquors is purified just a bit more than the ethanol that gets pumped into your car. While twenty drinks in a year is not enough to cause harmful effects on a healthy person, twenty drinks in a week is enough to be the start of an issue especially if it is a consistent behavior. Long term alcohol abuse can cause liver and cardiovascular disease or cancers, nervous system problems, anxiety, or depression. These effects can happen when someone is or once was dependent on alcohol however it does have a short term effect on the body when in use. These short term effects can include slurred speech, drowsiness, unsteadiness, distorted hearing and vision, and black outs. Either way ethanol is still being produced and this is another way that ethanol being produced does not have a cycle. They are emitting carbon dioxide to farm the plants, and to break down the ethanol, and then carbon dioxide is also being produced to make these beers, wines, and liquors and while the plants are able to soak up some of that carbon dioxide it is not doubled from the ethanol production and alcohol production. 

Ethanol has weaned it’s way into our everyday life through gas, drinks, and even hand sanitizer. Not only is ethanol involved in products we use everyday but it can not only affect our day to day life but it can also affect our health. Ethanol has started to show its effects on our day to day life with climate change as the more carbon dioxide that we put off into the atmosphere the warmer the Earth gets which is the cause of climate change. Now Ethanol can affect our health through multiple ways. One of the more obvious ways would be to ingest gas as that has very harmful and deadly effects, but with ethanol being produced in alcoholic beverages then it has the short and long term effects. It can also lead to a disease known as alcoholism as it can become very addictive to some people who use it as an escape because of the effects and they do not get help for themselves. Ethanol does have its uses in today’s day and age and has proven to help and has given us a renewable source of energy however there are also many things that have been affected by ethanol such as the Earth, humans, and gas companies. 

References

Alcohol (ethanol) effects, Hazards & Warnings. Drugs.com. (n.d.). Retrieved November 4, 2021, from https://www.drugs.com/alcohol.html. 

Arcadia, T. (2018, December 14). How our air changes from summer to winter-and what you might not know. Blog. Retrieved November 4, 2021, from https://blog.arcadia.com/how-our-air-changes-from-summer-to-winter-and-what-you-might-not-know/. Short- & long-term effects of alcohol – negative side effects on the body – drug-free world. Foundation for a Drug-Free World. (n.d.). Retrieved November 4, 2021, from https://www.drugfreeworld.org/drugfacts/alcohol/short-term-long-term-effects.html.

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