Apr 22, 2014

Container Gardening

by Natalie Sangngam


      Nature is all around us, yet we rarely get the chance to really experience it.  Americans only spend around 10% outside nowadays. We are constantly surrounded by four walls and distracted by technology, such as cell phones, laptops and tablets. People have a certain love for plants and nature; scientists call it biophilia. Many people aim to go out to the woods on weekends, but most people don’t have the time. However, there is a solution: container gardening.  

     Container gardening allows you to bring nature to you, instead of having to go out.  Container gardening is quite popular; in 2003, 3 billion dollars were spent on pots and container plants. Container gardening is used to bring nature into places where there usually wouldn’t be.  Plants can grow in almost anything, tires, rain boots, watering cans and more! If you have anything that can hold soil and let out excess water, you can container garden.  Letting out excess water is very important because the extra water can kill the plant.  Lastly, you need a place where the plants will receive sunshine.  Water, soil and sunshine are all you need.

Mar 28, 2014

Bangladesh To Be First Underwater

by Tahseen Chowdhury

Climate Change and Global Warming have been words that have been thrown around for the past few years. By now everyone has at least heard of it, but a quick explanation can't hurt. Today we have all these cars and factories around the world, releasing waste that should never be released into the air. However, it all started millions of years ago when dinosaurs  roamed the earth. These dinosaurs died, and basically deteriorated to the point they turned into oil miles below earths surface. Ancient plants died, and deteriorated into what we now call coal. Someone realized that we can burn oil and coal, and release energy and harness it in order to say cook. Someone later used a similar technique to make an appliance powered by coal or oil. The technology turned into a ladder, and slowly grew into cars and trucks that are used daily. What occurs when we burn oil is there is a chemical change and it releases heat that we use as energy. There is also another thing released, and those are greenhouse gases. The most common example would be Carbon Dioxide. So how is that such a bad thing? Carbon Dioxide is like a really smart blanket. When Carbon Dioxide gets into the atmosphere is allows heat and sunlight to come in, but it doesn't let the sunlight and heat leave, thus warming the entire globe. How does that affect sea level? As the earth warms up, glaciers at the ice caps in the polar regions begin to melt, and they begin to make the oceans rise.

  My family is entirely from Bangladesh, and I'm a Bangladeshi-American. The issues that Bangladesh is confronting is extremely scary to watch and read about. First off, Bangladesh is in an area of monsoons, giving extremely deadly weather at times. Bangladesh also has almost a U/V shape at the ends. That drives all hurricanes (they call it typhoons) right into Bangladesh. Additionally, when you look at the geologic history of Bangladesh, you'll notice that Bangladesh had been underwater for most of the time the earth existed. In fact, every year, roughly half of Bangladesh is under sea level at least once. Another issue is that all the rivers in Bangladesh are completely polluted. It's not even their fault, as countries such as India that are becoming industrialized are polluting the waters and it flows into Bangladesh. Now they don't have any more drinkable water, so the majority of their water is ground water. As we take away water from the ground, the ground's elevation decreases. In one way, the water level is rising, and the other way, the elevation is decreasing. 

Why is this such a serious matter right now? Well it's estimated that Bangladesh will mostly be under water within the next century or so. It's so serious that only 20 centimeters more or water could push 10 million people out of their homes. When we think of global warming and water levels rising, we see small islands going under water. Bangladesh is no small island. Bangladesh is what 154.7 million people call home. It's also the 8th largest population in the world. To put that into proportion, Bangladesh is the size of the state of Iowa. It's also half the population of the United States. Bangladesh has a population density of 2559.9 people per mile, holding 12th place for most dense country in the world. A mile has about 5,000 feet, and that would mean each person that lives in Bangladesh literally only has 2 feet of space. If water replaces that, where will they go? They have no where to go.

It's sad that Bangladesh had nothing to do with this, yet they must face the consequences. Bangladesh is in no way industrialized. They barely contributed to the issues of Global Warming and Climate Change. They also barely have any wealth, so building solutions is extremely hard. Additionally, airlines and travel agency's are using what's occurring to Bangladesh as a selling point. Aol's Gadling says, "As with many recent postings, all this is to say visit Bangladesh soon, lest it be under water by the time you get around to it." It's absolutely ridiculous what people are doing. I hope you've realized that it is no longer just small islands and a few people being misplaced. It's a nation, and millions of people being misplaced.

Aol's Gadling
New York Times

7 Million Deaths from Air Pollution

by Tahseen Chowdhury

Cityscape, Fubo Hill, Guilin, China

Air pollution has been officially claimed to be the single biggest environmental health risk. According to the World Health Organization, 7 million people died from air pollution in 2012. That is one out of ever eight deaths. It's a terrifying to know that out of every eight people that died, one of them died from air pollution. The majority of these deaths have been occurring in Southeast Asia,near China and India. In fact, the U.S. and Europe combined only had approximately 180,000 deaths from air pollution. Many blame the deaths on nearby highly industrialized areas in China and India, and that does seem to be the culprit. What's even more fearful is that the death rates are much higher than ever projected. The projection for the number of deaths in the year of 2012 from air pollution was less than half of the original outcome.

Many have heard about the fact that there are cities, especially in China, that you must walk with a mask, otherwise you will die from polluted air. The issue is that just miles away from the polluted areas are extremely poor people who can't even afford a mask. The deaths will continue to come, as long as no one does anything to stop the issue from expanding. The continuous cutting down of forests is destroying the pureness of the air we live in right now. At one point, the earth will run out of inhabitable space. 

International Space Station
Many of us watch movies and videos where you can no longer live on earth, and we're living on mad-made objects orbiting what is left of the earth. It may seem like we're even preparing to move to space because we've built the International Space Station. Many people believe if you destroy earth, it will be destroyed fro ever. This actually isn't fully true as earth has a very strong way of implementing equilibrium. Within months, the earth will restore itself to what was originally there if we all left. Don't loose all hope, however, we can't all leave and come back, simply leaving on the first place is almost impossible for all 7 billion people. However what is true is that earth will become inhabitable at one point, especially with air pollution on the rise.

How can you help?

We are all humans, and we are all one species. When we complain about a specific animal killing another species, we blame the entire species don't we? We don't say, no this specific animal is at fault. Do the same for the human race. Stop pointing fingers at others, why don't you start to make a difference. Why don't you start by gardening, or planting a few seeds, and don't complain of something like living in an apartment. Grab a few small pots, get some soil, seeds, and water, put them on the window sill, and every morning or every night simply pour some water on it and leave. Within a few days, it'll become a reflex, and not an annoyance at all. What are you waiting for, get started. If you have a garden, even on your window sill, share the picture with us. 

The Guardian

Jun 14, 2013

P.S.122's Pure Harvest Garden Mentioned on EPA Blog

by Brittney Yue

Recently, my dad, who works at the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), helped publish a post about the Pure Harvest Garden on the EPA blog called "Greening the Apple". He did this along with the assistance of Mr. Biniaris, our Faculty Adviser and mentor, who was big help in writing it and giving us all the great content to put up. This blog basically includes any posts that are related to the environment. Anyways, its a very good post that gives a good overview of the garden, so I definitely recommend taking a look at it. I also recommend taking a look at other posts on the website in addition to the one about the Pure Harvest Garden- some of them are very interesting. Maybe they could spark an idea of your own. The links are below. 



May 6, 2013

Mulching Neighborhood Tree's

by Mariadolores Alvarez

 P.S. 122Q is constantly providing its students with opportunities to work on interesting activities. On April 30, 2013, the Faculty Adviser of the gardening club, Mr. Biniaris, scheduled the day so that all of the eighth grade classes could go out to mulch trees in the neighborhood. This included mulching the trees around our schoolyard as well as the several trees running along the outer block of Astoria Park. It was an amazing experience to be able to learn about trees and how to care for them. Each class was divided into smaller groups, and each group worked on one tree after another, after another. Each group had to remove the trash, cultivate the soil around it, and add mulch to each tree. It was an amazing experience and everyone had fun. Kids had a great time!

They made memories and enjoyed their time. They were also quite playful, for example they once enjoyed their time by seeing who could remove the biggest rock. One student tells us, "I remember ending the day rushing to mulch and water a tree because we tried to remove the biggest rock we found that day." They had the whole group loosening soil around the rock for half an hour. Unfortunately, they had to leave without digging it out because of the lack of time.

As a result from their actions in mulching the trees, they will continue to prosper and grow to perhaps greater heights than we see today. A woman planted a garden under a bridge all on her own, and she wasn't part of any group! That amazed them even more. Overall, they enjoyed their experience and had a valuable experience they might not get at any other school.

May 1, 2013

The Ancient Egyptian Farmers

by Rifat Nur Islam

An Ancient Egyptian farmer

At first glance, gardening doesn’t sound too important. Well, that’s easy to understand. After all, now we can get all our food from the supermarket. Well, what did we do before there were any places we could buy foods? The history of mankind directly relates to planting. Hominids did not plant as we know it – they may have, but we do not really know. The first humans were hunter-gatherers. As the name suggests, they really just hunted and gathered for food in nature. The first real signs of what we call “gardening” was in the Neolithic era.  The humans during this time period domesticated plants and animals – thoroughly changing history forever. North American natives planted corn, beans, and squash. Asians planted rice. Soon so much food was produced there was a surplus. This made supporting more populations and civilizations easier. These civilizations grew to become the world nations we know of today. However, now we are moving farther from our custom of planting our own food. Modern humans now have stores of food supported by the government. The problem is that scientists artificially alter foods today to “make them better.” Preservatives, GMO, they are all in our food. Some people are trying to move back to natural grown foods, but the movement is slow. We should be amazed at how we humans are able to grow fruits and vegetables naturally ourselves for our own benefits.

Mar 12, 2013

The Brooklyn Grange Project

by Syeda Anjum

With spring on the way, the middle school students from P.S. 122Q switched clubs, meaning new members have joined our gardening club. Along with that new change came new volunteers from the Brooklyn Grange Farm. You many have saw their building while passing through Woodside; or you may not have. It's pretty cool how they literally built a farm on the roof of a building in the middle of a busy neighborhood in New York City. They went as far as putting actual chickens roaming the farm on their roof. We started to work with this program three weeks ago. For Week One, we started going over an introduction of what the Brooklyn Grange does and the general procedure of how our daily food products (all fruits and veggies) are shipped over to different states, particularly New York. Later the next week, we started discussing the various fruits, vegetables, and plants we wanted to grow in the beds we have here at school since, after all, spring is on its way. However, we also had to consider some factors such as the amount of space we had and which fruits would grow in the shortest amount of time. In short, it required a lot of planning. We also began to germinate various kinds of seeds as an insight of how gardening is and what obstacles we may or may not run into. Now, we're looking forward to see what it turns out to look like for next week.

Click here to grasp some more information of the Brooklyn Grange