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Can Microorganisms Slow Climate Change?

  • May 19, 2020 12:55 PM
    Message # 8979707
    Newenka DuMont (Administrator)

    Team Science is for Girls, Thompson Middle School, St. Charles

  • May 28, 2020 1:42 PM
    Reply # 8998641 on 8979707
    Kyle Burkybile

    This is a really interesting and significant topic, and if we are able to harness these processes you went over correctly, it could mean really big things for fighting climate change. Your presentation really showed the hard work you put in and I learned more about these microorganisms (especially the anoxygenic purple bacteria), so thank you! 

    Because not everyone has done the research that you did, I would suggest giving more well known examples or names of microorganisms early on. For example, diatoms are a type of algae and more people have heard of that term. This way, your audience has a better idea of what you're teaching them. 

    Using biomass for energy is a way to avert some fossil fuels being burned, and that could slow climate change. However, there's still some CO2 emissions being given off by biomass burning, so we need to keep making scientific advancements in that area to make it even more environmentally safe. 

    The part about your presentation that I really liked was talking about how the microorganisms can actually take CO2 out of the atmosphere, and that's also called carbon capture. They can also be used to make our water cleaner. We actually have a really cool wastewater treatment plant in the Chicagoland area that uses algae and I think you can request tours of the facility to see them using microorganisms to help treat the water. If your parents or teachers are looking for ideas for field trips, then that's a good one. https://mwrd.org/mwrds-resource-recovery-work-featured-global-documentary 

    Or you can watch this video to get an idea of what they do https://vimeo.com/76662009 (microorganism talk starts at 4:25)

    Congrats again on the good work! 
  • May 29, 2020 3:34 PM
    Reply # 9001669 on 8979707
    Rowland Davis, Chicago 350.org member

    I enjoyed your video presentation on how microorganisms might be used to improve the climate. The material was very clear and I could tell that you did a lot of research. The first two articles that you summarized are examples of ways that certain processes (e.g. aquaculture and algae control for diatoms, and wastewater treatment for anoxygenic purple bacteria) might be improved in ways that help to remove CO2 as an additional benefit. For sure we should always be looking for these types of things that will help us slow global warming, even if only in a relatively small way -- it all adds up!

    I found the yeast section very interesting also, but here I think you might also want to explore whether there might be some potential problems. Yeast is used to help create biofuels, such as ethanol, which we now use as an additive for our gasoline. But many environmentalists think that there are problems that might make this solution tough to implement on the large scale that would be needed to completely replace fossil fuels -- and we will need to reach that point to save the planet. Scientists will always be looking for possible ways to improve the process though!

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/jan/29/biofuels-are-not-the-green-alternative-to-fossil-fuels-they-are-sold-as

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