Ted Talk Assignment


TedTalk Assignment



  1. How many pounds of garbage does the average person throw out a day?

4 pounds of garbage.

  1. What does San Francisco require their residents/businesses to do with their trash?

They are required to separate their trash into recyclable items likeplastic and compostable goods such as food waste. After that, theywould place these two types of trash into different bins.

  1. San Francisco’s recycling/composting laws have kept what percentage of waste out of landfills? How does this compare to the nation’s average?

80% of waste has been recycled in San Francisco, which is way abovethe national average of 35%.

  1. Name at least 3 things that go into the compost bin at Sven and Deborah’s house.

-wrappers from the butter

-any meat or packaged paper food

-soiled food

  1. What happens to those that refuse to sort their garbage?

They are usually slapped with fines ranging from $100- $1000.

  1. After recycling took full effect, what was the biggest fraction of waste (according the representative from Recology)?

Food waste formed the biggest fraction of the waste.

  1. How many tons of food waste/grass clippings are coming into Recology each day? What is it used to create? What is this product then used for?

400 tons of food waste goes into Recology each day. The waste is usedto make rich compost for use in local vineyards.

  1. What is a benefit (beyond environmental) of moving towards a zero waste society? Give an example of this.

It contributes to the creation of jobs. For example, Recology’sMassive Recycling Center has created 186 jobs over a 10-year period.

  1. What are some of the things that skeptics are saying about San Francisco’s recycling/composting figures? How does the mayor respond to this?

Skeptics say that the figures are highly exaggerated to portray thestate authorities in a favorable light. However, the Mayor mentionsthat his office has independent auditors who ascertain the truth ofsuch figures and statistics. Therefore, the Mayor is convinced thatthe State indeed recycles 80% of the waste.

  1. Who pays for the recycling/composting services? How do these rates compare to regular garbage disposal (in the area)

The customers whose waste is recycled cater for the cost ofrecycling. While these rates are higher than those incurred from theregular garbage disposal, they are highly economical considering theamount of recycling conducted by the State.

Talk 2

  1. Why does James Balog feel that art (such as photography and film) is important to science?

Balog feels that aspects of art such as photography, video, and filmare quite fundamental to science since they enable us understandabout ourselves, nature, and how we interlink with nature.

  1. What percent of the glaciers in the world are retreating or shrinking?

95% of the glaciers in the world are retreating.

  1. Describe some information about where some of the time-lapse cameras are placed (i.e., in what parts of the world, where specifically in relation to glaciers, etc.).

They are set in Greenland, Alaska, Iceland, and the Rockies. Thecameras are placed on the sides of the glaciers to capture thegradual evolution of the landscapes.

  1. Why does James Balog say the &quotearth is having a fever.&quot What does he mean? (1 point)

He means that the overall temperature and carbon dioxide levels havegone beyond acceptable levels. For example, the earth`s temperaturehas risen by 0.75 C since 1900.

  1. As he goes through some of the time lapse videos, discuss at least 3 of the specific things you see/he (Balog) discusses (be specific to the glacier, what happens, etc.)

-The glaciers continually drop off into the sea

-The carving face of the glacier floats in water.

-The glaciers gradually retreat and deflate simultaneously.

  1. What does James Balog say he thinks is the biggest problem related to facing the challenge of climate change? Why?

The biggest problem is human perception because many people are stillnot convinced of the threat posed by climate change.

Talk 3

  1. The TED talk begins by taking a poll of the audience regarding their feelings for nuclear energy. What was the general feelings of the audience (was the majority for/against the use of nuclear energy) at the beginning of the talk?

The audience favored the use of nuclear energy on a 3:1 ratio.

  1. Next, Stewart Brand discusses the “pros” of using nuclear energy. List 5 important points that he makes to support his pro-nuclear energy stance.

-Nuclear energy results in less waste than fossil fuels

-The impact of nuclear energy can be controlled and regulated whilethe environmental effects of fossil fuels are unprecedented.

-Nuclear energy contributes to disarmament due to decommissioning ofwarheads to provide electricity.

-Modern and future technology promises safe and advanced reactorsthat will help to produce nuclear energy efficiently and on alarge-scale.

-Renewable sources of energy such as wind, solar, and hydro areunstable due to their seasonality. On the other hand, nuclear energyis a mainstay source of energy.

  1. Next, Mark Z. Jacobson discusses the anti-nuclear stance. List 5 important points that he makes to support his stance on the subject.

-Nuclear energy produces more harmful emissions than other forms ofenergy

-Exploring nuclear energy creates the risk of a nuclear catastrophesuch as the Hiroshima bomb

-Nuclear energy creates plenty of regulation challenges regarding itsapplication in other secretive, sovereign states

-Nuclear energy requires a hefty investment of time and capital

-Renewable sources of energy such as wind, solar, and hydro have thecapability to sustain global demand for energy.

  1. Next, 4 people in the audience get to respond. Summarize what each of the people say (they make excellent points!).

Rob (For) – The risk of overheating the planet far outweighs thatof potential nuclear disasters

Alex (For) – Nuclear energy is a constant, reliable source ofenergy, unlike wind, solar, and hydro.

David (Against) – Nuclear energy creates tons of hazardous wastethat poses plenty of safety and security risks.

Unknown (Against) – It has been proven that alternative sources ofenergy can adequately cater for energy needs. Therefore, nuclearenergy is quite unnecessary.

  1. How did the feelings of the audience shift after the debate?

Many people who favored the use of nuclear energy changed their mindsand preferred not to support the implementation of nuclear energy.