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Jsmith

United States

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Building the Bridge to Oblivion

October 12, 2015

How many times have you driven on a highway? How about walking to downtown or even stepped into your house? Every time we take a step onto a road, we see signs of development. Where there is a road, a building, or any other settlement, it means that others have been there before us and on most occasions, these areas are laden with hard concrete. Surprisingly, concrete is the second most wanted item after water because we, as humans are always building and expanding. But, although concrete could have been our saving grace at one point, it no longer is. In these circumstnaces, some would say that all good things come with a catch.
    Concrete is a material that is utilized all over the world to establish homes, businesses, roads, and other building necessities. For its production, a substance called cement needs to be created, but to make cement, there is a certain combination of Iron, Silicon, Aluminum, and Calcium. This mix of elements is attained by stirring bauxite or iron ore, limestone, and sand or clay and heating it at 1400 degrees Celsius. The produced substance, then proceeds to be combined with gypsum. Now, as I’ve mentioned before, to make concrete, cement is a crucial ingredient, but sadly, it is one of the main factors as to why the production of concrete is poisoning the world.
    The world is currently in a dangerous place, on the brink of falling into a dark oblivion from which it may or may not ever come out. This oblivion is called global warming. Now, you may be wondering how the production of concrete is related to this world-wide crisis. Here’s how. When making concrete, you need cement; and when you make cement, you heat it at very high temperatures, which emits greenhouse gases into the atmosphere - particularly Carbon Dioxide (CO2). When you make one ton of cement, it emits nearly a ton of Carbon Dioxide and every year, the production rate of concrete increases. Ever since the Industrial Revolution in the 1700s, the release of greenhouse gases has been increasing and as one can infer, it all adds up. There are many who choose to ignore the consequences of our actions, but they will not be able to for long; the balance of the world is tilting and its not in our favor. 
    It deeply saddens me that the dusty residue I sometimes find on the windshield of my car leads to devastating things such as cancer. This residue floats down from nearby cement factories and can be found anywhere including caked on animal fur, piled in thin layers on your doorstep, and covering your fruit trees. 
    Do we really want our children to grow up in such a polluted environment? Do we really want mountains and hills to be scoped out for resources, eliminating the diminishing amount of wild life habitats? I’m not saying that we have to completely stop building with concrete, because that would be an impossible request. What I’m saying is that there are other ways to make concrete that doesn’t pollute as much, and we should play our role as inhabitants of Earth and help the environment the best we can.
 
Citations

"Is Concrete Bad for the Environment? - TheGreenAge." TheGreenAge Is Concrete Bad for the Environment Comments. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Oct. 2015.

Platt, John. "CO2 101: Why Is Carbon Dioxide Bad?" MNN. N.p., 9 Oct. 2013. Web. 13 Oct. 2015.

Rubenstein, Madeleine. "Emissions from the Cement Industry." State of the Planet Emissions from the Cement Industry Comments. N.p., 9 May 2012. Web. 13 Oct. 2015.

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