I recently read some very interesting statistics from the Economist; by 2040, 5 billion of the projected 9.7 billion people in the world will live in water-stressed areas; farming accounts for 70% of global freshwater use; Israel recycles 86% of its wastewater. These facts caused me to think a lot about the world and how we treat it.
Many, however, not all, of us in the United States are fortunate enough to be able to turn on our faucets and have fresh water pour out. We fail to realize fresh water is a resource that is slowly becoming more and more scarce. Water is cheap in the lower 48, where water is about $1.50 for 1,000 gallons (fcwa.org). In Hawaii, almost all of their fresh water comes from desalination, a fairly expensive process. The cost just to produce freshwater is $4.13 per 1000 gallons (hawaiitribune-herald.com). That's almost 300% more expensive.
Now, imagine the world is stressed for freshwater, which it is expected to be in 20 years. Likely, the world will turn to desalination, since it is fairly well-known. The average American family of 4 uses 400 gallons of water per day (epa.gov). If this continues through our dystopian, water-stressed world, that will be $602 a year per household, just to produce, based on Hawaii's current cost to produce freshwater, not to mention the markup and transportation costs to bring desalinized water from the coasts to landlocked regions.
Now, remember how I said 70% of world's freshwater use is used in farming? Farms are more common in the Midwest of the United States, where there is little-to-no salt water to be desalinized. Costs of farming will skyrocket, therefore causing food prices to surge.
I could go on and on with negative effects of a lack of water, however, I have limited time and I'm assuming you do to. In conclusion, if we as human beings do not cut back on our freshwater use, we will not only be wasting water, but wasting our time and money in the long run.
To see your water use, and how you could reduce it, check out this website: http://www.watercalculator.org/
With a new President coming in in just five days, I figured now is a good time to write this blog post which I've had brewing in my head for months.
Although millions may seem like nothing compared to our 20 trillion dollars in debt, you have to start somewhere. And so here, I will outline three ideas that would save our government over $100 million.
First of all, although this one may seem obvious, perhaps legislation should be passed that would lower salaries for our Representatives, Senators, Cabinet members, and President. Since Trump has refused his salary, he, of all people, would be more likely to pass this legislation. The current salary for Representatives is $174,000 a year. The Speaker of the House makes $223,500 a year. Senate and House Majority and Minority Leaders both make $193,400 a year. Although these numbers aren't at their peak when looking at how past figures relate to current dollars, it should be an honor to serve your country. Although I agree they deserve to make more than the average US Citizen, the average US citizen makes around $69,000 dollars a year. So, therefore, why is decreasing these salaries by $20,000 so unreasonable? If just members of congress each cut their salary by $20,000, the USA would save $10,700,000 a year.
A second idea would be cutting some funding to Amtrak. For those of you readers who do not know, Amtrak is the government-run train system. In my opinion, it is a monopoly, and therefore makes our government hypocritical. However, today's blog post is based in fact, not opinion; so I shall refrain. In FY 2016, the government gave about $1.4 billion to Amtrak. Just like the salaries of congressmen, this figure isn't at its peak. Now, I like trains as much as the next guy, and they are a now difficult and expensive mode of transportation to upkeep. However, the CEO of Amtrak has said himself that Amtrak has undergone a transformation, and is making more money. So, I propose we slowly cut spending to Amtrak, no more than $50 million a year, so that way it doesn't fail, but we still save money.
The third way I am proposing to save the government millions of dollars is to change the composition of the nickel. At first, it may seem crazy, but you have so many people who want to get rid of the penny, and so many others that want to keep it. The realization people need to make is that it only costs 1.7 cents to mint a penny, whereas it costs a whole 8 cents to mint a nickel. So, instead of getting rid of either coin, I propose changing the composition of the nickel from 75% copper and 25% nickel to almost entirely steel, with a coating of nickel to reduce rust. Although the math is tedious, my calculations tell me this would save the US government over $92 million a year. If you really want to see the math, contact me, and I'll post it later. Now, people have made the comment that this solution would be against small businesses, because of the costs they would have to pay to replace their vending machines that scan coins for metal content. However, these types of vending machines are quite expensive, and very few small businesses with only one location would spend that much for a vending machine, when you can make just as much, if not more, from a gum ball machine in the proper location.
In conclusion, I have outlined 3 simple ways that would save America almost $150 million in one year, with that number increasing every year. Although it may not seem like a whole lot of money compared to our debt, you always have to have a starting point.
If you want to see more ideas to save the government millions of dollars a year, or have an idea of your own, please contact me or leave a comment on this post, and if there is enough positive feedback, I will write another post.
Thank you for your support.
Merry Christmas Eve Eve everyone! (The eve before Christmas Eve). Is it just me, or has this come by a little quicker than usual?
Anyway, I just thought I'd take this time to reflect on 2016. It will, of course, go down in history for 3 things, somehow or another, in my opinion:
1... Election 2016. Need I say more? No. If you want my opinion on the election, you'll find numerous posts and articles about the election on this website.
(One little note... I have said before I couldn't decide who to support this year. I didn't like either of the last two major candidates. However, as much as I hate to say it, Trump is our president now, and we should respect him for that, if nothing else.)
2... Celebrity Deaths. Deaths in 2016 is one of the most edited Wikipedia articles right now. And although thousands of names of people who left remarkable impacts are listed, there are only a few I want to reflect upon, because they really hit me the most.
- Glenn Frey was a great musician who sung remarkable songs. It is unfortunate that I will be one of the millions in my generation who will never have seen an actual Eagles Concert.
- Elie Wiesel was one of the last people to have survived the Holocaust that was still alive in 2016. His death really hit home with me because I had, just before that, finished reading his memoir about the Holocaust, "Night". If you ever have the chance, please read his work.
- Harper Lee was another great author to have passed away in 2016. Looking back now, I only hardly remember hearing of her dying. It is unfortunate that her death came so soon after the release of "Go Set A Watchman", only her second major book to be published.
- Alan Rickman was a remarkable actor, known mainly for his role as Severus Snape in the Harry Potter films. I have heard even devout critics of the films say he portrayed the character as excellently as Snape was written in the books. His other notable roles include Marvin the Robot in Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and Hans in Die Hard.
- Although more recent, John Glenn's death is one of a man who never failed to serve his country. During the space race of the '50's and '60's, John Glenn was the first American to orbit the Earth, and was a US Senator to Ohio for 24 years. He also served in both WWII and the Korean War.
May all of them, and the many others, Rest In Peace.
3... Many People can't wait for this year to be over. But, you should cherish the time you have. This year, I have grown closer to many, if not all, of my friends; I've learned lots about myself and the world; and I've given another kickstart to my writing career. Overall, it's been a good year for me, especially the last three quarters. It gradually got greater and greater. Thank You, if you're one of the people that made it so great. You know who you are.
In the final moments of what will likely be the last post of 2016, I just wanted to say thank you so much for the support, and please continue to read this blog. I get updates on how many people visit everyday, and that number just keeps going up and up. So, thank you again, if you take the time to read my blog, and have a happy holiday season. :)
P.S. If you want to make my Christmas Merry, and give me a gift, simply share this blog and website with someone who you think will enjoy it. Thanks! :)
(My Gift to you will be continuing this blog.)
P.P.S. No, "Bill"... That's all I have to say.
(It did make me laugh, though :))
(99.9% of you won't get that, but one of you will. To you, I say again, simply, no.)
Before I begin, let me say this: This isn't going to be a blog post on anything stupid, this may sound cliché but it isn't. This is an important issue that needs to be addressed. And I realize many of you are going to disregard it and say it's an over dramatic post, saying I don't really understand the world. But I do. It's why I'm good at writing. It's why people come to me for advice.
The point is, every day, more and more people are becoming stressed, depressed, or even harming themselves. The reason isn't entirely important. But, in a sense it is.
Recently, someone in an engineering class I'm taking asked the teacher, on the topic of equations for mean, median, range, and stuff like that, why we need to learn about it, when we'll always have a calculator, since he's never away from his phone. My first thought was, 'Are there really people who never leave their phones down or at home?' Now, I know I'm a young adult, and I'm writing this post on my phone, but I go on walks or on trips to the store without my phone. It stresses me out sometimes. People text me, expecting a response. Then they keep texting like I'm on it doing something, getting angered when I don't answer. I've gone full days without my phone before, and they've been some of the best and worst days.
So over the past few days, thoughts have been turning around in my mind. Spending time with one of the men I'm named after helped guide these thoughts quite a bit, too, but nonetheless, these thoughts have dawned on me. Information is constantly at our fingertips. We could get up-to-the-minute traffic in Bangladesh if we wanted it. Politicians have always been dirty, but technology no longer gives them time to cover up their mistakes. Knowing this, we hear many more sad and depressing things, since, as humans, we tend to care for and worry about people in need. It's human nature, no matter what you believe in. Therefore, in theory, don't sad things stick with us longer than happy things, if we're engineered to care for one another?
So, on another note, it's 2016. The year of acceptance. But, for every person that accepts, there is a person or two that rejects. The end of slavery didn't just happen. America didn't just happen. We have to fight for things. We can't just have the idea that things just happen, because they don't. Everyone in America has heard the saying, "You can be whatever you want to be", but we forget the second half: "If you work for it."
Perhaps this is why we're so linked to our cell phones, doing nothing with our time, because we expect things to happen. Also, if we expect things to happen, we get sad when they don't. This has to have happened to everyone at at least one point in life. It's happened to me, and yes, I've been devastated, for the time. It's also human nature to give our hopes up. But there's a difference between working for something and getting failure, than not doing anything and still getting failure.
Perhaps this his is why people are more depressed than they've ever been. Because more than ever, we expect things to happen, and they don't.
Just some words of wisdoms, my two cents, if you will. Take these words how you like. But at least pay them some attentions and thought.
My Name is Eddie Schweikert. I am an animator, author, artist, and friend. You will hear about many of my latest ventures here.