I personally enjoyed the psychological framework that Stoknes used in approaching the issue of global warming. I think that this can be a really useful way of reaching people. People who aren’t interested in science, don’t understand it, or don’t identify with it most likely won’t have a strong reaction to reading a book about global warming that just recites statistics, uses terminology that they don’t understand, or doesn’t appeal to their emotions at all. I think that a book like “What We Think About When We Try Not To Think About Global Warming” is a new way of addressing the issue and can be very beneficial. I have never read anything about global warming that was based on psychology as opposed to science and I have to say I throughly enjoyed expanding my thought process about this topic and looking at it in a different way. I think that understanding human behavior, wants, and needs is imperative to solving or at least dealing with the climate issue. There has to be some sort of psychological and sociological undertones to the fight against climate change because without making this issue one that people care about, we will never be successful in getting them to adjust their lifestyles.
“Half a million crabs killed by plastic debris on remote islands”
This article discusses a study, the first of it’s kind, to research and document the mortality of hermit crabs due to beach debris, specifically plastic. This study found that on the Cocos island, 500,000 hermit crabs died from being trapped in plastic and 60,000 on Henderson island. Dr. Lavers, who lead the study said, “These results are shocking but perhaps not surprising, because beaches and the vegetation that fringes them are frequented by a wide range of wildlife. It is inevitable that these creatures will interact with and be affected by plastic pollution, although ours is one of the first studies to provide quantitative data on such impacts.” Some of the data they collected included how many plastic containers there were, how many were open, how many were positioned in a way that could trap crabs, and how many actually contained trapped crabs. Hermit crabs play an integral role in the ecosystem, they fertilize soil, disperse seeds, remove detritus, and act as a food source to other animals. Because of this, they have a large impact on the health of tropic environments. Dr.Lavers concluded by saying “It is likely that the mortality of hermit crabs across the world’s beaches is substantial, and further investigation is required to inform a broader understanding of the scale and implications of their loss.”
Road salt and other commercial deicers used to help melt ice and snow on roadways can be harmful to the environment and are corrosive to vehicles and roads. Beet juice is an increasingly popular additive, but can lead to eutrophication when it enters streams and bodies of water.
Researchers at WSU trying to find a greener option discovered that chemicals derived naturally from grape skins melt ice faster and cause less damage to asphalt and concrete as well as cause fewer problems in the environment. The research has also been applied to other plant waste, which is beneficial because different locations may find different forms of waste more readily available. The research is a step in the right direction in terms of reducing road and automobile damage as well as reducing harmful environmental impacts.
Mercury levels in mountain lions living in the fog zone of the Santa Cruz mountains were 3x higher than in mountain lions living outside the fog zone. Toxicologist Peter Weiss-Penzias says that levels are higher in lichens and deer here too, but mercury levels become more concentrated as you move up the food chain. Mercury is approaching toxic levels in these mountain lions. Although not [yet] at fatal levels, mercury can reduce reproductive success, leading to conservation concerns.
Mercury is naturally occurring, but also enters the atmosphere via mining and coal emissions. In oceans, it is converted by deep-water bacteria into methylmercury. Upwelling brings this most toxic form of mercury back to the surface, where it reenters the atmosphere and is carried inland by fog. When fog condenses in the environment, water enters plant systems where it bioaccumulates and gets into the food chain.
Apparently, Weiss-Penzias became interested in mercury in fog while riding his bike int he Santa Cruz mountains. Fog condensed on his glasses, and he was curious about its contents, so he sent some samples to a lab. The lab told him they’d have to re-run the tests because they couldn’t believe how high the mercury levels were.
Man-made buildings may provide big benefits for bat conservation. Researchers from OU, UK, and the NPS studied little brown bats in Yellowstone NP to see where they roosted, and found that females roost in attics 84% of the time while males roost exclusively in rock crevices and trees.
When people evict bats from their homes, this is a concern because the bats must spend energy searching for a new place to roost. This can be fatal in the winter months, especially if bats are avoiding or suffering from White Nose Syndrome, which is a fungus that has been decimating bat populations across the continent. Roosting in buildings may provide enough heat and dryness to keep the disease away.
Pregnant females that roost in warm attics may also be more likely to regulate their body temperatures better, whereas colder temperature can slow gestation, which may force juveniles to mature quickly before the winter months.
The researchers believe that buildings help sustain large populations of little brown bats in the Yellowstone area. The lead study author said: “This warmth is important for bats during the summer months to help with their reproductive efforts. Bats surviving WNS and trying to recover might benefit from a warm roost tremendously.”
W2 Aug 28: Cronon’s “Trouble with Wilderness” and Sullivan’s “The Meadowlands”
W3 Sept 4: Abbey’s “Desert Solitaire”
W5 Sept 18: Bruckner’s “Fanaticism of the Apocalypse”
W6 Sept 25: Coates’ “Nature”
W7 Oct 2: Coates’ “Nature”
W10 Oct 23: Foer’s “Eating Animals”
W11 Oct 30: Latour’s “Down to Earth”
W12 Nov 6: Urbanik’s “Placing Animals”
My Presentation-W13 Nov 13: Stoknes’ “What We Think About When We Try Not To Think About Global Warming
This is late but I REALLY enjoyed this book. A LOT. It was one of my favorites and it was actually able to keep my interest for a longer period of time then many of the other books. It really made me stop and think about why we think the way we do. Why we place things in the categories we do and why those categories can really fall apart if you apply too much logic. I liked the thought processes and how it made me think. It goes into depth about history, examples, and much more. It really shows how humans affect animals, how animals affect humans, and how you can’t really say if one if better or worse then the other rather we place value on animals in very different ways.