Thoughts Regarding “Nature” 1-5

September 30, 2007

Dense, informative, academic, dry.  These are the main adjectives I could use to describe Nature: Western Attitudes Since Ancient Times.  For an academic class, I do think this book comes in handy as it addresses the concept of nature directly as compared to the subjective literary works of Edward Abbey, Terry Tempest-Williams, and Robert Sullivan.  Although this is a book I would not want to read for fun, it does seem like a necessary book to read for a class which addresses the many aspects of nature /the environment and our relationship to it.


Ozone Affects Immune System

September 30, 2007

Duke University studies in mice shows that exposure to ozone in the lungs lowers the effectiveness of the body’s innate immune system.  There has been a long-time correlation between ozone exposure and cardio-pulmonary hospitalizations /deaths, however actual causal evidence has remained inconclusive.  The research team at Duke has found that ozone exposure in mice at levels approximating unhealthy levels for humans (~85 ppb as established by the EPA) appears to enhance lung injury in response to bacterial toxins, and more importantly, enhances programmed cell death (apotosis) in immune system cells that destroy micro-biological invaders.  According to one researcher, inhaling traces of ozone causes the innate immune system to overreact, killing these key immune system cells, making the lungs more susceptible to subsequent invaders, such as bacteria.   The researchers also found that the mice exposed to ozone had lower numbers of immune system cells circulating in the blood.  In consideration of these studies, the EPA is currently in the final phases of reviewing and possibly updating the standards for allowable levels of ozone in the air (~60ppb?).



Global Warming: Rising Seas

September 26, 2007

In many coastal areas the difference between high and low tide is greater than three meters.  Experts are predicting that by the end of the 21st century water levels will rise by three meters due to glacial melting.  To put things in perspective, in some places where high tide settles today, may be where low tide settles in 75 years.  High tides will consume low lying areas.  If you live in a 100 year flood zone, your house may be consumed by water.  While the changes will be very gradual, experts predict about 25,000 square miles of land on the continental United States will be under water.  Areas surrounding Boston, San Fransisco, New York, Miami, and New Orleans will disappear.  Along with the increase in water levels would be the potential for devastating hurricanes.  Hurricanes worse than Katrina.  These increases would be due to higher storm surge and higher, more frequent flooding.  Experts fear that the problem will not be combatted because nobody will notice the change.  The increases so small each year that by the time it becomes a problem it will be too late.

– Steve Fowler

Vermont Wins Legal Victory Over Automakers

September 26, 2007

State rules on greenhouse gas emissions don’t conflict with federal mileage standards and automakers should be able to develop the technology to meet them, a federal judge ruled.

“There is no question that the GHG (greenhouse gas) regulations present great challenges to automakers,” Judge William Sessions III, sitting in the U.S. District Court in Burlington, wrote at the conclusion of his 240-page decision.

He added, “History suggests that the ingenuity of the industry, once put in gear, responds admirably to most technological challenges. In light of the public statements of industry representatives, (the) history of compliance with previous technological challenges, and the state of the record, the court remains unconvinced automakers cannot meet the challenges of Vermont and California’s GHG regulations.”

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Pollution Kills

September 26, 2007

The Top 10 Worst Polluted Places on Earth

From Larry West,
Your Guide to Environmental Issues.
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Report Raises Alarm about Global Pollution and Points to Solutions

More than 10 million people in eight different countries are at serious risk for cancer, respiratory diseases, and premature death because they live in the 10 most polluted places on Earth, according to a report by the Blacksmith Institute, a nonprofit organization that works to identify and solve specific environmental problems worldwide.

Top 10 Worst Polluted Places Remote but Toxic
Chernobyl in Ukraine, site of the world’s worst nuclear accident to date, is the best known place on the list. The other places are unknown to most people, and located far from major cities and populations centers, yet 10 million people either suffer or risk serious health effects because of environmental problems ranging from lead contamination to radiation.

“Living in a town with serious pollution is like living under a death sentence,” the report says.

-John Belleau


zSB(3,3) Read the rest of this entry »

Peter Coates’ Nature

September 26, 2007

Nature was a very different book from the books that we have previously read. Instead of being a first person encounter of nature it was instead more of a school issued science book type of read. It gave us ideas of what many different people dating back to ancient Greece thought nature was. It was a harder read, not because it was more difficult, but because it seemed like every other line had information worth jotting down or taking into account. So it made it hard to decide what was important and what wasn’t. But the different definitions of nature was a good change from just one persons opinion of what he/she thought nature was.

-Brandon Hunter-

Trenton: More Reef Subway Cars By: Tim Rosendaul

September 26, 2007

Week 5: Article 4 (09/26/2007)

Trenton: More Reef Subway Cars

From: New York Times 09/18/2007


New Jersey has asked New York City for 600 decommissioned subway cars to be sunken off the coast to create artificial reefs to attract marine life. New Jersey has one of the largest artificial reef complexes in the world.

However recently in 2003, environmentalists warned people that using subway car’s as artificial reefs could be more harmful than helpful. The old subway cars could be leaching high levels of asbestos into the ocean when they disintegrate, but recently environmentalist have run test to prove that the asbestos aren’t a threat to the ecosystem.

Though it’s in good attention to develop new kinds of artificial reefs for marine life, it seems that most artificial reefs don’t work. For example, look at tire artificial reefs, it said that they cause more damage than good. These supposed helpful environments would create places for marine life to live, but instead is causing more problems.