Whole Foods giving away reusable bags

January 31, 2008

After yesterday’s bashing of the Whole Foods chain I thought it appropriate to point out that they are doing some good and that their intentions of being environmentally friendly are good. An article from the Environmental News Network (ENN) discusses how they began yesterday giving away one free reusable bag to each customer in an effort to encourage customers to use the eco-friendly bags. The article also includes tips on how to remember to bring your bags to the store each time you shop as remembering to bring the bags once they have them is a big problem for some people.


Project ideas in more depth- Madeline

January 31, 2008

Smart Growth Cities:  I would like to look at a few examples of smart growth in action, such as projects in California, Colorado, and Florida that are described on the Sustainable Communities Network webpage.  My main interest is the principle of smart growth involving creating walkable communities.  This involves strategic urban planning as well as strategic transportational planning with a variety of transportation options.
sources for Smart Growth Cities:

Plan B 2.0, deals with all aspects of making cities more sustainable.. in particular a chapter on transportation is of great interest.

Austin, Texas‘s smart growth initiative… described on their website, they want to really pay attention to how and where the cities grows, enhance the tax base, and improve quality of life.

The Natural Resources Defense Council describes how smart growth can solve the problem of sprawl.

Transportation/bicycle initiatives:   If I were to develop this project idea I would look at things like carpool initiatives such as that in Philadelphia and initiatives to construct bicycle lanes and trails in cities.  In addition, I would tackle the subject of the planning that goes into these projects and the ways in which they are enforced.  Also, I look forward to researching where some of these projects are taking place and seeing if more of them are being developed currently.

sources for transportation/bicycle initiatives

Plan B 2.0, once again, deals directly with bicycle initiatives and this would be a good source to use as a jumping-off point to specific initiatives and projects around the world.

such as… in the Netherlands there are more than two bicycles per person, states the New York Times.

Smart Growth America talks about transportation and sprawl as well as simply more environmentally friendly transportation intiatives. Transportation oriented development, walking taking first priority, and bicycle friendly communities are all discussed.

Off the wall project idea:  American obesity and locational patterns… are there certain climatic factors that are involved? Environmental factors?

Project Ideas – Siobhan

January 30, 2008

1. I’d like to look at enviro- planning and architecture. Take a look at some of the “smart growth” projects that have been implemented and the effects they have or haven’t had.

2. I would like to look at the effects of the pet industry on the Environment. We always think of pets as being wonderful to have and non-harmful but how much waste and resources do they really use up?

3. A study into the E-Waste and where it’s going and how it’s harming those areas sounds fascinating. What kinds of chemical s are being released and how is it affecting people in the factories there?

4. I have a personal interest in eco-tourism and I’m curious to see what exactly the benefits are for the areas where tourists are visiting after they go home. The whole point is to inspire change, but is anything really happening.

5. Finally, My last is to look into organic farming. i haven’t determined what aspect of it would be most interesting, but It’s a work in progress.

Uranium Mining in the United States Makes a comeback

January 30, 2008

I started looking up Uranuim mining in the U.S. after reading Desert Solitaire because I wanted to see where it was today and Wikipedia actually had a really good article on it. Please see Here As you can see there’s none in Ohio. But the rest of the country is pretty much making a comeback as far as Uranium mines are concerned.


Sarah’s project ideas

January 30, 2008

1. How photography has shaped our idea of “wilderness” and impacts on environmentalism

2. Fire in the environment

3. Pollution in the oceans; cruise-ships, nuclear waste, pesticides, etc.

4. Algal blooms resulting from fertilizer run-off; effects on ecology

5. Artificial reefs

Drying of the West

January 30, 2008

This article from National Geographic explores the causes of the droughts and wildfires in the South-Western United States. Studies of tree core samples have revealed that we are just coming out of an unusually wet period compared to the history of the region. Global warming coupled with the damming of rivers to provide water for people has increased the drying in the recent years. In addition wildfires are sweeping across the west, burning trees and destroying homes. But it is mostly our fault. Fire has long been a part of the natural cycle in the West, but since the government decided to extinguish all fires in the early 20th century the fires have increased in frequency and intensity. This is due mostly to the buildup of shrubs and grasses that would normally be burned off on a regular basis; since all fires have been extinguished, there is more fuel to burn. This is in effect destroying the trees in the area that would normally survive the small natural fires. The full article can be found here.


Desert Solitaire

January 30, 2008

Desert Solitaire




1. Abbey’s concepts of wilderness, culture, and civilization



Wild, and chaotic


A place to escape

Completes civilizations



Destroys the wild

Houses the masses

Corrupt and greedy



Brings about conformity

Can exist without civilization

The system

Procedures and facts rationality


Are countires cultures? Consider the concept of nation-state

Does civilization protect the wilderness as Abbey believes?

Are Abbey’s statements viable?


2. Human Presence in the SouthWest


Industrial Tourism

Pollution, littering, and crowds

Increase in population

Land development


3. Prehuman culture of the SouthWest


Rock art, trails, pueblos from anicient cultures still in tact in the southwest, used and flourished on the land.

Pictographs, petroglyphs, pueblos, people lived in the wilderness withouth modern days shit.


4. Water resources and the Colorado river.


Diminishing water table, more water being used in the reservoirs than the Colorado river can supply

Without water one can not survive in the desert


5. Uranium mining


Created greed, corruption, and materialim


6. Mormons


Utah is mormon country and they created a commune and culture among the wilderness centralized around their church


The idea of Sublime


Lost in the desert, just you with the wilderness with bare necessities to survive, amazing experience but face death, true sublime experience.


“The desert lies beneath and soars beyond and possible human qualification, therefore, sublime.” P224


“I am twenty miles or more from the nearest fellow human, but instead of lonliness I feel lovliness.” P16





There are time when creation can be achieved only through destruction. The urge to destroy is then a creative urge. P202


…Nature’s polluted; There’s man in every secret corner of her; Doing dammed, wicked deeds. P206



Questions about the Abbey Reading



1.How would one desribe Edward Abbey, and how does the book describe wilderness?

2. Does modern machinery and technology bring humans closer or more distant from wilderness?

3. What are the effects of industrial tourism on national parks?

4. What is valued more time or space?

5. The idea of Solipism and is it true?

6. Will Arches, as a national park and wilderness be the same when Abbey returns.

Project Ideas

January 30, 2008

Niagara Falls

-Fish that people are supposed to kill in Lake Ontario –Gobies

Love Canal

Nick Wagner.

Cool Ash is Radioactive

January 30, 2008


The waste produced by coal plants is actually more radioactive than that generated by their nuclear counterparts. Apparently fly ash—a by-product from burning coal for power—contains up to 100 times more radiation than nuclear waste. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) maintains an online database of fly ash–based uranium content for sites across the U.S. In most areas, the ash contains less uranium than some common rocks. This article seems interesting because I always assumed that nuclear reactors were more dangerous this could be my perspective though generated by the Simpsons movie.

Nick Wagner

project ideas

January 30, 2008

1- the Appalachian Trail- i want to hike this trail possibly after i graduate and i want to know all about it. hiking and the outdoors are my interests.

2- the logging industry/stihl company- the stihl company..more specifically the stihl competitions that go on. the logging industry i think might relate to this competition.

3- boat pollution- i have always wondered how much pollution boats (motor) give off and the affects they have on water (lakes, rivers, oceans, etc.)

4- Alaska’s haul road- this is a 415 mile long ice/snow road that has been built to get to an isolated Alaskan oilfields along the Arctic Coast.

5- Chesapeake Bay (Bridge and Tunnel)- there has been talk about the bay disappearing and i want to know more about its history and uses.

6- Blood Diamond(s)- the blood diamond industry in Africa and other places. the risks that it takes, the lives that have been taken in order to mine these diamonds. the movie Blood Diamond inspired me.