Elk Wear Bar Stools in CO

February 25, 2009

A Cow Elk has been recently spotted around the denver area with a medium bar stool stuck around its neck. Though it seems to not be effecting it detrimentally, fish and wildlife officials have not been able to approach the elk to remove it. Apparently Cow elk commonly get man made objects tangled around their necks, intersting considering how large of a creature they are.


Nature – Tidbits

February 25, 2009

Chapter One

  • Nature is often presumed to be an objective reality with universal qualities unafffected by consideractions of time, culture and place (1)
  • Understandings of nature in the western world can roughly be divided into five historically important categories: The physical, the essence, the inspiration and the opposite of culture
  • Nature has been attributed with approved human values and ideals to validate and raise above debate particular visions and ideologies.
  • A fundamental issue for Aristotle in Physics was the distinction between natural entities whose essence is innate, and artificial entities whose essence derives from an external source.
  • Emerson: “Nature…refers to the essences unchanged by man.  Art is applied to the mixture of his will with the same things.
  • We enshrine what is in fact a transitional ecosystem not because nature has endowed grassland with special significance but because we prefer this particular version of nature.
  • Some natural environments are so carefully contrived that casual observers often fail to appreciate the degree of cultural selection that went into it.

Chapter Two

  • Fourty four of the sixty six meanings of nature listen by Arthor Lovejoy and George Boas were already current in classical times.
  • Nature stems from the latin nascene, to be born
  • Decline of the Roman emire tied firectly to resource depletion
  • Lead Poinsoning partictularly responsible for the withering away of the ruling oligarchy afflicted with an inordinately high dose of still births, sterility and mental degeneracy.
  • By destroying pagan animism, christianity made it possible to exploit nature in a mood of indifferance to the feelings of nauture.
  • All agrarian societies, ancient or modern, are imbuted with the imperatice to domesticate the physical environment.
  • According to the Pythagreans, avoiding meat was ultimately a way to purify the soul.

Chapter Three

  • It is frequently held that the natural world will benifit from benign neglect.
  • The Norman conquest was no more a confrontation with virgin soil than was the european inbasion of North America launched by Columbus.
  • Many areas of England were treeless by the Bonze Age.
  • During the Saxon era, forest clearence fell in populairity.
  • In a period characterized by temperatures a few degrees warmer than typical, Englands population tripled.
  • Environmental reprocussions of the Bubonic Plauge were substantial, causing whole towns and regions to be abandoned.

Chapter Four

  • Mankind experienced a decisive alienation from nature between the Renaissance and the scientific revolution.
  • By transforming nature from a living organism into a machine – simply unfeeling, inert matter…the new mechanistic philosophy assiosted the commodification of nature.
  • The Calvanistic notion that it was man’s duty to God to subdue the earth reinforced existing beliefs.
  • Scientific knowlege means technological power over nature.
  • Galileo gave nature an abstract existence apart from humanity, but its meanings and values remained to be found and bestowed by the human mind

Chapter Five

  • The lone cypress stands as a peerless monumnet to capitalisms bid to privatize, incorporate and commodify nature.
  • Since the onset of the modern eram western Europe has operated as an often overwhelming source of cultural, economic and ecological pressure on the remainder of the globe.
  • The concept of the noble savage grew of European guilt and longing.
  • Once humans became agriculturalists, the almost parasidical character of prehistory was irretrivably lost.
  • The designation of the Indian as a pioneer ecologist certainly entails a loose understanding of ecology.

Another Article

February 25, 2009

If we have extra time in class, we should watch this video; it’s pretty crazy. It talks about a hydroelectric dam built in the ’70s that flooded a valley where people lived. It turns out that a hotel is still standing at the bottom of the lake; in 300 feet of water. They talk a lot about “progress” as well, and the cost.

Video is here.


Shark Attacks

February 25, 2009

Shark attacks in the United States are at the lowest level in five years, and the Boston Globe reports that some researchers in Florida have figured out why. It turns out people don’t go the beach as much when they are broke. Seems to make sense, if you consider the people who have to travel a considerable distance to get to the beach. I wonder, though, if this trend was also seen in other recent economic declines – it seems to me like there are a lot of variable going on in the oceans right now that could also be affecting the shark population.


Nature Reaction

February 25, 2009

Chapter 1

  1. The description of the traditional view of nature (pg.3 ) is a very accurate depiction of how most people (including us!) instinctively define nature.
  2. Discussion of nature as a “dictate” (pgs 5-6); use of “natural” as justification for the “natural way”.
  3. Natural foods (pg 9) – reminds me of the often-ridiculous organic food movement, calling food that has been selectively bred for hundreds of years natural.
  4. “topophilia” (pg 14) – relation to our discussion of favorite landscapes
  5. “nimbyism” (pg 17) – so many environmental news stories focus on NIMBY issues; solving a NIMBY issue doesn’t solve problem.

Chapter 2

  1. opening – nature as internal quality (pg 23)
  2. lead poisoning in Rome (pg 25) – can it really all be attributed to lead? isn’t there more to the history?
  3. story of digging the isthmus (pg 30) – views have changed a lot.
  4. Roman animal cruelty – pg 37 – animals and gladiators on same ‘moral level’?
  5. pg 39, last paragraph – misguided view that ancient people revered and respected nature as opposed to us; capability to manipulate?

Chapter 3

  1. Lack of understanding of what Europe looked like in Middle Ages – pg 41 – Never knew that! Good point though about the preoccupation with theology and philosophy.
  2. “Virgin land” – pg 43 – going back to our discussion of environmental manipulation in Americas before Europeans.
  3. Climatic conditions vs. population (pg 45) – seems very relevant now…
  4. ‘Green’ spin on theology – (pg 50) – stewardship; using “gift” of intelligence to help nature vs. just not doing harm, earth will be fine.
  5. iron plough – pg 62 – ability to do harm encourages doing harm?

Chapter 4

  1. Page 71 – Newton, et al, as evil; clockwork of nature as somehow a bad view; hello?? mathematics???? anyone?!?!?!
  2. Page 72 – what is nature versus what can we do with nature? basic vs. applied science
  3. page 77 – discussion of quantum mechanics. This passage really bothers me. Capra talks as if Newton chose one philosophy over another to decide what theory he wanted… patently false. Newton’s laws are derived from the inherent qualities of curves in Euclidean geometric space. The new view of quantum mechanics does not come from a philosophical desire to have nature be interconnected but from hard facts observed in experiments; its relation to ideas of Eastern mysticism is coincidence. Furthermore, he (Capra) makes misleading statements like “there are no objects”. This is New Age pseudoscience. Math is math, and facts are facts.
  4. The passage on page 76 about animals being automata – predictability, clockwork, chaos; there is so much more to this topic.
  5. divine right over nature – pg 79-80 – just invoke the God clause.

Chapter 5

  1. Opening paragraph (pg 82) – very funny; reminds me of that clause in insurance/warranties “not responsible for acts of God, tornadoes, etc.” How many companies invoke image of nature? All? Ex: The North Face, Patagonia, etc etc.
  2. Sexist portrayal of New World, virgin land (pg 85)
  3. Discussion of Native Americans as pioneer ecologists (pg 88).
  4. Attempts to restore past environments (pg 93) – Jurassic Park, anyone? Also, great movie. Very relevant to this class – predictability of nature, man tampering with nature, “nature finds a way”; so many good themes!
  5. Aldus Huxley  (pg 98) – offers insight into his writings.

Nature

February 25, 2009

Chapter 1

  • Nature knows best, nature is often presumed to an objective reality with universal qualities unaffected by time, culture, and place.
  • Nature in the western world can be divided into five categories- as a physical place,  as the collective phenomena of the world/universe, an inspiration and guide for people as well as the source of authority governing human affairs, as the opposite of culture, and essential starting point.
  • By the 5th century in Greece, nature or natura had become an object of piety in it’s own right, endowed with a moral purpose and meaning independent of mankind.
  • In Lucretius’s view a man’s body made him a part of nature but his mind set him apart and was used to further explore nature.
  • Nature is incontrovertibly indiffernt to human fate.

Chapter 2

  • Nature is internal property rather than physical territory.
  • The notion that environmental problems are largely a modern phenomenon is also bellied by pollution in ancient cities from Babylon to Athens.
  • Christianity made it possible to exploit nature in a mood of indifference to the feelings of objects.
  • Pythagoreans with their belief in the universal possession of soul thought all living creatures are rational as well as experienced the same emotions as humans.
  • European religious beliefs were especially conducive to earth care.

Chapter 3

  • Environmental transformation os often approached as a function of modernity, largely inconcieveable prior to the rise of capitalism and the scientific, agricultural and industrial eras.
  • There were many medieval misunderstandings of nature in the late 20th century.
  • Belying the conventional picture of stasis, natures ascendancy and human impotence, emerges a picture of human intervention on land and inland waters.
  • Climatic conditions have been known to be influential and sometimes decisive in the explanation of economic and demographic trends reflected in these changes in the land.
  • The advocate for the plaintiffs believed that insects were created prior to man.

Chapter 4

  • Martin Heidegger suggested how humanity has reduced the natural world to a resource to fuel its bottomless tank.
  • Aristotle, the investigation of the natural world was subordinate to the explanation of the spiritual realm and the contemplation of Gods perfection.
  • The only recognized limits on interference with the natural processes are those of human inequity and contrivance.
  • A host of ecofeminist contends that woman and nature share common stigmatization.
  • humans as thinking beings ultimate proof of their seperation from the rest of creation.

Chapter 5

  • European trade was absorbed into existing inter-tribal networks.
  • The designation of the Indian as pioneer ecologist certainly entails a loose understanding of ecology.
  • some elements of Indian thinking and practice involved the notions of conservation and ecology.
  • The physical environment of the new world bore heavier human traces in 1492 than the mid 1700s before mass immigration from Europe.
  • The notion of human disturbance of nature was something that was set aside for Europeans since there are profound implications for environmental management policies that can influence the definition of what is a natural environment.

Hippo attacks Miss South Africa

February 25, 2009

This article from iol.co.za talks about a hippo attack on a former miss south africa in the Botswana Delta back in 2003. She was paddling in a remote area, where she and her husband run a safari company. She surprised the hippo by accident and the hippo attacked the canoe she was in, while biting her in the leg. She was the second runner up in the miss world competition, and she still got attacked by this hippo. This isnt that uncommon in Africa, as more people are attacked by Hippos than all other animals combined.