What is cute about killer whales

February 24, 2010

I saw where the killer whale attacked the trainer at Sea World and I was just wondering how and why people now think of killer whales as cute animals.  They are the best hunters in the sea and one of their favorite foods are the crowd favorite seals.  It is just funny to me that most kids think of orcas as harmless animals when they are one of the most savage hunters in the animal kingdom.  This link, which I still do not know how to post properly, shows the nastier side of sweet Shamu.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=42mg0FnRicA


What to do with Robbie Williams’s latest CD

February 24, 2010

Robby Williams

Ever wonder how to spice up your recycling. Well look no further for some interesting ideas on how to put the adventure back into your recycling.

20 weird things you didn’t know about recycling.


Potential Human Responses to Climate Change Will Be Integrated Into Future Models

February 24, 2010

Here’s a recent article from ScienceDaily.com regarding new climate models that have been redrawn to provide a more complete ecology of natural phenomena through the accurate integration of human activity.  I believe efforts like these to incorporate human activity into ecologic activity is a perspective that can offer a much more valid look at environmental issues, applying both to the present and future.  Regarding the ideological separation of humanity and nature, dismantling and unifying these social constructs has been a recurring theme in the readings thus far, and this article provides evidence that this issue is beginning to be taken seriously in future policy.

ScienceDaily.com


Things coming along nicely…….

February 24, 2010

I am a little behind most people because I did just switch to this new and exciting topic of preservation societies.  I have e-mailed the friend of my Mom who is the president of the Sierra Club and she said that he will be looking for it and respond soon.  I have a few interesting books about this topic and I should have a pretty nice bibliography by next week.  I plan to do the interview sometime before April and then with that interview, one more from another conservation society, and the information that I find in the books I plan to put together an entertaining and informative powerpoint on this information and what I found out about it.  I will try to have all of my sources’ names and information by next week as well as everything else that is asked for, sorry for the delay but presidents are often slow returning e-mails, or so I hear.


Nature Part 2

February 24, 2010
  • I was going to start out with the quote from Ronald Hepburn talking about the valuation of nature and how, unlike art, nature is frameless and almost limitless but at least two other people started their posts with this quote.  I do like this quote very much and this first part of chapter 6 is a bit existential but is still pretty interesting.  The way that he talks about the word and the idea of the word scenery is pretty interesting.  People think of scenery as a term in tune with nature when there are many more man-made sceneries that people still think to be ‘natural.’

This is an example of a man-made scenery, it is an artificial lake and it is only kept looking beautiful through donations from the community.

  • I also really enjoyed the part of chapter 6, starting on page 114 that talked about the earliest designation of lands.  This relates to my project because the kings of medieval Europe designating chunks of land so they could hunt on them is the earliest precursor of things like Ducks Unlimited.  While developing or hunting on land owned by Ducks Unlimited is not punishable by death the theory is pretty much the same.  The nobility of the time saw that as their countries grew there was less and less land that could be set aside as wilderness for leisure activities and to combat this they created these firs nature reserves.
  • The next passage that caught my eye was about the romanticism related to nature.  We have discussed the idea that nature represents an untamed wilderness and a place of fear yet despite this common belief many writers, musicians, poets, etc., have always romanticized about nature and that this has led to many reforms and other things of this nature, no pun intended, to protect natural things.  An example of this would be the response of the American public and government to the Book Silent Spring and all of the good changes that came out of a person writing a book that foretold of a place without birds.
  • Chapter 8 went into exhaustive detail about several movements in Britain as they emerged as the major world power around the end of the 19th century.  This was pretty hard to read but one thing that I did find pretty interesting is that that social justice environmentalists are most interested in preventing what is called ‘environmental racism.’  This racism happens when the placement of environmentally hazardous facilities such as power plants or sewage treatment plants in lower income areas.  When this occurs the poor always get the short end of the stick.   This map shows the sites of nuclear power plants in the US.
  • The final point that stuck with me is in the final chapter on page 184 when he talks about how the greatest threat to the green movement might be postmodernism.  Thinking of nature as a solid thing instead of a living, breathing thing that needs to be cared for might lead to the destruction of nature.  This can include the seemingly endless fight for the resources of the world as companies think not about the nature but only about profit margins and things like this.  I agree with this totally.  I am also really glad that we are done with this tedious little book.  Good Riddance Nature!

Nature Part #2

February 24, 2010

I personally liked the first part of the book more than the second part. The second part still had some interesting points. The one quote i liked was on page 121, saying that “Wilderness is the raw material that out of which nature is fashioned”. Once again it made me think a lot. I think this means that what we talked about the first night about wilderness, and how that shapes nature. I also like the Ha-ha walls. It made me laugh cause it has “haha” in it. It’s like an optical illusion from afar and once up close it is a visible break in the land. Next I found interesting was the fact that the Nazi’s had a religion of nature. Saying that homosexuality is unnatural but now it is believed that homosexuality is indeed natural in the animal kingdom. The last part i liked was the comparison between humans and animals and how animals adapt to things and learn just as humans do. Apes, whales, dolphins and birds have all learned to adapt to the environment in order to survive just as humans do. I thought this was very interesting.


Don’t put killer whales in a fish tank…

February 24, 2010

Shamu attacked and killed a female trainer at a Florida Seaworld. This is a tragic event, the investigations are looking in to the cause of the attack. This is also the whales third killing. What do you do with a killer whale?

Full story from LA Times.


Australia uses cat food in fight against cane toads

February 24, 2010

 

            The toxic Cane Toad, which was introduced from Hawaii in 1935 in an attempt to control beetles on sugarcane plantations in Australia. Now has a population in the millions, threatning many native species across Australia. After years of crude methods of extermination including golf and cricket clubbing. Researchers now believe cat food will rid them of these ttoads. They found that cat food left next to ponds in the Northern Territory attracted meat ants, which then attacked baby cane toads emerging from the water. Problem solved!http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/feb/19/australia-cat-food-cane-toad


Transportation

February 24, 2010

Bike on a bus.

One of the main obstacles with my project has been transportation, specifically concerning biking, and boat related activities. They were not too receptive when I asked if I could tote my canoe along, but they are able to transport bikes to the mountain bike trails at alum creek. I am getting a call in a little while to let me know exactly how many they are able to transport at one time. Demand response has to be made at least a day in advance and it only costs $2.00, thats not too shabby. There are also road biking groups that meet in the same area for group rides, I am also looking in to that.

Since they dont transport canoes or kayaks, and most students probably dont pack theirs for school, boat rentals are available at Alum Creek State Park and Delaware State Parks. Details to follow…


Nature Pt. 2

February 24, 2010

Modern View of Nature?

         The second half of this book was a better read than the first half,  By getting away from earlier ideologies of nature, and venturing into more modern attitudes. I also was more prepared this time for the highly detailed style of Coates writing. The first half of the book did not appeal to me, as looking at the old attitudes did not spark any interest. However in the second half, I found there to be more interesting elements and philosophies shown in a more modern context. Due to the vastness of this work, I pinpointed 0ut a  some  interesting quotes/ideas in each of the chapters.

              In Ch. 6,  The description of Thomas Jefferson’s view of wilderness, “Wilderness was the raw material out of which nature was fashioned- nature being the improved, privately owned landscape of farms, gardens and rural estates that occupied the middle ground between industrial urban society and untamed savagery”. (123). I really like this idea  of wilderness and nature. I do believe it does do both terms justice, nature being a man made concoction out of a untouched wilderness.

            In Ch. 7.  I found zoologist Ernst Haeckel’s  idea interesting about human vs animal consciousness. ” Our own, “human nature”…..has no more value for the universe at large than an ant, the fly of a summer’s day….”  (143) This is an interesting point of view, a little radical for me,  but interesting know the less.

           In Ch. 9.  Like the idea of animal vs. animal consciences mentioned in ch. 7 by Haeckel. German thinker, argues that human and animal intelligence differ only in degree. “At the bottom resided dead matter, fated to eternal sleep; just above this were plants in a passive state, followed by the lower animals; then came the more alert consciousness of the higher animals. Humans perched at the apex of self-consciousness, yet remained part of the collective structure”. (181) This idea of structural hierarchy of consciousness , I believe this holds some merit, if you look at apes, and dolphins how they hold a higher level of consciousness than other animals.

Do you believe that human and animal intelligence differ only in degree?

Do you believe that human nature has no more value than a fly or an ant?