Bye Bye Beef

January 31, 2011

A new tax has been proposed in Europe to help regulate climate change.  It’s not what you’d think.  The tax would be on the production of meat (specifically beef) and milk.  This seems like a direct slam on cows…and it is.  Cows produce methane gas which, as a greenhouse gas, is twenty times more effective at trapping heat than Carbon dioxide.  The goal of the tax is to cut greenhouse gas production as much as possible.  However, the problem with taxing emissions from agriculture is that it is far harder to track than emissions from automobiles.  Nevertheless, the Bill Maher saying rings true: “…better to eat a salad in a Hummer than a cheeseburger in a Prius.”  With this in mind, the tax is still being considered.  It remains to be seen how the public will react.  In my personal opinion it’s probably not wise to bring an idea like this to the United States without first warning the citizens: I say this because the diets of most Americans consists heavily of meat, and many families would balk at a higher cost of beef.  Of course, that’s what the legislators want…if people aren’t willing to buy the beef, production will slow…as will the methane production.

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Cuts of Beef


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Desert Solitaire

January 26, 2011

I find this book interesting because of the way Abbey mentions his park ranging job. The job makes him the only person in this vast landscape. However, he does not seem alone at all since his observation and his closeness to nature do help him find friends. In the first chapters, Abbey list out lists of plants and flowers he saw in the desert which he seems very much interested. He finds a snake to be friend with and later couple people around the town. I find the chapter about the horse funny but rather boring. I understand that the park ranger is lonely living on his own and he might feel sympathy for Moon-Eyed, which is put in a similar situation to his. The idea that he is going to look for the horse in this desert seems crazy at first but the result isnt that bad. The park ranger couldnt take Moon Eyed with him but he remains a very optimistic person.

Second, I also agree with Abbey in terms of his point about the industrializing national park is endangering the natural site of it. Park is surely for the purpose of serving people. However, this site is too big to be considered a park, which people should try to manipulate. The Industrial Tourism Abbey is talking about in the book is definitely gonna change the landscape of this area in some way: Adding motels, restaurants, and parking spots are urbanizing this area, which has been naturally preserve for thousands of years. I just find the conversation the park ranger has with the visitor from Ohio funny. They all oppose to each other’s living environment and both agree on what they are saying and happy with the conversation, so what is the point of the conversation?

The chapter about the Indian and Cowboys are sad because I feel that this is a lost part of the American culture. They are the very first native people of this land and now a put in danger of extinction and industrialization. They are not fit in with the urbanization spreading fast out west. However, their living conditions are also endangering themselves from starvation, which push them into modernizing themselves, loosing their own heritage and turning into lower working class men for the industrialized world. I like the example about the accidents of some Indian with modern life goods rather than Indian’s traditional personal belongings. This shows the process, in which “red-skinned black man” are turning into “dark-brown white man”.

I guess I have some questions for discussion:

1, What could we do to help the native Indians preserving their heritage and culture?

2, About the Issue with the Industrial Tourism, should the area be considered something more important than just a regular, human- manipulated park?

Project Ideas- Sayan Ghosal

January 26, 2011

I have always wondered how much large institutions spend on paper towels in restrooms such as this campus and whether installing electric hand dryers instead would be economically viable, not to mention environmentally greener.

I would like to look into the costs of these paper towels and their dispensing units used on campus and compare this data to potential alternatives. the analysis will include start up costs, break even timeframes etc.

Project Ideas

January 26, 2011

I would like to do something regarding food. preferably something other than vegan.

Readings: Desert Solitaire- Sayan Ghosal

January 26, 2011

This book characterizes the landscape of what is the great American South-West in all its flair and glamor. The author has portrayed a vivid picture of the landscape and the surrounding region through his summer experiences in the Arches National Park in Utah over three years into this one scintillating read.

The book shows Abbey’s vivid narrations of the place and elaborately mentions his frustration and resentment of tourism that he mentioned graced the place in his third summer with their automobile culture that stole away from the natural landscape and beauty. This dichotomy of being the intrepid observer and nature lover whilst marking other tourists as desecrators that the author represents is an interesting feature in the book.

Abbey’s hatred for the industrial complex that has encroached on the land without care or consideration the failing of our kind and cited the Glen Canyon dam as the ‘original sin’, recalling rafting trips in the Colorado river with his friend. The author narrates the trip in great detail offering the reader a true feel for the place and the mysticism and adventure that hangs in the air in many such places.

The book clearly represents Abbey’s physical and emotional journey into his wilderness and shows the reader the implicit fear of the naturalist for commercialization and governmental legislation. Abbey mentions how he is not an atheist but an earthiest and highlights the sense of untouched wilderness that he holds so close to his heart but finds lacking in its essence in this ever changing ecologic and social scenario that is the 21st century.

It is Abbey’s understanding that in the unknown of the wilderness and the untamed nature of the wild lies the mystery of the spirit of the earth.



Discussion Questions:

1. How much human interaction should be allowed in designated areas of natural beauty and significance?

2. Are humans, and the modern tourist drive even supposed to be allowed to enter these places at all? Is any interaction with nature even educational in its intent ecologically sustainable?

3. What impacts may a depleting environment and tighter legislation have on the conservation of the planet if most don’t get to experience the surroundings for themselves?






Desert Solitaire

January 26, 2011

It is clear to see that Abbey has a great affection for the “natural world”. He realizes the true beauty of the area that surrounds him and through his experiences as a park ranger begins to loathe the presence of Humans and Industrialization of the area. To him the construction of the glen canyon damn was one of the greatest american sins. He clearly wants to preserve the wilderness as it is and his respect for animals is an interesting one. His journey through the canyons is described in wonderful detail and as he experiences the landscape one can’t help but wonder what it would look like if it was populated?

Though I didn’t enjoy this as much as “the meadowlands”, Abbey did describe the surrounding and his journey well. I liked how he acknowledged the tourists as “fellow lovers of the outback”.  Also, He raised some important insights about the human condition. Such as the destruction mankind brings to nature as a result of greed and in search of profits.

Maguire Daisy

January 26, 2011

The Maguire daisy,  a dime-size wildflower found in sandstone canyons and atop mesas in Utah, was removed from the endangered species list this week after a 25-year effort to rescue it from extinction, the Interior Department said Tuesday.

I picked this article becuase as you can see the flower is from Utah and I thought it would be appropriate this week with our discussion of Desert Solitaire.

In 1985 when this little flower was put on the endangered list there were only seven left.  Today there are 163,000 plants in 10 populations in three counties in southeastern Utah.

The daisy is the 21st species removed from the endangered species list, including such species as the bald eagle, the Virginia northern flying squirrel, the American peregrine falcon, the red kangaroo and the North Pacific population of the gray whale.

Project Ideas

January 26, 2011

My first idea for the project would be an expansion off of a research paper I did last semester in Community Psychology.  I looked at the way in which our recycling program is run on campus and then did research on other schools and their programs.  This semester I would want to work to implement some of the practices that other schools and large communities are doing that we are not.  These include things such as given both specific and general feedback to people about how we are doing in terms of recycling.  How we are doing could be explained by the volume of material recycled, the degree to which the recycling is contaminated and the percentage of recycled materials that are thrown away.  Also, I would like to conduct some surveys on campus to maybe find out about peoples’ attitudes towards recycling and why they would or would not engage in it.  In addition, I think it would be neat to look into setting up some way for people who live off campus to be able to recycle effectively.  I live in an apartment on Sandusky Street so we are not provided with a blue recycling bin that we can put outside to be collected by the town.  How could we change this? If not for everyone who lives in these kinds of apartments then at least the OWU students.

My second idea for a project does not necessarily lean towards directly going green, but it does have to do with Ohio Wesleyan and the care they show our community.  I find it very strange that when it snows owu shovels (or uses that little plow thing) on the sidewalk behind ham will starting on the corner of ham will and going to sandusky street but it completely skips the other half of spring street and the other side of the road.  I find it horribly dangerous that people walk on ice covered sidewalks to get to class.  I think this may also be part of the reason why so many people drive to class and well drive everywhere around campus.  Our campus is not too spread out, but people do not want to walk especially when the sidewalks make it so highly possible that you will fall on your face in front of everyone. Going off of this idea I think it may be cool to look into the idea of having a shuttle to drive people from the dorm side to the academic side of campus or to and from the library or bar.  They have this at Colgate where my sister goes and they implemented it after a serious drunk driving accident that killed four students, but maybe we could get something like this going before such a horrible wake up call.

My last idea for a project would involve putting automatic light sensors in many of the older academic buildings on campus. I think the science center may have them already.  It seems to me like a big waste of energy for lights (hall or bathroom especially) to be sitting on all day when nobody is even around.

Hitler’s last bodyguard gives up on fan mail

January 26, 2011

93 year old Rochus Misch, the last remaining body guard is Hitler calls it quits to answer fan mail from around the world after 65 years. Misch served as Hitler’s telephone operator and courier aswell. Surprisingly mail that Rochus recieved was not negative. He would answer all that he could and he also sent out signed photos of himself, to fans all around the world.


Desert Solitaire

January 26, 2011

The part about this book that stood out to me the most was definitely Abbey’s love for animals.  This was something I immediately connected with because I too love animals.  The interesting part to me though was his love for them being wild, I do not know if I can say I would be as open to wild animals as he is in the book. I think that is a very admirable trait.  One thing that I would not be able to do though is kill animals myself for food, now I understand he needs to survive, but why would he choose this wilderness where tree and plant growth is sparce and there is a need to rely on animals for food.  Now, I am no vegitarian and maybe it comes with time, but to have someone with such a passion and love for the protection of animals then also killing animals for food was very conflicting for me.  I wonder why the author emphasizes this protection so much and then at the same time has to deal with the fact that he must kill animals in order to give himself food to survive. Was it intentional on the part of the author to create such a conflict? I did appreciate the part with the rattle snake because it was very brave the way Abbey did not just immediately kill it.  I can not even imagine how I would have reacted to a snake and I consider myself to be pretty tolerant of animals lives.  Ever since I was little I have had a house on Block Island (which is a tiny island off the coast of RI) and there is a big pond in my backyard so my mom has raised me to be an island girl and not to scream when there are spiders or frogs or other little creatures in our basement and I just trap them in my hand and then go release them outside.  Those experiences I had as a child definitely helped me be more appreciative of Abbey.

Another part that I questioned some was the way Abbey thought of humans.  Myabe I am unfamiliar with how the job typically works, but my impression of a park ranger is that they are not only there to maintain and care for the park, but also to aid in helping others who may be visiting the park.  Why does Abbey talk down upon the humans who are treading and destroying his park as if he does not do the same when he is off work and wandering around the wilderness?  He acts almost as if he is not a human creating damage as well.  Also, the job of the park ranger I would think would be to support the park and that involves promoting it to tourists because that is the only way there will be funds enough to take care of the park.  I really admired the image he depicted of the solitude that can come from being alone on such a large piece of land with no other humans around.

I do not know if there are other editions of this book, but I borrowed mine from the library and it is a hardcover version that was published in 1988 I believe.  It has some really nice hand drawn pictures of the desert and I just thought that was a really cool addition to the book because I have never been to a place even remotely like Abbey discussed so I liked being able to have those pictures as I was reading along.

I also thought this picture of the desert at night was really cool because it is often times at night when people being to feel the most like they are alone.