Introduction: Raphael Fratkin

January 31, 2012

Hi my name is Raphael Fratkin, or Raphi for short. I am a Geography and French double major and play soccer for OWU. I am from Boulder, Colorado and have spent a good amount of time in or around the great outdoors. My mother is also from the south of France and my family tries to visit once a year. We usually spend our time in Marseille, on the Mediterranean, or with my grand parents in the Alps. After graduation this spring I plan on teaching english abroad either in France or Asia somewhere.


Camoflauged Wilderness

January 31, 2012

(Aerial View of the Meadowlands)

As a native of Colorado, I have never been nor heard of the Meadowlands. Located just 5 miles west of New York City, the Meadowlands is a half-developed, half-wild, heavily dumped on area of swampland. Throughout New York and New Jersey’s history, this area has been under constant siege to urbanize, yet somehow nature has won the war. Throughout the book, Sullivan is captivated by the complexity of how vital this land has been to urban development, exploration, history, and science.It seems no matter how much waste dumps in, or how many communities are built up in the area, nature takes back what it is theirs and preserves this half-wilderness, half-dump site as a truly unique place. Over and over people have tried to harness its land for mechanical use and envisioned utopian living accommodations, but to little or no avail.

There is an important distinction between the Meadowlands as a wilderness and a more traditional wilderness, viewed more as a place isolated of human existence. Almost everyone views places like Yosemite or the Grand Canyon as sublime and would enthusiastically support their preservation. The Meadowlands however has already been abducted, and does not demand salvation. If the general populace is taken on a tour of both the Meadowlands and the Everglades, the difference would be clear. With this book, Sullivan has ultimately highlighted a way to put into perspective the alteration of modern life on the natural world.

Raphael


Limiting Visitors, Access to America’s Parks

January 31, 2012

I think this article represents one of the biggest issues regarding America’s parks today. It also regards the portion of this week’s book, Desert Solitaire, which I most connected with. The article focuses on one of America’s most iconic parks; Yosemite and how the department of interior is mulling over ideas about how to balance wilderness with the throngs of visitors that traipse through it each year. The main argument for restricting the number of people able to summit Half Dome each day from 1,200 to 300 is that the 1964 Wilderness Preservation Act has not really been implemented. One of Abbey’s ideas is even being pondered; restricting car traffic in the park.

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The park system wants to uphold its promise to protect the land for future generations. That promise, however comes at the price of de-capitalizing and deurbanizing the wilderness; it would cease to be accessible to all. As a self proclaimed “earthiest” Abbey has no qualm about inconveniencing the public in order to restore the grandeur luster to our parks. Abbey may be guilt free about his decision, but how do you convince an entire country so spoiled with their rights and entitlements to “sacrifice” easy access to the wild, perhaps America’s most precious asset?


The Meadowlands

January 25, 2012

First of all I just want to say that when I saw the title of the book I don’t even know what to expect and frankly I had to Google or to be specific I Wikipedia the word Meadowlands. I think its a kinda like a lake? This is what I found on Wikipedia “the site of large landfills and decades of environmental abuse” This can be compared to the word wilderness we discussed in class but with negative connotation to it but Sullivan uses the word urban wilderness instead. I like how Sullivan portrays the good and the bad of the meadowland as well as the history of it by talking to people who are involved. How the meadowlands has been forgotten and misuse or mistreated. It has become the dumpsite filled with chemicals.  This particular meadowlands Sullivan wrote about is located in New Jersey.  This way Sullivan helps raise awareness to people like us to help conserve and treat meadowlands better. It’s the battle between human and the nature. You can see that people still throw their garbage here. I visited the Everglades in Florida about two years ago and when I read  The Meadowlands it makes me think of the Everglades. Having animals living there but its very dirty and the water was not clear at all.

I’m glad that there are people like Leo available who appreciate the Meadowland and trying to help the birds that are caught between the branches. He even wrote letters to a newspaper about this issue but nothing was done.  In the last chapter Smith and Sheehan came up with many ideas and plans to make the meadowlands a better place for the society but none of it work so far. Therefore I think there should be a written law for people to not throw their waste here since it will destroy the ecosystem. It will be hard enforced but maybe it’s a start.

The Everglades

Questions to think about

Even though there were a lot of effort and campaigns to help fix the problem? What do you think we should do next? Where will the waste go then? It has to go somewhere.


Current Environmental Issue

January 25, 2012

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/01/25/column-fracking-climate-idUSL5E8CP2HL20120125

This article relates to this weeks readings because just like the meadowlands, people are using fracking to cultivate gas and oil, but are not fully conscious of what this process is doing to the environment. the warming of the environment is strongly correlated with fracking. yes, fracking will help to solve problems acquireing gas and peak oil, but at the cost of the environment.


Hunting with Toxic Shot

January 25, 2012

A current issue that I read about, in Field and Stream which is an outdoor magazine i subscribe to, discussed the trend for states and the national government prohibiting the use of Toxic Shot while hunting.  In general Toxic shot refers to lead shot.  Lead is known to cause poisoning in animals and humans alike.  I believe in the 1980’s the US government made it illegal to use lead shot while hunting migratory waterfowl as studies revealed that waterfowl wounded by lead shot could get lead poisoning and when they died food chains in the marshes and bodies of water that they died in led to large levels of lead in water ecosystems.  This I thought was quite relevant to the reading on the meadowlands, seeing how water ecosystems especially marshes and swamps,  where a lot of waterfowl hunting occurs, are affected by human activity even inadvertently through hunting.

Since the ban on toxic shot for Waterfowl in the 80’s more and more states and regions are adopting this policy for other hunting especially with upland bird hunting, and other migratory game birds that are not waterfowl, and efforts are even being conducted to remove toxic shot from all types of hunting.

The article discusses how hunters view the ban on toxic shot, and to some it is a bad thing but as the author goes on to say, if the preservation of the land for hunting is wanted then those who use it should be the first to protect it.  he went on further to say that although at this point in time non toxic shot is more expensive than lead it should change in years to come and non toxic shot will be less expensive than lead.  Non toxic shot is also becoming more advanced and effective than lead when it comes to hunting leading hunters to choose it not only because they have too but because it works better.

To me these kind of changes are the ones that make a big difference and help people understand what the environment has to offer and how they can help preserve it.

This is a quote from the author of the article

“We never saw bald eagles when I was kid, but they’re a common sight along the Iowa River now that they no longer feed on DDT-laced fish and lead-poisoned waterfowl. While a lot of hunters will disagree with me, I really believe lead bans are not secret back-door attacks on guns and hunting but are acts of genuine, well-intentioned concern for the environment.”


Italy risks worst environmental disaster in decades

January 25, 2012

On January 19th a cruise ship, Costa Concordia, carrying 2400  tonnes of diesel and oil ran aground and capsized off the coast of  Italy. This is around the same amount of oil that one would expect to find on a small oil tanker. This is located right next to one of the most renowned maritime reserves in the Mediterranean.  It is currently lying on its side on the shelf right off shore. 11 people were killed and 21 are still missing 7 days later.  This is the worst accident of this kind around Italy since 1991 when the Amoco Milford Haven sunk- an oil spill that they only finished cleaning up in 2008.  There are fears that the ship might slip off the shelf causing more leakage into the water resulting in another lengthy and expensive clean-up. For now however, the tanks appear to be intact so there is hope that this accident will not result in the destruction of the marine life and coral that reside in this area.  Leakage would not only kill many of the species but it would hurt the the economy of Giglio Island which draws in many divers to observe its 700 or more botanical and animal species, including turtles, dolphins and seals.

http://www.enn.com/ecosystems/article/43886