November 20, 2013

Chapter 4.

Waste Management

People thought that sending it away would be low cost and not a big deal but in reality it was very expensive and the landfill stayed in their back yard.

People were opposed to changing the landfill into a Waste-to energy plant because of the unsightly smokestack, possible emissions and flows of garbage filled trucks still in their city.  Opinions?

Chapter 5

Garbage Patch for Days

Dr. Marcus Eriksen like Mary Crowley’s story of shock and wanted to change the world.

After reading her description how do you feel about plastic?



Chapter 6

Plastic in our lives

  • Half the oxygen we breath is made from microscopic phytoplankton
  • All the pesticides and fertilizers etc go into the ocean won’t dissolve in water so they cling to the plastic which fish eat and then absorb

Garbology Chapters 7,8,9

November 20, 2013

Chapter 7 – The Trash Trackers

-Much like agriculture is there something to be said for local disposal if done responsibly

-Is it really recycling if a ton of fossil fuels etc. are used to get the trash to a place where it can be “recycled”

-How can people and communities work to recycle responsibly and efficiently

TrashTag Trash_Visualization

Chapter 8- Decadence Now

-What does our garbage tell us about ourselves?

-Does this public surge to recycle etc. mean that we as a society are on the downswing?

-What would our garbage look like if we really spent the time to recycle ourselves and use everything possible.


R&Lady-Led-web Rathje


Chapter 9- Pick of the Litter

-Does art made from trash draw attention to our worlds need to be less wasteful

Terry-Berlier-photo recology-1



Old Diseases Making A Comeback

November 20, 2013

This article really surprised me as I heard of the anti-vaccination movement years ago but assumed it was just a fringe thing that died. As it turns out it has gained support to the point that from 2011 to 2012 cases of pertussis (whooping cough) became epidemics in some states because children have not been vaccinated. Many people like myself were vaccinated as children, but now that I’m an adult the vaccination has typically worn off. Even then, because no one got sick from the disease people like me have still been ok. The wave of vaccination refusals however has caused non-vaccinated people to get the disease, which has then spread to adults whose vaccinations have worn off. As it turns out it may become prudent for people to start getting re-vaccinated for the diseases they were protected against as children.

  The reason I was surprised to see this come up again was because I thought that the majority of the reason for refusing vaccines was because of the fear that they could be connected to Autism. Once this was disproven I  figured the issue had gone away. Finding out that it has only gotten worse makes me wonder about how we can deal with the issue of certain people becoming a danger to others because they refuse to get vaccinated. Should this be a question of public safety? Rights? Or is it instead an indicator that the way we disseminate scientific knowledge and teach it is currently flawed?


November 20, 2013

Chapter 1

  • All about a bulldozer worker named Mike
  • He builds garbage mounds and every move he makes is well thought out.
  • The mound is large enough to have its own wind pattern and micro climate.
  • What do we do with our trash problem?

Chapter 2

  • Before landfills garbage was thrown in the streets
  • Runoff caused bad water and people died from cholera
  • William Strong mad a clean-up crew, white wings, and sewer drains for clean water.

Chapter 3

  • American Dream is Wasteful
  • Trash is not always trash

Garbage has been a problem for ages and now we are going for the out of sight out of mid technique. Unnecessary waste is being thrown out each day and people in America do not care as much because it is just a side effect of the American Dream. People in other countries have waste piles like us but they are not as large. In third world countries some people live off of things they find at the dump. Recycling is the first stage in an initiative to clean up the planet but more has to be done to combat this effort.

Garbology Review

November 20, 2013

The waste in America is astronomical as detailed by Edward Humes.  I think it is currently not possible to totally “detrash” this country.  We have so many landfills that we don’t even know what are in them.  We could start programs, but at our current rate it is not possible.  Also, the government should get involved to deal with these things.

The mountains of trash that dot the United States are filled with many things.  Most of the items that fill them are furniture, clothing, and wood packaging, and it is these things that we could recycle. Reusing fabric and metals that are these items.  We do have the technology to do it.  If it is expensive, then we can definitely put money to revolutionize it.  Other fillers in our landfills include packaging, containers, and food scraps.  We can again recycle these.  Turning food scraps into mulch is a good way to help it decompose faster and put good soil back into the ground.

I think it is clear that many of the issues that we face can be easily rectified by recycling and the technology that we have.  We need to get out of the industrialization and capitalism thought pattern that we have got ourselves into.  There is no reason to buy buy. It is okay to donate things like clothes (again a type of recycling) for other people to use.  Between the influences of history and media, we are hard pressed to spend money because other people are doing it.  Is it really smart to buy and then pitch when other people are doing it?

Starfish Turning to Goo from Disease

November 19, 2013

On the western coast of North America (California to Alaska), a disease is revenging starfish populations.  They are developing lesions on their bodies and are quickly disintegrating as quickly as a matter of hours.  They are turning into what is described as ‘white goo’.  Scientists are currently unsure if the disease, now dubbed “Sea Star Wasting Syndrome”.  It could be viral, bacterial, or environmentally caused from increased water temperature.

Starfish have been observed in the ocean, in the lab, under controlled conditions, and even in ideal environmental conditions, but most specimens have died.  It is also clear that it is infectious and communicable.  It is easy passed from species to species.

The die-off is mostly affecting the purple seastar (Pisaster ochraeceus). This species is a keystone predator species, and is super important to the food chain of tide pools.   They eat the mussels that could easy overrun other animals that live in that habitat.  The disease was noticed by researchers at the University of California, Santa Cruz.  Researchers are have estimated that millions of starfish could be lost.  They have also set up a tracking map to monitor starfish health trends.  (Link to another map with other species affected.)

The outbreak was first noticed in the waters around West Vancouver, British Columbia in September when a marine biologist noticed sunflower sea stars (Pycnopodia helianthoides) with missing limbs.  Photographs were taken and possible reasons were outlined on Echnioblog, a blog dedicated to marine invertebrates.

The disease has caused great concern and the potential loss of the starfish is a huge lost to the world.  They are endemic to the coastlines of areas like California and are a cultural icon.  It would be a great lost to the cultural and natural history of the areas where they live.

News Sources:

Time: Falling Stars: Starfish Dying From “Disintegrating” Disease via Yahoo News: Starfish Are Turning INto Goo, But Scientists Don’t Know Whyst

NBC News: What’s eating the starfish? Mystery rot threatens populations on both coasts

Science World Report: Scientists Plagued by ‘Star Wasting Disease’: Turns West Coasts into ‘Goo’ (Video) 


November 18, 2013

This book was especially interesting to me, because it’s a subject that I have little knowledge about. I haven’t ever really given much thought to the harmful effects that our garbage is creating. Some points in the book that I thought were really interesting was when he talked about the guy ‘Big Mike’ that worked at the Puente Hills landfill. Edward Humes discusses the details of landfills, stating that ‘Puente Hills is so sprawling that it has evolved its own ecosystem and nature preserve, spawned multiple community organizations formed to kill it, and holds enough strata of methane-spewing decomposing garbage to power a hundred thousand homes’. It amazes me that there are people in the world like Big Mike that can work in landfills and not give a second thought to the insurmountable destruction that it is doing to the ecosystem.

There is an event on campus happening the week after break that focuses on garbage elimination. It’s an event where you carry around all of the garbage with you that you accumulate throughout the week in a trash bag. You have to put everything in that you would otherwise throw away. At the end of the week, the person with the least amount of trash wins. This event is really an eye-opening experience in terms of realizing just how much trash we accumulate in a short amount of time. The American way is so in tune to ‘bigger is better’, which in turn is ultimately hurting the earth that we live on.