Week 4: News Event- SP

January 31, 2015

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So many people to feed, and yet most of our food doesn’t even reach peoples plates because it goes bad in transit or people buy too much food and throw it away. Its ridiculous how carless most Americans are with their food and how much they throw away. We live in a throw away society–it’s disgusting. In most cultures, if you were to catch a fish, you use the whole thing. My dad spent a lot of time doing work overseas and got used to the way of life in Asia. Now, dinners at dads house are always the same- using the whole animal and respecting it. It hard to believe how much is thrown away before it even reaches the shelves. If we stopped wasting so much food, we would not waste our resources as much ( the amount of water, labor, and fuel etc that goes into the food making process, not to mention- the 3.3 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide. Apparently, if we stop wasting as much food as we do, we will be able to feed 2.5 billion more people in the next 35 years. First of all, we don’t need anybody else on this planet, but it is good to know that we could possible sustain that many people. The United States takes plentiful food for granted, and I wish we could learn to not throw everything away.


Project Week 2 and Environment Article

January 29, 2015

This week I have continued thinking about which projects I find to be most interesting. I would prefer to focus on the “ban the bottle” event and the reusable containers for Hamwil.

  • Ban the Bottle
    • Work with WCSA about adding more hydration stations on campus. If we are asking students to use reusable bottles there needs to be convent clean water they can fill their bottles with.
    • Find out what ChartWells agreement with the school is on water bottles.
    • Looking into cost figures for OWU
    • Look at other Universities and how they accomplished their goal

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      I like the idea of making a statement with empty water bottles . Something that would draw attention to our cause. I liked these fish I found.

  • Reusable container
    • At this stage I think it is most important to figure out what the biggest road block is for moving forward
    • I am going to start looking into the costs of getting the proper dish washer in Hamwil
    • Further investigation to why it hasn’t been done already and if there have been previous plans

Environmental event 

I have been interested in reading about a fungus that was discovered in the Amazon that “eats plastic”. Students at Yale are currently breading the fungus and observing it. Plastic eating fungus They are currently discussing how this fungus could be applied to the growing amount of plastic in the oceans. it can survive on “polyurethane alone and—even more surprising—do this in an anaerobic (oxygen-free)”( How ).


News- Research shows loss of pollinators increases risk of malnutrition and disease

January 28, 2015

No scientific studies had been done to actually claim how much pollinators affect our health. Well a study has been done by the University of Vermont and Harvard University that connected what people eat in developing countries to the pollination requirements for the crops that provide food for them. A big take home from this article is that pollination really affects the health of humans, really with talking about vitamin A deficiencies. Scientists around the world have noticed a bog decline in many pollinators and fearing the decline in the world’s food supply. The new research showed that in countries like Mozambique, women and children are malnourished and the decline of pollinators could push others over the edge to malnutrition as well.

http://www.enn.com/wildlife/article/48214


Desert Solitaire Thoughts

January 28, 2015

Desert Solitaire Thoughts

Edward Abbey’s experiences as a park ranger left a great impression on him. His time in isolation out in the Moab desert made him feel a more intimate connection with the environment around him. Being alone and exposed to the desert for such a long period of time allowed him to experience nature at a more organic level. I can relate to this feeling because I went backpacking in New Mexico for a week when I was a boy scout and it was an extremely intense experience. Abby argues that the tourism industry has inadvertently contributed to the decline of nature. By actively bringing people into the wild, he argues there is invariably a negative effect. While the tourism industry advocates environmental friendliness and is generally well intended, it invariably brings with it a host of things that are have a negative effect. For example, the building of roads and accommodations scar the landscape. The presence of people means the pollution from cars, waste, and noise. Because his experiences were relatively free of the problems of tourism, he was able to see wilderness and all of its challenges as paradise. I can understand this, and felt the same way when I was in New Mexico. Although I was in an unfamiliar place that I considered to be wilderness, there still was a “touristy” feeling and so many people had done the same trek before me so it didn’t feel entirely unique either. It was still an incredible experience but I never felt truly alone in the wild.

Overall, I feel Desert Solitare was a decent book. I enjoyed the descriptions and I felt that it was an easy read. I could tell of Abbey’s true love of nature. I thought it was amazing how much tine he spent in the wilderness and his “moments of bliss” that he experienced. I think he is a good story teller, and because of this I was usually always interested continuing my readings.Whenever I was reading it made me want to go explore the true wilderness like he did, but at the same time if I go there then am I perpetuating humanities impact on these places.


Desert Solitaire

January 28, 2015
Edward_Abbey

This is Edward Abbey. I think this image basically explains the whole book.

I didn’t feel like I was reading this book.  I felt like I was watching it. It was so profound how you almost felt as though you could touch aspects of this book. Edward Abbey, very grumpy but also very lovable at the same time. These are my notes for presentation: my own rambles. Desert Solitaire:

  • ·      Background: Edward Abby was living and working in Monuments National Park, which is near Moab, Utah.
  • He’s living in a small trailer alone. Seems to run us through his daily schedules when alone
  • His writing is very poetic. You feel as though you can touch and see exactly what he is doing.
  • He wants to stop giving into the “personification of the natural”
    • Yet, I liked how he then discussed himself turning on the generator and using the electricity and the light bulbs. This helped me to understand that it doesn’t have to be an all or nothing scenario. It can be both sometimes. He’s not asking for the extreme.
  • I loved the quote on page 25, “They do not sweat and wine about their condition, they do not lie awake in the dark and weep for their sins.. “
    • He says these animals tend to seem like they have awareness but is that because we give it to them?
  • Abbeys ideas on wilderness:
    • Untouched by humans. He thinks that’s what makes the wilderness pretty and wild. He also feels that he projecting on to things is wrong. I.e human things to non human creatures
    • He doesn’t understand why people don’t think of deserts when they think of wilderness. .. anyone have an opinion on this?
    • I got lost in the story about the snakes. I loved that in order to get rid of one type of snake he brought in another. I loved that he basically made it his pet and then let it go. Beautiful sentiment about company.
    • He also makes an very interesting point about needing wilderness without even having to visit it. Yet, the release is knowing the freedom exists.
    • Freedom = wilderness, this was Graham’s point on the first day of class.
    • Needed for life. Necessity not luxury
  • He isn’t a fan of main stream culture
    • I thought his distain for daily routine was interesting since he has one.
  • Other topics:
    • Discussion of the undeveloped. The park is suppose to be natural but he sees all these human features and can’t understand how it is believed that it is undeveloped

Caitlin’s Semester Project Progress (Week 2)

January 28, 2015

Shelters

As an extension of the work done on this project so far, I would like to create small native plant life gardens to benefit and encourage wildlife on campus. This week I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about where on campus these gardens would be most effective, but I’d like to know more about the University’s openness to this sort of addition before moving forward. If there are places we could put in these native gardens without too much resistance, I’d like to focus efforts on those areas first, and then expand the program from that point. If it seems the University is seriously opposed to this sort of project, I’d like to hear all of their concerns and focus my efforts on building a case for native wildlife gardens on our campus.

From there, the next step would be to establish which wildlife species to focus on, and then what plant life would most directly benefit them. I have found a few sites with good catalogs of native Ohio plant species, but choosing which species we’re trying to attract and available sites will definitely help narrow down the options.

Additionally, I’d like to use some web/social media platform or some other community forum to increase awareness of wildlife on campus. I think encouraging knowledge of and appreciation for wildlife around us would be a great way to reinforce the benefits of the Shelters project.


Olivia’s Project Progress

January 28, 2015

Ban the Bottle Update

So in the Transcript this week there was an article about the new student leaders, Emma and Jerry, in WCSA. One of their initiatives actually is to limit the use of disposable plastic water bottles and hopefully rid the campus of them. As a start, they’ve ordered I think 6 new hydration stations which I think is fantastic!

I’ve contacted them and am hopefully meeting with Emma next week. I know I wouldn’t be able to execute a project like this on my own but maybe with WCSA’s help I could get the ball rolling.

Professor Krygier actually suggested that I maybe use some sort of art or performance event to raise awareness. People have had recycled fashion shows but I think just one person dressed like this in Hamwil could spark conversation:

 

… okay that last one is a little crazy and I know realistically this would take a lot of time. Maybe I can talk to someone from the art department? I think just one person dressed like this would be fun and could raise awareness.

Overall, I’m pretty sure I’d like stick with this project.


Current Events

January 28, 2015

British Lawmakers demand freeze on fracking

 

In London, a committee of British lawmakers demanded a national moratorium (or freeze) on fracking due to environmental concerns on Jan. 26.

This is happening before a crucial vote intended to boost the shale gas industry in Britain. According to officials, the furthering use of shale gas will help with Britain’s overall plan to release less greenhouse gases. Britain has pledged to cut greenhouse emissions by 80 percent by 2050

A committee had warned that fracking, a process by which water, chemicals and sand are pumped at high pressure underground to extract gas, posed uncertain risks to public health, air quality, and water supplies.”

Public outcry is strong and this issue is still in debate.

http://news.yahoo.com/british-lawmakers-demand-freeze-fracking-032412013.html


Olivia’s Desert Solitaire thoughts

January 28, 2015

I’m very torn about this book. I think in the beginning I was drawn to his point of view and style of writing. I liked that he switched from being blunt and open with his readers to weaving in details that show his creative side. I like his goal to look at nature less anthropomorphically. He strives to see the wilderness in it’s own light, separate from human attributions or motives. It’s hard to describe something not in the terms of what you know. This book could’ve been filled with metaphors relating humans to things found in the wilderness but I am happy it wasn’t.

I feel like his chapters were abrupt though and did not transition well from one to the next. He had two sad desert stories (the one about the two men and the son who died and then the sad thoughts of the old man Roy) right next to each other. It seems to me like he enjoys the idea of shocking his reader. He also frequently references sex and death in the book. One example of death would be him killing a rabbit for no apparent reason and the satisfaction he felt. At times he seemed sadistic, not caring if Roy’s cows or his horse would die. He frequently mentions skeletons almost in consoling way, saying that if someones were to die in the desert, their bones would be found and marveled at by future generations.  For examples of sexual references, the second chapter, Solitaire, will lend a few. He describes a scene as “lovely and wild, with a virginal sweetness” and that the plant life is “exposed and naked” (9). His writing made me at times uncomfortable.

This book covered so much more than his explorations while working in southeastern Utah’s canyon lands. He feels at home so much that he even said “Abbey’s canyons”at some point. He gives the reader survival tips in the chapter Water and a geology lesson of sorts in the chapter Rocks. But he also covers everything from his thoughts, occasional interactions, and (often gruesome) stories tied to the canyons. I’m glad this was not a story where he was attempting to “find himself” in the wild. He focused on nature and how it should not be tamed for human consumption. His notion that people go crazy without the wild and we all need to explore these places at some point is nice. I can relate to a lot of his points, especially about how American tourists need to leave their cars behind. There were so many topics covered in this book that I am struggling to write a comprehendable blog post. Sorry about that, I look forward to discussing this in class though.


Caitlin’s Reflections on Desert Solitaire and News Blurb

January 28, 2015

Desert Solitaire (Abbey)

Desert Solitaire was a colorful collection of Edward Abbey’s experiences as a Park Ranger at Arches National Monument in Utah. The stories he shared were often poetic and insightful, but I found some sections extreme. For example, while I appreciated Abbey’s openness in discussing death, I found the story of the Uranium prospector and his son who died after an altercation with his wife’s lover unnecessarily graphic and his pride in unintentionally killing a rabbit cruel. His depictions of death highlight a certain predictability (like the old rancher anticipating his own death) and unpredictability (like an owl grabbing a rabbit) that reveal death as a natural and truly wild part of wilderness. Abbey explores the wildness of the landscape in nearly every story he tells, starting with his arrival at his lodging (which he eventually chooses to abandon for a more rustic structure) and gradually expanding to peaks and valleys throughout the Park.

In spite of the few parts I was bothered by, Abbey’s writing overall was thought provoking and profound. I connected particularly to his argument against industrial tourism. I appreciated Abbey’s suggestions for the future of National Parks. His plan includes ending of construction on new roads to make parks “for the people” again. He is adamant that the best way to experience and preserve the value of parks, is to keep most motorized vehicles out. This idea makes a lot of sense to me, especially when paired with his suggestion to increase the amount of ranging Park Rangers do to serve the influx of visitors out exploring off roads. I would love to see people using National Parks as a place to take their time, actually exploring nature. I’ve been on a number of road trips to National Parks, primarily in the West and Midwest, and can say that I’ve never experienced any park the way Abbey experienced Arches National Monument. Even when my family camps in a National Park, we never stray too far from our car; if we kayak or canoe on a river, we’re always returned to our campsite by some sort of shuttle. I would love to have the sort of adventures Abbey suggests people having at parks.

After living and working alone for so long, Abbey’s discussion of solitude and loneliness was also interesting to me. He mentions that the time he felt most lonely was when he sat in his house. The comforts and Western decorations (like Venetian blinds) served as reminders that he had no company and made him feel lonely; however, he reveals that reconnecting with nature was an effective remedy. Because of the way that nature is able to remind us that there is still plenty of stuff that we cannot understand and that we are able to be a part of something grand, I understood where Abbey was coming from with this sentiment.

In the end, I was glad to have read Abbey’s thoughts and reflections, but his writing style was not my favorite. I was so interested in what he had to say, but the way he said it really got under my skin at times. I would love to further discuss the ideas of community and solitude in the wild (the benefits of each)- as well as the likelihood of Abbey’s anti-industrial tourism National Parks plan being implemented.

News Blurb

“Ebola had killed third of world’s gorillas, chimpanzees”
By Wilson Dizard

http://america.aljazeera.com/blogs/scrutineer/2015/1/22/ebola-kills-third-of-apes-chimpanzees.html

This article brought to my attention the fact that a significant number of deaths of gorillas and chimpanzees are attributable to Ebola. I would like to see more recent, scientific, peer reviewed papers regarding this topic (which I will certainly explore before class!), but regardless of the number of deaths caused, the article’s main point fascinates me. The intersection of human and animal lives can be dangerous for a lot of reasons, and disease is certainly one of them. I feel very strongly about conserving and protecting endangered species and I love the Great Apes especially. This article points out though, that Ebola is a disease that requires an animal vector to maintain itself in human populations, meaning that contact with these animals would be improving the disease’s chances to further infect people. Ebola has been in the news quite a lot lately, but I’d been so concerned with keeping up with the human aspect of the disease’s impact, that I hadn’t considered the fact that the disease impacts other species.