Current Event/Reading

February 29, 2016

Current Event:

13 bald eagles were found last week at a Maryland Farm on the Eastern Shore. The man initially discovered four eagles dead on his property, but once the Maryland Natural Resouces Police arrived on the scene, they discovered 9 more. The causes of death are still unknown because of no signs of trauma, but massive die-offs can usually be linked to deadly, disease-ridden animal carcasses that this group fed off of.

A possible explanation that the USFWS is investigating is that the farm owner used toxic pesticides to get rid of rodents, and the eagles ate the same rodents, and died after ingestion.

The investigation is now being handed over to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, because Maryland has never experienced this large of a rare species die.

  • There is a 10k reward for any information about the death of the avian symbol of America, and a 100,000k fine to any person who brought harm this animal because they’re a protected species under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act as well as the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/13-bald-eagles-found-dead-maryland-farm-n523696

Reading:

As a current vegan, I was interested to see how the three of us in class would react to this book.

Chapter 1: I enjoyed that he began the novel by debating whether or not he was going to let his soon to be out of the womb son consume meat. He tells of the pros and cons to each side, highlighting the understandable reasons one is a vegetarian compared to meat-lovers. He explains the connection of “chicken and carrots” as a family dish passed down through family members reaching back to the holocaust. Eating meat is not just a delight to him, but something that is carried on, and now he must decide if his child will eat the same chicken and carrots. This chapter was exactly as I assumed; storytelling after storytelling.

Chapter 2: This was the chapter I enjoyed the most, because I can relate to the feelings of disgust when people love and called dogs “mans best friend” and then eat an animal closely similar a minute after. George, his dog, I feel might have been the reason he decided to write this book. He brought the admiration for animals into Foer. I can extremely relate to this because not just because of my Judaism, but my personal feelings, I have never eaten pork. I don’t understand how something that people value for their cuteness and pet abilities is eaten daily by many as bacon strips.

Chapter 3:On page 46, Foer introduces a new word to the reader; anthropodenial, which means the refuse to merge significant experiential likeness between humans and the other animals. This makes me ponder why we are allowed legally and culturally to eat animals but not other humans. (Not cannibal or anything.)

Chapter 4:This chapter was particularly disgusting to me, because he covered the extreme processes that go into the everyday meat that we consume. He touches on the time it takes for workers, the animal and everything else that is concentrated into a simple piece of steak.

Chapter 5: This section touches on the cross-breeding in production, creating diseases that wouldn’t be there if we didn’t need to eat meat. He touches on H1-N1, and immune system issues.

Chapter 6: He further touches on the claims of the enjoyment of meat-eaters, and then the benefits to not eating animals.I can agree with the terrible thoughts that animals go through extreme pain just for our enjoyment of eating proteins, working in our benefit. How are we the be-all, end-all deciding their fate? When do animal rights come into play?

Chapter 7: He states on 107, “Vegetarians are at best kindly but unrealistic.” He respects the views of each stance, and is primarily concerned about his own family, but mostly his unborn son.

Chapter 8: This chapter made me lol. Just going through the oh-so-American tradition of thanksgiving reinforces that our lives are based around eating animals, with the turkey being the symbol as well as the main course of a entire calendar day, almost month. The “American Table” is an interesting way to put it.animals-eating-berries-21__605.jpg

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Current Events

February 29, 2016

The Grand Canyon National Park has unveiled a program to thin the bison herd that roam in the area. Bison have been destroying water sources, vegetation, and soil. The National park has looked into using Sharpshooters to help prevent the herd from damaging more land. Park officials have said that 80 to 200 bison are acceptable for sustainability but the number now which is 400- 600 bison is not. There has been state legislation which would allow the hunter to take the meat so the animal does not go to waste.

If you would like to learn more about this program: Click the link Bison.


Todd D’Andrea: Foer Notes/Current Event/Project Update

February 28, 2016

Reading Notes: ‘Eating Animals’, Foer

– (pg. 5) ‘Food for her is not food.  It is terror, dignity, gratitude, vengeance, joyfulness, humiliation, religion, history, and, of course, love.’

My grandfather passed away this past summer at the age of 94.  He was an excellent cook.  In WWII he was a mess hall sergeant in charge of feeding companies of men.  Growing up having dinners at his home was an event.  If you happened to be there for more than 4 hours you were probably going to eat three or four times and saying no was simply not acceptable.  It was the way in which they expressed love and care.  Nothing went wasted, and both of my grandparents would take their time with their meals around the table, always taking time to talk and revel in what had been placed on the table.  I can relate to some of the sentiment for which Foer expresses here.  Frank, my grandpa grew up during the Great Depression, and like I said fought in Paris during WWII.  He had a mentality similar to Foer’s grandmother, in that ‘You never give up’.  Food was a central part to the memories of my grandparents.  They both were incredible at making a marinara meat sauce and Italian wedding soup.  These two things will never be replicated again.  As Foer discussed, families are constantly changing, and the traditions along with it.

– (pg. 11) ‘These stories bind our family together, and bind our family to others.  Stories about food are stories about us- our history and our values.’

I feel like so much of who I am came from having nightly dinners with my mother, father, and sister every week growing up.  This is where everything was aired out and discussed and bonded to form a family.  There is something to be said for coming together as a family and “checking in” with each other.  I think too often today families are too occupied with responsibilities and devices that this aspect of growing relationally is lost within families.

– (pg. 17) ‘If nothing matters, there’s nothing to save.’

I was struck by Foer’s grandmother and her conviction in the refusal to eat pork.  There is so much to unpack in this quote that gets at the essence of life in general.  On a daily basis, we can throw in the towel, and submit to apathy and indifference, we can stop caring.  Nut in order to live a life worth living you have to care about things in it and have convictions that push you to stand for what you believe in.  Otherwise, I agree, there is nothing to save.  There is no substance or meaning in folly.

– (pg. 25) ‘. . . George Orwell’s words (from Animal Farm) apply here: “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”’

Just today I am sitting here reading this book and I’m starting to get hungry.  I decide I want to get tacos from 12 West down the street from where I live.  For a moment I panic.  I feel guilt and shame for wanting to eat meat given the circumstances of these factory farms.  But what will I eat then?!  For this occasion, I rationale that there is nothing in the area that I can get without meat, and I place a carryout.  The interesting thing that occurred however was that I felt most shameful about eating the steak taco and not the chicken or fish; of the three that I ordered.  I couldn’t help but think of a cow out to pasture chewing blades of grass, looking at me with his blank demeanor.

– (pg. 31) ‘Is the suffering of a drawn-out death something that is cruel to inflict on any animal that can experience it, or just some animals?’

YES!  My reaction to this question stems back to the belief that foundationally all animals are innocent and free from any desire to commit “evil”, purposeful harm other than for survival.  No animal, no matter what its intelligence should have to suffer pain in any capacity.  Consciously, I think the only way I am able to continue eating meat is because I am not forced to see the terrible things that these animals go through.  I wouldn’t be able to live with myself likely if I really saw the conditions of what these animal are being put through.

– (pg. 67) ‘. . . KFC is arguably the company that has increased the sum of suffering in the world more than any other in history.  KFC buys nearly a billion chickens a year.’

The effect that KFC has on the poultry industry is incredible given this statistic.  I guess one way that I am helping these poor chickens is that I refuse to ever step into one of these KFC restaurants.  The chicken just seems so processed and questionable.

If it couldn’t get much worse, it has. . .

KFC

– (pg. 121) ‘On average, Americans eat the equivalent of 21,000 entire animals in a lifetime- one animal for every letter on the last five pages.’

I really like how Foer helps the reader into gaining a perspective of their impact given the figure of ‘speechlessness/influence’ that he carries on over these 5 pages. These types of things can stick with a reader.  This statistic is eye opening.  It’s weird to think that I have consumed this many animals as a result of simply living as a meat eater.

– (pg. 175) ‘And not all that shit is shit exactly- it’s whatever will fit through the slatted floors of the factory farm buildings.  This includes but is not limited to: stillborn piglets, afterbirths, dead piglets, vomit, blood, urine, antibiotic syringes, broken bottles of insecticides, hair, pus, even body parts.’

After reading this passage I was so utterly disgusted.  It’s just so disappointing that this type of maltreatment occurs in society.  I can’t help but think of the novel ‘The Jungle’ by Upton Sinclair.  This type of information was similar to the discourse that was being elaborated in that work.

Upton Sinclair’s ‘The Jungle’:

Sinclair

– (pg. 252) ‘We can’t plead ignorance, only indifference.  Those alive today are the generations that came to know better.  We have the burden and the opportunity of living in the moment when the critique of factory farming broke into the popular consciousness.’

I think this is the central point of Foer’s entire book.  We, the collective know better.  In my life I have learned there comes a time when there are no more excuses.  This is always much easier said than done with many aspects of our daily lives, whether it be to the Earth, animals, or relationally to each other as humans.  Throughout the whole book you can see Foer’s passion for his research displayed.  I think the key moment for his work came, as he said when his son was born.  The torch has been passed and he wants to see his son learn from and change the direction of how we approach food and consumption in general.  I can’t sit here today and say that I will be able to participate in such an undertaking.  I guess I have a sense of being constrained in a country where the choice to not consume meat would result in a higher cost for me to find “acceptable’’ foods and burden me with the task of following this approach.  If you think about it, it’s almost as if we are encouraged to follow a diet the rest of our lives; the anti-Paleo diet.

Current Event

Dog Who Lost All Four Paws After Abuse in Meat Farm Gets a Forever Home! (PHOTOS)

http://www.onegreenplanet.org/news/dog-who-lost-four-paws-in-meat-farm-gets-forever-home/

In South Korea there are farms dedicated to the raising of dogs for consumption much like the factory farms in the United States.  Thousands of dogs suffer each year within the confines of such farms.  The article discusses Chi Chi, a pup who was rescued from one such farm.  Chi Chi was bound upside by her legs and suffered for multiple days in this unbearable position.  When veterinarians finally got to her, all four of her paws had to be amputated.  However! Chi Chi has been found a home with two dog siblings and a loving family!

Chi_Chi

Project Update

The SIP has been approved.  Thomas and I will be receiving a check either Tuesday or Thursday to begin purchasing items for the homeless in Delaware.

 

 


Oh no! Not the Phytoplankton!

February 25, 2016

 

Recent studies have shown that there is a global decline of the world’s phytoplankton. it has been estimated that 40% have been lost in the past 50 years. Phytoplankton are microscopic organisms that live in the world’s oceans and are responsible for roughly 50% of the planets photosynthesis. They also play a major role in the carbon cycle and are the base of our oceans’ food web. Phytoplankton are the seas life support system. Any changes they are subjected to will affect the distribution and abundance of ocean life, on top of influencing the ecology of our entire planet. So… these little guys are a big deal. Anthropogenic climate change is the main culprit to the decline in phytoplankton abundance. The average global rise in temperature is impacting the phytoplankton , ocean circulation and conditions on the ocean surface like nutrients and light availability. An assessment of plankton in the North Atlantic has found that they are moving north-eastwards. This change is projected to be faster on a median level than has been seen historically. The severity of movement is not the same across species. Some species do not appear to move at all, some move farther than others. The study conducted has given a sense that there is a broad ranges of phytoplankton responses to climate change. This study further indicates that we don’t have a great sense of what will happen to organisms when the climate is modified. We cannot confidently predict all of the affects of climate change. Therefore it is important to conduct monitoring programs like this study. They have become a major tool for the scientific community and will continue to be useful during the environmental changes to come.


Nature: Chapters 6-9

February 24, 2016

The concluding chapters of Peter Coates book, Nature, left me satisfied that the things I deemed needed to be brought to light, had in fact already been brought up and debated. Overall, I felt that he rapped up the history of nature and what it has meant to humans throughout our history very thoroughly, but he didn’t actually state any of his own opinions about the matter. In his last chapter he did incline to make his overall thoughts on the matter of nature a bit more present, but not explicitly.

Coates presented the finding and debates of many different topics in the concluding chapters of his book ranging from the meaning of landscape, the Romanticism’s impact on nature and how we look at it, nature as sublime, how little we actually partake in conquering nature, the countless ways in which people have strived to redefine nature, and how nature fight back. All of these I found to be interesting, but the last section of chapter eight, Nature Beyond the Left, I found the end of this section related a lot to how I have often thought of historical events such as the black plague, yellow fever, AIDS, and other health epidemics. That if you disconnect yourself from the lives of those effected you can in fact view the situation as gaia, mother nature, as having an immune system, and her attempts to rid herself of a deadly virus that has been infecting her, humans as a virus. I am not trying to say that I completely agree with this viewpoint, but I can see how the idea fits together.

In relation to the last chapter of Coates book, I found it to be the most compelling due to the fact that it is the one that people reading it can actually impact. The idea that the ideas he mentions in this chapter are ones people right now can impact, shape, and change makes me think positively that even though our environmental problems are becoming greater and more dramatic. Younger generations are become more aware of nature, the preservation of it is becoming more important, and we are the only generation that can asses the problem at the same time as we can move towards improving it.

All in all, I did not enjoy the majority of the book, but I felt he addressed the right questions and historical points to emphasize the importance of what the future holds for environmental thinking, actions, and idealism’s.

-Ashley Tims


Project update: Catie & Jordana

February 24, 2016
  • SIP submitted last week and is approved as of yesterday!
  • Our budget is upped to $100 each
  • Dropping coffee mugs and producing water bottles only

TO DO:

  1. Buy clay (will purchase this Friday)
  2. create Facebook account to promote event
  3. Take pictures (over Spring break) to use for prints
  4. Begin making bottles (Sunday)
  5. Order Water bottle corks (today)
  6. Obtain photos from archives of OWU buildings for print
  7. Follow up about supplemental budget through E&W

Nature: ch. 6-9

February 24, 2016

Ch. 6: Nature as Landscape

“aesthetic experience of nature … involves immersion rather than detachment. Whereas a piece of art is framed, nature is frameless and offers more scope for the individual imagination because it has not been deliberately created” (110)

I find this quote interesting, as it confronts the idea of a work of art being contained within a frame, something that has been challenged by artists since the abstract expressionist painters of the ’50s, namely Jackson Pollock. He created a space that gave the illusion of extending beyond the frame, which has been furthered in the years since.

In thinking about the idealized landscapes that national parks seek to portray, I’ve thought of them as similar to museums — an experience that has been designed for visual and cultural pleasure, endlessly manicured for human pleasure. Moreover, the idea that objects in a museum are valuable, and cannot be touched or tampered with also resonates in thinking of how we are told to treat nature. It has become valuable once more because we’ve turned it into a rarity.

  • picturesque: taken from landscape art and referred to a scene’s potential for framing (132)
  • amenity: term derives from Latin amoenitas, meaning the aesthetic and sensory pleasures of country living (114)

Coates talks about how the countryside became an amenity for the wealthy, placing its cultural associations with that of class. Honing in on the “rustic” nature of the country as as a relief from the bustling, industrialized world also founded interest in gardens, varying in style between English and French. Even before Coates references Versaille, I was thinking about it, and the statement Louise XVI was making, in asserting dominance and control over something as unruly as nature.

versaille

This idea of cultural associations trumping nature itself is evident throughout the book, as we’ve continually restamped nature in various capacities to suit our own needs. The stylistic period associated with Louise XVI’s reign is called Rococo, a word that combines rocaille, meaning tiny stones, and coquilles, or shells, both of which were used as ornamentation within gardens, specifically grottoes.

“Corrupt Culture, Innocent Nature” (128)

In response to the control asserted over nature came the Romantics, who questioned the “Age of Reason” and quantified themselves and their connection to nature through emotion.

  • Transcendentalism, seeking a spiritual and higher meaning through nature, seeking to evoke a higher presence much the way early religious art did, sought to unite man with nature, to go to the source
7121591zoomed

“Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog”, Caspar David Friedrich

  • evoke this idea of Man vs. Nature, nature as a spiritual force, reflects individualism that emerged with modernism in the West, experienced through the artist himself, dictates the viewers experience.

Man Made Ideologies

“capitalism and socialism a distraction for this deflected attention from the fundamental problem – industrial ethos and mod of production they shared” (153)

  • idea that capitalism has caused mass detriment, Coates points out the obvious correlation between “environmental losses and the rise of capitalism” (154)
  • corrects the idea that “human greed” has accounted for the negative impact we’ve induced, as it generalizes a much more complex system that confronts class, as well as geographic location as central to framing whose to blame

“Age of Reason has generated a scientific, technological, and economic system that benefited only a few and desacralized nature” (153)

Speaks to the idea that Max Liboiron talked about, which is the fact that science is a culture in of itself. We’ve come to abide by an ideology that is human-generated, moving further away from nature as a source of reason, and using it for our advantage on a massive scale. If anything, these chapters have brought to light how nature is just a facet of culture, accomodating and supporting it when applicable.

These ideas come to a head in the subsequent sentence…

“The disturbing degree to which the relations of man and nature had been corrupted by western civilization was suggested … by the boy who looked up at the sky and asked, “Daddy, what is the moon supposed to advertise?””(153)

Again bringing to light how tied up our world views are in relation to capitalism, and its far-reaching effects. The contemporary views we shape on seemingly objective concepts never really are, and haven’t been for centuries. In many ways our modern interactions with nature speak to the idea that we have trumped it, and control it to the point where it evokes certain emotions — premeditated and perpetuated through experience. Of course, these are attitudes are most often spread via a hegemonic voice, the same ones that often profit from the ill-effects of the environment.

  • Makes the individual blame harder to take responsibility for, but also admits that we are merely cogs in a machine, contributing to the mass profit and waiting idly for that wealth to trickle down