Pacia Purcell: Nature Part 2

September 28, 2016

In one part of the book Coates discusses the mountains and how some people of the Romantic era saw them differently than the majestic piles of beauty that we see them as today. Travelers and poets expressed them to be “boils, warts, and blisters that disfigured the fair face of nature” (pg 130). Coates says that these views are the product of a combination of bad roads when traveling through the mountains, which made travels uncomfortable, and the literature at the time, which assess mountains as dreary and dismal. This leads me to think about the modern era and the way we think about mountains today. If today’s artists and writers depicted the mountains as they were depicted during this time would we still revel in them as we do today? Do we just think certain parts of nature are beautiful because others tell us to think so?

“‘Cataracts and mountains are good for occasional society…but they will not do for constant companions'” (pg 135). Alexander Supertramp would agree. There are those who believe they have a strong connection with nature and feel as if it is where they truly belong. But how long could these people actually last in what they consider true nature? And is it not an argument that humans are apart of nature so would not living as we do among humans also be considered living in nature? I think it would be hard for any one human to live without other humans. Even those who live in the mountains, spending loads of money to build their lavish, exclusive houses, have neighbors, or roads that can lead to potential civilizations. Likewise, although we have a lot more information about science about science than humans throughout history, our knowledge is still very basic and the common human probably could not survive in the undisturbed parts of nature for any substantial amount of time.

Coates mentions Anna Sewell’s Black Beauty (one of my all time favorite books) as part of the humanitarian movement of the time. Black Beauty follows the life of a horse, Black Beauty, as he is passed from owner to owner, facing abuse as well as kindness from humans. One of the biggest controversies of the books is using the horses for fashion in abusive ways. For instance, Beauty and his companion Ginger are forced to hold there heads unbearably high while pulling a cart. It was a practice performed by the aristocrats of the time in the name of fashion, with no regards to the horses who experience excruciating pain. Beauty is later sold from these people after been throwing a shoe while being ridden hard by a drunk man and scraping his knees. The aristocratic woman cannot have something looking so bad pulling her around town, so she sells him. Yet another way humans try to bend nature to their will. Society says it’s wrong to abuse animals, but only the animals humans like and some abuse is okay as long as it’s not the wrong kind of abuse.

Grass food crops facing climate change challenge

September 28, 2016

An Article by the BBC discusses a study that has highlighted the risk posed by projected climate change on the grass family (Poaceae) and in turn the  world’s ability to grow enough food. The speed at which the climate is predicted to shift by 2070 would occur too quickly for species of grass to adapt to the new conditions. These grass species include wheat, corn, rice, and sorghum (which provide almost half the calories consumed by humans) which could mean disaster for humans as well. Also, natural grasslands cover about 1/4th of the planet’s land area that contain a lot of biodiversity and would be lost should climate change have strong negative impacts on grasses.

The study used a representative sample of 236 grass species and estimated rates of change for their climatic niches (the temperature and precipitation conditions where a species occurs)  and compared them to the projected rates of climate change.

Project Proposal: Sustainable Heating and Cooling at OWU

September 28, 2016

Participant: Chris Pessell

About half of the buildings on campus have no AC or have insufficient heating. Some of the buildings that do have H&C are inefficient, such as the Science Center. This project aims to find alternative methods that could provide efficient, cost effective, and environmentally conscious air conditioning and heating throughout the year. Some alternative methods that I have found include geothermal H&C that may be promising. However, entirely new heating and cooling systems are not the only focus. Additional ideas may be taken on a smaller scale such as adding more plants or painting buildings in such a way as to reflect heat. I believe this project is important because there is no reason that the buildings on campus shouldn’t have some form of air conditioning and heating. It would be an addition that could improve student retention rates which would fit well into the current 2020 goal. It would also fit in well with the proposed Sustainability Plan. portion of the plan is that building renovations should be made with environmental sustainability in mind. Adding effective and sustainable temperature control would be an important addition.

There is going to be a lot of research put into this project. First, research on alternative methods will need to be explored. Based on that research, 1-3 prospective alternatives (large scale or small scale) to conventional H&C should be selected. Next, I will need to contact a representative of the school to discuss current H&C methods and future plans for building renovations in terms of H&C. Based on that discussion, we could add some of the options to the Campus Sustainability Plan and/ or begin implementing small scale changes to the buildings.

Another benefit of this project would be the decrease in the urban heat island in Delaware. The Urban Heat Island is a phenomena where urban areas give off more heat due to the large amount of surfaces that absorb but don’t release heat and the amount of exhaust from cars or houses. The result is a higher temperature in urban areas when compared to the rural areas that surround the urban area. While Delaware is unlikely to have a large UHI when compared to a big city like Columbus, finding alternative ways to generate air conditioning or heat or making small changes to the ways we construct and paint our buildings could help to alleviate the UHI affect.


Summary of Project and the Results (Similar to an abstract)

  • Overview of why this project is important and the goals
  • Summary of effective alternatives and possible results of project.

Overview of Current, Conventional H&C on Campus

  • Discuss what methods are currently used on campus.
  • Discuss efficiency, cost, and environmental impact of current methods.
  • Discuss any future plans with building renovations.

Research of 1-3 Alternatives to Conventional H&C

  • Research on how each alternative could be beneficial to the campus (cost, efficiency, sustainability).
  • Details of each alternative.
  • Discuss other potential benefits.

How to Begin

  • Give ways that we could improve on temperature control in campus buildings that have not been renovated.

Projected Benefits of Project

  • Discuss overall benefits of project.
  • Relation to Campus Sustainability.
  • Final Take-Away Message

Annotated Bibliography

Source 1

This article discusses small scale ways of cooling, primarily through ventilation. I am unsure that this will be effective for dorm or large buildings, smaller buildings such as Sturges could probably take advantage of some of these techniques.

Source 2

This source is from another college’s sustainability plan giving ideas of how to make heating and cooling systems more efficient.

Source 3

This article focuses on the use of solar energy for heating and cooling, using examples of residential, offices, and hotels. The study looked at the efficiency and any CO2 emissions.

Source 4

This is a book that covers everything you need to know about thermogeology, although it is not about creating a way of capturing and using heat in the ground. This book will be primarily used for details about thermogeology when it’s used as a heating source.

Source 5

This article about a campus using waste pumps to generate heating and cooling for their buildings. This system could cut the school’s emissions in half, but it still needs a lot of electricity to run it.

Source 6

This article reviews the use of district heating and cooling. One building or centralized area would generate the energy and then distribute it throughout the surrounding areas.

Source 7

This source focuses on geothermal HVAC for college campuses.

Source 8

Chapter 7 of David JC Mackay’s Sustainable Energy – Without the Hot Air discusses the energy use for traditional heating and cooling methods. The book may explore it further, but I haven’t read far enough into it to know.

Source 9

This is an informative article from a company about how geothermal energy works.

Source 10

This article focuses on heating and cooling use groundwater.

Project proposal/Update: Brad Brodek 9/28

September 28, 2016

Library Phantom energy removal

Brad Brodek


Description & overview of project:

The purpose of this project is to remove phantom energy, or the electricity drawn from outlets when equipment is off but still plugged in. Phantom energy can account for 15% or more of the total energy used. This project will then make campus environmentally greener and also save the university money in the long run. The electronics I want to focus on are computers, monitors and printers. These make a large amount of phantom energy. The energy Center of Wisconsin did a study to see the average watts per hour used by electronics when they’re turned off and a printer uses 4.3 watts, a desktop computer uses 2.4 watts and a monitor uses 1.2 watts. I want to run my own test and record how much energy is being used while off, but those are good estimates to start with to see what I should focus on depending on which uses more. To run these test a Watt-Meter is needed to see how much phantom energy there is before any solution is found. These electronics are off during the night for roughly 6-10 hours in the library, depending on the day of the week, burning electricity and money. Even when the library is open during certain hours of the day not all computers are being used. This project can help save phantom energy during the night and also throughout the slow hours of the day. A solution to this problem is the “smart strip power strip”. Smart power strips automatically cuts out phantom energy to all the things plugged into the strip while these electronics are off. These power strips run from $20-$30 and will pay themselves off in no time while also saving the environments resources. I picked the electronics I did because they are bunched in groups, therefor one smart power strip can have 3 computers and monitors plugged into them, being efficient. This is a project that should be permeant and further expanding in the future. After installing smart power strips the amount of electricity still being used while the electronics are off will be tested by the same watt-meter used earlier to make sure that they strips are working and cutting down energy. What makes this project great is that once the plugs are in place there is nothing else you need to do in the future, the power strips do all the work and save energy. Another solution to cut down on phantom energy is unplugging everything every night, but that is a lot of work unlike using smart power strips. These power strips can be hooked up to electronics all over campus if it is successful in the library.


Outline of project:

First researching of phantom energy took place figuring out what it was and how it could be limited. After this I had to pick my place of interest and electronics I am focusing on. I picked the library due to the amount of electronics and computers, monitors and printers located there which all give off a large amount of energy when off. The next step was to research methods to cut down on the phantom energy. This is where I discovered the smarty strip power strip. These strips will be installed to the library at computer stations and printers. I still need to go talk to whoever runs the library and see if I can get a layout of how many computers, monitors and printers there are in the library.  Once I find out how many there are I can figure out how many smart power strips I will need and how much it will cost. Then I will have to share my proposal to the university to see if I can get money for this project to make it happen. After if I can get the money I will have to go around and install these power strips and do it as efficiently as possible, by this I mean hook up as many computers to one power strip as possible so the amount of power strips needed are as low as possible.



Annotated bibliography

Here I found research on “Smart” Power Strips and how they work. I also found out the price of them from here.

Here I found research on phantom energy and what it exactly was.

Here I found more advanced research on the smart power strip and also another price range of these strips.\

Here I found out the hours the library was open and roughly how many hours they are closed during each day.

Here I found roughly how much phantom energy was being used for most electronics.

Here I found an example of what another college has done for phantom energy giving me ideas.

Here I looked over to get ideas of what I wanted to do and how I could help the campus.

Here I found the stat that phantom energy is on average 15% of your electricity bill

Here I found out what a watt-meter is and how to check the amount of energy being used before and after a smart strip.

Here I found multiple ways to cut down on phantom energy and also how much money was saved just from one person doing these things.

Nature part 2: Brad Brodek 9/28

September 28, 2016

Nature part two:

In the first part of nature Coates defines nature in 5 ways but in the second part he talks about it historically and how it changes over time by the culture and place. In chapter 6 he talks about about nature in Europe during the 18th and 19th century and how untouched it was. He also talks about it and Yosemite and how over time it went from what everyone thought to be untouched (but really the native Americans were there and would take care of the land while using it) then as time went on and the Indians were gone the park became wilder and started to become overgrown. He also talks about how the culture of the people changes over time and this will effect how they look at and take care of nature. For example in the 1500s the culture was different than it is today. Today we have a culture were we tend to be selfish and will deforest because of profit and material needs were as in the 1500s this didn’t happen.

He also talked about about the earths path and what we have done to it and if it is reversible or if pretty much we are screwed and all the harm we done to the environment cant be changed. He talks about nature and the way we view it. He believes that humans still appreciate nature and the earth, but we still would rather turn it into cities, farms and anything but leaving it untouched. I believe this is a powerful statement and very true like he says on 124, “Wilderness was the raw material out of which nature was fashioned- nature being the improved, privately owned landscape of farms, gardens, and rural estates that occupied middle ground between industrial urban society and untamed savagery”

The last thing I thought was important was when he talked about Darwin’s theory. Darwin was not a romantic towards nature, but he loved it very much and realized the importance of it. But there were many romantics that viewed the landscape as a thing of beauty, they started painting pictures of the nature, usually mountains, which was often sublime like we talked about earlier in the year. This is when people realized the importance of these untouched wild places and how they needed to be preserved.

Interesting quotes:

“we move around the park from view to view like visitors in an art gallery” (119)

“Wilderness was the raw material out of which nature was fashioned- nature being the improved, privately owned landscape of farms, gardens, and rural estates that occupied middle ground between industrial urban society and untamed savagery” (124)

“Modern environmentalism has been conditioned by a range of dangers to land air, seas, and inland waters that are largely unique to the period since the second world war.” (125)

“Art perfects imperfect nature” (131)

“Many eco-socialists are wary of appeal to nature because they feel that nature has most frequenty been marshaled in defense of conservative causes” (147)

“According to the deep ecological world-wide ‘we the people’ who drive to many cars, use to much disposable nappies and eat to many cheeseburgers, must should direct responsibility for our ecological predicament.” (154)

“Rejecting the need to control human capacity for destruction, Fukuyama singled out environmentalist as the greatest threat to history, defined not as ideological struggle, but as the extension of human control over nature.” (174)

“Other commentators derive from earthquakes, hurricanes, mudslides, floods and drought, which they interpret- if not as natures sweet revenge against humans misdeeds. (189)

Current event: Brad Brodek 9/28

September 28, 2016

Chicago City Hall Green Roof Project


In the city of Chicago there can be extreme temperatures due to “urban heat island effect” which is caused by all the structures in a city. Concrete, buildings, and roads all absorb heat making the temperature hotter than normal. Another problem in Chicago is the storm water because the sewage system can not handle all the waste water when a heavy rain happens. This normally causes sewage pollution and over flows. In 2001 the rooftop garden at Chicago’s City Hall was designed to test different types of green roof systems, heating and cooling benefits, success rates of native and non-native vegetation, and reductions in rainwater runoff. Green roofs are now being put all over town to help with these problems and they are doing that. In 2002 test were ran and they found that the roof temperature reduced 70 degrees and the air temperature reduced 15 degrees. This is now being down all over citys because of this data collected showing the impact roof gardens have.





Environmental Issue: Pat Watson 9/28

September 27, 2016

This article talks about soil’s ability to sequester carbon and at the rate it can do so. The carbon in the biomass of plants get integrated into the soil when the plant dies and decomposes. With computer programs it was estimated that the carbon in the soil is 450 years old meaning it sequesters it at a relatively fast rate; however, recent studies with actual soil samples has proven the carbon in the soil to be at least six times as old as previously thought. This is quite abrupt news because we can no longer count on the soil to help sequester as much carbon as we were before. With global CO2 levels on the continuous rise it seems we need to start brainstorming ways to continue lowering our CO2 emissions as well as ways to sequester the carbon already in our atmosphere.