Environment & Society 2nd Half: Pat Watson & Brad Brodek

The second half of Environment and Society was an easier read than the first half in my oppinion. It ties a stange group of things together that are all harmful to the environment. Some of these things you wouldn’t even think are harmful throughout your everyday lives such as french fries.

Chapter 9: Carbon Dioxide

This chapter talks about the effects of crbon dioxide in the air and also its effects globally. One interesting thing I found out in that 2 molecules fuel burned is about equal to 16 molecules of Carbon Dioxide realeased into the atmosphere. This opens your eyes a little bit about how much driving we do in the world and CO2 we realease into the atmosphere. Plants use up the CO2 we produce turning it back into Oxygen through photosynthesis, also when a plant dies carbon is realeased back into the air or soil.


  1. have you ever been some where like a city that you could physically see all carbon dioxide in the air compared to the country were the air was fresh and clean.
  2. Did you feel different at these two places (relaxed, stressed, calm, happy, annoyed)?
  3. Do you personally think we are going to reach a point on this earth where we cant breathe because of the amount of carbon dioxide in the air?

Trees Deforestation

Deforestation is a big topic that has been talked about for hundreds of years and will continue to be talked about. This ties into the previous chapter and carbon dioxide. When we remove trees we ultimately are putting more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere which can completely shift our whole earth as we know it. One concept talked about is that we legally probably should not be able to cut down trees but, since trees are not a thing they have no rights. Also while deforesting we are effecting the ecosystem these trees belong in. Animals are being endangered and some have gone extinct because humans are destroying their homes.


  1. Should there be a line drawn between how much of an area of forest we should be able to remove?
  2. What is your veiw on deforestation? (do the benefits outway the effects?)
  3. Should we be more strict about it or are the laws fine now?


People either view wolves as a wild beast or something that symbolizes a part of american history. Wolves are talked about as this scary animal that we need to kill to be safe even though we came into their environment and intruded on them. Its funny because we killed them all off then realized that we shouldn’t have; then reintroduced them into yellowstone national park. There are many ranchers and people who are against removing wolves so they work with envornmentalist. On the other other hand a lot of ranchers or just people in general will shoot a wolf immediately because they are a predator and are afraid either the wolves will kill them or their livestock.


  1. Why do humans think that they can destroy another creature when we came into their home?
  2.  How do you feel about us removing all the wolves ? should we reintrouduce them to other places or will that just cause problems?
  3. Should we draw a line to where wolves and humans can be and if a wolve crosses that line then kill it?


This chapter explains to us how to such prized high end fish can be bought for only 99 cents at stores. It takes us through the way they are hunted and fished. Different kinds of Tuna are all over the ocean and being harvested in such high numbers we are starting to see an effect. New Technology gives us the ability to harvest these fish so effectively which is hurting us in the long run. This comes back to our human population on earth, we need to feed all these people somehow which negatively effects our ecosystems. The two main ways we harvest tuna are through Long-line fishing and Purse seining. 


Long line fishing: (http://advocacy.britannica.com/blog/advocacy/2008/05/the-trouble-with-tuna/)

This method involves releasing extremely long fishing lines some of them extending for miles with shorter lines and thousands of baited hooks attached. Although the method is very effective at catching tuna, it’s also effective at catching many other species, among them seabirds that go after the bait in shallow waters. The birds, snared by the hooks, usually drown

Purse seining:


This method is particularly effective at catching yellowfin tuna. It involves laying out a very large net in a wide circle, which is then drawn inward, capturing the marine life inside. It also produces a significant by catch most notably dolphins, since they feed on the same fish as the tuna. Indeed, one reprehensible method, known as dolphin fishing, actually targets dolphins themselves, since yellowfin tuna are almost always found in deeper waters beneath them. Although regulations are in place to prevent the deaths of dolphins in purse seines, thousands are killed annually in this practice.


  1. Should we care that we are harvesting these large amount of fish at one point? How does this effect us in the long run?
  2. Is there a better way to only catch tuna instead of all these other species that are killed and not used?
  3. What are ways we can help cut the demand of tuna back so these fish arent fished as heaily?

Bottle water

This chapter focuses on bottled water and how it is not an environmentally safe method of packaging/ producing & transporting water. Many groups have pushed for a more wide-spread use reusable water bottles because it is less harmful to the environment. Plastic disposable bottles are a major contributor to environmental problems with efficiency. Oil is  King; the oil being used to make water bottles every year is being put to waste at numbers over a million barrels/year. Disposable plastic water bottles can take as long as a millennium to fully decompose. At this rate,  a large scale change is long over due.


What can be done on a large scale that would help mitigate the problem?

How can we repurpose this waste?


French Fries

McDonalds is the largest buyer of potatoes. Imagine how many french fries that is..   This chapter brought to light how society focuses on convenience in opposition to health. McDonalds is inexpensive and convenient, but at what cost?  Even with this unfortunate option, it is still everyones choice to eat what they want.

Would consumption be so high if prices weren’t so low?

How would it affect the agricultural economy if this trend changed?


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