Carter Rae: Placing Animals

November 9, 2016

Placing Animals is an interesting read that brings up the human-animal relationship that exists. Issues such as how different mediums influence our perception of animals and ideas like bestiality and animal driven economies.

Urbanik starts off talking about the legal aspect of animals, incorporating past movements to preserve their homes and way of life. Preservation of their natural habitat is a must, she describes, for the well being of not just the animals but people as well. Chapter 2 goes on to talk about normal animal activities like dogs playing at a park and going on runs while also commentating on bestiality. Reading this I was a little grossed but carried on. Then she moved onto to the “working” class of animals like horses, guide dogs and even to lab rats and other such animals. This was interesting as testing products on animals is one of the main concerns about animal rights so it was good to hear an argument from a so called “expert”. Then it was farm and wildlife animals.

Main ideas that were discussed that have a global scope were the declining number of biodiversity going on in the animal kingdom, climate change and its impact on the animal kingdom, and finally land use patterns.

Current News

Since Donald Trump has publicly denied climate change by labeling it a hoax created by the Chinese and with the election in full swing I thought it would be good to include this relevant news. Trump states that if in office then he will roll back and ease environmental policies that the Obama Administration had imposed, in an effort which Obama took very serious during his presidency, in an attempt to allow for business operations to be done with little government regulation. However the UN aims to control Trump from taking things too far and out of hand. The Paris Agreement, this article brings up, is a sort of saving grace.

http://www.climatechangenews.com/2016/11/09/the-paris-agreement-will-survive-president-trump/


Environmental news post- James Ormerod

November 9, 2016

How President Trump Will Affect Clean Energy and the Climate Change Fight

We just elected a president who believes climate change is a hoax created by the Chinese. This is a major set back to the big push towards clean energy movement that has been building for the past decade. He pushes for removing regulations that would protect streams and wetlands from coal mining and claims that the Paris Climate agreement – an effort by major world leaders to address climate change on a political level – is unconstitutional. This means now more than ever we need take action towards issues of our fossil fuel consumption and make our voices heard. Putting the economy before the safety of our environment is not OK.


Placing Animals Discussion

November 9, 2016

Image Source

Initial thoughts: In my professional opinion this was not a great book as an academic resource. The good points could be summed up in less than 20 pages.

Discussion Questions and Points:

1. Any incredible revelations in the book? For me it was mostly becoming aware of contradictions in thought.

Bestiality, Called it! Also that guy did actually die and the act was while he was filming it if you are curious.

2. Differentiation of what an animal is and what it means to be human

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3. Animal Symbols

4. Dominance and control over animals

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5. Does labeling work? Is it possible to only purchase goods that you believe are completely ethical? Is this different in other places of the world?

6. Should animal farming for food be treated and studied differently than farming for furs or other non-food animal parts? Does the US have examples of this or just in other countries? Does this show an ethical, cultural, or economic differences?

7. Does the endangered species act contribute to the specieist problem by placing them above others and placing some of the only legal policy concerning animals to protect them? Should these lives always be put above others?

Image Source Death Valley pupfish

8. Does recognizing individual animals and the species needs within a lab ruin subjectivity?

9. Should we be aware that human interactions can affect or enhance human and nonhuman animal interactions?

10. Based on the strategies in the last textbook and the views in this book, is there a peaceful better solution for animal agriculture than going backwards?


Pacia Purcell: Placing Animals

November 9, 2016

This book dealt with the interactions and relationships between humans and animals. One of these interactions deals with horses and their interactions in all ways dealing with humans. As an avid horse-lover and rider I feel as if I must weigh in on this issue and how I personally interact with them.

For years throughout my childhood, I rode and showed horses. I still continue to ride today, however not to the seriousness that I once did. I cringe slightly to think back on how how much money was spent on and for horses. This was talked about in the book. The horse economy is insane. People watch shows like Dance Moms and Toddlers and Tiaras and think wow those moms are crazy. That’s like going to a horse show. Except instead of one child the parents have two, their child and the horse. People spend crazy amounts of money on getting perfectly trained that come from amazing bloodlines and are trained to perform in ways that horses don’t naturally move. People spend thousands of dollars on an outfit to show in. After spending all this money on horses and their child, parents go crazy if their child doesn’t win or at least place. Horses are dressed up, shaved, banded and braided, shot up with drugs, and paraded around. Horse shows are crazy.

Upon looking at my relationship with horses I feel a bit like a hypocrite. I am a vegetarian for the reasons of how animals are treated. Yet, at least once a week I put on my leather boots and gloves made from the skin of cows. I put my leather saddle (I’ve owned probably close to 15 over the years) on my horse and and bridle him with my leather bridle. Occasionally if my horse is acting up, I strap on my spurs with leather straps. Sometimes I feel bad about all the leather that I own, but I also think to myself, what else would I use. All of these materials are made with synthetic material, but if you showed up at a show with these materials you would definitely not win a thing. I have owned synthetic boots before and honestly they sucked. They fell apart within a year. Yet they were cheaper and not made of animal products.

Additionally, the book talks about the morals in riding and using horses the way that humans do, especially in racing. I cannot speak for everyone, but I can speak for myself and my own horse. My horse is a thoroughbred, the breed usually used for horses who race. He was bred to be a racehorse, but his times during training were too slow. He is now used as a hunter jumper horse. He is crazy and loves to throw fits, however despite this I know that he enjoys what he does. He loves to jump. When riding him you can tell. I can’t explain it, but I can feel it. Additionally he loves to run. He runs for fun. When he needs to burn off some steam, he runs. When he is unsure of what to do he runs and he runs fast. As a horse bred to run, he loves it. I believe that race horses love to run and probably enjoy racing.

The book also brings up bestiality, with some people being known to believe that animals can consent to sexual acts with humans, which is absurd. Sexual consent means saying yes to sexual acts. The vast majority of animals cannot speak and so therefore cannot consent. The book also brings up the topic of why consent would matter here, but not in our other relationships of animals, such as eating them. I’m sure if we were able to reason with animals and asked them if they were okay with humans killing them to eat them, they would definitely say no. So even if they do “want it” and are able to consent why would that matter. We take everything else from animals why should sex be any different.

A whole chapter was devoted to farming and animal agriculture. Once again, the concept that some animals are treated like gods while others are viewed as property was brought up. Additionally religions that don’t eat meat were brought up and their biased towards certain animals that they literally view as gods and worship. One specific instance of this bias was brought up with tigers. When a restaurant in Texas tried to sell tiger, there was an uproar. However, in some Asian countries tigers are bred and sold for consumption. What you eat is dependent upon the culture that you live in, however one thing doesn’t change, some animals are treated as objects, while others are treated like family.


Pacia Purcell: Current Environmental Thing

November 9, 2016

“Cooling Down Chicago: How Green and Cool Roofs Could Impact Urban Climate”

engineering.nd.edu

The majority of people today live in cities, and those populations are only growing. The great amount of infrastructure in cities causes there to be an urban heat island, meaning that the temperature in the city is much greater than that of the surrounding rural areas. The University of Notre Dame conducted a study that compared the effects of using non-conventional roofing, and the effects of Lake Michigan on the temperature and air quality of the Chicago. They found that both green roofs and cool roofs had significantly lower temperatures than conventional roofs. They also looked at wind patterns from Lake Michigan to see how they would affect air quality. They concluded that because the temperature of the city is cooled by the green roofs, there will be less of a difference from the incoming cool air from Lake Michigan. This will cause there to be less mixing of the air and may therefore be able to cause air to stagnate close to the surface.


Environment and Society: Max Kerns

November 3, 2016

 

Environment and Society is an excellent source and should be used as a text for anyone that would like to know more about the interactions between humans and the environment. The Authors view the main issue with all environmental problems to be in concerns of the total human population.

Chapter 2:

Zero population growth, I was particularly interested in the model that global population is likely to reach stability in the next 50 years.

Also that National Fertility rates and literacy rates seem to go hand in hand.

I = P*A*T and the idea that different people have different ecological footprints.

Chapter 3:

Environmental scarcity drives markets, innovations, and new products.

Incentives to but more environmental products, though education about products truly meeting these guidelines are important. Green Business is and can be an opportunity for profit.

This made me wonder about ideas behind things like the energy saving light bulb.  How do government subsidies and politics play into these models?

Chapter 4:

Prisoner’s Dilemma, and the idea that individuals often do not make the best overall choice for the greater group. I wondered how this played into basic statistics.

Tragedy of the Commons: basic to all environmental discussions. Generally this is when a group shares a resource that many act out of personal interest that can hurt the group as a whole. Though once confronted with this, the group can learn to cooperate for the better good.

Chapter 5:

This is a bit of review from a lot of the reading we have done thus far. Basically deals with ethics when dealing with the natural realm. Though this brings up ideas of whether an eco-centric of anthropocentric system is more ideal.

Chapter 6:

This chapter mainly deals with risk and understanding problems or hazards with the human population, though also understanding that this is perspective based, and meaning that the individual assessment might not always be viewed in a logic or coherent state.

I found this particularly interesting when looking at the places that vast amounts of people live in the United States, particularly when looking at coastal areas or high risk areas. I recently did a report on the Sierra Nevada fault systems, and the amount of people in the shakedown area of California is intense.

More later.

 

 

 


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

November 3, 2016

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.

Questions:

  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.

Questions:

  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?

Wolves 

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.

Questions:

  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?

Tuna

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:

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

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.

Questions:

  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.

Questions?

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?