Weeks 9 and 10: no posting
Weeks 9 and 10: no posting
Week 1: Introduction to course
Week 2: Trouble with Wilderness and The Meadowlands
Week 3: Desert Solitaire
Week 5: Coates Nature
Week 6: Coates Nature
Week 7: Eating Animals
Week 8: Environment & Society
Week 9: Spring Break
Week 10: Krygier’s House
Week 11: Environment & Society
Week 12: Placing Animals
*Each week contains notes for the book and the current event
Watch your butts!
Cigarette butts contain all the carcinogenic chemicals, pesticides and nicotine that make tobacco use the leading cause of preventable death worldwide, yet trillions are dumped into the environment each year. Countless American smokers believe cigarette butts are an exception to the no littering rule because for some reason they think that cigarette butts are biodegradable.
Most cigarette filters are composed of cellulose acetate which is a form of plastic. The white fibers in the cigarette filters which look like cotton is actually a plastic that does not degrade. Dozens of cities across the nation are fed up with this waste problem. Cities have passed bans on smoking on beaches and parks. In San Francisco, California the city applies a $2 a pack tax to cover the money that the city spends annually removing the cigarette litter and it will generate $1.4 billion a year for health care, smoking prevention programs and research.
Nationally cigarette butts account for 25% of litter on the streets. I’ve been noticing that the number one littered item on campus appears to be cigarette butts. I predominantly find them more on the residential side compared to the academic side of campus. It’s very common to find them right outside entrances and exits of the dorms and especially at the designated smoking areas. The purpose of my project is to help keep the campus clean of this toxic waste. My plan was to put Plastic Smoker’s Receptacle waste cans at almost every entrance of Stuyvesant Hall and one at the main entrance of Smith Hall. The brand that produces these waste cans is called ULINE and the cans themselves cost $48 but discounts may be applicacble when purchased in bulk. These are the same cigarette cans the school has on the academic side of campus. There are some of these cigarette butt cans already on the residential side of campus, but they are either not conveniently placed or broken. So I need to find is who is in charge of maintaining the cigarette butt trash cans and how I can get funding for the Plastic Smokers Receptacle.
Bennett, Sophia. “How to Recycle Cigarette Ashes and Waste.” RecycleNation. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Feb. 2017.
Whole cities have embarked on trying to make their streets cleaner applying these waste containers throughout the entire city. This could be a second phase to my project for someone to do in the future.
“Butt Really? The Environmental Impact of Cigarettes | Tobacco Control.” Butt Really? The Environmental Impact of Cigarettes | Tobacco Control. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Feb. 2017.
This website gave a lot of information about how serious cigarette butt waste is to the environment. Going into detail about the harmful effects of leachates.
“Cigarette Litter –Biodegradable?” Cigarette Litter –Biodegradable? N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Feb. 2017.
Cigarettes butts are not biodegradable, they contain plastic and persistent in the environment for a very long time.
“Cigarette Waste Recycling Program.” TerraCycle. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Feb. 2017.
TerraCycle is a recycling program which specializes in hard to recycle waste. They have free programs where you collect the waste and download free shipping labels and ship the waste to them, schools and non profits can even earn rewards. They turn the waste into useful products.
Kaufman, Leslie. “Cigarette Butts: Tiny Trash That Piles Up.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 28 May 2009. Web. 22 Feb. 2017.
Leslie talks about the burden cities are left with from the result of smokers throwing their cigarette butts anywhere but the garbage.
Melody Gutierrez and Sam Whiting, San Francisco Chronicle. “Prop. 56: Voters Approve Cigarette Tax.” SFGate. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Feb. 2017.
San Francisco applies a $2 a pack tax to help raise money for research, healthcare and smoking prevention programs.
Novotny, Thomas E., and Elli Slaughter. “Tobacco Product Waste: An Environmental Approach to Reduce Tobacco Consumption.” Current Environmental Health Reports. Springer International Publishing, 2014. Web. 22 Feb. 2017.
Aquatic ecosystems are affected by the toxic water which is released from cigarette buds soaked in water. If a better effort was made to make sure cigarette buds were disposed of properly then there would be less toxic water entering the aquatic systems.
I really liked this because it goes through all of the reasons, mostly on a psychological level, why some people don’t believe in or care about global warming which is something that I never fully understood.
The idea of ‘self interest’ is something we’ve talked about in other classes, and I’ve sort of thought about it in regards to this, but never from an evolutionary point of view. I think it also comes from a place of privilege since we don’t live somewhere that has been strongly or quickly affected by climate change. I also agree with their statement that we could use this for the common good if the identity of ‘us’ was changed.
The Roots of Denial chapter was about something that really pains me, the rejection of facts that are obvious to me, and this chapter does a good job of explaining why people get stuck in denial once they’ve decided that that’s their stance, but I still have a hard time following the reasoning for denying it in the first place.
The GEVA graph was interesting and hopeful. However I’m interested in seeing how these next few years go with the change in politics.
There was a new carbon cycle found in polar glaciers that could be contributing more to climate change that previously thought https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/04/170412105910.htm
Book: coming soon….
Current Event: Anti current event: in 1951 a man landed a ski plane on the summit of Mount Rainier, 14,410 feet high. When he tried to restart his plane, it was broken. He had to slide the plane downhill until he hit a ramp and glided to safety in Seattle. After he landed he went to court for breaking a lot of laws including landing a plane unlawfully in a national park, and was fined $350 ($3300 in today’s dollars).. a very bold strategy
Since this is the book I’ll be presenting with Maggie I’ll keep my blog short. I read the second half and actually really enjoyed Part 2. The author tells a lot of stories, gives a lot of examples and really paints a vivid picture of what he is trying to say. However, I didn’t enjoy reading Part 3, it was to philosophical for my liking. And so many analogies that I would forget his argument. Part 2 had a lot more stuff about global waring and so did Part 3 it was just expressed very differently. In class I’ll be going over my favorite chapters more in depth.
Current Event : Ooho!!
An ‘edible water bottle’ that hopes to replace the millions of plastic bottles thrown away every year has raised over £500,000 in a crowdfunding campaign.
The water ball, named “Ooho!” is a biodegradable and natural membrane which can be fully swallowed and digested, as well as hydrating people in the same way as drinking water.
The product is made from a seaweed extract and is tasteless, although flavours can be added to it.
Freshwater lakes in North America are getting saltier due to development and exposure to road salt. 371 lakes were studied and publish in the Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences that lakes in the midwest and northeast are experiencing increasing chloride trends with 44% of them undergoing long-term salinization.
The team of researcher are a part of the Global Lake Ecological Observatory Network. The Lead author Hilary Dugan explained,
“We compiled long-term data, and compared chloride concentrations in North American lakes and reservoirs to climate and land use patterns, with the goal of revealing whether, how, and why salinization is changing across broad geographic scales. The picture is sobering. For lakes, small amounts of shoreline development translate into big salinization risks.”
Each lake studied was larger than 4 hectares and had at least 10 years of recorded chloride data. The use of road salt has been escalating since the 1940s. Each year about 23 million metric tons of sodium-chloride bases deicer is applied to the roads. This road salt washes into nearby bodies of water. Results showed that roads and other impervious surfaces within 500 meters of a lake’s shoreline were strong predictors of elevated chloride concentrations. If current salinization trends continue, many North American lakes with EPA-recommended chloride levels in 50 years.
The chloride levels have have been shown to alter the composition of fish, invertebrates, and the plankton that form the base of the aquatic food web. Species abundance and richness can decline.
The question: whether human-made global warming is happening- science question that is NOT in the book
WHAT WE THINK ABOUT WHEN WE TRY NOT TO THINK ABOUT GLOBAL WARMING: TOWARD A NEW PSYCHOLOGY OF CLIMATE ACTION
I thought Stoknes did a great job examining how people think about the climate in his book. He did a great job presenting this information in his book by breaking it up into the parts: ‘Thinking: Understanding the Climate Paradox,’ ‘Doing: If It Doesn’t Work, Do Something Else,’ and ‘Being: Inside the Living Air. I really enjoyed how he knew exactly what people were thinking and their reasons for such a hands off attitude toward the climate around them. Going back to Professor Krygier’s email earlier this week, it was interesting to put myself in the issues Stoknes raised. What was even more entertaining to me, is when Stoknes talked about people and their denial toward the climate. This literally made me laugh because the President of the USA was quoted saying, “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive”. This was the exact point that Stoknes was talking about when he said, “Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but everyone is not entitled to decide upon and make up their own scientific facts”. This book left me with a better sense of how people view the climate, as well as the actions these people take to either help it or separate themselves from the issue all together.
Current Event: Rotating Homes Are Taking Solar Power To The Next Level
-Casa em Movimento (House in Motion) is a Portuguese company that has designed rotating solar-powered houses that follow the sun. The concept of rotating the house with the sun, was inspired by the way sunflowers move with the sun from east to west during daylight, and back to the east overnight. The way it works, is that the homes are pre-programmed to move, which enables the homes to generate a great deal of energy with the sun power they collect. The houses rotate 180 degrees, and the roofing hoods pivot 90 degrees. This all means that the energy generated from the rotation is 25,000 kWh per year. To put that in perspective, a normal house of the same size uses just 5,000 kWh each year. This is all done by only using the energy comparable to six 60-watt light bulbs lit for an hour. Rotating homes have not yet hit mainstream, but these innovative houses show the kind of high-tech sustainable architecture the world can look forward to in decades to come.
29: From a biological perspective, success of an individual is measured in terms of fitness. Stoknes brings up how, from an evolutionary perspective, self interest in terms of producing offspring leads to making short-term choices that affect family. I think you could also flip that around and try to have people think about long-term effects, since it would maximize an individual’s fitness if future generations were taken care of.
The way I understood one of the major problems with addressing climate change was that it seems to be connected to procrastination on a large scale; we tend to focus on alleviating more tangible and immediate worries and completing tasks that give us instant gratification before shifting our focus to seemingly far away problems.
35: Here is where to find more NOAA annual climate facts and some interesting environmental news.
67: I never really considered whether our behaviors shape our attitudes or our attitudes shape our behaviors until reading this section. I could connect with this section by considering how I haven’t eaten meat since reading Eating Animals; my past behavior determined my eating choices and attitudes until the motives of my past behavior were questioned, and deciding to fully commit to a lifestyle change like that requires recognizing perceived flaws in past behavior, which are hard to confront.
77-79: Stoknes makes a good point that “We cannot be conscious about every aspect of our lives” (79), which relates to the Ted Talk “How Healthy Living Nearly Killed Me“.
Is denial and self-deception part of what differentiates animals and humans?
91: Do we have a duty to be social citizens? Sometimes those pushes in change in personal behavior that Stoken talks about aren’t necessarily seen as “main solutions” but rather as morals. At that point, it might become overwhelming to live by one’s morals and still have energy left over to be vocal about social change. This goes back to the idea that we cannot be conscious about every aspect of our lives; it is a lot to take on to be conscious about every aspect of others’ lives at the same time.
99-103: I think Stoknes does a good job in this sections of giving readers realistic ways of how to enter the climate conversation and engage the public. Stoknes uses a simple application of ethos (find a credible spokesperson), pathos (spread your personal story, develop a sense of power through community) and logos (make people aware about the consensus that global warming is real) to form an effective climate message. He also gives fun examples of public engagement that can be used to reach people who don’t really respond to facts presented by laboratory scientists.
131: Stoknes gives some interesting examples of green nudges. What are some examples used on our campus?
142: I appreciated how Stoknes addresses stewardship associated with Christianity rather than focusing on the dominion viewpoint like many of the previous readings have!
161: Here is an interesting article that explains how to actually estimate an index of biodiversity and talks about the implementation of the Nature Index in Norway.
185-189: The whole third part of this book was unexpected, for me. I didn’t realize how common despair over environmental change is, and I liked that Stoknes pointed out that it’s important to acknowledge the grief rather than make it something that should not be discussed publicly.
204-215: The more spiritual/ philosophical elements of part three were also unexpected, but refreshing since modern views have caused a shift from valuing emotions to valuing scientific knowledge. I think it’s easier to be passionate about issues that I feel personally connected with, and viewing the air as this “…sacred, intelligently creative being” (210) that is in a continuum with humans is an interesting way to foster that sense of connection. I also like how Stoknes offers the perspective that creation wasn’t just a onetime event. The world is being continuously created: “We’re co-creating the world in any now” (214). Stoknes thinks humans will lose “…something central and powerful – a sense of the sacred that can be critical for motivating us in the highly needed transformation, that makes climate into something very near, no longer distant, abstract, technical, chemical.” (215) In the Interfaith house we often discuss how spirituality, for some of our house members, is very much a sense of feeling connected to Earth. Since many people aren’t responding to strict scientific facts, it might be interesting to see if this idea of connection changes their viewpoints.
219: Are you an optimist, pessimist, realist or something in between, and how does this affect your attitude toward climate change? I found it hard to relate to passive and active skepticism because to me, the passive skepticism he described is in itself optimistic since you are believing that a challenge will be overcome no matter what, and the active skeptic who goes after something even when there seems to be no hope seems like it requires optimism. I view myself as an optimist, but not really in the sense that Stoknes defined optimists as people believing that by putting effort in good will come out or that good will just happen. I don’t think optimism is something you “cling” to; for me, it’s more about trust and faith (which are grounded things) and finding the good that comes from bad situations, even if the only good thing is that you made it through a challenge.
States of Denial (15)
Stoknes presents some quotes that illustrate denial from members of our House of Representatives. He goes on to say, “Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but everyone is not entitled to decide upon and make up their own scientific facts. You may be free to state that you don’t like some scientific results. But not to twist or label ‘junk’ or ‘pseudo-science’ those you don’t like. Nor to communicate cherry-picked subsets of facts in any way that pleases you” (16). This point resonated with me because it describes spot on what so many people do (not even just for climate science, but for many other disciplines of work). These people are not providing critique or contra arguments (which are, in fact, a necessary part in any scientific field), but instead appear to discredit the other side by means of sarcasm, mockery, and the manner and style of speaking.
When it comes to the term ‘denial’, I think many people (myself included) forget that this is not just a meaningless word thrown around to arbitrarily label people whose views don’t match with our own. ‘Denial’ is an actual psychological concept that you can learn about in any intro psych class in any university. It’s a real thing. I think that people who actually fall under the category of ‘deniers’ often fail to recognize that they are actually denying whatever it is that they oppose. Stoknes says “denial is lying so hard you actually come to believe in your own lie” (16). They truly believe that their logic is sound and take the world ‘denier’ as an insult.
Having a conversation with a denier is frustrating at best, particularly when you recognize the tactics they use such as conspiracies, fake experts, selectivity, fake analogies and logical fallacies, and impossible expectations. One can scroll the feed of any social media and easily pick out the deniers who just can’t seem to be reasoned with. It’s disheartening to those who are passionate about their field.
Climate Attitudes: Alarmed, Concerned, or Dismissive (57)
This section ties well with ‘States of Denial’. He discusses the three components that make up a person’s attitude, namely an affective, behavioral, and cognitive. These translate to our emotion and feeling connected to something, what kind of action we take toward it, and what thoughts, knowledge, and beliefs come up from memory when attending to the issue. An attitude is strong and consistent if all three components are aligned. Furthermore, attitudes can be learned or adopted fast, but once learned it is difficult to change it on our own. This makes it difficult to persuade a denier that there are other viable perspectives to an issue. Take climate change as an example: scientists have increasingly tapped into the cognitive component of people’s attitudes, but have done little to target the other two. To address this, the media booms with pictures that are the result of climate change—skinny polar bears, climate refugees, etc. However, our culture has become numb to these pictures over the years. Stoknes suggests that in addition to our lack of attention toward the images, the message being transferred with them is subconsciously being heard as an accusation: not only is the human influence on the climate system too high, but our western culture in particular is at fault (60). Even though that may be correct factually, there is a condemnatory tone in climate communication that creates strong associations with fear and guilt, indirectly underscoring that we should feel bad about the way we live—hence the birth of climate deniers—because the underlying message is shaming.
Scientists Fear Climate Data Gap as Trump Aims at Satellites
The Trump administration released a budget blueprint last month and one section in particular is concerning climate researchers. This section proposed eliminating four of NASA’s climate science missions, including instruments to study clouds, small airborne particles, the flow of CO2, and other elements of the atmosphere and oceans.
In the past, NASA has built and operated climate satellites and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has operated weather satellites. While there is some overlap, weather satellites focus on basics like clouds, winds, temperatures and moisture to provide information for forecasts. Most of NASA’s instruments are designed to provide long-term records of phenomena like ice-sheet thickness, sea-level rise, vegetation changes and the makeup of the atmosphere.
After a scare at the beginning of this decade when it looked like NOAA might have no functioning weather satellites for a time — a potentially disastrous situation — the agency now has plans and funding to replace its satellites as required. But there are currently few plans to replace NASA’s instruments, many of which are at or near the end of their useful lives.
Climate monitoring has fallen into a gap between the agencies. The priority has been on gathering weather data because we understand the value of weather data. That priority is reflected in the proposed Trump budget, which eliminates the NASA missions while also calling for full funding of NOAA’s replacement orbiters.
Long before President Trump was elected, climate researchers warned that the nation’s climate monitoring capabilities — which include satellites as well as air- and surface-based instruments — were less than adequate and faced data collection gaps and other uncertainties. Continuous data records are crucial to climate researchers to improve their models to better understand how the climate is changing. Elimination of any of the missions would be a further blow.
To learn more about NASA’s climate satellites, click here!