Week 3 — Evelynn Wyatt

Current Event

Researchers from several east coast universities have determined that “nuisance flooding” (wherein several mm-cm of water occurs as a result of high tides in coastal areas due to climate-related sea level rise, land subsidence, and the loss of natural barriers) will continue to increase as a result of climate change and human intervention (such as the removal of groundwater). This type of flooding can damage homes and roads and lead to problems with traffic. The researchers also found that Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina are most susceptible to this increase and are also currently sinking below the sea at a rate of 3mm per year, much quicker than the past 300 years of recorded data.


The Fanaticism of the Apocalypse

As I was reading this book I felt very negatively toward the author and his, in my opinion futile, attempt at constructing a cohesive, convincing, and logical argument. I had a difficult time determining whether or not he was attempting to be sarcastic or satirical and felt his flowery use of language to inhibit comprehension as opposed to improving it. I have read a great deal of academic literature and compared even to complex English literary theory and dense biological science research papers, Bruckner’s use of language was incredibly challenging to understand. As a result of this writing style and the enormous, questionable connections he attempts to make between environmentalism and history and society I was unable to view the author as having significant credibility. For example, he quotes the Unabomber’s manifesto, compares Nazism, Hitler, and the Holocaust to the ways in which humanity has committed “genocide” toward mother nature, and recommends (perhaps satirically) that we begin killing off the human race as a means to protect the other organisms that live here.

In the end, however, I found Bruckner’s conclusion highly appealing and agree that “only an increase in research, an explosion of creativity, or an unprecedented technological advance will be able to save us,” (184). I also felt that the very real threat of catastrophism and resulting human apathy which Bruckner describes earlier on in the book is probably one of his most compelling arguments. And although I found his hyperbolic narration and wildly unreasonable analogies infuriating, I understand that he used these techniques to mirror the ways in which diehard environmentalists look at and talk about climate change and ecological problems/disasters.  Overall,  I would describe the book as somewhat funny, reasonably interesting, and most definitely patience-testing.


Project Update

I am meeting with Emily tomorrow to discuss design plans, financing options, and future student involvement for the garden outside the observatory. More information to follow shortly,


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