Reading Responses and Environmental News are in the same posting.
Week 1: Introduction
Week 2: Cronon, The Trouble With Wilderness: https://wordpress.com/post/environmentalgeography.wordpress.com/36808
Week 3: Abbey, Desert Solitaire: https://wordpress.com/post/environmentalgeography.wordpress.com/37350
Week 4: Bruckner, The Fanaticism of the Apocalypse: https://wordpress.com/post/environmentalgeography.wordpress.com/37914
Week 5: Coates, Nature Preface + Chap (1-5): https://wordpress.com/post/environmentalgeography.wordpress.com/38221
Week 6: Coates, Nature Chap (6-9): https://wordpress.com/post/environmentalgeography.wordpress.com/38904
Week 7: Foer, Eating Animals: https://wordpress.com/post/environmentalgeography.wordpress.com/39267
Week 8: Fall Break
Week 9: Meeting at Dr. Krygier’s House
Week 10: Robbins et al., Environment and Society (First Half): https://wordpress.com/post/environmentalgeography.wordpress.com/39637
Week 11: Robbins et al., Environment and Society (Second Half): Sick, Sorry
Week 12: Urbanik, Placing Animals https://wordpress.com/post/environmentalgeography.wordpress.com/40166
Week 13: Stoknes, What We Think About When We Try Not To Think About Global Warming: Toward a New Psychology of Climate Action: https://wordpress.com/post/environmentalgeography.wordpress.com/40379
In class we have talked a lot about the causes and effects of being bombarded with information about climate change. I liked that Stoknes provided a psychological explanation as to why we resist action against climate change and also suggested strategies for dealing with the immobilizing depression we experience when we consider the multitudinous environmental crises we are facing. I found his arguments about switching from fossil fuels to wind and solar energy to be compelling, if not entirely plausible. I also strongly agree with his belief that the root of climate change denial and a lack of large-scale changes results from an inadequate understanding of the way most humans think, act, and live in the world around them, though I hadn’t considered all of the consequences of this prior to reading his book. It is astounding to me that in first world countries, approximately half the population simply doesn’t believe that climate change is occurring. It seems like this widespread denial has only been increasing as more and more data has piled up to prove that climate change is happening– and it’s happening fast.
I honestly am very tired of reading and talking about climate change. I think we should read about a different issue since climate change comes up in everything we read a it is already. I did enjoy Stonkes’ writing style and felt his background in psychology made for an all-around more compelling book. I also liked that the book was split into three sections. To solve most problems you need to take the steps he outlines: Thinking, Doing, and Being. I feel that he deftly captures the ways in which humans now relate to the natural world and offers concrete solutions to improve this fraught relationship.
Invasive species are a growing threat especially as climate change is increasing temperatures across the globe. The remote Bouvet Island, a tiny, glacier-smothered landmass in the South Atlantic rimmed by 500-meter-tall cliffs, is the only known spot on Earth that has zero invasive species. Every other place is at least indirectly affected by one or more species that has been transported to new lands from the ecosystems in which the species evolved. In the United States, such interlopers — everything from zebra mussels in the Great Lakes to Burmese pythons in the Everglades — damage crops, infrastructure or otherwise cost taxpayers about $145 billion annually. Invasive species, are born of globalization and consumerism, their numbers increase as international trade widens and accelerates. The cost and spread of invasives is only going to get worse if we do not find new methods of preventing/reversing global warming.
I enjoyed this week’s reading, and thought the area of study was very relevant to the way society views climate change. I thought it was interesting that he divided the book into three sections: Thinking/Doing/Being. The first section of the book introduced the idea of denial, and how that plays a role in people who do not believe in climate change. There are underlying factors in the roots of denial that I will go into further detail tonight. I thought the next section was interesting because it talked about actual statistics and examples of people doing their part to combat climate change. There are many points about the behavior of the public in regards to the environment. In this section, he talks about the good signs of change throughout the world, and the barriers to creating change. In the last section, it was about how to change the way people think in regards to climate change, and how the cognitive factors affect peoples view of climate change.
This article was about a limited study on the long-term about damaging the ligaments in your knee, namely the ACL and MCL. The study concluded that no matter how old you are if you tear these ligaments you are over 50% likely to develop arthritis in the coming decade of tearing these ligaments. The writer interviewed an orthopedic professor at Harvard University, and he said that the number of reconnective surgeries at 26 children’s hospitals has skyrocketed. The professor states that is especially hard to see a teenager tear their ACL because he knows that in 10 years they will have arthritis problems. So if a teen tears his ACL at 15 a replacement knee at 25 is not a very viable option. The writer also cited professional athletes who have had knee problems like Derrick Rose, and Lindsey Vonn.
The asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs might not have been so destructive had it landed elsewhere. The location that it hit had rocks loaded with hydrocarbon. The release of these rocks unleashed 100 trillion tons of TNT. If it were to have landed on some of the 87% of land elsewhere, they might still be walking today.
What We Think About When We Try Not to Think About Global Warming confronted the climate change arguments head on. Espen Stokens was keen on showing that it wasn’t that scientists weren’t alarmists, but the science behind it was alarming.” (7) The facts are there, why do we not act on it?
There was a study that I thought was really intriguing which was a survey done in the U.S. that had residents rank three things in terms of concern: climate change, financial sustainability, Islamic extremism. I was slightly surprised that Islamic extremism was ranked the highest, but extremely surprised that climate change ranked the lowest. Even though a vast majority of American’s are aware of these struggles, it is about prioritizing. We are in an age where global terrorism is a big thing and American’s are afraid of a threat that has a probability of happening to them, instead of something that is currently happening. That is by far one of the most confusing things I got from this book. Another point that I think he made about prioritizing was the issue of who is being effected. Those of wealthier incomes who have more inclined to be thought of by politicians when making decisions to benefit an area aren’t those in the polluted area. Those who are in these “vulnerable communities” (209) are black, brown, elderly, and, mainly all those of low income.
Stoken’s later goes on to address the “Self-Interest of Me”, basically saying that we are a very self-centered people which ties into the self satisfaction of what we want now. He also discusses how obviously we live our lives to the environment changing around us. He quotes a philosopher and author, David Abram, who basically says, we take the environment around us for granted. This is evident in the way that we don’t actually care that our class may be a ten minute walk when we instead choose to drive, leaving emissions that could’ve easily not been used. I know, I for one, do this.
The book was well written in how it presented things to an average person with an open mind. He took his own time in explaining his reasoning for how he thinks using life stories which I thought made it easier to be open to his points. Climate change is real and we should do something (please rich people).
“How and why did climate science turn into a politically alienating issue?” I have to say that I agree that the topic of global warming can be alienating. It shouldn’t be, to be the most effective each side should be able to clearly express their opinions so both could work on solutions, but if you don’t believe in global warming, you can be labeled as an idiot. Then again, a ton of people will say they believe but continue living their lives in denial not changing anything. I’m guilty of it too, we have a hard time trying to fix the long-term solutions opposed to choosing the more convenient and harmful option. This book talks about how people imitate others around them, if there is litter on the ground, they are more likely to litter. We could use that as an advantage, making it seem like everyone is becoming more eco-friendly, maybe others will start too. The part that I enjoyed about this book, was that he laid out the steps we need to take to change people’s actions, and success stories. Like the pizza place that gave away food when the community’s energy conservation went up, or a simple default double-sided printing. He went on to suggest that if we want to solve our environmental problems we should build solutions that “1. Turn the barriers upside down. 2. Stick to positive strategies. 3. Act as social citizens, not individuals.” I think he may be onto something. I thought this was an interesting book, and it was refreshing that instead of hearing just problems he presented solutions as well. P.S. I totally think we should have the default that you donate your organs when you die, like Australia. It would help so many people.
Current Event: Archeologists found a new Mayan secret passageway. Found using X-ray based imaging, it is an underwater path believed to hold bones of the deceased. The temple the path was found at, is decorated by a god often depicted in wars and human sacrifices. The Archeologists were able to explore part of the way into the tunnel before coming to a blockage that they believe the Mayans purposely made.
What We Think About When We Try Not To Think About Global Warming: Toward a New Psychology of Climate Action Notes
I found this book to be very insightful about how people think and discuss the current issue of climate change. When there is a new study about climate change that’s been published or climate change is involved in politics, I always see a heated debate go on. Between people who agree of it’s existence, politics, businesses, ect. everyone has some opinion about it. As a science major, I’ve wondered why so many people ignore the issues and why it causes so much debate but have never really understood why. This book provided some insight into the debate and the psychology behind it. I found it surprising that globally many people think little of climate change or have little concern about it in general. In biology we say everyone is selfish because in the end all that matters is how many offspring you produce. This explains why other more current major threats such as job security take priority. Humans are irrationally rational such that the unusual events are the events that stand out in our minds such as terrorism make huge headlines and are a large concern. Thinking about climate change, it is a much slower event that does not occur overnight resulting in less of a huge headline. Having been studying ecology since starting college, scientific language have become a normal thing for me but for those outside of the field, it is understandable why scientific writing that is publish can be a challenge to understand. The author mentions how this kind of dialogue can make climate change seem very distance from us allowing for us to make it unrelated to our daily lives.
I am interested in continuing to do work in conservation biology and or ecology so I found this book to be fascinating. I personally like to think that I am aware of climate change and the effects of pollution on the environment but after reading this, it seems that I more frequently then not to fall in line with everyone else. I recycle and vote for political change in favor for what could benefit the environment but like everyone else, other problems of the world are more at the forefront of my mind. This book provided me with a better idea of what how the general public views and acts towards the topic of climate change. In the end, when we all really think about it, we are sustained by the earth and the environment. Maybe changes in the dialogue or the potential extreme climate changes will get us noticing more therefore change out behaviors. It is difficult to say how our future thoughts on climate change will alter but hopefully it will change.
Currently Environmental News
Recent research has shows that dogs produce more facial expressions when people are looking at them. The expressions made are dependent on the attention state of the audience and irrelevant to whether people held food with them or not. This research suggests that the expressions are being made as active attempts to communicate and manipulate our behavior and are not just emotional displays. The most famous “puppy dog eye” expression is potentially a way to make humans feel more empathetic towards dogs due to the expression’s similarity to that of an infant.
I thought this book was interesting and gave a good look at the psychological view of acceptance of an idea from different perspectives. I am a big proponent of looking at an argument from all sides and understanding where the other person is coming from, I am also a big proponent of having people understand scientific findings and believing in the scientific process, so I think that this book does a good job of showing why we should understand all sides and why it’s hard to convince people of climate change.
There were a lot of good points brought up about climate science, like that it is alarming, and therefore hard to take, but is also presented in a non-urgent manner, because it is presented as 25 years+ in the future, that it’s going to affect things that aren’t necessarily directly us, like the ocean, rural desert areas in other countries, et cetera, we don’t directly see or feel it happening, and there are often comparisons of temperature and weather as opposed to climate when non-scientists discuss climate change, and the studies and information given are presented in scientific terminology that the general public doesn’t understand and therefore questions. This is something I see in everyday life, I know a lot of people who don’t really care about climate change or don’t believe it’s real, and they don’t care to listen to me explain it, or look up more information, or vote based on environmental causes, because they have heard what the media has said, that it isn’t a big or immediate problem, that there is large debate as to whether climate change is real, and that it’s not just hippies trying to change their ways.
Another interesting thought is that people see that the science and models are changing over time, and instead of the general public grasping that this is just in terms of numbers, and not the overall conclusions, and that this is a progression of science, not proving that the previous conclusions were wrong, but rather adapting them based on the most recent information, and the belief that because of these changes climate change is just an exaggerated media story, not something to really consider in everyday life. This hits home a bit, because many of my relatives watch the news 3 times a day on the same channel, with the same information being spit at them, and I can specifically remember my dad and brothers having an argument about the number of scientists (97%) who are in consensus about the existence of climate change and human impacts on climate change, and my dad consistently repeating, “I’d have to see that number” or “I haven’t heard that number, I’ve heard more like 30%”, which is what he’s heard from his news sources, and therefore it is true, so I understand how hard it is to try to explain to someone who isn’t “in the science world” and how polarizing the different sides are.
I also thought it was interesting that the book described how it is difficult culturally to show that you care about something like climate change when it isn’t the cool thing to be doing and you are the only one and you have to explain your views to everyone and most of the time they don’t want you to have a good answer so they don’t have to question their ethics and idea base. This is something I have come across since deciding to be vegetarian, there are a certain group of people who just don’t question it, a certain group of people who try to avoid it like it’s a big deal and that I’m trying to shove it down their throats, so even if they asked about it I would automatically be wrong, and then there are a few people who are genuinely curious, despite not necessarily understanding my point of view, or not thinking it will change anything. I come across the same sort of responses from the same people when I try to talk about recycling, driving cars, wasting food and I can definitely see how it can be hard to be the first one in your group of peers or family to care about the environment when it isn’t cool.
For the first time in 3 years global emissions of CO2 from fossil fuels and industry are projected to rise by 2% by the end of 2017. This is after 3 years of relatively flat emissions.
What We Think About When We Try Not To Think About Climate Change: I enjoyed reading this book. I thought it asked brought up a lot of good points and really got me to think critical about our current situation. It is amazing how many people choose to simply ignore climate change even though its effects are everywhere, such as heat waves becoming more frequent, stronger superstorms, typhoons wreaking havoc , sea levels rising, the Arctic permafrost is melting faster than expected, corals and fish are dying, and there are more floods and droughts. All of these are critical effects of climate change yet nothing is really being done to stop it. My favorite quote from the book is “the climate paradox is easily evident. The scientific data and measurements about climate change and global warming are getting stronger and stronger. It’s not that scientists are alarmists — it’s that the science itself is alarming.” This goes to show that this issue needs to be taken seriously and something needs to be done, and the author gives us a few possible ways to help combat climate change. Overall I found this book to quite interesting and well worth the read.
Event: That’s Baa-rach! Sheep Can ID Obama, Other Celebs
Sheep are known to be social animals who can recognize each other and even recognize their caretakers. However, researchers have now found that sheep can recognize unfamiliar faces even if they are not in 3-D. The researchers trained the sheep to recognize Obama, Emma Watson, Jake Gllyenhal, and others. The sheep were on par with human recognition and they can even recognize them when presented different pictures at different angles.