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.