What We Think About When We Try Not To Think About Global Warming – Caroline Hamlin

April 11, 2018

This book radically reframes the approach for people to take to address global warming. To understand and make the most of this book, you have to suspend your historical assumptions and work with the material. The more the science and date that are presented to those who are not aligned with them, the more people go numb. Thinking is the frame of mind we use to address global warming and the facts we muster to demonstrate the case for taking action. Doing includes the actions we take. Being is about how we are each asked to be more emotionally present in the world. The first and second sections offer the usual remedies for responding to the Earth heating up. That said, what Stoknes presents in these two sections goes against climate change gospel. The third section on “being” makes  this book come alive and breaks new ground. Stoknes challenges the historical approach of all the “rock stars” who are leading the way on climate change with rationality and piles of data.

 


Blog post (Mohid Naseer)

April 11, 2018

This book is the most interesting book I have read all semester. I say that because I believe that the author didn’t just write a book for the sake of writing a book. The book is an accumulation of pleasantly surprising and genuine thoughts of Per Espen Stoknes. I think dividing the book into three parts gave it a certain direction and it led to growing expectations that were definitely lived upon. The book highlights such a critical and significant analysis of human brains and how humans have always reacted to change in times of “stability”.

I couldn’t agree more that we humans are so caught up in what is happening in the present, more often than not, we are just too scared to think or accept about the possibilities of future. The examples the author uses such as the introduction of railway systems for the first time and how that change caused so much initial rowdiness and how all of that disappeared into nothing. Same applies to climate change and how in the moment it seems unachievable but maybe fifty years from now on, it might not be that difficult to achieve. I liked how he talks about the inspirational virtues that have been lacking when it comes to climate change and how most of us already look at it like a lost cause when there is absolutely everything on the line to fight for. To conclude, I loved this book and would probably not change anything about it.


What We Think About…

April 11, 2018

Although the book cover says “a new psychology of climate action” I was surprised at how in-depth the author delved into the origins and impacts of a variety of individuals thoughts on climate change and climate action instead of politics and problems and solutions. The second chapter disclosed the five typical tactics of denialism: (1) identification of conspiracies, (2) use of fake experts, (3) selectivity, (4) creation of impossible expectations, and (5) the use of false analogies and logical fallacies. In addition, a list of the basic characteristics of our biopsychology was stated: (1) self-interest, (2) status, (3) imitation, (4) short-term favored over long-term thinking, and (5) immediate valued over long-term risk. Opening with these ideas gave me a reference frame for later concepts, which I greatly appreciated. The breakdown of the book into 3 parts worked very well in my opinion, with previous sections informing the next. My favorite section was definitely “Being” (i.e. looking at relationship with earth and air). It was sometimes difficult to hear how reflective the climate’s state is of the way we treat ourselves, others, and how we live our lives. But the author did not leave me feeling shamed or hopeless unlike a lot of other writings that are in regard to the human-nature relationship. I want to spend more time with this book and give it the attention and consideration (i.e. critical thought) it deserves, as I believe a lot can be learned from the critical analysis of our psyche and its relationship to climate action and climate change provided by this author and some of the others mentioned within the text (like Mark Hoofnagle, Jorgen Randers, etc.).

 

More on Nuclear Power:

Major source of current info on nuclear power options.

http://www.world-nuclear.org/information-library/nuclear-fuel-cycle/nuclear-power-reactors/small-nuclear-power-reactors.aspx


Week 13 blog post

April 11, 2018

What We Think About When We Try Not to Think About Global Warming: Toward a New Psychology of Climate Action was overall really good. It is divided into 3 main sections: Thinking, Doing, Being. I especially enjoyed this book because it gave me an approach that I could use during conversations with my grandpa who simply denies “climate science facts”. Probably one of the most interesting figures he brings up is Figure 1.3, he talks about how when people around the world were asked to rank their concern about climate change, financial instability, and Islamic extremism. For US residents the concern about climate ranked the lowest, whereas in developing countries climate change ranked the highest in their concerns. This of course then would call for an adjustment in how to communicate climate change, because clearly the current methods for how to communicate the issue are not effective. The line “science itself is really systematized skepticism” made me laugh, because it is so very true. One of the many “rules” of scientific research is that your research must be peer reviewed and as well it is a well known fact that at any given moment another scientist could easily disprove a theory that one has worked on their whole life. Such is the life of a scientist. He then speaks on the idea that we need to change the psychological approach behind how are portraying climate change. Yet, as he speaks about later in the book, it is hard to make people be worried about something that they cannot see or feel. I personally think that this was the most important section of the book, because he speaks on what is most necessary to change in order for people to change their thoughts about climate change. We must learn to work together to communicate this issue, and explain to others the importance of climate change, even though it will be very complicated to explain how something should be feared when we cannot actually portray the threat. Overall this book was very interesting to read, and very helpful.

In environmental news:

http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-43713719

 


Blog post 4/11/18

April 11, 2018

In his work What we Think About when we try not to think about global warming Stoknes raises a question that has been on my mind since the beginning of this class: we clearly have knowledge of the issues of climate change—scientists and politicians have been speaking on them for years—and we clearly have the technology to slow it, so why don’t we? It is interesting for me to see the perspective of a psychologist and economist looking at these issues, as opposed to an environmentalist, as Stoknes understands the difficulties in changing the direction of entire societies with regard to climate change. He points out the willingness of people to talk about the issue, or at least acknowledge it, however when it comes to actually putting in effort to fix it, most westerners are notably silent.

http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-43713719

This article covers the Atlantic ocean circulation system, and the fact that it is weaker today than it has been in the past 1,000 years. Due to ice sheets melting and cooling down water near the surface, the ocean’s system of circulating water is weakening, which could effect all sorts of climates across Europe, as well as coral populations and even fish populations.


Placing Animals – Caroline Hamlin

April 4, 2018

As Julie Urbanik vividly illustrates, non-human animals are central to our daily human lives. We eat them, wear them, live with them, work with them, try to save them, spoil them, abuse them, fight them, hunt them, love them and hate them. Placing Animals brings together two worlds where the historical development of the field of animal geography with a comprehensive survey of how geographers study animals today. Urbanik provides the readers with a thorough understanding of the relationship between animal geography and the larger animal studies project, an appreciation of many geographies of human-animal interactions around the world, and insight into how animal geography is both challenging and contributing to the major field of human and nature-society geography. Through the theme of the role of place in shaping where and why human-animal interactions occur, the chapters in turn explore the history of animal geography and our distinctive relationships in the home on farms, context of labor, in wider culture, and in the wild.


Where

April 4, 2018

Placing Animals by Julie Urbanik offers many thought provoking arguments over what roles animals have played in geography over time. My critique for the early chapters are that there were simply too many lists. “3 things that define geography” and then the different waves of geography of animals, and each list came with caveats… Maybe I was just trying to read it too fast, but it felt a bit cumbersome.

However, the book came with many interesting thoughts. On page 35, the book talks about how women and the breastfeeding of animals. This was an incredible thought to me, as I have never heard of that. Urbanik presents research which suggests that this act may have lead to domestication. That actually blew my mind. I know that dogs are like domesticated wolves, but have never heard of how that came to be. Of course, there were many other reasons for breastfeeding, such as raising animals to be eaten or sacrificed. But this was a really cool reveal I had never heard of before.

I was a bit upset looking at the production/consumption maps on pages 112-113. I have been learning a lot about industrial farms lately, and these maps provide a visual for just how much we consume – the US is the only country which is both a top 20 consumer and producer for cattle, poultry, and dairy. With the problems that farms create… I have come to the conclusion that we consume way too much.

Additionally, I particularly liked the historical geographies section of Chapter 6: Into the Wild. It gives brief descriptions of histories of several animals including sparrows, crows, wolves, and turkeys. Overall, I found the book to be pretty interesting.


Week 12 Post- Matt Yung

April 4, 2018

Placing Animals by Urbanik made me realize the many different functions and relations humans have with animals. I agree with some of her points about our lack of understanding the animal world and most of us understand them through cartoons and our own depictions. I liked her historical outline of our view of animals and how its evolved with from Darwinian influence to cultural animal geography and beyond. I never thought about the different functions animals and how humans interact/use them. There are some animals we think should have rights and others we use for fighting or beastiality. There also animals that serve a purpose such as a guide dog but extends to laboratory animals or farm animals. We have many ethical decisions to make regarding what animals should be eaten and what animals should be cloned or genetically modified and the reasoning behind each use can get complex.

 

The topic of which animals should be hunted and which should be protected reminded me of hunting in the midwest. I was surprised to find out during my first year living in Pennsylvania that school is cancelled for the first day of hunting season. I thought that deer were not viewed as a species that should be protected. I went into PA’s Game Commission webpage about the deer population and learned that the wild population is managed and monitored to ensure white-tailed deer predators are not negatively impacted and that enough deer are still around. In fact, the Game Commission measures the ‘pre-hunt’ deer population and tries to stabilize the population. This is a great example of the complex relationship humans have with animals.

 

PA Game Commission Page

http://www.pgc.pa.gov/Wildlife/WildlifeSpecies/White-tailedDeer/Pages/PredationDeerPopulation.aspx

 

Study describes earliest evidence of ancient Maya dog trade

Research conducted by the University of Florida, University of Arizona, and Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute analyzed isotopes and discovered the earliest evidence for Maya raised and traded dogs. They believe animals played an important role in ceremonies.

https://www.enn.com/articles/54202-study-describes-earliest-evidence-of-ancient-maya-dog-trade

 


Placing Animals

April 4, 2018

The author discussed how the purpose of the book is to help our comprehension about the connection between creature geology and the bigger creature thinks about scholastic group alongside any topographies of human-creature associations around the globe and the manner by which creature topography is both testing and adding to the significant fields of human and nature-society topography.

There is also three key points about human-animal relations complicate our relations with animals The boundary between humans and animals is not consistent, Animals are much more than simply background to human lives only to be acknowledged intermittently – they’re central to people’s everyday existence and Who and where you are as a human in the world shapes the interaction you will have with different species.

Grossman records how social factors like esteems and nearby practices can be pivotal powers molding present-day creature related animal’s practices. Human use of nonhumans as livestock is not defined only by economic utility for example, sheep may not be sufficiently significant for formal trade thus sheep crowding wouldn’t grab hold.


Placing Animals

April 4, 2018

As I got further into this book the more I enjoyed it. The use of end of chapter discussion questions, references, and the relatively uniform breakdown of each chapter (historical, cultural, and economic geographies and ethics) made for a very thought provoking and easy to follow info session about the past and present happenings of human-animal relations and their study in geography. Furthermore, the author was very well learned in this sub-discipline which can be validated by the great deal of differing sources provided in each chapter, which I greatly appreciated as it will allow me to study these subjects in further detail at a later time.

It is clear that there has been an evolution in terms of the analysis of human-animal interactions (zoogeography to “new” animal geography) and that human-animal relationships have changed in major ways (factory farming, research labs, etc.) I was personally very interested in the discussion of mice in chapter 4. I was amazed that birds, mice, and rats are not considered animals by the Animal Welfare Act (AWA). That is just staggering, in this day (however, this book was written in 2012 and this may have changed). I would definitely like to look further into the practice of inserting foreign genes into particular species (mentioned later with regards to mice, ex. GFP transgenic mice). I will end with this statement from Robert and Baylis (2003), which left me a bit confused (maybe someone can help me out with this), “humans have a ‘strong interest in avoiding any practice that would lead us to doubt the claim that humanness is a necessary (if not sufficient) condition for full moral standing’” (Urbanik 95).

 

Safer Nuclear Power:

Fast Neuron Reactors

(Updated October 2017)

  • Fast neutron reactors are a technological step beyond conventional power reactors, but are poised to become mainstream.
  • They offer the prospect of vastly more efficient use of uranium resources and the ability to burn actinides which are otherwise the long-lived component of high-level nuclear wastes.
  • Some 400 reactor-years experience has been gained in operating them.
  • Generation IV reactor designs are largely FNRs, and international collaboration on FNR designs is proceeding with high priority.

About 20 fast neutron reactors (FNR) have already been operating, some since the 1950s, and some supplying electricity commercially. About 400 reactor-years of operating experience have been accumulated to the end of 2010. Fast reactors more deliberately use the uranium-238 as well as the fissile U-235 isotope used in most reactors. If they are designed to produce more plutonium than the uranium and plutonium they consume, they are called fast breeder reactors (FBRs). But many designs are net consumers of fissile material including plutonium.* Fast neutron reactors also can burn long-lived actinides which are recovered from used fuel out of ordinary reactors.

* If the ratio of final to initial fissile content is less than 1 they are burners, consuming more fissile material (U-235, Pu and minor actinides) than they produce (fissile Pu), if more than 1 they are breeders. This is the burn ratio or breeding ratio. If the ratio is 1 they are iso-breeders, producing the same amount of fuel as they consume during operation.

Several countries have research and development programs for improved fast neutron reactors, and the IAEA’s INPRO program involving 22 countries (see later section) has fast neutron reactors as a major emphasis, in connection with closed fuel cycle. For instance one scenario in France is for half of the present nuclear capacity to be replaced by fast neutron reactors by 2050 (the first half being replaced by 3rd-generation EPR units).

An agreement between Japan’s Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA), France’s CEA and the US Department of Energy was signed in October 2010. This expanded previous FNR collaboration towards the joint design and development of reliable world-class FNRs and getting private manufacturers involved. JAEA is working on the design of a demonstration reactor to succeed the prototype FBR Monju, France is developing the Advanced Sodium Technical Reactor for Industrial Demonstration (ASTRID) with Japan, and wanted Japan to test its fuel in Monju. The USA is standing back from new plants and is focused on systems, materials and safety analysis but has an extensive base of information and experiences as a result of past efforts to develop FNRs, notably FFTF and EBR-II. GE Hitachi is taking forward some of this work with its new PRISM, which is under serious consideration in the UK for burning its reactor-grade plutonium stockpile while producing electricity. Both pool-type and loop-type FNR designs are seen to have potential, though most larger designs are pool-type. The work will include FNR fuel cycles.

(from http://www.world-nuclear.org/information-library/current-and-future-generation/fast-neutron-reactors.aspx)

Check out this video of a graduating senior (in high school) who had previously built a nuclear fusion (yea fusion) reactor in his garage (when he was 14) talking about neutron absorbers.