W2 Kayla’s take

August 29, 2018

Notes on the reading: The Meadowlands: Wilderness Adventures on the Edge of a City

I really found the proximity of the meadowlands to New York City, easily one of the biggest cities in the world, to be astounding.  It sounds like a major mess, the epitome of man versus nature. There is garbage scattered throughout the meadowlands, and yet still there is beauty in the resilience of the nature still living there. All of the different projects and developments once attempted there have been abandoned in some fashion or another. Sullivan seems to be battling with himself on how he feels about the meadowlands. At some points he has very positive descriptors, and at other points,  not so much. I think that truly illustrates the state of the land: it is both good and bad.

The Trouble with Wilderness; or, Getting Back to the Wrong Nature

I thought it was a fair point that Cronon brought up the fact that the very conception of wilderness is a human conception- even though many think of the wilderness as being human-free. He also writes about a historical shift in the connotation behind ‘wilderness.’ Once it was a placed feared and entered begrudgingly, but once Thoreau wrote about it, wilderness became something protected and wanted. Cronon goes on, with adoration for other authors and their work capturing the essence of things that are ‘wild.’ I also appreciate how he has talked about the removal of native Americans as a US attempt at creating wilderness

Personal Introduction: Hi, my name is Kayla Adolph and I am a junior majoring in geography and politics and government. I’m from Toledo, OH, but during the school year I reside and moderate the Citizens of the World House.

Ideas for class project:

  • Group planting! I think I heard of a Chinese proverb that says the best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago. The second best time is today. While I have seen a lot some projects adding native plants to the campus landscape, I think it would be a great idea to have a discussion tackling the stigma of native plants being ‘dirty,’ ‘weeds,’ or ‘cheap.’
  • Work with the University on encouraging staff and students to reduce energy consumption by campaigning to have academic buildings turn their lights off after business hours.
  • In the anti-smoking campaign that has been running on campus, I think it would be interesting to clean up cigarette butts, record their location and number and upcycle them through Terracycle. After that, we could campaign on the environmental dangers of cigarettes/cigars/ and vapes.

Environmental news item or other bit of interest:

Interesting to know and also helpful in coming up with project ideas: It turns out cigarette butts are the greatest source of ocean trash. I appreciate the nod towards the anti-plastic straw movement, and the acknowledgement of the evolution of the production of cigarettes.

https://www.globalcitizen.org/en/content/this-is-the-single-greatest-source-of-ocean-trash/

As it turns out British motorists want diesel vehicles banned in cities. I think that it’s really cool that a given group of people are so aware of daily pollutants that they want to make such a change.

https://www.globalcitizen.org/en/content/british-drivers-diesel-car-ban-cities-pollution/


Blog #1 – August 29, 2018

August 29, 2018

1.) The Meadowlands: Wilderness Adventures on the Edge of a City, Robert Sullivan

Images:

Screen Shot 2018-08-29 at 3.07.25 PMScreen Shot 2018-08-29 at 3.10.10 PM

 

Quotes/Notes/etc:

The first chapter of the book, to me offered a wide variety of descriptions and backgrounds of the Meadowlands then and now. I think it was good to set the book up as such.

Page 36: Relates to the definition of wilderness we discussed on day 1 of class. The book gives various Hackensack/European names for the land. All of them relate to the definitions paper. It is interesting to see the rest of the world simply not take one specific definition of something that is simply nature, yet actually is hard to define. This, in my opinion is because everyone has had various geographical and physical experiences with wilderness and pure nature.

The chapter entitled “The Trapper and the Fisherman” (pg 185- pg 201) stood out to me the most in the whole book. This is because it had so much to do with politics, government, organizations, environmental science, zoology, and environmental protection. For example, it mentioned the HDMC in the Meadowlands, animals trappers, environmentalists in the area and each of their views and stories on how things should be done, wildlife biologists, eco-tours (shown above in a picture), and the EPA. It also deals with governmental policy versus reality.  To me, this was one of the most important chapters.

I also think another chapter that was important was “Valley of Garbage Hills.” This chapter talked a lot of about the now toxic landfills and dumps all throughout the meadowlands. It was interesting to me how they are now named sanitary landfills when they are still dumps. The dumps are so bad, according to the text, “leachate welled up in their sinks and toilet bowls.” (Sullivan, Meadowlands, 102) However, the landfill did contain animals such as songbirds and pheasants that were not shy. In the next chapter, it also talked about to environmental and solid mass of mosquitoes in the area which also add to the “wilderness” aspect in a sense of it being another kind of wildlife and them being so abundant.

I really enjoyed each chapter from one to the next because each gave me a perspective on the definition of wilderness (and nature) by giving a different aspect of what the Meadowlands used to be and what it is now based on the location Sullivan was in. Not a single one was wrong to me, yet each was different. It also offers different geographical perspectives at once even though it is all technically in the meadowlands because of there being various stretches and paths. This is mentioned when the author and his friend Dave begin their Meadowlands trip and talk about figuring out where to go and in the very last chapter when the author says he does not want to go any further into the Meadowlands that what he has already explored.

*Important quotes underlined throughout book* basic points I thought of discussed here, underlined discussed in class.

 

2.) Introduction:

My name is Brianna Graber, I’m from Indianapolis, Indiana and am a junior here at OWU. I’m a Zoology major and Spanish minor and plan on going to Grad school for Conservation Biology and plan to do field conservation field work and possible research. I have a strong interest in large animals like horses. I have rode horses for 10 years and this past summer worked/interned as an assistant trainer and stable hand at Carson Training Center. I also have worked at Stony Creek Golf Course for 5 seasons in a snack bar and also coached kids golf camp at the same golf course.

3.) Project proposals:

  • Teaming up with Dr. Johnson (BOMI professor) to plant plants to help with declining wildlife populations around/ near campus
  • Olentangy River and Delaware Run clean ups (form a group and help coordinate clean ups- with possible help from Dr. Carreno)
  • From the OWU Sustainability Plan, somehow enhance the quality and/or quantity of a species of plant or animal on campus

4.)  Environmental news from Science Daily:

An ocean apart, carnivorous pitcher plants create similar communities

The article above talks about a pitcher plant from the Malaysian Borneo that was transported to Massachusetts bogs. A quote describing the success of the experiment says: “Asian pitchers transplanted to Massachusetts bogs can even mimic the natives so well that the pitcher plant mosquito — a specialized insect that evolved to complete its life cycle exclusively in North American pitchers — lays eggs in the impostors.” This being convergent evolution, the researchers involved studied convergent ecosystems and saw how this plant can evolve over and over again.

How forest conservation helps coral reefs

The article above briefs on how forest management near the reefs can impact and ultimately help nearby reefs survive by controlling activities such a logging, mining, and development in general. The results were shared with resource committees and agencies in the area. The model of this experiment provides information regarding conservation efforts and decision making processes. Dr. Stacy Jupiter says, “The results provide hope because they demonstrate that resilience of coral reefs to global change can be promoted through local actions, thereby empowering local people to become better stewards over their resources.” This is something that really speaks to me as a future conservationist, but also relates to our class. The fact that one location and ecosystem and the actions within it can severely impact (good or bad) another location and ecosystem shows how the land and nature is linked. It also can impact humans and the resources we need and use from these ecosystems such as wood from logging, heat from coal mined, and on the flip side, fish and food from the coral reefs.

Environmental news from enn.com 

I’ve never seen “Environmental News Network” before. As I came across this website, there were many exciting articles. I felt like this was an important site to share due to the nature of this course. It has many relevant articles on geographical environmental and/or conservation news. This particularly interested me because I want to specialize in conservation and environmental news attributes to a portion of this field. Some of the posts I read on this website have to do with farming as this is also another important and multivariable field in science. These articles had to do with spraying chemicals and fertilizers on crops to various environmentally friendly farming techniques. A quote from this article that explained this more in detail said: “The researchers analyzed farms that use some form of “sustainable intensification,” a term for various practices, including organic farming, that use land, water, biodiversity, labor, knowledge and technology to both grow crops and reduce environmental impacts like pesticide pollution, soil erosion and greenhouse gas emissions.” (web link on farming)

 


Shayla Scheitler – GEOG 360: Week 2

August 28, 2018

Introduction

My name is Shayla and I’m a junior at OWU, majoring in Environmental Studies and minoring in Zoology. I come from a small town in south eastern Ohio. When I say “small,” I mean considered-a-village small; population of 1,200 people small. My first home was on a 6 acre land. I grew up picking blackberries and making pies, raising chickens and selling their eggs, tending to a fairly large garden and eating our home grown vegetables, daily exploration of the forest, etc. My interest in environmentalism began from the age I started becoming aware of politics. Ever since my early teenage years, I’ve been eager to learn about our environment and how we may conserve it. I bring this passion for environmentalism into the House of Peace and Justice. In our house we aim to bring together a variety of passions and integrate them into social justice. I hope to begin to participate in environmental activism. My other true passion is my ESA, Jerome the fat, black, sassy cat. He is sleek, soft, and my soulmate. I’ve benefited tremendously from his help regarding my mental health. I suffer from PTSD, General Anxiety Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, and Major Depressive Disorder. Jerome has helped me have the ability to focus on my education and career instead of being absorbed into my mental health. I believe that this year will be a bounce back from last year, and I hope to accomplish a lot for environmentalism on this campus!

Response to Readings:

The Meadowlands by Robert Sullivan

I had mixed feelings about The Meadowlands by Robert Sullivan. It was full of interesting tales, but it was just like a dragged out monologue. For me, it was difficult to pick out meanings in the tales. Here are some take-away notes:

  • “On top of Snake Hill, I am on mysterious ground that is not guidebooked and that reads like a dead language” page 20
    • The geological beginnings are mostly forgotten due to association with the urbanization.
    • People now visit the Meadowlands for shopping and other attractions. The original land that the author reminisces of is lost to urbanization. People don’t seem to appreciate the nature of the land for what it used to be.
  • The author uses personification to describe the scene, emphasizing the human connection to nature.
  • Snake Hill was demolished because officials thought money was better spent on developing cities. They weren’t appreciative of the land and basically completely disregarded its history and value.
  • The author seems to be witnessing demolition on page 62. He says that there’s a guy in a yellow plastic suit – I’m thinking this may be related to toxic waste, or just waste in general from the demolition.
  • Words the author uses to associate with nature that were on our handout:
    • Barren
    • Unexplored
    • Desolate
  • “A duck swam by us that didn’t look so much like a duck as a toxic chicken.” This quote is very sad and powerful. I see a possible connection to the men in plastic yellow suits.
  • The garbage hills are ‘alive’ with decomposing microscopic organisms. This is finding nature and life even in a garbage pile – impressive.
  • Bodies of dogs gassed and dumped into the garbage pile…some were not fully dead and were moving around…what the f*ck.
  • I eventually stopped scouring the tales for similes, metaphors, and any meaning, honestly. It became just a tangent of encounters with strange people and circumstances.

The Trouble with Wilderness by William Cronon

I’ve read this text last semester and felt I only needed to refresh my memory. I really like this text and I feel that it challenges what we think we know about the term ‘wilderness.’ I also think it is a great parallel to our thought into asking the question, ‘what is nature?’ Here’s my take-away notes on this piece:

  • We seem to separate humans from nature. I, too, am guilty of that. When I think of nature I think of a forest or mountain range limited to visitation only. Although we are technically animals, generally we don’t think of ourselves as part of nature.
    • Do we think we’re superior?
      • We have unique cognitive thinking, abilities that other animals lack, we are civilized, we’re high on the food chain.
    • Do we think that nature is just our environment, our habitat, and that we are merely living in it?
      • We idealize nature and thinking of it as something distant and remote. Nature could be part of our backyards but we have this fixed image of what it should look like.
      • We think of national parks, reserves, etc. as an escape from our civilized lives and a way to connect us to this idealized distant and remote space that we envision.
  • Our desire to conserve and protect what we perceive is nature, is actually harmful. If we separate these landscapes from our towns and cities, then we cut off our responsibility to it.
    • We like to put ourselves as admirers of nature rather than residents of it. This limits our knowledge of the land and therefore makes it more difficult to protect it.
      • “We need an environmental ethic that will tell us as much about using nature as not using it.”
      • If we exclude ourselves from our definition of nature, we must accept that there is ‘good’ and ‘bad’ in nature. There is life and death. There are no laws in nature. Animals eat plants. Animals eat one another. Vultures feed on the remains of dead animals. We have to accept the ugly parts of nature to understand it as it truly is. Idealizing it and ignoring the ugly parts of nature makes our view on nature, artificial.
  • This really challenges the environmentalist mindset I have. I fail to realize that protecting nature does not mean we need to isolate it.

3 Project Ideas

  1. I think it would be a great opportunity to tie in this project with my house project at Peace and Justice. I’m an artist, so my interest lies within that realm. I was thinking it would be really neat to collect miscellaneous items that we would normally throw away or recycle, such as used paper, Keurig cups, cardboard, aluminum cans, etc. I could schedule an event where people are welcomed into our house to make use of these items. Whether that means a practical use, art, or whatever, is up to them. The point of this project would be to think about our waste produced and how we can utilize these things we would normally toss.
  2. Not exactly sure on the fine details of this idea, but I think it would be a great idea to replace the red solo cups at parties with your own reusable cups, tumblers, bottles, whatever. As much as I love the appearance of red solo cups, I see too many of them outside on a Sunday morning.
  3. Also not sure on the fine details of this idea, but I would like to replace plastic bags at T-Store. Not everyone has reusable grocery bags, so I would like to be in contact with T-Store and other officials that may be able to help, so that we can have reusable bags at T-Store for sale. Eliminating plastic bags all together and boldly suggesting the purchase of a reusable bag may not please the student body initially, but this project would make a lot of progress towards a sustainable campus.

Current Event

NOVA, National Oceanic and Atmosphere, has began a coral reef restoration effort.

The association is using techniques like underwater coral farming and reattaching broken coral pieces to transplant and restore thousands of coral colonies on damaged reef sites. Coral is very important in the oceanic environment, so restoring the coral reef will allow native species to thrive once again. Here’s the link to the video:

https://oceantoday.noaa.gov/restoringcoralreefs/

I actually found this video on Instagram Explore, and I looked it up to find the full video. This gives me a lot of hope for being able to restore the Great Barrier Reef over time.


Week Two -The Meadowlands

August 28, 2018

1) Responce to The Meadowlands+ The Trouble with Wilderness

In his book The Meadowlands, Robert Sullivan almost makes the reader miss a place that they may have never heard of before by way of anecdotes from people who are from there. He mixes engaging stories with geopolitical facts, and a healthy amount of dry humor. More than anything however, The Meadowlands just made me disappointed in how people treat the places that they live, but I also think that this may have been the point. Making people feel for someone(or in this case something) makes them more inclined to care about how they and other people treat it. If you think of The Meadowlands as a garbage dump then that is how you will treat it, but if you see it as something that once was beautiful then you will want to protect it.

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The Trouble with Wilderness by William Cronon was an interesting though slightly infuriating read. Cronon comes across as arrogant used an unnecessary amount of words to get his point across. Having said that, he made sense and I agree that how we think of the wilderness as some magical place where you can travel alone for months on a journey to find yourself is idiotic. I also understand his beef with the tern wilderness. If wild is to be untamed then how can a human ever be in the wilderness if our presence makes the place tame?

2) Personal Introduction

My name’s Celeste and I’m a Junior majoring in Environmental Studies. I went to a hippie preschool in the Santa Cruz mountains of California where we met in a barn house, went on nature hikes, took care of chickens(and rabbits, and rats, and hedgehogs, and…), and were told stories about Mother Earth. I grew up thinking that everyone just cares about the planet so I kind of took all of that for granted. After that normal school was boring and honestly I kind of forgot about my roots(pun intended) in baby-environmentalism until college. I found TreeHouse and reconnected with my love of the outdoors and my passion for caring about the environment. I especially am interested in how plants solve similar problems of survival in different ways(eg. living in deserts vs forests), I also think fungi are really weird and cool.

3) Project Ideas

  1. Recently Treehouses compost bins have been taken away due to complaints by the city so maybe I could build new ones that address their concerns with contaminated rain runoff spilling into sewers.
  2. While we’re talking about compost I could help refine the proposal for the dumpster farm enclosure that Dr. Krygier listed.
  3. Kait and I could work on a plant guide for BG and alumni to choose from when they donate money for beautifying OWU.

4) Current Event

Scientists in Costa Rica are working with pineapple peels. The have found that the peel is made of nanocelluloce and silica-based microparticles that can be used in many different industries. The nanocellulose can be used in food, pharmaceuticals, and medical industries while the silica could be used for adhesive in band-aids or in fertilizer.

https://www.scientificamerican.com/podcast/episode/pineapple-waste-wont-be-wasted/


August 28, 2018

Genaro G.

The MeadowlandsThe Trouble With the

Wilderness

Response

The Meadowlands was a good read. I think that the author’s style of writing is much easier to get into, and reads much more as if it is one long New York Times article (he has written for them). I enjoyed the detail that he gave in his experiences interacting with locals, whom had strong emotions associated with the Meadowlands, or people had no care for it at all. The people so entrenched in the environment that you can see them dedicate their lives to it. The example I think of is Victor Deserio, “The Mosquito King” and his ballsy way of just jumping into hotspots of mosquitoes, letting them swarm his body, then collecting them with his contraption that looked like a modified hair dryer. Absolute madman. He even knew all the species of mosquito that interacted with himflygoodbye1

The part where robert goes to the Kearny Public Library was interesting. There, at some local library, is the largest collection of foreign translations of Gone With the Wind. But even the librarians didn’t know exactly where it was. Like most of what Robert details in the book, most things are buried in the marsh.

The chapter entitled Digging was probably my favorite. The search for the original Pennsylvania Station, dumped into the meadowlands, featuring architectural gems such as an interior design based off of the Baths of Caracalla, and eighty-four large columns in the form of traditional Roman design, were left there after it had been demolished for the new Penn Station. This is interesting to me anyway, that beautifully crafted infrastructure was tossed and such, but what was even better about this, was that the author had to definitely seek it out. Going off of old, undated newsprint with titles like “PENN STATION COLUMNS DUMPED IN JERSEY,” almost like the people at the time are unsure of its location. The best part of this ended with him finding a piece of a column in a truckers hideout.

I thought it was a good story about how urbanization can only move so far, and how the environment can retaliate against those who disregard, or whomever regards it too much (Robert Swartrout, the poor sap).

The Trouble with the Wilderness, I found, was much more philosophical in it’s tone pertaining to the “IDEA” of what the wilderness actually is. I found some good points in his writing, specifically the disparity he highlighted on the relationship between wilderness and wealth. That was what I had been thinking for a while; people with more access to expensive equipment and other things to help them brave the wilderness, often times loudly convey their personal connection to wilderness as being more intelligent, getting back to our essence. While those who are poor do not experience it in the same way, for a poor person who is always in the wilderness is usually a forager/hunter gatherer, which does not make they themselves believe they are poor, rather it is just their livelihood, how they survive.

2. Three ideas for projects

  • I do not know what is going on with the green box initiative, I asked in hamwill an was given a half-hearted reply by the lady, “They might be in soon, but you never know with them.” If they aren’t back soon I’m going to Inquire more. The green boxes have a lot of uses, besides just being able to take your food out of hamwill.
  • Usage in single-use coffee cups on campus is pretty high, me being a participant. I want to look at ways this specifically can be approached in a way that does not remove the cups, but implement ways that they can be re-used with ease. Or possibly implementing something like they have in Smith, actual mugs. Idk, this is probably the one i’m going to focus on, but i’m still thinking about all the possible points of starting.
  • Recycled art, or eco-art is pretty interesting. More so for the reason of collection; I am more interested in how artists acquire their materials, and how they are treated prior to implementation in a piece. This can apply to many things, such as recycled minerals, plastic collections, dead trees, animals (alive or dead), the landscape of an area, the soil, vegetation. This one is pretty vague, but I still think it would be a good idea.

3. Environmental News

Traffic noise may make birds age faster

The title of the article grabbed my attention, mainly because it sounded wild. It is very interesting though, from the short article’s telling of the info, that noise pollution alone can have such an effect on the lifespan of zebra finches. Personally I forget about the daily assault on my ears from traffic I receive, but to have those noises shortening your life. The article touches on what is actually being monitored, Telomeres, which are caps on the ends of chromosomes that prevent gene damage, but did not tell much about potential mitigation strategies. Mainly just a copy+pasted version of the journal article, but it will get you to read the full one.


Kait’s Take (week 2)

August 28, 2018

I’m an amateur ecologist from small-town Louisiana. I’ve lived along the Mississippi River for my entire life, and the majority of that time I was able to experience the intersection of bustling river culture with the harsh realities of life on an exploited coastline.

Some of my favorite things to learn about are soil, water, and how human cultures can influence how people interact with the environment. I spend a lot of time thinking about how most people in Louisiana view it as a sort of disgusting mass that you can use, and it’s basically covered in garbage; versus how it’s almost fashionable to be “outdoorsy” on the West Coast, and how some people have transformed the landscapes into photo-ops.

I really love plants and animals and a good project. I’m really excited to take this course and to dive deeper into hands-on environmentalism.

The Meadowlands

Snake Hill

  • “Genuflect” interesting word choice. The bus was prostrating itself to the swamp. I kind of love that. p.14
  • Newark Airport’s trendy hikers “travel books or maybe brand-new water-repellent hiking clothes” p.14
  • Snake Hill described as “a geological mistake” interesting phrasing p.15
  • Glacial lake back in 8000 BC –> it’s a bog! Cool! p. 16
  • once the biggest garbage dump in the world. saddening and impressive. p.16
  • “The floor of muck and clay, in some places twenty stories deep, sucked down anything built upon it.” This reminded me of when Louisiana thought it could have amusement parks.  There was a “Jazz Land” that got shut down, and then “Six Flags” thought they had what it takes. There were rumors of a plan for an expansion of Disney world, but I don’t think that’s going to happen. p.16
  • “..this reviled land of burning garbage dumps or polluted canals, of smokestacked factories, and impenetrable reeds.” I liked how the complaints about the area are from human interaction, and then a complaint about the vegetation type. It seemed out of place to me. p. 17
  • snake hill is metamorphic rock, which is arguably the coolest type. p. 17
  • “future fun parks” when will they learn? p.17
  • “…almost a centuries worth of buildings and factories and half-completed projects were left in the Meadowlands to rot – adding a layer of rust and concrete rubble and dead dreams to thousands of years of decomposed marsh grasses and all that the glacier left behind.”  I love this dystopian poetry. Also the image of how well preserved these things are because they’re in the bog. It’s kind of like a museum. p.17
  • This is very poetic for a federal report. second paragraph on pg. 18.
  • “like a cell undergoing mitosis that is out of control” I thought it was interesting that he wanted to describe the highway system as cancerous. Foreshadowing? p. 21
  • “..the rendering plants and slaughterhouses that discharged liquefied animal remains into local streams” disgusting. why was there no health inspector? p. 22
  • mysterious oyster carried by “a truck carrying a cargo of swill” and “not by a glacier” what a juxtaposition
  •  I cannot believe there were so many lives lost in this specific area. p. 24
  • “wild an inaccessible” is “nature” (or certain portrayals of nature) ablest? p.24
  • The symbol for swamp is pretty accurate p. 25
  • “They put little electrodes on their butts and squeeze out the venom” what a process and what a way to phrase it p. 25
  • interesting how it was a prison and an asylum p. 26
  • “A. Just Chiropractor” cute lol p. 27
  • toy pigs on a coffee table, very humanizing and nostalgic, sense of pride p. 29

An Achievement of the Future

  • J. gerardi vs. Phragmites communis – invasive species and their victims p. 38
  • cedars are pretty swampy trees p. 39
  • steam engine looking like a chicken drinking water – example of nature inspiring innovation p. 42
  • Robert Treat founded Newark for the seclusion. example of nature as holy/ refuge p. 43
  • Newark plastics industry, bottom of p. 44
  • Hyatt, celluloid, and mass production, p. 45
  • “the return top was only successful years later when it was renamed the yo-yo.” branding is everything p. 45
  • wow what!? spontaneous combustion p. 45-46
  • Boyden brings locomotion to Cuba p. 47
  • Robert mass producing very romantic letters p. 55

Gone with the Wind

  • “Don’t come over here” …”Don’t come over here!” Oh my goodness this raises so many questions, first paragraph of p.60
  • “there’s a possibility that this building might blow up” like spontaneously? p. 63
  • “You know, when there’s snow out there, this place almost looks human.” It’s painfully human without the snow. p. 64

Walden Swamp

  • “It’s difficult to care about Walden swamp when there are no roads into Walden Swamp, and it’s impossible to hike there.” – mental and physical separation p. 75
  • “It was a cool summer day, We felt like intruders, as if we had broken into an industrial landscape where bright colors weren’t allowed.” hauntingly beautiful p.78
  • “The water was chocolate milk brown; I saw bits of wood and Styrofoam, two juice bottles, and clump after clump of broken reeds.” so disgusting. p.79
  • “I later learned that these small bodies of impounded water were formed at random, by the construction of railroad lines…” what is natural and made? p.81
  • “Passing over more underwater fences, we felt as if we were paddling just above Atlantis.” What’s the difference between a flooded city and a body of water polluted by one? p.82
  • “He told us that it was once a rite of passage for kids from Kearny to attempt to cross the meadows by walking all the way to Snake Hill on the railroad tracks.” cultural significance of the meadowlands p. 84
  • “Mercury is the key landscape ingredient in this area of the Meadowlands. Berry’s Creek is sometimes called the Meadowlands’ most polluted waterway…it was possible to dig a hole in the ground and watch it fill with balls of shiny silvery stuff.” this is horrifying and impressive p.85
  • Can mercury evaporate? p.86
  • “State officials no longer consider the mercury to be a threat as long as it stats settled deep in the swamp’s sediments” good luck with that p. 86
  • ” we steered the canoe toward the banks and secretly observed the migratory patterns of cars” biological meets mechanical, that’s beautiful p. 87
  •  water pollution and cancer p.87 and 88
  • A duck swam buy us that didn’t look so much like a duck as a toxic chicken….these ducks were being raised by a nearby family for food…” live stock and ecology, and low income and pollution p. 88
  • immediate effects vs. lasting damage? second paragraph p.89

Valley of Garbage Hills

  • “The real hills are outnumbered by the garbage hills.” wow p.93
  • “…dump workers were charged with spraying the hills with disinfectant, usually mint scented.” p. 94 Mt. Mint Garbage p.94
  • “Don’t ever let anybody tell you that roaches can’t fly, because I’ve seen ’em fly” It’s true. I witnessed them when I was a kid and I’m still a little traumatized. p.94
  • “But in this moment, here at its birth, at a stream’s source….a few yards away, where the stream collected into a benzene-scented pool, a mallard swam alone.”  dystopian poetry p. 97
  • “trash-fat gulls” is a great band name p.97

Skeeters

Treasure

Digging

Bodies

The Trapper and the Fisherman

Point no Point

The Trouble with Wilderness 

  • American concept of Wilderness
  • concept of wilderness contributing to how we treat the environment
  • “Cautious indifference” beautiful concept
  • Wilderness is one of many concerns, but basis for other concerns and definitions
  •  the sublime
  • the final frontier – rugged individualism
  • uninhabited wilderness, ideally uninhabited
  • Judeo-Christian God’s Work/Creation
  •  natural and pristine
  • environmental degradation and socioeconomic status
  • personal wilderness, “our own backyards”
  • we need to be aware that we’re part of the natural world

 

Project Ideas

As a first year student, I was taught that Hamilton-Williams was the “green roof building.” I really want to put an actual green roof on it! I’m thinking if we use a form of terrace-farming and grow local plants it could be very sustainable and successful! I know  a project like that is pretty intense and would take a lot of careful planning, and a lot of effort during the execution phase, but it would be so amazing. Imagine how beautiful it would be and how many pollinators and birds it would attract. It would be amazing and I would love to make it a reality.

If a green roof is out of reach, I would like to paint roofs on campus white to increase OWU’s Albedo effect. I think roofs would be a great place to start, especially on the residential buildings. This project would also be a candidate for expansion, as the pavement and other campus buildings could be converted into white tops as well.

Celeste and I were talking about creating a plant guide/catalog for Buildings and Grounds to go by, and for alumni to choose from when they’re donating gardens and green spaces to campus in the future. We would take into account different soil types and pH levels across campus and organize the guide accordingly.

Environmental News: Cuba’s Next Century 

Cuba is still recovering from Hurricane Irma which struck September of 2017. The “natural” disaster served as proof of climate change and made many people more on-board with mitigation. Tarea Vida (Project Life) was adopted by the Counsel of Ministers in the spring prior to the storm, but was not implemented right away due to budget limitations. After witnessing the destruction, Cuba decided to reach out to the rest of the world to help shoulder the estimated $40 million for the mitigation measures of 2018.

Orlando Rey Santos, head of the Ministry of Science, Technology, and Environment (CITMA), which is leading the efforts for Tarea Vida.

Orlando Rey Santos

Italy pledged $3.4 million in November of 2017, and Cuba is requesting $100 million from the Global Climate Fund for the rest. Cuba’s most pressing issues are rising sea levels, coastal erosion, and salt-water contamination in agricultural lands. Tarea Vida will tackle these issues by prohibiting new developments on the threatened coasts, rearrange the agricultural field to grow crops in non-contaminated areas, and will relocate people who can no longer live in their area due to rising sea levels. The first group was relocated in October of 2017 from Palmarito to an area more inland.

Dalia Salabarría Fernández , marine biologist with CNAP

IISD RS @ Fifteenth Meeting of the SBSTTA under the CBD, 7 ...

The good news is that the coral reefs are in great shape! There are only a few places where they are at risk of agricultural runoff. The other good news is that Cuba is reaching out to the Netherlands to help them engineer coastal protective measures.

Read the original article here:

http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2018/01/cuba-embarks-100-year-plan-protect-itself-climate-change

 


Allie Smith – Week 2 Responses (readings, project ideas, & environmental news)

August 27, 2018

Thoughts on The Meadowlands:

While Robert Sullivan appears to be a very intellectual man and a decent author, I must admit that I am not a huge fan of his book. While his journey through the Meadowlands has been interesting to follow, I still did not find it an overall enjoyable read. I will say, though, that reading this book allowed me to relate it much to William Cronon’s The Trouble with Wilderness because of the Meadowlands’ circumstances. Essentially, the Meadowlands is a combination of human-made objects that were left behind and abandoned many years ago with nonhuman-made objects. Even though there were the submerged ruins of a control room of a radio transmission station, or the foul odor of toxic water permeating Sullivan’s senses, there was still life existing despite these seemingly unnatural conditions. Sullivan writes:

“We began to notice the tail ends of muskrats as they paddled for cover in their huts. In addition to the traffic sounds of the turnpike, we soon heard splashing sounds, which we eventually determined to be spawning carp. Thrashing around in the foul-smelling muck, the carp, each approximately two feet long, did not seem at all out of place beneath the New Jersey Turnpike…”

While I appreciated comparing the book to Cronon’s essay, I did not appreciate the random tangents Sullivan makes throughout the whole thing. Maybe it’s because I’m not someone who enjoys history, but I got incredibly bored when he went into explaining the historical aspects behind certain places. Or when he talks about the water purifier for what seemed like ages, I just thought that was completely unnecessary. The book could have been at least 50 pages shorter had he not gone into so much detail with trivial topics.

Overall, the book wasn’t bad, but definitely not my favorite. However, I do appreciate the detail he put in to the actual Meadowlands site. I was able to envision a lot of the stuff he was writing about in my head. Otherwise, he provided way too much detail elsewhere.

 

Thoughts on The Trouble with Wilderness:

I’d like to begin by summarizing my thoughts on Cronon’s work in a sentence: everything that he has written is a highly ideal approach to contemplating wilderness and frankly shouldn’t be a matter of opinion. Cronon’s essay should be acknowledged as, at least, a morally accepted comprehension of the ideals behind wilderness and the human concept of nature. Anyone who challenges his perspective of wilderness or merely disagrees because they’ve been taught a strict definition of nature should be deemed ignorant and selfishly close-minded.

Allow me to elaborate. I took an environmental ethics course that dove deep into The Trouble with Wilderness and extracted important topics and themes that Cronon describes. I introduced the essay to a friend, and they found it extremely difficult to even read because they disagreed with everything he had to say. My friend claimed that Cronon was betraying everything this person had ever learned about nature, and that they had grown up believing that nature was, in essence, strictly separated from humans and that we as a society must fend for nature if we wish to see it survive. My friend further said that if they continued to read his essay, then they would be tainted by differing thoughts on nature that contradicted everything they were ever taught.

This is what I mean by close-minded. Refusing to even read a work that provides countless evidence towards an idea simply because it is a differing opinion is close-minded. To me, this ignorance is derived in people with an upper-class status and the ability to view wilderness as a recreational subject. There are too many people that don’t even consider the countless lives that rely on the land for money or food, so visualizing nature as an unworked natural landscape is a falsity. Cronon supports this point with the following statement:

“The dream of an unworked natural landscape is very much the fantasy of people who have never themselves had to work the land to make a living — urban folk for whom food comes from a supermarket or a restaurant instead of a field… Only people whose relation to the land was already alienated could hold up wilderness as a model for human life in nature, for the romantic ideology of wilderness leaves precisely nowhere for human beings actually to make their living from the land.”

The most important point that I like to think about from The Trouble with Wilderness is that we are a part of nature, and that there must be an understanding that wilderness is not an entity in and of itself. There is wilderness all around us, from neighboring ponds and forests to even our very own backyards. Anywhere that life exists can be considered some sort of wilderness. There would be variability in this thought if we were a society that still considered wilderness as a desolate, barren hellscape that banishes sin and evil, but that is no longer the case. The word has evolved tremendously over the course of centuries, and so it is easy to see that wilderness exists anywhere that life perseveres. As humans, we must accept that we were brought into this world with the same purpose as an otter, or a bear, or any other organism that exists, so it is meaningless to separate ourselves just because we have the capacity to think rational thoughts and act out on those thoughts. We as human beings hold a position in nature as does everything else.

 

Three ideas for my class project:

  • I am already partaking in a semester-long internship at the Stratford Ecological Center where I will be constructing my own project in collaboration with Dr. Laurie Anderson and the Stratford staff. The internship requires at least 8 hours of my time a week, so I’m hoping that I could use my Stratford project for this class. I plan to develop a butterfly transect (basically a path that gets walked once a week to identify butterflies and flowering plants) to aid in butterfly conservation at Stratford. Butterfly conservation has many positive impacts on an ecosystem, so I think that this would be a great project to pursue. By the conclusion of the semester, I will be writing a final report as a requirement for the internship, which I could integrate into this class as well.
  • I couldn’t help but be interested in your suggestion of doing a project on insects as human food. There are a load of sources available to work off of, so I think that this would be an intriguing topic to look into. I’ve learned about the advantages of consuming insect protein in an Ecology course as well as Entomology, so perhaps this would be a bit of an eye-opening subject to research. Maybe it’ll make people less squeamish about insects. Who knows.
  • Praying mantises are my favorite insects, so I’d like to research their sexual behavior; specifically, the female mantis’ sexual cannibalistic behavior. I know, it’s probably odd that I’d want to look into that, but it really interests me as I’m sure it will be interesting to others. I think in my presentation I’d include the countless photos I have of praying mantises, as well as include a video or two of sexual cannibalism taking place. The project would cover multiple species of praying mantis as opposed to researching one specific species. I think it’d be neat!

 

Environmental news item:

Dragonflies are more active this summer. Blame it on the rain.

Not only do I love praying mantises, but I also adore dragonflies and damselflies of all kinds. As you learned from my tidbit last class, I worked at the Wilds over the summer and man oh man did I see an abundance of dragonflies in various wetland areas. There was one day where I went out to a pond on the property with my camera and spent hours just taking photographs of the various dragonflies and damselflies that I saw. The numerous mosquitoes that bugged me the entire summer makes sense too, as there had been a lot of rain on a nearly weekly basis. I guess you can say that I’m thankful for them, because that allowed the explosion of dragonflies that made an enjoyable summer.