Kait’s Take (week 2)

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





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:



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