Shayla Scheitler – GEOG 360: Week 3

Reading: Desert Solitaire

  • “The desert is a vast world an oceanic world as deep in its complex & various as the sea.”
    • I find this to be a very meaningful quote – it sets the mood for the book, which is taking us on adventures into the desert, you could call it unexplored territory.
  • He warns not to go to the Canyon & expect the same experience he had. “You’re holding a tombstone in your hands.”
    • “A bloody rock. Don’t drop it on your foot – throw it at something big & glassy. What do you have to lose?” I think he’s suggesting one to explore a new, different territory, & that this book is simply his recollection of his experience.
  • My favorite part of the book:
    • There’s mice in his trailer & he just lets them reside with him & essentially gives them meals
    • He said he’d hesitate to shoot at animal, over a human. “Where would I hold my coffee?”
    • “I’m a humanist; I’d rather kill a man than a snake.” The mice attracted snakes, & he welcomes the snake into his home as well. He goes as far to befriend the snake. Kind of…really weird. But I respect the peaceful residence shared by the snake & mice. Friends not food.
  • When he questions how Native Americans discovered these psychedelic hallucinogens, he brought up a very good point about broad science. “…nobody knows how so-called primitive man made his many other discoveries. We must concede that science is nothing new, that research, empirical logic, the courage to experiment are as old as humanity.”
  • Overall, I appreciate the refreshing tone of this author. He’s kind of cool, which is more relevant to my own personality.
  • Throughout the book, he notes the decline of many species, & how he thinks the presence of human development.
  • For my Environmental Alteration class, I did a summary of a research paper on the food-web system, & his concern about Agricultural policies leading to decline in some species, & rapid increases in others, throwing the system out of balance.
  • He says that, “Some people came to the desert & left millionaires, while others literally died searching for treasure in the harsh desert conditions.
    • Human greed. They’d risk their lives for some money

The book concludes with the focus point on the human impact on the environment. I felt like this point could have been spoken louder.

Current News

Seahorses are my all-time favorite animals, & I’ve been aware of their recent species decline, so I wanted to find something in relation. I found an article explaining how setting up artificial “hotels” near a declining population encourages the seahorses to colonize the area. These structures can be as simple as a fish trap or fish nets. If the “hotels” provide camouflage, shelter, & access to food, the seahorses are eager to inhabit the space. This was pretty fascinating to me that the conservation efforts were so simple, yet so effective.

A juvenile seahorse underwater obscured by rope


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