Wolves competing with livestock’s?

October 30, 2019

I found this article considering our last discussion quite interesting due to how we see factory farming vs how we see wild animals and considering the idea of what animals are truly impactful to the environment and what activities are infact better or worse for the environment and how activities as such are divisive and a deciding factor towards the environment.

Placing Animals

October 30, 2019

I think i found the book that i preferably should’ve held for discussion because of it’s main preferable area of discussion, the idea of “animal geography”. While i do still preferably try not to provide too much attention to the speceism based aspect of the book i do love the fact it brings attention to human-animal relations from very different aspects altogether and helps understand fallacies in the aforementioned relationships. I believe that there are certain questions as part of the beginning of the book:
1) Where do we put a line between human-animal relations?
2) How do we defined animals as part of our environment?
3) How are our live’s defined by the aspect of anthropocentrism?
Speaking from a position of relationships and analyzing animal relations through the eyes of a geographer while may certainly not be the most optimized position to look at, it still manages to establish a series of ideations based on the premise of observing what denomination we put on a certain animal we’re observing (i.e domestic vs wild). In particular however i loved the exploration by Chapter 6’s study of Wolf-Human relations as it shows the key-role of predator-human relationships by Alec Brownlow.

Shneel Malik created amazing algae & tile water purifier- news- Ash

October 30, 2019

Shneel Mallik is a Barlett doctoral candidate and has created a special wall made out of ceramic tiles and algae. Called Indus, this wall uses dyes and chemicals to purify water. It is much cheaper then high tech water treatment solutions and can be made and maintained in areas where it is not economically sound to have those high tech options. The purifier’s tiles need replaced every few months by Malik and her team are working on making it last longer.

To learn more click here.

Down to Earth- review- Ash

October 30, 2019

I went in thinking this book would be an easy read of 100 some pages. While this was a gross underestimation as the book was VERY dense, I still enjoyed it quite a lot. The author was blunt, critical, and explained things in extreme detail. I found it hard to follow when he started going into depth about things like globalization plus and minus. The way he phrased things was frustrating to grasp. It reads very much like a scientific or matter of factly style of writing. Which I can appreciate, but have a VERY hard time understanding. I often find myself lost and confused having to reread things– and then end up still being lost and confused. Even now I still don’t understand his whole globalization plus and minus thing he was talking about. However, even without being able to grasp all the tiny details he has it’s still possible to understand what he is trying to say and that is what ultimately helped me continue to read the book. Overall, the book is very informative and has a strong opinion on the world and how the different classes around the world– and specifically in the USA- act and react to the issues of global warming. VERY strong… blunt opinions.

Down to Earth: Politics in the New Climatic Regime Review

October 30, 2019

“It is as though a significant segment of the ruling classes (known today rather too loosely as “the elites”) has concluded that the earth no longer had room enough for them and for everyone else. Consequently, they decided that it was pointless to act as though history were going to continue to move toward a common horizon, toward a world in which all humans could prosper equally.” (p.1)

Immediately this quote struck me because it reminds me of two different things in society today: the rich literally just not caring about the environment at all and living completely wasteful and damaging lifestyles, and boomers not caring about the damage that their generation has done to the planet and leaving it for us to pick up the pieces. I feel like my generation is very much a “leave the earth better than how you found it” kind of generation and do our best to live eco-conscious lifestyles but the generations before us whether it be from lack of education or an “I’ll be dead why should I care?” mentality but either way its screwed us over tremendously and it really REALLY frustrates me. I know with industrialization comes this kind of thing but for some reason we’re being called ‘liberals’ and ‘snowflakes’ for wanting to make sure our kids and our kids kids and so on have a place to live. Sorry, rant over.

“(It is quite remarkable, moreover, that this invention comes from a real estate developer who has been constantly in debt, racing from failed deal to failed deal, and who became famous by way of reality television, another form of unreality and escapism.)” (p.36)

Literally think about this every day. My biases are showing, I just hate Trump so much.

Not going to lie, this book was kind of hard to understand for me so I am looking forward to class discussion to explain in layman’s terms what all of this really meant. There were bits and pieces I think I kind of understood but nothing to where I was able to have an “ah-ha!” moment. I just don’t really identify with this writing style very much its very philosophical and hard to understand to me but I might just not be looking into it enough. Regardless, I want to understand this book better so hopefully there is a lively group discussion about it in class!

Environmental News: Week 8

October 30, 2019


“Species in the Amazon evolve more slowly than those in North America, U of T research finds”

I chose this bit of news because it includes two things that really interest me: evolution and the Amazon. Due to the fact that the Amazon has a huge number of different bird species, it has always been assumed that this is because birds from the Amazon evolved at a higher rate. This has been disproven by Jason Weir, a researcher from University of Toronto. Weir conducted an ongoing experiment in Peru and North America that studied bird’s reactions to the calls of ‘related but physically far away species’. Their reactions allowed him to determine if the birds still considered these calls to be of birds of the same species; if they no longer recognized the call as one of their own and ignored the song then it could be assumed that evolution has taken place (if they recognized it as a bird from their own species they would act aggressively in order to protect their territory). Weir concluded that extinction rates have more to do with the large number of species in the Amazon than evolution rates. The stable and consistent climate in the rainforest has proved to be a reason for lower extinction rates in the Amazon while the inconsistent and changing climate (over millions of years) in North America could cause higher extinction rates in birds. Also, there are physical barriers that cause new populations to pop up, for example Weir said “In the Amazon, birds do not cross rivers and sometimes two different species will evolve on either side of the barrier. There isn’t much selection to differ their songs, which impacts their ability to discriminate songs. This leads to slower rates of evolution, but a lower chance of going extinct.”

News Article 10/30

October 30, 2019

Title: Why are big storms bringing so much more rain? Warming, yes, but also winds.
As we’re all (hopefully) aware of the last few hurricane seasons have been disastrous for cities and countries around the world. The hurricanes have brought record-breaking rainfall and causing catastrophic flooding – which hurricanes do, but in southern US hurricane(s) Harvey (2017), Florence (2018) and Imelda (2019) have been nothing like previous – they’ve been worse.
This study analyzing the trends that have been observed through 2017 Harvey and 2019 Imelda and why these trends are likely to continue with global warming. The researchers at Princeton have found that the high moisture content of warmer air and storms’ increasing wind speed are directly linked to produce wetter storms.
The hypothesis – a combination of higher sea surface temperatures and stronger storms might explain the predicted increases in rainfall rates, was tested. Through testing this hypothesis they found that the storms holding capacity for water vapor increased due to global warming and that the storms were getting stronger – contributing to higher rainfall rates.
Many researches have predicted what is now being observed for quite sometime but because of this research and, yes, global warming there is a better understanding as to why the probability of hurricanes like Harvey are becoming twice as likely to happen in the future.

Eating Animals 10/23

October 30, 2019

What a wonderful read for the week. I, surprisingly or maybe not, enjoyed Foer’s Eating Animals. Foer was committed from the get-go to research, research and more research on the production of meat and how the animals that produced this meat and other food products were raised and how we, as citizens, consumed them. Foer provided some background history on America and the transition from family farming to factory farming that I was unaware of.
Recently, I’ve chosen to walk away from red meat consumption and have focused on eating chicken and turkey, primarily because I have more knowledge of the damage that cows alone give the planet; their methane burps, their large piles of poop and the deforestation rate due to the farmland that is needed to house cows, but Foer exposed me to new information about chicken farming, and other industrial farms that I was not aware of.
I did really enjoy this book simply because it shared ideas with me that I did not know about, or maybe was just blocking it out because I love chicken, you know? I don’t think I will become a vegetarian, but I will do my best to take more of a research stance on where I get my meat from, and because I reside in Delaware and just 2 miles up 23 you begin seeing local farming – perhaps I could start purchasing and supporting family farms, again with proper research. This book was a very good read, in my opinion, because it made me question myself and sure I found things that I did not agree with, but that’s what I would want in a book like this. 10/10 recommend.

Missing Item: Environmental News

October 29, 2019

When we colonize Mars, we’ll need pollinators to help us grow food. But can bees live with us on another planet? A recent study isn’t too promising.

Scientists placed a colony of bees in a station in Poland that is set up to simulate a base on the moon or Mars. A few bees have been to space before, but never a whole colony. The colony in the simulation in Poland didn’t do so well — 1,000 to 1,200 bees died every four days. As a result of all these deaths, the hive cooled down, resulting in even more deaths from low temperatures. The bees also formed a defensive posture similar to what they do when they overwinter, and they completely ignored the lavender and spirulina offered to them as food sources.

The scientists plan to do more research looking into how conditions can be altered in a simulation to better support bee colonies, and how else we can pollinate plants in space bases.

Read more: https://www.wired.com/story/bees-please-stop-dying-in-your-martian-simulator/

Missing Item: Eating Animals

October 29, 2019

This book is jarring. I know, generally speaking, about factory farming and CAFOs and the horrible conditions that farmed animals live in. I know that an incomprehensible number of animals suffer daily, and live and die excruciatingly. I remember watching a documentary in high school all about food, including where our food comes from, namely in terms of meat products and factory farming. I was disturbed, and this book had the same effect on me. Foer says that his book isn’t a case for vegetarianism, it’s a story, but I think it’s pretty on par as a case for vegetarianism. He brings up some convicting points, like how can environmentalists really call themselves environmentalists if they eat meat.

I was raised eating meat. Most of the dinners my Mom cooks feature meat. My favorite meals feature meat. As a Christian, I was taught that in Genesis (in the Bible), God says that “everything that lives and moves about” will be food for us humans. However, I have also loved animals since I was born. I was the little girl who played with plastic animals and read the National Geographic Filed Guide to the Birds of North America at age 4. I knew from a very early age that I wanted my career to be with animals, and here I am, a Zoology major. Am I a hypocrite for eating animals? I never want animals to suffer, and yet I allow it to happen. I just don’t think that excluding meat from my diet is at all practical for me. I am way too picky of an eater to become a vegetarian, plus I think meat tastes good, and there’s plenty of biological evidence that suggests humans are omnivores and should eat meat, at least sometimes.

Wouldn’t the world be so much simpler if we could just restore ethical family farming and get rid of CAFOs? If we could fish sustainably without so much bycatch?

Several of my classmates have commented about the section titled “I Am the Last Poultry Farmer.” I wish all farming could be like Frank Reese’s farming. Anyways, this passage also struck a cord with me, because I interned this summer at a wildlife rehabilitation center, and made a connection with a special little bird. An orphaned wild turkey chick, called a poult, came into our center. All the interns had to do a project on a specific animal case that came in, so I decided to do mine on the turkey, because she was adorable and unique. I nicknamed her Frankie. I fed her, cleaned her enclosure, provided her enrichment, and watched her grow, with the ultimate goal of being able to release her once she was able to take care of herself in the wild. She became pretty special to me. I kept thinking about her when I was reading this section, because I wouldn’t be able to stand seeing her suffer; yet, I eat turkey. I enjoy eating turkey. How are the turkeys that I eat, born and killed at a factory farm, any different from Frankie? [On a side note, by the time I left my internship, Frankie was not yet releasable, but I got word that a few weeks after my internship had ended that she and her two adopted brothers (who came to us from a different wildlife center a few weeks after we got Frankie and were about the same age as her) were successfully released into the wild.]

Anyways, I wish I had an easy solution for myself. I don’t see vegetarianism as an option for me, and buying meat that is sustainably farmed is both exceedingly difficult (to find) and pricey. But I need to stop making excuses, so what am I gonna do? Overall, this is one of the better books we have read so far, in my opinion. I like Foer’s writing style, and the many convicting points he brings up. More people ought to read this book. I found it really interesting to read about his grandmother, whose first question about her great-grandson was his weight, and who hoards food, and who lived through the Third Reich as a Jew. I loved the passage about how Foer became a dog person in the span of about a day.