Week 7 news

February 26, 2020

https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2019/11/solar-power-seoul-south-korea/

The city of Seoul is planning on having every public building and 1 million homes run on solar power by 2022. The city will educate and subsidize the cost of the solar panels for the 840,000 citizens who still need them. The city center has already seen a solar transformation with lights and trash cans. South Korea is also looking to transition 30% of there energy needs to hydrogen by 2040.


News article

February 26, 2020

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/feb/18/bottled-water-ban-washington-state

The state of Washington has banned new permits to commercially bottle water that is retroactive back to January 1st, 2019.

This bill prevents Crystal Geyser, a company that has been in trouble in California for delivering arsenic water to treatment plants and not disclosing that information, from opening a bottling plant in southwest Washington


Week 7 Environmental News

February 26, 2020

Laboratory-evolved bacteria switch to consuming carbon dioxide for growth from Science Daily

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/11/191127161450.htm

Yes, this article is almost as cool as the title claims. It talks about the process some scientists went through to convince gut bacteria to consume CO2 instead of the organic stuff it usually does. About a third of it is background info, and another third is about how excited the scientists were and how unexpected and amazing the discovery is for science the future of CO2 reduction. This process is still in the very early stages of development, for example, the bacteria still emit more CO2 than they absorb, but it’s a step in the right direction and exciting things may still come of it.


Reading Week 7: Nature- Western Attitudes since ancient times

February 26, 2020

p 146 “Every culture projects its values onto nature and then holds them up as nature’s own authority, deploying this apparently unimpeachable and independent source of authority to justify its vision of society and the world.”

This quote really struck me because it’s so true. That section of the book talks about people justifying slavery, the feudal system, and unbridled capitalism through the lens that those things happen in nature so it’s fine if we do them. I can come up with other examples besides the ones in the book too. Sexism for one. Also the idea that we can do whatever we want because animals that have less self control than us seem to do whatever they want even though most of the time they’re just doing what they need to to survive.

Also men, especially men from the past, personify nature as a woman they can conquer, like Abbey, the author of Desert Solitarie did.

Just because nature seems savage and whatever else you think it is doesn’t give you the right to caricature what you think is going on.

On the plus side, nature can be a symbol of empowerment. For example, animals such as bees, elephants, and seahorses are representations of the women’s movement because of the role females play in those animals’ dynamics.

p170

In the 1940s, Nazis went so far as to relocate rural jews to inner city ghettos to perpetuate the stereo type that jews were unnatural because they lived in the unnatural cities.

This section jumped out at me because that’s very much not the view of cities we have today. According to CNBC, 55% of the world’s population lives in cities, so it makes sense that this perception has changed from the 1940s. My first thought was that it was really strange for the rich people who built up the cities to call them unnatural but then I remembered that a lot of the elite members of society then and now build their megamansions in the country so they don’t have to deal with people. It makes sense. But also wouldn’t it be more impressive to buy out expansive apartment complexes and live there than to bully farmer Joe until he caves and sells all his land at a horrible price? Why is it that access to nature is a privilege now instead of a right? Should it be a right?

p 186

nature has always been indomitable

I started reading this section awaiting the end of that thought. Nature has always been indomitable, but now it is not. The classic eco-guilt lecture it seems every nature documentary and book about the environment is so eager to hurl at the unsuspecting audience, but that amazingly didn’t happen here. It was incredibly refreshing to not have to wade through that for the thousandth time. And the replacement ideas presented instead were ones of hope!

It also gave some good points about nature’s potential to recover from human mistakes. I feel like humans always focus on the bad example, such as the case of Easter Island. I have spent probably a week’s worth of my life reading about and watching documentaries and studying Easter Island because it’s such an excellent example of when things go wrong and don’t get better. It used to be a thriving tropical forest, and now it can barely support grass and a handful of carefully cultivated palm trees. This is entirely due to human deforestation. People cut down the native trees to grow palms and after the trees were cut down the rain washed away the nutrients leading to the downfall of the people there. Ecologists are obsessed with this. They claim this island is a potential microcosm of our entire planet when we eventually fail to stop global warming before the appropriate deadline. But what actually are the chances that we will push the entire planet past the point of no return assuming there even is one? I don’t know.


Environmental news

February 26, 2020

https://www.npr.org/2018/07/09/624643780/phoenix-tries-to-reverse-its-silent-storm-of-heat-deaths

More than 155 people died from heat-related causes in the Phoenix area last year, a new record in a place where the number of such deaths has been on the rise. The mayor deemed is a public health crisis.

As temperatures are getting higher in certain areas, more people are dying. Education is important in the sense that people need to stay hydrated and cool as much as they can when temperatures skyrocket to 115 degrees Fahrenheit.


Coates 6-9

February 26, 2020

“The role of the countryside as an amenity for wealthy urbanites, originally enshrined in the roman villa rusticate, had been in retreat during the later Middle Ages, when Norman hunting reserves were eroded by economic pressures…but the new parks, besides being larger than their predecessors, were more than just hunting grounds.”

Image result for norman hunting reserves
medieval hunting

“Modern environmentalism has been conditioned by a range of dangers to land, air, seas and inland waters that are largely unique to the period since the Second World War.”

“Nevertheless, late 20th century attitudes to nature, particularly the valorization of its wilder aspects and conceptions of hallowed natural systems under threat, remain essentially shaped by two intellectual developments from the 18th and 19th centuries respectively that questioned the ideology of industrial capitalism and sometimes modernity itself: romanticism and the emergence of ecological science via evolutionary theory.”

Image result for romanticism art
romanticism art

“Evolutionary theory most obvious consequences, however, were for orthodox christianity. Evolution taught that the giant tortoises and iguanas of the Galapagos Islands off the coast of Ecuador had migrated there instead of being installed by a divine creator: The idea of nature as the outcome of historical forces replaced that of the one-off creation…Darwin was hardly spoiling for a fight with christianity…natural law and natural selection in fact left God’s role in the origins of life open.”

“The idea of nature to which one comes under the domination of private property and of money is the actual contempt, the practical degradation of nature…in this sense, Thomas Münzer [a 16th century anabaptist dissident and leader of peasent revolt] declares it intolerable ‘that all creates have been made into property, the fish in the water, the birds in the air, the plants on the earth – the creators, too, must be free’ .” – Marx

Image result for karl marx
Karl Marx

“Since plastic trees are cheaper to make and easier to maintain, more durable, and can be made more readily available than the scarce trees and places we currently treasure, why can’t we be trained to enjoy their proxies as much as the real thing? After all, if a forged painting provides the same quality of aesthetic experience as the authentic article, why should this bother us?”


Coates 6-9 reading

February 26, 2020

Pg124 “To the homesteader staking a claim to a patch of American earth and converting it from nature to property through labor, the impoundment of public space meant freedom and autonomy. By contrast, the displaced American Indian who saw the prairie sod being busted by blundering plough by these refugees from the old country’s blundering plough might easily have thought that Clare’s poem was written as an elegy for them and for American nature newly placed in bondage.”

Pg127 “The belief that people are free by nature but enslaved by man inspired a range of causes from medieval peasant revolt to the eighteenth-century anti-slavery movement.”

Pg157 “Their goal is to redeem the city by reconceptualizing ‘nature’ and ‘the environment’ as peoples ordinary daily living, working, and playing spaces.”

Pg164 “Women were the main consumers of bird products.”

Pg171 “Shoving humanity off its pedestal may sound exhilarating to those who believe that a fundamental philosophical shift is necessary to save the planet.”

Pg180 “He argues ingeniously, for instance, that tunny fish have a mathematical grasp because they swim in geometric patterns, and that elephants engage in the equivalent of a religious exercise after washing at dawn, standing in devotional pose at regular intervals during the day hereafter.”

puffer fish mating ritual