Here’s a video of someone diving into the Gulf of Mexico dead zone which is about 8700 square miles and roughly the size of NJ.
Here’s a video of someone diving into the Gulf of Mexico dead zone which is about 8700 square miles and roughly the size of NJ.
That’s pretty neat :).
Hurricane Maria is coming up next right after Hurricane Irma. It’s the strongest storm to hit the region in 90 years. “You have to evacuate — otherwise, you are going to die,’ he said, according to Telemundo, NBC’s Spanish-language network. ‘I do not know how to make this any clearer.” Yikes.
The first part of Nature was interesting, but I thought it discussed a lot of things with very little detail and then repeated the same ideas over and over again. It also seemed like there was a lot of information that didn’t exactly relate to the topic of the attitudes that people have had of nature, though Coates obviously interpreted that differently, I just didn’t always understand the link and he didn’t point it out specifically.
I think it is interesting to look at the changing definition of nature through time, but the common link of otherness. It seems that in some way nature has always been a structure separate from humans, and with some sort of mysticism to it, despite that it has changed from being a place set aside for gods, a place to be feared, to a place that as humans is our rightful claim and we must conquer it, to a place to be held above all others and protected.
The amount with which Coates seems to believe Christianity has played in the destruction of nature kind of surprised me. As a Christian who has always really cared about the environment, I have never interpreted the Bible as saying that humans have a right to everything and can just destroy the earth, I’ve had the more Franciscan view of needing to conserve things and all creatures being important in God’s creation. However, I do understand where Coates and others have seen that Christianity has played a role in the destruction of nature.
I also think it’s really common for people to assume that pre-Columbian societies had little or no negative impact on the natural world surrounding them, and I think this mostly has to do with the racist views of those peoples being more like animals, and therefore more closely related to nature. I think its important to look back and see that humans have always impacted the environment, and changed their surroundings, and its important to note that no society was perfect in their efforts to not do this, so we shouldn’t be taking all of our cues from any one society. However, I think it is also important to note that the impact we are having right now is much higher than it has been in the past whether because of the large increase in population, our changed food source, or increased use of fuels.
This book gives a very baseline understanding of how nature has been interpreted and how we have interacted with it over the years, but it also shows how we got to the beliefs that we have, and may hold a key as to how we can continue to change ideas about nature and its importance to society, not as separate entities, but as two parts of a whole.
Great Britain has officially decided to stop using coal as a source of energy. They have recently converted or closed many coal plants including the world’s largest plant: Drax Power Station. This is especially significant because coal has been one of the main drivers of Britain’s economy since its beginning and is what put them on the map as an empire during the industrial revolution. By 2025 the UK plans on completely removing the use of coal, which is an extremely dirty fuel. This has been a common trend in the developed world, though places such as the US, Germany, and Austria have not begun to follow suit.
Response to Fanaticism of the Apocalypse:
I found this book interesting, it seemed that Bruckner had some good points regarding how we are fighting humans and persecuting ourselves, though I felt that he did a lot of complaining about how we are giving up all of our virtues for this undeterminable event that is probably either a farce or has no answer, but he didn’t really expand on how he thinks we should approach the problem. I think it’s fair to say that modern ecologists tend to back ideas that decrease our global impact without any regard as to what this means in the face of progress and I also think that its important to think critically about where the place of humans is if we are considering both human progression and minimizing impact. If we are going to figure out how to combat problems such as how to optimally help conserve nature while determining the place of humans in this world we need to understand the arguments presented in the book.
Something I didn’t like about the book was that it seemed to be attempting to discredit all ecological conservation efforts as being radical defeatist ideas or insignificant acts. Most of the examples Bruckner was citing were very radical, intermixed with pretty normal conservation efforts, which attempted to say that all the ideas were ridiculous and asking too much, when they don’t really even affect the individual’s life once the change is implemented. For example, there are people who believe that we should have mass human death to regain a sustainable population, and he places this argument with the idea that we should sort our garbage into recycling and compost and implies that both are equally arbitrary and unattainable, but obviously killing a bunch of humans is a lot more difficult and moral changing than sorting your garbage, which is both more attainable and doesn’t really change our way of life.
I think it is important to note, as Bruckner did, that we can’t be 100% certain of climate change and its exact effects, and as he states, convictions are dangerous and we can’t predict exactly what will happen just because of our models. However, unlike Bruckner I don’t think this means that we should just avoid the science altogether and pretend like nothing will (or is) happen(ing). I also don’t think that taking preventative measures means that we have to give up the human ideal of progression, nor does it mean that we have to give up all worldly pleasures or desires, and I think it’s important to find a balance.
I like when Bruckner talks about vegetarianism and this contradictions of this lifestyle. He discusses how not eating meat products in order to help decrease our carbon (methane) footprints, while all well and good, brings up a philosophical problem of what we are deciding to conserve, who we are deciding to protect, and whether it should be in our rights to annihilate livestock populations in order to feed humans. I think that this is important, something to be discussed, though I believe we should keep in mind that it isn’t entirely dissimilar from the game hunting that we allow for population control.
I disagree with Bruckner’s opinion on why we conserve things, and that this is out of our own greediness, wanting more of certain things like wilderness, and though I don’t think this is entirely wrong or an unprecedented opinion, I think that taking this stance is a polarizing viewpoint. Though there are many things that are chosen to be conserved over other things due to bureaucratic opinions on what is best for humanity to conserve, and like Leapold said in the Sand County Almanac, we each have our own biases on what we would personally want to conserve, Bruckner’s viewpoint says that we only do this out of greediness, and therefore should not conserve them, which I think is an incomplete argument.
I think it’s really good to look at a book like this because it shows a public opinion shared by a large percentage of the population, that doesn’t necessarily match that of the general population we surround ourselves with, and understanding their viewpoint is an important part of creating a discourse to farther spread sustainability ideas and climate change science. Bruckner, though not necessarily intentionally, spreads the ideas of climate change deniers, something that I intend to help combat, so I think it’s good to look at their arguments and rationale.
News: Young birds suffer in the city
New research from Lund University in Sweden shows that birds in urban environments undergo more stress than those in rural environments and therefore, birds under the age of 1 year old are less likely to survive in urban environments. I think it’s more interesting though, that they showed no increase in stress for adult birds, and no increase in mortality. This means the birds are able to adapt to their environment.
So, I saw a friend of mine’s Snapchat story who lives in Puerto Rico and they were preparing for Hurricane Irma. Hurricane Irma is already a Category 5 hurricane. It’s already stronger than Katrina was at its peak. As a New Orleans native, I’ve grown accustomed to hurricanes. We usually don’t evacuate for hurricanes unless it’s a category 4+ and even then we still contemplate. But this one is serious. What’s messed up is where do these people go, how do they evacuate? The easiest and best way is usually by car and jump states, but on an island with that amount of people that isn’t possible. It doesn’t seem really possible to evacuate that many people by boat/plane in the small amount of time before the hurricane hits. You also have to look at it monetary wise because some people wouldn’t even be able to afford to evacuate by bus or car. I could not find anything online about Puerto Rico evacuations, but they’re were a bunch of other places that were given evacuation orders (Florida Keys, British Islands.) The best they can do is move more inland and hope for the best, but there’s still the aftermath they’d have to deal with. There’s outages, supplies, and other things they’d have to worry about for however long. It’s just a funky situation.
Desert Solitaire described a very different view of wilderness, preservation, and civilization than the Meadowlands. I think Abbey’s opinion shows more of the frontier man attitude, taking on the “untouched” wilderness, only wanting those who will truly leave civilization behind in order to come to the park to experience it. This is the more common viewpoint I think most “tree-hugger” environmentalists have. Abbey finds his paradise in Arches, which does bring a new viewpoint, as most people cling to the beach or the mountains or the forest, but he clings to the desert.
I think this book shows more of the internal struggle that I feel when talking about wilderness than Meadowlands. For example, Abbey talks about how he feels that there must be places set aside as wilderness that go unchanged by humans, or at least which aren’t “industrially toured” and are, rather, experienced like a frontier man would experience them. He also says that the places should be set aside regardless of whether people have the ability to see them, simply for them to have the idea of the ability to escape to these places. However, he feels that it is important for people to be a part of society as well as be a part of nature, and I think in this argument his ideas are not fully fleshed out. Abbey feels very strongly about this point but because he is coming at the issue from a strictly environmentalist viewpoint he is missing the discussion on how to be a part of both worlds, and is only including how to separate yourself from society and why to do so.
Another thing that Abbey discusses is the idea that National parks should be, as was their original intent, and the original purpose of the parks department in regards to these parks, left essentially unaltered by humans. This is an idea I have a hard time with, because I agree that when people tear down the forests to make roads or make bridges over land gaps and mess with the natural beauty of the land, that they are destroying an important aspect of the National parks. However, I also understand that in terms of utilitarianism, when the parks are inaccessible to the majority of people, and are therefore being left unvisited, that they are not serving their economic purpose and that its really difficult to justify this to people who don’t care about the environment or who don’t have the opportunity to visit these places, and therefore only get the theory of these places. I understand the difficulty and the necessity of setting these places aside, and so I have a hard time with this particular question of how much is acceptable to change for nothing but human entertainment.
I found it interesting that Abbey did talk about the dangers of the desert, the unpredictability, the poisonous species, the lack of water, the quicksand. This was something brought up as an important part of wilderness, as opposed to nature, that I hadn’t really ever considered, because where I have been, there are trails, there are people removing poisonous species and placing them away from where the humans are, there are marked off areas of danger, and guard rails, so what I have considered wilderness has never given me a sense of danger, but just an idea of wonder and strange power. However, I think that it is important to understand the danger of wild places, but I don’t know that it is particularly important to fear it.
I really liked the contemplation of what makes the desert unique, I thought that this was important because this is something that comes up a lot when people who don’t understand where you’re coming from when you talk about how great a place is or how different, or whatever, and I have come across similar questioning. I agree that it is a difficult question to answer, and I think Abbey hits the nail on the head when he says that the problem is two-fold, because you not only have to figure out the exact thing that makes a place unique, which is kind of indescribable, and then you have to figure out why that indescribable uniqueness is different from other place’s indescribable uniqueness.
I also think it is worthwhile to discuss closing all the roads and only allowing people to bike or walk (66)
NEWS: New fruit varieties coming to market thanks to U of G research
In University of Guelph, Canada, there are researchers who have developed 2 new late-producing plum varieties, and 2 new early-producing peach species. They believe that these may help with food sustainability in Canada, as currently their fruit produces a little bit after that of the US, so they are importing a large amount of fruit from the US, and these varieties could help curb that. Additionally, these varieties, growing when they do, are more likely to be weather resistant because the peaches are ready for harvest before the variable conditions of the summer, in terms of drought, and the plums are later producing, also allowing them to avoid the variable summer weather. They are hoping that the plants will go on the market as soon as possible.