What We Think About When We Try Not to Think About Global Warming–Daniel Delatte

November 15, 2017

What We Think About When We Try Not to Think About Global Warming confronted the climate change arguments head on. Espen Stokens was keen on showing that it wasn’t that scientists weren’t alarmists, but the science behind it was alarming.” (7) The facts are there, why do we not act on it?

There was a study that I thought was really intriguing which was a survey done in the U.S. that had residents rank three things in terms of concern: climate change, financial sustainability, Islamic extremism. I was slightly surprised that Islamic extremism was ranked the highest, but extremely surprised that climate change ranked the lowest. Even though a vast majority of American’s are aware of these struggles, it is about prioritizing. We are in an age where global terrorism is a big thing and American’s are afraid of a threat that has a probability of happening to them, instead of something that is currently happening. That is by far one of the most confusing things I got from this book. Another point that I think he made about prioritizing was the issue of who is being effected. Those of wealthier incomes who have more inclined to be thought of by politicians when making decisions to benefit an area aren’t those in the polluted area. Those who are in these “vulnerable communities” (209) are black, brown, elderly, and, mainly all those of low income.

Stoken’s later goes on to address the “Self-Interest of Me”, basically saying that we are a very self-centered people which ties into the self satisfaction of what we want now. He also discusses how obviously we live our lives to the environment changing around us. He quotes a philosopher and author, David Abram, who basically says, we take the environment around us for granted. This is evident in the way that we don’t actually care that our class may be a ten minute walk when we instead choose to drive, leaving emissions that could’ve easily not been used. I know, I for one, do this.

The book was well written in how it presented things to an average person with an open mind. He took his own time in explaining his reasoning for how he thinks using life stories which I thought made it easier to be open to his points. Climate change is real and we should do something (please rich people).

 

 

 

Advertisements

What we think about-Niemeyer

November 13, 2017

 

I thought this book was interesting and gave a good look at the psychological view of acceptance of an idea from different perspectives.  I am a big proponent of looking at an argument from all sides and understanding where the other person is coming from, I am also a big proponent of having people understand scientific findings and believing in the scientific process, so I think that this book does a good job of showing why we should understand all sides and why it’s hard to convince people of climate change.

There were a lot of good points brought up about climate science, like that it is alarming, and therefore hard to take, but is also presented in a non-urgent manner, because it is presented as 25 years+ in the future, that it’s going to affect things that aren’t necessarily directly us, like the ocean, rural desert areas in other countries, et cetera, we don’t directly see or feel it happening, and there are often comparisons of temperature and weather as opposed to climate when non-scientists discuss climate change, and the studies and information given are presented in scientific terminology that the general public doesn’t understand and therefore questions.  This is something I see in everyday life, I know a lot of people who don’t really care about climate change or don’t believe it’s real, and they don’t care to listen to me explain it, or look up more information, or vote based on environmental causes, because they have heard what the media has said, that it isn’t a big or immediate problem, that there is large debate as to whether climate change is real, and that it’s not just hippies trying to change their ways.

Another interesting thought is that people see that the science and models are changing over time, and instead of the general public grasping that this is just in terms of numbers, and not the overall conclusions, and that this is a progression of science, not proving that the previous conclusions were wrong, but rather adapting them based on the most recent information, and the belief that because of these changes climate change is just an exaggerated media story, not something to really consider in everyday life. This hits home a bit, because many of my relatives watch the news 3 times a day on the same channel, with the same information being spit at them, and I can specifically remember my dad and brothers having an argument about the number of scientists (97%) who are in consensus about the existence of climate change and human impacts on climate change, and my dad consistently repeating, “I’d have to see that number” or “I haven’t heard that number, I’ve heard more like 30%”, which is what he’s heard from his news sources, and therefore it is true, so I understand how hard it is to try to explain to someone who isn’t “in the science world” and how polarizing the different sides are.

I also thought it was interesting that the book described how it is difficult culturally to show that you care about something like climate change when it isn’t the cool thing to be doing and you are the only one and you have to explain your views to everyone and most of the time they don’t want you to have a good answer so they don’t have to question their ethics and idea base.  This is something I have come across since deciding to be vegetarian, there are a certain group of people who just don’t question it, a certain group of people who try to avoid it like it’s a big deal and that I’m trying to shove it down their throats, so even if they asked about it I would automatically be wrong, and then there are a few people who are genuinely curious, despite not necessarily understanding my point of view, or not thinking it will change anything.  I come across the same sort of responses from the same people when I try to talk about recycling, driving cars, wasting food and I can definitely see how it can be hard to be the first one in your group of peers or family to care about the environment when it isn’t cool.

 

Environmental News:

http://www.enn.com/ecosystems/article/53127

 

For the first time in 3 years global emissions of CO2 from fossil fuels and industry are projected to rise by 2% by the end of 2017.  This is after 3 years of relatively flat emissions.


Placing Animal’s–Daniel Delatte Review

November 8, 2017

Urbanik’s Placing Animals discusses the relationships that we have with animals and how we should be able to distinguish the differences between them and the animals that we aren’t too fond of. The book plays with the idea that there are animals that do not belong in the same category as every other one. Those categories are by what the animals believe that they are going along the lines as in allies or enemies—those that have two legs are enemies and those that are on four or have wings are friends. This differentiation can be seen in the foods we eat and how we treat animals. This can be said to be a capitalist way of thinking as the way we treat some animals for what they can do and provide for us. While in India animals are allowed to roam freely and not be eaten as they are sacred, since India is neither pure capitalist or socialist. It further provides a deeper thinking to how we view animals, as well as how we think animals would view us given their ability to think like we do. Our way of thinking is challenged by how Urbanik would toy with the idea when he places animal’s in a farm that has each animal play certain roles, almost like a government setting. I think what he does with giving certain animals certain characteristics that motivate their way their ability to think makes it more relatable to us as humans in terms of our differences (race, socioeconomic background, culture, nationality, etc.) It could be argued that their way of thinking in terms of agricultural planning is better influenced because they are pushing for ways that is best suited to be best for their species. The statement of “Long Live Humanity” by Snowball was pretty funny considering, how they are all animals and that the story had them playing humanlike roles.


Placing Animals Response and News-Niemeyer

November 7, 2017

 

I didn’t really find this book to be all that interesting or to have anything particularly new or different from what we have already read.  Generally, I thought the idea that humans have separated ourselves from nature but we rely on nature and it relies on us, as well as the idea that different geographical areas treat different animals and interactions and practices differently were beaten to death.

There were a couple of points brought up that caught my attention however.  The first was during one of the topics about biomedical research on animals and our view of animals as enough like humans to test our medicines on, but different enough from humans to fall outside of human ethics and not have rights.  This is something that I have wondered a lot about, I don’t really support animal testing, I think it’s cruel, but this doesn’t mean that it hasn’t brought about a lot of extremely beneficial research and medicines.  I think it’s even worse that we specifically are required to take emotions out of it and pretend like they aren’t living things that feel pain, and are taught that it is for the greater good, when really its completely selfish.

I thought also the idea of power geometry was interesting, and entirely true, animals in the zoo have been removed of their power, so we feel like we can get close to them, despite that if we were to get that close in the wild, they could seriously harm us, and this provides us with a sense of power over zoo animals, allowing us to dominate them.  I also thought the idea of us keeping pets historically being a subconscious show of dominance was interesting.

News:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2017/11/05/powerful-lawmaker-wants-to-invalidate-the-endangered-species-act-hes-getting-close/?utm_term=.1454d0ada500

Congressman Rob Bishop of Utah, and chairperson of the Natural Resources Committee is trying to invalidate the Endangered Species Act.  His bills would force the government to consider the economic impact of saving a species rather than just the scientific impacts, consider the data collected by the state as the best data available, rather than looking at other research, take away funding for citizens or conservation groups to file claims against the government when they think protections fall short.  He claims that the ESA is being used as front for land control rather than for species rehabilitation.


Environment & Society–Daniel Delatte

November 1, 2017

I really enjoyed the later half of the Robbin’s Environment & Society. It was a more insightful and detailed basis of what the effects of what it is that we do, as well as the outcomes of it. He took the time to list the multiple steps that lead to that outcome and described it in terms of how it is used in our daily lives, while also briefing us on what it will do to our world. Things like changing temperatures and how we can expect a rise or drop in the price of heating. Ultimately, Robbin’s explained it to be centered around carbon dioxide—the fundamental factor in the majority of things that we do. The Kyoto principle was something that I thought circled back to the point of common-property and the issue with that. Since climate change is a “global problem” and the atmosphere is shared by the entire world, it is very difficult to properly govern. He addresses the ethics behind how we decide those factors that we use to govern what we know as sustainability. Those ways are defined as who the actors are whether it be in a human or environmentally driven direction. It would be important to note that not every society is on the same level to act and use things that would effect it accordingly to every other countries expected standards. Another important point that really takes lead in everything that is discussed is the uneven distribution because of capitalism. It makes sense that the rushed development of our society has impacted various ecosystems in way that we are now trying to fix with rushed plans that further harm something else, or do not really fix the problem. What made the organization of the book was how he ties it up nicely in the end with the waste problem. The end result of all the objects spoken of in the text that creates yet another and final problem.

 


Niemeyer-environment and society

October 31, 2017

The second half of Environment and Society was less interesting to me than the first, I liked that it tried to look at the different individual problems that we face in environmental policy and practices from the different viewpoints described in the first half, however, the subjects were mostly repetitive of subjects or examples that have constantly been examples in other classes and readings that I have done.

I think it is interesting to look at the social and political justice side of environmental problems, the book constantly brought up different problems with the limits and undemocratic implications that come with environmental problems.  One of the major problems being that the people that are most effected by issues like climate change tend to be those with the fewest resources to combat such problems.  This is something that is often not discussed when we talk about our duty and initiative to change, but it’s extremely important when we think about solutions to environmental issues.  I’m constantly amazed by how little people care about being sustainable, but every time this is because they don’t see the change, they don’t see that they are making a difference, so to them there is no purpose to the extra effort.

Something that surprised me was the stats on nuclear power being used as frequently as hydropower and this being theoretically cleaner than natural gas.  This is something I generally think of as a dirty energy source, and it is, in terms of the waste it produces and the unsustainable management we have of it, but it would be interesting to see how we could change this if we put effort and resources into making it cleaner like we do other fuel sources.

Something that I thought was weird was the discussion of dead dolphins in relation to tuna fishing.  The book talked about the issues as if it was a problem of the past, and this may true in relation to certain tuna fishing, but this is a really big current issue with the global fish industry, especially with long line fishing for shrimp, where 95% of catch is bycatch, which is killed and then thrown back into the ocean.  I did enjoy the idea of consumer advocacy, but this only works when people have other incentive to buy sustainable products, and it also leads to shady advertising by companies that are only interested in their bottom line.

I also thought it was interesting to think that bottled water was commoditized and therefore privatized due to the belief that it was safer than tap water, which was more accessible, cheaper, and more sustainable.  I grew up drinking well water out of the tap, and have had many people visit my house and be unwilling to drink it because of the possibility that it might not be clean.  This has always been ludicrous to me, but it is definitely an idea that has spread, and it would be interesting to see how we could change this view or how this will change as water becomes less available in different areas.

http://e360.yale.edu/features/how-aquaculture-is-threatening-the-native-fish-species-of-africa

There have been multiple instances of aquaculture fish being accidently released into the rivers of Africa, including crayfish and tilapia.  These are outcompeting native species of the rivers, causing them to be endangered.


Niemeyer Environment and Society and news response

October 24, 2017

 

I thought this half of the essay took an interesting angle to look at different environmental issue causalities and problems with how we generally view different issues, especially with the mindset of if you don’t agree with me you’re against me. This essay had more of a look at where different people have placed themselves on different issues in the past and how that plays into current beliefs within government, communities, and individuals.  I thought it did a pretty good job of separating different mindsets and then picking them apart and showing the downfalls and successes of each.

One of the things that interested me right away was the idea of “rewilding” in the Netherlands, it seems that humans shouldn’t be able to create a wild area, but that’s what we have done elsewhere, like the current state of the National Parks, where we have changed them to fit our own definition of wild and beauty.  Originally, this idea struck me as weird, but we define wild anyway, so it makes sense that we can create the physical being that fits our description.

Another idea that was interesting was the writing by Malthus about the contradiction between environmental ethics and human ethics, namely that it does not make sense to help with food sustainability for the poor in terms of environmental sustainability because it bolsters population growth.  This is interesting because if humans were in treated like animals, there would have been massive culls to regulate population growth, and the weakest would die out due to starvation, but according to human ethics, every human life is important and must be given the best chance possible, despite what this means for the overall human population.

A different idea that was equally as interesting was the idea that if everyone lived like the US did we could only support a world population of 2 billion, but in order for us to live this way, others have to change their regulations. Is it fair of us to require other countries to change so that we can continue our standard of living? Probably not, especially when we are major imposers of these regulations on others but don’t necessarily follow them ourselves.

Overall, there were a lot of new ideas and new ways of thinking about issues that I really enjoyed looking at.

News-California Condors making a comeback

http://registerguard.com/rg/sports/outdoors/35982191-80/california-condor-making-comeback.html.csp

In Big Sur, California the California condor had become nearly extinct, with 22 wild condors in 1987.  These were captured and bred in captivity by different Los Angeles zoos.  Now, there are over 450 birds and 270 of these are in the wild, and 3 have been born in the wild.  Additionally, these have begun increasing their territory.