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Wednesday, August 25th, 2010 | Author:

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Thursday, April 22nd, 2010 | Author:

This class was a real eye-opener. That is probably the best way to describe this class. I learned so much, and i was introduced to so much more than I ever thought I could be. This class has also helped me make some life changes, such as trying to buy locally and trying “Meatless Mondays.” This class has helped me see that one person can make a difference even if the future looks so bleak. There are many inventions out there that are being created to be more environmentally friendly. And, environmental awareness has become much more expanded throughout the years that there are a bunch of companies you can go to and find eco-friendly products. I found one website that is really cool and is an excellent place to find links for any eco-friendly product. The website is called ECOMAIL.

Even though awareness is spreading about the serious environmental danger our planet is in, it is not spreading fast enough. And it is not getting to the people who need to know the most, such as local people in under-developed countries who cut down trees so that they can have fuel and a place to grow their crops. That is the reason why there needs to be more education all around, from the lowliest farmer to the biggest corporate hot shot. Everyone needs to know about how the planet is in danger and at the rate we are going, there is not much time left. This class has taught me the significance and gift of being as knowledgeable about what is going on around me. This way, I can help the Earth. Because, even one person can make a difference.

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Wednesday, March 31st, 2010 | Author:

Can Australia be saved? This is really a scary thing to consider. I did not even really know about Australia’s serious drought and salinity problem until we started talking about it in class. And to think that this drought has been going on for many years now is a very concerning thing. I read about the drought and the effects that it is having on the people but it did not really hit home until I saw that little clip in class about the family and their farm and how there used to be a lake right near them whereas now there is nothing but desert.

It is really upsetting to know that a couple hundred years ago, before we settled in Australia, the land was doing just fine. Then, we come along and completely mess up the ecosystem by planting crops which have roots that are far too small and introduce livestock which eat far too much. Why did we just sit around and let devastation like this just occur (and it is happening all over the world…)? It is because of lack of education. On one hand, the people may not really know what they are doing and what the impacts are of their actions. People sure did not know 40 years ago that CFC’s would cause a hole in the ozone. But, when they did figure it out, there were steps taken to correct the problem and today, the ozone hole is shrinking. So, there is always hope. Farmers need to be educated on how to plant properly so as to minimize dryland salinity and desertification. They should be introduced to the concept of drip irrigation and of planting native trees in the vicinity of their crops so that it may act as a natural fertilizer and be able to (in Australia’s case), minimize the dryland salinity.

It seems simple enough, educate the people on the effects of their farming practices and how they can change them to better the ecosystem. But, it is actually a very hard thing to change a person’s way of life. Even if they understand the impacts of their practices, they may still not care to change. But I believe that if at least a handfull of people were informed every day about something harmful to our environment that they can change by maybe even doing something small, like refusing to buy bottled water any more, then we can change the world and save places such as Australia. 

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Wednesday, March 31st, 2010 | Author:

So, I went and saw “Tapped” last week, and it was a very interesting documentary. It was really depressing learning about how companies such as Nestle and Coke can be so cold hearted about how they extract or process water. In Nestle’s case, they pull out natural ground water in rural towns in places like Maine, and they sell it back to the people at 19 times the cost of regular tap water (and, what really freaks me out about this is that the government has no real jurisdiction over a company if it bottles and sells the water in the same state)…Companies such as Coke and Pepsi don’t even get their water from spring or “fresh” water areas, they just purify tap water and sell it for a remarkably high price and Americans just eat it up (or in this case, drink it up), without even thinking about the consequences of their actions.

These water bottling companies extract water during severe droughts, they are self-regulated (meaning the government does not demand or insist that they test it themselves), and the bottles that the water comes in could in fact carry harmful products that may cause fertility issues and cancer. Every time a person buys a bottle of water, they are essentially supporting the bottled water companies. The reason Americans like bottles water so much is because it is fast and simple. It is something that we can just take with us on the go and simply throw it away later so we do not have to wash it. This is like the epitome of laziness and Americans want things to be fast and simple. Also, the problem is that when people are done drinking from their plastic water bottle, most do not simply try to find a recycling bin to put it, so they either throw it in a regular trash can where it would end up in a land fill, or they simply litter and have those plastic bottles traveling, sometimes all over the world, to wreak havok environmentally in the oceans and beaches.

All-in-all, people just need to stop buying bottles water. The public needs to be educated more in this issue, and we can start changing what we drink “one sip at a time.” I know I would have to be hard pressed to ever buy a bottle of water again.

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Friday, March 19th, 2010 | Author:

That is basically what I thought when I watched Food Inc. I could not believe some of the things that I was seeing. As we discussed in class, there were a couple key issues that struck me the most. The first was the way factory farms were run and how they treated the animal, the employee, and the customer. The second was how much of a stranglehold the Monsento corporation has on agricultural products.

I already knew a great deal about factory farming before seeing this movie, but this really opened my eyes even wider to the fact that so many animals are being mistreated and so many employees are in such danger of disease and mistreatment by the corporations that emplay them. It is necessary, and the going will be very hard, but there should be no such thing as factory farming. It is just really unfortunate that America eats so much beef, and meat in general. Because naturally, we should not have this much meat at our disposal and it will be very hard to cut back enough to where we have enough meat but have all free-ranging animals.

The other issue, about the Monsento corporation essentially being a monopoly over agriculture, was something that was very eye-opening. This is one of the things that I was not as familiar with. They are like a lumbering giant that cannot be stopped, at least not easily. The best way to stop them would be to stop buying from their company, but there is barely any compitition to purchase from. These issuses have really made me more aware of the food industries and what is around me. This movie has been such an eye-opener that I will begin to change my lifestyle, at least a little, to try to change the world one meal at a time.

And, I must also say that I am quite pleased that Chipotle gets most of its meat from free-range animals and is no longer under McDonalds….It makes me feel slightly better about eating there.


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Wednesday, March 17th, 2010 | Author:

Can mountaintop removal be stopped? That was the first question I had on my mind as I sat listening to the speakers last week discussing the issue of mountaintop removal. It is a very scary thought to know that there is such single-minded destruction happening so close to our own back yards. The Appalachian mountains are the closest effected from MTR. These mountains are considered ecological “hot spots” due to their vast store of plants and animals in both the precious hardwood forests and the streams of the Appalachian mountains. Mountaintop removal mining is systematically destroying the environment in which these plants and animals thrive by completely uprooting the top of the mountain and dumping the resulting debris into valley’s and streams. The fact that MTR is so environmentally damaging is not even the worst part of the MTR impact. For the people who live close to the mining sites, the drinking water has been contaminated, they are exposed to deadly airborne toxins, there is the constant threat of deadly flooding or a sludge leak, and the MTR method of mining has left many jobless and poor in an already struggling economy.

So, the big question; can mountaintop removal be stopped? I believe it can but there would, of course be very hard work ahead. The most pressing reason why MTR is so prevalent is because of our very unhealthy dependence on coal. If we could cut our dependence by limiting our use of energy and also finding alternative, renewable energy, to work with then we would not even need coal mining. But that goal is quite far off in the future. At the moment, we need to work with getting our congressmen to support bills and legislature to stop or hinder MTR itself. It is really quite upsetting that people of influence know of what MTR is and the destruction that it trails in its wake, but they will still do nothing about it.  

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Monday, February 22nd, 2010 | Author:

On Thursday, I went to the showing of whale wars. It was such a crazy show! I have seen it before, but the one that we saw on Thursday was quite an intense episode. Although I was not able to stay for the discussion, I really wanted to give my input on how I felt about the Sea Shepard’s and how they go about saving the whales: I must first commend the people who go out to the arctic and risk their lives to save the whales. They are much braver than I. They use methods that are a bit extreme, but it seems to get the job done, at lest a little bit. The tact of the Sea Shepard’s is to get the medias attention by doing drastic things that may even put themselves in danger. It is actually quite frightening to watch some of the things these people do in almost blatant disregard to their safety. I believe that this is a really good tact, I have to say. Because, the more media attention the whale wars people get, the more attention the whales get, and more people to (hopefully) back their crusade against the killing of these animals. Again, I think these people are really cool and I commend them for going into the icy waters to battle the Japanese whalers, but I have to wonder to myself as I watch all this craziness happen on the screen if there could ever be a diplomatic way to end this civilly. I understand that now, there really is not but perhaps in the future whale lovers will not have to throw stink bombs on whaling ships, because there may not be any.It is unbelievable that the Japanese can justify killing almost 1,000 whales a year for “research.” I think it is sick.

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Thursday, February 18th, 2010 | Author:

On Tuesday, we had an exercise where we were assigned different aspects of the government or people of Haiti in response to the earthquake. I am writing about this now because I found this exercise to be very intriguing. My group was assigned to be “park and natural resource officials.” This was one of the more difficult groups because our main focus was not necessarily on the present, but the future. It is really unfortunate because if there had been more trees to begin with in Haiti, then the earthquake may not have been as horrible… Anyway, our group essentially wants to preserve the natural resources of Haiti. This is a very hard thing to think about at the present time, and something which tends to be put on the backburner, but it is a very important aspect in the long run. Overall, as we all know, Haiti has lost much of its natural resources. With the depletion of trees due to deforestation and the recent earthquake, there is even more of a chance that there could be large landslides in Haiti. For this reason, and many more, the Haitian people need to begin protecting what is left of their trees and natural resources. This will be very difficult because of all the displaced people who are being transported to rural parts of Haiti to live in the aftermath of the earthquake. So many people in the rural areas may be inclined to chop down what is left of the trees in Haiti. To me, the future of Haiti seems pretty grim; unless they start saving their ecosystem and natural resources now; they will have no way to live. There could be possible warfare on neighboring countries such as the Dominican Republic just so they could obtain the resources to survive.

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Friday, February 05th, 2010 | Author:

So, I know we have talked a lot about the Aral sea, but I really wanted to express how utterly horrified I am that people could make a conscious decision to completely change it in a way that would kill thousands of creatures and hurt thousands of people. I cannot get over how people can do that to our world with no real regard. These people are the ones who know what is going on with the world, yet they do nothing to help it, they even hinder it!

And that is what scares me the most; the fact that people know what they are going to do, and what their actions may cause, but they still do it. That is why I question if people want the earth to be saved. I know that many need more education on the subject, but how can educated people, like the politicians who knew what would happen to the Aral Sea, do such a thing when they know the repercussions’?

I also wondered to myself, after we did the exercise in class, whether there really is a solution to this problem? I feel like the only way out of something as bad as this is to completely get rid of all the people living in the area, just completely relocate them. That way, nature would have a chance to possibly recoup. And, after a few decades, the people could return….But I am not foolish enough to believe that something like that would ever happen, at least in this lifetime. So, honestly, how do we solve such a problem? I favor just letting the rivers run their natural course again and let people try and make a living as best they can, but they would definitely be getting the short end of the stick for a long time to come…

There is also a really interesting blog I found on the Aral Sea called Infranet lab


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Wednesday, February 03rd, 2010 | Author:

This week we read about a bunch of past civilizations that ended up not being able to sustain themselves due to environmental and/or social problems. During each of the readings, I became increasingly saddened by the fact that many if not all of the civilizations going through these harsh environmental catastrophes did not try to stop their actions. The Easter Islanders saw that the trees were dwindling and the adverse effects it had on the environment, yet they did nothing to stop it. They probably thought that their gods would not let them suffer, but they were wrong. Due to their thoughtlessness in regard to their ecosystem, many people died needlessly.

That is what worries me about today’s world. In many cases, people know what they are doing to the environment; how the world is slowly going into a downward spiral do to over taxing our resources’ and many people not doing anything to stop it. For example, I happened to stumble upon an on-line comment blog about the show “18 and Counting.” It’s a show about these people who have 18 children (19 now that another has just recently been born), and who are also religious fanatics who teach their children that they should also have as many kids as they can possibly have…Anyway, the point I was getting at is that on this blog, half of the people were praising this couple and were encouraging them to have more children; but the other half were very unhappy with them and the fact that they have a TV show to boot. Many people wrote that they should stop having children, that there are plenty of homeless children that need adopting. But, the biggest argument that I found was people were upset that this couple are mass reproducing when the world is already so overpopulated as it is. They mentioned the dwindling resources and the fact that there is always adoption to consider.  What I am trying to get at here is that people know that the world is in trouble due to many factors including overpopulation and only about half seem to care enough to do or say anything about it. There is always the fact that many of the people may not be educated enough to understand the repercussions of such things, but that is why people need to be educated for the greater good.       


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