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Friday, April 26th, 2013 | Author:
animacenter.orgI love this photo!

animacenter.org
I love this photo!

I was suprised when the last week came about and our last blog due was going to be this reflection blog. Looking back on the semester, the topic I feel I was most engaged in was the history of Easter Island. That topic led to deforestation, which is what environmentally led to the collapse. I found it facinating that today, we know what deforestation can do (change the climate, hurt and destroy our soil, effect our river system, and biodiversity loss) and yet with the information we still are cutting down so many trees. I have heard many times, hisotry repeats itself. Easter Islanders did not have the technology we have today, they thought that some deity was going to solve all their problems. The people fought so hard to survive, but failed. I am impressed with the large stones they created, without cranes and other electronic tools. There were only a couple thousand of people living on that island, but once the trees were gone, the people no longer could survive. I am worried about our future. Jared Diamond felt similiar and put into words that touch the heart “for instance, if mere thousands of Easter Islanders with just stone tools and their own muscle power sufficed to destroy their environment and thereby destroyed their society, how can billions of people with metal tools and machine power now fail to do worse?” (Diamond 2005)
I enjoyed this class, and truely feel that similar classes should be taught in elementry schools, not just here in the US, but all over the globe. Wouldn’t that just be great! The younger people of our world are the future, and I want to make sure they have a good planet to live upon. Education seems to be the key, and without this class there are many things I would not have learned. Through this class I met more people who care and want to improve the environment, and learned a lot of knew ideas and solutions. I do wonder if classes similar in style would be allowed in elementary schools. Even though there is evidence of global warming, deforestation effects, pollution and so on, there are still people who do not believe it, and would probably have a problem with our youth being taught it. I looked up a few activities and lessons some people have put out there to teach the youth of their environmental surroundings.  I think a school garden is a good idea too.

WED_1990a

 

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Friday, April 05th, 2013 | Author:
I never fully understood the humpty dumpty "rhyme" when I was a kid, but this one makes sense to me!

I never fully understood the humpty dumpty “rhyme” when I was a kid, but this one makes sense to me!

Did you know that the sun can reach temperatures of 27 million degrees F?  I was thinking about Australia and how much I do not like hot weather.  I”m more of a 65 -70 degree weather type of person.  So thinking about Australia and how they have had the hottest months ever there this year I got to thinking about the sun, and how much temperatures here are rising.  Heres some good information on our sun if you want to look a little more into it.    I was put in a sad mood when I learned that Australia had to have a “color” to their high temperature scale for this year.  That proves that temperatures are raising.  I feel for the people that live there and especially the animals, the ones that can not create Air condition and have to live outside.  I hear from a lot of people that they don’t think the Earth is getting hotter, or that they just don’t believe it.  Luckily, we have had others who notice the temperature rise and have done graphs of previous years to now.  The world has always had periods of cooler and hotter times, but the fear of this rising temperature is that it is happening much quicker than it should, and that humans are having a bigger hand in it than they should be.  What if humans weren’t here?  What would this planet look like?  questions that are somewhat hard to answer, but as I and many feel, it would be in a better balance.  I know our class has learned a bit about the greenhouse effect and how it works, but here is a site from NASA that explains it pretty well and has a nice graph to show the rising temperatures here on Earth.   I feel that sometimes people will only believe things when it is too late, and in thinking of that, I came accross this article, a man that was certainly skeptic of global warming is now a believer!  “A prominent physicist and skeptic of global warming spent two years trying to find out if mainstream climate scientists were wrong. In the end, he determined they were right: Temperatures really are rising rapidly.” (Seth Borenstein)

I hope more and more people are learning and doing research on the planet and what is happening to it.  We are all responsible in our own ways, and accept that.

The Video that follows, is just a little comedy I found after feeling a bit down about the world.

this one is from NASA

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Tuesday, March 26th, 2013 | Author:
I was apart of a class during the summer that did something similar to this on the side of the Kiln room at Melchers.  We used large bottles. Great idea!

I was apart of a class during the summer that did something similar to this on the side of the Kiln room at Melchers. We used large bottles. Great idea!

Watching Food, Inc in class was not the first time that I have seen it.  I have watched it before but to be honest, it struck me the same all over again.  After talking about cloned food, and not knowing what we are really eating and putting into our bodies, I felt like I didn’t even want to eat anything at all for days.  Of course, that didn’t happen, I probably ate right after getting home for lunch, but I look at the food and know its not the best for me.  To change our habits of eating “bad” food to healthy, or even just organic food is a big change.  Habits are hard to break sometimes.  I bite my nails, yes I know a bad habit, and have struggled with it for a long time, so I know I am a creature of habit.  Some habits need to be broken, and that the easier way to do things, is certainly not always the best.  Here is an article on habits I thought was interesting.  I do not do well at eating vegetables, and I truly want to change that.  I received some free seeds from Subaru a few weeks back and planted them (basil and oregano) in a pot that was already growing some spider plants.  They have begun to grow!  I was suprised and so happy at the same time, so that little encouragement got me thinking about growing other things that I will use, like tomatoes, potatoes, peppers and probably a few others.  I have never had a garden and decided to look online at some ways to grow gardens.  I think if more people started to grow some of their own food during the season we wouldn’t need to have so many worries about running out of food.  Another topic completely for me is, people just eat too much food now anyway.  I have been slowly looking at ways to grow a garden and people have some great ideas! Share the knowledge!

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Monday, March 18th, 2013 | Author:

Sen_joint_vetch

 

Do the words Aeschynomene Virginica mean anything to you? How about Sensitive Joint- Vetech?  They may not mean anything in the future, other than another history item to reflect upon, due to the fact that it is a plant that is going extinct.  The SJV is a federally threatened plant.  I learned of this plant from a talk by Alan B. Griffith, who is studying these plants.  Something to always keep in mind is that extinctions are perfectly normal events, and in fact there have been 5 major mass extinction events recorded in geologic history.

Professor Griffith shared with us the ideas of zero extinction vs. conservation triage.  Zero extinction idea is to halt the extinction of all endangered species, and  conservation triage is basically picking and choosing which ones would be best to save.

Getting back to the SJV he discussed with us,  this plant lives in very specific places and isn’t considered to be a “fighter”.  The world distribution of it is extremely limited to a few tates in the U.S. Found at the edge of Virginia, North Carolina, Maryland, and New jersey, this endangered plant is finding even less homes, due partially to itself and human interaction. The SJV lives in freshwater tidal wetland, can disappear for a couple years but reappear again, unless another competition plants takes its place or humans built structures where they could grow.  When we transform the land, we take away areas for plants and animals to live.  This particular plant does not adapt.  The seeds are pods, and can float, which is thought of as being the way they distribute themselves.  Most of the seeds however in his experiments fell withing a half meter of the main plant.

Most maps show the plant in Pennyslvania, however in discussion we learned it is not there.

Most maps show the plant in Pennyslvania, however in discussion we learned it is not there.

There are multitudes of questions that can be asked in dealing with the extinction of plants and animals, and some of the main ones are ” how do we put a value on a species to help save it?”, ” is it going extinct on its own, or because of human interferrance?”, How can we stop a species from going extinct?.”

For me, there was no easy answer, I didn’t know how to get deep into discussion with it, because I am looking at the loss of so many plants and animals as devestating, especially because of human interfearrance.  Is it better to spend the funds on the animals and plants that we feel are best for us to keep around? Or the ones that have the best chances? Can we actually have a zero extinction?   For someone like Professor Griffith who has spent much time with the SJV, it is worth keeping around, and trying to save, even though there is not definite benefit for the human species.  He values it, so in that thought, Value itself, is a very tricky thing.

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Friday, February 22nd, 2013 | Author:
An American alligator and a Burmese python struggle to prevail in Everglades National Park. Pythons have been known to kill and eat alligators in the park.Photo by Lori Oberhofer, National Park Service.

An American alligator and a Burmese python struggle to prevail in Everglades National Park. Pythons have been known to kill and eat alligators in the park.
Photo by Lori Oberhofer, National Park Service.

Photo Link to National Geographic

 

We have learned so much over the past years about the environment and our effects on it.  We need it to survive, but yet there are so many people that feel it is more of a problem that gets in the way of the future than actually being our future.  While reading Resilience Thinking I read the thought that author James Carlos Blake had about the everglades, which was ” If the Devil ever raised a garden, the Everglades was it,”   Such a sad mindset I thought.   I find a place that holds so much diversity to be beautiful and peaceful, even if the bugs that are produced there irritate me.  The population is rising, while animals are declining and so is our wetlands and forests that we need to keep the environment in balance.   I am glad that they realized the problems that came along with destroying wetlands and that things have been put into place to now protect them.   We talked about CERP, which having a parent that lived in Florida for a while, I had only briefly heard of before.  Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan, has a website for all to visit and learn more about what is going on and how you can help.  We also talked about how more phosphorous is in the area there and pushing the saw-grass out and growing cattails.  Changing the main vegetation can in turn change the animal life, which can be devastating.  I thought about other invasive species in the Everglades and  “of the known and thriving invasive animal species introduced into south Florida, four are amphibians, 32 are fish, 12 are birds, 46 are reptiles, 17 are mammals, and approximately 79 are invertebrates, according to the South Florida Water Management District. One high-profile example in the Everglades is the Burmese python. ” (everglades.org) I also found more detailed information of invasive species now present in the everglades.  A lot more than I had even thought.  Resiliency is for people, animals, ecosystems and is the ability to bounce back to original state after a disturbance, and I as I am thinking of the Everglades, its unclear if it can bounce back.  It has not been completely changed yet, but still isn’t what is was, and is continuing to change.

-Terra S

DLIL_Restore_Everglades

 

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Friday, February 15th, 2013 | Author:
globe

Its a little hard to see i think but the black on here are ladders, and two people trying to get the pieces back

 

Last week was my turn to write blog posts, but I have been thinking more about the National Park, and realized that it is already protected, being that its a National Park… but yet since the discovery of oil, potential money for Ecuador government, it is being threatened.  There aren’t any doubts that this particular area is one of the absolute most biodiversified areas on Earth, and keeping our Earth “balanced”, as much as it can.  Not only does oil being brought up out of the soil hurt the ground, they have to cut down the trees, which is harmful for everyone.  Yes, deforestation can lead to desertification, soil erosion, and then to toxins, salinization, change in regional and then global climate. It also effects our atmosphere greatly from removing our oxygen… well not removing it but not producing it.  The plants around the world keep us alive!  It is pathetic to me that everything in our world now comes down to money, money which is a man made thing, that does not have actual meaning in the eyes of our planet.  I know that kids movies are meant to entertain, but they aren’t so far fetched in some cases.  Some people are just now learning about deforestation and problems with our environment, and many still deny that there is anything wrong!!  How can they be so blind?  Unfortunatly, the ones that I know personally that do not feel that there is a problem, are people that can afford two or three of my houses, and pay other people low rates to do “dirty” work.  If they only thought about what they learned of photosynthesis, and thought about how they are going to have no air to breathe one day.  Sicknesses, asthma on the rise, and selfishness has grown exponentially. I just watched a video that was in this article, and it was great.  I honestly didn’t think about it, but America hasn’t even really paid fully for the oil spill that they are still cleaning up I believe in Ecuador, and how did they find that there was that much oil there in the park- oh thats right, they have already done some forest clearing.  Does anyone else remember watching FernGully, the Last Rainforest, as a kid??  Or reading the book by Diana Young?  That was in 1992.  How about The LORAX, that was originally written and published in 1971!  Some people feel that environmental issues are a “new” thing, but that simply is not true.   – Terra S

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Saturday, February 09th, 2013 | Author:

 

World_Oil_Production12

this was for 2005, and i”m sure its changed by now, but I liked how it presented the information.

I missed some of the class time talking about the second case study of Brazil.  But what I did get to hear and be apart of was finding out about the rainforest being a part of what we may term “blackmail”  I can understand where they are coming from in asking for money so they don’t use the “reserve” under the rain forest, but whats stopping all the other oil reserve places to stop their supply and hold it ransom?  Its really unfortunate that we all the share the same planet, but are so very selfish. But I feel that the selfishness is coming from a base of fear, survival.  It is hard to know that the world is demanding oil, and that if you tap into it and sell it, your country would much better off, have much more money, but then you would damage the rain forest, kill of species, and probably do irreversible damage in the end to the planet itself.  The people want to keep the forest the way it is, and improve it a little bit, not destroy it.  Once again, it all comes down to money, which is a made up thing anyway!  Peoples first question for things sometimes is “how much can i get for it”?  It has always made me sad to think of people who do not have a home, or food while others are living in billion dollar homes with all the luxuries and more.  I have also wondered, who would I be if I had all that money?  What would I do and would I be the person that I am today and want to give give give?

But should we be apart of the blackmail on the rain forest?  I think its more of the uncertainty that lies behind it all right now, like how do we know what the money will actually be used for, how long will they not hurt the reserve, whats stopping them from asking for more… and I’m thinking that if others who are providing oil right now think about it, they would decide not to stop the supply and ask for money ,but just up the price a lot.  I know that the other day I was set on not giving in to supplying them money, but I feel that once it came down to it really I might actually do it, if all questions had answers and laws were set into place. Also, no one wants to give money without knowing that it will actually be used responsibly.  I would like to see them (and everywhere) implement more renewable resources.

A nice site for Amazon Info

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Saturday, February 09th, 2013 | Author:

We have recently been talking about the collapse of civilizations and and environmental degredation, reviewing those mistakes that were made in the past to try and prevent it from happening in the future.  Right now however, we are seeing similar patterns in places and are maybe unable to to stop it.  It was somewhat obvious that the people of the soviet union at the time never thought too deeply about the consequences of diverting the river water, the supply for the sea.  It wasn’t too long after that they saw the effects and people today are trying hard to reverse those effects.  That poor sea (Lake) is less than half the size it originally was, and now is more salty.  Unfortunately to fix the problem there would be a great need of an excess of money, of which the people do not have.  Besides the money, the way that would probably fix the issue the best would be to divert the rivers back to that area, which would cause trouble for the people still using the rivers.  But also, the lake wouldn’t be brought back the exact same because the land there has already changed so much, they don’t really know what would happen.  Some people feel that a solution could be to just move the people that are still living there, whose families used to survive on the sea, but moving people just doesn’t solve anything at all.  For when the areas that those people move to become over crowded, and the sea is gone, where are the people going to extend to?  Not only that, but the populations are growing too much as it is, the resources everywhere are being depleted, just moving the people to an already populated area would just make use the resources there quicker.  I even really worried about the toxic winds that are blowing around. It has been proven that the dust and chemicals travel much further than we had ever thought about before.  I found a “foundation” website for the Aral

Desert plant that helps keep the sand and chemicals from blowing around

Desert plant that helps keep the sand and chemicals from blowing around

sea, i’m sure its not the only one, and as much as I would like to help out, there are today just too many places that need the help I can’t give.  The vegetation that they can grow there can help keep the dust from spreading around more, but I don’t feel it is a solution that is actually fixing the bigger issue.  But sometimes small steps are all we can take.

Aral Sea foundation site.

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Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013 | Author:
I would love to see Easter Island.  I remember my "Mario" tetris game had a level with Easter Island.  Until reading, i never knew about the red stones on the tops of them.

I would love to see Easter Island. I remember my “Mario”  game had a level with Easter Island. Until reading, i never knew about the red stones on the tops of them.

I thought the role playing we did in class was interesting.  Most people agreed on most subjects, which was  nice to hear, but it made me wonder about the people who didn’t agree.  Did they not say something because they didn’t want anyone to think they were “wrong” or “different”.  Just like when we talked as a group about how the people on Easter Island probably would have reacted if one or two individuals were to have stepped up and said that they were harming themselves by cutting down the trees.  As humans we have such high or strong social issues we sometimes keep our mouths shut on important things because we are worried about what someone, or main a group, may think of us.  Then in turn, depending on the situation of the community, harm may even come to those who are not following along.  I forgot to mention it in class, but I remember reading in the book the chapter on Easter Island they mention that there was a population estimation of 7,000 at their peak. The video that we watched said the peak was at 12,000,  that is a difference of 5,000 people.  I may be wrong, and am would like to be corrected if I am, but I was pretty certain that is what was said.  To me, that is too much of a difference.  I think it is wonderful that people have come so far in technology and science to now be able to tell that there were actually many trees on the island at one point.  We are assuming that there were trees that covered the island, because of location, climate and surrounding islands, but in all reality we don’t know how many trees there actually were.  I also recall reading that there were  still around 3,000 people left living when others came to occupy the island. (or Visit) So having that many people still there says that the civilization was still going, not well of course and wasn’t going to probably last much longer on their own anyway, but I had the impression that they had killed off almost ALL of themselves, leaving only a couple hundred.  I still find it strange that the ones that did survive, didn’t even really know what had happened.  Such mysteries.  I have not researched it myself, but just like the pyramids, they shouldn’t have been able to really build the monuments they did, I heard that people of today can’t replica the pyramids using the “tools” that were provided back in then.  I dont know if that makes sense to others!  So fascinating and mysterious.  What if we are completely wrong about what happened?  Not likely, I know , but still I wonder.

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Sunday, January 20th, 2013 | Author:

ball

Area of interest, the Marine Corps Ball.  Environmentally, there was a lot of trash that was produced, a lot of electricity used, a waste of some food and most certainly a large group of people in a small area.  It was a good time however.  I’m expecting to learn more about the problems of the world and gain more knowledge on what can be done.  I took EESC 110 and have learned a lot from that class pertaining to Environmental issues, but I’m looking forward to learning more and possible solutions. -Terra Sadek

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