Monthly Archives: October 2012

Baxter the Destroyer

Blog 16:

William Baxter was an Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Antitrust division of the United States Department of Justice, getting recognition after settling a seven year old AT&T case. He was a trust breaker. Baxter was also a lawyer, writer and environmentalist. The latter gave Baxter background to write a “widely read and influential book on the law of economics of pollution control entitle People or Penguins: The Case for Optimal Pollution.” Intending this book for a law audience, Baxter’s book also contained a philosophically intricate stance on the topic of animal rights, and conservation

Baxter is what you call a speciesist, a person who believes in “the assignment of different values, rights, or special consideration to individuals solely on the basis of their species membership.” Using this term like all other environmentalists, Baxter believes we should re-prioritize and save our resources for future generations. However, during Baxter’s time there was a lot of backlash towards environmentalism, especially from President Ronald Reagan.

Reagan believed we needed to deregulate. Deregulating offices like the EPA and other policies that prevented companies from expanding and new citizens from being hired, similar today. By getting rid of said programs the country would cut its deficit while also killing the environment and its people, go good ol’ U.S. However, all of this will come back and bit everyone and their big white bottom because the world will turn to crude thanks to deregulation.

Yet, Baxter believes we should let the market decide in terms of what we should do with fixing the environment, and its problems. Letting the market tell us what to do and when to do it is perfect, because it allows us to put the pressure on when the time calls for it. This is a free market, capitalistic approach to environmental degradation. Bluntly, Baxter states that since nature cannot state its wants and needs to us, since it is amoral, we can use this to our advantage. We are all selfish and if animals cannot say anything then to hell with them. Baxter wants to create an efficient economic market as possible. That means his environmental policy is based solely on economics. Yes, our economical system can slightly support the environment mainly the ideas of externalities and ecosystem services; but the idea of creating environmental protect based solely on economics is crazy, I do not see it working/happening.

Us humans understand the world, and how it works, and economic long term effects. Thus, any non-humans will not be able to have any rights unless only to be protected if it serves the best interests of human beings. Usually, the best interests for humans are the best interests for nature, as well. For example Baxter mentions the penguins, DDT is harmful to penguins but humans rarely interact with penguins, thus penguins do not harm humans. However, it would be a greater economic social benefit for banning DDT to give us penguins, the money received is astronomical. We should never banish DDT just for the penguins on their own sake, however.

I guess focusing on the economic side of things would interesting but I feel there should be more to the equation than just economics. I mean I think people would like to save penguins because they could not stand to kill innocent creatures. However, we are selfish so keeping them around as they are affected by DDT means we put our own needs above the penguins, which is not that good. Another thing that bothers mean about Baxter is how he puts other non-important needs before important needs, like that seems logical, ok.

Then you have Hardin, ooh Hardin. Well, Hardin talk about overpopulation. His concept is called tragedy at the commons, that we use property as a right to use it as we want with certain guidelines. This is where the idea of private property versus public property comes about, thanks old chap. Hence, the commons were not privately owned but rather public forums. These public places are greatly affected by human activity and soon our world and its public places will not be able to withstand our population growth. So how do we lessen population growth? Well, simple, we limit reproduction rates or face the consequences.

This is nonsense to me because I do not see anyway anybody will let the government regulate the amount of children he or she can have. It is his/her body not the governments so he or she can do whatever he or she please, in this case most likely a she. But whatever the case, people are not owned, they are free and I do not see them willing to give up that freedom to help save the Earth. Maybe if we spruced up or education system they will understand more.

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Leopold the Helper

Blog: 15

Aldo Leopold  “was an American author, scientists, ecologist, forester and environmentalist. A professor at the University of Wisconsin, Leopold was best known
for his book A Sand County Almanac (1949). Leopold was the leader in the creation of the modern environmental ethics, as well as the movement for wilderness conservation. Speaking of conservation, Leopold critiques the economic approach of the conservationist traditions, he was a radical. Radically altering the way we perceived land was Leopold’s belief.

We are all a part of society, we are interdependent of each other; therefore, we need to stop and smell the roses, or the dying ones that is. Us Americans have a misconception of how our land works because we think if we earn it we keep it. We have destroyed our lands. Our world must follow in the balance of its natural system/cycle.

We must treat land correctly and ethically, but the question remains what are we in community with? Maybe we are all one, people, all orientations of people, plants and animals. We all must work together, ethically, to keep the land strong and chugging along. However, Leopold believes we should think Earth first and people second. Who knows I am in different on the subject. I personally believe that humans do not deserve the Earth. The Earth just gives and gives but we destroy in return, not something I would want.

Look at us humans, we are destroying the natural cycles, and the land pyramid. We make fish and other animals for our food. What happened to animals growing by themselves, naturally? Our world has gone down in the tubes Leopold would say because we no longer rely on natural systems of the land but on our own inclinations and wants.

This way of thought, destroying the land for its resources has been done for centuries but it could change if we incorporate conservation into our economic system. How, well that beats me but if it becomes instilled into our system the likelihood of people following will increase tenfold.

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Corporation Selfishness

Blog 14

I feel like all I talk about is human’s innate need to be selfish, and to think only of oneself. I mean human are selfish creatures, but there are humans who are not selfish but think of others as well. Meaning they care about other species besides humans, a rare quality. In the late 1960’s the grass movement began with the “teach in” program. This program helped educate the masses of environmental issues inflicted by industrial societies. Taking place on April, 22nd every year it would later go on to become earth day. Issues came up afterwards, including Love Canal and Three Mile Island, and henceforth the term environmentalism included many different philosophies. Meaning,

“a philosophy that identifies wild landscapes with wholeness and aesthetic beauty and asserts that such landscapes, along with their plant and animal species, possess an inherent value beyond any economic value.”

Calling for the legal protection of environments and species to prevent all from being absorbed into now commonplace, industrial society. Industrial societies are incompatible with natural systems and if us humans are going to progress further we must understand who to live best as members of plant and animal communities.

Industry is taking over, take for example Nestle Corporation. This corporation is trying to buy up aquifers and water sources in the north but some counties, cities and states are fighting back. Many townships, are now declaring:

“Natural communities and ecosystems possess inalienable and fundamental rights to exist, flourish and naturally evolve within the Town of Shapleigh. It further decreed that any town resident had “standing” to seek relief for damages caused to nature – permitting, for example, a lawsuit on behalf of a stream.”

Natural systems have every right to become protected, and if they cannot protect themselves we must protect them from greedy corporations. Heinous crimes such as buying up all the water/aquifers should be punishable against law because no one has the right to own all of that, just like the colonists and the indians of the early years. John Winthrop said that because they did not cultivate their land we had a natural right to secure their land for ourselves.

WE DO NOT HAVE THAT RIGHT. LISTEN HERE NESTLE.

Like the indians, the people of Maine, Roosevelt or early sports-hunters, we all need to protect our environment. Protecting it will benefit us as well as fellow species of the Earth, and corporation greed should end with laws that prevent their greediness from destroying the good green Earth.

I just wonder where all of this comes from, this greed I mean, religion? Religion always seems to cause issues. Some religions like christianity believe that nature is not here for any other reason but to serve man, so basically slavery – a looming sense of anthropocentrism appears. However, not all religions think this way, many eastern religions believe that we should be one with nature, our spirits that is. Buddhism, Zaoism, early Greco-Roman religions (had many Gods referring to different natural phenomenons) believed life coexisted with nature. However, the question still remained whether or not we should attach any morals to natural systems and species.

Environmentalism will keep moving forward thanks to its early founders, and heres hoping naysayers follow suit.

Categories: climate change, Corporate, Environmental Policy, Environmentalism, Life, Priorities, Retail, Sustainability | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ethics of the Environment Continued

Blog 13

Politics are messy, heck, we should have listened to George Washington when he said we should not allow parties in our system, but what are you going to do?! Unfortunately, we face varieties of issues dealing with the environment and coming up with a single plan will be messy, difficult and bloody. No one will get their way 100%, compromise is the game that must be played.

Different agencies have been working feverishly over past decade to help legislation get past here in the United States, even around the world. Take the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment which checked out the consequences of change amongst ecosystems and watersheds upon human well-being. Working with experts, their findings proved scientifically we need to conserve our ecosystems, and its services they provide. Ecosystem services are benefits provide to us for free, mainly purification or water, air, soil, and helps to weed out dying species. Giving up something was the key because need to improve our ecosystems, restoring would be better actually. Enhancing our decisions planned will allow countries to obtain the pros and cons of a certain project, and whether its repercussions are worth the destruction.

There are four ways to evaluate our ecosystems and its good and services, ecologically, economically, socioculturally and intrinsically. All these values help us obtain information about our ecosystems and their goods and services. Ecological value is based on a system of natural sciences; ecosystems have value because they maintain diverse life here on earth. Providing material/immaterial important for sustaining life on our planet. Economical values quantify nature, because knowing how to treat nature will ease our pain when pricing it. We want to measure everything in monetary terms, therefore we measure all economic values of ecosystems monetarily. Thus, helping access the impact of each decision, economically. Then, socio-culture values combines the idea of anthropocentric values and non-anthropocentric values. We value ecosystems outside of the services they provide directly to us, they matter to our surroundings, religion, national and personal ethical values and spiritual values. Therefore, the decision of what to do with an ecosystem should be done in an open forum type deal. Finally, intrinsic value tries to show how we can place moral values upon non-humans, as well as non-living species. Everything deserves a chance especially species which cannot speak for themselves.

It is important to think this over, everyone has a different opinion on these types of situations and we are certainly not going to appeal to everyone’s ideal solution, but we can compromise. Different people view ecosystems differently, take the indians they worship animals, almost like deities. Differing cultures apply their beliefs to their ecosystems differently than others, so coming to a conclusion is cumbersome. Reevaluating our needs and wants will help us become more in sync of what too do, but before that our world will continue suffer.

Categories: Egoism, Environmental Ethics, Environmental Policy, Environmentalism, Ethical Egoism, Ethical Reasoning, ethics, human beings and the environment, Life, Uncategorized | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Ethics of the Environment

Blog: 11 & 12

Like I said earlier, there is a lot about ethics which can be seen in the environment, namely the lack of proper diffusion of climate change and its effects amongst population of the globe. It seems to be that poorer people receive the butt-end of the effects of climate change, and no one really cares, unfortunately. Maybe we should dive deeper into environmental ethics, its method and the structure of ethical reasoning.  By applying traditional ethical theories to the environment, and its problems, its policy issues, maybe we will better understand them.

First Aristotle’s practical syllogism, which is based upon two different premises. The first premise is this idea of general normative or ethics. Which leads to this idea of particular factual premise which includes  this idea of the natural and social science. Then you have the conclusion of whatever has been specified in the premise two. There are all sorts of definitions of  ethics, like how it is the basic goods essential to the well-being and happiness of a person or the idea of its basic societal “values.” Maybe one could refer to it as our moral duties and obligation as human beings who are indeed alive.

Thus, people will do the right thing when give the chance, but when one person preaches at them, like many environmentalists do, the likelihood of them doing the right thing is much slimmer. Slimming down their chances because a person is less likely to understand the ethical issues at hand, I know I do not like to be preached what to believe. This idea of ethical egoism comes to mind, because people are selfish and do not care about the environment and its problems unless it affects themselves somehow. We could change this perception through economics and showing people that one opinion is not better than another’s opinion but who knows how well that will work.

There is the three step method for analyzing ethical reasoning: first, figure out what the author or theory is saying. Within this step there are two steps, diagram the author’s or theory’s ethical or values reason explaining the various levels of reasoning within (breaking something down into its parts like a car, down into its parts, and think of it backwards). Finally, there are characteristics or standards which the theory in question thinks beings have to meet if we are to acknowledge his or her “moral standing.” We all have duties owed to a member of the moral community with moral standing and we must fulfill them; but also, there are indirect duties.Indirect duties result from the duties we owe to moral agents which do not affect you unless it is within a moral community.

Thus, should animals have moral rights/duties? The question is hard because some would say yes, while others would obviously say no. The idea of speciesism was created by critics to extend moral rights to species/animals, but can they be expended to animals? Personally, as an animal lover, I believe animals have souls and are fully capable of maintaining their duties; thus we should extend duties to animals. Yes, humans are egoists. Fulfilling their own dreams is much more important than caring for the moral of other humans, let alone animals.

I believe that ethical reasoning can be attached to animals, just like with humans. There are plenty of examples of animals sticking it out for humans, their best friends. Considering a dog in Japan sat by an owner’s grave for weeks after the Tsunami must mean something, or when a dog from the Tsunami, a recent orphan, suffered from post traumatic stress disorder… I am not out of my mind, animals feel, and have moral and we should respect them.

Here are some bullet points to go along with this debate:

(I.E. the arguments made)

1) Egoism:

  • psychological egoism:
    • human acts are motivated by self-interest
    • obj: reject if altruistic acts occur

2) ethical egoism:

  • human acts ought to maximize self-interest
  • obj: no value can be placed on anyone’s else’s well-being unless it is for the benefit of the self.

3) Social Darwinism:

  • survival of the fittest
  • obj: fitness is context relative
  • obj: even if “fitness” determines survival, it does not follow that we ought to act in any particular way .
    • all free market competition and survival of the fittest
    • no sense that people have a right to food/health care.. like Romney with the 47%
    • we only look after ourselves: meaning they take this stance on other living things
    • we have a natural tendency to feel for one and another
    • the idea of biophilia = an attraction to other human beings

4) divine command:

  • god’s commands determine whether an act is good or not.
  • obj: can humans determine what god commands
  • obj: is an act good because god commands it or does god command it because it is good?
  • rights theory:
    • humans have moral and legal rights which can entail certain duties
    • hobbes and locke; humans have rights in “state of nature”
    • obj: rights of non-human
    • obj: giving exceptions to rights leads to utilitarianists

5) utilitarianism:

  • only state that is good for its own sake is that of happiness/pleasure
  • one ought to act in a way that maximizes total good
  • obj: summing harms can lead to harm of individuals for greater good
  • obj: motivation of acts have no bearing on moral goodness
    • ethical level: consider motivations when considering something is good or not
    • 19th century economists were utilitarianists

6) natural law:

  • what is good is a function of the way things are
  • good comes from realization of natural tendencies
  • obj: what are natural tendencies and how can they be distinguished from social constructs
  • obj: consequences are unrelated to what is right?
    • ex:) birth control

7) Kant:

  • things that are used as morals so be able to applied universally.
    • think what if everyone else did this?
Categories: climate change, Egoism, Environmental Ethics, Environmental Policy, Environmentalism, ethics, Life, Priorities | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

GMOS. Gross, Mechanical, Organisms.

Blog 10:

With the environment being turned on its head, thanks to climate change, the world seems to be trying to create new substances that fit in with a particular environment, even if, genetically, they do not. Genetics, how does that factor into the recent environmental issues? Well, they are called GMOS. They are Genetically Modified Organisms. Generating a lot of fuss, GMOS are restructured organisms which are altered to better fit particular environments where normally they would not be able to live.

GMOS can be quite beneficial. For one, they can help give countries in dire need of sustenance, food; but it can also destroy the biodiversity of an area. And that seems to be the theme of GMOs, their negatives outweigh their positives. All of this is a cause of industrial agriculture where everything is made to help grow crops and plants in areas they have never grown before. Fertilizers are a huge part of the problem. Yes, fertilizers help grow plants/crops and keep away plant killing/destroying insects but it destroys biodiversity, as in good insects and plant species. Therefore, all the foods we are eating… what are they? Are the foods we eat actually food or over fertilized, lab-grown experiments?

Stemming back, the problem seems to originate from increasing power of large corporations over farmers. Evolving corporations have learned to own their designs, patents. Patenting genetic modifications, GMOS, to make sure that no farmer can take their design and sell it, creating a monopoly. Take for example Monsanto, this corporation has created what they call “terminator seeds.” These seeds have helped create extreme dependences of farmers on their corporations. Corporations crave this, they want money. Meaning, farmers are changing their tactics and falling for these corporate tricks. Reiterating the idea, WHAT ARE WE EATING?

These hybrids, these transgenic crops, are changing the environment, for the worse. Worsening the environment by helping create bacterial strands which are found in soil. These strands help deplete the biodiversity within the area by affecting surrounding species of plants and insects. Looking at Monsanto’s potato hybrid, one may see the toxin it secretes into the soil which is lethal to the Colorado Potato Beetle, and this is Monsanto’s intellectual property.

All of this reminds me of Food inc. with the mentioning of all these GMOS and food patents. We are doing the job of natural selection instead of letting nature run its course. Best fitting nature is the job of natural selection but GMOS are replacing that by creating the best fit from the beginning, meaning new species may not even get a chance. We are choosing the best trait, we are choosing where it goes and we are choosing what is best fit for the overall ecology of the earth. Organisms no longer grow with food, biodiversity is shrinking and our world is worsening.

Should these factory farms exist? Should GMOS be allowed? Should one be able to patent food/crops? All these are excellent questions, but I do not feel great answering them until the world realizes what is going on. Documentaries can help but it will not work until the world sees it, and until then our world will lose a lot in terms of biodiversity.

 

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New York, New York City & Fordham

Blog: 8

New York city is an important city for the United States. It houses millions of people and generates billions in profit/tax revenue each and every year. Walking through New York city is a unique prospect, but its degrading to the environment. Looking back on Manhattan’s history and ecology is the Manhatta Project.

Projecting New York City’s early look shows a long wooded island, with wetlands and streams coming down from the shower. Beavers, river otters and other animals existed amongst these rivers and streams, and Manhattan then would be considered what Yellowstone is today. Speaking ecologically, Manhattan’s diversity was broad, befitting of most national parks. All of this started by looking back at past maps of the island, and the area; showing all the original landscape of Manhattan. Helping scientists learn about the geo-features of the island, what the Native Americans were doing, what species existed and what the soil was like. The landscape was recreated.

All of this fits in with New York’s Planyc. This project will lead the way forward to creating the first sustainable city in America. Planning to change its transportation systems, help maximize clean air and minimize carbon, and air pollution. Developing air initiatives, looking at alternative fuel vehicles and clean burning materials for energy and how to reduce the waste produced within the city.

This can stem back into the Bronx River restoration project, a project trying to fix the environmental degradation that has occurred along its banks for decades. Reconstructing from the bottom up will take decades but it reconstruction is working. People are restoring habitat, removing invasive species, fixing erosion all by looking at historical maps of the Bronx River. One can even look at the older maps of Fordham’s campus to see what has happened over the past decades degrading our schools landscape, soil, water and air.

Fordham is all about flashiness. Flashing its credentials is priority number one, of course. However, factoring Fordham’s recent sustainability report card Fordham fails to impress and flash its larger than life credentials. Yes, I love my school; but sometimes the ostentatiousness surrounding its every move gets quite annoying, actually really annoying.

Breaking away from this behavior would be beneficial, and it would actually show off Fordham’s sustainability plan. I mean other schools are doing the same so why not play up the plan? Receiving a B, NYU beat us with its sustainability plan, whereas we received a C+. Come on Fordham, we need to get everyone involved, students and all. Student body needs to become more consensus about this plan/environmental problem.

It is for all our futures, so lets move forward, help living sustainable gain traction amongst students, professors and parents. Lets beat other schools and become a green triumphant example of sustainability amongst top-tier schools

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Ooh, Climate Change…

Blog: 7

Continuing on this idea of climate change, however, I would like to focus more on the policy side of things. Ethically speaking, climate change normally affects the people of poorer nations which remain without the means to address their issues. Unfortunately, the world’s richer nation’s putt their back to nations such as those because those issues have yet to effect us. Nations around the world are experiencing a lack of drinking water, and other everyday basics, because their government lacks the means to do anything about it, whereas our country walks into other nations and bottles up their water, taking away their natural rights.

In The New York Times article “Climate Change Seen as Threat to U.S. Security,” warning the world what would happen due to warming the planet, thus needing programs to help those unfortunate nations that lack any means necessary to protect themselves, and their populations. In fact, it mentions how governments can fall because they lack any central programs to help out their people in times of need. Countries will fail, populations will move and eventually put stress on another part of the world. Yet, there are no stand out programs altering the course of climate change and its effects on smaller nations of the world. Instilling this idea of what is mine is mine and what is yours is yours. We are all innately selfish, not good.

“a growing number of policy makers say that the world’s rising temperatures, surging seas and melting glaciers are a direct threat to the national interest.”

Their is proof in the pudding, too bad there are people who are misunderstanding that cliché statement. With all this factual date emanating from daily evidence there is still people out there unconvinced about the prospect of climate change. Climate change is not happening, apparently. I just do not get it, you have the evidence and the proof… what else do people need? I mean just looking at the clean coal power ad makes me laugh, a lot. How can some people just be so ignorant about the facts. Chances are they are not even looking at the facts, especially of clean coal. Coal produces particulates, NOX and SOX amongst them, that are degrading and destroying our ozone, our forests, and our species. Why we should continue with coal? Ok, well maybe I am being a little to harsh. Yes, coal is abundant and we do need to become less reliant upon foreign fuel, but I do not think coal is the correct answer. Maybe for the short-term it is, but not for the long-term. Long term, we need to think about alternatives, renewables and new legislation and education for the masses about this potential solutions.

Potential solutions can definitely help our economy, especially now-a-days. Spending trillions of dollars on solutions will, in turn, create jobs and help stimulate the economy. Surging, the economy will reap the benefits due to the amount jobs that will be needed to maintain wind farms, solar farms, biofuel plant and etc.

We, high emitters need to change our ways, we need to stop putting poorer people in the way of the effects of climate change. It is cruel and wrong. We need to change, to become less selfish.

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Climate Who?

Blog: 6

What is climate change? It is not a relatively new concept, however it is a concept that often gets misconstrued. Most take it as this concept of global warming, but I do not believe these ideas, global warming and climate change, are one in the same. Global warming is a confusing phrase. Climate change is a better concept, and phrase. Phrasing makes all the difference, and climate change emanates an ideal of need for a new.

Debating this idea of global climate change is Al Gore, and in his film “An Inconvenient Truth,” explains his concept of climate change, its factors and its horrific effects. Gore goes forward explaining climate change is not all man-made, and partially a natural cycle. However, cycling does not usually alter from the norm, yet the temperatures are increasing astronomically and the effects are drastic. Drastically altering the world’s landscape. Helping create larger-than-life storms, like Hurricane Katrina, which destroy cities, towns and infrastructure. Resulting storms come from warmer oceans, and temperatures, allowing stronger, fiercer, winds and storms. Weather patterns are way off, and it all stems back to this idea of climate change.

A changing world is affecting civilizations all over, and consequences of our actions are starting to appear, and they are not pretty. For example, around the colder the regions of the world there is this concept of permafrost which is underground permanent frost, but it is melting; and it’s causing devastating effects on local infrastructure and populations. Just like how populations surrounding rivers are experiencing more, and more, flooding each and every year, like in New Jersey.

Centering around environmental infrastructure greatly affected by climate change, much of the world is experiencing these unfortunate consequences. Yet, it is our fault, our civilizations are expanding at a rapid pace to the point where we can see our population reach 20 billion by 2150. Currently, we are at 7 billion in population. How do we know what our world’s carry capacity is? It could be 7 billion, it could be 100 billion, but also 1 billion. Expanding at a rapid rate causes populations to crumble and environmental infrastructure to disintegrate. Disintegrating our world and its natural environment helps worsen climate change, and its effects.

Warming temperatures means more diseases can make its way to new areas, bugs can infiltrate new areas, destroy native populations and outcompete natural species. Take for example, the West Nile Virus this disease is becoming commonplace amongst more northern states earlier, and earlier in the year. Causing more to become sick with the illness.

Sickness is not the only problem though, our ice is disappearing. No, not our ice used in our drinks but the ice at the two poles. The video relates these two as “2 canaries in a coal mine.”  First being the Antarctic, and the second being Antarctica, land based and sea based ice. The two will disappear just like the canaries that entered the coal mine to check for safety. Glaciers are disappearing, land shows its green side, and large pieces of ice shelves are breaking off and entering the sea and increasing sea levels.

Increasing sea levels are affecting our world’s cities. An exhibit put on by the MOMA, Rising Tides, displayed solutions to rising tides amongst the New York islands: Manhattan, Long Island (housing Brooklyn and Queens) and Staten Island. Architects were brought in to offer up solutions, and most reverted back to reinstalling nature, for its benefits. Making artificial reefs, revitalizing estuaries, and using bacteria to breakdown sewage, are all ideas amongst the architects. While these solutions are plausible they seem long off. Yet, the worst part about these ideas is that it would involve spending money on infrastructure; but republicans would never go for that since they think climate change is nothing but a theory. Those fools. 

However, there are things in effect trying to change how the world sees and creates policy for climate change. Take for instance the Kyoto Protocol, it “is a protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC or FCCC) that set binding
obligations on the industrialized countries to reduce their emissions of greenhouse gases” (wikipedia). Creating obligations to reduce carbon emissions will indeed lower the effects of climate change, especially amongst glaciers and ice features. Decreasing the amount of ice introduced into sea lessens the likelihood of the world’s sea level from continuing to rise and drastically alter our seashores.

We need more change like the Kyoto Protocol, or like the UNFCCC is offering, but without progress our world will cease to exist as we once knew it.

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Economics, Ecology Stylized.

blog: 5

 

Homes, automobiles, movie theaters, broadway plays, masseur, universities, and the retail environment provide the good and service all Americans expect of society today. Today’s society is built upon this regiment of buying goods/services and then selling those goods/services to customers.

For example, my own ecological footprint starts off with what I consume everyday which mostly consists of chicken, vegetables, and some processed foods (whoops). Once in a while I will consumer beef or lamb, but not too often, and I never eat fish. Then it displays the influence I have on the environment based on my humble abode, which is approximately 3800-4000 square feet. Now, my home is not very green in the way of using alternative resources to supply our power needs. Supplying our needs is basic electricity which adds to my footprint. Finally, it accounts transportation, personal as well as public transportation. I am currently at school so traveling by car is not often the case, whereas taking public transit is more applicable to my current living situation. In total, I require around 5.1 Earths in order to sustain my lifestyle. In turn, this means that in order to survive I would need five Earth’s resources over the course of my lifetime in order to maintain my current lifestyle.

However, today customers are seeking a shift in the products/services they purchase, and customers want organic, home-grown products. Yet, people are not willing to pay the price for these types of products, and it makes one think… what would the price be with the inclusion of ecosystem services/externalities. What is this idea of ecological economics? Ecological economics refers to the idea of the co-evolution of our own economic systems and the natural ecosystems over a period of time.

First off, what are ecosystem services? Well ecosystem services are natural systems that provide free benefits for human-kind, like the purification of water and air/pollution, good conditions for growing food, weather moderation, and overall well-being for us humans.

Ok with that defined I want to jump into the first article, “Ecosystems Come to New York”. Overall, this article pushes for the idea of using natural systems, aka ecosystems By NYBG, Flickrand their services, to help purify/cleanse our water/air/anything else we pollute, because it is much cheaper and much better than our industrial replication. Thus, we need to spend money, less however when compared to the construction and maintenance of an industrial complex, to fix our local watersheds. Like attorney General Cuomo is allocating 7 million dollars to the Bronx river area to help clean, fix and maintain the watershed.

However, I am bit confused on that situation. Why is Cuomo giving 7 million dollars, was it a part of a case? Is 7 million dollars even enough? What is enough? When will all of it be delivered? Is it all for this area?

Next, the Biophilia article stresses the belief that everyone, from children to adults, need to be engaged, in some shape and form, with the natural environment.  The natural environment is where we humans feel best; it is where we become our optimal selves. Basically, we have deep-love, and connection, with nature. Therefore, we should be spending more time outside like the no child left inside suggests.

So is it possible to instill this idea in our culture, meaning can we include this idea in our schools, corporations, colleges, etc…? (high school recess sort of idea) Should there be laws that mandate outside sessions, or breaks?

The final article explains in great detail the effects of our wants and needs on the ecosystems of the world. Our world is telling us we need to find an answer, we need to protect our ecosystems; and since we caused these problems I’m pretty sure we should start finding the solutions. Just by reading the article and seeing all those staggering statistics broke my heart. I know that things like eutrophication and invasive species, loss of genetic/bio diversity, erosion, and etc. are all major problems of the environment but to read and see the graphs really did help to put things in perspective. For example, tons of world’s population is moving towards dryland; in fact, 2/3 of the them leave there. However, this dry land barely gets any waterfall/does not have much in the way of stored/underground water. Thus, water is shipped, soil is being degraded, and water in that area is being lost. These areas also need timber. So, timber is being shipped in from everywhere else. That means degradation to world’s forests.

Us humans need these systems and the author knows that, and the author suggest ways economically how we can go about that. How we can fix our mistakes, but we got to make sure that our mistakes do not happen again. Therefore we have to make sure to continue checking on our watersheds, and maintain them. Fix our mistakes is what we need to do, and viably, we can do it and honestly it could even help our bottom line.

This does pose some questions, like how far is too far? When will we stop? What can show Americans what is happening? Education could be a great tool, how can we use that tool? Maybe we can include this concept as a mandatory class in today’s high schools?

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