Monday, December 06, 2004

Final Group Response

The environment was not a heavily debated topic in the 2004 Presidential election, yet once we researched the topic we found that there are many interesting issues relating to the environment. Due to the controversial nature of issues surrounding the environment, our group project has proven to be a successful debate on the pros and cons of different stances on specific environmental issues. Each of our group’s members offered a unique view on each topic, but realistically we understood that no opinion represents an absolute truth about the environment. This realization allowed us to openly debate the issues without heated and rude arguments. The structure of this process has allowed us all to explore the varying opinions of different individuals and attempt to recognize and appreciate the opinions of everyone. The most affective aspect of the project was that every member was writing about the same articles. By sharing the articles, we could explore the same exact issues and see where the different group member’s ideas varied. If we had not collaborated and found individual articles the project would have been ineffective. A very positive characteristic of our group was the mutual respect for other people’s opinions. The issues were hotly debated yet no one dismissed the opinions of the other members. This allowed each group member to feel comfortable enough to state their beliefs without the fear of rejection by the other group members. The combination of the factors listed all contributed to a successful and informative group project.

Take Ownership of the Extinction Issue

It is scary to consider that so many animals are endangered. It is also unacceptable that things can be done to protect these animals, yet nothing is being done. My view on how to positively affect the environment has always remained the same. The power lies in what individuals do to contribute to the effort. The realization is that our ecosystem is so tightly knit that when we cut down one tree it affects the entire rainforest. People disrupt the ecosystem all the time and nothing is being done, even though live beings are being killed. If everyone were to realize this, our situation would be much better. We could more effectively allocate our resources and enforce stronger policies for environmental protection. But there is no way that this would work until awareness is raised and people begin to realize that the environment affects them directly. We are all driven by selfish motives, and therefore if we see the effects of the decline of our environment and how they affect us personally, then action will be taken, and results will be outrageously impressive. The problem is that right now people either don’t know the urgency of the problem, or don’t see the way that it affects every single life on planet earth. Please don’t be ignorant and continue to treat the issues of our environment as if they are not your problem. Take ownership of the issues and make a difference. Every little bit counts and small contributions create big changes.

Extinction Response

I don't think it is as big of a deal that species are going extinct as it is made out to be. I understand that the way humans live sometimes can lead to extinction early for a particular species, by way of destroying their homes, or taking their food, etc. I think extinction is a naturaly cycle that would have happened anyway, and so we do not need to try and save animals that do not provide anything to the world like some "3 eyed green tree squirrels" or something. Some animals don't do anything, and so its not a big deal if they become extinct. I think sometime in the very very distant future, somehow all humans will die out too, and I don't want to be kept in a zoo, or in a cage and forced to mate to save the species (well, maybe the cage would be the worst part). I don't think an animal going extinct is such a big deal that some people want to completely change the human species' way of life to save one of the animals. If animals go extinct, it is because their species could not survive in today's world and we should not give them the crutch they nieed to live. If they are not tough enough to adapt and live today, they should go extinct, its the survival of the fittest and the weak animals that cannot reproduce sufficiently die out, thats just how it goes.

Smog and Ozone Response

I think it is always a good idea to lower emissions and the level of smog in the air. A study linked smog and pollution in urban areas to higher hospital rates, but not to mortality rates. I think this is because the immediate effects of smog are not death, but in the long term, they can lead to it. The government recommends lowering smog and pollution by about one third. This is an absolutely perfect idea, completely amazing actually. The only problem with the article is that they do not explain how this reduction would occur. Maybe if the author had some kind of plan or somehow showed how the government wanted to make the pollution levels decrease, this article would be a lot more believable. I don't like smog and pollution, but until there is a plan that will work to lower the levels, it is never going to be solved by speculation and hopeful thinking. As long as people stay out of polluted areas and inside during smog alerts as much as possible, it should not be a problem for our generation. I know it sounds selfish, but i'm sure future generations will have some sort of plan to fix pollution, because our generation has failed in finding one, and therefore we will not be able to fix the problem.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Recent Whale beachings not normal

I have never heard of anything like this, and at the same time it would not surprise me a bit if this happens again in the near future. Today, technology is increasing so rapidly its hard to examine clearly the effects new technology have on the environment. What happened last weekend was not natural and definitely at the expense of humans. I can almost assure you it was because of the sound bombing taking place in the Oceania region looking for mineral deposits on the ocean floor. The region between New Zealand and Australia is extremely rich in marine life. That marine life is very unique and should not be harmed. I know that the dolphins and whales that beached themselves did so becasue of the sound bombing and whales and dolphins use some type of sonar to communicate but we need to make sure this does not happen again to any type of animal. I agree with Bob Brown, the leader of Australia's Green Party, that the sound bombing for oil and minerals sound be stopped until after the whale migration season. If problems still exists the Australian government should consider banning the sound bombing until answers develop as to what is really making the whales and dolphins beach themselves. I admit I am not very sympathetic about the environment but this is a matter that needs to be taken seriously and addressed very soon. What happened to those whales and dolphins is inhumane. I know no one meant to hurt all of the whales, however it was because of us that this occurred. An answer needs to be found and a new method should be used to search for oila nd mineral deposits under the ocean floor in the mean time.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Self-Centered Motives Misdirected!

Research has been done which indicates that the deterioration of the ozone, caused by increased air pollution is increasing the death rate. I find this incredibly alarming. When I talk to people who do not necessarily care about the environment, it seems that the only reason that they do not care is because it is hard for them to grasp how the environment directly affects them. This study alone should be proof enough to change everyone's mind. I believe that it is safe to say that nearly everyone values life to some extent. If you value life, you need to take action and protect it. It is never acceptable for something you value so much to be taken away; therefore we all need to begin treating our environment with care. I know that it is cliché, but we must begin carpooling, using our resources wisely, recycling, and participating in the many different things that will bring a brighter tomorrow for all not only our generation but those that follow us. It is easy to argue that the government needs to provide a bigger budget and create more environmental promotion groups, but that has already been done. The government is working hard to provide, yet nothing will be accomplished unless individuals take things into their own hands and decide that they want to make a difference. If the death rate continues to increase at the rate that the study suggests the generations of people that follow us will be faced with some incredible hardships simply because our generation did not treat our environment properly. Now is the time for everyone to take action and take part in creating a brighter tomorrow.

Whale Beachings Must Be Solved

There is a tragedy on the hands of New Zealand and Australian officials. Beachings of whales is a problem that must be solved immediately. It is completely understandable that whales do beach themselves and this is a natural process but there is no way to argue that the recent whale beachings are natural. Hundreds of whales and dolphins have been found beached in a time period of only three days. I believe that many people don't realize the incredibly complex and dependent eco-system that exists. While it seems like whales are insignificant to our daily lives, it would be tragic if they became extinct. The entire structure of our eco-system, especially for all marine life, would be dramatically affected in a negative manner. Because of this, I strongly support making this issue a priority and increasing the budget in order to fix the problem immediately. I am ashamed at the way humans take our environment for granted and don't even care when a fellow habitant of this great earth is in danger. If the budget was increased the problem that is currently at hand would be fixed and the research could help prevent further problems in the future. If you love the beach, whale-watching, seafood, sandcastles, or anything that involves marine life I challenge you to take a stand and support the improvement of research to prevent the deterioration of marine life. It is intolerable to allow whale beaching to continually occur. Something must be done quickly and in an effective manner.

Whales Response

I think the fact that the government is doing "sound bombing" in the area where all three of these major beachings occurred may be a part of the reason they happened. Dolphins and whales use sonar echolocation to find their way through the water, and "sound bombing" sounds like something that could affect how these animals function. I think a study into why these beachings occurred would probably show that this may have been part of the reason. I don't believe that dolphins and whales intentionally kill themselves, like some sort of mass suicide, which means they had a reason to be out of the water. if the sound bombing sent sound waves through the water, it could have been something that scared the animals and messed with their own senses and therefore, they tried to find a way to get away from it. since sound travels very well in water, especially with the animals enhanced sonar and hearing, they most likely were trying to get away from whatever was occurring and it just so happened that the only way to do so was to get out of the water. Maybe if the people looking for oil under the oceans would wait until after the migration of these animals, the problem would not have occurred. I do not believe that these animals had any other reason to do this, and therefore place the blame on the "sound bombing". The Australian government claimed that there was no connectoin between the events found so far, but I believe if they did an in-dpeth study, they would find that the reason for these tragedies was because of the search for oil and other natural resources under the ocean floor.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Smog increase-urban deaths/Green credentials Response

The problem with air pollution seems to be getting progressively worse. More studies are being made with the effects of harmful gases in the ozone on the people in urban cities. In an article written a few weeks ago, the author suggests that increases in air pollution caused by cars, power plants and industry can be directly connected to higher death rates in U.S. cities due to studies conducted. Although the article states many statistics to prove its argument, what stuck out to me was the fact that most of the patients that had been admitted into the hospital had a history of chronic respiratory problems. This is no surprise to me because I myself suffer of asthma and know the hardships of being ill. Even though the statistics vaguely prove that it is affecting all people, it is obvious that something does need to be done, and fast. The increase in sickness among people with respiratory problems is physical proof that it will greatly affect the health of everyone later.
With the U.S. government still planning their own solutions to the gas pollution problem, businesses have taken it upon themselves to introduce greenhouse gas reduction programs in the meantime. Neil J. Numark, chairman of the Sustainable Energy Institute says that "U.S. companies and state regulators are clearly getting out in front of the federal government in addressing climate change.” Public image is obviously important to big businesses, and that might explain why companies were “keen to cut emissions.” It is important to them to protect their public image, and by emphasizing to be seen “environmentally responsible” they can secure their position. Many companies, however, welcome the introduction of environmental regulations at a national stage. Numark says that “U.S. industry increasingly recognizes that we are moving towards carbon constraints in this country. Many prefer this be done in a uniform way at the national level, not through the patchwork of state regulations that's now emerging." I agree with what he says. Conflicts with uniformity can arise if it stays at a state level.

Here are some catch-up articles!

http://www.cnn.com/2004/TECH/science/11/30/australia.whales.reut/index.html

http://www.cnn.com/2004/HEALTH/11/16/smog.study.reut/index.html

Monday, November 29, 2004

Green Credentials Response

It is good to see a percentage of US firms trying to lower emissions of greenhouse gases. The reason the federal government has not been able to sign something like the Kyoto treaty is because of the costs, economically, that would pursue if the government tried to enforce the treaty on all firms within the US. This is good to see individual firms taking the the initiative because this way it is better for everyone. The firms cutting down on harmful emissions right now will probably see increased benefits in a couple years. Once other firms in the US see this they will take the steps needed to cut their emissions as well, when the time is right. Once, US firms are not as threatened to the Kyoto treaty as they are now, then I believe the US will sign the protocol and the last couple firms will be able to economically make the environmental standards. I believe this is the best method in lowering harmful emissions from firms because if the government would have signed the treaty earlier, the firms would feel threatened and maybe even move to a country that did not sign the treaty. Letting the firms decide on whats best is the right thing, because sooner or later the public eye will take notice on which firms are helping the environment and which ones are contributing more to global warming. If the govenrment had stepped in and signed the treaty, firms would have to lower their standards by February 2005 and not all firms would have been able to do that. Those firms would then be fined. With that fine and the costs that come with making the firms' process more "enivronmentally friendly" the firm would be in huge trouble economically. Its stock would drop and it would have a lot of trouble getting out of the hole that was dug becuase of the kyoto treaty. Lowering emissions over a longer period of time would not hurt the firms as much and would give them time to restructure the process of their company.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Species extinction's article

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6502368/

this week article

The global watchdog just released this year “Red List.” Along with the list, they added that the world's biodiversity is declining at a very fast rate. Some of the statistics they reported are 15 species have gone extinct in the past 20 years and another 12 survive only because it is held in captivity. Although these numbers does seem alarming, this is all part of the process of life. Throughout history, animal comes and go. Plenty of animal have become extinct as time continues. However, the only difference now and then is that human have increased this process. What human have done are destroyed some of these species homes, used up their food resources, and introduced pollutions and diseases. I do not think that just because these animals are going extinct that it is a bad thing. Since these things do happen over the courses of time. However, we still should try to save as many of them as we can, especially when humans are increasing this extinction rate. The report adds that many of these extinctions are occurring in poor nations. I agree with this. Mostly likely in poor nations, they do not have the ability to help these species from going extinct. What they must do is slowly start off some program to help these species. Sure it most likely won’t have tons of funding, or great success early on, but it is better the nothing. Then slowly they can ask for help from other nations who have better ability to help these species from going extinct. It is just that extinction will keep on happening like it or not, however; we should not increase this rate but keep it as minimal as possible.

Friday, November 26, 2004

Green credentials response

It is great news to hear that the Kyoto Protocol will come into effect starting Feburary 2005. Due to this protocol, globlal warming should be alot less. Therefore, we will live in a better world. However, it is sad to hear that both U.S. and Australia backed out of the signing. I believe it would be better if the U.S. had signed this protocol, considering we are the world leading polluter. The U.S. reasons for not signing this is because having to reduce the level of carbon dixiode emissions could cost them a bundle. Since America are very dependent on its fossil fuels. Well all this goes back to money. America does not want to be involved in this because in the long run it would cost them dearly economicly. It is a trade off of more money for a less healtier environment to live in. Despite U.S. none involvement, many American business has stepped forward and have tried to reduce their carbon dixiode emissions. This is great news to hear so many American companies welcoming the challenges. Despites some reports of these companies doing this as a way to comply with regulations from state for companies emitting to much carbon dixiode. Some other companies has welcome this despite not being under the regulations. If many other companies continues to follows, slowly the air that we breath will be more fresh then ever.

Amazon Response

I do not like the sounds of this. If farmers of Brazil continues to use their method of slash and burn, surly the forest will be destroyed soon enough. These poor farmers must be given more land to work with. For soils to keep on working and producing good crops, farmers cannot continue to use it seasons after seasons. They must take turns using different land to grow crops, so that while one land is being used, another can regenerate itself and then can be used later down the road. This does not help when Brazil isn't excatly one of the riches country out there. However, they must start somewhere. And that somewhere does not mean it has to be foreign help. I agree with what Jon said. The Brazilan government does need to think of some effective plan to help with the Amazon's problem. They must be willingly put out an amount of money to help the farmers and save the forests. Only then, can other nations see their efforts and then would want to come in with some form of aids. Once the forest are getting the help it so needs, then slowly can the government in turn think of producing more soybeans for exports to make more money. They must start small first, and slowly develop some new method better then the slash and burn method to help the forest, then after that they can begin to think of making money. These poor farmers can only do so much, but if the government are behind them and willingly to do whatever they can to save the forests, i'm sure things will work out in the end.