April 26, 2007

week 15

I don’t think anything will happen if we try to appeal to (wo)man’s better nature. We’re a greedy group, humans. Self-interest is in our hearts, I sometimes think. There’s an exception to every rule of course, and all of us have our moments of good nature and concern for others, some more than others. But if this was the case the majority of the time, why would we still be confronting these environmental issues of concern? People are constantly out there, spreading the message of global climate change, sustainability, whatever. It’s not like we, as people, are oblivious to the issues. We know people are concerned, we know they have their reasons, their proof, but overall we’re still not acting as decisively and efficiently as we probably should be, and this is because it’s not possible for us as a whole to think outside ourselves and loved ones. I guess that I think this is because everybody has different interests, emotions, religious beliefs, personal stature, wealth, or lack of it, for us to be able to appeal to the better nature of the population since I think all of our “better natures? are different, and to appeal to all of them would be a feat fit for the gods. We can’t possibly appeal to everybody’s better nature, so we resort to appealing to their self-interest. This is by far the best way to go, because I do believe most people place higher values on prosperity (both monetary and social). Incentives are a great way to keep people away from doing what hurts the environment, or to keep them doing what’s good for it. Tax break for those who recycle? I’m there! A multi-million dollar reward for coming up with a solution to the carbon dioxide situation? I’m sure anybody who knows anything about the atmosphere, engineering, and chemistry has at least contemplated possible solutions, if not experimented with them. Appealing to people’s self interest is a good way to get people to move, think, and do, more so than appealing to their better nature

April 18, 2007

Nothing against the opposite sex, but...

I don't think i would go as far as these two ladies go. I mean, us guys are evil and all, but still... it's a pretty general statement to say that men are whats wrong with the enviornment and the human populace. As far as I know, women are as much a problem for the environment as men are. I'm fairly certain they use the most electricity in households, with their hairdryers and curlers and whatever else they use. And as far as the ozone goes, how many guys actually use hairspray? I know aerosol was the big cause of ozone depletion, and i suppose spray paint and other cans contributed to that but it wasn't just us guys using doing the deed! I definitely think the ladies of this world are causing their fair share of environmental wrongs, but guys are the easy ones to blame. We're big, we're mean, we're tough, we're easy targets.

There's no doubt some of us guys are idiots. Probably most of us, actually. But i don't think we're really the cause of all these environmental concerns. I'll gladly share the credit with the women on this one.

April 11, 2007

twins game tonight!!!

The most beautiful place in the world is home. I'm not talking about exactly where I reside at any given moment in time, but you know, home: where your loved ones are. Home's all about the feelings, the emotions that you get, and the comfort of those who don't judge you and who wsh for nothing but your personal well-being and happiness. I've got friends and family all over, and it's the sweetest feeling to know that no matter where you are, home is near. Emoitions are always high and intentions are always well placed. I also love being out and about, so i suppose the world is my oyster or something like that.

April 4, 2007

hotdogs

On the one hand, I think he's completely right. I mean, what happens when living quarters become confined and natural sights and sounds aren't readily available? I think that's called a slum, or a "ghetto", or maybe even a refugee camp. Not a whole lot of happy goes on in those places. And dignity, that's usually not there either I don't think. Dignity means you've got something to be proud of, and who's content and proud living under those conditions? Sure, one can have a great outlook on life from that situation, but would one be happy there? I highly doubt it.

On the other hand, who needs space and freedom to roam the countryside without running into roads on the ground and seeing planes in the sky? We've got all the action in the cities, from concerts and ballgames to zoos and hot dog stands, we've got it all. Even parks. But who uses parks? I rarely go and walk around, check out the scenery, and bum it on a park bench and watch the sun and clouds fade to stars and solar bodies of mass far greater then that of our own planet. Come to think of it, i know very few people who actually do take advantage of that. We're too busy, or maybe it's just that we're having fun and being happy elsewhere? The oppurtunities to relax and go enjoy nature are there, but I don't think a lot of us absolutely need that to be happy and have dignity. Sure, nature's great. But I don't think thats what we depend on to be happy.

March 29, 2007

me vs the environment

I’m unsure of my effect on the environment.

I don’t litter, because I think that’s the lamest thing to do in the world. Especially in the city! How many garbage cans are found just around campus? It seems like millions on every corner, every building, hallway, classroom, bathroom, office, cubicle, the list goes on and on. It’s not difficult a all to not litter. It’s not a life altering event that takes work or dedication, so I really can’t understand people who litter.

I try to recycle, but I am a little lax with that. If there’s a recycle bin/can/whatever you call recycling containers than I’ll use it. I usually won’t go out of my way to find the most environmentally-friendly place to put an aluminum can or a piece of paper, I’ll just toss it in the garbage. Maybe I should work on that.

I don’t drive much anymore, being that I’m near campus and city driving sucks. Not to mention I don’t have a car down here. So that’s no issue at the moment for me. I probably wouldn’t change the amount I drove if I did have a car though, since I love driving and cranking the music up…. I could be easier on the pedal probably. No speed demon here, but I don’t like driving fifteen miles under the speed limit.

I don’t know what effect, if any, smoking has on the environment, but I’d guess that it has some sort of negative effect. Certainly it’s not positive. But I don’t smoke, so that’s a check for me I think.

I’m having trouble thinking of other issues to confront myself with, but overall I’d estimate that I’m not doing a terrible job.

March 22, 2007

Natural Politics

I think it’s completely obvious that we should abide by nature’s principles. After all, we are part of nature. Am I wrong? I think it was Boyle who showed the examples of the village food chain and how one small change can impact everything. This makes complete sense! Even if it were a hypothetical situation, which for all I know it might be, it’d still make sense. How long have we been hearing about the food chain? As far back as I can remember. And what’s the moral of the story behind the food chain? Everything eats something under it. Common sense should tell every one of us that if we eliminate a level of the food chain, anything higher then it will cease to exist and anything lower then it will flourish. Both would be equally bad for everyone. This shouldn’t be something new to us, but in a way it is, because lots of people don’t have their eyes open to what’s happening around us.

It makes sense to me that Boyle wrote what he did like he did. It’s obvious, the sarcasm and bitterness in his words. I think he did what anybody would do when sick and tired of a greater power taking something extremely important too lightly. He mocked them with their own apathetical undertone.

Eventually, if we keep using up all of our resources and going gung-ho on this planet’s natural supplies, we’ll be screwed. Not in the very distant future, but soon I’m led to believe. Nature’s a lot like democracy. Both have got their own checks and balances in place to keep one party or person, or insect or mammal from overriding all of the rest, which as we’ve witnessed so many times in the past can lead to devastation, war, poverty… the list goes on. In short, nothing good.

March 8, 2007

Something funky's going down...

I think global warming is definitely something to be concerned with today. I's sure that I know as much about it as the majority of society knows about, almost nothing. But there's such a huge "following" to it that something funky's got to be going down in the atmosphere. The consensus seems to be that there is something changing in the world's climate, but the debate is whether or not it's something to worry about.

I guess I don't know what I'm talking about. The truth is, I've heard lots of bad things about global climate change and not much in opposition to it lately. Therefore I conclude that, until someone proves this wrong, global climate change is something to worry about.

However, the longer article that we read for today really did a good job of making me think about what I really do think I know on the subject. It turns out i know nothing! Which i sort of knew already. But it made me think about why i think the way i do about the subject. And it's because of the press, i've come to realize. So if global warming had equal opposition in the media I'd probably be just as likely to support that side.

I generally think that people are smart, and that the majority usually tends to rule. With so many people supporting the global warming craze, i find it hard to go against the grain and think that it's no big deal. I guess that could be an error in judgement on my part, but I'd much rather be safe than sorry, and air on the side of caution.

March 1, 2007

Karma and Wooly Mammoths

What’s there to say about what I know (which is little) of Timothy Treadwell? That guy was crazy. I seriously question what was going through the guy’s head. It’s sad that he died, definitely. I guess he probably wouldn’t have had it any other way though. What did he accomplish living with the bears? I guess he spent a lot of his time in Alaska, which in my mind basically makes him Canadian so that might explain some things. Surely I jest.

This blog is not going to go anywhere profound or whatever, and I don’t want to criticize the guy. To each, their own. It’s not my place to judge, but I wouldn’t mind knowing more about the guy. He certainly doesn’t seem normal. The way he goes to the high pitched voice when talking to bears and calling himself a kind warrior (or something like that) just seems a little unnatural to me, and I do wonder who he was catering to. He seems like a strange, nature-loving, nice guy, which is kind of creepy to be honest. The documentary shows a lot of him talking about protecting the bears, but what action did he take after making the videos and using the Alaskan wilderness as his humble abode for a couple months every year? I guess I just want to know more about what his slant was, what his general feelings on environmentalism were.

Or maybe, i guess if it wasn't the practically being in canada part that made him a little strange, well I’m sure karma has screwed up before. In the millions of years that life has been here on earth there must have been a few mistakes with the inter-species changing thing. Just an idea!

I think it’s a cool movie. The footage of the bears is pretty neat. And the foxes were awesome. It’s cool how they just sat on the tent and followed him around. The concept behind the film is also really intriguing. It shows Treadwell in two different lights, which is what makes it interesting to me. It raises lots of questions and moral issues. Really, I don’t think it’s anybody’s place to judge this guy. He died because he loved the animals and how can anybody bash that? From what I’ve seen thus far, he didn’t cause the bears to go berserk and rampage towns and tents in search of people to eat. I haven’t heard about any bad, lasting effects he’s had on the bears’ tempers or acclimation to humans. How did people live when we didn’t have cement and houses and trucks and didn’t have the concept of tools? We had to live in nature with all the bears and the tigers and the wooly mammoths and all those other deadly animals. And guess what? We managed! If you criticize this guy (living with the wild) you’re criticizing the origins of man/woman.

Timothy Treadwell article

February 20, 2007

The Nitty-Gritty Details

It's a strange idea to me that there can be any doubt in somebody's mind about the relationship between religion, science, and the environment. Science is the soul proprietor of nature and vice versa! Nature has everything to do with science and science has everything to do with nature. The confusion that might stem from me saying this is a reasonable confusion, so let me clarify. Science is a clear, precise way to explain our environment in terms that we can understand. Religion is like a highly evolved “coping organism? that people fall back on to explain what science cannot, yet. Maybe organism isn’t the right word to use, but you get the gist I hope. It’s never been proven that there is a god. Some might cite the Bible as proof enough, but what proof is in the bible? That a few people have written about a man born from a said virgin, is that the proof? There have been much more elaborate schemes then that, so who's to say this is the truth? Where does this greater being live? Who or what created him or her? Why did he create us? The confusion I have with regards to the idea of religion is that most religions claim to be the right one to believe in. I have no idea how many religions there are in this world but they can’t all be right! But if one was indeed right, how could the billions of other people in this world of a different religious persuasion all be wrong??? This makes no logical sense, and with that I’m afraid I must conclude that religion, or in the least the way that we use/abuse religion, is all wrong.

I’m not an anti-religious zealot, and far from. I definitely respect people’s beliefs, especially when I don't quite know my own quite yet! And I truly do believe that there is something more to this world, something that science might not be able to explain. I just think that religion as most people know it gets too caught up in details and petty mishaps to really be something constructive. How many wars have been started based on religious beliefs? What's a major factor in most genocides? The thing is, all of these different religions aren’t so different when you come right down to it. The morals and ethics instilled by each are generally extremely relative to one another! It’s the nitty-gritty details that keep them at each others’ throats, and that’s the problem.

I found this to be a nice little definition/explanation

February 15, 2007

Strawberries

Religion's connection to the environment is obvious. Without the environment, no religion could ever possibly exist. Case closed. It’s a simple answer because it’s a simple question. This sort of topic will ALWAYS lead to the discussion of science vs. religion, evolution vs. creationism, and I definitely side with science on this one. Show me proof, religion! Maybe it’s just my personality, but the argument seems like a no-brainer to me. Science, I think, is much more behind the environment then religion ever could be because religion is a man-made thing. Some will probably argue that science is also a byproduct of man, but that’s like saying breathing is a product of man. No it’s not! We can’t live without breathing and we couldn’t live without science. Nothing could exist without science because science is the language of everything. It would exist even if there were no thoughtful species on this planet such as us. Man simply put science into words and into use. I’ve never really realized this but I think science is probably the “religion? of everything physical. Religion as we know it is simply spirituality, a belief in something holy or something divine. I think this is why religion as we think of it and environmentalism cannot ever be one in the same, because they differ in the most extreme way in content and priority.

Global Warming FAQ

February 8, 2007

Nature's middle name

I found it pretty interesting when DIllard wrote about the people who had their cataracts fixed and their reactions to sight. That's definitely the most fascinating topic, I think, that we've read about in class thus far. I cannot imagine living without sight! It's something that people take for granted every day. At the same time, people who have never been able to see don't know what seeing is like or what it's all about. You can't miss what you've never had, so it's a whole different thing for anybody who's always been blind. It's the people who've had sight and lost it that I feel for, because they know what they're missing. I suppose a person learns to deal with it. There's no choice. I've never realized how much our sight can play into who we are, or who we aren't.

I think it was Dillard who also mentioned space and the universe at a couple points. I can honestly say I've gotten lost multiple times deep in thought due to pondering the universe's curious nature. It's really the coolest stuff. Nobody knows exactly how big the universe is, if it truly does have bounds, and with each question we answer about it a seemingly infinite amount of additional questions arise. It's like being in a maze and finding a way out, only to find that through the exit awaits another more difficult maze and at the end of that maze..... The truth is, it's all nature. "Universe" is just Nature's middle name.

Save the Rainforests!

February 1, 2007

Nightmares

The first thought to cross my mind when beginning to read Dillard was "Man, this is easy!" She's got a much more natural style of writing then Thoreau, I think, which makes it easier for me to read and get into. That's not to say that I found it easy to figure out where she was coming from with her writing, quite the contrary: I have no idea! I found it a little bit disappointing that she chose to write about things that can make a grown man quiver, such as waking up to find yourself bleeding from feline-inlficted wounds, or watching a helpless frog get swallowed by a bug. Who does that? And why? This puzzles me. I sure hope I can sleep tonight come to think of it. I mean, this is the stuff of nightmares. Freddy who?

I don't have a problem with the fact that some frogs will inevitably get eaten. I just don't understand the purpose behind Dillard's mention of this. Is this a lesson in revenge? DId the frog have it coming to him? If so, is this a supposed to be a (highly confusing) metaphor for what will happen to people if they don't get more in touch with their inner nature?

Part of the problem I have with "nature writers" that we've read thus far is that they seem to delve too deeply into the relationship between self and nature when I think it's obvious that we are a part of nature! As everything is! it's just what we make of it. Without nature we would absolutely not be here. No plants? No oxygen, we'd never even come into existence. No sun? No plants, no oxygen, no people. We need food, water, oxygen, all of which are here solely because of our surroundings. The sooner people accept that they are as much and as equally a part of nature as everything else, the sooner I'll be able to sleep at night because I won't have to stay up late trying to understand the complicated minds of the "writers of nature".


DIllard

January 25, 2007

Just why did Thoreau live in the woods?

Sometimes when I'm snowboarding, which has been an oddly infrequent affair this winter for me, I can get lost in what I like to refer to as "the livin' quadrant" (coined by me on the lovely night of tonight). I''m sure everybody has these moments. Sometimes quick, sometimes never-ending (a lifetime for some?), it's a period of time in which nothing really matters except, you guessed it, livin'. What this means for someone, it won't ever mean for somebody else because as I've been told numerous times, everybody's different. What I deduce from that statement is this: there's no equation or special theorem to life. Nobody thinks the same, nobody is motivated for the same reasons as another, sure if you generalize they might be, but when it comes down to the nitty gritty details nobody is driven by the same exact forces or passions or whatever you might call them. When I'm in "the livin' quadrant", well first any readers will probably be curious as to why i chose "quadrant" as opposed to "zone" or "moment" or "period of time in the continuous continuum of the space-time continuum"...truth is, i started with "zone and graduated with "quadrant". Simple as that. And I also thought that nobody say's "quadrant" anymore, so I might as well bring it back in style. That, however, is getting off the topic. The point is, I thnk Thoreau decided to reside in the forest for reasons normally beyond the reasoning of anybody else, unless you think in terms of "the livin' quadrant". I think that he felt like he was actually livin' while in the woods. Maybe he loved nature, maybe he loved solitude, maybe he loved to talk to trees for all I know. But I think that in order to write a book such as the one we're reading in class, one that thus far seems to exude so many obviously well thought out thoughts... that may seem redundant but think about it and then think about that thought and it's most definitely not!....moving on, in order to write a book like the one we're reading it takes a serious amount of emotion mixed with a thunderstorm of purpose. I think the only reasonable, possible way that one could write a book like this is to have written it while inebriated by life while in "the livin' quadrant". This is not to say that I will ever write a book like this: i hate it, actually. It's boring, long (to read a page and get anything out of it is more work then i would ever dream of doing in my free time), and put bluntly, horribly painful to read. But then again, my livin' quadrant is undoubtedly different then his was so I can't possibly appreciate his work as much as somebody else who has a similar livin' quadrant. And sadly I really don't think anybody will ever get as much out of it as Thoreau did, provided my idea of the livin' quadrant (as explained above) is proven true in theory and in substance by somebody respectable. After all, I'm just a college guy who loves sounding profound, when in reality I prefer to look on the bright side and to keep things funny. As long as you enjoy life, why, that's purpose enough for me!

link: http://www.ran.org/