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April 25, 2007

Blog Prompt Week 15

This week we're thinking about sustainability. Ridley and Low contest that in order to get people to adopt sustainable business and living practices we must appeal to their self-interest. This week I want you to consider whether we can get people to live sustainably by appealing to their better natures, or whether we need to provide some incentive or disincentive to create change. Or, would an appeal to both conscience and self-interest be our best bet? Why?

April 18, 2007

Blog Prompt Week 14

This week you should consider Terry Tempest Williams’ discussion with Sandy Lopez regarding the relationship of women and the land (page 83/10). Williams and her friend discuss how the both the bodies of women and the body of the earth have been mined, how men subjugate women and nature because they’ve lost intimacy with themselves. What do you make of the conversation between Tempest Willams and Lopez? Do you agree that there’s a connection between the way women and the land are treated? Do you think that a culture of domination is part of the problem when it comes to environmental abuses?

Blog posts to comment on: Mike J, Christina W, and Jenessa O

April 11, 2007

Blog Prompt Week 13

Edward Abbey says of the Utah desert he so eloquently describes, "This is the most beautiful place on earth." He then goes on to claim, "There are many such places." This week, write clearly and concisely about your "most beautiful place on earth." The goal of this post is to evoke this place, and the feelings you have about it, for your reader.

April 4, 2007

Blog Prompt Week 12

Sigurd Olson suggests that we require a connection with the natural world in order to maintain our balance. He states that human happiness and human dignity depend on our ability to maintain natural spaces and our connection to them. Do you agree with Olson? Why or why not?

March 28, 2007

Blog Prompt Week 11

We've talked in class about corporate pollution, but we haven't really discussed the impact we have on the environment as individuals. This week, I'd like you to think a bit about your own environmental impact. What things do you do every day, what activities do you engage in, what products do you consume, which have an impact on the environment? Are you willing to alter your behavior--drive less often, consume fewer products--in order to live more lightly on the land? Why or why not?

Although we'll talk about sustainability in more detail at the end of the semester, you may want to take a look at this website which provides some information on how you can lessen your impact on the environment.

March 19, 2007

Blog Prompt Week 10

The essays by Carson, Moore, and Boyle all raise questions about our need to “accommodate ourselves to this planet.? Based on the readings for this week, do you believe we need to do more to respect the “principles by which nature works?? Refer to at least one of these readings in your response.

February 14, 2007

Listen In

The most recent Speaking of Faith program addresses the question of the relationship between paganism and environmentalism. This hour-long program is worth listening to.

Here are a couple other resources you may want to check out:

MPR recently explored the relationship between environmentalism and religion in Minnesota’s faith community. Find more information on this issue here.


I just stumbled across this collection of information on Gary Snyder, whom we'll be reading later in the semester. You can listen to an interview with Snyder or hear him read his poems here.

January 22, 2007

Prompt for Blog Entry #1

Thoreau describes his sojourn into the woods as an experiment, and goes on to explain that:
"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience, and be able to give a true accout of it in my next excursion."

The question I want you to consider is this: why did Thoreau choose the woods as the place to conduct his experiment? In your response, consider the differences between life as lived in the village and the life Thoreau lived in the woods. What becomes possible only by retreat to the woods, and why? Post a page long entry in reponse to this prompt by midnight on Wednesday.

January 17, 2007

Blog Links

Please post a link to your weblog by commenting on this post. You must post your link by Monday, January 22nd.

January 16, 2007

Guidelines for Commenting on a Classmate’s Entry

Post your comment by midnight on Thursday each week.

Base your comment on the entry you have chosen to react to.
In other words, you need to have read the entry you are commenting on. Make sure you start your comment by reacting directly to something you read in the entry.

Here are some ideas that can get you started on your comment:
--Do you agree with the opinion of the author? Disagree? Why?
--Has the author of the post focused on something you didn't notice about the reading? What? What do you find intruiging about their observation?
--How does the post you are commenting on expand your thinking about the reading?

Be respectful.
Remember, the atomsphere of respect that is expected in our classroom applies to these blogs as well. The thinking and writing that will take place on these blogs is an extension of the discussions we are going to have in class, so when you are commenting on another student's entry, do so with the same level of respect you would use while making a comment in the classroom.

Do not comment on the same student's blog two weeks in a row.
These comments can be shorter than your own postings. However, this doesn't mean that you don't have the space to be thoughtful and articulate about what you are trying to express.

Guidelines for Entries on Your Blog

Make your post by midnight on Wednesday each week.

Your post needs to be roughly the equivalent of one double spaced page of writing. I recommend you create your entry in Word to ensure you have a posting of adequate length, then cut and paste it into your blog.

The purpose of the posts on your blog is to respond in writing to the readings on our syllabus. These responses are considered "informal writing" as they are not graded. This is space for you to use writing to explore your own ideas about the readings we are doing this semester. While your entries need not be as polished as the writing you do on your graded assignments, they, like your papers, require that you are thinking critically about what you have read.

Ocassionally, I will give you a question I want you to respond to in your entry. I will post these questions on this blog, so check this blog before you write your post.

Before you write your entry, consider your reaction to the reading. (This means, of course, that you need to have done the reading before you write about it on your blog.)

In your post, state and explain your position on the subject the reading addresses. Rather than simply stating that you liked or didn't like the reading, I want you to write about why you did or didn't like the reading. Then explore and explain the reasons behind your opinion.

Here are some ideas that can get you started on your post:
--Do you agree with the author's position? Disagree? Why?
--Have you had a personal experience that relates to the subject matter that was addressed in the reading? Relate your experience, and discuss its relationship to the reading.
--Choose one or two ideas the author has explored and react to them in your own words. Do your thinking on the page. Use the post to sort out what you think about the material that is being discussed in the reading, or the ideas that the reading provokes in you.

Optional: If you like, note the author's execution one of the techniques we have been discussing in class. Sometimes the authors of these articles do not do such a great job with some of the elements of essay writing we will be talking about. If you see something that you think could have been done better, make of a note of it briefly at the end of your post.

The subject matter of the readings we will be doing this semester form the foundation for the writing we will be doing. Keep this is mind when you are thinking of what you want to focus on in your papers. You might get some ideas for your papers through your blog postings.

Basic Guidelines for Participating in the Blog Component of this Class

Post One Entry, One Link, and One Comment Each Week:

First post: Post an entry on your blog.
The entry on your blog site and the link to an outside source need to be made by Wednesday each week.

Second post: Make a comment on another student's blog.
Your comment needs to be made by Thursday each week.

Come to this site to access the links to other students' blogs.

December 29, 2006

Course Website

In addition to this blog, there is also a website for this course, where links to many of our readings are provided. The website also provides links to useful sources on many common reading and writing related concerns. Please do make use of it.

ENGC 1013: Nature and the Environment

Welcome to ENGC 1013 and to my UThink Blog. In this course, we'll be using UThink Blogs to respond to the course readings, to link to interesting information found online, and to comment on one another's entries. If you already have a UThink Blog, please set up a category for ENGC 1013 so we can easily access your entries. If you don't have a U Think Blog, you'll need to set one up. Visit the library's UThink start-up page to do so. You may also want to take a look at the guide to using Movable Type.

Once your blog has been established, please post a comment the entry below entitled "Blog Links" so we can easily access your blog. Your blog should be up and running by Monday, January 22nd. Each week, you must post at least one entry and one comment on the readings for that week. You must also link to one outside source which bears some relationship to the material for that week. Entries and links are due by midnight on Wednesday. By midnight on Thursday you must post a comment to at least one of the entries submitted by your colleagues for that week.

Happy blogging.