April 26, 2007

My favorite place

This blog is going to be about what I believe to be the most beautiful place around. This was the blog topic a few weeks ago but I wrote/ranted about sustainability so I’ll replace this blog with that one.
I believe the most beautiful place for me would be a prairie wetland. I love when you’re all alone how quiet it is, yet at the same time how abuzz it is with activity. Birds and insects are everywhere. Hundreds of species of organisms all in one are. I love how it seems untouched by humans yet I know it has been affected in some way. I love walking through the chest high grass with the sun beating down on you and just blue skies above. I love the way the cool water feels on a hot day. I love nights because you can see so many stats in the sky and the crickets are so loud. That’s why I love the prairie.

April 19, 2007

Eco-Feminism

I’m going to talk about eco-feminism. I have heard this phrase before but I guess I never actually knew what it was. Never given it a lot of thought I guess. When I actually found out what it was and meant I guess I kinda agree with some of the views. I could be wrong but I interpreted eco-feminism as women equating the way men treat Nature to the way men treat women. If this isn’t right I’m sorry and I suggest you stop reading because I’m just going to ramble on about this for a page.
In a lot of ways this could be right, but I think it relies to heavily on generalizations. Actually I’m starting to wonder if I’m going to be the best person to talk about this. I’ll try to remain unbiased but when I get a-ramblin’ I stop paying attention and eventually stop reading what I’m even writing. Sometimes men can be generalized as treating women unkindly, not all men but I suppose there are some abusive men out there. I suppose in the same way men treat women abusively they might do the same to nature. In some cases men might not respect women fully and in turn do not respect nature to the point they should. The only thing I don’t like about this is how women also do the same. It isn’t just hunting or littering it also has a lot to do with resource consumption and that is a crime all genders are guilty of. Well that’s the point I guess when I became biased and tried to shift the blame off men and onto both sexes. Sorry. When you look at it strictly from an outside view you can notice some correlations between the ways men treat nature and women. I’m not even going to bring in any other factors. Sometimes men look just at the woman’s body as an aesthetic value and in nature it is the same. When it comes to fully respecting both some men maybe hesitant to. Still I think this is overgeneralized. Whatever.

April 11, 2007

Sustainability

I don’t know what the prompt is this week because I’m not really sure where to find it, so I’m just going to rant about stuff that is really hard and probably impossible to change. I’ll choose sustainability. What is sustainability you may ask? I’m reading a book entitled, Endgame right now. The book’s main focus is to force the reader to question their beliefs about civilization and society. Do we live in a sustainable culture or civilization? He defines sustainability later on in the book, he writes, “If you hyper exploit your surroundings you will deplete them and die; the only way to survive in the long run is to give back more than you take.? Is that something our civilization does? No, we do nothing of the sort. Our world is getting sicker by the day from the copious amounts of poisons we put back into it. We always take, take, take but we rarely give back and what we do is usually degraded and polluted. What I’m trying to explain to you is that if we go by the defininition of ‘sustainability’ that is given in Endgame we will die. The only way to stop this from happening is to revert to more primitive ways of life. It could mean no cars, no oil, no electronics, whatever it is we should make this shift soon. If we don’t I think we can all agree what we know in the back of our minds, sometime in the near future civilization will fall. I can’t say how long this will take, but from estimates it sounds like we will have depleted the worlds stocks of oil in about twenty years. I can’t think of anything that doesn’t run on oil. Sure we could maybe get by on wind power or solar power, but those devices don’t just pop up. You need energy to produce these things and god help us if we even try to switch to coal power. This is a thought people don’t always like to acknowledge, it sits on the back burner as people live for the present. We won’t be here forever, but as a species we can last longer if we respect our land base. Hope everyone has a fabulous day!

April 4, 2007

I'm going to be honest, this is a very unorganized post

At some point in class today somebody referenced the text and questioned if it was our responsibility. The answer to this question should seem obvious to any sane minded person. It obviously is our responsibility to take clean up this mess we have gotten ourselves into. I don’t even know why people question this. Not only is it morally wrong to poison our landbase that we derive everything that sustains us but it is also stupid not to clean up the poison we have spilled.
I think the average person’s rational is that if they drop a can on the ground instead of recycling it, it’s not that big of a deal. I mean you are only 1 in 6.6 billion, soon to be 9 billion right? I could tell you that if everyone on this Earth drops their one can that’s 6.6 billion cans sitting around. But that’s not really accurate. I honestly don’t believe all 6.6 billion people have the wealth or resources to afford a can of something even to liter. So the problem really isn’t everyone’s fault. It’s mostly ours. As americans we consume the most resources on this planet. It’s ridiculous. It throws the whole thing out of whack. Now each one of us might represent over a hundred in 6.6 billion. Yup, we amercans are not good for the environment. We export our problems overseas to some other poor country because we’re sick of the pollution industry causes us here. Ironically we want cheap shit from walmart produced by people in foreign countries that are paid much less than what they deserve, yet when they try to immigrate to america, we, for some reason have rednecks who wear clothes from walmart that bitch about them. Apparently these guys never got the memo about a ‘melting pot’ unless of course they are Native American then they have every right to bitch. I wonder if anyone even read this

March 29, 2007

Ride the High Tide of Pollution

Even as individuals we all have a significant impact. It may not seem like it but from a standpoint of sustainability individually we are each taking a chunk of the Earth with us. Whether it be in a form of gas and oil to food and water. Something as minute as a laptop computer may not seem like a big deal but it is in terms of resources poured into it. It takes massive amounts of energy to harvest all the materials that will at one point be assembled to this thing I’m typing on. Resources go into the transportation of it and it still uses energy. Even when its gone it will have a negative effect on the world because this thing is going nowhere anytime soon. So in terms of the individual we have an impact. Don’t think it’s the huge corporations and poachers or something crazy like that. Sure they do have an impact but if you put all of the people together on this Earth, mostly Western people because for some reason we are especially hard on the world, we would have a huge problem on our hands. And we do. Its called pollution and its everywhere. Seriously go outside or anywhere for that matter. Can you go anywhere and not see human influence? I doubt you can. In fact, I would bet its impossible these days to not see human influence in someway. Some places you can’t with the naked eye but science will tell you water is polluted. Air is polluted. And soil is polluted. We are sitting on a time bomb of pollution that will bite us in the ass and nobody even realizes it.

March 21, 2007

Another rant to deal with

I enjoyed reading Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring.? It seems that most environmentalists credit her with first inspiring them to become involved and take an initiative. I can see why. Here story may have been fictionalized but I don’t care. If anything she scares people into change. In this case I don’t see that as being a bad thing. I can’t see any harm in reducing the amount of pesticides we dump on our plants and fertilizers for that matter. Maybe farmers won’t be able to pump out as much product but that will only increase demand which will increase the prices. Also, it would get rid of the massive operations that have taken over and bring back the family farms. Sometimes it takes a shock like that to encourage people to make the changes they need to make. It is the same thing with global warming. Some facts maybe portrayed in a way that exaggerates them. I don’t think that matters. If it makes people want to change how much they pollute or consume then I don’t see the bad thing about it. I suppose if people start playing devils advocate then we could have some negative consequences.
What happened at Rachel Carson’s fictional spring has actually happened all over the world and that’s the scary thing. Human intervention with nature rarely has a good outcome. In fact, I can’t even think of one good example. Nature has worked fine for millennia and humans appear to be the monkey wrench. I only hope that in the future we realize this before it is to late to do anything. It’s to bad though because I think we have crossed that line long ago and we are storming head first into a future that can only progress downhill. Rant Rant Rant.

March 8, 2007

global wharfing

After reading the two articles about global warming I started to really think about it. What I came up with afterwards is that I still think global warming is occurring, and if it isn’t I guess I don’t really care. If we do all we can to stop global warming even if it isn’t really happening all we are doing is improving the environment. Changes for the positive will be made and that in my opinion is all that really matters. Just because global warming isn’t happening doesn’t mean we should just throw it to the wind and start pumping as much CO2 as physically possible into the air, we should learn from this. Of course that’s all hypothetical because I believe it is happening and we should be doing something. Which it’s kind of strange because most people really aren’t doing anything about it. People still drive SUVs and cut down trees so they can build big houses that use copious amounts of energy to heat or cool, either one will work because nature is never perfect enough for all people. It’s always to cold or to hot, sorry about the rant. Something to think about: methane is a major greenhouse gas. What’s the largest producer of methane? Cattle. What? That’s right cattle are the largest producers of methane. Think about that. If you cut down on your meat intake you can save so much it must be illegal. It takes 2500 gallons of water to produce one pound of beef. If you cut out at least one pound of beef from your diet you can save the equivalent to a years worth of showers. Another that’s insane about cattle is the amount of land they take up and destroy. Most of the open space in America used for agriculture use is used by cattle. What do those cattle do on these open spaces? They produce methane which in the long run might kill us. It’s almost as if they are trying to seek revenge on us through some long term goals or something. Once again I just rambled, sorry; hope it made some sense to somebody.

March 1, 2007

Grizzly Adams vs. Redneck

Let me start this off by saying I have an enormous amount of respect for Timothy Treadwell. He lived deliberately. I in no way consider him to be stupid or getting what he deserved like the redneck helicopter pilot slurred. I think Timothy was out there studying them. If anything he was doing the ecological community a tremendous service. We know have videotape of bears and other animals as they naturally are. He has assimilated into their group so they accept him as one of their own. I wish I could do something like this. Not to the extent, but who knows? I don’t think I would like to be around bears that much. I think it would be crazy awesome to assimilate into a group of monkeys or something that can’t kill me instantly. I guess that’s already been done before, but it worked well I think.
And what was the deal with those hate letters? Doesn’t that seem a little insane to say we need more bears to eat liberals and democrats? I mean that just seems ridiculous to send a letter like that. Who wakes up in the morning and thinks, “oh yeah, I need to fire off a few hate letters for no reason, then watch some NASCAR.? Sorry to NASCAR fans I guess.
Maybe I should address something of any importance. I think through film nature has an aesthetic value to it. People will rally behind anti-oil drilling in the ANWR because they see its beauty through film. I suppose that’s a good thing. They might like it more if they actually were in it, but I guess the more people at the ballot boxes voting against it the better.
speaking of which, check this out if you have time--> ANWR

February 20, 2007

Environligion?

The main thing that I did not like about Michael Crichton’s speech was when he makes a point that if we were totally submerged in nature we would hate it. His example is the jungles of Borneo, saying we would hate being there because of all the ailments and bugs we would encounter. Maybe we would hate it, but maybe we would hate just because we are so unaccustomed to such a raw slice of nature. Many indigenous tribes still live in the deep rainforests so obviously they have found a way to adapt that they would not change for all the ipods in the world. In my opinion he took one of the worst examples and greatly exaggerated it. What if you lived in a quiet deciduous forest? How about a quant prairie? Would you still hate those? What I’m trying to say is he took the “worst? place and applied it to the entire world and all its people which I think is unfair.
I also did not like it how he demeaned so many indigenous cultures around the world. He once again fails to point out the positive things they excelled at. Actually they could do things that we have trouble replicating now even with modern technology. So what if they ate human brains, after all aren’t we animals too? That might be stretched but think of the atrocities we commit on a daily basis. Americans have an ‘out of sight, out of mind’ philosophy. If we can’t see where our McDonalds food is coming from we don’t care. Would you still eat there if you knew they practiced factory farming and were the single biggest contributor to the destruction of rainforests in Brazil?? Again what I’m trying to get across is indigenous cultures did many great things but once again he only mentions the negative things. The article focused on way to many negative aspects of nature and its people.

This is kind of random but it ties in slightly with what i was kind of talking about.
Click here to see whats wrong with McDonalds.

February 15, 2007

My angry rant

One thing that I didn’t like about the last article we read was how the author stereotyped certain sects of people. The author talks about environmentalism as some strange counterculture bullshit thing with tree huggers and extreme left-wing views. What I just said might be harsh. The author does make the point that environmentalists are so into “Mother Earth? some might be crossing the line to paganism. Whatever. I was raised in a liberal environmentally friendly family, yet religious family. I know many other diehard environmentalists and even several radical environmentalists and none of them to my knowledge even toes the line of paganism. That’s a crazy notion the author makes. Most people I know love nature because it is an escape for them from work by going hiking or camping, or just for its beauty. They respect its complexity and would like to at least be kind to it knowing it can really be a force to be reckoned with.
I also liked the point towards the end of the article when the religious official says, “To commit a crime against the natural world is a sin?. I like this because it will at least rally some behind environmentalism that normally would not have been behind it to begin with. If not it may make some think twice before they throw their trash on the ground or clear cut a forest. I know that was a huge jump but who knows, maybe it will do something. Religion could boost awareness in people who were previously too sheltered to the impact they were having on the environment. If it can do that it might even help to rid the world of the negative stereotypes and the taboo image of environmentalism in American politics.
To give you an idea that environmental groups aren't just radical tree huggers check out the Sierra Club's website, one of the largest environmental groups.

February 6, 2007

Super Ultra Mega Happy Concerns

I thought David Abram’s take on nature was very thought provoking. He took a different stance and came at some very interesting points. He mentions that, “The deeply mysterious powers and entities with whom the shaman enters into a rapport are the same forces – plants, animals, and winds – that to literate, “civilized? Europeans are just so much scenery, the pleasant backdrop of our more pressing human concerns.? I can totally see where Mr. Abram is coming from. We see ourselves as being above nature and it is just something that’s there. However, the mountains and deciduous forests can be a nice background for the things we truly value in America, like football and the Spice Girls. I think this is a viewpoint many in this world, Americans especially share. It really is sad to put on so much value for things that aren’t worth it.
He writes earlier, “that which is viewed with the greatest awe and wonder by indigenous, oral cultures is, I suggest, none other than what we call nature itself.? Our culture has totally zapped out all the awe of nature. No longer are we amazed by the sun or how a tree grows because we actually do know and we are desensitized. Step back for a second, just take a step back and actually think about the sun. It is a massive ball of flames floating in space. How do we not worship this anymore? The sun is insane when you really think about it, but then again it’s just nature to us. It only serves as a backdrop to the more pressing concerns in our popular culture.

American Indian Tribal Dance

January 31, 2007

1312007

I really enjoyed reading Dillard’s “Heaven and Earth In Jest.? It was interesting to read for many reasons. One point Dillard made that I agreed with was her point about steers. She said, “They are all bred beef: beef heard, beef hide, beef hocks. They’re a human product like rayon. They’re like a field of shoes. You can’t see through to their brains as you can with other animals; they have beef fat behind their eyes, beef stew.? What this says to me is how overly domesticated we have made some animals. She talks about cattle in this example. We only see them strictly in a utilitarian viewpoint. What can we use them for? They come into this world only for food, at least in this country you do not have undomesticated cattle roaming freely. For some reason this makes me mad. We have come in and totally taken over. We see everything on this earth as something we already own and should be able to do freely with. I don’t think we should be able to do that, I’m not saying animals should have the same rights as humans, but it seems ridiculous that we should be able to enslave an entire species of animals. It’s not just cattle, we’ve done it to any kind of house pet and its even been done to humans. I’m just ranting again.

I also liked how she finished her writing. Towards the end she says, “I am the arrow shaft, carved along my length by unexpected lights and gashes from the very sky, and this book is the straying trail of blood.? This ties in with what she had previously said about the hunting practices of some Native Americans. By her writing this paper we can follow her views and eventually learn what she had been thinking when this was written.

History of Cattle Domestication

January 23, 2007

Why Woods?

I believe Thoreau choose the woods because they are one of many examples of Nature in its purest form. He could have chosen to live on a prairie if he lived in the Midwest or a desert if he lived in the Southwest. Regardless, the woods helped him to escape the daily grind of what was then modern life. Things have only gone down hill since the nineteenth century. Today our society is based entirely too much on productivity and routine. Maybe I’m just crazy, productivity is good, but I think we’ve taken it to insane levels. Maybe wandering off into the woods isn’t such a bad thing? It sounded like Thoreau was getting into a routine that he didn’t like and wasn’t enjoying life like he should have been.

Work.
Eat.
Sleep.

Routine can be a wicked thing. I can already feel myself falling into a routine and that terrifies me. Maybe I’m due for a trip into the woods of downtown Minneapolis, maybe not. Either way I can see why he chooses the woods. They helped him break off from society. The woods were a place were he could grow his own food and didn’t have to worry about the constraints of a job. He was able to be very sustainable if not completely sustainable. Which, I don’t know if you’ve noticed but in today’s world being completely sustainable is nearly impossible, not to mention downright expensive. If Thoreau wanted to take a hike or lounge around Walden Pond he could. Why? Because he had broken free from the constraints of the daily eight to five grind. The woods helped Thoreau see past the building materialism worth of his time. He could finally see himself and nature as one. Maybe, I just rambled and ranted for a page, I hope that made sense.

Check out this link, its about Transcententalism, a movement Thoreau was apart of with many other people of his time.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transcendentalism

i don't think thats even a link, just copy paste it.