All posts by bloodr

More Manipulation of Nature?

Controlling our harmful emissions and saving the Earth from catastrophe. We should all be afraid, not just the scientists. The threat of climate change is very real and is becoming a stronger threat year after year. Sea levels are rising, many species are facing extinct and many have already gone extinct, holes are continuously forming in our atmosphere, and so many other aspects of Earth are changing at rapid rates due to the pollution/emissions/activity of humans. There needs to be some sort of urgency to our actions to combat it and its devasting repercussions. How do we get everyone on board and more aware and accepting of this very real problem?

Not every is going to be able to change their ways nor will all want to. Geoengineering could be a decent, temporary response. We have developed and learned so much that it would be a pity to see this knowledge not be put towards helping or potentially saving the Earth. That is, of course, if it works the way it is expected and desired to. We cannot depend solely our science and engineering to fix the Earth, we, the general population, must make a change. Ultimately, we will lose the battle with Mother Nature.

Nature has a way of “fixing” itself in a sense that if we implemented these geoengineering inventions, would it really correct the cascade of problems that climate change has already set off. Climatically, things will get worse before they get better, so will these inventions be able to combat this? Can those inventions alone really be enough to slow down climate change give us enough time to our act together? The thought of manipulating the environment on such a large scale and atmospherically does not set well with me for some reason. I feel like this could also trigger a cascade of unwanted repercussions that we will have no idea or time to fix, however, this does not mean I am against geoengineering. I think trying what we can to help combat climate change is necessary. I am just skeptical.

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And Can You Hear the Wolf Cry?

The power that how sound possesses has always astonished me. From the way we interpret and process language(s), the powerful effect of instrumental music, to the sounds of a healthy forest. It moves me, and to think of the evolution of language into an irreplaceable part of us honestly blows my mind. The ability to create sound is just a vital to us as it is to an insect. Sound also has the ability to shape our imagines of any place, heightening the overall experience.

I personally have never heard anything more beautiful than an undisturbed, old growth tropical forest. I was absolutely mesmerized. If it was not set before that moment, my purpose on this Earth is to help preserve that. That healthy, living, complex ecosystem that creates some of the most beautiful music I have ever heard.

I have also experienced the complete opposite of the scene above. Many a night I have fallen asleep to the sounds of passing semitrucks and cars on the neighboring highway. Not the most “natural” sounding environment, but it was familiar. It was familiar enough in fact to act as a lullaby most nights. Those cars flying by created a comforting noise. It was something that was always there and never thought twice about its significance.

Also, sound can play a huge role in identifying health or danger. Silence in the middle of nowhere can often indicate something bad is about to happen, such as a bear attack, or that minimal to no life is present in that area. That can be an indication of the state of the health of the surrounding environment, however, most of the time nature creates noises leading to complex songs that paint a mental picture regardless of the presence or absence of sight. We and everything we have created, us being a part of “nature” and whatnot, have added to complexity of sounds on this Earth. It is up for debate about the benefits of these additions, buy often, our sounds interfere with and harm the communication of other organisms using sounds for hunting or mating. This further demonstrates the power of sound in nearly all living, communicating organisms. Life on Earth would not exist the way it does without the presence and processing of sound.

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Their Loss is Our Loss

Typically, when we think of climate change in respect to a loss of diversity, we associate it with a loss of biodiversity of floral and faunal species. We are a great risk of also losing our diversity. The unfortunate fact is we have already greatly diminished or completely lost a lot of our diversity. We are risk of losing even more.

The indigenous way(s) of life are undoubtedly different from modern society. Most rely greatly on the stability and pristineness of their surrounding environment for many aspects of their cultural, such as hunting/harvesting from the area, religious practices and events, and other cultural components that make an indigenous group who they are. Their ways of life, religion, and language are at risk of dying out or being erased if they cannot carry out their cultural necessities.

This risk stems from two major factors, a) colonization and b) climate change. Colonization (and even modernization or westernization) has contributed greatly to losses in indigenous cultures. For centuries, people from other languages and cultures traveled far and wide to take what was not theirs. Indigenous people were taken as slaves if they were not killed off by acts of violence or by the foreign diseases, and they were forced to conform to the cultural practices of their “new rulers.” If not, they faced death. Many languages, practices, and physical characteristics were overpowered by the ways of the old world. Some remained lucky and were relocated or allowed to maintain their way of life in a secluded, unknown area. Today, our industrial-based practices have sent the natural world into peril. The once pristine, long-standing environments are being quickly killed from pollution, overharvesting/deforestation, and change in climatic conditions/events. Not only are floral and faunal species losing their homes, the indigenous are as well.

When we lose the indigenous people and their cultures, we as a whole lose the diversity that makes us all so unique and beautiful. For some, it is an entire loss of their identity. Languages, religions, rituals, etc., will just be an old wise tale or something one can only read in books. We also lose the ability to learn and understand differences ways. We also lose the ability to understand the history of the human race and all its “glory”. The indigenous people have knowledge and wisdom unknown by all, and they could give some insight to the environment. We do not know how everything works nor do we know all the species that are out there. They could provide insight to what is there and how it is changing in a way that can help us all combat climate change. They could also provide insight to how to live sustainably. Indigenous groups should not be made to bear the weight of the actions of others who contribute so many times more to climate change than they ever would.

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An Intensified Future?

The Tamarisk Hunter by Paolo Bacigalupi depicts a “fictional” future of the United States. Is it really that fictional? A terrifying thought. Bacigalupi is not too far off.

It seems that few powerhouses control land, water, etc., things we could consider as something every human being has a right to. In reality, if something like a “Big Daddy Drought” were to occur, then I fear what we thought was ours would not be any longer. In a way that would create a sense of order in a time of chaos, to put the situation in the hands of a few, but at the same time, it would not be beneficial to all. Few powerhouses would most likely mean their priorities would be biased towards their own needs. Others, such as the “water ticks” had to, the unlucky ones would have to fend for themselves.

In a sense, it is like the world today with food. Some people have so much access to food (and/or anything else they may need) whether it be due to their affluency or geographically locations, and unfortunately, hundreds go hungry or without water every day. While others throw food away because it does not look appealing. Just because we are there doesn’t mean it is ours and that we can take it all. If a crisis like that were to occur, we should ultimately strive to preserve nature and not run it dry.

As a Michigander of the Great Lakes State, I am privileged to live near (several) bodies of freshwater. We do not have to worry about the droughts as the Californians do, at least for now. However, there has been talk at one point or another about a pump line spanning from the lakes to California to share the resources. Personally, I don’t think that idea. It would destroy the ecosystems of the lakes, which could negatively affect the jobs of other Michiganders, along with destroying the aesthetic of that whole midwestern area. But that does not eliminate the water problems, would it? Is it even a strong enough argument to deny someone water?

Thinking back to Bacigalupi’s piece and the path we are headed down as nation and as a world, what would you do? What is the right thing to do? Bacigalupi could be showing us a more dramatic version of who we are and what we value. These are hard, but very real questions we must ask ourselves because we cannot keep living this way forever, can we?

 

On the Edge

It is becoming more and more pressing that we change the way we live. The Earth is close to the point of no return, this most us of agree on. We may not see these changes nor are we being personally affected by them at this very moment, but someone is or someone will be very soon. Our great-grandchildren will certainly feel the consequences of our negligence, especially if we collectively continue to really face these problems head on.

Personally, the lingering doom of a Hothouse Earth is in the back of mind quite often. As I progress in my education, I learn in nearly all my classes about what is happening to organisms and ecosystems in the present of climate change and what this means to us and what it could mean for our future. It is daunting. I am constantly thinking about how my actions could contribute to or not to our current problems. With that being said, I still think, “Oh, I won’t affect anything if I do (insert non-ecofriendly action here).” A horrible, terrifying thought, right? It is even more terrifying when the nearly 8 billion human inhabitants have the same mentality.

The mentality of not being able to do much damage as a single person is what will make it challenging to obtain a Stabilized Earth. We need to greatly reduce our CO2 emissions and stop depleting natural, nonrenewable resources. It does not sound too challenging, but it will require a change of lifestyle, which makes it challenging. We, for the most part, are fairly comfortable with our lives and our routines. “Changing” may seem too intimidating, but with the advancements we have made today, it is not as out of reach as it once was. It hardly takes anything to starting using reusable straws, cups, Tupperware, snack bags, etc., along with walking, riding bikes, or taking public transportation or carpooling to work or wherever the destination. The changes, in the beginning at least, do not have to huge, but you at least have to do something. The habitability of Earth for humans is on the line. Our Earth needs us, including our governments, to slow the rate of climate change and maintain the Stabilized Earth.

Is No Meat the Best Option?

Our diet is certainly a hot topic of discussion. I would like to make it clear that I do care about our environment, and I agree that agricultural emissions are great contributors to our current climatesituation. With that being said, there is much more to be said, for our diet and/or culture is something that cannot be easily changed.

As someone who was a vegetarian then vegan for three years, I know what should be done. I tried for as long as I could to make a little change to my life and show others that it is doable and easy. I agreed and I still do agree that our consumption of so much meat leads to animal cruelty and repercussions to the environment. Our planet cannot withstand a greater increase in the amount of CO2 emissions, runoff, etc. We also cannot keep treating the animals the way that we do. The mass production method is inhumane, but the sad reality is we have to feed people, which we are not excelling at.

We cannot just simply eliminate the meat production industry from the food supply. Meat, poultry, and fish contribute greatly our needed source of protein. We would have to compensate for the loss of protein and calories with more grains, vegetables, fruit, nuts, etc. Those alternatives are also environmentally costly. They require land, water, and nutrients to grow. It may not be as easy nor as great as we hope, and honestly, those replacements are not the same, and they are sometimes the more expensive option. I personally feel fuller, less lethargic, and I even hold my weight better, now that I have reintroduced meat back into my diet. For me, being meatless is not the best option.

There are also tons of people who rely on agricultural practices for their living. They may be third, fourth, or even fifth generation farmers. They send their kids to college with the money that the earn. It is not as simple as it seems to completely let all of this go and abandon meat products. What we need to do is more aware of where we buy these types of products from. We should be supporting our local farmers that have ethical, responsible practices. It may be more expensive, but it is the way that benefits more people than not. People are not going to get on board with seemingly radicle changes. It does not have to be an all-or-nothing situation.

 

Let Nature Guide You

“The greatest danger to our future is apathy.” -Jane Goodall

The natural world is such a beautiful, magical thing.  To think that we are not a part of it or that we did not come from these more “natural” beginnings is to deny that we are not organisms of Earth. We have created, the concrete jungles and other artificial landscapes, is not nature. We as a species are a product of natural phenomenons, but its manipulation and destruction is not natural.

We have completely removed ourselves from the checks and balance system that you would see in the heart of the Amazon, for example.  If a prey species saw an increase in their population size, then their predator species would also see an increase. No one species becomes too dominant in all habitats. There are still competition and resource limitation to adhere by, but to us Homo sapiens those limits do not exist, apparently.  Some of us do not even give nature or the consequences of our actions a second thought.

With that being said, there are those of us that do often think of nature and its processes. There are the scientists and naturalists working to understand how it all works and what defines it, and of course  there are  those who care because it is what keeps this planet healthy and what kept it function for millions of years before us. There are also some that do put too much thought and theory into what nature is and what is the reasoning for it existence aside from a scientific/biological reason.  For me, there is often an unnecessary search for a deeper meaning.  Some people get too caught up in trying to anthropogenize natural processes, as if was created around us. As we evolved, it evolved to meet our needs. We are trying to find the most complex way to describe some of the simpler phenomenons it seems.

We just need to take a step back to appreciate and observe what nature is and what it does for us and the planet. We do not need to over complicate what already exists, but we also need to acknowledge that is there and living.

Seems great, but is it for us?

On paper, this idea of degrowth seems great. We just have to convince the country and the rest of the world that is great as well and put into practice. Easy, no? Wrong. In today’s political and economic environment, I feel as though it would not be as effective as the paper suggests because not everyone would be on board. Its too drastic of a change. For example, our “American way” does not support equal income playing fields and would face serious uproar and opposition if even suggested.

Change is important and necessary, especially in the face of never-ending environmental issues, such as climate change. It is completely reasonable to advocate for something new, something different. We collectively as a country, and frankly as a whole planet, need to do something other than what we are doing. Is it a radical change that we need, or is it taking it one step at a

Image result for degrowthtime? I personally do not feel that a radical change will be effective nor ever initiated. For us as a country to have a system other than what we are have, especially one that does have benefits for all, we need to system and enact small, effective changes consistently. It is the only way to hopefully get the majority of the country involved.

There is Work to be Done

Life, at least as most of us know it be, is quite comfortable. Life is not necessarily easy, but we are able to be here at a great university without needing to trek six miles for somewhat-clean drinking water. Life is not the same for many other humans nor for the hundreds of species that face extinction with every passing day.

Life in the heart of the rainforest or in the deep, open ocean is a fight for survival. There will always be some organism that wants to consume another. As if that was not challenging enough, their homes are being destroyed left and right. From deforestation, pollution, icecaps melting, etc., their habitats are slowly, or not so slowly, becoming less and less inhabitable. How many species must face extinction or how many habitats must be eliminated for us all to really start caring?

Our contributions have really exaggerated the rapid climate changes we are seeing. Our farming, our metropolises, and everything else that has allowed us to make such incredible advances in life has also been our downfall. We created inventions requiring ungodly amounts of nonrenewable resources before we even knew their harm or origins. We sometimes act before we understand the consequences our actions possess.

We try to repair what has been done, or we can slow down the damage we have been causing if we try. If we all try. It is something that cannot be fixed in a single night, that is a given. It requires education and lots of it. I do not mean that everyone must be a PhD holding climate science to save ourselves from inevitable doom. People need to care and need to want to care to save the world and the life as we know it. It is getting people to become aware of the what is going on and for some, it is becoming aware that their way of life is not sustainable. If not, we will experience a harsher world. Those who think that, “it is not affecting me, so why should I care” could have a reason to care sooner than we think. So, when are we all really going to start caring?