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Nina Preston
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As most of my peers have already pointed out, the notion that climate is in a constant state of change has influenced as well as inhibited global policy in regards to Climate Change. Professor Greer was able to look into the possibilities of the future states of Earth as carbon dioxide levels fluctuate, and lean increasingly towards uncharacteristically high levels of persistence in the atmosphere. Today in class we spoke on the cognitive response humans have to certain threats of climate change, we respond to outcomes that challenge our current way of life or the way of life belonging to the individuals we love. We know from the incredible data that Professor Greer presented that carbon dioxide has become lighter and a greater presence in the atmosphere, that the positive feedback loops of melting ice in the polar regions results in more UV-radiation trapped in the atmosphere, and that large amounts of cold water entering the ocean could disturb the Younger Dryas effect that warms all of Europe. However, beyond the long-term ecological consequences, I still feel that the immediate threats of global climate change must not be overlooked. There are humans today that are suffering from changing temperatures, higher sea levels, and operating in traditional ways of life that can no longer be upheld by their environment. Environmental refugees have been a political issue since the early 2000s. What I would like to talk about on Thursday is the political consequences and potential threat of war that may result from the effects of climate change experienced today.
Toggle Commented Mar 24, 2015 on Climate Talk at Jolly Green General
I think it would be interesting this Thursday to discuss the economic consequences of biodiversity loss and extinction. Kahn recognizes that our current period of mass extinction is largely a result of anthropogenic factors; however, our efforts to preserve biodiversity do not equate to the losses we are experiencing biologically. Again, we face the choice of preservation or exploitation, and should discuss the potential genetic diversity and indirect use values that today's endangered organisms may provide in the future.
Toggle Commented Mar 10, 2015 on For Thursday at Jolly Green General
My experience with Casey et al. paper was similarly plagued with questions like those which Matt contributed above. I am concerned with the absence of “empirical justification” available to political leadership and regulatory authorities. How is the knowledge gap between coastal managers and policy makers so significant in countries that exploit their natural resources for ecotourism? Especially in nations, such as Caribbean island nations, who are dependent on tourism for a large percent of their GDP? In Barbados alone, tourism accounts for 15% of GDP and even greater amounts through construction and service sectors (30). As a result of my bias as an Environmental Studies major I responded to this article with shock when it mentioned how non-market values were not influencing policy. I ask: Is it because policy makers are more comfortable with facts and concrete data that illustrate the immediate returns of consuming a good/service? Is the dependence on tangible data sets inhibiting our ability to grow economically through conservation practices? Social well-being is also threatened when natural capital is depleted, and the cost of reconstruction is greater than the immediate cost of preservation. Matt made a good point to mention how the poverty stricken local communities are affected by preferences elected by people willing and able to pay for the consumption of a good. This article mentions how poverty is exacerbated by resource depletion in local communities, so how could we account for their loss in the price of SUBA dive experiences? Professor Casey mentioned in class that the movement towards ecotourism must include those who previously depended on the depletion of that resource in order to compensate their loss and maintain regulations for preservation. For example, exotic fishermen must be the ones converting their market interest towards dive lessons, gear renting, or tour guides, etc. Ideally, no value would be lost thorough the improved quality of the reefs and there would be a renewed social stigma towards ecological stewardship.
Toggle Commented Jan 27, 2015 on Reading for Thursday at Jolly Green General
I was surprised to find that the complete work of Garret Hardin’s “Tragedy of the Commons” adamantly argued against human rights, specifically the right to breed. His paper ends saying “Freedom to breed will bring ruin to all” after repeatedly mentioning how population growth has contributed to the abuse of the commons and depletion of natural resources. Hardin asks his readers to reject the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UN in 1976) in order to defend ourselves against our enemy, population growth. He attributes rapid population growth to the “miserable,” yet such growth is nearly inevitable at a global scale. His request for zero growth rate is unattainable despite his suggestion that the government should stop providing benefits to protect children from starving. The example that Megan provided above, comparing Hardin's argument to the eugenics movement, highlighted my initial thoughts of injustice after reading through Hardin's document. I believe there is a more immediate threat of social upheaval if legislation is implemented to limit breeding (even if the resulting availability of resources would supposedly benefit society overall).
Toggle Commented Jan 20, 2015 on Readings for Thursday at Jolly Green General
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Jan 20, 2015