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Matt Hedberg
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I found the use of graphics especially helpful in this lecture. What I found most interesting was the chart explaining how politicians and scientists can say, “Oh wait, the temperature is actually falling” on a short-term basis. However, when you look at the longer-term model, it is obvious that the average temperature is actually rising quickly. It upsets me that people use instances such as these to lead other people less educated on the matter to think the wrong way. Another time I thought graphics helped explain a concept exceptionally well was in Greer’s explanation of the Greenhouse effect. I never knew that the effect came from short-wave energy, which can pass through our atmosphere easily, turning into long-wave energy, which gets trapped beneath the particles floating in our atmosphere. One thing I’d like to talk about, although it’s a small point, is ice accumulation pushing down the lithosphere. I know such things are possible, but I was surprised to hear that the ice will push down the lithosphere so much that it will lead to a net loss of ice due to melting. Wouldn’t there be some sort of balance? The lithosphere can’t possibly fall faster than the ice melts, so I figured a balance between the height of the lithosphere and the weight of the ice would be permanently reached.
Toggle Commented Mar 25, 2015 on Climate Talk at Jolly Green General
In tomorrow’s class, I would like to discuss the state and local government’s role in the transition from fossil fuels to renewable sources of energy. How can each state choose which renewable source is best for them? At what point do the costs of renewable energy sources outweigh the benefits they provide? I am most interested in talking about my home state, North Carolina. In recent years, North Carolina has put a REPS, or Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard, into place. I would like to examine how their efforts are changing the state’s energy portfolio and their effects on the portfolios of other states.
Toggle Commented Mar 11, 2015 on For Thursday at Jolly Green General
This paper brings to light the concepts we learned in class today, but obviously to a more real-world level. One of the most interesting things I found in the paper was the differences in the size of the tradeoff, or sacrifice, made by certain villages compared to others. Some villages who depended mainly on fishing for their livelihoods made massive sacrifices (or broke the rules). Other villages, like the ones who depend mainly on agriculture, made much smaller sacrifices. When making our models in class, this inequality in trade-offs isn’t always apparent. I thought this paper did a great job of highlighting those differences. It’s also interesting to see the trade-offs work on different time scales. When we draw models in class, the results of a trade-off seem immediate. In the real world, however, it can take years, decades, or even centuries for a resource to be replenished. In this case, rewards, or the livelihood projects, are given to all. In exchange for that reward, however, some villages had to give up much more than others. On a short-term scale, these returns are unfair. On a long-term scale, however, they may be better for those who sacrificed more for the reward. Just like the example of Perth, Australia, in class today, an economy that depended on fishing accepted the consequences of their overharvesting and took measures to fix the problem. Now that the problem has been fixed, profits are higher than ever and risks are lower than ever. Perhaps the Tanzanian villages that depend on fishing the most can benefit in the long term in the same way.
Toggle Commented Feb 10, 2015 on Reading for Thursday at Jolly Green General
This article brings up a great point in discussing the “free” services provided by natural systems. I thought this experiment was an interesting and relatively easy way to address the discrepancies between the real economic values of coral reefs and their biodiversity. Using non-market valuation techniques such as the ones used in this article, scientists should be able to assign a relative value to important habitats all over the world. Those that would be identified and chosen for valuation would most likely align with those that are identified as important to preserve by Krutilla; they would be unique, irreplaceable, and/or irreversible, such as a coral reef. Keeping the process in mind, I think this valuation method would be useful in many other places. My only problem with it is the sample size it takes into account. In this example, they weren’t incredibly diverse. Most participants were wealthy and all were there to see a diverse group of fish, not eat them. Would the preferences of a poor, hungry islander be the same as those of the divers questioned in the experiment? I doubt it. How could we incorporate the needs and preferences of every stakeholder in the valuation of such an ecosystem? Additionally, I think this practice should be utilized at every national park. Entrance fees are incredibly low, allowing many tourists to see their natural beauty, but ruin it at the same time for others. What would preferences be for a place such as Yosemite? I wonder how much a ticket would go for if only a few thousand people were let into the park per year. Although it a park such as Yosemite may not produce tangible resources like the fish or coral of a reef, it still provides humans with “free” services. How much are they worth?
Toggle Commented Jan 26, 2015 on Reading for Thursday at Jolly Green General
I think a comparison of the two papers is interesting. Each paper raises points that need to be learned and factored into many decisions in the coming years, but the authors have very different ideas. Maybe not so much different in the sense of opposing, but both arrive at a similar conclusion by using far different paths. On one hand, Hardin drills the idea of “little to no breeding” into his reader. He says the number one, overarching problem in the tragedy of the commons is overpopulation. On the other hand, Krutilla calls his readers into acting in the best interest of future generations, acknowledging their future presence and great numbers. Krutilla calls for a “reserve” of land that will provide the most ecological, biological, and recreational diversity for generations to come. He harps on the human’s goal to pass on one’s “estate” to future generations of offspring so that they, too, can enjoy the same resources and utilities that present generations enjoy today. While Krutilla pushes readers towards support of future generations by reserving productive land and resources for them, Hardin addresses the problem from the other end, pushing readers to severely reduce the size of future populations so there’s less need for a “reserve” in the first place. Personally, I find this difference thought provoking. What if we did both? Could we fix the tragedy of the commons problem in even fewer generations? Do we want future generations to enjoy the same things we do now, or should we strive to give them even more? Also, on page 782 of Krutilla’s paper, I don’t understand how he thinks an influx of car campers will result in an increase in people doing things that require more technical skills. It seems to me that to make more technical, specialized activities more popular, people would have to have interest in those things as opposed to activities that require less time, skill, and effort. Can someone explain this one to me?
Toggle Commented Jan 21, 2015 on Readings for Thursday at Jolly Green General
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Jan 20, 2015