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caroline hutchinson
lexington, va
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This lecture was very interesting to me and I found that it raised a couple of questions that I would like to discuss in Tuesday's class. First, I would like to learn what specific counter arguments politicians etc have against global warming and climate change. As Professor Greer mentioned, change is constant on our planet, how is this fact disputed at all? Second, I would like to consider this constant rate of change from an economic standpoint-- how has it affected economic practices and what are the cost benefit analysis associated with keeping the planet cooler, especially during a time where the earth is supposed to be growing colder anyway.
Toggle Commented Mar 24, 2015 on Climate Talk at Jolly Green General
For Thursday's class I think it would be really interesting to discuss the Keystone Pipeline. I think that this policy initiative falls under the marginal cost benefit analysis for the environment from an economic standpoint that we have been pursuing this semester. While the economic incentives are present, the environmental effects are not worth the risk. The State Department released a report that pointed to an increase in greenhouse gases associated with the development of the pipeline in addition to the huge potential risk associated with a pipeline leak (http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/state-to-release-keystones-final-environmental-impact-statement-friday/2014/01/31/3a9bb25c-8a83-11e3-a5bd-844629433ba3_story.html). This would have lasting detrimental effects on the biodiversity of the areas affected and would bolster the recent trend of increased climate change. There are also many ethical considerations associated with the Keystone Pipeline. Is there a way that we can access the targeted oil in a sustainable and environmentally respectful manner that allows for new jobs and economic incentives? Or are the environmental risks far too severe? I think an important thing to remember with this argument is W&L's motto "Non incautus futuri" (not unmindful of the future). Although this project would generate an extremely high number of jobs and revenue, the costs outweigh the benefits. Another topic that I think would be interesting to discuss from Khan is the environmental effect of agriculture. In the reading he states that each unsustainably harvested acre of crop will lead to a decreased yield for the same acre in the future. Is there a way that technology can be used positively to decrease environmental degradation from such things as over harvesting, fertilizer overuse etc. instead of just increasing the market for these forms of agricultural abuse? I am particularly interested in the Ch. 17 section on agriculture and greenhouse gases. The emission of methane from mass harvesting animals for consumption is one of the leading causes of global warming. These animals are treated horribly, as if they were a crop not a living being and are farmed at an ever increasing rate. How can we slow this rate of production to decelerate global warming while making sure that economic incentives are not left unconsidered? Would a tax break have an effect on this huge industry? Or is the industry so consumed by government control that this end goal is impossible because they are only considering their interests and the benefit for them is much greater than the future costs?
Toggle Commented Mar 11, 2015 on For Thursday at Jolly Green General
Marine Protected Areas are an incredibly interesting concept to protect biodiversity because they also try to compensate for the potential labor costs that may have a devastating effect on workers in the areas being protected. As we discussed in class, change will not arise in conservation, especially in areas of over fishing or over harvesting in general, unless incentives are put into place to ensure that the "losers" in the situation do not lose their entire sources of income. However, although some compensation is offered, this article discusses the problems that arise with especially low-income and impoverished areas. For most of the members of these locales, their only source of income is the fishing industry or associated and equally damaging pursuits. The article states that this potential problem is especially harmful when the depleted stocks of fish in the MPA is low before the helpful and population stimulating effects of the MPA protection have set in. However, it is clear that simply expressing that if practices are changed there will be no more fish in the future to those in the MPA areas is not enough. To encourage them to change their ways, MPA incentives must be expertly placed. Some of these incentives as detailed by the paper are working to provide other means of livelihood and income and engaging in fishing technology that generates income. Both of these allow the former fishers to have a sustained source of income rather than just paying them off to accept the MPA parks which is more effective and beneficial for both parties long term. This is an example of "conservation by diversion" which I believe is especially effective because it benefits the environment greatly while also taking care of the low income communities that are greatly affected by a lack of available fish or the ability to fish. Although there are many issues with this, such as in fish only communities, I think that this practice is the best possible option, especially over moratoriums on fishing, to control over-fishing.
Toggle Commented Feb 11, 2015 on Reading for Thursday at Jolly Green General
policy makers*
Toggle Commented Jan 28, 2015 on Reading for Thursday at Jolly Green General
This journal article entitled, "Recreational SCUBA divers' willingness to pay for marine biodiversity in Barbados" calls attention to the difficult but necessary matter of quantifying in monetary terms the recreational value of various environments and natural resources. Policy makers often have to make decisions that would either conserve these natural resources or allow developers etc to use the land and resources for other purpose. The coral reefs of Barbados are just one example of this occurrence and the author of this article recommends the same process for others who are interested in quantifying the recreational value of other areas as well. The study began with a survey that asked the divers what they valued in a diving location. The mentions of sea turtles and large coral cover were frequently stated. Thus its clear that skilled divers place higher value on areas which are better conserved making these areas worth more money. This study would be incredibly useful for policy majors especially because they would be able to argue that these areas of extreme biodiversity and unique natural resources have a value that is associated with their aesthetics and conservation and not just for whatever harvestable resources they might also house.
Toggle Commented Jan 28, 2015 on Reading for Thursday at Jolly Green General
Garrett Hardin’s The Tragedy of the Commons is an incredibly interesting and thought provoking piece that I have read before in short detail but never fully. Having now read the entire piece, I see why this work is considered to be so controversial. Hardin argues that the “common” of breeding must be completely abolished. While I agree that overpopulation is a huge environmental issue and although it is tough to breach for moral reasons it should be considered in policy—I do not agree with Hardin in saying that freedom to procreate should be entirely eliminated. One specifically interesting point that Hardin raises is that no technical solution can help to mollify the issues of overpopulation, which means that some change must be made that affects human morality issues in order to solve the problem of over population. However, although there would be no complete and technical solution to this problem, other less wholly agreed upon solutions could be raised as long as a majority of the population accepted them. I think that the most effective solution to curb overpopulation would be an economic incentive to encourage people to have fewer children but not outwardly make it illegal or eliminate breeding altogether. Although this would raise some negative moral issues, it would solve myriad environmental issues that stem from overpopulation making the benefits greater than the costs in a cost-benefit economic analysis. This would encourage the population to slow down on procreating while still allowing them the option to do so if they please. Positive solutions would be seen on both sides. Other options should also be considered to create the most effective solution that is “mutually agreed” upon by a whole population.
Toggle Commented Jan 21, 2015 on Readings for Thursday at Jolly Green General
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Jan 21, 2015