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Dani Murray
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Happy Earth Day! Throughout this semester, my initial beliefs on the environmental economics were challenged. I never truly realized how much economic theory and political agenda effected the environment/natural resources. I have two main takeaways from this class. My first take away is that the environment is valued different by each individual. It is no surprise that some people care more about the environment than others. But I had no idea that some people blatantly disregard all scientific evidence that proves how fragile our environment truly is. We cannot wait for things to get worse. We must step up and take action to stop humans/corporations from damaging Earth's natural resources. We can achieve a better understanding of how people value the environment/natural resources by asking individuals how much they would spend to enjoy/use that item. For example, "how much would you spend to have clean air to breathe?" and "how much would you spend to save the Grand Canyon?" Although this are not perfect ways to measure value of the environment, it is a good place to start. My second take away is it never stop questioning and reading. As we get older, we begin to realize how little we actually know about the world. It is important to continue expanding our knowledge and asking the difficult questions. We are the responsible for making sure the information we are taking in comes from a creditable source and has significant evidence to back up its claims. It is okay to ask questions that challenge our traditional ways of thinking because it forces us to think outside the box. This class has challenged my traditional ways of thinking about the environment and in result has helped me grow as a citizen of the world. I will miss our class discussion, but look forward to the next time when we can all be together again.
Toggle Commented Apr 22, 2020 on ECON 255 Final Exam at Jolly Green General
Whenever I am feeling stressed or anxious, my mother always tells me to go for walk outside and to enjoy some fresh air. After every time I workout outside, I do always feel better. I was drawn to the project mentioned in the article called "Operation Surf." Martin, the veteran, described how he felt reconnected with peace and purpose after surfing in the ocean. With this positive response to surfing, it could lead to a surge of ocean conversation. This got me thinking about the world's current situation. As we enter a month of isolation (with no clear end in side), we are starting to realize how much we appreciate wide open clean spaces. Speaking for myself, I hate being locked up in my house. I love the hiking, skiing, running, walking...basically anything that allows me to get outside and explore. Since I cannot go outside, I started watching a lot of movies/documentaries. I finally had time to watch "Blackfish:" a documentary about a captive killer whale at SeaWorld. While watching the documentary, I felt like I could relate to these captivated animals. I knew what it felt like to be caged in and not able to move around freely. I then felt the strong desire to look into ways to help caged/captivated animals. They are many different foundations/charities with this mission. My whole point to this long winded story is that I am sure we will come out of isolation/quarantine with a new appreciation for nature. It is clear that without proper stimulation from nature, humans are negatively impacted. Maybe COVID19 and its isolation will lead us to the next "Blue Marble Project." I believe that we will all come out of isolation determined to make our world a better place for future generations.
Overall, all three articles were fascinating. I was most drawn to the last paper: "Acute effects of low levels of ambient ozone on peak expiratory flow rate in a cohort of Australian children." I myself suffer from sports induced asthma. My asthma always seem get to worse in the summer and better in the winter. I believe this is because I spent majority of time during the summer outdoors with my family and friends. Whether it is relaxing by the pool, going for a hike, or sitting around a campfire. In CO, pollens can get out of control which certainly has an effect on my asthma. One of things I found most interesting about this article was the fact that 27.3% of the children involved in the study decided to withdraw. The total number of children observed in the study was only 125. Are only 125 participants sufficient? This study was conducted in 1999. I wonder if the study were to be conducted again today, 20 years later, would the results change? I found a similar paper, published in 2006, which addressed how exposure to environmental tobacco smoke, outdoor air Pollutants, and increased pollen has influenced the rate of asthma. The results of the paper were no surprise and did lead to an increase of asthma. I would be very interested to conduct a study on the student body of W&L. How does the seasonal effects of pollen and levels of ambient ozone effect the students in Lexington, VA?
Toggle Commented Mar 12, 2020 on 3 short papers for Friday at Jolly Green General
Growing up in the Yampa Valley of Steamboat Springs, CO, I was always playing outside. Often you would hear the sound of a train coming through the valley. As it got closer, it was clear that these trains were carrying coal. At a young age, I knew that coal was important to create electricity. But I never knew the negative impacts coal had on the world. According to this article, 70% of rail traffic in the United States is dedicated to shipping coal. I am sure I am not the only person who grew up seeing coal trains. The article mentions the lost opportunity cost the coal transportation has on the nation. Coal trains are occupying railroads, which could be be used for public transportation. I found this very interesting because this is an issue that Denver/Colorado is trying to address. It is clear that Colorado is a top tourist destination during the winter months. Most tourist who journey to CO to enjoy the fresh snow, fly into DIA and then rent a car to drive along I-70 to get deep in the heart of the Rocky Mountains. Most Denver/Colorado Springs/Fort Collins citizens also travel on I-70 to get to their favorite ski resorts. This can cause a great deal of car pollution. In 2010, the Rocky Mountain Rail Authority suggested that Colorado's economy would be able to support and benefit from a a $21 billion high-speed rail system. One of the issues currently is that many of the railroads that are currently already in place are used for transporting coal. I believe that the newest map/pitch from the Federal Railroad Administration will have a positive impact on CO. (See the link below) The article was very intriguing and pointed out many things that I had not previously realized. I was taken back by the statist that for the year 2030, coal will approximately produce 53% of U.S. power and 85% of the U.S. CO2 emissions from electricity generation. These numbers don't even accurately reflect the total damage of coal. The remainder of the article made it very clear that the coal industry needs to change.
Toggle Commented Mar 5, 2020 on Discussion Paper for Friday at Jolly Green General
Casey and Schuhmann's paper focuses on determining what extent tourists in Belize would be effected by having a PACT or no PACT. The paper follows very closely to the discussion we had in class on Wednesday. I am curious if there was another possible way to design the survey. Specifically, who took it and when/where they took it. According to U.S. News, the best time to visit Belize is during the dry season. The dry season is usually from late November to mid-April. Only one round of the survey was conducted during the most desired time to visit Belize (February), while the other two were just shy (May) of the "peak" vacation time. I understand why the survey was conducted in Belize, but I would be interested to see how people who have NOT been to Belize would have responded to the survey. All survey respondents have an appreciation/WTP for Belize or else they would not have traveled to Belize. If you were to have people who had not traveled to Belize before take the survey, would they be as willing to pay the same amount? Do they value the Marine ecosystem of Belize similarly? I believe there is bias in the survey respondents' answers which was not taken into account in the article. Overall, I think the survey results are not surprising. It makes sense that the average respondents' income was $90,000 and had a college degree or higher. These are the people who can afford to travel and take time away from work. I would be interested to conduct a similar survey for beaches off the coast of the United States. How would these answers differ?
Throughout the article, Kurtilla emphasized the need to balance the economic profit of natural resources but also the value of protecting these nature resources. It is troubling that today as a society we still struggle to find the ideal balance between profit and protection. In today's world, we are so wrapped up in making money that we don't even realize we are destroying our planet's natural resources at alarming rates. Government spending has shifted away from conversation efforts towards spending that will in the long run produce greater returns. Did you know that "there were more than 281 million recreational visits to our national parks last year, yet this year Congress slashed funding for all of our parks?" (see link below) Without proper funding, we cannot properly protect and preserve the land and the creatures that call these parks home. The value of nature is widely under-appreciated in today's society. I am was born and raised in Denver, Colorado. I love the beauty of the Rocky Mountains and the rolling foothills. But over the past 21 years, Denver has continued to expand it's city limits. The once beautiful plains of Colorado have been developed. Denver's population has grown approximately 20% since 2010 with no signs of stopping. When will people realize this rapid growth is causing great destruction to our natural resources and the intrinsic value of nature.
I am sorry I am late to the party, but I am very excited to be joining this class. This is my first class which explores the effects businesses have on the environment. I have never considered the possible harmful effects that businesses may/do have on the environment. While reading the article, I was particularly drawn to the cattle example. I did not realize how many variables could be at play for a farmer when decided to build a fence or buy extra steer. I thought it was interesting that the farmer will only pay for a fence to be built if it monetarily makes sense in the market and if his herd is large/costly enough. Secondly, it’s interesting that the farmers who’s crops are being eaten/destroyed won’t build the fence nor will he plant more because whatever is being destroyed he is compensated for according to market price that year. Is the system fair? I then found myself thinking about large coal burning power plants located in poor neighborhoods. Is the demand for the product produced by that coal burning power plant high enough that the company would be willing to pay the tax/cost of damage? Do these large plant owners feel as though they are facing a great moral dilemma? Overall, I thought the article brought to light the issue of social cost. It most definitely opened my eyes on the subject. I am interested to see how developments in technology have changed the problem of social cost for the better or worse.
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Jan 16, 2020