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Charlotte Keesler
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There were a few new and interesting points that were brought up in the lecture. The first, which was very simple but also powerful, was the difference between weather and climate. The fact that Fox News said that since there was a polar vortex, global warming is not real, is astounding, however not surprising. From my personal experience, I have also heard this argument used by intelligent people. The distinction between climate and weather in this situation is crucial and extremely enlightening. For Thursday's class, I would like to hear more arguments against global climate change, and how these are reaching the public. I find it interesting that there are facts being circulated that are not scientifically sound. I would also like to hear the points that counteract these fallacies, and maybe even experience a mock debate on the subject. It would be very interesting to see how such a conversation pans out using only scientific evidence and without the use of false information presented as truth.
Toggle Commented Mar 24, 2015 on Climate Talk at Jolly Green General
This article was greatly disturbing to me. Although it is clearly an opinion peice, it still brought up an extremely concerning issue. Without transparency in the government, how are we expected to look at important issues, such as climate change, objectively? Asymmetry of imformation is the root of most problems, and if the public does not know whether or not large companies' agendas are being placed over the public's and planet's health, how are we supposed to unite on a single front? In class on Thursday, I wuld love to talik about the different science that each side on the issue of climate change presents, in order to objectively view the two arguments.
Toggle Commented Mar 23, 2015 on Dan Schrag Testimony - at Jolly Green General
For Thursday's class, I think that it would be interesting to discuss elephants and the ivory trade, and perhaps model the situation. This is an interesting subject because the price that illegal hunters can obtain from the ivory is so high, that it is hard to incentivize them to not kill the elephants. There has been some controversy about which method to use to address this issue. Some policies that have been tried are giving property rights to elephants to neighboring villages and compensating villages for crop damage by elephants. Although this helped in countries in the south of Africa, elephant herds in countries such as Kenya have been completely decimated. This led to CITES banning the international trade of ivory in 1989. I would love to talk about the different impacts that this decision had, and whether or not other measures may have been more effective.
Toggle Commented Mar 10, 2015 on For Thursday at Jolly Green General
This article chooses to analyze MPAs from a more social perspective in the framework of economics. This is an interesting approach because it considers the actual success of the restrictions imposed by MPAs as a function of the incentives of the local population. The article stresses that the actions of the fishermen are dependent on the management of the MPA, and whether or not the costs of ignoring the law outweighs the benefit of continuing to fish illegally. The authors found that the actions of the fishermen change with the slightest difference in policy implication. For example, the rolling nature of the gear exchange creates inequities and early cooperators bear more of the economic burden. This incentivizes fishermen to not try and swap their illegal gear for the regulation fishing equipment, because then they will be put at a disadvantage in relation to their fellow fishermen. Also, the switch from nets with small mesh size immediately to 5 or 6 inch mesh was a mistake, because it caused fishermen to catch almost no fish at all, and therefore revert back to illegal fishing gear. One man used to use regulation size net and then switched to using his mosquito net because he “can't protect against malaria when you are hungry”. These two small details show that management of the MPAs has to pay close attention to detail when implementing the restrictions, so that the local fishermen do not suffer so much that they choose to ignore the new rules completely. Compromise is better than no change at all.
Toggle Commented Feb 10, 2015 on Reading for Thursday at Jolly Green General
This article uses a stated preference survey as a non-market valuation technique in an effort to quantify the economic value of marine biodiversity in Barbados. The first aspect of the article that stood out to me as being an issue, is that the subjects were surveyed in dive shops. This meant to me that the population of people that these results could be generalized to is fairly small, and specifically constrained to SCUBA divers in Barbados. This being said, the authors do a fantastic job of circumventing this issue, through proposing a policy that applies only to this population and their preferences. The policy proposition of simply increasing the prices of the dives, which the subjects said they would be willing to pay, addresses this subsection directly and does not include non-divers who may have different levels of wilingness to pay. The extra money collected from the dives could then be allocated towards preserving different aspects that the divers said they valued, such as turtles and fish diversity. This is an extremely efficient solution and caters to differences in preferences between groups of people within Barbados.
Toggle Commented Jan 28, 2015 on Reading for Thursday at Jolly Green General
Hardin's application of Adam Smith's theory of the invisible hand to the issue of population control is an interesting and provoking one. It brings into question the ability of humans to effectively optimize their situation when there is the possibility of self-sacrifice at hand. This is an extreme example that allows us to truly consider the reality of mankind's optimization abilities in the face of "the tragedy of the commons". Later on in the peice, Hardin uses the example of the bank as something that is not considered to be a commons, and thus bank robbers are persecuted when they treat it as though its funds were publicly available. This example made me question whether or not there was a way in which policy could be created in order to force people to internalize the damage to the commons as -1 to balance the +1 of an additional animal. If this were possible, than the herdsmen would not keep adding animals to their herd until all the animals starved from overgrazing. Although it might be "cheating the game", it makes sense that an arrangement could be made in which the damage to society was equal to the benefit to the individual, and thus the tragedy of the commons could be avoided.
Toggle Commented Jan 20, 2015 on Readings for Thursday at Jolly Green General
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Jan 20, 2015