Reading Responses #1-5
Charles Duhigg wrote an interesting article about the continuing pollution of waterways across America. His article is called “Clean Water Laws Are Neglected, at a Cost in Suffering.” This piece discusses the toxic polluting of water ways and drinking-water systems by industrial organizations such as coal mines. Duhigg’s article also examines the toxic and perhaps fatal consequences that result from dumping heavy metals, manganese, arsenic and other hazardous chemicals into water ways. Throughout this article Duhigg scrutinizes the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as well as other State and Federal organizations and their responses to the toxic pollution.
“Clean Water Laws Are Neglected, at a Cost in Suffering” provides detailed statistical information regarding the dumping of toxic substances into water systems. This numerical information provides an effective means of understanding the true impact both environmentally as well as the physical effects on the population.
Duhigg shows that the continued dumping of toxic waste into the water systems has poisoned the drinking water sources for thousands of citizens. This dumping has also created subterranean reserves of toxic waste that will continue to seep into water systems for decades if not centuries to come.
Future investigation into this subject should include additional information about the timeframes of these pollutants. How long do these substances remain toxic in the states that they are being dumped into the environment? What effects do these toxins have upon the ecosystems as they make their way to the oceans? Additional studies should be done to examine possible links between these toxic pollutants and disorders such as retardation, cancer, birth defects and deformities.
This is very sound article with interesting information to back it up. It provides the reader with plenty of information but also allows the reader to develop questions of their own. This leaves the reader looking for more answers and provides a motive to dive deeper into this topic.
Nell Greenburg conducted an interview with ocean advocate Captain Charles Moore. This article, titled “Captain Charles Moore” examines the tragic results of a world-wide dependency on plastics. Greenburg discusses Moore’s 1997 discovery of a giant floating mat containing tons of plastic found floating in the Pacific Ocean.
During the interview Moore discusses what effects millions of tons of plastic being dumped into the ocean have on the delicate ecosystem that is the ocean. Moore discusses how dumped plastic is broken down at sea and then carried via currents throughout the world and dumped onto beaches. He also discusses how the consumption of degrading plastic by feeder fish impacts entire food chains.
Every reader of this article knows how much plastic exists in the world today. No one can look around and not see items made of plastic. This fact allows Greenburg’s interview with Moore to impact the reader by placing a measure of responsibility for the ocean’s plastic pollution in the reader. Moore shows that everyone has had a hand in polluting the ocean, and everyone can have a hand in stopping the pollution. The article shows this is a global problem.
It would be interesting to find out what ultimately happens to the plastic once it is deposited onto beaches. Does it continue to degrade and decompose? Does the unending force of the oceans eventually grind the plastic into microscopic bits rendering it back into its base compounds? Further study of the effects of planktonic plastic on food chains would be interesting.
“Reuniting a River” by Russ Rymer is an interesting piece about the Klamath River system. Rymer’s article discusses the collision between Klamath Indians, valley farmers, hydroelectric dams and the life cycle of wild salmon.
This article examines the different ways farmers, local Indians, electric companies and salmon all rely upon the Klamath River for survival. The article effectively shows how each depends on the river, but how each is also harming the river. The combined effects of all of the river’s dependents are slowly destroying the delicate ecosystem. Once the ecosystem fails then none of the dependents can survive there. The government is fighting a losing battle in this case. It seems that currently there is no way to please everyone. Someone is going to lose this battle.
Implications for the Klamath are potentially huge. The loss of a historic way of life for the Indians would be catastrophic. Cheap and environmentally safe electricity that provides power for thousands of homes is a necessity. Farmers using river water to cultivate food and alfalfa is vital. However, all of these people must come together to discover a method of continuing their way of life while ensuring the continuation of the ecosystem of the Klamath River Valley.
Further research should include the possibilities of using fish ladders at the dams if they are not already in place. Hydroelectric electricity is environmentally more sound then other means of electric generation. However in this case what is the trade off? Is stopping the salmon run in exchange for green electricity worth it in the end? In this area are there better methods of generating electricity?
The movie An Inconvenient Truth discusses the impact humankind has had on the global ecosystem. The movie discusses global warming and the possible solutions to this problem. Al Gore Jr. provides statistical data and very convincing visuals to back up his ideas about global warming. This movie provides data not only to back up Gore Jr.’s global warming ideas but also provides data to refute global warming opposition ideas of planetary cycles. The movie also chronicles the childhood and the global warming beginnings of Al Gore Jr.
Although scientists still argue whether global warming is real or not one thing no one can contest is the fact that humankind is polluting the planet and polluting it at a terrifying rate. No one is sure what exactly will happen the more humans pollute the planet but every scientist agrees it will not be good. Greenhouse gasses, increased radiation, receding glaciers, oceans desalinating and loss of polar ice are all terrible consequences of global warming. But no one knows exactly what will happen when all these consequences come together.
Although this movie does address the idea that global warming is all part of a planetary cycle it also provides data to refute the idea. Yes there have always been planetary cycles; however, the cycles have not been this extreme in the past. It is obvious that the pollutions of the human race are indeed affecting the natural planetary cycles.
It would be nice to update the information provided in this movie. It would be nice to find out if this information was indeed correct. It would also be nice to know if the information underestimated what is actually happening.
Online at http://www.guerillagardening.org is a website devoted to developing unused space around cities and towns. Every single city has unused space. The people at guerillagardening.org take unused or undeveloped space across cities all over the world and plant small gardens. These gardens are as small and large. Any unused space can be a garden.
This website is very effective in promoting this idea of guerilla gardening by showing before and after images of city spaces that are transformed into small flowering gardens. The guerilla gardeners are taking over unused city spaces all over the world.
Although these gardening projects are small they still provide aesthetic value as well as making anyone that sees these sites a little more environmentally conscious. Any chance to reclaim even a small portion of the concrete infested cities is an opportunity not to be missed.
The website is a great method of advertising this unique method of beautifying sprawling cities. The website is entertaining to read because of the guerilla, warrior, and soldier slang the website author uses. The idea of reclaiming small portions of city landscape is unique and intriguing. By using the internet the authors are capable of reaching a large number of gardeners across the globe. By beginning gardening cells in foreign nations more and more people are willing to do this both abroad and locally.
There are some possible downsides to this project. Although growing flowers and vegetables in unused city spaces seems like a good idea some people may disagree. If a guerilla gardening cell decides to plant on a small portion of private land the owner may get upset. City officials may also get upset with people deciding to plant a garden on public lands. Overall this is a good project.
An Inconvenient Truth. Dir. Davis Guggenheim. With Al Gore Jr. Paramount Classics, 2006.
Duhigg, Charles. “Toxic Waters: Clean Water Laws Are Neglected, at a Cost in Suffering.” The New York Times 30 Jan. 2012. 12 Sep. 2009 .
Guerilla Gardening. 30 January 2012. October 2004 .
Moore, Captain Charles. Interview with Nell Greenburg. “Captain Charles Moore.” Earth Island Journal Spring 2009: 47-50.
Rymer, Russ. “Reuniting a River.” National Geographic Dec. 2008: 134-155
Reading Responses #1-5
Going green has gained the support of many people to help combat the effects of climate change. One would think that every environmentalist would be on board. However, some of the projects are getting too big, causing some environmentalists to resist. They feel that development is harmful, and thus unacceptable regardless of its color label.
Tim Dickson addressed the resistance some of the green developers face from the conservationists in his article titled “Electric Bugaboo.” On one side of the issue, you have the conservationists who have been fighting to prevent development of the lands for centuries. They do not feel that developments are acceptable, even when they’re labeled green. On the other side, the developers are going to great lengths to pick locations that would cause the least amount of impact on the environment. Additionally, the developers feel that the conservationists are missing the big picture, that doing nothing will cause far more harm for the environment.
I agree with the developers that doing nothing would have a far greater impact against the environment than the development itself. However, I am concerned that some issues have not been addressed. For example, it’s not uncommon for the implementation of a new technology to have unintended consequences. Just as the use of fossil fuels had the unintended consequence of climate change, renewable energy might have one as well. Before I could fully support such a development, I would like to see data on the long-term effects of implementing the renewable energy program. For instance, the solar panels will not last forever, what would be the impact of their disposal in mass quantities?