Saturday, October 18, 2014

The True Cost of Operations

I read in the 'Nation/World' section of The Oregonian today (10/18/14) a very brief note about an oil well leak in North Dakota. Quote: "Authorities say workers are attempting to contain an out-of-control oil well in North Dakota. North Dakota regulators announced Friday that a well near Watford City in the western part of the state has been leaking oil, gas, and water since Thursday. They say there's no immediate health risk."

Small note in the newspaper, and browsing news on the web it is hard to find too. This link is to the ABS News website  where again a short reporting is published. As the quoted by The Oregonian regulators say there is no immediate health risk, then I would add: so why bother?

Why bother? No immediate health risk? How far is our 'immediate', 'instantaneous' society going with forgetting any medium or long term effects?

I will try to address two aspects of these kind of issues. One is the distance in time, the other is the distance in geography. After all we live in a space-time tetra-dimensional world.

The true cost of this leak is going to be paid by all of us. Sooner or later this leak will damage the environment in a way that will affect us all. Those close to the incident will suffer first but in the long run we all will be affected. I remember in my youth visiting the beaches near Tampico in the state of Tamaulipas in Mexico where the sand was tainted with oil. Oil coming from the petroleum related activities in the area. Of course the industry was and still is a source of economic revenue in the area, the inhabitants were beneficiaries of this economic activity, but the cost was not properly evaluated. Having oily stained beaches was only considered a nuisance. I don't think that today we would consider that a nuisance anymore!

Time has been re-calibrated for short term gain. We live in a world of yearly budgets, annual reviews and taxes, the man or woman of the year, and plenty of other yearly prizes like the Nobel. But is our life really about one year? Isn't that even though these prizes like the Nobel are given every year they are honoring a life-long achievement? We shouldn't never forget that it is based on the life-long achievements of individuals and institutions that we are able to claim any progress. Our technology, seen through the eyes of transportation-communication, health-medicine, and others like leassure-travel has been developed by visionaries that were not concerned with short term gains or accomplishments.

You can quote me in saying: "life achievements take a life to achieve"

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Not In My Backyard

What would you do if someone tries to build something inside your property? How would you react if you are asked to give up some of your property because is for the benefit our society? Who will determine what is the benefit for society when your property is used in ways that you don't like? How can be assessed the damage to your property by the use of it for common good?
The Oregonian on Friday August 29th, 2014 has an article that addresses this questions. For more information click here.
Landowner Bill Gow is facing 'eminent domain' as a canadian oil pipeline company has obtained the rights to bury a 36-inch diameter high-pressure pipeline through his land. Eminent domain is the lawful act through which a government can forceful purchase land from private owners for use in a way that has communal value. That would be the case of constructing new roads, bridges, or infrastructure that will benefit the whole community. In this case the land will be used by a privately own company that claims that the jobs created will benefit the whole community.
Where would you draw the line? How can we assess the benefit of a community when benefiting a private enterprise?

There is another aspect of 'not in my backyard'. This one is related to how laws and regulations are applied to industries that create a lot of jobs but at the same time externalizing some to the costs caused by pollution. Take Title V of the Clean Air Act. that sets the need for industries to get a permit to pollute.
For those living in the Hillsboro OR neighborhood what is now happening with the new Intel D1X plant being build relates to the same question of having an industry that supports the local economy and uses resources human and environmental in its activities. You have to read Luke Hammill who has been reporting news related to Hillsboro OR to see how Intel may benefit by Supreme Court ruling
that will allow it not the have to get a Title 5 CAA permit for its emissions of fluoride for which it was fined $143,000 this year.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Scott Buser's view on things to come

 Warner Pacific College
August 11, 2014
Finally, after 5 weeks I get the opportunity to share the information I have learned by attending the Environment Studies class at Warner pacific College. Five weeks really is not enough time to master all that someone would need to be an authority on the environment, but what I have learned is a good start. Who know that a vehicle powered by hydrogen would produce water from its emissions? Maybe that’s the answer to our vehicle smog issues.
            I’ve thought about how I leave a footprint on the environment; I recycle plastic, cardboard and the oil from the vehicles my wife and I drive. The garbage we send to the land fill from our house is very little. Although we are a part of helping the environment with recycling there is more we can do. My wife and I have also made some commitments to not driving as much, conserving the use of fossil fuels. This year instead of going camping on our vacation, we’re staying home to clean our home and send unwanted items to recycling centers.
The Bureau of land management (BLM) has more influence than any of our 50 states. The BLM oversees 945 million acres of land, a force of thousands employees that oversee landslides, mineral production, land policies and restoration of forest. I believe their mission is a good one for the planet. I also believe that with government support we could build on their programs that help preserve nature. After all, isn’t taking care of our environment about taking care of nature?           
I have learned over the last 4 weeks more about the environment then I have over 55 years. What’s more startling is learning how bad the world will be if we don’t do something about it. If we continue to cut down the CO, 2 makers, (trees) we will certainly suffocate from lack of oxygen. As humans, if we continue to pollute our H2O, (water) we will die of thirst.
            In searching the web I found that you can actually make oxygen, right in the kitchen of your home. “How to Make Oxygen and Hydrogen from Water Using Electrolysis.” For $249 you can even buy a kit for your car that produces hydrogen. What is interesting is that to produce the oxygen in your kitchen, you must use DC power, which is a batter, manmade; which is very harmful to our environment. It just boggles my mind; we take manmade discoveries to make what nature has already provided to us. Why don’t we trust nature, arrest the systems that destroy our existents.
Look at all the millionaires that built their homes on the edges of a coast. The architects looked over the land; they bought permits, and paid someone to build. Then one year a strong storm comes in and washes the costal line away. Soon their property is destroyed and gone. Who was really the designer of the costal edge? Surely not the architect, or the home builder. It was, and is nature! Those that build their homes on hill sides, reap the same rewards as the edge dwellers. Although we can never predict Mother Nature, we can save ourselves agony by not presuming she won’t have an effect on our lives. 
The few watersheds we have should be preserved. Here in Portland, Oregon, we have several open water reservoirs. On Mount Tabor, there is one that has continuously been violated by vandals. Sometime urinated in, or dead animals thrown in just to make some kind of dumb statement or anger towards life in general. What about the companies that have a history of creating toxins and hiding the factory excretion in our oceans and rivers? How do we balance our effects on nature, yet provide life to those that oppose change and accountability to the environment? Here’s one thing I thought about! I have a fences around my property, about 175 feet. Now, with my understanding of my foot print, I’m refuse to stain my fence. Why? Because the stain that’s put on the fences, country wide, are eventually washed away by the rain. From the rain water it can seep into our ground water, which eventually will return to us though evaporation, condensation or well, river water. Another aspect of change for our house is to not use lawn fertilizer on our property. The same results and negative impact on our rivers and streams. United States geological surveys. (USGS). There is so much water on our planet. How do we continue to live with all the pollution and survive?
I would challenges everyone to take a longer look at their own environmental footprint. Others will say that one person can’t change the total of many. I think that the change in one can, by hope. I believe that from this class at Warner collage, there’s 6 people that will change how they see and change how they impact the environment. There is also hope by the influence we each have on others around us. Stop, remove a tossed plastic bottle from the garbage and place it in a recycling can. One person can learn, others can too. My children, grown up now, continue to tell their children to shut off the lights, don’t throw paper in the garbage, and put it in the recycling bin. Once a year I load up my truck with scrap metals, on my way to the mental scrap yard I stop and both my daughters to get any metal. Once recycled I split the funds between them both. Kind of a reward for not filling the garbage with recyclable materials.
You got to love teachable moments!

Warner Pacific College. (2014). retrieved from
Bureau of Land Management. (2014) retrieved from
The City of Portland Oregon. Mount Tabor (2014). Retrieved from
USGS for a changing world. (2014).The USGS Water Science School. Retrieved from

The Future: by Matthew Sluman

Environmental Studies

 The future is in our hands and the earth contains plenty of recourses to sustain life in better fashion than we even know it now.  Sure the earth’s human population is of over seven billion and counting, but we use less than 32% terrestrial surface. This needs to change and through creativity we can change that. Man and nature can live together harmoniously. In fact they can cohabitate better and have richer more meaningful and fulfilling lives when living together if man can learn to be respectful of the environment. Man does not have to intrude on the ecosystem, man can harmonize with it.  We can feed all of the people of the world with plenty if we would just change our value system and concern ourselves with enriching our neighbors.

The current population of the world is now at 7.045 billion and according to the article, World Population Balance, the earth is already over reaching its limits by three times its ability to sustain, and is currently using more than 50% of the recourses that the earth is producing. The article claims that studies show that the earth is only capable of sustainability for about 2.0 billion at European rates of consumption (world 2014, p.1) In addition, according to official UN estimates the earth’s population will swell to around 9.1 billion by 2050 (press 2005, p.1).
Certainly this is a dilemma that needs to be addressed, and in short order as one can see. Science and socialist, environmentalist, and entire nations are all concerned with the emphatic truth staring mankind and the servile of the earth down, eye to eye.  It seems each group has their own way of describing the issues, and everyone has a different way of addressing the crisis. For example, In China fetal and gender genocide is an ethical method of controlling their growing population, as recognized by Wikipedia (Wikipedia 2013p.1).     
In the United States population control is looked at through urban renewal programs and urban reform to reduce urban sprawl. The idea is to move everyone into the inner cities to reduce the human footprint along with Planned Parenthood programs to reduce reproduction and eliminate unwanted births. In all of this I wonder how many young Einsteins have been systematically eliminated and how Thomas Edisons is the world missing out on. If only 3% of the population is produced is inherently evil than certainly these tactics are not the correct answer to the dilemma. Man must begin to look outside of his conventional methods, and I purpose that the conventional methods of population control are not the answer.   
I believe that the answer lies at least in part with education reform. According to Annenberg Learner only 37% of the earth’s terrestrial footprint is inhabitable, and available for agriculture (Annenberg 2000, p.1). That deems 63% of the earth’s land mass as unusable and I believe that the earths sustainability lies in the recourses yet untapped in those regions. Therefore, there is much more land available for utilization than is accounted for. We must educate ourselves regarding those recourses and discover methods of harnessing their bounties. This seems far more reasonable to me than the easy answer of killing off people who are deemed without purpose or value.
One example that comes to mind has taken place in Israel in recent decades, in which Jewish people have renewed their desolate homeland into a poetic gesture of agriculture wonder. It is truly an oasis created out of education and vision, as recorded in the following extract (Israel 2014 p.2).
Israel’s agriculture scientists have revolutionized the way farmers irrigate and store crops, protect plants from drought and disease, keep pests away naturally, and purify and reuse wastewater. The most advanced irrigation and fertilization technologies coming out of Israel will be presented at Agritech by Yuval Elazar, head of special training activities at the Cooperation. Based in Rishon LeZion, CINADCO implements Israel’s agricultural cooperation policies with more than 140 developing nations, working through MASHAV, the Israeli agency for international development. Multilingual training sessions in Israel and abroad cover water resources management, irrigation and fertilization, sustainable market-oriented agriculture, intensive livestock and dairy production.
There are numerous examples of how Israel has shared its agricultural technology breakthroughs practically since the founding of the state. Across the globe, countries use Israeli methods for raising crops and farm animals.
Israel’s breakthroughs only scratch the surface of what is truly possible for sustaining the earth’s future population, but it is one great example, and an excellent start. For, they have literally taken waste lands and converted them into viable recourses and renewed ecosystems in just over 45 years.
 My mind’s eye runs ramped with thoughts of how the earth can sustain its human population growth.  To begin with, so much of the land we consider uninhabitable is desert waste land. What if we took those kinds of regions and irrigated them with reverses osmosis seawater and created aqueducts that supplied water for fish farms which would then feed hydroponic vegetable gardens. We could recreate land sprawl in wasted zones and create inhabitable living arrangements that the inhabitants of third world nations could live in and manage.
We would create entire new communities and install educational systems to teach the people to manage and care for themselves and the land.  We could build huge community solar panels in the deserts that would feed power to all in a sustainable way with very low impact on the ecosystem. In fact the ecosystem and humanity and cohabitate better if they work together and when man is mindful of the environment (Jonson Creek). We have to put aside a little greed. Profits won’t seem automatic, but in time it will come, and the best pay out of all... people can lead vibrant harmonious lives. Using methods such as vertical farming helps save space on the ground by growing the crops vertically while drip irrigation saves almost 90 percent of water. These methods are revolutionary and by them WE CAN FEED THE WORLD if we would just care enough.
In addition to my above crazy scheme I think we can generate power by creating off shore storms in the Polar Regions. Here is my plan, I call it a storm in a can...pun intended, as in, we can put a storm in a can. What we would do is build huge solar panels like 15 x15 miles and place them in strategic cold locations over the sea. We would create high floating walls around the panels and when the magnified heat reaches the cold temperatures it would create a storm system inside of the circular pontoon. Then by using floating combines that serve as generators as they catch the storms power we can generate a lot of off shore power that way. 
Finally, I can’t pretend to know it all, obviously I don’t, and my ideas may seem simple and elementary, but I suggested saving rain water and runoff in barrels for irrigation when I was a kid because the sewer systems always overflowed and everyone was worried about conserving water.  I could see very early that we should be recycling metal paper and plastic, but they said it couldn’t be done. I thought about agriculture and I asked why don’t we plant gardens on the roof or collect sunlight on our roof tops they said it didn’t make any sense and that it would weigh too much.  I wonder why we can’t see that if we install cellular towers it makes a perfect location for large wind mills as well, why not diversify right where we are it seems to make sense to me.
I may not know much, but I know this, that the human will to survive is insatiable, and if we gave members of the third world nations a chance to survive in relative peace without hunger they would likely be willing to carry the irrigation water on their backs from the ocean to desert to sustain life. Know this, it can be done we just need a different value system and rewards need to be for those who promote life not exploit it. 
Works Cited

Jared Walker's analysis of the future

During this class (Environmental Studies at Warner Pacific College) we have discussed many different aspects of the environment and I have learned a lot about ways that we can help sustain the world we live in. I am sure that in this class we have only scratched the surface of the ways we are able to maintain our environment. In this paper I will discuss three ways in which we can preserve our ecosystem. But before I do I would like to tell a short story about myself when I was first in college. I was helping out with the Junior High age group at my local church. Every other Sunday I would give a message to the kids and hope for the best. The Junior High age can be difficult to please so it was always nerve wrecking trying to get them to respond to the message presented so that they might hopefully grow in their relationship with Christ. One particular Sunday I was asked to give a word on the environment. I thought this was an absolute waste of time. Why would I use valuable church time to talk about why we need to environmentally friendly? It did not make sense to me. I preached the message and the youth group was about as interested in the topic as I was. I wish I could preach that message again; I would have a lot more to say. God has given us a beautiful world and we are to be good stewards of it.  
The first way we can help with conserving our environment is recycling. I do not just mean throwing away your garbage in the right bins. I mean being less wasteful in general! There are so many easy ways to do this. I always thought that this was so insignificant but after researching and finding all the ways that we are able to help in this area is very eye opening. Here are just a few examples. Using less paper napkins could save over 1 billion pounds in landfills each year! There are 63 million newspapers printed each day in the U.S. about 69%, of them will be thrown away. If we recycling just the Sunday papers we would save more than half a million trees every week. Another fun fact is that if all households in the U.S. paid their bills online and received electronic statements instead of paper, we would save 18.5 million trees every year, 2.2 billion tons of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, and 1.7 billion pounds of solid waste. It is crazy how such little things could make such a large impact. Like I said it is not just about using the proper trash bin, the idea is much bigger! Being less wasteful can integrate into every part of our lives. Transportation is one, think of all the ways we could make an impact, using public transit, carpooling, consolidating our trips, these are all very practical. The problem is they are also inconvenient. With the way our society is today inconvenience is not tolerated. We want things fast. But if we looked at being less wasteful as an opportunity rather than an inconvenience think of all that we could accomplish!
The second way we can make less of a negative impact is to buy local. Unlike recycling I did not know how big of an impact this could make on our world. I have always known that recycling was a good idea and we should do it, I just didn't practice it myself. It was not until this class that I heard of how much of a difference this could make. It is not that there is some magic in the way local produce is grown. Our local farms create just as much pollution as others. But when you consider the amount of pollution created to get your food from the farm to your table that is where we can save. Whenever possible, buy from local farmers or farmers' markets, supporting your local economy. This will reduce the amount of greenhouse gas created when products are flown or trucked in. Not only is buying local going to help out the environment it will also give you a much healthier and chemical free body!
The last and most important way in which we can help preserve the environment is education. Just like the way we are all being educated by our professors we are to do the same for others. If we do not have a positive influence on the upcoming generations we will be even worse off than we are now. It is also just as important to practice what we preach. One way to inspire a younger generation is to lead by example. G.K. Chesterton said “Education is simply the soul of a society as it passes from one generation to another” If we do not value the environment with our actions we are not being effective. We must not only educate on the importance of preserving the environment but show how important it is by living it out ourselves.
Throughout this class we have discussed many ways that we can help reduce our footprint on our environment. Although I only mentioned three ways in this paper, there are many more. I believe that many people think just as I did when I was asked to preach that message to the youth ministry. They think that their personal actions are not affecting others and that the problem with the environment is blown way out of proportion so that the media has something to talk about. The fact is we do play a part in this and we should be good stewards of our planet. I believe that this is another way that God can teach us stewardship not only with the environment. I believe God has given us many gifts and talents that we are to be good stewards of. He has a plan for each of us that goes well beyond preserving our world and it would be a shame to waste the plan he has for us. This class has been very enlightening for me and I plan on not only sharing the information I received but to live in out in my own life as well. I believe this relates to all of us in our future careers because how we live and treat the planet today will impact all we do in the future.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Andrew Curry's view on Natural Hazards

Environmental Studies, PHS 100 OD 1-37
Aug 12, 2014

Human society and the natural environment have become increasingly vulnerable to natural hazards, such as earthquakes, hurricanes, droughts, and flooding. These recent natural hazards around the world have raised awareness of our vulnerability, challenged our scientific understanding, and questioned our ability to predict and prepare for such events. As a society we need to continue to strive to be more conscious of the resources we are using and taking from our planet that could be causing such devastating events.

One such that I did not experience but was a part of was the 2010 Haitian earthquake. This particular earthquake was a catastrophic 7.0 that took place in the town of Léogâne west of the Haitian capitol of Port-au-Prince. Not only was the main quake a 7.0 but, fifty two aftershocks of a 4.5 or greater were also recorded. Over one hundred thousand died and a quarter of a million homes or more were destroyed. Poverty was already wide spread due to several factors, the earthquake only added more. Many countries responded to Haitian appeals for aid. The United States responded by sending supplies and military personnel to help relieve air traffic congestion. I worked hand in hand with these controllers coordinating intelligence and efforts in order to help relief efforts and get aircraft carrying much needed supplies to those in need. At a peak of 600 flights per day these controllers were able to take the rate of planes being diverted down to three, possibly saving ten of thousands of lives.  The super carrier USS Carl Vinson arrived at maximum possible speedon 15 January with 600,000 emergency food rations, 100,000 ten-liter water containers, and an enhanced wing of 19 helicopters; 130,000 liters of drinking water were transferred to shore on the first day. The US Navy listed its resources in the area as "17 ships, 48 helicopters and 12 fixed-wing aircraft" in addition to 10,000 sailors and Marines. The Navy had conducted 336 air deliveries, delivered 32,400 US gallons of water, 532,440 bottles of water, 111,082 meals and 9,000 lb of medical supplies. UN and United States formalized the coordination of relief efforts by signing an agreement giving the US responsibility for the ports, airports and roads, and making the UN and Haitian authorities responsible for law and order.
Though I was not personally affected I was able to see the devastation and damage that the earthquake had caused through pictures and reports sent back by military air crews. One has to wonder if something within our society may have helped push this earthquake into reality. Did offshore drilling upset the balance under the sea floor? The effect could have come from an unbalance hundreds of miles away or more. This is where the understanding of our environment comes into play. A better understanding could change the way we operate in finding resources. Because we do not know exactly how some of our processes of acquiring resources effects our environment we need to strive to create better ways to sustain our lives and how we operate.


    "PAGER – M 7.0 – HAITI REGION" United States Geological Survey, 12 January  

 Lin, Rong-Gong; Allen, Sam (26 February 2011). "New Zealand quake raises questions about L.A. buildings".Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on 3 March 2011. Retrieved 27 February 2011

Lessons to be learned from Haiti's tsunami BBC News, 25 February 2010

 Columbia Journalism Review, "Two Years Later, Haitian Earthquake Death Toll in Dispute", 20 January 2012

Medicine, Conflict and Survival Vol. 26, Issue 4, 2010, Mortality, crime and access to basic needs before and after the Haiti earthquake

 U.S. Geological Survey, Earthquakes with 50,000 or More Deaths

 "USGS Magnitude 7.0 – HAITI REGION".Archived from the original on 15 January 2010. Retrieved 13 January 2010.
    Millar, Lisa (17 January 2010). "Tens of thousands isolated at quake epicentre". ABC    
    News. Archived from the original on 20 January 2010. Retrieved 18 January 2010.

     "As Haiti mourns, quake survivor found in rubble". New York Daily Times. 24 January 2010. Retrieved 1 February 2011.


Environmental Studies/PHS 100A
Warner Pacific
August 7, 2014

While I was doing research for this paper it crossed my mind how many near misses of disasters I have been in; this lead to wondering if there was an increase in disasters or not. In 1979 I was with the US Army stationed in Leavenworth, Kansas-right in the midst of what is nicknamed “Tornado Alley”, 1980 saw me getting married in Lakewood, Washington 2 weeks after Mt. St. Helen’s blew, 1989 was a year that a 6.7 earthquake happened in Los Angeles while I was living in San Diego, and just recently I was living in Florida for 2 years 2012-2013 during hurricane season. Thankfully I was not hurt in any of these, but just on the fringe where I got the effects of each disaster, but not the trauma of it.

             Disasters are split into three different categories:
·      Geophysical-earthquakes, volcanoes, rock falls, landslides & avalanches.
·      Climate related-floods, storm surge & coastal flooding.
·      Meteorological-storms, tropical cyclones, local storms, heat/cold waves, drought & wildfires.
“According to the New England Journal of Medicine, the scale of disasters has expanded, owing to increased rates of urbanization, deforestation, environmental degradation and to intensifying climate variable, such as higher temperatures, extreme precipitation and more violent wind/water storms”.  (Steady Increase in….. 2013, November 15). An article in Epic Disasters says, there is not an increase in disasters, it’s basically that our monitoring equipment has gotten better and more sensitive It pointed out in 1920 there were 500, 00 people living on the Florida coast whereas now there is 13 million. In 1925 there were 625 casualties from a tornado compared to the 22 deaths in 2005.  In 1931 there were 350 seismograph and now there is 8,000 stations detecting earthquakes. And, of course the media and communications systems have improved alongside the detecting systems.

The Trumpet reports, “The evidence of natural disasters has risen dramatically over the past 20 years. To close observers of current events in relation to both History and Bible prophecy, this is no mere coincidence.  What muddies the water as soon as Bible prophecy is mentioned in relation to natural disasters is the fact that there is a literal abundance of kooks, screwballs and fanatics out there who instantly seize on the latest catastrophe to declare “the end is nigh” (Fraser, R. 2010, March 3). Bible prophecies speak of the world reaching a time when catastrophic events that were once delayed would be fulfilled for a greater purpose. The events were predestined to allow a greater purpose to happen. It is all just a matter of perception then?

Image below courtesy of EM-DAT International Disaster Database, Center for Research on Epidemiology of Disasters, University of Louvain.


Epic Disasters: The World's Worst Disasters. (2009, January 1). Retrieved from

Fraser, R. (2010, March 3). Why Have Natural Disasters Increased? Retrieved from

Steady Increase in Climate Related Natural Disasters. (2013, November 15). Retrieved from