Friday, December 4, 2009

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Future Homes

This past Friday The Oregonian featured a new home near where I live in the Skyline Blvd. NW Portland. The owner a consultant on green building and sustainability Scott Lewis is building their dream home using local materials and as much recycled and reused materials. There are some important developments that they are not using such as hydrogen power but the economic incentives currently offered in the stimulus package makes this venture an attractive endeavor!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

John M. Broder is a good reporter and his latest article in the NY Times is a good example of the analysis we must have when dealing with policies that will affect the world's future. Have a look at the article:
the other article is worth mention is the one by Eliane Engeler writing about how the UN reports that in 2008 greenhouse gases hit a record high! Read it here:
Hope you have a great Thanksgiving! Dr. T.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Natural Resources and Environmental Regulations by Cindy Downey

November 13, 2009
Warner Pacific ADP
There are differing views around the world about natural resources, and the ownership and stewardship that follows. This is true not only around the world, but even within the web of American society. When oil is discovered on property, does the landowner own this? If a river runs through someone’s property, is the water theirs to do with as they wish? The process of evaluating our resources is an ongoing one.
The essay “The Tragedy of the Commons” (Withgott, 2008, p. 59) shares Hardin’s view that “a resource held in common that is accessible to all and is unregulated will eventually become overused and degraded. Therefore, he argued, it is in our best interest to develop guidelines for the use of such common resources.” Our natural resources include both substances and energy sources needed to survive. (Withgott, 2008, pp. G-13) This thought process lead to a way of viewing our resources, in which we have a shared responsibility and oversight.
Our coal and oil fields are immediately considered when thinking of resources. However, resources include our waterways, wind power, and food supplies, to name only a few. We have seen depletion of our natural resources through decreases in animal populations. During the 1800s, the buffalo roamed freely across the nation. As the settlers increased their westward movement, the buffalo were hunted into almost extinction. This is also happening with types of tuna and whale, which are considered delicacies in other parts of the world. Even though something is a renewable resources (such as animals), without proper monitoring, they can become extinct or depleted.
I recently read a novel based in the early 1900s in Niagara Falls, Canada. This marked the change that the Niagara River experienced when dams were built on the river. While people on both sides of the border welcomed this additional energy, the damage that was done to the environment because of the dams was significant. This has also been a topic of discussion in Oregon, with the dams on the Columbia River. Although the energy created by the dams is needed, does this need outweigh the cost to the salmon and other animals affected by the change in the river?
Many individuals feel that government is interfering in the ownership of their property, by telling them what the land can be used for. One example of this is zoning requirements for farmland. Individuals purchased land numbers of years ago with the thought they would subdivide and sell small parcels of land at a profit. However, zoning requirements changed and this was not allowed. The expansion of the Urban Growth Boundary continues to be one that sparks much debate in our community and in communities around the nation.
The need for energy is one that continues to be a topic of discussion. As with the now dismantled Trojan Nuclear Power Plant, this was cutting-edge technology at the time it was created. With time, we found that disposing of the nuclear waste created a greater hazard than our need for the electricity created by the plant. Nonetheless, the need for energy has not decreased. As we look for new ways to harness energy, we have to look at the effects on nature. For example, wind power appears to be a resource that does not create waste. However, the windmills create deadly obstacles for the birds that occupy that airspace. As the Native American saying states “All things are connected,” this is a very true statement. We must consider the impacts of all decisions on our environment. This involves monitoring the situation now, and also into the future.
Sometimes we do not realize the impact on the environment until years down the line. For example, my father worked for a chrome shop during the 60s and 70s, and the company would simply dump the chrome by-products at the edge of the property for disposal. This was a common occurrence at the time, because the effects of the dumping were not immediately known. In the 1980s, this work site was deemed a serious toxic waste site, and the owners had to pay for the removal of all the dirt where the chrome had been buried. However, some of it had seeped into the ground water creating health problems for those living in the area. This was eventually cleaned up, but at an enormous expense.
As stewards of our environment it is important to know the risks of our actions, and to continue to monitor our carbon footprint on the earth. Even beyond monitoring, it is our responsibility to make the tough decisions to change our methods of operation if we can tell that they are creating problems. We must not only identify the problems, but work to bring solutions into place.

Merriam-Webster. (2009). Culture. Retrieved November 3, 2009, from
Withgott, J. &. (2008). Environment: The Science Behind the Stories (3rd ed.). New York: Pearson Benjamin Cummings.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Making a Difference by Danielle Higginbotham

Making A Change
If we were to look back about 50 years, things have been very different as far as taking care of the environment goes. There may have been concern for our environment but nothing like today. The years I have been alive I have seen much improvement in making positive solutions to making the world around us a better place to live in.
I know in my own life I haven’t paid much attention to environmental issues or cared enough to get involved. Every where I go I see or hear about people and businesses going green and really trying to make a difference within their community. It has really caught my eye the past year or so. Even at my work they are making it a big deal. Now that it has caught my attention I have taken more consideration into attaining knowledge about issues and finding myself wanting to join in on the process of making a difference. At first I just thought it was just the “in” thing to do because we live in Portland, Oregon. Not so much anymore, it’s a bigger issue than that I have found.
Seeing as how going green and environmental issues seem to be a bigger deal these days I have seen how environmental regulations have an impact on not only just Oregon and small communities but places around the world. For example, I have seen the impact in local stores and communities such as New Seasons Market. They sell organic products. They are very big on recycling and going green. This affects the community because they are very involved with what New Seasons promotes. Something else that I have seen that has affected the lifestyle of today is that not only grocery stores but businesses are using recyclable hand bags with their logo and a note for recycling for everyday use. I guess you could say it’s the “in” thing right now. I feel like everywhere I go I see some kind of attraction like that to get me to think about what’s going on to day and also to get involved.
There is so much to take part in. We could be doing so much more if people would want to have an understanding of how they could make a difference in their environment. Even though it may not seem like they are making a dent in helping but they are starting the process in making a difference. I know for myself, now that I have become more aware of certain issues, I want to be included in the positive change. So I have been really making sure to do the things I can to help start the process of making this a better place to live in. I hope that more will also make that choice to better their community. It really makes a difference.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Relationship between scientific method and western culture by Zac Perkerewics

Scientific Method and Western Culture
Technology in western culture has been advancing dramatically in the past 100 years. Things we take for granted today were not even in peoples’ dreams twenty years ago. Automobiles, cell phones, computers, and the internet are perfect examples of this technological advancement. These items and others have redefined many people’s environment and how they live their lives. The scientific method has played an integral role in the development of these products. Over time, man has always asked the question “What if?” and focused on making things easier. The scientific method has executed those questions and in turn helped advance western culture to what it is today.
There are numerous items in my daily life that I take for granted. Most of these items are certain conveniences that were not available in years past. It seems that most of these inventions used the scientific method; however, it’s hard to believe that they all did. The automobile, for example, is a modern convenience that I—and my family—probably could not live without. A few centuries ago, someone asked “What if” and an inventor created a personal wheeled device. The first automobiles were steam, electric, and gasoline powered. Scientists and auto-makers realized that the most abundant source of power would be gasoline. Auto makers developed internal combustion engines based on scientific experiments that proved gasoline would produce the most horsepower. Plus, at the time, gasoline seemed like the most abundant fuel source. At the turn of the 20th century, electricity was not that common so it did not catch on as much gasoline. The scientific method helped this technology; however, scientists did not realize the long term affects until many years later (Britannica, 2009).
The Industrial Revolution is another bit of history that used scientific method to advance the western culture at a cost to the environment. This Revolution has definitely taken its toll on the earth and created a negative image of our way of life in the United States and other western cultures. Currently, however, the United States and many other nations are involved with reversing our dependency on fossil fuels. This way of life will be a complete change in convenience from what we are all currently used to. In the book Cradle to Cradle, authors William McDonough & Kenneth Braungart state that“We are at the beginning of the next Industrial Revolution” (McDonough & Braungart, 2002). The authors of this book are spot on with what is currently going on in our culture. We have made observations and questioned why things are the way that they are. We have also focused on developing science that doesn’t rely 100% on fossil fuels and designing systems with more of a holistic approach. This type of science and advancement is something that I am proud to be a part of and pass along to my children.
I believe that the text for this class picked the perfect quote from Carl Sagan to describe why science matters. In the quote, Sagan states that we “profoundly depend on science and technology” (Withgott & Brennan, 2008, p. 11). We as a human race depend on our technological conveniences to make it through the day. I am excited about this class and to learn about how science can advance our civilization into the next Industrial Revolution.

McDonough W. & Braungart, M. (2002). Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things. New York: North Point Press.
Withgott & Brennan (2008). Environment: The Science behind the Stories. San Francisco, CA: Pearson Educational, Inc.
automobile. (2009). In Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved November 2, 2009, from Encyclopedia Britannica Online:

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Angela Ober's view of the future

Future Development and Sustainability
PHS 100: Online Environmental Studies
Professor D. Terrell
Warner Pacific College
October 8, 2009
Future Development and Sustainability During this five-week course on environmental studies I have been challenged in many ways to think about human interactions with earth and its surroundings, and the positive and negative imprints we have left throughout history. If the purpose of this course was to increase environmental awareness in the average student, it has gone above and beyond just doing that for me. But before I dive into how it has impacted and influenced my life I want to talk a little bit about the future of our earth that we dwell in. For the next few paragraphs I am going to focus on the future of our environment, and address different conservation and sustainability methods that might be put to good use in years to come. Ultimately, we will be facing many changes in the next few years if we hope to become a sustainable society that is focused on leaving resources and life for future generations. At the rate we are going we face depletion and shortage concerns, which is precisely the reason why we should promote life on earth, rather than death. Following my discussion of preservation and conservation I will share more on how this class has impacted my life and my hopes for future sustenance in my own personal habits. I will briefly discuss how these environmental changes will affect my future career as well. So without further ado, let us dive right in and take a look at what our environment will look like in the future.
When talking about water, food, land, energy, transportation, air, and more it is easy to focus on the negatives of how each of these are being affected by the way humans live today, especially in America. According to several studies, researchers, and scientists the human population is basically harming everything about our environment, from the air we breathe to the food we eat and ways we rely and depend on energy and water. Based on their predictions, we are not only killing ourselves prematurely, we are also depleting our land of its resources that are essential to life. And because we are consuming more than we produce there is concern and fear that we are going to ultimately work ourselves out of jobs and drive ourselves to the grave. Sure, the above statement may be true of a more extreme form of thinking, but you have to realize that from this general thought process we have birthed an international environmental crisis/concern-, which can be viewed as both positive and negative today, depending on the way an individual feels about the topic. Looking on the brighter side, this increased environmental awareness and urgency has motivated many to begin focusing on alternative forms of production and conservation in order to keep our society, at large, alive and thriving.
Speaking of conservation, there are several ways already that we have begun devoting our time and efforts to developing more energy and products from the earth’s abundant renewable sources. In doing so, we are creating alternate forms to depend on in time of need or urgency, for example present day if we continue in our bad habits of massive consumption. Some of these sustainability changes require more technology and knowledge than we have tapped into thus far, while others can be practiced by the common man. For example, in order to reduce greenhouse pollutants and emissions we can drive less (or drive hybrid) and pay into mass transportation or biking; make “green” upgrades on our homes, or move inner city to be centrally located to work and all other places of interest; print less paper; purchase more efficient appliances and office equipment; reduce our carbon footprint; and implement more cap and trade programs to encourage the downsize of certain negative habits. While some of us may practice most of these things diligently now, it is expected to become a norm of the future, especially if gas prices take a huge increase and the urban neighborhoods are the new rural. People will have no choice but to conserve.
In regards to food and water sources we are going to have to decrease our amount of consumption, and once again, especially in America. Being that we are the most obese nation in the world this should not be a problem for more equal and smaller portioned food distribution. The challenge in doing this will be found when Americans realize they cannot have everything they want and food does not grow on trees (not literally speaking). America will be forced to consider other inhabitants of the world, rather than doing what they have always done before and greedily “passing by” while taking notice of the apparent lack in the world, but not taking any action to make a difference. America has yet to realize that our decisions are literally impacting the world. Our amount of over-consumption is, in a sense, taking away from others in the world.
Turning our attention to energy and fuel sources we have already shifted to alternate forms to fuel cars and heat homes. The more natural, renewable sources we can find, the better off we will be in years to come. As I write this paper people are thinking of ways to advance technology and produce more tidal and wave energy; they are devising new plans for desalinating water at lower costs, and filling tanks with ethanol and leftover oil to ensure cleaner air is moving into our lungs. There are so many ways we have begun to produce alternative forms of energy, in the end it is hard to speak of all the negative environmental impacts when so many positives are being employed.
Sustainability is the focus and conservation is the plan. With increased awareness only great things can come as people realize they can make a difference- one person at a time. In my own life I have been challenged to think of ways I can conserve energy, reduce my water use, recycle more, and essentially feed into a healthier and greener lifestyle. In my future I want to be a part of the plan, rather than the problem, and contribute to society and the air we breathe by making my home as environmentally friendly as possible. From what I have learned in this course, I plan to share information with people as much as possible to increase their awareness of what is happening in this huge world we abide in. So often people do not invest time or thought into the environment because they either do not believe they can make a positive difference, or are not aware of the global effects our habits are having. They may only be aware of what is happening on the small scale in their home and neighborhood, rather than the larger scale- which includes the global air, oceans, crops, natural resources, etcetera.
As far as ways in which environmental studies will impact my career I cannot think of any at the moment other than just informing people of how they can make a difference in the world when they put their efforts behind great causes. I guess it is hard for me to know how I will apply this to work because I have yet to figure out what I want to do. Ultimately, I believe that everyone should focus on sustaining the environment and conserving energy in ways that they can. Of course one has to adjust to lifestyle changes, but after time if all of us adopted new methods of conservation we would be able to sustain the earth and provide future generations with abundant resources to use and enjoy.

Brennan, S. & Withgott, J. (2008). Environment: The Science Behind the Stories. 3rd Ed. Pearson
Benjamin Cummings. San Franscisco: CA.

Monday, October 12, 2009

This is how you do it!

The web has been a source of great inovation and of course creativity. This site that I have just found eHow allows people to post how to do things and of course also allows people to find how do you do things: Have a look at this wibsite:

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Green How To: Solar Power Phone

This is a good example of things to come! On the one hand the way we are comunicating and on the other how technology is advancing so fast. Enjoy this article at
Green How To: Solar Power Phone

Shared via AddThis

The Future of Our Society!

The Future of our Society Summary
By Nicole Phillips & Angela Ober
PHS 100: Online Environmental Studies
Dr. David Terrell
Warner Pacific College
October 8, 2009

The future of our society primarily rests on the shoulders of mankind as we decide how to conserve and sustain the Earth’s resources such as water, food, land, electricity, and fuel for transportation. It is only a matter of time before we will be facing depletion, on larger scales, of many of our resources including food, fresh water, and oil. The United States alone consumes far more resources than any other nation on earth, and well surpasses their ability to reproduce these sources before have been consumed. With this being said, what will the world look like in years to come? Will we deplete our land in entirety or will we learn how to conserve and sustain before it is too late?
In our PowerPoint presentation for this week we selected five main resources to focus on, and are discussing how we currently make use of these resources, and what we believe the future will look like in regards to these specific resources. The resources we selected were fuel and transportation, electricity, food, water, and land. Ultimately our focus throughout is on how we, as individuals, can learn to conserve energy on a greater scale and sustain resources for future generations. It is a scary thought to think that these next few years could be the end of it all, and I do not believe that we, as a society, are prepared to face the challenges that may arise. We do not know what the future holds, yet with the knowledge we do have we must learn how to become better stewards of our land. Ways in which we can do this include using mass transit for transportation, relying on renewable and new resources to provide energy to heat our homes and water; eat less and share more, reduce and lessen our water use, and preserve our land rather than stripping it of fossil fuels and cramming it full of housing and new developments.
Ultimately the future of our resources might mean that we must learn how to downsize and decrease our demand, and live simply again. For Americans this may be especially hard since we are a land full of takers, but it is possible in crisis times to change our ways and learn how to survive on less. The future may hold world wars, economic crisis, and land battles- but we do not know for certain. What we do know is that it is our responsibility to take charge now of what we can and prepare for the future, focusing on how we can make Earth a better place for generations to come. The end goal is sustainability; the daily plan is to conserve and preserve that which we have access to now.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Vulnerability of our society by Eric Blevins

September 22, 2009
Society’s Vulnerability to Natural Hazards

Natural disasters, including hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, forest fires, earthquakes, landslides, and volcanic eruptions, take a toll of human life and property every year. Unfortunately, much of the loss brought on by natural disasters is a consequence of poor environmental stewardship. Hillsides and mountains are deforested, leaving the soil unprotected; people build homes and towns on flood plains; villages are nestled up to volcanic mountains; and cities are constructed on known geological fault lines. A general human tendency is to assume that disasters happen only to other people in other places, and even if there is a risk, say of a hurricane striking a coastal island, many people are willing to take that calculated risk in order to enjoy life on the water’s edge. According to the author... One writer suggested that town zoning boards should create a stupid zone for such people. Other stupid zone locations would-be in the middle of 10-year flood plains, in highly flammable coniferous forests, on top of
earthquakes faults and valleys below dormant volcanoes. Interesting? Lifestyle choices such as refraining from exercise, overeating, driving fast, imbibing alcohol, climbing mountain
and so forth carry with them a significant risk of accident and death. Every year brings its list
of disasters and the toll in deaths and in the miseries of people left homeless. From a personal standpoint with all this, I must say that humans are going to do what they choose to do with their lives, because it is within their nature to do otherwise. The winter of 2005, I believe was an interesting experience for myself, because of how crippling snow and ice can be. Portland,
experienced a tough winter during the month of January. It snowed for one week, about 6-7 inch.
Then came the ice storm that blanketed the entire metro area. Transportation came to a standstill. I could not drive my car for a week, because my tires were iced in about halfway up the rims. People were walking everywhere using the middle of the street as their pathway to and from. I’m not a big fan of driving on ice anyway so it was ok for me. What is interesting was seeing how people used their creatively to move around. I saw skis and poles, ice skates, backpacks were being utilized to carry food and water, and a few snowmobiles when buy the house.

We were fortunate not to lose electricity, because that could have been ugly for not only me, but for many others the outcome was different. Parts of the city did lose power and I felt for them trying to keep warm. This was a learning experience for me. The question is though...What if Portland had an ice storm like the city of Montreal did in the recent past? Would others and I still have been able to endure and in brace it?

Thousands of citizens were stranded as icy runways and jets shrouded in frost shut down the Portland International Airport. The Federal Aviation Administration said Passengers were sent home or to hotels. But a few hundred slept at the airport, using blankets distributed by the Red Cross. Around Portland, car, bus and light rail travelers were also stranded for a second day in a row because of the ice and snow.
Crews scattered sand on major thoroughfares in Portland, but side streets were blocked by mounds of snow. Interstate 84 through the Columbia River Gorge from Troutdale to Hood River remained closed, and many other roads and highways were closed at various times because of ice, accidents and downed trees. Federal Express canceled all deliveries in the Portland area for the first time in at least a decade. The storm also led to broken water mains and power outages. More than 30,000 Portland General Electric customers were still without electricity snow also stopped a northbound Amtrak train overnight in Vancouver, Wash., across the Columbia River from Portland, Ore. The train eventually returned to Portland and the passengers waited for another Amtrak train to take them to Seattle. The Associated Press 2005
Ice Storm 2005 was decidedly puny in comparison to many of the cold and snow events in Portland's historic record, for example January of 1950, or the winter of 1968-69 .The winter of 1919-1920 is still a record-holder in some categories
Freezing precipitation has caused over 16 billion in property losses in the United States alone and accounts for 20 percent of all winter-related injuries. About 70% of these injuries result from vehicle accidents. The average victims susceptible to ice storms are males over 40 years old. (Rubber, Robert, and John Walsh, and Donna Charlevoix 2005)

Heavy ice accumulation can bring down trees and topples utility poles and communication towers. Consequently, ice storms can disrupt communication between cities for days on end as they lose power and proper means of transportation. Road surfaces become damaged as well. Bridges and overpasses have a tendency to freeze before other types of surfaces and thus increase the risk of traveling during ice storms. Building infrastructures are vulnerable as well. Pipes can freeze and burst in poorly insulated homes. Insured property losses from ice storm events in the U.S. average 326 million dollars per year in damages. The agricultural sector is punished by ice storms as well. Freezing temperatures can cause severe damage to citrus fruit, crops and vegetation with damages recorded as high as 1.6 billion dollars in total damages per agricultural season. (Rauber, Robert, and John Walsh, and Donna Charlevoix 2005)

Although there is no record of deaths per year due to ice storms, the affects of ice storms attribute to the total deaths per year equating to 47 deaths per year (U.S.) Ice storm damages are insurmountably high partly due to ice pillage. In perspective, the weight of ice on a power line for a 300 ft span of power lines that are 1" thick coated with 1/4 inch of ice, adds 117 lbs. of weight to the object. Coated with 1/2 inch, the added weight is 281 lbs, coated with 1", the added weight is 749 lbs and coated with 2", the added weight is 2248 lbs. For a 1500 foot span of power line the added weight of 2 inches of ice is 11242 lbs! Overall, Accumulations of ice can increase the branch weight of trees by 30 times its original weight. The average annual property damage loss in ice storms based on an 8 year period is 226 million dollars and accounts for about 60 percent of winter storm damages
Preventative Measures
The National Climatic Data Center's (NCDC) Research Customer Service Group collaborated with the U.S. Army's Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory (CRREL) to provide preventative steps in regard to freezing rain. Overall, Ice storms are economic catastrophes which can and have forcefully dismantled cities and parks and have capabilities of disrupting air and land transportation. Because of new technology, ice formation forecasts save our country 29 million dollars per year in damages while the Integrated Icing Diagnostic Algorithm saves 33.7 million dollars in plane damages per year (Keith C. Heidorn 2005)

With that being said, it is better to be pro active than re-active. If we learned anything from Hurricane Katrina, is that we can never be to ready for a storm, flood, or any natural disaster. What is so hard about creating“ready to go” storage just in case. If you know your region and history of your area, then your not in the dark.

Ice Storms: Beauty Amid Destruction.” Keith C. Heidorn.
Rauber, Robert, and John Walsh, and Donna Charlevoix. Severe and Hazardous Weather. Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company, 2005.

The Associated Press Ice storm grounds planes, closes roads in Northwest 2005 Retrieved 09 30-09

Wednesday, September 30, 2009


It seems that when there are not so many resources we become more "resourceful"!
Have a look at this video:
Where we can see that it is easy to take things for granted when there is abundance!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Water use in fire fight!

Recent news about the amount of water used in the LA Fire are informative and interesting More than one year's supply of water has been used!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Conservation in our own backyard by Eric, Jennifer, and Danielle

Eric Blevins, Jennifer Rattanapaibooncharoen, Danielle Springer
PHS: 100 Environmental Studies Online
Dr. David Terrell
Warner Pacific College
September 23, 2009

Biological Diversity is the sum total of all organisms in an area, taking into account the diversity of species, their genes, their populations, and their communities.
As humans, we are depleting the Earth’s diversity of life. Global extinction of plants and animals is more than a thousand times higher than typical throughout life’s history on Earth because of humans.
A solution to global biodiversity is most effectively obtained through site conservation. The best approach to doing so is tackling the issues on a larger scale, since species cannot be conserved one at a time. Site-level conservation is prioritized by vulnerability and irreplaceability.
The species that are found to be in need of conservation the most are dealt with sooner than species that are not in as great of danger.
Endangered Species
An endangered species is a population of organisms which is at risk of becoming extinct because it’s either few in numbers, or is threatened by changing environmental or predation parameters. An endangered species is usually a taxonomic species, but may be another significant group.
White-tailed Deer:
The White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus Virginianus) is also called the Virginia Deer. It has two subspecies that are currently endangered. The Key Deer (Odocoileus virginianus clavium) and the Columbian White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus leucurus).
White-tailed Deer can be found and is listed as endangered in Florida, Oregon and Washington (along the Columbian River). The status/date they were last listed as endangered was March 11, 1967.
Bald Eagle :
Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) is a bird of prey found in North America. It is most recognizable as the national bird and symbol of the United States. This sea eagle has two known sub-species and forms a species pair with the White-tailed Eagle. Bald Eagles can be found near large open bodies of water with an abundant food supply and old growth trees. They are found in most of Canada, Alaska, the continental U.S., and northern Mexico.
The species was on the brink of extintion in the late 20th century in the continental U.S. while flourishing in Canada and Alaska. It now has a stable population and has officially been removed from the U.S. federal governments list of endangered species. The Bald Eagle was officially reclassified from “Endangered” to “Threatened” on July 12, 1995 by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. On July 6, 1999 a proposal was initiated “To Remove the Bald Eagle in the Lower 48 States from the The List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife” and was delisted on June 28, 2007.
Green Sea Turtles :
Green Sea Turtles (Chelonia Mydas) are one of the largest and most widespread of all marine turtles. They can be found in the warm tropical waters of New England, South Africa and in the Pacific from Western Africa to the Americas.
Found only in tropical waters, these turtles rarely leave the water except for mating and nesting. Sea turtles will literally migrate hundreds of miles across the ocean to the place where they hatched to mate.
Green sea turtles are mainly threatened by predation by animals and humans. They are overharvested for their meat and eggs. Their meat is a delicacy and is highly prized. The cartilage underneath the plastron is used for making turtle soup.
Another major threat to Green Sea Turtles are fishermen who accidentally catch them in their fishing nets; hence, Green Sea Turtles are legally protected in the United States, and in United Kingdom from excess harvesting. The status/date they were listed as endangered was July 28, 1978.
Stellar Sea-lion:
Stellar Sea-lions (Eumetopias Jubatus) are also known as the Northern Sea-lions and are the largest of all seals and sea-lions. Steller sea-lions are both land and sea creatures that prefer colder waters. When not in the water, adults can mostly be found on rock shelves, ledges and sand beaches where they gather to breed and give birth.
Steller sea-lion numbers have declined because of accidental capture in fishnets, loss of food source to fishermen, and hunting. Some are shot each year by fishermen who consider them competition or pests to the fishing industry.
This species is now legally protected by the United States, and intentional killing of any Stellar sea-lion is prohibited. They are currently endangered in the following locations: Alaska, California, Canada, North Pacific Ocean, Oregon, Russia, Washington. The status/date they were listed as endangered was April 10, 1990.
Humpback Whale :
Humpback Whale (Megaptera Novaeangliae) are commonly found in coastal or shelf waters of the northern oceans in the summer for feeding. In the winter, they migrate to tropical or subtropical waters where they mate and raise their calves. They are found in the waters of the Atlantic, Arctic, Pacific Oceans, the Bering Sea and the waters surrounding Antarctica.
There are only about 6,000 Humpback Whales left in the oceans. In the early 1900s whaling was very popular; thus, resulting in the killing of over 60,000 whales. Commercial whaling has been banned since the late 1950s, and currently whaling has been minimized significantly. However, the threats today still include accidental deaths by entanglement in fishing gear or collisions with ships. This has significantly caused the Humpback Whale’s endangerment. The status/date they were listed as endangered was June 2, 1970.

Causes of Endangerment
Habitat Destruction:
Habitat destruction is the process in which natural habitats are rendered unable to functionally support the present species. In this process, the organisms which previously used the site are displaced or destroyed, reducing biodiversity. Habitat destruction is currently ranked as the most important cause of species extinction worldwide. It is a process of environmental change important in evolution and conservation biology.
Human activity has caused habitat destruction for the sole purpose of harvesting natural resources for industrialization and urbanization; hence, clearing habitats for is the principal cause of habitat destruction. Other important causes of habitat destruction include mining, logging, trawling, agriculture use, and urban sprawl.
Additional causes include habitat fragmentation, geological processes, climate change, invasive species, ecosystem nutrient change and human activities as mentioned.
A species that faces overexploitation is one that may become severely endangered or even extinct due to the rate in which the species is being exhausted or used.
Another form of overexploitation is the trade in animal parts. Many species continue to suffer high rates of exploitation where human demands for items like rhino horns and tiger bones are on the rise in several areas of Asia. Traditional medicines made from these animal parts create a strong market that results in endangerment.
Introduction of Exotic Species:
Exotic species are interlopers. These species are introduced into new environments by way of human activities, either intentionally or accidentally. These exotic interlopers are seen as foreign elements by the native species.
Native species are those plants and animals that are part of a specific geographic area. They have been a part of a particular biological landscape for a long period of time and are well adapted to their local environment. Native species are accustomed to the presence of other native species within the same general habitat, but do not enjoy the company of the foreign species.
Exotic species may seriously disrupt delicate ecological balances and may produce unintended yet harmful consequences. The worst of these unintended yet harmful consequences arise when exotic species put native species in jeopardy by preying on them. This can alter the natural habitat and may cause a greater competition for food.
Species have been biologically introduced to environments all over the world. The most destructive effects have occurred on islands where the introduction of exotic insects, rats, pigs, cats, and other foreign species have actually caused the endangerment and extinction of hundreds of native species. Introduction of exotic species is certainly a significant factor leading to endangerment.
Much More:
Disease, pollution, and limited distribution are more factors that threaten various plant and animal species. If a species does not have the natural genetic protection against particular pathogens, an introduced disease can have severe effects on that specie.
Why Even Bother ?
Medicines have been made from plants for centuries. $150 billion in sales are generated each year from pharmaceutical products which were created by studying chemical compounds present in wild animals. Rosy periwinkle produces compounds that treat Hodgkin’s disease and a form of leukemia. In Australia, a rare species of cork (Duboisia leichhardtii) provides hyoscine which is used to treat cancer, stomach disorders and motion sickness.
Genetic diversity within crop species and their ancestors is enormously valuable. New potential food crops are waiting to be used. Sweetener that is 3000x sweeter than sugar and babassu palm, which produces more vegetable oil than any other plant are some examples. Salt-tolerant grasses and trees are available and farmers can water them with salt water. These plants also produce animal feed.
High levels of biodiversity has been found to increase the stability and resilience of communities and ecosystems.

Costa Rica was paid $1.1 million so that a pharmaceutical company called Mereck, could research organisms that can provide new drugs, foods, medicines, or other valuable products. The controversy involved is that they would be harvesting indigenous species to create commercial products without compensating the country of origin, this is called biopiracy. Mereck pharmaceutical company has solved this issue by paying Costa Rica the $1.1 million.
A direct source of income is brought by tourism. It brings jobs and income to areas that otherwise might be poverty-sticken. Costa Rica benefits from their rainforests, Australia has their Great Barrier reef, Belize has reefs, caves, and rainforests. Kenya and Tanzania have the Savanna wildlife and even the United States of America has national parks which draw in millions of visitors, domestically and from all around the world.
How You Can Help
Conserve Habitats:
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal Federal agency for conserving, protecting, and enhancing fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of you, the American public. They manage a 93-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System with more than 530 individual refuges, wetlands, and special management areas. They operate 66 national fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resource offices, and 78 ecological services field stations; local offices near to you, where we work to conserve natural resources. They enforce Federal wildlife protection laws, such as the Endangered Species Act. They manage migratory birds and restore nationally significant fisheries; conserve wetlands, and help foreign governments with their conservation efforts. (U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service 2009)
Make Space:
Planning is necessary for attractive and productive wildlife habitat. You have both a horizontal area to work with -- the size of your lot -- as well as a vertical area that stretches from your soil to the treetops. Trees and shrubs are the backbone of any landscaping design and are important for wildlife shelter.
v Identify all existing plants, if any. Note
v Make a sketch of your yard noting all existing plants, buildings, utilities, and pathways. You may even consider removing some plants. In some cases, trees have been planted too close to buildings or have grown much large
v Add trees, shrubs, flowers, and groundcovers to your plan
v Plant a variety of trees first. Select evergreen species for year-round cover and shelter. Select fruit or nut-bearing plants for a food source.
v Select plants that flower and bear fruit at different times of the year. Some shrubs that produce berries can provide food throughout the year
v Fill in with smaller shade-tolerant understory trees and shrubs
v Wildlife is more likely to come out into the open for viewing when the boundary of the yard is designed and maintained as a retreat for animals.
Recycle, Reduce, & Reuse:
Recycling Saves Natural Resources. Our finite reserves of natural resources are being depleted rapidly, particularly with the increasing use of disposable products and packaging. It is projected that Americans will generate 218 million tons of waste by 2000, 152 million tons of that is expected to be disposed of in landfills and incinerators (California Department of Conservation 2009)
Recycling Reduces Pollution Risks. Recycling reduces environmental damage caused by mining, logging and manufacturing raw materials. Recycling reduces the risks of air and water pollution from manufacturing processes. Recycling paper cuts air pollution by about 75%. Substituting steel scrap for virgin ore reduces air emissions by 85% and water pollution by 76% (California Department of Conservation 2009).
Plant Native Plants:
Native species are those that occur in the region in which they evolved. Plants evolve over geologic time in response to physical and biotic processes characteristic of a region: the climate, soils, timing of rainfall, drought, and frost; and interactions with the other species inhabiting the local community (Department of Conservation and Recreation Natural Heritage Program 2009).
The use of native plants is on the rise across the country as more people discover their many benefits. An ever-widening selection of vigorous, nursery-propagated native plants is available from specialty growers and many larger nurseries as a result of this increased demand (Department of Conservation and Recreation Natural Heritage Program 2009).
In North America, plant species are generally described as native if they occurred here prior to European settlement. This distinction is made because of the large-scale changes that have occurred since the arrival of the European settlers.
The benefit of growing plants within the region they evolved is they are more likely to thrive under the local conditions while being less likely to invade new habitats. Native plants are well adapted to local environmental conditions, maintain or improve soil fertility, reduce erosion, and often require less fertilizer and pesticides than many alien plants (Department of Conservation and RecreationNatural Heritage Program 2009).
Join An Organization:
Atlantic Salmon Federation, The Atlantic Salmon Federation (ASF) is an international nonprofit organization which promotes the conservation and wise management of the Atlantic salmon and its natural habitat. The ASF has played a key role in restoring Atlantic salmon runs to the rivers of New England, eastern Canada and abroad since 1948. (Atlantic Salmon Federation 2009,
Laws to Help
Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act:
This law provides for the protection of the bald eagle (the national emblem) and the golden eagle by prohibiting, except under certain specified conditions, the taking, possession and commerce of such birds. The 1972 amendments increased penalties for violating provisions of the Act or regulations issued pursuant thereto and strengthened other enforcement measures. Rewards are provided for information leading to arrest and conviction for violation of the Act. (Digest of Federal Resource Law 2009).
Airborne Hunting Act:
This Act, Public Law 92-159, approved November 18, 1971 (85 Stat. 480) and subsequently amended by P.L. 92-502, approved October 28, 1972 (86 Stat. 905) added to the Fish and Wildlife Act of 1956 a new section 13 (16 U.S.C. 742j-l), which is commonly referred to as the Airborne Hunting Act or Shooting from Aircraft Act, prohibits shooting or attempting to shoot or harassing any bird, fish, or other animal from aircraft except for certain specified reasons, including protection of wildlife, livestock, and human life as authorized by a Federal or State issued license or permit. States authorized to issue permits are required to file reports with the Secretary of the Interior containing information on any permits issued. (Digest of Federal Resource Law 2009).
Endangered Species Act:
The 1973 Act implemented the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (T.I.A.S. 8249), signed by the United States on March 3, 1973, and the Convention on Nature Protection and Wildlife Preservation in the Western Hemisphere (50 Stat. 1354), signed by the United States on October 12, 1940.
Through federal action and by encouraging the establishment of state programs, the 1973 Endangered Species Act provided for the conservation of ecosystems upon which threatened and endangered species of fish, wildlife, and plants depend. (Digest of Federal Resource Law 2009)
Habitat loss presents the single greatest threat to Oregon’s biodiversity, and the extent of this threat can be approximated from species-area curves and rates of habitat loss. The spread of non-native species threatens many local species with extinction, and pushes the world's biota toward a more uniform and widely distributed sub-set of survivors. Climate change threatens to force species and ecosystems to migrate toward higher latitudes, with no guarantee of suitable habitat or access routes. These three factors are of great concern. Through action from citizens, community organizers, and the federal government, the damage can stopped and reversed.
2009 Atlantic Salmon Federation
Retrieved 22 SEPT 09
2009 California Department of Conservation
Retrieved 22 SEPT 09
2006 Department of Conservation and RecreationNatural? Heritage Program
Retrieved 22 SEPT 09
2009 Digest of Federal Resource Law Retrieved 22 SEPT 09
Earth’s Endangered Creatures Retrieved 22 SEPT 09
Endangered Species Retrieved 22 SEPT 09
2009 U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service Contact@
Retrieved 22 SEPT 09
W.E.S. – Endangered Species

Friday, September 25, 2009

Cleaning up the mess!

"Superfunds" were created in order to clean the mess that some industries leave behind when they are dissolved. An interesting article in The Oregonian
gives an account of one here in Oregon that is worth mentioning. EPA is proposing to put the old Black Butte mercury mine in the list of high priority cleanup sites.

Save our Planet by Eric Blevins

Earth is an awesome place to live, as far as we know, its the only one of its kind. With all of the vast amount of precious resources, its no wonder so many movies have been made about other civilization from distant worlds that have wanted to conquer us. The verse “from sea to shinning sea” has a definite true meaning too the beauty it describes.With all of this beauty at our finger tips, why would anyone want to cause harm to it, for the sake of expansion, profit, or industrialization? The choices we make in our free society about resource use can have grave consequences if we don’t use them wisely and responsibly. These choices can negatively influence the biodiversity in an area.The text Environment: The Science Behind the Stories, defines biodiversity as the sum of all organisms in an area (Withgott & Brennan, 2006, p 115) Biological diversity or biodiversity is the diversity of plant and animal life in a particular habitat.The negative impact of population growth and over consumption can lead to the decline of many organisms or extinction. (Withgott & Brennan, 2006, p 295) According to our text there is a connection to biodiversity loss and extinction, Extinction is only part of the effects of biodiversity loss. Some of the major threats to biodiversity are the loss of species and ecosystems caused by a growing human population. As the human population passes the six billion mark, we have used roughly half of the world’s forests. We use roughly half of the world's net primary productivity for human use. We use most available fresh water, and we harvest virtually all of the available productivity of the oceans. It may be a coincidence, but it seems to me that the relationship between human usage and species disappearing and ecosystems being destroyed are related to each other. (Withgott & Brennan, 2006, p 295)Many species today have been either diminished or eradicated.” (Withgott & Brennan, 2006, p 304) It’s as if the “circle of life “is on fire going. This may not have too much of impact on you or me, we can run down to the nearest Subway and grab a bite, but for developing nations it can be drastic. I spent 18 months chasing down Taliban in Afghanistan, and clean water was hard to come by. You would be surprised at the value of bottled water. Young children were not interested in chocolate, they wanted my water.The negative impact on biodiversity also has a trickle down effect on our planets ecosystem. A perfect example of this is when, a larger number of plant species means a greater variety of crops; greater species diversity ensures natural sustainability for all life forms; and healthy ecosystems can better withstand and recover from a variety of disasters.Ecosystems are defined by the text “a collection of living things and the environment in which they live” (Withgott & Brennan, 2006, p 180). Biodiversity helps ecosystem maintain its productivity. The text states that high level of biodiversity helps increase the stability of organism communities. It acts as a natural shield from disturbances. It could be looked at as nature’s tolerance to change. Just as we have developed immunity to certain types of disease. Everything is linked together and if one thing fails the whole house can come crashing down. (Withgott & Brennan, 2006, p 311)There are many other actions that also contribute to population depletion of certain species. Over hunting , poaching and over harvesting can cause, habitat alteration. Some causes such as climate change are still being debated. There always seems to be politics in the middle of science when it comes to environmental protection. Extinction can also be Mother Nature’s way of cleansing the planet. I am not to sure how the dinosaurs and us would have co- existed. Our text states, “If organisms did not naturally go extinct, we would be over run by dinosaurs, trilobites, ammonites, and the millions of other types of creatures that vanished from Earth long before humans appeared”.(Withgott & Brennan, 2006, p 301) Science has proven there have been five mass extinctions during the past half- billion years of Earth history. “At the end of the Ordovician, Devonian, Permian, Triassic, and Cretaceous periods, 50-95% of the world’s species appear to have gone extinct. This can compared with forest fires today. It seems as if the opinion of such fires is changing. I am not too sure if Smokey would agree. The cleansing process allows our ecosystem and biodiversity to rebound to equal or higher levels, but it takes millions of years”. (Withgott & Brennan, 2006, p 302) I don’t want my generation to be responsible for the next “mass extinction”. There is documentation of hundreds of cases of “human induced species extinction over the past few years such as the “Gray Wolf”, Do Do , and almost the Blue Whale. Our own national icon the “Bald Eagle” has had to fight for its survival as well. Have you seen the claws on that thing, I would not want to fight one. (Withgott & Brennan, 2006, p 302) Today, extinction rates are higher than normal due to our accelerated population growth. Making room for modern society by development of land reduces natural habitat which in turn declines the population of our endangered species, which may lead to starvation and extinction. “The worst thing that can happen during the 1980s is not energy depletion, economic collapse, limited nuclear war, or conquest by a totalitarian government. As terrible as these catastrophes would be for us, they can be repaired within a few generations. The one process ongoing in the 1980s that will take millions of years to correct is the loss of genetic and species diversity by the destruction of natural habitats. This is the folly that our descendents are least likely to forgive us.”- E.O. Wilson, 1985In conclusion, Biodiversity refers to the number and variety of species, of ecosystems, and of the genetic variation contained within species. Roughly 1.4 million species are known to science, but because many species are recorded, an estimated 10-30 million species likely exists at present. Biodiversity is threatened by the sum of all human activities. It is useful to group threats into the categories of over-hunting, habitat destruction, and invasion of non-native species, domino effects, pollution, and climate change. Habitat loss presents the single greatest threat to world biodiversity, and the extent of this threat can be approximated from species-area curves and rates of habitat loss. The spread of non-native species threatens many local species with extinction, and pushes the world's biota toward a more uniform and widely distributed sub-set of survivors. Climate change threatens to force species and ecosystems to migrate toward higher latitudes, with no guarantee of suitable habitat or access routes. These three factors thus are of special concern.
PHS 100 Environmental Studies. Professor: David Terrell
Warner Pacific College September 21, 2009,
References:Wilson, E. O. 1971. The Insect Societies. Belknap Press of Harvard Univ. Press, Cambridge, MA.
Withgott, J. , & Brennan, S. (2008). Environment: The Science Behind the Stories (3rded.). New York. Pearson Benjamin Cummings. ISBN: 13: 978-0-8053-9573-

Monday, September 14, 2009

Energy efficiency and conservation

When talking about energy most discussion goes around the production and use and a little goes around efficiency and conservation but this Sunday the Oregonian has expanded the discussion in this topic. There is a compelling argument to use energy more efficiently because we can actually save equivalent ammounts as we are able to produce by conservation.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Unscientific America

When we talk about how can we be more aware of environmental problems and therefore of their solutions one's first encounter is that in general our society is scientifically illiterate. There is a book "Unscientific America" by Mooney and Krshenboum that clearly touches this topic. Click here to go to their blog:

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Mexico Hit By Lowest Rainfall In 68 Years

Mexico is suffering from its driest year in 68 years, killing crops and cattle in the countryside and forcing the government to slow the flow of water to the crowded capital.
Below-average rainfall since last year has left about 80 of Mexico's 175 largest reservoirs less than half full, said Felipe Arreguin, a senior official at the Conagua commission, which manages the country's water supply. To read the full article click on the link

Thursday, August 20, 2009

No Bag Tax in Seattle

As it is reported in The Oregonian the people of Seattle voted this past Tuesday not have a 20 cents paper/plastic bag tax. You can read the editorial linking here:

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Paper or Plastic

Scientific American has an interesting post on Seattle's new law charging $0.20 fee for plastic or paper disposable bags. Here is the link

Monday, August 17, 2009

Natural Resources by Randi Fellwock

PHS 100
Warner Pacific College August 7, 2009
Society can assess natural resources by looking at our wind potential. A study by Harvard University states that potential wind power is a global source of electricity that is assessed by using wind and estimates were given for quantities of electricity that could be obtained by using a network of 3.6-MW turbines set up in the ocean waters at depths of <200 m within 50 nautical miles of closest coastlines. This wind power accounts for 42% of all electrical capacity that is added to the United States electrical system in 2008, this is a small amount of total electricity generating capacity. According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s WinD’s model, stated that wind power could account for as much as 25% of U.S. electricity by 2050. Our next resource that we should look at is oil and what potential it has for the future. The peak year for oil field discovery was 1962 and since then the global discovery rate has dropped sharply in all regions. It is implied that the volume of resources yet to be discovered will lie somewhere between zero and infinity and will be found sometime between now and eternity. But whether it will be discovered depends on discovery activity. Another resource we need to look at is our water and how we can save and reduce the use of conventional water resources and also by saving and increasing the use of non-conventional water resources. According to a study in Arab the found ways that can help with water shortages are using water saving devices such as low flow showerheads which is a savings of 5 gallons per day, ultra low flush toilets have a savings of 4.2 gallons per day, faucet aerators, using meters can save 1.5 gallons per day, high efficiency washing machines have a saving of 37% in water and energy and the use of landscape water conservation devices that also saved 50% in water and energy. These are also being practiced here in the United States but a lot of Americans are still not participating to help with our water crisis. Environmental regulations do have an impact on lifestyles in the ways that we are told when to use water, when we can burn, they recommend not driving our cars on smoggy days, the time it takes to recycle plastic bottles, cans, glass and paper products. We all know that this is good for the environment and although some of the items are not enforced everywhere maybe we should look into this and make it so that everyone has to participate to make our world a better place to live and breath.
Future world oil supplies: There is a finite limit. L. F. Ivanhoe, Novum Corp., Ojai, California. (August 9, 2009) for Water Savings & Rescue in the Arab Region. (August 9, 2009) Global potential for wind- generated electricity – PBAS. (August 9, 2009)http:/

Friday, August 14, 2009

Business Oportunities

There are two articles today in The Oregonian related to business opportunities related to the environment. One on the front page by Abby Haight is about the building on SW 12th and SW Washington St. (The SW 12th building) that will have some wind generated electric power. To see some pictures of the turbines click/link here. The other article is an op-ed by Katy Brooks (link here) on how the economic stimulus program will allow thousands of households to do an energy efficiency retrofit that will save a lot of money in the long run and will provide many jobs in the short time.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Finding Comfort by Shawn Kratochvil

Geothermal Energy

Warner Pacific College
August 10, 2009
Finding Comfort
Technology is growing every day. With that new technology there at times things that use to take time have become less time consuming with the different options available for us today, money savings is possible, and there is more comfort for people. The automotive industry has created automobiles that will tell a mechanic exactly what is wrong with a vehicle making the diagnosis less time consuming and the customer can get a accurate repair to their vehicle with as little as one visit to the repair shop. Energy efficency allows buildings to be maintained to a comfort level for individuals inside when the outside temperatures raise or lower. One option for a renewable source of energy is geothermal energy.
To understand how geothermal it first must be defined. “Heat from the Earth, or geothermal — Geo (Earth) + thermal (heat) — energy can be and already is accessed by drilling water or steam wells in a process similar to drilling for oil” (Geothermal basics, 2008). In the upper ten feet of the earths surface the teamperature is typically between 50 and 60 degrees farenheight. This is using the constant temperature below the earth’s surface to heat the building in the colder seasons while at the same time cool the same building in the summer. The geothermal system is very efficient in maintaining a constant temperature throughout the year. In locations that have extreme seasons like the mid west region of the United States, some individuals are taking advantage of this renewable source of energy to make their homes more comfortable all year long.
One family that purchased a home in South Dakota buildt in 1918 made the decission to research renewable energy for heating and cooling after living in the home for almost 30 years. This home originally had a coal furnace heating water that ran through a hot water radiator system throughout the house. This system was upgraded in the 1950’s to a natural gas heater that would heat water in the same radiators. Winter months caused the natural gas bill costs over $500 for this single family home of 3300 square feet (approximately three square feet of every room held a radiator) in addition to the wood burning stove. The radiators would give no releif in the hot humid months of the summer. When looking into replacing their system with a central air system they were informed that the cost was estimated to be near $9000 since there was no duct work thought the house to circulate the air. At this time they looked into other systems for their home.
After doing deep research on what would maintain the historical value of their home while adding the comfort of airconditioning for the summer months, they decided to install a geothermal heat pump. In order to do this six barrells were burried 30 feet below the earths surface with pumps installed to circulate the air through new air ducts throughout the house. While this system still uses electricity to run the pumps their house is maintained at a constant temperature all year long now. Now they are able to consider the basement as a third level adding an average of 1500 square feet to their home. Even though their yearly costs for energy did not drop significantly (an average of $35 per month), they now can enjoy the airconditioning in the midwestern summers and constant warmth in the bitter winters.
In the California there is a region known as the “Ring of Fire” that contains numerous geothermal energy sources with fourteen of them reaching 300 degrees Fahrenheit or greater. Many of the counties have begun taping into this renewable source of energy, “when added together, California's geothermal power plants produce about 4.5 percent of the California's total electricity” (California Energy Commission, 2008). With more effort in renewable energy sources our society can become less dependant on the precious natural resourses.


California Energy Commission. (2008, June 16). Background about geothermal energy in
California. Retrieved August 10, 2009, from The California Energy Commission:
Geothermal basics. (2008, October 3). Retrieved August 10, 2009, from U.S. Department of
Energy - energy efficiency and drenewable energy:

Things Take Time

An article in the Oregonian by Scott Learn tells us about the agreement endorsed by the governors of Washington and Oregon states. In it a new goal for the cleanup is stated and the year 2047 is mentioned. Read the whole article at:

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Global Warming and National Security

At the end of an Environmental Studies course we always talk about the future. Our future and the future of the world. When we look what is going on in technology as well as with new business models we get the idea that the future is here. Of course there is always a link to the past as many human activities continue and will continue as they have been for many years. Some business models developed after the Second World War are still in place and are still very useful but in some cases these models have become obsolete. One thing that is important to understand is that we organize ourselves based on our understanding of order and security. The Second World War occurred at highpoint of the industrial revolution and production. Industries were organized in the same way armies were and a hierarchy was established that guaranteed valued outcomes, mainly monetary.
An article in the New York Times by John Broder clearly states how the outcomes of global warming are to be considered as issues related to our national security. These outcomes are posing profound strategic challenges that have to be addressed without further delay.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

NAFTA by Dianna Cardott

NAFTA The Environmental Aspect
Environmental Studies
Warner Pacific College
July 23, 2009
The North American Free Trade Act. What on earth does this have todo with the environment? At fist, it hardly conjures up images related ecological concerns. Most people’s first considerations when NAFTA was introduced centered on economic issues. The reality is however, that NAFTA has long reaching impacts on the environment. This writer’s viewpoint is that many government or environmental regulations are written with good intent but often lack the funds, teeth or integrity to be enforced with the appropriate amount of vigor. While they may be better regulated within the US, they are poorly monitored or imposed in other countries in which we engage in trade or business agreements leaving us all exposed to the pollution they claim to attempt to abate.For instance, environmental verbiage injections into NAFTA were an afterthought and brought about only after various environmental and labor interest groups vocalized concerns for the lack of this consideration in this governmental initiative. The United States, Canadian and Mexican government responded by including provisions for sanitary and plant health considerations. It declared that NAFTAs implementation would not harm the environment. (Mumme, 1999)The problem with this is that in fact NAFTA has impacted the environment and not in a positive way. Mumme goes on to list three key issues with the current agreement: “NAFTA's trade protections are liable to abuse, threatening deterioration of environmental standards within the region. Flaws in procedures and programs also impair NAFTA's environmental institutions. NAFTA's environmental institutions are poorly funded by the three governments.” All three of these important key facts have been a hindrance to preventing the callout of NAFTA from doing significant damage to the environment.Take for example the situation that has evolved in Matamoros, a city right across the Mexican border from Brownsville Texas. In an article written by Mary E. Kelly, at one time this was a quite, primarily agricultural area, but no more. Since it is in such close proximity to the US- Mexican border it has now become a haven for numerous US companies to establish operations without having to be bothered with the scrutiny the US places on them for operating just a few miles away.Recent testing of the local drinking water in the area showed levels of xylene, a toxic solvent, 50,000 times greater than would be acceptable in US drinking water. Equally disturbing is that the while these companies are dumping massive amounts of waste illegaly even if they wanted to dispose of them legally, doing so is incredibly difficult. Kelly states:According to law, the waste must be sealed in barrels and transported to landfills. There are currently only two authorized sites in Mexico - one in San Luis Potosí and the other in Monterrey in the border state of Nuevo León. Rene Franco, an environmental consultant in Juárez, Mexico, says ‘the geographic location of these facilities, as well as their installed capacity, are far from satisfactory for existing industry, much less for the industry that will result from a free- trade agreement’.This combined with the fact that most companies do not even attempt to dispose of chemicals in legally safe ways has led to numerous health related issues in the area. Kelly’s article goes on to point out numerous cases of birth defects affecting many border towns where US companies have set up shop with unchecked waste being dumped without regard for the people, plants or animals that reside nearby.Environmental regulations at their heart appear to have good intentions. They are a beginning to a cleaner, healthier planet. The problem is that far to often they are not equally enforced or a solution to larger problems created by the very government that passes them.
Kelly M. E. (1992). Free trade and the politics of toxic waste. Retrieved July 15, 2009 from, S. (1999). NAFTA and environment. Retrieved July 14, 2009 from

Monday, July 27, 2009

Water shortage

An article in the Sunday Oregonian is a clear view of things to come. Police officers in Dallas TX are looking for illegal watering of lawns. The draught has brought billions of dollars in losses to all specially farmers that have to sell stock for lack of means to sustain it. Follow the article here

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Natural Resources by Shelley Park

Care for our Resources
Environmental Studies
PHS 100 – Cohort AAOD 2-01
July 16, 2009
In an ideal world, there would be a perfect balance between ambition, consumption, and environmental resources. The truth is that we have tendency toward blind ambition and lack of respect for the natural resources that surround us. We are only now beginning to understand the consequences of our aspirations. We have taken for granted our sources of energy, food, water, and materials. These natural resources are what sustain us and we need to care for them.With personal, communal, and global responsibility we can take action to identify and conserve resources. Our awareness is now heightened. We are given a plethora of information based on scientific studies and anecdotal observations. There is a need to assess the status of our natural resources. Data is constantly being gathered, monitoring and measuring the changes in the environment. But information is only useful if acted upon. Based on current consumption, we can make predictions of sustainability at these levels but future decisions should be made with the consideration for the external costs of lifestyle choices and economic transactions.Each person needs to consider a transformation in thinking, behavior, and values. Worldwide, constant consumerism is hyped. Pursuit of the newest, best, and innovative is the norm. Thrift and economy are now being practiced, especially as economic downturn has made it essential. If we would care for what we have, and practice thrift and contentment, we would waste less and produce less pollution. It is up to the individual to make choices based on personal values, weighing the effect on natural resources.For greater impact, public policy can provide leadership and incentives. Governing bodies have to make preservation of natural resources a paramount concern when addressing the ongoing needs of society. Seeking out balance between economy and ecology is becoming the trend. There was a recent meeting of the Group of Eight (G8) Environment Ministers. The G8 countries include Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States, as well as representatives from 13 other countries. Begun in 1975, the Group of eight was originally a group of 6 nations of the northern hemisphere which focused on economic and political issues. It now discusses health, law enforcement, labor, energy, terrorism, trade, foreign affairs, and environmental interests. The current move is a global mitigation effort – recovering and cleaning up the affects of careless development (Chair's Summary: Siracusa Environment Ministerial Meeting, April 22-23, 2009). The resulting dialog increased confidence and mutual understanding in designing strategies and implementing measures for sustainability and mitigation.Efforts such as those made by the G8 bring governments together to seek out globally advantageous solutions to protect natural resources and mitigate environmental disasters. The intentions are there but there needs to be a continual quest for answers to today’s environmental dilemmas. Without these efforts, even the best of intentions get bogged down in diplomacy, bureaucracy, and judicial wrangling. This is the case of the Bajagua Project, mentioned in our textbook. The technical, financial and regulatory controversies have halted progress in dealing with cross-border pollution problems, allowing ongoing degradation of pacific beaches and ocean water (Davis, 2008). The only agreement is that something needs to be done.Governments can provide a framework that is specific, measureable, timely, and science based. By regulating resources and reducing pollution through policies of command-and control, taxes, and incentives public attitudes and values may be further shaped. Care for our natural resources today sets an example for generations to come.

References: Chair's Summary: Siracusa Environment Ministerial Meeting. (April 22-23, 2009). G8 Information Centre. Siracusa: University of Toronto. Retrieved 7/15/2009 from, R. (2008, April 24). Project's plusses should be clear to GAO. Union-Tribune . Retrieved 7/15/2009 from

Friday, July 10, 2009

Barge gets stranded in the Columbia River

Very interesting news today in The Oregonian about a barge full of gasoline getting stranded in the Columbia River at Hood River.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Evangelical Environmental Network

Christians in general and Evangelicals in particular have been labeled as anti-environmental and anti-science. This has changed in last years as more and more Christians have been openly fighting and working for our environment and the sense of "stewardship" is developed and embraced. This organization: "Evangelical Environmental Network" is a prime example of the strength and commitment. To visit their website click here

The future in business by Hannah Kiemele

This Class and My Future

This class is a very important class to take. We went through a lot of aspects that would help create awareness to an individual and what they can do to prevent certain environmental problems, or even help resolve them.
I am going into the business field. Business relates to almost everything in the world. Without business, the world would not be able to work. Everything is a business. For example, we watched a video on oil drilling in Alaska. The oil drilling itself is an issue, but it’s also a business issue. The business needs to make money, yet the oil drilling could potentially harm the environment. In the video they interviewed a man who was greatly affected by the oil drilling. He said that if it wasn’t for the drilling their town would have been almost like a 3rd world countries. That really struck me. You never would have thought a city in America would be that of 3rd world countries. This just proves the importance of oil drilling and the positive effects it has on individuals.
The business field is very broad. So many things involve business, and this class helped me realize I didn’t need to stay in the typical business setting such as a cubicle with no view and no enjoyment. I am able to go out and help the world with my skills.
One thing that I would enjoy doing with my business career would be marketing and working for a non-profit organization. I really enjoy the organization Habitat for Humanity. I have a passion for helping families in need, and giving them what they deserve; a life full of joy and a roof over their head. My aunt and uncle have worked for Habitat for Humanity for a few years, and I saw how God changed their lives through it. Being able to help people in need is really satisfying. This class has taught me the awareness of the need society has for a good place to live. One thing I think they are starting to do is work with recycled items for their houses. This will be good because they can be more energy efficient and not have to resort to brand new items such as nails, wood, brick, and so on. I was visiting their headquarters in Georgia and took a tour on all the houses they built around the world. It was amazing the kinds of houses they build and the lives they are touching all at the same time.
This class has defiantly taught me to be more aware of what I am doing to contribute to the environment; whether it was good or bad. I am learning to keep my lights off during the day, and only run my dishwasher at night. I have also learned to take shorter showers and not keep my water running when I brush my teeth. Being more aware as an individual can help you “pay it forward” to someone else, and teach them to be aware at what they are doing to the environment. As a businesswoman, I can help create a “greener” workplace and help my co-workers be aware of what is all going on in our world.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

The Future is Here!

Some final comments shared as we finish classes in Environmental Studies PHS 100, and Environmental Science PHS 105 relate to the future of our society. Of course this topic is always tricky as the future is always there, never at reach but as a guide for things to come we can see what is going on already. The trick of a good "futurologist" is to read from events of the present, normally complicated and confused, what are the things to come.
Today I want to share a couple of reading in The Oregonian of today Sunday June 7, 2009. One by Laura Oppenheimer is about pattern changes in the employment of Oregon, using the Gorge and The Dalles as examples: You can read it here. The other by Lori Tobias is about the problem that coastal areas have with pollution of fresh waters. You can read it here.
In both cases we see how what is happening around us will make us take actions in the future either to mitigate problematic situations, or to take advantage of new trends in technology.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Links to other blogs

As I come across other blogs that are interesting and worth looking at, I will be linking them to this pages. One friend Seth Johnson has this one which I highly recommend!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

From Doretta Rilea: how about some regulations?

This website is funny and gives an idea of how environmental regulations have to be well planned and information about their benefits readily available!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Affordable Sustainability by Mistie Beaudoin

Affordable Sustainability
PHS 100 Professor David Terrell
May 12, 2009 Warner Pacific College
While growing up I am sure we all fantasized about the future and what its technological advances would bring; flying cars, robots, super computers that did just about everything for us. Though not many of these things have come true, the advancements we have made, even since the 1980’s are astronomical. However, with these advancements have also come a price we have paid, or yet, our environment has paid for what we consider everyday necessities and some luxuries. Now in the 21st century we have had to reevaluate our way of life and see how we can perhaps take a step backwards in protecting our environment. Although we cannot turn back time on what we have done, we can change our way of life just slightly to make our world and our children’s world a better one. Though our past technological advances may have put a major dent in our ecosystem, our current and future advancements seem to be making steps to be more sustainable and consciences of our environment, without causing major inconveniences to our normal daily routines. We now have homes that have electricity completely sourced from solar panels, electric and hybrid cars, and building materials made out of all recycled products. Each person in this world has new ways of contributing by buying products that will greatly reduce their impact on the world, but with all the new advancements of sustainable products, how much are they costing, and how does the average, and even below average person afford these products. It seems as though the majority of the population in the United States is middle to low income families, and with the majority of sustainable products being at a much larger cost how are the majority of us suppose to contribute more than the everyday recycling or riding mass transit?After researching the cost of solar panels, I found that it costs about $16000 to have a home and all its contents run completely off solar energy. This high price does not include the cost of a battering bank or something called an inverter, needed due to the sun not shinning 100% of the time. Though the savings on an average electrical bill was quite high after installing solar panels, on a very fixed income, it is nearly impossible to come up with an amount close to the cost of the average solar panel install. A much higher price tag seemed the case for just about all items that were “more sustainable”. Even everyday products like a washer and dryer were far more expensive with the energy star logo attached. A price difference of $200 for someone with not a lot of money to begin with, buying a new item in general is quite a stretch, but to add $200 because it is rated more efficiently is an even bigger stretch.Presently I am a single mother, I work full time, and barely scrape by, and unfortunately this seems to be the case for the majority of single mothers in the world. So how do I, or anyone in similar situations, afford to purchase the newer, more sustainable products? Currently I am working on my degree to work in the social service field with other single mothers and low-income families like myself, and it seems that it would be very beneficial, for our environment, for companies market these products to everyone and not just those who can afford them. Even though there are tax credits for those who purchase more efficient and sustainable products, this is not enough to attract a lower income bracket of people to purchase such costly products.Though the government has made some steps to provide more sustainable products to lower income families, such as providing free fluorescent light bulbs when getting electricity bill assistant, not enough is being done to help them move closer in being stewards for our planet. Perhaps greater emphasis on educating about recycling could help or making it mandatory that every low income family is provided with reusable grocery bags because for many who think that these are such small things, such inexpensive items, others these are very out of reach.While recycling and being green seem to be the “in” thing, not all are as educated in doing so. Moreover, while buying the latest sustainable products may be an easy task for those willing to go the extra mile; these items are at a very far reach for those with little income. Although, another government handout is not the answer in creating more individuals willing to sacrifice a little in order for our environment to thrive, with a little education and more affordable and sustainable products, everyone can make the steps in helping our environment.
References: Unknown (2009). How many solar cells would I need to provide all of the electricity my house needs? Retrieved on May 12, 2009 from, efficiency/question418.htm

Sustainable development by Violeta McKean

Development and Sustainability
Environmental Studies PHS 100
Warner Pacific College May 12, 2009
Development and Sustainability Environmental studies is a fascinating topic. I have learned so manythings on the last five weeks of school. I am happy that this subject is one of our required subjects, because if we start taking care of our planet, our children will have a better chance of enjoying all the natural wonders that God created for us.Our society needs to make many changes to confront future development and sustainability; from recycling, to changing the way we eat. In my household, my children and I are aware of the importance of recycling, but this alone is just not enough. Lately due to my high cholesterol levels, I decided to avoid all red meat and not eat dairy products as much as I did in the past. I have since switched to soy products, which a lot of people consider somewhat bland and unappetizing. I don't mind the taste, and as a matter of fact after doing some research on the benefits of not drinking cow's milk, I tend to like it even more.Soy products are thought to contain many nutrients that are beneficial in the reduction of many ailments ranging from heart disease, osteoporosis, menopause, and several other health issues, on top of that, it is also considered an excellent source of protein (Novic, 2000). Cow's milk on the other hand, has been linked to causing intestinal colic, intestinal irritation, intestinal bleeding, anemia, allergic reactions in infants and children, as well as infections such as salmonella, viral infections such as bovine leukemia or AIDS like virus, as well as concern for childhood diabetes. There is also a great risk of contamination of the milk by blood and white (pus) cells, as well as a variety of chemicals and insecticides (Kradjian, 2009).Even thought the research is still ongoing about the beneficial aspects of soy, at this point it seems to be a better choice to go with rather than cow's milk. Soy was not taken seriously until the 1920's when its nutrient value and inexpensive production became widely known. Today, three quarters of a century later, our country grows one-third of the total world supply, mostly for livestock feed and non-food commercial products. Only 2% of the soy production is destined for human consumption, in the form of tempeh, tofu, and so on (Kradjian, 2009).Scientists advice that in order to save our planet we have to make changes and one of those changes that are being suggested, is to eat less meat and fewer animal products in general (Bittman, 2009). Unfortunately, the demand for meat has multiplied in recent years. Americans eat about eight ounces of meat a day, roughly twice the global average. At about five percent of the world's population, we “process” (that is grow and kill) nearly 10 billion animals a year, more than fifteen percent of the world's total. This has created the need to build huge confined animal feeding operations. These assembly-line meat factories, consume enormous amounts of energy, pollute water supplies, generate significant greenhouse gases and require increasing amounts of corn, soy, and other grains. This has led to the destruction of vast swaths of the world's tropical rain forests to produce grain for animal feed (Bittman, 2008). Also, the agriculture in the United States—much of which serves the demand for meat—contributes nearly three-quarters of all the water-quality problems in the nation's rivers and streams, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (Bittman, 2008).The production of meat, uses so many resources; for example, according to the United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organization, 30 percent of the earth's ice-free land is directly or indirectly involved in livestock production. The NFAO, also estimates that livestock production generates nearly a fifth of the world's greenhouse gases—more than transportation (Bittman, 2008).It amazes me how everything is connected in someway or another. For example, the environment and us. The foods that we eat and our earth. The choices we make and the effects on our planet. So I find it only fit to include how changing the way we live or simply the way we eat, will affect the way we develop as humans. My major is Human Development, and it is easy to see the connection to how children are developing in different parts of the world, due to the circumstances they are being raised in. For example, children who are being raise in Mexico's Yaqui Valley, are suffering neurological effects due to pesticide poisoning. This is just an example of a plethora that exist. In destroying our environment, we are not only destroying the place that we live in, but the chances that a child might develop to their full potential. This in turn pushes third world countries to create a vicious cycle that will continue until we decide to make changes and take the poor into consideration.According to Mark Bittman from The New York Times, with all the grain we grow to feed cows to produce meat, we could feed the people that are starving and suffering from malnutrition due to lack of food (Bitman, 2008).Obviously, there is a lot that needs to be done to save our world, for now though, I have switched to soy milk and stayed away from red meat, I also recycle and turn my lights off when not in use. All of these are just small changes to the way I live. Some of these changes might require a little more effort than others, but in the end every bit helps. I encourage everyone out there to try not eating meat for at least a couple of day and staying in the lower trophic levels which provide more nutrition anyway. One person making a change, does not make a huge impact, but if more of us take a stand for our planet, we will be able to see the difference and our children and grandchildren might thank us some day.
References: Bittman, M. (2009). Eating Right can Save the Planet. Retrieved on May 12, 2009 from: Bittman, M. (2008). Save the Environment: Eat less meat. The New York Times, Retrieved on May 12, 2009 from: Kradjian, R., MD (2009). How Our Food Choices can Help Save the Environment. The milk letter. Retrieved on May 12, 2009 from: Novick, J. (2000)/ Will Soy Save the World. Retrieved on May 12, 2009 from: Withgott, J., & Bennan, S. (2008). Environment: The Science Behind the Stories (3rd ed.). New York. Pearson Benjamin Cummings. ISBN: 13: 978-0-8053-9573-0