Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Intuitive Intelligence by Laura Knechtges

Environmental Studies PHS/100
Warner Pacific College
November 28, 2010

Intuitive Intelligence
Is it an intuitive intelligence which creates awareness of habitat alteration, deforestation, pollution in our waters and animal extinction? Is it our natural curiosity that is the trajectory for scientists and society to ask questions that result in conservation or preservation?
Or is it in the moments of silence, whether it is a walk in the forest, a stroll on the beach, or a picnic in the park when we learn how we could be better stewards to our earth? All of these questions could have been what lead scientist to assess society behaviors and the impact we humans have on the earth.
We currently have the pioneers, and pilgrims of our lifetime working in the field of restoration ecology. The practice of such crusaders may give us one of the greatest results of our history. The results come from an essential part of the scientific method of observation before developing a hypothesis. It is in the observation and assessment that we begin to see the enormous footprint humans are leaving upon this land.
One example currently underway from science assessments is “the prairie plants restoration project”. Jay Withgott and Scott Brennan mention the prairie plants restoration project in their text Environment. The prairie project is occurring in the Midwest. Due to agriculture in the 19th century the prairie grass lands were devastated and are nearly nonexistent. “A number of efforts are underway to restore small patches of prairie by planting native prairie vegetation, weeding out invaders and competitors and introducing controlled fire to mimic the fires that historically maintained this community” (Withgott & Brennan, 2008). Another effort of restoration in the United States is an ongoing effort to restore the Florida Everglades, because observations of over 90-95% of wading birds have disappeared.
Withgott and Brennan also mention “One of the most exciting restoration projects is being done in Iraq”. The project is beginning the process of restoring the Mesopotamian marshes between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. It is the history of thee Rivers which create enthusiasm for their preservation.
Having an understanding how communities live together harmoniously and competitively that lead us to these great and wonderful discoveries about our society and earth. Another important aspect of society and culture are the environmental regulations an intelligent society have implemented to protect what we value most.
As a culture and society, we have the ability to look at problem solving tools. It is within the tools and policies that create what we believe are ethical for our communities at large. It is our laws, politics, and governance which is the fundamental foundation for which we contain that which if important to our society.
Within our laws, communities create environmental policies, with the intention of protecting our environment. One example of laws is the “Clean Water Act”. This was a bill passed by President Nixon in the 1970’s. It was during the Nixon administration that the Environmental Protective Agency was also created. This agency was implemented to protect our Air, Water and other environmental issues.
It is this agency we rely on to keep society aware of the environmental issues that may arise, such as oil spills, catastrophic pollution spilling into the air we breathe.
Our intentions are good and it is within this goodness we develop what we believe is right. Not only right for us but for the children of our future. It is this good intention that we create our foundational laws.

Withgott, J., & Brennan, S. (2008). Environment; The science behind the stories. San Francisco CA.: Pearson Education, Inc.

Elaine Holt's view on "A Comparison of Resource Assessments Pertaining to Oil Drilling in Northern Alaska"

Warner Pacific College
November 29, 2010

U.S. government regulation oil and gas drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) has been controversial for decades. Petroleum industry groups, petroleum companies, and some politicians, say that the potential oil and gas deposits there are greater than any found in the United States in the last 25 years. They argue we should drill for these resources in order to provide jobs, support U.S. demand for energy, reduce the cost of fuel, and to reduce our dependence on foreign oil (Arctic Power website, anwr.org)
Environmentalists, scientific organizations, researchers, and local Alaskan Natives counter, that at best, the proposed drilling site would produce about 600 days worth of oil, at great cost to the largest, and most pristine, wildlife reserve in the United States (US Fish and Wildlife website, 2001).
A variety of government agencies, and other groups, perform resource assessments in order to advise courses of action regarding natural resources and to inform future decisions. These assessments vary greatly in content, scope and conclusions. U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) resource assessments are narrow in scope. They address the amount, location, and accessibility of resources such as oil, gas and minerals for mining, drilling or other methods of removal. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service assessments consider the same, as well as impacts to the land, wildlife, and habitat. Other assessments, such as those of the National Academies of Science and their partners, are often broader in scope.
The USGS website page titled, “Natural resource assessment: Estimation of the actual or potential value of natural materials and processes.”, (U.S.Geological website, 2010) provides a listing of reports and fact sheets on various geological locations in the United States and their associated resource potential. The USGS 2010 Updated Assessment of Undiscovered Oil and Gas Resources of the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska (NPRA), assesses the “potential reserves of natural gas and oil within the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska and adjacent State waters”. (D. Houseknecht et al. pp. 1).
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 2001 assessment entitled, “Potential Impacts of Proposed Oil and Gas Development on the Arctic Refuge's Coastal Plain: Historical Overview and Issues of Concern”, addresses a much broader range of considerations than does the USGS assessment. The Fish and Wildlife assessment speaks to: “The History of the Arctic Refuge as it relates to Oil in Alaska”, “How much Oil is in the Arctic
Refuge? ”, “The Unique Conservation Values of the Arctic Refuge”, and “Potential Impacts of Oil and Gas Development on Refuge Resources.”
As the nation struggles over whether or not to allow petroleum companies to explore and drill in this region, missing from the picture is an assessment of the impact to the local native people. A video available on the Arctic Power website (anwr.og, director and producer not cited, no date), implies that the people would be better off, and the local economy and access to education would be improved, if oil exploration and drilling were allowed to take place in the ANWR.
The Committee on Cumulative Environmental Effects of Oil and Gas Activities on Alaska’s North Slope assessment (The Committee) is much more comprehensive when compared to either the USGS or the U.S. Fish and Wildlife assessments. The Committee is comprised of members from the Board on Environmental Research Toxicology, The Polar Research Board, The Division on Earth and Life Studies, and the National Research Council of the National Academies. The Committee’s assessment addresses on all of the topics surveyed by both the USGS and Fish and Wildlife. It also includes comprehensive interviews with, and assesses impacts to, the peoples of the North Slope.
The Committee reports that oil development has improved human services generally, but there greater incidents of alcoholism and diabetes. It reports loss of traditional culture and negative impacts to Alaska Native subsistence harvesting. In interviews with Native Alaskans, the Inupiat said they worry about a major oil spill, and our ability to contain and clean up such as spill, while the Gwich'in Indians, who rely on caribou for food and clothing, are concerned about the impact to the herd, particularly when the caribou are calving. This 288 page assessment also provides detailed recommendations on planning, further recommended research, the potential risk of an oil spill and the challenges of mediating such a spill.
In conclusion, there are many ways to assess natural resources. Assessments may be narrow in scope, with a very specific purpose and considering impacts to only one or a few elements, or they may be broad, such as that of the The Committee on Cumulative Environmental Effects of Oil and Gas Activities on Alaska’s North Slope. It may be that these more critical comprehensive assessments are doable because the work is performed by several organizations with a variety of mandates, and because there is no single leader.
We need to consider all aspects and impacts prior to making decisions regarding our precious non-renewable natural resources, whether these resources are animal, vegetable, mineral or people. This underlines the importance of assessments like that of The Committee on Cumulative Environmental Effects of Oil and Gas Activities on Alaska’s North Slope.


Arctic Power website. (no date). Anwr.org. retrieved at http://www.anwr.org/topten.htm on November 27, 2010

Committee on Cumulative Environmental Effects of Oil and Gas Activities on Alaska's North Slope (2003). Cumulative Environmental Effects of Oil and Gas Activies on Alaska’s North Slope. 9 pp. National Academies Press. Washington D.C. Retrieved athttp://books.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=10639&page=133 on November 27, 2010

D.W. Houseknecht et al. (2010). Updated Assessment of Undiscovered Oil and Gas Resources of the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska (NPRA). 4 pp. Retrived at pubs.usgs.gov/fs/2010/3102/pdf/FS10-3102.pdf on November 27, 2010

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 2001. Potential impacts of proposed oil and gas development on the Arctic Refuge’s coastal plain: Historical overview and issues of concern. Web page of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge,Fairbanks, Alaska. 17 January 2001. http://arctic.fws.gov/issues1.htm
U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey (2010). U.S. Geological Survey Website. (2010). Retrieved at www.usgs.gov/science.php?type=theme&term=773 on November 27, 2010

How Society Assesses Natural Resources by Lisa Burton

Warner Pacific College
Submitted on November 29, 2010

There are many tools that society uses to determine how to best use our natural resources. One of the most common ways is to do a cost-benefit analysis. Estimated costs for a proposed action are totaled up and compared to the sum of benefits estimated to result from the action. (Withgott and Brennan 2008).
Today’s capitalist market system follows the pattern of neoclassical economics. Four fundamental assumptions of neoclassical economics have implications for the environment:
• Resources are infinite or substitutable.
• Costs and benefits are internal.
• Long-term effects should be discounted.
• Growth is good.
(Withgott & Brennan 2008)
However, when dealing with environmental issues, this would not be the best way to asses our resources as natural resources are not infinite, for the most part. An example of this is unregulated mining. Some companies may over mine the land; draining it of its resources.
Another principle is that cost and benefits are only internal and do not affect others in society. Yet, in environmental related issues, this isn’t usually the case. Many external costs are not calculated into the equation. These costs are such things as the effects on the environment and the people who live in the region. A good example of this would be when a company drains the natural resources and also creates harmful byproducts that affect the environment negatively, which then in turn, affects the economic structure of a society. This commonly leads to higher poverty rates.
Another principle is that long-term effects should be discounted. Societies tend to look at only the short-term effects and do not usually calculate in any potential long-term problems. In the case of mining, long term effects could by many, from the effects on the surrounding environment to the probable and possible effects to the economic welfare of the people.
The last principle is that growth is always good. Often, when dealing with environmental issues, this would not be the case. Sometimes growth may actually harm the very resource that a society is using or the method in which said resources is harvested may harm the land or people who live near the resource.
For decades, economists have assessed the robustness of an economy by calculating the Gross Domestic Product (Withgott & Brennan 2008). One recent alternative to this is to use the Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI). The GPI calculates costs beginning with the conventional system then adds in any positive contributions that are not monetary and subtracts negative impacts. The GPI summarizes more forms of economic activity than the GDP It factors in and differentiates between economic activity that increases societal well-being and activity that decrease it (Withgott & Brennan 2008).
There are many governmental and private agencies that work to accurately calculate the various impacts on society. These agencies help to create and enforce policies and laws intended to advance societal welfare (Withgott & Brennan 2008).
Governmental agencies, such as The World Trade Organization and The United Nations, and nongovernmental organizations, can exert influence. The World Trade Organization represents multinational corporations and promotes free trade by reducing obstacles to international commerce and enforcing fairness among nations in trading practices (Withgott & Brennan 2008). The WTO has the authority to impose financial penalties on nations that do not comply with its directives (Withgott & Brennan 2008).
Many nongovernmental organizations have been successful with using the federal government to enact environmental laws. The process is a long one. First, they must identify the problem. Second, they must discover a specific cause of said problem. They must also envision a solution to the problem; this is the third step in the process. The fourth step is to get organized. Organizations are more successful than individuals as they are not as easily dismissed. The final step is to gain access to politicians who can help to enact the changes. This is done through lobbying, campaign contributions, and the revolving door (where individuals who were employed by government-regulated industries take jobs with the government agency that regulates such industry.
Politicians can help these agencies by voting for laws and policies using the legislative branch of the government. They introduce these as bills, and they are voted on in the House and the Senate and enacted by Congress.
These regulations have an enormous impact on culture and lifestyle. It stands to reason that if a mining company drains the land of its resources and pollutes the air and water, then the people who live in that area would be impacted negatively. They would most likely suffer from food shortages, illness due to pollution and economic poverty.
Governments enact laws and policies to not only protect our resources, but also to protect the economic and social viability of the people. If corporations were allowed to use resources and were not regulated, the effects would be devastating.
Environmental policies are enforced in various ways. Most often, an approach called command and control is used. It sets rules or limits and threatens punishment for violating these policies (Withgott & Brennan 2008).
Other methods used are tax breaks, subsidies, and instituting green taxes. Green taxes are intended to help fund the negative costs on the environment as well as to make corporations more responsible for any pollution they create.
Cultures and lifestyles are impacted by any and all events that surround us. If governments do not regulate use of natural resources and try to lower pollution, then lifestyles are negatively impacted. If the lifestyles of the people of a society are hurt due to the negative effects of business on the environment, the culture of the society would suffer also.
One example of this is the Mirrar Clan and the Jabiluka Uranium mine. The Mirrar depend on the resources to live and view the land as sacred. It is part of their culture. A main reason they fought the mine in Jabiluka was over the sacred spiritual sites of the tribe. Another was the negative environmental impact that the first mine in the area had on the surrounding land (Withgott & Brennan 2008).
In enacting these policies, all nations have the ability to affect their citizens lifestyles; therefore, greatly affecting the culture of the people.

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

Monday, November 29, 2010

Euriziel Perez: A Banana Journey – From Planting to Eating:

PHS 100
November 29, 2010.
One hot humid morning in “La Plantación”, Juan was hard at work trying to cover all the banana plants with blue bags. He has been up since dawn and it was almost time for his morning break. He wipes sweat off his brow and looked up at the banana plants, overwhelmed. This season has been particularly hard for Juan, who after eight years of marriage and trying to conceive a baby, had found out from his doctor that his blood stream has a high level of Armagon. This meant that he would be permanently unable to conceive a child. Juan felt shocked because this was the only job he had ever had, and it was a good job, but it was making him sick. He sighed and wished that none of this had ever happened. He wished that he would have known his job was doing this to him.
Hundreds of men like Juan become sick as a result of the toxic way corporations harvest bananas. In fact, there are three important areas that contribute to this problem: growers, large corporations based in the U.S., and demand by consumers. All of these create an unstable environment and many unhealthy workers. The current method of banana production that the mainstream corporations employ is harmful to the environment and should be changed.
Everyday, hundreds of plantations around the world ship bananas to America and European markets; however, few people know the journey of a banana before it reaches the commodity of Western homes. Bananas are one of the fruits most individuals experience during their first years of life, probably because it contains vitamin B, B1, B2, B6, vitamin C, vitamin A, folacin, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, magnesium, copper, iron, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc (Harpelle 26). Some people might consider banana as a great source of vitamins while others might probably eat bananas due to their sweet flavor. In any case, most people agree that bananas are pretty inexpensive in comparison to other fruits and the fact that they come from very far away.
The use of DBCP has resulted in the mass sterilization of hundreds of thousands of plantation workers from Central America, and the Caribbean to the Philippines and West Africa. Carcinogenicity, reproductive and developmental toxicity, neurotoxicity, and acute toxicity are just some of the symptoms that chemicals applied to bananas have on the harvesters. But what about the plastic bags that cover banana bunches which are saturated with chemicals like chlropyrifos. Although no study has found risks for human beings in direct contact with chlropyrifos, Rachel Carson, in her book Silent Spring ads,
“The whole problem of pesticides poisoning is enormously complicated by the fact that a human being, unlike a laboratory animal living under rigidly controlled conditions, is never exposed to one chemical alone. Between the major groups of insecticides, and between them and other chemicals, there are interactions that have serious potentials. Whether released into soil or water or a man’s blood, these unrelated chemicals do not remain segregated; there are mysterious and unseen changes by which one alters the power of another for harm”(194-195).

In this case it is very difficult to clearly determine the precise risks of human beings once they are in direct contact with a variety of chemicals, as it is the case with many banana harvesters and millions of banana consumers around the world.
One could think that the banana problem does not concern us; however, every time we buy bananas from multinational corporations, we become guilty by association because in a direct way, we are contributing to the destruction of human lives. Even if one does not care for the conditions in which banana harvesters are working, at least one can be concerned about the product we as consumers receive. The high amount of chemicals that is used to produce bananas affects the environment. Many people might think that we live too far from that environment and it does not affect us; however, just a few miles outside Portland Oregon, an industrial landfill in Sauvie Island could grow up to 45 feet on a site that is zoned for farming. This measure has residents up in arms (Swart 1). How many of us spend summer afternoons at Sauvie Island picking berries, peaches, vegetables, and other fruits? probably many. Would you be willing to go to Sauvie Island again next summer if next to the farm you can see a landfill the size of 28 football fields? Probably not because we would be concern about the impact that this landfill could have in our immediate environment and specially the impact the landfill would cause in the fruit we bring to our homes and share with our families. Just like we care about the fruits produced here; we must care about fruits that come from afar, as well as the harvesters here or there, everyone deserves a safe environment and healthy food.
In order to create a favorable situation for every human being, education needs to take place in a massive way. Consumers need to find more about the produce we are buying. I know economics play a big role in the produce most people buy; however, if we all take steps towards natural produce, the prices will come down. Multinational corporations might not be or feel obligated to provide information on the side effects of pesticides and chemicals utilized in the growing process of their produce to their employees in the fields so that they can know the consequences of their exposure to the chemicals as well as to the consumers, as a human resources manager, it would be part of my goal to create bulletin boards, training sessions to assure that employees have a clear understanding of the risks and how they can still harvest the product in a safer way.
Multinational corporations based in America play an important role in the economy of many countries around the word. The changes in environmental friendly practices and better working conditions for workers have to change. It would be difficult to expect for it to change immediately because human lives are been affected due to the lack of implementation of safe material handling. Workers and consumers must stand in the same side because we are all impacted by the utilization of chemicals in our produces.

Work Cited Page
Carson, Rachel. Silent Spring. Boston:First Mariner Book,2002.194-195.
Cothran, Helen, ed. The Environment: Opposing Viewpoints. San Diego
Greenhaven, 2005.85.
Harpelle, Ronald,eds. Banana Stories -The Banana in All Its Splendor. Thunder
Bay:ShebaPress, 2003.
McWhirter, Cameron, and Mike Gallagher. "“Subsidiaries Have Sprayed Toxic
Cocktails, Varying Mixtures of Potent Chemicals, on Their Plantations Without Removing Workers First." Cincinnati Explorer 3 May 1998. 20 Nov. 2010 .
Swart, Cornelius. "This Place is a Dump." Sentinel Nov. 2010, 12 ed.: 1-6.
"Corporate Reponsability." Chiquita Banana. 11 Dec. 2007. 20 Nov. 2010
"Organics to You Farm Fresh Home Delivery." Organics to You. 2006. Nov..
2010 .

Maintaining a Smaller-Footprint Therapeutic Garden by Julie Brown

PHS 100
Warner Pacific College
November 29, 2010

This paper will serve as one of an initial collection of papers to be used for a hospital therapeutic garden maintenance manual. Often maintenance strategies and tolerance thresholds are misunderstood in the hospital setting. The manual is intended for horticultural therapists, maintenance providers (the gardeners), and healthcare staff. The goal of the manual is to clearly state purposes of the gardens, advocate for willingness to change standards in landscaping in favor of reduced-footprint influences, and increase awareness and respect of natural rhythms; to promote the understanding of universal design and its implications. An overall goal is to increase awareness of gardens in healthcare, AND to emphasize the necessity of properly trained gardeners.
The goal of this paper is to address the environmental portion of maintenance, which is usually the first principle people will accept and appreciate.

Maintaining a Reduced-Footprint Therapeutic Garden
The therapeutic garden is not the rare space it used to be. Hospitals, care centers, and one park in Portland, Oregon have built therapeutic gardens to enhance the treatment milieu. Using nature as a therapeutic medium is almost as old as humankind and new and novel in our present day. Lacking a standardized, one-definition explanation, we can find Therapeutic Gardens described as a natural space that supports an identifiable population while in agreement with universal design; "often with a specific purpose, such as encouraging seniors to get outside for exercise, sunlight, and fresh air; or allowing children to 'blow off steam' during a hospital visit; or helping patients learn to use a wheelchair on outdoor surfaces before leaving the hospital. They should be designed using the most current research available. This is called evidence-based design " (www.healinglandscapes.org/gardens-overview.html). Universal design is best described as a design to include and be usable by as many people as possible without the need for adaptations.
The Portland Memory Garden (PMG) is located in Ed Benedict Park, 104 SE Bush St. is well used by the neighborhood and the larger community, but was designed specifically for people with memory disorders, including Alzheimer's disease and dementia. Garden features that address memory disorders and physical frailty include a circular design to bring the visitor back to a central place, and so if a person wanders they cannot get lost or be stuck in a dead end. From the main entrance which is slightly elevated, a caregiver has a view of the entire garden. Many seating areas invite frequent rests. Shade, cover, and bathroom facilities also address comfort and safety; the Memory Garden is maintained for safety, with careful plant selection, pruning for open spaces and high visibility. The most effective safety feature is the main gate that can be closed to allow the dementia visitor to walk freely and their caregiver to relax knowing their loved one cannot wander away. Other activities in the garden include special events: weddings, engagement and Quinceria photos because of the lovely backdrop. The garden is the site of regular and scheduled community events with young families and bicycle clubs and senior facilities. The reader is encouraged to see much more at the Portland Memory Garden website at http://portlandmemorygarden.org/. With all of this human activity, it is unthinkable to have fussy, high maintenance plants sprayed with poisonous pesticides. So, how is the therapeutic garden maintained to favor sustainability and what are principles and changes we can make to reduce our footprint there?
What to change
Responsible environmental practices and the therapeutic garden share similar principles: kindness to garden visitors and kindness to the earth. The whole person is valued and treatment is based on the least invasive methods. The garden respects the soil and the life found there, and uses the least toxic pest treatments. How can we care for the garden with a gentler, more thrifty, and less invasive touch? We can change the way we landscape. The changes needed to address the future and sustainability are in our attitudes and perceptions of beauty and attitudes toward healing. Real change begins with attitude.
This writer's attitude is also (my) opinion based on 10 years of work in therapeutic gardens, and most of that in hospital gardens. It is not backyard gardening where we can plant with few restrictions and putter around on Saturdays, neither is it landscape maintenance that treats vast areas in minimum time and uses stock industrial strength plants. The tolerance threshold for each element, pests, grooming and pruning, is unique to each garden; more respect is given the natural life cycle and the possibility of nature solving imbalances. The therapeutic garden considers wildlife an equally important part of maintenance and respect for natural cycles. The garden must also work within a budget. Still, the most important attitude change I have experienced is understanding that plants need our care only because we put them in our care. The care given also reflects that given to the hospitalized patient and family, so we must be careful to respect and treat each element of the garden (family) with extreme value.
The Right Plant in the Right Place
Because we put them in our care it is right and just to cause little disruption to the natural environment. We use the “right plant in the right place” as the basis for almost all further plans and decisions. The right plant is happy where it is…it requires less attention, which means less water, fertilizer, pest control measures, less time on the clock caring for it. The adage about self change, "it's easier to put on slippers than to carpet the whole world" applies well to small-footprint gardening. The right plant does not require a change in the immediate environment (soil pH, water, fertilizer), that plant's cultural requirements will fit into the immediate environment because it is native to the area or from similar environment. Taking cues from nature we can build healthy soil, conserve water, and use organic gardening techniques.
Plant the right plant in soil build with organic material and use an appropriate mulch, one that is found in nature. Ideal soil contains 50% solid material, minerals and organic matter, and 50% open pore space for water, air passage, earth worms and other creatures. Compost, leaves, manure, holds water and makes the nutrients needed for strong and healthy plants available to plant roots. It keeps the soil light and friable and allows roots to penetrate. Organic material supports the microbial life that in turn breaks down more organic material and makes nutrients available to the plants (Reiley, H., Shry, C., 1997. pgs. 32-38). More information on building soil, improving structure, can be found at www.organicgardeninfo.com. Follow the many links for even more information.
A word on changing attitudes and natural rhythms and systems: allow the therapeutic garden to slip naturally into fall and winter. Yes, we are called to complete our fall clean up before the fungi have a place to incubate, (so do clean up old wet leaves) but to honor the cycle and allow perennial seeds to remain on the stem. Finches and other small winter birds love Rudbeckia, sunflower, and Echinacea seeds. Educate visitors and encourage them to appreciate old brown seeds for their part in the winter cycle and the nourishment of little birds. Cultivate appreciation for the system, the elements working together, each affecting the other in some way.
Water conservation
An excellent online resource for basic garden water conservation is found at www.conserveh2o.org., website of the Regional Water Providers Consortium, which promotes cost-efficient use, wise stewardship, and protection of our water resources with the goal of meeting the values of members and the needs of future generations. The Consortium educational materials include a downloadable book of water-wise plant choices for the Pacific Northwest. Conservation tips, design, and strategies to employ: use a rain barrel. They hold 55 gallons of rain water to supplement or replace regular watering. Mulch with organic material to prevent excess evaporation. The rain garden is a no-extra-resource-needed specialty sink garden that establishes plants with spring rain and runoff, and survives the summer without supplemental water. The rain garden is a product of design and plant selection that trades beauty for less water down the storm drain.
Again, the right plant will not need excess water, that is by its second year. Drought tolerant means after the plant is established.

Pest review
Make careful and informed decisions for pest problems and grooming. Any chemical controls will affect beneficial insects also. Much better to provide biological and mechanical controls for pests. Biological controls are predators: insects that feed on or otherwise use plant pests and disease. A tiny wasp lays eggs in a tinier caterpillar or white fly for example, or a thousand Ladybugs released on an aphid infestation will control the aphids (Flint & Gouveia, 2001, pgs 98, 99, 104). A control that depends on the changed attitude concerns the hop vine. If you cannot tolerate aphids, don't plant hops. If you love hops, be willing to live with aphids. Treat with ladybugs in June, an learn about the ladybug life cycle. Hunting and picking slugs by night is a darkly satisfying mechanical control. To sum up, never use chemicals. They wash into drains and into sewer systems or the water supply. Chemicals are indiscriminate: the will kill butterflies, bees, lacewings, spiders and more. Instead, use the right plant; the right plant will not be easily stressed, which weakens and makes it susceptible to disease and insects.
The time has long come to cease a heavy handed human style of taming the landscape. The changes needed to address the future and sustainability as the relate to the garden are in our attitudes and perceptions of beauty, the appreciation for natural rhythms, and our willingness to refrain from invasive procedures. A holistic approach in people takes in mind body spirit; with nature a whole approach is location, selection, and an eye for true beauty. The environment impacts all three. Real change begins with attitude.

Flint, M.L., & Gouveia, P. (2001). IPM in Practice. Oakland, CA.: University of California.
Reily, H., & Shry, C., (1997). Introductory Horticulture. Albany, N.Y. Delmar Publishers

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Mt Hood Eruption: Addressing Vulnerabilities by Julie Brown

PHS 100
Professor D. Terrell
Warner Pacific College
November 19, 2010

Mt. Hood Eruption: Addressing Vulnerabilities
Scientists say an eruption of Mt Hood is unlikely, still the possibility is enough to give pause and to assess our vulnerabilities and resources in the event of an eruption or other natural disaster in the northwest. The U.S. Geological Survey has monitoring and response programs in place to warn and prepare for volcanic events; other agencies, the American Red Cross for example, have funds, materials and human resources to mobilize in emergencies. My concerns lie mainly on emotional health of our community and our ability to effectively and soundly manage challenges associated with the longer term effects of a volcanic eruption. I will offer personal speculation on who and what might be vulnerable in a local volcanic event.
Before an Eruption
The U.S. Geologic Survey Cascades Volcano Observatory (CVO) in Vancouver, Washington, was founded in 1980 following the eruption of Mount St. Helens. The observatory works in partnership with other USGS centers and emergency agencies to monitor volcanic activity and provide timely warning of eruptions, and assess hazards from volcanoes (pyroclastic flow, ash clouds, lehar flooding). They continue to improve on methods to better monitor and predict behavior of volcanoes; and work to educate all levels of the public and media about what volcanoes can do. The CVO also shares volcano information with emergency-management and planning officials which include the Emergency Alert System, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and relief organizations.
Empowerment through preparedness
One factor in anxiety disorders including Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is the nature of the unexpected. If a person has an opportunity to anticipate a potentially traumatic situation, assume an amount of control, and take action, then that one is less likely to suffer serious lasting affects (Mills, Reiss, Dombeck, 2010). Therefore, early warning acts as a major influence in the emotional health of volcano survivors.
The Emergency Alert System continues to adapt to new technologies for various communication applications. CNN Tech news (http://articles.cnn.com/) announces new technologies in emergency notification, including text messaging available now. Emergency response agencies, government agencies including military and FEMA, and relief services mobilize and provide rescue (consider the National Guard being the first on the scene to lift Katrina survivors from rooftops), evacuation plans, and relief. The Red Cross provides counselors on staff in addition to emergency food, shelter, medicine, clothing. Sadly, hurricane Katrina served as a tragic lesson in emergency preparedness follow through, and one I believe America will not repeat.
The vulnerable
The vulnerable in our communities include the elderly, infants, those with disabilities, and language barriers, which can cause greater feelings of risk. Survivors of past trauma are particularly vulnerable to anxiety disorders. Other influences, according to the American Red Cross, adults at risk for mental health problems think that they (a) are uncared for by others, (b) have little control over what happens to them, or (c) lack the capacity to manage stress.
Health and help for trauma
The American Psychological Association offers information on symptoms of stress and how to help. Symptoms in brief:
• Intense feelings, unpredictable at times
• Physiological responses including rapid heartbeat, sweating, cognitive impairment or delay
• Interpersonal relationship strained: conflict and arguments, or withdrawal and isolation.
Helping yourself and family:
• Be patient, give yourself time to heal.
• Ask for support: support groups, loved ones.
• Take care of your body, sleep as best as possible, nourishment, avoid alcohol and drugs
• Seek the spiritual
The last entry is from my personal experience. When I have felt I have nothing left God has been there to remind me that I actually have everything.
Standing at the Weyerhouser Visitor's Center twenty-five years after the blast at Mt St Helens I am profoundly humbled by the remains of an explosion to rival approximately 20,000 Hiroshima-size atomic bombs. There remains an enormous gaping hole in the earth. This is more power than I can imagine, more destruction than I can conceive. Should an eruption, flood, tornado or tsunami occur any time soon, I believe lessons learned and the continual improvement of technology will offer even better preparedness, which is the crux of limiting mental, emotional, physical and environmental impacts of natural disasters.

FCC Approves Emergency Alert Text Messaging System Retrieved 11/21/10 from http://articles.cnn.com
David A. Johnston Cascades Volcano Observatory U.S. Geological Survey
Retrieved 11/21/10 from http://vulcan.wr.usgs.gov/
Mt St Helens and Catastrophism Retrieved 11/20/10 from http://www.icr.org/article/mt-st- helens-catastrophism
Stress: perception and reality Retrieved 11/22/10 from http://www.apa.org/

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Laura Knechtges' view of "Scientific Method and Western Culture"

Environmental Studies PHS/100
Professor Terrell, Ph.D.
Warner Pacific College
November 20, 2010

Scientific Method
The only sound that could be heard was the alien chatter between the birds, which was muffled by the wind, filtering through the limbs and branches of the canopied forest. The light from the sun weaved through the squared and triangulated shapes, the trees made with its majestic limbs. This must be what the first Westerners soon discovered as they began to unravel the mystery of the new Western World. Many including David Thoreau wrote of the beauty of the environment the forest creates.
"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived" (Lenat, 2009).
Thoreau believed from his core that living simply would be the very thing that would keep the lasting beauty of the chattering birds and the weaving of sunlight between the trees.
Westerners adapted many beliefs and values for the environment. We have had those with radical behavior and chain themselves to a tree, because the core of their being believes it will end the cutting of trees.
Or you may find yourself reading about a heavily polluted lake sitting near an improvised neighborhood because the ore, coal or oil needed to sustain a lifestyle of the people.
The continuum of thought keeps the pendulum swinging; from the far right to the far left as we begin to develop ideas of what is ethical about the earth. This is the democratic way of western civilization; the foundation of our society.
If we were to ask what is the foundation of western culture with its relationship to the environment we might take a scientific approach. What would be the method for coming to a conclusion regarding our belief about our responsibility to the earth, other living creatures?
The beauty of science often looks at the detail, facts and evidence that come forward, when facts are revealed.
Several steps and techniques are involved in the scientific method. Jay Withgott and Scott Brennan write “The scientific method relies on universal functions with fixed natural laws that do not change, all events arise from cause of events, we use our natural senses to detect cause and effect relationships we observe in nature” (Scott, Withgott 2008). There is a formalized procedure used in the scientific method which includes; observations, asking questions, developing a hypothesis, make predications, test the predictions, analyze and interpret results.
The scientific method is fist set into motion with an observation which is followed by a question. It is the curiosity that may drive science. Once the inquiry occurs then it may be followed by a statement of explanation. It is not until the statement has been tested by an experiment which involves variables that are dependant or independent called a controlled experiment.
Once the experiment is concluded it is analyzed and interpreted with quantitative and qualitative data.
It is important to remember that the hypotheses are tested in different ways; manipulative experiments and natural experiments. The manipulative experiment provides the strongest evidence.
Once all testing and research has been completed the scientific process ends with a peer review; a written journal examined by other scientist then often the process ends with presentation to others and the hope is to have the research funded by grantees.
Science has found this to be the most democratic way to get out the information founded by scientists’. The democratic way of science seems of course is a Western philosophy and science may work in an entirely different manner around the world.

Lenat, R. (2009). Thereau Reader. Retrieved Nov. 20, 2010, from Thoreau Reader, EServer web publishing project, at Iowa State University, in Ames, Iowa.. Web site: http://thoreau.eserver.org/citesite.html.
Withgott, J., & Brennan, S. (2008). Environment, the science behind the stories. San Francisco, CA: Pearson Education Inc,.

Scientific Method and our Western Culture by Greg Hartnell

Western Culture and Science
Environmental Studies, PHS 100
Professor David Terrell, PH. D.
November 20, 2010

At first the prospect of writing a paper on “What is the scientific method and how it has been the foundation of Western Culture” seemed a daunting task. Understanding the processes of the ‘scientific method’ that scientists use when undertaking a scientific study is not all that difficult. As implied in our text there is nothing mysterious about it; it is merely a formalized version of the procedure any of us might naturally take, using common sense, to resolve a question. (Withgott & Brennan, 2008)
The active involvement by scientists, utilizing the scientific method has driven our modern culture to new heights of awareness in two important disciplines: Social science and natural science—giving way to environmentalism.
Now, by understanding the scientific method (in its rudimentary form) I am able to begin my own process of discovery as to its (the scientific method) place in the foundation of our Western Culture.

Western Culture can be characterized as an ‘advanced’ civilization due in large part to the broad spectrum of knowledge gained by the key element of science—the scientific method.
What is the scientific method? It is an observational technique used by scientists to test ideas—in an orderly manner. However, this ‘orderly manner’ may differ from one scientist to another, respective of their field of endeavor and the particular challenge they face. In circumstances that warrant an ‘out-of-the-box’ approach a scientist may be inclined to stretch the basic methodology but, the scientist will still very much rely on the tried and true assumptions as outlined in the PHS 100 text (Withgott & Brennan, 2008):
 The universe functions in accordance with fixed natural laws that do not change from time to time or from place to place.
 All events arise from some cause or causes and, in turn, cause other events.
 We can use our senses and reasoning abilities to detect and describe natural laws that underlie the cause-and-effect relationships we observe in nature.
 The scientific method as outlined is as follows: Observation, questions, hypothesis, predictions, test and results. A hypothesis may be rejected which would be an immediate result, or it fails rejection which then moves the process to the prediction stage, testing stage, and finally the results stage. It must be noted that there plausible variations of this model.
As written in the Introduction of this paper, “understanding the processes of the scientific method is not all that difficult.” That being said, applying the methodology to specific situations to achieve a result requires a learned and trained mind capable of the aforementioned analytical processing.
When I think of our “Western Culture” in the context that its foundation is rooted in the scientific method—I am conflicted by the remembrance of that old saw; “what came first, the chicken or the egg?” Was the scientific responsible for the elevation of knowledge that brought about the rise of Western Culture, or did the creative arts cue the rise of knowledge and awareness?
The scientific method may be a pillar of the Western Culture; but a culture cannot stand on a single pillar. The enlightenment that began in the Renaissance era was rooted in science and the arts. Coupled with an endowment of generational experience and cumulative world knowledge our Western Culture has evolved mainly because it has embraced and enhanced the scientific, the arts, and the freedom to explore all possibilities. Western Culture has and will continue to evolve as humans continue their quest for the certainty of their observations.


Withgott, J., & Brennan, S. (2008). Environment, the science behind the stories. San Francisco: Pearson Benjamin Cummings.

Monday, November 22, 2010

"Quiet Down and Listen" by Debora Southworth

Energy Dependence in the United States:
PHS 100 Environmental Science
Dr. David Terrell
Warner Pacific College
November 12, 2010

Many Americans are still resistant to the idea that we as a nation are addicted to fossil fuel as a means of energy production. In the past 25 years, the idea has begun to gain ground not only with the conservationist community where the idea has always been popular, but the general public as well. A portion of us are finally awakening to the fact that this country needs to become less dependent on fossil fuels to power our daily lives and produce our sustenance goods. We are also becoming aware that our economy is suffering from our dependence on foreign oil imports. Yet there are still huge pockets of resistance to the need to actively conserve the resources we have left to us. Phrases like “drill baby, drill” and “if I can pay for it, it isn’t too expensive” are still a part of our daily language. This paper will talk about how it is possible to wean this country slowly from oil and other fossil fuels and the alternatives to these substances that are in research and development for common consumption.

Quiet Down and Listen

The United States and China are now in competition for the title of World Energy Hogs. Up till very recently, the United States was the biggest user of fossil fuels in the world. Second to none, since the glut of cheap sweet crude that glutted the marketplace, our usage and dependence has skyrocketed. OPEC is seeing record profits and they are coming out of the pockets if the American and Chinese consumers.

Anyone who can read that sentence and not feel a chill run down his or her spine still lives under the misguided impression that a miracle will happen and the oil producing companies will discover an ocean of oil that will last till the end of time and gas prices will drop to levels not seen since the late 1960s. Dream on consumer, dream on. Here are the realities;
A) The world currently sits at the top of the peak of fossil fuel consumption. It looks something like this;
(Foss, 2004)
B) As it is perfectly obvious from looking at this chart, demand and prices are going up while production is going down. Feeling a little dizzy yet? Is your pocket book having tremors? Just wait, it gets worse.
C) China is experiencing an upsurge in their economy which is placing an increased demand not only on fossil fuel, but other non-renewable resources.
(Staniford, 2010)
This is what their consumption levels look like. Do you see a similarity here?
So, here it is in a nutshell; we are heading toward another oil crisis. OPEC has tightened exports and crude oil prices are spiking much as they did in the 1970s during the oil embargo. This country had to rely solely on its own oil output to survive. For those who were born in the 1980s or later and are unaware of what happened during the oil embargo, please allow this writer to enlighten the reader from personal experience. So, let’s all quiet down and listen.

As a long time resident of North Portland, this writer can recall that at one point, there were 11 full service gasoline stations on North Lombard from North Portsmouth to North Leavitt Streets. That is 6 stop lights and more than 60 blocks. In the early 1970s that meant the gasoline station also included an automotive mechanic and an attendant who not only gassed up your car, but cleaned the windshield, checked the air pressure in your tires and made sure all the fluids in your car were at appropriate levels. When the oil embargo first struck in mid 1973 after the OPEC nations flexed their political muscles after the U.S. and Great Britain committed the ultimate faux pas of standing by a political ally in the mid east, the privately owned family run stations were the first to feel the effects of this political decision. (Barsky, 2004) They sold out their supplies to local consumers in a matter of days to panic buying.

Then the panic deepened. There were lines of cars stretching the length of Lombard from the St Johns end to North Greely. Cars would run out of gas waiting in lines for fuel from gas stations that had run out of fuel themselves as fights broke out over the last two gallons of gasoline at stations that had been out for more than five days. Many small owners went out of business in a very short time. This author’s family was one of those who lost their business when prices began to rise exponentially. At the beginning of the embargo, gasoline sold for an average of 35 cents a gallon. By the end of it in 1973, gas prices had tripled. It took an act of diplomatic legerdemain by then Secretary of State Henry Kissinger to negotiate prices back down to “only” double what they had been only 1 year before.

Gas rationing became a national catch phrase again. The last time fuel rationing had been done in the US was during WW II when supplies were running short because of shipping restrictions due to war. The nation was under siege and held hostage by its own addictions to cheap fuel. Then President Gerald Ford lowered the nation’s freeway speed limit to 55 miles per hour in response to the nation’s call for solutions. For more than a year, this country made due without easy access to gasoline. It was a matter of several months before the country was put on a system that allowed people to obtain gasoline in a more orderly manner.

Fast forward to the present day. There is no such thing as a steady gas price. Fuel that had once been less expensive per gallon than a candy bar sells for more than eight times what it sold for in 1973. OPEC countries are sitting squarely on the largest deposits of crude oil in the world. The USA and China are the world’s largest users. But those deposits won’t last forever. They may not hold out another 10 years at our current rates of consumption. This time permanent steps to scale back our use of fossil fuels MUST be taken. There are no other options open to us all. Here is one option that has been presented many times and yet there are still those who oppose it.

The Pacific Northwest sits in a solar and wind rich region. There is technology available to us that will steadily decrease our needs for these dwindling fuels.

Wind turbines have been set up in The Gorge. Wind is a common fact of life in our region. People will feel about these turbines much the same way residents of Texas felt about the oil wells that sprung up and dotted their landscape 70 years ago. The difference is that the wind turbines don’t make noise and produce smells that make people physically ill. Sure, they hinder the view, but the trade off is less dependence on fossil fuels to power our homes.

Solar panel farms must be set up as well. The experiment by the State of Oregon to power the freeway lights along the I-205 and I-5 corridors between Wilsonville and Portland have been a raging success, provided a way to keep the metal thieves out of them is found. The technology may not be perfected now, but the future holds great things in store for us if we can be the forward thinkers we have been in the past.

Alternative fuels for vehicles have been a source of contention for 30 years or more. Now the time has come for us to put aside our pugilistic natures and work together. Although the way our leaders are treating each other these days, it looks like that may not happen unless the public makes it clear by a clear and concise vote of our pocketbooks that these things are what we want and what we need in order to survive.

Someone once said that it is only on the precipice that human kind is capable of change. The precipice is exactly where we stand. Change is never easy out here, east of Eden. There is no God to speak to us in an audible voice and tell us that this is what we MUST do. He speaks to us in a soft Voice that it is up to us to hear. And we must quiet down and listen. Science and science fiction are great places to start our process. After all, thanks to the late, great Gene Roddenberry, we have today’s cell phones and automatic doors. Just think of what we could do if we looked around and said to ourselves, “Look at that. I wonder if we can develop this into a usable product.” If not for that question, we would still have suppressed the Electric car and the Volt, the Leaf and the Prius would never have been developed and now sold to the buying public.
Now, we just have to get ourselves into the right habits. Recycling EVERYTHING is a great start. The Depression Era population could teach us a thing or two about using it up and wearing it out; we just need to quiet down and listen.
Barsky, R. B. (2004). Oil & The Macro Economy. Journal of Econmoic Perspectives , 18 (4), 115-134.
Foss, B. (2004, July 2). The Earth's Best Defense. Retrieved November 12, 2010, from Natural Resources Defence Council: http://www.nrdc.org/air/transportation/gasprices.asp
Staniford, S. (2010, January 7). Early Warning. Retrieved November 12, 2010, from The Risks to Global Civilization: http://earlywarn.blogspot.com/2010/01/where-are-chinese-cars-in-their-oil.html

Hal Linton's view of "Alternative Energy System"

Warner Pacific College
A reality facing all of us is that there is not enough oil, at our current consumption rate, to keep the world’s economy going. The cost of filling up our vehicles at the pump has increased by more than 30% in the past two years and people are worried because our nation is so dependent on the rest of the world for oil. Everyone has a responsibility to make sure we have the energy we need for future generations while at the same time protecting our environment.
Everyone wants to save energy and reduce their bills. There are many things we can do around our house to lessen the energy we consume and, which if practiced, will save us money. Change the air filters in your furnace. A clogged air filter will make your furnace run roughly and may damage it. Do not close air registers in unused rooms. Forced-air furnaces are meant to heat a certain amount of square footage. Closing the register is pointless as the furnace does not know that the register is closed and the air has got to go somewhere. In addition, the cold air from the room will actually cool the rest of the house down. Some appliances, if left plugged in, will continue to draw power even if they are turned off. Either unplug them or get a power strip where you can cut power to the circuit and stop the draw of electricity. Use only the normal cycle on your dishwasher as it will clean the dishes just as well as the heavy cycle. Applying these simple practices around your home can save energy (Energy Refuge.com 2009).
Many of us leave our computers running continuously. The rule is that it uses less energy to keep it running than it does to shut them down because the majority of the power they consume is during start-up. This may not be so true now. The new Microsoft Windows 7 has a much faster boot time so it will be easier now to turn your computer off since it can be re-started much quicker (AlternativeEnergy.com 2010).

We must all work to harness the renewable resources available to us so we can reduce the cost of energy, pollution, and our dependence on foreign oil. Engineers and scientists are working in the private sector as well as the public sector to find new ways to use renewable energy that are more cost effective and dependable. Some of the technologies being worked on are, solar energy, Biofuels like biodiesel, straight vegetable oil, wind power, Hydrogen fuel, Hybrid and Electric Cars, Geothermal and mini hydroelectric (TLA 2008).
Computer hardware manufacturer Logitech is soon to release a new solar powered wireless keyboard for your computer. This will free you from the hassles of changing batteries and eliminate the environmental concerns of disposing of the battery. Various small inventions such as these can and will make a difference in our environment and help conserve our limited natural resources.
Opponents contend that there are too many technological challenges to overcome before alternative energy can replace even a small portion of fossil fuel energy. Currently they are correct but we must continue to research and develop these new technologies so future generations will be able to survive and live in a clean environment. Arjun Makhijani, PhD, President of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research stated “With the right combination of technologies, it is likely that even the use of coal can be phased out, along with nuclear electricity.” That is a powerful statement and one we should all hope will be true

Alternative Energy.com (2010). Solar-Powered Keyboards. Retrieved November 19, 2010 from
AlternativeEnergy.com (2010). Win 7 Saves Energy. Retrieved November 17, 2010 from http://www.alternativeenergy.com/

EnergyRefuge.com (2009). Do You Make These Energy Mistakes? Retrieved November 17, 2010 from http://www.energyrefuge.com/archives/do-you-make-these-energy-mistakes.htm

ProCon.org (2007). Can alternative energy effectively replace fossil fuels? Retrieved November 19, 2010 from

TLA, Inc (2008). My Energy Friends - Alternative Energy - Renewable Energy. Retrieved November 18, 2010 from http://www.myenergyfriends.com/

Evelyn Hull's view on "Society’s Dependence on Energy Resources"

PHS 100 Environmental Studies:
Professor D. Terrell
Warner Pacific College
November 19, 2010

Society’s Dependence on Energy Resources
As a society we are dependent on energy resources and we have an opportunity to develop an alternative system to satisfy the energy needs of our society. The first water wheel that first generated electricity was built in 1882 and when the United States began building dams to help generate electricity they were small and did not adversely affect the flow of the river. As we began to expand westward, the small dams became insufficient.
The Depression of the 1930's, coupled with widespread floods and drought in the West, spurred the building of great multipurpose Reclamation projects such as Grand Coulee Dam on the Columbia River, Hoover Dam on the lower Colorado River, and the Central Valley Project in California. This was the "big dam" period, and the low-cost hydropower produced by those dams had a profound effect on urban and industrial growth. Farming was tremendously important to America during the war and continues to be today. Reclamation delivers 10 trillion gallons of water delivered to more than 31 million people each year.
The theory is to build a dam on a large river that has a large drop in elevation. Gravity causes it to fall through the penstock inside the dam. At the end of the penstock there is a turbine propeller, which is turned by the moving water. The shaft from the turbine goes up into the generator, which produces the power. Power lines are connected to the generators that carry electricity to homes and businesses.
The reservoir acts much like a battery, storing power in the form of water when demands are low and producing maximum power during daily and seasonal peak periods
There are some major advantages of the hydroelectric power plants is that they do not require any fuel for producing power. The hydroelectric power plants utilize renewable energy of water to generating electricity. Since the hydroelectric power plants do not burn any fuel no pollution is caused by them. It does not emit harmful gases and particulate matter, thus keeps the surrounding atmosphere clean and healthy for living. The life of hydroelectric power plants is longer than the life of thermal power plants. There are some hydroelectric power plants that were built more than 50-100 years ago and are still running with no foreseeable issues. Wind farm life expectancy is only 20 years and coal-fired power plants last about 30 years. Water from the dams can also be used for the irrigation of farm lands thus producing the agriculture outputs throughout the year even in the areas where there is scanty or no rainfall. The dams also help prevent floods in the areas adjoining the large rivers. Since no fuel is required for the hydroelectric power plants, the cost of electricity produced by them is more or less constant. It does not depend on the cost of fuels like coal, oil and natural gas in the international market. The country does not even have to import the fuel for running the hydroelectric power plant thus saving lots of local currency. For the working of hydroelectric power plant very few people are required since most of the operations are automated, thus operating costs of hydroelectric power plants are low. Further, as the hydroelectric power plants become older, the cost of generation of electricity from it becomes cheaper since initial capital cost invested in the plant is recovered over the long period of operations.
It is estimated that the total hydropower that has the potential to be converted into hydroelectricity is about 14 000TWh (tera watt hours), which is five times than the potential hydroelectricity which is being exploited today. There are 82,600 dams in the world - only 3% generate power. It would be great if as a society used the energy produced by these dams instead of letting just lie there.

Diesendorf, M. 2004. Comparison of Employment Potential of the Coal and Wind Power Industries. International Journal of Environment, Workplace, and Employment, 82-90.
Khemani, Haresh. 2008. Advantages of Hydroelectric Power Plants. Retrieved from
http://www.brighthub.com/environment/renewable-energy/articles/7728.aspx on November 10,2010
Khemani, Haresh. 2008. Past, Present and Future of Hydroelectric Power Plants - Part 3: Future. Retrieved from http://www.brighthub.com/engineering/mechanical/articles/9017.aspx#ixzz15lBR77iu on November 10, 2010

Ashley Hatton's view of energy and our society

As society has developed and our population has expanded, our need for sources of energy has grown. Unfortunately, we have become dependent on non renewable energy resources that are also damaging our environment because of the pollutants these resources omit. For the future we need to research and develop multiple renewable and clean energy sources that can meet the needs of the world’s growing population.
Fortunately the world has become aware of the harm that some of our current energy sources can cause. One recent incident in particular is the Gulf Coast BP spill which is estimated to have spilled 185 million gallons (Oils Spill Facts) underwater which is threatening wildlife and the surrounding economy and ecosystem. Incidents like the BP Oil spill and new research that shows environmental damage from our preferred energy method is leading to the use of new renewable and environmentally sound energy sources.
If we continue to pollute at our current rate, we will be in for a rude awaking in the near future—perhaps as the 1973 Richard Fleischer film Soylent Green predicted. Looking to the future, we need to develop and use new renewable energy sources so that we may be a sustainable world. There are some new advances such as hybrid vehicles and solar electricity, but they have yet to be perfected. As of 2005, there were only 200,000 hybrids on the road with 17 million other non hybrid vehicles. Those only account for 1.2% of vehicles on the road and hybrids still rely on some gasoline. (Hybrid Owners) Solar panels are so costly most people are not willing to make the initial investment. As of 2005 a household would need to spend $30-40,000 in order to turn their home into an energy efficient solar run home. (Trusty Guides)
If the US would be willing to spend more money and invest in the future of renewable energy and eco-friendly technology, we will be in a much better place. There will be hundreds of jobs created in the green industry if society wasn’t so hesitant to make a change. We have begun to use more wind and hydro power, but the overall percentage which we rely on is insignificant in the scheme of things. For example look at this chart (Renewable Energy) below which demonstrates the US energy consumption by source for a span of five years.
All of the renewable resources are at the bottom of the list. If the US makes an effort to eliminate the need for such high usage of fossil fuels, we will be able to become more independent from purchasing foreign oil and also become a cleaner, sustainable nation.
If we take the time to investigate the long term effects of our energy choices, we may be able to prevent causing continued harm to the environment therefore improving the current quality of life and the lives of future generations.

Hybrid Owners or America Retrieved from http://www.hybridownersofamerica.org/backpages/081706HOArelease.cfm on November 18, 2010
Oil Spill Facts. Retrieved from http://bp-claim.com/oil-spill-facts/ on November 16, 2010.
Renewable Energy Consumption and Electricity Preliminary2006 Statistics. (2007) Retrieved from http://www.eia.doe.gov/cneaf/solar.renewables/page/prelim_trends/
rea_prereport.html on November 16, 2010
Trusty Guides. Solar Panel Costs. Retrieved from http://www.trustyguides.com/solar-panels2.html on November 16, 2010

Deb Southworth's Society’s Vulnerability to Natural Disasters

PHS 100 Environmental Studies
Warner Pacific College
November 9, 2010

“And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: / And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.” (King James, 1960)

Human kind insists on living on seismic fault lines, in flood plains, on geologically unstable ground, in high risk fire areas and in meteorologically risky areas. This has been going on since the time of Jesus and his disciples as we see from the biblical quote at the beginning of this paper in the Parable of the Wise and Foolish Builders.

Back in the latter part of the 15th century when Christopher Columbus first discovered The Americas, the native populations that inhabited the country knew that there were certain areas that were more difficult to live in than others. Consequently, these native tribes settled in valleys, plateaus and flat lands that satisfied their needs and provided safe places to live that did not flood, catch fire, or quake with seismic events. The natives of the time had long experience with their country and knew how to live in it safely. Keep that word in mind; safely.

But it is the Early American settlers with whom we are dealing in this paper and their living arrangements in this country that is the subject matter discussed within. This dangerous situation has been the case in the United States since the French colonists who settled Louisiana, the Spanish settlers who settled in California and the English settlers on the hurricane ridden West Virginia coastline saw beautiful country and plentiful land and decided to live there. But none of these early settlers had any idea what legacy they were leaving for future generations to deal with. Fast forward 300 years to present day USA.

In the last 300 years, the original population centers of the USA have grown enormously. As we are all painfully aware, European settlers did not heed the warnings, help, or examples set for them by the Native Americans. Instead, these foolish men built their houses upon the sand, quite literally.
In North Carolina the setback factor, or the distance the structure must be placed from the water’s edge, for all structures between 5,000 and 10,000 square feet is 60 times the erosion rate and increases incrementally with structure size, reaching a maximum setback at 90 times the erosion rate for structures 100,000 square feet and greater. Development in communities with a static line exception is subject to a minimum setback factor of 60 times the erosion rate for all development greater than 10,000 square feet total floor area. In all cases, the minimum erosion rate is considered to be two feet per year. (Beach Property Erosion, 2010) That is a standard formula for states that allow the sale of beachfront now days. But further problems abound. The Carolinas are a target for hurricanes. According to NOAA, more than 403 of them are known to have hit the North and South Carolina Coasts since the weather services began keeping records and 39 of them were category 1-5 storms. (North, 1999) More than 10 billion dollars have been spent rebuilding destroyed real property and replacing erosion damage alone. That is not taking into consideration the loss of life and injury to humans and livestock. It seems that our predecessors should have paid more attention to the natives who lived a considerable distance from the sand and water. (Wikipedia, 2010) So not only do people in this country live directly on the beach, they live on a stretch of beach that is subject to hurricanes of such intensity they can blow entire brick and mortar structures to toothpicks. One might say that this is hubris of the purest ray serene. How egotistical can human kind get to think that they can live unscathed in such dangerous areas? Our egotism knows no bounds. Take the next example.
Southern California is beautiful. There is no doubt about it. It is a land of stars of all caliburs and stripe. It has so many natural dangers attached to this beauty it is difficult to know where to begin. So we shall begin with the best known of the dangers of California; The San Andreas Fault.
The San Andreas Fault is a continental transform fault. Approximately 810 miles or 1,300 km in length through California, it affects real property from approximately the San Francisco Bay area south through Palm Springs. It crosses wilderness and freeways; it bisects residential and business neighborhoods. The fault's motion is what geologists refer to as “right-lateral strike-slip” or to put it in words most of us can understand the tectonic plates move in a horizontal motion. It forms the tectonic boundary between the Pacific Plate and the North American Plates. The quakes range in frequency and strength from mild tremors that can come every hour to huge frightening earthquakes that can cause millions of dollars in damage, loss of life and disruption of everyday business that seem to re-traumatize the residents with aftershocks that can be nearly as catastrophic as the main event itself. (USGS, 2010) As we all know, the San Andreas has been responsible for the most destructive US quakes in history and some of the most well known. Anyone over the age of 40 will remember the earthquake that struck during The World Series baseball game. Millions of Bay area residents who were in Candlestick Park watching the Oakland A’s and the San Francisco Giants at five in the afternoon were not expecting the 15 seconds that stopped the game, destroyed homes, collapsed freeway overpasses and killed 63 people. (USGS, 1999)
This writer feels certain that a case can be made that man is not a victim of his or her living circumstances, but at the very least an accomplis to the damage they suffer at the hands of nature. Man insists on living in dangerous areas of the country and has the gall to be shocked and saddened when nature acts as she always does, with force and impugnity. She creates tremors in the earth and hurricanes over cold water with warm air to mix. This differs greatly from the incidents where a hundred year flood submerges a few acres of farmland or a lightening strike sets a dry forest on fire and takes a housing development with it. Certainly we are vulnerable to those things. They are the way of nature. It is as this paper has stated; man has settled in unstable lands and reaped the consequences.
When man sees the error of his thinking, ceasing to labor under the misconception that nature can be controlled to this degree, then we will see our vulnerability to natural disasters drop to managable levels.
Coastal Hazards & Storm Information : What You Should Know About Erosion and Oceanfront Development. (2010, March 10). Retrieved November 16, 2010, from North Carolina Department of Environmental and Natural Resources: http://dcm2.enr.state.nc.us/hazards/erosion.htm
The Gideon Bible. Mathew 7:24-27
North. (1999, July 20). NOAA Weather. Retrieved November 16, 2010, from TCP NHC US HURRICANE STRIKES BY STATE: http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/paststate.html
Survey, U. S.-U. (1999, October 26). United States Geological Survey. Retrieved November 14, 2010, from Loma Prieta Earthquake 1989: http://earthquake.usgs.gov/regional/nca/1989/
Surveyl, U. D.-U. (2010, July 2). United States Geological Survey. Retrieved November 12, 2010, from USGS Earthquake Hazards Program: http://earthquake.usgs.gov/search
Wikipedia-List of North Carolina Hurricanes. (2010, October 4). Retrieved November 16, 2010, from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_North_Carolina_hurricanes

Bryan Ensley's view on Natural Hazards and Society’s Vulnerability

Environmental Studies
Professor David Terrell
Warner Pacific College
November 20, 2010
Natural Hazards and Society’s Vulnerability
In today’s society, how many 22 year old men own a piece of property and have a nice house on it to call home? This situation is exactly where I was eleven years ago before a large storm hit that had warm temperatures and a high volume of precipitation. My neighbors and I were vulnerable to the natural hazards that Mother Nature had in store for us that spring. As we continue to live in a comfortable bubble without thoughts of “what if,” we are continually increasing our odds of losing what we have accumulated by living the American dream.
Being vulnerable is something many of have in our day to day lives. Many would believe vulnerability refers to our emotions and how relationships can make us susceptible to pain and sorrow. In this paper, vulnerability is going to have a different interpretation. Vulnerability will be referred to as “any condition of susceptibility to external shocks that could threaten people’s lives and livelihoods, natural resources, properties and infrastructure, economic productivity, and a region’s prosperity” (Iadb, 1999). The idea is make people more aware the vulnerabilities due to the environment that we have in our lives. Think of all the things we are vulnerable to. In the last ten years, our planet as seen devastating earthquakes, tsunami’s, and hurricanes. Many people that live in Washington State think of possible volcano activity any time natural disasters are talked about. What about flooding? It occurs annually but our hands are tied when it comes to changing the natural flows of water runoff.
I bought my first home in 2001 after I had saved every penny I made for about three years. This purchase was incredibly important because of the feeling of accomplishment it gave me. I really loved my fixer-upper and spent all my extra money on it. I had remodeled the kitchen, re-carpeted the entire house, and fully landscaped the front and back yards. My plan was to fix it up and sell it in a few years when I could afford an upgrade. I was single at the time and shared my home with only my dog Roxy. I had no idea how vulnerable I was to losing my prized possession.
On one warm and rainy spring day I learned that there was a distinct possibility of a flood in the area that I lived in. We had enjoyed a cold and blustery winter filling the mountains with snow, which I loved at the time. The lengthy duration of this rain storm couple with the snow melting in the mountains called for a 100 year flood. I immediately became stressed realizing the natural environment that I often enjoyed threatened the home I had worked so hard on. I instantly began researching what I could do. I placed all my furniture on the second floor and put the items in my garage on top of the counters. My neighbors informed me of a place on a nearby dike that needed a sandbag wall with the possibility of blocking off our community. I was told it had secured our neighborhood from floods several years earlier. An estimated 500 people met at the dike within a couple hours and began building a wall from the sandbags delivered by county workers. In the next twelve hours we built a sturdy wall approximately one mile long and six feet tall.
The next morning about ten hours after we finished the wall, the river crested about two feet below the top of our wall. Our neighborhood occurred damage thanks to the diligent work of so many people. Many of us worked harder than we had in a very long time and I believe it was the fear and vulnerability we felt. In the end I lost nothing, but gained an incredible feeling of community togetherness brought on by this possible disaster.
Today’s society is increasingly vulnerable to natural disasters. We live on rocky cliffs overlooking the ocean and on the banks of beautiful rivers that flow through our communities. We have to realize the magnitude of possible danger these natural wonders contain and have a plan of action if a disaster occurs.
Reducing Vulnerability to Natural Hazards: Lessons Learned from Hurricane Mitch. (1999). Retrieved from http://www.iadb.org/regions/re2/consultative_group /groups /ecology_ workshop_1.htm

Friday, November 12, 2010

Waste water recycling

In about 50 seconds super critical water can dissolve poop and kill any bacteria. In Ireland there is a water treatment plant that is using this process http://planetgreen.discovery.com/videos/dean-of-invention-is-human-waste-the-new-coal.html Have a look and see how human waste can be the new coal!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Scientific Method and Western Culture by Evelyn Hull

Scientific Method
Evelyn Hull
PHS 100 Environmental Studies:
Weekend Format
Professor D. Terrell
Warner Pacific College
November 5, 2010

Response Paper #1:
The Scientific Method
The scientific method is a technique scientists use to test ideas with observations to learn how the world works. It is a series of six steps: the first step is observations; scientists need to observe in order to know how they are going to go about their research. The second step is asking questions, scientists are always asking questions about how the world works, the third step is to develop a hypothesis, scientists attempt to find a possible solution or explanation to the problem they are trying to solve, but they also need to be able to test these possible solutions. The fourth step is making predictions; predictions allow scientists to get more specific. Predictions are ways to prove that a hypothesis is true. The fifth step is testing those predictions, predictions need to be tested one at a time, and it is a way to gather evidence that could disprove the hypothesis. The last but not least of the steps is analyzing and interpreting the results of the testing. Scientists especially like quantitative data, this refers to data that has been recorded and can be measured by numbers, making it easier to compare (Withgott & Brennan, 2008).
The scientific method is used by scientists in their specific fields of study. The scientific meth takes into consideration the following assumptions: “The universe functions in accordance with fixed natural laws that do not change from time to time or from place to place. All events arise from some cause or causes and, in turn, cause other events. We can use our senses and reasoning abilities to detect and describe natural laws that underlie the cause-and-effect relationship we observe in nature” (Withgott & Brennan, 2008, p. 12).
I believe the scientific method is related to our understanding of “western culture.” Western culture people are always looking for ways of advancement. Scientist in this culture are always asking questions, trying to figure out how the world works and in order to figure this out they rely on using the scientific method. This is the best method scientists use because this method is the best way to prove or disprove a hypothesis. In the western culture we find facts with experimentation, we gather and use data to come up with a conclusion, we like to figure out what something is and how does something work. I believe that in western culture, if people were not curious about their surroundings, we would still be stuck in time, and we would not have the luxuries that we take for grated now a days. For example, we would not have electricity, modes of transportation; it would take us months to go from the west coast to the east coast. The scientific method is used to make progress in a culture; people would still be dying just from a simple cut, infection, or from normal child birth if it were not for the advances in medicine.
In conclusion, I believe that the scientific method is a method not only used by scientists, but by anyone from children in elementary school to adults in their daily lives. As a mother of three young children, I am always trying to figure ways to help them as they grow. For example, before I had children, I observed people I knew that were raising children and decided the things I would do and what I would disregard when I had my own children. I know that my beliefs system affects the way I am raising my own children, I know that as a parent I am instilling my beliefs to them. I model the behavior, I want to see them have and teach them about what is important in our family. These important things are God, family, and education. My hope or theory is that as they get older they will stay in the path that I have shown them and that they will become assets to church and community as well. I know that I will not be able to test this theory until they are older but I pray that this theory will yield good results. Another way I use the scientific method is at work, I teach young children, every September I have to figure out what will work with the new group of children. I use observations, I ask questions, I make hypothesis and predictions, I put those hypotheses to the test and if the results are not what I like, I analyze and start over with the hypothesis, to figure a new way to teach. I have to do this because not all children learn the same way and not all off them come from a nurturing environment.

Withgott, J., & Brennan, S. (2008). Environment the Science behind the Stories. San Francisco, CA: Pearson Benjamin Cummings.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Assessing Natural Resources by Kim McKee

Assessing natural resources
Kimberly McKee
PHS 100 Environmental Studies
Dr. David Terrell
Warner Pacific College
November 6, 2010

Assessing our natural resources is not as easy as it may seem. There are many factors to look at when considering this. What are the resources, how are they used, who uses them, how much are they used, etc. Putting a price on resources is not easy and what happens when those natural resources are threatened?
In order for society to assess our natural resources we have to understand what they are and how they help us in our everyday life as well as what could happen if they were threatened. The USGS web site says, “Natural resources - water, minerals, coal, oil, gas, living things, and the land itself - are this Nation's treasures. To be effective stewards of these valuable resources, our Nation must constantly advance our scientific knowledge and understanding. Decision makers must know how natural resources may be affected by changes in the demand for or use of them, and what affects these changes may have on our economy, our environment, and our quality of life. USGS natural resource assessment programs help ensure that our leaders have the information they need to make informed decisions about our natural resources, now and in the future.”
There are environmental regulations currently in place to help preserve the natural resources. There are regulations on when and when you can hunt and a limit of people aloud to do so. Limits are set in place for fishing as well with what you can catch in what season, and how much. There are logging laws to say where and how much logging can take place and laws stating that the trees must be replanted as well. There are many laws and regulations that are currently in place to help regulate how the natural resources are used but as times change these laws and regulations must be reviewed as any other laws to make sure that they stay up to date and current with the times and needs. There could be better laws in place regarding the chemicals that are aloud to be used on or around our resources as well as fed to the livestock.
When the natural resources become threatened, it can affect everyone in the nation and not just the obvious victims. Take the oil spill of 2010 for example; this was a great tragedy for all. It affected a huge amount of natural resources from the ocean waters, sand, dirt, wild life living in the area, to the jobs in the area, tourism of the effected states to the migration of birds. Who is responsible for the clean up of a tragedy such as this and what can be done to prevent this from happening again? There was tons of oil that was leaked into the earths resources by this tragic accident, what if not so much oil had been aloud to be carried by one vestal, would that had made a difference in this outcome? It is hard to say but the government should look into it since the planets natural resources are protected by the government. Kristina Alexander, a legislative attorney says in an article on fas.org that “while wildlife management is a state responsibility, the Endangered Species Act, the Marine Mammal Protection Act, and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act all bring certain species under federal protection. Natural resources are defined broadly by the act to include the following: “land, fish, wildlife, biota, air, water, ground water, drinking water supplies, and other such resources belonging to, managed by, held in trust by, appertaining to, or otherwise controlled by the United States (including the resources of the exclusive economic zone), any State or local government or Indian
tribe, or any foreign government.” BP should not only get off with restitution for this tragedy but there should be harsher punishment involved as with any other event that have a great effect on the environment and natural resources, maybe it would cause greater awareness.

USGS (July 20,2005)
Assessing Our Natural Resources Providing Vital Information for Our Nation's Future www.usgs.gov/themes/factsheet/094-99/index.html retrieved Nov. 3, 2010
Kristina Alexander, Legislative Attorney (September 8, 2010)
The 2010 Oil Spill: Natural Resource Damage
Assessment Under the Oil Pollution Act www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R41396.pdf, retrieved Nov. 3, 2010

Jorge Meléndez: "One for all, all for one"

Peace in Christ/Paz en Cristo,
“One for all, all for one” wrote Alexandre Dumas’ in the Three Musketeers. These words are such a vital statement that Switzerland adopted these very words as their national motto. This phrase presents an interesting dynamic, even thought it was used for literary fiction, its content is powerfully real. Its essence is simple; when one is down all come to his/her rescue, when all are down one will come to the rescue.
This statement is very important for every aspect of our daily living whether it’s at home, church, work, or at play, the importance for cohesiveness and teamwork is critical. Knowing that someone is there for us and with us during hard times is something very special.
This dynamic has always been a reality for mankind. After God had created Adam, God said that “it is not good for man to be alone” (Genesis 2:18); we all need someone. How long was Adam alone, the Bible does not specifically say but it must have been a long while for the LORD seen Adam’s loneliness.
The Bible gives us many examples and declarations for unity (Romans 15:1Phil 2:2; 2 Cor. 13:11; 1 Peter 1:22, 3:8). The LORD put it beautifully when he declared “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another” (John 13:34). It is the love for one another that will direct us to help one another, thus unity.
This love is exactly what Peter and Paul described as the “brotherhood” (Hebrews 13:1; 1 Pet. 2:17). It is this brotherhood of believers which is exactly what makes “One for all, all for one” a reality. When we see others as we see ourselves, love will prompt us to unity.
Understanding that we will all ultimately need help from someone, will give us a depth of wisdom. This understanding will help us be patient with others (as we would want), this love will prompt us to be understanding (as we would want), and this love will ultimately lead us to peace (what we all want). This wisdom brings about true unity.
Being a part of a family, congregation, team that has the mentality/heart of “One for all, all for one” is not as easy as it would seem. “One for all, all for one” is essentially a cry for sacrifice. No one wants to be inconvenienced or burdened yet “One for all, all for one” is exactly that (Galatians 6:2)! Paul declared this when he wrote to the Romans and stated “rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep,” understanding that all for all are one.
Being supportive to someone that is in need is beautiful especially when it’s self that requires the support. Be mindful of these Biblical declarations, this is especially important in terms of the need to congregate with a group of sincere believers (Hebrew 10:25). For within the congregation we worship God together, we learn, we grow, we help, and we are helped. A congregation of believers ought to be “One for all, all for one.”
Your brother in the faith,
Jorge Meléndez