Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Blair Hardy's view on Mass Media and the Environment

Mass Media affect on Environmentalist:
A Cultural Influence
Blair Hardy
PHS 100A
Dr. Terrell
Warner Pacific
November 29th 2010

Mass Media affect on Environmentalist
A funny thing happened the other day when I was sharing some recently learned environmental information with my husband. We got onto a great discussion about the state of the earth and some possibilities that could come from the depletion of our natural resources. After awhile, my husband looked at me and said, “You’re not going to turn into one of those crazy environmentalists, are you?” Initially, I laughed and then I asked myself, why is having concern for the earth and wanting to change my family’s impact on the environment viewed as such a “crazy” act? Maybe being an environmentalist isn’t crazy; maybe not being one is. In the following paragraphs, I hope to elaborate on the negative impact main-stream media has had on the meaning of environmentalist.
There have been many times in my adult life that I have actively decided NOT to watch the news. Anymore local and national broadcasters report nothing but sad and depressing stories that are covered more for fear factor than for anything else, and stories on environmental findings are no different. “We get primarily negative news not because the journalists have evil intentions, but because the news media are placed in an incentive structure that makes it profitable to focus on negative occurrences” (Lomborg, 2001, p.41). To be attracted to negative situations is part of our human makeup. One could say, on average, more people slow down to look at a car crash than they do a scenic night sky. Humans are naturally drawn to negativity and mass media may be taking advantage of that; it is up to each individual to decipher what’s legitimate and what is not. “We must bear in mind that the stream of information we are receiving is unbalanced[;] we hear many negative and problematic stories every day that should not necessarily be taken at face value” (Lomborg, 2001, p.42). Mass media has become a much needed and widely used avenue for creating environmental awareness while assisting scientist with their intended agenda of manufacturing grants and funding to operate environmental studies. The dooms day approach is a great way to obtain grants but it’s also created a negative foreshadowing of any and all scientific reports and/or discoveries.
The complexity of what’s occurring across the world on an environmental level cannot always be easily translated in laymen’s terms.
“The communication and interpretation of science to the general public is achieved through a variety of media [.] It is understandable that environmentalists will want to maximize the exposure of science supporting their agenda. Unfortunately, the careful, measured language of science is not well suited to the sound bite sensationalism that is the typical mode of communication of most of the contemporary news media. The distortion of information that occurs as science is translated into the language of the popular media has led to accusations of press sensationalism” (Jepson, Ladle & Whittaker, 2005, p.231).
Sensationalism is a form of theatrical over-dramatization of news related issues; because environmentalists often use mainstream media to relay environmental findings their intended messages are often over-hyped for appeal. These repeated occurrences have had an adverse affect on environmentalists and the public their trying to reach. Many viewers have grown skeptical of environmentalist and their scientific findings, which is opposite of the change they’re trying to evoke.
In closing, it is common knowledge that mankind is having an adverse affect on the earth. It is also true that we, as a society, have the ability to change the size of our environmental footprint in the world. There are many everyday environmental changes that are needed to take place in our individual lives to maintain resources for our future generations. With that being said, one can only hope that environmentalist will be more adamant about presenting their findings in a less sensationalistic way, if not for the truth, for the integrity of science itself.

Jepson, P., Ladle, R.J. & Whittaker, R.J. (2005). Scientists and the media: the struggle for
legitimacy in climate change and conservation science. INTERDISCIPLINARY SCIENCE
REVIEWS, vol. 30, no. 3, 231-240. Retrieved on December 8th, 2010 from
Lomborg, B. (2001). The Skeptical Environmentalist: Measuring the real state of the world. New
York, NY: Cambridge University Press. Retrieved on December 8th, 2010 from

Friday, December 10, 2010

Aimee Oman's view on Natural Resources

PHS 100 Environmental Studies
David Terrell Ph. D.
Warner Pacific College
December 9, 2010

When using natural resources it is important for us as a community to educate ourselves on what resources are available as well as the pros and cons of the different resources. Some natural resources that are available are air or wind, plants, animals, forestry, coal, soils, sun, and our water ways. As time goes by and we are using up one source it is becoming increasingly important for us to find new and creative way to create energy sources using other types of natural resources. Growing up in the 1980’s my family use to sale solar powered energy systems. At the time we were way ahead of the environmentally conscious community and the systems were too expensive for the average America to be able to purchase. However, many improvements have been made to make this natural resource more economic.
According to the website Alternative Energy News, “Solar power is produced by collecting sunlight and converting it into electricity. This is done by using solar panels, which are large flat panels made up of many individual solar cells. It is most often used in remote locations, although it is becoming more popular in urban areas as well.” In fact, even Wal-Mart is getting involved according to one of their articles. This website is full of useful information on many different natural resources and shares a lot of the most current information available. This website is just one of the tools that can be useful for our community to educate ourselves on natural resources.
The government’s involvement has impacted our lifestyle in many ways. For example, the majority of the states have enforced a litter law. Some states have fines while other states have possible jail time that can be enforced. In Oregon the fine is, “Class A misdemeanor. Fine not exceeding $6,250 or imprisonment not exceeding one year or both.” (NCSL, 2010) In establishing these fines, the government has reduced the amount of trash and helped to make our environment a friendlier, cleaner place. They have also played a major role in our parks and wildlife being maintained for us now as well as for our kids in the future. Without the US Forest service our parks would not be in the well maintained manner they are currently in. It would also make it so that they would not be sustained for our children to enjoy many years from now. Without the government we would not have laws such as the clean air act that regulates emissions and is helping to protect our ozone or the Clean Water Act that regulates pollutants in our waters.
It is important for us as a community to get involved and not simply wait until the government sets a mandate as to the different types of sources we are allowed to use. If we become more involved than we could possible stop the destruction before it happens. The easiest way for us to get involved is by being conscious of how we are using our resources. This includes conserving water, recycling when possible, and be generally conscious of the environment and our actions. While recycling bins are common in most schools and work places in Oregon I know that we are ahead of the curve when compared to the rest of the nation. If we all get involved we can help the government to accomplish the daunting task of preserving our environment and in turn our lives.

World Legal Directory (2010) Environmental and Natural Resources Law – US, Retrieved December 9, 2010 from http://www.hg.org/environ.html
National Conference of State Legislation (2010) States with Littering Penalties, Retrieved December 9, 2010 from http://www.ncsl.org/default.aspx?tabid=13215
Alternative Energy News (2010) Solar Power, Retrieved December 9, 2010 from http://www.alternative-energy-news.info/headlines

Capturing Wind by Wendy Fullet

How to Access Natural Resources?
Environmental Study
Warner Pacific College

December 9, 2010

For many residents of the Columbia River Gorge the term “chasing wind” is going with the flow of Mother Nature. When the wind blows gather your kite board and run for the river. For scientists specializing in renewable energy the motive is more like “capturing the wind”. With an impressive wind power classification of level six, Oregon has become a leader in the production and utilization of wind power as an energy source forging new ground in the advancement of this industry.
Before there were acres of wind farms and grounds to test urban wind/solar hybrid turbines there were assessments required. The purpose of the research is to examine the sustainability, impact and the balance of the ecosystem when introducing an exotic 80 meter (262 ft) wind turbine with 130 ft blades to the local environment and the affects on indigenous species. How do we go about assessing the value of our natural resources and determine the considerations for our choices? There is a cliché that “knowledge is power”. It can also be our survival. To be good stewards of our land and natural resources, we must strive for further advancement in our understanding, improve our technologies and better utilize what is constant like the sun, wind and waves. To avoid any adverse affect, we must also walk through life and leave behind a better place than how we found it. Can life be as simple as what we learned in boys and girls scouts? While easier said than done, there is a price to pay, a cost to bearer for our economy, environment and quality of life. What is the price tag or value we as society will place on Earth’s ecosystem services? For a wind farm the assessment might include soil erosion, disturbance, habitat for fauna to migrate, noise pollution and survey of public opinion. The laws of supply and demand determine price in the free markets of our economy. For decisions regarding natural resources and our environment, we take a view of cost vs. benefit approach. If the infinite resources like wind can be substituted for less or replaced then vote with fewer Greenbacks. Unfortunately, it’s not like the next generation of iPhones or Apple TV’s. Throw- away society produces creative destruction of limited renewable or nonrenewable resources that can lead to depletion with no real solutions. And, what do we do with the obsolete power cords and old phones nobody wants?
How does environmental regulations and policy impact our culture and lifestyle? Policymakers rely on scientific research and regulate through a command-and-control approach. Other tools government can use to mandate economic policy are tools like subsidy to incent a desired effect, impose green taxes on undesirable activity, and permit trading in a cap-an-trade system that allows companies to receive credits and sell to other parties. Taking this approach allows the free markets to find more innovative optimal solutions and generally at a lower cost of the administrative policy. This can be viewed in some instances as a win/win of government and the private sector working together. The economic effects of wind energy are very beneficial. Wind is free to harvest. The cost is minimal for wind generators and turbines. In the 1980’s wind energy cost 40 cents per kWh, compared to today with cost less than 5 cents kWh. (The Solar Guide). The economic and quality of life benefits are significant from replacing energy sources that are hard to locate or extract such as oil, gas and coal. Wind is efficient to capture. Wind does not pollute the air we breathe and no waste is generated like nuclear power. Specializing in this industry demands high-tech pay job and landowners benefit from the benefit of leasing the land. While we may not know the downside long term effects of harvesting wind power the evidence of current information is we should be relying more on this technology and less on other hard to extract energy sources. If I were participating in the game of Settlers of Catan, seeking land on the leeward side would be advantageous. It would be like The America’s Cup of energy!

Withgott, Jay and Brennan, Scott (2008) Environment The Science Behind the Stories
Pearson Education, Inc.

Ben Benton's view on "Regulations and culture"

PHS 100 Environmental Studies
Warner Pacific

Regulations and culture

In this paper I will discuss my opinions on how society can asses our natural resources and how environmental policy affects our culture. As a very conservative person I understand that it is important to be a good steward of the natural resources the United States has been blessed with. I also understand that there is a certain amount of exploitation that is needed to sustain our needs. Assessing natural resources is important because if we do not know how much there is we cannot know how much can be used. Unfortunately, assessing natural resources is easier in some cases and harder in others.
The fisheries in Alaska produce approximately half of the fish caught in US waters (NOAA, 2010). There are 842,000 nautical square miles in the fisheries in Alaska. The NOAA is quite good at ensuring that both the amount of fish harvested and the way the fish are harvested remains sustainable. If the fish population is too small or does not meet the NOAA’s requirements, the season is delayed or suspended. After all, it would not take more than a few seasons of overfishing before the fishery would not produce and would have to be shut down for an extended period of time to recover (like Oregon’s Salmon fishery). By fishing sustainably more fish will be removed through time.
Less than two months ago in the same state, another natural resource was found to have been assessed quite incorrectly. The US Geological Survey issued a report in October stating that Alaska’s oil reserves are now 896 million barrels (USGS, 2010). This is a lot of oil and will continue to be pumped out of the ground, provide jobs and energy for the United States. The problem with the updated assessment is that it is ninety percent lower than the 10.8 billion barrels that were previously estimated.
The 2002 survey that estimated 10.8 billion barrels of oil and the 2010 survey that revised that number were both derived from test drilling in the oilfields. The 2010 survey differed in that it had access to the actual production numbers for the now producing wells. It also had the results of additional test drilling that took place to expand oil production (USGS, 2010).
Both the management of the fishery and assessment of the oil fields are handled by professionals in Federal departments that should be free from political tampering (we can only hope). The fact remains that one department sustainably manages the fishery while the other one was ninety percent high in their estimate. Unfortunately this happens. It will be interesting to see how the revised oil reserve information unfolds in Alaska.
Once resources are identified and quantified they are normally exploited. This can be pumping water from deep aquifers to water crops in the Midwest, this can be cutting trees down in Oregon, and this could be pumping oil from the ground. Typically the government controls the regulations governing the exploitation of the resources. Sometimes the regulations work and sometimes they do not. In almost all cases there are two sides trying to influence the regulations. I liken this to the cartoon character with the devil on one shoulder and an angel on the other. One side wants complete access, and the other wants no access. In my opinion, neither side can claim to be the angel as there are positives and negatives to resource use.
My example of this is in ethanol use in gasoline production. Ethanol was required to be added to gasoline in 2006 after the MTBE disaster. The mechanical problems with Ethanol are that Ethanol is a solvent, Ethanol absorbs water (which can be bad for some engines), and the supply of Ethanol for fuel is of inconsistent quality. The environmental issues with Ethanol are that Ethanol is made from Field Corn that takes water to grow, Field corn is used in animal feed but it takes land to grow; land that could be used to grow food corn and Ethanol uses approximately four gallons of fresh water to make one gallon of Ethanol. There is no doubt that food production is an important issue especially in our hemisphere where more corn is an important staple. Ethanol uses Field Corn, and then only the starch is used to make Ethanol. The rest is used for animal feed. This still takes land away from food production. By far the most important environmental issue with Ethanol is its requirement for water. One Ethanol plant can make 100 million gallons of ethanol a year. This requires 400 million gallons of water per year or as much as a town of ten thousand would use. There is no question that freshwater is going to be one of the scarcest resources in the 21st century. From Ethanol usage to sprawling suburbia and their huge lawns to watering crops to keeping the thirst of the cities quenched, water management will be a central issue.
Assessing resources can be as easy as counting fish within 842,000 nautical square miles of ocean or as difficult as guessing how much oil is miles below the ground between geological formations. The regulations can be as clear as no dumping motor oil in to the storm drain or as cloudy as water management. One of the few certainties in life will be that the time to pay the piper will come and then we will see which cartoon angel was right.

Works Cited
NOAA. (2010, December 8th). NOAA Fisheries Alaska home page. Retrieved December 8th, 2010, from NOAA Fisheries Alaska: http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/
USGS. (2010, October 25th). Arctic Assessment. Retrieved December 8th, 2010, from USGS.gov: http://energy.usgs.gov/alaska/

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Greg Hartnell's view on Environmental Regulations


Environmental Regulations My View
Greg Hartnell
Environmental Studies, PHS 100
Professor David Terrell, PH. D.
November 30, 2010

Would it not be comforting to know that each time an environmental regulation passed through the legislative process it received a 100% approval rate when implemented? Sure it is easy to think that all of society wants to breathe clean air, drink pure water, and look out over an unspoiled landscape—anyone who did not might earn a label from those who do…capitalist, greedy, non-enlightened, or maybe just deadbeat. And then again, those people (the deadbeats) might reverse label their counterparts as…tree huggers, environmental whackos, nature freaks, or maybe just hippies.
Rest assured, a newly implemented environmental regulation that was intended to bring about a positive benefit to the majority would surely be met with opposition from the minority. Some will feel threatened; some will cry out that the government wants more and more control over the environment—and in turn the individual; some will voice their concern over economic loss; while others will say that environmentalists are ‘taking over.’
A 100% approval rate is not likely, given the diversity of interests that rage throughout our society. Even though there are (seemingly) winners and losers in most environmental regulation scenarios there is (fortunately) a system in place that allows the government to analyze the financial implication and ‘weigh’ the costs of federal regulations against the economic benefits resulting from the regulations. Withgott, Scott (2008)
Coupled with historical data studies, practical application studies that show control results, and sufficient ‘real world’ implementation and procedural studies, I believe that I could make a valued judgment on any newly implemented environmental regulation.

Environmental Regulations My View

Corporate America is not a quick study. Again and again, companies
have responded to proposed environmental rules by threatening bankruptcy,
huge layoffs, foreign inroads into American markets, even an end
to the car-based American way of life — and it has never worked. Finally,
though, companies are acknowledging that the sky did not fall every time
they were forced to clean up their act and their air. (Deutsch 1997)

Good policy decisions require accurate benefit and cost estimates. Put another way,

economic efficiency and a balancing of competing social objectives require careful analysis of

the costs and benefits of environmental regulations. (Hodges)

The key point of Hodges’ statement is “good policy decisions.” Decisions based on suppositions and ‘feel good’ hypothesis need to be subjected to the scrutiny of cost comparison analysis. During the early days of environmental regulatory design (from the 70s through the 90s) companies first thought that complying with the new regulations would be “over the top” expensive—what was found after time was the reality that compliance almost always never cost as much as originally estimated. The terminology for measuring the differences in cost estimates of compliance is ex-ante vs. ex-post [cost estimates].
The ability to weigh the costs vs. the benefits of new environmental regulations is an important first step to implementing the regulation. As important are ‘studies of practicality.’ Can the new regulation be implemented without turning the world upside down? Will compliance be met with willing acceptance? These are just two questions that come to mind—there are more for sure. My aim is to keep an open mind when a new regulation hits the books.
I have the duty and responsibility, as a member of a small town planning commission (in the Columbia River Gorge) to review and enforce a number of new environmental regulations—many concerning water—believe me some you scratch your head over, while others make a lot of sense. One in particular is the Shoreline Act. This Act provides legislation for the establishment of firm setbacks from waterways…to the point where any development is prohibited within fifty feet of the shoreline. The exceptions are few and the permitting process expensive, but, more salmon are now running in the river as a result—to me (and many) the benefit of the Shoreline Act far outweighs the inconvenience and the cost.
The downside to all regulations, especially in light of the fact that governments are becoming increasing more powerful—with departments and agencies vying for power within the “top dog” structure of government—is the “takings” by government fiat. More and more of our land use rights are being restrained to the point where it is virtually impossible to contain the power government wields in the name of the ‘environment, or the ‘common good’ of the people.
Can we find a balance—at this time I would say no because those in power have the upper hand.

Works Cited
Withgott, J., & Brennan, S. (2008). Environment, the science behind the stories. In J. Withgott, & S. Brennan, Environment, the science behind the stories (pp. 3-13). San Francisci: Pearson Benjamin Cummings.

http://www.epi.org/page/-/old/briefingpapers/bp69.pdf Retrieved 11/30/2010 FALLING PRICES:
Cost of Complying With Environmental Regulations Almost Always Less Than Advertised
by Hart Hodges

The Big Picture by Blair Hardy

The Big Picture Perspective:
Environmental Regulations
Blair Hardy
PHS 100A
Dr. Terrell
Warner Pacific
December, 6th 2010

The Big Picture Perspective
When I was fourteen I got my first job as a barista at a small coffee shop. I remember feeling so grown up and so responsible for working and making my own money. I tried to work as many hours as I could, so that I could have my own money for my own things. After working there for about six months my dad said to me, “Blair, don’t grow up too fast, you have to be an adult for an awfully long time”; initially I thought, Of course I want to grow up, I hate being a teenager. Now looking back at that moment as an adult, I see what he meant. My dad was trying to give me a glimpse at the bigger picture of my life, and I couldn’t see it. In a lot of ways, I think many of us refuse to see that bigger picture, whether you’re 15 years old or 51 years old. In the following body I hope to elaborate on our societal tendency to look at short term effects on the environment, verses the big picture of factual past and present devastations to our lands.
In the United States of America we are blessed to have an agency known as the Bureau of Land Management as well as many other environmental government agency that ensure proper use of land to maintain a sustainable society. These agencies have the responsibility of overseeing public lands to preserve healthy, diverse and productive land for generations to come. The Bureau of Land Management helps our government maintain a long term perspective, in other words the big picture, of land conservation. Not only do they diversify land use but they also manage the wild and naturally present species that dwell in these publicly owned regions. Maintaining public lands and regulating some privately owned lands will assist in preservation which is beneficial for future generations as well as for our present day society.
Environmental regulations are essential for preserving the beautiful world around us. There are many examples of how environmental regulations have aided the quality of our life and agricultural needs. In our text, Environment: the science behind the stories, there are many stories of devastations that have developed due to the lack of regulations; like that of the 1992 case of Lucas v. South Carolina Coastal Council. Though this is a hot debate amongst many constitutionalists, this case brings to light some painful truths of why we need regulations. Though Lucas’ argument of losing out, economically speaking is quite true, the possibility for the devastation that comes with eroding land, and houses for that matter, is much more financially and ethically damaging (Withgott & Brennan, 2008).
Another story that caught my eye was that of the historical “Dust Bowl” event in the early 1930’s. Many people, myself included, don’t often realize how damaging our acts are on the world around us. Humankind loves to view the world as a resilient and indestructible mass of resources; unfortunately, it is not.
“Between 1879 and 1929, cultivated area in the region soared from around [12 million acres] to [100 million acres]. Farmers grew abundant wheat, and ranchers grazed many thousands of cattle, sometimes expanding onto unsuitable land. Both types of agriculture contributed to erosion by removing native grasses and breaking down soil structures” (Withgott & Brennan, 2008, p. 246).
The 1930 drought intensified the already eroding lands in the southern great plains of America. Human impact coupled with the drought and the regions strong winds, an average of 4 inches of topsoil was removed from this agricultural region. Enhanced crop production and grazing cattle for slaughter was the primary short-term focus of farmers in the Dust Bowl region. Today, government regulations and incentives help farmers maintain soil integrity for sustainable land use.
In closing, government agencies that regulate today’s human impact to insure future population survival is a necessity for our world, let alone our country. I see little difference in the regulations of land and that of what my father was trying to say to me so many years ago. Just focusing on the here and now financial gain is often a regretful road to travel; life is too good and too short to succumb to a monetary world.

Withgott, J., & Bennan, S. (2008). Enviroment: The Science Behind the Stories (3rd ed.). New York. Pearson Benjamin Cummings. ISBN: 13

Friday, December 3, 2010

Anita Siller's view of the connection between the Scientif Method and Western Culture

PHS 100A
Professor David Terrell
Warner Pacific College
December 2, 2010

The scientific method is consisted of the collection of data first through observation followed by experimentation and last the foundation of testing and one’s hypotheses. During observation it is important to write down ones educated guesses to invalidate those assumptions in the future and to come up with a pattern during the experiment to turn those presumptions into real facts. Ideas are powerful and real by asking questions about the ideas followed by analyzing and going through a thought process will help with those developments leading to creative innovative inventions that are economical and at the same time improve the environment by making products that are safe.
A rational assumption is usually a wrong way to approach an experiment. When everyone assumes the most logical answer it tends to be incorrect. Many variables factors require consideration into the data, research and experiment. For example: when experiments are mostly done indoors then further testing is required outdoors, one needs to consider wind, location, environment. Furthermore, environment, economic and social aspects are a part of the process whether it is stated or not. Most that have ideas consider these whether or not they are environmentally friendly or not. It is a must in today’s economy to consider costs and how it will affect business to succeed. Many people want products that are affordable and will choose a safer product to a product that is harmful. Socially it’s wise to choose a more favorable product; a good reputation behind a good product will be a win-win situation.
It is also by many trials and error that real great inventions have taken place. Most great inventors do not look at failures as failures they look at them as ways not to make those same mistakes again and to move forward overcoming those obstacles. Those that truly strive to pursue look at the future and the outcomes become a reality as they stay focused on the idea of a finished product.
Ben Franklin said it best “I found 100 ways how not to make the light bulb, I only needed to find one that worked.” It was inventors like him that paved the way for us to have electricity now. He used this scientific method of research, hypotheses and experimentation to produce the results he got. After the invention of the light bulb many others took this and found new creative
ways to incorporate new electronics we rely on today. By testing electrons many saw the potential this new idea could have; even today as resources become limited we find new ways to utilize the products we have to make them more efficient and economical.
Scientific method has been the foundation for western culture. Most Americans today want to utilize resources but with so many laws and regulations in place as well as cost of benefits require careful consideration. With science constantly changing what appears to be a “environmentally safe” product one year may be harmful to the next and is the cause of depleting natural resources.
Scientific method compliments what we know as the Western culture and vice versa they go hand in hand to provide a backbone to one another. We rely on science to give us new products and rely less on resources that are depleting. Western culture is that new idea waiting to be discovered and/or improved.

Ben franklin. (2010, December 01). Retrieved from http://www.pbs.org/benfranklin

Scientific method. (2010, November 30). Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_method

Western culture. (2010, November 30). Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Western_culture

Withgott, j, & Bennan, S. (2008). Environment: the science behind the stories 3rd edition. New York: Pearson Benjamin Cummings.