Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Matt Field's view of a "A Revolution of Mind"

Environmental Studies – PHS 100A

Warner Pacific College

November 7, 2011

The future of our environment is in the hands of humanity. It is not a bullet point on a list of concerns, it is fully dependent on whether or not we survive as a species and keep from destroying the planet. Without recognizing the interdisciplinary nature of environmental science we will never create the change our planet so deeply needs. (Withgott Brennan, p.8, 2011) It won’t be the adoption of “green programs” and sustainability that is going to save the world. What will save the world is a complete change in our minds from economy to politics and as far as religion. Henry David Thoreau is known for the modest philosophy of “simplify, simplify.” (Thoreau, p.69, 2004) If we are to survive this is the only choice we have.

It is a paradox to say that we must recognize all facets of life and yet simplify how we live. To suggest that one become an advocate of every environmental cause is not only exhausting but it is impossible. If we change the way we think, however, environmental sustainability isn’t such a difficult proposition. This can be exemplified in Gandhi, who “did not recognize separate rules for separate spheres of human life, but saw all spheres in an integrated manner, which exemplifies best the human ecological perspective.” (Moolakkattu, p. 152, 2010) Ecology isn’t a matter of activism. It is a matter of lifestyle. Thoreau says, “Instead of three meals a day, if it be necessary eat but one; instead of a hundred dishes, five; and reduce other things in proportion.” (Thoreau, p.69, 2004) We must fight our selfish desire to consume our resources. Just because we can consume doesn’t mean we have to, and yet our society is built on consumption and the accumulation of wealth.

Perhaps this comes from the dominance of Christianity in Western culture and the perversion that has been made of Christian theology. “Especially in its Western form, Christianity is the most anthropocentric religion the world has seen.” (White, p.4, 1967) Christian theology teaches that man is made in “God’s own image” and that he is to “fill the earth and subdue it.” (Genesis 1:28, New International Version) This creates a sense of duality between man and nature. God gives man dominion over all forms of fish and animals, even plants and trees. This mentality has given Christians the ability to justify all kinds of environmental exploitation under the guise of biblical command and permission.

Granted, compared to other religions, Christianity takes on the strongest stance of anthropocentrism, but I don’t think the religion is to blame. Mosaic law makes exception for environmental stewardship. In Leviticus God commands, “But in the seventh year the land is to have a year of sabbath rest, a sabbath to the LORD. Do not sow your fields or prune your vineyards.” (Leviticus 25:4) If this law was observed today perhaps we wouldn’t need to apply the tremendous amount of pesticides that we cover our crops in every year.

The problem is greed. The belief that we have license to dominate the world for our own gain flies in the face of what Jesus taught. His teaching about economic and environmental stewardship implores us to not “store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.” (Matthew 6:19) This forces us to reflect upon our consumerism. Jesus continues his teaching by actually comparing us to nature saying that we shouldn’t worry about our food or clothing because God feeds and covers his creation. Clearly our greed stems from our mistrust in God.

Over the course of the last fifty years our average national income has more than doubled; yet our level of happiness is essentially the same. (Withgott Brennan, p.683, 2011) One might draw that economic growth and affluenza are the greatest epidemics that humanity and the world face. As a society we have decided that it is important to protect our economic interests. We have built a culture around an American dream of home ownership and access to automobiles and other comforts. Our public school system is designed to prepare students more to join the workforce than to think on their own. Our value is money, and yet Jesus would say that we “cannot serve both God and Money.” (Matthew 6:24) As long as our temporary national interests trump long term spiritual and transcendental philosophy we are doomed. “The issue is whether a democratized world can survive its own implications. Presumably we cannot unless we rethink our axioms.” (White, p.2, 1967)

Our entire society has become so obsessed with the accumulation of wealth and the security that comes from work that we have ravaged our environment. And yet Thoreau would say, “Why should we live with such hurry and waste of life? We are determined to be starved before we are hungry. Men say that a stitch in time saves nine, and so they take a thousand stitches today to save nine tomorrow. As for work, we haven't any of any consequence.” (Thoreau, p.70, 2004) Yet it is the very idea of work that continues to drive us. Our insatiable desire to continue to consume has given us tremendous advancement at terrible cost. Until we decide that we can no longer give in to our own material desires we will never achieve the personal, ecological, societal, and spiritual peace we so deeply desire. As Gandhi would say, “a man who multiplies his daily wants cannot achieve the goal of plain living and high thinking.” (Moolakkattu, p. 153, 2010) The emphasis Gandhi placed on contentment allowed him to dismantle the British hold on India by not participating in their economy. We could do the same.

The beginning of creating a change in the world is to end our greedy addiction to material wealth. “More science and more technology are not going to get us out of the present ecologic crisis until we find a new religion, or rethink our old one.” (White, p.4, 1967) The answers are simple. “Simplicity, simplicity.” We have to decide we don’t need as much. We need to figure out how to eliminate our need for finite resources. We need to simplify our diet and eliminate processed food. We need to live our lives healthily so we are not beholden to doctors, pharmaceuticals, and insurance companies. We need to change our minds. Christians need to trust God to provide and then spread the excess of God’s bounty on the unbelieving world. The result would be a revolution of thought and revitalization for man, nature, and God. This revitalization is something the world has never experienced.


Moolakkattu, J (2010) Gandhi as a Human Ecologist, pp. 152-153 retrieved from http://www.krepublishers.com/02-Journals/JHE/JHE-29-0-000-10-Web/JHE-29-3-000-10-Abst-PDF/JHE-29-3-151-10-2065-Moolakkattu-J-S/JHE-29-3-151-10-2065-Moolakkattu-J-S-Tt.pdf November 4, 2011

Thoreau, H (2004) Walden, pp. 69-70 Houghtin-Mifflin, Boston

White, L (1967) The Historical Roots of Our Ecological Crisis pp. 2, 4 retrieved from http://www.uvm.edu/~gflomenh/ENV-NGO-PA395/articles/Lynn-White.pdf, November 5, 2011

Withcott, J Brennan, S (2011) Environment, The Science Behind the Stories pp. 8, 683 Benjamin Cummings, Boston

(1995) The NIV Study Bible, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan

Changes Needed by Tyesha McCool-Riley

PHS 100A
Warner Pacific College

November 7, 2011

I believe that we are on the right track to better sustaining out natural environment, but we still have a long road ahead of us. A part of me can’t help but to think that what if we don’t make the appropriate changes needed to ensure every living organism’s long term well-being on this planet. Obviously, there is a lot of work that needs to be done to continue planning and strategizing to ensure our existence decades down the line. With that being said during the course of this paper, first I will discuss the changes needed in relation to balance; second, I will explain how my Psychology major is affected by the natural environment ; and third, I will explain how I will use this course to be a steward of the environment.

1. What changes are needed to in relation to balance in our natural environment?

Both human beings and animals are the creation of nature. They depend on nature to get whatever they require for their survival. Nature may exist without us but we cannot survive in the absence of nature. Although we depend upon nature for our very existence, we continue to deplete the nature to quench our never satisfying thirst of pursuit of developments that deteriorate our environment and bring imbalance in nature which will eventually secure our extinction. The imbalance of nature has caused many disasters such as things that we are currently witnessing like, droughts and flooding. Nature purifies itself and renews itself, and us as part of it. For example: We inherit many natural senses that register things like our need of, and attractions to, nature’s purifying cyclic flow. One of those senses includes the water cycle and our natural senses of thirst and excretion. Excretion is a felt attraction to water that we experience and they are fulfilled by its flow in, through and out of us. Water satisfies our sense of thirst; urinations satisfy our sense of excretion making us feel happy, content, relieved, and fulfilled. According to ecpsych.com (2011), “the natural fulfillment of our natural senses attractively conveys to us that we are on the path to survival in balance”. A portion of the human fulfillment satisfaction is that we know our natural sensory fulfillments also nurture and satisfy the functions of the water cycle as well as the needs of the global life community. Our waste nourishes the web-of-life and its flow through us and vice versa based on finds from ecopsych.com (2011).

2. How is my Psychology major affected by the natural environment?

According to Merriam-Webster (2011) psychology is the science of mind and behavior and/or the study of mind and behavior in relation to a particular field of knowledge or activity. There is a field is psychology that is referred to as the Eco-Psychology which the educating, counseling and healing with nature that empowers anyone , at anytime, to increase personal, social and environmental wellness, and help others do the same. Eco-psychology helps individuals find a balance between life and nature; it helps individuals with self-correction, because although we are part of nature, we live excessively indoor lives. Our enormous separation from the natural world interferes with our body, mind and spirit applying the self-correcting way nature works in order to sustain our planet's health, balance and purity, around and in us. Because the indoor process that teaches us how to think and feel is excessively nature-disconnected, its separation from nature's restorative powers creates mind pollution in our psyche. This contamination warps our thoughts and feelings. It causes us to create and suffer personal, social and environmental problems that are seldom found in unadulterated nature or in nature-connected people(s). Also it encourages moment by moment to strengthen our body, mind, and spirit as an internal ecology that helps us enjoy our satisfactions in ways that maintain all of our natural world. Being connected with nature enables patients to be empowered by its beauty, serenity, and sacrifices that it makes that we as humans need to exist. Many people use nature as a way to escape and to relax, some people choose from a variety of outdoor recreational activities to participate in such as sports, hunting, fishing, camping, picnics, jogging, and even careers like crabbing, landscaping. Although, we may not acknowledge the influence of nature and how it affects our moods and the way our brains process certain feelings, it plays a significant role. Studies have found that small things such as office workers with a view of nature – trees, bushes or even a large lawn – experienced significantly less frustration and more enthusiasm for their jobs than those workers without windows. Natural mental healing is a great contribution to our society to promote being environmentally responsible versus constantly prescribing harmful medications.

3. How will I use this course to be a steward of the environment?

The most important factors to me are education and awareness. During the past five weeks I have gained knowledge of things that I have heard of but, wasn’t knowledgeable about such as the scientific method, renewable and non renewable energy, conservation and preservation, and natural resources. Initially when I reviewed the syllabus I was skeptical as to what to expect and what I would gain from the course. Contrary to my misconception of the courses intentions I am grateful to have received information that I have used to evaluate and analyze my personal behaviors in my daily life that can be modified so that I am a better steward of my environment and its sustainability. I have also made it my personal mission to relay this information to my children, family, and friends so that they are all aware and can begin to take part in saving our planet as a whole.

Although, I have began to make changes in my life to make less negative impact on our natural environment, I believe that to be successful at living a pre environmentally sustainable life, a lifestyle change has to take place. In making a lifestyle change like this you have to educate continuously, regulate, enforce regulations, preserve our natural environment and protect it from alterations, conserve, and be aware of what is going on around us. We must also take action through voting, writing letters to city council and protesting if necessary, be ethical, be responsible for your actions, and think long term with regards to our future and how our actions today will affect down the road. Ultimately, making better decisions makes for a better and more positive outcome that could improve our quality of life.


Retrieved November 3, 2011from, http://generalpaper.freevar.com/my_essays/balance_of_nature.html

Retrieved November 5, 2011 from, http://www.ecopsych.com/

Retrieved November 7, 2011 from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/psychology?show=0&t=1320736851

Retrieved November7, 2011 from Withgott, J., & Bennan, S. (2011). Environment: the science behind the stories (4th ed.). New York, NY. Pearson Benjamin Cummings. ISBN-13:9780321715340 (Package including access to the Mastering Environmental Science website.)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Society’s Vulnerability to Natural Hazards by James Juengel

PHS 100A Environmental Studies
Warner Pacific College
October 30, 2011
            There always has been and there always will be some form of natural disaster occurring in the world at any given time.  Some natural disasters are worst than others but one thing is for sure, once you have seen a disaster first hand you will never forget it.  There are many different causes of natural disasters by the weather and by the earth.  The sheer raw power that is demonstrated by the environment that we live in is a testament to just really how small and helpless we can be when the nature decides to flex its muscles.  My personal experience with a natural disaster can in the form of rain, which brought the floodwaters.
  I was born and raised in Southern Illinois.  In the summer of 1993 the entire Midwestern part of the United States flooded.  I will never forget seeing the 550 acres of horseradish, corn, and soybeans I worked every day of my childhood being twenty feet under water.  There was water as far as you could see in some areas for miles at a time with only the top of an occasional tree here and there breaking the surface of the water.  The Mississippi river was forty miles wide in some areas and the farm was only twelve miles from the river. I can still remember seeing the people and animals on the rooftops waiting to be rescued by the National Guard.
The great flood of 1993 was one of the worst natural disasters in U.S history.  It occurred because of the unusually high rainfall amounts that fell during June through August 1993. The rainfall totals surpassed 12 inches across the eastern Dakotas, southern Minnesota, eastern Nebraska, Wisconsin, Kansas, Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana. More than 24 inches of rain fell on central and northeastern Kansas, northern and central Missouri, most of Iowa, southern Minnesota, and southeastern Nebraska, with up to 38.4 inches in east-central Iowa. These amounts were approximately 200-350 percent of normal from the northern plains southeastward into the central United States. From April 1 through August 31, precipitation amounts approached 48 inches in east-central Iowa, easily surpassing the area's normal annual precipitation of 30-36 inches. Ten states received more than twenty days of continuous rain during July and another eight or nine days during August.  This is more consistent of the kind of weather the area would receive during early spring instead of the middle of summer (Larson, 1993).
The death and destruction from this flood was enormous and is one of the most costly in loss of life and financial resources.  It is estimated that over fifty people died because of the flood and that there was over fifteen billion dollars in damage.  Some small farming communities were completely wiped off the face of the earth and have never been rebuilt.  Thousands of people were evacuated, some never returned to their homes. There were over 10,000 homes destroyed and hundreds of small towns were impacted with more than seventy communities completely submerged under the floodwaters. Over 15 million acres of farmland were destroyed some of which would not be useable for years to come since the fields lost their top soil because of the rushing waters.  Barge traffic on the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers was stopped for nearly 2 months. Bridges were out or not accessible on the Mississippi River from Davenport, Iowa, downstream to St. Louis, Missouri. On the Missouri River, bridges were out from Kansas City, downstream to St. Charles, Missouri. Numerous interstate highways and other roads were closed. Ten commercial airports were flooded. All railroad traffic in the Midwest was halted. Numerous sewage treatment and water treatment plants were destroyed (Larson, 1993).
            I remember the older folks in my town and my elders telling me about previous floods in the area over the years. They said that every hundred years are so that there would be a great flood more devastating than the other floods were in the past.  They were right and I can say from witnessing this experience firsthand I saw both acts of selfishness and unselfish acts happen during this time of natural disaster.  There was individuals who were the hero’s and there were others who were thugs praying on the weak moments of others for their own benefit.  Some towns came together to overcome this disaster while other towns fell out of unity and eventually apart never able to recover from the flood.  For me I saw the town I grew up in rebuild and the farm came back to life again and still produces horseradish, corn, and soybeans to this day. I find it very funny that three years later when I was living in Oregon it flooded here in1996.  I can say from personal experience while most Oregonians were shocked by the damage they say here in the Willamette Valley that they truly do not understand the meaning of the word flood.    
             Mark Twain said a hundred years ago, the Mississippi River "cannot be tamed, curbed or confined, you cannot bar its path with an obstruction which it will not tear down, dance over and laugh at."   I believe he said it best for those of us who chose to live by any river.  I also believe that there will be another flood like this again someday.  God’s word says that it rains on the just, as well as the unjust.               
Withgott, J., & Bennan, S. (2011). Environment: the science behind the stories
(4th ed.). New York, NY. Pearson Benjamin Cummings. ISBN-139780321715340

Retrieved October 30th, 2011

Retrieved October 30th, 2011

The Domino Effect by Matt Field

The Domino Effect: Being Prepared for Local Consequences of Global Natural Disasters
Environmental Studies – PHS 100A
Warner Pacific Colllege
October 31, 2011
Science continues to make the world smaller.  Events that might have been seen as isolated catastrophes hundreds of years ago now can be correlated to events that happen all over the globe.  This can be exemplified in the chain of events that happen around the ring of fire.  Tectonic plate movement around the Pacific Rim causes energy to build and release.  The result is that communities that live around this plate are the most susceptible to earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanoes.  (Withcott Brennan, p.41, 2011)  It is imperative for Oregonians to be aware of the cause and effect of events that occur around the ring of fire.
On March 11, 2011, the USGS reported a 9.0 earthquake off the coast of Japan.  The result for their country was over 15,000 killed, 4600 missing, and hundreds of thousands displaced.  In addition, the economic loss was at least 309 billion dollars. (http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/eqinthenews/2011/usc0001xgp/#summary, 2011)  The loss was truly tragic.  On the other side of the world, however, the Oregon and California coast also sustained damage as a result of a tsunami that occurred because of the earthquake.  Tsunamis often are a result of the energy released from the seismic activity of an earthquake.  The energy displaced from the earthquake creates a swell that can move across thousands of miles of ocean.  (Withcott Brennan, p.44, 2011)  This is exactly what happened on the west coast of the United States.
Although the damage from the earthquake was in no way comparable in America as it was in Japan, the lesson of correlative weather and seismic activity needs to be noted.  In Brookings, Oregon the port manager, Ted Fitzgerald, reported over ten million dollars in damage.  Furthermore, reports of piling and debris washing up all over the Oregon coast resulted in hundreds or thousands of dollars in damage in coastal communities.  (http://www.oregonlive.com/pacific-northwest-news/index.ssf/2011/03/oregon_coast_tsunami_brookings_crescent_city_depoe_bay_report_serious_damage_photos_video.html, 2011)  Both for the sake of humanity as well as the economic security of the community we must acknowledge our vulnerability to natural disaster and be prepared when it strikes.
It is noteworthy to discover in a city such as Seaside, Oregon, a popular center of tourism, fishing, and other commerce that there aren’t more measures in place to react to a tsunami.  A check of the city of Seaside website notes that their tsunami warning system would have “content added soon.”  (http://www.cityofseaside.us/community/tsunami-warning-system, 2011)  With a little more research you will find a pamphlet that gives simple instructions to prepare for an evacuation.  Inside the brochure there is large print that instructs you to move immediately inland if you feel an earthquake.  It also differentiates between a local tsunami that requires immediate evacuation in comparison to a distant tsunami that may take up to four hours to strike and will be indicated with an official warning by siren. (http://www.cityofseaside.us/sites/default/files/file/Tsunami%20Evacuation%20Map10.pdf, 2011)
Beyond the power of local government, we do have the ability to be more prepared for the consequences of tsunamis.  Much of the measurement of seismic activity is run by Oregon State University and the University of Oregon geology departments.  These departments report seismic activity and even have websites such as the opdr.uoregon.edu disaster resistance site.  These are the first reporters when geologic activity that could result in disaster occurs.  By using science we not only understand the power of natural disaster, we also prepare for it.
Withcott, J Brennan, S (2011) Environment, The Science Behind the Stories pp. 41, 44 Benjamin Cummings, Boston
(2011) Magnitude 9.0 – NEAR THE EAST COAST OF HONSHU JAPAN, retrieved from http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/eqinthenews/2011/usc0001xgp/#summary, October 29, 2011
 (2011) Oregon Coast Tsunami: Brookings, Crescent City, Depoe Bay Report Serious Damage, March, 11, 2011, retrieved from http://www.oregonlive.com/pacific-northwest-news/index.ssf/2011/03/oregon_coast_tsunami_brookings_crescent_city_depoe_bay_report_serious_damage_photos_video.html, October 29, 2011
(2011) Seaside Tsunami Warning System retrieved from http://www.cityofseaside.us/community/tsunami-warning-system, October 27, 2011
(2011) Tsunami Evacuation Map: Seaside, retrieved from http://www.cityofseaside.us/sites/default/files/file/Tsunami%20Evacuation%20Map10.pdf, October 27, 2011

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

BLM and Weyerhaeuser by Jason Thoma

Warner Pacific College
October 24, 2011
            My view on the bureau of land management’s involvement in our society is one of an avid outdoorsman who feels that everyone should get to enjoy the natural beauty of the wilderness. The bureau has had many impacts on our society for better and for worse, but all in all I think that they do the best they can. In this paper I will discuss the pros of having a bureau of land management and what they give back. I will also include my views on how Weyerhaeuser, the company that owns the most land in the northwest, is doing business in regards to the needs of our society.
            The bureau of land management in Oregon and Washington has over 15 million acres of land to protect and conserve for the public to enjoy (Tourism, 2010). They are able to do this by receiving grants from the government and charging fees at all recreational areas.
The term that the BLM use for this is “public land” but some are not so sure how open to the public it is; when every forest that we want to enjoy costs money for us to enjoy. Some people feel that if the public owns this land, (the parks/lakes/rivers, anywhere that there is a place for recreational adventure) than it should be free to the public to use and enjoy. These same people that continually complain about our government how it operates yet do nothing to correct the errors. This same group of people is the reason for the hippie fest that occurred last summer under the guise of “Rainbow festival.” The BLM allowed these people to go out and reconnect with nature on the lands that they operate and care for and all these people did was leave a giant mess in the woods that now we have to clean up.
Right now the fees that we pay to enjoy these public lands are not substantial but can be annoying if you are not prepared for them. Without these fees the parks themselves wouldn’t have funding to stay operational. The BLM recorded that 7,962,017 people visited the 70 recreational sites that the BLM manages last year. And they were able to generate 1.9$ million dollars from the fees and permits that they required (Tourism, 2010). It is nice to see that one bureau of our local government can raise almost 2 million dollars for its own continued success instead of taking it straight out of taxes that could’ve been better spent on other situations.
As an avid outdoorsman I have had many experiences with the Weyerhaeuser Company in the state of Washington. Besides BLM owned land Weyerhaeuser is the 2nd largest land owners in Washington. Growing up I have found that my friends and I are more often than not on Weyerhaeuser property when we go out to enjoy the wilderness. They have been very generous in letting the public go onto their lands and conduct their recreational adventures, as long as it doesn’t impede the logging work that is being done in that particular area.
After Weyerhaeuser is done with their logging of an area they offer plots of land to be sold back to the public. Right now there are 90 listings of land that Weyerhaeuser is selling ranging from 3+ acres to 340+ acres. I think this is a great way for a company to offer people a chance to live out their dreams of escaping the city life to live in the solitude of the wilderness.
The BLM and Weyerhaeuser have taken our most precious resource in the Pacific Northwest, which is our vast expanses of wilderness, and transformed them into recreational areas for our families to enjoy and cherish. As our cities grow and our wilderness diminishes it is imperative to have the BLM speaking out to keep our forests intact.

Coranto. (2011, January 1).Washington’s Public Lands. Retrieved from http://publiclands.org/explore.quadrant_map.php?plicstate=WA&quad=wa_q14

Tourism. (2010, January 1). Retieved from

Weyerhaeuser. (2011, June 10). Retrieved from

Our Water Supply Is it Really Safe? by Danielle Solis

PSY 100A/Environmental Science
Warner Pacific College
October 22, 2011
            In the United States one of the last things on our mind everyday is, how safe is our drinking water?  For most of us, we turn on the water faucet and get a glass of water, or turn on the shower head and take our shower.  After our reading this week of an article from the New York Times called Clean Water Laws are Neglected, at a Cost in Suffering it became very apparent how unsafe some water is in the United States.  The question who is, responsible for our water safety and what are they doing to assure our water safety?
            For many families in a small town in West Virginia having clean water isn’t something they know about.  One family has water shipped in and stores it on their porch for drinking purposes, and their son has to use special lotion after a bath to avoid rashes and sores.  By no means should anyone in the United States have to worry about safe drinking water. We pay for our water so we should have the luxury of going to the sink for a glass of water.  Seeing there are towns that can’t do this, they turn to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
            The EPA’s mission states; “The mission of EPA is to protect human health and the environment” (http://www.epa.gov/aboutepa/whatwedo.html).  For the families in West Virginia they probably feel that the EPA is looking for the environment more than they are for human health.  Along with the EPA there is also the Clean Water Act that forces polluters to disclose toxins they dump into water ways and to give regulators the power to fine or jail offenders (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/13/us/13water.html). Each of these organizations has sets of rules and regulations but it still doesn’t seem to be enough to protect some from the harm.  Another aspect of all this is private sectors coming in from the individual states and having a public-private partnership with these bigger government organizations.  Like we read in our book, Environment the science behind the stories these private sectors can combine their efforts with the bigger organizations to have rules and regulations set for their individual states as we all have different needs.  As is the instance with the West Virginia families they have to battle mining efforts in their area that is causing them the problems with the water, whereas here in the northwest we have the dilemma of waste overflowing into our water.
            There are plenty of bad situations that play into this.  The fact that there are contaminates that are legally allowed to pass through our water system and the fact that many of the people who are responsible for dumping never face any fines or charges at all.  The reasoning for the EPA not wanting to get involved is because it is too hard to prove that the diseases and sickness came from the water and not caused environmental or from the air. 
            I think it is great we have environmental regulations that are supposed to be followed and organizations to help enforce them as we could have it so much worse, but it seems there needs to be so much more done with environmental regulations to ensure families in our own home don’t have to face such hardships in life.  It seems that each state needs to have a private sector for such things to work closely with the major sectors to ensure we all feel safe and happy in our homes. If we can’t depend on environmental regulations and the organizations associated with them then who can we?

DUHIGG, C. (n.d.). Toxic Waters - Clean Water Laws Are Neglected, at a Cost in Suffering - Series - NYTimes.com. The New York Times - Breaking News, World News & Multimedia. Retrieved October 22, 2011, from http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/13/us/13water.html
Our Mission and What We Do | About EPA | US EPA. (n.d.). US Environmental Protection Agency. Retrieved October 22, 2011, from http://www.epa.gov/aboutepa/whatwedo.html
Withgott, J., & Brennan, S. R. (2011). Environment: the science behind the stories (4th ed.). New York: Pearson Benjamin Cummings.

The EPA and the U.S. Economy by Roberto Selva

PHS 100A
Warner Pacific College
October 23, 2011

In 1970, Richard Nixon founded the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  The creation of this government agency was in response to the growing environmental concerns in the U.S. and its impact on human health.  The agency’s responsibilities include: establishing and enforcing environmental standards, carrying out research, funding educational initiatives, and supporting voluntary pollution reduction schemes in the U.S.  The formation of new rules and regulations by the EPA cost Americans hundreds of billions of dollars per year.  Naturally, this also affects the industries that are being targeted by EPA and forces companies to raise prices, directly impacting the U.S. economy.
In the first quarter of 2011, the Environmental Protection Agency began a multi-month comment period on a new proposed rule and regulation that would stiffen emissions restrictions on industrial power plants that burn coal and oil.  This would have a three-fold negative effect in the economic development of our society.  First: the closure of older industrial plants.  Even with the assumption that not one single plant would close, energy prices would still rise because older plants would require upgrades to continue operations – which, in turn, would also raise prices.  Second: the construction of new plants would be more expensive.  Lastly: the inevitable rise to the cost of producing power.  According to the San Francisco Examiner, “These rules are projected by EPA to cost $11 billion per year in 2016 to American households, who will eventually pay the higher costs of producing electricity.” (Furchtgott-Roth, 2011)  This increase has many Americans concerned and even fearful of what this will mean to their electrical bills, paychecks, and wallets. 
In contrast, I personally believe that the positive effects of this proposed rule outweigh the negative ones.  First and foremost, let’s consider the effects that this would have on our health.  We should be grateful to have an agency that is concerned with looking out for the health of its citizens and protecting us from environmental risks.  Apart from improving our health, reducing the threat of cancer, premature deaths, heart attacks and asthma would also be added benefits.  When quantifying these health benefits in dollars, “the EPA rules finalized and proposed so far by the current administration have net benefits that could exceed $200 billion a year.” (Shapiro, 2011)
Furthermore, this new rule would also have a positive impact in our current unfortunate employment situation, which at the time had an unemployment rate hovering 9.0 and 9.2 percent.  According to the EPA, thousands of Americans would be employed nationwide including 31,000 short-term construction jobs and 9,000 long-term utility jobs.  Although this figure is relatively minute compared to the number of jobs created in the private sector, I believe that any form of job creation is fundamental to the furthering of not only our “American confidence” but also our economic environment. 
In conclusion, my belief is that the roles of environmental regulatory agencies are essential to the economic development of our society.  Without these agencies in place, we will deplete all of our resources (including our economic ones) in order to combat and fight environmental threats that will endanger our ecosystems and our livelihood here on earth.  Also, in order for these agencies to fully execute their environmental responsibilities, it is imperative for all of us to remove our personal views and biases from specific situations.  I trust that as environmental awareness becomes more popular in our society, we as human beings will become more cooperative with the EPA and other environment agencies for the benefit of our future and that of the earths.
Furchtgott-Roth, D. (2011). Epa rules disrupt the economy. Online newspaper,
Retrieved from http://www.sfexaminer.com/opinion/op-eds/2011/03/epa-rules-disrupt-economy
Koenig, B. (2011, August 22). Epa regulations to shut down coal plants and raise energy prices.
The New American, Retrieved from http://thenewamerican.com/tech-mainmenu-30/environment/8700-epa-regulations-to-shut-down-coal-plants-and-raise-energy-prices
Shapiro, I. (2011, September 20). Epa and the economy: much ado about 0.1 percent [Web log   
            message].  Retrieved from http://www.epi.org/blog/epa-economy-ado-0-1-percent/

Are Pesticides The Enemy? by Brenda Rivas

 Environmental Studies
 October 24, 2011
            Pesticides were a big hit when it was discovered in the 1930’s by Paul Muller it was a big deal because he was a big help with insects and covered a wide range of insects. The other two things that people liked were that when it was sprayed it lasted for a long time and also did not wash off with the rain. Mr. Muller was given the Nobel Peace Prize in the 1948 for his discovery. Society at that time did not know the effects that Pesticides would have on the environment, they just knew that it helped with their pest problem and crop and that was all that mattered and later on the effects of using pesticides was discovered.
            How did pesticides affect our environment if affected our air, water, plants, crop, and live stock. When pesticides were sprayed the wind can blow it in the air and it would land on other plants or surfaces and if you had contact with it, it would harm you. Also, when it’s sprayed on plants it gets into our soil, and that can in turn affect our water because when it the plants are watered or it rains the toxin that is in the soil can get into our streams and our drinking water. Our live stock could be affected because if they are eating the crop or the plants that we have sprayed with it that can in turn affect them and if we that live stock it can affect us.
            A scientist by the name of Rachel Carson wrote a book called “Silent Spring”, in 1962 and made people aware of the effects of pesticides in our environment she discovered that birds were dying because when they were eating worms and insects that were exposed it. She discovered that they were two principles related to the indirect toxicity, one of the was Bioconcentration and would accumulate in organisms especially in fatty acid. Second principle was Biomagnifications and it would increase up the food chain. DDT had been exposed not only were it was sprayed but at long distances because it was traveling.
            One of the outcomes of this exposure it that Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was created and they were put in place to set regulations and standards for Pesticides and help companies be accountable for them to test and produce pesticides that decreased the effects on the environment. Pesticides are still harmful if not use appropriately but companies and society is now are more aware what affects they have on our environment. New pesticides are also being created that are Organic that are more plant based and they are known to be friendlier to the environment but even with these new pesticides it does not mean that they are all good for all plants.
            No matter what pesticides you decide to use for your crops, to kill living organisms, insects you have to educate yourself on the effects it will have on our environment. Just because it states that is Organic it doesn’t mean that in the long run it will not have an adverse effect. Sometimes as society we make changes not knowing how it will change our Eco-System in the future that is why agencies like the EPA were created but they are also having a hard time regulating companies and are having to impose fines. The best thing to do is to read labels and research what you are using in your crop or what you are putting in your mouth.
Withgott, Jay and Brennan,Scott. (Fourth Edition), Environment: The Science behind the stories

BLM and Coal Mining by Douglas Powers

Warner Pacific College
October 24, 2011
            The United States Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is a government agency that regulates the management of public land throughout the United States. The total area of this land comes out to be about 253 million acres which is approximately 1/8 of the total area of the United States ("Bureau of land," ). The majority of public land is in the western portion of the United States and an even larger portion can be found in Alaska. In addition to the public land that the BLM oversees they are also in charge of 700 million acres of subsurface mineral real estate underlying federal and private lands ("Bureau of land," ).  The BLM has a myriad of responsibilities pertaining to rules or regulations that oversee recreational activities such as camping, hunting, fishing, driving vehicles off-road, boating, hiking, shooting, and even hang-gliding. Aside from recreational activities, the land that the BLM issues for industrial uses is also governed by the BLM. The major industries that apply for these land grants are primarily mining and lumber companies ("Bureau of land," ).
          As stated earlier the BLM issues land to mining and timber companies to fuel America’s manufacturing and energy industries. I have a few complaints about the timber industry but my major complaint is with America’s mining companies and their generally accepted practices. To begin, mining itself has a devastating impact on the ecosystem around mines and also on the human population drawing water from the water table feeding the mine. When they begin digging the mine, high concentrations of methane gas, the most common from of green house gas, is released into the atmosphere ("Environmental impacts of," 2011). Methane is a natural byproduct of the formation of coal ("Environmental impacts of,"). In the United States 67% of the mining done is referred to as strip mining, cut mining, or pit mining; literally, it is a giant pit in the ground and coal is extracted via heavy equipment ("Environmental impacts of," ). This allows for more coal to be recovered then conventional underground mining but also has a greater impact on the environment.
A major byproduct of coal is pyrite (iron sulfide) or fool’s gold. This composition is acidic in nature and when rain falls the rain waters wash over the pyrite and take their acidic qualities to nearby streams or seep into the ground and contaminate the water table. This process is referred to as acid mine drainage (AMD) and is a problem coal mining operations are trying to solve but are having little success ("Environmental impacts of," ).
Another problem that coal mines create but do not deal is overburden or waste rock. This material is the worthless rock and sediment that sit atop the precious coal and typically is left in mountain sized mounds around the mine. This may not seem like a major problem however these piles are extremely unstable and continuously shift and have frequent land slides. In addition to the danger posed to humans, these waste piles attract and soak up heat like a sponge and as a result create very difficult living conditions for the indigenous plant species. However, the benefit of this uneconomical pile is that mining companies can use this material to restock mines and return the landscape to a shade of what it once was.
            To summarize, the BLM allows the mining industry to establish mining operations all over the United States for pennies. The Mining Act of 1872 allows companies to buy an acre of land for five dollars. This allows mining companies to buy massive tracts of land and devastate the landscape which will take decades to recover.

1)  Bureau of land management. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.blm.gov/wo/st/en.html

2)  Environmental impacts of coal power:. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.ucsusa.org/clean_energy/coalvswind/c02c.html

3)  Environmental impacts of coal power:. (2011, may 25). Retrieved from http://www.eia.gov/energyexplained/index.cfm?page=environment_Where Greenhouse Gases Come From

Paul Newton's view on Environmental Regulations

PHS 100A Environmental Studies
October 24, 2011

During the second half of the 20th century, the U.S. became more densely populated and more driven by technology and heavy industry, which intensified resource consumption and environmental impacts. This began to cause more obvious damage to the environment in ways that directly affected people’s quality of life (Withgott & Brennan, 2010, p. 175). As the post-war baby boom generation matured, there was much activism that helped support environmental causes and called for policies to prevent pollution, save endangered species, and preserve wilderness, among others. As a result, a large number of laws to protect the environment were passed during the 1960s and 1970s. There has been much criticism of environmental regulation but it is useful to keep in mind its positive accomplishments that have benefited our society, as well as to scrutinize its performance to find ways to improve.

Take for example, the Clean Water Act, passed in 1972, which is the primary federal law that protects our nation's fresh water systems and coastal areas and was the first comprehensive water legislation passed by Congress. The benefits of protection, prevention and restoration under this law after almost 40 years are of great significance to quality of life in this country. Now administered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), implementation of the Clean Water Act focuses on improving the quality of U.S. waters through a comprehensive framework of standards and technical and financial assistance. The EPA oversees requirements for municipalities and major industries to comply with standards for pollution control; the setting and implementation by states and tribes of specific water quality criteria; the provision of funding to states and communities to help them meet clean water infrastructure needs; and the use of a permitting process for development and land use to protect valuable wetlands and other aquatic habitats (Clean Water, 2010).

There is a good example of environmental regulation having mixed results in the state where I live, Oregon, where a government agency is very well-known for good and bad results: the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). A division of the Department of the Interior, the BLM manages more Federal land than any other agency, most of it in the Western states including Alaska. This consists of about 245 million surface acres as well as 700 million sub-surface acres of mineral estate. The BLM is charged with land use planning to ensure the best balance of uses and resource protections for America’s public lands. According to BLM, they use a collaborative approach with local, state and tribal governments, the public, and groups of stakeholders (What We Do, 2011). The BLM develops Resource Management Plans to guide decisions for every action and approved use on the National System of Public Lands. Much of their work is in carrying out provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, which requires federal agencies to make their decision-making process open to public review and to analyze and disclose the potential environmental impacts of their actions (NEPA Program, 2011).

In spite of its great objectives and apparent responsibility to uphold the best interest of the environment and the people, the BLM has been plagued by controversy and criticism for poor decisions and typical bureaucratic weaknesses and inefficiencies. One example is related to exchanges involving high-value public lands near rapidly growing urban areas. As demand in recent years inflated the value of public lands suitable for urban development the BLM, critics charge, failed to properly assess land that was traded in swaps, allowing developers to profit to the detriment of public interests (Public Lands, 2010). If the BLM consulted with experts on property values and looked at these swaps more carefully, they could do a better job of protecting the public interest and the environment at the same time. Another example of problems with performance is that the BLM is known for hassling private property owners for minor details while allowing bigger problems to pass.

Perhaps a cause of the failures in BLM’s performance is that it is given so much responsibility but has limited resources to work with. The BLM is supposed to ensure that proposed projects meet all applicable environmental laws and regulations, and to protect and make public lands available to citizens for “a wide variety of resources including energy, rights-of-way that support communications and energy delivery, a variety of recreational uses, and crucial habitat for species associated with the Western landscape, such as the sage-grouse and pronghorn antelope” (What We Do, 2011). This is a huge job, and yet, according to the U.S. Dept. of the Interior (123 STAT. 2904 PUBLIC LAW 111–88—OCT. 30, 2009, p. 2), the BLM’s 2010 budget was $960 million, which is under $4 per acre. In a 2007 report by the Dept. of the Interior, BLM had only 10,000 permanent employees, which works out to about 25,000 acres per employee (Facts About, 2007).

In conclusion, our government’s regulation of environmental use is necessary and has accomplished many benefits for the present and future of the country and its natural resources. However, perhaps due to the size of the task and the limits of funding, there are many failures and inefficiencies that leave much room for improvement.


Bureau of Land Management public land statistics. (2008). Retrieved October 24, 2011, from http://www.blm.gov/public_land_statistics/pls08/pls1-4_08.pdf

Clean water act enforcement. (2010). Retrieved October 24, 2011, from http://www.epa.gov/compliance/civil/cwa/

Facts about the Bureau of Land Management. (2007). Retrieved October 24, 2011, from http://www.blm.gov/pgdata/etc/medialib/blm/wo/Communications_Directorate/public_affairs.Par.32462.File.dat/BLM_Quick_Facts.pdf

Public Lands Foundation. (August 8, 2010). Land exchanges of public lands administered by the Bureau of Land management. Position Statement: 2010-12. Retrieved October 24, 2010, from http://www.publicland.org/14_position_statements/PLF_2010_12_ land_exchanges.html

NEPA program. (2011). Retrieved October 24, 2011, from http://www.blm.gov/wo/st/en/prog/planning/nepa.html

What we do. (2011). Bureau of Land Management. Retrieved October 24, 2011, from http://www.blm.gov/wo/st/en/prog/energy.html

Withgott, J., & Bennan, S. (2011). Environment: the science behind the stories (4th ed.). New York, NY. Pearson Benjamin Cummings


My View on Environmental Regulations by Tyesha McCool-Riley

PHS 100A
Warner Pacific College
October 24, 2011
In my opinion environmental regulations such as the Clean Water Act implemented by the Environmental Protection Agency are great strides in the right direction. Based on the reading from our text Withgott, J., & Bennan, S. (2011), the Clean Water Act requires that harmful toxins and bacteria be removed from waste water discharged into U.S. waterways (p.171). Although this may be a great stride, the question is: how can its full potential be realized? If the purpose of the regulation is to regulate resource use or reduce pollution to promote human welfare and/ or protect natural systems, it is crucial that we not only implement rules and guidelines, but also awareness and education so that everyone has knowledge and understanding on what the issues are, how the issues affect humans, animals, natural resources etc., and what we as a community can do to help remedy the issue.  
For instance the text reported on the Tijuana River located in Mexico and its subpar sewage system that continues to over flow and as a result continues to pollute and contaminate both Mexico and U.S. waterways.  This contamination not only affects nature, but is also has an economic impact. For Mexico and The U.S. additional funds need to be allocated and used to find a long-term solution such as planning and building a larger sewage treatment plant larger than the one built in 1997, to accommodate the rapidly growing population. Also cleanup efforts for this type of project could affect federal and state budgets. Although, attempting to fix the problem may cost money, you cannot put a price on a person’s life and health nor wildlife’s wellbeing, so in my opinion when it comes to the health and wellbeing of humans and wildlife our natural duty should be to eat the cost and fix the problem, if we do not preserve our sustainability, who will? I believe countries need to develop international laws to provide compensation for damage that activities under their control cause to areas beyond their borders. The ability of two countries with different political motivations, values, funding accessibility, and other contributing factors to come together to look after the best interest of people is crucial in setting an example for others to follow.  People want to have proof that certain things are successful before trying them. According to ESD Toolkit (2011),” Nations shall cooperate to conserve, protect and restore the health and integrity of the Earth's ecosystem. The developed countries acknowledge the responsibility that they bear in the international pursuit of sustainable development in view of the pressures their societies place on the global environment and of the technologies and financial resources they command”. This speaks to taking responsibility for your actions or more so your lack of action as a nation.
            As a result of the continual contamination from the Tijuana River water California beaches have suffered severe polluted and unsafe water as well as Mexico. These conditions have caused California officials to take action and close beaches in an effort to protect people from diseases such as salmonella, shigella, fibrial, cholera, hepatitis A, and Malaria caused by the harmful water.  Unfortunately, the marine that lives in the water doesn’t receive that privilege and they are forced to deal with the conditions of pollution and contamination that has lead to many of their deaths. As a result of the beach closures, it has had a negative economic impact, because beach closures according to Withgott, J., & Bennan, S. (2011) reduce recreation, tourism, other activity associated with clean coastal areas and ultimately each of the above have a direct affect on incoming revenue. For both Mexico and southern California each year their beaches host over 175 million visitors who spend over $1.5 billion. At this point the pros and cons need to be weighed, because I am quite sure that the reduced revenue puts a strain on the state and city budget which then eventually affects the local business (p.168). It’s a domino effect, and people need to be aware and proactive in all that we do to ensure that people have a healthy and productive life in harmony with nature.
            In conclusion, I understand that what Mexico has failed to do to protect its citizens has now for many years affected U.S. citizens and I believe that Mexico should be held accountable for the pollutions, contaminations, and the costs to fix the problem because they caused it. The ESD toolkit (2011) says, “Nations have the sovereign right to exploit their own resources, but without causing environmental damage beyond their borders”. This statement seems to be the right approach, but at who’s expense?
Although, Mexico needs to take responsibility, I believe that more needs to be done on the United States’ behalf to ensure that safety and wellbeing of all people and wildlife. Regulations may set for guidelines and rules, but what is a rule if there is no consequences and repercussions for not following and adhering to them. Monitoring, enforcing, and continuous evaluation is key in staying current on issues and find ways to fix them, because the EPA implemented the Clean Water Act and for several years Mexico has violated the CWA despite several attempts to put a band aid over and oozing wound. Although, violations continue to occur there has been some progress, Withgott, J., & Bennan, S. (2011) reported that, the House or representatives passed the Tijuana River Valley Estuary and Beach Sewage Cleanup Act in 2000 to authorized the United States to take actions to address comprehensively the treatment of sewage emanating from the Tijuana River area, Mexico, that flows untreated or partially treated into the United States causing significant adverse public health and environmental impacts that(p.170). Also in 2008 advocacy work along the San Diego-Tijuana border led the federal U.S. government to allocate $66 million dollars for sewage treatment plant upgrades. There continue to be efforts, but the efforts fall short of supplying an actual long-term resolution to a long-term problem. Regulations are nothing without effectiveness and efficiency.
Retrieved on October 21, 2011 from, http://www.esdtoolkit.org/discussion/default.htm
Withgott, J., & Bennan, S. (2011). Environment: the science behind the stories (4th ed.). New York, NY. Pearson Benjamin Cummings. ISBN-13:
Retrieved October 21, 2011 from, http://www1.american.edu/ted/TIJUANA.HTM
Retrieved October 22, 2011 from, http://www.wildcoast.net/who-we-are