Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Urban Farming and Community Building by Perla X. Caballero-Hoblit

Environmental Studies PHS 100A
Warner Pacific College
August 29, 2011

Today in society there seems to be a push towards self sustainability and being eco-friendly. This is very noticeable in the City of Portland, OR. In the community that I live in is called Sellwood, this community was small and yet had a great impact in the way that has changed the way that urban chicken raising is viewed.

The City of Portland in 2008, had a ban against livestock with in the city limits. This meant that there could not be chicken raising in the city, this law was amended in 2008 stating that there could be a limit of 3 chickens in your back yard. This has changed the sounds that you hear and also the quality of eggs that one wants to eat.

The city code that change was Portland City Code Chapter 13.05.015 § E. it states, “A person keeping a total of three or fewer chickens,...pygmy goats…shall not be required to obtain a specified animal facility permit.” This was effective February 15, 2008. What this began as a urban farming revolution that has changed the city code and as well started community building.

In the community of North Williams Ave. was featured in a Today show article in 2009. The article talks about how the sound of children playing, bicycles riding by and yet there is a new sound “a tiny warble of clucks coming from a chicken coop set in the front yard.” The article continues to talk about how the Mayor of Portland has two chickens in his backyard. Or how there is a community sharing of the eggs for neighbors to share the bounty in exchange for something. The once shut and unwelcoming neighborhood is opening doors and backyards.

The “Tour de Coop” is community event that has urban chicken farmers in Portland open their backyards and let the people visit their coops and see how they are raising their chickens. This is a self guided tour that has you learn about the backyard chicken raising but also sharing ideas as well and being a conversation. I have not been on the tour but in Sellwood it seems that one house on the block has a chicken coop.

My neighbors across the street are a three member family that when they shared that there were going to have chickens I was very excited for them. I could see the husband and son work on the month prior to the arrival of the chickens using recycled plywood to build the chicken coop. Then one day they came home with a box with the celebrity and new members of 8th Street. The three chickens were at first a little scared and did not want to leave the coop but after getting use to the sounds of cars passing by, the family dogs and cats that would walk into their backyard. They emerged; the three chickens are Carmella, Samantha and Brit Nichole.

Yes the chickens have names. I asked them why? Why would you name your chickens? They responded, “You name your dog or cat with the chickens they are a member of the household and they will be helping produce eggs for the family.” The eggs the best part of raising chickens.

The price for a dozen eggs can vary from the location or quality that you purchase. If you just want the bang for you buck then the chain grocery store dozen eggs can be about $1.50. If you would to have grass feed, free range, etc. the price of course goes up and you are paying about $3-4. Why the price difference? It is cheaper and the profit margin is higher when the chickens are in cages feed a processed chicken feed.

Unlike the farmer that is taking more land, not buying the feed and using grass to feed the chickens. Similar to the urban chickens that now live across the street of me, the chickens have been seem pecking away the weeds and worms that live in the grass. They help keep the yard look great but are also helping have un-welcomed weeds be generated for food.

I have yet to have chickens even though I really would like to have three. I picture myself in the morning after I have walked my dogs. Going to the backyard and visiting with my chickens. Feeding them, changing their water, adding more bedding, and seeing how many eggs they laid for me. The fact that once I thought that this idea was only possible if I lived outside of city limits is now possible thanks to the idea of community that found a grandfathered law that spread to the city and has even spread across the nations.


Holt, Lester (Performer). (2009, September,) In Portland, OR urban chickens rule the roost [Television series episode] in Today Show. New York: NBC.

City of Portland, (2011). Specified animal regulations Portland, OR; Retrieved from http://portlandonline.com/auditor/index.cfm?c=28228#cid_13497

Growing Gardens 2011 Tour de Coops Blog


Kim Biethan's view on Assessing Natural Resources

Environmental Science PHS100A-CSB1-MA
Warner Pacific College
August 26, 2011

Scientists and economists alike have been working for years to determine how to assess the natural resources we use and how to manage them. There have been several ways of thinking when it comes to deciding what is right and wrong regarding our natural resources. The first one being that our natural resources are finite, not infinite like many people think. There are some people who see our environment from a strictly anthropocentrism perspective, who look at only the human animal and its impact or needs, the biocentrism type who sees only the non-human life and how it relates to our environment, and the ecocentrism perspective who judge actions in terms of the benefit or harm to the integrity of the ecology as a whole. Beyond these ways of thinking are the environmental ethics involved. Some believe the best way to approach environmentalism is through preservation ethic. This ethic believes that we the humans in this world should keep the natural environment pristine and untouched. For many years the pioneer in this theory, John Muir believed in this. His protégé’ Gifford Pinchot who went on to become the founder of what we know today as the US Forest Service originally believed in this tact, but after some time believed the conservation ethic to be the better way to handle the environmental issues that were beginning to form. In the conservation ethic one believes that people should hold natural resources in a higher standard and use them but have the responsibility to manage them wisely. Our Native American ancestors were firm believers in this ethic and we can credit them as being some of the first environmentalists in my opinion. They used the resources, but only for what they needed using the entire plant or animal then gave back what they had the ability to give.

Many people think the natural resources in our world like water, oxygen, plants and animals that sustain us are always going to be there, or there is some type of substitute that could replace the resource should it become depleted. Western culture has for hundreds of years taken what they need without considering the environmental impact and what would happen if we take too much fossil fuel from below the surface, or deplete the water supply, or damage the soil or oceans to the point that no animal or living organism is able to continue to live there forcing them either to move to another place or become extinct.

The sad truth is that our society, based on economic growth has done little over the past century to preserve these resources. The good news is our knowledge about this subject has grown much over the past 40-50 years causing both the average person and those in the political and environmental sciences to take notice and have started the conversations and actions on how to be better stewards of this planet of ours. People in western culture have enjoyed many years of technological advances making goods and services easier and easier to obtain without consequences however, news of environmental woes along with national and state wide initiatives and laws have forced many to adapt new habits. Over the last 15-20 years have we actually been conscious of the impact some of our purchases have on the overall environment. There has been more and more government action if not nationally, at the state and county level taking action to curb the use of our resources. Oregon for example was the first state in the country to institute the ‘bottle bill’ which charged .05 cents additional for bottled and canned beverages allowing the consumer to get their .05 per bottle/can back if they brought the containers to a recycling center located at the grocery store. This worked so well, other states adopted the same strategy. Now the bottle bill has added water bottles to the mix which helps the local landfills not clog with plastics. The use of the recycled paper, plastic and bottles have added to a wide variety of new products made from these recycled materials. We are seeing plastics in everything from new fencing to recycled bottles for our beverages and everything in between.

Our state government started recycling early on. I can remember getting my first ‘additional can’ for the recycled items aside from the garbage. ‘Recycling has become the norm here in Oregon and in other states across the nation, however having lived in a non recycling state for a year or so (Utah) the habits that had formed for me in my early adulthood were hard pressed to stop. I still divided my waste and had a very hard time putting beverage cans and bottles in the garbage can!

The Environmental Protection agency has helped reduce and stop industrial ‘dumping’ although it is common knowledge that some illegal dumping still exists due to monetary constraints. The EPA put constraints on greenhouse gases coming from our vehicles, and what types and how much of industrial wastes are allowed to be dumped in our rivers and oceans.

In our state of Oregon, we have many environmental laws in effect that have over time changed the way we live. The bottle bill, recycling (which the waste companies have made much easier by color coding different receptacles to divide glass, plastics, paper products, yard waste and garbage.) There are laws and regulations on what waste products and how much of them are allowed into our air, water and soil/land. We have ‘burn days’ when we can burn yard debris in the fall, but only on those days so as not to impact the air quality. Paying for our beverage containers and getting money back, white boxes in the workplace to separate paper products that can be recycled from the garbage. These have all impacted the way we live.

Some of the laws are determined by the state, others from the Environmental Protection Agency that for the past 40 years has been making policy for this country on the subject of environmental science. The mission statement on their website states, “EPA's mission is to protect human health and the environment”. This says it all to me. We are all bound to this earth; it is our responsibility to keep our resources from being depleted. I guess you could say I’m a bit of a conservationist.


Environmental Protection Agency Retrieved from http://www.epa.gov/aboutepa/index.html

Jay Withcott and Scott Brennen (2011) Environmental Systems and Ecosystem Ecology, Chapter 5, and Environmental Ethics and Economics; Values and Choices, Chapter 6 in Environment, The Science Behind the Stories pp (108-163) Location: Pearson

Dean's Message — Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University

There are a lot of Universities around the world that have joined the effort to educate professionals, and to promote research in the area of environmental studies. One in particular has been very successful Duke University through its Nicholas School of the Environment. For more info:
Dean's Message — Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University
At Warner Pacific College we are also building up on our programs to prepare students to be good stewards of our Lord's creation. Today I started teaching a class called Urban Resources and Sustainability that goes in that direction. This is an upper division (400 level) course and I am sure a lot is going to be learned and produced as we move along this semester.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Sweet Firmness by Jorge Meléndez

Peace in Christ,

When I think about God’s patience, long suffering, and kindness, I am left with such a thankful heart. When I think about his humor, I can’t help but smile and laugh a little. However, it is critical that we never overlook God’s fatherly characteristics of strictness. When I consider God’s strictness, I cannot but thank him for his guidance and protection that causes that strictness (Matt. 11:12).

Throughout the scriptures, I find the various ways that the LORD has revealed himself to us. For example, I see his strictness coupled with his helpful and guiding hand that leads us to victory. For those of you that experienced the firm loving hand of a good father, one that helped you succeed, you know how important his support and firmness was to your success and happiness. I also understand that there are others that might not have had a father who took the time, or even knew how to guide, and that experience also impacted you to understand the need of a good father. For tonight’s eMessage, when I mention a strict father, I mean it in the sense of a loving and caring father, one that holds high standards of discipline for his family, while creating an environment of trust, support, and guidance; such as our heavenly Father has done.

For those of you that were blessed with a strict father, how blessed you truly are, even though you might not have thought it at one time. In like manner, the LORD’s sting of correction is not always easy but it is always done with long suffering and with the emphasis of spiritual success (Jonah). Sadly, many neglect or misunderstand this aspect of God.

There are so many Biblical occasions where the LORD confronted people with the purpose of stretching them to repentance and or growth. In several instances we read about how the LORD confronted people by calling them hypocrites (Mark 7:6), as harsh as this might sound, the purpose was for the “hypocrite” to analyze their actions, repent, and be saved (Luke 3:6-8). In other occasions, we read about the LORD publicly rebuking (Matt. 26:40) and challenging Peter (Matt. 14:31), anyone weaker than Peter would have folded in anger and left from following the LORD, yet Peter maintained faithful. Then there were those times when the LORD’s preaching offended many people, as in the example described in John 6:60-70 (NASB):

66 As a result of this many of His disciples withdrew and were not walking with Him anymore. 67 So Jesus said to the twelve, “You do not want to go away also, do you?” 68 Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life.

The LORD’s words are not always about how he can help us, sometimes it’s about how we can serve him and often this might include requirements of sacrifice. Then there are those times of rebukes like the one found in Matthew 11:20-24:

20 Then He began to denounce the cities in which most of His miracles were done, because they did not repent. 21 “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles had occurred in Tyre and Sidon which occurred in you, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. 22 Nevertheless I say to you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment than for you.

However difficult the LORD’s message might be, always keep in mind that it is with a purpose, just like a strict father who loves his family, he will always do right with us and never wrong. There are times that we need a tight embrace of support from our heavenly Father. Sometimes we need compassion and patience, and many other times we need that hand of firmness that leads us to victory. Whatever it is, that we need, he will supply it; just trust him through it all, and in it all we will celebrate with our heavenly Father in joyful victory.

Your brother in the faith,

Jorge Meléndez,


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Alison Hoyt's view of the connection between the scientific method and western culture

The scientific method is a six part process that either proves or disproves an idea. Different scientists view their results differently, but they all agree upon the procedure. (Withgott, Brennan)
The scientific method begins with an observation. This is the inspiration behind the experiment. The scientific method states that demanding testing must be assumed at every step of the process. (Backer, 2004) The next step is to ask questions. This phase is exactly that and they commonly derive from the observation. The third step to the method is to develop a hypothesis.  They describe this based on their beliefs that they can explain. Hypotheses are then tested by subjecting them to experimentation and observations; if there is adequate evidence derived from the data, and then the hypothesis becomes a theory. Theories are then required to coincide with the details that developed, other than they should provide a measure to assist in future observations. (Backer, 2004)
The fourth step is to make a prediction. After stating one’s prediction, the fifth step is to begin to prepare the prediction through examination and investigation and test it. This is done by collecting evidence that is either for or against the hypothesis. The sixth step is the overall outcome and results. Not all scientists follow these steps religiously; however these are the primary elements that all scientists will conclude influence their thinking and knowledge. In the scientific method, accurate data is the root of valid observations. Observations can and do take place from natural setting to a laboratory. (Backer, 2004)                                                                                     
 Science is flexible in the sense that there is no strict way to develop a hypothesis or theory. The substance behind the argument is what validates the claim and portrays the experiment as significant is what society depends upon. “To be useful, a hypothesis should suggest what evidence would support it and what evidence would refute it. A hypothesis that cannot in principle be put to the test of evidence may be interesting, but it is not scientifically useful" (Backer, 2004)
Mumford (1986, cited in Glendinning, 1990) wrote that society believes in "the assumption that human improvement would come about more rapidly, indeed almost automatically, through devoting all our energies to the expansion of scientific knowledge and to technological invention; that traditional knowledge and experience, traditional forms and values, acted as a brake upon such expansion and invention; and that since the order embodied by the machine was the highest type of order, no brakes of any kind were desirable....Progress was accordingly measured by novelty, constant change, and mechanistic difference, not by continuity and human improvement." (Backer, 2004)   
 As a Westerner, we rely on this progress for our simple existence. It would seem acceptable on all of our behalf’s to treat our environment with the utmost care and concern; however that is just not the situation. I believe that one factor is not only ignorance, but lack of pure knowledge. Education is essential, as with any subject, to relay helpful and understandable relevant facts and other relevant information to those who either do not know or do not care. My motto is that even if only one person changes their ways that is still change.
Allowing the scientific method to correlate with each of our individual lives is another motive to preserving our earth. I think of it in terms that work for me in my life, because I hate spending the money that I do for gas so I try to eliminate unnecessary trips that require me to drive. It is a win-win situation but it is presented to me in a logical style that does not entail me to become scientific or even philosophical, but responsible to myself and family. Just so happens that I am benefiting my environment as well.
Backer, Patricia Ryaby. 2004. What is the scientific method? Accessed on April 16, 2011, from http://www.engr.sjsu.edu/pabacker/scientific_method.htm.
Withgott, J., & Brennan, S. 2008. Environment, the science behind the stories. San Francisco: Pearson Benjamin Cummings

Modern World and the Scientific Method by Josh Guisinger

In the development of anything that will remain sustainable over time there must be some research and thought that goes into its creation. If you were to design an airplane you would take extreme caution in every aspect of its development and put it through rigorous tests to insure that it works and is safe. Much is true about the development of a society or changes we make to our environment. Scientists have developed a method called the scientific method that helps gauge the outcomes of changes we make to the world in which we live. This method is meant to be an objective approach to the varying situations and outcomes that may arise or may have already arisen from a change in our environment. In this paper we will look in more detail at what the scientific method is and its impact on western culture.
In order for us as a society to make decisions that will have positive impact on our futures we must have some sort of tool for measuring the outcomes of those choices. If for example I decided that in order to always have my comforts from home with me I would buy a motor home load it up with as many home comforts as possible and drive it wherever I had to go whether that was school work or vacation. This is a decision that only took into account only my personal outcomes for the current time being. Using the idea of the scientific method to decide on the overall benefit of buying a motor home for my commuter vehicle I would put way more thought into both what the current outcome would be and the future outcome.
According to Withgott and Brennan “the scientific method relies on 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 event 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 processes that underlie the cause-and-effect relationships we observe in nature.” (p.11, 2011). With these premises in place we can evaluate much about how we develop a sustainable future. But the questions arises was this method or a similar one taken into consideration when the United States was developed or any other wealthy industrious nation? For now we will leave that question be.
            When looking at the development of western culture you can see how the scientific method has played a huge role in shaping the West as we know it. What is Western Culture? It seems to be impossible to define it in a simple way. It could be the countries that are more modern and have a more formal way of living or it could be or it could be a “body of knowledge derived from reason”. (Western Culture Global). For the sake of this paper I will stick with defining it in terms of the modernized nations of the West. The West has placed huge emphasis on its knowledge and ability to create and implore new ideas. From its motivation to create green energy to the research that is done on global warming we as a Western culture are constantly being asked to test our finding against the scientific method. Not only do we place importance on research we do but also the beliefs we live out. Our personal beliefs need to be ready to stand against the same method of scrutiny.  
            Western Culture may have been come about using a lot of the practices outlined in the scientific method, but personally I do not see it happening so much anymore. It seems we have taken away the idea that we must evaluate our decisions and weigh the outcomes and instead we do what suites me for now.  Our environment is on slippery slopes when it comes to the future. Will we be like Rome or Easter Island and over extend our recourses (pp6-7, 2011)? Or will we start making the kind of decisions that will live a better environment for our kids and grand kids to come? I sure hope for the sake of our kids’ future we will make the right decisions and observe the outcomes of the choices we make.
What is Western culture? What is non Western culture? The history and definition of Western
culture. Western culture and race, racism, multiculturalism, westernization .
(n.d.). Western culture and its ideals, values, beliefs, ideas, characteristics and thinkers :
Western Civilization. Retrieved August 22,2011, from
Withgott, J., & Brennan, S. R. (2011). Environment: the science behind the stories (4th ed.). San
Francisco, CA: Pearson Benjamin Cummings.

Elsa Astacio on Western Culture and the Scientific Method

            The scientific method is a formal process, which scientists use to test their observation of how the world works.  The process begins with an observation of a subject matter of interest.  Then from there, questions are formulated about their observation.  A statement to support their questions is derived by trying to explain their question.  This then becomes their hypothesis, which the scientist uses to make a prediction.  Now he is ready to put his prediction to the test by experimenting the validity of his predictions.
            There are various experiments a scientist may choose to manipulate the variables in his experiment.  One is called the independent variable which the scientist moves around or changes.  In the textbook’s example it would be the amount of fertilizer put into the pond that causes algae to grow in the pond, which then becomes the dependent variable because the algae growth is dependent on the fertilizer.  Another experiment would be the controlled experiment which keeps one of the variables constant while the other varies.  The results of the controlled experiment are dependent on the variable taking its own natural course.  The scientist can manipulate the placement of his experiment but cannot do anything to it in order to change the results.
            Analyzing and interpreting is the last of the scientific method process and at this stage the results of the data from the experiments are recorded, analyzed and interpreted.   Mathematical methods are used in this phase because scientists find it more precise and dependable in finding patterns.
When culture can be characterized as the contributions (such as their values, customs, literature, religion and so on) brought to the western part of the world from other countries who settled in the western parts of the globe.  America has become an influential nation in the Western culture due to her assertiveness during the early 1800s and when the 1900s came along their fashions, entertainment, technology, and politics had dominated the Western culture.  How the scientific method relates to the foundation of Western Culture would stem from those who were not afraid to ask the “what if” and “how could we” questions.  I believe these questions were the foundation of many inventions.
            The Industrial Revolution was when things began to change for the better in technology and other new discoveries were made.  The scientific method was used toward improving our environment as well as the auto industry.  It also contributed to the advancement of our social and education programs as well as in the medical field.  Continuous medical research over the years has resulted in the advancement of our health care, medical technology and pharmaceuticals.  The scientific method can be use where ever advancement is needed and the human mind continues to ask those “why” and what if” questions.
Jay Withgott and Scott Brennan, Environment The Science Behind The Stories, Fourth Edition

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Sand For The City

Singapore is one of the fastest growing cities in the whole world. Of course that means: sand. Where is Singapore is going to get all that sand when as at the southern tip of the Thai-Maly peninsula it has very limited resources. This city-state is a rich cosmopolitan center of world-wide economic value and thus has been growing unstoppable for the last decades. According to The Oregonian's article by Denis D. Gray (Associated Press) who using U.N. statistics finds that 14.6 million tons of sand were imported by Singapore last year. This is the story at The Associated Press.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Urban Reserves

Portland OR has been in many ways a spearhead regarding environmental ideas. It has the largest urban forest park in the land and its inhabitants are proud to be "green."
This article in The Stump of The Oregonian shows how the process is normally carried out when it is stated that: "On Aug. 18, Oregon's Land Conservation and Development Commission will consider designating 13,500 acres of urban reserves and more than 150,000 acres of rural reserves in Washington County. If approved, this decision will be the culmination of a decade of work to protect farm and forest lands and ensure smart development and future economic opportunity" you can read the whole article here http://www.oregonlive.com/opinion/index.ssf/2011/08/why_lcdc_should_approve_urban.html 

Monday, August 1, 2011

Listening to birds sing

Have a look at this website http://www.allaboutbirds.org/Page.aspx?pid=1059 it has an extremely good view of birds songs and how to listen to them. Starting at the beginners levels allows one to improve until becoming not only an experienced birdwatcher but also a scientist analyzing the songs through sound spectra.
The variety and diversity of birds and their songs is only one more reflection of how wonderful this creation is and how blessed we are to be here. At the same time we are motivated to be good stewards and to work tirelessly protecting the environment for these creatures, blessed creatures that need human behavior that is responsible.