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