Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Impacting The Future by Jaydra Perfetti

 Change for the Future
Jaydra Perfetti
PHS 100 – Environmental Studies
Warner Pacific College
December 1, 2012
Change for the Future
Technology is everywhere: at home, in the car, at the office, even sometimes inside the human body.  Technology has profoundly improved the quality of life for most people who use it, but it does have a dark side.  When the newest gadget comes out with the latest technology, people buy it.  That is good for the economy, but this constant upgrading generates tons of electronic garbage called e-waste.  Some of the e-waste is recycled, but frequently it ends up in developing countries, contaminating the environment and sickening the population.  Because e-waste is a growing problem, tech companies must create less toxic products and individuals must dispose of their unwanted devises properly.
In the U.S. more than 3 billion electronic devices have been sold since 1980, and half of those devices have been thrown away (Withgott & Bennan, 2011, p. 633).  The sale of electronic devices doubled from 1997 to 2009, largely “driven by a nine-fold increase in mobile device sales” (Statistics on the Management of Used and End-of-Life Electronics).  Cell phones have become less expensive over time, which means more people can afford them.  In addition, many cell phone service providers offer free phones with the purchase of a calling plan.  Desktop computers and laptops have also gradually become more affordable, so today more than 75% of U.S. households have a computer (Office of Publications & Special Studies, 2010).  That means more and more people are upgrading, exchanging, and disposing of electronics every year.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), 2.37 million short tons of e-waste was generated in 2009 and about 25% was recycled.  38% of discarded computers, 17% of discarded televisions, and 8% of discarded mobile devices were recycled; the rest was disposed of in landfills or incinerated (Statistics on the Management of Used and End-of-Life Electronics).  Even though it sounds like an enormous figure, EPA estimates e-waste only represents 1 - 2% of total municipal waste.  So why all the concern?
E-waste gets so much attention because electronics contain a myriad of heavy metals such as lead, cadmium, mercury, and nickel (Frequent Questions: General Information on E-Waste).  In fact, e-waste is the “second-largest source of lead in U.S. landfills today, behind auto batteries” (Withgott & Bennan, 2011, p. 633).  Those toxic substances can leach into ground water from landfills, or pollute the air when incinerated (What To Do About E-Waste).
As bad as that may be here in America, an overwhelming amount of e-waste is actually shipped overseas to developing countries like China.  Consequently, people in poor, rural communities disassemble electronics without safety equipment to obtain the rare and valuable metals like gold contained within circuit boards and cell phones.  They live with mountains of e-waste constantly all around them, polluting their air and water, and damaging their health.  60 Minutes reporter Scott Pelley followed one shipping container full of computer monitors from Colorado to Guiyu, Hong Kong.  There he discovered e-waste has turned the town into a toxic wasteland where “pregnancies are six times more likely to end in miscarriage, and … seven out of ten kids have too much lead in their blood.”  (CBS News, 2010).
Shipping e-waste from the U.S. to towns like Guiyu is illegal according to both U.S. law and Chinese law (CBS News, 2010).  Unfortunately, that does not stop unscrupulous companies from collecting Americans’ unwanted electronics under the guise of responsible recycling and sending them overseas by the container-full (CBS News, 2010).  This compounds the issue because people who try to be responsible and recycle their e-waste instead of throwing it away are duped into contributing to the problem.
Even though the problem of e-waste is immense and complicated, there are people and organizations working toward solutions.  Federal, state, and municipal governments have established regulations and guidelines for disposal of e-waste, and monitoring programs for landfills (Electronics Waste).  Beyond government, organizations like Natural Resources Defense Council offer information to individuals and businesses about the potential hazards of e-waste, as well as guidance for how to properly dispose of it (What To Do About E-Waste).  In addition, watchdog group Basil Action Network founder, Jim Puckett, operates a program that certifies e-waste recyclers to help people with unwanted electronics choose an ethically responsible recycling company (CBS News, 2010).
The proportion of discarded electronic devices that are being reused and recycled instead of being thrown away is steadily increasing, but there is still more to do before the problem is solved.  Tech companies can help by beginning their design process with the understanding that these devices have a short life-span, and will be eventually dissected for their valuable components after only a few years.  Hopefully, operating under that assumption will enable tech companies to innovate and find ways to make electronics out of less harmful ingredients.  If using less toxic components is not possible for today’s technology, manufacturers can at least design the products to be more easily and safely disassembled.
In addition, people can help solve the problem by getting informed and acting conscientiously.  If electronics are still in good working order, giving them to someone who can use them or selling them on Craigslist is the first, best option.  If those are not practical or possible, then people should recycle them through an e-Stewards Recycler who has been “independently verified to handle e-waste in the most globally responsible way – using safe technologies and careful protections for workers” (What To Do About E-Waste).  The most important thing is for people and businesses to find out where their e-waste is going after they dispose of it.  Raising awareness is the first step to making a positive change in e-waste for the future.
Solving the e-waste problem is a good idea for both people and the planet.  In addition to the positive environmental impact, proper disposal of e-waste could create jobs.  Of course, there is the potential for those added jobs here to be created at the cost of jobs for people in developing countries, which may worsen poverty.  Job creation aside, there is huge opportunity for tech companies to take advantage of the marketing potential created by “going green” and producing products that have a neutral environmental impact.
Technology is a vital part of modern life and it is here to stay for both businesses and individuals.  Unfortunately, there is also a growing amount of e-waste every year as new devices are released and people upgrade.  Tech companies need to design their products under the assumption that they will become obsolete in a short amount of time, and build these devices out of less harmful material.  Individuals need to take advantage of secondary markets to increase the number of devices that are reused.  When electronics finally reach the end of their useful life, people must dispose of them through a responsible and certified electronics recycler.  That will ensure that America’s e-waste does not end up polluting the environment in developing countries like China.  Responsible disposal and recycling of e-waste is good for the plant and all of its peoples.  As a wealthy and powerful nation, America has a moral responsibility to lead by example for the rest of the world.

CBS News.  (2010, January 8).  Following The Trail Of Toxic E-Waste. 60 Minutes. Retrieved November 30, 2012 from
Electronics Waste.  (n.d.).  Retrieved November 30, 2012, from Oregon Department of Environmental Quality website:
Frequent Questions: General Information on E-Waste.  (2012, November 14).  Retrieved November 28, 2012, from US Environmental Protection Agency website:
Statistics on the Management of Used and End-of-Life Electronics. (2012, November 14). Retrieved November 29, 2012, from US Environmental Protection Agency website:
Office of Publications & Special Studies.  (2010, May).  Consumer Expenditures.  Focus on Prices and Spending, 1(4), Retrieved November 29, 2012 from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics website:
Withgott, J., & Bennan, S. (2011).  Environment: the science behind the stories (4th ed.).  New York, NY.  Pearson Benjamin Cummings.  ISBN-13: 9780321715340.
What To Do About E-Waste.  (2011, August 22).  Retrieved November 30, 2012, from Natural Resources Defense Council website:

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Stewardship and faith

Slowly in some areas of thinking religion is coming closer to science. One are in particular is climate science. In some places there is the believe that these two can't be joined as there is a political bias related to the vision of powerful interests. So it is important to strengthen the links between scientific knowledge and religious organization. In this respect one organization that has been a trail blazer is The Au Sable Institute; Dr. Cal DeWitt who was the executive director for about 25 years is one of the initiators of the Christian environmental movement. Today Au Sable continues to be a hub for learning and collaboration on environmental issues. Following this link you can read an interview with environmentalist Bill McKibben: who is today one of the leaders on the american environmental movement. In this interview McKibben talks about his view of faith related organizations and about his book: "The Comforting Whirlwind".


Friday, August 3, 2012


This has been a normal summer on what we would say the new normal. Record high temperatures, record high drought, record floods, and here in Portland OR the nice 80s+ degree Fahrenheit! The forecast for tomorrow is in the 90s which is hot but this is August after all. So how can we talk about a topic that has now been put on the back burner in our society? How can we make a reference to a unsustainable system when we have grown to love instant gratification? The problems as we see them coming seam to be in the long run, or they seem to be falling on the lap of other people like those working in the flood insurance, or farm-crop insurance industries. Why we the normal everyday citizen should worry about these events. If we think about food prices going up next year, well that is next year! Why worry?
Then if we do worry, we face the fact that there is not much we can do now. Or is there something we can do? Well, let me see. Cooling off a bit one can sit by the shadow of a nice tree and with a glass of lemonade we can read about Global Warming, we can blog about it and we can learn more about it! So this is my share for today. Have a look at this website from the Environmental Protection Agency and enjoy some data. Remember the EPA has a long history starting in the 1970s when it was created during the presidency of Richard M. Nixon, a republican!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

WS4 Reflection Paper by Glenn Rice

PHS100A Environmental Studies
Warner Pacific College

January 26, 2012

From the onset of the industrial revolution, the technological advancements that drove the progress of that day came with new natural resource requirements needed to fuel that progress. Those resources that were readily available to power the new industrial machinery however, came with environmental costs that were little understood at the time. Tragically, the leaders of that time failed or were unable to foresee the damage that would result from the unrestrained use of coal, and other natural resources. However, what arose from forgivable ignorance at that time – as seen from our modern perspective – came environmental destruction, driven by competition and the attainment of wealth.

Eventually, brutal lessons were learned from these environmental abuses in the forms of resource depletion, permanent environmental degradation, and death that spanned the ecological spectrum. Industrial practices would grudgingly change over time, however serious change would not occur until society as a whole stood up against profiteering at the expense of human life and environmental destruction.

Unfortunately, the pattern of profit-driven natural resource policies – that culminates in some form of human or environmental backlash, continues to this day. Additionally, compounding this dynamic, is the emergence of third-world societies seeking to industrialize, driven by their own economic needs (United Nations, 2002). The system that drove societies of the past to extract resources to fuel their new technologically based economies, spread from localized first world regions of the planet – to societies across the globe. This dynamic – as had been experienced within the societies of the past – drove rapid population growth, and the need for cleared land to feed that population (2002). This resulted in a decline in the number of tracts to farm, forcing many landless farmers to migrate toward urban centers – and available jobs. This created a need to build up those urban areas to accommodate population growth, forcing the citizenry into areas prone to major environmental disasters. Exacerbated by hurried and poorly crafted infrastructure, the tragic consequences of any environmental disasters became far more severe (Hogan, & Marandola Jr., 2007).

Additionally, in many regions of the world, but especially in the tropics, clearing land for farming required the removal of vast amounts of forested areas. The removal of forests resulted in the degradation of a forest’s ability to regulate how water cycles through the ecosystem (Withgott & Bennan, 2011). Among the numerous consequences of this imbalance is soil erosion. On hilly slopes, without trees and foliage to secure the soil from the effects of drenching monsoon rains, horrific landslides would occur with great loss of human life and even further environmental destruction. Moreover, the economic losses resulting from these disasters (loss of productive land, loss or redistribution of manpower, etc.) would quickly develop into a protracted state of emergency for the impacted nation (Pellinga, Özerdemb, & Barakatb 2002).

Of course, here in the United States, disasters such as these are not unheard of. Even after decades of experiencing disasters from floods to hurricanes to earthquakes, Americans still take risks against the possible consequences that can occur when farming within flood planes, or building their homes in earthquake zones. Additionally, in more socially advanced societies such as the United States, when little prepared-for major environmental disasters occur, (Katrina, Mississippi flooding, Texas drought, gulf oil spill etc.) there is a significant ripple effect that jars the entire nation with higher food, energy, and human costs.

Often, as has occurred since our earlier industrial exploits, it takes natural disasters such as these to awaken a society to the need to respect nature and adapt to her rules, instead of forcing her to accommodate ours – for it is more than just a quip when it is said that “nature bats last.” Business motives drive our economy and our standard of living, however, a clean and healthy natural environment contributes even more so to these living standards. Indeed, without a healthy environment, there would be very little business to conduct, and fewer businesses capable of conducting it.


Hogan D. J., Marandola Jr., E. (2007). Vulnerability to Natural Hazards in Population-Environment Studies Background paper to the Population. Environment Research Network (PERN) Cyberseminar1 on Population & Natural Hazards. Retrieved from:…

Pellinga, M., Özerdemb, A., Barakatb, S. (2002). The Macro-Economic Impact of Disasters. Progress in Development Studies 2,4 pp. 283–305. Hodder Arnold's Journals. London, U.K. Retrieved from:…

United Nations. (2002). Natural Disasters and Sustainable Development: Understanding the Links between Development, Environment, and Natural Disasters. United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction. Retrieved from:…

Withgott, J., & Bennan, S. (2011). Environment: The Science behind the Stories (4th Ed). New York, NY. Pearson Benjamin Cummings

Urban Government in the Americas

The book "City Making and Urban Governance in The Americas: Curitiba and Portland" by Clara Irazábal (2005. ISBN 0 7546 4253 4) is full of good information and analysis about how cities have to grow and develop. Irazábal has a deep feel for the similarities as well as the differences between these two cities that help not only see the historical implications of proper governance but more so looks deep into the human, sociological aspects that through the cultural dynamics evolve in what we now consider livability of the city. As she looks at the forced integration of what Curitibans tried to do by symbolic representation of ethnic backgrounds while at the same time it seems like some forgetful disregard of real ethnic conflicts. The analytical interpretation of Portland's new character as one of the best livably cities in the US goes far. The changes that during Portland's history mainly based on the active participation of its citizenry though a varied modes of organization, like neighborhood and business associations and other interest groups (like bicyclists) has allow the empowerment of ordinary citizen in their governance.
In brief, Irazábal's book is a must read for those interested in Urban Studies and its relationship with Environmental Stewardship. 

Thursday, February 9, 2012

A message from Jorge Meléndez

Peace in Christ,

Why is there so much confusion in the world? I believe the main reason is because we fight a spiritual war (Ephesians 6:12). Within the spiritual war that we fight, we have an enemy who employs “divide and conquer” tactics that help confusion and destroy individuals in many ways. One of the ways that the enemy conquers is by attacking spiritual knowledge.

The LORD said through his prophet Hosea “my people are destroyed for the lack of knowledge” (Hosea 4:6), not that Israel had no access to knowledge; rather they chose to ignore it. The lack of Biblical knowledge is among the greatest threats to Christianity today. For this reason, consistent Bible study and seeking of the LORD with a sincere heart is important. It is necessary that we take the time to read and reread the Bible as often as we can while doing it with patience and not rushing through it, take time to consider every word. By taking time to carefully study the Bible you’ll find what the LORD says about many of the subjects that we face each and every day.

There are many subjects that impact our lives: marriage, children, family, sex, etc.. When faced with the question, “what should I do in this situation?” It is important that your reasoning be a Biblical one (Psalm 111:10), this essential element will help you know where to start and where to go (Psalms 119:105).

There exists many self help books, articles, blogs, etc., but what can really help you? Whether you’re going through something or considering something, see what the Bible says about the subject and you’ll be at a great starting point. Some might say that the Bible does not touch on every subject that we face in the 21st century; however, the essence of every subject is found in the Scriptures, precisely.

Continue your Bible reading and combine it with prayer, fasting, and church attendance and by doing so you will maintain a healthy Biblical perspective, a perspective that will bring great blessings to you and those around you.

Your brother in the faith,

Jorge Meléndez

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Glenn Rice's Reflection about the future

PHS100A Environmental Studies
Warner Pacific College

February 2, 2012

A broad essay topic can be very helpful for a student who struggles for an idea to fill a page, however a broad topic can also lead to some difficulty about how to associate it with something specific. The topic for this paper is very broad. I work within a micro-culture where any events that occur on a global scale are irrelevant to their concerns at the local level. Thus, articulating how classroom instruction relates to my everyday life and my professional career choice will be challenging.

As has been touched upon in our coursework, local communities cannot isolate themselves from the issues of global environmentalism. Blissful ignorance is no defense against large-scale environmental degradation. Eventually, and to an ever-larger degree, local communities must adapt to global environmental change – even as they are faced with their own environmental challenges.

In an effort to narrow the focus on how environmental issues affect me personally, I will speak of the sadness and anger that I feel toward the mindless profit-driven callousness with which global corporations treat the environment. As an example, rain forests destruction related to the raising of cattle in the forested areas of South America to produce hamburger meat for worldwide consumption. This ongoing tragedy continues to this day – even as the involved corporate entities state that they no longer buy hamburger meat from the most recently deforested areas (Cummins, 1999). The issue of palm oil as an ingredient in processed foods, cosmetics, and medicines (generally for first-world consumption) is quickly destroying the habitat of orangutans in Malaysia – in particular the island of Borneo (Block, 2009). These environmental issues – of which few people are aware – are examples of habitat destruction that should be of great concern down to the level of the individual consumer.

In a Google search to collect information on these topics, the first three pages were sites for the meat and palm oil industries defending their practices. Additionally, the current system of commercial advertising in media allows moneyed interests to withhold advertising dollars if any negative reporting about their products should air. Therefore, the questions posed about environmental control, clean up, and monitoring in many instances becomes moot as powerful corporations choose bottom-line economics over responsible stewardship over their environmental holdings and the lands over which they have great influence. This points out how interests with much to gain from the products in question stand in the way of society’s ability to confront irresponsible product development and environmental behavior.

These global issues can be – by definition – overwhelming to individuals. There already exist a number of important environmental concerns to occupy local jurisdictions. Not only do we have to worry ourselves over which products are responsible choices to purchase, but also how we should dispose of the accursed leftover hamburger or potato chip after its procurement. Here in Portland, where environmental awareness is higher than in most municipalities, we have done well to keep ourselves somewhat abreast of environmental issues. Almost every Portlander knows where their water comes from, when sewage spills into the Willamette occur, or where their local farmer’s market is. We take civic pride in our knowledge of these issues, and defend our resources with vigor. However, the collapse of the economy is forcing Portlanders to make choices that they wish they did not have to make.

The middle class, where I feel the greatest awareness of these issues exist, has been so pinched by the poor economy that we have been forced to choose between using limited financial resources to maintain our personal standard of living, or to make socially and environmentally responsible purchases for the protection of our shared civic resources. Sadly, my family made the choice to take a fallback position that would stabilize our finances and keep our family afloat, rather than stand firm with our choice to limit our purchases to within the community. Many other families like ours have made this frustrating choice.

Now, a curmudgeon such as I might see (as I have) that the current economical state of affairs is in part a cynical ploy by moneyed interests to keep the populace off-balance. Within a state of fear and chaos there will be less resistance against their unstated goal to place financial priorities over the fate of the environment. Global awareness of the unsustainable natural resource extraction methods that large corporations use – has interfered greatly with their ability to profit from their mismanagement. My cynicism is reinforced by the seemingly intentional lack of interest many large corporations have for the economic and environmental concerns of society as a whole. The “one percenters” who would be most able to have a positive influence upon this dysfunctional situation seem unconcerned with how deeply their profit motives have hurt the very societies that they use to acquire greater wealth.

So yes, I am affected by a general lack of interest in global environmental affairs. The connection between these issues for me is not only physical (higher food, fuel, and fewer available funds for the commons) but also emotional. My beautiful children will inherit this ever-expanding war between greedy self-interest and the necessarily expensive good stewardship of the planet. Nevertheless, how does this affect my of choice of career and my ability to fulfill the obligations to my profession? As a student of human-development and as a substance-abuse counselor in training, the connections between my career choice and environmental stewardship are quite indirect. However, as I have mentioned several times in this missive, the poor attention to the common interests of human survival directly affects me – and my clients.

Substance abuse is a condition that can easily plague anyone – and without prejudice. However, substance abuse disproportionately affects the poor and homeless, and this is where the connection can be made between my studies and resource use. Without any doubt, the major concerns of the homeless are food and shelter however, there are the critical peripheral issues of mental health and substance abuse, which are more often than not – co-occurring disorders. Even those with the intellectual wherewithal to gain access to food and shelter have difficulty securing placements, and thus, you have developments such as Dignity Village in Northeast Portland, and the Occupy Portland inspired, Right 2 Survive and Right 2 Dream Too encampments downtown. Society, in general, still believes that if one is homeless, there are shelters in which to stay – and that there is no need to sleep on the streets. However, according to a recent homeless count, there are 1700 people who must sleep outside in Portland area. A Salvation Army winter warming center that had been scheduled to open, has been unable to do so. City Team Ministries, charges $5 for a bed, and the Portland Rescue Mission uses a lottery system to distribute beds. Clearly, these facilities are too few, regularly full, and as a result, people must be routinely turned away (Right 2 Survive, 2011).

Some solutions that homeless organizations are no doubt attempting to implement, but are rarely ever heard about, is the use of idle open spaces to grow food for neighborhoods, later allowing gleaners to harvest the excess to share with the homeless. Efforts to this end have been made by volunteer organizations such as TeamWorks that coordinate like-minded groups such as farmers markets, fruit growers, local farms, and supermarkets (Hands On, 2009).

Attempts have been made to acquire unoccupied or foreclosed upon homes to refurbish into low-income housing – in most cases by including the re-use of discarded building materials. These efforts are not only being accomplished by vanguard organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, but also other groups – local and national. Central City Concern in Portland continues to work hard at renovating downtown properties for use as transitional housing (CCC, 2006). Various local planning commissions are attempting to share success stories for use in other communities and governmental organizations (Cohen, & Wardrip, 2011). On the national level, H.R. 4868, The Housing Preservation, and Tenant Protection Act was debated in Congress to help “create a voluntary program to encourage the transfer of assisted rental properties to preservation-oriented owners” (Halliday, 2010).

Nevertheless, once again, it comes down to money. Housing that becomes available is usually from the result of foreclosure, so for every home that is repossessed, there is another homeless family. Burdens upon states and local governments to fund “vital” programs leave little money for any homeless and hunger projects alluded to here. Therefore, these issues remain very emotional issues for me; for there is little else that I can do other than assist the struggling multitudes – individual-by-individual.

Perhaps society will at long last recognize that the appropriation and amassment of wealth is nothing more than self-serving greed and not at all a human quality to be admired. Hoarding excess material and financial resources that might be used to care for our fellow citizens that are in need is a spiritual tragedy. Hoarding our emotional resources is an illness of the spirit that leaves our souls empty. We can say that environmental destruction is merely a symptom of a collective society that places a greater value upon their own wants than they do their fellow human beings. Even in the face of any potential global environmental tragedy, we can still take meaningful action to create change locally, by praying with all of our might, speaking out against injustice wherever we see it, and putting the question to those who claim to be looking out for our best interests.

Block, Ben. (2009). Global Palm Oil Demand Fueling Deforestation. Worldwatch Institute. Retrieved from:

Central City Concern (CCC), (2006). Case Study: Comprehensive Planning and Neighborhood Revitalization. Enterprise Community Partners, Inc. Retrieved from: a=v&…

Cohen, R., and Wardrip, K. (2011). The Economic & Fiscal Benefits of Affordable Housing. Planning Commissioners Journal. August 01, 2011. Retrieved from:

Cummins, R. (1999). Fast Food Chains, Beef Overconsumption, and Deforestation: The Case of Guatemala and Costa Rica. Retrieved from:

Halliday, Toby. (2010). Testimony for H.R. 4868, the Housing Preservation, and Tenant Protection Act.

Subcommittee on Housing and Community Opportunity, House Committee on Financial Services. March 24, 2010. Retrieved from: a=v&…

Hands On Greater Portland. (2009). TeamWorks: Linking Local Food & Food Security. Hands-on Connect – For Volunteers. Retrieved from:

Right 2 Survive PDX. (2011). Support of Occupy Portland. Right 2 Survive & Right 2 Dream Too. Retrieved from:

Future Development and Sustainability by Tammy L. Hooper

PHS 100A, Environmental Studies
Warner Pacific University

February 1, 2012

Future Development and Sustainability

Changes needed in our society to confront future development and sustainability are modifications in our “behaviors, institutions, and technologies” (Brennan, 2011, p. 677). Sustainability as defined by The United Nations (UN) is “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generation to meet their own needs” (United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, Rio+20, 2009). The UN further states that this “requires the integration of its economic, environmental and social components at all levels by continuous dialogue and action in global partnership.” So we need to collectively find a way to balance environmental goals, social goals and economic goals. According to the World Conservation Union we are currently out of balance in these areas and top heavy in economic and social goals and deficient in realistic and working environmental goals (Resources, 2006). The World Conservation Union remarks “development decisions by governments, businesses and other actors do allow trade-offs and put greatest emphasis on the economy above other dimensions of sustainability. This is a major reason why the environment continues to be degraded and development does not achieve desirable equity goals.” The report goes on to say that the integration of economic, environmental and social components cannot be treated equally because the economy is an “institution that emerges from society” and that they are virtually one and the same as society creates rules to mediate the exchange of goods or value (Resources, 2006). The environment on the other hand is not created by society and trade offs are limited in regards to human activity.

In 1992, Edward Wilson noted that human activities have increased 'background' extinction rates by between 100 and 10,000 times. 'We are’, he said, ‘in the midst of one of the great extinction spasms of geological history” (Resources, 2006). The Millennium Assessment (MA) which was implemented by UN secretary Kofi Annan in 2000, “to assess the consequences of ecosystem change for human well-being and the scientific basis for action needed to enhance the conservation and sustainable use of those systems and their contribution to human well-being makes quite clear that not only does the level of poverty remain high, but inequality is growing” (Overview of the Milliennium Ecosystem Assessment, 2005). The main finding of the MA were that in the last 50 years humans have changed ecosystems more rapidly than at any other time in history. This has been due to the rising demand for food, water, timber, fiber and fuel (Overview of the Milliennium Ecosystem Assessment, 2005). These changes have been for human gain and environmental loss which has aggravated poverty for some peoples. This in itself diminishes sustainability for future generations. There needs to be significant changes in policies, institutions and practices for measurable sustainability to occur.

It appears that what we have been doing regarding sustainability isn’t working and to try and fix a broken system would just be wasting time and depleting our resources even more. There needs to be new ways of thinking and a doing away with “business as usual” (Resources, 2006). One thing to look at is our ravenous consumption appetite and developing awareness that our production systems are flawed. Advertising and media which are so powerful globally actually promote the opposite view, that production and consumption are good and favorable. This promotion can cause people to remain ignorant of the fact that we have limited natural resources and that we cannot indefinitely continue to consume goods and certain services at our current level. This new look at sustainability must include “both the human needs and aspirations of the poor of developing world, and the over-consumption in the industrialized world (Resources, 2006). There needs to be reeducation to the myth that if we remove a stress to an ecological system then it will simply renew itself. This myth gives humans comfort that the environment will always support us therefore ensuring our existence indefinitely. This is simply not the truth and can be plainly seen with some education from knowledgeable sources in our communities, cities, states, internationally and globally. There also needs to also be education regarding the poverty inflicted on certain groups of people due to the exhaustive use of natural resources and the rapid and continued expand of industrialism.

The World Conservation Union states “Sustainability needs to be made the basis of a new understanding of human aspiration and achievement. The relevant metric of sustainability is ‘the production of human wellbeing (not necessarily material goods) per unit of extraction from or imposition upon nature” (Resources, 2006). In fact, the United Nations is hosting a High Level Meeting on Happiness and Wellbeing: Defining a New Economic Paradigm in New York on April 2, 2012. The UN prefaces this meeting on their website by stating “The world is at a crossroads. The future of mankind and the planet is at stake” (Happiness and Wellbeing). Jigmi Y. Thinley, Prime Minister, Royal Government of Bhutan states:

Our global economic system is in rapid melt-down, starting with the financial collapse of 2008 and now manifesting in Europe’s severe and spreading debt crisis. That economic system, based on the totally unsustainable premise of limitless growth on a finite planet, is the direct cause of the very policies that the IEA says are leading us to a calamitous end as evident in the growing frequency and magnitude of manmade and natural disasters. And that economic system has produced ever widening inequities, with 20% of the world’s people now consuming 86% of its goods, 84% of its paper, and 87% of its cars, while the poorest 20% consume 1% or less of each and emit only 2% of the world’s greenhouse gases. That gap, coupled with the deep economic crisis, led the International Labour Organization to warn on 30 October that the world faces years of social unrest as economies falter (Happiness and Wellbeing).

The Prime Minister also sees this meeting as an opportunity for international consensus for the creation of sustainability based economic paradigm with national accounting systems and to slow resource degradation and to support and protect the world’s most vulnerable peoples. It is planned that key representative leaders from developed and developing nations, along with leading economists, scientists, and civil society and spiritual leaders, come together to issue a call at the UN on 2nd April for a sustainability-based economic development paradigm to replace the current system. It is thought that this project would be worked on over the next year and then would be available for implementation on a voluntary basis in national policy.

How is my major in human development affected by environmental issues? Malnutrition, inadequate water supply and environmental pollution pose serious problems to human health. From an environmental perspective shortage of arable land and water stress are important drivers for food vulnerability. Unsafe drinking water and indoor air pollution are the most serious environmental offenders, in view of current loss of human health (Outstanding Environmental Issues for Human Development, 2005). According to the 2011 Human Development Report, “power imbalances and gender inequalities at the national level are linked to reduced access to clean water and improved sanitation, land degradation and deaths due to indoor and outdoor air pollution, amplifying the effects associated with income disparities (Human Development Report 2011 Sustainability and Equity: A Better Future for All, 2011). Equal access to water, energy, healthcare, reproductive care and sanitation could help sustainability and human development. It is further stated that “Poor and disadvantaged people suffer most from environmental degradation” (Human Development Report 2011 Sustainability and Equity: A Better Future for All, 2011) and I have certainly found that to be true in the work I do with low income women and children. Most of the women I work with do not have a high school diploma or a GED and little work history. Most of the women are in their early to mid thirties and have at least two children if not four or five that they cannot support financially. Child care is expensive and even more so if you have more than one child so often attending college or taking classes to obtain a GED can be very difficult. This forces families to remain on state assistance to meet their needs for medical, dental, food and a small cash assistance. Many of these children have medical issues some quite serious due to drug use while pregnant, domestic violence while pregnant, living in unsanitary conditions, and malnourishment. I have seen children with symptoms that I as a mother would be concerned about, have an extremely difficult time accessing appropriate medical resources or be taken seriously. These women that I work with often do not have any education surrounding healthy eating, exercise, environment, community, and certainly not sustainability. I am fortunate that I have access to 28 women that I can give share this information with. I also have many volunteers, who come to our center and teach the women about health and wellness, growing a garden even in an apartment setting, eating organic or local and reproductive health. Personally, I want to start composting in my backyard this spring and become more involved in my local community, maybe attending a neighborhood meeting. These are some of the ways that I am using this course to be a steward of the environment.


Brennan, S. &. (2011). Environment The Science Behind the Stories. San Francisco: Pearson Education, Inc.

Happiness and Wellbeing. (n.d.). Retrieved January 29, 2012, from

Human Development Report 2011 Sustainability and Equity: A Better Future for All. (2011). Retrieved January 29, 2012, from United Nations Development Programme:

Outstanding Environmental Issues for Human Development. (2005). Retrieved January 29, 2012, from PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency:

Overview of the Milliennium Ecosystem Assessment. (2005). Retrieved January 29, 2012, from Millenium Assessment Web:

Resources, I. U. (2006, January 29-31). The Future of Sustainability Re-thinking Environment and Development in the Twenty-first Century. Retrieved January 29, 2012, from International Union for Nature and Natural Resources:

United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, Rio+20. (2009). Retrieved January 29, 2012, from UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs Division for Sustainable Development:

Future Environmental Issues: Related to Human Development and Teaching by Lori

PHS 100A: Environmental Studies
Warner Pacific College

February 1, 2012

When looking to the future, I can see multiple paths that our society could travel down. We could keep going the way we are now and be certain that things will end badly very soon. We can make small changes and hope for a better future. Or we can make big, albeit expensive changes and have a wonderful future to look forward to. Personally I would choose the last option. However like I said, it would be expensive.

Our society is in desperate need for change. We need better ways to fuel our cars and heat our homes. At the rate we are going, our world as we currently know it will cease to exist in the near future. One way we can change we can make is our dependency on fossil fuels. Easier said than done right? Our society as a whole needs to take a step back and really analyze what we really should be dependent on. We need to be more conscious about how we fuel our cars and consequences of the emissions our cars produce. The amount of greenhouse gases every car produces in a single day is huge.

According the EPA’s website:

“The Fifth U.S. Climate Action Report concluded, in assessing current trends, that greenhouse gas emissions increased by 17 percent from 1990-2007. Over that same time period, the U.S. GDP increased by 65 percent and population increased by 21 percent. The dominant factor affecting U.S. emissions trends is CO2 emissions from fossil fuel combustion, which increased by 21.8 percent over the 17-year period, while methane and nitrous oxide emissions decreased by 5 percent and 1 percent, respectively.”

From reading this, one obvious answer would be population control. Less people, less chance for green house emissions to go up. However, this is something I would never consider as an option.

In order to think about sustainability we need to look at new renewable resources such as wind and solar power. I think that solar power is a great way to go. I would have solar panels on my house if they weren’t quite so expensive. In the long run however, soar power would almost end up paying you. The website “” they detail the cost and rebates to having solar power in Washington State. They also have the details for every state in the country.

“Sample 5kW home solar electricity system cost — Seattle

1. Cost before incentives:$35,000 (5,000Watts*$7/W)

2. 30% Federal Tax Credit: Subtract $10,500

3. Estimated annual production ±5,500kWh*:subtract between $825 and $2,970

4. Avoided Energy Costs: subtract about $440 (cost of electricity increases 5.5%/yr)

5. Years to payback: as fast as 7 years!

Estimated Net Cost Now: between $21,088 and $23,233

Estimated Net Cost in 2020: ¡-$12,437!**

*in most of Washington, a 5kW pv system will produce much more than 5,500kWh of electricity a year. Ask your local installer for more details.

**that’s right. A negative cost. That is the same thing as a payment. In this scenario, the system has paid you to the tune of $12,437.00!!! A 35% ROI! We kid you not.”

So, I guess that solar power would be the way to go for an individual. This might be something that I would seriously consider doing in the future and would help sustain my family.

When it comes to how environmental issues affect my major I am not sure. Because I have not decided what I will be doing when I finish school I haven’t really thought about it much. I have been thinking about the possibility of teaching some day. When thinking in terms of schools and the students, there are many things that need to be done to help schools become more sustainable. The district I am looking at working for already has some good environmental habits in place but they still have quite a ways to go. One thing that I think would help improve the schools immensely is finding a better local source for school food. I have seen the giant semi trucks that go to the school and think of how horrible all the processed food must be. If they could find a local place to get their food from, I think they would be far better off. Another thing would to start thinking about having solar panels on the roof tops. There wouldn’t even have to be a lot of them just a few to help with the massive energy costs.

Personally, I think that a lot of what I have learned from this class would be extremely helpful to the students I would teach. Teaching them about ways they can help the environment and the society they live in would be a great step in the right direction. I hope that I do get the chance to help educate them on this someday.

Resources: retrieved February 1, 2012 retrieved February 1, 2012

Our Society’s Future: Changes We Can Make by Nelson Collazo-Serrano

PHS 100A

Warner Pacific College

February 1, 2012

Our Society’s Future: Changes We Can Make

The raise in our population’s number has placed a black cloud over our society’s natural resources future. A larger number of people in our nation equal a larger use and misuse of our natural resources. The rate that we are using those resources could impact our environment’s future, and dictate how those resources are available to us. Because of the type of society we are live in, individualism plays a major role in the way we approach problems and issues that we face. Individualism is a great tool for individuals to seek out goals for those individual’s advancements in social or personal settings. As a society as a whole, we need to step back from the individualism mentality and worked together to come out with strategies to help the environment.

More than often as individuals we think that there is not much we can do to aid the environment; but on the contrary there are millions of individuals if they think alike more can be accomplished. There are many actions that we can take to prevent or stop the misuse of our natural resources. During recent years, citizens of our country have become more aware of the dangers facing the environment and what that means to our future generations. Our government and the scientific community have come out with suggestions that can alleviate our energy problems. Programs such as The Energy Star are a prime example of a coalition of individuals that can make a difference. This label is placed on energy efficient products to encourage individuals to purchase them, and help the environment by doing so. Some of the issues we should focus on in to save our future and environment are the way we use food, transportation, housing, and energy sources. If we can apply positives changes to our attitude towards the environment, we can ensure a brighter future for generations to come.

“Deforestation is clearing Earth's forests on a massive scale, often resulting in damage to the quality of the land” (National Geographic, 2012).

To begin a series of changes, we should start with the way our society consumes and harvests food. We do not need to be rocket scientists to figure out that the bigger the size in population, the bigger the need is for food and resources to produce that food. Humans by nature are carnivorous, so we often choose eating meat from other animals. A majority of all the land use for agricultural purpose in our country is used to raise animals for food. The main type of meat comes from livestock. Livestock requires the usage of land which sometimes requires the process of deforestation and habit destruction. Another problem that arises from having such a large need for livestock is the large consumption of water. A large amount of the consumption of water in this country comes of livestock farms use to feed our population. That amount of water is being taken away from human consumption and natural habitat.

The best way to change our eating habits and help the environment and the same time is to eat less meat. Start a diet based on grains, fruits, nuts, and vegetables. Vegetables such as, grains and fruits should come from homes with suitable backyards in which we can build our own gardens. Another step could be that each family in this country should have one or two meals a week without meat. I know that as meat-eater myself, it is hard sometimes to give up some guilty pleasures such stakes, ribs, and hamburgers. We should think of our future and the environment’s by taking into consideration that eating less meat will make a contribution toward preserving the planet.

Another change we can apply as a society to preserve the environment’s future is the transportation issue. Our society depends on individuals to continue their work and daily activities so society can be functional. To do so, many of us rely on many ways of transportation to give us the mobility to get to and from those places of work and daily activities. Transportation is very important to supply the demands for passengers and freight destined to all types of business to keep our economy going. Vehicles such as cars, buses, tractor trailers, and trains are our main tools of traveling from urban areas to our work and activities. Sadly, the same tools we use for transportation have created growing levels of gases damaging the environment. Due to the large amount of vehicles on the road, transportation has been connected to environmental problems such as pollution from their internal combustions engines. Some of those effects on the environment are climate reactions to ultraviolet rays, notably over ozone, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen dioxide.

To make some changes in the transportation field, we should start by minimizing the use of our personal vehicles to reduce emissions created by such vehicles. Also we should add to the regulations put in place by our government to ensure clean air in our future. Another effort is the one our government is making in coalition with auto makers in creating a vehicles that run with little to no fossil fuels. Around ten to twenty years ago, the concept of hybrid, biofuels, or electric cars was something out of sci-fi movies, but we are able to see those types of cars on our roadways in our present day. Those types of cars are an indication of our awareness of the environmental issues. The creation of hybrid and electrical cars makes me believe in a future with less pollution.

Another step to preserve the environment is being smarter in the way we utilize energy in our own homes. One easy step to upgrade our homes is to make sure our homes are well insulated. A properly insulated home not only saves energy, but will help reduce our heating bills. To help save energy, the government helps with the cost of some types of insulations. Another home improvement is buying energy efficient appliances. Appliances such washing machines, dryers, dishwashers, refrigerators, and electric ovens can help us significantly save energy, and place extra dollars in our pockets. There many other changes that can we apply to our homes to create an environmental friendly environment

As a business major student, the knowledge learned in this class will be very beneficial to my future as a manger and protector of the environment. In my future position, I will encourage my employees to be smart in regards to the transportation issue. I will suggest my company to give or help with bus tickets. I will also suggest the company invest in a fleet or green cars to provide carpool to employees. In regards to food, I will suggest healthier or organic foods in the cafeterias, also better foods in the vending machines. I will suggest the replacement of any soda machines for a natural juice machines. I will strongly promote the recycling program in my company. I will also suggest the replacement of microwave to ones that are energy efficient. I will suggest the changing of lights and light fixtures that are energy friendly. I know that most of the companies are looking for the bottom line of numbers. With all the ideas I suggested, the company will have a more efficient workforce and their annual revenue will increase. The company’s monthly bills will show the savings in regards to all the energy efficient tools put in place.

In conclusion, there is nothing we can do about what has been done to the environment in the past. During this class I learned that there is much more we can do to help the environment in the present and the future. Our current majors hopefully will place us in positions in which we can influence a workforce to do the right thing. Until that change arrives, we still can make changes ourselves in our daily routines to prevent more damage to the environment.

Carey, J. (2007, January 31). How Your Eating Habits Affect The Environment. Retrieved January 28, 2012, from

Eco Friendly Houses. (2012). Eco Friendly Houses. Retrieved January 28, 2012, from

Environmental Protection agency. (2012, January 27). Transportation and Air Quality. Retrieved January 28, 2012, from

National Geographic. (2012). Modern Day Plague. Retrieved January 28, 2012, from National

Rodrigue, J.-P., & Comtois, C. (1998-2012). The Environmental Impacts of Transportation. Retrieved January 28, 2012, from

Thapaliya, B. (2008, January 19). The Correlation Between Our Eating Habits and the Environment. Retrieved January 28, 2012, from

Withgott, J., & Brennan, S. (2011). Environment: The Science Behind The Stories. San Francisco: Pearson Benjamin Cummings.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Society’s Vulnerability to Natural Hazard by Tammy L. Hooper

Warner Pacific University

January 25, 2012

Society’s Vulnerability to Natural Hazard

Currently Oregon is showing us it’s vulnerability to the natural hazards of flooding, hurricane force winds and landslides. It has been in the news every day for the last week. A mother and child were killed when the car they were riding as passengers in was suddenly swept away from a creek overflowing in a grocery store parking lot. Passes to the coast have been closed due to landslides and damage to roads along with flying debris from hurricane force winds. Houses have been flooded and others have shifted off their foundations. Mount Bachelor Ski Resort closed last week because of extreme snow fall making it hazardous if not impossible to reach the resort with a concern for avalanches.

In 1998 the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries cited five categories of natural hazards that include floods, landslides, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and tsunamis (Earthquakes and other natural hazards in the Pacific Northwest, 1999). They further state that all five of these hazards have occurred in the last century. I remember becoming stranded at my mother in laws while visiting her in Beaverton during the flood of 1996/97. I believe that was the same year as the worst ice storm I remember. I had been in Fairview and had to slip and slide my way home, it was quite frightening. We had another ice storm in 2003 and I had a new baby and lived on the second floor of an apartment building with rickety stairs made out of wrought iron and stone. I didn’t feel safe trying to carry my new baby down those stairs and chose to stay inside my apartment. I was fortunate enough to have my adult step daughter bring me supplies when needed.

It seems like more natural disasters have been occurring in the last years but are they really? Modern communication has enabled worldwide news stories to be shown almost instantly and the media sensationalizes any bit of news to lure more viewers and increase their ratings. However the world has had an increase in population and people now live in areas that may have been “previously considered marginal or unsafe” (Earthquakes and other natural hazards in the Pacific Northwest, 1999).

The Geological Society of America reports that we now transport and stockpile large quantities of hazardous materials which can be compromised by natural hazards (Geoscience and Natural Hazards, 2008). Natural hazards cause not only damage to people and property but also social and economic damage as well. After a major disaster businesses may shut down never to reopen again. Society’s mental health is also impacted by natural hazards causing trauma and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I am a certified alcohol and drug counselor and one of the sections covered in our comprehensive alcohol and drug assessment is regarding having been in or witnessed a natural disaster.

I have several huge pine trees outside my duplex which I love however when it rains like it has the last week I often wake up at night and pray to God for the trees roots to be strong enough to hold it in the ground and not fall on my house and crush us. My sister assures me the trees have withstood many storms in their years and that they won’t fall down on me. I try to find this reassuring and thank God in the morning when I wake up whole. I do find myself getting more informed about what to do in specific emergencies and making sure I have supplies and a family meeting place in the case of a natural hazard. For my family it’s about being prepared and informed of weather conditions and potential hazards at all times of the year while still having fun.


Earthquakes and other natural hazards in the Pacific Northwest. (1999, November). Retrieved January 24, 2012, from Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Institutes:

Geoscience and Natural Hazards. (2008, October ). Retrieved January 25, 2012, from The Geological Society of America:

Natural Hazards: My Experience by Lori Uhacz

PHS 100A: Environmental Studies
Warner Pacific College

January 22, 2012 

Natural Hazards: My experience

I feel very fortunate to have only been a couple natural hazards. In my life I have been in a couple earthquakes. Only one that I can remember was actually anything to be worried about. I was in high school and I was working in the office then the earthquake happened. At first I thought it was one of the teachers playing a joke on me by shaking my desk. Then I saw the tree outside shaking pretty violently. Some people at school said they saw our water tower swaying pretty badly. Other then earthquakes, I haven’t been involved in any big natural hazards.

When it comes to our society’s vulnerability to natural hazards, I think we are very vulnerable to them. We have chosen to build large buildings and huge cities on known fault lines on the west coast. Big cities have grown in what is known as hurricane country. Year after year, nature has proven that she is stronger than anything man can build. Hurricanes can tear buildings apart faster then we can blink. Tornados terrorize the Midwest destroying complete towns in its wake. Yes we do put ourselves in a vulnerable position but I don’t think there is any place on earth that is not going to be affected by natural hazards.

I don’t think that we can ever fully avoid natural hazards. Cities will continue to grow at an alarmingly fast rate and if things keep going the way they are going with the population, we might soon be building in places purposely that are dangerous.

We can however take precautions and measure to try and prevent damage to our homes and other buildings in the event of a natural hazard. Different style windows and doors, building materials that can withstand strong winds and water in the case of a tornado or hurricane. These things can get expensive though and some people might not be able to afford them. Personally I think it might be a good idea that if you chose to live in an area that is prone to natural hazards you have to have even more special insurance then is already required in order to protect your home. Maybe a special inspection is needed to prevent your property from being destroyed.

The idea of protecting ourselves from natural hazards is a great one however it might not be all that realistic. I do believe in progress and that with population growth risks have to be taken when it comes to housing and the like. However when you have no other choice then to live in an area that is prone to natural hazards, I don’t think much can be done. This is a sad but undeniable truth of living in this world. I know I wish that things could be different but natural hazards are part of the evil that has been inflicted upon this world and for the time being we just have to find a way to deal with them.

Defenseless Against the Nature’s Power by Nelson Collazo-Serrano

Warner Pacific College

January 25, 2012

Defenseless Against Nature’s Power

Throughout the centuries, civilization has been engaged in a delicate relationship with the environment. Natural disasters have played a major role in our civilizations developments. This relationship can be dated back to the Stone Age and still can be seen in our present days. Among those well know natural disasters are earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, volcanoes, and tsunamis. Due to the world’s increasing population, society has used and misused the natural resources which has created an unbalance in the environment. Sometimes the environment responds merciless to our misuses of such of resources in the form of natural disasters.

“Natural disasters are events caused by natural forces of nature that often has a significant effect on human populations” (Conan-Davis, 2003).

One of those famous disasters was the 1906 earthquake of San Francisco. The cause for this devastating disaster was a 248 miles horizontal slip on the San Andreas Fault. The slip went through the middle of city and was 6 miles deep. That earthquake was so unique because the fault slip was visible throughout the city. Fires consume the majority of the city buildings regardless if they were made of brick. Such fires burned for several days and destroyed several hundred city blocks. The total death count on the San Francisco earthquake was 500.

In 2005, Hurricane Katrina touched down in the southern coast of The United States. Katrina brought hurricane conditions to southeastern Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. To this date, Katrina was the most deadliest and devastating hurricane in United States history. This category five storm unleashed ten to fourteen inches of rain and up to hundred and seventy five miles per hour winds over Louisiana and Mississippi. The estimated damage created by Katrina was seventy five billion dollars and a death toll of one thousand and two hundred individuals. This was a very dark day in our nation’s history.

Floods are another type of natural disaster we hear often in the news. Recently the state of Oregon was the latest target of nature’s power. An unusual winter storm brought heavy rains to the beaver state creating floods to several cities in the area. The counties of Benton, Lane, and Marion dealt with rising waters from nearby rivers. Those floods were severe enough that required the use of rescue efforts, and called for the Governor John Kitzhaber to declare a state of emergency in such counties. In the city of Salem dozens of families were evacuated due to the rising waters, and few deaths were reported in Albany. Such news demonstrates the nature’s powers even in our own backyards.

Another showing of power by nature comes of the form of tsunami. This type of disaster is not as common as the others but their power is equal or even more deadly. On December 2004, a great tsunami wave touched down in Indonesia. This catastrophe event was responsible for the destruction in properties in several countries and the death toll of hundred and fifty thousand people. There was a worldwide effort to aid the victims of this tragedy in which United States was a big part of.

In conclusion, Mother Nature reminds me of a double edge sword. She shows one side of kindness with her beautiful sunrises, blue beaches, flowers, and everything we learned to love about nature. On the other hand, it shows us how small we are in comparison to its power. As a society, we have been taking advantage of the environment by misusing all the resources available to us. The natural disasters previously mention is a way for Mother Nature to let us know how disappointed she is with us.


scholastic. (2011). Retrieved January 21, 2012, from

Conan-Davis, R. (2003, January 23). Natural Disasters. Retrieved January 21, 2012, from Natural disasters ClearlyExplained.Com :

floodandsandbags. (2010). Hurricanes in History. Retrieved January 21, 2012, from

Suzuki, T. (2012, January 19). Willamette Valley Flooding Turns Deadly, Cause Evacuations. Retrieved January 21, 2012, from

Friday, January 20, 2012

Gleen Rice's view on Environmental Regulations

PHS100A Environmental Studies
Warner Pacific College

January 20, 2012

Environmental regulations are instituted to mitigate or prevent any potentially destructive extraction practices, pollution, waste, labor abuses, or the monopolization of limited natural resources. I believe that most individuals that have seriously considered the topic of natural resource protection would agree in whole or in part with this definition. Nevertheless, and most unfortunately for the environment, it is very difficult to answer the questions about where, how, and why these protections should be applied. Many powerful factions – with specific self-interests have become entrenched in deep philosophical battles over the purpose and use of environmental resources. As world population increases to levels that have been easily proven to be unsustainable, the increasing economic value of natural resources and the problems associated with their extraction has become a battle over what human survival actually means.

Often, environmental regulations that attempt to both accommodate economic realities and mitigate resource exploitation are dichotomous. To the extraction and development interests – most regulations are unworkable in light of the need for economic development and maintaining a supply chain to consumers. The argument from the other side of the regulatory debate is that extraction methods based upon economic feasibility often necessitate the use of highly destructive practices that degrade and exacerbate the fragmentation, unsustainable reassignment, and over-development of sensitive natural areas. Additionally, the environmental argument that has the greatest public awareness and is at the forefront of this debate, is pollution. Pollution has a negative impact upon the lives of humans as well as the rest of the animal kingdom that is clearly observable and measurable. Nonetheless, there is a strong relationship between resource extraction and the motivations of an advanced society to acquire the (needed and frivolous) material goods produced because of this activity.

Thus, economic development interests, applying pressure from a supply and demand standpoint, and resource protection from a global health standpoint, are tragically at odds with one another. Moreover, the argument involves the balance between the short-term goals of economics and the long-term goals of environmental protection. Therefore, what has necessarily followed from the intractable conflict between these interest groups is an attempt to develop a regulatory system that sets mutually agreed upon standards of practice. However, much to the trepidation of resource dependent business, restrictive regulatory systems are often put into place to protect long-term environmental concerns from the reactionary pursuit of short-term economic and material aims. It is quite true that protecting the availability of natural resources over the long-term will assuredly create economical hardship for resource-dependent industries. However, ironically, the regulation of environmental resources serves to protect the availability of the very resources needed to supply such an economy.

The representatives of two areas of human necessity are disputing the role of environmental regulation and its effect upon the evolution of global economics – and the evolution of the global environment. The attainment of wealth is a very strong motivator in the pursuit of economic growth in the short-term; however, very little profit can be enjoyed in the pursuit of environmental protection. A world population that will continue to grow for the foreseeable future will require the extraction of essential environmental resources, therefore, a regulatory system exists to serve as a buffer between the intrinsic human drive to advance its self-interest and the protection of the natural environment, which supplies the means by which this human advancement can occur.

Native American Economics by Tammy L. Hooper

PHS 100A/Environmental Studies
Warner Pacific University

January 17, 2012

Native American Economics

This paper will attempt to express the effect of government agencies on Native American Economics and how the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has had an impact on Native American economics as well as look at a study from the Joint Occasional Papers on Native Affairs by Stephen Cornell and Joseph P. Kalt.

The idea for this paper came from thinking about how small the Native American population is in the United States which is very impactful if one thinks about the fact that Native Americans were really the original inhabitants of this country we now call America. It could cause a person to wonder how Native Americans are doing economically today. To find jobs and opportunities many Native Americans have left the reservations and now live in cities or large towns (Your Letters: Unemployment, American Indians, 2012). Through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, The U.S. Department of the Interior through The Bureau of Indian Affairs, Division of Economic Development invested $500 million to improve American Indian and Alaska Native communities (Economic Development, 2012).

Some of the projects that were funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act went to the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs Reservation of Oregon and the Klamath Tribe. One project granted Warm Springs was $100,338 in supplemental funding for the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) to provide child care financial assistance to low-income working families and fund activities to improve the quality of childcare where one lead teacher position was retained (Tracking the Money). The Klamath Tribe received a grant of $423, 034 to upgrade the Klamath Tribal Health & Family Services building. This grant created five jobs and four temporary labor mover positions, full time for two weeks (Tracking the Money).

That being said the Division of Economic Development through the Bureau of Indian Affairs has programs to train Native entrepreneurs and Native business persons, teach tribal leaders how to build tribal business capacity and how to preserve tribal economic traditions and values (Division of Economic Development). In addition the Office of Indian Energy and Economic Development (IEED) have five divisions to help Native communities gain self-sufficiency through developing their energy and mineral resources.

All these government programs sound very impressive and helpful but are they? In Stephen Cornell and Joseph P. Kalt’s publication, Reloading the Dice: Improving the Chances for Economic Development on American Indian Reservations, they state:

American Indians living on the nation’s nearly 300 reservations

are among the poorest people in the United States. On most

reservations, sustained economic development, while much discussed,

has yet to make a significant dent in a long history of poverty and

powerlessness. Despite the many federal programs and the large sums

of federal and philanthropic money that have been used over the years,

many Indian reservations continue to experience extremely high unemployment

rates; high dependency on welfare, government jobs, and

other transfer payments; discouraging social problems; and an almost

complete absence of sustainable, productive economic activity (Kalt, 2003)

In the summary of findings from the 2002 Census on the Survey of American Indian and Alaska Native-Owned Firms it is stated that “American Indians and Alaska Natives owned nearly 201,400 nonfarm U.S. businesses and generated $26.9 billion in business revenues (Survey of Business Owners (SBO), 2010). Asian owners from the same period owned 1.1 million businesses; Hispanics owned 1.6 million businesses, blacks owned 1.2 million businesses, Native Hawaiian’s and other Pacific Islanders owned 29,000 businesses and in 2007 whites owned 22.6 million businesses which is an increase of 13.6 percent since 2002 (Survey of Business Owners (SBO), 2010).

From this information gathered and personal interaction with many Native friends and associates that live both on and off reservations I would say a lot of work and assistance has been implemented to help Native Americans however there is so much more work to do and the overall positive effects of government agencies promoting that they are trying to help Native peoples has been miniscule. So much has been ripped away from the Indian peoples for so long and it just seems to add insult to injury that Native’s cannot have the same opportunities that non-Natives are afforded.


Division of Economic Development. (n.d.). Retrieved 17 17, January, from Indian Affairs Division of Economic Development:

Economic Development. (2012, January 17). Retrieved January 17, 2012, from U.S. Department of the Interior:

Kalt, S. C. (2003). Reloading the Dice: Improving the. Joint Occasional Papers , 1-65.

Survey of Business Owners (SBO). (2010, October 21). Retrieved January 17, 2012, from

Tracking the Money. (n.d.). Retrieved January 17, 2012, from

Your Letters: Unemployment, American Indians. (2012, January 14). Retrieved January 17, 2012, from NPR:

Lori Uhacz view on Environmental Regulation

Warner Pacific College

January 18, 2012

When I think about environmental regulation, I think that not enough is being done. While the EPA is good, I honestly don’t think that much is changing. Personally I don’t know a whole lot about environment regulation except that they are trying to protect the ever shrinking environment around us.

According to the EPA’s website,,

“The EPA has primary responsibility for enforcing many of the environmental statutes and regulations of the United States. As such, the Agency is granted explicit enforcement authority in environmental statutes. Sometimes, however, that authority needs to be further refined or explained. In such cases, EPA may develop and implement policies and write guidance. In addition, EPA sometimes issues policy or guidance to encourage compliance with environmental requirements.”

How do we know exactly that whatever statutes and regulations the EPA enforces are actually being enforced? They have regulations for everything it seems, water, air, pollution, waste and a lot more. I know that these regulations are put in place to keep us safe but how affective are they? I mean look at what happened in the Gulf of Mexico. The BP oil spill was a huge environmental disaster obviously. Could the EPA have done anything to prevent it from getting completely out of hand like it did? I don’t know if there really was anything that they could have done differently but I would hope that they have learned a few things because of it.

While yes I do worry about things that are going on all across our country, I often wonder how environmental regulations are impacting where I life specifically. Growing up, I lived on a piece of land where we had our own well for water. I never had to worry about the quality of my water or if things were getting in our water supply. Now that I live in Vancouver, I have what we call “city” water to drink. What kinds of things could be getting into the city’s water supply? On the EPA’s website you can check the different conditions of air, water and such in your area. Because I cannot read the graphs and all the different data on my part of Vancouver, I am not exactly sure what it is saying. I did look on the City of Vancouver’s website at the report from 2010 which states

“The city of Vancouver goes far beyond state and federal requirements [concerning water]. In 2010, we analyzed your water for more than 238 different substances, some regulated and some not regulated.” (, 2011).

The letter goes on to list all the different things they tested and how the water came out just as they predicted it would.

Even though I’m still not sure exactly how I feel about environmental regulation, I do see that it has a great purpose for protecting us from dangerous things. I think it might be nice to have more of their policies and test results more readily available to the public. Not just for peace of mind, but to keep us informed and out of the dark.


Society’s Needs and the Environment by Nelson Collazo-Serrano

Warner Pacific College

January 18, 2012

Society’s Needs and the Environment

The growth in the United States population in recent decades has placed an immense stress on our environment. According to the US Census, in the last decade the population in our country has increased from 281.4 million in 2000 to 308.7 in 2010. These numbers shows a population increase of 27.3 million over a ten year expand. To accommodate the increasing number of people in our country, individuals would once again tap into our environment’s resources. The usage of land would be the main requirement demanded by such a large amount of people. This need would create conflicts between society, and the protection against adverse impacts to the environment. To help aid with the land usage conflicts, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management created regulations and laws to help protect the environment.

"The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is an agency within The United States Department of Interior which is responsible for managing approximately 258 million acres of public lands” (, 2009).

Among those regulations put in place by The Bureau of Land Management are the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act. Both acts were inspired by the concerned citizens in collaboration with our government to protect the environment. The Clean Air Act was created on the premises of pollution reduction in the United States. Due to increase in population in The United States, the air quality is deteriorating by the day. Having a bad air quality can create serious health risks in the population of this country. To afford the amenities that our society has to offer, the majority of the population depends on cars to go back and forth from work. Cars produce a large amount of pollution and greenhouse gases in our atmosphere. There are many other contributors to the damage of our air quality such as factories and other mechanical devices that run with internal combustion engines. Having this kind of law, forces the automobile industry have to follow a stricter guidelines in regards to pollution and to be more conscientious of the environment.

The other regulation is the Clean Water Act. Another issue with a large population is the usage of water. As we all know, water is the life giving element to all the creatures on earth. The Clean Water Act has helped our society promote save practices to help the environment to flourish with hope. The objective of the clean water Act is to restore and maintain the integrity of the United States water. Another goal for The Clean Water Act is to reduce the release of contaminants into ours creeks, rivers, and lakes. The Clean Water Act helps our society enjoy the benefits of having clean water; without it our society will disappear. Clean water is much more of a priority to U.S. citizens and it should be our daily fight for survival. We should focus all our efforts and the advances of science made to clean our water ways and totally reverse all the damage done to them.

In conclusion, these regulations were a well thought out group of ideas that I support completely. The environment is a subject that we all should pay attention to. The population in our country has grown in a significant rate, and so has the misuse of our natural resources. A larger population should equal a greater number of individuals willing to save the environment. After all, our existing as a human race depends on it.

References (2009, March). Memorandum of Understanding. Retrieved January 14, 2012, from

Environmental Protection Agency. (2011, October 20). Regulations. Retrieved January 14, 2012, from

Mackun, P., & Wilson, S. (2011, March). Population Distribution and Change: 2000 to 2010. Retrieved January 13, 2012, from

Withgott, J., & Brennan, S. (2011). Environment: The Science Behind The Stories. San Francisco: Pearson Benjamin Cummings.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Our Environmental Footprint by Nelson Collazo-Serrano

Warner Pacific College

January 11, 2012

Our Environmental Footprint

Our usage of natural resources can play a major role in our environment’s future. As individuals, sometimes we are not aware of the effects of our daily activities have on the environment. The majority of the time, we are under the impression that as individuals there is little we can do to help Mother Nature. On the contrary, we cannot afford to wait for society to come out with a solution as a whole to our environmental problems. As individuals, we can help the environment by taking responsibilities for some of our daily routines and actions that create a carbon foot print in the environment. Actions such as our consumption of food, transportation, housing, and energy can help or damage the environment.

“A carbon footprint is defined as the total amount of greenhouse gases produced to directly and indirectly support human activities, usually expressed in equivalent tons of carbon dioxide (CO2).” (Time For Change, 2011).

There are various simple changes that we all can apply to our daily lives to help reduce our negative mark on the environment. In regards of what we eat, we should consider buying more organics, and in season foods from our local farmer's market. By doing so, we can avoid buying foods that have gone long distances to reach us. The fuel and emission created by trucks bringing those products are harmful to the environment. To counteract such effects, homeowners with suitable backyards should build their own gardens to grow vegetables that can be used on salads on a daily basis. If we must go to markets to do our shopping, we should consider buying food with less packaging as possible to reduce the amount of garbage those excess packaging creates. As a family, we could come to a consensus to have one meal a week without meat to reduce the greenhouse gas effects in the environment.

Another big issue against the environment is the way we get around doing our chores. The amounts of vehicles we use in our daily lives are placing a big dent in our air quality. Once again we can integrate some changes as individuals to help solve this problem. We should utilize more public transportation and carpool with co-workers as much as possible. There are programs such as Ride Share ( which allows you to pair up with individuals that have the similar travel schedule as yours. Also, we should ride our bikes or even walk to places more often if such places are nearby. Another step is having our vehicles tuned and check the air filter monthly to avoid bad emissions that can consequently harm our environment. To help our vehicles with gas mileage, we should maintain adequately inflated tires.

Our homes are also tools in which we can help the environment. We can start by maintaining the thermostat in our houses as low as possible during the winter months. If we feel cold, the usage of more blankets is recommended. During the summer, lower the use of the air conditioning to a minimum to avoid the waste of energy. Also we should keep the air conditioner’s filters clean to help the apparatus work efficiently. While not at home, unplug all electronics devices that are not in use. Among those electronics devices are coffee makers, toasters, and video games consoles, because even when turned off, such items are still adsorbing energy. We can also help the environment inside our homes by tacking action. We could take shorter and less frequent showers to save water, and save the energy necessary to heat up those showers. Run dishwashers and laundry washer machines only when having full loads of dishes and laundry. We should avoid washing cars in our driveways to avoid wasting water. Take the vehicles to carwashes that use recycled water. Do not waste water cleaning decks, walkways, or driveways with the hose, but instead use a broom; a little elbow grease can be beneficial for our health.

In conclusion, each one of us needs to step up and take responsibility for the way we use our natural resources. We cannot for to wait for our government, society, and communities to take action. As individuals, we should take the bull by the horns and do every little thing we can to help the environment. Those little things can amount to big things if many of us band together to help Mother Nature. The legacy of a clean land, air, and water is the best heritage we can give to future generations.

Smith, S. (2003 ). How Can I Reduce my Ecological Footprint? Retrieved January 7, 2012, from

Time For Change. (2011). What is a carbon footprint. Retrieved January 6, 2012, from

Withgott, J., & Brennan, S. (2011). Environment: The Science Behind The Stories. San Francisco: Pearson Benjamin Cummings.