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.

Lori's view on Natural Resources and Deforestation

Lori Uhacz

Warner Pacific College

January 11, 2012

Each and every day, we are one step closer to running out of natural resources. Every country in the world vies for one resource or another whether it is gas, natural gas, hydro power, crops or a variety of other things. We are becoming so dependent on oil especially in America and places like China and India that before we know it, these resources will be gone. We as a society cannot stand by and watch our precious resources be depleted. We have a responsibility to protect them and the land around them and to see that they are not abused.

In the Pacific Northwest, we have large forests full of beautiful old trees. Because the need for timber is so great, we are at risk of losing some of the most amazing forests we have. Yes, the U.S. Forestry Service has taken measure to insure the protection of many parts of Oregon and Washington, not everything is safe however. Deforestation has been come a problem. Our book defines deforestation on page 318 as “the clearing and loss of forests” (Brennan & Withgott, 2011). From personal experience I have seen how deforestation has affected the beautiful Oregon landscape. If you drive through the coast range on the way to say Cannon Beach, you can see how over logging has completely changed how everything looks. To me some places are not even nice to look at, let alone be a place for wildlife to live and survive.

In other places around the world, deforestation has become a much bigger problem than it is here in America. In an article for the Washington Post online, Joshau Partlow talks about the deforestation of the Amazon Rainforest in Brazil. Parts of the “Bom Futuro National Forest” are being destroyed despite efforts by people like Antonio Elson Portela “an environmental official responsible for protecting the forest from settlers and loggers (Partlow, 2009). As members of a global society we need to find a way to protect these forests. Partlow states in his article that “through May of [2008], Brom Futuro had lost nearly 170,000 acres of forest, roughly a quarter of the park. At the current rate of deforestation, environmental officials estimate, half the forest will be pasture in five more years. By 2021, it will be all gone” (2009). Why is nothing being done to stop this? We need to create stricter laws that protect the land in and around the forest. Unfortunately it going to be a lot more difficult than just creating laws. The impact of these laws however would endanger the livelihood of many people who live in Brom Futuro. Even though living in the national park and logging it is illegal, they still pursue their dream of having their own piece of land. Partlow goes on to say that the people who live in the forest know what they are doing is illegal, but they have lived in this place for so long that they will do anything to stay there. Cleofas de Oliveira, is one such person who Partlow writes about. “Oliveira and others say they are willing to plant trees and police themselves and the loggers in return for legitimate claim of their land” (Partlow, 2009). Partlow goes on to quote Oliveria, “If they (the government) try to move people and do not offer something of value, people would burn the rest of this forest in protest: Okay, if we have to leave, the forest goes with us” (2009).

While deforestation continues to be an issue across the globe, is there really much we can do to stop it. With the population around the world continuing to rise, soon we will have to start cutting trees in places that have been protected for a very long time. Honestly I don’t think that regulations against deforestation will stand for much longer. We are desperate for resources and trees and other natural resources will be some of the first to go.


Brennan, S., & Withgott, J. (2011). Environment the science behind the stories. (4 ed.). San Francisco: Pearson Education.

Partlow, J. (2009, February 6). A protected forest's fast decline. The Washington Post. Retrieved from

Tammy's view on Natural Resources and Environmental Regulations in Society

Tammy L. Hooper

PHS 100A, Environmental Studies

Warner Pacific University

January 1, 2012

Natural Resources and Environmental Regulations in Society

This paper will discuss how society can assess natural resources and how as a society we can establish environmental regulations that have an impact on our culture and lifestyle. I will start with the definition of the word assess, which according to the web site means to “estimate officially the value of property, income, resources, etc” (, 2011). This would imply that the person or organization doing the assessing values our natural resources and is looking at sustainability of the larger functional systems both for living and nonliving things that include society currently and for future generations. This would be an ecocentric perspective (Brennan, 2011, p. 141).

I agree with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) that our natural resources such as “water, minerals, coal, oil, gas, living things and the land itself are this Nation's treasures” and further states this important information, “To be effective stewards of these valuable resources, our Nation must constantly advance our scientific knowledge and understanding” (Assessing Our Natural Resources, 2005). The USGS also discusses the importance of our Nations decision makers to be informed on how natural resources could be affected by decision making regarding demand of said resources and how these changes could affect our economy, environment and quality of life (Assessing Our Natural Resources, 2005). I believe being informed allows us to know what we are standing for and to make informed choices about that stance.

The USGS and other resources such as the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) offer programs to help our decision makers become informed about our natural resources and to understand how their decisions could affect our culture and lifestyle. Examples of these programs are the National Water Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Program and National Water-Use Information Program, Mineral Resource Assessments, National Oil and Gas Assessment, National Coal Resources Assessment, and World Energy Assessment. There are also biological resources available such as North American Breeding Bird Survey (BBS), Non-Indigenous Aquatic Species, and Status and Trends of Biological Resources. Land use programs such as the National Aerial Photography Program (NAPP) provide information on changes in the patterns of vegetation and land use (Assessing Our Natural Resources, 2005). There are also many programs that are more community focused such as the EPA’s website on green living that helps decision makers addresses areas of home and garden, school, community, shopping, on the road and at work (Learn the Issues: Green Living, 2011). The resources that have been discussed are all governmental however there are many non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that influence international environmental policy as well such as The Nature Conservancy and Greenpeace. The Nature Conservancy has a wonderful website that explains their mission which is “to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends” (Learn More About The Nature Conservancy, 2012).

I personally like the idea of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) as a basis for how society can establish environmental regulations. Groups such as The Nature Conservancy use “science in everything they do” and “pursue non-confrontational, pragmatic solutions to conservation challenges” (Learn More About The Nature Conservancy, 2012). The first step to addressing environmental issues is recognizing a problem in society with our natural resources and having some facts to illustrate the problem. The next step is to see what is causing the identified problem (Brennan, 2011, pp. 185-186). For an average citizen such as myself, I would need to know how to scientifically collect the data needed for these first two steps. If I am unable to do that myself I would need to know how to connect with a scientific resource that would be interested in helping me such as becoming involved with a NGO. The third step is to problem solve a solution/s to the problem where again science is integral to this process.

To be effective, getting organized is vital. I know people who have started coalitions or joined an organization to help influence a cause that they believe in that will make life better for individuals and/or environmental causes. I have observed this requires passion, determination and a commitment to often spend substantial amounts of time supporting that cause. The fifth step is lobbying policymakers and this step requires knowing someone influential at the political level to allow you access to people who can actually make change happen (Brennan, 2011). To achieve this organizations such as The Nature Conservancy have partners with individuals, stake holders, governments to local nonprofits and corporations.

The last step in establishing environmental regulations is to turn your solution into law by preparing a bill that represents the desired outcome (Brennan, 2011, p. 187). Again, one has to have networking connects in order to have the bill sponsored. At this point the bill can become enacted into law if it passes successfully through several committees or it can fail. If the bill becomes policy then several different entities are needed to implement measure and enforce regulations to that law.

Information discussing environmental policy in this paper is what I have learned from reading our textbook and researching online. In a simpler world my wish would be that all humankind was inherently good and put a high value and kindness on everything God’s hand created. If a problem was pointed out such as we are consuming our precious natural resources at a voracious rate and we are quickly headed for ruin and harming many others in the process so we need to stop doing that. Then a light bulb would go on and society would be able to say “okay” and be satisfied with a simpler existence that includes more caring for others and less divide economically, socially, politically and racially.


(2011). Retrieved January 1, 2012, from

Assessing Our Natural Resources. (2005, July 20). Retrieved January 1, 2012, from USGS :

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

Learn the Issues: Green Living. (2011, December 22). Retrieved January 1, 2012, from EPA United States Environmental Protection Agency :

Learn More About The Nature Conservancy. (2012). Retrieved January 9, 2012, from The Nature Conservancy:

Glenn Rice's view on assessing natural resources

Warner Pacific College

January 12, 2012

Centuries ago, there was little need to take an inventory of lands occupied by humans, for nature still held sway over the destiny of human survival. In the early agricultural era, although little consideration was given to how human activity affected the environment – the earth’s human population was not large enough to have the global impact that it does today. Humans were constrained at the time by the negative feedback loop that manages the population of most species today, however within the last two centuries, advancements in agricultural technology and the economic growth that came with it, have enabled the human species to grow exponentially. Between the eighteenth century and today, the earth’s human population grew from its first billion individuals to the seven billion that it carries today. Additionally, where industrialized nations population growth has stabilized, in parts of Asia, Africa, and Latin America, population growth is rapidly increasing as technological advancements spread to these societies (University of Michigan, 2000).

However, there is a deep cultural belief in the supremacy of humankind, that manifest destiny guides our actions, and that conquering nature and “managing” natural resources is a divine right and responsibility. Additionally, there is the longstanding sense of entitlement that accompanies the ownership and possession of land. Social resistance to taxes and regulations in difficult economic times have further complicated any goal of balancing long-term environmental benefits with any short-term economic needs. Moreover, the human impact upon the environment takes place very slowly and any negative impact is unseen over the short-term, leading to the lingering notion that nature will supply the needs of society in perpetuity (Whitfield, 2011).

At the turn of the twentieth century, after experiencing the results of poor stewardship of the environment, attempts to put wise-use reforms into place were made. Within the first decade of that century, and spearheaded by the likes of Teddy Roosevelt, and his forester Gifford Pinchot – the National Parks System, Wildlife Refuge System, Bureau of Reclamation, and the U.S. Forest Service were ushered in to mitigate the damage done over the last century (Radford University, n.d.). Thus it was that the United States Government began to assert its power to make decisions about environmental policy.

Throughout the following decades, the U.S. Government performed reasonably well in its role as environmental steward, and developed a healthy image of itself in that role (see Smokey Bear and Woodsy Owl.) However, in spite of its stated good intentions, the government was pushed to be more accommodating to a growing population that demanded greater access to the nation’s natural resources. Urban areas pushed out to encroach upon the very lands that were needed as resources to serve its needs. Battles over land rights and uses have now become more desperate and heated. Add to that, the current disdain for the actions of government, the aggressive refusal to accept the findings of scientific research, and the fact that commerce has many lobbyists and nature very few, the environment is being driven ever closer to its ultimate carrying capacity (Withgott, & Bennan, 2011).

The growth in the number of industrialized nations around the world, and their need to compete and survive in the global economy, now adds to the relentless and unsustainable extraction of earth’s natural resources. It is with hope that the push toward responsible environmental stewardship that is slowly developing within technologically advanced nations will spread to the rest of the world as the unsustainable practices of the past had. However, as our government, and the governments of emerging nation’s ability to provide responsible stewardship over the environment wanes – and pressure to provide natural resources to serve the needs of society advances – it increasingly falls upon civil society to alter its culture of consumerism and accept the factually supported truth that nature is indeed limited.


Radford University. (n.d.). Environmental History Timeline 1890 - 1920 The Progressive Era. Radford University. Retrieved from:

University of Michigan. (2000). Demographic Transition: An Historical Sociological Perspective. University of Michigan. Retrieved from:

Whitfield, J. (2011). Dr. Hern's Diagnosis: Humans as a Cancer of the Earth. Swarthmore College Environmental Studies. Retrieved from:

Withgott, J., & Bennan, S. (2011). Environment: the science behind the stories (4th Ed.) New York, NY. Pearson Benjamin Cummings ISBN-13: 9780321715340

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Tammy L. Hooper's view on the Scientific Method and Western Culture

 PHS 100A, Environmental Studies
Warner Pacific University
December 29, 2011
The Scientific Method in Western Culture
            This paper will define and give examples of what the scientific method is and how it has influenced western culture.  This paper will also give a definition of western culture.
According to our text, the scientific method is “the traditional experimental approach that scientists use to learn how the world works” (Brennan, 2011, p. 11).  To break this down a scientist is interested in a subject and has an idea about it.  The scientist begins with observing some kind of occurrence that she would like to explicate, such as the germination of carrot and tomato seeds, and then loads of what, when, how, and why questions are posed by the scientist.  This sets things up for the scientist to develop a hypothesis which is a “statement that attempts to explain a phenomenon or answer a scientific question” (Brennan, 2011) and a prediction follows.   An example would be posing a question such as “Which seeds germinate quicker, carrot seeds or tomato seeds?  The hypothesis statement could be,” If I plant carrot seeds and tomato seeds, then (the prediction) carrot seeds will germinate quicker” (Poore).  The scientist then tests the predictions “one at a time by gathering evidence that could refute and disprove the prediction” (Brennan, 2011). 
The scientist will then test the predictions by performing experiments that manipulates variables or conditions that can change.  For example with our carrot and tomato seed hypothesis the scientist could make a prediction that a warmer temperature would affect the carrot seeds to germinate quicker.  The scientist would then grow the two pairs of seeds in two separate greenhouses with one being warmer than the other or one set being grown inside and one outside.  The warmer temperature would be the independent variable that is what the scientist manipulates and the germinating seed would be the dependent variable. To validate the hypothesis, the scientist will want to perform this experiment as many times as possible obtaining the same results each time.  The data from these tests is used to “determine the strength and reliability of patterns they find” (Brennan, 2011, p. 12).  There are also natural experiments in the scientific method in which researchers test their hypothesis by searching for correlations to validate their hypothesis.  This type of experiment would happen with large interests that could not be managed in a control setting.  The last two pieces to the scientific method are the peer review and conference presentations.  Peer reviewed work is when a scientists work is complete and the researcher writes up their findings to be considered for submission to a scientific journal for publication.  The editor of the journal will ask several other scientists (peers) to review the manuscript and provide comments.  Sometimes scientists present their work at professional conferences which gives their peers a chance to interact with the information being presented and give feedback and comments. 
The definition of western culture that I found most appealing states that:
Western culture is a body of knowledge derived from reason.  This foundation of reason has made possible a vast accumulation of understanding related to reality or nature, including human nature. This understanding is represented in several core ideals and values, which include individualism, happiness, rights, capitalism, science and technology. (What is Western Culture?, 2009)
This definition appears to have many similarities with the scientific method in that it is based on reason which has brought large amounts of data and understanding of nature and human nature.  The scientific method seems to be interconnected with western culture and a perfect fit for understanding how our western culture affects nature and ultimately ourselves. 

Brennan, S. &. (2011). Environment The Science Behind the Stories. San Francisco: Pearson Education, Inc.
Poore, S. (n.d.). Hypothesis. Retrieved December 29, 2011, from Science Fair Projects:
What is Western Culture? (2009). Retrieved December 29, 2011, from Western Culture Global:

Glenn Rice's view on the Scientific Method and Western Culture

Warner Pacific College
January 4, 2012

WS1 Response Paper #1
 “Western Culture” is generally described as a civil system that is founded upon reason, and of being represented by the core values of individualism, rights, and capitalism – and is nurtured and advanced by science, and technology (Western, 2009a).  Working from this definition, many feel that the ideals of western culture promote the development and sustainment of advanced civilization, and thus, it is viewed as being more advanced – rising above non-western cultures.  The Western Culture Knowledge Center defines western culture as a body of ideas and values derived fundamentally from mysticism or subjectivism, as opposed to reason (2009c).  This somewhat predominant view of global culture has resulted in a commonly held view that Euro-American culture is unchallengeable in its superiority and that less advanced cultures are inferior or “third world.” 
This interpretation of cultural dynamics has been accepted as fact for centuries.  However, as the processes of sociocultural evolution have progressed, and as civilization has expanded throughout the world, different attitudes about what defines “third world status” have changed.  The western cultural paradigm that drove the advancements that created the civilization in which we currently live, were celebrated in the past and in the present as the panacea for most sociocultural ills.  Nonetheless, this social dynamic has been called in to question.  Many currently view the old sociocultural models of the past as out of control.  However, any hint of collectivism in society is viewed as an attack on individualism, personal freedom, property rights, unencumbered economic practices, and uninhibited resource management. 
Ironically, science – itself a product of sociocultural advancement – has become a resource for those who wish to challenge the status quo of capitalistic society.  Science began to focus greater attention upon the environment in the early 70’s and became a very uncomfortable presence for those that supported capitalism as it stood, and resisted knowledge that would dispute its value and expose its flaws.  The scientific method, which determines the viability of any studies and their outcomes, began to chip away at the argument that western culture was superior in almost every case, by producing compelling evidence to the contrary.
Briefly, in its generally accepted form, the scientific method is a process by which questions about how the individual components of our world function.  Potential answers move through a precise process of research and study that can achieve repeatable results.  The results will then be published and made available for review by peers and other interested parties (Withgott, & Bennan, 2011).  Science, and the research methodology that sustains it, began to question capitalism and western culture, and study their effect upon the environment, and attempted to determine whether the benefits of capitalism outweigh the cost to the environment – an environment that at one time was believed to be limitless.
This was the overarching question that the scientific community – through the scientific method – hoped to answer.  The hypothesis was that capitalism – of the sort that sustained modern western culture – was unsustainable given the limited carrying capacity of the natural environment – the concept of nature’s limited carrying capacity being a theory that has been supported by other research (Cohen, 1995).  Using data collected through experimentation, and cross-referencing the data with similar research collected over time, a variety of effects of modern society upon natural systems was determined. 
Due to the complications inherent to studying something as vast as nature, the experiments themselves were not always easy to understand and often resulted in a new set of questions.  However, over time, the answers to these questions appeared vital to the goal of maintaining a healthy environment.  On a number of fronts, the studies eventually provided clearer answers to the question of how western culture effect nature and its ability to sustain itself.  The accumulated information of this research has been published and widely distributed between other scientists and researchers for review, and the outcomes of the experiments have been repeated on numerous occasions (Withgott, & Bennan, 2011).   
Arguably, and in spite of the difficulty of understanding the often-confusing way in which nature operates, the negative effects of western culture on the environment have been clearly illustrated (Cohen, 1995).  However, adjusting the inherent rigidity of western culture’s reason and rationality to accommodate environmental concerns is certain to seriously challenge the validity of the older paradigm and dismiss those that avidly support it.  Change often meets with resistance, particularly when new knowledge and the facts that support it conflicts with a centuries-old model.  Some might say that the sociocultural and socioeconomic disruption that will result from shifting focus toward the protection of the environment and the confusing science that backs such change is not worth the tremendous cost.  However, any peer reviewed science that backs up the reasons for change, becomes reasonable in its own right, and in the end, may rationally accommodate both the environment and the values of western culture.

Cohen, J. E.  (1995).  Population Growth and Earth's Human Carrying Capacity Science, New Series, Vol. 269, No. 5222.  (Jul. 21, 1995), pp. 341-346.  Retrieved from:
Western Culture Knowledge Center.  (2009a).  What is Western Culture?  Western Culture Global.  Retrieved from:
Western Culture Knowledge Center.  (2009c).  Capitalism.  Western Culture Global.  Retrieved from:
Withgott, J., & Bennan, S. (2011).  Environment: the science behind the stories (4th Ed.)  New York, NY.  Pearson Benjamin Cummings.  ISBN-13: 9780321715340

The Scientific Method and Western Culture by Nelson Collazo-Serrano

PHS 100A
Warner Pacific College
January 4, 2012

The Scientific Method and Western Culture
            The environment’s well-being is the responsibility of each one of us, to ensure the survival of our race as a whole.  In recent years, we all have heard through several media outlets such as television, radio, and magazines the impacts of our actions have over our environment and the effects that could have in our future.  A great advocate for the environment is the former Vice-President, Al Gore.  Throughout his movie, “The Inconvenience Truth”, Al Gore touched on a variety of topics regarding our actions and the effects of those actions regarding the environment.  The main focus of Al Gore’s movie was global warming.  The scientific society was involved in a series of investigations on the issue of environment.  The process used by those scientists to determine the effects of our actions to the environment is called the scientific method. 
“The Scientific Method is a logical and rational order of steps by which scientists come to conclusions about the world around them.” (Science Made Simple, 2006 - 2011).
            The science community uses the scientific method to confirm the answers obtained by their researches and studies.  The scientific method is a process to aid the user and to obtain answers to questions using a step by step format.  Steps such as observations, hypothesis, predictions, experimentations, and finally the conclusions are the core of the scientific method.  During the observation step, the scientists will research everything that is to know about the question or subject to be studied.  Using diverse sources of information will help the research and the experiment to be good in general.  The second step is creating hypotheses.  Scientists will declare a statement that outlines the outcome of their experimentation.  Hypothesis helps scientist express a research or study in a form of a question.  The following step is predictions.  During this step, a scientist gives a detailed demonstration about the truthiness of their hypothesis.  The experiment that scientist will conduct is to exam their predictions.  Having a wrong prediction indicates that new details about the experiment were brought out and to be taken into consideration.  The fourth step is the experimentation.  In this step, scientists will test their hypothesis with physical experiments.  Experiments are the instrument used by scientist to find out if their thoughts or ideas were right or wrong.  Experiments are an important part to the scientific method because it will test the hypothesis.  Finally, the conclusion will express the experiment's results, and their relationship with the hypothesis.  In the conclusion, the scientist has the choice to support or disapprove their hypothesis. 
“Western culture is a body of knowledge derived from reason” (Western Culture Global, 2009).
            In United States we enjoy certain rights and liberties that allow us to enjoy our lifestyles to the fullest.  Our western culture style of living has given us a place in this planet in which a large amount of people around the world would like to be part of.  Western culture is the direct result of a society obtaining knowledge from reasoning and understanding.  This way of thinking helps societies such as ours to understand matters related to nature, including human behavior.  Western culture allows our individualism way of reasoning from subject to subject.  This type of culture also allows us as individuals to achieve our own happiness.  Another attribute of western culture is the protection of individual’s rights without sacrificing another individual’s rights.  Lastly, in western culture individuals have the opportunity to obtain personal wealth promoting a capitalism style of society. 
            The progress of our western culture is not to reasoning and understanding along.  The scientific method is also responsible for the progress of the western culture.  The scientific method and western culture has gone hand in hand helping each other through the years.  Without the freedom of reasoning that western culture provides, we could not have scientific method.  Without scientific method we could not have the advances in our western culture.  The great discoveries and inventions in technologies and science is due to certain individuals who know the reasons and why’s of things.  The price we had paid for some of those advantages in our culture includes damages to our environment.  The growth in our population made for an increase in the housing industries, using part of our logging industries and taking part of our natural lands.  In these types of cases, the scientific method is a great tool to measure how much damage we have made to our environment. 
            In conclusion, we all are responsible for our environment.  The advantages western culture allows are a great privilege, not a right.  We are responsible for not destroying our surroundings for a little space that we really do not need.  We all should look the environment as an investment not only for us, but for our future generations. 

Science Made Simple. (2006 - 2011). Understanding and Using the Scientific Method. Retrieved December 29, 2011, from
Western Culture Global. (2009). What is Western Culture? Retrieved December 29, 2011, from
Withgott, J., & Brennan, S. (2011). Environment: The Science Behind The Stories. San Francisco: Pearson Benjamin Cummings.