Saturday, August 30, 2014

Not In My Backyard

What would you do if someone tries to build something inside your property? How would you react if you are asked to give up some of your property because is for the benefit our society? Who will determine what is the benefit for society when your property is used in ways that you don't like? How can be assessed the damage to your property by the use of it for common good?
The Oregonian on Friday August 29th, 2014 has an article that addresses this questions. For more information click here.
Landowner Bill Gow is facing 'eminent domain' as a canadian oil pipeline company has obtained the rights to bury a 36-inch diameter high-pressure pipeline through his land. Eminent domain is the lawful act through which a government can forceful purchase land from private owners for use in a way that has communal value. That would be the case of constructing new roads, bridges, or infrastructure that will benefit the whole community. In this case the land will be used by a privately own company that claims that the jobs created will benefit the whole community.
Where would you draw the line? How can we assess the benefit of a community when benefiting a private enterprise?

There is another aspect of 'not in my backyard'. This one is related to how laws and regulations are applied to industries that create a lot of jobs but at the same time externalizing some to the costs caused by pollution. Take Title V of the Clean Air Act. that sets the need for industries to get a permit to pollute.
For those living in the Hillsboro OR neighborhood what is now happening with the new Intel D1X plant being build relates to the same question of having an industry that supports the local economy and uses resources human and environmental in its activities. You have to read Luke Hammill who has been reporting news related to Hillsboro OR to see how Intel may benefit by Supreme Court ruling
that will allow it not the have to get a Title 5 CAA permit for its emissions of fluoride for which it was fined $143,000 this year.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Scott Buser's view on things to come

 Warner Pacific College
August 11, 2014
Finally, after 5 weeks I get the opportunity to share the information I have learned by attending the Environment Studies class at Warner pacific College. Five weeks really is not enough time to master all that someone would need to be an authority on the environment, but what I have learned is a good start. Who know that a vehicle powered by hydrogen would produce water from its emissions? Maybe that’s the answer to our vehicle smog issues.
            I’ve thought about how I leave a footprint on the environment; I recycle plastic, cardboard and the oil from the vehicles my wife and I drive. The garbage we send to the land fill from our house is very little. Although we are a part of helping the environment with recycling there is more we can do. My wife and I have also made some commitments to not driving as much, conserving the use of fossil fuels. This year instead of going camping on our vacation, we’re staying home to clean our home and send unwanted items to recycling centers.
The Bureau of land management (BLM) has more influence than any of our 50 states. The BLM oversees 945 million acres of land, a force of thousands employees that oversee landslides, mineral production, land policies and restoration of forest. I believe their mission is a good one for the planet. I also believe that with government support we could build on their programs that help preserve nature. After all, isn’t taking care of our environment about taking care of nature?           
I have learned over the last 4 weeks more about the environment then I have over 55 years. What’s more startling is learning how bad the world will be if we don’t do something about it. If we continue to cut down the CO, 2 makers, (trees) we will certainly suffocate from lack of oxygen. As humans, if we continue to pollute our H2O, (water) we will die of thirst.
            In searching the web I found that you can actually make oxygen, right in the kitchen of your home. “How to Make Oxygen and Hydrogen from Water Using Electrolysis.” For $249 you can even buy a kit for your car that produces hydrogen. What is interesting is that to produce the oxygen in your kitchen, you must use DC power, which is a batter, manmade; which is very harmful to our environment. It just boggles my mind; we take manmade discoveries to make what nature has already provided to us. Why don’t we trust nature, arrest the systems that destroy our existents.
Look at all the millionaires that built their homes on the edges of a coast. The architects looked over the land; they bought permits, and paid someone to build. Then one year a strong storm comes in and washes the costal line away. Soon their property is destroyed and gone. Who was really the designer of the costal edge? Surely not the architect, or the home builder. It was, and is nature! Those that build their homes on hill sides, reap the same rewards as the edge dwellers. Although we can never predict Mother Nature, we can save ourselves agony by not presuming she won’t have an effect on our lives. 
The few watersheds we have should be preserved. Here in Portland, Oregon, we have several open water reservoirs. On Mount Tabor, there is one that has continuously been violated by vandals. Sometime urinated in, or dead animals thrown in just to make some kind of dumb statement or anger towards life in general. What about the companies that have a history of creating toxins and hiding the factory excretion in our oceans and rivers? How do we balance our effects on nature, yet provide life to those that oppose change and accountability to the environment? Here’s one thing I thought about! I have a fences around my property, about 175 feet. Now, with my understanding of my foot print, I’m refuse to stain my fence. Why? Because the stain that’s put on the fences, country wide, are eventually washed away by the rain. From the rain water it can seep into our ground water, which eventually will return to us though evaporation, condensation or well, river water. Another aspect of change for our house is to not use lawn fertilizer on our property. The same results and negative impact on our rivers and streams. United States geological surveys. (USGS). There is so much water on our planet. How do we continue to live with all the pollution and survive?
I would challenges everyone to take a longer look at their own environmental footprint. Others will say that one person can’t change the total of many. I think that the change in one can, by hope. I believe that from this class at Warner collage, there’s 6 people that will change how they see and change how they impact the environment. There is also hope by the influence we each have on others around us. Stop, remove a tossed plastic bottle from the garbage and place it in a recycling can. One person can learn, others can too. My children, grown up now, continue to tell their children to shut off the lights, don’t throw paper in the garbage, and put it in the recycling bin. Once a year I load up my truck with scrap metals, on my way to the mental scrap yard I stop and both my daughters to get any metal. Once recycled I split the funds between them both. Kind of a reward for not filling the garbage with recyclable materials.
You got to love teachable moments!

Warner Pacific College. (2014). retrieved from
Bureau of Land Management. (2014) retrieved from
The City of Portland Oregon. Mount Tabor (2014). Retrieved from
USGS for a changing world. (2014).The USGS Water Science School. Retrieved from

The Future: by Matthew Sluman

Environmental Studies

 The future is in our hands and the earth contains plenty of recourses to sustain life in better fashion than we even know it now.  Sure the earth’s human population is of over seven billion and counting, but we use less than 32% terrestrial surface. This needs to change and through creativity we can change that. Man and nature can live together harmoniously. In fact they can cohabitate better and have richer more meaningful and fulfilling lives when living together if man can learn to be respectful of the environment. Man does not have to intrude on the ecosystem, man can harmonize with it.  We can feed all of the people of the world with plenty if we would just change our value system and concern ourselves with enriching our neighbors.

The current population of the world is now at 7.045 billion and according to the article, World Population Balance, the earth is already over reaching its limits by three times its ability to sustain, and is currently using more than 50% of the recourses that the earth is producing. The article claims that studies show that the earth is only capable of sustainability for about 2.0 billion at European rates of consumption (world 2014, p.1) In addition, according to official UN estimates the earth’s population will swell to around 9.1 billion by 2050 (press 2005, p.1).
Certainly this is a dilemma that needs to be addressed, and in short order as one can see. Science and socialist, environmentalist, and entire nations are all concerned with the emphatic truth staring mankind and the servile of the earth down, eye to eye.  It seems each group has their own way of describing the issues, and everyone has a different way of addressing the crisis. For example, In China fetal and gender genocide is an ethical method of controlling their growing population, as recognized by Wikipedia (Wikipedia 2013p.1).     
In the United States population control is looked at through urban renewal programs and urban reform to reduce urban sprawl. The idea is to move everyone into the inner cities to reduce the human footprint along with Planned Parenthood programs to reduce reproduction and eliminate unwanted births. In all of this I wonder how many young Einsteins have been systematically eliminated and how Thomas Edisons is the world missing out on. If only 3% of the population is produced is inherently evil than certainly these tactics are not the correct answer to the dilemma. Man must begin to look outside of his conventional methods, and I purpose that the conventional methods of population control are not the answer.   
I believe that the answer lies at least in part with education reform. According to Annenberg Learner only 37% of the earth’s terrestrial footprint is inhabitable, and available for agriculture (Annenberg 2000, p.1). That deems 63% of the earth’s land mass as unusable and I believe that the earths sustainability lies in the recourses yet untapped in those regions. Therefore, there is much more land available for utilization than is accounted for. We must educate ourselves regarding those recourses and discover methods of harnessing their bounties. This seems far more reasonable to me than the easy answer of killing off people who are deemed without purpose or value.
One example that comes to mind has taken place in Israel in recent decades, in which Jewish people have renewed their desolate homeland into a poetic gesture of agriculture wonder. It is truly an oasis created out of education and vision, as recorded in the following extract (Israel 2014 p.2).
Israel’s agriculture scientists have revolutionized the way farmers irrigate and store crops, protect plants from drought and disease, keep pests away naturally, and purify and reuse wastewater. The most advanced irrigation and fertilization technologies coming out of Israel will be presented at Agritech by Yuval Elazar, head of special training activities at the Cooperation. Based in Rishon LeZion, CINADCO implements Israel’s agricultural cooperation policies with more than 140 developing nations, working through MASHAV, the Israeli agency for international development. Multilingual training sessions in Israel and abroad cover water resources management, irrigation and fertilization, sustainable market-oriented agriculture, intensive livestock and dairy production.
There are numerous examples of how Israel has shared its agricultural technology breakthroughs practically since the founding of the state. Across the globe, countries use Israeli methods for raising crops and farm animals.
Israel’s breakthroughs only scratch the surface of what is truly possible for sustaining the earth’s future population, but it is one great example, and an excellent start. For, they have literally taken waste lands and converted them into viable recourses and renewed ecosystems in just over 45 years.
 My mind’s eye runs ramped with thoughts of how the earth can sustain its human population growth.  To begin with, so much of the land we consider uninhabitable is desert waste land. What if we took those kinds of regions and irrigated them with reverses osmosis seawater and created aqueducts that supplied water for fish farms which would then feed hydroponic vegetable gardens. We could recreate land sprawl in wasted zones and create inhabitable living arrangements that the inhabitants of third world nations could live in and manage.
We would create entire new communities and install educational systems to teach the people to manage and care for themselves and the land.  We could build huge community solar panels in the deserts that would feed power to all in a sustainable way with very low impact on the ecosystem. In fact the ecosystem and humanity and cohabitate better if they work together and when man is mindful of the environment (Jonson Creek). We have to put aside a little greed. Profits won’t seem automatic, but in time it will come, and the best pay out of all... people can lead vibrant harmonious lives. Using methods such as vertical farming helps save space on the ground by growing the crops vertically while drip irrigation saves almost 90 percent of water. These methods are revolutionary and by them WE CAN FEED THE WORLD if we would just care enough.
In addition to my above crazy scheme I think we can generate power by creating off shore storms in the Polar Regions. Here is my plan, I call it a storm in a can...pun intended, as in, we can put a storm in a can. What we would do is build huge solar panels like 15 x15 miles and place them in strategic cold locations over the sea. We would create high floating walls around the panels and when the magnified heat reaches the cold temperatures it would create a storm system inside of the circular pontoon. Then by using floating combines that serve as generators as they catch the storms power we can generate a lot of off shore power that way. 
Finally, I can’t pretend to know it all, obviously I don’t, and my ideas may seem simple and elementary, but I suggested saving rain water and runoff in barrels for irrigation when I was a kid because the sewer systems always overflowed and everyone was worried about conserving water.  I could see very early that we should be recycling metal paper and plastic, but they said it couldn’t be done. I thought about agriculture and I asked why don’t we plant gardens on the roof or collect sunlight on our roof tops they said it didn’t make any sense and that it would weigh too much.  I wonder why we can’t see that if we install cellular towers it makes a perfect location for large wind mills as well, why not diversify right where we are it seems to make sense to me.
I may not know much, but I know this, that the human will to survive is insatiable, and if we gave members of the third world nations a chance to survive in relative peace without hunger they would likely be willing to carry the irrigation water on their backs from the ocean to desert to sustain life. Know this, it can be done we just need a different value system and rewards need to be for those who promote life not exploit it. 
Works Cited

Jared Walker's analysis of the future

During this class (Environmental Studies at Warner Pacific College) we have discussed many different aspects of the environment and I have learned a lot about ways that we can help sustain the world we live in. I am sure that in this class we have only scratched the surface of the ways we are able to maintain our environment. In this paper I will discuss three ways in which we can preserve our ecosystem. But before I do I would like to tell a short story about myself when I was first in college. I was helping out with the Junior High age group at my local church. Every other Sunday I would give a message to the kids and hope for the best. The Junior High age can be difficult to please so it was always nerve wrecking trying to get them to respond to the message presented so that they might hopefully grow in their relationship with Christ. One particular Sunday I was asked to give a word on the environment. I thought this was an absolute waste of time. Why would I use valuable church time to talk about why we need to environmentally friendly? It did not make sense to me. I preached the message and the youth group was about as interested in the topic as I was. I wish I could preach that message again; I would have a lot more to say. God has given us a beautiful world and we are to be good stewards of it.  
The first way we can help with conserving our environment is recycling. I do not just mean throwing away your garbage in the right bins. I mean being less wasteful in general! There are so many easy ways to do this. I always thought that this was so insignificant but after researching and finding all the ways that we are able to help in this area is very eye opening. Here are just a few examples. Using less paper napkins could save over 1 billion pounds in landfills each year! There are 63 million newspapers printed each day in the U.S. about 69%, of them will be thrown away. If we recycling just the Sunday papers we would save more than half a million trees every week. Another fun fact is that if all households in the U.S. paid their bills online and received electronic statements instead of paper, we would save 18.5 million trees every year, 2.2 billion tons of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, and 1.7 billion pounds of solid waste. It is crazy how such little things could make such a large impact. Like I said it is not just about using the proper trash bin, the idea is much bigger! Being less wasteful can integrate into every part of our lives. Transportation is one, think of all the ways we could make an impact, using public transit, carpooling, consolidating our trips, these are all very practical. The problem is they are also inconvenient. With the way our society is today inconvenience is not tolerated. We want things fast. But if we looked at being less wasteful as an opportunity rather than an inconvenience think of all that we could accomplish!
The second way we can make less of a negative impact is to buy local. Unlike recycling I did not know how big of an impact this could make on our world. I have always known that recycling was a good idea and we should do it, I just didn't practice it myself. It was not until this class that I heard of how much of a difference this could make. It is not that there is some magic in the way local produce is grown. Our local farms create just as much pollution as others. But when you consider the amount of pollution created to get your food from the farm to your table that is where we can save. Whenever possible, buy from local farmers or farmers' markets, supporting your local economy. This will reduce the amount of greenhouse gas created when products are flown or trucked in. Not only is buying local going to help out the environment it will also give you a much healthier and chemical free body!
The last and most important way in which we can help preserve the environment is education. Just like the way we are all being educated by our professors we are to do the same for others. If we do not have a positive influence on the upcoming generations we will be even worse off than we are now. It is also just as important to practice what we preach. One way to inspire a younger generation is to lead by example. G.K. Chesterton said “Education is simply the soul of a society as it passes from one generation to another” If we do not value the environment with our actions we are not being effective. We must not only educate on the importance of preserving the environment but show how important it is by living it out ourselves.
Throughout this class we have discussed many ways that we can help reduce our footprint on our environment. Although I only mentioned three ways in this paper, there are many more. I believe that many people think just as I did when I was asked to preach that message to the youth ministry. They think that their personal actions are not affecting others and that the problem with the environment is blown way out of proportion so that the media has something to talk about. The fact is we do play a part in this and we should be good stewards of our planet. I believe that this is another way that God can teach us stewardship not only with the environment. I believe God has given us many gifts and talents that we are to be good stewards of. He has a plan for each of us that goes well beyond preserving our world and it would be a shame to waste the plan he has for us. This class has been very enlightening for me and I plan on not only sharing the information I received but to live in out in my own life as well. I believe this relates to all of us in our future careers because how we live and treat the planet today will impact all we do in the future.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Andrew Curry's view on Natural Hazards

Environmental Studies, PHS 100 OD 1-37
Aug 12, 2014

Human society and the natural environment have become increasingly vulnerable to natural hazards, such as earthquakes, hurricanes, droughts, and flooding. These recent natural hazards around the world have raised awareness of our vulnerability, challenged our scientific understanding, and questioned our ability to predict and prepare for such events. As a society we need to continue to strive to be more conscious of the resources we are using and taking from our planet that could be causing such devastating events.

One such that I did not experience but was a part of was the 2010 Haitian earthquake. This particular earthquake was a catastrophic 7.0 that took place in the town of Léogâne west of the Haitian capitol of Port-au-Prince. Not only was the main quake a 7.0 but, fifty two aftershocks of a 4.5 or greater were also recorded. Over one hundred thousand died and a quarter of a million homes or more were destroyed. Poverty was already wide spread due to several factors, the earthquake only added more. Many countries responded to Haitian appeals for aid. The United States responded by sending supplies and military personnel to help relieve air traffic congestion. I worked hand in hand with these controllers coordinating intelligence and efforts in order to help relief efforts and get aircraft carrying much needed supplies to those in need. At a peak of 600 flights per day these controllers were able to take the rate of planes being diverted down to three, possibly saving ten of thousands of lives.  The super carrier USS Carl Vinson arrived at maximum possible speedon 15 January with 600,000 emergency food rations, 100,000 ten-liter water containers, and an enhanced wing of 19 helicopters; 130,000 liters of drinking water were transferred to shore on the first day. The US Navy listed its resources in the area as "17 ships, 48 helicopters and 12 fixed-wing aircraft" in addition to 10,000 sailors and Marines. The Navy had conducted 336 air deliveries, delivered 32,400 US gallons of water, 532,440 bottles of water, 111,082 meals and 9,000 lb of medical supplies. UN and United States formalized the coordination of relief efforts by signing an agreement giving the US responsibility for the ports, airports and roads, and making the UN and Haitian authorities responsible for law and order.
Though I was not personally affected I was able to see the devastation and damage that the earthquake had caused through pictures and reports sent back by military air crews. One has to wonder if something within our society may have helped push this earthquake into reality. Did offshore drilling upset the balance under the sea floor? The effect could have come from an unbalance hundreds of miles away or more. This is where the understanding of our environment comes into play. A better understanding could change the way we operate in finding resources. Because we do not know exactly how some of our processes of acquiring resources effects our environment we need to strive to create better ways to sustain our lives and how we operate.


    "PAGER – M 7.0 – HAITI REGION" United States Geological Survey, 12 January  

 Lin, Rong-Gong; Allen, Sam (26 February 2011). "New Zealand quake raises questions about L.A. buildings".Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on 3 March 2011. Retrieved 27 February 2011

Lessons to be learned from Haiti's tsunami BBC News, 25 February 2010

 Columbia Journalism Review, "Two Years Later, Haitian Earthquake Death Toll in Dispute", 20 January 2012

Medicine, Conflict and Survival Vol. 26, Issue 4, 2010, Mortality, crime and access to basic needs before and after the Haiti earthquake

 U.S. Geological Survey, Earthquakes with 50,000 or More Deaths

 "USGS Magnitude 7.0 – HAITI REGION".Archived from the original on 15 January 2010. Retrieved 13 January 2010.
    Millar, Lisa (17 January 2010). "Tens of thousands isolated at quake epicentre". ABC    
    News. Archived from the original on 20 January 2010. Retrieved 18 January 2010.

     "As Haiti mourns, quake survivor found in rubble". New York Daily Times. 24 January 2010. Retrieved 1 February 2011.


Environmental Studies/PHS 100A
Warner Pacific
August 7, 2014

While I was doing research for this paper it crossed my mind how many near misses of disasters I have been in; this lead to wondering if there was an increase in disasters or not. In 1979 I was with the US Army stationed in Leavenworth, Kansas-right in the midst of what is nicknamed “Tornado Alley”, 1980 saw me getting married in Lakewood, Washington 2 weeks after Mt. St. Helen’s blew, 1989 was a year that a 6.7 earthquake happened in Los Angeles while I was living in San Diego, and just recently I was living in Florida for 2 years 2012-2013 during hurricane season. Thankfully I was not hurt in any of these, but just on the fringe where I got the effects of each disaster, but not the trauma of it.

             Disasters are split into three different categories:
·      Geophysical-earthquakes, volcanoes, rock falls, landslides & avalanches.
·      Climate related-floods, storm surge & coastal flooding.
·      Meteorological-storms, tropical cyclones, local storms, heat/cold waves, drought & wildfires.
“According to the New England Journal of Medicine, the scale of disasters has expanded, owing to increased rates of urbanization, deforestation, environmental degradation and to intensifying climate variable, such as higher temperatures, extreme precipitation and more violent wind/water storms”.  (Steady Increase in….. 2013, November 15). An article in Epic Disasters says, there is not an increase in disasters, it’s basically that our monitoring equipment has gotten better and more sensitive It pointed out in 1920 there were 500, 00 people living on the Florida coast whereas now there is 13 million. In 1925 there were 625 casualties from a tornado compared to the 22 deaths in 2005.  In 1931 there were 350 seismograph and now there is 8,000 stations detecting earthquakes. And, of course the media and communications systems have improved alongside the detecting systems.

The Trumpet reports, “The evidence of natural disasters has risen dramatically over the past 20 years. To close observers of current events in relation to both History and Bible prophecy, this is no mere coincidence.  What muddies the water as soon as Bible prophecy is mentioned in relation to natural disasters is the fact that there is a literal abundance of kooks, screwballs and fanatics out there who instantly seize on the latest catastrophe to declare “the end is nigh” (Fraser, R. 2010, March 3). Bible prophecies speak of the world reaching a time when catastrophic events that were once delayed would be fulfilled for a greater purpose. The events were predestined to allow a greater purpose to happen. It is all just a matter of perception then?

Image below courtesy of EM-DAT International Disaster Database, Center for Research on Epidemiology of Disasters, University of Louvain.


Epic Disasters: The World's Worst Disasters. (2009, January 1). Retrieved from

Fraser, R. (2010, March 3). Why Have Natural Disasters Increased? Retrieved from

Steady Increase in Climate Related Natural Disasters. (2013, November 15). Retrieved from

Scott Buser's view on: "Society’s Vulnerabilities to Hazards"

 Warner Pacific College
August 11, 2014

I completed a quiz on line, “My foot Print”, and was surprised to find that we would need 5.63 planet earths to survive living the way that I currently am using my ecological behaviors. Although I rated low on carbon use, 70.3, compared to the country average of 91.4, I rated high in my food foot print. My foot prints on how I live; my home rated average to the country yet my use of goods, and services rated high.
It is interesting to see how one person can affect our environment. If we think about the effects us as humans have on the planet we don’t have long before it’s too late for reversing our effect. The current issues we are facing today are global warning, ozone depletion, pollution, loss of natural resource, nuclear problems, loss of biodiversity, energy problems, and waste management.
The impact on our environment is at a stage of no return. We can only hope that with new inventions to curb the damage, and new behaviors to change our effect on the environment, that we can survive longer.
We hear in the news of the hillsides that collapse; killing people who chose to live next to something so beautiful. It is however, those same people that change to hillsides to meet their own needs of comfort, energy and human perspective of beauty. The rivers are full of human pollution; discarded medications, human waste, even fuels taken from other parts of the land that are flushed down the street sewers.
The ozone that surrounds our planet which protects us from the suns radiation is slowly melting away because of our greed to use manmade chemicals. We know that deodorant sprays are harmful, so why do we still make them, and use them? Our bodies thrive, and have to have water to survive. Now we’re buying water from a plastic bottle because the water pumped to your home might now be good for you. We have no new source of water, it’s the same water we drink that we see fall from the sky, come into our toilet and rivers.
In the 1970’s we began realizing that we are being destructive to mother earth; our living room. Is it too late?
I think we have slowed the impact of our behaviors, but I think we also have a long ways to go. None of our four legged relatives that were killed by our footprint well never is coming back. It’s not too late to save future impacts. We have stronger laws protecting our environment. We are providing more education of the impact pollution is having on nature. We have organizations like the bureau of land management that oversees how we use the land we live on. I hope in the near future we find alternatives to energy and heal the environment before nature calls it quit time for humans.
I think more education, involvement for people, smarter use of nature and less fossil fuel will help improve our impact on the environment. It scares me to think my children’s children won’t have the life they deserve, because we didn’t take care of what the creator gave us.
Mother earth!

My Foot Print, retrieved from
Current Environment Issues (2010) retrieved from   

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Deborah Levi: Environmental Regulation and Conservation of Wildlife

 Environmental Studies
Warner Pacific College
August 11, 2014
Environmental Regulation and Conservation of Wildlife
            Enacting environmental policy through environmental regulation is an imperative exploit to protect biodiversity, implement conservation and preservation and uphold ethical obligations. “The need to regulate international trade in wildlife has been seen as an important component of biodiversity policy and practice for over 25 years, with regulations operating at various levels” (Oldfield, 2003, p. xvii). In this paper, I will discuss my views on the role of environmental regulation in the conservation of wildlife.
            “Biodiversity at all levels is being lost to human impact, most irretrievably in the extinction of species” (Withgott & Laposata, 2014, p. 281). As human population grows and by our increasing individual consumption of resources, the extirpation (Withgott & Laposata, 2014) of wildlife species continues at accelerated rates. Through habitat loss, overharvesting and climate change (Withgott & Laposata, 2014) species populations are declining rapidly. Regulation of human impact is crucial for biodiversity to flourish. To combat these negative factors governments have “passed laws, signed treaties, and strengthened anti-poaching efforts” (p. 285).
            Laws, treaties and acts have been implemented to help aid in conserving and protecting of wildlife. CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) is the most well-known and has the most members among the conservation agreements. CITES is an international agreement adhered to by countries voluntarily. CITES was formed because the trade in wildlife crosses borders between countries and in efforts to regulate it, requires international cooperation (CITES, 2014). “Its aim is to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival” (CITES, 2014). The implementation of such efforts has “helped African nations gain economic benefits from ecotourism with their wildlife preserves” (Withgott & Laposata, 2014, p. 297).
            As the government tackles the issue through the laws and system, the corrupt and illicit trade of animals is underway and thriving. Poaching is a highly political and detrimental crime focused on the population of African Elephants. The ivory tusks of an elephant have become a high commodity in the black market and the illegal distribution and selling are central contributors to transnational organized crime. Such crime drives and is facilitated by the pervasive erosion of governance structures through corruption and the breakdown in the rule of law (WWF, 2014). Regulations can be disadvantageous in this situation because the rules and laws exacerbate the value of the ivory and create an illicit profitable commodity for the criminally motivated.
            Added to the regulatory obligations, humans have an ethical obligation to protect and conserve our wildlife. As the most dominant and powerful species on the planet, humans have an obligation to view our wildlife as a distinct and important aspect of resource and value. As worldviews change, so must our view of conservation and value of our wildlife to reflect the notion that other species have rights and are biologically important to our planet and our existence. As the need for regulatory action persists and widens, the ethical views of society will focus on ecofriendly measures and shape conservation policies. ”The management and use of wild animals generates ethical disagreements and dilemmas in which human needs, preferences, and interests, concern for individual animal welfare, and the value of biodiversity, ecosystems, and wild nature are part of the discussion. The way in which these different values are prioritized will determine policy” (Gamborg et al., 2012).
            Environmental regulation is crucial to conserving and protecting the world’s wildlife. But more critical is the upholding of these regulations by humans. Dr. Dame Daphne Sheldrick, conservationist and owner of the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust explains it best:
Saving wildlife and wilderness is the responsibility of all thinking people. Greed and personal gain must not be permitted to decimate, despoil and destroy the earth’s irreplaceable treasure for its existence is essential to the human spirit and the well-being of the earth as a whole. All life has just one home — the earth — and we as the dominant species must take care of it.
–Dr. Dame Daphne Sheldrick, Kenyan author and conservationist           

CITES [website] (2014). What is CITES?.  Retrieved from: August 6, 2014
Gamborg, C., Palmer, C. & Sandoe, P. (2012) Ethics of Wildlife Management and Conservation:   What Should We Try to Protect? Nature Education Knowledge 3(10):8 Retrieved from:        conservation-what-80060473. August 6, 2014
Oldfield, S. (Ed.). (2003). The trade in wildlife: Regulation for conservation. Sterling, Virginia:     Earthscan. ISBN: 1 85383 954 X
Withgott, J., & Laposata, M. (2014). Environment: the science behind the stories (5th Ed.). New    York, NY. Pearson Benjamin Cummings.
 WWF [website]. African elephants. Retrieved from:            August 6, 2014



How Environmental Regulation is Vital for the Economic Development of the United States by Tanya Marie Cope

Environmental Studies
Warner Pacific College
August 10, 2014

Contrary to ‘common knowledge’, environmental regulation is vital for the economic development of the United States. Rick Melberth, from the Center for Effective Government, says that studies and reports from economists, business strategists, Office of Management and Budget, Congressional Research Service, and the Clean Air Council illustrate that “industry messaging on the regulations is misleading and that the benefits of key public protections far outweigh their costs to business.” (2011). Studies show that environmental regulation in fact, does not harm the economy, but rather aids it, spurring innovation and new sectors growth.
Studying the economic impact of environmental regulations is difficult given the complexity of both the environment and the economy. Stephen Meyer (1995), Professor of Political Science at MIT, notes that nation level studies have a variety of methodological issues as we cannot control for “coincidental political, economic, technological, and social changes” (p. 2). Meyer goes on to explain that state studies, however, control for many of the variables in national studies. Thus Meyer’s hypothesis that environmental regulation does not negatively impact the economy focuses on state economies with and without strong environmental regulations. His findings support that while specific environmental regulations do have real effects on individual businesses, “these effects are limited in scope and duration and are fewer in number than popular political mythology allows. They do not rise above the background noise of state economies either singly or cumulatively” (p. 15).
We do have tangible evidence of national environmental regulation and its impacts on a national economy as well. Focusing on the Clean Air Act (CAA) we can see the very real implications of environmental regulation on the economy. The CAA was originally passed in 1963 and was a research program but major regulatory amendments were passed in 1970, 1977, and 1990. The act was created to control air pollution nationally and throughout the years has been amended to focus on emissions from various sources and different chemicals as well as ozone protection. A peer-reviewed 2011 EPA report looking at the results of the CAA from 1990 to 2020 found the “central benefits estimate exceeds costs by a factor of more than 30 to 1” (2011). The CAA has been found to protect from pollution-related health problems and premature death, thereby improving the health and productivity of the U.S. workforce. The CAA has been a good investment as well showing that the benefits exceed costs on average by a factor of 30 to 1. With 40 years of experience we can reasonably predict that cleaner air and a healthy economy go together and are not exclusive of one another. We also see that the CAA has encouraged technology investments that have put unemployed or under-employed Americans to work. And lastly, environmental technology and services has grown exponentially giving the United States a head start in new industries. (2011)
We have demonstrated that with thoughtful planning paired with a thorough understanding of the intricacies between our actions and the environmental consequences, we can create environmental regulation that does helps out economy.

Melberth, R., (2011). Business economists: Current regulatory environment good for business and economy. Center for Effective Government. Retrieved from
Meyer, S., (1995) The Economic Impact of Environmental Regulation. Journal of Environmental Law and Practice. Retrieved from
Environmental Protection Agency. (2011). The benefits and costs of the Clean Air Act from 1990 to 2020: Summary Report. Retrieved from


Friday, August 8, 2014

Dana Nault: Scientific Method and Western Culture

 Environmental Studies
Warner Pacific College
August 7, 2014

Scientific Method and Western Culture

When one mentions ‘western culture’ our mind often associates it to mean western civilization.  But the term ‘culture’ really refers to the legacy of social norms, values, customs, and beliefs which set it apart from other societies.  So the term western culture is really meant to indicate the parts of the world populaces that are considered as advanced societies, this is because its ideas and values encourage the improvement and support of developed civilization.  The western culture is essentially a body of knowledge that is derived from reason, and it is not limited to the continent of North America.  In fact it applies to all populations whose histories have been shaped by European immigration or settlement.  

These roots have their basis in ancient Greece; the Roman Empire then built on this, and it was further evolved by a mixture of Germanic, Slavic and Celtic cultures.  These principles spread to the new world through generations of explorers and missionaries.  Today, the mixture of all of these viewpoints has formed what is now known as the modern western culture.

Science is now and has always been a core value of western culture, which has been advancing dramatically in the past decade.  Things our children and grand-children take for granted today were not even in our dreams during our childhood.  Cable TV, Cell phones, computers, internet… these items have changed the way we live our lives.  Each advancements builds on the last, and progress moves faster as time moves on.  Think of the progress of communications from the pony express to the telegraph, party line, individual land line, to today’s cellular technology.  Or in the case of transportation; from the wheeled cart drawn by a horse, to steam and then gasoline powered cart, motorized vehicles and finally to today’s eco vehicles.  The scientific method has played a fundamental role in all of these developments, which have in turn assisted in the advancement of western culture.

The scientific method is the formalized version of the process anyone might use to develop an idea, answer a question or troubleshoot an issue.  We naturally want to find out “what if”, and our natural manner of testing our ideas through observation is the basis of this formal process.  We are fortunate that our society not only encourages this scientific inquisitiveness, it urges us to push the limits.

The accumulation of western cultures advances has been extraordinary to our quality of life, but many have caused numerous dilemmas for our environment.  Because of this we must now look to our accrued knowledge for the solutions.  Now we have the opportunity for further innovations in a new direction, one that preserves our environment rather that depleting it.

With all of this in mind, the question one must really ask is not how western culture has been influenced by the scientific method, but would either exist without the other.  History has shown that it is a mutually beneficial affiliation.


Makarevicius, D. A. (n.d.). Western Culture. Retrieved from Western Culture - Learning Materials for Students.
What is Western Culture? (2009). Retrieved from Western Culture Knowledge Center:
Withgott, J., & Laposata, M. (2014). Environment the Science Behind the Stories (5th edition ed.). Pearson Education, Inc.