Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Amy sent me this essay written by Rick Ridgeway from Patagonia (clothing). If you aren't already aware, Patagonia has been a leader in sustainable, fair-trade clothing production since their founding, and is a very well respected company among environmentalists. Please read the essay - I think you will see the connection to our recent class discussions, and leave a comment. I am interested in anything from grandiose thoughts about whether or not there can be such a thing as "sustainable growth" to your awareness about yourself as a consumer. Do you buy things you don't need? Do you conscientiously purchase items that were produced in a way that doesn't exploit workers or harm the environment, even if it costs a bit more? What trade-offs do you make? How aware of the environmental costs of your "stuff" are you?
If you haven't seen it recently, you should check out this animated video, "The Story of Stuff." Most of us, even after tying to educate ourselves, don't fully appreciate what's involved in supplying us with the items we use and consume.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Rhino Poaching in South Africa

This story relates to our discussion of rhino extinction the other day in class. With all of the seemingly larger scale problems facing biodiversity today, poaching for seemingly ridiculous reasons, such as satisfying customer in China who think that the horns of rhinos have medicinal or aphrodisiac qualities remains a real threat to many species. Check it out.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Cool Google Icon for Dian Fossey

I was excited to see the new "Google" today - honoring Dian Fossey. You might have seen "Gorillas in the Mist" - the Hollywood movie about Fossey. She was a passionate researcher working on Mountain Gorillas in Rwanda, and learned a lot about the social structure in these endangered animals. She waged a mighty war against poachers, and was eventually murdered, apparently by the poachers she was working to stop.
As you did on the first day of class, please find a current/recent article related to the topic of environmental science. Summarize your article, include the link, and explain what you find interesting or relevant about it.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Are tuataras special?

I found an article in the New York Times about a cool reptile, the tuatara, which is endemic to New Zealand. Though it looks like a lizard, cladistic analyses have revealed that tuataras are not, in fact, in the same group as lizards and snakes, but rather they are a last surviving member of an ancient group of reptiles. Read the article, and if interested, do a bit of perusing to learn more about tuataras. Based on the article, our class conversations, and your own prior knowledge and values, do you think that a species like the tuatara should receive special priority in terms of conservations efforts? Why or why not?

Sunday, December 1, 2013

As part of your first assignment for this course, you were asked to find a recent article about Biodiversity and discuss how Botkin's 6 major environmental themes (Botkin and Keller Ch. 1) apply to your article. Please share your article and discussion with the rest of the class by commenting below. Insert a link to your article so that your fellow students can read your article if they are interested.