Author Archives: leftuntaken

Response to Prompt 1 Peace

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I disagree with Ausubel more. If everyone could get the necessary items to survive there would be much more peace in the world. People wouldn’t have to worry and do unthinkable things to save their young. It is well-known how willing mothers are to take drastic measures when their children are endangered. The war in the Middle East is at least partially about the oil supply located in that region. Tribes in Africa often go to war over areas of water. Even if there was a surplus of necessities, however, I still think there would be wars. It seems to me as if it’s human nature to fight. War causes environmental stress as well. If the United States’ didn’t spend a large sum of their money on their military, it could be spent on research and improvement of green energy.

I think compromise and forgiveness are more useful tools because interconnectedness is a stretch. Many people would have a hard time feeling connected and the peace may be easily lost if the war ended due to this. In a sense, it reminds me of Buddha’s teachings. Considering it took Siddhartha nearly a lifetime to find inner peace, a war could last the lifetime it takes the leaders to find inner peace. This is especially significant because Siddhartha was actually looking for peace while these war leaders are shielding themselves from any such ideas. Compromise is a much simpler term for the warring nations to consider.

I doubt that stubborn men are willing to put aside century’s worth of feuds but it’s worth trying. The common goal is significant enough to make an impact on their feud. The environment is important for their future generations. I think the Iroquois Peacemaker would absolutely promote peace parks. The Iroquois Peacemaker would appreciate the back to nature area and peace. Considering the current wars, I think peace is extremely vital asset to saving the environment. Once the news can stop broadcasting about wars, they can promote the green movement and the new ideas coming about. Compromise will move us forward much faster than a standoff will. An active discussion would allow for an equal allocation and better conservation of oil, water, and land.

http://jah.oxfordjournals.org/content/99/1/208.full

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Au12z6UK0tk

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/01/07/everything-chuck-hagel-needs-to-know-about-the-defense-budget-in-charts/

Response to Homo Economicus

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The standard of living refers to the level of goods, services, and luxuries available. Maintaining the current level of living standards is not a significant issue. The issue should be redefining the standards. For example, the current standard of living includes the level of luxury goods owned. Luxury items that drive the consumer society should not be important in outlining the success of someone’s life. It holds insignificant positive effects such as short term happiness and significant negative effects such as use of limited resources. Basic necessities are all that’s really important in a nation’s standard of living. Thus, we should buy the minimum amount of items and focus more on thought-provoking and back-to-nature practices.

I think luxury goods in specific and well-being should be separate value systems. It may take a long time to separate the two so collaborative consumption is a great idea in the meantime. It’s frightening to think of how many people buy a video game, play it, beat it, and leave it on their shelves to collect dust. If one or two people bought the video game, played it, beat it, and passed it on to someone else, landfills would take much longer to fill up. We have so many items in the world already we could just remove the consumption part and simply do the collaborative portion of this arrangement.

I think it is necessary for a developing nation to first grow its economy then stabilize its population while decreasing consumption. Everyone should gain the ability to fund their basic needs before a focus on stabilization takes place. Even if everyone isn’t rich, the population could then be stabilized and a shift to necessity consumption could be made.

http://consumerismu.wordpress.com/2013/10/17/overconsumption/

1 Prompt: Feminism as a solution to overpopulation

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People in general often lead meaningless lives and think that a child will give their lives meaning. I see this is as a reflection of the natural trait of selfishness. Humans will use children as a form of entertainment. An increase in quality of life provides people with more opportunities to distract themselves. A higher education explains to people why an abundant number of children is bad for the environment and inspires them to focus on their careers. “For Japanese women today, marriage is the grave of their hard-won careers.” Improved health care allows for the reduction of child births since there is a lower infant mortality rate. A significant factor in decreasing the birth rates by creating gender equality is that there would be less rape and unwanted pregnancies. In some cultures it is not considered wrong to have sex with your wife even if she is unwilling. “Sexual harassment of Mongolian women is a widespread problem exacerbated by traditional attitudes and the risk of unemployment.

China’s one-child policy is great in the sense that they did what many people wish they could do. Due to the selfishness of people, it is difficult to find a way to lower the population without infringing on women’s rights. Consider the fact that in China if you have enough money, you can have more than one child. This policy appears to be protecting the future children because it means they will not have to live a life of poverty. Paying for diapers and food for one child is nowhere near as expensive as paying for five children. This is similar to some of the debates regarding abortion. You can’t tell a woman what to do with her body but you also can’t murder a baby. Even if the human population does end up dying off, I suppose that it is better than infringing on human rights.

Round 7, Prompt 4: Space and Place

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In reading all of these readings I have realized there is a constant environmental ethic already set up in many parts of the world. Even though it goes by different names and may have a slight variation in ideas, it goes to show that the world is not hopeless. Even though human beings are made out to be complete villains perhaps this under the radar ethic is what has been keeping the human race going for so long. Although it is more outstanding in some places than others, this class is a simple verification that humans desire to the right thing and seeking out the greater good.

It is possible for the West to gain a place-focused ethic. It would be best though to come up with some easier terms. Marketing these would be difficult as many people would not be willing to take the time to differentiate between them. One reason the West fails to connect is due to technology. Undeveloped countries live closer to the land. If their crop is dying or their water is dirty they take notice quickly. Developed countries ignore the signs of a suffering Earth and merely purify their drinking water. They are ignorant to the signs of an ominous future. Which is why I think it is necessary for the West to develop a space-centered ethic.

I believe space and place must be used together. Space gives us our individuality to see where we are and what influences us locally while place gives us the ability to connect and feel a sense of belonging with universally. To better clarify, space is offers a more self-centered view of the world. Both perspectives are necessary when defining the importance of life. Without individuality one loses motivation to move forward. No one wants to live such a boring repetitive life. Nature is meant to progress as Darwin’s concept of natural selection indicates. Without universal connection one can easily die without significance. The butterfly affect shows the importance of each creature’s effect on one another. The government often pushes us toward respecting nature so there are few constraints it places on us. I suppose one government constraint is the law that one must have a fishing or hunting license to do said action. How can one survive without the ability to catch one’s food if necessary? It also deters those with less money to live off the land. And to think, in undeveloped countries, being poor is what causes them to live off the land. The United States really is an anomaly.

Round 7, Prompt 3: Connecting

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I don’t think religion is what connects us to the Earth. Religion was created based off of our ideals so if anything, our connection with the Earth is the biggest factor in religion. There is no way around the idea that we are a part of the Earth and the universe as a whole. Hence, it is clear humans have a deep connection with the Earth. I believe however it is forgotten due to the fast paced life that Thoreau so greatly disapproves of. The distraction of building said railroads, our “success”, leaves us no time to meditate and focus on who we really are and what is important.

Realistically, education alone would have no impact on climate change. Education along with action and improved technology could impact the pace of climate change. Education is the best place to start. Once people understand the basics they can begin to change their actions and help in simple ways to take care of the environment. Nowadays, many people are selfish and don’t care about nature. They are only worried about money and getting ahead. For example, many people who smoke know that throwing a cigarette out of the window is wrong but that doesn’t stop them because they are too lazy to wait and find a trashcan. This is why I believe Hardin’s use of coercion should be applied.  This can be done through the use of carbon taxes and the monetary fines that are already being charged to those who litter. Humans do have a deep connection that has been damaged in a large number of people. Education and coercion are the keys to restoring it. The climate will always change but to keep it in balance, I think humans can learn how to limit drastic changes. Once people know how damaging the effects of pollution are and about technologies such as solar-, hydro-, and wind-power, they will be more willing to implement those new technologies. If they are unwilling due to the fact that they may be considered eye-sores, coercion can begin to play a role. I think that humans have an intrinsic connection with the earth, but because people never learn about the environment it is not strong. The solution to reconnecting people with nature is difficult to create. Considering the stories in one of our previous classes, it is clear that we have all found different reasons as to why we connected with the Earth. 

Round 7, Prompt 2: Permaculture Joe

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I agreed with much of what Joe said. I didn’t look critically upon him when he misinterpreted words because words are not always necessary when living life. Even if you don’t know what something means, it doesn’t mean you can’t believe in it. Yes, he may have mistaken instrumental value for intrinsic value but I believe it’s likely he sees the intrinsic value in the Earth as well. He just didn’t know how to explain that in words.

I was really interested in the biochar. I had never heard of it before. For something so helpful in increasing soil fertility, increasing agricultural productivity, and providing protection against some foliar and soil-borne diseases, it seems so easy to produce. This may be something economists interested in saving the environment would be willing to promote since it is cheap to produce and provides environmentally friendly processes.

Another aspect that I appreciated but questioned was his mention of establishing the plants and then sitting back and reaping the benefits for years to come. This suggests that permaculture works best for perennials. So I wondered whether we would still need our usual farming tactics to grow annuals. Upon further consideration, I suppose if one desired to plant annuals they could put in the extra work and it would still be a part of permaculture.

Permaculture relates to Henry David Thoreau and Aldo Leopold. Thoreau lived in the woods and wanted people to go back to nature. Permaculture does this by having people work with the land and gain closeness with the permanent crops instead of the annuals that just pass through. Leopold said in The Sand County Almanac, “A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise. (p.262)” This supports permaculture. It must be right since it brings farming back to collaborating with the surrounding biota and is more organic than the unnatural methods found in today’s agricultural business.

Round 7 Prompt 1: Buddhism in Japan

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Religion should not play a part in politics since policies affect everyone in the country and not everyone has the same religion. There are some beliefs that are acceptable to remain subjective such as smoking weed while others should be agreed upon by all like murder. It is those such as murder that must be the main focus of law. Destruction of the environment is one such asset defined by laws since it can cause harm living creatures. Politics and big businesses are corrupted. I do not believe we should place the blame of environmental disconnect on religion.

The bandwagon affect is a major factor in causing the environmental disconnect. Everyone is pressured into making the most money and having the best things. This causes people to give up their free time, in which they could be relaxing in the environment around them, and distracting themselves with a made up artificial “real word” humans have made. Thus, technology and economics do affect the connection humans have with the environment.

In the long run, being environmentally friendly is economically efficient. By buying organic fruit today you won’t be poisoning your body with harmful chemicals that can build up over time. If you do however buy inorganic fruit, you are more likely to get cancer or some other sickness. The medical bills for such a dilemma will prove that buying organic today is the better choice. This is analogy, although on the drastic side, is an example of long term environmental effects. It may be costly to let a field rest in between growing crops but it’ll be more expensive to bring in outside resources. A clear example of why more work at the beginning of a project is worth it is permaculture. Joe said, “Once you get it set up, sit back and reap the benefits.”