Through Statistics and Film: Attempting to Bring Our World Closer to Being Green

Purpose: The purpose of this assignment is to provide us with insight and factual information about the different rends that have occurred in both our economy and the way that this in turn affects our own lives.

 “No Impact Man”

Living no impact for a year, can it be done? (1)

 “No Impact Man” is a documentary detailing the year in the life of Colin Beavan. A New York City resident, a writer and a newly found environmentalist, Beavan decides that for his next book idea, he wants, with his family, to live a year without causing ANY environmental impact. Along with his wife and daughter, he avoids using the elevator, traveling by car, bus, or train, buying food other than that of local farmer’s markets, producing waste, and using electricity for an entire year. The film highlights the successes and challenges to this no impact year. Beavan implores that living with no impact, or at least very little, is possible, if we as humans are ready to look at what we really need rather than what we “think” we need.

“No Impact Man” relates directly to previous class discussions. We spent time both in class and through assignments on ecological footprints. As stated by Withgott and Brennan, an ecological footprint is a “cumulative amount of land and water required to provide the raw materials a person or population consume and to dispose of or recycle the waste that is produced” (2). In a previous assignment, assignment 4, we discussed EFs in relation to ourselves and average EFs around the world. Many of us were shocked and dismayed at how many earths it would take if everyone lived our lifestyle. Beavan seeks to really highlight that point in an effort to make others reduce their own individual ecological footprint. Beavan harps on the amount of trash an average American produces. How avoidable is it? If we avoid certain things like drinking soda out of cans, water out of plastic bottles, coffee in disposable cups than we can reduce the amount of waste we produce. Using worm composts, one can recycle food waste into perfectly rich compost. All these methods can and will reduce one’s ecological footprint, leading to a less wasteful life, and a healthier one too (as Beavan lost 20 pounds over the year)! Beavan at one point says that he as one person cannot make that big of an impact, but it is his hope that through his actions, more people will join the effort. The average EF in the US is 9.5. This shocking number needs to be reduced and through collective individual efforts, Beavan hopes that people around the world can reduce their EFs.


 Can one family make a difference? (3)

“No Impact Man” is a very well produced film in my opinion. It is humorous while also informative and presents the material in a way that is very gripping. It is easy to follow along, even for those who are not environmentally aware. However, not all agree. A.O. Scott of the New York Times remains “unconvinced that the cause of planetary rescue will be advanced very far by what is, in the end, an elaborate stunt. But as a professional writer, a New York husband and a man with a compost bin, an organic-produce fetish and a guilty conscience, I can’t, in the end (all appearances to the contrary), judge Mr. Beavan or this film too severely. Making an impact is easy. Making a difference is hard” (4). I, however, politely disagree. While yes, Beavan did this experiment as a subject for his upcoming book, but I think regardless of the intention, it brought about a positive change, and one that many of us could learn from. It was well acted because it was real and that’s more than a lot of movies these days can say.

Graph from Gapminder displaying the relationship between life expectancy and average income from 1900 -2009 (5)

The website is a website that examines the relationships between different variables and there effects on one another over different time periods. I have chosen to focus on my home country, The United States. The two variables that I feel are the most important to be considered for the US are the life expectancy and the income per person. In the United States in the 1900’s the average life expectancy was 49 and the average income was 6,624. This is drastically different from both the life expectancy and the average income in 2009. In 2009  the life expectancy was 79 while the income per person was 41,256.

The two variables that I have chosen to examine are the life expectancy versus the average income. Today, in 2009 as the average income increases so does the life expectancy. The relationship is positive. Between the years 1900 and 2009, it is evident that there have been serious changes to both of the variables. These changes could be dependent on many historical/economical and political events that have occurred in the United States. From the 1900’s the average income per person is increasing every year until the 1920’s, in the 1920’s there is a decline for the income, from there on it remains the same until 1950s. This could be related to the fact that the Great Depression occurred in the 1920-40’s. This could have greatly hindered the progression of income.

6) The great depression, millions were without work


7) WWII American soldiers raise a victory flag

Also during these years WWII was surfacing and then occurring. This could provide an explanation for why the life expectancy rates also remained the same for many years along with the average income. The war took many lives, and significantly strained the economy as the US was providing aid to many of the other countries, and also spending a lot of money on warfare. After the 1950s both variables began to increase again. During the years between the 1950’s and 2009 many advances in technology were created particularly in medications. Medications were found to treat Hepatitis A, and also penicillin began to be used. This was able to boost both the average income and the life expectancy for most. In the 1970’s the average income was 23,346 and the life expectancy was 71, representing a very large increase from the 1920’s.

 8) Doctors using new technology to operate on patients

In conclusion we are able to see how much of a relationship there is between the economy, our usage of the world’s resources and the effects that all of these different factors have on sustaining human life!

Partners: Sasha and Hannah


1) Youtube. “No Impact Man-Official Trailer” (Jul 29 2009). Retrieved May 19, 2011 from

2) Withgott, J. & Brennan, S. (2010). Environment: The science behind the stories. 4th Ed. San  Francisco: Pearson Education.

3) No Impact Man. “Ridiculously Conspicuous Unconsumption” (Jan 13, 2009). Retrieved May 18, 2011 from

4) Scott, A.O. (2009). Portrait of a Marriage: Eco-Geeks Unplugged. Retrieved May 19, 2011 from

5) Gapminder (n.d.). The Wealth and Health of Nations. Retrieved May 17, 2011 from$majorMode=chart$is;shi=t;ly=2003;lb=f;il=t;fs=11;al=30;stl=t;st=t;nsl=t;se=t$wst;tts=C$ts;sp=5.59290322580644;ti=2009$zpv;v=0$inc_x;mmid=XCOORDS;iid=phAwcNAVuyj1jiMAkmq1iMg;by=ind$inc_y;mmid=YCOORDS;iid=phAwcNAVuyj2tPLxKvvnNPA;by=ind$inc_s;uniValue=8.21;iid=phAwcNAVuyj0XOoBL_n5tAQ;by=ind$inc_c;uniValue=255;gid=CATID0;by=grp$map_x;scale=log;dataMin=295;dataMax=79210$map_y;scale=lin;dataMin=19;dataMax=86$map_s;sma=49;smi=2.65$cd;bd=0$inds=;example=75

6) The Great Depression. Retrieved May 17, 2011 from—unemployed-chicagoans.jpg

7) American WWII soldiers. Retrieved May 17, 2011 from

8) Doctors. Retrieved May 18, 2011 from


May 23, 2011. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

What’s The Big Deal With Population?

The purpose of this post is to provide one with some information about the global population growth and its affects on the natural resources available throughout the world. It provides one with factual knowledge about the different perspectives on the matter and also the different predictions that have been proposed for the future.

(1) Newborns, Birthrate is the leading factor in population growth

Today, the state of the human population is increasing at an extremely quick rate. The global population is 7 billion and each year it is increasing by 60 million. (2) Many inhabitants are starting to move from the more rural areas to the cities creating problems with crowding and resource usage. The main concern with this topic is how will the earth be able to  support this many people? Withgott and Brennan (3) state that the earth’s carrying capacity sets specific limits on the amount of population growth that can occur. There are a specific amount of resources allotted to the earth in order to support the amount of people in the population. As the earth’s population is ever increasing, a serious risk is presented. It is estimated that if 1-2 billion people live in a “healthy environment” then 33 billion will be living in extreme poverty.

There are many different factors that can cause a rise in the population. The first, and perhaps most obvious factor is the birth rates that fluctuate each year. In countries that are more undeveloped the birth rates are higher, whereas the countries that have more wealth have lower birth rates. Another important factor concerns the ratio of women to men. Withgott and Brennan (3) propose that for every 100 women there are 106 men, the equality in numbers of men and women result in more offspring. Another factor is the immigration rates. People that seek refuge from their own countries in deserted territories often use the conserved resources in order to provide for themselves.

(4) Immigrants traveling to new territory

The Cornucopian’s standpoint on this issue is that because of the advances in technology a solution will be found in order to continue to support the people of the world with the nutrients and natural resources that they need in order to function. Contradictory to this the Cassandra’s view on this issue is that if the world continues to increase in population and to use the resources at this rate there is going to be some sort of a disaster. I believe that many people are aware of the happenings and the risks that we are taking by using mass resources in our everyday lives and still continue to be wasteful. A dangerous problem exists with the world’s population growth and resource consumption. I think that if we do continue to live the way we do with an increasing population that eventually we will use up the resource quota and an eventual disaster will result.

(5) Paul Ehrlich, American Biologist

Paul Ehrlich and the IPAT Equation:

Paul Ehrlich is an American biologist and educator, but is better known as an ecologist and a demographer. He became well-known after the publication of his controversial book The Population Bomb. He was also one of the first ecologists to recognize that the impact of human activity on the environment must be calculated using three factors instead of just one.

The IPAT equation is a formula used to describe the impact of human activity on the environment. The lettering stands for:
Human impact (I) on the environment equals (=) the product of Population (P), Affluence (A), Technology (T). It describes how these three factors contribute toward our environmental impact.
-Ehrlich?s book The Population Bomb brought about much controversy in the 1970s. In his book, Ehrlich warned about unrestricted population growth and limited resources. He argued that the population was already too high, and that humanity could not prevent severe famines, the spread of disease, social unrest, and other negative consequences of overpopulation. He also said that societies must take strong action to curb population growth in order to lessen future disasters both ecological and social.
Some of what Ehrlich mentions in his book did not come true, however, his main predictions did happen. He has backed up his statements by saying that 600 million people are going hungry, billions are under-nourished, and that his predictions about disease and climate change were essentially correct. A large reason for this is because the world has not cut back on technology or resources. New technologies are being discovered daily by large, developed countries. Also, many countries have an increasingly large ecological footprint and they continue to use the earth?s resources at a fast pace.
-IPAT Equation
United States ? The US does not have any rules or regulations on restricting children. Families are allowed to have as many children as they prefer, it is a personal choice. The US is also a leader in new technology. Because it is such a large and developed country, the US has access to many resources and technologies that smaller, under-developed countries would not have. Increased affluence in the United States would also increase the countries impact on the environment.
China ? The impact on the environment for China would be quite different than that on the US. Although China?s population is extremely high, the country is taking steps to decrease it. The country has a mandatory one-child policy. Many parents feel the need to have a male child so that their child cannot have kids. To do so, many women have an abortion if they become pregnant with a female child. This would potentially decrease China?s impact on the environment; however, China is also a world leader in new technology. This idea means that the country?s impact on the environment would increase.
Uganda ? Most African countries are decreasing in population. This is mainly due to causes such as starvation, disease, lack of food, water and medical care. Besides the fact that jobs are hard to come by; residents of small under-developed countries, such as Uganda, do not have the opportunity to go to school, get an education, and get a job. This is a major hindrance to increasing affluence. Finally, a country such as this one does not have the ability or resources to increase their technologies. All of these factors lead to the conclusion that Uganda does not have a very large impact on the world?s environment.

(6) Hans Rosling, professor of global health

Hans Rosling:
Hans Rosling is a professor of global health at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden. Rosling’s current works focus mainly on uncovering the truth about the developing world. He presents his data and other findings in a very different and unique way. His main objective is to preach the importance of understanding our global history so that we can make changes for the future.Some of the points that he addressed in his lecture were to show the growth of the population for the different countries. He believes that all developed countries are moving towards the same space. The US, Europe and China are all advanced technologically and are advancing towards the same space, this presents a problem. Perhaps the most interesting point that I felt Rosling made was that from the graph we were able to see that in the 1800’s life expectancy was 35-40 years, this age is the same as life expectancy today in Afghanistan. It is shocking that many places still remain behind in the advances.

Overall, I believe that the information that Rosling presented was very eye opening. It is very helpful to see the relationships and connections that can be made between different time periods and different countries. His graphs take into consideration the variety of variables that exist within population growth and demonstrate for us the changes that have taken place over the years. It is important to take into consideration the information above, and work to find way to make sure that the population growth does not hinder the way we live our lives.

Works Cited:


2) Human Populations  . (n.d.). The Global Change Program at the University of Michigan. Retrieved May 9, 2011, from

3) Withgott, J. & Brennan, S. (2010). Environment: The science behind the stories. 4th Edition. San Francisco: Pearson Education.




May 10, 2011. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Food: How Far Does It Travel To Reach Your Tummy?!

Calculating Ecological Footprints

As food production became more industrialized during the 20th century, several trends emerged. One trend was a loss in the number of varieties of crops grown. A second trend was the increasing amount of energy expended to store food and ship it to market. In some countries food may travel long distances to reach the market. In the U.S. today, food travels an average of 1,400 miles from the field to the table. The price American pay for the food covers the cost of this long-distance transportation, which in 2004 was approximately only one dollar per mile (1.6 km).

Assuming that you are an American (not all of us are in this class), you live in New York City (2009 population estimate 8,363,710), and that the average American eats 1 kg (2 pounds) of food per day, calculate the food transportation costs for each category in the table below (U.S. 2009 population estimates 307,006,550).

Consumer Daily Cost Annual cost
You $1.40 $511
Your class $28 $10,220
Your town (New York) $11,709,194 $4,273,855,810
United States $429,809,170 $156880347050



I believe the purpose of this post is to point out simple ways in our everyday lives that we can lower our EF such as eating more locally grown foods rather than processed foods that travel long distances to reach us.

Background Information

Withgott and Brennan define (3) an ecological footprint as the “whole area of biologically productive land and water needed to provide the resources for and to dispose of or recycle the waste that a person or population creates” (p. 5). Therefore, the EF can be affected by a multiplicity of factors. How much food a population, or individual consumes, how much water is consumed, how efficiently materials are recycled, how much pollution is created, how much electricity is consumed, how often are carbon fuels emitted and/or used can all be considered and factored into calculating the EF. Producing and transporting food from long distances requires means of transportation. This transportation also causes pollution, much more pollution than say locally grown food that is sold locally. This being said, cars, planes, and trains all emit carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, polluting the air faster than natural vegetation can absorb it. At the same time these means of transportation all use non renewable resources such as gasoline or petroleum, depleting the Earth’s supply of said resources. These elements of food produced at distant places increases the EF of that specific region, country, population, and consequently the EF of the world.


  1. The Challenges of Long Distance

What specific challenges to environmental sustainability are imposed by a food production and distribution system that relies on long-range transportation to bring food to market?


Polluted Earth (1).

Long range food distribution systems continually add pollution to the environment. This requires cars to drive, trains to run, or planes to fly for longer distances adding more pollution into the environment then if there was a shorter distance that needed to be traveled. By buying locally, consumers can minimize that environmental strain while also buying food that is better for you!

  1. The Inconveniences of Short Distance

A study by Pirog and Benjamin (2003) noted that locally produced food in theU.S.traveled only 80 kilometers (appx 50miles) or so to the market, thus saving 96% of the transportation costs. Locally grown foods may be fresher and cause less environmental impact as they are brought to market, but what are the disadvantages to you as a consumer in relying on local food production? Do you think the advantages outweigh those disadvantages?

I think the major disadvantage is convenience. Food is imported and exported so that someone in Asia can have an American strawberry in December. Therefore, by buying locally, you are not able to get all the foods you would want to due to seasonal constraints, for instance a food being “out of season” and not available. However, deal with it! I think the advantages COMPLETELY outweigh the disadvantages. If humans had been surviving for thousands of years with only locally grown foods, I believe we can do the same and not lose any happiness doing it. Of course, I might be frustrated if I needed a certain ingredient and could not get it, but I would have to think of the environmental benefit of this “sacrifice.”

The Importance of Locally Grown

Source: (2)


  1. The Gas Effect

What happened to the gasoline prices recently? How would future increases in the price of gas affect your answers to the preceding questions?

Gas have gone up dramatically. Increasing gas prices will increase the cost of food transported over longer distances, so if gas prices continue to rise then I believe more and more people will be forced to buy locally due to financial constraints rather than concern for the environment, unfortunately.

  1. How Does This Fit Into Your World Context?

If you are an American, how do you think these figures apply to other countries or your country? Where do you base your assumptions?

I think it depends on which countries were looking at. Other countries that rely more heavily on agriculture than theUnited Statesmay have smaller distances to transport food within their countries, however, if it is a large exporter of a certain crop then it depends on where the country is exporting to. I am unsure ifAmericais as large of an exporter as other countries, but I knowAmericais a large importer of food. (I’d actually be curious to see those stats if you could direct me towards where to look.)


  1. Tendrig. “Pollution” (March 18, 2011). Retrieved April 14, 2011 from
  2. Nutrition, Health & FitnessResourceCenter. “The Importance of Eating Locally Grown Foods” (September 23, 2010). Retrieved April 15, 2011 from
  3. Withgott, J. & Brennan, S. (2010). Environment: The science behind the stories. 4th Ed.San  Francisco: Pearson Education.

4.   Pirog, R., and Benjamin, A. (2003). Checking the food odometer. Comparing food miles for local versus conventional produce sales toIowainstitutions.Ames,IA:LeopoldCenterfor Sustainable Agriculture,IowaStateUniversity.

May 4, 2011. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

An Ecology Test Through My Eyes

I think this assignment allows us as students to see what information we deemed most important as well as what ours peers though held most significance as well. What information did we highlight most? What would most questions be centered around? General concepts we understand more clearly than others, etc. It also allows Professor Grekinis to understand what material we need to go over more in depth and which topics we have a more clear understanding of.


Chapter 1: Science and Sustainability: An Introduction to Environmental Science!

This chapter provides an introduction to the important topics that concern the natural resources within the environment and the risk that human impact has these resources.


Multiple Choice

1. What does our environment consist of?

a)    Living and non-living things

b)   Continents

c)    Oceans

d)   All of the above

2. An experiment includes:

a)    An independent variable

b)   A manipulated variable

c)    A tested variable

d)   A question

3. The tragedy of the commons is:

a)    Complete resource depletion

b)   Deforestation

c)    Global warming

d)   Traffic pollution


4. The Scientific Method includes one of the following:

a)    A hypothesis

b)   An independent Variable

c)    An ecological footprint

d)   A manipulated variable


5. What is biodiversity?

a)    Different types of pollution

b)   Diversity amongst species

c)    The cumulative number and diversity of living things

d)   The genetic makeup of different species


True or False

1. Sustainable development is the use of resources in a manner that satisfies our current needs but does not compromise the future availability of resources.

2. The scientific method does not concern scientific experiments.




1. Natural Resource a) Surpassing the earth’s capacity to sustainably support us


2. Renewable natural resources b) Sunlight, wind, wave energy.


3. Nonrenewable resources c) Substances and energy sources that we take from our environment and that we need to survive.


4. Fossil fuels d) Once they are depleted they are no longer available super passing the earth’s capacity to sustainably support us
5. Overshoot e) Oil, coal, natural gas




Essay Questions

1. Distinguish between the terms environmental science and environmentalism.

2. Create your own experiment by employing the steps of the scientific method. Describe how each step will be carried out.








Chapter 2: From Chemistry to Energy to Life

This chapter focuses mainly on the fundamentals of environmental chemistry.  Also discusses are the molecular building blocks of organisms; energy and energy flow; photosynthesis, respiration, and chemosynthesis; major hypotheses for life’s origins; and finally, our knowledge of early life on Earth.


Multiple Choice

1. Organic compounds

a)    Are carbon atoms joined by covalent bonds

b)   Have a pH of 7

c)    Contain only carbon and hydrogen

d)   Do no exist


2. The human body is made up of mainly

a)    Carbon

b)   Hydrogen

c)    Oxygen

d)   Iron


3. Macromolecules can include

a)    Lipids

b)   Carbohydrates

c)    Bones

d)   Proteins


4. Organisms use all of these main sources of energy except

a)    Inorganic molecules

b)   Light

c)    Organic molecules

d)   Music


5. Bacteria can survive and thrive in all but

a)    Salt

b)   Acid

c)    Clean and dry surfaces

d)   Iron



True or False

  1. Less than half of Earth’s surface is made up of water.
  2. 4.5 billion years ago, no oxygen existed in the atmosphere, until photosynthesis developed in microbes.



1. Acid a) Nature or energy changes from a more-ordered to a less-ordered state
2. Photosynthesis b) Pollution cleanup through enhanced natural biodegradation
3. Bioremediation c) Light energy converted into chemical energy
4. Second law of thermodynamics d) Can be gas, liquid, or solid
5. Hydrocarbon e) pH lower than 7










Essay Questions

  1. Describe the three types of energy and how each kind works (potential, kinetic, chemical).

2.Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of phytoremediation: using plants to clean-up soils.


Chapter 3: Evolution, Biodiversity, and Population Ecology

This chapter introduces such topics as biodiversity and factors that may lead to extinction and/or population increase and decrease.

1. Genetic change in populations of organisms across generations is ___________

a)    natural selection

b)   artificial selection

c)    adaptation

d)   biological evolution


2. _______________ has led to the great variety of dog breeds (selective breeding).

a)    artificial selection

b)   adaptation

c)    evolution

d)   lack of pet control


Biosphere An organism’s use of resources and its functional role in a community
Community The environment in which an organism lives
Ecosystem The total living things on Earth and the areas they inhabit
habitat Interacting species that live in the same area
niche Communities and nonliving material and forces they interact with


True or False

4. Geographic range, habitat tolerance, and population size are three factors that can contribute to rarity.

5. Rarity in any form appears to decrease vulnerability to extinction.

6. Describe the four primary causes of population decline.


7. Carrying capacity can be defined as ___________________.

a)    The maximum population size of a species that its environment can sustain.

b)   The minimum population size of a species that its environment can sustain.

c)    How much weight each species can carry.

d)   The population growth rate.


8. Demonstrate how limiting factors affect a species in any given environment. How and why do these factors affect population growth?


9. Extinction can be defined as ____________________.

a)    When the dinosaurs disappeared.

b)   Survival of the fittest.

c)    When the last member of a species dies and the species ceases to exist.

d)   Eventual.


10. Allopatric speciation is species formation due to __________ separation of populations.

a)    Physical.

b)   Metaphorical.

c)    Genetic

d)   Topographical.


Chapter 4: Species Interactions and Community Ecology

This chapter discusses the differences between the different Biomes within the world’s regions.




Multiple Choice

1. Competition is _________:

a)    When multiple organisms seek the same limited resources.

b)   When species fight with each other physically to obtain resources

c)    When species produce a stable point of equilibrium.

d)   When species use only small portions of their resources.


2. The tropical rainforest biome has:

a)    Climates that alternate between very wet and dry seasons.

b)   Climates that only include dry seasons.

c)    Climates that include only wet seasons.

d)   Climates that are very mild.


3. What percentage of the world’s forest do rainforest’s host?

a)    14%

b)   50%

c)    90%

d)   20%


4. What is latitude?

a)    The distance from the sun.

b)   The distance from the moon to the earth.

c)    The distance from the primeridian.

d)   The distance from the equator.


5. What do plants depend on to pollinate their flowers?

a)    Other plants

b)   The rays of the sun

c)    Photosynthesis

d)   Other animals


True or False

1. Soil is a good nutrient because its acidic, thin and low in organic matter.

2. In an Intricate relationship, plants depend on animals to pollinate their flowers.



1. Biome  a) An organism such as a fungus or bacterium
2. Decomposers b) Cohesive entities
3. Food Web c) Hosts to different ecosystems
4. Producers d) Displays feeding relationships and energy flow
5. Communities e) Highest rank in the feeding hierarchy



Essay Questions

1. Suppose some cosmic catastrophe jolts the Earth so that its axis is perpendicular to the line between the sun and Earth. Discuss what will happen to the following:

a)    presence of day and night

b)   length of day and night

c)    change in the length of the year in the N Hemisphere

d)   temperature of the equator

e)    seasonal variations at northern and southern latitude


2.Describe why each hemisphere has different seasons?


Chapter 6: Environmental Ethics and Economics: Values and Choices

This chapter discusses the economic growth and sustainability of the environmental resources. It also identifies the influence that culture and worldviews have on the ecological environment.T

Multiple Choice

1. Ecocentrism is __________:

a)    An actions benefit or harm to the integrity of ecological systems.

b)   A calculation of how much of the earth’s natural resources can be preserved.

c)    A science that concerns the ecosystems of the world

d)   A social movement


2. The Preservation ethic is______________:

a)    People should manage natural resources responsibly

b)   The natural environment should remain in an unaltered state.

c)    Calculating one’s own impact on the natural resources of the world

d)   An increase in an economy’s production and consumption of goods and services


3. GDP stands for______________:

a)    Gross Dependent Product

b)   Gross Domestic Paridigm

c)    Genuine Dependent Progress

d)   Genuine Depressive Product


4. What does a person’s worldview reflect:

a)    Beliefs about the natural resource consumption

b)   Beliefs about natural resource preservation

c)    Beliefs about different religions

d)   Beliefs about the meaning, operation and essence of the world.


5. Greenwashing is _________:

a)    Consumers are misled into believing that companies are acting sustainably.

b)   The promotion of recycling projects.

c)    Watering plants daily

d)   Taking part in go-green exercises

True or False

1. Culture is the knowledge, beliefs, values, and learned ways of life shared by a group of people.
2. Worldview a person’s or group’s beliefs about the meaning, purpose, operation, and essence of the world


1. Environmental ethics  a) People who maintain that there exist objective notions of right and wrong that hold across cultures and contexts.
2. Ethics  b) People who believe that ethics do and should vary with social context.

3. Relativists c) The application of ethical standards to relationships between people and nonhuman entities
4. Universalists d) Criteria that help differentiate right from wrong
5. Ethical standards e) A branch of philosophy that involves the study of good and bad, of right and wrong.

Essay Questions

1. “We say no to uranium mining now and for the future. Our right to say no comes from our ancestors, our heritage, our law and culture, our Native Title”

~Jacqui Kantona, Speaking for the Mirrar

Describe the ethical implications and advantages that arise when mining the natural resource of uranium. Demonstrate your knowledge of this topic through providing your own personal views as well as an example.

2. Identify the meanings of preservation ethics and conservation ethics and discuss the advantages and disadvantages for both.


In conclusion I believe this assignment has definitely shown me how hard it is to make a test! It is a tough combination of combining general concepts with specific application of the concepts that makes up a test. This has shown me which concepts I need to brush up on, or clarify, while also showing me which concepts I know I understand. It has been rather enlightening indeed! 🙂

March 28, 2011. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

My Footprint Upon the Earth

Country EF (hectares per person) Proportion relative to world average Proportion relative to world area available Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita
Columbia 1.3 0.58




Sweden 7 3.14 3.93 26050
Bangladesh 0.6 .27 .34 1700
United Arab Emirates 9.9 4.44 5.56 40,200
Thailand 1.4 0.63 0.79 7010
Mexico 2.5 1.01 1.40 8970
Australia 7.7 3.45 4.33 28260
World Average 2.23 1.0




America 9.5 4.26 5.34 35750
Malaysia 3 1.35 1.69 9120
Greece 5.4 2.42 3.03 18720
Sierra Leone 0.9 0.40 0.51 520
Brazil 2.2 0.99 1.24 7770
Personal Footprint 4.28 1.92 2.40  

Table 1. Ecological Footprints of Nations. Data collected from sources (2) (3) (4).


1)    The ecological footprint can be described as the “cumulative amount of land and water required to provide the raw materials a person or population consume and to dispose of or recycle the waste that is produced.” While the carrying capacity is “the maximum population size that a given environment can sustain.” Lastly, overshoot is “the amount by which humanity has surpassed earth’s long term carrying capacity for our species” as Withgott and Brennan state (1).

2)    A. If you compare the EF of Bangladesh to that of Australia or the United Arab Emirates, you can see how much smaller it is in comparison. This is due to Bangladesh’s smaller consumption of raw materials per person. Since Bangladesh has a smaller GDP than Australia and the United Arab Emirates, it is a generally poorer country, therefore each person is not consuming a lot of raw materials as a large number of the population do not have clean water to drink or food to eat. However, this is the opposite in the UAE and Australia where too many raw materials are being consumed by each person. Some may say these countries suffer from “Affluenza.”

B. It is clear from the table that the higher the GDP of a country the larger the ecological footprint. This makes sense because a country with a higher GDP uses more raw materials and therefore has a higher ecological footprint.

C.  My personal ecological footprint at 4.28, is less than half than that of my country. In comparison with Bangladesh, my EF is more than four times larger. Greece, where I am currently living, also has a larger EF than I do, ranging at 5.4.  However, Brazil is less than half of my EF at 2.2. Based on the personal information I provided, if everyone lived my lifestyle, we, as a world, would need 4.28 earths. In relation to the individual categories my EF can be broken down to, there are some categories that do not match those of my country. For instance, my carbon footprint is only one third of America’s average. My food footprint, however, is exactly the same as my country’s average. But again my housing and goods and services footprint is lower than America’s average. Although I scored lower on most of the categories in relation to America’s average, I scored exactly the same of the food footprint. This is something I definitely want to look my closely at in my life, as well as trying to reduce my overall EF by being a more conscientious and ecologically aware consumer.


  1. Withgott, J. & Brennan, S. (2010). Environment: The science behind the stories. 4th Ed. San  Francisco: Pearson Education.
  2. Quiz Results (n.d.). Ecological Footprint: Center for Sustained Economy. Retrieved March 8, 2010 from
  3. Globalis Indicator (2002). Global Virtual University. Retrieved March 3, 2011 from
  4. The World Factbook (2011). The Central Intelligence Agency. Retrieved March 8, 2011 from

March 8, 2011. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Worldview? Or my view?

Coming from both an Irish and Native American culture, I have been brought up in the tradition that embraces the fruits of the earth. Being technically separated from both these cultures, growing up in neither an Irish community, nor a Native American community these traditions are not as richly entrenched in my upbringing. However, going to Ireland and attending Native American festivals, I have realized how important the environment is to each culture, but in very different ways.

What do I value most? (1)

The Irish traditionally relied heavily on agriculture as a source of sustenance and livelihood, realizing that the soil, fields and meadows must be properly tended in order to keep a good harvest. Native Americans treasure the environment, however, purely out of respect, respect for every element and creature. As sad as this is to say, I think watching Pocahontas helped me better understand and begin to appreciate the spirit of everything in nature. However, I truly believe education has played the biggest factor in my worldview. Once I joined a club called youthCAN, which was a climate action network, I began understanding more and more about climate change, how youth can help save the environment, general ways to get involved and protect the earth.

To be completely honest, I believe I am currently biocentric with a desire to be ecocentric. I know that ecological systems have value, but I do not currently understand them enough to be completely aware of ways to protect them and avoid damaging them; or even sustainable solutions in relation to the protection of ecosystems. I think it is hard for me to attach myself to either relativist or universalist. I believe there are certain things like killing another human being that is universally unacceptable. However, there are definitely certain things I believe to be wrong which other nations, other cultures might disagree with. Even the basic knowledge that killing another human being is wrong may or may not be disputed by cannibals. I am not certain of this fact, but if that is so, that I believe different cultures view different things as right and wrong from my own set of ethical standards then that makes me a relativist? I just feel that I can be a universalist in some situations and a relativist in others.  I know, however, that I definitely believe in deep ecology because humans COULD NOT survive without nature, at least now yet they can’t and I know, especially when it comes to recycling, I wish universalism applied and everyone recycled! 🙂

1. Withgott, J. & Brennan, S. (2010). Environment: The science behind the stories. 4th Ed. San  Francisco: Pearson Education.

February 22, 2011. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Environments and Hypotheses

Environmental Science is an interdisciplinary pursuit because it deals with aspects of both natural science and social science. While environmental scientists are testing and observing to better understand our natural world, they can also be called upon to be advisors for policy decisions relating to, or effecting the environment or more energy efficient technology. This allows environmental science to cross over into different areas aside from strictly scientific research into such areas as politics and economics and even history. I believe if anything, my study of English and Literature would most likely fall under Social Sciences. However, it also acts as a Natural Science in a way because I function as an analyst of the author and his/her words in a text and how he/she interacted with the word around them in order to create this said piece of literature. Simultaneously, I also analyze how the book affects or details our behavior as humans and how the piece functions in our society today.


In order to make a proper hypothesis, one must have something concrete to test. If I, as a plant ecologist, were planning on testing the rate of growth in tree seedlings after each fire that happens in this certain geographic area than I would have something to test my theory against. However, since there are no trees left in this area, this may have to be tested elsewhere in the country where trees are still present, but also where fires continue to occur. I could also do extensive research into the area devoid of trees to see when the trees began to deteriorate (e.g. after the first fire, second, third, etc.), or if they were wiped out in one fire. Hopefully there would be data of tree seedling growth after each fire and I could compare that do my current data of tree seedling growth in the area which would most likely be a very small percentage.


February 14, 2011. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.