Management of the Biophysical Environment - 2016

About this class

This course examines the role of the state in environmental issues. We examine the rationales, challenges and pitfalls inherent in state-led resource management. Students will be blogging on media coverage of important environmental issues throughout the course of the semester.

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3 années 8 mois ago

Hi josh_cifelli5817,

Your title really drew me in because of my strong interest in cars and how autonomous cars are becoming the future for cars. Although I personally have not done much research on this new feature in future cars. I found your article interesting because I personally didn’t even consider weather being an issue of a self driving car but I can now understand how its poses a threat to other drivers on the road if it can’t identify the road itself. It’s interesting to me how technology for cars has come so far but personally it appears that it will not be safe to everyone. I think technology has come far but I do not believe that it will ever come far enough for it to be completely safe for self driving cars without the driver paying attention to the road. This is because there are so many outside factors that can happen and so many factors that the self-driving car would need to consider. Also additionally adding to the issue of weather… what if the weather or something breaks a sensor on a car? So much programming would need to be put into the car and if one thing broke or went wrong someone’s life could be at risk. If people have to stay awake behind autopilot driving now don’t you think it would just be easiest for the person behind the wheel to just drive it and control the vehicle on their own? I too agree that I would save so much time if a self driving car existed because I could just do work in the vehicle during my travels. Lastly, I also thought about how humans react on roads with their emotions sometimes and wouldn’t necessarily know that they are being aggressive to a driver who has their auto-pilot driving on. I think for autonomous driving to possibly even be safe maybe everyone would need an autonomous vehicle and maybe all the vehicles could communicate with each other so if a kid jumped out on the road maybe all the cars would respond together to avoid an accident with the child and with other vehicles. Do you personally really think there is going to be a way for autonomous cars to self-drive without the passenger paying attention to the road at all with the constantly changing factors on the roads outside of the vehicles control?
Thanks for this great post! I really enjoyed the read and it has now got me thinking
about how designers can make autonomous cars safe!

3 années 8 mois ago

Hi OldElPaso_MuchoFunTonight

I really enjoyed your post. This is a topic that isn't talked about very much so I liked that you chose to write about it. I think that you really did a good job mentioning the potential consequences of Nestle continuing to draw water from the aquifer. I understand that the Nestle plant employs many people so I don't think that we should try to remove the plant, but I do think that there should be a cap on how much water they can withdraw and there should be an increase in price for what they withdraw because $3.71/ million litres is absolutely ridiculous.

3 années 8 mois ago

Hello there,

Thank you for the insightful analysis of the relationship between young children and our gender-polarized culture. I first saw this video a few weeks ago and I was quite surprised at how aware eight-year-old Daisy Edmonds was of the differences between products that are produced to appeal to young girls and those that are designed to appeal to young boys. However, when I think critically about it, it makes perfect sense! Children are not born with preconceived notions of what clothes girls should wear or which toys boys should play with. Rather, children are influenced by the ideas that they are exposed to and grow up to believe that boys and girls should act in certain distinctive ways and carry separate values. In that context, it is no surprise that Miss Edmonds is able to detect the inequalities between boys’ and girls’ clothing- she is young and the inequality has not yet become normalized in the mind. Meanwhile, adults see each of the two very separate categories of clothing as inherently appealing to boys, or to girls, but not both. She is brave to question the fact that women are expected to conform to a set of expectations and I am glad that her mother is accepting of whichever clothes she decides to wear.
Do you have any advice about how parents should explain gender inequality at such a young age?

All the best!

3 années 8 mois ago

Great post Kevin!
Although it is very sad to continually pipelines being proposed through these communities and threatening their livelihood, I think that the courts overturning this approval is a good step in the right direction as this will set an example for future cases. I like how mentioned the value-based conflict found in this situation but I think it is also worth to mention the behavioral conflict at play here that demonstrates a lack of trust in government from the First Nation communities. I wonder if these pipelines would even be proposed if they happened to pass through a privileged neighborhood?

3 années 8 mois ago

Hi Samantha,
I love the article you chose because I’m from Alberta and frequently visit the National Parks closest to me. Your title also really drew me in, it’s so clever! As an Albertan, I love to promote Alberta’s parks in hope that it they will inspire others to care about their impact on the environment and preservation of truly wild places. However, the free admission in 2017 has me concerned about a decline in conservation efforts funded by admission revenues. Every year, admission fees bring in $60 million dollars in revenue that helps to protect the natural features and wildlife of the parks. The combination of losing these funds with increased traffic has the potential to lead to environmental degradation of important park aspects. On any given day in the summer, Lake Louise and the Banff are over run by tourists which makes me skeptical to believe that Parks Canada needs to increase the number of tourists entering the parks. However, I could be wrong because that is just my perspective based on my own experiences. It will be interesting to see if I notice an increase in tourists when I head to the mountains this summer.

3 années 8 mois ago

I really enjoyed reading your post! The title caught my eye because this is a question I have asked myself as well. I would hope that Parks Canada is more concerned about conservation than cash, but as you pointed out, it is run more like a business. Before taking this class I was not aware that it even has a CEO! When you wrote "The future of the park will be shaped depending if we see it as important for its incoming-generating capability as a tourist attraction versus its ecological importance", it really made me think about when I lived in Banff National Park. When I first arrived in May 2015 there were a few tourists and the town felt more like a town, where people would ski all day then socialize at night. Or many spent the days hiking the mountains and at this time I didn't really feel like I was in a Park but the idea of nature and preservation were still important. Once the summer months hit it was like a completely different town. The streets were absolutely packed with tourists, tour busses were on a constant schedule bringing hoards of people in and out every day. The mountain behind my house had a gondola to bring people to the top (those who didn't want to, or couldn't hike the trail) and it ran nonstop all summer long. At this point I wondered, do these people care about ecological conservation? Does the National Park system care about conservation or are they happy to keep building these tourist attractions and expanding the town because they make a good profit off of it?

I am wondering what you think about the Native peoples who have been displaced because of the National Park system and if they could have an impact on conservation? Or if tourists and even Parks Canada is too far removed from realizing that many of these places were their traditional lands. While I lived in Banff there were a few "native" souvenir shops and a museum of native art. Not surprisingly this museum was one of the least visited attractions in the entire town. Other than that, prevalence of aboriginal peoples in Banff was almost non-existent.
Thanks for the post, it was an interesting read, and I agree that conservation should come before generating income.

3 années 8 mois ago

Nice post, I also wrote a post about Donald Trump, because it is such a relevant topic.

Trump panders to emotion, instead of using rational arguments. Trump is a demagogue. This is how he won, he has no basis, but he looks like a good option to middle class white America. This is why he can deny climate change, and say it is a hoax created by China (read 'China' in Trump's voice). This is why he is gutting the EPA, and putting a climate change denying economist in charge. This is why he is going to cut funding to NASA's earth science projects, which gives us valuable earth imagery (which helps us evaluate where valuable natural resources may be). He says things that make him look good even though they may not be true. Think about things like the recent developments with Carrier in Indiana, where Trump wanted to save 1300 American jobs from going to Mexico. However, Carrier is still sending 1300 jobs to Mexico, and now Indiana taxpayers are on the hook for $7 million to pay for tax breaks that Carrier receives for keeping some jobs in the US. Oh, and Carrier made a $7.6 billion profit last year.

Trump can ignore facts, and his followers will listen because he hits them right in the emotions. We have never seen the likes of a 'Donald Trump' in such power before. Obviously we have seen dictators before, but we have never seen such an unqualified person leading the largest economy in the world.

Fun interesting articles where I get my info, also for a good laugh browse through his Twitter:

@realDonaldTrump

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/nov/22/nasa-earth-donald-tr...

http://www.cnbc.com/2016/12/01/trumps-carrier-speech-absolutely-chilling...

http://www.ctvnews.ca/politics/trump-presidency-doesn-t-change-need-for-...

3 années 8 mois ago

Hello OldElPaso_MuchoFunTonight

First off I would like to applaud you for you alias it is simply amazing.

Now to the subject at hand, I appreciate that you took the time to address an issue that hits close to home. Given that this effect the quality of the water we all consume I think it is very important that we gain an understanding of what is going on around us.That being said I also disagree with all the commotion that is being stirred up in respect to Nestle and their contracts. what people have to take into account is the economic standing having Nestle present has.The packing facility generates lots of jobs and provides a service to the people. Therefore, even though this has negative environmental outcomes it can be argued that the social/economic outcomes are more beneficial.

3 années 8 mois ago

Hi mcaponci,

Before I read your post here, I had this belief that nuclear power was still in the development stages and that there would be many more advancements that could make this a viable solution for the future. But then I realised that this may not be entirely true. Like you said, there are other alternative sources that are becoming viable due to their price reductions and how they have a low amount of danger if a mishap were to occur. Even though the risks of a nuclear meltdown could be reduced by advancements, the impact that a meltdown has on the earth would still be catastrophic, whereas if a wind turbine were to fail it would result in a broken turbine. Overall, I found your article to be well informed and the argument to be sound. However, I think that the structure of your writing could be improved. When I started to read your last paragraph, I just felt like you were repeating yourself and this lead me to be confused. I think that in the future you should hint that your next words will be a summary of the paper. You could use the words ‘In conclusion, ...’ or In summary, …’, for example. Other than that, you write a good post!

3 années 8 mois ago

Hey WaterElement! Awesome post! I have seen Tesla's development in other area's in the news but I have not read any news reviews which include comments - so thank you for facilitating this discussion. Tesla is one of my favourite companies right now in terms of finding green energy alternatives and solutions to current and old methods of energy production from fossil-fuels. I really like how you mentioned that it was potentially the state's fault for the failure of SolarCity and how they have a lot of vested interest in Oil company's. With the new government moving in in the United States it will be very interesting to see where all of the effort in green technologies will end up.

This article is important to me as I am very interested in discovering new, accessible way's to become less reliant on fossil fuels for energy use on a small scale. By small scale I mean that I am interested in trying to get individual building's like homes more self-sufficient. Tesla's partnering with SolarCity is one step in this direction. They have been able to produce shingles that look quite attractive in my opinion, that are very strong and resistant to stress, that are actually SOLAR PANELS!! It is a very cool concept and fit's in with Tesla's whole green mantra they have been showcasing in recent years. I have attached a link for your interest which may help you understand exactly what I mean when I talk about the shingles. Thanks again for your great post.

http://www.treehugger.com/energy-policy/tesla-introduces-gorgeous-new-so...

SUNY Genesee Community Colllege

SUNY Brockport

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Associate Professor of Geography, University of Guelph.

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