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My Environmental Ethics

APES Final Project

Elizabeth Kelley

on 1 June 2011

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Transcript of My Environmental Ethics

Air Pollution Photochemical Smog Stationary Pollutor, Coal Factory Mobile Pollutors SOx NOx Particulate Matter I appreciate the Clean Air Act of 1970, the first legislation that regulated and set standards for air quality. This cut down on a variety of air pollutants like lead, aresenic, asbestos, formaldyhyde and particulate matter. Without these regulations then American industry would be dumping a large amout of pollution into the air and our country would be facing the air quality problems like China is. Because of my asthma the cleaner the air is the better. I personally have asmtha, depending on the amount of pollution present in the air my breathing is affected. I'm going to school next year in Boston where there is more air pollution. I believe there should be more regulatios and tax benefits for companies to encourage them to decrease the amount of pollutats released. There needs to be a balance between enconmy and environment if we want to successfully protect our air quality and environment. Endangered Species and Biodiversity Hotspots Ecology, Biodiversity and Energy Flow Pesticides, Solid and Hazardous waste Soil and Land Use Earth Science/Biomes of the World Human Population Water, Soil & Mineral Resources I want to be biocentric because I believe there needs to be a balance between humans and the enviroment. Personally this is what I believe but I think I have a long way to go in changing my actions before I achieve this. Some day I hope to be a conservationist. Balance is key, and I believe the best way to save the environment is to focus on the needs of the environment and combine them with humans. More people will be willig to help work to save the environment if they don't have to give up everything to do so. One thing I want to work on changing is the amount that I drive. Over the course of this class I realize the impact that driving. Lately, I have worked on condensing my trips to Middlebury and carpooling more with my parents. I live out in the country with a large amount of land surrounding my house. My dad rents out our lands to farmers for them to utilize for crop growth. After learning about the CLORPTA factors and enormous problem of soil loss I have been working with my dad to ensure that the soil is better protected. I made a deal with him that I would mow the lawn for free if we didn't mow the grass as short or as often. I am also attempting to convince him to ask that our land be used only in no-till farming. We live a windy point and there is a significant amount of soil erosio when the fields are tilled in the begining of the spring. Sometimes the land looks like this when it has been especially dry. My mom and I always plant a garden and I really enjoy having healthy large flowers. Many times I'd put fertilizers with large amounts of phosphorous and nitrogen on the gardens. Since learning about the effects of these fertilizers on an aquatic ecosystem I have stopped doing so because we live near a lake. I settle for smaller less vibrant flowers and tomatoe plants that taste just as good. Land animals and ecosystems Aquatic animals and ecosystems Us My favorite part of Enviromental Science is the animals. Sea turtles and elephants are two of my favorite animals. One way I worked to help prevent the loss of biodiversity was the work with the CRETA project. On a family island, Wassaw, voluteers come stay on the island and spend their time marking, counting and observing Sea Turtle nests to ensure the protection of the baby turtles. By building fences, pathways to the ocean and surveying the hatching the volunteers help a majority of the young turtles make it to the ocean. Al marine turtles are under the Endgered Apecies Act, so it is important to make sure that they have high reproduction rates. This class has taught me the importance of recycling and how that can help minimize human impact in the environment. At home we recycle paper, plastic, cardboard, tin cans and bottles. This is a simple way that people can help reduce and reycle items to minimize waste and preserve natural resources. To help rebuild the soil and prevent erosion on the steep banks near my house I help my dad plant trees cover the soil with underbrush and tree branches and drag tarp fulls of dead leaves and spread on the banks. This helps slow water currents when it rains so the runoff does not take as much sediment with it. These things also help protet the bare soil from wind erosion. One way that my environmental philopshy has changed and developed over the course of the class is understanding how everything is connected. I realize that there is a division of science that is incredibly interesting to me, one that connects to my love of elephants, sea turtles and all other animals. If we are to work together and coexist with these amazing animals we all need to work on sacrificing unneeded things. I have a long way to go before my actions reflect my beliefs on environmental ethics, but I think everyone can make strides towards lessening their impact. One way that I've worked to be more aware and decrease my impact on the environment is through conserving water. I have shortened my showers to no longer then 5 minutes, turned the water off when I'm brushing my teeth and bought a reusable metal water bottle. Water is a renewable resource if we are smart with the consumption and use it in a sustainable way. Water aquifers are being exhausted because people do not realize that the rate we are drawing water is faster then the replenishing rate. Conserving mineral resources is important because there is a finite suppy of resources. Mining these resources is very environmetnally detrimental and destroys a large amount of habitat and can cause tailing pollution in the surrounding habit. By recycling our e-waste like computers and old cellphones I'm working towards minimizing the need for using more natural resources. I believe that there should be very strict legislation in all countries about poaching of endangered and threatened species. The Endangered Species Act of 1973 is an American effort to limit the trading and increase the protection of species on the list through habitat protection. I believe that we harm the environment in a variety of ways and that one way to ensure we are doing our utmost to protect wildlife is enact stricter legislation concerning these organims. I will never buy real fur of any animal nor will I support (to the best of my knowledge) companies that sell real endangered fur products. The African Elephant is another animal that is on the endangered species list and is one of my favorite animals. Elephants are poached for their tusks which I believe is awful. I believe that there need to be stricter regulations to discourage people from using these animals as profit and a way of supporting themselves. There is an ethical conflict because many times poachers are people who must support their families and poaching can be a luctrative source of income. I believe there needs to be a point where we stop allowing humans to run unchecked on the environment because all humans could abuse the environment for their benefit. Even though these acts are sometimes out of necessity a line must be drawn and we must stop compromising. If we don't take more drastic measures to preserve our wildlife now, we won't have habitat or animals to protect in the future. Save the Sea Turtles Save the Elephants Save me Environmental Science and Programs should I worked in a national wildlife reserve in southeast Ohio called the WILDS. This two week volunteer experience showed me the extent that scientists are going to preserve and better understand the organims in our world and how it is not always easy to maintain and breed wild animals in captivity. That is why it is so essential to preserve the habitat of endangered species in the wild. It gave me a new appreciation and understanding of these creatures and how complicated it is to help save them. At the WILDS they do conservation medicine, animal husbandry, restoration ecology, conservation science training and education, professional partnerships and international work. While I was there I did a necropsy on an Chinese Mountain Goral to find the cause of death, and helped bandage a newborn zebra foal that was herniating. Learning about the population dynamics in the world really helped me understand over population and the strain on the envrionment. I never thought about how many kids I would have through an environmental standpoint. Now I want to have two kids so that it can be replacement fertility. I helped hatch four yellow bellied slider turtles down on Wassaw. The National Fish and Wildlife officer discovered a nest that had been dug up and brought them to the caretakes of the island. During my three week time on Wassaw I watched over the turtles and saw them hatch. I went out and caught little minows and other aquatic animals that make up their diet. I also brought them aquatic plants. After a two weeks we were able to release the little turtles back into the wild. Buoy People need to understand that our reproduction rates have to follow the rule of a environmental carrying capacity like any other organism. If we continue to artificially inflate the carrying capacity then we will cause irreversible damage to the environment and it will not be able to support humans, turtles or elephants. Biodiversity is one of the most important parts of the global ecosystems. Ecosystems are comprised of many organisms that fill specific species niches. Within these niches organisms play important roles in keeping a balance within the ecosystem. Asian Elephants are a keystone species because they are essential path creators in the forest. African elephants also keep the Savanna a grassland by their constant migrations and grazing. Without their existence, trees would grow more frequently changing the habitat that many other grassland animals depend on. Without the existence of the elephat a top-down ecological change would occur. When a prominent species is subject to a decimation in population size, the rest of the organisms that depend on them are affected and a top down change in the structure of the ecosystem occurs. This happened in the wolves of Yellowstone. The elephant is one of the most special animals on the planet. A matriach is the leader of a herd of elephants, an older female that directs and protects the herd, usually most of them her offspring or related family. With the matriach's guidance herd's make their semi annual migration with the coming and going of the rainy season in the Savanna of Africa. Elephants are known as some of the most attached and dedicated mothers, their calves staying with them and depending on them physically and mentally from three to five years. They establish a deep connection with their offspring along with other members of the herd. Elephants are some of the only animals where studies have shown that they have complex emotions like grief and joy. Many times mothers and other herd members will "grieve" over the body of a dead elephant, spending time touching and smelling the bones or body, usually falling silent and gathering around the corpse. I live in the temperate decidious forest in Vermont. There are seven total biomes in the world, five of them existing in the United States alone. One thing that we are currently experiencing is in connection with the water cycle. Over the past winter and spring the northeast has gotten a large amoun to precipitation, both snow and rain. At my house near Lake Champlain there has been massive flooding that has obstructed daily life around us. The Fort Ticonderoga Ferry can still not launch due to high waters and our best friends dock has been completely washed away.
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