Monday, February 22, 2010

One Degree Factor

This video was very intimidating to say the least. The disappearance of animals, specifically 60,000 Caribou forming a "ghost heard," seems to be more than just a cycle, but that of a species struggling with rising temperatures. Noticing this is just one factor of the entire problem, it still is an indicator of the potentialities of what could/will happen with other species. Another interesting tid-bit that ties in with caribou is the mosquito effect, which is mostly a domino effect. It says the life of a caribou is split into "time spent evading insects and time spent feeding." The increase in temperature leads to larger swarms, and these larger swarms of mosquitoes make the caribou spend more energy to evade the insects, thus leading to a declined population. The unfortunate part to all of this is simple. The caribou clans are having trouble evolving to the changing ecosytems and are in danger of getting erased completely, which they say could "impoverish mankind," citing mankind relied on caribou for food for hundreds of years. Taking a look into the ocean, it was interesting to note that plankton, such as krill. The west coast plankton levels were down 20% from what they were in the 1950's, that led to concern, because they are central in the food chain, and could cause an unraveling of the food chain. Yet, the krill population recovered, which they say is tied to rearrangement of hot and cool water, or a "regime shift." These shifts disrupt the food supply and change the nutrients that come up from the bottom of the ocean to the top. Finally, another thing i found interesting was the connection of some Caribbean Islands such as Trinidad and global events that occurred thousands miles away. The connection involved the medical mystery of the increasing number of children being infected with Asthma. The link that tied these together is simple; dust...from the Sahara Dessert, because of the lakes, such as Lake Chad, that have dried up to shallow channels due to significant droughts, which causes more dust which is being blown to the America's. Overall, this video explained many domino effects. These domino effects include links and connections between animals, humans, disease, plants, the atmosphere, lakes/oceans, and almost every living/nonliving species on the planet. The world continues to change, mostly for the worse, and no one will ever know what other effects might be stemmed from the ever-changing climate.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Reflect on how you might decrease your own Ecological footprint.

According to the quiz, if everyone on the planet lived my lifestyle, we would need 5.92 earths. Fortunately for the earth, there are copious amounts of people in Africa/India/China and almost every other country besides the U.S. who live with limited to no electricity, limited water supply and no possibilities of getting in their car to get a double bacon cheeseburger at Wendy's. With that said, there are some things that I could do to decrease our ecological footprint and improve the Earth's well-being. One thing I could do is use cleaner transport. Instead of getting into our car to go down the street, or around the block, I could, how dare I say it, walk, or even take a bike. I could also install energy-saving features to our home such as install florescent low-emission light bulbs and energy efficient appliances, as well as weatherproof my home. I could also adopt water-saving habits such as taking shorter showers and start washing my dishes as opposed to running the dishwasher every other day. Finally, putting to use the 3 R's -- Recycle, Reduce, Reuse -- would be an easy way to improve my footprint. By continuing to recycle all glass, paper and plastic, as well as buying recycled and biodegradable products. I could also reduce the amount of electricity i use, by turning off my amplifier after i'm done, as well as not leaving my black light on 24/7. Overall, there are many things that I could easily change with my dad-to-day life as well as adapt new practices that would decrease my lasting effect on the planet.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Favorite place to be in Buffalo, NY

My favorite place to go while in my hometown of Buffalo, NY, is to take a walk down the Niagara Gorge. After the water falls from Niagara Falls, it whirlpools downstream through the Niagara River and is surrounded by walls of stone aka the Gorge. I've been on the Maid of the Mist as well as the Cave of the Winds, where you can "touch" the falls, and nothing comes close to hiking down the Gorge. My friends and I would often hike down the Gorge to fish and hang out when we were bored. The worst part about it is the 2000+ steps you need to walk up and down, but it's more exciting than it is tiring. There are "short cuts" which are usually little paths angled almost 90 degrees, and there is nothing like balancing yourself on a branch and praying that you don't slip, because its a pretty long fall. When you get to the bottom of the Gorge, its indescribable. You are at water level, and its not just a lazy river rushing past you, its rapids and whirlpools. There are rocks to climb and hidden caves you can venture off to if you are bold. Also, I was introduced to "Cache" by my girlfriends father. This is where an online community hides random objects through out Western NY, and they give you the exact GPS locations as well as a few clues, and you can try to find them. Once you found them, there is no prize, only a log sheet where you can put your name and date. The reward is the experience of hiking and climbing and ducking through out the woods and nature trails. More of a priceless treasure...

Expectations for learning and outcomes from Colloquium

I have very few expectations from Colloquium. It's not because i don't respect what we are learning, but most of it I have already become familiar with. I took Environmental Bio. of SW FL. as well as Marine Systems during my Freshman year, and it seems that this class is an advanced form of them... with more writing. I do expect to take from this class the diversity of other people's views. While i think this class is trying to indoctrinating us students towards a particular view, I do believe it is somewhat warranted. The surrounding area of Southwest Florida is a fragile ecosystem and is deteriorating because of the economic growth of this area. Appreciation of nature comes through knowledge and experience of nature itself. The more people aware of the animals and plants, and rivers and estuaries, and the importance of each into the entirety of the ecosystem, the better. If more people were aware of what it means to the area as a whole when you wipe out entire ecosystems that have been around for hundreds, even thousands of years, they would understand the lasting ripple effect of this ignorance towards the environment. Overall, I plan to strengthen my view about nature, and take a greater appreciation to all that Southwest Florida has to offer.