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Re: [Channel-talkbio] Unit 12: Biodiversity

From: ed leitz <edleitz@hotmail.com>
Date: Wed Apr 04 2007 - 11:00:28 EDT

Hi Karen and Mary,

I wanted to touch on a couple of topics you both mentioned. First with the
ocean and overfishing because I love to fish and I teach marine science. As
far as individual boats and captains catching fish and lowering the
population I don't think that is a problem you have to worry about. The
problem obviously is a human caused one but the commercial fishing industry
and the amount of waste and "accidental" dead fish that result in some
fishing techniques is more a cause of the problem than anything. I do agree
that we will continue to see rising seafood prices whoever because of out
inabilivy to affectively access so much of the ocean I do not believe that
we run a risk of completely eliminating these species with out current
practices, however we are severly hurting the numbers and affecting
ecosystems in the process.

I also found it interesting that the text so bluntly stated that there is
global warming do to human activities when there is so much controversy
remaining on the topic. It is obvious that human are adding to the levels
of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere but what is not obvious, at least to
many is the effect these are having and the reasons for the rising Earth
temperatures. The Earth's temperature to continued to change for as long as
humans have been able to monitor it. There is strond evidence that the
Earth was actually warmer during the middle ages. I am not saying global
warming is not occuring and I am also not saying that humans probably are
playing some role in it, I just thought that the text seemed to jump to
conclusion where there is so much uncertainty and the Earth's temperature
has changed so much in the past.

The last topic I found interesting was in both the text and video on the
spread of ticks and lyme disease. I grew-up in Pennsylvania on a farms
where my parents own about 200 acres. With all the open land and
alternating fields and forest tick were never something we worried about.
Having moved to New England about 3 years ago and spend a year working near
the town of Lyme (The disease is named after it) ticks were something we
worried about constantly especially teaching environmental education and
having students outside all the time. When I think back and relate it to
the video, where I grew-up was very undistrubed and larges patches of woods
and open fields. Here in new England it much more disrupted with small
patches of woods and houses scattered everywhere. I thought it was very
interesting to see how humans have not only eliminated species but also by
affecting the number of some have caused so many problems for themselves.

Lastly, as to the solution to the problems, I believe it relates back to the
cause of many issues and that is over population. With the increased number
of people I believe everyone needs to be more aware of their actions over
issues such as recycling, conserving fossil fuels, and even the urban sprawl
as you both mentioned. It will be interesting to see what the future holds
because as they said it is us who will see all of the effects of our
actions, but out children and grandchildren.


>From: "Karen Blaustein" <kblaustein@haverhill-ps.org>
>Reply-To: Discussion list for REDISCOVERING
>To: "Discussion list for REDISCOVERING BIOLOGY"
>Subject: Re: [Channel-talkbio] Unit 12: Biodiversity
>Date: Thu, 29 Mar 2007 12:44:00 -0400
>Hi Mary and Ed,
>The first subject I want to discuss concerning the subject of preserving
>biodiversity is recycling. It is really such a shame that the majority
>of the American people really have no regard for the environment. On
>the surface they might care, but their actions do not reflect this
>concern. I really try my best to do my part in preserving the
>environment by recycling. We have mandatory recycling in our town. Every
>2 weeks the recycling company picks up at the curbside. There is no
>extra fee for either the curbside garbage or the recycling in our town
>(of course our taxes are high). Therefore, there is really no excuse
>(except for laziness) not to recycle. However, if one drives down the
>street in my neighborhood on recycling day, they would notice that less
>than one-third of the houses actually have their blue recycling
>containers out with their garbage. People are so consumed with their
>everyday lives they do not take the small amount of extra effort to
>recycle. In fact, I have noticed that the people that don't recycle are
>the ones that have the most garbage (5 bags/family verses our 1). The
>town used to require that all citizens use "see-through" plastic bags so
>they can verify if you were actually recycling. These bags are no longer
>required and the town does not check up on you to see if you are
>recycling or not. The people on my block that do not recycle lose a
>good amount of my respect for them as citizens. The good news is that
>the people that are recycling are producing a some money for the town; I
>just wish it was enough to lower our taxes!
>The next subject I want to discuss is global warming. It is amazing how
>many people still deny the existence of global warming. Unfortunately,
>it is a concept that is hard to verify with concrete data. However, it
>is apparent that the amount and damages incurred of the recent wave of
>hurricanes in this country alone has significantly increased. If you
>have been following the Academy Awards you must know that Al Gore was
>part of a team that won an award for their documentary entitled An
>Inconvenient Truth. Al Gore recently testified in front of House and
>Senate panels trying to persuade these panels that global warming should
>not be a political issue but rather a moral issue. "The planet has a
>fever," Gore said. "If your baby has a fever, you go to the doctor. If
>the doctor says you need to intervene here, you don't say, 'Well, I read
>a science fiction novel that told me it's not a problem.' If the crib's
>on fire, you don't speculate that the baby is flame retardant. You take
>action." He was countered by Texas Rep. Joe Barton, the leading
>Republican on the House Energy and Commerce Committee. He challenged
>Gore's conclusion that carbon dioxide emissions cause rising global
>temperatures. The point is that either way we are polluting our
>environment and we need to preserve what we have left.
>It is unbelievable that humans have only lived on the earth for a short
>period of time as compared with the 4.6 billion years the earth has
>existed and have done so much damage. I hope we can start to mend our
>ways and look around us and confront the issues.
>From: channel-talkbio-bounces@learner.org on behalf of Mary Johnston
>Sent: Wed 3/28/2007 8:11 AM
>To: channel-talkbio@learner.org
>Subject: Re: [Channel-talkbio] Unit 12: Biodiversity
>Hi Karen and Ed,
> This week's unit was biodiversity and what an expansive topic this
>is! It's funny that this was the topic for the week because my husband
>rented the movie "Happy Feet" and we started watching it. At the
>beginning is a fairly long commercial targeted at the overfishing of our
>oceans and how this is contributing to the loss of biodiversity. There
>is a campaign for restaurants and even seafood companies to label their
>products with a seal of approval which basically indicates that the
>seafood caught met current fish/wildlife preservation guidelines. It was
>good to see a big budget commercial movie that actually had a
>conscience. I have thought many times about over-fishing myself because
>my husband and I sometimes like to go deep sea fishing and the captain
>of the boat is always using radar to target the schools of fish, so it
>is essentially always a "big catch" day. Probably a large number of
>people don't eat what they catch. It is more for the glory of getting
>the big fish. In any case, I can see seafood prices going on the rise
>as they become even more scarce or as with certain types of fish have to
>be raised in fish farms because there has been so much oevr-fishing in
>the wild.
> I was also thinking about the movie "Medicine Man" with Sean
>Connory. This is a fictionalized account of a scientist who finds an
>accidental cure for cancer while in the rainforest, but due to human
>encroachment and other issues, he cannot ever seem to find it again and
>his work is lost. The scientist is against anyone else coming in and
>trying to "help" him because he realizes that once many people arrive,
>they will start destroying the habitat and that is exactly what happens.
>In the end, the cure eludes the scientist and it is a sad story of the
>loss of so much biodiversity and so much hope for a cure for cancer.
>This movie probably isn't appropriate to show to kids because it has
>severe language in it and some students might be immature about the
>dress of the native tribes in the film, but I think the general theme
>fits right in with this week's topic.
> The more we explore nature, the more variety of living things we
>find. These living things are a critical part of our global community.
>Understanding and preserving them could prove key to many of our
>unaswered questions, particularly in medical science. For example, in
>recent years it was dicovered that the Japanes Yew tree can be used to
>make the drug taxol which has some anti-cancer effects. If we destroy
>or fragment habitats in which this organism and many others thrive, then
>we are perhaps hurting our chances of saving many lives and finding
>cures to diseases that plague us.
> I know that with population sizes always on the rise and the
>ever increasing demand for new buildinggs and restaurants and
>technology, that it seems logical for us to keep building more and more.
>However, we are all familiar with the idea of carrying capacity. That
>is, we reach a critical mass and then begin poisoning ourselves.
>Perhaps more preservation and protection laws will make us better
>utilize already developed land. For example, instead of destroying
>farms to build companies and highways, let's revitalize urban areas.
>They are already developed, so if new buildings are put there the impact
>on the wildlife will not be so severe and it will provide jobs for
>people in the local community. Our own district of Haverhill is
>attempting to do this. Instead of just developing the rural part of the
>city, there is a group of citizens trying to push for revitalization of
>the urban areas. I think this is a great idea. Do you two have any
>suggestions to the loss of biodiversity dilemma? Let me know.
>Mary Johnston
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Received on Wed Apr 4 11:29:12 2007


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