Monday, September 26, 2016

Joel Salatin, for EII




EcoEco exam 1


EC 3003 Ecological Economics
Womersley
First Take-Home Examination
Due Friday October 7th, 5pm, by email

Instructions:

This is a take-home exam. You may research the answers. Cite all sources other than lecture and the Daly/Farley text. Answer all questions. Do not confer with other students. Do not submit via Canvas.

Short answers (one or two paragraphs):

1.     Why and how can Dr. Mark Sagoff accuse Ecological Economics of “senescence” and being academically fit for “assisted living”? (In The Rise and Fall of Ecological Economics,” Breakthrough Institute Journal,  June 20th, 2012.
2.     Explain why Julian Simon thought the price mechanism would take care of resource shortages. Will it?
3.     Detail the “means-ends” spectrum, discuss current societal context and meaning, and explain why it is really not a spectrum.
4.     Aldous Huxley, in Brave New World, posited a future society in which “soma”, a drug that produced happiness and even euphoria, was used to exclude negative feelings such as sadness, grief, and so on. What is the lesson for mainstream economics?
5.     Thomas Piketty and Robert Reich share social theory (and a graph). Explain how and why.


Essay: Attempt one (only one) of the following topics in properly researched, cited essay

Trace the history of Peak Oil theory and explain its failure. What bias was inherent in ecological economics such that it failed to identify current trends in oil supplies?

Relate “Jeffersonian democracy” to ecological economics. What is the role of the “Common Ground Fair”?

Explain the failure of sustained yield theory in the Gulf of Maine cod fishery.


Thursday, September 22, 2016

Scientists' Open Letter on Climate Change

On September 20, 2016, 375 members of the National Academy of Sciences, including 30 Nobel laureates, published an open letter to draw attention to the serious risks of climate change. The letter warns that the consequences of opting out of the Paris agreement would be severe and long-lasting for our planet’s climate and for the international credibility of the United States.
A full list of signers follows the text of the letter.  
Members of the media interested in speaking with one of the organizers of the letter should contact responsiblescientists@gmail.com.

An Open Letter Regarding Climate Change From
Concerned Members of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences

Human-caused climate change is not a belief, a hoax, or a conspiracy. It is a physical reality. Fossil fuels powered the Industrial Revolution. But the burning of oil, coal, and gas also caused most of the historical increase in atmospheric levels of heat-trapping greenhouse gases. This increase in greenhouse gases is changing Earth’s climate.

Our fingerprints on the climate system are visible everywhere. They are seen in warming of the oceans, the land surface, and the lower atmosphere. They are identifiable in sea level rise, altered rainfall patterns, retreat of Arctic sea ice, ocean acidification, and many other aspects of the climate system. Human-caused climate change is not something far removed from our day-to-day experience, affecting only the remote Arctic. It is present here and now, in our own country, in our own states, and in our own communities.

During the Presidential primary campaign, claims were made that the Earth is not warming, or that warming is due to purely natural causes outside of human control. Such claims are inconsistent with reality.

Others argued that no action is warranted until we have absolute certainty about human impacts on climate. Absolute certainty is unattainable. We are certain beyond a reasonable doubt, however, that the problem of human-caused climate change is real, serious, and immediate, and that this problem poses significant risks: to our ability to thrive and build a better future, to national security, to human health and food production, and to the interconnected web of living systems.

The basic science of how greenhouse gases trap heat is clear, and has been for over a century. Ultimately, the strength of that basic science brought the governments of the world to Paris in December 2015. They went to Paris despite pronounced differences in systems of government, in national self-interest, in culpability for past emissions of greenhouse gases, and in vulnerability to future climate change. The leaders of over 190 countries recognized that the problem of human-caused climate change is a danger to present and future citizens of our planet. They made national commitments to address this problem. It was a small but historic and vital first step towards more enlightened stewardship of Earth’s climate system.

From studies of changes in temperature and sea level over the last million years, we know that the climate system has tipping points. Our proximity to these tipping points is uncertain. We know, however, that rapid warming of the planet increases the risk of crossing climatic points of no return, possibly setting in motion large-scale ocean circulation changes, the loss of major ice sheets, and species extinctions. The climatic consequences of exceeding such thresholds are not confined to the next one or two electoral cycles. They have lifetimes of many thousands of years.

The political system also has tipping points. Thus it is of great concern that the Republican nominee for President has advocated U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Accord. A “Parexit” would send a clear signal to the rest of the world: "The United States does not care about the global problem of human-caused climate change. You are on your own." Such a decision would make it far more difficult to develop effective global strategies for mitigating and adapting to climate change. The consequences of opting out of the global community would be severe and long-lasting – for our planet’s climate and for the international credibility of the United States.

The United States can and must be a major player in developing innovative solutions to the problem of reducing emissions of greenhouse gases. Nations that find innovative ways of decarbonizing energy systems and sequestering CO2 will be the economic leaders of the 21st century. Walking away from Paris makes it less likely that the U.S. will have a global leadership role, politically, economically, or morally. We cannot afford to cross that tipping point.

The following signers of this letter do so as individual NAS members and not on behalf of the NAS itself or their Institutions.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Physics Lab Report #1 (of 2) assignment

  1. Prepare a lab report detailing any of our experiments so far, including any of today's (Sept 21st). 
  2. Use the descriptions and data in your lab notebook.
  3. Use a typical lab report outline (introduction, methods, results, conclusions discussion)
  4. The grading rubric below applies
  5. Ask the laboratory instructor if you have any questions or concerns
  6. Due by email October 6th 2016
  7. No Canvas reminder will be made

Item/Level of Achievement
Does not meet
Meets
Exceeds
Is there a research question?
No question or wrong question
Logical question, not narrow enough
Logical, well-stated and narrow question
Identifies materials and quantities?
No/inadequate materials list, incorrectly I.D. of materials
Adequate but minimal details
Expanded, complete, relevant details
Drawing or sketch?
No/poor sketch
Labeled, clear, concise
Labeled, clear, concise, neat and organized
Procedures (narrative)
Missing steps or no procedure
All steps present, could be better explained, more specific
Complete, relevant, well-worded explanation

Monday, September 19, 2016

Assignment: Common Ground Country Fair


The fair is an all-around good time, so you should need no incentive to go; however, the following notes are added to help you along:

Assignment instructions:
  1. You are assigned to go to the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association Common Ground Country Fair held Friday through Sunday September 23-25 right here in Unity, and then to complete the response paper detailed below
  2. You may get into the fair for free if you volunteer. Be sure to do so well ahead of time. See the MOFGA webpage for details
  3. If you are a MOFGA member you already get in for free. Check to see if your parents have a family membership
  4. For those of you who were planning to go home, or who cannot attend the fair for any other valid reason, such as work or a medical appointment, your alternative assignment is to visit a local or organic food outlet, such as a farmer's market or food cooperative, or any other food source that seems likely to be able to give you the provenance information that will be needed, and complete the same assignment as the fair-goers (below). Be careful to actually get the information. Most non fair-goers who fail this assignment do so because they don't get the proper information.
The fair/local/organic food response paper:
  1. Obtain food for a meal at the fair, at some local or organic food outlet, or from a friend's or relative's kitchen garden. Be sure to find out where each ingredient comes from
  2. Make and eat the meal. (If you live in the residence halls and otherwise eat on the meal plan, the meal can just be a snack.)
  3. Describe the meal and track the ingredients geographically and ecologically in a short informal essay. Explain why this was (or was not) a good meal. Humor and/or pathos are optional
  4. Due Wednesday October 5th in class or via email
  5. This is the first check-in opportunity for me to evaluate your writing and critical thinking skills. Be sure to do your best, or you may find yourself getting unexpected remedial attention!