In 2017, I saw Al Gore’s movie “An Inconvenient Truth – the Sequel.” At the end of the movie, they listed his website Climate Reality Hub, so I took a look and discovered that it was possible to attend a training session that October in Pittsburgh. I applied for it and was accepted. It was truly amazing. Not only did I get to meet and talk to Al Gore, but there were well known attorneys and scientists on the panels each day. I was seated with a group of other New Yorkers but there were people from all over the world in attendance. We were given permission to utilize the slides we saw at the training and I have given at least one presentation each month since the event. I have more planned and will continue to look for opportunities to educate people on this critical issue. It is rewarding for me that people are really interested in climate change.
End of the Semester December 13, 2011
Dear Natural Resources Crew
I have finished grading all your finals and have submitted final grades to the registrar. You can pick up your exams from my assistant Linda Kelly (Room 717) if you are so inclined. If you have any questions about your participation grade or final grade, just drop me a line.
As I mentioned in class, I have a little 10 question survey for you. The survey is anonymous and will only be viewed by me. It should only take you a few minutes and would greatly help me as I try to constantly improve this course (and my teaching generally). Just visit this site.
Thanks for a great semester.
History of the Sierra Club December 5, 2011
…….andddd to close out our time in Natural Resources, I figured I’d share a link to history of the Sierra Club since we have seen their name all over our cases in the textbook. Amongst the more interesting things I found in their history was that they have been active since 1892 and founded on the strength largely of John Muir. Feel free to check it out!
Oil Boom in North Dakota December 2, 2011
The discovery of oil in the Western part of North Dakota has had a tremendous impact on the locals. North Dakota now has an unemployment rate of under 3.5% and a billion dollar budget surplus. Although the discovery has benefited the state, North Dakota’s previous infrastructure cannot handle the influx of new people and commerce.
The wells being drilled now were acquired by lease, and cheap ones. The oil companies are rushing to drill as much as they can before these leases expire, because when they do they will be much more expensive to renew. I found this to be interesting because this relates to the 1920 mineral leasing act that we have studying.
Although many people are profiting from the discovery of oil, from the oil rig workers to the people that owe these companies, it is destroying many peoples homes and much of the natural landscape in North Dakota.
Local Concerns Regarding Wind Turbines December 1, 2011
When we were discussing the pros and cons of wind turbines in class earlier today, an article that I had read a few years ago came to mind.
First, a bit of background information. Within the past few years, there has been a rapid increase in the prevalence of wind turbines in the area. This is especially true in the counties east of Erie. At the time of the “2009 wind turbine boom,” a local news paper interviewed a work acquaintance of mine who lived near one of the newly constructed turbines. The article was titled “Wind casts a shadow – and yes, it flickers.” As you can probably imagine, the article (or I should say, my friend and his wife) took a relatively negative stance towards the wind turbines. And after reading the article, this is understandably so.
The article generally details the effects of living near a wind turbine. Basically, they’re loud, they cause a “flickering” effect on direct sunlight, and (apparently) kill a bunch of birds. However for the majority of people, the wind turbines provide a clean source of renewable energy…..and they’re pretty cool to look at.
Given the vast benefits of a clean source of renewable energy, the negative impacts on a few seem reasonably justifiable. But, I don’t live near a wind turbine, nor have I spent an evening at my friends house. Then again, you can’t make an omelet without crackin’ a few eggs.
Here’s a link to the article.
(Just in case the link doesn’t work: http://thedailynewsonline.com/news/article_1d114e5c-7765-530a-b7f3-02fcadedf67a.html)
Environmental law in Immigration issues November 28, 2011
I thought the following New York Times article was interesting because it is a mix of environmental and immigration law issues and both subject areas appeal to me.
Congress has recently drafted a proposal to give border control agents authority over environmental laws in protected areas. This would allow Border Control to bypass several environmental laws including the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act in areas of the nation’s most protected wilderness that falls within the 100-mile border zone with both Mexico and Canada.
Proponents of the new measures argue that it is needed where border agents have difficulty dealing with environmental rules. Critics argue that the new approach may not be worth potentially damaging wilderness areas that have long been protected. One of the states in the debate, is Montana, because much of the state’s border with Canada is on federal land. This also became a top issue in the Senate race between Representative Denny Rehberg and Senator Tester. Tester argues that environmental rules should not get in the way of border protection. Critics are not sure how the Border Control would end up using their new authority. But some of what has been suggested are building new roads, keeping current roads open, establishing bases or using motorized equipment in the backcountry of the national parks to support border protection.
Critics wonder if the border threat really calls for these new measures. There has especially been more skepticism on the northern border with Canada, as opposed to Mexico where illegal activity is a routine problem. There has been inadequate evidence that human traffickers and the like, are using the wilderness reaches of Montana, Idaho, and Washington. Superintendent of the North Cascades National Park in Washington, believes the current laws do the job since the geography of the state works to Washington’s advantage since it is mostly rugged terrain and very difficult to navigate.
No one remembers the last time an illegal immigrant hiked into the remote wilderness of Glacier National Park in Montana. The article states that 14 years ago, however, a would-be terrorist, Gazi Ibrahim Abu Mezer, was found by park rangers as he tried to sneak into the United States through North Cascades National Park. Mezer was found with a pipe bomb, at another time in New York and was then arrested by immigration officials after refusing orders to leave the country.
Fluid Culture Series, Humanities Institute
Tuesday, November 29, 2011: 8 pm
120 Clemens Hall, UB North
“The Global Water Crisis and the Coming Battle for the Right to Water”
Maude Barlow, Water Rights Activist
Best-selling Canadian author and human rights activist; national chairperson, The Council of Canadians; chair, board of Food & Water Watch; founder, Blue Planet Project; executive member, International Forum on Globalization; councillor, World Future Council. Public event, no RSVP required. Series details here.
Cosponsored by the Government of Canada and the UB Canadian American Studies Committee.