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Austin Stahl | as506610@ohiou.edu | @AustinStahl24

When I originally came up with the idea for this blog, I wanted to incorporate the voices from academia who have direct expertise on a wide range of environmental issues. Many thanks to Dr. Debatin, Dr. Buckley, Dr. Jokisch, Dr. Kruse, Dr. Perkins, and Dr. Fogt for their contributions every Wednesday to the blog. I have compiled all of their work and credentials here. In case you missed any, check it out!

Here is a quick list of all the articles:

Dr. Debatin: What’s the Flurry About Fracking?”

Dr. Buckley: “Urban living could hold key to greener tomorrow” and “The costs of consumption

Dr. Jokisch: “The case for buying local

Dr. Kruse: “Possible consequences of the extractive industry

Dr. Perkins: “The Extractive Industry, Decision-Making, and Environmental Justice in Athens County

Dr. Fogt: “Global Climate Change: Science, misinformation, and the role of humans

And here are profiles of all the professors. I put the links down here too, just for kicks.

Dr. Debatin: Bernhard Debatin is a professor in the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism and Director of Studies of the HTC journalism program. He is also a member of the concerned citizens group “Slow Down Fracking in Athens County” (SD-FRAC) and frequent contributor to the group’s website (http://slowdownfracking.wordpress.com/).

Check out his article on how fracking could affect students and residents in Athens County.

“What’s the Flurry About Fracking?”

Dr. Buckley: Geoff Buckley is an associate professor in the Department of Geography. His research interests include conservation history and sustainability; management of public lands, especially state forests and urban green spaces; environmental justice; and the evolution of mining landscapes. Over the years his articles have appeared in the Annals of the Association of American Geographers, Geographical Review, Historical Geography, Urban Ecosystems, Maryland Historical Magazine, Appalachian Journal, and the Encyclopedia of Energy. His first book, Extracting Appalachia: Images of the Consolidation Coal Company, 1910 – 1945 was published in 2004 (Ohio University Press). His most recent book, America’s Conservation Impulse: A Century of Saving Trees in the Old Line State, was published in 2010 (Center for American Places). Another book, Mountains of Injustice: Social and Environmental Justice in Appalachia, co-edited with Michele Morrone, is scheduled for publication in fall 2011 (Ohio University Press).

Check out his work on urban sustainability and how our consumption affects sustainability.

Urban living could hold key to greener tomorrow

The costs of consumption

Dr. Jokisch: Brad Jokisch is an associate professor in the Department of Geography. His areas of specialization include cultural and political ecology, agriculture, population, migration, and Latin America.

He took a hard look at our food system and how it ties into the environment.

The case for buying local

Dr. Kruse: Natalie Kruse is an Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies in the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs. Kruse holds a Ph.D. in Civil Engineering and Geosciences from Newcastle University, and a B.C. in Civil Engineering with a minor in Geological Sciences from Ohio University. A winner of the Marshall Scholarship, Kruse won the Best Paper award from Mine Water and the Environment in 2009. She also won the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and the Morris K. Udall Scholarship.

Dr. Kruse, an expert in extractive industries, examines the potential impacts of shale gas.

Possible consequences of the extractive industry

Dr. Perkins: Harold Perkins is an assistant professor in the Geography Department at Ohio University. He conducts research on the political economy of environments, including claims for environmental justice.

He wrote a little bit about environmental justice and who has the decision-making power in Athens County.

The Extractive Industry, Decision-Making, and Environmental Justice in Athens County

Dr. Fogt: Ryan Fogt is an Assistant Professor of Meteorology in the Department of Geography.  He is also the director of the Scalia Laboratory for Atmospheric Analysis.  His research interests span a wide range of topics on climate variability and change, with a particular focus on Antarctica.

Dr. Fogt wrote about the science behind global warming and climate change, and the misinformation being spread by certain groups that oftentimes leaves the public confused.

Global Climate Change: Science, misinformation, and the role of humans

Austin Stahl | as506610@ohiou.edu | @AustinStahl24

 

Brief eco-news roundup for today: Apple looks to go green, Los Angeles bans plastic bags, and the story of an ancient civilization that was “upended” by climate change.

 

1. “Apple Dumps Coal—Sort Of

Tech giant takes another step in its quest to be a green leader.

 

2. “L.A. OKs ban on plastic bags at checkout

Los Angeles becomes the biggest city to ban plastic bags and the latest in the state of California, where bans of various degrees are in place.

 

3. “An Ancient Civilization, Upended by Climate Change

Climate change took out an ancient civilization. Are we paying attention?

Austin Stahl | as506610@ohiou.edu | @AustinStahl24

Since today’s stories are similar and both so awesome, I’m going to keep it simple with just two. Both deal with efforts to fight both global poverty and climate change, two very noble causes. Climate change also disproportionately affects the poor because they lack access to the infrastructure, technology, and resources that protect us from extreme weather and allow us to keep crop production at a stable level.

1. “Combating Climate Change and Global Poverty in One Fell Swoop

A innovative new organization looks to tackle global poverty with reforestation projects that bring money into poor third-world communities. At the same time, these large forests capture carbon that would otherwise be released into the atmosphere. The nonprofit, called Carbon Offsets to Alleviate Poverty (COTAP), is “the only 501(c)3 public charity in the United States that simultaneously tackles global poverty alleviation and climate change abatement,” according to the article. Read on to see how you can become part of this amazing cause.

 

2. “Peru’s coffee growers turn carbon traders to save their farms from climate change

Adopting a similar strategy, Peruvian coffee growers are receiving carbon credits for every ton of carbon their forests capture. They will then sell them later on the global market, addressing climate change while boosting the local economy in a developing country.

Austin Stahl | as506610@ohiou.edu | @AustinStahl24

A recent Post letter caught my attention. It was written by Dylan Gustafson, a sophomore studying finance and the communication chair for the OU College Republicans, and talked about global warming. It can be read here.

Last week, the Ohio University College Republicans hosted Robert Wagner, a professor at Ohio State, to give a talk about global warming as part of their Conservative Week. The letter said“Professor Wagner himself is a skeptic of global warming and has gone around the country explaining and debating his own theories about certain occurrences in nature and their relation to the activities of the human population.”

Unfortunately, I had class and was not able to attend the presentation, but I decided to do some background research. The letter did not mention that Wagner is a professor of finance and economics at Ohio State University and is not an expert in the field of climate science.

Gustafson also claimed, “the topic of global warming and its validity isn’t going away anytime soon.”

I agree and disagree. Global warming certainly isn’t going away anytime soon — the earth will continue heating up whether we like it or not. However, the validity of it has already been established. There really is no debate over whether the earth is heating up; every temperature record will show that. The question is, how much of it is caused by humans?

Even here, scientists are almost unanimously in agreement that we are indeed contributing to climate change. According to a study published in the National Academy of Sciences, 97-98 percent of top climate scientists agree that global warming is attributable to human activity.

Gustafson also wrote, “It was rare that you turn on a television and saw a scientist or a professor talking about the facts in context or without political motivation. Most of the time, it was a politician and some piece of legislation he or she was going to bring to the floor of the House or Senate.”

Bingo. We have arrived at the problem. By continuing to make the debate political instead of scientific, we are hindering progress toward addressing the problem. If it were kept scientific without these outside political factors, there really would be no debate. The scientists are already in agreement.

Gustafson’s statement may be true, but I find it misleading, making it sound like all scientists and professors have political motivation behind their work. Perhaps it is rare to find something unbiased on TV, but there are many scientific articles and countless scientific studies that have nothing to do with politics, and everything to do with science.

It’s 2012 — one would hope we would have reached a consensus by now and be moving forward as a society, collectively working together to fight climate change. Instead, it remains a political football, where science is sometimes ignored in favor of “skeptics.”

Meanwhile, the earth continues to heat up, and more extreme weather events occur. Good luck, kids!

By Austin Stahl | as506610@ohiou.edu | @AustinStahl24

As you all (probably) know, yesterday was Earth Day, so that will be the focus of today’s stories.

 

1. “For Earth Day, a Bit of Perspective”
http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/04/21/for-earth-day-a-bit-of-perspective/?src=me&ref=science

Check out the trailer for a fascinating new documentary called Earth: The Operator’s Guide, done by Dr. Richard Alley, a climate scientist from Penn State University. In it he brings a wide range of people on both sides of the political sphere that show their concern for climate change and support for energy conservation and renewable energy sourcing.

2. “Scientists to world leaders: You broke it, you own it”
http://grist.org/climate-energy/scientists-to-world-leaders-you-broke-it-you-own-it/

Scientists convening at a conference are calling ecosystem health “the defining challenge of our age.” What do they think can save us? Technological innovations AND a cultural shift. It is going to take a collective effort, and there’s no better time to start then on Earth Day.

3. “5 Pieces of Good News From Planet Earth”
http://motherjones.com/blue-marble/2012/04/good-news-stories-earth-day

Some good news to celebrate Earth Day!

By Austin Stahl | as506610@ohiou.edu | @AustinStahl24

Today’s focus: nuclear energy. As the demand for energy increases and we look to turn off fossil fuels, are alternatives like wind and solar enough, or do we need nuclear power as well? Many environmental advocates are scared off by the potential catastrophes like Fukushima, while many others claim it is worth the risk and better than burning more fossil fuels.

1. “Shunning Nuclear Power Will Lead to a Warmer World”

http://e360.yale.edu/feature/shunning_new_nuclear_power_plants_will_lead_to_warmer_world/2510/

This physicist argues  that burning coal and other dirty fossil fuels have had far greater negative impacts than all nuclear catastrophes combined. He believes the fears surrounding nuclear are based more in propaganda than fact and that climate change from burning fossil fuels is a much bigger threat than any nuclear disasters. Read his case here.

2. “Nuclear Power’s Death Somewhat Exaggerated”

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/11/business/energy-environment/nuclear-powers-death-somewhat-exaggerated.html?_r=2&ref=earth

After Fukushima a year ago, fears surrounding nuclear power were at an all-time high. Nuclear power faced another setback, but not as much as many think. Four new nuclear reactors are being built in the U.S. for the first time in 30 years — two in Georgia and two in South Carolina.

3. “Ohio Republican Gov. John Kasich’s Stunning Comments: ‘I Believe There Is A Problem’ With Our Climate”

http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2012/04/10/461594/ohio-republican-gov-john-kasich-i-believe-there-is-a-problem-with-our-climate/?mobile=nc

What’s this, a Republican acknowledging climate change? Even more encouraging, he’s from Ohio? Hopefully Kasich will back up his words with action.

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