How does one embark on a mission to save a world that is destined to fail? With a growing population, a decrease of resources, and an apparent lack of care of these two factors by the general public, environmentalists face a masochistic career that is potentially led by endless attempts to sway a stubborn public. However, cases where environmentalists have made an impact on the biological and economical world do exist, and they are not numbered. With economic principles presented in Gernot Wagner’s economic-environmental thesis, But Will the Planet Notice? and throughout the struggles and successes of the Nature Conservancy, described in Nature’s Keepers, provide evidence that environmental achievements in an economy-driven world are not only possible; these endeavors presented in the correct manner, on both large and small scales, may often result in a win in the book for environmentalists. Economist Wagner preaches the system Nobel Prize winner, Elinor Ostrom, proposes. The six steps Ostrom proposes, called “polycentric governance,” Wagner argues are the secret to success. Based on defining territories, analyzing the cost and benefits, engaging the voices of actors, cultivating respect for a leadership role, monitoring the area, and implementing sanctions for violations, this six principle theory may be analyzed at the scales of the individual species, small ecosystems, and large ecosystems to demonstrate successes of an environmental organization. Continue reading
The relationship of man and nature has physically and cognitively evolved throughout human development. An initial mindset of survival has developed into an all-conquering drive to over exert, over consume, and establish dominance over nature and its systems. Thus, the earth has lost a vast number of species, ecosystems, and other important aspects to the regulations and functions the earth maintains. Today, humans face the backlash of the damage we have left upon the environment. From extreme storms and droughts, to climate change, to a declining availability of resources and biodiversity, humans are struggling to develop the technology and responsibility we need to face these challenges. Until easy reversal methods are developed, international, national, regional, and local initiatives partnered with indigenous people, scientists, NGOs, and other interest groups need to be implemented through strategic policies and direct enforcement to ensure quality conservation. These actions can occur for any topic, although the negotiations within conventions to develop these policies often takes years to develop, establish, and implement these conclusions, and often with not enough force. Through evaluations of biodiversity protection, deforestation discussions, and air quality agreements, the impacts of conventions should be observed to provide insight on the effectiveness of each multi-governmental and multi-interest developed policy. Continue reading
In the human world, social pressures govern the criteria for adaptive measures man takes to become “cool” within the community. This mainstream idea of “coolness” ranges from the individuals interests in liking popular music to disliking unpopular fashion, and from believing in a certain religion to worshiping the ideas of man. These ideas and their evolutions within the cultural community are called “memes”, and they form the evolutionary paths of cultures. Unlike genetics, memetics describes an artificial kind of evolution of “cool” ideas. However, the mindset of man’s relationship with biological species and systems has not evolved from his early assertion over nature.
Instead of focusing our “cool” ideas to incorporate the protection of the environment, the coolness of the environment is shifting itself. As man continues to find the environment “uncool”, the climate is literally losing coolness. Global warming is a serious issue humans have faced since the 1970s, yet awareness of the consequences and rapidity of the climate change is largely overlooked by man. However, a recent study of fish has discovered that fish internationally are becoming like man; global fish species are in search of cooler waters— literally. Continue reading
In November of 2014, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) presented the Lifetime Achievement Award to oceanographer Sylvia Earle for her success in raising public awareness on the present conditions of marine ecosystems and for creating international “Hope Spots” to preserve these ocean habitats. These Hope Spots, “places that give you hope” and “special places that are critical to the health of the ocean,” range from the Bering Sea, to the Exumas in the Bahamas, to the Micronesian Islands, and they have been established by Earle’s foundation Mission Blue to explore and care for the ocean. Continue reading