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Sunday, June 8, 2014

Effectiveness of Environmental Activism (a college assignment)

Hello, y'all!

I got a new assignment I would like to publicize with you; it's in response to what happened earlier last week in one speech delivered by US President Barack Obama where he set a goal to lower carbon emissions indefinitely by 2030 because of the massive changes in the climate that could threaten America much stronger than anticipated.

So, what I want to share with you here is my final project from my second complementary course at Champlain College Saint-Lambert I have definitely completed big time, with about 90%. It's a term essay on the overall subject I've been looking at for the past three months; environmental protection. There are references provided, even though all the footnotes and the bibliography are at the end of this blog post.

Anyway, enjoy reading this write-up.


Climate change is becoming more of a serious concern; not only as a way of threatening our capitalist and economic development system, but also our own health, philosophy, freedom, and rights. However, even with activism today, there is a lack of contribution that environmentalists are heavily seeking from the general public.

The gap that this research essay will fill is a mix from scientific, theoretical and practical areas. Climate change is mostly discovered through scientific data, with regards to emissions and how they relate to new information that shows an increase in natural consequences. Throughout research on this, it traces back to us, because we normally pay attention to our human world and bias our environmental philosophy. We use theory to determine what the potential results are if we were to continue living with fossil fuel burning for electricity generation and transport. And we use practicality to demonstrate on how we can perform practical tasks to better manage our carbon footprint and find ways to reduce both carbon emissions, even if as of yet there is not much contribution from us.

To get my results in proving the lack of environmental contribution, I surveyed three different academic sources and connected them to the news summaries I wrote: one journal article by a University of Liverpool professor detailing the biomes, our global carbon emissions and conservation organizations; one journal article by a former editor for Nature Climate Change on weather-related disasters in various parts of the world and adaptation measures; and one research paper from a member of the University of Plymouth (UK) looking at examples of environmental artworks and how they seem to have not much effect in bringing the crisis closer to us.

From there, I created this research text showing off the results of my research and my analysis on managing climate change, with connections to the academic sources and the news summaries I've written over the semester. It is thus to reveal some of the realities environmental activists must anticipate, even if these projects can be extraordinary, or supportive, in some way. 

Actual Text

                Climate change is becoming a greater concern for us; not just people in Canada, but around the world too. Even though there had been several campaigns done regarding the action required to control climate change more as a result of several dangerous consequences, the yield of people involved in environmental control is still too low. I investigate three different academic sources to show relative examples of environmental projects and news, and the overall reaction of the consequences and the projects. The academic disciplines the sources follow involve environmental sciences, meteorology, and environmental art; physical art made to express an environmental image. Do these projects convey to people that they should take action for environmental protection and climate control, or are we too bonded with crude oil that we aren’t to change energy sources and restore the global environment as of yet? Connections will be made between this essay and some news summaries I've written to investigate more of the negligence in environmental protection. In addition, connections between the sources and the academic disciplines will be made to investigate the relative use of these disciplines with regards to the problem discussed here.

                First of all, Brian Moss’ “A Revolution is Our Only Hope” studies the major societal concerns  on how we are static with our system of living and that we would need to have stronger urge, both on us and our government, in order to promote approaches and action to environmental protection. The University of Liverpool professor specifically says that the population of the world is so large we never usually think about the ecosystems and environmental protection for both habitat protection and prevention from consequences.[1] He reports that as of now, we release about 9.3 GT of carbon into the atmosphere where the surplus 4.3 GT of carbon, after absorption by natural biomes, is left in the atmosphere.[2] Because of this, we have developed very little alternative energy sources than the expectations environmentalists had.[3] He gives details on how agricultural land could be restored into a biome to increase carbon storage, and some involvement of the National England conservation organization.[4] For instance, they were giving support to the English Lake District for it to be declared as a UNESCO World Heritage site.[5] He concludes his article by saying that countries need powerful, independent conservation organizations and a conservation movement.[6] I have written a summary on Stephen Ewart’s “Climate change warning grows colder” published in the Calgary Herald on April 8, 2014, where it shows a reason why we still use crude oil.[7] One of the serious concerns about switching to alternative energy sources is that economic development will not be as strong as using crude oil.[8] For instance, ExxonMobil is aware of the serious environmental concerns, but is yet to be restructured because they say that crude oil is too important for developing economy.[9] From here, it is evident that although people are aware of climate change and the major need for protection in order to prevent serious consequences, they are bonded to crude oil as taking action risks loss of economy and possibly recessions. However, environmental science does bring relevant information to environmental activists because from this discipline, the sources of climate change can be investigated, as well as provide information on what are the possible outcomes of environmental damage.

                Second, Olive Heffernan’s “Adapting To A Warmer World: No Going Back” investigates natural disasters, related to climate change, and the consequences of those disasters. It also discusses some of the major reactions the victims and their countries had as a result of those environmental disasters. To emphasize the major concerns about the potential damage climate change will have in society, he describes Hurricane Sandy damaging New York City, and discusses some of the adaptation measures started out over 10 years ago.[10] He also brings into content adaptive measures the country of Bangladesh has put forward since the 1991 Bangladesh cyclone, criticisms among the Wonthaggi Desalination Plant in Australia built after Southern Australia encountered several droughts.[11] A heatwave in Europe in 2003 and the significance of early warnings in Mozambique following water disasters including floods and droughts are discussed as well.[12] The author even addresses a quote by former Cape Town archbishop Desmond Tutu where because of serious differences between the world’s rich and the world’s poor, without serious adaptation measures, we are moving to “adaptation apartheid.”[13] I don't have an article that discusses meteorology in environmental terms, but one of the major consequences of climate change is more natural disasters from changes in the overall weather patterns. In general, serious environmental concerns are yet to inflict us with more self-control and the control of our energy sources for lower carbon emissions. Meteorology takes a look at possible weather predictions and changes in weather systems based on the environmental pollution the crisis is emphasizing the most; it also shows information on the serious consequences of fossil fuel burning and deforestation.

                Finally, there is the investigation of several practical art projects related to nature, and what is the overall stance in trying to address the need in taking action against climate change, from Malcolm Miles’ “Representing Nature: Art and Climate Change.” Miles investigates whether using environmental art projects is enough to bring the crisis into action.[14] He delivers several projects to show that the effectiveness as of yet is very low.[15] Miles delivers details on Andy Goldsworthy who made various sculptures directly from natural stones, leaves and twigs, as symbolized objects to convey the issue of land treatment.[16] Eve Andrée Laramée's National Reality, an awareness campaign involving gardens on truck trailers, is also addressed as an anticipation project for people to start looking for more radical changes on their philosophy.[17] Several artists followed the international project Groundworks (from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, New York) which included the 1995 restoration of a La Plata River zone by a group from Argentina, the Climate Change and Cultural Change initiative for carbon-neutral cities, and water management through reed structures built by Ichi Ikeda of the Water Ekiden-Manosogewa River Art Project.[18] I didn't write any news articles consisting of independent projects like this, but I find it relevant to what I've been discussing in general from my summaries. Although the outcome of these projects is sort of low like the initiatives and conservation groups, these projects could be used as associative projects of what the environmental activists are advocating, as well as possibly referenced by those activists when they deliver conferences, for example. Environmental art is a discipline that activists can use as an aid to bring more emphasis on the serious environmental crisis, even if it can be hard to recognize them, because they are done more by visual artists.

                In conclusion, I investigated three different academic journal articles, from three academic disciplines, to show on how there is a lack of bonding to take action for reducing carbon emissions and thus a tremendous amount of dependency with crude oil still exists today. In order for serious activism to take effect, we must not underestimate the truth about alternative energy sources. We also need to trust the environmental advocates and people involved, including their projects, and figure out what are the best approaches to overcoming difficulties we will face when we change our societies, particularly our own philosophy, on what energy sources we use. Although there are realities and obstacles we must face when dealing with different energy sources, there should be a way for us to reduce carbon emissions, create multiple carbon-neutral cities, and better control the natural environments around us. Otherwise, the outcomes are very bleak, in the sense that changes in weather do lead to more natural disasters and damage to our society, and some favorable biomes and ecosystems would be more endangered than expected.  Therefore, there exists many environmental projects today, but the human has undermined them with anticipation and negligence that we are to change our society a lot as of yet. Eventually, we will change our own society for more carbon control, but for now we are sticking with crude oil and dangerous unpredictable outcomes.

Works Cited
1.       Moss, Brian. "A Revolution Is Our Only Hope." Biologist 61.1 (2014): 8-9. London (UK): Society of Biology. Academic Search Premier. Web. 5 May 2014.

2.       Heffernan, Olive. "Adapting To A Warmer World: No Going Back." Nature. 491.7426 (Nov. 2012): 659-661. London (UK): Macmillan Publishers. Academic Search Premier. Web. 5 May 2014.

3.       Miles, Malcolm. "Representing Nature: Art And Climate Change." Cultural Geographies 17.1 (2010): 19-35. London (UK): Sage Publications, Ltd. Academic Search Premier. Web. 5 May 2014.

4.       Ewart, Stephen. “Climate change warning grows colder.” Calgary Herald. 8 Apr. 2014. Web. 12 May 2014. <>

[1] Moss, Brian. "A Revolution Is Our Only Hope." Biologist 61.1 (2014): 8
[2] Moss 8.
[3] Moss 8.
[4] Moss 9.
[5] Moss 9.
[6] Moss 9.
[7] Ewart, Stephen. “Climate change warning grows colder.” Calgary Herald. 8 Apr. 2014.
[8] Ewart 8.
[9] Ewart 8.
[10] Heffernan, Olive. "Adapting To A Warmer World: No Going Back." Nature. 491.7426 (Nov. 2012): 659
[11] Heffernan 660.
[12] Heffernan 660-661.
[13] Heffernan 661.
[14] Miles, Malcolm. "Representing Nature: Art And Climate Change." Cultural Geographies 17.1 (2010): 19
[15] Miles 20.
[16] Miles 21.
[17] Miles 22.
[18] Miles 26 – 28.

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