Mapping Michigan’s lake habitats

Our main hypotheses are that habitats affect the the distribution, abundance, diets, and growth rates of Largemouth Bass. How do we get this habitat data? In previous posts I’ve discussed how we catch fish and collect their gut contents, so this article will focus on our vegetation mapping. Vegetation mapping techniques have advanced rapidly in …

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Amartya Sen

Amartya Kumar Sen was born in 1933 in a province of what is now Bangladesh. He won the 1998 Nobel Prize in Economics for a pretty diverse portfolio of work, most of which doesn’t concern us here. Let it just suffice that Sen was a major figure in shaking economists out of a dogmatic slumber—even …

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Linking Economics and Climate Change

Joseph Stiglitz, former World Bank economist, member of the Council of Economic Advisers was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2001, just months after the September 11th attack of the twin towers in NYC. The following are his concluding remarks in his acceptance speech (December 8, 2001).      I entered economics with the hope …

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Big Oil Spoils North Dakota

Big oil companies in North Dakota said their impact on the environment would be minimal. They lied.  The citizens of Tioga witnessed the largest land oil spill in recent American history in September, 2013.  Also in 2013, the locomotive of an oil train derailed and exploded in a collision near Casselton.  This year North Dakotans discovered illegally dumped …

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Virunga, Congo

Oil companies are circling Virunga National Park in the Congo, home to several endangered wildlife species such as mountain gorillas.  The oil company thugs stoop to bribery and murder.  The Government is silent saying they must support anything that will lift their people out of poverty.  One could be more impressed if they were putting …

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Louisiana Flood Danger

Louisiana is slipping into the Gulf caused by oil company channels, drilling, and pollution that kills vegetation on coastal marshes.  “Each day the state loses nearly the accumulated acreage of every  football stadium in the N.F.L.”  John Barry is a public spirited citizen member of a regional flood protection board.  The Board brought suit against …

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Going to Mexico

Is there a robot out there who can help me with one of my more importunate research problems? Some time ago—maybe four or five years back—there was a particular aphorism that was circulating in sustainability studies. I wouldn’t say that it had gone viral, but I must have heard a half dozen different speakers recite …

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Tracking giant kelp from space

A new citizen science project called Floating Forests was just started a few days ago to help scientists study the effects of climate change on kelp forests in the world’s oceans.  It turns out that computers are not effective at distinguishing giant kelp sitting below the ocean’s surface in satellite photos, but the human eye …

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Financing the Green Economy

I must have missed the NPR and local press coverage of the inaugural UN Environment Assembly held last week in Nairobi, Kenya. The five day conference of more than 1,000 attendees representing 163 member states including 113 ministers was blacked out so that we could focus more on the World Cup, baseball, and other more …

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Valuing Nature

Carl Zimmer has written an excellent piece in the New York Times about a very important study by Robert Costanza et al. on “Changes in the global value of ecosystem services” – in other words, how to place economic value on some of the critical functions that nature provides us for free, and how to quantify the …

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Politics and Climate Change

Scientific evidence that climate change is real and raising havoc with our collective lives has been steadily mounting. This is all the more clear given recent reports emanating from many quarters, including the International Panel on Climate Change,   the National Climate Assessment, and   the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, on the impending …

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Power and a Response to It

Indeed the loan [$3billion] was approved by the [Obama} administration just four days before the president delivered his address to the December 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. “As the world’s largest economy and the world’s second largest emitter, America bears our share of responsibility in addressing climate change,” Obama said then. “That …

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Hoarding

Hoard – To keep for one’s self. (Websters Third Collegiate Dictionary) I have been searching for the correct word, and perhaps this isn’t quite it, to describe the attribute of the rich amongst us. Whether it be Bill Gates, the Walton Family, Justin Verlander or George Clooney, those that amass fortunes are essentially hoarding what …

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Earth Day and Divestment

I sense a pulse of momentum finally detectable in the information vortex regarding divestment from fossil fuels. Just in the past two weeks we have the following announcements:  Desmond Tutu’s call for divestment      British Medical Journal’s editorial calling for divestment Building on its recent update of the physical science of global warming,1 the …

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Fertile Musings

Ever so frequently I wake up on Sunday morning with the urge to blog on a topic that has some nominal connection to the “food ethics” theme of the Thornapple blog. Then there are Sunday mornings like this one, when I’m sitting there with my coffee and thinking that I’m supposed to post a blog …

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