Good neighbors

“The Mending Wall” (1914) is a poem from a Robert Frost book of poetry, “North of Boston,” published upon his return from England in 1915.  While living in England, Frost longed for his farm in New Hampshire where he had lived with his wife from 1900 to 1909.  A French-Canadian named Napoleon Guay was Frost’s neighbor in New Hampshire.  The two often walked together along the property line and repaired the wall that separated their land.  The phrase “good fences make good neighbors” often recited by Guay, was a popular colonial proverb in the 17th century. (

The concept of good neighbors is as old as its conception.  In Old English, the word “neighbor” was a compound word, nēahgebūr, made up of the two elements, nēah meaning “near” and gebūr meaning “inhabitant, peasant, or farmer.” (Merriam-Webster)  In other words, a neighbor is a person who lives nearby.  Living nearby is a custom rooted in survival from olden times when, for the sake of mutual protection at night, men slept within the call of others.  Groups of houses were surrounded by a tight hedge or fence through which no predatory wild animal could gain access.  In Old England, this hedge was known as tūn or “enclosed piece of land, homestead, or village.”  Of Germanic origin, tūn is related to the German Zaun or “fence.” (Merriam-Webster)

Continue reading Good neighbors

Puttin’ on the Ritz, Where Fascism Sits

“The Diamond as Big as the Ritz,” is a short story which first appeared in the June 1922 issue of The Smart Set, a popular magazine at the time.  It was later published in a collection of short stories entitled, Tales of the Jazz Age, September 1922.  The author, F. Scott Fitzgerald, was an American novelist and short story writer whose works illustrate the Jazz Age.  While he achieved limited success in his lifetime, F. Scott Fitzgerald is widely regarded as one of the greatest American writers of the early 20th century.

Continue reading Puttin’ on the Ritz, Where Fascism Sits

Who Will Speak For the Carp?

The question of “Is there an environmental cause for which you would consider breaking the law? Argue with evidence that this particular cause would justify civil disobedience.” is a very interesting one. Edward Abbey’s essay “Eco-Defense” compares the invasion of an intruder upon personal property to the invasion and deforestation of public lands. His call to action is defending our forests (eco-defense) or fighting back by spiking trees using a sledge hammer and 60 penny nails. While his heart is in the right place (saving our forests, that is,) this method of eco-defense can cause great harm to loggers. In fact, following the 1987 injury of a California mill worker, tree spiking was declared a federal felony in the United States (1988.)

The act of tree spiking is breaking the law. It is an example of civil disobedience first used by members of Earth First! in the early 1980s, and is still practiced today. Earth First! is a radical environmental extremist group. Founded in 1980, Earth First! is just one of several environmental extremist groups in the United States that encourage civil disobedience and commit violent acts against persons or property in support of ecological or environmental causes.

Radical environmentalism first gained popularity during the 1960s. Radical environmentalists believe that capitalism and population growth is responsible for the destruction of nature and if left unchecked, will lead to the complete degradation of our environment. Eco-terrorists (as they are called) believe that human beings are just another member of the biological community and that all living things have rights and deserve protection under the law. There are a number of radical environmentalist organizations which include:

  • Voluntary Human Extinction Movement. Advocating the phasing out of the human race. Due to crowded conditions and resource shortages, Earth would be better off without humans, and in turn, humans should stop breeding.
  • Advocating nuclear disarmament and engages in civil disobedience. Members have chained themselves to coal power plants and have made headlines blocking Japanese whaling ships from refueling.
  • Earth Liberation Front (ELF); the Animal Liberation Front (ALF); the Revolutionary Cells—Animal Liberation Brigade (RCALB); the Animal Rights Militia (ARM); the Justice Department (not the government’s.) These organizations are animal and environmental extremist groups who have bombed, committed arson, and attempted assassinations in order to rescue animals upon which tests are being performed.

To answer the question “Is there an environmental cause for which you would consider breaking the law? Argue with evidence that this particular cause would justify civil disobedience,” I felt the need to explore an environmental concern that was more recent. A real concern in which there is not a lot of documented examples of civil disobedience or law-breaking to date, and question whether this cause could provoke such behavior.


Asian Carp are freshwater fish, native to Europe and Asia. They are stomachless fish with toothless jaws that feed mainly upon invertebrates and vegetation. Carp are known as Cyprinid.  The Cyprinid family includes over 2,000 species from small fish called minnows and goldfish to larger fish such as carp and koi. Cyprinid is the most diverse and dynamic family of fish in the world. The largest cyprinid is the Giant Barb, which can grow up to 9.8 ft. Danionella translucida is the smallest of carp, reaching .47 in. Silver Carp are notorious for leaping out of water.  Sensitive to noise or vibration, this fish can jump to 8–10 feet into the air.

For over 4000 years, Cyprinid have been celebrated in Chinese culture, gracing gardens and appearing in literature and artwork. In Chinese mythology, the carp swim upstream against the river’s strong current, but few are capable or brave enough for the final leap over a waterfall. If a carp successfully makes the jump, it is transformed into a powerful dragon. A Chinese dragon’s large, conspicuous scales indicate its origin from the carp. The Chinese dragon has long been a symbol of great and benevolent magical power.

While carp are considered “bottom feeders,” many people eat them. In China, carp is considered a delicacy. Here in America, there are mixed reviews. The Outdoor Channel praises the consumption of carp as “the No. 1 source of protein in the world.” Schafer Fisheries (Thomson, IL) processes carp into steaks, filets, and a variety of products, including fertilizer.  Others think they taste like mud.

Asian carp was first introduced into the United States in the 1970s. In order to control weed and parasite growth, fish farmers in the southern U.S. imported Asian Carp to clean up scum in catfish ponds. Asian Carp eventually managed to get into the Mississippi River and established breeding populations. As the Asian Carp is both a terrific reproducer and highly tolerant of pollution, it spread quickly through waters in which most native species cannot live. In the early 1990s, biologists exposed control groups of carp to 1600 chemicals commonly found in U.S. waters. Only 135 of the pollutants killed all the carp. Due to its rapid spread, Asian Carp are now considered an invasive species. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Asian Carp are labeled an Aquatic Nuisance Species (ANS.) ANS are “nonindigenous species that threaten the diversity or abundance of native species, the ecological stability of infested waters, and/or any commercial, agricultural, aquacultural, or recreational activities dependent on such waters.”

The issue of Asian Carp is now a debated environmental cause for which people are passionate and some are taking action. Most people hate them. I accessed several excerpts and blogs such as these:

“Standing on clear-cut hillsides with a bucket of garbage in each hand, they looked down on the rivers, saw carp swirling happily in the mess humans had created, and made a correlation – albeit the wrong one – between the rise of carp and the fall of game fish. Either ignorant of or blind to the damages they themselves had wrought on the landscape, people looked past the dredged and straightened channels, drained wetlands, eroded riverbanks, and waters laden with human and industrial waste, saw carp roiling in the shallows, and accused them of wrecking the water.”

“Another potential environmental catastrophe, thanks to the fools that brought this fish into America in the first place, and the predictable and the usual failure of our various governments to take drastic action. I just wish that the people responsible could be made to suffer big-time for their incredible stupidity. I am just enraged!”


Now in 23 states, Asian Carp pose a threat to our Minnesota rivers and lakes. While no breeding populations have been detected, individual fish have been caught near the Twin Cities and St. Croix River. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has been working to slow the spread of invasive carp since the early 2000s, but began a renewed effort in 2011 under the direction of Gov. Mark Dayton and DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr. The MN DNR dictates:

“Invasive carp captures must be reported to the DNR immediately. Call 651-587-2781 or email Please take a photo and make arrangements with the DNR to transport the carp to the nearest fisheries office. To keep invasive carp for personal use, download the Special Permit to Possess Prohibited Invasive Species of Carp.”

If Asian Carp are truly invading our waters, there is a legitimate concern for the survival of our other native fish, mollusks, plants, mammals, insects, reptiles, and wildlife. The Stop Asian Carp Act of 2011 and AsianCarp. US have sanctioned a variety of means to combat the invasive Asian Carp epidemic. Throughout the U.S., field crews have started a combination of trap netting, gill netting, and electrofishing to slow down the Asian Carp invasion. Popular Science informs its readers of several ways to stop Asian Carp which include poisoning, shooting, and trapping them. There are many calls to action to kill Asian Carp on the Web, including 23,000 videos on UTube. The Peoria Carp Hunters (5900 results alone) demonstrate killing Asian Carp by wielding spiked armour while waterskiing behind a boat. Tom Wells uses swords and boomerangs to behead leaping Asian Carp, while protecting his 2nd Amendment rights. Jimmy O’Neal takes his target practice out onto the water in his speedboat, shooting at Asian Carp with a rifle. Read his viewer comments:

“fourteen asian carp disliked this video”

“Not sure what your comment is saying but yeah, it’s funny fourteen asian carp disliked    this video. If I lived close to where these carp are I would probably try this.”

            “The Asian Carp has a new name: Skeet Fish”

            “This is the funniest thing I’ve seen all year. Good job!”

            “I think you shot someone. They were sitting on land watching you.”

            “what if one of you guys blow the driver’s head off when doing that haha just be all in the zone aye fish jumps straight for the driver and you go for it (bang!!) driver’s head is gone”

“Looks like epic fun!  Questionable legality and safety…but obscenely fun.” 

I feel this environmental cause could be considered breaking the law. Both government and private citizens’ groups are working hard to control (or eradicate) the Asian Carp. What sort of ramifications could happen when people introduce toxic poisons into our waters? How will it affect our prized native fish and wildlife? What about shooting the Asian Carp? Are boaters, fishermen, and recreationists at risk dodging stray bullets at the lake? Haven’t we enough problems with guns in our streets?

I feel these acts could justify civil disobedience. As stated earlier, eco-terrorists believe that human beings are just another member of the biological community and that all living things have rights and deserve protection under the law. Could this particular cause justify civil disobedience should an eco-terrorist group decide to take action against those who kill Asian Carp? We protect the pretty Spotted Owl. Yet, the pretty Spotted Owl is a predator. Why should the Asian Carp be eradicated? Asian Carp are simply acting on instinct, swimming and reproducing. I don’t feel the Asian Carp deliberately decided to invade North America, killing everything in its water path. It is true that we don’t revere the Asian Carp as the Chinese do. I feel we must consider the possibility that there is a potential for the justification of civil disobedience and that there could be a logical and safe solution for all involved.

Edward Abbey openly calls for spiking trees, a practice that can lead to serious bodily harm and is illegal. Like many others out there, he is asking the reader to break the law and participate in civil disobedience. If given enough time with the Asian Carp invasion and subsequent control (or eradication,) I feel there could be another Edward Abbey out there, calling his readers to participate in civil disobedience by actively working to sabotage, or worse yet, harm those who are trying to control the Asian Carp population.

Works Cited

(2008). Retrieved from AsianCarp:

Bombshock. (2013). The Begginners Guide to Tree Spiking. Retrieved from Bombshock:

Circle of Blue. (n.d.). Tracking the Threat and Politics of Asian Carp. Retrieved from Circle of Blue:

Invasive Species Info. (2016, May 18). Asian Carps. Retrieved from Invasive Species Info:

Kraft, A. (2013, April 29). Five Ways To Stop Asian Carp. Retrieved from Popular Science:

National Park Service. (n.d.). History of Common Carp in North America. Retrieved from National Park Service:

ONeal, J. (2014, December 19). Asian Carp Target Practice. Retrieved from Youtube:

Scribol. (2016). Top 4 Environmental Extremist Groups. Retrieved from Scribol:

Stop Carp. (n.d.). The Solutions. Retrieved from Stop Carp:

Suchan, M. (2013, January 31). Carp, It’s What’s For Dinner. Retrieved from Outdoor Channel:

Wells, T. (2013, January 12). Kill of the Week – Boomerang vs. Asian Carp. Retrieved from Youtube:

Zacandnate. (2011, April 27). Peoria Carp Hunters. Retrieved from Youtube:



Critical Thinking Skills a Dragon Slayer Could Appreciate

One can only imagine what life was like, growing up on Mt Olympus.  Apollo was given the knowledge and wisdom needed to slay dragons and play his music from just one source, his father Zeus.  Zeus was a great teacher providing doctrines and guidance in human nature and after all, who can argue with a god?  Apollonian knowledge involves common sense and good judgement…timeless critical thinking skills that are valuable, especially in today’s society.

At the beginning of the summer, I saw my Apollonian self as one with a passion for knowledge.  My biggest strength is an eye for context as I determine an appropriate solution to a problem.  I picture myself creating and developing something new that will change the world of computers.  For now, I plan to transfer the knowledge I’ve gained from my current university into a successful career in Information Technology.  Upon further reflection, I’ve learned that employers are not only looking at specialized career skills but seeking employees with good thinking and communication skills.

Many job postings list “critical thinking skills” as a prerequisite for employment.  But what are the critical thinking skills a potential employer is looking for, and what is it not?  Concepts I think are helpful to understand are egocentrism, critical thinking standards, and emotive language.

Egocentrism is the tendency to see reality as centered on oneself.  Egocentrics are self-absorbed people who view themselves as superior to all others.  Self-serving bias, an extremely common byproduct of egocentrism, allows people to overrate themselves.  Egocentrism can be a barrier to landing and maintaining a great job.  While preparing my resume, it is important to be able to look honestly at my personal strengths (and weaknesses) as I list them.  I want to seek out jobs that align with my actual goals and interests.  During the interview, I want to communicate genuine successes and accomplishments.  I am proud of my work throughout my college career, both on and off campus.  In addition to successfully completing coursework with a 3.33 GPA, I have become involved in several extracurricular activities.  I want my potential employer to understand who I am and why I would be an asset to any company.  In addition, many companies are looking for team players.  Team players don’t let egocentrism skew their ability to work effectively with others.  Through understanding the barrier of egocentrism, I will find the perfect career match bringing success, genuine happiness, and longevity.

When a potential employer lists critical thinking as a prerequisite for a job, I think of the critical thinking standards, the cognitive skills and intellectual standards needed to effectively identify, analyze, and evaluate arguments and truth claims.  Computer technology jobs require employees to think critically, especially in the area of programming.  Programming a computer to perform complex operations is probably more demanding of critical thinking skills than almost any other activity.  In order to write a computer program, you must understand what the program is to accomplish.  As a software developer, I will be required to interview the intended users of the system, determining what is really needed.  Questions I would ask include: What platform the program or system is to be run on?  How the user wants their data to be displayed?  Are there any specialties they want the program to perform? Next, I must determine how the objective will be accomplished.  Ways to accomplish this step is creating a list of program requirements, checking off each requirement as it is added to the program, and ensure each requirement requested has been fulfilled.  Finally, I express the required steps as a computer program using programming language.  A programming language is chosen through specific criteria such as program requirements, graphical interface, or command line interface platform.  Critical thinking standards for computer technology include clarity of language, precision in numbers, accuracy of information, and relevance.  I believe this course has helped me to understand myself better and how improving my critical thinking skills will help me succeed in the workforce.

The a few nights ago, I was watching an old segment from the Today Show.  They had a segment (loosely) called “What people are talking about at the water cooler.”  They gossiped about the latest trends and headlining celebrities.  While I plan to spend 40 hours (or more) at my new career, I can’t help thinking about the people I will work long hours with.  Group dynamics and emotive language came to mind.  Emotive language is a masterful use of language we find hard to resist.  While language is used to convey information, emotive language uses carefully chosen words to appeal to the listener’s feelings, desires, and needs.  Emotive language reveals much about the speaker’s attitude and feelings toward a given subject.

In closing, I want to appreciate the opportunity to transfer critical thinking skills toward a bright future in Information Technology.  While there are other critical thinking concepts I could demonstrate on paper, I have spent time reflecting upon many of them as they apply to the workforce and my Apollonian self.  I have a passion for creating and developing something new that will change the world of computers…someday.  Through critical thinking, I know I will continue learning as my job skills get stronger.  I may not be slaying dragons and playing music, but Zeus would be proud!



Duluth, Minnesota

The place I connect with is Duluth, Minnesota. When I was young, every Saturday my family would to Duluth to visit my great-grandparents who lived on 101st Ave W. It’s actually called Gary-New Duluth, the farthest point west you can go in Duluth. My great-grandparents owned an old building that dated back to the 1910s (or something) that housed a bowling alley. My great-grandfather renovated it in the 1960s or so, had 6 apartments upstairs, their apartment was at street level, and their spacious underground garage was the former bowling alley. Both great-grandparents were born and raised in that area and they remained there until their death.
On Saturday visits, my family would pack me up and leave the Twin Cities, arriving by 11:00 or noon. The adults would visit and I would play. Mid-afternoon, everyone would venture out in our 2-car motorcade to dinner; the Pickwick in Downtown Duluth, Elbow Room in Superior, Tappa Keg, in West Duluth, The Shack in Superior, or get a Sammy’s Pizza. After dinner, we would return to the apartment, watch TV, and visit. By 8/9 pm, we would turn around and drive the 2 hours home. Every Saturday. Sometimes, Saturday was the only day everyone was together after a long, hectic week.
So there we were, one big 4-generation family under one roof. Duluth felt like a second home to me as we spent many a trip taking in the St Louis river, Jay Cooke State Park, the harbor, and of course, the graves of my great-great grandparents at Oneota Cemetary. Then my grand-parents died. We didn’t go up for many many years.
This past Fall, my parents, girlfriend, and I went on an overnight to Duluth. Now we were tourists. We weren’t a big family anymore. We drove past the old building, saw the Serbian Orthodox church my great-great-grandparents helped build, the old stomping ground seemed so foreign and cold. But we made a new connection for our new generation to enjoy. I realized the area I felt connected to, the same area that attracted my great-great-grandparents. It was the vegetation, the contour of the hillside, the blue Superior where time stood still and I felt the same connection, the same emotion I felt years ago, when I was young. I just wished my great-grandfather was there to enjoy it with me. I still miss him.

Are present efforts enough to survive climate change in the future?

Climate is a characteristic weather condition for a given area over time. When temperatures rise, many different changes can occur either regionally or globally such as: flooding, droughts, intense rain, or heat waves. As these changes occur more frequently in the future, they will present many challenges to many nations, economies, and environment across the global. How successfully we can adapt to these changes refers to adjusting our lives and infrastructure in a manner that would lessen the harmful impacts of the present and future climate.

Global Warming and Climate Change

People often use the terms global warming and climate change interchangeably, yet each applies to different phenomena. Climate change is the difference in the Earth’s global temperature, humidity, or precipitation over time. The change in the state of the atmosphere can range from decades to millions of years, and is caused by processes inside the Earth, forces outside the Earth (example variations in sunlight intensity), and human activities. (Wikipedia) The sun is a major factor in determining climate and weather. In the path climate change has often taken place due to small variations in the orbit of the Earth, volcanic activity, and changes in the intensity of the sun’s output. Any significant long-term change in the expected patterns of average weather of a region, or the world, over a significant period.

Global warming is a slow and steady rise in the Earth’s surface temperature causing a higher rate of melting of ice caps all around the world and seal levels rising which causes coastal area to flood. The Earth has been warming up by roughly 2° Fahrenheit since 1880 when climate records were started to be recorded at a global scale. (Physics and Chemistry of the Earth)

Human Influence

The human influence in climate change can be found starting in the industrial revolution period where there was an 31% increase in CO2 from 280 parts peer million (ppm) to 367 ppm, mainly due to combustion of fossil fuels and deforestation of forested land to be used for agriculture, road-building, or the general urbanization of previous rural area of the world. The projected CO2 concentration for 2100 between 550 ppm – 1,000 ppm resulting in a temperature increase of 2°C to 4°C. (Page) The Evidence suggests that the current period of climate change is closely linked with anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gas. The main greenhouse gas is Carbon dioxide (CO2). The amounts of CO2 have drastically increased in the last 200 years due to the industrialization across the planet. Greenhouse gas come from sources other than cars and factories, they also are emitted from the melting permafrost. A ground, including rock or soil, at or below the freezing point of water 32°F for two or more years.

Another cause for changing levels of CO2 change from season to season are planets. Trees and other green plant play a role in the natural recycling of CO2 but is a seasonal process. In the spring and summer months CO2 is abused from the atmosphere through photosynthesis transforming CO2 into organic compounds stored in the tissues of the plant or tree. Then in the winter planets release their CO2 back into the atmosphere. This is known as carbon fixing, or carbon sequestration and because of their ability to remove CO2 from the air.

Greenhouse Effect

The greenhouse effect occurs when certain gases in the Earth’s atmosphere traps infrared (IR) radiation, a type of electromagnetic radiation, making the planet warmer. This is caused by greenhouse gases such as: nitrous oxide, carbon dioxide, and methane. When there are more greenhouse gases in the air, the air becomes warmer in the atmosphere by trapped heat cause by the sun’s radiation. Without the greenhouse effect, the planet would be too cold to support life. Current date shows the rate of greenhouse gas emission continues to rise the global warming could ultimately exceed 8°F, which would undermine the planet’s capacity to support a large human population.

The world’s ocean absorbs CO2 from the atmosphere as part of the carbon circle and thus help to moderate the earth’s average surface temperature and its climate Removing 25% to 30% of the CO2 pumped into the lower atmosphere by human activities. Climate change is a growing threat to aquatic biodiversity partly because rising sea levels are projected to drown productive ecosystems. In 2009, the world’s oceans were the warmest in 150 years if record keeping. The Ability of the oceans to absorb CO2 also decreases when water temperate increase. Ocean acidification occurs due to the increased amounts of CO2 in the oceans which causes a decrease in the pH level (scale of acidity and alkalinity) and increase in the acidity of the Earth’s oceans; 30% of the CO2 in the atmosphere goes into the oceans. This affects all marine life by the bottom of the ocean food chain. The skeleton and shells of many sea life animals need what is known as calcium carbonate minerals, yet due to ocean acidification there are fewer of these minerals and some species will no longer produce or keep their shells.

Global Climate and Oceans

A relationship exists between global climate and ocean currents, both impact each other and science is still working to figure out why. The phenomenon that has the most attention because of its potential to play a role in triggering sudden climate change is thermohaline circulation. The ocean is not a still body of water, there is always a constant motion in the ocean caused by a combination of thermohaline current (therm = temperature, haline = salinity) in the deep oceans and wind driven surface currents. (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) If global warming causes an increased rainfall in the North Atlantic, and the melting of glaciers and sea ice there will be an influx of warm freshwater onto the sea surface.  This could block the formation of sea ice, disrupting the sinking of cold salt water. This sequence of events could slow or even stop the conveyor belt, which could result in potentially drastic cooling temperature changes in Europe and warming in the Southern Hemisphere.

Climate Change in the Public Eye

In 1988, NASA scientist James Hansen gave testimony before US Congress on climate change explaining “The greenhouse effect has been detected, and it is changing our climate now”. (Worldwatch Institute) This helped raise broad awareness of global warming. The global effects of climate change are already beginning to become more noticeable by transform the earth’s environment in variety of ways. Climate scientist are predicting that these effects will increase as human activities continue to produce greenhouse gas emissions and rising average global temperatures. In North America, the snowcaps in the western mountains are decreasing in size causing higher precipitation and flooding during the winter and reduction of water during flow summertime. In Africa the current levels of water stress will increase because of more frequent droughts and crop yields will decrease as the length of the growing season and the amount of viable agriculturally land is declining. (Physics and Chemistry of the Earth)

The Paris Climate Accord signed in 2016, is an agreement within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). This is the world’s first comprehensive climate agreement setting a goal of keeping the global temperature from rising more then 2 C (or 3.6 F), above preindustrial level. It also aims to increase the ability to adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change and foster climate resilience and low greenhouse gas emissions development, in a manner that does not threaten food production. (United Nations Climate Change)

Works Cited

Gills, Justin. “Climate Change Is Complex.” 2019. New York Times.

Mooney, Chris. “Watch the warming ocean devour Alaska’s coast in this striking time-lapse video.” Washinton Post (2018). Website.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. What is the global ocean conveyor belt? 2017. Website.

Page, Michael. “We Can Survive Even Extreme Warming.” New Scientist, vol. 239, no. 31319 August 2018. Document.

Physics and Chemistry of the Earth. “Climate Change: Causes.” Physics and Chemistry of the Earth (2018).

Trenberth, Kevin E. “Stronger Evidence of Human Influences on Climate Change.” 2001 IPCC Assessment (2001): 10. Document.

United Nations Climate Change. The Paris Agreement. October 2018.

Wikipedia. Climate Change. 5 May 2019. Website.

Worldwatch Institute. A Climate Hero: The Testimony. 13 May 2019.

Saving the Planet for Future Generations to Come

I believe it is necessary to save our planet for future generations to come. After reading an article from Time, Why We Don’t Care About Saving Our Grandchildren from Climate Change. Who says we don’t? The very title disturbs me, publishing an article for its shock value, just to make a point. I disagree with an author who puts all the blame, guilt, and responsibility on the people of today when the article clearly states the effects need time to take effect, while carbon-dioxide has been emitted into the atmosphere for decades.  This article should be directed to this generation and more importantly, previous generations dating back to the Industrial Revolution. Air pollution from the Industrial Revolution created a great cloud of smoke and thus, the Great Smog of London in 1952 killed more than 4,000 people. The acid rain discovered in the 1850’s was one of the resulting problems from numerous coal-powered plants. Human activity hasn’t changed as much as there are simply billions more people on the planet today then there were in the 1800s. Assuming technology wasn’t available in the 1800s to measure the damage to predict today’s planetary crisis, we now have that knowledge. I believe it is never too late to right a wrong.

Walsh’s article, Why We Don’t Care About Saving Our Grandchildren from Climate Change, states that “time” is the biggest obstacle to dealing with climate change. He writes, “it will take decades before the carbon dioxide we emit now begins to have its full effect on the planet’s climate. And by the same token, it will take decades before we are able to enjoy the positive climate effects of reducing carbon-dioxide emissions now.” He continues, “any attempt to restrict CO₂ emissions enough to make a dent in future climate change will cause some present-day economic pain.”

There are numerous ways to help the environment right now. Miller and Spoolman suggest, “drastically reduce greenhouse emissions to slow down the rate of atmospheric warming” while “recognize that some warming is unavoidable and to devise strategies to reduce its harmful effects.” (Miller and Spoolman, 268) I believe that it is the responsibility of every person on this planet, today and in the future, to choose at least one thing to save our planet for the future. As stated in Walsh’s article, it will take time and resources. Assuming life expectancy is anywhere between 46 years (Sierra Leon) and 83.7 years (Japan,) each person should do what they can in that amount of time. The problem is the cost. Not everyone has the money or resources to purchase a hybrid or electric car. Some people’s credit rating alone won’t allow it.  But if they do own a vehicle, a person can adjust their driving style. Speeding and unnecessary acceleration increases carbon emissions. Apartment dwellers cannot alter their habitat, but homeowners can make green upgrades. Youngsters don’t have income, but they can certainly start a school recycling program, and learn early on how to respect the planet. Today’s children need to grow up understanding that environmental problems are not just something scientists study, it is the result of all human activity thus, climate change is a social problem for everyone to solve.

Al Gore suggests we become proactive, be a catalyst of change by telling others about the climate crisis. Through mass persuasion, politicians can assist in supporting grassroots organizations that fuel cleaner human activity. If there is one thing we can do to help the environment, it would have to be whatever that might be. Whatever that is, act and do it today.


“Sustaining the Earth” By G. Tyler Miller, Scott E. Spoolman



Exploring a few differences between Northern and Southern during the Civil War

Throughout the middle of the 19th century the United States was experiencing an era of great growth while a fundamental difference existed between Northern and Southern states. In the Spring of 1861, as tensions between the northern and southern states reached a breaking point with the election of anti-slavery Republican Abraham Lincoln as President which cause the first states to secede from the Union, forming “The Confederate States of America”.

The Confederate attack on fall of Fort Sumter triggered the war of the Union and a wave of patriotic bluster on both sides, yet neither side was ready to wage war. Newspaper editors and politicians on both sides pressured the general to strike quickly, many southerners argued that the civil was not about slavery but the south’s effort to defend state’s rights and those who had elected President Lincoln who stressed repeatedly, if the southern states return to the union, they could retain their slaves. Yet, none of the Confederate states accepted Lincoln’s offer, in larger part because most were convinced that he was lying.

Early in the War, the South was successful because of their confidence, organization, leadership, and a more militarist way of life. Many prestigious military academies at the time were situated in the South, where more people from the South went to these academies. They also had a major geographic and emotional advantage over the north fighting a war on their own territory in defense of their homeland.

Once the battle lines were drawn the Union held twenty-three states, including four states along the northern and southern border, verse the Confederacy’s eleven states. The North had more resources available than the South and already established government with a population of 22 million people against the 9 million of the South. Initially both sides had quite different goals. The Confederacy sought to convince the Union and the world to recognize its independence, whereas the Union was fighting to restore the Union; the issue of slavery was not yet a front issue.

Confederate Strategy

Confederate President Jefferson Davis was better prepared than Lincoln at the start of the war to guide military strategy. If the war could be prolonged, as Davis and other hoped, influence in the public sentiment in the North might force Lincoln to seek a negotiated settlement. Also, the British or French, desperate for southern cotton, might be persuaded to join their cause. Confederate diplomats were seeking military and financial assistance in London and Paris, while Confederate sympathizers in the North and congress were urging an end to the Union’s war effort.


General Lee’s campaign into the North in 1862 [Antietam] which lead to Lincoln’s emancipation proclamation.

In the summer of 1862 General Robert E. Lee decided to invade Maryland and force the Army of the Potomac and then commander McClellan to leave northern Virginia, thus relieving the pressure off the Confederate’s capital of Richmond. Jefferson Davis and General Lee planned to capture Maryland and separate it from the Union. If successful, this invasion would influence not only the upcoming election in the North but gain recognition of the Confederacy from the British and French to bring in desperately needed military supplies to his troops. If Union soldiers did not discover Lee’s battle plans, the Confederates might have won the battle.

On the first day of battle, the poorly coordinated Union army launched repeated attacks as hundreds of dead soldiers lying in piles. The next day, the Confederate army prepared for another Union army which never came. Under the cover of darkness, the battered Confederates slipped south and back to Virginia. Although the battle was a draw, Lee’s northern invasion had failed. Both sides displayed courage and bravery in what was said to be the “hardest fought battle of the war” by a Confederate general. President Lincoln was pleased that General Lee’s army was forced to retreat, but disgusted by McClellan’s failure to attack the retreating Confederates and possibly bring an end to the war. The Battle of Antietam had several important results which shaped the future of the war. Firstly, it had revived northern morale, dashed the Confederacy’s hopes of making alliances with the British and French, and convinced Lincoln to transform the war from restoring the Union to a crusade to end slavery by issuing the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation.


England or France seen as key for a Southern victory

Early on the Union’s navy blockade of the major southern parts sharply reduced the amount of cotton that could be exported to Britain & France, as well as the flow of goods imported from Europe. The British Empire remained officially neutral throughout the American Civil War. It recognized the status of Confederate States of America but never recognized it as a nation. The Confederate strategy for securing independence was based largely upon the hope of military intervention by Britain and France, which never happened, as it probably would have caused war with the US.  The French Empire remained officially neutral throughout the American Civil War and never recognized the Confederate States of America. The United States of America warned that recognition would mean war. France was reluctant to act without British collaboration, and the British rejected intervention.


The role slaves and former slaves play on both sides of the conflict

African-Americans served in the Civil War on both the Union and Confederate side. At the onset of the Civil War, free black men rushed to volunteer for service with the Union forces. However, Northern officers refused to believe black troops should fight, and so they were often assigned to non-combat duties or placed in the rear guarding railroads and bridges. President Lincoln feared that accepting black men into the military would cause border states like Maryland, Kentucky, and Missouri to secede. The South refused to arm blacks but used them to build fortifications and perform camp duties.

The type of peace foreseen by Lincoln between North and South, yet shattered upon his assassination

Lincoln’s delivered his Second Inaugural Address on March 4, 1865, during the final days of the Civil War. While it was apparent that the North was winning, Lincoln’s Second Address did not pass judgement. Rather, Lincoln asked that the war end and the North and South reconcile, reconstruction take place by healing the wounds caused by the war and reuniting as one nation. Unfortunately, Lincoln was killed on April 14th,1865. His death left Andrew Jackson, a former slave owner, president who lacked the rapport and strong leadership of Lincoln. At that time, Congress was controlled by “Radical Republicans” who used reconstruction against the South to “teach them a lesson” and passed numerous laws to restrict the rights of black citizens, the notorious “Black Codes” of the South, laws that would continue another century until the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s.