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 invasivecarp.dnr@state.mn.us. 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: http://www.asiancarp.org/

Bombshock. (2013). The Begginners Guide to Tree Spiking. Retrieved from Bombshock: http://www.bombshock.com/bad_ideas/the_begginners_guide_to_tree_spiking.html

Circle of Blue. (n.d.). Tracking the Threat and Politics of Asian Carp. Retrieved from Circle of Blue: http://www.circleofblue.org/tracking-the-threat-and-politics-of-asian-carp/

Invasive Species Info. (2016, May 18). Asian Carps. Retrieved from Invasive Species Info: https://www.invasivespeciesinfo.gov/aquatics/main.shtml

Kraft, A. (2013, April 29). Five Ways To Stop Asian Carp. Retrieved from Popular Science: http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2013-04/five-ways-stop-asian-carp

National Park Service. (n.d.). History of Common Carp in North America. Retrieved from National Park Service: https://www.nps.gov/miss/learn/nature/carphist.htm

ONeal, J. (2014, December 19). Asian Carp Target Practice. Retrieved from Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b2AJ9UiJ5oc

Scribol. (2016). Top 4 Environmental Extremist Groups. Retrieved from Scribol: http://scribol.com/news-and-politics/politics/top-4-environmental-extremist-groups/

Stop Carp. (n.d.). The Solutions. Retrieved from Stop Carp: https://stopcarp.org/the-solutions/

Suchan, M. (2013, January 31). Carp, It’s What’s For Dinner. Retrieved from Outdoor Channel: http://outdoorchannel.com/article.aspx?id=12548

Wells, T. (2013, January 12). Kill of the Week – Boomerang vs. Asian Carp. Retrieved from Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k7Z35X7tFBM

Zacandnate. (2011, April 27). Peoria Carp Hunters. Retrieved from Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hN2gMP3Q2Z4



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