ENV 492 - Global Environmental Issues

About this class

This capstone course for senior environmental science majors will explore global environmental issues. Students will research a topic, analyze primary literature, engage in class discussion and formal speaking, and write a paper critically evaluating the issue.

SUNY Brockport
by jbeach on April 18, 2015
Many of the reasons for biodiversity loss have to deal with poverty and education. Therefore, solutions that seek to deal with biodiversity loss first have to deal with these issues. The scale at which biodiversity is being lost is not only a regional or local scale but also exists on a global scale. Because of this, there needs to be action taken at all levels for any effort to be successful.

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SUNY Brockport
by emill8 on April 17, 2015
In my last blog post I focused on outlining the causes for the illegal trade in ivory and rhino horn. Since then, it is with a heavy heart that I must inform those of you whom aren't aware, that the planet's last remaining Northern White rhino resides in Kenya and is guarded by armed rangers 24/7 (Mosbergen 2015). Let that sink in for a minute. One of the planet's few megaherbivores has his own armed body guards who have a shoot to kill policy for anyone who intends to cause harm to him and risk their own lives in the process of protecting him. ISN'T THIS INSANE!?

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SUNY Brockport
by glawrence21 on April 17, 2015
One of the biggest threats to biodiversity throughout the world is the introduction of invasive species.  However, their detrimental effects are exaggerated on islands.  The introduction of the brown tree snake (Boiga irregularis) to Guam is one of the most famous examples of an invasive species’ detrimental effects to a native island ecosystem.  The introduction of this one species resulted in the population reduction of 22 of the 25 native bird species in Guam (Wiles et al.

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SUNY Brockport
by tpalm1 on April 17, 2015
                Water scarcity and consumptive water use are becoming a larger issue as time passes. In the U.S. alone we are seeing its looming effects but how bad is the problem and what can we do to manage and help alleviate some of the problem?

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SUNY Brockport
by kjohn10 on April 17, 2015
The previous blog posts covered topics: biology and ecology of cyanobacteria, harmful aspects of cyanobacteria blooms and how humans are influencing the frequency of blooms. This post will focus on the future issues of cyanobacteria and how humans can utilize them to their benefit.

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SUNY Brockport
by abail4 on April 17, 2015
                In my last blog posts, I discussed several possible solutions to help stop the serious issue of agricultural nonpoint source pollution issues. Throughout our time on this planet, we have realized more and more that what we do on the land, will eventually affect our waters. I have discussed the option of educating our farmers about their impact on the environment. I have also discussed the option of using financial incentives for the farmer to be more environmentally friendly in their management plan.

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SUNY Brockport
by sgril1 on April 17, 2015
Threats: Human presence is closely correlated to increasing extinction rates. Exploitation, habitat destruction, climate change, disease, and invasive introductions are the major effects of anthropogenic interference that are driving the sixth extinction.  Through my case study of four endangered mammals, the black-footed ferret, golden tamarin monkey, Tasmanian devil, and saiga antelope, I was exposed to specific examples of the above which led me to further my understanding of threats to global biodiversity loss.

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SUNY Brockport
by atorn1 on April 17, 2015
For my third and final blog I will come around full circle on the whole Asian Carp in the Great Lakes Debate. I started out with brief introduction of Asian Carp for my first blog and then gave actual statistics on the effects of Asian Carp in the Illinois River. Now I will discuss one of the possible management strategies being discussed incase Asian Carp do make their way into the Great Lakes.

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SUNY Brockport
by ajess1 on April 17, 2015
            Overall many things have become apparent when comparing European countries to the United States. Not only does the U.S lack law and regulations to increase recycling which I previously talked about, they also have fewer incentives to do so.  Another less popular method may be to increase repercussions for not recycling both for companies and individuals may be a very good tool. 

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SUNY Brockport
by ajess1 on April 17, 2015
            Overall many things have become apparent when comparing European countries to the United States. Not only does the U.S lack law and regulations to increase recycling which I previously talked about, they also have fewer incentives to do so.  Another less popular method may be to increase repercussions for not recycling both for companies and individuals may be a very good tool. 

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SUNY Brockport
by sward5 on April 17, 2015
I originally wrote my first blog on a Saturday morning when I was hungover and perusing through the internet.  I was looking through the ELF’s (Earth Liberation Front) homepage that involved an interview with a former member who had changed from his violent activist mentalities to that of a peaceful, political one.  He realized after losing time and gaining patience (in jail), that violent and destructive means to a problem only yield more problems.  So here I sit, once again, wanting to spew off bullshit about the government, radical action, God damn George bush…

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SUNY Brockport
by sbuck4 on April 17, 2015
Dams can ruthlessly disturb an ecosystem and destroy its biodiversity, it disrupts the nutrient flow down the river, effectively "starving" the river on the other side of the dam. It interrupts fish migratory patterns, which can annihilate entire fish populations that would otherwise thrive. All of these ecological problems effect the nearby human populations but, the dams are not just killing the ecosystem and its biodiversity, it is killing humans as well.

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SUNY Brockport
by tsqui2 on April 17, 2015
As stated in past posts, “every day fisheries products are utilized all over the world: direct human/animal consumption, fish meal, fish oil, food additives, medicine etc (Bostock et al. 2010).” The majority of aquatic products come from commercial fisheries, or from wild stocks. It is evident that sustainable fishing is something of an old wives’ tale as the current demand for aquatic flora and fauna far exceeds nature’s capability of replenishing itself. Generally, when regulation is thought to be imposed, it is too late as a point of no return has been reached.

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SUNY Brockport
by mstev3 on April 17, 2015
Stream fragmentation is a serious issue that can have a negative impact on fish communities within the stream. Fragmentation is caused by human alterations, such as when dams are built. This separates sections of streams and does not allow fish to move upstream or downstream as needed. This is particularly important with anadromous species such as salmonids. Salmon will use homing capabilities to find their way back to their native stream for spawning.

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SUNY Brockport
by rstra3 on April 16, 2015
Food security is a term that is used in reference to the food problem and is defined as the condition in which "all people, all the time, have access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs for an active and healthy life” (Childers 2011). This concept of food security is closely linked with the human population because with the increase of people, the demand for food goes up, the land required for agriculture goes up, related environmental consequences goes up, and the food security of the globe worsens.  

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SUNY Brockport
by abriz1 on April 16, 2015
Freshwater is an incredibly important part of the ecosystem because of the goods and services it provides, as well as accommodating a unique and diverse biota (Heathwaite 2010).  Ecosystem goods that are given by freshwater include fish, electricity, and drinking water.  The ecosystem services consist of detoxification and purification of water, nutrient cycling, recreation, and flood mitigation.  There are many stressors that many say will have increasing impacts in the future, such as changing climate, changing land use, changing demands on water resources, and changing nutrient cycles. 

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SUNY Brockport
by awest6 on April 16, 2015
Clean water is as important to human health and survival as fresh food, but unfortunately, these two resources are locked in competition. During the year 2004, agriculture was a leading source of water quality impairment, accounting for degradation of approximately 94,000 miles of streams and 1,670,513 acres of open water (EPA 2009). Sources of this decline in water quality are pollution, sedimentation, and depletion.

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SUNY Brockport
by egill1 on April 16, 2015
We know that with atmospheric CO2 on the rise, CO2 in the ocean water is as well. This increase in CO2 is acidifying the oceans and causing great harm to many of the organisms that call the ocean their home. Although the oceans are large and difficult to manage there is an act out there that is working to protect and conserve the Coral Reefs.

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4 years 7 months ago

This is a follow up article to "The trouble with troubled seas."

5 years 6 months ago

Jeff Cook SOC-100.02 Dr. Kaldor
I have been a musician more than half my life, and I know the healing power of music. I can relate to this post. I have
written, produced and recorded music for over 30 years. I think I can speak for those who listen to music to relax, relieve
stress, and workout. We know, and studies have shown, that unborn fetuses positively respond to Classical music, such as Beethoven,
Mozart, Chopin and Bach while still in the womb's of pregnant women. The magic power of music helps to calm and relax me after a
stressful day. This is a well written post. Keep up the good work.

5 years 6 months ago

Greg -
You are exactly right. I could not agree more. I'm actually currently taking an environmental studies class, and this is among the topics
we discuss. The nations of this planet must take a stand before it is too late. Already we have seen rising levels of coastal regions, lakes and
rivers worldwide. I have seen and studied numerous maps, charts and graphs of the results which suggest this data. In fact, some scientists
predict that by the end of this century, if current trends continue, the eastern U.S. states of Florida and Louisiana will become completely submerged. The Carolina's, Georgia and Mississippi will be submerged by one-third. We've already seen overwhelming evidence of this globally in severe weather patterns of frequent hurricanes, tsunami's and flooding.That is, if pollution of waterways continues, runoff into streams, rivers and lakes from deforestation continues, and especially, continued burning of fossil fuels. We must find alternate sources of energy to power our cars and heat our homes. This can't continue. In a book on this subject we recently read, "Field notes from a catastrophe: man, nature and climate change," Elizabeth Kolbert (2006) mentions a study conducted by Dr. Vladimir Romanovsky. He studied the effects of melting permafrost in Alaska and Northern Canada near the Chukchi Sea. As we know the Arctic ice glaciers are melting at an exponential rate. I'm glad that someone like you has brought attention to this serious issue. These current trends must stop, but yet the "Business as usual" corporate attitude continues.

5 years 8 months ago

This is an interesting, but tragic subject. It makes me consider a lot of things about this topic. For example, I had always wanted to address this issue, but I never knew how to approach it. It's a tragedy in this country with so much hope and opportunity, that we even have homelessness. Especially among our veterans who bravely fought for and served our country and they're homeless. I think one thing to improve your post, however, is to include more statistics about this problem. Keep up the good work.

5 years 8 months ago

To the author of this post: Thank you for writing this and bringing it to the attention of the public. I have also written an article on bullying, (soon to be posted) and it's something that I feel very strong about. In fact, this issue has inspired me so much, that I am planning to write, produce and direct a documentary on the subject. After all, this is something I know about; I was bullied all through school. And you're right, much of the aggressive behavior starts at home. So keep doing what you're doing, and you have my full support! Thank you. Jeff Cook

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About the author

Soon after arriving to The College at Brockport, State University of New York, I heard some discussion about incorporating student blogs within classes.

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