Environmental Literature | Social Justice | Sustainable Futures
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Interested in solar panels? Google Project Sunroof can help!

Think You Have What It Takes to Become a Farmer? It is harder than it looks.

How about a cotton bouquet?! Black Cotton: This Man Has a Surprising Idea to Help Black Farmers Thrive.

Are you eating happy food? Paleo vs Vegan.

Need another dose of hope for the future? This Changes Everything: Beautiful Solutions!

Curious about popular thinking about climate change? The NYTimes has a few maps for you: How Americans Think about Climate Change in Six Maps.

Is climate change gender neutral? (Nope) See for instance this new piece: Women’s Crucial Role in Combatting Climate Change.

Feeling down about POTUS’s recent anti-environmentalism? See how cities are already fighting back!

Oh my, this guy:

https://planetsave.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/global-warming-hoax.jpg

Thanks to significant increases in Internet connectivity speeds over the past few decades, browsers are able to load an average website’s content almost instantaneously without being seriously affected by bottlenecks derived from loading various kinds of media and assets, such as images or videos. Given this mitigated negative effect, many modern website designers are paying less attention to the size of their webpages and are building webpages that are increasingly dominated by different kinds of media. This negligence has resulted in large, asset-dependent webpages that require more energy to load which ultimately increases the environmental impact of browsing the Internet.

This final project explores the field of sustainable web design by analyzing different methods of reducing energy consumption within a webpage without sacrificing the quality of the website itself. These methods range from simply using different file types for media to having the website hosted by a more environmentally conscious web hosting provider. In addition to this research, the project incorporates a hands-on component of constructing a Google Chrome extension that implements options for reducing website energy consumption that are independent of the website designer’s control. Ultimately, this final project strives to not only educate Internet users on the impact of their daily browsing but also give them a user-friendly tool to reduce their browsing’s energy consumption without needing substantial experience on their own end.

Project: Economic Analysis of the Effect of Oil on the Nigerian Economy

Things to consider:

  • Timeline of events
  • Map of oil rich areas
  • Total supply capacity
  • Brief long term history of energy/oil
  • Brief history of recent oil developments
  • GDP, Infrastructure and jobs created by oil companies
  • Brief overview of Nigerian conflict
  • Impact of supply disruptions on oil market
  • Impact of supply disruptions on daily life for Nigerians

 

Structure: PowerPoint Presentation, Excel Model

Sources: Energy Information Administration (EIA), news reports, Wikipedia, quotes

In a society where the popular belief is that humans and their environment are growing farther and farther apart, the solution of an investment in environmental conservation alongside an increase in human activity in that same environment may initially seem contradictory. In this project, I will analyze the intersection between conservation and hunting in numerous areas of the world with extremely varied physical and social climates to address how the human pursuit of food and game can benefit both environmental well-being and community development. Continuing in this discussion will be an attempt to define related terms and opposing theories, such as the debate of what exactly constitutes conservation and the stance of behavioral ecology and environmental ethics on this topic. Furthermore, I plan to interview local hunters in the Rocky Mountains to develop an in-depth perspective of human’s relationship with and feelings about spending time in nature doing this activity, as well as understanding the power of humans and their perception of their intended role within the wilderness. 

“We cannot always build the future for our youth, but we can build our youth for the future.”

Roosevelt Franklin

Agricultural science and the natural world have found themselves pushed out of increasingly competitive school environments. Students from pre-k onward are being prepped for college acceptances instead of for our changing environment. The lack of attachment to green spaces and the reinforcement of fluorescent halls has led to increased negative effects on today’s youth, particularly in their education and overall health. This paper explores the overarching need for environmental education in public schools through access to classroom gardens. Detailed are groups around the United States that have worked to implement “agriscience” into public school classrooms, with a focus on the Durham Public School System’s Hub Farm. These organizations will be used to evaluate the impact gardens have on the habits and long-term well being of students. This paper aims to offer a holistic evaluation of the benefits of gardens in public school classrooms, and their ability to build our youth for the future.

 

Since uranium mines were first opened in 1944 in the Navajo Nation, the Navajo people and others living in the region have faced disproportionately high negative health and environmental outcomes. Purposefully kept ignorant of the harmful radioactive effects of uranium mining and milling, Navajo people across generations are continually affected by this environmental injustice. In this project, I will first evaluate uranium mining and milling in the Navajo Nation, with a close look into both current health and societal conditions of the people living in contaminated areas and also historical factors and context which contribute to this injustice. Then, I will address Yellowcake, a work of environmental fiction written by Ann Cummins whose father once worked in the uranium industry. This novel paints a vibrant image of life in the Navajo Nation, following the banal daily workings of two families, one Navajo and one Anglo-American, both of which have been impacted by the uranium industry, though to different effect. Through analysis of this work, we can better understand the role of literature and the humanities in communicating underrepresented environmental issues in mainstream media. Lastly, I will attempt a work of environmental fiction of my own in the form of short story, writing about the air pollution problem in Beijing while drawing upon my mother’s experiences in the growing up in the city for inspiration.

Big Bad Wolf

April 8th, 2017 | Posted by Victoria Grant in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

Final Project Abstract

Top chain predators received a bad rap throughout history. People think of some predators as demons while others view them as unnecessary pests. Misconceptions on predators contributed to the downfall of many species. Because of past ideologies, many top predators face extinction today and environmental programs face opposition to helping bring back the old populations. I understand how people created the misconceptions of the past. Human and animal interactions were fairly new and people did not understand, or think to try and understand, how they impact the species around them and how those species contribute to the world around them. The problem of today is people still do not understand or refuse to understand the importance of many species. Despite the knowledge available in modern day society, people still hold incorrect ideologies on different species; creating setbacks in attempts to help populations. I want to conduct a study to learn about the misconceptions people have against different animals and attempt to create an educational tool to teach them the truth.

Abstract

April 8th, 2017 | Posted by Nanki Singh in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

I have always had a strange fascination with peoples’ interactions with their environment. However, for most of my life this understanding has been seemingly constrained to the one sided explanation of how the environment shapes human interaction and behavior. The telling of how human behavior and interaction impacts nature is typically exiguous if not absent. It is summed up in- the serious yet hackneyed-  Global Warming; Climate Change, Deforestation.

Understanding the environment itself is often a missing aspect of this discourse. Our focus lies within the narrow, yet complex realm of human factors, the human gains and losses and the human outcomes, the environment is just a background; nay a silent back-drop.

In this vein, I seek to understand the environmental effects of colonialism in India. To understand the intellectual and political decolonization of nature-its knowledge, practice, and history. The British Raj in India was not only accompanied but also supported by the exploitation of forests and environmental destruction for economic gains. Indian Independence brought a new life to the exploited people, but it forgot the exploited lands, waters, forests and wildlife. It ignored the crevasse left between local societies and their relationship with natural resources, that only continued to grow.

What were the specific modalities and methods that were used to colonize the environment and nature during the period of British colonialism in India? What were the environmental relationships and practices of the colonized population? Why were the “environmentally sustainable,” and nature-nurturing communities replaced?  In what ways has the separation of the categories of “nature” and “culture” itself been the construction of modernity? What was the aftermath of the environmental practices of the British in India- are these effects still felt today?

Answering these questions involves a holistic understanding, with a culturally specific view; it involves interweaving two mindsets, two peoples and two histories. I seek to explore the time after Mughal Rajas and their perennially colorful gardens and before the common man began living under a socialistic, republic, democratic government.

Kevin Bhimani Final Project Abstract

 

Tesla, Solar Energy, and the Next Wave of Innovation in the 21st Century

 

The world in which we live in today is essentially unrecognizable to an average citizen in the 1920s for example. The level of advances that we have seen in the past few decades has absolutely revolutionized our world. It has been a period in which we have seen the most rapid change in human history. What I will detail in this project is the new wave of innovation that we not only have begun to see, but will see in the future and how that will impact our environmental well-being. It seems like there has been a shift in ideology—before innovation was centered around the notion of pushing the boundary for the sake of advancing our knowledge and making our lives better and easier, whereas now much of the focus has shifted. We have started to look at how we can leverage this technology to ensure the long-term well-being of our planet. I will analyze how the intersection of economics, politics, and private companies dealing with products in electric cars, solar panels, solar roads, and more will shape our world in the future.

 

I will do research pertaining to this topic and then conduct a hands-on survey of students on key concepts and issues in order to gauge a better understanding of this and will then incorporate my findings into the final project.

Water is a basic right. It is essential for one to achieve the highest attainable level of health. Yet, 780 million people globally lack access to an improved water source (CDC 2017) — a source that is free from external contamination. This should not be the case. In a world where $5 trillion is traded on the market each day, it is unacceptable that not enough funding is going towards ending water crises worldwide. Nevertheless, many projects have taken place to combat the water disparity that favors high income households. This essay aims to explore the different solutions circulating around the globe, such as desalination in Israel, and make proposals for countries where action has stalled, such as a regulated privatization of the water supply in Mexico. Most of these solutions will describe ways that water usage has been reduced. Therefore, this study also explores the ways Duke University has cut down its water usage and how these methods can be applied elsewhere.

 

Works Cited

“Global Water, Sanitation, & Hygiene (WASH).” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 11 Apr. 2016. Web. 07 Apr. 2017.