Filed Under (Uncategorized) by Crystal Chukwurah on 04-11-2011

In Deliberations, Eli Kozin wrote an article titled Homelessness and Poverty: An Ethnographic Journey onto the Streets of Durham. Like the title suggests, Kozin’s article explores the phenomenon of homelessness. In the article, Kozin conducts interviews with some of the homeless people in Durham, North Carolina. His main objective was to find out was what is being homeless like, how did the people became homeless, why were they still homeless. To find answers to his questions, Kozin had to really do his research. With this said, Kozin decided that the only way for him to fully what homelessness was like was for him to experience it. Thus, Kozin made the commitment to spend a night sleeping on the streets. Kozin night of homelessness was definitely something to remember; after that night Kozin concluded that the homeless life was rough. Kozin also realized that these few people he interviewed were not the only homeless people in the world. Kozin references that three and a half million people experience homelessness on a given. Also Kozin saw that homelessness was not something to be just seen in Durham; he states that homelessness is a phenomenon found almost everywhere across the United States. From Kozin’s research and first hand experience, he saw that something needed to be done about homelessness. With this is mind, Kozin began the Duke Local Advocacy Initiative, a student group that aims at assisting the homeless.

It is hard to believe that Kozin’s great impact started simply from a Writing 20 assignment. We can honestly say Kozin’s work greatly mirrors the goals of Writing 20: to engage with the work of others, articulate a position, and situate writing in specific contexts. Kozin really got into his work; this showed he had a passion and interests in his topic. With this said, I believe the same can be accomplished despite the discipline: i.e. arts, humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences. For example, an Ocean Acidification Writing 20 course can be applicable to areas beyond the natural sciences.

In my writings on ocean acidification, I feel I am gaining far more than a science lesson on the topic its ocean acidification. Like Kozin, I have done research in my previous writings, but also like him, I believe it shouldn’t stop there. I hope to explore more within and beyond ocean acidification. With this in mind I am confident I will definitely fulfill the goals of Writing 20.


Filed Under (SW7) by Sam McCachren III on 04-11-2011

Different audiences have different levels of comprehension of the fact that ocean acidification compromises the sustainability of ocean ecosystem services.  Much of the general public is still unaware of the large problem posed by ocean acidification, let alone its effect on the sustainability of ocean ecosystem services.  Furthermore, of those that are familiar with the concept of ocean acidification, even fewer realize the multitude of ramifications from the decreasing pH of the world’s oceans.  Scientists are of course much more familiar with ocean acidification than the general public, especially those who study the ecosystems of the sea.  However, many scientists tend to focus more on the consequences for marine life than the compromisation of the sustainability of ocean ecosystem services.  Although some policymakers are aware of the issues posed by ocean acidification, many seem to focus more on the more widely known issues that gain more public attention in order to gain greater political standing.  It seems that major legislation regarding possible remedies for or regulations pertaining to ocean acidification never occurs, so policymakers definitely do not prioritize the effects of ocean acidification of ocean ecosystem services.  On the other hand, fisheries must be very aware of ocean acidification’s ramifications, as the lowering ocean pH affects fish populations and thereby the business of the fisheries.  Some commercial fishing companies even direct research to determine the extent to which ocean acidification affects their business and ways in which to avoid business disruption.

There are many possible changes that could be implemented in order to further understanding and communication concerning the extent to which ocean acidification compromises the sustainability.  Teaching about environmental issues such as ocean acidification in school could raise awareness and interest in younger people and also in their parents.  Also, the government could concern itself more with ocean acidification.  For example, congress could pass guidelines concerning carbon emissions and other practices that contribute to ocean acidification.  Congress could also pass legislation calling for measures to remedy acidification rather than just limit it.  In addition to helping stop acidification, the simple discussion of such measures by the government would raise nationwide awareness of ocean acidification and its effects.  Additionally, local museums or learning centers could design programs to reach out into their communities and educate the public about the dangers of ocean acidification and how the falling pH of the ocean compromises the sustainability of ocean ecosystem services.  With a combination of any of all of these measures, public awareness would begin to grow, and the general population would become more interested in the issue of ocean acidification, subsequently beginning to do their own research to learn more and possibly contribute to a remedy for acidification.  This new knowledge would also lead to a newfound sense of responsibility that would compel people to try to do their part to save the world’s oceans.

Filed Under (SW7) by Jacob Goyne on 04-11-2011

Ocean acidification is a global issue that is just now starting o make its way into the periphery of the public eye despite its very close tie with well known issues such as carbon emissions and global warming. The fact that ocean acidification is not well known may only be true for the general public though. I believe that ocean acidification and its consequences on sustainability are issues that are at least somewhat well known among the scientific, political, fishery, and other stakeholders, but a topic that some would seek to push back behind a veil of the unknown in order to continue to exploit resources in a business as usual fashion.

The fact that ocean acidification is not a well known issue is not surprising. Being a terrestrial species the ocean has always been one of the great unknowns and very little was known about it until recently in the historically spectrum. Because human existence has never truly been reliant or dependent on the ocean, unless one considers trade and fisheries, it is an area that could easily be overlooked in the past. But now the ocean is an integral part of modern society. The ocean provides many resources and services; promoting tourism and leisure through cruises, scuba etc; providing trade routes; economic opportunities for those in the fishery business, not to mention the environmental benefits of heat and carbon absorption. I believe that ocean acidification will be forced into the forefront of issues as these benefits, and especially the economic services, are affected. When ocean acidification begins to decrease the amount of revenue pulled in by the tourism industry due to changing aesthetics and the fishery industry plummets due to the lack of product rendered hen those in charge will have no choice but to acknowledge it as it will be affecting their own pocketbooks. Likewise the politicians will be forced to acknowledge it and speak actively as much of their funding comes from large industries who then hold power over them, such as that of the tourism sector.

Luckily are many ways to promote further understanding and communication of the topic of ocean acidification. I believe that one of the biggest steps to achieving understanding in this and future generations is to begin teaching about the topic in high schools in the nation and around the world, because I know that even in my Oceanography class I had never heard of the phenomenon. By getting the issue included in a textbook or in standard curriculum awareness would likely increase. Additionally this issue would need to be added to the docket of major activist groups in order to raise awareness. And what better way to raise awareness than by getting a highlight of the issue in some sort of documentary available on television or a service like Netflix, in addition to attempting to get a feature of the issue on some sort of nightly news in the feature. By getting the issue into the mass media awareness would increase substantially, which would theoretically lead to greater understanding.


Filed Under (SW7) by Aruni Gunaratne on 04-11-2011

For the general public, when the phrase “environmental problems involving carbon dioxide” is mentioned, global warming is likely what first comes to mind. The average person may not know or care enough about environmental issues to have even heard of, let alone be well informed of, ocean acidification, the other carbon dioxide problem. While it might not seem necessary that general, non-scientist, citizens should know about ocean acidification’s background and effects, it is in fact very important, because the more people there are that are well-informed, the higher the chances are of stopping or at least lessening the effects. It has been and will continue to be hard to bring awareness to the public knowledge about ocean acidification and its many dire effects. However, the media must take on this challenge and do its best to present the facts correctly and effectively, so that a proper response is elicited from the public.

This can be done, as the media has done an impressive job of thoroughly informing the public about global warming. In fact, there has even been some speculation (according to a CBS news blog by Brian Montopoli) that the media is perhaps hyping up global warming. The Environment and Public Works Committee Communications director stated that “Senator James M. Inhofe believes that poorly conceived policy decisions will result from the media’s nonstop hyping of ‘extreme scenarios’ and dire climate predictions.”  Whether it may be by overemphasizing the consequences of global warming, the end result is that the general audience is well-informed and is aware of need for and the methods pertaining to solving the problem of global warming. Similarly, the media must convey the urgency and need for action in regards to ocean acidification. This task is decidedly harder than that of presenting global warming, given that ocean acidification’s effects (taking place thousands of meters below sea level) are practically unfelt to humans.

Another critical task that the media must tackle is giving the general public the means by which they can help. It would be pointless to garner the attention of so many people, without presenting them with opportunities through which they can contribute to the sustainability of the ocean ecosystem. By publicizing specific new alternative energy methods and innovations, the public will be more likely to feel like they are contributing to an important cause, as opposed to one that will die out in a few years.  

In addition, by informing and heightening the interest of the common people, the media will indirectly be affecting the decisions of policymakers. Policymakers generally strive to cater to the interests and opinions of the public, and by attempting to please people who are interested in positively contributing to the solution for ocean acidification, they will institute favorable policies. Thus, the most effective way of communicating to different audiences that ocean acidification is inhibiting the sustainability of the ocean ecosystem is through the media’s strong hold on the public’s knowledge and opinions.


Filed Under (SW7) by Jake Crim on 04-11-2011


While global warming and ocean acidification are both caused by manmade carbon-emissions, the gap in public awareness of the two issues is immense.  Part of this is due to the fact that signs of global warming were studied years before ocean acidification, as well as the medias constant coverage of global warming. I believe the media is more interested in global warming because of the impact it could eventually have on everyone’s daily life. However, what most people don’t realize is ocean acidification could have an equally large impact. Ocean ecosystem services are an enormous part of our planet’s food supply, economy, and recreation. With ocean acidification occurring at an increasing rate, many of these services may be lost before everyone even realizes what is occurring.

The scientific community is one of the few groups beginning to understand the severity of ocean acidification. Research on the issue has picked up immensely over the last decade, and the results have scientists alarmed. While having data on the issue is critical, scientists cannot do much by themselves to protect the ecosystem services threatened. By working closely with aquaculture managers, however, scientists have the ability to sustain these services in a changing ocean environment.

This combination of aquaculture managers and scientists can work together to adapt to changes already occurring, but to halt the trend of decreasing pH, the general public and politicians need to become more knowledgeable on the situation. For the most part, the general public seems completely unaware of the changes occurring in our oceans. People realize that increased CO2 emissions are doing serious damage to our atmosphere, but have no idea that one-third off all this carbon is soaked up into the oceans. For any meaningful changes to take place, a larger percentage of the public, and in turn politicians, needs to be made aware of the damages ocean acidification can cause. The increase in the public’s awareness of global warming has led to a push towards green energy and other sustainability programs that could ease the burden put on our atmosphere. Yet even with this increased perception of our impact on the planet, no widespread changes have taken effect.

For massive solutions to come into play, politicians must get on board. It is imperative that scientists get the message across about the danger posed by ocean acidification. As of now, there has been very little action by U.S. policymakers to fight ocean acidification. The fact that our book was funded by The National Academies Press, an organization that reports to Congress, is a good sign in that at least some people in Washington have an idea as to what’s going on. However, if ecosystem services are to get any sort of lifeline, politicians must be pressured into taking action, and this action must come from the public.


The sustainability of ocean ecosystem services must be considered when developing and researching how to accurately implement carbon emissions policy. How oceans are affected by increased levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and oceans needs to be examined and dealt with. There is a lack of urgency in the government when it comes to enacting policy about climate change. Healthcare, social security and the budget all take priority and environmental legislation seems to be lost in the pile. A sense of determination about creating policy that limits carbon emissions is critical. It is unclear if the government does not realize how drastic the effects of increased carbon emissions are or the potential for this generation to completely change the ocean’s ecosystems and threaten marine life for future generations, but legislation needs to be passed. The situation is desperate and there is a difference between implementing a carbon tax now and ten years from now. There is already a huge amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and absorbed into the oceans. If legislation about carbon emissions is not passed through government quickly, there is a possibility that the severe effects of climate change will not be prevented no matter how much carbon emissions are reduced in the future. If policy is not established soon it may not make a significant enough difference because there will already be so much carbon in the air. It would be very difficult to prevent serious changes to the ecosystem.

The government should also realize the potential effects a lack of policy could have on the economy and standard of living. Changes in the ecosystem could completely collapse the fishing market, which would damage exports and imports and the global economy. A lot of countries depend on fish for capital accumulation as well as a main source of food. Without fish, less developed countries could really struggle because they do not have the resources to rebuild their economy.

The sustainability of oceans is important and could influence how environmental scientists and economists propose carbon reduction levels. Not only the amount of carbon released into the atmosphere can be considered but also how much of that is absorbed by the oceans. There are increasing amounts of evidence that ocean acidification would damage the sustainability of ocean ecosystems. This is critical information that must be passed on to policy makers in order for them to recognize the desperate need for carbon reduction policies. If ocean sustainability is not considered in the development and research of carbon reduction policies, then carbon tax or cap-and-trade legislation will continue to be passed over and made a second priority. If carbon reduction policy is not implemented soon, this generation will “compromise the ability of future life generations to meet their essential needs.”


Filed Under (Uncategorized) by Monica Turewicz on 04-11-2011

Eli Kozin’s article Homelessness and Poverty drew me in because I can relate to regularly seeing homeless people everywhere, including several on the streets of Durham. Eli describes how he experiences a “snowball of questions,” when he spots a homeless man on the street wearing an orange vest. Seeing this man, he realizes he wants to find out more about why this man, and many others across the country, are homeless. He wants to experience what it is like to be homeless, so he interviews seven homeless men and decides to spend one night outside with possessions matching those that he saw in the interviews.

Eli has conducted his research very well and has gained all the information he was looking for to answer his question, what leads to homelessness? He then is able to write and share the information with other people through his learned experiences. Interviewing the men directly gave him the opportunity to really see what homeless people are like. The two homeless men, according to the interviews, had suffered a lot. One had been sabotaged by his family, thrown in jail for threats, and attempted to commit suicide while being diagnosed with mental illnesses such as schitzophrenia. Through observation, Eli could compare and generalize the basic look of a homeless person. The similarities in the stories told in the interviews also helped to form a generalization of how the homeless got to that point in their lives.

After his interviews and observations, Eli takes a step further and realizes that he cannot fully understand the life of a homeless person until he fully experiences how they live. He spends one night with possessions that matched the ones he observed in his interviews. As Eli attempted to sleep outside he started to realize what these men had to go through, and started to question society and how it could let people endure such a thing for such a long time. He concludes that “ going to a warm jail cell” would have been “ favorable to sleeping out in the bitter cold.”

Eli’s research really shows readers what it was like to try to experience the life of a homeless person. The personal interviews and stories of how the homeless became, well, homeless, can really reach out to readers emotions and they can sympathize and only imagine what it was like for the men to go through those life experiences. Eli then goes further and tries to live like a homeless person for one night, trying to get the full on experience of his subjects. Through the interviews, observations, and attempts to live like the homeless, Eli comes to a conclusion that readers can agree with. Alongside some bad luck, homelessness is a social issue, and the fault is with our culture and public policy. Eli’s identification with the homeless men, and his experience overnight, help him lead to this conclusion and helps the readers understand that there are flaws in the socioeconomic structure in America, and that the homeless are not giving the attention that they need.

Filed Under (Uncategorized) by Barbara Blachut on 04-11-2011

Hope Winfield’s essay focuses on different aspects surrounding the controversial pro-choice segment of the Catholic Church. Pro-choice activism within the Church emerged around the time following the Roe v. Wade decision. However, even after many requests to do so, the Church refused to acknowledge pro-choice beliefs and instead responded to pro-choice activists with hostility. Instead of accepting their position as dissenters, these activists continued to fight for their stance: that Catholicism means making these sorts of decisions by yourself, and trusting your own spirituality, instead of being told what constitutes an “ethical” decision. In her essay, Winfield takes the position of a historian as she analyzes many of the more specific arguments made by the pro-choice Catholics, explaining their rationale for their anger with the decision-making authorities of the Church. She analyzes and cites from many primary sources, including an encyclical published by Pope Paul VI that became the basis of the Church’s official pro-life stance and the controversial pro-choice Catholic manifesto. Winfield completely abstains from including her own opinions on the topic, but instead, like a true historian, simply rationalizes past events and makes new connections, such as correlating the peak of this activism with the feminist movement. To supplement the organization of her essay, Winfield effectively employs and transitions between subheadings, which are used to highlight each main idea and make her structure clear to the reader. Her writing in general is very clear and to-the-point, avoiding fancy elongated language, but occasionally using figurative language, such as “…came armed for battle with their new interpretations of what it meant to be Catholic”, which differentiates her writing from the standard monotonous history essay. Her entire conclusion was a prime example of figurative language; she ends her essay by thoughtfully comparing the struggles of the Catholic pro-choice activists against the hierarchal church to the colonists of the American Revolution. This unique ending leads the reader in a more philosophical state, as they are left with a “bigger picture” of Catholic pro-choice history.

Scientific writing is very comparable to historical writing in that it is most effective when it relies on straight facts and unbiased interpretation rather than individual opinion and rhetoric. In my own writing, I have learned to abstain from even the slightest exaggeration in order to try to communicate more factually. Related to this type of communication is clarity and conciseness, which we have been working in our scientific writing class. It defines Winfield’s paper and could probably be translated to almost all forms of academic writing as a way to more successfully communicate an argument or explain a topic. With factual writing come sources and citation, and Winfield’s paper exemplifies this, as a citation appears after almost every other sentence. She synthesizes material from a variety a sources, but makes each idea her own by drawing connections and offering well-supported motives. This is also an aspect of writing that I have been working on, during both major projects. Although a piece of historical writing, the techniques in Winfield’s essay can easily be translated as exemplary models for scientific writing, and for many other forms of academic writing as well.

Filed Under (SW7) by Michael Tomaino on 04-11-2011

Humanity has a strong tendency to progress. Sometimes progress is born through a need and other times it is born through a desire. Only after 130 years of constant oil harvesting did humans realize they needed to progress. When we came to terms with the fact that our fossil fuel supply was not bottomless and acknowledged the harm that so much combustion was causing to our atmosphere, we turned to alternative sources of energy. Sources of energy like wind and solar were aimed at reducing our dependence on fossil fuels and saving the atmosphere. Because the suns heat and high-low pressure systems will not run out, they support the concept of sustainability. Other well-known sustainability movements like recycling and water conservation were also born from careless overuse of deceitfully abundant resources.

Now, after a few years of research regarding the pH of the ocean, we realize we have created another need for sustainability. Fossil fuel combustion leading to ocean acidification and overfishing are the perfect storm for the destruction of shellfish coral reefs and the entire marine food chain. Much of the “progress” born from the fossil fuel dilemma applies to ocean acidification. After scientists learned about ocean acidification, the push for renewable energy increased and climate change studies intensified. Solutions intended to reverse the affects of ocean acidification have been published but have also been subject to serious critical speculation. Moreover, these suggestions fail to account for the climate overall.

A long term method for combatting both ocean acidification and climate change is alternative energy. A movement already well underway, alternative energy accomplishes multiple goals at once. It reduces fossil fuel combustion, an effect that will stop the destruction of O3 in the atmosphere and CO32- in the ocean. It eliminates the variable cost associated with harvesting oil because windmills and solar panels are mostly autonomous once constructed. It even prevents further environmental disasters like the Exxon-Valdez spill and the Gulf Oil Spill. For these reasons, putting more resources into alternative energy is truly sustainability at its finest.

The ocean has sustained itself for billions of years. The atmosphere has done the same. Now, only 200 years after the industrial revolution, both are facing serious challenges. “Living inside the earth’s regenerative capacity” means understanding that trees can only convert CO2 to oxygen so fast, that fish can only reproduce so quickly, and that oil can only be harvested for so long. In order to promote and exercise sustainability, we have to use all of the earth’s resources instead of exploiting the ones that are limited in yield or overall quantity. This means waterfalls, windstorms, heat waves, sunshine, and ocean waves all have a place in society. Technology has given us the ability to convert almost anything into stored energy. Why rely on a limited supply of oil when the earth has an infinite amount of other resources? We must look to the future in preparation for not only the day when the oil wells run dry but in the interest of finding clean energy before we destroy the ocean and its inhabitants out of negligence.


Filed Under (SW7) by Xavier De Gunten on 04-11-2011

Ocean acidification is an important issue that needs to be addressed if the sustainability of ocean ecosystems and its services is to be protected. These ecosystems need to be protected because they are home to a wide range of aquatic life. In fact, coral reefs contain the most biodiversity and marine life in the ocean. Sadly enough, it is coral reef ecosystems that are extremely susceptible to the effects of ocean acidification. As the waters become more acidic, calcifying organisms in these regions will have a harder time making their own shells. The services that these calcifying organisms provide are crucial to many industries and for that reason, we must begin to implement policies focused on helping ocean ecosystems survive.


Some previous policies that have been put in place, such as the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act, have been helpful in combatting the effects of ocean acidification.  These policies, however, were not implemented with ocean acidification specifically in mind, and its consequent benefits towards our oceans were just an added benefit. Instead, they were initially meant to focus on other more public issues such as global warming. While any policy that alleviates carbon dioxide emissions should be welcomed, there needs to be certain initiatives focused solely on reversing ocean acidification. Previous policies do not address all the needs of ocean ecosystems to effectively combat ocean acidification. Regulations made with specific consideration to the growing problem of ocean acidification will better address all facets and intricacies of ocean ecosystems, such as coral reefs. These regulations could do more to improve the conditions of our oceans in the years to come than other policies such as the Clean Air Act, which are more focused on global warming


The primary issue of crafting policy to insure the sustainability of ocean ecosystem services is that ocean acidification is just not understood or acknowledged as an issue by much of the general public. While there is a knowledge base on ocean acidification that is understood by some scientists and fishery professionals, the large majority of the public has not even heard about ocean acidification and do not know that it is a serious issue that will possibly affect aquatic biodiversity. If the general public is not aware of these issues, then policy makers are less pressured to find solutions to these problems. For this reason, ocean acidification and how it affects ocean ecosystem services must first be communicated to the general public before policies and regulations can effectively be created. The documentary, A Sea Change, is a good example of how steps are being taken to alert the public, but a less apocalyptic tone should be taken in the hopes of creating discussion in the public forum. Once this begins to happen, then the shift can be made to forming new policies focused on sustainability of ocean ecosystems and combating ocean acidification.