Tag: climate change

cowspiracy: a lesson in naivety.

The newest calf! - Photo Cred: David

I’ve always struggled with vegetarianism.

In college I tried to stop eating meat, several times. As an environmental science undergrad, the more I learned about food systems, the more I felt compelled to convert. I had a burning desire to succeed, almost as if my morality depended on it, but I never found the resolve.

So I tried, failed, tried again, failed again, etc.

Over time, I’ve come across three main arguments for renouncing animal protein:

  1. Humans were meant to be herbivores
  2. Eating other living things is ethically deplorable
  3. Factory farms are terrible

I’m not an anthropologist, but I simply don’t buy the herbivore argument. I seriously struggle with the carnivore sin idea. I love animals, I’ve raised them, and I’ve slaughtered them – maybe some people think it’s insensitive, but I still (very much) like to eat them. The factory farm angle I can get behind 100%… but on just that foundation, it’s very, very difficult to refuse a juicy, grass-fed burger and fatty, free-range bacon.

No argument has successfully managed to turn me off the omnivore path, despite my noble aspirations – until now (sort of).

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Is Instagram apathetic? #ActForNature

(Preemptive apologies to my non-Instagram readers.)

Let’s address the elephant in our collective virtual room:
Why do we spend endless hours photographing nature but very few actually defending it?

Social media is famous for its ability to escalate social movements for change. Consider the Egyptian Uprising, #Ferguson, #BlackLivesMatter, #BringBackOurGirls, and the #IceBucketChallenge for a start. But all of these movements were/are centered on Twitter, with Facebook as a sidekick. What about Instagram?*

This fall, Socality Barbie brought Instagram’s #liveauthentic movement’s artificiality into light. The press went wild, attacking the culture for it’s glaringly obvious inauthenticity. In my favorite article, Hilary Oliver argues compellingly that the #liveauthentic culture is a cry for meaning from the millennials’ that stems from our suburban, programmed, and privileged childhoods (read here).

These criticisms are fair, but I’d like to add my own.

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the ‘search in Buger.

So a few weeks ago I told you that I was embarking on a research journey until the end of the program. Wednesday we will arrive at our big destination – community presentations. After a month of data collection, analysis and documentation we will be presenting our results and conclusions to the community as well as representatives from the government and park management spheres. Since all of you can’t be there I thought I would summarize my paper for you… the whole 29 pages might be a bit much.

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Climate change impacts and local adaptation strategies within the Iraqw community in Buger Village, Karatu District, Tanzania

The International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicts that average annual and daily temperatures in Tanzania will rise 2-4°C by 2075 as a direct result of anthropogenic climatic changes. Predicted resulting decreases in rainfall have the potential to undermine current and future efforts to eradicate poverty in Tanzania. Over 90% of the population is dependent on agriculture or agricultural activities. The variability and unpredictability of precipitation strongly affects agricultural production through poor water availability and soil erosion, as well as increases of pests and diseases. In rural regions of Tanzania modern adaptation methods to these challenges can be expensive, confusing, and difficult to access. As a result, these communities rely on traditional practices for adaptation that should be documented and analyzed for potential standardization and replication. This study documents the current impacts of climate change on the village of Buger in Karatu District, Tanzania and the existing local adaptation methods.

The primary methods used in the research were focus group discussions and structured interviews. The focus groups ranked the impacts of climate change by severity and several agricultural practices by effectiveness in increasing production. A semi-structured questionnaire was completed through interviews at 106 households in the village.

Through this study it became clear that predicted climatic changes are already being felt in Buger, primarily increased drought frequency and duration. The villagers reported decreases in the rainy season by five to six months. A high reliance on natural resources leaves villagers vulnerable to these changes through effects such as decreased agricultural production, pasture availability and water availability as well as increases in malaria.

Climate adaptation methods were documented, most directly related to agriculture. In general, the respondents preferred traditional methods (such as manure as fertilizer, terracing, tree planting, crop rotation, and intercropping) to modern methods (such as the use of short season seeds and the use of inorganic fertilizers and/or pesticides), suggesting that traditional methods are more accessible, affordable and effective and should be preserved and advocated within the region.

The beautiful village of Buger.

The beautiful village of Buger.

This information is from a paper produced as a part of an academic directed research semester at the School For Field Studies Center for Wildlife Management Studies (SFS) under the TAWIRI – permit 2012-241-NA-2012-57 and supervision of Professor John Mwamhanga. Please contact bowiee@dickinson.edu with questions or concerns.

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