Here you will find posts offering the environmental version of ‘what would you do.” There are no right, nor wrong answers of course--we just hope to challenge your perspective and encourage discussion on related scenarios that will test your ethical nature. Please feel free to add one of your own nature-related situations! We would love to join in the discussion :)

Now, what would you do...

Dec 22, 2009

Should Wild Animals Become Pets to Ward Off Extinction?

Mike Archer, a professor at the School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of New South Wales (UNSW), has long been a proponent of domesticating Australia's unique wildlife to keep it from disappearing.

While he concedes that not all native animals make great pets (wombats and koalas come to mind), others do, and Archer is hoping that the government will start to legalize ownership of more native pets. "No animal that has ever entered [humans'] inner circle has become extinct," he says. "When you value something and have an emotional connection with it ... it simply doesn't disappear."

It's a strategy that has worked before in Australia, albeit on a smaller scale. In 1987...

Read more: http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1946471,00.html#ixzz0ZCxVScKT

(via Twitterer Candance, CandyWWGM)

What do you think?

Jun 22, 2009

Trash Talk

There is so much discussion about global consumerism and waste, and rightly so. Our consumer, nuclear, and technological waste(s) alone creates serious ecological threats to our planet--first our land, then our air, our water, our oceans, and now outer space?!

Consider this article, Archaeology of Space Garbage, by University of Arizona professor and Senior Editor of Discover Archaeology magazine, W.L. Rathje. Here, leading “garbologist” Rathje shares his view on the enormity (and threat) of space garbage orbiting Earth, left behind from space missions, as well as "exo-archaeology" - the study of the artifacts of outer space.

I find his article appropriate here because his number one lesson addresses the fact that we create numberless commercial/technological products without considering its disposal issues. Who is responsible for our global waste? Individuals? The companies that make these products? We, who buy them? Individual nations? The global economy? Global environmental sanctions?

How do we better eliminate this growing mountain of trash?

Read the article here:

Jun 15, 2009

Researchers Argue Leave No Trace Does Leave "Traces."

Shared by a Caliso friend--definitely “something to ponder.” This latest article discusses the environmental ethics beyond Leave No Trace outdoor practices in today’s environment and economy. Hmm, it’s getting harder and harder to find an appropriate balance regarding our environmental impact. This article topic opens up a whole new consideration, although I believe in the value of LNT practices. I also agree, this gives us something to think about!

From an e-mail “Media Advisory” received:

This June 13th is National Get Outdoors Day, and researchers at Stanford University and UC Santa Barbara are revealing how wilderness visitors who dutifully follow the popular Leave No Trace ethic may confront a contradiction in terms. Leave No Trace, the researchers argue, does indeed leave a trace.

“The Leave No Trace program sets up a paradoxical alliance,” says lead author Gregory Simon, an associate professor now at University of Colorado Denver who completed the study while at Stanford University. “In order to leave no trace, backpackers are routed through recreation equipment stores and required to buy an assortment of outdoor gear. Consumption becomes an antidote to environmental degradation,” he adds.

The study, published in the spring/summer issue of the journal Ethics, Place & Environment, illustrates that while the Leave No Trace principles are critical for protecting the backcountry and backpackers, “traces” are displaced from wilderness areas to other locations along the commodity chain of outdoor recreation equipment. For instance, hikers are advised to buy stoves to replace campfires, tents to avoid using native vegetation for shelter, and water purification systems to provide safe drinking water from streams. These advised activities are somewhat beneficial but can be geographically-nearsighted in that they have significant impacts outside the wilderness area, such as local degradation at manufacturing and mineral extraction sites in the developing world and increased carbon emissions along ocean shipping corridors.

The researchers describe the history and practice of the Leave No Trace program in the United States and the need for a 21st century environmental ethic that is more sustainable and democratic.

The study’s abstract is found here:

Jun 3, 2009

Hoppin' Habitat!

You've created a backyard habitat and are beginning to enjoy the benefits of watching several native species enjoy your carefully chosen habitat elements. Some have even taken up residence! One day you notice that the birds, rabbits, and butterflies you enjoy seeing are beginning to attract their natural predators to your habitat haven. How do you respond?

May 21, 2009

Camper’s Nightmare

This is based on a personal experience:

You’re camping in a remote campground enjoying the quiet break from any reminder of civilization and you're looking forward to the precious chance to restore your energy and your spirit.

Two cars arrive and pull into a site away from yours. Nine college students spill out and begin to set up tents over four sites. They are LOUD, clearly excited to be “in the elements.” They continue to be LOUD, messing around, making their presence known. Then they turn the radio on…LOUD. You are annoyed to realize that it looks like they are here to party.

You came to recharge your batteries, and that requires the effects of nature, not noisy campers.

What do you do?

Striking Behavior?

Submitted by Caliso friend, Laura H. (italicized):

You are enjoying the wildflowers and notice some kids playing with a rattlesnake ...what would you do?

What would you do if they were young adults harassing a rattlesnake?

What would you do if kids were handling a dead rattlesnake?

Vegetarians Do It Better?

We came across this blog entry and it made us think...

"In recent years, awareness about global climate change and other environmental issues has increased considerably. Environmental activists who were once ridiculed are now accepted and even praised. According to Geophysicists Eshel and Martin from the University of Chicago 'where the environment is concerned, eating meat is like driving a huge SUV...Eating a vegetarian diet is like driving a mid-sized car. And eating a vegan diet (no dairy, no eggs) is like riding a bicycle or walking.' Shifting away from SUV-style diets to much more energy-efficient alternatives, is key to fighting the warming trend.…"

As casual meat eaters ourselves, we wondered, can you be an environmentalist and still eat meat?

Tortoise 911

It is spring, and you are exploring a desert wildflower field, taking in the bounty of blossoms. You begin noticing tortoise tracks around and amble along the path of one set of tracks when you come across a male desert tortoise that is flipped over, struggling to right itself.

What would you do?