Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Recreation in the National Parks

From a long time ago, but I just figured out how to post as a new blog, rather than a comment!

After talking today in class about what forms of recreation in the national parks are intrinsically better than another it got me thinking of a personal story from this past summer, that I included in my Mill v. Sax Paper, but I think everyone might find it interesting:

"In defense of Sax’s position that the parks should be kept as natural as possible, I recall a personal anecdote from my family trip to Alaska this past summer. Denali National Park is a six million acre preserve originally set aside as a national park in 1917. Set in the heart of Alaska, Denali is a majestic park that I have always been enthralled with since I was a young child. To me, it seemed as though Denali was one of America’s last great wildernesses; a place where grizzly bears and moose far outnumbered people. All this set against the backdrop of Mount McKinley, the highest, and perhaps most spectacular peak in North America. Denali was one of the last places my family visited on our two-week trip to Alaska and I was effervescent with anticipation until the moment we arrived there.
Our tour bus pulled up to the Princess™ “Wilderness” Lodge right outside of the park boundary and I was appalled at what I saw. This “wilderness” lodge was more like a Disneyworld resort, packed full of tourists who seemed as though they had taken a wrong turn somewhere and ended up in the middle of Alaska. Across the street from the resort there was a “scenic” cable car ride that took you to the top of a nearby mountain, as well as a strip mall crammed with restaurants, souvenir shops and even a Harley Davidson Motorcycle outlet! The physical and symbolic scar that was left on this landscape by human development was palpable. It felt like a bad dream, all my life I had envisioned Denali as an unspoiled, expansive wilderness, and here I was, standing outside a McDonald’s only feet from the Denali park border. I was dejected. Technically, this development was allowed because it was mere feet outside of the park’s borders, but that didn’t change my opinion of it. The over-development of such a wonderful natural area detracted from my personal experience while visiting the park."

Any thoughts or comments?


Ethics of Hunting

From a long time ago, but I just figured out how to post as a new blog, rather than a comment!

I found the discussion of bear hunting with hounds and jelly donuts today in class especially interesting, particularly when the issue was raised: is it unsportsmanlike to hunt in such a manner and if so, should that be penalizable? It was brought up that in sports such as basketball and football that acting in a respectful "sportsmanlike" manner is a personal decision, which not everyone chooses to follow. If a person chooses to act unsportsmanlike this doesn't get penalized. The problem I had with that is in sports such as football, basketball or baseball that's simply not true. If an athlete acts unsportsmanlike in any way he is subject to consequences such as penalties for his team or being ejected from the game. So taking it back to the bear hunting argument, if it is indeed a sport like basketball and football, shouldn't hunters be held accountable if they behave in ways that are deemed unsportsmanlike by their specific sport? Not to say I believe this, I am merely playing devil's advocate and offering up some food for thought

P.S. I found some interesting bear hunting video's with hounds on YouTube; you decide if its ethical or not.


Thursday, November 6, 2008

It's Not Nice to Fool Mother Nature

retro 70s margarine commercials, as promised in class. enjoy!

more info at http://www.tvacres.com/admascots_mothernature.htm .

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Animal Rights

Hi guys.
I had to read this article for my debate class and I thought it was really interesting. It discusses ethics in regards to animal rights. A lot of the concepts we covered in this class appear in the debate, like utilitarianism and moral philosophy.
Just thought a lot of you might enjoy it...


Thursday, September 25, 2008

Is Fargo a true story? lies and deception redux

the following is from snopes.com:

opens with: 'This is a true story. The events depicted in this film took place in Minnesota in 1987. At the request of the survivors, the names have been changed. Out of respect for the dead, the rest has been told exactly as it occurred.'

"Great opening. And not a word of truth to it.

"Fargo's Fargo creators, the Coen brothers, are known for their playfulness, the inclusion of 'little touches' that add to a film. Given the Coens' reputation for this, you'd think any responsible film reviewer would have made at least a stab at confirming this bold claim before blithely passing it along as fact. (Had they done any checking, they would have quickly discovered that nothing so much as vaguely resembling that level of carnage had occurred in Minnesota. Not in 1987. Not ever.) As a result of those reviews, an even greater number ended up believing what the Coen brothers had to have thought no one but the incredibly gullible would fall for. Their little leg-pull went over big time."

read the rest here.

Monday, September 22, 2008


Hi Everyone,

I was thinking the other day about the discussion of ethics being separate from the legal system and the importance of not confusing ethics and the law, and I though of this book...

"You May Not Tie and Alligator To a Fire Hydrant: 101 Real Dumb Laws"

It seems to offer some support for the idea that not all of our laws are based on morality...


Thursday, September 11, 2008

Filming for the Environment

*Call for Submissions*

ACUPCC Video Competition

The American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment <http://www.presidentsclimatecommitment.org/>(ACUPCC) is soliciting videos that demonstrate creative strategies for communicating the Climate Commitment across your campus and beyond. Deadline is Oct 1.

Five selected videos will be highlighted and screened at the 2nd biennial conference of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education <http://www.aashe.org/conf2008/> (AASHE) November 9-11th in Raleigh, NC. Videos will also be made publicly available on the ACUPCC and AASHE websites, providing exposure for your institutional efforts and sharing creative strategies to build awareness.

For more information and for guidelines on submitting videos:

Money for Green Projects on Campus

In case you all didn't see this:

Now that you are back on campus, it's time to make it a better,greener place. Students can implement projects on campus, making the college more sustainable, while also building their resume.

National Wildlife Federation’s Campus Ecology program awardsfellowship grants to undergraduate and graduate students who arecommitted to reduce their campus carbon footprint; projects including: greenhouse gas inventories, climate action plans, energy conservationand efficiency, habitat restoration, convening climate actiongatherings and more will be considered.

Grant awards:
Up to $2000 for Undergraduate Students
Up to $5000 for Graduate Students
Fall deadlines: October 1, 2008
November 14, 2008
Visit www.nwf.org/fellows for details about the Campus Ecology
Fellowship program.

How Wild is Wilderness?

An excellent and eye-opening read on just how dramatically the Americas where transformed by humans BEFORE they turned into wilderness, that is, before the majority of humans living in the America's were wiped out by European disease and made room for the beasts to roam:

1491, New Revelations about the Americas before Columbus, by Charles C. Mann

For a very special take on American wilderness see

Food for thought 1. Zeitgeist Movie


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Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Ethical and psychological egoism

Hi everyone,
Don't be bashful about using some of the links to the right from various philosophy resources on the web. Lawrence Hinman's site is very thorough; check out the page on "ethical egoism" at http://ethics.sandiego.edu/theories/Egoism/index.asp , for example.

Please do suggest other links to other resources if you encounter them, and I'll put them on the sidebar.


Friday, September 5, 2008

A little Calvin and Hobbes

Hey guys, sorry that the font is so tiny, but you can read the comic strip better at http://progressiveboink.com/archive/calvinhobbes.htm ...... I couldn't help but laugh at Calvin's logic when I read this. It says quite a lot about us, doesn't it? Are we right to be hunting deer in order to limit populations when we ourselves our extremely overpopulated? Is overpopulation a valid excuse for taking the life of another being? Any thoughts?

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Welcome to Ethics and the Environment, Fall 2008 version

Hi everyone,
I've sent out the invites to class members to sign up. Feel free to pass along news items, tentative speculations about ethical issues, clear-cut cases of injustice and/or righteousness . . . it's all good.

What is good, anyway? discuss.