Energy and Ecology

Throughout this class there have been many topics that have interested me. One that personally stood out for me was the relationship between humans and animals. In the class text, Why Look at Animals, John Berger discusses the break between humans and animals that was expedited mainly through corporate capitalism. Berger accomplishes this by making a historically comprehensive timeline of the dynamic relationship between humans and animals. The timeline starts with the first humans who were practically animals, but even as time went on there was still a respect for animals from humans. For a long time, humanity saw animals in an almost magical light in the practice of sacrifice. Humanity progresses further, humans start domesticating animals and the respect for animals starts to go down. However, the domesticated animals were still in a relatively natural environment so there is still some respect. As time went by, the ideology that animals were merely tools of the human progressed further and further. Corporations adopted this ideology and continually push the envelope. It seems that for corporations animals and the environment just get in the way of making profit. As a society, we should ask ourselves are we okay with corporations disregarding animals and the environment if it means we save money? This is the question that I found the most intriguing, and which prompted me to start researching more about corporate influence on animals and the environment.

Although not directly discussed in his essay, a perfect example of the break from nature can be found in humanity’s reckless pursuit of energy. Right now, we are in the fastest and most devastating extinction event in the history of Earth. It is estimated that the rate of extinction is 100 to 1000 times higher directly because of human impact. I found this rather distressing and I wanted to find out the reasons why. There are many competing factors for this event but the effect from fossil fuels stood out to me. From here I wanted to find out the true impact fossil fuel had on the environment. Then I thought what impact do other energy sources have on the environment? Fossil fuels cause the most harm but what harm do renewable resources have? I was fascinated by this idea of finding out the true impact that humans have and that if there is any way that we can minimize the impact or possibly even be proactive towards animals and the environment. Eventually, I formed this idea that I would dedicate a series of small in-depth blog posts to the ecological impact of all different types of energy sources. The topics I chose are very specific and range from the detrimental impacts of oil farming in the boreal forest to the potential beneficial effects of offshore wind farming. For my final paper and final presentation, I will use this series of blog posts as my archive to make a collective picture of the ecological impact positive or negative from humans. I hope you enjoy reading them and that it encourages you to research more about these topics as I did.


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