Sea Level Rise

Sea level rise is the idea the shoreline is retreating and the chance of flooding is increasing.  Sea level rise is caused by the greenhouse effect and therefore things such as the burning of fossil fuels.  The earth is heating and therefore the glaciers are melting, this is causing there to be warmer water.  Warmer water takes up more space and therefore when it replaces the cold water from the glaciers it takes up more room and causes water level to rise. (Mike Hardesty)

What is going to happen if we do nothing about sea level rise? Doing nothing about sea level rise means continuously burning fossil fuels for cars, industrialization, etc. If we continue to do this then the sea level will continue to rise and more and and more of the continents will be underwater.  This means that more and more of our homes will be underwater if nothing is done. There are already cities such as New Orleans that have to have pumps running all day, every day in order to pump water out and stop their city from going underwater according to Doug Levin.  If nothing is done or we do not move farther away from the coasts then places like ocean city and other places along the coast in places like Maryland will go underwater.  What is going to happen to all of those people that live on the water if nothing is done? This would mean more disasters like Hurricane Katrina in 2005 may happen and many more people will be devastated and their homes and families will be destroyed.  We must do as much as we can in order to prevent this.

How can we help control sea level rise?  In order to help solve this very serious issue and prevent our homes from being underwater we must begin to decrease our pollution and burning of fossil fuels.  In order to do so we need to give monetary incentives to people for the use of alternative energies and begin to find ways to majorly decrease the pollution.  This has already began to be implemented through tax cuts and grants for people who put solar panels on their homes.  This needs to be implemented in other ways as well, especially when it comes to alternative energies for cars.  On the other hand, sea level rise has been repeating itself for millions of years; sea level has been rising and falling in cycles. (Doug Levin)  There will always be a pattern and at some point sea level will natural rise, humans just need to stop facilitating.  Humans need to stop polluting and stop the burning of fossil fuels and decrease the greenhouse effect in order to help preserve the earth and their homes as much as possible.


Stalking 1: Respect vs Exploitation

The New World; a place with endless resources and interesting new things and new people. The Native Americans had been living there for years but the Europeans arrived to a land more abundant in resources than they had ever imagined. There were two types of people in the New World when the Europeans arrived: the Europeans and the Native Americans.  These two groups had entirely different, almost opposite, ways of handling the environment and coping with the challenges they encountered. The Europeans utilized the land by exploiting it for resources while the Native Americans believed in giving back what they took from the environment, according to Warren Taylor, a Pamunkey Indian.

Native Americans appreciated the land, they worshipped Mother Nature and respected the land.  One of the most prominent practices for giving back to the environment was their establishment of a shad fish hatchery.  They created a system in which they would take the sperm and egg out of shad that they caught during spawning season and would mix them in order to help the fish reproduce.  One the eggs hardened and the fish had hatched they would finally be introduced back into the environment. The Pamunkey Indians created the first ever shad fish hatchery (Warren Cook).  Practices like these allowed the Native Americans to remain sustainable and to continually represent their respect for the environment, even in a society of industrialization and exploitation of resources.

The Europeans had a very different approach when they came to the New World.  They had never seen a land with so many abundant resources, resources seemed so abundant and never ending that the Europeans began exploiting them and using whatever they could.  They cut down trees for everything they needed and cleared land, leaving them with no protection from the harsh environment.  They used trees to make fences and homes, different types of native plants for roofs, etc. By the mid to late eighteenth century, the colonists were using one acre of forest per day per family.  This was not a sustainable practice and was resulting in an enormous amount of deforestation.  They were using many more resources than the Native Americans were using or ever had used at one time.

The Europeans also came to the New World in a raw environment that was almost untouched where there wasn’t a huge human impact on the environment.  The Native Americans had been in the New World for hundreds or thousands of years, yet there was very little trace of them that could be seen when the colonists got here.  However, after less than two years of being in the New World the colonists had turned the river into a dumping ground.  Anything they did not need they would throw into the river, including human waste.  It was things like this that caused mass epidemics, because they would then use and drink that exact same water.  (Seidel)

The Native Americans have severely changed since the colonial period.  After a trip to the Pamunkey Indian Reservation it became apparent that the Pamunkey Indians have modernized, although maybe not as much as many of the American people.  The Pamunkey Indians now have modern homes, although they are generally small and typically trailer like, they drives cars, and leave the reservation for employment.  However, the Pamunkey Indians still believe in giving back to their environment; they still have a shad fish hatchery that is ran and operated every year.  They are still doing some farming and have not completely assimilated to using different types of chemicals on their fields.  The most impressive of it all would probably be that the Pamunkey Indians have not industrialized.  They have managed to keep their reservation natural and if they want to go to most stores they have to go off of the reservation.  They do not have factories and large industries on the reservation in order to make goods; they generally make them by hand via traditions or they go off of the reservation in order to buy them.This keeps their environment clean, pristine, and beautiful.

The American culture has also changed over time.  The tour of the Baltimore Museum of Industry effectively portrayed this change from a mostly agricultural society to a society in which there were factories and cities were the most common place for people to live.  Society became largely about cheap labor and the effectiveness of production rather than farming and agriculture.  Even today, most parts of the country are not based around agriculture; they are still based around the effectiveness of what we can do and produce, even if it isn’t based around factories and cheap labor.

I promise that I have completed this assignment in the spirit of the Washington College Honor Code.

Works Cited:

Cook, Warren. Personal Interview.14 September 2015.

Seidel, John. Lecture. “Environment and People in the Chesapeake: An             Archaeological and Historical Perspective”.  17 September 2015.

Taylor, Warren. Personal Interview. 10 September 2015.

Messages through History

Having spent the last two days in Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia I realized the big picture messages that are portrayed to visitors, both intentional and unintentional, which I didn’t realize coming here as a child or with my family.  Two of the messages that really stood out to me were how easy we truly have it in the twentieth century and how little Colonial Williamsburg acknowledges and educates about slavery during the eighteenth century.

Life was truly harder during the eighteenth century, during the time of Colonial Williamsburg.  Throughout this time people had to work for everything they wanted and owned.  If they wanted a spoon they didn’t just drive to Walmart and buy one, they went to a silversmith, gave them silver, and had to wait for it to be made by hand.  If they wanted food they usually had to make it themselves and only eat what they could make themselves, they didn’t just go to the McDonald’s drive through and order a Big Mac.  When the colonies first settled in the New World they had a hard time getting use to the new land and learning how to fend for themselves.  The movie The New World that we watched showed how the colonists really struggled to get use to the natives and make it through the tough, harsh winters.  Nowadays, we talk about how awful the winter is and how cold it is and that we want it to end but we don’t experience anything close to what the colonists did.  I couldn’t imagine having to eat leather and my clothing because there was no food.  We truly do take things for granted and don’t realize how easy industrialization and the advancement of technology really did make our lives. But at the same time they didn’t show the worst parts about life at home as someone in the middle class.  They portrayed how difficult some of the trades are very well, but they did not portray how awful life at home could be.  Dr. Seidel mentioned in his lecture how small the houses these people lived in were and how you could hear everything everyone did and said until the homes became larger.  However, there weren’t any of these homes that could be toured and no one I spoke to really talked about what they did at home or what it was like at home.

The more unintentional message that I got out of my experience here in Williamsburg was how underrepresented the slaves are.  We learned that the slaves made up over 50% of the population in Colonial Williamsburg, yet I didn’t see more than two African American interpreters during the two days I spent wandering around the town.  When I would ask the tradesman about what their interactions with the slaves and African Americans would be like and how often they would occur, they would stare at me with a blank stare as if they had never even thought about the slaves that had been there during the time.  I expected the slaves to be represented and at least to be seen and talked about more than just where the slave quarters were.  I even went to the exhibit for the African American church that was founded in 1781, according to the tour guide in the Bruton Parrish Church, but there was no one there to answer any questions I had and it was tucked away as if they didn’t care if anyone went there or learned about the African American culture.

What is your ethic of the Chesapeake Bay?

I was born and raised in Maryland, on the Western shore, eating crabs soaking in Old Bay and catching catfish and rockfish.  The Chesapeake Bay has been essential in helping me figure out who I am and what I want to do with my life.  Without the Bay I don’t know who I would be and I don’t want anyone to miss out on that opportunity. Without the Bay I wouldn’t have chosen a school in Maryland studying Biology and Environmental Science, putting all of my effort into understanding and protecting the Bay.  I want my children and grandchildren to be able to appreciate and experience the Bay the way that I did.

The Chesapeake Bay deserves to be cherished and cared for so that everyone can have the experiences and opportunities that I did.  The Chesapeake Bay’s wildlife should be protected and its fisheries should be regulated.  If we do nothing then the Bay will not be anything like it is today, species will start to disappear and it will never be the same.  The Bay is a living thing, it will always be changing, but not as drastically as it is now.

Humans have devastated the Bay and we need to help repair it by starting at the infrastructure level, as we discussed in Dr. Seidel’s lecture.  The environment is effected by the human sociocultural system, the lowest level of which is the infrastructure level that contains production and reproduction.  In order to help the Bay we need to manipulate the production part of the infrastructure.  We need to change how we get and produce our food; the amount of chemicals we are using on crops and regulations we have on the organisms in the Bay.  If things do not change in the infrastructure level of the system then nothing will change in the Bay.  It starts at the infrastructure level and slowly works up.  It goes to the structure and superstructure; the chemicals we put in the Bay and the ways in which we get our food from the Bay changes the way we cook our food and the people in the Chesapeake Bay region live and what they depend on and even what the people in the region believe in.

We cannot ignore the problems in the Bay, it is our responsibility to “fix” the Bay and keep it as healthy as we possibly can in order to conserve the beauty and the parts of the Bay that we have grown to love and care about.  If we do not stop using so many chemicals on farm fields and if we don’t stop overfishing and depleting our resources then the Bay will not be here the way that it should be for future generations.  We have to start thinking about the consequences for our actions before it is too late.  If the Bay is destroyed and not preserved it will be our fault.