Posts tagged Nature
Online courses: Accessing nature through the Internet.

If you are looking to expand your­ knowledge of and familiarity with environmentally focused science and issues, free online courses are a great resource for doing so on your own time and at your own pace.  While most of the courses that I want to take are at the undergraduate level, the material covered is generally less detailed than your typical university course, so it can take less time and studying to grasp and understand the material.  Instead of aimlessly browsing the Internet to learn about climatology or environmental activism, online courses are a great way to gain information without consuming too much time or spending any money. So, I decided to complete a few online courses to explore what kind of environmental and nature programs the Internet has to offer.

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Environmental education boosts learning, reduces stress in children.

Environmental Education (EE) is growing. Whereas appreciation for nature and the environment was once taught – paradoxically so – from inside an air-conditioned rectangle also known as a traditional classroom,  educators now see the benefits of taking these lessons outdoors.  Modern EE has many advantages.  Not only does EE raise environmental awareness, but it has also shown to boost stress management. Children can also benefit from learning about the environment through hands-on experience. Although many schools now offer stress management courses or programs, most of them rely on dealing with existing stress, rather than creating environments designed to reduce stress, according to Louise Chawla, environmental design professor at the University of Colorado – Boulder.

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What is the present value of nature?

“How much do I care about the well being of future generations?” If you’ve been thinking about climate change, sustainability, and the state of our natural environment, you may have asked yourself that very question. The question gets to the root of a term called intergenerational equity. Considering the value you place on this concept entails the consideration of our planet’s productive resources (i.e. forests, clean water, nutrient-rich soil) in the stewardship of current generations that cannot be recreated by humans, but that can be used to improve the welfare of humans and society today. However, the manner in which these productive resources are used today can impact their future productive capacity. At its core, considering intergenerational equity means addressing whether or not today’s generations work to preserve and/or enhance the natural resources, assets, and cultures that are at their disposal, or whether they deplete these resources, assets, and cultures for their current gain at a rate that limits the ability of the resources to provide benefits in the future.

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What is wilderness?

Magenta fireweed flowers under a blue northern Alberta sky a stunning backdrop for oil company propaganda (I don’t remember which company). The oil company claimed this was restored land after oil drilling had finished but northern Alberta isn’t a homogeneous field of fireweed. Fireweed, a pioneer plant, is part of the first step in a succession, that, if conditions are right, might result in the northern Alberta ecosystem that was originally stripped away. Maybe the oil company is doing more to restore these ecosystems and just chose to film in a swath of fireweed because it is pretty. I don’t really know, but it did get me thinking about our meddling in the natural world.

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Nature: To conquer or coexist?

On January 14th, Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson summited the 3000–foot Dawn Wall on El Capitan. Previously thought to be impossible, these two men spent three weeks on the wall making the impossible possible. This expedition received great coverage in a number of major news outlets. One comment caught my attention: Jorgeson commented that he wished media outlets would not refer to their expedition as an attempt to “conquer” nature. He followed up with “this isn’t about us versus it” and he hoped people would be inspired to “find their own Dawn Wall”.

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