Thursday, November 16, 2017

Protected Places, and Places in Need of Protection

After watching this amazing TED talk on the scientific, aesthetic, and ecological value of the Redwoods, I hope you are curious about other places near and far that have achieved some kind of protected status or are in need of protection. Spend some time with the WHEN and WHERE -- find some places that you can use to further your thinking and read (or view) a bit about them. Think about WHY certain places need protection, and protection from WHAT? Think about HOW places these sensitive or important places should be conserved and managed, and about what kind of human uses should be permitted or even encouraged in these areas. What are the threats to these places? How are these threats handled? What kinds of laws or practices have been used to protect these places, or should be used for places that are not yet protected?

Start by finding THREE possible places that would work as case studies. At least one should be protected already in some significant or legal manner, and at least one should be an area that needs better protection.  One of the sites should be local (in British Columbia, better yet in the Central Interior). List them in a blog comment below -- with the briefest of descriptions. As you might guess, you will be choosing one of your three to study further as a case study.

Here is an example of an area that already has special protection, but has ongoing challenges that threaten its unique characteristics:

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

People who stayed in Chernobyl

Documentary on Cherbobyl:

The Babushkas of Chernobyl - trailer:

Why stay in Chernobyl? Because it's home.:

Your reaction? We'll discuss some follow-on questions in class. What do you think about what you saw and learned?

Friday, November 10, 2017

Special Places

Special Places -- what makes them "work?" After we spent some time looking at how people interact with the spaces at D.P. Todd, it might be nice to consider places that are special to you.

We start with an unusual word: topophilia.
"The word 'topophilia' is a neologism, useful in that it can be defined broadly to include all of the human being's affective ties with the material environment. These differ greatly in intensity, subtlety, and mode of expression. The response to environment may be primarily aesthetic: it may vary from the fleeting pleasure one gets from a view to the equally fleeting but far more intense sense of beauty that is suddenly revealed. The response may be tactile, a delight in the feel of air, water, earth. More permanent and less easy to express are the feelings that one has toward a place because it is home, the locus of memories, and the means of gaining a livelihood" - Yi-Fu Tuan, Topophila, p. 93
Affective ties with the material environment... in other words, topophilia means the love of place. This is an important idea that impacts the way humans interact with the world. Special places make us more connected to ourselves, other people, and the environment. This will be the subject of a short writing assignment.

What is a place that you love? A special area in nature that brings back strong memories, a place you love to visit because of the things that have happened there. Maybe it's a built-up space, like the home of a grandparent or an amazing restaurant? Maybe it's a natural location like a beach, mountain vista, bike trail, or fishing spot. Or in between, like a cabin. Maybe you'd like to write about your earliest experience with a natural world, a powerful memory in nature. What is the inventory of this location -- the topography, components, objects, characteristics? What do your senses remember? Consider the visually elements, but also smells, textures, and sounds. What is the story of this place... what is your history with it?  Think about this and write leave a comment below with your response. Start with a word document -- do your writing there (no more than one page) and then copy/paste into a blog comment here. You can also submit a hard copy if there is some reason you do not want your writing piece online.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Biosphere Reserves

This week we learned about the Biospehere Reserve at Clayoquot Sound. The video we watched is up on the Knowledge Network website until Dec 5 -- Episode 2. What are biosphere reserves? What are they not? Why would an area seek the this designation. Choice another existing biosphere reserve (in Canada or elsewhere) and start out by answering those questions. Then, do some writing (or use a graphic organizer) to explore what led to the creation of that biosphere reserve and what resulted.  This is about Cause and Consequence.  You may find that you weave other concepts into your writing such as significance, close examination of evidence, continuity & change (e.g. the patterns that are in place vs new ideas), perspective-taking, and ethical dimensions connected to the issues or challenges faced by the biosphere reserve.  This is an open-ended task -- learn about a biosphere reserve and develop questions and ideas about "WHY."  You are encouraged to use an 11"x17" paper to record your inquiry. Pics/maps welcome.