Rapid decline of tree population/impact of deforestation now vs. past, Amazon invasion, aerial reforestation in Thailand (why is it not used more), loss of trees effect on global warming
Question: What is the impact of large-scale deforestation on climate change—biodiversity, greenhouse gases, global warming, food supply, environmental sustainability?
Hypothesis: The impact of large-scale deforestation on climate change is that the decrease in trees has allowed for the heightened saturation of carbon and nitrogen as well as other chemicals from pollution, etc. in the air and has decreased biodiversity, affecting ecosystems around the world that affect the bountifulness of crop output and water supply. It leads to the decrease in oxygen production and air quality, doubly decreased by the numerous factory sites, namely in Asia, as well as large metropolitan areas in the U.S. producing enormous amounts of toxic waste, e-waste, non-decomposable waste, and air pollutants.
Free Write: Deforestation impacts the air quality and the environment itself. It can be tied to the struggling food supply industry that is consequently becoming less and less healthy because of the continuous, relentless cultivation of the land that has not allowed any nutrients to replenish the soil. And with deforestation, biodiversity, especially in the biodiversity-rich Amazon rainforest, it presents a new problem of not keeping ecosystems in balance. If one animal, for example, the apex predator of the Amazon, is eliminated as a species because of the termination of its home, the herbivore population becomes out of control and eats all the greenery and foliage. Which in turns leads to the herbivores breaking into human crop supplies in search of food because their uncontrolled population growth thanks to the death of the apex predators, as well as not allowing foliage to grow back because of the scavenging and raucous consumption of any and all scrap of greenery. Much like what happened in Yellowstone National park when the wolf population was hunted to extinction, and the deer, elk and caribou population exploded and stunted any forest growth or re-seeding of plants.
Deforestation also affects air quality because the reduction of carbon dioxide-to-oxygen converting greenery, oxygen supply and clean breathable air decreases almost exponentially. With the continuous, stubborn, and idiotic use of non-renewable energy sources, like oil and fossil fuels when clean renewable energy has been at our disposal for decades now, air pollution in areas like eastern China, northern and southern India, central Turkey, northeastern Mexico (southern Texas), and southeastern Brazil are dangerously high and decreasing environmental renewal while increasing the demand for healthcare as more and more health problems crop up in those areas. Which in turn increases demand for supplies to create hospitals and medical supplies which leads to increased toxic- and bio-waste.
Question: What impact does deforestation have on the waning quality food supply and environmental sustainability?
Hypothesis: Deforestation decreases the already low quality of the world’s food supply and destabilizes the weakened environmental strength.
Free Write: The already low quality in nutrition, vitamins and minerals in our food supply has gone down already with continuous farming and culling of land resources. This is affected by deforestation in multiple ways. Driving herbivores to farms, lowering air quality and therefore quality of environment for crops means that the ultimate yield of both food for wildlife and for human consumption is decreased, adding to the already snowballing crisis of food shortages around the world. This crisis is trying to be averted by deforesting areas like the Amazonian Rainforest, against official law protection, to make room for farm and grazing land for cows and other livestock that act almost like an invasive species, eating all grass and greenery, leaving the native herbivores of the forest with nothing left. Nearly 70% of Amazonian deforestation is due to legal or illegal cattle ranching. This then has a domino effect on the rest of the ecosystem as predators no longer have an prey and begin to die and the bionetwork throughout the ecosystem in compromised and collapse.
Environmental integrity has already decreased exponentially since 1990—in the last three decades, deforestation has cut down 129 million hectares of forest, an area roughly equivalent to that of South Africa. More than 3 million acres. This rapid extermination of such vital ecosystems is destabilizing the balanced world ecosystem. Soon, the Amazon rainforest—still the world’s largest forest at 5.5 million km squared, of which from its original size 20% has been cleared since the 1960s when its deforestation began—will no longer exist if this rate of deforestation continues. We’ll be without an ecosystem that makes up 40% of the South American continent that not only houses a bionetwork of animals, but people and villages as well that have depended on the forest and its goods to survive and thrive as a culture.
Question: How will deforestation affect the bionetworks and cultures within the forests?
Hypothesis: It will erase countless cultures and displace many people as well as destabilize the global ecosystem.
Q-H-Q: Question- Hypothesis-Question…
Length: 1 page minimum; Typed, submitted to Canvas by 11:59pm, May 18th. We’ll try these by generating questions about a few topic ideas we have that emerged from the Loop Writing or elsewhere. You should go through this Q-H-Q process at least twice pushing for new questions to emerge each time. Be sure to spend enough time in the “Focused Freewrite” section writing as a way of critically thinking about your research topic.
Assignment: Question-Hypothesis-Question is a “heuristic” activity (sometimes called an invention exercise) designed to help you locate interesting ideas or issues for inquiry. The purpose of this writing activity is to help you move away from broad general topics that leave little or not enough room to write. In other words, this exercise is geared toward finding tangible and meaningful motivations for writing. It is my hope that this exercise will help you “discover” a possible issue or idea that moves you to speak and write.
Keep in mind one of the most visible problems with student writing: generality, writing merely on the “surface-level” of assigned topics, rather than examining the deeper implications and complexity at hand in an issue. Students often begin drafting their paper prematurely before they have located the crux of what they really want to write about. The Q-H-Q can be repeated as many times as needed, hopefully allowing you to see a strong idea or claim emerging. Often our work done in the hypotheses stages leads us to better, more specific question/issues (i.e. more interesting) and sometimes it leads us to a dead end in our thinking. But either way, realizing the limitations or possibilities of a topic is a crucial motivation for writing.
1) Pose a question about one of your possible research topic ideas. (This could have emerged from the Loop Writing or be a new possible topic idea you have).
2) Formulate a hypothesis in response to the question. This is essentially like a thesis statement.
3) Now try to “test” your hypothesis in a Focused Free-write. You may explore the possibilities or limitations of your hypothesis. Do you see or can you find evidence that contradicts your hypothesis? Are there any terms with your question that need to be defined or made more explicit? Continue to write until you locate a more specific or “interesting” question.
(DON’T RUSH THROUGH THIS STEP! TRY TO GENERATE AT LEAST A SOLID 1-2 PARAGRAPH FOCUS FREEWRITE). This is where your critical thinking happens!
4) Try to construct a hypothesis about the new question.
5) Now repeat the step of writing “through/against/ with” this question, exploring its parameters and implications until you locate another more specific question…
2 pages / 550 words
ENGL 201- Student Example:
September 29, 2017
How do filmmakers represent ecological collapse?
Filmmakers represent ecological collapse in a variety of ways, but they do it to bring interest and attention to these topics.
Freewriting: Filmmakers use a variety of techniques or film genres to bring attention to ecological collapse. Often times they focus on a specific event, connecting you to specific people and showing how this hurt them, a good example would be many ecological disaster films like Deepwater Horizon (which came out in 2016 about the 2010 Gulf Oil Spill). These films can also dramatize events and show the true horror and long-lasting damage that this slow collapse is causing. Other films take a more whimsical route by showing you spirits that represent the forest, and ecology that can show the beauty and grace of the world in one being, and this method also allows for it to be easily understood the damage that these creatures go through. Good examples of this would include films like Nausica: Valley of the Wind, Princess Mononoke, and many more from Studio Ghibli who kind of exemplify the use of traditional Japanese spirituality through their art. Even more films make comparisons to our planets ecological collapse, by showing us a different planet, like in Sci-fi, this happens in things like Star Trek or Wall-E. Wall-E specifically tackles more human devastation because of ecological collapse as a result of human failure.
Question- How can science fiction or fantasy elements (fictional elements) help show the impacts/represent the impacts of ecological collapse within film?
Hypothesis– Fictional elements like science fiction and fantasy can help show the problems existing without putting direct blame on an audience member, and it can help create a mood and call to action that may be more relevant to the viewer based on their interpretation of it.
Free-writing– I think that many films I have seen with themes of ecological collapse have many points where there is something fictional or fantastical (Hmm. What do I mean here by fantastical? Why is speculation or fantasy potentially useful or effective in combatting climate change or representing it?) I think this is because with these techniques and tools a filmmaker is able to get across a message, a feeling, a moment, an image, a mood, that can impact a viewer more deeply and without causing them to become overwhelmed. If you show someone a documentary on the collapse of Amazonian Rainforests, they might come out more knowledgeable, but there is also a good chance that they will be overwhelmed, depressed and helpless. What can I do about it? While using fictional elements like spirits or other plants, the filmmaker allows the viewer to interpret the problem and scale it to themselves if that make sense. They might not leave thinking that they have to save the world, but they leave more aware and maybe more emotionally connected to these issues and the people that they impact. A fictional movie can also alter time (connection I see here to Nixon’s discussion of slow violence and time), and show the impacts of slow violence and environmental collapse quickly, or they can show the changing point. This is especially easily seen in movies like Castle in the Sky, Happy Feet and Ice Age. All more lighthearted movies, but they all show action being taken against environmental collapse and it discusses the pain that it has caused these characters for generations.
Question: Why is it important to have an emotional connection to an ecological issue in film? (Must I sense or see, or identify with it in order to care for it? Can my care ethics and desire to witness/represent go beyond human exceptionalism? Must it?)
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