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CMJ's blog

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Eco Walk: a Rap

Eco Walk (parody of Macklemore’s Thrift Shop ft Ryan Lewis)
By Zoe Holman and Claire Johnson with special thanks to Roux

We’re gonna grab some leaves
Throw them up in the a-air
I-I-I’m searching looking for a meaning
We are eco walkers

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How children develop empathy

Here's a brief and interesting article from the NY Times related to altrusim and empathy in children--it starts at a very young age! Could this insight help us with communal planning for the future?

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Let's talk about rain. Rain is a beautiful thing. Water gets everywhere. I miss rain like rain we had today. I spend so much time in my head trying to equate this place, Bryn Mawr PA, to my "home" in Portland OR. It's frustrating because the two places really aren't that alike, and a big part of this is rain. But when it does rain, hail to the rain gods because this place makes my brain come alive with notions of home. The reason I put HOME in parentheses the first time I used it is because "home" is probably relative, as in relation to your close relatives (this might make no sense but I saw a pun and I used it). My family is not in Bryn Mawr, does that mean I'me not at home? Or should I take a more individual-centric world view and decree that wherever I'm living is my "home?" Thinking about these things, and looking at the rain today took me away from Goodheart, away from Bryn Mawr, and I had strong, possibly physical aches that I would probably chalk up to homesickness. I don't always like to admit that to myself (sometimes I operate under this fantasy that I am the strongest and most flexible human being in the world, therefore, can never be homesick) but it is undeniably true. I spoke these words out loud at my sit, but I will write them to the world now, putting my seal of authenticity on the statement. I AM HOMESICK. Does saying it outloud and writing it here validate this feeling and make it more real? I don't want it to.. I don't want to be homesick at all. 

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            People of the world! We have problems, and these problems are as big as the earth itself. People of the world, we must solve these problems or perish. This is the discourse of every environmental theorist, writer, or scientist. We have come to a cross roads in our existence here on earth, one where we choose to live and save other species in the process, or one where we exterminate those around us, then die ourselves. Certainly bleak prospects. Either way, we shall be required to give something up, to change fundamentally, to stage a revolution, and accept that we are part of a larger ecological system.

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Today we had a brief discussion about consciousness and animals, but I think the real ethical dilemma that plagues Elizabeth and the reason for her deep empathy and concern is the question of whether or not all animal life forms (includes humans, excludes plants) have an "immortal soul". I am leaning towards the opinion, assuming that evolution of animals and humans is historically the same, that all animals and all humans either have immortal souls or they do not. This is idea equates humans and animals, essentially placing them on the same level. So, then, is is morally right to systematically slaughter beings with immortal souls? This is Elizabeth's primo concern. But do we agree? Animals eat other animals, animals have been known to eat us. Is Elizabeth advocating against the killing of all animals, or just the ones that we actively farm? Is farming and domestication morally objectible, even if the process is "humanely" excecuted? What is the difference between domestication and slaughter, if we are talking about things with immortal and feeling souls?

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Learning about nature by touching it

Minh, Barbara and I visited with two upperclassmen, Sruthi and Hira on an ecological tour of the campus.. This is my account

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Dreams of a Coed Bryn Mawr (yuck)

A man (suspicious male on campus!) approached me today as I walked toward my site. He asked me a few questions about the college (undergrad pop, graduates, etc) and ended his brief interrogation by asking if there was any "talk about going co-ed" for the undergraduate college. I replied with an emphatic no, not only because I feel personally that that would be a step backward for the school, but that I believe there would be strong opposition from current students and alumni. Who in the college would suggest such a change? Why did this man think it was relavant? Who was this guy, anyway? If BMC did go coed, how would that change the learning environment or the campus? I think, first of all, the the actual phisical campus would be dirtier in someways, but it would also be more lively, especially on the weekends. I dont think it would hurt to actually see people out at BM on Friday or Saturday nights, it's actually a very sleepy place during those times. The deserted feeling is not a pleasant one. What kinds of men would be attracted to Bryn Mawr? Would it just be another liberal arts school? Personally I think there is not enough room around Philadelphia for another coed liberal arts institution. Just one of the many reasons BM should remain all-female, even if that does exclude possibly interesting minds from living and learning here.

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Can't spell Nature without A R T

This week in my spot was beautiful. Instead of being a kind of quiet, unprovoking beauty, the view from where I sat, and the act of taking this photograph of it, prompted many questions. I realized that what I was doing was an act of artistic expression, and that even the very things I saw within frame of my lense were not entirely nature, but some past human artistic expression as well. I thought:

What does artistic expression have to do with ecology? Where does 'art' fit into the natural ecosystem? What value does it have regarding the health of all things on the planet?

Trailer for "Rivers and Tides"
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Gloria warms my heart. I also want to be her

On Friday night, I went to see Gloria Steinem speak at Haverford (along with Rochelle), which happened to be very timely for the particular topics we are discussing in Eco Imaginings this week. One thing in particular that she spoke about which I connected with was her idea that there was no race, and that racism and feminism were one in the same. In th real world, it manifests itself as control over who births who. As a woman, historically, either you're exploited or suppressed sexually. 

As I sat in my spot today, my mind was racing. It jumped around to virtually all aspects of my life. Now, in reflection, I realize that everything I was thinking and feeling has something to do with expressing or recognizing feminsm in my own life. It is everywhere. And it is not dead. 

In other news of spot sitting: the weather outside is extremely cold. brr

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To laugh or cry? Hurricane Mentality

In light of this recent weather event, I have been reflecting on the tragic v comic duality we discussed some classes ago. Many I know attended hurricane "parties" or had mini campouts in their rooms with friends to ride out the storm. Is this a tragic or comic reaction? Were they grouping together in the unlikely event that we all met our untimely demise, to band together in a time of crisis (in the tragic view)? Or was it a comic impulse to make the most of a free night off school and make light of the potential severity of the storm? I am inclined to think the latter, but this meterological tradegy caused the impulse. Do most people find that they have comic reactions to tragic events? Alison Bechdel certainly did, when she was aware of the death of her father. Is this normal? What reaction did you have to the storm? Panic? Calm? What did you notice about other or group behavior in the light of potential injury or death? 

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