Posts by ndanner


Student Activism

Categories: Uncategorized

A quick look at where the future of student activism is. Interviews with several Middlebury students as well as one professor.

Water Quality

Categories: Uncategorized

It is a necessity to protect our resources. Quality water may not be a condition we can guarantee the following American generation. A citizen group, teamed with The Conservation Law Foundation in Vermont is fighting to make that a guarantee. In 2001, a landmark case reshaped the landscape regarding water policy and sustainable development. Lowe’s set an example, one that demonstrates that development does not have to degrade local water resources.


Categories: Uncategorized

Nutrient pollution has been identified as one of the most harmful types of pollution to America’s waters. Phosphorous and Nitrogen are two of the primary agents responsible for nutrient pollution. Excess nutrients cause rapid plant growth, thereby feeding bacteria that consume oxygen in the water. Water without oxygen cannot support any life at all. Most of nutrient pollutants come from agricultural systems. A smaller still significant portion comes from the water used in our homes. About 15 % of the phosphorous that comes from our home’s water finds its origin in dish detergent. Phosphorous does not even make dishes any cleaner! Next time you buy detergent, check out if it has phosphorous. You will be making a difference.

Burnside, Catie; Mcdowell, William. 2001. Dishwater detergent phosphorus: its contribution to phosphorus load at a municipal wastewater treatment plant. voluntary nutrient reduction  program tri-state water quality council. Sandpoint, Idaho.

The 11th Hour

Categories: Assignments, Films

The 11th Hour focussed on the rapidly changing environment and how if it keeps going at this pace, that it will not be fit to sustain human life. As it was produced and narrated by Leonardo Dicaprio, it was trying to gain influence through celebrity. That does not mean that what he had to say did not contain any truth. Throughout the film, many different experts from several fields were included and were given their say. This had the effect of making it appear that there are seveal scientists around the world who agree with what is being said, but it also has the effect of not letting the viewing really key in on one or two individuals. It makes it appear a bit too spread out.

I do agree with the tone the piece took. It was less sensationalist than the work of Al Gore which was a nice change. Sure, it does say that the human race is one second from midnight on Earth’s clock, but it also mentions that one second on Earth’s clock is an extremely long period of time. This method of not saying that we are completely screwed is good. It gives the viewer hope that there is still time for something to be done. Enough time that if they changed their ways it would make a positive difference. For that is what the film is really trying to accomplish. It is there to inform the masses of the impending doom  for people if they continue of the path of consumption and linear thinking that they are one. If they were to stop, think, and act, disastor can be averted though.

The scientists that I mentioned earlier were necessary to provide an air of legitimacy to this project, but I do wish that there had been less of them. It is also important to note that this film is not just a bunch of talking heads spouting facts for an hour and a half. Over the faces of the interviewees, many compelling images of Earth are shown, from natural disastors to calm mountain meadows. This is useful as it shows that one cannot simply shout out facts after facts if they want the viewer to register what is being said and it shows that something needs to be present for the viewer to look at. Even though a guy sitting in an interview room might be saying some really interesting stuff, they still are going to be boring to look at after a short amount of time.

In the end, this was a good film. Clearly Leonardo Dicaprio had an agenda when he started to make this film, but at no point did I feel like he was trying too hard to force he beliefs down my thoat. It does of course help that I already agreed with him on several of the subjects.