Emil McDowell

Eugene, OR, United States

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Comments & conversations

157898
Emil McDowell
Posted over 2 years ago
From ivory tower to prison cell: How can we bring conservation efforts to the public?
Very true, I didn't think about that. However, there are probably more cost effective ways to get inmates involved with nature. Building a recycling center, fish farm, and rain water collector seems a little excessive (or at least unreasonable on a country-wide scale). Also, inmates are offered other, more beneficial, work experiences and educational opportunities while incarcerated. I don't think this program offers them any type of degree or certification, while the prison auto body shop probably provides both. It's great that prisoners are getting involved with nature, but the whole project seems like Ivory Tower initiative that also provides researchers with free/low cost labor (IMO).
157898
Emil McDowell
Posted over 2 years ago
Do zoos help biodiversity conservation?
I think zoos should put a little more emphasis on conserving animals outside. It would be really cool if they could focus less on displaying "exotic" animals and focus more on showing/conserving "exotic because they are endangered" animals. I don't know a lot about zoo regulations, but the showcasing of animals for money seems a little ethically sketchy . Zoos probably need the money to fund conservation and conservation probably requires captive breeding (that can be exhibited for money), so they should combine the two aspects a little better. Showing real conservation practices is probably more educational than creating hokey themed exhibits.
157898
Emil McDowell
Posted over 2 years ago
From ivory tower to prison cell: How can we bring conservation efforts to the public?
It's hard to say how expand on a project like this. I think the first step would be to contact local Universities. This project must have gotten some grant money/University associated funds (at least for the research portion?). I think projects like these are actually really expensive for the return and its hard to see local governments being able to front the cost alone. I also question how valuable it is for the inmates. Gardening, feeding fish, bee keeping, and trash sorting don't seem to be the type of jobs that require a lot of experience (I mean I guess it's good that they have a job). Prisons already seem more sustainable than open society, and they get a lot of pressure from the government to reduce costs(and by extension the use of unsustainable natural resources) even without this program. Its great that the program got the prison to recycle and catch rain water but that probably costs more than what they were doing before. While it's fantastic that conservationists are taking advantage of inmates I question the sustainability of the project without all that univer$ity ca$h.
157898
Emil McDowell
Posted over 2 years ago
Do extremist tactics push environmentalism forwards or backwards?
I don't think that their actions really bring about much awareness at all. When eco-terrorists burn down housing developments I believe most people think "oh, wow that person is crazy" not "oh, wow housing developments suck". And in terms of non-terrorist extremists, organizations like Peta are super inflammatory. It's really hard to take a cause and organization seriously when they disregard social conventions. And yeah they are hypocrites.
157898
Emil McDowell
Posted over 2 years ago
Should Cannabis be legalized as a medicine?
I feel that, at least in west coast cities, Cannabis has already been accepted as an alternative medicine. In Oregon it seems like almost anyone can get a medical card. The only legal issues that seem to come about with medical marijuana in Oregon is the closing of dispensaries, but even this is minor because there are so many in the major cities. I'm sure medical marijuana is much more taboo in other states, but it seems to me like a good amount of North American's have already accepted/embraced marijuana's medicinal value.
157898
Emil McDowell
Posted over 2 years ago
Given that chimpanzees are endangered, is it ethical to use them in biomedical research?
Perhaps biomedical research even limits the threat of chimp extinction. I agree with everyone who says that most reputable labs breed their own populations. While these populations are far from wild, it seems like if anything like total chimp extinction were to happen in nature captive population could begin being breed for reestablishment. This would raise further questions about captive population health and genetic diversity, but it seems like there are enough captive chimps to re-populate if needed. Overall, I have to agree with Tina's point that biomedical research has very little effect on wild/endangered populations.
157898
Emil McDowell
Posted over 2 years ago
What are ecosystem services that you rely on everyday? Are you willing to pay for them?
Personally, I can't be bothered to pay the extra cash for organic produce. It's really a matter of convenience as opposed to health or ethics for me. My personal shopping habits aside, I question organic farming's benefit towards ecosystem services. I don't see any evidence that proves that a USDA sticker will improve an ecosystem. I have to agree with some of the earlier posters who say that locality is more important than general organic status. I think I would be more open to paying for cultural ecosystem services like trees and parks. Services like these have a larger and more personal effect on my daily life. I don't think about things like pollination often, so it's hard to put a price on it or even know who to start paying.