Alexander Fallenstedt

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Comments & conversations

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Alexander Fallenstedt
Posted about 1 year ago
Buggin' Out: Urban Bug Farming for the Future
I think the largest problem with this is the cultural aspect. I’m pretty sure the last thing many people would want to eat are insects, especially in an American stapled diet. That being said, urban bug farming could be a valid food source given its nutritional capacity. Maybe if the insects did not come in the shape of an insect, individuals would be more open to the idea of a meat substitute. However, these methods are really avoiding the inevitable of over-population. Maybe instead of trying to feed a growing world, we should start looking into controlling growth before earth’s carrying capacity is reached. This way, technological expanse could keep hungry mouths fed while improving overall quality of life. As nice as this is, urban bug farming is just a band-aid to over arching problem of over-population. Unless this is addressed, food supply, our yet-to-be energy crisis, and environment are all at risk.
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Alexander Fallenstedt
Posted about 1 year ago
Can urban beehives increase food production?
I think it would be possible for the US to develop an urban beekeeping industry if there truly was a demand for it. However, it is currently illegal in many cities do to the potential risks associated with bee-sting allergies. I find this to be ridiculous, as the potential benefit of producing food in your own backyard outweigh the unsustainable practice of shipping food thousands of miles from farms to cities But changing the agricultural practice we use would be a very slow process. Redesigning urban façades around the U.S., implementing green roofs, and changing city code to allow beehives within cities would be a long process that needs input from the constituency for it to be politically feasible. Thus, it may be better to first understand why CCD is occurring to preserve the managed/unmanaged hives that we have. Honeybees themselves enable the production of 90 commercially grown crops. With their rapidly declining numbers, we really need improve information gathering as to why they are declining first, before we move to a more sustainable practice of urban beehives and urban farms.
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Alexander Fallenstedt
Posted about 1 year ago
Will the Belo Monte Dam project on the Amazon River cause more harm to the environment or will it be a good source of energy for Brazil?
I too find it very difficult to understand how this dam provides more benefits than ecosystem services. I personally feel that many countries should work together rather than compete with one another. We are a globalized society, yet our perception is blinding reality. I know many countries could work together to subsidize Brazil, and other developing nations, with clean energy through the use of offsets, however, fraudulent offsets are a real problem in the world of carbon sequestration.
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Alexander Fallenstedt
Posted about 1 year ago
Will the Belo Monte Dam project on the Amazon River cause more harm to the environment or will it be a good source of energy for Brazil?
Dams will most certainly be an amazing source of energy for Brazil; the small amount of intermittency provided by rivers ensures optimal peak energy service. This is very helpful for Brazil’s growing economy. Is it the best intention for Brazil to do this? From an economic stand point, yes. From a social standpoint, no. The externalities and other social damages are unaccounted for, leaving the diverse habitats fragmented and potentially uninhabitable by terrestrial species. It does beg the question: Are we allowed to potentially slow the growth of Brazil? From Brazil’s standpoint they are a growing economy, aspiring to become a 1st world country. Because of this, the demands for power must be met. This may include using the cheapest electricity source like any economy does. Many states in the U.S. rely on coal-fire plants to meet their energy needs. Yet, do we have other countries coming into our economic affairs? But it also begs on another question: is it ethical to destroy a diverse habitat in the Amazon? I personally think it isn’t. Growth must controlled and not just managed. The rate of Brazil’s growth is putting immense strain on the neighboring habitats and by reducing biodiversity and promoting fragmented, less diverse habitats. This can put many species at risk for extinction. At what point do we owe it to preserve nature? In the recent course of events, it appears it will happen when we need it most.
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Alexander Fallenstedt
Posted about 1 year ago
Cats pose a serious threat to biodiversity: Why do we accept it? What should be done?
A rule without enforcement is just a suggestion. Unless you somehow enforce this, there will be minimal compliance. I like the idea of having cats being registered at the vets office. A step further would to be to place a tax on cats. Those who own a cat would be taxed for owning one. The tax would be set at the same level of the social costs created by the cat. This way the owner can pay for externalities created by the cat. These funds can only be used for restoration and preservation in the environment that the cat damages. Some may not take their cats in for fear of this registration and not wanting to pay a tax. However, when a pet becomes sick then the individual will be morally obligated to take the cat to a vet. This will be the enforcement part of the law. It also applies for individuals who breed cats. Those who refuse to take their cats in will eventually do so. We could also subsidize spraying to keep cat populations down. In the end, government and the individual are held responsible, and the winner is the environment.
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Alexander Fallenstedt
Posted about 1 year ago
Cats pose a serious threat to biodiversity: Why do we accept it? What should be done?
A proposition similar to Morgan’s would be met with similar, if not harsher resistance in the United States. Our country was founded on independence from government, which still is present in a lot of America. Our idea of having the “freedom” to choose what we want to do, although sometimes limited in today’s America, is backed by this thought of being independent, and being able to live your life without the government knocking on your door. Is Morgan on the right track though? Absolutely. Cats are acting as an invasive species for the kakapo and other bird species, which is severely affecting the biodiversity on New Zealand. This can disrupt many ecosystems if cat populations are not reduced, which may prove to be more costly in the long-term for New Zealanders. But who are we to point the fingers at cats? Humanity is responsible for more biodiversity loss than any other species on Earth. I think it’s a start of a good idea. Government intervention is crucial if we are to curb the bad habits of humanity, even if it is against the constituency. Sadly, many problems like these are political, and people do not wish to lose their paid political positions. Rather than a strict command and control policy of banning cats, why not levy a tax with cats? Felines that are not documented may become documented when taken into the vet. A yearly tax on owning a cat may persuade others to limit the amount of cats they own. Tax revenue generated from this plan can only be used strictly for restoration and preservation of many habitats so that it can protect the vulnerable bird species. This not only holds government responsible for the environment, but also the individual so they can think of the social costs of owning cat, and not solely the private costs. In the long run, this plan may prove to be efficient in protecting biodiversity, even more so that Morgan’s plan of just banning cats.
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Alexander Fallenstedt
Posted about 1 year ago
Purell now, Bacteri-ell later?
It really is an understatement when we say microbes are important for the proper functioning of ecosystems, let alone us. Not only do they supply vital supporting ecosystem services with carbon recycling and nitrogen fixation, they also help build stronger immune systems in humans. Sadly, many of us only view microbes as pathogens, and not accomplices to a healthy lifestyle. The rise of allergies in industrialized countries could be due to the over use of antibiotics and cleaners that exterminate microbes. Thus, a child growing in an industrialized country may become more susceptible to allergic diseases than one growing up in a developing country due the lack of natural immune system development. Surely we can take probiotic supplements, but does that reverse the poor immune system of adults? Maybe those who would prosper most from a “Bacteri-ell” would be children. Exposure to microorganisms and other antigens (proteins from the exine of pollen, animal proteins, and foods) at an early age acts as a natural vaccination. Our body’s ability to produce antibodies and defend itself is a remarkable process. Bacteri-ell is already around us, we just need to be exposed to it at the right time.
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Alexander Fallenstedt
Posted over 1 year ago
What form of renewable energy has or will have the lowest impact on biodiversity?
Individual action is not enough. We still have industry, we have wars, we have an expanding economy, and we have humanity. Turning off lights, taking half showers may be great for your pocket-book, but it makes a marginal impact on the amount of emissions from a coal-fire electric plant. The question we must ask ourselves is not what can we do around the house, but what can we do together to change our energy consumption habits. Individual effort is great, however, mass collective action is crucial if we want a sustainable, carbon-neutral future
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Alexander Fallenstedt
Posted over 1 year ago
What form of renewable energy has or will have the lowest impact on biodiversity?
The type of renewable energy source that is most sustainable and minimizes any impact on biodiversity depends on the type of fossil fuel it will be replacing, and the characteristics of the area implementing the renewable energy source. A certain renewable fuel will do better in one area of the world rather than in another. These limitations are prominent in all renewable fuel sources. Let’s say we wanted to switch to cellulosic ethanol completely in the transportation sector so we can minimize the amount of emissions from vehicles. How much farmland would be needed? If all of the U.S. ran on biofuels like ethanol, we would need 415 million acres of corn to achieve this. However, we only have 406 million acres of usable farmland in the U.S., which is used for other agricultural purposes besides corn. If we were to expand farming, we would intensify environmental consequences. More importantly, blend wall is another problem. Automobiles today can only run on a mixture of 10% ethanol. Wind is another renewable energy source for electricity. Spinning fan blades powered by the wind can generate electricity for us. These turbines are cost effective, avoid greenhouse gases, and have a very clear potential for growth. One downfall is intermittency; it may be windy on certain days, and hardly windy on other days. It may be windier in a certain region, like the path of a jet stream, rather than in a rocky, mountainous area. This poses a very serious problem for electric companies since there is no way to store electricity. There might be blackouts on a city that relies on wind, especially at peak-load times. Knowing some of the small problems with our sustainable system, renewable energy may progress too slowly to minimize global warming. The question we must ask ourselves is not what renewable energy is best, but which one functions well in certain geographic regions.