Week8 Our task this week is to consider human attempts to control earth systems in the context of moral or ethical values. We will use some key principles of Jesuit theology as our moral/ethical framework to examine the relationship between humans and geological forces. During this term, you have read, examined, and written about four situations where humans have attempted or are planning to control some aspect of nature: 1) stopping or diverting the flow of lava from eruptions, 2) building debris basins and channels to catch debris flows in the suburban foothills outside Los Angeles, 3) preventing the Atchafalaya River from capturing the flow of the lower Mississippi River, and 4) geoengineering earth’s surface or atmosphere to offset the warming caused by fossil fuel burning. The first three of these examples are from the aptly named book The Control of Nature by John McPhee. Jesuit Values To consider the control of nature in a Jesuit context, you should first familiarize yourself with some key Jesuit values. Start by reading the mission statement of Regis University: “As a Jesuit Catholic university, Regis seeks to build a more just and humane world through transformative education at the frontiers of faith, reason and culture.” For a more in-depth understanding of what this means, read the full mission statement and context. Next, let us consider some key Jesuit values that originate from Catholic Social Teaching. These values are foundational principles intended to guide decisions and actions, and many of them relate to the Jesuit perspectives on environmental issues: • • • • Care for creation: The moral principle that calls for stewardship of the Earth in a way that preserves and protects the integrity of the natural world, while making its’ fruits available for the legitimate needs of human beings. Human dignity: The moral quality of human personhood by virtue of one’s body, mind and soul, expressed in human autonomy, equality, freedom, sociality and sacrality. Human rights: Moral powers of human personhood by virtue of human dignity that call for a person or group’s immunity from unjust harm (e.g., the right not to have my bodily integrity abused, the right not to have my expression of ideas suppressed, the right not to have my practice of religion forbidden) and entitlement to basic goods necessary for life (e.g., my right to food, my right to shelter, my right to health care). Common good: The sum total of those conditions of the natural world and of humanity’s physical, social, and spiritual life which allow social groups and their individual members the relatively free and equal ability to achieve a fulfilled live. • • • Universal destination of goods: The moral principle that the availability, or ‘destination’, of goods necessary for human life is ‘universal’; that is, basic goods such as water, food, air, shelter, and clothing cannot be withheld from human beings who are in absolute need. Preferential option for the poor: The moral principle that people in absolute need of life’s basic goods should be given priority in caregiving. Subsidiarity: The moral principle requiring that community problems be resolved at the appropriate level. Solutions to community problems should not be overly-localized if the problem requires regional, state, or international assistance; nor should solutions be overly-globalized if the problem can be handled at the state, regional, or community level. The principles defined above are summarized in Healing Earth, a free online textbook on Environmental Science that was developed by the International Jesuit Ecology Project and faculty members at Loyola University Chicago. If you are interested in the Jesuit perspectives on environmental issues, read the moral principles section on the Healing Earth introduction page. Also, there are some excellent resources available regarding Jesuit work on environmental issues and environmental justice. Assignment 1: Discussion Task: Place of Interest, Part II In the first discussion post of this class, you were asked to discuss a place that you find interesting. Knowing what you know now about physical geology and earth systems, discuss your place of interest again. Think about this place and compose another post where you consider the landforms, geology or some other aspect of earth science that relates to your chosen place. In your post, explain any aspects of your place that you understand better now that you’ve completed a course in physical geology. Mention any new questions or ideas about your place that you’d like to explore further. My first discussion post: One of my favorite places to study earth science perspective is Taal lake in the Philippines. Which is one of the most active volcanoes in the country. Taal Volcano has had several violent eruptions in the past. Because my sister went there for charity and their volcano erupted. She told me about how dangerous it was. Reply to one of classmate’s post. Week 8 Discussion Larry Moore Now that I have a better understanding of what I was actually seeing and experiencing in San Pedro, Belize, I would like to go back and examine certain areas a bit closer. It would be interesting to know if the current state of the rock formations is from mechanical or chemical weathering. The place known as Secret Beach had a small rock formation that swimmers used as a diving cliff for jumping into the ocean. I am pretty sure this cliff consisted of sediment rock but it would be interesting to know if it would fall into the limestone or sandstone category. I would also be able to determine (or at least try) whether or not the sandstone is a type of arenite, arkose, or greywacke. Before this course, I assumed that there was only a rock known as sandstone and not so many varieties of it. I would also pay more attention to the landscaping around the particular area where it seemed to be somewhat of swampland on the one side of the road. I may be able to see the effects of weathering and erosion that caused that particular area to look the way it did. I would make sure I took a tour of the caves found at Secret Beach so I could make a comparison to other caves I have been in and use the knowledge I have gained from this course to determine why they were similar or different. I would also take another tour of this place that I thought was a cave (because it was dark, underground, and surrounded by rocks), but now realize that the proper name for it would be a cenote. This class has made simple things like looking at a rock in general, fascinating to me because I have a deeper understanding of its complexity and not that it is “simply a rock”. Matthew Gaffney – Week 8 Matthew Gaffney In my first discussion post, I spoke about the geology of Kansas. I now have a better understanding of why the shape is the way that it is. What we now know as Kansas used to be an ocean. This led to its primarily flat geography in the middle and western parts of the state. It also led to a few interesting landforms, such as the Monument Rocks. So what about the east and it’s hilly terrain? The Flint Hills were formed by erosion during the Permian era (University of Kansas, 2010). This time difference and continued erosion, as well as farm use,
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