Personal information and environmental concerns
My name is Juliana. My origins are from FYROM and I have been living and studying in Thessaloniki for two years, so far. I love this city and that is the reason why I am still here. Thessaloniki is rich with cultural events such as exhibitions, concerts and festivals which are accessible for everyone. I love visiting new places and discovering new artists or events and this city is offering me a colorful scene of choices. However, I feel like I need to see the world first and then decide if I am going to live here permanently. Regardless of where I go, I believe that I will live in the Balkan area because this piece of land has a very particular culture and customs.
Source: “Pozdrav Od Makedonija – Skopje.” MySpace Macedonia – Free Fun Graphics, Pictures, Codes, Images, Layouts, Comments and More. Web. 14 Feb. 2011. <http://www.myspacemacedonia.com/2008/01/pozdrav-od-makedonija-skopje.html>
Furthermore, I am a second year student and my mayor is International Relations and Diplomacy. I am very interested in studying this field because it requires interaction with many cultures, ethnicities and religions. From sociological and political aspect I am very interested to know why problems among countries arise and how can those problems lead to fair solutions.
As I mentioned earlier, I come from FYROM, from the capital city Skopje. However, my family origin is from a beautiful mountain place called Krushevo. This place is very unique and magical. To start with, it is the highest town in FYROM with altitude of 1250 m above sea level and it is surrounded by magnificent nature (forest, lakes and rivers). Another very recognizable characteristic about this town is the architecture. The houses are usually very old; some even dating from the period of the First World War, on two or three floors where the ground floor is always more narrow then the upper ones. Another thing why this city is so particular is that every year there is an international paragliding competition where people from all over the world come in this small place, in the middle of the mountain Baba to enjoy a particular activity and get to know the traditions of Krushevo.
Source: “Krushevo | Flickr – Photo Sharing!” Welcome to Flickr – Photo Sharing. Web. 14 Feb. 2011. <http://www.flickr.com/photos/mirena/2485876658/>
The purpose of my blog is to give me opinion on different topics related to ecology and environmentalism. Moreover, I will write and post issues or interesting information relating with the same topic, even if we haven’t talk in class. I believe that ecology has to do a lot with (international) human interaction and this is another reason why I am anxious to learn about some global, environmental issues which concern people. Furthermore, I will use this blog to inform the students who are part of the Inter-Act club about the work on our latest projects and concerns.
During this course, I would like to learn more about is the environmental problem relating with urban sprawl. Cities keep expanding rapidly creating suburbs where initially were another city. Now towns and villages close to bigger cities merge with the bigger city and have to change their lifestyle in order to adapt to the ‘city life’. The urban sprawl has many disadvantages, including car dependency, occupying arable land for building houses and buildings, etc. I believe that the cities have been increasing their proportions spontaneously and they made rural habitants too much dependent on the ‘city rules’. I believe there should be a greater urban organization where people will not take for granted the soil earth gives us.
Furthermore, my concern and thirst for knowledge about this subject relates to an environmental problem in the city Veles, located very close to the capital city Skopje. Just outside the suburbs of Veles, an industrial zone where zinc, lead and other metals were being melted was built in 1973. These materials are very harmful for the human’s health and the natural environment. However, with the expansion of Veles, the population started inhabiting the area close to the fabrics and the result of the city expansion combined with the harmful industrial materials was fatal. Many people gained cancer and many other chronic and/or incurable diseases who gave these diseases to their offspring.
“House of Immigrants of Macedonia.” Матица на иселениците – Македонија. Web. 14 Feb. 2011. http://www.maticanaiselenici.com/en/?page=read_news&id=19908
ENVIORONMENTAL SCIENTIST vs. ECOLOGIST vs. ENVIRONMENTALST
Many people misuse the words environmental science, ecology and environmentalism. However, these terms have a particular connotation and are interrelated.
First, we need to define what an environment is in order to understand the relation among these terms. The term environment includes all living and non-living things around us which we interact with. It incorporates elements such as rivers, mountains, trees, animals, buildings…everything around us. Following from that, ecology is the study of the interaction between the living environments with the non-living one. So, ecology studies the relation between humans and animals with the build and/or natural environment. On the other side, an environmental science is the study of how the natural world works, how we affect the environment and vice versa. An environmental scientist studies these affects in order to introduce potential solutions for arising problems. And finally, environmentalism is a social movement and a philosophy concerned with environmental protection and improvement.
I would like to be labeled as an environmentalist. I haven’t been very active in speaking out loud about environmental issues regions are facing, but I have been engaged in few projects related to environmentalism. One of my biggest environmental actions was last ACT Spring semester where I was part of the Inter-Act project ‘Green Week’. The project included informing and facing the ACT students that the supplies we are using in ACT are ‘polluting’ the ACT campus. In order to improve our studying environment we stared educating the students how to recycle, we made recycling bins and we introduced a GoGreen plan for the school which was never enforced by the superior ACT figures. The plan included implementing new photocopy machines which will print double-sided in order to save paper, using recycled paper, economic light bulbs and other devices which will control and minimize the usage of energy and water in the ACT facilities.
I would like to use the label environmentalist because I care about the environment I live in and generally about the planet Earth. We know that our actions regarding the environment are wrong, but we still keep on burdening the Earth instead of helping her. I believe that the system we live in, based on capitalism, wealth and individuality encourages us to close our eyes and avoid these issues for the sake of profit. If profit could bring us fresh air and more natural resources, then I wouldn’t be an environmentalist. But facing the truth, as I don’t want to be labeled a capitalist, I want to be labeled as an environmentalist.
Hypothesis and experiments
If I was a plant ecologist, I was driving through the highway and I made the observation that in the middle of the forest there is a field only with grass. I would be interested to know why this is happening. Why in the middle of a forest, full with tries and other vegetation, specifically on the place which I passed there is only grass?
After making this observation, I would make a research on the web or in some books and try to find an answer to my questions. Going through my resources I acknowledge that periodic fires are the reason why tree seedlings are prevented and only grass seedlings can be maintained. With this piece of knowledge, I can make a hypothesis.
First, we have to test the hypothesis. We make predictions which we later test for credibility and reliability. So, if our hypothesis is “Periodic fires may prevent tree seedlings from becoming established in grassland”, then my prediction would be “if there are periodical fires, then tree seedlings will be prevented and grassland will be established instead”. To prove my prediction, I have to run an experiment. My experiment would include staging two environments. One will include a soil affected by periodic fires and another soil which will be natural, or unaffected by fire. In both cases I would plant grass and trees from the same type. After certain period of time, I will notice the difference. I believe that in the first stage only the grass seeds will succeed and in the second stage I believe, both seeds will be successful (in other words, there will be trees and grass). This experiment would show that grass seeds are easier to plant because they can grow on any kind of soil, whereas, tree seeds require certain type of soil, rich with more materials and water.
If the experiment is successful, if on the land affected by periodic fires grass seeds can be grown and tree seeds will fail, then the hypothesis is tested and we can present the results. However, if the predictions fail, we come up with other predictions or we reject the hypothesis.