Saturday, April 23, 2005

If You Can't Beat 'Em, Eat 'Em

Would it be possible to eat our way out of a species invasion? Kudzu, for instance. The Asian vine has taken over to such an extent that it's hard to think about a Southern landscape without imagining telephone poles, old barns, hillsides, trees, slow-moving cows covered in the thick, rich, green drapery of kudzu.

Here's a list of kudzu-related sites, including some with recipes. I've never eaten the stuff, but I'd be willing to try.

I wonder if any other invasive species have become this incorporated into the culture and tradition of the regions they infest? Oh yeah . . . Kentucky bluegrass.

Friday, April 22, 2005

If It Weren't for Coal . . .

. . . I certainly wouldn't be here. My family's from Eastern Kentucky, and several of them have worked in some capacity or other for the coal industry. No doubt this employment led to familial economic conditions such that my existence and that of other of my family members could be a possibility. In current ethical theory, some of the most persistent questions center around our duties to future generations. What obligations, if any, do we have to future generations to ensure that they are not made worse off by the decisions we make today? Even Bush the Younger has been overheard making references to responsibility for future generations (although typically in the context of his Social Security plan, a topic beyond the scope of this blog).

One thing that really complicates this issue is the fact that the choices we make today in large part determine who will comprise those future generations. Following a policy of depletion (which, make no mistake, we're doing) will ensure a different set of folks in the future than would be around were we to choose a policy of conservation. So, I can honestly say that I owe my existence (in part) to bad policy choice with regard to coal mining in Eastern Kentucky. SIGH.

Anyway, the real reason I started this thread was to introduce an excellent Salon article on one of the worst environmental disasters in US history: The Martin County Coal Mine slurry spill of 2000 in Inez, KY. You can read about this nastiness here.

I love Salon.

Bad Air Days

The Knoxville News Sentinel and WBIR-TV have combined forces to produce a website on Knoxville's bad air.

Bush in town. Bush not in town.

The President was scheduled to give an Earth Day address from Cades Cove in The Great Smoky Mountains National Park. [The irony of this has been duly noted by several folk already] He would have been the second sitting US President to visit the park since its establishment in 1934. The park was named in 2002 as the most polluted national park in the country.

As fate would have it, however, Ma Nature was not in compliance with this event, and Bush was forced to give his speech from a hangar at McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base instead. As is to be expected, Bush used this opportunity to praise his environmental record. Read more about said record here. [You'll likely notice some slight divergence between the two sources in interpretation of the aforementioned record]

South Knox Bubba has been blogging about Bush's brief visit.

Welcome to Nonattainment.


I'm a PhD student in Philosophy at the University of Tennessee, studying environmental ethics. I plan to use this space to catalogue news and information pertaining to the state of the local and regional environment (East Tennessee and surrounding areas). There will likely be some philosophical rambling interspersed as well.

Several counties in East Tennessee are currently on the EPA's nonattainment list for air quality-- including my county, Knox. This means that these areas have ozone levels that exceed the EPA's eight-hour ozone national air quality standard. East Tennessee is also home to some of the most beautiful land in the nation, including the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. I'll post some pictures of "good" and "bad" air days to the blog later.