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Amy Morales-Arellano
Dec 01, 2022
In General Discussions
I have sincerely enjoyed my time in ENVR430 so much. I found the format of the course to be low-risk which made me feel comfortable answering and asking questions (general participation). I also felt that it fostered curiosity and community by having us regularly engage in conversation about topics to learn them rather than feel pressured to take detailed notes to regurgitate later or memorize facts. I felt the low risk format allowed me to ask more questions and think about topics more deeply as opposed to memorizing details to regurgitate on exams. I felt better about turning off my laptop and listening to every work Kai said which allowed for better engagement and memory consolidation as his examples hit home and were really interesting (and shocking). I found little to no issue with the online format (Cosphere, online readings and videos) and even found that it made the course more accessible by removing the cost of textbooks and taking advantage of media platforms we already use and that are easy to use (netflix etc). I also leave this course feeling better prepared to tackle real environmental issues in the world and a renewed feeling of empowerment and that I can make a difference. I appreciate seeing this exam-free format in a course as important and informative as this one. The final presentations thus far have really brought everything from the course and tied it together so amazingly. It is truly inspiring what we are capable of as students. Thank you so much for everything, Kai and Dana! <3
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Amy Morales-Arellano
Nov 19, 2022
In #UnleashValues
It was heartbreaking to see how we have limited the existence of nature in order to live comfortable, fast-paced lives. Seeing the animals being forced to live nocturnal lives and navigate our infrastructure and way of living for their survival seems unfair. Humans even make it difficult for their own microbiome to survive by consuming gross amounts of unhealthy foods, living sedentary lifestyles and washing with harsh, antibacterial soaps and products. Even after death, our negative and polluting impacts don't seize. I envision a world where more land and species are protected by law to avoid human-caused species extinction by means of over-hunting. Not just the animals that are already at risk of extinction/endangerment. I envision a world where we live (and die) in a more ecologically conscientious way, thinking both about the best way to honor our deceased loves ones but also the planet their descendants will remember them on (compositing human remains in a respectful way, donating cadavers to science etc). I also have visions for a city that is more friendly for animals to thrive in (remembering the wonderful ways that nature returned when covid-19 first hit us hard with the initial lockdown). This could look like wilder lawns/gardens or less light pollution (especially at night). Like many issues of ecology, laws and enforcement of law are critical for the protection of land and species but education has a major role to play too. If more people knew how our actions directly impact animals, we might change the way we live to be more sustainable for the sake of the animals. If we knew about other respectful and ecologically less harmful ways to die or if other methods were the default, we might die in a more ecologically safe way. We need law makers and leaders in our society to lead the way sometimes, so getting them involved is key for these idea to work. #unleashvalues
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Amy Morales-Arellano
Nov 04, 2022
In #UnleashValues
I envision a future where we ban the production of virgin plastics and force these companies to invest in completely new biodegradable or truly recyclable packaging regardless of the cost and without loopholes. I envision harsher penalties for greenwashing and more laws dictating that they must truthfully market their products and packages. I envision a world where oceans and lands can thrive and without plastic. I don't want my effort to separate my garbage and recycling to be in vain. I don't want to feel hopeless that there's nothing I can do at the individual level. That being said, I am hopeful that, because individuals have such a small impact each, we can work on changing the environment we live in (what we can consume, the packaging it comes in, where it can be disposed of) and instantly change the way we all live to reach climate goals. This means we need to support strongly enforced legislation that prevents big corporations that either produce virgin plastic or manage it through burning (which contributes to CO2 emissions) from doing these things and that packaging with recyclable or biodegradable logos be thoroughly checked for accuracy before being printed with these logos without loopholes or leeway to make shortcuts. I want these companies to have to invest in actual recyclable packaging AND for the infrastructure that recycles their own packaging and product. It is completely within our capabilities. We cannot reach our climate goals such as that of net 0 carbon emissions without this action. #UnleashedValues
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Amy Morales-Arellano
Oct 28, 2022
In #UnleashValues
It's discouraging to hear in the media and when researching, that most companies have major flaws in sourcing, business model etc. I want to support businesses that care and I'm worried that although NGO's go after some of our best players, not many people know that and may be turned off by the negative attention and critiques of the businesses. Despite this, I understand now that only businesses that do care, that are making promises, are being held accountable in this way and are being persuaded to do better by this press. I envision a better educated consumer that researches the companies they consume from and that understands that companies that are being held accountable are among the best "actors" compared to those that don't even care enough to make promises. I also hope to hold companies that don't care accountable with unwaveringly and strongly enforced laws. Much like companies should have to care, our government should have to care, specifically, about these companies. It needs to start with our government 1. being made aware of company flaws and unsustainability (group/individual public action, calling out corporations and calling on the government in the media, sending letters and calling about these issues) and 2. specifying laws that do not permit loopholes for companies and that enforce sustainable sourcing, packaging, marketing and more. #UnleashValues
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Amy Morales-Arellano
Oct 21, 2022
In #UnleashValues
I envision a future where we support prescribed fires as a preventative measure to manage forest fire intensity. Additionally, I hope that we engage in conscientious replanting which is to mean that we need to be thinking about the interactions between different types of plants and trees, heat or shade resistant and heat or shade sensitive etc. such that it that supports a healthy ecosystem. A lot of the negative, impactful, change we are seeing now, is a result of human intervention where it was not needed and as mentioned in class and in the pre-readings, fire suppression creates a positive (but not good) feedback loop such that fires are more likely to happen and they will be more intense. That being said, I think a lot of the work we have left to do then may have to be restorative in order to be preventative rather than strictly management. We need to restore diversity (polycultures) that are self-sustaining such as playing to the natural landscape (what was planted there before? what does that soil need now? what does the climate of that area support now? what animals live there and what trees and plants do they need to be self-sufficient). We also need to encourage prescribed, controlled fires that clear surface fuel and prevent ladder fuel such that the crowns and seeds of a tree are preserved for reproduction (see attached image). Lastly, dense forests are not only more dangerous in terms of fire potential but they are also worse for growth in general as plants need to be spaced out in order to grow themselves as well as leave spaces in the canopy for plants/seeds in the understory to grow. More spaced out forests are important for the future. An example to make this more real comes from my BIOL306: advanced ecology course (images from Dr. Sean Michaletz's slides); cougars in a conservatory in Florida were dying as a result of dense plants that hid prey and made them harder to capture, leading to cougars starving. Regular, controlled fires benefited their population as they destroyed the plants and allowed the natural predatory-prey cycles to resume and the plants bounced back surprisingly quickly. Let this story act as reminder that fires are not just a human or plant issue, but an entire ecologically necessary process that includes and impacts all living things. It's presence and absence are both tools and destructors but when we see them as tools that we can control, we can make real beneficial change. #UnleashValues
Save the animals, save the trees, save the planet content media
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Amy Morales-Arellano
Oct 14, 2022
In General Discussions
As mentioned before, I'm a strong believer that farms do not function without animals from tiny microorganisms to insect to pigs and cows. I also strongly believe that these animals work in harmony and to the benefit of crop yields (meaning that monocultures that fail to incorporate animals into their farming dynamic, will fail to produce a sustainable yield). When we play to these harmonic animal-plant dynamics, and understand them, we can make great improvements to suffering populations (i.e. Increase a previously dying population). However, although these a good things that help combat some of the major ecosystem problems caused by the effects of climate change, they aren't a good enough stand-alone solution to the problem as a whole. It is however, a point of interest and a point of entry for farmers who want to tackle climate change using their resources. So my vision begins with educating farmers properly on, first, the consequences of bad farming practices such as overwatering and overfertilizing and the impacts it has beyond their fields and then secondly to provide them with alternatives that are more sustainable and that even yield better numbers and profit. Throwing money at the problem will not make it go away, but throwing education at the problem may create a different perspective to ponder over; a new way of thinking. On a more harsh and immediate-action standpoint, I would like to say that rather than simply adding rebates or other monetary incentives, to also look towards the government for help in the form of certain farming method bans (banning cramped animal enclosures, inhumane handling and animal living conditions) and other mandates (limit on pesticide use, cap on fertilizer use per area) to change the way of farming rather than providing the farmers money in the hopes they will consider looking at it another way. I still have lots to learn, but I found this topic very interesting and will be researching further into it. #UnleashValues
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Amy Morales-Arellano
Oct 07, 2022
In #UnleashValues
What touched me about this lecture's discussion and stories was that one of the biggest issues around why no action is taken around things like water conservation and purification, crucial infrastructure collapse (panama canal example) and working to remedy problems in regions of huge environmental value (for provisions, support etc.) centers around weak and poor government that 1. Does not care about the collapse of these areas because they do not profit from them, 2. Because they are poorly organized/corrupted to look the other way, and/or 3. Lack the financial ability to invest in technologies or, more generally, any long-term remedy to the solution if the solution is very expensive. This is a place where I feel very underqualified, very disheartened and hopeless as an individual. I do not know much about policy or policy-makers, I do not know much about different governments, but it brews heavy emotion in me, because it bothers me that we must rely on the most wealthy (not our government) to take action when our natural resources and humans (as well as other animal lives) are suffering (such as from lack of clean water). We as individuals many times do not care about the events in other countries (even when they may indirectly affect us). We do not always care about the value of our renewable natural resources, the value of clean, potable water for example. However, there are larger corporations that have to care, that must care for their profits. I feel very strongly that governments should care more about their natural resources and value them more highly than the larger corporations do. In this case, I would ask or bring to the table the idea that more stable governments first consider options of conservation and protection of land under government acts so that the care and stability of these critical regions lies in the hand of the government (which individuals have more power to reach and discuss with) rather than allowing for the wealthy to buy the land with the assumption that “it’s theirs, they can do whatever they want with it and that they will likely care for it adequately”. This should also go together with investing in water purification technology so everyone may have access to the basic need that is clean, safe water. My next ask would be that stable governments whose economies rely on certain resources from other countries that have weaker governments, converse with the weaker ones in a way that may sway them to think along similar lines of conservation, allotting a budget for the conservation (more so maintenance for continued use) of their valuable resources such that stable governments can continue to profit (as much as I hate the idea that everything needs to revolve around profit, my fear is that there are few other terms to discuss in that will be as persuasive as money). Ideally, we would reform these weaker governments entirely, force them to see the value of their natural resources and invest in technologies such as for water purification for the safety of their people. I know this is a large task, but as I learn more about different governments and how government relationships and conversations work, my hope is that my ideas will become more clear and precise. This is only a start. #UnleashValues
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Amy Morales-Arellano
Sep 23, 2022
In General Discussions
The vision I have for the future for justice and reconciliation is centered on the topic of human responsibility. Kai mentioned that many people are in very strong agreement that humans are responsible for protection of the planet FOR other humans. That was important to me and nice to hear however, I lack a little bit of faith in there being actual human action for the sake of ecological preservation/conservation for the sake of other people. I say this because this pandemic has been a perfect example of really how responsible we feel for the well-being of other people: many fewer people could have died of covid-19 if we were all willing to sacrifice our unnecessary pleasures for the sake of containing this disease and for keeping ourselves and our own loved-ones safe. That to me shows very little true consideration and care for one another and the divide was made very clear the last 2 years. We do not care about each other as much as we should. This is a relationship we lack and that we can learn from the indigenous communities we are truly connected and who not only feel but SHOW that they recognize the responsibilities they have towards their communities. I would like to see a world that is more connected, that feels more empathetic and understanding towards the difficulties and struggles of others and that is willing to sacrifice their time and abundance of resources with their neighbours. This can be as personal as making internal changes to be more understanding, more minimalistic lifestyles, or as social as volunteering with organizations that care for our vulnerable populations, asking questions and learning more about the different cultures and people that live with us and so much more. I think taking real responsibility is the first step to making real change. Thinking bigger, we may want to look into protecting more land and species by law as well as force more politicians to converse and have the opinions of indigenous people (not just indigenous leaders) prior to making policies etc. We need the policy makers, just as much as anyone else, to understand the difficulties of our vulnerable populations and to take responsibility and action for their well-being which means protecting their land, their practices and what is valuable to them. #UnleashValues
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Amy Morales-Arellano
Sep 16, 2022
In #UnleashValues
My vision for a positive future has roots in the present. Its in the things that are directly related to me (my friends and family) and the things I see on media (protesters, land back groups and other advocators for social justice). In my immediate circle, my friends and family have already committed to buying (and selling) more consciously, second-hand and from brands that have proven sustainable practices and values. This needs to continue and will continue as we strive to not only possesses less but to spend less money and save for our future. To recycle, reuse materials as much as possible is already a practice that my Mexican-immigrant household uses every day and that has been ingrained in me. Immigrants from lower socioeconomic status countries like my parents already practice water-saving, food-waste elimination, and other practices that use items to their maximum ability out of necessity. I'm very privileged to be able to have everything I need in abundance (and excess) such that these practices are no longer out of necessity but out of privilege. It is ingrained in my morals and values to make things last because everything when properly maintained should last and I've always been taught to look for what will last the longest. My plans to change begin with teaching others the way my parents taught me: to hand clothes down, to hand books down, to donate and to buy second-hand, to recycle carefully, to turn off the lights and to only place on your plate when you are going to eat as well as share abundance that you possess with others.
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Amy Morales-Arellano
Sep 15, 2022
In #UnleashValues
Hello everyone, my name is Amy and I’m a fifth-year Biology major at UBC minoring in Behavioural Neuroscience. This year I am enrolled in ENVR 430 because I believe the first step to taking meaningful, impactful and sustainable change towards reversing the course of climate change and the crises we are in is education. I find myself very lucky to take environmental sciences courses like this and I hope to take away a deeper understanding of my role in climate action and pass on that knowledge and use it as a force for change. Anxiety around the climate crisis affects me and many others greatly so I hope to be able to collaborate with all these brilliant minds from diverse backgrounds who bring unique ideas to the table to tackle this issue. I’m really looking forward to working with everyone! #unleashvalues
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Amy Morales-Arellano

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