Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Week 12 Featured Journal Entries

This week's featured entries come from Kevin Rigsbee and Nick Wilkerson. (Ian Scheffler's journal entry also earned an extra credit point for excellence.)

Week 12 Journal Prompt

In class, we talked/are talking about connections between national security and the environment. What are some ways that the federal government or state governments are addressing environmental security threats? Identify and describe at least two government initiatives, noting their missions, accomplishments, and future plans. Cite your sources. Your narrative should be 4–10 paragraphs.

Kevin's Week 12 Journal 

As has been mentioned in previous journal entries, climate change is one of the greatest problems facing the world today because it affects the entire world collectively. However, different nations are affected in different ways by the problem. Faced with the issues of changing weather patterns and shifting water sources, many national governments have decided to classify climate change as a national security threat. This has led to the rise of environmental security initiatives, which are designed to address the problem of climate change from a national security perspective. In this journal, I will profile two such initiatives undertaken by the US government. 

The first environmental security initiative I will be profiling is the Interagency Climate Change Adaptation Task Force (ICCATF) founded in 2009. ICCATF is devoted “to expanding and strengthening the Nation’s capacity to better understand, prepare for, and respond to extreme events and other climate change impacts” (“Climate…”). To that end, ICCATF has worked with other government agencies in such activities as: “building resilience in local communities, safeguarding critical natural resources such as freshwater, and providing accessible climate information and tools to help decision-makers manage climate risks” (“Climate…”). The agency is currently planning to encourage other federal agencies to implement climate change adaptation into their own plans. 

The second initiative is the Environmental Protection Agency’s task force for dealing with the outbreaks of pandemics. This task force’s mission is to prepare for and respond to pandemic influenza. The EPA’s most recent activity in this area was during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, in which they worked to sustain government services and to determine the extent and severity of outbreaks. In the event of future outbreaks of pandemic influenza, this task force’s duties will include “management and communication with Agency employees, contractors, assistance recipients, and other stakeholders; implementation of EPA’s continuity of operations plans; support for the federal response to a pandemic outbreak; response to hazardous material releases that endanger human health and the environment; and performance of the Agency’s national security functions” (EPA). 

In the process of dealing with climate change, the federal government has created many agencies and task forces, of which the above are only two. Countless more have been founded at state and local levels. By working together and with other government agencies, these groups hope to aid America’s adaptation to a changing world, and to protect the environmental security of the United States for the foreseeable future. In the event of catastrophic climate change, groups like these will be the best hope the country has. 

Works Cited
1. “Climate Change Adaptation Task Force,” accessed April 5, 2013,http://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/ceq/sustainability.

2. “U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: Pandemic Flu,” accessed April 5, 2013, http://www.epa.gov/pandemicflu/

Nick's Week 12 Journal 

State Level: Florida Water Conservation Month
As the climate is changing, our planet is facing a major increase in regard to environmental security threats. One of the most well-known threats is in regard to environmental security is that of water scarcity. Around the globe we are witnessing water shortages, from countries such as Africa to even parts of the United States. Water is arguably one of the most important resources as almost every living organism requires it to survive.The state of Florida recognizes this scarcity threat and has launched a water conservation effort. The month of April is now recognized by the Florida Department of Environmental Security as Water Conservation Month (jcfloridan). This month has been dedicated to emphasizing water conservation with the goal of prompting action for utilizing the state’s water resources in an efficient manner. The plan also calls for the education of tourists, residents, etc; regarding actions that they can take in order to help protect Florida’s water supply at home.

Over the past year, the Florida Department of Environmental Security has launched a series of actions aimed at improving the state’s consumptive water use permitting programs amongst its five water management districts. This effort has included various actions such as incentivizing local level water usage, the revision of state rules to expand the usage of reclaimed water (jcfloridan). Even before the newly revised rules were put into place, the districts were continuing to fund water conservation efforts across the state.

Accomplishments (Florida)
Data regarding the states ongoing water conservation initiatives etc; show that the state’s efforts are working. Not only does Florida remain as one of the, if not the most, water efficient states in the country, it has reclaimed and utilized over 722 million gallons of water daily to replenish rivers, streams, and other various waterways (jcfloridan).

Ongoing Water Shortages: Future Plans (Florida)
Although Florida has taken significant steps and shown results in conserving its water supply, most areas of the state are still suffering from water shortages. In order to address this, the state plans to continue and strengthen its water conservation efforts for the foreseeable future. The state has also released a list of various conservation activities, etc; that every day citizen can partake in to help lower their water bills and help further assist water conservation efforts. Examples: only run your washing machine and dishwasher when they are full, install high efficiency shower heads, check your homes irrigation system for leaks, etc. (jcfloridan). 

Illegal Dumping in Montgomery County, Ohio
The Montgomery County Environmental Crimes Task force is a state level effort that to date has investigated and identified over 30 separate environmental crimes. These have included illegal waste dumping, public nuisance sites, unlawful transportation of scrap tires, etc. All of these illegal activities are not only a threat to our environmental security as they can damage the environment, thus spilling over into important resources such as agriculture, water, etc; they are also a major threat to public health. The overall mission of this task force is to further investigation into illegal dumping activities that pose threats to the state’s environmental security and public health (PRWEB).

Accomplishments (Ohio)

As mentioned before, the task force has contributed to more than 30 illegal dumping busts. Not only has the task force made significant strides in combatting these crimes, it has also contributed to citizen participation. A young teenager earlier this year reported an illegal dumping site consisting over more than 100 scrap tires, which is a felony in the city of Dayton, Ohio. Along with encouraging action amongst Ohio citizens, the task force has also launched efforts to educate local dealerships, tire shops, etc; in regard to their legal responsibilities. The education efforts have since then spread to citizens, aiming to inform them on how these illegal activities can affect the environmental security of their local communities (PRWEB).

Future Plans (Ohio)
Unfortunately, activities such as illegal dumping are ongoing. There will most likely always be somebody somewhere, committing one of the various crimes discussed. In order to combat this issue, the task force will continue to further enforce current laws, promote their agenda, and further seek citizen participation to help combat these illegal activities. 

"Regional Environmental Crimes Task Force Targets Illegal Dumping in Montgomery County, Ohio."Regional Environmental Crimes Task Force Targets Illegal Dumping in Montgomery County, Ohio. N.p., 30 Mar. 2013. Web. 02 Apr. 2013.

"Water Conservation Month Shows Floridians Importance of Year-round Saving." Jackson County Floridan. N.p., 04 Apr. 2013. Web. 04 Apr. 2013.

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