The Fisheries

Day 2 of prep was filled with things I never considered before. Fisheries. I have always been afraid of the unknown ocean content and depth. Furthermore, not having full control (relative to on land) drives me  away from wanting to be submerged in the pressurized water.

I began thinking that the fisheries trends would be simple patterns of fish populations’ decrease over the recent era, reflecting the increasingly productive and efficient technologies. Then, hopefully, some sort of governmental regulation or economic incentives could be enforced to regulate the amount of fish caught. By then, I expected the fisheries to return to normal after some time. Surprisingly, and scarily, there is an additional dip in the population, after things start to look optimistic. Although not a science person, I really appreciated Professor Johnson’s explanation of the population over time graph (with exponential growth, carrying capacity, and population equations). I think it provides a useful (and different) framework to track and explain predictions and trends in our current world.

One thing that triggered me to continue asking questions was Selinger-sensei’s initial question: what “area of study”/POV does the author write from? I, very “naturally,” assumed that because the article was one of fisheries and ecology/technology, that the author had a particular interest in more STEM fields. Not true, especially reflected in another piece talking about the anthropological reactions to Fukushima radiation consequences and stigma. As I meet more experts, I want to be able to ask and to understand where each person is coming from and why they choose this approach. I think that while reflecting on the fisheries, we inherently reveal more about our individual thinking (and, of course, bias) than the actual unpredictability of the massive ocean.


EDIT: I also wanted to include that Christmas-sensei brought up a wonderful question in response to my presentation on Buddhism in Japan about the physical material used to structure temples/shrines/statues. What are the relationships between the ideology and the execution?

The Problematic Definition of Nature

It was a gloomy, drizzling day. Started off 9 am with some logistics that made me even more excited about planning and the trip.

The two assigned articles (White “The Problem With Purity,” and Thomas “History and Biology in the Anthropocene”) really opened up some worthy discussions about crucial topics that affect all of the academic world and human perception. As a humanities-oriented person who feels too anthropocentric, I enjoyed revisiting familiar structures through an environmental history lens. Because of my classes this semester, I am used to analyzing situations where groups of people are categorized as the “Other” by more “powerful” groups, resulting in monolithic stereotypes and generalizations. We assume the normative status quo: things are the way they are just because. However, the problem with attempting to define something according to this “nature” is that everything changes with temporal and geopolitical contexts and can never be extracted from these parameters to draw huge conclusions. Furthermore, by asserting something exists as it does “naturally,” we are able to avoid responsibility and extract ourselves from this intertwined universe. While thinking about the world, we should consciously ask ourselves: what has been decided and who had the power to decided so.

The best part of today was being able to see disciplines intersect and know that nothing exists in isolation. When science and humanities can be complemented, we can reach a fuller understanding. I ended the day with a lot more questions than I had at the start of today, but hopefully, in the upcoming weeks, I will gain more tools to help me understand these issues and eventually take action.