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Natural Earth Policy

Updated on November 21, 2015

Policy is a Very Serious Matter

Here at Natural Earth Policy we are going to discuss some very important issues and explore some of the scientific formats in which they are presented. The primary reason for their import is the fact that as far as we know, life is the most precious commodity in the universe. Indeed despite the fact that the ‘building blocks of life’ can be found abundantly and readily throughout the universe –pushing the odds drastically in the favor of extant extraterrestrial life, we haven’t found life anywhere else except on earth. Granted human beings have explored an infinitesimally small, fraction of an ‘iota’ of the sample size of the known universe. Yet people continue to squander opportunities to explore the whole wonderment that might be contained within the fragile atmosphere of the home planet.

  • The study of life is called biology, and life is an incredibly treasurable and complex system.

What is more disturbing than the fact that all the while people do not know the total sum of life that exists on earth is the trend of losing our most precious commodities and habitats capable of supporting them. We only have ourselves to blame. National Earth Policy pushes the “our” planet perspective because the feeling of dominion has driven man to become the only species compelled to manage all of the natural resources on earth. The collaborative human effort at conservation so far has yielded frightening results that have alarmed the scientific community. Some life has become extinct due to the willful contact, mismanagement, or plain ignorance of mankind.

  • Conservation is the management or mismanagement of natural resources.

Whether we talk about this trend or not is the difference between silent agreement and engaging the political process. Thus, engaging policy is born as the only option against tacit complicity to a collectively destructive behavior –however it is derived and enacted. Human beings are very political animals. Further complicating things is the highly emotional levels at which we are capable of communicating and the very grave nature of life that is at issue. The scientific process works against these detrimental forces, but the initiating act of science came well after people began to have an effect on the earth. So we begin our educations by attempting to understand the magnitude of the stakes in medias res –or in the middle, of our collective conservation.

  • Natural Earth Policy exists at the intersection of science and policy.

An effective education about life can extend the productivity of life on earth, perhaps buying ourselves time to find possibilities for life in greater abundance. Whether we discover new life here on earth or elsewhere in the universe, the discussion on how to manage life will certainly exist as long as we do. Natural Earth Policy seeks to exploit this fact by broadening the machinery of science through the introduction of new parts to the total body: specifically you, the reader. The reverse is also true. National Earth Policy would also like to help people recognize that their participation in the discussion on the management of natural resources further advances science.

Welcome to Natural Earth Policy

Greetings readers and lifelong learners. Welcome to a place of action and discovery!

This is the world that we call earth. While science calculates that the possibilities for life are endless in an infinite universe, earth is still the only source of life that human beings have been able to discover. Earth, our home, is still unique given our limited understanding and ability to prove otherwise.

Life is a precious resource, so let's talk about that.

How we are going to accomplish the goals of Natural Earth Policy?

  • An effective education is one that imparts individuals with the necessary tools for some type of action.

Biology is the science that often captures our attention at an early age. Children never seem to tire as way leads on to way, in a never ending stream of “whys?” Natural Earth Policy is similarly confounded by the sheer immensity of life on earth, and is committed to taking the position of the science initiate to inspire other novices to become wiser. The principal way in which we will attack the task is through engaging scientific matters through policy, and sometimes vice versa. Both actions serve for the advancement of the reader.

  • Biology, like many sciences, is studied little by little and hopefully over a long time.

Natural Earth Policy will maintain focus on the study of the precious commodity of life, but readers may gain insights into many practical applications of science and other fields of study. The design of the body of science and the generator of the power that drives the machinery of science are the individuals that not only amass a collection of facts, but rather they are the people that exchange their facts and ideas. This is where science has the advantage over politics: participating at the highest levels of science is still, internationally, openly sourced, and free.

  • FREE access to open source, peer reviewed content.
  • MOOC – massive online open courses
  • NEP – Articles, Content, Resources, Themed Capsules
  • DISCUSSION – Feel free to submit post and link content because we support open sources!
  • PARTICIPATION – Quizzes on capsule themes, virtual exploration, and research.

Most of all, children love to study biology because it is fun. Natural Earth Policy might not necessarily be funny, but we intend to enjoy ourselves while accomplishing our mission. Science is heavy stuff, but it is a lot more interesting to look at if there are plenty of pictures of cute manatees. Our lighthearted approach may intimidate some of the more seasoned, and heavily degreed science professionals but we are here for the amateurs. So whether you are a high school student looking to rip off papers or a lifelong learner studying the conservation of natural resources we invite you to explore and engage.

Daniel Cooper

As you can see, Daniel Cooper is a very distant cousin of the fictional biologist, Brian Fellows.
As you can see, Daniel Cooper is a very distant cousin of the fictional biologist, Brian Fellows. | Source

Introduction to the Editor

Daniel Cooper is the principal writer and editor of the Natural Earth Policy page. He is a graduate of Howard University in Washington D.C. and currently pursuing an advanced education in the biological sciences. Daniel also has over fifteen years of experience in the construction industry as a Project Manager that culminated in him becoming a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Accredited Professional (LEED AP). Daniel soon realized that in an ever-developing world, scientific solutions would play an increasing role of informing the public about human dependence on the natural world.

The collective policy and human influence on the earth are irrefutably significant but the access to scientific knowledge about those changes is also unprecedented. The information contained in the Natural Earth Policy page is designed to help fellow students and scientists by highlighting and discussing human impact on the earth from the unique perspective of a novice. The writer is committed to continuing the discussion, and encourages readers to join the peer review process and engage him. This web site should be considered as a free and open source for all levels of scientists. The author reserves the right to cite and link other open source scientific journals and information and hopes that you do the same.

Example: Finding out what a theory is based on.

Who can, or should provide the best answer as to the age of the earth?

See results

How old is the earth?

This question seems to be a prerequisite for study in the natural sciences because of the way that humans quantify evidence and add facts chronologically. The exact answer is subject to scientific debate -or is it?

Some theorize that we live on 'a young earth' that calls the very scientific process into question. Groundbreaking scientific work on the subject championed by Arthur Holmes in The Age of Earth since it was first published in the year 1913. (This is the seminal work on the topic and is currently offered free of charge from Google Books.) The scientific understanding of the earth's age is estimated around 4.55 Billion years and based on the improvements in the process of dating using mass spectrometry. The National Academy of Sciences is attributed with publishing those findings in 1926.

The recent assertions of 'young earth' theorists prove that how one is able to transduce or digest information is not always dependent on how the information is presented in the first place. At the very core, science is knowledge based on observed evidence through experimentation and compiled over time. Scientists call the collection of this factual data empirical evidence, and it is the basis of scientific theory. However, one experiment is not enough for a scientific theory. In fact, when only a few people assert something it is still called a hypothesis which might cause them to conduct even more experiments. Science cannot provide any one person with all of the answers, but each of us may contribute to the entire scientific body. As a result of our contributions and a function of the scientific process, itself, it can never be infallibly "right" or completely truthful.

An important lesson in science is learning where science ends. If observation and repetition of experimentation are not a part of an opposing theory, there is a good chance that you aren't participating in an entirely scientific discussion.

Trichechus manatus

My first attempt at wildlife photography was diving with manatees in the Crystal River in Citrus county Florida, USA.
My first attempt at wildlife photography was diving with manatees in the Crystal River in Citrus county Florida, USA. | Source

Tips on diving with manatees

  • You are only allowed to dive with manatees in Citrus county, FL.
  • Don't use SCUBA gear around manatees. The bubbles disturb them.
  • The right way touch a manatee is with an extended arm and open hand.
  • Try not to swim directly over a manatee. They might surface unexpectedly.
  • Move slowly, swimming with your hands behind your back.
  • Be a passive observer. Manatees don't like crowds.
  • Don't panic if a manatee swims close to you.

USFWS "Manatee Manners"

Diving With Manatees

In late March I had the opportunity to dive with the Florida manatee, Trichechus manatus ssp. latirostris which has become one of my new favorite marine megafauna species. The Trichechidae family is one of only two known in the order of Sirenia -Dugongidae being the other. The order Sirenia derives the name from the sirens of Greek mythology.

Unlike the sirens of ancient lore, there is little to be afraid of when encountering these marvelous creatures. Only the wonders of the human imagination could have transformed the gigantic, earless, legless, and often quiet manatee into a fatal enchantress luring sailors to their deaths with their songs. Members of the order Sirenia have no external pinnae or pelvic limbs and instead paddle streamlined bodies with a dorsoventrally flattened caudal tail. Their closest extant genetic relative is the elephant, and they share their enormous size. Don't be alarmed if they swim close to you because they move with deceiving ease.

I was able to observe Trichechus manatus ssp. latirostris over a long period of time and several dives by taking a regularly scheduled charter boat and short class that has become the hallmark of the burgeoning business revolving around ecological tourism. 'Ecotourism' is a controversial practice that raises many ethical questions about the conservation of endangered species. Trichechus manatus ssp. latirostris is currently listed as "Endangered" on the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources Red List of Threatened Species.


Public Resources

The United States Fish & Wildlife Service continues to be a valuable source of information on conservation for most Americans that enjoy the outdoors. One of the ways in which they interact with the public is through a expertly run public relations campaign that includes free and accessible videos.

This YouTube video is an example of one of the of multiple types of media utilized to educated people about interacting with our neighboring wild animals. In order to learn more about animal conservation issues, or the conservation of the Florida manatee, I would also recommend exploring open source, peer reviewed, scientific journals. Several such issues are explored in the PLOSone biology and it is interesting that at least one paper (cited below) was able to capture both positive and negative impacts on their habitat through the same impetus.

See if you can figure out how!

Laist DW, Taylor C, Reynolds JE III (2013) Winter Habitat Preferences for Florida Manatees and Vulnerability to Cold. PLoS ONE 8(3): e58978. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0058978

A Manatee Called Mossy

This is a manatee that I like to call Mossy, but it is really a type of algae that grows on their backs.  Don't worry, manatees don't seem to mind.
This is a manatee that I like to call Mossy, but it is really a type of algae that grows on their backs. Don't worry, manatees don't seem to mind. | Source
A manatee heads for the shadows, which is their way of excusing themselves but they are so big that you can still see them.
A manatee heads for the shadows, which is their way of excusing themselves but they are so big that you can still see them. | Source
Manatees are pretty agile for their size.  They can swim upside down and roll and move much faster than you, but not as fast as a boat!
Manatees are pretty agile for their size. They can swim upside down and roll and move much faster than you, but not as fast as a boat! | Source
Manatees seem to have an entourage of fish that follow them around because nobody hunts manatees and fish don't like stress either.
Manatees seem to have an entourage of fish that follow them around because nobody hunts manatees and fish don't like stress either. | Source
Another angle of a manatee, but nothing can capture the enormity of their size until you are next to one.
Another angle of a manatee, but nothing can capture the enormity of their size until you are next to one. | Source
Manatees don't see very well and they like to spend most of the time they aren't eating by sleeping.  Manatees can nap for twenty minutes at a time underwater.
Manatees don't see very well and they like to spend most of the time they aren't eating by sleeping. Manatees can nap for twenty minutes at a time underwater. | Source
Manatees eventually have to come up for air after about twenty to thirty minutes.  Manatees like warm water, and they are predictable in their behavior.  Predators still don't hunt them because of their size.
Manatees eventually have to come up for air after about twenty to thirty minutes. Manatees like warm water, and they are predictable in their behavior. Predators still don't hunt them because of their size. | Source

Capsule Quiz 1


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Capsule Summary Notes

  1. You now know that your strong urges to go to the zoo, point at and name animals, or attempt to pet them were completely founded because you are a biologist.
  2. You now know that if you are a child that there are some animals that you can pet and there are some animals that you can't pet, even if you aren't at a zoo.
  3. Also now everybody knows that there is a right way to pet the animals that you are legally allowed to pet.
  4. Natural Earth Policy wants you to take advantage of the free world, and get an education that will help us all on this fantastic planet.
  5. Manatees are cute. Science is fun. The science can get heavy, but manatees are still cute though.
  6. You know that there are plenty of resources at your disposal, so get going because there is a lot to accomplish!

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