Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Tragedy of the Commons

I finally understand the tragedy of the commons! I don't know why I didn't get this in my ecological issues class last year. I think I may have spaced out in class and then never caught up on what it was, but I vaguely remember it being an important concept and while I got the gist enough to understand the discussions, I never exactly knew what it was. Turns out, it's pretty simple. Basically, there is often a large resource that is consumed by many people (the classic example that I'm getting a little sick of learning about: fisheries) and it benefits each person individually to take more and more from the "commons," in our usual case, each person takes more and more fish. These people each have more fish, they make more money, and they are happy. But, eventually, the commons cannot sustain this much use, and it will collapse. The problem is figuring out how much each person can take sustainably, and convincing everyone involved that they can't have as much as they're capable of taking or there will be none left for anyone. I hope I got this right... It seems so simple now that I actually paid attention in class, like there's probably something I'm missing.  And hey! Just in time for Earth Day! 

The only Earth Day-related thing I did today was attend a ceremony where I was given an award I won/earned about a month ago for working at the Botanical Gardens and writing an essay. I say won/earned, because I've been working there for about a year now and I feel like I've put a lot of myself into my lowly intern position, but I truly love it there and so I also feel lucky to be rewarded for my work. In addition, I had to write an essay to apply for this award, and I'm very very proud of it. I do not consider myself a good writer, but I feel like I expressed an entire summer's worth of discovering new things and learning about myself very eloquently in my two page limit. I don't usually win things, and I'm usually pretty modest about such things, but I feel like I put a lot of effort in our projects at the Garden's and that essay, I'm proud to have won it too. 

I really have many other things to write about, but my two hardest finals are in the next two days and I haven't really started studying..

Edit: I have Nutella and a Zingerman's baguette.. my most favorite comfort food :)

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