Week 8 (Nov 15)

IMPORTANT:  see Projects (Schedule) for revised due date for Term Paper First Draft


Faculty Facilitator:  Kathleen.  On Tuesday, Judy will be at SuperComputing 2010.


  • Tuesday: 6-7pm Meet in Solarium for Zotero Help Session with Rip Heminway (alternative lab work session is option).   Martha/Kathleen will announce when to return to Sem II C1105 for Kathleen’s Lecture on alternative fuels.
  • Thursday, Nov. 18, Guest Lecture: Green Energy, Alan Hardcastle, Senior Research Associate, Washington State University Extension Energy Program , and Seminar (sign up for Nature’s Economy chapters to read and report on for Week 9 seminar).
  • Next Week (Nov 22-28) :  Happy Thanksgiving! No Classes

Seminar Reading:

  • River of Life, Channel of Death
  • Northwest Lands, Northwest Peoples, Chapters 10 & 13

Seminar writing:

  1. Limerick’s chapter “The Significance of Hanford in American History” calls for a New Western History, one that views history as continuous and ongoing, that recognizes the multicultural aspects of Western settlement, and on that drops the word “frontier” (pp. 55 and 56).  Explain how Petersen’s River of Life, Channel of Death fits into Limerick’s call for a new and better history of the American West.
  2. In the Prologue of River of Life, Channel of Death, Petersen explains two popular myths responsible for the current controversy about the Snake/Columbia River system and adds a third of his own (p. 13 ff):  (a) The myth of the salmon, which came to symbolize the spirit of the PNW, (b) The myth of the dams, and people’s ability to transcend hard times, and (c) The myth of the limitless resources in the PNW–that they would never run out.  Which of these three myths do you think best embodies the controversy?  Why?  Use examples from the text to support you choice.
  3. On p. 94 of River of Life, Channel of Death, Petersen writes “The war changed the American West more than any other event, save perhaps the gold rushes. . .”  The need to supply aluminum for war planes trumped the needs of the salmon, of river traffic, and power for the PNW.   Something unforeseen and external to the region drove dam construction.  Do you think the dams would have been built if the United States had not been drawn into World War II?  Why or why not?  Use information from the book to support your position.
  4. Using what you now know about the impact of dams on salmon and the environment from reading River of Life, Channel of Death and other sources, write a 500 (or so) word response to then Vice President Lyndon Johnson’s declaration, at the opening of the Ice Harbor Dam, that “A prudent people would not allow the endowments of nature to waste away” (p. 102).
  5. In the Epilogue of River of Life, Channel of Death, Petersen argues for moving beyond economic cost-benefit comparisons of saving salmon, and instead consider our moral obligations to do so.  He suggests that, to convince ourselves of that obligation, we each find reasons to do so within our own sets of beliefs (p. 234).   Do you agree or disagree with Petersen’s contention?  If you agree, explain the beliefs you hold that drive you to save the salmon, whales, eagles — the natural environment.  If you disagree, explain why you disagree and briefly describe the factors on which one should base decisions to save salmon (and/or dams).

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