Jessica Mondillo’s Blog

Category Archive

The following is a list of all entries from the Nature category.

Hurricane Gustav and the Republican National Convention

31 August 2008

Hurricane Gustav is churning in the Gulf of Mexico and is expected to United States within the next few days.  Political analysist have said that the storm could overshow the coverage of the RNC or give it a negative impression by showing the two events simultaneously.

Republicans and McCain have been considering options for the convention.  One is to keep the covention exactly as planned and only doing minor alterations to the speaker schedule.  Another option McCain mentioned to FOX News is that they may delay the RNC.  If they do not delay the RNC, spokespeople have commented that they may turn it into a telethone to give money to the Red Cross and other organizations to help hurricane victims.  As a political move I think one of these ideas is really good and the others really bad.

To continue on without paying attention to possible devistation in the southern part of the United States would hurt Republicans because it would make the people feel like they are being ignored.  This would be especially problematic for the Republican party because southern states often lean toward the Republican side.  This could lead voters to feel disheartened and vote for another candidate or not vote at all.

Delaying the RNC is a bad idea.  I think it would show self centered motives on the part of the Republican party.  It would show the Republican party as attention seeking and I think many people, not just Democrats, would speculate and attack them for that.  Southern voters also might be upset that although the Republican party delayed the event, they then proceeded to go on with what many people consider a “celebration” instead of given added focus to assist people in the area where the hurricane hit.

The final choice, to make the RNC into a telethone is a great idea.  This would help people feel like the Republican party is more connected to the average person and also to help blur some of the party lines.  Donating to help fellow human beings, especially fellow Americans is something that both parties generously do.  Also, by comparison the Republicans would make the Democrats and the DNC appear to be wasteful for spending money on a celebration while the RNC was to help raise money for needy Americans.

Hurricane Gustav could be devastating to the RNC, but through crafty ideas could be used to help both needy Americans and also gain additional support for the Republican party.  It will be interesting to see if Republicans use Hurricane Gustav to their advantage.

For more information on possible RNC changes visit:


National Parks Won’t be Parks Much Longer

24 January 2008 

I have been visiting National Parks since I was about four.  Not the coolest place in the eyes of most teenagers, but to me and, from what I have seen, quite a few other human beings in the world they are enjoyable.

Now you may not know much about National Parks, something I can understand since everyone has their own interests, but there are two main rules that are basically standard between the parks.  1) Don’t destroy things, leave them for others to enjoy as well.  2) Don’t take things out of the park.

For some reason these two very simple rules seem to cause quite a bit of confusion.

AOL News did a piece today on National Parks being robbed of historic artifacts.  This unfortunately was a very true article on a topic that needed attention brought to it a long time ago.  In short, it might be too little, too late.

But it is not only historic artifacts that are being taken.  It is also the plants.  In Sequoia National Park people like to take pine cones and rationalize it as “I am only taking one.”  If everyone who visits the park takes only one Sugar Pine Cone (the most commonly taken pine cone due to their large size), within a month there will be no pine cones meaning the trees cannot reproduce.  The worst part about this is when a low number of the tree reproduce from the seed.  Especially sequoias most of their pine cones never become trees and the only way their seeds are every released is by be heating to extreme temperatures while in a fire.

To make the taking of objects from Sequoia slightly worse is that the entire park is surrounded by a National Forest, and you know when you enter of exit the park.  The rules in the National Forest are quite different.  You are allowed to take the pine cones (in moderation).  Instead of stopping 5-10 minutes from where ever they are (since everyone drives through the National Forest to get to Sequoia), people insist on taking the pine cones from inside the National Park.

I confronted the head of a Boy Scouts troop from Canada (the entire troop was there and doing this) who was carrying a Sugar Pine Cone (they range from roughly 8-20 inches) from one of Sequoia’s walk ways to his car.  I asked him, “That’s a big pine cone.  What type of tree is it from?”  The man told me, “I don’t know.  But is from a very big tree.”  Like many people this man made the assumption that the Sugar Pine Cone came from the sequoias (which actually have a very tiny pine cone).

Another place this is a problem is the Petrified Forest in Arizona.  Outside the park there are quite a few gift shops that sell petrified pieces of wood.  Instead of getting one there people prefer to wait until they are in the park and steal pieces.  They take pieces ranging from pebble size to the size of an apple (and sometimes larger).  With petrified wood, it is non renewable.  No new petrified wood will be popping out of the ground any time soon.

When I was at the Petrified National Park with my parents we actually turned in a French family who was taking pieces of wood out of the park.  We found out later that the family tried to play “I don’t speak English.”  The family was fined and didn’t get to keep their pieces of wood.  The problem is after their trip they were going back to France, so most likely they will never pay that fine.

The worst part about the people who take the natural objects from National Parks is that in a few years many of them will throw away whatever they took because it is going bad or getting damaged.  And if that person doesn’t throw it away, I can almost guarantee that when their child gets it when they die it will be thrown in the trash.

People are ruining the National Parks for money or for temporary pleasure.  The National Parks are understaffed and underfunded (1 ranger for every 56,000 acres).  Without the man power, our National Parks are being destroyed quite rapidly.  If this problem is not ratified you can expect a loss of National Park beauty for the next generation, people my age and younger are getting robber of the natural beauty that the government is trying to preserve for the future.