Thursday, January 31, 2013

Survival of the Smartest

Normally you hear the phrase, “Survival of the Fittest,” and you think of savage beast or tough men, all trying to carve out their place here on Earth with either brute strength or by sheer force. I have come to realize that this old way of life has no place in modern society and that if anything on the planet wants to survive, it must become smarter. For eons the evolution of an organism hugely depended on that particular organism’s environment. This is still true today; only thing, the environment has changed in ways that nature may not have intended. This may range from large scale construction projects to the millions of miles of highway stretched across the country. As stated earlier, evolution is highly depended on an organism’s environment, which can influence nearly every aspect of that organism. Such as, weight, color, habits, food sources, reproduction, etc. Moreover, these physical changes may be necessary for that organism’s survival as it adapts to a particular environment. As noted, these are all physical changes that are usually taken note of by researchers and scientist alike. However, there is a more subtle change taking place within the animal kingdom and it has less to do with nature and more to do with mankind’s relentless ambition. I started noticing this subtle change in behavior a couple of years ago, not to say that this kind of thing has not been going on before I took notice, but it is definitely happening all around the country. I have noticed and I am sure that some of you have as well, that hawks have begun nesting in trees along the interstate highways. The curious observer will ask themselves why? Well, this is because they too have adapted to their environment, just not so much the biological environment, but their technological environment. They are not alone in this endeavor; I have also noticed that coyotes routinely wait around in the median area of the highways at night as well. Hawks patrol the highways during the day and wait for cars to run-over other animals, which then become fast food for them, coyotes take the night shift and basically do the same thing. On one hand, this has made hunting a lot easier for them, but on another hand, it may spell disaster. The real question is: “Are we destroying so much of their natural habitat that they are forced to feed off the dead, or have they simply adapted?” Here are two different animals faced with similar issues, but both of which chose to adapt, but I am not sure if their survival depended on this chosen adaptation or was it simple convenience. The reason I say that is that I have also noticed that spiders have begun to build webs around lights, which happens to be a great place to find insects, thus making their job of hunting easier as well. These subtle changes in their (hawks, coyotes, spiders) behavior can be viewed as mere coincidence but I like to give them more credit than that. I believe these are signs of intelligent adaptation to survive in an ever changing environment. Reiterating what I said earlier, it is now “Survival of the Smartest.” Brute strength and sheer force alone will no longer guarantee an organism’s survival. This holds true among all organisms. The barbaric age is over and intelligence is on the rise. So next time you’re driving down the highway, take a look around you, evolution is taking place right before your eyes. -Andre’ Fletcher, Legal Intern

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Preventing Ink Stains on our Environment

Did you know it can take up to 450 years for an ink cartridge to decompose in a landfill? Ever wonder what to do with your old printer ink cartridges? Recycle them so they do not end up in a landfill! There are a number of online companies and local retailers that will recycle your old printer ink cartridges for you, along with other unwanted household electronics. Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection website lists twenty different resources for information on recycling old ink cartridges. On this website you will find companies that will conveniently send you paid postage to mail your cartridges back to them for recycling, free of charge. Others pay you for your empty cartridges and some use the proceeds for donations to charitable organizations. In addition to mail programs, many ink manufacturers have drop-off locations in town where you can drop off your empty cartridges for recycling. Dell uses local Goodwill locations for their Reconnect drop-off sites for both cartridges and old computer equipment. Check your ink cartridge manufacturer’s website for specific details. Also, check with your local office supply retailer. Most Best Buy stores maintain an in-store kiosk where you can drop off your empty cartridges. Staples also has a recycling program and will reward your eco-conscious efforts with two bucks back in Staples Rewards for each cartridge recycled (limit ten cartridges per customer, per month). No matter which route you choose for recycling your empty printer ink cartridges, do your part to keep them out of the local landfills! -Rachel Goldstein, Legal Intern