Sunday, Bloody Sunday
Not much happens on Sunday. The news from around the state indicates that there is not much movement on the Florida budget. In reading editorials and comments to the editorials, it appears that the state is still polarized regarding its support (or lack thereof) for education. Here's what our own Jon Martin had to say about geology in the Gainesville Sun:
Geology's mission vital to UF's future
The Sun's recent article explaining how President Machen's commitment to the environment goes beyond a symbolic gesture of riding an electric bike to work is encouraging.
His actions during the current budget crisis, however, belie these words, particularly in his acceptance of proposed budget cuts offered by the Dean of Liberal Arts and Sciences to "eliminate program in Geological Sciences."
Geological Sciences is much more than collecting and classifying rocks; we take a uniquely holistic approach to the study of the Earth, especially the Earth's physical environment in which we all live.
Active areas of research and teaching within Geological Sciences at UF address many topics, to name just a few: the Earth's magnetic field, which shields us from solar radiation; climate change; carbon cycling; links between earthquakes, tsunamis, and water flow in oceanic crust; groundwater quantity (Florida's drinking water source); groundwater's vulnerability to contamination; excess nutrients in groundwater and surface water; sinkhole formation and other ground disturbances; glacier dynamics; rates of sea level variations; hurricane frequency; and beach erosion.
All of these processes affect the sustainability of civilization, and many, such as climate and sea level change, are crucial for Florida's future.
Each year, we in Geological Sciences typically teach 4,000 to 5,000 students in a variety of courses about the Earth, contributing significantly to the education of citizens of Florida about these important issues.
Rather than cut viable, productive programs that successfully address environmental issues, UF should strengthen its commitment to departments that conduct research and teach in the area of environmental science.
I hope Geological Sciences will be around to provide its unique contributions to the university's commitment to the environment, in whatever shape that commitment takes.
Jonathan B. Martin,
Other good reads on the state budget can be found:
Good video as well.
Harold Troxler on Higher Ed.
Given that tomorrow is a pretty hard budget deadline for no special session, it looks like we're headed to overtime on this one.