What’s Left Over? (A brief review)

I recently received a perfect score on a 16 page research paper I composed; concluding my study in Ecology, Adaptation and Sustainable Development during the fall semester.  I know, awesome right!  I thought it was worthy of a mention here at TeknicalGrit.  So what follows is a brief synopsis of the paper, and how I feel it relates to my overall experience and goals at Empire State College (ESC).

The following is an excerpt of the papers abstract:

“The United States of America (and its allies) have, at this point, been engaged in combat operations in the nation of Afghanistan for over a decade.  Although there are presently negotiations taking place between the legitimate governments of these two nations, it remains unclear at what point true peace may be restored to the embattled landscape.  What is clear though is, throughout the conflict, the violence has exacted a heavy toll on ecological conditions within the theatre and abroad.  The ecological strains that have resulted from the conflict have not remained explicit to the natural systems of the region, but instead have developed symbiotic relationships to the socio-political causes that drive the battle.  At the heart of this fight exist the individual combatant; whose presence is intricately woven into the tapestry of war.  This demands special consideration as its human ecological attachment exist throughout the experience.  This piece of writing will examine all these conditions, while seeking to define the human element that is so easily lost amongst the daily statistical toil.  The aim of this study is to provide a contextual basis from which to improve the social process of reintegrating American combat forces into local communities.” (Nicholas, 2013)

A topic, and study worthy of the effort I put into it.  As a veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan) myself, this work holds a special place in my heart.

The meat of my writing was ordered in a way that first eliminated the deception of statistics from the face of America’s warfighters. I did this deliberately to personalize who the writing was about; and immerse the reader into the paper.  This was highly effective in supporting the scope of the writing, because it established the primary subject of the piece (the warfighter) while painting a background for the rest of the paper to develop.  Leading into the body of the research, this method established a rhythm as the paper moved the reader through the different aspects that defined the study.

To provide you a framework, for the contents of the writing, the following is a brief outline of the paper’s key segments:

  1. The Face of War (America’s Warriors)
  2. Socio-Political Drivers (The Gears of War)
  3. Sources of Tension (The Ecological Connection)
  4. What’s Left Over? (Reintegration)

In the end the paper concludes with the following statement:

“In conclusion, through this study the American warrior has been humanized by removing sensationalism and presenting him or her as an ordinary person; who has chosen to be placed in a situation to accomplish extraordinary things.  To support this view of the average person, it has been demonstrated that even a person who is assumed to be well trained to face the rigors of combat still has difficulty when faced with the reality of its occurrence.  It was also revealed during this work that the socio-political processes are the primary drivers of conflict, and that although the decision to go to war is of itself not made by soldiers, the soldiers are in fact the ones who are stewards of the activity.  It is the individual soldier who must preserve their humanity, while navigating the muddy waters of the impossible.  In relation to this ecological connection, there is also an environmental cost to war.  The environmental cost is one that extends beyond the battlefield, it resides in the battle space long after peace is restored; and it threatens the health and wellness of both citizens and soldiers in the region were conflict occurred.  In the end a cooperative effort between veterans and their communities is necessary to ensure proper reintegration when the time for battle has passed.” (Nicholas, 2013)

My study of Ecology, Adaptation and Sustainable Development falls outside the lines that define my major;  however, it is an essential part of my degree program.  This ecology course also served my needs by expanding on critical concepts I learned during the Wildlife Management and Forestry/Conservation program I graduated at Penn Foster Career School.

Part of my interest at ESC is exploring how the discipline of Information Systems (IS) can be leveraged by using Information Technology (IT) to develop sustainable solutions to the issues we face.


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