Sustainable You

Sustainability and the Built Environment

4900/6900 Wk 11: What is going on?

Response due at the beginning of class 3/29.

Weekly 5pt post topic

In the words of Marvin Gaye, this week we are looking at “What’s going On” for this weekly assignment. Of course, Marvin Gaye’s song was in the early 1970 when Civil Rights and the Vietnam War were the main issues, but he used his voice to bring awareness.

We saw a few years ago 30 Seconds to Mars did a “What’s going on” type of song/video for A Beautiful Lie that focused on Global Warming as an issue.

We had the Ryan Gosling (Actor) post a while back that showed his advocacy of green consumption awareness, and last year a bunch of younger celebrities did MTV’s Summit on the Summit to promote global water issues. If you are open to seeing messages you will see people asking to raise awareness on all types of issues regarding Sustainability and the Built Environment.

Your 5pts this week will follow the instructions below:

1) It is time to be creative and show us what reasons brought sustainability to your awareness. Using popular media, news, trend articles, music, film, etc… give us one in-depth example of something that spoke to you regarding sustainability. Each week, I’ve been very focused on getting you to think about topics of my choice, this week I want you to tell us what is important and what we should be looking at and thinking about. For example, I’ve been interested in Al Gore’s message; I’ve been interested in the choices of President’s appointments for major EPA positions; I have opinions on if Iraq War was about oil; I have opinions about celebrities endorsing different sustainability issues/causes/products; I have issues about greenwashing baby products; I have thoughts about environmental related movies like The Happening; I have a list of documentaries or news shows I’ve seen on sustainable topics; and I could go on about sustainability and topics that have hit me because of mainstream exposure.

2) Please visit the Huffington Post Green News and Opinion website. Read through the variety of opinion posts, factual stories, watch the videos. I enjoy the diversity of the info on this page and look forward to downtime when I read through and enjoy the “green news and opinion” offered.

2a) Find an article, video or opinion article that is of interest to you either professionally or personally.

2b) Write a post this week that either:

(2b.1) Agrees with the media story you are covering and you add new and in-depth information to the article. You continue to investigate the topic discussed in your selected media piece. Use facts and resources to defend your perspective.

(2b.2) Disagrees with the media story you are covering and you show the counter argument to why the article is spun in a direction you do not agree with. Use facts and resources to defend your perspective.

My goal for you on this article is two-fold (1) I want you to start noticing how robust sustainable topics are in our daily media, and (2) For you to start showing your own opinions and voice regarding what the media is telling you. Remember, my big thing with this class is that you must find your opinions in sustainability based on your knowledge, you can not be swayed due to lack of information or political spinning.

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Filed under: Sustainable Design

17 Responses

  1. Adam Nowaczyk says:

    Pt. 1

    Meet Me In The Basement by Broken Social Scene

    This video really just says a lot. My interpretation is that the things that matter most in this world are overshadowed by ego, polarization and infighting. There’s also that whole idea of overstimulation because of the mass media, an idea I’ve found interesting for the last 12 years or so. Overstimulation leads to distraction I think is the point, it desensitizes priorities. The video really presents development, war and policy well, which I personally think are all contributors to a harshened environment. Broken Social Scene is a Toronto based indie-rock band, and in my opinion one of the most important and influential bands of he last 10 years.

    Pt. 2

    I will start off by saying that Huffington Post is biased. That doesn’t mean I don’t frequent it daily (I do), but I tend to take everything with a grain of salt. Though HuffPo is more in line politically with my beliefs I like to sift through to get down to what the facts are. Secondly, I wanted to add that while attempting to do this assignment there were too many cute animal videos, especially the one of the dog trying to hide his food from the duck. I could write an entire post on how unethical and wrong it is to have zoos, humans interacting with wild animals as if they’re domesticated or many other topics about animal rights, but I won’t. I’ll just say animal adoption is the way to go and it’s sustainable (no new inputs, etc.).
    —–

    I noticed the HuffPo link for Chris Turner’s (of Mother Nature Network… hand’t heard of it before) piece ‘Is Walking A Form of Activism?’. In many ways before reading the article I thought I knew what it was about (walking promotes healthy habits, encourages others to do so, etc.), but really it was more about organized “Walk For…” campaigns and the barriers to urban walking (chain link fence).

    I will say that I agree with this article on many levels. Walking has become less sexy, less interesting and even somewhat of a pain. But maybe this is about more than just walking. Walking on campus is a given, buses can only take you so far, and good luck riding a bike up a steep hill. What about getting to campus? We still have to drive there. There’s not enough of a functional infrastructure here in Athens in terms of public transit to encourage walking, resulting in faculty, staff and students alike paying ridiculous parking fees every month (I could buy 4 CDs with that!)

    Back to my first paragraph on the article, I do think that when you see people walking it creates a more inviting community and looks more attractive. It makes you want to participate, whether it is because you just need to get somewhere, or because you want to exercise.

    I don’t walk around my neighborhood/community when it’s not light out because there is such poor lighting on Timothy Rd. The sidewalks are also so damn close to the road that a simple veer of the steering wheel could end my life. There’s also crime, which I won’t get in too much detail about.

    Another aspect I would add to this article is how cities have completely tried to damage the past of walking as a means of getting around, sort of erasing its history if you will. They build unfriendly pedestrian barriers and automobile routes, sometimes making a 2 minute walk into a 20 minute walk because the pedestrian has to walk all the way around something… the list goes on.

    Though adaptive reuse typically applies to reusing a building, I really appreciated it another way. While in the Netherlands we visited Amsterdam. Canals were everywhere. More importantly, bikes dominated the city. You couldn’t look in any direction but up (well, maybe up sometimes) and not see a bicycle. There are several reasons for this phenomenon. The streets are extremely narrow, the city center is densely populated and buildings are so close together.

    While some cities may have tried to redesign or rebuild to handle the needs of commuters by automobile, Amsterdam embraced this set of circumstances and adapted by encouraging rampant bike use and public transit. The closer you are to the city center the more bikes there are. While Amsterdam is relatively flat, there are some medium size hills, even still, the bikes used are basic 1-3 speed bikes (simple bikes, as I call them).

    Amsterdam was very successful in adapting history (the narrow streets) to the present thus preserving the history of the built environment. In addition to the use of public transit and bicycles, Amsterdam is also just a great walkable city. Some unintended consequences (or intended in some cases) of adaptive reuse of the built environment is a cleaner environment. By not encouraging automobiles in the area, there is less pollution. One could really spend days walking around and admiring the architecture of Amsterdam. I know I certainly did.

  2. Katherine Holland says:

    1. After searching through The Huffington Post I found Robert Redford’s article on a documentary he and his son created about the Watershed issues to be an interesting topic.

    2a. The article I found to be of interest in the Huffington Post (Green News) was Robert Redford’s ‘Watershed’ Documentary (Raises Awareness For Worldwide Water Conservation). In the article, Redford and his son team up and create a documentary about the Colorado River system and the water shortage/quality problem. The Colorado River System is believed to be in jeopardy due to global warming and other developments over the years.

    2b1. I am going to say that I agree with the media coverage this article portrays. Robert Redford and his son are just trying to raise awareness about the worldwide water issues. It seems that this issue needs to be brought up and spoken about. People are coming together and working on ways of thinning out water problems all over the world. The Colorado River System is just one example of our countries water issues. A good example of an organization I found interesting in relation to the Colorado River System is the “Middle Colorado River Watershed Partnership.” This partnership has formed based on helping and enhancing the health of the water system. Organizations such as this one and documentaries like Redford’s. “Watershed,” are great for raising awareness into the community. It seems that communities do not take water quality and supply issues very seriously. Communities need to educate themselves on the issue, get together, and share information to make a difference. According to the Middle Colorado River Watershed Partnership, “The population of the region is going to triple by 2050.” Although some people might not take this subject seriously because these effects will come later and is currently not as big of a problem, people should understand that it is all about what we do now. What we do to our environment will effect our future. It is as simple as what people do to their bodies now, which might not show in their youth, will show up later. I guess what I mean by this is that aging happens to our environment just as it happens to our bodies. People need to understand the impacts on our water supply and water quality. I encourage people to spread awareness on the issue and understand the effects that can take place.

  3. Megan Greene says:

    1. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7cTIYsvJOQk
    I found this song called “Don’t Go Near The Water” by The Beach Boys to interest me regarding sustainability. First of all, the album that this song is in was released in 1971. This shows that issues involving dirty and polluted water have been around for at least 40 years, but we still have not seen much improvement. It surprises me that celebrities that long ago were wanting to speak out about sustainability, because it seems like a more recent trend to me. The words “aint it sad” provoke a lot of emotion because it really is sad that we have allowed ourselves to damage our own planet and our own home. The words “poison” and “threatens life” show the effects of our actions as the waters “have all been touched by land.” I like the way they end the song by saying “let’s all help” and “do what we can and ought to.” They notify people that it must be a joint effort to save our plant’s waters and not one person can do it all on their own. We “ought to” because it is our obligation to protect and improve the planet that has given us life.
    2. N/A
    2A. I found an article to go along with the song I found for question 1. This article describes the International Coastal Cleanup Day 2011.
    2B. I definitely agree with this media story. I do not think people realize the effect of improperly disposing of items. It’s just one bag, one cigarette, or one bottle. How bad could that be, right? Wrong. People are amazingly unaware with the effects of their actions that they do not know how bad the current situation is. However, this cause generated nearly 600,000 volunteers, which are aware of the issue. They collected nearly 9 million pounds of cigarettes, bottles, and other trash throughout more than 20,000 miles of coastline. The quote by Ocean Conservancy CEO Vikki Spruill stood out to me the most. She said “Our volunteers picked up enough food packaging for a person to get takeout for breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day for the next 858 years.” This truly shows what a waste this situation is causing. Over the past 26 years of doing this cleanup, they have removed over 153 million pounds of garbage from beaches, coastlines, and waterways around the world, but this problem is still far from over. In an article in Natural History magazine, a man describes his journey through the eastern Pacific Ocean. He said it took him more than a week to cross the area and he “never found a clear spot, plastic debris was floating everywhere.” The Sea Education Association explains that plastic also is a huge threat to aquatic animals. Some animals mistake plastic for food and it corrupts their inner organs. Other animals get trapped in plastic netting or straps which constrict movement. I agree with the author of the article that people must start taking serious responsibility for their trash and either discard or recycle it properly. Cleanup volunteers can do their best to help the environment, but it is ultimately the individual’s choice to either contribute to or avoid this problem of an uncontrollable amount of trash. However, the more people that contribute to the cause of fighting this issue will create more awareness. I think if more people are aware of the seriousness and current/future effects of their trash then people will begin to make smarter and more educated decisions.

  4. Katie Jones says:

    1. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tvtJPs8IDgU
    The first time I can remember becoming truly aware of our environment and the issues facing sustainability was in 7th grade when I first heard the song “Big Yellow Taxi” by Counting Crows. Although the song is slightly cheesy, but the lines “paved paradise and put up a parking lot” and “put all the trees and put them in a tree museum” evoked a sort of unsettled feeling in me. It sounds weird but it was like it was the first time “I got it” or that I really became aware of all the construction and environmentally harm our world was causing. Trees in a museum are obviously an exaggeration but in the future how far from the truth could this really become?

    2. After shamelessly watching/reading every animal story (you should really the one called “National Puppy Day: Puppies You Need More Than A Man.. it is my personal favorite), I finally got back on track and chose to analyze the article entitled “Colorado Electronic Recycling Bill Promoted By Lawmakers.” Written by Ivan Moreno, the article discusses Colorado’s push to ensure that thrown out electronics are directed to a place where they can be reused rather than thrown out as waste into landfills. I completely support this effort and think that not only will it help the environment and reduce consumption, but it will also create new jobs, something with which our country is crying out for.

    In addition, I also think that is starts to re-direct our thinking and help guide our country on the path that Cradle to Cradle was discussing a few weeks back. People are starting to think deeper into environmental issues and are beginning to understand how we can not only reduce, reuse, and recycle, but how we can use different parts of a product and create a whole new product out of 100 percent recycled materials rather than consuming new materials. It also begins to create action and reform. Our countries and politics tend to do more talking and bickering rather than actually putting our big ideas into action. Continuing onward, hopefully every state will take the initiative that Colorado and a few other states are taking. In addition, if we can completely reuse electronics what else can re-distribute and prevent from ending up in a landfill?

  5. Mary Alice Jasperse says:

    1. One of the first things that spoke to me in terms of sustainability occurred my freshman year when I was taking a water resources (elective) course. I had to research the whole Magnuson case, which was very monumental in 2008. This was the court decision on the water disagreement among Georgia, Alabama, and Florida. I had to write this huge paper on the case and what it meant for Georgia, etc. While I was doing this research on the gallons of water Lake Lanier supplied to Gwinnett County and the City of Atlanta, I kept on running into these news releases about how Gwinnett County, Cobb County, and all of these other Atlanta areas were proposing new water parks. All while we were having the worst drought in years! All while we were in the middle of very strenuous litigation with two other states! This was totally ridiculous! I couldn’t believe that while various counties in Atlanta were fighting tooth and nail for water rights they were proposing water-wasting ventures like water parks. There was absolutely no talk of conservation in the news as a potential remedy. Few people in the area even knew the issue existed. This was my first exposure to the (sometimes frustrating) nature of sustainability.
    2. On “Monsanto Lawsuit: Organic Farmers Appeal U.S. District Court Decision”: I often get into discussions with people in the biochemistry field (you know, at parties) about the potential detrimental nature of GM crops. Most of those in the biochemistry and biotechnical spheres argue that the gene inserted into a protein (I’m not sure about the specifics) is harmless to humans. I am no biochemist, but I am unsure about the long-term effects of these GM crops. Also, there have been many allergic reactions to these products, which sends some health signals to me. When I am in discussions with these folks, my main argument is not that GM crops are really bad for you and will harm your health… I do think most GM crops are not as good for you as the real thing, but I am not a biochemist so I do not know exactly how “bad” these products are for you. My main argument in this discussion is the affect GM seeds have on the agency of a farmer to do his/her job. When farmers are forced to buy seeds from one company (mainly Monsanto, Cargill, and the like), then buy the chemical to spray on that particular seed from the same company (in the instance of Roundup-Ready crops), the farmer no longer has control over the destiny of his/her farm. This is very problematic in the realm of farming. When farmers are forced to grow a crop that they don’t even want to grow, what does it mean to be a farmer? How degrading is that lifestyle?

    Also, I learned today that under the existing farm bill, if you are receiving payments from the government for crop production (based on historic levels of production), you are paid whether you produce corn/soybeans/cotton or not. The main stipulation in this agreement is that the land remains “in farmland.” Today I learned that if you take that land that was previously designated for corn/soybeans/cotton and turn it into fruit and vegetable production you will no longer get that subsidy! So, not only are we subsidizing agricultural products that we cannot even eat, but we are not allowing farmers to grow foods that we can eat and are good for us! In essence, our agricultural system is working against the health of our country! The article in the Huffington Post did not go into this much detail, but it is echoing some of my sentiments about organic and localized farming. We have just made it really hard to grow healthy food in the United States.

  6. Ari Strickland says:

    This is a re-cap video from GA/FL weekend at “Frat Beach” on St. Simon’s Island. Though it seems awesome and fun, it totally disgusts me. I grew up around St. Simon’s, and that beach (known to everyone else but UGA students as “Coast Guard” or “East Beach”) is generally fairly populated with beachgoers. The difference is that the normal crowd has enough respect for the environment to clean up after themselves. After GA/FL weekend, specifically the Friday before the game, the beach is TRASHED. Beer cans, boxes, and bottles are everywhere and it doesn’t even look like home anymore. After the catastrophic mess from last year, locals organized a huge beach clean up on Saturday morning.

    In the Huffingtonpost green section I stumbled across the article from San Francisco where they held an International Coastal Cleanup Day and collected over 9 million tons of garbage. I immediately thought back to the issues of GA/FL weekend on St.Simon’s Island. In 2008, on “Frat Beach” alone, volunteers cleaned up 10.4 tons of trash. Such an alarming fact caused the director of the DNR to write a letter to President Adams of UGA about the issue. Since then students have been encouraged to be mindful of what they leave behind. The biggest issue still, is that students come and go, and a new bunch arrives each year, so the reminders must be constant.

    In conclusion, I completely agree with and support the Huffington article. I always make sure me and my friends are not the one’s who are trashing the beach when we go, with the hopes that others will notice and follow in suit. I feel that awareness on this issue should be raised because not only are beaches being trashed with cigarette butts, beer cans, and food packaging, but it’s also been announced that the US Pacific coast should be expecting lots of debris by 2013-2014 from the Tsunami in Japan. We should be doing all we can to help preserve our precious coastal environment and ecosystem.

  7. danielle ruble says:

    1. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_bdBgkQ9dlE
    This video is amusing yet scary. The clip displays how climate change is getting politicized. Rather than being close-minded and hesitant to cross party lines, politicians need to consider the sides of global warming not as an elected official, but as a citizen of the planet. Excess carbon dioxide effects the atmosphere and it is a ludicrous argument to ask plants about the dangers of carbon dioxide. I am worried that people will blindly listen to politicians when they have misinformed views.

    2. The article that interested me in the Huffington Post was the article about Orangutans in Indonesia. The population of about 6,000 is in danger because of forest fires and land clearing. Deforestation has threatened the Sumatran tiger and Javan rhino and pushed up carbon dioxide emissions. The Bali tiger and the Java tiger have disappeared in the last 70 years. This concerns me because I love animals and always worry about how they are affected by what we do with our land. It also speaks to me personally because while traveling in Greece I met a girl named Hannah from Tanzania. She talked to me about how beautiful Tanzania is and how much she loved working at the National Park where Jane Goodall did her chimpanzee study. I would hate for such fascinating animals to be threatened by man-made problems. We must do anything we can to protect animals who have done nothing to cause any problems.

  8. Karen Cotton says:

    1. My earliest recollection of man’s impact on the environment and the need for reducing litter (long before I became familiar with the concept of sustainability), was of seeing trash being hauled on barges in the ocean and by trains. I can remember wandering how that trash was probably only the tip of the iceberg and that we will continue to make waste. And so the million dollar question became, what are we going to do with all of that trash and how could we reduce it.

    2.B. The Huffungton Post article that caught my attention was “The Science of Truthiness: Why Conservatives Deny Global Warming,” by Chris Mooney (posted: 03/26/2012 9:28 am). The essence of the article is to poke fun at the Republicans for their collective disbelief of the phenomenon of global warming. Mooney indicates that his research has concluded that educated conservatives tend to deny the scientific data that supports the existence of global warning. And he outlines three primary reasons for conservatives to harbor this belief, such as;
    1.Conservatism is a Defensive Ideology, and Appeals to People Who Want Certainty and Resist Change.
    2.Conservative “Morality” Impels Climate Denial — and in particular, conservative Individualism.
    3.Fox News is the Key “Feedback Mechanism” — whereby people already inclined to believe false things get all the license and affirmation they need.
    The humorous approach to the topic drew me in; however, the article caused me to assess my own thoughts and beliefs on the topic of ‘Global Warning.’ In general I am reluctant to acknowledge the impact of global climate changes and the seemingly impact on planet earth. However, it is undeniable that glaciers are breaking apart and melting and causing he sea levels to rise; or that hurricanes, tornados, droughts, heat waves and wildfires are becoming more commonplace.
    So what’s the cause, global warming skeptics say that the climate changes are the results of the earth’s own natural sources such as volcanic activity. This could be true in part, but scientific evidence shows that human produced carbon dioxide, industrialization and the cutting down trees help to trap heat in the earth’s atmosphere and thus causing the earth temperature to rise.

  9. Melissa Worth says:

    1) http://abcnews.go.com/WNT/video/wild-weather-evidence-climate-change-winter-storm-global-warming-12612353

    I first became interested in sustainability when I took Dr. Porter’s ecology class my sophomore year. The class was somewhat doom & gloom, but I don’t think that was his intentions. Instead, I think he was trying to encourage people to take action because the worst case scenario for global climate change is the one that is supported by the data. Dr. Porter used a lot of news clips, like the one I posted above, throughout his lectures. And it was interesting for me to see how often issues related to sustainability are discussed in the news, although I don’t always realize it. For example: I had no idea that all of those floods took place. But I kind of wonder if I just don’t pay enough attention to the news or if these stories aren’t getting as much attention as they should be because their causes aren’t always being attributed to global climate change?

    2a) Scalloped Hammerhead Shark ‘Twin’ Is Actually New Species (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/27/scalloped-hammerhead-shark-twin-species_n_1383125.html?ref=green)

    This article is very interesting to me because I recently wrote a current events article for my environmental econ class on how the spike in rhino poaching has threatened the survival of the species. The article I read discussed how the increase in wealth in several Asian countries, such as China and Vietnam, has led to the poaching of several black and white rhinos throughout South Africa, and it appears that the decline in shark populations around the world is, in part, due to the increased wealth in Asian countries as well. Both of these articles describe a loss of biodiversity, and because all life on earth is all life on earth is inexorably linked, the loss of these species may have serious implications for other species as well. Therefore, the endangerment of the scalloped hammerhead shark isn’t just a regional issue; it’s a global issue. Also, I find this article very interesting because, as we saw in earlier blog posts, China was ranked #3 on the Greendex, but China is also partially to blame for this unsustainable behavior because they are the ones encouraging the practice of finning so they can make shark fin soup. And because the consumption of goods on the black market is difficult to trace, I wonder how “green” China really is in comparison to the United States. While it may not be cost effective to completely prevent finning, I think all of society needs to work together to develop an effective environmental policy that will ensure the survival of the scalloped hammerhead species for future generations because, as this article illustrates, this species is already more scarce than we had previously thought.

  10. Heather B. says:

    The reality that the earth’s drinkable water will soon be in high demand and short supply has been communicated to me countless times throughout college. It is an issue acknowledged and accepted by scientists, scholars, and students across the globe; however that seems to be where the conversation ends. I keep asking myself how we can so casually brush over the grave reality of an oncoming global water shortage in our midst. And how can it be that we know 67.5% of our earth is saltwater (leaving only 2.5% fresh), but we have yet to produce notable innovations in desalination technology– increasing availability, portability, simplicity or just the overall concept of the mechanism– to make it useable and drinkable. We talk about the problem, but don’t offer suggestions nearly as readily as we do in regards to the more publicized problems on our horizon. I think that it is possible that we, as Americans and citizens of a highly-developed nation are able to push this troubling reality aside in pursuit of solving various other “hot” (no pun intended) environmental issues, knowing that we have the luxury to do so. It is unfortunate, but likely true that it won’t be until long after less-developed nations have greatly suffered from the shortage that our water needs will be compromised or even altered. Water is already precious and scarce to so many people of these countries, I can’t imagine how they will survive as the world’s supply only depletes further. As of today, “2.5 billion people across the globe lack improved sanitation facilities, and over 780 million people consume unsafe drinking water” (3).
    Luckily, a few high profile celebrities have taken interest in raising awareness about water conservation and we all know the strong influence those in the spotlight can have on the masses. A hip-hop gossip website titled “Hollywood Heavy” (clearly not a go-to website for environmental news) recently ran an article about Jay-Z and his efforts with the Water Tank Project which aims at informing the public on the need for water conservation (1). Another pop-culture icon lending his support to this cause is Lenny Kravitz who teamed up with UNICEF to promote the Tap Campaign which focuses on getting water to those who need it most, today (2). Actor Matt Damon is the face of the http://www.water.org and World Water Day, “a day designated by the United Nations to drive attention to and action against the global water and sanitation crisis” (3).
    I am fully aware that there are many other issues of importance plaguing our planet, and that researching ways to solve or improve these problems is extremely relevant and necessary for a better future. However, I just see the water issue as an underpublicized, under-prioritized problem that will very, very soon (in the grand scheme of things) cause a serious crisis throughout the world (water wars).

    1. http://www.hollywoodheavy.com/detail/009042/jay-z-embarks-on-water-conservation-awareness-campaign/#content_image-023317
    2. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/22/lenny-kravitz-unicef-tap-campaign_n_1373552.html
    3. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/matt-damon/world-water-day-waterorg_b_1370644.html?ref=impact

  11. ashley Walker says:

    http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/bestoftv/2012/03/20/exp-myb-romans-gas-prices-politics.cnn

    above is the link to a video on CNN that talks about the prices of gas skyrocketing. Honestly gas didn’t really affect me until I started to drive about two years ago. Once I realized exactly how much I was contributing to putting gas in my car it really became important to me to find out other ways this country can become non dependent on oil. Because everyone is so dependent on oil, oil is becoming scarce. So if anything made me become more aware of sustainability it would be the prices of gas rising.

    2a. The article I found interest in was the “Three Things That Will Cost More in 2012”

    2b1. I found this article interesting because it makes a tone of sense and you can actually see it occurring right now. One thing the author stated will go up is insurance. Insurance on homes, cars and personal things will go up due to an increase in weather disasters happening. more often than not more earthquakes tsunamis tornadoes and other weather disasters are happening so as a result to more weather problems the insurance companies will increase there premiums to accommodate them paying for the damages done after a weather disaster. I believe that this is the only solution because If prices are not raised and weather storms keep doing significant damage to people’s property than the insurance companies are going to go out of business and then the cost of repairs will have to come 100% out of the owners pocket.
    The second thing that the author said will go up is water. Due to the scarcity of fresh water some states such as texas are putting restrictions on water causing the price of water to skyrocket. I personally do not agree with this. Water is something that should be free because it comes out of the sky. People have found ways to personally collect water, purify it, and drink it themselves without paying for anything. But because the government is so greedy they are taxing the people who are doing this or forbidding them to do it all together and I do not think that is right.
    the third thing that he claims will go up is coastal real estate. This one goes hand in hand with the first find of insurance rising. due to climate change the sea level is rising. It already cost a fortune to live off the coast before all of these climate changes took place. I should know I am from Los Angeles California and we lived off the coast of Malibu. Butt ever since more mudslides have happened and coastal storms ripping the coastal neighborhoods apart the real estate has sky rocketed.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/terry-tamminen/three-things-that-will-co_b_1385395.html?ref=green

  12. Brittany Biggers says:

    1. I have always had an appreciation for nature, biodiversity and the environment. Yet, there is one specific book that actually caused me to make a change. The book is called Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer, also the author of Everything is Illuminated. http://www.eatinganimals.com/ Besides the horrific treatment of animals and their brutal deaths that is seen in factory farming, this type of farming is a major contributor to climate change. There is absolutely nothing sustainable about factory farming. Whether this means water usage, waste management, etc., the list goes on and on. Because of this I have not consumed any meat or meat products in about three years. I know that a novel is not necessarily mainstream media, but when I read through the question this is what stood out in my mind.

    2. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/danielle-nierenberg/farm-animals-environmental-risks_b_1383187.html?ref=green

    This article discusses the impacts of increasing farm animals, more specifically in factory farms, which they call concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs). This article confirms a lot of the facts I learned from reading Eating Animals. For examples, the industry accounts for an estimated 18 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, including 9 percent of the carbon dioxide, nearly 40 percent of the methane (a greenhouse gas 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide), and 65 percent of the nitrous oxide (300 times more potent as carbon dioxide).” The author, Danielle Nierenberg, also discusses how CAFOS “produce high levels of waste, use huge amounts of water and land for feed production, contribute to the spread of human and animal diseases, and play a role in biodiversity loss.” This confirms my belief that there is nothing sustainable about CAFOs.
    To try to ensure that Nierenberg’s statistics were not skewed I did further research on CAFOs through the Sierra Club. The Sierra Club agrees that CAFOs are major contributors to pollutants and gives specific data on the matter. Their website states that CAFOs usually do not have a proper way to treat the wastes created in the plant (which they state is equivalent to the urine and feces production of 16,000 humans…and this is just for one small CAFO). This means that “CAFO waste is usually not treated to reduce disease-causing pathogens, nor to remove chemicals, pharmaceuticals, heavy metals, or other pollutants.” This directly affects the health of ecosystems and human beings, because the Sierra Club claims there is frequent contamination of water sources through spills or overflows of waste, stormwater runoff, etc. The depressing list of environmental impacts casued by CAFOs goes on an on.

    Resources:
    http://wisconsin.sierraclub.org/issues/greatlakes/articles/cafofacts.html#sustainable

  13. Kelsey Savell says:

    What is Meatless Monday?

    Who is going meatless (celebrity endorsements) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=34ZlshYwby8 and http://www.meatlessmonday.com/whos-going-meatless/

    I’ve been interested in the Meatless Monday campaign since a friend told me about it a couple months ago. It’s a really simple idea—cut out meat one day per week. The campaign picks Mondays because it is the start of the week for most Americans. It is postulated that as Americans settle into their weekly routines, if they are prompted with a reminder to be healthy, they will be more likely to sustain a health-focused mindset throughout the week. Weekends are also typically a time for unhealthy habits, so a reminder to shift back to more healthful choices during the week could be most helpful on Mondays. Going meatless benefits both human health and the environment. Excessive meat consumption is linked to chronic preventable diseases such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Meat production is also responsible for more than half of carbon emissions (this includes all the processes that go into making a consumable product—acquisition, transportation, and raising of livestock; livestock feed production and distribution; slaughtering and processing of livestock; and dissemination of processed meat to local food stores).

    Article: “I’m With Stupid: Yes, Bacon Is Still My Favorite Condiment”
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/todd-hartley/im-with-stupid-yes-bacon_b_1236415.html?ref=meatless-monday

    I really like this guy. He isn’t a radical, and he was refreshingly honest about his experience trying a new dietary cleanse that required him to not eat any meat for three weeks. I also thought this article compliments my response to #1 quite well in that it demonstrates how impossible it would be to convince people—myself included—to forego meat altogether. As Hartley says, “I’m a carnivore. Always have been. Always will be.” I think a lot of people feel that way, especially when some vegan is preaching at them to think about what kind of fuzzy animal is going into their mouth at the dinner table. Hartley talks of being famished, angry, and mean for three weeks, and he was even cheating. Three weeks without meat would seem like an eternity to me, and apparently it was for Hartley as well. But I think one day a week is very doable. I have plenty of favorite meals that just happen to be meatless, so I do not really have to change my diet, just be conscious of when I am eating what. If I’m craving mac-n-cheese on Sunday night, now I’ll likely order a pepperoni pizza and save the mac for the next day when my options are more limited. As a consequence, I’m not sure how much these habits really cut down on my meat consumption or contribution to livestock demand, but I have noticed it keeps my personal health and the environment on my mind throughout the week.

  14. Samantha Morton says:

    1) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n-AbPav5E5M This video is particularly moving to me. It is baffling to me that America is supposed to be the land of opportunity and greatness- or at least that is what we are being taught, however we are so vastly behind other developed European countries. With all of our vast knowledge in scientific research how can continue our destructive habits? Change in America feels like a multi-decadal process. Whereas if we were truly feeling the pressure of water scarcity or a threat to the quality of our lives we would move, but still slowly. It is a sad reality that only in the face of a major negative pressure do we act. Meanwhile across the sea European nations like the Netherlands have taken major preventative measures. Bicycles are the norm as opposed to the exception. I am fairly certain car accidents are in the top three reasons for deaths in America, resting next to heart disease. Bike accidents are real, but people would be traveling at a fraction of the speed and mass. Injuries would still exist, but I imagine deaths would be drastically reduced. This youtube clip is breathtaking to me. This is not a futuristic animation, it is real life. Now how long until streets in Georgia and all over the US look like this, and what can I do to help?
    2) http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jaime-rojo-steven-harrington/poorhouse-for-the-rich_b_1384224.html?ref=arts While perusing the Huffington Post Green website I somehow wound up on the arts page enticed by a picture of a decaying ceiling dripping gold leaf. The title of this article “ ‘Poorhouse for the Rich’ Revitalized by the Arts” pulled me in. There is a fabulous project taking place in New York that I am wondering if I will ever be so fortunate to be a part of. A “contemporary public art organization” by the name of No Longer Empty is using an old dilapidated mansion originally purposed to house wealthy retirees as a shell for street artists to collaborate and create installations. Some people may argue that there are better uses for that land however in order to use the land it would require tearing down the preexisting structure, thereby trashing all the materials and resources that went into constructing the mansion. While recycling is an option, people often forget that reducing and reusing first is more desirable. Plus No Longer Empty works to preserve the history of the community and site. The article highlights some of the deep seeded class division in this neighborhood of New York (not a positive history, but history still). Projects like this one encourage street artists to create in a positive form rather than defacing public property with marring graffiti. Speaking of public property, all exhibitions are free. Finally, NLE usually works in areas of lower income communities and strives to energize the local economy by including local businesses in the installation process.

  15. Aubrey says:

    1) The main thing I have had focus on in the area of sustainability is sustainable design as it pertains to the fashion Industry. Its been a blossoming curiosity and I think I have over the past few months collected many resources of the subject. This video is one that I found simple and inspiring. Its an interview with two young designers (Moral Fervor) who have built their business on the concept of sustainability. I think it does a good job of showing that sustainable design is a movement not just a trend.

    http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xkgxun_moral-fervor-s-environmental-fashion_lifestyle

    2)I’ll start out by saying that I think this website is a host of information and articles that could keep me entertained for hours. Ill definitely have to add it to my bookmarks. In searching the women’s section of the website I noticed that most articles fit into just a few categories; Mostly healthy living in the areas of exercise, what you should be eating, and what cleaning supplies not to use. There was of course an emphasis on motherhood but the thing I found most interesting is that the whole feel of the page seemed to have a goal of attaining this certain undefined happiness. Examples of article titles: Dare to dream: Choosing a life of Greatness; Oprah and other Celebs who Embrace Transcendental Meditation; 24 Hours to Recharge your Soul; Soul Talk :Isn’t It Time to Let Your Soul Soar? Ect….I think its interesting that all articles seem to be saying: do this,eat this, think this way, meditate this way if you want to be happy and content, and it only takes this one change for this one day. I think the site is missing that these ways of thinking are paradigms, you cant just take a “day to fix your soul” You shouldn’t need to know that celebrities accept a form of meditation for you to want it. The site seems to promote this overall idea that women aren’t happy but if they just do these things they can be. It seems that the site, and many womens magazines and websites for that matter all have this heir about them. Almost like a huge tip guide of all the things you should be doing but you’re not if you want this overall feeling of being satisfied in life. What happened to living in the moment and understanding that having conflict in life is normal and that happiness is not lack of that but rather an understanding of how it should be balanced? Ok enough of the rant.

    The Article I read is called Good news: Your Are Not Your Brain. It is roughly an analyzation of how the brain is currently thought of by neuroscientists ( as being in charge of our actions) and how based on the research of one neuroscientist there is now good news telling us that we has conscience people have control over our brains….I think. To be honest I found this article to be opinion based, not well researched, and extremely generalized. thought from the get go it seemed as if they were trying to sell an idea. The article opens up by talking about what ideas in science have been put in “the recycling bin”(commuter trains riding on frictionless rails using superconductivity, along with interferon, the last AIDS vaccine, and most genetic therapies) Then continues to say that the brain is next to go.
    So Im thinking……. eh?
    I continued to read. The article continues to say that there have been studies that we are shown “brain scans of repeat felons with pointers to the defective areas of their brains. The same holds for Buddhist monks, only in their case, brain activity is heightened…”
    Again Im thinking…..eh? What is a defective brain, what is a pointer, why is this so general? Then there are sentences with words in quotations which simply shouldn’t be, like “proves” and “Cause”, They say at one point 99% of neuroscientists think…..
    Where are they getting these statistics? There are no citations and much of what the authors are saying seems opinion, not research based. They make generalities and talk about our behaviors without concern for environmental of cultural forces. Then the funniest part is when they say turn our brains into a force thats against us by saying It is degrading to human potential when the brain uses us instead of vice versa”. To think the authors actually turn this article into being about how our brain is a machine that we must overcome…. I feel like its a silly thing to do. This topic is one that I feel has no room for opinion, which is almost the only things provided.
    This exercise was effective in the goal you set. Maybe in the past I would have taken everything it said and let it be a way to shape my thinking. I could have easily gone on and shared this false information. Now I feel that Im more apt to be aware of how the information Im reading has been written, why who sponsors it and where it comes from. know the difference between what a generality is and what real research looks like. I think the authors of this article are just trying to make a buck off of uninformed ideas of being new age and in touch with their soul. What a trend its become. Maybe Ill buy their book now: entitled Superbrain: New Breakthroughs for Maximizing Health, Happiness and Spiritual Well-Being.

  16. Danielle McDaniel says:

    1. I guess the first time that I began to realize the effects we have on the environment was in middle school. I had taken a class that focused on environmental issues. We had different people come and talk to us about different issues and what we could do to help. In one instance, I remember a man from a Honda dealership had come to show us a hybrid car (which was probably one of the first ones that was put on the market). He had mentioned how efficient it was and all of the benefits behind it. I just remember how quiet it was when he first started the engine. With that same class we took a field trip to our water treatment plant. We took a tour of the facility and learned the process that water went through. I really didn’t begin to learn more about sustainability until I entered my major. I would say that it was then that I gained a better understanding of it.
    2. Since baseball season is upon us, the article about the Cleveland Indians installing wind turbines caught my interest. It is the first ever wind turbine to be installed in a major league baseball stadium. However it isn’t their first addition of a renewable energy source. In 2007 they installed solar panels. I think that this idea is great. Stadiums I know consume a lot of energy and finding new ways to power them is a smart idea.

  17. Hannah Greenberg says:

    1) It is time to be creative and show us what reasons brought sustainability to your awareness. Using popular media, news, trend articles, music, film, etc… give us one in-depth example of something that spoke to you regarding sustainability. Each week, I’ve been very focused on getting you to think about topics of my choice, this week I want you to tell us what is important and what we should be looking at and thinking about. For example, I’ve been interested in Al Gore’s message; I’ve been interested in the choices of President’s appointments for major EPA positions; I have opinions on if Iraq War was about oil; I have opinions about celebrities endorsing different sustainability issues/causes/products; I have issues about greenwashing baby products; I have thoughts about environmental related movies like The Happening; I have a list of documentaries or news shows I’ve seen on sustainable topics; and I could go on about sustainability and topics that have hit me because of mainstream exposure.

    One thing that specifically stands out to me about sustainability/going green/etc is celebrity endorsements. Though some of these celebrities are only doing this for their own publicity, I think it is still important because it is getting the word out there. One celebrity that stuck out to me recently is Jessica Alba. Rather than simply endorsing products or publicly speaking about going green, she took the initiative to create something herself. She recently launched Honest.com which sells eco-friendly and toxic free baby products. The website operates by becoming a member, and they will then deliver the products to your door. I think this website is great because it is especially important to pay close attention to what we are using on our children.
    2) Please visit the Huffington Post Green News and Opinion website. Read through the variety of opinion posts, factual stories, watch the videos. I enjoy the diversity of the info on this page and look forward to downtime when I read through and enjoy the “green news and opinion” offered.
    2a) Find an article, video or opinion article that is of interest to you either professionally or personally.
    2b) Write a post this week that either:
    (2b.1) Agrees with the media story you are covering and you add new and in-depth information to the article. You continue to investigate the topic discussed in your selected media piece. Use facts and resources to defend your perspective.
    (2b.2) Disagrees with the media story you are covering and you show the counter argument to why the article is spun in a direction you do not agree with. Use facts and resources to defend your perspective.
    I chose the article “Bisphenol A And Other Endocrine Disruptors Found In Common Household Products,” because I get sick usually once every 4-6 weeks, and I was curious whether certain products in my household were causing this. The main concept of the article is that most of these products are endocrine disruptors and then disrupt your hormones. Two specific products that I was interested about were dryer sheets and vinyl shower curtains. All that is said about dryer sheets was that they can trigger asthma and mimic estrogen. After looking up some more information I discovered is that these estrogen mimickers attach to our estrogen receptors, and then mimic what our actual estrogen does. This can then lead to eye, liver, kidney, and reproductive problems. Higher levels of estrogen can lead to acne, gallstones, weight gain, breast cancer, anemia, depression, loss of sex drive, and memory loss. Further, I learned that these endocrine disruptors are re-released in your blood times of stress, malnutrition, and pregnancy. I think it is important to avoid them, especially during pregnancy. After researching the problem with vinyl shower curtains, I learned the problem lies within the phthalates. The steam from the showers causes the release of these phthalates because they are not chemically bonded to the PVC. This can then lead to genital deformities, childhood asthma, and obesity in people. I feel like this knowledge is important to tell people because most people have vinyl shower curtains, and do not think twice about it. Both Crate & Barrel and Ikea offer phthalate-free curtains.

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