11/20 Booyah

 

This week, 20 NOV, is a very motivating week. A group of highly motivated professionals began to develop a plan to reduce the plastic waste in the dining areas around campus, more specifically in this case, the Eastern Eateries. This team is led by the fearless, Erin “Senior Chief” McGuire (http://erinmcguiree.wordpress.com), followed by myself Garrett “Chief” McEllis, and Parker “XO” Cruz (plcruzblog.wordpress.com). My specific project is a critical part to the project as a whole. I need to document the project locally and see how it is affecting campus as a whole. What that means is to go to the eateries and ask a manager about how many salad containers are sold a day/month or whatever other kind of information they might store in their brains. As well as why they chose to use recycled napkins, and didn’t try to use reusable containers for salads and other food items. I am also tasked to find a campus in this country where a plan similar to this has already been implemented. After doing this I will be able to prove that using wasteful materials are not sustainable for a “green” campus, which of course, is the ultimate goal for all the projects occurring. I will also be finding a machine that washes and distributes these reusable containers.

So far I began research into the machine that will distribute the containers. Also I have also began trying to find examples of campuses that have tried to use reusable containers in most of their dining areas. After I have completed this research, I will go to the eateries and asked them the questions that I previously mentioned, plus any other that I think of. So far I have not encountered any difficulties, and of course, this is related because my research will be a part of the goal to get the eateries to change to reusable containers.

 

Good Night and Good Luck.

And may the odds be ever in your favor.

Threats of our Existence

Good morning everybody! I hope everyone’s day is going well.

Today I am going to talk about possible responses to environmental threats to human survival. In my personal opinion, I believe society will break down and revert back to their primal way of thinking which is, of course, every man for himself. Using the movie 2012 as an example, I will prove how a series of devastating environmental disasters have the ability to create total chaos among the human society.

At the beginning of the movie, a geologist makes a fascinating yet horrifying discovery, solar flares are slowly heating the earth’s core. The geologist immediately took this information to the Chief of Staff who then introduced the geologist to the President of the United States. I am sharing this background information with you to give you a perspective on how quickly things that could threaten our existence are moved up the chain of command. A year later after the meeting, the president began working with the G8 (The group of Eight industrialized nations) plus China to build giant arcs to harbor humans and precious artifacts during a flood that has been predicted. This part of the movie shows how quickly our superiors are able to get precautions up and going in these types of situations. Sadly, each arc only holds 100,000 people, and to buy a ticket costs 1 billion dollars. This shows how cruel the world can be when the threat of existence occurs. Therefore, the remaining people in the G8 countries, are without a way of preserving themselves, keeping themselves alive, during the natural disasters that are predicted to happen on December 21, 2012. After that realization is made, the construct of society totally breaks down, stores are robbed, suicides go up, and all rules are lost. This response is exactly how I believe society would react.

In conclusion, I believe that the higher ups would inevitably preserve themselves, while leaving the “normal” people to fend for themselves. Its unfortunate, but that is how I believe the world will react to environmental disaster that threatens human survival.

Good morning, and Good Luck,

And May the odds be ever in your favor.

Environmental Awareness

This is an idea that a student in another group had and we actually plan on building on the idea to make it feasible for use at Eastern Michigan University. The idea of the public display of trash in a way that conveys how it pollutes the earth is one that is very possible to be put into effect on the EMU campus, and even campuses around the country. The specific idea that the student mentioned was that of a large plastic, hollow model of the earth, that was filled with plastic water bottles in proportion to the amount of plastic water bottles that are thrown away each year. This public display of trash is a way fro people around campus to be exposed to how real the trash problem is.

This public display of trash is something that could be a daily reminder of everyone on campus to see. They could constantly walk by this piece of art, and be aware of the constant environmental problems that we are experiencing in our world today. This does not have to only be used for water bottles; this can be used for any type of trash that is polluting our world as you read this. This could make students more aware of the problems that they are causing with their plastic waste that is continuously a critical part of their lives. No matter what type of trash that it is, this could be a vital learning experience for all the students here at Eastern Michigan University.

Imagine if there was more than one model of this located at places around campus, with each of them displaying different types of trash, students would have a reminder daily to try an cut down on their trash production so they do not pollute the earth more than it already is.

The basis of this idea is to raise awareness around the campus for people to stop producing as much trash.

 

Good night and Good Luck.

Association of used objects with poverty and shame

I decided to choose the concept of the Association of used objects with poverty and shame.  It is discussed briefly in Susan Strasser’s, the waste and want. As discussed in Strasser’s book, the practice of passing clothes on was commonly associated with charities whose mission was to help the poor. It was sometimes common for servants and slaves in the south to inherit their master’s old clothing. This was a sign of well treated slaves, but nonetheless, they were still slaves and only they wore the secondhand clothes. Often in old England, the type of clothes that a person was wearing showed the social class they were in. Many factors played into this such as how old the clothes were and the type of colors that were present in the clothes. This pertains to trash in a rather unique way because in the opinion of the people that were giving the clothes away, they were becoming “trash” but in reality, they were going to another person who didn’t see the clothes as trash at all. Even during the 19th century when sowing machines were common in most households, people wore their clothes for as long as possible. The only people who didn’t practice that, were the very wealthy. In the United States, people mended, patched, sowed, and removed stains from their clothing for as long as they could bear to ensure the longevity of that piece of clothing’s life. That is how it is discussed in Strasser’s novel, where only the people that were less fortunate received the older clothes and the outdated clothes. The clothes back then never became waste or trash, they were reused and recycled into something different.

In today’s society, too many people throw away their “old” clothes. I put quotations around the world “old” because many people today think that because the clothes that they have are out of style, that they become “old” and useless. Unlike back in the 19th century and even the 20th century, people didn’t get rid of their clothes, they reused them or they passed them on. Now people throw them away or regard them as useless after they become outdated and out of style. It would be very difficult to fix this problem because of how society has started to think and process thoughts and judgments about other people. However, if we started to really encourage the use of old clothing to become quilts or things of that nature, and then get popular people such as Hollywood stars to promote them, then people would follow suit. It is all about influencing the younger population to change their way of thinking.

Good Night and Good Luck

Nature Poems

I chose the poem, “The Storm Ending.” Reading the poem the first time, I kind of thought that this was just another poem that didn’t really mean anything to me. However, upon further reading, I started to realize that if I dove deeper into the meaning of this poem to me, I started to see the images in my head of what it describes. The first line goes through my mind and I see large dark clouds looming over my head.  After the first line, I believe that a lot of the meanings could be solely based upon the perspective of the person. In my opinion, I see large red bell shaped flowers floating in the wind slowly brushing my face. The roses represent the “bleeding rain” and the actually rain is thick like honey slowly dripping from everywhere it lands. The sensations that the poem invoke in me involves the remembrance of PT every morning for NROTC at the University of Michigan. I continually remember looking up at the sky at 0530 in the morning and just hoping for it to rain, or for the breeze to pick up and cool me off. It gives me the sensation of pride is also invoked in me because I am very lucky to be able to experience nature at all times of the morning and the day, as well as to be given the opportunity to become a Naval Officer in the greatest country in the world. This poem makes me appreciate nature and the privilege that I get experience it on a daily basis. I am being given the opportunity every day to walk around a campus that is surrounded by trees and landscape that shows how nature can still be present in the urban environment. I am able to see the thunderclouds above my head, because we are not polluted by smog; I am able to see flowering blooming during the spring; I am able to walk and run in the rain, and enjoy the feeling as it hits my clothes and skin. It makes me feel lucky, to be able to experience this freely.

Good Night, and Good Luck

LULU in HONG KONG

One thing that I have always been very curious about is where all the trash that Hong Kong’s population produces. So I decided to pursue this curiosity, hoping that I would be able to find a LULU to talk about. Fortunately, and unfortunately I suppose, I found a perfect topic to talk about, the landfills of Hong Kong, China. According to the definition in class, a LULU is a locally unwanted land use. This qualifies because no one really wants to have to deal with the landfills, no one wants to live by them, work by them, or work in them! Even the Chinese government doesn’t enjoy having the develop policies to control the waste.

There is only one benefit, in my opinion, to this specific LULU which is that it is a place where all the trash can go, so instead of having it on the streets, they bury it in big holes and build mountains out of it. That pretty much sums up the benefits right there. I was unable to find exact monetary costs of using and running a landfill, but I was able to find estimates form other landfills around the world. The average cost to run a landfill is approximately 1 million dollars per year, plus 75000 dollars per acre for development. The spiritual costs of the landfill are that of having to deal with the sight of mounds of garbage every day which isn’t really good for personal morale, as well as lowered property value could be one of the downfalls of living in a landfill. Plus, the damage to the environment that a landfill causes is inexcusable. The possibility that some of that waste could be seeping into my water, or that of my neighbors is very scary. The same thing happens over there in Hong Kong, but its even worse because they are very condensed over there as far as living goes. Scientists estimate that all of Hong Kong’s landfills will have reached their maximum capacities by next year. What will they do then?

After doing research on different landfills located in Hong Kong, I found that lower and some middle class people are generally the ones that are affected by the landfills individually because they cannot afford to get away from them. They could also be affected by the waste seeping into their wells, or their water supply and potentially being poisoned! As far as if there is disproportionate ratio for races and minorities around the landfills, I was unable to find out very much because I decided to do my blog on a general topic LULU. I would be able to find out if i researched more specific landfills possibly, or by looking on the EPA’s website.

I hope you learned something about China’s landfills!

Good night, and Good Luck.

Waste in the Average day

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Good Evening All,

Tonight I am going to be discussing the topic of trash; more specifically, where it goes, how much I personally produce daily, and how I think I will being able to change that, if at all possible.

The above pictures are all the trash that I have produced today, (not going to lie, I was being conscious of what I did and did not use). As you can see, I did not produce a lot of trash today, but I still did produce some. Even when eating at the Commons I still produced waste which really surprised me because I never really made that connection. Even while using reusable plates and dishes, you still produce paper waste from napkins, you still produce the water waste that is created after you wash those dishes (which isn’t a HUGE deal, but it is still waste). It all adds up and if you truly pay attention to how much waste you directly make, and indirectly make. The results will surprise you, just as they did me. All this trash was either thrown into garbage cans, or possibly recycled (I don’t really know what they do with it in the Commons). Then I decided to ask myself, where all this trash goes? It goes to landfills, it goes to be burned, it goes to other places that we don’t know about, and any place that it does go…it hurts the environment. I guess most people don’t think about all the ways that your trash can affect the environment.

In regards to producing less waste, it would be very hard to produce less water waste simply because you use water in literally EVERYTHING you do. However, in regards to paper waste. And easy way to stop using as many napkins is to carry a washable rag around with you. Being able to wash the rag off will produce a lot less paper waste at the end of the week rather than constantly throwing away used napkins. Using reusable cups instead of plastic cups and other things of that nature is necessary as well to minimize the amount of trash that you produce.

As far as institutional changes that might be necessary to change how much trash I produced could possibly be to stop providing the opportunity for so many napkins but instead making people bring their own rags. As well as using all re-washable cups and dished rather than paper ones, and make sure to recycle everything that can be that is in the trash. As far as water bottles are concerned, I do not use any because i use reusable bottles, but I realize that others do. If there could be specific water bottle recycle places around the campus, it would be more convenient for people to recycle their water bottles.

Good Night, and Good Luck.

Environmental Injustice

To start, I will define what environmental justice is. It is when local governments or companies build environmentally detrimental infrastructure in minority communities. Those are just fancy words for saying, when governments have an environmental problem, they generally don’t want to have their upper-class residents affected by the harmful waste they happen to be distributing, or the landfill they are creating, or things along that sort. The government’s way of thinking is that because these upper-class people donate money to their campaign, or help the city in one way or another with their money, they don’t deserve to be affected by the tragedies that environmental disasters bring to the city.

During one of the worst environmental disasters in the history of the U.S, there were many occurrences/examples of Environmental injustice. An example that actually occurred before the storm hit was the locations of the minority races. Where most of the minority races were forced to live due to low income, all happened to be below sea level, which made them the most vulnerable to a hurricane disaster, or anything of the that nature that happened around the city of New Orleans. Because these neighborhoods are located at the lower parts of the city, they were the most devastated, and the most people lost their lives. Take a minute to think about the severity of that last sentence, people lost their lives, because of the fact that the government decided to spend more money on preserving and protecting the upper- class. Instead of spreading the money equally, they spent the majority of the money on the upper-class. If they would have spread the money, maybe they wouldn’t have had to spend so much money to clean up the disaster ridden city.

During the novel, there is one example that very much stood out to me as an example environmental injustice on the Island of Morichjapi. When refugees decided to settle there to escape from there old lives and to start anew. The government wants to remove the people from the island because it is intended to be a nature preserve. This is a strong example of environmental injustice because the upper class people/ government officials are trying to control the natural resources throughout the island. They are discriminating against the lower class because of the desire to control the natural resources.

WEEK 2

In today’s society, there are many places where people have to share a resource. Not necessarily every one of these places or locations is classified as a “commons.” However, there are some places where the concept of the commons flourishes, but others, where it doesn’t. The true definition of the commons is a resource that is held in common, that is owned by no one person or nation, or is owned by a group of people, all of whom have access to the resource. Some examples where it would be considered to be a commons by some, but in reality, they are not would be: The grocery store and public roads. However, in my opinion, the forests and woods of the United States and more specifically, Michigan, is a commons. As far a hunting and cutting down trees is concerned, I believe that this is the most important thing to emphasize. When people decide that they need to hunt, or they need to chop down some wood for a fire, they would much rather go out and kill something in a forest or chop down a tree for, “free,” rather than go out and buy something that could support and fulfill their needs. I purposely put quotations around the word free, to emphasize that this taking of resources isn’t free. It is hurting the environment in one way or another. By taking the tree, you take the ability to clean our air; by taking the life of an animal, you take away the ability for that animal to reproduce. The island that Sir Hamilton has so graciously gave to the people in, The Hungry Tide, is a commons because of the fact that HE GAVE it the people of the island! It is now owned by those people. Much like the woods I have been talking about, The Novel, The Hungry Tide, depicts a man named Sir Hamilton who buys a large portion of land and opens it to the public to develop on one condition, they must leave their religious, political and social differences behind and work to better the community.  In regards to Sir Hamilton, he gives this land to the people, so therefore, the conditions of the commons are being satisfied in that sense.  If they follow the laws of human nature, most will not be able to follow the one rule that Sir Hamilton set for them. They will use the resources that they think they need to protect their loved ones, putting everyone else’s interests after themselves. In the book, and in the real world, people will always have trouble co-existing with nature.

I believe that to solve this problem, our very human instinct much be changed.

Good night and good luck.

Where I come from

I come from a pretty small town about 35 minutes west of Ann Arbor. This town is called Grass Lake. Its a typical small farming community where everybody knows everyone and the ever continuing “small town drama” is always present. Growing up in this small town with all this drama allowed for me to get used to the unfairness of life. I’m not saying that I had a hard life whatsoever, but I was used to the small town way of life. That means that I was used to being prejudged by what other people had said about me, whether it was good or bad. It was generally good, thankfully. However, with the small town drama, came politics involving sports. Politics happen everywhere, no matter where you go, so I believe that it is important for everyone to understand this and that you will have to work past the difficulties, and persevere. That last word is how my hometown has shaped my sense of self. I will help others, but I will strive to help others, help themselves, too persevere.

Walking through Grass Lake, one would see two gas stations and countless Antique store buildings. The highlight of the town is the train station in the middle, known around town as the “Depot.” The depot is constantly  lit up by the bright shine of the New York style street lamps, and in the middle of the land that the Depot sits on is a White Gazebo. As a child I remember running around the gazebo chasing my dog. Sounds pretty picture perfect but that’s how it was when I was younger, before i realized what actually happens in the world.

As far as environmental issues and things of that nature. (Pun intended) Grass Lake really didn’t expose me to the real problems that are going on in the world. We have a recycling area, and that’s pretty much it! The town is kept relatively clean so I didn’t experience the things that other kids might have experienced in bigger cities. So as far a perspective goes, My perspective is constantly changing, and I believe that it will change greatly throughout this class.

Reporting Live from his Dorm room, Garrett McEllis

Good Night, and Good Luck