Nature Inspiration

Growing up I have always felt an extremely strong connection with the natural world and have been fortunate enough to have a knowledgeable mentor. Throughout my childhood as well as his my dad took me fishing almost every single morning. His love of the natural world and the peacefulness that came along with it began to rub off and in turn I too became obsessed with the mechanisms of nature. Catching fish and spending as much time on the water as we did truly gave me a lust for figuring out how these processes are all pieced together.

As I got older my understanding of the intricate balance of nature grew. The ways in which the tide was flowing, the wind was blowing, light was showing, and endless amounts of factors more played a role in whether we would be fishing or catching that day. Free of technological distraction, the water forces you to be in the present. Sometimes it can be powerful and frightening sometimes it can be your friend but the feelings that the water can give you are continually humbling. I’ve personally had many of these experiences on the Chesapeake Bay with my dad as well as surfing all over the east coast. Situations when you get caught in the middle of a thunderstorm or thrown onto a rock are only tastes of the power of Mother Nature. This raw and untamed power is increasingly being trifled with by man whom of which typically has a lack of respect for or just simply a lack of understanding.
These intricate interconnected processes that surround us are subject to disruption by man as well as the natural processes that have the ability to greatly affect each other. These changes are rarely noticeable until it’s too late. Changes such as biodiversity loss in the Chesapeake have taken a noticeable toll on water quality. This is because of disease decimating oyster populations and their ability to filter the water on top of runoff, dumping, and pollution. These circumstances add up for a volatile situation for man as well as nature.

The extent of the quality of the water gets worse and worse as you go further inland where almost nothing can survive. The rockfish or striped bass which is the main target of our adventures was once of abundance and healthy but almost a quarter of the fish we catch now have bulging red sores and look skinny in appearance. This is a parasite called micobacteriosis which is found in 76% of sick bass. These are a couple of the reasons I cherish a strong connection with nature. Sometimes we would get lucky and sometimes we would get skunked but the love of nature is something that I will always hold close.


My Failed Attempt – Contacting Our Senator

Earlier this week I was feeling bold and decided to write emails to South Carolina’s legislature concerning the debate on whether or not SC should allow off-shore drilling in the near future. After conducting research into voting trends of our state senators, I noticed that Senator Lindsey Graham was beginning to vote more in-favor of environmentally friendly bills… this was a very small trend, but a trend nonetheless. I wrote to Mr. Graham telling him how I appreciated his new found concern for the environment and I hope he would continue to consider the impacts that his votes have on the planet. I concluded stating that the off-shore drilling plan could detrimentally affect the state’s $2M tourism industry if something were to go wrong. This was his response:

Dear Ms. Barto:

Thank you for contacting me regarding offshore drilling.  I firmly believe the United States must break its dependence on energy from unstable areas of the world–particularly the Middle East–but that we must also be good stewards of South Carolina’s natural environment. Safe and environmentally conscious offshore drilling can create jobs and decrease our dependence on foreign oil and gas.  I believe the question of whether to permit drilling off the coast of South Carolina should be closely evaluated, and ultimately the people of South Carolina should make the decision.  As the Senate considers this issue, I will continue to seek a balance between energy independence and the protection of South Carolina’s coast. As your United States Senator, my primary job is to understand and represent the interests of all South Carolinians.  The opportunity to hear from you about the issues confronting our nation is not only essential to representative democracy, but allows me to better serve the people of South Carolina.  We will not see eye-to-eye on every issue; however, I promise to always give your concerns the consideration they deserve. I encourage you to visit my website — — as it will have information on the most recent activities before the U.S. Senate.  You can also sign up for our e-mail newsletter, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube pages which will provide the latest information and updates on the major issues facing our state and our nation. Thank you again for contacting me. I truly appreciate the opportunity to hear from you and am honored to have the opportunity to represent your interests in the U.S. Senate.


Oh well, I guess you can’t win all of them. If off-shore drilling creates jobs, then who cares about what an oil spill would do to our beautiful marshlands, coasts, and marine life? Not to mention, fishing jobs – jobs related to tourism – and overall quality of life in our waters? Graham takes an L for this one, for some reason I am not sure that he would actually take my concerns seriously when it came down to making more $$$. But that doesn’t mean we should give up!!

Blue Skies in Beijing? YEAAA Right

The other week, I decided to present my news report based on the air pollution in China, namely, the efforts being made to combat this major environmental issue. For many years now, devastating levels of toxic pollutants including PM2.5, O3, NO2, and SO2 have consumed China. PM2.5 is a contaminated air particle so small that it can only be detected with an electron microscope. O3 is a resulting pollutant in our atmosphere that is formed when previous pollutants react under the sunlight. NO2 is Nitrogen dioxide and this is a group of gaseous air pollutants most commonly formed as a result of fossil fuel combustion and carbon emissions. NO2 mixing with other air pollutants results in acid rain. Lastly, SO2 is Sulfur dioxide, and this too is produced from the burning of fossil fuels. In addition, SO2 is produced from the smelting of mineral ores that contain sulphur. Like NO2, it is a major component of acid rain. . In 2013, China’s State Council implemented the Action Plan for Air Pollution and Control – which included three goals focusing on the air pollution in China. The goals included PM2.5 reduction, setting a limit on coal consumption, and mandated renewable energy growth. In a way to measure the effectiveness of this plan, a group called Greenpeace East Asia decided to collect data on the pollutant levels in China’s cities and provinces. The article that first drew my attention to this current event discussed the decreasing levels of pollutants in Beijing, a major city in China. Hoping to read something actually cheerful in the realm of environmentalism, I read into the article: “A Blue Sky in Beijing? It’s Not A Fluke, Says Greenpeace” from The New York Times. According to author Steven Myers, “In Beijing, pollution fell 53 percent. Greenpeace estimated that lower pollution levels resulted in 160,000 fewer premature deaths across China in 2017” (Myers, 2018).  Even though pollutant levels have decreased since 2014 in the populous city of Beijing, one should not think that the problem is over. On the contrary, polluting coal and metal industries have only increased their output, causing more pollutants being released! This is happening in places other than Beijing, like the providence of Anhui. Since 2014, O3 has increased from roughly 40 ug/m3 to approximately 70 ug/m3 in Anhui alone. In addition, NO2 is on the rise as well (Greenpeace East Asia, 2018).


Learning this, I understood a little bit more about the complexity of the environmental crisis that China faces. It’s next to impossible for the State Council to make strides with their Action Plan for Air Pollution and Control if the fossil fuel burning and metal industries undermine their attempts! It’s easy to become frustrated when you know so well how awful these corporations and industries are affecting air quality – this means even children are affected – but if it means they can make money…

I have attached the link to the short film by Jia Zhangke, bringing awareness to the daily lives of those in China living in air pollution. When we educate ourselves we can more effectively make a difference.


“We don’t have to sacrifice a strong economy for a healthy environment” – Dennis Weaver




Myers, Steven. “A Blue Sky In Beijing? It’s Not A Fluke, Says Greenpeace.” The New York Times 2018. Web. 26 Jan. 2018.

“PM2.5 In Beijing Down 54%, But Nationwide Air Quality Improvements Slow As Coal Use Increases.” Greenpeace East Asia. N.p., 2018. Web. 26 Jan. 2018.

Zhangke, Jia. Smog Journeys. East Asia: Greenpeace East Asia, 2015. film.




This is an ad campaign from the World Wild Fund for Nature. Their goal is to show the human impact on animals. The animals have graffiti on them and in today’s society that is viewed as vandalism. By showing this on the animals it is telling the audience that we are vandalizing the animals by taking their homes and messing up their environments. In society we see graffiti as something that immature, disrespectful people do.  As humans we are not treating the animals with the respect that we should be and as a result of that they are dying off. Their goal is to make humans see the negative impact that we are having on these animals and become conscious of it and hopefully inspire them to make a change in order to save and protect these animals. Also, showing the effect of humans on the actual animals appeals to the emotional side of humans. Most of the time these campaigns show the impact that we have on the environment for example instead of showing a whale with writing on it, there would usually be a picture of trash in the ocean. Most people would see the trash and not really care since its just water and something that doesn’t have life. But looking at the actual creature it promotes the compassionate side of humans. I think everyone would see this picture in the same way since it is geared towards all people. Seeing this makes me sad and makes me realize how much we do not respect these amazing creatures because as humans we only worry about ourselves. We only have one Earth and we are not the only living beings on it. There is enough space for humans and animals to live together and thrive in life. The only thing we have to do is be their voice and be more aware of the impact we’re having on other animals environments. Becoming aware of our effect is the most important step and this is what this ad is showing us. There shouldn’t be graffitti on and animal, so there shouldn’t be human impact on these animals. Another thing about this picture is that this is showing more than one environment. For example is shows the ocean, arctic and the sahara. This is a way of showing that our reach is affecting all kinds if environments and all types of animals are being affected. Even if we do not see it first hand, it is still happening all over the world and in every kind of environment. This picture does do its purpose in showing us the negative effect we have on all animals and it compels us to be compassionate towards these animals and hopefully promote the awareness of this. In the end, the ads purpose is to drive you to donate to the World Wild Fund for Nature in order to make a difference in these animals lives. In the end I think the ad is well made and is an effective ad that appeals to everyone.