Nature Inspiration – Extra Credit Blog Post

I have always known that I am in tune with nature. I love to hike, camp, and vitalize any time that I can have by being outside. It is something that I have always cherished, and I know that it’s a special aspect of life. I have always wondered how some do not enjoy being outside. There is something very enlightening when taking time to dedicate to explore and appreciate what is given to us freely. It is relieving and a great emotional support when needed- and its right in your backyard! Ever since I was a little girl, I was opened up to the beauty of nature. My parents would take me on their camping trips when I was growing up. We would sleep in tents, eat by the fire, and shower in an outhouse. My dad never let my mom and I take the easy way out when it came to camping. Sometimes I would get mad because all my friends were going on trips to the tropics, while I would go to North Carolina in the middle of nowhere surrounded by mountains. Now, I love that. My favorite type of trip is to go to the mountains, instead of going to a resort in the islands. I feel like you learn so much by embracing the freedom that comes with nature. The simplicity is a beautiful thing that can be overlooked because of money, infrastructure, or what is currently trendy. I understand that it is all about perspective, but to have a connection with nature is to have a connection with yourself. Regarding this blog post, I took some time out of my chaotic school schedule, and went to the Battery. I left my phone at home, and walked to the water. I make that walk many times, but this time was different. I noticed things that I hadn’t before. At first, I was skeptical about leaving my phone at home, because I am so used to having it. But I sent out a text to my mom and boyfriend that Id be gone for 2 hours to have some “me time”. I felt extremely weightless just as I stepped out my door. Once I got to the Battery, I sat on the grass and let my mind wander. The first thing that came to mind was school. I stopped myself from getting stressed, and focused on the trees and the squirrels that were running around. I imagined what it would be like to live like this everyday- to not have direct connection to the Internet, and to have nothing but what was infront of you. I find technology amazing, and I would be lying if I could say that I could live without my phone. But I do think that its healthy to take a step back from life and reflect on what is surrounding you. I have taken so much for granted, because I get wrapped up in what is going on with others. Just by dedicating a couple of hours to nature and myself, I found that it was much needed.

Documentary Review: A Plastic Ocean

For my second extra credit blog post, I watched A Plastic Ocean on Netflix and here is my review:

Message: Refuse single-use plastics and spend your consumer dollars wisely because plastic waste & styrofoam are damaging our oceans and inevitably affecting us. We will show you why plastics should cease to be produced and then dumped into our landfills and the ocean – because it never goes away.

Summary: The documentary, A Plastic Ocean, begins with the Director Craig Lesson, attempting to follow and record Blue Whales off of the coast of Sri Lanka. Craig has always had a fascination for these animals, which began when he was a child. While filming a juvenile pigmy Blue Whale, the camera glances up towards the surface of the water – where loads of plastic and trash are floating and bobbing in the waves. This is how Craig begins the story…The waste problem is disproportionally affecting Blue Whales because they feed by opening their mouths and sucking in up to a hundred gallons of water and cannot distinguish between krill and plastic before digestion. The scientists in the documentary even found plastics along the ocean floor, where sunlight never reaches. The documentary quickly touches on Earth systems, particularly the 5 massive gyres that can be found all over the world.

Biases: The Director, Craig Lesson, has major devotion for the ocean to where he understand its intrinsic value. This attribute would greatly sway the way this documentary is directed and the messages he intends to spread. In addition, it is plain to see that this documentary was targeted towards Americans because it mostly discusses American influence on waste.

Reflection: I found it rather shocking that almost every plastic product made on the planet is, in one way or another, still around. This revelation further proves one of Barry Commoner’s Laws of Ecology that we learned about it class – but it’s still disturbing to realize that the massive amount of plastic that I have encountered and use throughout my life is somewhere now, even years after I enjoyed that Starbucks Frapp! Another reflection I’ve made while watching this film was the blatant environmental injustice that occurs in countries outside of the United States. For instance, the documentary highlights on a country where 2,000 families live on a 123.5 acre lot designated to be a landfill in 1998. Just like we’ve discussed in class, this community also faces birth defects, cancer and other implications due to the pollution that they are surrounded by. It is so unfortunate that these people do not realize the connection between the place they live and their health – some even burn plastic to help cook food! I feel like awareness to the health effects of plastics and living on landfills is desperately needed in these areas!!