Tonight I went to a workshop called “Financial Literacy Workshop”. John Hutchson led the discussion. He is a current business student at the College of Charleston. He first introduced himself to the group, and explained how he had served the military for 20 years. He was a nuclear operator in the Navy. He is now 40+ years old, and working to get his college education. He brought up topics that every college student tries to avoid- budgets, insurance, taxes, and everything else that has to do with “adulting”. I found out about this from a flyer that the Office of Sustainability put out. It was a contribution to Sustainability week, and caught my eye because I am always wanting advice when it comes to finances and saving. Knowing how to sustain a good life requires being responsible and knowing where and how to put your money. In less than a year I will be expected to understand 401Ks and other things that come with building and choosing the right career. I am clueless when it comes to things like that.

I have only worked part time jobs and have always just blown through paperwork- not looking at the benefits, W4s, or the fine print. I always have just put down what I was told, and worked. Tonight, I learned about what really goes into a W4 and how to properly find out your individual needs. He mentioned the “IRS W4 Calculator” that can help anyone if they’re not entirely sure. While on the subject of budgeting, he broke down a paycheck. He gave us an example paycheck, and explained how much youll actually get out of it, and why things are taken out. It seems silly at first, but a lot of people don’t quite understand. Being that when we graduate and start job hunting, it will be crucial to understand why things are set aside for you in the paycheck. He also gave us some tip on what to do in your first 4 years of your first full time job: ask about employer paid health insurance, signing loans, and don’t get a pet. Well, I am already breaking one of those rules, but my Golden Retriever is worth it. This event was highly related to our class because money is a huge contributor to how our environment is being impacted. What stood out to me most before deciding to go to the workshop, was that that it was a part of Sustainability Week. Knowing the power of money, and understanding how to spend it wisely is very important for one self, as well as the environment. He brought up the idea of buying a new car when you graduate and get a job. He said that you should just wait and use your old car until it cant run anymore. A lot of people rush to do this, and dump their old car, because they will be able to afford it and it looks nicer. This reminded me of perceived obsolescence. It is so important for many reasons to be careful with your money and decrease your consumption. It saves your future and the earth


Before the Flood- a must watch documentary by National Geography

Before the Flood – a must watch documentary by National Geography


The documentary film “Before the Flood,” directed by Fisher Stevens, is a film about the impact of global warming. The Oscar-winning actor Leonardo DiCaprio crosses the earth to observe the impact of global warming with his own eyes. Throughout the documentary, he interviewed scientists and activists and went to so many places across five continents. A significant amount of people refuse to acknowledge global warming, claiming that it does not exist. Despite any different political views, people are now weathering more powerful storms and tornados than ever before.

He went to Bahamas to witness the effects of coral bleaching. Because of the ocean’s rising temperatures, the corals are regurgitating algae and starving to death, a big threat of our oceanic ecosystem since coral reefs play a tremendous role reducing carbon emission. He went deep into the ocean in a submarine expedition initiated by marine biologist Jeremy Jackson. Jackson pointed out that over one billion people depend on fisheries from the rapidly-disappearing coral reefs for their diet and livelihoods.

We know that sea level is rising. To see the consequences with his own eyes, DiCaprio went to the South Pacific and met with Anote Tong, the President of Kiribati, and H.E. Tommy E. Remengesau Jr., the President of Palau. Their coastline is declining. They are often hit by powerful storms. They are at the highest risk of sinking because of man-made global warming even though they are not the one who have higher ecological footprints.

In 2013, while DiCaprio was shooting for the film “The Revenant,” the set was melted by the unexpected high temperatures in Northern Canada. In that location, nothing should melt in March because it simply wouldn’t be a normal weather pattern. Because of this, the crew had to relocate 9000 miles away, somewhere in South America. It was quite expensive, and the crew faced the dangerous, first-hand effects of global warming.


Leonardo also visited exotic India where 300 million people has no electricity to use. Coal is one of their abundant natural resource.  In some areas they still use coal to cook and they feel that coal is the cheapest way to get energy even though it increases the effects of climate change. India, because of this unavailability of cleaner energy, is considered to be at the very top in the list of carbon emitting countries.

Leonardo DiCaprio and his team went to visit Sumatra as well. Over there, the palm oil farmers are intentionally setting up various fires for the deforestation of their native forests. They want the land to use it for palm oil plantations because palm oil is so cheap to produce and the fact that so many foods, soaps, and toiletries have palm oil as a chief component. The rainforests that the farmers are razing are in general considered to be the lungs of the earth because they absorb a large amount of carbon which helps mitigate the greenhouse effect. Besides that, Sumatra is well known for its biodiversity, where it is home for rhinos, orangutans, various species of birds, elephants and tigers, but because of rapid deforestation, the rainforest’s acreage is decreasing at an alarming rate. Indonesia has already consumed 80% of its forest land for other purposes.

This is a must watch. You can watch the film just by clicking this link.