Recently a video has been making its way around Facebook that features a group of people helping a sea turtle that has unfortunately gotten a straw stuck deep inside of his nostril. The heartbreaking video shows the people pulling the straw out of the turtles nose. The turtle is obviously in severe pain and he is bleeding. But on the bright side, this turtle was able to get help. These kinds of instances are the harsh reality for our wildlife in the ocean. This is now a video that is a couple of years old, but many people, such as myself, are just now seeing it. I am sure that we have all heard of the trash pile accumulating in the ocean that has now grown to be bigger than the state of Texas. At first thought we think that this cannot possibly be true and we wonder how we could have let this happen. But unfortunately, this is a reality that we need to face. This pile of trash is refereed to as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. The patch of garbage has accumulated into the same area due to the ocean currents. This is a huge problem and many of us do not know where to start. However, everyone can take part in prevention. One of the biggest things that we can all do is reduce our plastic waste. One of the biggest things that contributes to plastic waste is water bottles. Bottled water has become more common than ever. According to Ban the Bottle, Americans use over 50 billion water bottles in a year and almost 80% of those water bottles end up in landfills. What we can do as individuals to help this is to start recycling these plastic bottles or invest in a reusable water bottle. Reusable water bottles can not only help save the environment, but also help save you some money in the long run. Another thing that we can do to help prevent more trash going into landfills is to stop using plastic ware like plastic forks and spoons, paper plates, solo cups and paper towels. As college students, these things are almost essential to us. We rarely think about the impact we have on the environment by using plastic ware and paper ware. We also think that our efforts may not matter. But everyone’s efforts make a difference and if we all turn to reusable items instead of disposable, it could make a huge difference on our environment.
Watching the movie FoodInc., was an eye opener to how disgusting it is to the way our meats are produced. Not just that, but how entirely unethical food production can actually be. Our food industry is something that all Americans need to be concerned about. Not only are we putting foods into our bodies full of antibiotics, meats that are cloned, foods consisting of chemicals, but we are supporting these companies for the unethical things that they are doing by buying a pack of meat at the grocery store. I myself have bought chicken and beef at the grocery store. I have even bought Tyson chicken nuggets, which completely grosses me out to know that I have consumed these food items after watching how the animals are so poorly treated. Chicken growers who work for companies like Purdue can only afford usually like two to three poultry houses and they cost a couple hundred thousand dollars each. This is where overproduction comes into the picture and makes it observable to the viewer how overproduction leads to unethical issues. There are chickens in these poultry houses, not able to walk around due to so many piled in there. They pretty much have no area to walk in so they are walking and laying in their own feces. Then they are just grabbed and strangled, with their heads chopped off. Furthermore, for the housing of cows in the production of beef, they are not allowed to venture out into pastures, they are not allowed to live their lives freely. They are barely able to breathe. I think it is crazy how animals cannot have some of the same rights as humans do. For example, if a human treated another human like that, they would be imprisoned. So my question is, how and why is It okay that humans can do that to animals in the unethical ways that they do without being punished?
My favorite channel to watch is TLC. While turning to the station I came across the TV show Tiny House, Big Living. At first I thought these people were crazy for wanting to live in such tiny spaces so I turned the TV and did not think twice about it. I just thought that people wanted to live like that only because they wanted to travel more. By not having to pay for an expensive house they would have more funds for travel but what I came to discover is that they wanted this lifestyle for something much more. After watching Minimalism I finally understood the reason why people would want to live that way. People want to live that way because they are happy and content with the little stuff that they have. They do not need money or items to make them happier. It is because we live in a world where people are constantly focused on what items or materials they have. I can say that I am quite guilty for this. I am the type of person who likes to keep up with technology and fashion. In the documentary they talked about how we will never be satisfied with what we have. I took a step back and actually realized how much stuff I have that I do not need. I decided to take action on this addiction. I went into my closet and took out all of the clothes that I have not worn in a year. I then put them in a bag an donated them to goodwill. The documentary also talked about two guys who both quit their jobs to become minimalist. I do not think that I could just up and quit my job like they did. I believe that you can be a minimalist with your job that you have with whatever amount of money you make. I do not think that I could be a minimalist but I applaud people who do. It’s amazing how such little things can mean the most.
I have never been one for jumping on a bandwagon, and I am not one to change my lifestyle based upon what I saw in a biased documentary. I, like most of you, am a pragmatic and educated individual; who makes decisions based on fact, status quo, and what I would deem as being the most logical choice for living a life a true as possible. So when we began to watch the documentary Food Inc., I knew deep down I wasn’t going to like what I saw, but I figured that I would shrug it off and continue on… Not the case.
After watching this documentary in class (in two stretches, both on empty stomachs and right before lunchtime), I began to think a little harder about the food that I ingest. Walking through the meat department at every supermarket since then, I am reminded about how this industry skewed to fundamental concepts of food production; maybe out of necessity, but certainly out of greed. It began to feel uneasy looking at all the meat that I would normally cook in second; and although I cannot say I am even close to giving up meat, the idea of eating most of what is offered to me by the food industry grosses me out.
With this, I think about the optimistic organic farmer who believes he is fulfilling his duty to the highest standard, and I think about the small price differences in his products.. It feels good to say now that I would seek his product before the mass-produced, standardized product, and I do my best each time to do that, but I will not stop eating meat. What Food Inc. did for me was inform me that those around me who push for organic food are not pompous urbanites who try to find reasons to critique the lifestyles of others, but rather people who understand the established system which most of us have subscribed to, and what it would take to change that system.
Because of all of this information and the ideas that it has developed, I have now begun to filter my fresh-food (juices, meats, dairy, etc) to organic products only. the quote: “people freak out when organic eggs are $3 while they sip on a $1.75 coke” resonated with me. Why wouldn’t I support organic farmers anyways? The food is almost as good as their character!
I would like to invite the class to sign a petition for a local town hall meeting with SC State Senators Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott.
Taking only a peek at the headlines coming in from CNN, FOX, Good Morning America, it is clear there are a variety of issues occurring in the political realm, which would be discussed in the meeting.
What we all have in common is a desire to learn more about sustainability and our environment. Just as important, a topic of discussion will be the EPA, Environmental Protection Act, as well as talks of preservation of certain areas of our state.
This is very important. We now have a political party that represents the United States as a whole that does not believe the environment needs to be anywhere in focus at the moment, even though we are losing, ruining, and deteriorating our resources daily. This petition is a great advantage to take and start local. Our environment CANNOT handle nor afford 4 years of denial.
February 3rd a bill was introduced to the House with the goal of “terminating the Environmental Protection Agency”. The full text of the bill is now available though it was not when the bill was proposed. I am hoping that is the reason it has gotten near to none publicity at all. Why is this not a big deal over social media? Even though it does not state exactly its extent any more than what the goal states, it came after Trump promised to limit the power of the EPA via executive orders. The final line of the bill also states it will terminate December 31, 2018. There is more than I can explain shortly here what is lost with the termination of the EPA. But in short terms, there is less to no funding for environmental projects for sustainability, less knowledge of our footprint in the world, where we are in terms of resources, and no access to the information whatsoever. With this being said, I invite you to read my forwarding email which I copied and pasted into this blog post,
I just signed the petition, “Town Hall Meeting Request for SC Senator Scott and Senator Graham.” I think this is important. Will you sign it too?
Here’s the link:
This is the second time that I have seen Food Inc. I feel that it is just as eye opening the second time. So much is wrong with agriculture as a whole. I especially do not enjoy how companies like Tyson have begun to genetically modify animal like chickens to better suit their needs. It is just cruel to raise animal this way. The chickens in the movie could hardly move because their own bodies were not even fit for living. I do not see how this kind of treatment of animals can be condoned. I honestly cannot tell if lawmakers are just turning a blind eye toward the treatment of these animals.
Also, I find video really makes me ask questions about American subsidies. I once took a sociology course where we discussed the subsidizing of corn in the United States. This was also the same class where I watched Food Inc. for the first time. We went into a lengthy discussion about how some farmers actually cannot afford to grow anything other than corn. Other crops just cannot support their lifestyles. Also, we got to see some other videos on the process of collecting the corn, and much of it just ends up going to waste. I really do not like how the industry has become so dependent on the corn. It can be found in almost any processed food in stores, and it is even being fed to animals that cannot handle it. I am really surprised that the adverse health effects have not caused us to stop feeding it to cattle yet. It just seems wrong to try and feed them something like that since it could be putting them through a great deal of pain. Overall, Food Inc. was a very awakening experience and I hope that I can reduce the amount waste in my life as well as the damage I may be causing to the environment.
When we watched the film Food Inc. in class, it definitely made me open my eyes and think. Most of the time when I eat food, I hate to say it, but I do not really pay that much attention to where it actually came from. I along with many others have just been made to believe that most of the products in stores are going to be okay for us to eat. I think the most shocking part of the whole film was just how much control larger food production companies actually have. One example of this that I saw in the film was when they were saying that in our grocery stores, it seems like there are so many different brands and so many different options, but when it comes down to it there are only a few different brands controlling the food production industry and much of what we see in grocery stores is made with corn. Another great example of their control that I saw in the film is when it was mentioning Monsanto. I have heard of Monsanto before, but I never knew that a company could have so much control over its employees. Monsanto has gained so much power that even if one of their seeds accidentally ends up in someone’s field that hasn’t been approved, that farmer could be sued.
Overall, Food Inc. really just made me realize that I need to look more into the food that I am consuming and maybe do some extra research on where the food was actually produced and how. This film also made me realize that we as Americans have to do something or we really are going to lose control of what we are consuming. We have to pull away the curtain and change the way that food is being produced.
I came across this article the other day that I found to be really interesting and concerning. There is a giant garbage patch that has been accumulating in the Pacific Ocean for quite some time. I have heard of the garbage patch before but didn’t realize just how large and harmful it really is. The National Ocean Service’s website states that the exact size of the concentrated debris is hard to estimate and is not as big as people have made it out to be. While other websites state that it is almost twice the size of Texas. Either way, it is a substantial amount of debris that poses a great threat to the environment and marine life. This giant patch is actually compromised of two other patches, the western garbage patch near Japan and the eastern garbage patch near California. The trash is being trapped by the north pacific subtropical gyre that is composed of four big ocean currents. These currents move in a clockwise direction around 7.7 million square miles of the ocean. The area in the center of the gyre is where the trash is accumulating from these currents. The convergence zone links together the spinning patches of garbage and is essentially a trash highway. Most of the trash is non biodegradable however it does break apart in smaller pieces forming microplastics. About 70% of these microplastics sink to the bottom of the ocean. According to National Geographic, 80% of the debris comes from land activities and the other 20% comes from boats, oil rigs, and cargo ships. Most of the 20% of debris coming from boats is fishing net, about 705,000 tons of it.
The effects on the animals and the environment are extremely dangerous. Marine animals such as turtles and birds mistake the trash for food. The tons of fishing nets create a death trap for whales, seals, sea lions, and many other animals. At least 136,000 animals are killed by these nets each year. The microplastics block the sunlight from getting to from reaching plankton and algae. This affects other animals as plankton is a main source of food.
So how do we go about stopping or at least reducing the size of this patch. First, I think we should try to cut back if not stop all trash entering the ocean. Maybe we could create bans on the use of plastic bags at grocery stories that are near the beach. I know Folly beach has recently placed a ban on using plastic bags, balloons, styrofoam plates, cups, and containers on the beach. The grocery stores on James Island have also been asked to provide recyclable bags instead of plastic.
I watched Food Inc. for the first time in class last week and it was very eye-opening, to say the least. I’ve never had the thought of becoming a vegetarian or to cut out a lot of meat or to even just research where my meat was coming from but after watching the film I felt like I should start. I’ve always been an advocate of meat and always thought vegetarianism was in some ways “lame” but after watching this film I’ve really changed my stance on it. I understand where vegetarians are coming from when they talk about animal cruelty and them being mistreated. The way those animals were treated while being “grown” was pretty horrific and for the first time in my life actually made me feel in some way kind of bad for the animals. It changed my perspective on the meat industry entirely.
One thing that really stood out to me was the fact that there were four or five companies controlling the meat industry and it was also startling how they have such control over the farmers they get their meat from. These companies like Tyson or Smithfield treated their employees almost as bad as the animals. These “farms” that are more like factories have unsafe conditions that no one should have to work in.
Another big thing that stood out to me was the use of antibiotics on the animals in order to grow them quicker and bigger. This would cause the animals to grow quickly and in turn, their organs weren’t sustaining the same growth as their body and it caused them not to be able to walk right and in some cases, they couldn’t take more than a few steps which to me was really sad. These animals deserve to live in much better conditions and need to be treated like they are more than just ‘food’.
The other thing that really stood out to me (and grossed me out) was that one beef patty could have something like 200 strands of a different cow in it instead of one beef patty coming from one cow. That was just mind boggling to me. While I’m not going to go completely vegetarian (I love chicken), I think that I’m done with red meat. After watching this film I just don’t think I could ever eat a hamburger again. The thought of it grosses me out now.
I think that there needs to be a better way for the food industry to go about the way they grow their food. Farms don’t need to be factories. I’m really glad we got to watch this film, it was eye-opening, to say the least.
Just recently in class we watched a documentary called Food Inc. In this documentary, the workings of the food industry come to light. Watching this documentary as a vegetarian just starting out, I was horrified so much that tears were brought to them. The condition these animals live in is absolutely terrible, and I feel terrible that I spent 19 years of my life eating meat. The value of life is far too great for the cows, chickens, and pigs who are being shoved into tight quarters where all they know are the others surrounding them and the walls around them.
Many companies use the opportunity of a high demand and decide to get more bang for their buck. Pumping animals with antibiotics to make them have more meat is no way to go about this problem, yet that’s exactly what they did. Now these animals are so large that they can’t even carry themselves. In the movie, it shows scenes of cows trying to walk on broken ankles and chickens trying to stand but failing because of how heavy they are. And not only do these affect the animals, but also the people who eat them. The antibiotics being pumped into these animals can cause bacteria to form to resist them. This bacteria can be dangerous if meat isn’t cooked properly. So you’d think that knowing the use of antibiotics in food decreases the quality of life for both animals and some humans would prevent people from being allowed to raise animals this way, but that sadly is not the case.
I believe that all living things have the right to a good and happy life. This is why I initially became vegetarian. After watching Food Inc. I realized that the reasonings behind stopping meat consumption runs way deeper. This isn’t just about how food production works in the meat packing industry. It’s about the fact that people know and understand and SEE what’s going on right in front of their faces, yet refuse to anything about it. These our the leaders of our country, people who have most say in what’s going into our grocery stores. They know people have died from E.coli contamination and have gotten sick from salmonella, but here we still are.