Over this summer I worked at an all girls camp in North Carolina. At first I was a little hesitant about living in a log cabin with no technology, minimal electricity, and a bunch of kids. Needless to say, this experience was really eye opening for me. It made me realize how little we can live on and how much stuff I have that I don’t need. It also was a lot of fun because we didn’t rely on technology for entertainment. The camp itself was very sustainable. There was a huge garden that we would get most of our food from. Sometimes we would help with picking the food for the meals. And, as shocking as it may sound, to conserve water we were only allowed 5 minutes of shower time. I guess it helped that there was no water pressure and the water was usually pretty cold. Daily use of electricity was a minimum as we were more concentrated on bonfires and s’mores. We probably only used at most 30 minutes a day of electricity. Due to the fact hat we used minimal technology, there was more of a sense of involvement.
Overall this way of sustainable living ended up being a lot easier and actually more fun than I had originally expected. I was there for three months. It was hard leaving a place that was so off the grid for me and going back to a house with so many appliances and things I don’t really need. It was definitely a transition I wasn’t expecting. Although I am living in the city now and I recognize that I am not living as sustainable as I did this summer, I am still trying to do my part here in Charleston towards a more sustainable living.
I had never heard of environmental degradation before this class but after talking a little bit about it I was interested. The main article that I obtained most of this information from can be found at http://www.conserve-energy-future.com/causes-and-effects-of-environmental-degradation.php. It’s basically is the “disintegration of the earth or deterioration of the environment through consumption of assets, for example, air, water and soil; the destruction of environments and the eradication of wildlife. It is characterised as any change or aggravation to nature’s turf seen to be pernicious or undesirable.” (Rinkesh) The causes include land disturbance, pollution, overpopulation, landfills, deforestation, and natural causes. The one that sticks out to me are landfills because we have an abundance of them where I am from. From what I’ve read landfills can pollute the environment and destroy the beauty of a city(trees, flowers ect). The other thing that I didn’t think of is how natural causes can affect the environment. An avalanche or earthquake or just a bad storm can destroy nearby animal and plant habitats to where they can’t survive any longer in that area. One excerpt I found enlightening was “Of course, humans aren’t totally to blame for this whole thing. Earth itself causes ecological issues, as well. While environmental degradation is most normally connected with the things that people do, the truth of the matter is that the environment is always changing. With or without the effect of human exercises, a few biological systems degrade to the point where they can’t help the life that is supposed to live there.” (Rinkesh) Some of the effects of environmental degradation I found interesting include the loss of tourism industry, which also has an economic impact. I never thought of those particular impacts so I found that pretty interesting. And of course there are the impacts that I normally would think of that include an impact on human health, loss of biodiversity and the ozone layer depletion. I’m no expert on this subject but everything I have read about it does spark an interest so I would love to learn more about environmental degradation and ways to prevent it or slow it down.