Sign here, fight for the EPA.

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:

Food Inc.

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.

Food Inc.

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.

Great Pacific Garbage Patch

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.