Homemade Soaps (Extra Credit #4)

I have always had horrible allergies my whole life. My skin is very responsive to harsh, synthetic chemicals.  The skin is easiest way to let in harmful chemicals and toxins inside the body. Many common harmful chemicals inside soaps include Triclosan (which is a toxic pesticide that has antibacterial fighting properties), Parabens, and preservatives. I have shopped at stores such as lush and Earthfare to by products with less chemicals. Instead this time I attempted to make my own soap. A few weeks ago I went over to my friend’s house and we made soap.

I love lavender so I wanted to incorporate that into my soap.We used a cold process to make our soap. We followed a recipe online that consists of :

  • ⅔ cup coconut oil
  • ⅔ cup olive oil
  • ⅔ cup other liquid oil – (we used almond oil)
  • ¼ cup lye
  • ¾ cup cool water- (we used tap water)
  • 50 drops of lavender essential oil (any essential oil can be used)

When making the soap, I thought I would be able to take the soap home the next day, however I found out that making soap takes a lot more time. Once we cut our big loaf of soap into small bars it then took four more weeks for the soap to cure while being exposed to air.

Honestly, it was not cheap making this soap because essential oils can become expensive, however we both were able to provide many of our family members and friends with soap because of the pan we used. The pan was so large that we were able to cut ten bars from it. When using my bar of soap, I felt healthy knowing that I was using all safe, natural products. I will never go back to buying brands of soap with toxic chemicals. My skin feels more refreshed and healthier already.

Deforestation (Extra Credit #3)

An estimated 18 million acres of forests are lost each year due to deforestation. Deforestation is the removal of a substantial amount of trees in which case the land is used for something other than non-forest usage. Deforestation is a common effect of humans trying to attempt to make space for the growing population. I have lived in Summerville and the surrounding areas my whole life. The Lowcountry is not able to handle the effects of a growing population. When I was younger, much of Summerville was considered “country”. Now, Summerville has grown so large that many forests and tress have been removed to build neighborhoods or even tacky strip malls.

The environment faces many different effects of deforestation such as a reduction of biodiversity. This happens because many animals loose their homes and in this way are not able to thrive, survive or even reproduce. Biodiversity is limited because of the loss of various species. If there is not biodiversity, different species may die out and become in risk of becoming extinct. In general trees provide us with many different benefits. Some benefits of trees include oxygen production, conservation of energy, helps to save water, provide wood, provide food, increase property values, help to aid in prevention of water pollution, trap dust and aid in the prevention of ultra-violent rays because of their shading properties.

Some solutions to deforestation include taking many different political stands. If large corporations and manufactures should have the power to destroy large forests, they should also have the power to preserve them. More policies need to be inforced and set into place for preserving valuable land before the Lowcountry is no longer viewed as what it really is. Another solution to deforestation includes improving already developed lands. Even something as small as planting little trees around these already developed lands aids in combating total deforestation.



Air Pollution (Extra Credit #2)

According to a WHO report, air pollution has killed about 7 million people in 2012. Because the population is increasing, these numbers will only continue to increase. Some major sources of air pollution are caused by burnings of fossil fuels, fuels from automobiles, smoke, and high portions of undesirable gases that are being admitted into the atmosphere. Air pollution has major negative effects on the environment and human health.

Some symptoms that are shown to be effects of air pollution are increased risks of cancers, respiratory illnesses, cardiovascular illnesses, fatigue, skin irritations,  dizziness, birth defects, and nervous system damage. Because of the growing population, we will only have a stronger effect on the world and ourselves. Because of human’s unwise choices we have left our mark on ourselves, which has implications on our DNA for futures to come.

As for the environment some effects air pollution has caused is global warming also known as climate change, ozone depletion, haze, acid rain, and major effects on wildlife. Animals tend to have many of the same symptoms and effects of air pollution that humans have such as respiratory functioning if exposed to sufficient amount of pollution over  an extended period of time.

Some ways as humans we can reduce high amounts of air pollution include carpooling/ taking public transportation/ walking/ biking, recycling, use less energy/ example- opening windows to allow light and air inside, use ozone-friendly products, choose an energy efficient car to drive, and planting more trees.

Humans do not understand the effect that we have put on the earth, we may never be able to totally reverse the effects. However, we are able to limit these effects by starting now! If we never start, there is little hope for a thriving future for the human race and the planet, Earth. Save our earth, save our people!

Gardening Tips (Extra Credit #1)

Throughout the whole semester we have talking in great detail about organic foods. Since I was younger my family has always had a garden where we grow fruit, vegetables and herbs without using any synthetic products to aid in production. Gardening requires a lot of patients and effort. When first starting your garden it is always beneficial to so some background research on what you are planning on planting. It is important to look into which seasons these plants should be grown, as well as how much water the plants should be getting, levels of sunlight exposure, and levels of humidity. You will also want to make sure the soil is healthy wherever you are planning on starting your garden. One sign that you have healthy soil is to see if worms are living within the soil. Healthy soil means healthy plants that are better able to fight off various pests and diseases.

When you first start your garden, you may get excited and feel that you may need to water the plants much more than they actually should be watered. Make sure to note that over-watering plants in many cases is worse than under watering them. It can be very challenging to revive over watered, drowned roots. Make sure to leave a lot of space between various types of herbs/ fruit/ vegetables. One type of using effective space is by planing in blocks. Planting in blocks allows for eliminating any unnecessary plant pathways.

Gardening provides one with stress relief, exercise, increased immunity because of direct exposure to dirt and plants, and an overall improved, healthier diet. With gardening, there is no middle man which helps in eliminating the carbon footprint. Gardening also allows for you to know what you are eating because you are producing your own food, not getting food from unknown sources. I think everyone should have a garden at some point in their life! Get creative and try different herbs!