I never realized how many initiatives local businesses in South Carolina are taking in order to care for current Charlestonian’s and preserve the future for many. One guest speaker presentation that really spoke to me was about the wonderful local business called GrowFood Carolina. They are a non-profit, all local, wholesale produce distributer. The mission of GrowFood Carolina is to strive for more locally sourced foods produced in South Carolina, such as vegetables. GrowFood helps farmers distribute their products to the community through grocery stores such as Whole Foods and Earth Fare, meaning that they will never sell directly to the consumer. I found it interesting to learn that the College of Charleston receives a good portion of their produce from GrowFood Carolina. One major issue that farmers face is getting their produce to the consumer after it’s grown. That’s where GrowFood Carolina comes into play, ultimately being the middleman that will get the produce from the farmer to the hungry consumer.
This method makes growing and producing food locally much easier and better accessible to many. This way, the end goal is to secure the future of a regional food supply and ensure an enduring productive and diverse landscape. When it comes down to it, many of us consider South Carolina to be an agricultureal state, but why is it that only 10% of what we eat sourced locally? The numbers don’t seem to add up when considering that oftentimes we import our fruits and vegetables from places such as Mexico rather than eating our own local, fresh produce.
When asked why GrowFood Carolina does what they do, their simple response is for the personal health of individuals, the health of the environment, and for the health of the rural economy. There are three guiding principles that GrowFood strictly follows, those being the farmers, consistency, and collaboration, listed in order of importance. These three guiding principles intertwine with one another to form a well balanced company. On top of their already awesome business, they also donate food to the needy and volunteer often in the community. I will absolutely be supporting their business in the future!
With the recent presidential election, as well as our recent class lecture on the topic of mainstream news media truthfulness, curiosity was sparked as to whether or not mainstream news can be trusted. If it’s mainstream, at first glimpse I would assume that all of the information is correct. After doing some further research, I formed the opinion that oftentimes mainstream news media cannot be trusted. I say this because at the end of the day, the media industry is in it for one thing only, which is the money. In my opinion, they may act like they are doing a service to the public by providing them with informative information, when it reality it’s oftentimes the total opposite.
I have seen examples on TV of CNN telling one side of the story on President Trump, while Fox News tells a complete other side of the story. As for which media outlet is correct, that’s ultimately for the consumer to decide upon. My point is to simply make the consumer aware of the possibility that not all news sources, including mainstream news, is accurate. I try very hard to be cautious of trusting news distributed on social media because I have already learned my lesson that you can’t believe everything you see online. It’s known that individuals tend to make up lies in order to gain attention, whether that be good or bad attention. At the same time, I usually try to remind myself to be cautious of mainstream media just as I am with social media and satirical news sources.
If someone is unsure of whether or not an article they are reading online is true or not, my first recommendation would be to check and see what source the article is from. This information is usually found at the bottom of the page. From here, an individual can simply input this news source into google and read reviews/opinions of the selected news source written by consumers alike. As for myself, if I check to see which news source an online article is from, and for example the news source is “Webscamz”, I won’t even waste my time researching this source or believing any of the content in the article. The reliability of a news source for myself is measured in the ratings received by other consumers. I trust in others like myself quite a bit when it comes to something I am unfamiliar with. At the end of the day, even a well regarded news source has the possibility of publishing an inaccurate news article. Always be weary of what you read these days.
Greenwashing is a topic that quickly sparked an interest in me simply because it relates to my daily life. The act of misleading consumers regarding environmental practices of a company or the environmental benefits is the technical definition of greenwashing. Although I’m all for products that are environmentally conscious, I don’t appreciate not knowing the full story about a products history from beginning to end. A major issue we have currently is the amount of wastes in our landfills that are not biodegradable, one product being disposable diapers. Studies suggest that close to 4,000 disposable diapers are used per child in a lifetime. With this many diapers ending up in our landfills annually, it only makes sense that the diaper companies do something about the amount of pollution their products are causing.
Now be careful, these diaper companies may not be doing as much as you may think. For example, recently Huggies diapers claimed their new formula was “pure and natural” and used with organic cotton, which is supposedly better for the environment. Their packaging was redone in order to help the consumer feel as if they are not harming the environment by purchasing this product. Questions have surfaced about what percentage of the diaper actually uses organic cotton, along with what measures are taken to receive and use this organic cotton. The company will not reveal whether the cotton is certified cotton or not, a major factor in the well-being of the environment in the long run. The cotton Huggies is using may also be bleached with chemicals, which will then come in contact with the sensitive skin of babies.
This is a great example of greenwashing because while the new change that Huggies is presenting looks beneficial, it may be misleading in that the consumer is still unaware of the critical details in handling, manufacturing, and sourcing of the product. Personally, although boasting about using 20% post-consumer material in their product is a great thing, 20% is hardly anything in the long run. Be weary of the products you are buying!
Believe it or not, obesity can be in direct relation to specific environmental issues that we may experience on a daily basis. Along with the long list of chronic diseases associated with obesity, public education, healthcare, land use, and the location of restaurant and food stores can have a lasting impact on our health. An unhealthy economy is bound to boom, where portions are increased, quality of products are decreased, and you get more bang for your buck if you take the unhealthy food route oftentimes.
In my free time, I watched the film “Fed Up” written and produced by Stephanie Soechtig. This movie was certainly eye opening in the fact that we are raising our new generation of children to know nothing other than sugar and fatty foods. Not only are chronic physical diseases bound to happen, but mental, emotional, and spiritual health may be compromised. This documentary honed in on the sugar industry specifically, arguing that they are legally sickening and killing people simply through such a toxic ingredient. Just to name a few facts directly from the documentary, 80% of 600,000 food products in the United States contain added sugar. Naturally occurring sugar is almost unheard of these days. Food companies continuously insist on dumping loads of added sugar into our food products, simply because they know we like how it tastes and we will continue to buy it.
What was once thought of as a reward every now and then has now turned into something that is just as addictive as cocaine. As stated in the video, sugar is, if not more, addictive than the harmful drug cocaine. Yet, we let our children consume oftentimes triple or quadruple our daily recommended serving of sugar. With more than 70% of Americans being obese at the time this video was made, my guess being that number has risen since, something must be done to stop this quick spreading epidemic dead in its tracks. Healthier alternatives, along with the complete disposal of high fructose corn syrup and other harmful cheap sugar alternatives, must be put in place to save our future generations before it’s too late.
After reading the required text from A Delicate Balance: Constructing a Conservation Culture in the South Carolina Lowcountry, I now feel the urge to read the entire book. I thoroughly enjoyed the small passages I read concerning Charleston and it’s efforts to maintain sustainability, stability, and overall balance. These readings easily elicited feelings of happiness to call Charleston home, sorrow for what fellow residents of society and myself are doing to our beautiful land, and a mixture of guilt and curiosity as to how we can stop major issues dead in its tracks. As our discussion in class on Tuesday entailed, land use is the bulk of our issue. If we are using a majority of our valuable land for livestock and all of the necessary components that go into keeping livestock alive and well, then how are we able to help our land flourish to its full potential?
While Halfacre certainly talked up Charleston, South Carolina to the best of her ability, that shouldn’t dim the light on the serious problem of overpopulation in Charleston, improper use of the land, and total destruction to the natural habitats found through the city simply for greedy human pleasures. Yes, humans may be at the top of the food chain, but what gives us the right to degrade and exploit innocent natural resources and ecosystems within a community? Absolutely nothing, in my opinion. Prior to this assigned reading, I had absolutely no idea of all the many components of farming and maintaining rich, prosperous land. What really seems to bother me is that organic, locally sourced healthy foods are all the talk these days, but our expectations have been cut short recently due to the inability for farmers and restaurants to provide these healthy meats, fruits, and vegetables to the consumer in Charleston. We are limited on our locally sourced options due to no incentives for farmers to grow such foods considering it’s more expensive in the long haul and little if any benefit comes from growing local, organic foods. If the people want to be healthy, then we should be doing everything in our power to provide them with that opportunity. I believe that’s a great way to begin tackling the rampant obesity rates seen all around the United States.
Do you feel that recycling in your area is strongly encouraged and properly executed? Our discussion in class about the serious lack of knowledge when it comes to recycling really sparked my thinking about the topic. Not only is the awareness of recycling and it’s pros highly understated, but the general availability of recycling is truly lacking(at least at my home in Summerville.) It wasn’t until roughly 1 year ago that the stingy recycling company blessed my neighborhood with a full-sized 65 gallon recycling can for us to place our recyclables in! All of the time prior to this we were limited to a small 18 gallon recycling bin. For a family of 3 or more, it’s quite difficult to fit all of our recyclables in the bin (thanks Amazon Prime.) Do they really expect us to save our remaining recyclables for 2 more weeks until they return again? No, unfortunately I must put these extra boxes in the garbage bin. My point here is that recycling is encouraged, but we don’t have the physical ability to do so. Although I’m extremely happy now that we were so kindly upgraded to full-size recycling bins, I can recycle each and every product that I’m able to!
With my newfound ability to recycle all of my acceptable waste, I hope that the recycling companies are able to expand their services to other locations around Summerville that are lacking. As sad as it may be, if we don’t make recycling as accessible and easy as possible, most will not bother to do it. Therefore, going the extra mile and spending the money to provide everyone with recycling bins is totally worth it in the long run. While I’m on the topic, I also noticed that some of us have no clue what waste is actually recyclable, including myself until this point! Pizza boxes with grease on them isn’t allowed?! Why didn’t someone tell me sooner? Expansion of information about which products are recyclables and which are not is truly important! What’s the point of encouraging recycling if half of the products being recycled are not even allowed? That sounds very counterproductive if you ask me. Certainly more educating of the public must be implemented on something as simple as recycling. I sure hope I begin to see change in the near future.