Ten Square Miles

An Environmental Activism Resource

Category: Opinion (page 1 of 2)

Should We Hold On To Hope?

With the abundance of facts, figures, and realities we have learned about this semester, is it possible to still have hope for our future and our children’s future? I think it depends on who you ask. A pessimist is going to give you a different answer than an optimist.

I like to consider myself an optimist and I definitely have hope for the future. But a better future isn’t going to come easily. Just because we now know about this stuff, doesn’t mean it’s going to magically go away. It’s time for action.

One Step Foward

 

As young adults who are probably are still dependent on our caretakers it would be hard to make a change regarding what we personally eat or buy.  So I believe the role that we have is awareness, to be aware ourselves and to spread awareness.  In addition to the fact that majority of my classmates are “Parkies”, our generation as a whole is tech savvy.  In America, we are one of the first generations to grow up in a world where the internet, computers, smart phones, and cameras were all around us from birth.  To be perfectly honest, most of us middle-classed young adults spend more time than we should on our devices which means we have no excuse for saying we can’t use them to raise awareness.  We are a generation that has Facebook, Twitter, Wikipedia, Instagram, Tumblr, etc., at the tip of our fingertips. We are a generation that has the ability to connect to not only to our own communities but communities from around the world.  So even though we don’t have the funds to buy organic GMO-free food or all American-made appeal, we do have the power to spread awareness to the people that possibly can.

Dealing With Republican Relatives

Since becoming more politically and environmentally conscious this semester, thanks to the upcoming election and our environmental film course, I have become almost hyperaware of the opinions of my extended family and how much I disagree with them on most subjects. Some of them even support Donald Trump which is scary to me. Sometimes I wonder how I’m related to them at all.

But anyway, I have had some recent Facebook arguments regarding climate change and global warming. I received the typical responses such as “global warming is bullshit” and just general comments about Al Gore’s “creepy eyes” whatever that means.  I argued back with facts and figures but no one was swayed. It’s very disheartening to know that your family members don’t seem to care about the future of the earth, but they would rather talk about their right to own a firearm.

I guess I’m just curious how other people deal with their republican relatives. Do you whole-heartedly argue with them? Ignore them? Humor them? What do you think is the best approach?

The Benefits of Eating Vegetarian

There are countless misconceptions about those who choose to stick to a vegetarian diet, but despite what some say, it is possible to be well-nourished on a meatless diet. In fact, provided that they don’t just live on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, most vegetarians reap the benefits of improved health over time.

 

  1. Lower Blood Pressure

According to Men’s Health Magazine, vegetarians tend to have lower blood pressure than their meat-eating counterparts. Some have even determined that giving up meat could be a legitimate treatment for those with chronic high blood pressure.

 

2.  Less Risk of Cardiac Events

In recent studies, vegetarians were found to be 25% likely to die of heart disease. Some of the best foods to combat heart disease are legumes (like peanuts) and grains that are high in fiber.

 

3. Maintain A Healthy Weight

It’s no secret that bacon isn’t necessarily the key to shedding a few extra pounds. A health study conducted from 1986 to 1992 in Sausalito, California found that overweight people who followed a low-fat, vegetarian diet lost an average of 24 pounds in the first year and kept off that weight 5 years later. And unlike countless other diets, participants reported that they lost their weight without counting, measuring, or feeling very hungry.

 

4.  Reduced Risk of Food-Borne Illness

According to the CDC,  food-borne illnesses of all kinds account for 76 million illnesses per year. By avoiding red meat, pork, poultry, and seafood, your risks for becoming a part of that statistic are decreased significantly.

 

5. Less Likely To Develop Cancer

Meat (and dairy products, for that matter) have been proven to contribute to the development of many different cancers, including breast, ovarian, colon, and prostate cancer. Vegetarian tend to be naturally lower in saturated fat and high in fiber, which both of which help prevent cancer. Studies in England and Germany have shown that vegetarians are about 40 % less likely to develop cancer than non-vegetarians. For example, breast cancer rates are significantly lower in nations that tend to have more plant based diets, like China.

 

What Vegans Shouldn’t Do

The Huffington Post wrote an interesting article about some things vegans should never do. Some of their advice includes not eating junk food and to take a closer look at your wardrobe.

The Huffington Post wrote an interesting article about some things vegans should never do. Some of their advice includes not eating junk food and to take a closer look at your wardrobe.

Do you agree with all five suggestions?

Check out the article here.

The Environmental Art of Andy Goldsworthy

Art has always been an essential part of the environmental movement, some artists such as Sayaka Kajita using reclaimed material in sculptures and photographs. More often than not, it is the use of man-made trash or reclaimed products to convey some sort of message about the degradation of the environment. However, one important environmental artist, Andy Goldsworthy, knows that sometimes the best collaborator is not material created by man, but material provided by the Earth.

The British sculptor lives and works in Scotland, creating pieces solely out of material he finds in nature and photographing the artwork upon completion. What makes Goldsworthy’s pieces so impactful is that they last as long as nature does. While he may photograph them, the essence of the piece is in the materials, the leaves and stones, and in the way they change with the world around them. He was once quoted saying, “A stone is ingrained with geological and historical memories.”  It is that appreciation for the material that makes Goldsworthy’s art so lively, so ecstatically beautiful. The piece lives and then it dies. The art becomes of part of the stones memory and the stone becomes part of the art.

Although most of his installments are done in nature, many of them without an audience, Goldsworthy worked with stone for an installment at the National art gallery in 2004, titled roof. The installment featured domes made of stacked slate, dealing with his interest in the human passage through time. Goldsworthy had done several pieces like it, fashioning domes out of less durable materials like leaves and twigs.

What is so striking about Goldsworthy’s work is that he is able to create a piece using only the materials in the natural world. He can patiently piece together sculptors that will topple over in mere moments. Goldsworthy is a model of peaceful collaboration and creation with the Earth and a model to follow. Not only does he see the beauty in the Earth, but he enhances that beauty without destroying it. It is possible to use the planet without misusing the planet. One of the most important lessons from Goldsworthy’s art is that the Earth will be there long after we are. Humans can create and build and destroy, but it will all amount to nothing if we cannot coexist with the planet. He builds a sculpture with the Earth and allows the materials to return to the Earth in their own time. He doesn’t rush the artistic process and allows nature to take its course without interfering, something all humans must emulate if we are to survive as a species.

White Hawk Ecovillage & Steve Woinoski Visit Reflection

 

Steve Woinoski was interesting and he really seemed to enjoy living in the White Hawk Ecovillage community.  Although the idea seemed cool and I give all power to them, I wouldn’t want to live in one of these communities myself.  It seemed like it would have a very “small town” feel to it and I personally enjoy being around a lot people.  My future more realistically would be in the suburbs or a city.  It was nice to hear about it though, because I wasn’t aware that such environmental driven communities existed.  It sounds like a nice quite place to rest a family and settle down if a family wants good old-fashioned neighborly love and peace.  However, like he said himself once more people come into play the community probably will start to feel a bit crowded. These type of communities are good for some but not all; I believe that someone can be just as equally environmentally aware outside of certain communities and groups.

 

To learn more about the White Hawk Ecovillage and other communities like it, please visit: http://whitehawkecovillage.org/   or https://youtu.be/g81b-pdFXto

 

Faith Meckley Visit Reflection

From her presentation I could tell that Faith Meckley is very passionate about the causes she supports.  It’s interesting to hear about someone protesting at such an age young, especially when there is a threat of being arrested.  I found it interesting that when she was arrested with a group that they only held them for less than a day, I would have expected it to be longer.  It was also interesting to learn that her father also was a protestor in his time and it brings up the intriguing question of whether or not her activism was influenced by his. I can imagine the stress and agony she must have been feeling when her possibly facing jail time, so I admire her for her ability to stand up for what she believes in no matter the cost.  It was also nice that she talked to us as a peer and not as an authority figure because it made it easier to relate to her. In relation to the protests on campus, I have an unpopular opinion about them so I’d like to keep that to myself.  However, I am impressed that some teachers actually cancelled class or let out early in order to allow students to express and show their concern regarding recent unfortunate incidents.

 

To learn more about Faith Meckley’s activism please visit here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7mkjvGRRMEw

 

 

Environmentally Friendly New Years Resolutions

We all know that when the new years rolls around we make resolutions to work out more, to eat better, to be more sociable. Most of these resolutions are discarded a few weeks into January but here are three New Years Resolutions that don’t require much work, but are healthy, both for you and the earth.
  1. Participate in Meatless Mondays: Throughout the world, people have taken the pledge to omit meat from their diet one day a week. Cutting out meat even one day a week will make you a healthier person as a large amount of meat processed in the United States are made with growth hormones and are fed with GMO grain. In addition meat can have a lot of fat which is bad for you. In addition, meat takes an enormous toll on the environment to produce. Every minute 20 football fields worth of rain forests are cleared mainly for the meet industry. Likewise, meat takes an enormous amount of water to produce. One single hamburger patty requires the same amount of water as you would need to shower for two months straight.
  2. Walk or Bike to work, school, or to visit friends: Biking is a great alternative to driving a car especially for short trips made in the warmer months. So as long as the route is biker friendly, biking is a great way to get from place to place. In addition to getting a great workout, you will not be contributing carbon admissions into the atmosphere.
  3. In the colder months it can be tempting to crank the thermostat up to keep warm, but by keeping it lower you will not only save a ton of energy, but you will save a significant amount of money on your heating bill. Wear sweaters, and keep blankets around for family members to use. Also if you live in an older house, check to ensure that your duct system is up to standard and the heat you do use can move around the house properly.
Three simple things you can do in the New Year to benefit both yourself and the environment.

Deforestation Infograph

deforestation

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