Week 12: Environmental News

March 31, 2020

Can Fashion Ever be Sustainable? https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20200310-sustainable-fashion-how-to-buy-clothes-good-for-the-climate

The SAC's Apparel Index Tool Brings Environmental and Social ...

I chose this article because I thought it would be interesting to investigate the effects the fashion industry has on greenhouse gas emissions as it is far less known and understood in comparison to the effects of transportation and other human activities.

According to the Smart Guide to Climate Change, fashion accounts for approximately 10% of greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, the fashion industry accounts for nearly 20% of wastewater, and it uses more energy resources than shipping and aviation combined. With the fashion industry, there are many aspects that make-up the overall greenhouse gas contribution that we may not think of. For instance, complex supply chains are only one part. The fashion industry is also comprised of the transportation of clothing and the disposal of it once the consumer is finished with it. While this process is common for many consumer products, the fashion industry is unique because it is constantly changing and evolving and encouraging more consumption.

In addition to emitting greenhouse gasses, fabric dyes pollute water sources, affecting aquatic habitats and potential drinking water. Additionally, clothing items such as jeans are made using synthetic materials, which reduces recyclability and further increases the environmental impact factor. Overall, it is important to consider the effects of your fashion choices on the environment and how your decision to follow a new fashion trend every season may be contributing to the ever-increasing effects of climate change.


Environmental News: Week 2 since the start of the apocalypse

March 29, 2020

This week I read an article about the bind of farmers working for corporate farming companies, specifically, Perdue. According to this article, Perdue abuses the farmers that work for them by giving the farmers poor birds or feed or whatever and making the farmers pick up the cost for the poor quality, keeping them in debt so they can’t change companies or make a fuss.

I found this article interesting because of how it interacted with the views on the commercial farming industry presented in the book “Eating Animals” that we just read. There was a section that was commentary from a commercial poultry farmer, and that person seemed proud of what they did and didn’t mention the kind of abuse from the parent company that this article was all about.

It just made me think. If there was abuse in the case of the farmer in “Eating Animals”, you would think in that several page ramble of an interview that they would mention at least that the company controls things that lead to the poor health of their birds.

So, is the first farmer fibbing a little about how much control they have and how proud they are to be a farmer, to sound patriotic or whatnot to the interviewer? Or is the second farmer fibbing about how bad it is for him to get sensationalized by this liberal newspaper? Or are they both telling the truth, in which case, which of them is more representative of the majority of factory farmers, if either? Does that matter? I would argue it shifts the blame quite a bit, from farmer to company or the other way around, depending on who represents the majority best.

The article is called ‘I can’t get above water’: how America’s chicken giant Perdue controls farmers, by Michael Sainato.

The url is https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/mar/14/i-cant-get-above-water-how-americas-chicken-giant-perdue-controls-farmers


Eating animals

March 25, 2020

44

I love the set up of the words/meaning chapter. The familiarity of the dictionary set up and the association of calm, unbiased language makes the sometimes savage remarks all the more scathing. 

44 

The blip on the bottom of the page makes me sick. 40% of global carbon emissions are from the animal processing industry. 

48 

They kill half of all those chickens! That’s disgustingly wasteful! They could be eaten! Not to mention all the other problems with the chicken industry. Which I already knew about and are why I’m vegan. Reading it again makes me feel so bad for them though. I could and should be doing more. Everyone should. That’s not a life. Do you really want that pain and suffering associated with you?

30s

The comments he made about his dog and the ways people view animals and themselves were really thought provoking. I think it ties back to the whole you can never really know another person thing too. 

Beginning 

His view on vegetarianism is interesting too. It was kind of off putting at first. I’m interested to see if he has changed his mind after researching the book. I can’t remember if he did or not. But either way is kinda unsatisfying, because if he doesn’t, he doesn’t believe in sympathy for animals, or isn’t brave enough to, or if he does he falls into his own polarizing trap.

50

The part about bycatch was also disgusting. What the heck!?! Half the section or more was just all of the bycatch caught when fishing for tuna. Birds!!! Sharks!!!! Whales!!!!! What! A third of it was sea birds! How do you even catch a a sea bird? Can’t they just fly away?

96 

“It’s childish and I would even say immoral, to fantasize about a vegetarian world when we’re having such a hard time making this one work.”

I read an article about the increasing popularity of veganism and vegetarianism. In just the past decade, the popularity of both diets has doubled in the western world, and even quadrupled in  some countries. In several western countries including the US and the UK, one in ten people are vegetarian.

129-136

This part is unbelievably disgusting. The whole time I was just thinking about how glad I am that I am vegan. But my friends aren’t. I have historically never pushed veganism or my beliefs about food into people. But after learning that, encouraging veganism isn’t an ethical issue about animal rights, it’s about protecting my friends health and well-being. I don’t know a single person who would knowingly feed a friend or even an enemy something as vomit inducing as the “food” that was just described in that section.

147

THE USDA IS CONTROLLED BY FACTORY FARMS?!? What? Why? That’s TERRIFYING!!!

We should all be very afraid and revolt immediately.

197 

98% of soy produced in the whole world is fed to livestock! That’s so much! 


Environmental News

March 25, 2020

An environmental advocacy group published information regarding the fruits and vegetables with the most pesticides present and harmful substances present. An unexpected takeaway for me was just how many chemicals (many of which are carcinogens) are present in raisins. Here’s a list of the 12 worst items and the 15 best:

According to the analysis, the 12 items with the most pesticide contamination were, from worst to best: strawberries, spinach, kale, nectarines, apples, grapes, peaches, cherries, pears, tomatoes, celery and potatoes.

The 15 fruits and vegetables with the lowest levels of pesticide contamination were, from best to worst: avocados, sweet corn, pineapple, onions, papaya, frozen sweet peas, eggplants, asparagus, cauliflower, cantaloupes, broccoli, mushrooms, cabbage, honeydew melon and kiwi.


Eating Animals

March 25, 2020

“99 percent of all animals eaten in this country come from factory farms” (page 12)

“Despite the fact that it’s perfectly legal in forty-four states, eating “man’s best friend” is as taboo as a man eating his best friend.”

“Animal agriculture makes a 40% greater contribution to global warming than all transportation in the world combined; it is the number one cause of climate change.” (page 44)

“I Am the Kind of Person Who Finds Herself on a Stranger’s Farm in the Middle of the Night” (page 90) interesting follow up to the previous chapter, but the part about killing the chick was unnecessary.

“People focus on the last second of death. I want them to focus on the entire life of the animal.” (page 115)

“I’m all for compromising tradition for a good cause, but perhaps in these situations tradition wasn’t compromised so much as fulfilled.” (page 195)

“If we are all serious about ending factory farming, then the absolute least we can do is stop sending checks to the absolute worst abusers.” (page 257).

I really appreciated some of the visual elements that were present (at least in my version of the book) to help visualize the statistics. I also seriously appreciated the wide range of voices that were heard from directly in the process–People from PETA, a vegetarian slaughterhouse maker, moral farmers, etc.


Week 11 News

March 25, 2020

https://www.nbcnews.com/science/environment/coronavirus-shutdowns-have-unintended-climate-benefits-n1161921

Due to the Earth being closed, pollution emissions have been decreasing. These decreases are sadly temporary, as soon as productivity picks up emissions will increase. In the meantime, the decrease in emissions can be used to provide evidence for changes we can make that will have a positive environmental impact.


Environmental News: Week 1 since death of the human dimension

March 25, 2020

The article I read this week discussed the newest invention, “The Interceptor” of The Ocean Cleanup, which is a device to pick up plastics from the rivers, before they contaminate the oceans. They claim that 80% of ocean plastic comes from rivers and that they can clean up the 1000 most polluted rivers in the world by the end of 2025. Though they also stress the importance of the reduction of plastic waste, which duh.

I thought it was an interesting article, because yeah, it makes a ton of sense that plastic gets to the oceans because it gets in the rivers that feed into the oceans.

The article was called THE OCEAN CLEANUP UNVEILS PLAN TO ADDRESS THE MAIN SOURCE OF OCEAN PLASTIC POLLUTION: RIVERS, by The Ocean Cleanup. The url is https://theoceancleanup.com/updates/the-ocean-cleanup-unveils-plan-to-address-the-main-source-of-ocean-plastic-pollution-rivers/


Week 11 Eating Animals

March 25, 2020

pg 5 – “We called her the Greatest Chef.”

pg 22 – “Nobody ever had a plush toy shaped like a rock, and when the most enthusiastic stamp collector refers to loving stamps, it is an altogether different kind of affection.”

pg 79 – “In the typical cage for egg-laying hens, each bird had 67 square inches of space — the size of this rectangle. Nearly all cage-free birds have approximately the same amount of space.”

pg 102 – “Having little exposure to animals makes it much easier to push aside questions about how our actions might influence their treatment.”

pg 124 – “Viruses like H5N1 can be ferocious entrepreneurs, constantly innovating, relentless in their aim of corrupting the human immune system.”

pg 174 – “All told, farmed animals in the US produce 130 times as much waste as the human population – roughly 87,000 pounds of shit per second. The polluting strength of this shit is 160 times greater than raw municipal sewage.”

pg 229 – “There is one other rule to this game: never, absolutely never, emphasize that virtually all of the time one’s choices is between cruelty and ecological destruction, and ceasing to eat animals.”

pg 263 – “Food is never simply a calculation about which diet uses the least water or causes the least suffering.”

While I was aware of many of the topics covered in the books, the way they were presented were much more impactful. The chapter start pages that visualized the statistic that was presented was especially helpful, you don’t realize just how small 67 square inches is until you see it.


eating Animals

March 25, 2020

I was initially annoyed by this book (before I read it), but after reading it it completely changed my views. This book makes me wanna go vegetarian, He talks about the ethics, environmental impact and peoples health throughout the book. The thing that shocked me the most is that meat actually harms us in the long run, both physically and environmentally.

Also, The living conditions for those poor animals are just straight up awful. They live in their own feces! The farmers only care about producing the best meat as fast as possible, and they typically don’t care how the animals are raised up.

Here is the quote that stood out to me the most:

“…Jamming deformed, drugged, overstressed birds together in a filthy, waste coated room is not very healthy. Beyond deformities, eye damage, blindness, bacterial infections of bones, slipped vertebrae, paralysis, internal bleeding, anemia, slipped tendons, twisted lower legs and necks, respiratory diseases, and weakened immune systems are frequent and long-standing problems on factory farms.”

That just goes to show you how bad things really are on those farms.


Week 11:

March 25, 2020

Environmental News: “Here’s What a Coronavirus-like Response to the Climate Crisis Would Look Like”

https://www.latimes.com/environment/story/2020-03-24/what-coronavirus-like-response-to-climate-crisis-would-look-like

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic affecting the world right now, I wanted to look at it from an environmental perspective. This article does exactly that by discussing the unprecedented global mobilization we witnessed in an attempt to slow the spread of the virus. It argues that aggressive steps like this have not been taken in an attempt to deal with the climate crisis, but that investing in solar and wind power, switching to electric cars, and mandating more efficient buildings in a similar manner would be far less disruptive than our current situation.

Several scientists were asked about their views on a coronvirus-like approach to dealing with climate change. One noted that narrowly addressing root causes is not enough. For example, with COVID-19, officials have not only tried to slow the spread of COVID-19, they have also suspended evictions, guaranteed paid sick leave, and proposed sending cash to Americans. Essentially, dealing with climate change would require similar actions. “We can’t really solve the climate crisis without having support for people’s healthcare and support for people being able to survive wage-wise and job-wise.”

Additionally, scientists note that we can learn a valuable lesson from the COVID-19 situation: confronting a crisis is far more difficult and expensive when it is already on your doorstep.

They also comment that these two issues are similar in the idea that they both require inter-generational solidarity. To prevent the spread of COVID-19, young people are staying in to prevent spreading the disease to their parents and grandparents, who are more at-risk. With climate change, it is older generations who are being asked to protect the planet for their children and grandchildren.

This article makes the statement that, clearly, we can ask people to make radical changes that we would not have thought possible, and they will do it. So why is this not the case for climate change and the environment?