Nature Inspiration (extra credit)

I feel like I’ve been connected to nature in the sense that I appreciate its beauty and don’t mind spending time outside and going hiking or camping. I feel most connected to nature when I do go hiking because you are surrounded by nature everywhere you look and you are excluded from the world. I think its essential that we have that connection with the world to understand that the world in a living, breathing thing and that it is truly our responsibility to take care of it. Overtime though, it has gotten harder to hiking because we do go to school in Charleston and there are no mountains nearby. I find myself never really taking time to just walk out and appreciate the beauty of nature anymore because of the busy schedule that I know many of us have. It truly is a struggle to make time and you really have to be proactive and set a specific time to actually do this or else it wont get done (at least in my case). I found some time this weekend to leave my phone off and just take a walk on the beach. It was chilly but it was nice to just walk and look out at the ocean and admire the beauty of its waves and the soothing sounds that the ocean gives. While walking on the beach I realized that it is truly amazing how much life is in the ocean and how many animals call the sea home. Its hard to wrap your head around this when you can’t see the animals on the surface of the sea. Being able to think about this just also reminded me that we, as humans, have responsibility to the ocean and the animals living in there to restore and reverse the damage that we caused. It would truly be a devastating thing if the damage done to the seas couldn’t be reversible. When I was on my walk I also noticed that many people were careless with their trash and many sort of just left it lying in the sand and leave without disposing of it properly. This is a prime example of what we are doing to harm the ocean. The trash that is left in the sand is eventually carried away from the sea and it can end up harming marine life. Essentially I think people just have to be more aware of their habits and make a conscious decision to change them. A good thing that I saw was that there were many trash cans so that people could throw away their trash, which was good. In the end, I enjoyed the walk on the beach and got to break away from the stress of college for a moment and sort of reconnect with nature and be able to appreciate the beauty of the sea. I would encourage everyone to do this at lease once a week to just take a moment outside to just sit and be. I found it to be distressful and encouraging!

The media and the Oceans (extra credit)

As we all know the media plays a major role in society today. Many of us use social media on a daily basis and for several hours a day. There is no doubt that the media influences the publics points of view on certain things. One of these things is obviously climate change and global warming. I found and article in Science News that talks about the media and how they talk about the ocean and the effects that climate change is having on them. In the article it says that the media is accused of having a ” doom and gloom” tone when they talk about the environment and the state of our oceans, but this study says something different. In a research done by New York University and the University of Miami shows that this kind of “doom and gloom” tone was only seen in ten percent of the analyzed U.S newspaper articles. The article also says that, “optimistic language- such as, ‘ the oceans are mostly intact, still wild enough to bounce back to ecological health- were present in more than a quarter of these stories.” Another thing that I found interesting was that, according to the research, half of the analyzed stories provided potential solutions to the problems discussed in that particular article. When I read this article I was pleasantly surprised that the articles actually tried to provide potential solutions to the issues that they were talking about. I think that that is a great way to promote the conservations of the oceans and trying to get a larger amount of people caring about the oceans. On the other hand, I think that the “doom and gloom” tone is necessary and should be portrayed in most articles so that people can see that climate change is a real thing and that action needs to be taken and soon. I think that this “optimistic” language is a good thing, but that it can be sugar-coating or masking how in danger our oceans actually are. Many people could see the article and think, ” oh its not too bad, the ocean will just bounce back on its own” and that kind of passive attitude is not the action that needs to be taken. Although it is true that if all of the articles had ” doom and gloom” tone people could think that nothing could be done to save the oceans and then they would not take action because they could think that nothing can be done so whats the point. I think it should be a mix of both tones so that the article stresses the importance of action and also keep the hope that something can be done by us to save the oceans. I am impressed that they offered solutions which is a good way to show the public that there is hope to save the seas. Media is tricky thing because it could be harmful, but used in the right way I think it could raise awareness of climate change and the danger that our oceans are in. I’ll attach the link of the article if anyone would like to read it. Its fairly short and really interesting.

Urban Outfitters bag (extra credit)

I have been working at Urban Outfitters for some time and we do not use plastic bags for the clothes but we use what Urban Outfitters likes to call “reusable bags.” So since I work at Urban and have acquired a few of these bags I wanted to see if the bags are actually reusable and for how long. I went to the Urban Outfitters website to see if I can find something that talks about their bags. This is what they say, ” We are passionate about eliminating single-use items, especially those that pose a threat to the environment like plastic. Our Urban Outfitters stores use lightweight, fabric shopping bags that customers can reuse for many purposes beyond retail. Made of polypropylene fabric that does not tear, the bags can be washed and used for many years. We love seeing our customers using them for grocery shopping, a book bag or even an overnight tote!” After reading this I decided to take their advice and use the bag to do all of these things. If you’ve never shopped at Urban Outfitters than you wouldn’t know what the bags look like, but in my opinion they’re really cute and they come in different colors and sizes. Since I shop there alot I had all of the sizes and decided to use them for different things. The smallest bag I used to hold some clothes for a “overnight tote” like they suggested and it worked fine I couldn’t fit too much stuff inside because it was too small and it was a little awkward to carry because one of the straps had ripped off. I would’ve been better just using a purse or something. Then I used the big ones as grocery bags and it was terrible. I guess I put too many things in each bag, even though they were pretty light things, and it ripped as I was walking up to my dorm. Then I wanted to see if the bag was actually washable. It shrunk some after drying it and when I was stretching it back out the bag ripped. In the end I think the bags can only be used for really light things and they aren’t really durable. But on the bright side the bag is made of polypropylene which is a recyclable material and you can use it more than once if you wanted to. I appreciate Urban for at least trying to reduce their ecological footprint and attempting to make their bags reusable and recyclable. I now just reuse the same bag for putting in clothes that I just purchased, that way I am reusing the bag and not taking a new one every time. Im not sure if the production of these bags costs more for retail stores but I feel like if all retails stores decided to be a little more conscious about their impact on the environment like Urban Outfitters then there would be a significant impact on plastic in the world. Also Urban Outfitters has cute clothes so I definitely recommend shopping there.

This is a picture of their bags.

Tiny Microenvironments in the Ocean hold clues to global nitrogen cylcle

I was reading an article by Environmental News Network about how microenvironment in the ocean could tell us more about the global nitrogen cycle. According to the article nitrogen is essential to marine life because some sea life require nitrogen in processes such as photosynthesis.In a research study done by Thomas Weber at the University of Rochester they saw that small mircroenvionments in the deep ocean can help track the cycling of nitrogen in the sea. If you don’t may not know what a microenvironment is it is the immediate small-scale environment of an organism or a part of an organsim, especially as a distinct part of a larger environment. In the research they found that the small microbes that remove nitrogen from the water that are in these microenvironments are more widespread than scientist previously thought. Weber says, “the previous understanding of the nitrogen cycle was that nitrogen was lost from the ocean in only three regions where oxygen is scarce. If we wanted to predict how the nitrogen cycle would respond to climate change, all we needed to do was predict how these three low oxygen regions would expand or contract. Our study changes that picture by showing that nitrogen loss is actually happening over much larger regions, and we think about how the ocean as a whole is changing.” The three regions that he talks about are: two off the coast of the Americas, just north and south of the equator and one on the Arabian Sea. These three regions are known as “dead zones” because only anaerobic microbes can live here because most sea life “breathe” or respire using oxygen. When there is no oxygen in the water the microbes respire using other compounds like nitrate ( a form of nitrogen). Which removes nitrogen form the ocean. Weber made a computer model that takes this new genetic information from these microbes and found that, ” anaerobic microbes exist not only in areas of unoxygenated water, but somehow thrive in areas of the ocean where there is oxygen, Nitrogen, therefore, may be lost across much of the ocean, not just in areas where oxygen is scarce.” With this new information they can redraw what the nitrogen cycle of the ocean would look like and according to Weber this change suggests that this anaerobic metabolism is a response to climate change because global warming causes ocean temperatures to rise which results in and increased loss of oxygen and therefore affects the nitrogen budget across the world. This relates to our class because we see the effects of climate change and how these microbes could be adapting to the changes in sea temperature. I tried to sum up the article as best as I could but I will attach a link if anyone would like to read it. Its very interesting and I think its crazy how these findings can shift major things like nitrogen cycles in the ocean. This is just a reminder that climate change is a real thing and that we have to do everything we can to save our oceans.


No Red Meat

At the beginning of this year I told myself that I would stop eating red meat in hopes of being vegetarian once I reach summer. Although I didn’t start immediately I have been more committed to not eating red meat over the past two months. The biggest challenges that I’ve faced so far is realizing how much red meat I actually ate. I didn’t realize it was in almost all of my daily meals. Another thing I’ve realized is how many things at restaurants serve red meat and it has completely changed how I order food in restaurants. I find myself having to opt for the salad or soup instead of a steak meal. At first it was hard to see all of my families and friends eating meat in front of me and me not being able to have any. I loved eating hamburgers, tacos and things like that but having switched to no meat I can’t have any of these. But, I don’t feel like I am missing out on anything anymore because I think after realizing the amount of suffering that these animals go through my conscious doesn’t let me. Although I am still eating chicken and fish occasionally I figured that weening off of meat little by little was the best option because stopping cold turkey (get it?) would be too much all at once. I think that it is really a personal choice that someone has to make and it is hard to stick to but I feel like its the right choice and I’m glad I did it. I’ve also noticed that this has sort of forced me to eat more vegetables and fruits is always a plus since their healthy. Also, I find myself more energetic and I feel healthier. I have more energy throughout the day and not longer need to nap in the middle of the day! This extra time is great because I get so much more stuff done. I didn’t know that this small change in my diet would affect so many other aspects in my life. Recently my friends have noticed this change and have asked me about it, I tell them I’ve been eating healthier and have stopped eating red meat. One of my friends has actually decided to do this as well which is great and I was glad I could influence her into doing so. For anyone that has been considering it and is on the edge of it I would strongly suggest to just try it for a month or so just to see if its for you. Im actually finding myself trying new meals that involve more vegetables and fruits. Its always fun trying new foods and being creative with meals. I am going to stop eating chicken by the end of next month and that will be a whole other challenge but I’m excited to see what happens. My end goal is to be vegan by the end of the year. I know there are some people in class that are vegan so if you guys have any comments or suggestions I would love to hear them !

King Penguins Endangered by Warmer Seas

I did my news report on king penguins. King  Penguins may be in danger because of climate change. In a study published by Nature Climate Change, they warn that 70% of the 1.6 million estimated breeding pairs of king penguins could be affected in this century. That is very high number of penguins! although they are the second largest penguin species they are still in danger due to these climate changes. The problem is this: the king penguins live on islands near Antartica, the adult king penguins leave their offspring on the island to search for food. They leave their children for more than a week (a pretty long time for not eating!) to look for food in the polar front of the waters of the Antarctic. Which is an upwelling where cold, deep seas mix with temperate seas and this is where they find their food. As the temperature gets warmer the cold front is getting farther and farther from their habitat, leaving their offspring for longer periods of time. The concern is that their home will be too far away from the food source. Leaving their children for so long can cause their offspring to die. According the Emiliano Trucchi, which is one of the authors of this study says, ” they will need to either move somewhere else or they will just disappear.” Obviously this is very alarming because we’re talking about a whole species being extinct! Its sad to see that our impact on this world is affecting so many animals in a mostly negative way. Considering that these climate changes are mostly our fault I believe that we should work harder to conserve the lives of these animals and fix the problem that we’ve made. Fortunately the study gives us some hope. The research team developed a model and saw that because of climate change some islands will become vulnerable with warming and might become better habitats for the king penguins. This way the King penguins will be able to migrate to islands that are hospitable to them and that is closer to their food source. This seems to be a solution that makes sense and kind of solves itself. Even though this is only if the islands become warm enough for the penguins to live. Obviously since its just a prediction we are still not sure wether or not this will actually happen. I’ve tried to think of other ways to combat this issue but I have yet to come up with one that doesn’t invade the wildness of these animals. This study has also brought my attention to the rest of the species that will be affected if the King penguins do migrate or are extinct all together. The functions and mechanics of species and their surroundings are so interconnected that there is really no way to predict the outcomes of this change. These animals shouldn’t have to adjust their way of life because of humans. I think the human race are supposed to be the voice of this earth and all the living animals in it. Since we were entrusted with this Earth we should strive to protect and better it (also because its the only one we have).


This is an ad campaign from the World Wild Fund for Nature. Their goal is to show the human impact on animals. The animals have graffiti on them and in today’s society that is viewed as vandalism. By showing this on the animals it is telling the audience that we are vandalizing the animals by taking their homes and messing up their environments. In society we see graffiti as something that immature, disrespectful people do.  As humans we are not treating the animals with the respect that we should be and as a result of that they are dying off. Their goal is to make humans see the negative impact that we are having on these animals and become conscious of it and hopefully inspire them to make a change in order to save and protect these animals. Also, showing the effect of humans on the actual animals appeals to the emotional side of humans. Most of the time these campaigns show the impact that we have on the environment for example instead of showing a whale with writing on it, there would usually be a picture of trash in the ocean. Most people would see the trash and not really care since its just water and something that doesn’t have life. But looking at the actual creature it promotes the compassionate side of humans. I think everyone would see this picture in the same way since it is geared towards all people. Seeing this makes me sad and makes me realize how much we do not respect these amazing creatures because as humans we only worry about ourselves. We only have one Earth and we are not the only living beings on it. There is enough space for humans and animals to live together and thrive in life. The only thing we have to do is be their voice and be more aware of the impact we’re having on other animals environments. Becoming aware of our effect is the most important step and this is what this ad is showing us. There shouldn’t be graffitti on and animal, so there shouldn’t be human impact on these animals. Another thing about this picture is that this is showing more than one environment. For example is shows the ocean, arctic and the sahara. This is a way of showing that our reach is affecting all kinds if environments and all types of animals are being affected. Even if we do not see it first hand, it is still happening all over the world and in every kind of environment. This picture does do its purpose in showing us the negative effect we have on all animals and it compels us to be compassionate towards these animals and hopefully promote the awareness of this. In the end, the ads purpose is to drive you to donate to the World Wild Fund for Nature in order to make a difference in these animals lives. In the end I think the ad is well made and is an effective ad that appeals to everyone.