Green Biz- Getting Real

One article that I found particularly interesting on Green Biz, is called Getting Real- A Week Inside Al Gore’s Climate Reality.

In 2005, Al Gore founded the Climate Reality Project Leadership Corps; which is devoted to solving the current climate crisis. The climate realty leaders focus on the truth of how much innovation, investment, and local action needs to happen to actually produce a change. The project has more than 11,000 member global leadership corps  that includes founders of nonprofits and social enterprises, organizers of moms, a creator of the widely distributed islamic Declaration on Global Climate Change, authors of policy and books, and holders of local offices. I found this exceedingly important that so many influential people are actually dedicating their time to solving this devastating problem that the world is currently faced with.

The author of the article went to an event for the project that seemed to be a mix of a conference and training session for new attendees and leaders. The main focal point of the event was a 2 hour presentation on day 1 and an hour long presentation on day 2 that was given to the audience by Al Gore. The presentation was read from 30,000 slides that are constantly being updated and revised. All of the slides are available for the leaders with annotations and source references.

Al Gore also made a sequel to “The Inconvenient Truth” that premiered in January at the Sundance Film Festival and it is coming out in July. The most recent movie is more hopeful and focuses on solutions.

“The Inconvenient Truth” and the event raises awareness that climate justice is much more than global warming having a huge impact on those that are more vulnerable. The two also focus on the wrongs that have been enforced on alienated and marginalized communities in the form of pollution, lack of respect for culture and health, and economic dependencies.

Trust in Mass Media

I believe that after the most recent election that trust in the media has gone down, especially on sites such as Facebook and Twitter. There are numerous articles on Facebook, due to the election, that are misleading by spreading misinformation and propaganda about candidates. These misleading articles produced far more attention to its audience than ordinary, reliable, sources did. People tend to share and read stories on their Facebook that appeal to their emotions and beliefs. Individuals with a preconceived bias are more likely to share the lies that are fed to them by Facebook news and influence other peoples opinions. Many individuals do not understand that the post is from an inaccurate source. For example, because of Facebooks increasingly dominant role in the news, individuals such as my grandma/the older population, do not fully comprehend that not everything they read is true. She comes to me about insane stories all the time and I have to explain to her why and how it is not true. Because of mass media increasing in todays society, individuals need to be aware that anyone can write an article so that they can potentially influence a variety of people to believe the way they also believe.

I do not have much trust in mainstream media, such as buzzfeed and or even some articles from CNN. I generally follow and trust BBC and The Economist when it comes to what is actually happening in the World. Conservative and leaning news outlets are the ones that I tend to trust less and have skepticism towards. Also, the way that the President of the United States uses social media highly effects citizens. By either making them feel uncomfortable and undermined or empowered and enlightened. It impacts the way in which people view themselves and others. Donald Trumps social media account on twitter is a modern example of how social media that is used by presidents can be a negative thing. There are many upsides to social media; however, the misleading information that Trump tends to spread, such that “Twitter, google, and Facebook are burying the FBI criminal investigation of Clinton,” is a false announcements that is trying to get a rise out of people and sway the way they view someone else.

If I am ever to share anything on Facebook that I think is reliable, I try to make sure to triple check it before I spread it to my friends.

Greenwashing – Herbal Essence

Many companies spend more time and money on advertising their products than worrying about the quality of the product itself. These companies advertise and market their products as being sustainable, when in actuality, they are not utilizing business practices that benefit the environment.

For this blog post, I chose to write about a product that I used for way too many years as a child. I used it because my mom would buy it for herself and me. I assume she bought this product because of its good pricing and advertisement of being “environmentally sound and natural.”

The company exclaims that their products are a good choice for the environment and the consumers hair. On their products, such as the shampoo and conditioner, they claim that it’s “all natural.” After reading online through many researchers’ papers on the topic, they all come to the conclusion that these claims are false. There are many unnatural chemicals in the shampoo and conditioner, such as Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and Propylene Glycol. There are also known carcinogens in the products that are not found on the ingredients that are labeled on the back of the products.  Certain chemicals react when in the bottle and form a new compound after being mixed together, forming carcinogens.  People experience side effects from these unnatural products all the time. Health concerns that are related to the chemicals can include skin irritation (the most common), cancer, and organ toxicity.

After researching herbal essence products and looking into their website, it is alarming to know that they advertise these seeming healthy items. I stopped using herbal essence a few years ago because my skin started to become exceedingly irritated. My mom took me to the family doctor and we figured out that it was my shampoo and conditioner (created by Herbal Essence) causing the irritation. After that, my family and I started to look  more into the products we were buying. My mom even began to make her own laundry detergent.

Many companies greenwash their products to make themselves seem more desirable and to gain short term financial benefits. The consumer needs to become aware that companies are doing this. Many companies do not want to actually go through the transition of becoming environmentally friendly; therefore, companies like Herbal Essence, will just slap on a sticker and call it a day.

Reasons to Stop Plastic Use and Pollution

Plastic makes life for humans easier and more convenient. There are a variety of items that we use every day that contains some percentage of plastic; such as computers, cell phones, or a water bottle. Some plastic takes over 1,000 years to decompose and are leaving harmful imprints on not only the environment; however, human health. Many plastic items are only used once and then go to the dump where they will sit for an enormous about of time. As a society, we  only manage to recycle about 27% of plastic bottles. After coming across this fact online the other day I decided to look more into how plastic actually affects the environment and what environmental policies there are in place currently to lessen the impact.

There are many  impacts of plastic material on human health because of chemicals, such as BPA, that are being absorbed in our bodies. The Centers for Disease and Control estimated that a large amount of people have BPA in their urine samples that can be detected. Many other chemicals from plastic contaminates water used by plants, animals and humans.

Much of the plastic pollution is broken down into tiny particles, which when ingested by fish, poisons them, and then eventually travels up the food chain to humans. Birds and fish inadvertently feed on plastic that floats in the water, misinterpreting it for food.  Around 32 million tons of plastic waste accumulated in 2012 – this plastic waste produces tons of chemicals that heavily affect marine animals.

To reduce the impact that plastic has on the Earth and everything that utilizes its resources there needs to be a change in not only the amount of plastic used, but also the way it is discarded. Folly Beach and Isle of Palms are the only two places in South Carolina to have some sort of ban on plastic bags, preventing them from being used by many retailers. There are some businesses, such as Trader Joe’s, offering incentives to their costumers for bringing in a reusable grocery bag. Every time a customer leaves and has brought reusable bags, they add their name to a raffle box to enter the monthly competition of winning a Trader Joe’s gift card. There are many ideas to urge people to recycle more, but we as a society just need to come together and begin the process.

Humans can reduce and recycle more, buy reusable grocery bags, pick up litter, and instead of using plastic, use alternative materials such as steel, glass, and reclaimed wood. There are many ways to switch from using plastic to alternative methods that make a huge difference.

Below is a picture with reasons why one should try and quit using plastic:

Garden Apprenticeship

Last semester I joined a club called Garden Apprenticeship; which aims to explore ways to create a sustainable urban agriculture within the low country. There is an abundance of food insecurity that we as a community within Charleston are unaware about. To help combat food insecurity, we started a project last semester at Florence Crittenton. This program is for pregnant teens, from ages 10-21, and it provides medical help, parenting skills, counseling, a home, and education for these teenagers. Every Friday a group of us would go out to this run down garden and try to revive it. All it took was a few containers of soil and seeds, mulch, weed picking, a raised bed, and some compost. Towards the end of the semester we started to grow romaine lettuce, pak choi, lacinto kale, and chinese cabbage. The women were able to have food justice and a brightened landscape outside their house. The urban garden gives the women access to fresh, healthy food, which they might otherwise not be able to afford. Many cultures revolve around food, by growing, cooking, and eating it. I hope the garden helped the women feel a sense of community. The food that was grown also had no pesticides and more nutrients, such as antioxidants. This semester the club has many more goals; such as creating more urban gardens for other impoverished communities within the low-country and also learning how to become more sustainable ourselves.

This semester and into the summer I think it would be exceedingly rewarding to start my own garden by utilizing efficient use of the little space I have outside my house. I would need to build a raised bed, start small and slow, enrich the soil with compost, pull out weeds, protect the investment with mulch, and by then hopefully I will not have failed too many times before I achieve a good yield of vegetables.


I recently watched the documentary, Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things, and found it exceedingly intriguing and important. The idea that less is more  to some people within society is just a fad; however, it is much more than that. Becoming a minimalist helps one gain freedom, opportunity, and simplicity. After watching the documentary I came to the realization that by embracing minimalist living, one can gain opportunities to pursue areas of life that are more important; such as compassion and joy, not physical things that are perishable and fade away. Too much of peoples lives, even my own, are devoted towards “things,” and health, relationships, passions, and personal growth are often abandoned.

Living a minimalistic life also affects the environment. After tracking my carbon footprint the other day, I discovered that I need 4 planet Earths’ to sustain my lifestyle. If everyone in the world lived the way I did, we would need several planet Earths to create enough resources for everyone. The average person within the U.S. uses a great amount of resources. It varies among location, personal choices, and habits. Many daily activities depend on disposing of waste, driving a car, and using electricity. The documentary expresses why a minimalistic way of living is a seemingly good way to reduce the eco-footprint that society has on Earth. Many humans, especially those of a developed country, have a tendency to over-consume.

Documentaries, such as this one, are used to express awareness to its audience. The main points I got from the directors and producers was that we as humans only need to use what we need to use, we must live within our means, eat less meat, and purchase less clothes so that the textile industries produce less and do not pollute the environment and do not use way too many resources. Living in tinier spaces is environmentally friendly. Tiny homes, shipping containers, and smaller apartments has become a trend recently; and by doing so one greatly reduces their eco-footprint.

living a minimalistic lifestyle benefits not only the environment, but also the person doing so.