Reusable Bag Greenwashing

Many stores want to do their part in reducing plastic waste and reducing their carbon footprint. It has become a popular practice for businesses such as Target, T.J. Maxx, and many grocery stores like Ingles to sell reusable bags in order to reduce the amount of plastic bags used in store. Unfortunately, many of these bags are a prime example of greenwashing due to the fact that they are often made of plastic rather than natural, eco-friendly fabrics. Consumers are told they are making the “green” choice by buying these reusable bags, which I guess in a sense they are because they are not using the regular plastic bags, but marketing for these bags are misleading.

In class we discussed Target’s sustainability initiatives and we discussed the issues around the use of their reusable bags. I had never thought about the fact that the reusable bags were still made of plastics! I think stores could spend a little bit more money to produce bags made from recycled materials rather than plastics and it could be a win-win situation for the company and the environment in the long run.

I think it would be a great idea for companies to use recycled materials and fabrics to create reusable bags, but since they would be using all different types of materials it would be cool to have the bags reflect the variations. For example, if a company used recycled denim to create a bag, the bag would be denim or if recycled canvas was used to create the bag, the bag would be canvas. This would allow consumers to see that all the bags are different meaning they really came from recycled materials. This would also promote the popular trend of up-cycling to consumers.

Citizen Journalism

Citizen journalism has become a very popular practice with the use of smartphones, glasses-based cameras, and other tools that make it easier for the average person to report the latest breaking news. The average person is now able to broadcast their experiences to the world at the very time of having these experiences, which is great, but it also has its problems. We live in an age where likes and retweets control what we post on social media because we want the instant gratification, so we post without giving thought to if what we are posting is the truth.

Citizen journalism through ‘live tweeting’ one’s experience, posting the scene on one’s Snapchat story, or posting an Instagram live video may not give viewers the whole story. Viewers are only seeing or reading what the citizen journalist is experiencing, which may not be an accurate representation of the whole situation at hand. This creates an incredible amount of bias in the information that viewers or readers are receiving. Also, the “news” that the citizen journalist is reporting could strictly be opinion based with no facts to back up their point, but viewers may not fact check their source, therefore they’re being filled with information that could be incorrect.

While there are many issues with citizen journalism, there are some positives associated with it. As mentioned before, the information that citizen journalists are posting may not always be correct, but the event at hand is happening right then. Citizen journalism is more than likely the quickest way to be updated on an event or situation because everyone wants the instant gratification of posting right when the event or situation happens. Another positive of citizen journalism is that viewers are able to directly interact with the citizen journalist over social media to ask questions whereas with traditional news reports there is no way to interact with the news reporter. In addition, citizen journalism allows viewers to see a more realistic view of what is occurring rather than a view that is staged by a cameraman to ensure viewers are seeing what the news wants them to see.

As with all aspects of social media, there are negatives and positives associated with citizen journalism. I truly think the most important thing to keep in mind while viewing or reading a citizen journalist is to remember that the journalist is probably excited to be reporting this information and emotions may get in the way of facts. It’s important for viewers or readers to fact check the information that they were given to ensure that the news they received is true.

Environmental Audit


As well as taking Intro to Environmental Studies and Sustainability, I am also taking Global Health.  About a week ago we had an out of class assignment that was called an Environmental Audit, where we could pick from different projects to do that would take about two hours of our time.  I choose to go to a grocery store, in particular Harris Teeter in Mount Pleasant, and look at how many varies there were of different fruits, vegetables, and other foods. I was also looking at the price point per pound of these foods given on the list.  I was actually very interested in this project, mainly because I was curious to see what the outcomes would be.

When I walked into Harris Teeter, I went straight to the produce sections because the first foods to look at were bananas, apples, oranges, etc. I found that looking for the number of varieties there were a lot more than I honestly realized before coming.

While I was looking at all the different kinds of grapes, one of the store employees came up to me asking if I needed help.  I didn’t but we continued to talk about my school project.  He told me a lot about the differences of organic and non-organic foods. He said that the way they have to treat these foods is much different.  For example, the containers they come in are placed away from the non-organic, the sinks are different as well as the knifes, gloves, refrigerators, and the way they are stocked are all different. Harris Teeter also has their own composting system that helps because of how much waste they have due to the fruits and vegetables going bad so quickly.  I found all this information so crazy. Although I know it has been talked about in class, I just feel like hearing it from the actual store employees made it all so real about what it takes for something to truly being organic and why it all costs more to eat.

There was a lot more about this Audit that I found interesting like all the difference varieties and what made them so different, so below are the pictures of the Environmental Audit I conducted.  I am really glad that this assignment was assigned because I was really able to take the classroom information we have been learning and apply it at the actual grocery store.


Welcome to a new semester!

Spring 2017

This blog is for students of ENVT 200 at the College of Charleston to share their thoughts, ideas, and experiences as they make their way through this class.

As it is a continuation from last semester, I would like to welcome all new student authors to the blog. I can`t wait to read what you all come up with!

Requirements for grading are posted on OAKS. If anyone needs any clarification on it, or help with subject matter, please contact me. If you have any technical difficulties, the help desk ( is extremely helpful and highly responsive. For some tips on how to use WordPress, including creating a nickname, creating a blog, adding pictures, etc., please see this helpful page written by another professor here.

Last but not least, have fun!


Cheers to an exciting semester!

Let`s kick this blog off!

Message to  students:

I hope by now everyone is getting into the swing of things and are enjoying their semester!  I`m looking forward to reading what everyone comes up with. There is a rubric posted on OAKS explaining the point requirements for posts, but beyond your grade, it`s my sincere hope that you have fun with this!

The OAKS calendar will be periodically updated with upcoming events you can go to and write about. However, if you hear about something else that interests you and is not yet on the calendar, please feel free to share it with me and the rest of the class!

In the meantime, check out another CofC blog from Office of Sustainability here.