Earth Fair Success

Earth Fair – A fall fair trade festival was this past Friday, October 30th.

We held it in Hewitt Union from 6- p.m., and we had House on a Spring Dub Reggae band perform, vendors come from Fair World Marketplace, Kim’s Treasures from Afar, Riversend Bookstore, Guatemala and Que Colores, Nancy Townsend’s knitted gifts, and the Outpouring Church and Save Your Skin.

We had tons of carnival games and a pie throwing contest and Halloween costume contest. AND TONS OF FOOD!

We also had a lot of information on what fair trade is (which like I mentioned in the last post is to get fair wages for producers and prevent slavery and promote sustainability). Throughout the night we had about 60-70 people stop by. Overall, for our first Earth Fair, it was pretty successful.

Next year, though, we want it to be a lot bigger and better and get more people interested in it and fair trade. The vendors had BEAUTIFUL merchandise from all over the world and the proceeds of which went to good, just causes around the globe. It definitely helps to get the information out there about fair trade and its benefits.

Here are some pictures from the night. If you have any ideas or suggestions to interest people more in fair trade, please let me know!

Earth Fair! This is the information table.

Food!The lovely helpers Kristen and Randi! Without their help, we wouldn’t have had any delicious goodies!

Horacio and Gabrielalt=”Horacio and Gabriel” />

These guys came all the way from Antigua, Guatemala to showcase their backstrap loom weaving skills. Gabriel is the 10-year-old son and Horacio is his father. They had beautiful beaded accessories and intricately designed tapestries and banners and bags, etc. that was all handmade. They came as guests from Muriel from Que Colores downtown Oswego!

These guys were awesome, and they helped to make the whole night wonderful. It was thanks to all of the helpers from Students for Global Change who helped put this together, and House on a Spring for volunteering their time and music, and the vendors who came down to showcase their wonderful merchandise.

Definitely stayed tuned for next year!

Have a great week!

Thrill the World!

Zombie Katherine
As Halloween is coming up, everyone is starting to get into the mood of dressing up in costumes, making jack-o-lanterns, and learning a performing Michael Jackson’s Thriller dance as part of an attempt to break a world record of the dance simultaneously performed. Okay, maybe not everyone, but 50 or so of us were doing it last night!


Here is a picture of the dress rehearsal.

Thrill the World happened at 8:30 p.m. Saturday Oct. 24th in the academic quad at SUNY Oswego. It also happened in London, Madrid, Tokyo, Sydney, and many other places around the world. Thrill the World was an attempt to break the Guinness Book record of simultaneous dance performed. The last record was set in 2002 by a group of elementary students across Canada – 197,569 students.

The results from our dance isn’t in yet, but we’re hoping that we get to break the record.

The event itself was stationed by Students for Global Change and was part of that group’s Oswego Flash Mob ensemble. For the past couple of weeks Johnathan McDonald, Becca Witkins, Amanda Woomer, and Mandy Burch taught around 50 students the dance. The day of, everyone met in the Campus Center Food Court to go over the dance and to get zombified. The dance looked awesome.

The reasoning behind learning the dance and doing this event was to bring people together across the world and showcase how interconnected the world has become, so much that what we do here can affect what someone in a different country is doing. It also showcased how working together towards something fun for all is a community building experience and a great time overall.

Zombie Walk

We’re doing the dance next year as well, so anyone who will be coming to school here can come learn it. It’s free! And it also raises money for charities of your choice. And you learn how to do the Thriller dance so that anytime you’re at a wedding or Halloween party, you’ll be able to bust it out. I know I will! It’s a win, win, win situation!

Hope you have a safe and fun Halloween free from ZOMBIES!!!
Thriller

Una mezcla de informacion

SO, last weekend I was in California for my boyfriend’s brother’s wedding in Ventura. It was so beautiful! They got married on top of a hill overlooking the city and the ocean. There was a big cross at the top of the hill and tons of rose petals spread all around!!! So beautiful. And Lauren, the new Mrs. Houck, looked like a princess. Overall it was a great time! That being said, I didn’t write a blog last week, so I’m making up for it with a double dose of information.

The first thing I’d like to talk about is the weather! Here in Oswego, it’s starting to get a lot colder, forties in the day and thirties over night. We haven’t had snow yet, but I was sure we were going to this week. My parents said that it snowed a little down in the Southern Tier this past week. Soon enough, Oswegonians, we’ll get blasted.

I spent my freshmen year in the Adirondacks where it got down to -26 degrees some days, and we still had to go to class. That was brutal. When I transferred to Oswego the following year, I didn’t think that the winter could be worse than the Adirondacks. Well, the temperature here in Oswego hardly gets as low as negative 20s, but there are other factors that make it hard to handle. When it’s snowing and the wind’s blowing 20-30 mph and you have to walk to class in a blizzard, that’s pretty intense and hard to handle. Last year, more than once, I was lifted up by the wind up onto my toes and pushed by it. There are smaller girls who walk around and you can see them getting buffeted by the wind.

It’s pretty crazy, but there are some precautions you should take to weather the weather, if you will. When you go outside, wear a hat that covers your head, ears, neck, etc. You may not want to mess up your hair or look weird wearing a beanie, but trust me it’s definitely worth it. Next, wear a scarf! These things save so much heat by covering up the nape of your neck front and back. They can also double as mouth/cheek covers if you pull them up far enough.

Another thing you should invest in is a good pair of boots. I’m not talking about the fashionable high heel boots or Uggs that freeze your toes as soon as they hit the snow. Invest in a pair from Dick’s or something. They have cute, well-insulated boots for less than $40. I’d say risk the fashion faux pas by keeping your feet warm from frostbite. And boys, steel toe boots don’t cut it. Wear some hunting or hiking boots that have insulation in it to save your footsies. IF you don’t want to invest in high-end weather boots, invest in some wool socks. I have a pair of impractical but very cute boots that I love wearing, and I always wear my wool socks to keep my toes from freezing when I’m out walking around in the snow that gets blown onto the sidewalks.

And please, don’t wear just tights as pants! You’ll freeeeze! If you want to dress nice or have to for a practicum or presentation but you don’t want to freeze, put on some Long Johns (thermal underwear) under your dress slacks. Fashion doesn’t have to be a sacrifice! My overall advice for dealing with an Oswego winter is – dress for the weather and not the fashion, stay covered up, change your background on your computer to a beach scene to remind you of brighter days to come, and go out and play in the snow! We don’t want to get cabin fever do we?

Snow down by the lake

And now, for the second aspect of my blog. I’d like to add another tidbit of information on GHANA!!!
(the following information comes from The Essential Guide to Customs & Culture – Ghana by Ian Utley – 2009 – Kuperard – Random House)

In Ghana, it’s proper to greet someone when you see them anywhere, if you don’t it’s an insult (p 78). They’re more apt to hold grudges for one missed greeting than people in the U.S. would be. We’re more used to walking down a city block, not knowing anyone, and not even acknowledging other people’s presence. It’s an American thing that would fly in Ghana. It’s important to say it even before buying something. Utley writes that there is a difference between “Good morning. Please, do you sell cigarettes?” and “Please, do you sell cigarettes?” (p 79). There’s a good deal of respect inherent in conversations in Ghana that also is different than American culture. In the South, students still address teachers as Ma’am and Sir from time to time. It’d be the same in Ghana.

I also learned that you’re supposed to use your right hand to eat and greet and all that. It’s considered rude to use your left hand because what is implied is that you use your left hand for bathroom duties, so to use it to eat or shake hands, even if you washed or not, is considered more or less gross. That’ll be hard to get used to because I’m used to using both hands to eat, switching the utensils. SO, we’ll see how I fare at this!

That’s all for now… thanks for your patience! Take care and have a great weekend!

Fair trade October!

October is Fair Trade month! Yay!

For those of you who don’t know what fair trade is, stay tuned to be enlightened:

Fair trade!
From KnitUntoOthers.com

“Fair Trade

• “Create Opportunities for Economically and Socially Marginalized Producers – Fair Trade is a strategy for poverty alleviation and sustainable development.
• “Develop Transparent and Accountable Relationships- Fair Trade involves relationships that are open, fair, consistent, and respectful.
• “Build Capacity- Fair Trade is a means to develop producers’ independence.
• “Promote Fair Trade- Fair Trade encourages an understanding by all participants of their role in world trade. Members actively raise awareness about Fair Trade and the possibility of greater justice in the global economic system.
• “Pay Promptly and Fairly- Fair Trade empowers producers to set prices within the framework of the true costs of labor time, materials, sustainable growth, and related factors.
• “Support Safe and Empowering Working Conditions – Fair Trade means a safe and healthy working environment free of forced labor.
• “Ensure the Rights of Children – Fair Trade means that all children have the right to security, education, and play.
• “Cultivate Environmental Stewardship – Fair Trade seeks to offer current generations the ability to meet their needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
• “Respect Cultural Identity – Fair Trade celebrates the cultural diversity of communities, while seeking to create positive and equitable change.
(The information listed above comes directly off of the Fair Trade Federation Web site – http://www.fairtradefederation.org/ht/d/sp/i/197/pid/197 )

Students for Global Change is holding an Earth Fair festival on the 30th in Hewitt Union to celebrate Fair Trade. We’re going to have lots of carnival games, Halloween costume contests, candy and snacks, and live music. I am planning the event, so it’s going to take up a lot of my October. But, I love doing this kind of stuff. We want to bring in a lot of kids and families from the community as well as the campus community members.

I think the best part of fair trade is the chocolate. Organic, fair traded chocolate, especially the dark chocolate, is so rich and yummy! I could probably eat it every day . It’s got anti-oxidants; those are good for you!

I think it’s important to get involved with these types of things not only in college but in life. And by these types of things I mean community gatherings. This past weekend was the Oswego Pumpkin Festival, with cute little and cute big pumpkins. It’s a wonderful time to gather together and share in a warm, community experience. It’s nice to get a change from the rigors of everyday life and your everyday crowd. Going to community gatherings provides a new perspective on something that you may not have thought about before. It’s also a lot of fun.

I’d encourage everyone to get involved in some sort of community event on campus or off-campus. Whether it’s a Kidney Walk, Breast Cancer Walk, Relay for Life, Salvation Army clothes/food drive, soup kitchen volunteer, local music festival, sports game, whatever! Go to it with some friends and get a taste of the mixed generations and the lively atmosphere!

Our Earth Fair for S4GC is going to be 6-9 p.m. Friday, October 30th. It’s going to raise money for TransFair USA which certifies products in the U.S. as fair trade and follows the market process from conception to consumption! Free admittance – tickets for carnival games cost $0.50 and food costs individual prices.

GO out and enjoy some community fun!! Go enjoy the fall atmosphere :)

More on Hohoe

Hohoe, Ghana

I’m going to Hohoe, but I still don’t know what I’m doing there yet. I have done some research into what’s there, as well as having met a guy from Accra in my French class who knows about Hohoe.

Kwamena is from Ghana, and we spoke briefly in French class. He said Hohoe is more rural than Accra.

But, I’m looking for an EXTREME cultural immersion, so rural – I can do.

One of the most famous tourist destinations of Hohoe is the Wli Waterfalls. “Wli Waterfalls cascades from a height of 60-80 meters, and is the highest falls in West Africa.” (BridgingDevelopment.org) There are two distinct waterfalls at different heights to view. I can’t wait to see these! Hopefully, I’ll get a chance to make it out into the rainforest on my weekends off. The three that I’m there. This area is also basically a HUGE bat sanctuary. Tons of them live there and are being hunted by the community to regulate the population. The waterfalls are in the Agumatsa Wildlife Sanctuary.
The falls are supposed to bring fertility to barren women, and they’re seen as spiritually powerful, according to the Forestry Commission of Ghana.

I hope I can go there!!
Wli Waterfalls

Courtesy of Bobbie Nystrom

So, I go for my yellow fever vaccination on Monday. You have to get them before you can get your visa for Ghana, which I will be getting ASAP. Yellow fever is a virus you can get from infected mosquitoes. The CDC says the “illness ranges in severity from a self-limited febrile illness to severe hepatitis and hemorrhagic fever.” So, it’s kind of a big deal. And it’s really expensive, but luckily I’ve had more funds come in for my trip, from gracious family and church members.

I cannot wait. I’m getting closer and closer. I’m doing more research on cultural aspects, so until next time… Mia doga (goodbye in Ewe)

Involvement on campus.. more or less a plug..

SO, now that you know about my trip to Ghana, which is by itself amazingly exciting, you should learn more about my other items of interest and activism.

I’m currently involved in Students for Global Change here on campus, which I’ve mentioned in previous blog posts. We are basically an umbrella corporation that deals with a huge slew of global issues. The two main focuses of our group are: environmental awareness/sustainability (which I think we’ve designated as Ozzy-Eco) and then our human rights aspect. They’re too enormous topics, so we tend to keep ourselves busy in dealings within these spheres.

I love being a part of S4GC because it does give students an opportunity to make an impact in either the campus community or in the general Oswego community. For instance, last year I took it upon myself to figure out why the lights were on in the bathrooms in Funnelle Hall for 24/7. I always wanted to turn the lights off upon exiting because I was always taught to conserve energy. I asked my RA if I could put a sign asking people to shut off the lights when they left. He replied that it was a safety issue, and we couldn’t actually turn off the lights. (He meant more specifically for inebriated people stumbling in the bathrooms at 4 a.m. to throw up). Needless to say, I didn’t stop at that answer.
I went to hall council, various administrators and Students for Global Change to figure out how we could work getting motion-sensor lights in the bathrooms. At first, I thought that it was going to be a significantly easy process. I mean, come on, we all know motion sensors cut back on energy! It’s common sense, right? Well, that may be true, but in the real world, getting anything done requires lots of research and paperwork, as I found out.

It took me from the first month of school in the fall of 2008 to the very last week of the spring semester in May 2009. I spent a lot of time e-mailing and researching different types of motion-sensors. Jerry DeSantis in Facilities on campus was extremely helpful and empowering throughout the whole experience. He was able to meet with me and help me develop a business plan, making the proper proposals, outlines, contacts, etc. to see this project through. DeSantis got me in touch with Pat Riley of Utilities on campus who was able to help me come up with a game plan to install the sensors. We got in touch with Larry Lively of Grainger Company, which provided us with motion sensors and timers. Riley provided John Ferlito, electrical supervisor in Utilities, with the necessary information to have his men, in turn, install the sensors.

So, through a collaborated effort, DeSantis, Riley, Ferlito, and I were able to set up two bathrooms on the 9th floor in Funnelle with light timers. These pro-logger light timers allowed us to get exact figures on how much time the lights were on in the bathrooms when people weren’t using them. These timers also provided estimates to how much money we could save on energy costs with the installation of motion-sensor lights.

We had these installed a month before finals week was over. In the girls’ bathroom on the 9th floor, the bathroom was vacant with the lights on for 45.3% of the time. The boys’ bathroom was on and vacant for 17.6% of the time (who ever said girls take longer in the bathroom? I have proof they don’t!) When we installed the motion sensors, we saved 26% of the energy used because the lights turned off when vacant. We saved 19.4% with the boys’ bathroom.
Since the installation, there have been some concerns with the safety of the sensors because several times the lights have shut off on people in the showers, but that’s easily remedied with a foot stuck out of the shower curtain. The boys’ bathroom is set at 20 minutes for the sensor, while the girls’ is set at 15 minutes. The overall response of students has been overwhelming support for the sensors.

NOW… John Moore, who has taken over Jerry DeSantis’s place as director of sustainability, is in the process of preparing to do a campus-wide installation of the motion sensors in the residence hall bathrooms. Moore plans on installing the sensors as well as an LED “night-light” for students in case the lights turn off while they’re in one of the stalls or shower (because there are no windows in Funnelle bathrooms).

The reason I brought all of this information up is to remind students that they don’t have to just accept things as they are on campus. If you come up with ideas to better the campus community, don’t hesitate to take action just because you may not be “old enough” or “wise enough” to do this. I personally had NO experience whatsoever with coming up with a business plan, but with the support of DeSantis and everyone else, I was able to succeed. And look at how far that got me!

Students for Global Change provides students like me with the resources to get in touch with the right people on campus to get something done. We do a lot of projects for educating about environmental injustice, human rights violations, and what students can do to better our community. We all work together to find a way to help individual students achieve their goals, just like I did.

SO… the moral of the story is to take initiative and not be afraid of taking a stance on something and working your hardest to achieve an end! The administration here on campus is open to hear ideas, so take advantage of the open door policy.

Thanks for your time and go out there and get proactive! :) Check out Students for Global Change on Facebook!

My trip to Ghana!

So I’ve had a lot of people ask me about my upcoming trip to Hohoe, Ghana, Africa :), and I’ve decided to blog about it.

I will be going to Hohoe (ho-hway) for three weeks from Dec. 19th – Jan. 9th 2009/10. I cannot wait. I’m going through an organization called Cross Cultural Solutions. It’s separate from SUNY Oswego, so I will be going alone. Well, not technically alone because I’ll be rendezvousing with about 20 other volunteers from around the world.

Hohoe Picture from Wikipedia.org– Hohoe, Ghana
Hohoe is north of the check mark of Lake Volta (near the ocean).

Cross Cultural Solutions is an organization that takes volunteers all over the world to different areas of the globe to serve a need in specific communities. Different placements vary from teaching in elementary schools, teaching teachers English/Math, etc, providing daycare support for working families, working in elderly centers, or working in community developmental/community organizational situations. You don’t know your specific placement until a week or so before you go because they need to make sure they have a specific spot for you to fill as a volunteer.

You can go from a variety of different times – one week to one year – and basically go anywhere in the world. It’s not free, of course. This trip is running me around $5000-$6000 what with shots, visa, program fee, $2300 airplane tickets, and much more. But, it’s also a once in a lifetime experience. (Hopefully, it won’t be for me though!).

I’m gung ho, though, so I have been diligently raising money all summer via donations, candy sales, and sponsorship letters. I’m still around $700 short, which I need to have by the end of October. God willing, I’ll get that money! I’ve got faith in people though to help out.

The reason I’m going to Ghana is multi-faceted. I’m going to visit Africa, which I’ve always wanted to do since I was a little girl. I’m going to fill a need. I’m going to experience a new, completely unknown culture. I’m leaving my comfort zone to travel abroad relatively on my own. I’m also going to get a taste of the globe. I want to do international journalism or service that caters to an international, needy population, so I think that this is a good stepping off point. Oh, and I’ve always wanted to study abroad, but I won’t be able to because of finances and courses (try not to transfer colleges, it’s a PAIN!) So, this is the next best thing. I want to use my skills for a greater good while developing my own character at the same time.

This is going to be an incredible experience. I cannot wait. I’m not sure where I’m going to get placed. I’ve had experience with children (vacation Bible school, camp, retreats, dance choreographer). I’ve had experience with the elderly (working at a nursing home, going to church). I’ve also had a lot of experience with community group organization (too numerous to count- not bragging, just one of my passions). So, we’ll see where I get placed.

So, now that you’ve had a run down of my trip – I’ll give you some details about Ghana:

Official name= Republic of Ghana
Independence=March 6, 1957 (from Britain)
Capital City = Accra (A-car) – population ~ 2.5 million
Main Cities = Kumasi, Tamale, Sekondi-Takoradi, Tema
Geography = coastal plains, rain forest, savanna, and mountains
People = 22 million (99% Black African + 1% Lebanese)
Climate = Tropical, rainy summers, dry winters
Source: The Essential Guide to Customs and Culture – Ghana—Ian Utley

That’s it for now. Oh, and I will be bringing school supplies and American novelties with me, so if anybody has extra notebooks, pencils, markers, colored pencils, etc., please let me know!

Ta-ta for now. :)

Celebrating Independence Day (March 6th)
Ghanian celebrating Independence Day Source: http://english.people.com.cn/200703/07/images/ghana4.jpg

Back to school, to prove to Dad I’m not a fool…

Oh, back to school, back to school, to prove to Dad that I’m not a fool. I got my lunch packed up, my boots tied tight. I hope I don’t get in a fight. — Billy Madison

So, I’m back here in Oswego, living in Funnelle – same room/same roommate- different set-up, working in Cooper – dishwashing, writing for Oswegonian, attending Students for Global Change, and doing 8 million different things as once.

My Room in Funnelle

I tend to enjoy keeping myself busy from the moment I wake up to the moment I go to sleep. I’m a big planner and I try to maximize the definition of time management. A day planner is very helpful to do that. “From 4-6 p.m. I need to read, buy parking permit, eat, fold laundry, etc.” I also leave notes for myself on my desk to remember to call people or to do assignments. Organization is important to doing well in college. And acknowledgment of time constraints.

Enough of the boring stuff. Social life at college! It’s F U N ! It was great to come back to school and to see everyone you hadn’t seen in a couple of months. It’s nice in college to be able to go away for a while but then be able to pick up right where you left off.
My advice to people who are new to the school – keep an open door policy for the first couple of days (don’t let it be detrimental to your work, though). Also, maybe walk around your hall and introduce yourself to people you haven’t met yet. The easiest way to NOT make friends is to keep yourself holed up in your room. Get out of your comfort zone and walk around talking to people! You’ll be surprised at the people you meet who have trepidations about college life, just like you! You’ll make friends in no time.

School work (this is a piece meal blog this time). School work is a pain sometimes, yet it’s the reason why you’re in school in the first place. I personally am taking 18 credits plus three more hours added on to my web design class – plus two hours of choir and then my added on extracurriculars. SO, that being said, I have lots of school work and little time. But, like I said, I time manage to get it done. That also means sacrifice. So when my friends want to go out Friday and Saturday on every weekend, I have to weigh my options. Should I go out both nights and put my reading off til Sunday afternoon? Or should I go out one night and then go to bed early another night? Not the ideal situation to think about. In college, it’s supposed to be all parties all the weekend and no time for sleep or homework, right? That’s how I was freshman year, and I quickly learned that you can’t do it all by getting behind in my classes.
The most important thing to remember is your priorities. Is the party going to be so incredibly awesome that you can neglect to finish your paper on time? Maybe. Just remember to think before you go out! Not everybody parties hearty on the weekend (contrary to popular belief and the message we get from popular culture).

Mom spiel over. Go out and have fun, do your work, join organizations, and enjoy life! Don’t get too bogged down with life. Take a break and enjoy college!

‘Til next time…..

p.s. I got a free armchair from the side of the road, which I was super excited about… anyways.. It’s amazing, and it’s in my room. Named the “Reading Chair” or Agatha for all intents and purposes.
Agatha AGATHA!

Some useful sites!

http://collegetips.com

http://college-freshman.com

Mo’ people, mo’ problems…life of a human

20 August 2009

I’ve been reading this book, The World Without Us, by Alan Weisman, and I’ve been traveling along this interesting journey with Weisman. The premise of the book is that humans have left the planet, basically by extinction. Remove the humans from the planet and what happens? Nature takes back over the planet.
Weisman talks about how humans are constantly repressing nature. He gives the example of weeds breaking up concrete sidewalks in the cities, tree roots taking over houses, and underground rivers taking over subway lines. We, as humans, are constantly cutting trees, pruning weeds or pumping away water just to keep nature back and to continue with our daily lives.
Throughout the whole book, Weisman writes about what life was like on earth without humans, and what it will be like without humans once again.

This led me to think about what the reasoning is behind our move towards global, environmental sustainability and change. Is it to take care of the earth or is it to take care of humans? Are we doing this all in self-interest, self-preservation? Or are we concerned about the animals and plants dying daily?
As the planet dies around us, humans are dying as well. We’re going to face a breaking point when the population reaches a maximum where the earth will no longer be able to sustain the amount of humans on this earth. At that point, the immense consumption of humans is going to hit a wall, and there’s going to be an immediate need for food and water.
Scientists claim that when the population reaches more than 10 billion people, the earth can sustain no more added human life, in terms of population growth. This means, based on Charles Darwin’s natural selection and the survival of the fittest, there’s going to be some catastrophe to or within the human race that will try to wipe out a segment of the population.
It’s considered scientific fact that when a population (i.e. humans) reaches carrying capacity and there are limited resources for a population, a battle begins for survival.

I think it’s easy, sometimes, to forget that we are a part of this world and depend on it rather than it owing us something and depending on us. After all, we are just advanced animals on the planet. Just because we’re the wisest of them all doesn’t mean that we can bypass the need for food and water and habitats.
It’s very interesting to wonder about how our human kind will adapt. Will we use our intellect and technology to figure out a way to trick nature into yielding more than is intended? Genetically engineered crops could be our food source in one hundred or two hundred years. Or, will we revert back to a more simplistic lifestyle that uses fewer resources and maximizes the use of those resources?
Who’s to know, really, until we get closer to the time. There are hundreds of estimates and theories about what will happen to us within the next 100 years to the next 100,000 years. It’s speculative because there are unknown factors that may play a part that we may or may not be aware of just yet. Humans could move in the direction of a complete change where they’re able to maintain life while maximizing the use of local resources. We can cut our consumption down and eat and use only what’s necessary. Or, we could keep going at this rate and see what sort of catastrophic change the human race is bound to encounter if we continue on our present course.

There’s no reason to despair, just yet. There is so much we can do to change our behavior and to contribute one of those unknown factors to the future of the human race.
The first step is education, the next action, and the final overhauling change. Step by step, we’ll see the progress of our changes.

Man vs. Nature

Greening the globe: market or movement?

Since the argument for and against climate change has gained more speed in the past couple years, people are becoming more aware of what’s happening on the earth around us. These global changes, however, have been happening for hundreds of thousands of years as part of a cycle. In more recent times, global warming (happening through the hole in the ozone, polar ice caps melting, rising sea levels, and increasing temperatures) has become a common phenomena with many people saying “Oh, the result must be global warming,” or “It’s hot because of global warming.” The words “global warming” are widely used, but how much of the actual problem is being recognized?

I went to the mall the other day to get some scrubs for work, and while I was there I noticed how green everything was. Green for green, if you will. Handbags, countless t-shirts, wristbands, necklaces, socks, posters, bracelets, flip flops, and tons of more merchandise shared the same words “Go Green,” “Respect Your Mother,” “Save the Planet,” etc. Being “green” and environmentally friendly isn’t in the interest of the environment; it’s in the interest of manipulating a global awareness trend into a marketable venue.

This wouldn’t be too much of a bad thing if this awareness was actually getting somewhere. Most of the t-shirts and handbags made in the name of “eco-friendly” ideas were made in very unfriendly, polluting ways. Just by looking at the tags of the products alone, you see “made in ______.” Insert China, India, Brazil, Indonesia at your convenience. Items traveling from China go over 9,000 or more miles to get to my mall in Elmira, NY. More than ten tons of CO2 is dumped into the atmosphere for each load of clothing or tote bags. Not to mention the materials of which the clothing and totes are made. How does this make it more environmentally-friendly?

I fully support spreading awareness, but how effective is this awareness? By wearing a t-shirt that says “I recycle” makes the statement that obviously you recycle. But, then you go home with your smoothie from the mall and throw out your plastic smoothie container when you’re finished. It’s recyclable; you can surmise this from the recycling sign and a number on the bottom. If it’s recyclable, why aren’t you recycling it? It’s one thing to claim to the general public that you’re eco-friendly, and it’s another thing to actually be eco-friendly. If you’re going to represent the trend, represent it! Offset the carbon footprint from buying that t-shirt through www.carbonfund.org. Buy from local vendors. Research where the items you buy come from and where you can find some of the same products closer. Do something in the movement!

A movement starts with awareness, but it needs action to actually move.

Do the research and help move society into an actual “eco-friendly” atmosphere.

Other sites:

http://ecoproducts.com/cms/index.php

http://www.ecozenboutique.com/catalog.php?category=43

http://www.ecomall.com/biz/clothing.htm