No Impact Man Thoughts

I feel like No Impact Man has a really strong message and I agree with most of it. I’m sure that it was not easy at all living in conditions where everything had to be reusable and not leave any sort of footprint on his environment. I do not think that we are at a point where people as a whole would start actively seeking a way to get rid of their impact, but it is definitely only a matter of time before it becomes absolutely necessary to do something about our impact on the planet. It seems that people in general do not seriously address such things until they become a problem that is impossible to ignore. I really is unfortunate how much deeply we’ve entrenched ourselves in this disposable goods mindset. Perhaps one day, renewable energy will be more of a priority than finding more oil reserves.

It reminds me a little of the man from Supersize Me. He also tried to make a point by living in a certain lifestyle and essentially damaging his own body to show the bad effects of the food he was eating. Only No Impact man seems to be doing the opposite with his story by showing that it is, in fact, possible to live without affecting the planet in a drastic way.

Honestly though, I am not sure if I would be capable of living in such a way—certainly not, considering the very narrow set of skills I have collected over the years. If there was some sort of apocalyptic event that brought society back to its hunter gatherer state, I suspect that artist who have little muscle mass and no practical purpose in a tribe would probably be among the first to die. The reason I say this is because I think that it would take nothing short of such an event to motivate an enormous population to collectively change its lifestyle. Only North Korea or a small country where one leader’s word is law could execute such a feat.

Max Golosiy

No Impact — what worked and what flopped?

The film on the “No Impact Man” that we viewed in class brought up several interesting methods in which we can reduce impact on the earth that I had not previously thought of. It also reminded me of several methods that I, myself, had convinced myself I would make use of. For example, I’d never thought that people actually used composting techniques to get rid of trash—I’d always thought of it as more of a joke. Hell, I’d never even heard of the “pot in a pot”. I have heard of biking/scootering to work and around town, however—that practice is far more common in modern society, and something that I would definitely like to take advantage of rather than drive around in my unfortunately sized FJ Cruiser (it’s for long-distance travel purposes and not leisure, I assure you).

There are three things that were constantly going through my head as we watched the film; the first being “is it really practical in our culture to live your life with the restrictions that ‘no impact man’ puts on himself?” I mean sure, he can do it for a year, but even he, who was so driven the entire time, had to admit that he desperately missed his old lifestyle at the end of the allotted time. I’d wager that about 95%, probably more, of Americans couldn’t last for even half as long as he did. Secondly, I was wondering if his methods, as extreme as they are, would really work—for him or for the planet. The composting and lack of electricity were probably the only things that were truly successful as far as helping the environment while allowing “no impact man” to maintain a normal lifestyle. But other things like the “pot in a pot” just flopped, and ended in him making an impact on the earth anyway. Yes, the ice was borrowed from someone else and technically he himself had no impact from it, but the family still used the ice, and thusly is responsible for the fact that the people they borrowed it from had to buy more ice sooner, and contribute that tiny amount to the earth’s Freon poisoning in making more ice.

Lastly, I just wanted to slap his wife. Like… the whole time. I mean come on, an iced quad-espresso? Ugh.

–William Avery

The Man Behind The Impact

What really surprised me about the film No Impact Man was the public’s negative response to the project, especially from the environmentalists. I was shocked when some environmentalists claimed that crazy people like him was giving them a bad name. I never would have expected that and in my opinion I thought the project overall was a huge success. I thought that it sent a very positive message and really put into perspective how much we don’t need as a society. Something that I didn’t like about the movie was actually Colin Beavan; I thought he was very hypocritical and non-understanding about his wife’s dream to have another child. To me it seemed that Colin made exceptions to travel by train for things he wanted to do but his wife couldn’t even have a coffee. One of the issues that I felt was unresolved was the reusable diapers. I’ve changed many diapers and I know from experience that it is disgusting even when you get to throw out the diaper I couldn’t imagine keeping it and cleaning it. It not only must be horrifying to do but completely unsanitary and none of this was brought up during the movie. They just made it seem like it resolved instantly and everyone else should be doing this. They also never brought up what they use for baby wipes, which I also know for a fact that when you have children, you can NEVER have enough baby wipes. And as must people know cleanliness is imperative for young children, so that really bothered me that they could be putting their child at risk because they were not only reusing diapers but using all natural products that most likely don’t clean and kill as many germs as hard chemicals like bleach.  I like that the family bought all in season food and locally grown and organic. I personally try to buy organic food but what I learned from the movie was the negative impact of being completely organic. Like when a farm is completely organic they cannot treat dying, sick or injured cows; which I find to be very cruel and inhumane. So it actually made me think about my own food choices. What I thought was most successful was that the project brought family together. Even though a lot of people don’t like the mother in the movie, I thought she was great not only did she give an outlet of comic relief but her sarcasm and criticism was “real” which grounded the movie. If it was just the father I would be completely disconnected from the movie. Also the mother’s revelation and enjoyment at the end of the project showed progression and a positive outcome to the project. I liked what the mom said about the husband calling the project a family project but then why is it called no impact man? What was really disappointing for me was the wife not getting pregnant, it would have as she said brought the project full circle and given the viewers closure.

-Stephanie Hansum

Climate Change

Climate change is becoming a huge issue in the world today. Global warming has affected everything and makes the outlook on the future uncertain. As scary as it is, climate change is inevitable. Earth must go through different stages of transformation. At one time Earth was a ball of ocean, and in another era ice covered the majority of the planet. It is always changing, yet this may be the first time that the Earth is shifting due to it’s inhabitants ways and mistakes. I find it extremely sad that we are the cause of a major alteration that is affecting the world in a negative manner.

Some changes may seem minor, like the fact that maybe it is a little warmer than usual. Actually, the seasons are being greatly affected by global warming. I come from Vermont and as far back as I can remember, there have been distinct seasons. Now, during the winter there can be barely any snow for the majority of the winter. The weather is volatile, and this can cause many problems. One issue that this is instigating is the onset of extreme storms. Unpredictable and unusual weather triggers a loss of habitat for animals, like the polar bears losing the ice they live on.

This makes the take over of invasive species quite easy. To me, the biggest consequence that climate change brings about is warming of the ocean. Ocean temperature change is a major issue. Coral reefs are sensitive to temperate and therefore an entire reef ecosystem can be wiped out quickly if the ocean temperature rises. Coral reefs are probably the most beautiful and amazing things one can experience. They are so important to everything. If they diminish, the fish that within that environment will die, and their predators, us included will suffer. It’s all connected. The biggest thing for me is knowing that one day they might not be there. I can’t imagine only being able to see photos of reefs in a book. It’s also terrifying to know that we will have to either find a new way of living or our entire planet is in danger. Either way life as we know it cannot keep going on this way. I’m grateful that I have had a chance to experience some of the most beautiful wilderness we have, before it’s too late.

Dalva Dayton

My Knowledge of Bees

Written by: Honey Kimery

Because of my name, many people think that I must love bees and their product of honey. Neither are true. I’ve always found bees and wasps to be scary. They’re just fuzzy insects that’ll sting you and while fuzzy creatures usually make them cute, I do not personally find bees to be remotely cute.

I definitely remember my mother had told me about the disappearing of bees. I know the documentary was made in 2009, but it was long before then I remember hearing about the bees. it could have possibly been around the time when the CCD was first discovered, but I do not recall the year this starting happened (or at least when it was getting a lot of news attention).

I thought I knew a fair amount about bees, mostly from watching one episode of Magic School Bus where I remember they all turned into bees and learned about them. After watching this documentary, I found out I really do not know much about bees. I have known for years now that bees are what pollinate flowers, but it did not occur to me that bees were responsible for pollinating fruits. That makes the bee crisis so much more important because bees are responsible for part of the foods we eat.

I also did not know that the hives were filled with mostly females, with only male bees to mate with the queen. That’s a pretty fascinating colony to me because as a whole, the male of the species is bigger/stronger (the only exceptions to the female over male dominance is the black widow spider and praying mantis, which both eat the male after mating). I did not know there would be such a one dominant gender colony.

Bee Sting

So in class the past week, we watched about bees and their importance. I have to say, I had no idea that bees have such an impact to crops through pollination. It was pretty cool having to learn about them because I would not have cared otherwise.

I remembered when I was in first grade, I experienced my first bee sting.  We had a class field to one day to a woodland place (I have no idea where we went…).  Few of our classmates were horse playing at a bad time, and the teacher punished all of us with silent time-outs.  We had to sit down on the ground for a great half hour.  That was when the sting happened. I sat down and felt an immense piercing pain on my right buttcheek. It sure did hurt, but I chose not to make a deal about it because I was more terrified of my teacher at the moment.  I had no idea what happened that time.  I thought it was some kind of muscle pain, that was it. But I later checked in the bathroom, and it was a dead insect that was stuck in my pants. That was when I learned that bees die after they stung. Yuck.

Above:  Someone using bee venom as therapy to treat health conditions.

The term apitherapy applies to the use of bee hive products such as honey, pollen, propolis, royal jelly, and bee venom.  It has been said to treat health conditions such as arthritis, rheumatism, back pain, skin diseases, multiple sclerosis, Lyme disease, and chronic fatigue syndrome. Although it has not been scientifically proven to work, scientists believe that forms of apitherapy may work by increasing cortisol production in an immune system. Do I believe that it works? I might. I would probably try if I was desperate for a cure. 

I guess after my first sting, I learned not to be too afraid of them anymore because I was not allergic to them.  But of course, I would rather avoid them as much as possible.

Michelle Gao

http://www.beevenom.com/beevenomtherapy.htm
http://www.sciencephoto.com/image/371109/large/Z3450837-Bee_venom_therapy-SPL.jpg

Where have the bees gone?

“The Colony” was an eye opener. You know these things in the back of your mind but until you are shown in a cohesive layout it doesn’t seem real. I realize that this has been going on for a while but I wasn’t aware. My actual awareness came from Bee Movie made in 2007. I had no idea that it was an actual issue. I guess I would be comfortable saying I am ignorant to the world and its problems. I would love to know everything that is wrong but I feel like the guilt would be unbearable. When you watch people falling apart because their livelihood is being destroyed right in front of their eyes it’s enough to make you want to not go on. You want to jump into the cause but you know, it never happens. You just leave class and continue on with everything you have to do. I wonder if this started happening to house pets if people would be more connected. A lot of families/people have house pets and if they just started to drop dead or disappear what would the general public do? There would be army brigades working around the clock to figure out what in the world was happening. If you think about it, what do house pets do for the environment? When you think about bees you know they provide for this world and you know what would happen without them. What would happen without dogs and cats? Sure people would be upset and lonely but they could cope. How in the world can we cope with a loss of food, a loss of environment? It’s scary to think we’ve lost so much in so little time, not only bees. I had no idea we lost so many varieties of plants. Plants? That’s our food but now you think nah we don’t need it, we have factories that process fake food. The problems today are enough to scare you into not wanting to live in the modern world.

-Kassie O’Brien

Food and Eating Habits

What do you typically eat?

Anything Easy to Heat up in the Microwave which normally includes TV dinners, frozen foods, dinner that I take and save from either the Brickman cafe or the Commons. For me, since I’m rarely anywhere but the labs or in bed, making food as simple as possible is a must. If I have to spend time cooking or chopping things up, I get aggravated because I have so much work to do.

However, over Winter/Spring/Summer Break it is a completely different story. I love cooking fresh, healthy meals when I have time and learning new recipes. So really, what I eat is completely dependent on how much work I have to do – which I think goes for the majority of people.

How diverse is your fridge?

Again, like I said at the end of my last answer – it really depends on what I’m doing academically or at work. Right now? My fridge is almost completely empty. I almost never buy food unless I hitch a ride with someone considering the fact that I don’t have a car – so I mainly get my food from the school cafeteria which the majority of it isn’t the best or appetizing in the very least.

But the food I do have is frozen vegetables, PB & J (no bread), Soup, and some fruit from the Commons. Not very diverse OR a lot in there at all – especially if I’m up working all night, I really don’t feel like eating just heated up corn at 4 in the morning.

Do I eat in season?

Not particularly. I do try at least. If things are in season I always am sure to buy them – however, I will still buy things that aren’t in season if I really want them.

Do I buy local?

I buy everything at the grocery store!

-Hillary Galvin

Bees

Every since I first heard about the fact that the bee population is in danger I’ve been fairly concerned about it. One of the main reasons that we have food to eat is because of  the bees. They highly help in the pollination of our plants which is what allows them to bloom and grow fruits. At first thought most of us think about not having honey anymore. Then comes the realization that there wont be any more fruits or vegetables. But something I don’t really here about is the fact that our livestock won’t have anything to eat for the most part. Which then can be stretched out further that other animals around the world wont be able to eat.

The bees becoming extinct would cause a large scale domino effect of bad events. Some of it might not be immediate but as time goes on they will become more prominent and noticeable. Even though they can be pest and cause painful and sometimes deadly stings they are very important to our day to day life. I think if things don’t start to change it’s going to be the bees that bring about the end of mankind and not some zombie apocalypse.

Some small things that you can do to help out with keeping bees from becoming extinct are: Setting up a bird bath in your yard, have a nice variety of plants in the garden,  plant wild flowers, and stop using pesticides. If you want to do more than these small steps then you can step up your own hive and become a beekeeper. Beekeepers are going to be an essential part of keeping bees on earth. Depending on the size of your beehive it can be home of upwards to 20,000 40,000 bees. Imagine if 100 people were to set up hives, thats 2,000,000 to 4,000,000 more bees potentially. Plus you can get a fair amount of benefits from having a hive like bees wax and honey. You can also make things like soap, candles, and even mead.

COLBY LAKE

Ethnic food

Being born and raised in an island of Mediterranean, the cultural diversity of my food was quite limited and basically my typical diet would mostly include Mediterranean food.  This kind of diet includes different kind of local and fresh food such as fruits, vegetables, potatoes, beans, delicious cheese and yogurt, red meat, a lot of fish and poultry, nice wine and much more. In a way, I always had a some kind of a routine based on what I was eating each day.

I found out that studies have shown that people in Mediterranean tend to have less hart diseases, incidence of cancer etc mostly because of Mediterranean diet. After moving to the States, I realized that most of the people don’t maintain one specific diet but instead they are mixing diets from different cultures. I am seeing so many different restaurants with a huge variety of ethnic food, from German to Chinese dishes and from Indian to Caribbean dishes. So, I was wondering if doing that could cause any diseases or any other problems on the environment.

I believe the main reason of why is that happening is the growth of food industry. People would always want to try out something new, something more exotic and basically something that is unusual to them. By doing that though, I believe that it would automatically create some negative effects on the environment as we are introducing new crops to a foreign environment.

So, I believe it would be best for the environment and for our health, if different countries would be able to maintain local farming. That’s not only going to help to improve our health (as we limit our diet by not mixing different ethnic dishes) and our environment, but it would also help to improve the economy as importing foreign dishes cost more.

Andreas Rossides

. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Apr 2012. <http://bogw.blogspot.com/2012/02/everybody-loves-little-ethic.html&gt;.