Intersectionality and Environmental Justice

Something I’m really passionate about is environmental justice. Many people don’t understand the extent to which privilege can protect and provide for those in higher classes. I’m actually writing about this a little for my senior thesis, which is about the gap between media literacy and climate change. Part of this means looking at how environmental issues and climate change have more effect on those in lower class communities, specifically indigenous communities and neighborhoods with mostly people of color.

For example, factories are most likely to be built near lower income neighborhoods than richer (and whiter) communities. Flint is also a notable environmental justice crime–a city filled with mostly people of color, where years later they still don’t have water. Climate change will have more effect on poorer communities that are not as equipped to handle higher temperatures.

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Seven Plastic Things You Don’t Need to Be Using

Convenience kills. It’s what I saw in an Instagram post a couple of days ago. The photo is an illustration of a dolphin being weighed down by all of the plastic we use for the sake of convenience.

None of us are perfect, and it’s hard to remember to bring along a reusable tote for shopping and whatnot, but it’s important to try and get into the habit of using less plastic.  I’m sick of hearing about dead whales having pounds and pounds of plastic in their stomachs, or animals on land suffocating after eating plastic bags by accident that were thrown outside. We all need to be more aware of what we’re throwing away, and where it could end up.

More than 40 percent of plastic that’s created is only used once before being thrown away, according to National Geographic. Less than a fifth of all plastic is recycled globally. Like NatGeo says: “We made plastic. We depend on it. Now we’re drowning in it.”

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Taking Flight

I’ve been fascinated with monarch butterflies’ migration ever since reading Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver. Monarch butterflies are the only butterflies that have a two-way migration (think: birds).

Using nothing but environmental cues to guide them, they fly down to Michoacan, Mexico every winter. Every single year, they do this. Every single year, the butterflies die and new ones take their places, which means there are no older butterflies to lead the way. Somehow, they just know where to go.

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The Sixth Extinction Book Review

When I first started reading Elizabeth Kolbert’s book, The Sixth Extinction, I was hit hard with the realization of “this is what I want to do when I get older.” I was so intrigued by her adventures to find the truth behind the sixth mass extinction, and was so relieved to see how easy it was to follow along with her writing.

I recommend this book to anyone who is interested in the current status of our world, who is passionate about science and animals. Kolbert experiences a lot of things she talks about in her book firsthand. The strange disease that’s killing bats all over the U.S.? She’s seen it up close. Coral reefs that are struggling to survive in a warmer ocean? She’s seen that too.

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Effective Environment Social Media Campaigns

With social media comes more creative ways to bring awareness to issues we care about, and organizations have been doing just that.

Social media has been a really effective way for organizations and brands to market in a completely different, and interactive, way. It can bring attention to issues that need monetary donations, volunteers or further action. Of course, there is still a need for action offline, and it’s important not to just be vocal on social media about whatever topic you’re passionate about, but it can be a great start!

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The Pros of Environmental Journalism

Throughout my college career, I realized that what I most wanted to write about was environmental issues. To me, it seems like there is a hole there where we could have more specialized reporting on things happening in the science world. More specifically, the environment. Especially now, as we see more and more need to live sustainably.

I mentioned this in an earlier post about how people now need to seek out more information relating to climate change and other environmental issues on their own. But we also need science journalists to clarify the complexity of these issues. I’ve rounded up my favorite online places and people to turn to when I’m looking for accurate, easy to understand reporting on environmental issues.

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Giving Science a Chance

The science we learn throughout elementary and middle school simply isn’t enough. Or, it’s presented to us in ways we get bored of quickly and we forget as soon as we get home the day of taking whatever test we had been studying for.

High school education provides more options, usually. I remember my senior year of high school, taking an AP Environmental Science class and the already outdated textbook, with my teacher making corrections as we went along. The class was optional, one of the science electives students could take. Most seemed to take it because it was easier than the other AP science classes, such as biology or physics.

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Easy Ways to Live More Sustainably

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If you want to help create a change, you have to change the way you live. The same goes for protecting the environment. We can’t keep living the way we have been if we want to help protect the earth. There’s actually a lot of things you can do that can help you live more sustainably, and not make any dramatic changes to your lifestyle.

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