Products and Waste

“The largest sources of toxic substances occur in processes that involve physical or chemical transformation.” (Robertson, 2014)

Robertson discusses how Ford decided to make a new kind of foam in their leather seats of the Mustang. The foam produced was 60% petroleum based and 40% soy bean based. It was shown that producing the soy bean based foam required less energy and emitted less carbon dioxide. I think this is inspiring. More companies should be opting towards more natural ways to produce things that are less harmful to the environment. Big businesses making these changes can considerably help them become more sustainable. The only problem is the cost. If we do start making things with more natural products would the price of those products raise? Would we be willing to pay for them?

Screen Shot 2017-11-27 at 11.22.18 PM

http://www.greenpeace.org/eastasia/errors/error.aspx?aspxerrorpath=/eastasia/Templates/Planet3/Pages/Hub.aspx

 

 

“Every piece of material in a garbage can carries with it large quantities of embedded energy and invisible material resources that were part of its life history.” (Robertson 2014).

Everything you have ever used ended up somewhere. Land fills are not exactly the best way to deal with our garbage but it is kind of all we have. What else would we do with all the garbage if we didn’t just stick it in one spot? Dump it in the ocean? Shoot it up into space on a rocket? Clumping it all into one space is basically all we have. We as Americans are the worst with throwing stuff out. Robertson says on average each person in the US throws away about 4.6 pounds of solid waste. That is insane. This is also just personally, this doesn’t take into account the waste that businesses and industries throw out. I was brought up to be conscious about wasting things. I will reuse something until it is completely broken or worn out. I have a hard time wasting food as well. I think more people need to be raised and brought up with this mentality that wasting things is not sustainable.

Screen Shot 2017-11-27 at 11.20.46 PMhttp://www.cartoonistgroup.com/store/add.php?iid=142090

 

 

“Fifty-five percent of paper and cardboard is recycled, making up 31 percent of MSW.” (Robertson, 2014).

MSW stands for municipal solid waste. This waste comes from homes, industries, businesses, and offices. It is collected and treated by municipalities. I was taught to recycle my entire life. My dad taught me at a very young age about recycling. I would have to separate the cans and glass from the paper and cardboard, and then help him bring the bin to the curb. I now practice those same teachings with my roommates at college. I always have to remind my roommate to recycle. She was not raised to recycle and its difficult for her to adjust to it. I always find ways to reuse or recycle things. I feel like this percentage should be higher. 55% of all paper and cardboard is good but its not enough. We should be able to get that number up to 70% or even higher. Recycling paper and cardboard would save a lot of trees in the long run and in turn help our environment.

Screen Shot 2017-11-27 at 11.17.23 PM

http://www.iqsdirectory.com/recycling-equipment-manufacturers/

 

Robertson, M. (2014). Sustainability principles and practice. London: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group.

Livable Cities

“Transportation consumes 26 percent of the world’s energy produced and is responsible for 23 percent of the world’s energy-related greenhouse gas emissions,” (Robertson, 2014).

I learned last week after reading about climate that air travel is a very large source of greenhouse gas emission. Actually, night flights account for 60-80 percent of this as well. This is no surprise to me that transportation consumes 26% of the worlds energy. Everyone has a car in today’s society. It is rare to find someone who does not have their own car. Most people don’t like to share cars because even though it is the more sensible thing to do, it is not the most convenient. If we cut back on the amount that we travel we could save a significant amount of energy and reduce our greenhouse gas and carbon dioxide emission. I think the easiest way that we can reduce our transportation emissions is by carpooling. If you know you are going to the same place as another person then you should try to work out a deal so you can only take one car instead of taking 2. If everyone tried to do this at least once a week we could probably reduce our greenhouse gas emission by a good amount.

transportaiton emission

http://thesource.metro.net/2014/05/12/bikes-and-walking-transit-lower-greenhouse-gas-emissions/

 

“A 2007 Urban Land Institute report calculated that if 60 percent of the new development in the US shifted to compact development, by 2030 carbon dioxide emissions would be reduced by over 93 million tons per year, or about 5 percent,” (Robertson, 2014).

The denser the city, the more people are encouraged to walk, bike, or use public transportation. All of these factors can reduce the city’s overall carbon dioxide emission. I am going to think about Chicago in this example since I spent a lot of time there growing up. Chicago is roughly 2.7 million people. In the downtown area of Chicago, there are tons of places to walk around and there are bike rental racks every few blocks. There is also plenty of public transportation such as taxis, buses, trains, and the L. When I went to the city with my parents we always drove, but thats because my parents grew up there and knew there way around. When I would go with my friends, we would take the train there, take cabs or walk everywhere we wanted to go and it was so fun. Using these alternative methods to driving are not only saving the planet but they are fun. That sounds like a win-win to me.

divvy bikes

http://www.freetoursbyfoot.com/public-transportation-chicago/

 

“Planners talk bout the importance of providing “third places,” spaces that are neither home nor work, but that provide places to gather informally, develop trust, and form associations,” (Robertson, 2014).

I think that having these ‘third spaces’ are absolutely necessary in any type of city or town. We need places that are not for work or for home. We need these social places in our lives to feel happy. We talk in class a lot about a sense of place and belonging and I think these ‘third spaces’ are exactly that. They are the open spaces where we socialize like beaches or parks. Other types of these places include libraries, cafés, and public seating. The town that I’m from is very farm from a city, it’s a small countryside type of place. But even there we had all of these things available. There were tons of parks and lots of public seating in town square. ‘Third places’ are necessary to give the people in an area a sense of community.

IMG_5427

This is a picture of the Veteran’s Memorial in Huntley, IL. As you can see there are benches all around this area and there was also a public gazebo. Photo by A. Radaszewski

Robertson, M. (2014). Sustainability principles and practice. London: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group.

Climate

“What is unprecedented, however, is the speed of the change. Never in the history of the planet has the temperature increased so rapidly” (Robertson, 2014).

As the book states, climate change is normal. Having freezing cold winters and insanely hot summers aren’t really anything out of the ordinary. However, when it starts increasing or changing so rapidly, this is where it poses an issue. I remember my junior year of high school, in the winter time, I was out of school for about a week because of the temperature. It was between -30 and -40 the entire week including the wind chill. It was the coldest winter I’ve ever experienced in my life. But last winter, I went back to Illinois around the same time of year that coldest week was. I experienced quite the opposite. It was in the high 50s during the day and about 30-40 degrees at night. There was a 3 year gap between that winter and the coldest winter. I remember being there and just thinking about climate change and global warming may not be of concern anymore but this rapid increase in climate change is.

img_0158-1

This is a picture I took of my TV on January 6th 2014.

“We want to know if the changes are anthropogenic, or human-caused. One approach is to determine what kind of climate behavior would be expected without anthropogenic greenhouse gases, then compare that to the actual observed change,” (Robertson, 2014).

I think that we, as humans, are a huge contributing factor to climate change. Think about all of the other things that we cause. We are the reason there are so many greenhouse gases in the air because we are the ones burning the fossil fuel. I am not saying that humans are the only cause but I think we are most of he problem. Robertson talks about two studies that scientists use to study climate. The first is detection which studies if unusual changes have happened but not cause. And attribution, which studies the cause of why these unusual changes happens. I don’t believe there is really a true way to know what has happened in the past. I know we have the best technology and we can probably make a really close estimate or a really good educated guess but no one really knows what happened. Studying past climate change is important to better determine the future, but at the same time, since we know we are partially the cause, we should be doing something very soon to try and lower our greenhouse gas emission and at least try and low the rate of climate change.

https://mrgeogwagg.wordpress.com/2015/06/24/greenhouse-effect-and-anthropogenic-warming/

“Many businesses view climate destabilization as not only an ethical mandate but also as a business threat and business opportunity,” (Robertson , 2014).

It’s pretty sad that when faced with climate change businesses automatically think about money. This entire statement is about money. Climate destabilization, simply put, is when the environment because unpredictable and unstable. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, all America cares about is money. Money controls pretty much everything in the world, except for the well-being of the world itself. We should be looking at the bigger picture. We shouldn’t be viewing this as a business or as a corporation, we should be viewing this as human beings who like living on this earth. Robertson states that some cities do have climate plans along with some universities. Business should be thinking about how they can be reducing their emissions and reducing energy to help the better of our planet. Not figure out how to turn it into a profit.

https://www.politico.com/wuerker/2013/04/cartoons-wuerker-on-earth-day/000957-013693.html

Robertson, M. (2014). Sustainability principles and practice. London: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group.

Water

“Although it [water] covers more than 70 percent of the surface of the blue planet, only a time percentage is available for human use” (Robertson 2014).

This is pretty wild when you think about it. Humans ourselves are roughly made up of 80% water and the planet we live on is about 70% water but we are only able to access a small portion of this. A lot of people who do not have access to tap water will filter their rain water and use that. I think a majority of people who do have running water at their homes or jobs don’t really think about what using it does to the plant. People probably think that we wont run out because the earth is mostly water but clearly this isn’t the case. Salt water is very bad to drink, our kidneys can only produce urine that is less salty than salt water. This is why we cannot utilize salt water from the ocean, which eliminates tons of gallons of water that we do not have access to. The image below shows how rain water can be utilized so we don’t have to waste the little percent that we have access to. 

https://www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/en/co/grho/grho_016.cfm

“The concept of virtual water describes the quantity of water embedded I food and products, measured at the places where they were actually produced. The virtual water content of a thing is also sometimes referred to as its water footprint” (Robertson 2014).

I had never even heard of a water footprint before I read this chapter, which is probably not a good thing. We always talked about carbon footprints in middle school and even high school to make sure everyone was aware how much energy they use and what not. We used to have these little sayings at the water fountain in elementary school like “1..2..3 save some for me” or something about saving water for the fish but when you’re a kid none of this really means anything to you. It means the person behind you wants water. Then when you get older you’re told not to take super long showers and to turn off the faucet when you’re brushing your teeth and I feel like I never really asked why. Now I understand that everyone uses a certain amount of water in a day or a week or whatever the time period may be. We could possible run out of the accessible water that we have and then we will have to rely solely on rain water. I think a water footprint is something that every child should be taught young so the have time to understand the real importance of saving water. 

I calculated my water footprint at the website below and above are my results. The U.S average is about 2,220 gal/day.   https://www.watercalculator.org 

“Often the rainy season finds its terrible climax in September or October in the crashing impact of a hurricane, the true cyclonic storm of the tropics” (Douglas 1947).

The citizens of Florida know this all too well. These hurricanes that we are experiencing are actually getting worse as the years go on. They are getting stronger and do not slow down as much when they hit land. Irma really impacted the citizens of Florida. I am not a native Floridian so I am new to this whole hurricane season thing. But to my understanding there’s about 5 months out of the year that is not considered hurricane season. The season starts in about June/July and then can go as long as December. Clearly the worst is in the fall months as we experienced. Hurricanes can ruin a lot of things for the citizens who are impacted by it but lets focus on the water. I had to actually stop and ask myself why everyone runs to the nearest store to pick up a dozen cases of water before the hurricane hits. They do this because the hurricane picks up tons of debris like plants, swage and otherA things from the ocean. This can get into our tap water and clearly this is why we stock up with cases and cases of bottled water. We must do everything we can to preserve and protect our drinking water.

This is a satellite picture of Hurricane Irma & yes the little glowing thing in the upper left corner is the state of Florida. 

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2017/09/08/hurricane-irma-florida-caribbean-islands/648964001/ 

Douglas, M.S. (1947) Excerpt from The Everglades: River of Grass. In University Colloquium: A sustainable Future (pp. 104-149). Acton, MA: XanEdu Publishing 

Robertson, M. (2014). Sustainability principles and practice. London: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group. 

Food

“Since the green revolution, food production in developing countries has incresed, doubling or tripling in many places. However, because population has also nearly doubled, the amount of food produced per person has remained nearly unchanged in most parts of the world,” (Robertson, 2014). 

This is a pretty disgusting fact. In America we waste nearly as much food as we eat. I have worked in the restaurant business since I was 16, I have seen first hand how wasteful humans can be. We throw out plates and plates of food while people on the other side of the world are struggling to survive because of a lack of food available to the. We take advantage of all the food that is available to use and we take it for granted and end up wasting more that what we actually need. Everything has to be bigger and better in America. We take things that are perfectly fine and manipulate them until they are large enough to feed a family of six. If we gave all the food that we throw away to a developing or starving country we could probably save hundreds of people from dying of starvation. But here in America we only think about ourselves.

https://www.dogonews.com/2015/8/10/how-a-single-fridge-is-helping-curb-food-waste-in-spain/page/12

“Consumers increasingly want assurance that their food choices are healthy and safe. They want to know more about where their food comes from: who produced it, how it was grown, and perhaps even the name of the farmer,”. (Robertson, 2014).

I grew up in a very rural town about and hour northwest of Chicago called Huntley. Now, the population is about 26,000 but when I was born in 1996 the population was only about 3,100. It was mostly made of up corn fields and farms. One of the most popular farms in Huntley is Tom’s farm and greenhouse. I have been going to Tom’s farm for as long as I can remember. Me and my family would make frequent trips there to get fresh produce and plants. Tom was always around the store getting to know the customers and learning their names. I never really though about it before but I was very lucky to grow up in this type of community. We always had access to fresh produce and crops. Every Saturday morning there would be a local farmer’s market in the town square and it was so nice to be able to meet local farmers and get to buy all natural and locally grown products.

Photo by A. Radaszewski 

Wow! Moment from Food Inc. 

The part that stuck out to me the most was when they talked to Michael Pollen about the CAFO which stand for concentrated animal feeding operation. He explains how they feed the cows corn because it makes them fatter quicker. Cows are not biologically supposed to eat corn. Their stomachs are not able to digest it. When the corn sits in the stomach, a harmful strand of E. coli can form. It can spread to other cow s through feces, since their living conditions consists of them standing ankle deep in manure. Once they get to the slaughter house the manure is caked on their fur and this can spread to their meat. 

This really stuck out to me because I love cows. I do understand that we eat them, and we are higher up on the food chain as humans, but treating them this ways is just mean. They are still living creatures and they deserve to be treated fairly. Feeding them corn just because it makes them fatter is not right. Their stomachs are not designed to digest corn and this is where these health problems start to become prevalent. Knowing that this is how large corporations acquire their meat makes me never want to eat it again.

Screen shot from Food Inc. of the cows eating corn. 
Robertson, M. (2014). Sustainability principles and practice. London: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group.

Pollution

“The toxins that bioaccumulated in the tissues of prey animals get concentrated in the tissues of the predators who eat them.” (Robertson 2014).

Everyone knows that pollution is bad but I do not think people are aware of the many different ways that it can impact our everyday lives. Pollution can mean more than just dirt particles in the air. Pollution involves any unwanted substances that accumulate in the atmosphere or on land. Some of these pollutants can produce toxins, and as the quote says, can get into the tissues of animals. It does not take long until humans consume the meat of an animal that has toxins in their tissues. This does not just impact animals; this directly impacts humans as well. When we breathe in all of these harmful toxins they can accumulate in our lungs and this can cause serious respiratory issues. In China, many of the citizens wear surgical masks to cover their mouths because the pollution in the air is so bad. We have no one to blame but ourselves.

animal pollutionhttps://www.intechopen.com/books/applied-bioremediation-active-and-passive-approaches/persistence-and-bioaccumulation-of-persistent-organic-pollutants-pops-

 

“This pollution is for the most part irrecoverable; the chain of evil it initiates not only in the world that must support life but in living tissues is for the most part irreversible.” (Carson 1962).

This is very powerful to think about. There aren’t many ways that we can necessarily eliminate pollution, there are ways that we could potentially come up with solutions that will prevent it from getting worse. As humans we really do not treat the planet how we should. Itis this giant entity that we live on, it provides us with oxygen and food and we re-pay it by sucking up all of its resources and polluting it. For my service learning project, I volunteered at a beech clean up in Bonita Springs, FL. It is incredible how many things you find when you’re actually looking for them and how you don’t think about them when you’re the one doing the polluting. All of these pollutants impact animals and people in some way and each of these organisms are important in our ecosystem.

 

city pollutionhttp://food.ndtv.com/health/need-to-clean-delhi-air-to-stop-irreversible-damage-to-heart-1259750

 

“Lead is highly toxic heavy metal, a neurotoxin that can cause behavioral problems and learning disabilities.” (Robertson 2014).

This quote really spoke to me for some reason. I have a younger brother with special needs and so whenever I read or hear anything about learning disability or autism I start reading into it. Lead is a very toxic chemical and lead poisoning is a very serious condition. In the 1950’s and 60’s people were unaware of leads harmful impact. Lead based paint used to be used in home nation wide but now that we know its toxic, it is no longer used. As we adapt and learn new information we need to help the planet adapt with us, without stripping it of all it has. Same thing with mercury. They used to make mercury thermometers and no one understood the effects it could have once it broke and its toxins touched human skin or got in the air. Humans are very smart and we are capable are making many changes but we don’t understand what we are doing to the air and to the earth and figure out ways to prevent it from getting worse in the future.

pollution brainhttp://www.powerbrainrx.com/en/news/污染如何影響大腦/

 

 

 

Carson, R. (1962) Excerpt from Silent Spring. In University Colloquium: A sustainable Future (pp. 153-160). Acton, MA: XanEdu Publishing

Robertson, M. (2014). Sustainability principles and practice. London: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group.

Biosphere/Human Sphere

“Cycles happen at all scales of systems, from the metabolism of a bacterium to the pumping of carbon around the planet to recycling of fundamental matter in the great start factories of interstellar space,” (Robertson, 2017).

If you really think about this, it is a little mind boggling. Every living thing has their own life system and their own problems in a way to worry about. Human beings now a days are so wrapped up in our own lives that we really don’t take the time to think about what we are doing and how it impacts everything around us. Everything in the ground we walk on (soil, water, bugs, plants) everything has its own cycle. All those bugs have to eat, and plants have to get their energy from somewhere. The image below depicts a water cycle which is just one of the millions of cycles that take place. Snow on mountains runoff and eventually end up in a larger body of water, it evaporates, and is stored in the atmosphere. Then condensation occurs it rains and the cycle starts over again.

water cyclehttps://www.ck12.org/biology/water-cycle/lesson/The-Water-Cycle-MS-LS/

 

“All life is made of networks, but not all networks are living systems,” (Robertson, 2017).

Margaret Robertson asks in this chapter ‘what is life?’ This is not really an easy question to answer. Everyone has a different answer to this. Robertson refers to life as networks. Networking can mean a few different things. It can mean trying to make connections between friends. It can mean trying to make connections between professionals when trying to get a job or an internship. Networking in this case is described as the way that networks of energy flow. Everything uses energy at some point in their lives. We use energy every day. Our cells have to use energy to keep our systems running. The image below shows how energy flows through an ecosystem. It is the flow of energy that is networked throughout a living system is how we, and everything else, is able to live.

ecosystem energy exchangehttp://www.mrgscience.com/ess-topic-23-flows-of-energy-and-matter.html

 

“If all humans on the planet lived with the same standard of living enjoyed by people in the United States and Canada, we would need 4.5 more planet Earths even if the population did not grow at all,” (Robertson, 2017).

This is really powerful if you think about it. This does not even count all of the millions of people that live in Europe and other countries. When I was in middle school I remember every yea we would have to try and find our carbon footprint and see how many earths it would take to support the entire population if they all lived like you. It is crazy to think about how we live in the United States and how we use so many resources. Attached below is a picture of my carbon footprint. This one does not show how many earths it would take to support a whole planet of people who lived like me, but it is still important to understand its components. The component of this that always gets me is the electricity. I remember to turn things off when I leave or when I’m finished using them, but I do have a bad habit of sleeping with the TV on. I understand that this increases my carbon footprint by a significant amount. I think everyone should understand how many earths it would take if everyone lived like them, and maybe alter their lifestyle so the Earth doesn’t suffer.

carbon footprint

Photo (screenshot) by A. Radaszewski

 

 

 

Robertson, M. (2017). Sustainability principles and practice. London: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group.

Biodiversity

“But fossil fuels have given us climate change; agrichemicals have threatened species, undermined soil fertility and human health; and synthetic drugs have had fatal side-effects.” (Shiva 2000)

Humans are basically the root of all of these problems, even though we do not like to admit it. After we discovered that we can use fossil fuels (natural gas, oil, and coal) for our own personal gain, we have not been able to stop. This is slowly draining the earth of all of it’s resources. Agrichemicals are exactly what they sound like, a chemical used in agriculture. An example would be pesticide, which humans invented. We also came up with the idea of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) which we use to make plants or animals grow larger so they produce a larger crop. These agrichemicals are also ruining the soil that the plants grow on. Then when we eat the plants all that contaminated soil can get into out systems. My main point here is that humans create all the problems that we complain about, but we are too busy trying to make money in order to realize we are the ones causing all the problems.   synthetic drugs

http://www.crimestoppersatlanta.org/blog/2014/06/synthetic-drugs-what-they-are-and-how-they-can-harm-you/

 

“It is that the big depends on the small, and cannot survive by exterminating the small” (Shiva 2000)

I imagine that people who disregard animal life think this way. Because we are technically ‘higher up on the food chain’ all life below us is unnecessary. This is not true. Everything on this earth serves a purpose whether you recognize it or not. We need to have some sort of order in the world otherwise it would be pure chaos, but having order does not mean ‘killing off’ all of the weaker ones. We all work together on the earth, it is home to all organisms and its fair that we treat them all with the same respect. Do I think that killing a spider is wrong? No, but the killing of defenseless endangered animals is. We need to all try and live a litter greener and a litter more harmonious.

naturehttps://thenatureofbusiness.org/2015/05/05/learning-to-live-in-harmony-with-nature/

 
“When industrial civilization uses the gifts of biodiversity, it abuses the living richness of our world.” (Shiva 2000)

Biodiversity in its simplest form is having a variety of life in the world or even in just one specific ecosystem. This sort of restates my original point. Humans use everything to their own advantage and we don’t really think about how it is going to affect the world. Climate change is real. Whether you want to believe it because of humans or not, you cannot deny that its happening. This is unfortunately a side effect to humans living on the earth for so long. Especially since there are so many of us, and the numbers keep growing. The current population of humans on the earth is 7.6 billion people. This is just going to keep increasing and we are just going to suck the earth dry of all its resources before it decides to retaliate.

climate changehttps://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/blog/2016/04/05/get-facts-how-climate-change-can-affect-your-health

 

 

Shiva, V. (1949) Excerpt from Tomorrow’s Biodiversity. In University Colloquium: A sustainable Future (pp. 38-57). Acton, MA: XanEdu Publishing

The Land Ethic

“Conservation is a state of harmony between men and land.” (Leopold 1949)

I think this is the easiest way to define conservation. Someone who is conservative has a more traditional way of thinking. They think more about how things they do will effect the earth and their surroundings. I think people in other countries practice this tradition more than we do in the United States. In India, for example, they find cows sacred and they do not build on the land that cows live on. Another example includes the people that live in Italy. Most people who live in Italy value a more all natural diet. They grow most of their own foods and would rather preserve the land and use it as a natural resource, rather than build on it and use it for profit. Sardinia Italy is actually a blue zone. A blue zone is an area where because of their lifestyle, the citizens live the longest. I think this speaks volumes. If we all start think about how we should live with the land instead of just on it, we will all live happier and longer lives.

IMG_5101

Vineyards in Tuscany, Italy. Photo by A. Radaszewski

 

“When one of these non-economic categories is threatened, and if we happen to love it, we invent subterfuges to give it economic importance.” (Leopold 1949)

In this part of the excerpt, Leopold was talking about saving birds and how ornithologists would jump to save some distinct bird using ‘shaky’ evidence, suggesting that insects and bugs would eat us alive if we did not save this one specific bird. I did have to look up what ‘subterfuges’ meant, and I found that it means using deceit in order to achieve one’s goal. Essential, he says that we will do anything we can to save something if we love it, even if it has no specific value. I think everything put on this earth has a value. Even the things that may only have a negative value, I think those things exists to teach us lessons. Things that may not have ‘non-economic value’ still have other significant values that I think we should recognize.

DSCN0932

Temple of Poseidon, Sounion Greece. Photo by A. Radaszewski

 

“Land, then, is not merely soil; it is a fountain of energy flowing through a circuit of soils, plants, and animals.” (Leopold 1949)

Even if you are not a ‘tree hugger’ and you don’t eat all organic foods, this is something that everyone should at least understand. We all live on this earth, and as humans we should at least respect all that it gives us. ‘Treating others how you want to be treated’ this is considered the golden rule as it should be. This should be no different when it comes to the earth and our land. We should not just tear up harmless land to make a profit. Unfortunately, in today’s society, money is the only thing we stress about. It is important that we understand that land is so much more than just grass and trees. Those trees provide us with oxygen and without them we wouldn’t even be able to li eon this earth.

IMG_0701

Nature trail in Huntley, Illinois. Photo by A. Radaszewski

 

Leopold, A. (1949) Excerpt from A Sand County Almanac. In University Colloquium: A sustainable Future (pp. 58-77). Acton, MA: XanEdu Publishing

Nature Deficit Disorder

“In the era of test-centric education reform and growing fear of liability, many districts considered recess a waste of potential academic time or too risky.” (Louv 2005)

Todays education system is so focused on test scores and grades that kids don’t really have time to go outside and just enjoy being kids. When I think about elementary school one of the first things that my mind goes to is recess. I grew up in Illinois where the summers were hot and humid but the winters were brutal and freezing. From kindergarten through fifth grade recess was always built into my school day. The winters never stopped us either. On the days that the temperature was adequate enough for us to go outside, we always did. I remember packing my snow pants on those days so I could play in the snow with my friends. Recess, in my opinion, is a very important part of the education system in elementary school students.

recesshttp://www.thegeniusofplay.org/TGOP/Benefits_of_Play/Play_Facts/Facts_Benefits.aspx

 

“Studies suggest that nature may be useful as a therapy for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), used with or, when appropriate, even replacing medications or behavioral therapies.” (Louv 2005)

Though there are not tons of scientific research to back some of this up I believe in this theory. My youngest brother, Alec, has special needs. He is not diagnosed with any specific disorder but he is on the autism spectrum. He also has visual processing issues, behavioral issues, along with some attention issues. Although he does not have ADHD while I was reading this I was reminded of him. Alec loves going outside. He loves going for rides in the car and looking at all of the scenery outside. There is something about the outdoors that seems to calm him down. I think in some way it is therapeutic for him. I think this also goes for children who are less severe than Alec. The outdoors should be a huge part of every kid’s childhood in some way.

My brother, Alec, running outside. Photo by A Radaszewski

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“More time in nature – combined with less television and more stimulating play and educational settings – may go a long way towards reducing attention deficits in children, and, just as important, increasing their joy in life.” (Louv 2005)

More and more children are being diagnosed with ADHD as young as 4 years old. There are many things that could help these students at a young age. As much as I hate to admit it I have to agree with watching less television. This could significantly improve any persons focusing skills, especially in young children. More Singling out these students to assist them in learning properly could be time consuming and alienating to those students. I think one of the best ways to help these students would be to emphasizes breaks in between long periods of trying to focus on something. Teachers may not think there is much they can do, but I disagree. Spacing recess throughout the school day could also help these kids focus more. Doing this at a young age cold help with the symptoms of ADHD. By the time the student reaches high school they could have improved focusing skills.

adhd factshttp://www.healthline.com/health/adhd/facts-statistics-infographic

 

 

Louv, R. (2005) Excerpt from Last Child in the Woods. In University Colloquium: A sustainable Future (pp. 1-14). Acton, MA: XanEdu Publishing