Concluding Contemplation

By: Allison Johnson

Looking back upon these past few months and what we have read and discussed, I know my perception of the world has changed. Is reality for warped and bleak? Absolutely not. However, I cannot deny that this course has planted inceptive seeds in my mind. I took this course for an interdisciplinary requirement for my degree in Statistics. I thought it would give me a break from my math heavy schedule and provide me with some much needed left brain thought. Not to mention other interdisciplinary courses where things like vampires in literature and the evolution of sex, nothing that really spoke to me.


This course however has really opened my mind to different areas of interaction with the world, the public and myself that I would have never explored. I’ve always been health conscious… whatever that means. When reading Roxanne Parrott’s, Talking About Health, I really started understanding the importance of not only how medical and health research is conducted, but also how it is delivered and communicated. This has really stuck with me, as I aspire to one day hopefully be a biostatistician . I have spent much time recently contemplating the importance of not only how I would conduct my work and finding, but also how those findings would be interpreted and communicated to the public.


Upon reading Chris Mooney and Sheril Kirshenbaum’s, Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens our Future, I was pushed further into reality with the unveiling of how disconnected the public and the scientific community are. With my love for all things science, and having used science and academia as my foundation for reality, it was hard to read and discuss the true divide between the these two groups of people. I have always assumed that the masses appreciated science, scientific discoveries and emerging research that pushes humanity forward. Unfortunately, that is not where we stand as a whole and it is only becoming easier to ignore opposing opinions and facts. When we have at our fingertips the ability to create and cultivate an alternate reality of self prescribed and induced advise, opinion and research it is hard to believe there is an alternate majority that sees the world so differently.


As easily referenced with the “Surprising” Trump Presidential candidacy  win.






Julia B. Corbett’s, Communicating Nature: How we Create and Understand Environmental Messages, Showed me if nothing more how much of a sucker I am when it comes to greenwashing. The weekend before starting this book I had bought a fifteen dollar lunch bag that was in part made from plastic water bottles from Fresh Tyme. My huge environmentally conscious bubble burst when reading and discussing this book and topic. I feel that I learned the most from this last section, especially when it comes to the “what can I do” aspect of climate change and environmental issues at large.

Over all, what I walked away from is that maybe there isn’t an easy fix to climate change. Why should there be? Is it realistic to think we can have our cake and not clean our plate. I have always been a big believer in delayed gratification. The idea that the “work” has to be done and it’s best to do it upfront. Like with procrastination the task at hand becomes more daunting the longer you put if off, and that I believe is what we are facing with Climate change policies, carbon taxes and overall accountability of the matted.

We are a nation of procrastination and I hope we grow up and become realistic and effective before it’s too late.



Blog 10 Topic??

Did anyone receive an email or notice on what this next blog topic was, I know that in the  previous class no finite topic was mentioned for blog 9. However, I did ask about blog 10 and an email was supposed to be sent. Any ideas?!

Climate Change Induced Coral Bleaching

By: Allison Johnson

In the documentary watched last class, “Before the Flood”, there is a segment where Leonardo DiCaprio dives into the ocean to explore the desolated corals that lied below. As mentioned, the sea is a buffer system for the Carbon Dioxide that is increasingly overtaking our atmosphere. As a result of the stresses felt by the sea, coral reefs have started to mutate into what is referred to as bleached coral. The coral viewed in class was desolate, absent of life and reflected a world I find had to identify as my own. From this, I wanted to explore and understand more about coral bleaching, what causes it and where it leaves us.


An article in The Nature Conspiracy, “Oceans & Coasts: What you Need to Know”, does a great job of outlining these questions and concerns. One of the major contributing factors of coral bleaching is a rise in temperature, “when you have really hot summers, you can expect that corals will get stressed, and bleaching is likely” (Oceans). Other factors mentioned are Pollution from agriculture or urban run-off, change in salinity (saltiness) and intense UV-Rays (Oceans). The vibrant colors we are all associate with coral reefs are in fact, “tiny algae that live in their tissues” (Oceans). The algae and coral have a symbiotic relationship, in that the algae are provided with structural support to latch on and absorb sunlight and the coral feeds off the carbohydrates the algae produce during photosynthesis.

The silver lining to coral bleaching, is knowing that even if a reef goes through a bleaching process or phase, it is not technically dead. The coral reefs would still need the presence of algae to survive long term, but if stress factors that impede on the reefs where to be alleviated then there is hope.

Of course, reducing pollution and lowering the overall temperature are not easy tasks. It calls for grand gestures, the era of changing the world one light bulb at a time or recycled bottle is not realistic. Nor achievable to undo all of the ever-increasing destruction that has been placed on the sea and Earth as a whole. I’m not sure of what macro efforts need to be implemented to make such a substantial change to our environment. I’d love to hear thoughts about what can be done to really reverse these measures.



“Oceans & Coasts: What you Need to Know.” The Nature Conspiracy, Accessed 22 Nov. 2016.

Greenwashing: Prius

By: Allison Johnson

It feels like every advertisement and commercial these days is riddled with greenwashing techniques and misleading information. One type of commercial that sticks out as being in excess of greenwashing are the commercials for the Toyota Pius. As advertised the Prius is said to be, “the world’s most environmentally friendly car”. This at minimum is the TerraChoice greenwashing sin number five, The sin of lesser of two evils. Being that though personal vehicles in general are terrible for the environment, the Prius is the best option from that sector of pollution and environmentally harmful human consumption.

In Axel Addicts, “The Prius Bad for the Environment”, acknowledges that fuel efficiency is not the only factor that comes into play when evaluating a vehicle on its environmental performance.  The most impactful factors to environmental friendliness with regard to vehicle is, “the production of the car…”(Axel). The shipping costs, raw materials, and the manufacturing effort all have environmental impacts together and separately (Axel).

One of the most environmentally harsh components to the Prius is the nickel battery it contains. Mined in Ontario Canada, “the plant that smelts the nickel is apparently nicknames ‘the Superstack'” (Axel). This is due to the copious amounts of pollution it creates and releases into the atmosphere.

The Prius compared to a Hummer of all monstrosities, “costs about $3.25 per mile and is expected to last about 100,000 miles”(Axel). Where as an average Hummer on the other hand, ” Costs about $1.95 per mile and is expected to last about 300,000 miles. These comparative statistics alone make it quite clear how much goes into making a Prius and with minimal return, with regards to the lifecycle of the vehicle.

All though the Prius my have remarkable fuel efficiency of 60 miles per gallon, there certainly more to them than meets the eye. Most commercials for this vehicle focus on fuel efficiency, rechargeable features and the iconic hum the make. Not only are these ads partaking in the lesser of two evils sin, I believe they can also be considered involved in the sin of the hidden trade-off. This is I feel the most easily deployed sin, seeing that companies need only to not mention information they are fully aware of.


Axel Addicts. The Prius Bad for the Environment. Axel Addict 21 March 2016. Accessed 15 Nov. 2016.


Aufrichtig, Melanie. The worlds Most Environmentally Friendly Car – Toyota Prius Coomercial. Accessed 15 Nov. 2016.


Self Indulgent

By: Allison Johnson

Through out our class we have discussed different modes of advertising, information sharing and environmental impacts. One sector I continually think back to is that of agriculture, eating habits and the effects they truly have on our world. It is hard to not be drawn in by enticing advertisements that feature not only mouth watering late night indulgences, but also and always beautiful people. It’s a little oxymoronic to think that a beautiful, tan, thin woman gorging on a fistful off beef, but it does.

2561DCF200000578-2942151-image-a-22_1423190319173.jpgSeriously. If this advertisement  isn’t overly sexually charge then I don’t know where the line ends. Not only are advertisements like this promoting false expectations about the health risks that are associated with eating fast food, but they like earlier mentioned advertisements in the prescription drug sector, expose children to highly sexualized commercials on a daily basis. A writer for the Chicago Tribune wrote, “The sexualization of fast food takes us down the same path of cigarette advertising” (Neil). Not only is fast food negative for the individual, it also supports an industry the has crippling effects on the environment. An article in the Time about the  global meat production’s impact on the environment, summarizes three global studies and concludes that, “that while meat production will need to change in the future, so will meat consumption” (Walsh). It’s hard to see the great divide between the scientific community and the mass media that continuously promotes what is truly not in the consumers best interest. It always raises the question I have about the instant gratification I get when diving mouth first into a fast food bag, at what price does indulgence come?

Image: Accessed 8 Nov. 2016.


Neil, Dan. “Sexualization of Fast Food on the Rise”. Chicago Tribune, Accessed 8 Nov. 2016.

Walsh, Bryan. “The Triple Whopper Environmental Impact of Global Meat Production”. Time, Accessed 8 Nov. 2016.

Local Parks

By: Allison Johnson

While reading chapter five of Julia B. Corbett’s, Communicating Nature, I could not help but visualize the types of local parks she discussed. With much help from the descriptions provided, I not only envisioned the various parks, but also began to distinguish some of my favorite parks and what type of classification they fell into. This began to peak my interest about the parks I frequent, what they are designed to cultivate and when I remedy myself via visitation.

The first local park design discussed is the “pleasure garden” (Corbett, 119). Pleasure gardens are constructed to be, “…large, open, green places to offer relief from the rigors of work…” (Corbett, 20). This style of park is supposed to represent an, “idealized agrarian scene” (Corbett, 120). Here, “Woods opened and closed around grass-defined meadows, and large sheets of water suggested the placidness of a pastoral setting” (Corbett, 120). To me the closest park I personally relate these features with is Otto Armleder Memorial Park & Recreation Center. The park is surrounded by a dense tree front, paths a curvaceous, there are may open large meadows and the little Miami river runs along the majority of the property. I often take my dog out to Otto because there is a great dog park, but I also go there to “get away”. Though it is only about a 5-minute drive from where I live, it’s serene landscape makes time slow down and life stand still.


The Second local park mentioned is the “reform park” (Corbett, 120). A reform park is designed to be an, “…inner-city, multi-purpose park and playground” (Corbett, 120). Here, “A typical reform park occupied a square city block, sometimes separated from city traffic and noise by a berm planted with trees and flowers” (Corbett, 120).  Automatically, the first park that came to mind was Washington Park in OTR. It is an exact square block, there is not only a playground, but also a performance stage, pavilion, dog part, deck and water park. I find myself enjoying Washington park on days I want to be outside, but also in the city. Were I can take a stroll, let my dog make new friend, grab a drink, listen to a band and then walk over to a nearby restaurant of bar. I find Washington Park to be a great source of nature when also wanting the convenience and fun a downtown area.

The Third local park described is the “recreational facility…These parks paid less attention landscaping and more to active recreation” (Corbett, 120). This style of park was designed to keep people busy bay utilizing features like, “bandshells, stadiums, checkerboards, and swimming pools” (Cornett, 120). To me this description describes only one park, Smale Riverfront Park. Adjacent to both Bangle’s’ and Red’s stadiums, it offers an interactive water park, swings that line the riverfront, playgrounds and giant chess and checkerboards. I only find myself at Smale when I am downtown in the area either for a game, day drinking or going to an event hosted by the park.

These are all great local parks, though their amenities may vary they all provide a connection back to nature.



Corbett, Julia B. Communicating Nature. Island Press, 2006. Accessed 31 Oct. 2016. Accessed 31 Oct. 2016 Accessed 31 Oct. 2016. Accessed 31 Oct. 2016. Accessed 31 Oct. 2016.






The Unfortunate Truth about K-Cups


We all try to do our part, when it comes to mind and is convenient. I have always wondered the actual impacts of doing these “little good deeds”. Just recently I opted out of buying a Keurig, it was a very hard decision. I have always had an issue with the amount of waste the is produced from such a magically convenient and addicting machine. Before making my final conclusion to buy a more tradition (“old school” if you must) coffee maker, I did a bit of digging on the notorious K-Cups.

On average, “1 in 8 American households have a single serving coffee brewer” (Godoy). Since the inception of the Keurig company there has been around “60 billion K-Cups that have gone into landfills” (Godoy). These numbers alone were enough to shed light on the daunting amount of waste created from this product and how I personally couldn’t bring myself to participate.

Keurig is however, quite aware of the bad environmental reputation. With “17 million U.S. households and offices”(Sheer) using their product, Keurig has made attempts to remedy the environmental impact their product has. Firstly, they launched a “Ground to Grow program in 2011”, where offices fill K-Cup recovery bins. Which in turn get shipped to Keurig’s disposal partner, where the waste is turned into compost. Currently the company has, “set ambitious sustainability targets to achieve by 2020″(Sheer). The main focus being a 100 percent recyclable K-Cup.

With the current status of the Keurig system I regretfully purchased a coffee maker with both a craft, as well as a reusable single serve option. However, I am interested in seeing how Keurig evolves in an ever changing environmentally conscious market.

Godoy, Maria. “Coffee Horror: Parody Pokes At Environmental Absurdity Of K-Cups.” NPR, Accessed 25 Oct. 2016.

 Scheer, Roddy & Moss, Doug. “The Environmental Impact of Coffee ‘K-Cups’.’ Business Ethics, Accessed 25 Oct. 2016.

Image: Accessed 25 Oct. 2016.