How the Harambe Situation Reflects the Way People View Nature

By Elizabeth Mullett

Nowadays people only see animals at zoos or aquariums and thinks they’re docile lazy animals that can be reasoned with. That however is not the case. This is of course evident when the whole Harambe tragedy went down. It all started when a child, who loves gorillas and wanted to see one up close, decided to go into the gorilla exhibit, he actually fell quite a ways down, and was then grabbed by a male gorilla named Harambe. Harambe continued to have possession of the child during the whole scary endeavor. Harambe was eventually shot and killed in order to retrieve the boy. This caused mass hysteria. People were upset over the fact that they killed Harambe instead of simply tranquilizing him.  In the article called “The real tragedy about the shooting of Harambe the gorilla” the author, Robert Young who is a Professor of  Wildlife Conservation at the University of Salford, starts off by saying, “A gorilla at Cincinnati Zoo has been shot dead after a boy fell into his enclosure. When I told my wife, a former vice director of a zoo, she first asked if the boy was okay and then said how terrible for the keeper who shot the gorilla.” He goes on to say, “I hadn’t thought about it from the perspective of the zoo keeper who pulled the trigger. But my wife is right: it must have been a terrible thing for that person, something that may haunt them for the rest of their life.” He then talks about how this whole situation reminded him of the famous novel “Of Mice and Men” when Lennie accidentally killed a woman and his friend George decided to kill him in order to protect him from the group of angry people who didn’t understand that it was an accident. He goes on to point out that, “Captive gorillas are trained by their keepers to go to their indoor enclosure on command, but in such an emotionally-charged situation this training does not always work… The two female gorillas responded to the calls of their keepers to go inside, but Harambe did not.” He then talks about why the use of a tranquilizer wouldn’t have been the best option, “It takes several minutes for tranquilisers to send a large animal to sleep… Plus once an animal is very agitated and has massive amounts of adrenaline flowing through its veins the tranquilising drug may be ineffective. It would be hard to judge the correct dose – too little could result in no effect and too much could result in killing the animal through an overdose. Basically, the zoo is now in a lose-lose situation.” This proves how people like to romanticize the whole idea that animals can be reasoned with or that they feel the same way we do. The gorilla had been trained but refused to go indoors so they had to take matters into their own hands. Tranquilizing would take time, time they didn’t have, or it could even kill Harambe if he was given too much. Either way what happened to Harambe was a tragedy and no laughing  matter.

Article: http://www.sciencealert.com/the-real-tragedy-about-the-shooting-of-harambe-the-gorilla 

Monitoring Your Consumerism for the Health of the Planet

By Elizabeth Mullett

In the book we are reading for class, it talked about consumerism and how it has pretty much consumed our entire lives. We do nothing but consume, and not just as in buying things like a new laptop or new shoes. We as living organisms must consume to survive. Now we consume in abundance. This, as you might imagine, has a huge effect on our environment. Whether we’re going to a fancy restaurant or buying the latest trendy jacket, that all comes from our environment. Now you can help reduce how much you consume so you can be more environmentally friendly, and there are many ways to do this. In the article “20 Simple Things You Can Do To Help Save Our Planet,” it discusses options in which you can decide how you will cut back on certain habits and in turn save the environment. First thing you could do, the article states, is to be mindful of what you are buying, “Research what kind of things you buy from where and if there are better alternatives that are close in price.” Another thing you can do is to watch what you are throwing away, see if it can be recycled or repurposed or even given to someone else instead of adding it to the already full trash dumps. Additionally, if you really want to help the planet, you could become a vegetarian. Meat, regardless of how tempting and delicious, uses a lot of resources to make, you have to have enough land to hold all the livestock, have enough food to feed the livestock, and then you have to process it and ship it all over the country for sale, “A vegetarian diet is healthier for you, the planet, and kinder to animals that meat production has disconnected you from.” Another thing you can eliminate is paper. Paper of course comes from trees and deforestation is a big issue facing our planet. You can help reduce this problem by going paperless, “Most companies are pretty good about rewarding their clients or customers who go paperless, or at least providing the option to go paperless.” One thing that people don’t usually think about when they want to be more environmentally friendly is water. Most people nowadays waste tons of water and don’t realize what effect it has on the environment. The article points out that, “There are people on the planet with no water to drink, yet we waste water at an alarming rate.” So be courteous about how much water you’re using, don’t run the dishwasher half full and take shorter or less frequent showers to preserve water.These are just a few examples of how you as a consumer can help the environment by making smarter choices in what you consume.

Article: http://thoughtcatalog.com/lauren-perry/2014/05/20-simple-things-you-can-do-to-help-save-our-planet/ 

Millennials becoming less religious than past generations.

By Elizabeth Mullett

In class we had a discussion of science vs. faith and I was admittedly fearful of what this discussion would turn into a real debacle but to my surprise it had not. Why is that? Many people in our class, even me, were brought up with a certain religion and even when to religious public schools but they commented on how they either moved away from religion or they questioned the belief entirely. In the article “U.S. Public Becoming Less Religious” by the Pew Research Center, it talks about this issue. It discusses how in all the public is still very religious and most people do believe in some kind of God but there was a drop in how many people are “absolutely certain” that there is a god. It also discusses how the number of people who do not identify with any religion has risen, “Altogether, the religiously unaffiliated (also called the “nones”) now account for 23% of the adult population, up from 16% in 2007.” The article goes on to say, ” The growth of the “nones” as a share of the population, coupled with their declining levels of religious observance, is tugging down the nation’s overall rates of religious belief and practice.” The article also talks about how another reason for this decline in religiousness is due to the younger generations becoming more spiritual rather than religious. It goes on to say how less and less of the younger generations are going to religious meetings on a weekly basis, and how less people actually pray everyday which is half as many as the Baby Boomer generations. It also says that, “the share of Americans saying religion is “very” or “somewhat” important in their lives has declined, while the share saying religion is “not too” or “not at all” important to them has grown by 5 percentage points.” The article also states, ” the United States is growing less religious (in percentage terms) not because there are fewer highly religious people but rather because, as the overall U.S. population has grown, there are now many more nonreligious people than was the case just a few years ago.” So in all, the number of people who are faithful has not changed much but the younger generations do appear to be less religious as older generations and that more and more people now do not identify with a religion at all.

Article: http://www.pewforum.org/2015/11/03/u-s-public-becoming-less-religious/

Lack of Scientific Issues in Politics

In the book, “Unscientific America” by Chris Mooney and Sheril Kirshenbaum, they talked about the ScienceDebate2008 and how it tried to bring scientific issues main-stage to televised political debates between the two presidential candidates who at the time were Obama and McCain. This ended up working and Obama and McCain both talked about how they would tackle the scientific issues that were pertinent to that time at a public setting, and helped bring science into politics. But this, in my opinion, was not enough. A political candidate can say they’re going to do something but whether or not they do or if they even fully understand the issue and how to fix it is a whole other issue on its own. I liked how Obama started to talk about science, how important science is and even helped people to understand the importance of slowing down or stopping Global Warming, but he never did anything, in my opinion, proactive. He talked about how we should invest in renewable resources but he never made any laws or bills to enforce the use of them. Obama seemed to use the talk of Global Warming to warn the American people of what could happen but as one of the most powerful people in the world, he could have done a lot more. Now I understand that it would also have to get passed Congress and that may be an impossible task all on its own but at least it could have started a domino effect of some type of scientific or public action. The fact that we have a candidate running right now who has came out and said that he believes global warming is a “hoax created by the Chinese” is proof enough of how little Science is talked about in politics and even put to political action of some kind. In the article from voanews.com called “Scientists Decry Lack of Political Urgency About Global Warming – 2004-06-15” they discuss how politicians usually do not talk about or care about the threat of Global Warming. They say, “Researchers who gathered in Washington Tuesday for a meeting on climate change warned that despite the imperfect state of knowledge, enough is known about global warming to cause grave worry and incite action.” Now Obama has been the most progressive president when it comes to advocating for Global Warming but still must be done and I hope the next presidential candidate can do more to help not only re-enforce the direness of Global Warming but will also but his or her words into action.

 

http://www.voanews.com/a/a-13-a-2004-06-15-28-1-66349677/545586.html .

Fighting Poverty with Birth Control

We discussed in class about the structural barriers we all face when it comes to our health, meaning that your socio-economic and/or political background can either help or hinder your health or your process of trying to be healthy. This reminds me of what we talked about in my Intro to Environmental Studies I class.  We discussed how developing countries have a problem with poverty and we discussed ways that would help not only the people of those developing countries but also the environment. One of these ways was to give women access to free contraception. In the article “Want to Fight Poverty? Expand Access to Contraception,” it discusses how important it is to people in poverty to have access to some type of birth control.  According to the article, “Today there are huge and widening class gaps in rates of unintended pregnancies: A poor woman is more than five times as likely to get pregnant by accident than an affluent woman.” The article then goes on to say how poor women do not get pregnant more often simply because they are more sexually active than other women, and how remaining celibate is strongly advised, both poor and rich women are sexually active, and yet poor women are the most likely to become pregnant. Becoming pregnant can have disastrous effects on the mother and the country. According to the article “Family Planning in Developing Countries,” it lists the problems becoming pregnant can impose to those who live in developing countries: “It may impede opportunities for economic development, increase health risks for women and children, and erode the quality of life by reducing access to education, nutrition, employment, and scarce resources such as potable water.” And in the article from The Washington Post it says, “Pilot projects have shown that offering free access to long-acting reversible contraceptives (such as IUDs, which have higher upfront costs than the pill or condoms but offer virtually no chance of “user error”) sharply reduces unplanned pregnancy and abortion rates among low-income women and teens.” So in all, letting women living in poverty have access to birth control cannot only help the women in those countries but also the countries themselves.

By Elizabeth Mullett

Articles: https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/a-powerful-tool-in-the-fight-against-poverty/2015/09/24/832c05fe-62f3-11e5-b38e-06883aacba64_story.html?utm_term=.b3f56f5ed33b

http://www.rand.org/pubs/issue_papers/IP176/index2.html 

Is Being Healthy Too Expensive?

by Elizabeth Mullett

In class we discussed how doing healthy things like eating kale or exercising is becoming normalized in today’s society. You watch celebrities lose an obscene amount of weight seemingly overnight and you read articles in magazines about eating the right proteins and going vegan, but is this really realistic to everyone? And do these new “fads” of health really helping you with your health? Now its obvious the information is out there on what you should do to get healthy but not everyone can afford to do these things to stay healthy. In the United States we have an issue with a large portion of our population being obese. I think this largely has to do with the fact that our food in the United States is much cheaper than anywhere else. We have fast food restaurants where you can get a whole meal for under $10, and for most middle working people that is a good deal. These meals however are very unhealthy. “Researchpublished by the World Health Organization found that a rise in fast food sales correlated to a rise in body mass index, and Americans are notorious for their fast-food consumption ― such food makes up about 11% of the  average American diet,” according to the article “Why are Americans Obese?” Healthy food like vegetables tend to be on the more expensive side of the other junk food like chips, or pop. When you have a limited amount of money to spend and you have to make the food last for up to two weeks, you are less likely to buy expensive produce. Articles in magazines and shows on television tell you to eat more vegetables and to go to the gym everyday but vegetables and gym memberships are more costly than some people would like. I believe most people want to be healthy and want to be able to do healthy things but they are strained due to how expensive these healthy habits tend to be. Sure you could always order a salad instead or try to work out at home, but for most people a salad does not fill you up like a burger would and people find it hard to keep up with working out at home due to many distractions and the lure of just being lazy instead. In the article “Why are Americans Obese?” it is talked about how Americans eat too much meat, confuse Diet with Nutrition, how being lazy is popular and how you can do to become more healthy and get rid of these unhealthy habits. The article also states that “weight gain and loss is primarily a formula of total calories consumed versus total calories used.”

Article: http://www.publichealth.org/public-awareness/obesity/