Final Thoughts

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As a first year student at the University, I can happily say that I am glad I took this course. Yes, I did take this class due to a course requirement for my psychology major, but taking this course was personally a real eye opener for me. Listening to the lectures and class discussions, watching the short clips and documentaries, reading the novels and commenting on the blogs really helped me understand more in depth on how we communicate certain things in our lives, specifically health, science, and the environment. Learning all the different ways things are communicated throughout our life and what has influence on how we communicate I found very interesting. I wasn’t really aware of how much things outside of our control can really have an impact on how we communicate to others.

I really liked how this class was structured. There was a variety of techniques which all helped me learn better. I personally like when there isn’t a lecture everyday, I liked the variety of watching short clips or full length documentaries, or reading a passage and then further discussing it with one classmate then the entire class. I felt as though the blogs helped with summing up what was discussed in class. Not everyone wrote about the same exact thing, and having people give their opinions on your blog was a nice comment or good constructed criticism. I also liked having the quizzes taken online. They were short and covered some key points in each chapter.

I enjoyed this class and would easily recommend it to someone else. I learned so much from this class from the lectures, videos, and my classmates. I can easily apply the information I learned from here to my other classes or when discussing a topic with someone.

-Tarah Klenk

What We Can Do to Help [blog 9]

In order to help our environment, we have to make aware to others on what each and everyone can do can help. Such as small changes in our homes and yards, workplace,  on the road, and at school.

The EPA recommends that homes should change their light bulbs often and change them to energy efficient light bulbs. Another way is to be smart on when to turn on the AC and the heat. By being smart on when to turn on one of these things, it can not only help the environment but can run down the cost of your energy bill. Keeping in mind of using your AC and heat, making sure your home is properly insulated. Another way to be efficient is to use water efficiently. It takes a lot of energy to pump, treat, and heat water, so using water efficiently will reduce greenhouse gas emissions. And of course the common sense one, reduce, reuse, recycle.

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What we can do on the road is be smart about our vehicle and what we put in it. Buying a fuel efficient vehicle can help the environment an help out your wallet too. Maintenance and your tires can actually help out as well. Keeping a well-maintained care produces fewer greenhouse gas emissions and is safer for the environment and you. And checking your tire pressure often can help. Under inflated tires increase tire wear, uses more fuel, and leads to higher greenhouse gas and air pollutant emissions.

For more information on how you can do a little to help the environment at home, workplace, on the road, and at school you can visit https://www.epa.gov/climatechange/what-you-can-do-about-climate-change .

-Tarah Klenk

 

sources: https://www.epa.gov/climatechange/what-you-can-do-about-climate-change

Greenwashing in Cleaning Products [blog 8]

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We have all read the labels “biodegradable”, “natural”, and “non-toxic”, generally on the front of most household products we use to clean and disinfect our homes with. And more and more household cleaning products are coming out stating these labels. Since some companies do not post their ingredients on their product, it is hard to tell whether the product is environmentally friendly as the companies claim. Ecoholic author, Vasil, worked with Marketplace and discovered several “lousy” labels of big name brands that one can find in almost every home.

Dawn antibacterial dish soap has been a huge supporter of wildlife cleanup after oil spills. They donate a bottle of dish soap to clean up the animals or donates money to a rescue group. But the Dawn dish soap product actually has an ingredient in the dish soap that is harmful to animals. The ingredient triclosan is an antibacterial and is toxic to aquatic life.

Organic Melt ice remover is a road salt and this one in particular claims to be “environmentally safe” since there is a large concern of road salt being harmful to rivers, streams, and groundwater. Marketplace checked with the company on the ingredients and found that only 3% of the product is sugar beets and the rest of it is rock salt. The first ingredient on Organic Melt ice remover is sugar beets, even though it only makes up 3%. There is no requirement to put the main ingredient first on the list.

And a third example is Simple Green All-Purpose Cleaner. The front label states that the cleaning product is non-toxic. But there is one ingredient in this cleaner that is toxic and is an actual health hazard. The ingredient is 2-butoxyethanol which can damage red blood cells. This toxic is not listed on the ingredient list or back of the product since there is no requirement for cleaning products to list all of their ingredients.

 

-Tarah Klenk

source(s): http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/10-worst-household-products-for-greenwashing-1.1200620

Nuclear Disasters (Blog 7)

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Many nuclear disasters have happened in the past 35 years or so, and people still continue to support nuclear energy. In this blog, I will discuss 4 different nuclear disasters and how they still impact the environment to this day.

The first disaster happened on March 1979 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Three Mile Island happened due to a series of mechanical malfunctions and human errors. In this disaster, there were no real serious health effects, but this did lead to immediate shutdowns of several plants. There was radioactive gases that were released into the air and this lead the governor to evacuate pregnant women. The amount of radioactivity released was deemed not a health threat by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, but many antinuclear activists and many local citizens disputed this.

The second disaster was discussed in class, happening on December 2, 1984 in Bhopal. This disaster lead to more than 600,000 people being exposed to a deadly gas cloud which cause people’s throats and eyes to burn, made people have nausea, and caused many deaths. Toxic material remains to this day and for those women who were exposed to the toxin have given birth to physically and mentally disabled children. Survivors have been trying to get the site and area cleaned up but there has been slow to little effort when Michigan-based Dow Chemical took over Union Carbide in 2001.

The third disaster is a very well known accident which happened in 1986. Chernobyl was the result of a flawed reactor design which was operated by an inadequate trained personnel. Two workers died on the night of the accident and 28 more people died within a few weeks as a result of radiation poisoning. Nobody off site suffered from the radiation effects. Large areas of Belarus, Ukraine, and Russia were contaminated in varying degrees.

The final disaster was a more recent and well known. Fukushima accident happened on March 11, 2011. After a major earthquake, a 15-metre tsunami disabled the power supply and cooling of three Fukushima Daiichi reactors, which caused the accident. There were no deaths due to radiation sickness, but over 100,000 people were evacuated from their homes.

83% of people who live near power plants favor the use of nuclear energy. But every plant makes massive amounts of radioactive waste. The accident of Chernobly  accident cost over 350 billion dollars.

-Tarah Klenk

Sources:

http://www.history.com/topics/three-mile-island

http://www.theatlantic.com/photo/2014/12/bhopal-the-worlds-worst-industrial-disaster-30-years-later/100864/

http://www.world-nuclear.org/information-library/safety-and-security/safety-of-plants/chernobyl-accident.aspx

http://www.world-nuclear.org/information-library/safety-and-security/safety-of-plants/fukushima-accident.aspx

Why We Hoard [blog 6]

Some people have trouble throwing away things. There are many questions that pop in a hoarder’s mind, but the main one is, “what if I need this?”. A hoarder sees all things such as magazines, water bottles, newspapers, etc. as something valuable and something that they might need in the future, so the hoarder cannot risk throwing the particular item away. The reason why a hoarder can have so much stuff can be that the individual(s) have compulsive buying, wanting to gain free items such as flyers, and to own perfect or unique items.

Talking about the “buyosphere” in class made sense as to why some people might hoard. In todays day in age, people want stuff and continue to buy stuff that they think is valuable or will be valuable one day, so they refuse to get rid of such items. Also, some of the items might have some sentimental value and can jog the memory of the individual person, making them not to want to get rid of the item. But there is a difference of hoarding and collecting when it comes to talking about the “buyoshphere”. Collectors have some type of pride over the objects or collectables that they own. They have joy in displaying these items and love to talk about the items they own. The items that the collector owns is usually displayed in an organized fashion. The collector also can budget their money wisely so they do not over spend and know how much they can go participate in the “buyosphere”. A hoarder are generally embarrassed by the possessions due to the clutter and how it generally makes a space unlivable. Hoarders sometimes do not budget their money wisely and can go into debt for this reason. Being trapped in the “buyosphere” of wanting more and more items to satisfy their needs.

The image above depcits that for some hoarders seeing a sign stating a sale can give the urge to go buy, buy, buy. Making them fall into wanting to shop and buy things for no reason.

 

-Tarah Klenk

Source(s): https://www.adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/obsessive-compulsive-disorder-ocd/hoarding-basics

Science in Catholic Schools [blog 5]

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All the way up until college, I have attended private (catholic) school and I feel that I have personally learned the same amount of science than any other school, public or private. The theory of creationism was not pounded into my head, it wasn’t even taught other than in history when learning about Charles Darwin and his theory of evolution. But some people today still have ignorance in thinking that Catholic schools only teach the theory of creationism and/ or not “real” science. Some parts of the country think this and believe that Catholic schools and churches are hostile over the teaching of evolution.

Along with religion being apart of my curriculum, science too has always been a major class in my curriculum, including field trips to COSI in Columbus and Cincinnati Museum Center. The opinions from science teachers across the country do not really agree with either students should be taught one or the other. One teacher says in an interview that “…science [is] the constant investigation of the external world, a quest to analyze and understand the physical world, exclusive of human experience. Religion [is] the eternal internal investigation, a search to explore and understand what lies within and between us, an examination of the human experience. If science is our understanding of the world, religion is our understanding of us. Maybe science is the ‘how’ and religion is the ‘why.'” (para. 10). Young minds are curious and are in need to learn information; their minds are impressionable by what they are taught in today’s day in age. Whether they attend a private (Catholic) or public school, people need to realize that student is getting a good education and that the Catholic Church accepts the teaching of evolution and modern science. There are many Jesuits and clergymen with a Ph.D in all different sciences, all of them are qualified to speak on “real” science’s behalf and also believe and practice in their faith. Both private and public schools are qualified for prepping students for standardized testing.

– Tarah Klenk

Links:

https://ncse.com/blog/2014/06/is-real-science-taught-catholic-schools-0015674

Academic Journals vs. Media

 

One of the most common ways for people get their news or their information is through the Internet. And thanks to today’s media or what is found “news worthy”, people tend to read what they believe are “scholarly” or “academic” articles or journals when in reality there is no facts behind these stories. They are generally just surveys complied together and fed back to the public because people may find these “findings” consumable and feel they have learned something “scientific”. The Washington Post gives an example of when Drexel University released a study saying how “sexting” helps better a relationship. The Washington Post makes the point saying how this is not based on any real facts, just surveys complied and sent back out into the public.

There were no academic articles supporting this study. And this is only one example of thousands of misleading articles. And the reason these articles are more likely to be read versus legitimate academic articles is due to the title of the journal (mostly if it is something new or unheard of). While scientific journals are trying to appeal to the eyes of the readers, other articles are spewing and exaggerating the original article till the final and main thought or study is completely lost. And the viewers love articles such as the example mentioned that they are in demand for more.

Not all journals and articles are like this. Some do keep the main study in mind and are back-up by studies, but not all. Being aware of the references and the legitimacy of the site/article is needed to be kept in mind of the reader. And scientific publishers are trying to distance themselves from what they call “publication bias”. But when reading articles that may be a little outlandish, a good idea to keep in mind is to read the original study and compare the new with the old to see if the article is legitimate or if it is just exaggerating and the main study is lost.

-Tarah Klenk

reference(s)

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/in-theory/wp/2016/08/17/the-media-is-ruining-science/?utm_term=.da20e8bfcda3