Environmental Issues – Grace Giffune

Going into this class, I felt that I had a pretty solid grasp on the multiple different ways that human beings are wasteful. Just going back to my roots, I was raised to waste not, want not; using everything up until it couldn’t physically be used any longer and only then getting rid of it. This class, and a lot of the material we covered, opened my eyes to plenty of other ways that we’re harming the planet. Educational and depressing!

A sad little plastic bag in a tree

It’s interesting just how obvious something becomes once it’s pointed out. It’s like when someone tells you “You’re tongue never fits comfortably in your mouth”. See? Now you’re annoyingly aware of how weird your tongue feels inside your mouth. You’re welcome. That’s how I felt after the very first thing we had to watch, Idle Threat. Now I can’t even walk down the street without seeing 1 or 20 vehicles just letting their engines run for no reason at all. It makes me feel dirty to breathe in the air here, and now I’m not sure if it’s a mental thing or if it’s because the air actually is super dirty. I can’t even imagine what it was like breathing the air here before any of the regulations we have now.

Food trucks running their engines and polluting my air while tricking me into wanting to fill my bellay

What I would have really liked to take pictures of and share I am unfortunately not able to because of the contract that I signed, so I had to make do with pictures of similar things on the street. I started working for this company known as Earth Angel (look them up here!!) and their whole mission is to make movies without making a mess. Things I’ve learned from this class plus what I’ve been learning with Earth Angel has really opened up my eyes to a whole plethora of wasteful living examples. Essentially my job is to sort trash on set. You would not believe how many people just default to putting things in landfill bins even when presented with a choice of landfill, recycling, and compost.

Where else should an old pizza plate go?

So much trash, like this discarded pizza plate ^^ belong somewhere else! Composting isn’t just for food scraps people! And why is it so hard for people to check to see if something can be recycled? Everything that is able to be recycled in this country has that cute little label that we all know and love. So why don’t people LOOK FOR THAT BEFORE JUST DUMPING SOMETHING IN A LANDFILL BIN?????? This has quickly become my biggest pet peeve. There are literally bins on the streets of NYC where you can separate recyclables and landfill but do people ever actually try? Noooooo, it’s too much effort and too confusing apparently.

Human being logic: create trashcan, put trash anywhere but the trashcan

Another thing that I’ve really become aware of (which is unfortunately not pictured here) is water usage. I’ve always tried to be as conscious of this as possible, but ever since hearing the woman from the River Project talk about rain and overflowing sewage, I’ve been hyper-aware of this. I don’t have a timer in my shower, but I’ve been trying to take the fastest showers that I can (7 minutes is my best time so far), and I continue to keep the faucet off if I’m not directly using any running water. I wish that I could figure out the best way to make my roommate conscious of this, because she’s over there taking 45 minute long showers. Like, what is she even doing in there??

I didn’t know that trees wore shoes, how kind to give them hand-me-downs!

I’m still struggling to find the balance between letting all of the very real and very dangerous information I learn scare me and put me down, and at the same time motivate real change. A lot of things this class opened my eyes to has been very disheartening, and we all know that. At the same time though, there’s always a person or organization working to make things better. Things might move slower than molasses as we try to build a more sustainable future for ourselves but at least we’re aware, awake, and trying.

How did this plastic end up wound so perfectly on this branch?