Overview of the Class

As we get to the end of the class, I’m glad it’s over in the sense that I can go back to doing my part in reversing climate change/global warming while not having to deal with the reality of it every other day in class. This class was immensely educational. From learning more about the ESA, then getting frustrated with it, to learning more about the California Clapper Rail. I’ve probably learned more about the ESA compared to the other subjects in the class, partially because its the subject I knew the least about, but also because of the research projects we had to complete in the semester. Salt marshes have always been in the background, living in Foster City, but now I look at it in a completely different way. Now when I see the marshlands I don’t get angry at the smell, I look at it hoping I might see a Clapper Rail or a Harvest Mouse (probably not). But the class has changed the way I look at certain environmental aspects of society.

I knew quite a bit about global warming, our increasing populuation (which reached 7 billion people), our depleaeting resources, but I never knew how closely interrelated all of these issues are. While I’m disappointed I didn’t take advantage of volunteer opportunities, I was able to visit a few aquariums donate money that way and even do my part to save acres of coral reef via SaveNature.org. I appreciate these aquariums I’ve been to this semester so much more than I did in the past, and I consider myself to be environmentally conscious. In the past I would simply pay my entrance fee and move on, but now I’m more than happy to help fund these organizations by buying a membership, plus this will force me to go back and enjoy wildlife more than a few times a year. I think everyone needs to visit  these places at least once or twice a year just to remind themselves that we aren’t alone and what we do has a big impact on wildlife species.

This class hasn’t made me into an optimist by any means, especially when you see the effects our use of plastic has had, but if everyone in this class looks at the environment in different ways than before taking the class than it’s one more step in changing how we live. I’m not saying everyone needs to drastically change their lives, but doing little things like using reusable container, grocery bags and reducing oil consumption, these things can go a long way to help reverse some effects we’ve caused. I said it once in class, if everyone does their part we’ll be heading in a much better direction.

If only we can make it mandatory that every student at SF State has to take this environmental course, then we’ll be going places.


Plastic Attacks Again

We’ve been talking about Climate Change pretty much the entire semester, but as we get more into the topic I can’t help but be reminded of this image posted on NPR. “Since 2009, photographer Chris Jordan has been documenting birds on Midway Atoll way out in the Pacific Ocean — near what’s known as the “Pacific Garbage Patch” or, essentially, a swirling heap of plastic the size of Texas.”

The images that Jordan has taken speaks a lot to the long way we have to go to reverse climate change or our dependence on materials that don’t degrade. “about one-third of all albatross chicks die on Midway, many as the result of being mistakenly fed plastic by their parents.” That’s insane. I’ve spent my entire life using these products thinking, oh well we recycle so that should help, but the harsh reality is you have to do more than just recycle. That’s why I’m glad I live in the Bay Area where we have the opportunity to compost the materials we use and more and more people are continuing to use reusable containers and restaurants using compostable materials.

We still have a long way to go as many cities aren’t as “green” as Bay Area cities. The eight images shown are pretty disturbing and should be shown along side those images of marine life getting stuck in soda can rings. Even though the SF State campus provides us with so many options to recycle, compost or use reusable materials I see too many students ignore this and simply throw recyclable materials into the trash, compostable materials into the recycle bin or simply toss everything in the trash. Seeing people do that in this class is even more frustrating, its like “haven’t you guys been paying attention all semester?”

Baby steps I guess is better than no steps at all, but as we’ve been learning we could be at a point of no return unless we start to turn things around fast.

Full Article including images: http://www.npr.org/blogs/pictureshow/2011/10/31/141879837/how-soda-caps-are-killing-birds