J500 Media and the Environment

My Report Card by denzylj
April 29, 2008, 6:20 pm
Filed under: Society + Media | Tags: , , ,

Such has been my performance since attending KU, that I’ve been blissfully unaware of all the “As” I’ve notched.

That is to say Bisphenol A.

In the sweltering heat, I’ve played soccer, and not being sufficiently acclimated (and out of shape), I’ve consumed copious amounts of water – from the same old, dare I say it, leaching plastic bottles. They’ve long since been discarded, but that’s courtesy of some shock revelations ala courses 500 and 624. Those numbers have brought more insight than I could have hoped for, but it’s the others I fear most – those single digit ones underneath the bottles, the ones we don’t pay much heed to or even know about. On the pitch, I thought it was about getting in shape, building up the physique, getting kicked in the shins or solar plexus only to soldier on, but now to have the wind sucked out of me, and the not too small mention of a dent to my male pride … by accounts of how Bisphenol A leads to decreased testosterone levels in men.

I also don’t look at buildings the same way. I hesitate to step into a room without thinking of VOCs and wonder how long and how much chemicals I’ve been exposed to. How much more can this body take. Actually make that how much can this earth endure? Such has been my exposure… suddenly that seems a nasty word, education maybe in this class that I can rattle off a gazillion definitions of sustainable living. OK, I exaggerate, but you get the picture. I think twice about which light bulbs to buy; unplugging idle electrical components; short flushes and long ones; plastics this side, newspapers that side, aluminum there; Prius’s above SUV’s, one minute showers and green versus being in the dark.

It’s been a good education, but one which is far from over. I’m not scoring As for effort yet. Some serious lifestyle reshuffling has to go on, but the wealth of information has been informative. Encouraging too are the many students who’ve show a genuine commitment to treasuring our natural heritage. I can’t help sensing though that there’s still a disconnect between first world agendas and developing and third world priorities. How, for instance, do we talk to villagers in Mali about energy efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs and recycling when they’re preoccupied with a struggle for survival, about global warming and reducing carbon emissions when the fingers are pointing back to the world’s biggest polluters? Debate perhaps for another forum. But credit to Simran for a well-organized program with expert guests and informative readings.

Now where’s that Bisphenol A?



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[…] Media & The Environment wrote an interesting post today on My Report CardHere’s a quick excerpt … e preoccupied with a struggle for survival, about global warming and reducing carbon emissions when the fingers are pointing back to the world’s biggest polluters? Debate perhaps for another forum…. […]

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Allow me to put in an unsolicited plug for my Development Journalism class here!
Thank you, Denzyl, for tracing your journey in such a lucid way. You bring up the extremely important points of priorities and cultural differences. This is a critical juncture where we do have to confront the population and consumption patterns of both the global North and South. How do we balance the needs for growth and the rise of the middle class and more disposable income with the impacts of that consumption? Who has the right to tell China and India to consume less? Americans, the most ravenous consumers on Earth? The questions beget more questions but I hope they will be raised in the final weeks of this class and the next class I teach.

Comment by j500

I agree with you Denzyl. It is hard to get other countries on board with sustainability when we are the biggest polluters.

However, in the process of cleaning up our act, the environment should be a priority in dealing with other nations. Not enforcing our will upon them, but working with their politicians and leaders to see the value that clean green can have on their countries.

Comment by acbowman

Thank you all for the comments. Don’t get me wrong, I’m heartened by the way people express themselves in their posts and in their daily lives how they show a strong desire to maintain a sustainable lifestyle. If there was an air of resignation, like why should we do something when our neighbors or big factories are not on board, then that would be tragic. That sense of optimism is something to build upon in addressing, not just domestic concerns, but more global issues.


Comment by denzylj

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