J500 Media and the Environment

A different perspective

I didn’t grow up eating local food.

My mom would make wonderful meals for our family, but I did not have a very big relationship with my food. I would eat fast food from time to time and I never questioned where my food came from. 

For a short time my mom had a garden at our house in Topeka. I remember that she grew strawberries and that I didn’t like having to pull weeds.

The readings and discussions of this class, as well as my experience with the KCCUA has totally changed my perspective.

I now am developing a better understanding with my food and want to start a garden as soon as I can. troostwood-300x200

The kids who work at the Troostwood Youth Garden  are growing up understanding where food comes from and learning from an early age how to eat healthy.

I am moving to New York City at the end of the month and want to start an urban garden. Seeing the many different places that food can be grow makes me very optimistic that I could actually grow my own food. 

Working with the KCCUA has also taught me more about the seasons. It never occurred to me that it was a bit strange that I could buy broccoli all year. 

I think that this disconnect with the food I eat and with the seasons is horrible. 

Now that I have more knowledge I feel like I should try to help educate other people.

I think that actually creating an urban farm will help me learn more about the food that I eat and help me learn more about myself

-Tyler Waugh


Save the Wetlands, save the Flint Hills

The other day I went to the Baker wetlands for the first time. I had heard a lot about them and I thought that it was a bit of a shame that I haven’t seen them sometime in the four years I’ve lived in Lawrence.

I had a great time at this beautiful place, but it made me wonder what progress really is.

For a long time there has been controversy about a proposed highway, an extension of K-10, that would go through the wetlands.
Supposedly this would lessen the traffic on 23rd Street, but it would also destroy an ecosystem and a beautiful part of Lawrence.

There is even a “new wetlands” being built to appease people who are upset.

The question is does this matter? Is any place safe from progress?

I think the Flint Hills should be. My family is originally from Eskridge (I was happy to see that they have a website!) and I have spent a lot of time there. While I am all for alternative energy methods and support the use of wind turbines, I feel that they should be in every place except the Flint Hills, as are the last of the Tallgrass Prairie.

A thousand wind turbines in the Flint Hills would only generate 1/10 of 1% of our nation’s energy production. Do you think wind should not be used as an alternative energy source until it becomes more efficient? Am I being hypercritical because I support alternative energy but don’t want them in a place that is so dear to me? I don’t think so. I am going to do everything I can to help the Flint Hills, because they deserve to be protected.

-Tyler Waugh

Love on two wheels

I think it’s the warm weather that did it. I’ve decided to start riding my bike again. Before I had a car I had my bike. I would visit my friends and ride to coffee shops or restaurants.

I rode a lot less once I got my car.

I always thought it was strange that my mom was more concerned with me riding my bike then driving my car in Topeka

but now I understand.

Topeka is a not very bike friendly city and I would often get yelled at by motorists or ran off the road. This led me to take long trips though side streets and alleys to get to my destination.

This should not be how cyclists are treated! I am doing my part to drive my car less and I deserve some respect!

I am lucky that Lawrence has a bronze-level status as a bicycle-friendly community. I feel comfortable riding on most rodes and most motorists are act courteous and safe. There are also bike lanes and trails for cyclists.

5 American cities were on the list of the 11 most bike friendly cites in the world. I wonder if the state of the economy and gas prices will change this? I know I try to only use my car to drive home to Topeka.

There is already an international ride your bike to work day, but has regularly riding your bike to work become a stigma?

I hope not, because there are few things I like more than riding my bike on a beautiful Kansas day. The wind is splashing my face and hair and I forget all my cares, at least until the ride is over.

-Tyler Waugh

Photo Credit: Earcos on Flickr

Got a light? got a clue?
March 13, 2009, 3:05 pm
Filed under: Society + Media, Waste + Recycling | Tags: , , , , , ,

One of the many ashtrays at KU. Photo by Tyler Waugh I never grew up with cigarettes. My parents both smoked, but never in the house and never in the car. Everyday after dinner they would go outside and smoke a cigarette on the porch and talk about their days. My Mom quit a few years ago, citing acupuncture and will power as how she quit, but my Dad still smokes to this day.

Everyone knows smoking is bad for your health. We all know that “Cigarette smoking is the major single cause of cancer mortality (death) in the United States.” But what about the environment?

The air pollution emitted by cigarettes is 10 times greater than diesel car exhaust?

Not so surprising is how much it takes to make a cigarette.

4 miles of paper an hour to roll and pack cigarettes. To the tobacco industry and smokers all a tree is good for is to produce 100 cigarettes.

But What about the butts? Many people don’t like to litter, but some think that this doesn’t apply to smokers.

This post isn’t about these alarming statistics, it’s about me. I started smoking when I was a sophomore living in Hash hall. People would socialize and smoke cigarettes out on the porch, and that’s how I got sucked in. Though I at first thought of me as a “social smoker” (whatever that is) but am now addicted.

What will make me quit?

The smell didn’t.

The coughing didn’t.

The disgusting interior of my car didn’t.

The wasted money didn’t.

Will these facts about the environment? Maybe it will help. I haven’t smoked all day.

-Tyler Waugh

For the love of landfills
March 6, 2009, 4:18 pm
Filed under: Society + Media, Waste + Recycling | Tags: , , , ,


I feel at home in a landfill. I love everything about it, all the different colors, textures, shapes and especially the smell. The smell that stays with you all day. The smell that gets on your clothes and your shoes and completely overwhelms you.

I love going to landfills because I can actually show people how awful they are. I could list staggering statistics like how Americans throw away around 40 billion bottles and soft drink cans and 25 billion Styrofoam cups each year, but I feel that these numbers can be expressed better in a visual way.





These photographs are from a project I did on mass consumption a few years ago. I tried to show the tremendous amount of waste and how are society makes these products readily available to consume and throw away. As has been said many times “away is a place” and this place is a landfill.

I am the youngest of 4 children, all boys. Most of my clothes are hand me downs, I’ve never really lived any other way. This is a good way to reuse old things, which is the second step to the good old phrase “reduce, reuse, recycle.” I reduce my wardrobe by not having many clothes in the first place, and donate all my clothes to goodwill to reuse them. Every American throws away over 68 pounds of clothing and textiles per year, and this could be dramatically reduced if people shopped more at second hand stores or the goodwill and reused old clothes. The photographer Chris Jordan has also done some wonderful work on mass consumption.

I will continue to document the horror of landfills. If people see where “away” is then maybe they will start reusing things and think twice before throwing things out.


– Tyler Waugh

Does New Zealand have a new idea for the meat industry?
February 27, 2009, 3:45 pm
Filed under: Food + Health

The more I learn about the food I eat, the more I realize it is much bigger than I thought.

According to an article about Slaughterhouse Blues most people do not know much about the food they eat or the conditions that food is processed in.Pig

“When all the social costs are tallied, our cheap meat is much more expensive than we can afford,”  Eric Schlosser, author of Fast Food Nation writes in the foreword.

“Slaughterhouses are now located in rural areas that rarely get much attention from the national media. … Most Americans live in cities or suburbs and have little idea where their food comes from.”

I have little idea where most of my food comes from, and I live in the Midwest, America’s farm.

I never thought of the dangerous work conditions of meat processing plants, including repetitive stress injury, and the wages of the workers.

I mean, you can even get sick by just being around these places, according to an article in Rolling Stone about the Pork Industry.

However, there may be light at the end of the tunnel in the way New Zealand is dealing with meat.

According to the Meat Industry Association of New Zealand, one of their goals is to

“be at the forefront of international food safety and the environmental sustainability of agricultural production thereby maintaining competitive advantage.”

The 07-08 Meat Industry Profile highlights food safety, animal welfare and environmental concerns. New Zealand is working with the Pastoral Greenhouse Gas Research Consortium.

New Zealand is fighting for better conditions, I hope America is watching and listening.

– Tyler Waugh

Thanks to Farm Sanctuary and Flickr for the for photo

Super size my shame
February 20, 2009, 4:17 pm
Filed under: Food + Health, Society + Media

Fast Food

I didn’t grow up on fast food.

When I was younger my parents would cook a dinner that was generally healthy. The meal would always include fruit, vegetables and often some variety of meat.

It wasn’t until I got to college I started eating fast food, and a lot of it. I’m ashamed to admit that I eat so often at Burger King that they know me by name (Yuck). Sorry. I have a lot of excuses. I could say that it’s cheaper (it’s not), it’s more convenient (then cooking? No way!) or that it’s only a few times a month (it’s not).

The real reason is the taste. I really like the taste of fast food. I really shouldn’t.

According to Natural News some of the ingredients are also used in products like soap and play sand.

the documentary Super Size me hasn’t changed my actions. Mike Morgan ate nothing but McDonalds for 30 days to see what would happen to his body.   

The thing is, I know fast food isn’t good for me. I still do it. Is there something psychologically wrong with me? Is it the media? Do I secretly want to sleep with Ronald Mcdonald?

According to an article by Eric Schlosser, author of Fast Food Nation, ninety-six percent of American school children could identify Ronald McDonald. The only fictional character that was more recognizable was Santa Claus.

It seems obvious I can’t do this myself. So if you see me eating a BK double stacker (I wish I didn’t know what that was) please let me know how you feel about it!

At the end of Super Size Me Morgan poses a question. Who do you want to see go first, you or them?” Behind the text is a cartoon tombstone of Ronald McDonald (1954-2012).

I want it to be them.

-Tyler Waugh

Thanks to ebruli for the picture and youtube for the video.