Changing Courses

This blog was initially created for use in a journalism technology class, as you can see from the first few posts. Since I literally amd beginning a new course, this blog will too change course. Henceforth, most, if not all, posts will concern green chemistry or a related subject. If you scroll down a couple of posts, you will find one particularly long entry concerning the graphic design program InDesign and a poster I made for my job. I work as a cashier in a grocery store and, as you will read in that post, I made a poster reminding customers to bring their reusable bags because I was getting tired of waiting for them to run out to their cars.

So, as you can see, the environment and humans’ impact on it has been very much on my mind. I try to be as environmentally friendly as possible but, of course, I am not perfect. My carbon footprint estimate from nature.org was 20 tons of CO2 per year. I recently moved into my own apartment, but when I lived with my parents, I recycled all of my glass, paper, and plastic. We also had a compost bin where we placed all of our biodegradable food scraps. Now that I am living on my own, it is a little more difficult to recycle as efficiently. I still need to figure out where to get a recycle bin… Anyway, I also try to shut off lights and appliances as often as possible. I am very conscious of waste–be it electrical, food, water, or otherwise. On the flip side, I drive my car (a 1994 Toyota Camry) a lot. I have two jobs that are both about ten minutes from my home, and I work several shifts at each per week. Combined with time driving to school and running various errands, that is a lot of gas consumed and CO2 released. I wish I could ride my bike, but I am simply too pressed for time.

Here are some things I have been thinking about:

  • Is it more environmentally friendly for professors to place their syllabuses online rather than print them out? Most students go home and print them off themselves. Doesn’t it consume more electricity to have twenty-five computers printing off twenty-five syllabuses from twenty-five printers than to have one computer print off twenty-five syllabuses from one printer? The same amount of paper gets used, but what about the electricity?
  • Which is really more environmentally friendly, paper or plastic?
  • What is the difference between organic and all-natural? Are there any standards?
  • I recently watched Food, Inc. and am interested to learn more about the food industry and how it is affecting our environment.
  • Is ethanol truly effective? Or do the costs of manufacturing it outweigh the benefits?
  • Are ‘green cleaners’ (such as Seventh Generation and Green Works) as effective as traditional non-green cleaners? How do these products earn the label ‘green’? Are there any standards?

As you might guess from the list above, I am very interested in the consumer aspect of this new green revolution we are experiencing. Is it all marketing ploys? Is it just a fad? Or do the new labels of ‘green,’ ‘organic,’ and ‘all-natural’ actually have some merit? I am interested in becoming a more educated citizen (and consumer) of planet Earth, and am hoping that this course will set me on the path to becoming one.

I look forward to watching An Inconvenient Truth tomorrow.

Megan

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