“If all insects on Earth disappeared, within 50 years all life on Earth would end. If all human beings disappeared from the Earth, within 50 years all forms of life would flourish.”
— Jonas Salk, Biologist
If you went to your local Walmart or any other general store today you would find an entire aisle dedicated to skin and body care. In that aisle there will be enough products containing microbeads to fill at least one shopping cart. Microbeads are minuscule balls of plastic found in many face personal care products such as facial scrubs and toothpaste. They are typically made of polypropylene or polyethylene and are so small, sometimes as small as 1 mm, that they pass through most water treatment systems. This means that after they swirl down your drain they head straight for the oceans. Along the way, these microbeads tend to absorb any number of chemicals like a sponge. They are then mistaken for food by thousands of fish, many of which retain the plastic and eventually die of starvation. These fish eventually eat so much plastic that they can no long eat any actual food. Not only that, these microbeads also tend to release all of the chemicals they absorbed on the way once they are ingested. These chemicals are then absorbed by the fish and then kindly shared with whatever eats the fish, including humans.
I don’t understand how humans can knowingly cause harm to their home. This planet is the only one we get, that alone should be motivation enough to take care of it. The fight against harmful microbeads has already begun. According to an article by NPR, state lawmakers in Illinois and New York have approved legislature banning microbeads in their states. This is amazing. I decided to do my part by educating the people in my community about the dangers of microbeads. With the help of DoSomething.org, I found a campaign where I went to my local convenience store and took a picture of some of the products that contain microbeads. I then posted this picture onto all my social media accounts along with an educational paragraph in hopes that if the people around me become aware of the problem they will do their part to stop contributing.
This week has really given me the chance to realize how lucky I am. I found that I personally have never been a victim of injustice. As I reflected I remembered that I do know a young boy who is not so fortunate. Previously when I thought of bullying, I would imagine the typical scenarios that everyone is told to look for but I never imagined them happening in real life. It wasn’t until I found out that a fifteen year old boy I know and highly regard was being bullied in school, that I realized exactly how real this problem is. According to stopbullying.gov, approximately 1 in 4 U.S. students report being bullied in school, most commonly in middle school. Just because someone is different does not give anyone the right to attack and demean them. Bullying can be extremely detrimental to a person’s self-worth and has even led to the loss of too many young lives that should have been busy loving themselves and others. Seeing the hurt and distress behind this sweet boy’s eyes had me riled and ready to sit some fifteen year old punks down and give them a piece of mind. Instead I decided to check out DoSomething.org, a great activist organization, to see how I could do my part to fight bullying. There I found a campaign to raise awareness against bullying. I joined it and involved some of my friends in an interactive texting game that taught us how to spot and stop bullying. I figured that if I couldn’t go and talk to fifteen year old punks I could at least raise awareness in my circle of friends in hopes that they do the same and spread it throughout. Spreading awareness helps the problem but the real solution lies in spreading acceptance. If we can all accept each other as humans, with flaws and differences, but also as creatures that are all similar then no one will ever have to be afraid to be themselves ever again.
For our analysis on the effectiveness of blog comments as a means of communication I chose to look at the comments to a posting by one of my fellow quad members over Islamophobia. Being able to comment on other people’s writing helps us grow in our understandings of others because it allows for everyone that sees it to get more than one perspective on an issue in a way that evaluates an idea in a well-rounded way. In this example everyone agreed on the idea that perspective is necessary but each comment illustrates a different example of perspective. It also gives the original author the ability to evaluate how digested or original their ideas are in the world. The author can see how many people have never thought about their ideas before, as well as how many have thought about it and what conclusions were reached in those thought processes. Another benefit of online communication is the comfort that comes with removing yourself personally from your ideas. It is much easier for a person to express themselves online when they know that they are not being physically connected to the words on the screen. Yet this disconnect can also lead to misinterpretations of other people’s idea. Without visual cues and inflections of the voice it can be difficult to guess what tone they are expressing themselves in. One way that we can all make this less of a problem is by keeping it in mind and taking everything with a grain of salt, as well as knowing when to stop typing and just let things go.