Kitchen Compost Bucket, available online at Williams Sonoma. Made of durable steel construction with rustproof powder-coat finish, its airtight seal-on lid helps control odours and the removable inner plastic bucket with handle simplifies emptying and cleaning. Buy it: Online, at www. Please note that the price excludes international shipping costs.
No problem — you can create a mini compost at home quite easily. All you need is some outdoor space, a bin, a little soil and some newspaper or dried leaves. Simply add a layer of soil and torn up newspaper to the bottom of the bin, and start adding food waste. As the waste piles up, add more newspaper and leaves. Stir it once a day, or more, to keep it aerated and to prevent any funky smells. Quarterly Print Magazine Exclusive features, celebrity interviews, sustainable style, special reports, travel, tech, wellness and more. Free Weekly E-Newsletter From of-the-minute news to candid reviews, tips and events, the best of each week delivered straight to your inbox.
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Here's what you need to know before getting down in the dirt - literally. Contact Contact Us Close Contact the editor: editor ecozine. If you need help using the site: userhelp ecozine. Pin it. Home , Resources , Sustainability. Comments Be the first to comment on this Article Login or register to post comments. Sustainable living starts here Quarterly Print Magazine Exclusive features, celebrity interviews, sustainable style, special reports, travel, tech, wellness and more Free Weekly E-Newsletter From of-the-minute news to candid reviews, tips and events, the best of each week delivered straight to your inbox.
Events Calendar. Shark fin soup is a delicacy that dates back hundreds of years all the way to the Ming Dynasty in China, where it was a symbol of status and power reserved for emperors. The fin gives off a gelatinous texture, achieved through careful drying, precise trimming and a complex preparation method that takes several days.
LA Times. More than 8, sharks are killed every hour, so that people can enjoy this delicacy. A man by the name of Chef Gordon Ramsay. He investigated shark fin soup all around the world, and even with his keen pallet could not understand why the fin could be considered a delicacy. Ramsay started a successful campaign to ban shark fin soup in Chinatown. If we can reduce the demand for shark fin soup, we can stop the killing of sharks by human activity drastically. For example, Sharks are apex predators and sharks typically tend to eat bigger fish such as tuna. These bigger fish tend to eat smaller fish who for the most part eat algae.
If we kill too many sharks, especially adolescent sharks, then those bigger fish will eat too many of those tiny fish and this will result in too much algae, or algae blooms. With the decrease of sharks, there was a drastic increase in stingrays who then ate up all the scallops; sad day for all those people who depend on scallops for food and income.
Sharks also tend to eat sick and dying fish. With less sharks, there will be an increase in the sick and dying fish which could prove devastating to other schools of fish as well as the health of our seafood. We do not know how or if the oceans can withstand a massive shark extinction. The ecosystem that sharks help manage is relied upon by 3 billion people approximately sharks have been killed for their fins within the last three minutes.
The concept of taking resources reminds me of the the book entitled, Ishamel, written by Daniel Quinn. WIth Gorilla gone, will there be hope for man? We cannot continue to survive and function without a healthy planet. Without healthy ecosystems, we will no longer have access to resources and therefore, will no longer be able to capitalize off of those resources.
There must be a balance between what we take, and what we replenish. I believe that the author is referring to the Takers as those who quite literally take from the people and the land and the Leavers are those who simply try to live off the land and work together with others to survive instead of oppressing anyone else with their survival. There are so many cultures who rely on sharks as a means of survival, and big game fisherman are the takers who deplete without considering the greater consequence.
So far it seems that only thirty six airlines and nineteen shipping companies around the world have made the commitment to stop transporting shark fins. It is a hopeful situation that in recent years so many parties have hopped on board in the fight against shark finning but despite the California ban, federal customs authorities do not restrict the import and export of shark fins through Los Angeles or other ports in the state, according to a spokesman for Representative Royce.
Hopefully once this occurs, then the United States can be the example to the rest of the world in preserving ocean ecosystems in order to benefit ocean life as well as the 3 billion people who rely on seafood for their livelihoods. There are many obstacles stopping the ban of shark finning internationally and while the act of shark finning is illegal in United States coastal waters, shark fins continue to be bought and sold throughout the United States. Also stated in a press release by Oceana that a nationwide ban on the trade of shark fins would reduce the international fin trade, improve enforcement of the current finning ban, and send a message to other countries that the United States recognizes shark finning as a cruel process that should not be allowed to continue.
Today, the United States took an important step towards achieving this. Unfortunately in this current society, it is next to impossible to know if a shark fin in the United States is a product of finning. If A national fin ban were implemented by governments in all countries, it would remove that uncertainty and shut down the United States as a market for shark fins and hopefully to other countries involved in the trade as well.
The ban would also reinforce the status of the United States as a global leader in shark conservation Synder. Bourne, Jr. Response to public outcry over dolphin deaths, US Congress passed marine mammal protection act MMPA in Prohibited killing, selling, importing, and exporting of marine mammals or marine mammal parts led to substantial decline in dolphin mortality. Goal of movement toward zero dolphin mortality remain hard to achieve and allowed US fleet to kill 20, dolphins annually. Non-governmental organization Earth Island Institute EII organizes a consumer boycott leading to more of a public outcry.
Every year, these dolphin slaughtering continue. In Taiji, Japan throughout the month of September, thousands of dolphins are murdered due to a misconception that dolphins eat too many fish and the environmental consequences of this could be highly detrimental. This directly relates to shark finning and it is vital that more agencies take action in order to prevent catastrophic devastation. There are many obstacles that are preventing a full fan of shark trade in the United States as well as foreign countries. Washington state has played a key role in the protection of sharks and is one of eleven states that have banned the sale and trade of shark fin products.
Unfortunately, there is still an urgent need for responsible management and monitoring at the national, regional, and international levels to prevent the extinction of shark species. The public must urge their local representatives in Congress that the ecosystems and people of the United States want stronger laws in protecting sharks protecting sharks.
Any import or export shipments should be highly monitored and any shark meat found should be apprehended and criminal action should be taken towards those allowing the shipment of such gods. If the United States is successful in creating laws that will ban all activity involving shark meat, then the US can set an example to other countries, leading to an increase in shark populations and therefore, a major increase in fish populations; this will result in a better livelihood for all parties involved. Overfishing of sharks makes scallops vanish: study. Shark Finning: Sharks Turned Prey.
Bantam Books. Turner Books. New York. June, Robbins, P. Hintz, J. Environment and society: A critical introduction 2nd ed. Chapters 11, However, there is an item that stands out amongst these products as its found through most of the households in the United States and that is the creamy goodness known by most as peanut butter which itself is a misnomer as it contains neither butter nor nuts as peanuts are legumes. Peanut Butter is funny as it has historically been seen as uninteresting by our English-speaking counterparts Michaud.
Many British kids found that their fellow schoolmates would throw out the product and focus on their grapefruit jelly-only sandwich during the years of the Great Depression. However, it is important to note that peanut butter does have an international following in some countries. Canada, Haiti, the Netherlands, and Saudi Arabia being some examples.
In this research, I will analyze peanut butter in a few ways. First, we will look at peanut butter, historically, from its founding up to its current status as a multi-billion-dollar industry. Second, we will look at the politics of the product, being witness to the multiple lawsuits had over peanut butter as well as the economic alternatives offered to the populations today.
Lastly, we will delve into the past cultural stigmas of peanut butter and its content and see how the societal awareness of peanut butter via its nutrition has changed our landscape as well as others. Thanks to the boll weevil, a beetle who has a profound love for devastating cotton production by eating it amongst other things, farmers in the South were encouraged by botanist George Washington Carver to replace their crop cultivation of cotton to that of peanuts. With the increasing harvests of the legume over the decades, peanuts and therefore, peanut butter began to gain a market through its increased availability amongst the population.
Louis when it was introduced and began to be produced nationally by Heinz Michaud. The market for peanut butter has expanded over the years into a massive industry. However, this is not to say the production is unique to American soil. The United States is actually the third largest producer of peanuts while China and India take first and second place Kitchen Daily. In , the reformulation and rebranding of Big Top peanut butter by P.
The lawsuits were over the ratio distribution of ingredients for the food, over the seeming identity of what makes peanut butter… well, peanut butter Michaud. Since P. The outbreak has been blamed on the negligence and corruption of several industry executives, most notably the then-president of the Peanut Corporation of America, Stewart Parnell, and has led to endless lawsuits, jail sentences, and bankruptcies Charles. According to Harvard Health Publishing, a serving of peanut butter, which is about two tablespoons, has Many people, particularly ones in the past following rigid weight-loss diets, deemed peanut butter as unhealthy due to the density of calories and fat content.
But over the last decade we have seen the turnaround of health benefits for peanut butter. We also have seen that people who include some sort of nut, legume or peanut butter in their diet are less likely to develop heart disease or type 2 diabetes than those who rarely eat nuts Willett. We are also seeing the effect of peanut butter on the starving populations of economically-developing countries. Containing calories and fortified with milk, vitamins, and minerals, relief organizations such as Doctors Without Borders have been and are currently using the product as it has a long shelf-life and the sealing of its packaging allows it to dissuade disease-causing germs that would otherwise prosper in their past powdered milk-treatment.
However, one of the most important things to note about peanut butter is the misdirected attention of its fat content. Thus, like is the case with nearly all food, the practice of moderation is key. While the product has gone through some unstable ground over the last several decades it has nonetheless stood up to the political, economic, and cultural pressures presented. Peanut butter is a product loved by many for its taste, its texture, its versatile use, and its live-saving capabilities amongst population who are desperate for calorie consumption. Chakravorty, Rup.
Charles, Dan. Kitchen Daily. Krampner, Jon. Columbia University Press, Michaud, Jon. Peanut Information Team. Environment and Society. Wiley-Blackwell, 2nd Edition, Sideman, Eva. Wines, Michael. Willett, Walter C. It seems that he was inspired by the French chef, Nicolas Appert who started to preserve foods in Champaign bottles, and other glass containers by using a wire wrap and melted wax seal.
But the objects that were around at the time created issues when it came to making an airtight seal Meredith. John patented his idea for the jar in and early production began in Washington Township, New Jersey, at a place called Crowley town Glass Works. Mason himself "Mason's Patent Nov 30th, fruit jars". During the life of the patent the jars were hand blown and made in a few different colors including cobalt, and amber.
When the patent ended hundreds of companies began to produce jars of a very similar style but two of those companies, Bell and Kerr, are still around today and are still common household items Kelly, Mason Jars made it possible to eat previously seasonal fruits and vegetables, anytime during the year. The jars also helped families to survive through harsh winters, and for armies to sail the ocean without passing from starvation.
Times were quite different back then and If you didn't have food stored away during winter or knew someone who did you would go hungry as there was no store you could go to buy groceries. People would spend a part of their year canning their harvests and other food products into these Mason Jars so that when hard times came in the winter, they would have sustenance. In today's time the Mason Jar is still used for canning by some but serves a few other purposes including as an on the go drinking cups or a simple storage container.
Since the advent of refrigeration, the jars became a less important household item over the years but lately its popularity has been revived by environmentally conscious people, American Culture, product placement, and nostalgia Kelly, The Mason Jar has become an iconic item in American History, and antique mason jars have developed somewhat of a cult following. There are collectors all over the world that will pay significant amounts of money to get their hands on one of the originals.
I chose to look at Mason Jars as the topic of this essay because I wanted to figure out if they are an object of concern, or more of a solution to a plastic, throwaway culture. I have always wondered which form of packaging, plastic, paper, or glass, is more environmentally friendly, assuming that the majority of the containers are recycled. I have been fascinated with glass for years now and have worked in a few different glass blowing shops in the past. To answer my question, I need to figure out if the energy and resources used to produce the glassware are justified by its reusability, and ability to replace plastic or paper alternatives.
I have firsthand experience working with glass and know that the overall energy use of the process is quite large, even on a small scale. Depending on the form of glass work being done the daily usages can easily be gallons of propane, 10, liters of oxygen, and upwards KWH of electricity. And this is for a single person doing bench work; multiply these values by at least three-fold for furnace work, and more than one hundred fold for industrial factory production.
The first lense I want to look at Mason Jars through is through the environmental ethics behind manufacturing glassware. The social implications of the Mason Jar have been mostly positive as they have allowed people to store food for much longer periods of time as well as become a household item, and in many cases are used as replacements for normal cups because of their versatility. The environmental impact on the other hand is another story. I decided to broaden my approach to not just Mason Jars but glassware in general as it is very hard to find solid figures on the amount of Mason Jars specifically that get recycled.
Recycling glass can be a very tricky process because each type of glass has a different coefficient of expansion, meaning that when heat is applied, the molecular structure of the glass expands at different rates depending on the recipe, or make up of the glass product. If there are any impurities in the glass caused by pretty much anything; different COE glass, dirt, plastic, rubber, organic material, etc. This conundrum becomes exacerbated when cities have single-stream recycling programs that do not require people to sort their recyclables before being picked up.
This single-stream style of recycling makes human or machine error much more probable when it comes to the sorting process and massive batches of glass can be ruined by a few aluminum cans or plastic bottles, which to the human eye can look very similar to glass if not closely inspected. According to the EPA, in , 11, tons of glass were generated. The two main manufacturers of Mason Jars, Ball and Kerr, are located in the United States so they don't need to travel overseas to reach consumers but there are countless companies producing similar style Mason Jars overseas that do require a significant amount of resources when shipped to the United States.
The term Mason Jar is kind of ambiguous because its just referring to a style of jar, not a specific manufacturer. If someone is looking at two jars side by side, one made in China and the other in the U. When you combine the output of products of all the companies that are manufacturing the Mason style jars it surpasses the demand for the jars significantly.
A problem arises for the individual when it comes to recycling. Even if you live in a city in which you are responsible for separating your recyclables, and you take the time to do so, there is still a chance that the batch can be tainted by user error at the recycling plant. The time and thought you put into getting your glassware into the proper receptacle, and to the proper people can be wasted in the end.
The minute our waste and recyclables leave our houses we put our trust into third parties and assume that everything will be properly taken care of but sometimes that just isn't the case. Another problem with glass is that, simply put, it breaks. It is the perfect receptacle for most any kind of substance, a good example being that it is used in all forms of chemistry, but when it comes to a consumer commodity it isn't the perfect option. Broken glass won't necessarily hurt the environment in the aspect of climate change, but it can pose as a hazard to all animals.
Something I have also noticed is that when people break glass, they no longer perceive it as a recyclable, and seem to head straight for the trash when cleaning up the small shards that jar has become. I think that this rationale also plays into the statistics on how much glass truly stays out of the landfill. When it comes to packaging, using Mason Jars has two downfalls.
First being the cost of the jar itself and second being the weight of the jar. Mason Jars can be a very utilitarian tool for society when used properly. When people do not recycle, or the recycling process is flawed, then problems arise with using glass as a commonplace container. Glass jars have their place and time but there are many situations where glass is one of the least practical options. Examples include, in the workplace, at a river or beach, hiking, traveling, or any activity or place where there is a chance that the glass will be broken.
Mason Jars become objects of concern when not properly used by people. If people had more respect for the utilitarian uses of Mason Jars and learned to get as much use out of them as possible then they can actually help when it comes to the world's CO2 emissions and environment.
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Mason Jars weigh significantly more than plastic containers do. Because of this they require more fuel to be shipped long distances. What I have learned from the research i've done is that the concept of diminishing returns is applicable to Mason Jars when it comes to their production. Not in the sense of economics but the CO2 emissions, and environmental damage involved with the production, shipment, and commoditization of the jars.
The production of glass jars to an extent can help offset the CO2 emissions that would have otherwise been created by alternate forms of packaging, drinkware, and containers. But, when the production of jars surpasses the market demand then a surplus occurs that can lead to a higher percentage of the jars ending up in landfills or in failed recycling attempts. There is a balance that can be found with the production and use of jars; like most other things.
The second lense I want to look at Glass Jars through is market and commodities. Mason Jars are a sought-after product and have comfortably nestled themselves into today's pop culture.
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The companies producing these jars fight for market share through social media campaigns and brand recognition. With a product like a jar that has no barrier to entry when it comes to manufacturing them, it is hard to set your product apart from others. Because of this fact many producers choose to move production overseas in hopes of lowering their costs in order to get their product to the consumer at the lowest rate possible.
Offshoring their factories to places where regulations are less stringent is also another way that these companies can cut costs and stay competitive in the market. Another thing companies will do to lower costs is change the recipe of the glass that they use to mold the jar which leads to an inferior product that is more prone to breaking. This phenomenon is very common and represents a microcosm of a much larger global problem. Almost every industry has companies that use similar strategies to help lower costs and raise profits, but these techniques come at a cost.
When labor is moved to countries with relaxed environmental policies these companies will do the bare minimum when it comes to creating a safe and environmentally friendly factory, which puts the workers in danger, as well as the people who live in these areas who have to deal with the environmental impact. If companies keep putting profits before people, we will end up in a world that is unsafe for most and filled with mediocre products that will break or fail quickly, creating a constant flow of new product and trashed old ones. It is a vicious cycle because with the wages that most make in the U.
The environmental impact worsens as shortcuts are taken and safety regulations are forgotten. An article that I found explains this phenomenon quite well. What I took away from this article is that when these environmental catastrophes occur, it wasn't just one mistake that caused it, but rather years of small mistakes and shortcuts that snowball slowly until something catastrophic happens.
In the grand scheme of things, I believe that the normalization of deviance is what is happening and causing the environment and the Earth itself damage. Years of pollution and cutting corners will ultimately end with a total breakdown of our natural systems, unless our society learns to get the most out of everything that we are consuming, through recycling or repurposing. The mindfulness required on a humanity wide scale that will be required to steer the course of history to a brighter future will be hard but is necessary if we want future generations to live a safe and healthy life. Meredith, Leda.
Martin, Claire. Grafman, Lonny, and Nicholas Svoma. Environment and Society, A Critical Introduction. The life of a soccer ball started in the early civilizations of China where a ball was most commonly made out of animal skins and even pig bladders. The game of soccer started out as one community would kick a ball as far into the opposing town as they could and the other town would kick it back. This led up to the more common game we see today as it evolved to be played on fields with more rules put in to place.
The first vulcanized soccer ball, which was made from a more durable rubber than animal skins, was created in by Charles Goodyear. This was around the same time as many big soccer clubs began to emerge in the European region. Back then the soccer ball was required to have a circumference of inches and a weight of ounces and this has still stood true in our modern society today.
While the shape of the ball stayed about the same over the years, the appearance and the panels on the ball changed drastically over time. Most of the panels were put on individually and this process was very time consuming. Today, soccer balls only consist of a few panels and some of the high end ones are completely seamless. The first two big companies to mass produce soccer balls were Mitre and Thomlinson of Glasgow in At this time, soccer was starting to become popular as more and more fans came out to watch the games so the soccer balls underwent some changes.
Most of the early soccer balls had a brown leather covering and were very hard to see when conditions were bad so they decided to start changing the colors to make it easier for spectators to see. The first white soccer ball was created so that fans could see the ball more easily from the stands. They still ran into a problem because when it was snowing they could not see the ball at all. So, the next ball was orange and it was made by putting orange synthetic panels on top of the leather ball.
The top level soccer balls are now thermally bonded which, in turn, makes the assembly process much quicker compared to individual stitching of the panels. The life of a soccer ball starts off with the gathering of the materials needed to make the ball. The materials required to make a soccer ball include the following; rubber, plastic, cotton, and animal products.
All of these products will require some sort of energy to make them or get them so it will eventually output energy into the environment. The next part of the process of making a soccer ball is then to transport those materials to the factory where the soccer ball will be assembled. Energy will be required to transport those materials so there is an output of carbon dioxide into the environment.
Then, for the factory itself, it will require lots of energy to run the facility and it will most likely produce waste straight into the environment depending on any restrictions by the company. Most companies do not regulate the amount of waste produced and disposed which can have a huge impact on neighboring communities and the environment. The next step is the process of shipping the soccer balls out to store for them to be sold.
Soccer is the most popular sport in the world so there is a ton of soccer balls being shipped all over the entire world which requires a tremendous amount of energy. Soccer balls do last a long time if taken care of so there is a positive to that. After the soccer ball is done being used, most of them are just thrown away in the garbage. This means they will eventually end up being burned which will release many chemicals, including polyurethane, into the air. They make about 40 to 60 million soccer balls every year, so you can imagine if all of those soccer balls are burned instead of being recycled there will be a huge effect on air quality.
Many organizations do recycle and will re-use soccer balls but most people are not aware that they do. From an environmental ethics perspective we can look further into the mass production of soccer balls and ask the question; is it right to produce this many products even with negative outputs of chemical into the environment? Depending on who you ask, the answer will be different.
We can look at many different aspects of the production of the soccer ball to see if it is environmentally ethical, but we will start with the factories. There are about forty to fifty factories in Pakistan alone. A lot of these factories do not have regulations on their waste disposal and working conditions. From an environmental perspective, we can ask; is it okay to put out wastes into our environment and deprive workers of their rights in order to mass produce a soccer ball? There are a lot of different factors that go into this and one is that the capitalist mindset is usually not considering the effects of the environment or the workers; they are simply looking to max out their profits at the lowest cost.
That is why soccer balls are often made in third world countries because there are little regulations on things like how many hours a person can work without breaks and the labor is often much cheaper when it is outsourced. The profits that companies like Nike and Adidas are making from soccer balls are way above anything the actual manufacturers will make. So why do manufacturers continue to make them if they only make a small amount of money? They have to because usually the factories are the highest paying jobs in their countries, even though it is still a small amount, but they have to do this to provide for their family.
I think it is not the most ethical process to mass produce products this way but that is the way a majority of products are made and it would be very hard to change the whole process. In order to make a change, one would have to be able to change the mindset of the one at the top of the whole organization but they are almost impossible to contact, let alone try to change their mind about what they are doing with their own company. Environmental ethics plays a big role in the production of things in the world and with soccer balls being a huge part of this production process, we have to ask ourselves if there is a better way to reduce the amount of waste it puts into the environment.
In order to get away from hurting the environment I think we need to adopt ideas that include us as part of this world, not the center of it. From a market and commodity perspective, we can look at the production of soccer balls in a different way in such that big companies like Nike or Adidas greatly depend on the efficiency of these factories to produce the product for them. These big companies are at the top of sports and if something were to happen to the factories in Pakistan, where they receive the most production from, it would directly affect the profits of these companies.
Looking at the waste and pollution these factories give off is very important because of their negative effects on the environment. There are certain environmental policies that place a cap on the amount of emissions a certain factory can give off which can help reduce the overall pollution in that area. This could be a useful system to put on factories that produce too many emissions which would make them have to reduce their pollution.
By putting in regulations and caps on factories like these I think we will be more able to reduce the overall pollution of the world but there comes a problem with these regulations. Usually the regulations give the company a cap on emissions but what is not regulate is where the actual location of the emissions come from. Some companies have more than one facility and they can be spread out over different locations so you can still get have a problem of a lot of emissions being put out into a single area of the environment.
While the company may still be under regulations, they could still be damaging the communities around them greatly. There are many pros and cons to every plan, but I think a better plan would bring into the account surrounding communities. This brings up another discussion on determining how much is too much and where do we set the bar on regulations. These are very hard decisions people have to make when considering putting regulations and caps on emissions in place. By looking at things through a market and commodity perspective we go behind the scenes and look at how policies and products are put into place and all the regulations that could be helpful in creating a safer environment for the workers and the surrounding communities.
Soccer balls can be looked at in many different ways and how they can actually effect the environment around us. By looking at the process through different perspectives, we can see how different things affect different parts of the world. For example, we saw by looking through an environmental perspective that there are many pollutants and emissions put out when making and transporting the soccer balls all over the world.
Also, we saw through a market and commodity perspective that there are ways of putting limits on these emissions, but this also still has some drawbacks to it as well. While there are many products in this world being mass produced, I think we have a long way to go to help protect and save the health of our environment.
By looking into products with different approaches we can better understand the areas we need to improve upon which will ultimately help us in the future of planning and restoring the environment. Soccer balls make up one small product in this world today, but if we can limit the emissions used on this product, we are one step closer to creating a healthier planet. The Life of A Soccer Ball, www. Epic Sports. Khan, Saman. Pinsker, Joe. Disposable Chopsticks Introduction: Chopsticks can be found nearly anywhere in the world due to its relationship with rice as well as its simplicity, making it the cutlery of choice throughout the majority of Asia.
Chopsticks are becoming an increasingly important issue due to its mass production and consumption causing larger environmental and social issues such as the increase in the cutting down of forests, being a source of slave labor, and the preference of many asian restaurants preferring disposable chopsticks instead of reusable ones. Initially chopsticks were used for cooking as utensils to reach into boiling water or oil with their tweezer like tips.
A resource deprivation as a result of a population boom in China forced people to be cost effective, leading to people using chopsticks for eating. The increase in the use of chopsticks is also in part due to Confucius. He believed that sharp utensils like knives had no place at the dinner table because it would invoke feelings of violence and remind people of a slaughterhouse, also believing a happy, content mood should be present when eating. Due to his influence along with his teachings, the use of chopsticks at the dinner table became much more common.
In the Japanese were the first to make a disposable chopstick set, typically made of bamboo or wood. Today, in China alone 57 billion pairs of wooden chopsticks are made alone, with about 80 billion thrown away each year. The lifecycle of a pair of disposable chopsticks begins with the cutting down of a mature tree, usually over 20 years old. The trees are then taken to a lumber mill where they are milled down and then set aside to dry. After drying, the blocks are then milled down into finer pieces that will ultimately give it the chopstick look.
After the milling the chopsticks can now be chemically treated. The chemical treatment begins with bleaching using sulfur dioxide, then coated with a wax and set aside again to dry. After this initial step of production involving the cutting of trees, milling, and chemical treatment, the chopsticks now move to packaging.
It has often cited that packaging is down in labor camps in China where the chopsticks are thrown in large piles to be packaged and sorted by the workers. The chopsticks are then sent all over the world, with a majority of the buyers being Asian restaurants. Consumption begins when you dine out at a restaurant, lasting you the whole meal until you finish. When you leave they are then simply thrown away, likely finding itself in a landfill where the chemicals used to treat the chemicals seep back into the earth.
Although disposable chopsticks are usually never recycled, but recently programs with the goal in recycling disposable chopsticks have been created to combat the large number of chopsticks being thrown away. Though because of its chemical treatment and deforestation committed to produce chopsticks, the consumer is affected in a variety ways not initially expected. Sulfur dioxide is used as a chemical to preserve and whiten the chopsticks, often associated with an increase in asthma and other respiratory issues due to residue sulfur inside of the chopsticks.
Sometimes the sulfur gets stuck in the pores of the wood, creating different shades and splotches on your chopstick. When a chopstick like this is exposed to a source of heat, it will then leak sulfur that will prove hazardous to the consumer. Back in a consumer safety council in China warned that there was a relationship between using disposable chopsticks and an increase in respiratory issues, sometimes even contributing to the creation of gallbladder stones. Sulfur dioxide is also a large contributor to air pollution, and combined with its constant use in the treatment of chopsticks, it is an even larger hazard.
Other hazards arise in the packaging of chopsticks in labor camps because of the poor health of the workers and high packaging quota, often chopsticks are handled in unsanitary environments. CCTV, China Central Television reported that workers in labor camps were turning over and packaging chopsticks with their feet, to the point that some were found with dark mold patches, only for some sent to be bleached again or just packaged with no further action.
The Epoch Times located in China has also had a report come out about the horrors of unsanitary processing environments, stating that a lot of the laborers that would come into contact with the chopsticks with no form of protection often have hepatitis, sexually transmitted diseases and skin diseases. Deforestation of trees for the sake of reusable chopsticks also harms the local environment from which they were cut by leaving the community with little resistance to floods. Aside from a local impact there is also the main effect of removing trees, more CO2 in the air because there are less trees to capture and convert the gas into oxygen, a leading cause in climate change.
China is the largest manufacturer in the world for disposable chopsticks and at the same time they are notoriously well known for seeking low-cost methods of production and labor. To achieve low cost production, China implements the use of slave labor camps as punishment in place of prisons. The workers are not so much laborers as they are slaves considering the Chinese government gives them no pay and they are imprisoned for small petty crimes, or even for having different religious beliefs that are contrary to the norm of the country.
Due to the large demand of chopsticks in the world, the slave labor found in China is still present and even growing. As long as we still purchase and use these products that are a result of these labor practices, we are still creating a demand for slave labor from China. Our use of disposable chopsticks fuels the ongoing cycle of the exploitation of labor in other countries, but if we attempt to reduce the amount of disposable chopsticks we use, we may be able to have an impact on the exploitation of labor conducted.
The exploitation of resources also brings into question the need and usage of chopsticks all together. In China approximately 2 million trees are cut down a year to produce chopsticks other sources suggest that number can be as high as 3. This level of deforestation also further enhances the effects of climate by eliminating trees that absorb carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
After cutting down a large area of forest, the manufacturers simply move to another location to consume and exploit resources again, causing a never ending unsustainable cycle. The wood cut down as a result of deforestation and used is usually imported from Burma, Borneo, whose forests are one of the last native habitats for the endangered orangutan.
Aside from orangutans, other animals and creatures are rapidly losing their habitats at the cost of simple disposable cutlery. Our consumption of these chopsticks creates various problems concerning risks and hazards and environmental ethics such as health issues that impact our respiratory systems through the chemicals used, pollution by the chemicals used, large scale deforestation and the impact on wildlife and the climate, and the exploitation of labor to package and distribute chopsticks. A cutlery as simple as a chopstick fueled by our eating habits and demand reveals a much more complicated background in its production and use than anyone could initially anticipate.
The use of a disposable chopstick hardly seems worth the cost of the environment of a whole, so what should we do? Perhaps we can move to widespread use of reusable chopsticks, or even just the use of silverware such as forks and spoons to eat our food. Nuwer, Rachel. Robbins et al. To some, they are a part of American culture, and you can see people of all ages smoking them, from teenagers to elderly people who have likely been smoking most of their life.
While their detrimental health effects are both proven and widely accepted, people continue to smoke, although it has been reported that smoking rates in the United States have dropped to their lowest since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention began collecting data in Thomas However, their rates continue to grow in developing countries, likely due to marketing in these poorer areas of the world.
While that may not come as a surprise, the fact that cigarette butts are more prevalent than plastic straws in our oceans may come as one. NBC News reports that cigarette butts are the single greatest source of ocean trash, with more than 60 million collected on beaches worldwide over 32 years Rainey With adverse health effects on humans and the environment, I will explore why people worldwide continue to smoke, and what may be changed to both save lives and our environment.
Tobacco was grown and smoked by the people that lived in the Americas prior to European discovery. It was mainly used in rituals and traditional ceremonies. At this time, their negative health effects were generally unknown, so many people began to take up smoking.
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This is also a time when mass media such as movies and television were beginning to emerge. As the general public saw actors and actresses smoking on screen, it was associated with the attractiveness of the actors, and made people feel as if they were like the people they watched. The modern cigarette is made by machines that can produce cigarettes a second. First, the tobacco is grown and harvested followed by a process that involves cutting, curing, moistening, aging and blending the tobacco into the small, grass-like pieces that are shredded mechanically and rolled into paper that is then cut to the desired length.
Finally, a filter is fastened onto the end of each one. This filter is made up primarily of cellulose acetate, which is a plastic with fibers thinner than sewing thread. These fibers can take ten years or more to degrade and are usually deposited into the oceans because people throw their butts on the floor, and water carries them through storm drains and rivers that eventually spill into the ocean. These butts contain chemicals that can be released into the surrounding water and affect the wildlife and water quality.
While smoking rates in more developed countries such as the United States, the World Health Organization reports that rates are rising in developing regions such as Eastern Asia and Africa. Within these developing countries lie populations that are both relatively uneducated and poor. The lack of education in these areas leads to a general lack of knowledge about the negative health effects that various things have one them, such as cigarettes.
It has been found that levels of stress are high in people in poor areas, especially the working class of these societies. Smoking, as well as other habits, form to cope with stressful, often dangerous environments. Ng et al. It is also a trend to see women in areas of poverty and low education have more children. This coincides with the trend mentioned by Ng, as growing populations in these areas will lead to more smoking individuals.
The cheap price of cigarettes also allows people from all income classes to take up smoking. Viewed through a lens of Political economy and capitalism, large cigarette companies exploit low income areas even here in the United States. Since there are many laws here about how tobacco can be advertised, the primary strategy of advertisement is large storefront posters.
These posters are more prevalent in areas of low income and areas that are primarily Hispanic or African American. Big tobacco companies target these areas and combine them with relatively cheap prices and their addictive nature to build entire customer bases in some areas. While the adverse health effects of cigarette smoking are common knowledge at this point, people continue to smoke due to addictive nature, and this causes more pollution by these butts.
This is an issue of environmental justice in a way, with companies targeting certain groups of people, exploiting areas where they live and effectively killing them. The lens of risks and hazards can also be applied to cigarettes in several ways. On one hand, most people know that cigarettes are bad for you, as many link its usage with cancer and accelerated aging.
The CDC attributes cigarette smoking to an estimated , deaths annually, including secondhand smoke which is an issue in an of itself. While these facts are common knowledge, people continue to smoke, making cigarette smoking the leading preventable cause of death in the United States. There is a lack of risk perception in Western culture, with many people continuing to smoke knowing their effects on their health.
Another factor people may not think about while smoking is their disposal of the butts. As I stated earlier, cigarette butts are the highest pollutant in our oceans. Another study found that about metric tons of butts wind up as litter worldwide per year Smith and Novotny This study found that people had various reasons for littering and not appropriately disposing of their butts. The former reason is an example of a risk rooted in cultural theory Robbins et al. The decision to smoke not only harms the smoker themselves but can be harmful to those around them.
Statistics from the CDC showed that a state-wide smoke-free law issued by the state of New York resulted in 20 tested areas showing an 84 percent decrease in levels of fine particulate matter, which are small pieces of respirable particles that can enter the respiratory system. While things like car emissions and the greenhouse gases emitted by large-scale farms are also large contributors to global climate change, they are rooted in societal norms that cannot be halted.
Telling people to stop driving their cars could lose their form of income due to travel reasons. On the other hand, other than nicotine addicts who would require care and some form of it to not suffer withdrawal symptoms, people can most likely go without smoking if they really had to. A study by Tobacco Control found that when 3 cigarettes were left in a garage burning for 30 minutes, they produced 10 times the particulate matter as a car did, left in a similar garage for the same time. This has large implications, and it is a parallel to the issue of cigarettes and cardiovascular diseases.
They are both avoidable effects of cigarettes that directly affect human lives and with the addition of ocean pollution due to littering of butts, are an example of a human-caused and human-fueled detriment to the earth. The example of cigarettes and their effect on us and our planet is very representational of the current attitude and handling of the global climate change that we have. Like the other examples I brought up, such as large factory farms, we have certain aspects to our lifestyle that are not required for us to live. However, I do not think this will be the case for the myriad of everyday changes that we could make but choose not to.
One excuse may be that certain cultures like that of the United States who rely heavily on large-scale factory farming and slaughterhouses to feed the high demand for both grocery store beef as well as fast food frozen and packaged beef. The same goes for cigarettes, although people know they are practically shortening their life span with every puff, they continue it for whatever reason.
This is the attitude of America in a time while we are staring at our own demise in the face but do nothing to stop it. Works Cited Ng, Marie, et al. Rainey, James. Environment and society: a critical introduction. Seidenberg, Andrew B. Smith, Elizabeth A. Tobacco industry research about smokers and cigarette butt waste.
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No need to be fancy, just an overview. The fundamental unit of consumption is identified by the use of the agave plant. Harvesting agave is a long and sturdy process. Although industrialization has made harvesting large materials easier, agave garnering is done by hand. These hearty plants have long spikes that protrude from their midsection. They are commonly mistaken for cacti.
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The agave plant is also known for its health benefits. Agave is very low on the glycemic scale, making it the perfect alternative sweetener. Its use in tequila manufacture is primitive for taste and fermentation. The Blue Agave plant takes up to years to reach full maturity.
During this state of maturity, the plant ferments its sugars. After the plant reaches maturity, it is then harvested by workers. This process takes place in Mexico. There are many other aspects of harvesting. Additional harvesting properties such as weeding, tending, pest control, and fungal mediation must be complete twice a year when tending the agave plant.
When dug up from the ground the barbs from the agave plant must be removed. Once they are removed they are put on a conveyer belt. The agave is then cut and heated for hours. This slow baking process allows the juices from the plant to dissipate. To minimize the risk of burning the sugars the plant is slowly baked. Once baked the agave plant is then moved to the milling press. A large wheel is used to press the remaining sugars from the plant. This ancient method has been used for generations.
Other companies use steel rollers as an alternative method. The steel press works in exactly the same way. Once the agave sugars are pressed from their hive they are fermented. In some cases, water is added to lower the concentration of sugar in the alcohol. To produce a beer like alcohol, the sugars are fermented for hours.
To create tequila the sugars are distilled twice. Once distilled, additives for taste are introduced. These additives mostly affect the taste of the tequila. The mixture then goes through a filtration process and is then bottled. There are many mythical stories that surround the production of the Agave plant. She happened to be an evil goddess who devoted her time to destroying light. She forced the native humans to give live sacrifices in exchange for light.
Quetzalcoatl, the 'Feathered Serpent," grew tired of this treatment. He made it his duty to stop Tzintzimitl. Instead of destroying the essence of Tzintzimitl, he rescued the Mayahuel, fell in love with her, and brought her down to earth. To hide from her the two lovers became trees. They lived like this until the evil goddess found them. After a long fight Mayahuel was killed. To avenge her death Quetzalcoatl killed the evil goddess and buried the remains of his lover. Every night he cried at the foot of her grave. The other gods saw this and thought they should do something to south his soul.
They gifted him with a plant. The gods made it so that a plant with special properties grew at the foot of her grave. This plant was to south the soul of Quetzalcoatl.