Tag Archives: Week 2

Earth Island Journal article summaries

I skimmed through many articles on the Earth Island Journal. I was surprised how many articles I came across that I could personally relate to. The three articles that I decided to share with all of you are “Extremely Loud” by Maureen Nandini Mitra, “Anthropocene is the Wrong World” by Kathleen Dean Moore, and “City Life” by Julie Kemp.

“Extremely Loud” by Maureen Nandini Mitra was interesting to me, because in my Health Assessment course we discussed the effect of environmental sounds on our ability to hear. This article mostly focused on how these man-made sounds disrupt the environment, but how they harm humans is the part that interests me. These every day sounds that we don’t think are harmful at all are actually extremely damaging to our hearing. They can even lead to sleep, cognitive, and cardiac problems. Inability to hear properly can lead to decreased ability to focus and be productive, cause unwanted behaviors, and even accidents.
One of my close friends growing up had a younger sister with a hearing impairment. She was born with her disability and her parents could not figure out for the longest time why she was moody and easily agitated. She was not diagnosed with her hearing impairment until she was four years old. Her parents thought she was just being a troublesome toddler and at times suspected a mental health issue. They never thought she would have a lifelong disability.
Although she was born with her inability, the same situation occurs in people that develop a hearing impairment. People are developing hearing problems younger and younger nowadays. I think the younger generation views hearing problems as an issue for the elderly, so they don’t take precautions to prevent impairment. And the older generations don’t admit to inability to hear because they don’t want to admit they are getting old or have a problem. Independence is very important to aging adults and admitting hearing loss will cause them to lose some independence. But currently the leading cause of death for the elderly is falls. The inner ear is responsible for balance and prolonged ear problems and lead to difficulty with balance. One could lose balance, hit their head, develop a brain injury, and die a few weeks later. So it is VERY important to take care of your ears and hearing.

“Anthropocene is the Wrong World” by Kathleen Dean Moore caught my attention because she mentioned many extinct species that I had never even heard of before. Species like Quagga and Thylacine. In her article she referred to hunting and allowing species to become extinct as “a moral monstrosity.” I completely agree with her. I’m more spiritual than religious, but I do believe that God created the world and everything in it. He created these animals from nothing, and it is wrong of us to allow species to disappear.

“City Life” by Juliet Kemp caught my attention because of how she wrote about the positive things that come from urbanization. Usually articles are being written to show the negatives that come with large cities, and I admit there are a lot. But as a pro city life girl, it’s nice to read something else for a change. Kemp wrote that urbanization and city living was created by the people, but we are not the only ones who benefit from city life and she gives many examples. Animals that make their way to the city are able to survive more easily. She stated that foxes can eat leftovers that have been thrown out and do not have to worry about predators. I was surprised that she mentioned foxes, because when I think of animals in the city I think of birds, rabbits, raccoons, and deer. But the same concept applies to those animals as well. She did mention birds in her article and how they use trash to help build nests and eat.

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The Sounds, Chemicals, and Creatures of Our World

For this week’s readings, I visited the Earth Island Journal website and found three interesting articles on the human affect to the environment. “Chemically Altered”, “Extremely Loud”, and “A Hitchhiker’s Guide to Planet Earth” were only a few of the reports featured on the website that give a new perspective on what is becoming known as the Anthropocene.

“Chemically Altered” by Elizabeth Grossman, is ironically a gross look into the development of synthetic chemicals that are altering not only the environment, but human life as well. In the 1930’s began a new age of science, in which the creation of synthetics based on petroleum products took center stage. Tens of thousands of these chemicals have been created since, which create useful products such as nonstick cookware, cosmetics, perfumes, and even children’s toys. However, these chemicals have been linked with causing fertility, metabolic, and behavioral problems, and even is cause for some cancers. One of the most prominent synthetic chemicals, BPA, is found in the inner-linings of plastic bottles (including baby bottles) and is linked to causing an increase in fat cells in the body. All of these synthetic chemicals pose a hazard to the environment as well: the chemicals escape into natural resources such as water and the air. Although these chemicals are used to create practically everything that we humans use everyday, there are underlying health and environmental effects that get overlooked.

“Extremely Loud” by Maureen Nandini Mitra explains the effects of man-made sound on the environment and the people who lend their ears to such noises. For humans, sounds emitted from turbines, ventilation systems, and electronic devices can cause damages to hearing, can be disrupting to communication and sleep, it affects heart function and cognition in children, it reduces productivity, provokes unwanted behaviors, and en increases accidents. However, the environment is affected the most. These man-made sounds disrupt the communication of air and marine species, which has ultimately lead to the decrease (and even extinction) of such species. This “anthrophony” disrupts the harmonies of the environment.

Finally, “A Hitchhiker’s Guide to Planet Earth” by Nate Seltenrich shows the different animals, fish, and insects that have affected the environment positively and negatively. For example, the Asian Carp, which came to the US in the 60’s as a sewage management tool, escaped into some of the largest river basins. They have affected not only endangered species, but are also disrupting the food chains within the rivers. However, animals such as the Black Angus Cattle have proven to be beneficial for humans and the environment. Introduced to Kansas in 1873, the Black Angus Cow provides us with 60-70% of consumed meat. There are around 1.3 billion cattle alive on Earth today, all thanks to the original Black Angus, Black Meg 43.

There are plenty of other reports and essays to read on the Earth Island Journal which range in topics and subjects. I recommend reading not only these three reports, but also glancing through some of the essays, especially if you are interested in getting to know the world that we have created in this so-called Anthropocene.

-Sara