Eminent Introduction

l

“Feet, what do I need them for

when I have wings to fly?”

 

Art prodigy, open bisexual, feminist, political activist, cultural icon. After noticing that familiar face in various televised media and then on the back of a friend’s shirt, I was intrigued by how well known and impactful this entity seemed to be. The answer may not be obvious, but surely, you have encountered her at some point or another.

Image result for frida paintings

Frida Kahlo is a remarkable figure; her bold character has persevered through a surprising amount. She has been especially perceptible to physical harm throughout her life: being born with spina bifida, contracting polio, surviving the trolley accident, and amputating her leg due to gangrene. Being a promising student, the inability to pursue long-awaited dreams was absolutely devastating. We can infer this from the various entries in her journal, examples being “the most important thing for everyone […] is to have ambition and become ‘somebody’, and frankly, I don’t have the least ambition to become anybody” as well as “I hope the exit is joyful, and I hope never to return” (Frida Kahlo). While this toxic mindset has led her to a history of mental illness and several suicide attempts, it has also allowed her to openly tackle many taboos throughout society that sane-minded people didn’t have enough courage to address.

In adolescence, she attended a school in which there were more than 150 males for every female. In her spare time, she would partake in the Mexican Party of Communism, lying to all colleagues that she was born in 1910 instead of 1907 in order to be considered a “child of the revolution”. It was through this community that she met Diego Rivera, a prominent artist and a man 20 years older, who would later become her troublesome husband that she very much loved. This turbulent relationship was dissed by virtually everyone; Kahlo’s mother only allowed it because Diego’s wealth could pay for Frida’s medical expenses. Through thick and thin, unanimous affairs, and remarriage, Frida was able to get art publicity through her husband’s connections nonetheless.

Image result for frida and diego

 

While Kahlo did not do it alone, the memorability of her exhibitions were ultimately due to the ways in which her art expressed identity. The severe trauma from the bus crash left her with (what likely was) borderline personality disorder, depression, as well as acquired savant syndrome (characterized by exceeding abilities in a certain skill). This conundrum of traits made her different than everyone else and pushed her toward pursuing her uniqueness. The most common ideas that her artwork and image portrayed were cultural appreciation and personal acceptance (starring the moustache and unibrow). The rest of the world was in awe of revelation and empowerment coming from people of colour. This artist has cultivated their art style to what she believed reflected the Mexican heritage, whereas many others (including her husband) were impressionists of European concepts.

 

It is a little bit absurd that I compare myself to her; these are some of the ways that we are similar:

Frida Kahlo Olesya Kondrateva
Aspiring med student before the accident Aspiring med student
Doesn’t necessarily have a middle name Has no middle name
History of crippling mental illness yes
Angst; confusion, inconsistent sense of self Fluctuating self-esteem and societal purpose
Dark hair, dark skin Dark hair, dark skin
Part of the communist party Parents were born in communist Russia
Is the most prominent female Mexican artist! Known as the master of self-portraits (143 in her lifetime) Used to paint well; can sketch a face

 

On a deeper level, I think what draws me most to my chosen notable is the innate needs that we share in regards to the future we picture for ourselves, the thought-processing strategies we use, and the conflict of having opinions that sometimes directly contradict those around us. While I find it interesting that we share the same artistic passions, the negative way in which her thought process is similar to mine reflects what we’re striving for in life. There is this ongoing conflict of being an individual opinion with free thought as well as a reflection of the values of others. What is the point of existence if the control that we have over it is only so little? How do we go about our day without a clear purpose? What are the margins of being our own person? Why are we questioning our existence on some days, while are enlightened by passion and obsession over little details the next? Although not confirmed, Frida’s acquired savant syndrome may have been a catalyst as to her miserable intellect- which really intrigues me. There are many things that we don’t have in common: ethnicity, culture, and medical history, courage, financial status. Addressing difficult topics is always do-able when you approach it with respect and the best intentions. I am looking forward to finding a good interviewee, as well as coming up with an engaging idea for the short speech.

The Danger of a Single Story

As Ngozi’s insightful ted talk outlines, having an opinion clouded with assumptions based on incorrect information that we pick up on a day to day basis is one of the worst things that you can do to those people affected, and the society as a whole. While asking people to completely reject their beliefs is absurd, there are certainly many topics that we (as a society) keep perpetuating despite the realization that it is incorrect accompanied by the conscious decision to find comfort in staying consistent with the same ideology. Chimamanda supports this argument by stating that “I have just read a novel called American Psycho – and that was such a shame that all young Americans were serial murderers”. This is said for an element of humour, assuming that we know it is false. Yet, why is it that we can allow ourselves to make very similar assumptions about people in other countries, knowing they will laugh right back at us for thinking that. I believe that ignorant matters like these, most of the time, aren’t caused by lack of knowledge as much as ignorance. We have been taught from a young age that you can think one thing, but it doesn’t matter until you say it out loud. In the case of Ngazi’s professor, we can assume that he didn’t mean to stir up any issues, but his idea of “African authenticity” just came out because it was a normal part of his predominant view and he didn’t think there was anything wrong with it. Sadly, the arguments of his student could have changed his mind if he decided to open up to that. Allowing ourselves to solidify our opinions based very shallow information will engrave this wrong perspective into us, and we will then become no better than most of our grandparents. In the end, I believe that to begin to reject the single stories in our lives, we must first start with the realization that it’s necessary to open up to believe the other stories, and that they are just as valid to those people as yours are to you. We must step outside our comfort zone and obtain so much information we can’t categorize because “the single story creates stereotypes, and the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete”.

Independent Novel Study 1/3

While Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale is a story with a fabulously prepared plot, the actions of the protagonist thus far into the book are not what most would directly associate with a heroic martyr. As the majority of the chapters are focused on setting the environment to paint us a good perspective, one of the only times when the handmaid Offred took part in physically determining her faith was at a doctor’s visit, where she is faced with the tough decision of artificial insemination, having a better life, and committing fatal treason or soon being crushed by patriarchy for being too incompetent to birth from infertile resources. Given that both possible responses to the doctor’s offer are valid, I am still unimpressed to see her fear of punishment force her into answering with “it’s too dangerous” (79). At the same time, her internal conflicts with being afraid of “a way out, salvation” and repeating the prayer “give me children, or else I die” evidently nudge at her conscience and make her conformation to the laws more disappointing (79). Nonetheless, it is this aspect of Offred’s personality that makes her so relatable to the audience despite the circumstances she lives in that are unimaginable to the feminist kids of the 2000’s. Although we intrinsically want the best for the miserable handmaid, the readers are comforted by her actions compared to their own when imagining a similar situation. Cowardice is something that we would all express in some way, but we additionally have the prerogative to scrutinize the protagonist for it, as if we would do any better. Atwood’s intentions for such a character are to create a realistic experience of her theocratic plot instead constructing an empowering Princess Leia, so as to follow with the book’s theme of being powerless in such an intense moment of dictatorship. I always realized that most fiction is made with the theme of improvement on current situations, but I didn’t appreciate how they gave me unrealistic expectations for how life should go. Connecting with Offred, I had all of this power and motivation that was taken away from me while I entered normal life; she had dreams and memories of earlier years that now seem like the best, most unattainable things. Of course, her situation is an lt harder to deal with than any of my problems. Having experienced misery before, in her shoes I would have likely stopped caring for my well being and taken up the doctor’s offer to try and salvage any stable part of my sad life.

Emil

In Stuart Mclean’s story of Emil, the complex personality of one of the protagonists vastly influences the people around him, which is exactly what makes for such an interesting plot. As Emil grows to reveal his unique internal wants and fears with no regard as to how everyone else will perceive them, the engraved fear of the “unknown” really starts to be tangible in those who do not have interest in obtaining a growth mindset. One example is of this is Dave, a storeowner. To a person of medial financial status, Dave’s wants and fears were similar to what would be considered “normal” within society. He holds him money dear to his heart, and fears plummeting in any aspect of his life: wealth, social status, security, pride. He is unorganized and cheap, but at least he is not “driving away business” like Emil is (109). What makes him truly uncomfortable about the homeless man is that they do not think in the same way. Dave refuses to believe that the thoughts of people who seem to be worse off than him are valid; when Emil refuses to take donations, Dave ceases to try and understand the other’s perspective by brushing it off with “that’s crazy” “everyone needs money” (115). On the other hand, Dave’s wife Morley is polar-opposite on this issue. Instead of closing off with what she feels comfortable believing (stable income, home, etc…) she has the prerogative of being okay with exploring that there is more than one way to manifest anything. One of her finest moments was arguing with Dave about the money that she has received. Undiscouraged by the idea that the money may be wasted, she rationalized that she’s “going to give it back to him” “bit by bit” because “it’s his money” (119). In the end, I think that the key point that Mclean projected to the audience through Morley’s actions is that people are so much more complex than the simple categorizational rules that we implement on everything in order to try and comprehend. If a person does not want to confide in what they think is best for them, then we have no other way to make them conform to what we believe. This is true to Emil, because he has different values in the materialistic things we value, and he is able to bring himself joy by partaking in simple conversations and gardening. At the core of human nature, no matter what way we get to it, we solely strive for happiness.

Intergalactic Disputes

I believe that in George Lucas’s film Star Wars: A New Hope it is worthwhile to target our attention on the actors’ embodiment of the characters and the plot, and thus the thought process of the creator. Being a female child of the early 2000’s, one of the most peremptory and noticeable aspects of the movie was the way in which the actors filled their roles. I was taken aback by the diversity of the character’s personalities and their ability to adapt their interactions given the vastly greater realm of improvisational opportunity. For example, there would have been so many possibilities of how the crew in the bar fight, space station, and Jabba scene could have inferred the producer’s definition of “acting ordinary” or “talking to a slug”, so I am really impressed that they were able to pull off so many creativity-heavy scenes so well. Nonetheless, I did find that some other portions of their performance were quite emotionally banal; although I am not sure whether that is because of the norms of the age that I am not familiar with or the movie’s catering towards masculine audiences. The most prominent of this idea is Luke’s reaction to all of the people around him dying: Uncle and Aunt, Obi Wan, and his fellow pilots in the conclusion. After the display of what Sarah and I discussed to be “shallow” reactions and emotions, Luke carried on with what he was doing- unfazed. Moreover, I found it quite funny that Luke’s next action was to try and get a girl. The -subjectively- flat characters led to a flat plot. In fact, the broken-down timeline of the movie can be summarized with as “physical fights between good and bad guys”. Sure, the success of the movie can be mostly attributed to the rolling action and creative backstory, but we can observe that this is highly aimed towards stereotypically male traits. Yet, before we start attacking the author, I would like to argue that this film is not anti-feminist or advocating for sexism. Just because a film clearly has sexist elements does not mean that it advocates for it. In fact, I believe that Lucas was trying to ease society into the elements of feminism without making this splendid idea chauvinist. A single, empowering female character amongst plenty of discrimination may have been quite optimistic and epiphanic for their time. In the end, I believe that while this film is –figuratively- about all sorts of diversity within the galaxy, is it also about the metaphorical diversity of the ideologies of the characters and producers. The character lens might not be the most obvious one to use, but the way a figure is portrayed can tell us a lot about the wants, fears, and perspectives of the author.

Ted Talk

Because I really enjoy science, choosing a singular topic to research was very difficult. When inquiring about how accurately we can sequence and interpret DNA, I got the chance to incorporate chemistry, biology, and statistics into my learning. Nonetheless, this is my Ted Talk.

https://youtu.be/XNsJ2DV6YOw 

I would like to apologize for the low quality of the video and unclearness of my voice. I also mispronounced a bunch of terms, and accidentally got into the habit of shortening single nucleotide polymorphisms to SNB instead of SNP. As I realized this only after everything was recorded and in place, I hope that it’s not as noticeable to everyone else.

Independent Investigation 2

 

After the war of 1812 between the Canadians, British, and Americans didn’t result in any geographical loss or gain, it is commonly concluded that there is no real “winner” in the situation- deeming the war to be pointless with many people and resources lost. Going off of secondary sources in an unbiased manner, this is my attempt to answer the question of “which nation in the war of 1812

To analyze the situation, we can break down the statistical information of losses into categories of population, land, resources and economy, and political outlooks.

 

Population

British Empire

Total people lost: 20 000  —  roughly 4% of British Canadian population (excluding Britain itself)

  • 10 000 of which were First Nations allies
  • 1 160- 1 960 of which were killed in action
  • 15 500 captured
  • ~ 3 700 wounded

The War of 1812 Casualty Database is a grim site (funded by the Government of Canada) that is very fascinating at the same time. It provides us with the names of the British casualties, though, and not quantitative information).

Americans

Total people lost: 15 000   —   roughly 0.2% of American population

  • 2 200 – 3721 of which were killed in action
  • 20 00 captured
  • ~4 500 wounded
  • 4 00 slaves freed

Non- British First Nations

Total people lost: unknown – estimated to be roughly 80%

  • The 13 Colonies’ expansion into the west of North America was gradual throughout the 18th and 19th century, and not limited to the time of the war of 1812.
  • No type of census was kept between the aboriginal tribes, either, so estimating the deaths is very difficult.

 

Land

Image result for the war of 1812 map

 

From what we can observe from this map, the many battles that were fought between the French and the American almost cancel each other out in terms of geographical location. While all battles would leave a trace on the environment, we also need to consider the extent of the impact that they posed, how many people were involved, and how much time has passed by. Knowing that most of these places are currently in a civilized and modernized state, the effects that the several battles of 1812 had is most likely barely noticeable. Additionally, the technological advancements of the 19th century are –arguably- not enough to inflict any serious, permanent damage comparatively to what we can do now with our opportunities in terms of industrialization and nuclear weaponry.

This image only portrays the small amount of land that was most politically conflicted at the time. It is also important to note that within generally the same premises outlined on the map, there used to be a prospering First Nations population that was brought to an end because of the war. Most of these tribes were allied to the British (seeing them as the lesser of two evils and most interested in keeping treaties and trade), some 125 were with America, while others were not allied to either party. We can observe the lack of American interest in keeping good relations with the First Nations people by remembering how they were treated in the Louisiana Purchase of 1803 and the Indian Removal Act of 1830. It is once again hard to tell how many were lost.

Resources

British Empire

  • 1344 merchant ships captured/lost (373 recaptured)
  • 4 frigates captured (34 frigates to start off with)

Americans

  • 1400 merchant ships captured/lost
  • 8 frigates captured (12 frigates to start off with)

The Royal Marine and Royal Navy were significantly larger than what the U.S. had in possession, but we also need to keep in mind that the British were fighting in the Napoleon wars simultaneously with 1812. The same can be applied to all British resources, from their weaponry to their highly trained army and militia.

Economy

While we are not sure how much debt the Americans caused the British, it is estimated that this conflict added about £25 million to the national debt. At the same time, the British were also balancing an economic hit form the Neapolitan wars, yet these debts were divided between a population of 8 million people (comparatively to 7.5 million in America) and in the ‘powerhouse’ country of the world. This proved to be the reason the treaty of Ghent was formed-  the taxes were so high and resources so hard to obtain. Word has also spread throughout Britain that the new states were unhappy with the war and were threatening to leave the union. Although all the new Englanders wanted was to end the war, many were glad that this blackmailing got the government to come to a peaceful consensus.

America faced debt of about $105 million, which turned out to be about the same as Britain’s debt in the value of 19th-century currency. Starting in 1812 and continuing post-war, the American economy definitely became more prosperous. Since British factory-made items were not for international trade, the industrialization in America and its trade with other countries helped bring the nation out of the severe debt it was in. This new-found money was majorly used on opening even more factories, aiding this process further. On the other hand, the prices within America were 15% higher in 1815 than 1812, which is actually a really large difference. We can observe the same –yet more intense- issue happen in early 20th century Germany.

Political Views

Americans

When the Americans initiated the War of 1812, they went into it with the ideology of manifest destiny- loving the recent outcome of the revolution and Yorktown victory. Claiming whatever land was around them (already occupied or not) seemed to be like right instead of dream or privilege. After realizing that the number of victories and losses seemed to be the same for both sides, a reason for the Americans to humble down was evident. Moreover, opposing parties had supremacy when it came to resources, training, and social ties. Although the American militia was huge, British troops could recognize the tactics that were applied in the Siege of Yorktown, making them less effective as time went on. While this did make them feel more down to earth and realistic, the penultimate battle in New Orleans brought a feeling of unity to the nation. News of the Ghent treaty were not brought to the British, so they attacked until the notification. Massive casualties were taken by the Americans, but at least this did result in victory for them. The commonly known ending to the war of 1812 was concluded with pride on the American’s part- giving them more success to associate themselves with.

British

The British could be viewed as the standard competitive overachiever in this situation. Balancing so many fights all at the same time and backing down quite successfully nonetheless is actually very incredible.

British Canadian

Just like the outcome with the Americans, the people living in the Canadian land also experienced a new sense of unity. A large portion of people living there prior to the war did so just because of the land availability and didn’t really know what it was like to correlate themselves to the Canadian identity. Going through such a challenge and eventually fighting back against such a powerful opponent really brought pride and emotional stability to the citizens. Additionally, the help of the British reinforced Canada’s ties to the crown and sureness in wanting to stay part of the British Empire. Knowing what had happened with the want for Revolution in the 13 colonies, the English were more careful in how they were planning on treating these fragile communities.

First Nations

Any aspect of the indigenous people’s lives after the European colonization of this continent is hard to talk about because of unbelievably devastating it was. Simply put, every aspect of their lives steadily declined in quantity and quality, with basically nothing left to negotiate or debate. The extent to which every other country agreed to unanimously degrade these people is frankly embarrassing, so we have a tendency to stop addressing the issue and focusing on something else as soon as it gets too uncomfortable.

 

Historical Perspective

Because this is an immensely large conflict, there were an enormous amount of significant perspectives to go along with it. A good example of a more familiar controversy that was going on whilst determining whether war should be declared or not happened in the continental congress, with the federalists highly disagreeing with while the democratic-republicans favoured the idea. The weakening of the federalists and a republican president (James Madison) helped with distinguishing the disparities in political power, thus, starting the war of 1812. This argument has been the closest one to being almost a tie in the histories of all disputes, enforcing new laws within the congress to make at least two-thirds of the politicians agree to one side before any action was going to be taken action upon. Over more, the inability to come to a clear and popular answer on this issue held back the American’s ability to do better in battle, as it has been recorded that backup troops were forced to take a different route to the battlefield just in hopes of avoiding the angry federalists up north. Just like in this situation, there were most likely the same opposing views in all 3 participating sides of the war.

 

Ethical Judgement

While I was curious to find out who lost this war more than another, this is impossible to ethically do in terms of weighting casualties against resources and money. Likewise, it is impossible to accurately compare the judgments of back then against the values of today. I have always found the number of lives traded for land in a war to be extremely controversial and morally incorrect, but people more concerned about the future of the colony would obviously argue with me on what is more important. Today’s digital society would most likely contradict that, because we have had more experience with being financially stable and having helpful resources available to us. In the modernized world, we do not have the issue of information taking time to get from one place to another, thus eliminating the battle of New Orleans completely. Overall, I think that everything in the war of 1812 can be viewed to be ethical and somewhat reasonable, excluding what happened to the aboriginal people, slaves, and other minority groups. We know that inflicting such terrible things on them is wrong in every possible way by today’s standards, yet it was surprisingly only slightly frowned upon in the 19th century. This leaves me to wonder from what other bizarre ways we have emerged to be the people we are today.

 

In conclusion, answering the question of “which nation obtained the most benefit from the outcome of the war of 1812” is something that can only be debated and statistically analyzed by the value-based opinions of today and the time itself. Personally, I believe that the Canadians came out of this war with an upper hand result mainly because of how it shifted the political perspective nation-wide; kick-starting the Canadian identity with such gusto that makes it last all the way up to our age. Arguably, they did suffer the greatest physical loss, which weighed differently by different perspectives. Being Canadian, a certain element of bias may be incorporated. Following them, the American’s result of new-found patriotism and sophisticated government, and the British’s ability to keep the Canadian property and slip away from the conflict before it got too bad for its people. Lastly, its agreeable that the aboriginal population took the greatest hit of all. Other than gaining more trust in Britain for advocating for an area dedicated solely to the Aboriginal tribes (with a failed attempt), so much culture, land, and people were lost for no reason.

 

Main sources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_of_1812

Historica Canada – multiple articles about the war of 1812

http://www.1812casualties.org/

Environmentally friendly? Not Exactly

After initially using the sheet we were given to calculate my ecological footprint, I was astonished by how large the number was even though there were some sections of my lifestyle that were relatively low. For example, I am a very picky eater- not a large fan of meat or seafood. I also mostly bus everywhere I go, and am known for hiding in my house for days at a time. Despite that, I was still very close to falling into the class average of 10 hectares (just 1.25 below). Because I was curious how I compared to other people in the world, scanned over the Wikipedia page with the ecological footprints of other countries. It’s not too surprising that some of the most industrialized countries are up at the top, but that’s not the case with some others like China and Spain. This made me wonder how such places managed to keep it so low, and whether this is realistically calculated.

 

In my footprint, a lot of my points came from the following actions:

  1. Using running water, taking showers, etc…
  2. Watering my garden quite often.
  3. Having –a lot of second hand- clothing, but only wearing a fraction of them
  4. Not putting an effort (excluding recycling and composting) into buying items with minimal waste.
  5. Having a decently large house (and renting out a townhouse to tenants).
  6. Going to many places every day by bus and car.
  7. Being a swimmer, and using the swimming pool facility (which is the exact opposite of the natural environment it was built on).
  8. Having technology be a large part of my daily regime.
  9. Not really attempting to eat organic or locally grown food.
  10. Consuming dairy.

While this is generally common knowledge, I was surprised by the ratios of the points for certain actions to others. For example, if I was to use pesticides, that would account for many more penalty points than consuming dairy for my entire life. Another example is using the SFU/CG Brown swimming pool, which have been running for an incredibly long time, comparatively to the points for using a vehicle- whether it be in a bus or a car or a train. I would like to think that busing is friendlier than driving a car.

 

Knowing what actions have the most negative impact, these are the things that I tried to do in order to reduce the size of my ecological footprint.

Minimizing water usage

While this is a very broad idea, it encompasses many simple tasks such as showering for a shorter amount of time (4 minutes maximum), washing the dishes in a small sink bath instead of rinsing under running water, and being cautious and concise in watering gardens. These were relatively easy to make, disregarding the fact that my parents were a little neglectful of the idea of saving water by leaving the sprinkler on for a shorter amount of time and later in the day. These changes don’t provide a noticeable difference in my life, but they will make an impact if sustained for a longer time. Additionally, they are very easy to incorporate into my lifestyle and proved how easy it was not to abuse our right to water.

Ultimately busing

Because I visit many places in a day, I typically dedicate a large chunk of my time for transportation. This happens mostly by bus but I do get driven around quite a bit as well. Since my parents are definitely annoyed by my schedule and demand (because of the no-bus after dark policy and distance), I tried to minimize their need to bother themselves with this task by making sure that I took the bus every time that I was entitled to do so. Not as large of a lifestyle change as other things, I only increased my Transit use, on average, from 50% to 80% percent of the time. This eliminated some of the conflicts within my family too, and it provided me with evidence whenever I was being targeted as a cause for the lack of time. At the same time, it was very enjoyable for me because I got more time to contemplate my life decisions while blasting Hamilton on full volume through my earbuds. This is definitely something that I can keep up, but not completely enforce as some situations require that someone would drive me.

Vegetarianism (*an attempt)

I have never had a large love for meat (especially after working in the deli section of my store twice a week), and vegetarianism would have been a very easy option for me. My parents, on the other hand, are afraid of the idea and would not let me cease to consume meat because of it’s “essential nutritional benefits”. I decided that the only time that I would eat it would be when they force me to, and it will not be a part of my diet outside of my house. There is a Ted-Talk on being a “reducetarian”, meaning reducing your consumption of animal products without completely cutting them out of your diet. This is a foreign concept to most people, and it is looked upon as lacking the dedication to be a real vegan or just trying to make yourself feel better about your health. Being a picky eater, I’ve already adopted this concept into my life. I would like to continue in indulging in my childish ways, and all I have to do now is convince my family that my diet is ultimately my option.

Conserving electricity

Being the broadest of all, I also found this to be the most difficult. Simple tasks, such as always turning the light/appliances off, unplugging everything from electrical outlets when not in use, taking colder showers, air drying small loads of laundry, and adjusting your clothing layers well to the climate instead of using heaters or air conditioners, all seemed to add up to quite a bit more work. I understand why not many people do these things on a regular basis, because of how these jobs are a little inconvenient and a bit mentally draining. Personally, I know that I did not enjoy unplugging my large network of wires from behind my nightstand every morning. Setting up and using a laundry line in our backyard also took a lot more effort than just throwing the clothes into the drier. Taking cold showers, on the other hand, was relatively nice to the weather that we are currently having. Moving forward, it is important to formulate sturdy habits of always turning the light or power off in most appliances, as well as generally minimizing our screen time to only useful activities.

Simply reducing waste

Living in the lower mainland, recycling and composting have been introduced to all of us a long time ago. By now, it should be simple, familiar, and non-negotiable. It’s important to note that no matter how much we may do it, it does not mask the fact that the rate for the production of unnecessary materials (labels, cartons, plastic bags, straws, etc…) is constantly increasing. A bit of research and some documentaries into this investigation, I gathered the inclination to genuinely care for how serious of an impact this has on the planet and the statistics of the epidemic. I have noticed that certain food brands go completely over-the-top with packaging, so much so that the product itself is worth less than what it comes in. There isn’t a need for attempting to reduce waste for a small period of time when there is always the possibility to do this all the time. Changes like using your own water bottle, choosing foods with less packaging, buying less, and shopping at smaller local markets can reduce your waste a lot. While a lot of those decisions aren’t left up to me to put my judgment into, I realized that the small actions in every day will add up. These things will additionally make you feel less guilty to be alive and a bit more like a decent citizen. Other than being more prepared for every day, trying to be less of a raging consumer isn’t very difficult.

 

In conclusion, most of the things that I researched and learned in this assignment were things that I’ve heard before from all of our fellow passionate environmentalists and scientists. It does, though, take our own effort and understanding to actually commit to making a difference in our lifestyle. While not many people are there yet (myself included), more educational opportunities to the general public such as ecological footprint calculation or other significant hands-on activities will improve everyone’s participation and awareness of the subject.

CROISSANTS!

While we are done with writing all of the necessary In-depth blog posts, I just wanted to quickly write this one in celebration of my most recent victory. It was a really tough, sacrificial, frustrating, yet scrumptious journey. I present to you, the croissants!

croissants-2croissants-4

croissants-3

 

 

 

 

 

butter Boy am I serious when I say “never again”. The constant counter cleanup was not worth the title of having made croissants. I also couldn’t tell whether they were fully baked or just swimming in oil, either.