Focusing on environmental issues for once......
Before I watched the documentary Gasland Part II in my AP Environmental Science class, I had never really encountered fracking, aside from occasionally hearing the term on NPR. Gasland II really influenced me. As it was designed to, the video enraged me, showing scenes of families taken advantage of by gas companies, and government officials turning a blind eye. I craved more information on the subject, since educating myself using my school’s databases would allow me to provide reliable information to others, helping me use my own personal connections to inform other American citizens in my life of the negative effects of fracking. Although this blog is a platform mainly used for fashion and style-related topics, it is a platform I use to communicate my ideas to the world, so I will discuss fracking, in hopes that my readers will learn something they did not know before. This article is modified from my research paper.
What exactly is fracking?
Fracking involves drilling a few thousand feet below Earth’s surface and injecting into sedimentary shale rock a highly pressurized fluid, a mixture mainly composed of water and sand with smaller amounts of chemicals (Pritchard). Dozens of chemicals, such as hydrochloric acid and sodium peroxide, are mixed in with the water and sand to break down the rock and release natural gas or unrefined petroleum (“What Chemicals Are Used”; Pritchard). What do drillers do with the water and chemical mixture after they use it? In the Barnett Shale in Texas, it is transported to deep disposal wells and injected into them (“F.A.Q.s”).
Why do some believe it is good?
It is thought by our government to be a cleaner energy source than others and is responsible for thirty percent of our current electricity production and for heating half of all U.S. homes (Larson 9). The Wall Street Journal reported in 2013 that the recent growth of fracking in America has brought “improving employment in some regions and a rebound in U.S.-based manufacturing,” and “greater defense against overseas turmoil that can disrupt energy supplies” (qtd. in Larson 9).
How does it harm the environment?
It accelerates climate change. This is mainly because drilling for natural gas causes copious amounts of methane, a greenhouse gas that traps heat, to be released into our atmosphere. The more heat is trapped by greenhouse gases, the more our planet warms, and the more the climate changes. When we frack, an average of eighty eight percent of the methane escapes during drilling and processing, before the natural gas is even burned (McKibben 11). Fracking also harms the environment by causing earthquakes, as frack wells are often drilled very deep into the earth and this can alter natural geological processes. To reach the Barnett Shale in Texas, drillers must drill at least seven thousand feet below the surface (“F.A.Q.s”). Seven thousand feet is about six times the height of the Empire State Building in New York City. Earthquakes are not the direct result of fracking itself, but, according to the research journal Science, they are the result of the “deep disposal of fracking’s wastewater” (qtd. in Larson 11).
How is it associated with political corruption?
In many cases, because government officials and scientists who conduct research on fracking are current or past affiliates of the energy industry, their findings are altered and totally designed to make fracking attractive to the public. An example of a biased study can be found in New York state, where a major EPA review of fracking found that it had little or no threat to drinking water, but “five of the seven members on the peer review panel had current or former energy industry affiliations” (Larson 11).
How does it harm human welfare?
Because fracking often occurs in a very close proximity to people’s residential communities, it is easy to imagine how chemicals from the drilling can contaminate people’s drinking water and the air they breathe. In Texas, according to rules made by the Railroad Commission, which controls all aspects of drilling in the state, a driller must stay three hundred and thirty feet away from the property line of an owner who has not given over the right to drill on his land (“F.A.Q.s”). Causing pollution, methane can leak into local water wells surrounding drilling sites, making people’s tap water flammable. Also, another example of these health complications can be found when Colorado scientists sampled the air within a half mile radius of fracking sites and found that the people living in the area were prone to headaches, eye irritation, temporary limb paralysis, and unconsciousness (Larson 9).
Why do I, Elspeth Suber, care about fracking?
I care about fracking because I am human. I can put myself in the shoes of those families in Texas who are forced off their land and unable to sell their homes because nearby fracking operations have contaminated the water supply and the air and caused health problems. I wouldn’t want that to happen to me or to anyone I care about. I am doing my duty as an American citizen with the power to vote for politicians who support various ideas by spreading my knowledge of fracking with those in my life, so they can use their influence to help stop the spread of fracking.
"FAQs." bseec.org. BSEEC, n.d. Web. 23 Mar. 2016.
Larson, Rob. “Frackonomics. (Cover Story).” Dollars & Sense 307 (2013): 9-13. Points of View Reference Center. Web. 21 Mar. 2016.
McKibben, Bill. “Obama’s Fracking Folly.” Mother Jones 39.6 (2014): 10-11. Points of View Reference Center. Web. 21 Mar. 2016.
Pritchard, Joshua. "Fracking: Overview." Points Of View: Fracking (2015): 1. Points of View Reference Center. Web. 21 Mar. 2016.
To share my love of using fashion as means of self-expression and broadcasting individuality, I started a fashion interest group, or Style Society at my school. My plans for the club involve visiting local thrift stores, having multiple outfit photoshoots, and using social media to document our stylish outfits and our message. I plan to incorporate elements of design and charity by creating a sock design contest with all sock proceeds benefiting our school’s Children’s Miracle Network Dance Marathon chapter. Also, around Christmastime, all of our society members will donate unwanted clothing to the society to create a massive clothing pool. Members will pay $5 for access to the pool and take whatever clothes they want. All proceeds and leftover clothes will go to my favorite locally run thrift store which benefits the Tallahassee homeless community.
The main goal of the society is to encourage its members to step outside their comfort zones and wear clothing that they feel expresses their own personalities while receiving positive encouragement from others. Fashion is important to me because the way I dress affects the way I feel on a daily basis; for instance, wearing my vintage structured blazer to give a presentation on the different zones of lakes made me feel powerful addressing my science class. Wearing unique, thrifted clothing helps me broadcast my personality to the world, feel more confident, and communicate the idea of the importance of individuality. By simply dressing differently than others, I communicate originality and reveal that I am an approachable, open person who welcomes new perspectives. Fashion isn’t about conforming to the standards of appearance set by other people; it’s about showing that I have my own personality through the unique clothes I wear. Maclay Style Society was created for me to broadcast this message and encourage others to have the confidence to where whatever they want, regardless of society’s standards, and not be afraid to show the world their true personalities.
I have always loved spending time outside, especially in neighborhoods. Suburbia is so beautiful to me when the houses all look different and the street corners and yards are lined with various types of trees, mainly pines and sweet gums, with the occasional oak and Japanese magnolia. I discovered my love for neighborhoods through running for exercise, but often I need to stop and walk purely because moving slowly allows me to fully appreciate the gorgeous yellow afternoon sunshine that halos the tree leaves, and the pretty blue shadows that are cast onto everything from the unique houses, to the individual mailboxes, to the curbside sedans, and finally, to me. Sometimes, when the light shines a certain way or the smell of someone’s laundry or construction enters the street, I get vibes that allow me to reminisce a certain experience in my life or think about the future in a new way. I have never thought to articulate my love for the outdoors, except briefly in an old ‘about me’ page on this blog in which I wrote the following: “Often, I will stop to look up at tree leaves and appreciate the beautiful colors that are created when the light hits them just right.” I feel that my love for suburbia can really relate to Ralph Waldo Emerson’s love for the outdoors. When we read Emerson in our AP Lang class, I agreed with so many lines in Nature that I wish to record some, in no particular order, and give my interpretations.
"Let us interrogate the great apparition, that shines so peacefully around us. Let us inquire, to what end is nature?"
*Many would not consider suburbia a part of nature because it consists mainly of manmade structures and the remnants of a more traditional nature that existed before construction in the ‘70s. I disagree with this. Nature exists anywhere that is outside, anywhere where one can breathe fresh air and see the sky.
"I am not solitary whilst I read and write, though nobody is with me."
*I feel the same way while in suburbia. I am by myself on my runs (or walks), but looking around at the trees and the way the light hits them often brings back memories other people were involved in, so they are with me while I’m in suburbia.
"To speak truly, few adult persons can see nature."
*I hate taking my phone on my runs because it brings other people into suburbia with me in the form of snapchat or text message notifications. It’s nice to have people in suburbia in my memories, but I like to be away from contact with my busy world for a while. I cannot really focus on the beauty of suburban nature without removing myself from contact with other people. Most people are unable to remove themselves, so they never really experience nature.
"The beauty that shimmers in the yellow afternoons of October, who ever could clutch it?"
*All my life, my dad has told me that October is his favorite month. Before I had homework and tennis so frequently, we used to walk my dog around our neighborhood every afternoon. He would tell me how beautiful he thought the trees looked during the fall, and we would each choose our favorite tree in the neighborhood.
Since I was thirteen, my dream was to be a YouTuber. I longed to have companies send me free clothes and fully financed trips to music festivals and prime vacation spots. One of my favorite YouTubers, began her channel by creating weekly videos of styling her thrifted clothing, her message being that you can be fashionable on a budget. I absolutely loved these videos, and they helped me discover and really get into thrift shopping, which I adore not only because it is economical, but because the clothes I find allow me to express myself and show the world that I am a unique individual who is open to new things and ideas—not your average high school conformist.
Slowly, as she became more famous, this YouTuber started to change. Now, her videos are based around marketing products for companies and showing the world her luxurious, idealistically dreamlike lifestyle, which she is able to finance because of YouTube. I have not seen her showcase a thrifted find in a video in several years.
I do not wish for this post to be about throwing shade on my former favorite YouTuber, or the hundreds of others like her for that matter, because I believe that people are definitely entitled to spend their money and live their lives however they want. I simply wanted to document how I feel after watching her channel.
Instead of picturing YouTube as the dream job of getting paid to blog about vacation and style clothes for different companies, I now see it as an unattractive lifestyle completely built on materialism. Through watching her channel, I have learned about myself and my values that I believe will help me remain down-to-earth throughout my life. I don’t believe in spending obscene amounts of money eating hormone-free hamburgers at the trendiest new restaurant, nor do I believe in using a twelve dollar crème to cleanse my face because a company told me to. In summary, I do not believe in having a lifestyle based on regularly spending money on luxuries, and this YouTuber has facilitated this self-discovery.
I still would like to follow through with my plan to start a YouTube channel in college, but I would like to have it be about using my own fashion sense to select eccentric articles of clothing from the thrift store and inspiring people to embrace the idea of being unique.
After reading the blog of Sunny Rebecca (this girl I follow on Instagram), I am extremely impressed with her posts. Not only are they lengthy and formatted like well-structured essays, but they cover a variety of topics that are applicable to our daily lives.
In this post, I am going to throw out some thoughts on editing apps, the apps people use to edit their Instagram photos and the effects these apps have on people.
This summer, I watched a few (and only a few because watching more than 10 minutes of YouTube videos at a time leaves me feeling unproductive and guilty) YouTube videos by different instagrammers about how they edit their photos.
Yes, everyone has seen those crisp, perfectly white, balanced Instagram feeds that make you want to go to Starbucks or to an expensive brunch. But has everyone taken the time to step back and ask themselves how those pictures and that feed look the way they do?
After watching about two YouTube videos, I quickly learned that an account many would refer to as being “feed goals,” has many photos that should be classified under the category of digital artwork rather than photography. I say this because in one of the videos I watched, the girl actually said that she used an editing app to color in portions of her picture white. She showed a photo of a table arranged with various food items and plates, telling us that she went through and colored the brown table in the background white. Conceding that it was in fact very tedious and annoying, the blogger said that she thought it was worth it.
I feel the need to expose this extreme use of editing because I want people to keep in mind that what we see on Instagram is definitely not always what it seems. Over editing photos is not necessarily a bad thing, as long as people appreciate the edits and do not arbitrarily compare themselves and their photos to ones that have been over-edited