Monday, September 24, 2007

earth charter take two

My photos for earth charter depict how to stop violence in children. I did research paper, on children and media, and the effects it has on them mentally and socially. My first picture is of a person, so encompassed in their laptop… have you ever seen a child who was so zoned out to television, or video games, that they are just sitting there like a zombie; mouth gaped and shut off from the world? That’s what this picture means to me. You are in the darkness, nothing around you matters, but you see through the crack that the worlds bright around you, and still going on. By kids playing violent video games, two things are happening. One, that are putting violent images into their minds, and two, by them sitting inside playing this games, or watching bad T.V., they are not interacting socially with their peers. The only social interaction they are practicing is what they do in the video games (which could include very graphic images). It’s a parent’s responsibility to watch what their kids are putting into their mind, and how much and so on. I’m not saying technology is the devil, or all video games should be banned, but there is a limit, or moderation to it. My second photo is similar, but just being controlled by technology. I have myself fallen victim to Facebook’s allure. Again, moderation comes into play. My third picture is of me on the swing at a school, the sun is on my face. Oh outside is so great for your serotonin levels! The fresh air, the trees! So beautiful. And relaxing. The school is important, because that’s where kids do 99 percent of their social interactions, it would be better for them to be hanging out with their friends on the playground, than camped in their rooms with Mortal Combat. And my fourth photo, just the vast blue world, all that you’re missing when you’re inside... there’s such a big world out there, and it can come into focus when you go out and experience it!

A crack of light shines through into the darkness of the technology zombie.

still in the dark imprisonment of inside, but more light is shinning through..

experiencing the world, and seeing what it has to offer

Earth Charter

I took on the angle of peace. The first 2 photos are just getting across the beauty of nature and how amazing it can be if you stop to take it all in. The last picture is of a girl in nature and it is supposed to represent freedom and being at peace with nature.

Organic Isn't Always Sustainable

The Earth Charter states that we should "Adopt at all levels sustainable development plans and regulations that make environmental conservation and rehabilitation integral to all development initiatives." Companies all over the world are starting to 'go green.' The organic market is skyrocketing and consumers are making an effort to buy organic, thinking that they are helping their environment. Pollution from pesticides and other harmful farming practices is a major problem, and organics are an encouraging step in this country, but I think that sometimes people buy organic because it's trendy. The Earth Charter encourages awareness, so my photo campaign aims to point out the drawbacks of certain organic products and the sustainability of local items. In both pairs of photos, I show how the organic product is causing pollution; in the applesauce, it was shipped many miles, either by plane or truck, to reach the local grocery store, producing harmful vehicle emissions, while the apples were purchased and used without any waste or emissions. When I opened the organic tea, I was appalled at the ridiculous amount of packaging involved! By harvesting and drying leaves from my peppermint plant and using a metal infuser, I don't create any waste. People need to be aware of what they're buying, consider locally grown food or grow their own. Everyone can innovate their habits to live more sustainably.

This applesauce was grown organically to help save the environment, but it was shipped to Oshkosh from Canada, using fossil fuels.

Locally grown apples in a cloth bag from the Oshkosh Farmers' Market are sustainable and don't create any harmful waste.

This "Certified Organic" tea came in three layers of packaging.

A peppermint plant can be used to make delicious tea with no waste products.

Public transportation done right.

Since Earth Charter is focused on preserving and improving the environment, it is important to see how other countries and cultures are doing their part in the preservation of their own environment. While many people can focus on a local problem, sometimes it is importation to observe how a similar problem can be solved internationally. The focus here will be in regards to public transportation.
Japan is well known for having one of the best public transportation systems in the world. Railways are the most common form of transportation, and are used frequently by millions of citizens. Trains in Japan are safe, efficient, and environmentally friendly. With a landmass smaller than the state of California, Japan has approximately 23,400 kilometers of track for its various trains. Even though cars and other vehicles are used daily, it is more convenient for people to take a train to various locations. The capital city of Tokyo has quite a few local train lines which enable people to travel quickly from one district to the next. For longer trips across the country, the bullet train can reach speeds excess of 200 miles per hour, making for quick travel. With each city connected by system of railways, there is seemingly no reason to use a car as frequently.
Though it would seem impossible and overly-expensive to introduce such a complex system into America, it is comforting to know that other cultures are doing their part to help the environment.

Photo 1: A bullet train pulls into a station in Tokyo.
Photo 2: Train tracks surrounded by lush greenery in Hokkaido.
Photo 2: Another bullet train waiting to take off.

You can keep the world beautiful by planting flowers...

"Protecting nature. Preserving life."

“Protecting nature. Preserving life.” The Nature Conservancy
In Northeast Wisconsin alone, there are more than 12,000 acres of preserved land, including 150 miles of trails. The centers are open year round so that visitors have the opportunity to experience nature in the snow covered winter or bright colorful summer.
Nature reserves focus on environmental concerns and are also beneficial for community development.
I visited Heckrodt Wetland Reserve, located in Menasha, Wisconsin, on a beautiful fall morning. Heckrodt Wetland Reserve is a 76-acre urban nature reserve that protects forested wetland, cattail marsh, open water, open field and upland forest communities. The reserve is home for many species of reptiles, amphibians and mammals. Three miles of boardwalk trails connect the Reserve’s many acres. The Reserve also hosts many community and educational programs for all ages. If you didn’t come across much action on the trails, you can view aquariums that host live reptiles, amphibians and fish in the Reserve’s nature center.

Earth Charter is about the things that people can do to protect their communities and their environment, not only for the current generation, but generations to come. These ways of conserving energy are easy for everyone to do and could really make a difference in conserving the Earth's resources.

Photo #1: Washing Machine's Temperature Settings- By setting the washing machine's temperature to cold or warm, energy is saved.

Photo #2: Always do a full load

Photo #3: Air drying

Earth charter

We Need to Get Our Priorities Straight!

It's amazing to me just how backwards we can be sometimes. A fantastic new way of creating cheap, clean energy comes along and we argue about the aesthetics of it. According to The Energy Center of Wisconsin's website ( wind power is growing in our state. Right now we have dozens of wind turbines scattered around the countryside, which are providing energy for some 15,000 homes. Not only is wind energy good for the environment but its good for the economy. And yet there are people out there who think they are unsightly or noisy. Such is the case in Chilton right now where several property owners are trying to pass amendments preventing wind turbines from being built. Personally, I think they are uniquely and artistically beautiful. And as far as noise, they aren't any noisier than living on a city street and listening to traffic all day. In the end, I would like to offer this comparison. Which is uglier - the wind turbines in the top photo or the massive landfill scarring the landscape in the second and third photos.

Photo #1: Wind turbines off of Highway 41, south of Fond du Lac.

Photo #2: Corn field near Oshkosh with a landfill right behind it. Gross!

Photo #3: Same landfill only now it's in this farmer's backyard. I suggest they buy bottled water.

The Green Life

When I started thinking about Earth Charter, I started to ask myself, how can we bring environmental consciousness into our daily lives? I already recycle and try to buy environmental-friendly products as much as possible. Then it occurred to me that I already know someone who is living an eco-friendly life. Not only that, but she has passed this way of living down to two other generations. Joanne Litjens is my friends mother and for as long as I can remember she has been fighting to save the environment.

One easy way to conserve energy is to line dry your clothes.

Painting your house is a good alternative to adding siding.

Growing your own food is not only eco-friendly, but it's also healthy and fun. Please don't use any pesticides though!

Planting additional plants around your house adds oxygen to the air and helps keep our air clean.

The most important part about being environmentally conscience is to pass on this knowledge and love for your environment on to future generations.

Little boxes on the hillside

It is part of the American dream to want a space of our own; to have a large house with a two-car garage and a nice, well-manicured lawn for Billy and Betty to frolic, all in a safe, tranquil setting. But in search of our personal piece of suburban serenity, we often neglect to think about the consequences.

As our cities and towns continue to spread deeper into the surrounding farm fields and wilderness areas, who knows what treasures are being lost forever? Once productive pastures and green forests are being turned into labyrinthine networks of asphalt streets lined with seemingly endless stretches of tract housing. Everything from wildlife and natural beauty to our own sense of identity and cultural history are disappearing with every new development project.

Photo #1: Staring down a row of identical townhouses in an Oshkosh subdivision.

Photo #2: This wooded lot that was once home to many plant and animal species, is now up for sale to the highest bidder.

Photo #3: Currently a dead end street bordered by indistinguishable apartment buildings, this development will soon connect with others like it.

Photo #4: So this is where the sidewalk ends… for now.

Message in a bottle

The Wiowash trail extends 22 miles from Oshkosh all the way to the city of Hortonville. The trail also goes from Tigerton to Birnamwood. Many people use it every day and it serves as one of the premier biking trails in Wisconsin. Yet that hasn't stopped certain deviants from messing it up for the rest of the world. Litter can be seen all along the trail and it seems to get worse where the smaller trails veer off toward the lake. Within 15 feet of the main trail fire pits filled with various trash inhabit the shoreline. That totally sucks! This is an awesome trail that, towards Butte Des Morts, runs past many farms. Hopefully people will start paying more mind to the ones that utilize the trail and start taking care of this wonderful part of Oshkosh.

Photo 1: A piece of trash that set up camp on the shoreline by the Wiowash. If your biking or walking on the trail bring a small plastic bag with you to put your trash in and dispose of later.

Photo 2: Fruit is awesome and delicious. All kinds of colors can be seen alongside the Wiowash, and now that fall is approaching the trail has more aesthetic than ever. Check it out if you get the chance. The start of the trail lies close to the studio apartments by Fratellos. And if you see someone littering along the trail push them into the splash and laugh at them as they sink.

Photo 3: This is what happens when you litter. Oshkosh resident Kyle Shilts went for a Sunday ride on the trail and noticed all the garbage. Now he has climbed over the rail of one of the bridges on the Wiowash and contemplates if life is worth living while there are litterbugs running amok in his town. Don't do it Kyle! There may be trash in Hell too.

Photo 4: During my travels for photo immortality, I came across a man who was uber psyched about his taggings behind the Pioneer Resort. "Dude, you gotta go check it out. It's so killer," he said. He continued to hype up his art while describing how important it is for Oshkosh residents to "free their minds." But what he should have drawn on the wall was his name and address so that the Oshkosh police could arrest him for being a turd and ruining some of the beauty that lies along the Fox river.

When "real" runs out

Have you ever stopped to think about the multitude of situations in life that depend on nature’s beauty and splendor? From receiving that perfect bouquet of spring tulips, to spending an afternoon playing outside in the freshly fallen autumn leaves, to maintaining a beautiful garden in the backyard, many important and memorable moments in our lives often go hand-in-hand with the gifts of nature.

Unfortunately, with the direction the environment is headed in, it won’t be long before “real” runs out. As the climate moves steadily into the red year after year, so do we lose precious species of wildlife and plants. To many, it becomes hard to visualize how the loss of nature will eventually affect them. One of the most effective ways is to think back to one’s favorite memories and replace all elements of nature with their fake counterparts. You’ll be surprised to see how moments lose their effect and emotion when nature is taken away.

Photo #1: Enjoying fall's foliage loses its effect when the leaves don't even crunch.

Photo#2: Gardening transforms from fulfilling hobby to once-per-season "planting."

Photo #3: Roses are red, violets are blue, polyester flowers don't say I love you.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

A Bicycle Built for...No One

It is obvious that given a choice of having a car or bike on campus, students prefer having a car. Car exhaust and air pollution present various problems to the environment today. At UW-Oshkosh, few students ride their bikes to class or around the community. Other alternative modes of transportation are overlooked, such as the city bus, which remains vacant for most of each day. Instead, at every glance cars pass through the crosswalks and fill each parking lot. Exhaust from engines affects the health of all humans. Vehicles have grown to dominate our way of living, while at the same time help to contribute to a polluted atmosphere and climate changes. Each person has a chance to make a difference in the air quality by reducing their traffic use by 30%. So the next time you have a destination to get to, rather than getting into a car or sports vehicle, try putting up the kick stand on a bike and take it for a spin. You might be surprised at the difference you'll make.

Photograph #1: Few students lock their bikes up along the racks at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh.
Photograph #2: The local bus stop remains empty throughout each day, as the community selects other modes of transportation.
Photograph #3: Vehicles pass through crosswalks as less people walk to their destinations and more people drive.
Photograph #4: Vehicles fill up all the spaces in lots around campus.