Influencing Social and Ecological Injustices

Throughout the course of my career, I would like to spread awareness and positively influence the numerous social and ecological justices plaguing the world today. By attempting to divest our societal structure from fossil fuels, enlightening anyone that will listen of ecological woes, and advocating for policies focused on resource conservation I will make our future more sustainable. And hopefully, I will help provide a past that my generation will be able to be proud of.

eWaste

The system for e-waste recycling is inefficient at best. Many of our electronics that we “recycle” end up in third world countries (such as India or Ghana), where they are broken down, burned, and semi-salvaged. Many e-waste recycling practices not only release pollutants but also, in many countries, children with little to no protective equipment are doing this dirty work. Burning these materials without any safety gear poses an extreme health risk, yet many people in these countries depend on this for income.

http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/india-it-electronic-waste

Photo 1: http://www.electronic-recycling.ie/blog/index.php/2013/01/a-safe-and-easy-way-to-recycle-electrical-cables-from-weee/

Photo 2: http://webecoist.momtastic.com/2009/11/28/trashy-times-where-do-recycled-gadgets-really-go/

Water

“Whiskey is for drinking, water is for fighting over.” – Mark Twain

india watrer

A Hindu devotee wraps his cloth after a ritual dip in the polluted Yamuna river in New Delhi March 21, 2010. The Earth is literally covered in water, but more than a billion people lack access to clean water for drinking or sanitation as most water is salty or dirty.

Only 2.5% of Earth’s water is freshwater. Less than one hundredth of one percent of Earth’s water is fresh and renewed each year by the solar-powered hydrologic cycle.

Sources: http://www.alternet.org/story/147334/how_much_longer_until_we_run_out_of_enough_drinkable_water

Photo 3: http://blogs.reuters.com/russell-boyce/2010/03/22/dont-drink-the-water-even-if-there-is-any-to-drink/

Chemical Dumping

Illegally disposing of waste seems to correlate with less affluent, small towns. A small town in Mendocino County, still has not seen justice. Chromium and other highly toxic chemicals have contaminated the groundwater of Willits, CA. A Remco hydraulics plant, now bankrupt, was illegally disposing of their chemical waste. Remco grew in size as contracts for hydraulic equipment arrived from the U.S. Department of Defense and other customers. Chrome plating for parts began in 1963.

Residents began noticing smells and rashes. After filing complaints to county officials, the community of Willits thought the issue would be resolved. However, Remco continued dumping its waste in and around the plant site as the facility’s main building grew in size to nearly 3.5 acres. Also, they installed large fans on the roof of the factory for ventilation, pointed directly at the local middle school. Now, residents are coping with an abundance of illnesses. Cases of cancer, birth defects, diabetes, headaches, rashes, nosebleeds and numbness have affected residents. Clean up of the Remco site is estimated to take 30 years, and about $50 million dollars.

Regarding ocean dumping… the dumping of industrial, nuclear and other waste into oceans was legal until the early 1970’s when it became regulated; however, dumping still occurs illegally everywhere.

Sources: http://www.sfgate.com/health/article/A-Town-Diseased-and-Torn-Willits-split-on-3239206.php

http://marinebio.org/oceans/ocean-dumping.asp

Photo 4: http://greenplanetethics.com/wordpress/toxic-waste-what-is-toxic-waste-do-we-clean-it-up-or-illegally-dump-it-overseas/

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