We live on the islands of Hawaii that is in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, and we do not have many alternatives to turn to because of the distance from the mainland. It is costly to have our waste shipped or even have programs with bigger companies across the globe. Not only is it costly , but also it gives us the alternative to create our own landfills, our own mess, our own mess that is stuck on our islands. We do have H-Power, that turns our trash into energy for the island of Oahu, but there are still mass production of trash at the Waimanalo Gulch that is just sitting there, building up with dangerous pollutants, because we live on an island, and we can only do so much. With our growing population and mass developments of structures and roads, that means more waste on our curbside. I think as consumer in HI, we should try to take a step back on what we’re throwing out, and I believe this will work, if and only if, we take responsibility of the trash we make. We are the ones who buy and throw out. Yes, we do have recycling programs and waste-to-energy businesses, but is it enough for the island to solve the growing numbers of trash ?
From taking away the life from the Earth, to throwing away the items we used from the Earth, I have learned that we have many ways that people turn to for getting rid of the waste we create. We have landfills, incinerators, to even our precious source of water. With these options, we aren’t only stripping away the sources from the land, but even tossing the “no good” waste towards resources that are still in tact. The quote “recycling can lull us into believing we have done our part while nothing, really, has changed (pg 228), spoke out to me and made me think that we, the people, are really selfish and so hypocritical on things, that we think we’re so good by doing a good deed and then go back to doing our bad habits. Also that when our waste is off our hands, we think that it ends there, but we really don’t realize what happens to it after.
Ny trash goes wherever the rubbish man takes them. I live five minutes away from a local dump site, where my family and I go to when we have more trash that did not fit in our trash can that gets picked up. This dump site has bins filled with many different types of waste. There is one bin for the “green waste”, a section where there is refrigerators, air conditioning units, and even other electronic pieces. In class, I did learn that there are other places where our dump goes to like ships to other countries, the middle of our oceans, and even burnt away by the process of incinerators. This is heart breaking because we make the trash and that we never take the responsibility for it.
Besides paying bills, I’m always spending away on luncheons and dinner dates, buying necessities for work, or even just shopping for the most materialistic things, like a “normal” consumer. Honestly though, I feel good doing so. There is that tiny little voice in my brain that tells me “no don’t do it,” but I give in to the other little voice saying “Giiiiirl, you need it.” I do put in responsibility with my money first, actually. I don’t go and start spending money once that direct deposit hits. I pay whatever bill is due before the next pay check, and then I work with what is left. Even with the responsibility, I do believe that with the left over money, I spend on things I don’t need. Most of the reason why I spend my money on these things regularly is because of my job. I am required to be updated with the latest trends, from my hair tools, as well as fashion. With the luncheons and dinner reservations is due to the many job-related meetings. Overall, I still agreed blowing my money away, regardless if it’s for work or not.
The school semester has gone by super quick, and I have to say it was easy, breezy. Although my work schedule collides with my school schedule, I still managed to get things done. In Eng 24, I feel that it was just an overview of what I learned in high school, but I got to see where my writing skills are at. I learned to properly use MLA citations for our essays, (still needs improvement) but I’m getting there. Also the theme of the class, “sustainability” opened a few doors of knowledge. I learned about what is really happening in our world/environment based on, what I believe now, is our “bad” habits that affect our environment. Not only do I learn how to become a better writer but also become a better person to our environment.
Hawaii has developed over the years drastically. I appreciate the modernization of the island, from new housing, malls, and many more, but sometimes it is too much for many locals/native Hawaiians. Environmental racism in Hawaii can be overlooked like “factories are just there.” An example outside of Hawaii is Nestle which has factories in India where they released foul smells and toxins into the ground; where in Hawaii, the factory that deals with the separation of our body waste is near the Ewa homes of many, that I believe are considered the middle class.
The United States, as well as every country out there is exposed to toxic chemicals from the products we buy, even by the companies that live near by. In the debate, I was representing the “Government,” but in all honesty I believe that the consumers are to blame. As we grow, as the population grows, more resources are needed, and more “stuff” is being produced at amazing rates. Consumers are always buying-buying for the next big thing. There are toxic chemicals in everything, and it is being brushed off. As a consumer myself, I paid no attention to what is in my products. I do know that stuff in these products are bad, but like most consumers, I had the mentality like “if I’m not sick or dead yet, I’m ok,” and continued to expose myself. Consumers are very aware of what surrounds our atmosphere, yet trends in fashion, in the newest technology, etc. we will always be buying away these products and companies will always produce them.
We were given a section of the book, “The Story of Stuff” and it was all about books. Books can be there main source of our knowledge. The tiny little words are being read, studied, captured and even memorized to expand our minds, but despite all of that, there is the making of the book itself. Basically starting from the tree to the actual hard copy. It all starts with paper. We start off with the extraction of our beautiful tree. Then it is dunked in chemicals like chlorine and mercury, which is very bad for our bodies and environment, and BOOM! We have a taxi product that makes us smart, yet gives us some lung problem when we let it rot. As we learn everyday, we need to take the extra step on creating better and healthier products, starting with a product that is filled with this very type of information: a book.
Water is the way of life, from what I’ve learned, but big corporations are still finding ways to have people around the world pay for it. Paying for water is pretty ridiculous. Water is 70% of our bodies. It is used in our cooking, food, we bather and use it for our plants, yet we are still limited to it. Water shouldn’t be a governmental right or associated with stuck up CEO’s, but our human right! We need the privilege to something that basically keeps us alive. These corporations will shut our water off if we miss a $300 monthly payment, charge us $2 for a 33.8 fl oz of a water bottle filled with chemicals that’s supposed to “clean and purify,” and yet here we are brushing off the fact that there are people all over the world who don’t even have access to even just a trickle of it from their faucets, and that is absolutely sad.
The water from the Waiahole has enriched the windward sides with a lively ecosystem, both land and sea. The streams that flow have been a part of the Hawaiian culture, as well as agriculture for many generations. As of now, water from the Waiahole is being diverted to the leeward side and lots of the taro lo’i on the windward side are receiving less water. The water is being used for golf courses that are unfit to even have in the given locations. The streams are producing less and the taro farms need as much water in order to have a successful growth season. This will be a harder situation for many farms and as well the people of the community. There are not only changes to the farms but as well as the ecosystems around the windward side. There has been a large number of non-native species in the fresh water flows. I learned that native species that for through the water only adapt to heavier flows of the streams. Now that the streams are at a stand still, it is easier for the non-native species to reproduce and that right there could affect the streams and its life. With the diversion of the waters, it is the start to something that could bring the streams to it’s down point.