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Carbon Emissions pose an imminent danger, as they slowly deprive us of natural resources worldwide. Due to our actions, we have experienced a dramatic increase in natural disasters, oil spills, ecological crises, and deepening inequalities. This will inevitably lead to our demise if we do not act now. The clock is ticking, and we do not have much time left, as made quite clear by two activist artists. Therefore, we must change our individual habits and start prioritizing the health of the Earth.
Plastic has been around for centuries, but not in the way you might think. Natural plastics have existed for millennia, but synthetic plastic was only created a century ago. The birth of this incredibly useful material has given rise to dozens of problems for humans, animals, oceans, and the earth as a whole. It is imperative that people prioritize the need to reduce our use of plastic and rescue the world from the plastic pandemic. The health of our planet depends on it.
The United States is now the world’s largest oil producer. This can mean great things in terms of affordable energy, increased employment, and prosperity; however there is a darker side to mass oil production. The history and development of different uses for oil over time explains how the United States has become so reliant on oil. It has become increasingly critical that we find possible paths to cleaner energy usage, and many of those options are being explored. It will take cooperation of individuals as well as industries to come together and prioritize creating a more sustainable future.
America’s embrace of animal consumption has underscored American culture and environmental damage for centuries. Through a series of flashpoints that cover notable utilizations of animal products throughout the 18th-21st centuries in America—whaling in New England, the mass slaughter of buffalo in the Midwest and West, the widespread industrialization of meat production, and modern movements toward meat alternatives and plant-based diets—we explore how animal consumption in the United States has impacted various aspects of American culture— such as economy, colonization, and Western expansion—at the same time it has played a role in environmental destruction and climate change.
The Decline of the Great Barrier Reef
Through visuals, statistics, and real-life encounters in the ecosystem of the pacific of Australia, this digital essay aims to describe the current pressures on one of the seven great wonders of the world, the Australian Great Barrier Reef. Diving into the great array of this stunning habitat and organism, we attempt to shed light on the process of ocean acidification, the socio-economic value of the reef, the importance of the reefs on Australian culture dynamics, and finally what we can do to protect the Great Barrier reef from disasters in the Anthropogenic Age.
Deforestation results in the destruction of millions of acres of forests around the world. It is not just trees that suffer from deforestation. Whole habitats are being destroyed and resulting in the extinction of many different species. All around the world many different species of animals and plants or trees are at risk from deforestation. Some examples are found in the Amazon, Indonesia, and Alaska. However, there still is time to stop and save these habitats from extinction but it is up to us as a society to work together to fix it.
Tuvalu is a small island in Pacific Ocean, and it has a high risk of submerging due to its low elevation. As experts predicted, islands like Tuvalu are going to be underwater within 100 year with the current sea-level rising speed. For citizens in Tuvalu, the impacts of climate changes is not a future crisis but an ongoing disaster: the frequently occurring storms and hurricanes are threatening their land, food, and freshwater resources. Even though other major carbon emitters in the world are not currently facing the existential threats as Tuvalu, the underwater risk is still not a thing that is impossible to happen in the near future. Cities in the US are suffering from increasing storms and hurricanes recently, and they may one day be in the same situation as Tuvalu is experiencing now. Thus, in order to save not only people in Tuvalu but all humans in the world as well, we need efforts to lower harmful climate impact from both small island countries and major contributors to climate change in the world.
Our current ecological crisis has become globalized although it disproportionately affects people based on race, religion, gender, class, and so forth. Hurricane Maria altered both the physical and emotional landscape of Puerto Rico. Through the compelling personal narrative of Puerto Rican resident Edric Toro, and analyzing the conditions prior to the storm's arrival, it is clear the hurricane exposed already existing oppressive political, social, and economic structures. Puerto Rican’s often feel like second-class citizens as they have faced a lack of care and governmental aid throughout history, and this storm only reinforced this idea. In the following digital essay we explore the issue of environmental justice through the tragic events of Hurricane Maria.
Wildfires are uncontrolled and unwanted fires that expand over a large territory of combustible material and in 2020 alone there were 58,950 wildfires that burned over 10.1 million acres. Between 1998 and 2014, 6.2 million people were affected by wildfires and they caused 2,400 deaths. And while wildfires are dangerous there are benefits, like clearing out underbrush and killing harmful insects and diseases. But, due to climate change, wildfires are increasing along with the damage that they cause.
English 175, English 361, and Environment 305, Wake Forest University
Students in the Department of English and the Environmental Program at Wake Forest University developed the following virtual exhibit. Its goal is to teach people about the history and contexts of pressing environmental matters of concern. Each slide will take you to a digital essay or short documentary that was produced as the capstone project in an Introduction to the Environmental Humanities course. These projects should be accessible for learners at all levels: students, teachers, parents, or people who want to learn more.
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