Part 1: Listen
*The section was written after listening to “Finding the Tempo Giusto” found on this website: http://www.carlhonore.com/unlock-slow/podcasts/*
From what I can tell, the slow movement is all about making connections. One connection the slow movement aims to reestablish is our connection with our loved ones. In general, I would say that most middle class families have poor connections with each other. Living a fast paced lifestyle is not conclusive to forming connections with your friends and family. By living according to the slow movement, we can slow down and actually have conversations with each other. We can begin to form stronger bonds with people and reestablish relationships that may have been lost as a result of our fast paced lives. Humans are a social species after all, by eliminating the social component of our lives, we are eliminating a key component of ourselves. Another connection that living slower lifestyle would reconnect would be that with our food. Food is an essential factor in our well being and absolutely necessary to survive. Far too often as a result of our fast paced lives we settle for less than the best in terms of food because it’s fast or easy. We go to fast food restaurants and entourage meals in the car because it’s all we have time for. By living life according to the slow movement, people can begin to plan our and cook all their meals. This allows us to know exactly what ingredients we are putting into our bodies and we can better cater to own nutritional needs. Finally, the last major connection I can see the slow movement reestablishing is our connection with our surroundings. It’s easy to forget about all the great things nature has to offer when we don’t slow down to think about them. something as simple as sitting on a bench at the park can have a resounding impact on our well being. this connection gives us time for personal reflection and gives us time to recharge if we’ve had a particularly stressful day. I can personally attest to the fact that something simple like going for a walk can drastically improve my mood and makes me feel much better than I would have other wise. I believe it is important to for people to recognize that their connections in these three aspects may be lacking and to consider the slow movement as a fix to the problem.
However, while the slow movement does provide fixes to many of our issues, it does come with some downsides. For one, many scientific advancements may be slowed, or even halted, if we all prescribed to the slow movement. many advancements in technology, such as computers, and medical advancements such as the isolation of penicillin likely would not have been possible if we all lived life according to the slow movement. I believe especially hard work and and sacrifices are necessary if we want to see scientific advancements and growth in our society. Another setback to living life according to the slow movement is that the amount of activities we would get to preform would decrease. While living a slower life would likely increase the quality of activities we preform, there is no doubt that we would be able to experience less in a life time by slowing down. This may be an issue for some but other may be fine with this, it likely comes down to personal preference. Finally, it may also be difficult to live a slow life style if the rest of society is still living a fast paced lifestyle. In order to get ahead in many aspect of life, you have to work better and faster than the people around you. work life and school life may be quite difficult for someone living by the slow movement if everyone else is rushing to get there work done. The slow movement does come with some prevalent downsides that an’t be ignored when examining it’s benefits.
I would like to introduce some slow aspects into my life. I often find myself constantly rushing and never really getting a chance to relax. One way to introduce some slow into my life that I’ve considered is meditation. I think that setting aside some time each day devoted to myself and nothing else could be very useful. It would give me some time to wind down and allow me to do some self reflection. Of course, completely subscribing to the slow movement wouldn’t be probable since I am a busy university student, but slowing down a little bit could be very beneficial.
Part 2: Action
a: Jack Frost Challenge
Instead of participating in the Jack Frost Challenge, I went back to my home in Kenora, Ontario and walked down the trail behind my house. The trail is a few km long and goes through the bush and ends up at a lake. Taking this walk allowed me silently enjoy the nature around me. I was able to do some self reflection and relax a little bit. Also, trudging through the deep snow made me wish it was summer already. My experience could have been better if I had some snow shoes to walk in or, better yet, if it were summer and all the snow was melted. Some other outdoors winter activities that I would’ve liked to participate in would be having a bon fire, going ice fishing, and going skiing.
b: Personal Care Products
I use a number of personal care products so I’ve decided to narrow my research down to the 4 main products I use:
Degree Men Cool Impact Fresh Deodorant:
Overall Rating: 5, moderate hazard
Cancer Hazard: Low-moderate hazard
Developmental and Reproductive Toxicity: Very low hazard
Allergies and Immunotoxicity: Moderate-high hazard
Other: Product may cause irritation to skin eyes and lungs. There are bioaccumulation and persistence concerns. May act as an endocrine disruptor. The fragrance used in this product is of high concern. It may cause irritation to skin, eyes, or lungs. Has organ system toxicity and toxicology concerns
Clean and Clear Advantage Acne Control Moisturizer:
Overall Rating: 6, moderate-high hazard
Cancer Hazard: Low hazard
Developmental and Reproductive toxicity: none
Allergies and Immunotoxicity: Moderate-high hazard
Other: There are concerns with persistence and bioaccumulation with this product. The fragrance used in this product is of high concern. It may cause irritation to skin, eyes, or lungs. Has organ system toxicity and toxicology concerns
Sensodyne Fresh Mint Toothpaste:
Overall Rating: 3, low concern
Cancer Hazard: None
Developmental and Reproductive toxicity: Low hazard
Allergies and Immunotoxicity: None
Other: May cause irritation to the skin, eyes, lungs. There are bioaccumulation and persistence concerns. The ingredient sodium fluoride is of moderate concern as it is associated with skin, eye, and lung irritation, organ system toxicity, and developmental/reproductive toxicity.
Herbal Essences Moroccan Conditioner:
Overall Rating: 5, moderate hazard
Cancer Hazard: Very low hazard
Developmental and Reproductive toxicity: None
Allergies and Immunotoxicity: High hazard
Other: Associated with skin, eye, and lung irritation. Has a low concern of association with cancer and neurotoxicity. The fragrance used in this product is of high concern. It may cause irritation to skin, eyes, or lungs. Has organ system toxicity and toxicology concerns. The ingredient methylisothiazolinone is of high concern. It is associated with immunotoxicity, neurotoxicity, and ecotoxicology.
All this data was found here: http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/#.WsGnRYjwbIU
I’ve organized a weeks worth of my purchases into the following three categories: good, bad, and ugly. The criteria I used to distinguish purchases between each category depended on health/ personal impact, environmental impact, and whether or not the purchase supports local or small businesses.
- 2 books: “The Economics Book” and “Think and Grow Rich”, price = $40
- This was a good purchase because they were bought from the U of M Book Store, supporting the University. They also aren’t particular harmful to the environment and are beneficial to me since it’s educational reading material.
- Clothing: a pair of sunglasses and 2 pair of pants, price = $80
- This was a good purchase because I felt they were necessary. I was running low on wearable pants and I needed a new pair of sunglasses. Also, the purchase supported a local business in my home town. I believe these items will cause relatively little environmental damage due to the amount of use they’ll likely get.
- Meal From The Hub on U of M campus, price = $25
- while the meal wasn’t particularly healthy, I consider it a necessary change of pace from the meals I regularly get from the meal plan living in residence at U of M. The meal also supported a business on the U of M campus. I finished my entire meal and produced no food waste, causing little environmental impact.
- Shampoo and conditioner, price = $30
- while I consider shampoo and conditioner to be a necessity, the shampoo and conditioner aren’t particularly good for my health (as explored in the personal care products section above). They also aren’t very good for the environment due to the plastic waste produced from the empty bottles and the chemicals from the products that may enter water systems. I also did not support a local or small business buy buying these products.
- Subway sandwich, price = $15
- This was an ugly purchase because it was sort of a guilty pleasure purchase. The sub I got wasn’t very healthy and there was a lot of plastic and paper waste that came along with the sub. This purchase also did’t support a local or small business
Total value of “good” purchase: $145
Total value of “bad” purchases: $30
Total value of “ugly” purchases: $15
Total amount spent over the week: $190
This was a very high amount of spending for one week. This was due to the fact that I don’t buy clothing and personal care products every week. Overall, I’d say my spending was allocated fairly well. If I were to change anything, I would change the type of shampoo and conditioner I buy to something more environmentally friendly and better for my health.
I live in residence here at University of Manitoba. Starting April 2nd, an e-waste bin will be set up for all residence to get rid of any e-waste they have. From what I can tell, any usable waste will be reused and dispersed in the residences on the University. Any e-waste that is broken or unusable will go to appropriate e-waste disposal sites in Winnipeg.
There are multiple places in Winnipeg that I can go to drop off my e-waste. For starters, I can take my e-waste to one of the three 4R Winnipeg depots (Brady, Pacific, or Panet) for free drop off. You can learn more about the 4R depots by visiting their site and going to the 4R depots section: http://winnipeg.ca/waterandwaste/
I could also choose to take my e-waste to an Electronic Products Recycling Association (EPRA) recognized organization. By using the Recycle my Electronics website (https://www.recyclemyelectronics.ca/mb/where-can-i-recycle/), you can search for EPRA recognized organizations in your area. there are several options in Winnipeg so you should have no trouble finding a place to drop off your e-waste.
Finally, if you don’t feel like driving, a company called SSCOPE can come pick up your e-waste (as well as provide a number of other services) for a fee. They are also an EPRA organization so they are certified to take your e-waste. You can learn more by visiting their website: https://www.sscope.org/services/
These are all good options to dispose of e-waste. I would feel fine about disposing my e-waste at any of these organizations as they are all certified. According to Winnipeg’s official website, electronic components of the e-waste will be recycled, heavy metals will be safely disposed of, and non-recyclable plastics will be sent to land fills. I likely won’t alter my purchasing habits for electronics since I already purchase only the electronics that I feel I need. I don’t buy enough electronic products to warrant a drastic change in what I buy.
Part 3: In-class Blog Questions
I believe zoos can play an important role if they are managed properly and have a proper set of guidelines. If it is necessary, zoos can play a key role in a number of different initiatives including breeding at risk animals, research, educating the public, and to entertain the public. If a species is having a hard time in the wild and has the risk of going extinct, zoos can act to breed more animals and boost their population before releasing them back into the wild. Zoos can preform research on the animals to gain various insights on things such as animal behavior, reproductive rates, animal feeding behaviors, etc… These can all aid in the proper conservation of animals in the wild. Zoos can also act to educate the public on the problems these zoo animals may be facing and to allow people to form closer connections with these animals. If people feel more personally connected with the animals, they may be more apt to aid in conservation efforts. Finally, zoos can act as a source of entertainment and raise money. The money raised by zoos may be used for various functions but is often put into aiding conservation efforts (http://www.jamesborrell.com/8-reasons-that-zoos-are-critically-important-for-conservation/).
Personally, I believe the ethicality of keeping animals in zoos varies on an animal to animal basis. Obviously, animals that have no functional use besides to entertain the public don’t belong in zoos. If an animal, as an individual or the species as a whole, can benefit from being in the zoo, then I see no reason not to put the animal in the zoo. However, while a species may need some help in improving their population’s health, not all animals belong in zoos. Such animals include very large animals that don’t properly fit in their zoo habitat, migratory animals that need very large spaces of land, and animals that have other specific requirements such as proper temperature, the need for heavily forested areas, etc… I believe, for many animals, setting up protected parks and areas is a much better option than zoos. By allowing animals to stay in the habitat they feel most comfortable, we can work towards a more ethical, and possibly more successful, conservation effort.
I personally don’t like visiting zoos. I understand that zoos may be keeping these animals in captivity for the greater good of their species but I still don’t enjoy watching the animals. It feels like I’m intruding on these animals’ privacy when I visit zoos. Instead of visiting zoos, I would much rather just donate to support conservation efforts.
What I Like About My Food System (Living in Residence):
- It’s quick. I can go down to the cafeteria to get a meal without having to cook
- There’s options. There is always a variety of different foods, there’s something for everybody
- It’s healthy. The cafeteria always has lots of fruits and vegetables. There are lots of healthy options for those who want to eat healthier.
- Vegetarian options. There is always plenty of vegetarian food to choose from
- Other choices throughout residence. If I don’t feel like eating at the cafeteria, there are always other restaurants on campus that I can go to eat (the food court in University Centre, Tim Hortons, and Starbucks)
- Green Thread. The Good Food Company (the company that runs the cafeteria in residence) operates based on their environmental sustainability platform, Green Thread. Green Thread aims to boost environmental sustainability by targeting four main aspects: responsible sourcing, waste minimization, efficient operations, and transportation management. You can learn more about The Good Food Company’s Green Thread initiative here:
What I Don’t like About my Food System (Living in Residence):
- The meal plan is mandatory. By living in residence, I am required to have a meal plan. This doesn’t leave much room for freedom in what I eat.
- It’s expensive. For one semester, my meal plan costed me nearly $3000. This is much more than I would be spending if I had the option to cook all my meals.
- I can’t cook my own meals. This is returning back to the idea of the slow movement and the connection we have with food. It is hard to have a strong connection with my food if I don’t have a lot of choice of the meals I eat.
- Cafeteria hours can be inconvenient. On the weekend, the cafeteria opens at 11 am, meaning I have to wait a few hours to get breakfast on weekends. As well, the cafeteria closes at 8 pm so I am never able to get a late night snack if I get hungry.
- Food waste concerns. Being a buffet style cafeteria, I’m sure there is lots of food waste. I often see people throwing out half a plate of food in the garbage when they finish eating.
One concern I have is the acidification of ocean. Due to human’s increased use of fossil fuels and large carbon emissions, carbonic acid levels in the ocean have gone up. This causes the pH of ocean water to go down and now the ocean waters are more acidic than they’ve ever been. The increased acidity of ocean waters causes a number of problems near the bottom of the food chain. as pH goes down, concentration of carbonate compounds dissolved in the ocean also goes down, resulting in a decline in the populations of many molluscs and bivalves that rely on the carbonate to form their exoskeleton. As well, more acidic waters causes coral bleaching, killing coral reefs and the ecosystems associated with them. Since the organisms directly affected by the ocean acidification are at the bottom of the food chain, there is a rippling affect that causes repercussions all the way to the top of the food chain. Along with the environmental impacts that ocean acidification has, more acidic waters also mean trouble from an economic point of view. The decreasing shellfish populations have had an estimated impact of $110 million lost and 3200 jobs lost in the Pacific Northwest oyster industry alone (https://www.nrdc.org/stories/ocean-pollution-dirty-facts).
Another major concern I have with our oceans is pollution. One pollutant that is of particular concern is all the plastic that ends up in our oceans. While some trash is dumped directly into the ocean, this is not the primary source of ocean plastic. It’s estimated that around 80% of all marine litter makes it’s way to the ocean gradually via storm drains, sewers, or other routes. These plastic pollutants don’t biodegrade and can wreak havoc on a marine food chain or ecosystem. Marine animals may eat the plastic, mistaking it for food, where the plastic will either kill the animals, or biomagnify further along the food chain where is may eventually find it’s way to our plates. Plastics also pose a problem in marine ecosystems as they may act to entangle marine species. This is especially a problem with discarded fishing nets which continue to trap fish even after they’ve stop being used, an act called ghost fishing (http://plastic-pollution.org/).
While I likely can’t make a drastic difference on the health of the oceans by my actions alone, I can still take some small steps in the right direction. For one, I can watch the amount, and the types, of goods I purchase. By using less disposable plastics, I can reduce the amount of plastic garbage that ends up in the water and reduce the carbon emission associated with the plastic that would contribute to ocean acidification. I could start to use more reusable items such as reusable water bottles or shopping bags. Another step I can take to improve our oceans health would be to spread the word. I can promote the use and purchase of more sustainable goods and can inform people of the current state of our oceans health and the impact it has on us. This would be useful as it could have a cascading effect as more people would become informed on our oceans’ poor health and more people can begin to make changes.
- Borrell, James. “8 Reasons That Zoos Are Critically Important for Conservation.” Jamesborrell, James Borrell, 17 June 2016, http://www.jamesborrell.com/8-reasons-that-zoos-are-critically-important-for-conservation/.
- Clarke, Katherine. “Plastic Ocean: From Thriving Ecosystem to Trash Dumpster.” WhoWhatWhy, 13 Dec. 2017, whowhatwhy.org/2017/12/13/plastic-ocean-thriving-ecosystem-trash-dumpster/%C2%A0.
- “Cosmetic Database.” Skin Deep® Cosmetics Database, EWG, http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/#.WsGnRYjwbIU.
- Denchak, Melissa. “Ocean Pollution: The Dirty Facts.” NRDC, NRDC, 22 Jan. 2018, http://www.nrdc.org/stories/ocean-pollution-dirty-facts.
- “Exhibits.” The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, Cincinnati Zoo, cincinnatizoo.org/plan-your-visit/exhibits/.
- Honore, Carl. “Welcome to The Slow Revolution, the Podcast That Explores the Pros and Cons of Slowing down in a Fast, Impatient World.” Carl Honore, 3 Mar. 2017, http://www.carlhonore.com/unlock-slow/podcasts/.
- Le Guern, Claire. “When The Mermaids Cry: The Great Plastic Tide.” Plastic Pollution, Santa Aguila Foundation, Mar. 2018, plastic-pollution.org/.
- Nubie, Steve. “7 Renewing Benefits of Meditating 7 Minutes a Day.” Fifty Is the New Fifty, Fifty Is the New Fifty, 28 Jan. 2017, http://www.fiftyisthenewfifty.com/7-renewing-benefits-of-meditating-7-minutes-a-day/.
- “Services.” Sscope Inc., Sscope Inc., 2017, http://www.sscope.org/services/.
- “Ten Years of Safely Recycling Electronics.” Yorkton This Week, Glacier Community Media, 18 Mar. 2017, http://www.yorktonthisweek.com/news/local-news/ten-years-of-safely-recycling-electronics-1.11978572.
- “Water and Waste Department.” Water and Waste Department – City of Winnipeg, City of Winnipeg, 12 Mar. 2018, winnipeg.ca/waterandwaste/.
- Waters, Hannah. “Ocean Acidification.” Ocean Portal | Smithsonian, Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, 28 Feb. 2018, ocean.si.edu/ocean-acidification.
- “What Is Green Thread.” Green Thread – Manitoba, Aramark, 2018, umanitoba.campusdish.com/Sustainability/GreenThread.aspx.
- “Where Can I Recycle?” Recycle My Electronics Manitoba, EPRA, http://www.recyclemyelectronics.ca/mb/where-can-i-recycle/.