This blog was started, and is intended to illustrate that environmentalism happens through small acts, is not difficult, and that it does not always have to be some big life changing event that forces you to live in the tree tops with no electricity. All that being said, one of my small acts was to start this blog to gain some friends to help me save the world.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Please Don't Suck

As we all know I am weak.  Thus far I have been unable to live my life completely plastic free, but I am trying to reduce the amount of plastic that I come in contact with on a daily basis.   My latest venture: straws.  Why?  because they totally suck, ahahaha I have a million of them folks.  OK but seriously, I had heard the other day, from a very reliable source (hi Mum) that had seen a news story (and the news never lies) that plastic straws cannot be recycled.  I have been unable to find anything online about this, as I had always been told that plastic straws and the plastic lids on to go cups can be recycled.  Either way my new goal is to just stop using them.  This should be easy.  I like easy tasks, they make me special, yay for me.  So instead of sucking (hehe see I told you I had a million of them) just say no to the straw (be strong, you can do it).  By saying no you are reducing the use of plastic, reducing the use of paper (as straws are generally wrapped in something (although I will miss blowing the paper in peoples faces but I will get over it and maybe finally act my age (I cannot even type that with a straight face)), and you will also be reducing the need for those plastic lids, because you can't use those if you don't have your straw (another win for the environment).  And while you skip home from the restaurant singing a pleasant song to the birds and nature you will know you have done your small part to help save the world.  If you do happen to get either item (straw or lid) please be sure to recycle them.  My very limited research found nothing about them not being able to be recycled, so just go ahead and chuck them in the recycling bin.  And anyone that even mentions using straws to prevent their teeth from staining or whatever other vain excuse you may have, drink water and forget about it (and the money you just saved on ordering the soda you can send to me :) ).  Well that is all I have for today.  It is nice and easy and you can do it unless you totally suck (chuckle chuckle chuckle, pun was intended).

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Update on: Just the one for me

So there is really no much to report here, I passed this challenge.  I guess it was not fair because I already do this, so it may be considered cheating, but whatever I don't care.  I felt good and continue to feel good about. 
Also I am working on my new approach for the leftover love challenge. Really this new approach is the same as the old one, bug the crap out of people, it is just now I have picked different people to bug.  What can go wrong with this tactic (no comments on how well it has worked in the past, bugging people just happens to be what I am good at).  So once again stay tuned and maybe, just maybe if we wish really hard, something will actually happen.

Not the environment, but still stuff I find interesting

Metaphor and gender in business media discourse:
A critical cognitive study.
Veronika Koller.
Hampshire, England: Palgrave Macmillan. 2004. pp. 256.
Reviewed by Charlotte White

Metaphor and Gender in Business Media Discourse: A critical cognitive study
addresses the metaphors that dominate business media discourse and argues
that they create an aggressive and gender-biased working climate. Koller organizes
the book into six chapters that demonstrate, respectively, how metaphors
carry a gender bias, the cognitive effects of metaphors, her research methods,
the prevalence of metaphors on war and evolutionary struggle (or ‘fighting’),
and her conclusion, which analyzes the negative effects of these metaphors and
suggests more positive alternatives. Throughout the book Koller investigates
how metaphors create and perpetuate gender bias by exploiting aggressive
language in business media texts. Another strong aspect of the book is the
author’s analysis of socio-cultural and ideological functions of metaphors.
Koller claims that by achieving a better understanding of aggressive metaphors
we can improve or eliminate the hostile working climate they create as well as
promote equality and partnership.
Throughout the book Koller argues that metaphors are used in the media
as a way to make indirect reference to topics that are not openly discussed.
Metaphors are effectively used to gain consumers’ attention because they use
imagery to provide explanations and thus a clearer understanding of complex
ideas. In addition to using metaphors as explanatory devices, journalists
use them to distance themselves from controversial statements and to avoid
criticism. In short, metaphors allow journalists to avoid direct responsibility
for their words. Koller draws examples from popular print media, such
as The Economist, Business Week, The Financial Times, and Fortune. These
sources allow the author to identify patterns in metaphor use, including the
prevalence of war metaphors in business marketing texts and metaphors of
evolutionary struggle in mergers and acquisitions texts. Koller claims that
these sorts of aggressive metaphors provide a conceptual frame to the reader
and therefore a particular understanding of issues.
In Chapter 1, Koller establishes the concept of ‘masculinized metaphors’ and
briefly explains their use and what they accomplish. The reader is introduced
to the ideational function of metaphor in media and, jointly, learns how this
function shapes the aggressive and competitive mindset inherent to a free
market society. Koller’s hypothesis is that ‘business media discourse is characterized
by coherent metaphor clusters centering around the war metaphor,
and this metaphor helps to ‘masculinize’ both that discourse and related social
practices’ (5). In addition to introducing the reader to the ‘business is war’
metaphor, Koller demonstrates the aggression and male bias that accompany
it. She explains that because both war and business have historically been maledominated,
business media tends to link the two through the use of imagery in
metaphors, and in turn perpetuates the notion that business is predominantly
a male or masculine affair.
Next, Koller provides a detailed outline of contemporary theories of metaphor,
beginning with classical cognitive metaphor theory. This theory asserts,
metaphor is a conceptual phenomenon that is realized at the surface level of
language’ (9). Koller explains the importance of blending theory and neural
theory, which the author integrates within a critical approach to language.
Koller then describes the use of primary and complex metaphors to illustrate
how ‘cognition informs ideology in the form of (metaphoric) mental models
which are drawn on in discourse production’ (42). This cyclical process allows
metaphors to continue to produce ideologies that are socially accepted, as is
illustrated by the use of metaphoric expressions in the media, and specifically,
in business publishing.
In Chapter 3, Koller introduces the reader to the methods she used to collect
and analyze metaphoric data in business media texts. Koller refrains from
analyzing culture-specific phenomena, textual genres, and journalists’ gender
identities because a more narrow approach allows her to focus solely on the
frequency of metaphors and metaphoric clusters in business texts. Koller’s
methods include locating metaphors in the texts and compiling words into
lexical fields by categories based upon word classes. Koller focuses specifically
on the linguistic concepts of transitivity and nominalization, in other words, she
explores how aspects of words, such as tense, help to carry ideologies and how,
in turn, words and ideologies serve to conceptualize metaphors. She argues
that tense is ‘important as it promises to provide insights into how dynamic or
static the model in fact is that is assumed to underlie the attested metaphoric
expression’ (62).
In Chapters 4 and 5, Koller presents the results of her analysis. Chapter 4
investigates metaphors of war, sport, game, and romance used in marketing
texts. Chapter 5 analyzes metaphors of evolutionary struggle (fighting) and
dancing employed in print media relating to mergers and acquisitions.
Chapter 4 illustrates that the socio-economic framework of capitalism in
marketing is paralleled by a war and military framework in the ‘fight’ for
consumers. As Koller states, ‘the mind of the consumer forms the territory on
which the battle is waged’ by the marketer (109). Koller also handily shows the
reader that sports metaphors are linked to aggressive competition and war.
Boxing and football are presented as examples of sports that not only exhibit
war-like behavior, but are also described in military terms, illustrated by the
use of ‘battlefield’ to describe the playing field. Koller argues that metaphoric
expressions of war and sports used in marketing continue to create a gender
bias. What the author leaves unclear, however, is why only male aggression
is linked to fighting, and specifically the supposed exclusion of women from
non-military fighting is never addressed. Finally, Koller argues that the lack
of romantic metaphors in marketing publications shows that they target male
Evolutionary struggle metaphors, such as hostile takeovers, are addressed in
Chapter 5 in an analysis of texts dealing with mergers and acquisitions. Koller
defines ‘evolutionary struggle’ as primarily encompassing fighting, feeding,
and mating. The author suggests that expressions of fighting are dominant
in evolutionary struggle metaphors and that females are deemed powerless
objects of male aggression. This pattern is exemplified by language that casts
the buyer in an acquisition as a dominant male figure and the bought entity
as a powerless female figure. Similarly, ‘feeding’ metaphors used to describe
mergers and acquisitions usually depict the ‘feeder’ as male and the ‘food’ as
female. Violent mating metaphors serve to camouflage sexual violence against
women and ‘sustain a patriarchal order’ (169), Koller argues.
Koller concludes by arguing for our need to find gender-neutral metaphors
that are less aggressive. She claims that the ‘media plays a pivotal role in shaping
the expectations about people’s behaviors’ and places a large portion of the
responsibility on journalists, stating that they ‘should rise to the challenge of at
least proposing non-violent metaphors’ (178). Solutions include reducing the
use of aggressive metaphors and the reinvention of old metaphors. The Internet
is presented as the new ‘driving force behind changing metaphoric concepts
of marketing’ (112). Furthermore, Koller notes that alternative metaphors do
130 Gender and Language
not have to be completely new to be revolutionary, as old metaphors can be
formulated to have positive influences.
Koller believes that these changes could lead to a more humane understanding
of business leadership and competition, and potentially decrease the
unnecessary stress that exists in the corporate world. The author explains that
although capitalism is based upon competition, it does not need to spur metaphors
of ‘excessive aggression’. Competition can instead be illustrated through
non-violent metaphoric forms, such as a racing, which valorizes a competitive
edge, but illustrates it in a positive light. Koller offers hope that the hostility and
gender bias that have been learned through the use of business metaphors can
essentially be ‘unlearned’ by changing aggressive, male-dominated metaphors.
The ‘market economy and its inherent competition need not be conceptualized
in terms of excessive aggression and antagonism’ as there are alternative
metaphoric expressions that offer a strong sense of competition in a non-violent
way (175). Unfortunately, such a cognitive shift may be more difficult to achieve
than Koller describes. In the current political climate it becomes apparent that
not only is business war in metaphoric terms, but war itself has become an
actual business, and it is perhaps therein that our most pressing struggle lies.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Another Awesome Oldie but a Goldie

Cat Stevens Where do the Children Play?

Well I think it's fine, building jumbo planes.
Or taking a ride on a cosmic train.
Switch on summer from a slot machine.
Yes, get what you want to if you want, 'cause you can get anything.

I know we've come a long way,
We're changing day to day,
so tell me, where do the children play?

Well you roll on roads over fresh green grass.
For your lorry loads pumping petrol gas.
And you make them long, and you make them tough.
But they just go on and on, and it seems that you can't get off.

Oh, I know we've come a long way,
We're changing day to day,
so tell me, where do the children play?

Well you've cracked the sky, scrapers fill the air.
But will you keep on building higher
'til there's no more room up there?
Will you make us laugh, will you make us cry?
Will you tell us when to live, will you tell us when to die?

I know we've come a long way,
We're changing day to day,
But tell me, where do the children play?

Yay it is post a comment day!!

If you have something to say today is the day to say it. Why?, because it is the official (not really, only according to me) post a comment day. It is said that more heads are better than one, and I would love to hear what you have to say. China, England, Zambia, US, or Mars (well now that would be cool) I don't care where you are from, just want to hear what you are thinking. It can be about how easy it is to save the environment or anything at all. Anyway hope to hear from you. Many thanks.

Monday, August 22, 2011

New Green Challenge: Just the one for me

So here is today's challenge.  See if it is possible to use just one glass and just one plate (per person)throughout the course of a day.  Rinse off as needed but try to avoid using a lot of water to clean, as that would defy the purpose, at least until the end of the day.  This is a pretty easy challenge.  And honestly at the end of it you have saved yourself doing a bunch of dishes.  And reducing dishes saves water and it also saves you the cost of water and whatever dish soap you may use.  So once again it is a win win for all.  Yay for winning.
Also I thought it was worth mentioning that I was out to eat the other day, courtesy of my mother,  and the restaurant had reusable take home containers,  How cool is that.  Don't worry I had my own, the only reason I know is because someone else at the table needed a container.  But I was still impressed and excited.  So lets hope this movement (because that is what it is folks, a movement) keeps spreading.
Thanks bunches.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A Big Fat F

I will keep this update re: the no plastic challenge short.  Why?  Because I am pathetic and weak and I failed.  Not fun to read a real downer post so I figured I will keep it short (watch this be the longest one ever, no no no no).  Anyway I ended up bringing two new pieces of plastic into the house, a shampoo and sunscreen bottle.  So weak.  And I thought since they were all this healthy stuff that they might be made out of recycled plastic.  Not that that was part of this challenge, but looking for any loop hole here to make myself feel better.  But the sunscreen was 10% post consumer used plastic, or whatever the terminology is, and that was it (but neither have animal products or were tested on animals, yay for animals).  Now just a few other areas were I failed (happy reading huh).  All of these examples are times I needed to try and find alternatives to using plastic and I couldn't.  I wore shoes, doh!  I turned on a light with plastic switch, doh!  I used a pen, I read a book that had a plastic cover, I poured milk from a plastic container, I brushed my teeth and combed my hair, aaaaahhhhh!  And that is when I knew this challenge had beaten me.  Weak sauce Charlotte.  I want to reduce how much I use plastic, but I do not see that happening any time soon. Guess I should take some more vitamins to get strong enough to battle this problem.  If anyone has any helpful suggestions please share.  Thanks.

Monday, August 15, 2011

New challenge of the day: No Plastic

Well I guess I need to start this entry off with an apology.  I (meaning because of everyone else and not because of me, I kid I kid here, this is all me) have not been holding true to my promise of working on the leftover love challenge very diligently.  Life has a way of becoming a bit hectic at times, and little old me tends to let it overwhelm me instead of punching it in the face (but in the nice way).  So anyway I am renewing my promise and hope to have some actual (meaning real) good  news for you soon. 
Now that that is out of the way I would like to present a new challenge to myself and anyone else out there who may be interested.  Can you go one day without using plastic?  I know I have discussed this before, but I have just got to try.  I am already realising how difficult this will be for me, as I am weak and pitiful (but in the good way).  Guess we need to set up some guidelines here for this challenge.  Number one I am not asking anyone to throw away any major appliances or expensive equipment like TV's or fridges or anything else.  Guess that is really the only big guideline.  I mean the objective of this challenge is to venture through your day without using and especially throwing away any plastic.  Of course recycling is always alright.  But I guess the point is to see how much plastic we touch and use.  So, here it is no new plastic for 24 hours may enter the house and all items that I use that are plastic I must see if there are alternatives before using them.  Oh man I know this is going to kill me and I am already thinking of loop holes.  I guess the upside to all of this is I now have a new addiction to focus on rather than the paper towels.  Anyway good luck to all.  I will let you know how I do, if  I survive.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Have a Nice Day

Being nice to people is always fun and makes you feel better.  So I hope everyone is extra nice to all the persons they encounter today.  And I am wishing everyone a nice day. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

This never applies to me

Since I am always right and everything I write is also correct this does not apply to me, just thought it was interesting.

Have a good one.

I'm so pretty oh so pretty

This post may be my most obvious one yet (and that is actually very hard to do since I am captain obvious) but I thought it worth mentioning that cosmetics are caca.  The cosmetic industry spends more than any other major industry in the US on advertising to make you feel old, fat, ugly and to let you know that they have the solutions for you.  Oh dear, I am here to say that they do not.  No need to throw away money on junk that does not work.  Again don't think that I have never spent money on some sort of miracle cream only to find out that I still look exactly like I did before hand (still trying to see if I can get my money back on that one).  The best way to take care of yourself if to eat healthy and maybe throw in a bit of exercise in there.  I really have no idea what I am talking about here since healthy food and exercise always sound like punishments, just trying to say don't be sucked in to the advertising of those cosmetic companies.  You look just fine.  And if you do need something, like creams, or soaps, or shampoos always look for items that have not been tested on animals and stuff that is safe for you and for the drain.  Because all the poison they try to sell you is absorbed by your skin and by the drain which then effects the water.  Oh that circle of life.  Anyway I will keep this short so as to not look like a preachy fanatic.  But save your money and/or spend it on better, healthier, more environmentally friendly products that you may need or better yet make your own (there are some pretty easy options out there just search the internet).  And I will bet you look stunning at the end. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Playing a bit of catch up here

I have been away from my blog for a while and I have missed it, and now all I want to do is write on it.  So here is what I want to say right now, why are we so slow.  No short bus jokes here please that is not pc and insensitive.  What I mean is, why are actions so slow to catch up to our thoughts and ideas?  Why does everything have to be so easy, why are we obsessed with convenience (dur I know that sounds stupid, but it is true), and why can't we make conservation easier?  There has got to be a better, wait what I meant to say is faster, way to save the world.  Come on people we are in the middle of a world wide recession and if you think the environment is not completely linked to all this and the way we use and abuse it, well then you need to crawl out from under your rock and wake up.  Lets get on this people.  Thanks I will shut up now.  Talk to you again soon.

A little dirt don't hurt

So if I have not mentioned this before I am a bit of a clean freak (which used to explain my addiction to paper towels).  But I try to be a green clean freak.  And this is what I have discovered over the last couple of years, I just have to get over myself (trust me, not easy I am a large lump that is sometimes hard to get over hehehe yeah I am here all night folks).  Don't get me wrong I like things clean and I know I always will but I don't have to be a fanatic anymore.  Here is the example I am using today.  Towels.  No not paper towels, don't worry I will not bore you with that anymore (and by you I mean me :) ).  I am talking about bath towels.  No need to wash after every use.  Get over yourself people.  I recently read an article that said if it is only you using the towel you can go a whole week without washing it.  If you share towels with roommates or other people in the house you do have to wash a little more often.  So here is a thought, shell out a few bucks get your own towel and reduce your laundry and omg you will save on water and detergent and energy and lalala you are doing your part to save the world and then you can skip to work holding hands and singing.  OK that may be a bit of a stretch but you know it does help.  And even more than reducing how many times you wash your towels is how many times you wash yourself.  Water ain't cheap folks, and it is limited.  So if you don't stink too bad maybe hold off on the shower, and bam you just saved more water and energy and stretched out that load of laundry even more.  There was another article I read that said how many gallons of water an individual American used compared to the average African family and let me just tell you (even though I do not remember exact numbers) the difference was disgusting.  If you live in the US just go through your day and count the number of times you use and encounter water, it is a lot.  Flushing the toilet, getting a drink, taking a shower, watering plants, washing hands, cooking.  Water is just always there, but not for everyone.  I mean even in the US southwest water is running out.  So then just think about people that have to walk miles just to get some water for their families to use for the day.  It helps me realize I am not that stinky (no comments from people with noses) and I do not have to wash that towel after every use.  Because I can get over myself.  I sort of have to if I want to do my part and dare I say it, SAVE THE WORLD.  Have a good one all, and if you have a water tap anywhere in your house be so thankful and turn in off.

I Just Blacked Out

Well not really blacked out, but we did experience a major power outage the other day for a couple of hours.  It was actually pretty strange since I have not had to experience a real power outage like that in a couple of years.  The good thing was it was at night so the heat of the day was cooling down and I just went to bed so honestly I hardly noticed it.  But it did get me thinking about how much money and energy was saved from having no power.  And then I thought I wonder if there is a way to schedule power outages as a way to conserve energy.  I know there are probably some security risks involved in all that, like banks and hospitals probably can't be without power.  But if there was a way to shut down power just for 15 minutes or so every night in residential neighborhoods it could wind up being a huge savings.  It is just a thought.  I mean you would have to keep it random and just circulate through a city, but gee that has got to be a lot of energy and pollution being conserved.  Or maybe if there is not a way to schedule power outages a switch could be designed that lets you turn off off outlets.  Similar to a light switch but a way to control every outlet in the house.  I mean I have no idea how all this stuff works so these ideas could be totally ridiculous, but it is just something to think about.