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Plastics polluting the ocean was a topic that got brought up during my presentation about endocrine disrupting chemicals last Monday, so I was curious and wanted to find out how bad it actually was. When I found a video on the great pacific garbage patch I was shocked to find the actual amount of plastic floating in our ocean. This North Pacific Gyre is one of many in the ocean and this plastic waste circulates in the middle of the Pacific Ocean due to oceanic currents. This specific gyre has 3.5 million tons garbage floating around with 80% of it being plastic. Plastic doesn’t biodegrade so it only gets smaller and smaller making it almost impossible to clean up this mess. Small fish eat this plastic because they think its food and it is easy to see how this can end up in our food sources. People need to start seeing the big picture on how much plastic can negatively affect the lives of many. Even if it is not affecting each and everyone directly, people could take small steps by starting to recycle. This film gave an outrageous fact that less than 5% of all plastic is recycled globally. You would think people could do the very simple task of separating their trash and recycle. Why is it so hard to get people to do the littlest things when they know it’s for the better?

With the plastic in the ocean being almost impossible to clean up people need to start preventative measures to keep it from growing faster than it already is. Also this isn’t fair for the marine life that have to live in this filth because of human mistakes. This clip reminded me of the article by Sarah Vogel “from the ‘dose makes the poison’ to the ‘timing makes the poison’” because it’s only a matter of time before we find out that all the fish in the ocean are non-edible because of the vast amounts of plastic in their bodies.  How can we eliminate some plastics from our society in a realistic manner? You would think something would have already been done to slow down the plastic waste that’s circulating in our ocean but it has more than doubled in North Pacific Gyre in the past 5 years. It is sad that nothing will probably be done to fix the problem until people start getting affected and become ill to actually change the way people view plastic.


In the film Safe by Todd Haynes, a woman homemaker goes through the struggles of living in a toxic world. In the beginning of the film Carol, the housewife, seems to have it all; the beautiful house, a nice husband, and good friends. As the movie went on Carol seems to be getting more ill and her doctor can’t find anything wrong with her, other than having an allergic reaction to milk. The doctor comes to the conclusion that her sickness is most likely stress related and she should go see a psychologist. But nothing really seemed to help Carol and she repeatedly had bad headaches, vomiting, occasional bloody noses, and finally a seizure. With Carol being well off in life you would think that someone would be able to help her problem. The illness was obviously worse than just a stress related illness and no one seemed to really care.

Carol starts to feel isolated in life because everyone made her sickness feel like it was her fault for being stressed in life. She wanders around her house at night and stays up late watching TV alone. When carol found a flyer that stated her symptoms this led her to talk to an allergist, which diagnosed her with environmental illness. This was a new term to Carol, and made her feel abnormal compared to others in her life. This is why Carol decided to join a wellness center that she came across on a commercial. She joined this facility because she thinks her sickness is from the toxins in our everyday society, which are fumes, exhaust, and pollution. This film shows that our society doesn’t always care about the problems that aren’t obvious to see. Even though Carol seemed to be very sick, the doctors hadn’t come across many of these cases before so they blame it on her lifestyle.

When Carol was in this wellness facility, her risk perception about everyday life seemed to worsen. She didn’t want to leave the facility because she thought it was the only safe way she could live. But is it worth it to leave your entire life behind to hide from the environmental problems? It is hard to picture a life alone and isolated because of the problems we have created in our modern lives. Carol seemed to have this high-risk perception about life because she didn’t think she could live in it like everyone else did. By living in the wellness facility Carol seemed to get caught up in her illness because everyone around her was sick as well. Today the environmental issues continue to be ignored when there are hidden illnesses from it all around us. Even though the symptoms are not always immediate, people need to realize that this is an occurring issue, and will be for many generations to come.

Some people see environmental issues to be a joke and don’t want to change their lifestyles to help.

Pollution has now become a huge part of our everyday lives. It is hard to avoid polluting the environment when we have become so dependent on using vehicles and manufacturing. In Los Angeles California this has become an issue that isn’t safe to live in. This city is highly touristic with traffic being the main product of pollution. There have been many health problems in cities where smog is apparent, and people seem to ignore this problem and continue living their daily lives. During this term I have learned that people decide it’s easier to avoid the problem/risk, then try and fix it. This is because fixing the problem would cause people to change their way of living. Also if people do not see symptoms of these health risks right away, it is easy to think they do not exist. This smog is very dangerous for the future generation children that are growing up in these cities because their lung capacities will be reduced. What can we do to make people see that there is an actual problem here, and if changes are not made it’ll only get worse.

In White Noise, Jack Gladney is a character that wants to be seen as a powerful figure. His only interest in Hitler studies is based on the fact that Hitler was a huge significant figure in the past and he wants to live up to this powerful character. He changes his appearance by wearing thick black-framed glasses, and changes his name by adding an extra initial calling himself J. A. K. Gladney. This false character that Jack has created seems to be pushing him away from reality. Why is Jack so interested in Hitler studies when he can’t even speak German, or even seem interested in learning it at all?

Throughout the novel Jack brings up his fear of death and repeatedly asks the question of “Who will die first?” His interest in Hitler studies is very ironic because Hitler caused the deaths of millions of people, and when answering a question in one of his lessons he states, “All plots tend to move deathward. This is the nature of plots. Political plots, terrorist plots, lovers’ plots, narrative plots, plots that are part of children’s games” (Delillo, 26).  After stating this he immediately questions why he said that, and doesn’t even know what he meant by it. By creating this false identity Jack thinks he can hide from his fears of death.

This fear of death causes Jack to believe the world works in an orderly way. When he Jack heard the information on the radio about the toxic plume he avoided it completely thinking nothing will happen to him and his family. When Heinrich is confronting Jack about an air mass coming down from Canada and spreading the plume over the town, Jack simply denies the claim on the radio. When asked why, he responds he just knows, and that disasters don’t happen to people in upscale neighborhoods. Yet he is not a professor of science, or anything that has to do with knowledge of chemicals. Does his fear of death subconsciously deny any possibilities of harm, or does he actually believe he knows enough to make an accurate assumption? On top of this, his family’s lives are at stake.

Can this fear of death be applied to decisions people make in our daily lives? I think it is a possibility that people can act oblivious to environmental problems such as global warming, pollution, toxins created from human activity etc. because they don’t want to accept the fact that their lives are essentially at risk. This example was shown in the article “The Social Production of Toxic Uncertainty” where the residents of Flammable were in denial of the environmental hazards surrounding their homes. When people are not harmed directly they don’t want to know the truth or dangers that come with it because it is easier to live the same lifestyle than change it completely.