How I see it

20120508-223107.jpgIn 2006, what does a 19 year old girl from Long Island, New York think about the environment? Shows such as 10223, Suburgatory, Jersey Shore, and Mob Wives depict women of the area in a way in which it would give many people the notion that they are obsessed with a fast pace, superficial lifestyle. It seems as though the only reason the people in these listed shows do charities or pay attention to the environment are for publicity and self promotional reasons. The stereotypical Long Islander is a 17-year-old girl with Daddy’s credit card, driving a new BMW 6 series, texting on her new Swarovski crystal encrusted Juicy Couture Sidekick and carrying a Gucci handbag. Long Island Stereotype. Many would be quick to assume that the 19 year old Long Islander is absorbed in the superficial-everything-is-paid-for-and-handed-to-me-lifestyle.

After being removed from the hustle and bustle of New York and the shadows of the New York Skyline, how might that same Long Island stereotypical girl think in 2012? Remove her from the taxis, trains, and skyscrapers and it may be easy to for her to find pleasure in the many beaches, parks, sanctuaries, and preservations Southwest Florida has to offer.

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I would like to think I was better than the stereotypes put out there on the internet and/or on television, but perhaps the tv shows aren’t too far from my reality.

My extent of environmental preservation responsibility went as far as the fence in my backyard. The town I lived in provided me with two trash cans, a plastic recycling can, and a newspaper can. Only if I wanted to, I could take bottles and cans to the local store and get my $.05 back for each bottle or can.

As for energy preservation? My father constantly would have to remind me that for every time I turned the lights on, and kept them on for no reason, he could just see right before his eyes the electric bill going higher-more out of his pocket.

My attitude for water usage? If there wasn’t any water restrictions in the Summer, I felt as though water was abundant. It was only when we were in our vacation home in Fort Myers, when my father would point out the water bill we were accumulating.

I feel as though it has become a trend to be more organic and green. In the new movie 21 Jump Street the popular kids are environmentally conscious. Currently, magazines, newspapers, tv shows, and movies are just touching on the subject of sustainability. I think it is important for new generations to be subjected to the topic. Newer generations see the threat of environmental issues and believe is their duty to reach sustainability no matter the cost- a bit different than the older generation.

My boyfriend from Sarasota, Florida is part of the younger generation that has been exposed to current environmental issues and is a contributing factor to the changes in my lifestyle and overall views on the environment. He has exposed me to bike riding, paddle boarding, fishing, and hiking. When you step outside and are constantly surrounded by nature it isn’t hard to become engulfed by it all. I am more aware of the different types of fish, trees, animals, and my overall environment. He loves nature based documentaries and his enthusiasm has rubbed off. Recently, we watched a documentary on food production. Needless to say, I try to eat more organically and stay away from extremely processed foods. My first feat was buying caged free eggs and 99% fat free chicken with no preservatives or hormones added. This was a battle for me due to my father’s voice inside my head that urges me to save money. I had to remind myself of Quality vs. Quantity. At the end of a meal, I am more satisfied when I feel the quality beats the quantity.

As for personal recycling ,my apartment complex provides only ten recycling cans for 408 units. These cans are completely full through out the day. I have learned its up to me to collect all the plastics and newspapers I have and bring it to my parents place in order to recycle. I also bring my tervis tumbler and tupperware to work in order to reduce my use of styrofoam.

I consider myself an open book. I know I am not perfect and far from reaching my full potential for sustainability. I also know there is a lot I still need to learn about the environment. I look forward to the knowledge I will gain in Colloquium and my personal development throughout the course.

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