Not an Intersectional Feminist? Misogyny it is then!

The whole world benefits from gender equality. The rights of women are important on the basis of human equality, regardless of an individual’s gender identity, and using up all of the world’s human potential to tackle big issues. Women are constantly over looked as sources of power in the military, in politics, in STEM fields, and in everyday life. We need to stop boxing women into roles that do not allow them to reach their fullest potential. Our global society will reap the benefits that women will be able to produce and contribute in every field they are underrepresented once this potential is encouraged and allowed to flourish.

Often times when I tell people I’m a intersectional feminist they look at me like I have three heads, but intersectional feminism=gender equality. When people, including women, argue with me and tell me that we are post sexism I simply break down all of the areas of oppression women currently face for just identifying as female (that global goals has conveniently outlined for everyone in the form of goals here:

  1. Discrimination against Women and Girls-seen in the wage gap (which is present in every country in the world except Iceland right now), day-to-day gendered micro aggressions, the over-sexualization of female bodies, the glass ceiling, etc.
  2. Violence and Exploitation of Women-women and girls are disproportionately trafficked as sex slaves, and slaves; women and girls are disproportionately abused in homes and in public spheres, femicide(: a gender based hate crime–>”the killing of a woman or girl, in particular by a man and on account of her gender.”
  3. Forced Marriages and Genital Mutilation
  4. Unpaid Care and devaluation of the Domestic Responsibilities Women take on or are forced into at disproportionate rates compared to men
  5. Disproportionate Amount of Female Leadership and Decision Making-this is seen in and out of politics, and in the gap of  venture capital women have. In 2017, only 2.2% of all venture capital in the United States went to companies founded solely by women, only 4.4% of transactions went to female-founded companies and only 11.3% of partners at venture capitalist firms were women according to Forbes.
  6. Lack of Access to Reproductive Health and Rights- reflected in the number of Planned Parenthoods that have been defunded all across America, and the all male American female reproductive health board that is single handedly attempting to control the bodies and choices of women in America.
  7. An Unequal Amount of Female Property Owners- seen in farmlands, financial services of the family unit, etc.
  8. Lack of Women having access to technology
  9. Lack of Global Legislation to Eradicate the Above Issues ^^^

Everyone should identify as an intersectional feminist if they want to see the Anthropocene thrive, if they believe in human rights, and if they believe in freedom and equality for all. If you don’t identify as an intersectional feminist….de facto, the word to describe you is a misogynist.



Milkweed (Asclepias spp.) Garden

For the 2018 Presidential Grant it would be not only aesthetically beautiful for the members of our college community, but incredibly sustainable for Union to plant a milkweed garden in front of Schaffer library (rather than the present lack luster shrubbery). Now you might be asking–why milkweed? What’s so cool about milkweed? Can this plant produce both milk AND weed? Well no, BUT milkweed is the sole plant monarch caterpillars are able to eat and the only plant monarch butterflies lay their eggs in. The monarch population since the mid 1990s has been invariably decreasing and this is directly due to the deforestation of the milkweed plant.

In a recent U.S. Geological survey they have found that we will need to plant an additional 1.8 billion milkweed stems in North America in hopes of restoring the monarch community to what it once was. This is an especially important mission for those who live in the United States because the monarch butterfly is our national butterfly(; although, this job should not be the sole burden of the United States and the monarch butterfly should not be the only insect we work to repopulate because of its’ national status). This planting would be relatively inexpensive (6 milkweed seed packets for only $18 on amazon with that student prime!), extremely impactful to the monarch population, and beautify our campus further. For more information on the falling monarch population in North America click on the graph below:

Hydroelectricity–not the future move

On hearing how important hydroelectricity is to New York State and their green energy initiatives, I wanted to understand what draw backs may come with the sustainable energy option. In the book “Sustainable Energy–without the hot air”, the author explores what is necessary to make hydroelectricity and he states that all “you need [is] altitude, and you need rainfall” (55, MacKay). He goes in further with an anecdote rooted in math to prove that hydroelectricity is not compatible with all countries rain flows, and ultimately their ability to create a sustainable amount of hydroelectricity to account for the populations energy demands.

The country that showcases the shortcomings of this issue in Britain, a country notorious for its’ rainfall, by estimating the gravitational power of the rain in both the low and high lands by multiplying the rainfall, by the density of the water, by the strength of gravity, and the typical altitude of the lands above the sea. Once the calculations for both the low lands and high lands gravitational power of rain, independently of each other, and then added up together, the author was able to show that the limits of the hydroelectric energy production you can create/capture in a day is 1.5 kWh/d.

This is a minute amount of energy relative to what biomass, solar heating, and wind energy are able to produce about over fifteen times the amount of energy over the same period of time. The author also explains that, “The actual power from hydroelectricity in the UK today is 0.2 kWh/d per person, so this 1.5kWh/d per person would require a seven-fold in- crease in hydroelectric power” (56, MacKay). Hydroelectricity seems to have some major set backs and ultimately seems like an investment of time and energy that may not be worth it fiscally compared to other renewable energy sources.

Internal Displacement and Apathy

The issue of internal and external migration of people is something I am very passionate about, and I think it is fascinating the amount of factors that provoke the migration of people whether the factors be environmental, violence, race, lack of resources, economics, etc. According to the 2017 Global Report on Internal Displacement, the global rate of internal displacement in 2016 was equivalent to one person forced to flee every second totaling to 31.1 million new internal displacements catalyzed by conflict, violence, and disasters in one years time.

In 2015 according the UNHCR there was a total of 40.8 million internally displaced peoples which means if we add the new figure of 2016 to that of the 2015 figure on internally displaced people the growth rate would be approximately 1.76 of internally displaced people globally and a rate of change from 2015 to 2016 of 31.1 million people displaced/year. Even though these figures are staggering, according to the IDMC, “Each year, IDMC provides robust, compelling evidence on internal displacement. Each year, the evidence fails to elicit a response commensurate with the scale of the problem. Why? Because of international indifference, lack of accountability, and state failure to protect.”

Climate Migration

My Political Science thesis is  looking at climate migration, which is the movement of people as a result of the negative impacts of climate change such as natural disasters, and sea level rise. I am specifically looking at Small Island Developing States (SIDS) such as the Marshall Islands and Solomon Islands in the South East Pacific Ocean that will be displaced in the short time span of 25-30 years, if not sooner, if the globe community continues to emit the present, abusive rate of Green House Gases (GHGs) into the atmosphere.

This research looks at not only the effects of climate migration, but I’m hoping to use the diction of environmental racism to gain these migrants refugee status under the UN definition until further policy can synthesized and implemented. I intend to work on shaping some of this policy in this thesis in tandem with the current migration world policies in regards to internal and external movement.

I found an article from National Geographic’s talking about the topic generally, but discussing the number of people that will actually be displaced by 2050. Here are those numbers on a simple bar graph to show the optimistic projectiles vs. the more realistic number of people displaced if we continue leaving the same carbon footprint we are presently engaged in within the Anthropocene.

Here’s a link to the graph (just because I’m still having issues with my computer):

Poor Plastic Management

The graph above shows us the “The Top 20 Countries with the Worst Plastic Waste Management” in the world which are in order of most to least “plastic waste with poor waste management*”…

  1. China
  2. Indonesia
  3. The Philippines
  4. Vietnam
  5. Sri Lanka
  6. Thailand
  7. Egypt
  8. Malaysia
  9. Bangladesh
  10. South Africa
  11. India
  12. Algeria
  13. Nigeria
  14. Turkey
  15. Pakistan
  16. Brazil
  17. Myanmar
  18. Morocco
  19. North Korea
  20. USA

When this graph talks about how plastic waste in improperly managed the authors are referring to the millions of metric tons that end up in the ocean every year. This bar graph in particular recognizes that even though “North America, China, and Europe  produce around two-thirds of the world’s plastic” it is not reflected in this graph because it is managed more “responsibly”.

Although, on further research I found that the United States is dependent on China’s plastic waste footprint economically as we import over 20% of our goods from China. It makes me question these graphs and how accurate they really are when we are so interconnected to one another in an age of hyper-globalization. It’s hard to know who to point the finger at when it comes to poor plastic management which is why it’s probably just best to look in the mirror.


Front Lawns: They’re dumb.

I never understood the point of a front lawn. Its honestly just a green square that no one plays on, grills on, reads on, celebrates on, spends time on etc.. It’s just like a backyard with none of the purpose. All that  strip of grass says is that the people who own that grass could afford to pay their water bill that month. According to an article published by the Earth Institute at Columbia University, the origin of modern lawns originated in the English gardens of the British nobility through the 17th and 18th centuries. Although, the lawn that we know andsee today was made widespread in North America by the production of the lawnmower in the 19th century. This Western phenomena has resulted in 30-40 millions acres of land used solely on lawns which has contributed to not only 5% of the nation’s air pollution through lawn maintenance (due to lawnmowers); more than 17 million gallons of fuel spill, excessive amounts of pesticides and fertilizers, but are responsible for consuming 30-60% of our urban fresh water. This water is used irresponsibly due to the poor application and timing of sprinkler systems.

One solution proposed by this article is xeriscaping, which is a kind of landscaping and gardening that “reduces or eliminates the need for supplemental water from irrigation” ( This kind of gardening is promoted in regions that do not have easy access to a reliable fresh water source. Other solutions proposed by the EPA are not overwatering your grass by only watering it when the grass does not bounce back under foot; an investment in an irrigation contractor that can reassure that your system is working efficiently; a wether-based irrigation system; and landscaping with only plants that are native to the local climate.


Water Sense, sponsored by the EPA has reported that that the “The average American family of four uses 400 gallons of water per day, and about 30% of that s devoted to outdoor uses. More than half of that outdoor water is used for watering lawns and gardens.” Although, they also reported that if a household were to implement a weather-based irrigation schedule a household can reduce their outdoor water use by 15%, and ultimately saving up to 37 gallons of water everyday. That means that, according to these statistics, 7.5732 billion gallons of water is produced by the 126.22 million households in America (according to the U.S. census) are devoted to lawns and gardening. Although, once this weather-based irrigation system is applied this reduction of 15% of urban fresh-water use would save us 1.13598 billion gallons of water everyday.



The Wealth Gap & CO2 Emissions

In the “What if only 100 people existed on earth?” video, the narrator started to discuss how the distribution of wealth is not only not well dispersed, but highlights that the top 1% (with an annual income of over $1 million) of the global population owns 50% of the global wealth. This kind of spending power resting on the shoulders, or should I say the wallets, of such few individuals really peaked my interest.

On further research I found that there is an interesting mathematical correlation between a state/country’s state of income inequality and their “aggregate rate of emissions is an increasing function of of mean income and that any inequality-reducing redistribution of income will increase the aggregate rate of emissions” (655). This research actually discusses an equation that proves this point:

I found it very interesting that there is actually a Y variable in the above formula to represent an inequality constant that is used in calculating the average rate of emissions.

A hippy who showers?

My relationship with sustainability goes back to by accidentally becoming in charge of my High School’s environmental club, and through that club I’ve learned about the importance of the earth to humanity. This liking for the environment escalated into passion in college when I learned more about the meat industry in America, the structures of capitalism that promote consumerism and more waste in America, and the intersections of human rights and environmental rights.

I have now been a vegetarian for a year to reduce my carbon footprint; my senior thesis for Political Science is all about aiding climate migrants by using environmental racism to claim refugee status for those rendered stateless at the hands of climate change; I try to only buy clothes second hand to reduce the waste and pollution that the fashion industry causes; I attempt to live as waste free as possible by caring around collapsable containers, bamboo utensils, a reusable water bottle, and reusable bags; and I live in the environmental theme house on campus called Ozone House. In a classical sense I suppose I’m a hippie, but I just really love being outside and learning, and in order for me to keep pursuing what I care about the earth needs to be healthy. This is why I declared an Environmental Science and Policy Minor so I could learn more. This learning spawned into activism when I took over our College’s environmental club my sophomore year, and raised $5000 to send a bus of Union College students, Sienna students, and some fellow Schenectadians from a church group to the 2017 People’s Climate March in Washington D.C. with Professor Jeff Corbin because the earth and the people who live on it really matter to me.