Thursday, April 21, 2011
He started the presentation with an excerpt from Upton Sinclair's social criticism of industry,The Jungle. The excerpt discussed the terrible noises that were heard in a pig processing plant. "There were high squeals and low squeals, grunts, and wails of agony." said Wood as he read the excerpt. He explained that with the rise of industry in Chicago, came lots of noise. Steel mills and trains would run day and night;"Heavy Metal" Wood called it. "So it was noisy? Big surprise." said Wood. That's when he went on to talk about the impact of this noise. Many apartments and houses were in close quarters to these factories, train yards etc. So at some point the noise was too much, and the need for green spaces arose. This is one of the reasons we have suburbs. He also explained that many workers were affected mentally by the noise. "They hear it all day at work, and then go home and still hear it. Some went crazy" said Wood. Along with the factories, organic noise was a nuisance as well. For example, a rooster crowing in the morning would be most irritable. So, due to all of this during 1890-1920 the road was paved for progressive reform and suburbanization.
Dr. Wood offered a very insightful and informative presentation. At the end he answered any questions audience members had and offered his contact information for any further questions. It was a great contribution to cornucopia of events at Focus Frostburg this year.
People filed in the screening room, stopping by the small table set up at the front of the room for snacks, off-brand Oreo cookies and apple juice available to anyone who would want it. The room itself was quite spacious, but there were sadly, many empty chairs for this Documentary. As the lights went down and the screen lit up, the room became a serious type of silence, and HOME began.
HOME itself is a documentary on the earth, how life came to be, and how humans, as a relatively new part of that life are now affecting the planet. The Documentary begins with beautiful scenery of the earth, focusing on a large volcano. The ashen smokey tendrils swirling from the top of the volcano juxtaposition with the rich brown of the rock and the narrators voice is introduced. Narrated by Glenn Close, her voice, mature and level mimics what many would view as mother earth’s voice. She begins by explaining how life was created 200,000 years ago and how the earth’s geology was formed to support life. “Minerals and metals are even older then the earth” the narrators explains, “they are stardust, they provide the earth’s colors,” as this is said the camera panels over an artist’s pallet of colors decorating the earth, all minerals found in nature.
Then the music begins to change as the movie begins the rise of humans. The voice of the narrator takes a more sarcastic tone. Her voice, calm and level, remains the same but the words the narrator says no longer praise the earth’s beauty, but human involvement with its destruction. The camera panning over villages turning into grey cities, the narrators begins to explain how the “genius” of human kind has begun over farming the land justified only by, “But how can you conquer the world on an empty stomach?”
The beautiful scenery of the beginning of the documentary takes a turn as well. Grey dreary cities now cover the screen. Hauntingly beautiful pictures of Los Angeles and Los Vegas pan over the screen, pretty, but now twisted compared to the scenery of nature previously shown. The narrator explains how humanity has mined the earth of everything and how the, “next 20 years there will be more extracted (minerals) than all of the earth’s history.” Cattle farms that look like, “concentration camps” zoom on screen, and the audience is shown brown and barren pens of cattle, no room to move, and no grass to eat, only grain from the farming.
The documentary ended by explaining the consequences of human nature if it continues down this path of pollution and usage of resources they don’t have. Carbon from all our mining and burning, building up in the atmosphere, enhancing global warming, melting the ice caps and not only flooding the earth and possible bringing multiple species to extinction, but also releasing pockets of gas, hidden under perma- frost.
When this happens, the documentary warned, the green house effect would strengthen, and “we’d literally be in unknown territory”. HOME ended showing what was left of the earth, and warning viewers that they only had ten years to fix this problem. Leaving the film, I felt cheated as a product of this generation, told to fix a problem I had nothing to help create. Childishly I thought to the past. If HOME is any testimony to the earth’s predicament, then even Captain Planet can’t help us now.
But suprisingly enough, this presentation was not just given from the Christian perspective. Views from all different faith-based, as well as non-fath based perspectives were presented. This is what really made her presentation go. The fact that this was just not for those who believed in God, but for everyone, made this special. And it goes to prove the point that no matter who we are, or where we come from, we all have a duty to be "green People" in order to make sure our earth is well taken care of and protected.
Human instinct for survival can sometimes cause us to feel uncomfortable or overlook thinking about our down death. Dr. Jennifer Flin of Frostburg State University takes a braver step in convincing an audience of students and interested adults otherwise. Flin tries to portray to the audience a viewpoint that holds death in a green light rather than a black one; Here, the end of life can bring forth the beginning to many new ones.
Dr. Flin's presentation was held in room 224 Lane University Center. In this big glass room students gather daily for lunch or dinner, thus, many students who were already there for lunch at 3pm stayed for the presentation as well. A majority of the room was filled with interested students, students with assignments pertaining to the presentation, and students who had arrived for extra credit. Flinn began her presentation, "Forever Green: Sustainable Burials" with reasons against why modern burials are expensive, a waste, and can harm the environment, "We cut millions and millions of trees for caskets that will be seen for just a couple of hours and then buried in the ground. So essentially, we are using resources just to put them in a hole." Flinn also pointed out how steel and embalming fluid are used in gracious amounts for caskets and end up staying beneath the earth which is harmful to the environment. Dr. Flinn also expressed concern for those who consider cremation, "Cremation is also an option but it uses a lot of fossil fuels and can even release mercury which is very hazardous".
To create more incentive, Dr. Flinn expresses the many benefits of natural burial. According to Flinn natural funerals with natural grave markers and even biodegradable caskets are range around $200 to $2,000 and are much less expensive than common funerals which can cost from $6,000 to $20,000. Additionally, Flinn informed the audience how a natural buried individual can take many forms that assist the environment, examples were a tree and a coral reef. Videos were shown on families who had chosen the coral reef method and were very pleased with the ecological benefits it gave the environment.
In a personal interview with Dr. Flinn, I asked what kind of method of burial she would personally prefer, "I really like the idea of an artificial reef because I like the idea of contributing to something that will be productive. I imagine my family going on scuba diving trips. Although, I'm not 100% sure just yet.
During the presentation, Dr. Allen played a game show he called, "Would you Like a Drink?" He picked six people out of the audience and asked each if they would drink the water that may or may not be safe to drink. The very first one was not safe to drink. It would leave you in the bathroom for the next 48 hours. This was to show that one out of every six people do not have access to fresh water. Also during the presentation, Dr. Allen asked an audience member to count to twenty slowly. After they reached it, he said "a child just died from needing water." Every twenty seconds, a child dies from lack of water. That is how valuable water is.
Marcellus Shale has become a heated topic in Allegany County. Local residents have expressed concerns of the effects it will have on our environment. Dr. Robert Larviee tried to educate his audience on the positive side of the subject through his presentation "Drilling for Energy in Marcellus Shale."
The Marcellus formation was formed in the Middle Devonian age, spanning from 416 to 359 million years ago. The shale is a low-density, black, rock-like material, with numerous pores that contains 1-10 percent of organic compound. Although the pores contain a small amount of crude oil, it is composed of mostly natural gas. As Dr. Larivee stated, "Natural gas is the cleanest fuel available an has the smallest carbon footprint." He added if we would utilize natural gas technology, "we would be paying half the fuel prices that we are currently with petroleum."
According to the US Energy Information Administration, there are 827 trillion cubic feet of shale in the US, eqivalent to 86 billion barrels of oil. Dr. Larivee says, "That's enough natural gas to supply the United States for 34 years, at the current usage rate."
Approximately two trillion cubic feet of gas was extracted from the Barnett Shale in Texas, generating $35 billion of revenue. This drilling produced two percent of the gas the US uses daily.
Deep drilling techniques are performed in three ways: horizontal drilling, casing, and fracting. Horizontal drilling gains a greater access with a smaller footprint, as the drill is adjusted to go in any direction. For casing, a pipe filled with cement is inserted into a drilled hole to protect the groundwater aquifer from the gas well. Fracting occurs for only a limited time, making the possibility of private well damage unlikely.
Drilling uses about 3.5 million gallons of water. Dr. Larivee says that may "sound like a lot, but it's not that much in the whole picture. This amount is equivalent to the amount of water that New York City uses in only five minutes." Due to the Energy Policy Act of 2005, the Environmental Policy Agency no longer monitors our drinking water. This responsibilty is now left to local and state agencies. But according to Dr. Larivee, "80 percent of the contaminated water is removed."
Old equipment along with environmental problems has caused "issues with drilling in the west." But Dr. Larivee adds, "it's very different from what we're doing here." All forms of energy have chances of negative consequences. The best forms of energy would be solar and wind, but it would be "another 20 to 30 years to be in the place technologically to use these effectively." There are advances that shale extraction could take in the future to become healthier for the environment, but will these actions be taken?
“Armenians are currently asking themselves the question of how they can heal the nature and natural state of
|Eternal Reefs, eternalreefs.com|
|Students discussing green burials|
Although listed as the keynote speaker, Dr. Rogers explained that her students were divided into three teams, and that each team would present the disadvantages of one particular focal point as result of their investigation.
Karean Davison and Andre Arthur were the first to present. Their topic was the coal mining process. “It doesn’t really benefit anyone outside of the coal industry. The communities are not getting jobs, only hardships from landfills overflowing,” explained Ms Davison. Mr Arthur added further comment that developments in technology and infrastructure has made coal mining more efficient. “They have taken the coal miner out of the mining process,” he stated. Their presentation revealed that 40% of U.S carbon dioxide emissions come from coal and that those in the industry are trying to cover up and excuse these figures.
The next group explored wind turbines as an alternative energy source. Nhon Vo and Morgan Bauer undertook this task. Mr. Vo noted that noise production and the killing of endangered species of birds and bats were some of the main causes of complaint against wind turbine use. He also expressed that some people feel that the wind turbines reduce the integrity and prestige of mountains, directly affecting tourism. Mr Bauer mentioned vibroacoustic disease, a human medial health condition resulting from constant exposure to the low frequency noise (LFN) of the turbines.
Brody McAllister and Joy Riddal were the last to present on natural gas. Brody explained that there is a serious lack of regulation when it comes to natural gas extraction and production. “It’s a relatively new innovation. All the regulation on it is still kind of iffy,” he said. He also explained that the water supplies to people who live in the areas of natural gas sites do not have to be regulated under the clean water act 1972. At this point Dr. Rogers aptly played the trailer from local Academy Award nominee, Josh Fox. His movie Gasland embarks on a cross-country odyssey uncovering the secrets, lies and contamination of natural gas companies. Agreeing with Fox, Ms Riddal commented “It’s destroying people’s environment. I’d rather look at a windmill than a natural gas site”.
The presentation was combined with a series of video clips which can be viewed here: clip 1 , clip 2 , clip 3 , clip 4
Brett was available at Frostburg State University Wednesday, April 20, 2011, as part of the campus wide Earth Week celebration. Set up in the Lane University Center lobby, he presented the concept of tidal energy generation. Brett and this team of middle school students from St. Peter’s Middle School in Waldorf, Maryland were challenged to research and develop an alternative energy source. The project was part of the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) initiative lead by Brett. The opportunity to work on the project was offered and six students, four boys and two girls, volunteered for the job. “The kids recognized the importance of an education,” Brett said proudly. After considering wind and solar power, the students discovered that the moon could actually be a possible option in the future through the use of tides. “What these kids are worried about is in twenty years, will they have resources?” Brett explained. While natural gas and coal are limited, tidal generators do not consume natural resources. “This is really retro if you think about it because when we first started generating electricity, all we used was hydroelectric power,” Brett stated.
The model displayed Wednesday as part of the Prototype of Tidal Electricity Generation display demonstrated the way in which the blades would generate power and then send it to be stored nearby. Brett explained that the Tidal Generator could be used in rivers, bays, and oceans. “You could put this in the Potomac River in Cumberland and it wouldn’t need tides to generate electricity because there is so much current,” he said. A separate building, a monitoring station, would be used to check the performance of the propellers. The turbines would be under the surface so they would not interfere with navigation or be an eyesore, which has been a criticism of wind turbines. The students researched other tidal prototypes and made a few adjustments to their own model including changing the traditional paddle system to a series of propellers. “The idea isn’t new, just underused,” Brett explained. In December, the team submitted their project in a competition and won first place for their excellent research.
The name of Dr. Wood's presentation was Senses & The City: Industry, Urbanization and the Production of Noise. Dr. Wood focused on the affects that newfound urban noise had on the attitudes, emotions and actions of Chicagoans during the industrial revolution between 1900 and 1920. According to Dr. Wood, "the sensory experiences of inner city workers affected how they felt about their surroundings. This presentation focused on just a few ways noise affected Chicago's residents during this time.
According to Dr. Wood, "urbanites were often overwhelmed by their experiences with sound." He provided accounts of workers in Chicago's steel mills and packing plants. Both described a world filled with deafening, never ending noise. The squeals of the pigs being taken to slaughter and the continuous clank of metal clashing together were sounds that stayed with the workers even after they left work. Most workers just dealt with the sound until they no longer noticed the noise; according to Dr. Wood the only other option was, "if you can't handle it, just go crazy and quit."
Dr. Wood also identified trains as a major factor in noise production during this time. The trains themselves mixed with the whistles, bells, conductors, etc. Caused a plethora of noise that Chicago's 40% non-american population could not handle coming from quieter countries. Wood said trains caused a "disruption of routine sounds." At this time 30 million people rode the trains a year, there were over 86 miles of cable and over 1500 cable cars.
Dr. Wood found that Chicago's solution to end this noise was to simply move away. In 1913 the Chicago City Club proposed a suburb outside of the city where people with enough money could move away from the hustle and bustle of trains and factories. Along with this suburban outlook also came a spike in hot air balloon popularity. It seemed as if Chicagoans wanted to escape noise any way possible.
One interesting part of Dr. wood's presentation was the end where he displayed a picture of a Chicago fish salesman selling a purified fish that was nearly taller than him. It showed a different side of Chicago than portrayed in the presentation and Dr. Wood was amazed saying, "I cant believe they actually sold this on the streets, you could take this home!"
The University of Frostburg’s Geography Department Head is Dr. Russo. Recently, Dr. Russo discussed how students need to really understand their environment. A question he often challenges his students with is, “Why do Universities want people from all over the country and not just local residence”. The answer that is often heard is that it offers the first chance for young people to gain independence in a controlled environment so that they will have a better understanding of what will be required of them to succeed in the world. Dr. Russo believes that students should be aware of their local environment and share those thoughts with others. Homecoming celebrations offer a chance to learn more about where people come from. Ecological inhabitation programs, which understand the environment, can assist students in their adaptation.
Another one of Dr. Russo’s thoughtful statements is, “Schools are a source of community renewal rather than the case of community disintegration.” The challenge to his students is for them to answer the question, “Is Frostburg University a community disintegration of the environment”. Replies range from the literal destruction of local forest and land required to build the university to a less obvious one of the local culture being overwhelmed by students.
Dr. Russo talked about colleges that make a point to proactively interact with their local environment. The colleges that are at the top of list were Warren Wilson, in North Carolina and Berea College, which is in Kentucky. At the Berea College, if accepted, the tuition is free and the students concentrate their studies on adapting their campus life to the local environment.
“What can students and faculty members do to learn about their environment”, is a favorite question that Dr. Russo likes to leave people with. A suggestion coming from the Faculty is that time should be taken during freshman orientation for new students to be shown all aspects of the local environment around Frostburg University and it’s neighboring communities. Some students said, “Go on more field trips around Frostburg and offer programs that will allow students to work around the different campus communities.”
The guidance from Dr. Russo’s questions are that students, or people, should spend the time to understand their local environment and learn how to grow and prosper together in a seamless community.
There were two presentations between Chandler and Beth, but the fused it into one huge poster. On Chandler's side, he talked about the amount of trash that is being used in Frostburg State University and where it goes after use. Beth talks about location where the trash is being transported after Frostburg State University uses it. Beth talked about how the trash deposit is going to expand soon and how the experts prevent the trash from getting in to the soil.
Both Chandler and Beth enjoyed constructing and presenting this issue in the Lace Center. They like sending a message to the young audiences because they can make a difference when it comes to disposing trash. Chandler explains, "This presentation informs people where the trash goes on campus. One way to regulate the amount we throw away is by recycling bottle, glass, plastics, and paper. Doing this also saves money for Frostburg State University."
For Chandler and Beth to send this message out to the young public, they use certain methods to attract them. Beth says, "Having a stellar poster board is the way to go. But also having examples will also contribute to the audience being attracted to our presentation." Both students used a variety of tools to attract the public. Colorful photos, catchy phrases, and well-though examples also helped them to attract audiences. Even though this is not a full-out presentation where they have a massive audience. This is an actual start of sending a message to the young students in Frostburg, and they have to the power to decide where their trash goes.
By: Grace Herpel
Is there a good side to drilling for energy in the Marcella Shale? Robert Larivee Ph.D thinks so, in his presentation at Focus Frostburg on Wednesday April, 20 2011 he explained. Among many of Dr. Larivee arguments for drilling he pointed out it is the cleanest and leaves the smallest carbon foot print of all the fuels we are using now.
The Marcella Shale spans from Southern New York to Kentucky spanning through Pennsylvania and western Maryland and Allegany County were Frostburg State is located. In Allegany County the Marcella shale is 9,000 feet or 2 miles below the surface. “The Marcella Shale contains a huge amount of natural gas about 500 trillion cubic feet” . In one of Dr. Larivee slides he presented showed what the US Energy Information Administration has estimated. The USEIA has done a rough estimate about 827 trillion cubic feet of natural gas is contained in the shale, based on a 10% recovery rate which Dr.Larivee says “is very conservative”. This amount of gas is equivalent to 86 billion barrels of oil or 12 years of energy usage at the United State current rate.
How do we get this immense amount of energy that is far below the surface of the earth? Dr. Larviee explained the three step process that is used to extract the natural gas from deep in the earth Horizontal Drilling, Casing, and Fracting . Horizontal drilling is when the company drills down 1 mile and then the drill turns at varies speeds to go horizontally to tap into the Hydrfrac zone in the shale. Ground water is in the first 1,000 feet and cement casing must be placed around the hole so water does not get down into the hydrofract zone. Then the last step of drilling occurs what Dr.Larivee called the “the scary word fracting” which he described as a mix of 95.5% of water and sand gel mix with a small amount 0.5% of chemicals that are commonly found in household products . Dr.Larivee then explained that most of the water is pumped out of the drill zone. He then explained a real problem which is where the water is removed to after it is pumped out of the drill zone. At the end of his presentation Dr. Larivee he opened for questions he was then bombarded with questions against the drilling. What about when the joints in the ground break and the chemical water gets through? What will happen to where we live? Most of all is this actually safe?
By Sara Maricle
"People do not tend to think about their burials" mentioned Dr. Flinn, psychology professor at Frostburg State University during her presentation for Focus Frostburg on April 20, 2011. Every year, Frostburg State University holds Focus Frostburg, a day of learning about sustainability and climate awareness. Throughout the day, there are presentations and displays based around sustainability and climate open to the college and the public.
At 3pm on April 20, 2011, Lane Center 244 filled with students, faculty and community members to hear Dr. Flinn's presentation "Forever Green- Sustainable Burials". Dr. Flinn started out the presentation with the shocking statistics about traditional funerals, such as a traditional funeral can range from $6,000 to $20,000 and more than 800,000 gallons of embalming fluid is used yearly. Then she introduced a new concept, green burials.
Green burials involve not using chemicals during the burial process, which harms the environment, and not using non-natural resources during the burial process. "The primary focus is the elimination of non-natural resources" said Dr. Flinn. In a traditional funeral/burial, caskets are made out of wood, most of the time tropical wood. "We are cutting down millions and millions of trees to be seen for a few hours and then buried under the ground" pointed out Dr. Flinn. With green burials, no chemicals are used in the burial process and caskets are made out of biodegradable materials. In addition, natural markers are used to mark the grave sites, such as field stones or a tree instead of headstone. Dr. Flinn mentioned that this also allows for the area to be not only allowed to be used as a cemetery but also as a preserve.
In addition to the green burials, Dr. Flinn pointed out other was for sustainable burials. One ways is eternal reefs. A deceased person's ashes are mixed into special cement and molded into a ball to be placed into the ocean. The balls then are the bases that help create reefs, natural habits for fish and sea creatures. Promessa, a Swedish company, has another green option. The bodies are frozen at -18 degrees and then place into liquid nitrogen. Then the body is submitted to mechanical vibrations, breaking the frozen body into powder. All metals are then removed and the remains are placed in a cornstarch container. The cornstarch container can then is buried and help a tree, bush, or something grow.
Dr. Flinn also made a point of saying that green burials are generally less expensive than traditional burials, usually between $200 and $2000. So not only are green burials better for the environment and for the earth, they are also better for your wallet as well. Dr. Flinn raised an interesting question during her presentation, "Why not give back to the environment after death?"
By: Logan Hubert
“The main problem with drawing and painting is that it isn’t credible anymore in the 21st century” said Dr. Randall Rhodes who presented the “Green Art Education in Armenia” for one of this years Focus Frostburg presentations. Dr. Rhodes, a professor in the Department of Visual Arts, spoke of Art History in America, but mainly focused on Armenia where he traveled to within the last couple of years.
He spoke of the history of Armenia, which was said to be in a “state of panic.” The Catholic country is 1/4th the size that it use to be because it was split up after the Soviet Union was dismantled. Half of the plants in Armenia are in danger of becoming extinct. Dr. Rhodes said that most of the deforestation that occurs there is from people just trying to find a way to survive. “If they can’t fix nature, they can’t heal the country,” said Dr. Rhodes.
Dr. Rhodes then showed the audience, which was packed full of interested students in the Lane Center early Wednesday morning, many intriguing pictures and videos, which seemed to connect with the spectators. One of the first pictures he showed was a man standing on top of a pile of garbage in a trash dump searching for anything to sell so he and his family could eat that day. Each picture told a fascinating story with an incredible back story to it.
Dr. Rhodes stated “Art is a tool of social change that has become very selfish, but will it rise to the occasion?” After what he showed the audience, I would have to say that art is definitely rising to the occasion just because of the The Tufenkian Project, which is a reforestation mission that actively try to engage the youth of Armenia. “By looking at the childrens art, we see their values and how they visualize the world” he said. The students were said to have wrote their ideas down before they drew or painted. Dr. Rhodes said, “If you can’t think in terms of words, you can’t think in terms of pictures.” Most paintings and drawings that were shown clearly demonstrated what they want in their ideal world. One example of this was a stained glass painting that had clean water, vegetation, and fruit all circling the sun.
In my opinion, the presentation was worth the 15 minute wait because of technical difficulties they faced. The entire production was very rewarding in the end and was very informative. The middle schoolers who made the award winning videos around the nation and internationally were very cool and were my favorite part of the presentation along with the different stories behind the pictures. If you attened this Focus Frostburg event, you got a lot of knowledge and if you weren't, you definitely need to catch it next year!
Environmental consciousness is a lifelong effort, but Dr. Jennifer Flinn, a professor of psychology at Frostburg State University, made it clear that people can continue to be "green," even in death. She admitted that the topic of her lecture was unusual, that most people fail to think of their own funerals. The sun shining through the many windows of room 244 in the Lane University Center made the concept even more difficult to imagine. The coziness of the warm, sunny room created a friendly atmosphere, one in which it was almost exciting to think of the various possibilities Dr. Flinn discussed concerning death.
She made her audience aware that they could be kind to the earth with some green burial options at her presentation "Forever Green-Sustainable Burials" the afternoon of Friday, April 20, during the Focus Frostburg events. Dr. Flinn became interested in alternative burial options when she conducted research in developmental psychology. She became aware of the significant amount of resources that is required for traditional burials. To preserve bodies, approximately 800,000 gallons of embalming fluid are used every year in the United States. To build coffins, millions of trees are cut down annually. "It's a lot of energy and resources going toward what is essentially a hole in the ground," Dr. Flinn exclaimed.
One method that helps to conserve valuable energy and resources is a natural burial. This involves eliminating all harmful chemicals used in the preservation of the body. The casket is constructed form biodegradable materials. Dr. Flinn directed her audience's attention to her PowerPoint presentation, which included pictures of caskets appropriate for such a burial. Some of them resembled sleeping bags, and one was made of wicker. Dr. Flinn claimed she found the wicker one "particularly elaborate," and proceeded to explain that any biodegradable casket could be made as elaborate as a person would like.
Opting out of purchasing a traditional casket for a deceased loved one may strike some people as disrespectful to the dead, but the practice of expensive funeral procedures is actually a new concept that began in the 1800s. Prior to the existence of funeral directors and expensive coffins, the dead were buried by their families, without the use of any chemicals. The resurgence of natural burials has only recently begun; it started in the United Kingdom, particularly in the Carlisle Cemetery, in 1993. Natural burials have started to gain popularity in the United States. They are popular enough to have warranted specific plots of land: hybrid burial grounds, natural burial grounds, and conservation burial grounds. To be buried in each type of burial ground, the materials used must meet specific guidelines according to the Green Burial Council.
There are other Earth-friendly options to consider besides burial. One is offered through Eternal Reefs. Cremated remains are used to create an artificial coral reef that will be home to various life underwater. Some such reefs have even been submerged in the Chesapeake Bay. Dr. Flinn favors this option. Her family vacations at a lake, and she would like that body of water to be the location of her reef. She is unsure whether her family would actually want to dive to visit her reef, however, since "it's a lake, and it's got all sorts of fun stuff in it," she said grimacing.
Yet another way to give back to the earth in death is offered through a Swedish burial company, Promessa. Their method involves freezing the deceased body, submerging it in liquid nitrogen, and shattering it. Dr. Flinn brought it to the audience's attention that this is similar to a death that occurs in Terminator 2 to provide a better visualization. Water and metals are removed from the remains, which are now a powder. The powder is placed in a cornstarch coffin. Dr. Flinn thought that this method might seem too strange to some people. "Now that sounds a little odd; okay, why would we want to be in a cornstarch coffin?" The point of this method, however, is to be buried in soil that will be enriched by the remains, making it a prime location to plant a tree or other plant.
At the conclusion of the lecture, Dr. Flinn directed her audience's attention to the three students who created the handout "Living Green, Dying Green" distributed at the beginning of the presentation: Marcus Carter, Erin Eve, and Rachel K. Skipper. Eve asked those present whether, after sitting through the presentation, they would consider any of the environmentally friendly burial alternatives. The majority of hands shot instantly into the air. "Well, mission accomplished!" laughed Eve.
Of the three, Rachel K. Skipper seemed to have the strongest opinion formed concerning what should happen to her body after she dies. "So I want to be killed like the Terminator."
"No, not like the Terminator, the Terminator's nemesis," said Eve, smiling.
"Er, I mean his nemesis," stammered Skipper, though her opinion was unwavering.
Focus Frostburg, an event originally held on Wednesday April 20, attempted to show Frostburg State students, professors, and the casual followers the paramount dangers the human race is spitting back at Mother Nature. From 8:30 AM to 8:00 PM, MORE THAN ten affiliations gathered to discuss what is damaging planet Earth and how to save her from destruction. Some examples included the FSU Geography department, FSU Biology department, Allegheny Power, the Nature Conservancy, and the Sierra Club. Presenters displayed their concern from showing movies and or clips to having speakers present their main arguments. The arrival of Focus Frostburg seemed brought on by the arrival of Earth Day on April 22.
One particular group of interest was the Sierra Club. At 6:00 PM, the Sierra Club began to set up their documentary of choice titled ‘HOME’ in the Lane Center. The turnout showed many eager watchers from professors to students. Those familiar with the polarizing concept of global warming would not be surprised to find that very idea the backdrop to the documentary.
With no hesitation as to what stance HOME would take on global warming, the documentary (narrated by a female voice) began with the introduction of carbon dioxide as well as other gases that make up Earth’s atmosphere.
“All matter is connected,” the narrator stated as the film began to go on and personify all things on Earth – live or not.
That very point was necessary as one of the main points of HOME was to persuade humans to connect and respect Earth.
A materialistic side of some world’s richest nations was then shown. These nations, such as Dubai, were depicted as abusing Earth’s resources without contributing back. Contrasting between the high levels of poverty shown afterwards, the narrator claims that “5,000 people die from drinking dirty water.”
Lasting for nearly two hours, HOME throws out some potentially terrifying lines like “20% of Earth’s population consumes 80% of Earth’s resources” and that “no wealthy nations will be spared” when cataclysmic natural disasters are said to occur.
In spite of the fear inducing panics, the narrator urged humans once more to consider alternative methods to conserve energy and preserve nature (including wildlife) because “it is too late to be pessimistic.”
By Nathaniel Moore
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Flinn spoke on the history of natural burials; the movement began in the UK, Carlisle Cemetery in1993, “it started in the United Kingdom with smaller resources,” said Flinn. It is becoming more popular in the United States first starting in Ramsey Creek Preserve in South Carolina in 1998, “increasing in the U.S. and how there are about 40 states that have it in a certain area…. not a new idea just a new version.” The Green Burial Council was founded by Joe and Juliette Sehee in 2005. There are three different types of burial grounds: hybrid, which is a one leaf, a conventional cemetery which “uses natural material and offers a separate area for burial,” Flinn stated. Natural, is a two leaf and “cannot use toxic products,” said Flinn, and conservation which is a three leaf, Flinn stated that it “has land set aside, it has to be set aside for land conservation…provide dual purpose…provide natural space.”
Currently there are no natural sites in Maryland but there are at least three in the eastern shore locations. Flinn gave a website that offers natural burials. Flinn stated that they have a “plan to create a site in Pittsburgh but it’s still in proposed,” but that was a year ago. Other green options are eternal reefs which are mix cremated remains and artificial reefs used to create new marine habitats for fish and creatures. Flinn ended her presentation on an interesting note. Flinn explained how a current natural burial company in Sweden called Promessa processes the corpses. In Promessa they freeze the body in negative 18 Celsius degrees, submerging the body with liquid nitrogen, shocking it with mechanical vibrations, placing it in a vacuum chamber and then putting the remains into a cornstarch coffin.
"Rivers shaped the surface of the earth, cutting their channels, they ran to the lowest places on the globe to form the oceans." For ages we lived on what the planet gave us, now we are evolving and using the earths resources faster than it can reproduce them. "Home," a documentary by Yann Arthus-Bertrand, was a very popular last stop for many students involved in Focus Frostburg. Little did the viewers know this was not a slideshow of magnificent landscapes, but a warning to our generation of what is to come of our planet if we keep using its resources in irresponsible ways.
"5,000 people die a day because of dirty drinking water, 1 billion people have no access to safe drinking water." Even though this is the case all over the world, we spend 12 times more on military expenditures than on aid to developing countries. Most of the documentary talked about the things humans have done to destroy the earth over the years, but the strongest message was at the end, giving us hope for our future.
"Everything on earth is linked, and the earth is linked to the sun; its original energy source. In one hour, the sun gives the earth the same amount of energy as that consumed by all humanity in one year." Although we have destroyed vital parts of the earth we live and thrive from, we are now realizing the damage we have caused. The first natural parks were created just over a century ago, and we are learning new ways to create our own energy without taking from our planet. Solar powered, Wind powered, whatever the creation we are changing the way we use the earth's resources and slowing gaining back what we have lost.
Focus Frostburg - Frostburg State University's annual event which aims to teach students, staff and the wider community about climate control and sustainability. This year it took place on Wednesday April 20th, just two days before Earth Day. From 9am to 5pm, talks and discussions took place throughout the Lane University Center building, catering for all tastes, be it reducing energy costs at home or the links between faith and sustainability, there was something for everyone. Display boards lined the lobbies of the first and second floors of the Lane Center, as various departments of the university presented their research and others had entertaining activities to try, such as making photo frames from recycled materials at the Recycled Creation Station.
At 3pm, Dr. Greg Wood, from the university’s history department, took to the floor of the Atkinson Room in the Lane Center to present his talk on ‘Industry, Urbanization and the Production of Noise, 1890 – 1920.’ Opening with an extract from Upton Sinclair’s novel ‘The Jungle,’ Dr. Wood described a meatpacking plant in Chicago in the early 1900s. It was an accurate description of the actual noises that citizens struggled with in the early 20th Century as industry continued to sweep the nation’s cities. Dr. Wood went on to mention the workers lifting the hogs onto hooks to drain the fluids, “the screams and squeals were thought to be so deafening it would explode the walls,” he stated.
Throughout Dr. Wood’s lecture, he described the many sources of noise pollution in Chicago during that period. Factories, steel mills and above all trains polluted the city with constant noise which failed to cease because “labour never stops in Chicago.” The medics of the time were especially concerned about the health of those working in such factories. “Workers were listening themselves to death because they were overwhelmed by the noise in their workplace,” said Dr. Wood.
As the presentation continued, one became far more conscious of the sounds in the room. Dr. Wood’s voice addressed the audience over the rattle of the air conditioning and the rustle of student’s taking notes for various classes became considerably more apparent. Dr. Wood spoke of the noises, both organic and inorganic, which exasperated the people of Chicago daily. He mentioned Dr. Samuel J Jones, who in 1900 had moved over 7 times “because he was desperate to find a quiet place to live in Chicago. All day and night the sounds were in his head.” This was the main struggle for many people living and working in Chicago in the late 1800s and early 1900s. The noise never left ones head, even when they lay in bed at night, this is the reason that many ‘went crazy’. Dr. Wood’s description of a man entering a boiler shop for the first time serves as a good example of how this might begin; “immediately his ears are deafened by this onslaught of noise.” If any person employed there could not get used to the ear-splitting noise levels, they “went crazy, and quit.” Others that remained slowly became deaf, and no longer noticed the noise.
A number of solutions to the problem of noise pollution were raised at the time which Dr. Wood mentioned in his closing paragraphs. The use of hot air balloons as a mode of transport rather than trains, and the complete demolishment and rebuilding of the city with large green areas to escape from the noise of the city, as green was thought to equal quiet, were two thoughts. However, neither idea was plausible; therefore, city dwellers either became used to the noise or moved elsewhere. Finally, Dr. Wood mentioned his experience of living in a quiet town like Frostburg, “acoustically, if there is a loud argument on Bowery I can hear it!” A very different experience to living in a large city, but nowadays we are much less aware of the noise around us. We have, in retrospect, become deaf to our surroundings, much like the workers in the boiler shops of Chicago in the 1900s.