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Shanzeh Chaudhry
Dec 02, 2022
In #UnleashValues
I do not at all regret my decision to enrol in ENVR 430! The course structure facilitated our learning in an accessible and fun manner. I loved how the majority of the pre-readings consisted of documentaries and movies as this motivated me to engage with the weekly content before class. The use of story-telling and visuals made the lectures engaging and thought-provoking. CoSphere was a great addition to the course as it allowed all of us to share our visions, values and interventions to facilitate important discussions! If there’s one value that I take away from this course, it’s the power of education and awareness in initiating change. Before this course, I was not at all confident in discussing and formulating my own opinions about issues that contribute to the climate crisis. The awareness I received through this course has not only benefited me, but my friends and family too. I thus envision a future where efforts in educating and raising awareness about climate change are increased especially at younger ages. Specifically, I hope that educators can increase the amount of climate and sustainability education in elementary schools and high schools!
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Shanzeh Chaudhry
Nov 20, 2022
In #UnleashValues
Our conversations in class about the death-care industry were most definitely eye-opening for me. Not only is death a difficult topic to converse on, but we never really consider the environmental impact that we are going to make once we pass. Traditional options such as cremation and burial are increasingly damaging to the environment. One option takes up too much land and releases toxic chemicals into the soil while the other releases large amounts of CO2. I envision a future where we as individuals make the effort to conduct and engage in conversations about death and after-death options. Along with conversations, we need to collectively raise awareness about options after death and their impacts on the environment. As someone who did not know about natural burial options, I’m certain that many other people are also not aware of this option. Within my vision, I see values of communication and education being emphasized. There are many possible interventions that can allow us to move towards such a future. One idea I have is that the government requires funeral homes and cremation services to include information on their websites and in their information packages about the environmental impact of their services. This way, when a family is researching their options, they will have the chance to consider the environmental impact of their choices. I also visited the BC’s governments website section on death and noticed no information explicitly discussing the option of natural burials. The revision of this website to include more information about post-death options will help in raising awareness among the general public.
A greener way to go content media
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Shanzeh Chaudhry
Nov 04, 2022
In #UnleashValues
I was genuinely shocked when we touched upon BPA in class and how the amount of BPA in thermal paper receipts is 250 to 1000 times greater than what’s in a can of food. I began to think about the number of receipts we go through when we buy groceries, get gas or even from grabbing coffee and it’s disturbing to learn how we’ve been exposed throughout our lives. Many receipts are printed on thermal paper coated with either Bisphenol-A (BPA) or Bisphenol-S (BPS). Although many businesses have created the option of emailing receipts, I envision a future where businesses stay away from the idea of printing receipts. Under this vision, the health of individuals, communities and the environment will be prioritized as chemicals like BPA pose strong hazards to reproductive health. I want to use Costco as an example of the interventions I believe we can see being implemented in society. Once one has purchased their items, they are given a receipt (printed on thermal paper) that they are to hold onto for an employee to check before they can leave Costco. Also, many people visit the food court and receive a receipt with their order number that they give back to an employee when their order has been prepared. Just think about the amount of time we hold on to those receipts - it’s crazy! Companies like Costco can completely eliminate the use of paper receipts. Creating the option of emailing receipts will prevent BPA exposure yet still allows the customer to have proof of their purchase if they were to return an item. To eliminate the idea of checking receipts before leaving, Costco can adopt a technique that the Amazon grocery store uses in Seattle. At the Amazon store, carts have a technology that allows users to login into their accounts and the cart automatically scans and totals all the products that are put into the cart. Costco could create technology similar to this in that when a customer is about to leave, an employee could pull up their account information and find a list of all the items they placed in their cart and successfully paid for. Interventions as such and raising awareness about the toxicity of receipts will help us achieve action.
Re-thinking receipts....
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Shanzeh Chaudhry
Oct 29, 2022
In #UnleashValues
I envision a future where large-scale, international businesses adopt values of truth and transparency when it comes to the products they sell. Studies estimate that nearly 1 in 10 Canadians suffer from a thyroid disorder and about 50% of the affected population is undiagnosed. The thyroid gland is a vital part of our endocrine system, a system that regulates the many significant activities of our body on a daily basis. Under normal endocrine function, small changes in hormone levels can cause strong biological effects. For example, with hypothyroidism, the thyroid gland does not make enough thyroid hormone and untreated this can lead to health problems like obesity, infertility and heart diseases. Endocrine disruptors are natural or man-made chemicals that are known to cause adverse developmental, reproductive, brain and immune system problems by interfering with the natural function of the endocrine system. Recently, I’ve been shocked with the amount of posts that I see on social media exposing how common shampoo and body wash brands contain a concerning amount of endocrine disruptors (Dove, for example). Every time I walk into the shampoo aisle at the grocery store, I have a hard time purchasing a shampoo and body wash due to a lack of natural chemical-free options. Companies like Dove are not transparent about the high amount of endocrine disruptors in their products yet lead campaigns like the “Dove Real Beauty Pledge” where they “invite all women to realize their personal potential for beauty by engaging them with products that deliver superior care.” Perhaps stronger environmental laws and awareness among people are possible interventions that can address this problem. The Canadian Environmental Protection Act states that with the release of toxic substances one must …. Take all reasonable measures consistent with the protection of the environment and public safety to prevent the release or, if it cannot be prevented, to remedy any dangerous condition or reduce or mitigate any danger to the environment or to human life or health that results from the release of the substance or may reasonably be expected to result if the substance is released; and Make a reasonable effort to notify any member of the public who may be adversely affected by the release or likely release. Processes that allow the manufacture and release of goods such as cosmetics and beauty products can become more strict to ensure that products with harmful chemicals no longer make their way into the homes of people. Social media is playing a strong role in exposing such companies and advising people to make the switch from the brands we’ve trusted for years. We can continue to use large platforms to raise awareness and influence the decisions of individuals.
How much more damage do we endure? content media
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Shanzeh Chaudhry
Oct 23, 2022
In #UnleashValues
Heat domes, atmospheric rivers and intense wildfire seasons - it seems like we’ve seen it all in the span of a year. Bu these events were just some of the initial effects of climate change that we’ve begun to witness. In the summer of 2021, I was working as a research assistant for a project called the“Rural Community Resilience Project.” We formed a Citizen Advisory Committee that consisted of citizens from several rural communities across BC and implemented a survey that assessed community resilience and aimed to understand the effects of COVID-19 and other disruptions on BC’s rural communities. Despite disruptions like COVID-19, wildfires, heat domes and flooding, rural communities showed incredible strength and resilience. In one of the Advisory Committee meetings, discussions began about the intense wildfire season that was affecting most of the rural areas in BC. Sitting in such meetings and listening to the struggles rural citizens face on a daily basis was truly eye-opening. With limited emergency services (police, ambulance and even hospitals), these citizens were always concerned with the possibility of natural disruptions including wildfires. One citizen brought up how Salt Spring Island Fire Rescue has developed a program called FireSmart that helps citizens feel more confident preparing for future wildfires. The program provides many useful resources. One of their guides and manuals is for residential landscaping. Apparently by making strategic choices in one’s own yard, you can increase the wildfire resiliency of your property. What I was most impressed with the program was the extent of community outreach and citizen involvement through the Neighbourhood Recognition Program. Neighbour's are encouraged to work together to learn how to decrease the risk of losing homes in the event of a wildfire. To receive the FireSmart recognition, they must meet the following criteria. This way, when a wildfire happens, firefighters can concentrate on actually fighting the wildfire, ultimately saving more lives and homes. My vision for the future includes an emphasis on education and collaboration between all members of a community. Personally, I think we can learn a lot from rural communities in our attempts to battle climate change and create sustainable lives. There is a strong sense of community in rural areas as compared to urban areas. Although rural populations are relatively smaller, community members (doctors, mayors, firefighters, teachers, small business owners) all work together as a team to ensure a safe future for their people. I see a blend of nature-based and community-focused interventions helping urban areas like Vancouver and surrounding suburbs to be more aware and prepared to deal with the adverse effects of climate change. Although FireSmart BC is a provincial program, as an urban resident, I was not aware of the program and have not seen it being implemented in my neighbourhood or taught about in school. As urban residents, we may not be the first ones to be impacted by a wildfire, but with a program where community members come together to discuss and work towards solutions, we will become more understanding of how climate change affects every one of us. With more understanding and access to such resources, individuals and communities as a whole can make more informed decisions and develop a more informed mindset regarding climate change!
Nature has spoken content media
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Shanzeh Chaudhry
Oct 17, 2022
In #UnleashValues
I was born and raised in North Delta and South Delta ( Ladner and Tsawwassen) is historically known for important farming and fishing communities. During our class on Friday, I was interested in learning more about the environmental impacts of pesticides and the certain environmental policies that exist in BC in regards to farming. I found an amazing resource developed by BC’s Ministry of Agriculture which focuses on environmental protection and pesticides. The diagram above is very helpful as it summarizes the processes that affect what happens to pesticides in the environment. The transfer of pesticides is facilitated by volatilization, leaching, absorption and crop removal. I don’t have a strong understanding of pesticides and this resource includes a lot of helpful material including pesticide transfer processes, pesticide characteristics, different breakdown processes and ways to minimize the impact of pesticides. Since I’m curious to learn about pesticide use in BC, I came across a report focusing on a survey conducted in 2017 by the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. This report is really informative and interesting, so check it out! The top two pesticides used in BC were listed as 1) Bromadiolone and 2) Permethrin. Bromadiolone is a rodenticide that kills rats and mice and is highly toxic to most mammals and birds. Permethrin, however, is an insecticide and does not pose high risks to wildlife. Both pesticides are known to stay in the environment for a while. Bromadiolone: In soil, half-life is 15 days In water, half is 392 days Permethrin: In soil, half-life is 40 days In water column, half-life is 19-27 hours Please note these statistics are estimates I found online! As we can see, Bromadiolone has a very long half-life in water, while Permethrin has a long half-life in soil. Perhaps there are trace amounts of such pesticides by the time we purchase produce and bring it home for consumption. However, we need to consider how serious the effects of pesticides are on wildlife and the environment. For example, although Bromadiolone is a rodenticide, other animals can accidentally ingest it. Bromadiolone is able to easily cross the blood-brain barrier and cause CNS toxicity in animals. Based on this information, I envision a BC where the use of strong pesticides like Bromadiolone and Permethrin is not encouraged by the government to local farmers. Instead of providing incentives for pesticide use, I hope to see more education, collaboration and communication with local farmers and farming communities being prioritized. With the biological information and effects of pesticides being so accessible, a possible intervention could be within the support and resources that farmers in BC are given. Perhaps staff working in the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change can update their programs and resources. For instance, farmers across BC can be encouraged to adopt regenerative farming methods that restore biodiversity and incentives to pursue this type of farming can be distributed by the provincial government!
Pesticide Use in British Columbia 🚜 content media
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Shanzeh Chaudhry
Oct 08, 2022
In #UnleashValues
*** Sorry for the long post, just really passionate about and interested in this issue *** People lined up to receive water relief aids in Pakistan. When Kai touched on the time people in Vancouver were urged to boil water today, I immediately thought of Pakistan - my parent’s home country. As a child and now, whenever my family would meet someone who had just returned from visiting Pakistan, the topic of boiling water was always brought up. But why and how do the people of Pakistan boil water? A close relative of mine lives in Tennessee, but has property in Pakistan. I remember her mentioning once that when she visits Pakistan she would have her house staff (the norm in Pakistan) take enormous pots, fill them with water, boil the water and then transfer it into jugs and individual bottles that are stored in the fridge for daily use. I always wondered why people in Pakistan would put themselves in such trouble just for water (I was a child and did not know about the sanitation problems back then). Well it all boils down to poor water sanitation. Poor water sanitation exists all over Pakistan. You would think that perhaps it’s just a problem faced by rural communities, but it’s widespread. Water in Pakistan is filled with pollutants including fecal matter, microbes, toxins, harmful drugs and factorial and household waste (a lot of factory waste!!). There are several reasons for this water crisis, with the most predominant being changes in yearly rainfall due to climate change, poor development of water structures and political structures. According to an article written in 2020, almost three million people suffer from water-borne diseases in Pakistan with the most predominant being Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B and Cholera. This same article also states that nearly 250,000 children in Pakistan die of waterborne illnesses Personally, based on discussions I’ve had with family and friends living in Pakistan, I believe that the biggest initiator of the water crisis is the Pakistani government. I’m resisting the urge to go into detail about the corrupt government and prime minister of Pakistan! Essentially, the Pakistani’s government’s vision does not at all consider the most vulnerable members of the population - families living in poverty, specifically mothers and children living in poverty. The healthcare system in Pakistan is mostly private and public health resources are scarce. For instance, if a mother is trying to seek care for her sick child, hospitals and clinics will not start a file or even admit the child until a large sum of money is paid. Let’s say a child is admitted and the doctors diagnose the child with cancer and recommend chemotherapy. Even if the child is in a severe state, they will not start the chemotherapy until they receive a large, sometimes unjust amount of money. To me, that’s just inhumane! Regardless of the intensity of the crisis, I still envision a Pakistan where there is equality and inclusion in the healthcare system. In this context, it means that when a poverty-stricken family visits a clinic, they are given the same care and respect as someone who belongs to a higher social class. I also envision a Pakistan where not only the residents, but the government take action on climate change and address the water crisis. For this to happen, the health and well-being of Pakistani people needs to be prioritized and put first above all other matters. A possible intervention for Pakistan and any other country that is in a similar position would be to make structural changes in the federal government. Under the current Prime Minister (Shehbaz Sharif), there are 43 Ministers with only 10 belonging to the social-democratic and center-left party. With reform, Pakistan can form a diverse government that illustrates the inclusion of ethnic minorities and individuals that come from various backgrounds. This way we could perhaps have someone who grew up in poverty represent important values in public policy development and work towards action.
Is boiling water the only solution left to solve the problem of contaminated water in Pakistan?  content media
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Shanzeh Chaudhry
Sep 23, 2022
In #UnleashValues
*** Please note that this post was a bit rushed so I apologize in advance for any grammar mistakes! *** One of the stories that I found most intriguing and thought-provoking in class was that of the halibut fisheries in British Columbia. Although we spent a limited amount of time discussing this story, it’s obvious that the implementation of individual vessel quotas had a profound impact on fishing communities, but more importantly on licensed halibut fisherman. A study conducted by Casey et al. in 1994 examined the effects of the IVQ’s. During interviews, the research team found that some fishermen felt more secure and prepared for retirement, while young individuals were becoming more reluctant to get into the fishing industry. Based on this context, I envision a future where collaboration, communication and consultation are emphasized and used as tools in policy development and decision-making. Casey et al. concluded that under the “quota transfer restrictions, fishermen cannot acquire enough quota to make halibut fishing their sole source of income and hence for most boats, halibut fishing is still a supplemental fishery to salmon ” (Casey et al, 229). To me, this quote illustrates the importance of considering the local communities and community members (in this case fishermen and their communities) before implementing complex policies. I also found it surprising how the IVQ market was open internationally (correct me if I'm wrong) and this allow international companies or wealthy individuals to internationally interfere in such a local matter. #unleashvalues
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Shanzeh Chaudhry
Sep 23, 2022
In #UnleashValues
We all dream of a positive future. A future where we graduate from university, achieve our career goals, buy our first house etc. Lately, I’ve been thinking that my optimistic view of the future may not be what our future will look like. I know you might think that I’m being negative in my thinking, but to me I’m thinking realistically. Perhaps everyone in this course, our instructor and other university students are concerned about sustainability and leaving our planet in a better state than we received it. However, not everyone in our society shares the same concerns and priorities and this will effect our futures. In high school, my Social Studies teacher was a huge environmentalist and had a large position in our school district where he was responsible for implementing sustainable measures across schools in Delta. He achieved many accomplishments, but through each of his projects he always engaged youth. Through his efforts, we were able to build two rain gardens on our school property and students played an active role in the construction and weekly maintenance. He also lobbied for new water stations to encourage students to stop using plastic bottles. In one instance, he showed us a virtual 3D animation of what Delta (where I live) would look like in 20 or so years. Everything was underwater and parts of my neighbourhood were no longer visible. That hit me hard and whenever someone asks me to consider the future, that animation comes to mind. It’s like it’s instilled in my mind. We are all aware that Earth’s climate is rapidly changing and this change is detrimental to our future lives. What angers me the most is the lack of pressure on leaders, politicians and individuals that belong to higher social classes to make larger changes in their lifestyles. For example, celebrities and other notable figures often make use of private planes. I’ve seen people on Instagram showing their frustration as celebrities like Kylie Jenner use private planes to travel short distances. This article shows how she took a 17 minute flight on her private jet and it was equivalent to releasing 1 ton of CO2 emissions. There are some really interesting statistics in this article so I would encourage you to check it out! I can understand that such people are beyond wealthy, but what impact are their investments having on our and Earth’s future? I believe this is an important question that should be brought up more during public policy development.
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Shanzeh Chaudhry
Sep 23, 2022
In #UnleashValues
Hey there! My name is Shanzeh and I just recently enrolled in the course! I'm in my fourth year and am a Biology major. Ever since my first year at university, I've been inspired by and interested in the environmental science degrees offered and have always wanted to take a class centred on climate change and learn some practical ways we can gear towards sustainability. I am therefore very excited to be enrolled in the course and hope to make the most of the content we cover by applying it to my daily life. I'm someone who strongly believes that we as individuals can bring about drastic change in the climate crisis as "no one is too small to make a difference" (Thunberg, 2019).
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