Environment 2000 (blog 3)

                            Living Downstream


The passage focuses on the author Sandra Steingraber’s using her experience with cancer to see the relationship between cancer and the environment. She had bladder cancer and she was from a cancer family even as she was adopted, she had a lot of family who had died or was undergoing treatment of cancer. She explains that our health is affected by our environment and other factors.

in 1983, she took attain to her hometown for the holidays and while on the train she read a newspaper that explained scientists research on the gene that is responsible for bladder cancer. The scientists were able to figure out the segment of DNA that was responsible for the cancer after testing it on lab mouse. In simple words, her research showed that some agents that can cause bladder cancer are contained in cigarettes, dyes for cloth, leather, paper and are in certain pharmaceuticals and pesticides. She continues by saying that there are bladder cancer causing agents contained in rivers, ground- water, dump sites, and indoor air.

She states that sadly with all the researches that has been made on bladder cancer, nothing has been done to stop or prevent it. And one of the reasons that she believes is denying the prevention of this disease is because we have ignore the environmental causes of the disease and we are more focused on the genes and heredity. She explains that as cancer carcinogens are available in our environment, some people are more vulnerable than others to get the disease than others and in other to face the problem of the disease we should not ignore the environment agents that cause cancer, even if it means we have to start off slowly with a less intensive approach by getting rid of the weeds in fields, the cockroaches in the school cafeteria, dogs of fleas, woolens of stains, or drinking from the pathogen that are in the water.

critical thinking

Should there be more effort to study the links between cancer and environmental factors?

Answer: we should make more efforts in studying the links between cancer and the environment because it helps in the creation of awareness and to help us prevent every likeliness of getting cancer whether or not it does it exist in the environment. because this passage has opened my eyes that cancer is not only caused by heredity and our genes, I will love to know more and read researches that teach us the does and don’ts to prevent the occurrence of cancer. For many people who have not read this article, further studies on the environmental factors that cause cancer will be important for the public to open our eyes.


                            Our Stolen Future


This passage is about the threat that our future generation, their survival, intelligence and fertility faces due to the constant exposure to environment. The author states that “our fate is linked with the animals” because we share the same environment and we share the same evolutionary inheritance. We can see that our evolutionary inheritance is same because the diseases and damages that lab animals face is increasing in our human population. we share the environment with animals because the chemicals that have been put into the environment by humans affects both the humans and the animals in whatever part of the world that we may find ourselves. some skeptics argue whether or not animals and human show the same symptoms when chemicals are introduced into the environment, but we can see that the lab animals that were used to test DDT chemical as a factor of cancer and also to test DES showed symptoms that also affected humans after a while of being exposed to these harmful chemicals. scientists are uncertain of the dosage to introduce to animals because if they introduce a high dosage to lab animals, it is possible that the chemical is only effect at a low dosage.

There is a current question on whether or not humans are currently suffering from some effects of being exposed to chemicals, and some answer “yes” saying that some sensitive individual might be showing signs but it is difficult to prove or assess if hormone disrupting chemicals are now having a broad impact across the human population. some chemicals start showing signs in humans while others take a very long time to start showing effects, therefore the animal studies that we currently use is a good way of warning us of the contaminations that we are likely to encounter because the test of DES that was done of lab rats and mouse exposed signs that later showed up in human beings.

critical thinking

What is an environmental hormone mimic (or disruptor)?

Answer: these are environmental hormones that affect the endocrine system. they are external hormones that mimic the hormones in our body. this disruptor can cause fertility problems, it can lead to cancer and other disorders within our body.

Impacts of Biodiversity Loss on Ocean Ecosystem Services


The key concept in the passage is the value of biodiversity to human well-being.  Ecologists believe that the stability of the ecosystem and we can adapt to the changes in climate and other conditions is affected if biodiversity is lost or declining. There is an unknown cause for the loss of population and species that are in the human-dominated marine ecosystems. Through the decline in biodiversity, tests showed that there a decrease in the quality of water and an increase in the collapse of resources. Meanwhile the increase in the biodiversity also increased the productivity, therefore we can conclude that the biodiversity of marine affects that food productivity, the water quality and the recovery from perturbation. Therefore likewise in the ecosystem, the loss/increase in biodiversity also affects the resources, the quality of the resources and the ecosystem and so on.

Experiments that has been done on biodiversity and diet shows that biodiversity is needed in the ecosystem because it provides diverse food sources and basic nutrient for humans. when there is loss of biodiversity certain food nutrients that are needed for growth, survival and so on is lost. Studies show that there is a positive relationships between diversity and ecosystem functions and services. That is, when there is an increase in the diversity, there will an increase in the functions that take place in the ecosystems and the services that also take place in the ecosystem, and these increases improves the economy of the ecosystem.

critical thinking:

What can we do to prevent a catastrophic decline in ocean fisheries by the mid-21st century?

Answer: if we focus on the restoration of the biodiversity in the marine, and in the ocean fisheries, we can prevent the catastrophic decline. We can restore this biodiversity by developing sustainable fisheries management, control pollution in the marine and other pollutants, we can invest in the productivity and reliability of the goods and services that the ocean provides to humanity.


Integration of summaries:

The three summaries are basically talking about how the environment affects our health negatively, how humans are also contributing to it and how we can try to stop or prevent these effects without jeopardizing the future of other generations to come.

The first summary talks about the environment and its negative effects on our health and how scientists are not basically looking at the environmental causes of diseases but are more concerned with our genes and heredity. The second summary is about how the chemicals that have been introduced into our environment mimics our genes and are likely factors that cause diseases and even cancer. While the last summary is about the positive effects in our ecosystem because it increases our resources and the productivity in our environment.

In my opinion, these summaries are related because when human produce/ introduce dangerous chemicals in the environment, it affects our health and once our health is threatened, biodiversity his threatened and there will be a decrease in our resources and the productivity that takes place in our ecosystem. Because we cannot do lab tests (causes, effect and treatment) on humans to find out how toxic the environment is becoming, we make use of lab animals in order not to risk the lives of humans in the population and this is a good argument against the skeptics that think that animals are not effective enough to determine the effects of disease on humans.

In an article “Consequences of changing biodiversity” by F. Stuart Chapin and co, they say that there are negative consequences to changing biodiversity because the goods and services will decline, and we will be more vulnerable to invasions. As humans we have the power to build or destroy our environment and we seem to be doing harm than just because we want to fulfil our basic wants or put money in our pockets. In my opinion, if we want to save our ecosystem we have to save the species in the ecosystem and recognize all species as equal.


Blog Reflection

Consider your food system:

  • What do you like about it?

Answer: I like the fact that I cook often and I do not rely on fast foods because it is a waste of money to me as a student, I try my best to eat nutritiously and daily including all the adequate nutrients that I need

  • What do you dislike about it?

Answer: I dislike the fact that I tend to eat very little, and I have started losing too much in places that I do not want to lose weight, I also hate the fact that I am not disciplined to eat at the right time and also to eat the right things

  • Consider taste, nutrition, cost, equity, and environmental issues

My food taste great because I basically make my traditional meals, they are nutritious even though they are basically high in carbohydrate, it is expensive to get my traditional stuffs here in Canada because the few stores that sell African foods sell them very expensive. Sometimes I also tend to switch to Canadian meals but not so often, the only problem is that I hate eating leftovers, so I tend to waste food a lot and as I have learnt in this course, that is a very bad habit which I have to work on. it is a bad habit because wastage can cost us the excess use of land, water and energy.

  • What I am doing to promote sustainability and happiness in my life:

Answer: I usually just watch T.V or hang out with friends to make myself happy, I hardly interact with my family members because they are not in Winnipeg with me. So all I do to be happy, is eat, watch movies, have fun with friends, go out on my own or stay in doors

  • What I would like to do:

Answer: I would like to observe nature more, go to parks, and appreciate my environment more, rather than always staying in doors

  • I pledge to:

Answer: reduce the way I shop, reduce my wastes, appreciate my environment more and do everything in my power to do what is right for the ecosystem.


Activity option


Plan and carry out your own activity related to the course. It may be a one-time action, a permanent change in your behavior, or an ongoing volunteering commitment. It is your choice, but you have to start it before submitting your Blog assignment.


Answer: an activity that I have started since I started this course and I am hoping to continue is the act of picking up waste product wherever I see them and disposing of it into the nearby garbage can. I have engaged in reducing the amount of wastes that I produce because it uses up energy, land and water.  whenever I eat food, I put really little that I can finish or I force myself to finish the food because I do not want to much of my waste to be sent to the landfill. I have also engage in reusing some objects and items that I can reuse and I also recycle a lot these days which I never use to do in the past because I did not really care. Right now, I have made up my mind to care of the environment and do my best to keep it clean and reduce my waste.



Steingraber, S. 1996. “Living Downstream.” Sources Environmental Studies. 4th ed. Thomas A. Easton. McGraw-Hill, 2012. 135-139. Print.

Colborn, T et al. 1996. “Our Stolen Future.” Sources Environmental Studies. 4th ed. Thomas A. Easton. McGraw-Hill, 2012. 140-142. Print.



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