I would say the strongest entry in my site journal was “Day Four” because I felt the most connected to it while I was writing it. Additionally, I was able to connect my experiences that day with one of our readings, which I think strengthened the post. Something that I enjoyed about this assignment was the way in which it forced me to explore my new home of Denver. I was able to discover some really great restaurants and shops nearby thanks to this assignment. I think that the thing I found most challenging was that I couldn’t just complete it in my dorm room or somewhere on campus; I had to carve out extra time to make my way over to the park. Furthermore, something I wish I had done differently would be to have been a little bit less lazy at times. I synthesized my entries by comparing and contrasting the park on the different days I was there. I would say a risk I took was writing with emotion and writing in the form of a journal. These are both things that I am not entirely used to or familiar with, so this was a challenge for me. I was grateful enough to have picked a site that was filled with so much beauty. Also, it really seemed like the users of the park treated it with a great deal of respect, as it was always extremely clean. I know that things are not always this way with public parks, so I was excited to learn this about Wash Park.
I would say the main issue with fracking is the way in which it entirely casts aside individual needs in order to satisfy and provide convenience. Families and individuals have either been forced out of their homes or forced to live in extremely uncomfortable conditions because of fracking. In “Dear Governor Hickenlooper”, one family had to entirely abandon their master bedroom because of the fumes. Additionally, they had to sacrifice their ability to step outside and play with their children in their yard, once again due to the toxic fumes. Instead, if they wanted to get some fresh air and spend time in nature, they would have to get in their car and drive to a distant park. Yes, it is undeniable that natural gas is far cleaner than our previous source of energy, coal. However, at some point we have to stop and think: at what cost? Is this really worth it? The potential harmful health effects alone are enough for me to answer that no, it is most certainly not worth it. In the documentary “Gasland”, we witnessed individuals who could literally set their tap water on fire! How could fracking be a safe and positive process if it has the potential to turn drinking water, something essential for our survival, into flames? Furthermore, I adamantly side against fracking. I acknowledge the apparent benefits it has on our environment (cleaner energy), however I firmly believe the cons outweigh the pros in this scenario. Our society tends to focus too heavily on the big picture and oftentimes forgets to zoom in on our smaller effects and influences; fracking is a perfect example of just this.
From my research, I learned that Hillary Clinton does indeed support fracking. When she served as secretary of state, her support was very evident. An initiative that she supported encouraged other countries to consider fracking and the benefits of using shale gas as an energy source. Her support of fracking is further a support of climate change. It seems that compared to her past and present opponents, her current position is the most complicated. While she still is in favor of fracking, she also now has a few conditions. In March, Clinton expressed, “I don’t support it when any locality or any state is against it, No. 1. I don’t support it when the release of methane or contamination of water is present. I don’t support it — No. 3 — unless we can require that anybody who fracks has to tell us exactly what chemicals they are using.” Furthermore, the conditions she proposes would make it very difficult for fracking to take place, although she does not oppose it altogether.
On the morning of November 6th, I had the pleasure of attending Washington Park while an event was taking place. The organization Girls on the Run hosted their annual ‘Candy Run’, where young girls (and boys) are given the opportunity to participate in a 5K run/walk. As you would expect, the park was much more crowded today than any other day I have visited. Despite this, however, I was very much excited to have the chance to observe the park in a different way.
After walking around near the finish line where many tents were posted, I decided to head over to the main section of the park. Eager young children jogged by, their smiles telling of their pride. I continued to walk until I reached the edge of the pond. For a few minutes, I stood and observed the tranquility of the pond. It seemed as if it existed in another world. Although so much chaos and excitement bustled around its edges, the water remained its typical calm self.
It occurred to me that some runners may be finishing the race, so I decided to head back over to the finish line to watch as the participants crossed it. It was extremely gratifying to watch these young boys and girls feel so much pride in themselves as they accomplished something so great. Additionally, it was exciting to me that Wash Park, a place that I have come to know very well, was the vehicle for this joy and pride.
Going in to day four, I felt extremely stressed and overwhelmed. To be honest, I was quite reluctant to head to Wash Park, and was really not looking forward to doing so. I decided, however, to just rip off the bandaid and do it.
With my sour mood in mind, I decided that I needed a change of perspective. So instead of returning to my usual spot at the park either on the bench or at the waterside, I chose to walk the loop around the pond. At the start of my walk, things appeared to be the same as always. Joggers decked out in workout attire ran by, mothers with their babies in strollers passed, and dog walkers walked by with their happy pups. But before long, I began to gain a view of the park that I hadn’t had before. I looked across the pond at the spot in which I typically sat. It seemed so far. A flock of ducks scattered as I approached the water’s edge. One took one last dunk under water to snag his final bite of food. After watching the ducks for a few more moments, it occurred to me that I had forgotten about the stress and anxiety that had been clouding my mind previously. It’s funny how suddenly when you stop trying to shift your mood, it seems to happen on its own. I thought of Jack Kerouac’s Alone on a Mountaintop. Like Kerouac, nature offered me an escape from my worries and gave me a fresh perspective.
I continued down the unfamiliar path. Up ahead, there were a few baseball fields. I hadn’t even noticed these before. This made me consider all of the possible uses of the park that I hadn’t acknowledged before. Maybe this wasn’t just a place for moms and dog owners and exercisers. It made me happy to think of all of the joy that truly comes out of Wash Park. It also made me happy to realize that physically, the park’s condition is pretty strong. I rarely see much litter, and the flora and fauna is constantly flourishing. On that note, I turned my walk around and walked back towards home; but the next time I would enter my room, my mood would have shifted from overwhelmed to completely calm and content. I had Wash Park to thank for that.
On October 13, I had the pleasure of participating in our campus’ trash audit, Mount Trashmore. Prior to attending the event, I thought I was a pro when it came to recycling and what-not. Back at home, my dad is extremely adamant about recycling. He will go as far as to pull a piece of cardboard out of the trash, and he never fails to make note of when I slip and throw away something that could have been recycled. However, after spending a couple of hours sorting, I learned that my knowledge was not as keen as I had previously thought. A lot of items that I thought could be recycled could actually not, and vice versa. For instance, items that have been soiled by food can not be recycled. Composting was a whole new ballpark, as my family and I do not compost at home. I was surprised at the amount of things that can be composted, which made me sad to think of all of the wrongly thrown-away garbage. Although this experience was not the most clean or pleasant, I am definitely grateful for it, because it truly enhanced my knowledge of this subject. Since then, I have noticed myself being a lot more conscious of where I dispose of my trash, and I intend things to remain that way.
I have witnessed and experienced our culture valuing reason and devaluing emotion in various scenarios. I would definitely say that these scenarios vary between men and women. For women, being overly-emotional may lead to labels such as “dramatic”, “over sensitive”, or even “crazy”. This tends to lead to women being seen as incapable of being strong, decisive, powerful, and/or authoritative. Men are often times ridiculed when displaying emotion. Men are typically expected to be emotion-less, in fact. Otherwise, they are seen as weak and their manhood is questioned. Furthermore, this places reason at a higher value than emotion for both men and women.
I would say that the two passages are similar in the sense that they both touch on how we (as humans) tend to search and search for things that don’t really matter, and in doing so, we cloud up our minds and forget to be present and just live and enjoy life. I’ve definitely experienced this “whiteness” in my own life. I think that more often than not, I (along with many others around me) deal with a cloudy mind without even realizing it. In my life in particular, I would say this takes form in dwelling on what others may think about me. This, therefore, then fogs my own perception of myself and disallows me to be able to be my best self. When I remember to clear my mind, however, and allow myself to simply be present and “just be” so to speak, I find that I am my happiest. I think us humans get caught up in the whiteness and factory smoke because we tend to lose focus on what really matters in life (happiness, in my opinion), and spend too much time focusing on things that we think will make us happy, such as material things.
I think that teachers put students in small groups for discussion so that the students can share their ideas, and therefore build off of them and make them stronger. The students gain additional insight and perspectives that they may not have considered previously. As for the teachers, I would say that they gain the satisfaction of their students working together to form something bigger and better. A potential problem may be disagreements among the students in the small groups. Another could be that some students are not as vocal as others, and may choose not to speak their minds or contribute to the discussion when they have something valuable to add.