By: Allie Sithaphone
Growing up as Southeast-Asian American has brought me many wonderful opportunities and allowed me to see the world through a significantly different lens than those of my peers. My family celebrates the blend of American and Laotian culture on a daily basis and it has infiltrated every aspect of my life. All of the joy, celebrations, events, tragedy, and even death is a union of both traditions and has been severely impacted by the spread of novel coronavirus (Covid-19.)
Due to the spread of Covid-19, travel bans have been placed everywhere and it is the new norm to social distance. Dealing with the death, caused by Covid-19 or otherwise, has been made nearly impossible on a personal standpoint. Patients in hospitals dying alone or on Facetime with loved ones, funeral services being indefinitely postponed, grieving families unable to grieve together, the list goes on. This has caused unimaginable amounts of pain for families in mourning, including my own.
It was a late Sunday afternoon when we got the call. My grandmother had passed away in Laos. There was no way for my father to attend her funeral services and it had crushed him. Seeing my father watch his mother’s funeral through the screen of his phone was heartbreaking. It affected his ability to grieve properly and honoring the loss of his mother was virtually impossible because the customs of Laotian funerals call for the gathering of large groups of people. My family was not the only one with this misfortune.
Dealing with death during Covid-19 takes a special kind of strength. Mental health within many individuals have already been affected during the period of quarantine. Sticking together during this time is a necessary and we have to remain united.
By: Ishita Khambete
Our world is heating up.
The average temperatures from January to March 2020 in the US was 39.3° F, which is 4.1° F above average. This is significant because this shows that temperatures have significantly increased, and show no sign of decreasing.
So you might be wondering why you should care about rising temperatures, or anything related to it. Well, what if I told you that the health of the environment depends entirely on human actions?
It’s incredibly important to think about how our actions affect the environment because there have been studies that show that humans are the reason for increased temperatures, pollution, plastic in the environment, etc. Humans are putting a lot into the environment, and all of it is doing a lot of harm, and not that much good. Because of this, it’s important to educate yourself about different topics within the field of environmental science.
Some topics in environmental science include:
1) Environmental health/toxicology
This is something very important that needs to be considered when talking about environmental science because widespread usage of pesticides not only affects the environment, but humans as well. Prolonged exposure to pesticides affects child development, for example, kids who were exposed to pesticides had weaker skills at drawing people compared to kids who weren’t exposed to pesticides. This is significant because this indicates a lack of fine motor skills, which as we all know, are very important if one wishes to be able to do something like writing or drawing.
Another famous toxin is BPA, a plasticizer. BPA stands for bisphenol-A, and it’s found in anything that’s made of plastic. In recent years, there’s been a push to eliminate the usage of BPA in plastic water bottles, etc. but that doesn’t mean that the effects of this plasticizer are completely gone. BPA is an endocrine disruptor and it can cause the production of abnormal egg cells in women, and causes a decrease in sperm production.
A third pesticide that has been the center of many debates in the past few decades is DDT. DDT stands for dichloro-diphenyltrichloroethane, and is very, very toxic to animals as well as humans. It can get into the food chain, cause birth defects, and can also act as an endocrine disruptor. DDT was banned in 1973 due to Rachel Carson’s book, Silent Spring, which talks about the effects of DDT on the environment. This pesticide is a pollutant, and since it’s insoluble in water (meaning it doesn’t dissolve in water), it lingers and stays in the environment, and thus has many destructive effects on it.
2) Population Ecology
Population ecology is another aspect of environmental science. This field is focused on studying the interactions between different populations and how everything fits together. One prominent sub-topic is extinction. This is extremely relevant to the modern day because on average, about 150 species go extinct per day. That’s a huge loss of biodiversity every day, and even though it might just be smaller and less significant species, I personally find it off-putting to know that we’re losing so much life in just one day.
Certain species are more prone to extinction than others, and these species are known as “endemic species”. Endemic species are groups that live in only one/few places. Examples of endemic species include the lion-tailed macaque, pygmy hog, and the marine iguana.
There are four main aspects to population ecology:
Population ecologists take all four of these aspects into consideration when doing their jobs, and because of that, they are able to provide accurate statements on the demographics of the environment they’re studying, and they give us insight into what’s around us.
3) Human Population
There are some facts that everyone should know about the human population. Here are three of them:
I think that these are some interesting and relevant facts to think about because there are a lot of population shifts going on, one of the most notable being the baby boom right after the end of WW2. This also contributes to the health of the environment because the more people there are, the more pollution there will be, the higher temperatures will get, etc.
These are only a few of the topics in environmental science, but they’re still very important to think and talk about. We also need to consider how these areas are related to modern day issues such as global climate change and pollution. So let’s go on and educate ourselves about environmental science, because it’s becoming more relevant than ever.
By: Selina Liu
As an Asian, why should we educate ourselves through #blacklivesmatter?
Most Americans have known that a recent tragic has happened in the United States on May 25, 2020- Derek Chauvin, one of four white police in Minneapolis, Minnesota, suspects that George Floyd, an innocent black man, was passing a counterfeit $20 bill at a grocery store in Minneapolis. The police decided to press his knees on Floyd for more than eight minutes, handcuffed and strained. In the last three minutes, he mentioned multiple times that “he couldn’t breathe,” but none of the police officers tries to stop Chauvin’s action until the emergency medical technicians came.
As the voices of protest rise and the argument between different beliefs heat up on social media, one concept has been in my mind- racism, xenophobia, colorism, and supremacy. Seeing offensive words about African Americans while knowing a definition of it will neither make anyone’s life better nor will it make you more superior. It does not make you cool or help you to grow as an individual. The foundation of racism is based on the generalization of stereotypes and assumptions passing until our life today. The reason why we prioritize why black lives matter instead of all lives matter is because of the situation we are facing today, because of racism, because of all the incident that has happened to African Americans, and because of racism. Without giving equal respect to African Americans and assume that they are the cause of the corrupting society would not make the world a better place.
Why is it #blacklivesmatter instead of #alllivesmatter?
Two concepts have been viral on social media platforms- #alllivesmatter versus #blacklivesmatter. Yes! All lives matter, but this saying only deludes the fact that you want to move on from this topic and would rather spend your time on your own things. We prioritize black lives because this issue has been our daily life, and people are normalizing it. Slowly, people consider violence on African Americans as normal. However, lives are lives, so we should not normalize the innocent death happening in the black community. Everyone matters, but for now, black lives have to matter first in order to promote to the solution of all lives matter.
Why should I be educating myself as an Asian?
As an Asian, I have also experienced racism. Because of race, people assumed my English skills were “really bad” without even knowing that I could write a ten-page essay without the assistance of translators. Although I have to admit English is not my native language, the rage of being looked down upon or laughed at because of race frustrates me. However, I did not have to fear about my life being taken away because of my race. This is a privilege, my privilege, and I am grateful for it. Imagine Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbiry, Trayvon Martin, Kimani Gray, Natasha McKenna, Freddie Gray, and all the innocent black lives that may have to fear incidents happen before seeing the next sunrise. They have to be ready to be called all the offensive names while no one may protect them.
Education is an act to pay forward the respect to not only the lost lives that have gone but also the living ones that are still fighting. It only takes us a few minutes in our day to pay attention, and it could influence our life and turn the history around. As one branch of the minority, be willing to listen and to learn; it doesn’t cause you any harm to let your surrounding African Americans that you support them. Right now, they need our support for a change that should have done a long time ago, and it is scary to be in that position- protesting for rights that they should have while risking their lives. Our support through actions will help them, significantly. EVERY voice counts!
Below are the resources for educations, petitions, and bail funds. Use your voice and unite together.
https://linktr.ee/transnormativity - Bail Funds
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bCgLa25fDHM - Stream this video with advertisements to donate for FREE to the Black Lives Matter movement.
https://www.youtube.com/redirect?q=https%3A%2F%2Fblacklivesmatters.carrd.co%2F%23petitions&event=video_description&v=Y4QUeHt_2Kg&redir_token=FFhA-kFcOI8h8hHnqm3_lJAv09F8MTU5MTYxMzYyMEAxNTkxNTI3MjIw - Petitions to sign.
https://www.youtube.com/redirect?q=https%3A%2F%2Fblacklivesmatters.carrd.co%2F%23protesters&event=video_description&v=Y4QUeHt_2Kg&redir_token=FFhA-kFcOI8h8hHnqm3_lJAv09F8MTU5MTYxMzYyMEAxNTkxNTI3MjIw - protestors’ notifications
Resource provided: Nicole Rafiee (Youtube)
Written by: Ishita Khambete
We’re in a really tough time right now, with the COVID-19 pandemic, the murder of George Floyd, the police brutality, etc., and all of these events are impacting people differently. We all need to see something positive in the midst of all this negativity, so here’s a list of five positive events that’s happened recently.
According to animal shelters, there’s been an increase in adoptions.
Because of the quarantine/lockdowns, people are forced to stay home for long amounts of time, and this caused an increase in the amount of animals that have been adopted. In fact, adoption rates have increased so much that adoption centers such as the Riverside County Animal Shelter have run out of animals to adopt. This is great news for the center, and shows how something good has come out of a bad situation.
A 15-year old girl in India biked 750 miles back to her home village with her injured father, and has been deemed “lionhearted”.
COVID-19 has left many people jobless, and in India, there is one father who had to tell his teenage daughter that he was injured, jobless, and wouldn’t be able to go back home to their village. However, this didn’t stop this teenage girl, named Jyothi, because she took up the task of biking home, with her father in tow. She biked a staggering 750 miles, and thus inspired many other Indians to do the same. Although the journey wasn’t glamorous (They had to sleep at gas stations, and get help from strangers), Jyothi successfully made it to her original home, and was hailed as “lionhearted”, and was invited to join the national cycling team. How’s that for a success story?
A dog broke the world record for the amount of tennis balls held in his mouth.
The name of this lucky puppy (even though he’s not actually a puppy) is Finley, and he’s a golden retriever. According to his owner, Erin Molloy, Finley has been picking up tennis balls since he was a puppy, and when Erin found out that the world record for the most tennis balls in a dog’s mouth was just five, she was determined to break it. After a year of collecting proof that she broke the record, it was confirmed that Finley held the world record for most tennis balls in a dog’s mouth. If you want to see the video of this incredible feat, here it is: https://www.instagram.com/p/CAlDwYgJEKQ/.
A 103-year old Grandma got COVID-19, recovered, and celebrated by drinking an ice cold drink of Bud Light.
It isn’t often when you see the eldery busting out the alcohol, but this is a story that changes that. The center of this story is a 103-year old woman named Jennie Stejna, who lives in Massachusetts. She contracted COVID-19, and to everyone’s surprise, she recovered nicely. To celebrate the recovery, the hospital staff brought her a bottle of Bud Light, her favorite drink. According to her family, she has a very feisty and fighting spirit, and she never gives up on anything. Here’s a link to the video about her: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=33&v=ONhCwP-t1q0&feature=emb_title.
The critically endangered Hainan gibbon population has tripled after years of conservation.
The Hainan gibbon is a rare, endangered species who live on the Hainan Island near China. In 1970, there were only 10 of them, but now, in 2020, there are 30! This is exciting news because this means that conservation efforts have worked and that this species of gibbon is on its way to not be endangered anymore.
Hi! My name is Ishita, and I live in upstate New York. I am passionate about women's rights/empowerment, which led me to co-found an initiative called Women's Strength, whose goals are to empower women and recognize them for their achievements as the media doesn't often do that, if at all. I am planning to go into pharmacy in college, and ideally with a double or combined major in biology and chemistry. My hobbies include reading, writing, and watching YouTube, and I love listening to BTS, Queen, and Troye Sivan.