The midterm proposals of the “Biotech and Design” class are truly fascinating. They cover a diverse range of topics that all peak my interest, and, most importantly, it seems that all of them are seeking to do something to better society and the planet. It was difficult to narrow down this blog to a mere three proposals, but, alas, the assignment description has required me to do just that.
Following the lecture on plastics, I decided to spend a day observing the plastics I encounter throughout the day:
I wake up using my alarm clock on my phone. I walk over to the facet and put toothpaste on my toothbrush to brush my teeth. I take a shower and use my soap bar to clean my body. I dry myself off with a towel. I put my glasses on to see for the day. I put my shoes on for work, and I go to the Study at Hedrick to get a coffee. I call an Uber to my job in Downtown Los Angeles. I drink water out of a plastic cup. I use my computer to research reports and do schoolwork. I open up a bag of Miss Vickie's chips to snack on.
I’m going to be optimistic here and assume that majority of people, at least in Los Angeles and hopefully in the United States, know that we have a plastic problem. Although that consciousness may not turn into action, at least awareness is growing. Plastic is a part of our every hour life and it is here to stay. To think that disposables and all plastic packaging will go away anytime soon is a mire fantasy thought.
This lesson challenged me to reevaluate my own relationship with a material so common in the modern world that we throw away tons of it every year without a second thought. Dr. Gimzewski, a chemistry professor at UCLA, gave us a lecture about the chemistry of plastics and its use in modern society.
Tuesday, April 30th
You See the Difference, a Turtle Does Not
Sitting in a coffee shop while studying this weekend, I noticed the person at the table next to me drinking an iced coffee with a reusable metal straw. In fact, many places around the country are beginning to ban the use of plastic straws (Gibbens 2019). It’s nice to see that more people are trying to make an effort to reduce plastic use, but it is a bit ironic that the lid and cup of their drink were both still made of disposable, one-time-use plastic.
Working and volunteering in the hospital, I've come to notice the vast amount of plastic that makes it to the trash every day. Even just the amount of latex gloves that I go through in a day is shocking, despite my efforts to to be as conservative as possible.
They say ignorance is bliss. In regard to the horror that is plastic, I would not say I used to be totally unaware, but I most certainly was ignorant when it came to my own use of this deadly material. To say that last Thursday’s class with Dr. Gimzewski was impactful would be an understatement.
This week in class, Dr. Vesna followed up on an initial introduction to her ongoing project titled “Hox Zodiac”. Highlighting the HOX gene responsible for body plan and orientation, her project incorporates the 12 different animal signs in the Chinese zodiac. I found this week’s seminar particularly interesting because of how interactive and engaging the discussion was. Dr. Vesna truly brought her project to life by giving us a “taste” of what a Hox Zodiac dinner would look like.
This week, I was not able to attend seminar due to a last minute scheduling for me to host an event for my art collective, CMMND. Although I missed our discussion, I think I can provide some insight on a topic that is directly connected to our class: the intersection between art and mental health. I took this opportunity to conduct further research on how art conveys emotions and as well as the more biological relationship between the music and health.