Welcome New Bullseye Leadership!

Dear EAB Community, 

It is my pleasure to officially announce the turnover in Bullseye leadership for 2020! 

Cecilia Nakao (‘21) – Co-Editor

Lucy Landry (‘21) – Co-Editor

Kristine Bakker (‘21) – Communications Director

Fernanda Ferreira (‘21) – Creative Director

The new team is a strong, diverse group of people that we are confident will take Bullseye in a new, innovative direction. A new change this year, is that we decided to have two Co-Editors, as we feel that being Editor is a large responsibility, and that the newspaper should have as much support as possible. We believe that, although Cecilia and Lucy are very different, they both have valuable characteristics that will balance each other out and compliment each other nicely.

We have high hopes for the club’s future and what the new leadership will accomplish. We also want to thank you – the readers – for your constant support of our newspaper, and hope you will continue to read and enjoy our material in the coming years. 

Here’s to a great new year, and the successful continuation of one of EAB’s oldest organizations!

– Emma Holm-Olsen. Bullseye Editor, 2019.

“The Power Of”: EAB’s Most Recent Addition to an Inspired Community

By Emma Holm-Olsen

A few weeks ago, EAB hosted the first ever Soapbox. Soapbox, inspired by the TEDxYouth events of the past, is an event that was designed to provide the chance for members of the community to give speeches about topics of importance to them, and to incite their peers to learn, grow, and make change in their world. The idea behind the name Soapbox, is the literal box that traditionally has been used as a makeshift stand for public speeches. We wanted to incorporate this idea of freedom of speech and spontaneity, as well as the understanding that all of our ideas are valid and should be respected. We also wanted to underline the fact that EAB is a safe, judgement free place for us to inspire each other and learn from one another. The theme for the event was “the Power of…” since we believe that power comes from a vast array of outlets, and that lots of small actions when multiplied can bring great change. The event highlighted the topics of growth, activism, and sustainability, however, our speakers presented on a variety of topics, ranging from artistic interpretation to our lives on social media.

The event, which happened on February 8th, was, I believe, a huge success. Although the audience was relatively small, the turnout that we received and the support and engagement of the audience members was more than we could have hoped for. We are so proud of all of the students, teachers, and parents that gathered the courage to get up on stage and speak about things they are passionate about, and we sincerely hope that everyone left the school that day had learned something, and were feeling inspired to grow personally and to help their communities grow as well. 

The leadership team is so grateful to have had the opportunity to plan and host this inaugural event, and hope that EAB will continue this tradition in coming years!

Please refer to the Gallery page of this website to see some photos from this year’s event!

 

HER

Atwood Inspired Piece

By Cecilia Nakao

A bedroom. White tall walls, white ceiling, the smell of a clean home, a clean soul. Mine or hers? Thick glass windows, a grand door and more walls. The smell of an opulent life. I feel dizzy and sick. I am falling. Walls in the room, walls in the house, walls between us. Pictures in a frame, no, paintings in a frame, on the wall, old and forgotten. I am falling like Alice in this feigned grandeur. I have lost myself. Or am I more myself than I have ever been? Is she dead? Has she been forgotten by everyone, including me?

The flowers in my garden give me hope. They are alive and unchanged amidst all the chaos.  They say we have freedom, but free are the flowers, which grow without interference, who share space and breathe the same air. They say we have freedom to be, to want, to have. She tells me this is a lie. The flowers seem to be free without wanting or having. I don’t understand. I believe them, I try to, at least. Should I not? They take care of me. They give me what I need. Or do they? Maybe her voice is of a mare, an evil womanly spirit, in the nightmares we meet. Maybe she is not real. Maybe she never was. 

I look around for an answer, hoping for a sign, hoping to remember her. The pictures. I gently, but hurriedly, open the drawer. Nothing. I hold my breath. I open all the drawers. I am silently screaming. A string is just about to rip apart inside me. I found them. On the last of the twenty one drawers I open. I go through the pictures. They are old, but they are not hers. I don’t recognize that smile, the other faces in the pictures. I don’t recognize any of it. I don’t want my pictures, I want hers. I am spirling. Everything is moving around me, and I am in the dark, in silence. I feel warm petals falling from a white rose and running through my face. I can’t stop. I’m out of breath. I wake up. 

My body hurts. I must have fallen out of bed, or maybe I was never in it in the first place. I see pills. Pills spilled from an open bottle. So round and tiny, harmless, like the muzzle of a gun. Are they my sleeping pills? They say I shouldn’t take pills, though they still give them to me. The bottle says you should take one pill at a time. Wait. They are not sleeping pills. They’re focus pills. They say they are the best thing to help you be successful. She tells me that is a lie. Why was I asleep then? I don’t remember and I can’t tell. The bottle is tinted black and has no labels, like the one you would imagine Rafael got from the apothecary. No, not Rafael, Roberto. I can’t remember. There is your gold. Money is a worse poison, he said. I could get punished for having memories of this. We are not allowed to read that sort of thing anymore. I don’t remember how many I took. Maybe I never took any, the bottle simply fell and opened. My head hurts. I sit at the edge of the bed and look for the gadget. Eleven thirty AM. I should go downstairs. 

Just as I opened the door, I hear screaming. I hear the voice of a woman. My mother. Screaming at the cook. Or, is she whispering? Is there a difference? She is mad, I can tell. That isn’t allowed. The woman does it anyways, sometimes. I feel sick already. Why is it that this makes my stomach churn? One foot after the other, one foot after the other, what feels like burning four hundred fifty one steps, 451 steps that are burning. My hands are tied, so are my legs, so is my mind. I don’t have a way out. The woman is still harrowingly speaking. She knows she shouldn’t. She is angry, she is furious. She shouldn’t be. It isn’t allowed. I know she is not a bad person, but in the heavier prohibition of good, the only thing she has found to cope with is being bad. They say it is an adaptation. Oh hi Daisy, the woman says. Daisy. That is not my real name. At least not at night, when I close my eyes. It is not her name. I start eating. 

I feel the taste of money. 

I remember trying to ask them, my parents. They looked down, changed the subject. But, she knows. Maybe I remember my old life, the life of those that live outside the walls, the life of those who know the ugly pain of a growling stomach. Maybe I still remember the feeling of fresh air, of being alive, of being free. Maybe I was taken away, without a goodbye. But, maybe that’s all a lie, part of a twisted dream. It’s all a blur. 

I hear her mother’s voice. I love you, she says. I remember what that is. It’s one of the few things. We are not allowed to think about it, nor talk about it, though. Relationships are not allowed anymore and neither are parents supposed to demonstrate any sort of affection. 

I lie on the bed. I see her father. Maybe he’s my father? No, my father is rich. Her father is dead. Perhaps not, but it is easier that way. There is no expectation then, nothing to hang on to. Nothing to breathe for, except what they want. Except for what they expect. He is reading a book. It is red. That is all I remember. I swear. This one has been put into flames, as well as all the other ones he used to read. 

Here, I am told I have power. Power to do whatever I want. Power to change the world. What world? Our world? My world? The world of those who, like us, like them, live inside cages, within infinite iron bars. Bulletproof glass. And bulletproof souls. A clean soul though, or so they say. Clean and pure, focused. The soul destined to success. Isolated souls. But, successful. Rich. 

I go up the four hundred fifty one steps again. I enter my room. No pills. Was it all my imagination? I sit down in the corner. I can’t breathe again. This time I open the bottle, I’m not sure which. I open it and put some in my palm and throw them into my mouth. I want to sleep again, as only in my dreams I can remember her. Only in my dreams can I remember the feeling of the soft touch of another hand. Only in my dreams can I remember the sound of laughter, the sound of tears, the sound of truth. My eyes are starting to shut, uncontrollably, like a child who doesn’t stop crying. I black out. 

I see her. 

Coronavirus: Prevention, symptoms, and treatment

By Lucy Landry

covid-19
Above: Colorized illustration of COVID-19.

Information and updates on COVID-19, commonly known as the Coronavirus, have appeared unflaggingly on every news source since the very first headlines of the rapid spread within China hit the stands. With frightening new data showing the spread of the disease, people around the globe have begun to panic. However, there are effective ways in which to slow the spread of the disease and to stay healthy and free from COVID-19.

Prevention

Coronavirus is spread from contact with a diseased person. Coughing or sneezing from someone affected by COVID-19 can cause droplets containing the disease to fall on the “mouths or noses” of others nearby and can “possibly be inhaled into the lungs” (“Transmission”). The virus can also be contracted by coming into contact with objects which have been infected. The disease is spread “easily and sustainably,” and thus precautions must be taken to prevent getting it (“Transmission”). 

Although vaccines to protect against the contraction of COVID-19 are not yet available, there are lots of other ways in which one can prevent themselves from getting the disease. One should “avoid close contact” with infected people and refrain from touching one’s “eyes, nose, and mouth” (“Prevention, Treatment”). One should also wash their hands “for at least twenty seconds” (fun tip: sing “Happy Birthday” twice) after using the restroom, prior to eating, and “after sneezing, coughing,” or using a tissue to blow one’s nose (“Prevention, Treatment”). Staying home when one is feeling sick and regularly disinfecting often-touched objects are also great ways to prevent the disease’s spread (“Prevention, Treatment”).

Symptoms

Coronavirus symptoms are similar to those of a cold or a case of the flu (“Symptoms”). Reported COVID-19 cases claim “mild to severe respiratory illness” in infected people (“Symptoms”). Symptoms that signal that one might have the Coronavirus are: “fever,” “cough,” and “shortness of breath” (“Symptoms”). Other symptoms might include vomiting, diarrhea, chills, itchy and red eyes, feelings of fatigue, discomfort, weakness or muscle aches, and nasal congestion. People only show these symptoms within two to fourteen days of contracting it (“Symptoms”). COVID-19 is a fast-spreading illness, so it is important to catch it early and seek medical attention.

Screen Shot 2020-03-04 at 5.03.41 AM
Above: Areas where COVID-19 cases have been reported and confirmed as of March 3rd, 2020 (“Situation Reports”). 

One should contact a medical professional right away if one shows any of the above symptoms and has traveled to any of the following countries in the last two weeks: China, Iran, South Korea, Italy, Japan (“Information for Travelers”).

Treatments

There is not much of a treatment for the Coronavirus. Those who test positive for it are placed in an area where they cannot spread the disease to others. In acute cases of COVID-19, “support” to “vital organ functions” are provided in order to help the body overcome the disease (“Prevention, Treatment”). It is imperative that infected people or people who suspect they have been infected seek immediate medical attention in order to beat COVID-19. 

Reported Cases and Death Rate

Although the disease is highly contagious and its spread quite scary and quite real, the current (reported) death rate for COVID-19 is low. 

Most vulnerable to suffering a more severe case of COVID-19 are elderly people and those with “pre-existing medical conditions” like “asthma, diabetes,” and “heart disease” (“COVID-19 Myth Busters”). Most COVID-19 related deaths come from these demographics, but, even so, as of the publishing of this article, data from WHO shows a death rate of little over two percent (“Situation Reports”). Deaths resulting from COVID-19 are actually dropping in China, where the disease originated (Aizenman).

Screen Shot 2020-03-04 at 5.26.41 AM
Above: Graph from NPR showing the drop in COVID-19 related deaths in China (Aizenman).

COVID-19 has not been shown to be a disease where a majority of the infected are perishing because of it.

Actions at EAB

EAB has asked families to keep their children at home if they are sick or show any symptoms of COVID-19. Those families which have recently traveled to China (including Hong Kong), Japan, South Korea, Iran, and Italy are asked to contact the school to discuss whether or not the student should stay at home for the recommended fourteen-day waiting period. EAB’s leadership team has also asked that students and faculty sneeze and cough into their elbows, blow their nose in a tissue, promptly throw out used tissues in a waste bin, and remain at home if they are feeling sick. EAB has increased the number of tissues and alcohol-based hand sanitizers around the school and in classrooms.

Works Cited

Aizenman, Nurith. “Why The Death Rate From Coronavirus Is Plunging In China.” NPR, NPR, 3 Mar. 2020, http://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2020/03/03/809904660/why-the-death-rate-from-coronavirus-is-plunging-in-china.

“COVID-19 Information for Travelers.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 29 Feb. 2020, http://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html.

“COVID-19 Myth Busters.” World Health Organization, World Health Organization, http://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public/myth-busters.

“Novel Coronavirus (2019-NCoV) Situation Reports.” World Health Organization, World Health Organization, http://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/situation-reports.

“Prevention, Treatment of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 15 Feb. 2020, http://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/prevention-treatment.html.

“Symptoms of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 29 Feb. 2020, http://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/symptoms.html.

“Transmission of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 28 Feb. 2020, http://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/transmission.html.

When A Birthday Becomes A Goal (Later, A Milestone)

By Gabrielle Pedrosa

This year, an eye-opening experience happened to me.

This story is very personal. It’s one of those ones you talk about vaguely, almost citing a quote you have memorized, and despite it being emotional, deep, and a barring representation of the last few years of my life, people brush it off, lost in the false sense of comfort that can easily be transmitted by a soothing smile of mine and a fake-genuine eye squint. This year, an eye-opening experience happened to me, and I finally feel as if this cycle of my life has come to an end — at least for now — and, with this, came the need to share if only for other people’s entertainment but hoping for a more meaningful impact.

My mom loves throwing parties. She is an artist with an incredible eye for aesthetics and zero fear for trying new things. Naturally, birthdays were the perfect excuse for her to throw the biggest, most beautiful and exciting parties her guests had ever seen. Everyone loved her for this, waiting patiently for the next event she would host. 

This being, on my birthdays, it was obvious that a party would occur. I recall being happy that everyone was having a good time and making lots of new friends, but feeling miserable deep down. Seeing as I would always change into a more comfortable outfit after roaming around for a couple of hours in a dress, it became a habit of mine to take about half an hour longer than I should to complete this task so I could cry and let it all out before regaining enough confidence to go back outside. “Stop being dramatic! You should be grateful” is all I would ever hear. When I was about eight, my therapist came to name this feeling of mine as “social phobia”, and my family was content enough with this explanation for the following years.

Thousands of people would come to my parties — not for me, of course, but for the fun, and I always thought that was how birthday parties were supposed to be. I was raised to believe that my birthday was a day to celebrate the people around me: to offer them nice dinners, give them good entertainment and take away their worries because they were good enough to accept me into their lives, it was never about me. I never questioned this, because I felt good making it about other people. I never quite felt deserving of being in the spotlight anyway. 

When I reached age 12 though, this became a big conflict. I had just switched schools for the first time ever and, as it turned out, I didn’t really enjoy the company of my friends from the last school anymore, which left me with about two friends I trusted and a small class of people who sympathized with me, but didn’t really know me at all.

I needed people to respect and look up to me. I had set that standard early in my childhood for myself, and intended to continue achieving it. But only inviting people I didn’t know for my birthday felt like admitting I had no one else to call, which in my mind would mean, to my new classmates, that no one liked me in my old school. This added up with the notion that I had no one to celebrate because no one in this new class wanted me in their lives (or so I thought) and made me come to the conclusion that I was not worthy of celebrating my birthday anymore. So I stopped.

This took a big toll on my self-esteem and, seeing other people being highly praised on social media for their birthdays when I never was (granted, I never took pictures with people), I felt small and humiliated. As if I was a figure so unworthy of praise that it would be humiliating for the people around me to declare publicly that they were associated with me. Of course there were other aspects that contributed to me having this mentality — me entering puberty being a key factor here — but not feeling like the day I was born in was a good day made me start considering what life would be like without me.

After spending my next two birthdays crying, I became tired and decided to skip my birthday one year. I told no one about it, in hopes that they would forget, and they (mostly) did, even the ones close to me. This made me incredibly sad because, even if I thought this is what I wanted, at the time, I now see that I was looking for the validation of my biggest fear — that no one really cared about me. Deep down, I think I just wanted someone to be grateful for my existence. Looking back, I’m sure several people were, but my self-doubt consumed me whole, making me see the glass completely empty, when in reality, if I just added a tad bit of food coloring, I’d be able to see the water that was there the whole time.

At some point, it became clear to me that I wasn’t crying on my birthday because I was anti-social, but because my self-esteem was completely shattered. At this point, though, it was too late. Feelings of hopelessness and the pressure of trying to be enough to meet my own standards weighed me down too much, making it hard for me to fix it alone. I felt completely isolated. After I turned 15, especially so in my 16th year of life, my birthdays became a goal in my parents’ eyes. They’ve never said this explicitly to me, but we have had enough conversations about this for me to confidently assume that they were scared I wouldn’t make it. Or that I would, and I would feel even worse and spiral into a bad route. So they were especially cautious when I turned 16. I genuinely thought that year would be my last. I was in my fourth school in three years and everything was working out well, yet I felt like no matter the circumstance, it wasn’t about the world — the problem was me, and that didn’t have a fix. Right?

Well, sure, I still think that way sometimes but, according to a professional, this is factually wrong. We can always improve and be better versions of ourselves, but we can’t, in fact, do this when we have an imbalance in our bodies. So I took medication to fix this because, yes, the problem was in me, just was not me, which meant it did have a solution — and an easy one at that. After an intense year of therapy and taking medication correctly, I finally celebrated my 17 years of age this month, and it felt good.

I allowed myself to open up to people and invite a couple of friends to go celebrate with me on a trip. And they complied. Every step of the way, I did my best for them to feel their best, and in return they showed their care and respect towards me. I had my low moments, but they were there for me, sometimes alongside me, and we pulled each other out of it with jokes, smiles, and words of affection. My birthday this year wasn’t about them, nor was it about me. It was about us, celebrating life as a whole, together and feeding from our connection as human beings who are here to help each other grow. I guess this birthday was not only a goal I helped my parents meet, showing them that there’s nothing to worry about anymore, but a milestone for me, too.

Magical Mystery Tour

By Catarina Dantas

“Dad,” I said, “how much longer ‘till we get to the next cable car station?”

“I don’t know,” he answered, “I don’t see any station nearby, we’ll just have to keep going.”

“Can you carry me, I mean, in your back?” I begged. 

“You are too old for that,” was his crude and merciless answer. 

I couldn’t take anymore walking. My lungs were heavining, I started losing my wind and my breath was failing. Muscles I hardly used were put to work, causing my legs to burn like never before. Each step felt like pure torture. 

That moment I sincerely wished I could be a little girl again, so that my father would lift me up like a feather and put me on top of his neck as if in a saddle. I really miss that kind of thing. Why am I too old for that? Growing up is sometimes so inconvenient… 

I still remember the last time my father carried me in this horseback style. My parents had just divorced and it was my first weekend off with my father. I was seven years old and we went to Ipanema beach on that Saturday afternoon. The car keys got wet and the unlock system wouldn’t work anymore. We had to walk all the way back to my grandparents’ house, in Copacabana, to get the spare keys. When I got tired of walking, my father carried me on the back of his neck the rest of the way. The night was falling and we had a lot of fun. Just chatting and singing and enjoying the moment. I felt so glee and joyful, it made me forget all about my parents divorce and the other complications surrounding me.

I can’t say exactly when, but suddenly I got too old for that. Now I was 12 years old and had the Alps before me. I was vacationing in France, where my father lived. I hadn’t seen my father for six months, so I was really excited to be close with him again. We went to Chamonix for a few days of summer in the mountains. My fondest memories of that trip are of the day we decided to go hiking.

At the beginning of that tour everything seemed perfect. The landscape, the beauty of nature, the birds melodies. Suddenly, however, I felt immensely tired and started losing my breath. My father wouldn’t carry me anymore and I had to use my own legs to survive in that mountain wasteland, where no rescue team or helicopters were available. I just wanted to turn back time and become little girl once more.

In vain, Sgt. Pitiless tried to cheer me up. 

“Hey, I think saw a groundhog,” he said, he knew how much I loved groundhogs. 

“Not now dad,” I grumbled. I can hardly speak, how could I possibly care about that?  

“Come on,” he argued, “stop complaining. It’s not gonna help you.”

“We have been hiking for one hour and a half now. I’m tired. I can’t breathe. It’s a lousy way to treat your daughter.” I barely had enough power to complete that sentence. All my strengths had vanished. 

“Just keep going Cat,” he fired back. “Enjoy the road.”

“You are mean and heartless!” I shouted as if it was my last breath of life.

“I know. Keep moving.”

He was right. The rest of the way I tried to get back to the good mood I had at the beginning of the day. My father handed me a chocolate bar and a bottle of water and it somehow lifted up my spirit. We tried to spot groundhogs and chatted about random things. Growing up no longer seemed so bad. Soon enough I was appreciating the view once again. Why was I complaining after all? It was probably one of the most wonderful places I had ever been to. And I loved being with my father. So I started enjoying myself. 

Suddenly, I heard a mechanical noise. When I looked up I saw the cable car. At that moment, I felt a bit sad the journey was about to end. Fortunately, the next cable car would arrive only an hour later. As we had some extra time up there, we decided to explore the surroundings. Soon we found a kind of platform where we could lie in the grass for a while. I contemplated the sky above us, that wonderful cloudless vast blue. Stunning! Then I sat up and gazed at the mountains. In front of us was a cliff, with a perfect row of trees right in the edge. I just sat there, in awe of nature. At this moment I realized how growing up was inevitable and how ,despite this, we are able to hold on to these key moments.

It was then that my father grabbed a stone and went into one of his philosophic moods. 

“Do you know where that pebble was formed?” he asked me.

I shook my head. “No idea.”

“It was formed inside a star,” he answered. “Actually, inside a third generation star, our Sun.”

“What do you mean?” I questioned.

He then started talking about the Big Bang and how the Solar system came to be. He went on and on, lecturing me on the million and one circumstances necessary for life to appear on Earth. I don’t remember his actual words and arguments, but it was quite a jump into hyperspace. The cable car finally arrived, forcing our spaceship to land. 

That was a great day. I had no idea then of its importance to me. After I came back to Brazil and the school year started, I caught myself several times remembering our tour in the Alps and making some surprising analogies with my life as a teenager. Chances are I got some French philosophical virus in the mountains.

Hiking in the Alps was definitely tough, but it helped me comprehend something about growing up. You can have a nice start and all, but eventually problems will appear. Sometimes we are out of shape and the challenges ahead of us require more maturity than we think we have. The road often seems too steep and virtually impossible to climb. We think we will never reach the top and we even realize our parents are no longer able to carry us on their backs. All of a sudden, we need to move with our own legs. In spite of the obstacles in our way, we may find some extra strength, eventually. 

And there is always a chocolate bar, a drink of cool water or a good friend along the way to encourage us. The journey may sometimes be rather steep, but it is also full of stunning views. 

A final word I must save for that little rock from the stars. Life is indeed a great gift and our beautiful planet, a true blessing. While we grow up, even at the hardest moments, we must always bear in mind how lucky we are to take a magical mystery tour in the mountains.

Upcoming Club at EAB: Medlife

By Lucy Landry

IMG_5746A new and promising club has begun at the Americna School of Brasilia: Medlife. The Medlife chapter at EAB is fighting for healthcare and education access to disadvantaged communities throughout South America. Medlife, short for Medicine Education Development for Low Income Families Everywhere, envisions a world without poverty from local to international outreach.

Representatives on EAB’s Medlife Executive Board said that through this organization, students are “raising awareness about mental and physical health topics, promoting local primary care, and participating in projects to aid local communities and international communities.” They also point out that this club informs students about global issues concerning healthcare that are often overlooked by larger society.

EAB’s chapter of Medlife is the first one to be established in Brazil and is headed by founder and president Carolina Santana Morvan. The club will be organizing both a service-learning trip and a project concerning dentistry access this school year and will be traveling to Peru to volunteer at a mobile clinic to assist poorer communities.

“We listen, we give, and we care”

“We listen, we give, and we care” is the motto of this organization, and is extremely evident in the amount of care they are putting into the developing world.

Students who wish to be part of Medlife and its mission to create a world without poverty can join the group’s Monday meetings in room US27 during the second half of lunch. The chapter encourages students to aid them in their quest to provide Medicine Education Development for Low Income Families Everywhere and forge a world where medical aid is available to all.

 

Pollution is Slowly Killing Our Oceans – This is How You Can Help

By Kristine Bakker

 

Causes and Effects 

Oceans are the largest bodies of water present on our planet and cover more than 70 percent of it. Over the last decades, human activity has had an immense impact on marine life and has caused ocean pollution to increase even more each day. The main cause of this pollution is the introduction of toxic and harmful materials into the ocean such as plastic, oil spills, heavy metals, chemicals and most importantly, agricultural, industrial and radioactive waste. Another factor that has a great influence on ocean pollution is the garbage we throw away, which in the majority of cases is transported into the ocean through improper dumping in rivers and streams. Plastic bags can also be carried by the wind and not recycled by recycling facilities since only 1% of them are recycled correctly, leading certain countries to dump their trash illegally into the ocean as well. Mining for materials such as copper and gold is also a major source of contamination and can interfere with the life cycles of major marine organisms like starfish. Sewage is also a clear factor of why the oceans are being polluted more and more. Polluting substances (minerals) inside sewage can enter the oceans directly, causing more impact on marine life than you think.  

THE GREATEST THREAT TO OUR PLANET IS THE BELIEF THAT SOMEONE ELSE WILL SAVE IT. ~ ROBERT SWAN

What You Can Do to Help Reduce Ocean Pollution 

 

  • Support Non Profit Ocean Conservation Organizations

 

Many organizations out there raise money for ocean conservation such as the 4ocean company and Oceana. For every bracelet you buy (which is made out of 100% recycled materials), 4ocean takes out 1 pound of trash from the ocean. Oceana is also a non profit organization that’s more focused on influencing specific policy decisions to preserve and restore the world’s oceans. 

If you don’t want to spend money on helping out a specific organization and want something more local, you could always participate in clubs right here at EAB that focus on impacting the world positively regarding environmental issues. EAB Goes Green is a great example of this, since their main objective is to reduce, reuse and recycle materials here on campus (you can access https://www.eabdf.br/student-life/eab-goes-green/ for more information). 

 

  • Use Fewer Plastic Products 

 

It’s proven that the effects of plastic on marine life are immeasurable and several marine species are on the verge of extinction due to our own plastic consumption. To reduce your own plastic consumption, try not to consume single-use plastic (like plastic straws, cups, plates, etc), instead choose products made from recycled materials and that can be reused. 

 

  • Conserve Water

 

Any of the water you use in your home is later sent to a sewage treatment plant, where the pollutants are removed before going into local bodies of water. However, the problems start to come in when we use too much of the water available to us since our supply is limited. 

 

  • Don’t Litter 

 

It’s a fact that littering is one of the main causes of ocean pollution and can greatly affect marine life. Animals like turtles, seals, birds and dolphins often mistake plastic waste for food, which ends up killing them, so don’t litter! 

 

Political Circus: The Amazon, The Fires and the Interests

By Fernanda Ferreira

The Amazon Rainforest is Burning at Record Rates – The Political Issue Around It Only Worsens It.

A political cartoon published in the BusinessDay magazine caricatures Brazil’s president Jair Bolsonaro with a lawnmower in his hands cutting up the Amazon forest. In a symbolic way, that cartoon represents the current environmental situation and the political issues around it that is wounding the world’s most important rainforest. It is widely known that the Amazon rainforest – whose territory is 60% in Brazil with the other 40% located among 9 South American countries such as Peru and Bolivia – has essential importance to humankind. Besides providing one-fifth of oxygen available in the atmosphere, it is a huge climate controller. According to studies reported in The Ecologist, Amazon’s flying rivers – air current that takes vapor from the forest to the entire south of the continent –  prevents Brazil from turning into a barren desert. 

The importance of the forest is nothing new. Recently, however, there was a large scandal regarding the Amazon forest fires – these happen naturally, on a smaller scale, every year, due to the drought season and other natural conditions. Yet, it has been proven that a significant cause of the fires was humans. This year, the forest is burning at never before seen rates. A comparison made by the National Institute for Space Research (INPE) states that from the same point last year, this year’s fires are 85% worse. Reasons for the astonishing increase have been investigated but, according to the same institution, there is solid evidence of these having a criminal origin. Brazil’s newspaper G1 reported an inquiry made by Brazilian police that found out that farmers from Pará state organized a Fire Day, as they called it, to set fire to the forest to “show work” for Bolsonaro. For those who are not familiarized, the president’s policy supports the exploitation of the forest in order to ensure the agricultural triumph.

But that is not all. The institution previously mentioned, INPE, has also recently published the data regarding the 2019 fires, which have invalidated the on-going fake-news that said the fires situation was not that critical. In response to the publishing, Bolsonaro exonerated the president of the institution saying that the data must be biased and it was not reliable. As being a national organization, INPE is legally required to publish all its information and researches.  Another chapter of this circus was the conflict between Bolsonaro and France’s President Emmanuel Macron. It all started with a demonstrated notable concern from Macron with the Amazon fires. He urged the G-7 members to gather in a discussion on how to address the problem and turned out to a donation of 20 million dollars offered by the countries. Bolsonaro rejected it. His arguments were that France and the international community had imperialist interests on the Amazon forest and moreover, he said the donation would only be accepted if Macron apologizes from insults made.

In contrast, many European countries have had a contradictory concern regarding Amazon preservation. Norwegian investors such as the store brand ASA and the pension fund KLP managed $170 to ensure that global companies were not involved in the fires. The irony is that one year before, another Norwegian company, Hydro, was held responsible for dumping toxic waste in the Amazonian rivers and refused to pay the compensation. Why weren’t the investors concerned back then? It is certainly very controversial for them to express such a genuine concern with global companies when their own country’s company is being blamed for part of the damage as well. 

On the other hand, Brazil’s president continues to support farmers and tried to take out their blame from the Amazon fires. Bolsonaro declared to the Brazilian press when he was asked about the cause of the fires: “Everyone is a suspect, but the main ones are the NGOs”. Again, the political inclination has been over the environmental concern itself. Amazon is burning and the Brazilian government is prioritizing the political issues around it rather than focusing on battling the fires. The political aspect is a huge determinant of all national matters but it must not surpass in importance, the topic itself. 

Bolsonaro is not directly burning the world’s biggest rainforest as the cartoon presented. Still, the trend of positions such as his, inside the Brazilian government, is directly encouraging the setting of fires. Neither Bolsonaro nor the controversial international companies are in fact helping the forest. The political interest of all sides is not really promoting solutions as it should. The Amazon is burning and, unfortunately, the political issue is making it even worse. 

 

unnamedPolitical cartoon mentioned / By Brendan Reynalds

 

*DISCLAIMER: The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in the article above belong solely to the author, and not necessarily to the Bullseye newspaper nor the EAB institution*