Congratulations to myself and my fellow Info Gathering classmates. We made it through Warm-Up No. 1. We can all breathe a sigh of relief. At least for now…
I chose to investigate plastic bag bans in the Unites States for my major project. I was initially interested in this topic because I have always been drawn to environmental issues. I have heard horror stories in the media about plastic pollution, which often talked about the threats single-use plastic bags can pose on nature. Global warming and climate change have caused environmental policies to become increasingly popular. It seems people are talking and caring about nature more than ever. Efforts from enviornmental activists and groups are propelling the “green” movement, and I would never hesitate to jump on the band wagon.
With that said, I would like to clarify I am not biased to either side of the plastic bag argument. Countries and cities around the world have banned single-use checkout bags in search of changes ranging from lessening landfill waste, cleaning bodies of water, protecting animals from their ingestion and preventing floods caused by storm drains plugged by plastic bags. I almost always support policies that preserve the world’s habitat and animals, however, many environmental experts say banning plastic bags may not positively benefit the environment after all.
When plastic bag bans are imposed, alternative bag options must be made available to shoppers. Each plastic bag policy is unique to the community in which it is imposed, and contains its own set of specific rules. I have found it is common for places with plastic bag bans to encourage the use of reusable bags or administer fees on paper bags. Therefore, paper bag consumption rises, and with it other environmental hazards. Paper bags release toxins if they biodegrade in a landfill. Notice I said if they biodegrade; because usually landfills are air-tight sealed, prohibiting paper bags from decaying, and allowing them to remain stuffed within the earth forever. Paper bags also require a higher amount of energy and resources to produce and recycle.
I have already learned a great deal about my topic through working on our first assignment Warm-Up No.1. I am beginning to understand the arguments in favor and against plastic bag bans. And the more I read and discover, the more I think this public policy issue is worthy to be considered by the United States Federal Government.
I have learned all of this information by dedicating time to research. I continue to gather that research is game of guess and check, and refining the art of quickly perusing through research databases. In working on Warm-Up No. 1, I have become much more comfortable working with research databases such as Academic Search Premier and Jstor. I realize it is more effective to conduct ‘advanced searches’ to avoid articles unrelated to my topic. I seem to have trouble finding news stories through LexisNexis, and hope to get a better handle on how to use it soon.
Despite the small amount of work we’ve been assigned so far, I know I have become more familiar with AP and APA style. AP style possesses more than a few tricky rules, and writing and practicing using them is the only way to master them. Before the commencement of this class, I knew nothing of APA style. Now, although I am not entirely confident with it, I can do in-text citations and create a reference page in APA style with only a small amount of help from my Easy Writer.
As the semester progresses, I’m excited to become best buddies with my AP style guide and our Linfield Libraries class page. And even though I have just started the long journey with this topic, I know the hours of research that lay ahead of me will serve me and my major project well.