Rivers and Hope

Quote of AWESOMENESS“Everything that is done in this world is done with hope.” – Martin Luther 

Interesting title, I know. But, wait! Give me just a moment of your time so that I could share with you what I find very motivating and true. Have you ever heard of the Hudson River? It is actually a river named after Henry Hudson, the man who sailed up from the Atlantic Ocean in 1609 as he searched for a new route to Asia. It is about a 300-mile river stretching from the Adirondack Mountains to the Atlantic Ocean. In between the two points, one may notice that the Hudson neighbors communities of New Jersey, Mount Vernon, Manhattan Islands, and more. 

The Hudson has had its past and ongoing situation with the environment. Back in the 1800s, the industrial era left something behind in the river. There was this human-made compound known as polychlorinated biphenyls (a.k.a PCBs) which were good electrical insulators, used to prevent fires in electrical transformers and capacitors, and considered safe. There were hundreds to millions of PCB deposited by the established manufacturing plants in the river and mixed with the sediments. In the 1970s, it was a downfall. PCBs had proven to cause liver disease, suspect to a carcinogen in humans, and health effects like low birth weight and some immune system disorders. The fish and wildlife around were also being negatively affected. Commercial fishing was banned (the manufacturing plants took the blame) and it was said that the fishing industry and that culture that has been present for centuries was destroyed at that river valley. EPA then banned PCB. However, by that time, there was a lot of work that needed to be done to make the river better again. 

In 2009, a cleanup began. Thousands of samples were taken. A process called dredging was being done to remove the sediment contaminated with PCB. This was completed in 2015. The second phase of cleanup was then approved. Programs and monitoring have become more strict. The Hudson River seems to have a positive outlook as its cleanup and preservation strives on. Many people, just like you and me, made personal sacrifices whether it be a career, reputation or livelihood, to do what they can to protect the river. Environmentalists, activists, and even a folksinger joined together in organizations to fight to protect the river, to educate those, to eliminate pollution, and more. Clearwater and Scenic Hudson are both active organizations that had a big impact on helping the Hudson River. 

What does this all mean? What’s the big picture? Why did you read this story? I’ll tell you. This river represents the many environmental problems that we have seen risen up today. Maybe it’s an actual river (like the one in the Philippines called Pasig River), the fires that come roaring, corals dying, or the plastic and trash issues that come to slap us in the face. Yes, it looks like such a big problem that it doesn’t seem like one such even bother to try something because it might be too small a difference. BUT YOU SHOULD BOTHER. You should have that turning in your stomach that makes you feel like the environmental problem is bad. Because it is bad and it’s growing. You should feel so fired up that you can’t just sit around and do nothing. Right now, the hope that this world has is me, you and every individual. It starts with you. You can keep going forward to fight for the environment. No matter how small. Spread the word, write, paint, create a movement, dance. Just DO SOMETHING that can help in contributing to helping the environment. Some people might laugh, some people might say no when you try to tell them. It’s okay, suck it up, and keep going because at least you tried and you keep trying. That’s what counts. And, how do I know if this will work? Because the Hudson River shows that when we come together, no matter what the situation may look like, we can make a difference in sustainability and the environment. 

Yours truly,


© Elizabeth Anne Villoria

Regulating the Source of Life (FOOD)

Quote of truth“Laughter is brightest where food is best.” – Irish Proverb

Food has great importance. It’s a source of life, and it plays a huge role in our society. It’s seen way more than just some plain thing on a plate. It’s valued and as each individual has their own culture, food has helped as a bridge to connect everyone. As the years pass by, mass productions of food have grown with it. The growth of corn, for example, has risen so much as shown in the article, When a Crop Becomes King, by Michael Pollan. And, it is also discussed in the article The Pleasures of Eating written by Wendell Berry about food politics and its relation to the people. More so than now, governments must take responsibility to regulate the food industry and ensure that the food that is given to the people is safe and healthy.


One reason why the government needs to regulate the food industry would be to help maintain the health of the people. Taking the average person, the food that they intake is what helps them to function on a daily basis. If the food were to be filled with unhealthy ingredients, this would be very unfortunate. However, the thing is that most people have their busy schedule to control what they eat. Without the time to make homemade food, what gets most consumed would be junk food, pre-made food, and fast food. Most people are not aware of what is in the products that they purchase. And, just as Berry mentions in his article when buying food, consumers tend to “ignore certain critical questions about the quality and cost of what they are sold”. And, in the end with all the unawareness and lack of control that a consumer is given over what’s in their food makes them a victim of the food industry.

Another reason that regulations need to be set would be because of the havoc it creates with the environment and the people. Taking corn, for example, it is put into almost every product on every shelf of every store out there. It has squirmed its way into our snacks and drinks, all the way up to the vitamin C that we take. The government needs to take a closer look at the growing problems that come with corn. Not only does corn hurt our environment, “kill off marine life in a 12,000 square mile area” and more, and takes millions of acres of land for themselves but they also affect our health as argued by Michael Pollan. Billions of dollars are given to grow corn. This corn is then put into the food we eat, the animals that we consume, and even the beverages that we intake. Corn is just turning into a big fat monster, but this is for another story, another time. Anyways, this needs to be regulated more often along with every other ingredient out there, stopping it from taking too much of a role in our lives.

Although some people may say that the government shouldn’t do anything with the regulation of the food companies, this is wrong because it poses such a huge threat to our health and environment. Without the government to check on the food processes and what gets put into our food makes what we consume to be risky. And, this risk goes to our health, our families health, and the environment. Also, as not everyone is aware with what is being put into their products, they can never truly “be free if our minds and voices are controlled by someone else”, as Wendell Berry puts it. With the government to double check the food industries and for them to make sure what is given to us in our supermarkets is safe, would make us have more sense of security and create a better and healthier lifestyle for everyone.

In conclusion, the government should keep tabs and regulate what goes on in the food industry to make sure it is safe, healthy, and good for our environment. Just like how the article on The Pleasures of Eating talks about the importance of eating responsibly, this is what the goal of the regulations should be. Choosing and allowing this to happen, would help our lifestyles, the world around us, and the choices we choose to be better, healthier, and safer.

You can make a difference. Start being aware of what you put into your mouth. Spread the word. Cook homemade delicious food. Find the time. Make time. 


stay aware. stay awesome.

Yours truly,


© Elizabeth Anne Villoria