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Climate Change Threatens the Monarch Butterflies’ Survival

Humans have to realisee that maltreatment on the environment affects every species on the planet. Endangering one, endangers them all.

Humans have to realisee that maltreatment on the environment affects every species on the planet. Endangering one, endangers them all.

Monarch butterflies are the first thing people imagine when picturing a butterfly. The number of monarch butterflies is dwindling rapidly. According to the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, “a decline of approximately 80 [percent]has been seen in central Mexico and a decline of approximately 99 [percent] has been seen in coastal California.”

The population of butterflies went from hundreds of millions to a few thousand in the last 20 years. This threatens to destroy the balance in the ecosystem as these butterflies pollinate numerous flowers around the world and act as food to several small animals.

The cause of the demise of the monarch butterflies is climate change, urbanization and their effects on the environment monarch butterflies depend on for survival. 

Urbanization has destroyed the majority of the milkweed plants that monarch butterflies lay their eggs on. Urbanization has taken over areas where this plant typically grows, posing a threat to the butterflies as it limits their reproductive capabilities. 

Urbanization has also limited the butterflies’ migration routes. This is especially true in Mexico, an increase in deforestation and development has limited available migration locations for the butterflies during the winter.

Climate change is also affecting the habitats of these animals. According to National Geographic, in addition to urbanization reducing the availability of milkweeds, the increased levels of carbon dioxide are making the plants too toxic for monarch consumption.

Additionally the rising temperatures caused as a result are also affecting the migration patterns of monarch butterflies. As the temperatures increase, the monarchs have to fly farther North during the summer months  otherwise they would molt and inevitably die.

Thus far, the conservation of National Parks has been a saving grace for these butterflies. These parks ensure the butterflies will have a habitat. Conservationists have tagged the monarchs spotted in these parks to allow further studies of the migration patterns. Monarchs have been tagged from a variety of national parks in a variety of parks to collect as much information as possible.

A primary agent in the monarch butterfly conservation movement has been Wildlife Without Borders, a grant program from Mexico which works to protect and replenish the habitats of the monarch butterflies. This program has existed since the mid-1990s, when the numbers of the monarch butterflies began to decline.

This was not Mexico’s first attempt to preserve the existence of monarch butterflies. In 1986, Mexicocreated the Mariposa Monarca, or in English the Monarch Butterfly, Biosphere Reserve. This protects forest land within four distinct butterfly sanctuaries.There are several agencies in Mexico and the U.S that contribute to the conservation effort, despite the public’s lack of knowledge on the subject.

Despite the drastic decrease in the monarch population, the butterflies are not officially listed on the endangered species list. Currently they do have the protection of the Endangered Species Act. This is the temporary status given to the butterflies, a permanent decision will be made by the end of the year.

The programs and agencies cannot save the butterflies on their own, the public needs to be aware that the environmental decisions of humanity, affect the the other animals in the ecosystem. Human perseverance should not be at the expense of the defenseless.

About the Writer
Photo of Angelique Robinson
Angelique Robinson, Web Editor

Angelique Robinson is a senior at Durant and is Web Editor for the PawPrint newspaper. She loves writing creative pieces, as well as more serious articles...

PETA Wants to Replace Punxsutawney Phil

After 133 years of Punxsutawney redicting the seasonal change, PETA wants to replace the groundhog with artificial inteligence.

Gene J. Puskar

After 133 years of Punxsutawney redicting the seasonal change, PETA wants to replace the groundhog with artificial inteligence.

Okay campers, rise and shine and don’t forget your booties because PETA is at it again demanding retirement of America’s favorite rodent prognosticator, Punxsutawney Phil. The seemingly immortal groundhog has been predicting the seasons and the onset of spring since 1887, but, according to the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, now is the time to retire Pennsylvania’s most famous groundhog. 

The PETA organization is set on banning animals from every aspect of American entertainment, dinner plates, and cable weather services and has recently suggested replacing the seer with an artificial intelligence weather woodland badger who will be more accurate in predicting the changing of the seasons. 

PETA’s demand to The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club came less than a week before the 2020 Groundhog’s Day, but their effort was too little too late as Phil woke to the sounds of more than 20,000 cold Americans demanding a weather prediction from the large weather wise woodchuck.  Not to mention the thousands that receive text message alerts in regards to Phil’s prediction or stream the event to household TVs and phones. But as Phil Connors, a reporter for WPBH-TV Pittsburgh noted, “Television really fails to capture the true excitement of a large squirrel predicting the weather.”

PETA’s Ingrid Newkirk’s request said being around the thicket of climate enthusiasts causes these poor creatures “great stress,” explaining the effects the tradition has on the sages’ mental health. 

PETA’s concern for animals’ mental health shouldn’t stop with the greenhouse guru of gophers. What about the number of times we’ve sent dogs to retrieve a neon green ball only to repeatedly toss it away from them again and again.  

PETA should be demanding an end to a classic game of fetch with man’s best friend. What about giving the number of times we’ve drugged our feline friends with every kitty’s favorite herbal opioid? Then again, PETA is against pet ownership all together, calling the domestication of our furry friends “an abysmal situation.”

Perhaps, Phil should be replaced with a robot as PETA is suggesting. If sports team mascots can no longer be real animals, such as the University of Georgia’ Uga the bulldog, let’s just replace Phil with a college student in an oversized animal costume with a weather app on his iPhone.

Chick-fil-A can’t use real cows and have turned to illustrations of the iconic illiterate cows. Let’s just make a cartoon prognosticator see his shadow.   Disney can’t use real bouncing tigers to portray the best friend of crop top wearing bear, let’s just replace the ridiculous tradition with an animated weather profit extraordinary. 

The Groundhog Club’s President has said he hasn’t read PETA’s letter, telling the Punxsutawney Spirit, a Pennsylvania publication, Phil “lives better than the average child in Western Pennsylvania.”  He explains that the people don’t want to see an animatronic, but a live climate celebrity.

The change won’t come anytime soon, however. Punxsutawney has no immediate plans to replace Phil, so the absurd and terribly inaccurate climate custom will continue on.

About the Writer
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Lily Belcher, Editor in Chief

Lily Belcher is a junior at Durant High School and is the Editor in Chief for the PawPrint. She is freelancing for the Osprey Observer this year and hopes...

Cell phones have a variety of potential dangers


Washington Post

X-Ray showing bone spur growing on back of head, one of the negative effects of excessive cellphone usage.

Each day people across the world consistently check their cell phones, looking at a variety of notifications. Many may not realize how much their cell phones affect them. Recent studies are beginning to show how bone spur development can be an effect of cell phone use.

According to the Washington Post, research done by the University of the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia proposes a new hypothesis that due to the constant use of cell phones and other hand-held devices, a new bone spur, or “horn”, is developing from the skull of young people. The researchers in charge of the study are David Shahar, a chiropractor who recently completed a PhD in biomechanics at Sunshine Coast, and his supervisor, Mark Sayers, an associate professor of biomechanics at Sunshine Coast.

The study was published in the journal Scientific Reports. Bone spurs are caused by when inflammation damages cartilage that is used to cushion joints and the body attempts to rebuild by growing more bone. One main cause is when humans perform repetitive motions, like consistently looking down at a phone. By doing this for multiple hours a day, bone spurs begin to grow.

This is not the first physical effect of cell phone use on the body. According to ABC News, Margot Miller, a physical therapist and president of Occupational Health Section of the Orthopedic Section of the American Physical Therapy Association, states that the reason for “texting thumb” is  “they are really repetitive stress injuries – pain, numbness, discomfort in the base of the thumbs from overuse.”

By consistently using thumbs to send messages and control a phone, symptoms like “texting thumb” may occur.

Another negative aspect of cell phone use is the constant distraction that they cause. According to NBC News’ article “Cell phone-related head and neck injuries on the rise,” a study published by JAMA Otolaryngology–Head & Neck Surgery observed reports from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, looking for injuries and reports related to cell phones.

The authors estimated that based on the reports these kinds of issues were rare until 2007, when the first iPhone was released to the public and injury reports began to rise. The article states that users ages 13 to 29 were about 40 percent of those whose injuries were caused by cell phone distraction. The injuries caused ranged from people falling due to texting while walking, to being hit in the face when their device slipped. The author Dr. Boris Paskhover suggest that a way to help this problem is for people to stop allowing phones to be a distraction and focus on what they are doing.

The harmful effects of cell phone use while driving goes past looking at text. According to ABC News, research at Carnegie Mellon University showed that by studying brain waves, they were able to find that listening to a conversation while driving reduces brain activity designated to driving by 37 percent.

The article suggests that in May 2008 a survey done by Nationwide Insurance Poll displayed that over 40 percent of people surveyed stated they have either been hit or almost hit by another driver talking on a cell phone. This is part of the reason many states, including Florida, have required Hands-Free drivers. As of January 1, Florida officers are to issue tickets to any drivers using their phone, without a warning. The fee is $30, but is doubled in school zones.

People spend hours on end each day looking at cell phones, but don’t realize what effects it could be causing on their bodies. As people become more aware, they will be able to protect themselves from these and many more issues.

About the Writer
Photo of Faith Miller
Faith Miller, Staff Writer

Faith Miller is a senior at Durant High School and is a Staff Writer for the Durant PawPrint. This year will be her fourth season on the varsity Durant...

Online shopping overtakes local malls

The online shopping phenomenon is the new dircetion of holiday shopping. This could lead to a decrease in comercial malls.

The online shopping phenomenon is the new dircetion of holiday shopping. This could lead to a decrease in comercial malls.

In an era of convenience, it’s not shocking that people prefer sitting on the couch eating lunch while they order their loved ones’ Christmas gifts. This is especially ture after a long Thanksgiving Day, for many it is easier to take advantage of Black Friday deals without waiting in lines, getting ran over by rabid shoppers, or even camping out fir the hottest items of the season. Simply click a button and your gifts are on their way to your house. 

So when the news broke that online shopping overtook a major part of retail for the first time ever, unless people were living under a rock, no one was surprised. The main disadvantage of online shopping is waiting for items to be shipped. Amazon eliminated this issue when they introduced Amazon Prime, a service provided where if you pay a small yearly fee you get  quick shipping.

Malls have too many obstacles to climb for the short attention span of this new generation. There’s the ridiculous traffic to fight through, the insane walking patterns, the people and of course the infamously rude shop clerks, one of the few stereotypes in this world that holds up. Why deal with that when you can just click a button in between games of Call of Duty? There’s a reason Amazon has been so profitable, it really doesn’t give the malls a chance. 

It’s the same reason why platforms like Netflix and Hulu profit so much and take customers away from cable and the movie theaters. It’s just, you guessed it, convenience. Why deal with the ridiculously priced popcorn or cable bills when you can pay a monthly fee and watch all the movies and shows you want. You can watch as much as your heart desires, making it easier to enjoy your favorite TV shows.

Even Black Friday, which ropes in shoppers from all around to get those ridiculous deals, online is beating out retail stores. What used to be a crazy day for stores like Walmart and Target have turned into massive amounts of clicks for websites like Amazon. Do not not be concerned, as retail stores like Walmart aren’t going out of business anytime soon. However, to say that online shopping can’t compete with those same stores would be a blatant lie. 

Simply put, online shopping is the future for shoppers looking for the maximum amount of convenience. No lines, no people, no hassle. Just a click and your holiday shopping is done. This is just the beginning, sites like Amazon will only grow bigger and slowly but surely beat out stores such as Target. It’s all about convenience and Amazon has it.

About the Writer
Photo of David Fackson
David Fackson, Staff Writer

David is a junior and is a Staff Writer for the Durant PawPrint Newspaper. He is a huge baseball fan, specifically a Rays fan who loves writing about the...

Yearly debate on the shift from Merry Christmas to Happy Holidays


Public Religion Research Institute

The 2013 survey identifies how particular groups align themselves.

As society becomes more accepting of diversity, it has adapted to acknowledging the different holidays celebrated by the myriad of religions and identities present in the U.S. In the past, the U.S., schools and department stores were allowed to tell people “Merry Christmas” without being certain that the individual celebrates Christmas.

Independent, an online news publisher, traces the acknowledgment of holidays beyond Christmas began in the 1930s and 1940s as advertisers wanted all readers to feel included. These ads began to say, “Happy Holidays” and “Seasons Greetings” to ensure inclusiveness, this also served as a way to please consumers to increase sales.

According to, this terminology shifted to businesses in the mid-2000s as the term “War on Christmas” was coined by conservatives in response to ex-President George W. Bush leaving Christmas out of the White House holiday card. Businesses decided that it was more professional to make the holiday season secular.

This meme illustrates the negative view of some customers about the saying.

According to Education World, there are at least ten other major holidays celebrated in December. These include Three Kings Day, Saint Nicholas Day, Fiesta of Our Lady Guadalupe, Kwanzaa, Saint Lucia Day, Hanukkah, Boxing Day, Omisoka, Yule, and Saturnalia, celebrated by identities all over the year. No matter what the majority celebrates, you cannot assume everyone celebrates the same holiday given all the options.

Many Christians believe that not saying Merry Christmas is personal, as if people not saying “Merry Christmas” shames the idea of the celebration. However, the intention is not to disrespect anyone with the shift in the language.

According to the Chicago Tribune, in 2016 as President Trump campaigned, he said, “If I’m president, you’re going to see ‘Merry Christmas’ in department stores, believe me, believe me.”

This insistence of “Merry Christmas,” used exclusively as a holiday greeting goes against the First Amendment right of freedom of religion. This element dictates that the U.S. cannot establish a national religion and therefore cannot enforce celebration. Therefore, despite the increased emphasis on consumerism as a part of Christmas, the holiday is Christian in origin, thus whether he likes it or not, President Trump cannot force businesses to shift their seasonal greeting back to only acknowledging Christmas.

As society becomes increasingly aware of labels, it is appropriate that seasonal greetings shift as well. It shows that Americans overall are not ignorant to the alternatives. This does not mean that people are never allowed to say, “Merry Christmas”, but it should be limited to situations where it is absolutely certain that the recipient celebrates Christmas.

About the Writer
Photo of Angelique Robinson
Angelique Robinson, Web Editor

Angelique Robinson is a senior at Durant and is Web Editor for the PawPrint newspaper. She loves writing creative pieces, as well as more serious articles...

Legislation is not improving climate change

The graphic explains the projections of the sea level and which areas of the United States will be directly impacted.

The graphic explains the projections of the sea level and which areas of the United States will be directly impacted.

There are several different beliefs as to why the implemented laws aren’t making a significant impact on climate change. To start, while there has been an increase on the quantity of laws, many question the effectiveness of them. The issue is not the laws themselves, but enforcing them. From, the “…shortcomings of environmental policies [are broken] into four categories: institutions responsible for the laws, civic engagement, environmental rights, and justice for those who break the law.”

In other words, while the amount of countries that have implemented environmental laws in their governments, each country has its own struggles when it comes to enforcing the set laws. It was uncovered  by in the mid-2000s that some Asian countries “…lacked clear or sufficiently comprehensive mechanisms to limit and require monitoring of pollution discharges, file criminal or civil cases, take emergency response actions (such as closing a facility), impose penalties, or order corrective measures.” 

This is very concerning; if those in power don’t have the ability to enforce their own laws, then it’s almost impossible to say that the laws will have a significant impact in stopping the rise of temperatures, and will inevitably cause irreversible damage to the climate and environment.

In the U.S., the issue concerning the effectiveness of climate change laws and agreements previously made have become a burning topic between Democrats and Republicans. Since President Trump’s election in 2016, Democrats argue that he has contradicted himself several times throughout his presidency when discussing he position on climate change. In the past, Trump has referred to climate change as a “hoax”;, mentions that Trump has “…begun dismantling environmental protections against dirty coal, and installed cabinet heads whose ‘meh’ stance on climate science is a new form of denial.”

In 2015, the U.S. was one of 196 countries that signed the Paris Climate Agreement, promising to significantly cut emissions- the U.S. alone promised to cut emissions by 26-28 percent.

One year into Trump’s Presidency, he announced to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Accord. In his speech on June 1, 2017, Trump explains that the previous agreement was harmful and limited growth of the American economy. When discussing the coal industry, he explains that the agreement is flawed in the sense that it puts the United States in a financial disadvantage. “In short, the agreement doesn’t eliminate coal jobs- it just transfers those jobs out of America and the United States, and ships them to foreign countries. This agreement is less about the climate and more about other countries gaining a financial advantage over the United States.”

Since his election in 2016, the growth of the economy has been at the top of his list of priorities; however, many argue that his notions in making that happen will ultimately lead to severe damage to the climate. “Withdrawing from the deal could result in an additional 3 billion tons of carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere each year, speeding up the rate of rising sea levels and melting ice sheets,” (

Trump claims that he cares very much about the environment, and by making his decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Accord, he is open to working out a new agreement with the Democrats- one that benefits both the environment as well as the American economy. But for now, while trillions of people argue for or against Trump’s decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Agreement, one thing is for certain: if the world can’t come together to solve this worldwide issue, then the planet may face irreversible damage.

About the Writer
Photo of Meghan Dulay
Meghan Dulay, Editor-in-Chief of Design

Meghan Dulay is a senior at Durant High School and she is Editor-in-Chief of Design for the PawPrint newspaper. Meghan is part of many other clubs at Durant,...

Reflecting on Self-Confidence

A commentary article by Marina Hawkins

Reflecting on Self-Confidence

Astruggle throughout teenage hood is self-confidence. Self-confidence is someone’s thoughts and how they believe they are. Based on what we think of ourselves we can either push to succeed or hold back. Judging oneself can prevent taking chances and becoming shy around others in a work place, school or public place. Thinking too much on appearances in today’s world is hard to overcome. Most students in high school are putting too much pressure on themselves to be what people call “perfect.” This leads to an increase in lowered self-esteem and less motivation.

Shyness is what many people assume is going on with teenagers who have low self-confidence. When experiencing a doubt in self-confidence, many tend to put on a mask and hide it. With the doubt and judgement continuing inside, the one experiencing this is more likely to place themselves in the back of an environment, becoming unnoticed. Instead of seeking help or encouragement, choosing to never step out among a group to show who they are or what they are fully capable of performing. Their many skills or unique qualities that could benefit the community will go unknown with the doubt that occurs in them.

Self-image is the biggest question in confidence that people have, the question is, “do I fit in?” Concerns of  if they fit in with the “popular” crowd have people handling a heavy load of self-consciousness in how they act, what they wear, and the activities they take part in. Here is where peer pressure comes in: wanting to fit in is how many kids and adults get involved in dangerous or wrong situations.

Deciding what clothes to buy and what sports or extra activities to do is overwhelming, especially with the idea of wanting to fit in. How you dress is a big statement of who you are whether it is sporty or casual or anywhere in between. In today’s generation, people judge on how someone looks instead of taking the chance to get to know someone first before pushing them aside. That causes many issues, one being now kids and even adults make shopping for clothes a lot more stressful then it should be. Finding outfits they may not like but they think others will like more rather than getting clothes they are comfortable being themselves in and expressing their own style. With styles going in and out deciding what you like compared to what is “in” at the time is hard when their self-confidence is based on others.

High school being the biggest place where social status “matters,” kids are putting themselves down for not being something that they wish to be. Wishing to be like someone else however is caused by lack in self-confidence. Parents and friends may not always be able to see the doubt in their loved one, so encouragement is always important give off at any time. Hearing a few kind words from people around you even if you don’t know them can make their day just knowing someone appreciates them in some way. A simple compliment can make a smile appear over self-doubt to brighten someone’s day.

Being aware of a lack of self-confidence is just the beginning in this type of situation. Building up confidence is hard work but with help it can become easier. Staying with friends that you enjoy being around and that are appreciative and kind is great to be involved in. Talking to them about insecurities and issues that can occur can be a stress reliever knowing there are people there for you. It may not always be friends there for you but it could also be parents that you can discuss things with. If not, finding someone that you do feel comfortable enough to talk to and get help is an important step to take. Speaking with that someone will create a connection that will help confidence levels boost with love and support for the person by helping and giving encouragement.

Expressing your style is important to build self-confidence. When shopping they should get clothes they are comfortable in and that reflect their personality. Bringing out there expression of style can really say something about who they are. Showing off what you like can attract friends around you that enjoy some of the same things you do. Connecting over a way that you are yourself and having someone like you will boost your self-esteem knowing you are not alone. Being comfortable in who you are will show great improvement in gaining more confidence.

Working on your confidence is a hard task but doing all these things will help, stepping up to challenges and not hiding behind a wall built up by what you think people around you will think. Showing off what you like and who you are no matter what, stepping up to take a chance as well will all benefit and improve the lack of confidence. Proving who you are to people will show who you can become and could even help others around you that also struggle in self-confidence.

About the Writer
Photo of Marina Hawkins
Marina Hawkins, Social Media Coordinator, Photo Editor

Marina Hawkins is a junior at Durant and is the Photo Editor and the Social Media Coordinator for the PawPrint newspaper. She is also part of the Varsity...

Food waste in America

America is one of the world’s most economically thriving countries. Even so, many Americans are still food insecure.

According to, in America, one in eight people are food insecure. This equals almost 40 million adults and over 12 million children. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) defines food insecurity as a lack of consistent access to enough food to live a healthy happy life.

Recent data from the USDA indicates that about 264 million pounds of excess, edible, and nutritious food are thrown away in all sectors of the food industry every day. That is enough to provide nearly 1.5 tons of food during the year to every man, woman, and child who is hungry in the United States.

Charites such as Waste Not Want Not’s volunteer their time to not only educate the public on the food waste problem but working to fix it. Every day, 363 days a year, the volunteers drive their own cars to these businesses, pick up the donated food, and bring it to a Waste Not Want Not facility. Last year, Waste provided almost two million pounds of food to over 130 charities serving those in need in ten counties. The conservative cost avoidance (the amount they saved by not having to purchase that amount of food) enjoyed by these charities was close to $4,000,000. They rescue unmarketable, but still wholesome, food from supermarkets, restaurants, and other businesses daily. To learn more and see how you can help, visit their website at

Although these businesses play a large part in America’s food waste, we as citizens, are not scotch free. On average each American wastes one pound of food every day. If that doesn’t

make you think, remember that there are 325 million people in America. Now picture the amount of waste produced in a single week, let alone a month.

But even though you may not think so, you personally could make a world of difference. For example, only buy what you need at the store or after dinner at your favorite restaurant, take the left overs home instead of wasting your food and your money.

A small change may seem insignificant now, but just think about a world free of hunger, all because we thought before we threw our food away. You can help solve the problem of food insecurity and excessive food waste by contacting your local government to change waste policies or volunteering with the organizations that work to reduce the food waste and food insecurity.

Carnival Food

Carnival Food

I’m not much of a stickler when it comes to food. I can hold down mostly anything without any trouble. In fact, one of the reasons I actually attend events such as the Strawberry Festival is for the food itself.

As bad as some foods are, I feel as if an overload of carbs and fat is part of the experience of events such as the Strawberry Festival.

Would I really eat deep fried butter, of all things, for a snack after school? Never.

But would I at a fair? Most likely, I would’ve said yes

. And that’s what’s so interesting about the culture of events like the Strawberry Festival. We choose to indulge in the worst foods one could imagine: deep fried cheesecake, deep fried butter, even deep fried bacon, as if that is some kind of excuse. People will choose to cut carbs or fat almost completely out of their diets, but then choose to stuff their face with funnel cake. This concept never even crossed my mind until I spent my day at the Strawberry Festival.

After ingesting a combination of dust, cigarette smoke, and smoked turkey, I told myself it was that time to treat myself. I sought out a deep fried vendor, sealing my stomach’s fate. A short, older man took my order and went to work on my Oreos. Normally I would feel a form of excitement, but this time was different.

As I watched the Oreos float around in a vat of grease, I couldn’t help but think how bad of an idea this would be. I couldn’t unsee those Oreos floating around in my poor stomach.

The vendor asked me if I would like chocolate on it. I reluctantly agreed. After a few minutes, I had them in my hand. I somewhat remember eating a few, but what I remember very vividly is the way my stomach felt on the way home. My stomach sounded like a blue whale for hours on end. I felt a stabbing pain for quite a while whilst laying in my bed, waiting for it to stop.

That’s when I realized that maybe that was more than enough carnival food. The thing is, though, I’ll probably tell myself, “Eh, what the heck,” and eat them again the next chance I get.

That’s just how it is when it comes to temptations of carnival food.

The Problem of Over-Development

An opinion article about how overdeveloping in the U.S. is a problem.


Over the years an increasing amount of land is being used for development because of population expansion; however, when the amount of people in one area has stopped increasing why don’t developers stop building homes?

Developers all over the U.S. are constantly building homes and chain businesses. Because of this overdeveloping, too many people are moving into already crowded areas and wildlife is being disturbed.

In many new neighborhoods, developers cut every single tree down trying to use up all the space they have. Not only do trees help use breathe by giving off oxygen, they are useful because they give shade, especially in Florida. For example, if an individual has many trees covering their home they will have a much cooler environment. In addition, their electricity wouldn’t be as costly because they wouldn’t have to use the air conditioner as often.

Most of the houses being built look identical and have nothing unique about them. Almost every newly developed neighborhood is “slapped” together within a few weeks and then sold off as fast as possible. The care that goes into building homes is minimal and they deteriorate faster than an older home.

Also, these homes are placed right next to one another, which does not allow for privacy. Because of how close these homes are, and of how the developers want to squish as many homes in one neighborhood as possible, there is barely a front and backyard for someone to enjoy.

Wildlife is impacted in a huge way because of over-development. When developers go in to tear down trees and rip out anything alive, animals are left with no habitat and nowhere to go. New developments make it impossible for animals to live anywhere and it’s unfair that they are forced out of their homes.

Overdeveloping causes a multitude of issues not only for us but for animals. At the rate developers are going, there is not going to be any land left for them to build on or for animals to live on.

Should students celebrate Black History Month by dressing in a dashiki?

An opinion article about the ways in which Black History Month is celebrated in high school.

According to many students, this year’s Black History Month celebration at Durant High School was the first year in recent years that the school has celebrated the experience in a big way. Starting February 1, students and faculty alike have been celebrating by representing black culture. Last Friday, administration sent out an email to teachers asking them to share with students an incentive encouraging students to dress in a dashiki one day and in traditional African clothes the next.

To some this recognition of African culture through clothing choice may seem harmless; however, after analyzing the opportunity deeper, I realized that this may encourage cultural appropriation among students.

The majority of students at Durant are Caucasian. Additionally, not every black person at Durant is of African descent.

I felt that this seemingly harmless way to recognize Black History Month could be a repeat of Durant’s pre-homecoming week earlier in the school year, during which students were asked to dress in “Caribbean style.” Many students, not being adequately educated on Caribbean culture, came dressed as hurtful stereotypes.

This lack of education regarding cultural appropriation and the differences between culture and race is a direct result of our southern history–a history tainted with discrimination and stereotypes towards people of color. I do not believe that Durant encourages racism; however, there are individual students at the school that create an uncomfortable and unwelcoming environment for people of color. These students may take an opportunity to “dress in traditional African clothing” and use it to put down their minority classmates.

Not only is the student body generally uneducated on racial history, culture, and appropriation, but some students also speak in racist ways. I spoke to many black students who shared their experiences of feeling “less than” in the community, speaking in particular about the common use of the “n-word” by non-black students. Some said that it should not be used at all, and some students explained how they forgive those who use it, believing the word is used for joking purposes. No matter in what context the “n-word” is used, it has the great potential to devastate those who hear it and I beg all to omit it from their vocabulary.

Many of the black students I spoke with at Durant told me that they built a “thick skin” to deal with constant insensitivity. This may explain why many were just excited to be acknowledged through the opportunity to dress in a dahiki. Many agreed that they would not mind if people of non-African descent wore dashikis.

Durant has many other events planned to honor Black History Month: namely, several performances by the school’s Step Team, music by black singers sung in the halls between classes, and a performance by the school’s gospel choir.

Opinion: Trump’s Road to Impeachment


Since Donald Trump took office as the President of the United States on Jan. 20, 2017 many people have been rioting and pushing towards his impeachment. Trump’s actions and behavior have greatly affected the United States and have also made us a laughing stock to other countries.

During the 2017 election, many allegations were made against Trump saying he assaulted various women; however, Trump has denied all these accusations. There were also several times Trump said an offensive remark towards women.

According to New York Magazine, in 1992, Trump made an offensive statement towards Olympic gold-medalist ice skater Katrina Witt.

“Wonderful looking while on the ice but up close and personal, she could only be described as attractive if you like a woman with a bad complexion who is built like a linebacker,” Trump said.

Trump completely ignores Witt’s successes as an Olympic gold-medalist ice skater and only focused on her appearance.

Also, on July 13, 2017 Trump met the French First Lady, Brigittie Trogneux, and instead of complimenting her achievements as a leader he made a comment towards her physique.

According to The Telegraph, Trump said, “You know, you’re in such good shape.”

These kinds of statements degrade women to only their looks rather than their accomplishments. Trogneux is a feminist and has helped put in place female-friendly policies to help women in France. It’s insulting for an individual to only be recognized for their appearance rather than the successes they’ve made.

In recent events, Trump made a vulgar comment towards other countries. During an immigration meeting Trump describes countries with Black and Latino citizens as “s***hole” countries. This statement is incredibly racist; and this is the man that represents our country. His job is to lead us and protect us, but instead he has insulted his own citizens and it is an embarrassment to this country. By saying this, Trump has created more problems in this country and is influencing more hate.

President Trump needs to get his priorities in order and apologize for his fatuous behavior. If he doesn’t start making changes he is going to seriously hurt the people of America and cost himself his job.

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