Welcome To My Blog!

What better way to begin a blog than with an introduction, right? My name is Kylie Coutinho, and I am a senior majoring in Women’s & Gender Studies. Although I began my college career as a biology major, I quickly realized that being in the laboratory was not for me. It was then that I made the decision to explore courses outside of my discipline. Fortunately, it was the right choice. I remember sitting in my introduction to women’s and gender studies and knowing that I had found where my passion was. 

During that same semester I took a course called women’s health and environment. Two topics that have always intrigued me, merged with activism and social justice. Not only was I able to learn about the way that our experiences and place in society shapes our health and ability to live an adequate life, but I was able to gain knowledge about women’s reproductive health and environmental justice leading to my interest in ecofeminism. 

In addition to my courses in women’s and gender studies, I have taken sustainability and sociology courses related to the environment and relationships that individuals create in connection to the land around them. Dana Bolger, a senior editor at Feministing, a blog run by young feminists devoted to covering a range of social justice issues, writes about the stereotypes coinciding with women farmworkers. Given my previous studies and interest around this topic, the title stood out to me immediately as women workers are often undervalued especially when assuming roles that are not considered “powerful” in modern society. 

As a model for my own blog work, the enticing title starting with “Quote of the Day” and the beginning sentence, short but to the point, kept me reading on and wanting to hear about Bolger’s opinion. Another aspect of this blog’s content that was effective for me was the inclusion of an exact quote from the women speaking as evidence to back up the author’s justification as well as the direct link to the video of the live talk that was being referenced. Although informative about a particular event which illuminates a greater social justice issue, one way that it does not represent a model for my own blog is the lack of explanation and informative statistics about why the misrepresentation of women farmworkers is in fact, a gendered issue. 

The treatment of individuals working the environment is not the only issue facing humanity, but also the treatment of the land itself. A major environmental issue facing the community that I live in is water pollution. According to the Office of Board of Health, there is an excess of nitrogen in the waters of Westport, MA which are in turn leading to potential unsafe levels of bacterial contamination in the drinking water supply. Not only is this affecting recreational enjoyment but posing a threat to human health as the town relies on drinking water wells. 

Image via https://www.facebook.com/WestportRiverWatershedAlliance/

Work from the Westport River Watershed Alliance (WRWA) reports that the amount of nitrogen in the Westport River is 18% over the “healthy” level and is due to faulty septic disposal and wastewater. The WRWA is an association that seeks to inform the public about the health of the water environment while raising awareness about concerns and how to take action through membership, donations, and volunteer opportunities. Fun fact: UMass Dartmouth students have volunteered with the WRWA to clean up Gooseberry Island! 

Here is a calendar of events and list of volunteer opportunities sponsored through the WRWA to promote activism and knowledge in preserving the waters of Westport!

Be sure to also check out this TED-Ed talk for some insight into the importance of the global water problem and how we should go forth in unveiling the bigger issues surrounding it.

13 Replies to “Welcome To My Blog!”

  1. Kylie,
    Your Blog entry was fantastic! professional, informative, including references etc. I had no idea about the water pollution problem in Westport. I did watch the Ted Talk.
    I look forward to your future posts!

    1. Hi Catherine,
      Thank you for your comment! It is always interesting to read about other areas and environmental problems that occur, especially when you get to learn about new things. I’m glad you were able to find out something new about Westport. The water pollution problem is a hot topic right now in the town. There is focus on requiring all residents to replace their septic tanks which can be very costly but essential to improving water health. However, there are questions why the heavy use of nitrogen fertilizers and agricultural runoff is not at the center of the discussion as well. If you are interested in reading more about it here’s a link to some of the questions surrounding water regulations in the town!


  2. Hi Kylie,

    I enjoyed reading your first blog post as the information you presented was very easy to understand. I especially appreciated your addition of the post about farmworkers in your blog. The organizational history and power of farmworkers are often overlooked in media, and it is important to highlight their victories and struggles. As these workers are often the people most impacted by the pesticides used in our food production system, supporting their efforts to improve working conditions and safety connects deeply to ecological and social issues. I look forward to reading more of your posts in this class!

    1. Hi Jennifer,
      I totally agree that farmworkers are too often invisible and undervalued in society although they provide resources and as you mentioned, may work with pesticides that harm their health.
      Thank you for your comment!
      -Kylie C.

  3. Kylie,

    I’m astonished at the start that you’ve got here with your blog! The header is gorgeous, and your writing is warm yet informative, lively yet professional. I wish I could change my answer for the blog that I want to model to yours! Seriously, I can’t find the words to convey how impressive this start was. Even if we weren’t in a class together, I’d want to Subscribe or turn on a Push Notification Bell for your posts.

    You could have a serious career writing about Ecofeminism, and it seems to be where your passions coalesce. After this class, you should consider turning your blog into a side hustle. Slap some ads on there, make some social media pages to promote it, and you could really have the start of something great here. Well, truly, you already do.

    If you ever decide to take this project further, hit me up! LOL

    I love that you included the little tidbit about UMass Dartmouth students. Especially since this is an online class and we’re all from different areas in the US, of different ages, professions, and cultures, it’s awesome to have this to unite over; our common ground.

    I look forward to reading (all) your future posts. Good luck this semester!


    1. Hi Jasmine,
      Thank you so much for your kind words of inspiration! I’m glad to hear that you could see my passion for ecofeminism through my opening blog. I have always pondered over taking up writing or potentially blog writing, maybe this could be a start?

      It’s also great to hear that you liked reading about the work UMass Dartmouth students have done in the surrounding community. Like you mentioned, not everyone is within distance from the campus so it’s always great to hear about local happenings from each student!

      Looking forward to reading all the work from our classmates this semester!

      -Kylie C.

  4. Hi Kylie,

    I loved your TED-Ed talk about water consumption.
    I lived in Westport for over 10 years, and I loved every minute of it. My goal is to move back in the not-so-distant future as I love living in the country.

    When most people think of water scarcity, they associate the problem with LDCs (Less Developed Countries), but we are seeing the onset of what will become “our” problem if we don’t stop polluting our rivers and drinking water supplies.

    Unfortunately, in Westport most septic systems are outdated and property owners are not required to replace the systems unless they fail, or the property changes ownership. With much of the population being ages 65 and over, many homes still use old systems, and many still utilize cesspools. Wells and the drinking water supply also follow a similar fate in that unless there are issues with a well, such as very poor pressure, or sewer contamination, they can go unreplaced for MANY decades. And, although new septic systems must be built at the least 100ft away from the water wells, the older systems are most likely not within regulation.

    I look forward to your posts and our work this semester!


    1. Hi Rose,
      Westport is a great place, I hope that your able to move back as you plan in the near future! I’m glad you brought up that environmental problems are not absent in any area of the world. We tend to think our own culture as superior and unable to be afflicted by any crises; however, there are many systems and policies in the United States per say that deliberately pose environmental threats in specific communities and disconnect us with nature which I hope we can all learn about through each other this semester!
      Kylie C.

  5. Kylie, So nice to have a class with you again. I hope your break and New Year was restful. The links and video you added to this week’s blog were very helpful to the central theme of your topic. I also really appreciated your micro (waters of Westport, MA) and macro (global water scarcity) lens into the issues with the environment.

    Here’s to a great semester!

    1. Hi Jillian,
      Thank you for your comment! It’s great to have class with you again as well and hope your break was restful too! I’m glad you found the key issues in my blog post helpful and were able to analyze the environmental issue from various perspectives. Looking forward to reading your blog posts this semester!
      Kylie C.

  6. Hi Kylie!
    I really enjoyed reading your blog! I thought that the TedTalk was informative and a great add on to what you were discussing regarding the waters of Westport, MA. I also thought that adding a calendar of events and list of volunteer options was a great way to spread awareness and build community. Three years back I was an intern for MassPirg working on the 100% renewable energy campaign, therefore I think that advertising people to get more involved in the community is super important and rewarding.
    I was intrigued by the water pollution that you talked about in your post. I discussed water quality in my blog post as well where I live in Plymouth, NH. Some people here use town water and many others use well water. One of my jobs is as a server at a restaurant that uses well water and on multiple occasions minerals like iron cause the water to taste metallic, so we end up getting lots of complaints. Even though those are natural water pollutants, our aquatic life that lives in lakes is affected by sodium chloride which comes from road salt and ends up causing algal bloom and invasive plant species to increase.
    With Westport including coastal wetlands, it reminded me of this website and book called Project Drawdown which discusses solutions, programs and resources for climate change and clean energy. Regarding coastal wetlands, they have a page that talks about how important coastal wetland protection is and how over a long period of time, they can store carbon five times more than tropical forests. I think that their whole website is really interesting so here’s a link if you want to check it out!

    I look forward to reading more of your posts in the future!

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