Ecological Footprint Project

Calculation of Footprint: 12.9

Comparison of Footprint to Others

I notice that my footprint is a lot larger than my peers, and I believe this is mainly because of the amount of sports I do weekly and the living space required for the actvities outside of my own home. An example of this is how my barn is on approximately 40,000 square meters, on top of my 1800 sqm house and the school where I spend most of my time.  Some areas where my footprint was lower than others was in my water use area (I do not take baths and my showers are only about 5 minutes each), as well as how much money I spend daily (not that much as I tend to spend a lot in later quantities at once).

Things That Increase My Footprint 

  1. Showering very often for a long duration of time
  2. Eating foods or using products that contain high amounts of plastic content
  3. Taking private vehicles every day to a work or school environment 
  4. Buying new clothes every time you need a new wardrobe in comparison to up cycling and second hand materials
  5. Eating more meat
  6. Participating in activities and sports that are indoor or have facilities that require large buildings or parking lots
  7. Not composting organics or recycling suitable products
  8. Buying food that was not grown in BC or locally
  9. Leaving taps and hoses on for unnecessary reasons
  10. Wearing matching socks 

Of these ten detrimental environmental impacts, I have chosen 5 that I have attempted to change  to maintain a friendlier ecological footprint. I have started to take the bus more to school in the mornings, regardless of the fact that my parents are available to drive me or not. I chose this mainly because pollution and gasoline is a large contributing factor to the amount of carbon monoxide in the air and how unchangeable this problem may become in our future. When I am buying groceries by myself or with my mum I encourage her to buy things more locally grown and support farmers and growers in BC. One of the largest steps I have made as a person in my life to help myself be nicer to the environment is me going vegetarian in 2013. The livestock industry contributes more greenhouse gas emissions globally than the transport sector and the ecological footprint of vegetarians is estimated to be around half that of meat eaters. The last thing I tried to better for myself is wearing second hand clothes because I find myself throwing out a lot of my own clothes because I was unaware of how to up cycle them properly.  I chose these things to work on because I knew they would be accomplishable for me and I would not drop the ball or forget about them because I knew I would enjoy helping the earth and attempting to make an impact. 

The hardest change I had to make throughout this experience was wearing more second hand clothing. This is because I really enjoy shopping for new clothes and being able to do that dwindled the more I wore other peoples clothes instead of buying. My mum and I have created a system where at the end of each month we go through all the clothes we no longer wear and send them to value village, and shop for more clothes for ourselves while we are there. Giving up meat was not considered a large or challenging change for me because animals are very important to me and it made me uncomfortable to eat them in the first place, and I knew giving up the ability to do that would also help towards greenhouse gasses and the negative effects of farming. This change would probably be the easiest one for me to make because I also recognized how it would change my life and how much I wished to impact the people around me. I continue to tell people how positive going vegetarian can be for someone and how helpful it can be, because I believe things cannot be spread without people advocating their opinions about them. An obstacle I encountered while trying to drive to school less and use the bus more was the contradicting times with my schedule. I have to take 2 and sometimes 3 buses to school each day and they don’t always line up, leaving me waiting for up to 30 minutes in the morning. Since it also takes longer to get to school using public transit, I had to wake up earlier in my day which also proved challenging since I enjoy sleeping quite a bit. The way I solved this problem was going to sleep earlier at night and setting more than one alarm to insure I actually woke up instead of sleeping through them all. The steps I will and continue to take in my future include staying vegetarian for as long as my other medical dietary restrictions allow me to, create and organize systems to up cycle clothing and not buy things I do not need, buy local groceries when I move out for myself (when I have more control on what I can spend my personal money on) and continue to maintain a better sleep schedule so I can take public transit more instead of relying on my parents.


In Depth 2019 – Final Post

I am extremely happy with how my learning and exploration of photography has expanded throughout this entire experience and I would do it over again in a heartbeat. My mentor was helpful, forgiving, knowledgable, caring and helpful when showing me the ropes and basics of learning to take photos like a professional. Of course learning such a large hobby needed to be toned down to some more graspable aspects, so each session we narrowed down separate concepts to focus on. The main ones include:

  1. Posing: positioning models (humans, animals, objects) in such a posture that produces flattering images with proper focal points
  2. Backgrounds and lighting: learning what backlight is and when to use it vs frontal lighting and the use of natural sunlight on different facial angles
  3. Portrait shooting: things to keep in mind for using models and taking people on shoots (finding locations, setting times with use of daylight, outfits, poses, action shots, etc)
  4. Editing: exploring software such as Adobe Photoshop and InDesign and the basics on how to manipulate and change images a certain way


TALONS Adopt A Trail group working on bettering the environment by maintaining the Scott Creek Trail by their school, Gleneagle.

So far the final artifact I have completed for my final project is completing my finalized personal photography website. This page highlights the main things I enjoyed about this project in different tabs in my gallery (equine, portraits, nature) and a few photos from each shooting location in each tab. I also have included a blog which I am regularly adding posts to, a “contact me” menu for shoot bookings (also an option on my Instagram page) and an about me. This website was very fun to make as I am also very heavily invested in digital and graphic design and enjoyed putting these skills to use.


How close can I get to a wild animal with a small 18-55 mm kit lense?

For my final learning centre I will be showcasing my website on my laptop in front of a poster with some highlighted concepts (such as the ones listed above in this post) of what I learned. So far the vision I have for this poster is writing boxes in the middle of a trip fold and some more images I have taken on either side. I will also have some landscape photos professionally printed on the table for people to take as they walk by. Additionally on my table I will be displaying the  book I wrote for ZIP 2019 about the Impact and Origin of Photography, also mentioned in my website:

Thank you to everyone who help[ed me along with this project!

Looking forward to In Depth Night!


English Civil War Letter

English Civil War – Daily Life 17th Century Letter Assignment                                    April 22, 2019

Michaela Da Silva

Massachusetts Bay Colony, England

September 1st, 1664

Dear Father,

Hi dad, do you remember me? It has been a while since I last wrote, but it became too hard for me to find spare paper and my last pen I stole from the markets ran out of ink. Anyways, I hope everything is good for you right now and you are being treated nicely in your new position for the British Army.  My cousins and I have started to work more on uncle William’s farm so financially we are fine and everybody is getting fed. We are preparing a meal for when you come home, sort of like a celebration for the work you have done while you are here, even if just a brief time. I’m doing pretty okay right now but it’s really hard to live with mom’s absence all the time… Charlie and I have  been spending more time at the cousin’s place just to distract ourselves. Where does mom even go? I see her in the markets and in the alleyways behind town and such but lately she has just been home in the evening and mornings. Maybe it is just because we are getting older and she’s letting us do things for ourselves now, but I have to say it gets pretty scary sometimes. I mean, Charlie is doing okay. He found a rat in our shed a few weeks ago and it’s been running around our house like his little pet. I’m just worried about where mom goes and who she is with. I’m sure you have heard by now about the increase of executions and popularity of witch hunts happening. Johannes tells me rumours of tha Hopkins fellow roaming the streets around the towns, and it makes me even more nervous about mom. You are gone all the time so it’s just me, her and Charlie and we are pretty financially and mentally stable right now so I can see how she could come across as… peculiar? I try to talk to her and get her to stay inside more and not talk to the weird people by the south sides but you know she just likes to roam and try new things and explore. She takes our money into the night markets and comes back with all sorts of trinkets for Charlie and I. That must not look very good to the citizens and outsiders. I guess there isn’t much for me to worry about. I’m sure she will be okay. But please hurry home, the last thing I want to is to see her unrightfully burned at the stake for something she isn’t.

Miss you loads,



Animal Farm Questions

Is it more important to have a strong ideology or leader for a revolution to occur? What tactics do leaders use to convince others of their ideologies?


Having a strong leader kick starts a revolution and provides a solid platform for a revolution or change of beliefs to occur.  Leaders are important because they are the people (or pigs) who get others behind them and promote their ideas to make their opinions relevant and popular. In Animal Farm, Old Major had ideas and a dream about a different life that could be lead by the animals and by calling together the farm and effectively expressing his ideas he started a new way of thinking for his comrades: “animalism” (3,11). From strong leaders, strong beliefs are created and others start to become more opinionated on the topic. After Old Major died, Napoleon took a stance as the leader whose goal was to change the animal’s lives for the better and persuade them to think like him. Without a strong leader such as Napoleon or Snowball in this story, the animals would have trouble banding together as one and working to change their own lives and revolt against the humans. Some tactics leaders use to convince others of their ideologies is promoting the benefits of what they are fighting for and expressing  how much better a situation could be than the current. Leaders can manipulate others, protest against something/someone else, or express their opinions in a way that puts down others to make theirs sound popular and in the right.


To what extent does power and privilege or lack thereof affect the beliefs and actions of individuals in a revolution?


Leaders in a revolution and those who are able to passionately speak up about what is on their mind are the most powerful people in a revolution because they are able to express new ideologies that influence other people. Power and privilege is related to this because   often the people with more authority in a revolution are able to more freely and respectfully convey their thinking (as in more people listen to them or are more prone to listen to what they have to say). In Animal Farm, Napoleon is a strong and opinionated character who was given the authority and appointed some sort of authoritative leader by the other animals and because of this he has a large impact on the way the other animals think and feel about their major conflicts. Closer to the end of the story Napoleon becomes more affirmative in his beliefs regarding the statement “all animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others.” This changes the way the animals think because it sways some of them to believe and stand behind him and causes others to recognize what could be wrong or biased (such as Mollie earlier in the book)(7). When there is little or no power in a situation and no authoritative figure to express strong beliefs, people are more prone to thinking to themselves because there is little to base their opinions from and they are less susceptible to change.


In your opinion was the revolution successful? Was there any other options to bring about the animal’s desire to change? If so, what could have been done? If not, what made the revolution inevitable?


In my opinion the revolution was not successful because the animals resorted to some of the beliefs they harshly opposed in the beginning. The opinionated movements of the way of life only benefited the pigs because they were the ones who were able to take charge and change things as to what they saw fit. The other animals are sacrificing some possible other contrasting opinions about the leadership positions and how the farm is being controlled because they believe the pigs are worthy and “more important” than anyone else (9). Because of this, the pigs are able to do whatever pleases them on the farm with little arguments or oppositions, such as building the windmill to “do their work for them” and writing (and countlessly revising) the commandments (15). I feel like there could have been better ways to solve the conflicts, and this story is a good example of how leaders who have boastful, controlling and cocky ruling styles can run a very controversial system of order. In the beginning the animals had effective communication methods by meeting to discuss their thoughts. But after struggling with the commandments, relationship with humans and neighboring farms, dealing with contrary opinions and living in the farmhouse the sense of questioning and frustration started to overpower the initial feelings of motivation. This is similar to Charles I and his relationship with Parliament in the English civil war because Charles also dealt with those who did not agree with his leadership style. Charles and James alike both had an arguably controversial way of order which involved voicing their strong opinions, similar to the pigs in animal farm. Overall, the revolution only benefited a minor group of the animals therefore it should not be considered successful. The revolution was not inevitable but it may have been seen as the most directly effective way to deal with the animal’s problems with the humans.




Significant Personal Object Assignment

What is the story of my jade bracelet from the Yukon?



This is my natural pure jade stone and brass link bracelet from the Yukon. The stone for the bracelet was brought in specially for the construction of the bracelet to a jeweler of my mom’s friend who has a small business in Port Moody, and the bear charm was made for my great aunt in the Yukon where she lives. She brought it here for me with a note card explaining the benefits and history of jade and we turned it into a bracelet with matching stone. It was produced both here (the bracelet itself) and in the Yukon (the more significant bear charm). This is a primary source because I obtained it and helped create it.


The main events that were happening in my life when this was produced the moving around of my family on travels and moves around the country. When my aunt moved a very long time ago to north Yukon for her job she wanted to bring back something memorable for me I would see as a part of her life and legacy. She is a very wise, old fashioned person with strong beliefs and opinions about the world. This influenced her because she wanted a piece of her as well as our indigenous background to be represented and remembered in me when she gave me the bear charm. I use the bracelet as a reminder I can always go to her for advice and to go to philosophy and cultural identity to learn more about our heritage and meaning.


I notice the bear charm has been put much effort into and has great detail to look accurate and meaningful. This is important for this artifact because it needs to accurately convey the depiction of the bear and what its meaning is. To me, it isn’t as much the physical bracelet that is important but the symbolism behind it and who it came from. I can explain almost everything behind this bracelet as to where it came from physically but would have to look more into the importance of the actual jade stone and the bear, and why my great aunt chose to give this to me at that specific time of my life.


As mentioned in the prior paragraph, I believe the main influence on the creation of this artifact was the intention of doing something nice for another person in regards to the fact that it is a gift from my great aunt, and the desire to create something meaningful and personal. It is clear the audience and intended consumer was myself. The strongest belief system that played a role in this artifact was our historical heritage and our indigenous background. The animal represented and stone used for the bracelet has been a recognized piece in my family and my great aunt believes very strongly in knowing upon our pasts and keeping traditions in families.


From examining this piece I have grown my admiration for my great aunt and her desire to maintain positive relationships within the family and a connection with our pasts. I did not learn anything new from examining the bracelet further but I was able to think more about how it came to be and how important it actually is to me. Writing this piece allowed me to think back in detail to when we were making the bracelet and the story behind its creation. I will cherish it for as long as I can and think back to how I can use it to remember my aunt and everything she did to make sure I was happy, educated, loved and grounded as a person.



What Makes and Breaks a Relationship? Analyzing MND Characters

Michaela Da Silva

March 10th, 2019


English 9


Creating and maintaining relationships is a large and impactful aspect of everyone’s lives and affects everyone, from romantic partners to best friends. In William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, four lovers struggle with contrasting feelings towards each other and strange forest love spells when trying to figure out who they really love. By analyzing the friendship between Oberon and Puck as well as the bond between Hermia and Demetrius, we see that those in a relationship must have a strong, passionate connection to one another that is fuelled by genuine love and feelings as opposed to other selfish benefits of the relationship. This includes being devoted and loyal to each other and wanting to grow as one.


Oberon and Puck’s friendly, exciting relationship accentuates the significance of being engaging and forgiving to yourself and the other person in the relationship. Puck gets into plenty of mischief throughout the play, such as when he gave the love spell to the wrong Athenian man, but this never leads to strong tension or serious issues between Puck and Oberon (2.1.264-271). Although Puck is like a servant to Oberon, both members put forth passionate efforts to be with one another and make the other happy. They are not afraid to make mistakes, go outside of their comfort zones and try new things around each other. When Puck fetches the love juice from the flower for Oberon, he is doing something he knows will be fun to watch fold out and will make Oberon happy. This also goes for how he played tricks on the mechanicals and Titania when he turns Bottom into an ass (3.1.100-109). On the contrary, Oberon is aware of Puck’s love for playing with pranks and enjoys having fun with him when they get into a little trouble. These points relate to having a passionate connection with one another because it shows the bond between the two characters and how they are loyal to one another while keeping the relationship engaging and forgiving.  


Unlike Puck and Oberon’s relationship, Demetrius and Hermia’s relationship is fuelled by the want for status, authority, and money under the Athenian Law. Their relationship warns us about how one can be blindsided by the needs (as opposed to the desire) to fall in love and what comes with it. Hermia is in love with Lysander and wants to pursue true love, while Demetrius claims he is in love with Hermia but is preoccupied by the benefits of the marriage (such as money). Rushing into a relationship does not benefit the characters as they do not have a passionate connection with one another and are prompted to be together purely based on the opinions of others. This creates resentment, jealousy, and distance between the two and pushes them further away from each other. As stated at the beginning of the play, “you have her father’s love, let me have Hermia’s” Lysander is saying how Demetrius resides strongly on the side of the law and has captured the admiration of Egeus but not Hermia (1.1.95). True love should be based on how you bond with someone and your feelings towards them, not telescoping yourself to capturing the love of someone else and using manipulation to love the other person in the relationship (Hermia). It is clear to us that Demetrius has wryly and deceiviously created a stronger connection with Egeus to win him over than with Hermia. Neither character is dependent, loyal or respectful to each other and their romantic connection is not whole and loving.
To conclude, by analyzing character relationships in William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, we see that those in a relationship must have a devoted love and bond to one another that is not preoccupied with money and the opinions of others. As demonstrated by Oberon and Puck’s friendship, it can be concluded that relationships must be loyal and engaging for all members. This is can be applied to our own lives when figuring out what love is and how to properly navigate what is important in a healthy relationship. Love and friendships can be unfounded, confusing, and slow sometimes. It can hit lows and rough spots, arguments, distance, and tension. But love is also exciting and new and cleansing and beautiful. Because, after all, the course of true love never did run smooth (1.1.135).

ZIP 2019 #5



During this week’s session, Kim and I focused on learning the basics of portrait editing on Photoshop (Adobe) and how to apply this to the types of photos I am taking on a daily basis. This was a very interactive session; Kim showed me how to do do a specific task such as balance foregrounds with curves using a histogram and let me do it on a different image afterward. She tested me on terminology and tools such as “how do I change her hair color” and “what is a healing spot brush.” I had to listen intently to how she explained each aspect and what it is useful for. At one point, Kim showed me how to blur out acne and zit blemishes on someone’s face. I remembered a client I did a photo shoot for a while ago who asked if I could blur out eye bags and unwanted pigment on their face and I did not know how to do it. I pulled up the photo and Kim showed me how to seamlessly edit the marks out while keeping the person’s face flush and organized. She talked quite a bit about common misconceptions when editing red eyes and closed eyes on family portraits and how to avoid problems she sees a lot in beginning photographers. I explored this area more with her because I know that myself as a learner tends to go fast and rush through things and make plenty of mistakes in my work, and I want to work better to avoid popular mistakes to create radiant, attractive photos. This was the main area I asked for clarification on and more in-depth exploration of the topic.

Some questions I asked during this session include

How do I make backlight and black background photos?

I asked this question because I take a lot of photos for people at the barn and I get many people ask me if I am able to take these kinds of photos for them. Kim showed me how to do them and how to set up for them properly on an actual shoot. I am excited to try out this new skill at my next shoot, I think people will really enjoy the photos.

What are your opinions on different editing apps?

I asked this question because I know photography editing software can be really expensive for the right ones. Right now editing and taking photos is just a side hobby of mine so I don’t want to invest that much into apps and lenses. Kim showed me some apps she used and their benefits, while also comparing Mac to PC and different prices.

I am pleased with how the session went and (once again) how much I learned in such a short amount of time. I am excited to put my new skills to the test on my spring break trip to Australia and apply what I know now to photoshoots in the future. I will be starting my private blog soon and work together with a more detailed plan for my final project.


In Depth 2019 #3


In Depth Blog Post #2 – Making an Interesting Conversation

During this session with my, mentor we focused on posing our models for portraits and choosing the right backgrounds. To help us I brought along one of my very good friends and her dog to model for us. I chose to bring her because I took photos for her a few years ago when I was just learning how to shoot, and it will be nice to compare the photos from then and now to see my progress. This was the most engaging session I had with Kim because we found a lot more things to talk about (that also included my friend, Adina) and we able to relate with what we were talking about without straying off topic. Photography is also a passion of Adina’s so she was also captivated by what Kim had to say and from that we were both able to generate ideas and inquiries from her knowledge. This is a small excerpt from one of our conversations:


Kim: One thing I suggest doing that really helps me when I am doing shoots for people with dogs or just dogs alone is keeping a squeaky toy in my camera bag to get their attention

Adina: Yeah, that really works with Coco

Me: We do that with shoots at the barn actually. We use whistles and clickers or throw sand in the air to get their ears forward

Adina: We should make one big photography backpack that has horse and dog and cat attention-getters and treats and stuff

Me: That would be awesome since I do take pics of a lot of animals

Kim: Don’t forget the cameras and your lenses though!


This conversation represents how we kept the discussion engaging and relatable for all of us while staying on topic to photography. I had a lot of fun this session learning more with Kim and having Adina there made it chill and enjoying for all of us. I worked on my communication skills more (asking questions, clarifying my concerns or confusions, listening and writing things down) and it really helped to keep us talking and circulating our thoughts.

I am looking forward to learning how to edit photos with Adobe next session!


Midsummer Nights Dream – Convincing Theseus

Good evening, great and honourable Duke of Athens


I am writing this letter to persuade you regarding the subject of Hermia and which man should have the right to take her hand in marriage.

I have LAWFUL RIGHT to marry Hermia for Eugeus has given me consent under the Athenian law. The law, however, should be out of question in this situation because I have already been given permission. Lysander is not worthy of taking Hermia from me as I love her greatly and will make sure she is extremely well taken care of. I am worthy of her and Egeus’s love and would do anything to protect dear Hermia from leading a miserable life without me. Under the law, if she refuses my hand in marriage she is sentenced to a loveless life of nunnery or death. Lysander is betraying the notion and putting Hermia in a great deal of danger surrounding Egues and the wedding.


People have called me unloyal for previously loving Helena but I say that I am more worthy of a man to wed Hermia than Lysander ever will be! My love for Helena is in the past and I am dedicated to Hermia now. We will live a long, loving, consensual marriage and right in the name of the law. Lysander should be banished from Athens as he is a pest and tried to win Hermia over with magic! He had bewitch’d the bosom of her and won her over with gifts and songs and tokens of his love. Unacceptable, if you ask me. Lysander and Hermia’s wedding would be frowned upon by Athens and illegal.


Thank you for taking time to read this letter. Best wishes towards your wedding and life with Hippolyta.