December 4th: Final Paper Second Paragraph
THESIS: Although food waste may not come across as something that has a huge effect on the future of our planet, filling up a plate with portions so large that they will be unfinished and thrown away actually contributes to global warming through the excessive use of fossil fuel.
While it would be much easier to have one person or group to blame, pretty much everyone who is fortunate enough to eat daily is responsible for the 133 billion pounds of food that are being wasted each year. It is estimated that the United States actually wastes about $165 billion worth of food alone. Where does all of that food go though, and how does this have an effect on the world’s current high maintenance struggle of climate change? The unpleasant fact that the food system causes 33% of the total of global warming effects starts with the simple throwing away of unfinished food on a plate at a meal, or tossing of items that spoiled in a refrigerator. Precious discarded remains of food then quickly make their way from garbage cans to landfills. Instead of reaching some of the 805 million people that go to bed hungry every night, more than a third of the food we grow and produce ends up decaying in these landfills. As food decays, it emits methane, a greenhouse gas that is stronger than carbon dioxide, into our atmosphere. As methane becomes mixed with the air that circulates around the globe, heat gets trapped in the atmosphere, causing the Earth to get warmer. While the earth has been heating up 1.7 degrees fahrenheit since 1880, warnings from scientists have been consistently ignored. Now, greenhouse gases like methane have built up to dangerous levels, making it possible for the planet to reach a height of being 8 degrees hotter by 2040 or 2045. If people keep continuously failing to take action, some of the worst case scenario’s that could occur 25 to 30 years into our planet’s future are the collapsing of food production, escalation of prices on food, and the beginning of serious mass starvation.
December 2nd: REVISED Final Paper First Paragraph
December 17th, 2015
Over four thousand miles away in northeast Brazil lives a woman that works vigorously on a piece of land that is struggling for survival; this woman’s name is Maria José. Day after day, Maria tirelessly milks and cares for cows on a dairy farm in the small village of Lagoa de Sao Miguel, where she lives with her husband Roseria. While she can typically chuckle and say, “People say that I do a man’s job, but I like to do it,” the change in our climate is actually making it increasingly challenging for her to even do her job. Maria and her husband have been walking a tightrope over the past four years, doing their best to not let the worsening drought of their region overcome their farm and overthrow their lives. However, it has caused their dozens of cows to lack fodder and pasture to live and feed on, leading to a smaller amount of milk produced and a decreased income for Maria and her husband. Due to these factors, they have been driven to make unoptional decisions such as turning to Roseria’s cousin for more property to graze their cows, and Maria José’s relative for a reservoir where nearly half of their cows will be cared for until 2016, something that Maria and Roseria can no longer do. As selling milk has become the couple’s only source of income, they constantly search for any kind of solutions that could potentially ease the financial burden they’ve been trying to shake for years. Their lessening income not only affects their ability to successfully operate their dairy farm, but also puts a dent in how much food they can purchase and put on their table at the beginnings and ends of long, hard worked days. That may be sad in itself, but what is even worse is how the world population chooses to waste one third of the food that is grown and produced, which could be going to struggling people like Maria and Roseria. While most news sources tend to focus most on things like melting glaciers or the decrease in the population of specific animal when it comes to climate change, there are actually untold stories like this of how real people like Maria José and Roseria are coping and finding solutions when being forced to adapt to the unpredictable weather patterns that climate change causes. [THESIS] Although food waste may not come across as something that has a huge effect on the future of our planet, filling up a plate with portions so large that they will be unfinished and thrown away actually contributes to global warming through the excessive use of fossil fuel.
November 24th: Final Paper First Paragraph
Title Goes Here
Over four thousand miles away in northeast Brazil lives a woman that works vigorously on a piece of land that is struggling for survival; this woman’s name is Maria José. Day after day, Maria tirelessly milks and cares for cows on a dairy farm in the small village of Lagoa de Sao Miguel, where she lives with her husband Roseria. While she can typically chuckle and say, “People say that I do a man’s job, but I like to do it,” the change in our climate is actually making it increasingly challenging for her to even do her job. Maria and her husband have been walking a tightrope over the past four years, doing their best to not let the worsening drought of their region overcome their farm and overthrow their lives. However, it has caused their dozens of cows to lack fodder and pasture to live and feed on, leading to a smaller amount of milk produced and a decreased income for Maria and her husband. Due to these factors, they have been driven to make unoptional decisions such as turning to Roseria’s cousin for more property to graze their cows, and Maria José’s relative for a reservoir where nearly half of their cows will be cared for until 2016, something that Maria and Roseria can no longer do. As selling milk has become the couple’s only source of income, they constantly search for any kind of solutions that could potentially ease the financial burden they’ve been trying to shake for years. Their lessening income not only affects their ability to successfully operate their dairy farm, but also puts a dent in how much food they can purchase and put on their table at the beginnings and ends of long, hard worked days. That may be sad in itself, but what is even worse is how the world population chooses to waste one third of the food that is grown and produced, which could be going to struggling people like Maria and Roseria. While most news sources tend to focus most on things like melting glaciers or the decrease in the population of specific animal when it comes to climate change, there are actually untold stories of how real people like Maria José and Roseria are coping and finding solutions when being forced to adapt to the unpredictable weather patterns that climate change causes. Although food waste may not come across as something that has a huge effect on the future of our planet, filling up a plate with portions so large that they will be unfinished and thrown away actually contributes to global warming through the excessive use of fossil fuel.
November 19th: Final Paper Start
Over four thousand miles away in northeast Brazil lives two women that work vigorously on a piece of land that is struggling for survival. Day after day, two women named Roseira and Maria José milk and care for cows on their dairy farm where they live in the small village of Lagoa de Sao Miguel. While Roseria can typically chuckle and say, “People say that I do a man’s job, but I like to do it,” the change in our climate which causes unpredictable weather patterns is actually making it increasingly challenging for her to even do her job.
November 12th: What I Learned From our Project: Reflection on Tame the Change
During the spring of my senior year of highschool, I committed to Cabrini College. After making this very monumental decision in my life, my parents and I and then decided that it would be beneficial for me to attend a few events over the summer, leading up to my freshman year. When attending Accepted Students Day this past summer, I remember being faced with the question of whether or not I should join a Living and Learning Community, a Learning Community, or neither. The idea of these “communities” was something I had not heard about at any other college visits, however, they didn’t seem like a bad idea. While living with people in my major did not seem too appealing to me, as I was eager to branch out as much as I could and as early as I could, being grouped together with a number of Communications students off the bat was something I liked the sound of. Now, about six months later, I can confidently say that being part of Cabrini’s Freshman Communications Learning Community was one of the best choices I could have made to start off my four years of college.
I had absolutely no expectations when beginning Dr. Zurek’s ECG 100 course, besides the fact that his name was positively engraved into my brain from my mom having him as her own Communications professor when she attended Cabrini years ago. While discussing multiple global issues in the course though, I had come to an early realization that I had not put any thought into the general topic of global issues in my past. Worldly issues have typically seemed to be something I would only put minimal thought into when I’ve had to, or when they’ve been directly put in front of my face or brought to my attention. While my high school history and religion classes have discussed a few global issues from time to time, I have never gone in depth with the subject until taking this course.
Just like the broad topic of global issues, I have also not put any thought into the topic of Climate Change before starting this course. There is no doubt in my mind that I would have not been able to answer the question of what “Climate Change” is up until two months ago, when we started discussing it in ECG 100. As I’m not completely oblivious to what is going on in the world, I’ve known the basics of global warming being some sort of thing that is harming our planet, that recycling is “better” for the environment, and that it is “better” to use solar energy. However, I never knew why those kinds of decisions were truly “better,” or the actual repercussions of the careless decisions that I was making on the other side of the spectrum. ECG 100 caused me to be educated and impacted by not only the issue of Climate Change, but other issues as well, more than I ever knew I could be.
When beginning this course, I was first impacted by thinking about something as simple as a t-shirt. After learning about how t-shirts and other consumer products are made by people around the world, I was made more aware of how much truly goes into the production of something that first class United States citizens like myself tend to view as practically nothing. I also gained an increasingly humble attitude or mindset after becoming more aware of the bare bones of the lives of the people that produce t-shirts and other consumer products. My eyes were furthered opened to the bare bones of the lives of people around the world when moving onto the reading of Enrique’s Journey, learning about migrants coming from Latin America in search of safety of a better life. During that time, I also put a lot of thought into the backgrounds of the migrants in my hometown of Kennett Square, which is something I really had never done before. Finally, while learning about climate change over the past few weeks, I became more conscious how my day to day actions can either harm or help the present and future of our environment. I have begun to make small changes when it comes to my everyday choices, with hopes of contributing to a bigger, worldly difference. This leads me to confidently say that I have become engaged with the issue of Climate Change through creating #TametheChange.
While Tame the Change originally just appeared to me as a “class project,” it actually turned out to have a large impact on my mindset in my everyday life. After being educated on climate change, then researching the specifics of it myself, I felt as if it would have been foolish of me to not try to make a difference when I knew exactly how I could. Tame the Change caused me to make simple changes in my life, such as always turning off all of my lights when I leave my dorm to save energy, using a reusable water bottle as much as possible, and not putting more food on my plate than I will actually eat during meals. Through Cabrini Day, I was also given the opportunity to help others become engaged with the issue of climate change, after becoming personally engaged with it myself.
However, I would have definitely not have gotten as engaged as I did with the issue of Climate Change without always having an extra push from my classroom coach, Mackenzie Harris. Having the phenomenal classroom coach that we do brought an additional, impactful source of motivation and reassurance to both the inside and outside of our ECG 100 classes. Mackenzie has been consistently engaged with our class, always guiding us in the right direction and pushing us to dig deeper. I remember her actually talking to myself and a few other students briefly about climate change during the time of Enrique’s Journey, simply because she was so excited and eager for all of us to get involved with it. If it wasn’t for my classroom coach, I don’t think I would have cared or learned about climate change as much as I have now allowed myself to, or have tried to actually get involved and make a difference like I currently am.
Through my first three months as a student at Cabrini College, classes like ECG 100 and events like Cabrini Day have lead Cabrini’s goal of “Education of the Heart” to definitely have a meaning to myself. Currently, I believe that “Education of the Heart” means that at Cabrini, students not only get a thorough education, but also learn how to give back and make a difference through that education. In other words, an education at Cabrini College of course affects the mind, but also affects the heart at the same time. Tame the Change definitely played a role in my understanding of Cabrini’s goal, as it gave me early, personal experience of it. Through Tame the Change, I have been thoroughly educated on the global issue of climate change, while having it first touch my heart, then spreading the message of it at Cabrini Day to touch the hearts of others.
November 3rd: Script
*Participant enters food waste station*
Part 1- Eric:
Hello! How are you? My name is Chef Eric and I’m one of the masterminds behind what you eat for lunch in your typical high school or college cafeteria. Today’s meal is a lovely, high class dish of chicken tenders, french fries, and mac and cheese. Which plate would you like me to serve to you?
*Participant picks plate with smaller portions or plate with bigger portions*
Part 1 Continued- Eric:
Now that you’ve made your decision, you can move right along! Thanks for stopping by!
Part 2- Shannon (with bigger portions reflection):
Filling up a plate with portions so large that you’re likely to not finish it and throw the last of it away actually contributes to global warming through the excessive use of fossil fuel.
- When food is grown and shipped, fossil fuels are being used. Wasted food equals wasted fossil fuels. Wasted fossil fuels equals wasted greenhouse gas emissions, which trap heat in the environment and cause the Earth to get hotter.
- You should have good taste, and don’t food waste!
Part 3- Hope (with smaller portions reflection):
It might surprise you, but filling up a plate with reasonable sized portions, so that you finish everything on it, actually helps the environment. After all, you can always go back for seconds, right?
- Produced but uneaten food occupies almost 3.4 acres of land. About 1.3 billion pounds of food are wasted every year as well. If you continue to only fill up a plate with as much as you’ll actually eat, that number could potentially decrease!
- You can continue on now. But remember to keep having good taste, and don’t food waste!
Part 4- Angelina (bringing the portion reflections home):
- One third of the food that we grow and produce, we actually end up throwing away.
- Through hunger, the poor will suffer the most.
- So, basically… You should have good taste, and don’t food waste.
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Aubrey, Allison. “It’s Time To Get Serious About Reducing Food Waste, Feds Say.” The Salt. NPR, 16 Sept. 2015. Web. 2 Nov. 2015. <http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2015/09/16/440825159/its-time-to-get-serious-about-reducing-food-waste-feds-say>.
“Converting food waste into solid fuels, biodiesel and other products.” Phys.org. N.p., 17 Apr. 2015. Web. 2 Nov. 2015. <http://phys.org/news/2015-04-food-solid-fuels-biodiesel-products.html>.
DiBenedetto, Bill. “Food Waste Has a Big Impact on Climate, Water, Land and Biodiversity.” Triple Pundit. N.p., 27 Sept. 2013. Web. 2 Nov. 2015. <http://www.triplepundit.com/2013/09/food-waste-big-time-hit-climate-water-land-biodiversity/>.
“Food Wastage Footprints.” Sustainability Pathways. N.p., 2013. Web. 2 Nov. 2015. <http://www.fao.org/fileadmin/templates/nr/sustainability_pathways/docs/Factsheet_FOOD-WASTAGE.pdf>.
“Greenhouse Gases.” EPA- A Student’s Guide to Global Climate Change. N.p., 20 July 2015. Web. 2 Nov. 2015. <http://www3.epa.gov/climatechange/kids/basics/today/greenhouse-gases.html>.
Lappé, Anna. “Taking a Bite out of Climate Change.” Agriculture, Energy & Climate Change. Grace Communications Foundation, 21 Oct. 2015. Web. 2 Nov. 2015. <http://www.sustainabletable.org/982/agriculture-energy-climate-change>.
Smith, Roff. “How Reducing Food Waste Could Ease Climate Change.” http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2015/01/150122-food-waste-climate-change-hunger/. National Geographic, 22 Jan. 2015. Web. 2 Nov. 2015. <http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2015/01/150122-food-waste-climate-change-hunger/>.
October 28th: Carbon Footprint
In class today, my Cabrini Day group and I further explored how we plan to connect a carbon footprint back to our focus of food waste in the overall simulation. At the beginning of our part in the simulation, the participant(s) walking through will first be put in a mindset scenario of buying lunch in a high school or college cafeteria. They will then be asked if they would personally choose a plate filled with reasonable sized portions of chicken tenders and french fries, or a plate filled with portions of chicken tenders and french fries that are a bit over sized. If the participant(s) pick the plate with more reasonable portions, they will receive a “0” as their score for their carbon footprint and learn how their choice is could actually be beneficial for the environment. That participant would be one who has good taste and doesn’t food waste! If the participant(s) choose the plate with the over sized portions, they will receive a “5” as their score for their carbon footprint and learn how they could be harming the environment and encouraging climate change if they were not able to eat everything on the plate they chose. My role in my group is to then bring all of the information home and back to reality. Whether participants received a 0 or 5, I will briefly bring to light how food waste is truly effecting our environment and climate change, and how our day to day decisions and actions could either be harmful or beneficial in this worldwide struggle.
October 22nd: How Food Waste Contributes to Global Warming Through the Excessive Use of Fossil Fuel
While I initially chose to focus on the using and throwing away of water bottles, my focus has been shifted to the growing and cooking of too much food and then throwing much of it away. Whether it may be water or food, it is clear to me that both somehow have an impact on global warming.
When researching how food waste contributes to global warming, one of the first sources I found was an article on Agriculture, Energy, and Climate Change. This article contained information from “Diet for a Hot Planet,” a book specifically about food and climate change. Some of the information I obtained from this article includes…
> Food is one of the key factors in our environmental crisis because it has gone from sustainably based production to a “fossil fuel addicted industrialized system.” (Wasted food = wasted fossil fuel that still has a harmful effect on the environment)
> To produce 2.2 pounds of beef burns enough energy to light a 100 watt light bulb for 20 days. (Think about wasting 2.2 pounds of beef! That would be equivalent to having 10 Cabrini students each grabbing one hamburger with their dinner, but being too full to eat it and throwing it away.)
> When looking at some of the main sources of emission from agriculture, it is said that 33% of the total of global warming effect can be attributed to the food system.
> The use of fossil fuels on farms, as well as in the manufacture of fertilizers and agricultural chemicals, contributes to the greenhouse gas emissions generated by the food sector.
> Think about the distance food travels to get to our plates. Take a simple plate of penne pasta with tomato sauce, for example. Focusing on the sauce, it obviously came from tomatoes. Fossil fuels were used to carry those tomatoes to, lets say, New Jersey, “a state with ample farmland that exports tons of tomatoes every year.” Apparently, the New Jersey demand for just one year’s supply of out-of-state tomatoes used up enough fossil fuel to drive an 18-wheeler around the world 249 times.
> “Another four percent of global greenhouse gas emissions comes from waste, including food waste. Where does all our uneaten food end up and the tons of food ready for harvest that never even makes it to our plates? Landfills. And landfills are a key source of methane as food and other refuse decay.”
“Agriculture, Energy & Climate Change.” Grace Communications Foundation. N.p.,
n.d. Web. 21 Oct. 2015. <http://www.sustainabletable.org/982/
October 20th: Lifestyle Choices and Climate Change
In preparation for Cabrini Day 2015, I chose to research the impact that day to day disposable bottles that contain water have on our environment and climate change, in comparison to using other reusable containers. While I think food portions and the turning off of electronics are highly important and have a large effect on climate change as well, I feel as if the water route would be the best path to take. All in all, I would say that my research went fairly well, as I came across the following sources with reliable information:
Works Cited: Disposable bottles containing water vs. other reusable containers
“Ban the Bottle.” Ban the Bottle. N.p., 24 Apr. 2009. Web. 19 Oct. 2015.
<https://www.banthebottle.net/>. This website is about Ban the
Bottle, an organization that has been attempting to eliminate plastic water
bottles and enforce the use of tap water. There are many useful articles
that date back to 7 years ago that have information that we could use for
Schriever, Norm. “Plastic Water Bottles Causing Flood of Harm to Our
Environment.” Huffington Post. N.p., 29 July 2013. Web. 19 Oct. 2015.
This article from the Huffington Post dates back to 2013 and has important
answered questions on how plastic water bottles have been harming our
Hays, Mark. “The Social and Environmental Impacts of Bottled Water.” Think
Outside the Bottle. Responsible Purchasing, n.d. Web. 19 Oct. 2015.
CorporateAccountability_ProblemsWithBottledWater.pdf>. This website
contains 20+ pages of information on “one of the greatest challenges facing
humanity today,” which is water.
Karlstrom, Solvie, and Christine Dell’Amore. “Why Tap Water is Better Than
Bottled Water.” National Geographic. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Oct. 2015.
why-tap-water-is-better/>. This National Geographic article contains
lots of factual information as to why tap water is said to be better than
bottle water when it comes to our environment.
Staley, Samantha. “The Link Between Plastic Use and Climate Change: Essential
Answer.” Stanford Alumni. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Oct. 2015.
This web page answers the question “Is there a link between our plastic use
and climate change?”
October 15th: If I were with Enrique
Previously, I made a point about how it is sadly unlikely for average American citizen like myself to put genuine thought into where present day Mexican immigrants come from, why they leave their hometowns, or their journeys of how they actually get to “better” places. However, the New York Times documentary “Between Borders: American Migrant Crisis” made me question if American citizens are even aware of how many Mexican immigrants are still undergoing journeys like Enrique’s every single day. While the world has unquestionably changed and evolved in many ways since 1989, when Enrique’s mother left him and his journey began, current Mexican immigrants are still experiencing many of the same types of things that Enrique did, twenty six years later. While I could solely question how I think I would feel if I made a journey with Enrique, the New York Times documentary pushed me to dig a little deeper and question how I would feel if I made a journey by the side of present day Mexican immigrant, and how that would be similar or different than being by Enrique’s side years ago.
When thinking about how I would feel if I made a journey from Central America or Mexico to the United States, either alongside Enrique years ago or next to a more modern immigrant, I know that bravery is one trait that I would have to exhibit without question. Whether it may be Enrique encountering people like El Tirindaro during his journey, or present day immigrants having to deal with the high increase of immigration check points and officers, bravery is something that is necessary in order to overcome those evil and intimidating people that act as roadblocks in an immigration journey. In the New York Times documentary, Anthony, a 16 year old boy who was attempting to flee from his home in Honduras to the United States, also says, “We watch out more than anything for the immigration officers.”
Secondly, if I was making a journey with Enrique or a modern immigrant like Anthony, I would also have to push myself to feel consistently courageous and determined; these are two traits that both Anthony and Enrique exhibited as well. In the documentary, when reporter Brent Renaud points out how independently leaving home and setting out for a 2,000 mile journey at 16 years old is not “the normal kind of thing for a kid to be doing,” Anthony just replies with the fact that he only built up more courage over the previous two years and three attempts he has made to cross the U.S. border. Enrique also made eight attempts to reach and/or cross the U.S. border as well. Without courage and determination, I feel as if reaching the ending goal of crossing that U.S. border with hopes of either reuniting with family, seeking out better job opportunities, or living a better life would not be possible. Since it seems to be highly typical for a journey to the United States to take multiple attempts, if I was alongside a person like Enrique, it would be very important for me to be a source of consistent determination to reach the our ending goal and not let hardships and failed attempts knock me or him down.
Lastly, going hand and hand in determination, I would also have to feel hopeful or optimistic about the journey. One final thing that stood out to me in the New York Times documentary was getting to hear a mother’s input on her young child leaving for the United States by himself. After her son was caught by Mexican police during one of his attempts, she still supported him continuing to try to go to the United States; even though it might not necessarily be worth all of the risks and danger he would most likely have to deal with, she said that there was “no other option.” If I made a journey with Enrique or the son of that mother, I would continually remind them and myself that it really is the best and only option for a better life, and be very hopeful that it would all be worth it in the future.
When putting myself in the position of Enrique or other modern Mexican immigrants, I have come to the conclusion that I would have to feel brave, courageous, determined, hopeful, and optimistic throughout my journey. While all of these emotions or traits may seem highly difficult to feel or have when undergoing countless hardships along the way, I know that each and every one of them would be necessary in order to successfully reach the ending goal of getting to the United States.
October 6th: Reflection on Prologue and Chapter 1 of Enrique’s Journey
In the Prologue of Enrique’s Journey by Sonia Nazario, I found the second paragraph on page “xiii” moving and also personally relatable to the area around me in my hometown. This paragraph talks about the large wave of immigration that the United States experienced between 1990 and 2008, and how it differs from past waves. As I have previously mentioned, in my hometown of Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, it sometimes seems as if the number of Mexican immigrants almost overpower or at least equal up to the number of American citizens. While an average American citizen like myself just sees the faces and beings of these Mexican immigrants day to day, I never really think about where they really came from, why they came to my hometown, or the journey of how they got there. Along with the first few chapters of Enrique’s Journey that I have read so far, this specific paragraph helped me to have a better, genuine understanding of the background of why Mexican immigrants leave their hometowns and how they journey to seemingly better places.
When it comes to the first chapter of Enrique’s Journey, the first paragraph on page 11 stood out to me. This paragraph brings light to the details of one of Enrique’s homes as a child, the home he lived in with his father’s elderly mother. The shack lacks electricity and running water, and is only thirty feet square. Reading a description of a “home” like this, that a poor little boy like Enrique had to live in, makes a person like myself realize how lucky I truly am to live where I live and have what I have. It also made me think about how the Mexican immigrants that live in my hometown may very well be living in undercover conditions like this as well. Just because a Mexican person may flee from their hometown, the amount of money that takes for them may just land them in a similar living condition to where they attempted to escape from in the first place.
October 1st: Reflection on our Poor Brothers and Sisters
This past weekend, Pope Francis’ visit to Philadelphia practically took over the news and media in our local area. The Pope’s consistent humble attitude, actions, and insightful words touched the hearts of many, making him beyond deserving of all of this fame and attention he received. Out of all of the many empowering and eye opening things Pope Francis has said in his recent wave of fame though, one thing that has stood out to many are his thoughts and opinions on climate change and environmental sustainability.
By definition, environmental sustainability is “the ability to maintain the qualities that are valued in the physical environment.” Vaguely, it is primarily up humans, the people living on our planet, to deal with bearing the burden of being responsible for choosing to either maintain or harm the qualities that are important to our environment. In the eyes of Pope Francis, “We are treating all of creation as if it is just there for us to use, as to something to be part of.” He also points out the sad but true reality that, “The Earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth.”
In my eyes, the equation is quite simple. When wealthier humans like ourselves carelessly do not put in the effort to maintain “qualities that are valued in the physical environment,” when we are the ones that could most easily do so, we contribute to the Earth becoming a pile of filth. Our “poor brothers and sisters” across the world, that we don’t necessarily see, then have to bear the burden of struggling to maintain safe living conditions in the “immense pile of filth” that we have left for them to live in. The bottom line is that our poor brothers and sisters only have a burden to bear because of the careless day to day attitudes of humans like ourselves, not making enough changes with our environment that we easily could be. Just like a spark can start a fire, every insufficient action that we make is one small addition to the mess that our environment has become.
We need to change our attitude toward the environment, or, our common home, first and foremost for the benefit of our “poor brothers and sisters” that we do not see.
September 22nd: My thoughts on how climate change affects the poor the most
Prior to watching videos on climate change and studying multiple sources with evidence about it, I was not truly aware of how much it progressively affects the poor and world around us every day. Climate change can actually relate directly back to “Planet Money Makes a T-shirt” and our t-shirt studies, in the way that a person like myself, that I guess can be categorized into the “upper class” of the world today, basically remains blind to issues like these until it is directly brought to my attention. While climate change inevitably has a large impact on people all around the globe, it is still up to myself and others decide how aware we want to be of it, and how much we actually want to help.
Personally, I feel as if one of the ways climate change affects the poor the most is through the highly common, seemingly unstoppable, natural disaster of flooding. According to Sarah Zielinski from Smithsonian.com, “floods displace people from their homes, damage and destroy infrastructure and buildings, and take a toll on an economic level.” Zielinski also makes note of the fact that over 3,000 people were killed from flooding disasters in 2011 alone. Along with those facts, the way that flooding was an issue that was mentioned more than once among the videos on climate change made it specifically stand out to me. I learned that living in a floodplain not only makes people vulnerable to climate change, but is also one of the top ways in how inequality can play a role in the way climate change impact is felt. Pope Francis himself also took notice of how “the earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth.” Obviously, flooding is definitely a main contributor to why the world is getting filthier and filthier. While it is important to research and become aware of flooding and other ways that climate change affects the poor, it is more crucial to put that information to use and attempt to change the issue, one small step at a time. One way in which flooding as improving and also causing people to mitigate and begin to further adapt to climate change is through the increased construction of flood barriers and improved drainage. These things both reduce the risk of flooding in large cities which could hopefully begin to remove filth from the earth, as long as international cooperation goes hand and hand with them.
Climate change sadly affects the poor in multiple other ways aside from flooding though. It is up to us to respond to the issue as “alarmed Americans” and not “dismissive Americans,” being engaged and aware of the fact that is happening, and wanting to know what the next thing we can do to help is.
September 17th: Slaves help me make my stuff. What should I do?
After learning about the many different ways in which people can retrieve raw materials and gain a profit from slavery, I was definitely interested in digging deeper as to how myself and others could take action to diminish slavery in any possible way. When reading Kevin Bales Disposable People about the slavery that takes place in our present global economy, my eyes were definitely opened as to how I could contribute to stopping it.
For a newcomer like myself that is being overwhelmed with new information and doesn’t know where to to begin, Bales idea of further exploring the mistreatment of human rights would most likely be where I would begin. After obtaining what I feel is enough information on that topic, I would spread that news and information to whomever I could, whenever it would be appropriate. While having knowledge about human rights is important, my next course of action would also be one influenced by Bales, which is to further research into places where slavery exists and groups that bring humility upon slaveholders there. Following that research, I would most likely be motivated to is think of how I, as well as others, could aid in keeping hepful people like those going. Any person or group that helps spread the shame of slavery and aims to protect it deserves to have awareness spread about them in return! Finally, one last farily easy yet important way to fight against slavery would be to reference past people, campaigns, or organizations that had success in making progress in diminishing it. While I may not do exactly what a past person or organization did, referring to what they have done would most likely help me brainstorm much further.
While all of these idea’s from Disposable People are very intriguing and would unquestionably make and probably have made a large impact with diminishing slavery worldwide, they do seem a bit far fetched for someone in my position at the moment. Off of the top of my head, I feel as if more realistic ways for myself or other members of the freshman class to diminish slavery would be spreading awareness through starting a club, having a fundraiser, writing articles in the Loquiter, or making announcements on the TV or Radio stations. Starting small also typically has potential to lead to something much bigger in the long run! Overall, I do hope that after learning all of this information, I could do something small or big to make some sort of a difference in the world of slavery.
September 10th: The steps to clean clothes
After discussing the complex benefits and deficits of the T-shirt process, as well as the effect’s it has on people and the planet, it is definitely clear to me that a majority of people do not understand the “true cost” of a cheap T-shirt. I, as well as the rest of the ECG 100 class, have learned that shoppers in the United States will generally be too blinded by an eye-catching low price of a cheap T-shirt to think anything else beyond that. Just as people are taught to “never judge a book by it’s cover” though, we should also not judge the true worth of a T-shirt by it’s price on a shelf or hanger.
To learn some of the true steps to “clean clothes,” I read University Logos Become Weapons in Debate, The Deadly Cost of Fashion, and How to Build a Socially Responsible Global Supply Chain. These articles taught me that one of the factors that makes it fairly hard to have clothing produced in a socially just way is the mind boggling power that the “recognized giants of the global garment trade” (Schneider, Paragraph 1) have. While brands such as Nike, Adidas, or Hurley may not produce their clothing in ways that would be considered socially just, their popularity sadly causes them to continuously overpower any other clothing labels or brands that may produce their clothes in just ways.
Producing clothing in a socially just way may not considered “enough” just yet, but Georgetown University’s bookstore did have the power of making a dent in that statement. According to New York Times writer Howard Schneider, when the most popular displays in the University’s bookstore changed from Nike, Adidas, or Hurley to Alta Gracia, a South Carolina label that pays workers in their Dominican Republic factory at above-average wages, Alta Gracia’s sales increased by 25 percent. While it may not be a typical case for an undercover socially just label such as Alta Gracia to overpower the global garment trade giants, it seems as if that moving a brand like that to the front of a store would be a necessary way for clothing to begin to be more popularly produced in socially just ways worldwide.
Dara O’Rourke, an associate professor at the University of California at Berkeley, also makes a good point by saying it is all “an opaque supply chain.” Berkeley’s thoughts caused me to think that while a factory may produce clothes in a socially just way, that may not necessarily mean that further down the line, the materials needed for those clothes may have not been retrieved using child labor, or simply just in a socially just way.
However, slowly but surely, there are steps being made along the way for producers to get clothing that is produced in a more socially just way. Roy Williams’ “How to build a socially-responsible global supply chain” article on The Guardian is proof of this taking effect; his article is an example of one innovative way in which people people and businesses are being encouraged to help clothing be produced in a more socially just way, by simply just being more open minded when making decisions with clothing production. I specifically admire Williams suggestions to not overlook corporate and social responsibility objectives, and to consider how a person would feel if “activities conducted by a particular supplier” were happening right in front of their own eyes, if they could not decide whether those “activities” would be considered tolerable or not.
Also driven by the motive for clothing to be produced in a more socially just way, New York Times photojournalists Nathan Fitch and Ismail Ferdous started a “Cost of Fashion” campaign with a purpose of encouraging apparel companies to support safer working conditions.
While there still may be some factors acting as roadblocks in the way of clothing being produced in socially just ways, there are definitely steps being taken by consumers and producers for that to hopefully come to a change in the future. However, it is still up to day to day citizens of the United States to open their eyes and be more aware of what the true cost of a t-shirt is.
September 8th: T-Shirts
College is typically a large and somewhat difficult transition for any 17 or 18 year old male or female. Moving away from home, leaving close friends and family, and switching gears to a new and unfamiliar lifestyle can be overwhelming and cause students to feel the blues for a night or two during their first weeks on campus. This current reality that at least a handful of students in ECG 100 may be going through actually has more to do with “Planet money makes a t-shirt” than one may realize, though. Feeling the blues on the night before the day that marks my first week of being at college is actually what motivated me to begin this assignment. I had faith that the assignment would be a necessary reminder of the phrase “it could always be worse,” but also help me realize that that I should not be sad when I am so blessed and fortunate to have the possessions that I have, and live the life that I live.
Instead of moping in my warm, comfortable bed in my dorm, I got up and learned about Jasmine Akhter, a woman that lives in a tiny house with her brother, sister in law, and roommate, under the condition of no running water. One of the ways that T-shirts and T-shirt production are beneficial to people like Jasmine is because it practically keeps her living. While Jasmine may make one of the lowest wages in the world at $80 a month, that is mind-blowingly enough to keep her fed, under a roof, and on her feet day by day. The fact that the garment industry has become almost essential to places like Bangladesh is a hard pill to swallow, but reality shows that it genuinely does provide people like Jasmine with opportunities that have become crucial to keeping parts of the population going.
T-shirt production still enforces less-positive effects on to both the makers and wearers of the actual products as well though. Take Doris Restrepo for example: a T-shirt manufacturer who says she imagines that all the people from the United States who wear the T-shirt’s that she makes are generally fat, or “gigantic,” because of the “immense” size of the shirts. A comment like that could only make one question how many other T-shirt manufacturers have a more negative view about the people whom they are making the shirts for. Also, are low wages and generally poor living conditions what motivates the pessimistic attitudes that the manufacturers may have?
However, on the other side of the spectrum, the wearers of these T-shirts can generally lack humble attitudes themselves. When purchasing or putting on a T-shirt, it is highly unlikely for a person to put thought into the people that made it, the lives that those people live, and how much hard work those people do every single day. Could this also be a factor that drives any potential pessimistic attitudes of T-shirt makers?
In the end, T-shirts and the T-shirt industry actually do have a surprisingly large effect on people all over the world. While they may affect people’s attitudes more negatively than positively though, they still do have a much stronger, positive influence on people’s lives in the long run. It is important to put thought into the less fortunate conditions and lives of T-shirt makers as well though, which can then bring a wealthier citizen of the United States back to the humble state of mind that we are lucky, and it could be worse.
September 3rd: Scavenger Hunt Reflection
First off, I really enjoyed how hands on this assignment was! It not only broadened my view on the world and the people in it, but made me realize how much I do actually possess in my dorm room, and how blessed I am to have people all over the globe to put those possessions together for me. One of the things I learned is that China seems to be a highly popular place to make clothing when it comes to worldwide clothing stores including Urban Outfitters, Tilly’s, and Pac-Sun. I found that down the line, I could stop checking tags from clothing from those places because if one tag (from Urban Outfitters, for example) said “Made in China,” then the rest would say “Made in China” as well. Next, I formed the opinion that t-shirts are made from a large variety of places around the globe. I assume this is because t-shirts are very basic or generic before prints are on them, which makes them fairly easy to distribute. I also noticed that all of my t-shirts that I received from my high school were all generally from the same places. Finally, my last observation was that any unique shirts or blouses that I owned and bought from obscure stores were from very unique or surprising places.
As a whole, I thoroughly enjoyed this assignment; it opened my eyes to how places around the world can be categorized when it comes to making clothing, and also brought me to a greater appreciation for my possessions.
September 3rd: What I Hope to Learn
After reading over the goals listed on the syllabus for ECG100, my mind was sparked with a number of short-term and long-term goals. Primarily, I hope to become consistently aware of global issues and local and global news. After taking Journalism and Advanced Multimedia Journalism courses while I was in high school, I hope for this ECG100 course to truly make me an engaged citizen of the world by reconnecting me to news in ways that those courses had the power of doing. I expect those specific goals to be long-term though, as I will most likely not immediately gain awareness of or reconnect with consistent knowledge of global news and issues right away. Secondly, whether it may be short-term or long-term, I hope to have my eyes opened to not only the community around me, but the communities outside of my immediate area as well. As a whole, I anticipate that ECG100 will have the ability to help me obtain knowledge of news related to both the community and world at the same time, as to just focusing on one or the other. Finally, I hold one last short-term goal of getting to complete as many “hands on” assignments as possible. Our first assignment of digging through clothing and personal possessions in order to understand something much bigger has me hoping for more future assignments to have the same feel.
On a different note, one personal habit that I would strongly like to improve on throughout this course is becoming less aware of the people’s lives that I follow on Twitter on Instagram and more focused on the community and world around me. Day to day, I am immersed in knowledge of what the generally irrelevant people I follow on Twitter and Instagram are doing by frequently checking the apps on my iPhone. I do not think this course could detach me from my habits of frequently checking Twitter, Instagram, or other apps on my phone in my free time, but I do hope that it can push me to use my iPhone in a different way to view more important and informational things.