CLEAN WATER AND WOMEN EMPOWERMENT IN GHANA!

Hey all! I am not sure who still follows the blog anymore but I thought this was really relevant.

A close friend of mine is doing a volunteer opportunity through SAHA Global. This is the company (or like) that we one discussed about in class. They take the means for clean water to Ghana communities. They start by aiding in fresh water availability then they make sustainable businesses for local women to run. Below is her story and more information about the program. If anyone has any resources to help her cause… (does not have to be money) that would be amazing. If you know anyone who would find this cause worthy of time or funding please contact Tara! Thanks!! I hope everyone is doing well.

Thanks!

Hayley

More Cow Farts

More Cow Farts

So, it didn’t work out scheduling wise for me to teach my section of EE this semester.  So, this blog is sitting idle.  I just saw this story and thought of some of our conversations.

I hope you all are doing well and your semesters are off to a great start.

K

Final Post

I really enjoyed learning about all of the different topics we discussed over the course of the semester. The one that stood out most to me was our conversation about religion and animals. I wanted to share this video with the class because I feel like it is important for us to be aware of the animal cruelty that occurs when testing products on animals. As we continue to study animals and learn more and more about how they have emotions similar to humans, my hope would be that people will stop mistreating them so often. I watched a video about an animal rights activist who spent a day enduring everything an animal has to endure when cosmetic companies test their products on them. In the video, the human is put on display and treated exactly how the animals really would be treated. She is strapped down, injected with different substances, they make her bleed, she is gagged, and at the end of the day she is carried out back and put in a dumpster. This was all on display for the people walking around in the city to see. The goal of this was to open up people’s eyes to the type of terrible mistreatment of animals that goes on every single day. The company who organized this demonstration is a cosmetics company called Lush. They are 100% cruelty-free and are trying to get enough people to sign a petition in order to make all other cosmetic companies to stop testing their products on helpless animals.

Here is the link to the video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f4K9iSyj_lk

Last post

Over the course of this semester we had many good conversations. They way in which this class was taught was truly unique and different from any class i have had before.I really enjoyed how everyone would give their stance on the topic, and no one was shunned even if their view wasn’t the most popular. The way we were all accepting was appreciated. I hope that one day i get the the delight of another class taught in this way and with such a diverse collection of people.

I learned a lot in this class and feel that i will be able to use this new found knowledge to go forth and make the world a better place for me as well as my fellow society members.

Final Thoughts

This class has been very interesting, the blogs is a great idea to share each persons ideas. I really enjoy how the class was run for it allowed a lot of personal thought to be shared around. Although on some parts I wished we went on different sides of the argument, it felt like their was not much contradicting ideas as most of the people agreed to the same thing. 

Final Paper

Jack Ng

2013-12-4

Environmental Sociology.

GMO products, the pro and cons of genetically modified food and the social problem it creates fueled by misunderstanding and fear by the media.

            GMO products are organism that has had their genetic makeup changed by using genetic engineering techniques. This means selective breeding of plants or animal is not counted, only organism that had specific identified gene implanted or taken out of the organism to create a certain trait that would be impossible to attain from simple breeding methods. The goal of GMO is to create food that will yield better productivity, resistance to pest, pesticide, and environmental change, and also to increase nutritional value. However many people do not see the benefit of GMO products, GMO is surrounded with the animosity of being harmful for consumption and the environment. These animosities include the creation of terminator seeds, fear of cross breeding with wild plants or other farmer’s produces that are supposed to be GMO free, and the increase use of pesticide along with GMO plants rather than the decrease. The media often present the negative aspect of GMO products, making the word GMO a taboo, and anything associated with it negative.

            The greatest invention ever created, arguably is the many methods humans have created to produce food. In this world where the land mass is fix, but the population keeps on continuing to increase, and the amount of farming land decreases for housing.  The only reason we are still able to continue to exist is because humans found ways to increase biomass production with the limited land. Yes GMO products are biologically synthesized, yes it is safer to eat fresh food rather than GMO produce, and yes GMO products might cause devastating situation in the future. There are reasons behind why though. The goal of GMO is to increase production, to do so scientist had to find some way to change the genetic makeup of the plants. This would be almost impossible to do from scratch without any outline of how the genes would work, and how it would act. So scientist used other plants found in special environments to understand what makes them capable of living in those different places. Why is GMO production less healthy, well that is because, GMO products stay on the plant a lot less time than fresh produces. Allowing farmers to supply food at a faster rate than normal means more food is produced in the same amount of time. For example it might take 1 year for a fresh tomato to be grown and mature, but it might take 3months for a GMO tomato to do that same thing. This means GMO tomato can feed 4times more people. Finally like all new science there are still unknown factors that human still have not yet been able to understand. Yes GMO companies should take responsibility for what they make, but I feel the problem lies not with the scientist but with the system they are stuck with. To further their research they need to make people invest in their work. The problem with food unlike medicine which is constantly tested with many subjects is that the side effects that might come from GMO are very hard to differentiate. Unlike medicine which has a faster response, to treat GMO food like medicine it might take multiple generations to be able to pinpoint the problem. Even if people are willing to do such an extensive study the numbers they do find positive or negative would almost be meaningless because of the different variability the experiment would have that will lead to incorrect data. To have a data worth mentioning would require thousands of subjects that have their whole life controlled, from the most tiny of detail such as how much they sleep, their genetic difference, the amount of GMO food they are consuming, and the amount of non GMO food they are consuming, this means scientist will have to find exact clones of people that not only have same genetic makeup but also the same everyday lives, to really understand the factor GMO plays in our life. Another point that shows GMO is not that harmful to humans is that everyone in the United States for at least the last twenty years have been eating GMO products at a large amount, vegetarians being the leading consumers; for they do not eat meat which at this point are not being genetically modified at an industrial level. Yet no cases on harmful side effects have been noticed from the millions of people in America eating GMO products daily. Although the media likes to point the fault on allergies increasing because of GMO, no study have shown any proof that allergies are directly link to consuming GMO products.

            In the media GMO products are being portrayed as humans changing the genetic makeup of plants, that humans are playing God. After the earthquake incident in Haiti, GMO Company Montana tried to donate seeds to help the rebuilding of Haiti, but because of Montana’s reputation the country rejected the free seeds Montana tried to give them. The Huff Post written by Beverly Bell goes into detail of the weariness Haiti has on GMO products; that any seeds that do come in to their country must be GMO free products. “Fighting hybrid and GMO seeds is critical to save our diversity and our agriculture,” Jean-Baptiste said in an interview in February. “We have the potential to make our lands produce enough to feed the whole population and even to export certain products. The policy we need for this to happen is food sovereignty, where the county has a right to define its own agricultural policies, to grow first for the family and then for local market, to grow healthy food in a way which respects the environment and Mother Earth.” This quote clearly shows how the world views GMO products. GMO from this quote is seen to be just like a drug that countries need to prevent from entering. GMO products are unnecessary, and should not exist in any country, for without GMO nations are still able to feed their people. Lastly GMO is not good for health and it is an abomination to nature. 

 The Medias interpretation to GMO has led to the idea that “natural thing is good for our body because our body is natural.”(blog by kshagen)  This idea I think like all new perception of our world comes from the media, and pop culture. In the past during the colonial era the wild was seen as something not desirable even to an extent of something humans need to get rid of. In this present time, protecting the wild or being able to live in or near wild life is a common thought to think otherwise would seem irregular. Humans now want to be able to escape the busy city life to a place called the “wilderness”. For now the wild is seen as a place of serenity and beauty, where a person can calm down and find their personal identity. The media leads humans to believe that only things from nature is good for you, that they are better than things from a lab made by crazy scientist funded by money blinded businessman. For nature will not harm them, that things from nature are pure and good. This thought is preposterous the wild does not take sides, it will kill you without warning it does not care for the individual it takes care of the species, by eliminating the weakest link within each species. Nature favors the fittest, and disregards the weak; it is humanity that respects the fit and helps the weak. It is GMO that is feeding the poor and organic food favoring the rich. It is GMO products that are trying to give the poor the nutrients they need from eating just their daily staple like rice; without the need to purchase extra supplements that are too costly for many of the poorer people and nations.

            GMO can be good for you for example Golden rice, genetically modified specie of rice that contains vitamin A, which is lacking in my Asian’s diet. Rice that contains vitamin A could become a major source of vitamin for the working class in Asia. The problem with implanting this new kind of rice is the fear that this rice could be harmful to the human body. Eating golden rice in theory would be the same as eating normal rice with a side of vitamin A supplement. Still because the rice changes in color to yellow people are skeptical about growing and consuming a cheap and simple method of giving the necessary nutrient to the general public. The media fuels this fear by not talking about GMO products that could feed people the necessary nutrient at the cost of eating their daily staple food such as rice. Instead the media presents us with information of the power GMO will have over the common people. That if everyone used GMO products it would give companies like Montana power over the entire food source, since all of the plants they genetically modified are patterned. The media however fails to show that the crime is the company, and not the technology.  

            These GMO companies like Montana are not helping their cause by genetically modifying terminator seeds, patterning genetic code of plants, and forcing their products on to farmers. Pop culture sources such as the Daily Show with John Stewart, did a skit on Montana’s legal actions on farmers that are using their product in an illegal method that abuses their patented seeds. In this skit Montana and Genetic engineering technology are seen to be in the hands of morons, who are abusing their authority. Montana threatens farmers that have GMO seeds on their property to either start using their product or face a law suit. Many of these farmers are small organic farms that do not have the time or capability of fighting a law suit with a billion dollar company. So in default, these small farmers are forced into the use of GMO seeds and become lifelong customers of Montana without choice. Their actions are indeed made capable because of the advance of genetic engineering, and no solid law on genetics in the United States or around the world to regulate their actions. However like all new technology there will be people who abuse it, this does not mean we should be afraid of progress but rather as a community we need to create new laws that prevent companies from abusing their power. In away Montana is trying to monopolize their product. Their action is very similar to the major companies during the industrial revolution in America, companies like Standard oil, and Carnegie Steel. Government will need to step in and prevent this new technology from being abuse and not only protect farmer’s right, but also the rights of nature. Similarly to the past people are fearful of new things, like when cars were first invented the idea of driving a bomb made skeptics believe this new invention would not go far, but now almost everyone in the United States owns a car. People are afraid of the new and try to find the problems with new technology this is constantly seen in history even now we are still afraid of the new. Instead of rejecting GMO product we need to control how this new technology can play in our lives, should we allow GMO companies to control what the farmer’s plant, or be able to pattern nature. These are problems politicians need to look at instead of should GMO products be labeled. The media are also fueling this fear by presenting GMO products are harmful to health, that the healthy way to eat is to eat none GMO products and only consume products that are labeled “organic”.

            GMO is not bad for you even though it comes from a laboratory, and the plant is genetically different from nature. GMO products only change a single gene, while a plant could have thousands. This difference can have amazing characteristic change in plants but mean little to the digestive system that will just break it all down. This irrational fear of man made products and the immediate appreciation of natural good is a created from the media showing the general population false or bias information regarding GMO products.   

If God Came Back

I am sorry for the inappropriate language and profanity, but this video sums up my view of what our world has come to pretty well. This course made me think a lot about what we are doing to the earth, but also made me realize that there isn’t much we can really do. Inevitably, if we as humans screw up the earth so much there are only two things that could happen. One, humans go extinct. Two, the earth will restore back to its homeostasis, and in the process we will go extinct. This is why I believe that our thought of how to save the earth are conceited. We as humans are so small. We are just a spec on a big planet, in a big galaxy, in an infinite universe. There is nothing that we can , or cannot do, that will change the course of nature in a way that nature cannot recover. I do although believe that we as humans can be aware that we are doing to the earth is not natural, and is not helping the earth. This is where environmental ethics comes in for me. I believe we are supposed to be aware of what we are doing, and preserve nature because it is the “right” thing to do. Any other reasons are selfish and conceited. Thank you, Kevin, and classmates for a wonderful semester in my favorite class of all my years of schooling thus far.