Wednesday, November 11, 2009

3 Minute Journal

When we lack the connection between ourselves and the places we are we lose a little bit of our reality. We are unable to connect that the places we are could only be there because people put them there. We don't think about the place we live as something that is new to nature. The earth itself didn't have paved road, skyscrapers, or even landfills. These places and things are all man made. We fail to pay attention to reality because we don't think about this. The places we have are not all that "environmentally friendly". Just because we don't have to deal with some of the repercussions now doesn't mean in the near future somebody won't either. Everything we do to the natural environment creates an unchangeable earth. This may not always be a good thing for us someday.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Chat with Brett Johnson

Last wednesday in class we talked to Brett Johnson. He is an author of the Better World Handbook, which we are using in our class. He is a professor at Luther college where Tom (our teacher) went to college. The chat was really imformative and gave me a whole new perspective on the book itself. He explained the process of how the book came to be, after it was published and the book tour they went on. I'm glad he did because I found the facts about the book being made out of 100% recycled paper and that the profits went to charity. This just shows that they are standing behind what they are talking about in their book.
The video chat in itself was a fun experience. This class is fun because Tom has good ways to keep the class interested. I think more classes on campus should use the resources that are out there now such as video chat. The chat was very insightful and I'm glad our classes were able to experience talking to Brett.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Week 5 Foundation #4 Deep Democracy

This reading talks about lack of democracy, money in politics, and media control. Every day we deal with these issues weather we see it or not.

One of the things that stood out to me was that in 1996 voter turnout was for the first time in history lower than 50%. In 2002 only 37% which was the lowest. These percentages are a shock to me! We base a lot of the decisions we make in our country on voting, but when the majority of people aren’t voting then who’s really making the decisions?

I see an issue around campus by the voters not going to vote. This is an issue because there are the people who say that we have the say to change what we want but yet they’re not voting. We do have a say and voting is the way we do that.

One action we could take is teaching high school students more about their government and the issues going on in the world. You can vote at 18 which for most students is before the graduate high school. If they learn some issues about the world they might have open eyes going out into the “real world’ or so they call it after you graduate.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Week 4 Foundation #3 Ecological Sustainability

This foundation talks about resource overconsumption, pollution, global warming, and overpopulation. Overconsumption talks about the natural resources we use are over consumed all over the world. Pollution talks about the dumping of our garbage and pollution of the air. Global warming talks about how we should reduce our emissions into the atmosphere. Overpopulation talks about how the population of the world and how it has grown over the past decade.

The fact that surprised me the most in the reading is that the US federal automobile fuel efficiency standards have not been raised since 1985, this is over 20 years. This surprised me because first 20 years is a long time for nothing to change with fuel considering the price and how much we use has changed I’m sure in those past 20 years.

On campus you can definitely see problems with pollution since you can see garbage on the ground pretty much everywhere you go. For some reason people feel the trash will just end up where it’s supposed to be I guess. That is not true. Unless it is something like a banana peel it’s not just going to breakdown into the soil. Another issue I see is the how much paper is thrown away. Almost 75% of students read the daily but how many of them are recycled not thrown away?

To fix some of these issues on campus we could have recycling bins on campus as well as the trashcans. There are groups on campus that go and clean up the campus by walking and picking up garbage. Personally I think a lot of these issues need to be dealt with by ourselves. If we all would just take the time to think about how much of some natural resources we use, we could all cut back a little at a time.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Week 3 Foundation #2 Comprehensive Peace

This reading talks about war and genocide, militarization, unilateralism, and Culture of violence. War and genocide talks a lot about the wars and how many have died because of them. Militarization talks about how much countries put into their militaries. Unilateralism talks mostly about the US bullying other nations. Culture of violence talks about violence coming into the household and how we hae grown accustom to it.

One thing that surprised me in the reading was how much we, the US, spend on out military. Page 22 states that the Bush Administration requested $441.6 billion for the military in 2006. There is also a graph that shows we spent $522 billion in 2005. This shocked me only because there is no other country that is spending anything relatively close to those numbers. China had only spent $63 billion in 2005.

The only problem I can see directly around campus is the violence issue. There is a huge risk for violence on a college campus because you have freshmen trying to prove themselves or an upper classmen trying to show that they are stronger. Most of the acts of violence on campus I’m sure are not reported due to fear.

One of the ways the book talks about fixing some of these issues with militarization is by signing a lot of the treaties that the US has not signed. This might help but there is always going to be the government that wants to be the best. That’s hard for us in the US to see it being anybody else besides ourselves. The US may just be the biggest superpower in the world right now, but is that only because we’re spending so much money on it. I’m not sure I have an exact way on how to fix this problem. Around campus we could fix some of the issues with violence by promoting conflict resolution. There are many different ways of dealing with an issue instead of violence. We could have seminars or mandatory classes for those who are caught being violent.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Week 2 Foundation #5: Social Justice

This reading talks about the basic challenges we are facing today. Gender inequality talks about the discrimination and violence that many women are facing. Racism talks about the racial and ethnic minorities being segregated from most of the population. Heterosexism talks about the struggles gay and lesbian men and women have overcome and are still facing every day. Inadequate health care states that there are billions of people in the world that go without basic health care needs. Last but not least our prisons are holding many today that don't need to be held.

One of the things that surprised me the most was that there is still a big difference between gender inequalities. Worldwide women earn 25% less than men and are twice as likely to be illiterate. Page 41 says that even though women have entered the workforce by millions they still do more household work and childcare than the men do.

On campus you see more racism and heterosexism. It’s hard to see the other issues in a big place like on campus or in Ames. You could maybe sense them in someplace like your neighborhood. You might see two girls or two guys holding hands get special looks or talked about, but that about the extent you will see on campus.

Ways to promote this better world would be to join the groups that are out there. There are so many on our campus I’m sure you could find one that is promoting something you could get into. Get involved with them as well. Even if you join you should hand out flyers go to events and explore what the group has to offer. Teachers could require that you go so a speaker. They’re always on campus talking about one of these issues.