FOOD CRiSiS?!

Posted: May 3, 2013 by cakarpienski in Uncategorized

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Ok, this topic is legitimate because food is expensive. I know we have a global food crisis’ that had let into riots and even deaths. They claim over population, but I beg to differ. I know we are vastly growing every day, but natural resources should not be at such threatening prices. For example, a salad is around 7 plus dollars and it was started as a poor man’s diet. I can’t even afford a poor man’s recipe! It’s ridiculous and an issue in my eyes. If the United State’s is known for its “ending hunger and food aid,” then why has it backfired into our living accommodations… I know it sounds selfish, but we shouldn’t dip our paws into something that we ourselves are trying to figure out and fix.

 

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Food is a primary source of living and to end world hunger, so what’s the problem? Dumping food on to poorer nations (i.e. free, subsidized, or cheap food, below market prices) undercuts local farmers, who cannot compete and are driven out of jobs and into poverty, further slanting the market share of the larger producers such as those from the US and Europe (Shah, 2005). We giie and give, but then prices go up and up. Although helping is good, it has its downs. Our prices go up and people producing the food get cheated. In reading though the website I was able to coneptualize all the money, workers, and constant hunger. Helping the poor is our deed and represention as a nation, but it never seems to have its balence. Something constantly has to give in order to not upset the producers and consumers of food resources.

<p>Anup Shah, <a href=”http://www.globalissues.org/article/10/food-aid-as-dumping”>Food Aid as Dumping</a>, <cite>Global Issues</cite>, Updated: October 31, 2005</p>

AiDS iN AFRiCA…

Posted: May 3, 2013 by cakarpienski in Uncategorized

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               I chose this topic because I feel it’s well-known into existence, but what is actually being done with this crisis? We all hear about sicknesses and poverty, but we never really try to explore and reach out to the issue. If it’s not happening to us, we don’t really bother to let it affect us. I think diseases like AIDS does affect me, because it’s disheartening. I hear about organizations and charities that the United States puts on in their efforts to better improve its spread. I began to think, what is Africa doing? Who are the medical personnel’s and hierarchy in Africa? I did a bit of reading on the AIDs in Africa and efforts towards the disease and noticed some articles shunning lack of action.

               Africa’s solution or quick fix to the disease was putting those with AIDS on vitamins. Seriously, vitamins? It turned out there quick fix didn’t fall through and “25 per cent of those on vitamins were severely ill or dead, compared with 31 per cent of those on placebo (Goldacre, 2009).” Although the numbers weren’t detrimental, there was still lack of action. Where is the African government putting all their medical funds? Why is the aid given generic?  Government has gone after a local, poor, NGO, Treatment Action Campaign, fighting for available medicines (Goldacre, 2009). Africa is one of the poorest countries, but our help seems to be the only help. Africa can’t even take care of Africa! It’s sad to know that their own officials don’t strongly research the AIDS crisis. The only way to fix a crisis is to intertwine efforts from every hand that reaches out. Every penny donated to the research of AIDS should be with the upmost concern and attentiveness. Diseases are horrible and they are everywhere, but countries like Africa need help and it can only be done through awareness and efforts. Medicine is expensive and hard to come by for even myself, but there is no excuse for lack of action by any government on such a disheartening issue. I’m still torn with what is a better focus.. there research for the cure or medicine to try and stablize it. Both are important, but what has better long term effects locall for Africa and globally for the world.

Read more here.

Shah, Anup. “AIDS in Africa.” Global Issues. 29 Nov. 2009. Web. 02 May. 2013. <http://www.globalissues.org/article/90/aids-in-africa>.

Response to Nuclear Power after Fukishima

Posted: April 9, 2013 by ambentley in Uncategorized

This blog is in response to Rod Adams’ article 29, Nuclear Power after Fukushima, that we discussed in class today. I am in total agreement with Adams’ observation that the power plant failure has imposed a high cost to some of the people, especially to the people that were forced to evacuate their homes. I also agree that “some individuals  or even towns may never recover from the impact of this disaster.”

However, where I respectfully disagree is  when Mr. Adams downplays the disaster’s “long-term” effects and touts that nuclear energy has compiled a remarkable safety record. He is quoted to say,  “In the midst of all the destruction, an important fact frequently gets lost: Not a single member of the plant staff or a single member of the general public has been exposed to a sufficient dose of radiation to cause any harm.” He goes on to justify his belief  by stating his evidence is that the  “highest dose to any of the workers involved in the recovery effort has been less than 250 millisierverts,” which he equates as being beneath the internationally accepted limit for people responding to a life-threatening accident.  I assume he is referring to the recovery workers at the plant, who were geared up with special equipment and took precautionary efforts to stay uncontaminated.  He did not give us any stats. about the 160,000 evacuated public who  did not have access to any special gear that were provided to the workers to “keep them safe.”2013-03-06T102102Z_473152551_GM1E9361EU401_RTRMADP_3_JAPAN-FUKUSHIMAWorkers wearing protective masks are seen  next to the No. 4 reactor at Tokyo Electric Power Company’s (TEPCO) tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Fukushima prefecture March 6, 2013, ahead of the second-year anniversary of the March 11, 2011 tsunami and earthquake. REUTERS/Issei Kato

If you read this article, Japan’s quake-crippled nuclear plant “losing faith” in leaking water pits that appeared in Reuters news this morning (Leak found Fukishima)you will discover a different perspective two years after the disaster.  Although Shinzo Abe, who became prime minister three months ago, desires to restart the nuclear plants, fears are growing about the safety of nuclear plants among the citizens, and they have even staged street protests, which are very rare among the people.

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I hope we can learn from the nuclear power plant failures, (whether man-made mistakes-Chernobyl, Three Mile Island, or from natural disasters-Fukishima) before we can truthfully say that nuclear energy has  compiled a remarkable safety record and can be a reliable, affordable and clean energy source for our future. We have too many situations that say otherwise.

Will the people be heard, or will the government ignore their pleas? Who decides what is best–the government who must look at global nuclear threats abroad, or the people who have to live with the devastation within–when nuclear power plants fail? The threat of global nuclear annihilation between countries is definitely a fear, however,  there is another equal and terrifying threat that brews from within.

Two days before the second anniversary of the March 11th, 2010, earthquake and tsunami that took the lives of 19,000 people in Tokyo and surrounding areas in Japan, 13,000 common people (from farmers and fishermen, to housewives) came together in Tokyo in demonstration against the restarting of Japan’s nuclear reactors.

 Thousands protest nuclear power in Tokyo: A protester holds an umbrella with slogans during an anti-nuclear demonstration Saturday in Tokyo. IMAGE

According to MSN’s news report, 160,000 people have left their homes around the plant, leaving behind ghost towns; upper most in their minds is the fears about cancer and other illnesses from radiation fallout. The number one recovery concern of the people is in saving their children’s future. In contrast, says Kazuko Nihei, 39 year old mother, “When the government talks about recovery they are talking about infrastructure. When we talk about recovery, we are talking about the future of our children.” The new prime minister, Shinzo Abe, is in favor of restarting the reactors, and maybe even building new ones, against popular citizen opposition. Furthermore, there is even a class action lawsuit against the government and the Tokyo Electric Power Company with 800 plaintiffs.(Thousands protest in Tokyo and demand end to nuclear power.)

Let us ask the question, Is nuclear plants really safe? What does history reveal? Come with me and revisit a somewhat forgotten issue–The explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster on April 26, 1986. Last year marked the 26th anniversary of the most devastating nuclear accident in history. A quarter of a million people were forced to flee permanently from their homes.(click here for full article and video) A U.N. report estimates that 7 million people are affected, half of which are children. In Balarus alone, almost five hundred thousand children are victims of Chernobyl. It’s estimated that 4,000 people will eventually succumb to cancer-related illnesses. Throid cancer had increased by 2,400%.  “Chernobyl is like the war of all wars. There’s nowhere to hide. Not underground, not underwater, not in the air.” from Voices from Chernobyl by Svetlana Alexievich.

An abandoned room inside the Soviet-era Palace of Culture

And if that isn’t enough to beg the question, here is an example of the controversy being played out in our own backyard–Hanford, Washington. U.S.A. The Hanford plant produced plutonium over 70 years ago, and was used in the first atomic bomb that was dropped on Nagasaki in WWII. According to the Physicians for Social Responsibility  report, Hanford is reported as being the most contaminated nuclear site in the Western World. After the Chernobyl disaster scientists have learned that if nuclear radiation were to leach into the ground and contaminate the water supply, in this case, more specifically into the Columbia River and Basin, this would affect the population of the whole Northwest. Texas’ food supply would also be affected.  (Hanford History).

A review of 1940’s and 1950’s documents of Hanford activities revealed that incredible contamination of the environment took place and large numbers of citizens were exposed to dangerous amounts of radioactive nuclides in Hanford’s early years. It took the concerned public in Washington and Oregon to demand the government take action in cleaning up the leaking spillage. (For full coverage). Although the plant was shutdown in 1968 and cleanup began of the 56 million gallons of nuclear waste as a result of the production of a half-century of nuclear weapons, a fairly recent, Jan. 19, 2012, article by the Disaster News Network entitled, “Nuclear cleanup at Hanford plant falters,” gives a realistic assessment of the current problem we face. (Nuclear cleanup at Hanford plant falters).

I know for most of us in our class, the Fukishima nuclear reactor meltdown won’t even appear on your radar, but for me that is my mother’s family so it is a little more personal. As for Hanford, although I went to college for a year in Kennewick, Washington, just an hour and a half away, it was easy to keep emotionally removed as well. What really changes my perspective and tugs at my heart is seeing what happened at Chernobyl, especially to the children. (see more photos/graphic images). Thus, it brings my thoughts full circle back to the Hanford plant and the thought of what the contamination could be doing to our children and grandchildren.

I think we not only have to consider the astronomical amount of money it takes globally to offset the cost of the damages to property and lives, but we need to seriously think about the ethical and moral responsibilities we have for the victims and survivors of these failed reactors.

Does it make sense to try to fight the enemies on the other side of the fence (threat of global nuclear war), when the enemy (nuclear reactors going awry) is sitting in our own backyard.

Living in a Nuclear World

Posted: March 10, 2013 by jhpostel in Uncategorized

With roughly 25,000 nuclear warheads stockpiled around the world, and highly volatile countries such as North Korea and Iran starting nuclear programs, the world tends to be on edge when we speak of nuclear warfare. According to Martin Hellman, the risk of a person not living out his or her natural life because of nuclear war is at least 10 percent.

On Thursday 3/7 The foreign ministry in Pyongyang issued a statement saying: “As long as the United States is willing to spark nuclear war our forces will exercise their right to a pre-emptive nuclear strike.” North Korea has been demonstrating their developing nuclear program with various nuclear tests over the past month which we hope don’t continue to get stronger. This is a big problem for the world and requires assertive actions immediately to hopefully stop the funding for these nuclear programs.

Nuclear war is something very terrifying when thought of. We have seen a clear example of the mass destruction from this type of warfare after Hiroshima and Nagasaki and are still seeing traces of the radiation some 68 years later. Personally, the thought of us being capable of destroying the entire earth several times over is absolutely frightening yet somewhat understandable at the same time. If having the largest arsenal of nuclear weapons in the world is a means of ensuring our safety, then so be it, but I still don’t believe it is the right thing to do. I find it to be senseless for any country to have something so powerful it can destroy the world. Coming to a resolution for every country in the world to disband their nuclear arsenal is probably slim to none due to the lack of trust throughout the world. I guess it is just something these generations just have to live with and just hope that the people behind these weapons aren’t dumb enough to use them.

Global Warming “climate change”

Posted: March 9, 2013 by cakarpienski in Uncategorized

 

               The earth is becoming warmer each day and the ice caps are melting. There could be an abundance of reasons why. Humans are easiest to blame for climate change because of our constant need for resources. With all this climate change in mind, I watched a documentary called “Chasing Ice.” The point of the documentary was to follow the earth’s glaciers and their constant change. The director and national geographic photographer James Balog believes the world is a carbon powered planet. I think we are the reason for the climate change because we rely on many carbon powered machines. I completely agree with Balog’s thought process with climate change. We need cars, planes, and trains to transport. Transportation needs fuel and that fuel pollutes our air. Balog used science and art to capture our earth’s undeniable issue, global warming. I think documentaries get across to people, but not enough to make a change in our local environments. It’s even believed to be too late to try and slow our productions of resources. Either way, it is scary to think the coldest parts of the world are melting and it could be due to our pollution. Balog’s efforts are to advocate awareness to global warming, is it man made? I absolutely think it is man made catastrophe. (Read More)

 

Time for Fish Farming? A Healthier, Smarter Alternative?

Posted: March 8, 2013 by robinelmoreidst4340 in Uncategorized

First of all, I’d like to start off with a clip from ABC News in regards to the use of 70% of what former USDA scientists refer to as “pink slime” in the average package of beef.

 

 

I am concerned that today marks the first time I have been informed about this atrocity. It troubles me that the American people do not spend more time publicizing and debating issues regarding the quality of the food companies put out. Perhaps I am just behind the curve. I knew that the entire process of the beef industry produced detrimental effects on the environment, not to mention the shady practices of added hormones and animal housing conditions, but somehow I missed the memo on the pink slime. Clearly, the beef industry includes corruption, and obesity may be directly related to the consumption of high cholesterol foods such as ground beef.

With facts like these, I wonder why society remains so unresponsive to such miracle programs developed by biologists in the fish farming industry. The following video tracks the progress of a newer method of fish farming, which proves to be almost completely non-detrimental. Not to mention, fish remains as one of the healthiest protein options available for humans.

 

 

I understand that some people do not like fish and prefer beef, however I do wish that society as a whole would start to consider healthier and more environmentally friendly options. Innovators worked hard to create the newest and brightest system, which I believe deserves more attention. Also, while researching fish farming I discovered a wonderful technology which people have begun to employ. The following video outlines backyard aquaponics:

 

 

Thanks!