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Archive for the ‘SHP Spring 2011’ Category

[This post was written by Megan Rice, Jamie Price, and Angelina Peters in response to viewing three short videos, Greening the Ghetto, 6 Ways Mushrooms Can Save the World, and Tabor Tilth]

In class today we watched three short videos that pertained to sustainability in three different aspects. The first video was Majora Carter‘s February 2006 TED presentation “Greening the Ghetto.” In this presentation, Carter explains the many benefits of turning industrial riverfront land into a public park. She came across this idea when she was walking her dog in a heavily industrialized neighborhood in South Bronx and discovered an old road that lead to the river. She was motivated to make a change. She brought up overwhelming statistics that show Blacks and Latinos being five times more likely to live in a neighborhood within walking distance to an industrial factory. People who live in these heavy-polluted neighborhoods are more likely to develop respiratory disorders and other health issues. She raises a great question: who would be motivated to go outside and exercise when one lives in area where the air is toxic?

What really struck us about her presentation was (more…)

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[This post was written by Megan Rice, Jamie Price, and Angelina Peters in response to viewing the documentary Foodmatters]

The documentary Food Matters discusses the diet of most Americans and how unhealthy we are as a group. The ultimate message of this documentary is that if you eat well you will live well. It seems simple enough. It does seem simple enough, so why did the filmmakers spend thousands of dollars creating the film? Within ten minutes of watching the film, one of the premises of the filmmakers focus is clear—advocating for a raw food diet.

When one looks back to our hunter-and-gatherer ancestors, raw foods were a major staple of their diet. However, society today cannot hunt-and-gather as our ancestors did millennia ago. A point that the film brings to light is the importance of eating foods rich in antioxidants and vitamins. In spite of the billions and billions of potential profit in the diet and medical industry, most of the initial statements seem like common sense.

Yet, the documentary also goes into lengths explaining that our medical system is not diet-oriented. Many of our doctors are trained to treat medical problems with drugs rather than proper diet. The creators of the film bring up an important and fundamental point: With the proper diet, many illnesses can be avoided and even reversed. Our society relies too much on drugs for treatment which only relieve the patent of the symptoms they do not fix the problem. The creators of the film argue that cleaning your body of toxins and replenishing your body with antioxidants, vitamins, and good diet can lead to better health and fewer doctors’ visits.

This documentary shows a sustainable lifestyle that leads to fewer doctors’ visits and a better, longer, and happier life. Also this raises the question that if we as a society could have a healthier diet, would it lower our health costs? According to the film makers, we are facing a epidemic, and medication is not going to be the answer.

We have a few critiques and questions . . . (more…)

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[This post was written by Megan Foster, Grant Russ, and Sara Scott in response to viewing the documentary Foodmatters]

The documentary Foodmatters is shocking and revealing. The film brings up several points that the public should be aware of but are not. Most people are aware that fast food and processed food is bad for them, but are not aware of how much healthier they can be with raw foods (i.e. fruits, veggies, nuts, and seeds). Many people do not realize that what we eat is what is causing many diseases that several thousand people die from yearly. This documentary really puts a new spin on the phrase “you are what you eat.”

Not many people are aware how effective nutrients and vitamins can be to our bodies. Yes, some people take vitamin supplements, but do they really know what those vitamins are good for? Do people even stop to think that instead of taking supplements daily, they should instead change their diet? America’s society is so fast-paced that it is hard to be able to eat healthily. Unfortunately, our way of living is costing us our health, therefore, our lives.

The film pointed out that vitamin deficiency is most likely the cause of many ailments, so when someone takes vitamin C to help fight a cold, they are really just giving their body the vitamin it already wanted. If that person did not have a vitamin C deficiency, there is a good chance they would not have gotten a cold in the first place.

Some interesting facts: (more…)

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[This post was written by Megan Foster, Grant Russ, and Sara Scott in response to viewing the documentary Garbage! The Revolution Starts at Home]

The film Garbage! The Revolution Starts at Home addresses some compelling issues relating to recycling and social awareness. One interesting topic that comes up in the film is the general lack of knowledge relating to what really can and cannot be recycled. In addition, there are many packaging materials that are not recyclable but should be when considering how often consumers buy products packaged in those certain materials.

Reflecting on the first point, do people really know what they can put into the recycling bin? It is frequently assumed that all forms of plastic can go into the recycling bin, or that anything that is not compostable can be reused. Unfortunately, however, this is not the case. For example, plastic wrap, plastic bags, and Styrofoam cannot be recycled. These forms of packaging are generally used to package meat and other foods.

Another significant point along these lines (more…)

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[This post was written by Megan Foster, Grant Russ, and Tina Xiong, and complements previous students’ analysis of the question What is Sustainability?]

One of the many topics of change that the Coalition for a Livable Future‘s Regional Equity Atlas expands on is poverty and, more specifically, child poverty. The Atlas presents a figure of 31,000 people living in poverty in the Portland metro area in the year 2000 and almost a third of that number were children. A collection of research also cited by the source provides an unsettling correlation of poverty stricken children and elevated exposure to crime and an increased chance of teen pregnancy, family problems, and a lower standard of education. In order to improve these unfortunate circumstances it would be necessary to utilize preventative and tertiary methods.

Preventative methods would aid in addressing the root of the problem rather than simply taking measures that will just move the population of poor to other areas. (more…)

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[This post was written by Megan Foster, Grant Russ, and Tina Xiong, and complements previous students’ analysis of the question What is Sustainability?]

An elevated level of equity would be ideal through the aspect of civil society as the center piece placed in between the economy, the state, and environment. From this perspective, each neighboring sphere to civil society is still necessary to keep sustainability in balance. Appropriately, though, the state, operated by the means of democratic governance, would garner the most attention since it in turn largely manages equity to civil society. As civil society becomes more of the focal point by the democratic institution it would allow such equity of access and discourse on a large body of thought and literature for the civil body to express its interest and mediation on the path towards sustainability.

Democratic institutions also allow advantages for a larger portion of civil society to take part in political freedoms and participation, which is also needed during this long enduring trek towards sustainability. Sustainability itself nearly focuses on the following three similar dimensions as of civil society: the social, the environment and the economy. Equity would naturally gravitate to this central core of dimensions and thus produce a more dynamic, growing and accessible opportunities for civil society, and sustainability.

As Gary L. Larsen puts it (more…)

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[This post was written by Sara Scott, Sarah Griswold, and Jamie Price, and complements previous students’ analysis of the question What is Sustainability?]

Environmentalism and sustainability is a very polarizing topic. There is no shortage of literature and media supporting sustainability. That being said, one has to dig a little deeper to discover literature, or other forms of media, that argue against it. In this day and age, it seems very ‘politically incorrect,’ and even risqué, to voice opinions arguing against sustainability. Today, we will discuss two articles that critique our societal concepts of sustainability and environmentalism. The articles that we will discuss are, “Roots of Sustainability” by Glenn M. Ricketts and “Is Sustainability Sustainable?” by Daniel Bonevac.[1]

Ricketts’ article is an historical perspective of how environmentalism and sustainability grew in American culture. Daniel Bonevac’s article is a philosophical attempt to define sustainability based on our society’s various definitions. Both articles critique the concept of sustainability from two very different approaches.

(more…)

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