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Archive for the ‘Student work’ Category

[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.

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[This post was written by Megan Rice and Angelina Peters and complements previous students’ analysis of the question What is Sustainability?]

This title of this post is not in reference to a toddler being told to go to bed for the hundredth time. Rather, we assert that the title should be the cry among many university and college students. When did our higher learning institutions become the 1984 versions of Big Brother? With the criticism and failure of No Child Left Behind or President Obama’s Race to the Top, why are our universities and colleges abandoning academics for activism?

(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?]

In covering the first three readings, our group decided to combine all three articles and brainstorm on what the general themes they share that pertain to sustainability.[1]

Many people think of sustainability as strictly an environmental issue. After reading the three articles, we came to the conclusion that sustainability is multi-faceted on a global level. Sustainability is not only limited to issues of the environment, but of society and economics as well. Our current working definition of sustainability is to leave resources for future generations with a minimal impact on the environment. According to Kates, et al., the Board on Sustainable Development’s goal of sustainability is to “provide energy, materials and information to feed, nurture, house, educate and employ the people in 2050 … and to reduce hunger, poverty … and preserve the basic life support systems of the planet.”[2]

All the authors in our readings discussed the common theme of “trade-offs.” When mentioning “trade-offs” in terms of sustainability, (more…)

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[This post was written by Megan Rice, Angelina Peters, and Dennis Dunn, and complements previous students’ analysis of the question What is Sustainability?]

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle! A common mantra most people have heard before, but what does that mean and is that what sustainability is? The meaning of sustainability ranges from the formulated academic definition based on the Brundtland Commission report to an individual’s personal definition. The focus of this entry is not to dissect the many facets of what sustainability is but to discuss what it is not. The “three pillars” of sustainability are: environment (i.e, natural resources), economy (i.e., monetary value), and equity (i.e., social considerations). At a glance, some of the pillars are self-explanatory, once again, either using a personal or academic definition.

When focusing on what sustainability is not we will discuss measurability, openness to dialog, intergenerational needs, and “greenwashing.”

(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?]

Among the various subjects embedded in the Brundtland Commission report concerning sustainable development, one of exceptional importance is the subject of what precisely should be developed. Those subjects with potential for development were discussed by both developed and developing countries and so can be stated as universally important. The development of essential human needs such as economic growth, equity of resources, equal opportunities, and education stands beside the sustainability of nature, resources, and communities. Social development, and more specifically social justice, can ensure development and sustainability of equity and equality for all persons. The goals which should correlate with these concepts include the elimination of poverty and an equal quality of life.

The challenge becomes one of not only properly implementing social justice but meeting social needs in general while still upholding values of environmental sustainability. (more…)

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[This post written by Chris White, Daniel Gray, Tony Smith]

The Coalition for a Livable Future‘s Regional Equity Atlas (REA) provides a wealth of information regarding the socio-economic conditions of Portland and the metro area. This tool is useful for research regarding many various aspects of the equity pillar of sustainability. One potentially useful aspect of this resource is the ability for small and large businesses to find new areas for investment and development. One example of a positive development is the Yellow Line expansion along Interstate Ave. in North Portland.

There have been significant instances where communities were not included in the planning stages of major development. The REA has made note of two major projects which have left the community feeling neglected. In the 1950s the construction of the Memorial Coliseum uprooted many members of the local community without proper compensation. Another example is the construction of I-5 which tore through the same community as the Memorial Coliseum had done a decade before.[1]

There is a significant difference between how proponents of these two projects approached the local community and how the MAX Yellow Line project was built. (more…)

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