The Debate about Climate Change

This video is by far, one of the most interesting videos I have seen posted online about Climate Change in the history of YouTube.

It breaks down the argument of Climate Change into four separate quadrants and goes with how each side of the argument would play out if we decided to take that route. Please watch this video! It is incredible and I want to know what others might think about this video. Is it a valid argument? If not, how so? I can’t really poke any holes in this video, but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist.

Let me know what you think. The video is about ten minutes long, but trust me, its totally worth it. 🙂

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The Fight Against GMOs

Burning Crops

 

In the international arena, the fight against GMOs has taken a hopeful turn. Hungary has recently burned over one thousand acres of GMO crops. Hungary is one of the few European countries that has banned all GMO types (seeds and crops). During the investigation, controllers found that the biotech pioneer Monsanto was the key provider for these seeds that were planted in Hungary.

Because there is a free movement of goods policy within the EU, the authorities will not be able to investigate how the seeds arrived in Hungary, but they will check where the goods can be found. Soon after this discovery and burning, it was reported that two of the biggest international seed producing companies are affected in this matter and the GMO seeds could have been planted within up to thousands of hectares within Hungary. Many of the local farmers are outraged that they have discovered the GMO seeds within in their own crops. And with the season already under way, it is impossible to replant new seeds, so this harvest has already been ruined.

And to make things even worse for the farmers, the company that distributed the seeds in Baranya county is under liquidation. Therefore, if any compensation is paid by the international seed producers, the money will be paid primarily to that company’s creditors, rather than the farmers.

This outrageous style of “agricultural warfare” must cease and desist immediately, if companies like Monsanto cannot answer for their crimes against humanity, then I am not sure what else we can do.
Read more at http://www.realfarmacy.com/hungary-destroys-all-monsanto-gmo-corn-fields/#Z0lrOqQ63PTdMJco.99

Blackfish

Blackfish

Blackfish is the type of movie, like Dirt or The Cove, that once you see it, it changes how you think humans treat the world around us. I remember walking out of this movie, that actually premiered here at the Sarasota Film Festival, and feeling both depressed and informed. It was an interesting balance of feeling bad for how we, as human beings,  treat the world and how we really don’t realize that many of these “attractions” that are provided for our entertainment have a dark underbelly and unsettling history.

This movie, in a broad sense, is about SeaWorld and how it involved into the entertainment powerhouse/animal prison that it is today. I know that sounds harsh, but watch this movie and you will be singing the very same tune. In a much more detailed sense, this movie is about the events of one single Orca whale, named Tilikum, and how one show at SeaWorld changed how people are viewing this sort of so-called “entertainment”.

I highly recommend this movie, it may not have any effect on how you view SeaWorld, but hopefully it gets you thinking about how as humans, being the most powerful (by that I mean capable of causing the most rapid change) species on this planet, we have a huge responsibility in maintaining a balance within our world. Hope you all get to see this movie!! It is fantastic!!

 

 

100% Vegan?

Being a girl and not a stinky boy, I love soap. I especially when the soap is vegan and not tested on animals. I would much rather have humans take the fall for fail products than animals, no offence to humans. But think of the bunnies! Anyway, so what is this magical vegan soap? Why, Lush of course! They have such weird stuff, man. Like shampoo jellies, bath bombs (which are the best), foam bars, and all of this is totally vegan and no animals were harmed to create their products! Just people! It’s great! Plus it smells wonderful. Mmm. Not to mention, Lush is also on a crusade to remove all palm oil from its products to protect forests and the inhabitants that live there. Such as the orangutan.

There is a debate over whether or not Lush is 100% vegan. Why, you ask? Because they utilize lanolin in their products. WHAT IS LANOLIN? YOU ASK! Well, it’s also known as wool wax. It’s what repels water from the sheep’s wool when it gets wet.  When a sheep is sheared the wool is taken and processed by running it between rollers, which squeeze the lanolin out of the wool. The wool that is left behind is then used to make felt or yarn, and the wax has many uses, such as: water repellants, rust proofers, lubricants, and many cosmetics purposes.

This is not a violent process. Does it make it wrong simply because it has an animal product? I don’t think so. I think it’s the same as adding honey or milk to products, it’s not harming the animals. I think Lush should keep their vegan title, even if they aren’t “100%” vegan.  Or maybe there should be another more technical term for what I’m suggesting. Image

Organic Food

 

I remember several years ago when I tried a piece of organic chicken as a free sample at a grocery store. For me, it was terrible and it turned me away from organic food forever. It does make me wonder though, if someone is so used to the processed food and regular products at the store – if are body is so used to it that it rejects the taste of organic products.. .

However, I did find some positives about organic food:

1: Nutrition:

Care and maintenance of soil, and preventive farming methods like crop rotation create fruits and vegetables that contain up to 50% more vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients than intensively farmed foods. Encouraging natural and organic farming methods and gardening practices, will allow organic soil to rebuild and contribute healthy vitamins and minerals to feed the crops, and you. Organic foods have higher levels of many disease-fighting antioxidants and essential vitamins, including Vitamin C.

2: Reduction and Prevention of Allergies and Diseases.

Industrial pesticides and fertilizers used in intensive farming contain synthetic, toxic chemicals, residues of which remain in the food they are involved in producing.

3: No Genetically Modified Ingredients.

One of the major advantages of organic food is the fact that it is not genetically modified. Very little data actually exists regarding the safety of genetic modification and there are grave concerns that the negative effects are being ignored because of the huge profits these controversial production methods generate.

4: Better Environment:

 

The advantages of organic food and farming reach far beyond our own health and well-being. Organic food is safer for the entire planet. The procedures and methods used in organic farming protect the structure and the nutrient content of the soil and preserve its worth over time.

5: Saving Wildlife:

Organic farming methods and practices are also beneficial to wildlife, unlike commercial methods of food production. The synthetic, toxic chemicals used in commercial farming can be deadly to birds and other wild animals that depend on the land for food.

There are some great benefits from organic food, but since I’m a picky eater…

 

 

 

No Impact Man

 

So, can you really go for a year without power, a TV,computer, your ipod, store bought food, even toilet paper? If this experiment was forced upon me, I would quickly decline for I would break the rules or go nuts in less than 24 hours. You do have to give credit for the incredible dedication and effort to Colin and his family though for showing the world and the difference, however small or large, that it may have been. Through no impact man, Colin tells viewers how much can be saved and how much is used by we humans alone and what we can do to resolve and replace current issues. It’s an eye opening experiment and we can learn from him.

Of course I am amazed on how  he went without power and transportation as well as making the walk to the farmer’s market to get food that is unavailable in your standard grocery store. Although, he went a bit too far with the toilet paper…

Although we don’t have to go to the ultimate extremes such as no impact man did, we can still do the little things that can reduce our footprint.

The Cove

A Dolphin’s smile is the ultimate deception. Many of us, like myself, would have gone to an aquarium or Sea World and figured that by the dolphin’s cheerful look, smile, splashing, and flips – that these marine mammals would be happy. But after viewing “The Cove” I now have a whole new view of the matter now that I know the truth about where the captive dolphins come from. Dolphin shows and exhibits are a million, if not billion dollar industry, a good and ideal dolphin sells for hundreds if not thousands of dollars. However, “The Cove tells us about where some of those dolphins come from. A small town in japan that looks as if it worships whales and dolphins – lots of secret police and other barricades, hide the horrific truth that dolphins are being cornered into a secluded cove where few are caught and many are slaughtered.

This is sickening! I haven’t watched a film or documentary in a long time where I had a knot in my chest. This is so very sad. Thanks to this film, I now feel differently about places such as Sea World and aquariums that house dolphins. I now know why PETA threatened to protest a Sea World float at the Macy’s parade http://voiceofrussia.com/us/2013_11_21/PETA-threatens-to-protest-Sea-World-float-at-Macys-parade-6366/

More people need to know the truth about the dolphins. Although I didn’t get to see the full feature of The Cove, I certainly hope that the slaughtering in Japan stopped.

What Half of All Americans Never Knew

In recent year I’ve forced myself to learn as much as I possibly could about evolutionary theory; how it worked, what evidence supported it, how it was discovered, where it might be going, etc.  Beyond the fact that I simply find the topic immeasurably fascinating, I’ve been devoting my time and effort to this study because it was never allowed me growing up.  Born and raised in the back-woods of the midwest, I was brought up in an ultra-conservative Christian fundamentalist family that taught me to disbelieve all claims made by science that contradicted scripture.  Upon my first attending Ringling, I was a young-earth creationist, meaning that I believed that the earth was 6,000yrs old and that God willed everything into existence shortly after the time that archeologists believe the agricultural revolution began, simply because I’d never been allowed to believe anything else.

In spite of the universal scientific consensus, the overwhelming mountain of evidence, and the fact that the entire study of biology makes absolutely no sense without evolutionary theory, only 21% of Americans believe that human beings evolved without the involvement of God, and 25% of those surveyed (as roughly agreed upon by numerous sources) said that “Human beings evolved but God guided this process.”  37% answered that “God created human beings in their present form,” in response to the question “Which of the following comes closest to your views on the origin of human beings?”

Most people here at Ringling seem largely unaware that there are a huge number of people out there who still don’t accept the theory of evolution.  In 2004, in response to the same survey, only 13% of Americans believed that humans evolved without divine guidance, so there have been considerable strides in convincing the United States population in recent years.  The fact remains that, of all industrialized nations, the United States is overwhelmingly the most religious and the least accepting of the theory of evolution, which puts us in an extremely dangerous position as the wielder of the most political and military power in the world with the least understanding of how it works.  I don’t think enough people appreciate how deeply this problem permeates the American mentality.  Growing up, I, and most everyone I knew, believed that we were created to use all of the earth’s resources as much as we wanted, and none of it mattered because the rapture and second coming of Jesus was going to happen within our lifetime.  They believe that the government and the whole of the scientific community are conspiring to undermine their religious beliefs to bring about a satanic, socialist new world order that will resemble 1984 and round up all the believers and persecute them in concentration camps like the Jews in Nazi Germany.  It wasn’t until my sophomore year when I started to look into evolutionary theory for myself that I realized all of this was complete nonsense, and that I had been lied to my entire life.  If we want our nation to progress and become thoughtful and responsible for our actions, this is the battle we need to fight.  People need to understand that evolution isn’t “just a theory”.  It’s one of the most substantiated and powerful ideas humans have ever developed to explain what we are and where we came from, and it needs to be understood if we are expected to survive in this age of chaos, global turmoil, and exponentially growing dangerous technology.

Dogs

My family has always had an interesting relationship with dogs.  Off the top of my head, I remember at least 10 different dogs my family has cared for in my lifetime, and in the process of raising them, I learned a lot about their behavior and their pack mentality in relation to humans.  It’s really astonishing how similar their natural social order is to the hierarchical systems in human relationships, and it begs the question of weather we imposed this social behavior on them or if their existing sociability allowed us to easily adopt them into a symbiotic relationship.  From what I’ve seen in documentaries about wolves and the evolution of modern dogs, it would appear that, like most questions of this nature, the answer is ‘a little bit of both’.  Given that all modern dogs are derived from a species of wolf genetically most similar to a species native to modern Europe, if one wants to look at the nature of early human/k9 relationships, one would look at them.   In contrast to domesticated dogs, such wild wolves do not easily submit to the authority imposed by human masters and tend towards aggressive behavior, but when looking at their relationships with eachother in nature, the social order they adhere to is visible and familiar.  Largely based on dominance imposed by perceived strength and will to lead, we observe a male-dominated social order where the strong males and their chosen females hold prescience and authority over the rest of their pack.  In training a domestic dog, it is essential to establish a hierarchy of dominance so the dog knows its place in the social order and who in the family is it expected to obey.  Because this position is always one of subservience, it would make sense to imagine that the first dogs domesticated by humans were the most submissive of of their packs.  As the lower-ranking pack members are the last in their packs to eat when there is food to be shared, such wolves would be much more inclined to wait for human masters to feed them scraps from their own dinners, and would have more motivation to seek them out in a period of scarcity.

In exchange for feeding them, dogs would have provided early men with many valuable services, some of which we may find less useful today.  Their keen senses would be very valuable, they would serve to eliminate food waste products, they would bark in the presence of danger to alert their masters, and they could be trained as hunting animals.  As time went on, and humans grew less occupied with keeping themselves alive, their purpose would logically shift from that of a tool to that of a companion, which would inevitably lead to the strange and diverse variety of adorable, baby-faced, fuzzy lap dogs that exist today, as such clearly maladaptive creatures could never survive on their own in nature.  As we selected traits that made dogs more sociable, they became more docile more trainable, and more readily adapting to a submissive role in a social hierarchy, slowly growing the similarities between the social orders of the two species, while wolves in nature remain much more aggressive and unwilling to bend to the will of human masters, retaining their own natural social order.

Whole Foods vs Local Foods

So I’m a shopper of Whole foods, I like organic things and I like to stay healthy. Our conversation in class about local foods got me wondering about where the organic food I ate was coming from and if I was being more of a hindrance than a part of the solution. On my next trip to the market, I was amazed that most of the foods I bought were not from Florida, or even this region! Most of my food came from Mexico or California, I’m not even supporting my own country a portion of the time. I searched for local alternatives and sadly, I could only find a few of the foods I had wanted that were local: peppers, cabbage, citrus (naturally), green beans, as far as fresh produce goes. There is a lot more local options in other sections. There were very few choices in the seafood department as well! Only one was marked as being caught using safe fishing methods and being local.

I was shocked that as far as fresh food goes, there was not a whole lot to choose from for local foods from Whole foods. With them trying to be so environmentally concerned, why are they not taking the step to be considerate on how FAR the food travels. I know that it is business, but this has me considering going to only local Farmer’s Markets for the majority of my food from now on.

Here is a list of all the local Farmers Whole foods does work with and their locations if you are interested! http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/local-vendor-profiles/FL

Thanks for reading! – Kat Jackson