Environmental Risk

•April 5, 2012 • Leave a Comment

During class we were asked to briefly discuss an important concept associated with our projects.  Although I misunderstood the verbal report assignment, I will aim to explore the general overview of the concept environmental risk. Environmental risks are constantly occurring, most often as a consequence to irresponsible actions made by the human race.

According to BusinessDictionary.com environmental risk is “Actual or potential threat of adverse effects on living organisms and environment by effluents, emissions, wastes, resource depletion, etc., arising out of an organization’s activities.”  These organizations range widely from large industrial factory farms to large oil giants, as well as everything that falls in between.  Environmental risks should be of great concern to large corporations, however they very rarely are taken into serious account.  As shown in the documentary we viewed in class, The Yes Men Fix The World , many of the people affiliated with these dominating corporations give little care to the environmental risks at hand, and much care to the profit that could be gained.

These environmental risks which go overseen often lead to extreme disastrous consequences. The example which was most covered in the media recently was the huge BP oil spill.  Although the accident could have been prevented, it was not consequently harming the ocean as well as all underwater life that came in contact with the spill. However, many incidents occur both locally and globally that our media does not choose to display.

Contamination of our water, land, and air are some of the greatest environmental risks. However the risks are not dealt with equally around the world.  The European Union, China,  and Australia all have much stricter regulations and standards than here in the United States when it comes to managing environmental risk. With a rapidly growing population, depletion of our natural resources is also a serious environmental risk we must take into consideration. Again North America is a huge guzzler of natural resources, depleting those resources, and most often creating the most waste. It is valuable to examine the different environmental risk policies our neighboring countries in order to find a less harmful approach to adopt.



What Is Environmental Risk? Definition and Meaning


http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/environmental-risk.html, accessed April 5, 2012.


Finding the Community!

•February 28, 2012 • 1 Comment

It is undeniable that the industrial food system creates severe consequences for all living creatures on planet earth. Thinking further about groups most significantly effected by the industrial food system and animal treatment, one group stands out more than all the rest, family farms.  Family farmers are now constantly presented with complications presented by large corporations drastically modifying the process of sustainable family farming. Upon researching the detrimental effects of factory farming on local family farmers, I found one entertaining spoof animation “The Meatrix” , which illustrates the most prominently destructive consequences of industrial food systems such as: animal cruelty, antibiotic resistance in animals used for food, massive pollution, and destruction of communities. These effects have overwhelmingly negative consequences for the health of humans and animals populating our planet. I located the link to this short animation on a site with a huge following of people all working together in hopes of eliminating factory farming and reviving the family farmers.

Homegrown.org is a website dedicated towards connecting individuals with the desire to change the way our food system is currently run.  This website creates a community of passionate individuals working towards change, whether the members are actual farmers or simply supporters of their local growers they all promote the preservation of agriculture.  One alarming article I found on the website came from a woman who grows chickens with her husband, the article is about a convention she attended filled with speakers practicing sustainable farming.  The disturbing truth within the article is the fact that although the idea of sustainable farming is thought to be a positive alternative to factory farming, it does not ensure that the farmers are actually using completely safe procedures.  The article focuses on one farmer in particular “sustainable sam” who blatantly brags about how to utilize shortcuts and getting by with the bare minimum in safety procedures.


HOMEGROWN.ORG – Celebrate “culture” in Agriculture & Share Skills Like Growing, Cooking, Canning


http://www.homegrown.org/, accessed February 28, 2012.


BioArt Life as Material

•February 28, 2012 • 1 Comment

Upon searching for an art form that combines the issues of both genetic engineering as well as controversial treatment of animals, I thought there was no such medium.  However, shortly after I began my researching I found that I was wrong and that this medium has been appreciated as well as strongly opposed by many world wide.   The art form in which I am referring to is known as “Bioart”, an art practice which includes paintings as well as sculptures using materials consisting of human and animal cells, human and animal tissues, as well as living bacteria.  BioArt encompasses biotechnology practices similar to the industrial food system, in that it utilizes  the manipulation of  genes, “genetic material from one organism is altered by the addition of synthesized or transplanted genetic material from another organism” (Pasko).  Upon searching online I found fascinating and disturbing examples of this approach to the art world. The bio-art creations range from replicas of “victimless leather” (a project using living layers of tissue to construct a tiny jacket-like shape) to “semi-living worry dolls” (a project incorporating polymers, skin, muscle, and bone tissue in order to create mini doll like figures).

            With this unique art form comes much controversy regarding the ethics behind the process itself.  Animal rights groups in particular have a difficult time in finding the beauty behind the use of living organisms and pieces of animal put on display as art.  Offended animal rights groups argue that using animals as art materials is no different than strutting around in a fur coat or indulging in a juicy porterhouse.  These groups oppose the idea of humans using living creatures for our own unnecessary personal gain.  On the other hand, many bio artists explain that the art is used as an example of the unfair relationships that exists between man and animal. In fact the “semi-living worry dolls” are used to represent worries of the social problems prevalent in the world today.  Ironically one of the worry dolls, Doll B, “represents the worry of biotechnology, and the forces that drive it” (tcaproject.org) .


Pasko, Jessica 2007 Bio-artists Use Science to Create Art – USATODAY.com. http://www.usatoday.com/tech/science/ethics/2007-03-05-bio-art_N.htm?csp=34, accessed February 28, 2012.

The Tissue Culture and Art Project – The Semi-Living Worry Dolls N.d. http://tcaproject.org/projects/worry-dolls, accessed February 28, 2012.

Peer Blog Review

•February 9, 2012 • Leave a Comment

I read several engaging blogs from my peers on a variety of topics.  The three which I chose to mention all have excellent perspectives on the world issues we’ve been discussing throughout our time together in class.  

Onyx touches on the harsh realities of the organ trade process as well as the illegal organ trade system.  She diminishes the stereotype most of us hold that illegal organ transplants are done in dark grimy alley ways by some sketch doctor.  In fact she presents many of the promising positive aspects of the illegal organ trade system. 

Both Al and Sarah give an exceptional review of the film, “Another World Is Possible”.  Sarah discusses the perspectives unmentioned throughout the film, such as the benefits of genetically modified food.  She illuminates the necessity of maintaing an open mind when exploring world issues at hand.  Al provides an intriguing discussion on the perspectives held towards the US from individuals from all other nations.  He does a wonderful job of illustrating the egocentric attitude that is held so strongly here in the United States.


A Genetically Modified Future

•January 31, 2012 • 4 Comments

As the Earth’s population is in a rapid state of multiplying, our resources are doing just the opposite by decreasing at an alarming rate.   The consequences of this situation; starvation, unequal distribution of resources, unemployment, poverty and many more, are no simple obstacles to conquer.  One approach to this matter is the process of genetically modifying foods in order to mass produce a type of food whilst lowering the cost, such as corn.  The ability to modify foods by altering its genetic make-up has many benefits, but whether the benefits outweigh the  risks attached to (GMO)s is a controversy with scientists on both sides of the argument.

            There was a recent popular YouTube  video that has surfaced the internet of an eleven year old homeschooled boy that goes by the name of, Birke Baehr.   Birke presented a 5 minute presentation exposing the destructive flaws of industrial food corporations,  with Monsato corporation being a main example.  Birke even proposes how we as a human race can approach and mend the situation.  The presentation begins by discussing media’s role in presenting the most unhealthy foods to us repetitively through usage of cute characters as their mascots.  It is very rare to ever see an advertisement supporting healthy foods from your local farmers market or community garden, however you can’t watch a television program for more than fifteen minutes without being exposed to some type of genetically modified food chain creation. Expecting the entire population to suddenly abandon genetically modified foods is highly unrealistic, however it is crucial that a movement be made towards locally organic grown foods.  It is not only important to make the shift for health purposes but for financial reasons as well, Birke closes the presentation by asking the audience who they would rather pay “the farmer, or pay the hospital”?

How does the news work?

•January 24, 2012 • Leave a Comment

How The News Works

Another World IS Possible

•January 24, 2012 • 4 Comments

Every year there is a monumental gathering held connecting individuals from all over the world.  These people from all different walks of life come together with the same mission, to change the way things are.  This mission consists of many important issues we must work on together in order to overcome including: breaking down barriers among countries, farmers rights, unequal distribution of resources, environmental destruction, and many more. Another World Is Possible (AWIP), is the documentary that covers this incredible social meeting known as, The World Social Forum(WSF), particularly the meeting held almost a decade ago in 2002. The most alarming part of this entire exposure to both the film and WSF, is that is it the very first I’ve ever really heard of it.  I have never once seen any coverage of the WSF displayed in the media nor here on our own college campus, however you can’t go too long without hearing about the latest grenade Vinny happened to sleep with on the most recent episode of The Jersey Shore.  In AWIP, they mention the enormous ignorance the United States, especially, holds of tragedies that are constantly occurring in the world all around us.  Most Americans can recall exactly what they were doing on the day that the twin towers fell from the sky September 11th, 2001.  September 11th’s events are re-surfaced constantly, however what is not discussed are the tragedies just as destructive, if not more, which occur everywhere else in the world.  Change begins with educating others on the social problems threatening our home, the earth.