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Archive for November, 2012|Monthly archive page

The Sound of Peace

In Uncategorized on November 18, 2012 at 5:27 pm

In pop culture, most of the music talks about love, breakups, dancing, or is just loud noises mixed together.  But, every once in a while comes a song that doesn’t deal with any of those topics, the song usually has a stronger message then those about dancing and love.  These songs are about peace and anti-war.  Most recently you may have heard “Pumped Up Kicks” by Foster the People which is about a high school shooting, “Waiting on the World to Change” by John Mayer which discusses how we are just waiting for someone to make a difference in the world, and finally “21 Guns” by Green Day which leaves the message to pick your battles and to not give up.  I have all three of those songs on my IPod and have listened to them many times, but I have a greater appreciation for the songs from the time of the Vietnam War that are truly advocating for peace.

While reading the next section of this post, play the following link in the background: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yRhq-yO1KN8

In 1971, John Lennon composed the worldwide hit, “Imagine”, that was greatly influenced by his anti-war activism during the Vietnam War.  The war was an extremely controversial issue during the 1960s and 1970s because people around the world and specifically in the U.S. we angered that the U.S. stepped in to end Communism in North Vietnam.  The U.S. military anticipated their time in Vietnam to be short and planned to assist in the abolishing of Communism and then return home.  This did not happen.  The ongoing conflict lasted more than a decade and resulted in the death of 58,202 in total, many of which were casualties.

The collaboration of poems by Yoko Ono and ideas by John Lennon allows the listener to form a better understanding of the lyrics within the song.  Imagine describes Lennon’s idea of a “Utopia”, what his perfect world would look like.  He creates this image through taking out ideas that separate us as humans:

no heaven […]

no hell […]

no countries […]

nothing to kill or die for […]

no religion […]

no possessions […]

no need for greed or hunger

By taking out all of the pieces in life that separate each individual from one another is what starts conflict and war.  Lennon believes if there was no culture barrier, religion, or gap between classes, we would live in a world of peace.

When you go on to read the next section, play the following link in the background: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m5TwT69i1lU

If you were to close your eyes and think of a serine landscape with “trees of green…red roses” and  “skies of blue…clouds of white” this would be the image of peace illustrated in the song by Louis Armstrong in What a Wonderful World.  The song creates a more simplistic version of peace with timeless ideas of nature and relationships between humans and nature.  Although What a Wonderful World was released in 1968, it is still widely popular today and is considered “timeless” because there is no reference to a war or specific event in history.  It was a way for the people to forget about the pain and suffering of war and for 2 minutes and 20 seconds to take a step back and be thankful for what they have in life.  The “paradise” he creates with the calm sound of his music and the lyrics that make you smile are other factors that make this song popular around the world and allowed it to be considered a timeless piece.

The idea of peace conveyed in music allows people to come together to appreciate the message illustrated through the lyrics. Lennon andArmstrong presented an image of peace within their music, when people hear the songs they can stop and think of what the ideal world would be like and gives them a piece of hope.  Imagine creates life without any barriers in a world where everyone is treated as equal.  What a Wonderful World shows us to be grateful for the beauty that already exists in our world.  These opposing images of peace gives humanity to see that there is already peace in the world as well as the view to see what a perfect “Utopia” or “paradise” would be seen as in our own imagination.

Sources:

http://d.yimg.com/ec/image/v1/release/36369780;encoding=jpg;size=300;fallback=defaultImage

http://www.english-online.at/history/vietnam-war/vietnam-war-background.htm

http://www.2facts.com/wnd_story.aspx?PIN=1966013020

http://www.veteranshour.com/vietnam_war_statistics.htm

http://www.lyrics007.com/John%2520Lennon%2520Lyrics/Imagine%2520Lyrics.html

http://www.lyricsfreak.com/l/louis armstrong/what a wonderful world_20085347.html

How Cheap is a Cheap Meal?

In Uncategorized on November 11, 2012 at 7:05 pm

(Spurlock, Morgan)

The fast food industry is largely ingrained in our society, and has particularly escalated in the past decade. Amidst this constantly innovative culture of today’s world, people are always looking for quicker, cheaper, easier ways to do things. An average of 50 million Americans are served by a fast food company daily (“Fast Food Statistics”). I must admit it would be much easier for me to drive through McDonalds and grab a 4 dollar coffee and breakfast burrito when I’m running late for school then to stop and eat somewhere, or make myself breakfast at home, and sometimes I do. In the 4 minutes it would take me to make it through the drive-thru, I would have a cheap meal to start my day and time to spare. Fast food has become a perfect little benefit to the hustle and bustle for the average person’s daily life. But we must consider that a cheap meal is a cheap meal. Besides the apparent greasy, fatty aspect of fast food, the industries behind them are focused on making as much profit as possible while spending the least amount possible on making the food which may lead to purchasing genetically modified meat and crops. When you allow yourself to be convinced that having three burgers for lunch at the price of 3 dollars is a good deal, consider that this investment can lead to eventual diabetes, mood change, weight gain, and liver damage.

(Lydon, Tom).

Sure we know that a crispy chicken sandwich from Wendy’s is a chicken sandwich with lettuce, tomato, and onion, but do we really know what’s in fast food? The meals are loaded with chemicals and preservatives so it will last longer and therefore be served easier. In Taco Bell’s recent case with an Alabama law firm concerning the contents of Taco Bell’s ground beef, the suit concluded that they only use about 35% real beef, leaving the remaining 65% to consist of “fillers, binders, and extenders,” whatever that means (Koleva, Gergana)!

In 2004, a director named Morgan Spurlock created a popular documentary called “Super-Size Me” in which he devoted his diet to eating McDonalds three times a day for a month to find out what effects it would have on his body, if any (“Super Size Me”). Before he ran this experiment, his BMI was average and his overall health (including blood pressure, cholesterol, genetic history, and standard bodily function) was superb. However as the weeks passed on this fast food binge, he found that his cholesterol, uric acid, and triglyceride levels rose dramatically and he gained 20 pounds (Super Size Me)! Moreover, the transformation of his body also led to the transformation of his moods. He expressed to one of his doctors, who was keeping close watch on him during this process, that he often felt depressed, had severe migraines, and his relations with his girlfriend were affected. ”Over the course of my McDiet, I consumed over 30 pounds of sugar from their food, that’s a pound a day. On top of that, I took in twelve pounds of fat,” concluded Spurlock at the end of his documentary. This nearly doubled his risk of coronary disease and made him twice as likely to have heart failure (Super Size Me).

(Walke, Hilary).

Even though this experiment was conducted on a large scale, and most people don’t eat fast food three times a day, many people do eat it regularly and even daily, so Spurlock’s argument is relevant to our well-being in America and other countries. With even minor adjustments to the quality of fast food, consumers may become less addicted, have a greater chance at leading a healthy life, and increase their drive and productivity. Obesity, and the problems that come with it, is a substantial issue especially in the U.S that can be helped if we start with identifying what these overweight consumers are putting in their body. Yes, the consumer is partially to blame for the health risks that come with their whopper but the fast food industry is not free of blame either. One solution to the ever-growing popularity of cheap meals is providing a closer watch on food safety through the FDA. Also, the industry could individually take certain steps like offering healthier sides, ordering higher quality meat (and making sure it’s all meat for that matter), and working make food more fresh. But until then, it is up to us as consumers to stop avoiding the obvious questions about the fast food industry: What effect does it have on us physically and emotionally? And should we consider limiting our intake of fast food if it’s so harmful?

——————————————————————-

“Fast Food Statistics.” Statistic Brain. Pew Research Center, 19 Mar. 2012. Web. 11 Nov. 2012. <http://www.statisticbrain.com/fast-food-statistics/>.

Koleva, Gergana. “Taco Bell Has a Beef With Lawyers, Runs Nationwide Ads to Fight Back.” DailyFinance.com. N.p., 31 Jan. 2011. Web. 11 Nov. 2012. <http://www.dailyfinance.com/2011/01/31/taco-bell-has-a-beef-with-lawyers-runs-nationwide-ads-to-fight/>.

Super Size Me. Dir. Morgan Spurlock. Perf. Morgan Spurlock. Cameo, 2004. Film.

“Super Size Me.” Manila Bulletin 12 Sept. 2004. Questia School. Web. 11 Nov. 2012.

Walke, Hilary. Fast Food Nation. 2012. Photograph. Fittest Cities.

Lydon, Tom. Fast Food ETFS. 2012. Photograph. N.p.

Spurlock, Morgan. Super Size Me Theatrical Release Poster. N.d. Photograph. N.p.

Sustainability at home

In Uncategorized on November 8, 2012 at 8:51 pm

There are many small steps that you can take to become more sustainable.   Many people hear the word “sustainability” but many people don’t know its actual meaning.  Sustainability is the concept of stewardship, the long term responsibility of protecting the environment and the management of resources.  Although complete sustainability is hard to achieve there are many small things you can do at home to help the environment. Water, energy and waste are three areas you can work on becoming more sustainable at home.
http://www.sustainability.umd.edu/img/content_pages/sustainability_diagram.jpg
Water is one of our most valuable resources and because of it we need to use our water wisely.  At home to save water, you can install water efficient fixtures such as water saving toilets or shower heads.  Another way to conserve water is by catching rain water.  You can set a a catchment system or just set out a bucket and then you can use this water for your garden.  One more way of saving water around your house is by putting mulch in your garden because mulch holds in moisture which then means you have to water less.  One final way that you can save water is one of the most simple, by fixing your leaking sinks, pipes or showers can save up to twenty gallons per week!

 



In America a single person produces 4.5 pounds of water every day, this equal up to 1642.4 pounds per year per person.  One very simple and effective way to reduce our waster is to take time and recycle.  Recycling reduces the amount of waste that goes into land fills.  Recycling also cuts down on new products because old ones are recycled and reused.  Another simple this that you can do is composting by collecting the organic material from your kitchen.  One more solution is just for us to consume less, the less we consume the less that goes into the landfill.

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-c2Um3ObuNlg/Tb8dBD9Y67I/AAAAAAAABec/IZ0plo3LGzY/s1600/Landfill.jpg

Energy is very crucial to our everyday lives.  Most people take it for granted and don’t realize what a valuable resource it is.  At home by installing energy efficient appliances like washing  machines and refrigerators we can reduce up to 20 percent of our electricity use.  One of the most simple ways to save electricity is to switching your regular light bulbs to energy efficient light bulbs.  You can even save energy with out going out of your house, all you need to do is make sure that all of your appliances and chargers are unplugged when they aren’t in use.

http://i-cdn.apartmenttherapy.com/uimages/chicago/082509-energystar1.jpg

Sustainability starts in your house.  By using less water, recycling and unplugged your appliance you are on your way to a environmentally friendly lifestyle.  Many people do not realize becoming sustainable is very simple yet very effective.

 

http://www.benefits-of-recycling.com/sustainabilityideas/

http://curiosity.discovery.com/question/america-produce-trash

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/jun/08/energy-efficiency-carbon-savings

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