Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Last Exploration Natalee Christman

I really enjoyed “The Ideal of a Local Economy” by Wendell Berry. One aspect of the writing I enjoyed was when he referenced the fact that our way of life has become like leisure. In a quote from the reading he says “we have an environmental crisis because we have consented to an economy in which by eating, drinking, working, resting, traveling, and enjoying we are destroying the natural, the god given world” (Berry,14). I found this quote to be the most influential because he is calling our culture out as a whole. He is saying that the lifestyle we are living we are destroying our environment and even the natural world. I agree with what Jessica had to say about Berry’s stance on humans. Berry pretty much is saying is that humans do not rely on themselves anymore. They rely on other people and large corporations for basic necessities for life. I really did enjoy the Wendell Berry because it brought to light how the American culture is not self sufficient and we rely on only a couple companies for necessities. 
An aspect of culture that we do not recognize is the drug problem that this nation is facing a a whole. I know that recently I watched a special on 60 minutes that was over the heroin problem in Ohio. The episode took place in suburbs around Columbus. I think that this is an issue that we need to talk more about because it is not a drug that only a certain group of people use. In this episode most of the people using were teenagers who lived in well off suburbs. I found this intriguing because when I think of people who are drug abusers I think of people who are impoverished. This was scary to me because I began to think that friends or people I know could be using. It also amazes me the number of people who wanted the marijuana bill to pass, but I am glad it did not. I feel that marijuana is not as dangerous as heroin, but may increase the chances of somebody doing heroin. Before I watched this special I knew that heroin was a drug, but what I did not realize that for a lot of users heroin was not the first drug they had done. Many of them admitted to using cocaine and prescription pills. Overall I think that this is an issue that needs to be discussed in our culture more because it is killing America’s youth. Here is a link to the 60 minute special http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/heroin-in-the-heartland/

Last Exploration from Chas Jones

     Wendell Berry's essay, "The Idea of a Local Economy" was very interesting to read. This is because Berry's writing style and diction are very complex. Its not that he leaves the reader to interpret for themselves but the facts and information he gives the reader really makes the reader think about the possibilities. That is the main reason I found this essay interesting , is because the thinking it makes us do. A quote that I found complex is, "The "environmental crisis" has happened because the human household or economy is in conflict at almost every point with the household of nature." I found this quote to be complicated because Berry makes the problem seem and sound so simple but the answers are quite complex for the average American to understand. I believe the problem with this essay is there are unlimited questions and problems that need answers but there is a limited amount of answers.
    I agree with Rachael's statement on Berry's quote of competition being war. I agree with her on the basis of completion bringing out the best of us but I also agree with Berry's interpretation of competition but with a different meaning. I also believe that competition is similar to war. Berry uses this negatively but I try to make a positive out of this and that is that war always gives us an answer. Yes, there is a lot of destruction during war but in the end the best man always comes out on top. Also war will always give us more answers than questions.
     I am very passionate about the sport of baseball. I believe that in all sports you can learn valuable life lessons but I think baseball is different than all other sports. Baseball is a dying sport which is a shame. It is now known as Americas past time instead of like football being the present and the future of sports. It is well known as being a "boring" sport to watch and to play. This is the main reason why baseball is dying in America. Baseball represents everything that made America great. Yes it is a "slow" sport for modern fast paced America but that is what it teaches us. Good things come with patients, which sounds dumb in this fast paced, we need it now, world. Also in baseball there in no running out the clock because there is no clock. In football and basketball you can waste clock and not give the ball back to the opponent which I believe is to easy. In baseball you have to throw the next pitch, you can't just say "we are up by a run so I"m not gonna let the other team have a chance to hit." You can't do that, you have to finish the game strong and that is also why no team is ever out of it. Just like in life, no matter what, you still have hope and can still be successful.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Last Exploration: Jared Gandelot

I enjoyed reading "The Idea of a Local Economy"; I liked how Berry broke down the "environmental crisis" from a socio-economic one, to one that can only be solved by individuals and their communities. On page 14, Berry explains that the issue at hand can only be solved if people take responsibility back from the corporation that are doing no good, for humanity and the environment.
   "If people began the effort to take back into their own power a significant portion of their economic responsibility, then their inevitable first discovery is that the "environmental crisis" is no such thing; it is not a crisis of our environs or surroundings; it is a crisis of our lives as individuals, as family members, as community members and as citizens."
I agree with him on the fact that it is a crisis of the individual, I don't agree on how he uses quotations around environmental crisis. I understand he is trying to make a point but I feel like he is ignoring the seriousness of  the issue. As he continues he list the assumptions of a "free market", I like how he states all of the problems before giving his solution. The  clarity in his writing is what makes this essay so readable.
I liked how Alan used the sheep and shepherd metaphor to explain how the free market is dangerous. "...the global economy is shepherding people into a system that is hurting the world and those that run it are stuck in an unending loop that they may want to get out of, but have no way of doing so."

One issue that I feel does not get talked about enough is the rate at which species around the world are going extinct. We are witnessing a mass extinction caused by our need of and consumption of natural resources. The current extinction levels are 114 times higher than natural levels. Levels that high have not been seen for 65 million years, that was when the dinosaurs went extinct. There is hope though, if radical changes are made to the way we live and conservation efforts grow exponentially we can slow it down. If nothing is done we will "sink with the ship", last time I checked, Earth doesn't have a life boat.

Last Exploration- Brianna Moore

In "The Idea of Local Economy" by Wendell Berry he talked a lot about how with the "environmental crisis" a lot of the people even if they do know about the problem they still ignore it, in order to help themselves feel better! "We can't hope to solve these problems without an increase of public awareness and concern." This is saying that if people don't care about the issue and are not aware of it that it will never go away. It seems that people are so obsessed with the idea of having everything that they want right now, so much that they fear inconvenience and will eventually lead the world to ruins. Today's society is all about now now now, but instead we should be looking at the things that our fear of inconvenience causes us. Like Ruksana said in her exploration that it’s so hard to enact widespread change in the current economy we live in, we want to do better but we don't necessarily know how to improve what we are doing.

An issue in today's society is world hunger, I mean as American's we waste and throw away so much food when there are third world countries with starving children who are not able to have the proper diet in order to survive and most of these children die from starvation. 

Last Exploration: Elizabeth Scott

     One thing I found particularly interesting in the article was when it talked about how to keep the cost of labor low. On page 18 of the article, they wrote " In this way it is possible to maintain a "pool" of people who are in the threatening position of being mere consumers, landless and also poor, and who therefore are eager to go to work for low wages - precisely the condition of the migrant farm workers in the United States." I thought this was interesting because I feel like it really relates to today's society - in specific, the young adult generation of today. Many young adults today are living on their own, with children and a family already at such a young age, and struggle to keep on top of everything. They are then forced into jobs making minimum wage or barely above that just to provide food for their kids and families and to pay the bills. I just found this interesting because even though the author of the article was talking about the farm workers, I also can see this being portrayed in today's culture.

     One thing that I think isn't really given much attention at all and is particularly relevant in today's younger population is issues of self-image. I think so many people today, girls in particular, are prone to being unhappy with themselves and how they look. Thin, perfect looking celebrities and things like the "Victoria's Secret Fashion Show" that was a few nights ago result in younger people feeling insecure about themselves. I saw several posts on social media saying things like "time to watch the VS Fashion Show and cry because I'll never look like them [insert a million crying emojis]" and other negative things like that and I think it's a huge HUGE issue. So many young people focus on wanting to look like or be like someone else instead of being happy with themselves or focusing on good things. I feel somewhat strongly about this because I used to be the same way until I actually did something about it and started going to the gym a lot. Some people may occasionally tell me I look "manly" or that I shouldn't get "too big" or "too muscular" but I have learned to ignore what people say and do what makes me happier with myself and happier in general. I'd rather have muscles bigger than other girls my age (and some guys my age as well) and go to the gym and lifting heavy weight instead of just running so I look "thin" enough to fit in with today's view of what is attractive. If that's what makes me feel better, that's what I'm going to do.  I think more people should do the same. By this I mean not necessarily lifting weights unless that's what they're interested in, but ignoring what society tells them about how they should look or what is attractive or how they should act and instead focusing on being how they want to be - not how everyone else wants them to be. 

Last Exploration- Rachel Hopper

       One thing that I found intriguing in the reading was Berry's idea that competition is a form of war.  The reason I find this interesting is because I think competition in the economy is very helpful.  I do agree with him that smaller economies are much more ideal and that they should be less institutionalized.  I found that this quote really captured my attention:

     "The law of competition is a simple paradox: Competition destroys competition.  The law of competition implies that many competitors, competing without restraint, will ultimately and inevitably reduce the number of competitors to one.  The law of competition, in short, is the law of war."

     Something else that I was reminded of is the recurring theme in our class: people today are obsessed with efficiency and convenience.  This theme has came up in the Fresh documentary that we watched in class, as well as the class discussing the excessive cell phone use issue.  Efficiency and convenience could become our own worst enemy if we let it.   
     One thing that I think could be talked about more is expanding our horizons and trying to break out of our comfort zones. There are many ways to do this.  You could read more or something that is different from what you would normally read.  Maybe go see a performance of some sort or try an activity that you normally don't find yourself doing that often or at all even.  I feel that having different experiences is how life is meant to be lived: to try new things and appreciate the little things.  It could be a learning experience.  You could possibly gain a skill. Or you could just be doing something just so you can say that you did it.  I feel like everyone could always break out of their comfort zone a little more.

Exploration 8 - Alan Brophy

The Idea of a Local Economy by Wendell Berry is an eye opening read that shows the view of the economy from someone who has decided not to be a sheep to the Shepard of corporate greed. I like Jireh White's comment on how blunt Berry was in his article and the fact he can be considered offensive as he is defending the ideals of localization of the economy. Berry attacks corporations, but not necessarily the people running them, because he states, "I don't mean to say, of course, that all corporate executives and stockholders are bad people. I am only saying that all of them are very seriously implicated in a bad economy." I took this as the global economy is shepherding people into a system that is hurting the world and those that run it are stuck in an unending loop that they may want to get out of, but have no way of doing so. I think that Berry is right in saying that local economies should only export their surplus, but that is not how the world works currently. The global economy works as such: make for less, and sell for more. This is not a healthy way of going about business.

I think that we should have talked more about alternative energy in the classroom if we even did talk about it. Personally alternatives to fossil fuels need to be discovered for us to be able to sustain our culture and more ahead. Fossil fuels are non-renewable resources and also hurt the environment quite a bit. Although, since the efficiency of wind farms and solar farms are way too low for being cost effective, that is not going to happen in an instant. Nuclear is too expensive for anyone to start to build, and water is too location dependent. Thus I believe more R&D needs to go into alternative energies for us to move on.