“Nature” Valley

Erica Bock

Many are familiar with the Nature Valley granola bars. I think this product is a perfect example of greenwashing. After all, the package itself is usually green! But another obvious pointer that this company is trying hard to greenwash their product is by using the word, “nature” in their product’s title. This applies to The 7 Sins of Greenwashing’s example, “Worshipping False Labels”. Are our minds just simply trained to think that a color or the word nature means that a product is environmentally friendly?

If we take a deeper look into the making of Nature Valley Bars, some information may surprise you. Nutrition Facts for their most basic granola bar reveal that the second most abundant ingredient is sugar. That doesn’t seem very “natural” to me when it comes to making an “oats and honey granola bar”.

Secondly, Nature Valley also sells many of what they title their “Fruit and Nut Bars”. This titling would make one assume that the main ingredients (if not the only ones) would be fruit and nuts. However, that is far from the truth.The nutrition facts for these products reveal that corn syrup is added in more abundance than fruit! Shouldn’t this bar be titled: “Oats and Corn Syrup Bar”?

This product misleads many to believe that their products are “natural” or “healthy”. However, when we take a closer look at what is actually being consumed, it is obvious that that is far from the truth.

 

Link to Nature Valley’s Website: 

http://www.naturevalley.com

 

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Can’t Buy My Happiness?

Erica Bock

After discussing the “buyosphere” and America’s immense amount of consumerism in class, I decided to delve deeper into the topic to find out more details on the reasoning and symptoms of “consuming our way to happiness”. It is generally known that because of technology, the increased amount of individuals becoming educated, and the wealth of our nation that consumerism is on the rise. However, it is often said that “money can’t buy happiness”. But can it?

Research suggests that money can buy happiness when it comes to those who are impoverished. After evaluating the needy and evaluating the wealthy, it was obvious that that the wealthy had a higher level of happiness. However, research goes further to say that the happiness of the financially better off depends on what their money is spent on. According to the Wall Street Journal, individuals who consume “experiences” are said to be happier than those  who consume “items”. Regardless, the consumer still remains happier.

Psychology Today also agrees with the fact that income and happiness are undoubtedly related. However, the correlation between the two is much stronger in the impoverished than in the middle-class and wealthy. Nonetheless, research has also shown that as the average income of an American has tripled, the average happiness of Americans has remained constant. The conclusion: money can buy happiness, but it definitely has its limits.

http://www.wsj.com/articles/can-money-buy-happiness-heres-what-science-has-to-say-1415569538

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/how-happiness/201409/does-money-really-buy-happiness

To Be or Not To Be??

Erica Bock

The topic of whether to have children or not was recently talked about in class. After hearing just a few responses from my classmates, I knew I was eager to hear more opinions on this topic. However, the class period was about to be over, thus, time did not allow.

I personally believe that having children is better than not having children for many reasons. To me it doesn’t matter the quantity of children, but rather, the quality of time spent with them that makes this option such a fortune. Many know that it is scientifically proven that spending time playing with children will likely decrease one’s level of anxiety or depression. Because of this known fact, I decided to delve deeper into this topic. After more research and scientific studies, sociologists and psychologists have confirmed that spending time with children, particularly engaging with one’s own, helps an adult see the world differently. Children’s minds are far more open and imaginative that those of adults. Being exposed to this for a long period of time could not only positively influence our minds, but positively influence our actions. When seeing these actions both in children and adults, I cannot help but sense a bit of a spark of hope.

It is obvious that this topic is controversial, especially among millennials. However, if we all stop having kids, how will the future of our planet improve? Will the number of young adults drop exponentially by the time we are elderly? We can live sustainably and this earth can host any amount of children we wish it to. It is simply up to us to make it happen. So consider not only the meaning and joy that children could bring to your life, but also the blessings children could give to our planet.

 

 

6 Reasons Why Everyone Should Have Kids

 

 

COULD THE CURRENT GENERATION OF MILLENNIALS CHANGE THE TRAJECTORY FOR SCIENCE COMMUNICATION?

 

Erica Bock

As discussed in class, the history of communicating about science has definitely had its ups and downs, and with that, many mistakes. We can see that even in our current world, leaders and scientists still have not managed to be able to communicate science to the public in a satisfactory way. However, I believe that the current generation of millennials (especially high school and college students) has the most ability to change the way science is communicated throughout our nation and throughout our world.

As millennials, our generation is the largest, most diverse, and most educated generation yet. With more students going to college than ever before, this brings a great sum of opportunity for the future to positively change more rapidly than ever before. From the growing amount of science blogs and online videos, it is evident that millennials seem to be increasingly interested and passionate about science. With these two attributes, it is a rather accurate assumption to make that within the next few years, the leaders of America will be able to effectively communicate science to more people than ever before!

As mentioned above, the current millennial generation includes a more diverse amount of people from different racial, religious, social, and economic backgrounds working together than any other generation in history. This allows educated people of different backgrounds to approach problems in creative ways-especially science communication-and address many if not all aspects of the issue. Due to prior situations and experience, millennials are almost guaranteed to communicate science in our future world in a way that is more accepted and accessible to larger sums of people than any other generation.

http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2014/10/why-millienials-love-science/382015/

“All Natural”

Erica Bock

It has come to my attention this past week that, because of the influence of the media, many people think they need more expensive products to be healthy than actually necessary. As I assume most would believe, good health is a right that everyone should have access to no matter their social or economic backgrounds. However, with the rise in retail products such as diet pills, exercise equipment, and “fat-free” or “carb-free” foods, many people have resorted to accepting the fact that they cannot be “healthy” if they do not have the money to purchase said “miracle products”. It is obvious this has become a unsettling trend due to Forbe’s Magazine’s research on the topic. They have found that consumers spent most of their money retail pharmacy and other retail health services (second to health insurance) when it comes to all health products. Large sums of money were not spent on healthy food and not nearly as much on doctor’s appointments.

Furthermore, many people are not healthy because they assume they cannot afford to be. For example, research from the National Institutes of Heath has shown that lower income communities have higher obesity rates than those with higher income levels. The most accurate conclusion I can draw is that the media has made people come to believe that unhealthy foods are cheap and healthy foods are expensive.

After analyzing the data from both Forbe’s Magazine and the National Institutes for Health, I have concluded that it may be likely that our upper-class citizens are consuming large amounts of rather expensive health products that lower-class citizens cannot afford, thus causing these false stigmas around monetary status and good health. However, I think it is vital that as citizens we are proof of the fact that health does not come from a business but from nature, thus making monetary burdens less of an issue. By purchasing healthy fruits, vegetables and grains at a low cost, all citizens could have access to a healthy lifestyle. It is right here waiting for people to take advantage of it. Our nation needs to be educated in ways that do not agree with the media in order for their health to be preserved.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3198075/
forbes.com/…/profits-in-health-insurance-under-obamacare

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Importance of Non-Profits and Charities

Erica Bock

While it was discussed briefly in Roxanne Parrott’s work, “Talking About Health”, the importance of non-profit organizations and charities in our community has been truly verified by her writing on the subject.

One issue that was specifically brought to my mind was the fact that citizens seem to both get angry at the government for not assisting the welfare of the people as much as they believe they should, as well as feel the need that the government should play as minimal of a role as possible. Regardless, the government is not the only source to communicate and provide healthcare for America’s population-not for profit organizations and and charities carry the bulk of this weight! While organizations such as the CDC, Veterans Affairs, and certain health clinics may be funded and operated by the government, many resources most of Americans use are those from NPOs and charities. Thus, I really feel it is necessary to bring to light the extreme importance of these organizations to our well-being as a society. For example, most hospitals in the Cincinnati area are affiliated with a religious organization, thus allowing them to be able to save lives without the usage of government funding. Another example are the religiously funded homeless shelters and soup kitchens in Cincinnati. People from certain religious organizations noticed a societal problem caused by the alarming number of people who are homeless or impoverished, leading them to be driven by faith to create these life-saving and “pokery-decreasing” facilities without the use of government funding. However,religious organizations are not the only source of non-profits and charities in the Greater Cincinnati area. Other’s are funded by small special interest groups, individuals, or even large companies. Examples of these would be The Dragonfly Foundation and Ronald McDonald House. After reading Parrott, I have concluded that the main reason for the abundance of non-profits and charities is closely related to the fact that it allows the common people to play a larger role in public health communication than would the government. Non-profits are not only more relational due to their often emotional background stories, but they are also extremely immediate, personal, and accessible to the individuals they serve.

How and Who Do We Trust?

By Erica Bock

The first two weeks of this course really allowed me to develop thoughts on why America’s public health seems to be less than satisfactory. There were three main issues that came to my mind. Firstly, how does the public know what is healthy? Secondly, if something is healthy for one individual, does that mean it is healthy for everyone? And Lastly, who creates common stigmas around diseases and why are they so affective?

It has occurred to me that the general public, primarily the lower middle class and the impoverished which make up the bulk of population are shaped to believe anything low in fat, low in carbohydrates, or low in calories is considered “healthy”. This is because of the mass amount of food advertisements that an individual sees on a daily basis. The processed and “junk” foods often being advertised are not only more easily accessible to all people, but also less expensive. Regardless if this is factual or not, the general public seems to abide by it. Because of the current obesity epidemic, these foods that seem to prevent the gaining of weight seem to be the “healthy” option. However, this compromises the amount of necessary nutrients that an individual needs, thus causing many future health problems. Because such a small amount of advertisers and officials actually explain this, the eating of unhealthy food becomes a burdening cycle due to the population’s ignorance. This ultimately leads to the question, “Which advertisers should we trust?”

Secondly, if a certain food is considered “okay” or healthy for one individual, how do we validate whether it is healthy for all individuals? Doctors, researchers and dietitians are well-versed in many of the common diseases that occur in our communities today (diabetes, obesity, heart disease, cancer, lung disease, etc.). Unfortunately, this knowledge is not transferred to the many people that have these diseases. From noticing both the media and those around me, I have realized that most people tend to believe that “everything is fine in moderation” or “if someone else does it, then it must be okay for all of us”. However, I believe this to be untrue. Doritos and Hostess snack Cakes may be an okay Sunday treat for an athlete who eats very well during the other six days of the week. But would this be okay for an obese diabetic who eats less than satisfactory the other six days of the week? No. If we stray away from the topic of food, a second example could be smoking a cigar. For a physically fit and well eating individual, an occasional cigar tasting may be okay to their health, but would it be okay if this person was asthmatic? No. But how is all of this measured? By numbers? By facts? Ultimately, how do we trust statistics when everyone’s health status is different?

Lastly, this course has made me realize that society has created many negative stigmas around diseases that cause many illnesses to be talked about less than they should be. It makes me wonder how these stigmas were developed. For example, many people go out of their way to support those with cancer which is a very caring act. However, people tend to ignore or judge those with mental illness for fear of embarrassment or being made fun of. If an illness is an illness is an illness, then why should the quality of treatment by the public differ depending on the disease? Are these stigmas dated by the advancement of science? They surely aren’t based on facts.  However, from the media and my own interaction with the public, an individual with cancer is more likely to receive sympathy than would an individual with depression. I am imagining the positive effects that more sympathetic caring toward those with depression could result in. While cancer and mental illness aren’t the only diseases that have societal generated stigmas surrounding them, I am wondering how stigmas change the care of sick people around us. Which stigmas can we trust to be true and which can’t we?