The Grand Finale

The Great .gif

When I signed up for this course I really wasn’t sure I would be interested, not because the course is called Communicating Health, Science, and the Environment, but because this class was an elective for me. Most of the time electives aren’t the most exciting classes, however this course changed my perspective on how I view certain aspects in life now. I now will focus on the damages I cause towards the environment, as simple as turning lights off in the house when I am not occupying a room or recycling a plastic bottle that I once threw away.

I was actually really impressed by the lectures in this course and also the documentaries we viewed were very informative of global issues. For the most part professors show students videos that are irrelevant or uninteresting to our daily lives. For this course that wasn’t the case one bit, the “Before the Flood” Documentary with Leonardo DiCaprio was amazing focusing on many different characteristics of climate change and global warming. What really fascinated me with this film was that DiCaprio traveled around the world to get perspectives from other countries. The Bhopal disaster documentary also informed me of a tragic event that was caused by U.S. Company Union Carbide pesticide plant. This film was eye opening because it was an event I imagined a majority of students never heard about. So this film particular focused on an environmental issue, but also how the media only reports what they want our public to hear.

While in this course we covered how companies green wash to sell their product, which was very informing because now I can look at advertisements differently. I certainly will be more alert of what companies are in actuality selling. Another topic we covered that I found interesting was the media consolidation lecture. The media tends to change our perception of reality because of how it is controlled by the “Big Six”. I knew about the Big Six, but never realized they controlled 90% of our media. The news industry is so biased it is unbelievable and unfortunate to others around the world who are claimed responsible for something that is fabricated to the extreme.

Lastly, I enjoyed how you structured the class with the combination of getting the class to participate by opening up our minds. Everyone has their own beliefs and views on everything in the world, but you allowed us to express our own opinions to be open minded. I believe it is easier to stay focused when your professor is passionate about the topic they teach, which was quite evident for this course. The way you express your feelings towards the environment is encouraging and should encourage others to at least consider our opinions moving forward. Personally, I have thought about topics of this course outside of class from global warming, media consolidation, and antibiotics in my steak from Outback, quality of food from Chipotle, green washing, and much more. I applaud you for teaching an intriguing course that students can and will implement into their daily lives.

When will the world take notice?

Last week in class when we were watching Leonardo DiCaprio in the documentary “Before the Flood” I opened up my mind into a whole new perspective of global warming.   I always believed global warming was real not a hoax, however I never considered how impactful it is could potentially be in my own lifetime. When the phrase of global warming ever got brought up I thought it would be an issue in the world well past my time. As selfish as that may seem I now view this issue at a different perspective because even if this didn’t affect my life, it certainly will affect the life of my kids, but potentially erase the face of the earth.

DiCaprio has traveled thousands of miles around the face of the earth to dig deeper into the reality of global warming. The whole film intrigued me, but the segment in Greenland caught my attention the most. Greenland is a country that is over 80% covered in ice. The impact of global warming is continually melting the ice away, which is tremendously impacting the countries existence in the future. I don’t enjoy talking politics because of how angry individuals may get, but with Trump about to take office I am concerned about his views on global warming. If Trump is planning on dividing the U.S. from the United Nations plan on global warming our world could see a setback. The U.S. fund the United Nations with a good bulk to provide towards the global warming plan. Mukhopadhvav writes, “According to climate scientists at NASA, sea ice levels have hit record lows both the Antarctic and the Arctic. This may have left the global warming hoax debunked for people like Donald Trump who does not believe in climate change.” This is a concerning issue for those individuals that actually care about the future of humanity, rather than worrying about today and forgetting about tomorrow.

The amount of fossil fuels our world produces into our world’s atmosphere is overwhelming and eventually will cause these serious risks to become reality.

“Our impact reaches from Greenland’s melting ice to south Florida’s coastal flooding. It includes the bad air that sickens us, increasing the likelihood of heart disease and stroke, and which is now implicated in the onset of Alzheimer’s. It’s blamed for the intensification of wildfires across the Western United States and extreme weather around the planet, like the typhoons hitting Taiwan and intense hurricanes crippling Haiti.”

This is a trend that we have continuously seen grow over the past few decades. Now more than ever these scenarios are easier to access information with the growth of technology and social media. However, my biggest question is this, what will it take? What will it take for our society to believe that this is an issue that will affect the world we care so dearly about that gives us life? The reason this hasn’t become a serious issue to some people is because oil and Coal Company’s revenue is billions of dollars. Until, money isn’t the root of all evil our world will never overcome this issue. Hopefully one day a strong enough leaders will emerge, it could even be YOU!

Sources:  http://www.itechpost.com/articles/56451/20161120/global-warming-hoax-debunked-sea-ice-levels-hit-record-low.htm

A Climate of Change: Have We Become OK With Watching Earth Melt?

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/06/iceland-greenland-name-swap/

Ali Danesh

 

Is Starbucks who we thought they were?

A company that we have continued to attack throughout the semester is Starbucks. I believe this is because Starbucks is one of those companies that literally define greenwashing. As a company Starbucks poses to be environmental friendly, however everything they exercise in business doesn’t correlate to what they claim to be. Starbucks continuously is misleading their customers by serving the product that looks the best rather than what is best for the environment. In their latest act Starbucks released their Holiday festive coffee cop, however many individuals are upset with Starbucks because they are more concerned about the cup design rather than having reusable cups. In a short time between now and New Year’s Starbucks will be responsible for 580 million holiday cups going into the trash. (Globally, the chain distributes 8,000 per minute on average.)

“In 2008 Starbucks acknowledged that its cups were a problem and pledged to create a solution. The company committed to make its cups recyclable and serve more coffee in reusable cups. They set ambitious goals for 2012 and failed, then pushed the deadline to 2015, made no changes to their cups, then seemed to drop their commitment entirely.”

This hard to swallow for those individuals who have dug into Starbucks stance on Recycling, Sustainability & Waste Management. In many views this is a prime example of corporate greenwashing. The company is working with other companies to a better solution for recycling, but the reason they can’t recycle their cups is because these recycling companies can’t recycle Starbucks specialized cups. Starbucks continuously disobeys their customers by telling outright lies just to keep consumers happy. Many individuals feed the company ideas on how to convince consumers to bring back reusable cups. Starbucks responded by giving these customers 10 cents off of their purchase (I insert the crying face emoji here if possible). How about offering customers one dollar of their coffee where each the company and consumer are making the recycle process worthwhile.

The amount of benefits Starbucks would acquire by implementing a reusable cup on everyday activity would benefit tremendously. Starbucks is more concerned about having to double cup products, rather than implementing a cup that allows every company to recycle their wastes. Starbucks claims to be environmental friendly, however in 2008 the company wasted nearly 6.2 million gallons of water on a DAILY basis. They may have improved this number in 2016, but this is another example of Starbucks not being who they claim to be. Environmentalists are not being fooled by their greenwashing techniques used to manipulate society to become their customers.

Sources: http://www.treehugger.com/corporate-responsibility/starbucks-could-do-so-much-better-pretty-holiday-designs-how-about-making-its-cups-truly-recyclable.html

http://fsu.uloop.com/news/view.php/81232/Is-Starbucks-Guilty-of-Green-Washing

Ali Danesh

Are environmental ads beneficial to society?

In class we covered how the public recognizes green products. Green products in many of our eyes are helpful for the environment, however big companies such as Costco and Walmart have taken advantage of this emotion by giving these products a bigger public image. Companies purposively give green products intriguing packaging, designs, and positive environmental images to grab the consumer’s attention. This also gives off an expression to the consumer that they are benefiting society by purchasing this product or appeal to our sense of doing the right thing. Continuously in the course we have heard if you purchase Starbucks essentially you are investing what they believe rather than an actual cup of coffee. This seems to be the same objective for many of the big companies in our society.

 

During this process of persuading the consumers big companies are enabling consumers to contribute to the “green” lifestyle. So big companies such as Costco are implying to purchase their products because all the “good” they will provide to the environment. Are these companies trying to benefit from profit or provide back to the environment? This could be explained by Roth, “These companies include Costco, which sells over $4 billion in organic food annually, and Walmart, which annually sells $1 billion in products that achieve high scores on its internal Sustainability Index.” In the consumer world the manufacturers appear to be engaging the environmentally responsible behavior, which can help indicate which company you purchase goods from. These companies listed above are green product giants who are initiating marketing modernizations to reach a common goal of our communities. These companies reconstructed their marketing messages to communicate their product in a more effective way to help consumers purchase more green products. In this process they communicated, “How their products taste better, make consumers feel cool or save money.” The environmental advocacy is great, but isn’t it up to the consumer what tastes better? It seems that during this process companies thrive to manipulate the public mind to be drawn to what they are selling.

 

As we learned as consumers we view about 3,000 advertisements on a daily basis. So how could advertisement impact our relationship with the environment?   Psychology has played a concept in how advertising affects consumers to the environment. The push on green products has increased so much that now advertising is beginning to create a social culture that is based on frustration. This can only be corrected if the consumers buy more products, which is where these companies thrive. During the new age of media outlets these green giants are hunting business in a society that is based on transparency, responsibility and collaboration. Clearly companies are making BILLIONS of dollars with the new outlets of social media. The help of social media outlets like Facebook have helped these companies grow based on environmental friendly advertisements. I personally love to purchase products that help benefit to our environment, but after learning some of these marketing tactics I wonder how much of my money is helping the environment. The worse part is I could be helping some CEO of Costco pay for his multi million-dollar house, while he enjoys himself rolling around in a new Bugati.

 

Sources: http://www.triplepundit.com/2016/10/green-giants-use-sustainability-grow-sales/       Ali Danesh

Educating our younger generations can impact our future society

In class recently we had a lecture about the environment and something that caught my attention tremendously was conservationism. Conservationism is defined as a nature conservation, a political, environmental and a social movement that seeks to protect natural resources including animal and plant species as well as their habitat for the future. If our society focused on having more of an environmental ideology approach society would see a significant difference. I know it is difficult because personally I am not always considerate of my decisions towards the environment, but I certainly have mad an adjustment since I have been more aware of our societal issues. The issue with our current approach on consumption is that we continue to overuse goods in a direction that is not environmental friendly. Our society continues to diminish our beautiful environment by over usage of material such as plastic bags, cups, rather than reusing grocery bags or reusing dining items. Is this because our society has turned into towards technology to influence our work ethic of hard workers to become essentially lethargic?

On a daily basis an average person produces 4.3 pounds of waste. According to Duke University researchers, this is 1.6 pounds more than most produced back in the 1960’s. The United States nearly creates 220 million tons of waste a year piling up in over 3,500 landfills, which severely damages our environment putting toxics into the air. Many grocery stores have tried to implement a reward for those customers who use reusable bags. Implementing a reward system gives certain incentives for communities to environment friendly and think green.

If our society started to recycle more we would only see a slight difference, but every difference is crucial for this movement to take action. If our education system began to educate young children on the benefits of recycling our future as a nation would be pro recycling. Also, these children could go home and possibly influence their parents. For example, kids tend to ask many questions and if they continuously ask their parents why they don’t recycle the children could have an impact on how parents think towards the environment. In Taiwan some schools are doing just that by educating young children on the focus of an ecocentric world. Cleaning crews are simply taking the time to educate and teach children the significance of recycling and caring for the environment. Jake Chung writes, “The crew said it plans to visit elementary and junior-high schools in the district and that it would hold more than 15 spinning top coloring events and 10 do-it-yourself events for students to use recycled chopsticks to build items.” If students are influenced at this age they could hold these values for their entire lifetime.

Conservationism focuses on a less human-centered world, which requires individuals to be more environmental friendly. The more future generations are educated the more our communities can protect our land and its aptitude to serve future generations. In other words our younger generations can potentially provide a sustainable way to start an environmental movement.

Sources: http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/archives/2016/10/25/2003657893

 

https://center.sustainability.duke.edu/resources/green-facts-consumers/how-much-do-we-waste-daily

 

Ali Danesh

Can Strong Faith alter your thinking ability?

In class we previously had a debate Science Vs. Faith. Prior to this class discussion I automatically assumed this conversation would turn hostile because this is a very sensitive subject for must individuals. My religious background is interesting, not because of myself, but my whole family. I was raised as a Christian, but only half of my family is Christian and the other half is Muslim (I am half Iranian). I kept quite for this discussion due to the high amount of bias I would have messaged. I do believe in science, but I have enormous faith and didn’t want to offend anyone. I consider myself a man of faith, but I contradict myself because I believe how an individual could disagree with me. Although, everyone seemed to be opened minded and the class discussion went pretty well without any extra argumentation. However, this discussion left me with questions on why younger generation’s are less focused on religion than prior generations and how a strong religious background can alter thinking ability?

In recent years people have exercised their freedom of speech by speaking out against more than in past decades. One of the main arguments people have spoken out upon is whether or not God was real or in other words people have become atheist openly. This reminds me of the hypodermic needle model also known as “the magic bullet”. This model focuses on the notion that the media can magically inject thought and ideas into people’s minds. In the past generations everyone was taught and raised from their parents, schools, and public manipulation.

A recent study in Applied Cognitive Psychology shows a connection with belief in the supernatural (religious beliefs) with poor reasoning skills, tend to have low information about basic physics and biology, and a mentality to magical thinking. This study shows:

The results showed that supernatural beliefs correlated with all variables that were included, namely, with low systemizing, poor intuitive physics skills, poor mechanical ability, poor mental rotation, low school grades in mathematics and physics, poor common knowledge about physical and biological phenomena, intuitive and analytical thinking styles, and in particular, with assigning mentality to non-mental phenomena.

I am not saying I agree with this study, but I do agree that those who base everything on religious beliefs tend to have closed minded views about the natural world. As we continue to grow into our future we see less of religious views and see more scientific views. When most of our parents went to school they spoke upon God in public schools, now any religion is looked down upon in schools. For example, they don’t even say the Pledge Allegiance at school anymore. I remember when I was in high school you didn’t have to stand up for the pledge. My mom had a fit when I told her this saying, “Kids got beaten if that happen when I was in school.” So times are changing and as we develop more as a country into a technology driven world, we continue to see the trend of less religion.

 

Source:

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/progressivesecularhumanist/2016/10/study-links-religious-belief-to-poor-understanding-of-physical-world/

 

Ali Danesh

 

 

 

 

The media changes our perception of reality

As we listened to the lecture last week about media consolidation and how the media is controlled by the big six I thought deeply into how manipulated our perception of life could be. I previously knew about the big six, but I never realized that they controlled 90% of what we read, watch, or listen to. Considering these big six companies control up to almost 300 million Americans isn’t just staggering, also frightening. The fact that these companies combined in 2010 almost had a total revenue of 300 billion should be alarming. I have always been skeptical of our daily news, but numbers like these make me even more curious about what actually happens behind the scenes.

When I was in high school I use to watch conspiracy videos about how the media manipulates the public, but I was never sure whether these videos were true or not. However, years later I find it completely hard to comprehend some of things we hear from the media. I mean people hear stories then change them when retelling the story, so what should make us in society believe that the media couldn’t or better yet wouldn’t do the same cycle?

In a recent article the Pentagon was accused of paying a PR firm to create fake terrorist videos. This seems far fetch, but isn’t our perception our reality? If News Corp. owns the newspaper in 3 continents wouldn’t that suggest they can persuade the views of millions of people on earth. The cultivation theory states how media can reflect culture, which in recent years has illustrated the high volume of terrorist movies. These movies make a lasting impression forever that will be imbedded into our nations culture, which I can speak on first hand being half Middle Eastern.

It sounds far fetch for our country to put out secret propaganda, but is it really is the question? The events of 9/11 forever changed the foundation of security in our country, which is when Homeland Security was put into effect. How would the media know within hours that Osama Bin Laden was in charge of these attacks? Once again I am not stating these accusations are true, but I am trying to get you as a viewer to view both sides of the spectrum. As I continued to read the article it states how the global war on terrorism could potentially be based on a fictitious group of people who is known as our “enemy”. Previously in the mid 20th century our enemy was North Korea and North Vietnam, which many movies focused on these cultures and targeted them as bad guys. Now we have changed that focus onto the Middle Eastern culture.

As an American citizen I want to know exactly what is the motivation for this exact propaganda. A smart man in 1928, “

The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country (Edward Bernays).

 

Edwards Bernays is known as the father of public relations and his wise words could only make an individual wonder what is true and what is a fabrication of the truth…..

 

 

Source:

 

http://www.collective-evolution.com/2016/10/03/pentagon-paid-pr-firm-over-500-million-to-create-fake-terrorist-videos/

 

Ali Danesh