Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Summer Job: The Fund for Public Interest

Impact issues that matter this summer with the Fund!
 


The Fund for the Public Interest is a national non-profit organization that works to build support for progressive organizations across the country. We run campaigns for the Human Rights Campaign, USPIRG, and Environment America. This summer we will be in over 50 cities, working and lobbying to help win environmental and social justice campaigns.

 


Last summer our staff helped stop toxic gas drilling, worked to end subsidies for junk food, and built support for equal rights for all Americans - all while building valuable leadership skills. Currently, we have paid positions open for campaign staff in each of our locations. We require that interested candidates are hard workers and have excellent communication skills. 

 


 As a member of our staff, you will fundraise, build membership for our partner groups, and educate and activate citizens on pressing issues. You will also have the opportunity to organize press conferences and build coalitions with other non-profit organizations. While on staff, you gain knowledge of pressing concerns our country is facing, learn how to effectively generate public support, and obtain a firm understanding of the political process. 

 


 
To apply, contact our office directly or apply online:http://www.fundforthepublicinterest.org/page/fpi/apply-now
 


 

 


Hartford Office: (860) 231-8346
 


New Haven Office: (217) 370-1390
 

 
  

FYS: Guerrilla Cuisine Organic Shopping

                                            Meal comparison: the cost of organic
        Hi, my name is Prince and I’m from Marlboro, New jersey. I’m a freshman at the University of Hartford and currently a political science Major but plan to double major it with economics in the coming fall semester. The activity that we did in class consisted of us being put into groups of 4s and  by using our personal computers were to find the most organic items in each category of items that we had to get for our family’s thanksgiving dinner. What I’ve learned from this activity is that organic foods, that are grown naturally without any pesticides are far more expensive than foods that are grown with pesticides and often look bigger and overgrown. Altogether, my group and I found that an all organic thanksgiving would be far more expensive then items that are not. Our total from the list came up to be 151.11 in which I thought was pretty expensive because when my parents shopped for thanksgiving it came up to be around 80 to 100 and didn’t even go past that. Strangely, compared to the other groups our group had the lowest price but I believe it’s due to the website that we used to shop for our goods because or website that we used called peapod, is a company that works together with farms around your area to get you the cheapest organic foods.



      Coming from a family that’s often eats healthy foods, my mom would take me to the grocery store and show me how organic foods looked, compared to non-organic foods and there prices so I already knew how the process of organic and non-organic items worked. This idea made me think about how wrong our country is handling the food that we grow. Having parents who are immigrants from Ghana, a country who grows all there foods organically, foods that are grown with chemicals are frowned upon. It’s also weird because it’s easier to grow foods organically but it’s just the growing process takes longer then if it was chemically grown.
       This issue does not reach into the bigger world because it is not a major problem in the world and can easily be solved by lowering the prices of organic products and cutting the use of chemicals used to grow foods. This issue is connected to what we learned about how chemicals that are pumped into animals before slaughter can be the cause of some of the diseases that affect us today.
     
    

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                                            Work Cited

"Nutrition and healthy eating." Organic foods: Are they safer? More nutritious?. http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/organic-food/art-20043880 (accessed April 28, 2014).

FYS: Guerrilla Cuisine Menu for the Future reading

My name is Alyssa I am a freshman psychology major at the University of Hartford. I am originally from Bristol, Connecticut and I am planning to double major in pharmacy.
One of our assignments for this class was to read the book “Menu for the Future”, and then we would discuss each chapter in class. Chapter 4 of the book is called “You are What you Eat” and it discusses the changes that food has gone through in the past years regarding nutrition. They talk about how food today is not nearly as nutritional as it was back in the 1950’s. For example, “Popeye would have to eat 200 cans of spinach today to get the same amount of iron as he got from that one can 50 years ago” (p. 62). Similarly, the amount of vitamins in vegetables and fruit has also decreased over the years.
The reasoning behind this, according to studies conducted by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, is due to the method of farming today. “The prevailing method of farming is leading to a serious shortage of minerals… the mineral content in beans has fallen by 60 percent, potatoes by 70 percent and by 80 percent in apples.” (p. 62)
The chapter also discusses the benefits of going organic and what foods are the best foods to switch to organic. Foods such as peanut butter, milk, apples, ketchup and potatoes are the easiest foods to switch, considering the rise in cost for organic foods. The cost is typically what deters people from purchasing organic goods, and is also the reason why people tend to buy unhealthier foods such as potato chips or fast food. “The cost of fruit and vegetables has raised 40 percent in the last 20 years” (p. 68).
When discussing this chapter in class most people were shocked at the way the nutritional values of food have decreased over the years, and some people – such as myself - were wondering what could be done to stop it. The steep raise in price of nutritional food versus how cheap unhealthy food is also shocked people. It certainly gave me a new perspective as to how I should look at food and nutrition.



Tuesday, April 29, 2014

FYS: The Cost of organic

                                            Meal comparison: the cost of organic

    Hi, my name is Prince and I’m from Marlboro, New jersey. I’m a freshman at the University of Hartford and currently a political science Major but plan to double major it with economics in the coming fall semester. The activity that we did in class consisted of us being put into groups of 4s and  by using our personal computers were to find the most organic items in each category of items that we had to get for our family’s thanksgiving dinner. What I’ve learned from this activity is that organic foods, that are grown naturally without any pesticides are far more expensive than foods that are grown with pesticides and often look bigger and overgrown. Altogether, my group and I found that an all organic thanksgiving would be far more expensive then items that are not. Our total from the list came up to be 151.11 in which I thought was pretty expensive because when my parents shopped for thanksgiving it came up to be around 80 to 100 and didn’t even go past that. Strangely, compared to the other groups our group had the lowest price but I believe it’s due to the website that we used to shop for our goods because or website that we used called peapod, is a company that works together with farms around your area to get you the cheapest organic foods.



    
      Coming from a family that often eats healthy foods, my mom would take me to the grocery store and show me how organic foods looked, compared to non-organic foods and there prices so I already knew how the process of organic and non-organic items worked. This idea made me think about how wrong our country is handling the food that we grow. Having parents who are immigrants from Ghana, a country who grows all there foods organically, foods that are grown with chemicals are frowned upon. It’s also weird because it’s easier to grow foods organically but it’s just the growing process takes longer then if it was chemically grown.

       This issue does not reach into the bigger world because it is not a major problem in the world and can easily be solved by lowering the prices of organic products and cutting the use of chemicals used to grow foods. This issue is connected to what we learned about how chemicals that are pumped into animals before slaughter can be the cause of some of the diseases that affect us today.

Monday, April 28, 2014

FYS blog: Fossil Fuels

Footprints from Fossil Fuels
In my small hometown in New York, being environmentally friendly has been an idea that has been made a priority for as long as I can remember. In elementary school, representatives from local farms, the Appalachian Trail, reservoirs and farmer markets would come to talk to our classes about our impact on the planet. We would do group activities such as testing the stream behind the school for pollution or make a compost. In 2011, Hurricane Irene affected a lot of farms in the surrounding area. Fallen trees and flooding resulted in crop failures. Since the livelihood of so many community members were turned upside down in a matter of a few days, The Interact club that is affiliated with the high school organized an event to raise money for the family immediately affected by the storm.  The event was called farm aid, talented musicans preformed while there were baskets being auctioned off. Shirts, bumpers stickers and other merchandise that read “Local = Good” were sold. All proceeds went to the farmers in the surrounding towns. Some people in the community had a difficult time understanding that it was important to help these local farmers because they generally got their food from grocery stores and didn’t have a problem finding food after the storm, that is why booths were set up to explain the importance of eating locally. This event raised $25,000, this shows how powerful a community can be. If we are conscious of the way we treat the environment like the way my town was that Saturday in September we can surely have a greater impact on the world.
My town is located about 60 miles outside of New York City so many people commute to jobs in the city on a bus, train or carpool in fuel efficient cars to reduce the amount of gas they would use per week. By doing these simple tasks we can save more money, make friends and save the planet all at once There are so many day-to-day changes a person can make to easily reduce their carbon footprint. The obvious ones being turning the lights off when not in a room, and recycling but eating seasonal food and drinking water from a reusable water bottle helps too. According the Environmental Protection Agency, in 2012 82% of greenhouse gases came from human activities this means if we are more aware of our actions we can lower that percentage to a more acceptable number. Carbon emissions can be broken into subcategories of electricity, transportation and industry (“Carbon Dionxide Emissions”). The reason the United States has far more CO2 emissions than the rest of the word is because of our bigger is better culture. Power and success is measure by a big house and expensive car, which usually don’t have impressive Miles Per Gallon ratings or low electric bill and CEOs of large industries make profit a priority. Although the growing trend over being resourceful has had positive impacts, the terms that are commonly used such as environmentally friendly and made from recyclable materials are very broad. There are no standards or requirements to put on a product so it gives the public a false sense of the ecological impact.
A few weeks ago our class took an online carbon and water foot print quiz, needless to say we were all surprised at our results. When a person takes the on line quizzes the website also provides facts about water such as, “338 gallons of water are used to produce one serving of beef, Raising and processing poultry also requires 88 gallons per serving. it takes about 108 gallons of water to produce a serving of pork. A gallon of milk requires 880 gallons of water to produce” ("Water Footprint Calculator - National Geographic"). It turns out there are a lot more decisions we can make to help the environment such as not eating meats or processed foods. Both of these types of foods require a lot of energy to create and then transport to the grocery stores. It’s very easy to forget that food comes from other places since food from around the world is often readily available in your local grocery or convince stores. A common myth is we need to eat meat in order to get a good source of protein but studies from Cornell University reveal that we get actually get enough protein if we have a plant based diet. Making the change to locally grown vegetables will improve an individual’s health and environmental impact. Since decided not to eat processed foods, overall I feel a lot better after a meal. I no longer have a fatigue and it is a different type of “full.” I do not feel stuffed with mal-nutritious foods, I feel satisfied.
After retaking my online quiz I had improved in the areas of eating because of the information I acquired in this class. Unfortunately, I had more of an impact on the environment in the area of travel because I purchased a new car with less fuel economy than my previous Honda Civic. Also, I have travel more this year than in the past for golf, school and driving home. Since the year began in January, I have been to Vermont, Florida, South Carolina, Delaware, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and North Carolina and I already have future plans to travel to Tennessee, Utah, Delaware, Florida and South Carolina. As the years go on the world has become more globally interconnected, it’s no longer uncommon for people to travel for business overseas or go far away for college that’s why I think it is important for people to be routinely reminded about polluting the Earth. We all have good intentions but saving the environment is not often a number one priority.
Money is also a very substantial part in the decision making process of eating sustainable foods and reducing on footprints. For example, when I got into a car accident with my civic and the damages exceeded the price that I paid for the car. I had a limited amount of money to spend on a new vehicle, while factoring in mileage, year, size, fuel economy, accident report and price there will always need to be a compromise. I had to compromise fuel economy for price. I could not afford the car that was better for the environment. This decision seemed justifiable at the time but its when we all make these innocent decisions that the world becomes more polluted.
Besides making small changes in my eating tendencies and consciously thinking about the world around me this class has also influenced my future. I am a freshman Politics and Government major and after being exposed to the corrupt relationship between the government and brand name food industries I want to use my degree to make a difference. I would like to work for an interest group that informs the public about the somewhat secret activities of powerful companies.
Since the late 1990s there has been an increased concern for the environment. In 2006 interests peaked again when David guddenheim directed the documentary "Inconvenient truth" about al gore's efforts of educating the nations about global warming.  This film has been credited with raising awareness internationally and domestically about our day-to-day activities and their permanent impact on our planet. Although the concept of global warming has been debated amongst politicians and scientists there is no arguing our livelihood will forever be altered if there is a drastic climate change.  
Work cited

"Carbon Dioxide Emissions." EPA. Environmental Protection Agency, n.d. Web. 23 Apr. 2014.

"Water Footprint Calculator - National Geographic." National Geographic. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Apr. 2014.