Last week we learned about climate change and population density.
When learned about climate change, we learned that our planet’s climate is getting warmer because of an increase in carbon dioxide and other green house gasses as shown on the graphs below.
The ‘greenhouse effect’ is caused by short wave radiation (UV rays) from the sun going through our atmosphere and heating up the ground. The ground in turn emits long wave radiation that gets trapped by greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere. Thereby, heating up the globe like a green house.
Because of this ‘greenhouse affect’ the whole world’s temperature has raised 2 degrees higher then it has ever been. Now, two degrees may not seem like much but, this has caused the glaciers to start to melt, fertile land start to turn into desert and more hurricanes starting to form.
Most of the greenhouse gasses on this graph are from solid and liquid fuel. For example, coal is a solid fuel and gasoline is a liquid fuel. But we also have to think about our embodied emissions. These are emissions from our every day product from the stores. These products sometimes line up an big line of carbon emissions just to get to our shelf. Here is one example, the factory creates the product (CO2 from electricity and product production) then it goes to transportation (CO2 from combustion engines) then the retailer store (CO2 from electricity used to run and heat the store) and lastly driving to the store (CO2 from your combustion engine).
To stop global warming, things we could do as individuals include: voting for politicians with an eco-friendly platform, walking/biking to work/school or driving an electric car, buying local and buying things with fewer packaging (don’t buy those individually wrapped potatoes!!!) and generally only getting what you need.
Stopping climate change is hard and some things we just can’t change. For example, big coal/oil companies will not shut down because their wealthy owner is just too greedy to lose out on all the money in their industry. This is one of the ways climate change becomes an issue of class. Some things only the wealthy can change and I think it is their responsibility to change it.
Now I was going to write about what we learned about population density but this blog post has already gotten too long. If you want to come talk to me later Mr.Chan, I would know what I am talking about regarding population density.
Last week we learned about developing countries and how they can get stuck in the poverty cycle.
When a poor country is stuck in the poverty cycle one of the only ways to get out is to get a loan to be able to build infrastructure and improve the economy. Developing countries use to take out loans from privately owned banks in other countries. The only problem with this is that the banks could charge high interest on their loans and eventually the country would be in constant debt, not being able to pay back in full and in the long run paying way over or not being able to pay back at all. After the market crash in the U.S.A people were worried that these countries currency could become 0 so, the UN created the World Bank (WB) which took on all these countries debt with no interest. The only catch was that in order for the country to take out a loan they would have to follow some Structural Adjustment Programs (SAPs) given to them by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that helped the countries gain money.
Some of these SAPs would tell the countries to use a certain piece of land for growing a cash crop and exporting it or let in Multi National Corporations (MNCs) to set up shop in their country and produce and export their goods. Another example of a SAP is devaluing their own currency. This would in theory make other countries want to purchase their currency raising their currency value.
Now at first I thought this was a good system until Mr.Chan showed us a documentary about Jamaica. When Jamaica took out money from the WB the SAPs told them to make a ‘free zone’ where the Jamaican laws don’t apply. This is so companies can produce products that are legally not made in Jamaica and operate without the restrictions of laws. With this they are not liable to any taxes and they can pay their workers as low as $30 US dollars a week. In theory this would raise the economy because the Jamaican people can go to work and then buy things back in Jamaica. But this was not the case. The company got away with taking lots of deductions off their pay check that actually weren’t given to the government (even though they were suppose to) and because the end product was exported out of Jamaica it didn’t help the economy much.
In the end all of the Jamaican workers were fired after going on strike and they were replaced with Chinese workers making it not beneficial at all for Jamaica. Later the companies shut down and Jamaica was left with debt and an empty factory.
What actually works to help developing countries in the poverty cycle is micro-finance loans. These are loans to individuals so they can start up their own business in their country that doesn’t rely on MNCs exporting the goods out of the country. This way their business can help the country’s economy and have their product staying in the country. One way we can help with micro-finance loans is donating to https://www.kiva.org/ and loaning as low as $25 with no interest rate to someone in need.
Last week we learned about poverty and different methods of measuring it.
In our poverty lesson we learned about different ways of measuring poverty and we watched a documentary about people living on the street trying to get out of poverty. One way of measuring poverty that we learned is seeing if someone earns more than $2.48 Canadian a day. This is bad because in places with lots of resources things are really expensive making $2.48 Canadian not nearly enough to afford a living. Another way is to compare standards of living which is self-explanatory. This also doesn’t work if you compare to richer areas because one city must look really poor compared to another but for the poor city, that’s how everyone lives so they’re not in poverty, while the richer area must think this other area is in poverty.
In conclusion, I think the best way to measure poverty for Canada is to use the relative poverty method of comparing a person’s total income and spending to the average most people spend. I think this is the best way because this would find people living on the street or barely affording housing and that can’t afford the basic necessities. To measure poverty for the world I think it would be wise to look at the food, shelter and water needs of the area and see if they are being met. If not, then they are in poverty. In the documentary about helping the homeless, it brought up various other problems those who live on the street have such as drug addiction, not being able to find a place to spend the night and being too tired to do anything about it. Eventually after many months most of the people were able to get housed but one of them died of his crippling drug addiction. This documentary showed me how tough it really is to get off the streets and how it’s sometimes impossible for some people because of mental health issues or drug addictions.
Last week we were asked to research political Ideologies. The ideology research included socialism, communism, fascism, conservatism and liberalism.
Communism and socialism are two similar Ideologies that I researched. Socialism is all about giving everyone an equal playing field and working with democracy to gain equality and fairness. In socialism the government also controls production and distribution of goods. Now communism is basically a more extreme version of this where they are not ok with just everyone being about equal, no, they want everyone to be treated exactly the same. With the same health care, same education, etc. Also in marxism communism it begins with the working class revolting against the upper class to create a dictatorship that slowly moves towards true communism. But I think this is slightly flawed because every time it has been tried, it has failed because the dictator has stayed in power
Fascism I found was all about having one dictator and included lots of nationalism and authoritarianism, meaning that the nation is the most important and having strict laws that restrict freedom. Out of all of these Ideologies I think that Fascism is the worst because it promotes hate and military aggression.
Now, liberalism is my favourite ideology because they are all about advocating freedom and liberty. They agree in competition in the economy and they want a system that gives government power to protect Individual’s liberty but also prevents politicians from abusing power.
Lastly, conservatism is one of my least favourites because they want to have traditional government and sometimes even try to undo political changes. The reason they want politics to stay the way it was traditionally is because it has slowly evolved through the years. I also don’t like conservatism because they have no trust in humanity thinking that people would constantly fight if there was no government and they even like to follow religious beliefs in government.