2nd Quarter ScrapESbook: My Journal

E: Poverty, Inc.

Ban Ki-moon once said, "Our world is one of terrible contradictions. Plenty of food, but one billion people go hungry. Lavish lifestyles for a few, but poverty for too many others. Huge advances in medicine while mothers die every day in childbirth, and children die every day from drinking dirty water. Billions spent on weapons to kill people instead of keeping them safe." Poverty is the lack of food, money, and resources for means of support; which brings us the reason the producers of Poverty, Inc. came together to make this incredible film that depicts the lives of impoverished people in countries like Haiti.

Many Americans, including me, see charity as a way to end poverty. As it turns out, we have been wrong this whole time. This is where Poverty, Inc. threw me off, completely changing my perspective on government aid programs and the "Toms" shoes motto,"One for One." I couldn't believe it when I heard the people being interviewed complaining about the things being sent over from other countries as a form of "aid." Hearing what some of these people said opened my eyes to how important it is to listen, something the U.S. clearly isn't doing. These people want job opportunities, not extra bags of rice the United States has laying around. This is where Mrs. Coy's Environmental Science class comes in. This whole year, we have been learning what the environment needs to survive and thrive. We can't simply pick up trash and say, "We helped the environment," just like we can't send rice to another country and say, "We helped end world hunger." We need to make opportunities available for the impoverished countries to thrive. Although it surprised me in many negative ways, this documentary has to be the most powerful film I have ever seen, sending an unbelievable message. It made me realize what an amazing life I have.

O: Endangered species pay the price of palm oil’s expansion


I don't understand how those running palm oil find this acceptable. There are so many other areas for them to expand in, but of course they had to choose an area that is home to hundreds of endangered species. The endangered species' numbers are decreasing as it is, so taking away their homes will make the numbers decline even more. Did the owners of palm oil ever stop to think of the effects their expansion will have on these animals? If they did, it certainly doesn't look like it.

Greenpeace studies show that in the last ten years, the population of forest elephants has decreased by nearly 60%. At this rate, the elephants have a chance of going extinct within the next 40 years. Palm oil's expansion will cause that number to fall and put many other species at risk too, like the Elliot's chimpanzee and the drill. Southwest Cameroon is home to an estimated 80% of the drill’s remaining habitat and indeed it is only found here and in pockets of Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea. With stats like these, preservation of what is left of the drill's natural habitat is vital.

After all of this, palm oil should not expand in this area. Destroying something as beautiful as this is unethical and needs to be stopped. What bothers me the most about this whole thing is palm oil claimed to have read every piece of research on the area and concluded that the conservation of the area is not important. Before Mrs. Coy's class, I would have sided with the expansion. Now that I know the effects of  human interference in ecosystems, I am against any form of habitat destruction. Palm oil can go find a place that won't hurt the animals.

O: Greenpeace blasts Shell after Noble Drilling verdict


Most people don't associate the popular gas company Shell with negative connotations. They have held the trust of their happy customers for many years now. I am one of those customers. Ever since the BP oil spill, my family and I have trusted Shell to provide us with the best fuel for our cars. Reading this article completely changed the way I view the company.

I don't understand why a popular company like Shell would allow Noble Drilling, a company that has admitted to eight felonies, drill in such a touchy area like the Alaskan Arctics. Because there are so many endangered species living there already, one mistake could be fatal. Scientific studies show that there is a 75% chance of a large spill occurring. In my opinion, President Obama should not give Shell permission to drill in the Arctic area now that Shell is considering letting Noble Drilling take on the risky task. Taking an Environmental Science course gave me a new insight on this whole issue. I learned that we need to use the earth's resources in the safest way possible to protect the ecosystems around us.