ANTH 300: Blog Post #12

Blog 12 Topic:

Your contribution...

This last week, I want you to make a contribution to the future of this course and to one another. Select one website, book, or organization that has spoken to any of the problems/issues in this course and inspired you. It cannot be one that was assigned for this course... if you don't know of any, go find one! Post the link on your blog (if a book, post a link to its Amazon page). Describe what it is, what you learned from it, how it speaks to the specific issue we tackled in this course, and what you would hope other students would gain from it.

          One topic that really struck me this semester in class was the issue of access to water for so many people living in poverty. Nearly a billion people don’t have access to clean and safe water.  A lot of the water people use are dirty and can be diseased and unsafe- but most of the time that is the only water people have access to. This really affected me especially after taking the Ecological Footprint Analysis test that determined how many earths it would take to sustain my lifestyle is everyone lived the way I lived. I think of the showers I take, the water bottles I buy, the drinking fountains provided everywhere etc. It saddens me to know that others can’t even get clean drinking water to keep them hydrated and healthy.
            One organization that I found was called The Water Project their website is Their main mission is to provide clean safe drinking water to people in other countries especially in Africa, one village at a time. They are a non-profit and use the donations to drill fresh water wells and other sustainable water projects. They also provide sanitation and hygiene training. The organization shows every donor the specific impact that their donation has mad through pictures, stories, and maps of every project. I think this is a great organization that could help create sustainable clean water for many people in need.
            Another organization that I know of that I’m sure many others have heard of is UNICEF (The United Nations Children's Fund). They are a non-profit that provides help and support for children in need around the world. I have personally donated to them and receive weekly updates on current issues going on in the world. They have a program called WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) that works in more than 90 countries around the world to improve water supplies and sanitation facilities in schools and communities, and to promote safe hygiene practices. In emergencies they provide urgent relief to communities and nations threatened by disrupted water supplies and disease. All UNICEF WASH programs are designed to contribute to the Millennium Development Goal for water and sanitation: to reduce in half by 2015, the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe water and basic sanitation. Their website is
            I have been inspired to conserve water and use it more wisely. I feel that people in first world countries often take for granted how lucky we truly are. Here is another link to a website that I think would help people conserve water in their day-to-day lives: This link provides 100 different ways to conserve water.
            This class has really opened my eyes to major issues of poverty and environmental issues going on in the world. I know that everything I learned in this class will impact my future career decisions and lifestyle. This course has taught me that anthropological studies are very important when studying global issues and that organizations like the ones I have linked about above are important to support these issues and to work on ways to find solutions for them. I think we are all more conscious now of how we can affect and help change the world for the better even in a small way one step at a time.

ANTH 300: Blog Post #11

Blog Topic #11

Pollution and Waste: Discuss the two readings on mining, focusing particularly on stakeholder groups and the impact inequality has on a person's experience of the polluting, negative effects of mining. Then, reflect more broadly the impact of first world consumer habits and pressures on the natural world (and peoples of the third world). Watch the following clips from the film Human Footprint and take the ecological footprint analysis. Explain how your consumption habits relate to issues of pollution and waste in the world, and provide two ideas of how you could reduce your negative impact (reasonable, real ideas).

Ecological Footprint Analysis:

            American consumerism is a large part of why there is so much pressure put on mining and why the thought of others is not an issue in the process. Both cases in Chapter 6 and Chapter 7 in “Life and Death Matters” discuss how natives of the land are trying to protect their environment from taking a fall from pollutants and contaminants but are unfortunately overpowered by the greediness of the government and large corporations.
            Chapter 6 talks about the issue of mining gold in the Amazon. Gold is very valuable especially to large corporations that want to claim rights to several gold mining locations to reap more profit. . The local indigenous people of the Yanomami were subjected to indecent treatment and were attacked by miners that eventually forced them out of their land in order to extract the gold from the land. Thousands of miners invaded the land and spread diseases amongst the locals causing a third of the population to die. A huge issue is the effect that mining does to the local river sources and surrounding forestry which most of the people heavily rely on as an important source of food and water. The miners have caused mercury contamination to the Yanomami environment and have made the water undrinkable and the fish unsafe to eat. The government profits from the gold mines and doesn’t do much to help prevent the pollution of the water that directly affects the people.
             Chapter 7 looks at a similar situation with the Native Americans in the Mole Lake Sokaogon Chippewa Reservation. Many of the miners have caused inequality amongst the people. The locals tried to protect the Wolf River from the Crandon project, which planned to extract oil from it. The people fought off Exxon from building this mine in order to preserve their way of living. Whenever any oil company plans a new mining plant the natives are subject to discrimination and are excluded from meetings. The government says contamination would not harm their water with pollutants and would just travel along the rim of the river. The Chippewa asked the U.S. Geological Survey to perform a dye test, and they found that pollutants would go over the entire lake and cause oil spills. Therefore the government was lying to them in order to take advantage of the profits of oil from the land.
            I was shocked to see after taking the “My Ecological Footprint” test it would take about 4.3 planets for everyone to keep up with my lifestyle. I realized that there are many factors that add to my bad consumption on earth. I definitely eat out a lot rather than eating more home cooked meals and I forget to turn off lights and unplug several electronics in my home. I do however recycle and I do carpool to school or work. Taking this test and watching “The Human Footprint” clips definitely opened my eyes to how much I consume and how much first world countries consume and how it can take a toll on other countries and our natural environment.

ANTH 300: Blog Post #10

Blog #10 Topic: All of us have heard about the problems associated with being dependent on oil for energy, as it inherently is a one-time resource (and therefore cannot be sustainably used, as it will not replenish).  Various sources of energy are used around the world, most commonly nuclear, hydroelectric, solar, geothermal, wind, and wave.  Nuclear energy is often touted as  sustainable means to energy production.  Using details from the readings, discuss your views (1) on whether or not nuclear energy is sustainable and (2) the problems associated with it and how they play into issues of inequality, both within nations (between groups of people) and between nations. 

            Chapter 16 in “Life and Death Matters” discusses the problems involving the use of nuclear energy as a means of sustainable energy. It shown that it causes many health problems due to radiation and toxic waste. A huge problem occurs when trying to figure out how to rid the waste, and most companies will choose to dispose of it in the least cost effective way.
            One example talked about a time when the Russian government dumped toxic waste into rivers. This caused cancer and disabilities to the citizens and also to their children who suffered with DNA problems & learning disabilities. The government ran tests on people but did not tell them about the diagnosis. People started calling their problems “The River Disease” because they didn’t know what was wrong with them. This is called “Radioactive racism” towards the people who suffered. This people that build the different energy facilities don’t take the proper precautions and don’t warn others about possible health risks. The government in this case manipulated groups of people exposing them to harmful chemicals. There were also studies that showed distinctive differences between contaminated and non-contaminated villages- where people who lived in contaminated villages suffered far more deaths and health problems.
            There are environmental and physical/health risks that occur amongst people who are exposed to toxic energy. Plus, there are also psychological, social and cultural effects. Some governments find it that it’s better idea to hide the fact that citizens are being affected by radiation; if they hide it from them there will be less psychological effects. People changed their cultures to cope with the radiation- they changed their lifestyle and the food they ate. So for many years the Russian government did not openly discuss the radiation. They took advantage of the people who did not know what was going on and who did not understand the risks of nuclear energy waste. Minority groups are often targeted for this type of social injustice because they have little to no say in what goes on in their neighborhoods.
            The energy issue all over the world is “How to produce more energy?” the need for sustainable energy is a big drive for economic development. However, all forms going after energy production is very costly in terms of environmental health and cultural issues. Who pays the cost? Minorities, those who have the bad affects of participating in the larger government decided plan. This causes a human rights issue and issues of energy and pollution. Nuclear energy is not sustainable-there are direct health problems and deaths involved. 

ANTH 300: Blog Post #9

Blog Topic #9

Food, Scarcity, and Purity -- Using specific examples from the two articles in the reader and from the guest lecture, discuss (1) the problem of food security and its origins in socioeconomic and environmental problems; (2) the struggle to define and practice sustainable agriculture; and (3) the links between food security, environmental sustainability, and traditional ecological knowledge.

                    Chapter 8 in “Life and Death Matters” talks about the issue of food being grown and sold in the U.S. and how “organic” food these days is difficult to define. A slight contamination in crops could no longer be deemed as organic- this was determined by new rules and regulations by the government.  Though there are various regulations, there are also loopholes people get through in order to sell their food products even if they aren’t organic. Because of this, the issue of competency among farmers and manufacturers arose. Since the general public views organic food as a healthier and more beneficial many people gravitate towards buying organic products. This has caused a problem where farmers and manufacturers began to lie about their products saying that they are organic when they really aren’t. They do this in order to just to take advantage of the profits. The chapter mentions, "Without food, there is no life and without human culture, there is no human food" (pg.181). Therefore, if big companies and large corporations exploit the meaning of organic food, they are fooling and taking advantage of people and not doing any good for society as a whole.
                  In Chapter 9 of the book, it talks about the country of Honduras and the differences between the people socially and economically. The country thrives on their exportation of their crops so it has become the main source of income for the economy. This obviously leads to larger businesses to take advantage of the industry and leaves small time and poorer farmers left out of the equation. Companies came in and bought most of the land and the poorer peasant farmers experienced failures of their agricultural reform. The government ultimately favored the economic interest rather than the peasant interest. These poorer people have lost many of their rights and are definitely being taken advantaged of for profits on the exports of their own native crops. If the land is used up and deprived from resources then it’s harder to create sustainability. A decrease in the land fertility also causes people to starve. Honduras became more global over time and thus suffered the failures of agriculture reform. The chapter mentioned that globalization of the Honduran economy represents a wider scope and intensity of exploitation.
                  Guest speaker to the class Dr. Anderson discussed the traditional agricultural sustainability of the Mayan culture in the Yucatan in Mexico and other major countries. He discussed the fact that the Maya culture managed to get a high amount of food out of the Yucatan peninsula. And that they were able to make use of everything they grew. People used everything from using what they grew as food, medicinal remedies, or for building. That is the reason why it’s successful as a sustainable system. They practiced the slash and burn method in which they use up all the plants in the land and then burn it so the soil will be able to be reusable in the future. Plants were very important to the Maya and they could also be good for the rest of the world if people knew how to properly distribute and use the plants to help others without the risk of destroying the plant and the land.

                  Dr. Anderson also talked about the issue of the major crops in the U.S.- like corn, and wheat, has taken over the industry and reflects on the food we Americans eat. This directly relates to poor health and unhealthy diets of many Americans. He says that it’s important for us to learn how to survive and learn sustainability because if the U.S. doesn’t then it would be completely disastrous if disease spread amongst our crops. It may be a good idea to find a market for the plants used and discovered by the Maya to distribute to those in need like the people suffering in India and Africa.  However, it runs the risk of the culture being exploited and reaped from benefits by large corporations. Lastly, Dr. Anderson said that there are so many ways to keep alive without destroying the planet and hurting one another in the process.

ANTH 300: Blog Post #8

Blog Topic: The Impact of War

Based on the readings, describe how war impacts: public health, social and psychological well-being of the society, the environment and food security, and the economy and infrastructure. Offer specific examples to demonstrate these impacts from the readings (including examples from Peru, Iraq, and the Marshall Islands).

        War impacts public health, social and psychological well being of the society, the environment and food security, and the economy and infrastructure. The readings in Life and Death Matters give several examples of how war creates these several impacts in Peru, Iraq, and in the Marshall Islands.
        Just a few decades ago Peru suffered from a civil war within the country. The two opposing sides were the Sendero communists and the Peruvian state. The revolution and Sendero’s war caused social and psychological problems amongst the indigenous people who were displaced from their land. Many indigenous people fell victim to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder- a psychological condition that involved depression and fear. Many people starved and many people could no longer function normally in terms of social interaction. Victims of the civil war suffered from being removed from their native lands and they also suffered from the violence of the war, this shows that the war impacted them environmentally, psychologically, and socially.
        In the past few decades Iraq has experienced being in several wars. The economy and infrastructures were impacted in Iraq because of the wars. Many citizens were also displaced from their homes because of the war. And because of the large Iraqi population, many children starve and suffer from malnutrition. Also while at war with the U.S. many of their weapons they use contain high amounts of Uranium. The Uranium contaminates and pollutes the air-which was said to cause cancer.
        This relates to the other case about how the U.S. used Marshall Islands as a testing ground for chemical weaponry. The area that was taken away from natives was contaminated by different chemicals and has caused health problems among people, birth defects to newborns, and affected the water and food sources. This cases show that the environment and food security was impacted by these different wars.
        All three of these cases deal with the impact of war on the economy and infrastructure. While the government is spending more on the military it takes away funding from health, education and other important things that the country and it’s people need. 

ANTH 300: Blog Post #7
Cultural Survival and Change - Describe the conflicts discussed in the two articles: (1) between biodiversity conservation efforts and human rights and (2) between tourism-based development and cultural continuity. Using each of the author's works combined with your own creative reflection, discuss: (1) how biodiveristy conservation could actually be related to cultural survival and empowerment of local peoples and (2) how the tourism industry could be changed in ways that would facilitate cultural survival of indigenous peoples.

 The two articles in Life and Death Matters: “African Wildlife: Conservation and Conflict” by Robert K. Hitchcock and “Mass Tourism on the Mexican Caribbean: Pervasive Changes, Profound Consequences” by Oriol Pi-Sungyer and R. Brooks Thomas, both discuss conflicts relating to biodiversity conservations efforts and human rights in Africa and also conflicts relating between tourism-based development and cultural continuity in Mexico.
            The government Africa attempted to protect the environment, prevent animal poaching and the destruction of lands. However, their efforts resulted in the disorganization and starvation among the indigenous people of the land. There were many projects that had people forced to move out of what became a Game Reserve and because of that, their access to water, food and land became severely restricted. Because government took away the right to hunt animals and to collect plants, there was a rise in poverty and lack of resources among the African communities.
            Tourism in Mexico has created another issue for cultural continuity. Although tourism in Mexico brings in revenue it intrudes on the land of the Natives. The article points out that these popular resorts like Cancun and Acapulco overlook the environmental damage they are causing to the natives. It especially affects their labor force- many people are being used for their cheap labor. Non-governmental organizations and private sectors from other countries have taken advantage of the land at the citizens.
            Tourism and biodiversity conservation are similar in the fact that they both have pros and cons. They shed light on the culture of the people for example and to the surrounding environment. However, because of the attention and the popularity of some of these places, businesses and corporations such as resorts take advantage of the labor of the natives or they neglect them. People could also be exploited for their culture. There have been many cases where a people’s cultural traditions have been transformed into a tourist attraction. Though Tourism bring in revenue to the area but the negative effect could involve development of land and the forcing of people to move from certain areas. Also, there could be a limitation of resources and an inflation of prices, which could raise the poverty rate of natives.
           Some solutions that could be explored in the case going on in Africa could involve the projects finding new ways for people to access the needed resources to survive as well as find ways for the animals to have access to resources they need as well. The solution is not to deprive either the animals or in this case the humans in order to help the other but to find a balance. In the case of tourism, the industry could have certain areas that are untouched by the tourism industry that would give options for people to live the way they want to instead of being forced to live a lifestyle involving tourism. They need to of course do this in a way that won’t segregate the people in impoverished situations, rather still allow them the access to their own resources and respect their land.

ANTH 300: Blog Post #6
Transnationalism, Identity, and Community: Consider the different patterns represented in two readings regarding the interaction of people and culture in the modern process of globalization and transnationalism. What would the advantages and disadvantages be to experiencing different types of migration trends as an individual moving from one homeland to another: (1) ethnic enclaves; (2) diaspora; (3) transnationalism (or, as Kearney describes, trans-statism)? How are these patterns different? What are the effects of globalization and transnationalism, according to Kearney, on "core" nations and the services and products they distribute globally? What are the effects of the modern media and migration on how people experience their identity and community?

            Considering the different patterns regarding the interaction of people and culture in the modern processes of globalization and transnationalism, the advantages and disadvantages of experiencing different types of migration trends such as ethnic enclaves, diaspora, and transnationalism.
            The article “Cultural Diversity in the U.S.” talks about two ethnic enclaves, the ethnic enclaves of Chinatown and the Cuban ethnic enclave. The article describes how in Chinatown, new immigrants are given political power by suppressing the new immigrants. In many cases people in Chinatown use new immigrants to their advantage and even use them as slaves, which is definitely a disadvantage for that ethnic group or culture. Newly migrated women suffer more and are used for cheap labor. One example of an advantage of ethnic enclaves would be the social network of older immigrants that help out new immigrants like in Cuban societies such as in Miami. The article talks about how wit the Cuban ethnic enclave, there are opportunities to make better money than outside of the enclave.
            Whether or not these different enclaves have a positive or negative affect to the newly migrated people in the culture, people in ethnic enclaves fail to assimilate out of the ethnic enclave into the larger dominant culture in the U.S. This results in many people not learning how to speak English and not be able to integrate well outside of their ethnic enclave.
            Diaspora is different from an ethnic enclave because people imagine themselves as a nation of people outside of a homeland. Usually these people are displaced or relocated like the Sudanese refugees or the people that had to be relocated during Hurricane Katrina. One example would be the Jews, Jewish people technically don’t have a homeland but rather they get together in large communities all over the world. People of the Jewish culture could be found in all places of the world it can be a disadvantage because they have no sense of a homeland and that they are constantly being influenced by other cultures. But it could also have an advantage because no matter where they are they could still have a sense of community amongst other Jews.
           Transnationalism extends beyond globalization. Globalization focuses on the power of the states whereas Transnationalism refers to the social, cultural, and territorial conditions of the state. A state has border protection, judicial citizenship, and control of foreign policy processes. Kearney describes this as Trans- statism.
            Kearney explains that other cultures try to assimilate but centers themselves as a group within a larger group. When there is a mix of different things from other countries through media globalization and consumption, the boundary lines between states, countries, and cultures start to diminish. In a sense the melting pot idea is true and we are all becoming homogenized. Though people are culturally separated, while living in a world of globalization people in different enclaves constantly influences one another. Modern media have influenced migrants and people’s identity within a community. There are many types of media that target specific cultures and are narrower, and then there are media outlets like CNN and MTV that have become global and have reached a broader audience. This shows that media also diminishes the lines and boundaries between cultures and influence migration.

ANTH 300: Blog Post #5
Gender and Inequality: How does a person's experience of economic and political inequality relate to gender differences, within the context of ethnicity? Using specific examples from BOTH of the readings, describe (1) how gender impacts labor struggles and migration in the United States and (2) how gender impacts the experience of environmental contamination by radiation.

             When it comes to economic and political inequality relating to gender and ethnicity, many minority women receive less economic and political power and influence. Because of our nation’s history, there are less working opportunities for minority ethnicities and because of societal constructs women have been treated as the minority of the two genders. Men, particularly white men, have had the advantage throughout history when it came to job opportunities and economic or political power.
            The article “Culture Diversity in the U.S” Nash discusses the impact gender had on labor struggles and migration in the United States. During migration in the 19th century there were many Eastern European immigrant women working in garment factories because of the dense population and issues of job opportunities. Nash talks about how unions during that time never prioritized gender as a form of inequality because they concentrated on race. The issue of gender inequality was “masked” by “protective” measures that were created based on the idea of women being too fragile and restricted women to lower-paid jobs. Many women were working in underground domestic roles or as assembly line operators. In more recent times, many immigrants are coming in from Mexico. It is also seen today that ethnic minority women are working in domestic roles such as housekeepers, maids, or nannies. Or they may be contributing to the agribusiness jobs in the U.S. all of which most likely pays under the table wages and could lead to unfair treatment.
            The Barker article “Radiation Communities: Fighting for Justice for the Marshall Islands” talks about gender impacts of the experience of environmental contamination by radiation. Nuclear testing done by the United States on the Marshall Islands affected the women on the island more negatively than men. The U.S. government overlooked the different radiation treatments that could affect women differently than men. Thus resulting in birth defects, miscarriages, and stillbirths in many women. Cultural taboos allowed men to speak about how the radiation affected them but silenced women who suffered from radiation poisoning. 

ANTH 300: Blog Post #4
Racism: How is racism related to policy-making, development (such as urban and settlement planning), and access to resources? Provides specific examples from BOTH of the readings that elucidate your points. Why, according to Baker, is it problematic to eliminate race as a concept and topic of research?

              Racism is still a problem today, when it comes to policy-making minorities usually get treated less respectfully than others simply because they have less resources and power to access certain things. Thus causing many minorities to be a part of a lower social class or to live in poverty and be less likely to affect policy-making decisions, development such as urban and settlement planning, and gaining access to resources. 

              According to the article by Baker half of all black children are living in poverty. Baker mentions that in the U.S. or any country that controls the capital people tend to be more racist towards countries where they extract resources from-which is usually the poorer countries which are being taken advantage of. According to Baker, the politics of racism and racial reformation shape American world views. Being a first world country, Americans often don't realize the effects of their decisions on people in other countries, like third world countries. Lack of resources and being taken advantage of can cause racism and also make it harder for a disadvantaged group of people to affect the policy making decisions.
              In the text "Environmental Justice, Health, and Safety in Urban South Africa" it is described how Alexandra Township went under apartheid which made blacks and whites segregate by law. Alexandra is a black region in South Africa that does not permit white people into their urban areas. Since people were separated by race, overcrowding started in urban areas and many issues including environmental problems, social problems, and health risks arose within society. Segregation by race caused these problems to arise and added on to the racism, impoverished situations, and issues with certain groups such as the non-whites to have an affect on the policy making decisions to help  their situation.

              Baker explains that it is problematic to eliminate race as a concept and topic of research because Anthropologists focused on ethnicity and then the concept of race when they study the differences between humans. By eliminating race it can cause Anthropologists to lose social history and political interests of particular racial groups.

ANTH 300: Blog Post #3
Access to Resources and Power: Reflecting on the readings for the week, how does poverty affect people's capacity to shape policy and systems in a way that would assist them in escaping poverty? How does poverty interact with other issues/problems that people face?  What are the intersecting effects of ethnicity, gender, and socioeconomic class?

            Poverty directly relates to people’s capacity and ability to shape policy and systems. Most people who live in poverty or impoverish situations do not have access to the appropriate resources to make an impact in the policies and systems that can help them escape poverty. If people living in poverty are educated about the different issues affecting them and were provided with opportunities to try to change policies then their situations would better.

            Unfortunately many of the resources and power are in the hands of the wealthy who basically dominate the political and economic world and steer decisions to their own benefits and interests. They can basically exploit the poor. There are many issues that people in poverty face, not only do they have financial issues, but they may also suffer from unfair treatment in the workplace. They may have underpaid jobs and fewer rights. Many people may suffer from hunger and also health problems. Poverty affects people in these many ways on a local, national, and worldy level.

            Ethnicity, gender, and socioeconomic class all have intersecting effects on poverty. People of certain ethnicities or minority statuses are more likely to be living in poverty because of unequal opportunities, which take into account their socioeconomic statuses that involves where they live and what type of environment they grew up in. It’s also assumed that more women live in poverty than men, especially single mother’s which can involve sexism and unequal opportunities.This all deals a lot with societal and cultural views throughout recent history.


Log in

No account? Create an account