Tuesday, April 6, 2010

15. Debriefing entry

At first I had a hard time creating meaning out of this course, but when I started to really pay attention in class and evalutate the topics we discussed in class each week it really made me think. I'm glad I decided to put forth some effort in this class, because I truly did learn alot and I'll take this knowledge with me in the future. Most of the classes that I have taken here at FGCU, the goal was simply to "get through it", and because of this I would rarely put the time in to really learn about the topics being discussed. I now have a new respect for the environment and the various issues we discussed in class. A good example of how this has effected my personal life, is in the past I would never think to turn off lights or appliances in my apartment because I simply did not care to do so. Now I make a conscious effort to do so on a daily basis because I know that every little contribution helps, and although I may not see the impact of me turning off lights or recylcing my disposals, I know that I am doing the right thing. In class today when you showed us the "Smart Strip", I truly thought that was a cool thing, something I plan on having in my apartment. Before this class began, I would have never even considered using something like that. That alone should speak volumes as to what I have learned in the class and how successful you have been as a professor. The highpoints of the class were definitely the field trips, it was a great learning experience to go out in the environment and have the opportunity to see these places. It really made me appreciate the environment more. For instance, when you walk around campus here at FGCU, most people don't think to stop and look at how beaufitul of a campus we have. After taking this course, I will sometimes look around and just enjoy my surroundings. Another major highpoint was my service learning experience at Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary. It was amazing to have the opportunity to be that close to the different forms of wildlife found in the sanctuary. Seeing a pod of baby alligators a few feet from me is something I will never forget. The main lowlight/suggestion I would have for the course is to cut down on the papers. I can see the importance of each and understand why they are assigned to us, but I know that most students just felt it was a bit too much. If we had two papers throughout the semester, I think you would see better quality of work from everyone because students would understand that they only had two chances to show you their best work. When there are too many papers/blogs, people will just rush through them in order to complete everything. Other than that I enjoyed the course and am glad I signed up to take it with you. You teach the class in a very organized fashion and seeing your passion for the course material truly does rub off on your students. When students see that their professor is excited and cares about being in class, it encourages them to do the same. I hope you are able to receive good feedback from everyone in the class. Thanks for being a great professor!

14. Reflect upon your observations as to how well FGCU is doing as an institution with a mission that includes modeling best sustainability practices.

FGCU is doing great in regards to its sustainability practices. They have implemented many programs on campus that encourage sustainability. A few examples of this would be the new water fountains located all over campus and the solar panel field. The new fountains encourage students to fill their water bottles up with water instead of using new bottles each time, using more and more resources. I for one started using these fountains, and have had the same water bottle in my backback for a couple months now. If everyone does their part, we can have a big impact on sustainibility. The solar fields is also a huge sustainability practice. Before taking this class, I was honestly very upset that the university decided to construct the solar field. I used to always think, why not make a football team or build a new recreation center or do something else that people would really care about. But now I understand that FGCU was making a good choice, because that decision promotes sustainability. These are just a couple examples of how FGCU is doing its part to increase its sustainability practices. In the future, I'm sure there are many more plans for other environmentally conscious projects that the university will undertake.

13. Reflect on the field trip to Downtown Fort Myers.

I first just want to say that I was very impressed by downtown Fort Myers. I had never been there until the field trip and had a skewed opinion of the city. People always told me it was in a bad neighborhood, it was dirty, etc. but it was one of the nicer major city's I have ever visited. In the past, it seemed like residents of Fort Myers used downtown to obtain most of their goods and services. Whether that be going to the market to pick up groceries, purchasing materials to make clothing, or simply using the park as a place to gather. Now with the increased population and development in the area, downtown seems to be a place where people visit to see the historic sites of Fort Myers and visit for vacation. Just as you showed us with the song, socially downtown, used to be "the place to be", now it is simply another area to visit and purchase things you need. The use of the river has most definitely changed over time. In the past, locals used the river as a means of transportation and source of food. They would travel on home-made boats and fish in the river to provide food. The river does still provide a means of transportation for people with boats and yachts, but it just seems to be different now. It is again more of a tourist location, that people frequent to simply "check out" and it is not a necessary tool for survival. Overall, I really enjoyed the field trip, it was nice to see the historic sights and beautiful waterways. I hope to go back there again soon!

12. Write an entry about poverty!

I have always had an interesting view on poverty. Approximatly 20 minutes from my home in Palm Beach Florida, there is a very poor neighborhood that we drive by to attend church. Whenever we drive through this area we always see the same things. Business's closing down, cops arresting people, and just generally negative things. In my opinion the most important crisis is these people's unwillingness to help themselves out. Thankfully I have never had to live in a poor neighborhood or deal with the difficult circumstances that these people do, so I do not fully understand what they go through on a daily basis, but I do feel that our biggest issue is allowing these citizens to milk the government for money their entire lives. Again, I do understand that the government is their to support its citizens and assist them when needed, but I feel that most people that live in poverty take advantage of the system. A perfect example of this is when people collect welfare, food stamps, unemployment, etc, there ENTIRE LIVES. Those programs were created to help people get back on there feet, not to provide them with all the resources they need to survive. When the government continues these hand outs they give these people no incentive to find jobs and better themselves. A question I always pose to people is this, if you were poor and had the option to sit around all day, be unproductive and collect enough money to support yourself on a daily basis would you prefer to do that or go out, work, pay bills, and be productive members of society and earn approximately the same money? Most people say they would rather sit around all day and do nothing. There in-lies the most important crisis that must be fixed. People living near the poverty line have very little incentive to go out and better themselves because they know that the government will support them. This can be solved by limiting these government programs and having time restrictions. I do not think a person should be allowed to live on welfare and food stamps for their entire life. I simply do not agree with that. If people knew that they only were going to be given welfare, etc. for a certain amount of time, it would provide them with the initiative to go out, find work, and be productive, because they would know in the back of their heads that they couldn't just sit there and count on the government forever. I do not see signs of hope in this specific situation, I actually see negative signs, with new goverment welfare programs being developed every year. I am not trying to sound like a harsh person, because I understand that some people are simply less fortunate and need the assistance. But that does not mean that they should be allowed to live off of this assitance their entire lives. The only way to solve this issue is to stop letting citizens use the government as a crutch. People are amazing and capable of tremendous things, but if they are never required to do anything or be productive, then why would they choose to be?

11. . Reflect on the field trip to Matanzas Pass Preserve and Estero Bay Historic Cottage

The field trip to Matanzas pass preserve was another interesting field trip. The dynamic elements that shape the island are the well developed public use facilities including an the Estero Bay Historic Cottage, boardwalks, trails and the canoe/kayak landing. According to Lee County parks and recreation website, there are 56 acres and 1.25 miles of trails. The use of the island has most definitely changed over time. Years ago, Calusa Indians lived on Estero Island and would use the islands resources to build homes, provide food, and develop infrastructure. It is now used as a tourist site for people that is surrounded by hotels, condominiums and restaurants. In my opinion, Lee County uses Estero Island as a means of generating a positive economic impact for the local community. I do not feel that its current use is sustainable. Thousands of people travel to Estero Island each year, I have always felt the more people in a place, the less chance their is for environmental sustainability. New hotels and stores are being developed each year there. The added pollution from construction to this environment is not sustainable and in my opinion, I feel they will eventually remove the historic sites of Estero Island such as the Historic Cottage, so they can build more condominiums and hotels to generate more money. If this were to happen, this would obviously not be very sutainable!

10. Review and write about corporate ethics

For this blog I chose to focus primarily on Exxon Mobil. I found a good amount of research on their ethical issues relative to the environment. I started my research by reviewing Exxon's official website. I was surprised to see that the site includes a whole sub-section on "energy & environment." Under this tap, upper management attempts to answer any questions regarding climate change and greenhouse gas emissions. Regarding climate change, the website says that "Meeting the enormous energy demand growth and managing the risk of GHG emissions are the twin challenges of our time." It seems obvious to me that Exxon is fully aware of the large issue of climate change. According to there website, "Over the past thirty years, we have supported major climate research projects at a number of major institutions. Currently we are supporting the scientific, economic, and technology research at Battelle Pacific Northwest Laboratory, Charles River Associates, the International Energy Agency’s Greenhouse Gas Research & Development Programme, the Georgia Institute of Technology, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University, and the University of Texas, among others." Exxon seems to be taking some sort of initiative to help improve climate change and help contribute to research on the issue. However, this does not change the fact that Exxon has done very little to develop alternate forms of energy that will be less harmful for the environment. They continue to drill for as much oil as possible to meet the rising worldwide demand for oil. In my opinion, the best ethical solution for Exxon would be to set aside a portion of their profits and create a renewable energy division in the company. Exxon is a huge corporate company that earns disgustingly high profits each year. According to wikipedia.com, Exxon Mobil's net profit in 2006 was 39.5 BILLION. Keep in mind, that was just in 2006. With rising pump prices, I would venture to say that their profits have gone up in the past three years. How nice would it be if they set aside a couple billion per year and put that money towards developing alternative sources of energy. I understand that oil and consumers purchasing oil is Exxon's business, but desperate times call for desperate measures. Company's must learn to "re-invent" themselves sometimes in order to keep up with the times. If Exxon was able to commit ten billion dollars to research for renewable energy sources in the next few years, there is no way that our genius scientists will not come up with something that will change the world. Making global changes requires time and money, Exxon has tons of each. If they REALLY wanted to help out the environment and be an ethical corporation, they would set aside their ego's and create a program like the one I am describing. Unfortunately the majority of these major oil company's are owned by greedy billionaires who would rather sit in their mansions and count their billions of dollars worth of yearly profits. One day one of these companies will understand that they have the ability to generate large profits while also help save the world from devestating climate change! One day....

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

9. List all the items you handle in 24 hours and the packages they come in and list all the food you eat in 24 hours and the packages it comes in, and

Simply because it is so fresh in my mind, I am going to use yesterday as my sample for this activity.

Yesterday I woke up and ate a pack of cinnamon sugar pop tarts. It came in a foil type package. I have been eating them for years, and because of this I know that each pop tart is 120 calories, making the package as a whole 240 calories. For lunch I ate 2 banana’s, according to weight loss for all.com each banana has approximately 107 calories, so that would be 214 calories for lunch, bringing my grand total to 454. For dinner I went out to Panera Bread with a friend. According to their website, there are 560 calories in their chicken Caesar salad, which is what I ate. This brings my grand total to 1014 calories. Before I went to bed last night I had a Rice Crispy Treat, which is 90 calories, so when you add that on my total for the day was 1104. I drink water throughout the day, there are no calories in water so that’s why there was not any drinks included. This is a fairly light eating day for me. Normally I have a bigger lunch but yesterday I was swamped with homework so I just decided to grab a couple banana’s from star bucks.

8. Reflect on the field trip to ECHO. In what ways can people change the way they grow and process food in order to be sustainable? What organic foods

The ECHO field trip was really interesting to me. The whole time I was their I just couldn’t understand how they were growing all of these different crops. We would be in a spot where they grew bamboo that was strong enough to use for housing, then right next to us there would be a patch of land where they were growing bananas and tomatoes. That alone made the field trip fun for me. At first I was thinking to myself, well this is nice but how many different plants can you see? The field trip became a lot more interesting to me as we went on. I especially loved the part where they were growing stuff out of tires. That was simply amazing!

We can grow foods organically to make it healthier and more sustainable. I also think it would help us to only produce the amount necessary for us. We are using so many of our resources because the population is increasing so rapidly.

I can find just about any type of organic food at Publix. This stems from organic chicken, milk, cheese, to pasta sauce and potato chips. I wish organic foods were a bit cheaper to buy because I would purchase them instead of the normal groceries. Interesting fact I learned in my Business Strategy class, when you go to the store in Germany, basically everything on the shelves is classified as Organic. If a food is NOT organic then it is considered “different”, my professor is from Germany and he was talking about that yesterday in class so I felt like it went along with this topic.

7. Following the discussion of consumption, take the Ecological Footprint quiz. Go to -- http://www.myfootprint.org/ -- and find out how many earths

According to the website, if everyone on the planet lived my type of lifestyle we would need 5.61 earths! This is very alarming to me. I won’t sit here and lay saying that I am a very environmentally conscious person, but I make an effort to turn off all the lights, save water, recycle, and do the little things to help out. I would be very anxious to hear what some of my friends footprints are that leave lights on all the time and watch TV all hours of the day!

6. Start making it a habit to read the paper daily watching the Discovery Channel, PBS etc., and surfing the web.

I have not necessarily made it a habit to watch the Discovery Channel daily, but I did watch a few episodes of Shark Week online. For whatever reason, I have always been into sharks. This started when I was young and my mom bought me all these shark toys to play with. Now that I have gotten older I am no longer fascinated by the cool toys or Jaw’s movies out there, instead I have become almost a fan of sharks if you will.

I saw two specials on the Discovery Channel. One does not directly relate to any current environmental issues, it was a show called “Air Jaws” and it showed a ton of video footage of these massive great white sharks jumping out of the water. It was amazing to see how agile and athletic these huge mammals are. The sharks swim in the deeper waters and when they see a seal or something they want to eat above them they sneak up on them from underneath and then sky out of the water, grabbing the poor seals in the process. This was interesting and exciting to me simply because I am a big shark fan, but I can see how other people could be bothered by that sight.

The other show I saw had more of a correlation with the environment. It was about these massive fishing boats that go out all over the world. It showed how they use their nets to catch fish, shrimp, crab, or whatever their target is. It illustrated the concept of “bycatch.” I uploaded a picture on the blog that gives you a better idea of what I am talking about. What these fisherman do is throw massive nets out into the water and when they bring them in they take the target catch out of the net, and kill whatever is left. This wouldn’t be as frowned upon if they were actually using the extra catch for something, but they are simply wasting it. Take for instance a shrimp boat goes out in the Atlantic hoping to bring in a ton of shrimp. They cast the nets out and when they bring them in with a few dozen shrimp and a ton of other fish, they take the shrimp and just waste whatever else is left. To me that is pretty disgusting. We are overfishing the oceans already by trying to catch enough fish to meet the increasing demand for seafood. The world is growing so rapidly in population that we are not giving the fish enough time to reproduce. Eventually we will overfish our oceans so much that it will become difficult to find many of the different types of seafood that are readily available to us today.

This was an interesting but sad show, I hope that they will implement some type of laws against bycatch because it seems like such a waste of resources to me!

5. Keep a daily log or chart on the number of minutes each day for seven days that you are in the out-of-doors and what you are doing outside.

For this activity I chose to evaluate my typical week at school. Monday through Wednesday I am on campus most of the day for school. Thursday through Saturday I work at Enterprise Rent-A-Car, and Sunday is my chill day.

Monday= A rough estimate for the amount of time I spend outdoors on Mondays is approximately 1 hour. The only time I am honestly outdoors on Mondays is when I am walking to and from my classes and then to and from my car.

Tuesday= For the purpose of this exercise I am going to say that it is a field trip day for class this week. With that being said I would put my outdoor time at approximately 5 hours for Tuesdays. If we are on a field trip from 11 am until 3pm, I would imagine we are outdoors for 3 of those hours. The other two are from playing volleyball at the beach courts on campus, every Tuesday I try to play for at least an hour and a half or so.

Wednesdays= Wednesdays are the same schedule for me as Mondays but on Wednesdays I also play flag football at night. The games take an hour and I am usually out there for at least another hour warming up or hanging out.

Thursday/Friday/Saturday= these are all work days for me. For the most part, I am indoors throughout the day. But I will give myself 1 hour each day for being outdoors. Whether that’s simply walking to and from my car or being outdoors washing cars or putting customers in rent-a-cars.
Sunday= Today is always a wildcard day for me, I try to exercise on Sundays by either going for a run or doing sets of pushups/sit-ups. Again for the sake of this exercise, I will give myself 2 hours of outdoor time.

Total = that puts me at a grand total of 14 hours or 840 minutes. A full week is 168 hours and 10,080 minutes. When you look at things from this perspective it is simply amazing. I would consider myself a fairly active person and I am still only outdoors for approximately 8.3% of the time. I would love to get myself to at least 10 percent, because I am not fully taking advantage of the world around me by being inside all the time!

4. Reflect on the field trip Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary. Describe the values of wetlands in protecting water quality, maintaining biodiversity and pres

Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary was an interesting field trip. It was cool to see the last old growth cypress in all of Southwest Florida. The lady that gave us the tour was extra nice and she taught us a lot about the various forms of wildlife that exist there. It was nice to hear that the National Audubon Society has protected the wading birds nesting there in the swamp since 1912. The only disappointing part of the field trip was that I was hoping to see more alligators.
The wetlands are very important. They manage storm water runoff and help purify the underlying layers of sediment which hold water. The wetlands also serve as habitat for plants and animals, including many endangered or threatened species. They give many of these species a safe haven, this helps maintain our biodiversity.
Overall, it was a nice field trip. That would be a place my dad would love to go check out because he has always been a big fan of places like Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary!

Matthew Albano 3/9/2010

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

3. Reflect upon the concept of sustainability as it relates to a) your career or academic major; b) your personal lifestyle; c) university education

Sustainability is something that I need to learn more about so I can understand how to do my part in allowing the environment to be productive over time. I feel that I do a good job of only using the amount of resources necessary for me to survive. Being a business major enviornmental sustainability is not something that has been at the fore-front of our curriculum. I have learned very little about it and because of this fact it seems clear to me that this is not high on the priority list for business students. I try to do my part by recycling and making sure I pick up trash that I see on the ground or outside when I am around campus but I hope to learn more ways that I can help out!

Matthew Albano

2. Where is your favorite place on campus and what makes this place attractive to you? Describe and/or illustrate this place.

My favorite place on campus is probably the waterfront. This is whole beach set up on campus, which is located behind North Lake Village, a portion of our dorms. It is a fun place to hang out and there always seems to be tons of other students to talk to. They have a boat that can take you out on the lake to go tubing, wakeboarding, and basically do any other watersport you can think of. The reason why the lake front is so appealing to me is because its a beautiful set up, there is nothing like going down there on a nice breezy day with a few good friends and relaxing. I have definitely spent a fair amount of my four years here there and I am sure many other students have done the same!

Matthew Albano

1. Reflect upon your expectations for learning and outcomes from this colloquium class.

After attending the first couple of classes I have high expectations for this class. There are a few specific reasons for this. First being the professor I have is also the coordinator of the Unversity Colloquium program so I am assuming that she will be the most knowledgeable of all of the professors that teach this course. If I can be an active listener and retain the majority of the information presented to us in class I will be able to learn alot!

The main outcomes that I hope to obtain from taking this class is obviously to pass the course and to increase my knowledge about the environment. I am not a very outdoor savvy person so I would love to learn more so I can become one. Also I hope to gain a greater appreciation for nature so I can help sustain it.

Matthew Albano