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....