Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Doing what I can and being ok with that

After leaving class last week I was feeling really down to be honest, mostly because I started to feel like my learning service choices could be better and two I just felt like there is so much happening around us to the environment to people to everything that is negative that it just made me feel depressed in a sense. So I've taken a little more time into looking into organizations around the Truckee, Tahoe and Reno area to see what I could do that made me feel that more people and the environment were both going to benefit.

So after some thought and research, I've decided to stick with the Human Society in Truckee but to also extend to Project Mana with any help I can give, as well as getting in contact with Truckee River Watershed Council, mainly since I walk my dog by the Truckee river all the time, it would be great to help keep it as pristine and available for future generations.

At least I pulled myself out of the downward slope I was feeling last class and realized that I can't expect to help with everything or let it all get to me. I can only do as much as I can and let that be that.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Afghan Women Victims Not Perpetrators of ‘Moral Crimes’

One of my assignments this week for my blog is to post a letter to the editor in regards to an article I read that affected me either positively or negatively and also got me thinking about the subject matter. Below is the link to the article I read,
 Afghan Women Victims Not Perpetrators of ‘Moral Crimes’ - IPS

My letter to the editor follows,

I am writing to you today in regards to the article on "Afghan Women Victims Not Being Perpetrators of 'Moral Crimes'." Being an American woman I am very lucky to live in a place where I don’t have to wake up every morning in fear or my life or have life altering decisions made for me that put me in a position to be raped, abused or even killed. I feel terrible for these Afghan women who are dealing with these circumstances everyday, it really saddens me as a person who supports women’s rights and feels that women are so much stronger than many governments, religions and people make them feel. I appreciate this article and the fact that there are people writing about these issues and bringing awareness to these horrible situations that the Afghan women are placed in. Hopefully this type of article will continue to be written in order to help spread the knowledge of what is really happening and help to bring support and equality to these women. 

Thank You.  
Samantha Van Ruiten

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Tapped Out

Watch the documentary Tapped last week in class and prior to watching this movie I was already making my way off of the plastic train but now I am officially jumping off that train.
It really made me think of how ridiculous we are as a society to think that one, our tap water is not good enough to drink and two, that I'm not hurting anyone or anything if all I'm doing is buying a bottle of water. I'm sure there are some places in America that have horrible drinking water conditions, but for the majority of us we are not at that place.
I don't think I can count how many times I have been in the Safeway in Truckee and seen several carts with the large packs of Safeway brand bottle water in them, its so funny because I live in an area with some of the best tap water I have ever had. What does that tell us about our intelligence then if living where we do with clean drinking water and yet still buying bottled water because somehow we think its better and cleaner.

Besides the fact that bottles water is not better than our tap water, is the issue with the plastic container it comes in and the truth about the harm it does to the environment and our health.
After watching Tapped I made the connection from issues and situations that happened in the movie to those in regards to my research topic in two ways.
First the pollution and toxins from the plastic plant in Corpus Christi contaminated the surround area so much so that a female resident well actually a few of them developed cancer and ending up dying. Women's health can be affected in more ways than we think and what protection is there for those in a situation such as this. The second connection was that the large water companies made decisions that did not directly affect them or hurt them health wise, even though their decisions greatly hurt and affected people and the environment. Just the same as in women's health and reproductive rights, there are people making the decisions that dont affect them or hurt them but are making a decision that greatly affects women and their health.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Research Paper Update..........

So far with my topic on women's health care and reproductive rights I have just gotten into the history of women's reproductive rights and the women who was the founder of the movement and her back ground. Her name is Margaret Sanger and she was born into a Irish catholic family and became a maternity nurse for women in urban areas of New York in 1910. Her thoughts and views in 1910 are identical to what I think about our reproductive rights. That a women's body belongs to herself and no one else not even a religious organization,also birth  control helps to control family size. From what I have read so far on Margaret she seems like a pretty awesome women who understood the importance of reproductive rights while living in an time when women were not allowed to vote yet and had not voice.
The second view on this topic I've been looking into is the involvement from religious organizations and the decision and rules placed on women by the men of those organizations. Those religious organizations include Catholicism, Protestant Christianity,Judaism and Islam.

Its been cool to discovered new information I never knew on this suject and some very surprising facts. I'm really looking forward to see what else I'll find out and why we are in the position we are in today on this topic.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Research Paper Topic

Women’s Healthcare Rights

The debate over women’s health and reproductive rights can be a sensitive subject for some or a one-way street for others. Unfortunately the majority of decisions made on this subject, are not made by women but by men in a position on higher political authority or those from religious organizations.
Due to the recent heightened media attention regarding women’s contraception and health care, I’ve decided to write my research paper on this matter. I don’t intend to write this paper from the stance of which side is correct, or what side you should take, but instead to go deeper into the subject and take a look back over the years and the past century to get a better understanding of how we in America got to this place. When and where did these decisions and opinions come from and why those that are in a position to make a decision that affects over a hundred and fifty million women in the United States are trying to limit and deny them of equal rights and preventative care. I would also like to be able to show how both genders are affected by these decisions and highlight those individuals both women and men that are for or against women’s health and reproductive rights. Overall I hope this research paper enables me to have a clearer understanding of both sides and what the future of preventative care for women may look like.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

What I think it means.

Midterm time, half way through the semester and its finally starting to look like winter outside, Hallelujah. 
(for those that might read this that are not in my class, these are questions I was asked to give my response to)

1. What is your definition of social sustainability?
            A society that is able to not only sustain itself for future generations by how it handles and uses its resources, but also a society that can combine a multitude of different races, religions, beliefs and continue to live with respect and understanding that allows each to survive and grow for the future.

2. In your own words what is social justice?
            People being treated equally in terms of other people’s actions and receiving the same rights regardless of who they are or what their culture or beliefs might be. Not allowing racism to be play a factor in decisions that harm others and having laws actually protect and give rights to everyone and not just a few.

3. What is the biggest lesson you've learned from this class so far this semester?
            The biggest lesson I’ve learned is that environmental racism is a major problem in our country and it is something that I was really not aware of until this semester. It is an issue that continues to happen without a lot of people aware of what is going on.

4. What question(s) would like us to answer next semester?
-Besides coming to class and talking about the different issues or our opinions, what ways can we actively become involved, what can we do to help?
-Who are the main players or companies that are harmful to achieving social justice and social sustainability in the U.S. and the world?

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A Question.......

When as a society did we start being set up to fail?

After this weeks reading, I really feel as though companies, organizations and people who are players in the pollution game and the government regulations for that matter put a large majority of people in a position of being set up to fail. They assume that since they are following the rules laid forth that they are correct in their decision to build that new waste facility in a community where there is already two other sites there. How I see it is that, by them following the rules and saying they are going to give communities the chance to speak up and give their opinions, in reality for most communities they are just being set up to fail. Usually by the time the community finds out about a proposed site the decision is made, but the image the company or organization wants to show is that they gave the public a chance to speak up even though they already knew that the final outcome would be in their favor and the communities would lose.

It's so frustrating to see how people are being screwed over and its easy to see how some people just give up after awhile because there is nothing left to give, when you know you probably wont come out on top. When will there be a shift where these kinds of situations slowly stop happening? I really feel that people need to start to become more educated in all aspects of their surroundings, because it seems to me the majority of people are easily influenced and not to be mean but brain washed into thinking how they are treated or what is happening to other people around them is normal and is ok because they been told so.

My answer to my own question would have to be that who knows when this being set up to fail situations started, the sad thing is, is that no matter how developed and educated we become as the human race we still are not really learning how to stop a vicious cycle that hurts and hinders our potential for human sustainability.