Table of Contents EDITORS’ WELCOME ................................................................................................................................. 3 Exploring the Asia-Pacific ............................................................................................................................ 4 Chaebols: Are They Good for South Korea? (By Makai Lawson) ........................................................... 5 Fukushima Dai-ichi Radioactive Release: The Pacific Ocean and Hawaiian Islands (By Yazmin L. Mendoza) ................................................................................................................................................ 11 Korean War II? (By Chris Reynolds) ..................................................................................................... 21 Furry Friends............................................................................................................................................... 28 Pit Bully-ing or Education: A Better Look at the Effectiveness of Breed-Specific Legislation (By Amber Squires) ....................................................................................................................................... 29 Animals Deserve Rights (By Morgan Yamaguchi) ................................................................................ 36 Animal Exploitation: A Deontological or Consequentialist Issue? (By Maria Paranich) ....................... 44 Trending Social Issues ................................................................................................................................ 50 The Immigrant Cry for Reform (By Angela Araujo) .............................................................................. 51 The Complexity of Overpopulation (By Reilla Archibald) .................................................................... 59 eSports, The Next Phenomenon in Modern Sports (By Joshua Lum) .................................................... 68 No Sage on Stage? (by Hafid El Alaoui) ................................................................................................ 80 Discovering Causes of My Parents’ Divorce (By Leilani Lee) .............................................................. 89 Give Your Electronics a Rest in the Classroom! (By China Rigor)........................................................ 95 Putting Your Mind at Ease ........................................................................................................................ 101 Princesses in the Real World: Effects on Young Girls (By Tricie Steen)............................................. 102 Garden Your Way to Better Health: Why Gardens Should Be Used for Therapy (By Sanna Strand) . 107 Prince Charming or Prince Harming?: The Feminine and Masculine Messages Presented in Disney’s Animated Films (By Cheyenne Low) ................................................................................................... 114 Mindfulness-Based Therapies as Viable Treatments for Clinical Depression (By Michelle Poirson) . 121 MEET THE WRITERS! ......................................................................................................................... 128 MAHALO .............................................................................................................................................. 132
EDITORS’ WELCOME Brittany McGarry
Hello! My name is Brittany McGarry and I am a junior at HPU, majoring in English. I have lived in Ewa Beach, Hawaii, for over four years now. Before I became an editorial intern for Fresh Perspectives, I was a writing tutor in the WRI 1101 and 1201 labs. It has been a joy and privilege to help with the editing of this anthology. After reading these interesting papers and meeting their intelligent writers, I feel more connected than ever with the HPU community. I hope you all will enjoy reading these papers as much as I have and will be proud to be a part of this university. Remember, whether you consider yourself good at writing or not, we all have something important to say that deserves to be heard. Kathleen Cassity
As Associate Professor of English and Coordinator of First-Year Writing, I am pleased to introduce our second issue of Fresh Perspectives, featuring essays written for our first-year writing courses in the Spring 2013 semester. Once again, essays were solicited from our full range of first-year writing courses; however, since sections of Writing 1200 (Research, Writing and Argument) make up the majority of our first-year courses in spring, almost all of this issue’s selections are research-based essays written for that course. You will find a range of topics covering disciplines from economics to environmental science to literature, sociology, psychology, and more. Once again, because these writers are relatively new to the academy, we do not expect disciplinary mastery. Our goal is to provide a venue for publication and dissemination of ideas by the newest members of the academy—our first-year students, who may still be learning the nuances of academic discourse yet who have compelling things to say and who offer, in the words of our title, “fresh perspectives.” Promising essays were nominated by the students’ teachers and went through a full editorial process by our excellent editorial intern, Brittany McGarry. The viewpoints expressed are the opinions of the writers themselves and are not necessarily endorsed (nor denounced) by HPU, the English Department, or the editors. Rather than selecting pieces that toe any particular “party line,” we have attempted—in the spirit of academic freedom—to present a range of viewpoints. What connects the selections in this volume is a commitment to problem-solving. It may sound cliché, but each writer in this anthology is presenting one aspect of how he or she conceptualizes a more humane collective future. We hope you will enjoy reading and learning from these pieces and hearing the voices of our writing students here at HPU.
Exploring the Asia-Pacific
Chaebols: Are They Good for South Korea? (By Makai Lawson) Imagine you want to start a bakery in Hawaii. However, when you do, you find out Mary’s Bakery owns all the flour manufacturers, making it more expensive for you to purchase flour to do large-scale baking.. In America, this situation could never happen because it would violate anti-trust and monopoly laws. Mary’s would likely be fined significantly and be forced to sell some of its subsidiaries. However, in countries that have developed economic systems derived from the “dirigisme” system, such laws do not exist. Dirigisme was French economic system in which the state controlled both economic and social matters. This system, when applied to South Korea (hereafter “Korea”), is how multi-national conglomerates known as chaebols came into power, growing faster than other companies in their industry. Chaebols frequently utilize vertical ownership—where one firm is engaged in all the different parts of production. This system allows them to conduct internal market transactions in order to reduce the prices needed to produce an item while still maintaining the maximum level of profit for all companies involved. This practice has been very successful for the Korean economy and has contributed to post-war economic growth, which is often called “the Miracle on the Han River.” There may, however, be a darker side to this system. Chaebols have been blamed for the 1997 Korean financial crisis. As in the bakery example, it is also often argued that chaebols are responsible for shutting down small and medium enterprises (SMEs) as well as stifling innovation. Instead of being the wonder that many economists laud, chaebols are destroying competition from SMEs and free market policies. To understand the importance of chaebols, a study of the origins must take place, first by looking at how they came to be and what caused their rise to dominance in the Korean economy. Following that, it is important to look at the various advantages and disadvantages of the chaebols. Another important aspect, the differences of SMEs and their advantages and disadvantages, must then be identified. Subsequently, we must look at how the chaebols operate with and affect their workers. Observing how SMEs have evolved and have been affected by chaebols can demonstrate how both systems affect the overall economy. Finally, it is critical to understand how the chaebols have evolved from their conception to the neo-liberal economic policies of the post-1997 financial crisis in Korea. This paper relies heavily on the research of Hun Joo Park of the Korean Development Institute School of Public Policy and Management, to understand the effect of Korean policy towards SMEs and their interactions with chaebols. Much of the stated financial information on chaebols relies on expert analysis conducted by Economics Professor Seung-Rok Park and Ky-hyang Yuhn, of the Korea Economic Research Institute (KERI). They utilize data from KERI and demonstrate the economic strength of conducting internal market transactions. “Chaebol,” literally “wealth clan,” originated from the Japanese word “zaibatsu,” literally “financial clique,” and it is much like the modern day Japanese “keiretsu,” literally “grouping of enterprises.” Zaibatsu were vertically integrated monopolies controlled by one central family and include a wholly owned banking subsidiary, allowing the family ultimate authority over both the 5
financial and control aspects of their businesses. In a vertically integrated monopoly, say the auto industry, a zaibatsu would own everything from the mines that produced the steel to the assembly line that produced the cars. Occasionally they were formulated as horizontal monopolies in which the zaibatsu own everything in one stage of the production of an object. In the case of the auto industry, they could own all auto engine makers in the country. In the wake of World War II, zaibatsu were banned and keiretsu were created. These differed from zaibatsu as they were not set up around a central banking institution, nor did they have a central family controlling them. In certain vertical keiretsu, a central bank was not a part of the group at all. Chaebols are a derivative of the zaibatsu in many different aspects. Although shareholders control them, those shareholders were almost always in the same family, making the family the controlling party. They also received below-market-rate loans through the Korean dirigisme system, so the loan money comes from state-controlled banks. Much like many modern day keiretsu, they are typically vertically aligned to reduce costs (Park and Yuhn 260262). This business model was critical in creating “the Miracle on the Han River” and helping Korea rebuild itself after the Korean War. Over the years chaebols have proven themselves to be valuable members of the Korean economy: “In 2007, [the] South Korean GDP reached $1.3 trillion, and the total revenues of the 21 largest chaebol groups amounted to $850 billion” (Park and Yuhn 261). It is clear that without these chaebols, the Korean economy would not be as strong as it is today, nor would it produce the 15th largest GDP in the world. Three main factors have made them successful: governmental support, internal market transactions, and the ability to operate internationally. The first aspect, governmental support, is likely the most critical to their success: “The goal was for enterprises to grow at top speed to achieve a critical minimum size, at which the government would be unable to allow insolvency or bankruptcy” (Park 197). Once they reached that size, chaebols could then expand into more risky business ventures, knowing that if they were to fail, the situation would be so precarious that the government would do everything in its power to help them stay afloat. During the 1960s, “given the high inflation in Korea, officially set interest rates for general bank loans were close to zero or negative, way below the free market rates” (Park 196). Using these general bank loans, the government provided below market rate financing to chaebols of their choosing, at a time when the rest of the country was still reeling from the aftereffects of the Korean War. These loans enabled them to spend more on research and development (R&D) and expand operations. Another method utilized in the chaebol model is the use of internal market transactions. This method involves the purchase and sale of intermediate inputs (e.g., selling iron to a refinery at a lower price because they are part of the same chaebol), and providing and receiving payment guarantees and collateral between member firms. Using this method, the chaebol is able to reduce the costs of the final product the group produces while charging the same amount. This also allows the management firm to control how money flows between the different companies. If one firm is in financial straits, the management firm can transfer money or payment guarantees between a more successful firm, and in return, the more successful firm may be provided with 6
more collateral to increase their production. Often the purpose of a chaebol is to produce a major product (e.g., cars), with the rest of the firms existing solely to help that company reach success. When it does, their success provides money to the other firms, allowing them to expand and become more profitable. Finally, the third aspect of what makes chaebols such a benefit to the Korean economy is that, due to their success, they were the first Korean companies able to make it into the global market. Over the years, Korea had been looking to become a globalized world power, as evident from their increase in exports. The Thomas White investment research firm found that in 1965, only 8% of their GDP was from export, compared to 53% to 2008 (White 2). Kang-Kook Lee of Third World Network, an independent non-profit organization, found that the government also encouraged more foreign lending into the country’s national banks, which could then be funneled into chaebols at their discretion (Lee 5). Furthermore, “emphasizing an export-led, outwardoriented model, the government wholeheartedly encouraged the growth of … chaebols, developing a close and collusive relationship with them. These economic policies resulted in fast-paced economic growth, with GDP averaging 10% annual growth between 1962 and 1994” (White 2). Sociologists Hyun-chin Lim and Jin-Ho Jang found that in the aftermath of the 1997 financial crisis, ceilings were removed from foreigners’ share-ownership and “the proportion of foreignowned shares in all companies listed in the Korean Stock Exchange increased from 13% in 1996 to 41.97% in 2004” (Jang and Lim 452). Through these actions, the Korean government has demonstrated that they remain dedicated to strengthening the economy through foreign capital. Despite the number of benefits that chaebols create for the Korean economy, many flaws have been observed throughout the years. It is widely believed that the chaebols were the cause of the 1997 financial crisis in Korea, mainly due to the fact that “close financial ties among member firms under the arrangement of chaebol group’s control tower ha[d] led to over-borrowing, overinvestment, and over-capacity by group firms” (Park and Yuhn 272). As chaebols became more successful, they tried to further increase their profits. An easy way to do this was to borrow more money from banks and then invest into new industries, hoping to cultivate a presence in that industry and make their money back. Another tactic, as was used by Daewoo in the late 1990s, was to purchase factories worldwide and create more R&D facilities to increase the presence and quality of their cars. Joongi Kim, in his study of Daewoo’s demise, found that Daewoo’s “acquisition spree led to fourteen new vehicle plants in thirteen countries which culminated with the purchase of a 51.98% stake in Ssangyong Motor in January 1996 at the height of the financial crisis” (Kim 280). If chaebols use their own capital, these tactics are wonderful, but if they use borrowed money and then the ventures tank, it is even more devastating to a company. Another problem with chaebols is the monopolistic control that they hold over their industry. If you wanted to start making phones in the Korean market, you would be challenging the number 1 (Samsung Group) and number 3 (LG Group) chaebol and would have difficulty sourcing parts for your phone from either of those chaebol at a reasonable price because you would become their direct competitor if you were to create a comparable phone. Chaebols are also able to lose 7
money in some cases for the long-term good of the group. Moon Ihlwan, the Seoul bureau chief at Businessweek, found “most big conglomerates have subsidiaries that take care of their sister companies. With guaranteed profits from those contracts, these players can afford to undercut [others] when competing for work with outside clients” (Ihlwan 59-60). There is also a fear that chaebols stifle creativity and innovation. Frequently, the most unique ideas come from small companies where employees are encouraged to think outside of the box— aiming to make the company and industry more efficient. According to an auto parts maker for Hyundai, “During fat years the big guys [hog] all of the profits. They let us get by but never allow us to have a big enough margin to invest in research” (Ihlwan 60). A chaebol, due to its inherent profitability, doesn’t have a need to change the dynamic of the industry and can rely on slow, steady R&D to ensure that it remains on top. They can periodically create newer, better products, which will continue to attract consumers interest. In contrast to chaebols, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs)--enterprises with up to 299 employees--are the heart of the economy, accounting for over 90% of jobs in Korea (Asia Monitor: China & North East Asia Monitor 8): In Korea as of 1996, there existed 28 national industrial districts, 150 provincial industrial districts, and 19 other industrial districts. They remained far from all being equally successful or highly innovative, but their combined total employment and production amounted to 925,070 persons and 171 trillion won, or over one-third of the nation’s manufacturing employment and almost one-half of manufacturing production, respectively. (Park 208) The main goal of SMEs is to stay profitable and expand operations so that they can become powerful enough to not collapse during changes in the economy. Most chaebols started as SMEs after liberation from Japanese colonial rule, (Park 207). It is difficult for SMEs to do this, however; though the biggest industries (cars, electronics) already are filled with chaebols that they cannot hope to overtake or outlast. The most feasible way to become a successful competitor is to find a niche market to occupy, or one that needs innovation and revitalization. Another tactic that a company can use is to sell its product outside of Korea where there is still a void for it and exclusively export it until the company has enough capital to take on a stronger domestic competitor (Park 209). To do this, SMEs need capital and researchers to develop new technology or methods of production. This is often difficult, as most college graduate students desire to work for chaebols and not SMEs. These factors exacerbate the lack of governmental support, which makes it more difficult to start and maintain a SME. Yet there are many advantages to SMEs even in a stressed economy. Examples of successful SMEs are in Seoul’s Dongdaemun market, which was founded in 1905. It is a testament to how SMEs cannot just survive, but thrive, in any kind of economy. After the Korean War, “a myriad of small sewing companies clustered around [Dongdaemun Market] to produce low-priced, relatively fashionable clothes. By the late 1990s, 27,000 little shops in Dongdaemun Market, which owned or had ties with over 20,000 factories around the area, successfully transformed the place into one of the nation’s hottest shopping and tourist attractions” (Park 208). Another 8
advantage to SMEs is that most are controlled by owner-managers. The “creativity of ownermanagers comprise the very source of SME’s strength and innovation” (Park 206-207). This contrasts with large firm managers who suffer from bureaucratic red tape, making it difficult to efficiently achieve goals. Lastly, as chaebols can only hire so many people, SMEs help fill the labor void in two different ways, by providing temporary jobs to unemployed people, and allowing unemployed people to start their own businesses with no requirements for education or other experience. There are, however, many different ways SMEs are disadvantaged in South Korea. Particularly under the old dirigisme system, SMEs were wholly ignored in favor of cultivating prosperous chaebols. These policies began changing in the 1980s and 1990s. Extensive domestic financial deregulation and capital account liberalization took place, as well as the privatization of banks and interest rate deregulation. However, due to the deregulation of non-bank financial institutions, which were dominated by chaebols, the amount of financial control chaebols had over themselves intensified (Lee 6). Over the years, both SMEs and chaebols have provided money to government officials to avoid getting in trouble for things such as tax avoidance or pollution, but due to the difference in available slush funds, these bribes were much more taxing to a small company than to a chaebol. If these bribes were not paid, it was more difficult to get new loans, as they would be put in an “under tax investigation” status. It was, therefore, more beneficial that a business pay a bribe occasionally, as they were typically breaking the tax laws, than be audited and potentially have to pay even more (Park 204-205). Finally, it is significantly harder for small firms to hire well-educated employees who will be able to help in innovation and research. Most college graduates aim to work at a chaebol instead due to the stability and opportunities a chaebol can offer them In 2011 at Yonsei University in Seoul, one of the top three Korean universities, of the 4,000 students who graduated, 90% went to work at a chaebol and most of the remaining 10% said they would have preferred jobs at chaebols (Ihlwan 60). This makes it difficult to inspire change and innovation in SMEs when the crème de la crème of new workers flock towards chaebols. With all of that said, after the 1997 financial crisis, the Korean government realized that it was using unfair dirigisme policies in allowing chaebols to flourish and over-borrow money. The Korean government worked with the International Monetary Fund to enact laws that gave less power and legal rights to the chaebols and leveled the playing field significantly (Kim 13). That is not to say that there is not still room for improvement. The South Korean government needs to keep a better eye on both the actions of the chaebols as well as its own employees to ensure that no corrupt money trading and favors occur as they did in the past. Korean historian Bruce Cumings reported that in 1995, it came to light that most of the big chaebols were providing former Korean presidents Chun and Roh with political “campaign” funds, upwards of $900 million and $650 million, respectively (Cumings 330). Ergo, although there are some factors that make the chaebol model seem like a less than perfect system, they are beneficial for the overall Korean economy and steady R&D. Many of the negative factors, such as favoritism interest rates, were occurring before the 1997 financial crisis, 9
and, as changes were made after, these conglomerates are now on a more equal playing field with SMEs. SMEs benefit from very little red tape and bureaucracy. They are able to move about in different industries until they find one that is in need of innovation. They can occupy that area, and, through global exports, can potentially become a powerhouse in that industry both inside and outside of Korea. As laws change further, chaebols will begin to work more favorably with SMEs by combining R&D efforts and paying suppliers fair market prices for their products. This will result in chaebols being beneficial to both the Korean economy and SMEs. WORKS CITED "Chaebols And Unions Distort Business Environment." Asia Monitor: China & North East Asia Monitor (2011): 1. Print. Cumings, Bruce. Korea's Place in the Sun. 2nd Edition. New York: Norton, 2005. Print. Ihlwan, Moon. "Do the Chaebol Choke Off Innovation?" Bloomberg Businessweek. 14 Dec 2009: 58-60. Print. Kim, Joongi. "A Forensic Study of Daewoo's Corporate Governance: Does Responsibility for the Meltdown Solely Lie with the Chaebol and Korea?" Northwestern Journal of International Law & Business 28 (2008): 273-340. Print. Kim, Kihwan. Singapore. International Monetary Fund. 1997-98 Korean Financial Crisis: Causes, Policy Response, and Lessons. 2006. Print. Lee, Kang-Kook. The Post-Crisis Changes in the Financial System in Korea: Problems with Neoliberal Restructuring and Financial Opening after 1997. Penang: Third World Network, 2010. 1-68. Print. Lim, Hyun-Chin, and Jin-Ho Jang. "Neo-Liberalism in Post Crisis South Korea: Social Conditions and Outcomes." Journal of Contemporary Asia 36.4 (2006): 442-463. Print. Park, Hun Joo. "SMEs' Place in the South Korean State-Society Relations." Asian Journal of Political Science 15.2 (2007): 195-218. Print. White, Thomas. "The Chaebols in South Korea: Spearheading Economic Growth." (2010): 1-11. Print. Yuhn, Ky-hyang, and Sung-Rok Park. "Has the Korean chaebol model succeeded?" Journal for Economic Studies 39.2 (2012): 260-274. Print.
Fukushima Dai-ichi Radioactive Release: The Pacific Ocean and Hawaiian Islands (By Yazmin L. Mendoza) “The unleashed power of the atom has changed everything save our modes of thinking and we thus drift toward unparalleled catastrophe,” once stated Albert Einstein. Nuclear power has changed the way we develop and use nuclear energy, and for the first time, we have the capability of altering our environment forever. Knowledge, decision, and action will help harness the atom for the benefit of mankind and not for humanity’s destruction. The accident at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant in March 2011 has been releasing radioactive water into the Pacific Ocean, making many people concerned for their health and for the impact on the surrounding environment. Since another nuclear disaster occurred in Chernobyl in 1986, we can compare it with the potential impact of the Fukushima Dai-ichi accident in the future. Some people, like Dr. Jerry Cuttler, believe that low levels of radiation are not concerning but have beneficial effects; while on the other hand, others like Dr. John Gofman believe that any level of radiation has harmful effects on the body. Recent studies by University of Hawaii researchers who have been monitoring the fallout in the Pacific Ocean in the Guam and Hawaii regions show possible detection of radiation. Another study conducted by marine biologist Terry Lilly and his team has been monitoring the impact of radiation on coral in the Hawaiian Islands. TEPCO (Tokyo’s Electric Power Company) has been trying to contain the radiationcontaminated water at the Fukushima power plant, but their efforts seemed to have worsened since the incident. Radiation released from the Fukushima Dai-ichi power plant can have potentially harmful health effects from long-term exposure on all living organisms such as humans, marine life, and the environment. The Fukushima accident is now considered by many experts as the second worst nuclear disaster in history after the nuclear disaster in Chernobyl because of the severity of the catastrophe. Matthew Penney, Assistant Professor, and Mark Selden, Senior Research Associate in the East Asia Program at Cornell University, are both involved in the studies written in The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus analyzing the forces shaping the AsiaPacific region and the world today. In their recent article, “The Severity of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Disaster: Comparing Chernobyl and Fukushima,” they have discovered resemblances in both disasters that could determine any possible dangers in the future. Fukushima is a Level 7 accident, the highest on the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale (INES), used to report to countries an estimation of the consequence potential of an event. INES describes Level 7 as an accident serious enough to require a country to put into effect certain countermeasures to protect the public from the health and environmental effects of radiation, but it does not mean that these effects have occurred. It is unfortunately also the same level as the Chernobyl explosion and fire 25 years ago. According to estimates from Austria’s Weather Service, many European experts claim that Fukushima Dai-ichi has threatening radioactive isotopes like cesium-137 and iodine-131 11
within the range of Chernobyl’s emitted amounts that escaped from its burning core in 1986 (Penney 2). Compared to Chernobyl, the Fukushima Dai-ichi release has been ongoing for more than two years, while Chernobyl’s accident only lasted 10 days and released around ten thousand times more radioactive cesium each day during the reactor fire. Both radioactive substances, Cesium-137 and Iodine-131, have produced increased cancer risk for decades and will continue to cause it for centuries to come. The severity of radiation effects depends on the concentration a person is exposed to, the resistance of an individual to the radiation, and the duration of exposure. The Japanese nuclear agencies estimated only the atmospheric releases in comparison to Chernobyl, and they did not include the radioactive contamination emitted into the ocean, which can cause unrecorded dangers to humans and marine life. With respect to the oceans, however, the impact of Fukushima Dai-ichi exceeds Chernobyl if measured by the changes in radioisotope activities in the surface ocean (Penney 2). This is an important factor since the Fukushima Dai-ichi power plant is located on the shore of the Pacific Ocean, while Chernobyl was landlocked. The Fukushima Dai-ichi and Chernobyl accidents can be comparable in that the nuclear power safety standards and new nuclear power projects need to be reevaluated worldwide so that any level of disaster like this can be avoided. One of the biggest concerns on people’s minds is whether the amounts of radiation released from the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant are hazardous to their health and well-being. While some people worry that there is not enough concern or media coverage over the situation, others believe that we should not be disturbed over the issue because even small doses of radiation can have beneficial effects. Dr. Jerry M. Cuttler of Cuttler & Associates, supported by the American Council on Science and Health, has extensive background on the topic of radiation. He has worked at the Atomic Energy of Canada for over 25 years, mainly designing reactors, and now belongs to many professional organizations that keep up with modern technology in this field. “Commentary on Fukushima and Beneficial Effects of Low Radiation” is an official publication of the International Dose Response Society prepared by Dr. Cuttler. The primary goal of his article is to show that certain uses of low levels of radiation can have benefits in medical diagnostics and the treatment of serious diseases and illnesses. Cuttler believes that the radiation scare caused after the 1950’s has caused the International Cancer Research Partnership (ICRP), an organization that provides recommendations and guidance on all aspects of protection against ionizing radiation, to increase its tolerance dose of radiation risk from .2 Rem-traditional units of dose per day to 1mG/year. Cuttler says the change came from strong political pressure by scientists and other influential people to create a social fear of low radiation from bomb testing during the arms race, along with abhorrence of nuclear war (Cuttler 5). The U.S. National Academy of Sciences BEIR VII (Biological Effects of Ionizing Radiation report estimates that each 1 mSv1 of radiation is 1
The international system (SI) unit for dose equivalent equal to 1 Joule/kilogram. The sievert has replaced the rem. One sievert is equivalent to 100 rem.
associated with an increased risk of solid cancer (cancers other than leukemia). The report states that about 1 in 10,000 have a potential increase of cancer, an increased risk of leukemia of about 1 in 100,000, and a 1 in 17,500 increased risk of people dying from cancer. A critical factor we can take into consideration is that not everyone faces the same level of risk from radiation exposure. For example, infants (under one year of age) have a radiation-related cancer risk that is three to four times higher than adults, and female infants are twice as susceptible as male infants. The World Health Organization’s (WHO) findings in the executive summary issuing a health risk assessment state, “In the highest dose location most affected in the Fukushima administrative district, the preliminary estimated additional lifetime risks like the development of leukemia, breast cancer, thyroid cancer and all solid cancers”(Cuttler 2). It even goes on to say that, “In the first year the estimated radiation ‘effective’ doses2 ranged from 12 to 25mSv” (Cuttler 2). These findings reported the estimated risk of cancer and the cumulative risk for the 15 years after the Fukushima disaster. Similar to the report by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences BEIR VII, the WHO study also pointed out that male infants who were exposed were predicted to have a 7% higher risk of leukemia and for female infants who were exposed have a 6% estimated lifetime risk increase of breast cancer, as well as a 70% increase of developing thyroid cancer in a lifetime (Cuttler 2). Despite findings from both reports that measure the potential increase risk of cancers, Cuttler says, “The appropriate action for the radiation protection establishment in Japan is to abandon the concept of probabilistic cancer risk, based on the linear no-threshold (LNT) dose response 3 model , and adopt the previous tolerance dose concept from 1934” (Cuttler 7). He expresses that if the tolerance dose was not raised, people would not be afraid of radiation use in medical procedures. In contrast to risks associated with high levels of radiation exposure, Cuttler says that low-level exposure can regulate adaptive protections in cells, tissues, animals and humans. However, even though Dr. Cuttler explains that low- level amounts of radiation are not harmful but beneficial in certain medical procedures, he does not mention the probable harm that can come from continuous dose exposures over time. Because the nuclear disaster in Japan at the Fukushima Dai-ichi power plant has continued to emit radioactive substances into the Pacific Ocean since 2011, there is reason to consider the long-term effects the exposure of radiation will have in the surrounding area. Researchers at the University of Hawaii at Manoa (UH) and the School of Ocean and Earth Sciences studied the activities of cesium-134 and 137 in the North Pacific Ocean soon after the accident at the Fukushima Dai-chi power plant. This study brought together many researchers who recorded the data and evaluated the information. The main researchers involved were Jan Kamenik, whose skills include environmental radio activity and radiation detection; Henrieta Dulaiova, an assistant professor and radio chemist who uses geochemical tracers to study 2
Provide measurement of overall risk of exposure to ionizing radiation.
The Linear No-Threshold is a model used in radiation protection to estimate the long-term, biological damage caused by ionizing radiation. Radiation is always considered harmful with no safety threshold.
coastal hydrological processes and mixing in coastal waters; and Ken O. Buesseler, a marine radio chemist and Senior Scientist in the Department of Marine Chemistry, whose research interests include studies of natural and artificial radionuclides and their behavior in the ocean. One of the main isotope substances the researchers measured was Cesium-137, which easily dissolves in water and tends to bind with dirt. It has a half-life of around thirty years, meaning it will take a long time to decay. Cesium-137 concentrates in muscle tissue emits strong gamma radiation that causes cancer. Though it tends to be depleted within a relatively short time, its long half-life makes it a major concern for radioactive contamination on land. On the other hand, Cesium-134, another radioactive form of cesium that was measured, has dangerous side effects similar to Cesium-137, but with a much shorter half-life of around only two years. The researchers’ major conclusions from the study in relation to the Hawaiian Islands were that atmospheric fallout did not leave a significant radio cesium footprint on the surface ocean of the investigated regions in Hawaii and Guam (Kamenik 12). The Kuroshio and Kuroshio extension currents formed effective boundaries against the southward spreading of radiation; the plume has not been detected over the past one and a half years around the main Hawaiian Islands (Kamenik 12). This shows that the radiation dispersion near the northern part of the currents had detected higher levels of activity, but the radiation plume was not detected near the Hawaiian Islands. The studies did not find significant harmful amounts of radioactive substances Cesium-134 and 137 on the surface ocean; however, the researchers did not measure any possible radio cesium footprint on the seabed. Seabed monitoring around the Hawaiian Islands could provide clues to contamination mechanisms and cesium migrations which could possibly harm marine life and affect the food chain. Their research has calmed the concern of many people currently living in the Hawaiian Islands, but it does not provide enough information about the dangers that the emitted isotopes from Fukushima Dai-ichi can have on organisms in the ocean through radiation substances attached on the sea floor. The release of radiation has not only impacted the lives of the people in the surrounding area, but there is also reason to believe that the release of radiation into the Pacific Ocean has affected marine life as well. The Asahi Shimbun is Japan's leading daily newspaper, providing important updates on the status of the ongoing crisis of the Fukushima Dai-ichi disaster. Yumi Nakayama is an experienced reporter who published a recent article, “With Radiation Fears Rekindled, Researchers Seek Truth off Fukushima Coast” that has been keeping up with TEPCO’s updates on the levels of radiation and its continued impacts in Japan. Nearly two months before, TEPCO’s announcement to the public on May 28, 2013, lifted all restrictions on entering the ocean off Fukushima (Nakayama 1). Lifting this restriction gave fishermen hope that their lives would return to normal. Despite this, the recent update from TEPCO has notified the public that the coast is still filled with radioactive substances, and the fear has caused the public to continue to steer away from the locally caught seafood. The Guardian, a British national daily newspaper that has also been keeping up with the Fukushima Dai-ichi disaster, published an article called “Toxic Fukushima Fallout Threatens Fishermen’s Livelihoods” showing the impact of this accident on the lives of local fisherman in Japan. Evidence reveals that quantities of radioactive caesium-134 and 137 in locally caught
fish have risen to levels close to the government-set safe limit of 100 Becquerels4 per kilogram in scant consolation (McCurry 1). Animals that are exposed to very high doses of cesium show changes in behavior, such as increased or decreased activity. Studies do show that marine animals with high radioactivity levels have been concentrated right next to the nuclear plant (Nakayama 1). The researchers in two separate locations near the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant have been working with the Fukushima prefectural government since the last fiscal year to measure radioactivity levels in marine life. They have also attached transmitters to fish to track their movements. Most marine life samples collected south of the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant have had levels of 50 Becquerels or less. However, one type of sea urchin was measured at a reading of 483 Becquerels. Among the seaweed collected, the highest radioactivity levels have been 59 Becquerels (Nakayama 1). A study by the EPA, “Effects of Radiation on Aquatic Organisms and Radiobiological Methodologies for Effects Assessment,” reported the lethal levels of radiation that certain animals can handle when exposed. For mammals the cause of death for acute radiation exposure for the maximum dose is 000 Gy.5 The type of damage measured at the cellular and organismal level depends on the absorbed dose (Anderson 4). This study documents the 6
effects below 1000 Rad that also show that there was thyroid damage to various coral reef fishes that were exposed to Iodine-131. Atlantic salmon also had an increase of thyroid gland follicles at 1000 Rad (Anderson 29). Hawaii is only 4,000 miles from Japan’s Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant. In general, when determining the hazards of a nuclear disaster, underestimation is more dangerous for the people than overestimation. The fallout only affects the people and animals that were directly exposed in Japan, but also there may be reason to believe that the fallout can have serious impacts on the plant and animal life surrounding the Hawaiian Islands. Terry Lilly, a marine biologist on the north shore of Kauai, recently discovered a coral disease that turns out to be the worst of its kind and has recently been documented in the Hawaiian Islands (D’Angelo 1). Lilly implies that the coral disease is likely caused, or is being furthered, by radioactive contamination of the seawater in this area.
The unit of radioactive decay equal to one disintegration per second. The Becquerel is the basic unit of radioactivity used in the international system of radiation units, referred to as the “SI” units. 37 billion (3.7×1010) becquerels = 1 curie (Ci). 5
The international system (SI) unit of radiation dose expressed in terms of absorbed energy per unit mass of tissue. The gray is the unit of absorbed dose and has replaced the rad. 1 gray = 1 Joule/kilogram and also equals 100 rad. 6
The original unit developed for expressing absorbed dose, which is the amount of energy from any type of ionizing radiation (e.g., alpha, beta, gamma, neutrons, etc.) deposited in any medium (e.g., water, tissue, air).
A group of people from the United States Geological Survey (USGS) and University of Hawaii members in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have been studying and documenting this new cyanobacteria disease. The Garden Island, a newspaper for the island of Kauai in the Hawaiian Islands, describes in an article called “USGS: Coral Disease Outbreak an ‘Epidemic’,” that the severe radioactive levels in coral are taking a toll on various species. Dr. Thierry Work, head of Infectious Diseases for USGS, has stated that this is caused by cyanobacteria and fungi, and describes the severity of the issue as “epidemic” in a 2012 report by the U.S. Geological Survey (D’Angelo 1). These are the constituents of the “black substance” that are highly radioactive and are appearing in more and more areas in Japan. It is extremely alarming to know that the disease grows from one to two inches every week, killing corals that are 30 to 40 years old in less than a month. This bacterial disease had only killed from 100 to 1000 corals a year and a half ago. It has now infected and killed over 1 million corals (D’Angelo 1). One concern is that fish like the butterfly fish, which depend on corals to survive, will die off if the reefs die. Through the animal food chain, all marine life like the sea turtles, dolphins, and sea urchins can be affected by this deadly disease, even leading up to humans. If this rate of cyanobacteria disease continues to appear on Hawaiian coral reefs, it is estimated it will destroy coral life in two to four years (D’Angelo 1). Kauai’s reefs are presently heavily infected by this rapidly spreading, never-before-seen disease. If TEPCO cannot exert more effort to try and control the radioactive leak from the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant, the marine life in the Pacific Ocean will be affected horribly. It is extremely concerning to know that not only are animals and coral reefs affected by this, but one of the most important treasures that the Hawaiian Islands hold, coral reefs, will soon be gone. The ongoing struggle to contain the radioactive leak from the tanks holding radioactive water used to cool down the reactors is potentially becoming a more serious problem than the ongoing groundwater flow leaks. Reuters, a news company covering the latest news from around the world, explains in an article by journalist Anton Slodowsk, about the ongoing crisis in Japan. Japan’s Nuclear RegulatoryAuthority (NRA), as of August 5, 2013, says it can no longer leave the task of containing radiation-contaminated water at Fukushima plant to TEPCO. "Right now, we have an emergency," admitted Shinji Kinjo, the head of the organization (Slodkowsk 1). Tokyo estimates that the cleanup of the disaster would take more than forty years and cost some $11 billion. Fukushima pumped out huge amounts of radioactive iodine129, which has a half-life of 15.7 million years. Fukushima has also dumped up to 900 trillion Becquerels of radioactive strontium-90 into the ocean, which is a powerful internal emitter that mimics calcium and collects in our bones (Slodkowsk 1). Strontium-90 is estimated to be twice as harmful to the human body as cesium-137, and internal exposure has been linked to bone cancer and leukemia. The environment ministry said that 300 tons (nearly 72,000 gallons) of contaminated groundwater is still seeping over or around barriers into the Pacific Ocean every day since the tsunami in March 2011. The nuclear meltdown was a result of the suspected leaks soon after the accident (McCurry 1). Scott Burnell, the commission’s information officer, stated, "Even 300 tons [a day]—that’s still going to be diluted to an almost undetectable level before it would get to any US territory" 16
(McCurry 1). The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission and other experts have said the seepage will not affect areas beyond the sea directly off the coast of Fukushima Daiichi (McCurry 1). Recent updates from experts’ monitoring of the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant warn us that there might be more information coming about how serious this nuclear accident continues to grow. The amount of radioactive water that has been leaking from the containers may have a serious long-term impact on the Pacific Ocean and everything in association. TEPCO’s previous attempts to cover up the severity of the issue may be coming to an end as more and more information continues to be known. The Fukushima incident has seemed to worsen over the past couple of weeks, and there is now contaminated water leaking from the nuclear plant as well as the containers that hold the reactors radioactive water. TEPCO recently revealed on July 27, 2013, that “water samples taken at an underground passage below the Fukushima nuclear power plant showed extreme levels of radiation comparable to those taken immediately after the March 2011 catastrophe” (Slodkowsk 1). The tested water, which had been mixing with ground water and flowing into the ocean, contained 2.35 billion Becquerels of cesium per liter – some 16 million times above the limit” (Slodkowsk 1). TEPCO confirmed the leak but refused to confirm the quantity being emitted from the plant. "We are not currently able to say clearly how much groundwater is actually flowing into the ocean," stated Tokyo Electric Power spokesman Noriyuki Imaizumi (Slodkowsk 1). Japanese experts say that Fukushima is currently releasing up to 93 billion Becquerels of radioactive cesium into the ocean each day. TEPCO’s plan to get rid of contaminated radiated water is to dump the water back into the Pacific Ocean once the radioactivity has been reduced. Not only is this concerning to know that radiation would be back in the ocean harming marine life, but the technology to effectively reduce radioactivity in water has not yet been invented. Additionally, Reuters reports other facts that deeply affect the people of Japan. For example, a person standing less than two feet away from the reactors in an hour's time would receive a radiation dose equivalent to five times the acceptable exposure for nuclear workers. (Slodkowsk 1). Within ten hours, the exposed person would develop radiation sickness, with symptoms such as nausea and a drop in white blood cells. This alarming discovery proves that the efforts made by TEPCO need to involve experts that can handle disposing of radioactive substances. The release of radioactive substances can have potentially negative health effects on the human body. An article written in the L.A. Times by science writer Thomas Maug records important findings made by Dr. John Gofman, former Professor Emeritus of Molecular and Cell Biology in the University of California at Berkeley. The late Dr. John W. Gofman warned of the health effects of radiation by stating, “Medical radiation, received even at very low doses, is an important cause of death from ischemic heart disease; the probable mechanism is radiationinduction of mutations in the coronary arteries, resulting in dysfunctional clones (mini-tumors) of smooth muscle cells” (Maugh 1). Gofman also estimated that about three-quarters of all breast cancer cases in the United States are induced by radiation, including medical X-rays and mammograms to detect breast cancer. 17
People’s obsession with medical testing has the medical establishment cautioning people who are exposed to higher levels of radiation to be aware of its impact on the body. About half of all people with cancer are treated with radiation therapy, either alone or in combination with other types of cancer treatment. Radiation therapy uses ionizing radiation to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors, and unfortunately, it can also kill you (“Radiation Therapy Principles”). According to the L.A. Times, “Americans today receive far more medical radiation than ever before. The average lifetime dose of diagnostic radiation has increased sevenfold since 1980, and more than half of all cancer patients receive radiation therapy.” Certain exposure levels of radiation are now being permitted as acceptable levels a human body can handle, yet as higher radiation doses increase, the risk of developing cancer also increases. The acceptable levels of radiation that humans can be exposed to were recently raised in Japan and the United States despite previous warnings of harm from any level of radiation exposure Nakayama 2). On April 28, 2013, Kosako Toshiso, a radiation specialist at Tokyo University, resigned his position as Special Advisor to the Cabinet. Kosako had earlier gained notoriety for his role in helping to deny the extension of benefits to some radiation victims of the atomic bombs in a 2003 court case. After Fukushima, however, Kosako made an impassioned and courageous stand against what he saw as government taking the potential health effects of long-term radiation exposure too lightly. In a press conference, Kosako castigated the Kan cabinet for its decision to increase permissible radiation exposure for Fukushima children (Penney 3). At the currently approved 20mSv, it is possible to assume that Japanese children could be exposed to four times the radiation of children in Ukraine in 1986. These low levels of radiation that have been approved in Japan can have capacity for future negative health effects. Long-term exposure of any level of radiation can have potential risks that might be too late to treat. Russian scientist Alexey V. Yablokov expresses stern warnings about the threat of even low levels of radiation that had gone ignored by the major media until it was reported in Japanese in the Nishi Nippon Shimbun. Yablokov is one of the primary architects of the 2006 Greenpeace report, “The Chernobyl Catastrophe: Consequences on Human Health,” and an extensive 2010 follow-up study, “Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment.” Published by the New York Academy of Sciences, this study makes the startling claim that 985,000 deaths can be attributed to radiation since the 1986 disaster (Penney 2). This, of course, contradicts the study by the International Atomic Energy Agency, the WHO, and the UN Development Program in 2005, which claimed that fewer than fifty deaths can be attributed directly to Chernobyl and fewer than 4000 likely from Chernobyl-related cancers in the future. In the months since the Fukushima disaster, scores of reports have uncritically passed on the results of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)/WHO or the Yablokov study published by the New York Academy of Sciences without seriously engaging the conflicting conclusions or moving the debate forward in order to better address the situation of the accidents (Penney 2). The recent reports from the Fukushima Dai-ichi power plant are firm reminders of our ability to foresee all possible dangers to nuclear power plants. Not only are Chernobyl and Fukushima comparable, in that they released radioactive elements that are most dangerous to human health, but these are the biggest accidents involving nuclear plants in the world. 18
As a result of the release of nuclear radioactive substances by the Fukushima Dai-ichi power plant, future efforts should be made to prevent long-term effects to all living organisms. The projected casualties from radiation emitted by the Chernobyl disaster can shed some light on the potential harm of the Fukushima Dai-ichi disaster on people in Japan who were directly exposed to the radiation, and it can also help determine the impact it will have in the future. Since Chernobyl happened on land, it is difficult to determine the real harm the release of radioactive leaks from the Fukushima plant will have on the Pacific Ocean, including marine life and the surrounding area. Despite TEPCO efforts to control leakage from the plant, this disaster will have a serious impact on the environment, and we will continue to see an increase of cancers as more and more people over time will experience accumulative exposure to the radiation that was released. The beauty of the Hawaiian Islands’ coral reefs will be destroyed if more efforts are not made to control the ongoing leaks of radioactive substances. Even though some people believe that low levels of radiation are not harmful, many others have proven the negative impact of radiation over time on human health as well as animals. Scientific research is important for the use of nuclear energy, but it is also necessary to know the risks that come from nuclear power. The disaster from the Fukushima Dai-ichi power plant will forever have an impact on the way we use nuclear energy as well as show the potential harm it can bring. We can only hope that this disaster can be contained so that our brothers and sisters in Japan can return to the lives they had before this horrible event in history ever happened. WORKS CITED Anderson S.L., F.L. Harrison. “Effects of Radiation on Aquatic Organisms and Radiobiological Methodologies for Effects Assessment.” EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), February 1986. Print. Cuttler, Jerry. “Commentary on Fukushima and Beneficial Effects of Low Radiation.” Dose Response. 2013 November; 11(4): 447–458. Web. D’Angelo, Chris. “USGS: Coral disease outbreak an ‘epidemic.’” The Garden Island. 22 November 2012. Web. Kameník, Jan, H. Dulaiova, K.O. Buesseler, S. M. Pike, and K. Šťastná. “Cesium-134 and 137 Activities in the Central North Pacific Ocean After the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant Accident.” Biogeosciences Discuss, 14 March 2013. Print. Maugh, Thomas. “John Gofman, 88; Physicist Warned About Radiation Risks.” Los Angeles Times, 28 August 2007. Web. McCurry, Justin. “Toxic Fukushima Fallout Threatens Fishermen's Livelihoods.” The Guardian, 9 August 2013. Web. Nakayama, Yumi. “With Radiation Fears Rekindled, Researchers Seek Truth Off Fukushima Coast.” The Asahi Shimbun, 12 August 2013. Web.
Penney, Matthew, and Mark Selden. “The Severity of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Disaster: Comparing Chernobyl and Fukushima.” Global Research, March 11, 2013. Web. “Radiation Therapy Principles.” American Cancer Society, 12 December 2012. Print. Slodkowsk, Anton. “Exclusive: Japan Nuclear Body Says Radioactive Water at Fukushima an Emergency.” Reuters, 5 August 2013. Web.
Korean War II? (By Chris Reynolds) On December 12, 2012, the reclusive regime The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK, North Korea) successfully launched a rocket delivering a satellite into orbit over the earth, the first instance in which either North or South Korea defied both international condemnation and UN Security Council Resolutions. Following this event, North Korea began a string of activities that would eventually lead to one of the tensest times on the Korean Peninsula since the end of the Korean War nearly sixty-two years earlier. To further understand the situation on the Korean Peninsula and assess a possible conflict, we must comprehend how past as well as recent events have contributed to the tension. The goal of this paper is to analyze the different perspectives of the conflict from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK, North Korea), the Republic of Korea (ROK, South Korea), the United States, and China, all of whom are involved directly and can assess the possibility of war. In the situation of an escalated conflict, what would be the ramifications for the Korean Peninsula as well as the region of East Asia? The main problem with the possibility of a second Korean War lies in the unpredictability of the Kim Jong-Un regime in North Korea; the escalation of rhetoric to physical response between the DPRK, the US and the Republic of Korea; the annual joint military exercises (JMEs) between the US and South Korea; the possibility of nuclear weapons being produced and used; and the alliances of North Korea and China, and the US and South Korea. To analyze the situation, sources of information being used are the main news sources in the region: Korean Central News Agency (KCNA); the official news agency of the DPRK, the Yonhap News Agency, a semi-official news outlet of the South Korean government, the Korea Herald; as well as the Wall Street Journal. Data will also be pulled from academic papers, primarily “The Collapse of North Korea” by Bruce W. Bennet (Bennet, 2011); a paper by a senior analyst of the RAND corporation, “How Stable Is the New Kim Jong-Un Regime?” by Mun Suk Ahn (Ahn, 2013); a study by a political science professor at Chonbuk National University in South Korea, “War Games: North Korea’s reaction to US and South Korean Military Exercises” by Vito D’Orazio (D’Orazio, 2012); “China, North Korea and the Spread of Nuclear Weapons” by Thomas Plant and Ben Rhode (Plant & Rhode, 2013); and the book Inside the Red Box: North Korea's Post-totalitarian Politics by Patrick McEachern (McEachern, 2010), a specialist on North Korean affairs. These sources will provide specific details regarding the North Korean regime, its ambitions, and how tension on the Peninsula is calculated. The combination of provocations and misinterpretations create a possibility to turn the Korean Peninsula into a renewed war zone and, even worse, into a nuclear war zone. The “Eternal Chairman”—Kim Jong-Il, as he is formally named and which designates him as the second most important person in the Korean government—commanded North Korea for seventeen years. He had succeeded his father Kim Il-Sung, the “Eternal President” (whose name signifies he was the first president and therefore eternal), the founder of North Korea who held office for forty-eight years. Kim Il-Sung spent fifteen years preparing Kim Jong-Il for succession (Bennet, 2011 pg. 84), whereas the current leader, Kim Jong-Un, was designated as successor in 2009, only two years before Kim Jong-Il’s death (Ahn, 2013 pg.20). Kim Jong-Il was 53 when 21
he assumed office and Kim Jong-Un was around 28. The age difference between Kim Jong-Un and Kim Jong-Il displays his inexperience. Thus many of the recent provocations may be seen as attempts by Kim Jong-Un to establish his legitimacy within the political and military elite in North Korea, all of whom are in their seventies and eighties. For example, the shelling of Yeongpyeong Island in November 2010 seemed to have served the purpose of promoting domestic solidarity and facilitating Kim Jong-Un’s succession from his father Kim Jon-Il (Ahn, 2013 pg. 20). There is increasing uncertainty about just how much power Kim Jong-Un holds and how much of the rhetoric coming from the North is actually coming from him. It is believed that a four-star general in the Korean People’s Army (KPA), Kim Yong-Chol, is leading North Korea in harsh rhetoric and provocations against the South and the US rather than Kim Jong-Un leading the charge. Kim Yong-Chol, who is head of the KPA’s Reconnaissance General Bureau and a member of the Worker’s Party Central Military Commission, is believed to be the general who ordered the sinking of the Cheonan in 2010 that left 46 South Korean sailors dead. Kim Yong-Chol has had experience in North Korea’s foreign policy that has involved provoking conflict with the South to get aid (Gong, 2013). This could suggest that North Korea’s recent provocations and threats of nuclear war threat to South Korea and the U.S. are a way to get aid and help from the international community rather than a serious attempt to start a Second Korean War. The DPRK has a history of provocation towards South Korea during the sixty years following the end of the Korean War. Within these sixty years of the end of the Korean War, North Korea has violated the armistice 221 times, with 26 of those violations being military attacks (Shin, 2011). South Korea has been the victim of a belligerent northern neighbor over the years, without responding with much force beyond rhetoric and condemnation. South Korea has attempted to take the path of diplomacy rather than the path of force. It is remarkable that a nation can be provoked 221 times in 60 years, testing its patience. Is it possible that the recent North Korean violations of the armistice, the unilateral nullifying of the non-aggression pact, and the threat of nuclear war on the Korean Peninsula have pushed South Korea to the edge? For the first time since the armistice was signed, the US and South Korea have signed the Combined Operational Plan against North Korea on March 24, 2013. The Combined Operational Plan states: If North Korean provocations escalate, the U.S. will provide reinforcements from within and outside of South Korea, including Japan and elsewhere in the region under the control of the U.S. Pacific Command, South Korean military officials said . . . Previously, South Korean forces were solely in charge of any actions against North Korean provocations, while the U.S military would come to the aid of South Korea only when a full-scale war erupts. (North Korea Newsletter No. 255, 2013) This new plan allows the US and South Korea to provide a combined response to provocation from North Korea, such as the sinking of the South Korean Navy ship the Cheonan by a North Korean torpedo in March 2010. The majority of the international community sees many of these attacks from North Korea as unprovoked. But it could be argued that North Korea is preemptively responding to provocations 22
from the South and its ally, the US. Annually the United States and South Korea hold JME’s throughout the year in preparation for a North Korean attack or invasion, many of which take place near the Demilitarized Zone or the contested Northern Limit Line in the East Sea. D’Orazio reiterates the objection to these JME’s, explaining: “They [JMEs] are argued to elicit an aggressive North Korean response and risk conflict escalation” (D’Orazio, 2012, p. 290). North Korea has taken this stance over the years since the JME’s have been in effect. Recently, the Key Resolve/Foal Eagle JMEs that took place from March 1st to April 30th generated serious response from North Korea. As stated in the KCNA official statement on March 16, 2013: “The UNSC should, to begin with, take issue with the U.S. and its allies which are staging the Key Resolve and Foal Eagle joint military exercises for aggression with huge armed forces involved, escalating the tension on the Korean Peninsula” (Resolution Against DPRK, 2013). This statement demonstrates that perhaps these actions between South Korea and the US are being viewed as provocative and that North Korea is only responding in efforts to defend itself from what it views as a direct threat to its sovereignty. In the book Inside the Red Box, Patrick Eachern offers the idea that: North Korea is not strategically proactive in its U.S. policy. It will take the lead to get Washington’s attention, try to define the agenda, or simply advance its long-range missile and nuclear programs when diplomatic conditions are in its favor, but it usually does not pass an opportunity to enhance its security and economic situation when it deems the time is right. (McEachern, 2010, p. 230) North Korea’s policy towards the US is meant as an attempt to stir up tension to bring itself ahead in terms of aid and military capabilities. North Korea also has made recent progress on its nuclear program in attempts to obtain nuclear weapon as a mechanism of self-defense as well as a tool for bargaining even if they will not willingly admit it. The third nuclear test conducted on February 23, 2013, left the international community outraged. The UN Security Council issued a fresh round of sanctions that were passed unanimously, even by China who usually makes an attempt to justify the actions of North Korea. North Korea’s nuclear program is its prize possession because it provides power both internally and externally. North Korea’s goal, as openly stated by the regime, is to become a nuclear state. Becoming a nuclear state is so important to North Korea because it has the possibility, from their perspective, to establish dominance without question from the international community as well as deter the US and South Korea. On March 7, 2013, North Korea warned and threatened South Korea and the US in this statement by North Korea’s foreign ministry: “To safeguard the highest interest of the country and deal with efforts to trigger a nuclear war by the United States, we will exercise our right to launch preemptive nuclear strikes against the strongholds of aggressors" (North Korean Newsletter No. 235, 2013) This direct threat of a preemptive nuclear strike caused tensions on the peninsula to be higher than normal, putting the region on full alert. Not only is North Korea’s nuclear program being used as a sign of power, it has also been used in the past as a form of hard currency. North Korea has used its nuclear technology to conduct sales with Syria, Iran, and Libya. Thomas Plant and Ben Rhode state, “North Korean decisionmakers thus recognize that their nuclear expertise and technologies can be used as trade goods. 23
The covert nature of the transactions also shows they recognize the potential costs associated with such trades” (Plant & Rhode, 2013, p. 69). This statement demonstrates the thought process of the North Korean regime, which has a problem financing its military power as well as feeding its people. Having limited options for foreign currency, North Korea is actively looking for ways to finance the failing economy. Therefore its nuclear program is highly important for the regime to succeed and to fund itself. Chinese and North Korean relations have been tested by North Korea’s recent decisions to continue with nuclear and ballistic missile tests to advance its nuclear program. China signed on to UN Security Council Resolution 2094, adding more economic sanctions to North Korea by disallowing luxury goods for the political and military elite, missile parts, nuclear items, chemical weapons, and asset freezes to various academies of science and officials (UNSC Resolution 2094, 2013). Recently the tension on the peninsula has been toned down due to the planting season and the military exercises coming to an end. Over the years China has kept its position to lower tensions in the region, but as stated by Feng Zhu, “Beijing’s hesitation to break the status quo by cutting its ties with the DPRK—and there is some evidence which suggests that this is what it really wants to do—has sparked international criticism” (Zhu, 2011 P.215). China has attempted to keep the peace on the peninsula but also no longer tolerates and shelters North Korea’s actions to the extent they have in the past. Instead, the Chinese have taken the role as a mediator between both North and South Korea. During the week of April 22, 2013, the Chinese special representative for Korea Peninsula affairs Wu Dawei met with the US equivalent Glyn Davies in Washington to attempt to rectify the situation. In the same week, South Korean foreign minister Yun Byung-se went to Beijing to discuss North Korea’s nuclear program and the tension on the peninsula with Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi. The result of this discussion has been the establishment of a 24-hour hotline between China and South Korea. China has become a mediator of all sides in attempts to diffuse the situation, but if North Korea persists in its rhetoric and elevates to attack South Korea or test launch a missile, the question remains as to whether China will provide support for the North Korean regime and justify its actions. The United States and South Korea have remained generally firm against North Korean provocations, which could lead to North Korea either backing down or becoming more infuriated. North Korea has repeatedly stated, in the face of US calls for dialogue, that their nuclear program is not intended for bargaining with the US. North Korea has also said they would not give up their nuclear program unless the world was denuclearized. This is in direct opposition to the US and South Korea’s terms for dialogue, which insist that North Korea halts its nuclear proliferation and resume cooperation on the joint industrial area situated on the DMZ in the city of Kaesong, North Korea. The South has urged that North Korea reopen Kaesong industrial complex, a joint venture that houses 123 South Korean-owned business factories and provides 53,000 North Korean workers with jobs. The joint industrial venture between North and South Korea was suspended after North Korea withdrew its workers and barred South Korean access into the complex, only allowing them to leave on April 8, 2013. 24
The suspension of the joint industrial zone Kaesong by North Korea and the subsequent disallowing of South Korean workers into the complex has caused an economic problem for the corporations in South Korea that have invested in this joint venture. As of April 26, 2013, South Korea announced it would be pulling its remaining workers from Kaesong after attempting to bring the North to come to a deal on Kaesong to resume work at the complex. South Korean President Park Geun-hye reiterated on April 26, 2013, that the continuation of the Kaesong Industrial Complex has caused economic problems for South Korean companies and has promised the North would face “grave measures” (Lee, 2013). The “grave measures” have not been identified, and this could mean a variety of actions taken by President Park, including further distancing from the North. Now the tensions on the Peninsula remain tense, but the prospect of an escalated attack from North Korea seems unlikely. In the aftermath of South Korea pulling its last workers from the Kaesong complex, on April 29, 2013, a North Korean spokesman for the industrial zone was quoted by KCNA as saying that suspension of the complex would “create more favorable conditions for the great war” by putting “Seoul at closer distance and pave a wide road for southward advance” (Kim, 2013). This development is very serious and could be problematic to lowering tensions. North Korea was thought to be imminently planning on a probable medium-range Musudan missile test coinciding with Kim Il-Sung’s 101st birthday on April 15, 2013, but there has been silence from North Korea since. North Korea has apparently moved two missile launchers to the northeast of the country as if it were still preparing to test the missiles. It is noted that there is not much troop movement within the North, despite Kim Jong-Un’s claims that North Korea has entered a warlike state. This is probably due to the fact that throughout the winter, North Korea administered longer than usual training exercises exhausting military forces. The North Koreans are approaching the upcoming planting season; this will require many soldiers who are farmers to cultivate crops when they are not training for the military. This leaves North Korea unable to support its claim of immanent war or maintain a warlike posture. There is even less of a possibility of North Korea striking during a time of heightened tension and awareness of the South Korean military and US military during the Key Resolve/Foal Eagle JMEs, which ended on April 30. If North Korea were to lead an attack at any time throughout the year, it would probably take place after the harvesting of crops to ensure there is at least some sort of agriculture to support the military in case a full-blown conflict erupts from a small-scale attack. North Korea is apparently preparing to scale military exercises of its own on the Yellow Sea. It could be a possibility that North Korea could be preparing an attack on South Korea through Kaeson, although this is highly unlikely because North Korea launching an offensive from Kaesong would probably erupt in a full scale-conflict and in this situation North Korea would not be able to sustain a full scale conflict without resources to supply its large military. China has increasingly distanced itself from North Korea and would probably not support a North Korean-provoked conflict, leaving North Korea defenseless. If a war were to erupt, it is likely Seoul and Pyongyang alike would suffer damage to their infrastructure and mass amounts of casualties, and it could unleash weapons of mass destruction including possible chemical 25
weapons from North Korea. In the aftermath of a second Korean War, North Korea would not survive and the Korean Peninsula would eventually achieve unification under South Korean rule, but at the price of mass casualties and loss of vital infrastructure to aerial bombardment and artillery shelling. The most likely outcome of the situation would be for North Korea to eventually return to diplomatic talks rather than risking unification at the terms of an allied victory that might have the support of China. This scenario is seen as the most probable, but a warlike scenario could play out if tensions were to escalate further and be triggered by a miscalculation on either side. A unified Korea is the goal for both the North and South under each country’s terms respectively, but it is almost assured that both would rather not risk a second Korean War with the real possibility of it escalating into a nuclear conflict. The recent provocations from North Korea are most likely an effort to gain aid from the international community and further solidify Kim Jong-Un’s leadership internally. The JME’s held by the South and the US this year were far more forceful in the wake of North Korean threats. The reason for this was an attempt to make North Korea rethink its provocations and show that the US and South Korea are prepared to respond to a military provocation if one were to take place on the peninsula. The situation on the peninsula could erupt into a full-blown war if North Korea uses the withdrawal of North Korean and South Korean workers from the Kaesong industrial zone to build up troops. The South and the US could see this as an immediate threat and might launch a full-scale attack in defense of South Korea. North Korea could also launch its Musudan missiles whenever they decide to hold their military exercises on the coast of the Yellow Sea, along with building up troops on the DMZ at Kaesong. This could further complicate the situation and it is increasingly harder to pinpoint North Korea’s actions and intentions. The uncertainty of hard evidence from North Korea could create a miscalculation on either side and could result in a minor skirmish at the least, which has the possibility to erupt into a full-scale war. For now, unification is once again put on hold and the possibility of war remains at an unknown. There is only hope that this is just another one of North Korea’s strategies to get aid, and that they will eventually realize this cannot continue in the face of stern opposition from China, South Korea, and the US, abandoning their quest for nuclear proliferation and dissolve their regime to the South. This would be the most desirable end to the conflict and is one of only two real options for the reunification of the peninsula, the second being an all-out war to forcefully unite North and South Korea. At this point in time this is increasingly becoming more of a possibility due to North Korea’s increasing will to advance its nuclear program and the will of China, South Korea, and the US to deter North Korea’s nuclear agenda. At some point one side has to give and take action. This would cause either North Korea’s abandonment of its nuclear program to survive, or a war to forcefully end North Korea’s pursuit of nuclear weapons. REFERENCES Ahn, M. (2013). How Stable Is the New Kim Jong-un Regime? Problems of Post-Communism, 60(1), 18-28. Bennett, B. (2011). The Collapse of North Korea. International Security, 36(2), 84-119. 26
D'Orazio, V. (2012). War Games: North Korea's Reaction to US and South Korean Military Exercises. Journal Of East Asian Studies, 12(2), 275-294. Gong, Y. (2013, April 25). N.K. Army's reconnaissance chief leads saber-rattling. Yonhap News. Yonhap News Agency. Retrieved April 26, 2013, from http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/news/2013/04/25/0200000000AEN2013042501110 0315.HTML Kim, E. (2013, April 29). Seoul monitors possible N.K. military realignment in Kaesong. Yonhap News. Yonhap News. Retrieved April 29, 2013, from http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/northkorea/2013/04/29/31/0401000000AEN20130 429008700315F.HTML Lee, J. (2013, April 26). Future of Kaesong industrial complex in doubt over escalating tensions. Yonhap News. Yonhap News. Retrieved April 27, 2013, from http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/news/2013/04/26/0200000000AEN20130426012200315 .HTML McEachern, P. (2010). Inside the red box: North Korea's post-totalitarian politics. New York: Columbia University Press. North Korea Newsletter No. 253 (March 14, 2013).| Yonhap News. Retrieved April 29, 2013, from http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/northkorea/2013/03/13/35/0401000000AEN20130 313009500325F.HTML North Korea Newsletter No. 255 (March 28, 2013). Yonhap News. Retrieved April 2, 2013, from http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/news/2013/03/27/40/0200000000AEN20130327008000 325F.HTML Plant, T. Rhode, B. (2013). China, North Korea and the Spread of Nuclear Weapons. Survival (00396338), 55(2), 61-80. Resolution against DPRK Rejected in Foreign Countries (2013, March 16). Korean Central News Agency. KCNA. Retrieved March 16, 2013, from http://www.kcna.co.jp/indexe.htm>Calender>March16 Security Council. (2013, March 7). United Nations Official Document UNSC Resolution 2094 Welcome to the United Nations: It's Your World. Retrieved March 16, 2013, from http://www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=S/RES/2094(2013) Shin, H. (2011, January 5). N.K. commits 221 provocations since 1953. The Korea Herald, Retrieved March 22, 2013, from http://nwww.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20110105000563 Zhu, F. (2011). Flawed Mediation and a Compelling Mission: Chinese Diplomacy in the SixParty Talks to Denuclearize North Korea. East Asia: An International Quarterly, 28(3), 191-218.
Felix: Prince of Purrsia
Photo courtesy of Amber Squires
Pit Bully-ing or Education: A Better Look at the Effectiveness of BreedSpecific Legislation (By Amber Squires) I volunteered at the Oahu SPCA after I moved to Hawaii and was surprised to see so many different pit bull breeds at the shelter. I, like most others, thought that pit bulls were all one type of dog. After adopting a “pit bull” puppy, I started researching about them because everyone in my family said he was dangerous and would turn on me at some point. Besides my family’s caution against the breed, I also noticed there were many restrictions in my military housing against not only pit bull breeds but many other “dangerous” dogs as well. I never really stopped to think about how discrimination not only affects people but animals also. That is when my research began. I found evidence that was the exact opposite from what I grew up learning or hearing. I also recognized the role the media has in targeting such breeds. After a while, I literally thought people were just ignorant or did not care because they trusted enough in the media’s authority to believe whatever it told them. Prejudice and strict regulations against pit bull breeds exist due to public misinformation, misconception, a lack of education about pit bulls. Throughout the last few decades, there have been various types of breed bans on dogs that range from the German shepherd and its Nazi ties to the Doberman Pinscher and its acting abilities. Some say it is because they are vicious or aggressive and can never be trained out of aggressiveness because it is inherent in the breed. For the past two decades, the focus of vicious dogs has been on the “pit bull” breed. On the contrary, “pit bull” does not refer to a breed of dog; rather, it refers to various breeds of dogs. American Pit Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, and Bull Terriers are all considered pit bull type dogs. All too often, there is a story on the news about a pit bull mauling a child or the mailman. Jessica Cornelissen and Hans Hopster of the Wageningen Livestock Research unit in Lelystad, Netherlands, reveal this unsettling statistic: “By the age of 12, more than half of the children in the USA are reported to have been bitten by a dog, and Belgium has an annual frequency of 22 bites per 1000 children. Furthermore, 15.6% of dogs in a Canadian veterinary caseload have shown lifetime bite behavior” (Cornelissen 292). Many organizations and people have conducted studies to ask whether or not Breed-Specific Legislation (BSL) actually works in reducing the amount of dog bites or attacks. More often than not, the studies show that there is no relation to the amount of dog bites and attacks where BSL has been enacted. That brings up the question whether BSL can reduce the number of dog bite or attack incidents or if other measures should be considered. There are more adequate solutions to solving our “dog-bite epidemic,” such as Dangerous Dog Laws (DDLs), responsible ownership, and most importantly education programs. First we must look at the laws that our country has already set forth in order to maintain public health and safety. The most brutal and restrictive of them is Breed-Specific Legislation. BSL is comprised of strict regulations for the owning and breeding of a specific breed of dog. The law leaves no room for justification of how well the animal behaves. It simply prohibits the dog based on its breed. A less strict law, and probably one of the better laws, is known as the Dangerous Dog Laws. Fordham University School of Law graduate Safia Hussain shares in her law review titled “Attacking the Dog-Bite Epidemic,” that “More than thirty states, the District 29
of Columbia, and numerous cities have enacted dangerous-dog laws as a means of addressing the dog-bite epidemic” (Hussain 2854-2855). Unlike its restrictive counterpart, DDLs base regulation on prior behavior of the dog and its owner. Sometimes this will entail requiring an owner to muzzle a dangerous dog when walking him or her on a leash, or providing a special enclosure for the dog to live in. Also, in areas where there are BSL and DDLs, the dog owner is required to have a special insurance that would cover a person who is attacked, should the occasion ever arise that the dog gets loose and attacks someone. DDLs are a better way of helping prevent dog bites and attacks; however, DDLs also have faults. DDLs usually allow up to two bites before the dog is considered dangerous. This leaves far too much room for error. However, like all laws, DDLs constantly fall under scrutiny on their fairness. This scrutiny usually concerns whether or not it is constitutional to take someone’s dog-a man’s property--and destroy it without due process. In Hussain’s review, the author shows a case that was about exactly that: “The court in Phillips v. San Luis Obispo County Department of Animal Regulation found unconstitutional an ordinance permitting the county to destroy a dog without providing the owner notice and an opportunity to contest the dangerousness determination” (Hussain 2858). The dog had been taken without notification of the owners and euthanized. With DDLs, most states allow an owner to appeal before the court to fight for their dog and prove that it is not dangerous; often, though the dog is taken without consent, and the appeals process is skipped. One solution that is being looked at more closely is the Potentially Dangerous Dog Laws (PDDLs). PDDLs leave less room for an incident to happen by dealing with an issue as soon as the unprovoked dog has bitten or attacked a person. Now when using the term “unprovoked,” it is important to establish the definitions of “unprovoked” and “provoked.” “Unprovoked” is when a dog attacks when there was no immediate interaction between the human and the dog that attacked. The word “provoke” generally means arousing or inciting anger. Two pediatricians from The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Emergency Department, Jeffery Avner, M.D. and M. Douglas Baker, M.D., define a provoked attack as one that “resulted from child-initiated interaction with the dog, such as playing with the dog or annoying the dog during his meal” (Avner 55). This idea also pertains to adults who are in similar situations. Hussain gives an example of an unprovoked attack: In 2001, Diane Whipple was attacked and killed by her neighbors' two dogs just steps from her front door. With a combined weight of 233 pounds, the dogs overpowered their owner and mauled Whipple for five minutes before their owner was able to pull them off and into her neighboring apartment. (Hussain 2847) This is just one example of the many unprovoked attacks in which the owners were asked if they knew the dogs were aggressive. In this case, the owners stated that they did not know. Unfortunately, Diane Whipple would not have been safe under a BSL law since the two dogs were Presa Canarios, which is not considered a pit bull type breed (Hussain 2848). This shows how BSL can actually harm a specific area’s citizens, rather than protect them. In a study published in The Veterinary Journal, “Dog Bites in the Netherlands,” by Jessica M.R. Cornelissen and Hans Hopster, the authors state, “Obtaining a reliable attack record is 30
complicated due to scarce data on the reference population, incomplete breed registration, incorrect breed-identification, the number of non-purebred dogs, and the narrow scope of relevant studies. Moreover, BSL is rarely based on such records” (Cornelissen 293). This fact allows us to see that even if BSL worked, there are other breeds of dogs that are unaccounted for simply from the owner not being responsible. This observation leads into the second solution: ownership responsibility. Time after time, bad ownership has caused the dog to be punished or even destroyed by euthanasia. Like the case of Diane Whipple, all too often the dog is to blame when in fact the owner is the one at fault. This is not to say that a certain dog, regardless of breed, may have some psychological issues. However, in most cases, the owner is indeed at fault. One such case is that of Nicholas Faibish’s mother. In an article published in USA Today, writer Elizabeth Weise tells of this horrific incident. “On June 3, Nicholas Faibish’s mother shut the sixth-grader in the basement to keep him away from the family’s two pit bulls while she ran errands. She returned to find her son dead, mauled when he came upstairs” (Weise 6d). The child was kept in the basement for protection, but, due to lack of parental presence, he made the unfortunate decision, to go upstairs. It makes one wonder if there was that much of an issue with the two dogs in question, why did she leave the child home alone in the first place? Furthermore, if there was an issue with the dogs and aggression, then the dogs should have been taken to some other place in the house or should have been found new homes. These types of incidents happen too often due to the poor misjudgment of the owner. After seeing an example such as this, dog owners can question what can be done to prevent these situations from happening. DDLs can help with promoting responsible ownership. In a guest editorial for The Veterinary Journal titled “Breed-specific legislation,” neurobiologist Karen Overall responds to the article presented by Cornelissen and Hopster. She states “that owners’ attitudes pertaining to responsible dog ownership and behavior are keys to preventing dog bites. Basically, unenforced or voluntary registration and identification programs will not provide the necessary data to track trends in dog bites or to implement any data-based bite prevention program” (Overall 278). She brings up a good point. Society cannot rely on the irresponsible owner to follow the rules and regulations set forth to prevent dog bites. This furthers the argument that BSL cannot possibly prevent or reduce the number of dog attacks. Due to their irresponsibility, the respective owners suffer. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) delivers it best in their position statement on BSL: “Although intended to improve community safety and comfort, ultimately these laws can cause hardship to responsible guardians of properly supervised, friendly, well-socialized dogs” (ASPCA). PDDL can be used to promote responsible ownership by enforcing fines and jail time to those that refuse to comply with the regulations. The most important solution to combatting dog bites and attacks is education. Numerous studies have been done on this correlation demonstrating that education has prevented and reduced the number of dog bites, especially in children. One such study, “Preventing Dog Bites in Children,” was performed by the associate professor of the Department of Public Health and Community Medicine at the University of Sydney, Simon Chapman. In this study, 346 children ages 7-8 took part in a controlled trial. Some of the schools were the control group and were not given the training, while the other schools’ children received a thirty minute lesson conducted by an 31
accredited dog handler (Chapman 1512). After the training was done, an unknown dog was tied to a fence in an area reachable by all children: Children who had received the intervention displayed appreciably greater precautionary behavior than children in the control schools. They were circumspect, typically observing the dog from a distance. Most of the children in the control group (118 of 149, 79%) patted the dog without hesitation and tried to excite it, while only a few (18 of 197, 9%) of the children who had received the intervention patted the dog, and they did this surreptitiously or after a considerable period of careful assessment only. (Chapman 1513) This study demonstrates that a little bit of education can go a long way in correcting this problem. Even then, education should not be specifically for children. Adult males are among the most bitten by dogs, second only to children. Karen Overall suggests 60% of those bitten could identify a trigger that resulted in the bite. This means that we can educate people about triggers, what they mean to the dog and how to respect the dog’s perception of the situation and prevent accidents (Overall 278). This statistic proves that there needs to be education. Citizens need to realize that dogs have body language, or actions, that are warning signals of feeling uncomfortable or uneasy. Once this idea is known to an owner, then it is easier to understand when a dog is not okay with a certain situation. Not only do the owners need to know this body language, but anyone who is going to be around the dog should be able to recognize it as well. One educational program available that is able to accomplish this task is the Blue Dog Bite Prevention Program. This program, geared for three to six-year-olds, involves using CDs to show real-life scenarios of interaction with dogs and a dog’s given response. A group of psychology experts conducted a study on the Blue Dog Program to see how effective it actually is. After watching the CDs, the children were allowed to take a test to see where they would be ranked. After the test was given, there was huge improvement shown when the children were also reinforced by their parents at home beyond the school setting (Meints 1087). According to the results of a study published in the Journal of Pediatric Psychology, conducted by University of Lincoln’s psychologists Kerstin Meints and Tiny de Keuster: Children showed highly significant improvement in their performance from exposure to testing phases, and thus show clear evidence of learning. As expected, children’s performance improved with age. Children still retained their knowledge and the ability to make safe choices after 2 weeks. Additional practice with their parents was an important factor in teaching children the lessons from the Blue Dog—especially younger children showed better results. Without practicing with parents especially 3-year-olds’ performance declines quickly. Interestingly, the reverse is the case when they do practice with their parents – they show significantly improved knowledge instead. (Meints & Keuster 1087) Not only is education an important part of reducing dog bites, but it is highly imperative that the parents of the children are being involved and reinforcing the values and skills that the children learn. Without the extra help and encouragement, the education seems to be pointless. Education 32
based on how a dog will react to a given situation is very important and has been proven to help reduce the number of dog bites that result from human error. Furthermore, the type of education that should be given should be that of breed-specific education. It is a known fact that different dogs were bred for different uses. Take the dachshund, for example; they were used in Germany as burrowing dogs to capture badgers. Someone who owns one can attest to this fact by the blanket and pillow forts that the dogs will make all over the house in an attempt to burrow. This brings me to the pit bull type dogs and their inherent need to chase after small prey. If people considering to buy or adopt a pit bull breed know that this is likely to happen, then they should rethink getting a pit bull if they have small children running around the house all the time. This is true for anyone who wants to get any type of dog. All breeds have their quirks. Finding the best fit for the family and being knowledgeable about that breed helps ensure that there will be responsible ownership. Kenneth Gershman, M.D. urges in his study, “Which Dogs Bite? A Case-Controlled Study of Risk Factors”: More attention needs to be devoted to the prevention of dog bites. Prevention strategies have been proposed which focus on victims, dogs, and owners including: educational programs on canine behavior especially directed at children, laws for regulating dangerous or vicious dogs, and educational programs regarding responsible dog ownership. (Gershman 916) Not only does he believe that there needs to be education for children, but also education on how to properly own and care for a dog. The education aspect of all this is not to be taken lightly. The more we are aware of a dog’s body language and how to properly care for them, the better the chances are of reducing bites and attacks. One can see the importance of learning how to reduce the frequency of dog bites. Simply banning a breed of dog is not going to solve the problem. More efficient laws, such as the Dangerous Dog Laws and Potentially Dangerous Dog Laws, can be put into effect. Also, it is very important that irresponsible owners be held accountable for the actions of their dogs. If they know their dog is unfit to be walking around without a muzzle, then they should be held accountable when the dog bites or attacks someone unprovoked. Not only do dog owners need to know the behavior of their dog around certain situations, but fellow citizens should be aware of their surroundings at all times when confronted with a dog of any level of behavior or obedience. A person should not expect a dog to constantly be on their best behavior because at any given moment an uncontrolled incident could spook a dog and cause an unintentional reaction, such as a dog bite or attack. People should always be cautious of a new dog or a dog in a new situation. Hussain claims in her conclusion, “Aided by strict enforcement and breed-neutral supplemental legislation, dangerous-dog laws can effectively and efficiently provide a solution to the dog-bite epidemic” (Hussain 2887). In other words, targeting a specific breed of dog will be of no service if the owners are not held accountable.
In essence, there are many things that can be done to combat dog bites and attacks: whether it is a law or regulation, cracking down on irresponsible owners, or educating both children and adults. A combination of all of the above strategies would be the most effective. However, the emphasis should be focused on holding owners accountable for their dog’s actions and providing the proper education to people who will inevitably come in contact with these four-legged creatures. Education should be of the utmost importance. Overall reminds us, “When we choose to share our lives with another species, particularly one with large canine teeth, no verbal speech and no opposable thumbs, we assume some risk” (Overall 278). This statement is so true. A dog does not ask to be kept by a human; it simply tries to conform to the situation it is given. We must always remember that while dogs are here for our enjoyment and companionship, a dog is still a descendant of the wolf-sharing about 99% of its DNA with a wolf while only sharing about 25% with its human companion- and therefore will occasionally act like a wild dog. Dogs’ actions are not to be taken lightly. Canines are not expected to understand why we do everything we do since they are being held captive by us and not the other way around. Breedspecific legislation has been proven time and time again as an ineffective way to reduce dog bites and attacks, and will continue to be this way. When so much emphasis is put on one particular breed of dog for its aggressive qualities, it then makes the dog more appealing to the owners who are using the dogs in an inhumane way. They want the status of having the meanest dog around, whether it is a pit bull or a Chihuahua. The idea that a dog is banned may make it more appealing. As long as this mentality exists, then the dogs will be used as the scapegoats, and no one will be held responsible. Throughout this essay sources such as Hussain and Overall have stated that breed-neutral laws will help with our dog-bite problems, and the ASPCA agrees with this: The ASPCA advocates the implementation of a community dog bite prevention program encompassing media and educational outreach in conjunction with the enactment, and vigorous enforcement, of breed-neutral laws that focus on the irresponsible and dangerous behavior of individual guardians and their dogs. (ASPCA) With more attitudes and outlooks such as the ASPCA’s, the more peacefully we can live with our companion canines and understand their needs. With this understanding we can bring about a renewed idea that BSL is not an effective way of dealing with dog bites, and we can focus more on passing laws and providing education that will help. WORKS CITED "ASPCA | About the ASPCA." ASPCA: The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. ASPCA, n.d. Web. 15 Aug. 2013. Avner, Jeffrey R., and M. Douglas Baker. "Dog Bites In Urban Children." Pediatrics 88.1 (1991): 55. Academic Search Premier. Web. 12 Aug. 2013. Chapman, Simon. "Preventing Dog Bites In Children: Randomised Controlled Trial Of An Educational Intervention." BMJ: British Medical Journal (International 34
Edition) 320.7248 (2000): 1512. Academic Search Premier. Web. 12 Aug. 2013. Cornelissen, Jessica M. R., and Hans Hopster. "Dog Bites In The Netherlands: A study of victims, injuries, circumstances and aggressors to support evaluation of breed specific legislation." Veterinary Journal 186.3 (2010): 292-298. Academic Search Premier. Web. 12 Aug. 2013. Gershman, Kenneth A., and Jeffrey J. Sacks. "Which Dogs Bite? A Case-Control Study of Risk Factors." Pediatrics 93.6 (1994): 913. Academic Search Premier. Web. 12 Aug. 2013. Hussain, Safia. “Attacking the Dog-Bite Epidemic: Why Breed-Specific Legislation Won't Solve the Dangerous-Dog Dilemma.” 74 Fordham L. Rev. 2847 (2006). Meints, Kerstin, and Tiny De Keuster. "Brief Report: Don’t Kiss a Sleeping Dog: The First Assessment of ‘The Blue Dog’ Bite Prevention Program." Journal of Pediatric Psychology 34.10 (2009): 1084-1090. Academic Search Premier. Web. 25 Aug. 2013. Overall, Karen L. "Breed specific legislation: How data can spare breeds and reduce dog bites." Veterinary Journal Dec. 2010: 277+. Academic Search Premier. Web. 12 Aug. 2013. Weise, Elizabeth. "Pit bull: Canine non grata." USA Today. n.d. Academic Search Premier. Web. 12 Aug. 2013.
Animals Deserve Rights (By Morgan Yamaguchi) Imagine a science lab with endless rows of cages against the walls. Cats and rabbits of all different breeds are shoved into cramped quarters. Mice and rats are stuck in mazes and tubes. Neglected dogs howl for help. Animals are not able to speak up for themselves when harm is being done to them. They are forced into enduring things that can be very detrimental to their physical, mental, and psychological well-being. Specifically, corporations perform tests and experiments on mice, dogs, cats, and other types of animals. Many of these animals are blinded by corrosive chemicals, forced into eating pesticides, required to inhale toxic fumes, and are tortured through other dangerous actions—not to mention that they are caged up all day and may develop neurotic problems due to lack of contact and freedom. Claire Andre, one of the founders of Issues in Ethics, and Manuel Velasquez, known as the father of academic business ethics, estimate that 20 million animals are used and killed for animal experimentation yearly. About 8 million of those animals are used in experiments that inflict pain on the subject and 10 percent of these animals receive no pain relief during the experiment (Andre & Velasquez 2). With all of this abuse going on behind closed doors, who will protect and speak up for these animals? Being human, we have a moral standing that gives us rights. There is no question that harming a human is wrong, and there are laws that protect us, as well as our rights, from these dangers. What about animals? Do they have a moral standing to deserve rights? Animals possess certain cognitive and non-cognitive traits, which are important factors in determining their moral standing. However, being able to feel pain and express emotions may not be enough evidence to convince some people who are opposed to the idea of animal rights. Looking through academic journals by experts in the field of morals and ethics, psychology, and animal experimentation will provide evidence in order to analyze the different contrasting arguments on this topic of animal rights. Arguments will be further supported with background information from web sites such as PETA. This essay will argue that animals have a moral standing which should be enough to grant them rights of protection from animal testing and experimentation. Moral standing is the difference between animal rights versus human rights. What does “obtaining” a moral standing mean? In another article by Andre and Velasquez, the authors seek to explain moral standing and who it applies to. They start by saying, “An individual has moral standing for us if, when making moral decisions, we feel we ought to take that individual's welfare into account for the individual's own sake and not merely for our benefit or someone else's benefit” (Andre & Velasquez 3). What Andre and Velasquez are saying is that when making decisions based on morals, taking into consideration the individual’s well-being and not focusing only on another’s benefit gives that someone a moral standing. To understand what is meant by moral standing, we could look at the situation between a doctor and a farmer. A doctor who believes that physically abusing her patient is wrong has a moral standing for her patient. She does not consider what kinds of consequences she would face or what would best benefit herself. The doctor feels genuinely concerned about the patient’s health; therefore, patient has a moral standing to the doctor. On 36
the other hand, a farmer takes care of his cattle in order to ensure that they are healthy. In this case, the farmer looks at the situation as healthy cattle means more milk production. Due to the fact that his concern is towards the milk production for his family’s benefit and not for the cow itself, the cow has no moral standing to the farmer. Throughout history, the idea of who deserves a moral standing has changed. The earliest idea of who “fits” into the realm of obtaining a moral standing was that only humans have a moral standing. The ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle wrote, “Plants exist for the sake of animals and brute beasts for the sake of man” (qtd. in Andre & Velasquez 6). In this way of thinking, nature has a system of hierarchy where organisms that are less complex, and irrational, were created to profit organisms that are more complex and rational. With the same thought in mind, seventeenth-century philosopher Immanuel Kant said, “So far as animals are concerned we have no direct moral duties; animals are not self-conscious and are there merely as a means to an end. That end is man” (qtd. in Andre & Velasquez 6). What Kant said is exactly what the example of the farmer demonstrates: animals are valued only for how they can benefit people. According to this belief, other than serving a purpose to help humans, animals, since they are not self-aware, do not have a moral standing on their own. The idea that only humans have moral rights was challenged by many philosophers who greatly disagreed. Referring to the perspective of philosophers like utilitarians Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill, Andre and Velasquez say, “According to these philosophers our only moral duty is to maximize pleasure which, they claimed, is the only fundamental good, and to minimize pain, the only fundamental evil” (Andre & Velasquez 9). In other words, no matter how rational the creatures are, if they are able to experience pain and pleasure, we need to take these animals into consideration in giving them a moral standing. These views extend moral standing to animals and became the steppingstone for the animal rights movement. Branching off from the view that animals deserve a moral standing came the claim that it is immoral for humans to inflict pain and suffering on animals. Ignoring this claim leads to discrimination against animals. It is important to understand that even if people believe that animals have no moral standing, inflicting pain on them is not right. At least to that extent, animals should have rights because they understand what is happening to them to some degree, and harming animals negatively impacts them in ways that the human researchers cannot experience firsthand. When exposed to different situations, animals know what is going on to the extent that they can react appropriately. Georgetown University philosopher Tom L. Beauchamp says that “Many forms of behavior are also intentional, and many forms of goal-directed behavior, such as defending a nest, often appear to be innovative and unprecedented” (Beauchamp 116). What Beauchamp intends to touch upon with this stated sub-goal is to say that the behavior of animals are deliberate in that they have a purpose to achieve, showing that animals understand their actions.
By showing that the actions of animals have some type of intention in mind, the animals demonstrate cognitive properties which justify their behavior. Signifying that animals have enough cognitive ability to validate their actions shows moral standing and gives them rights. If animals understand their behaviors and actions, it gives rise to their cognitive process and how it can be compared to humans. Animals even possess non-cognitive properties that give rise to moral standing compared to humans. Along with having cognitive ability, animals also possess non-cognitive characteristics like sensations and emotions, which should count towards moral standing. In the same article Beauchamp explains, “But the basis for the attribution of a broad range of emotions to animals is as adequate as the basis for the attribution of pain” (Beauchamp 117). Here Beauchamp points out that animals do have emotions and the ability to feel pain, which are both equally important towards moral standing for animals. He uses this sub-goal to incorporate a non-cognitive aspect of animals that humans share, as well as to further support his primary point that animals have a moral standing, giving animals their protected rights. Beauchamp argues that because animals are able to feel pain, feeling pain can leave a detrimental impact on their emotional state. The author uses his sub-goals as a buffer to give different perspectives as to why animals should have rights. To some people, feeling pain is enough to grant animals rights, but to others, there are many more complex reasons as to why animals do not deserve a moral status. Having a moral status is something one needs to “qualify” for, not simply be given. There are certain attributes that people believe only humans possess; therefore, only humans have a moral standing. An explanation as to why only humans deserve a full moral status is expressed in the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, authored by Dr. Scott D. Wilson who specializes in Applied Ethics and Ethical Theory at Wright State University. He explains, "Some people argue that only rational, autonomous, and self-conscious beings deserve full and equal moral status; since only human beings are rational, autonomous, and self-conscious, it follows that only human beings deserve full and equal moral status” (Wilson 2i). In claiming that only humans have a moral status, Wilson suggests that only humans are coherent and self-governing, and humans are the only species aware of their own being. The result of his claim is that only humans deserve full moral status. Animals would not qualify for having a moral status because they do not possess the full extent of attributes that humans have. Further, the argument that animals do not qualify for moral status assumes that animals are not rational, cannot act independently, and are not aware of them. The result of not having those attributes raises questions of whether or not animals have the ability to act morally towards others, as humans can. In the same article Dr. Wilson says, “Since animals cannot act morally, they will not sacrifice their own good for the sake of others, but will rather pursue their good even at the expense of others” (Wilson 2iii). What Dr. Wilson is saying is that animals do not act morally towards others, meaning that they would not make sacrifices for their kind. Instead, they would put themselves in front of others. This point is why humans should have more concerns for humans rather than the animal species. 38
At times this is true in the wild, given survival of the fittest. However, animals do in certain situations display morality towards other animals. In a study done with capuchin monkeys, two capuchin monkeys were put side by side in cages and performed tasks to receive an award. The animals would get either a cucumber or grape for giving the experimenter a stone. When one of the monkeys received grapes instead of the cucumbers (the preferred food), the monkey receiving the cucumber would not continue the experiment, would not eat, and even threw the food at the experimenter. Fehr, who observed the experiment, is a Swiss economist from the University of Zurich and a researcher on human equity, cooperation, and altruism. In this experiment he noted, “The new finding that even monkeys reject unequal pay is very important, I think, because it suggests that this is a very deeply rooted behavior that we observe among humans" (qtd. in Markey 2). The monkeys understood fairness and used that as a means in deciding what they were going to do when they saw the researchers showing injustice throughout the experiment. With this study, the researchers were also able to conclude that human equity has an evolutionary basis. Showing fairness is part of one’s morals. So looking at the capuchin monkey study, we can see that they are not only able to perform in harmony, but when treated with inequality, the monkeys’ behaviors change, exhibiting behaviors based on cognitive reasoning similar to humans. Dr. Wilson says that people believe animals do not possess cognitive traits like being self-aware and self-conscious. However, in an experiment shown on the National Geographic channel, researchers demonstrated that apes are capable of self- recognition. The experimenters put mirrors in front of the apes and saw that apes displayed human traits like grooming themselves and checking to make sure they looked okay. This shows that animals are fully aware of who they are and understand that they are looking at themselves in the mirror. To compare the test to humans, the experimenters used the mark test, in which one of the researchers put a mark on a toddler’s face and placed him/her in front of a mirror. The toddler looked at himself, recognized the mark on his face, and put his hand where the mark was. An exact experiment was done to the apes, putting a marking on their faces, and when the apes got to the mirror, they immediately recognized that something was different about them. The apes also put their hands on their faces and tried to rub the mark off (Self Recognition in Apes video). Behaviors that the apes displayed allowed the experimenters to conclude that apes are selfconscious and aware of themselves. Not only are animals aware of themselves, but they can use that awareness to understand a situation that allows them to perform appropriate reactions to others’ behaviors. Although many animals’ actions are based on instinct, when necessary, animals make sacrificial decisions based on understanding and awareness of their situation. I have seen a true example of instinctual sacrifice in one of my pet dogs. She was growing very old and frail and had stopped eating. I could tell the younger dog felt sympathy for the sick dog because she would lie next to her when she was not able to walk and do things independently. Even when they were both brought food, the healthy dog would not eat because the sick dog would not eat. It is a dog’s 39
instinct to eat when she is hungry, but my younger dog chose not to eat. This behavior was very out of character for her. In fact, she is always the first one to come to eat her food and will sometimes eat the other dog’s food. There was no evidence in the author’s claim that animals cannot act independently in situations. I am sure there are other situations in the wild that occur between animals that require rationality and independent understanding since I have seen it firsthand with my own two dogs. Maybe animals are not so different after all in having good intentions for others, which would give them equal moral status as humans. Animals resemble humans in many ways, and although their cognitive abilities are not very comparable, there is evidence from studies to show that animals have some innate ability to learn and think as humans do. Bioethics professor Peter Singer, who believes in equal moral status for humans and animals, is a moral philosopher at Princeton University. Singer is known for his book called Animal Liberation, which takes a secular utilitarian perspective. He argues, “If we attempt to extend such unequal consideration to the interests of animals, we will be forced to give unequal consideration to the interests of different human beings” (Singer 3a). Singer believes that if we give an unequal status to animals based on certain traits that humans have, then we would have to treat different human beings with the same inequality. Some humans do not have those traits such as being autonomous. So why do we not treat them unequally like we do animals? Treating humans the way we treat animals can be compared with using infants who have brain diseases in experimentation. Singer’s way of looking at animal rights and moral status supports my thesis by providing another perspective as to why animals should have moral equality with humans, based on the fact that we do not experiment on impaired humans who do not have total brain function. Even if animals may never have equality with humans, the least we could do for them is to protect animals from torture and to make sure that they are not used in experiments. Animals do not always present us with accurate results when using them for testing. The results of these tests may actually produce misleading information to the FDA or medicine companies and produce side effects that have not shown up in the animals that were tested on. A very large scandal involved the drug Thalidomide in the 1950’s. This drug was supposed to decrease severe morning sickness in pregnant women. Instead, Thalidomide produced horrifying side effects to babies. An estimated 10,000 birth defects and thousands of deaths were reported due to the Thalidomide drug (Animal Friends Croatia 1). These side effects were not shown in the animal experimentation. Even though scientists knew the side effects of the drug, results had only shown up in some rabbits and primates. The animals that experienced the side effects were given about 10 to 25 times more dosage of the drug than humans had received. Dr. Ray Greek, Director of the Medical Research Modernization Committee, stated that "In approximately 10 strains of rats, 15 strains of mice, 11 breeds of rabbits, 2 breeds of dogs, 3 strains of hamsters, 8 species of primates and in other such varied species as cats, armadillos, guinea pigs, swine and ferrets in which thalidomide has been tested, teratogenic effects have been induced only occasionally”
(Greek 6-9). The humans reacted in a totally different and more dramatic way than how the animals responded to the drug. Knowing that animals do not always provide us with precise results when we experiment medication and products on them, we should be using alternative methods that are able to resemble humans’ biological makeup more accurately. The body chemistry of an animal is different from the human body’s chemistry, and people should realize that animal testing may not be the most efficient way of testing products. There are safer and more efficient alternatives to animal testing out there. If people became more educated about different types of methods for experimentation, then more people may support the argument that animals deserve a moral status. The Pharmagene Laboratories use human skin and advanced computer technology to process and test medicine as well as sample human genes to study how drugs affect the human body. Utilizing these methods creates no harm to animals, and results come out more precisely. Pharmagene scientists believe that the discovery process is much more efficient with human tissues. “If you have information on human genes, what’s the point of going back to animals?” says Pharmagene cofounder Gordon Baxter (PETA 2). Animals deserve the right that if there are better, more efficient means of testing a product, then the alternative methods should be used. Tom Regan, a philosopher who specializes in animal rights theory, believes that animals deserve respect. The University of Connecticut Health Center says that Regan “relies on a concept of inherent value - any being that is alive has inherent value. Anything that has inherent value is a being towards which we must show respect” (UConn Health Center 16). Regan trusts that because animals are alive and inherently valuable as humans are, they deserve respect. From this we can infer that showing respect means not using the animals cruelly for our own benefit with animal testing. By saying that animals have inherently valuable, Regan would go on to say that all inherent beings have rights that should support the wellness of the being. Furthermore, when it comes to situations where rights of two beings are conflicted, Regan says that we must try, as much as possible, not to override another’s rights. Regan’s perspective supports the thesis of this paper differently by saying that since animals have inherent value, they deserve respect. With both of these combined, they deserve a moral standing as well as humans do. Animal rights and moral standing have been heated issues that philosophers cannot seem to agree upon. These arguments have been going on for too long and it is about time that we give animals the rights they deserve. The many different theories about animal rights and moral status can be used to defend this paper’s thesis from a variety of outlooks. We looked at perspectives from Beauchamp, who believes that animals possess non-cognitive abilities as well as cognitive abilities that give them a right of moral status. Cognitive abilities help animals understand what is going on in situations while non-cognitive behaviors prove they display emotions and feel pain. Arguments against animal moral status claim that animals do not possess certain traits that humans have and are not able to act morally towards others. Singer’s idea that not all humans are the same justifies treating animals with a higher moral standing, which is related to Regan’s 41
idea that animals and humans have inherent value and deserve respect and rights. Through the capuchin monkey fairness experiment and ape self-awareness research, we can clearly see that animal behaviors resemble human behavior more than people think. In my own experiences, I have seen animals give up their self-preservation instinct in order to sacrifice for another animal or human. There are other alternatives to animal research and at times, the testing itself does not pertain to humans because animals react to products in different ways. Throughout history there have been times where products that were tested on animals did not produce any side effects on them, but when used on humans, major defects occurred. Hence, there should not be a reason for people to think that animals having rights would affect our product research anyway. Nowadays, new technology is being developed that replicates the human body. We should seek to reduce animal testing if there are new and improved methods such as this that could ultimately produce better results. Most people treat animals as if they are part of the family. If we would not treat our family members with no respect, then why would we do it to animals? Think about what it would be like to live every day in a confined cage, constantly hurting from foreign chemicals from experiments that will benefit another species. Take part in the fight for animal rights WORKS CITED "AFC - The Tragedy of Thalidomide and the Failure of Animal Testing." AFC - The Tragedy of Thalidomide and the Failure of Animal Testing. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Dec. 2012. "Alternatives: Testing Without Torture." PETA. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, 2012. Web. 2 Dec. 2012. Andre, Clair, and Manuel Velasquez. "Animal Testing and Ethics." Animal Testing and Ethics. Santa Clara University, 2010. Web. 03 Dec. 2012. Andre, Clair, and Manuel Velasquez. "Who Counts?" Animal Testing and Ethics. Santa Clara University, 2010. Web. 30 Mar. 2013. "Animal Care Committee." Theories on Animals and Ethics: University of Connecticut Health Center. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Mar. 2013. Beauchamp, Tom L. â€œOpposing Views on Animal Experimentation: Do Animals Have Rights?â€? Journal of Ethics and Behavior (1997): 113-121. Print. Greek, Ray, Dr. "History of Medical Progress." In Defense of Animal Reports. N.p., n.d. Web. Dec. 2012. Markey, Sean. "Monkeys Show Sense Of Fairness, Study Says." National Geographic. National Geographic Society, 17 Sept. 2003. Web. 07 May 2013. Self-Recognition in Apes. YouTube. YouTube, 13 Mar. 2008. Web. 05 May 2013. 42
Wilson, Scott. "Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy." Animals and Ethics. N.p., 23 Oct. 2001. Web. 30 Mar. 2013.
Animal Exploitation: A Deontological or Consequentialist Issue? (By Maria Paranich) Vegetarianism is becoming increasingly popular in todayâ€™s society. For some, it can be a health issue, or for some an environmental issue, or for some even just a fad. But for many, it is a lifestyle that is an expression of a moral perspective on the ethical treatment of animals. Animal welfare in general presents an interesting challenge in the realm of ethics because it forces us to re-examine several concepts that are fundamental to our entire conception of ethics. Do we have moral obligations to non-rational animals? Can non-rational animals have rights? How are we affected by our treatment of animals and how should our morality be guided by our relationships to them? These questions lead us to the central issue of whether we should take a deontological or consequentialist approach towards the ethics of animal welfare. Each ethical approach presents its own shortcomings, and the goal of this paper is to construct a hybrid approach that provides the most robust defense of animal welfare. Our first step is to review the difference between deontological and consequentialist ethics and reveal why this is especially relevant to animal welfare. The deontological approach to ethics judges an action based on adherence to rules that typically describe some kind of duty to which humans beings are or should be bound. There is usually some notion of universal rights which cannot be violated, or some normative concept of an absolute good that must be upheld. On the issue of animal welfare, the deontological approach either extends the notion of inviolate rights to animals, such that they are afforded the same kind of protection from abuse or oppression that we would expect for humans, or establishes some duty on humans to treat animals in a manner that is consistent with a kind of rational capacity we as rational beings must exercise. Consequentialist ethics, on the other hand, judges an action solely basedâ€”as the name impliesâ€” on the consequences or effects of an action. Therefore, consequentialist ethics do not require a prior rule or set of protective rights that prohibit certain actions; rather, there is an outcome that is used to evaluate the worth of the associated action. Despite the absence of rules, consequentialism still must establish a standard by which to judge outcomes, which are in turn used to judge actions. The consequentialist approach to animal welfare considers the impact of animal exploitation as the basis for establishing an ethical relationship to animals. It is often noted that the deontological approach more easily establishes a case for a broad prohibition against animal exploitation based on the absolute notions or rights or duties that it depends on, but it struggles to explain why we should extend rights to animals or include animals in our duties to treat each other ethically. The philosopher Immanuel Kant, for example, claimed that we must treat animals humanely not out of duty to animals, but to each other. Kant believed that rational agency was a prerequisite for ethical relations, and to the extent that animals are not capable of rational agency, we cannot have ethical duties to them. According to Kant, we do, however, have ethical duties to other humans, and the prohibition against animal abuse stems from the presumption that treating animals poorly makes us susceptible to treating each other poorly. Kant establishes these indirect duties to animals by correlating them with direct duties to rational humans. 44
In his article discussing both Hegel and Kant’s approach to ethics, Thompson elaborates on Kant’s reasoning: “These indirect duties derive their validity from the fact that animal nature has analogies with human nature … In this sense, even though animals are not worthy of moral intrinsic moral consideration, their mistreatment has negative effects on the morality of human beings, to whom we do in fact owe moral consideration as a duty” (Thompson 4). The causal link between treating animals poorly and treating each other poorly is tenuous, however, and since there is no duty to animals directly, the prohibition against animal exploitation is weak. The argument against animal exploitation becomes stronger if we simply grant rights to animals that are similar to those we presume are inalienable for humans; or, if we make an absolutist claim that compassion is good, and that humans ought to act with compassion and refrain from treating animals in a matter inconsistent with that ideal. The problem here, however, is that we must make a significant philosophical leap to presume that animals should have the same rights as humans, or that there is some virtue or ideal that we must uphold for its own sake. At the beginning of either of these arguments is a starting premise that makes an absolute claim on some irreducible moral truth, whether it be something as simple as “compassion is good” or “suffering in all creatures is bad.” For many, this is a reasonable basis for justifying a prohibition against animal exploitation. The danger here, along with all arguments that begin with a presumptive truth about human nature, is that it overlooks the process by which the values that govern our moral thinking are made, and in doing so, leaves us blind to the operation of power and discourse. In other words, those starting values are produced within a language that sets the rules and boundaries of what we construct as truth, and that language, or discourse, which precedes our discussion of values, is an expression of the operation of power. Foucault highlights the dangers when he states, “It seems to me that the idea of justice in itself is an idea which in effect has been invented and put to work in different types of societies as an instrument of a certain political and economic power or as a weapon against that power. But it seems to me that, in any case, the notion of justice itself functions within a society of classes as a claim made by the oppressed class as a justification for it” (Foucault 54). It is not just a simple matter that the deontological or virtue-ethics approach leaves us with unanswered questions at the start of its reasoning chain; it’s the fact that accepting such starting points as absolute truth in the way that these methods require leaves us exposed to the operation of power that underlies the discourse within which this discussion takes place. It is worth pointing out that not all power is malignant, but for our purposes it is enough to compel us to look for another approach to the ethics of animal welfare. The alternative approach that is relevant to our discussion of animal welfare is consequentialist ethics. Here we do not rely upon any particular duty or principle that exists before or independent of the action; instead, we evaluate the action on the basis of the consequence it produces. Utilitarianism is one of many types of consequentialist ethics, and is often used to justify a prohibition on animal exploitation. The method of evaluation is fairly straightforward: does an action result in a greater or lesser overall distribution of happiness? To go from a deontological approach where we assert that “x is inherently wrong, therefore we should not do x” to a 45
consequentialist approach of “x causes y, and y harms us, therefore we should not do y” requires that we construct incontrovertible links of causation between the activity and the end result we seek to avoid. In her article, “A Utilitarian Argument Against Animal Exploitation,” Clare McCausland attempts to establish a line of reasoning that demonstrates that the exploitation of animals always results in a lower distribution of happiness. In order to demonstrate the inevitability of a negative outcome from animal exploitation, the author constructs a logical progression that starts with the premise that within a system of animal exploitation, animals are turned into property, and more specifically, commodities that are reduced to exchange value for the sake of commercial profit. When animals are reduced to commodities based on their value for exchange on an open market, the pressure to generate profit results in increasingly poor treatment of animals. McCausland summarizes by stating, “The claim is that the profit motive and imperative for increased productivity in a competitive market lead to one or two scenarios; the exploitation of more animals, leading to more intensified processing; and/or reduced costs, leading to a reduction in welfare, through lower quality of confinement, veterinary care, staff and so on” (McCausland 8). While this line of reasoning does establish a clear path from animal exploitation to an outcome of negative utility, it falls short in that it does not demonstrate that it must always result in negative utility. McCausland neglects the possibility that a market condition could incentivize owners to treat animals humanely if there is commercial demand for it, or that animal exploitation could be regulated or removed from private enterprise. The more serious flaw in this approach, however, is that the utilitarian calculus requires that we include animal happiness in the relevant distribution of utility. Even if we do not treat animal and human happiness on equivalent terms, we must still establish some kind of relative quantification to measure the overall change in distribution. McCausland seems to rely on pure numbers when she states, “Over 50 billion animals are bred and killed each year for human consumption … Seven billion humans benefit from the suffering and death of these animals. With the above ratios in mind, even if humans derived intensely pleasurable experiences from animal use, it is not clear that these pleasures would outweigh the animal suffering involved in their production” (McCausland 15). If we attempt to construct a rationale for determining the relative value of human happiness versus animal happiness, we run into the same problem that we encountered in the deontological approach: What is our basis for granting rights, partial rights, or even a right to happiness to animals who might or might not be rational, and who cannot make their intentions or preferences known to us? How then can we finish the task of consequentialism and establish an outcome that provides a measure by which to evaluate the exploitation of animals? In his article “Vegetarianism and Virtue”, Nathan Nobis avoids the problem of quantifying animal happiness or justifying animal rights by attributing a direct human consequence to animal exploitation. In his attempt to bridge the gap between deontology and consequentialism in the debate over animal welfare, he argues:
And here we have a natural place to merge the he plausible insights of virtue ethics with consequentialist ethical theory. Pre-theoretically, it seems that all else equal, a person will bring about more goodness if she has the virtue of compassion, cares about and is sensitive to unnecessary cruelty and suffering (wherever it is found, in humans or animals), opposes injustice and unfairness, and, in general attempts to have an integrated, coherent moral outlook. These seem to be virtues that we try to instill in our children. And earlier we saw that these virtues (and others) readily support vegetarianism and veganism, as well as a general moral outlook typically associated with them. (Nobis 153) This sounds like a compelling outcome on which to base a case against animal exploitation, yet without establishing exactly how a person brings about more goodness if she has the virtue of compassion, we are left in the same unsatisfying position we faced in the beginning. We still do not have a self-sufficient causal link between benevolence towards animals and greater human utility. Nobis’ attempt, however, does at least shift us away from the trap of attempting to read animals’ minds and establish a framework of animal rights, or measure animal happiness in or to make our consequentialist evaluation of animal exploitation. The next step is to link our human welfare to our actions towards animals, and an interesting approach towards this daunting task is presented by Michael Thompson in his article, “Why We Have Ethical Obligations to Animals: Animal Welfare and the Common Good.” He introduces three important interlocking concepts: reflexive ethics, recognition, and the common good. In his notion of reflexive ethics, he states that “practical agents absorb ethical concepts and value systems from the forms of socialization they encounter during the process of ethical individuation“ (Thompson 181). He goes on to describe the reflexivity of an ethical system based on this construction of values: Values are specific kinds of concepts that shape the moral cognition of agents. They are conceptual, not purely intellectual or even explicitly conscious, but it is a reality structure that is immanent to our action … values unite our cognitive and affective orientations to the world and evaluate it as good or bad … If we collect these value categories together, we have a value field: a nexus of value-concepts that we utilize to frame, evaluate and understand the world. Ethical life is the totality of this value field; it consists of the ways we share with others certain normative and evaluative concepts about the world. Seen in this way, ethical life becomes a much more substantive concept in that we are able to see it as the precondition for the type of ethical agency that any specific individual achieves. Reflexivity in this case refers to the ways in which the various actions performed, the institutions that exist in society, and, consequently, the value systems that are current in any culture, come to shape the development of any specific individual. (Thompson 182) This critical insight brings us full circle to the description of discourse and Foucault’s notion of how our ideas on human nature and justice relate to power, and the uses of power in society highlighted earlier. This was both a shortcoming and a danger in the deontological approach. Reflexive ethics does not allow us to circumvent this danger, but it allows us to incorporate it in our approach. Instead of starting with a value and judging our actions by that value, we examine an action and evaluate how it affects the entire value system that constitutes our ethical life. From this perspective, ethics are social. They are socially determined, they are relational, and there is an ethical substance which is the collective material upon which we draw to construct 47
our ethical selves. In this manner, we can see our shared ethics as a common good, since we all have an interest in maintaining the quality of the ethical environment that reflexively determines our ethical self-realization. Thompson elaborates, “When we see the common good as a fund value of concepts or a moral substance that makes up our culture, then we begin to see that certain things can be harmful to the values and practices that make society possible” (Thompson 185). While this does not establish a utilitarian calculus, it does establish the goal of a common good that provides the validating consequence necessary for judging our actions. It is utilitarian in the sense that we can draw a link to a greater distribution of positive utility through the maximization of a common good. But our work in linking our treatment of animals to the common good is not yet finished. Without a means to establish a causal link between the exploitation of animals and the deterioration of the ethical common good, we are confronted with the same philosophical gap that we identified earlier in the Kantian approach to animal welfare: How do we relate our treatment of animals to the development of our ethical selves? Thompson draws upon Hegel’s notion of “recognition” to provide an elegant bridge that provides not merely causality, but determinacy. The relevance of recognition is predicated on the earlier description of ethics as reflexive and social. It is within the social milieu of common values that we construct our ethical capacity, but it is only through recognition of other ethical agents that we can participate, contribute, and draw upon that shared ethical substance. Thompson describes Hegel’s concept as follows: Hegel conceives of recognition as occurring between two self-conscious subjects for the purpose of achieving the inter-subjective mediation of self-consciousness. On Hegel’s account, the encounter between two self-conscious subjects effects a change in each of them deriving from the fact that each can no longer rest solipsistically within their own frame of reference, but are forced to develop a broader self-understanding through their intersubjectivity … Put it more simply, it is the process by which any subject overcomes his immediate, natural state of consciousness and is transformed into an inter-subjective partner capable of participating in the expanded realm of duties and knowledge that are demanded by the community as a whole. (Thompson 7) While Hegel spoke of recognition as occurring between two human agents, if we follow the concept of reflexivity and recognize the value of the act of recognition, we can extend that recognition to animals, as Thompson does, to increase the value to the common good. Notice that we do not need to make any claim on the rights or preferences of animals; we need only establish that the act of including animals in our scope of recognition enhances our capacity as rational agents. The final step is to demonstrate that the exploitation of animals impairs the process of recognition that is crucial to the maximization of the ethical common good. Extending human recognition of animals is based on the simple and limited commonality of suffering. We recognize that animals have in common with us a capacity to suffer, and on the basis of that, we bring them into the step of recognition, establish a line of continuity between human and animal subjects, and thus broaden our hitherto more narrow set of concerns and interest, which in turns 48
augments our capacity of ethical agents, maximizing the quality of the ethical common good that provide the material for our self-constitution. Abuse and cruelty towards animals requires that we neglect the value of their suffering outright, and thus not only precludes the possibility of suffering but degrades the common good of our shared ethical life. Thompson drives the point home in his explanation: We can identify the practices, traditions, and acts that distort the recognitive structure and degrade the ethical substance of individuals and the community as a whole. This serves as a more compelling ground … since the moral value of protecting animals from this kind of harm and cruelty becomes and objective moment in the ethical self-realization of individuals within the context of modern ethical life … It is a distortion of the mechanism which shapes and forms human moral categories, sensibilities and practices. It is not simply that the experiential moment of animal abuse has a degrading impact on ethical sensibilities, as Kant seems to argue, but also, and more crucially, that a rupture is created in the ontological space of ethical rationality. (Thompson 10) We began this discussion by acknowledging the problems with both deontological and consequentialist approaches to the ethics of human welfare. We then identified the dangers of absolutist claims at the core of deontological justifications, and the shortcomings of both the causal links and quantitative requirement of consequentialist approaches. In order to overcome these obstacles, we have identified a concept that links our very capacity to evolve as rational agents, demonstrated how animal exploitation impairs that capacity, and established the communal value of maximizing that ethical capacity through the humane treatment of animals. WORKS CITED Foucault, Michael. The Chomsky-Foucault Debate. New York: The New Press, 2006. Print. McCausland, Clare. “A Utilitarian Argument Against Animal Exploitation.” Australian Animal Studies Group Journal 12 (2011), 25-47. Print. Nobis, Nathan. “Vegetarianism And Virtue: Does Consequentialism Demand Too Little? Social Theory & Practice 28.1 (2002), 135-156. Print. Thompson, Michael. “Enlarging the Sphere of Recognition: A Hegelian Approach to Animal Rights.” Journal of Value Inquiry (2011), 1-17. Print. Thompson, Michael, “Why We Have Ethical Obligations to Animals: Animal Welfare and the Common Good.” Strangers to Nature: Animal Lives and Human Ethics. Ed. SmulewiczZucker, Gregory. Langham: Lexington Books, 2012. 177-199. Print.
Trending Social Issues
The Immigrant Cry for Reform (By Angela Araujo) "Si se puede! Si se puede! Si se puede!" exclaim the hundreds of thousands of Latino immigrant protesters across the United States of America. These powerful words, the equivalence of “yes, we can,” can be heard loudly at any pro-immigration rally in the United States today. Before September 11, 2001, immigration reform had been an issue of urgent debate. “Immigration reform” is the term used to discuss legal policy changes regarding immigration into the United States. After the distressing tragedy of 9/11, American security became a heavy burden. As a result, extra precautions were taken for the safety of the country, drastically changing the lives of millions of undocumented immigrants (Katel, 2005, p. 13). The immigration reform debate had been kicked aside, along with all hopes of living the American Dream which so many undocumented immigrants had been promised. Immigration reform became a lost cause and many years went by without a proper solution. Now that the war in Iraq has become a less pressing issue, the government’s attention has shifted back to immigration reform. There are two types of outlooks on immigration reform. One seeks to reduce or eliminate the number of immigrants coming into the U.S. through anti-immigration policies. The other supports immigration into the country through a tactic known as comprehensive immigration reform (pro-immigration). Most Latino and pro-immigration advocates are calling for comprehensive immigration reform, which is supported by U.S. President Barack Obama. President Obama’s plans for comprehensive immigration reform will aim to create secure American borders, remove incentives to enter the U.S. illegally, grant amnesty to millions of undocumented immigrants, and work for an overall improved immigration system to bring immigrants out of the shadows (Dorsey, 2007, p. 92). In the debate over immigration reform, extensive research has shown that the moral and logical thing to do is to support President Obama in comprehensive immigration reform. Conflicting data shows that with President Obama’s proposal, there are many supporters and critics of his anticipated tactics. Creating secure American borders has always been an area of controversy in discussions of immigration reform. Stricter border control policies pose a major threat to immigrants who cross illegally and have been proven to have racist tendencies. The hope of enforcing U.S. borders is to gradually halt the flow of illegal immigration into the country. However, there are many consequences that have already occurred as a result of this strategy. Research has shown that thousands of deaths have befallen due to stricter U.S. border control. In 1993, “Operation Blockade” was a tactic the United States developed in order to keep immigrants from crossing the border (Jimenez, 2009, p. 21). This strategy expanded border patrol enforcement efforts along the U.S.-Mexico border. Maria Jimenez, author of “The Humanitarian Crisis: Migrant Deaths at the U.S.-Mexico Border,” explains that the dangers of crossing the U.S. border are increasingly resulting in the death and injury of thousands of immigrants because border patrol agents and resources are overlooking the popular areas of crossing and forcing immigrants to find alternative routes, subjecting them to brutal environments and increasing their likelihood of death and injury (Jimenez, 2009, p. 7). Research
shows that within 15 years of implementing this strategy in the United States, over 5,000 immigrants have been found dead, many of whom remain unidentified (Jimenez, 2009, p. 8). Moreover, stricter enforcement of U.S. borders has been proven ineffective. In “Death at the Border: Efficacy and Unintended Consequences of U.S. Immigration Control Policy,” Wayne A. Cornelius, founding director of the University of California in San Diego’s Center for Comparative Immigration Studies, states, “Most migrants are not giving up after their first, second, third, fourth, or even fifth apprehension” (Cornelius, 2001, p. 17). What most people do not realize is that these individuals have suffered too much in their own countries to let such dangers stop them from crossing over. They justify that it is better to risk these dangers than to continue living in the conditions of their own countries, and thus they are willing to do whatever it takes to live the American Dream. The American Dream encompasses all the dreams and aspirations a U.S. citizen is entitled to, including a successful career, civil rights and liberties, and the pursuit of happiness. In agreement with Cornelius, authors Kate Brick, A. E. Challinor, and Marc R. Rosenblum, argue in “Mexican and Central American Immigrants in the United States” that the greater number of threats and dangers posed by crossing the U.S. borders illegally is related to the increasing number of immigrants who are staying in the U.S. permanently (Brick et al., 2011, p. 4). In other words, many immigrants would rather settle in the U.S. permanently than risk the penalties of traveling back to their homes in Latin America. With more immigrants permanently staying in the U.S. and no significant decline in the number of illegal crossings of the U.S. borders, studies have increasingly come to suggest that the effectiveness of a U.S. border control system is more harmful than beneficial to the United States as well as incoming immigrants. On the other hand, many people still express concern over a number of security issues, including terrorism and drug smuggling along the American borders. However, it has been generally shown that the majority of immigrants coming to the U.S. are not criminals, nor do they have any intentions of doing anything illegal. Studies have proven a decrease in the number of drug smugglings taking place along the U.S. borders as a result of Mexico’s heightened dedication to fighting drugs and several prominent anti-drug coups (Masci, 2001, p. 10). Furthermore, the terrorism threat that so many Americans have been concerned about since 9/11 is more often discriminating because it authorizes racial profiling (Provine, 2011, p. 264). Jennifer Allen, director of the Border Action Network, states: “Border enforcement is not going to deter terrorists, but it is achieving an ongoing hassle on Latinos on the U.S. side of the border who are suspected of being possible foreigners” (qtd. by Peter Katel, 2005, p. 10). To date, there is not sufficient enough evidence to claim that increased border patrol is preventing terrorists from coming into the United States illegally. Furthermore, evidence has never been found to suggest that the terrorists of 9/11 entered the U.S. along the southern border. Despite this, an effort to reinforce border security continues, costing the U.S. millions of dollars each year. In a border policy report by the Border Network for Human Rights titled “Effective Border Policy: Security, Responsibility and Human Rights at the U.S.-Mexico Border,” it is estimated that the cost for constructing and maintaining U.S. border walls could be up to $60 million alone 52
(Effective Border Policy, 2008, p. 20). That doesn’t even cover the additional number of border patrol agents who will be guarding the borders. Cornelius illustrated in “Controlling ‘Unwanted’ Immigration: Lessons from the United States, 1993-2004” that from “1993 to 2004, the federal government quintupled border enforcement spending to $3.8 billion and tripled Border Patrol to more than 11,000 officers” (Cornelius, 2004, p. 4). This increase of forces has not helped, since the U. S. is still struggling with illegal immigrants. Therefore, although border control enforcement efforts are considered a vital part of immigration reform, they should not be supported because they are continuing to put immigrant lives at risk, are ineffective, and are costing the U.S. millions. The fight for removing incentives to enter the U.S. illegally can only be won if Latin American countries prosper economically (as quoted by Acevedo, 1992, p. 4). Undocumented immigrants came to the U.S. primarily for financial reasons since economic stability is constantly a threat in Latin America. For instance, after the passage of NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) in 1993, in which all trade barriers between Canada, the U.S., and Mexico were removed, “tens of thousands of small and medium sized businesses were forced to bankruptcy and created mass unemployment among working and lower-middle class Mexicans” (Masci, 2001, p.5). This economic disadvantage is largely related to the surge of illegal crossings along the U.S.-Mexican borders. An interesting radical pro-immigration perspective offers a solution to this. Thinking back to our country’s history, America is a nation built by immigrants. In 1980, the total number of undocumented workers made up 2% of the U.S. labor force; in 2005, it was about 5% (Lowell et al., 2006, p. 11). One Brookings Institution study states that currently “immigrants make up 13% of the population but 16% of the labor force” (Brookings, 2012, p.11). Radical pro-immigration advocates recognize how much of an impact undocumented workers have on the U.S. economy. These radicals believe removing incentives to enter the U.S. illegally starts with the deconstruction of U.S. borders. Immigrants come in to the U.S. primarily in search of a job, and in doing so, they bring in millions of dollars each year by filling in the missing gaps of the American labor force (Katel, 2005, p. 9). Without borders, immigrants would still come into the U.S. in search of work and continue benefitting the U.S. economy as well as their own countries. With the money they earn, they will be able to send it back home while the U.S. prospers from their needed labor, stimulating economic growth in the U.S. and Latin American countries. However, many people view this theory as extreme and believe this could result in a national takeover of immigrants which could harm the average income for a U.S.-born citizen. Yet evidence continues to fail to prove this idea as there is not adequate enough data to claim immigration results in the wage reductions of U.S.-born citizens (Friedberg, 1995, p. 42). Instead, what will eventually happen in the minds of radical immigration advocates is that both economies will prosper, and eventually incentives to enter the U.S. illegally will be eliminated, since Latin Americans will no longer need to leave their homes in search for economic prosperity.
A less radical approach to removing incentives to enter the U.S. illegally puts responsibility in the hands of U.S. corporations. With thousands of immigrants crossing into U.S. territory, many large U.S. corporations have employed Latin American workers for their own personal advantage. Lance Compa, author of Blood, Sweat, and Fear: Workers' Rights in U.S. Meat and Poultry Plants, brings awareness to the exploitation of undocumented immigrant workers by these large U.S. corporations. Such corporations have been found guilty of paying their workers less than the minimum wage and threatening to keep workers from reporting abuse and protesting against dangerous and/or unsanitary conditions (Compa, 2005, p.11). Yet when police officials crack down on companies who hire undocumented workers, the resulting consequence is the criminalization and deportation of undocumented workers (Food Inc., 2009). In the meantime, the corporations who hired and subjected them to horrible treatment do not get apprehended. Despite the beneficial impact on the U.S. economy that undocumented workers bring, they must endure such injustices. It must be noted that the deportation of these workers does not prevent them from re-entering the U.S. Eventually they attempt to cross the border again, as indicated by Cornelius who stated, “Most migrants are not giving up after their first, second, third, fourth, or even fifth apprehension” (Cornelius, 2001, p. 17). Ultimately, they will be hired by yet another large U.S. corporation or company. Currently, efforts to put an end to the hiring and exploitation of undocumented workers have almost completely stopped, resulting in the unfortunate prevalence of these issues (Katel, 2005, p.6). Immigration reform activists, both pro and anti-immigration, agree that a crucial step in immigration reform is cracking down on the corporations who fund the illegal crossings of their workers. Proposals on how to prevent this are still being considered, but one suggestion mandates that all business owners verify the employment eligibility of their workers via e-verify (Semuels, 2011). However, many arguments have been made against this online system responsible for regulating worker immigration status. Some protest against its problematic consequences such as invalid or inaccurate results and a potential concern over labor shortage (Semuels, 2011). Immigrants who have been living in the U.S. for years without citizenship, sometimes without fault, will be limited to the number of jobs they could apply for, hindering the amount of applicants eligible for that position. From a differing perspective, it could promise the end of exploitation and halt the entry of undocumented immigrants to the U.S. There are currently 12 to 20 million undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. today, according to U.S. Immigration Amnesty website (Amnesty.org). This means that millions of undocumented immigrants have been waiting for years for their U.S. citizenship and have suffered under the broken U.S. immigration system. For one thing, they have been forced to live with the fear of being deported to their countries of origin. Mass deportations have drastically increased since the mid 1990’s (Hagan et al., 2008, p. 1) as a result of anti-immigration policies. However, pro-immigration advocates are strongly against deportations, claiming they are not solving the country’s broken immigration system. Instead, amnesty should be granted to America’s true source of wealth and labor through comprehensive immigration reform. Discussions of amnesty have sparked much heated debate. Yet it is important to understand that the current immigration system needs reform. For instance, immigrant families are often denied 54
U.S. residency as a group; either the parents or the children will be allowed residency but not all (Jimenez, 2009, p. 29). It is no wonder, then, that many immigrants cross the borders illegally; they often do it in order to join their families. Mass deportations continue to be a problem for immigrant families since they continue to break families apart. “In the first six months of 2008, ninety thousand children were deported by U.S. authorities,” writes Jimenez (2009, p.29). Thus, granting amnesty will help keep immigrant families together and allow undocumented immigrants to come out of hiding. On the same note, the Dream Act is a perfect example of an amnesty program which President Obama supports. Many immigrant children were brought to the U.S. by no fault of their own. They grew up learning English, understanding the values of the American Dream, and knowing how fortunate they are to live in America (Suarez-Orozco, 2009, p. 7). In sum, these youths were assimilated into the American culture and are just as American as their U.S. citizen peers. The Dream Act seeks to grant citizenship to immigrant youths who came to the U.S. by no fault of their own, according to certain standards (Suarez-Orozco, 2009, p. 7). Pro-immigration advocates strongly support the Dream Act because it is a promising start to an improved immigration system. However, anti-immigration activists disagree with the Dream Act as well as amnesty in general for many reasons. Sometimes these reasons are based on discriminatory factors. Some claim that undocumented workers take away the jobs of American citizens, contributing to the large unemployment rate. However, what people are underestimating is the degree to which these undocumented workers perform labor. As previously stated, America’s true source of wealth and labor, undocumented workers are filling in the positions that Americans would otherwise not take. These are the kinds of jobs no Americans want, where people must endure unsanitary and unpleasant work obligations such as slaughtering animals or being exposed to toxic chemicals (Food Inc., 2009). Conversely, many people argue that rewarding people for criminal behavior is unconstitutional, and it is also one reason why policies of amnesty are opposed by anti-immigration activists. Mostly, these reasons are all due to irrational fears of their own and have racist tendencies. For instance, the most recent terrorist threat that happened in the U.S. took place on April of 2013: the bombings in Boston. On the official Facebook page of Cuéntame the ¡Latino Instigators!, a short quote retrieved from Rachel Maddow’s talk show revealed that anti-immigration activists had the audacity to argue against comprehensive immigration reform based on the fact that one of the terrorists, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, was only nine years old when he came to the country and began attending public schools. At this, Rachel Maddow fired back, “Are we to believe the U.S. immigration system should be designed to identify nine-year-old children as potential terrorist threats 10 years later? Is that the new argument against comprehensive reform?” (Cuéntame the ¡Latino Instigators!). The argument made against Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was not even concerned with whether Dzhokhar came to the U.S. illegally or not. It simply implied that because Dzhokhar was an immigrant living in the country since he was little, the U.S. should implement stricter immigration policies. Similarly, during the aftermath of 9/11, about 1,200 Middle Easterners were “rounded up…on suspicion of breaking immigration laws, being material witnesses to terrorism, or supporting the
enemy” (Katel, 2005, p. 18). Despite the lack of evidence linking Middle Eastern immigrants to the 9/11 attacks or terrorism, discrimination took place. Now immigrants face an even greater dilemma in which states are starting to take immigration reform matters into their own hands, often in discriminating ways. One example of this is the infamous Arizona SB 1070 law which mandates that all immigrants in the state carry their citizenship papers with them at all times (Katel, 2005, p. 239). If there is enough reason to suspect that they are undocumented, police officials have the right to ask for their papers at any time (Katel, 2005, p. 239). Now there is only one problem with this: what constitutes “enough” reason to believe someone is undocumented or not? What features or marks on a person could give us a hint as to whether they are undocumented? This law legalizes illegitimate racial profiling. A law like this can even effect documented immigrants, as stated in “Deaths in the Desert: The Human Rights Crisis on the U.S.-Mexico Border”: “The criminalization of undocumented immigration has contributed to a climate of discrimination that negatively affects immigrant communities in the United States and both documented and undocumented immigrants” (Androff & Tavassoli, 2012, p. 2). Laws such as the Arizona SB 1070 only violate human rights, encourage unnecessary stricter immigration reform, and tear families apart. As a final point, immigration reform should not put a person’s life in jeopardy, despite the fact that some immigrants are coming to the U.S. illegally. The government has a responsibility in ensuring the lives of innocent immigrants, who are only coming to the U.S. in search of the American Dream. Proposals for immigration reform have met much criticism from pro and antiimmigration advocates. While everyone is entitled to their own opinion on the matter, it is important to fully recognize and understand the arguments made for and against immigration reform campaigns because the actions of Congress will greatly impact not only all undocumented immigrants, but all of America and what she stands for. Without a proper way of earning citizenship, millions of undocumented immigrants have suffered extreme consequences for far too long. U.S. employers have taken advantage of their undocumented workers and subjected them to exploitation. Immigrant children who have attended American schools their whole lives are unable to pursue higher education, despite their passions and intellect. Undocumented immigrant workers who work diligently on behalf of the nation’s largest corporations are restricted to the number of jobs they could apply for. In addition, laws that explicitly discriminate against U.S. immigrants are currently under the consideration of Congress. All of this has shown that the U.S. needs to take immediate action. In my opinion, enforced border control is discriminating against all incoming foreigners and denying them access to the American Dream. Call me a radical idealist, but dreams don’t have borders and neither should the American Dream. How ironic is it that “the Land of the Free” supports the implementation of strict borders which have been responsible for the death and injury of thousands of immigrants already? Furthermore, incentives to enter the U.S. illegally should start by cracking down on employers who hire and exploit undocumented immigrants, not solely rely on mass deportations. Also, amnesty is something that should definitely be supported because we are a nation built on immigrants and we cannot just kick 12 to 20 million people out of the country. 56
Anti-immigration activists are ignoring the basis of American tradition when they reject proposals like the Dream Act. America was built by immigrants, and if it was not for the diverse number of people living here, it would not be nicknamed “The Melting Pot.” Granting amnesty will allow undocumented workers to continue bringing in wealth to the U.S. without the risk of exploitation and allow them to rightfully earn their citizenship after so many years of negligence and mistreatment. Overall, part of President Obama’s plan for comprehensive immigration reform aims to put an end to the exploitation of undocumented workers and the deportation and tearing apart of families, to encourage immigrant children to follow their dreams, and to justly grant citizenship to the backbone of America’s economy. These are all essential aspects of comprehensive immigration reform which should be considered. REFERENCES Acevedo, D. & Espenshade T.J. (1992). Implications of a North American Free Trade Agreement for Mexican migration into the United States. Population and Development Review, 18(4), 729-744. Retrieved from JSTOR. Androff, D. K., & Tavassoli, K. Y. (2012). Deaths in the desert: The human rights crisis on the US–Mexico border. Social work, 57(2), 165-173. Brick, K., Challinor, A. E., & Rosenblum, M. R. (2011). Mexican and Central American Immigrants in the United States. Washington: Migration Policy Institute. Compa, L. A. (2005). Blood, sweat, and fear: Workers' rights in US meat and poultry plants. Cooper, M. H. (1993). Immigration reform. CQ Researcher, 3, 841-864. Retrieved from http://library.cqpress.com/cqresearcher/. Cornelius, W. A. (2001). Death at the border: Efficacy and unintended consequences of US immigration control policy. Population and development review, 27(4), 661-685. -Controlling ‘unwanted’ immigration: Lessons from the United States, 1993-2004, (2004). Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 31(4), 775-794. Cuéntame the ¡Latino Instigators! (2013). Facebook Page. Dorsey, M., & Diaz-Barriga M. (2007). Senator Barack Obama and immigration reform. Journal of Black Studies, 38(1), 90-104. Effective border policy: Security, responsibility and human rights at the U.S.-Mexico border. Border Network for Human Rights, 2008. Friedberg, R.M. & Hunt, J. (1995). The impact of immigrants on host country wages, employment and growth. The Journal of Economic Perspectives, 9(2), 23-44. Retrieved from JSTOR. Hagan, J., Eschbach, K., & Rodriguez, N. (2008). US deportation policy, family separation, and circular migration. International Migration Review, 42(1), 64-88. 57
Immigrant Workers in the U.S. Labor Force. Brookings, 2012. Jimenez, M. (2009). Humanitarian crisis: Migrant deaths at the US-Mexico border. San Diego: American Civil Liberties Union of San Diego & Imperial Counties and Mexicoâ€™s National Commission of Human Rights, 17. Katel, P. (2005). Illegal immigration. CQ Researcher, 15, 393-420. Retrieved from http://library.cqpress.com/cqresearcher/. Kenner, R. (Producer/Director) & Schlosser, E. (Co-Producer). (2009). Food, Inc. [Motion picture]. United States: Magnolia Pictures. Lowell, L.B., Gelatt, J., & Batalova, J. (2006). Immigrants and labor force trends: The future, past, and present. Migration Policy Institute, 17. Masci, D. (2001). U.S.- Mexico relations. CQ Researcher, 11, 921-944. Retrieved from http://library.cqpress.com/cqresearcher/. Provine, D.M., & Doty, R.L. (2011). The criminalization of immigrants as a racial project. Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice. DOI: 10.1177/1043986211412559. Semuels, A. (2013, April 30). As e-verify becomes an immigration issue, restaurants weigh in. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved from http://www.latimes.com Suarez-Orozco C. & M. (2009). Educating Latino immigrant students in the twenty-first century: principles for the Obama administration. Harvard Educator.
The Complexity of Overpopulation (By Reilla Archibald) Most people are aware of the immense continual growth in global population. Some people might not recall October 31, 2012, when one particular baby oscillated the pendulum of the earth’s population clock to strike seven billion people. Since then, the earth’s population continues to grow. Not even half a year later in April 2013, the population had already grown by approximately 80 million humans (Population Clock). Moreover, if these growth rates continue, in a mere fifty years it is likely that the 80 million humans our world that has accumulated in the past six months will seem small and insignificant in light of the new count. It seems rational to conclude that if overpopulation does not exist already, it is inevitable that with today’s immense growth rates it will exist in the near future. Furthermore, when people think about overpopulation, it is logical to think correspondingly that reducing global population is a solution. However, it is vital to analyze the impact that deliberately reducing global population will cause before accepting it as the best solution, and to stay open to considering other options that may be more ideal and effective. It is imperative for everyone to be aware of the continual rapid depletion of the earth’s finite resources. Even more importantly, it is crucial that people learn how they can make a positive impact beyond strictly regulating global population. Throughout this paper, the article “World Population, 1970–2009: A Perspective on Nearly Four Decades of Growth” by Gary Peters, the Director of Human Resources at FOX Racing Shox and Emeritus Professor of Geography at California State University, will be frequently referred to in order to bring perspective to the tendency of people in the developed world to over-consume. This paper will also consider “The Division over Multiplication,” the work of Audrey Webb, Associate Editor of Earth Island Journal and its analysis of the intertwining roles of consumption, population, and contraception. Additionally, the official “2012 World Population Data Sheet” published by the Population Reference Bureau will be used collaboratively throughout my proposal. Pragmatically speaking, instead of global regulations on reproduction to reduce the continual rise of global population growth and the depletion of global resources, we need to reduce fertility rates in destitute developing nations and to reduce mass consumption among affluent developed nations. It is important to execute a well-thought out approach when proposing and determining methods to minimize resource depletion. The following section will review implications of imposing global population control, ultimately concluding that deliberation is the best way to lessen resource depletion. Realistic parameters and possible better options must be considered. Regardless of whether people are proreproduction or pro-reproductive regulation, it is highly unlikely that there will be regulations set in motion on a global scale limiting or prohibiting human reproduction any time soon; hence the slim existence of such policies today. China remains the only well-known country imposing fertility regulations, and even theirs may soon be abolished. Reporter Richard Lehmann discloses that “a phase-out may be imminent” with regard to the child restriction policies in China. Simon Butler, coeditor of Green Left Weekly and climate justice activist, adds that “China’s one child policy has been hailed as an environmental measure by prominent population theorists such as Britain’s Jonathan Poritt. But 59
he and others ignore that China’s population control has hardly solved that country’s growing environmental problems” (Butler). The latter quote demonstrates a weakness in fertility regulations. Yet some people remain strong supporters in favor of regulations. For example, Gilles Malo supports regulations and insists that “it is urgent to take action now [...] by establishing a Restricted Family Policy (0 to 2 children) in all countries with high population densities” (1). Malo lists the eleven highest populated countries, four of which are developed countries. In response to Malo, it is foolish to concentrate on reducing population among regions of the highest population density, including developed countries, by implementing fertility regulations. Population density is relative, meaning that a country bearing the highest population density could simultaneously bear the lowest fertility rate. The present population of a region is predetermined. We can do little to change what is already here, unless we plan on launching a mass genocide. However, we are able to influence the future population. Other than death rates (which remain constant for the most part since any apparent change has little overall impact), future population is determined purely by fertility rates. Therefore, unlike what Malo suggests, achieving the objective of decreasing population growth requires not a drop in population density but a drop in fertility rates. In considering all the facts, it is important to determine where it is applicable to reduce fertility rates because this method is not necessarily a problem on a global scale. The majority of developed countries’ fertility rates is not inclining and may even be decreasing: Between 2010 and 2011, the U.S. population increased by only 0.7 percent, a decline from the 1.0 percent growth rate that has been more typical in recent years. Developed countries as a whole will experience little or no population growth in this century, and much of that growth will be from immigration from less developed countries. The world’s poorest [my emphasis] countries will see the growth. (Population Reference Bureau 5) Due to the decline in population growth among developed countries, it is clear that such countries have little significance to the overpopulation debacle. Correspondingly, we can see that in order to reduce population growth most effectively, regions with the highest increase in population and therefore the highest fertility rates are the primary targets, which in this case are developing countries. In addition, the correlation between regions leading population growth rates and poverty stricken regions is glaring, and shamefully so. It is shameful that among, you, myself, and each subsequent neighbor, we have enough land and enough goods to adequately provide for every living being on the earth, but somehow two-thirds of the earth’s population still goes to bed hungry (Population Reference Bureau 2). The latter fact corroborates that globally reducing population is unnecessary and is certainly not the most advantageous response to overpopulation. Considering the complexity of the population and resource situation, it is imperative that 60
solutions are wisely devised. Although reducing population globally is not as a viable option, population reduction can be seen as an appropriate method if fertility rates are lowered not globally but among developing nations. Now that the best way to deal with overpopulation has been established, let us investigate how this can be done. Although it may not be realistic in the near future, lowering fertility rates in developing nations (rather than in developed nations) is an ideal objective. The differences between fertility rates in affluent and destitute areas simply cannot be ignored. The difference in education is so easily distinguishable; in the affluent world, education is free while in destitute countries it is considered a luxury. The variance in education between the two is so profound that it is likely that fertility rates are directly related. As it happens, education rises when birthrates drop. Hence, to yield lower birthrates in developing countries, it is critical that women become educated. Statistics show a tremendous gap in fertility rates between widely educated areas of the world—developed countries—and widely undereducated areas of the world—developing countries. Take Niger, with a soaring fertility rate of 7.1, in comparison to a mere rate of 1.1 in Taiwan (Population Reference Bureau 2). Accordingly, “Taiwan [is ranked] as the 20th most prosperous country in the world, [and] provides the ninth best educational system worldwide” (Hsu). The logical reasoning behind expanding education is apparent, since education is the key to so many problems. Furthermore, Lawrence M. Krauss, an American theoretical physicist and cosmologist, contends that “the one proven way to reduce fertility rates is to empower young women by educating them” (Krauss 1). Education is conducive to a certain kind of motivation and knowledge that cannot be attained by any other means. Despite this, a distressing number of women are acutely deprived of such knowledge. Although some things learned in everyday life outside of strictly speaking ”school/education” hold more value than any lesson, the ample spark of thought and economic opportunity gained through education makes it worthwhile. Education presents the possibility of creating a more successful life to women of developing countries and deserves to be delivered to all human beings. With increased intellectual capacity, women in developing countries are far more inclined to consider how many children to have and the ramifications that follow. Motivation and knowledge are key factors that affect the decision of how many children to have. Motivation provokes pursuit of goals; knowledge initiates profitable judgments. In Webb’s works, Sadia Chowdhury, the World Bank’s lead specialist on reproductive health, expresses the imperative necessity of educating women: Education becomes a form of social contraception for women. Time and time again, we see how women’s education provides life-saving knowledge, builds job skills that allow her to join the workforce and marry later in life, gives her the power to say how many children she wants and when, and these are enduring qualities she will hand down to her daughters as well (as qtd. in Webb 46). In addition, Krauss reports that “educated women have fewer children [and] are wealthier” (Krauss 38). The necessity of educating women is imperative but is just one factor among many 61
contributing to the overall goal of decreasing population growth. In order to reduce fertility rates among women in developing countries while reducing poverty, women deserve to be granted equality of access to education regarding population control and the freedom to control how many children they want to have. In conjunction with education, women in the developing world need greater access to contraceptives: “A July 2008 report issued by the World Bank points to the importance of combining education with contraceptives as the most effective means of limiting fertility rates” (Webb 46). Developing countries are deprived of access to resources. As a result, birth control pills, condoms, plan B, tubal ligation and vasectomy, and abortion in developing regions is much more limited, if not completely unavailable. Think about how many people you personally know who utilize one or more of the contraceptives above. Now try to imagine how dramatically different outcomes would be without availability to these resources. Availability and affordability are not the only factors impeding access to contraceptives. Leaders, government, and dominating males often play a burdensome role in this complexity: “In the Philippine city of Manila, for example, a mayoral ban in effect since 2000 has meant that cityfunded clinics can no longer distribute contraception. Women have to procure birth control from private clinics or simply go without” (Webb 46). Similarly, the Catholic Church, with nearly one billion followers, continues to stand against contraception. The necessity to authorize use of contraceptives is irrefutable; for example, in 2009, a law was passed by the Afghan government permitting the denial of food to women who do not engage in sex with their husband (Krauss 38). Widespread availability and authorization of contraceptives would help developing countries to make a leap in transforming to modern nations. Widespread availability and authorization of contraception use would undeniably reduce population in developing countries and could even contribute to the reversal of impoverishment. As established earlier, it is the poorest of people in developing countries who have the highest fertility rates. Generally, developing nations have the least access to resources and in turn use up the least amount of resources, despite their large populations. Contrary to the common impression of the roles between people of developed and developing nations, one tactic the affluent need desperately to learn from the indigent is the ability to distinguish between needs and wants. Needs relate strictly to survival—food, water, and shelter. Many people were taught this basic fact in elementary school but absurdly seem to have forgotten it by adulthood. It is time to wake up from the oblivion that plagues the developed world, Peters observes, “[In] most of the rich world, people can no longer differentiate between needs and wants because they are already well off; they view themselves on a sliding scale that is constantly adjusted upward” (Peters 114). Let us take a look at Fred Pearce, a freelance author and environment consultant, and his article “Consumption Dwarfs Population as Main Environmental Threat” which advocates overconsumption as a greater concern than population growth. According to Pearce, the Princeton Environment Institute—known for its research in the scientific, technical, policy, and human dimensions of environmental issues—calculated “that the world’s richest half-billion people—that’s about 7 percent of the global population—are responsible for 50 percent of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions. Meanwhile the poorest 50 percent are responsible for just 7 62
percent of emissions” (Pearce 1). These preposterous facts are hard to ignore and lead us to a deeper inquiry: We must identify the primary impetus behind overpopulation. It is becoming evident that overconsumption and mass waste are underlying problems tied somehow to the complexity of overpopulation. While the overpopulation predicament is widely debated, the crisis of overconsumption is hardly discussed. We have previously determined that developing nations can contribute to the overpopulation crisis by reducing fertility rates. Now we must determine where the developed nations need to contribute. Depletion of resources is the root cause of both overpopulation and overconsumption. If the earth’s resources were infinite, overpopulation would be inconsequential for the most part. Thus, we can see that resources are the source of concern regarding overpopulation. Furthermore, the most concerning problem at hand is not global overpopulation but rapid expenditure of resources. Reducing consumption trumps reducing global population because for one thing, the regions bearing highest population levels are those that use the littlest resources. Pearce illustrates the vast gap in the relationship between consumerism and developing nations versus the relationship between consumerism and developed nations: “[A] woman in rural Ethiopia can have ten children and her family will still do less damage, and consume fewer resources, than the family of the average soccer mom in Minnesota or Munich” (Pearce). We must transform society rather than transform the number of people in society. Here it is important to step out of the overpopulation bubble and try looking from an alternative lens. Pearce clearly outlines that overconsumption of the affluent is an overwhelming cause of depletion of resources: “It is overconsumption that has been driving humanity’s impacts on the planet’s vital life-support systems during at least the past century [and] [...] it is inescapable that overconsumption by the rich few is the key problem, rather than overpopulation of the poor many” (Pearce 1). The approach of eliminating waste levels among the middle and upper class by resorting to more basic needs, lowering consumption and leading healthy lifestyles, and implementing progressive waste systems is much more feasible and ideal than globally imposing fertility regulations. As technology is constantly expanding, coincidentally, our consumption is as well. It seems as though the rich are only growing richer, which is leading to an obnoxious result of selfish overindulgence and ultimately a deluge of waste. As technology is developing so fast, people are constantly demanding the newest and “best” materialistic items. Levels of consumerism have skyrocketed so high in this modern day that reducing consumption levels and leading healthier lifestyles would leave the planet and its people with remarkably stronger ethics and health. Pearce informs us that “Americans gobble up more than 120 kilograms of meat a year per person, compared to just 6 kilos in India, for instance” (Pearce). Similarly, GAIA, a global alliance intent on a toxic-free world, states that “the problem is especially acute in the U.S., where 5% of the world's population consumes 30% of the world's resources and creates 30% of the world's waste,” and consequently, “each person now makes an average of 4.5 pounds of garbage a day” in the US (GAIA).
Leading a healthy lifestyle is an option that can significantly contribute to reducing both waste and consumption, a goal that truly is one hundred percent advantageous. One can even conclude that doing this will have a far greater effect on solving world problems than reducing global population. The debate about limiting and perhaps ven outlawing reproduction can be a very sensitive subject and, in many cases, can ignite heated reactions. Meanwhile, leading a healthy lifestyle is far less controversial and is easier for a wide range of people to adapt than simply ceasing human reproduction. In the following excerpt from Webb’s article, Robyn Harding, author of the book Mom, Will This Chicken Give Me Man-Boob?” about raising a green family, suggests reasonable efforts that can help eliminate waste and consumption: The excess and waste associated with infancy and childhood never factored into my decision. We are a pretty green family; we have one small car, my kids walk to school, my husband busses to work. We compost our vegetable waste, we use CFL lightbulbs, we eat local and organic when available and affordable, we're conscious of our water usage…. I don't feel guilty about bringing kids into the world. (as qtd. in Webb 45) Understanding a healthy lifestyle is important to make everyone aware of all the facts and to highlight how effective such a lifestyle can be. It is key that tomorrow’s children are taught “to love, respect, and care for this planet [because] that’s the only way we’re going to save it” (Webb 45). Instilling this respect for our planet will allow future generations to make green choices; for instance, making recycling a habit. People must make it part of their everyday routine to recycle and compost materials appropriately. As a mother or father, the most important factor in decreasing the depletion of resources is leading a healthy lifestyle. Making consumer-friendly choices such as choosing products with fewer wrappers and encouraging children to make use of the natural landscape instead of consuming large plastic toys can also significantly reduce waste. Just by making choices a little more consciously, substantial amounts of consumption and waste can be eliminated. François Grosse, who composed two published studies regarding renewability and recycling, proclaims that “recycling should be developed to much higher rates than the ones observed for most recycled materials in the world today” (Grosse 1). The most important aspect of this solution is that it is passed down from generation to generation. When mothers and fathers are actively leading a healthy lifestyle, they are more likely to pass it on to their children. By its own nature, the cycle proceeds down the line, demonstrating the continuous beneficial results yielded by a healthy lifestyle and ultimately reducing consumption. In the following excerpt from Peters’ article, James Gustave Speth, former administrator of the United Nations Development Programme and founder of the World Resources Institute, exemplifies how frightening our ludicrous consumption levels are: All we have to do to destroy the planet’s climate and biota and leave a ruined world to our children [...] is to keep doing exactly what we are doing today, with no growth in the human population [...]. Just continue to release greenhouse gases at current rates, just 64
continue to impoverish ecosystems and release toxic chemicals at current rates, and the world in the latter part of this century won’t be fit to live in. (as qtd. in Peters 113). This exhibits the damaging consequences of overconsumption that currently plagues our world. Fundamentally, to lower global consumption, it is most important to target the highest consuming regions, which are found among affluent nations. Additionally, it is prudent that we fortify our waste systems. Although humans may be the smartest species on the planet, Jeffrey Kluger, former editor of Science Digest and former science journalism professor at New York University, quoted by Peters, reveals that “we can also be shortsighted and brutish, hungry for food, resources, land - and heedless of the mess we leave behind trying to get them” (as qtd. in Peters 113-114). The colossal consumption levels of the affluent world consequently result in colossal waste levels globally. It is depressing that we are so focused on our wants that we are unable to detach ourselves from the consumerist market that is eating away at our very earth’s enamel. Yet, taking action now by utilizing waste management systems can greatly ameliorate the problem. In order to improve our waste management systems, Atiq Uz Zaman and Professor Steffen Lehmann from the Zero Waste SA Research Centre for Sustainable Design and Behaviour at the University of South Australia put forward the “Zero Waste City” proposition. The “Zero Waste City” speaks for itself: its objective is to implement progressive waste systems that are able to fully recover all waste materials. It is sad that this is a proposition we are forced to consider today. This only shows how lazy and selfish people are becoming. Nonetheless, this option is better than standing by and watching the world crumble as each resource is cumulatively sucked off the planet by greedy hands. The “Zero Waste City” proposition entails several different kinds of recycling in order to successfully have an outcome of zero waste: The concept of zero waste includes different concepts which have been developed for sustainable waste management systems and such concepts include reducing, reusing, redesigning, regenerating, recycling, repairing, remanufacturing, reselling, zero landfill and incineration of waste, full life cycle of cradle-to-cradle design systems. (Lehmann and Zaman 77) While the depleted resources of the earth demand reduction of waste and consumption, the biggest impact possible will be made by collaborating reduction of waste among the affluent and reduction of fertility rates among the destitute. Recalling Malo’s proposition to reduce population density on a global scale, Pearce defeats his notion by revealing that “rich countries [...] have long since given up adding substantial numbers to their population” (Pearce 1). Ordinarily, it is not realistic to expect families to choose how many children to have based solely on the rapid population growth. But a family that desires between three to five children yet is unsure about the exact number may be inclined to choose the lesser number if aware of the impact that it could have on the depletion of resources and 65
potentially on their children’s future. However, the overall impact of people who choose the lesser number on the global population would presumably still be slim and insignificant. Similarly, Peters reveals the unlikelihood of global population reduction: “We don’t have sense enough to control our population size before it overshoots the carrying capacity of the planet” (Peters 73). Be it biological urges, the fact that fertility rates are already rather low in developed countries, or that people simply do not care, it is unrealistic to ask for a global decrease in population. Despite the hope of some to set fertility regulations throughout the world, the actuality of the matter proceeding is not promising. Betsy Hartmann, Hampshire College Director of the Population and Development Program, testifies that “worldwide, reducing the population of automobiles would do more to curtail climate change than imposing limits on family size" (as qtd. in Webb 46). For many, no matter how rapidly the population is growing and how much the future of the planet is at risk, there will be greater priorities that overrule. From the influence of religion to the influence of culture or the environment, there will remain people who will not budge. Beliefs that reducing population is the answer to the problematic depletion of resources are not necessarily wrong, but they are not realistic or efficient. The whole dilemma of overpopulation surfaced considerably in the past few years as people recognized that resources are running out and will eventually be un-renewable. In fact, “[a] thousand years from now, if we assume that population growth were to continue at a modest one percent annually, Earth would have over 216 trillion human residents and [...] more than four million people per square mile” (Peters 73). When the world’s population first exceeded six billion, people put the puzzle pieces together and directly linked the increasing population to the depletion of resources. I do not deny that the world is faced with overpopulation. But what I hope is more understood now is that resource depletion is the original source of the overpopulation complexity. Therefore, the most prominent elements contributing to the rapid resource depletion of our earth are those which we must aim to modify. As determined throughout the paper, a collaborative decrease in both mass consumption by the affluent and fertility rates of the destitute are the most pressing issues in tackling the complexity of overpopulation. Implementing these changes will yield the largest probability for change. In order to most effectively produce a resolution to this issue, by now it should visible that reducing population on a global scale is not a wise option. People must get into the habit of making more conscious decisions if we are to succeed in reducing resource consumption. The actions of today will be quieter than the consequences of tomorrow, but the consequences of tomorrow will be less forgiving than those of today. WORKS CITED Butler, Simon. "Population Control: 10 Reasons Why It’s the Wrong Answer." Climate & Capitalism., 30 May 2009. Web. 2 May 2013. "Consumption." GAIA. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Apr. 2013. 66
Grosse, François. "Is Recycling ‘part of the solution’? The Role of Recycling in an Expanding Society and a World of Finite Resources." S.A.P.I.E.N.S, 10 Feb. 2010. Web. 12 Apr. 2013. Hsu, Aaron. "Taiwan Ranked 20th Most Prosperous Nation." Taiwan Today. Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Republic of China (Taiwan), 11 Apr. 2011. Web. 03 May 2013. Krauss, Lawrence M. "How Women Can Save the Planet." EBSCO Host. Scientific American, Nov. 2009. Web. 12 Apr. 2013. Malo, Gilles. "Overpopulation : How to Reduce Global Population." Zimbio. Livingly Media, Inc, 27 Oct. 2008. Web. 12 Apr. 2013. Pearce, Fred. "Consumption Dwarfs Population as Main Environmental Threat." Yale Environment 360. Pollution & Health Sustainability Asia North America, 13 Apr. 2009. Web. 10 Apr. 2013. Peters, Gary. "World Population, 1970–2009: A Perspective on Nearly Four Decades of Growth." EBSCO Host. Yearbook of the Association of Pacific Coast Geographers, 2011. Web. 10 Apr. 2013. "Population Clock." Census Bureau. United States Census Bureau, 12 Apr. 2013. Web. 12 Apr. 2013. Population Reference Bureau. "2012 World Population Data Sheet." PRB. Population Reference Bureau, July 2012. Web. 2 May 2013. Webb, Audrey. "The Division Over Multiplication." EBSCO Host. Earth Island Journal, Summer 2009. Web. 10 Apr. 2013. Zaman, Atiq Uz, and Steffen Lehmann. "Challenges and Opportunities in Transforming a City into a "Zero Waste City"" EBSCO Host. Challenges (20781547), Dec. 2011. Web. 13 Apr. 2013.
eSports, The Next Phenomenon in Modern Sports (By Joshua Lum) Sports are automatically and unconsciously coupled with athletes being skilled and physically fit. When American football is mentioned, we think of strong, muscular athletes in perfect health. But is there consideration for the people who are non-physically fit who want to be athletes? Many people completely ignore the possibly of an electronic sport (eSport). Playing video games competitively can be a viable solution for students who are not athletic but who are equally, if not more, competitive in attitude. If eSports are implemented in schools, people who are non-physically fit, have a disability, or have an unfortunate health condition like asthma would be able to compete in school competitions. Although not considered a sport in America, Europe and Asia have already recognized eSports as a competitive modern sport. Rather than casually playing a video game, considering video games competitively should be considered. Sport officials and athletic directors may denounce eSports for its lack of physical activity and parents may object to eSports because of their concerns about violent video games or diminished school performance. Although this may be true for video games in general, an eSports approach radically changes the idea of video games just being games. It is crucial to first define and understand exactly what a sport is and what it takes for a game to be acknowledged as a sport. Only then can we look into the similarities between a modernized sport and an eSport. A modernized definition that someone would give you is, “A sport is of a physically demanding activity that’s healthy for the body and requires the dexterity of body parts in synchronized and accurate movement.” Kalle Jonasson and Jesper Thiborgare are from the Department of Sport Studies and Malmö University in Sweden—one of the countries that does recognize eSports as actual sports, where many powerhouse eSport teams come from. Jonasson’s and Thiborgare’s research on electronic sports gain credibility due to their location at the center of eSports. Coupled with their background knowledge of sport studies, their input is valuable. In their article, “Electronic sport and its impact on future sport,” they looked at the relationship between eSports and society and defined what a modern sport is: It is a physical, competitive and institutionalized activity. Furthermore, sport is characterized by both being a scientific worldview (standardized rules, the measurement of time, height, and length etc.), and an ethos, constituted of notions of fair play and equal opportunity, competitively. (287) In short, the formal definition of a sport states that it must consist of physical activity, be competitive, and have organizations administering leagues and regulations. Today, there are many other characteristics that constitute a sport. All modern sports have spectators, some degree of media coverage, divisions, sponsors, global presence, and tournament competitions with prize money or other forms of endorsements for reward. The modernized sport can be broken down and explained even further, but for the purposes of comparing the major characteristics of a sport, this will suffice.
Before going further, it is also equally important to understand what an electronic sport is and how a video game can be considered an eSport. The first video game to be created was Tennis for Two back in 1958, but Pong was the game that started the video game phenomenon (Bornemark 2). During this video game craze, players were not only addicted to playing Pong but became addicted to challenging each other; even since the first video game, many had a strong competitive attitude. Since then, competitive video game playing has evolved into what is now known by everyone in the gaming world as eSports. ESports then sparked another phenomenon: not an addiction to playing video games like Pong, but playing video games competitively. The expansion and development of eSports led it to become recognized as a modernized sport in European and Asian countries (Jonasson and Thiborg 292). It is simple to define “eSports” as playing a video game competitively, but its characteristics are just as complex as a modernized sport. All games are constituted by properties and characteristics that define the game. Some properties of eSports are symmetry, perfect information, limited time and space, genre, spectator mode, proactive eSport developers, and eye-hand coordination and reflex (Oscar 3-6). Symmetry is the property of a game where the outcome is only determined by the actions of the player. Both players have the same actions and starting point. A modernized example of this property would be American football. Perfect information is an aspect of a game where the player knows everything that is occurring within the game. Examples would be sport-simulated games like FIFA, and the modernized sport counterpart would be chess or the Japanese strategy board game, Go. Time and space limitations are true for both eSports and modernized sports. Both types of sports have a factor of a defined time length and finite space for area of play. In the event neither team is winning, it is theoretically possible that there is no time limit in a game. For example, two soccer teams are unable to best each other in a Penalty Kick Shoot Out. As for the eSports, both teams are unable to fulfill their objectives. In eSports there are four primary genres of games: first-person shooters (FPS), real-time strategy (RTS), turn-based strategy (TBS), and multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA), which consists of a mixture of RTS and role-playing elements. The next property, spectator mode, is true for virtually every eSport except for the sport simulations games such as FIFA. However, for games like Defense of the Ancients 2 (DotA 2), spectators are able to watch the players play in an interface that lets them see exactly what the player sees on his screen, even to the extent of seeing the player’s cursor moving and clicking on the screen. E-sports are also unique in a sense that game developers utilize video game conventions such as Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) to promote the game they designed specifically for eSports. Lastly, and perhaps more importantly, eSports are heavily eye-hand coordinated and reflexintensive. This includes “not only superb coordination capacity between hands and eyes, rapid response capacity and skillful handling capacity of mouse and keyboard, but also complex strategic and tactical thinking ability” (qtd. in Oscar 7).
After defining what a modern sport and eSports is, a Venn diagram analysis will display the nature of eSports. For similarities, there is a range of different kinds of sports like baseball, American football, soccer, and wrestling. This is also true for eSports (FPS, RTS, TBS, MOBA, etc.). Next, the following defines modernized sport as played by athletes: physical activity, teamwork (depending on the sport, e.g. golf), development of relationships and communities, ability to make quick game-changing decisions, and strong desire to win. All this can be said for eSports as well. In a team-based eSports such as Counter-Strike 1.6 (FPS game), a team is constructed of five players who are pitted against another team of five7. By playing at a competitive level, they train together for lengths of time before entering international competitions such as the World Cyber Game, Intel Extreme Masters, World eSports Games, and DreamHack (Electronic Sports 2.4). During the athletes’ eSports careers, they are developing relationships between each other, their teams’ organizations, sponsors, and communities within the eSport organization scene. These teams rely heavily on teamwork. Each player needs to be perfectly synchronized with each other to execute complex strategies that are incomprehensible until the end of execution. This also can be said for modernized sports like European football, where each player has a specific role designated to them on the team. In short, there is the goalie, sweeper, stopper, fullbacks, centerfield, wings, and striker. Each player needs to move and act in unison to move the ball up the field and score. By outward appearance, there does not seem to be the same diversity within an eSport game. If we take Counter-Strike as an example again, each team has a designated team leader, sniper, entrance man (first person to enter an area), support, and a person who is just very skilled at eliminating the opposing team. The only thing that separates a modernized sport to an eSport is the aspect of physical activity. However, even this is a gray area of modernized sports. Philippe Mora, a Ph.D. in sport sociology at Rennes 2 University in France, performed a study on the evolution of a video gamer to a world-class eSports athlete. In her research she argued that physical activity should not be a key factor in determining the legitimacy of a sport that is “exemplified by such a trend in including chess and curling in the Olympic Games. This does not mean that the body use in sports is sometimes reduced to the smallest share” (3). Could we then reduce body use even further to dexterous fingers? It is virtually impossible to denounce this idea when it has already been done with a modern sport—air riflery. Air riflery has been a recognized sport for years despite the fact that it is an individual sport, involves drastically reduced body use and physical activity, and does not require teamwork and communication. Athletes in this sport could argue that there is much more to it than the surface level that a spectator sees. For instance, proper technique must go into shooting the air rifle. Participants should assume the correct stance and body posture, and use controlled inhaling and exhaling to reduce the wavering of the rifle to a minimum. Air riflery athletes may also even go a step further and say that in addition to technique, athletes use a multitude of gear and equipment to discern the best quality. This is also true for any other sport. 7
Brief description of the game with system requirements and development: http”//en.wikipedia.org/Counter-Strike.
Not to take away anything from air riflery, but eSports may be even more complex beneath the spectator surface. ESport athletes take a lot into consideration to perform at their best. Playing from home, they have their own hardware, setup (how things are arranged on their desk), monitor, a specific mouse, keyboard, and mouse pad; headset, microphone, and countless ingame settings and configurations unique to each player. When playing at a Local Area Network (LAN) where players are playing away from home, they not only bring their own mouse, keyboard, mouse pad, and headset with microphone, but they also take into consideration the height of the chair in comparison to the table. It may seem absurd to most people, but for any eSports athlete, this is a crucial factor in preparing to perform at your best. However, physical activity is still a missing key component for eSports. At a Counter-Strike 1.6 LAN tournament in France of 2002, Mora looked closely at the evolution of a casual gamer to a professional eSports athlete. From 2002 till 2006, some may say that eSports was at its highest peak of success and influence. International tournaments occurred every couple of months. Therefore, Mora’s research results are reliable, given that his research was during the peak of eSports. Mora found that “Nearly 80% of inquired gamers said that they sometimes feel a physical exhaustion” (9). This is caused by the mental stress that led to bodily exhaustion. Modernized sports may be classified as a physical sport, whereas eSports can be looked on as a highly demanding intellectual sport (Jonasson and Thibrog 298). This is closely similar to professional chess and Go players, who feel physically and mentally drained after a highly competitive match. Physical activity is a gray area to discuss, so it will be excluded as a characteristic of modern sports. Let us instead take a look at what modern sports and eSports can bring to the athlete. Most modernized sports keep an athlete in excellent shape and physical health. Along with building relationships with their teammates, coach, and school, athletes may also be awarded scholarships from colleges. As far as networking goes, modern sport athletes usually have a connection to only their university. Realistically, it does not offer the athlete much to take away with other than the skills of playing the sport and being physically fit. In comparison, eSports may have the advantage. Shane Murphy, from the Department of Psychology at Western Connecticut State University takes a look at the cognitive effects caused by video games: [Both] serious games and the best entertainment games can help players: increase perceptual and coordination skills; enhance problem solving; learn and retain knowledge; learn skills and behaviors; gain self-esteem and self-efficiency; build social relationships; develop communities and foster teamwork; increase their motivation to learn and change attitudes and values. (493) In addition to cognitive skill development, eSport athletes may find themselves signing a contract to an organization where they are paid to play and receive endorsements from wellknown sponsors such as Steelseries, Antec, BenQ, and Razer. Athletes from modernized sports may receive the same thing, but only years later after college, at the professional level in their career.
In contrast, eSports athletes can already experience this as early as high school. Braxton Peirce, alias “Swag”, is the most recent example of this in Counter-Strike 1.6. Despite his age (15), he had a team contract for Back2Back8, sponsor endorsements, and the opportunity to travel around the country to LAN tournaments (15 Year Old Professional Gamer). Last fall, the DotA 2 tournament called The International held its second season. Like its name suggests, the tournament gathers the best teams from countries around the world for a shot at the $1 million USD grand prize. Furthermore, “567,000 spectator’s simultaneous viewers watched the final match of DotA 2 (Valve Cooperation, 2012) tournament “The International 2,” streamed via the internet” (Bornemark 5). The atmosphere is just the same as watching the Super Bowl, chanting shouting, tremendous clapping, and excitement over great plays. Please first visit the video link provided below to follow along with references to be mentioned in this paragraph.9 This link contains footage of spectators and athletes at The International II. Throughout the video you can hear the commentators raising their voices, full of emotion, as they try to cast the game over the drowning cheers of the audience (9:26-58). Immediately after, from 9:58-10:15, you see the entire auditorium full of devoted spectators exploding in shouts and cheers. The athletes themselves can feel the energy from the audience and respond with a greater intensity of playing and emotion as they fight for a $1 million (USD) grand prize. Their expressions are shown vibrantly. It is easy to identify the winning team, as they are shouting, standing up, and jumping in victory, compared to the solemn-looking team that just lost. The spectators are also rising to their feet, shouting and waving fan-made signs of country representative flags. The atmosphere at The International II and the reactions from the athletes and spectators is prime evidence suggesting that eSports are more than just video games; this is a sport. Some might think the chances for an eSports athlete to become a professional must be rare, but there is proof that E-athletes have been able to achieve this. I have had the privilege of being friends with professional gamer Marcus “Dyrus” Hill at Kalani High School. Just one year after high school graduation, his League of Legends team won a worldwide competition with a grand prize of $25,000 USD. What is unique about Dyrus is that he also played basketball all four years in high school but gained nothing from it other than the “high school experience.” Besides becoming worldwide famous in the eSports world, he also makes a considerable amount of money through streaming and YouTube videos in addition to his tournament winnings. In a web interview with Dyrus, he said that he earns about $50,000 a year, adding that this amount was normal for professional athletes. In addition to his annual earnings, his contract with his team organization provides him housing and some living expenses. Not bad for just coming out of high school and playing video games. I had asked Dyrus how League of Legends
Video interview with Braxton “Swag” Pierce on winning ESEA LAN Season 10 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tWnMDnzVygo 9
Highlights of The International II http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xv9R_9jT0sM Dota 2 – The International 2 – Highlights by the pnd media
(LoL) measures up to basketball and he said, “Basketball helped with the competitive mindset.” But when asked which sport he was more competitive in, he answered “LoL by far.” What will become of him when he gets older? He cannot play video games as a career until he is fifty years old, and he does not have to. Many professional gamers who retire from competitive gaming find other work within their team’s organization or within eSports. For example, Emil “Heaton” Christensen is revered in the Counter-Strike (CS) scene as a legendary CS player (similar to Michael Jordan in basketball). After he retired from professional gaming, he became a CS match commentator and the team manager for today’s current top Counter-Strike: Global Offensive team, Ninjas in Pyjamas (Nixon “NiP”). E-sports was not just playing a video game but a competitive sport that Heaton devoted his time into. Not only was it an incredible source of income during his career, but it also developed a network to provide him a job for the future. The possible opportunities in eSports are far more than are available for a college athlete. Based on the evidence and analysis discussed so far, it is virtually impossible to argue that the characteristics of eSports closely resemble a modern sport. Despite this, Matt McCormick brings up a dominant reason on why eSports may never be recognized as a modern sport: violent video games may have dangerous psychological effects. This is an exhausted issue, researched and argued too many times. McCormick’s research, from the Department of Philosophy at California State University, puts an end to this assumption. Although, he may or may not have background knowledge in psychology, his logical analysis has great value. McCormick discerns that “[People] reason that the exposure to so much simulated violence and death desensitized the player to real violence and death. Many people believe that being exposed to and perpetrating so much simulated violence will make it easier to commit real violence” (277). It is virtually impossible to say that this claim holds no truth, but to what extent are players becoming affected by violent video games? After all, a video game is only a video game, and real life is a drastically different environment. Equally important, who are making these exaggerated claims? It would be interesting to do a study on the researchers making negative claims about violent video games psychologically affecting a player. Finding out exactly how many of the researchers play video games may say a lot about the strength behind their claims. It is easy to claim something when a person himself has not experienced it. Many research articles such as Eric Uhlmann and Jane Swanson’s “Exposure to violent video games increases automatic aggressiveness,” mention negative effects on players but also conclude that further research needs to be done due to insufficient data to confirm their concluding remarks. They fail to use the game themselves and experiment with whether playing violent video games will actually have a significant psychological effect. No other researcher of this topic has identified himself as a gamer, so we can assume Uhlmann and Swanson are not either. For this reason, if we were to do a study with themselves playing violent video games (such as CS), it is reasonable to speculate that they would refuse because it would yield no data. Suppose they argue that since they are adults with good judgment, their common sense will not be 73
affected by violent video games. If this is the argument for other researchers as well, then are the researchers not respecting young adults’ common sense, or are they researching a certain target sample to produce skewed results? Why not take a sample of gamers from Sweden, the heart of eSports? Suppose that violent video games do cause significant negative psychological effects. Then, the same emphasis and caution should also be applied to movie actors: “[We] would have to conclude that an actor in a play or movie playing the part of Hitler or a serial killer is also doing something morally objectionable” (McCormick 278). “But actors are just acting; it’s not real” is what most people would argue. Similarly, video games are just video games. The real concern that many people identify is the so-called “increasing risk of harmful act” concern. Many people assume that playing violent video games may have a psychological effect on the player that makes it easier for him to do a harmful act. The constant exposure to simulated violence may increase the possibility of the player causing similar act of violence in real life (Mora 13). It should be mentioned that this concern was too hastily made. Driving cars or taking airplane flights have a significantly greater risk of harm and a higher level of danger. However, no one raises the same level of concern because the benefits of traveling provided by cars, airplanes, and other methods of transportation greatly outweigh the risks: “Our lives are filled with risk increasing acts that we regularly accept because of greater benefits to be derived from them…The recreational and entertainment value of playing is very high to players” (McCormick 280). In comparison to the modern sport, American football, players are more closely associated with high risks that are much more dangerous. Furthermore, even the spectators at the sporting event are at risk of injury from riots, fights, assaults, and even possibly death (McCormick 280). It is common to hear of riots breaking out at games or hear about the athletes themselves breaking out in a fight. How has it become so common that these occurrences are highlighted in the news or on sport channels like ESPN but no one raises any genuine concern? It is because people value the recreation and entertainment that modern sports provides: “While violent video games make a game out of simulated acts of violence, [many] of the games that humans play make sport of doing harm. We have [fencing], do martial arts, wrestle, play paintball and laser tag, and have boxing matches” (McCormick 283). Football belittles eSports in America, but it has become a popular fallacy that violent video games pose a greater risk than football. Contrary to this fallacy, eSports has an enormous advantage against modern sports. How dangerous can playing a video game be?: No video game players [has] ever broken [his] neck playing Quake III, or ended up in a wheelchair after a virtual high speed car wreck. Nor is any spectator watching a video game player from the couch in front of the television, in danger of being crushed in a riot,
beaten up by fans from the opposing side, or victimized by looting and fires. (McCormick 281) Under normal circumstances, there is no risk of harm from playing video games. Additionally, there have been no incidents of drug enhancements in eSports. After all, what can bigger muscles do in an intensive intellectual sport when all that is required are dexterous fingers? The only incident in eSports history that involved harm was the death of Antonio “cyx” Daniloski, but that was due to a car accident and not from playing video games (Nixon, “Cyx” ). ESports is much safer to compete in while still retaining all the characteristics of a modern sport, including more opportunities, sponsorships, networking, and income (as mentioned previously, physical activity will be excluded as a characteristic). Drug enhancements and harm may be absent from eSports, though not cheating. Although rare, incidents of cheating do occur online, but never at a LAN. However, these incidences occur in servers that are not running “anti-cheat clients” in the background, which check for hacking programs. Steam is a gaming platform, which players run to be able to play games and provide social interaction between users10. Steam provides its anti-cheat (AC) client called Valve Anti Cheat (VAC) that runs on servers through Steam. If caught by VAC, the Steam user’s account is permanently banned from all VAC secured servers. Players would still be able to connect to servers that are not VAC secured, but those servers are rare to find. Users would also still be able to play their non-online multiplayer based games. Regardless of the VAC client, people will find ways to develop a cheating program that will run undetected by VAC. Types of cheating vary from game to game. For example, it may simply be “map-hacking,” which occurs in RTS games like DotA2 and allows players to have vision in areas where they should not. Although this may seem to be an insignificant detail, this extra piece of information to always know your enemy’s location is absolutely crucial in a strategybased game that relies on outplaying your opponent. In FPS games like CS, a cheating program can allow much more. This consists of aim botting (program aiming for the player instead), wall hacking (seeing through walls), no recoil, and speed hacking (moving and shooting faster than normal). To prevent cheating, programs like Bad Boy v4.2 that runs undetected by VAC, eSport organizations such as ESEA, ESL, and CEVO provide their own AC clients. Players who wish to compete in leagues are required to run their AC client before starting up the game. Without it, players will be automatically disconnected from the server. In the case of major LAN tournaments, such as World Cyber Games, DreamHack, Cyber Gaming Series, and ESEA, AC clients are unneeded and referees are used. At a LAN, each player’s screen is visible to spectators behind them or is broadcasted onto a large screen, which renders it impossible to cheat without being caught. In addition, teams are either placed in different room than their opponent or are far enough away to prevent players from looking at another team’s computer screen.
Steam’s website, providing a description of what Steam is http://store.steampowered.com/about/
Map exploiting is a form of cheating that exploits glitches in a map. For this reason, referees are needed to watch the players play. In the case that a referee does not catch a player map exploiting, each match is recorded through the first-person point-of-view (POV) for each player. If a team detects the opposing team for cheating, they can dispute the incident to administrators with the first-person POV recording as evidence. Consequences may result in a suspension of the league, revocation of subscription to the organization, or simply a loss for the match. The fact that eSports is competitive video gaming allows for eSports to virtually prevent all forms of cheating. Athletes in modern sports may get away with cheating from subtle actions, subjective referees, or faking injuries as happens in European football. Compared to eSports, first-person POV recordings are impossible for modern sports, making it impossible for the victimized team to provide solid evidence of cheating or unfair judgments from subjective referees. The persona of eSport protesters was due to understandable concerns of damaging psychological effects and issues about lack of physical activity—except we have now shown how these factors should not discredit the sport. Most of the research on video games thus far has been mainly about video game violence and lack of physical activity. Contrary to people’s assumptions, these studies have provided evidence that violent video games have barely any noticeable effects, and issues about physical activity have been forgotten when recognized sports with minimal activity have been identified. Additionally, these studies even provided shocking information that many people did not expect: However, recent studies have found positive effects on children and adults playing computer games, such as special skills, reaction time, family relationships, parental obedience, social network, school performance and abstinence from drinking alcohol and using drugs. (Jonasson and Thiborg 294). Some of the claims at first seem unbelievable. How can playing games have positive effects on school performance or parental obedience? Video games such as eSports are very complex, but most people still look at them as merely video games. For this reason, parents view playing video games as a privilege, different from a sport. If a child becomes grounded, his privileges are taken away, but many parents will still allow their child to continue to play sports while being grounded. To continue playing video games, players will obey their parents. As a result, they have good school performance, stay away from drinking and drug usage, and have a good relationship with their parents. If video games can accomplish this much, then it should be fair that eSports should be upgraded from being a privilege to a recognized modern sport. However, it is not enough to just say, “eSports is now a recognized sport.” E-Sports should be implemented into school competitions. If this possibility is continuously ignored, then we are continuously ignoring the students who are not physically fit, have health conditions, or have disabilities. The process of implementing eSports consists of the following factors: which game to use, total price of startup, affected schools, location of matches, season of competition, referees or AC client, how to form a team, team manager, hardware to be provided, parents, and publicity. The 76
startup cost will be dependent by which game will be used and the hardware required for it. Some of the most popular FPS games are Call of Duty: Black OPS 2 and Halo 4, but these games require hardware that will add up to be expensive. They require an Xbox console system along with a TV and for the best performance, one Xbox and One TV per player. Computers could be an option, but regular school computers typically can’t meet the system requirements for the game. Instead, we could choose Counter-Strike 1.6. Despite its low requirements, it has been one of the most popular and successful games in eSports for over ten years (Mora 7 and Norman, ESEA LAN). The game costs ten dollars per Steam account and is runnable on school computers. In addition, players will need to provide their own additional gear such as headsets, mouse, mouse pad, and keyboard. e-Sports does not discriminate against less physically fit people, people with disabilities11, or gender. Therefore, there will be no division between a girls’ team and a boys’ team. This will also be open to all public and private high schools and colleges in Hawaii, under an East and West division. Unlike modern sports, eSports is not restricted to time and location for matches or practices: “Players with access to a computer and Internet can compete day and night, whenever they want” (Jonasson and Thiborg 293). Players may use either the school’s computer lab for matches or play from home if the scheduled time and place cannot be met. If the location of the match is at a school’s computer lab, an AC client will not be needed, but each player will still have to record a demo of their match. Each game will be regulated by ESEA rules: fifteen round halves, starting money at $800, two minute rounds, and the first one to sixteen wins. In the result of a tie, there will be two three round halves of continuous overtime until a team wins four rounds out of the six. Starting money will be changed to $10,000. The season for eSports will be fall. Players will be able to train in the summer, so school performance will not be affected as much. Having the season in the beginning of the school year will have the smallest impact on school performance because the students will still have three quarters (or one more semester) left to improve their academic status. Finding a team manager may be as simple as finding a teacher who also plays video games or a willing alumni like Heaton. A roster for a modern sport usually holds enough slots for two teams. In the same way, the roster for a CS team will be twelve people. The process of recruiting and tryouts is up to the team manager. As with any sport, parents will be required to sign a letter of consent form to allow their child to participate. As far as publicity goes, it will not be televised. However, eSports have been televised previously on DirectTV and this may be possible in a few years after eSports is implemented (Jonasson and Thiborg 294). Implementing eSports in schools may be easier than starting up other sports. No additional field or court needs to be constructed, because a school’s computer lab is the court. In the cases of playoffs or state tournament, a school’s gym can be a quick viable solution with enormous benefits: “The LAN analyzed was organized with council support (2750 Euros for electricity, a 11
Seung Hyun Park, “Space”, was a professional eSport athlete for the competitive gaming organization Fnactic while suffering from a rare inveterate muscle disorder.
300m2 room), thus some private companies. Gamer’s entourage and gamers themselves, brought logistic supports: [switches12], electric cables…as far as a video projector” (Mora 11). An unprecedented LAN event at a school’s gym will no doubt attract a news crew, giving the school publicity. Entrance fees for spectators could be a great source of revenue. With the popularity of video games in general, the LAN even will become a serious attraction for casual and serious gamers. In addition to entrance fees, the school can also make money from selling food and refreshments to the players and spectators. E-sports is an easy way for a high school to make a name for itself. Kalani High School had no idea a world tournament-winning eSports athlete was within its walls. e-Sports in high schools is not just about adding another sport, but it is about creating more opportunities for the school and the students. If a school’s eSports team does well in online competitions, they can possibly attract the eyes of well-known sponsors, from whom the school can benefit from if the players become sponsored. A person who cannot play modern sports should not just be ignored but given an alternative. e-Sports is not just playing video games. It has developed into a highly demanding intellectual sport. People accept the dangerous risks of driving cars because the benefits that sport can provide. But the benefits of having eSports in schools far outweigh the negligible risks of violent video games. In many respects, eSports can offer more to players than modern sports can. It is about time to give eSports the acknowledgement they deserve after more than ten years of being unofficial sports. WORKS CITED “Counter-Strike.” Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Web. 14 Apr. 2013. Goesea. “15 Year Old Professional gamer Braxton “swag” Pierce Wins $10,000 at ESEA LAN Season 10.” YouTube. N.p., 12 Mar.2012. Web. 8 May 2013. Hill, Marcus. Personal Interview. 29 Apr. 2013. Jonasson, Kalle, and Jesper Thiborg. “Electronic sport and its impact on future sport.” Sport in Society 13.2 (2010). McCormick, Matt. “Is it wrong to play violent video games?” Ethics and Information Technology 3.4 (2001): 277-287. Mora, Phillippe, and Stephane Heas. “From Videogamer to E-Sportsman: Toward a Growing Professionalism of World-Class Players.” <http://emmijaphi.pagespersoorange.fr/esport/fichiers/moraheas.pdf> Murphy, Shane. “Video Games, Competition and Exercise: A New Opportunity For Sport Psychologists?” Sport Psychologist 23.4 (2009): 487-503. 12
Permit to link computers
Nixon. “News: cyx killed in car accident.” HLTV.org. N.p., 29 July 2010. Web. 8 May 2013. Nixon. “News: NiP returns for CS:GO.” HLTV.org. N.p., n.d. Web. 8 May 2013. Norman, Nick. “Content – ESEA LAND @13 CS 1.6 Finals Recap.” ESEA NEWS. ESEA, 21 Apr. 2013. Web. 10 May 2013. Pinto, Elroy. “FNATIC.com: In Memory of Space.” FNATIC.com: A Professional Gaming Team. Fnatic, 7 May 2013. Web. 10 May 2013. Sieberg, Daniel. “Playing For Keeps.” Time 162.15 (2003). Thepndmedia. “Dota 2 – The International 2 – Highlights.” YouTube. N.p., 5 Sept. 2013. Web. 6 May 2013. Thiborg, Jesper. “ eSport and Governing Bodies” (2009) <http://dspace.mah.se/dspace/bitstream/handle/2043/10746/esport.pdf;jsessionid=45AD4 5887CC06019570EA588AB3D39DD?sequence=1> Ulhmann, Eric and Jane Swanson. “Exposure to violent video games increases automatic aggressiveness.” Journal of Adolescence 27 (2004): 41-52. Web. 6 May 2013.
No Sage on Stage? (by Hafid El Alaoui)13 Syracuse, Greece 229, B.C. Jumping out of the bathtub and rushing outside, Archimedes ran exuberantly through the streets of Syracuse naked shouting “Eureka! Eureka!”—which means in Greek, “I have found it! I have found it!” Most students in physics or in mathematics know this anecdote about the Greek mathematician, physicist, and astronomer Archimedes when he discovered the solution of the problem posed by King Hiero of Syracuse on how to evaluate the purity of the golden crown. Hawaii Pacific University, Fall 2011. The math class instructor related the story of Archimedes and gave us the problem of the golden crown to solve in class. Most of the students tried to solve it but gave up after five minutes of reflection and waited for the instructor to give the solution. As everyone can imagine, we were not as overjoyed with knowing the answer as Archimedes was because we had not spent the long frustrating hours that Archimedes had endured trying to solve the problem. One might question the reason behind Archimedes’ decision to spend many hours thinking and struggling to solve the problem while a group of students gave up after five minutes of reflection. Perhaps one would be tempted to answer: passion for science. This passion is usually nurtured in a student’s history of learning science. It would then be legitimate to suspect the teaching method by which these students learned, called the traditional method, used today in science classrooms nationwide. This traditional approach to teaching has imposed itself, without contest, as the sole pedagogical method since higher education began to rise in popularity. A long established method of teaching, the traditional method uses a didactic format and basically manifests itself in a lecture in which all students are taught the same material. In short, in this hierarchical method of teaching, the main approach of this pedagogy is to listen and memorize content most often taken from the textbook or notes produced by the instructor. John Dewey, psychologist and educational reformer, describes this way of teaching as being "imposed from above and from outside." However, many problems have arisen from this pedagogy, and detractors of this approach to teaching are quick to point out the shortcomings of this method, such as keeping the learners in a static position towards the knowledge and not placing them as the central concerns of the pedagogy. Moreover, the traditional method imposes a uniform pace of learning and students must keep that pace if they want to succeed. In recent years, we have seen many students dropping out of universities and colleges since they were unable to keep up with the pace. Even if the traditional method of teaching varies from culture to culture, the consequences to science are the same: an erosion of a number of students in scientific fields such as mathematics and physics, in both the United States and Europe. As a result of this erosion, researchers in science education and cognitive science have tried to develop alternative methods of teaching that break away from the traditional method. In order to make the learner a dynamic component in the process of learning and improve the relationships 13
Patricia Paulson introduces the phrase “Sage on the Stage” in her article “Inquiry-Based Teaching and Learning.”
between students and science, researchers in science education introduced a new approach to learning called the inquiry-based learning method, or IBL for short. Such an innovative, studentcentered method that emphasizes learning by doing can be helpful in reviving the interest of students towards science and reconciling those who have had painful experiences in learning science through the traditional method of teaching. Even though the inquiry-based learning method is a high-order thinking and investigative oriented method, due to the nature of the problems inherent in this method and the realities that students, teachers, and administrators confront, this method is impractical for implementing in undergraduate level courses in colleges and universities. To understand why this method is impractical, we need to look at its background. Historically, the inquiry-based learning method (IBL) finds its origin in the 1930s in the studies of psychologists and educational reformers such as John Dewey and Jean Piaget. This method is considered both a teaching strategy and a learning strategy that is basically focused on critical thinking, problem solving, and working collaboratively. In her article “Experiencing the Process of Knowledge Creation: The Nature and Use of Inquiry-Based Learning in Higher Education,” Professor Rachel Spronken-Smith, science education researcher, explains that this pedagogical method started to fully develop in the 1970s and from its inception has had many interpretations that lead researchers to use other terminologies when describing inquiry-based learning (Spronken-Smith, n.d., p. 3). In “Inquiry, the Science Teacher, and the Educator” Joseph Schwab, professor and researcher in science education, defines IBL as a spectrum of four levels: Confirmation, Structured, Guided, and Open. In confirmation inquiry, the instructors provide the same question to all students with instructions and steps to follow for finding the result. In structured inquiry, the instructors provide the same question to all students but let them find their own solutions. In guided inquiry, instructors provide a theme and students find their own question and strategy to solve it. Finally, in open inquiry, students choose a theme and develop a project without the intervention of the instructors (Schwab, 1960, p. 185). As we can see, the main difference between these four levels is the amount of guidance that the instructors provide to students. Although the method has myriad interpretations and levels, we can clarify the philosophy behind the IBL method. Ronald Anderson, professor in education and president of the National Association for the Education of Teachers in Science, explains in "Reforming Science Teaching: What Research says about Inquiry" that IBL is an interactive, inquiry-based approach that enhances critical thinking and the acquisition of problem-solving skills (Anderson, 2002, p. 5). Moreover, Caitriona Rooney, teacher in mathematics and researcher in science education, emphasizes “How am I using inquiry-based learning … “ that IBL helps students to explore problems deeply by asking questions at each step of the process to find a solution, which results in students profoundly understanding what and why they are learning (Rooney, 2012, P. 103). From the viewpoints of Rooney, Anderson, and others, we see many variants of IBL, causing a misunderstanding in discussions among the researchers. However, the philosophy of this method seems to find a consensus in science education which is to remove the sage, or the instructor, from the “stage” and put the learners at the center of the stage. The instructors act as guides or 81
facilitators; they do not occupy the center of the stage as in the traditional method. Therefore, students are given the opportunity to be autonomous in exploring and investigating relevant questions that they answer by themselves. Accordingly, most experts in science education agree that IBL enhances critical thinking and the acquisition of problem-solving skills. Among those who theoretically support IBL, SpronkenSmith asserts: “One of the primary reasons for advocating an inquiry approach is because it is thought to motivate learners more strongly” (Spronken, n.d, p.1). She also mentions that the inquiry process involves questioning knowledge and developing students’ skill in critical thinking. She cites other researchers who argue for a “really useful link” to build a “bond between research and teaching through the crucial academic process of inquiry” (Spronken, n.d, p.3). Furthermore, in their article “How Effective is Inquiry-Based Learning in Linking Teaching and Research?” Spronken-Smith et al, in a review of potential benefits for the teaching staff who uses an IBL approach, cite a stronger teaching-research link: the rewards of seeing students becoming engaged and gaining improved understanding and skills along with increased interaction with students (Spronken-Smith et al, 2007). They draw upon the examples of Hampshire College in the United States and McMaster University in Canada, which have been using IBL for over twenty years in their curriculum to base their theoretical support of IBL. Patricia Paulson, professor of science education, emphatically agrees with Spronken-Smith et al when she states in “Inquiry-Based Teaching and Learning”: “If our goal is to develop global thinkers and world-changers, gathering facts and knowledge must give way to students able to apply, analyze, synthesize, and evaluate information it is indeed worth the time and effort involved” (Paulson, n.d, p. 7). To emphasize the benefits of IBL, Barbara Neuby, professor and researcher in political science and education, in “Inquiry Teaching in the College Classroom” comments: “The traditional method may facilitate subject matter knowledge, but it does nothing for enhancing the creative habits of mind that are the hallmark of higher learning. Regurgitation of facts and lecture notes enhances memorization skills but does little for one’s analytical ability” (Neuby, 2010, p.4). In the same article, Neuby reports that “a faculty survey revealed that students taught using inquiry methods had better retention, showed more initiative, received fewer F’s, engaged in more group activities, and focused on the process of investigation, rather than on the grade” (Neuby, 2010, p. 6). While many researchers see similar outstanding benefits of IBL, implementing the IBL method in our universities may turn out to be challenging for many reasons. One reason is that the IBL method of teaching and learning suffers from lack of a clear and precise definition. Anderson writes, “In the teaching context, inquiry seems to be used in a variety of ways without careful distinction as to the differences. It is seen both as a characteristic of a desired form of teaching and as a certain kind of activity. In either case, there is no precise operational definition, though the National Science Education Standards has some specific teaching examples” (Anderson, 2000, p. 3).
Certainly, not having a precise definition of the IBL method contributes to confusion and frustration among instructors, and this is a major barrier to its implementation in universities. For instance, in "Inquiry Learning: Elements of Confusion and Frustration," Peter Eastwell and Ann MacKenzie argue through a letter exchange about the lack of clarity of the IBL method in science education. According to Eastwell, the definition of the inquiry-based learning approach is not shared by all the researchers in the field of science education. This ambiguity leads to incoherency in discussions about the method (Eastwell & MacKenzie, 2009, p. 263). On the other hand, in her letter of response, MacKenzie tackles this argument by pointing out that the National Research Council drew a boundary and gave explanations concerning what constitutes an inquiry-based learning approach (Eastwell & MacKenzie, 2009, p. 265). This discussion between Eastwell and MacKenzie illustrates an example of the disagreement among the researchers concerning what constitutes the IBL method. Rooney affirms that in addition to a lack of precise definition, the spectrum of four levelsâ€”Confirmation, Structured, Guided, and Open, as introduced by Schwabâ€”contribute to the complexity of the definition of IBL (Rooney, 2012, p. 103). Further, Eastwell reports in his article that many researchers in education believe that open inquiry, which is less directed by its nature, is the one and the only true form of IBL (Eastwell & MacKenzie, 2009, p. 263). Since researchers do not share a common ground for the definition, promoting IBL becomes difficult. Likewise, a common curriculum cannot be developed that can help instructors to have a clear idea how to teach and what outcome to expect. This atmosphere of confusion and division among the researchers about the definition of IBL neither gives IBL the status of a credible alternative to the traditional method nor a clear framework that will help instructors in being confident in applying this method in their classrooms and more importantly to believing in it. Besides the concerns about finding a commonly agreed upon definition of IBL, there are technical reasons that prevent IBL from being implemented on a large scale in the undergraduate level. In response to a survey among a group of teachers, Kenneth Costenson, and Anton Lawson describe some of those reasons. Most criticism of IBL seems to point out the time and energy needed by the instructor to develop good material for class. Moreover, they show from the survey that these time and energy-consuming factors are not only barriers for teachers, but also for students since the textbooks following the IBL method are difficult to read (Costenson & Lawson, 1986, p. 151). However, Costenson and Lawson argue that the difficulty of textbooks is not limited to the IBL method, as the traditional method shares the same problem. What Costenson and Lawson fail to mention about the IBL textbooks is that, for example, in mathematics the textbook does not expose the proofs of the results or give solutions to problems. The students must find the proofs or solutions by themselves, with varying degrees of intervention from the instructor. On the other hand, the textbook in the traditional method contains all the details with complete proofs of the major results. Moreover, there are many examples that illustrate the concepts proposed, which is not the case in the IBL textbook. Therefore, students spend more time in IBL thinking about how to find solutions to the problems, while in the traditional method students have only to focus on understanding the proofs or the solutions.
Indeed, IBL is more time-consuming for the students and the instructors than the traditional method because it requires deeper understanding of the problems and concepts involved. Therefore, the teacher cannot always predict the time that students will spend on each exercise. This barrier of time is inherent to IBL since, by nature, thinking takes more time than ingesting and regurgitating. Time is also a hindrance for the teachers since they must find adequate material and deeply understand the concepts because they will be expected to explain unpredictable results and questions of the students. Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe, researchers in science education, point out Understanding by Design that “prior to implementing inquiry in the classroom, the teacher must first determine essential questions that are at the heart of the content which necessitates deeper understanding of the curriculum as a whole” (Paulson, n.d., p. 4). This infers that teachers will spend more time outside the class reviewing the material thoroughly. These time and energy-consuming factors culminate in a major technical barrier: the instructors cannot cover all the materials required by the curriculum, which can create tensions between administrators and instructors because administrators may believe the instructors are not doing their jobs correctly. Another major technical problem cited by Costenson and Lawson is the immaturity of the students, which can affect the effectiveness of the self-directed work in groups and the productivity of students in class. This thought is echoed by Anderson and what he calls “the technical dimension” of the problem (Anderson, 2002, p. 8). Among the features of IBL is that students work in collaboration, developing projects. However, this collaboration cannot be beneficial if students do not show full commitment and perseverance. As is evident today, many students are addicted to their iPhones, which they use in class while the instructor is explaining the material. Such behavior can be disastrous in an IBL class because students are supposed to discover much of the material by themselves. In the traditional method, students can afford this behavior since most of the time they only have to take notes and listen to the instructor, so even if they do not act responsibly, the outcome will not be as disastrous as in the IBL method. Moreover, IBL is also a problem-solving method and sometimes students are tempted to look through websites to find a solution to a problem in the homework rather than making the effort themselves. Cheating in this way directly opposes the philosophy of IBL since this method is conceived in such a way as to challenge the students’ reasoning. Equally important, Anderson goes beyond this technical analysis and adds another dimension to the problem of IBL implementation, which he calls the “cultural dimension.” By this, he refers to the beliefs and values of the instructor towards the IBL method, arguing that the “task of preparing teachers for inquiry teaching is much bigger than the technical matters ... the matter must be addressed ... at a level that includes central attention to beliefs and values” (Anderson, 2002, p. 8). This question of beliefs and values is related to individual teachers, the motivation of students, and the environment at school, such as support of the administration for innovative methods of teaching. In its survey report “Promoting inquiry-based learning in mathematics and science education across Europe,” PRIMAS-Consortium, a group of European experts in science education, shares the same opinion as Anderson about beliefs and values and points out that the 84
teachers who believe in IBL are more likely to motivate students and use this method more often (PRIMAS-consortium, 201). Unfortunately, teachers are reluctant to use IBL because of the misunderstanding of the definition of IBL among researchers, which leaves them hesitant to believe in this method. Indeed, the instructors’ beliefs about IBL appear to be another challenging factor, revealing the many challenges that instructors face when implementing IBL in the undergraduate level. In reality, teachers have taught courses using the traditional method for many years with more or less the same material. Changing these comfortable habits overnight is unlikely to happen because changes mean hours of preparation of new material without any increase in their salary. So why should they? Another key factor with a basis in reality is the question of whether students are motivated to learn by themselves. Encouraging students towards IBL can be risky for instructors since students have been “spoon-fed” using the traditional method for many years and they may be reluctant to a sudden change. Consequently, the teacher who uses this method can have a small number of students in class, and the administration can remove the class or offer it occasionally. Thus, the teacher who uses IBL may face the reality of a job loss. Teachers have realistic objections to IBL, and so do students when they are at the undergraduate level. Every student has a desire to get his or her undergraduate degree in four years, which means taking five classes each semester for four years to complete their degrees on time. Hence, taking some classes using the IBL method can delay their graduation because one class of IBL involves more energy and study time than other classes. This can affect their grades and their GPA; consequently, it may jeopardize the rest of their careers since, with a lower GPA, they may not be accepted to a good graduate school. Taking an exam to get a good grade and using thinking skills are totally different approaches. Many exams have a multiple choice format, and the time for these exams is limited; therefore, thinking skills have little place in such exams. No matter how the students’ critical thinking may benefit from IBL, passing exams is a necessary reality for the student. Administrators also confront realities, the most important of which is getting good results from the teaching methods used in their schools. One simple question that the administrator is likely to ask when forming an opinion is: Does the IBL method give better test or exam results? The answer is not really clear from the literature since the data do not show significant differences between the IBL and the traditional method. P. Brickman et al, researchers in science education, explain that the traditional method and IBL do not show significant differences in the pre-test for the science literacy assessment (P. Brickman et al, 2009, p. 8). Using a survey conducted at thirty universities, Neuby shares the same point of view as Brickman et al about the effectiveness of IBL on exam grades, even though it shows that students are more creative and more motivated in inquiry-based classes than in the traditional classes. However, she emphasizes that when it comes to grades, the difference between the inquiry classes and the traditional classes is less significant (Neuby, 2010, p. 6). One major conclusion we can draw from these statistics is that when it comes to critical thinking and problem solving skills, IBL is a useful theory but does not contribute to excellence in test scores. Besides test scores, curriculum must be designed to give a sufficient amount of knowledge to 85
students to enable them to take exams such as the GRE in mathematics or physics to enter graduate schools. However, IBL cannot provide this amount of knowledge since by nature IBL is more thinking oriented; therefore, the pace is slow. Moreover, the nature of these exams does not rely on higher critical thinking but on memorization of the amount of knowledge that students acquire during four years in undergraduate level. For example, the GRE for math has approximately sixty questions and the time allocated to each question is two minutes, which is not enough time to think about a new method to solve the exercise. Training for these kinds of exams requires instructional habits more than critical thinking or a step-by-step approach to solving problems. The underlying question behind these problems of exams is: Can administrators run the risk of allowing instructors to use the IBL method knowing that they will not prepare the students for their future exams? I do not think so, since it will impact the reputation of the school. Today, most undergraduate students consider school as a place where they can get a sufficient amount of knowledge to help them get a job if they do not go to graduate school. For those who want to go to graduate school, they see undergraduate school as an opportunity to acquire sufficient knowledge to face the coming exams. These realities constitute a burden for implementing of IBL since IBL may not prepare students for such challenges. After considering such barriers, it is difficult to dispute that the challenges which IBL presents outweigh the benefits that researchers have proposed. Certainly, the inquiry-based method enhances students' critical thinking and develops their ability to analyze and use knowledge for problem solving. Nevertheless, the technical barriers, cultural problems, and realities that teachers, students, and administrators face pose insurmountable problems when attempting to implement IBL on a large scale in the undergraduate level in colleges and universities. Perhaps introducing IBL on a smaller scale is a viable alternative. Instructors could introduce IBL occasionally into their classes, perhaps once a week, to give students a taste of Archimedes’ joy. When King Hiero of Syracuse was suspicious that the goldsmith who made his golden crown was replacing the gold with another metal, he asked Archimedes to solve this real-world problem of assessing the purity of the crown. To solve this problem, Archimedes did not rush to his computer to Google the question; in contrast, he relied on his critical thinking and his ability to solve problems, two features that are central to the philosophy of IBL. The discovery of the solution in his bathtub led to a happiness that the Latin poet Virgil, two centuries after Archimedes, described in this Latin verse: “Felix, qui potest rerum cognoscere causas.” This literally translates into “Fortunate is he, who is able to know the causes of things.” Discovering the causes of things is what IBL is all about, and this is what students in mathematics or physics should do to experience the joy of Archimedes. Whatever the dilemmas and the barriers that IBL still face today, instructors should draw upon the IBL method occasionally to guide their students in discovering the satisfaction that Archimedes enjoyed. Who knows, maybe one day we will see a student rushing outside of a math class, not naked of course, yelling “Eureka! Eureka!”
REFERENCES Anderson, R. D. (2002). Reforming science teaching: What research says about inquiry. Journal of Science Teacher Education, 13(1), pp. 1-12. Retrieved from http://www.springerlink.com/link.asp?id=rgdpja8xqdgwar5m. Brickman, P., Gormally, C., Armstrong, N., Hallar, B. (July, 2009). Effects of inquiry-based learning on students’ science literacy skills and confidence. International Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 3(2), pp. 1-19. Retrieved from http://www.georgiasouthern.edu/ijsotl Bryan, A, J. (July, 2006). Assessment results following inquiry and traditional physics laboratory activities. Journal of College Science Teaching, 35(7), pp. 56-61. Retrieved from http://www.nsta.org/publications/news/story.aspx?id=52265 Costenson, K. & Lawson, E. A. (March, 1986). Why isn't inquiry used in more classrooms? The American Biology Teacher, 48(3), pp. 150-158. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/4448241. Eastwell, P. & MacKenzie, A. H. (May, 2009). Inquiry learning: Elements of confusion and frustration. The American Biology Teacher, 71(5), pp. 263-266. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/27669426. Neuby, B. (2010). Inquiry teaching in the college classroom. The Journal of Effective Teaching, 10(1), 4-21. Retrieved from: http://uncw.edu/cte/et/articles/Vol10_1/Neuby.pdf Paulson, P. (n.d.). Inquiry-based teaching and learning. Retrieved from a 12-part video series entitled “Engaged Teaching and Learning: Bethel Faculty in Action.” PRIMAS-consortium. (June, 2011). Promoting inquiry-based learning in mathematics and science education across Europe. Retrieved from http://www.primas-project.eu/ Rooney C. (2012). How am I using inquiry-based learning to improve my practice and to encourage higher order thinking among my students of mathematics? Educational Journal of Living Theories, 5(2), pp. 99-127. Retrieved from http://www.ejolts.net/files/webform/Caitriona%20Rooney.doc Schwab, J. (1960). Inquiry, the science teacher, and the Educator. The School Review. University of Chicago Press, 68(2), pp. 176-195. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/1083585 Spronken-Smith, R. (n.d.). Experiencing the process of knowledge creation: The nature and use of inquiry-based learning in higher education. New Zealand: Higher Education Development Centre, University of Otago. Retrieved from http://akoaotearoa.ac.nz/sites/default/files/u14/IBL%20%20Report%20%20Appendi%2% 20-%20Review.pdf 87
Spronken-Smith, R., Angelo, T., Matthews, H., Oâ€™Steen, B., and Robertson, J. (April, 2007). How effective is inquiry-based learning in linking teaching and research? Paper prepared for An International Colloquium on International Policies and Practices for Academic Enquiry, Marwell, Winchester, UK. Retrieved from http://portal-live.solent.ac.uk/university/rtconference/colloquium_papers.aspx Wiggins, G. & McTighe, J. (2005). Understanding by Design (second Ed.). Alexandria, VA: ASCD.
Discovering Causes of My Parents’ Divorce (By Leilani Lee) Let’s travel to Tahiti. My dad sailed to Tahiti to buy pearls for his jewelry business and along the way he met my mom, who was a native. They fell in love over a short span of time, and when my dad returned to Hawai’i they continued writing letters to each other for a year. After that year my mom moved here and they got married. They were young and had very different upbringings. This seems like a fairytale love story, right? Sadly, when I was five years old, my parents got divorced. At the time I did not understand what was going on. Throughout my childhood I thought that it didn’t affect me. But as I look back and reflect upon my teenage years, divorce has greatly altered my life. It is very important for me to discover why my parents got divorced. Because I am a victim of divorce, I want to learn how to prevent it in my own future. Divorce has become a societal norm over time: “In the last 50 years, the percentage of American households headed by married couples has fallen from nearly 80 percent to an all-time low of 50.7 percent, according to the U.S Census Bureau. Meanwhile, the percentage of marriages that end in divorce jumped from roughly 25 percent to 45 percent” (qtd. in Masci 399). Divorce remains controversial by from many people. American society’s expectation of marriage has been seen by some as a stronger gateway to healthier family systems by encouraging more harmony between two individuals as a means of marital support rather than accepting the problem of marital dissolution. Dissatisfaction seen between the two and allowing divorce to segregate interests has only been characterized as a common stressor, rather than a problem requiring alleviation. I personally believe that marriage was once a tradition based on religion and that it is stronger when built on that foundation. I believe marriage is a great way to start a family and that marriage should be built on love and support. I think that divorce is seen as an easy escape, but it often creates an even more stressful situation more than creating a solution. Additionally, other individuals believe the concept of divorce in the case of unresolved marriages is an act of liberation providing a necessary means of support and potential happiness for previously unhappy couples (Riley 71). The reasons for marrying have changed throughout history. According to Stephanie Coontz, in previous times the purpose of marriage was for economic, political and social functions. Needs of an individual were second place, unlike our society today where marriage is built on love and intimacy. Today we are allowed to choose whom we marry and strive to meet the needs of our partner (306-307). Marital partners have basic needs such as love, affection, and support. Those who divorce may have been failing to get some of those needs met. In my parents’ relationship I believe that my father was lacking love and affection. My mother, on the other hand, may have not been receiving the support she needed in transitioning into a new lifestyle. Alternatives to marriage and views on couples separating have been greatly influenced by modern viewpoints. Major causes of divorce include cohabitation, marriage at a young age, and cultural differences.
Since most divorces take place in no-fault proceedings these days, I can assume that my parents’ divorce was the same. But to be completely honest, there was fault in order to be a divorce. My father was the victim of an abusive relationship. My mother didn’t want the divorce, but she had no choice; it was for the benefit of the greatest amount of people. My mother received money from the divorce, and my dad was awarded full custody of my brother and me. At first we had a visitation schedule, but later I was allowed to visit my mother whenever I pleased. The policy of no-fault divorce encourages a higher rate of divorce; this policy enforces a less stringent approach when unhappy couples agree to end a “failed” marriage. In the article “Marriage and Divorce,” Clark explains the concept of fault and “no-fault” divorces. Michigan proposed a restoration bill that agrees to compensate for the rate of divorce following a procedure of examining what occurred within a relationship and whether there was mutual agreement to end a marriage. No-fault divorces are equitable and ensure that custody and marital assets are evenly distributed and agreed upon for the benefit of both individuals. “Fault” divorces stem from acts of abuse (whether physical or mental), desertion including infidelity, and imprisonment of up to three years (415). Riley claims that the divorce becoming more widespread after the end of World War II. 1970 paved the way for all states to accept nofault divorce, when California made a policy granting the right to no-fault divorce that year. A decade later, 50% of marriages ended in divorce, a rate of nearly 1 million a year (156). Marriage in Tahiti is not a value, and my dad was not raised in a religious family. My parents cohabitated before they married. Cohabitation and single parenthood have been common in many European countries, and America is now accepting these types of families as well. Because of the reduced influence of traditional religion, cohabitation has become a more acceptable social norm. In an article in the Journal of Divorce and Remarriage, Ludwig Lowenstein examines the marital alliance as best described by Charles Darwin, who stated that sexual reproduction has a large impact on mammal mate selection. Because religion in Western society does not have as much of a stronghold as in early American history, there is less inclination to marry. Today there are more single-parent households, and death is no longer a preceding cause affecting the separation of a family’s “end-point.” Instead, according to Pinsof, divorce has replaced it (Lowenstein 154). Personally, I think cohabitation can be beneficial or harmful depending on a couple’s situation. If a couple has been together for a while before cohabitating and has intentions to get married, then it could work out for the best. But if a couple is cohabiting primarily to share expenses, while having outside sexual encounters and planning to remain as individuals, I can see how that could end up failing. According to David Popenoe, “Our marriage rate continues to drop, our divorce rate is high and our cohabitation rate continues to climb” (qtd. in Masci 405). Although cohabitation has become increasingly common and may be beneficial for partners to a certain degree, the intention to reach wedlock can also lead to chances of divorce. According to Arne Mastekaasa’s hypothesis about well-being in relationships: “Married/cohabiting individuals are less distressed than those living alone” (qtd. in Mastekaasa 151).
So why are cohabitating relationships less stable? Research by Neil G. Bennett et al. suggests that cohabitation is favored by individuals who are not committed to marriage and who therefore are more likely to tolerate divorce. These people have less positive attitudes in their relationship and are less happy, leading to more conflict (qtd. in Budinski 72). According to Popenoe & Whitehead, “Cohabiting relationships are relatively short-lived—after five years, only about 10 percent of couples who cohabit and do not marry each other are still together. Furthermore, those cohabiters who marry each other may be as much as 46 percent more likely to divorce than people who marry but have not cohabited first (151) Mastekaasa et al. similarly state that “Differential selection into marriage/cohabitation will obtain to the extent that happier or psychologically healthier persons are more likely to marry, and differential selection out of marriage implies a greater tendency on the part of unhappy people to divorce or break up relationships of cohabitation” (151). Social relationships that are exposed to differences in status and roles at an earlier age can cause potential unstable conditions for cohabiting/married couples; this is based on the social integration theory and the psychological deficit conflicting in the lack of frequency between these relationship types (Mastekaasa 152). Some examples could be based on money and career differences. It is important to know the intentions of each partner when deciding to cohabitate. In A Generation Stays Single, Wallerstein et al. discuss the decisive behavior of cohabiting couples and the correlation to the nationwide result of many divorcing parents. Some women have cohabited with their significant other but feel a sense of stagnancy or reluctance in the direction of their relationship, and their expectations change. Women may hope for children and marriage in the future, but they do not believe the commitment to the decision of marriage will last as long as their parents’ experiences in a marital relationship (289). Furthermore, those who cohabitate and marry at a young age are more susceptible to divorce. My mom was only 19 years old when she got married, and my dad was eight years older. The fact that my mother was still a teen led to higher chances of divorce. Marriages of those fewer than 25 years of age are more vulnerable. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, “60 percent of marriages for couples between the ages of 20 and 25 end in divorce.” Lowenstein breaks down the frequency of divorce in earlier marriages. One example is a cultural synopsis of integrated marriages in China. A study by Zeng et al. (1992) shows there is a relatively minimal divorce rate for that country in comparison to others, and that a higher rate of divorce occurs in individuals who marry before the age of 18 years of age (Lowenstein 156). Edmond Addeo and Robert Burger interviewed 1,000 divorced persons and discovered that immaturity or getting married too young “is the single most dangerous event in the history of marriage” (13). Based on the survey, immaturity was ranked as the highest factor, with 49.5% of participants in agreement that it was “the underlying reason for... divorce” (297). Not only does age of marriage matter, but culture also factored into my parents’ divorce. My mother was born and raised in Tahiti until she moved to Oahu. Not only was the culture different, she only spoke French. Moving to a bigger island that was more modernized must have been a great shock to her. She had to learn English and depend on my dad. My father had to adjust to her differences also. When considering culture, partners who intermarry face culture shock and identity crises that can lead to harmful stressors within a family. In Convergence and 91
Divergence in Ethnic Divorce Patterns, F.L. Jones provides a model to confirm rates of inmarried couples and divorced couples in a longitudinal span. Ethnic boundaries are considered; heterogeneous couples are those that cross ethnic lines, and most likely heterogeneity results in more divorces than one finds homogenous couples. Separation of a family affects not only married couples but extends to their children. According to the Journal of Divorce and Remarriage, “Parents who dissolve a marriage are at an increased risk of engaging in sexual activity, cohabitation, or remarriage with a new partner, and this may shape the children’s view about the acceptability of a range of sexual and romantic co-residential relationships” (qtd. in Cunningham & Thornton 127). After the divorce my mom started dating and cohabitating with a new partner, and my father also did the same. My father got remarried when I was fourteen years old and I resented him for that. My parents’ dating habits did make me believe that cohabitation was okay, but I did not believe in remarriage after divorce. Judith Wallerstein et al. describe the role of sexual activity in young females experiencing familial divorce. Of the samples of students surveyed, one in four of the children of divorce admitted abusing drugs and alcohol, and one in five of the individuals studied were engaged in risky sexual behavior before the age of fourteen. Sex was used often as in marital dissolution as a ploy to attack the parents for their absence in one’s life, and the use of drugs was a chance at empowerment, and numbing the emotions that went along with feelings of abandonment (189). As an example, at the age of 14, I slipped into peer pressure and began drinking alcohol every weekend. I was rebelling against my parents. They had complete trust in me and had no idea what I had gotten in to. I would stay out till 5 a.m. and never got punished or caught for my actions. I also started having sex at the age of 16; this was way too early for me and it has haunted me till this day. I was in two serious relationships with people who did not have my best interests at heart. I was searching for a love that I was not receiving at home, but what I encountered was not love. I also developed an eating disorder at this time. In one chapter in Children of Divorce, Wallerstein et al. describes the relationship between the mother and daughter as being more of a confinement than a period of release in some cases. The child may believe there is no possibility for a personal life even when there are many miles of separation, because the mother may find it difficult to cope with a divorce; daughters are often unable to let go of the emotional grip and cannot move on with their own lives (283). To this day it appears that neither of my parents has fully moved on with “their own lives,” based on the fact that they can’t even be cordial around each other or in the same room. I understand the resentment from wrongdoings done to one another, but it is way in the past and needs to be let go. I am the monkey in the middle constantly having to remain neutral to the situation. It does not help that my mom dislikes my stepmom. Divorce is still affecting their lives, while I believe that I am able to move on. David Popenoe of Rutgers University suggests that children experience disadvantages in divorces, and in 1994, data was released emphasizing the dissolution of family economic stability. Divorce correlates with social problems including poverty, absent parental figures, and children not properly reared and educated, along with parents who were not capable of handling a child. Of particular concern is the damage suffered by the children of divorce (Clark 411).
Divorce in today’s society is often portrayed by the media as an act of “liberation.” It does allow unhappy couples to end their marriage forever, and gives them a chance to regain the happiness they once had, whether as an individual or with a new partner. But many people overlook the reasons for the divorce and fail to consider how they got to this point. Divorce is more than just a signature annulling marriage; it is a lifelong process that does not go away. Sometimes it may be even more stressful than it would have been to fix the marriage in the first place. My father was liberated from abuse and was able to achieve the life he wanted, one of love. My mother, on the other hand, is still unhappy. The development of no-fault divorce was designed to benefit both individuals in a marriage based on assets. After this policy was implemented, divorce rates dramatically increased due to its increased accessibility. But no-fault proceedings may not be completely fair in some cases. In the case of my parents this policy did benefit me; both of my parents had sufficient money to take care of me. The parent who was seen as most suitable won full custody, and eventually I was able to make my own decision about whom I would spend my time with. The needs of an individual in a marriage are often not met or are put on the back burner, which often can lead to divorce. Since we are allowed to choose who we marry, it is important to understand and meet the needs of our partner to ensure marital stability. Personally, I need someone who can support me in every decision that I make; someone who is trustworthy and affectionate. My partner needs to be someone who is secure in his beliefs and himself, and who is honest, responsible, dependable and committed. With the increase of cohabitation and divorce rate at a stagnant high, it may seem almost impossible for marriage to have a future. In order to change Americans’ views about divorce and marriage, we should increase the amount of education and counseling of couples regarding the moral significance of marriage and the potential consequences of divorce. According to Clark, the state of Michigan is attempting to reduce divorce rates by providing awareness programs and encouraging couples to take premarital educational courses (417-418). In the future I do plan to get married, and I am presently in a loving relationship. I will not let my parents’ divorce haunt me and instead will make my own efforts to achieve happiness loving and supportive marital relationship. WORKS CITED Addeo, Edmond G., and Robert E. Burger. Inside Divorce: Is It What You Really Want? Radnor, Pa.: Chilton Book Co., 1975. Print. Budinski, Ronald A., and Frank Trovato. "The Effect of Premarital Cohabitation on Marital Stability over the Duration of Marriage." Canadian Studies in Population32.1 (2005): 72. Print. Clark, Charles S. “Marriage and Divorce.” CQ Researcher 10 May 1996: 409-32. Web. 15 Feb. 2013. 93
Coontz, Stephanie. Marriage, a History: How Love Conquered Marriage. New York: Penguin Group, 2005. Print. Cunningham, Mick, and Arland Thornton. "Direct And Indirect Influences Of Parents' Marital Instability On Children's Attitudes Toward Cohabitation In Young Adulthood." Journal of Divorce & Remarriage 46.3/4 (2007): 125-143. Academic Search Premier. Web. 29 Mar. 2013. David Popenoe & Barbara Dafoe Whitehead, â€œShould we live together? What young adults need to know about cohabitation before marriage.â€? New Brunswick, NJ: The National Marriage Project, 1999). "Dr. Phil.com - Advice - Marriage and Divorce: The Statistics." Dr. Phil.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Apr. 2013. <http://www.drphil.com/articles/article/35 Jones, F. L. "Convergence and Divergence in Ethnic Divorce Patterns: A Research Note." Journal of Marriage & Family 58.1 (1996): 213-218.Academic Search Premier. Web. 29 Mar. 2013. Lowenstein, Ludwig F. "Causes and Associated Features of Divorce as Seen by Recent Research." Journal of Divorce & Remarriage 42.3/4 (2005): 153-171. Academic Search Premier. Web. 29 Mar. 2013. Masci, David. "Future of Marriage." CQ Researcher 7 May 2004: 397-420. Web. 23 Feb. 2013. Mastekaasa, Arne. "Is Marriage/Cohabitation Beneficial For Young People? Some Evidence on Psychological Distress among Norwegian College Students." Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology 16.2 (2006): 149-165. Academic Search Premier. Web. 29 Mar. 2013. Riley, Glenda. Divorce, an American Tradition. New York: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. Wallerstein, Judith S., Julia Lewis, and Sandra Blakeslee. The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce: A 25-year Landmark Study. New York: Hyperion, 2000. Print.
Give Your Electronics a Rest in the Classroom! (By China Rigor) As a small child, handheld electronic devices played a major role in my upbringing. Whether it was the Gameboy, iPod or iPhone, I have always been drawn to the newest device. Imagine yourself as a small child; you yearn to obtain the gadget your fellow classmates recently received from their parents. Even at a young age, students today have knowledge of the latest technology, and that technology allows students to explore and investigate. Yet technology and electronics are also a burden in the classroom. Students are distracted; professors worry about their lunch date. Is teaching really occurring? Are students receiving the valuable education their tuition is paying for? Are students learning? Technology does give students a sense of individualism and responsibility in that they can connect to the Internet from their handheld devices, iPods and laptops to gain information on their own; but this can also lead to negatives such as procrastination and loss of attention. Whether we admit it or not, technology is consuming our lives piece by piece. Though it may seem technology did not start to develop until the 20th century; it could be argued that “technology” was first used in a classroom in 1650: the Horn-book. Horn-books were wooden paddles with lessons printed on them; these wooden paddles were particularly popular during colonial times. In addition, the alphabet and usually a religious verse were copied on paper and children would continue to copy them to help learn to read and write (Dunn, 2011). Although Dunn believes the Horn-book is the first piece of technology used in the classroom, I believe the Magic Lantern qualifies as the first piece of revolutionary technology. The Magic Lantern was a device first used in 1870 to project images printed on glass plates that were shown in dim rooms to students. This piece of technology would help educators show pictures on a large scale to multiple students (Dunn, 2011). Society has evolved from using the Magic Lantern as a tool to educate students, and modern technology has made a name for itself in classrooms today. Recently in 2006, says Dunn, “the ‘One Laptop per a Child’ computer was built so it was durable and cheap enough to sell or donate to developing countries" (Dunn, 2011). These laptops are waterproof and are not affected by sunlight. However, it was not until 2010 when the Apple iPad hit the stores that schools really began to incorporate new technology. As Dunn puts it, "Just like the original school slate, could the iPad bring Thomas Edison's statement to life? Could the iPad make it so ‘scholars soon be instructed through the eye’?” (2011) But in contrast to Dunn’s outlook on the potential of iPads, Oehlker counters, “The iPads, iPhones, and other devices that allow immediate contact with everyone and anyone at all times have become a distraction in the classroom, supporting the notion that multitasking is a dubious way of getting an education” (2011). When the news got a whiff of how electronics were being unwisely in the classroom; the PBS “‘Frontline” series aired the program “Digital Nation,” including a segment on multi-tasking which discussed whether laptops are a massive distraction or a valuable tool (2012). Students who have access to Facebook or their cell phone are more likely to check their devices when they know they have a notification or text message. This is why I believe laptops and any 95
electronics are massive distractions in the classroom. The urge to constantly check after you hear a ding or buzz has become second nature to most of us. Because technology is constantly changing, it has become harder for educators to keep up with the various new ways of cheating. Cellphones with scanners and cameras are just one of the many ways students can easily cheat by a click of a button. According to Pickett, "Handheld scanners and camera phones make it easy to cheat on exams, which is becoming increasingly common” (2006). In 2002, a survey by Josephson Institute of Ethics showed that “74 percent of high school students admitted to cheating at least on one exam within the previous year, up from 61 percent in 1992" (Pickett, 2006). I believe that the more technology develops, the easier it is for students to cheat. Text messaging can be used as another form of cheating. Simple numbers 1, 2 or 3 could be pushed and sent via text message to other students. This has become the modern form of cheating, instead of relying on a shoe or using little scraps of paper as happened before the technological revolution. According to Pickett, "A 2001 study found that 43 percent of cell phone users ages 12-17 used text messages, compared with 25 percent of users ages 30-34" (2006). This study, now over ten years old, validates that students from the age of 12 to 17 use text messaging as a frequent form of communicating with their friends and family. Text messaging is probably even more prevalent today than it was at the time of the study. Clearly this may also include students who use text messaging as a form of cheating. It is morally and ethically wrong for students to rely on text message cheating to feed their laziness. On the positive side, cell phones can also be utilized to document educators’ behaviors, which has become a rising fad since parents are increasingly curious about what their child is learning in school. According to Pickett, “One student recorded a teacher saying to a room full of students, ‘You are all a bunch of [expletive deleted]’” (2006). For incidents such as these, technology is utilized in an appropriate way. In addition, "Another student held a camera above his head, pointed at the teacher. When the teacher asked what the student was doing, he replied, ‘My mother wants to watch you teach’” (Pickett, 2006). Incidents such as these have been used as evidence against teachers who have verbally abused their students. In a situation such as the one above, technology was used for the greater good. However, technology should never be used to bully another student. A balance between proper and improper ways of using technology in the classroom is necessary. For example, students might use their handheld devices to view a scholarly journal or a site such as CQ Researcher. A negative usage of technology in the classroom would be watching videos that were posted on Facebook or updating their status during instructional time. The proper usage of electronic devices can enhance a student’s knowledge of the world and give them access to news and scholarly information at their fingertips. Furthermore, social networking allows both students and educators to connect with individuals across the globe. The proper use of social media can keep our society connected. For example, if half of my family lives in Hawai'i and the other half in Washington, D.C., the best way to connect with them is through any social networking site. We can be ten or ten thousand miles apart and still have the convenience to communicate back and forth instantly. People can communicate worldwide with their loved ones, cutting out the cost of a phone call or text message. Social media can also be used as a news projector. With the click of a button, news that was once just statewide can be 96
projected worldwide, often faster than with television, newspaper or radio. Despite all these positives, class is not the right time or place. Social media such as Facebook, Twitter or Instagram can also be the ultimate distraction. Many students can develop an addiction to social networking and feel a need to constantly check their newsfeed or followers for current updates on the latest styles, news and gossip. Electronic devices easily squash the attention spans of many students. According to Geist, “Many educators and parents are afraid that these devices are causing a ‘digital distraction’ which is leading to a generation of children who have trouble focusing on tasks” (2011). When concentration and attention are lost, students are not benefiting from the educator’s presence or instruction. Students’ tuition and educators’ time is put to waste. If rules or policies were enacted and the usage of electronic devices such as cell phones were kept to a minimum in the classroom, students would be able to learn more effectively and educators would feel much more appreciated when students give them their undivided attention. When students are being disrespectful and distracted, Flaherty suggests that “to improve this situation often revolves around transfiguring the source of the problem into the solution; using technology to engage students in the classroom” (2011). Giving positive lectures by using various types of modern technology could keep students “wired” in the classroom. Educators can best ensure student participation by differentiating the types of classroom technology. For instance, one day a professor could use power point slide shows for a lecture and the next day could show a video. Changing and varying the usage of technology is important, since students dread classes that follow the same pattern over and over. By changing it up, students will be more motivated to pay attention in class. Many schools have come to believe technology is helping students learn better through use of electronics to aid in throughout lessons. According to the American School and University, “Schools that once viewed these forms of technology as distractions now have come to realize that the devices can be used to supplement and enhance learning” (2012). I believe technology in classrooms should be monitored; technology should not be completely cut out but rationed. Being one hundred percent reliant on technology to teach a course is not ideal, but completely cutting out electronic usage is not realistic. Devices can also be a useful tool in the classroom when teaching or learning. If a student needs to view an assignment that was loaded onto the class page, handheld devices can give that convenience, instead of wasting paper and money to print assignments—which puts a burden on students because of the rising price of paper and printer ink. Besides looking up assignments, if a student needs to look up a definition of a word, how would they do that? Not everyone carries around a dictionary in their bag. Instead of carrying a five-pound book, why not make it convenient and use your electronic device to research the definition? Furthermore, electronic devices allow for students to communicate with their professors and check their emails virtually, any time or any place. During class professors could use a projector and show assignments to the whole class; that way students do not have to individually use their own devices and it will cut down on printing paper. According to Campbell, classrooms are among the least acceptable places for mobile phone use (Campbell, 2006). However, emergency incidents occur and technology does come in handy. For instance, “After the Columbine High School shooting in 1999, parents began to insist that 97
their children be allowed to carry cell phones to communicate with them in case of emergencies” (Campbell, 2006). I believe students should be allowed to keep cellphones with them during school, but what matters is how they use them. Cellphones should only be used at school in case of an emergency, not to check Facebook or Instagram. Policies should be set to allow students to use their electronic devices during a certain time and in a certain area at school. In contrast, the Waldorf Schools, a private chain with a total of 160 schools nationwide, focuses on letting students learn from experience. Waldorf Schools have a “no technology” policy; instead, students learn from hands-on lessons. Students “learn math by knitting, fractions by cutting up cake and quesadillas" (Evans, 2011). Evans states that "there is a real danger in letting our children rely too much on technology" (2011). I agree with Evans that the risk of allowing students to rely solely on technology is dangerous. On the other hand, Ramaswami states, “Durham Academy teachers have observed that students who use iPods for instruction perform better on quizzes” (2008). I believe using iPods during instruction can help students to perform better on quizzes because they feel less pressure. Music may allow students to be calm and find their own equilibrium instead of having complete silence where they can hear every creak or step. Despite my concerns, then, I do not agree with a blanket “no-technology” policy in schools. I believe there should be equilibrium when it comes to the usage of technology in the classroom. Educators should move towards using technology for part of class time to instruct, and use the other part to demonstrate and to allow students to learn hands-on. One major problem with technology is cyber bullying. With electronic devices, anyone can easily confront another person online without having the responsibility of seeing the emotions they are inflicting on another person. Pickett states, “Students are more likely to express how they feel over the internet or via text message than face to face” (Pickett, 2006). Various measures such as bullying awareness have arisen throughout the recent years, and teachers have become aware that the usage of electronic devices in school can contribute to bullying. On social networking sites, students might gossip and spread rumors that can hurt others’ feelings. This is another reason why technology use during school time should not be allowed. With access and convenience comes responsibility. For instance, it has become too easy to create a fake Facebook profile, which could hurt someone's reputation. Cyber bullying has now become somewhat anonymous; instead of someone saying cruel things to our face, bullies are hiding behind a screen. How do we know who is really behind the profile? The individual or individuals could say whatever they please without feeling the consequences of their actions. Technology has come so far and contributed to some aspects of learning, for the reasons discussed above, there must be boundaries. If schools do allow the usage of electronic devices, they should create a permitted zone with free Wi-Fi which will allow schools to monitor student usage and keep them out of the classroom. Students are more likely to stay within a free Wi-Fi zone because Internet bills for cellphones are expensive and not everyone has unlimited Wi-Fi. Policies have been installed to ban or limit the usage of handheld devices in school due to the risk of privacy invasion in bathrooms and locker rooms. It is important that anything you do in private stays private, but camera phones give students easy access to take pictures or videos and 98
use them to hurt their peers. To spread pictures and videos of an individual during a private instance such as using the restroom could ignite cyber bullying. Once again, school policies should be implemented and enforced; schools should not allow electronic devices of any kind into locker rooms or restrooms. To determine the extent to which technology is a distraction at my own institution, I personally conducted two surveys, one for educators and one for students at Hawai'i Pacific University. In both surveys I asked questions such as, “How many times a day do you check your cell phone in class? Do you believe you are addicted to your handheld devices? Do you believe you could go 24 hours without using any cell phone or handheld devices? Would you say you become distracted in class when you see new notifications or text messages appear on your phone?” Answers to questions such as these can help us understand whether students and faculty at HPU are addicted to modern technology. Apparently the problem of distraction by technology is not limited to students. Nearly 75% of faculty members I surveyed at Hawai'i Pacific University stated that they have an addiction problem with their cell phones and handheld devices, and about 95% said they do not believe they could go 24 hours without using any cell phones or hand held devices (Personal communication, 2013). However, many did state that while teaching, they turn off their cell phones. Several others replied they would only check or pick up a phone call if they thought it was an emergency or important call. When asked how many times they check their phones in class, several faculty members replied with “a couple,” most with “none.” Faculty members who replied with “none” explained with statements such as, “Students are paying for my undivided attention.” Other faculty members who admitted to checking their phones a couple of times said they were only checking the amount of time so they could keep pace when teaching. (I wondered if that was just an excuse to hide their addiction to their electronic device, since clocks and watches are also available.) About 85% of Hawai’i Pacific University students I surveyed said they do believe they have an addiction but they are not concerned about it. In addition, about 72% admitted that they would not be able to go 24 hours without a cell phone or their handheld devices. Many students believe it is unnecessary to turn off their cell phones while in class; some expressed that in case of an emergency, they might miss an important call. Nearly 90% of students said they check their cell phones a least twenty five or more times a day. With this information in mind, it appears students attending Hawai’i Pacific University and even some of their teachers are addicted to cell phones and handheld devices. Although 85% of students admitted they believe they do have a problem, 5% did not and the other 10% believe they are able to easily conquer their addictions to cellphones and electronic devices. Both educators and students have trouble with being distracted by use of electronic devices. However, the important thing to remember when using technology in the classroom is to do it only for educational purposes. Allowing use of electronic devices only for a set amount of time can help both students and teachers resist the urge to check them repeatedly. Middle and high schools, meanwhile, should have policies that completely limit the usage of electronic devices in classrooms, especially cell phones, which should only be used during class time in case of emergency. Schools should have areas or Wi-Fi zones set up so they can monitor 99
the usage of electronic devices; this will better allow schools to control bullying. As for universities, they should adopt reasonable policies such as prohibiting cellphones during tests, with reporting and consequences for repeat violations. Each university educator should make the decision whether they will allow students to use electronic devices during their classroom. Those who do allow electronic devices in the classroom should insist that they be used for educational purposes only. REFERENCES Baker, W. M., Lusk, E. J., & Neuhauser, K. L. (2012). On the use of cell phones and other electronic devices in the classroom: Evidence from a survey of faculty and students. Journal of Education for Business, 87(5); 275-289. Campbell, S. (2006). Perceptions of mobile phones in college classrooms: Ringing, cheating, and classroom policies. Communication Education, 55(3), 280-294. Dunn, J. (2011). The revolution of classroom technology. Edudemic: connecting education and technology. Retrieved from http://www.edudemic.com/. Evans, J. (2011). Waldorf Schools show learning with less technology may be better for students. The Stir: Big Kid. Retrieved from http://thestir.cafemom.com/big_kid/127851/. Flaherty, J. (2011). Ill-mannered students can wreck more than your lecture. Chronicle of Higher Education, 58(10). Geist, E. (2011). The game changer: Using iPads in college teacher education classes. College Student Journal, 45(4), 758-768. Left to their own devices. (2012). American School & University, 84(9), 34-37. Oehlkers, W.J., & DiDonato, C. (2012). Toys or tools? Education Week, 31(27), 21-22. Oppenheimer, T. (2003). Flickering mind: the false promise of technology in the classroom and how learning can be saved. Random House. Pickett, A., & Thomas, C. (2006). Turn OFF that phone. American School Board Journal, 193(4), 40-44 Ramaswami, R. (2008). Filler up!. The Journal, 35(5), 32-38.
Putting Your Mind at Ease
Princesses in the Real World: Effects on Young Girls (By Tricie Steen) Five-year-old Ann sits on the plush burgundy carpet, her deep brown eyes illuminated by the television. The screen plays the final scene to a recent Disney film, Princess and the Frog. This is Ann’s first experience with Disney. Tiana, the beautiful, kind, and hard- working heroine, marries handsome prince Naveen and lives happily ever after. Ann is too young to know the psychological effects these “princess movies” might have on her later in life. As stated by Jack Zipes, a Professor of German and Comparative Literature at the University of Minnesota, in “Breaking the Disney Spell”: “Disney managed to get a cultural strangle hold on the fairy tale” (Bell, Haas, and Sells 21). Disney adaptations are often our first introduction to fairy tales and are thus fundamental to childhood. Snow White, Cinderella, Aurora, Ariel, Jasmine, Pocahontas, Belle, Mulan, Tiana, Rapunzel, and Merida: most young girls have has admired these iconic Disney princesses and have fantasized at some point in their lives about being a princess. There is something about Disney princesses that both fascinates and confuses us. How are Disney adaptations influencing young girls? In this essay, I will attempt to explore the importance of fairy tales to society, particularly young girls. Children are very impressionable and are easily influenced by the things they see, especially by iconic characters like Disney princesses. I did not notice the power Disney had on me until I was much older. As stated by Hawaii Pacific University professor Deborah Ross, author of “Escape from Wonderland: Disney and the Female Imagination”: “Disney movies implant seeds of guilt and fear to spring up along with children’s developing imaginations” (Ross 63). Fairy tales may be seemingly innocent in intent, but the long-term effects on children are anything but. Not only does Disney manipulate the innocent minds of children, they also train children to react as they see fit. Do not get me wrong; I love Disney movies, but there is a fine line between encouraging personal development, and forcing beliefs and morals. Ross also states, “Disney’s overriding goal is self –promotion because Disney will absorb whatever works, or whatever sells the product” (Ross 63). The Disney Corporation’s main focus is no longer on “unique self-expression,” but on control and “ridged adherence to the rules.” Although Disney adaptations of classic fairy tales promote creativity, imagination, and realism, they also undermine strong female characters in favor of domestic and submissive women, while brainwashing children with unrealistic expectations just to turn a profit. First of all, Princess Tiana from The Princess and the Frog, the first African-American princess in Disney history, is also the first recent Disney princess in ten years since Mulan in 1998. Disney, in an effort to create more diversity, developed the character Tiana, a waitress from the 1920’s New Orleans. In the movie, she works through adversities to achieve her dream of opening a restaurant, while Prince Naveen of Maldonia is turned into a frog by the “Shadow Man,” Dr. Facilier. Through a series of unfortunate events, Tiana is also turned into a frog and must travel through the Bayou to find Mama Odie, the Voodoo Queen, to turn them back to normal. The film itself portrays Tiana as a “strong black woman,” and yet, because this is an animated cartoon, it is difficult to avoid stereotyping a character of color. This topic is especially sensitive for a woman of color. Take,
for example, an excerpt from the book From Mouse to Mermaid: The Politics of Film, Gender, and Culture: Feminists of color view white women as heroines or fairy tale princesses through a kind of triple lenses that develops as part of our survival and adaptability to dominant culture’s myths and norms… we know these characters don’t look like us; we may even know that if they did the story could not exist. But we are engaged, because the moments when passion and yearning transcend race distinctions, and we empathize with those human feelings (Bell, Haas, and Sells 226). Despite From Mouse to Mermaid being much older than The Princess and the Frog, its message holds true for feminists of color in that it is difficult to fully appreciate things that were made to fit a different demographic. There are a few times where one can disregard race, but it is always on the forefront of our minds that there are differences between the character and the intended audience. This book also makes the accusation that feminism does not take into account the minority: “Mainstream feminist film criticism in no way acknowledges black female spectatorship. It does not even consider the possibility that women can construct an oppositional gaze via an understanding and awareness of the politics of race and racism” (Bell, Haas, and Sells 231). In other words, the Disney Corporation, in its lack of minority representation prior to Princess and the Frog, left out the “black spectatorship” by ignoring the audience group of young black girls. Being left out of the Disney franchise altogether may have caused some young black girls to make clear comparisons between themselves and the white characters Disney frequently promotes. The main focus of this particular Disney movie is the importance of goals and loved ones. In the climax of the film, Tiana obtains the voodoo idol and Dr. Facilier offers her a choice: give him the idol, become human again, and open her restaurant; or “hop around the Bayou the rest of [her] life”. She realizes through a magical flashback via courtesy of Dr. Facilier that although “[her] Daddy didn’t get the place he always wanted, he had something better. He had love,” and she proceeds to smash the idol. In my opinion as a Black feminist, this film is by far my favorite Disney movie because the characters are relatable, and the film also promotes hard work more than the other Disney princess movies. That being said, the film is not perfect. There are stereotypical gender messages in the songs; for instance, the lyrics of the first song “Down in New Orleans”: In the South Land there’s a city/ Way down on the river/ Here the women are very pretty/ And all the men deliver.” I cannot help but wonder how young girls can they view themselves as strong independent women if only the men “deliver” and they just look pretty. The directors of The Princess and the Frog attempted to create a strong female character that breaks the usual mold of damsel in distress. Although I give Disney points for attempting to adapt the tale to create a new and improved princess, there is only so much of a fairy tale that can be changed before it is unrecognizable. Exactly how far can a fairy tale be adapted before it loses its original intent? I can understand that some of the more graphic and violent fairy tales had to 103
be altered to make them suitable for kids; however, the authors of “Feminist Frauds on the Fairies? Didacticism and Liberation in Recent Retellings of ‘Cinderella’” believe that feminist retellings will be unable to change gender roles in the fairy tales. They suggest, “Feminist retellings that are incapable of doing either may reinscribe gender norms even as they seek to be liberated from them” (Crowley and Pennington 301). In other words, gender norms are incredibly difficult to change because we are taught to conform to them from a young age, making it almost impossible to liberate these Disney characters. Ordinarily, Disney princess movies follow this format: a young, beautiful heroine, unsatisfied with normal life, meets the perfect prince, and through trials and adversities, they fall in love. Logically, the next step for these Disney princesses after they achieve their goals is to marry their newly acquired prince, isn’t it? Why is it that the majority of princess films end in marriage? How can we expect girls to be strong and independent individuals if at the ending of every fairy tale, the female heroine abandons her feminist aspirations in favor of “Prince Charming”? Ross points out that when fairy tales end in weddings, it is presented to young girls as the only option, breeding unrealistic expectations in them: “One problem with a plot that ends in marriage, of course, is its reduction of the heroine to an object of desire” (Ross 60). This is made worse by the fact that the princesses are beautiful and the marriage comes across as shallow. The moral of the story for children becomes that the beautiful princess always gets a prince and a “happily ever after.” Truly, “happily ever after,” a general ending to fairy tales, is just a euphemism for saying that the couple lived a long and boring life together and died. The Disney fairy tale cannot accurately follow real life because that would be too complex for a fairy tale. As retold by well-known feminist poet Anne Sexton in "Fairy Tales: A Closer Look at "Cinderella": Cinderella and the prince lived, they say, happily ever after, like two dolls in a museum case never bothered by diapers or dust, never arguing over the timing of an egg, never telling the same story twice, never getting a middle-aged spread, their darling smiles pasted on for eternity. Regular Bobbsey Twins. That story. (Sexton, qtd. in Behrens and Rosen) Sexton’s adaptation of the fairy tale ending of “happily ever after” is by far the most realistic I have seen; Cinderella and Prince Charming had a hasty wedding and lived long, boring lives. The Prince’s desire to possess Cinderella was pointless, vain, and shallow. They had nothing in common, and they lived perfectly boring lives for all eternity with “darling” smiles on their faces. Besides being anti-climactic, these “happily ever after” endings encourage young girls to believe they have to be married. As stated by Ross, “Romances also receive implicit support from the central ‘real’ narratives resemblance to romance: beautiful heroine, beloved by the perfect man, whom after trials and separations she marries, presumable to live happily ever after” (Ross 56). Whatever happened to independent girls who strive for individuality? It has become replaced by the need to rigidly adhere to the rules. Traditionally when fairy tales were first written about women, they promoted imagination, creativity, and determination. As Ross also states,
“Conservative authors have used romance and novels to teach girls that their dreams are dangerous and of little relevance to their daily lives” (55). Ross goes on to say: Feminist authors, on the other hand, have encouraged young women readers’ belief in fantasy to help them visualize what they want perhaps as a first step toward going after it. For example [women’s fiction] gradually gained them the right, first, to refuse, to cooperate in arranged marriages, and eventually to choose husbands for themselves. (55) Ultimately, what is said is this: there are at least two types of authors when it comes to fairy tales, the conservative and the feminist, and although they are both distinctly different, they understand that fairy tales have the power to influence the future decisions of young girls. What they choose to do with that power is a different matter entirely. Disney, for example, understands this key detail and alters the storylines of classic fairy tales to encourage homogeneity in young viewers. In addition, Disney is not concerned with the welfare of its viewers so much as with the royalties they receive for the merchandise purchased by these young girls. Disney knows how to use the adoration of young girls to sell merchandise, as argued in “The Mouse that Roared Retail” by prominent television writer Ann Donahue: One of the secrets to Disney's success is the amount of research it invests in the various product lines—the company knows kids, and it knows how kids play. The retail theory behind the ”Hannah Montana” merchandise is one of aspiration. Girls look up to Cyrus—either relating to her as a kid just trying to make it through the school week, or in wanting to be a singer that performs in front of adoring crowds—and make their purchases accordingly. (Donahue) To elaborate, Disney, knowing that Hannah Montana was such a relatable character whom kids looked up to, was able to make $30 billion in sales off the Hannah Montana franchise by exploiting Hannah Montana’s fan base. Disney is a corporation that relies on profits, so it is to be expected that they will self-promote. But this does not mean that they sell propaganda. On the contrary, Disney promotes creativity and imagination in young girls through the show and merchandise such as dolls and costumes. On the other hand, Jack Zipes argues that Disney is corrupt because its movies capture the attention of children so easily. An example of this can be found in the very first paragraph of his article, “It is not once upon a time, but a certain time in history, before anyone knew what was happening, that Walt Disney cast a spell on the fairy tale, and he has held it captive ever since. He did not use a magic wand or demonical means and used his own ‘American’ grit and ingenuity to appropriate European fairy tales” (Bell, Haas and Sells 21). Zipes also has no explanation for why, or rather how, Disney films became so important to society. Although just cartoons, they are strongly linked with our childhood memories and thus are important to us because they remind us of a simpler time. Though fairy tales in general have a strong influence on young girls, and the Disney corporation exploits that fact to turn into a profit, Disney does attempt to change female characters to give them relatable characteristics. The 2009 Disney movie The Princess and the Frog presents Disney’s African American princess, and that in itself is as revolutionary as Obama’s election to the White House. Yet we are still hindered by the racial stereotypes Disney must use in order to 105
portray Tiana, as well as the gender roles that are seemingly unavoidable in fairy tales. It is almost impossible to adapt a classic fairy tale to modern standards without upsetting gender roles and changing the intended message. Some may argue that Disney princess movies are not real and cannot have an influence over young girls; however, children are so impressionable that it does not take much for seeds to grow, especially when they compare themselves to cartoon characters that are not real. Fairy tales are important because they promote imagination and creativity in children while serving as a reminder of fond childhood memories to adults. Disney Princess movies heavily influence young girls if they are exposed to them often enough, though anything in moderation cannot be too harmful. The responsibility lies in the parents to teach young girls to accept themselves as they are and not compare themselves constantly to other girls. As we age, we still have these princess-like idols that we admire and strive to become like. All things considered, Disney films hold potential power over young girls because these animated princesses reflect qualities that are important to female gender roles: beauty, talent, intelligence, courage, inner strength, and dreams. Fairy tales are important to society because they hold memories of childhood innocence, especially in Disney movies, which are worldwide and have been around for decades. Young girls cannot help but compare themselves to icons that they see on an almost daily basis. Yet Disney fairy tales can also teach us to dream big no matter the limitation. Some might argue that Disney brainwashes children with unrealistic expectations just to turn a profit. Yet they also promote creativity, imagination, realism, and childhood memories. WORKS CITED Behrens, Laurence, and Leonard J. Rosen. "Fairy Tales: A Closer Look at ’Cinderella’." Writing and Reading Across the Curriculum. 8th Ed. New York: Longman, 2003. Print. Crowley, Karlyn, and John Pennington. “Feminist Frauds on the Fairies? Didacticism and Liberation in Recent Retellings of ‘Cinderella’.” Marvels & Tales 24.2 (2010). Web. 23 Mar. 2013. Donahue, Ann. "The Mouse That Roared At Retail." Billboard 121.30 (2009): 18-21. Academic Search Premier. Web. 29 Mar. 2013. Ross, Deborah. “Escape From Wonderland: Disney and the Female Imagination.” Marvels & Tales: Journal of Fairy Tale Studies 18.1 (2004): 53-67. Print. Steven Mintz. Review of Bell, Elizabeth; Haas, Lynda; Sells, Laura, eds., From Mouse to Mermaid: The Politics of Film, Gender and Culture. H-Film, H-Net Reviews. April, 1996. Print.
Garden Your Way to Better Health: Why Gardens Should Be Used for Therapy (By Sanna Strand) Can you think of a single therapy that can help people cope with pain, reduce stress and anxiety, decrease depression, improve social skills and interaction, and rehabilitate people who suffer from substance abuse, all at once? Therapeutic gardening, or horticultural therapy as it is also called, has had these effects on people from many different backgrounds, from young autistic children to elderly people suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia, and one of its many advantages is how widely it can be used (Borns, 2013; Sandel, 2004). However, we do not tend a garden for the sole purpose of mental healing. Simply spending time around nature affects us positively in many ways. If you think about it, how often have you heard people say that they are going to take a walk to calm down when they are feeling stressed? Those nature walks help us think about something other than what is causing our stress and therefore make us feel less stressed. This idea to use nature to improve health has its roots way back in time. Schälander, Söderback and Söderström (2004), horticultural therapists at Danderyd Hospital in Sweden, point out that “for their very survival, humans have sought aspects of nature such as open views, closeness to water and a place of refuge over the past 40,000 years at least” (p. 245), meaning that whether we think about it or not, we are dependent on nature for basic needs of survival, both physically and mentally. Therapeutic gardening as a profession is a fairly new and modern invention, but the idea of a healing garden as an important part of healing can be found as far back as the 17th century (Schälander, Söderback, and Söderström, 2004, p. 247). Supporting the historical evidence of the positive results of gardening, horticultural therapy was first introduced as a profession in health care after World War I when disabled soldiers came home from the war and were in need of rehabilitation. The phrase “horticultural therapy” itself was introduced even later than that, in 1948 (Sandel, 2004, p. 124), and it started to gain popularity and recognition during the 1970s and 1980s (Schälander et al., 2004, pp. 247-248). The biggest difference from then to now in the use of horticultural therapy is that in the beginning, the therapy was primarily used for patients in need of physical rehabilitation, whereas today it is most commonly used to treat mental health issues (Sandel, 2004). In fact, it was not unusual for mental hospitals to become self-sufficient community-like dwellings a few decades back. How is it that such a beneficial therapy that has been used so extensively in the past can have so little space in today’s health care system, when we need it more than ever? Due to therapeutic gardening’s positive outcomes with different diseases and illnesses, it should be used more frequently in health and rehabilitation care as a complementary therapy to other treatments. According to psychotherapist Howard Z. Lorber (2011), horticultural therapy is when a person works to reach certain therapeutic goals by participating in gardening activities (p. 19). Sometimes a trained therapist helps, but many people agree that he is not necessary in order to see positive results. Schälander, et al. (2004) explain that signs of positive changes in people are evident from simply looking at pictures of nature or reading about it, and Lorber (2011) mentions that a view of nature through a window can help reduce stress (p. 20). With means as simple as this, people who are bedridden or who live in an area with no green spaces can even take 107
advantage of the positive influences of nature. Martin L. Verra, Felix Angst, et al. (2012) agree with Schälander et al. (2004) and Lorber (2004), but they also add the value of strolling through a garden or a greenhouse as a good start to therapeutic gardening. The initial contact with the garden helps one become familiar with it and feel safe in its surroundings (p. 46). In the article “ ‘I Love Being in the Garden’: Enchanting Encounters in Everyday Life,” Mark Bhatti, Andrew Church, Amanda Claremont, and Paul Stenner from the University of Brighton in England examine how people experience nature and gardens in their everyday lives. They found that many people agree with what Schälander et al. (2004), Lorber (2011), and Verra et al. (2012) have to say, giving an example of a man who says, “A small recurring pleasure is a summer night in the garden. I stand and breathe all the marvelous scents, the darkness is soft – not empty but full of life, flower, trees … I feel it is my own domain” (p. 64). Social worker Mark L. Sandel (2004) from the University of North Texas found a similar situation in his study and declares that in a long-term detention setting for juveniles with a therapeutic gardening-program, the garden had an unexpected effect during family visits. The garden turned out to be a calming feature as the juveniles took their family members and visitors on walks through the garden to show what they had been planting and growing; the garden was a source of great pride and joy (Sandel, 2004, p. 127). Once again, the garden provides positive effects in people without them actually performing any physical work in it. These approaches to therapeutic gardening, such as spending time watching the garden or walking through it, are mostly used to give some variation to the therapy and to make sure that every aspect of the garden is experienced and appreciated. This also provides a way to experience the positive effects of gardens and nature by yourself, even if you are not in such acute need of therapy that you need the help of a professional therapist. One of the reasons therapeutic gardening works so well is that it engages all five senses. When you walk through a garden, you see the plants and the flowers and can also touch or smell them. Being able to experience nature with more than one sense is one of the reasons horticultural therapy works so well for so many diseases and injuries, the stimulation of all of our five senses (Sandel, 2004, p. 124). As mentioned, you can touch plants and flowers, and this can be very beneficial. Journalist Patricia Borns (2013) writes in the the Miami Herald how horticultural therapy is used to train fine motor skills in elderly people with Parkinson’s disease by making tiny flower arrangements. The elderly ladies take great joy in being able to create something beautiful despite their difficulties with fine motor skills. A garden can also be heard. You can hear the wind blowing through it or listen to insects crawling on the ground or birds moving in tree branches. Bibby Moore (1989), coordinator of the Horticultural Therapy Program at the North Carolina Botanical Garden, says in her book Growing with Gardening that all the sounds of nature together ring to the sound of F#, which is a key commonly used by musicians to create harmonious music (p. 184). This would explain why people feel so relaxed when they spend time outdoors, away from manmade sounds such as traffic and construction. Many plants are also edible. At a long-term detention setting for juveniles in Texas that implemented a therapeutic gardening program, the vegetables they harvested were used to make a dinner for the juveniles’ families (Sandel, 2004, p. 127). To achieve the best results, more than 108
one sense should be used, such as this woman quoted by Bhatti et al. (2009): “On a summer evening I come down to the herbs and sit and just breathe the scent of them and go round them and touch and smell them, then sit and just relax. It unwinds me completely, it’s so peaceful and quiet” (p. 70). While surrounding yourself with nature can be beneficial, using more than one of your senses can be even better for your health. Even though the approaches to horticultural therapy presented earlier in this paper have been shown to have positive outcomes, looking at a garden or walking through nature are usually not enough to create deeper, more long-lasting results. The most suggested, commonly used approach to gardening therapy is active gardening, where the patients do physical work in the garden (Schälander et al., 2004). The therapy usually starts with easy activities such as sowing seeds and potting houseplants. It is especially important for patients who have never been involved in any gardening activities prior to the therapy or patients with physical disabilities, like chronic back pain, to start therapy gradually, in a standing position. (Verra et al., 2012, p. 46). As the therapy moves along, the difficulty of the tasks and amount of physical exertion usually increase and are adjusted to follow the needs and development of the clients. Participants are introduced to digging, composing flower-beds, planting flowers and vegetables, and rooting flowers. The amount of body work and difficulty varies (Gonzalez, Hartig, Patil, Martinsen, & Kirkevold, 2011a; Verra et al., 2012). Occupational therapists Claire Hayward and Jackie Taylor (2011) challenge programs that only focus on the active part of the therapy, what they call the “doing” (p. 133). Occupational therapy is when daily activities are performed to encourage rehabilitation, and horticultural therapy falls under that category. Hayward and Taylor stress that the “being,” as in spending time in a garden, is as equally important for patients in order for the therapy to be successful (2011, p. 134). This is why the other approaches to therapeutic gardening are necessary. Having the patients walk around in the garden helps them to take time to relax and appreciate what they have done in creating the garden, hence the “being” in the garden. It is important not to forget that gardening is a rehabilitation therapy and not just labor. So far, this paper has mostly discussed the positive effects of gardening on people with mental diseases, but therapeutic gardening also provides benefits for physically disabled persons. Verra et al. (2012) and Moore (1989) differ from other scientists on the subject because they focus more on people with physical disabilities. In the study performed by Verra et al. (2012), they focus their research on patients suffering from chronic back pain, while Moore (1989) writes about the physical benefits of therapeutic gardening in general. Verra et al. (2012) found that the gardening activities the participants performed helped them improve their coordination and body strength, which also led to better body balance. Some of the more specific outcomes were improvements of their reaching, carrying, pushing, and pulling capacity. These outcomes were due to the physical work in the garden that was adjusted to the patients’ fluctuating capabilities, from easy, low-impact tasks in the beginning to moderate and harder tasks further along the program (Verra et al., 2012). Moore (1989) adds to horticultural therapy’s benefits with improved stamina, better eye-hand coordination, and improved capability to see spatial relationships (p. 154).
After all of these improvements took place, Verra et al. (2012) also found that the patients found it easier to cope with the pain that still remained. Gardening activities can take our minds off the pain for a while. Hayward and Taylor (2011) assert that people with a higher level of happiness “view challenging life experiences, which include significant pain and adversity, as transformational opportunities” (p. 136). This means that people who are happier and feel better mentally can handle pain better and turn it into more positive or even productive experiences. Although all studies of this topic are focused on people with different diseases and how they can benefit from horticultural therapy, they all highlight the impact of therapeutic gardening on reducing stress and anxiety levels in the participants. Our response to nature, says Lorber (2011), is something that happens unconsciously. Nature demands our attention without us noticing. Gonzalez et al. (2011a) explain that experiencing nature through observation or light labor provides a distance for our minds and bodies from our everyday life and environment, and Lorber (2011) further explains that by doing so, it leaves less space in our minds to think negative thoughts that usually lead to stress and anxiety. When these stressful thoughts and feelings are being blocked out, it increases our positive thoughts and eventually makes us feel less depressed and more confident about ourselves (Lorber, 2011). To get a better understanding of how this might be experienced, Bhatti et al. (2009) collected information from many amateur gardeners about why they garden and what they get out of it. Many of the people being asked give answers that defend the ideas provided by Lorber (2011) and Gonzalez et al. (2011a). One woman says, “Whenever I feel stressed or angry, I still go out into the garden and pull up weeds to work it out of my system” (Bhatti et al., 2009, p. 68), and another woman describes her gardening experiences by saying, “Time flies when you are weeding or planting out and it is difficult to feel depressed for long” (Bhatti et al., 2009, p. 67). Similar testimonies about gardening’s benefits can support my argument that gardening can be therapeutic at all levels, and not just in a professionally planned horticultural therapy program. Many people who garden describe it as something they do to get away from their everyday lives, to be able to just let everything go and not think for a while. Lorber (2011) suggests that gardening therapy can “provide a metaphor for change” (p. 25), and he also states that “most satisfactions of gardening are in the process of it rather than simply the product, food, or flower” (p. 21). This statement suggests that the work itself is therapeutic and not just its outcome. Sandel (2004) gives a reason to why this might be the case when he acknowledges that the juveniles working in the garden at the detention setting in Texas could see the benefits of taking care of other living things and could later apply that to their own lives. Many youths in this detention setting suffered from substance abuse, and in their organic garden, they could see the plants thriving without any chemicals being added. They all seemed to understand that growing organically takes more time and a lot of hard work, but they could visualize the benefits of living a healthy and “chemical free lifestyle” (Sandel, 2004, p. 127). This way of thinking correlates with the findings made by Gonzalez et al. (2011a) in their study of people with clinical depression. The participants in their study reported that the gardening program gave them “a sense of taking care of nature” (p. 76). Being part of the process of seed growing and eventually becoming a flower or a vegetable is exciting, meaningful, and instructive. They gained a better understanding of the impact nature has on humans and overall health, and one participant said it “contributed to a change in my view of life” (p. 76). 110
The same kind of thing was noticed by Sandel (2004). In his paper about gardening in a detention setting, he suggests that the gardening program made the juveniles more observant of the nature around them and that they started noticing the cycles of life that occur around them. They would go outside and show interest in insects they found in the garden; for example, spiders working on their net and ladybugs hatching on a wall. This was an entirely new phenomenon that did not occur prior to the gardening program being introduced to the facility (Sandel, 2004, p. 127). As for the juveniles in Texas, the group-aspect of the therapeutic gardening is greatly important for the outcome. A big open garden is a great place for people to work together, but it is also a place where you can take a walk and spend a little time by yourself if you want. Both Gonzalez et al. (2011b) and Sandel (2004) highlight the importance of group-work when working in the garden. In Gonzalez et al.’s study performed on people suffering from clinical depression, the importance of the group grew as the program advanced. Gonzalez et al. (2011b) identify that depression is associated with social anxiety. The fact that the patients worked in groups helped them reduce their social anxiety and increase their social skills and interaction. As the patients’ social skills increased as the program advanced, they also reported the group becoming a significant part of their lives due to growing bonds of friendship in the group. When the program was over, they pronounced sadness because they had to leave (Gonzalez et al., 2011b, p. 126). Gardening provides a subject the patients can talk to each other about. They do not have to struggle to find something to say, which otherwise can be a great stress inducer for many people who suffer from social anxiety. Their shared interest in gardening allows them to exchange ideas and feel that it is okay to ask each other for help. Giving other people help and tips for improvement will help develop leadership skills in the patients (Moore, 1989, p. 154). In the long-term detention setting in Texas, Sandel (2004) found similar results, and he concludes that the juveniles raised their self-esteem, which led to increased social skills. When the youths were working together to take care of their garden, they increased their cooperation skills and also gained a stronger “sense of belonging” (p. 129) in the smaller groups they worked in, at the detention center, and in the community as a whole (Sandel, 2004). The cooperative skills people can gain from gardening are something everyone can benefit from, since cooperation is so highly valued in today’s society. Some people who associate gardening with being an outdoor activity in an actual garden might think that gardening would not be an enjoyable activity for them. Not all people have access to a garden a public park, or even a green area. Even though most articles promote physical activity through an outdoor garden, Lorber (2011) says that just planting or replanting houseplants can result in positive outcomes in patients. The activity still provides a calming setting for the patients and helps him feel comfortable during therapy (Lorber, 2011, p. 23). Josephine Anne Spring et al. (2011), from the Royal Hospital for Neuro-Disability in London and Queens Hospital in Romford, describe a winter gardening program implemented at a specialized care service for people with Huntington’s disease in London. The facility started a gardening program in the spring, and it was such a big success that they decided to make a gardening program for the winter season as well. The program consisted of activities such as planning for the upcoming outdoor growing season and potting indoor plants. The activities helped these patients express themselves in ways they had not been able to do before. They also 111
stimulated social contact in a similar way as discussed earlier in this paper, where the patients found that they have a common interest in gardening to share (Spring et al., 2011). These points of the positive effects from indoor gardening prove that everybody can participate in and benefit from gardening. It might take a bit more creativity and hard work to get started if you live in an apartment without any green areas nearby, but it is definitely do-able and can lead to the same positive benefits as outdoor gardening. It appears that the majority of horticultural therapy participants benefit from the therapy in a multitude of positive ways, but there have been a few exceptions. Gonzalez et al. (2011a) did find a few cases in their study where the therapy did not lead to any significant improvements in the patient’s mental health. They did, however, conclude that despite this, it did not lead to any negative outcomes; in fact, it was not harmful in any way. Considering this, there is no existing excuse not to implement therapeutic gardening more in health and rehabilitation care treatments. So after all this information about how good horticultural therapy is and how much it has been used in history, the logical question to ask is why this kind of therapy is not implemented more in treatments already. A big reason for this is the introduction of more medicines in the second half of the 20th century that limited the need for healing gardens (Schälander, 2004). With all these new pills that could heal people much faster than gardening therapy, gardens started to disappear from hospitals and institutions. Today though, people have started to think about what they put in their bodies. If you could choose between participating in an organic, therapeutic gardening program or taking lots of artificial prescription pills, which would you choose? Horticultural therapy might not be enough to cure severe illnesses and diseases, but if it can help someone on the journey to a better life, it is better than nothing, right? Even though horticultural therapy is primarily used as to complement other treatments, it could mean that patients need to take a smaller amount of pills. Additionally, patients can easily maintain their gardens by themselves once the professional therapy program is over and still maintain better health. Imagine how much the world could improve if we were to take full advantage of what nature has to offer and spend more recreational time outside. REFERENCES Bhatti, M., Church, A., Claremont, A. & Stenner, P. (2009). “I love being in the garden”: Enchanting encounters in everyday life. Social & Cultural Geography, 10(1), 61-76. Borns, P. (2013, January 30). Healing gardens: Horticulture therapy takes root in South Florida. The Miami Herald. Retrieved from http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/01/27/vfullstory/3200386/healing-gardens-horticulture-therapy.html Gonzalez, M., Hartig, T., Kirkevold, M., Martinsen, E. W. & Patil, G. (2011a). A prospective study of existential issues in therapeutic horticulture for clinical depression. Issues in mental health nursing, 32(1), 73-81.
Gonzalez, M., Hartig, T., Kirkevold, M., Martinsen, E. W. & Patil, G. (2011b). A prospective study of group cohesiveness in therapeutic horticulture for clinical depression. International Journal of Mental Health Nursing, 20(2), 119-129. Hayward, C. & Taylor, J. (2011). Eudemonic well-being: Its importance and relevance to occupational therapy for humanity. Occupational therapy international, 18(3) ,133-141. Lorber, H. Z. (2011). The use of horticulture in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder in a private practice setting. Journal of therapeutic horticulture, 21(1), 18-29. Retrieved from https://secure.hmon.net/ahta/publications/documents/AHTAJournal_2011.1.pdf Moore, B. (1989). Growing with gardening: A twelve-month plan for therapy, recreation, and education. Chapel Hill, NC: The University of North Carolina Press. Sandel, M. L. (2004). Therapeutic gardening in a long-term detention setting. Journal for Juvenile Justice Services. 19(1 & 2), 123-131. Retrieved from Academic Search Premier Schälander, E., Söderback, I. & Söderström, M. (2004). Horticultural therapy: The ’healing garden’ and gardening in rehabilitation measures at Danderyd hospital rehabilitation clinic, Sweden. Pediatric Rehabilitation, 7(4), 245-260. 1080/13638490410001711416 Spring, J. A., Baker, M., Dauya, L., Ewemade, I., Marsch, N., Patel, P., Scott, A., Stoy, N., Turner, H., Viera, M. & Will, D. (2011). Gardening with Huntington’s disease clients – creating a programme of winter activities. Disability and rehabilitation. 32(2), 159-164. Verra, M. L., Angst, F., Beck, T., Lehmann, S., Brioschi, R., Schneiter, R. & Aeschlimann, A., (2012). Horticultural therapy for patients with chronic musculoskeletal pain: Results of a pilot study. Alternative therapies, 18(2), 44-50. Retrieved from Academic Search Premier.
Prince Charming or Prince Harming?: The Feminine and Masculine Messages Presented in Disney’s Animated Films (By Cheyenne Low) At the age of five, I learned that my first kiss should be experienced while I am asleep. I would be lying down wearing a beautiful dress, hair perfectly brushed and laid out on both shoulders, and my hands would be folded neatly on my stomach. I even remember practicing the way I would lay in my bed, making sure my blankets were spread out across my bed with no wrinkles or folds. My only dilemma was that I was not sure if I should be holding a bouquet of flowers or not. One thing I was sure of, though, was that a prince would lean over, notice how beautiful I looked, and plant true love’s first kiss. We would then get married and live happily ever after. If it worked for Snow White and Sleeping Beauty, it would work for me, right? Looking back at this idea of love I had as a child, I can say that I was obviously well mistaken. Why were princesses such as Cinderella, Ariel, and Snow White big role models to me while growing up? All they taught me was how to clean and do chores, be aware of evil stepmothers trying to ruin my dreams—which I was actually afraid of because my parents are separated—and to depend on true love in order to find happiness. Although Disney’s animated films provided me numerous hours of entertainment as a child, they also provided me with strong messages of femininity. In these messages of femininity, I learned what a young woman’s role in life should consist of: pursue your goals, but use your beauty in order to do so. Many of these goals were also centered around the idea of finding love. Although they are not as prominent compared to their more traditional animated films, Disney continues to provide strong unrealistic messages of femininity and masculinity, mostly focusing on love and physical appearance. With its seventy-six years in film production, the Disney Corporation has had no problem in reaching out to its viewers. Disney’s multiple films and colorful display of characters are very well-known by viewers of all ages. It is easy to say that most young fans can point out the various characters and general storylines of these films. However, do viewers overlook the stereotypical feminine and masculine messages that are prominent in these films? Every day, people are exposed to the media. Disney plays a huge part in the media through its films and its own television station, making it very accessible to any viewer. Young children learn the most from watching videos, and are very likely to watch favorite movies they own—such as films by Disney—repeatedly (Towbin, Haddock, et al., 2004, p. 20). With young children’s constant exposure to the media, there is no question that they will absorb how the media portrays ideas about femininity and masculinity. Annalee Ward, author of the book Mouse Morality: The Rhetoric of Disney Animated Film, states that Disney has become a part of everyday values with its “dominant and powerful fixture” on American culture (2002, p. xiii). Therefore, not only are we as adults exposed to messages about gender in the more mature television programs or movies, but children are also exposed to this “powerful fixture on American culture” (Ward, 2002, p. xiii). As young adults, parents, or even huge fans of Disney, we all know that no matter what, young children will be involved in some form of Disney’s media. The issue here is not whether Disney’s animated films are inappropriate for children. In fact, Disney’s characters’ roles in society, such as their gender stereotyping, have actually improved throughout the films over 114
time. However, it is important to understand the messages that these films present to young viewers, and how “normal” it has become in everyday life to accept passive feminine messages, such as the importance of falling in love for female characters or being big and strong for their male opposites. Disney’s animated films clearly show the importance of being a man or woman to its young viewers. For what it means to be a man, little boys learn that a man is tough and rugged, yet still charming enough to get a girl to fall in love with him. As for the definition of womanhood, girls learn to depend on their physical appearance and love in order to achieve the perfect happy ending. Although the importance of manhood and womanhood is found in every animated film, they are most recognizable in the films regarding princes and princesses. The princess films are more focused on female viewers and play a huge role in providing the message of the importance of being feminine. In a study performed by Towbin et al. (2004) at Colorado State University, the researchers concluded four main themes presented in Disney’s animated films of what it means to be a woman: love, physical beauty, and heroism, which will be discussed throughout the essay. The message of love may be easily recognized in Disney’s animated films, but it is important to be aware of the commonly overlooked unequal gender portrayals between male and female characters. Female characters are shown as unequal to their male superiors by exaggerating the importance of female characters waiting for a prince to save them. Some movies may not make falling in love the main goal of the storyline, but falling in love and living happily ever after by the end of the movie is still inevitable. Yet these stereotypes are overlooked due to the entertainment Disney’s films provide to little girls. Many viewers do not realize that these messages of passive femininity might continue throughout their lives. Young girls are implanted with the idea that a prince will take care of her, and carry this idea to the real world with the role that a husband should play, such as providing for his family and creating a secure lifestyle. The most recognizable message of femininity that Disney’s viewers are exposed to is the importance of finding love. Have you ever seen a Disney princess movie that did not end with “and they lived happily ever after”? I didn’t think so. As entertaining as the idea of finding true love can be, Disney creates this theme to be unrealistic with its extreme feminine values. One of the four themes of womanhood that researcher Towbin et al. (2004) concluded to be found in Disney’s animated films was that “women are domestic and likely to marry” (p. 30). In a similar study performed by sociologists Martin and Kazyak (2009), they found that “by elementary school, children understand the normativity of sexuality” through the exposure to Grated films (Hetero-Romantic Love, p. 316). This means that children are so used to seeing heterosexual relationships in the media they already have a general idea of the definition of love and know they should intend to seek it in the future. Little girls can also grab the idea that it is expected of them to get married in the future, from Towbin’s et al. findings. An example of a popular Disney princess film that exactly follows this happily ever after formula is The Little Mermaid. In this story, the main character, Ariel, is a mermaid who makes a deal with a sea witch. In order for her to completely transform into a human, she must get a human prince to fall in love with her within three days. She must also do so without the capability of using her voice, therefore using her physical appearance as the only way for the
prince to fall in love with her. The Little Mermaid gives young girls the impression that the only way they can achieve their goals or live a happy life is through love. As entertaining as the ideas about finding true love can be, they “send inconsistent messages, mixing moral values in ways that offend various people” (Ward, 2002, p. xiii). To relate this to Ariel’s situation, the way Ariel falls in love with Prince Eric might offend some people. Their love is based solely on her physical appearance, which should not be the case in reality. Basing love off of the importance of whether a person’s partner is beautiful or not does not display “moral values.” Furthermore, Russell Reising reinforces this argument of “mixing moral values” by stating, “Ariel becomes woman as man wants her to be rather than woman for herself” (1997, p. 854). This also adds to Ward’s argument of how these mix-ups can “offend various people.” Ariel loses sight of what her main goal was in the beginning: to become human and experience a new life. Instead, Ariel chooses to have a pair of human legs because that is the only way for Prince Eric to accept her love. Here again we see how the idea of changing yourself to please a man can offend women. Because Ariel uses her physical appearance to gain the attention of Prince Eric, as does Cinderella to Prince Charming (and any other traditional Disney princess), it is safe to say that there is a strong link between physical appearance and how it affects characters’ love lives. Physical beauty, another feminine theme provided by Disney, can be viewed as an important ingredient in the recipe for love. Many traditional films pertaining to princesses and royalty play a role in this message. For instance, if a female character was exceedingly beautiful, she would not get instant attention from her soon-to-be lover. The example from The Little Mermaid clearly shows the link between the importance of physical appearance and love. Not only do female characters depend on their beauty to get positive attention to their male opposites, but the way the definition of beauty is depicted in Disney’s animated films can be generally realistic in some cases. For instance, Ward’s discussions about the Disney film Pocahontas elaborates on the historical aspect of how the female protagonist is portrayed. In this film, Pocahontas is the main character who belongs to a Native American tribe during the period of colonization in North America. Pocahontas’s appearance includes full curves, beautiful (yet natural) facial features, and a very short leather-styled dress. This character representation is inaccurate compared to how anthropologists would actually describe Pocahontas (10 to 12 years old, bald with dark skin). It was Pocahontas’s beauty (in Disney’s version) that mesmerized John Smith, preventing him from shooting her on their first encounter. Here, a reference in Ward’s book explains, “Hollywood’s sexual stereotyping [in Pocahontas] eclipses much of the power women held in native cultures” (Connell D7, p.36). Compared to Disney’s more traditional films about royalty, the importance of Pocahontas’s physical appearance is not as prominent. Pocahontas is also a powerful female character who knows her true values lie in taking care of her tribe in the end. Nevertheless, an unavoidable love story is still obvious throughout the film. Returning to the points of Towbin et al. (2004) regarding how womanhood is portrayed in Disney movies, the messages of physical appearance express the ideas that “a woman’s 116
appearance is valued more than her intellect” (p. 30). As said earlier, women’s roles in society as portrayed in Disney’s more recent animated films differ from the more traditional, older films. But the feminine messages can be viewed all the same. After being introduced to the importance of femininity, the exposure to this message continues throughout young girls’ adolescence. Sociologist Dawn H. Currie explains how young children and adolescents are constantly exposed to feminine messages through the media (mainly focusing on movie stars or models in magazine advertisements). Currie found that 13 to 17 year old girls’ take of “what it means to be a woman” in the real world focuses on the idea of similar feminine stereotypes (1997). The young girls’ response to the definition of womanhood revolved around altering their own physical appearance in order to have straight teeth, a clear complexion, and a different hairstyle. Little girls get a glimpse of the importance of beauty, being rescued by a hero and finding love, and are eventually led to believe that these methods are the only way to happiness when they get older. A passage from Peggy Orenstein’s book, Cinderella Ate My Daughter (2011), explains that: The more mainstream media girls consume, the more importance they place on being pretty and sexy. And a realm of studies shows that teenage girls and college students who hold conventional beliefs about femininity—especially those that emphasize beauty and pleasing behavior—are less ambitious and more likely to be depressed than their peers (p. 16). Although Disney’s young audience has not quite reached the age for such an intense definition of femininity yet, they are still being given a brief introduction. The “goodness” of characters in the animated films also depends on how they are physically portrayed. In an article by psychologists Doris Bazzini, Lisa Curtin, and Serena Joslin, “Do Animated Disney Characters Portray and Promote the Beauty-Goodness Stereotype?,” it is found that physical appearance defines character. Psychologists conducted a study of how young child viewers are affected by the physically appealing “good” characters versus the more unattractive “evil” characters. As a result, children did favor the more attractive and “morally good” characters. When analyzing Disney films, it becomes apparent that Bazzini’s et al. explanations are correct; more successful characters are the prettier ones, while the villains or antagonists tend to be more unattractive. If you think about it, when has there been a character such as an overweight princess/protagonist, or a villain who looks more appealing than the hero? Towbin et al. bring in a third point about what kinds of characters have unattractive physical appearances: “overweight women are ugly, unpleasant, and unmarried” (2004, p. 30). These messages of the importance of physical appearance and femininity may be highly unrealistic compared to real-world values, but they are purely meant for entertainment purposes. Referring back to Currie’s findings of teenage girls wanting to alter their appearances in order to become more “beautiful” and comparing it with Bazzini’s studies favoring the more attractive characters, these authors suggest that the messages being sent out to young viewers can confuse them into what it means to be beautiful and suggest that physical appearance should define their roles in life. Now that the importance of femininity within Disney’s animated films has been discussed, it is important to recognize what types of messages about masculinity are provided as well. Masculinity consists of the set of characteristics believed to be appropriate to men. As said 117
earlier, men in Disney’s films are depicted as strong and charming, showing little emotion. Heroism in Disney animated films plays a role in portraying the definition of masculinity to its young male viewers. In many of these films, it is a man’s role to save his future lover in some type of risky situation; “women are helpless and in need of protection” (Towbin et al., 2004, p. 30). Not only did Towbin et al. find four themes of what it means to be a woman in Disney’s films, they also found five themes of manhood: (1) men are physical when showing their emotions or do not show emotion at all, (2) men aren’t in “control of their sexuality,” (3) they are naturally heroic, (4) they have active jobs, and (5) overweight men are portrayed negatively (2004, p. 28). To demonstrate, we will analyze the film Hercules, in which the main character, Hercules, must defeat the Titans in order to achieve the title as a Greek god. Along the way, he meets Megara, with whom he eventually falls in love. Hercules portrays each of the five characteristics/themes of manhood as described by Towbin et al. Hercules: (1) expresses his feelings through his godly strength, (2) immediately falls head over heels just by looking at Megara, (3) becomes a hero of ancient Greece, (4) lives an exciting life defeating monsters, and (5) although Hades, the antagonist, is not overweight, he is still an unattractive character who is portrayed negatively. This can add to Bazzini, Curtin, Joslin, Regan, and Martz’s argument of how good characters are more physically attractive when compared to their antagonists. Men must be portrayed as strong characters that can overcome anything. A passage from Ward’s book Mouse Morality: The Rhetoric of Disney Animated Film explains the aspect of heroism through Disney’s “sanitized” (Reising, 1997) versions of fairytales: The story has all the mythic elements of a hero on an adventure who feels compelled to take a journey of self-discover and ultimately returns enlightened. It also has the requisite Disney romance, comedic sidekicks, animation in the hyperrealist style, and upbeat music. (2002, p. 80). This quote circles back to the themes of love and physical appearance—both superficial characteristics of true heroism. Audiences can also note that the so-called “heroes” in these films try to achieve that status for the wrong reasons. Using Hercules again as an example, when explaining why he wants to become a hero in the first place, “His motivation is that he doesn’t want to feel so alone; he wants to belong” (Ward, 2002, p. 82). This does not mean that all heroes’ actions in the animated films are for their own selfish gain, but it also does not show a true hero’s first priority: to save and help others in need. Ward also argues that Hercules is first motivated by his self-gain, and then later motivated by Megara’s love (2002, p. 83). Either way, his motivations do not fall into the definition of a true hero. Hercules and Megara’s love for each other “creates a one-dimensional understanding of life... Superficiality in morality is the result” (Ward, 2002, p. 84). This may give little boys the impression that heroic acts for one’s self gain should be put first before other things, such as taking care of family. However, not all Disney films follow this formula for heroism. In more recent films such as Mulan, Mulan’s motivation for running away from home and joining the army is to prevent the risk of losing her father if he were to fight, therefore making her family her first priority. Mulan 118
conquers her goal of saving China, but she just so happens to stumble along the unavoidable path of love, paved by Disney’s animation team. Also, Mulan and Shang’s relationship does not develop from Mulan’s beauty; it is her courage and teamwork that bring the two together. It is important to remember, though, how Mulan’s beauty is portrayed in the beginning of the movie. It is her family’s main goal for her to get married to a respectable man in order to bring honor to her family. A scene in the movie describes this through song, explaining that “men want girls with good taste, calm, obedient,/Who work fast-paced./With good breeding and a tiny waist/You’ll bring honor to us all... Like a lotus blossom soft and pale/How could any fellow say no to sale?” (ST Lyrics, n.d.). Even if this ideology reflects an older time period and Asian cultural values, these lyrics also circle back to the importance of physical beauty that Disney promotes. Not only is heroism an aspect in Disney’s masculine messages, but the concept of death also plays a role in young boys’ attitudes towards masculinity. In an article by Meredith Cox, Erin Garratt, and James A. Graham of the College of New Jersey, Ewing, the authors examine how death is portrayed in Disney’s films. As Towbin et al. stated earlier, “men are physical when showing their emotions or do not show emotion at all” (2004, p. 28). Though this article is not focused specifically on how children are affected by death scenes, they discuss that films with death in them “help children understand real death in a way that is less traumatic and threatening” because “some young children do not have the cognitive ability to experience or understand death fully” (Death in Disney films, 2004, p. 278-279). Relating Towbin’s et al. findings to those of Cox et al., learning how to deal with death might play a role in a boy’s masculine decision to not show emotions. “Death in Disney Films” also concludes that “justified” deaths were those of the antagonists, “demonstrating the trend in Disney films to vilify the antagonists to a point where they are seen as deserving their death” (Cox, Garratt, & Graham, 2004, p. 278). Given that solution of conflict between an antagonist and protagonist is death, this promotes the masculine idea that the only way to solve problems is to defeat the enemy rather than to be both emotional and rational and learn how to create nonviolent solutions. Though Disney’s animated films provide messages of femininity and masculinity to its young viewers, some argue that the concept of entertainment supersedes the negative aspects . In the article “Staying True to Disney: College Students’ Resistance to Criticism of The Little Mermaid,” Chyng Feng Sun of New York University, New York and Erica Scharrer of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst (2004) conducted a study asking whether college students preferred Disney’s tale of The Little Mermaid over the original tale by the Grimm Brothers and Hans Christian Andersen. The students preferred Disney’s version to those of Andersen and the Grimm Brothers because it was more entertaining. The students all gave similar answers. One student even states, “I know that Disney changed the story in a major way, but I like happy endings and romance” (2004, p. 43). The students also pointed out the sexist stereotypes in The Little Mermaid, but still approved of the film because of “the movie’s entertainment values, particularly of Ariel’s portrayal as a strong and independent woman” (2004, p. 44). As unrealistic as the messages about falling in love, physical appearance, and heroism can be, many viewers still prefer them over more realistic life situations. 119
On a personal note, I enjoyed watching Disney’s animated films as a child. Young viewers may have an understanding of the “normativity of sexuality” by the time they are in elementary school, but it does not mean they are willing to pursue the same actions as their favorite Disney characters. However, it is still important to recognize the feminine and masculine messages that are presented in Disney’s animated films. Young children must learn the dividing line between entertainment and letting these messages affect them. Children can enjoy the sing-a-longs and adventurous storylines, but we as adults must not let the feminine and masculine messages narrowly define who these children are and what their roles in life should be. REFERENCES Bazzini, D., Curtin, L., Joslin, S., Regan, S., & Martz, D. (2010). Do animated Disney characters portray and promote the beauty-goodness stereotype? Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 40(10), 2687-2709. Chyng Feng Sun, K., & Scharrer, E. (2004). Staying true to Disney: College students' resistance to criticism of The Little Mermaid. Communication Review, 7(1), 35-55. Cox, M., Garrett, E., & Graham, J. A. (2004). Death in Disney films: Implications for children understands of death. Omega: Journal of Death & Dying, 50(4), 267-280. Currie, D.H. (1997). Decoding femininity: Advertisements and their teenage readers. Gender and Society, 11(4), pp. 453-477. Kazyak, E., & Martin, K. (2009). Hetero-romantic love and heterosexism in children’s G-rated films. Gender and Society, 23(3), pp. 315-336. Orenstein, P. (2011). Cinderella ate my daughter. New York, NY: HarperCollins. Reising, R. (1997). It's a dirty world after all. American Quarterly, 49(4), 851-858. ST Lyrics (n.d.). Bring honor to us all (Mulan) lyrics. Retrieved from http://www.stlyrics.com/songs/d/disney6472/bringhonortousallmulan784549.html Towbin, M., Haddock, S., Zimmerman, S., Lund, L., Tanner, L. (2004). Images of gender, race, age, and sexual orientation in Disney feature-length animated films. Journal of Feminist Family Therapy, 15(4), pp. 19-44 Ward, A.R. (2002). Mouse morality: The rhetoric of Disney animated film. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press.
Mindfulness-Based Therapies as Viable Treatments for Clinical Depression (By Michelle Poirson) Clinical depression, also known as major depression or major depressive disorder (MDD), has become a common condition in society today. In recent years, new scientific findings have shifted society’s perspectives from talk-based therapy to antidepressant medications as the more suitable treatment for the condition. However, meditative-based therapies, also known as mindfulness-based therapies (MBTs), are another treatment option that has often been overlooked. Meditative-based therapies such as mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) and dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) are more suitable, legitimate treatment options for mild to moderate clinical depression that can serve as replacements for conventional antidepressant treatments. Clinical depression is a serious, debilitating mental condition affecting many people worldwide. Marina Marcus et al., contributors to the World Health Organization (WHO), state that 350 million people worldwide suffer from depression, which is characterized as the “leading cause of disability” (6). In a more specific context, Marcus et al. state that the condition is “the leading cause of disease burden for women in both high-income and low- and middle-income countries” (6). In addition to having self-deprecating thoughts involving negative distortions of reality and low self-esteem, many clinically depressed patients have suicidal thoughts which can result in actual acts of suicide. Marcus el al. state that one million people die from suicide each year, with depression being one of the major risk factors (6). These facts indicate the seriousness of the condition and the need for more widely available, effective treatment options. In order to understand the true nature of the condition addressed in this paper, it is important that we distinguish between clinical depression and the normal feelings of sadness that comprise dysthymia. When most people hear the word “depression,” they associate the term with feelings of sadness and melancholy. However, clinical depression encompasses much more than these normal feelings of gloom. According to Wasserman, two main types of depression exist: major depression and dysthymia (21). Patients with major clinical depression are typically apathetic, despondent, and unable to engage in activities that were once considered to be enjoyable (17). She also explains that despondency, one of the main signs of major clinical depression, is “deep, lasting, and strikingly different from everyday blues”—in in other words, individuals who are feeling despondent are usually sad and view the world through a negative filter (16). Dysthymia, on the other hand, is characterized by more temporary feelings of sadness. These feelings are synonymous with the typical down-and-out emotions we usually associate with depression. Keeping the difference between these two in mind will clarify the argument in this paper. These results of MBCT demonstrate that it is a suitable treatment due to its effectiveness in reducing relapses and depression scores. Because depression is so widespread and debilitating, better treatment options should be made available for such a condition. According to Aoife Singh, research shows that MBCT, or mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, is a type of MBT that is successful in treating symptoms of clinical depression. Based on Buddhist concepts of present-minded awareness and meditation, MBCT has been shown to produce positive outcomes for mental and physical ailments relating to clinical depression (7). Notably, Teasdale and his colleagues found that only 36% of depressed patients who were treated with MBCT and gained 121
increased meta-cognitive awareness suffered from relapses (Smalley and Winston 2216). Sipe and Eisendrath compared three different studies, showing that they each demonstrated improvements in depression scores, with one study showing a “significant improvement in BDI [Beck Depression Inventory] scores” (66). Some proponents of antidepressants may argue that interventions like MBCT should not be considered as effective treatment options for clinical depression. These people base their claim on the fact that MBCT is a relatively new treatment and thus has not been through enough clinical trials. While MBCT has not been tried in as many studies as antidepressants, the positive results from studies already conducted thus far cannot be denied. Teresa Edenfield and Sy Saeed conclude that while more studies on mindfulness and depression are needed to determine its effectiveness as a stand-alone treatment, the ability of mindfulness to combat depressive symptoms looks “promising” (137-138). In addition, McCarney et al. found that MBCT can be expected to reduce depression symptoms even though “more advanced research is needed to determine the factors that contribute this effectiveness” (296). Thus, the fact remains that even though MBCT is a relatively new treatment, most results show that it has a huge potential to combat the negative effects of clinical depression. By understanding the fundamental concepts of MBCT and how they are able to help clinically depressed patients deal with their condition, we will be able to gain a better understanding of why this therapy is effective. As mentioned earlier, MBCT is connected to the Buddhist concepts of present-moment awareness found in meditation. This type of awareness enables people to sit with their thoughts and emotions without avoiding them. Avoidance is something that sustains negative self-perceptions and judgments that are responsible for the debilitating nature of clinical depression. Sipe and Eisendrath reiterate this fact by pointing out that MBCT is designed to help patients cultivate mindfulness skills and increased awareness towards “previous avoided emotions” (64). Facing negative thoughts is an important step when it comes to alleviating distorted self-perceptions. MBCT also helps patients to combat clinical depression by allowing them to view their emotions and thoughts non-judgmentally. Being aware of self-deprecating thoughts is one thing, but remaining neutral and not allowing further distortions to occur is another. Smalley and Winston explain that self-deprecating or “self-hating,” thoughts are responsible for many of the distressing emotions associated with clinical depression. Mindfulness seeks to “change your relationship to thought,” while cognitive therapy “attempt[s] to change the content of your thought” (Loc 3569). As a result, the combination of these two concepts that comprise MBCT allow clinically depressed patients to develop this state of non-judgmental awareness and eliminate perpetual self-deprecating thoughts. As mentioned by Feldman, this state can help bring patients some peace of mind by “preventing depressed patients from feeling overwhelmed by or stuck within these experiences” (320). By providing patients with these cognitive skills, MBCT gives patients a sense of empowerment when it comes to managing their condition. MBCT not only allows patients to use non-judgmental awareness to help alleviate negative thoughts, but it also allows them to develop skills to prevent these thoughts from reoccurring. 122
According to Sipe and Eisendrath, perhaps the most positive impact of MBCT that supports its effectiveness is its ability to help patients recognize and prevent future occurrences of selfdeprecating thoughts (64). The results of several studies attest to the success of this prevention. Ramel et al. and Deyo et al., two unrelated groups of researchers who each carried out their own study, note that patients with higher mindfulness levels have demonstrated decreased ruminations (Edenfield and Saeed 135). Furthermore, a study done by Piet and Hougaard found that MBCT is an effective mechanism for
preventing relapses in major depressive patients. Even though their studies were conducted independently, Piet and Hougaard’s results were identical to those of Chiesa and Serretti (8). These consistent results from independent studies are strong evidence that support MBCT’s effectiveness in reducing ruminations, in addition to preventing relapses. DBT, another type of MBT, can also replace antidepressants and function as a viable treatment option. DBT is similar to MBCT in that it promotes non-judgmental awareness. However, since it was originally developed to treat bipolar disorder, its main focus is suicide prevention. While DBT was developed more recently than MBCT, DBT is more effective in terms of suicide prevention. For example, the results of Wasserman et al.’s study show that DBT is able to reduce the amount of suicide attempts by half as compared to non-behavioral therapies (763). This team of researchers pointed out that the patients who received DBT were less likely to continue taking their antidepressant medications (764). Thus, DBT’s ability to reduce suicidal thoughts and actions through basic awareness principles is effective to the point that it can be used as a replacement for antidepressants. Some dissidents of MBTs believe that these therapies are not effective because they do not address the biological component of clinical depression. However, based on the information about MBTs provided above, it can be ascertained that this condition extends beyond a mere biological explanation. In other words, clinical depression is not a condition that is completely biological and predetermined. Rather, much of the condition involves emotional aspects (i.e. selfdeprecating thoughts, feelings of worthlessness, low self-esteem, etc.) that can be managed by the patient means other than medication. MBCT and DBT also provide added benefits outside the realm of reducing self-deprecating thoughts. By allowing patients to manage and improve their thought patterns, these treatments give patients the freedom to live a better quality of life. Sipe and Eisendrath explain that MBCT helps depressed patients have more room for other types of “cognitive and behavioral responses” by removing the negative thoughts and behaviors that once occupied a significant portion of their lives (65-66). In addition to creating space for other types of thoughts, MBTs generally make patients happier and physically healthier. This happiness is something that is gained and is not something that occurs simply because the depression has been reduced. Warren et al. provide improved neural structuring, stronger immune systems, better stress management, improved social relationships, and self-compassion as examples of the benefits can be gained from mindfulness (576). All these added benefits make MBTs a priority treatment option. Despite their effectiveness and the added benefits they provide, MBTs are significantly overshadowed by antidepressant treatments. Because the modern mindset has gravitated towards convenience and fast results, especially in dealing with any type of illness, most people in developed countries have embraced antidepressants. After the initial marketing of Xanax for 123
anxiety, using drugs to treat mental health-related issues reached a peak in the late 1980s with the introduction of Prozac. This preference of drugs has carried into today. As a result of this, many clinically depressed patients have overlooked the psychological aspects of the condition, leading to their pursuit of an over-hyped, less effective treatment. While antidepressants are considered to be the most effective treatment option for clinical depression due to their scientific reliability, they are often tested in biased studies conducted by pharmaceutical companies with special interests. Charles Barber, a Harvard and Columbia graduate who has worked extensively in the mental health field, exposes the compromising interests of major pharmaceutical companies and the welfare of mental health patients in his book Comfortably Numb: How Psychiatry is Medicating a Nation. He writes that pharmaceutical companies sponsor more than half of the research studies conducted for antidepressants. When comparing these sponsored studies to independent studies, he found that the sponsored studies report positive effects more often than the independent studies (40). This discrepancy in results indicates the control these companies have in the mental health field, which, sadly, comes at the expense of the patients’ well-being. Through media advertisements, pharmaceutical companies further show personal bias about selling their products by promoting antidepressant treatments with a focus on making profits rather than improving patients’ well-being. Barber notes that more money is spent on advertisements than on scientific research (36). This fact can lead one to assume that antidepressants are not as reliable as pharmaceutical companies want the public to believe. With more funding being spent on advertisements, the effectiveness of the antidepressants themselves does not seem to be a priority for these companies as making a profit is. Treatments that are being quickly approved for the sake of profits without being properly tested could mean there are faulty drugs on the market; therefore, the effectiveness of any new treatments should be questioned by clinically depressed patients and their caregivers. Despite the manipulative, profit-seeking actions taken by the pharmaceutical companies, some people believe that antidepressants are effective for people with clinical depression. This idea is only true to a certain extent, for antidepressants are only effective for patients with severe cases of clinical depression. Dr. Irving Kirsch, a Harvard medical researcher, stated in a recent interview that, “Anyone who’s not that severely depressed, you’re not seeing any clinically significant benefit at all” (qtd. in O’Shea, Livesey, and Lehner). Dr. Kirsch also states that he had found no significant difference between the effects of placebo drugs and five mainstream antidepressants in his examination of clinical trial data. His findings are corroborated by the initial reports made by the pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly after its clinical trials for Prozac in 1979 (O’Shea, Livesey, and Lehner). However, antidepressants are mostly taken by clinically depressed people with mild to moderate cases, which constitute the majority of the clinically depressed population. As a result, antidepressants are often being marketed and prescribed to the wrong population. This misdirected targeting deprives patients of the full benefits they could be receiving. Another major problem with this targeting is that it includes people who are not even diagnosed with clinical depression. Barber points out that antidepressants are usually marketed as “lifestyle agents” (50). This means that these medications are being targeted towards people who are experiencing troubling yet normal life issues not associated with clinical depression. This 124
unnecessary consumption of antidepressants is a waste of resources and is detrimental to the majority of the clinically depressed population. In addition to not being able to improve the majority of the clinically depressed population’s cases, antidepressants cause detrimental psychological effects. While antidepressants can help patients who are severely clinically depressed, they tend to make most clinically depressed patients dependent on them. These patients become more reliant on the medication to manage their depression, causing them to feel incapable of managing the condition on their own. Sipe and Eisendrath suggest that ineffective pharmaceutical interventions may actually cause patients to view their depression as part of who they are. It is this conception of the depression that contributes to negative beliefs (66). Clinical depression conceptualized in this way may cause patients to have prolonged feelings of helplessness that contribute to the condition’s debilitating nature. These feelings of helplessness can be avoided through the use of MBTs. By teaching patients that their condition can be managed through psychological means, MBTs allow clinically depressed patients to develop a sense of control over their own condition. Despite the fact that clinical depression has a biological component, the psychological aspects of the condition must be acknowledged as well. Recognizing these aspects provides an avenue which patients can use to manage the condition using the skills they have gained through therapy. The sense of control that patients gain from MBTs is important because it makes them more self-reliant instead of being dependent on an antidepressant bottle to alleviate their symptoms. Proponents of antidepressants often consider them to be the superior treatment for clinical depression because they address the biological components of the condition. However, evidence has shown that MBTs also affect clinically depressed patients in a similar and even better way. The main results/cures that most people ascribe to antidepressants are their ability to stabilize moods and prevent relapses. With regard to relapse prevention, MBTs, as mentioned, have had significant success in promoting this effect. Alice Wright reports that a study conducted by Professor William Kuyken found that MBCT had the same effect as antidepressants in terms of relapse prevention (1). MBTs also have the potential to affect patients on a larger biological scale. Smalley and Winston list neuroplasticity—the formation of new connections in the brain— and epigenetics, or the expression of genes in response to environmental factors-, as two biological processes that mindfulness can promote in people (Loc 409). While many medical professionals recommend alternative treatments like MBTs, they often suggest MBTs should be used as complementary treatments to antidepressants. Labeling MBTs as complementary treatments, however, only serves to undermine the value of MBTs by causing patients to regard them as unnecessary options. Naturally, patients who are looking for some relief from their condition look to the primary treatment option, especially if it is one recommended by a professional. While MBTs are relatively new and not as recognized as antidepressants, they are much better treatment options for the majority of the clinically depressed population since MBTs affect patients on biological levels as well as psychological levels. Thus, placing a greater emphasis on these treatments instead of antidepressants should be the primary goal of medical professionals and mental health advocates alike.
Clinical depression is a widespread, debilitating condition that is need of a more effective primary treatment option. One good treatment option presents itself in the form of MBTs, which would benefit the majority of the clinically depressed population. Even though these MBTs provide both psychological and biological benefits, they are currently being overshadowed by antidepressant medications. Antidepressants are often not as effective as many people consider them to be, and the only people who should be taking them are the severely clinically depressed. Because of this, antidepressants should only be considered as last resort treatment option for this subset of the clinically depressed population. More awareness on the appropriateness and value of both MBTs and antidepressants as treatments should be promoted in order to provide all clinically depressed patients with the care they deserve. WORKS CITED Barber, Charles. Comfortably Numb: How Psychiatry Is Medicating a Nation. New York: Pantheon, 2008. Print. Edenfield, Teresa M., and Sy A. Saeed. "An Update on Mindfulness Meditation as a Self-help Treatment for Anxiety and Depression." Psychology Research and Behavior Management 5 (2012): 131-41. DovePress. Dove Medical Press, 23 Oct. 2012. Web. 20 Feb. 2013. Feldman, Greg, et al. "Change in Emotional Processing during a Dialectical Behavior Therapybased Skills Group for Major Depressive Disorder." Behaviour Research and Therapy 47.4 (2009): 316-21. ScienceDirect. Elsevier Ltd., Apr. 2009. Web. 22 Feb. 2013. Marcus, Marina, et al. â€œDepression: A Global Public Health Concern.â€? Depression: A Global Crisis. (2012): 6-13. World Health Organization. Web. 24 Feb. 2013. McCarney, Robert William, Joerg Schulz, and Andrew Robert Grey. "Effectiveness of Mindfulness-Based Therapies in Reducing Symptoms of Depression: A Meta-Analysis." European Journal Of Psychotherapy & Counselling 14.3 (2012): 279-299. Academic Search Premier. Web. 22 Feb. 2013. O'Shea, Sean, Bruce Livesey, and Matt Lehner. "Drug Reactions: The Effectiveness of Antidepressants." Global News. Shaw Media Inc., 22 Apr. 2013. Web. 26 Apr. 2013. Singh, Aoife. "Use of Mindfulness-Based Therapies in Psychiatry." Progress in Neurology and Psychiatry 16.6 (2012): 7-11. Wiley Online Library. John Wiley & Sons, 5 Dec. 2012. Web. 24 Feb. 2013. Sipe, Walter E. B., and Stuart J. Eisendrath. "Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy: Theory and Practice." Canadian Journal Of Psychiatry 57.2 (2012): 63-69. Academic Search Premier. Web. 6 Feb. 2013. Smalley, Susan L., and Diana Winston. Fully Present: The Science, Art, and Practice of Mindfulness. Philadelphia, PA: DaCapo, 2010. Kindle file. Wasserman, Danuta. Depression: The Facts. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006. Print.
Wright, Alice. "Meditation therapy can lift depression." Western Morning News (Plymouth) 01 Dec. 2008: 15. Newspaper Source Plus. Web. 10 Feb. 2013.
MEET THE WRITERS! [Not Pictured] Hafid El Alaoui I am a native from Morocco, and I lived several years in Europe before coming here to the United States in 2009. I am majoring in mathematics and would like to teach in that field. Studying here at HPU is an amazing experience; we meet students from different parts of the world. What I like most at HPU is the spirit of the instructors; they are always willing to help students to understand the material. I would like to dedicate this paper to my wonderful tutor in Florida, Ruth Errainey, who taught me English when I first came to the United States in 2009. It is my way to tell her â€œthank youâ€? for all her help.
I was born in North Vancouver, British Columbia, and grew up in a little town called Deep Cove on Canada's West Coast. I am currently taking introductory nursing courses and hope to start my career in psychiatric nursing after my degree. My favorite thing about living in Hawaii is the diversity of the people and the island. There are people here from just about every country, bringing together different ethnicities, cultures, beliefs, and traditions. As for the diversity of the island, in just half an hour of travelling, you can experience both an urbanized, upbeat concrete city and the most serene areas of lush vegetation.
Originally from Chicago, Illinois, I am currently a sophomore at HPU. I intend on majoring in Biology and Health Sciences because I aspire to work in the medical field in the near future. My favorite thing about living in Hawaii is the wide range of diversity present throughout the islands and how that has increased my knowledge about different cultures.
Angelica Araujo I am from Kailua-Kona, on the Big Island of Hawaii. My major is Asian Studies, and I will likely become an international political analyst. My favorite thing about Hawaii is that we always have great weather that makes everyone cheery.
Makai Lawson 128
I am originally from Kailua, Oahu. My major is Advertising and Public Relations; I am also minoring in Journalism and Theater. My career plans are becoming a journalist, news reporter, or working for a Public Relations firm. My favorite things about attending HPU are the small class sizes, the clubs, and internship opportunities. Leilani Lee I was born and raised on the island of Oahu and grew up in Kailua. My major is TESOL and I am minoring in Japanese language. After graduating, I plan on participating in the JET program and teaching the English language in Japan. My favorite thing about living in Hawaii is the culture and having the beach as my backyard. Cheyenne Low
I've been fortunate enough to have been born and raised on Oʻahu. I was raised in Hawaii Kai until middle school, when I moved to Kaimuki. I've set nearly impossible goals for myself so that I may always work to the best of my abilities. I started out at HPU majoring in Computer Science with a minor in Japanese. However, I am transferring to University of Southern California in Spring 2014 to complete my Bachelor’s, followed by a Master’s in software engineering, Joshua Lum study abroad in Japan, and learning Korean. I intend to be a software engineer who is linguistically able to work in countries that lead in technology, like Japan and Korea. My favorite thing about Hawaii is the warm weather all year around. I'm thankful for all the beaches and the "secret spots" secluded from even some of the locals, allowing unique privacy at the beach even on Oʻahu. My favorite things about HPU are the great teachers, their fun personalities and engaging teaching styles. Students are not just known by a number on their class roster, but by name.
Originally I'm from Phoenix, Arizona, and my major is Biology and Human Health. I plan on using this degree to get into medical school and become a pediatrician. I love living in Hawaii and feel privileged to attend HPU because 129
Yazmin “Liz” Mendoza
the Hawaii Loa campus is so beautiful. The weather and animals around the Hawaiian Islands remind me of how blessed I am to live here.
Originally I'm from three years. My favorite its amazing nature, the My major is TIM. In the boutique hotel and/or
Russia. I have lived in Hawaii for things about living in Hawaii are ocean, and the cultural diversity. future, I'd love to own a small ethnic restaurant.
I'm originally from New Orleans, Louisiana. I'm majoring in Psychology, and I plan to become a therapist in the future. I love the cultural diversity of Hawaii, especially at HPU.
I was born in Kansas City, Missouri. I am a double major in Political Science and International Relations. My favorite thing about living in Hawaii is being close to family.
I am a military brat, and the longest place I have ever lived is Seoul, South Korea. My major is Elementary Education, and I plan to become a certified teacher and work at many public schools in the nation and overseas. My favorite thing about living in Hawaii is the weather. I'm not fond of cold winters, so having year-round warm China Rigor
weather is a definite plus. In addition, I love attending HPU because of the small classes and the location of the university.
I am originally from Guthrie, Oklahoma, but was stationed in Hawaii. That's how I started attending HPU. My major is Environmental Studies, and I hope to educate people about the importance of sustainable living and caring for our planet. My favorite thing about Hawaii is the opportunity to live in nature and visit the other islands. Attending HPU has given me many great opportunities, and I absolutely love being here. Amber Squires I am a local girl from Mililani, Hawaii. I am currently in my second year as a pre-nursing major. My plans for after graduation include working in a hospital on the island while pursuing a Masterâ€™s degree. My favorite thing about attending HPU is the small class size.
I am from Stockholm, Sweden, and my major is International Studies. I don't know exactly what I want to do after I graduate, but a dream would be to be able to work with the entire world as my workplace. My favorite thing about living in Hawaii is the nature and the climate; it is so easy to just go to the beach or go on a beautiful hike. Sanna Strand I am from Wahiawa, Hawaii. I am a Biology Human Health Sciences major and hope to become an occupational therapist one day. My favorite thing about living in Hawaii is the people, along with the many different cultures here.
Morgan Yamaguchi 131
MAHALO The editors and contributors would like to acknowledge the contributions and support of the following people: David Lanoue, Dean, HPU College of Humanities and Social Sciences William Potter, Associate Dean, HPU College of Humanities and Social Sciences Antonio De Castro, HPU Web Services Laurie Leach, Chair, HPU English Department Brittany McGarry, Editorial Intern Lily Nazareno, Cover Artist Nominating Instructors Kathleen Cassity David Falgout Christy Williams Patrice Wilson