week 11

Assignment 11

How does sustainability fit into your career plans? What specific area or practice of sustainability would you like to pursue, if any? Are you likely to follow the advances pertaining to sustainability in any particular discipline outside of your own? Are you likely to consider a second or an interdisciplinary field?

Sustainability fits into my career plan by ultimately affecting my judgement when in a business setting. If I were to open a restaurant there are a lot of decisions I would have to make that could negatively impact the environment. It would be cool to make as many decisions as possible that promotes regeneration and turns away methods and products that are harmful for the environment. I think that a restaurant that is regenerative and is known to the customers would make customers feel better about themselves and in turn work as an advertisement and a knowledge spread about sustainable practices. I am unlikely to consider a second o an interdisciplinary field.

Discuss any of the unanswered questions that may still be lingering in your mind about sustainability. What continuing or new concerns, doubts or questions do you have as a result of having taken this course? What viewpoints expressed within the course content do you most disagree with? Consider the topic of sustainability in the mind of the American public. What would be most confusing or difficult for them? How do or would you respond to some of the rhetoric that has led to anger, confusion, false hope or indifference? What do you consider to be our greatest stumbling blocks to achieving sustainability? Is there a better, easier or quicker way? Are you more optimistic or less optimistic after having taken this course, if either? Are you more determined to make a difference?

I question whether my single contribution would do much in the fight for sustainability. I also question the progress of sustainability here in the United States and whether we are leading an example for other countries or actually doing the opposite. There was nothing much in class I really disagreed with besides giving up meat. I believe that we should some how make people who really want meat to hunt free grazed animals instead of farming them. That way a majority of people would simply not eat meat because they’d have to get their hands dirty. Right now it’s so easy to just walk into a store and buy meat products without thinking of how the meat got to the market in the first place. Most of the time when we purchase meat at stores we are paying for people to raise a tortured animal and then slaughtering them, yet most people believe their hands are clean because they simply just don’t think about the meat they eat and how it got there. I think sustainability is most confusing to Americans in that we think that anything green means it is sustainable but a lot of “green” things and methods may only be reducing harmful effects and not actually stopping it. I believe that sustainability must become a trend that’s “cool” and in that way people are more open to it and open to learn about sustainability. This course has a definitely made me more confident in what is sustainable and what is not and has definitely influenced me to at least try  to make a difference.


week 10

Week 10

Discuss the potential of America’s so-called melting pot becoming a strategic approach to climate change. Has the melting together of many immigrant populations within the United States seemed to have had a positive or negative impact on the environment? What has been its impact on community? Is there still too much tension between differing groups? Can we credit our diversity with a particular ability to problem solve? Has the melting resulted in a collective intelligence? Or, on the other hand, a collective indifference? Or worse yet, isolation from and contempt for others? Is a homogeneous culture more likely to become global citizens with global environmental awareness and universal empathy? Or do you believe that a homogeneous culture is more likely to take a people down the wrong path? Imagine every nation in the world as a melting pot. Consider the way that inequality spread across the world as described by Jared Diamond and how different the conditions are today. Are we getting closer to becoming an equal world/global melting pot? If so, would we be less likely to destroy the planet? to engage in war? Would we be more likely to restore our natural and social ecosystems? Is a regenerative world only possible as a global melting pot? Can it happen in today’s world with a wide variety of cultures and traditions, religions, languages and belief systems? And with the resistance to certain migrant populations? If so, why could it work? If not, why not?

I believe that the melting together of immigrant populations within the Unites States has had a positive impact on the environment. With so many different cultures and beliefs we have brought together people who care about the environment and wants it to thrive. We are still corrupted by the overpowering of corporations but as far as environmental efforts we are definitely trying. Our nations diversity definitely brings to the table something other countries can’t, which is different perspectives and cultural ways. We our a nation of every ethnicity and every religion and that’s what gives this country its beauty. There are many parts of this country where isolation is a problem due to their being a lack of diversity throughout the country and only in the bigger cities does this diversity melting pot exist. I believe that a homogeneous culture is more likely to take people down the right path because we compromise here and take the goods of everything and try to drop the bad. I don’t believe we are becoming an equal world melting pot just yet since such diversity is not prevalent in many other countries. I believe through compromise and technology, even with all the worlds cultures, traditions, religions, languages, and belief systems we can form a regenerative world though unlikely and very difficult.

Your reaction to the optional video documentary on Guns, Germs and Steel

The question in the beginning about why we carry so much cargo compared to the New Guineans was a great perspective question. I believe the New Guineans were content with their way of living and did not care as much for materialism and that’s what set them back technologically. They are no lesser because of this though because like the speaker said the New Guineans could make shelter and thrive wherever in the forest they decide to shelter while most of us would be helpless in the middle of a forest.  I thought the most interesting part of the video was how they described how the first stone aged humans domesticated plants. I never really thought of domestication anything other than animals. I thought it was interesting how the speaker states that we interrupted the nature selection of how the wheat grew and which traits would pass on usually in nature the traits that would probably keep the plants alive the best according to its terrain, but instead we farm the wheat to favor the tastiest, largest, and fast growing plants. This could have a downside because those plants have now been weakened and dependent on humans to cultivate them which ruins their sustainability. The next interesting thing I found about the video was the unfair evolution of different countries due to their natural resources like plants, animals, and terrain. And this brought up a term that i didn’t know about which is farming animals and domesticating them for use other than being eaten or for their eggs, milk, etc. I never thought of domesticating animals to do labor and to get rid of certain pests to increase productivity on a farm. And this really shows how much of an advantage other countries with more domesticated animals obtain due to simply being natural to the land.



Uncategorized · week 9

Assignment 9

Discuss creativity. Recall the week 6 assigned video, RiP! A Remix Manifesto. Does there seem to be a concerted effort to limit, discourage or even prevent creativity among the general public? Are art and other forms of creativity neglected? Should it be taught more in schools and funded better for the general public? Or is there today abundant opportunity for cultural expression? Does art even serve a function in an industrial worldview? Or does it only serve a purpose within commercial advertising and limited to select artists? Should art and other ideas be intended only for commercial consumption? Is there a connection between creativity and productivity, in the terms we discussed in class? In other words, are we preventing communities from creating for themselves in the same way that we may be preventing communities from producing for themselves? Is the privatization of ideas in science, industry, medicine, and music destroying culture and society similar to the way that the privatization of natural resources is destroying the environment?

I feel like the intial plan was not to limit, discourage or even prevent creativity but to protect it. But because of the nature of copyright it eventually did do all those negative things. I never really thought of copyright to be such a negative thing and never realized how prevalent it is in our modern music today. Art and other ideas should be intended for all uses not just for commercial consumption. Creativity and productivity does share a connection. If we stop communities from being creative then there would only be tradition methods that may not be optimal and therefore there would be a lack of productivity of improvement. Privatization of ideas in all those industry is not destroying them but it is harmfully affecting their productivity, it’s not like copyright destroys all creativity and inspiration it just limits it.


Discuss the collective consciousness of today’s America. How do we identify ourselves? What distinguishes us from the other peoples of the world – from our own perspective or from that of other people? Is it all about freedom and opportunity? Recall last week’s assignment and consider the Schwarz and de Tocqueville readings. Consider also any of the optional audio recordings or videos that you may have heard or viewed. Recall earlier discussions on cultural creation, values, and being an empathic civilization. Does our self-identity match the evidence? What would be a more realistic identity for America? Would it be more honest to identify ourselves as a mass consumption society? Consider the significance of being more truthful with the assessment of who we are as a people. The aspirations of freedom and opportunity are held in high regard throughout much of the world. Mass consumerism, on the other hand, is not. Do you believe that mass consumerism is a reflection/an outcome of the extraordinary freedom and opportunity experienced by Americans? Or only that it is portrayed that way? Does mass consumerism erode culture and social capital and render them useless survival mechanisms for a people? It seems to disconnect a people from their history and their land. Consumerism can be transplanted anywhere and at any time. How similar are we to Nietzsche’s Last Man, if you are familiar with that famous work? Americans may be in the best position of any people to address the problem of climate change and the other complex problems we face as a civilization. Yet Americans seem to be contributing the most to these problems. What does that say about our self-proclaimed identity with freedom and opportunity? Or with being brilliant scientists and innovators? Do we justify our greedy, excessive and wasteful lifestyles with proclamations that we are the envy of the world? Suppose that Americans begin questioning who they are? Would we have a better success at addressing climate change, hunger, poverty, refugees and war if we admitted our faults and shortcomings? Would young military recruits be less likely to sign up to go to war if they thought they were defending mass consumerism rather than freedom and democracy? Is it more likely that we can have lasting international agreements on addressing climate change?

Our nation views ourselves as strong, leaders, powerful, wealthy, and the most free country. I feel like we are too in over our heads. We focus on our military might and forget about things like healthcare and education. We focus on short-comings instead of the long-term. We believe that no other nation is as free as we are yet this is entirely untrue. We are a greedy, vain, and selfish country. We push our values on everyone and reflect a mass consumerism society. We produce so much waste and consume so much materialistic things. I feel like many people in our society do not question how things are done and why they are. We are hypocrites. One this one occasion I was at a market and overheard some guys talking about how they hunted pigs over the weekend, cooked them, and brought them home. A lady nearby also overheard their conversation and was upset at them wondering why they would kill such an animal and that they were crazy for killing, skinning, and eating the animal. But every time that lady who was buying meat eats meat she is paying for someone else to slaughter animals for her to eat. Yet it is okay because she is so far from the killing yet responsible. I thought this was an amazing realization because I had never thought of that. That every time I eat meat I am paying for someone else to kill and animal so that I can consume it. Maybe if we made people have to kill animals themselves to eat them there would be more vegetarians in the world… Much more.


week 8

Assignment 8

Hemp and rule of Law Video

I was actually really surprised at what HEMP actually was and looked like. I always thought that the hemp plant was marijuana and was a drug but in fact it looks like any other agricultural crop and it definitely is not marijuana. I thought that it was ridiculous how the DEA does not even allow the research and claims that it is a “slippery slope” which is ridiculous knowing how Hemp can create such great products like fabric and as a strong alternative to plastics. I was also shocked that other countries allow hemp farming but not in the united states. Hemp should definitely be popularized and be used as a building material since it is strong and green.

Your reaction to the optional video interview of Noam Chomsky

I’ve never heard of Noam Chomsky and was surprised at how well known he is in his field. He is definitely an intellect and speaks so. I thought it was surprising when he mentioned how if you go to other countries like Argentina or a country in Europe and came back to America he said it would seem as if this country is a 3rd world country. I thought that was quite a claim but at the same time I agree with what he’s saying because I’ve been to Sweden, Japan, and London and honestly the infrastructure there is much better thought out especially the transportation systems. The buildings and streets are cleaner, education is better, health system is better, yet we our supposed to be a great county.
I thought it was also very interesting how he mentioned how our transportation system has no improved much at all in 60 years. Other countries use their money to improve their infrastructure, healthcare systems, education, and transportation while we’re spending all our money in the military and corporations.
Chomsky basically trash talked the U.S. for a hour and that was amusing.

week 7

Week 7

7A – Discuss Nature as a Model. Consider any example that you or the general public considers to be sustainable and discuss why it is believed to be so. You can consider a sustainable practice, design standard or development strategy, a great idea for a forward-thinking business venture, or even a techno- or social-fix. Now analyze whether this same example is designed like nature using the same criteria we used in class. Has it eliminated the concept of waste? Is it net productive? Is it self-organizing, self-correcting and equitable? Is it emergent or simply an attempt to improve a broken system? You can use any practice, belief or design that you can think of, whether it is considered sustainable or not. Can you think of something that is sustainable but designed nothing like nature? Can you think of something that is not sustainable yet designed just like nature? In what ways was William McDonough using nature as a model?

Nature as a model is a great representation of what our designs and technologies should be replicating because nature has perfected its processes and methods and will go on without any intervention from humans. Recycling is something I would assume many believe is sustainable, but it is not entirely designed like nature. Recycling for the most part does eliminate the concept of  plastic waste but that would require all plastic to be recycled which depends on people to do so. Recycling is net productive, not self-organizing, not self-correcting, and is equitable. Recycling is currently just reducing plastic waste but if everyone would recycle and corporations would use less plastic recycling can be more sustainable. I can’t think of anything that is unsustainable and designed by nature or sustainable thats not designed by nature.

Your reaction to the required Gabor Maté video

I really like how Gabor brought up stewardship and how we view nature and animals as us dominating them and controlling them when there’s another view where we could be caring for nature and animals instead which would promote sustainability. Gabor states that our materialistic nature is the root cause for many problems, since we treat nature poorly and because so we create a toxic environment that affects peoples health. Gabor links a lot of health problems with social and economic issues since people who are more poor live in worse environments that cause stressors to the parents and thus stress to the child. An example he gives is that obesity can be caused by stress because people are stressed and they will eat to relieve stress temporarily. Ultimately, stress is a big problem in our society.


week 6

Week 6

Briefly explain the degenerative economic systems model that we discussed in class using an example. You may use any one of the stories listed in the Optional Developments in the News section above. What is the role that regulation plays in the wasting of humaneness and the concentration of wealth?

The degenerative economic systems model shows a cycle containing mass production, mass consumption, collective dehumanization, regulation, concentration of capital, wealth and power and Mass extraction exploration. It is all connected into a cycle where resources make wealth and power then wealth and power make more resources etc… Regulations serves as a misguided notion that it is making the economic system regenerative when it is really just a quick fix. For example, consumption problems like obesity can be regulated by a diet but that is just a quick fix when nutrition and availability of healthier foods is the long term fix.

Your reaction to the required RiP! video

At first i saw the duration of the video and was very reluctant to watch it but I began watching it and time actually flew by real quick with all the interesting information in the video. I never really thought of copyright being a bad thing in limiting creativity. I didn’t realize that so many songs derived and were inspired by other songs. I also did not know that I copyrighted by downloading free music online. I thought it was also great how the film connects the evolution of how we communicate and share and how copyrighting actually criminalizes it. I liked how the video connected copyright with how culture grows and comes from somewhere just like creativity, music, movies, ideas, etc… The past is important for the future because it helps us build on ideas and things that already exist and improving them. Overall the video was interesting.



Assignment 5

Report at least two incidents of crowd sourcing from your everyday observations. You may report incidents you experience in person or by watching TV or videos online. What makes your examples representative of emergent behavior described by Steven Johnson?

I use a crowd sourcing app pretty regularly and that app is Waze. The app uses it’s collective group of users to report traffic jams and any other problems with the road and how to get to your destination the quickest.
Another instance of crowd sourcing I come across is asking friends that go to cal poly to let me know which classes to take and which teachers so we collectively know who to avoid or who to take.
This relates to what Steven Johnson describes in that the app waze takes a bunch of peoples knowledge to form a traffic database for everyone using the app to see. It’s a bunch of people performing a simple task like reporting an accident or traffic to inform everyone else. Just like in my situation where my friends and  I share information about classes and professors to collectively make us avoid mistakes that one of us had made.

Your reaction to the required Johnson reading

What caught my attention was the fact that in the beginning it is stated that a slime was “trained” to finish a maze and that made me want to know what was next. After that I was very loosely interested in the rest of the article but I can understand why this is such a profound thing because of the emergent system completely reinforces the idea that “two heads are better than one” or thousands… The only experience I have in this is in a game I played called World of Warcraft I was mining for ore and it took a hour to obtain x200 ores but with a group of people doing the same simple task we multiplied that number. Another instance is how the pyramids in Egypt were built. One person could not have done it, it took thousands of people doing simple and different task to create them.