My Topic: For this semester, I chose to research the controversial vegan movement in an effort to find out how it benefits society, the individual, and the animals.
My Essays: For my first research paper, I focused on whether or not a vegan lifestyle is truly a healthy way to live, and how it may be more beneficial than any other diet. I learned that veganism can be the healthiest way to live if the proper foods are being consumed, but can also be unhealthy if the diet is heavy in carbohydrates and fats. In my second essay, I researched how animal production has changed as a result of the industrial revolution, making veganism a more favorable lifestyle than ever before. Not only are the animals being harmed due to production, but the earth’s environment and atmosphere is as well. My final paper will inform readers how they can go about making changes in their everyday routines to lessen their impact on animals, the earth and their own bodies. It may be quite challenging to go vegan all at once, but taking baby steps allows people to ease into the transition at a pace they feel comfortable with.
My Research Methods: Researching my topic was an enjoyable and unique experience because veganism is discussed throughout different sources of media. I was not limited to only scholarly sources, and instead had the freedom to access social media content, advertisements, popular news sources and campaigns. Having a variety of different types of sources to integrate within my work created a diverse platform to support my arguments and provided multiple perspectives. My findings ranged from a Stanford University publication to a dairy company’s Twitter advertisement, but each and every one I found was beneficial to my writing in some way.
Final Observations: Researching this topic over the course of the semester was a fascinating journey, because I have wanted to learn more about veganism for the past few years. By studying it from an academic standpoint, I focused a lot more on the facts and evidence than I would have doing personal research, which likely would have consisted more of opinions. Reading both opinionated and factual sources gave me a better ability to form my on opinion and learn more about what veganism has to offer as well as some of the drawbacks that come with it. For example, I learned that eliminating animal products from the diet can reverse prostate cancer in men. This was astounding information for me to land upon, and was something I cared about personally since this cancer has affected previous generations of my family. My perspective on veganism has become much more positive after this semester’s research, and I have even begun taking small steps to eliminate animal products from my diet and lifestyle. I no longer have dairy milk in my daily iced coffees, and have refrained from buying any new belts, shoes or wallets made of leather. While these adjustments may seem small, if society as a whole could make these minor changes, the positive results would be huge.
Marijuana is considered a Schedule 1 drug which is as bad as they get. American RSDHope says, “SCHEDULE 1 (CLASS I) DRUGS are illegal because they have high abuse potential, no medical use, and severe safety concerns; for example, narcotics such as Heroin, LSD, and cocaine.” As many people already know, marijuana does have medical uses and is being legalized for medicinal purposes in many states. As far as severe safety concerns, I think this chart displaying the death toll of various substances says a lot about the “severity” of marijuana use. Looking at the data alone you can’t see the bar for deaths caused by marijuana overdose. Even if you could see the bar, it would be lost under the shadow of the overwhelmingly large number of deaths caused annually by tobacco, a drug that you can easily purchase if you are of legal age in any state. The number of people who die because of tobacco does not only include those who directly use the substance. This number also includes those who take in the substance second hand. In comparison to the other substances, marijuana is the least deadly.
For my second essay, I plan to follow the ethical approach of my topic and focus on how veganism affects the environment as well as animals. By focusing on the ethics of this issue, I will describe how animal production impacts the land and atmosphere of the earth, as well as how the animals consumed in most diets are treated and produced. I will begin by finding statistics sources that expose the detrimental effects of modern animal agriculture. These sources, one of which I linked below, are the key to supporting my claim that veganism is the most ethically responsible lifestyle.
I can also talk about how veganism can go beyond eating, but also our skin care and clothing as well. Many people do not even view their leather belt as once being an animal because society is so detached from production. By making the reader realize how we use innocent animals to our advantage, I can persuade them that being a vegan is a much more ethical choice.
“New Report Reveals the Environmental and Social Impact of the ‘Livestock Revolution’.” Stanford University, 16 Mar. 2010, news.stanford.edu/news/2010/march/livestock-revolution-environment-031610.html.
“57 Health Benefits of Going Vegan.” NursingDegree.net, www.nursingdegree.net/blog/19/57-health-benefits-of-going-vegan/.
This article from “The Nursing Degree” is an informative source that discusses the proven health benefits of adopting a vegan diet or lifestyle. The advantages of being a vegan are categorized by importance to different areas of the body, such as overall nutrition and disease prevention. One fact that astonished me was that studies show that prostate cancer can be reversed or even cured in men who make the switch to a vegan diet. The statistics that “The Nursing Degree” provided on their page helped in supporting my argument and claim that veganism is in fact a healthy diet. By providing specific health advantages from a credible source, my thesis became much stronger than my opinion alone.
“The Differences Between Being a Healthy Vegan and an Unhealthy Vegan.” One Green Planet, 17 July 2014, www.onegreenplanet.org/natural-health/the-differences-between-being-a-healthy-vegan-and-an-unhealthy-vegan/.
“The Differences Between Being a Healthy Vegan and an Unhealthy Vegan” can be considered both an opinionated and informative source because the definition of healthy can be subjective. When referring to a healthy diet as one that improves overall wellness, this article gives great insight on the difference between eating healthily as a vegan and unhealthily. A vegan diet may contain no animal products, but be filled with carbohydrates and foods with very little nutritional value. Instead, a healthy vegan diet should be diverse, containing fruits, vegetables, grains and more. The article helped my explanation of how a vegan diet can still be an unhealthy one, and allowed me to clarify the proper way to eat as a vegan within my first essay.
“Livestock a Major Threat to Environment.” FAO Site, http://www.fao.org/newsroom/en/news/2006/1000448/index.html.
This publication from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations was accessed from a Rowan Database, and is an informative article describing the effects of livestock production on the environment and atmosphere. The amount of harmful gases, such as nitrous oxide, being released into the atmosphere is discussed as being a direct result of animal farming, with cows having the greatest impact. This information supports my claim that veganism is a great dietary choice because cows are not only consumed as meat, but dairy as well. By providing such statistics, I can persuade my readers that veganism has not only a positive impact on personal health, but the wellness of the earth too.
As I have began researching veganism and topics that pertain to it, I have found a valuable article named “The Differences Between Being a Healthy Vegan and an Unhealthy Vegan” published by “One Green Planet,” a website that promotes ways to improve societal impacts on the earth and environment. The article discusses how a vegan diet can be an extremely healthy lifestyle change for both the world and the individual. However, it also emphasizes that the diet can be unhealthy if a wide assortment of fruits, vegetables and other nutrient dense foods are not included. I agree with the arguments made about unhealthy vegans, and I feel that they give the lifestyle a bad reputation, making acceptance from society more difficult.
A second article that I found on the web was published by the “Nursing School Catalog,” a source referenced by nurses and doctors all around the world. This article was titled “57 Health Benefits of Going Vegan,” and provides a long list of the advantages that come with switching to a vegan diet composed of nutritional options. For example, because dairy and red meat are the main sources of saturated fats, vegans typically eat much less of them. As a result, they usually experience a decrease in cholesterol levels and a lower risk of heart disease. I like how this article clearly provides the benefits of veganism with research and studies to back up the claims.
Both of these articles talk about the healthiness of choosing to go vegan, and what the diet should consist of in order to maximize results and benefits. The article by “One Green Planet,” however, also discusses how the lifestyle can be unhealthy if the correct foods are not consumed. Eating white bread and sugars every meal may be considered vegan, but it certainly is not a smart idea for someone looking to improve their wellness. Instead, dieters must be conscious about the foods they choose to eat and be sure that they contain essential nutrients and vitamins that are necessary to survive.
“The Differences Between Being a Healthy Vegan and an Unhealthy Vegan.” One
Green Planet, 17 July 2014,
“57 Health Benefits of Going Vegan.” NursingDegree.net,
After having some thoughts about what I should write about for this semester, I have chosen a topic that I am very passionate about which is the Net Neutrality laws. The Net Neutrality laws imply that the whole all Americans should have an equal and open internet which allows for equal internet speeds prices from the Internet Service Providers (ISP). This law has allowed us, the users of the internet, to use the internet with fair internet speed and the freedom to roam any website. But recently, on December 14, 2017, the Federal Communications Commission had passed the plan of Arjit Pai to repeal the the Net Neutrality laws. Without these laws, our internet will not be the same as our ISP’s will have the higher control on what websites we will be using and on how fast we will be able to use our internet. The reason I am most interested in this topic is because I can not imagine the internet without the same equality of speed and freedom that we already have. We already have to pay a lot for using the internet but now, we may even have to pay double or even TRIPLE the amount for the same speed of internet we would be using now. All in all, I feel against the fact that the Net Neutrality laws have been repealed and I will have a great time to express my feelings in the upcoming paper.
Ten years ago, the vegan diet was seen as an inconvenient and extreme way of eating practiced by very few people. Today, there are 1.6 million Americans who report that they follow a vegan lifestyle. This is the highest amount of people practicing veganism in the country’s history. This information leads me to ask the following: Why is this diet on the rise? Is it the healthiest option? What are the drawbacks? I chose to research this topic in an attempt to answer such questions. One likely reason why veganism is becoming more prevalent is the increased education of food production on social media and the internet. The public now has more access to knowledge about where their food comes from and what it contains. Even a dairy company, Bolthouse Farms, has released a non-dairy line of products to keep up with consumers who choose to partake in a vegan lifestyle. Their advertisement for the new product, as seen below, boasts that it contains “50% more calcium than dairy milk.”
The dairy alternative also contains two more grams of protein per serving than cow’s milk. Bolthouse Farms even goes as far as claiming that plant-based milk is “the future of milk.” Coming from a company that still produces dairy milk, and profits tremendously from it, such a statement is very bold. It will be interesting to see if their prediction of the future comes true, and the dairy industry becomes out-shined by the plant-based alternatives.
Kuper, Arthur, et al. “Vegan Demographics 2017 – USA, and the World.” Vegan Bits, 23 May 2017, veganbits.com/vegan-demographics-2017/.
“Non Vegan Company Names Plant Milk ‘the Future of Milk’.” LIVEKINDLY, 10 Feb. 2018, http://www.livekindly.co/non-vegan-company-plant-milk-future-milk/.
Reese, Jacy. “Even a Company That (Currently) Uses Animals, @BolthouseFarms, Is Now Advertising #Plantbased as ‘the Future of Milk.” HT r/Vegan Pic.twitter.com/XudYQZFNZi.” Twitter, Twitter, 9 Feb. 2018, twitter.com/jacyreese/status/961767725076008960.
On the early morning of November 9th, nearly every voter in America probably found themselves wondering; “what the hell just happened?”
In the aftermath, everyone seemed to have their theories and reasons as to why Donald Trump was elected president. Jenee Desmond-Harris’s piece “Trump’s win is a reminder of the incredible, unbeatable power of racism” from Vox.com attempts to answer that question by asserting that racism was the driving force that got Donald Trump elected and that the white voters who pulled the lever for him harbor intolerance and racism as well. It’s a popular argument, and has seemed typify the response from some members of the Democratic Party and the political left from November 9th onward. Harris cites multiple studies, previous statements by Trump, and CNN exit polls to reinforce her claims. However, I believe the entire basis of that argument, whether members of the Democratic party and their supporters believe it to be true or not, poses an enormous problem for Democrats moving forward.
Even if Harris’s argument wasn’t flimsy (It’s emotionally based, entirely subjective, and by and large, breaks the cardinal rule of statistics: correlation doesn’t equal causation), I’d still argue that relying on it is hurtful to the Democratic party because of the message it sends a key contingent of its voters. The fact is, yes, Trump did indeed win an enormous number of white voters, but many of them were former Democrats from reliably blue states, in a historically blue geographic region (the rust belt), who switched sides last fall, and attacking them may only alienate them further. If that gives the Republicans the advantage in the rust belt, it would be catastrophic for the Democrats (PA, OH, MI, WI & IA are worth a combined 70 electoral votes), that to me is the issue here. If Harris wants to blast Trump to high heaven, then by all means, she should do it. It’s blasting his voters that I consider to be dangerous, and Harris does that throughout the article. For instance, in one segment, titled “Almost any way you slice it, white people supported Trump on Election Day and nonwhite people didn’t,” Harris opines: “These huge swaths of white voters were willing to overlook the many ways in which Trump was unqualified, temperamentally unfit, and dangerous and represented a massive threat to American democracy.”
“The most generous interpretation is that white voters chose him despite his racism, not because of it. But that’s a very difficult case to make, given his massive weaknesses.” Actually, it’s a very easy case to make. Hillary Clinton was also a historically unpopular candidate, and ran a historically poor campaign. To illustrate that point, after the Democratic National Convention in July Clinton did not make a single campaign stop in Wisconsin, a reliably blue state that was polling tighter in 2016 than it had in the past, but did find time to visit Arizona, and Utah, states that turned blue only once over the last fifty eight years. Clinton would not only become the first Democrat to lose Wisconsin in over a quarter century, but the state’s incumbent Republican Senator, Ron Johnson, was re-elected in a monumental upset victory over his Democratic challenger. Meanwhile, Arizona and Utah went Republican, yet again. In North Carolina, a critical swing state where the average ACA premiums are expected to increase by 40% this year, Clinton sent Lena Dunham to campaign on her behalf. Trump, who promised to repeal the ACA during the campaign and made more visits to the state than Clinton, won it by more than three points, and Richard Burr, North Carolina’s Republican Senator, was re-elected by an even wider margin.
Many of these voters that the Democratic party lost last fall actually voted for Barack Obama not once, but twice. Trump flipped six states, (and one congressional district in northern Maine worth one electoral vote) that went for Obama in 2008 and 2012, and three of those (Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania) last voted Republican before many of us in this class were even born. Harris cites a three year old study, where a political scientist from Harvard gauged the reaction of a small handful of white people after they sat next to a pair of Latino men on a train in Boston as evidence that the hundreds of thousands of voters throughout the rust belt who supported Democrats over the last quarter century somehow turned into racists over the last four years. I believe that other factors, such as healthcare premiums (remember North Carolina where premiums increased by 40%? According to a CBS poll from late October 2016, when asked whether Obamacare hurt or helped people, 53% of North Carolina voters said “hurt” as opposed to only 38% who said “help.”), the condition of our economy (62% of voters rated the condition as “poor” according to CNN exit polls, and Trump won them by 31 points), or our country’s trade deals (according to CNN, the majority of voters in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan believed international trade took away U.S. jobs) played a big role in their decision. The bottom line is that there’s no evidence to suggest that all those people in Wisconsin, who, for the last 32 years voted for Democrats (including the nation’s first black president twice, and Tammy Baldwin, the first openly gay individual to be elected to the U.S. Senate) became racists at some point over the last few hundred days because they decided to support a Republican in the last election cycle. Labeling these voters as racists could potentially estrange them further.
Were there Trump voters who held outright bigoted, intolerant and abhorrent beliefs? Absolutely, and while it’s important that their behavior is unequivocally denounced, they also made up a relatively small fraction of his support. For that reason, I think it’s bad for the Democratic party, and the political left to give them credit for Trump’s victory because it sends one of two messages, and neither bodes well. Either it means that they’re choosing to focus on a few thousand bigoted lunatics from the fringe of society over the millions of Ex-Democratic in the midwest and all throughout the country who abandoned their party last November, or they’re grouping those ex-Democratics into the same bucket along with them. Whichever it is, neither gives off the vibe of John Cusack holding a radio, and at this moment, that’s who the Democratic Party and its supporters need to take a cue from.
Simply put, the Democrats need to carry those voters in order to win the electoral college, and if they want to lure them back, the first step to making that happen would be to try and understand why they left the party in the first place. Dismissing their concerns or angrily fixating on their genetic makeup certainly won’t do the trick. What will? I think Yair Rosenberg, a political commentator who supported Hillary Clinton during the campaign said it best on twitter the morning after the election: “[I t]old [my] students today: key lesson of election is liberal politicians need to deal w[ith] their electorates as they are, not as they wish they were.” The bottom line is that the Democrats need to win back the moderate vote in order to take back control of the government. How can they do that? Taking Rosenberg’s advice would be a pretty good starting point.
Our Armed Forces protect us from threats every day, but what is protecting them from us?
One of the more heated debates that has come up over the last thirty years, and still persists to this day, is the issue of gun control. People have argued over this subject untill they were blue in the face over wether people should have guns, where they should have them, and when they should be used. However, there are two subclasses of people who we take for granted the fact that they have guns, Law Enforcement and the Military. I am not here to talk about the issues in Law Enforcement today, but the current situation of our Armed Forces, some parts of which would suprise you.
One commonly held misconception that many Americans have is the fact that the military is allowed to carry guns, well, at least in the US. Yes, you read that right. The military in not legally able to carry in the United States. The only Armed Forces members that can carry are Military Policemen (MPs), and most bases do not have MPs patrolling in the base, but have them at the gates. This legality is what has led to situations like the Fort Hood shooting in 2009, and the more recent shooting in Chattanooga in 2015. I wish to examine this issue, and using all the information I can gather, determine if the laws that are currently on the books today are for the best, or if we need to change our thinking on the whole idea. These men and Women are trusted with Tanks, Grenade Launchers, Machine Guns, sniper Rifles, and equipment costing millions of dollars per piece of equipment overseas, so why can’t they be trusted with a simple handgun, which they all qualify on already, that they can carry when they are back home? What ever the reason, we need to get into this issue and figure it out, before tragedy strikes again.