Global Challenges 201
Critical Reflection 1
What interests me about the global challenge of “feeding 9 billion people” is that our little group of people is coming from all sorts of different backgrounds and perspectives, and we all have one common goal. And this goal is already being worked on internationally in every corner of the world and we get to add our points of view and abilities to work towards the solution. I think some of my achievements and characteristics that are relevant to the global challenge would be my history. My family raised me to be a hard worker and someone who doesn’t just sit back when there is something to be done. Right now in the world there is something to be done and with this class I can concentrate more on doing my part to help. Another thing my parents have passed on is knowledge about their work, such as the oil and gas industry. My dad worked for many years in Alberta in the oil industry, my opinion may be somewhat biased toward the oil industry and its effects on the climate, however it is not a misinformed and ignorant one. I am able to contribute knowledge on Canada’s economic aspects that affect the environment because of where I have lived and what my parents have done. I think some achievements that contribute is my time with Maryam Monsef’s Peterborough-Kawartha Youth Council, with this council I got to work hand in hand with our local and federal government discussing issues relevant to the community and the country. Other achievements that will help is my work experience. I have worked in three different food establishments including an ice cream shoppe, a Chinese restaurant and Mcdonald’s. When working in these settings has really had an impact on me as I’ve seen just how much food goes to waste in local and transnational establishments. All of the things that I have seen and learnt over the years will contribute to a better understanding of the problem, and an optimistic approach to the solution.
“Feeding 9 billion people” means that somehow we (as a world) were able push aside our individual agendas and make sure that at least one of the basic human rights is available to everyone. I think the most important part of this challenge is realizing we’re all in the same boat, we just have different luggage. By that I mean we are all working towards achieving the same thing, but we all come from different families, cultures religions, perspectives and educations, so we have to swallow our pride and work together. The world stage is very messy and without international cooperation then this challenge will never be defeated. My role in this problem would be adding a new perspective, working locally and moving globally, and finding evidence to possible solutions.
My learning plan for UNIV 201 is to begin with an abundance of research. Researching statistics and economic ability to feed 9 billion people, individual countries poverty rates, agricultural ability and arable land, trade agreements and different government views and solutions on the problem at hand. All sorts of stuff, just to get a wide ranged understanding of what is all involved in this challenge and what potential solutions have been attempted so far. Throughout my research I will develop possible solutions to different dimensions of the challenge (for example: food distribution, cultural values, demography, politics…) and work with local ideas serving a global purpose. With this I will also collaborate with my classmates to try and work with different perspectives and solutions and work together to see the problem at different angles.The aspect that interests me most in this challenge is government and international ability to solve the problem, in theory we have the economic ability, however we don’t have international cooperation to solve the challenge. It’s a very optimistic idea to think the world would come together to solve this problem, many people benefit off of poverty, and some countries wouldn’t want to help others unless they were also benefiting from it. So with my research I hope to find out more on ways that the world could solve this problem together. I will be pursuing this by researching, hypothesizing, collaborating and learning.
Critical Reflection 2
This course has been quite the adventure. At the beginning of the class I thought I knew a lot about world hunger and ways to tackle it. Of course it was an naive and ignorant mindset and I was very much mistaken. I definitely came into the class thinking that I already do a lot to help, but in reality there are so many different aspect of my day to day life that negatively effect the problem; anywhere from not composting in my residence to leaving the water running while I brush my teeth. Throughout this semester it was interesting to delve into different dimensions that affect world hunger, and being able to research them at my own pace. For example agriculture interests me, but not a whole lot. However, government is really high on my list and with the majority of tasks added to my plate I was able to use law and legislation to further my research.
I think one of the best ways I learnt in class was from other people’s perspectives and ideas. Everyone in class was open and honest and willing to share their thoughts. This sounds corny, but it opened my eyes a lot to how others try and solve things. Rae, for example has very big interest in education and its effect on the problem, but Sonja is a big animal rights supporter; Although they’re trying to solve the same problem they are working with completely different tools and ideas. This has really helped my research and learning because it allows me to look at the problem with different perspectives, and to see sub-issues that I never would have thought were there because I had bias blinders on which keep me focused on my interests rather than the whole picture.
A lot of my learning and breaking of ignorance came from the realization of how the world doesn’t utilize it’s resources, or over utilized some of them. One fact that has stuck with me is that about 70% of the US grain is used to feed livestock and about 40% of the world’s grain is fed to livestock. This fact crushed me because of how stupid it is. We don’t need to feed livestock wheat, or corn. Grass is just fine… But nope, we are feeding the food instead of feeding the people… Cows ate grass just fine before we started to feed them. Anyhow, pardon the tangent, but facts like this have really gotten to me. Coming to class every week excites me because we’re looking at all the roots to the problem, and coming up with solutions to “stop the growth” of it.
With solutions in mind, our final solution is based on Food Waste, and let me tell you. The world sucks. 1/7 people in the world is hungry, and ⅓ of the world’s food is wasted. Food waste stuck with our group because each member was able to tackle a different side to the problem and come up with solutions to help every step of the way.
This class has allowed me to understand the problem from a local, national and global perspective. I have shared a lot of big ideas and little ideas. And have been given many thoughts to ponder. I am continuously learning how to help rather than hinder.
(“Beef.” Global Issues, www.globalissues.org/article/240/beef.
“World Hunger Statistics.” Food Aid Foundation, www.foodaidfoundation.org/world-hunger-statistics.html.)