Aside from being cute and delivering us with delicious honey, bees are first and foremost pollinators. In fact, wild honey bees account for 80% of pollinators worldwide. Without them, many plant species would find it very difficult to survive and probably go extinct. Next time you eat a vegetable or fruit, thank the bees for it. Typically, a beehive or colony will decline by 5-10 percent over the winter and replace those lost bees in the spring. In a bad year, a bee colony might lose 15-20 percent of its bees. In the US those rates are up to 30-50 percent. Scientists have found that there are many contributing factors to the crash in colonies which include but are not limited to pesticides, pollution, and deforestation. These three factors are things that as a society, we can stand against.
Are the bees worth saving? The jar of honey and fruits and vegetables in my fridge tell me yes. What are some small steps that we could take to help the colonies?
Imagine waking up in the morning and walking into the kitchen, your eyes filled with sleep and your head foggy. You reach for your coffee, and suddenly you realize something tragic: you’ve run out of coffee. We’ve all experienced the moment of dread when we miss our morning coffee and have to face the day without it, but how would we react if that coffee disappeared altogether? Today, the risk of our world’s most popular coffee species going extinct is very real. With a combination of deforestation, droughts, plant diseases and climate change, almost 60% of coffee species in the wild could be gone soon. Aaron P. Davis stated in an interview with CNN “...coffee requires a forest habitat for its survival, with so much deforestation going on around the world, wild coffee species are being impacted at an alarming rate."
Coffee along with other popular plants like chocolate are acclimated to extremely specific habitats in the wild, so the change in climate, increase of rainfall, and rising temperatures make it nearly impossible for these species of coffee to grow where they once flourished. Unless governments and coffee producers increase the protection on these plants and save away more of the seeds, some of our favorite blends could be extinct anywhere between twenty to sixty years. Scientists have come up with a few solutions to this issue, like creating new controlled habitats for these crops, but it will not produce the same amount or quality of crops. With these new habitats, the prices of coffee could inflate and your cup o’joe might even taste worse.
Coffee is not the only plant affected by humans. Rapid deforestation could mean the end of numerous plant and animal species. However, deforestation is not necessarily a bad thing. It offers job opportunities, removed the dead or infected plants, and allows for more agricultural land. Contrarily, deforestation harms wildlife and their environment, causes floods and fires, and contributes to the issue of climate change.
In your opinion, is deforestation good, bad, or somewhere in between? How can we resolve this issue with so many plants becoming endangered? Is the solution of creating fixed environments better than attempting to preserve the wild habitats? How would your life change without coffee?
Standardized tests like the ACT and SAT have been around for many years. In Idaho and the other western states, the ACT is more commonly used as a college preparatory exam. But on the east coast, the SAT is more common. It is not surprising therefore that the SAT was created first, in 1926, and then the ACT later in 1959. These tests are necessary and are a veritable indicator of a student’s education as they progress towards college.
Personally, I do not think that we should be required to take two tests that are so similar. I think that it would be more reasonable to have one test that colleges nationwide would accept. Some have also brought up the point that there are too many uncontrollable variables when taking a standardized test. They are correct, some students are much better in a classroom than when our under pressure to do well on a single test. But I also feel that students need to learn to handle high pressure situations. In the real world, their jobs are not always going to be easy and stress-free. Young adults must learn to apply their knowledge in any circumstance, and use the testing to further prepare them for situations that they will face later in life.
So, what do you think? Are these tests helpful at all? Should we have to take both? How does the ASVAB fit into this topic? Is there a better way to test for college readiness?
Should animal testing (scientific specifically not commercial) be allowed?
There is an estimated 26 million animals used every year for testing. This testing includes medical, commercial (such as makeup) and other research based tests. Animals have been used to develop medical treatments that have been highly beneficial to humans but they have also been used for the far lesser cause of makeup testing.
Focusing on the medical testing, many medicines we have today required tests to be had on a living organism. Although legal human trials are conducted, usually animals trials must be conducted first. There are other options to this testing such as in vitro testing which occurs in a glass but the systems of living organisms are far more complex which allows for more definite results.
It is said that most every medical breakthrough in the past 100 years has occurred through animal testing. For example the discovery of insulin occurred because of testing done on dogs and the polio vaccine was also originally tested on animals. But animal testing is cruel and inhumane. The animals are put through things like forced feeding and inhalation, starvation, dehydration, infliction if wounds etc.
Another con in animal testing is that animals and humans are not the same. Because some tests do not ethically allow for human testing animals are used instead. But this can lead to many problems, such as in the 1950s when a sleeping pill passed through animals testing caused the deaths and deformities of thousands of babies.
So, what do you think? Is animal testing crucial enough to human medicine that it should be allowed? Is there another, safer, way that we can go about testing?
GMO foods have become a hot topic in the last decade; protests, laws, and innumerable debates resulting from the controversy. A GMO food “Includes altering the DNA structure of the seed to make it stronger. Genes are extracted from one species and artificially forced into another plant”(Green and Growing). Controversy on this topic comes from the much publicized GMO downsides; increased disorders, increased immune system failures, increased chronic illnesses, increased pesticide usage, and contamination. Little known to most is the enormous benefits of using GMOs in crops, little known is the fact that the whole world could be fed using GMOs, little known is the fact that GMO can act as vaccines, and also little known is the fact that allergies can be solved with GMOs. Infertile ground can now support GMO crops, crops that could save Third world countries. Plants can be made invulnerable to insecticide, creating an opportunity to get more out of each harvest.
Now, as side effects from these foods emerge, parents are attempting to find what is right, what is best for their children. If GMOs are used to the full potential, starving souls in Africa can be saved, but will the Earth’s population grow at an uncontrollable rate until all resources are expended? Much research shows that the perceived ill effects from GMOs are actually related to different problems than GMOs. There is much debate to be had but weighing pros and cons, which way would you go? Which way should the world go?
Chocolate makes everyone happy right? The answer is yes, chocolate sets off neurological chemicals that make one think they are experiencing happiness. When you find yourself at the Doctors office because you're sad, many new things are learned, including that chocolate can help with depression.
Chocolate is an essential asset in this world, not only because it comforts us in our time of sad binging but also because it makes us feel warm and happy when one is feeling down. Have you ever wondered why chocolate makes people feel happy when they're sad? Well, this is because chocolate has a chemical in it known as Phenylethylamine. Phenylethylamine causes alertness and a degree of excitement, it is also known as “the love drug” because It is known to create feelings similar to love when the chemical hits the brain.
“According to a study published this week in the Archives of Internal Medicine, people who feel depressed eat about 55 percent more chocolate than their non-depressed peers. And the more depressed they feel, the more chocolate they tend to eat”(Khirly, Dina). Many people find themselves reaching for chocolate when they’re sad because they know deep in their mind that it will make them feel better. Not many people realize that this is because of actual chemicals making them feel better or happier.
Have you ever found yourself reaching for chocolate when you’re feeling sad? Next time the feelings of sadness are upon you would you try chocolate to see if it helps? Do you think chocolate can help one with depression? Did you know that people can easily get addicted to chocolate? Do you think chocolate can help people with depression?
On January 22, 2019 New York City passed an updated abortion law by passing a bill in the state. The bill was signed by Governor Andres Cuomo. Which changes some of their previous abortion laws but does not change all.
One of the major changes is that after 24 weeks, if the mother's health is at risk or the fetus is not viable, the baby can still be aborted. Before this bill the law was limited to abort after 24 weeks if the mother's life was at risk. Another part of the law allows other medical practitioners to preform the procedure besides just doctors.
This law gives the mother more time to think and to decide if she wants an abortion. It also allows supports the Roe v. Wade law that states, "Every individual who becomes pregnant has the fundamental right to choose to carry the pregnancy to term, to give birth to a child, or to have an abortion, pursuant to this article."
This law has also brought up a lot of commotion, one, because the changing on the wording from "mother's life at risk" to "mother's health at risk" could be a numerous of things and is broad because mental health could be put into that category. Second, the law brings up the brutality in how the procedure is performed because it will be being practiced on 24 week old fetus that are developed enough to look like a child and could live out of a mother's body with medical help if needed.
Do you believe this law should be aloud to get passed within a state? Or do you believe the Government should be in control? Would you feel comfortable living in a state with a law as such? Also do you think the law has greater benefits because of this change? Or greater cons?
A frequently debated topic found in youth and young adult culture today is the idea of voting. "Does my vote really matter?" teens ask. Well, in short, the answer is yes. Why wouldn't you vote? What harm would come from it? First of all, government policies effect youth as well as adults. For example, in 2015 a bill was introduced that would make many expensive textbooks open-sourced (AKA: cheaper). Knowing about what policies effect you can help you to make an informed and important vote. Many young people do not take this into consideration when deciding whether or not to vote, but it is a crucial point. Second, we live in a representative republic (very different from a democracy, even though schools teach that we are a democracy), and our right to vote at the age of 18 was not obtained until 1971, when the 26th Amendment was passed. This gave young people the power to change the future to one that is beneficial for them, so why not take advantage of it? And finally, the younger generations are most underrepresented in votes. Older demographics tend to vote consistently, and under the same beliefs. Our generation(s) need to be represented, and who better to represent our generation(s) than ourselves?
Do you think it is important for youth and young adults to vote? Why, or why not? Is every vote important?
This week, Bernie Sanders plans to reintroduce a bill that would raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. If Bernie Sanders runs for President in 2020, this would be a key issue to fight for. However, this is expected to die in Congress. It was introduced in 2015 and again in 2017 but was stalled both times. Minimum wage has not been raised since 2009, when it was changed to $7.25. 29 states and Washington D.C. have since adopted higher wages. Raising the minimum wage would have benefits such as boosting the economy, encourage people to stay at their jobs instead of seeking higher-paying jobs, less workers would have to rely on government programs. By raising the minimum wage, there would also be some issues. If the minimum wage was raised to $15, it is expected that two million employees would be laid off, it could encourage more people to drop out of high school since they would be making a higher rate, and increase the price of items because of higher labor costs.
Do you think that it would be fair to have the minimum wage raised to $15? Should the federal government have this power or should it be left up to the individual states to decide what the minimum wage should be? Do you think that jobs that are currently over minimum wage should be raised to $15 or should they be raised higher?
The American government, as of January 8, 2018, is shutdown over President Donald Trump’s campaign promise of building a border wall between Mexico and the United States. This shutdown began on December 22, 2018 and has left thousands of government employees without a job and even more without a paycheck. Approximately 380,000 federal workers have been placed on unpaid leave while an additional 420,000 employees have been required to work without pay. Examples of the “essential” people that have to work are FBI and Secret Service agents. In response, some TSA agents in major airports called in “sick” in protest this non-paid work.
The proposed $5.7 billion required to fund the project has led many in Washington to dig in for the long haul. President Trump stated that he might continue the government closure for months or even years if no agreement is reached between the Republicans and Democrats in Washington. In an attempt to gain public support for the bill, President Trump gave an address to the nation on the reasons for building a wall and increasing border security. The speech is linked below.
So, what do you have to say about Washington grinding to a halt? How should this be dealt with? Should the top priority be to secure our borders or does that money need to go into other facets of the government or something else?
President Trump’s Address: https://www.politico.com/video/2019/01/08/president-trumps-full-oval-office-address-067608