Saturday, February 23, 2013

World Food Supply and It's Implications

There is enough food in the world, it is just very grossly distributed.

Dr. Murano and Dr. Richardson offered some very good food for thought at this weeks seminar. We are very lucky to live in a country where we don't have to give a second thought to going out and buying whatever we are craving at the moment.

There is such a large disparity between the amounts of food people have and don't have. I think that the core of this problem falls back to economics and politics. Economics and politics play such a big role in determining how food gets distributed to the global population. As Matthew mentioned during class, food should be a right and not a privilege. This seems like something that should be the natural way of things, but as Dr. Murano mentioned, it inevitably would become someone else's responsibility to provide for others happiness. What's your opinion on how food should be distributed and should it be a right to have food?

The world population is constantly increasing and the disparity in food distribution will continue to increase. What can we do to solve this problem? Will the global population ever be willing to accept GMOs? Norman Borlaug's used GMOs to save 3 billion lives. There is a very large disconnect in information about what goes into making a genetically modified organism, and I think this discontent will always exist so the question is how do we get people to accept something that has the potential to save billions of lives?

Are you willing to change your habits to help provide food for others?
Any other thoughts or questions?  

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Strategic Issues Facing Europe

Having one of the largest economies in the global market, Europe is a key pillar of the global system and whatever happens to Europe in this upcoming year will alter the way the world functions right now on a global level. 

Dr. Pustay and Dr. Thornton gave some very good insight on what is going on in the European Union right now. With 27 countries currently in the Union, and more to be added soon, it amazes me how anything ever gets put through the policy/decision making system that Dr. Putsay showed us. How feasible do you guys think the European Union is on an economic and political level? Should they keep on accepting new countries even while they are in the situation they are in right now? 

There were a lot of issues brought up during the seminar including the debate about Turkey wanting to, or now not wanting to, join the Union, the unemployment crisis hitting Greece and Spain (with many other countries not far behind), and the rising old-age dependency ratio. What do you guys think will happen with the increasing unemployment rates? Will there be a clean-cut solution in the near future, or are we going to be seeing political upheavals and riots by the general population?  

Dr. Thornton brought up a nice tie-in with last weeks lecture about energy when she mentioned fracking. With all the enthusiasm about fracking right now, it is surprising that France has outlawed it completely. How do you think the other countries will react to the idea of fracking, and what will it mean for the European Union and world if they countries do start fracking on a large-scale basis? 

None the less, with everything negative going on with the European Union right now, there has been much good that has come from creating the European Union, as Dr. Pustay put it, when was the last time Germany invaded France? 

Thoughts or comments on the lecture? 

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Energy Resources and the Environment

Energy is essential, directly or indirectly, for everything we do.

Dr. Maria Barufet and Dr. Zeissig provided a very informative and controversial seminar on world energy resources and the environment. Energy consumption and the environment are issues that need to be taken into consideration now because if action is not taken, there could be adverse effects on future generations. The discussion encompassed non-renewable resources (oil, gas, coal), and renewable energy sources (solar, wind, hydrocarbon, nuclear) discussing how the expected usage rates will show little change in the future. Where do you all think the future of nonrenewable resources and fracking is headed? 

How do you guys think the increase of energy usage in developing countries will play into the global plan to decrease global warming?

Concerning the Keystone XL pipeline, I think that Dr. Zeissig made a pretty convincing point saying that it would be more efficient and safer for us to refine the oil here in the United States rather than sending it elsewhere. Even though both options still weigh down the promise to take global warming into consideration, I don't think we will be able to stop the construction of the pipeline. What are your guy's personal opinions on the Keystone XL pipeline? Do you think the US will be able to become a net importer of oil and not be dependent on foreign resources?  

Thoughts or questions on the seminar?