Tag Archives: environment

Photo Essay – Ireland – Irish Colors – by Allison Brennhofer. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

Photo Essay – Ireland – Irish Colors – by Allison Brennhofer. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

Some might think of Ireland as drab and rainy all of the time. I can attest that that is false, at least based on the time I have spent here. It has rained, yes, but not any more so than it does in Minnesota, in the few moments it does not snow back home. Besides the weather, the landscapes here are incredible. In County Mayo alone, where our town of Louisburgh is located, there are countless beaches along the coast, mountains, and lakes, all among fields of the greatest greens. The greens of the hills and blues of the ocean are the most vibrant colors here, but the sky can change from blue to purple in a matter of minutes, the likes of which I have never witnessed in Minnesota. These photos show an extremely limited range of the colors I have seen in Ireland.

allie-b-dsc01223

1223: The hills en route to Carrowmore beach.

allie-b-dsc01476

1476: The Cliffs of Moher

allie-b-dsc01211

1211: A field en route to Carrowmore beach.

allie-b-dsc01265

1265: The waves and sky viewed from Carrowmore beach.

allie-b-dsc01319

1319: The path through the woods to the ruins of Moore Hall.

Allison serves as an editor for The North Star Reports.

Please contact Professor Liang if you wish to write for The North Star Reports — HLIANG (at) css.edu

See also, our Facebook page with curated news articles at http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports

The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy (http://NorthStarReports.org) is a student edited and student authored open access publication centered around the themes of global and historical connections. Our abiding philosophy is that those of us who are fortunate enough to receive an education and to travel our planet are ethically bound to share our knowledge with those who cannot afford to do so. Therefore, creating virtual and actual communities of learning between college and K-12 classes are integral to our mission. In three years we have published over 250 articles covering all habitable continents and a variety of topics ranging from history and politics, food and popular culture, to global inequities to complex identities. These articles are read by K-12 and college students. Our student editors and writers come from all parts of the campus, from Nursing to Biology, Physical Therapy to Business, and remarkably, many of our student editors and writers have long graduated from college. We also have writers and editors from other colleges and universities. In addition to our main site, we also curate a Facebook page dedicated to annotated news articles selected by our student editors (http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports). This is done by an all volunteer staff. We have a frugal cash budget, and we donate much of our time and talent to this project. The North Star Reports is sponsored and published by Professor Hong-Ming Liang, NSR Student Editors and Writers, The Department of History and Politics of The College of St. Scholastica, and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. For a brief summary, please see the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at: http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/2013/1305/Opening-The-Middle-Ground-Journal.cfm

Hong-Ming Liang, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, The North Star Reports; Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal; Associate Professor of History and Politics, The College of St. Scholastica. Kathryn Marquis Hirsch, Managing Editor, The North Star Reports.

(c) 2012-present The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy http://NorthStarReports.org ISSN: 2377-908X The NSR is sponsored and published by Professor Hong-Ming Liang, NSR Student Editors and Writers, with generous support from The Department of History and Politics of The College of St. Scholastica, and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. See Masthead for our not-for-profit educational open- access policy. K-12 teachers, if you are using these reports for your classes, please contact editor-in-chief Professor Liang at HLIANG (at) css.edu

36 Comments

Filed under Allison Brennhofer, North Star Student Editors, Professor Hong-Ming Liang

A Review of ‘“A Progressive Argument to Reduce Immigration into the United States” a speech given by Professor Philip Cafaro – by Rebecca Smith. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

A Review of ‘“A Progressive Argument to Reduce Immigration into the United States” a speech given by Professor Philip Cafaro – by Rebecca Smith. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

becca-s-review-progressive-immigration

On February 9th, 2017, I attended the lecture “A Progressive Argument to Reduce Immigration into the United States” by Professor Philip Cafaro at The College of St. Scholastica, which was sponsored by the Alworth Center. As someone who knows little about immigration and its true impact, I felt compelled to attend this lecture and the lecture on March 7th – Justice and the U.S. Immigration Policy with Aviva Chomsky. When I first learned about the topic of the lecture, I bristled at the prospect. Most of my experience with hearing about immigration consisted of hopeful stories of people coming and making better lives for themselves and their families, so the prospect of reducing this opportunity for people didn’t seem like a good option. Philip Cafaro cited economic inequality and an unsustainable society as the two main concerns of immigration and noted the problems that it can create.

The first of the problems that was addressed was the economic inequality that the current immigration policy of the U.S. is to blame for. Cafaro interviewed many people in the hard labor or small business field, immigrant and non-immigrant, and used stories to show how immigration has an effect on the middle and lower classes. For example, one of the people he interviewed, Tom Kinney, owned his own business that is now failing. He attributed the failing to two reasons. First, bigger companies that did the same type of work exploit immigrants and pay them a non-living wage because they can get away with it, thus making the bigger companies rates lower. Secondly, not all immigrants pay taxes like he did for his business, so they could work for lower rates, but do the same work. Cafaro also pointed out the fallacy that U.S. citizens refuse to do hard labor, so immigrants are stepping up and doing those jobs. Kinney and Cafaro believe that it isn’t that U.S. citizens are refusing the work, they are refusing the pay that goes along with the work. In his interview, Kinney stated that because a lot of people don’t like those kinds of jobs, they used to pay well. At least, they used to pay a living wage. Now, because of big companies and the lower/no tax rate, these positions generally aren’t paying a living wage.

Cafaro also noted that immigration is often looked in oversimplified terms. There will be winners and losers in any immigration policy, but he argued that that shouldn’t stop the government from changing things. Cafaro argued that wealthy, better educated workers are less impacted than the working class. Legal fields have fewer immigrants (7%) in the job pools than farming/fishing fields (36%). While people who earn higher wages support immigration because goods and services are less expensive, the current immigration policy, or an open boarder, will not help working class citizens. This argument was surprising to me, as I had grown up in a middle class household and had parents whose positions and careers that were not impacted by immigration, but benefited off of the lower priced goods and services. In the question/answer section of the lecture, Cafaro did acknowledge that it is possible that technology has impacted farming/fishing fields, and others like it, but that the fact that technology has had an impact should show why job pools should not be flooded. He argued that tightening up the labor market created the Golden Age post WWII, and that the U.S. should be doing the same thing now. A tightened labor market isn’t the only reason Cafaro believes that the U.S. should create a lower immigration policy.

The environmental impact of overpopulation is vast, and Cafaro believes that we could consider the U.S. to be the most overpopulated country, based on consumption. It is no secret that our society is largely not being created in a sustainable way. If we want to have an ecological and sustainable society, which Cafaro believes we need to have, we need to reduce population. An obvious solution may be to suggest and promote having fewer children, but Cafaro argues that U.S. citizens are already doing that. Instead of larger families, like we have seen in the past, many parents are only having two children. However, at the same time, Congress is raising immigration limits. A question from the audience member brought up the point of making efforts to consume less, so there doesn’t have to be a reduction of immigration. Cafaro responded by saying that the resources that we save should not be making room for more people to come in and use them. If a city was to reduce its water usage by 20%, Cafaro argues that that remaining water should be left in rivers and for the environment. It should not be used for 20% more people to use it. Cafaro believes that it’s selfish to take land and water away from ecosystems and animals and in doing so we will see harmful repercussions to humans.

Sprawl is also detrimental to ecosystems and species. When sprawl occurs, there is an increase in water and land consumption, and a loss of habitat. Cafaro believes that we have a responsibility to save species from extinction, when their populations are rapidly decreasing because of humans. We do not have the right to take a species’ right to live. While he notes that sprawl can certainly happen without immigration, it happens much more rapidly when immigration is a factor. With Cafaro’s education and activism background, he doesn’t believe that we can create a sustainable society with the population we have now, let alone what the population would be in 2100. The chance for a sustainable society gets slimmer with a larger population.

So what is the U.S. to do about it? Cafaro proposed four ideas that would not only reduce immigration, but would also help other nations. Firstly, he proposed to cut immigration to 300,000/year. Currently, immigration limits are over 1 million per year. Cafaro broke down the different subsections of immigration, from families to refugees/asylum seekers. The largest cut would be to family immigration. Cafaro suggests that letting a nuclear family immigrate is not the problem, but when someone brings much of their extended family with. It is important to note that he only wants to make a sliver of a cut to refugees/asylum seekers immigration numbers. We have a moral responsibility to help and assist those in need. The second idea Cafaro proposed is to implement a national employee verification program, where there would be strict sanctions against employers who exploit immigrants. Next, he proposed to pass carefully targeted amnesties. A story of an immigrant who worked and paid taxes in the U.S. for 25 years was discussed, and Cafaro believes that people who have worked hard like that immigrant should be given amnesty and citizenship. Finally, Cafaro proposed reworking trade agreements and helping people live better lives in their own countries.

Before this lecture, I would not have considered a reduced immigration policy for the purpose of economics beneficial. The lecture opened my eyes to the fact that I might be viewing immigration policies in a position of privilege. However, if the government acts to reduce immigration, but the greed of many corporations and big businesses stay the same, it is possible that the prices of goods and services will go up, causing me, and people like me, to reconfigure budgets. On the other hand, people should be able to live on the wage that they are being paid and not struggle to pay for things like water, nutritious food, and heat. Cafaro recognizes that there will be choices that need to be made – should there be cheaper housing prices or good wages for construction workers? While having both might be an obvious choice, Cafaro believes that there will need to be a choice because of immigration.

The impression I got was that Cafaro was basing his lecture off of how the country is moving – not off of idealistic theories of how the country should be moving. However, if Cafaro really looked at how the government functioned, he would see that it has trouble making decisions and rarely does things to help people in other countries if there is no benefit for itself. He also didn’t take into consideration the culture of the U.S. and what we consider a good life, may create trouble in other countries. Just because the government considers certain things and values to be a good life does not mean that the citizens of the country where the program would be implemented feel the same. There would have to be communication between the U.S. government and other country’s government and citizens in order to determine what would be best for the country. While I would hope that the U.S. government would be able to do so, it does not have a history of successfully doing this. A question brought up by a student asked about the responsibility that we have to people in other countries because of bad U.S. policies that have caused them to immigrate to the U.S. Cafaro believes that we do have a responsibility to help people, especially because of U.S. action, but it should be helping them within their own countries. It was suggested that the students who come to the U.S. to study should then go back to their own countries to help improve them, which makes sense on the surface, but on a deeper and realistic level, is not always that simple or easy.

The general sense of Cafaro’s arguments was that while his lecture was a response to how the country was moving and based his argument off of that, he did not necessarily offer realistic ways to change it. His ideas in response were also idealistic. Cutting immigration to a third of what it is now is unlikely to happen soon. We have seen that big businesses often have their interests valued higher in the government due to their ability to “donate” to campaigns, so how do we change the government and big business culture? Change is going to have to happen on multiple levels and in multiple ways if we want to a) create an ecological and sustainable society and b) seriously make efforts to create economic equality within the U.S.

Rebecca serves as an editor for The North Star Reports.

Please contact Professor Liang if you wish to write for The North Star Reports — HLIANG (at) css.edu

See also, our Facebook page with curated news articles at http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports

The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy (http://NorthStarReports.org) is a student edited and student authored open access publication centered around the themes of global and historical connections. Our abiding philosophy is that those of us who are fortunate enough to receive an education and to travel our planet are ethically bound to share our knowledge with those who cannot afford to do so. Therefore, creating virtual and actual communities of learning between college and K-12 classes are integral to our mission. In three years we have published over 250 articles covering all habitable continents and a variety of topics ranging from history and politics, food and popular culture, to global inequities to complex identities. These articles are read by K-12 and college students. Our student editors and writers come from all parts of the campus, from Nursing to Biology, Physical Therapy to Business, and remarkably, many of our student editors and writers have long graduated from college. We also have writers and editors from other colleges and universities. In addition to our main site, we also curate a Facebook page dedicated to annotated news articles selected by our student editors (http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports). This is done by an all volunteer staff. We have a frugal cash budget, and we donate much of our time and talent to this project. The North Star Reports is sponsored and published by Professor Hong-Ming Liang, NSR Student Editors and Writers, The Department of History and Politics of The College of St. Scholastica, and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. For a brief summary, please see the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at: http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/2013/1305/Opening-The-Middle-Ground-Journal.cfm

Hong-Ming Liang, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, The North Star Reports; Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal; Associate Professor of History and Politics, The College of St. Scholastica. Kathryn Marquis Hirsch, Managing Editor, The North Star Reports.

(c) 2012-present The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy http://NorthStarReports.org ISSN: 2377-908X The NSR is sponsored and published by Professor Hong-Ming Liang, NSR Student Editors and Writers, with generous support from The Department of History and Politics of The College of St. Scholastica, and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. See Masthead for our not-for-profit educational open- access policy. K-12 teachers, if you are using these reports for your classes, please contact editor-in-chief Professor Liang at HLIANG (at) css.edu

19 Comments

Filed under North Star Student Editors, Professor Hong-Ming Liang, Rebecca Smith

Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park – Michigan, U.S.A. – by Delaney Babich. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park – Michigan, U.S.A. – by Delaney Babich. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

delaneybporcupine2

In the midst of our chaotic world, there are places where peace and solitude still exist, namely, within our national parks and landmarks. These lands and their keepers are devoted to the preservation of the exquisite natural beauty around us. I have been lucky enough to recently explore of one Lake Superior’s undiscovered wild gems, the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park. My mom and I are avid camping girls, and she makes an effort to plan a trip to a new out-of-state park every year. We were drawn to this park due to its unique landscape and 90 miles of hiking trail options. Located in Michigan, the park expands over 47,671 acres of the Upper Peninsula, with a 35,000-acre chunk considered to be the “biggest and best tract of virgin Northern Hardwoods in North America”, and has been named a National Natural Landmark by the Federal Government.

delaneybporcupine1

Wrapped in a cocoon of mossy hemlocks and curly paper-birch boughs, this is the forest primeval. Around 2 billion years old, these mountains are some of the oldest in existence. Named by the Ojibwa after the resemblance to a crouched woodland porcupine, the mountains that give this park their name are breath-taking. They arise suddenly from Lake Superior to form a 12-mile long escarpment, or what is more commonly called a bluff or cliff. At the top of this bluff you see forest and sky for miles, roughly 25 miles on a clear day. You will also see The Lake of the Clouds, a glacial lake carved out millions of years ago, filled with sparkling blue water surrounded by the dense virgin forest. Surrounded in silence, listening only to what the earth had to say, our time spent in this park will never be forgotten.

delaneybporcupine3

Before this area was designated a park, it was a hot bed for copper mining. Over the course of 65 years, 45 copper mines operated somewhere within the boundaries of the park. After mining was through, loggers arrived and took their toll, but in 1972 the Wilderness and Natural Areas Act was passed, forever protecting the land and adding to the beauty of North America for our future generations to enjoy as we do now. The protection of our wilderness is not at the forefront of our issues as a country, but it should be. Without these spaces, we will lose part of our history as a human race. As one author eloquently put it, “All America lies at the end of the wilderness road, and our past is not a dead past, but still lives in us. Our forefathers had civilization inside themselves, the wild outside. We live in the civilization they created, but within us the wilderness still lingers. What they dreamed, we live, and what they lived, we dream.” — T.K. Whipple. Study out the Land. “Porcupine Mountains.” Michigan Department of Natural Resources. DNR, n.d. Web. 20 July 2016.


Please contact Professor Liang if you wish to write for The North Star Reports — HLIANG (at) css.edu

See also, our Facebook page with curated news articles at http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports

The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy (http://NorthStarReports.org) is a student edited and student authored open access publication centered around the themes of global and historical connections. Our abiding philosophy is that those of us who are fortunate enough to receive an education and to travel our planet are ethically bound to share our knowledge with those who cannot afford to do so. Therefore, creating virtual and actual communities of learning between college and K-12 classes are integral to our mission. In three years we have published over 250 articles covering all habitable continents and a variety of topics ranging from history and politics, food and popular culture, to global inequities to complex identities. These articles are read by K-12 and college students. Our student editors and writers come from all parts of the campus, from Nursing to Biology, Physical Therapy to Business, and remarkably, many of our student editors and writers have long graduated from college. We also have writers and editors from other colleges and universities. In addition to our main site, we also curate a Facebook page dedicated to annotated news articles selected by our student editors (http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports). This is done by an all volunteer staff. We have a frugal cash budget, and we donate much of our time and talent to this project. The North Star Reports is sponsored and published by Professor Hong-Ming Liang, NSR Student Editors and Writers, The Department of History and Politics of The College of St. Scholastica, and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. For a brief summary, please see the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at: http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/2013/1305/Opening-The-Middle-Ground-Journal.cfm

Hong-Ming Liang, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, The North Star Reports; Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal; Associate Professor of History and Politics, The College of St. Scholastica. Kathryn Marquis Hirsch, Managing Editor, The North Star Reports.

(c) 2012-present The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy http://NorthStarReports.org ISSN: 2377-908X The NSR is sponsored and published by Professor Hong-Ming Liang, NSR Student Editors and Writers, with generous support from The Department of History and Politics of The College of St. Scholastica, and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. See Masthead for our not-for-profit educational open- access policy. K-12 teachers, if you are using these reports for your classes, please contact editor-in-chief Professor Liang at HLIANG (at) css.edu

16 Comments

Filed under Delaney Babich, North Star Student Editors, Professor Hong-Ming Liang

Semester in New Zealand – Spring Break 2.0 – by Matthew Breeze. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

Semester in New Zealand – Spring Break 2.0 – by Matthew Breeze. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

mattnzsb1

[NZ flowers bloom in October]

This is my second spring break of the year, as spring is in full swing here in the southern hemisphere. Time is a complicated concept. Being in a time zone seventeen hours ahead of my home, friends and family has made me realize that time really is relative. When I call home I am talking from the future, something that my mom always thinks is funny and weird. The weather is getting warmer and warmer here, back home it is getting colder and colder. Even the holidays are confusing. The stores in New Zealand are selling Halloween costumes and fake pumpkins. Halloween is the quintessential fall holiday back in the Unites States. Halloween still has all the commercial items from the northern hemisphere here in the southern hemisphere, Starbucks even has pumpkin spice coffee, but this all feels out of place.

As a native of Minnesota I have grown up loving everything about fall. Being away for the fall has been harder than I expected. This only becomes more apparent when I see Halloween costumes and pumpkin flavored food in a place where everything is turning green and new life is blooming everywhere. The leaves should be falling, it is October after all, instead new plants are shooting towards the sun and flowers flash their fantastic colors everywhere. The fiddle heads of the iconic New Zealand ferns are unfurling more everyday to create huge fern trees.

I do not tend to get homesick, even being eight thousand miles and more away from home has not made me feel homesick, but I do miss the Minnesota fall. Sometimes the best way to realize that you love something is to go without it. Fresh green fern fiddleheads are no comparison to the richness of reds, yellows, oranges, and browns that transform the vision of the trees of home. The natural beauty of New Zealand amazes visitors every day, it amazes me everyday as well. The mountains seem to rise up right out of the ocean some days when I look out the car window or out across the bow of the ferry between the north and south islands. That being said I can’t help but imagine the trees turn red and yellow.

mattnzsb2
[Huge fern tree about 20 feet tall]

I have never felt more tied to my home and my sense of place until I went very very far away. The landscapes of new and different places may inspire myself and travelers like me, but the familiar environments of home call back to me from across the vast ocean.

mattnzsb3

[Giant fern fiddlehead growing to form a new branch on a large fern]

Maybe this is why so many immigrants to new lands tried to change their new environment to look like the one they came from. This can be seen in the Norwegian immigrants settling on the rocky north shore of Minnesota, or the English settlers changing forested mountains into sheep and cow pasture here in New Zealand. Everyone feels tied to a home environment. Some people moved to places that looked like their home country, some people have drastically changed their new places to look similar to older ones. Some people, like myself, may simply have a greater appreciation and love of their homes natural beauty after seeing the beauty of a faraway place or places.

Spring in October feels wrong right down to my Minnesota core, but I have learned to appreciate fall in a whole new way by being away from it. Learning or acquiring a greater appreciation for the places that we all call home ties us all to the land in a new way. Maybe distance really does make the heart grow fonder. Fall will never feel the same way again. Being gone for hunting season, fall colors, harvesting of vegetable gardens, and so much more will make all those things more valued when I come home to experience them with new enlightened eyes all over again.

Spring break 2.0 2016 in New Zealand has been an eye opening one. Sometimes we have to travel far away from the places and things we love to see the real value in them. Who would have thought that cold nights and dying plants could be so appealing. When one is half a world away things look different.
mattnzsb4
[Me being excited about all the greenery]

About Matthew Breeze. I am a junior at the college of St. Scholastica this year and I am majoring in Global, Cultural, and Language studies with a minor in spanish and a minor in political science. I will be returning to St. Scholastica in December. I am originally from Bemidji, Minnesota, but I have come to consider Duluth as my second home. I have a passion for politics and I hope to someday work for the State Department or the Foreign Service working in international relations in some way shape or form. I have always wanted to go to New Zealand. I have been to Canada and Mexico, but I really haven’t been anywhere different than the United States. The city in Mexico I was in was a tourist trap and Canada looks like my northern Minnesota home. I have a family connection to New Zealand as well as the general desire to visit. My grandfather was in New Zealand for rest and relaxation during World War II. The stories of his time in NZ have been passed down through the family and are one of the biggest reasons that I decided to do a study abroad semester in NZ.

Please contact Professor Liang if you wish to write for The North Star Reports — HLIANG (at) css.edu

See also, our Facebook page with curated news articles at http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports

The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy (http://NorthStarReports.org) is a student edited and student authored open access publication centered around the themes of global and historical connections. Our abiding philosophy is that those of us who are fortunate enough to receive an education and to travel our planet are ethically bound to share our knowledge with those who cannot afford to do so. Therefore, creating virtual and actual communities of learning between college and K-12 classes are integral to our mission. In three years we have published over 250 articles covering all habitable continents and a variety of topics ranging from history and politics, food and popular culture, to global inequities to complex identities. These articles are read by K-12 and college students. Our student editors and writers come from all parts of the campus, from Nursing to Biology, Physical Therapy to Business, and remarkably, many of our student editors and writers have long graduated from college. We also have writers and editors from other colleges and universities. In addition to our main site, we also curate a Facebook page dedicated to annotated news articles selected by our student editors (http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports). This is done by an all volunteer staff. We have a frugal cash budget, and we donate much of our time and talent to this project. The North Star Reports is sponsored and published by Professor Hong-Ming Liang, NSR Student Editors and Writers, The Department of History and Politics of The College of St. Scholastica, and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. For a brief summary, please see the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at: http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/2013/1305/Opening-The-Middle-Ground-Journal.cfm

Hong-Ming Liang, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, The North Star Reports; Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal; Associate Professor of History and Politics, The College of St. Scholastica. Kathryn Marquis Hirsch, Managing Editor, The North Star Reports.

(c) 2012-present The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy http://NorthStarReports.org ISSN: 2377-908X The NSR is sponsored and published by Professor Hong-Ming Liang, NSR Student Editors and Writers, with generous support from The Department of History and Politics of The College of St. Scholastica, and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. See Masthead for our not-for-profit educational open- access policy. K-12 teachers, if you are using these reports for your classes, please contact editor-in-chief Professor Liang at HLIANG (at) css.edu

26 Comments

Filed under Matthew Breeze, North Star Student Editors, Professor Hong-Ming Liang

Semester in New Zealand – Stolen Water – by Matthew Breeze. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

Semester in New Zealand – Stolen Water – by Matthew Breeze. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

Minnesota is The Land of Ten Thousands Lakes, as our license plates so often remind us. There is water almost everywhere we look. Those of us to live in Duluth or up the North Shore look out at the sun rise over the largest fresh water lake in the world every morning. Many of us grew up on lakes or have family cabins on lakes or rivers. Minnesotan are attached to their water. Lake Superior is more than just a lake, it is our lake, it is part of our identity. The waterways and lakes are part of who we are as people.

Now imagine if that water, that many of us hold near and dear, was taken away from us. Stolen without our consent. Not just a few drops or part of a river, but all of it. Gone. What would we do? How would we feel? What if Duluthians no longer had access to Lake Superior?

This is what has happened to the Ngati Rangi people of New Zealand. They are the tangata whenua, or people of the land. They are the Maori people of Mount Ruapehu. There is a struggle for water, but not just water in the sense that we westerners are accustomed to. For the Maori people of New Zealand water is not only water, it is sacred, it is their old people, their ancestors, their identity, they do not talk of the rivers, but to the rivers. They have a special personal connection to the water and the rivers of their home.

mattbnsr1

[This is one of the intakes where water is moved from the river into an underground pipe.]

The water in the rivers of their home is being taken by a series of twenty two concrete dams and collection units for use in a large hydro power plant. The water from the rivers and streams around Mount Ruapehu is damned and then funneled into a series of underground tunnels. Instead of traveling down their natural paths to the ocean like they have done for thousands of years, the waterways running down the mountain have been taken by a hydro power company. A vast network of tunnels and pipes moves the water do a large reservoir behind a huge dam.
This is what the Maori people have come up against. Steel and concrete instead of their ancestral streams and rivers. The image of a dry river bed has become a symbol of lasting colonization. The water was taken without their consent or even input. The government and the power company worked together to generate power.

After many decades of enduring this tragedy the Maori people of Nagti Rangi went to the courts to achieve justice. Years of battles in the courts produced outcomes favorable to the corporations. The money and time spent thus created an outcome that equaled the status quo. From this point the Maori people agreed to initiate talks with the power corporation to see if negotiations could find a better result than going through the courts.

mattbnsr2

[This is what the river is suppose to look like in a natural environment.]

Negotiations proved better than battles in the courts. The corporate officials were invited to a Marae (a traditional meeting house where my study abroad group had the honor of staying at also). From here the officials, the Maori leaders and older community members went to the rivers and talked about what they meant to Maori people. That the rivers are sacred and that it is a desecration of their ancestors that the rivers are blocked and diverted in steel pipes from their natural paths.

These visits and the lengthy discussions between Maori leaders and company officials have brought about promising changes. The officials and the CEO came to the conclusion that a change needed to come after seeing what the rivers meant to Maori people, including tears from elders at the sight of their dry rivers. The corporate officials could not look at the rivers and the water the same way after actually seeing it. When people take the time to go out and see the land for themselves rather than simply making decisions from an office a long way away the outcomes can be different, as well as environmentally or culturally conscious.

This change is occurring right now. Water flows are being returned to the rivers, the dams on the rivers are being opened to let some water through.

mattbnsr3

[This is my battle buddy Mary standing on the dam. The reservoir of stolen water is visible in the background.]

The Maori and the corporation have come to a number of agreements over this important ancestral water. The four rivers with the most water flow will have water running through them by 2017. This agreement seems to have satisfied both sides. The Maori leaders have said that “Hydro (power) has its place, but so do the rivers.”

The history between Maori people, the Ngati Rangi in this case, has been harsh and unfair toward the Maori. The balance of power as a result of colonization has often been to corporations and the government. Today however people in New Zealand are having conversations with each other and coming to agreements that can please both sides. The Maori once again can see the river run and flow. The rivers are alive once again. This has immense cultural ramifications that will reverberate throughout the community as time goes on. The next year will be a time of continued successes for the Maori as the rest of the agreed upon rivers has their dams opened up. The power company still gets water from these rivers to feed the reservoir that allows the generation of hydro electric power. This story is a story of compromise and communication overcoming decades of struggle and courtroom battles. When people talk to each other the results here were beneficial. Maybe this can be emulated in other parts of New Zealand and other parts of the world as indigenous groups fight for their sacred places to be respected.

About Matthew Breeze, NSR Editor. I am a junior at the college of St. Scholastica this year and I am majoring in Global, Cultural, and Language studies with a minor in spanish and a minor in political science. I will be returning to St. Scholastica in December. I am originally from Bemidji, Minnesota, but I have come to consider Duluth as my second home.

I have a passion for politics and I hope to someday work for the State Department or the Foreign Service working in international relations in some way shape or form.
I have always wanted to go to New Zealand. I have been to Canada and Mexico, but I really haven’t been anywhere different than the United States. The city in Mexico I was in was a tourist trap and Canada looks like my northern Minnesota home. I have a family connection to New Zealand as well as the general desire to visit. My grandfather was in New Zealand for rest and relaxation during World War II. The stories of his time in NZ have been passed down through the family and are one of the biggest reasons that I decided to do a study abroad semester in NZ.

Please contact Professor Liang if you wish to write for The North Star Reports — HLIANG (at) css.edu

See also, our Facebook page with curated news articles at http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports

The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy (http://NorthStarReports.org) is a student edited and student authored open access publication centered around the themes of global and historical connections. Our abiding philosophy is that those of us who are fortunate enough to receive an education and to travel our planet are ethically bound to share our knowledge with those who cannot afford to do so. Therefore, creating virtual and actual communities of learning between college and K-12 classes are integral to our mission. In three years we have published over 250 articles covering all habitable continents and a variety of topics ranging from history and politics, food and popular culture, to global inequities to complex identities. These articles are read by K-12 and college students. Our student editors and writers come from all parts of the campus, from Nursing to Biology, Physical Therapy to Business, and remarkably, many of our student editors and writers have long graduated from college. We also have writers and editors from other colleges and universities. In addition to our main site, we also curate a Facebook page dedicated to annotated news articles selected by our student editors (http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports). This is done by an all volunteer staff. We have a frugal cash budget, and we donate much of our time and talent to this project. The North Star Reports is sponsored and published by Professor Hong-Ming Liang, NSR Student Editors and Writers, The Department of History and Politics of The College of St. Scholastica, and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. For a brief summary, please see the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at: http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/2013/1305/Opening-The-Middle-Ground-Journal.cfm

Hong-Ming Liang, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, The North Star Reports; Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal; Associate Professor of History and Politics, The College of St. Scholastica. Kathryn Marquis Hirsch, Managing Editor, The North Star Reports.

(c) 2012-present The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy http://NorthStarReports.org ISSN: 2377-908X The NSR is sponsored and published by Professor Hong-Ming Liang, NSR Student Editors and Writers, with generous support from The Department of History and Politics of The College of St. Scholastica, and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. See Masthead for our not-for-profit educational open- access policy. K-12 teachers, if you are using these reports for your classes, please contact editor-in-chief Professor Liang at HLIANG (at) css.edu

22 Comments

Filed under Matthew Breeze, North Star Student Editors, Professor Hong-Ming Liang

Sustainability in Italy – A Special Series – Sustainability and Agriculture – by Sara Desrocher. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

Sustainability in Italy – A Special Series – Sustainability and Agriculture – by Sara Desrocher. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

img_1486

Buongiorno! I will be spending the semester studying abroad in Montespertoli, which is about 13 miles outside of Florence, Italy. I am being hosted by Castello Sonnino, which is a family owned residence that has been converted into a winery producing wine and olive oil. A few of the structures were built in the 13th century! Students are being housed in a few buildings throughout the property. I am living in the Farmhouse, which was built in the late 19th century. You can guess why it is called the Farmhouse, one of the farmers lives beneath us students and the backyard is teeming with chickens, roosters, cats and dogs.

I am studying Sustainability and Agriculture in Italy. I had assumed that we would be spending a large amount of time focused on talking about the environment and recycling but I did not expect to see the processes already in place within the community. For example, Italy has a program in place which reinforces recycling. There are four garbage bins in each apartment to sort out the waste. The bins are labeled: Paper and Cardboard, Organic Residues, Packaging Materials of Plastic, and Non Differentiated Waste. Each one has a list with 15-20 items that are accepted in the bin. There is a 500 Euro fine, which is 563 USD, for a household that puts an item into the wrong bin. These same recycling bins are found all around the city and I’ve already passed by a few in Florence.

img_1488

While shopping for food, I found another concept that was new to me. Selling non-biodegradable plastic bags is illegal in Italy This was interesting to me and I imagine that it is making a great impact on the community. Some businesses will use biodegradable bags, which simply feel a little thicker than regular plastic bags; customers often have to pay for these. It was a bit interesting shoving all of my groceries into my backpack instead of paying extra for a plastic bag. Otherwise reusable bags are offered at some stores for a price. I am not new to recycling by any means, but I am already becoming more conscious about which waste goes where and how we can reduce the amount of resources that we use up on a daily basis.

Please contact Professor Liang if you wish to write for The North Star Reports — HLIANG (at) css.edu

See also, our Facebook page with curated news articles at http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports

The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy (http://NorthStarReports.org) is a student edited and student authored open access publication centered around the themes of global and historical connections. Our abiding philosophy is that those of us who are fortunate enough to receive an education and to travel our planet are ethically bound to share our knowledge with those who cannot afford to do so. Therefore, creating virtual and actual communities of learning between college and K-12 classes are integral to our mission. In three years we have published over 250 articles covering all habitable continents and a variety of topics ranging from history and politics, food and popular culture, to global inequities to complex identities. These articles are read by K-12 and college students. Our student editors and writers come from all parts of the campus, from Nursing to Biology, Physical Therapy to Business, and remarkably, many of our student editors and writers have long graduated from college. We also have writers and editors from other colleges and universities. In addition to our main site, we also curate a Facebook page dedicated to annotated news articles selected by our student editors (http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports). This is done by an all volunteer staff. We have a frugal cash budget, and we donate much of our time and talent to this project. The North Star Reports is sponsored and published by Professor Hong-Ming Liang, NSR Student Editors and Writers, The Department of History and Politics of The College of St. Scholastica, and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. For a brief summary, please see the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at: http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/2013/1305/Opening-The-Middle-Ground-Journal.cfm

Hong-Ming Liang, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, The North Star Reports; Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal; Associate Professor of History and Politics, The College of St. Scholastica. Kathryn Marquis Hirsch, Managing Editor, The North Star Reports.

(c) 2012-present The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy http://NorthStarReports.org ISSN: 2377-908X The NSR is sponsored and published by Professor Hong-Ming Liang, NSR Student Editors and Writers, with generous support from The Department of History and Politics of The College of St. Scholastica, and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. See Masthead for our not-for-profit educational open- access policy. K-12 teachers, if you are using these reports for your classes, please contact editor-in-chief Professor Liang at HLIANG (at) css.edu

23 Comments

Filed under Professor Hong-Ming Liang

New Zealand – Permaculture and the Environment – by Delaney Babich. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

New Zealand – Permaculture and the Environment – by Delaney Babich. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

delaneyperma1

One of the most intriguing lessons I learned while studying abroad was the idea of permaculture, and its impressive success rate on the environment and the lives of the people who practice it. I wanted to share a couple of my favorite aspects, along with examples to further explain the ideas. Here are three of my favorites!

Use and Value Renewable Resources & Services

“Make the best use of nature’s abundance to reduce our consumptive behavior and dependence on non-renewable resources.” This is a photo of the papercrete used at Solscape. At this point in the tour, our guide was talking us through all of the sustainable practices they had and the principles of permaculture that they use. Papercrete is an innovative and splendid way to use the materials you have around you. By taking paper and re-pulping it and then mixing it with clay or cement, you come up with a sturdy, recycled, insulating and cheap building block for any new project. It costs less than regular building materials, teaches you to become a maker of things, lets you create your own design for any building and helps the environment because it doesn’t give off any toxins or emissions in the process of making it. This type of material was a theme throughout the trip, as we met many new age thinkers who were adamant about living sustain-ably. In a book called “The Good Life Lab” talks about living a de-commodified life, the author and her partner used the papercrete technique to build their house, shed and outdoor patio. She says it is so fulfilling to look at a structure and know you made it with your own two hands. That’s how I felt while looking at the two domes that Solscape had built. I tried to put myself in their shoes, and I was proud of what they had accomplished. Making a home out of the earth connects you back to where you come from, helps you appreciate your surroundings and gives you a sense of pride knowing that you are living in a home made from your own two hands.

delaneyperma2

Produce No Waste

“By valuing and making use of all the resources that are available to us, nothing goes to waste.” This is the most intriguing and important principle of permaculture to me. The world is coming to a point where we are producing more than we have room to dispose of. This is true especially true in the US. We are home to 4% of the population, but contribute 30% of the worlds waste. What kind of numbers logic is that? Our group visited a non-profit called Extreme waste, a recycle and upcycle facility in Raglan. They are committed to the idea that nothing should go to waste, and that every item we believe is useless, really is not. They employ locals and accept volunteers, and open their doors to anyone who wants to learn more about upcycling. . The only problem is that many people have a stigma about used items. I don’t understand why, since all of the items I bought from Extreme Waste were in great shape and put a smile on my face. I believe we need to shift from being buyers of things, to makers of things. If we refurbish a chair or put two scraps of fabric together to make a shirt, we are happier with the result because of the hard work done, and by spending little to no money! I have so much respect for the owners Rick and Liz, because they saw a problem and they fixed it. They seem like gurus of the permaculture world, because their entire livelihood is based on the permaculture principles. All things have multiple purposes, we just need to get creative and dig into our minds to find out the endless possibilities for every object!

delaneyperma3

Creatively Use and Respond to Change

“We can have a positive impact on inevitable change by carefully observing, and then intervening at the right time.” Our visit to the Maungatautari Ecological Reserve is the perfect example for this permaculture principle. The environmentalists in New Zealand saw what negative change the introduced mammals brought to the native forests and put their minds together to come up with an extremely creative fence to regenerate the land and birds. I was impressed with the design; I have not seen anything like that before! They thought of every way a pest could get in and then blocked it. Having vision is not seeing things how they are, but how they will be in the future. The director Tom and his colleagues knew that if they didn’t do something soon, the land and rare birds would be gone forever. I admire their persistence and admiration for the land and their dedication to its preservation. This idea also ties back to what Keith, our host on the Marae, said about looking out for our future generations. The native forest is special and one of a kind in this world, and everyone should have a chance to visit. With practices like this, it is possible!

delaneyperma4

Please contact Professor Liang if you wish to write for The North Star Reports — HLIANG (at) css.edu

See also, our Facebook page with curated news articles at http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports

The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy (http://NorthStarReports.org) is a student edited and student authored open access publication centered around the themes of global and historical connections. Our abiding philosophy is that those of us who are fortunate enough to receive an education and to travel our planet are ethically bound to share our knowledge with those who cannot afford to do so. Therefore, creating virtual and actual communities of learning between college and K-12 classes are integral to our mission. In five semesters we have published 200 articles covering all habitable continents and a variety of topics ranging from history and politics, food and popular culture, to global inequities to complex identities. These articles are read by K-12 and college students. Our student editors and writers come from all parts of the campus, from Nursing to Biology, Physical Therapy to Business, and remarkably, many of our student editors and writers have long graduated from college. We also have writers and editors from other colleges and universities. In addition to our main site, we also curate a Facebook page dedicated to annotated news articles selected by our student editors (http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports). This is done by an all volunteer staff. We have a frugal cash budget, and we donate much of our time and talent to this project. We are sponsored by St. Scholastica’s Department of History and Politics and by the scholarly Middle Ground Journal: World History and Global Studies (http://theMiddleGroundJournal.org).

For a brief summary, please see the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at: http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/2013/1305/Opening-The-Middle-Ground-Journal.cfm

Hong-Ming Liang, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, The North Star Reports; Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal; Associate Professor of History and Politics, The College of St. Scholastica.

Kathryn Marquis Hirsch, Managing Editor, The North Star Reports.

(c) 2012-present The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy http://NorthStarReports.org ISSN: 2377-908X The NSR is sponsored and published by Professor Hong-Ming Liang, NSR Student Editors and Writers, The Department of History and Politics of The College of St. Scholastica, and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. See Masthead for our not-for-profit educational open- access policy. K-12 teachers, if you are using these reports for your classes, please contact editor-in-chief Professor Liang at HLIANG (at) css.edu

42 Comments

Filed under Delaney Babich, North Star Student Editors, Professor Hong-Ming Liang

A Fulbright Teacher in Bogota, Colombia, A Special Series – Trash Collection – by Laura Blasena. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

A Fulbright Teacher in Bogota, Colombia, A Special Series – Trash Collection – by Laura Blasena. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

When our cleaning lady decided to take a week off after Christmas, I and the fourteen other people living it the house from which I currently rent a room ran into a problem: the trash was piling up. For some of my house mates, that doesn’t seem to matter. For me, however, this was a problem. I wanted to take the trash out, but the problem was that I didn’t know how.

lauratrash1

(Note the lovely collection of garbage and recyclables in the garbage can. Separating recyclables and garbage was not a thing in any of the buildings where I lived or in any of the schools where I worked or volunteered.)

In Bogota, there are no universal trash or recycling binds that are distributed throughout the city. In fact, there is almost no such thing as recycling bins. Recycling is a very new concept and it tends not to turn out so well when only a small fraction of the city is aware of what recycling is. I’ve seen students quietly deliberating as they stare at the recycling bins at my university before quickly dumping all of the leftover food into the recycling bin, leaving the paper plate and plastic cup in the trash.

lauratrash2

(In Leticia (the Amazon region of Colombia), trash collection seemed to be a bit more universal in the small city. There were also many more campaigns advertising recycling and the proper disposal of trash.)

Instead of a universal system for trash removal, the system seems to be as follows: trash bags are left outside of houses, on the side of the road, on street corners–so long as they are all placed in a somewhat central pile, it seems–and are then collected by trucks or individual sanitation workers who lug around a small cart to collect trash.

lauratrash3

(In Salento, all of the trash in the city is collected and deposited nearby the public baseball field.)

This works to a fault. There are a few elements of Bogota that make this process more complicated.

There are many homeless people on the streets of Bogota. For many of these homeless people, the one readily available source of food can be found in the flimsy plastic bags of trash that are left out on street corners throughout the week. While the plastic trash bags may be set out in a neat pile, within a matter of hours they will be shredded to piece, sorted through, and discarded.

lauratrash4

(Note the single lone trash bag sitting out at the edge of the park outside of the house where I live.)

Those that choose to sort through the plastic bags are in search of two things: leftover food and recyclables. The food is very obvious. Entire plates of food, half eaten fruits, and only slightly rotting produce is discarded every day, and the homeless are able to take advantage of it. The recyclables are collected for money. Near garbage collection days, the streets will be full of people lugging carts packed high with cardboard, wood, plastic, and papers.

About our special correspondent and senior editor Laura Blasena: Ever since I was a little Kindergartner I’ve always wanted to be a teacher.

I graduated from St. Scholastica in the summer of 2015 with a double major in Elementary Education and Spanish Education after student teaching as a 5th grade teacher and also as a Spanish teacher at NorthStar in Duluth, Minnesota.

While my future plans before graduation were initially to become a classroom teacher, I decided to wait a year to begin teaching in the United States and have chosen to work as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in Bogota, Colombia. In Colombia, I will be working with a university as an assistant in the language department, attending classes, running conversation clubs, and offering the perspective of a native speaker.

I’ve always loved to travel. In college, I participated in several study abroad trips, visiting England, Guatemala, and Mexico. (I loved visiting Mexico so much that I even went back a second time!). I’m looking forward to the travel opportunities that I will have while working and living in Colombia.

Please contact Professor Liang if you wish to write for The North Star Reports — HLIANG (at) css.edu

See also, our Facebook page with curated news articles at http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports

The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy (http://NorthStarReports.org) is a student edited and student authored open access publication centered around the themes of global and historical connections. Our abiding philosophy is that those of us who are fortunate enough to receive an education and to travel our planet are ethically bound to share our knowledge with those who cannot afford to do so. Therefore, creating virtual and actual communities of learning between college and K-12 classes are integral to our mission. In five semesters we have published 200 articles covering all habitable continents and a variety of topics ranging from history and politics, food and popular culture, to global inequities to complex identities. These articles are read by K-12 and college students. Our student editors and writers come from all parts of the campus, from Nursing to Biology, Physical Therapy to Business, and remarkably, many of our student editors and writers have long graduated from college. We also have writers and editors from other colleges and universities. In addition to our main site, we also curate a Facebook page dedicated to annotated news articles selected by our student editors (http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports). This is done by an all volunteer staff. We have a frugal cash budget, and we donate much of our time and talent to this project. We are sponsored by St. Scholastica’s Department of History and Politics and by the scholarly Middle Ground Journal: World History and Global Studies (http://theMiddleGroundJournal.org).

For a brief summary, please see the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at: http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/2013/1305/Opening-The-Middle-Ground-Journal.cfm

Hong-Ming Liang, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, The North Star Reports; Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal; Associate Professor of History and Politics, The College of St. Scholastica.

Kathryn Marquis Hirsch, Managing Editor, The North Star Reports.

(c) 2012-present The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy http://NorthStarReports.org ISSN: 2377-908X The NSR is sponsored and published by Professor Hong-Ming Liang, NSR Student Editors and Writers, The Department of History and Politics of The College of St. Scholastica, and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. See Masthead for our not-for-profit educational open- access policy. K-12 teachers, if you are using these reports for your classes, please contact editor-in-chief Professor Liang at HLIANG (at) css.edu

38 Comments

Filed under Laura Blasena, North Star Student Editors, Professor Hong-Ming Liang

New Zealand – Harbor Care: The Waikato Catchment’s Clean Little Secret — The North Star Reports – by Delaney Babich. Sponsored by The College of St. Scholastica and The Middle Ground Journal

New Zealand – Harbor Care: The Waikato Catchment’s Clean Little Secret — The North Star Reports – by Delaney Babich. Sponsored by The College of St. Scholastica and The Middle Ground Journal

7152a5db-84c8-4ed9-a1cf-faf32cd72a78

[All photos courtesy of Whaingaroa Harbour Care.]

The Whaingaroa catchment on the west coast of New Zealand’s north island covers approximately 445 square kilometers of land. All of the water that flows through the streams, rivers, and ground end up in the Raglan harbor and eventually flow into the Tasman Sea. Twenty years ago, the harbor was contaminated to the point where people weren’t able to fish in, swim in, or drink the water. It took roughly 18 hours to catch one fish, and even then one knew better than to eat it.

Two nutrients affecting the water quality have human causes. The main source of nitrogen in New Zealand’s waterways is urine from farm animals. Once the paddocks of a farm become waterlogged, the nitrogen can wash straight through the soil before plants can use it. The weight that the animals put on the soil compacts it to the point where water and urine eventually run straight into waterways. Less directly, phosphorous from manure and fertilizer is carried into waterways by sticking to soil particles. It tends to accumulate in waterways where land has been cleared, in places where rainfall is high, and where slopes are steep and prone to erosion. This runoff results in increasing nitrate and ammonia toxicity and the unwanted growth of plants and algae. Too much nitrogen is also toxic to humans and animals. You can see why a group of locals may want to take the initiative to clean their waterways.

939bc0eb-a0d0-472b-ab52-b847389d19a9

Whaingaroa Harbour Care is an organization that was started by two ingenious people with a simple dream: a desire to have clean water in the Raglan area. They came up with the idea that riparian planting, fencing, and sacrificed land could easily fix the issue. They encouraged 40 farmers in the area to give up grazing land near streams, wetlands, rivers and bogs and to fence off these areas a few kilometers out from the water. The HC group then planted thousands of native and non-native trees along the waterways and wetlands. This helped soak up fecal matter, nitrogen, phosphorous, and sediment that usually found its way into the harbor. They have planted 1.2 million trees since the project started in 1995, and have a 95 percent success rate with the plantings.

eadd7d8c-5632-4a6c-ba11-e5b0f1ecf289

In the 18 years since the management has started, there has been a dramatic improvement to the water quality and recreational fishing catches have improved. Mudflats previously barren of life are now teeming with crabs, shellfish, and wading birds. In addition to making a major difference in the water quality in the harbor, there are numerous benefits for farmers including:

• Reduced stock loss in wet areas
• Reduced veterinary bills
• Reduced soil loss
• Reduced need for weed control
• Improved stock health
• Increased productivity
• Increased pasture quality
• Increased stocking rates
• Improved fertilizer control
• Improved shade and shelter for stock

Overall, this innovative idea has improved the quality of life for the people, wildlife, and flora in the area while the quality of farms and water in the catchment have also benefited. It is important to continue this project, and they are currently reaching out to other catchments along the west coast who have the same need for improvement. It is not rocket science, and hopefully the rest of New Zealand takes up the practice in order to save their water.

Please contact Professor Liang if you wish to write for The North Star Reports — HLIANG (at) css.edu

See also, our Facebook page with curated news articles at http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports

The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, The College of St. Scholastica and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal’s online learning community and outreach program with undergraduate and K-12 classes around the world. For a brief summary, please see the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at:

http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/2013/1305/Opening-The-Middle-Ground-Journal.cfm

The North Star Reports publishes edited essays from our students, particularly from those who are currently stationed, or will soon be stationed abroad. Students have reported from Mongolia, Southern China, Shanghai, Colombia, Norway, northeastern China, Nicaragua, Micronesia, The Netherlands, Tanzania, Ireland, El Salvador, England, Finland, Russia, Cyprus, and Haiti. We also publish student reviews of books, documentaries, and films, and analysis of current events from around the world. We will post their dispatches, and report on their interactions with the North Star Reports students and teachers. We thank The Department of History and Politics and the School of Arts and Letters of The College of St. Scholastica for their generous financial support for The North Star Reports and The Middle Ground Journal.

Hong-Ming Liang, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, The North Star Reports; Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal; Associate Professor of History and Politics, The College of St. Scholastica.

Kathryn Marquis Hirsch, Managing Editor, The North Star Reports.

(c) 2012-present The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy http://NorthStarReports.org ISSN: 2377-908X The NSR is sponsored by The College of St. Scholastica and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. See Masthead for our not-for-profit educational open- access policy. K-12 teachers, if you are using these reports for your classes, please contact editor-in-chief Professor Liang at HLIANG (at) css.edu

24 Comments

Filed under Delaney Babich, North Star Student Editors, Professor Hong-Ming Liang

“Going Glocal:” Environmental Sustainability Night at the Swedish Embassy, Washington D.C. — The North Star Reports – by By Marin Ekstrom and Meredith Morgan. Sponsored by The College of St. Scholastica and The Middle Ground Journal

“Going Glocal:” Environmental Sustainability Night at the Swedish Embassy, Washington D.C. — The North Star Reports – by By Marin Ekstrom and Meredith Morgan. Sponsored by The College of St. Scholastica and The Middle Ground Journal

Embassy_of_Sweden,_Washington,_D.C._in_dusk

[Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons]

Sweden commands honor and awe throughout the world in a variety of ways. It consistently ranks near the top of “Nations with the Highest Standards of Living” and “Happiest Nations” lists, it is the birthplace of the Nobel Prize, and has bestowed the world with such treasures as IKEA, dala horses, and ABBA. Therefore, what better way to honor this fine nation than by attending an Embassy event in Washington, D.C.? That is precisely what we decided to do when we went to the Embassy of Sweden’s Grand Opening of 2014 Theme Program: Going Glocal on February 18, 2014. This program was the kickoff to a series of yearlong events to encourage environmental sustainability, global efforts with climate change, resource scarcity, and other related issues. Sweden holds this focus in particularly high esteem: the country is one of the top nations in the world for sustainability, recycling, clean air standards, and adherence to the “reduce, reuse, recycle” mantra. They have ingrained these green initiatives into their society for generations now, putting them ahead of most of the world’s nations that have just recently jumped on the “green” bandwagon. Its proven history of implementing eco-friendly practices and the high regard in which the country is held worldwide make Sweden’s the ideal Embassy to share ecological seminars and get information out to the public.

Glocal.2-thumb-400x267-4068

[Courtesy of SwedishScene.com ]

The first thing that one notices about the Swedish Embassy in D.C. is its heavy emphasis on organic materials. The exterior is made from exquisite glass —a “crystal palace” of sorts— and the interior employs heavy use of wood and stone embellishments. Sweden’s love of nature was reflected in the architecture and (coincidentally) further set the mood for the specific “Going Glocal” event. When we entered the lobby, we were treated to reindeer meat hors d’oeurvres and salads that were literally composed of wildflowers and local plants– we uprooted these grasses from a terrarium to “grow” our own meals!

Glocal.1-thumb-400x239-4066

[Courtesy of SwedishScene.com ]

The first floor also featured an artwork display featuring beautiful and tragic pieces that highlighted the need for a healthy planet. Two musicians provided music for the event; they looked like a cross between Bjork, woodland fairies, and Pippi Longstocking and they played on crystal bottles while singing long, warbling chants. After we dined, admired the pictures, and listened to the music, we descended the staircase. We decided to join in on the fika (a Swedish coffee break) and indulged not only in fine coffee, but an array of desserts including princess cake, chocolate balls, and cardamom buns. We then strolled by art exhibition showing photographs of the von Echstedska Gården, a breathtaking 18th-century Rococo manor house that exemplifies Swedish style: simplicity, an appreciation for nature, and fine craftsmanship. We decided that that was an apt finale to our excursion, and after scouring some free literature (which included art books of the country and Swedish language magazines and journals describing the country’s valuable business partnerships in the U.S.), we said “Hejdo” (Bye-bye) to the embassy and headed back towards American University.

Glocal.3-thumb-400x305-4064

[Courtesy of SwedishScene.com ]

As Suecophiles, we were ecstatic to attend such an event. The embassy embodies its country’s national spirit, and the fact that this particular event focused on the very relevant issue of environmental sustainability made it even more intriguing. The additional perks of fine art and scrumptious food established this as one of our finest D.C. memories. Therefore, we raise our glasses and say “skål” (cheers) to Sweden and our embassy event experience!

Marin Ekstrom is a student at the College of Saint Scholastica and a double-major in Global, Cultural, and Language Studies and Russian Studies. Meredith Morgan studies at Presbyterian College and is majoring in International Studies. They both attended the Washington Semester Program at American University and were classmates for the Spring 2014 Foreign Policy Seminar. Meredith learned about the Going Glocal event at her internship, the Swedish-American Chambers of Commerce (SACC-USA).

Further Links about the event:
http://www.swedishscene.com/2014/02/exhibition-going-glocal-opens/

http://www.swedenabroad.com/Pages/StandardPage.aspx?id=66942&epslanguage=en-GB

http://www.swedenabroad.com/Pages/StandardPage.aspx?id=72553&epslanguage=en-GB

Please contact Professor Liang if you wish to write for The North Star Reports — HLIANG (at) css.edu

See also, our Facebook page with curated news articles at http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports

The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, The Middle Ground Journal and The College of St. Scholastica’s collaborative outreach program with K-12 classes around the world. We acknowledge North Star Academy of Duluth, Minnesota as our inaugural partner school, and the flagship of our program. We also welcome Duluth East High School and other schools around the world. The North Star Reports has flourished since 2012. For a brief summary, please see the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at:

http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/2013/1305/Opening-The-Middle-Ground-Journal.cfm

The North Star Reports publishes edited essays from our students, particularly from those who are currently stationed, or will soon be stationed abroad. Students have reported from Mongolia, Southern China, Shanghai, northeastern China, The Netherlands, Tanzania, Ireland, England, Finland, Russia, and Haiti. We also have students developing reviews of books, documentaries, and films, projects on historical memory, the price individuals pay during tragic global conflicts, and analysis of current events from around the world. We will post their dispatches, and report on their interactions with the North Star Reports students and teachers.

We thank The Department of History and Politics and the School of Arts and Letters of The College of St. Scholastica for their generous financial support for The North Star Reports and The Middle Ground Journal.

Hong-Ming Liang, Ph.D., Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal, Associate Professor of History and Politics, The College of St. Scholastica, Duluth, MN, USA

(c) 2012-present The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy http://NorthStarReports.org The NSR is sponsored by The Middle Ground Journal and The College of St. Scholastica. See Masthead for our not-for-profit educational open- access policy. K-12 teachers, if you are using these reports for your classes, please contact chief editor Professor Liang at HLIANG (at) css.edu

18 Comments

Filed under Marin Ekstrom, North Star Student Editors, Professor Hong-Ming Liang