Friday, February 29, 2008

Sustainable Agriculture as the Best Alternative for Farmers

Every day that we listen to the news, watch TV, read newspapers there is continuous warning about damage to the environment. Is very common to hear about global warming which according to scientists, is caused by human activities and greenhouse emissions. The issue is getting worse. The world needs to find alternatives to decrease global warming. The task; is not easy however it is necessary to start improving those existent alternatives. Aside of be a way to produce food, sustainable agriculture is also an opportunity to help decline global warming. It is crucial that every country consider seriously sustainable agriculture to improve lives. Sustainable agriculture is the best alternative not only for farmers but also for countries because preserves environment, its practice brings social benefits to the community, increases the Gross National Product (GNP), improves standard of living and increases diversification.

Sustainable agriculture is a kind of farming in which one of the most important considerations is to conserve the ecosystem. Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) (1997) tells us that “sustainable agriculture encompasses diverse methods of farming and ranching that are more profitable, environmentally sound and good for communities” (para 2) According to Gold, “Sustainable agriculture was addressed by Congress in the 1990 "Farm Bill" under that law, the term sustainable agriculture means an integrated system of plant and animal production practices having a site-specific application”. Gold also explains that the main goals of sustainable agriculture are related to conservation of the environment, consecution of economic profit and increasing of community work. She states the best way how resources either renewable or non renewable have to be uses, in order to get the best results without cause damages to ecosystem specially soils, water, and wild life. Agroecology (n.d) lists the principles of sustainable agriculture “Use renewable resources, minimize toxics, conserve resources, conserve soil, conserve water, conserve energy, conserve genetic resources, conserve capital, manage ecological relationships, adjust to local environments, diversify, empower people, manage whole systems, maximize long-term benefits, value health” (para 1). This article shows us clearly that the principles of sustainable drive us to great benefits.

However, although sustainable agriculture is considered by experts as a great option to produce food at the same time that the environment is conserved, is has not been developed throughout the world. In fact there are not many countries in the world that have considered seriously sustainable agriculture as a alternative to decrease global warming. According to University of California Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (SAREP) (1997) there have been debates of whether or not this is the best alternative of growing crops arguing that the costs of its implementation are much higher than traditional agriculture. However most of the people have accepted as a great alternative of crops.

First, sustainable agriculture preserves the environment. One of the main goals of sustainability is to preserve the environment. Sustainable agriculture helps to reduce erosion. As a requirement to get a certification farmers have to apply techniques of conservation of soils while crop. Furthermore, implementing sustainable agriculture has many benefits for, water and wildlife. Water is used more cautious, wildlife is preserved. Rainforest Alliance (n.d.) tells us that sustainable agriculture requires implementing new techniques to conserve ecosystem for Rainforest Alliance (n.d.) “A certification means: less water pollution, less soil erosion, reduced threats to the environment and human as the most dangerous pesticides are prohibited, more wildlife, and less waste, less water use as water conservation measures are applied”. (para. 2). In other words traditional methods of agriculture do not fit in Rainforest Alliance certification, so farmers will have the opportunity of growing crops without having environmental problems. Sustainable agriculture has become the best substitute of old methods of produce food.

Second, sustainable agriculture preserves social benefits. Sustainable agriculture improves community relationships and equity. The best way to put into operation sustainable agriculture is by organizing communities. An organized community will work for common benefits, so farmers help each other. as a result they will get not only an enhanced standard of life but also improved relationship among families. Rainforest Alliance (n.d.) claims that certified sustainable agriculture means “improved morale among farm workers who are getting fair wages and have decent housing, clean drinking water, sanitary facilities and a safe and wholesale work area” (para 3). Rainforest Alliance (n.d) also tells us that “Workers and their families have access to schools, health care, transportation, and training” (para. 2). This article shows us undoubtedly how communities are benefited by implementing sustainable agriculture. In addition, by applying sustainable agriculture there is more production working as a community. Considering sustainable agriculture an opportunity to work in community it is safe to say that farmers will get more and better production. If they work together they will improve their techniques because all of them will give ideas so they would be able to increase quantity and quality.

Finally, sustainable agriculture improves diversity. Farmers practicing sustainable agriculture have to diversify crops. In order to preserve nutrients on soils it is necessary to diversify the kind of crops. If in a given year a farmer crops soybean and the next year he crops corn the harvest of corn will be very good because soybean is rich in nutrient so, those nutrient on soil will help to develop crop without having to use other fertilizers. Furthermore, with diversification on sustainable agriculture farmers can compete in market because they will have more products to offer. By distributing the land in diverse kind of crops not only get a variety of product but also plants develop better because they help each other. Pest that affect corn do not affect beans then pest problems are reduced. By diversifying in sustainable agriculture give new experiences and new opportunities to farmers, knowledge and results are improved.

Opponents of sustainable agriculture claim that is not the best alternative because it increases the costs of production and that there is not possible for everyone. However they have not taken into account that sustainable agriculture increases the Gross National Product (GNP), and that at the end they will not only have personal benefits but also the country. Those farmers that implement new and modern techniques of crop get better results in production than those that continue using traditional techniques, so the will have better economic benefits. Moreover, there is money available for those people that want to implement sustainable agriculture. Most countries are trying to encourage farmers to increase sustainable agriculture by offering funding as an economic alternative. SARE (n.d) tells us that “Now, farmers and ranchers can apply for grants that typically run between $500 and $15,000” (para 3). In many countries there exist community cooperatives sponsored by the government that which its main goal is support little farmers. While producing, farmers are helping each other in their work and money is no longer a problem.

Sustainable agriculture is a great alternative of development not only for the present generation but also for the future. By improving sustainable agriculture, people get better quality and standard of life because those are some of the main goals of sustainable agriculture. By producing food is a great need in the whole world however the way that food is produced it is more important than production. If the earth is damaged every time that a crop is ended, soon we will not have enough land to produce alimentation for the world. Sustainable agriculture is a way to conserve the earth; its implementation is needed.

References:

Case studies (n.d.). Agroecology. Retrieved February 16, 2008, from
http://www.agroecology.org/Principles.html

Gold, M. sustainable agriculture: definition and terms (August 2007). United
States Department of Agriculture. Retrieved February 14, 2008, from
http://www.nal.usda.gov/afsic/pubs/terms/srb9902.shtml

Halprin, L. (2007). Growers, researchers collaborate at sustainable agriculture
field day. UC Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program
(SAREP). Retrieved February 16, 2008, from
http://www.sarep.ucdavis.edu/newsltr/v19n3/v19n3.pdf

Sustainable agriculture (n.d.). Sustainable Agriculture Research and
Education (SARE). Retrieved February 14, 2008, from
http://www.sare.org/coreinfo/consumers.htm

Sustainable agriculture (n.d.). Rainforest Alliance – Benefits.
Retrieved February 19, 2008, from
http://www.rainforest-alliance.org/programs/agriculture/benefits.html

Would You Eat Cloned Meat?

In Guterl’s (2004), “Would You Like Fries With Your Clone? The author introduces the topic of eating cloned food and mentions that United States Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) and European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) are going to permit cloned food to be sold to consumers. First, he gives a background on genetically modified food. He compares the United States and Europe showing that they have different opinions as regards cloned meat; however, both want labels on GM food. Third, according to the article there is currently a discussion about if eating cloned meat would be safe or not. The author also claims that producing this kind of meat is very expensive, so there is no an evident need of cloning. In addition, the author tells us that it is possible that cloned animals would develop some problems that could be bad in humans; however this would not be necessarily a problem. He also writes about what scientists have found out about cloning; they think that perhaps cloned meat could have secondary effects, so it would not be totally safe to consume. In conclusion, the author states that at this point it is not possible conclude what is going to happen.

Cloned food is currently a very controversial issue. Since there are not many studies about effects of cloned food in humans, at this point nothing is clear about what will happen with its consumed. Considering this situation, cloned meat should never be introduced to the dinner table for the reason that it goes against nature, it is not a natural way to produce food, it could create new diseases, and it could have DNA defects.

First of all, cloning meat goes against nature. According to The Bible (1995) which is the most quoted book in the world, God created all that exists. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." Genesis 1:1. The Bible mentions specifically that God is the creator of all animals, Genesis 1:20-22, 24-24. If God created everything that exists, people who clone would be fighting against Him. Genesis shows us clearly that God is the only one who can gives life, so he can also destroy it. Subsequently fighting against Him could become in sickness, destruction, and death. Considering all of these things, people should be very cautious before accepting cloned food in their dinner table.

Second, cloned meat could have secondary effects on human body. Cloned animals do not accomplish the natural process of life, so we do not really understand what we would inherence to our future generations if cloned food is accepted on the dinner table. In addition, at this point there are not many studies to give us the guarantee that eating cloned food it is totally safe. Moreover, Guterl (2006) tells us that ”Epigeneticists have begun to enumerate ways in which traits can be passed from one generation to the next that have nothing to do with DNA. This raises the theoretical possibility that cloning may have unintended effects even though a cloned animal is an exact DNA replica from the original” (para 7). In other words, it has not been proved that cloned food would not develop strange effects in humans. Therefore, at this point it is safe to say that by eating cloned meat could bring serious consequences for humans.

Furthermore, cloned food could create new diseases. Human body is very sensitive to new things, so cloned meat could be very strange for the stomach and perhaps it would not tolerate this new kind of food. As a result people would get intestinal diseases. Furthermore there are probabilities that cloned animals are not totally normal. According to Guterl (2008) “There is some evidence that cloned animals show a higher propensity for developmental problems, such as retardation. That would be tragic in a human” para 6. It is very probable that eating cloned food would be harmful for humans.

In conclusion, consumers should consider cloned food very seriously because its consumption could bring irreparable damages to the human health. There are no studies to show us that eating cloning food is safe. No one is able to give a guarantee that consuming cloned food would be totally positive. So, if we do not understand everything about cloning, why should we consume it? If we simply ignore it, it is very probable that in not too many years people would be facing irreparable problems with their health.


References

The creation (1995). Genesis, The Bible. Retrieved from http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?book_id=1&chapter=6&verse=7&version=49&context=verse

Guterl, F. (2008, January 18, 2008). Would you like fries with your clone? News Week. Retrieved February 9, 2008, from http://wwwnewsweek.com/id/95962

Do you remember how life was without technology?

A few years ago the world was not expecting all of the benefits that we have today by using technology. Technological revolution is a beneficial thing for the world because it has changed people’s lives. It is possible to buy everything online, to pay bills and manage banking accounts on the Internet, to communicate with others immediately either calling by phone or using a computer connected to the Internet. Now we depend in many ways of technology because this has made people’s lives easier. Definitely, technology has made a huge beneficial difference in today’s life. It is not possible to imagine our lives a few years ago, without technology. Communication is no longer a problem between families and friends, there is hope for people who had chronic diseases, and businesses are more effective and profitable because of the improvement of technology.

First, with the advance of technology, businesses have more possibilities for growth and improvement more quickly, so they would give better services to their customers. If an airline sells its tickets online it will get a bigger market that one airline that sells its tickets in a physic office because today’s consumers are looking for the and easiest way to satisfy their needs. In addition, technology is a very important tool for those businesses that want to give the fastest service to their customers. This tool is also the key to compete in the global market. Today people do not need to travel long distances to get what they need. It is easy to buy everything from any corner in the world because everyone has access to the global market. What was not possible years ago it is easy now, since ordering your dinner for tonight online or on the phone having it at home in only a few minutes, until buying a car on the Internet. All of these facilities have made life easy. Everyone will prefer to make business with those that offer a fast service because today there is not time to be wasted. Smith, a writer for MC Press Online (2008), explains how technology it is a very important feature for business today, he says that “The combination of information technologic expertise and business insight is shaping up as the magic formula for competing in a global market”. He also writes, “When one looks at the number of mergers and acquisitions occurring today, one cannot help but notice the concentration of resources occurring in the business community. Companies are, in effect, gearing up to compete globally for two reasons. One, it is possible, and two, it is necessary”. Para. 8. In others words, businesses that want to survive have to be able to satisfy customer needs to achieve it, they have to get immerse inevitable in technological revolution.

Second, communication between families has became easier and faster. Now that we have great advances in technology, it is easier to communicate with relatives. Spouses can call each other to their cell phones after finishing their work instead of driving a car to go to look for him or her. By doing this is saved not only money but also time, making communication faster and more effective. In addition, today it is possible and cheap to keep in touch with family and friends than ever before. We are able to communicate to anyone, anytime, anywhere because simply is easy. Sending an email we are in touch in seconds with one or as many people as we want or need. Making a phone call it is possible from anywhere by using cell phones. It is cheaper via Internet, or chatting online it is also a common and fun way to communicate. It is safe to say that technology is that irreplaceable achievement that has became essential in today’s world.

Furthermore, technology has brought advances in medicine and health. Today it is possible to have a surgery that it was not possible years ago. There are also new drugs that were no founded before treating many diseases that was impossible to be healed or treated before. Through technology these diseases are focused in a different way. Health Sciences and Technology at Harvard-Massachusetts Institute of Technology (n.d.), tell us that “With modern imaging technologies, HST researchers non-invasively visualize and manipulate molecules, cells, tissues, and organs in ways that were previously impossible. These approaches enable them to investigate chronic conditions such as schizophrenia, arthritis, asthma, diabetes, and obesity, ultimately leading to new ways of identifying risk factors and developing new therapies”. Para. 1. In addition, technologic advances have given better quality in health care. Through technology symptoms can be detected before a disease is developed in the human body. Moreover a surgery can be made it easily without leaving scars which make them less risky. Definitely the development of technology has given hope to many people with diseases that in the past were incurable.

Opponents to technology changes argue that human labor is being replaced by machines, and that finding a job it will be soon a privilege that not everyone will have. However they have not taken into account that machines need people trained to operate them, so people will have better opportunities because they will need certain education or training to do that job. Furthermore, there are many dangerous jobs that being operated by machines would make safer lives so, they should consider advances in technology as important tools in industries. For example most of the jobs in a nuclear plant are risky, but if machine are used to do the largest part of those tasks people’s lives would be less exposed to danger. Certainly technology makes people to improve themselves and also protects lives of danger in many industries.

With the continue development of technology life is without doubt much easier. There are no longer problems of communication between families and friends because communication is just to a click. People can take advantage of time managing business by using new methods of technology as the Internet. Furthermore, now it is possible to buy anything from home by using a computer, which permits saving money and time. There are also better opportunities of health because of the discovering of cures to certain diseases and surgeries that were risky, now all of these things are possible thanks to advances in technology. There is no way to go back to those old times because the improvements in technology have made life more enjoyable.

References:

Biomedical imaging (n.d) Harvard-MIT Health Science and Technology. Retrieved February 02,
2008, from http://hst.mit.edu/servlet/ControllerServlet?Handler=PublicHandler&action=browse&pageid=848


Smith, C. January 07, 2008). As technology accelerates, will we be leading or Following?
MC Press Online. Retrieved February 2, 2008, from
http://www.mcpressonline.com/analysis/analysis-of-news-events/as-technology-
accelerates-will-we-be-leading-or-following.html

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Sunday, December 2, 2007

HONDURAS INDEPENDENCE DAY

September 15, 1821

This holiday has been celebrated for 186 years; it started when five countries of Central America declared their independence from Spain.

HISTORY

“DISCOVERY OF AMERICA”

Before 1492, The American continent was inhabited by native Indians. In October 12, 1492, an expeditionary group guided by Christopher Columbus which represented The Kings of Castilla and Aragon, Spain arrived to America. Actually they were trying to arrive to India. This has been considered as “The Discovery of America”.

PRE-COLUMBIAN ERA

The pre-Columbian Honduran civilizations were closely related to Mesoamerican area. There are many discoveries that relate about those civilizations. The most known civilization was the Mayas located close by Guatemala’s border who had very interesting culture. We still conserve some of the rests of the pre-Columbian civilizations, however many of their languages have disappear for ever.

The arrived of Christopher Columbus to the Bay of Trujillo on August 4, 1502 marked the end of the pre-Columbian era. He always thought that he had arrived to Asia.

SPANISH PERIOD

With “the discovery of America” started the Spanish Period which refers to the time that Honduras was dominated by the Spaniard government during 319 years. Then conquest started in 1524 when four expeditions coming from Spain guided by Gil Gonzalez, Cristóbal de Olid, Pedro de Alvarado and Hernando de Soto, all of them commanded by Hernan Cortes.
That was a very unstable period because there were many gold mines and they were fighting trying to get their own richness. On the other hand many native Indians battled in order to defend their territory. Every effort they made was in vain because the Spaniard were stronger.

The next two decades it was a very violent period between Spaniards and Indians. Many Indians died because of sickness, maltreatment and slaving.

In 1560 Honduras became a province of the Captaincy General of Guatemala which was formed by five provinces of Central America, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica. All of them were governed by Spain.

INDEPENDENCE FROM SPAIN

In September 15, 1821 the five provinces of the Captaincy General of Guatemala proclaimed their independency of Spain. All of them continued united forming one country called United Provinces of Central America, except Honduras which was annexed to Mexico but in 1823, became a part of the Central America Provinces. In 1837 the federation was dissolved and every province was declared as an independent state.

THE HOLIDAY

After the independence was declared, every year September 15 is a special day for all of these Central American countries. It is celebrated with parades, special music, dances, and fireworks. Every year all the schools and The Army in the whole country leave to the streets remembering that special date.
People who doesn’t have anything to do with The Army and Schols go to the streets to see the special parades, or stay at home because it is a day off in the whole country. It is celebrated the same date every year.

SOME PICTURES








video

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

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Sunday, November 4, 2007

I Had To Cross a High River by Swimming!

This happened about 2 years ago. It was exactly November 18, 2005. I was working in a small town outside the city, which in winter time it was so hard to get to. I usually travelled every day to my job, but sometimes I stayed there over the week. It was a Friday afternoon, a very rainy day, two of my friends and I were ready to go home; but something very unusual happened that day, we couldn’t travel because one of the bridges on our way was damaged by rain. It was too late to look for a way to leave, so we had to stay one more night. How sad…

The next day, the situation was worse, the rain damaged not only a bridge, 10 miles of the road were destroyed. There were little rivers along of road where there weren’t before. Worried about all our errands that we had to do in the city, we decided to go. Helped by a friend, we drove three miles to get to the first river, which was swollen out of its banks. We had to cross it. It wasn’t too high, but it was strong. Successfully we crossed!

On our way we joined many walkers who had our same problem. We walked sometimes and sometimes we got a ride in a car, but our major problem was when we arrived at our last river and it was higher than we expected. We were about to turn back and stay the weekend in the town we came from, but that would be frustrating to stay there for two weeks. One of my friends decided that she would cross the river by swimming. I was so scared because the river was so strong, she was helped by people who were doing the same and she made it! I was sad because I didn’t want to go back. Finally, after thinking about it, I decided to cross the river too. I had a plastic bag in my back pack that I used to put my bag pack in. I was helped by other swimmers as I crossed the river. It was exciting and scary, but I made it! I arrived home about frozen, but it was one of the most exciting adventures in my life.