Author Archives: echerne

Reflection: Back in the Day

English 104 I think has helped me grow more as a reader and writer more than I actually thought it would. One was of doing of this was by the practice of writing multiple drafts. This helped me focus more of my attention on detail of grammar and clarifying certain ideas in my writing that I’m trying to get across. There were times when I was writing out a draft and some of the ideas that I was writing about or certain sentences might have sounded like they made sense at first. Then after going back and re-reading them I realized that they might sound confusing for the reader. For example in my article 2 which was written on LeVaux’s piece “A Different Education: Compost and Community, Not Literacy”, there were a few places where I would just be writing out an idea and not fully explain it leaving some confusion to the reader on what I mean. For the final draft I would then go back and back the idea more clear, which usually meant adding more support and detail to the sentence or idea to give the reader a better idea of what I’m trying to say.
During the revisions of my papers I usually revised more on sentence level rather than holistically. Most of my papers seem to have had fairly good ideas as a whole, but as mentioned above sometimes the ideas that I was trying to get across weren’t as clear. Also the grammar has a tendency to be a problem; I got lazy sometimes when it came to proof-reading. Even for my final drafts of papers the revisions tended to be more on the sentence level. For future revisions on papers I think it’s actually best to revise both on the sentence level and holistically. They seem to go hand in hand when revising. If you change some of the sentences a bit it might change the overall flow of the paper which than may require you to alter the paper as a whole.
Within my writing I feel like there are certain strengths that stand out and certain weaknesses that I could be working on to improve. One of my strengths I feel is with critically analyzing things and looking deeper into something than just what is on the surface. There isn’t really any specific piece of work that I wrote this semester that shows this that well, but more in class discussions when going over readings that were required to read for class. In general I normally like analyzing things and figuring situations out so I think that helped with when going over readings in class.
At the same time being a critical thinker might be a strength, but in order to get my ideas out there on paper I need to work on one of my weaknesses, which like mentioned above is dealing with more getting whole thoughts out on paper and grammar. One way that I’ve dealt with this is just by revising my work, having other people revise it, and just by writing multiple drafts. I think there has been an improvement in my writing since the beginning of the semester, but just not as noticeable. I think this is because of being a 5th year in college I have been writing on the college level for a while now and I’m already use to how writing on the college level is different than high school.
Throughout the semester everyone had certain things that helped them grow as a writer. For me I feel like it was the articles. The articles required us to critically analyze readings from the class and then write about them following a prompt. As just mentioned one of my weaknesses I feel has been getting my ideas out on paper and I think by being forced to peer revise and re-write articles it helped me notice errors in my writing. This would then help me be more subconscious of how I write.
I could say that “I feel like this class was a learning experience because…bla….bla…bla” and then go on with an explanation as to why, but obviously the class is a learning experience we’re in college, everything’s a learning experience. More specifically I think this class in general as opposed to other English is an important class that should be taken. I think a lot of kids growing up today aren’t thinking the way they should and just having people make decisions for them or they just accept things for what they are. I think what you gain out of this class is more than just analyzing readings, but situations in life as a whole. When you’re building a skill it usually can be relevant to other situations too. Critically analyzing situations helps people really learn the meaning behind something which could result in a better understanding of a situation. Having a better understanding of a situation can help prevent generalizations which it seems like a lot of the youth does. This is why I feel like this class specifically should be a class that is required because of the skills that can be taken away from it.


Artifact 2: Toulmin Analysis

Edward O. Wilson’s “Apocalypse Now” is laid out as a rogerian argument, meaning it uses neutral language and finds a “common ground” to outline an issue of two opposing viewpoints. For this paper there’s a main issue of dealing with the destruction of our earth due to mankind, but the two opposing viewpoints are the way two social groups look at the earth and it’s creation: religion and science. Within the paper Wilson uses elements of the “Toulmin Model” to structure his letter. Within it seems like he has a main claim and a secondary one. Those are that, “The Creation -living nature- is in deep trouble.” and for the secondary, “If religion and science could be united on the common ground of biological conservation, the problem might soon be solved”.

For the first claim of our earth being in trouble Wilson gives facts about how scientists believe that at the rate humans are going right now with the destruction of our earth there will be an extinction of species way greater than imagined:

Scientists estimate that, if habitat-conversion and other destructive human activities continue at their present rates, half the species of plants and animals on earth could be either gone or at least fated for early extinction by the end of the century…If this rise continues unabated, the cost to humanity-in wealth, environmental security, and quality of life-will be catastrophic.

This is claim of our earth being destroyed is enforced by a warrant that Wilson states that all these species of earth are an amazing thing and are “well worth saving”. Which he than goes onto backing this warrant up by giving scientific facts of how all these species are unique biologically.

Wilson, aware of that the reader to whom he writes this “letter” to may be questioning him, goes on and asks a rhetorical question of a counter-argument, “With all the troubles that humanity faces, why should we care about the condition of living nature?” After he goes into detail as to how earth supports life in its biosphere and how all life in it relates to each other. Which leads to his next warrant, “We must be careful with the environment upon which our lives ultimately depend”. His backing support for this warrant is combined with data in explaining how so many resources that our lives depend so heavily on will be lost forever if we don’t take better care in preserving them.

Throughout this letter Wilson uses a certain tone that helps establish his views. He uses very neutral words, which is part of the rogerian argument, that help give more of centered standing view on the issue that’s being discussed. He uses words like “the creation”, which doesn’t give credit to either religious reasoning or biological for the creation of the earth and life. Another device he uses, which is the basis of his “letter” is him writing to a pastor, which acts as a form of symbolism. The pastor is a symbol not only of religion, but of higher authority in religion meaning someone who preaches to large groups of people. A pastor has power to move people spiritually and morally. Wilson uses a pastor for his letter because it’s a way of reaching out to a group of people who make up a majority of this world, of people who might not listen to scientific reasoning due to them being religious, but if there pastor preaches this to them then there’s a lot higher chance of them listening.


Artifact 1: One’s Self

Edward O. Wilson’s “Apocalypse Now” is laid out as a rogerian argument, meaning it uses neutral language and finds a “common ground” to outline an issue of two opposing viewpoints. For this paper there’s a main issue of dealing with the destruction of our earth due to mankind, but the two opposing viewpoints are the way two social groups look at the earth and it’s creation: religion and science. Within the paper Wilson uses elements of the “Toulmin Model” to structure his letter. Within it seems like he has a main claim and a secondary one. Those are that, “The Creation -living nature- is in deep trouble.” and for the secondary, “If religion and science could be united on the common ground of biological conservation, the problem might soon be solved”. For the first claim of our earth being in trouble Wilson gives facts about how scientists believe that at the rate humans are going right now with the destruction of our earth there will be an extinction of species way greater than imagined: Scientists estimate that, if habitat-conversion and other destructive human activities continue at their present rates, half the species of plants and animals on earth could be either gone or at least fated for early extinction by the end of the century…If this rise continues unabated, the cost to humanity-in wealth, environmental security, and quality of life-will be catastrophic. This is claim of our earth being destroyed is enforced by a warrant that Wilson states that all these species of earth are an amazing thing and are “well worth saving”. Which he than goes onto backing this warrant up by giving scientific facts of how all these species are unique biologically. Wilson, aware of that the reader to whom he writes this “letter” to may be questioning him, goes on and asks a rhetorical question of a counter-argument, “With all the troubles that humanity faces, why should we care about the condition of living nature?” After he goes into detail as to how earth supports life in its biosphere and how all life in it relates to each other. Which leads to his next warrant, “We must be careful with the environment upon which our lives ultimately depend”. His backing support for this warrant is combined with data in explaining how so many resources that our lives depend so heavily on will be lost forever if we don’t take better care in preserving them. Throughout this letter Wilson uses a certain tone that helps establish his views. He uses very neutral words, which is part of the rogerian argument, that help give more of centered standing view on the issue that’s being discussed. He uses words like “the creation”, which doesn’t give credit to either religious reasoning or biological for the creation of the earth and life. Another device he uses, which is the basis of his “letter” is him writing to a pastor, which acts as a form of symbolism. The pastor is a symbol not only of religion, but of higher authority in religion meaning someone who preaches to large groups of people. A pastor has power to move people spiritually and morally. Wilson uses a pastor for his letter because it’s a way of reaching out to a group of people who make up a majority of this world, of people who might not listen to scientific reasoning due to them being religious, but if there pastor preaches this to them then there’s a lot higher chance of them listening.


Growing Intellectually (12/1)

 

Through looking at different blogs that have been used in Engl 104 such as Interstellarsprawl, Caravanseraitales, and Gateways it seems like the organization of these blogs are laid out in just the right way for students to be able to really get the most out of what they’re learning along with help enhance they’re learning . The blogs are laid out in a way that they’re easy to navigate and find exactly what you’re looking for. For example, on Interstellarsprawl at the top of the main page their are six links to click on that send you to different pages, each of which is specific to a different part of the class such as “Documents”, “Readings”, and “Your Blogs”. When looking at the main page you don’t really get that overwhelmed with a feeling of not knowing where to look for something in particular.

When posting on a blog for class it can really help the students enhance there writing skills and challenge the students to try harder. In an English class that doesn’t have a blog, most of the time you type papers you just turn them into the teacher and they’re the only ones that read it. In Engl 104 whenever you post to a blog you know more people than just the teacher will be reading your post which can lead to more effort being put into the work that’s being submitted.

Along with posting on the blog, we’re also required to read and comment on other posts made by fellow classmates. This is a great way of helping students grow both in their writing skills, knowledge, and as a person. Ever single person has a different writing style and when reading other posts you get ideas on how different people write. Seeing different ways of writing from different people could spark a new or different way of writing for yourself that might help bring out your true writing skills. When reading other posts you also learn about people, they’re interests, who someone is as a person, and they’re personality. When reading something you can tell when someone is using emotion in they’re writing like humor, pity, love, and joy. If someone is writing an analysis about a reading you can tell how that person thinks and their level of intellect by how they analysis the reading. Reading someone’s writing can really bring out their personality. Having to read other posts is beneficial to the class because it can help students become more diverse and open to different types of people and ideas. That doesn’t mean you have to agree with the person, but it still forces you to at least have open ears, or in this case open eyes, to they’re opinion.


Article 1: Toulmin Analysis

 

Edward O. Wilson’s “Apocalypse Now” is laid out as a rogerian argument, meaning it uses neutral language and finds a “common ground” to outline an issue of two opposing viewpoints. For this paper there’s a main issue of dealing with the destruction of our earth due to mankind, but the two opposing viewpoints are the way two social groups look at the earth and it’s creation: religion and science. Within the paper Wilson uses elements of the “Toulmin Model” to structure his letter. Within it seems like he has a main claim and a secondary one. Those are that, “The Creation -living nature- is in deep trouble.” and for the secondary, “If religion and science could be united on the common ground of biological conservation, the problem might soon be solved”.

For the first claim of our earth being in trouble Wilson gives facts about how scientists believe that at the rate humans are going right now with the destruction of our earth there will be an extinction of species way greater than imagined:

Scientists estimate that, if habitat-conversion and other destructive human activities continue at their present rates, half the species of plants and animals on earth could be either gone or at least fated for early extinction by the end of the century…If this rise continues unabated, the cost to humanity-in wealth, environmental security, and quality of life-will be catastrophic.

This is claim of our earth being destroyed is enforced by a warrant that Wilson states that all these species of earth are an amazing thing and are “well worth saving”. Which he than goes onto backing this warrant up by giving scientific facts of how all these species are unique biologically.

Wilson, aware of that the reader to whom he writes this “letter” to may be questioning him, goes on and asks a rhetorical question of a counter-argument, “With all the troubles that humanity faces, why should we care about the condition of living nature?” After he goes into detail as to how earth supports life in its biosphere and how all life in it relates to each other. Which leads to his next warrant, “We must be careful with the environment upon which our lives ultimately depend”. His backing support for this warrant is combined with data in explaining how so many resources that our lives depend so heavily on will be lost forever if we don’t take better care in preserving them.

Throughout this letter Wilson uses a certain tone that helps establish his views. He uses very neutral words, which is part of the rogerian argument, that help give more of centered standing view on the issue that’s being discussed. He uses words like “the creation”, which doesn’t give credit to either religious reasoning or biological for the creation of the earth and life. Another device he uses, which is the basis of his “letter” is him writing to a pastor, which acts as a form of symbolism. The pastor is a symbol not only of religion, but of higher authority in religion meaning someone who preaches to large groups of people. A pastor has power to move people spiritually and morally. Wilson uses a pastor for his letter because it’s a way of reaching out to a group of people who make up a majority of this world, of people who might not listen to scientific reasoning due to them being religious, but if there pastor preaches this to them then there’s a lot higher chance of them listening.


Ones self

 

You just killed someone, now what are people going to think of you? Even more important, as we’re told growing up that it doesn’t matter what other people think…so what do you think of yourself now? Have you ever thought that you, as your self, was capable of doing something like that? Acts of doing ‘good’ and ‘bad’ are both symbols that help define us as individuals. As stated in Symbolic Interactionism: An Introduction, An Interpretation, An Integration by Joel M. Charon “…human society is based on symbols” (62). These symbols you learn throughout your life you apply to everyday scenarios and how we react, both physically and mentally, is what helps define ourselves. ‘Self’, as defined from thefreedictionary.com is, “ The essential qualities distinguishing one person from another; individuality”.

In LeVaux’s “A Different Education: Compost and Community, Not Literacy”, working as a community is a main concept, but I feel that a more important one is the idea of ‘self’ and defining yourself. LeVaux explains her trip to New Orleans, mainly the Lower Ninth Ward and how people there are struggling still to rebuild both emotional and physical structures that once defined there lives. These survivors of this natural disaster have to work together as a community to accomplish communal and personal goals. Working together takes a community effort and through this community effort of the Lower Ninth Ward people start to rebuild and build up new emotional strengths that help define each of them as a person.

This ‘good’ that people are doing for their community to survive is a positive symbol that are helping them define who they are or redefine who they are. On a normal day teens might be out playing sports or just enjoying the day, but for some of these teens they’re learning how take care of life and nourish it. As LeVaux explains, “Other neighborhood teens were planting sprouts, harvesting okra and figs, and screening potting soil”. Normally you might not see teens doing tasks like this unless their parents drag them outside and bribes them to do it with an allowance. The teens from this natural disaster are learning life lessons through taking care of something that requires just as much nourishment as they do themselves. Gardening can symbolize life and the care that is needed in it to live. Whether they realize it or not this symbol of life through gardening is something that will help these teens grow individually, having a stronger grasp on the idea of ‘good’. Along with life it can also help rise their spirits because of the feeling of accomplishment, of planting something, watching it grow, and then seeing the end result and being proud of it because of knowing all the work that went into it.

One thing that LeVaux brings up is a school that was opened called Our School at Blair Grocery (OSBG), which was named after the grocery store Blair Grocery that was the business that use to occupy the schools building. LeVaux explains that the school is there not to force kids to read or study, but to help them find themselves as individuals by letting them “…explore their interests, learn skills like blogging, and formulate and pursue goals.” This school can symbolize the choice people have in there lives to choose their own paths. It’s helping the youth pursue goals that they may have individually, letting them make their own decisions that will hopefully positively lives, but with added support… a democracy within a democracy. This school helped bring good to the community not just to the youth that are already involved, but to help others find themselves as well. As LeVaux states, “one current student is a former gang member suspected of vandalized the school when it first opened.”

In LeVaux’s article I feel does a really good job with bringing out the idea of ‘self’ through different scenarios that deal with people working together and helping each other out. I’ve done volunteer work a few times through a youth group in HS and middle school. I’ve realized that volunteer work is something that really makes you aware of other people struggles that they might be going through to survive. By helping volunteering and helping out you’re positively helping your self doing good and feeling good for what you’re doing. You’re also positively helping the people, not just physically like at a food pantry, but by giving them something that may rise there spirits to help them mentally. Sometimes all it takes it just one good thing to help improve ones self.

 


Local Food Systems

Below I have three websites that I have found dealing with my research topic of local food systems. In terms that’s more understandable it’s the idea of shopping locally with emphasis more on agriculture.

 

Site #1: http://www.ers.usda.gov/Publications/ERR97/ERR97.pdf

This is actually a PDF as you can tell from the .pdf at the end of the link, but a PDF that’s located under a website for the USDA. This PDF and website it’s from are great sources not only for my paper, but also in general. Everyone knows the USDA, and for those who don’t let me enlighten you. The USDA stands for United States Department of Agriculture, and are the ones in charge of policies for farming, agriculture, and food. So there credibility is pretty good as far as being a reliable source. Like I mentioned the link above is a PDF so if you were to view it, it’d bring you to a report that is fairly recent within the last few years, May 2010 to be exact. If you look at the authors you’ll see even more credibility too, (I actually just googled the first author). Steve Martinez, an economist in the food division with a P.H.D in economics and M.S. And B.S in agricultural economics. That’s just one author out of 11 listed so I figure that this would be a really good source if the title “Local Food Systems: Concepts, Impacts, and Issues” didn’t already give it away.

 

Site #2 http://sustainableagriculture.net/blog/report-benefits-of-local-food/

This second website I found struck my interest because of the title of the article featured, once again mentioning local food systems in it. The website is sponsored by National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition which is an alliance of grassroots organizations that are for sustainability of agriculture, FOOD SYSTEMS, natural resources, and rural communities. So the credibility for the website is fairly high and not of some 5th graders that decided to make a website for fun. As far as the article that’s featured, it’s a summary about a report that was written by a Jeffery O’Hara an agricultural economist who also has a P.H.D in his subject and works for the Union of Concerned Scientists. As stated on there (Union of Concerned Scientists) website under about us, “The Union of Concerned Scientists is the leading science-based nonprofit working for a healthy environment and a safer world.” So a summary on this report by Jefferey O’Hara would be pretty credible and helpful towards my topic.

 

Site #3 http://www.choicesmagazine.org/magazine/article.php?article=111

This web source I found was a magazine article out of “Choices: The magazine for Food, Farm, and Resources Issues”. That title alone should have credibility in it by it’s self. If there’s a magazine out there just for agricultural issues it most likely has articles in it that are serious matters that are written by credible people. The first author alone I just looked up and he’s an Professor at University of Minnesota in the Department of Economics. I looked around at his work and he focuses his research on local food systems. Hey look! There’s an e-mail for him too. He would be a good source for any questions I have at all on this topic. So considering someone who has that much expertise is co-wrote the featured article in this magazine I feel like this web source is very reliable.


New Chapters

Peaceful… beautiful…. comforting in a way that can’t be explained. It doesn’t matter how many times you walk down the paths there is always something new to see. Maybe it’s something that’s always been there before and just not noticed or something that is new, surrounded by hundreds of thousands of years of history just waiting to tell it’s story. I’m something new, just starting my career working for a beautiful national park. I realize I’m only 32, new job, just married to a lovely wife, but I am more than ready to start this chapter of my new life.


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