All posts by aylinyasa

Communication as an Action Plan

I was unfortunately only able to attend the closing ceremony/panel of the sustainability symposium, where the main topic of the conversation was: How do we keep the enthusiasm created in this symposium and carry it to the future?

I have participated and leaded several conferences when I was in high school and I understand how excited people are about action plans making an exhaustive list of what to do next within the last sessions, but almost all the times not even half of the things on that list is accomplished by the next years conference. Why is that? Because the enthusiasm of the people decay very quickly, and therefore they don’t start their action plans until right before the next conference, which is too late to accomplish any goal that was initially put on the list.

The main solution that was suggested by students and professors was: BETTER COMMUNICATION. From their point of view of the people participating in the panel, if the different schools that participated in the symposium somehow find a way of communication, kept in touch and informed each other about all the projects they are doing, then the enthusiasm wouldn’t be lost. A lot of people suggested different ideas about how to communicate, and one person was taking exhaustive notes again in order to implement this communication action plan.

Sustaining communication is also a big effort and needs enough enthusiasm for people to follow through with it. Creating communication is easy, we live in a very social world with tools such as social media, ability to conduct video conferences etc., but since as the enthusiasm decays, communication also decays, so the main question here is: how to we sustain the communication?


The Stereotype of the Businessman

The Field/Action Research session I attended was about the value of big data and how to ask the right questions in order to obtain data that is valuable, however during the session the way the one of the professors described and referred to the “businessman” particularly attracted my attention, so I wanted to write about that.

He mentioned that he was a part of the Board of Directors in PAF (Parker Autism Foundation) and as he was describing the structure of the Board of Directors he made sure to make a clear difference between two different groups. One group consisted of the moms,dads and teachers and the other group consisted of “businessman”. He elaborated on the term “businessman” by saying that they came into the Board of Directors meeting that was at 7:30 am, and pulled out all different financial statements in order to find a better way to evaluate what programs work to help the kids. He basically simplified a body of people that probably consisted of diverse people with diverse backgrounds into one greedy businessman.

This reminded me of Stout’s description of the stereotypical shareholder in everyone’s heads, who cares about nothing other than maximizing his/her financial benefits. She explains how shareholders are human too, they have jobs, they have families and they do the same thing as everyone else. So doesn’t this description of the businessman simply create more negative opinions towards the world of business? Isn’t it a way of enabling more stereotypes to enter in our lives? What do we have to do, in order to disable the proliferation of such opinions and to stay away from the idea that businessman are greedy pigs who care about nothing other than money?

Can Urban Agriculture Eradicate Food Deserts?

The existence of food deserts, areas with low-income populations who have low access to healthy food options, has become a problem in United States, affecting major cities within the country. Food deserts are mainly created by the closure of large supermarket chains in poor areas, which forces the people in that community to shop at convenience stores and gas stations, which in contrast to vegetables and fruits, offer packaged foods that are low in nutrition and high in calories.

These food deserts negatively impact the community in various ways. One is the negative effects on health of the people and the increase in nutrition related health problems such as obesity and diabetes. The second effect of food deserts is the racial segregation that goes along with it. According to multiple studies that were done regarding food deserts and their relation to race, areas that have a mostly African Americans have fewer supermarkets per person than areas that have a dominant white population. This segregation also extend to socio-economic status, since low income neighborhoods within urban communities, the people who need access to fresh and healthy food the most, have less supermarkets than affluent of middle level income neighborhoods. Continue reading Can Urban Agriculture Eradicate Food Deserts?

Shake it Off

As a person who can’t control myself from performing dance moves whenever the DJ plays my favorite song or whenever a Uptown Funk comes up on the radio, I absolutely love to dance and if the space allows, to jump up and down. Knowing that dancing always makes me happy, I went on and researched for possible explanations of why this is always the case, and found out that how you stand and how you move actually affects your mood and your emotions. Continue reading Shake it Off

Wait, I Thought That Was an Egg!

Being a huge foodie myself, I can talk about, write about and eat food 24/7 and I am always open for trying new and “different” types of foods. Having said that it’s no surprise that I chose Heston Blumenthal, one of the top chefs in the field of molecular gastronomy, as the person I would want to go to dinner with.

To better explain what molecular gastronomy here is a small question: What do you think is represented in the picture below?     Breakfast_MoleculeR_551 Continue reading Wait, I Thought That Was an Egg!

The Growing Power of Urban Agriculture

Chemical fertilizers, E.coli, mono-cropping, fast-food restaurants, unethical treatment of animals, high fructose corn syrup, natural, genetically modified, Monsanto, Tyson, exploitation of small farmers, obesity, diabetes, food safety… These are some of the words that accurately describe the current state of the food industry in the United States. There are a handful of big suppliers, who control the majority of the food system, who use highly mechanized processes to produce food that contains chemicals. Small scale farmers are forced to go out of business since they can’t compete with the massive multinational corporations, the dollar menu at McDonalds is cheaper than buying vegetables, and diabetes in the US is at an all-time high (Clemens). As more and more of the hidden costs of how agribusinesses work start to surface, the amount of people who question these methods start to increase. One of these people is Will Allen, who is the founder and owner of the non-profit organization Growing Power Inc. Allen is trying “to create an alternative to the nation’s centralized food system by teaching people how to grow food, cook food and embrace a way of living that’s sustainable.” (Allen, xiii) This paper will look at the actions of Growing Power Inc. through the lenses of consequentialism and evaluate this viewpoint in terms of its sufficiency to explain the situation. Continue reading The Growing Power of Urban Agriculture

I Can Do It Too… Actually Can I ?

Milwaukee, 1993

Will Allen believed that everyone, regardless of their economic status should have access to the same, healthy food, so he founded Growing Power Inc., a non-profit organization, which helps individuals, who don’t have access to “healthy, high-quality, safe and affordable foods”, gain access to these by providing education and technical assistance as well as through food production and distribution.

Continue reading I Can Do It Too… Actually Can I ?

We Are Performing Well, But…

American Express: A flexible work environment, health, dental, vision and life insurance, family paid leave, flexible hours, onsite gym, onsite café, public transportation reimbursement, tuition reimbursement, retirement savings plan, the ability to join a variety of Employee Networks, great challenges, great atmosphere, great rewards, great bosses, great communication etc (American Express, Great Rated). The list goes on and on… Hire me now please! Who wouldn’t want to work in a company with such great perks and benefits?  Continue reading We Are Performing Well, But…