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After talking about this invisible cycle of oppression manufacturing has developed I wanted to make something a little more visible. When I say the manufacturing cycle of oppression I am referring to all the detrimental and unjust conditions within the whole cycle. For example, from the dirty extraction processes ruining or toxifying people’s homes, to the poor working conditions of production, to the polluting and intensive transportation (to the blind developed countries), and then to the disposal and monstrous waste build up of some peoples trash in other peoples homes! 

 

As a lot of you probably know Nike is a major supporter for the University of Oregon, or some of you may argue for football at least ( I mean they look pretty fly with all the different jerseys). Anyways, I wanted to post some facts about NIke shoes that are mainly produced in Vietnam, China, India and Thailand. 

1. Nike produces 78 million shoes/year in China.

2. The labor cost for one $85 shos is only $2.50.

3. Some workers earn as much as .10/ hour and toiled for up to 17hrs per  day!

– Indonesia= $2.46/day         – Vietnam= $1.60/day     – China= $1.75/day

4. Workers can be fired for refusing over-time.

5. Workers are exposed to toxic chemicals. There has been report of compensation for working with hazardous chemicals.

                                                                          ( http://factsanddetails.com/china.php?itemid=365&catid=9&subcatid=60#08 )

Check out the article that goes along with this picture called “Why Keeping Little Girls Squeeky Clean Could Make them Sick” by Whykoff in NPR

We live in a world where we are so aware of germs concerning where they hide, how they casue sickness, how they spread, and how to kill them! This awareness though has led people to be a little too paranoid about germs especially when it comes to protecting their children from them. With my history of babysitting for rich white families I’ve run into parents that disinfect everything, don’t let their kids play in the dirt, and are constantly washing their face and hands taking part of this “germ theory” (Purity and Danger ,Nash).

Hygiene is a good thing to some extent, but building a good immune system is also important. Kids need to be exposed to some germs and pathogens at a young age, so they can start building an immunity to them. In my African Diseases class we discussed the graph that showed there are increased rates of auto-immune diseases in areas of the world that are considered the cleanliest. Although, this could have many implications (eg. eating more processed foods as kids) it supports the idea that lack of exposure to germs and pathogens are causing hyper reactivity in their immune systems. This of course reminded me of Carol White from the movie Safe who had a hyper-reactivity to chemicals in her environment. Carol lived in a very safe and clean environment, and maybe this “over-security” eventually led to her body not being able to cleanse herself of very small doses of chemicals. Maybe not be accustumed to these chemicals could be seen as a good thing, but will she ever be able to return to society, or have to remain in her bubble?

Earlier in the class it was argues that ignorance is bliss which I would always be quick to refute. After thinking about this disorder of hyper-reactivity or Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS) It popped in my mind that maybe it would benefit some people to not know about every little microscopic critter that inhabits our homes. Or maybe we should just understand that they are not all bad, and we should let our kids play in the dirt! Quoted in the reading Deviant Agents by Alaimo, Shakespeare metaphorically states , “It is not the venom of the spider yet the infection of knowledge” referring to what makes us sick. I still believe in the power of knowledge, but not in the sense of creating this over-paranoia.

A lot of you probably remember the popular show on Nickelodeon called “The Secret Life of Alice Mack”. The most memorable part of the show was that she had super powers! Alice Mack could expel bolts from her fingertips, turn into liquid and sneak under doors, and turn neon every once in a while! All these superpowers gave her the ability to sneak around a lot, which she had to because she kept her super powers hidden.

Now the part many people don’t remember about the show is how she got these super powers. Turns out Alice Mack was walking home from school one day in her pleasant town of Paradise Valley when she almost got hit by a truck from a chemical plant, and instead got drenched in this top secret chemical called GC-161! It was this incident that gave her the abnormal superpowers!

Alice Mack ‘s case was pretty unique in that she didn’t get sick from the chemicals, and instead gave her powers that she used to her advantage. This actually puts the chemical accident in a positive light, which is not exactly the message we want send to kids. It gives the impression that maybe some new innovative chemical could possibly give one some sort of supernatural characteristic. Hopefully kids wont believe this fairytale for too long.

There have been numerous and exhausting efforts to reduce the risk of another devastating terrorist attack. Efforts have been made all the way from not allowing liquids onto planes to fighting in a war on terrorism that has left many Americans to question its value and killed millions of innocent civilians. The idea of a terrorist attack is very tragic, and heightened security should be a preventative measure, but to what extent?

As Beck states in his article Living in the World Risk Society, “The Irony of risk here is that rationality, that is, the experience of the past, encourages anticipation of the wrong kind of risk, the one we believe we can calculate and control, whereas the disaster arises from what we don’t know and can’t calculate” (pg 330). It is unfortunate that one of the most powerful tools of a terrorist attack is usually the element of surprise, and will most likely be planned around all the areas of heightened security. This is not to say that no heightened measures of security or efforts should be taken for preventative matters, but I do feel that more efforts could be focused on issues directly and continually effecting Americans on a daily basis, which I’m calling local issues.

There are many local issues we could list out, but for the purpose of this class I’d like to focus on the production and irresponsible disposing of toxic chemicals. Scorecard, ” The pollution information site,” shows the location of Superfund sites all over the US. “Superfund sites are the nation’s worst toxic sites: 1,305 are scheduled for cleanup on the national priorities list (NPL). About 11 million people in the U.S., including 3-4 million children live within 1 mile of a federal Superfund site and confront potential public health risks.” (http://scorecard.goodguide.com/env-releases/land/). The risks of these sites are calculable, and can be controlled, so I feel efforts to actually get them cleaned should be prioritized. More people are affected by these toxic chemicals on a daily basis, and in the long run they will kill more Americans (than an acute, one-time terrorist attack, for example) through cancer caused by these toxins.

Of course there is more fear of a terrorist attack than the long term subtle effects of living on a toxic site, but in terms of taking preventive measures, it seems cleaning up known toxic sites that are  continually polluting people should be focused on more. The solution to cleaning these toxic sites is already here, it just needs to be done; or maybe bumped up a couple slots on the “National Priorities List.”

Check out this site to see where there are Superfund sites near you!