Tag: current events

The NCAA Stock Market

The NCAA, or the National Collegiate Athletics Association, is the stock market for athletes, fans, coaches, and much more. Most athletes dream of going “D1 ,”–for those who don’t know, that stands for ‘”Divison 1,” which is the highest rank for any athlete that plans on playing at the next level. Since the NCAA is the highest and most prestigious level for athletes, it only recruits the best of the best to play for them. Of course, you can’t have tip-top athletes without an equally high-class coach to train and support them.

 

Now this is where things get interesting. If the NCAA determines that you are one of the best players and accepts you to a college team, the scholarships will start coming in. They give you five years to play for them on an “athletic scholarship,” which essentially means that you’re playing the sport you’ve probably dedicated your entire life to with someone else’s money. The catch of this “free” education they are giving you, though, means that you have to obey the rules that come with it. You must have good grades–a talented student who doesn’t invest in their academic success as well isn’t worth wasting the money to sponsor. You are an investment to them; you’re playing on Saturdays, having fans come to the games, filling up the seats, and buying merchandise, food and drinks. You are an asset to them. You must perform to your highest ability both inside and outside of the classroom. When you are not at your best, it makes them look bad–as if you’re just there to hold a space on a depth chart and a seat on the bench. To them, you might as well be a waste of space if you don’t dedicate the time and effort to performing at your top level. Now, if the team as a whole isn’t doing well, it’s often the coaches’ fault, and tends to generate a lack of interest, which loses money for the program. Fans make everything happen–with little to no fans, there is no money to be made. That’s when coaches get hired and fired to help bring in money for the program . No one wants to pay to come see “losers” all the time because they want to feel like they’re on the team that is proving itself worthy and crushing its opponents in defeat. The fans want to be a part of the game, and they won’t support the team with their money unless they feel it’s worth investing in. In the end, athletes are performers, and the coaches are the directors that help keep the show running.

 

By: Teddy Burrows

The Race to Destruction: Fast Fashion’s Effects on the World and Society

Since the Industrial Revolution in the 1800s, there has been a steady incline in the efficiency of clothing manufacturing, but it wasn’t until the 1960s that clothing companies began to really produce garments with intense speed. Fashion became easily accessible to the public for consumption at lower costs than ever before; the allure of having trendy and fashionable pieces in one’s closet catalyzed more demand for these cheap and fast clothes. Fast forward to 2019, and clothing brands such as H&M, Forever 21, Zara, Charlotte Russe, and TOPSHOP are everywhere and dominate the closets of children and adults alike. Who wouldn’t pass up a $3.90 pair of leggings or a $4 dress? This cycle of the production of “fast-wearing” clothes and even faster consumerism has paved the way for detrimental consequences for the producer, the environment, and the consumer.

 

Cheap labor is the euphemism, in this case, for sweatshop workers who unfortunately do not make enough money to surpass the poverty line–the workers who live heavily-clustered in slums without the basic necessities and resources needed to have a decent quality of life. In the 1990s, the textile industry began moving overseas at an extremely high rate–fewer labor laws overseas would lead to the opportunity to rapidly amass products and cheaply sell them without having to worry about workers’ wages and rights. The sweatshops aren’t safe; “accidental mass killings” aren’t just a tragedy of the early 20th century. They still happen even in the most technologically advanced generation we’ve seen thus far. In 2013, the Rana Plaza factory in Bangladesh collapsed, killing at least 1,138 workers making clothes. In response to this incident, a European-led coalition of unions and allied NGOs (non-governmental organizations) teamed up to work with Bangladeshi labor groups to create a worker safety initiative focused on empowering workers themselves, adopted largely by European firms and led by H&M but also adopted by several major U.S. brands. Even with such a development, the initiative has had some trouble staying afloat, and there is still more that needs to be done. How can we support the abuse and complete disregard of the very people that give us the things we crave most? Textile factories have also been found to be ripe with the foul stench of human trafficking, found even in the United States. Girls and women promised jobs and opportunity come only to be bound to a cycle of abuse and servitude; real people in terrible situations are grossly underpaid, mistreated, taken advantage of, subjected to devastating health problems, and even dying- to make disposable clothing for the “lucky” us, the consumers.

 

This radical mass production creates pollution, and the mass waste caused by consumers carelessly tossing old garments contributes to utter environmental chaos. During the farming process for cotton, the pesticides that are used are being linked to cancer and birth defects in farmers’ children in the Punjab region of India, as well as contributing to the development of a brain tumor in the case of one Texan farmer. The production of cotton, though only making up “2.4 percent of the world’s crops… is responsible for 24 percent of global insecticide sales and 11 percent of global pesticide sales,” as well as the immense consumption of freshwater–one t-shirt can take up to 2,700 liters of water to make–and the facts don’t stop there. American clothing waste, nearly 3.8 billion pounds annually, ends up in landfills, which amounts to nearly 80 pounds of textile per American citizen–which seems practically unimaginable. In addition, over 80 billion pieces of clothing are purchased each year, mostly by Americans, even though the clothing was made in outsourced low-income countries such as China and Bangladesh. The factory workers’ subjection to environmentally unstable working and living situations is appalling, yet Americans can’t seem to decrease their demand for trendy and cheap clothing. Textile waste begets the production of methane during decomposition and the dyes and chemicals used to color and create the textiles could sink into the soil; whole communities and agricultural systems are crumbling due to mass production of fast fashion.

 

As a modern consumer, there seems to be something extremely satisfying about inserting a card into a chip reader and walking out of a store with a new purchase. With fast-fashion retailers churning out new trends and styles many more times a year than in the high-fashion realm–either as a continuous release or around 12 seasons for fast-fashion retailers versus 2 seasons for typical high fashion–buyers are armed with the caveat that they must shop then and there in order to stay up-to-date with the most current style. Having this feeling of staying on top of “the game” tends to bring an immense feeling of instant gratification when compulsory shopping, a feeling that is catalyzed with each swipe or chip read, and to keep feeling that instant gratification, we buy. This cycle can very easily turn into an addiction with us giving immense support and money to the factories and fast-fashion companies.

 

As the public eyes turn more towards to atrocities associated with fast fashion production and retail, hopefully, change will come. Remove fast fashion from your spending habits, buy second-hand clothes, boycott the fast fashion industry, or even just learn about and advocate for sustainable clothing.

 

Sources:

Ross, Robert J.S. “The High Toll of Fast Fashion.” Dissent Magazine, http://www.dissentmagazine.org/blog/the-true-cost-review-fast-fashion-rana-plaza-accord.

Morgan, Andrew, director. The True Cost. 2015.

Bailey, Carolyn. “Slow Down: Fast Fashion Has Harmful Effects.” Trusted Clothes, 10 Sept. 2016, http://www.trustedclothes.com/blog/2016/02/09/slow-down-fast-fashion-has-harmful-effects/.

“The Impact of a Cotton T-Shirt.” WWF, World Wildlife Fund, 16 Jan. 2013, http://www.worldwildlife.org/stories/the-impact-of-a-cotton-t-shirt.

Bick, Rachel, et al. “The Global Environmental Injustice of Fast Fashion.” Environmental Health, vol. 17, no. 1, 2018, doi:10.1186/s12940-018-0433-7.

 

To learn more, watch The True Cost on Netflix.

 

By: Aly Sickles

 

The Government Shutdown–Impending doom, or nothing to worry about?

On the day that this article was written–January 11th, 2019–the US government had been inoperative due to a shutdown for 21 days. All across the country, there have been innumerable cases of government workers doing their jobs unpaid, being penalized for something that they had no part in. President Trump gave the inciting action for the shutdown, after conflict regarding the building of the border wall with Mexico. Democrats have been almost uniformly opposed to the building of the wall, citing reasons why it wouldn’t work, along with funding issues. Republicans, on the other hand, have been divided by both Trump and his border wall, and the party is facing a major split in ideals.

 

More than politics, however, the government shutdown has majorly affected government workers. With no pay, there is no doubt that all types of government workers are struggling to survive. This is the real problem, even more important than divisive politics, because it affects the standard citizens rather than the elected officials. There is no doubt that many people in our families, as well as some of our friends, work for places like the TSA, National Parks, or for the general bureaucracy; this can ruin the lives of these people, as many people, almost 78% of full-time workers, work paycheck to paycheck. Something needs to be done, because these are real people with real lives, with families to feed and house. As the shutdown continues to persist day after day, tensions are rising in working class Americans–forcing them to ask themselves questions such as “Can we pay for this month’s rent?” or “Can we pay for food for the month?”

 

These are questions that cannot be answered until something is done about the border wall.

 

Until then, we can only sit like ducks waiting for the gun to fire.

 

By: Jaron Bullington

The Issue of Climate Change

The recent weather change has done a lot more damage than the news has discussed. These various hurricanes, flooding, and tropical storms are just a few elements of the weather changes. Homes have been destroyed and families have been torn apart due to the most recent hurricane, Hurricane Michael, but maybe there’s a reason hidden behind all of these anomalies.

 

Climate change has been a hot button issue for quite a long time; unfortunately, the President of the United States has been quick to deny any sliver of evidence presented to him. But what causes climate change? And why does it affect the world’s population?

 

To answer the first question, the Compassion in World Farming website says that factory farming “intensifies climate change, releasing vast volumes of greenhouse gases.” Greenhouse gases have the ability to trap heat in the earth’s atmosphere, which could end up increasing the earth’s temperature twofold by 2050 unless we take action to stop it. Additionally, carbon dioxide levels will have doubled by then, which will increase the temperature with effects that no scientist has been able to accurately predict. One major factor that contributes to carbon dioxide in our atmosphere is car emissions. The industry present in America is one that craves energy–one that has the need to manufacture and dig and take the natural resources straight from the earth and harm it at the same time. The NCA (National Climate Association) has stated that the national average of precipitation has skyrocketed 30 percent! And this is can be attributed to the heat–warmer air usually contains more water vapor than cooler air, therefore increasing the amount of heavy downpours and tropical storms.
Now, that it is clear that America should make a change to stop this from destroying the earth. How does this affect the world? Take a look at any hurricane in the last decade and realize how much power they get. Not only has the intensity of hurricanes risen in recent years, the carbon dioxide emissions and greenhouse gases have increased as well. Now look at the death toll, destruction, and injuries–thousands of homes and businesses have been destroyed along with families that lived and worked within them. The facts are there, the statistics are there, and the deaths certainly are too. For more information about this topic, these are the links used in the article.

 

Sources:
https://nca2014.globalchange.gov/highlights/report-findings/extreme-weather
https://www.ciwf.org.uk/factory-farming/environmental-damage

 

By: Abdiel Perez

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High

By far the most tragic and most terrifying school shooting since Sandy Hook, the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High Dchool on February 14th, Valentine’s Day, has claimed 17 lives, threatened 14 more, and affected hundreds in the worst way possible. The shooting strikes scarily close to home; it occurred in Broward County, Florida, less than 200 miles from Lake Howell.
The shooter has been identified as Nikolas Cruz, a 19-year-old who is a former student of the high school. He entered the school around 2 in the afternoon, armed with an AR-15 assault rifle, a bulletproof vest, and a backpack full of ammunition. Shortly after he opened fire in the classrooms. He then dropped his gun and vest and ran out with the rest of the fleeing students, making his way to a nearby Walmart, where he purchased a drink from the Subway inside before continuing on to a McDonald’s. According to TIME, it was at the McDonald’s that Cruz was found, and taken into police custody without further incident. He has been arrested under 17 charges of premeditated murder.
Students have posted many photos and videos across social media of the shooting. There are text messages from students saying goodbye to their parents, footage of SWAT teams clearing out the classrooms, and photos of laptops with bullet holes through them and blood on the floors. 17 people were killed in total, 12 within the school and others outside the building, as well as two who died in hospitals. Sixteen others are being treated at local hospitals, 5 in critical condition but the rest expected to recover.
The shooting comes as a tragedy, but not necessarily a shock. Over the past few years, there have been more than 20 calls for sercice about both Cruz and his brother to be closely investigated. Additionally, a YouTube comment about “becoming a professional school shooter” has been linked to an account whose name is “nikolas cruz.” Many students and teachers have voiced their own fears about Cruz being capable of violence.
The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting is the 6th school shooting to result in injuries since the start of 2018. In total, there have been 17 incidents of firearms in schools this year. It is also the deadliest school shooting since Sandy Hook Elementary in 2012, which took 26 lives in total.

 

Written By: Rachel Smith

Image courtesy of Saul Martinez for The New York Times

Daylight Savings Time Bill

Florida lawmakers want to pass legislation for more working, learning and playing time in the sunshine.Two bills, called the “Sunshine Protection Act,” would ask Congress to give the state permission to make Daylight SavingS Time year round. The proposals each passed their first Senate and House committees unanimously this week.

 
If Congress agrees, Florida would join two other states that have exempted themselves from the 1966 law that set a uniform time for all time zones across the country. Hawaii and most of Arizona are on Standard Time year-round.

 
Under federal law, the U.S. Department of Transportation has been given the task of setting time zones but allows states to exempt themselves from the new ones if Congress approves. Daylight SavingS Time (when you set your clocks forward or backwards by one hour) runs from the second Sunday in March to the first Sunday in November.
The practical impact of that change would mean that on the Winter Solstice — that’s the day in the Northern Hemisphere with the least amount of daylight — sunrise in Florida would be at about 8 a.m. and sunset would be at about 6:30 p.m. instead of 7 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. like it is now.

 
The Senate’s version of the bill also moves the western part of the state, which is in Central Time, into the Eastern Time zone, if Congress approves.
 

Senate sponsor Greg Steube, a Sarasota Republican, said he got the idea after walking into his local barbershop last fall, shortly after the clocks changed from Daylight Savings to Standard Time.
“One of the barbers had young children and it had such a negative impact every time they set their clocks back [that they had trouble] getting their kids up for school,” he told the Senate Community Affairs Committee meeting on Tuesday.
 

So he filed the bill and the idea has “turned into something I’ve never seen happen,” he said.
Studies have found that observing Daylight Savings Times year-round would boost the economy, save energy, improve road and public safety, and reduce crime, due to the fact there is more sunlight in the evening hours,” she told the House Local, Federal & Veterans Affairs on Wednesday.
 

Fitzenhagen predicted it will improve mental health and simplify life.
“This is the first great step to putting more sunshine in our lives,” she said. “How many times have you gotten home from work in the winter time and you’d like to throw the football, dip a line in, or go out to dinner with your spouse? This will give people the opportunity to have more quality time when its nicest in Florida.”
This isn’t the first time the idea has been proposed. Rep. Mark Danish, a Tampa Democrat, filed a bill to make Daylight Savings Time year round in 2014, but the measure never got a hearing.

 

 

Written By: Kimiya Watkins

Image Credit to Getty Images

Slavery in Libya

This week, CNN released a video containing footage of sub-Saharan migrants being sold at auction in Libya. Libya is a transit country for tens of thousands of migrants who are fleeing their home countries due to economic or political conflict. Most try to make their way to Europe in search of better opportunities, selling everything they own to finance the journey across the Mediterranean. Recently, however, the Libyan coast guard has been more strictly reinforcing their boundaries. This means that fewer ships are making it out to sea. As a result, smugglers are finding themselves with vast amounts of human lives and nowhere to send them. That has led to smugglers becoming auctioneers, and the refugees their slaves.

The slave trade in Libya is not new. In many seemingly ordinary towns throughout the country, migrants wait in solemn lines to be sold into their fates. Most are being auctioned off as farm workers, going for the US equivalent of around $400. While waiting to be deported, many migrants are kept in detention centers. One interview from CNN recounts the horrors that some migrants face. One detained migrant named Victory explained that he had fled his home state of Edo, in Nigeria, to flee “rampant corruption” at home. He spent all of his life savings trying to reach Europe. Victory made it to Libya, and was held there like many other migrants; sadly, they are held in abject living conditions, deprived of food and abused by their captors. Even after being sold as a day laborer multiple times, he could not raise the funds to free himself from debt. This is only one story out of hundreds of migrants and refugees that have been held in the Libyan slave trade.

According to the Alpha Conde, the chairman of the African Union, they will “use all of the tools at their disposal” to look into the situation. The evidence filmed by CNN has been handed over to Libyan authorities. CNN reports that, as of Friday, December 1, Libya has launched an investigation into the slave trade.

By Rachel Smith

Sources: BBC, CNN

Photo provided by AFP/Getty Images