The Pioneer- Editorial

Progress Against Violent Football Culture Must Continue

By Leanne Cozart
Editorial Editor Fall ‘12

Thursday, September 6th, 2012

The violent culture of the NFL has been making headlines with the New Orleans Saints bounty scandal along with several present and former players showing signs of head trauma.

Over 1,500 players have sued the NFL, arguing the league has hidden the connection between repeated concussions associated with football and brain damage.

In a 2009 study commissioned by the NFL, former players between the ages of 30 and 49 were all found to have been diagnosed with severe memory-related diseases, known as Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, at approximately 19 times the rate of the general population.

It’s no surprise injuries happen in this sport, as it’s a modern day gladiator showdown where grown men in superior physical shape unleash on each other. That’s part of the excitement to watch as a football fan.

Nearly 10 years ago, the issue of the NFL and brain damage began to emerge when an autopsy was done on former Hall of Fame center for the Pittsburgh Stealers, Mike Webster.

After 17 years in the NFL, Webster was inundated with a cocktail of numbing pain medications to subdue his once-invincible body towards the end of his life.

The once well-known “Iron Mike” left the league mentally and physically disabled in 1990 after nearly two decades of anchoring the offensive line.

The cause of the mental and physical deterioration of Webster is said to be due to dozens of undetected concussions he had throughout his long career.

These undetected concussions in the NFL during the 1950s through the 1970s were very common. In the last decade, several players from that era, like 20-year NFL veteran Junior Seau, have suffered from brain trauma.

Seau is among former players like Dave Duerson and Ray Easterling, as they’ve committed suicides that have raised questions about football’s unbridled violence. Now violence in football is a top conversation in America as it’s the sport that’s most watched by the nation.

When guys like Webster, Duerson and Easterling played in the league, the rules governing contact and safety measures were extremely liberal and the equipment was nothing like the advanced football equipment that exists now. The helmets, in particular, consisted of a leather shell with some springs and minimal padding in the 1950s and have slowly transformed into the well-developed padding and air pockets to prevent direct impact to the brain.

Along with the advancement in safer equipment, the NFL has implemented several rules to keep their players safe. Helmet-to-helmet contact is illegal and tackling is only allowed from the neck down to prevent head trauma. Teams can only have one tackle practice per week and full two-a-days have been banned, according to the collective bargaining agreement (CBA).

The precautions all football leagues from Pop-Warner to NFL take when it comes to reporting concussions have made large leaps of progress. Teams have trainers, coaches and even doctors on the sidelines that are trained to recognize the symptoms of head injuries and they take them very seriously. Professional teams have tests they administer to athletes regularly to keep track of their brain activity and its consistency over time helping to detect any changes due to trauma.

Players who show signs of concussions have to take several precautionary measures before returning to participating in the sport.

The problems of concussions in football from the lowest level all the way to the NFL are recurring. The Sports Legacy Institute has set out to “solve the concussion crisis.” The Sports Legacy Institute is a nonprofit organization dedicated to advance the study of prevention and treatment of brain trauma in athletes, hoping to expose that it is a public health crisis.

Ira Casson, co-director of Minor Traumatic Brain Injury research center (MTBI), has taken a deeper look into the relationship between playing professional football and the changes occurring in the brain due to impact with cases involving former deceased athletes.

Prevention, treatment and diagnosis along, with management decisions about when athletes should return to play, will be vital in changing the culture of football.

Enforcing the rules of play by implementing penalties and fines for players and teams who break them will be very important in making positive impacts on the most watched sport in America.


The Pioneer- Editorial

Opinion: CSUEB’s Competitive Ranking Continues to Mislead Students

By Leanne Cozart

Thursday, August 30th, 2012

If you’re a CSU East Bay student, you’ve got a lot to be proud of. Not only are you part of the top 100 colleges in the country recognized for its diverse and multicultural student body, but you’ve also made it into one of the most competitive universities in the nation, according to U.S. News and World Report.

Just a year ago, when U.S. News and World Report released rankings about CSUEB, both the San Francisco Chronicle and The Pioneer reported on the impact this made on the way the university was viewed.

Based on acceptance of applicants in 2010, CSUEB was tied with UC Berkeley at a competitive rate of 22 percent enrollment. This placed CSUEB above UC Los Angeles (UCLA) as well as the University of Southern California (USC) in terms of competitiveness.

Although this story developed a little over a year ago, it continues to express continuous issues for enrollment at CSUEB, as budget cuts to the CSU system have forced CSUEB, along with many other CSUs to limit its enrollment campacity.

When news like the U.S. News and World Report get published, a confusing and misleading imprint is left on the minds of all those who read it, whether or not these findings are actually true. In this case, this ranking is deceiving and based on a technicality.

The San Francisco Chronicle article quotes Greg Smith, CSUEB associate vice president for enrollment, as amused and almost in disbelief over the statistic.

“How interesting!” Smith reported to the San Francisco Chronicle, who was attributed as “laughing.”

Smith told The Pioneer shortly after that his reaction to this statement was in no way condescending but “struck me as a kind of a question from left field.”

“The way the story was presented was CSUEB has now become more selective than UC Berkeley, and I guess I laughed in response to that because that’s not who we are, that’s not our mission to be more selective than UC Berkeley,” said Smith in November.

There’s no way CSUEB has become a more competitive college to get into than UC Berkeley and anyone who has applied to CSUEB knows that. The acceptance rate in 2010 at CSUEB was actually 33 percent, as Smith verified, over 10 percent higher what the U.S. News and World Reportreported.

CSUEB has pushed forward their deadlines for applications in the fall, accelerating it by six months, however, they remain extremely flexible when working with students who miss those deadlines. This is why the actual percentage reported was inaccurate as they based their research statistics on students accepted by the initial deadline.

After this report was made public, many students who were Cal State bound expressed to The Pioneer they feared they wouldn’t be able to get into CSUEB, comparing its competitiveness to UC Berkeley. While the report did shine light on the quality of CSUEB as a college ranked in the nation, more than anything it created a wave of fear among potential students now sweating about getting accepted.

“I don’t want anyone out there thinking, ‘Oh I can’t go to CSUEB anymore because it’s as competitive as UC Berkeley.’ If that message were to get out there it would be a disaster,” said Smith.

While we should be proud about being ranked among best schools in the nation, we also need to be aware this report was based off of a statistical error and CSUEB is not as selective as Berkeley.

Meeting the high school requirements as well as maintaining a “C” average will do the job. With California budget cuts hitting the education systems the hardest, CSUEB has had to cut back significantly on their acceptance rates compared to 2009 when they accepted 73 percent of applicants.

CSUEB students past and present, faculty and administration have a lot to be proud of.

Our ‘Harvard on the Hill’ has been nationally recognized and ranked among other top schools. While it may be harder than ever to get into CSUs due to budget cuts state wide, CSUEB is still accepting eligible students with welcoming arms, and in the end, isn’t that the most important thing?

The Pioneer- Editorial

New Generations of Students Lack Interest in Science

By Leanne Cozart

Thursday, August 30th, 2012

It’s no coincidence that in my last year of college I still have three science classes remaining to complete my general education. I’ve been purposely putting them off all these years.

Science just isn’t my thing; apparently it’s not America’s thing either. When it comes to science, America isn’t up to par with international peers.

According to US News, the National Academies reported in 2010 among 29 wealthy countries, the United States ranked 27th in the proportion of college students with degrees in science.

For the past three years, America ranked below 20 in the Program for International Assessment test created by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. This competency test was given to thousands of teenage students in 65 different countries each year and the US is constantly trailing far behind other economic global powers.

With the 2012 Presidential Election just three months away, Americans have expressed they want more conversations about science to happen amongst candidates. During the 2008 elections, Sciencedebate, a non-profit science advocacy organization, boomed onto the political scene calling on Barack Obama and John McCain to debate on science, technology and the environment.

Sciencedebate wanted the presidential candidates to have a televised debate discussing science-related questions created by American voters but the candidates opted not to do this. Instead, they both wrote out their answers to the questions and sent them back to the organization, to the liking of many Americans.

This year 84 percent of Americans polled on Sciencedebate support a face-off political debate covering scientific issues that our environment and economy are facing. The founders of the group have a mission to hear more of a science-driven conversation happening amongst candidates, allowing voters to explore innovative strategies that can potentially help our country’s future.

According to Aerospace Industries Association, for every new Ph. D in the physical sciences the U.S. graduates 50 new MBAs and 18 lawyers. The amount of science, technology, engineering and math students continues to decrease overtime, slowly leading to an economic downfall for American innovation and scientific exploration.

President Obama has addressed this problem and urges America to prevent a crisis by investing more in our country’s scientific endeavors at all levels. Earlier in his term he announced $250 million in federal spending and private investment to hire thousands of math and science schoolteachers.

Initiatives like STEM, (Science Technology Engineering and Math), an academic initiative with intentions to increase proficiency levels of students, is quickly sweeping the nation and exploding onto college campuses and school districts across the nation.

STEM caused a fury of debate on this campus since it’s first mention almost three years ago, as many students in humanity-based colleges felt it would place an emphasis on science and math courses while simultaneously decreasing humanity courses. Yet, CSUEB’s director for STEM, Stephanie Couch, told The Pioneer last year that STEM is meant to enhance each area with more technology and science so each college is enriched with 21st century techniques that will make them more competitive in the work force.

Maybe this is the next step in making our individual students competitive in every field and profession, updating our standards by using the best technology available to us, and in turn making them globally competitive as well.

America falls behind in scientific explorations as they’ve closed NASA Space Shuttle Flights forcing Americans to hitch rides to Space with other countries. With no government investment, America is less competitive than other economies making advancements in space exploration.

If America wants to remain a world player, action needs to be taken for this impending science crisis. Society needs to adequately value and recognize the economic benefits of basic science. With the recent passing of pioneer female astronaut Sally Ride, we should honor her passing by paralleling her passion to improve science education in America.

Americans should want to know what type of science policies and ideas their president supports. With issues like climate change, space exploration and technology to discuss, it’s absolutely vital science becomes much more embraced in our political conversations and educational systems.

Science research affects our country’s health, nutrition, water, energy resources and so many other basic every day essentials. Our nation seems to be more concerned with economic and foreign affairs when it comes to choosing political candidates, not realizing how impacting their scientific views can be once in office.

With international competition at an all time high, America needs to rise and press forward past this “Sputnik moment,” as it has been referred to.  America needs to do everything it can to get our nation back in the global game of technological and scientific innovation.

The Pioneer- Editorial

Hetch Hetchy Reservoir Water System Needs Reformation

By Leanne Cozart

Thursday, August 23rd, 2012

Nestled in the Yosemite National Park is a glacier valley sitting below the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir. The valley that sits below this body of water is said to be one of the most beautiful in all of Yosemite Park, and possibly even the world.
Yet, out of both necessity and greed, we trampled upon this natural and bewitching jewel by building a 360,000-acre reservoir in 1923 in order to supply drinking water to the San Francisco Bay Area, which consequently destroyed the valley.

I would like to be able to see this valley one day, perhaps take my children there in the future and share with them the beauty it beholds. Since San Francisco converted the beautiful Yosemite Park valley into a water storage tank, people have missed out on this diverse ecosystem and all it has to offer.

This 19th century water system needs reformation so we can begin to reverse the damage done to the national park over the last century. We need to look to southern California and their recycling system, which is still clean and does not drain and deplete their natural resources, as inspiration for how we can look for alternative options for resevoirs in the state.

At each sip we are taking we are expending from a valley that should be treasured and not exhausted and defiled. We need to begin a conversation about our water system in a way that ensures a new and creative alternative to our current system will be met.

Advocates of draining the Hetch Hetchy collected 16,000 signatures of San Francisco citizens with the intention of getting city officials to discuss and create a measure, which would require the city to spend $8 million on a study looking into draining the valley and restore it over time to a diverse ecosystem.

Restore Hetch Hetchy, a grassroots non-profit organization has stated the Hetch Hetchy reservoir only stores 25 percent of the system’s water. Hetch Hetchy is only one of nine reservoirs and is much smaller compared to Don Pedro which is six times the size of Hetch Hetchy and just downstream on the Tuolumne River.

The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission has planned projects funded by the $4.6 billion Water System Improvement Program bond that will increase seismic sustainability. To dismantle the reservoir and restore the land was estimated by the Associated Press to cost anywhere in the range of $3 billion to $10 billion.

The Interior Department set out on an investigation of San Francisco’s use of Hetch Hetchy valley at republican representative Dan Lungren’s request.

The Los Angeles Times reported last December that the federal law passed in 1913 states, “for its beneficial use for domestic and other municipal purposes,” when referring to the need of the dam as a last resort, after looking to domestic options.

San Francisco efforts will be investigated to determine if they’re working towards becoming sustainable with domestic use of water and recycling rainwater.

A possible solution to restoring Hetch Hetchy would be to redesign the water system and enhance the Don Pedro dam to give it a larger capacity. This would be downstream closer towards the area the water supplies and it is very attainable with compliance.

The federal commission, which is responsible for licensing hydropower facilities in the United States, is starting the five-year review of a new 50-year permit for Don Pedro Hydroelectric Project.

With new innovations for the dam in progress, this is a great time for citizens to consider reclaiming the Hetch Hetchy valley as their own while progressing towards utilizing domestic water, recycling rainwater and creating renewable water.

The great environmentalist and naturist John Muir, one of the forefathers of the national park system whose love for Yosemite Valley helped fuel a national sense of pride in its park system would truly be saddened to see Californians lacking pride in their land and not fighting to conserve it for future generations to enjoy. San Francisco Bay Area leads in the green movement in so many ways and it is simply shocking that they haven’t made leaps and bounds in creating domestic solutions to recycle and reuse all water.

While the San Francisco Bay Area uses a low amount in gallons of water per capita, they show little efforts to follow innovative cities like Los Angeles and their recycling water trend.

If we can figure out a different way to get our water that doesn’t require this beautiful valley to be our storage tank, we will be progressing to a brighter future for many generations to enjoy.

Muir once described this land as a “grand landscape garden, one of nature’s rarest and most precious mountain temples.” Let’s support this movement cited in alternative options and greener thought and re-discover this hidden jewel in our backyard.

The Pioneer- Editorial

Textbook Edition Adjustments Should be Posted Online

By Leanne Cozart

Thursday, August 16th, 2012

You know the feeling of holding an entire stack of last quarter’s books while you stand in line at the campus book store only to find that you be getting nothing near what you paid for them just months ago? Despite being the same bookstore where the book was originally purchased, many students have had to cut their losses and just sell their books anyway just to get a measly amount of pocket change to support their next meal or make their next car payment.

To hear your professor emphasize the importance of having the newest edition of their required text that’s priced ridiculously high causes financial hardship for a lot of college students. There are even instances when students are required to buy a certain textbook that’s only available at the campus store for a shockingly high price.

Textbook publishing companies have monopolized the campus bookstore business. With no competition in the textbook industry, these publishing companies have been profiting billions of dollars by making unnoticeable slight edits to their textbooks and then requiring students to purchase the latest available edition.

After decades of taking advantage of universities across the nation, the textbook publishing companies are now required to inform students and instructors of the edits made to new textbook editions.

Senate Bill 1539 requires publishing companies to post the edits made to their newer editions online for students and instructors to see what it is that’s different. This will lead to more informed decisions when universities and students are purchasing textbooks. Publishers have inflated their prices by 12 to 20 percent.

Then, once these “newly revised” textbooks are ordered at a university, the campus bookstore further inflates the prices by 25 to 43 percent, according to the senate website.

With this new bill passed by Gov. Jerry Brown, instructors will have the opportunity to make an educated decision about what they will require students to purchase. They are given the power to weigh their options and protect their students from buying into a scam.

With this bill implemented, students can look forward to having better options when purchasing required textbooks. It’s a shame that this legislation is just making way into our universities as I’m at the twilight of my college days, however, I’m thrilled that something is being done about this reoccurring problem.

In a world where politicians are perceived as liars, and the corporate world is looked at like Enron, students need the university to be a place that still maintains integrity.

With textbook publishing companies offering kick-backs to instructors that require their textbooks, we have discovered the corruption at the university level.

With this bill, students and instructors can determine just how important it is for them to have the latest edition by having access to the information changed. This will increase the buyback prices for students as the editions won’t be changing so rapidly from year to year and the books they invested in can actually hold their value for longer.

I enjoy my education and the resources the books provide, but I can definitely do so without the thousands in credit card debt I get every year from them.

The Pioneer- Editorial

Sports Reporters Should be Evaluated on Skills, Not Looks

By Leanne Cozart

Thursday, July 12th, 2012

Sports reporter Jenn Sterger told ESPN, “My implants got my foot in the door, but I truly don’t believe that they are the reason I am still around,” following her removal of the implants in 2009, just a year after her ‘sexting’ scandal with football player Brett Favre.

Mexican sidelines reporter Inés Sainz was accosted and harassed by New York Jets players in the post-practice locker room in September 2011, and consequently faced media scrutiny due to her “provocative” dress.

Sterger and Sainz are representations of the struggles female reporters deal with. Women reporters are models first, journalists second in an attempt to sexualize correspondents for sports fans and players.

The sports industry has been a constant struggle for women, as a “machismo” view has dominated the field with nonsense ideas that women would never be as talented in the field as men.

As women like Gayle Gardner proved them wrong in 1983 by becoming the first female sports anchor for ESPN’s SportsCenter, tremendous advancements have been made for women in sports.

Yet, the misogyny and sexism have not disappeared. As Sterger and Sainz can attest, women are still being judged on their looks first, talents second.

The stereotypes that echoed after these incidents have created roadblocks for all women pursuing a career in sports media. A pretty girl in front of a camera reading questions off prompters is a modern depiction of a female sports reporter. This has truly become the glass ceiling for women in sports journalism.

According to the Associated Press Sports Editors, the percentage of women in sports departments rose from 6 percent in 1991 to 13 percent in 2001 at newspapers nationwide. Since 2001, the number of female sports journalist has dropped significantly.

The lack of women represented in the sports industry isn’t just a problem for the United States. The Guardian reported in a survey by the campaigning group Women in Journalism, that only 3 percent of sports journalists in the United Kingdom are women.

In 2012, we can reflect on all the progress made since legislation was created to further protect women’s 14th Amendment rights. Past pioneering women have set an important achievement by allowing women to be in the locker rooms and press boxes to do their job, just like men.

Yet, if women like Sterger and Sainz cannot feel comfortable going into locker rooms to do their jobs and feel they have to enlarge their breasts to appeal to societal pressures to look like a stereotypical plastic model, then as a society we have not done enough for gender equality in the workplace.

There is something clearly wrong with sports media in this country when a job requirement for a reporter is to be attractive. Physical beauty does not make a reporter better, yet the media industry has enforced this silent rule and thus diminishes the integrity and importance of journalism.

Sainz’s harassment case in 2010 shows how far we have come.

The challenge for female sports journalist in 2012 is to break through the gender stereotypes of just being eye candy. Once superficial qualities can be set aside, the serious women seeking careers as sports journalists can prove their intellectual and professional abilities in the industry.

The NFL has the “Rooney Rule” that encourages teams to interview at least one minority candidate when hiring a new coach. Since this rule was enacted, the amount of minority coaches hired has tripled. This type of policy could set the standard for an era of innovation for all companies.

This policy wouldn’t just hand the minority the job, but rather allows them to have an equal shot at it.

That’s all that women are asking for: an equal shot.

With the lack of women in managerial positions in the sports media industry, there won’t be drastic changes any time soon in achieving gender equality in sports media.

Women comprise an expanding segment of the sports audience across every league or game. As Forbes reported in 2011, women make up more than a third of the audience for major events like the World Series and NBA Finals. 40 percent of self-described NASCAR fans are women. Almost 46 percent of the audience for Super Bowl XLV was female. That same enthusiasm for sports is reflected in the growing numbers of women reporting on sports.

With journalistic skills, a great work ethic and knowledge to back their passion for sports, women can excel in the sports industry, regardless of breast size and plastic enhancements.

Writers and analysts deserve to be evaluated for the merit of their work. Yet, when we focus on female reporters’ physical
attributes we fail to recognize their intelligence and skill. Women deserve more than this, and as sports fans and sports viewers we owe that to each individual.

The Pioneer- Editorial

Women Need to Continue Fighting for Equal Pay

By Leanne Cozart

Thursday, July 5th, 2012

Nearly half a century ago, President John F. Kennedy promised to end wage discrimination against women with the Equal Pay Act of 1963, which prohibited wage discrimination based on sex.

Yet women in America continue to face wage discrimination, an issue that shows how little we have achieved for gender equality since 1963.
According to USA Today, women make only 70 cents for every dollar earned by a man.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported in the first three months of 2012 the “usual median weekly earnings” of full time workers of both genders were not equal. Instead, women earned only 82.2 percent of what men earned, proving the glass ceiling is not close to being shattered.

America has transitioned from a time when expectations for women were purely domestic. Now, women are making gains in the professional world parallel to those of their counterparts.

However, with inequality in the work place based on gender, there is yet another obstacle to be hurdled before achieving fair treatment.

Women deserve to reap the benefits of their hard work just as men do, yet, America’s judicial system has shown us this is easier said than done, as there is very little legislation supporting women’s rights.

Kennedy’s efforts amended the Fair Labor Standards Act, making it possible for women to take employers to court over pay discrimination.

Lilly Ledbetter is one woman who will not rest until employment discrimination based on gender is completely illegal. Ledbetter was a supervisor at Goodyear Tire and Rubber, a position largely occupied by men. As the only woman in this managerial position, Ledbetter soon found out she was being severely underpaid in comparison to her male counterparts.

In her career, Ledbetter missed out on hundreds of thousands of dollars in wages because she was discriminated against for her sex. Upon retiring, Ledbetter took Goodyear to court to fight against the employment discrimination.

Unfortunately, Ledbetter faced an obstacle with a minimal legislation hang up keeping her from gaining justice. The law at the time placed a time limit on the evidence used in an employment discrimination act.

This led to the Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act President Obama signed immediately after taking office in 2009. This act allows employee’s most recent undersized paycheck to be punishable evidence of gender discrimination by an employer. The prior hindering 180-day limit was overwritten so women like Ledbetter could have a fair case.

Now Obama is faced with the task of getting Senate approval for the Pay Check Fairness Act, which allows employees to inquire about pay gaps without repercussions from employers. According to The New York Times, the Pay Check Fairness Act also requires employers to give a “business” reason for paying men and women different wages for equal work.

These two acts show important strides towards equality for women in the work place. Equal pay isn’t a women’s issue but a societal issue and we’re not the only society who struggles with this. According to BBC News, the Equality Act of 2010 that passed in England still hasn’t led to a government decision on whether to make private companies reveal their pay gap.

President Obama promotes equal pay for equal work. However, after the senate voted on June 5th the legislation that Obama was backing got shut down. According to The Huffington Post, it fell eight Republican votes short of approval. ABC News reported Republicans were against the bill because they believe the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Equal Pay Act of 1963 already have broad coverage over paycheck fairness.

If the senate doesn’t pass the Pay Check Fairness Act, it will lead to increased litigation and wasted money over future gender pay discrimination disputes.
Every hard working woman across America will have to take into account that being born a female has set them back in achieving equality as a human being.

For American companies to keep up with modern times they need to capitalize on our country’s strengths. Currently, more women are graduating from college than men and they’re proving to be a dominant force in the professional world.

There have been important gains for professional women as recent as 2012. Facebook appointed Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg to be a director. As a ground breaking company they realize how important it is to have a diverse board including females to have an innovative perspective.

Furthermore, as a society we need to move forward to reach the equality promised with citizenship.

The pursuit of happiness should be attainable for all hard working human beings despite the minor details of their identity.

If the senate passes the Pay Check Fairness Act, there will be a future for women in the professional world. As it is now, it’s quite dismal for women to spend time diligently working towards their career goals knowing that they will be paid significantly less than a man for the same exact position.

It is abhorrent for women to hear they are not valued or considered as an equal contributor in professionalism at this point in our modern era. It’s an inalienable fundamental right for a human being to be considered an equal, and we should strive to be better than this.

California Water Crisis Continues to be an Unresolved Issue

In California we’ve been using and managing our water supply like it’s not a resource at risk. We can get water pretty much everywhere on tap or bottled. It’s hard to imagine life without the essential element H20. Despite its virtual availability and importance to our earth, it’s one of our most poorly managed resources.

Just four years ago, the San Diego Union Tribune reported that Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger declared California was in “the most significant water crisis in state history.” It’s 2012 and the urgency remains.

A combination of solutions Schwarzenegger put forward were rationing water, progressing with water recycling and desalination treatment research, and managing water resources more efficiently by not irrigating barren areas. Unfortunately, since he’s left office nothing has changed with how Californians use and manage their water.

With over 38 million people in our state there’s a problem of overpopulation that’s consequently leads to a lack of essential resources. On another note, as the climate continues to warm, mountain snows that feed the river will melt faster, earlier and the resulting water will evaporate in greater amounts.

The Delta Reservoir is California’s single principle source of water and it provides the most productive agriculture development in the world. The Delta isn’t what it once was though, instead only a limited collection of interior streams remain. The waters of the Delta reservoir have been on a steady decline in quality and supply in the past decades.

The United States groundwater is being withdrawn, on average, four times faster than it is replenished, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. In 2006 a federal judged had to order the over pumping of the Delta to stop as it led to a “Delta Crisis”. Groundwater used to supply cities and grow food has and still is being pumped from aquifers in some areas faster than it’s renewed by precipitation and its own hydro-logical cycle.

In 2009, U.S. Secretary of Energy Steve Chu warned that due to climate changes, “We’re looking at a worst case scenario where there’s no more agriculture in California…I’m hoping that the American people will wake up.”

In California there’s a challenge to balance the resident, industry and agriculture needs of everyone while being mindful of strategies to save this depleting resource. It’s going to take human action along with national policies to make a swift transition to conservation and recycling to promise our future generations will have the most vital necessity in life.

As California heads toward a future of further population growth, there are a number of factors to be considered as we look to accommodate the increasing demand. Recycling water is becoming an attractive option as demand for water increases.

Without any creative solutions, half of the countries’ fruits and vegetables produced in California will be no longer available due to the lack of water. If California can develop techniques and innovative technologies to reuse municipal waste water and storm runoff by treating it and removing sediments and impurities, we can reduce our reliance on reservoirs and minimize extracting more water than can be replenished.

However, there are a few areas of weakness with this solution as water treatment facilities are expensive to build, operate and maintain.

A more realistic alternative would be to reduce water waste in several ways; one way is by improving irrigation efficiency, in other words not growing water-thirsty crops in arid areas, and another alternative would be raising the historically low price of water to encourage water conservation.

If people, industries, and farmers can reduce water loss by reducing everyday use by making conscious changes, as a group working together we can impact our footprint and progress towards conserving water.  Perhaps if the government gave beneficial subsidies and other benefits to companies that made efforts with conserving and recycling water, we could move towards brighter days for Californians.

Rivers are drying up, aquifers are being depleted, fisheries are collapsing, and species are going extinct, yet it’s not enough for the government to stop giving subsidies that give industries and farmers artificially low water prices. This lack of urgency the decision makers have to change the water system has led to a pit fall of California water management.

California is staring down a grim future if it doesn’t take action to prevent this impending water crisis. It’s plain and simple, to ensure survival of California’s agriculture and generations to come, a total water reform is needed. We need to conserve, put forward innovative solutions to recycle and treat water, as well as create more efficient irrigation and agriculture strategies to ensure California’s water crisis comes to a stop.  


Weight of the Nation

We live in the fattest nation of people to walk this earth. It’s no challenge to see why the majority of our population is obese, with fast food everywhere and our sedentary lifestyles in this digital age, we’re primed for obesity.

Currently, two thirds of adults and one third of children in America are obese.

File:Fast food 01 ebru.jpg

American’s are obsessed with fast foods and sugar. It tends to be that the cheaper and quicker it is to prepare the meal the worse it is for you and than the organic , pricey choices are the healthier meals no one ops to get.

In our modern lifestyles we don’t exercise in our daily routine because we simply don’t have to. Long ago people had to walk to get places, they needed to chop their own wood, and use muscles on a daily basis, but now we are in the digital days of being sedentary.

An average person consumes 7.5 hours of media everyday according to the New York Times. That leaves very little time for exercising or even just being outdoors to move around your body. You have to make a conscious effort and go out of your comfort zone if you want to stay healthy because you not going to get that in everyday life activities anymore.

Eating healthy is a complete lifestyle choice. It’s so easy to grab what is yummy and quick, but it seems people have forgotten ‘you are what you eat.’ Everything one puts in their body is going to be used as fuel and energy that the body needs to get through the day.

Healthy lifestyles start in the family. If you are raised eating fast food multiple times a week and never exercise, than you’re probably going to pass those exact habits to your children, it’s a cycle.

Recognizing the conscious choices you are making daily and seeing how that impacts your health and happiness is the first step towards a healthier life.

Sure there are physical education and nutrition classes that are there to teach children about health, however with budget cuts nationwide these programs are often the first cut from schools.

What will it matter if the generations that will soon lead the country know statistics and ethics if they can’t take care of their own bodies. Just to name some ways it can take a toll on health, there’s an increase chance of obtaining type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, many types of cancer, sleep apnea and other debilitating and chronic illnesses.   

Dan Glickman, former secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture stated, “The illness and costs associated with obesity are spiraling out of control. If we don’t address this comprehensively, it will basically take us down as a society,” according to USA Today.

America needs a major health intervention, now. We know we’re a fat nation, so now let’s do something about it. Being unhealthy is no way to live, American’s that are obese often die as young as 50.

 It’s especially unfair to children who were never really given the choice but to be unhealthy. Bad eating and lack of exercise habits are learned behaviors. We have more children under the age of 10 diagnosed with diabetes than ever before, and it’s a scary reality.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that medical-related costs of obesity may be as high as $147 billion a year, according to USA Today.

Taming this epidemic will require an all-hands-on-deck strategy starting in our education system.

Kudos to First lady Michelle Obama as she’s addressed this issue and has expressed urgency in tackling it. She wants childhood obesity to be extinct within one generation that in turn, will pro-long Americans lifespan.

Obama’s nationwide campaign called “Let’s Move” is based off of four key pillars; informing parents about nutrition and exercise, improving the quality of foods in schools, making healthy foods more affordable and accessible for families, and focusing more on physical education. 

Overall in America, if we had more space and time for recreation, along with public healthier food choices and new standards for the food industry, we can make progress.  Other strategies include limiting marketing to children, and perhaps even taxing unhealthy products as a way of benefiting America’s health.

Along with these steps, there needs to be a commitment of everyone in our country from the top to the bottom to become healthy. The environment we live in encourages unhealthy lifestyles and we need to change that.  

Media Literacy Should Be Taught to All Americans

Ever heard the saying “you are what you eat”? Well, another version of that is that you are what you consume. Everything you’re putting into your brain will essentially make up your very being.

We are bombarded by all forms of media in every outlet of our lives. The New York Times reported that in a Yankelovich market research study, they found an average American in the city views over 5,000 ad messages a day. That’s a lot of information to decipher through every single day of life.

The 2009 State of the News Media reported that with the rise of cable television and internet news outlets, “the line between unfiltered personal thought and public discourse is evaporating.” In other words, the media is becoming more of a public spectacle than the public utility it was designed to be.

In our hyper-connected world we have a duty to speak out, to question everything, and to be an active participant in society. Living in a democratic society isn’t a free ride; we have to voice our opinions and be well informed to remain as active participants. It is our duty to decipher the information given to us through the media, and that is often easier said than done.

At this time of year, the election is around the corner and the American people are hit hard with persuasive and often misleading campaigns. It’s our duty as American’s to know what we are seeing, hearing, and watching.

In other words, we need to be media literate. How? By analyzing and evaluating all forms of media, we can build our knowledge and transform the process of media consumption into an active and critical one.

For the generation born sometime after the invention of the VCR and the commercialization of the internet, they’ve redefined media consumption as they embrace all things digital. With media consumption increasing drastically in our savvy and technological age, all American citizens needs to be aware of the lies, stereotypes and biases in media.

If we can interpret and internalize media effectively, than perhaps we can grow as a participating public that can make informed, critical decisions that have the ability to shape society and culture as a whole for the better.

The explosion of new communication technologies makes media literacy skills essential for life in the 21st century. Living through this technological revolution is changing the way we understand ourselves, our communities and has ultimately transformed our inner workings of society.

In our media-saturated culture we need all Americans to be able to analyze what they see, hear, and read. Media literacy can be used as a vital tool in promotion of public health, prevention, and wellness. Being media literate will allow people to flourish in our democratic society as they can creatively and critically express themselves as well as grow personally and professionally.

Most importantly, Americans can know when their being lied to or persuaded based off of untrue facts. Half the battle is knowing, in this day and age we’re referred to as “information sluts”, but it is our job to make sure we’re not too loose with what we allow the media to feed us.

The “21st Century Skills Incentive Fund Act” was introduced into senate to recognize that in order to prepare students for the modern workforce, education needs to teach “critical thinking and problem solving skills, communication skills, creativity and innovation skills, collaboration skills, contextual learning skills, and information and media literacy skills,” according to PBS.

Unfortunately the author of this bill Senator Jay Rockefeller, couldn’t get past the senate finance committee. If successful, the bill would’ve passed a $100 million a year budget to be given to the U.S. Department of Education to fund the initiative promoting a media literacy curriculum.

In our overly saturated media consumed nation, we’ve got to start educating our youth from a young age to be media literate. They’re the biggest targets as they’re the easiest to take advantage of. We need to take strides now to protect the future of our children and the generations to come from being blindsided by mixed media messages. If we can embed media literacy in our curriculums across the nation, we can raise generations of well informed and critical thinkers similar to those who founded our country.

In our democratic society we can’t afford the luxury of being misinformed or preyed upon by advertisers and the backwards schemes of the big media. We are not just consumers or voters to be swayed, we are the voice and future of this nation. Media literacy education could help the public critique media messages and better assess the truth behind them, which is vital in the existence of America. Step up to the plate as an American and take control of the way in which media is consumed in your life; don’t let your life be impacted by the media.