Monday, August 10, 2009

Final Entry

I find it very hard to figure out what my role in addressing and potentially putting an end to climate change could be. I don't think I am going to be able to to have my voice heard at any political rallies or things like that but what I can do is start by changing my own lifestyle. I am indeed a child of carboniferous capitalism. It is pretty much all I know I grew up on a farm, I lived in the country and everywhere I went was in a vehicle. Until about two years ago I had probably pretty much never so much as recycled something in my life.

So what I think I can do to help the cause of climate change would be to change my way of doing things. For example I live about eight blocks from a convenience store which I usually drive to from now on I will walk that distance. I also live about 3-5 miles from school and from work instead of driving there I could bike. When I purchase my own home I will hopefully be able to power at least some of it via solar power. My father runs a farm in Northfield, Mn and within the next couple years or so he plans to put in a wind turbine.

Also I think what I can do to help is spread the word, I think a lot of people just really don't know how bad things could get here in the next forty or fifty years and if they do know it could make all the difference. I will do my best to minimize carbon emissions and greenhouse gases and hopefully I will be buzzing around in a nice little solar or electric car within the next ten years.


Edkins, J., & Zehfuss M. (2009) Global Politics, A New Introduction. New York, U.S.A.

Barringer, Felicity (2008) Polar Bear is Made a Protected Species. New York Times

Mufson, Steven (2007) Climate Change Debate Hinges on Economics. The Washington Post

Erdman, Shelby Lin (2009) Glaciers a Canary in the Coal Mine of Global Warming. CNN

Plumer, Bradford Is There a "safe" Limit for Global Warming. Wall Street Journal

Associated Press (2009) UN Chief Paints Doomsday Climate Picture.

Anuradha, R.V. (2009) Legalities of Climate Change. Council on Foreign Relations

Climate Change

There is some good news about climate change and that is that energy and climate experts say that the world already has the technology and know-how for cutting back on greenhouse gases enough to slow the rise of the Earth's temperature. The problem is because of the immense cost of addressing global warming, congress so far will barely make a dent in the problem. Seems like money is always the problem, it's better to make money than to spend it, but in these trying times spending might just be the only sensible solution.

There are many problems and consequences that come along with climate change. We have talked about in class how certain areas that are below sea level will most likely be gone along with about 500 or more animal species going extinct. But one problem that could be very serious that does not get talked about much would be our drinking water supply. With the melting of the polar glaciers it causes the sea level to rise and with the rise of the sea level it could contaminate our fresh water springs and rivers from which we get our drinking water.

"The melt of glaciers is resulting in higher sea levels and affecting ecosystems and the rivers that emanate from these glaciers, Josberger said. "In terms of water supply available for people, Anchorage is fed by two glacially fed lakes. There are some very strong impacts that could happen." (CNN).

The biggest thing about global warming is that it is not an American issue and it isn't a North American issue, but it is in fact, a Global issue. Most technologies that could reduce greenhouse gases are not only expensive but would need to be embraced on a global scale (Washington Post). There are projections that are thought to be necessary by the year 2030 and they are as follows; 1 million wind turbines throughout the world, massive reforestation, billions of solar panels (enough to cover half of jersey), major retooling of the auto industry, and as many as 400 power plants need to be refitted with new and pricey equipment to trap carbon dioxide and store it under the ground (Washington Post).

When I process all of this information and look over it(and it's probably a lot easier for me to say but..) I just don't understand why we can't start taking action now. I mean the facts are all right there, now obviously we can't predict the future per say but I think we have a pretty good idea of what we are in store for in the future due to the rapid climate change. Last year world military spending amounted to about $1.4 trillion, of which the U.S. accounted for about half (FOXNEWS). We seem to have no problem spending money on weaponry and bombs to protect each other from each other, but what it all boils down to is that the weapons we have won't mean anything when half of the world's animals are dead, countries are under water, and our drinking supply is shorted.

There are some good things happening like the MEF ( The Declaration of the MAJOR ECONOMIES FORUM on Energy and Climate) which will follow up on the kyoto protocol which expires in 2012. MEF comprises of 17 developed and developing economies- Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, the European Union, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, the UK and the US. It is all in efforts to keep the Earth's temeperature from rising 2 degrees celsius of the pre-industrial average (Council on Foreign Relations).

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Monday that climate change is the greatest challenge facing a world beset by crises and call on governments to reach a deal on the environment at a meeting in Denmark later this year. Ban said the world has "less than 10 years to halt (the) global rise in greenhouse gas emissions if we are to avoid catastrophic consequences for people and the planet." (FOXNEWS)

It is understandable that Climate Change can be a bit slow going in terms of slowing it down and rectifying the situation with all of the other problems and issues that are going on globally in the world today like the oil crisis, disease, hunger and the economy. With all of the figures which most clearly state that if something isn't done we are going to be living in a whole new world by 2050 something needs to be done quickly. 2050 is a mere forty years away so we cannot just leave global warming and climate change on the back bunner for much longer. Something needs to be done and done soon or the future of the world and the human race could very well be at stake.

How can I change the world

This is a challenging question to ask myself. How can I affect the world I live in. Ghandi said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world”, and that statement alone sends chills down my spine, and encourages me to make something of myself. Before a change can occur, we need to change ourselves. That is what we all are doing everyday. I went to college to make a change in my life, to become more aware of the world. I could have decided any degree and I decided to follow in the footsteps of Picasso, Michelangelo, and Frida. I am receiving my degree in Art and Art History. Next, I need to find out how to use these skills I worked so hard on learning.

I believe that it is important to understand that art is going to be my vehicle for change. I do understand the importance that art can play in our world. If we look to more recent times with the 2008 Election, art was a huge form of Obama’s campaign. Artists came together and created music, art, and many other forms to show who they believe in. That in itself is a statement that art can be used for that vehicle of change.

I realize that I cannot change the world but I know that I can change someone’s life so that is what I am going to do. If I change enough individuals through my art, they would hopefully go on to change another life. This is the pay it forward method.

Whether I want to fight for an education reform, equal rights, poverty, or other issues, all I need to start with is a paintbrush and serving others. Those will be what I will do to make an impact in the world.


Fox, Dennis. (2001). Radical Dilemmas in the Anti-high-stakes-testing Movement. Radical Teacher


Gardner, S. (Jan. 2002). Forecasting and Managing Student Achievement on High-Stakes Tests. T.H.E. Journal

Haladyna, T. M. (2002). Essentials of Standardized Achievement Testing. Validity and Accountability. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.

Ormrod, J. E. (2003). Educational Psychology. Developing Learners.

Popham, W. J. (Feb. 2002). Right Task, Wrong Tool. American School Board Journal

My Role

As hard as it is for the U.S. to come up with a good solution and end to the problem with North Korea, I find it very difficult for me to have a significant role with this issue. For the matter of fact I did not even really know exactly what was going on before. However, now that I have learned more and feel that I am informed on the problem with North Korea there could be minor ways of me having a very small role.

One way I feel like I could have a minor role with North Korea is to keep up to date on what is going on. I feel like if I keep myself informed on the issue I will be a little less nervous as I was before. To continue to be up to date with this issue I will be an informed citizen and be able to make correct thoughts. If there should be someone else whom may not know what is going on, I will be able to inform him or her. I can take this issue as an example of the other scary global events that are happening and learn more about them as well.

Another minor role I believe I have this with issue is to have more of an understanding these kinds of large political issues. However, I may not fully understand why countries such as North Korea do these kind of extreme actions but I will perhaps understand how other countries deal with situations like this. I will still wonder why these extreme issues happen and why they are not so easily fixed. Therefore, taking time to learn about them and try to understand how tactful people in the political world have to be when handling such large problems will help me continue to learn.


Bleiker, Roland. Global Politics A New Introduction. New York: Routledge, 2009.

Benson, Pam. Levine, Adam. U.S. dismisses latest missile provocation by North Korea. 24 June 2009. 8 August 2009.

Fulghum, A. David. “Testing, Testing.” Aviation Week & Space Technology pg 22. Vol 170. No 22. 1 June 2009.

Haggard, Stephan. Noland, Marcus. “North Korea IN 2008 Twilight of the God?Asian Survey. Vol. 49, Issue 1. Pp. 98-106.

Reynolds, Paul. North Korea a problem for Obama. 6 April 2009. 8 August 2009.

Snyder, Scott. “Responses to North Korea’s Nuclear Test: Capitulation or Collective Action?” The Washington Quarterly. 30.4 pg. 33-43. 2007.

“North Korea conducts nuclear test”. 25 May 2009. 8 August 2009.

“Path of peace available to North Korea, Obama says”. 16 June 2009. 8 August 2009.

“North Korea”. 16 June 2009. 25 July 2009.

North Korea is a Potential Threat

To know when a country is a threat to any nation or the world it is a scary reality and there always has to be a plan on how to handle this reality. North Korea is exactly this kind of situation.

As time has gone on with the issue of North Korea’s threat with their nuclear activity it has come pretty close to answer if they are a threat to the U.S. It seems that they are looking like a threat to the U.S. Paul Reynolds, a World affairs correspondent of the BBC News website, said that “The reason that the U.S. and the North’s neighbors are so concerned is that, if one day North Korea makes a nuclear warhead capable of being carried on a ballistic missile and it develops that missile successfully, it will have become a fully fledged nuclear-armed state.” Back in April of 2009 the talks with the six-party about how to stop the Yongbyon plant and its plutonium plant had been temporarily on pause (Paul Reynolds, BBC News). During that time as well president Obama had his special envoy for North Korea, Stephen Bosworth, to try to get the conversation with the six-party to get started up again (Paul Reynolds, BBC News). Even thought it looks like a great possibility of North Korea attacking the U.S. and its allies, there is still this notion of being unsure what they are going to exactly do. News reporter Paul Reynolds makes two good options what North Korea could do. The first one he comes up with is “It may want to dodge and weave its way past sanctions and talks, and one day develop a usable nuclear weapon and a missile that could deliver it.” The second one is “Or it may be content to hold the world’s attention while keep its options open and making concessions here and there, withdrawing them when it feels the need.”

During the second missile that North Korea had successfully launched President Obama had made a statement that North Korea’s nuclear activity is a severe danger to peace. Part of his exact statement was, “blatant defiance of the United Nations Security Council” (BBC News). Continuing this statement Obama goes onto saying “The danger posed by North Korea’s threatening activities warrants action by the international community. We have been and will continue working with our allies and partners in the six-party talks as well as other members of the UN Security Council in the days ahead” (BBC News).

Through out this time as well North Korea said it would keep under military threat towards South Korea and South Korea’s allies, which is primarily the U.S. (BBC News). It was reported that in April of 2009 Pyongyang backed out on the six-party talks about its nuclear program to show disapproval to the international criticism on North Korea’s test firing of rockets (BBC News).

On June 16th 2009 when President Obama and the leader of South Korea, Lee Myungbak spoke, Obama had said, “Allowing North Korea to develop nuclear weapons would destabilize Asia and threaten the world” (CNN). Obama had also mentioned that there is still a strong alliance between the U.S. and South Korea if North Korea should attack South Korea. He as well stated that North Korea could join the UN nations if they would end their nuclear activity (CNN). He thinks this could happen by him saying, “There is another path available to North Korea, a path that leads to peace and economic opportunity for North Korea” (CNN). During this time an un-named Security Council resolution happened, where it meant that the U.S. would forbid shipments to and from North Korea. Vice President Joe Biden said that the U.S. would make sure to keep this ban intact (CNN). With this resolution North Korea decided to protest it by saying they would enhance uranium and weaponize plutonium, which was reported by KCNA (CNN). It is reported that plutonium can be made into atomic bombs. After the U.S. had established this resolution, Japan had decided to follow along with it. On this day a Senate Armed Services Committee was told that the Pentagon planned to leave a certain amount of ground-based missiles in Alaska and California in case of any threat (CNN). Deputy Defense Secretary William Lynn said, “At the current time and into the immediate future, we think 30 silos and 44 missiles is sufficient for the threat we face.”

Now in the last couple of months the U.S. intelligence group does not think that North Korea means to launch a long-range missile in the close future (CNN). Japan had warned the U.S. that North Korea was going to launch a missile that was supposed to go near Hawaii on July 4th. With this news Defense Secretary Robert Gates had said he was going to put defensive protection around Hawaii (CNN). However, as it turns out nothing had happened with this possible missile being launched towards Hawaii. During the month of June 2009 there was another warning though made by North Korea which consisted of them saying they were going to only do short and medium range missile tests. The U.S. intelligence had said that the shorter-range missiles can be “roll out on a dime” but they had believed that the longer-range missile was not an immediate threat at the time (CNN). The U.S. intelligence had also said at that time that there is a concern that the shorter-range missile tests “could go wrong”. In the same month there had been recent reports that North Korea threatened to “wipe out” the U.S. if provoked (CNN). According to U.S. intelligence people they believe that North Korea will keep doing these missile tests and see how far they can get with this activity. One official had commented by saying that with the change of leadership in the U.S. it’s been a “big factor” (CNN). He also had said that he believes that with this change North Korea is “testing the new administration.”

With all of this information and events happening with North Korea there is now the issue on how to handle North Korea. There are ways that are good and or bad to handle a serious situation like this with North Korea. It is a matter of trying to choose the best solution to handle North Korea. It is also important to strategize on how going about the solution.

One of the solutions to this issue with North Korea could be confrontation. However, that is not the right way to go about handling the issue because it has been shown that being confrontational with North Korea has not made things better. It would also give North Korea’s regime a way to have legitimacy (Bleiker, p.470). In the confrontational approach there is the way of giving economic sanctions. There were economic sanctions that were given to North Korea by the UN Security Council in 2006. There is a problem with giving sanctions because it has been seen to be limited usage (Bleiker, p. 470). One of the biggest reasons why confrontation would not work with North Korea is because the natural way of conflicts. It is hard to know how North Korea perceives the military threats that have been given to them. There is a better way to handle the situation.

The better way to handle this situation is more on the theory of engagement. With the engagement approach to the North Korean issue it would bring a more peaceful result. Even South Korea has wanted to take this type of approach to try to solve things with North Korea. The start of this approach by South Korea was from their leader Kim Dae-jung in 1998. He was the one who wanted to have a co-operation with North Korea (Bleiker p. 471). After Kim’s time of ruling, Roh Moo-hyun, the next leader continued this idea. Now currently the leader, Lee Myung-bak, keeps this idea but has wanted to be more cautious.

The engagement theory also involves an emphasis on dialogue (Bleiker p. 472). Having dialogue creates both sides having to talk things out and to come to some negotiations. There was a success with this emphasis on dialogue in February 2007. During that time there was an agreement between North Korea, South Korea, the U.S., China, Russia, and Japan (Bleiker p.472). This agreement even allowed economic exchanges between all these countries with North Korea that had not been happening for a while. The engagement approach to North Korea would take some time but would bring better results of having an understanding between North Korea and the U.S. Roland Bleiker an author in the book Global Politics even said, “The engagement policy is based on the traditional liberal assumption that increased economic co-operation would eventually engender common interest and understanding.” Hopefully with the engagement approach things could eventually come to peaceful result and prevent North Korea to really use any nuclear weapons.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

My Role in Iranaian election

When it comes to the question of how I can I help in world politics? Also how I can do something about the Iranian election of 2009? Their honestly is not a lot that comes to mind. I feel as if one individual cannot produce much change. They need support of others to achieve something on a global level. I like this quote from Maja Zehfuss on this subject.
“ Because we are not alone in the world, having a clear idea about the right way forward almost always involves having ideas about what should do and what is good for them”(Zehfuss.2009)
This quote to me demonstrates to me is that all of us have opinions of the world and the politics that come with being human. Though, just because you have a strong position on a certain subject doesn’t mean you have to force it on someone.
Regarding the question of what I can do about the Iranian election, the answer is not much. Though I do believe that some sort of fraud took place through the research I have done there is not much I an American college student can do about this situation. It is ultimately up to the people of Iran, and their government officials. I do believe that the U.N. could step in, and do something, but any country stepping in could further damage relations with a country that isn’t really known as being very friendly. Especially regarding the relations the United States has with Iran at the current moment. All in all I wish I could do something because I feel like the regime in place are that of the fundamentalist type (even bordering on a dictatorship), but there isn’t much that I can do from a realistic standpoint.

Edkins, J., & Zehfuss, M. (2009) Global Politics, A New Introduction. New York, U.S.A.
Black, Ian (2009) Mir Hossein Mousavi Calls Iranian Government Illegitimate, The Guardian (UK).
Weisbrot, Mark (2009) Was the Iranian Election Stolen? Does it Matter?, Common (Washington, DC.)
Collins, Michael(2009) Iranian Election Fraud 2009- Who was the Real Target and Why? (Washington, DC.)
Beber & Scacco(2009) Irans election was fixed, says number crunchers. The Great Beyond. (UK)
Slackman, Michael(2009) Amid Crackdown, Iran admits Voting errors. New York Times. (Cairo, Egypt.)

More on the Iranian Election

In regards to the Iranian election some people are more certain that their was actual fraud. Journalist Michael Collins says,
“The council consists of six Islamic jurists appointed by the Supreme Leader of Iran and six from Majilis, Iran’s popularity elected parliament. They screen presidental canidates through background checks and a detailed written examination. Very few pass the test. Since 2004, the council has routinely rejected reform candidates. That’s the fraud. It couldn’t be more obvious.” ( Collins.2009)

Considering how difficult it is to ever become a candidate on the ballot in Iran. It is hard for me to believe a person like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who is a holocaust denier, and very radical in his ways got onto the ballot for a second time. To me you could make an argument saying that Ahmadinejad’s regine is one of funamentalism.

“ Fundamentalism’ from an exclusively religious connotation and to associate it instead with any form of thought or idealology that is uncomprimising in its worldview and which represents itself as the sole source of truth or the only solution to global problems.” (Ali. 2009)

Looking at the reformist perspectives Ahmadinejad’s regime could fit into this from the fact that his way is the right way. Also, when they protested how he sent troops out to disrupt the protests, and put them to an end. You could say that this shows how his way is the only way. The fact that he denies the holocaust, and has even held confereces with other anti- semtic followers tells you a lot a bout his character.

Another example of Ahmadinejad’s regime would be looking at Max Weber’s defintation of a modern state.

“ a state is that human community which (successfully) lays claim to the monopoly of legitimate physical violence within a certain territory, this “territory” being another of the defining characteristics of the state.” ( Weber. 1994. Pg 310-311)

Here the used the power of being the state and stopping the protestors through physical brute force. Going into the numbers of the election there is a possibility of fraud occurring. Though, supports of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad would disagree with this statement. Saying that fraud is impossible. If there was any fraud of any sort someone in the counting process would’ve said something. An example, of voting fraud from the blog The Great Beyond.

“They used the results published by the Ministry of the Interior and examined the last two digits of the votes reported for the four main candidates.

“The numbers look suspicious,” they report in the Washington Post.
There are far too many 7s, for a start, and not enough 5s. Such results would occur in fewer than four in 100 non-manipulated election results, they write.

That would not rule out Iran’s election being fair. But Scacco and Berber go further. They note that previous work has proven that humans have trouble generating “non-adjacent digits”, ie: 27 as opposed to 23, or 36 rather than 34. Non-manipulated results should be approximately 70% non-adjacent digits; Iran’s results are 62% non-adjacent.
The probability of that happening in a fair election is less than 4.2%, they write.” (Beber & Scacco. 2009)
According to these statistics there was a 96.8% of voting fraud that occurred in the 2009 election in Iran. The thing that is really disturbing to me is if these calculations are correct, how no one has stepped forward about the fraud. Also, if this was the case wouldn’t the U.N. step in, and appoint the candidate who actually won the election? Then, when you look at the cities in Iran and where the voting takes place the number of votes do not add up. Looking at an article from the New York Times journalist Michael Slackman says this,
Iran’s most powerful oversight council announced on Monday that the number of votes recorded in 50 cities exceeded the number of eligible voters there by three million, further tarnishing a presidential election that has set off the most sustained challenge to Iran’s leadership in 30 years.”( Slackman. 2009)
Looking at the most recent facts of the election it seems to me that the Iran election did have some fixing to it. The big question to me is why is no one doing anything about it?