we are what we eat / eat less meat

http://www.flickr.com/photos/56518673@N05/

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benefits of eating less meat

So i picked this subject because there are many implications to eating meat. My main goal is not to stop people from eating meat but to find a way to lower meat consumption in America. My main objective is not to have my audience focus on the thought that they must restrict their meat intake but to make it something a little more enjoyable. Personally, while researching i could not even bare to watch some of the documentaries on factory farming. It is too depressing to talk about how they treat animals in factory farms and so i think it would be better to focus on the positives. How can eating less meat be a fun group/family activity? im still working on finding my target audience but i would say they are individuals who are unaware of the environmental and health effects of eating abundant amounts of meat (Americans eat meat at three times the global average) and/or people at a disconnect with the environment and their food. One source i read stated wealth is the largest determinant of meat consumption. I definitely need to acquire a few more sources but here is a start:

sources:

Public Health Nutrition “Trends in Meat Consumption”
http://journals.cambridge.org/abstract_S1368980010002077

The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals by Michael Pollen

Land Degradation
http://www.globalchange.umich.edu/globalchange2/current/lectures/land_deg/land_deg.html

Land Degradation

All of the articles we were given will be very helpful in researching and designing for a cause that is important to me. Although there are many important environmental issues id like to address and am espcially interested in land degradation. It is a broad topic including deforestation, improper farming, livestock overpopulation, industrialization and more. At risk of maybe being a controversial subject id like to focus on livestock overpopulation and how it is a cause for overgrazing, overcropping and overdrafting. It also contributes largely to an increase in greenhouse gases. Id also like to research how land degradation effects Colorado (if at all). Im excited to get started!

Creativity: a changing role in society?

What does creativity mean to me? I’ve always thought of it as it’s own life force, something within us all that must show itself once in a while. To me creativity is something as magnificent as a mural on the wall of a fancy building or as everyday as the funny one-liner that your friend blureted out a few minutes ago. Unfortunately, creativity has been treated in our education system, as only a parasite, a living creature within us that is not embraced but rather destroyed at large costs, such as the success of future generations. Listening to these four TED talks initiated my thoughts on what role creativity plays in different peoples lives. David Kelly talked about his childhood friend Brian’s experience with art and how his friend was told that his clay horse sculpture “was terrible and did not look like a horse at all.” This made me realize that I myself (and I am sure many others) hold back their ideas and creativity because of fear of being judged. People are opting out of creative experiences. However, Kelley believes that a new found confidence in one’s creativity is important. That more people end up being and doing what they truly want when they are willing to express their creativity and ideas.
All these speakers are examples of people who did not opt out of creativity. Dan Phillips continued to promote his recycled homes business, Phoenix Commotions, despite being told several times he would not be successful. Why? Because he learned not to be afraid of failing. With grand ideas also comes people around us who are not accepting of those ideas. Phillips describes the building industry as frivolous and wasteful but goes even deeper until it eventually connects,in description, to our society in general. For example, our need to fit in with those around us. “If it does not match throw it out” I believe we do this to people as well. He references Plato who said “We have in our head a perfect idea of what we want and we force environmental resources to accommodate that.” However, what if that idea was applied in a different way? What if it was accepted to have a creative idea of what we want, promote it and work until it becomes reality?
The next two speakers talk about our education systems. There is a lack of support for the arts and the industrial revolution has molded our education system into what it is today. Ken Robinson says that we squander our children’s creative capacity. Children are capable of amazing things. Very often are not afraid of being wrong or taking a chance until we give them a reason to. He goes on to question why we still remain with the same hierarchy of subjects in teaching over the years. What makes mathematics more important than theatre? Or as Mae Jemison brought up, why are certain subjects and capabilities even separated into groups? Ken Robinson mentioned that education systems are designed and created in their own image. That our degrees and education prepare and mold us to essentially become university professors. For example, although it may be interesting and educational, a foreign language requirement might not really be necessary to a Fine Arts degree. Robinson explains that younger generations are finding it hard to get the job they would like with a Bachelors, people are now getting their Graduate degrees or their PhD. Our education needs are changing right in front us. Is it not time to create an education system that fulfills those needs? Creativity has been my favorite subject to blog on and I also found it to be the most inspirational. We can all benefit from what these speakers have brought to the table.

connecting design thinking to scientific media and design

When I reflect on the idea of Design thinking, the image of a renaissance man pops into mind. An inventor of sorts but not one that hides in his shed creating weird potions and odd useless gadgets but rather a collaborator. Design thinking is the creation of new ideas and strategies based on the needs of a culture or people and it is done so with a team of experts and team members looking at multiple facets of a situation. It is a process for problem-solving: define an issue, research the issue, ideate or brainstorm solutions, prototype, choose, implement, and learn what could possibly be improved. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Design_thinking). I am not sure this would be the best example, but I do believe Design thinking could be connected to scientific media in the work that Travis Vermilye provided for the conjoined twins Mohamed and Ahmed Ibrahim. The defined issue was trying to find a way to separate these twin boys safely under surgery, much research was done by doctors, scientists, artists to determine whether or not the boys could be safely separated, brainstorming solutions included the work of Travis’ models to assist doctors to get the best possible view and route for a surgical procedure. His models and visuals also gave doctors a chance to practice possible ways to approach surgery without having to place more physical burdens on the twins before hand. Mr. Vermilye’s work was an integral part of a team effort to improve the lives of these children and possibly others in the future. As seen in this example, Design thinking is a team effort.

bear signs and more!

This bear sign study done in Yosemite park was designed to test the effectiveness of different kinds of signs (including one to attract moral appeal, humorous appeal, narrative story and telegraphic title) at different locations throughout the park. The purpose of signs are usually to inform an audience. They can be as a simple as a short notice on an entrance doorway that reads “use other door” or as striking as “beware of mountain lions.” I have also made the connection, after reading this study, that how a sign is interpreted can depend on one’s comfortableness with their location. I will very often ignore familiar signs such as the “use other door” and realize after pulling on the door for a couple seconds (and a little embarrassment) what is going on. However, in a new environment such as the wilderness of Colorado a “Beware of mountain lions” sign is not something I can ignore and has (on a humorous note) led my nervous boyfriend to consider purchasing a $50 can of bear mace.
This study has taught me that there are many variables that complicate the effectiveness of a sign. These variables include location and (as I have already stated) familiarity. It is a designers job to take into account its audience and site characteristics as well. What kind of people go hiking vs. camping? What is a person likely to be thinking about at the location of a sign? There was also a question on the clarity of the meaning of “vividness” in this sign study. I do believe that a sign’s communication medium should be taken into account. All signs used to test “vividness” in this study were printed on yellow signs. From my own personal experience a sign’s medium does effect how fast I detect it. If a sign is hot pink rather than blah yellow I will definitely notice it.
So to “finish up” talking about this bear sign study, the sign that succeeded at interrupting mindless behavior and capturing the audiences attention despite location was the narrative story sign “My Bear Story.” This was surprising to me, I thought it would be “Attention Humans” but then again I do enjoy things that have a moral and empathetic appeal (which is what that particular sign was designed to do. I think if any “My bear Story” might be the winner in at least grabbing the audiences attention. There seems to be further research that is needed to improve signs but id say in general, sign making is more complicated that it looks!

sum up of storytelling articles

As described in the article “Science as a Storytelling” scientific storytelling does start off with a structure and there is a number of “rules” that help develop a good scientific story including reproducibility, predictive power, prospects for improvement, naturalism, uniformitarianism, simplicity, and harmony. With these tools scientists can create stories that explain observations of the natural world, and that can be useful for controlling and predicting nature. How does all this apply to us? As scientific media and design students we must find ways to make scientific storytelling useful not just to scientist but the general public as well. Scientific storytelling using visualization can do just that, however it is not simple. There is a fine line between informing the audience with data/information and boring them to death. This is where the importance of an engaging story comes in. With this the audience can be led and guided through visual information. Another valuable way to create a lasting impression on one’s audience is to make their learning experience interactive. People whom are interested in learning do not always wanted to be handed information, sometimes they like to discover things for themselves. I believe the most interesting aspect of these articles (because I am not interested in trying to sum up alllll the main points of these two articles) is the concept of (as an artist and designer) being able to work as a team to create fun and exciting scientific media. It would be very engaging to work with scientists and artists to create a story about scientific discovery the public could understand and appreciate.