Better Life in 2023


Dear Diary,

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It is now April 23, 2023. Time Flies. I still remember the day I sat in Bertrand Library to imagine ten years later. After a whole day working in PricewaterhouseCoopers in Philadelphia, finally I am laying in my bed in Beijing. When I was in college, I was thinking if I could invent a magic door in Doraemon. It is a door that able to bring you to any places you want within a second. I could study or work in United States and go back home after finishing a day. Luckily, the door has already been invented and allows me to go back home everyday. This is the most exciting invention among these ten years.

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When I was in college, I hoped that people could utilize technology to benefit lives without damage the environment. I also hope that globalization could be developed based on social justice and human rights. Now in 2023, clean energies are widely used. For example, my car is powered by electricity instead of fossil fuel. The roof of my house is covered half by solar panel and half by my cute roof garden. Besides the solar panel on the roof, the community I am living is powered by wind power. Wind power was more popular in developed countries in Europe and United States but within recent ten years, the wind power is getting popular in China. Wind turbines are settled in the farmlands or near the beach. Farmers can still use the farmlands with wind turbines stand in their lands. Government subsidizes the use of wind power in order to fulfill the sustainable development around the country. However, the use of wind power is limited geographically. For example, wind turbine could generate more power in Beijing than in Yangzhou, where my parents are living.

 

Furthermore, when I took a class called “Business, Society, Government” in Bucknell ten years ago, I wrote a paper about the dark sides of food industry, especially the food safety problems behind the meat industry. I hope people could have more organic foods instead of industrialized foods. Today, in both United States and China, governments start to subsidize the organic foods, like vegetables and fruits. The meat industry is also controlled strictly by government.  Schools start to educate the idea of healthy diet and the disadvantages of junk foods to kids. The rate of obesity has dropped more than 30% among these ten years.

 

Finally, the uneven development brought by globalization is getting prohibited with frequent social movements that occurred. Apple has settled complete supply chain that allow workers in China to corporate with robots. In this case, the workloads are much smaller than before. The banana industries in Costa Rica are focusing more about the rights of local residents. For example, American companies offer fair payments and subsidies to employees and local communities in Costa Rica. At the same time, those multi-national corporations are more focusing on sustainable development in other countries. There are less irrational exploration of natural resources and more sustainable energy use occur.

 

 

Tyson Foods: the story of your meat


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Have you ever questioned where your foods come from? For example, chickens. Chickens are raised rapidly in closed, condensed and dusty environment by contract farms. They have to injected antibiotics to chickens periodically. After six to seven weeks, undocumented immigrants, also named “catchers”, are transported to contract farms by food company in midnight to catch chickens and send to slaughter house. Hanging on the belts in slaughterhouse, chickens are tortured by cutting necks,urinated by workers or slammed into shackles. Most of chickens lost parts of their bodies before they actually died. Finally, meat are packed on assembling lines and sent to markets.

Tyson Foods, Inc. is an American multinational food corporation. It is the world’s second largest processor and marketer of chicken, beef and pork. Also, Tyson Foods is the second-largest food production company in the Fortune 500 and one of the 100 largest companies in the United States. It offers the value-added chicken, beef and pork. For example, fresh beef and pork, frozen chicken, meat toppings, chicken nuggets, wings and tenders, and supermarket deli chicken products. Moreover, Tyson Foods is the supplier of fast-food chain like, KFC, Taco Bell, McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s and Wal-Mart, etc. It has more than 6000 independent contract farms to grow chickens for Tyson.

According to the Tyson Foods Inc.’s annual report in 2012, media campaigns related to food production present risks. Social media provides the opportunities for individuals or organizations to publicize the inaccurate and inappropriate perceptions or stories about Tyson Foods. Such actions would damage the reputation of Tyson and cause the negative financial results. Also, Tyson claimed that if their products are contaminated, they might be subject to product liability claims and products recalls.[1]

According to my researches about the Tyson Foods, the company had involved into controversies of hiring illegal immigrants, torturing birds in slaughterhouse, injecting antibiotics to livestock, and poor relationships with contract farmers.

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In 2001, there were six employees on charges that it conspired to smuggle illegal immigrants across the Mexican border to work in its processing plants. Besides, the Tyson Foods was investigated of hiring illegal workers from Mexico and Central America area. The government said illegal immigrants were hired through smugglers. Tyson Foods Inc. paid $100-$200 per head to smugglers and illegal workers were also expected to pay money to smugglers.[2] Illegal immigrants were hired to do works that most of legal workers were not willing to do. For example, illegal immigrants were hired to catch chickens in Tyson’s contract farms. It was an extremely disgusting and risky job. They had to catch every chicken in the farm intotrunks. Illegal workers were potentially exposed to epidemic disease from dead chicken.

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From 2004 to 2005, PETA (People for The Ethical Treatment of Animal) conducted undercover investigation in one of Tyson’s slaughterhouse in Alabama. PETA’s investigators saw the torture of chickens. For example, chickens were processed before completed dead. A back-up killer stabbed birds in neck area with knives. People claim that employees were seen throwing around dead chickens for fun. Moreover, investors saw workers urinated in the live-hang area.[3]

In 2008, Tyson Foods agreed to remove its “raised without antibiotics” label in the future packaging and advertising. Using antibiotics is a normal phenomenon among contract farms not only in Tyson Foods. Carole Morison, a Maryland chicken farmer with Perdue Farms, was the only contract farmer that allowed the Food, Inc to film the inside of henhouse. She was terminated the contract with Perdue as the cost of this action. Carole said chickens were injected antibiotics to avoid disease. She is now allergic to antibiotic because of touching it for years. The using of antibiotic would cause the antibiotic-resistant bacteria in human body.

Tyson Foods, Inc was unethical without any doubt. It is complex if we consider the problems from three schools of ethics. From deontological perspective, Tyson Foods was unethical because its producing processes were not based on moral principles. The company should not violate illegal immigrants’ human rights, as they have no protection from social security and health care. Also, torturing birds in slaughterhouse violated the Animal Protection Law and the rights of animals. However, deontology has constrains prohibit the performance of an action which could prevent further violation.[4] In this case, using antibiotics could prevent the infectious disease, which is essential in crowded henhouse. “ How can the minimization of morally objectionable conduct be morally unacceptable?”[5] said Scheffler. I think constrains of deontology based on the direct conduction instead of the morality of consequences. It is also related with the conflict with consequentialist reasoning that consequentialism always focus on whether the results of an action are moral or immoral.

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From consequential perspective, one the one hand, Tyson Foods had difficulties to hire legal workers as “catchers” unless Tyson offers high wages. If they cannot hire cheap catchers, it would lower the efficiency of production and cause the loss of profits. Also, interference of Tyson on slaughterhouse scandal would reveal the fact of torturing in slaughterhouse, and result in the damage of company’s reputation. Furthermore, even though antibiotic injection would cause antibiotic-resistant bacteria, the sick livestock would generate infectious disease, like swine flu. So, on the other hand, Tyson Foods provides efficient meat-supply with cheap price to satisfy the market. It is a good consequence according to consequentialism. However, from my perspective, the best consequence dose not equal to the best available consequence. “A decision with good consequence may contradict an important ethical principle.” stated in Trevino.[6] I personally disagree with this statement. Since consequentialism is one of the three schools of ethics, it should possess informal and indirect responsibility in shaping what we take our moral obligation to be, ideally. So the best available consequences of Tyson Foods are to replace the human caters with machines, to address the punishments on torture events and to eliminate the use of antibiotics.

Finally, I would like to mention Carole Morison, who revealed the facts of contract farmers. I think this is an example of virtue ethics. She was terminated the contract with Perdue Foods because of showing the inside of henhouse in Food, Inc. She understood the outcomes of disobeying the company but, from her personal intension, Carole decided to reveal the facts that food companies try to hide. The goal of virtue ethics is to be a good person you wish to be. Intensions and motivations to be moral are more important than principles, rules and consequences. Carol was the only one out of dozens of contract farmers that bravely stood out. For carol, her intension motivated her to make ethical decisions that to reveal the dark side of food companies. I believe that virtue ethics is more related with deontology as both of these two ethics focus less on the consequence of action. Or virtue ethics can be seen as competing against consequentialism.

Overall, even though there are different perspectives provided by three schools of ethics when analyze each problem, Tyson Foods, Inc was still unethical in its production process. It is essential for Tyson Foods to look for solutions for problems, since it is the major supplier of meat in United States. No matter which school of ethics we discussed, to guarantee the food safety as stated in Tyson’s mission statement.

 

 


[2] David Barboza (2001, Dec 20), “Tyson Foods Indicated in Plan To Smuggle Illegal Workers”, The New York Times, from http://www.nytimes.com/2001/12/20/us/tyson-foods-indicted-in-plan-to-smuggle-illegal-workers.html

[4] Christopher McMahon, “The Paradox of Deontology”, Philosophy & Public Affairs, Vol.20, No 4 (Autumn, 1991), p 28

[5] Scheffler, “Agent-Centered Restrictions,” p. 409.

[6] Linda K. Trevino, Katherine A, Nelson, “ Managing Business Ethics”, fiftn edition, p 46

Learning deeply at school but broadly with social medias


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This picture is funny joke but it reveals the realities in college somehow.

Before attending college, I had never doubted Wikipedia. However, I noticed that professors try to prohibit students using Wikipedia for homework, paper and research. I cannot forget the despised facial expression when my history professor mentioned Wikipedia.

To get information from websites, like Google, Sparknotes and Wikipedia, has both advantages and disadvantages. The most obvious disadvantage is that information from those websites is not reliable because everyone can go to websites and edit information. It means people with no qualifications in a certain subject area can still post information about it. Most of education institution like Bucknell University do not accept any information from website like Wikipedia.  College students are expected to learn academic knowledge through books, lectures, discussion or individual thinking.

However, the requirements for students in 21th century are not limited within major area any more. Students have to learn knowledge not only deeply but also broadly. However, one’s time and energy are limited. For example, students in Bucknell have to take at least four classes a semester. They have to fulfill not only major requirements but also non-major requirements like environmental studies, natural sciences, humanity or diversity in the U.S. They have to learn broad information within four years. Students may learn deeply in some courses but broadly in others. It is not superficial but an efficient way to open one’s eyes. It is important for students have enough knowledge about almost everything as preparation for the future. Websites like Google, Wikipedia and Sparknotes are useful tools for this efficient way of learning.

A Green Bucknell


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The session I participated discussed about the sustainability program on campus. My favorite one was the “Green Roof” project. It is beautiful and sustainable.

Green Roof is a project, which encourages people cover the roof of a building with vegetables and green plants. The green roof would be built over the waterproof membrane, root barrier and drainage and irrigation system. Each pants occupies a spot.

Green Roof has many environmental benefits. First, a concentrate of green roofs in an urban area can reduce the city’s average temperatures during summer. Second, green roof could create natural habitat for animals. Third, it can filter the pollutants and carbon dioxide out of air, which helps power disease rates such as asthma. Green roof can also filter pollutants and heavy metals out of rainwater. Fourth, it can increase agricultural space. Agricultural space is short especially in countries with large population or limited land, for example, China, India and Japan.

Green roof also provides economic benefits. First, it can increase the roof’s lifespan. Green roof could protect the waterproofing membrane from UV light in order to increase the life expectancy. Second, green roof could reduce the energy use as I mentioned above. It can help to lower temperature of building and save the energy-use of air conditioner.

Bucknell could apply Green Roof project in the future as the leading example of sustainability. Besides the “Green Roof” project, Bucknell are considering to use the wind energy by setting the wind turbine near campus. Also, the solar panels would be considered to be installed in dormitory areas

The drunk bison


Standing there for 10 minutes without moving a step, it was the first time I went to frat party. Also, it was the biggest cultural shock I had ever experienced. It was the first month I arrived in Bucknell and United States. I still remember the smell of alcohol covered every breath I took in. A guy hugged me from my back and moved like a snake. I was scared because nobody has ever done this to me before. People were dancing, talking and kissing. Girls and guys were sticking with each other sexually. There was a bar at behind so that people can get alcohol freely without checking the ID. Once international students were gathered together to talk about their experience of explore Bucknell. Party and drinking culture shocked all of us with no exception. imgres-1

I think Bucknell has intersectional issues of race, class and gender. First, Greek life in Bucknell is weigh more important than in other colleges. There are more than 50% students involve in fraternities or sororities. Also, I figured that Greek life in Bucknell is lack of diversity. On one hand, there were only a few international students involved in Greek life. I used to rush for sororities and found out some shared details. For example, most of sororities have a few or none international students but actually there were many international students participating the rush. Also, the types of sororities and fraternities are so rare. For example, some colleges have Greek life for community service, for academia or for specific culture. But Bucknell only has one type of Greek life, which focuses on social networks. I think Greek life in Bucknell should involve more diverse factors and focus more on non-Greek social activities on campus.

Since the Greek culture is so popular in Bucknell, the binge drinking rates at Bucknell are higher than at our peer institutions. According to the material provided by professor, 47% of women report binge drinking in the prior two weeks, while 65% of Bucknell men also engage in more frequent episodes of binge drinking. I think it is easy to understand the popularity of drinking culture in Bucknell. Our campus is in the middle of nowhere. People seek ways of entertainment and alcohol provides them different indoor drinking games. Also, getting drunk is the prerequisite of our “hook-up” culture. People get drunk to be able to “cross the line”. There has never been a serious ban of alcohol in Bucknell. Professors, BSG and faculties would only remind students to be careful during the House Party weekend but not to ban the House Party weekend. The reminders are more likely the under-table permits of drinking culture in Bucknell.

One of the consequences of drinking culture is the sexual assault. The percentage who report one or more form of sexual assault ranges from 43% to 59% based on the survey in 2009. Binge drinking appears to put women at risk for sexual assault. Also, Black and Hispanic women are more likely to be assaulted. It is so astonishing. It proves the lack of culture diversity of Bucknell in a further step. The lack of cultural diversity leads to the lack of concern to minorities and the lack of conscious of respecting people from different race backgrounds.

As a high-level education institution, I think Bucknell should increase diversity on campus and develop more non-Greek campus activities to dilute the drinking culture on campus. I still love Bucknell.

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Niman Ranch’s Family Farms


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After seen the documentary “Food Inc”, I learned that in order to meet the large demands of population in an affordable way, the food supply chains today tend to be industrialized and unsustainable. Crops and vegetables are grown with heavy fertilizers while the meats like, cattle, chicken and pigs, are grown in concentrated environment and fattened up as quick as possible. Also, according to the documentary, over-use of antibiotics, which 70% are not given to human but to animals, on farm animals leads to antibiotic-resistant bacteria in human beings. The efficient production also lowers the price. Overall, the most of the current food productions are unsustainable.

Niman Ranch is a company which has knitted together over 700 independent American farmers and ranchers. Those small family farms and ranchers provide the all-natural pork, beef, and lamb to retailers and restaurants. Meanwhile, local-farming communities are allowed to take care of their own lands and animals. As stated on the website of Niman Ranch, all the products they sell are humanly raised by family farmers. Animals have never been given any antibiotics or added hormones. Finally, animals are fed with the finest vegetarian feeds.

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Niman Ranch is definitely an example of transition to organic food. However, how can we guarantee the food security of food from private family farms? Even though the large food industries, for examples, Tyson Food, Monsanto Company and Smithfield Food, have industrialized production for each chicken, cattle and pig, the food security are guaranteed. People have no worry about deadly bacteria like E.Coli because large companies can afford technologies to eliminate the potential risks. Also, the food productions out of industrialization are also influenced by the soil health, air conditions and water cycle. So, my paper will discuss about the ethical dilemma of family farms accompanied by Niman Ranch.