Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Social Issues

So my social issues this week are coming out of the most recent issue of National Geographic (I love National Geographic). This month's issue focuses on growing fuel and also features an article and animals and disease. Both these articles look interesting but frankly I haven't had time to read them yet. However I did come across some other interesting social issues that I haven't considered before and I doubt most people have.
First off, our globe is losing languages. Isn't that wild? That whole languages can be lost. I mean, I know we don't really use Latin in our everyday conversations, but many words we do use are derived from Latin, and some people can still speak it. (I took two semesters of Latin in undergrad, so obviously some people still know it well enough to teach it.) According to the article approx. every two weeks another language is lost, "taking millennia of human knowledge and history with it." And it's not a localized problem. There are endangered languages on every continent. Here, the Pacific Northwest are losing languages we've never even heard of. Like Ktunaxa. Only about 10 people can speak this. The Oklahoma/Southwest are losing Cahuilla, Mohave, and Wichita. It amazes me that in an age where everyone is more connected than ever, whole cultures are disappearing. Globalization is good right? Or is it only good for those willing to participate in it? I feel like there's a lot of flip flopping on this issue. Globalization is good, communicating is good, if we all speak the same language, we can all communicate with one another and (hopefully) get along. But diversity is good also, right? I feel like the message that's being put out there is "be yourself, but be like us." I don't understand were the line are if you come from a non-mainstream culture, but the thought of losing languages makes me sad. I feel like most of what's being put out there about diversity is a lot of hot air. Eventually, we'll all be the some color, speak the same language or handful on languages, and live on a planet with a handful of species of organisms. But well have a shit ton of viruses, because viruses are diverse and they keep changing so they can't be killed. Maybe we should be like viruses.
My second issue deals with global warming. Yes we know about global warming, and the sad polar bears and how when the ice caps melt not only will sea level rise, but oceanic circulation will shut down, eventually plunging us into the next ice-age (short term warming leads to long term cooling). But did you know that the grapes are migrating? Grapes need certain temps to thrive and those temps tend to be slightly cooler (why France is known for wines, as opposed to, say, Mexico). They're predicting that in 50 years France's premier wine regions will be too warm to grow grapes. Even now Southern England, once too cool, is getting into wine production. Germany used to produce cool weather white wines and are now making warmer weather reds. This global warming thing is huge and is affecting even the smallest details of our everyday life.

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