- By Rifat, MAP Youth & Communication Specialist
Last Friday MAP teens were invited to create a workshop for Today’s Leaders: A Virtual Civic Engagement Conference, hosted by Erie County 4-H. The goal of the workshop was, ‘Ensuring the Visibility of Youth for a Better Tomorrow’. There were many workshops, provided by youth from all over Western New York, including, ‘Building Diverse Friendships’, ‘Applying Leadership Mindset to our Community 2020’, ‘How COVID Affects Parent and Youth Relationships’, and many more.
Neena, MAP’s Youth Education Director, and MAP Youth May, Sara, Alize and I decided to take the opportunity to deliver a workshop to help make our community stronger. This was difficult at first, as this was our first time creating a workshop, but Neena guided us very well through our fears and we decided the topic of the workshop would be “How to advocate for yourself”. Coincidently, I wrote an article a few weeks ago on self advocacy (if you missed it feel free to check it out here).
We came up with an idea to play Kahoot, a game-based learning platform that makes it easy to create, share and play learning games or trivia quizzes in minutes. We came up with scenarios and asked the audience what they would do, for example, if your teacher said your name wrong what would you do? Would you politely correct her, pronounce her name wrong, or do something else?
It was interesting to see how people had different opinions, the fun part is when we were steering the audience through self advocacy and realized what it means to have control of your audience. As the game went smoothly we gave out 5 steps to being an advocate by asking questions about the issue you stand up for. These included; Ask yourself why you are doing what you are doing? Who has paved the way for you? How did the issue become a problem in the first place? What is the scope of your issue and what do you hope to achieve? These questions made our audience think for a while\ and we gave them time to do so. These 5 steps helped each individual in locking down their motives, establishing role models, understanding their historical context, focusing their issue, and paving the way forward. At the end of the day, even when some of us were scared first, the workshop was a success and we had great feedback from our audience. It is a fact that MAP teens helped others to advocate for the issues they believe in and we couldn't be happier.
To get full access to 5 steps of being an advocate, our workshop, visit the link below:
WHY AGRICULTURE LEADS TO DEFORESTATION? - By Rifat, MAP Youth Communication Specialist
Normally when you talk about deforestation, a large-scale clearing of land-generally for agriculture, industry, or transportation - an image of black fumes from factories is created in my mind. Little did I know that farming and agriculture are one of the main reasons for deforestation. As shocking as it may sound, it is a fact that the equivalent of over 10,000 football fields are destroyed each day in the Amazon Basin alone. Each day!! That huge rate is destroying hundreds of species every minute. To make the matter worse, we are destroying rainforests which are home to 50 percent of the world's plants and animals.
How does agriculture actually cause deforestation. Isn't it supposed to be good for the environment? Not really. As the human population grows so does the demand for meat, as demand rises so does the production rate. The number of cattle are increasing and they require space and nourishment, therefore millions of trees are cut every year to make land available for feed crops and grazed pastures. This totally makes sense and reflects the research presented by Sentient Media “Nearly 60 percent of the world’s arable land is used for beef production alone, which requires large amounts of land used for cattle grazing and cultivating feed crops like soy.”
Also, forests are intentionally set on fire to make more land for cattle grazing and feed crops, taking away all species life with it. This disrupts water cycle and soil fertility, also threatening people living and working with in the forest. Moreover, we are just making our planet warmer by releasing greenhouse gases from the destruction of trees. The less trees available to consume carbon, the more carbon we release which makes us more hot. Now I can go on and on and on and on regarding how evil as humans we have become to our mother planet, but it makes the point clear that deforestation is simply bad for the planet, plants, animals and humans too.
There is a way to save ourselves from this disaster. And the solution is rather simple, as meat production is the largest contributor to the world's deforestation. We have to decrease our demand for meat. It's simple if the world wants to stop deforestation we have to stop supporting companies that are making a profit out of it. Being a conscious consumer is good for the planet and for the consumer itself-by choosing local, plant-based food options instead of resource-intensive meat or dairy products. To make a more long lasting impact we must support reforestation organizations that help create forests by planting and growing more trees. Just being mindful of the choices we make as a consumer will benefit us all even if it feels small and insignificant. And this is how we can stop deforestation and finish the problems we created for ourselves.
To learn more about deforestation and how you can help -
Journey to the Farms
- by Rifat, MAP Youth & Communication Specialist
|Colin Erdle, from Erdle Farm|
Taylor turned the keys again and “vroom vroom!!!”. Yes, I did not have to reschedule the long drive!! Then we headed out the farms, to the highway and the first thing I noticed was how wide the view is when you're in a truck compared to normal cars . It was great to have a broader view and I really enjoyed it. On the way I had really good conversations with Taylor, to give some context we talked about our favourite foods and what we like and dislike about Buffalo. I felt grateful as I got to know more about a MAP member and your job becomes much more interesting and fun when you get closer with your peers.
As we visited the farms my eyes were delighted with greenery and as a person who loves nature, I couldn't be happier. Moreover, to actually meet and speak with the owner of the farms was a whole another experience. Each of them were so cool and friendly and they happily answered my questions and appreciated my interest. For example, one of the farmers that grew berries had plastic nets covering some of the plants. My guess was maybe for the pests, the answer was “it's for the birds”. Birds have a good taste I see.
But my most favourite part of the day - I was able to film the experience, the job i love to do-my passion. I got some amazing shots and was blown away with what I captured with my camera and can't wait to edit all the footage and show the world how beautiful and awesome of an experience this was outside Buffalo today. Stay tuned for the upcoming video!
FOOD INSECURITIES & FOOD RIGHTS
- By Rifat, MAP Youth Communication Specialist
Do you think we have enough food to feed everyone in the world? My guess was “obviously we don’t”, but the answer is not only do we have enough but we have more than enough food to feed everyone. As mind blowing as this is to me, I was more surprised to know why there are still people right at this moment going to sleep with an empty stomach.
We have the food needed, but the problem is the availability or access to food for individuals. For you, it's maybe a 10 min drive to a supermarket while some have to walk miles to just get water. And this is just one of the many food insecurities- disruption of food intake or eating patterns because of lack of money and other resources- that cause people to go to bed hungry.
Furthermore, some can't even afford enough food to keep them alive. Either the food itself is expensive or people in need receive little to no assistance from the government or community. You may still face trouble with getting food if you have access and afford it. How? It may be not nutritional or safe to eat such as some growers have less regulations and some use harmful pesticides. This is just one of the many reasons how your food can be unhealthy for you. All of these factors revolve around food securities that cause hunger. (To learn more about food insecurities check out this article on the Office of Disease Prevention & Health Promotion's website.)
|Image from Savuer Magazine|
It's time to make a BIG batch of garlic scape pesto. The basil is fresh, the scapes are clipped and the tortellini is calling us to make up this fun summer sauce.