Finding Pastoral In Today’s World

When faced with the essay two assignment I started thinking about how I found it challenging. I wasn’t quite sure what kind of topic I wanted to tie the whole pastoral and counter pastoral themes in to. My last free form blog that I posted about Food Inc. is something that I feel I could relate to the pastoral theme. The actual Food Inc. video is a host to numerous important topics that America is being faced with. Some of these topics include organic foods, food born illness, factory farming, pesticides, and farm worker protection. Although the topics are all important, I plan to focus on factory farming and the farm worker protection. Continue reading


“The Burbs”

Observing the pastoral in the modern world is not always easy. What comes to my mind is the suburban life that we live in. However to relate the pastoral to modern times I have to take us back to the pinnacle of the suburbs, the 80’s and early 90’s. It was a time of financial success where the desired place of living was suburbia. My favorite piece that perfectly explains this time period is Joe Dante’s “The Burbs”.

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Its As Easy As Breathing

There was once a man having a hard time breathing so the man decides to go the doctor.  When he gets to the clinic, he tells the doctor, “Doctor, doctor, I’m really worried about my breathing!”  and the doctor replies “Don’t be – we’ll soon find something to stop it!”

When I heard this joke the wheels in my head got turning and a few thoughts came to my mind.  Not only did a few laughs pop out, but a few thoughts came to my head that are not laughing matters.  I love to breathe!  It is a habit that I have become accustomed to over the past twenty years, and without air I would not be able to live.  The favorite part of my day is in the morning when I wake up and head out to the front porch and take in a huge whiff of the outside air.  Not only does it wake me up but it makes me feel refreshed and alive in the morning.  This is where the main thought came to my mind.  Not only does the refreshing air make me feel alive, but it also keeps me alive. Continue reading

Farming in the City

Growing up on a farm in a small town in southern Kentucky, the simple life was something that I grew up surrounded by, not just something I now want to get back to. For as long as I can remember my family has got together at the beginning of each spring and planted a huge garden between our farms, rows and rows of all the fruits and vegetables that you could ever imagine. The garden is a family effort and we all work together to maintain it. The reward from the garden is that it feeds my entire extended family and their friends and families for the whole summer, plus at the end we still have enough left to freeze and can for the fall and winter. I remember when my great-grandmother was still alive we would still have her frozen creamed corn at Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners and it tasted so fresh, like it had just been picked.

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Plug it in, plug it in?

Imagine a typical morning in  your everyday life. You wake up to the alarm on your iHome and start playing your “good morning” playlist, unhook the cell phone from the charger, smell the refreshing clean linen fragrance coming from your plug-in air freshener, and you head to the kitchen. Your coffee is already brewed for you thanks to your handy coffee maker with the automatic timer, you put a piece of bread in the toaster, then make your way to the bathroom. You go to turn the hair straightener on and realize that you left it on after using it yesterday. Oh well, right? It’s already heated up now so you begin styling your hair. It’s just a regular morning doing ordinary things.  But how much did the electric bill go up by just doing these everyday practices? Continue reading

Putting the pastoral back into Detroit

I went to Michigan for the first time last summer. Lake Leelanau was by far one of the most beautiful places I had ever been to and I would more than gladly go back every year. This is why after reading Solnit’s “Detroit Arcardia: Exploring the Post-American Landscape” it really struck a cord with me. Not only does Solnit highlight the ever growing desolateness of Detroit, but the state of Michigan as a whole. Detroit to me was always the motor city, the home of the Redwings, and one of my good friends, but I had somehow underestimated just how bad the city had actually gotten. From racism to unemployment, abandoned buildings, violence, crime, arson, you name it and Detroit is dealing or has dealt with it.

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Mining-executive-top mining

Bulldozers and front-end loaders are everywhere, the earth shakes, huge rocks roll down hillsides, and tears fall down the faces of the people of Appalachian region. Suffering slowly dominates the area. Like a crumpled shadow awaiting a cure, they escape the poison of their impulses as they confront the mystery of pain. The Appalachian community has been affected by mountain top removal mining for a very long time, and it has displaced so many people and destroyed a lot of ancestral homes.

As noted by Erik Reece in his essay “Moving Mountains,” “the history of resource exploitation in Appalachia, like the history of racial oppression in the south, follows a sinister logic─ keep people poor and scared so that they remain powerless” (Reese 185). The mining companies instill indelible fear into the minds of these helpless people in two ways. Firstly, to convince the Appalachian people to leave, the Association of Miners gives them a contract “Broad Form Deed,” so named because it gives the deed holders broad rights to extract the coal by any means they desired. Under the Broad Form Deed, miners are ruthless and the landowners are powerless. Secondly, they intentionally under invest in the community to maintain control, leading to the loss of thousands of jobs and leaving the unemployed with few alternatives but to flee the region, stay with no employment or work for the coal companies.

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Going Green – I Can’t Afford to Not be Cool!

In 1997 Toyota launched its hybrid car, the Prius in its Japanese market despite a low demand for hybrid vehicles.  Around this time gas was still less than $2 a gallon, and “going green” was just starting to pick up as a movement amongst the “tree-hugger” community.  Even when the vehicle was released in the US in 1999, there wasn’t a lot of demand for it.  Some people went ahead and made the switch simply for the “feel good” of going green.  After 9/11 in 2001, and the subsequent invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, gas prices began to rise and the economy in the US plummeted.  Our attitude in America switched from just “being cool” to be green to “I need to save some money.” Continue reading

You are what you eat

The famous saying “you are what you eat” always pops up in my mind randomly. I remember when I was little my favorite food was French fries, so of course I ate them all the time. My mom always told me I was going to turn into a French fry if I ate too many. But that didn’t stop me, I kept eating them. To this day, I still love French fries. It’s a really unhealthy habit I crave. Are eating these fries that are made with hydrogenated oils, trans fat, greasy, salty, and fried causing harm to my body? They most certainly are. According to health ranger Mike Adams, the author of The Top Five Cancer Causing Foods, says that French fries should be renamed to “cancer fries” because they are that bad for you. Not only do they clog your arteries with saturated fat and trans fat, they also contain acrylamides. When starchy foods are subjected to high heat, acrylamides form. Continue reading

What Has Religion Done To Us?

I was brought up in a traditional, Baptist church.  My mother is very religious and made my brother and I attend church every Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night.  We were also required to participate in our church’s youth group and activities.  I can hardly remember a summer where I didn’t have to go to some church camp or mission trip.  I was always taught about God and Jesus, and what the Bible said we should and shouldn’t do, how we were supposed to live our lives and so on.  When I was about nine years old, I gave my life to Christ because it was what I thought I was supposed to do; not because I felt any true calling from God.  When I was old enough, I told my mom that I would no longer be going to church with her.  Continue reading

Sounding the Seventh Trumpet

In the wake of the falsely proclaimed ‘end of the world hoopla that engulfed the country for a couple of weeks, I am reminded of my upbringing in the Presbyterian Church and a keen interest I once held in the Christian Bible’s Book of Revelations. In this book, John receives a ‘revelation’ concerning Judgment Day, when the earth would shatter, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse would ride from heaven to exact the vengeful wrath of God upon the non-faithful on Earth. While this book reads more like a high budget Old Testament fire-and-brimstone Hollywood movie than the standard ‘Good News’ that the New Testament consists of, its dire warnings have caused many modern ‘prophets’ to foretell of the coming Doom in an attempt to change the present day or the way people live their lives. Continue reading

Private Property

While writing my free-form essay, I came across a lot of information that gave me ideas for my second formal essay.  I am really interested in the promotion of going ‘green’ that I feel our culture uses so often to advertise and sell different products and in the issue of owning land.  I am interested in the way that people try to control nature and the urge to take the complexity of today and relate it back to nature and the more ‘natural’ way of doing things.  But, I am not sure if this is too broad of a topic?

There are different ideas I plan on using to explain the control humans have over the natural environment.  The first is a book I found called Rights to Nature: Ecological, Economic, Cultural, and Political Principles of Instutions for the Environment, by Susan Hanna, Carl Folke, and Karl-Goran Maler.    This book is about how humans use nature and specifically talks about the procedures of rights, responsibilities, and rules that conduct and control the human use of the natural environment.  It discusses Continue reading