Tuesdays & Fridays 9:45-11:00 in 1046 HW


Solar 1

Considering my paper topic, which was ultimately related to bettering the environment, I thought that a visit to the Solar 1 building would be appropriate.  Whether through leaving the lights on in an unoccupied room or running the water for way too long, people consume much more energy than is actually necessary.  So basically, what I’m saying is that I think it’s pretty cool that the Solar 1 building is somewhat able to rectify the excess consumption of energy by not letting their building contribute to that.

The Solar 1 building is provided with energy through south facing solar panels.  Extra power that is generated is stored for later usage.  (I wish that happened with my laptop.  Or iPod.  Or cellphone).  Anyway, the solar panels are totally environmentally friendly and power the building’s lights, laptops, iPods, cellphones, etc.  Apparently, glass doors help with energy efficiency too, because the sun decreases the need for heat and provides natural light.  But there is also an overhang, that prevents from overheating when the sun is strong.

Overall, I thought it was pretty cool to learn about the small efforts towards energy efficiency.  Especially in New York City.  If it can be done here, it can be done anywhere.  I can’t control the heating in the dorms.  But now I know that if I just open my blinds all the way, I don’t need to turn on my floor lamp for more heat when I’m cold.

Antibiotics and Livestock Production: Affecting Cattles and Produce Alike

During the middle of the semester, my group and I worked on the issues of not how meat was produced, but of the antibiotics that were contained in them that not only affected meat eaters, but vegetarian consumers. Alyssa Arroyo, Jaslee Carayol, Kim Happich, and myself, Theodora M. Telfort, collectively constructed a poster to provide accurate information regarding this new exploration. Inspired from Arroyo’s research topic, we began to understand how antibiotics were used and how it not only affected the human environment and other species as well. Based on the circular model shown on the poster, it explains how antibiotics have an effect on livestock production in our world. In order to truly get a sense of what antibiotics do, it is important to know its purpose and use of design. These chemical elements are utilized to provide and guarantee safe and healthy growth and reproduction rates, in addition to reducing mortality rates. Antibiotics were originally used to fight the spreading of diseases that were located in commercial feeds of animals. What may be frightening to discover and to share is that the same antibiotics that were used to kill of certain diseases to protect the livestock, have been contaminated in foods that that not only consumers in the meat industry consume, but non-meat eaters as well. The process of recycling and reproducing animal waste has been the most recent explored resource to deal with the large quantities of waste created by livestock farms. Livestock farmers do this manure waste production by selling it to agricultural farms. Once these farms have received the waste, they then restructure them as fertilizers. A special name that has been given to manure is called biosolids. In addition to the cattle produced and grown on livestock farms, plants that grow in fertilized soil coming from these types of crops are filled with the elements of the biosolids. This means that the plants fertilized with soil, will have contained elements of antibiotics that were initially expelled from the antibiotics. The main continuous theme that was presented in this particular research was the comprehension of how antibiotics would feed onto other living organisms, specifically in the growing of plants or ‘water-based tissues.” Antibiotics are used and consumed in a copious amount of crops that are then purchased by non-meat eaters ,vegetarians and fish. Examples of antibiotics such as Baytril and Cipro were traces and discovered in various vegetable foods including lettuce, potatoes, and radishes. Due to the mistreatment of such goods that affect not only the well-being of humans and oceanic species, the effectiveness of antibiotics can also cause destruction to our environment as well. Other remaining amounts of antibiotics also have an unfortunate effect on our water system. The chemicals harm our water system by entering into it via the agricultural farms.

The Effect of Supermarket Shortages and Fast Food Restaurant Growth on Diet Related Diseases in New York City

Our group hypothesized that the disappearance of fresh food purveyors along with the proliferation of fast food chains, such as supermarkets, was responsible for increased diabetes and obesity rates in lower-income neighborhoods of New York City. We examined the number of supermarkets in certain communities of varying income levels and the presence of fast food chains along with obesity rates and diabetes rates. We discovered that low-income areas have higher rates of diabetes and obesity however the prevalence of fast food restaurants and disappearance of supermarkets did not seem to be a factor. This negative hypothesis could be accounted for in a variety of ways. However, the results we found have their own conclusions; that supermarkets in lower-income areas offer food not as healthy as those offered in more affluent areas and possibly as a result of this, the obesity and diabetes rates are higher.

Supermarkets offer fresh and healthy food options and we discovered that this can greatly change the diet of a community. For example, in North Carolina, Black Americans’ fruit and vegetable intake increased 32% for each additional supermarket in the neighborhoods where they lived. In contrast, white Americans in similar neighborhoods only showed an 11% increase in fruit and vegetable consumption (BIHE 2002). From this study and others, we hypothesized that areas where fast food chains thrive and supermarkets are waning, the obesity rates and diabetes rates would be increased in comparison to areas where the factors were reversed, fast food chains were waning and supermarkets thrived. We began researching and compiling data regarding the amount of supermarkets and fast food restaurants in 15 community districts along with diabetes and obesity rates for those communities. What we discovered was interesting and a cause for concern, yet it did not prove our original hypothesis that the disappearance of supermarkets and growing fast food chains in low-income areas.

We found that the higher the density of supermarkets correlated to a greater chance of having a higher overweight percentage and also the greater number of fast food restaurants within the community district, the greater the chance there was of a high obesity and diabetes rate. There were come community districts that did not follow this trend; however, most exceptions can be explained. For example, the Lower East Side, Chinatown, and Two Bridges district had results that would point to a high overweight, obesity, and diabetes percentages; but, the results show it to have a slightly elevated rate of overweight inhabitants and a low rate of obesity along with a lower than normal rate of diabetes. This could be due to the prevalence of local supermarkets in Chinatown that nearby residents shop at daily and whose residents’ diets consist mostly of rice and other fresh ethnic foods that are conducive to low rates of obesity and diabetes. Another factor to consider in this case is that this community is not a lower-income area that our hypothesis expected to find a correlation. Our hypothesis was aimed at lower-income communities where Black and Hispanic New Yorkers reside. In that case, in areas such as Jamaica, South Jamaica, St. Albans, and the Rockaways; our results showed a correlation between the higher percentages of obesity and diabetes where there was a greater amount of supermarkets and fast food restaurants. This could be accounted for by examining the food offered at these supermarkets and we expect they would not be the same healthy items offered in more affluent supermarkets, such as Whole Foods or in greenmarkets.

Our research has proven that there is some correlation between obesity and diabetes rates in lower-income areas due to the presence of supermarkets and potentially fast food restaurants. Our original hypothesis, that supermarkets in these neighborhoods were disappearing, was false however; the healthy options they used to offer seem to have disappeared as competition has risen between supermarkets, fast food chains, delis, and pharmacies. Supermarkets can only compete with these cheaper alternatives by offering the same unhealthy food items they offer and hence, obesity and diabetes rates will continue to rise unless something is done to make healthy food more affordable.

Summary! Ming Fearon, Anna J Fitting, Lou Mergler, Jackie Wang.

To reach consensus on a topic for our group’s poster, we combined aspects of each individual’s research topic for formulate a new subject on which to base our studies.  As our members were each studying different topics, such as pork, organic chicken, and meat in upscale dining, our group agreed to focus our research on an issue that encompassed factors from each of our areas of interest. We settled to base our poster on the disparities found in availability to organic meat between two economically divergent neighborhoods. We defined organic through the qualifications of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) as meat that has been taken from an animal that was never treated by hormones or antibiotics. Such meat is given a USDA certified organic label. To carry out our case study, we selected East Harlem and the Upper East Side, two adjacent yet financially polar communities. We intended for our findings to display the difficulty in purchasing organic meat in East Harlem, when contrasted with the Upper East Side. Such findings would reflect the prevalence of health problems, which are often related to poor diets, in financially underprivileged communities. We wished to connect the rampancy of such health concerns, with the limited accessibility to healthy foods, to which the lower class is often subjected.
Our poster relied chiefly on demographic data, to illustrate the economic conditions affecting the two communities, and case studies of neighborhood supermarkets, In order to display our demographic data, we employed the use of statistic charts. We found most of our statistical information on census websites. We deemed the use of charts to be the most certain method of providing aesthetic convenience to viewers quickly seeking to gain background information. In order to obtain facts on meat availability, we visited supermarkets and recorded the stock and prices of their meats. The data regarding meat was displayed through a number of color coded bar graphs. The stock of each individual market was displayed through a graph, and each meat was ascribed a different color. We found the color coding and combing of graphs to make the bar graphs decipherable at first glance, so that a viewer would not have to sift through multitudes of graphs for figures.
In accordance with our hypothesized outcome, we found organic meat to be more accessible on the Upper East Side than it was in east Harlem. Each of the supermarkets that we visited on the Upper East Side displayed organic meat, frequently boasting various brands and cuts. Conversely, organic meat was difficult to locate in east Harlem. Often times, only organic chicken would by carried by a certain supermarket. Furthermore, organic meat was found to be universally more expensive than it’s conventional counterparts. Although the high prices of organic meat can be attributed to the cost of labor that goes into production, high prices still render a product inaccessible to the economically disadvantaged.
The inaccessibility that east Harlem residents experience with regard to organic meat reflects the larger issue of the lack of availability to proper resources of healthy living that has historically plagued those of modest economic means. The prevalence of health problems such as obesity and diabetes in low income neighborhoods is frequently acknowledged, however, obtainable provisions for a healthy lifestyle continue to be scarce among New York City’s economically disadvantaged.

Urban Consumption..Summary: Shaziya Ali, Jackie Cortez, Naseeba Ramjan, Jane Sun

Our group had a tough time coming up with a topic for this poster. We each were doing our papers on various subjects of beef. We wanted to find a way to combine a couple of our topics together and come up with a new study. We finally decided to combine Naseeba’s topic of methane gas from cattle contributing to global warming and Shaziya’s topic of socio-economic distribution of McDonalds across the city. What we wanted to find out was how does New York City’s consumption of beef at McDonalds contribute to our global warming crisis compared to other places.

Methane, like other greenhouse gases, directly interacts with the atmosphere by absorbing thermal infrared radiation from the earth, which warms the atmosphere, and by reflecting other wavelengths of radiation back at the earth. Methane also indirectly contributes to global warming by oxidizing into carbon dioxide, which does not break down as quickly as methane does.

Methane has the chemical formula CH4 compared to carbon dioxide’s CO2 . This composition gives methane a Global Warming Potential (GWP) of 56 over 20 years, and 21 over 100 years. Values decrease over time because of Methane’s short half-life. Carbon dioxide, in contrast, has a GWP of 1. Over the next fifty years, methane is expected to contribute from 15 to 17% of global warming.

Currently, cattle emissions from 1.3 billion domestic cattle account for 73% of the methane produced each year. McDonald’s, being the nation’s largest buyer of beef, contributes greatly to these emissions.

Since McDonald’s does not release official beef patty sales data, we asked the manager of a local McDonald’s restaurant how much beef they used daily. Using this data, we extrapolated the number of patties that one restaurant would use in a year, multiplied by the number of McDonald’s in Manhattan. We then estimated how many patties could be produced from one cow. We then calculated the lifetime methane emissions from those cows in order to find the total methane emissions one McDonald’s is responsible for producing.

To compare the average methane emissions from McDonald’s per square mile of Manhattan with the average emissions for the state of Wyoming, we divided the total number of McDonald’s by the total square mileage of each area, then multiplied that by the methane produced by each restaurant. The total number of restaurants in each area was sourced from Google Maps.

Our study has shown that for such a small area, NYC contributes a significant amount of methane emissions because of how much beef is consumed. Our data is restricted to beef consumption at McDonald’s, so in actuality, the amount of beef being consumed in the city is higher. Methane emissions account for about 20% of the greenhouse gases that are affecting our atmosphere. One ton of methane is equivalent to twenty-one tons of carbon dioxide. It is a good idea to reduce the amount of methane emissions because of this, but also because methane is easier to eliminate. It has a shorter half-life, 10 years compared to 100 years of carbon dioxide, and it has distinct and clear sources. The easiest way we can reduce methane emissions is by reducing our meat consumption, especially of beef. This will result in global cooling, and will protect our planet so that we may endure longer, healthier lives.

“Antibiotics in Your Salad” - A Summary

Brought to you by:  A. Arroyo, J. Carayol, K. Happich, and T. Telfort

Our poster project was based off of one of our group member’s papers.  Alyssa’s research focused on how antibiotics used in meat production eventually, through a simple chain, could come to be found in produce and water systems.  The poster, entitled “ Antibiotics in Your Salad? ”, aimed to inform the reader of the possibility that the antibiotics used for livestock growth enhancement and for increased reproduction rates on farms, may very well be in the produce they consume.  The poster visually explained the path that the antibiotics take to go from livestock farms to the salad bowls of unsuspecting consumers.

A multicolored flow chart divided the journey into four significant steps.  The first section of the flow chart explained how antibiotics are used on farms, and emphasized the fact that the animals only retain about 5% of the antibiotics.  The other 95% are excreted and this brings the reader to the second part of the flow chart.  In the second section it is explained that livestock farms often sell the manure to agricultural farms, as a way to recycle the waste.  This means that the manure, which at this point in the process is referred to as biosolid, contains the antibiotics excreted by cattle.  The third section of the chart discussed how this antibiotic-filled manure, used as fertilizer, can affect crops.  The poster explained that studies have shown that the crops actually absorb small doses of antibiotics from the soil and store them in their tubers and leaves.  The last section of the flow chart focuses on where the antibiotics eventually end up.  This section of the chart was divided into two subsections, because there are two possible outcomes.  The first outcome is that the antibiotics are consumed unknowingly via produce consumption.  The second outcome is that the antibiotics end up in water systems as run off from the agricultural farms.

The results and discussion sections of the poster considered the effects that that the antibiotics present in produce have on the consumers.  As shown by the study, the antibiotics were transferred to people who consumed the affected produce, resulting in the decreased effectiveness of antibiotic treatment of human illnesses.  The bactericidal drugs Baytril and Cipro were banned from livestock feed by the FDA.  This occurred because the aforementioned drugs lost effectiveness when prescribed to humans because of their consumption of antibiotic-treated livestock.  Antibiotic use in animals can affect the potency of antibiotic therapy in humans.  If people are over-exposed to antibiotics, it aids the bacteria in mutating and becoming more resistant to the drugs that have been developed to combat them, therefore resulting in a new and stronger strain of that particular bacteria.  Further research has shown that humans are not the only ones affected by the unconscious consumption of antibiotics.  The antibiotics present can affect species that live in polluted waters such as the smallmouth bass, some of which developed to be intersexed as a result.

In order to prevent produce consumers unnecessary exposure to antibiotics, a system that eliminates unwanted chemicals and antibiotics from the biosolid before produce is grown is needed.  The support and compliance of the larger livestock farms is necessary to move from antibiotic use in animals so that the health and lives of consumers will not be negatively affected.

The increasing antibiotic resistance in dairy cattle- Jonathan C., Eddie S., Gabriel O., Gennadiy R.

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Meet the Scientist- Dr. Edith Gonzalez de Scollard

Dr. Gonzalez de Scollard’s lecture was tinged with that elusive “emotional element” that rarely makes its presence felt in academic lectures. That element, combined with her vivacious personality, endeared her to the audience and created an intimate atmosphere that is not found enough in the world of academia, awash as it oftentimes is with its static personalities and impersonal informational osmosis. Listening to Dr. Gonzalez de Scollard speak was about as palatable as a lecture can be, and even bordered on engaging.

Dr. Gonzalez de Scollard, the Associate Director of Federal Programs at the Office of Government Relations and Strategic Project Development at the American Museum of Natural History, began her academic career at Hunter College. Determined to study medicine, she changed her mind after taking an Anthropology class and finding her true love (Anthropology). After graduating from Hunter College, she enrolled at the University of Virginia to attain her Ph. D. While at the University of Virginia, her mentor there died, and the project they were working on together had to be discontinued. Even so, she persevered and graduated with honors before going to work in a variety of settings: underwater archaeology, a children’s museum, and others. She finally ended up in her current position at the American Museum of Natural History.

Several things can be gleaned from Dr. Gonzalez de Scollard’s lecture: Don’t be afraid to take risks, do what you love, persevere through adversity/don’t give up, and so on. A heartwarming story was hers indeed; Hallmark is in the process of acquiring the rights to turn her life story into a made-for-television movie. Reportedly, Gail O’ Grady will star. And if that’s the case, then chalk one up for the good guys.


Luke’s Food Blog

That’s an average of 109-110 g of protein a day, coming mostly from milk. It does a body good.

Luke’s Food Blog


2 Servings of Kellogg’s Apple Jacks Cereal-2 g of protein

8 Servings of Fat Free Milk- 64 g of protein

2 Servings of Entenmann’s Cereal Bars- 2 g of protein

1 Apple- 1 g of protein

7 Servings of Ritz Crackers- 7 g of proetin

2 Slices of Pizza- 26 g of protein


2 Pieces of Toast with Grape Jelly- 8 g of protein

2 Servings of Kellogg’s Apple Jacks Cereal-2 g of protein

8 Servings of Fat Free Milk- 64 g of protein

2 Servings of Entenmann’s Cereal Bars- 2 g of protein

Lamb with rice- about 20 g of proeti

Cheeseburger with ketchup, mayonnaise, lettuce, tomato, and fries- about 14 g of protein


2 Servings of Kellogg’s Apple Jacks Cereal-2 g of protein

8 Servings of Fat Free Milk- 64 g of protein

2 Servings of Entenmann’s Cereal Bars- 2 g of protein

1 apple-1 g of protein

5 servings of ritz crackers- 5 g of protein

6 servings of Borden white American Pasteurized process cheese- 18 g of protein

6 slices of Oscar Mayer Pastrami- 24 g of protein

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