Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Project Blog - Post 4 - Reflection

For the Intro to Geography blog project, I decided to go with option A (choose a meal or product) and research the meal that I most recently eat at that time. I discovered that the Italian Cuisine, Chicken Alfredo, is more than likely worse for your body than it is for the environment.

Though my meal was specifically Chicken Alfredo, the two main ingredients necessary to successfully make any of the Alfredo plates is Fettuccini Pasta and Alfredo Sauce, which can be found, purchased, and consumed by anyone from their local grocery store.

What makes this plate an ecologically virtuous meal (a “green” solution), is the produce that makes up the two main ingredients, as well as, the continuous efforts from the company that produces and distributes this pasta and sauce.

The Fettuccini pasta (first ingredient), is made from flat sheets of pasta cut into ribbon-shaped strands (known as "fettucce") and produced by Semolina (ground from Durum wheat grains) and purified water. What makes this ingredient domiciliary, locally, and globally environmentally friendly, is the fact that Durum wheat is relatively grown worldwide and reduces the need for excessive transports of goods, which naturally lead to the release of CO2 emissions. In addition, the Barilla company (Italian Family Owned Food Company), carefully place their manufacturing factories near locations that produce the largest amount of produce in order to not only save on the cost of transportation but also help reduce the amount of CO2 being dispersed into the atmosphere.

The second ingredient, Alfredo Sauce, is made with high-quality ingredients like real Parmesan and Romano cheese and cream. Though the process of gathering, transporting, and producing for this ingredient has slightly more of an environmental impact than the pasta, it is overall a “green” solution product in all three categories; especially in our state, Wisconsin.

Though the two ingredients that made up my meal are environmentally friendly in nature, I was quite impressed with the recycling efforts by the Barilla Company. This company recycles almost all of their cardboard uses, save about twenty percent of their total water and electricity consumption, and they seek ways that best helps their company reduce their total pollution outflow.

I was fortunate to have a meal, two ingredients and a company that are all relatively environmentally safe and vigilant; however not every company will operate in this manner and not every meal will contain “green” ingredients. Though this will pose limitations to promoting my meal as a solution to environmental problems, the efforts of the company are ideal mission statements that could be encouraged and practiced by other companies with much less environmentally friendly products.

Word Count: 442

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Friday, April 15, 2016

Project Post 3 - The Environmental Impacts of your Meal

My meal discussed in the previous post was Chicken Alfredo; which can be made in a variety of different ways, but I would like to concentrate on the two main ingredients necessary to successfully make any of the Alfredo plates. Fettuccini Pasta and Alfredo Sauce are essential for any rendering of this particular Italian Cuisine and both ingredients can be found and bought at your local grocery store.

The fettuccini pasta and alfredo sauce that I typically purchase are made by an Italian Family Owned Food Company by the name of Barilla. Barilla was founded in 1877 by Pietro Barilla in Parma, Italy and has since been operated and owned by his descendants; currently Guido, Luca, and Paolo Barilla (great-great-grandchildren of Pietro Barilla).

Throughout the years, Barilla has expanded its product, development, and networks across the globe and is now an international group present in more than 100 countries. In fact, Barilla is “a world leader in the markets of pasta and ready–to–use sauces in continental Europe, bakery products in Italy and crispbread in Scandinavia, the Barilla Group is recognized worldwide as a symbol of Italian know–how.”

Least to say, Barilla knows exactly how Italian pasta and sauces ought to be made. With further research, I found that fettuccini pasta is made from flat sheets of pasta cut into ribbon-shaped strands (known as "fettucce") and produced by Semolina (ground from Durum wheat grains) and purified water. Alfredo Sauce is made with high-quality ingredients like real Parmesan and Romano cheese and cream.

The Barilla company, known for having such a strong internationalization network, gets its ingredients (Durum wheat, Parmesan and Romano chess, and cream) from farmers and plants all around the world, but attempts to conduct business locally to help reduce the amount of CO₂ emissions dispersed into the atmosphere. The attached map designates which ingredients are purchased from which country, as well as, where the Barilla company produces their products. As you can see, the Barilla company conducts business all over the globe, but more importantly, they have placed their plants in precise locations to save money, electricity, water, resources, and reduce CO₂ emissions. An additional attached photo shows the amount of Durum Wheat that was purchased locally (per country) by the Barilla Company in 2014.

Though every company no matter how small will have environmental impacts associated with the production of their ingredients, the Barilla company has made a strong effort in minimizing emissions and consumption of resources. I have attached two additional photos that depict the amount of area that regenerate resources used and absorb the generated emissions. In addition, it illustrates the total impact the Barilla company has on climate change and the total amount of water resources that are consumed.

Comparable to other companies, Barilla has been extremely successful in its efforts; in fact, in 2014, there was an average of 17 kg of waste per ton of product used; of which approximately 95% went for recovery/recycling operations. In December 2012, Barilla received the “Lean and Green” prize: an international project of the “Foundation for Sustainable Development” which supports logistics companies in the definition of a plan to check pollution and expenditure, certifies their validity as a third party, and monitors them through a series of maintenance audits. Also, on November 15, 2012, Barilla signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Food Bank Foundation; which guarantees their involvement in donating all surplus product from Italian factories to charitable institutions of the Food Bank Network. Lastly, the Barilla company has successfully recycled 98% of their packaging resources, implemented a wastewater treatment plan (which significantly reduces their impact before they are discharged into sewers or surface waters), and has reduced water consumption by 20%, energy consumption by 5%, and CO2 emissions by 20% per ton/product companywide.

From the field to raw materials, to plants and mills, to transportation and distribution, to people (both locally and globally); Barilla has impacted our water, environment, atmosphere, climate, and so forth. However, unlike many other companies, Barilla has made it their mission to situate their ethics on the environmental pyramid and guarantee a product life cycle that “respects people and the planet”.

Word Count: 696

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Project Blog Post 2 - Option A1

I’m a huge lover of Italian based dishes, but one of my absolute favorites is Chicken Alfredo; which I eat quite regularly. There are several different ways people prepare, cook, and serve this dish, but generally it consists of fettuccini pasta, butter, boneless chicken breast halves, alfredo sauce, and shredded parmesan cheese. Generally, the chicken breast is cut into cubes and/or rectangular shapes and mixed into the pasta with the other ingredients. However, it’s also very common to have the full chicken breast (grilled or fried) rested on top of the pasta with the other ingredients grazed over it.

In other instances, in replacement of the chicken breast, this dish could also be served with shrimp, broccoli, or just pasta; which is commonly called Fettuccini Alfredo. This dish is ordinarily served with a side salad, soup, garlic bread, or all the above.

Though these are just the general types of ingredients for this pasta dish, there are countless other forms and ingredients that have been created and enjoyed throughout the years.

(Word Count: 174)

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Project Blog Post #1

The video “Battle of the Bag” has introduced me to many interesting and problematic effects plastic bags have on our environment that I never acknowledged before. According to the video, a family of four, on average, will collect a thousand plastic bags a year and Canada, in that same time, is recorded to have collected six billion bags. In addition, plastic bags take between 400 to 1,000 years to deteriorate and it has been the cause of death for many land and sea animals.

Aside from the interesting harmful effects plastics bags have on our ecosystem, the way they are made I found quite interesting. In addition, I never knew that our first bag “form” was actually a bull’s scrotum.

Finally, I found the efforts to manage and/or solve this problem quite interesting and honorable. I never realized how much of a problem plastic bags have been and are for our world and how countries, cities, and individuals are stepping up to make a change. For example, China, India, and other parts of the world have completely or marginally banned the use of plastic bags and some have gone as far as to ticket individuals caught using them.

In recent years, San Francisco is the first U.S. city to ban companies from using and distributing plastic bags. Areas in the world that are banning the use of plastic bags for the greater good are effectively solving the plastic bag epidemic. However, I thought that the plastic bag manufacturing company introduced another effective way to still use plastic bags and solve the issues large amounts of plastic bags can have on our world; reuse and recycle.

Unfortunately, this method has only been able to effectively recycle 1-3% of total bags used, whereas the “banning” method has reduced plastic bag use entirely. For this reason, I feel that “banning” plastic bags may be the most prominent manner in which to solve this issue. Furthermore, because this issue is a worldwide problem, we should consider adopting the “banning” method globally. By doing this, we will see the end of the plastic bag and its harmful effects towards the environment, atmosphere, and wildlife.

Though the plastic bag manufacturer may disagree with my suggestion and suggests that the bags are simply “misunderstood” and thus not a problem to be solved. We have seen, recorded, and grasped the effects these bags have had on our environment and way of life. These bags may be convenient and may have the capability to be recycled and reused, but without 100% worldwide individual dedication and participation in this method, it proves to be extremely ineffective. If we won’t think of the environment and make changes as a whole, then the government must implement restricting and/or banning that product. The plastic bag isn’t a problem because it’s misunderstood; that statement is irrelevant. We understand the pros and cons of the plastic bag; it’s problematic because it’s almost indestructible and overly misused.

(Word Count: 494)