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Student Projects

Students in ESL 91 have chosen to study a number of different focus disciplines. As part of their focus discipline study, students have done research on the Internet and shared resources and their responses to these resources through the class e-mail discussion list CBESL.

The focus disciplines studied in this course are: Diet and Nutrition, Sociology, Computer Science, Business, Psychology, and Environmental Science.


All work on this web page is copyrighted by the student authors and may not be reproduced without their permission--© 1999--ESL 91

Focus Discipline: Diet and Nutrition

Topic: The reading describes the cases of two young women, Deborah and Lisa. How were their cases similar? How were they different? What factors led Deborah to developing anorexia and Lisa to developing bulimia?

What we eat is very important for our health. Unfortunately, a lot of people choose their diet incorrectly and in many cases end up being victims of an eating disorder. Those psychiatric illnesses affect over five million Americans including Lisa, who developed bulimia nervosa at eighteen and Deborah, a sixteen-year-old anorexic. Two girls and two different illnesses, the similarities and differences as well as the social factors that played a part in each case will be described in this essay.

Deborah and Lisa were both concerned with fitting in and being liked and so developed strange eating habits. Both of them were slightly overweight when they began to diet. Deborah was told that she would never get a date if she didnít take off some weight. Obviously she took that seriously because she became obsessed with dieting and food. Almost every day she counted all consumed food calories, and limited her intake of liquids all in a fear of getting fat. Lisa, on the other hand, ate huge amounts of food and maintained her normal weight by forcing herself to vomit. These two young women didnít realize what kinds of consequences could follow their dieting.

First of all, the depression, shame and feeling of isolation disrupts families, interrupts schooling, damages a future filled with promises, and destroys relationships. WowÖ it sounds serious doesnít it? But, there are even more important issues such as medical problems. As anorexia progresses symptoms like: irregular heart rate, low blood pressure, frequent urination, lose of calcium from bones and cessation of menstruation may occur. Bulimics also damage their bodies by frequent binge eating and purging. The acid in vomit wears down the outer layer of the teeth. Purging may result in heart failure due to loss of vital minerals, such as potassium. These physical problems, which if not treated by a professional, may lead to death.

This is the main reason why Deborah and Lisaís families were very concerned about their health. No one could convince Deborah to stop dieting. She, like most anorexics, practically starved herself. Finally her doctor insisted that she be hospitalized and carefully watched for treatment of her illness. Lisaís parents and friendís didnít even know that she had a problem until she attempted suicide. Just like most bulimics, she ate and ate like there was no tomorrow. More importantly, she was not able to understand her own behavior and thought no one else would either. This reminds me of my friend Iwona. I never realized that she could be a bulimic. Iím still kind of confused about it but I think she might be one of them. Iwona always tries to lose weight; she talks about it constantly, but I always see her eating. All women do that, but she eats and eats and then she feels useless, depressed and guilty about it. Thatís what makes her different from other women. I know for a fact that sheís been abusing laxatives. I always thought that only forcing your self to vomit is being a bulimic, but now I know better.

We can ask ourselves a question "why would people starve themselves or vomit on purpose?" Deborah and Lisa and the rest of us wouldnít know the answer. Some evidence suggests that eating disorders may develop due to the inherited predispositions such as mood swings and depression. However, the media plays a big role in eating disorders. According to television, advertising, and fashion magazines, no women should weight more than 110 pounds. This is one of the main reasons why all of women start dieting. Perhaps they feel pushed into achieving and into living up to other peopleís standards. They can push themselves harder and harder since they donít know how else to define themselves as individuals. Most of them arenít usually heavy to begin with but during the vulnerable years, when everything seems like a matter of life and death, they donít see any other way to go.

In a society where thinness is equated with success and happiness nearly everybody has suffered at one time or another from issues of weight, body shape and self-image. Nobody realizes the consequences that could follow severe dieting and food obsession. We have to stop and think about the seriousness of eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia and perhaps help others before itís too late.

Malgorzata Wendolowicz
ESL 91
Fall, 1999


Focus Discipline: Diet and Nutrition

Topic: The reading describes the cases of two young women, Deborah and Lisa. How were their cases similar? How were they different? What factors led Deborah to developing anorexia and Lisa to developing bulimia?

Anorexia nervosa and bulimia are two dangerous sicknesses that affect more young people in society because of the peer pressure. Females are the persons most affected by these two sicknesses. Deborah and Lisa are two young women that have hard problems with losing weight and they became persons with eating disorders.

Deborah was a young woman that suffered from anorexia nervosa. The first reason why she suffered from this eating disorder was because she wanted to get attention from boys, and she thought that by losing weight she would look pretty and cute enough for boys. Also one important reason why she became anorexic was because her father told her that she probably could not go out with a boy because of her weight.

After all this bad advice, she started to starve herself and to do strict exercise more frequently. Deborah started to lose a lot of weight and to have menstrual problems. However, nothing would stop her. She thought that it was not enough, that she still needed to lose more weight. What started only because of a joke about dating boys was becoming a serious problem for this 16-year-old girl. Her problem became more serious. She would not listen to anybody. Although her life was in danger, she would not stop dieting. Because of that she had to go to the hospital and even at the hospital she would not stop exercising .

On the other hand the 18-year-old Lisa suffered from another dangerous disease, bulimia nervosa. Lisa would eat an enormous amount of food, and then she would get rid of it by vomiting, also she started to exercise for more hours. She did not want to see that she had an eating disorder. One big reason why she developed this problem was because she wanted to lose weight even though she had a perfect body. Lisa even tried to commit suicide because of her depression, but she went to the hospital. At the hospital she received professional help to solve her eating disorder problem. Lisa joined a group of people who were suffering from bulimia too.

Anorexia nervosa is a sickness that makes people think they are fat even if it is not true. People stop eating, starve themselves and exercise more frequently. Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder that destroys body images, and a mental disorder may cause that. People become anorexic because of society's attitudes. Family factors play a big role in its development. In contrast, bulimia nervosa is an eating disorder where the person eats a lot and then throws up the food. They also exercise more frequently. Bulimia is very destructive and could cause heart damage because of the purging.

In general, anorexia nervosa and bulimia Nervosa are two dangerous sicknesses that affect some people. The reason why this happens is because these people do not get the attention that they need and the support of the people around them.

Yasmin Nunez
ESL91
Fall, 1999


Focus Discipline: Diet and Nutrition

Topic: The reading describes the cases of two young women, Deborah and Lisa. How were their cases similar? How were they different? What factors led Deborah to developing anorexia and Lisa to developing bulimia?

Correct diet is very important for our health. However, many young people choose their diet incorrectly for their needs because they desire to have ideal body shape. This may cause serious illness just like Deborah and Lisa who suffered from eating disorders such as bulimia and anorexia.

Deborah and Lisa began to diet because they wanted to look pretty. Her father had a big influence on Deborahís decision. He told her that she should lose some weight because she wouldnít get a date. He said that jokingly. After that joke she started her diet and exercised very hard. She wanted to see the faster result of her diet. Deborah became obsessed with food, but she starved herself. Every time she prepared her meals, she weighed and cut all the food in small equal pieces. Deborahís strange eating ritual is on an example of the psychiatric illness anorexia. In addition, people with anorexia think that they are overweight even when they are underweight.

In contrast to anorexics who starve themselves, bulimics like eighteen year old Lisa can eat huge amounts of food until they get a pain. Lisa could eat many times a day. This is a typical symptom of bulimia. The worst thing in that kind of illness is that the bulimic person could make himself vomit. In the future the bulimic might not be able to control vomiting and would lose many minerals from his/her body because of the vomiting. Bulimics like Lisa also feel lonely. She kept her secret from other people because she thought that nobody could understand her problem with her illness. Deborah and Lisa were both hospitalized but in many situations this is not enough. The patients also need psychiatric therapy to help them to be normal, healthy people.

We can see some similarity between Deborah, the anorexic and Lisa, the bulimic. First, they both were on a diet to get their beautiful body shape. Their bodies were destroyed because of the incorrect diet. For example, they both suffered from irregular menstrual periods from anemia. The difference between those two illnesses is that Deborah, an anorexic, could eat very small amounts of food in contrast to Lisa who could eat huge amounts of food and then make herself vomit.

In conclusion, both of these illnesses are very serious, not just because of the physical health but also because of the psychological problems. Society has a big influence on those people. The biggest percentage of the patients are young people with immature personalities, who are not strong enough to see the difference between diet and obsession with a beautiful body shape.

Agnieszka Sznel
ESL 91
Fall, 1999


Focus Discipline: Diet and Nutrition

Topic: Write an essay in which you discuss how the family, the school, and/or the peer groups can either reinforce or counteract the influences of the mass media with regard to weight and self-image. Provide specific examples drawn from your personal experiences.

The family is a basic social institution that introduces children to society and prepares them for the future. By living in the family children learn basic social skills, such as communication and how to adapt to society. They learn, from their parents, to recognize whatís right and whatís wrong and they modify their behavior. Children are fully dependent on their parents. Therefore, the family has the power to either reinforce or counteract other influences, such as mass media.

Television and other media represent one of the most important influences on children and adolescents. Young people spend most of their leisure time (average is 4-5 hrs a day) in front of the television. The images presented on the screen are used to manipulate the young audience for simple marketing purposes. Looking at their idols, teenagers dream of being like them, talking like them or looking like them. We have streets full of Ricky Martins, Leonardo di Caprios, Britney Spears, who constantly remind young people to lose weight, be thin and beautiful, buy more products because people will like you and appreciate you. Overweight individuals are typically portrayed as lazy "couch potatoes" who donít have any friends, while thin women and pumped-up men are portrayed as successful, popular, sexy, and rich.

The family also teaches children, from their early years, that looks matter. Think of the three or four year old who is continuously praised for being "oh so cute". Those kids usually grow up with a superficial understanding of who they are. Unfortunately, in a lot of homes television plays the role of an "electronic babysitter" that shows children all kinds of unhealthy and fattening products. The way commercials present such products makes children think that this has to be something good. Children want to have whatever looks good on TV because this is something that everybody else has. Unfortunately, parents "fall" for "good looking" commercials as well. They go out and buy the products just because the commercial made a good impression on them. Parentsí behavior usually affects young peopleís opinions more then anything.

For children, television represents the real world and gives secret glimpses of teenage and adult behavior. Unhealthy attitudes learned from the media during childhood may be put into action during adolescence, with adverse consequences. Therefore, it is a parentís responsibility to explain to children and teenagers how to pick what is right for them and how to maintain a healthy diet and body. I remember working for an American family few years ago as a babysitter. I noticed how they were raising their daughter Catherine. She was constantly reminded to eat healthy food, exercise and dress well in order to look good. I thought that the little girl would not pay attention to what her parents were forcing her into, but when I saw her mother last week in tears I knew that something was wrong. She told me that Catherine developed an Obsessive Compulsive Disorder due to the fear of not being able to satisfy her family. She is a perfect example of the familyís role in reinforcing the media influence. Catherineís mother was always watching her weight and exercising in front of the TV, showing her little girl that this is what life is all about, what she should do in order to be like her "perfect" mom.

Diet advertisements are another media influence. On television, in magazines and newspapers, we are continually exposed to amazing "before" and "after" body images. It is virtually impossible to attain this look. But most young people watching these ads at home do not realize that. It is also almost impossible to avoid these advertisements, unless you commit yourself to a life without television. These ads are viewed during shows like Dawson's Creek and Melrose Place, which occupy the lives of teenagers.

It is very common for children and adolescents to compare themselves to people in magazines or movies, and this usually makes them feel self-conscious. If you want to compare yourself to others, you should look at the real people around you. They come in different shapes and sizes, and none of them are airbrushed or highlighted.

In todayís society where good looks, presented by media, are equated with success and happiness almost every person has suffered at one point or another from issues of weight and self-image. Unfortunately, family canít always counteract the influences of the mass media. They can just try to tell their children over and over again that it is what is inside that counts. But do they themselves believe in that? Do they give their children a good example?

Malgorzata Wendolowicz
ESL 91
Fall, 1999

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Focus Discipline: Sociology

Topic: In your opinion, of the four agents of socialization discussed in the passage, which one is the most important to the child's development? Provide specific, detailed examples to support your opinion.

Experts say that there are four agents of socialization: Family, School, Peers and the Mass Media. Each of these agents has a different affect on the life of a child. Without these agents human beings wouldnít have understanding of their own race and planet. By socializing humans learn about each other, about their culture, language, tradition and principles.

Each agent influences a childís development a lot. The family is one of the most important influences that tends to provide affection, communication and relationship to the child. Family teaches the child how to behave in the environment and how to socialize with other people. From the time the child is born and grows, he or she has to depend on the family. The family is responsible for taking care of the child and looking out for its welfare. The family has to give the child affection that is important for him or for her because if the child has problems with something, he or she should tell the family. Sometimes the child doesnít have confidence in the family because he or she has bad experiences with his or her family, such as being mistreated or abused or being blamed for family problems. These experiences can make the child take the wrong way and behave badly toward other people. The child may put him or herself in problems or bad things such as drugs and gangs. It happens because the child doesnít have anyone who could tell him or her to change.

However, if the child receives good treatment from the family, his or her behavior should be better and keep him or her out of trouble. For example, my brothers and I have always received affection and good advice from our parents. Our parents usually tell us how we have to behave inside or outside of the house and not to put ourselves in any problems. Sometimes if one of us gets in trouble, my parents try to talk to us and make us understand whatís good and whatís bad for us.

In addition to the family, the peer group is an important influence in a childís development because after the child learns his or her culture, language and tradition from the family, the next step is society. The child must learn how to communicate with other people besides his or her family. Most importantly the child must learn how to socialize with other children who are the same age or older. If a child is quiet and shy, other children might make fun from him or her. A child must have friends to talk to and to play with, otherwise he or she will feel lonely. Besides not having friends and being friendly can also affect the child in adulthood. But the child will have to learn certain lessons in his or her childhood. For example, he or she has to know how to pick his or her friends and to be careful with whom he or she trusts because some children like to pick on other children who have a different country, culture and language.

The child has to behave differently with the peer group because he or she feels that is necessary to make some changes such as how to speak and how to express him or herself because he or she has to feel comfortable toward the group. For example, if a child has to go to a group to do a job he or she has to change his or her behavior because he or she doesnít have to behave the same as at home. But some of the peer group may have bad behavior with the child who has a good behavior and the result of that, the child starts to behave badly with his or her parents or other people.

The third agent is the school, which has a strong influence in childís development too. The school " has direct responsibility for instilling in or teaching the individual information, skills, and values that society considers important for social life". In the school the child learns certain rules that he or she has to follow, such as his or her behavior in the environment and also in certain places.

The last agent is the Mass Media, which has importance in the childís development. The Mass Media can have both good and bad influence on a child. If the child spends a lot of his or her time watching TV programs that are violent, later on he or she may have bad behavior. But if the child watches TV programs that are good for him or her like Sesame Street in which the child learns the letters and how to play, this will be a good influence on behavior.

In brief, of the four agents, the most important is the family which has the most influence on the childís development and it is the family who has more responsibility for educating the child. Also the family knows what things are important for the childís life.

Francisca Solis
ESL91
Fall, 1999

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Focus Discipline: Computer Science

Topic: Do you think that businesses and governments will be able to solve The Year 2000 Problem in time? Give concrete examples, taken from your readings, to support your answer.

The closer to the Year 2000, the more serious the Y2K problem seems to be. Now, as the new millenium approaches many people wonder if two months will be enough to be fully recovered from the Y2K Bug.

The Y2K problem was caused because the programmers creating their programs wanted to increase their efficiency by using the smallest possible codes. This caused them to reduce the numbers of the date from eight to six and to cut the two first digits of the year. After this "improvement" computers are not able to recognize the dates with numbers larger than 99. Since then, computers recognize years as two not four digits. It means that they canít see the difference between, for example, the year 1999 and 1899.

All those programmers who did this knew about the future problem, but many of them didnít expect their programs to be used until the Year 2000. Probably the wrong expectation about the future didnít let them to think about their mistake.

Many countries, especially governments and businesses are scared when it was time to begin facing the problem. Now, if they do not work on fixing the problem their computers will probably shut down. We all know that today computers control many aspects of our lives. Our credit cards, accounts, even financial aids can suffer on January 1.

Not all businesses have already taken care of the problem. More than five million small businesses are still at risk and about 80 percent of them donít plan to take any action to fix the Y2K related problem before the Year 2000.

It will have a big impact on all of us if the government does not solve the Millenium Bug in time. Now it will cost the government a lot to overcome the problem. But many countries donít want to spend money on something that is invisible. They think that the more economic way is to fix the problems after the consequences will be visible, than spend huge amounts of money before the problems persist. However, unsolved problems can lead to serious, international economic disruptions.

There are already many myths concerning the Y2K problem. Some people even think that everything electronic will stop working properly, even though the scientists deny that fact to be the truth.

The Y2K problem can even bring more serious complications, that force us to worry about our safety. Some of us think that the most harmful problem will be with aviation. For those who are afraid of flying now, the problem can seem to be even more scary. There are still many airlines that are not showing readiness for the Year 2000, but the officials declare that air travel will be as safe as it is now.

The programmers working on the problem know it very well, but they still have difficulty finding all places where the problem can occur. The two-digit date codes had been used for many years and now finding all of the systems using it is almost impossible.

Many of us still donít believe the officials who say that they are prepared for the new millenium, because we think that they just donít want to spread bad news. Anyway, we should be ready for surprises, knowing that not too much time remains, and expect some malfunctions during the first weeks of January.

Radek Turowski
ESL 91 D01B
Fall, 1999

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Focus Discipline: Business

Topic: Choose one print and one television advertisement for (a) a wristwatch and (b) an automobile. In a well-organized essay, compare and contrast the effectiveness of the print versus the visual advertisement for the wristwatch versus the automobile. Was each advertising medium equally effective for both products? Why? Why Not? Support your statements with concrete examples.

Probably everybody is familiar with Cindy Crawford's photo with the Omega watch and Mercedes-Benz' TV ad which shows the history of this famous German car. Both the print and TV advertisements are done very professionally by using two different media of persuasion and both seem very effective in delivering their main ideas. It is fair to say that the two ads have successfully achieved their final objectives because they convey the necessary information in an appealing and convincing way.

The print ad mainly relies on Cindy Crawford's celebrity status, which conveys beauty and style. It is an appropriate means of advertisement because watches are relatively small objects, which generally require people to look at them closely in order to see the important details of them. The text description of the Omega watch that is right under the picture provides useful information about the quartz mechanism, the automatic date calendar and the gold ornaments. These features of the Omega could be presented pretty efficiently on television as well provided the camera takes a close look at all small visual details and a voice reads the characteristics of the Swiss product. The only problem with that would be the fact that customers often need to stare for a long time at the watches they are interested in. This is because by doing so they could analyze closely all minor details. TV ads cannot offer this convenience because they are limited by time.

Car advertising, however, is different. Access to television is an absolute prerequisite for a successful campaign. Mercedes-Benz proves this unwritten rule in its ad, which focuses on the history of its models from the start of the company through today. There, great psychological effects are achieved by showing famous political and entertainment figures driving and walking out of the car model from that particular time period. Furthermore, the sound of German music emphasizes the tradition in making these vehicles. The last, but not the least, visual persuasion in the benefits of the Mercedes is accomplished through a series of shots of the car from different angles and in various weather conditions. It would be impossible to present all these features in a two-dimensional print and they would not have the same visual and psychological impact on people.

Although advertisers use both print and TV ads for promoting watches and cars, they are not interchangeable. Selecting the right one for each product is a complex decision because one has to take into consideration many factors: objectives, target market and most importantly how to present the product's features in the most appealing manner. Omega and Mercedes-Benz' campaigns serve as good examples of how the two different media of advertising could be used most efficiently.

Teodora Kostova
ESL 91
Fall, 1999


Focus Discipline: Business

Topic: Describe a new product that you have developed, identify the target market for this new product, and then explain how you would market this new product. Be sure to provide detailed information on how you would deal with considerations such as merchandising and consumer needs.

"Teodore Kosto"
737 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10021
Tel. (212) 777-2714

Although there are many exclusive stores in Manhattan, the idea of creating a boutique that could successfully compete with the top brands in the fashion industry is still quite appealing. As an entrepreneur, I would focus on developing my own fashion line, which will target a very selected male clientele with exquisite taste. In order to accomplish this I will choose Madison Avenue as an appropriate location for my store. This way it will attract the desired clients with its unique exterior and interior design.

My fashion line will consist of trendy ready-to-wear business suits, shirts, pants and accessories that will change the way business people dress. This project will be accomplished by selecting a group of well skilled designers and tailors who will transform my ideas into stylish clothes. In addition, I will order very fine fabrics from different countries and do the actual sewing in Italy. Although, this will raise the costs of production, it is very important to make the right impression on the group of men I will concentrate on. The line will be named "Teodore Kosto", and not "Teodora Kostova", in order to eliminate the effect of the East European sounding of my name. Naturally, the prices will be relatively high. My basic target market will be professionals who make $300k+ a year and are willing to pay more for quality goods. We all know that not all men are as big spenders as women, but the ones I will go after are the highly paid corporate executives, the independently wealthy individuals and the ones in show business. These men tend to be willing to pay extra for better quality and a good brand name. Thatís why creating a brand awareness will be crucial. I intend to advertise in magazines like GQ, Vogue; and host social receptions to promote my fashion line.

Another important factor to consider will be the storeís location. It is only natural to have it on Madison Avenue where most of the rich Manhattan elite shop. Although rent costs there are extremely high, it is very important to have a presence on that particular avenue in order to maintain the image of exclusivity.

The exterior and interior design of the store will also be essential to the success of my idea. I plan to decorate it in an abstractive and surprising way. Just imagine walking down Madison Avenue, looking in the front window and seeing moving mannequins. In order to satisfy your curiosity you get closer and see that they are actually live people. Furthermore, they will be gorgeous girls dressed in male suits, shoes, hats and accessories doing different activities. One would sit in an expensive leather chair reading a magazine, while another would play mini golf and drink a fresh juice. The reason behind this idea is that men are attracted to women and from my experience I could say that women tend to bring more male customers and make them potential buyers. In addition, refreshments and snacks will be served which will differentiate the business from the other expensive stores on Madison Avenue.

It is clear that the realization of this idea of mine will require a lot of time, effort and money. However, I have the determination to create a place different from all other menís fashion stores. Apart from the classic and contemporary clothes the store will offer an extraordinary service and an unusual décor which will make a unique shopping experience.

Teodora Kostova
ESL 91
Fall,1999

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Focus Discipline: Psychology

Topic: The reading states that cultural influences play a role in the development of eating disorders. You have learned about four critical agents of socialization: the family, the school, the peer group, and the mass media. The reading describes the influence of the mass media in encouraging women to pursue the cultural idea of beauty. In your essay, you should discuss how the family, the school, and/or the peer group can either reinforce or counteract the influences of the mass media with regard to weight and self-image. Provide specific examples drawn from your personal experiences to support your position.

Socialization is an important process that we cannot lack in our development. Of course, not everything we learn through socialization has positive results. Sometimes, it will have negative results. There are four critical agents of socialization: the family, the school, the peer group and the mass media.

Referring to the book Interdisciplinary English written by Loretta F. Kasper, the article "Socialization of Eating Disorders," it said: "Slim bodies are considered beautiful and worthy; overweight bodies are not only unhealthy, but are regarded as offensive and disgusting. The Mass Media is greatly responsible for spreading the message of "thin is in" to women. From television to magazines, media material directed at women is more concerned with their weight. Many advertisements and articles are dealing with diet food body shape, so, many women especially young women want to lose weight." Because of this, many women don't have balanced nutrition. The two impossible disorders they get are anorexia and bulimia.

Anorexia is a serious eating disorder in which a person restricts eating to the point of emaciation and possible starvation. Most victims are high-achieving females in early puberty or early adulthood. Bulimia is an eating disorder in which the person, usually female, engages repeatedly in episodes of binge eating followed by purging through induced vomiting or use of laxatives.

During the 20th Century, a slim body is a symbol of beauty for women. That's why many women are trying to lose weight to fit into the society. Actually, not all of the people are overweight, but they perceive themselves as overweight. Research shows that over 60 percent of young women believe that they are overweight; actually, only 2 percent are. However, this concept makes it very easy for many women to get an eating disorder.

In addition, television advertisements, magazines or articles remind women to keep fit or control weight. Everything surrounding them is likely to enforce them to lose weight. Sometimes, they don't want to, but it seems like they have to. While diet and weight control are important to consider for maintaining good health, it can be dangerous and unhealthy for females who do not need to lose weight. They diet to try to fit into the society and so, their health becomes weak and they become underweight.

I remember when I was fourteen years old. I was trying to lose weight because everybody around me was too thin or slim. It really affected my feeling at that time. Actually, I was not fat at that age, but after I compared myself with my friends, it seemed like I was overweight. Every day when I turned on the television, there were a lot of advertisements telling me that I should lose weight.

The advertisements use a lot of underweight models to sell or promote their products. They give a lot of messages to women, especially young women, that a slim body is important. Some of the advertisements will teach you how to lose weight. Not only do TV advertisements focus on weight control, but others like magazines focus on it too. Sometimes, I hate to turn on the television or look at the magazine because I don't want to hear about losing weight anymore. Unfortunately, I cannot control it even though I try very hard to avoid these messages because this society still has a lot of people who like to talk about it, especially my friends.

As a result, I try to lose weight. I stop eating breakfast and some high calories. Also, I'm eating something to help me lose weight quickly, but it has a negative result after you stop eating it. For instance, you are 135 pounds when you eat it. During that time, you really can lose maybe 15 pounds, but after you stop eating it for a short time, your weight will increase to 140 or more. It looks terrible and unhealthy. I really don't think it is a good idea for me to lose weight. Sometimes, when I look back on what I did before, I feel I am crazy. But however, I think it is a good experience to remind me not to do it again.

I understand most women like to have a perfect body shape especially in this century. A slim body represents success and is more attractive to men, but we shouldn't forget that without good health, you could not do anything. We need to stand up and have our own concept to control our life. We must make a decision about what is good or not good for us. Not everything from the society is negative, but we must try to use our mind to think before making a decision. A slim body is a good example for us, but having good health is more important than anything.

Mui, Kit Ying (Mary)
ESL 91
Fall, 1999

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Focus Discipline: Environmental Science

Topic: In a final research project, bring together all of the information you have gathered to discuss the effects of a changing climate on government policy. Your project should answer the following questions: What are the specific effects of climate changes on government policy? What can be done by governments to deal with problems caused by climate? What needs to be done by government in the future in light of a continually changing climate?

"About 150 years ago, the earth's atmosphere had remained unchanged for several thousand years. Since the mid-1900's, people's actions have been changing the heat ability of the atmosphere. Scientists who study the earth's atmosphere and climate have been talking about the greenhouse effect and finally about "global warming".

Changes in climate have an effect on the Earth's landforms. The soils of regions also depend on climate. Sea level rise presents a serious threat to some coastal regions in the different parts of the world.

Politicians, who for years have ignored the warnings of scientists and environmental protection movements, are becoming alarmed. They are announcing and making decisions on an international scale. A conference on the environment took place in Stockholm in 1972. The first world conference on climate gathered the scientists almost from all of the world in Geneva in 1979. During these meetings, the scientific world began to talk seriously to the political world. In 1988, in order to protect the stratospheric ozone layer, 120 countries agreed to limit their use of CFCs and signed the Montreal Convention. In 1989, several heads of state and heads of government of the industrialized nations signed the Hague Appeal to turn public opinion to threats to the environment. Government authorities realized that climatic change is one of the questions on which the planet's future depends. The United States and Sweden had already prohibited the use of CFCs in aerosol cans towards the end of the 1980s; Germany has announced that it will have reduced its use by 95%.

The Clinton administration believes that scientists stand against devastating effects. Three years ago U.S. joined the international community in signing the historic Framework Convention on Climate Change. It was the beginning of a process to design a kind of insurance policy. It was a treaty that called on all nations to work together in an effort to protect the global environment. The industrialized countries were urged to take the lead by stabilizing greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2000.

The International community has a serious problem, which has direct relation to global climate change. This is the problem of ozone depletion. Ten years ago the nations of the world came together in Montreal to take wise steps toward protecting the Earth's stratospheric ozone layer. These efforts were expanded in the scientific discovery- a hole in the ozone layer above Antarctica, which was the size of the North American continent.

After that discovery was confirmed the world's political system began to sign any agreement much easier than before. Copenhagen Agreement was signed in 1990. Nations have agreed on the nature of the climate change threat, and we have taken the first initial steps to destroy that threat. All the nations of the world will need to work together to develop our steps after the year 2000. So we must achieve a new aim for the future.

The great poet William Butler Yeats wrote, "I have spread my dreams under your feet. Tread softly because you tread on my dreams". Unless we tread softly, our dreams for the future will be nothing but dreams. Let us make sure that our next steps are the right ones."

Galina Sapson
ESL 91
Spring, 1998

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