“Do Tom’s Shoes Really Help People?”- Kiera Butler
It seems counterintuitive that organizations like “Toms Shoes” and others try to help impoverished countries by having a “buy one, give one” event. Companies use this method to make people feel good about splurging and buying something more expensive, but despite the apparent benefit of sending food or clothing to countries that may seem to need them, most of those countries don’t need them at all.
For example, in Ethiopia, where some of the shoes go, children need to have shoes to go to school. However, students get the shoes from the organizations in school. This means that only students who already have shoes get a pair of shoes from these organizations.
The problems presented by these organizations extends even into the marketplace. When tsunami hit Indonesia in 2006, donations came in from different organizations to the locations affected. Instead of actually helping the locals, they created an excess of food. Farmers inland experienced competition and lost out on profit due to the free rice that people were taking instead. After a while, treatment like this from these organizations and volunteers can spoil those helped, and create a reliance on them instead of those countries governments.
Thankfully, some organizations are avoiding these issues by working alongside communities. Some companies are also donating things that children and people in impoverish communities actually need like glasses and meals to impoverished children. It’s tough to figure out ways that buy-one-give-one companies can donate to communities effectively, but at least they’re raising awareness.
“Do Multivitamins Really Work?”- Kiera Butler
It seems counterintuitive that people take multivitamins to stay healthy, when in actuality the benefits are almost nonexistent. In some cases, it can even be dangerous. In most cases, people in first world countries get the right amount of nutrition from the food they eat during the day, making multivitamins superfluous.
Many manufacturers claim that multivitamins can help prevent chronic illnesses, but similar studies done on postmenopausal women in 2009 and 2011 yielded results that said it had no effect at all. Another often cited study states that people who take vitamins are actually more likely than people who don’t take vitamins to reach their daily nutritional goals from the food they eat anyway.
In some cases, multivitamins can even have some harmful effects. Several studies even found that excessive folic acid intake with lesions that can lead to colorectal cancers. The elderly become more at risk for heart disease since the extra iron they get from the vitamin isn’t needed in their system. Pregnant women even increase their risk of birth defects if they’re not careful about what kind of multivitamins they take.
Not all companies are honest with their statements, either. a recent analysis found that 60 common multivitamins had misleading information on their bottles. Federal health officials recommend that kids who are picky eaters and people with anorexia take multivitamins, but many nutritionists also recommend that people take multivitamins- even if they don’t need them. My best recommendation is to just save money by not buying multivitamins all together.
“The Cruelest Show On Earth”- Deborah Nelson
It seems counterintuitive that a circus act is titled “The Greatest Show on Earth.” Elephants are historically one of everyone’s favorite acts, as they are intelligent animals that are capable of performing stupendous feats. However, they require a lot of care. Care that a lot of circus groups are not adequately providing.
Federal regulations state that sick elephants have to be checked by a veterinarian and then given the okay before performing again. In the case talked about by Deborah Nelson, an Elephant named Kenny was mistreated in this way. He had been showing signs of ailment for a couple days prior, and had not been properly seen by a veterinarian by the time it was time for him to perform. Throughout the course of the day, he developed diarrhea, bleeding, and weakness in his legs. Only after a circus veterinarian saw him that afternoon was he dismissed from the evening show- or at least that would have been the case. Ringling Bros overruled him Kenny was forced to perform a third time, but didn’t do any stunts.
The story goes from bad to worse for Kenny, as the bleeding continued after the show. After being given water and being shackled to his stall, he was found dead hardly two hours later by a night attendant. Elephants are beautiful and intelligent creatures that deserve just as much respect and positive treatment as any human performer or any living being, really.