Saturday, February 02, 2008

Shibaura Institute of Technology Global Issues 2 Assignment 2

The environment was one of the topics studied this year in the Global Issues 2 class at Shibaura Institute of Technology. Students read articles about the dangers of overfishing, fur trapping, animal and plant extinction, and garbage dumps. Following this the students were given a reading assignment. They were asked to choose between the two tasks, one based on an article about whaling in Japan, the other about the Tokyo Governor's plans to make Tokyo a greener city . Most of the students were unable to write a summary of the article they chose. One strategy they used was editing the actual article, cutting out the details and leaving in the main points. Clearly these students needed instruction on summary writing. The assignments are below, followed by the students' reports.

Option 1: Whaling

A Japanese school lunch including whale meat. Click the photo to see the large size. Photo by jmurawski

According to the BBC (
“Tokyo argues that whaling is an ancient Japanese tradition, and has pushed unsuccessfully at the International Whaling Commission to reverse the 1986 moratorium on commercial whaling. Environmentalists say Japan's research programme is a pretext (口実) for keeping the whaling industry alive.”

What do you think? Copy and paste the link above into your web browser. Read the BBC article. Do the following tasks:

1. Write a 50-word summary of the article. Be sure to include all the main points.
2. Write a 100-word paragraph explaining your position on the whale hunt.

Shingo's Report

I agree with the environmentalists who oppose Japanese whale hunting because I don’t know how Japan does scientific research on whales. I think that Japan doesn’t research whales earnestly. So, I think for Japan whale hunting is a business and not scientific research. If Japan doesn’t research whales actually, hunted whales are wasted. Another reason, I think Japanese whale hunting should be stopped is that that Japanese don’t eat whales. I have not eaten whales since I was born. I think most of Japanese people have not eaten whales. I think Japan should stop whale hunting and protect whales.

Yoshiaki's Report

I think if we decrease the number of whales, the whale hunt is not a bad thing. I think the number of whales killed in the Japanese whale hunt is very small despite foreign countries’ criticism.
The biggest cause of the decrease in whales was the indiscriminate fishing in order to make whales into fuel by Europe and America. I think if the present number of whales killed in the Japanese hunt doesn’t increase, the number of whales won’t be reduced. I don’t understand why people say “ Don’t hunt whales.”

Dan's Report

I have not eaten whale’s meat. So, I don’t know how delicious whale’s meat is. Also, I don’t know if whales are really near extinction. If that is true, whale hunting is not good but if it is not true whale hunting is not bad. Eating another animal is natural behavior. To live, meat-eating animals need another animal’s meat. It is a natural. So, no one should stop animal hunting. I wonder why Greenpeace wants to stop whale hunting. If the reason is that hunting whales isn’t good for whales, I think that is poor thinking.

Option 2: Greening Tokyo

A Tokyo municipal building's rooftop garden. Click to see large size.
Photo by

According to the policy speech by the Governor of Tokyo, Shintaro Ishihara, at the First Regular Session of the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly, 2007 (
“If one phrase were to describe Tokyo in ten years it would be, ‘Tokyo: a comfortable metropolis of clear skies and greenery.’ ”

What do you think? Copy and paste the link above into your web browser. Read the Tokyo Metropolitan Government article. Do the following tasks:
1. Write a 50-word summary of the article. Be sure to include all the main points.
2. Write a 100-word paragraph explaining your position on the policy.

Seiya's Report

1. Summary of the article

This article is about a policy speech of the Governor of Tokyo, Shintaro Ishihara. He said he hopes to change Tokyo so that it is called the cleanest, and most vital city. He said Tokyo lacks green spaces, waterfront areas, road development, speedy traffic. He also said Tokyo is facing the environmental problems now. In his speech, he suggested some policies to solve these problems.

2. My opinion

To tell the truth, I don’t like him because things he does are too sudden, and selfish. But this time, I’m for his policies because they are very concrete and agreeable. Tokyo is one of the most advanced places in the world. But the air in Tokyo is stagnated and hot. Many vehicles emit dirty gases and make noises. I think Tokyo must look itself over again. In his speech, he wants to retain the scenery of the Edo period. I think we are should only look forward. So I’m for his policies which promote the speed of vehicles and make more green spaces very efficiently. I think his policies consider the present condition of Tokyo. They costs numerous amounts of money, but I believe they make us happy and make Tokyo a beautiful city.

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