The following piece is an essay written for my Environmental Politics unit. Rather than staying safe with a topic like climate change, I decided to pick something I’d never properly looked into to research from scratch. Perhaps a mistake for this month’s sanity quota, but I genuinely enjoyed it, there are many references below, and it gave me a new reason to believe we’re irredeemably screwed as a species – nice!
Plastic pollution, along with greenhouse gas emissions and loss of biodiversity, has quickly become one of the largest anthropogenic threats to environmental health and stability, including that of human health. According to a European plastics industry body, Plastics Europe, the arguably conservative estimate is that over 390 metric tonnes of plastic was produced globally in 2021 alone, an over 20 metric tonne increase on 2020 when production “stagnated” due to COVID-19 (Plastics Europe, 2022). Despite the report’s positive outlook, it is projected this will double by 2040, with production and waste to both far exceed 1 billion tonnes by 2060 (Hood, 2022).
This essay will begin by exploring just how far spread plastic pollution – particularly micro- and nano-plastics (referred to just as microplastics from here) – is and the effects that has had and will have on land and marine ecosystems. While a lot has been said about plastic pollution in the oceans, most of it originates beyond that, and the long-term effects of microplastics in nature and in human health have only recently become a topic of serious discussion. A brief history of other environmental movements will be given to provide some possible pathways that could be taken. Following that, a few solutions and initiatives will be examined, including the UN Treaty on Plastic Pollution that began negotiations after a resolution for it passed in March of 2022. Some scepticism is warranted regarding the ability (and desire) of state and corporate actors to genuinely commit to a real shift from plastics, which will end the discussion with a brief mention of future possibilities.
Continue reading “Plastic World: The Impacts and Possible Solutions to Global Warming’s Sibling Crisis” →
It’s not often I find myself in agreement with something Paul Keating has said or done – in fact, I’ve written on a few occasions about some of the rather wretched things he is responsible for. His admiration for Suharto, his work heralding neoliberalism to Australia as Treasurer and Prime Minister, and the introduction of mandatory detention for refugees are a few off the top of my head. But on his recent AUKUS statements, I agree. It is, ironically, a critique of Labor from the left, after all…
Continue reading “Keating Is Right About AUKUS” →
Fourth part of my 2022 reading list, going into the tail end of the university semester and onto other, not formal study related books. As with the Pilger book in a previous post, there are some books in this part that are written by journalists and, for the most part, it is why I think some of the best journalism can be considered the “history of the present”, people whose jobs it is to find sources, record information, and – taking in mind their own social and cultural upbringing and lens – interpreting it.
Continue reading “My 2022 Reading List – Part 4” →
The following is an essay (of unknown quality, I don’t know) written for a university course on gender and politics.
Representation has become an extremely important facet of modern liberal democracies. From the political sphere to entertainment media and the workforce, great effort has been exerted from countless groups to ensure not just that diversity becomes the norm, but that it is visible and seen as a strength that benefits everyone. In a representative democracy, this diversity of people is meant to reflect not only the demographics of a particular nation, but bring the views, experiences, and perspectives of them to the public eye for consideration. Women, who make approximately half the global population, are one such group that has fought for centuries to achieve equal standing with men who have held the reins of power in almost all institutions of all societies in history, with few exceptions.
Continue reading “Women’s Liberation Beyond the Limitations of the State” →
This is the second of two university pieces, this one responding to a question on what future challenges there are in the foreign policy space in Australia. I focussed on the climate crisis, an international issue that Australia could become a global leader in, not just for the obvious environmental reasons, but in support and solidarity with our geographic neighbours in Asia and the Pacific regions. Regional aid, climate refugees, and the urgent transition to a renewables revolution are some of the key challenges we are bound to face – and Australia is not ready.
Continue reading “What Are the Key Future Challenges Facing Australian Foreign Policy?” →
For a university assessment, we had 48 hours to write two ~1000 word essays responding to questions from a list of 12. This first piece was in response to a question asking what the term “national interest” meant with regards to foreign policy. It briefly outlines Australia’s history with Timor-Leste, concluding that national interest has more to do with with the political and commercial interests of Canberra. This is in contrast to the public interest, international human rights interests, and the interests of the Timorese people.
Continue reading “What Is the ‘National Interest’ When it Comes to Foreign Policy?” →
This is part 3 of my 2021 reading list, following on from parts 1 and 2, and the final one reaching a total of thirty books for the year. Given that last year I only read twelve, I would call that quite an improvement, and I somehow doubt I’ll read quite as many in the coming year, fingers crossed. Part 1 was fairly good, part 2 was hit and miss, but the last ten books I read this year were all great reads that I’d recommend, for the most part. Enjoy!
Continue reading “2021 Reading List (Part 3)” →
This is part 2 of my reading list for this year, continuing in order of when they were read following part 1 HERE.
Continue reading “2021 Reading List (Part 2)” →
I have not written anything for a while, having gone from taking a short break at the wind down of university and then straight back into work, and thought that I should get a head start on the yearly reading list review. I hope to add another one or two by year’s end, but I am quite happy with the amount I’ve managed to get through this year. List will be in the order I read them with comments looking back over them, and with a few exceptions I would recommend most of them. Also keep in mind the earlier in the year it was the less precise details I’m going to remember about the book, so bear with that.
Continue reading “2021 Reading List (Part 1)” →
This essay was written for one of my political science units at UQ. It is a response to the question of whether Australia’s major parties enhance or damage our political system. While (hopefully) sticking to the criteria and constraints of the assessment, I have argued the latter. A full reference list is at the end. Enjoy.
Australia’s political system has been dominated by two major contenders dating back to 1909, between the Australian Labor Party (ALP) and what is now the Coalition parties (the Liberal Party of Australia (LPA), the National Party, and, in Queensland, the Liberal National Party (LNP)). While the latter has gone through several iterations and name changes, these two blocs have maintained power between themselves with only tentative challenge from minor parties and Independents in recent years. (Kefford et al 2018). It is the purpose of this article to explore some of the key issues such a restrained system has and the damage it has had on Australian politics and policy.
Continue reading “The Monopoly of Australia’s Major Parties and Political Disenfranchisement” →