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” →
The following piece is an essay written for my Democratic Politics unit at university. What’s a political science or communications/journalism course without… yet another piece on misinformation on the internet. So I made a point of bashing the media too, you’re welcome! Reference list at the end.
Mis- and disinformation, fake news, propaganda – these are all terms that have recently been rejuvenated in public discourse over the past decade, particularly in the wake of the election campaign (and subsequent electoral victory) of Donald Trump in the United States in 2016. They often have different meanings for different people, can have significant overlap, and (most importantly) are able to be spread by anyone whether they are aware of it or not. The aim of this essay is to compare the prevalence and influence this influx of (mis)information has had on the democratic processes and systems in the United States and Australia, and how their respective systems and institutions have influenced the dissemination of it in return.
Continue reading “Mis- and Disinformation in Australia and the United States: A Comparison” →
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” →
Welcome to part 3 of chronological list of why I can’t form an emotional connection with other human beings – see part 1 and/or part 2. Here I picked up the rest of the First Knowledges series and binged those in between various other works for university essays.
Continue reading “My 2022 Reading List Part 3” →
This is part 2 of my 2022 reading list – part 1 can be found here. It is here the focus of my reading (for the most part) was on Australian foreign policy and Indigenous politics as they were some of the units I took at university in first semester. Again, it is in the order that I finished reading them, so there are some odd jumps as I read multiple books at once.
Continue reading “My 2022 Reading List – Part 2” →
It’s that time of year again where I make note of how little I have written, but at least I’ve made up for it by reading more. Particularly, reading books on topics to ensure that what I did write (mostly university essays) was as polished as possible – and given my grades, for the most part, were good this year, it paid off. So like previous years (linked below), here is the first part of my 2022 reading list. As usual, it is in the order that I completed reading them – so enjoy the jumps between topics.
Continue reading “My 2022 Reading List – Part 1” →
Today I was able to attend and participate in the National Tertiary Education Union’s strike action at the University of Queensland, where I am currently a student. It is the first of what will hopefully be many such actions taken both at UQ’s St Lucia campus and across other universities in Queensland and other states, with a clear message and clear demands – secure work, a real pay rise, and more control.
Continue reading “The NTEU Starts “Striketember” Industrial Action at UQ“ →
The following collection of miniature essays is partially random in that they are answers to short answer exam questions I wrote this week for university. Given the stunted word limit of 330 words, I thought I’d elaborate on some points, and add thoughts and content I couldn’t include in the assessment. The particular unit this was for is Gender and Global Politics, a political science unit from the perspective of those much derided, but incredibly useful and fascinating, gender studies. As a straight cis man, studying such topics and applying a feminist lens to global politics is insightful, in much the same way studying Indigenous politics last semester was as a white person.
Each section will start with the question, followed by the exam response then any additional points at the end with references.
Continue reading “Random Writings on Gender“ →
I had someone reach out to me recently under the pretext of asking a few questions about science and given they perceived me, from my online posts, to be intelligent. Putting aside the fact my scientific knowledge is more that of a keen hobbyist, it pretty quickly became clear the person in question wasn’t just asking questions they were confused about – they were on a personal crusade against what they believed was a conspiracy from the top, and they didn’t get how I, someone “against the grain” so to speak, could accept the lies we had apparently been fed. This is my rather rambling thoughts on the matter.
Continue reading “On Accepting the Consensus View of Science” →
There is much debate about whether conservatism is a fully fledged ideology or merely disposition, a way of looking at the world that looks to the past to inform the present and carefully guide the future. This is the argument, always presented as a question in textbooks or other material on conservatism but is never answered, and it is adopted by conservatives themselves to justify or explain their positions on political, cultural and social arenas. I think there is merit to the disposition argument, but more often than not it is used as a shield against genuine criticism.
Continue reading “Conservatism As a Disposition and a Conservative Anarchism” →