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” →
A lot of my recent pieces have been rather brief (end note: it went longer than expected), mostly because I am heavily procrastinating writing university assessments that I could fairly easily complete in a solid day of work – but alas I’m an idiot rationalising writing about entirely unrelated topics by keeping it short. Here I’m bouncing off a few different conversations, online and real life, I’ve had about minorities – specifically queer people – being represented in media. Suffice to say there is nothing wrong with it, and you think there is then it isn’t them who are the problem.
Continue reading “A Brief Rant on Minorities in Media” →
I don’t live in the US, but perhaps I should have a disclaimer on the off chance any 3 or 4 letter agencies come snooping for keywords: I have written previously about my anarchic approach to violence as a pacifist, and that piece was even cited by the International Centre for Counter-Terrorism as a point of opposition to violence. Leave me alone.
So, with that noted, bouncing off a conversation that took place in a university seminar I was at today, let’s talk about ecoterrorism.
Continue reading “A Brief Word on Climate Action and Ecoterrorism” →
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” →
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” →
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” →
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“ →
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” →
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?” →