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” →
Jordan Shanks (Friendlyjordies) recently released a video about AUKUS which was generally quite agreeable. He agreed with Keating’s assessment of the AUKUS deal (which was fiery and correct) and the media infatuation with it (which was even more fiery and correct). He took shots at the think tank “experts” of ASPI and other NGOs, including an amusing and mildly surprising jab at the Israeli lobby. He even called out people within the Labor Party itself who in various ways sell out to the allure of Empire.
But then he fell back on some lacklustre arguments to sort of just, sweep it aside with a nationalist flair.
Continue reading “Jordies’ Lacklustre Defence of Labor’s AUKUS Position” →
I’ve read the prologue and first chapter of the book This Is How They Tell Me The World Ends: The Cyber Weapons Arms Race, written by Nicole Perlroth of the New York Times. It seemed quite interesting, the blurb talking about zero-day bugs and the global market of hackers and intelligence agencies working to create and defend against them. I hope I’m wrong, perhaps the rest of the book will change my impression, but so far the book very much takes sides through omission and framing.
Continue reading “First Impression of A NYT Journalist’s Book” →
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” →
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” →
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 essay was written for for my Australian Foreign Policy unit in response to the following question:
How should we make sense of Australia’s approach to the arrival of asylum seekers by boat?
I suggest that we can only understand Australia’s refugee policies by viewing it as a defence of the white nation-state’s sovereignty. This attempt to legitimise white sovereignty over borders runs in tandem with the denial of Indigenous sovereignty, which is also perceived as a threat to the legitimacy of the white nation-state. In both cases, vulnerable groups are marginalised, demonised, and dehumanised by the policies of successive Australian governments. References are provided at the bottom.
Continue reading “Border Protection as a Defence of White Sovereignty” →
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)” →