Good Sunday to you! My Offspring are threatening to break down the door so I’m just going to dispense with lengthy introductions and leave you with some weekend reading:
This article by Britney Maynard details her very methodical and logical argument about why she is choosing assisted suicide. One of the main points I think it raises is quality of life over quantity. We’re often led to believe that when we become sick, we should choose whatever medical procedures and treatment we can, even if those treatments and procedures will drastically impact our our enjoyment of the time we have left. Sometimes, even though it’s clear the treatment isn’t going to cure the disease, there is pressure from everywhere—society and the medical profession both—to continue with it regardless. As sad as it is that Maynard is dying from cancer, it’s uplifting to read how she’s taking control of her life in this way.
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With Four Offspring who seem to grow every time I look away, I’m often struck by the difficulty to buy clothing which will fit into our budget while avoiding those made in factories with terrible working and pay conditions. Our push in developed nations to purchase ever cheaper goods, coupled with a corporate desire to constantly improve profits means there are few options available, however. Either we buy cheap clothing, which quality is also poor, or we spend more money on better made clothing (which is also not a guarantee that the conditions of those who made it are any better than those making the cheaper alternative). The author in this essay advocates action in the form of holding the companies accountable, which I think is much more effective than simply boycotting the clothing labels.
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Some months ago, there was a case of twin babies born to a surrogate mother in Thailand, where one of the babies was taken home by the Australian parents, but the other baby (a boy, with Down Syndrome) was left in Thailand, because the parents did not want the baby. Now it appears that this was not an isolated incident. In this new case, twins were born to an Indian surrogate mother, and the Australian couple only wanted one of the babies. What’s perhaps more disturbing is not only that there appears to have been Australian government involvement in pressuring the consulate to allow the couple to only take the one child, but that money may have changed hands in so that relatives would take the other one. Our federal government’s position on this is that each Australian state has its own surrogacy laws. I would argue that the existence of such incidents means that current surrogacy laws are not working terribly well.
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One of the biggest difficulties when trying to spur governments into action on environmental issues is to ensure that such problems seem as important as any other threat. Scientists are trying to promote the acidification of the ocean in terms of the cost to the economy. The trouble is that the cost is still spread over several more decades, and the pressing immediacy of international conflicts, for example, tend to overshadow the need for action. I’m not sure how we can change this. It’s painfully obvious that we need to change our attitude to the environment, but as our ridiculously slow international reaction to the most recent ebola outbreak shows, we are likely to continue to ignore anything unless it appears to pose an imminent threat to the developed world. Or to oil.