It’s a long weekend here in Western Australia (Labour Day), and First Offspring is also celebrating his birthday, which means that we’ll have some of his friends over for birthday tea later today. In the meantime, I’ll be doing some last-minute cleaning, and drinking a lot of tea… we woke up quite early, as you can imagine.
Summer seems to be finally over, thank goodness, and we’ve been having rain interspersed with sunshine, and the plants and animals (human and non-human) are loving it. So with that, I’ll leave you to enjoy your Sunday, and the links!
I realise that some might dismiss the correlation between the increase in natural disasters and climate change over the last several decades, but just hoping that things will improve on their own seems to be a highly ineffectual and naïve response. I would love for developed nations to take more interest in the fact that people are losing lives, homes and livelihoods from these disasters. But given that we always seem to be able to disregard the suffering of those who are different from us, then at the very least, we should care about the economics. Not only is it costly for the global community to support those affected by such disasters, but these weather events will ultimately also lead to a rise in the number of refugees, and then it really will become ‘our problem’. We will need to find ways to integrate many millions more into our countries. Can our societies or our infrastructure stand up to that? Wouldn’t it be better if we could affect change before it came to this?
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Recently I sent an email in which I wrote to the recipient that I’d attached a document. As I went to send it, Google told me that I’d mentioned I was attaching a document in the email body, but I’d not done it. Was I sure I wanted to send the email without the attachment? And I said, thank you Google, I did indeed forget, and it was kind of you to remind me. That’s helpful. But broad sweeping data retention? I don’t believe this is helpful. It’s a difficult balance, to ensure the privacy of the population while making certain that those people who would threaten the wellbeing of the population are unable to do so. According to our own politicians, the only way to ensure that we are safe is to record whom we email, text or speak to and what websites we visit. I’m not convinced. I don’t like the idea of my internet browsing history being held for two years at a time. Can the government guarantee that the data will be safe? Can they guarantee that holding all this data will make us safer? This article demonstrates just how much one can infer from metadata. It feels very Big-Brotheresque.
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When I first became vegetarian, it was mostly for environmental reasons. I’d read Diet for A Small Planet and was generally well into being a hippie, so the whole idea of eating green and shunning meat suited me just fine. But as this article points out, it’s not that simple. It rarely is, is it? For us to actually do something about climate change, we are going to need to change our lifestyle in a much bigger way.
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There is a trend of taking high school students (especially those from very privileged backgrounds) on overseas trips to help out in orphanages in developing countries. But again, like climate change, there is no sweeping one-size-fits-all solution. And there’s evidence that it actually splits families apart, rather than helping them. It’s a shame because I’m sure those who organise and go on these trips are doing it for the right reasons, but in effect, it’s a kind of neo-colonialism which ignores the importance of agency in the fight against poverty and for education.