On the huge consequences of climate change

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“ The production of meat requires enormous resources: with the same energy consumed, you produce 16 calories of cereal for each calorie of beef. Not to mention that farms are among the largest producers of greenhouse gases because of the methane produced in the digestive process from livestock (…) Famines will become a central issue for humanity, which seems to ignore their presence already. There is little talk about it, but it is estimated that around 800 million people are undernourished. Only in Somalia, South Sudan, Nigeria and Yemen the current famine could lead to 20 million deaths by the end of this year, according to the most pessimistic forecasts of the United Nations (…) The effects of global warming will become obvious when it will be too late, unless we begin to design a real alternative route to reduce emissions whithin a few decades ”

Translated from Italian.

Il Post, ‘The apocalypse we created ourselves’, Il Post

On the gender identities amongst young people

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“ There is a need to be thoughtful about the language we use, and to differentiate between gender, biological sex and sexuality. While biological sex development can be ascertained, an individual’s gender and sexuality cannot be assumed on the basis of this. In general, sex hormones can be said to be binary in terms of their actions. Male sex hormones masculinise the body whereas female sex hormones feminise the body. However it is not just the physical body that is so strongly associated with gender. There are many other attributes associated with being male or female, including behaviours, activity preferences and individual characteristics (…) Most often the gender assigned at birth, based on physical sex characteristics, turns out to be the gender we continue to identify with. But this is certainly not always the case. For gender-diverse young people, self-identified gender does not conform to expectations based on their external genitalia. While most trans young people identify with the opposite gender, other gender identities are emerging, including non-binary, gender-queer and gender fluid ”

Polly Carmichael, ‘A child without a gender challenges our preconceptions about sex’, The Guardian

On Turks marching for justice and freedom

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“ Our walk indicates our determination to defend freedom of expression and our right to peaceful demonstration in Turkey. We are walking to remind those who choose to rule by decree and intimidation that ours is a social contract: we, as citizens, submit to the authority of the state in exchange for the protection of our rights. We are walking to restore that contract; we are walking to restore democracy, justice and our hard-earned fundamental freedoms. We are walking to lift the deceptive veil of democracy from what is in fact a harsh authoritarian regime ”

Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, ‘We are marching to halt Turkey’s slide into authoritarianism’, The Guardian

On how Corbyn’s manifesto proved New Labour wrong

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“ Jeremy Corbyn has, after all, just managed to pull off one of the largest recoveries of all time in the Labour vote. He achieved that feat by running on a program that much of the press compared to the 1983 manifesto — and they did not mean that comparison kindly (…) Corbyn’s manifesto destroyed the central myth that justified all the retreats of the Kinnock era, the triangulations of the Blair years, and the fudges of Brown’s short-lived premiership. You can run on a left-wing platform and do well. A socialist campaign can attract more votes than Kinnock, Brown, Miliband, and even post-1997 Blair could achieve with their pitch to the center ground. The supposed lessons of the 1983 have been proven false ”

Steven Parfitt, ‘The Centrist Suicide Note’, Jacobin Magazine

On the replacement of knowledge and analysis by numbers

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“ There’s nothing wrong with quantitative metrics. But they should be supplemented with qualitative yardsticks, and assessed with rigor. Instead, administrators use a narrow set of metrics to justify the neoliberal policies they endorse. For example, they defend the shift to STEM education on the basis of some empirical research while ignoring findings that would suggest a different set of educational priorities. Numbers have all but replaced analysis (…) Faculty end up worrying more about the number of articles they publish than their quality. Students end up focusing on grades rather than acquiring knowledge. Assessing a school’s performance comes down to enrollment numbers, grade distribution, and the introduction of new technologies. Intellectual curiosity, a passion for knowledge, and the pursuit of exciting questions have disappeared; no one has time to do anything except perform by the numbers (…) Schools and states are attacking the idea that faculty, who work in a setting where the free flow of ideas is vital, should be protected from controversy in their teaching and research ”

Harry Targ, ‘An Education Worth Fighting For’, Jacobin Magazine

On what a democracy should and shouldn’t protect

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“ The Constitution protects uncivil speech – hate speech, even. But it does so not because our democracy approves of such speech, but because we believe that truth will expose lies and the evil of government censorship is greater than the perils posed by untoward speakers (…) While a democracy can afford to tolerate some uncivil speech, it cannot withstand the sweeping cultivation of contempt directed against the institutions designed to keep government honest and elections safe.  This should be obvious to all public servants. And yet the present occupant of the White House has become the strident mouthpiece of uncivil speech that libels these very institutions ”

Lawrence Douglas, ‘The biggest threat to American democracy isn’t Trump’s uncivil speech’, The Guardian