4. International

It aims to offer outlooks on international affairs – tell us more about your own country!

  • Climate change – what can WE do about it?

    Climate change is real, and is already having devastating impacts on our planet, our wildlife and on humanity. The future looks dire, and it’s an understatement to say that climate change, alongside, and including biodiversity loss, is the challenge of the century. This said, we are not just doomed yet. We do have a short window of opportunity to act, in order to slow down the effects of climate change and, perhaps, in the future, reverse some of them. The task seems overwhelming and cynics, deniers, and doomsayers may be discouraging, but this is what we can do. It all comes down to ‘mitigating’, ‘adapting’, and, yes… ‘surviving’ – but…

  • Climate change – are we really doomed?

    As you probably already know, the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate calls for a limitation of a 2°C increase above pre-industrial levels of the average global temperature – and preferably 1.5°C – recognizing that “this would significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change.” According to the latest report from the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), we will be reaching the 1.5°C threshold increase around 2030 if we continue to live ‘business-as-usual’. To avoid this, we have around 11 years to – drastically – change the course of climate change. While the IPCC recalls that “[c]limate-related risks to health, livelihoods, food security, water supply, human security, and economic…

  • Has the end of the world started?

    Hammered by daunting climate change related headlines Recent news headlines in Australia and beyond are daunting. While northern Queensland has been battling with a “once-in-a-century flooding”, Tasmania is facing a “historic event”, an “unprecedented” “fire crisis”. Meanwhile the recent Australian droughts may have been the worst in 800 years. The Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) announced that January 2019 was Australia’s hottest month since records began and that climate change “contributed to soaring temperatures”, which followed an already “record-breaking December”. Heatwaves don’t solely make us feel more sick, agitated or lethargic. They kill en masse. “Over two days in November, record-breaking heat in Australia’s north wiped out almost one-third of…

  • My experience in North Korea – an interview with ABC Radio North Coast

    Hello, I was interviewed two days ago by ABC Radio North Coast’s Bruce Mackenzie. He was very friendly and eager to know about my past experience living and working in North Korea. So I describe my impressions of the secretive state, what I enjoyed about it, and what was difficult to witness. He also asks if I was under constant surveillance, or what North Koreans thought of the West. He then moved on to ask for my analysis on the current geopolitical tensions around North Korea’s ambition to develop a nuclear warhead long-range missile capable of hitting the Unites States – and Australia for that matter. I argue that while these…

  • It’s not IS we should fight against – it’s obscurantism

    After having published a post yesterday (No more bombs) arguing that the West won’t win peace by dropping more bombs and should instead fight against inequality and injustice, Chris, a follower of Making Sense of Things on Facebook asked if we had “any advice for what people should do to counter [the Islamic State]? Or should it just be allowed to continue? They won’t allow a diplomatic solution, as they believe any negotiation is sacrilegious, let alone voting?” This question is very relevant indeed. How can we negotiate with IS if we can’t even talk with them? I understand that throwing 20 bombs at the Islamic State, like the French warplanes…

  • No more bombs

      I now live in Australia but I’m French. I’ve lived several years in Paris where many of my friends and family members still live. Two of the attacks occurred in the same street where by my best friend lives. His partner’s sister was enjoying drinks with her friends in one of the restaurants were so many people got killed on this tragic Friday the 13th. Luckily she survived.  I was touched by the outpour of solidarity I have received, my warmest thanks to you all. I read lots of articles and watched heaps of media about the Paris attacks. Yet, I started quite rapidly to feel uncomfortable at the world’s focus on…

  • Galápagos Islands: remarkable yet preoccupying

    We enjoyed last Christmas on the Galapagos Islands, giving ourselves the soulful gift of connecting with nature. We felt incredibly blessed to be in such a unique place on this remarkable planet of ours as animals approached us unguarded, unafraid of humans and as curious about us as we were of them. We wondered at the unique giant tortoises, tame sea lions and abundant bird life. Our visit was bitter sweet though, as we noticed the effects of tourism and the swell in population on the islands. We wondered if we should really be there, contributing in that way. Locals profess that tourism funds conservation and research but I couldn’t help…

  • Bolivian Story: Felipe Ballon

    I have known Felipe Ballon since very soon after our arrival in La Paz but most of my time was spent with him in his car! Felipe is the taxi-driver hired by the NGO I used to work with, so we would frequently spend the hour long trip to/from the airport discussing Bolivia and its intriguing contradictions.  As a taxi-driver I particularly enjoyed his punctuality – even when he had to pick me up from the airport at 3 am – and as a friend I enjoyed learning from him as he shared his perspectives on Bolivian society. So, Carly and I were really happy when he accepted to spend…

  • Bolivian Story: Pablo Antelo

    One day, whilst volunteering at vegan restaurant, Red Monkey, I met Pablo Antelo. He had been asked to help out in the kitchen for the day since the chef/owner of Red Monkey was a little tied up with welcoming his baby girl into the world. That day I was so surprised and happy to see this young man, laid back but enthusiastic, never idle, taking initiative and working hard. He impressed me. I loved his attitude. I told him about my friends who were opening a wine bar, called Hallwright’s, which would be showcasing Bolivian produce. I explained that they had asked me to make some products for their platters like…

  • Fascinating wildlife in the Pampas, Bolivia

    Back in July 2013 we stepped off our very small (capacity of 12) Amazonas plane onto a dusty rustic runway and into the warm, thick, humid air of the tropics with our friends, Edouard and Laeticia – a mere 45 minute flight from La Paz but seemingly another world. The plane had landed at Rurrenabaque, a town just on the edge of the Amazon basin and the gateway to The Pampas. A few hours in the back of a truck and then another few hours journey in a low, long, wooden boat through muddy waters filled with caiman, the banks lined with capybaras and the trees overflowing with monkeys, we…

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