What’s Up in the World? - Weekly Digest 24/06/2016 Written by Harriet Lane-Tobin

In this week's digest I look to the legal, political and legislative and how each can or ‘should’ be altered to create more open and supportive kinds of society, whilst showing the importance of individual action in creating or preventing these changes.

Food security: if it is a right to strive for globally, why are millions still going hungry and food wastage is at an all time high? Rachel Kelly’s Guardian article comes at this from a critical angle highlighting France's recent move toward reducing and redistributing food waste to feed those with the greatest need. “Think of it as a law that tackles both environmental awareness and food poverty”  (Kelly 2016).  She argues that this structure ‘should’ be applied in larger, geographic, entities like the UK, fighting against commercial agendas to aid those who are not considered, or are left out, by profit-driven pursuits.

Winnie Byanyima’s article on Al Jazeera shows how acts of hatred or intolerance cannot be seen as isolated. Rather they are “globally manufactured”  (Byanyima 2016) and in order to combat them we must see how they are related or similar across global geographical contexts. Byanyima situates this in relation to the death of Jo Cox, who, up until her death, dedicated her life to fighting intolerance. Byanyima says we must move beyond the idea that it is all about education and encourage people to engage in the political, as it is “hate filled” governments that often drive this agenda. 

Social media: a form of ultimate narcissism, or is it more important than that? Initially created for people to connect and be informed, what can be said of its benefits for those who have limited or no access to it at all? On Vice, Seth Ferranti argues of its benefits for prison inmates. How can ‘we’ truly allow for people to reincorporate into society, if they are not completely informed of the one they are re-entering into? He highlights how social media can play a vital role in rehabilitation both in allowing inmates to be informed, but also maintaining a relationship with those who could potentiallybe their biggest forms of support when released. “The bottom line is that if we want inmates to be able to return to society, we need to give them ways, limited though they may be, of communicating with that society.” (Ferranti 2016). 




But who is say any of the above is right or wrong? As I have often declared in my blogs there is a power in unity, collectiveness, and community. But is there something more powerful in silence? In this instance I do not mean this in a positive manner either, as highlighted in Gabby Beckford’s Huffington Post article on the dangers of neutrality.  “Half-hearted support is damaging because it encourages the idea that you can say something but not really mean it” (Beckford 2016). Or alternatively you choose not to say anything at all which takes away from a movement or notion's ability to have a power. This is something which is both hard to gain, and even harder to hold on to, within the the structural constraints of western worlds.