Guardian Australia

Guardian Australia

Guardian Australia has launched today!

Guardian Australia is here to stay

My main newspaper is already the international edition of the Guardian Weekly and the only aspect missing for me was a more overt Australian focus. It’s an election year here too, so this new independent paper will be a great addition to our media landscape. I’m sure they’ll attract the best writers!

It’s very rare these days to get a new paper up and running, especially in Oz where we desperately need more printed/digital media diversity as we have almost no diversity of ownership.

I’m off to look at subscription options right now!

Cleaning up the oceans

Cleaning up the oceans

The oceans are suffering from a variety of human created problems. We tend to think of the oceans as these vast, clean, empty spaces, but the reality is very different. Our planet greatly depends on the health of the oceans. Oceans teem with an extraordinary variety of life, and the oceans are suffering greatly, they aren’t clean anymore. In fact they suffer from pollution of all sorts: chemical, plastic, household items, ecological (introduced species), even noise (military sonars send whales beaching themselves on mass or unable to communicate).

On top of these there’s acidification, algal blooms etc, all issues that can be improved with more care: acidification is a hard one as we need to reduce our carbon footprint overall so atmospheric CO2 can stop rising so rapidly. Algal blooms are a bit easier, we can demand companies to be more environmentally friendly and stop fertiliser runoffs into waterways. We can also put pressure on federal and local politicians to clean up the coastline and implement more environmentally friendly politics. We can also stop or reduce consuming items that directly contribute to poisoning the oceans: meat, plastic wrappings etc.

“A non profit group announced on May 14th that a global “ocean clean up” effort on Sept. 15, 2012 netted an astonishing 5,000 tons of trash.
Among the pieces of rubbish collected were more than 2 million cigarette butts and filters, 4,159 candles, 40 lottery tickets and 2,492 baseballs.”

Here are ten ways that can help clean up the oceans. We can all do our bit.

sexualising women in ads is NOT empowering

“Advertising would feel slightly more ridiculous if men were sexualized the way women are…” starts out the blurb for this video compiled by University of Saskatchewan students, presumably from the Gender Studies department.

The argument is contentious, of course, as the underlying issues are more complex than can be wrapped into a short video. Still, the main points stand: women are sexualised in ads in a way men tend not to be, some of these ads are demeaning and go hand in hand with a still patriarchal outlook in society that devalues what women are and do and value highly what men are and do.

New wave (was it third or fourth??) feminism advocates that women play with their sexuality and own it, and perhaps sexualised ads can be perceived as playing with that sexuality from a confident female perspective. I wonder though how many of these sexualised ads can be perceived as empowering though? This video is useful: if the gender roles are swapped to that of men and the result is empowering as opposed to ridiculous or demeaning, then, perhaps then, the ads are empowering… but they aren’t, they are ridiculous because culturally men are inherently powerful and women are not. Still.