2014 in Venezuela: what the hell is going on?

by Laura Vilaça

As you browse the news of this month, you cannot stand indifferent to the huge popular turmoils happening: Ukraine, Venezuela, Brazil. Whereas the first up-rise seems to have succeeded, giving hope to the precept that says “the people united will never be defeated“, the other two are still working their way into making civil disobedience heard by their governments. While the Brazilian protests are ongoing since June 2013, the Venezuelan riots are fresh events from a week ago and no one seems to quite understand what is going on there. I’ve looked into things and will try to explain them a bit.

Ukraine, Brazil, Venezuela (abcnews.com, tvi.pt, reuters)

Ukraine, Brazil, Venezuela
(credit: abcnews.com, tvi.pt, reuters)

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The Politics of Sports

By Noort Bakx

With a spectacular opening event last Friday (although the last Olympics circle failing to open messed it up a bit, leading to some great responses) The Olympics in Sochi finally kicked off. After months, maybe years of controversy and issues surrounding the event, question is whether sports will now finally take over as the dominant factor surrounding the games. Cause that is what it’s all about, no?

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Exploding? The Sensitive Issue of Overpopulation

By Daniel Isler

In his mesmerizing book “Freedom”, Jonathan Franzen delicately handles a sensitive but critical issue. He takes his protagonist to a journey into a large sustainability activists group, calling mainly for immediate actions to decrease the world’s population. Although being recognized as a genuine issue by sustainability scientists and social scientists – the subject of decreasing population is still a taboo in most parts of the world. Just think for a second about China’s one-child policy, forbidding more than one biological child for each couple of parents – and feel the repulse and intimidation we experience in light of such intervention to our personal decisions.

But this is by no means a new issue: warning signs were raised already over 200 years ago, namely by British scholar, Reverend Thomas Robert Malthus. In a nutshell, he showed and argued that while population growth is exponential by nature (2-4-8-16…), food and other resources grow arithmetically (1-2-3-4…). This observation means that if untouched, the population will outgrow its own fuel needed to live, and will unavoidably extinct. Although debated intensively over the last 200 years and often dismissed by other scholars – Malthusianism remains a central notion in the debate about global over population.

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Thailand’s Democracy Collapse Disorder

By Paw Siriluk Sriprasit

As a global citizen and an environmental journalist, I am always watching out and waiting to get more information to write about the bees’ colony collapse disorder (CCD) – the world is now facing. The CCD is an extremely important problem that can put the human kind to an end. As Maurice Maeterlinck wrote in ‘The Life of the Bee (1901)’  “if the bee disappeared off the face of the earth, man would only have four years left to live.” No bees mean no food, “as bees are the most important pollinator of our fruit, flowers, vegetables, and crop. About a third of the world’s food supply depends on bees” said Marla Spivak, a well-known American entomologist.

For anyone who is not familiar with this subject – the bees’ colony collapse disorder (CCD) is a phenomenon in which worker bees from beehives abruptly disappear. The CCD occurred in late 2006 and also began to happen afterwards, mostly in Western colonies in North America and Western Europe. The cause of CCD is somewhat unclear, but the possible factors have been studied by many institutions and universities. Key causes that distributed for CCD are overuse of pesticides, fungicides, diseases, bee mites, and electromagnetic radiation from electronic communication devices (wifi, mobile phones, etc.).

Happen to be that I’m not only a global citizen and journalist, but was also born and raised in Thailand. So enough caring for bees and talking about CCD for now. I’m proposing that what Thai politics and society are currently facing can be called “Democracy Collapse Disorder” (DCD). Why DCD? I’ll try to comprehend this phenomenon for you, however your final consideration and judgment are with you, the readers. But let me try.

AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit

AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit

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