Culture and politics may play a role, but the underlying causes are economic.

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Image source: “India burning 42” by CIAT International Center for Tropical Agriculture / NeilPalmer, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Since September 2020, India has been rocked by a massive uprising of farmers. This was the latest in a series of farmer protests that have occurred in India since 2018.

The current uprising has come in response to the Government of India’s introduction of a series of farm acts which seek to increase private sector involvement in the procurement of agricultural crops. …


Looking back and looking forward

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Photo by Nick Bondarev from Pexels

It’s been a year. A year since swathes of my country were consumed by fire, entire townships reduced to ash, while families escaped on boats, choking on smoke and heat. A year since at least one billion sentient beings perished in unspeakable pain.

The otherworldly orange skies here in Australia last summer seemed horrific beyond comprehension. But since then the entire west coast of America passed through a similar Apocalypse and the Amazon burnt for the second year in a row. Orange skies seem a ‘new normal’ now.

As Christmas draws close, I wonder what this summer has in store for Australia. In doing so, I’m visited by three ghosts who are not unfamiliar to me. I am 33 years old — the Ghosts of Climates Past, Present, and Future have been with me all my life. …


Trump’s sulky disposition should have been worked out in childhood.

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Photo by Sean Ferigan on Unsplash

He stood there, shoulders hanging like a sad little boy, addressing reporters at his Campaign HQ. It was election day. A journalist asked if he’d prepared a victory or concession speech.

He said he had not and seemed triggered by the prospect that a concession speech might be on the cards.

“Winning is easy,” he said. “Losing is never easy. Not for me it’s not.”

It struck me as the saddest thing to spill from Trump’s mouth during the entire four years of his presidency. A man in his 70s, visibly stirred by the prospect of losing.

What does it say about a nation that valorises a man who at a very personal level, seems incapable of losing gracefully? We teach children not to have tantrums when they lose at a game; it’s a part of good sportsmanship to laugh off our losses and learn from our mistakes. And most of us learn to lose more gracefully with age. …


Short-term perks mask risks of long-term stagnation.

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Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

As an introvert, I love working from home. Gone is the stress of commuting. I wake up whenever I please and work at my own pace without feeling that anyone is watching over my shoulder. I feel I’ve a kind of creative liberty at home that dull corporate office spaces tend to stifle. And I suspect I’ve been more productive since covid-19 made working from home a more permanent reality.

Yet, lately I’ve had a nagging sense that I’m stagnating. I’m getting on with my work, my outputs are fine; but I’m not thriving. And it’s hard to pinpoint why.

Friends in other sectors and in other parts of the world report similar feelings. My friend R., …


It’s a matter of the heart.

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Photo by Joshua Hoehne on Unsplash

Nan called today. It was a nice surprise; she doesn’t often.

After perfunctory pandemic-related chit-chat, I asked her how she had been passing her time. She told me that today she’d made forty spring rolls and that she was planning to share them with relatives who live nearby.

Nan’s spring rolls are famous in the family. Oversized, golden brown, and served with a sauce that’s adjusted to white Australian taste, the recipe originally came from a Women’s Weekly magazine in the 1960s. …


Seven lessons from the SAGE market in Moruya, Australia

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The Moruya Flats, Southeast Australia

My cousins grew up in Moruya. When we were kids, during the school holidays, my brother, my mum and I would make the drive down from Wollongong to see them, along the South Coast of New South Wales. We had great times together in beautiful surroundings. From the clear beaches and rivers to the rolling mountains around Araluen, the region was a paradise for us as kids.

Yet, my brother and I also became aware that Moruya was a place with problems, especially for young people. Like many towns along the South Coast, it suffered from high rates of youth unemployment. Most young people would leave town after finishing high school (as all of my cousins eventually did) and those who didn’t move out would be left feeling abandoned, disconnected, and directionless. …


What my brief visit taught me about divisions in intentional communities

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The Matrimandir, Auroville’s focal point.

Auroville is a large intentional community, near Pondicherry in Southern India. It was founded in 1968 by Mirra Alfasa, popularly known in the community as simply “the Mother.”

A devotee of Sri Aurobindo and a spiritual visionary in her own right, the Mother established Auroville as a community in which the ideal of human unity could be realised. …


We complain about the inconvenience of lockdown. But in the global South, severe mobility restrictions are nothing new.

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It was quiet on Rajshahi University campus: its wide open fields were occupied by only scattered lovers and some local dogs on patrol, their barking occasionally breaking the pervasive silence. A district level hartal (strike) had been in force for the past twenty days. No classes were running. Nor were there any cars on the roads — only a regular flow of jingling cycle rickshaws and the occasional hum of an electric auto. The children of the resident academics had no classes either — their schools were also closed down. Occasionally, a tutor would drop in to make sure they were keeping up with their homework, but these were, for the most part, listless days. …

About

Trent Brown

Research Fellow in Geography at the Uni of Melbourne. I research agricultural skills and alternative food movements in the global South. Twitter: @trentpbrown

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