Captain Planet’s Sidekicks

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In an article that I assumed was written by SBS’s Backburner (their satirical, comedic news section) it was stated that climate change is a UN hoax to end democracy. Chuckling whilst reading it, I was shocked to discover that this wasn’t satire. It is well known that Tony Abott is a climate change denier and after years of campaigning has finally scrapped the carbon tax. This news story comes at a time when we’re learning how the Internet is impacting our environment.

The massive amount of electricity needed to store all our Internet data is huge. Apple’s iCloud is now responsible for 2% of the global CO2 emissions. Our data use is also predicted to increase – as it has ever since the first computers were invented. My dad recalls being in university, studying software engineering, and his class having a hardrive memory of 25MB. Each PC was allocated 16KB of data. The year was 1983. In 2014, my new Lenovo laptop came with 1TB of memory. Oh how times have changed.

The sobering reality is that our Internet use is impacting the environment, despite the Internet as an entity being all but invisible. The good news is that a lot of companies are now turning to greener methods in order to save energy and lessen their impact on our environment. Greenpeace has put together an interactive report regarding this, grading several companies on how green they are and what methods they’re using to help the environment.

Notwithstanding the environmental impact of the Internet, the ability to access unlimited resources for learning on it means that each person can become educated on this issue and can learn how to “green up” their own lives. There are an unlimited amount of websites dedicated to teaching people how to use our resources wisely and with as little detrimental consequences as possible. The first step is to start.

Who else is trying to save the earth, apart from tech companies? Zoos Victoria has started an initiative to recycle your old mobile phones to save gorillas on the brink of extinction. Kenco Coffee has started a campaign to buy lands of rainforest to conserve. The idea of solar roadways was an immediate hit. It seems the idea of keeping our earth in tip-top shape is becoming far more popular – and keeping climate change deniers at bay.

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Representation and the Media

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Well, when I was nine years old, Star Trek came on, I looked at it and I went screaming through the house, ‘Come here, mom, everybody, come quick, come quick, there’s a black lady on television and she ain’t no maid!’ I knew right then and there I could be anything I wanted to be.

Whoopi Goldberg

One of the most important issues affecting feminism in developed worlds today is that men outnumber women in high-ranking positions in most fields of the workforce, especially where the diversity of opinions and perspectives is important. The media is such an industry. Julie Burton, president of the Women’s Media Center, said, “We’re still not seeing equal participation. That means we are only using half our talent and usually hearing half of the story.” Because the media is so relevant in people’s lives, it’s important that all views are represented, so all the angles are covered and all points-of-view considered equally significant.

There are worries that this trend of inequality will continue with the millennial generation as it grows older, so one of the ways to challenge and reduce that fear is to make sure millennials aren’t negatively influenced by pre-conceived gender roles and stereotypes, and that they grow up believing that men and women are equal and that when asked what a boss looks like, they won’t immediately think of a white male but rather picture a woman or a person of colour as equally likely to be a boss. The measures taken have to be conscious, efforts made to be more inclusive.

One way that representation is being delivered in through children’s media. The recent releases of Big Hero 6, Home, and The Book of Life have breathed new life into the lack of racial ethnicity in feature films. These three animated movies feature Asian-American, African-American and Latina/Latino heroes and have created new characters for children of colour to enjoy and empathise with. Live-action movie Annie features the talented Quvenzhané Wallis (who is the youngest ever nominee for an Academy Award) as the African-American Annie. Other media such as comics are now striving to do the same. Marvel released its new series Ms. Marvel (which features a Pakistani-American lead) last year and the comic so far has been hugely popular. DC Comics’s Gotham Academy is becoming more popular – it features multiple dark-skinned leads as well as Japanese-Americans. Television shows like Steven Universe and The Legend of Korra, which feature a wide variety of characters ethnically and physically, are positively affecting the audiences that consume them. These two shows also do their best to represent LGBT values.

The fact that so many creators of children’s media are doing their best to include diversity means that the younger generation may grow up knowing that no matter their skin colour or body shape or sexuality, they are just as important as the next person.

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But What Happened Next?

Martin Place, Sydney. Source

The realities of the fast-paced world we live in is that our attention spans are short – a story goes big on the news and it makes headlines for a week or two and then the public has moved on to bigger and better things. One of the quirks in the Western world is that most of us live lives so hugely different to those of the people who are portrayed in the media’s “current” disaster. Very rarely do bad things happen in our own cities or neighbourhoods – so it’s hard to relate to those people whose suffering is greater than our own, and so our attention wanders after a while.

Studying the controversial TIME magazine cover of a mutilated Afghan woman named Aisha, the talk turned from the controversy of ethics in the media to the ending of Aisha’s story. None of us in the group knew what happened and after a quick Google search we found out that Aisha was taken to California, got re-constructive surgery and now lives in the U.S. as she’s been adopted by a Afghan-American couple.

Discussing any number of big news stories, it was hard to find anyone who’d followed up after the initial fifteen minutes of fame and attention awarded to the events. Thus came the realisation that we Westerners have a difficult time keeping our attention on one thing.  The Internet means we have an unlimited amount of information at our fingertips, but rarely do I use theis vastness to explore past the bare facts presented to me in a news article a friend linked on Facebook. Only in the past week did I Google the endings to some big news stories – something I’d never bothered to do out of laziness.

Another problem is the abundance of pop culture websites – they report the bare minimum and often in a jaunty, witty manner that catches and keeps the attention of the reader for the next five paragraphs. It’s so hard to find un-biased information about important topics as a lot of authors on pop-culture websites let their opinions colour their articles. Because of the relatability of the pop-culture websites (which – let’s admit it – are much easier reading than most other news sites) most people will only read the biased, glibly-written articles and won’t seek any further information.

But, what happens when an event occurs in our own neighbourhoods? I remember the exact moment I found out about the Sydney Seige last year. I remember where I was, who told me and my reaction to it. It just shows how self-centred I am: I haven’t Googled the fate of the Nigerian schoolgirls taken by Boko Haram (“Bring Back Our Girls”) but the Sydney siege has been seared into my memory – and I wasn’t even in the country during the attack.

UNC’s Ten Best Memories

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Spoiler: this is not one of them

This blog is the closest to a journal/diary of exchange that I’ve kept, and I just need to share my most cherished memories of UNC and exchange because I can’t stand to forget them. I feel like I’ve written about quite a lot of my experiences but there are still some that I haven’t put down in words or some that I hadn’t even realised were important to me until I browsed through photos and amazing memories were brought back. Continue reading

When It’s Time to Go

da endOn the eve of my journey home to Australia, I’m feeling relieved and overwhelmed. The past fortnight I’ve been ridiculously homesick and just wishing to be back on my homeland and hear the familiar and comforting Aussie accents. It’s not that my time in America has been awful, but it’s time for me to make my way home because I’ve realised that no matter how many grouches I have with Australia, it’ll always be my home and I’ll always want to return.

The past five months have been incredible for me and I have so many memories I want to cherish and never let go of. I’ve tried to preserve some of them within this blog, but there are so many things that this blog can’t be privy to and I’ll have to attempt to sear every second of my exchange trip into my head. Even the bad bits!

I have one thing to say to everyone that I’ve met on my travels and every single new and precious friend I’ve made: thank you so much for making this trip the best thing I ever did. Thank you all so much for befriending the girl with the constant resting bitch face and thank you so much for being so hospitable and hilarious and generous. 😍😚😌💋

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Representing UOW felt awesome, my love for my uni has only grown.
Some statistics:

  • 4: number of times I cried
  • 50+: new friends I made
  • maybe 5: arguments I had with my roommate
  • 7: amazing strangers that I now know as my suitemates that made my life so much better
  • 8: US states I’ve been to
  • 100+: phonecalls made to my family
  • 7: flights I’ve been on
  • 12: suitcases I’ll need to bring all my stuff home (jks)
  • 1: major travel bug that’s bitten me
  • 0: regrets

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I Am So Very Popular, Look at These Stats for 2014

To show how much people loved my blog, here’s a cute little statistics report. I’m totally not in denial that I suck and this is very clearly a boring blog. 😂😂😂😂

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 7,700 times in 2014. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 6 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

My First (And Probably Last) Thanksgiving

1450I decided to go on exchange in the autumn semester for a few reasons, many of them being the holidays that America celebrates that us Aussies never get quite as excited about. Halloween (on Facebook, someone posted how they wished Halloween was illegal in Australia??), Thanksgiving (for obvious reasons), and Christmas (we do celebrate it but commercially America stomps on us). So it was awesome being able to spend Thanksgiving with an actual American family rather than being stuck in my dorm all week sulking. I have to thank my suitemate Jordan for the invite, and I’m ridiculously grateful because I had such a great time. Continue reading

Doing Stuff By Yourself – And Why It’s Not Bad

987The comfort and security of having friends around you is great, but what happens when those friends aren’t there, or they’re not interested in going to this or that event that you so badly want to go to? Do you resign yourself to a night spent re-reading a book in bed and hoping the DVD comes out soon? Nuh-uh! You go do that thing by yourself. And doing that thing alone isn’t as painful as it may seem to be. Continue reading

Yosemite, the Before and After

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Bay Bridge in San Francisco.

I decided to make my Yosemite adventures a two-part blog post because there is so much stuff apart from the park, a few little adventures I couldn’t keep to myself. Yosemite was a trip of a lifetime for several reasons: the flurry of travelling; helping me become more independent; crossing off an item on my bucket list; and all the little things that happened outside of Yosemite. Continue reading