New Internationalist

Have your say!

Then let us know! Share your ideas with us and other readers by using the ‘comments’ function at the foot of the page, or email your suggestions to Jo at [email protected] by 26th June - and we’ll look at all the suggestions at our editorial meeting in July.

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  1. #1 Kate Matthew 17 May 09

    Suggested topics

    Great idea to invite readers to suggest topics for future NI issues. There are two areas that I would be interested in:

    - what constitutes social ecology in various communities? how does it work? how do they know when it is really working?

    - how does knowing and understanding their history help communities in their day-to-day lives? does it help at all? is it considered important?

    Hope to see other great ideas posted too.


  2. #2 costa 28 May 09

    Topic for NI

    An investigation as to the political. psychological & economical processes that work to allow five nations a veto and a mockery of the concepts of law, justice and democracy -
    in other words,what is holding people back from demanding the abolishment of either the UN Security Council or the veto permanent of members?
    Behind this institutionalized fascism is the fig leaf of legitimacy for most human rights violations or at least their immunity from prosecution.
    Why isn't this theme the most urgent challenge for humans everywhere?

  3. #3 mikey 28 May 09

    This is a hot potato - all the more reason for NI to boldly go and tackle it.

    There is an increase across the world in the persecution of people, and abuse of their human rights, because of their religious beliefs. Christians in particular, including converts to Christianity, are perhaps the most prominent group among the sufferers, and often in Muslim-majority and also several secularist contexts. However, Muslims themselves may experience persecution, e.g. in parts of India (cf the more affluent Hindu mob demolishing the Muslim shanty town in ’Slumdog Millionaire’, where other factors admittedly were in play as well).

    Within the UN Charter, human rights principles in relation to religious/life stances are themselves under threat. Islam does not recognise any right for a Muslim to change his/her faith stance, and interprets the phrase about freedom of religion in the much narrower sense of freedom merely to practise the religious faith into which a person was born.

    Freedom of speech is also under threat, with attempts via the UN to muzzle comment and open enquiry in relation to Islam.

    Is this potato too hot to handle??

    Greetings of peace.


  4. #4 Jim Whitehead 30 May 09

    Peak Oil

    I've been away form the NI for the last couple of years; so you may have covered this issue. If you haven't I would urge you to give it some serious consideration, I believe it is the only issue more pressing than climate change. The Association of the Study of Peak Oil, website ’ASPO’, is a good place to start.



  5. #5 Libby 10 Jun 09

    Topic for future NI edition

    An exploration of ageing and issues surrounding ageing would be interesting. What is happening to ’traditional’ methods of caring for ageing family members as internal and external economic migration changes the demographic profiles of many countries and many societies experience a growing ageing population due to low birth rates, increased and improved health care etc. As one of the most vulnerable groups in society how are various governments and communities responding to the new and increased needs of their aged populations?

    Some ’myth busting’ would also be interesting, comparing more developed and/or western countries and their patterns of governmental and community care of the aged with societies that are seen as less developed or more traditional. For example, residential care in Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysia is about 4% of those aged over 65, the same as Australia, although it is often argued by some that ’Asian values’ preclude the elderly in these communties from experiencing the perceived shame and abandonment of residential care - something that it more often associated with the ’uncaring’ West. Does culture impact on attitudes towards residential care anymore? Is this type of care increasing as societies undergo modernisation and traditional forms of care go by the way as women enter the workforce and family units move and dissovle in order to make ends meet.

    I could go on as there are numerous topics that could be explored under ageing, but as ageing societies become an increasing phenomenon across most of the globe, how different ageing communties are affected by geography and economics seems a pertinent topic.


  6. #6 culturalactivist 15 Jun 09

    Economics V Environment

    There are massive problems with the politician's use of this phrase - first of all 'environment' is a technocratic term generated only in the 1970s that reduces the complex and vulnerable planet to a collection of 'resources'. This view makes invisible the fact that we are embedded in the planet and dependent upon the planet's health. This view is the dominant one articulated in the political arena and in the media, but books such as 'For the common Good' and 'The Mystic Economist', written by respected economists succesfully criticise this relatively recent view. I fear that issues of sustainability, local governance etc will be unachievable or limited unless we question this economic view in public ' it is a framework or 'filter' through which meacnings are produced, judged and made invisible.

  7. #7 culturalactivist 15 Jun 09

    Meat eating and sustainability

    Definitely a hot topic, and one as someone studying veggoe nutrition would be happy to contribute to. Several pressing issues of concern - health, obesity, animal torture, global warming and everything associated with it dovetail here. Unfortunately 'experts' like Tim Flannery choose to lie by omission and leave out the fact that the meat industry is one of the biggest producers of methane and the even more serious nitrous oxide. Meat eating is not necessary, the majority of the world do not eat meat (consider Hindus, Buddhists, Seventh Day Adventists and more and more Westerners), and the inefficient process of producing food to give to animals to then be consumed by humans, rather than eating the (hopefully mostly locally produced) food directly was NEVER going to be sustainable, and we are bearing the costs of it now with regard to health and the economic as well as human burden, as well as global warming and pollution

  8. #8 ankletrout 23 Jun 09

    Autonomous communities / Skipping

    I think it would be interesting to investigate travellers and squatters rights across the globe, and communities where people have claimed land or buildings to create viable community spaces; learning about projects such as these can really inspire people to do something incredible with the empty shells of consumerism in their own towns.

    A feature on the spoils of skips would be quite eye opening to people not familiar with the massive waste from supermarkets... 'Come (dumpster) dive with me'

  9. #9 Geoffrey 16 Feb 13

    Democracy is the only topic in town across the world. It has made military men turn in civilian clothing across the world. Life imitates life and the aspirations of many citizens of the world are varied in scope and attention. Life is reduced to imitating western values and opposed to that is utter rejection and demonization of the perpetrators. Wars have been fought in the name of democracy and democratic values. I wonder what are democratic values... is it consumption and physical wealth and the visibility of that wealth.

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About the author

David Ransom a New Internationalist contributor

David Ransom joined New Internationalist in 1989 and wrote on a range of issues, from green justice to the current financial crisis, before retiring in 2009. He was a close friend of Blair Peach, once worked as a banker in Uruguay and continued to contribute to New Internationalist as a freelancer until shortly before his death in February 2016. He lived on a barge on the waterways of England’s West Country.

His publications include License to Kill on the death of Blair Peach in 1979 and The No Nonsense Guide to Fair Trade. He also co-edited, with Vanessa Baird, People First Economics.

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