Harassing catcalls at women is okay as long as it’s done properly, right?

This advert is part of the Snickers Australia ‘You aren’t yourself when you’re hungry’ campaign and has drawn an equal mix of laughter and rage since it was posted online on 25th March.

Some of the terms used to describe it include ‘empowering’… ’positive prejudice’… ‘obviously made by men!’.

The construction workers yell a range of catcalls to provoke women passing by, such as:

“I’d like to show you the respect you deserve!”

“A woman’s place is where she chooses!”

“You know what I’d like to see? A society in which the objectification of women makes way for gender-neutral interaction free from assumptions and expectations.”

Should we look on the advert simply as a bit of humour, not to be taken too seriously?

One Youtube commenter vented loud and clear under the video online:

“So wait, men are only respectful and decent human beings when they’re ‘not being themselves’? Men should eat a snickers to ‘be themselves again’ so that they can be sexist, ignorant douchebags that harass women? Great, Snickers. This kind of sexist perpetuation of masculinity is just what our world needs. “

So what do you think? Does the advert challenge sexist stereotypes or as just make them worse by reinforcing other ones?

The Rohingya refugee making factory

A Rohingya protests against the UK's training of the Myanmar military outside the Myanmar embassy in London. Demotix/See Li. All rights reserved.
A Rohingya protests against the UK’s training of the Myanmar military outside the Myanmar embassy in London. Demotix/See Li. All rights reserved.

If the production of refugees was an industry, Myanmar would be among the world’s market leaders. In the creation of the product, the Burmese regime has pulled out all the stops and ended up with something unique.

For the Rohingya are more than refugees. They are also stateless, they are considered illegal immigrants (though they are not), they are seen as outsiders, they are feared and hated by other Burmese. The discrimination, persecution and abuse they endure invoke human rights law, humanitarian law and international criminal law. Their history has been denied and so is their future. Their identity, ethnicity and membership have been questioned, scrutinised, erased.

If we didn’t know better, we’d think they were a fiction, an imagined people, a dream. Their voices have been silenced by denying them the tools of language – education, freedom, information. Those among them who are brave and privileged enough to speak out have been dismissed, their credibility questioned. Their friends are at best notional and their enemies take their job very seriously. They are seen as a problem and behind closed doors, in barely audible whispers, masked men with ulterior motives would admit that they would like to make the problem go away.

The Rohingya are eternal refugees. (more…)

7.1 Japans – getting ready for overshoot 2014

Source: Supporting China and others by the Global Footprint Network (2013)
Source: Supporting China and others by the Global Footprint Network (2013)

A date before August 20th 2014 will mark Earth Overshoot Day, the approximate date on which our resource consumption for this year will exceed the planet’s ability to replenish itself.  21 years ago, the date was October 21, by 2003 it was September 22nd and by 2013 it had moved forward to August 20th.  Given our current increasing trend in consumption, one thing is unfortunately inevitable – overshoot arrives a few days earlier each year.

For those of us involved in development education, Earth Overshoot day offers and excellent and accessible opportunity to teach and learn about sustainable development or, more accurately ‘unsustainable development’ as well as the concepts and values that underpin it.  Designing a workshop, class or event in the lead up to this day couldn’t be easier or simpler – most of the ideas and information can be readily accessed at the Global Footprint Network site: www.footprintnetwork.org/en/index.php/GFN/page/earth_overshoot_day

Earth Overshoot Day represents the annual marker of when we begin to live beyond our ecological means in that year.  From that date on, we live in a planetary ‘overdraft’ – we maintain an ecological ‘deficit’ by ‘drawing down’ local resource stocks and accumulating carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. But in the mid-1970s, humanity had crossed a critical threshold where our consumption began outstripping what the planet could reproduce.  Today that deficit stands at over 50% – we are now using 1.5 planets each year to sustain our (over)consumption and if we continue to do so (even moderately), we will require about 3 planets by the year 2050.  Obviously, this is an impossible equation.

Source: 3 Planets by the Global Footprint Network (2013)
Source: 3 Planets by the Global Footprint Network (2013)

The day offers us a chance to measure, explore and debate the growing gap between our demand for ecological resources and services, and how much the planet can provide.

The Global Footprinting Network site provides everything you need to know about ecological footprinting and all that is needed for an effective research project or group discussion from definitions to glossaries to summaries and onward referencing.  For example, the site explores the ecological footprint of specific countries (with a detailed data table) and cities; it explores the concept of the earth’s biocapacity (a useful and accessible summary and links to the World Wildlife Living Planet Report or see our short annotation) and a fascinating discussion of how many times individual countries exceed their individual ecosystem capacities.

For example, Japan today uses up a capacity 7.1 times more than its own ecosystem can provide (see that of other countries in the diagram above). An excellent summary of the key arguments involved can be found in an article by Carter Roberts called The Day the Earth Ran Out (20th August 2013) in Foreign Affairs.

A related and equally informative footprint – the water footprint can be explored here www.waterfootprint.org including that of individual products, countries and regions.

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For more….

  • Stimulus sheets selected from CD-based DE resource 5:50:500 for educational use: see pages 26-32 on Environmental Tipping Points. Download here (PDF).

Podcast: remembering the Irish Anti-Apartheid Movement

Following the passing of Nelson Mandela last December we are reminded of the efforts of the many individuals and organisations that worked on the international movement to end Apartheid in South Africa.

The flashpoint of the protest movement is remembered by many through the Dunnes Stores strike and boycott of South African goods, started by a group of checkout workers in 1984 on Henry Street, Dublin, led by cashier Mary Manning.

But what about the role of the church parishes, sporting associations, trade unions, politicians and celebrities?

Here’s an excellent reflection by UCD historian Diarmaid Ferriter along with Pat Kenny on the work of the Irish Anti-Apartheid Movement, recorded on Newstalk radio on the 12th December that’s well worth listening to.

Notice: new DE resource guidelines consultation event on 9th April

Photo: Resources by Ciara Regan (2013) © DevelopmentEducation.ie
Photo: Resources by Ciara Regan (2013) © DevelopmentEducation.ie

Are you involved in development education resource production? Or would you like to be? Then this event is for you!

This year, DevelopmentEducation.ie, in collaboration with Dóchas and IDEA, are producing a set of guidelines to support the production of DE resources in Ireland. These guidelines are a direct outcome of the Audit of Irish Development Education Resources (2013) carried out last year by DevelopmentEducation.ie (more info on this at www.developmenteducation.ie/audit

A short consultation event is being taking place on the 9th April on the draft Guidelines for Producing Development Education Resources (venue to be confirmed) as part of the Finding Frames research launch (for more information see this weeks Dochas Newsletter) in order for the development education sector to give their feedback before they are finalised.

If producing DE resources is part of your work then make sure you participate in this consultation!

To register for the event please email anna@dochas.ie (taking place on 9th April from 9.30am-1pm)

Background information on the resource guidelines

Ireland has a long and recognised tradition of producing high quality development education resources at all levels that stretches more than 40 years.   Resources are a product of their time. Just as development issues, curriculum needs and learning contexts change, resources need updating – whether it’s content, context or the facts.

These guidelines have been developed by DevelopmentEducation.ie, Dóchas and IDEA following the Audit of Irish Development Education Resources report (2013) in order to animate and support anyone – whether an individual or an organisation – thinking about producing resources. The guidelines have been informed by the findings of the audit in consultation with development education practitioners. They are not intended to be prescriptive; rather they represent a set of collective ideas and suggestions for discussion and debate.

The aims of these guidelines are fivefold:

1.    To support the continued high standard of DE resource production in Ireland

2.    To support educators, teachers, writers, non-governmental organisations and individuals working to produce a development education resource

3.    To provide a series of ideas, options, choices, key questions and viewpoints to consider

4.    To offer a set of questions that encourage discussion and debate on the reasons and rationale for producing resources

5.    To encourage reflection on a broad range of issues associated with producing a resource from a development and human rights perspective within a popular educational approach and ideas to very practical and immediate ‘technical’ concerns

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If you are unable to attend the event don’t worry – there will be other opportunities to feedback (contact Eimear@ideaonline.ie for more info). Check back on the website or watch the IDEA e-circular for updates.