A Diverse Country Turned Into a Disaster – an Un-Success Story: Brazil

A Diverse Country Turned Into a Disaster – an Un-Success Story: Brazil

Brazil is another melting pot in South America with an abundance of geography and a relatively short history. This country showed its potential in the 2000s and reached a prominent spot in the BRIC(S) Alliance, comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. South Africa is in brackets because they joined later and their economy is not at their level. Brazil is incredibly rich in minerals in the Amazonian region, and there are gas fields near the shoreline. They could have been a success story in terms of environmental issues since they have the Earth’s largest remaining rainforest. Nowadays, headlines show that due to climate change and human behaviour, the forest was on fire. We all know how diverse (and therefore, valuable) the flora and fauna in Brazil is. The arrogance of the newly elected president, Jair Bolsonaro only obstructs the healing process, because he does not believe in climate change. Not believing in the issue means they are not committed to the world. We have to act local, think global and not the other way round—like what took place in Hungary in 2006. Brazil refused the international aid given by Germany and Norway to cover the damages done to the rainforest! They are on a different continent, but they are more committed to the environment and not “brainwashed” as the Hungarian President at the General Assembly said. In terms of diseases, it does not matter who is an immigrant and who is not, it doesn’t matter who votes for the left and who does not. What matters is making an effort. We are all global citizens. We are all part of the world. Who is more committed to humanity? If you are dedicated and make tons of effort, you can become a promising success story, like Brazil’s father, Portugal did. Or Austria, a pioneer in clean energy and recycling. Once again, efforts. I am not saying that everything is perfect in these countries, for sure they have downsides. Dear Brazil, do you want to keep your position as a potential superpower by saving the State of Amazonas? Your first time act should have been army intervention to help firefighters as soon as the first flames were identified. You only intervened after serious international pressure. This is very poor, especially if you are the commander-in-chief. You should not have been this arrogant to the nations around you, neither to the Earth. If the Amazonian rainforest burns down, the mining industry cannot continue, because it will drain the freshwater supplies as well, since some metals (like copper) need an abundance of fresh water to excavate. The soil is not suitable to grow plants because the amount of rain washes all nutrition away. It is worth noting here that Brazil is a breadbasket since they are leading the world in coffee production. They have extensive fields of coffee. They are in favour of Arabica coffee, which needs a lot of rain and shade as it cannot stand the hot weather. Where is the shade, if there are no trees? Rejecting international aid is very immature. This is the main reason why the biodiversity turned into an absolute disaster because the Amazonian rainforest appeared to be on fire. This is the most obvious sign of climate change.

But the turn towards a disastrous future started when the Trabalhadores (the Workers’ Party, a Brazilian social-democratic party) was in power, led by Lula Inácio da Silva and further on, Dilma Vana Rousseff. She was an ambitious leader because, with her leadership, Brazil hosted two important sporting events: the FIFA World Cup of 2014 and the Olympic Games of 2016. They showed that if they want, they can fulfil their potential. They had a flourishing economy in heavy industry (they have iron ore fields in Minas Gerais) and aluminium industry (Minas Gerais and São Paulo). Belo Horizonte is the heavy industrial capital of Brazil. Because of this, they have extreme potential in IT as well, as the above-mentioned city is the Silicon Valley of Brazil. Besides this, they are playing a prominent role in the South American automotive industry, as Daimler, Volkswagen and Ford built factories all around São Paulo. Therefore, this latter city is the automotive capital of Brazil. Ship and aviation industry is led by São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. Everyone knows Embraer. This brand is Brazilian and prominent in manufacturing short-range planes. Therefore, everything was given to build a success story and later on, a superpower. However, corruption and bad public security put a stop to all those above. Why is the latter so bad in this country. I am sure everyone has heard of favelas, which are the poorest areas of big cities and also home to cocaine. The police are patrolling, but they are vulnerable to band corruption. These bands are fighting vigorously with heavy arms. The only way out of this poverty is quality education, or having extreme talent in football or other sports. Universities are pretty good in Brazil, but what about the basics? Yes, the same problem as in Hungary, underperforming in math and reading. Are we 100% sure that it is necessary to cram students with dry facts? Because of this, the difference in income will be visible on children. Therefore, it can be a good idea to introduce a uniform program. Uniforms do not take away or obstruct freedom. They rather unify children to act together. Therefore, we should not teach children what coordinate geometry is about. I learned about that. Have I ever had to use it? Questions in other areas also rise. Why do not we teach what we have to use later on? Such as analysing graphs (referring to my first articles) and making predictions? I am not sure whether it is a good idea to cram children with facts and sacrificing deep understanding. Our brain should pan for gold, rather than function as a sponge. If a kid asks a question, it does not necessarily mean he or she does not understand something! Never stop children from being inquisitive. Never talk back to them with replies like: “Have you read your textbook?” They just want to know what that thing is about because the wording of their textbook is vague. Teaching requires having a lot of patience. But if you are not patient and not understanding, you are not a teacher. However, in certain subjects, like math, you must cram everything in your mind and visualize geometry. Moreover, a teacher should acquire an enormous amount of knowledge and should require a lot in classes. My math teacher was excelling in math (she was a mathematician, not only a teacher). She did not do anything but bring the requirements of the Soviet Union. What does it mean? She could not accept the fact that you got an A from straight Cs or Ds. At that time, she launched a conversation with you and started to test you more often than others. The outcome of those conversations was: “See? You can do it if you want!” Yes, math is a cruel subject, but it is immune to misinterpretations. What does it mean? If you do not provide basic math education to everyone, their future will not be dark, even if there are pretty good universities. After all, you cannot build a house if you start from the top.

Public corruption is also a huge problem in Brazil. I am sure everyone knows that the former Brazilian president, Rousseff was involved in many scandals. Operation Car Wash has been linked to many government executives and giant Brazilian companies, namely Petrobras and Odebrecht. This scandal has been investigated in many other Latin American countries. The scandal started in 2008 when a businessman reported an attempt at money laundering through his company. A judge revealed that the launderers were linked to the state-owned oil company, Petrobras. Former executives of the company were detained and asked for evidence. They were sentenced less for collaborating. This detainment brought along several further arrests and the investigation extended worldwide. The construction company, Odebrecht was also involved in illegally paying for government officials allegiance. Their executive was sentenced to 19 years in prison for paying bribes to Petrobras. Later on, the former president, Lula da Silva was incarcerated for nine years. This meant the position of Dilma Rousseff weakened a lot because she was not collaborating with the authorities. She was accused of fiscal peddling during her campaigns, as these sums were not scrutinized and were late in being paid back. As it was revealed, millions of Brazilians demanded her impeachment. These demonstrations only affected the parliament in 2015, when they started proceedings, and Dilma had to leave her office in December 2015 and was replaced with her vice-president, Michel Temer, who was almost as muddy in corruption scandals as Dilma was. He was booed at when he opened the Olympic Games in Rio. This political tension and instability led to the win by the far-right politician, Jair Bolsonaro, who is very military-minded as a former army officer. He is extremely homophobic, as he said he would even kill his child if any of them declared they were homosexual. Can we make a distinction between Brazilians? Who is a real Brazilian, then? Brazil is a melting pot of hundreds of nations. Does it make sense to elect a nationalist politician as a president? Is it the answer to the problem? We know from history what it meant. A World War! Do we want a world war? Brazil is a big-big country. But they have a treasure, the precious Amazonia, which appeared to be on fire. This is not a joke, a treasure of the Earth is dying. If it is not treated immediately, the Earth will die. The rainforest is the key to the Brazilian economy. It affects the breadbasket status of the country. If the rainforest is on fire, slowly but surely the savannas will also catch fire, because of climate change. Then it eradicates the land’s flora and fauna. Dear Jair, for heaven’s sake. Do not pretend that this does not exist and such a belief can solve it all. It will not. You could only solve it by aiding your fire brigade with the army! Or ask the people to start volunteering for the fire brigade. It will ease the pain. Also, seek help from your neighbours, as they will also be affected. Surely, you cannot wish your country becomes a desert after flourishing with diversity? Conserve the treasure, conserve your economic status, and start showering your people with love. You could become a real superpower. You have everything required. Accept the aid from other countries, and do not throw it back just because “they are responsible for climate change”. For sure, Norway owns the majority of the North Sea gas and oil fields, still, they are very committed to the environment.

However, be more realistic when you bid as a host for the FIFA World Cup or the Olympic Games. These are very expensive and you must have a clear plan of what you want to do with the venues after the games. Are you sure that they will be used for anything later on? You should not play with the country’s money. These two events made the Brazilian economy stammer. Then it was revealed that construction of venues was severely hit by corruption and overpricing. Remember: the Sochi Winter Olympics were stolen. Every single venue was badly designed and overpriced. The Olympic Games is a nice concept, a nice idea, I support the idea of them. But please, do not organize them, if you cannot show a plan after the games. Of course, it is good to be ambitious, but do not talk too big. This leads nowhere. Venues have to be maintained in good condition because they have to attract people. That is why I am not quite sure whether Budapest could host the Olympic Games. It is a historical city, full of beauties, but considering the costs of organizing international competitions, are we 100% sure we have a definite plan after the games? It is better to act, rather than talk. So, dear Jair, do your part to stop the fire rekindling in the Amazonian region, and also you, dear reader, start thinking about your part. What can you do for the region?

– Gergely Lázár

The opinions expressed by the author and those providing comments are theirs alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of #WAYSWF.

Plastic Fantastic?

Plastic Fantastic?

Micro-plastic, meaning less than 5 mm, is polluting the ocean and rivers in the world, with one source estimating that a minimum of 5.25 trillion plastic particles—equivalent to 269,000 tons—are floating in the sea. This catastrophe could gravely damage the food chain and habitats of fellow beings living in the sea. Recently, Volvo Open Race participants found tiny particles of micro-plastic at Point Nemo, which is nearly 1,700 miles from the nearest inhabited land. The highest concentrations of micro-plastic have been observed around the Mediterranean and the South China Sea.

How can we reduce microplastic as individuals? It can be as simple as lowering your usage of single-use plastic containers, recycling, joining a beach or river cleanup. Alternatively, some less-known ways like avoiding microbeads by just looking for “polyethylene” and “polypropylene” on the ingredient labels of your cosmetic products.

So, the next time you purchase a product, choose not to waste plastic unsustainably!

  • Drafted by Colina@whatareyoustillwaitingfor.space
  • Illustrated by Petra@whatareyoustillwaitingfor.space
  • Edited by Lee@whatareyoustillwaitingfor.space
  • Published by Lee@whatareyoustillwaitingfor.space

Past, Present, Future

Past, Present, Future

We exist right now; we cannot revisit the past; we cannot observe the future, just like a bird, flower, tree, or dog.

However, we respect the past, think about the present, and wonder about the future. C’est la vie!

There is only one being that can witness the entire existence of the Earth—Nature itself!

Your ancestors cared about it for you; consequently, you have to care about it for your descendants. How you toil at home to live in better conditions, you have to do the same for nature as, like your house, it keeps a roof over your head, too.

As Chief Seattle, a Duwamish Chief from the Suquamish Tribe once asserted; we do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children.

  • Drafted by Oguz@whatareyoustillwaitingfor.space
  • Illustrated by Petra@whatareyoustillwaitingfor.space
  • Edited by Lee@whatareyoustillwaitingfor.space
  • Published by Lee@whatareyoustillwaitingfor.space

 

Clean up your act!

Clean up your act!

From a young age—especially at school—we are told: “education is important!” Maths, language, biology, history, music, art and so on; all of them contribute something to our advancement. However, what about taking care of nature? Are we learning enough about how to save it at school?

We literally cannot imagine a life without nature. In previous articles, we have already talked about how we may be polluting it irreversibly. I am speculating that the prime reason is lack of education—still unbeknown to some, we are decimating our “safe haven!”

There is one more thing about why we pollute cities. It stems from family or school behaviour we observe when we are young and impressionable. That is, the attitude that: “there is always someone to clean up your mess!” Sure, there are cleaning crews in the streets who earn money from this burden as public servants. Be that as it may, they have to keep streets clean even if you carelessly throw away whatever you have in your hand. Based on my observations, after catching a litterer in the act, some of them don’t even roar “please don’t litter!” because they are afraid of the repercussions. Despairingly, they continue to clean.

How easy it is to help them. Just keep holding your litter in your hand! In my locality, within five minutes, you will spot a litter bin. Straightforward isn’t it?

Don’t assume that cleaning staff are your servants, don’t presume that they are looking forward to cleaning up after you!

With a trifle of effort, you can keep the world livable. However, as I wrote above, we need a role-modelling education system, conscious families, sensitive students and initiating paradigm-shifting initiatives.

Just care more, stop being so selfish, think about the future—nothing else!

“If everyone cleaned his or her doorstep, the whole world would be clean.”—Mother Teresa

  • Drafted by Oguz@whatareyoustillwaitingfor.space
  • Illustrated by Petra@whatareyoustillwaitingfor.space
  • Edited by Lee@whatareyoustillwaitingfor.space
  • Published by Lee@whatareyoustillwaitingfor.space

 

Can we live underwater or in space?

Can we live underwater or in space?

Beside on land, do any other comfortable human-inhabitant-friendly environments to live, come to mind?

I mean for the 7.6+ billion of us? With all the, seemingly taken for granted, privileges life on land is currently providing us:

· air for our lungs

· foods and crops for us and our animals

· drinkables for our 70% water-based bodies

· sunlight for access to vitamin D

· electricity for our industries

· life-saving machines

· enough space and safety, to mention just a few.

Are we advanced enough to guarantee access to breathable air and essential goods and services for relocation to another planet for all living creatures? Are we sophisticated enough to adapt in time, if an ‘end-of-Earth’ scenario were to transpire? Or, will it inevitably mean the end of humankind?

So I ask you, dear reader, how sure are you, that we all can live someplace else? Moreover, if you are—just like me—in serious doubt, what are you still waiting for? The world is dying!

Have you ever tried to spark any conversations about the future of humans with others? What do they envision? What do your loved ones believe will be inscribed in the future for their descendants to endure?

Lately, I have been talking with many Americans, Hungarians, Africans, Indians, Chinese—you name it. The conversations even drove me to a point where I started to feel terrified! Especially as I consider that everything we picture in our minds can become our reality. Moreover, I suddenly felt so small and powerless: the most naïve out of the billions of us who depend on this planet to survive.

In every land of this world, I have kept asking people from all walks of life—university students, care workers, manufacturers, travellers, influencers, homeless people and even CEOs—what do they believe will happen to us, as a race, a seemingly ruling—and ruining—force in this universe?

The answers were sobering, unified and wholly deflated my hopes for humanity: either we escape our decimated planet someday, or humans will die out. Ironically, just like many species of flora and fauna, we have already driven to extinction. (Food for thought: “Humans just 0.01% of all life but have destroyed 83% of wild mammals”—the Guardian).

The chances of you sharing their mindset are pretty high. However, I am not afraid to imagine a better future for us. It is essential to share your positive vision publicly, as ideas have their way, as the world is way too negatively unbalanced.

Call to action:

1. Read more → sustainabledevelopment.un.org

2. Discuss the following topic with your sympathisers: Why is protecting our land and all life forms necessary for sustainable development?

3. Find a project and reach out to the host entity to support them with advice or funds to deliver it, especially west African entities. The reason is the urgent need to deliver SDG-related changes there.

4. Sponsor and motivate someone in your world to take a global volunteer project with AIESEC → aiesec.org/global-volunteer. I suggest one in the Benin Republic → aiesec.org/opportunity/870351

Admittedly, AIESEC initiatives have barely any resources to make things happen—it is a real struggle—I was the Marketing Director in Benin for the 2015-16 term. For more information about my predicament there, please contact me directly at krisztina.kapuvari@aiesec.net.

I tend to be the only one in the room who believes in our inclination not to destroy sinfully, but to overcome our disputes and differences to harmonise—for the greater good—all destinies of every being on the pale blue dot in the cosmos we call home. Surely, I am not the only one?

  • Drafted by Kriszti@whatareyoustillwaitingfor.space
  • Illustrated by Kriszti@whatareyoustillwaitingfor.space
  • Edited by Lee@whatareyoustillwaitingfor.space
  • Published by Lee@whatareyoustillwaitingfor.space

 

Concrete Conundrums!

Concrete Conundrums

My ancestors (ancient Turks) had a great relationship with the sky. They were accustomed to getting their inspiration from it. They called themselves “offspring of the sky”. When they were in trouble or just having a good time, they gazed at it. That’s why they lived in a pavilion under which they could see the awe-inspiring night sky, not encased in a lump of concrete!

A photo from Istanbul, Turkey propelled me to write this article. I have written about how we are annihilating nature a few times before. All the same, I think this is a crucial issue because we depend on nature to provide us with a home.

As you can see in the photo, one building seemingly stacked on top of another, no way to see the ground, no way to see any gap between erections, no way to see the open sky when you walk—no way to even take a fresh breath! Of course, not everywhere is like this; nonetheless, getting more and more so.

Marvelling at lush greenery makes you happy, taking a deep and clean breath makes you feel reinvigorated, observing clouds makes you conjure a vision, a flock of birds invokes independence; even if for a brief moment, you overlook all the tension in your unbalanced work-life.

Now, I am learning how the sky was essential for our lifestyle from the history books. As a “grandson of the sky,” concrete jungles smother me. However, not only in Turkey, most megacities are now unfortunately so.

What do you think? Will humanity yearn for the restoration of ages relinquished as it rockets towards the age of space?

  • Drafted by Oguz@whatareyoustillwaitingfor.space
  • Illustrated by Petra@whatareyoustillwaitingfor.space
  • Edited by Lee@whatareyoustillwaitingfor.space
  • Published by Lee@whatareyoustillwaitingfor.space

 

Is Everything for Humans?

Is Everything for Humans?

Is a cow living to be eaten by us? Is a tree there to provide shadow? Is a flower colourful to be a gift on Valentine’s Day?

Does water flow for our shower? Are the seven seas for us, and are mountains to build a house on so we can see the oceans better?

Why has humankind put itself prominently in the spotlight on the stage of life? Why are we so significant but all other “things” are not? Is this egocentrism coming from our power? From our swords, guns, tanks, and warplanes? A sheep cannot defend “itself” from us. Salivating with glee, we can carve it up and eat it! Does that imply that sheep are living to be centre stage on our dinner table? Of course not!

We believe that we are strong, smart and brave enough. But, have you ever thought of our stature in the universe? Even our seemingly boundless world is barely visible from a distance. We consider the planet we live on to be enormous, but it is a mere speck—scarcely a pinhead!

We are comparable to a piece of dust, conceivably smaller. So, why all the bragging? Why do some people think that if we do not exist literally, we are void of life? Why all the heartbreak and fighting? For whose benefit?

Drafted by Oguz Yilmazlar

 

Our Impact on the World

The book “Sapiens,” written by Yuval Noah Harari, shows the hidden dark side of humanity’s impact on the world.

In the book, the writer asserts that people think that everything in the universe was created for them. For example, trees are for us to cut down and make furniture. Cows and sheep exist for us to slaughter so we can eat them. Chicken eggs only exist for us to eat them at breakfast. In short, the writer suggests that we are the owners of the universe and all other living and inanimate things are to be used for our pleasure.

When you buy a few kilos of meat at the market, do you ask yourself how that meat arrives there? In “industrial animal factories,” baby calves are separated from their mothers and put in tiny cages for around four months. They have no chance to move freely because their meat needs to be soft and juicy when they are slaughtered.

Another example is milk factories that force female cows to remain pregnant because when they have a baby, they can provide more milk. Of course, factory workers do not allow calves to drink all the milk they require. While calves are ingesting milk, they are separated from their mothers, and workers get the rest of it.

Have you ever thought that maybe that’s why sheep are so docile? During the domestication period of them, aggressive ones are culled so that herds are easier to control. Consequently, animals implicitly understood that if they became aggressive, they would become the next victim apparently.

This consequence is the result of evolution. We changed the animals’ behaviours for our benefit. This benefit could be material or spiritual—but we did it.

I believe that even though we are humans, we are on a level footing with a daisy or a rooster, a plane or a tree. If we learn how to share the world, we could make it more just for all of creation.

Drafted by Oguz Yilmazlar

What If?

What if your commute created meals, energy, & new job security? As AIESECers, we learn to see the world differently, for what it could be. In which spaces are you asking “What if…?”

Drafted by Chris Gassman

http://theray.org

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SFLE7fDB0Bc

REMEMBERING THE BIGGEST DISASTER!

Years ago in 1986, the world was faced with the catastrophe of the century in Chernobyl, Ukraine. A few small miscalculations of engineers created the biggest tragedy of the recent past. Thousands of people got cancer from the disaster. A few cities turned into “ghost cities.” Thousands of people had to move from their hometown. The enduring trauma of the catastrophe still continues for the elderly. Not surprisingly, the USSR economy was shaken thoroughly and went into decline.

Not only for Ukrainian people but for neighbouring countries, the fallout from the tragedy was a significant hazard. I can personally state that in my country of origin, Turkey, people were caught up in the calamity far too much. In the Black Sea region, which is the closest part of Turkey to Ukraine, people got cancer and other illnesses. Farm products were also affected. When I was in kindergarten, I remember school staff providing us unknowingly with contaminated nuts which were collected from near the Black Sea. Being kids, at the time, we were overjoyed to get them. Yet, even today, I do not know how much more likely I am to get cancer due to consuming them.

Also, when I was in Ukraine in 2010 for an internship, I wanted to visit Chernobyl, but my friends warned me against doing so. As, if someone goes there, they said, he or she must change clothes afterwards to avoid getting contaminated.

When we check news sources, we realise that the disaster still affects the quality of life for people, animals, and plants; even now, radiation is above safe levels.

My words are not enough to convey the extent of pain that has been endured. We can only hope that it never happens anywhere again.

Written by Oguz Yilmazlar

https://www.theatlantic.com/photo/2016/04/still-cleaning-up-30-years-after-the-chernobyl-disaster/476748/

http://www.chernobylgallery.com/