Unless you have been living under a rock, then you have probably noticed the introduction of reusable straws around campus. The supposed intent behind this new green initiative is to cut back on the use of single-use plastics, of which I am completely in favor. The abundance of single-use plastics in existence has exacerbated the effects of climate change by contributing to greenhouse gas emissions around the world. This initiative to stop using plastic straws is not just isolated to Brandeis University — this is a global movement in which the consumer is being challenged to consider how even the smallest actions, such as using a straw, have drastic consequences on the environment. However, though I am in support of holding ourselves accountable for climate change and its impact on our environment, I am not on board with the focus on blaming the consumer. Instead, I believe that we should shift our collective gaze on the giant conglomerates responsible for the mess we find ourselves in now and hold them accountable for the absolute destruction these companies have caused in our world.
Chances are that you have heard talk of impeaching President Trump. On Thursday, the House of Representatives voted in favor of an impeachment inquiry, the fourth time that our nation has voted in favor of an impeachment inquiry for a sitting president. This impeachment case is primarily based on the accusation that Trump demanded information from the president of Ukraine about his political opponent Joe Biden in exchange for military aid. Whether or not Trump did in fact make these demands, I am most concerned with what will happen after he is out of office, whether that be through impeachment or the end of his term. I think that what would be most beneficial to the country as a whole would be to remove the President from office.
In honor of Mental Illness Awareness Week, I wanted to address one major issue facing a segment of the community at Brandeis. I would like to preface this by making a distinction between mental health and mental illness. Mental health refers to an individual’s psychological, social and emotional well-being. Mental illness is defined by the National Institute of Mental Health “as a mental, behavioral, or emotional disorder.” At one point or another we all experience a time in our life when our mental health is challenged. From my experience as a Brandeis student, I can say that the stress from academics has at times put a strain on my mental well-being. Mental illness is a health condition and should be treated as seriously as any other disease. As the Canadian Mental Health Association says, “Just as it’s possible to have poor mental health but no mental illness, it’s entirely possible to have good mental health even with a diagnosis of a mental illness.” It is important to clearly define these two terms because they are too often used interchangeably.
I was trying my best to work off the box of cookies I had eaten earlier in the day when a surprising video popped up on my newsfeed — a clip about universal basic income. As someone who was trying to bike their way out of caloric purgatory, I of course was interested in anything that could keep my mind off of the pain I was feeling. What ensued was a barrage of information explaining how a universal basic income would be the solution to the country’s poverty problem. So, if the claims about it are to be believed, why is there so little buzz around this idea?