When the mythical phoenix first ventures its head above the smolder and ash, it is a little more than an ugly, soot-covered duckling. It waddles two steps forward, falls over, and gets back up. Such is life in the community of Malibu this week as spot fires float over blackened hills, looking for untarnished brush left to consume. The worst is over, and residents trickle back in over singed asphalt to check on homes and belongings, but they are hardly in the clear. By now, the national media has covered in detail the blaze that decimated 713 structures in total, including Miley Cyrus’ mansion and “Westworld” shooting location, Paramount Ranch, according to a Nov. 16 CBS report. The story they will not tell is of the gritty rebuilding of a town that, for thousands of Angelenos, represented a reprieve from the stresses of the everyday.
It is too late to slow climate change with just windmills, solar panels and Teslas. On Oct. 24, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine released a report asserting that “negative emission technologies” that scrub carbon dioxide from the air will be essential if we plan to contain climate change. This news comes on the heels of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report that the nations of the world have a decade to shrink emissions drastically enough to restrain global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. If we fail to meet this goal, “tens of millions more people could be exposed to life-threatening heat waves and water shortages, and the world’s coral reefs could disappear almost entirely,” according to an Oct. 24 New York Times article. The methods scientists have proposed of chemically scrubbing carbon from the air are unproven and still in their infancy. As we sink resources into them, we must adapt to what will inevitably become our reality: using less of everything.
Fraternities aren’t for me, I thought, as bundles of blankets spilled out of my overstuffed Samsonite onto my first-year double. One orientation week and four perspiration-filled basement parties later, I sang a different tune and signed my bid, hands shaking. Through “brotherhood,” I have met some of my closest friends and grown into my own college skin, but I have also sometimes felt like I did not belong to the identity that it promulgated. First-years come to college seeking a group with which they can form a common identity. Fraternity life connects sociable people with high aspirations, and sparks fly. But sometimes, instead of sparking the creation of Facebook, what the New York Times called aggressive, hypersexualized “bro culture,” sexually attacks and harasses women, as Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s Delta Kappa Epsilon chapter at Yale infamously did. Fraternities offer lessons in leadership and teamwork, but they limit themselves by not using their resources for nobler goals such as philanthropy and diversity. If fraternities want a house to live in, they need to stand for more than crushing beer cans and upholding the patriarchy.
In an open forum held this past March, students demanded better communication and shorter appointment wait times at the BCC, as reported in a March 6 article in the Justice. The BCC recognized the demands of students from diverse backgrounds by publishing its resource guide in several languages, including Mandarin. Brandeis students have been demanding longer hours, more accessible counselors and better recognition and outreach to international students. Are these changes substantial and thoughtful enough to celebrate, or are they facelifts that fail to meet students’ needs?
As Moore’s campaign rolls on, defended by Alabama voters, we must question why we hold entertainers to moral standards but let politicians off the hook. If we find sexual assault and misconduct universally detestable, don’t these crimes deserve universal condemnation?
According to an Oct. 27 New York Times opinion piece, we do. Ruth Whippman asserts that “good social relationships are the strongest, most consistent predictor there is of a happy life,” and also that “the average American spends barely more than half an hour a day on social communication.” So where’s the disconnect? The problem with happiness is that we simply don’t value it. We say we do, of course, because saying we don’t care would be blasphemous. But by the numbers, happiness is far down the societal priority list as income inequality and a competitive, numbers-driven society pressures us economically.
Hurricane Maria ravaged Puerto Rico and the Lesser Antilles on Sept. 20, and President Donald Trump has already suggested that we pull aid. Just weeks before, Hurricane Harvey blasted Texas and the Caribbean. Both hurricanes caused devastation, but the response from the White House could not be more different
Imagine spending several thousand dollars to attend a music festival in the Bahamas, only to be greeted upon arrival by disaster relief tents, cold sandwiches and no music.
Coral reefs epitomize the beauty and fragility of the world’s ecosystems, but increased ocean temperatures due to carbon emissions mean that even small, local temperature spikes threaten to wipe out swaths of corals already pushed to their limits.