It started last week with a tweet about the Apex “gang”. Hmm, I’ve seen this before, I thought, as I watched a couple of Liberal party press conferences. Wasn’t there the same sort of panic in the early 2000s with “Lebanese gangs”? And before that “Vietnamese crime gangs”? Could this be a racially-based moral panic? So I sent a tweet saying things to that effect, and went off and lived IRL for a bit. When I returned to Twitter, my mentions had gone feral. There were scores of vile messages. I spoke to other people who’d also had the same experience – one tweet about Melbourne’s crime gangs followed by an avalanche of rage. It was a depressing way to start the year but I rationalised it. What could I do? Engage with the anger? Or disengage? I decided on the latter. My Twitter break was great. I didn’t miss it at all. Of course I reflexively went to open it about 25 times an hour. What was the latest scandal? Who was … [Read more...] about How my holiday was tarnished by trolling and saved by spam
Save the mattoles ancient forest facebook
Only from Cerro Colorado – a rocky outcrop that rears vertiginously over the treetops – is it possible to make out the vastness of the Gran Chaco as it stretches from this corner of Bolivia beyond the horizon into Paraguay. This enormous swath of dry forest and scrubland, where every plant or tree bears thorns, is South America's second largest wilderness after the Amazon rainforest. The Gran Chaco is threatened on all sides: Mennonite cattle ranchers have bought up large tracts in Paraguay and Brazilian farmers looking for cheap land for their soy crops have flooded across the border. The quarter of it that lies in Bolivia is the best preserved, but even its habitats have been disrupted by a gas pipeline and military operations against drug traffickers, whose camps have been spotted in the 34,000 sq km (13,000 sq miles) of Kaa-Iya del Gran Chaco national park. Bigger than Belgium, it is Bolivia's largest national park. Erika Cuéllar, a Bolivian conservation biologist … [Read more...] about Bolivia’s indigenous people join fight to save Gran Chaco wilderness
Selfridge’s may have opened its Christmas shop in July, but most of us are only just starting to think seriously about the festive season. Hot on the heels of working out how you plan to spend Christmas comes the realisation of how much you plan to spend. Presents, food and trips out swiftly add up. Of course, there are lots of ways to celebrate that do not require a big outlay. But if there are things you know you want to do or buy, and your budget is not limitless, some quick-fix savings will help. Plan your supermarket shop For many people, the biggest expense is food. Amy Sheppard, a food writer who shares tips and recipes on Instagram at @amysheppardfood, says her top tip for reducing the cost of eating is meal-planning. “So many people go to the supermarket with no idea what they are going to cook, and they end up spending more as a result,” she says. She plans seven to 10 meals in advance, and says this allows her to better plan how to use leftovers. Sheppard … [Read more...] about Quick-fix saving: how to set aside extra money for Christmas
Aristotle House in Oxford is not as grand as it sounds. A commercial block built by the canal in the 1960s, it is no longer fit for paying tenants, so its owner, Wadham College, allows a group of social enterprises to stay there, like official squatters. And there’s evidence of their enterprise everywhere outside, from the drop-box for returning poetry books, to the compost heaps built from old pallets, and the young Victoria plum tree blossoming in a pot by the door. Inside, for those who know about it, is the Oxford library of things. It sounds like the setting for a Philip Pullman novel, and represents a vision of humanity that’s nearly as fantastical – an idea so simple and so brilliant that, the first time you hear it, you wonder why it hasn’t conquered the world already. Then you wonder if it’s just about to. Imagine you have a grimy old picnic table that needs sanding after a winter in the garden. Or you want to host a Eurovision party, but your TV … [Read more...] about The library of things: could borrowing everything from drills to disco balls cut waste and save money?
Cafe owner Mehmet Boyraz is trying to reduce his food waste for religious reasons. Upmarket tearoom manager Catia Teixeira does it to avoid chucking freshly baked scones in the bin. And sandwich shop customer Ruoyun Hui wants to save money and the planet. All three are enthusiastic users of Too Good To Go, an app that enables restaurants and cafes to sell food they would otherwise have thrown away – thereby offering customers who care about food waste the chance to grab something cheap to eat and make a difference at the same time. Rock-bottom prices are not unusual: to £10.60 worth of great food for £3.49, anyone? I personally discovered it late one evening, sitting in my local Yo! Sushi restaurant in central Cambridge. The restaurant was starting to close and the conveyor belt, which had been full of delicious-looking, freshly made food, was suddenly completely empty. “Where has all the food gone?” I asked the waitress. Some of it, I was told, would be … [Read more...] about Food waste: how to get cheap grub and help save the planet