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While I feel like there are countless stories of people picking up new hobbies or revisiting old ones during the pandemic, I thought I would add a post about one of my hobbies that I picked back up again. During the pandemic, I picked running back up again. If not for the pandemic, I definitely would not have started running again because I only started during the first lockdown when I was living in Singapore in early April.

When I was younger, I ran in cross-country during middle school, although I never ran more than around 2 miles. Running was…

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One of the most perplexing ideologies to come out that seek to address the climate crisis is eco-authoritarianism. Proponents of eco-authoritarianism like David Shearman have argued that democracy has failed to confront the climate crisis and that an eco-elite must be created that would guide the world as a kind of benevolent overlord. These would be technocratic experts who would ensure that the climate crisis is addressed even if it meant severe restrictions on human rights and liberties. While I fully admit that the current neoliberal structure is blatantly unwilling to address the root causes of climate change, an authoritarian…

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I have been writing about very serious topics the past few months, so I thought I would take the time to write about a more personal topic. As the title implies, this topic is about reading fantasy again after a long time away. I actually read quite a lot for my degree, but while there are some fascinating academic books and articles, I have just never enjoyed them in the same way that I get stuck into a fantasy story.

To provide a little background context, I used to read a lot of fantasy. I would say that before I…

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Although the defeat of Donald Trump signals a kind of reprieve, democracy worldwide is on the retreat. Within the European Union (EU), Hungary and Poland have undermined their democracies through autocratic reforms. The Law and Justice Party within Poland has systematically packed the judiciary with judges loyal to the party and thus weakened the ability of the courts to hold the government accountable. In Hungary, Prime Minister Victor Orbán used the coronavirus to declare a state of emergency and rule by decree.

The approach used in Hungary indicates a growing trend towards more authoritarianism worldwide using the pretext of the…

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Going Vegan

Today is November 15th, and it marks exactly one month since I have become a vegan. I have to admit that even until a few months ago, I never thought I would become a vegan. I became interested in the lifestyle through learning more about the climate crisis and how veganism is the single biggest way in our personal lives to reduce our environmental impact. The reason that I never thought I would become a vegan is because it always seemed too hard or too restrictive.

Until September of 2020, I was eating meat and dairy, although I…

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Columbus Day

Today is Monday, October 12th, 2020, and this day is celebrated as Columbus Day in the United States. It commemorates Christopher Columbus’s landing in the Americas and is a national holiday where everyone gets the day off from school or work. But the celebration of Columbus begs the question, should we really be celebrating him? In order to critically assess Columbus, we must be presented with the primary source accounts of his arrival in the Americas. Through looking at these sources, we can come to an informed conclusion about the appropriate response to the question of celebrating Columbus.

The West Coast Fires in the United States

The western part of the United States is now on fire. These fires are unprecedented and represent the beginning of a terrifying new reality if climate change is not substantially curbed. A period of drought from 2011–2019 combined with lots of dry vegetation have meant that the fires are spreading at a rapid pace. Climate change has contributed to this drought and is helping make these fires burn longer and hotter. …

In addition to the coronavirus pandemic, 2020 may well be remembered for its vibrant and diverse protests around the world from the United States to Belarus to Hong Kong to Thailand. These protests have ranged from protests for racial justice to pro-democracy protests to anti-lockdown protests. The last time such massive protests swept around the world was 2011.

2011 was a year remembered in the social movement literature as a protest-filled year in large part because of the Arab Spring. Pro-democracy and anti-authoritarian protests spread throughout the Middle East after Mohamed Bouazizi, a fruit vendor in Tunisia, set himself on…

It is so blindingly obvious that ignoring climate change will lead to calamity for all humankind unless drastic action is taken to prevent it. Governments have been unwilling to take radical action to transform public transportation infrastructure, reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, change the way that we eat, reduce waste, and change our energy supply, though the list goes on. The perpetuation of the status quo is deeply harmful not only to the planet, but it also tends to disproportionately affect people along class and racial lines, particularly in the United States. Black Lives Matter can also be seen…

First Impressions and Reflections

From August to November 2019, I lived in Hong Kong and attended the University of Hong Kong (HKU) as an exchange student. Upon my arrival, I was immediately struck by the British colonial heritage epitomized in the double decker buses driving on the left side of the road. At the same time, the city, while it does have English signs, is filled with traditional Chinese characters on the roads and in shop windows and the sounds of people speaking in Cantonese. I would say that Hong Kong did embody a kind of fusion of Western, British…

Andrew Barnett

History and politics student at Edinburgh. I write about political issues and personal things from a left-wing perspective.

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