News + What You Can Do About It | January 2021

Mainstream news in The Netherlands is depressing. It has to be shocking, sensational and topical. Because of this news gets negative and people who only follow this news feel like the world around them is changing in a bad way. They lose trust in people and companies and they lose hope. Besides that, it makes people feel powerless. Yet, it has been scientifically proved that the world gets better every single day for humans. And so, I share 7 news-article once a month in these posts. A mix of positive and bad news, but mostly positive, to make sure that positive news has the upper-hand. Along, I share a practical tip on what you can do to change that news. This could be a lifestyle change, a petition to sign or a social media campaign to support, anything. To make you feel in power, because we are! This way you’ll know about the positive news, how to keep it that way, the negative news and how to change that!

Attack on the United States Capitol 6-1

While we’d all been hoping for a better year in 2021, it started out terrible. On January 6th there was a riot and attack of the White House in the United States. The riot and attack was done by extreme-right criminals who think the elections were false (of which they have no proof). Four criminals and one police officer died during the attack. There are two trends this attack showed clearly. 1. Racism among the police of the US. During the Black Lives Matter-demonstrations the police were there in great numbers and acted violently. Even though there was a riot and attack on the White House today, the police were overruled quite soon. They hadn’t taken the event too seriously. It shows that when black people protest the police is violent and when white people riot (most, if not all, attackers are white) the police is overruled and is not prepared. 2. The effects of fake news. A lot of people get their news from Facebook and other social media these days. They don’t fact check and are systematically brainwashed. As this attack shows, fake news is a threat to our society. The attack on the White House is based on fake news, they have no proof of what they think is the truth.

Personal practical tip: Inform yourself about racism and fake news. I’ve only posted one must read about racism yet, this book, but there is a lot to learn, especially for white people. We need to do better, we need to recognize racism and act upon it. Go to the Black Lives Matter protests, do something on a local level in your municipality. And about fake news: pay for journalism, that is the bottom line. Fake news is only there to get your attention and for your clicks, that’s why it’s so extreme. Don’t get your news and facts from social media but from actual journalists. And always fact check. A good documentary about fake news is The Social Dilemma on Netflix.

The Dutch Ministry has Fallen 15-1

There has been a huge scandal in the Netherlands the past month, it’s called ‘de toeslagenaffaire’. In The Netherlands, if your income is below a certain level, you get a surcharge from the government to pay for your kid’s day care. However, the Dutch government has wrongly accused hundred of families of fraude, making they pay back thousands of euros they obviously didn’t have if they had to receive surcharges. It left people in financial crisis for years and only now it’s been exposed by some media. However, this isn’t the worst part yet. The worst part is that the government has been knowingly discriminating people with a migration background. It’s institutional racism. And what also shocks me that our prime minister has done this before. He started urging municipalities to check Dutch people who previously lived in Somalia more on fraude in 2003 already. He was brought to court because of this and didn’t even show remorse, he thinks the law should change. And now, 20 years later it still happens. We have a racist prime minister. The good part of this story is that it is finally brought to light, the ministry has fallen and they promised to do research about the whole scandal and the racism in particular.

Personal practical tip: certain members of parliament who were involved in ‘de toeslagenaffaire’ will be eligible for election again in March 2021, during the elections. I urge you to not vote for them. These people have made such terrible mistakes that we shouldn’t vote for them to do it again. Especially the prime minister, Mark Rutte from the party VVD, has been promoting racist policies for years. Please do some research on who to vote for and don’t vote for people who are racist.

Biden Reverses Trump’s Policies 21-1

There’s a new president in the United States and I think he’s amazing! On the first day of his presidency he erases many of Trump’s policies by signing fifteen executive orders! He got rid of the immigrant ban for muslim people, he stopped the built of the wall that Trump was building at the border with Mexico, he reimplemented The Dreamers program (which allows kids who entered the US illegally as a kid to stay in the US), he made sure the US re-entered the Paris Agreement of 2016, he made sure the US re-entering the WHO, there is now a law which forces people to wear face masks in government building. There is more and the list is just wonderful! Where Trump saw specific groups of people as the contributor of problems (without evidence of course), Biden sees problems as they really are. The racists, misogamist president has finally left and it’s good to see the damage he has done to be repaired!

Personal practical tip: I don’t really have a personal practical tip related to this news. The bottom line would be: don’t vote for racist, misogamist people!

Riots in The Netherlands 23-1

Duo to the COVID-19 pandemic the Dutch government has announced a curfew. People have to be at home by 21:00 and can’t leave before 4:30 AM to stop the spread of the coronavirus. A small minority of people don’t agree with this policy and saw this as an opportunity to riot and break all kinds of things and attack the police. It’s a disgrace to all the Dutch inhabitants and I am so ashamed. While people are fighting for their life because they are ill, other people are attacking hospitals and the police. Most of the people out rioting are also the people who think the coronavirus is a hoax. They think it’s all one big conspiracy (without evidence again). I’d say fake news is again the big problem here because these people are claiming things which are just insane.

Personal practical tip: where I’d identify the problem to be fake news, my tip on what to do is the same as with the first point. Pay for journalism, that is the bottom line. Fake news is only there to get your attention and for your clicks, that’s why it’s so extreme. Don’t even get your news and facts from social media but from actual journalists. And always fact check. A good documentary about fake news is The Social Dilemma on Netflix. In some cities there have been people who volunteered to help clean up the mess which was made. I hope there will be no more riots, but if it happens, you can choose to volunteer the day after.

Netherlands Fails to have a Circular Economy 24-1

The Netherlands has set specific goal towards a circular economy, which is a good thing (and the least they can do for future generations). However, it fails to actually reach those goals. The goal is to have a circular economy in 2050. We should have decreased our need of raw materials by now but a report showed that this didn’t happen. 6 of 7 goals which are set won’t be reached if we continue the way we are doing things right now. The number of circular businesses have not increased the last couple of years, but decreased. About 4% of all businesses are circular. It’s crazy.

Personal practical tip: support circular businesses! Go to the thrift shop instead of ‘regular shops’, get a subscription at the local library instead of buying books, go to repair cafés instead of buying something new, become a member of clothing library (LENA) instead of buying clothes, there are many options!

Shell Loses Court Case to Nigerian Farmers 29-1

Since 1958 Shell has been pumping up oil in the Nigerdelta. Since then, Shell has done immense damage to the area. Oil has been leaking and Shell has always ignored it. If oil leaks, it destroys the place where people live. Water is no longer good for drinking, people get ill because of the toxins, the whole eco-system dies off, people can’t fish or grow crops anymore (which they usually rely on), the list is endless. However, there is a bit of justice today. Four farmers and Milieudefensie won a court case against Shell. Shell has to pay money to the farmers and do something to decrease the risk of future leakages. It’s at least something good, they’re held responsible!

Personal practical tip: we should use as little oil to make sure we’re not dependent on big multinationals like Shell anymore. Since they’re so powerful and big, they can do a lot without consequences. On a personal level we should switch to renewable energy. During cooking, to heat your house, to transport yourself, etc.

Pornhub Removed 80% of their Content 31-1

This is not news from today apparently, this issue has been going on for longer. Pornhub is constantly contributing to human trafficking and rape because it produces a lot of videos showing (child) rape and child pornography. However, Visa, Master-card and Discover have recently cut ties with Pornhub, making it impossible for the platform to make money. It was only then that Pornhub removed 10 million videos, 80% of their footage, off their platform to be able to make money again. They have also implemented a new policy that makes sure a person needs to register an account before publishing anything on Pornhub. Pornhub has been aware of their contributions to human trafficking but has never acted. Now that their money is in danger, they all of a sudden care. These are tiny steps to improve the platform, but in the end the best thing is to shut Pornhub down.

Personal practical tip: no, I am not against porn. I am against free porn. People in the industry need to be able to make their own choices and make a living when they choose to make porn. Since most people want to watch free porn the business model is inhumane. People are trafficked, people are raped, blackmailed and there is child pornography to be found. That’s all because we don’t pay for the service. What if we chose to not pay for food? Then that food would be stolen. What if we chose to not pay for products? Then these products are stolen. Free porn is stolen porn from people who don’t want to be involved. Want to help shut Pornhub down? Check this petition.

Yours sincerely,
Romee

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