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Stop defending this death culture

Kyle Hayden, Guest Columnist This essay does not “deny that Miami is a party school.” The much discussed “drinking culture” prevalent among “state-schools” is an addiction-based death culture. This is not an opinion. A fact: students — human beings — at our school have recently died directly from consumption of alcohol. This essay critiques dominant ideas about student drinking and “changing the drinking culture” in Carly Berndt’s recent piece. It includes criticisms of Dean of Students Mike Curme’s interview with The Student and Curme’s opinion piece from the April 4 issue of The Student. Berndt recalled an anecdote about an “underage boy” arrested for underage drinking on Green Beer Day (“The holiest 24 hours of the academic year”) – and then spotted him again later, drinking yet again. This anecdote is later evoked to support the idea that “…[students are] not going to choose free skate at Goggin over a night Uptown, and it is time the university accepts that.” Do students simply want to be told what to do? Do they not get enough authority jammed into them during their required courses? Now we need the university to give us something to do? The perceived need to drink like everyone else belongs to the category of false needs. False needs are desires imposed upon people from corrupting influences (e.g. advertisers). Advertisers and bar owners don’t care about you....

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The Necessity of Discomfort: Science and Sustainability in the 21st Century

What are you willing to give up for a living planet?  What should we be willing to do to reverse the circumstances that have brought us to this point? What is all the worry about? These questions run the gamut of environmental thought today. The Al Gores of the world, liberal environmentalists, seem to think that just a reorganization of the current energy infrastructure into a “green and sustainable” one will allow us to continue “enjoying our standard of living.” I used to believe that, but then I slowly realized it was just that — a belief — and not an understanding of the present situation. I wish to challenge this set of assumptions. Education is destroying what you thought you knew yesterday. The definition of research is that one gathers materials to reach NEW conclusions. Unless we are prepared to depart with the idols of today, we are not serious. We can choose either a living planet OR an industrial economy. The world’s wealthiest people (North America, Europe, Australia) are choosing an industrial economy. Outside the “core” nations of the world, the negative effects of industrial production and organization are exported to “peripheral” regions and the propagandists call this “development.” Make no mistake: if the world’s poorest 3 billion people disappeared today there would be no significant change in global emissions of carbon dioxide. The burden of becoming...

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Breaking out of the four-year-long beer commercial

Kyle Hayden, Columnist Are not the activities of most people Sitting and Watching? This is not limited to screens, though the primary form of Watching and Sitting comes through the form of the screen or from a car window. A “screen” could be any kind of mediation: a separation between the being (human) and environment (reality). Vacation this year, although lovely by any normal measure, was framed foremost by the recognition that reality is off limits; nothing anywhere is particularly of any use unless you can access spaces or substances (food) by forking out some money. No contribution is likely. No intervention is possible anywhere. Freedom means you can do anything you like as long as it has no real impact. Buy and Sell. Sit and Watch. Our chief activity as a species in public is now shopping together. When I go somewhere, I can’t actually do anything with the materials there. I cannot take care of anything, grow anything or build anything. Most spaces are off limits; the world has become a museum with “DO NOT TOUCH” signs everywhere. I don’t mean the destruction caused by driving an automobile down the road should be regarded as “an intervention.” The “choice” of driving on any particular road is not a choice at all and is essentially determined before one even begins. Driving is not freedom; movement should not even be...

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Being against genome editing means being against capitalism

Wendell Berry, who has written extensively about the use and abuse of the land in the United States, has described the problem with genome editing better than I could. When asked about genome editing, Berry said: “The inevitable aim of industrial agri-investors is the big universal solution. They want a big product that can be marketed everywhere. And the kind of agriculture we’re talking about that leads to food security and land conservation is locally adapted agriculture. And they can’t do that. Industrial agriculture plants cornfields in Arizona; locally adapted agriculture says, what can we fit in this place...

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What we talk about when we talk about climate change

Being a reasonable person is becoming a radical position. Having a conscience is becoming an activity for insurrectionists. If you agree with any of the following, look out, you might be put on some kind of watch list of people who trust scientific consensus. We now live in a geologic era known as the Anthropocene: “The age of humans.” Coming from geologists, this is not congratulations for a job well done. The International Union of Geological Sciences has confirmed: human industrial activity has altered; even at nearly undetectable levels the geology of the planet. Among the other detritus (steel,...

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