Swedish student launches protest
A Swedish schoolgirl with Aspergers Syndrome has hit headlines worldwide after she refused to attend classes to protest over climate change. Greta Thunberg is critical of politicians she says are doing nothing to combat global warming – after one of the hottest summers in Sweden’s modern history.
Instead of attending school, the youngster has been sitting outside parliament in Stockholm demanding politicians treat climate change as a national emergency. “What am I going to learn in school?” she asks, “facts don’t matter any more, politicians aren’t listening to the scientists, so why should I learn?” She has written an article outlining her argument that, despite having some of the greenest public policies in the world, Sweden is not a role model for genuine change. It has been translated into English and published here.
In it she compares the situation today to passengers on the Titanic blindly sailing towards the iceberg. The difference is that we know the danger is there. Despite being known for its northerly latitude and Arctic winters, Sweden has been hit by a torrent of forest fires this summer, drought, and the highest temperatures in centuries. Climate concern runs in the family. Greta’s mother is an opera singer who has given up her international career to reduce her carbon footprint.
One in seven students cheat
A new study estimates that one in seven university students have paid someone else to write essays and other coursework for them. Published by Swansea University in Wales, the study found that the number of students who confessed to cheating rose 16% between 2014 and 2018.
The findings were based on a questionnaire circulated to more than 54,000 students who were able to answer the questions anonymously. Managed by professor Phil Newton, the study was primarily based on students in the UK but claims that cheating is on the rise globally.
Newton claims the key problem is that ‘essay mills’ – whereby freelancers are paid to write academic essays – are legal in the UK. He has called on legislation to ban them to preserve the integrity of the academic process. Essay mills are banned in the USA and New Zealand. Newton says that globally the true number of students cheating is likely to be in the millions and is probably underestimated by the study. Students who do cheat are far less likely to respond to surveys and questionnaires, he points out. He wants professors to undergo formal training in how to identify fraudulent essays.
Rural Youth Europe rally
MORE than 100 young Europeans from remote parts of the continent took part in the 61st Rural Youth Europe (RYE) rally in Perthshire, Scotland. Members of the NGO came from 21 countries to attend workshops, visit farms and elect a new chair – Sebastian Lassnig from Austria.
The RYE is headquartered in Finland and claims to represent 500,000 young people from Europe’s rural areas – chiefly in the UK and Ireland, Scandinavia, Germany and Austria, and the Baltic nations.
“My goal will be to develop this fantastic rural network further”, said Lassnig after his election as chair, “with the aim of raising the rural voice in Europe, as we are a minority and we need to shout out loud, so we are heard.” The RYE is funded with an Erasmus grant and seeks to ensure that young people don’t feel disadvantaged by living in a rural environment, and have the same access to resources, education and job opportunities as youth in urban areas.
“Events like the European rally are important as they bring together young people from different countries, backgrounds and beliefs, all of whom unite in the similar challenges facing our nations living rurally, such as poor transport, infrastructure and broadband, and collectively we can come up with an action plan moving forward,” said Lassnig.
Photo: Garry Knight