Over 40 students at the University of Edinburgh are holding a sit-in protest in the office of the University’s Finance Director, demanding the University increase staff pay. University staff are set to go on strike tomorrow (Tuesday) in a dispute … Continue reading
Benjamin Brown is a member of UEA People & Planet Why would an institution at the forefront of research on the impacts of climate change choose to finance the very industry causing it? Despite its aspiration to be ‘an exemplary … Continue reading
Flick Monk is a regional organiser for People & Planet, a member of the UKYCC and part of the UK Youth Climate Coalition international team delegation to COP19. It’s been a pretty hard near-two weeks at the UN climate conference … Continue reading
We Are Not Rats is restarting – as a quarterly publication that provides space for debate, radical thinking and creativity around building a world fit for humans, not rats. We are a collective looking to challenge the acceptance of competition, individualism and profit as driving forces in society, believing that they restrict creativity, community and humanity. Our aim with We Are Not Rats is to advance discussions and debates which will allow us to become agents for change rather than products of a flawed society.
We believe that We Are Not Rats, and independent media generally, are necessary for two key reasons; the first relates to education and the second to the media.
The value placed on independent thought in education is in decline, and has been for many years; an increasing obsession with exams and targets has resulted in the domination of an education style based on memory and regurgitation. This comes at the expense of imagination, autonomy and critical awareness. The absence of space to think, and encouragement to do so, results in a lack of confidence to consult, and challenge, our own minds. This pattern is sometimes broken at the level of higher education – but there, ideas and critiques often remain confined and sidelined within academia, their relevance to contemporary society unexplored. Beyond education, in a world where conformity is apparently easy, giving voice to critical thinking becomes even harder. Students with radical ideas become graduates in the rat race. By thinking critically, exchanging ideas and responding to them actively, we can challenge the hegemonic thinking and capitalist mechanisms that rule our society. We Are Not Rats hopes to provide a platform for debate which challenges conformism and examines new avenues for social change.
The media wields huge power in shaping our perspectives; this is problematic given the selectivity and short-term memory span of mainstream, commercial, journalism. Issues such as the planned privatisation of the student loan book, or our almost-but-not-quite intervention in Syria disappear from the collective consciousness as the news cycle churns rapidly onwards. Critical examination of events in relation to the structures and ideologies dominant in society is minimal. Alongside the growing ranks of quality independent media, We Are Not Rats hopes to develop awareness about current issues and enduring structures, encourage critique and analysis and in the process strengthen movements in order to change the damned system!
Perhaps controversially, in the year of Scotland’s referendum, we have chosen to expand the scope of this publication to the North of England. This should in no way be seen as expressing an editorial position on independence, or denigrating its value. Rather, we have seen how the North, too, suffers from the UK’s cultural, economic, and political London-centricity. When, in a colonial turn of phrase, Tory Lords call for fracking in the ‘Desolate North-East’, we believe there is a clear need for the North, too, to have more autonomy – and yet little cross-border solidarity, or debate, is taking place.
The theme of our first issue is autonomy, which can be approached or ignored in any way you see fit. We will publish both short articles and long articles, of up to 3,000 words. The deadline for the first issue is Thursday 28th November. Questions, queries and submissions should be sent to email@example.com.
Izzy Evans is a 20 years old student and blogger from Staffordshire. She often write about energy savings on the Ekobase blog. As the cold British weather begins to make itself welcome in our homes, our thoughts begin to draw … Continue reading
This blog was originally posted by Diana Yoon on their blog Style From YoonThis past weekend (November 1-3), I attended People & Planet‘s Shared Planet conference in London. It was the largest UK student gathering on human rights, world poverty … Continue reading
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Student, Jas Irban, shares and reflects on her time at An-Najah University in the Occupied Palestinian Territory: Horns beep, dog barks, fireworks crack. Night has fallen. City lights glimmer up the hill of cluttered housing constructions. In the road a … Continue reading
Theo LeQuesne is a 3rd Year Student at the University of Warwick On January 9th 2013 I joined the Fossil Free divestment movement in the United States. It was, without a doubt, the most rewarding decision I have ever made. … Continue reading
It’s been just over 7 weeks since I joined People & Planet as their Climate Change Campaigns and Communications intern, and I’ve finally got round to writing my first blog. It’s not been for the lack of trying, but we’ve … Continue reading
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Generation Fairtrade mentor Rachel Hodgson reflects on her year supporting students at Nicholas Chamberlaine Technology College. The collaborative, participative way of working advocated by People & Planet really worked well. The students engaged with the group agreement and were able … Continue reading