Decoder: What happens if you buy a carbon credit?

Decoder: What happens if you buy a carbon credit?

I am interested in carbon credits — permits that offset greenhouse emissions. So I bought a tonne of carbon. Here’s what I learned. (Photo courtesy of Cory Willis of Willis Farms, Inc. in Tennessee, United States) Anyone with a credit card and the inclination...

Climate change is an existential challenge that resonates particularly strongly with young people, but much of the debate around how to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius remains abstract. Carbon credits are considered part of the solution, but just what is a carbon credit? Monica Kidd, a Global Journalism Fellow at the University of Toronto Dalla Lana School of Public Health, asked herself that same question, but instead of simply consulting a text book, she went out and bought a tonne of carbon for $15 and then listened to the farmer who made the sale explain how it works and why carbon credits are not a silver bullet in the climate fight. Understanding the complexities of problems is the sine qua non to pinpointing solutions.

Exercise: Break students into groups and ask each group to buy a tonne of carbon and then explain how they have contributed to the fight against global warming and why it is not enough.

Decoder: With war in Ukraine, spectre of nuclear war returns

Decoder: With war in Ukraine, spectre of nuclear war returns

Three decades after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has revived dormant fears of a catastrophic nuclear war. Russian missile launchers, capable of firing nuclear warheads, in Red Square in Moscow, Russia, 9 May 2016 (AP...

The world’s optimists thought the era of Mutually Assured Destruction was over with the collapse of the Soviet Union, but Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has stirred fears of nuclear war – anxieties that many young people around the world have never experienced. Harvey Morris takes a horrific topic – what he calls “a suicide pact between the superpowers” – and examines the irony of the nuclear age: that to ensure there would be no nuclear war, the United States and the Soviet Union both had to have weapons of mass destruction. He offers a highly readable introduction to the harsh realities of the nuclear age – realities that all generations are compelled to live with.

Exercise: Ask your students to debate the resolution: “The best way to ensure there will never be nuclear war is to ensure adversaries have recourse to nuclear weapons.”

Decoder: What was the Soviet Union? Why does Putin miss it?

Decoder: What was the Soviet Union? Why does Putin miss it?

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said the fall of the Soviet Union was a catastrophe. What was the USSR, and what does Putin really want? Russian communist party supporters commemorate the death anniversary of the founder of the former Soviet Union, Vladimir...

It’s next to impossible to fathom why Russia might have invaded Ukraine without understanding the Soviet Union and Vladimir Putin’s attachment to the notion of an empire led by Moscow. Few are better placed than Julian Nundy, whose links to Ukraine go back more than half a century, to explain the complex relationship between Russia and its western neighbor. In his decoder, Nundy takes the reader from the upheaval of the Russian revolution to the collapse of the USSR and, with it, Russia’s loss of buffer states – for Putin, an intolerable affront.

Exercise: Ask your students to choose a revolution – if their country had a revolution, then that should be their focus – and to assess the good that may have come out of it, and the bad.

Decoders