Big Ideas brings you the best of talks, forums, debates, and festivals held in Australia and around the world, casting light on the major social, cultural, scientific and political issues
Recycling and sustainable fashion
We can recycle to put materials to new uses not just to replace the original product. We hear how textiles and plastics are repurposed to make building tiles and how the fashion industry is trying to reduce, reuse and recycle. Mass produced clothes currently contribute enormous amounts to landfill and generate pollution in the manufacturing process.
Improving psychiatry and the treatment of mental illness
Australia's mental health system is broken and needs to change. On this, psychiatrists, as well as those with a mental illness, agree. But what needs to be done? Are we pathologizing normal human distress, and prescribing too much medication? Could psychedelic drugs, and therapy, be part of the solution?
Going to court for nature
International negotiations on climate change and biodiversity often put the scientific case behind economic and political interests. So, people increasingly turn to the courts to get justice for the environment. What makes those court cases successful? And what does a new form of environmental justice that connects nature with economic and social rights looks like? The new way of getting just rights for nature is to fall back on the very old legal tradition of Chthonic law.
Online privacy & technology reshaping society
Love it or hate it, technology rules the world. Our social systems and values are bent out of shape by innovative technology. Ideas we used to hold dear like privacy are suddenly negotiable in the online world and tech companies set the rules with governments struggling to catch up. So is it possible to regain control of your data and can governments control disruptive technology?
Joe McCarthy and the politics of fear
Joe McCarthy is the figurehead of the anti-communist crusades of the 1950s-era. Thousands of Americans were investigated as alleged communists and Soviet agents during the 'Red Scare'. McCarthyism became the synonym for hysterical intolerance – and some say it’s prevalent again today. Historian Richard Norton Smith explores the rise of Joe McCarthy and the dangerous legacy he left behind.
How a dispute over land clearing turned deadly
What does a brutal murder tell us about our attitudes to land ownership, farming, and the natural environment? There are laws in Australian limiting the clearing of native vegetation. These laws have long been controversial, and many farmers fiercely oppose them. But none have ever gone as far as farmer Ian Turnbull, who shot and killed environmental compliance officer, Glen Turner.
Paul Barclay speaks with Kate Holden, who tells the story in her book, The Winter Road
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