Suzanne Jeffery

All eyes on Paris

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The protests before the UN climate talks in Paris this winter can be a crucial staging post for our movement, writes Suzanne Jeffery.

We have a tendency to talk about climate change as something that will affect future generations. But think how old you will be by the end of this century, or how old your children or grandchildren will be. How old will you be in 30 years when we will have reached an irreversible tipping point in global warming?

The problem is not one for future generations but for our generation. And it will require a huge challenge to the system in order to bring about the kind of changes necessary to organise society sustainably.

Cancun conference recycles old excuses

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The outcome of the UN climate talks in Cancún, Mexico, is being spun as a success. Such claims can only be made because of the chronically low expectations before the conference.

After the devastating failure to reach an agreement at Copenhagen last year, negotiators are patting themselves on the back - not for real achievements in tackling climate change but simply for keeping the talks going for another year. There has once again been no agreement by the rich countries to legally binding emissions cuts that would reduce the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

Stuffed and starved

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Raj Patel, Portobello Books, £16.99

This book analyses the paradox contained in its title. Huge numbers of people in one part of the world suffer from starvation, while in other areas there is an obesity epidemic. Starvation is not new in human history, but what is relatively new is that people are starving even though enough food is produced to feed everyone. Having one billion people on the planet overweight, the majority of them poor, is also a historical first.

War Legacy

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Review of 'Esma's Secret', Director: Jasmila Zbanic

Esma's Secret gives us a glimpse of a country little featured in our newspapers these days. Set in contemporary Sarajevo, capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, it reveals a still battle-scarred country - physically, economically and individually.

The outcome of Western intervention in the Balkans in the wars of the 1990s was deemed benign by its supporters - supposedly designed to bring stability and prosperous Western style economies. One of the most compelling aspects of this film is the lie given to such a picture.

Earthy Courage

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Review of 'North Country', director Niki Kato

North Country does two things which are rare in a Hollywood film. It examines the issue of sexual harassment in the workplace and its main character is a blue-collar working class woman. Niki Cato, the film director best known for her previous film Whale Rider, has delivered a progressive political movie, which stands well alongside the new crop of radical Hollywood films.

The film takes its inspiration from the true story of the US's first class action lawsuit for sexual harassment, brought against a mining company in the late 1980s.

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