We need to talk about undies

Yes, your undies are a very private thing. Comfort and style are immensely important, and no doubt you’ll have a strong personal preference. But we do need to talk about undies.

Do you know what nasties are riding along with your favourite undies?

Residual chemicals in clothing

It’s a significant issue in clothing, particularly for people with sensitive skin, and especially in underwear that hugs our skin so closely. So much so that Choice recommends:

wash any new clothes twice before wearing, although washing won’t remove certain types of chemicals

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As the world pushes for a ban on nuclear weapons, Australia votes to stay on the wrong side of history

As the world pushes for a ban on nuclear weapons, Australia votes to stay on the wrong side of history

Tilman Ruff, University of Melbourne

In early December, the nations of the world are poised to take an historic step forward on nuclear weapons. Yet most Australians still haven’t heard about what’s happening, even though Australia is an important part of this story – which is set to get even bigger in the months ahead.

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Ebola, as told by Sierra Leoneans

Our special edition of the New Internationalist magazine – Sierra Leone rebuilds post-Ebola – is something of a journalistic experiment. It’s the product of a collaboration with a remarkable group of Sierra Leonean citizen reporters. Trained by media advocates On Our Radar, they give us a privileged insight into the aftershocks of Ebola in this corner of West Africa.

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Nutrition is key: eating our way to Indigenous health equality

What do children in the Central African Republic and the Australian Northern Territory have in common?

Children in both countries are likely to suffer from life-threatening wasting which means that they do not weigh enough for their height. In fact, the situation is worse in Australia – 11% compared to 7.4% in Africa. Worryingly, wasting is a strong predictor of early childhood mortality.

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Vandana Shiva – seed freedom

At WOMADelaide’s Planet Talks, Vandana Shiva, Paul Sutton and Tim Jarvis will be challenging the values that we place on our land, food and water, and what these values mean for the health of our planet and ourselves.

I spoke to Dr Vandana Shiva about seeds and freedom.

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Creating hope – Simran Sethi at WOMADelaide

There could well be a serious outbreak of optimism at WOMADelaide 2015 when two of the world’s eco-heroes discuss “Creating Hope”. Simran Sethi will be in conversation with Sylvia Earle as part of WOMADelaide’s Planet Talks. Sylvia Earle was named by Time Magazine as its first Hero for the Planet in 1998, and Simran Sethi was listed in The Independent’s 2007 top-10 Green List, along with the likes of Al Gore and Nicholas Stern.

I spoke to Simran Sethi this week for a preview.

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Leard Blockade – Maules Creek coal mine

A few months ago, I left my home in Adelaide and travelled up to Maules Creek, New South Wales. I’ve never been much of a wanderer, but when I heard that Whitehaven was working on the largest coal mine currently under construction in Australia in the middle of the Leard State Forest, I realised that things were pretty serious.

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Mercury-free LED light bulbs

We need to talk about light bulbs. For years we’ve all been busy replacing traditional energy-hungry incandescent light globes around our homes and offices with those ubiquitous compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs).

Certainly they use only a fraction of the power, and that’s great for household budgets and as a carbon pollution reduction measure. But unless the used CFLs are diverted from landfill to a properly qualified recycler, the pollution risks are high. The main worry is mercury – a notorious heavy metal that brings with it serious health and environmental risks.
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World Bank opens up its data sets

The New Internationalist has long been a critic of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, and rightly so. A wide range of IMF and World Bank activities in the past have had dubious benefits, and in some cases have worsened rather than improved the situation for the world’s most vulnerable people. Governance has been a particular concern, with Boards of the institutions dominated by directors from rich nations.

But change has been afoot at the Bank for some time, and a more open approach has slowly emerged, particularly with regard to the data sets that the World Bank has collected since its formation in 1944. It’s a tremendously important development, because the data that is selected – and the way in which it is presented – can promote vastly different approaches to development.
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