Wednesday Recommendations: Veganism, Purple Hibiscus & Solutions-Focussed journalism.

Right – this is going to have to be a bit of a quick one – running out of time today! Going to begin by showcasing a new discovery (to us) in the Podcast department, which is the Guardian’s ‘We Need To Talk About…’ series.

LISTEN: There’s a pretty robust (think that’s the modern term for a bit of disagreement) discussion demonstrating how emotive the issue of food choices is, in ‘We need to talk about the rise of veganism’. The panel comes at it from various angles with a range of opinions and looks at the issue in terms of personal wellbeing, animal welfare and – most pertinently – environmental (including climate change, deforestation and pollution). Early on, one of the panel details the shocking statistic that 14.5% of human-caused emissions are attributable to the livestock sector, which is more than the global transport industry combined (all the planes, trains, cars etc total about 13% of human-caused emissions)! Definitely worth a listen, regardless of your eating preferences.

READ: This fortnight I’ve been reading ‘Half of a Yellow Sun’ and ‘Purple Hibiscus’, catching up on the back catalogue of Chimamanda Ngozei Adichie – both of them were quite brilliant, although I think ‘Americanah’ is still my favourite of her novels. Worth reading all three.

LISTEN: Another Guardian podcast ‘Why is positive news coverage so vital in today’s world?’ – discussing solutions-focussed journalism and whether it can counter the depressive/disempowering effect of much of today’s rolling news. This is a really interesting discussion – particularly in the details offered on traditional journalistic training and the equation of ‘bad news’ with ‘serious journalism’ versus ‘good news’ with ‘frivolous’; and the psychological evidence offered on the empowering effect of more positive reporting. This tied in for me with the fantastically inspiring ‘Hope in the Dark‘ by Rebecca Solnit – and the train of thought Talking Birds has been exploring for a while around the responsibilities of artists/TV/filmmakers who represent the world as hopeless and corrupt, in unwittingly making these theories self-fulfilling. (We have written about this before – in more depth and much more eloquently of course – but – sorry! – don’t have time to find the link at the moment!)

As ever, let us know whether you read/listened on one of our recommendations and, if so, what you thought.

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