You’ve landed in the bonus online content section for our first edition for 2021: Re/Fresh! This is where you can read additional pieces to complement our print magazine, extended versions of articles, and diagrams and illustrations in their full glory.
In this post you will find:
- ECONOMICS & FINANCE
Fresh Economics – Linda Pickering
The Ugly Truth About the Fast Fashion Industry – Eileen Melendez
What’s the Buzz About Bridgerton?! – Emma Forsyth
Cupped Hands – Jacob Cerin
re/invention – Saul Revell
Semester Soundtrack Refresh – Alicia Harrop
Caffeine – The Great Refresher? – Jack Logan and Paris Javid
Economics & Finance
As with all academic disciplines, economics is constantly re-inventing itself. This could not be more prevalent than during a global pandemic! The discipline has traditionally subscribed to linear models, whereby a good is created, then purchased, and finally consumed. More recently, models which hold a more holistic view are rising in prominence. I believe this is largely due to the planet’s ever-depleting resources; namely, the push towards more environmentally conscious forms of production. Two such models which are gaining traction are Doughnut Economics and the Circular Economy.
Whilst it might sound like a tasty snack, Doughnut Economics is actually a revolutionary way of conceptualising economies. Developed by Kate Raworth, Doughnut Economics seeks to balance the social needs of people as well as respecting the environment. It reimagines what economic success looks like. Instead of focusing on what a country’s Gross Domestic Product might be, Raworth would instead be interested in whether an economy sits within the ‘green doughnut’.
By now you’re probably feeling a little hungry and wondering where you can get one of these green doughnuts from. The green doughnut sits between the planet’s ecological ceiling and the social foundation. Shortfalls in the social aspect and overshoots in the ecological aspect are shown in red (climate change, nitrogen & phosphorous loading, land conversion, and biodiversity loss for those of you reading this in print). So, an economy which doesn’t deplete its environment and ensures its people are looked after would sit within the green doughnut.
And it’s not just a fantasy; Amsterdam has committed to using Doughnut Economics, working with Raworth herself. The city also aims to become a fully circular economy by 2050. It would be exciting to see more economies take on this initiative.
The Circular Economy
The Circular Economy is the synthesis of several economic schools of thought which have gained traction since the late 1970s. It essentially aims to cut out waste in our economies. Similar to Doughnut Economics, the Circular Economy requires an economy to make profound changes. This involves changing our methods of production and consumption. The economy could be viewed as more of a closed system with resources being reused and re-introduced into the economy instead of creating negative externalities such as landfill, or using more raw materials. It includes some revolutionary prospects, such as leasing a good from the manufacturer instead of purchasing it so that the manufacturer refurbishes it once it reaches the end of its shelf life.
We also might see more of the Circular Economy in the mainstream. The investment management company that Brian Deese has been working for has a “Circular Economy Fund”. This could indicate that, as Joe Biden’s most senior economic advisor, he will emphasise this way of thinking. I’m sure I don’t need to emphasise how significant it will be having one of the world’s most influential economies taking on this model.
The Pandemic as a Catalyst?
The economic crisis brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in numerous changes in how people view economics. Due to high unemployment, governments strengthened their welfare policies. This has shifted the Overton window, allowing for more discussion on Universal Basic Income and other policies. The pandemic also revealed drawbacks of growth-based economies, which are more acutely vulnerable to negative shocks. This is because they have been streamlined so that resources are allocated towards the highest profit, creating greater profits in the short term, but making the economy weaker in terms of mitigating crises. It’s unreasonable to expect endless growth to be sustainable or without consequence. Models such as Doughnut Economics and the Circular Economy create more resilient and sustainable economies. This type of thinking looks to the future rather than the short-term thinking of linear economics. With these cracks being exposed, we should all expect changes in how we structure our markets.
Words by Linda Pickering
The Ugly Truth About the Fast Fashion Industry
Today, we live in a society that normalises retail therapy. Shopping addictions have become part of our meme culture and watching people unwrap online clothing hauls a form of entertainment.
The average Australian spends $2000 a year on fashion; collectively, we spend $5 billion a year. Over the past thirty years, fast fashion has dominated the fashion industry by generating and responding to this demand. Leading retailers include ASOS, H&M, TopShop, and Zara.
Fast fashion involves a series of chain retailers who produce an affordable knock-off runway garment, creating a see-now-buy-now retail environment. In the past, it was common for people to purchase clothes seasonally. However, the fast fashion industry has created more ‘seasons’ to the point that clothing stores have new stock every fortnight. ‘Fast’ also means it will not last long in our wardrobes, keeping us in a constant cycle of needing to update our wardrobes.
While fast fashion may be cheap and stylish, it comes at huge social and human costs at every step along the production chain. Most of us are aware of the hostile working conditions within the fashion industry. However, the issue of its effect on the environment has been highlighted in recent years.
In 2015, textile production created more greenhouse emissions than all international flights and maritime shipping combined. That outfit we packed for the gram is essentially more costly to the environment than the flights we hop on. Let’s start with the fabrics these clothes are made from. Synthetic fabrics like polyester, nylon and spandex require approximately 340 million barrels of oil per year to be manufactured. Materials such as viscose exemplify the huge amount of waste that’s produced; 70 per cent of the harvested wood that is pulped and processed is dumped or incinerated.
Yet, each step along the process gets worse. The chemicals used are often dumped in rivers that are the main source of water for nearby villagers in developing countries. Recently, toxic run-off from manufacturing viscose by H&M and Zara’s factories in Indonesia have been linked to poisoning young children who depend on the Citarum River as a water source. Unfortunately, instances like this do not meet headlines, for obvious reasons.
The last step along the production chain is the process of disposing clothes that didn’t sell, or clothes we no longer want. Every year, half a million tonnes of clothes and textiles end up in Australian landfill.
Clothing brands know this is a problem and know we care about the environment. So, they’ve created a new market to show consumers just how ‘woke’ they are. Greenwashing has become a prime focal point of the fashion industry. Companies market themselves as being much greener than they really are. This is the saddest of the truths and the epitome of companies profiting from our consumerist society. The information surrounding ‘green fashion’ is purposely vague and misleading.
‘Inditex’, which owns Zara, was found to have buried information. Its annual report claimed that the company reused and recycled 88 per cent of its waste. This number was further explained several hundred pages later, where it was revealed to have excluded hundreds of their factories as well as the waste generated by their stores.
Zara claims “technologies were used to reduce water consumption in the dyeing process” to paint themselves in a positive light, when in fact the dying process account for just 2 per cent of the water used to make the garment. Ploys like this extend beyond Zara across the wider fashion industry.
Companies such as H&M enjoy depicting themselves as greener by implementing recycling bins consumers can use for unwanted clothing. Of course, this is coupled with a “15 per cent off your next purchase,” ultimately feeding into the consumerist cycle. Eco-friendly lines such as H&M’s Conscious Collection are now trending thanks to the word ‘sustainable.’ Yet, this phrase carries no legal definition that would genuinely absolve consumers from guilt about their spending habits.
Whilst fashion should be an enjoyable form of self-expression, it is important we make the best choices possible surrounding what companies we buy from. Whilst there isn’t a fast fashion line that is 100 per cent perfect, we can still make a difference to the environment. This can be done by donating unwanted clothes and purchasing second hand clothing. Just by wearing our garments nine months longer, we can reduce our carbon footprint by 30 per cent.
As we step into 2021, we should aim to spread awareness and spark those conversations so that we as consumers are more informed, and like H&M would say, more ‘conscious’ about our environment.
Eileen is a fashion-loving socially-savvy JD student
Words by Eileen Melendez
What’s the Buzz About Bridgerton?!
You may or may not have heard of the saucy period drama Bridgerton that has dominated Netflix’s viewings since its release on Christmas Day. Based on the Bridgerton book series by romance author, Julia Quinn, the show takes us on a journey of scandal, controversy and, above all, romance. Within the first ten days of its release, it had racked 82 million streams! But, what is the buzz about Bridgerton and why should you watch it?
The Bridgertons are a fictional aristocratic family led by widowed matriarch Violet who tragically loses her dearly-loved husband. She single-handedly raises her eight alphabetically named children: Anthony, Benedict, Colin, Daphne, Eloise, Francesca, Gregory, and Hyacinth. There are books for each child and several spin-off stories.
The first series follows the first book The Duke and I. The eight episodes in season one of Bridgerton focus on Daphne (Phoebe Dynevor). She is the eldest daughter and must find a husband. The problem is, she wants to marry for love, like her parents. She is convinced she won’t find it on the marriage market. Enter Duke of Hastings, Simon Basset (Regé-Jean Page). He doesn’t want to be a Duke, doesn’t want to get married, and doesn’t want children. Daphne and Simon pretend to court so she can improve her prospects, and he can avoid marriage altogether.
We only have to look at all those Jane Austen movies to know that period pieces such as this one always go down a treat. The 18th century regency setting is always a crowd pleaser. Yet what makes Bridgerton so good is a modern plotline that follows the conventions of a ‘chick flick.’
A very handsome Duke of Hastings features as the love interest of a modern storyline. He is accompanied by his friend, the boxer, Will Mondrich (Martins Imhangbe) with a side tale about his life, family, and choices. That is a love story, too.
More often than not, there is at least one moment wherein the main character (Daphne) will become upset and cry with tears of happiness or sadness. We have a strong female lead in Daphne and her sister Eloise is the voice of the modern viewer. They frequently include upbeat or happy music that the audience would have heard of, or that is current at that time. The soundtrack includes the likes of Taylor Swift and Ariana Grande, converted into classical style. Get ready for some steamy love scenes as Bridgerton is full of sex and nudity! The story is fairytale-based; Bridgerton is not history but rather a fantasy!
The period costumes take on a lifeforce of their own, being historically accurate to the time, they are also bespoke. Unlike the usual hired garments, the costumes are tailored to the series with hundreds of costumes hand-stitched and paired with handmade jewellery! The costumes are an interpretive dance: modernised but nodding to the period they are situated in. All the while, they are incredibly aesthetically pleasing!
This light-hearted saga tells of family, friendship, mistakes, sex, lies, betrayals, redemption, laughter, love, romance, and the promise of a happily ever after. If I haven’t given you enough of a buzz yet…it has just been renewed for a season two! Bridgerton is worth the buzz!
Emma Forsyth is a period drama and fashion-loving junkie.
Words by Emma Forsyth
Here’s some advice for the new uni semester that won’t seem all that sensible. It’s advice that will be the tougher out of your options when the time finally comes to use it. But it does get easier to use as the semesters go on, and also as the years of your life go on.
Suppose you’re into a sport like volleyball, and that it’s one of your favourite things. Your attendance at this favourite sport is immaculate during the summer holidays, and you’re still going strong with it even after uni has come back, and you’ve begun studying for your difficult degree. I don’t know when volleyball season runs, but let’s assume that I’m correct.
Let’s imagine that the first wave of assessments comes in week five. You want to do fantastically, or at least not fail. You regard it as a necessity that perhaps, just for a week or two, you put a pause on your favourite activity in the world. After working hard and completing your assignments – with hopefully some level of satisfaction – you go back to playing volleyball. You’re loving it, obviously. Then two weeks pass.
Your second wave arrives. This wave is far more stretched out than the first, but the intensity is not lost at all. The stress in your difficult degree goes on for over a month. Again, you want to do fabulously in your difficult degree, or at least not fail. You choose to part ways with the volleyball court again, popping in to play at one or two random times – at most. The next time you come back properly to your favourite thing, you’re on holidays again. For about two months, you were on power-saving mode. You didn’t mind this, because you had a greater priority to focus on, and besides, you got your free time back after exams.
When the holidays begin after such a semester, we see university as something we’re done with, and that we ourselves have put aside. I believe that it’s more reasonable to say that during this time between semesters, be it summer or winter break, it’s university that is done with us. For a little while, it doesn’t demand for us to tear apart our sleep schedules, or our devotion to volleyball. It returns balance to our lives, on a lease.
Uni never stole our lives. It simply took up as much space and obsession in our heads as we allowed. This was not a case of poor time management. We never attempted to manage our time. Our units never taught us the skill of living with colliding interests.
There’s usually this assumption within units that students have no time they’re interested in devoting that isn’t devoted towards pursuing the knowledge that unit offers, to a level of perfect understanding. Units are constructed to appeal solely to this demographic – the theoretical student. Students like this exist, and they’re massively inspirational in their devotion, should you meet one. The person whose favourite pastime is repeating the unassessed readings, which I never even opened.
Our intellectual mentors don’t entertain the notion of having faith in our skills if we choose to steer away from their idealistic approach to our degree, and schedule life as we want it. That latter option is so forbidden to our ears in tute classes, we often prohibit ourselves from taking it up. The only way we’re shown to live is to do those bonus readings, rather than nourish our social drive. Any other way to live fills us with guilt and fear, because we’d no longer be listening to the holder of a doctorate.
We’d instead be listening to ourselves, and we’ve been losing faith in that for years. Every time we choose not to play volleyball because an exam is in two weeks, we’re selling off our judgement to the world around us. The world then offers its two cents to us: that we stay in the library all night, all week.
The world isn’t going to check whether we’ve done our exercise for the week or met our goals. It’s going to take as much as we allow it. I wouldn’t even class it as theft. We’re donors, and the only thing that doesn’t make many of us fight it, is the existence of a finish line somewhere. There’s always that coming study week, where you could work out again, or that mid-year break where you could work on your start-up.
In the working world, that finish line exists, and it’s called retirement. I’d be exaggerating if I were to say that until retirement, we had literally zero time to live confidently. We would get the weekend. Two days out of seven might be less than a morsel for some students, but many others are seeming to not mind this. We have until the end of our difficult degrees to decide whether we’ll be living for either seven days a week, or just two. I wish my fellow UWA students the best of luck in making their choice.
Jacob still grieves over his cockatiel flying away in 2017.
Words by Jacob Cerin
There are several questions which immediately arise when considering the notion of ‘reinvention’ in the context of artistry. First and foremost, we must ask whether there can be any such thing as true reinvention; is it possible for someone to become something other than what they are, or are we merely referring to a shift in their existing personality? If we proceed under the assumption that reinvention is possible, then the next thing we must ask ourselves is how to recognise it, and then what, if anything, it denotes. As with most things of this nature, verification is tricky – how can I know, for instance, whether David Bowie truly had an alter ego or whether it was merely an act? Despite its obvious importance, this question along with the first must be set aside, at least momentarily, in favour of its successor: “what, if anything, is denoted by reinvention?”.
Proceeding under the assumption that reinvention is possible and ignoring the issue of how to recognise the real thing, we can consider the question of what it means. Does an artist’s, or anyone else’s reinvention of themselves, actually denote anything beyond the obvious facts? To answer this, it may be helpful to consider examples. Within musical lore, there are numerous examples of personal reinvention ranging from the dramatic to the mundane and from the obviously genuine to the blatantly facile. Someone like Paul Simon, for instance, was clearly doing little more than rebranding himself with the changes he made after the breakup of Simon and Garfunkel, in an attempt to distance himself from his previous act. On the other hand, performers like Bowie sometimes border on having split personalities; indeed Bowie himself claimed to be embodying an alter ego rather than simply taking on a persona for theatrical reasons. So, do cases such as these indicate something about the performer, in and of themselves? I think the obvious answer is no. The bare fact of an artist changing some element of their appearance or performance is not a symptom of anything, but rather something that has come to be associated with brilliant artists. Because of famous and influential examples such as Bowie and Bob Dylan who were noted, among other things, for their sudden and drastic changes of style, it is now assumed that this kind of artistic rebirth signifies some kind of artistic genius. But this is a confusion of necessary and sufficient conditions; while an artist being brilliant or inspired may be sufficient to cause them to reinvent themselves, it isn’t necessary and so we cannot, therefore, assume the former by the presence of the latter. This confusion on the part of consumers has naturally become something that artists and their management take advantage of.
As with many other classic hallmarks of artistic brilliance, reinvention is now so rife among modern artists that even if it meant something in the first place it would still be impossible to determine which cases were legitimate and which were phoney. Another more interesting question arises, however, which is what we can conclude about artists’ reinvention of themselves in the classical cases. Is it a rebellious attempt to pull themselves out of a rut they’ve dug themselves into, is it an involuntary outburst of creative energy, or is it something else entirely? The answer probably lies somewhere in between the first two. Rather than being simply an outburst or an attempt to escape an old role, it’s likely that reinvention operates as a method by which artists can create an environment for themselves that is more conducive to further creativity. If correct, however, this theory suggests that even less is indicated by an artist’s reinvention of themselves than we have already said. Because if reinvention is indeed a tool that artists use to coax themselves into creativity, then it can mean nothing at all with regards to their own artistic merit, but rather indicates a present or former lack of inspiration.
Setting aside the issue of what genuine reinvention means, we can examine what is indicated by false reinvention. What does an artist pretending to reinvent themselves indicate? It seems that there are two possible answers to this: either the artist is trying to convince other people or they’re trying to convince themselves. The former is understandable; if they convince people that they’ve undergone some sort of enlightening transformation then people will assume that they’re as talented and worthwhile as the artists who’ve genuinely experienced this. The benefit of this assumption is not only that people will engage with the artist’s work on this basis but also that people will make allowances for the artist’s shortcomings on the grounds that they’re a genius, and so if it seems like they’ve failed in some way, then there must be some point that we’re missing. In much the same way as hardcore Dylan fans gritted their teeth through his born-again Christian phase, his appalling foray into cinema, and his various other dubious exploits. Because the artist is brilliant it must follow that whatever they do is also brilliant. Affectations like pretending to reinvent yourself are a shortcut to receiving this sort of preferential treatment.
The alternative to this is that the artist who pretends to reinvent themselves is trying to convince themselves of their own brilliance instead of or even as well as others. The difference being that this person is delusional rather than simply an astute marketer. In a case like this, the question to ask is what brings about this sort of emulative hero worship; whether it stems from our populist cultural model or whether it’s a natural reaction to talented individuals. Irrespective of what motivates artists to emulate their heroes, the primary mistake is assuming that cosmetic similarities between successful artists have anything at all to do with their success.
In summary, there is nothing inherently meaningful or indicative about artists’ reinvention of themselves – the act itself is either genuine or not, and either conscious or subconscious. Even despite how difficult it is to determine which of these a particular case actually is, it is even more difficult – that is to say impossible – to determine what, if anything, is denoted by the act. This is not to say that an individual’s reinvention of themselves is meaningless, but rather that reinvention is not meaningful in and of itself – that no conclusions can be drawn about an individual based solely on their reinvention of themselves.
Words by Saul Revell
Semester Soundtrack Refresh
Looking for some inspiration? Or just a new playlist to put on while you’re studying? Then this is the playlist for you!
Be prepared for some super relaxing and refreshing tunes to help you stay focused this semester. Let’s take a deep dive into the artists and why they deserve a spot on this playlist.
Following along with the “Re/fresh” theme, the artist REFRESH produces jazzy hip hop, chillhop, and lo-fi beats. These songs are perfect for getting in focus for your study sessions. The songs are all instrumental, making it the perfect addition to your study routine.
Relax, keep focused, and work hard to these amazing songs and you’ll fly through your semester’s work in no time. Keep the mind REFRESHED with new ideas and perspectives to bring your visions to life!
Cigarettes After Sex
Cigarettes After Sex brings the emotions of love stories that we see in books and movies to life. With very vulnerable lyrics, their songs are achingly immersive and passionately visual – the perfect combination to tickle the right side of your brain.
Their alternative/indie sound is the perfect mix for this studying playlist. The calming instrumental, paired with silky vocals, creates a euphoric atmosphere to stimulate your senses and heighten your focus. If you are yet to listen to Cigarettes After Sex, then 2021 is the year to start!
This artist’s music is a gem I found at the end of last year, with only 83 monthly listeners and 63 followers! Here I am, kind enough to share his beautiful songs with you.
Boy Jade is a young artist who writes poetic lyrics to serene instrumentals that immerse you in lovesick feelings. Even when you are single, you will miss the partner you never had! Or am I just speaking for myself here…
On another note, his song ‘Lonely Hour Talk (I miss you)’ is the perfect fit for this playlist’s chill vibes. Why not refresh your music taste with underrated artists that deserve more recognition? I think that would be divine.
Xamvolo is a rising star in the music industry with his refreshing, unique style of neo-soul, jazz, and pop beats. He has caught the attention of music critics and fans all over the world in just 12 months, and has sold out his headline show in London! Xamvolo is only 23 years old, producing and writing his own music.
Whilst his songs are pleasant to listen to, they embody a dark, inner existential twist that intrigues listeners. The way in which he has created his own distinctive style through a refresh of older genres fits the theme of this semester’s playlist. Let Xamvolo’s music motivate you to deep-dive into your own unique perspectives and ideas this semester!
Rayana Jay is an artist who explores the emotions and experiences of self-discovery, womanhood, love, and heartbreak. With her honeyed vocals and airy harmonies paired with her R&B/soul sound, Rayana Jay is an artist we cannot be without. Our university years are full of self-discovery and finding our path in life, which makes this artist’s song ‘it’s you’ an impeccable fit for our studying playlist.
Named by JAZZ FM as the “Soul Artist of the Year” in 2018, Moonchild consists of three artists who craft an alternative R&B/Neo-Soul sound. Using a mammoth range of instrumentals, their songs have a delightful ring in your ear. Become engrossed in the intricate sounds and rhythms of their songs, particularly ‘Wise Woman’, to study away to your heart’s content. Moonchild’s distinctive sound will easily play in the background of your most intense study sessions to comfort you and ease your stress.
And that’s a wrap for our Semester Soundtrack Refresh. I hope this playlist will motivate you, ease your stress, aid your focus, and re/fresh your music taste! The best way to find new ideas and motivation is through the healing of art and music, so spice up your own playlists this semester, or take inspiration from mine.
I hope this semester is full of good things only and that you strive towards attaining all your goals. Let’s all go into this semester relaxed and REFRESHED!
Words by Alicia Harrop
Caffeine – The Great Refresher?
What better way to complement an article on sleep deprivation than with one on caffeine? On the day of their very strict deadline for the first issue of Pelican, Science Editors Paris and Jack came to the realisation that they were a couple of articles short. Powered by coffee, energy drinks, and other legally acquired substances, the editors got to work to produce for you, dear reader, the bottom line on how powerful caffeine and its stimulant cousins are, and if they can truly act as a substitute for sleep.
Humanity’s love affair with stimulants boils down to the fact that we (and I cannot stress this enough) live in a society; in a capitalist hellscape with a workforce built around artificially maximising productivity, it is no wonder that caffeine addiction is so popular and so deeply normalised. In fact, it is the most normalised substance addiction – not vilified in any way whatsoever – because of its relationship to productivity and near universal consumption. Jack would like to point out that he had no hand in writing this paragraph.
This being the Science section, we are somewhat obligated to pause for a second and investigate caffeine’s mode of action in the body. Caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant whose effects are produced through several pathways, but mainly via reversing the action of a substance known as adenosine, which usually induces drowsiness.
It’s the most widely consumed psychoactive substance in the world, ahead of other stimulants such as amphetamines. Depending on how much you drink and your metabolism, the effects peak about an hour after consumption and wear off in 8-10 hours. In fact, consumption less than 10 hours before sleep is linked to poor sleep hygiene and low rapid eye movement sleep. Even though the lethal dose is about 50 cups of coffee, any intake can negatively affect pre-existing mental states, such as anxiety and panic disorders.
Despite the pragmatic reasoning that consuming a more potent stimulant would be more advantageous to one who wants to maximise focus, stimulants like amphetamine and dextroamphetamine are far less popular than caffeine. For legal reasons, we will not go into this topic very much.
So as we sit, exhausted, sleep-deprived, and with an array of caffeinated beverages on the table, we wonder about the effects of caffeine. Does caffeine consumption (habitual or otherwise) enhance or impair cognitive function? The short answer is, we don’t really know. The slightly longer answer is it does enhance cognitive function in some ways, but only as long as you’re not using it as a substitute for sleep.
Having made these comparisons, how can we assess caffeine’s ability as a refresher? How frequently can we substitute sleep for a wake-inducing stimulant before our body rejects such substances and shuts down? As stated above, aspiring caffeine addicts have little chance of inducing toxicity effects, and so any adverse outcome is presented in the form of sleep-deprivation symptoms, so beautifully summarised in the previous article.
For we overworked magazine subeditors, the question on our minds was how effective caffeine was in mitigating such effects. It is, unfortunately, a drug that has diminishing returns the longer one goes without sleep, with a study by the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research finding that after restricting sleep to 5 hours per night, caffeine use no longer improved alertness or performance after three nights.
At risk of inducing some minor withdrawal symptoms, we here at Pelican Science must instead recommend that readers put down the Red Bull and get themselves a healthy eight hours of shut-eye.
Words by Jack Logan and Paris Javid