In my mind, I always associate squirrels with the most innocent of activities: from gathering nuts and acorns to acting as perfect companions to human beings, there couldn’t be an animal that could be nothing more than perfectly harmless (and furry). But a recent study, points otherwise: red squirrel pups, which call North America home, often get attacked by their much more grownup male counterparts.
The red squirrels don’t attack their own offspring but they usually do the hunting when there is an excess of food. Presumably, when there is plenty of food around, a female red squirrel will mate with a male red squirrel and give birth to a litter of red squirrel pups – the cycle can repeat itself if the male is unable to identify which of the pups are his own and ends up killing them, in which case the female will become available to once again mate; this risky environment the young red squirrels constantly inhabit, as this (relatively) newly discovered pattern of behavior demonstrate, is a good representation of the idea that wild animals are tough beings to ever visualize as tame.
Recently, an investigation carried out by Newsnight (a current affairs programme on the BBC) revealed that numerous MPs had made women, who worked at the House of Commons feel frightened + harassed them too. The acts reported of harassment were particularly shocking – women had, reportedly, been kissed under protest and fondled.
Although, these griveances were made known, they were never really cared for: apparently, one Labour MP had taken great pleasure in making Emily Commander cry in a companionless-destructive manner and had also regularly rubbished and disempowered her. Then there was another allegation made against a Conservative MP, who had apparently built a reputation for regularly screaming at workers – he has since stated that he has never been made aware by the House of any grievances made against him, and if it were to happen then he would come to know that, and also he knows that this often happens with MPs.
The most important accusation to come out of this episode, however, is the one made against the Speaker at the House of Commons, John Bercow. Bercow had apparently screamed at his secretary, who already had post-traumatic stress disorder and then because of John’s behaviour she was soon transferred to elsewhere inside the Parliament. An investigation has since been launched into the claims and it looks as if Bercow is listed to suffer the most from the allegations made so far against the MPs.
Several Labour MPs, including Valerie Vaz, have spoken out in favour of Bercow but the matter seems too sensitive to be taken lightly – clearly, the persistence of the allegations isn’t sufficient to formulate opinions regarding Bercow. But what this matter certainly does is that it puts a new spotlight on the probable maltreatment of women in the workplace and it remains to be seen how this episode materializes in the end; Bercow had previously mentioned that both sexual harassment and bullying should never be put up with, and he has since stated that the accusations made against him are all false.
The Paris Agreement in 2015 assured that climate change will be tackled effectively. More than two years later, reaching targets set by the agreement is proving a near-impossible hurdle and reportedly, there will be an increase in sea level all over the world, signalling greater preexisting problems of pollution (heat and melting of ice sheets in polar territories) than the agreement would have let on.
It’s the most disappointing of affairs: the Paris Agreement made it possible to visualize a world where the temperature would be less warmer than before; the temperature was actually offered to be taken down a notch – below 2C, but this is now on track to become a purely fictitious experience. In order to meet targets, greenhouse gas emissions must top by 2020 and the promise made in Paris must be close to getting met by 2030. However, this looks unlikely: for one, accelerated economic activity and fossil-fuel technologies are both busy getting responsible for an unacceptable amount of carbon emissions.
So now, the climate experience is heading towards an increase in temperature of 3C instead. It’s difficult to imagine that making global warming fall to a level lower than 2C will happen in the future if the target for 2030 isn’t met. The only way to stop this from happening is for countries to come together in an effort to tackle key challenges to bettering the global environment: from widening the use of renewable energy to preserving forests, there is a strong need for all of the 195 countries who had previously promised to make the facts dotting the Paris Agreement a reality, to act in a more spirited manner over climate change.
Already, the probability that three centuries later the sea level will still begin to rise, even if a reduction in temperatures around the world was achieved, as set by the Paris Agreement is dogging concern and if the targets are not met then sea levels are set to rise even further; global ocean levels are already apparently on the rise because of a warmer planet and is projected to rise even further in the next century.