RRC News

We are Renske, Renske and Charlotte, and we write weekly blogs about what's going on in the world. Hope you enjoy!

Compulsory contraception — 18 May 2017

Compulsory contraception

‘Not being born is a form of child protection too.’ So said De Jong, alderman responsible for youth welfare. The Rotterdam city council has started a voluntary contraception programme for 160 women who could not raise a child by their own because of learning difficulties, psychological problems or addiction. Should the government have a say in which families can have babies and which aren’t capable of raising a child?

Nanneke Quick-Schuyt, a former juvenile court judge, is indignant that there has never been a proper social debate on the subject of compulsory contraception for addicts, psychiatric patients and the mentally handicapped. “There is a kind of taboo on these subjects. The argument is that everyone should be allowed to have a child. But there is no such thing as the right to have a child. A child has a right to good parents, but not the other way round. It’s a taboo that needs to be broken and there is a pressing need for people working in the care and welfare sector to raise this issue.”Pilule_contraceptive-560x345

Some people argue that the proposal is a violation of the international human rights; a judge cannot force a woman to not get pregnant. She has the right to have as many children as she wishes.

On the other hand the government is not sufficiently capable to ensure the safety of young children within the home. Child abuse still occurs a lot in the Netherlands, also in these days. By making sure a child isn’t born in a family from which you already know they are never capable of raising a child, you are protecting the child too. Whenever that does happen children are often placed in foster care. Some in group homes, others in institutes. That’s not what a child needs.

I think that there should be a law for compulsory contraception for women who are incapable of raising a child. Maybe the law should say those women have two chances to show they are capable but after two times they’ve had their chance. I think you really should think about the child more than the mother if she has mental problems, addictions or has learning difficulties. The child will eventually end up with the problems and they couldn’t have done anything about it.

Charlotte Jansen, A4d

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Game piracy in third world countries — 13 April 2017

Game piracy in third world countries

People in third world countries obviously have less money than we do. However, the children who live in those countries still have the same desires as first world children. Video games, for example, is very popular in the first world, but it can hardly be afforded by third world gamers. Is it therefore okay for people in the third world to use pirated games, while first world gamers pay the full price for a video game?

First of all, what is game piracy actually? Pirated games are games which are illegally downloaded from the internet and are therefore much cheaper than the original games, or even free. There are different reasons for people to illegally download game. In first world countries the biggest reason is because the original game is very expensive and people want to have it for free, even though they could afford it. Another reason is that it’s the only way to obtain a video games as it never came out in a particular continent. In the third world, the biggest reason for game piracy is because they do not have enough money to buy the original game. People who live in such countries do it because of poverty.piracy

Piracy in third world countries isn’t done because they have the intention to destroy the gaming industry. It’s done because they live in poverty and just do not have the money to buy a game. Another reason for the third world is that the game might haven’t came out in the country. If this is the case, the developers of the game already didn’t have anything to earn from that country or continent, therefore they have nothing to lose.

Of course, game piracy is still stealing in a way, but when a video game here cost you the wage of an hour, the same game could cost people from a poor country a day or maybe even a week of work.

Game piracy is obtaining a video game for free by illegally downloading it. In the first world it happens mostly because people just want to have it for free, while people in the third world do it because they really cannot afford it. The poorer people do it not because they want to destroy the market but just because they don’t have the money, therefore it is okay for them to illegally obtain a video game although it is still stealing.

Charlotte Jansen, A4d

Legalization of party drugs — 16 February 2017

Legalization of party drugs

Al lot of party drugs are still completely legal. The party drug 4-FA is very popular in the Netherlands but on the first of April it will become illegal. The drug has been on the market since 2007 and it has been legal to sell, produce and use the drug.  Will the fact that the drug becomes illegal help with the reduce of incidents caused by the drug or will it only become more dangerous for people to use it secretly?

4-FA was seen as a light form of XTC. You kept more control and until September of 2016 any serious risks of health problems weren’t known.  The drug was popular because it had the same effects as ecstasy, but it wasn’t as strong as the hard drug. Now there is new evidence to believe that the drug can lead to serious heart problems and strokes. Some people are against to prohibition of the drug. They think it will only more dangerous for the users of the drug now the producers are working illegally.

When the drug becomes illegal people won’t immediately stop using it. The people who make the drugs aren’t checked up on because it has to happen in secret. In this way they can easily change the drug to make it stronger, more addictive and maybe even more dangerous without the governments knowing.
Supporters of the drug prohibition say that it sends a message to the users when the drug is made illegal. In this way the those people know that it can bring some serious risks when you use the drug and people might think a little longer about whether or not to use the drug.

It is very hard to control the illegal drug market and therefore I think it might be better to leave some drugs for legal use. It is almost impossible to make sure no one is using any illegal drugs and because of this the drug can only become more dangerous. Of course I realize that some  drugs should really be illegal, like those who bring serious health risks and those who are extremely addictive. But drugs like 4-FA whThe-Libertarian-Argument-For-Legalizing-Marijuanaich has been used for a few years by a lot of people, might be better to stay legal. People who have used the drug before will not stop using it just because now it is illegal. People know the risks and should be wise enough to take responsibility for their own body and health.

Charlotte Jansen, A4d

Food Waste — 22 December 2016

Food Waste

If you combine all the food waste of Europe and the United States, you have enough food to feed all people who suffer from hunger worldwide.

Food waste is a big problem, not only in the Netherlands but in the w3dhole world. The problem has to do with awareness. Most people know how big the problem of food waste is, but think they do not play a very big role in it. The consumers are wasting the most amount of food but the restaurants and grocery stores are playing a big part in the problem as well. An estimated one third of all the food produced is never consumed. That would be 1,3 billion ton food every year which is worth around 1 trillion dollar. Every person wastes around 50 Kg of food per year which is €150 per person each year.
There are a lot of different reasons for throwing away food. In households, the most common ones are when food is past its use-by-date and leftovers are thrown away or kept but then forgotten. Other reasons for the consumer are when they prepared or cooked too much, bought too much at the store or had just forget what food was already in the house.
The biggest reason and worst problem for restaurants is when people cancel their dinner reservation last minute. In most restaurants, they cook a part of the dinner for a reservation beforehand so that in the evening it isn’t so hectic in the kitchen. When the reservation gets cancelled all that food is thrown away.
For grocery stores most food is thrown away because it is past its use-by-date or best-before-date. The stores don’t want to be accountable for whenever someone gets sick because of the food they have been selling. A big part (around 40
%) of the unsold grocery food is already donated or recycled but that doesn’t mean the problem has been solved in the grocery stores.2

Food waste is big problem not only for economic reasons (loss of money) but also for environmental reasons. Energy is needed for the production of food, so whenever food is thrown away the energy is wasted as well. Food waste itself causes big amounts of CO2 emissions which, as everyone knows, is already a big problem itself.
When we look at land usage we know the world is densely populated. One third of all the land that is used for the production of food, is used to grow food which will be wasted. In that case, we could have an extra 1.4 billion hectares of land being efficiently used.

If you look at the problem Food Waste and you look at the reasons for it and all the consequences it has, I can’t imagine anyone not agreeing with me that this has to stop. The reasons and causes for the waste of food are easily to prevent. The only thing is to do now is to make sure everyone is aware of this major problem and knows how to help stop it.

Charlotte Jansen, A4d

Racism — 9 November 2016

Racism

Racism was and still is a very big problem in the world. You can see it in the Netherlands; ‘de zwartepieten discussie’, as well as in the United States of America. Especially with Donald Trump running for elections a lot of racist quotes can be heard there. The problem of racism is that people are judged on their race. On their origin and nationality. In the past racism happened a lot, think about slavery, but it still happens all around the world and I think it’s time that we stop it.a-world-without-racism-1024x915

Racism is dividing a population into ‘us’ and ‘them’. It’s about having disgust against another race or group of people. Sometimes it even is about having a preference of your own race. This is caused on the way you were raised by your parents. If you grew up thinking your own race and skin colour was the best, while everyone else was lower than you, there can be still a part of you that thinks that way. Later it’s very hard to change that way of thinking. Most of the time the minority in a country is the victim of racism, in this way the majority is able to ‘defeat’ the group that doesn’t belong in the country (or so they say).

A lot of people tend to use discrimination and racism as synonyms, but they aren’t. Racism is a smaller category of discrimination. While racism only divides people by race, discrimination can divide people by their origin, the colour of their skin, their sexual orientation, gender, religion or disabilities.

Racism happens at and in a lot of places; At school, at work, for example when an application is being refused because of a foreign last name, in the media and racism is even used to become president of the United States of America. Donald Trump is a very good example of a typical racist. He thinks American white people are the best and immigrants should get deported. He calls Mexicans rapists and thinks women are less than men.

I think racism has to stop immediately. I think it’s a terrible way of treating and threatening people. The impact on people is very large and can last very long. It can begin small with bullying on middle school, but it can happen on a much more bigger scale, like not getting any jobs because of your last name or men like Trump can happen to America. Trump might be excellent at giving a speech, but his ideas are terrible. He uses racism to get other people’s attention and that’s just wrong. I think stopping racism starts with you. If you notice racism around you, which can be anywhere, you can say something about it and stand up for others who maybe are afraid to do so themselves.

Charlotte Jansen,

a4D

Prinsjesdag — 30 September 2016

Prinsjesdag

Prinsjesdag is the day on which a lot of numbers, figures and graphs about the national budget of the following year are made public. It’s also the day on which the royal family drives around in a golden or glass carriage and waves at the people from their balcony. A lot of different things happen on this day, from difficult budgets to greetings to the people.
Here’s everything you need to know about Prinsjesdag!

Prinjesdag is held on the 3rd Tuesday in September in the Ridderzaal in The Hague. The king and the queen drive in a golden or glass carriage from palace Noordeinde to the Binnenhof. All the ministers, states secretaries and the states general, which exist out of the members of the First and Second Chamber, are present at the Ridderzaal. The beginning of the new parliamentary year starts when the king reads the monarch’s speech, the ‘Troonrede’, aloud. In the monarch’s speech is written what the highlights of last year were in the Netherlands and the rest of the world and, the most important, what the plans and measures are for the upcoming year.

After that, the minister of finance hands over the ‘Miljoenennota’ and the national budget, ‘rijksbegroting’, to the members of the Second Chamber. The national budget shows all the plans from the ministers and how much money is spend on which plan. The ‘Miljoenennota’ describes the national budget in words; What are the most important plans and which effects do they have?
In the General Debate that follows, the Second Chamber debates the national budget and votes on adjustments.

The king does not have a very distinct role on Prinsjesdag. He completes the image of monarchy but isn’t very important. He reads the ‘Troonrede’, drives around in a golden or glass carriage and back in palace Noordeinde the whole royal family greets the people from their balcony. It’s a ceremony that already exists for a long time.

Coming back on the ‘Miljoenennota’, what does it consist of actually? The ‘Miljoenennota contains the most important plans for the coming parliamentary year and how much money is available for each plan. It also describes the economic state of the Netherlands and the expected progressions.  The ‘Miljoenennota is a kind of explanation of the national budget or ‘rijksbegroting’.

The five main subjects of the ‘Miljoenennota’ of 2017 are Healthcare, Defence, Security and Justice, Education and Culture.

In the ministry of Healthcare the costs for families with a chronic disease or a disabled family member are decreased. On average, they save 14 hundred euros more then last year. I think it is very good that the ministry made more money available for this. Families who deal with this do not only have a hard time with the extra costs but also on things that don’t cost anything, like learning how to live around them and knowing what they should do if anything happens. Now, those families have a little less worries about money and the extra costs so they can live their lives like an almost normal family.

The ministry of Education has destined 55 million euros for equal chances in education, for example for asylum children and poorer families. I think this is a very good subject to spend the money on. Especially for asylum children who also have the right to education but just don’t have enough money. I think the Netherlands have always taken good care for children from poorer families, it’s just nice that the government still makes sure that every child has an equal chance at education.

Charlotte Jansen, a4D