In the News: Lost for Words

Global issues include all social, environmental, economic, health and security concerns that have far-reaching impact on people and life on earth, are persistent and long-lasting, are trans-national and often interconnected. Yet somehow we are often blind to how all-encompassing this can be. Then it is a good thing that we have dedicated journalists and open-minded editors that allow a variety of stories and perspectives to be published that we ourselves have a hard time realizing the enormity of.

The Guardian published an article today in which they focus on a consequence of climate change that we do not often think about. Read about it here.


COP27 ended only a few days ago. What is it, what was hoped to achieve through it, and have the goals been achieved? Do some research and publish a blog post on your own blog in which you explain what COP is, who is behind it, since when it has existed and what the goals are.

Presumably there have been 26 other COPs, have you heard of any of these before, and has any of them been more successful than others?


A new start

Finally we are online blogging again, for the first time this academic year in the subject English 1. You have all created your own blogs, and you have published your first blog entry in which you have said a few words about yourself. Now is the time to write the first subject-related blog post.

Autumn is often election season, and this year is no different. We are one week from the American midterm elections, Denmark and Israel hold general elections today and two days ago Brazil had their second round of presidential elections. Sweden and Italy held elections in September, to mention but a few. Additionally, the 20th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party was held about two weeks ago, which saw the norm-breaking third term appointment of their president along with appointments and elections of people into various political positions.

On Friday the current president in Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, said in an interview: “There is not the slightest doubt. Whoever gets the most votes wins. That is what democracy is all about”. Is it really, and does everyone agree on this?

Could you explain what a democracy is in your blog post, and discuss whether it is important to maintain such a type of government or if it is time to move on to something different. You could compare it to other types of government, or you could use specific examples of countries that are democracies when discussing what constitutes a democracy. Could you also discuss potential dangers to a democracy? Some examples could be decreasing voter turnout, voter suppression, refusal of a politician or political player to go by the rules of democracy, erosion of trust in politics, politicians and media, polarization in society and even indifference. Whichever one (or more) that you choose to include, I would encourage you to find sources to be specific and keep the text up-to-date and informative. Such sources would also help our classroom discussions on this topic as well. Try to avoid revealing your own point of view, although is it really possible to discuss how to govern a country objectively? You are welcome to write this as formally or informally as you want. Good luck!


Guest Speakers

Write a blog post where you comment on the value of having visitors join our class and talk about different subjects, such as you have experinced this spring either via Zoom (refugee Kawthar Sheheda from Syria/psychologist Solfrid Raknes in Washington D.C.) or live (Fulbright Roving Scholar Renee Brekke Ebbot, who talked to about such diverse topics as water and identity). 

What can we learn from such visits that is different than regular learning in the classroom? Would you like the school to invite more guest speakers, and do you have any thoughts on how the learning experience in different school subjects can be broadened and perceived as relevant by the students?


In the news – human rights

Durig the last few weeks the war in Ukraine has been all over the news – rightfully so… but what is getting lost when so much focus is on this conflict? Here a couple of items I don’t think we should miss out on:

One of very few women ever to lead a national football organization, Norwegian Lise Klaveness spoke to the FIFA Congress in Quatar last week about human rights violations. She talked about the importance of helping migrant workers in Qatar, do more to protect LGBTQ+ supporters at the World Cup, and more in general to make the global game welcoming to all. According to The Guardian, 6500 migrant workers have died in Quatar since they were awarded the World Cup in 2010. In the past 10 years, Qatar has put in place a massive building program, preparing for the football tournament in 2022. In addition to seven new stadiums, dozens of major projects have been completed or are under way, including a new airport, roads, public transport systems, hotels as well as a new city, which will host the coming World Cup  final.

See the full speech below:

Another important news item regarding human rights violations came, not unexpectedly, from Taliban-ruled Afghanistan. “Following a U-turn over re-opening girls’ secondary schools in Afghanistan on Wednesday, the UN human rights chief shared her “profound frustration and disappointment” that six months after the Taliban seized power, high school girls have yet to return to the classroom.” Read the UN report here:

UNICEF Afghanistan


“Millions of secondary-school girls around Afghanistan woke up hopeful today that they will be able to go back to school and resume their learning. It did not take long for their hopes to be shattered.” statement by @unicefchief

Girls in Afghanistan must go back to school without any further delays

2:58 PM · Mar 23, 2022

At the Brink of War?

Tension has been increasing on the Russia-Ukraine border. Today it has been reported that Russia is pulling back some of its soldiers back:

Take a look at this and the news report below to understand more about the background for the conflict. Then write a blog post where you summarize what you have learned.

Just Do It?

Look at this video from Nike:

  1. What is NIKE’s slogan? 
  2. How has the slogan been tweaked in the title of this video?
  3. Who is the intended audience of the video?
  4. What effect does this video have on you?
  5. Explore the hashtag #UntilWeAllWin online. What is it about?

Then watch this video, also from Nike:

6. Towards, the end of the video, Colin Kaepernick says: “Don’t ask if your dreams are crazy. Ask if they are crazy enough”. What do you think he means and how is this shown through the video?

7. Then the NIKE symbol and slogan come up – what is the effect of this?

8. Finally, discuss the role sports and sports companies can play in fighting for a more equal world.

Goodbye, 2021 – Welcome, 2022

After having watched the two videos above, write a blog post where you summarize the content briefly. Then explore one of these issues – the most urgent and/or interesting one to you – and explain why you think so.


Here’s an extra video from the Economist if you are more into tech issues:

Gun laws – to protect whom?

According to the Second Amendment to the US Constitution, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” 

Just last week, there was another school shooting, when 15-year-old Ethan Crumbley shot and killed four schoolmates and wounded seven others at Oxford High School in Michigan. His parents have now been arrested, charged with involuntary manslaughter because they allegedly let their son have unrestricted access to the gun he’s accused of using.

In the Rittenhouse Case, 18-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse was aquitted on charges of killing two people at a demonstration in Kenosha, Wisconsin last year (he was 17 at the time). He claimed he acted in self-defense and the jury supported him in this. His trial is dividing the nation over questions about gun rights, violence at racial justice protests and vigilantism.

Study and discuss these two cases and look at gun laws and gun violence in the USA in your groups.

Useful resources:

Support for gun control has hit its lowest rating since 2014 in a Gallup poll, with just 52 percent of Americans saying they support stricter gun control measures, according to a new survey. ( What do you think are some of the reasons behind this development?

Congressman Thomas Massie (R) and his wife, Rhonda, pose along with their family, all holding weapons in front of a Christmas tree, an image widely shared in social media.

Write a blog post where you comment on what you have worked with today and what you think about the main question here – do guns protect, or do they kill?

Blah, blah, blah?

Did the GLASGOW CLIMATE CHANGE CONFERENCE, which ended on Saturday, bring any results? Or was it, like Greta Thunberg said afterwards, just “blah, blah, blah? It certainly seemed like many people were disappointed, among them the President of the conference…

Study these issues in groups:

  • what did they agree on at the conference
  • what were the most contested points, and were there any last-minute changes?
  • Look at either China, India, USA or Russia: Were they represented by their state leaders? What role did they play at COP26? What policies do they have in effect or planned?