Editors Letter – May/June 2019

We go to print with this issue just days after the bombings in Sri Lanka. The death count as of print is 359. According to the Sri Lankan government, the attacks were carried out by Islamic fundamentalists in retaliation for the Christchurch mosque attacks.

Regardless of whether this is true or not, there is nothing in that that makes any sense of this for the families and loved ones of those who lost their lives. There is, though, a worrying sense that this is part of an ongoing continuum of extremism, violence, and political decisions and campaigning that seems to perpetuate these things. Unfortunately, there is likely more to come.

We have enough recorded history of human violence to know that it just breeds more. The problem is that we can be our own worst enemies. It seemed really flippant at the time to make note of the fact that as the Christchurch attacks were taking place, just a couple of kilometres away were over 250 student strikers protesting at climate change inaction but this is, of course, the bigger picture. We can fight amongst ourselves for any ideological, religious, cultural or political reason that we please but if at the same time, we continue to smother our world with a thick blanket of greenhouse gases while stripping our jungles and forests, and poisoning our waterways, there will be no winners and no distinction for survival based on religious denomination or skin colour.

While it is easy to feel a sense of anxiousness at the recent incidents of extremist violence, there is also some hope in the form of a new generation that seems to bring with it a more mature perspective than some of those developed by preceding generations. Not only are high school students taking to the streets, but young entrepreneurs are also taking action with business. In this issue, we talk to Christchurch-based Brianne West who founded the beauty brand Ethique in her kitchen in 2012 with a view to creating a sustainable business model that shakes up the industry and removes plastic from our products – all of Ethique’s packaging is biodegradable. So far, Ethique is stocked in New Zealand, Australia, Taiwan and Hong Kong and other areas of the world online and has diverted already hundreds of thousands of plastic bottles from landfills. If one decision by one person in their kitchen can unfold something that can have more of a lasting impact on the world than anyone with a gun or a bomb, then there is hope.