Santa Barbara Real Estate

Jelle Van Dijck, Belgium

After being in Santa Barbara for a few days, there is one thing everyone tells me about living here: it’s so expensive. Is Santa Barbara becoming the new Beverly Hills? Is the middle class being excluded from this beautiful place?

13600 Calle Real, Santa Barbara, CA 93117

Coming from Belgium, I’m surprised to see the price of a single-family home. Prices are more than double than what I’m used to. What would be influencing these prices? Is it the gorgeous coastline and mountains or is it the amount of multi-millionaires and celebrities that escape busy LA and San Francisco? Many celebrities put Santa Barbara on the map by buying a home to live in during the weekends or during holidays, it’s their second home to get away from work. Same situation with the owners of big companies, they probably run their businesses out of LA or San Francisco and come to Santa Barbara to live a stress-free live. This is influencing the prices of the different neighborhoods in the city, some places are becoming exclusive and hard to get in for many families.

SB real estate prices

In the future, I see myself as a real estate agent and real estate investor. Everywhere I go, I look for what’s on the market and what prices are common in the area. (The Zillow app is a real good friend of mine). If you look at the statistics, you can conclude that the median sale price is around 1 million dollars in almost the whole county of Santa Barbara. If a middle class family is looking for a place to live, they are most likely to find an apartment downtown or a single-family house in the Goleta area. If they are looking for a house closer to downtown (West-Montecito, Mission Canyon or Hope Ranch), the listings get more exclusive and you are most likely to pay 2-3 million dollars for a single-family house all the way up to 30 million dollars.

Is it realistic for a young couple who just got out of college to find a home that suits their ideas for the future? Maybe they want kids and a dog, so they will need a garden and a good location close to school. In their situation, they need a single-family home with 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms and a decent sized garden for their dog and kids to run around in. If both of them have a job, they are likely to have at least two cars. So they also need a garage or enough parking space on the driveway or down the street.

5360 Plunkett Ln

I went to Zillow.com and entered my needs all the way from West-Goleta to East-Carpenteria. The website gave me around 130 results, only 19 of these homes were priced under 1 million dollars (which is around 14%). Only five of these homes are close to the downtown-area. The remaining 14 homes are located in Goleta or Carpenteria. So for first-time home buyers it’s probably more interesting to start looking for a place in Goleta or Carpinteria, or they can buy an apartment around the downtown-area for the same price. If you really want to live downtown or in the more exclusive area’s of Santa Barbara, you’ll have to safe enough money and decide to move later in your live. This explains the statistics I found about the residents of Santa Barbara on Trulia.com. Only 52% of the residents of Santa Barbara are the owner of their own house. Also, the median age of a home-owner in Santa Barbara is 42.

The Luxury Side of Santa Barbara

So for this topic, I didn’t just want to write about these nice homes by looking at the pictures and the description. I want to see these homes and look for myself why these homes are so expensive. Is it the view, the safety of the neighborhood or the privacy that make these homes so expensive?

There are many expensive houses in Santa Barbara county, some who are more expensive than the others. But for “The Luxury Side of Santa Barbara”, I want to focus more on three luxury areas: Hope Ranch, Montecito and Santa Ynez. Hope Ranch and Montecito are very similar, both area’s offer beautiful ocean- and mountain views and there are even some homes who have access to a private beach. Santa Ynez is different, it is located around 30 minutes North-East from the city. Most of the homes are considered ranches which have vineyards, paddocks and barns.

  • Hope Ranch

Hope Ranch is located West of downtown, the area has beautiful palm tree lined streets and a few gorgeous golf courses. Home prices in this area go all the way up to 25 million dollars. On Sunday October 7th, I went to three open houses in this area.

1.  3429 Sea Ledge Ln, $6,950,000

The first house was a beautiful beach house with amazing views of the ocean and the Channel Islands. It was the smallest house I visited but still the most expensive one, this is not surprising since the two most imported things in real estate are location and views.

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2.  3240 Campanil Dr, $3,199,000

The next house I visited, was just a few-minute drive up the mountain. This house was the least expensive one, but still the biggest house with the most living space indoor and outdoor. Since it was higher up the mountain and all the electricity cables on the street were underground, the views got even five times better.

 

3.  4050 Via Laguna, $4,000,000

The last house I visited was all the way up north in Hope Ranch. The house was located on a death-end street and was surrounded by a beautiful golf course. Since this house has no views, it provides you a lot of privacy and it has a pool and hot-tub. This house felt very different than the other two homes, but from the inside it was definitely the most updated.

  • Montecito

Montecito is located East of Santa Barbara, this area has the most beautiful and exclusive real estate of Santa Barbara. Montecito is a community on it’s own, there are some beautiful stores, hotels and beaches that are very famous and exclusive. Some hotels in Montecito are considered the best in the United States. Montecito is also known for having celebrity residents, Ellen DeGeneres, Katy Perry and Oprah Winfrey all own a beautiful estate in Montecito. On Sunday October 14th, I did three open houses in this area.

1.  636 Woodley Rd, $6,795,000

This house, close to Coast Village Rd, is a modern house with floor-to-ceiling windows and gorgeous mountain views. The modern homes are very rare here in Santa Barbara, that’s why the house is rather expensive for it’s low square footage.

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2.  1147 Glenview Rd, $5,900,000

The next house was just down the street from the first one, this one is faced towards the ocean so it has beautiful ocean-views. The house had multiple levels with a gorgeous game room, sauna and even an outdoor kitchen. Every room has a beautiful ocean view.

3.  2775 Bella Vista Dr, $7,000,000

The last house I saw in Montecito was definitely the best one I saw in all of Santa Barbara. It was all the way up in the mountains of Montecito, far away from the busy streets downtown. It was extremely quite, the only thing you could hear were the birds and the fountain that was running into the pool. The views here were almost unbelievable, you could see all the way from Carpinteria to downtown SB and the pier.

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  • Santa Ynez

Santa Ynez is about a 30-minute drive from Santa Barbara, but also has some amazing luxury real estate. The real estate is very different from Hope Ranch or Montecito. Most people in Santa Ynez want a vineyard or horses, so most of the real estate has a lot of land and people are looking for ranches. Prices can also get really high, you can buy a rather smaller ranch for about 3-4 million. But if you are looking for a ranch with more than 100 acres of land, you can easily pay around 13-14 million dollars. Santa Ynez is also a popular spot for celebrities. The famous “Neverland Ranch”, which used to be Micheal Jacksons house, is now for sale for over 60 million dollars. Also, the famous singer Pink bought a ranch in Santa Ynez five years ago and is now starting her own wine brand.

So as a conclusion, I can say that Santa Barbara is an expensive place for first-time homebuyers and maybe even homebuyers in general. There are also many hidden places that were turned into exclusive and luxury neighborhoods. And last but not least, there is a real estate market for celebrities that want to escape LA for more privacy.

 

What’s Happening with the Pipeline Project in Canada?

Maxime Vautrelle, France

It is a big disappointment for the Canadian government. At the end of August, the justice  stopped the construction of The TransMountain expansion.

One of the biggest projects in Canada, the TransMountain is compromised. The goal was the transportation of energy (petrol, oil, gas…) across Canada and the north of the United States of America. Actually, a pipeline makes the transportation from Chicago (with different ways) to Edmonton in the county of Alberta (Canada). This one is called Embridge Alberta Clipper. Also, the other biggest one is the Express and Platte from Pakota (near Chicago) to Hardisty (Alberta County).

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The Federal Court of Appeal cancelled the executive order to continue the project on the 30th of August. For the institution, the Canadian government has missed these obligations. They should consulted the native populations before approving the project, and they didn’t in November 2016.

The Appeals Court is thinking about the consequences on the environment for the expansion. If  the TransMoutain is built he should do the transportation from Edmonton to Vancouver, and the Canadian president, Justin Trudeau, accepted the project of Kinder Morgan (the investment company) in despite this cost (Ten billion dollars).

In the ‘First Nations’ camp it’s a victory. The balance sheet of the jugdment said, the ONE (Office National of Energy) has been a big mistake in the evaluations of this office can’t  be use for the expansion. The public interest and the environment impact was disregarded altough the economic impact on the region : The weekly capacity of the TransMoutain’s transportation could be 300,000 barrels to 900,000 barrels. The numbers of the tankers will be 34 against 5 actually.

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Finally, the negociations between the different institutions should continue until an agreement, but the project raise so many problems. Actually it’s a public project bought by Trudeau’s administration, and many people in politic had criticized this spending. Greenpeace in head, the ecologic organisation asked the government to take these billions and spend it in favor of the renewable energies.

This case is pushing Justin Trudeau and this administration in the turmoil and it will be difficult for the President to find a positive issue. With the expansion of TranMountain the internationale figure of the Canada and his ‘green-values’, and the weakness of Justin Trudeau confront in the institutions, the Canadian government lives these worst hours.

FIFA World Cup 2018

Chloe Persoglio , Nico Cojocari (France,Belgium)

The best footballers are going to battle next month until there is only one team left, the champion. There is no higher reward, every player dreams of it. Football might just be a game, but when it comes to the World Cup, it is more than that. You can see passion, determination and the will to win on the player’s faces. There is no better way to make your country proud.

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It takes place every four years and it was created in 1928 in France by Jules Rimet.

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The tournament includes 32 teams and starts from June 14 to July 16. The competition has 8 groups of 4 teams that are randomly assigned. Each team plays 3 games, 1 against every other team in the group. The two best teams in the group go further to the 16th round then 8th, 4th, 2nd then the finals.

The selected teams are :

Iceland, England, Russia, Denmark, France, Belgium, Germany, Egypt, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, Australia, Japan, Korean Republic, RI Iran, Croatia, Spain, Poland, Portugal, Sweden, Serbia, Switzerland, Costa Rica, Mexico, Panama, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Peru, Uruguay.

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Even though some influential nations like Italy and  Holland are missing, it is still going to be the most viewed event in the world. Brazil is looking for redemption since they lost 7-1 against the previous champion, Germany. France wants to prove that they are capable of winning since they lost to Portugal at the Euro 2016 final. At the same time, Portugal definitely wants to show that is was not luck that helped them get the Cup. These are just examples. Every team wants to prove something and win the World Cup.Image result for brazil 7-1

Holding the World Cup has many benefits. One of them is the tourism opportunities that it offers to the local markets. People from all around the world are going to go to Russia in June and spend money there. All the media attraction will be around the World Cup and people are definitely going to enjoy it as much as possible.

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Some will even enjoy it too much since there is a drug tolerance. Travelers have the right to declare drugs at customs if they have a doctor’s approval  written in Russian. Marijuana, cocaine and heroin are among the hundreds of drugs and prescriptions on the list of substances travelers can declare.

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We are definitely going to support our nations, Belgium and France. As patriots it is our duty to support our country. If your country is not selected,do not choose another one who is seen as a favorite to win but the one that is connected to you.

France Squad:

Goalkeepers: Hugo Lloris (Tottenham Hotspur/England), Steve Mandanda (Marseille), Alphonse Areola (Paris Saint-Germain);

Defenders: Djibril Sidibe (Monaco), Benjamin Pavard (Stuttgart/Germany), Samuel Umtiti (Barcelona/Spain), Raphael Varane (Real Madrid/Spain), Presnel Kimpembe (Paris Saint-Germain), Adil Rami (Marseille), Benjamin Mendy (Manchester City/England), Lucas Hernandez (Atletico Madrid/Spain);

Midfielders: Paul Pogba (Manchester United/England), Corentin Tolisso (Bayern Munich/Germany), Blaise Matuidi (Juventus/Italy), Ngolo Kante (Chelsea/England), Steven Nzonzi (Sevilla/Spain);

Forwards: Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid/Spain), Olivier Giroud (Chelsea/England), Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain), Ousmane Dembele (Barcelona/Spain), Florian Thauvin (Marseille), Nabil Fekir (Lyon), Thomas Lemar (Monaco).

 

Dates:

  1. France vs Australia – 16 June 2018
  2. France vs Peru – 21 June 2018
  3. Denmark vs France – 26 June 2018

Belgium Squad:

Goalkeepers: Thibaut Courtois (Chelsea), Simon Mignolet (Liverpool), Koen Casteels (VfL Wolfsburg).

Defenders: Toby Alderweireld (Tottenham), Thomas Meunier (Paris Saint-Germain), Thomas Vermaelen (Barcelona), Jan Vertonghen (Tottenham), Dedryck Boyata (Celtic), Vincent Kompany (Manchester City).

Midfielders: Marouane Fellaini (Manchester United), Axel Witsel (Tianjin Quanjian), Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City), Eden Hazard (Chelsea), Nacer Chadli (West Bromwich Albion), Leander Dendoncker (Anderlecht), Thorgan Hazard (Borussia Moenchengladbach), Youri Tielemans (Monaco), Mousa Dembele (Tottenham Hotspur).

Forwards: Michy Batshuayi (Chelsea/Dortmund), Yannick Carrasco (Dalian Yifang), Adnan Januzaj (Real Sociedad), Romelu Lukaku (Manchester United), Dries Mertens (Napoli).

Dates:

  1. Belgium vs Panama– 18 June 2018
  2. Belgium vs Tunisia– 23 June 2018
  3. England vs Belgium– 28 June 2018

Calendar :

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easy consumerism

By Jeanne Beaudoin from France

 

Consumerism is the protection or promotion of the interests of consumers and the preoccupation of society with the acquisition of consumer goods. What is the great danger of consumerism today? First of all, we will talk about the danger of consumerism for each one, and then we will talk about how consumerism is dangerous for the world.

 

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The society is dangerous for every mind because everything is too easy: we want tomato; we just have to go to a shop and buy tomato. Everything we want is possible because of the consumerism. This facility is negative for everybody because we become selfish; we are just some complacent yet covetous heart. We don’t know the real difficulty; everything is served on a silver platter. We’ve never have to fight to eat, to drink water, to take a shower… Everything we need is available. And because everything we need is given, we are every time searching something better, something we can’t have. We cannot appreciate a glass of water because it is unlimited. We are eternally unsatisfied. We do everything for our own interest and it is always difficult to do something if it is against our own inte

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rest. Why would I like help each other if it’s difficult and if I can stay in front of my TV? Consumerism cut our interest for the world off. It is very dangerous because often some people never realize this. But, it is also dangerous for the world.

 

Consumerism is daRésultats de recherche d'images pour « consumerism »ngerous for everybody because it gives us everything we want, letting some people being selfish. But it is also dangerous for our environment. Due to consumerism, the world is going to die slowly. To have beautiful clothes and furniture we kill lots of sheep, elephants, snakes and other animal species extinctions have happened at times. To give us lots of paper, we create deforestation. It is very selfish because we won’t have enough oxygen since trees are lungs of the Earth. Consumerism entrains climate change from the smog of enterprises and powerful countries. Consumerism also creates a big difference between rich and poor people. When someone is poor it is very difficult for him to leave this circle of poverty. Poor countries have lots of difficulties to live next to very rich countries because of this consumerism. It’s almost impossible to become a rich country for a poor country because rich countries try to steal their wealth (petroleum…).

 

In conclusion, we can say than consumerism is negative from every point of view. I hope in the future we will find a solution to have less selfish people and a better world.

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Olympic Games History

Tom Lumiere ,  France

The Ancient Olympic Games were religious and athletic festivals held every four years at the sanctuary of Zeus in Olympia, a city of Greece. Competition was among representatives of several city-states and kingdoms of Ancient Greece. These Games featured mainly athletic, but also combat sports, such as battle and the pankration, horse and chariot racing events. It has been generally written that during the Games, all conflicts with the participating city-states were suspended until the Games were finished. This cessation of hostilities was known as the Olympic peace or accord. This idea is a modern illusion because the Greeks never suspended their wars

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The modern Olympic Games (FrenchJeux olympiques) are best international sporting events presenting summer and winter sports competitions in which thousands of athletes from around the world participate in a variety of competitions. The Olympic Games are considered the world’s principal sports competition with more than 200 nations participating. The Olympic Games are adhered every four years, with the Summer and Winter Games alternating by developing every four years but two years apart.

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Their creation was inspired by the ancient Olympic Games. Baron Pierre de Coubertin (French) founded the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 1894, principal to the first modern Games in Athens in 1896. The IOC is the governing body of the Olympic Movement, with the Olympic Charter defining its structure and authority.

Pierre de Coubertin

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The reason why I choose is that since I was young, I have been

going to every summer Olympic Games: ‘Athens in 2004, Beijing in  2008, London in 2012, Rio de Janeiro in 2016 and I will go to Tokyo in 2020’ .

 

 

A Peak Into The Family Business

Bart Rooijakkers  (The Netherlands)

“What else are you gonna do all summer?” Is what I heard every year before the vacation. From my family who was trying to persuade me to work for the company during the summer. Despite my protest, i was actually convinced every year.

From the day i turned 9, Working in the family company became a regular thing. My family has a bulb farm, They farm the bulbs other companies use to grow flowers to sell them. The whole family regularly worked here to help out, and earn money on the side. Although i was never really big on the work, It was always a good time working with my nephews and nieces. We used to have a lot of fun just messing around, This, however, resulted in less work being done.

 

Rooijakkers Breezand B.V was founded in the year 1906, The first bulbs were harvested by my great-grandfather Henk Sr. In his years of being in charge, he made a simple small-town bulb farm into a Multi-national Allround the year farm. Then after he passed away My Grandfather Jacob Rooyakkers Took the reigns, he had a big part to play in the expansion of the company. In 1991 he, Along with another dutch Farmer named: Jan Van Der Wereld, Became partners in the Sun Valley Group. A group of farmers/businessmen that work around all across the world.

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Jacob (Left) Jan (Middle) Leen (right)

 

 

 
Currently, Rooijakkers B.V has business with a lot of different partners all around the world. The biggest business is with The United States, However, there are farms/Partners in: Kenia, France, and Canada aswell. In The United States. Somewhere in the 90’s, the 3 partners decided it was time to expand their business into another branch: Real Estate. They bought all the ground in a small town. They rent these houses to people who live there. This makes for good business. however, the costs were high aswell, Because a lot of buildings needed repair/work done to them.

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When my Grandfather started getting of age, He asked his Sons/Nephews To help him run he company. Which they did, The “Board” now consisted of: 3 Brothers (My Uncles and Father), And 3 Nephews. They ran the company for several years until for personal reasons 2 of the nephews stepped out of the company. After this it was just: My Grandfather, the 3 brothers and 1 nephew. in 2010 My grandfather passed away, this led some tragic problems. 4 years after this the company was now run by: My father, my Uncle and the nephew. As it currently still is.

 

as of my own experience with the company, Although i did not like the work. I am glad i worked in the company for all those summers. As it has shaped my personality and thoughts in a big way. I stopped working for the company in the year 2017, because of school and different personal reasons. i will always remember the days in the glaring summer sun, and these are the memories that remind me of home. Although it’s good to be here i miss the sight of the fields full of flowers.

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A New Era in Global Marketing Communication

A New Era in Global Marketing Communication

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Writer: Shantel F. Mbulo

A question regarding globalization, which we an answer to is. How will the global market look in 10 years? Well that is a question I can answer in a heartbeat. With the growing demands and emerging economies such as Brazil, Russia, India and last but not least China, call for new marketing strategies. A marketing strategy that works in Denmark might not work in Zambia, caused by language barriers and cultural differences. In order for a Danish company to successfully penetrate the Zambian market, the company must seek above gaining economic surplus. The company might even need to adjust their product to the country in interest.

 

Communication Is Key Another important factor to be aware of, is the manner in which you communicate. Before penetrating a market, research is the core of succeeding. Behavioral patterns vary, consumers therefor demand to know why a company belongs in their country, and a company should be very keen on emphasizing this. Hence, hyper-transparency is king, if any failure on this field a company simply gets discredited and weakens its opportunity. As Eminem rapped it “You only got one shot do not miss the chance to blow”.

Digitalization of Globalization The past 5 years there has been huge growth in PR companies. This is caused by the growth in digital influencers such as bloggers, reviewers etc. This has called for more media awareness. The Internet never sleeps; you therefore need to be aware of the vast changing trends. However, not all get to be a part of the vast change. There are still 3rd world countries that are left out. Though they are following the smartphone trends, they still don’t have the network to use the internet as we do in the western world. Some third world countries still live by the pre-industrial model, it is therefore impossible to approach them as they were a third world country. So, what is the perfect recipe as to including these on the global scene? A lot of companies seem to fail on this task.

offshoringThe Effect of outsourcing At times companies decide to outsource in order to gain higher economic surplus in their company. Unfortunately this is done without reviewing the country’s infrastructure. With this being said, outsourcing is not only negative, it is positive as it creates jobs for people who otherwise would have been unemployed. However, as mentioned previously. If the only goal is to gain economic surplus, it will be an unstable business, if the cultural communication is poor so will communication be in general. For a business to thrive better on foreign grounds you must make an effort to communicate, be transparent, an reliable to ensure a healthy relation within the company as well as having a good reputation amongst 3rd word countries.

The Richest Person in Saudi Arabia

By Abdulmajeed Alfrayan, Saudi Arabia

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Sulaiman AL-Rajhi is the richest person in Saudi Arabia.   When he was 16 he started selling the water in the street. He was working at the same time in a restaurant to earn the money for his family. When he earned some extra money he went to trade  in fruits and other things until he reached what he is now, the richest man in Saudi Arabia.

 

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Sulaiman AL-Rajhi has the largest bank in the Middle East. He has more than 50 thousand employees.

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Sulaiman Al-Rajhi was born in Al Bukairiyah, located in Al Qassim province in Saudi Arabia, and grew up in the Nejd desert with his brother, Saleh. Sulaiman Abdulaziz Al Rajhi holds the largest individual stake in his family’s Al Rajhi Bank.

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Sulaiman AL-Rajhi invested more than his half money to benefit kids and the poor people.

NUCLEAR ENERGY: DECIDE WHICH SIDE YOU’RE ON

By Arthur Gris, France

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Nuclear power will help provide the electricity that our growing economy needs without increasing emissions. This is truly an environmentally responsible source of energy.” assured American politician Michael Burgess, while former Finnish President Tarja Halonen warned “Nuclear power is not a miracle key for the future.”. People have been arguing about nuclear power since its creation in the 1940s, until today in 2017. And we’re pretty sure that it will last forever whatever happens. If it stays like this, the debate will remain the same as the pro-nuclear and anti-nuclear will keep on arguing, and if nuclear power is banned, it’s very likely to see the pro-nuclear continue to argue to get it back.

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The aftermath of the Hiroshima bombing, 1945.

After its well-known and controversial use in the 1940s with the 2 atomic bombs in Japan which made approximately 250,000 victims, the nuclear power were used in the next decade to offer a brighter and peaceful future designed for the development of new technologies. In the 50s, people saw in the atomic power the actual key to the future. However, we soon learned the limit of that extraordinary power as it was expansive and complicated to maintain. That is when it became really disputed with on one hand industries that preferred to keep going with the traditional sources of power (such as gas, coal and oil) that were in their opinion more reliable and cheaper, and on the other hand those who wanted this power because of its plentiful of positive aspects.

The nuclear power reached its highest peak during the oil wars that started in the 70s and which caused oil prices to shoot up, leading to more and more investments in the atomic power: more than half of all the nuclear reactors were built between 1970 and 1985. Since then, what made this power controversial were mainly the catastrophes such as the Chernobyl one in 1986 and the Fukushima disaster in 2011 which both caused casualties when and after the accidents happened due to the mortal and extremely expandable radioactivity.

Nowadays, the nuclear plants are getting old though new ones are planned for the next years in some countries, mainly developing. The situation faced today by those “nuclear countries” is whether spend money to make their nuclear plants brand new with the latest technologies, or move towards other kind of power.

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The “cons” of this power are well known and are the reasons why it’s so controversial and why people are protesting. One of them is the fact that developing nuclear power can lead to proliferation of nuclear weapons. These kinds of weapons, owned by both enemy nations are often said to be the cause of a 3rd world war. But a war with nuclear weapons on both sides would be an unseen massacre in the history of humanity and for the earth too. A less scary yet worrying situation is the pollution due to the nuclear rejections and wastes coming from the nuclear plants. We still don’t know what to do with it, and bury them in the soil of the earth is not a good and durable solution even though it is very little compared to greenhouse gasses and rejections and waste from the regular sources of energy. Lastly, the major accidents we seen had a radioactive spreading that was very serious and certainly the cause of cancer for the individuals located in many kilometers square around the area. In the most famous case of Chernobyl, the catastrophe will cause about 270 000 cancers (93 000 fatal) within 70 years, according to Greenpeace.

The “pros” however, are often ignored by most of people. They can be divided into two main points. At first, NASA scientists demonstrated that it is cleaner than the gases that fossil fuels produce. Which means that, in a way, there are a lot more deaths due to the fossil energy exploitation, but when people died because of the nuclear energies its mainly due to the catastrophes mentioned earlier in the article which always have a great impact in people’s minds. Actually, the NASA scientist said that in 2009, 1.8 million deaths have been prevented thanks to the nuclear energy replacing other kind of energy.

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Fuel needed to power a lightbulb, nuclear is clearly the less consuming energy.

Second, the new technologies which will be used to rebuild the old nuclear plants will reduce a lot the risks of such disasters. If countries invest in those specific fields of technologies, they might be able to control the risks and use nuclear power instead of poisonous fossil energies. Yes, the aftermaths of the nuclear catastrophes are terrible and are what is frightening and repulsive to people regarding nuclear energy, but since there has been already not a lot of such catastrophes in the past 50 years with the old technologies, the newest being more secure might stop or prevent any catastrophes. It definitely looks like the best solution to produce energy, only before we can fully produce only with renewable energies (in 40 years in the best scenarios, according to experts).

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So…                                 Is it good?                                                                       Is it bad?

Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership by Mattis Bieg, Germany

Currently in negotiations the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is a trade agreement with the aim to strengthen and boost the US economy and the member nations of the European Union. The supporters of the partnership are claiming that the trade agreement will result in the creation of millions of jobs for American and European citizens; furthermore, they assert it could have a positive impact on the economy of the EU and the USA. According to the European Commission, the partnership could boost the economy by at least 90 billion dollars just for the USA. However critics believe that big corporations will exclusively profit from the partnership and the positive effects on families and private households won’t compensate the disadvantages in sectors such as environmental protection, consumer protection and food safety acts. In addition, the negotiations between the USA and the EU are criticized for being undemocratic and for haggling behind closed doors without including the public in the decision making process.

The TTIP should be publicly discussed if it is morally defendable to support a trade agreement which could result in the expansion of an already immense wealth gap. According to the book Capital by Thomas Piketty the imbalance will result in a decreasing economic potential for both parties. Furthermore, TTIP strengthens social injustice and the exploitation of minorities and workers in the low-paid sector and the creation of a justice system independent from domestic laws for big companies who will then be able to sue countries via international arbitrations for a potential loss of profit due to domestic consumer protection laws or environmental protection laws.

To ensure that the interests of the US and EU economies as well as big corporations are represented in the negotiations, the leading US negotiators are mostly former lobbyists. For example, Michael Froman, trade representative for the USA and chief negotiator of TTIP, was paid four million dollars by his former employer to take on this task. Other examples are Islam Siddiqui who is a former lobbyist of Crop Life which is representing establishments like Bayer, BASF and Monsanto, or Robert Holleyman who has been an Apple and Microsoft lobbyist for over 20 years. But the EU is no better. Even though there are over 15,000 lobbyists working in Brussels, the negotiators of the EU still thought it would be necessary to have over 520 meetings with neoliberal-related lobbyists.

Perhaps the influence of the lobbyists isn’t a problem at all, because there is at least the potential that those companies involved won’t act selfishly or only focus on their own interests. Lobbyists for example possess an advanced knowledge about finances and management; these skills have been used by the Swiss government to budget the building of the world’s longest tunnel and to stick to the time schedule, which was a complete success. Additionally not all lobbyists are related to finance and business, some of them work for social organizations like the Human Rights Watch, the Freedom House or even the ICRC.

So what could be the other consequences of TTIP? Positive effects of TTIP would be the creation of a strong trade union, which could protect the members of this union from a potential global economic crisis. Other benefits are surely the reduction of beurocratism and the unnecessary costs of domestic customs for export and import. Furthermore, trade with foreign countries who ratified TTIP will be far easier than current conditions. In addition, TTIP will lead to the cultural exchange of goods.

The trading partnership will definitely have an impact on consumer protection, environment protection and worker’s rights. In those cases, the effects will be especially negative for the EU, due to the fact that they have stricter and more diverse laws and restrictions. One just needs to take a look at the list of prohibited chemical and biological substances; of the 1,300 forbidden substances in the EU, only 11 are forbidden in the USA. For example, asbestos (used in the shipbuilding and construction industry), which was clearly and without any doubt declared as a threat to health and a carcinogen, is still commonly used in plenty of goods in the USA. Furthermore, the USA has only ratified two out of eight ILO-norms (International Labor Organization) which would be forced labor and child labor in its worst forms. Obviously this doesn’t mean that the USA is one of the worst countries regarding workers rights, because countries like Syria have ratified all ILO-norms and Iran five of eight, and surely the people there don’t have more workers rights than the people in the USA. However, this kind of behavior illustrates a certain attitude towards the lack of protection of workers in the USA. For example 25 states in the USA have special Right-to-work-laws which restrict the funding of labor unions and worker councils. An example of this would be the Mercedes-Benz factory in Alabama which is the only factory of Mercedes worldwide without a committeeman.  In addition, there are countless further cases of egoistic and immoral behavior by international businesses. A great example would be the Canadian establishment, Gabriel Resources, which focuses on the mining of gold in Romania. Romania and Canada signed a trading partnership to protect the interests of companies and investors. However Gabriel Resources is currently suing the state of Romania for prohibiting the project due to the planned use of cyanide during mining, which is against the environmental laws of the EU, to which Romania is applying for a membership. Cyanide is also called a ticking bomb due to the fact that it is highly toxic and even deadly. Further examples for this controversy would be the lawsuit against Estonia for regulating its financial institutions or Uruguay for labeling cigarettes with health warnings. In general this wouldn’t be a problem if the case was held in front of a domestic judge, but those cases are fought in front of international arbitrators, whose lawyers and judges are often selected by the businesses themselves. In addition there is no inclusion of third-parties or witnesses if one of the partners doesn’t agree.

Considering all this information, the negotiation procedure has to be changed in order to include the public and to prevent secret unwritten agreements with the aim to loosen regulations in favor of big companies. Furthermore, the discussion about hard-won workers’ rights, as well as the preparation to introduce a parallel justice system for globalized companies, has to be put to an end to fulfill the aim of serving the citizens and providing them benefits through the TTIP deal. If they conform to the requirements, TTIP is more likely to make a positive change in our daily lives, improve the economy and to strengthen the USA and the EU, if they don’t protect the workers and citizens it will have disastrous impacts on our societies.

Cartoons:

TTIP cartoon 1TTIP cartoon 2

Recommendations:

  • Thank You for Smoking (2005, USA)
  • Why the Deadly Asbestos Industry Is Still Alive and Well (Vice Reports)
  • TTIP-leaks (Greenpeace, Netherlands)
  • TTIP (Vice Reports)