Alicia Hosking


What’s Up World? #16

Published on MTV’s international pro-social website MTV Voices on 13.02.13

What’s Up World?
Between the cracks of the world’s news headlines


Do anti-drug campaigns work?

As you will no doubt be aware, governments around the world have been running expensive anti-drug campaigns for the past 30 years, trying to protect young people from the negative effects of taking drugs. They’ve come a long way since Just Say No, but how effective are they?


Tactics vary by country: ads like this one from Canada’s Drugs Not For Me aim to be confronting about the potential hazards of drug use, while the Above the Influence campaign from the USA tries to relate to its target audience. Last year Australia’s National Drugs Campaign ran a fun competition to have a band play in your backyard using the tagline ‘Hugs not drugs’ and the FRANK campaign from the UK aims for credibility by suggesting that drugs can offer highs as well as lows.

But there’s really no evidence that any of these campaigns have actually stopped people from taking drugs. According to a study by the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, they’ve had little or no impact on young people and their decisions.

Have you seen an anti-drug campaign that have made you think twice? What’s the best anti-drug add you’ve ever seen? Personally, I’m loving this campaign from Northern Ireland about throwing poo

photo: robbiemacphotos

China is about to pop

China is so immense I can’t actually get my head around it.

Of the total population, which is expected to hit 1,361,640,000 this year, 220,000,000 are migrant workers, ie. they’ve moved to urban areas to find jobs. They’re migrating to cities at such an accelerated rate that by 2030, roughly one in eight people on planet earth will be a resident of a Chinese city – that’s the biggest migration in human history.

But the problem is, this accelerated urbanisationis creating the world’s largest number of slum-dwellers. Without access to the required permits to buy apartments or send their children to public school, China’s migrant workers are living in poor, overcrowded conditions, many occupying underground basements, sleeping shifts in dormitories outside their factories or pitching tents beside roads.

What’s ethics got to do with it?

There’s an alternative approach to Valentine’s Day on the rise. Rather than exchanging gifts perilously likely to make loved ones want to vomit a little bit, there are much cooler things you can do to show them you care AND that you’re a socially conscious, upstanding human being…

Fair trade rosesare becoming much more widely available, with some supermarkets making the switch just in time for the annual boom, and chocolate made with cocoa free from child, trafficked or forced labour is a guaranteed sweetener.

Displays of gallantry never go amiss. What says “I am virile and for you I’d run to the ends of the earth” more than running 5km to raise awareness and funds for the fight against human trafficking?

NGO Made By Survivors have a got it covered, with jewelry, bags, accessories and cards hand made by survivors of human rights abuses and children living in extreme poverty.

Or of course there are always conflict-free diamonds for those wanting to seal the deal (or have loads of spare cash).

Happy ethical Valentine’s Day!

Something brewing in your part of the world? We want to know about it. Tweet @its_alicia or @mtvvoices using the hashtag #WhatsUpWorld

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