Change is in the air - Monocle Minute | Monocle

Thursday. 28/11/2019

The Monocle Minute

Image: Muhammad Fadli

Opinion / Josh Fehnert

Our 2020 vision

Journalists are famously reticent about making predictions. What seems certain one evening (the date that the UK will leave the EU, for instance, or the slim possibility the Mayans were right about the end of the world – even the Millennium bug) can look foolhardy when published in the cold light of day. So how can we augur the shifts that will affect design, diplomacy, art or architecture in the year ahead? Well for a start there’s The Forecast, Monocle’s annual lookahead, which hits newsstands today.

Instead of simply imagining how the world might turn, our on-the-ground reporters sought out stirring case studies and asked the experts for upbeat insights on getting an edge. We visit a few lesser known outposts, from Indonesia’s mooted new capital to a Swiss school with designs on a better education for all. We also make for a clearing in the woods outside Budapest where a horde of Vikings are dolled up to shoot a TV show in an area that’s become a beacon for Hollywood production companies. We ask agents how the digital deluge has affected their industries – from book publishing to pop and the theatre – and see why a wave of young talent is sparking a Greek revival. Plus: we visit the world’s least lonely nation (Denmark) to find out how something as simple as club membership can help put paid to the pangs of isolation. We also cite a few reasons to be cheerful and offer advice on practical changes for achieving a better balance between work and life, and publish our first Small Cities Index for those seeking a quieter place to call home.

So here’s an audacious prediction that goes against the wisdom – and cynicism – of some corners of the journalistic trade: next year can be better than this one. For advice, ideas and inspiration on how, pick up a copy of The Forecast. Go on, do as the Danes do: join the club.

Media / Brazil

On the record

The renowned US leftist title Jacobin published the first print issue of its Brazilian edition this month. The cover of Jacobin Brasil features icons of the left, including Che Guevara – and, of course, they are also selling their own tote bags. The timing of the move is notable: in the Jair Bolsonaro era, much like in Donald Trump’s US, publications opposing right-wing populism are thriving. Brazil’s leading daily, Folha de São Paulo, saw an uptick in sales after Bolsonaro said that he would cancel all government subscriptions as a result of what he saw as unfavourable coverage (much like Trump did with The New York Times and The Washington Post). Now even Brazil’s right-wing print media is writing frequent ferocious editorials against the administration. Bolsonaro might label them as fake news but the truth is that Brazil’s media industry is alive and well.

Image: Shutterstock

Aviation / Canada

Change is in the air

Canada is joining a global effort to make air travel greener. This week a group of aviation authorities based in British Columbia announced a new partnership aimed at increasing the supply of sustainable aviation fuel throughout Canada, starting next year at Vancouver International Airport, the country’s second-busiest. It’s all part of the global trend to cut carbon emissions – the pollution that comes from flying is top of the list – and using greener fuel options will form a huge part of making the necessary cuts.

Canada isn’t the only pioneer of climate-friendly flying: Scandinavian Airlines plans to operate all domestic flights using biofuel by 2030 and Norway recently passed legislation compelling aviation-fuel suppliers to mix 0.5 per cent of biofuel into their supplies. The growing push for greener fuel should help to keep our skies clean – and perhaps placate those who would see us stop flying altogether.

Image: Rahul Sagar

History / India

Reshaping the past

India is a country in transition – an increasingly self-confident nation on the global stage with a Hindu nationalist government that is challenging what it means to be Indian. But as Narendra Modi looks to remake India he would do well to seek inspiration from a new online archive that sheds light on the country’s political and intellectual legacy – and the original thinkers who cultivated it. Scholar Rahul Sagar, an associate professor of political science at New York University Abu Dhabi, has built a database called Ideas of India where he and 147 researchers gathered hundreds of thousands of English-language articles, periodicals and journals from the pre-Independence period between 1837 and 1947. “No one who reads these periodicals can fail to comprehend the immense struggle – intellectual, moral, political and social – that it took to realise India,” writes Sagar in the introductory article. In a time of resurgent nationalism and falling trust in the media, this enlightening exchange between India’s original thinkers, leaders and their media titans is certainly worth another look.

Image: Dan Wilton

F&B / Ireland

Food for thought

Most people who live in cities should be satisfied with the way that the food movement has treated them over the past few years: we eat better – and at restaurants more often – than the previous generation could countenance. However, a fundamental shift is still required to pass these benefits on to the farmers, the land and our collective health, argues Irish chef Darina Allen, who has TV shows and 19 cookbooks to her name. “We’ve let at least two generations out of our homes without the practical skills to feed themselves,” says the founder of Cork cookery school Ballymaloe. “We’ve handed over control of the most important thing in our lives: our health. We’re totally dependent on four or five inches of soil around the world for our very existence. We can’t go back to business as usual.” For more of Allen’s well-reasoned insights – on the rise of food intolerances, how to pay producers fairly and why never to offer her a skinny latte – buy a copy of [The Forecast]( and read the full interview.

M24 / The Foreign Desk Explainer

What is France doing in Mali?

On Monday, 13 French soldiers were killed in a helicopter crash in Mali – the French army’s worst day of active service since 1983. Andrew Mueller asks what France is doing in Mali and the wider region.

Monocle Films / Brazil

São Paulo: building better cities

Brazil’s business capital has reinvented its city centre through clever urbanism. We meet the architects, gallery owners and transport visionaries powering this change.


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