And welcome to another episode of the BigAppleSchool podcast, the bi-weekly English show where we speak about everything under the sun. The major goal of this show is to help you with your listening skills and of course, learn something new. My name's Katya. I'm your host. And today with me...
So, guys, how are you doing? Hosts. The us. What's up? What's new?
It's fine. Everything's fine. Well, new. I don't know. Last week, for example, I visited an interesting performance. It was a theatre performance where one of my students took part.
She had been studying for half a year, I guess. And then she invited me to her, like, grand finale.
Oh, that's so adorable. How was it?
It was good. Really good. I mean, it is kind of an amateur theatre group of actors. They are not professionals, but they had done a brilliant job.
We used to have a student, at BigAppleSchool, who was also a... Well, he still is an opera singer here at our Opera and Ballet Theatre. He's a lead singer for that. So in I remember first visiting opera and he was the lead singer in there and I was like, Wow.
But also during the classes very often he was telling me about, you know, how difficult this or that opera is. He's like, Just listen to this, just listen to this. And then he would rehearse in front of the camera, you know, during the class, I was like, Oh my God, it's like personal performance, you know? So I don't... I love how diverse our students are.
So we have all sorts of people.
And it's always interesting to see someone who, you know, from one side... from some other side like this.
Mm hmm. Ayoub, Varya? How are you doing?
Yes, I'm waiting for spring. Things to melt. Birdies to sing.
Oh, yes. Flowers to bloom. Finally.
I don't... Maybe later, maybe in May, I guess.
At a very few points in the city I guess. Yes, but yeah, Ayoub. What about you? How are you doing?
I'm good. Well, like lately, I have been interested in some things about the universe. And, uh, there was, like, uh, an asteroid that passed by our planet, like, few days ago. And this phenomenon doesn't happen, like, every 5000 years. Like, it happens... So we were the lucky ones to see it.
When you said we were the lucky ones, I'm like, Yeah, we were the lucky ones to avoid being hit by it as well.
Yeah, but it's still beautiful like...
Because if you, if they could see, that means it was relatively close.
It was yeah, it was. But not in a dangerous way.
It could be far, far away. We could still see it.
Yeah, but still, you know. Things could happen.
Right. We have to avoid that day.
Nice to look at these things from a distance.
You know, But we have actually the technology now to hit back the asteroids I mean. Because like few months ago. NASA, like, launched a test. It was like, uh, a rocket with a missile, and they hit a, like, an asteroid, and they broke it down and they changed its course. Yeah.
But then the repercussions with that, because that little piece, those pieces can be in some other orbit and hit us something... Some other way. It'll affect something, right?
Little pieces. They. Yeah, they, they they get burned.
I don't know. There was an idea. I don't know. Like, like in the 1960s, I think someone had the idea of, um, shooting at the moon. See if they could break up the moon. Not really a good idea.
That's a little bit too... Too big to shoot at. Yeah, that's true. All right, well, I usually, you know, when people ask me, Hey, what's new? I'm like, Well, I don't have that much going on. But this Wednesday, we had one of the speaking clubs in Telegram, and I was a little bit scared because the topic was fast fashion, and I was wondering if anyone would come because it's not really a common topic and I was so happy to see people join and actually talk. So I was like, whooh relieved, you know? So, Ayoub, you have had some speaking clubs in the past on Telegram, right?
It was good. It was good. Like participants, they liked the subjects. Well, the first one was a bit deep. I don't remember exactly but this was a bit deep. So um, I chose some topics which were interesting. Interesting for our like our participants. And the last one I was talking about travelling.
Mhm. Oh, the universal. Yeah. Everyone...
I love that topic. But when I ask students tell me about your childhood they don't seem to be able to remember.
Okay. No, childhood is a very good topic and I love that topic.
Might be one of the possible topics for the future livestream.
Yeah, cause travelling. They love to talk about travelling where they want to go, where they have been. Yeah, travel is a good topic.
Well, if you dear listeners are wondering what exactly we are talking about, we now have speaking clubs in the form of a livestream in Telegram, which you can find if you look for our channel BigAppleSchool on Telegram. So they are absolutely free. So you can talk to us, you can talk to other people over there. Usually we have a topic that we announce a day before, so stay tuned and check the announcements.
Apart from that, we also have the aftershow for the podcast. So now, as you might have noticed, our podcast come... Come out every two weeks and not every week and aftershow comes the week after the podcast. So it could be a great opportunity to get extra content, extra practice and the aftershow could be found in our Private Telegram chat, which is also something you could find in our Telegram channel. Or you could look it up by BigAppleChatBot in Telegram. So this is the space where students, teachers chat on different topics. We can exchange things like memes, videos and so on. So it's some sort of a community of language learners and language teachers. So we always welcome new participants. So enough with the chit-chat. We're here to talk about a very serious topic, so we are going to talk about social issues. Kinda... I thought that was one. This is something like the topic you had first when you had the livestream, so something like that.
It was, but it was deeper, actually. I don't remember exactly the topic. It was a long time ago, but it was something like that, yeah.
Well, why don't we kind of divide our talk today into separate subtopics? So starting with homelessness, because I believe that this is one of the biggest problems that the world. One of the biggest problems that the world faces right now. So and I want to ask you is... What are the possible ways to deal with this problem? Cause it could be found anywhere, no matter what the city or the country is.
Well, in the United States, the problem seems to be that in cities like L.A. or any city, that there's a big problem, that they don't have public support. The people do not want their taxes going toward helping these people. And that is the problem. If you're viewing homeless as lazy, not wanting to work, wanting handouts, then you won't want to help them. But this is not the case. I've seen interviews. I've read about how, you know, how life just beats you up and you just land out in the street for a long time. You don't... If you don't have help.
I actually was shocked in the U.S. when I saw the amount of homeless people in San Francisco, in Seattle, so...
Well, Seattle is not really a warm city.
But Los Angeles, San Francisco.
Oh my Goodness. Seattle. Yes. Oh, they've got a huge problem.
Like they even have some sort of like part of a town with some sort of like they live in tents.
So. But don't they, don't they have some shelters for homeless where they can come to ask for help.
You have to be on a list, a waiting list. And since it's, you know, bombed, there's so many homeless now, so many more.
What is the reason? I mean, what could possibly be the reason for this skyrocketing level of homelessness?
I really don't know. Maybe they can't pay their rent or they got unemployed because of some health issues or... Well.
I think because of the government..
What comes to my mind, yeah.
The government support is the number one issue, I think, because, uh, now like when we say homelessness, it is related, of course, to many other things like unemployment, poorness, okay? And these are caused actually by the government system in any country.
Exactly. Exactly. And we have actually enough land and enough resources to make every single person on this planet to live in an adequate house with, you know, everything like adequate accommodation. But the global system like it's not right.
Drug addiction is one huge reason why people land homeless.
Drug addiction, alcoholism.
It has been a rising level of drug addiction in the US right now, as far as I know, with some drug called fentanyl or something like that, because I constantly see news like how to help a person if you think they might have ODed or if they are, you know, substance abusers and so on.
So it's supposed to be twice as potent as heroin or twice as potent as something and quite addictive.
Yeah, but how did they become drug addicts? That's a problem.
That is. So, you know, I think about a month ago I saw the news about Vancouver, Canada, where they want to legalise all drugs and to see what happens. I wonder if that law has already passed or not really, but I really wonder if that would have some sort of negative consequences or if that would help beat, you know, the addiction level, the, um, the homelessness maybe.
There is something about drugs. Like, uh, there is kind of a story or proverb. They say in some places in Alaska and Antarctica. Uh, there are some hunters that want to hunt wolves. Okay, so what do they do? They bring, like, a double-edged blade. And, uh, they put blood on it, all right? They cover it with ice, and they leave it. Now, the wolf. When the wolf, like, has, like, a very strong sense of smelling. And, uh, when the wolf smells the blood, he goes to the, like, uh, icy stuff, icy blade, and he starts licking that blade. And on the same time, he's hurting himself. Then he smells more blade. So he's. He doesn't know that it's his blood. Okay.
Yeah. Until it dies. So this is what, uh. This is the ideology of drugs. Like they put drugs for people. They make them addicts, so.... Yeah.
So, you know, there is a belief that some people have that homelessness is always the fault of a homeless person. So when they see, you know, they have some sort of, I do not know, misconception when they see a homeless person, they say it's your fault. Like, you know, you were the one who you got yourself into the situation. What do you think could be done in order to reverse that?
Well, when you're talking about your own fault, so we're talking about alcoholism or drug addiction. And then there's this mental health issue. If they don't go on their medication, if they don't, they don't have access to medication. So what are you going to do with these people? So, yeah, you can see that it's their fault. But if we have a system that will not get us out of it. What's wrong with little tiny houses for homeless people? I mean, what's so difficult to get them out of tents into little tiny houses? So many want some kind of housing to be built for them.
And what is interesting is that most of the shelters for homeless people are some sort of place where they can spend the night, are not even government run. They're usually some sort of private businesses who just want to help.
So charities yeah. So why not... Well, let's say allocate money in the budget differently and maybe not devote as much to whatever.
But it comes back to what I was saying before. The major problem is changing the opinion of citizens, changing the opinion of people who are paying the taxes. And it's so easy to kick someone when they're down. Like, I'm glad I'm not there and it's your own fault. Cause I have plenty of problems myself.
Hmm. Fair enough. So it's like, yeah, I might have problems, but at least I'm not. And then insert whatever you want.
And sometimes these people use the Bible, like to say, Well, you're not supposed to have just handouts. You're supposed to be able to work yourself and be independent yourself. And so there's a lot of... You can't do it yourself, then we're not going to help you.
What happened to the help thy neighbour? I love thy neighbour.
Yes. It's not quite Christian like I think.
Oh they think that if you help someone, they want to be helped. They, like. They get addicted to help. No, not help. Handouts. I want handouts. I want you to give me something. But none of us want handouts. We all want to be independent or interdependent. A productive citizen in our community. None of us want to just have handouts.
That's true. Well, I'm going to... I feel like whatever topic and sub topic we're going to cover, I'm going to turn to Ayoub and ask, what is the situation like with this issue in Algeria? Because let's say we know the situation in Russia. Let's say a lot of us are familiar with the situation in the U.S. due to the news and that being covered. But what about your country?
For me, as far as I noticed in my city, like in my city, uh, I haven't seen many homeless people, but most of homeless people are crazy or something. Like they have some psychological problems, but the government actually gives some support to, uh, homeless people. Uh, we have, uh, two different programs, a program for people who are like, uh, employees. Uh, for example, uh, just like in Russia, you can, for example, pay sum of money and you prove that you are working and you have the amount of salary they would give you like an apartment and you pay it with time. Uh, but for people who don't work, they have a different, uh, program. They give flats for free. For three years.
So the, so the people are actually helped by the government?
Oh, fantastic. That's fantastic.
Many people actually got this. But it takes, uh, some procedures and some time. For example, they cannot give to everybody at the same time. For example, in my city, I saw some people living in slums. And those slums, uh, it's like a full village of people living there. The government comes... They like take everybody from there and they put them into like new blocks and cities.
Oh, that's great. That is really...
And then they start working and they don't come back to the streets.
Most of these people. Most of these people, they work. But, uh, without papers, they go to market, you know, they can afford... The tax program in, uh, in my country is not so, uh, high like in other countries. So you don't pay a lot for, uh, gas and such things like electricity. Yeah.
Mhm. Well, if we talk about homelessness, as we have mentioned very often, it might be caused by people's inability to, let's say pay for rent so they can no longer afford, you know, the basic needs. And that in turn can be in a way caused by unemployment. So which is another problem that the whole world, not the whole world, but many countries are facing. So the typical question, what should the government do to tackle unemployment? What can they do? Can they do anything?
In the U.S.. I think we have... Our unemployment rate is pretty low right now.
You know, I read a theory why. Because having one job is no longer enough to afford everything. So people have to get like, you know, second jobs, third jobs just to be able to afford things.
Guys, let's like, think deeply about it, okay? I think unemployment is not the fault of the governments only. It's about the people who want to work. Uh, there is like, a saying, like, if you want to, uh, to have money, you should work. Anything. For example, uh, someone is an English teacher. If, uh, for example, he doesn't find a job during COVID 19 or something, he should do something else. Even if he works, uh, uh, as a waiter at a restaurant. It's not like a shame. It's work, you know?
So some people, they feel like, uh, I don't know, like this is... This job is not for me. But you don't have a choice if you want to support yourself and your family — work. So it's not only the, like, uh, and there are some people, uh, also who are lazy. For example, uh, they tell you, Oh, I didn't find a job. I didn't find a job. Did you look? Exactly. Yes. We, I have seen a lot of, uh, people like this also. If you want something, you should get it.
Yeah. Some people just they use it as an excuse not to work.
Yeah. And I'm wondering what percentage those kinds of people are because I think with the things I've read, it just seems like so many do want to work and so many are out there. And then at some point you feel like giving up. You go get depressed, maybe you go get on drugs and then it's a spiral down.
They shouldn't give up. Like...
I have noticed what you have mentioned about people saying this job is kind of beyond me. No I'm too, I'm too good for this, you know, like to be a waiter when I have a degree. Do you want to pay your rent and not get kicked out?
Just like you said, sometimes that waiter job will not pay your rent.
There's a limit. I mean, you yourself said this. I have two or three jobs. At what point is that too many jobs and not enough life for you?
That is also true. That is also true.
Cause that could just send anyone into a depression. How could you get out of that?
Then we can get to the topic of, as we did in some podcast, the medical care prices. That is also unaffordable very often in some countries. Oh, good. Yeah. Well, I know that people who are officially unemployed, they can get some sort of unemployment benefits, so some sort of financial help from the government during some time. It could be a half a year, it could be seven months, three months, whatever. So in your opinion, should these unemployment benefits, the stimulus checks, be higher or lower?
Than what? Than an average salary?
Well, let's say yes, then the minimum. Because the average and the minimum.
Some people just would choose not to work at all if this unemployment payment or whatever we call it is higher than an average salary. They would just prefer to stay home, watch TV series.
And therefore, we need to categorise them. Because, for example, if someone cannot work, they can... Give them this money.
So let's say due to some sort of health issue.
Exactly. Exactly. Age also.
Or they if they have enough money to stay at home, they yeah, they might prefer to stay and watch TV. Or they can pursue their hobby and their hobby can turn into a profession. So it's a way of getting out of your rut and doing something that you want to do.
Fantastic phrase getting out of a rut.
You know, maybe maybe you remember what happened in the U.S. in 2020 when the pandemic hit with all the stimulus checks and everything?
Yeah, I got one. I got two. I think I got three. It was nice.
I got one too. I wasn't supposed to. But the thing is that that caused a problem in the U.S. on the labour market, because the thing is that. So when COVID hit, there was also some level of unemployment. So people were getting their unemployment benefits, which were well, which was some amount. I think it was around like several hundred dollars. And then people also got COVID stimulus checks, which were 1400. If I'm not mistaken, at least at the beginning, that's that's what I got. So and a lot of people, you know, especially from lower paid jobs like servers and so on, they said, what's the point of us to go to work now if we get the same amount of money or even more from all the benefits and the stimulus checks? And that caused a huge problem for some of the, let's say, restaurants and different janitors position. But they could not find people because people didn't want to. Like, what's the point of working?
Well some poeple really didn't want to leave their houses to go into COVID areas with people. Um, but then it, it really went to online. People really developed their online skills and their online business.
Yes, absolutely. Absolutely. So...
Yeah, a blessing in disguise.
Because for like I think the online businesses, like they emerged out of COVID 19. I think. Because before that we had some online businesses, but not as much as right now. So I think people learned that, uh, we can just work from home and that's okay.
And some people want to work from home. Some people really want to be with people all day long.
And some people combine like us.
Yeah. The nice inner choice.
We are with people, but these people are online in our screen. That is true. So homelessness, unemployment. What other social issues are there that need to be tackled?
Some sort of like there are some minor issues like nepotism, favouritism in jobs. Uh.
That's like sub, sub issues.
Corruptions. Kinds of corruptions.
In the United States, we have great gun violence. And I just looked at the statistics in early March that we've had over 700 mass shootings in the year of 2023. I mean, January, February, mass shootings means if three people get shot or more.
And I cannot wrap my mind around it, it's basically two months, seven hundreds. It's not just shootings.
Every time I go on the news, I get them mixed up. Oh, that was at the school. That was at a gay bar. That was at an office. I get the mix up. That was a hospital.
The very idea that it's mass shootings, even if that was just shootings, that would be scary and horrifying enough. But it's mass shootings.
Little children getting shot, dying.
You know cause the whole world, when they look at the necessity of let's say kids in school going through fire drills and like, you know, run drills. Horryfying.
Well, we have such a divide in the country because the right really supports the Second Amendment. The Second Amendment was made for we have a right to bear arms. And that was that was made when we kicked the British out of our country.
Yeah, 1877. Yeah. So and also this powerful feeling like, look, I've got an AK-47, I'm tough, I hunt, I'm a man. But then women, they get into it, too. Like, look, I've got this big weapon. I'm beautiful, I have good body and I've got a weapon. But the one that affects me is the open carry on campus. And that's when you can sit at in your university class and maybe, you know, that person has a gun. You don't know if they have a mental...
We talked about that with some professors and it's like you actually start fearing for your for your life if you have to give, you know, some sort of a bad grade to a student. Oh, it's like who knows what... And it's horrifying.
Well, on the other side, their argument is if a shooter came in, I will be able to defend the class, which is true. I mean, that would be nice to have another gun I guess.
It would be nice to have no shooter in the first place.
And this is a this is the problem which is almost exclusively existent in the U.S.
It is. It is exclusive, I'm not proud to say.
And if we look at the statistics of the amount of mass shootings from year to year, we can see that it's...
On the increase. It's on the increase and particularly in the summer and particularly during COVID, the lockdown. Oh, no, I think it was after COVID. I think when people go, I don't know, there are protests in the street during COVID and then after COVID, people wanted to, I guess, express themselves with their guns. I don't know. I can't keep up with it.
It's impossible to keep up with that because just so much is happening.
I think that they have stricken made the laws stricter, no?
No. The the point is that the right does not want the law stricter stricter because they want to have their freedom to shoot wherever they want to shoot. But the left wants common sense laws, meaning a raise the age from I don't know what the age is because I get... State to state it's different. Or if you have a mental disability, don't allow this person to have a gun.
Because let's say in Massachusetts, which is a Democratic state, you are not allowed to carry a gun in public places. You're not allowed to carry a knife in public places as well. And you have to provide way more documents if you want to get a gun in the first place.
So these are common sense laws coming from Georgia down in the south. It's a little different.
I think the Second Amendment worked in the past. I don't think it's like it's useful right now.
Well well, the thing is that the NRA, which is the National Rifle Association, makes money. They actually produce these weapons and they're big lobbyists to the politicians. And so they're influencing laws. If you're making money, you know, they say just follow the money.
So as... Did I understand correctly, that a person with mental issues cannot be forced to have treatment, but he or she can buy a gun.
Right. A lot of people you'll... After a mass shooting, they'll say, well, did this mental person fall through the loophole or did they buy it illegally? And then there's, you know, no, they got it from their parent and they stole the, you know, different things. But yes, not not every state is strict upon mental illness.
I remember the case when I think it was a year ago when a boy of 14 years old got a gun from their parents bedside table, which actually is absolutely legal because you're supposed to keep your guns in a safe in a house. So and he killed, I think, like 20 something kids at a school. And the thing is that at that time, the court wanted to kind of teach a lesson to maybe warn others like, hey, don't do that, because both... Like that kid was sentenced to life, so he's going to spend his life in prison. His parents who didn't pay enough attention and got a gun. And then they knew, you know, he had access. They knew that he had some mental issues. They did nothing. They were sentenced to 65-75 years in prison.
Oh, my goodness. The latest one was a six year old boy. Did you hear about that?
A six year old boy came to school there... Some people warned the administration. Here we think this six year old has a gun. They looked into his backpack. They couldn't find it. But sure enough, he had a gun. He shot his teacher.
And another story that you spoke about there was a similar story, but the boy was adopted by those parents like they weren't his real parents. And he went like in 2018, he went to school. I forgot the name of the school, and he killed 16 people, like three teachers. And just because of, uh, like, uh, emotional issues, that's it. And he made a video like, before it's available on the Internet.
A lot of people say that it's also closely connected. I mean, the reason why kids do that in the first place is also connected with bullying. Like, oh, they have been bullied or cyber bullied, which is also a thing now. And that's why they just couldn't bear it anymore. They they were fed up with it. So, yeah, which is, you know, a question as well. So because bullying is one more social issues, issue that exists not only among kids and teenagers, but, you know, among adults, too. But when it comes to school, whose responsibility is it to deal with bullying?
Administrations certainly don't want to.
It depends again on the country because I don't know what can be done by a teacher in the United States, for example, I think not much, but in Russia I think that first it should be dealt with by teachers. Somehow.
Well the problem is I was a teacher at a secondary school, and that's...
We had, I had the situation when boy from my class was bullied and I tried to have conversations with the kids, with their parents, all I heard was A — oh, it's his fault. B — from parents. Our little son could never do such a thing. Here's a little sunshine. Oh, really?
Well, I think it depends on school. It depends on family, of course, but also on the school, because in some schools they have psychologists and like social affair tutor or I don't know.
Yeah, social worker. And in some schools they really try to do their job very well. Well, I mean, I know that I have a teenager who goes to school.
Sometimes it does because, well, sometimes it can be prevented because, well, this psychologist, they have children tested and they can foresee something. I believe in it.
I have seen cases, for example, one student at secondary school. Yeah. It's like it became his habit to go to the psychologist of the school. Every. Every day he does something. Every day he does something. So it just because, uh, it's not like fell in love, but, uh, he like he started loving speaking to the psychologist, he's just like, uh, ten years old boy. And, uh, in order to do that, he should do something bad.
Well, lack of attention, maybe.
It's like. Yeah, it's... I think that only combined efforts can help. I mean family then friends of this particular person. If he or she has friends, then teachers. Not only the class teacher, but like a teamwork. Teamwork of all teachers in school, school headmaster or head teacher. Because, well, if we just neglect and try to look at some other direction, then you know...
Teachers shouldn't teach only that school subjects. You should also teach values. You know like bullying is bad.
Would be great if teachers also were paid a decent salary in order to do that, you know.
I'd like to put on another layer on the school shootings. If I could just go back for a minute.
Also on cable news on the right, they actually report that these shootings are faked. And so you have...
Yes. There... If you google something like there was Marjorie Taylor Greene. She's actually a congresswoman from the state of Georgia. There is a film of her, a video of her hassling a guy who's just lost his child and she's going down the street following him and saying, you know, Why are you, you know, saying all these fake things? This this woman is hassling this guy. And if you're reporting this on news, half the country is going to say, oh, these are all fake. Of course, it plays into the NRA will make more money that there's no problem with guns. It's all...
I mean, why would they be faked? What is the...?
Because the right... Because the rights say, well, it's all the Democrats wanting to diminish the position of our party because we vote for the Second Amendment.
That yes, take because the right is always saying the left, it wants to take away our guns and no one wants to take away anyone's gun. Just, you know, common sense laws. Yeah. So it is yeah, it is so extreme. It's so extreme. And I have my limit and then I just...
Which is why, you know, some of the countries in the world believe that there should be more than two parties, preferably, you know, in the country to choose from. Yeah, well, the shootings, it kind of falls under the category of crimes. Yeah. And we have had a separate podcast about crime, so make sure to check that out if you're interested. That's where we talked about serial killers as well, the most common crimes, so the punishment and so on and so forth. But, you know, let's try to think of a more positive thing....
With social issue? No, no, none of them are positive.
But, you know, compare it to school shooting and unemployment seems quite an optimistic thing.
Well, what can we as humble humans, meek humans do to promote positive social change? Can we like you and I? And, you know, just ordinary people do something.
We can behave as decent human beings. That's what I believe. Because, I mean, I want to be able to look at myself in the mirror and respect myself and know that well, I tried to do something like I was behaving in a decent way and like, you know, what Gandhi did. Like, non-violent resistance, this thing.
And organisations. Yes, people. I've seen in in America, little segments of how many young children get involved. Become activists. Because they see a little need and then they get all this money or all these things that they're selling or supporting some kind of issue so people can do things by being an activist.
The same thing goes for like Mission-First businesses. So businesses whose idea whose goal is some sort of a mission. Of course they do some things for profit, but profit is not a number one goal. Be that fighting racism, homelessness and so on. We actually have a second-hand shop over here in Novosibirsk, which is also a charity shop, so they do get profit, but most of the profit goes to paying rent, paying salary to the people who work. And most of the stuff they get, they sort it out, they put it into special warehouse, they divide it into ages, season and so on. And people in need. Doesn't matter what their need is they can come there and get the clothes for winter, for summer, you know, because people can be in different situation.
Whenever I have some clothes that I'm not going to wear, I put it in a bag. I mean, I clean it, put it in the bag and send it to their boxes. They have boxes all around the city. And also I remembered about so called dog cafes or cat cafes, like a place which is not a shelter as it is, but where people can go drink a cup of coffee, maybe have some biscuits, play with cats or dogs, read books, work probably it can be like workspace also. I visited a couple of places like this in Saint-Petersburg and Novosibirsk. Yeah. And money goes to the animals.
And also you can take the cat or a dog that you particularly liked.
What I love about that, it's not just like, Oh, I want this cat. They have a list of people they check, you know, the conditions you have, whether it's suitable for a cat or not. And then they check up on a cat once every couple of months after you get the cat. So like, prove it. Prove it that the cat is in good conditions, you know? And I absolutely love that.
Yeah. For example, when I took my cat from a shelter, it was not a cat cafe, it was a shelter or well, he lived with 17 or 18 other cats. And the woman brought him to my house to see that I really live in a normal condition. You know that I have, well, a bed to provide him.
Yeah, so we may say that volunteering as well can be like a way that we can make a world a little bit a better place. Yeah. Animal shelters, other shelters. Yeah.
Think, uh, okay, we are speaking about such minor stuff that have a great, uh, like, effects on society. But still, we will always be fighting against issues like, forever. If something doesn't change in the core. For example, we need as humans, like the whole global system should change so that a humanity can transcend to the next level. Because now we are like we are connected to each other, whether we like it or not, like from different religions, from different societies. Okay?
And I strongly believe that the only thing that is destroying societies are the elites who are manipulating the system. Because I am very sure, because I, uh, I have seen many like statistics. Imagine that in our whole planet. Okay, we can feed everyone on Australia while the rest of the world is empty and there will be enough resources for 7 billion people. Uh, like enough housing all right? Now, what's the problem is the world is badly managed. Those are the greatest causes of our problems nowadays. It's really deeper than what we think.
Yeah, sure. But still, if we give up and say, Let's wait when someone comes and saves the whole planet, no. I think we'll die out.
I think the only thing we can do is to teach our children, their children, they need to have some principles and to build something good for the new generations to change. Because, of course, we are a part of the change but we are not happy in our time.
Yeah, but the best way to teach is to give your own example.
Because like when whatever you tell your children, they will do exactly the same that they show or that you show.
Well, I agree with all of this good behaviour, but it doesn't quite work exactly like that. There are people who love to, as you say, manipulate, who get into power and there is a way with rhetoric to use fake things to get people to follow them. And it's a whole science and we're seeing this all over the world. You can see this and if you believe something that's not true, what will make you unbelieve it? Because you can't change someone's belief unless, I don't know. You could put so much evidence, so much truth to them. You can throw it at them and it will not change. So just these these greedy people at the top, there are few at the top.
They want power, money, law. They're above the law. Laws don't apply to them.
As has been discussed when we talked about shootings and the gun violence, again.
Like also Panama Papers. Have you heard about it? The Panama Papers.
Rings the bells. But can you can you please?
Yeah, the Panama Papers. It sounds so familiar. I don't remember.
It's about manipulating taxes on a global scale by the leaders of the world. It's proven they made a fuss on WikiLeaks about it. It's like you can just go, like, uh, check it on YouTube, and you will see four documentaries about it, which proves journalists spoke about it. Like...
Yeah, I wish I could say I'm surprised, but I'm not.
Imagine the leaders of the world, presidents, ministers, okay. In Britain..
In America, in Russia, everywhere. Okay. There were, uh, like laundring money. Imagine. Yes. So if the leaders do this, how would their societies act?
It's, you know, what they said about the money as well. That in order to fight the hunger in Africa, it's like basically what you need is about a third of what the U.S. spends on military and guns.
You mean like to in order to explore space or what they spend on...?
Well, that's actually another point. We actually also have a podcast about that, whether we should explore space or explore ocean, had it some years ago. But yeah. Well, in what way... So if we talk about, you know, like all these positive changes. I prefer to stay optimistic, you know, that we can do at least something on maybe a small scale, a local scale and so on. But do you have any sort of examples of successful social movements and campaigns? That actually have achieved, at least...
Well I don't know Nelson Mandela.
Gandhi. Yeah. And well.. It was the third name, but now I can't remember. Yeah.
Well, Nelson Mandela and his... Yeah. The end of apartheid.
Martin Luther King, probably.
Yeah. The beginning of the right. Yep.
I'm sorry. And then things are so fragile, though, because you can have these movements that make change. But then if you don't keep in the fight, you can get lulled into, you know, some like it will always be. That it's really...
So it have to be constant.
Has to be constant push, right? Yeah, it's constant.
Constant fight. You know, I remembered one of the... I don't want to... I don't know if that's more of a social movement, but I remember the example of Malala. Have you heard of Malala Yousafzai?
So she so she was a girl who's around like 11 years old in Pakistan when she started fighting and protesting for girls in Pakistan to have a right to education. And she was there was an assassination attempt by the Taliban because Taliban was in power at that time in Pakistan. And she fleed Pakistan and went to London and she continued the fight. And at some point, actually, the girls were allowed to get educated, at least to get some sort of basic school education.
Well, she had gotten shot in the face.
Yes, yes, yes. Yeah, she survived. She survived, luckily.
And that didn't frighten her. She kept on fighting. That's what's so incredible. These are...
This takes a special character.
But of course, you know, it has to go on. It's an on... Well, we have an ongoing fight, an ongoing war. Just just when it comes to other social issues that unfortunately we haven't had time to discuss, like women rights, racism, ageism, all of that. These are all social issues.
But even small victories matter because if it can change the life of one individual or one animal, it is worth it.
Yeah, that's like a myth. Like I can't save all the animals, but I can save one. And it makes a difference for that one.
Because for me it would be the world. Yeah.
Yeah. Like, for you, it's just an animal. But for this animal, you are the whole world.
For my car probably not, but okay, I can deal with it.
He lets you be around. So I have one last question. So how can social media be used to address social issues? And what are the pros and cons and maybe potential dangers of it?
Well, I guess, first of all, now media can be used as a kind of platform where everyone can be a journalist in a way. Which is good because it can really save lives, but also bad because there are some fake news, hoaxes and this sort of things. So at the same time, we need to be critical and need to use our common sense and we need to check the information on different levels and different platforms.
Unfortunately, sometimes people are too quick to judge, you know, without finding the evidence and so on, believing and everything. So that's why we also have the cancel culture, which is also kind of a dangerous thing. Yeah, yeah, that's true. But could be used to attract attention to a certain problem as well. Yeah.
Example in case of fund raising. Now, if someone wants to like, raise funds for a charity or something for a certain cause, if, uh, anybody like, uh, checks this out there, they would suspect that it's a scam or...you know.
Unfortunately, yes. It's always it's like, you know, when recently when the earthquake hit in Turkey. There turned out to be so many scams who like, oh, you can, you know, transfer money to me. I'll help, you know, first hand directly. And then when you ask them, like, okay, what did you do? They just ignored you, blocked you, and everything's like, come on. Like, no.
Who are we to believe? Yeah, that's for sure. Well, guys, it was really interesting to talk about such a difficult topic, though. We are also going to discuss some of the personal experiences in the aftershow. So you, dear listeners, stay tuned. Check out our private Telegram chat where you can find this aftershow and check out our further episodes. So that was Katya.