Your ‘Recycled’ Grocery Bag Might Not Have Been Recycled

Top: In 2015, recycling is sorted at the Sims Municipal Recycling Facility in New York City. Visual: Spencer Platt/Getty Images Recent laws encourage recycling old plastic into new products. But verifying recycled content relies on tricky math. BY IAN MORSE TO JUMPSTART A paltry market for recycled plastic, governments across the globe are pushing companies to include recycled materials in their products. Last year, the United Kingdom introduced a tax on manufacturers that produce or import plastic packaging containing less than 30 percent recycled plastic. In 2024, New Jersey will begin enforcing similar rules, albeit with lower targets. California now requires that beverage containers be made of 15 … Continue reading Your ‘Recycled’ Grocery Bag Might Not Have Been Recycled

Banks For The People

Ingo Pohl A movement is growing in the U.S. that seeks alternatives to traditional banks, replacing their total focus on profit with a devotion to community and justice. BY PIPER FRENCH – Piper French is an independent writer based in Los Angeles. Gregory Jost noticed the first two bank branches close in the Bronx about six months before the pandemic. They were right next to each other: a Chase and a Bank of America, about three blocks from his son’s school in Norwood, and one day, he walked by and saw they were gone. When COVID hit, the trend accelerated. “We … Continue reading Banks For The People

Women at the barricades

A propaganda photomontage, c1871 by Ernest-Charles Appert, depicting Chantiers prison in Versailles, where women of the Paris Commune were imprisoned. All images courtesy the Musée Carnavalet, Paris The transgressions of working-class women formed the revolutionary heart of the 1871 Paris Commune Carolyn Eichner is professor of history and women’s and gender studies at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She is the author of The Paris Commune: A Brief History (2022), Feminism’s Empire (2022) and Surmounting the Barricades: Women in the Paris Commune (2004). Before dawn on 18 March 1871, the French National Army sent troops to the working-class neighbourhood of Montmartre in Paris, charged with retrieving the cannons left … Continue reading Women at the barricades

The Spontaneous Activation Of China’s Civil Society

Protesters in Beijing on Nov. 27. (Kevin Frayer/Getty Images) Digital connectivity escapes the lockdown. BY NATHAN GARDELS, Nathan Gardels is the editor-in-chief of Noema Magazine. The startling public demonstrations against the zero-COVID lockdowns in China have shown yet again that inflexible hardlines set by autocrats are always brittle because they inexorably rouse the revolt of common sense. But there is a deeper story: the nascent emergence of an activated civil society sparked by Xi Jinping’s departure from the adaptive authoritarianism that has made China so successful over recent decades.  The spontaneous eruption of protests across the whole of China — from Beijing … Continue reading The Spontaneous Activation Of China’s Civil Society

What happened to Stephen Fry’s belief in scientific reason?

by Brendan O’Neill Here’s my question for Stephen Fry after he said his trans friends had felt ‘deeply upset’ by some of the comments made by J.K. Rowling: why didn’t you just say to them, ‘So what?’ Fry used to be all about saying ‘So what?’ to people who went on about feeling offended by words. His irritation with offence-takers has even become a meme. ‘It’s now very common to hear people say, “I’m rather offended by that”. As if that gives them certain rights’, he once said. ‘It’s actually nothing more… than a whine. “I find that offensive.” It has … Continue reading What happened to Stephen Fry’s belief in scientific reason?

Iran Has Become a Prison

What I learned about the challenge of resisting a regime that locks up thousands of political prisoners. By Kian Tajbakhsh Amid the nationwide protests that have rocked Iran since the death in police custody of Mahsa Amini, who had been arrested for allegedly wearing her hijab improperly, a riot and a fire broke out at Tehran’s Evin Prison on October 15. Iran’s security services reportedly responded with extreme severity, threatening to shoot prisoners unless they retreated to their cells. According to the authorities, eight prisoners died. Evin Prison occupies a special place both within the regime’s security apparatus and in the political imagination of … Continue reading Iran Has Become a Prison

Happy the person

She has deep emotions, complex social needs and a large, elephant brain. Her legal personhood should be recognised too by Lori Marino is a neuroscientist and an expert in animal behaviour and intelligence. Formerly on the faculty at Emory University, she is the founder and executive director of the Kimmela Center for Animal Advocacy in Utah, and president of the Whale Sanctuary Project. Happy is a 51-year-old Asian elephant in the Bronx Zoo in New York City. But she didn’t start out there. She was born in the wild then kidnapped – taken away from her family as a baby … Continue reading Happy the person

How To Do The Most Good

BY WILLIAM MACASKILL William MacAskill is a philosophy professor at Oxford and the co-founder of 80,000 Hours and Giving What We Can. He is the author of “What We Owe The Future” (Basic Books, August 2022), from which this essay has been adapted. When it comes to addressing the world’s urgent problems, people often focus on personal behavior or consumption decisions. The suggestion, implicit or explicit, is that if you care about animal welfare, the most important thing is to become vegetarian; if you care about climate change, the most important thing is to fly less and drive less; if you care about resource … Continue reading How To Do The Most Good

The Fervent Debate Over the Best Way to Confront Global Warming

Supporters of cutting carbon emissions have long struggled against advocates for climate-change adaptation strategies. BY MADELINE OSTRANDER IN THE LATE 1950S, Ian Burton, then a geographer at the University of Chicago, learned about a troubling conundrum with levees. These expensive and engineering-intensive strategies — which the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers favored for reining in floods along big river floodplains — worked well for holding back intermediate amounts of water. But they gave people a false sense of safety. After a levee went up, sometimes more people actually built and moved onto the land behind it. Then, if an oversized flood eventually poured over … Continue reading The Fervent Debate Over the Best Way to Confront Global Warming

Is accepting the end of humanity the key to climate action? This scholar thinks so.

“This is not another ‘before it’s too late’ book. This is a ‘what if it’s already too late?’ book.” by Diana Kruzman There’s a part at the end of “Don’t Look Up,” last year’s wildly popular Netflix film about a comet hurtling toward Earth, when a group of people have dinner together on the eve of the planet’s destruction. As the television blares news about the impending impact and the walls begin to shake, a scientist, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, poses a wistful question to his wife, kids, friends, and colleagues: “We really did have everything, didn’t we?”  This scene stood … Continue reading Is accepting the end of humanity the key to climate action? This scholar thinks so.