The power of shit

Our excrement is a natural, renewable and sustainable resource – if only we can overcome our visceral disgust of it Lina Zeldovich is a journalist and author. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Scientific American and Undark, among others. She is the author of The Other Dark Matter: The Science and Business of Turning Waste into Wealth and Health (2021). She lives in New York City. Every fall when the grey sky over Kazan swelled with dark heavy clouds so full of water that the rain never stopped until it turned to snow, my grandfather prepped our small family farm for the … Continue reading The power of shit

Nature does not care

Too many nature writers descend into poetic self-absorption instead of the sharp-eyed realism the natural world deserves Richard Smyth writes features, reviews and comment pieces for publications including The Guardian, The Times Literary Supplement and New Statesman, among others. He is also a crossword setter, a cartoonist and an author whose books include the novel The Woodcock (2021) and the history An Indifference of Birds (2020). Iworry, sometimes, that knowledge is falling out of fashion – that in the field in which I work, nature writing, the multitudinous nonfictions of the more-than-human world, facts have been devalued; knowing stuff is no longer enough. Marc Hamer, a British writer … Continue reading Nature does not care

We must not own animals

We will never truly advance our ethical relationship with other animals until we stop treating them as chattels for use Gary L Francione is Board of Governors Professor of Law at Rutgers University School of Law in New Jersey, US; visiting professor of philosophy at the University of Lincoln, UK; and honorary professor of philosophy at the University of East Anglia, UK. His most recent book is Why Veganism Matters: The Moral Value of Animals (2021). What’s wrong with eating meat and other animal products, such as dairy or eggs? The usual answer appears to be simple: these products involve a great … Continue reading We must not own animals

The power of water

Far more potent than oil or gold, water is a stream of geopolitical force that runs deep, feeding crops and building nations Giulio Boccaletti is an author, entrepreneur and senior executive. He is co-founder of the tech startup Chloris Geospatial, an honorary research associate at the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment at the University of Oxford, and the author of Water: A Biography (2021). He lives in London. Edited by Pam Weintraub Agreat river encircles the world. It rises in the heartland of the United States and carries more water than the Mississippi and Yangtze rivers combined. One branch, its … Continue reading The power of water

How an Aboriginal approach to mental health is helping farmers deal with drought

Psychological tools developed with Aboriginal people can also support Australian farmers whose land is suffering the effects of climate change. By Georgina Kenyon Acoal truck roars past, stirring up red dust that blows over the famished cattle and sheep lying in grassless paddocks. The carcasses of dead kangaroos lie next to empty water troughs. There is no birdsong. Some say it has been the worst drought in a century here across the central and eastern part of Australia. As in other parts of the world, climate change and land clearing are driving soaring temperatures and extreme weather events, including heatwaves and … Continue reading How an Aboriginal approach to mental health is helping farmers deal with drought

The Waste Age

Recognising that waste is central, not peripheral, to everything we design, make and do is key to transforming the future Justin McGuirk is the chief curator at the Design Museum in London. His writing has appeared in The New Yorker, The Guardian and e-flux, among many others. He is the author of Radical Cities: Across Latin America in Search of a New Architecture (2014). The opposition between ‘nature’ and ‘culture’ is problematic for many reasons, but there’s one that we rarely discuss. The ‘nature vs culture’ dualism leaves out an entire domain that properly belongs to neither: the world of waste. The mountains of waste … Continue reading The Waste Age

The Amazon, a Counterweight to Global Warming, Is Under Assault

Far-right President Jair Bolsonaro has escalated deforestation to dire proportions. Activists accuse him of “ecocide.” BY GEORGINA GUSTIN JAIM TEIXEIRA SURVEYS his property near Trairão, Brazil from the back of a motorcycle, wearing jeans and a long-sleeved, sun-proof shirt to shield him from the jungle’s breathtaking heat. It’s the end of the dry season and, like everything and everyone in this part of the Amazon, the lean, 51-year-old rancher is covered in a fine brick-red dust. Nearby, a plume of smoke rises at the edge of the jungle canopy, heading skyward until it blurs into an indistinct haze. Burning trees crackle and spit. … Continue reading The Amazon, a Counterweight to Global Warming, Is Under Assault

Reweaving the wild

Human roads have utterly fragmented the world of wild animals but the engineering to reconnect the pieces is in our grasp Darryl Jones is professor emeritus of ecology at Griffith University in Queensland, Australia. His books include The Birds at My Table: Why We Feed Wild Birds and Why It Matters (2018) and A Clouded Leopard in the Middle of the Road New Thinking about Roads, People, and Wildlife (forthcoming in 2022). He lives in Brisbane. It is almost certain that you recently interacted closely with an invisible giant, as the Harvard landscape ecologist Richard T T Forman has described it. Others have called roads ‘the … Continue reading Reweaving the wild

The world as we know it is ending. Why are we still at work?

From the pandemic to climate change, Americans are still expected to work no matter what happens. By Anna North   For a moment in early 2020, it seemed like we might get a break from capitalism. A novel coronavirus was sweeping the globe, and leaders and experts recommended that the US pay millions of people to stay home until the immediate crisis was over. These people wouldn’t work. They’d hunker down, take care of their families, and isolate themselves to keep everyone safe. With almost the whole economy on pause, the virus would stop spreading, and Americans could soon go back to normalcy with … Continue reading The world as we know it is ending. Why are we still at work?

The Power of the Waves

Understanding how oceans move is key to understanding life on Earth. BY RICHARD HAMBLYN Sea waves are among the world’s most misunderstood phenomena. When an incoming wave breaks on the shoreline, it appears as though the water has come to the end of a long journey, but in fact the water itself has hardly moved. Most surface sea waves transmit energy, not water, and the turbulence at the surf zone is the result of that moving energy encountering a solid obstruction—usually the shelving sea floor—against which it noisily dissipates. It is at that point that the wave transforms, from an … Continue reading The Power of the Waves