Saturday February 28th, 2015, 12:24 am (EST)

Ecology

Objective truths and dreams

THE human species reaffirms with frustrating force that it has existed for approximately 230 million years. I do not recall any affirmation that it has achieved any greater age. Other kinds of humans did exist, like the Neanderthals of European origin; or a third, the hominid of Denisova in North Asia but, in no case […]… | more |

"Compelling and often spell-binding. This is surely one of the most important contributions to the social justice literature exposing farmworker injustice at all levels."
—Dr. Ann López, Executive Director, Center for Farmworker Families

Lettuce Wars

Ten Years of Work and Struggle in the Fields of California

In 1971, Bruce Neuburger–young, out of work, and radicalized by the 60s counterculture in Berkeley–took a job as a farmworker on a whim. He could have hardly anticipated that he would spend the next decade laboring up and down the agricultural valleys of California, alongside the anonymous and largely immigrant workforce that feeds the nation. Part memoir, part informed commentary on farm labor, the U.S. labor movement, and the political economy of agriculture, Lettuce Wars is a lively account written from the perspective of the fields. … | more |

To Sleep With Open Eyes

I took a good look at Obama in the famous “Summit Meeting”. Sometimes he was overcome by tiredness, he unwillingly shut his eyes but, at times, he slept with open eyes. The Cartagena Summit was not a meeting of a trade union of misinformed presidents, but a meeting among official representatives of 33 countries of […]… | more |

The Roads Leading To Disaster

This Reflection could be written today, tomorrow or any other day without the risk of being mistaken. Our species faces new problems. When 20 years ago I stated at the United Nations Conference on the Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro that a species was in danger of extinction, I had fewer reasons than […]… | more |

The March Towards the Abyss

It is not a matter of being optimistic or pessimistic, knowing or not knowing elementary things, of being responsible or not for events. Those who would like to be thought of as politicians should be thrown onto the trash heap of history when, as the norm goes, they have no idea about everything or almost […]… | more |

What Every Environmentalist Needs To Know about Capitalism

What Every Environmentalist Needs To Know about Capitalism

A Citizen's Guide to Capitalism and the Environment

There is a growing consensus that the planet is heading toward environmental catastrophe: climate change, ocean acidification, ozone depletion, global freshwater use, loss of biodiversity, and chemical pollution all threaten our future unless we act. What is less clear is how humanity should respond. The contemporary environmental movement is the site of many competing plans and prescriptions, and composed of a diverse set of actors, from militant activists to corporate chief executives.… | more |

The disaster in Japan and a friend’s visit

Today I had the pleasure of greeting Jimmy Carter, who was President of the United States between 1977 and 1981 and the only one, in my opinion, with enough equanimity and courage to address the issue of his country’s relations with Cuba. Carter did what he could to reduce international tensions and promote the creation […]… | more |

Good Conduct Certificate

In these bitter days we have seen pictures of an earthquake that reached 9 on the Richter Scale with hundreds of strong after-shocks, and a tsunami 10 metres high whose waves of dark waters dragged tens of thousands of people between cars and trucks over homes and 3 and 4 storey buildings. Sophisticated mass media […]… | more |

The disasters threatening the world

IF the speed of light didn’t exist, if the closest star to our sun weren’t four light years away from Earth, the only inhabited planet in our solar system, if UFOs truly existed, imaginary visitors to the planet would continue their journey without understanding much of anything about our long-suffering human race. Just a few […]… | more |

Two Earthquakes

A strong 8.9 on the scale earthquake shook Japan today. The most worrying is that early news reports were talking about thousands dead and missing, figures really unheard of in a developed country where all constructions are quake-proof. They were even talking about a nuclear reactor that was out of control. Hours later, it was […]… | more |

The Cynical Dance Macabre

The policy of plunder imposed by the United States and their NATO allies in the Middle East has gone into a crisis. It has inevitably unraveled with the high cost of grain, the effects of which can be felt more forcefully in the Arab countries where, in spite of their huge resources of oil, the […]… | more |

The Devil’s Milk: A Social History of Rubber

The Devil’s Milk: A Social History of Rubber

A Social History of Rubber

Capital, as Marx once wrote, comes into the world “dripping from head to foot, from every pore, with blood and dirt.” He might well have been describing the long, grim history of rubber. From the early stages of primitive accumulation to the heights of the industrial revolution and beyond, rubber is one of a handful of commodities that has played a crucial role in shaping the modern world, and yet, as John Tully shows in this remarkable book, laboring people around the globe have every reason to regard it as “the devil’s milk.” All the advancements made possible by rubber—industrial machinery, telegraph technology, medical equipment, countless consumer goods—have occurred against a backdrop of seemingly endless exploitation, conquest, slavery, and war. But Tully is quick to remind us that the vast terrain of rubber production has always been a site of struggle, and that the oppressed who toil closest to “the devil’s milk” in all its forms have never accepted their immiseration without a fight.… | more |

Mubarak’s Fate is Sealed

Mubarak’s fate is sealed, not even the support of the United States will be able to save his government. The people of Egypt are an intelligent people with a glorious history who left their mark on civilization. “From the top of these pyramids, 40 centuries of history are looking down upon us,” Bonaparte once said in a moment of exaltation when the revolution brought him […]… | more |

The grave food crisis

Just 11 days ago, January 19, under the title “The time has come to do something,” I wrote: “The worst is that, to a large degree, their solutions will depend on the richest and most developed countries, which will reach a situation that they really are not in a position to confront, unless the world […]… | more |

The Time Has Come To Do Something

I shall relate a bit of history. When the Spanish “discovered” us five hundred years ago, the estimated population on the Island was no more than 200,000 inhabitants who were living in harmony with nature. Their main sources of food came from the rivers, lakes and seas rich in protein; they were also carrying out […]… | more |

The Crime Against the Democratic Congresswoman

As it is well-known, the state of Arizona, a territory that was taken from Mexico by the United States along with much more territory, has been the scene of painful events for hundreds of Latin Americans who die trying to immigrate to the US in search of work or to join their parents, spouses or […]… | more |

"This thoughtful and perceptive presentation of the remarkable work of Stephen Jay Gould is most welcome."
—Noam Chomsky

The Science & Humanism of Stephen Jay Gould

Stephen Jay Gould was not only a leading paleontologist and evolutionary theorist, he was also a humanist with an enduring interest in the history and philosophy of science. The extraordinary range of Gould’s work was underpinned by a richly nuanced and deeply insightful worldview. Richard York and Brett Clark engage Gould’s science and humanism to illustrate and develop the intellectual power of Gould’s worldview, particularly with regard to the philosophy of science. They demonstrate how the Gouldian perspective sheds light on many of the key debates occurring not only in the natural sciences, but in the social sciences as well. They engage the themes that unified Gould’s work and drove his inquires throughout his intellectual career, such as the nature of history, both natural and social, particularly the profound importance of contingency and the uneven tempo of change. They also assess Gould’s views on structuralism, highlighting the importance of the dialectical interaction of structural forces with everyday demands for function, and his views on the hierarchical ordering of causal forces, with some forces operating at large scales and/or over long spans of time, while others are operating on small scales and/or occur frequently or rapidly.… | more |

Agriculture and Food in Crisis

Agriculture and Food in Crisis

Conflict, Resistance, and Renewal

The failures of “free-market” capitalism are perhaps nowhere more evident than in the production and distribution of food. Although modern human societies have attained unprecedented levels of wealth, a significant amount of the world’s population continues to suffer from hunger or food insecurity on a daily basis. In Agriculture and Food in Crisis, Fred Magdoff and Brian Tokar have assembled an exceptional collection of scholars from around the world to explore this frightening long-term trend in food production. While approaching the issue from many angles, the contributors to this volume share a focus on investigating how agricultural production is shaped by a system that is oriented around the creation of profit above all else, with food as nothing but an afterthought.… | more |

The Ecological Rift by John Bellamy Foster, Brett Clark and Richard York

The Ecological Rift

Capitalism’s War on the Earth

Humanity in the twenty-first century is facing what might be described as its ultimate environmental catastrophe: the destruction of the climate that has nurtured human civilization and with it the basis of life on earth as we know it. All ecosystems on the planet are now in decline. Enormous rifts have been driven through the delicate fabric of the biosphere. The economy and the earth are headed for a fateful collision—if we don’t alter course.… | more |

The Nuclear Winter

I feel embarrassed to be unaware of the subject, one that I have not even heard mentioned before. On the contrary, I would have understood much earlier that the risks of a nuclear war were far more serious than I imagined. I assumed that the planet would be able to withstand the explosion of hundreds […]… | more |

FacebookRedditTwitterEmailPrintFriendly