Environment

The follies of humankind, through the eyes of a young girl

In this time of economic and ecological uncertainty, which has, tellingly, given rise to the philosophical genre of “extinction studies” (see http://thoughtleader.co.za/bertolivier/2014/06/30/human-extinction-its-not-just-science-fiction/), it may be wise to remind ourselves that the human folly which has given rise to the fraught state of the present, globally, is nothing new. Human history is littered with such follies,…

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Ubuntu and eco-feminism as an antidote to neoliberalism

How many people have noticed that neoliberal capitalism undermines the values of ubuntu (“I am because others are”) as a traditional African practice? And how many know that ubuntu and ecofeminism share some fundamental principles and values? I know of at least one such person, and her work in this regard is extremely significant. In…

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Ecosocialism can rescue us from ecocatastrophe

In Ridley Scott’s recent film, The Martian, there is a scene near the end that sums up the often ignored value of the earth. Astronaut and botanist Mark Watney (Matt Damon) is sitting on a bench in a park, shortly after having been rescued from a very lonely existence on the red planet, Mars. He…

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Lessons on language while in Beijing

By Curwyn Mapaling Naturally, when you attend a symposium or a conference in another country, you expect to learn, to share, to travel, and to explore. There’s so much to learn when entering a foreign country for the first time – everything is new, everything is interesting. I was recently selected to attend the Yenching…

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Transport, an existential question

We spend a large portion of our lives moving about, a significant percentage of our income too, and it directly affects the future of our planet. So how come we don’t think of transportation as a fundamental life issue in the same way we consider our personal health, financial stability and self-realisation? More than 17%…

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Alternatives to coal-fired electricity exist but there are no alternatives for water

By Penny-Jane Cooke The last quarter of 2015 saw five out of the nine provinces — KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, Limpopo, the North West, including the breadbasket of the country, the Free State — declared as water disaster areas and by extension disaster areas for agriculture. Somehow, the linkages between how the intensive water use for coal-fired…

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We need to break the one sacred rule of the global economy

Scholars are still trying to figure out why the society on Easter Island collapsed, ending the people famed for their construction of towering stone heads. One interesting theory holds that it had to do with the heads themselves. Somehow, the islanders decided that the giant heads represented power and success, so different groups competed to…

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Pedalling our way into a sustainable future

This weekend I’m sure I wasn’t the only one imagining what the M3 and other major routes around the Cape Peninsula would be like if hordes of people ditched their cars and cycled to work on Monday morning. I took part in the Cape Town Cycle Tour, which is one of those eye-opening experiences that…

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Violence is a necessary process of decolonisation

By Zinhle Manzini On February 25 it was reported that two buildings and a car were burnt at the North West University Mafikeng campus, yet this incident is not the only occurrence of violence that has disrupted some of South Africa’s universities. One would recall that a bus was also set alight a week ago…

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Climate change activism DOES work, even against a colossus

Anyone who feels as strongly about some issues in the globalised world as I do, would feel buoyed by reading the article by Alex Altman, titled “The Thin Green Line”, in a recent edition of TIME magazine (February 15, 2016, p. 38-41). It is a tale of hard-won success on the part of tough environmental…

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