Environment

The feeling of living in a ‘dystopian’ present

You know that you are living in a “dystopian” or “degraded” era when virtually everything around you emits unmistakable signs that, whatever the underlying reasons might be, instead of signs of hope for a better future, those that signal a future we should perhaps fear (and perhaps feel guilty about), are slowly but surely accumulating….

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Celebrating the language of stars in the wake of the supermoon

The earliest hanzi, stars are a language to master before dawn. Quick – before they trickle away, leaving everything hushed and open-mouthed. This is why your fingers come together in a woven calligraphy, to catch and caress prayers like polished stones. Your fingers know the twinkling leaves in the trees around you are synonyms for…

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Let’s remember, some things still work

These are troublesome times, all over the world. Challenges are real and there is no point in pretending it’s all going to be okay. Let’s face it, we can’t recover from the dysfunctions of so-called democracy just like that. There are still deep racial divisions, underfunded education systems, bigoted leaders and unfinished peace processes to…

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Why one should NOT vote for Trump in America this Tuesday

There are many reasons why voters in the United States should not vote for the Republican candidate, Donald Trump, on Tuesday, November 8. These include the fact that he has, on several occasions, shown himself to have a questionable attitude towards women, and generally towards a variety of minority groups in America, at a time…

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Eco-psychology: Using bonsai to heal and find meaning

By Dr. Caroll Hermann In a recent episode of Binnelanders, a popular Afrikaans soapie on kykNet, Iva, the psychologist overcame her grief of not being able to have children by planting a tree. Some bonsaiists “make”a tree in remembrance of loved ones who have passed on or as a celebration of the birth of their…

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Sacredness, antiphons and transplanting a lemon tree

A certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house…   The silence is all-consuming as I work with spade and hands. As if from far away, I hear my own breath deep in my body, deep in the caves of woodland braided with the smell of sea. Waves nearly splash on their shadows. I…

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Will “Blockadia” help, or “Is Earth F**ked”?

One of the most revealing threads running through Canadian investigative journalist and tireless anti-capitalism activist, Naomi Klein’s rivetting book, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate (Alfred A. Knopf, 2014), concerns what she terms the “new climate warriors”, or in one word, “Blockadia”. This unlikely-sounding word names a movement which has arisen in the shape…

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People of colour carry the burden of environmental racism in a post-racial era

Videos depicting the senseless murders of unarmed people of colour have given birth to a new social movement, #BlackLivesMatter, while bringing to light a reality incomprehensible to white communities: the lives of people of colour have systemically been deemed disposable. To collectively realise the inherent value of black life we must think locally and globally,…

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Raising hair, crowning glory: A poem to thank Pretoria Girls High

By Thirusha Naidu Raising Hair, Crowning Glory Thank you Pretoria Girls High You have introduced us To future heroes. Yesterday, asleep In the soft arms of their mothers Now roused. Coldly, by bleached fingers, from childhood sleep. Dragged by the hair, Protesting, into womanhood . Thank you Pretoria Girls High By your Amazing Grace Africa’s…

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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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