Environment

Why Africa doesn’t need Bjorn Lomborg’s fossil fuel PR

“Revolutions are, as a rule, rare and momentous processes”, but across the African continent the potential for a clean energy revolution which upsets and leapfrogs the old fossil fuel order is ripe. Globally, clean energy technology has developed at such a rapid pace that a predominately clean energy future which brings energy access to all…

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My memories of the automobile

I will never forget the smell of the seats in our “brand-new”, second-hand car. My parents’ purchase had been a hot topic for weeks and it was finally there, a dark green Renault waiting outside my school. Unaware that a few years later it would be driven over my toe, nothing could bring more joy…

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Of black people, empty bottles and a body on the beach

I don’t quite see empty plastic bottles in the same way I used to. Two developments brought this about. The first being an initiative to create small businesses recycling empty soft-drink bottles. One that I called “Hanging Hope” and please go ahead, copy it, or tell someone else about it and give him/her a potential…

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Nene, nukes and Zuma’s timing

By Alex Lenferna Many have been confounded by the recent actions of our president: sacking Nhlanhla Nene from the post of finance minister, giving a weekend-long appointment to the relatively unknown David van Rooyen, and then kicking out Van Rooyen and finally rehiring Pravin Gordhan as finance minister. While much ink has been spilled trying…

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Is climate change a form of violence?

Over the past few years a number of studies have warned about the links between climate change and violent conflict. While the precise causal connections are not yet well-defined, it is likely that famine, flooding, and displacement will spur increasing conflict and war as the 21st century unfolds. This is a serious concern. Already the…

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A song for the rootless

There is an urgent conversation going on among the leaves. The branches scurry, desperate to dock in bad weather. Twigs pelt about; the tall boles raise and swing their leaf-bright oars. Our garden, the veggie field and the small gorge beyond are scooped up, swirled about by the gusts and the downpour into a bag,…

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Can fusion energy be achieved?

Lev Grossman (“Star Power”, in Time, November 2, p. 24-33) calls fusion the “holy grail” of “the quest for clean energy”, and with good reason — it is as elusive as the proverbial unicorn in your garden (with apologies to James Thurber). By this I mean that, although scientists and technologists know what has to…

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How to help students succeed at university

By Rakhee Naik and Safiyyah Pahad After 21 years of democracy, people still question whether apartheid is a prominent reason impacting on the current state of education. Whether acknowledged or not, we must consider its impact on predominantly black students in accessing resources and educational opportunities. This is exacerbated by their limited social and cultural…

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Gender violence and environmental injustice in the maquiladoras

Cost-benefit analyses are fairly central to mainstream economics. Even if one sets aside developments in economics of information or behaviour economics, which make room for irrationalities, social and psychological factors or asymmetries in information, economists will insist, and most of us may agree, that “things have to be paid for”. There is, however, a big…

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Why is the state not helping farmers and miners?

When things go pear-shaped and certain critical sectors of our economy are likely to implode, the critical intervention of wise leadership is required. The role of government, even in countries like the US, which subscribe to laissez-faire policies, is to intervene when the market fails and when national interest is at risk. Thus in 2008…

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