Sixty years ago plastic was an exotic development of modern chemistry. Today it is the most widespread human-made substance in the world. More than 250 billion pounds of raw plastic pellets are produced from petroleum feedstock every year. It is everywhere, in places you never imagined: computers and cell phones; packaging; food and drink containers; home furnishings and building materials; cars, trucks, airplanes and boats; children’s toys and beauty products.
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While Hurricane Gustav swirled through the front pages of our media, the hundreds of deaths caused by extreme winds in the last month around the Caribbean and in Asia rated barely a mention.
They’re in our homes and our workplace, in the air we breathe and in the food we eat. Wayne Ellwood argues that toxic chemicals are changing the nature of nature.
Things to do before I retire… humble thoughts from the diary of GW Bush, as revealed by Stefan Simanowitz
A special on coal – including the ‘clean coal’ con, windpower in China, success in Bangladesh and activism everywhere.
Earthworks 2008: highlighting cartoonists from the global South taking part in the Biennial Ken Sprague competition.
A beautiful contemplative immersion in the children’s sense of the immensity of time and events. Written and directed by Reha Erdem
What can be wrong with putting five notorious Khmer Rouge leaders on trial? Plenty, argues lawyer Brooks Duncan, as he examines the nature of the long-awaited, and foreign-funded, trials currently underway.
It’s a fashion statement and an environmental nightmare. Zoe Cormier examines one of the most successful marketing ploys ever – bottled water.
Stories of continuity and change in the Polynesian community of Tikopia by Julian Treadaway
Things you can do to avoid toxic plastics. PLUS the Action / Campaign directory.
Superstar philosopher Slavoj Zizek writes in defence of lost causes
As oil supplies dwindle, the plastic industry is pinning its hopes on biomass. Not a great idea, reasons Jim Thomas.
This is a book that highlights how people caught in between places are denied identity, perspective and intimacy.
A film about the Pope’s toilet. Directed by Enrique Fernandez and Cesar Charlone
Senegal’s beacon of good music and positive energy Youssou N’Dour talks to Ed Stocker
The good ship Alguita sails an ocean choked with plastic. Blog by Anna Cummins.
Positive outcome, but at a cost of seven campaigners lives, killed by police during a demonstration against the GCM coalmine in Bangladesh.
Renewables revolution is there for the taking
Since independence in 1966, Botswana’s annual growth rates have been the highest in the world – bar none. It is estimated that were it not for the impact of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, growth rates would be one or two per cent higher today.
Technology can be a great enabler, helping people to earn a living. But it is also a mirror of social inequality. Some of us have a glut of high-tech devices, others don’t even have electricity. Under the rubric of ‘technology transfer’ useless or harmful technology is often dumped on the Global South. How to make technology work for the poor? Here’s an idea: start from the ground up rather than top down. It’s called technology justice.
In a nutshell: the countries most recently featured in the New Internationalist magazine.
Sharp insights from an array of guest writers.
Personal stories from our own correspondents.
Interviews with inspirational people.
Reviews of the latest books, films and music.
Seeing the world through a Southern lens.
A regular column from some of the best writers of the South.
Taking aim at the rich and powerful.
If you would like to know something about what's actually going on, rather than what people would like you to think was going on, then read the New Internationalist.
– Emma Thompson –
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