September 2008 - Issue 415

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.

Get 3 free issues

Sharp analysis and in-depth global coverage delivered to your door, mobile or in-box.

Plus, access the entire archive of over 500 issues with our digital edition.

Get 3 free issues »

Included in this issue

This toxic life

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...

Things to do before I retire

Things to do before I retire… humble thoughts from the diary of GW Bush, as revealed by *Stefan Simanowitz*

'Clean coal' con

Desperate industry’s ludicrous claims exposed

Currents Coal Special

Currents Coal Special

A special on coal – including the ‘clean coal’ con, windpower in China, success in Bangladesh and activism everywhere.

Earthworks 2008 cartoon competition

Earthworks 2008 cartoon competition

Earthworks 2008: highlighting cartoonists from the global South taking part in the Biennial *Ken Sprague* competition.

Plastic is forever

The facts about plastic

Time and Winds (Bes Vakit)

A beautiful contemplative immersion in the children’s sense of the immensity of time and events. Written and directed by *Reha...

Cambodia: Year Zero on trial

What can be wrong with putting five notorious Khmer Rouge leaders on trial? Plenty, argues lawyer *Brooks Duncan*, as he examines...

Message in a bottle

Message in a bottle

It’s a fashion statement and an environmental nightmare. *Zoe Cormier* examines one of the most successful marketing ploys ever...

Dancing, dying, crawling, crying

Stories of continuity and change in the Polynesian community of Tikopia by *Julian Treadaway*

Abandon the toxic treadmill!

Things you can do to avoid toxic plastics. PLUS the Action / Campaign directory.

In Defense of Lost Causes

Superstar philosopher *Slavoj Zizek* writes in defence of lost causes

Past issues

Subscribe   Ethical Shop