New Internationalist

Cover for September 2009 - Issue 425

September 2009's Issue

Do you know what apples, almonds, broccoli, cashews, garlic, mangoes, peaches, raspberries and tea have in common? Give up? They all depend on bees to help with their sexual reproduction.

In fact, did you know that every third bite of food that you consume depends on our buzzing buddies, the bees? The busy little gals (the workers are unfertilized females) do a lot for us by pollinating plants and flowers worldwide.

Unfortunately, they’re dying by the millions and no-one knows why. It’s safe to say our world won’t be the same without them.

‘No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more… people’ is a quote often attributed to Albert Einstein, though there doesn’t seem to be any evidence that he actually said it. Not that it matters. The attribution is less important than the content.

This issue examines the mystery of the disappearing bees.

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Featured in issue 425

Cage dinners

Returning to Britain was the start of a difficult new journey for the detainees held without charge at Guantánamo. They meet every six months at a London restaurant to swap anecdotes and shake off memories of imprisonment. Oliver Shah reports.

Norman Borlaug: another subjective obituary

Called the ‘Father of the Green Revolution’, Norman Borlaug died on 12 September. Paul H Johnson argues that the glowing obituaries are only telling half the tale.

Interview with Reverend Billy

Reverend Billy is a bleached-blond dog-collar-wearing cross between Elvis and a televangelist; he’s also a candidate for the New York Mayoral elections this November. NItalks to him about his hopes, fears and crazily eccentric dreams.

Big Bad World 425 - Mass suicide

Mass suicide the CO2 way in Polyp’s cartoon.

Wealth in abundance

Make do and mend’ is a time-honoured Egyptian talent, discovers Maria Golia.

Boon or burden?

Some call it ‘live aid’. Some call it ‘dead aid’. The debate is raging. Vanessa Baird and Jonathan Glennie tell the story so far…

Three Miles North of Molkom

At a new age festival in Sweden, a group of people who’ve never met before explore tree-hugging, sweat lodges, shamanism, tantric sex.

Looting of a small planet

It won’t be easy but Philip Chandler argues that beekeepers themselves need to lead a revolution in sustainability.


The top tourist destination in Niger until the late 1980s, the city of Agadez – located in the dead centre of the country – is today no more than a shadow of its former self.

A stressed world

Extinction is forever. Can we stop the slide in bio-diversity?

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Why children work

Jeremy Seabrook visits Bangladesh to better understand the roots of child labour.

Backyard beehives

A walk on the wild side with Hadani Ditmars.

Also worth a mention...

CDs that didn’t quite make a full review, but are still worthy of a mention.

Why are they dying?

Wayne Ellwood investigates the case of the missing bees.


It takes a singular talent to make a book of 1,000 pages that is as hard to put down as it is to pick up. Despite its size, 2666 retains the agility of a thriller.

The Rough Guide to Afrobeat Revival

Starting where founding father of afrobeat Fela Kuti left off, this album features energetic tracks of sweaty inventiveness.

Interview with Mike Bonanno

Mike Bonanno is a cultural activist and one half of the Yes Men. Five years ago he and sidekick Andy Bichlbaum were invited on to BBC World News pretending to represent Dow Chemicals, whose environmental legacy included the 1984 Bhopal gas disaster.

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For all its ancient antecedents, Siwan is a very modern album and a joyous meditation for that.

Best of the web -

The editor’s picks from the NI website

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10 ways to help save the bees!

Illustrated by Scott Ritchie.

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A graphic adaptation of the book by Studs Terkel by Harvey Pekar and Paul Buhle.

Carbon cowboys

No international agreement exists on reducing emissions from forests, but that hasn’t stopped companies attempting to profit from it

Goodbye to Guy

Guy Stringer, director of Oxfam, chair of Devopress who initially published New Internationalist magazine in 1974.

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Out in the open

Landmark ruling in India delights activists

The canvas revolution

Climate camps around the world.

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Honey is life

Gathering wild honey is an age-old tradition in South India. Mari Marcel Thekaekara and her husband Stan see how it’s done.

The Bees' Knees - The Facts

Facts and figures on bees, honey & the food connection.

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Making me crazy

The treatment of Afghans with mental illness is only adding to their trauma.

Jungle orphans

Nick Harvey reports on the position of the Hmong – both inside Laos and the bleak refugee camps of Thailand.

Everything is a world market

Charlie Parker operates Charlie Bee Honey near Niagara Falls, Ontario. He reflects on his 50 years as a beekeeper.

Why Pakistan's Taliban win as they lose

Pakistan’s army offensive has wrongfooted the Taliban. But the larger war of ideas has yet to be won. Pervez Hoodbhoy explains.

Summing up...

Vanessa Baird draws a few conclusions.

Sin Nombre

A road movie cum Western. Or, rather, it’s a railroad movie and the ‘West’ - where innumerable migrants are headed on railroad wagons - is more accurately the ‘North’, the US.

The case for real aid

Jonathan Glennie takes on both the aid optimists and the pessimists.

Cover of the May Issue: West Papua of New Internationalist

On Newsstands

May Issue: West Papua

Freedom in sight?

West Papua stands on a knife-edge between freedom and disaster. In this issue, we hear the voices of people living under Indonesian occupation and fighting to be free. We learn about the unifying power of Melanesian music, expose the extractive companies that are profiting from Papuan repression, and hear Indigenous leaders lay out their visions of the new country they want to build.


Online now

Populism rises again

In the post-truth world of 2016, the day of the demagogue arrived. President Duterte played Dirty Harry in the Philippines. A pussy-grabbing, fact-denying, tax-shirking billionaire got elected US president. Smirking Brexiteers lied through their teeth and had their way. Authoritarian populists have stoked anger and division, and exposed faultlines in democracy. In this edition we ask, what is the appeal of the appalling? And is a progressive populism the answer?

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