Issue 525 of New Internationalist

Reader-owned global journalism

March-April 2020

The fight for clean air

If humans have nothing else in common, it’s that we all need to breathe. But, over 90 per cent of us have to live with polluted air. This edition of New Internationalist takes up the fight for clean air.


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In this issue

  • Written well before Russia’s recent invasion, this 2020 profile of Ukraine, by Bennett Murray, provides context to the often-raised issue of fascism in the country.

  • Norway’s new left-leaning prime minister is a product of Europe’s neoliberal discontent, argues Richard Swift.

  • Jo Lateu, Peter Whittaker and Vanessa Baird review the latest releases in radical publishing. 

  • Dana Drugmand explains how the powerful car industry has continually blocked change to keep us hooked.

  • Community journalists from the northeast of England on the impact of air pollution on their lives.

  • Louise Gray and Malcolm Lewis weigh up the latest releases in alternative music.

  • Malcolm Lewis on the latest arthouse releases.

  • Dirty air is not an impossible problem. Beth Gardiner assesses some places cleaning up their act.

  • Dirty air in Nigeria takes a huge toll on lives and livelihoods. But civil society is not short of ideas for change, as Michael Simire finds out.

  • Yewande Omotoso’s namesake leads her down some unusual pathways.

  • Popular wisdom has it that everything is speeding up, including population growth. Danny Dorling shows just how wrong that is – and argues that we are actually in a time of slowdown. A tour of future population prospects for key hotspots

  • Agricultural air pollution seems to be a tough nut to crack. Amy Hall explores the air-pollution problem down on the farm.

  • India’s air pollution crisis affects millions, and not just in Delhi. Aruna Chandrasekhar meets people forced to live, and resist, at Mumbai’s toxic perimeter.

  • Maaza Mengiste talks to Subi Shah about the women who fought Mussolini in Ethiopia. 

  • The country’s political class is letting fascists off the hook and allowing history to be distorted. Jelena Prtorić asks: Whose purposes does this serve?

  • Danny Chivers is buoyed up by three decisive victories led by indigenous groups against fossil fuel interests in Australia, Brazil and Canada. 

  • Ethical and political dilemmas abound these days. Seems like we’re all in need of a New Internationalist perspective. Enter stage: Agony Uncle.

  • Is Amit Shah, the scandal-ridden Indian home minister, too cunning for his own good?

  • In Palestine, Futura D’Aprile meets the peaceful change-makers who want to create hope for their divided city’s future.

  • Political theorist Neil Vallelly on why the state keeps passing the buck to the individual.

  • Lazinho and Lucas di Fiori of Brazil's famous Banda Olodum talk to Alessio Perrone about 40 years of drumming up change.

  • Vanessa Baird looks at what gender parity can do.

  • As the EU continues to praise Greece as its ‘shield’ against migration, Zoe Holman reports on how refugees are coping in the overcrowded Moria camp.

  • India is looking at the world’s largest statelessness crisis. Nilanjana Bhowmick asks, have we learned nothing from the ongoing dispossession of Rohingya Muslims?

  • In Brazil, misogynoir – misogyny directed at black women – has been used to fire up President Jair Bolsonaro’s machismo base, and divert the population’s attention away from his failings. Leonardo Sakomoto writes.

  • When did the ‘international community’ become a synonym for the West, asks Nanjala Nyabola?

  • Covid-19 has shown us that swift action on global health is possible, even if it still falls short. What could we achieve, asks Amy Hall, if we took an urgent approach to air pollution, another widespread killer?

  • Andrés Jiménez and Paul Cullen politely disagree on this tricky issue