Subjects Archives: Ecology

  • Biofuels, BP-Berkeley, and the New Ecological Imperialism

    British Petroleum, Beyond Petroleum . . . Biofuel Promoter, Biosphere Plunderer.  Regardless of what the BP abbreviation actually stands for, one thing is clear: this oil giant knows a good deal when it sees one.  For a relatively small financial contribution, BP appropriates academic expertise from a leading public research institution, founded on 200 years […]

  • The Failure of Climate Change Economics

    In 1896, the Swedish chemist Svante Arrhenius developed a theory to explain the likely impact of burning coal on the climate.  Arrhenius claimed that, due to human activity, the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere would increase, creating an “enhanced” greenhouse effect.  His theory did not enjoy consensus in his time, but the scientific community […]

  • After Bali: Time for a Different Kind of Climate Politics

    “We are ending up with something so watered down there was no need for 12,000 people to gather here in Bali to have a watered-down text.  We could have done that by email.” — Dr. Angus Friday, Chair of the Alliance of Small Island States In a narrow and formal sense, last month’s Climate Change […]

  • Dialectics in Action

    BIOLOGY UNDER THE INFLUENCE: Dialectical Essays on Ecology, Agriculture, and Health by Richard Lewontin and Richard LevinsBUY THIS BOOK Biology under the Influence: Dialectical Essays on Ecology, Agriculture, and Health by Richard Lewontin and Richard Levins is an exciting book.  The title suggests that biology is hampered by narrow theoretical constructs that block interchange between […]

  • From False to Real Solutions for Climate Change

    Amidst her welcome critique of the biofuel mania, Vandana Shiva‘s ZNet commentary last month (December 13, 2007) also made this point: “The Kyoto Protocol totally avoided the material challenge of stopping activities that lead to higher emissions and the political challenge of regulation of the polluters and making the polluters pay in accordance with principles […]

  • Binayak Sen — A Mother’s Appeal

      I am a woman in my eighties.  When we were young, people were inspired by the examples of karmayogis who were patriotic, motivated by ideals of service, wise and virtuous.  We considered ourselves blessed if we could follow in their footsteps. I had so far been a silent spectator to the injustice and violence […]

  • Professor Randhir Singh

    Future of Socialism

    I have been asked to speak on ‘Future of Socialism’. What I am going to say is based on my recently published book, Crisis of Socialism — Notes in Defence of a Commitment, which may be referred to for the detailed argument in support of the propositions I am going to advance with the help of passages culled from this book. I am going to deal with the question in four separate but interrelated segments of my address.

  • A Major Reversal? The NIE Report on Iran

    “O there are times, we must confess To harboring a whim — we Like to picture old Karl Marx Sliding down our chimney” — Susie Day “Help fund the good fight.   By contributing to MR, you help reinforce the left and reclaim the future.” — Richard D. Vogel “To do my part, I just […]

  • Ghosts of Christmas Past, Rising from the Gaps of Capital

    “O there are times, we must confess To harboring a whim — we Like to picture old Karl Marx Sliding down our chimney” — Susie Day “Help fund the good fight.   By contributing to MR, you help reinforce the left and reclaim the future.” — Richard D. Vogel “To do my part, I just […]

  • Zuma, the Centre-Left and the Left-Left

    “O there are times, we must confess To harboring a whim — we Like to picture old Karl Marx Sliding down our chimney” — Susie Day “Help fund the good fight.   By contributing to MR, you help reinforce the left and reclaim the future.” — Richard D. Vogel “To do my part, I just […]

  • What Does Putin Want?

    “O there are times, we must confess To harboring a whim — we Like to picture old Karl Marx Sliding down our chimney” — Susie Day “Help fund the good fight.   By contributing to MR, you help reinforce the left and reclaim the future.” — Richard D. Vogel “To do my part, I just […]

  • Marx and the Global Environmental Rift

    Ecology is often seen as a recent invention.  But the idea that capitalism degrades the environment in a way that disproportionately affects the poor and the colonized was already expressed in the nineteenth century in the work of Karl Marx and Frederick Engels.  Writing in Capital in 1867 on England’s ecological imperialism toward Ireland, Marx […]

  • The Right to Our Land Must Be Restored

      This week in Annapolis, Maryland, the United States government will host a conference between Palestinian and Israeli leaders to launch peace talks on a permanent agreement.  A vital component of the peace proposals to be discussed involves exchanges of territory that would allow Israel to keep its West Bank “settlement blocs” while compensating Palestinians […]

  • “Gender and Mathematical Ability”: A Brief Comment

      Richard York and Brett Clark’s cogent essay “Gender and Mathematical Ability: The Toll of Biological Determinism” (MR, November 2007) brings to mind the extreme complexities and biases entangled in separating genetic from environmental factors.  I suggest the following example to illustrate the point. Suppose we are confronted with the hypothesis that there exists a […]

  • Peru Free Trade Agreement Faces Mixed Labor Response

    On October 9, the Oregon AFL-CIO passed a resolution opposing the U.S.-Peru Free Trade Agreement and three other pending trade deals with Panama, Colombia, and South Korea.  A state federation condemning a free trade deal would normally be an unremarkable event, except for the remarkable absence in the Peru case of a typically heavy-weight free […]

  • J. R. R. Tolkien: Saving the Ecosystems of Middle Earth

      In J.R.R. Tolkien‘s Lord of the Rings trilogy (1955-56) the ring is at the center of an epochal ecological struggle over the fate of Middle Earth.  Received as fantasy, in its own way this tale nevertheless encapsulates nearly a century of geological, biological, and botanical lore that followed Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species (1859).  […]

  • Quick Thoughts on Carbon Sequestration

    How do we mitigate climate change?  A fashionable suggestion is technologically intensive carbon sequestration.  That, however, is an excessively expensive and probably technically impossible method of capturing significant amounts of carbon.  Another popular suggestion for sequestering carbon is planting trees. A more traditional method — building up the soil — which is better for the […]

  • Andre Gorz — RIP

      Andre Gorz, philosopher of freedom, sociologist of work, ecologist and democratic socialist, trade union adviser, journalist and for a time editor of Nouvelle Observateur and Les Tempes Modernes, took his life at 84 on the 24th of September together with his wife Dorine, 83, who was suffering from a degenerative disease.  On the 25th […]

  • A Rough Guide to Radical Thought

    IDEAS FOR ACTION by Cynthia KaufmanBUY THIS BOOK After considering the long train of outrages committed by the current regime — an administration so callous, so degraded, that some European commentators have taken to calling George W. Bush a “gangsta bitch” (Dick Cheney is, of course, Bush’s “Original Gangsta”) — it’s nice to know that […]

  • Who Said Marx Wasn’t Green?

    “An ecological approach to the economy is about having enough, not having more.” — John Bellamy Foster “For the first time . . . nature becomes purely an object for humankind, purely a matter of utility; ceases to be recognized as a power for itself; and the theoretical discovery of its autonomous laws appears merely […]