Environment

‘Maleficent’: A sea-change in popular culture

Maleficent (Disney 2014; directed by Robert Stromberg) is a magnificent film, and it almost seems more than fortuitous that the eponymous, powerful faerie is not called Malevolent, but bears a name that rhymes with “magnificent”. Judging by this recent re-imagining of the fairy tale, Sleeping Beauty, which was rendered in its classic Disney animated movie…

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‘Nature’s Confession’ – climate fiction everybody should read

Award-winning novelist JL Morin’s latest novel, Nature’s Confession (Harvard Square Editions, 2014/15), is a newcomer to the stable of the newly named genre (or perhaps sub-genre) of cli-fi (climate fiction, associated with sci-fi) novels, and is a rollercoaster of a story that valorises creativity and imagination in the face of the imponderable climate catastrophe looming…

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Eskom and Sasol put a low price on life

By Alex Lenferna How much is a human life worth? How much is our future and that of our children worth? Well, the answer to both is “not too much” if Eskom and Sasol’s pollution-friendly tactics are anything to go by. Allow me to explain. On paper, South Africa has some pretty decent environmental legislation…

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Human extinction? It’s not just science fiction

At a recent science fiction conference (thematically called “East/West SF”), arranged under the auspices of the “Brain Korea” project by Professor Ilgu Kim of Hannam University, Daejeon, Korea (about an hour by high-speed train from Seoul), a number of excellent papers were presented, none more so than the one by American Peter Paik, titled: “Science…

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‘F*ck for Forest’ – a film review

This documentary introduces us to a whimsical, restless and sensitive Norwegian youth, 23-year-old Danny. He is a former Olympian equestrian star who dresses in discarded thespian clothing with felt hats, feathers and velvet cloaks over T-shirts, jeans and tackies. He speaks in poetic and quirky phrases peppered with eccentric humour. Danny is in angstful conflict…

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Litter, a social ill with big implications

I cannot count the amount of times I have walked around either at university, at work, or even in shopping malls and have seen people callously, without thought, chuck a piece of paper on the floor. There is not even a hint of resignation. The wrapper comes off the chocolate, cigarettes, or other random item…

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The mining multinationals in Mozambique: Is it a win-win situation?

By Antonio Macheve Jr The generic stories of multinational companies extracting natural resources from poor resource-rich countries often maintain a strong emphasis on exploitation of cheap labour, environmental degradation, poor local economic and social development, and unresponsive corporate social responsibility policies as the most direct effects of such operations on the population, particularly around the…

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Over the rainbow – voices from the margins of South Africa

Why poverty? In a country where only 8% of the total national income is shared by 50% of the population the problem of inequality persists 20 years into our new democracy. While a quarter of all South Africans live on $1.82 a day the top 20% (10 million people) enjoy 75% of the national income….

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Voices from Kagiso: Community says Mintails’ suspension is a smokescreen

Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu has suspended Australian mining company Mintails’ operations in Kagiso on the west rand after community members embarked on protests citing serious environmental, safety and health violations and structural damage to their houses as a result of the mine’s operations in close proximity to their homes. Media for Justice reports that…

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The intergenerational injustice of climate change

Scientists are getting more radical about climate change and its consequences for our descendants. In a recent edition of the New York Times, Dr Michael Mann of Pennsylvania State University draws attention to the fact that the time is past when scientists could, with a good conscience, refuse to go further than state their considered…

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