Tag Archives: ecology

Economy of luxury: We’re like rabbits caught in the headlights

Many readers will be familiar with Watership Down, Richard Adams’ wonderful, albeit sometimes terrifying, allegorical tale of a band of rabbits fleeing from a doomed warren (at the instigation of Fiver, a clairvoyant rabbit, who “saw” the imminent destruction of the warren by humans to make way for a building construction development). In the novel…

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Trash, ‘Idiocracy’ and how to avoid it

Viewing the movie Idiocracy is quite an uncomfortable experience, despite it being a comedy. Its premise is simple: smart, intelligent people tend to have fewer children – sometimes no children at all, in fact – compared to less intelligent, less “educated” people, with hardly any future perspective. Project the imagined consequences of this premise into…

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Thuli and other 21st century ‘freedom fighters’ among Time 100

Although she occupies only a sliver of a column on p. 80 in the “leaders” section of Time magazine’s special edition on “The 100 Most Influential people” (May 5 2014), this should not mislead anyone as to the comparative importance of Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s inclusion in this annual pantheon of (itself) one of the…

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‘The Road’ and the disappearance of nature

Reading a short article about the reasons for the meat and dairy industry being unsustainable, and watching David Attenborough’s documentary, Madagascar (with its visual feast of beautiful, but ecologically endangered creatures in Madagascar’s forests), from the corner of my eye, reminded me of Cormack McCarthy’s novel, The Road, made into a riveting film by John…

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Bhutan’s lesson for the world

Reading Sipho Kings’s important article on Bhutan, “Forget your GDP, come on get happy” yesterday sent me back to my old TIME-magazines to find an article by Bobby Ghosh (TIME, October 15, 2012) on this tiny country wedged between India and China. The reason why I remembered Ghosh’s article is that it was entitled “This…

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The normalisation of the unthinkable

We live in apocalyptic times. This is the considered belief of an extraordinary contemporary philosopher, who also phrases it as Living in the End Times — the title of a book that appeared in 2010 (Verso), and which contains between its covers so many intellectual tours de force that I, for one, will not even…

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Is there a crisis of credibility in the human sciences?

On a previous occasion I elaborated on the growing natural scientific evidence that the world is at “Red Alert” status regarding a looming ecological crisis. The question arises, whether the human sciences (humanities and social sciences) are in agreement with their natural science colleagues on this issue. In light of the incontrovertible evidence in this…

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Climate change: Red alert in the Anthropocene

It is fitting that “Anthropocene”, the term coined just more than ten years ago by Paul Crutzen, a Nobel Prize-winning atmospheric chemist, denotes the new ecological period, following the end of the Holocene, when humans became the principal force driving changes in the planetary system. I say this because the Holocene (“New Whole”), or stable…

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What ‘wisdom’?

Can humanity today show itself capable of developing a way of life that may be called, against all odds, one marked by WISDOM? This seems highly unlikely, given the state of the world economy (which has a lot to do with short-sightedness and wastefulness), and more importantly, the planetary ecology. Fact is, humans have shown…

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The ‘crystals’ of time

It seems to me undeniable that the human sciences – short for the social sciences and the humanities – are facing a crisis of perceived irrelevance in a world suffused in unreflective technophilia and, concomitantly, indifference to the potential value of the humanistic knowledge represented by, and archived in these sciences. Among the many ways…

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