Social geography is the study of how landscape, climate, and other features of a place shape the livelihoods, values, and cultural traditions of its inhabitants (and vice versa). Frenchman Elisée Reclus (1830 – 1905), a progenitor of the discipline, believed strongly in the rights and abilities of people to manage themselves in relation to their local bioregion, free from rule by a remote, centralized government. His approach to anarchy was unique in its emphasis on the environment – Reclus understood that a mindset that encourages one person or people’s domination over another must, in the race to profit from natural “resources”, also foster domination over nature.
When the Croatian town of Vukovar was taken over by the Serbian Army in 1991 after 90 days of bombing, Alexander Jevtić, a Serb who had made the town his home, found himself in a seemingly impossible position. Once inside the town, Serbian forces set about rounding up Croatian men as young as 16 for transport to a secret detention facility, where many would be tortured and killed. Jevtić was swept up in the expulsion.
Science has never revealed as much about addiction—potential genetic causes, influences, and triggers, and the resultant brain activity—or offered as many opportunities and methods for initial treatment as it does now. Even so, the grassroots 12-step program remains the preferred prescription for achieving long-term sobriety.
When did war begin? Does war have deep roots, or is it a modern invention? A new analysis of ancient human remains by anthropologists Jonathan Haas and Matthew Piscitelli of Chicago’s Field Museum provides strong evidence for the latter view.
As we’ve written before, the mysterious mass die-off of honey bees that pollinate $30 billion worth of crops in the US has so decimated America’s apis mellifera population that one bad winter could leave fields fallow. Now, a new study has pinpointed some of the probable causes of bee deaths and the rather scary results show that averting beemageddon will be much more difficult than previously thought.
There are an estimated 200,000 to 300,000 tonnes of waste from nuclear power plants in the world, and this waste will be around for about 100,000 years. Almost one million cubic metres of radioactive waste have been dumped into the oceans. Almost 90% of the trash in the ocean is plastic, dispersed over millions of square miles, and may take a century to biodegrade. The stuff that biodegrades faster than that, releases toxic chemicals that interfere with reproductive systems. A 2011 study by the International Programme on the State of Ocean (IPSO) warned that ocean life is on the brink of the worst mass extinctions in millions of years. ‘As goes the ocean, so goes life’, Alanna Mitchell reminds us. The now-familiar effects of global climate change increasingly appear to have been underestimated, and ‘weird’ weather and other disastrous consequences have become common occurrences. Peak oil. Peak soil. Peak water. ‘Over the next 100 years or so as many as half of the Earth’s species, representing a quarter of the planet’s genetic stock, will functionally if not completely disappear’, writes Stephen Meyer. ‘Nothing – not national or international laws, global bioreserves, local sustainability schemes, or even “wildlands” fantasies – can change the current course. The broad path for biological evolution is now set for the next several million years.’
A new study published last month in Nature Journal suggests that humans are naturally good. This study adds to the mounting evidence against the popular misconception that corruption is a trait of human nature.
A century ago, industrialists like Andrew Carnegie believed that Darwin’s theories justified an economy of vicious competition and inequality. They left us with an ideological legacy that says the corporate economy, in which wealth concentrates in the hands of a few, produces the best for humanity. This was always a distortion of Darwin’s ideas. His 1871 book The Descent of Man argued that the human species had succeeded because of traits like sharing and compassion.