Alarmed by the pollution produced by the Konkola Copper Mines operation in the Copperbelt Province of Zambia, Chilekwa Mumba organized a lawsuit to hold the mine’s parent company, Vedanta Resources, responsible. Chilekwa’s victory in the UK Supreme Court set a legal precedent—it was the first time an English court ruled that a British company could be held liable for the environmental damage caused by subsidiary-run operations in another country. This precedent has since been applied to hold Shell Global—one of the world’s 10 largest corporations by revenue—liable for its pollution in Nigeria.
Chilekwa Mumba led a court battle to hold a U.K.-based company responsible for the gross pollution from a copper mine it owns in Zambia. In an interview, he talks about how he and local villagers faced arrest to overcome long odds and finally win a landmark legal victory.
The southern African nation of Zambia is home to a wealth of minerals — in particular, lots of the copper and cobalt that the world will require to power a green economy. Continue reading →
Andy Hunter, the founder of Bookshop.org (pictured here at Spoonbill & Sugartown Books in Brooklyn) developed his love for books early. “I became a reader, in the beginning, because it provided me solace,” he says. PHOTOGRAPH: YAEL MALKA
Who could resist a story about scaling up without selling out–especially when it involves an online book shop?
Our thanks to Kate Knibbs, a senior writer at WIRED, for this profile of someone who has indirectly featured in our pages without being named before.
Andy Hunter’s ecommerce platform was a pandemic hit. Now he’s on a mission to prove that small businesses can scale up without selling out.
“DO YOU REMEMBER what kind of beer it was?”
PHOTOGRAPH: YAEL MALKA
Andy Hunter pauses for so long before answering my question, it’s awkward. He’s racking his brain. I’ve asked him to tell me about the night he came up with the idea that led to his improbably successful bookselling startup, Bookshop.org. As a former magazine editor, he wants to get the details right.
He remembers the easy stuff: It was 2018. He was on the road for work. At the time, Hunter ran the midsize literary publishing house Catapult, a job that required schmoozing at industry events. The night of his big brainstorm, he was away from his two young daughters and his usual evening obligations—dishes, bedtime rituals—and had a rare moment to think, and drink a beer. Continue reading →
Hear directly from Dr. Elizabeth Gray on why Audubon is keeping its name.
This past year, the National Audubon Society embarked on a process to reexamine the name of our organization, in light of the personal history of the organization’s namesake, John James Audubon. Continue reading →
The term was shaped by social-evolutionist thinking; white settlers used it to designate the “primitive” other. Illustration by Lauren Peters-Collaer
Given that our work has often brought us into close proximity, sometimes into working relationships, with such communities as described in the essay below, we have done our best to stay informed on respectful communication; so, this is of interest:
Many groups who identify as Indigenous don’t claim to be first peoples; many who did come first don’t claim to be Indigenous. Can the concept escape its colonial past?
Identity evolves. Social categories shrink or expand, become stiffer or more elastic, more specific or more abstract. What it means to be white or Black, Indian or American, able-bodied or not shifts as we tussle over language, as new groups take on those labels and others strip them away. Continue reading →
In Anne Lamott’s book on writing, she tells a great story about facing tasks that seem overwhelming. Her 10-year-old brother was doing a big school project on birds, and as the deadline loomed, he became paralyzed by how much he still had to do. His father put his arm around him and gave him a piece of advice, “Bird by bird, buddy,” he told him. “Just take it bird by bird.”
This useful life lesson takes literal form in All That Breathes, a wonderful new documentary that arrives on HBO and HBO Max garlanded with international awards. Directed by Shaunak Sen — and ravishingly shot by Ben Bernhard — this inspiring film takes us inside the lives of two ordinary seeming Muslim brothers in Delhi who are actually extraordinary in their dedication to doing good in a city teetering on the edge of apocalypse.
The brothers are named Saud and Nadeem, the former friendly, the latter a little grumpy. Continue reading →
From Ethiopia’s highlands to Siberia to the Australian rainforest, there are thousands of sacred forests that have survived thanks to traditional religious and spiritual beliefs. Experts say these places, many now under threat, have ecological importance and must be saved.
Governments from across the world made grand promises last month at the biodiversity conference in Montreal to save nature by protecting 30 percent of the planet’s land and oceans by 2030. Continue reading →
The Bronx River Foodway, the only legal place to forage in New York, celebrates the end of a season
Foodway team members gathered around a picnic bench at the New York Botanical Garden created by the artist Elizebeth Hamby. Photograph: Courtesy Elizabeth Hamby
Bimwala’s tours are a mix of returning foragers eager to learn more and newcomers, many of whom have lived in the Bronx for decades. Photograph: Courtesy of Nathan Hunter
On a crisp November day in the South Bronx, more than 300 people made their way from Westchester Avenue below the clamor of the 6 train down a tree-lined path leading to Concrete Plant park. This is the home of the Bronx River Foodway, a quarter-acre food forest full of edible, mostly native plants. What looks like a stretch of land dotted with trees appears at first glance to be overrun by weeds, but the wild foliage has been intentionally planted by the Foodway. It is the only legal foraging site in New York City.
Neighbors young and old poured on to the grassy banks of the Bronx River to celebrate the end of the season and the foliage of the Bronx, including an array of snacks made from foraged ingredients: ginkgo cheese and acorn crackers, and pickled mushrooms and herbal ales made at recent four-part cooking series put on by the Foodway over the last two months. Continue reading →
Change in stance puts spotlight on US and China, which have both objected to fund
A breakthrough looked possible in the deadlocked global climate talks on Friday as the European Union made a dramatic intervention to agree to key developing world demands on financial help for poor countries. Continue reading →
Note: Green areas show land that is mostly covered by trees, based on an analysis of satellite imagery. Source: Jefferson Fox, Jamon Van Den Hoek, Kaspar Hurni, Alexander Smith and Sumeet Saksena.By Pablo Robles
An effort decades in the making is showing results in Nepal, a rare success story in a world of cascading climate disasters and despair
KANKALI COMMUNITY FOREST, Nepal — The old man moved gingerly, hill after hill, cutting dry shrubs until he was surrounded by trees that had grown from seedlings he had planted two decades ago. He pointed to a row of low peaks above the Kathmandu valley that were covered with dense foliage. Continue reading →
The view from Egypt: Trumpism, Putinism, Bolsonaroism finally on the defensive
Those of us who have been faithful in bringing the world bad news are perhaps excused if we seize occasionally on the the promising straws in the wind (though always aware that ill winds continue blowing, and not just in Florida where a rare November hurricane made landfall today). I’m thinking globally this afternoon, because I’m at the climate summit in Sharm al Sheikh in Egypt, where dozens of countries have pavilions (it’s the Epcot of carbon mitigation.) And the planet looks just a little better than it did a month ago. Continue reading →
Why resisting climate change means combatting the fossil fuel industry
The science on climate change has been clear for a very long time now. Yet despite decades of appeals, mass street protests, petition campaigns, and peaceful demonstrations, we are still facing a booming fossil fuel industry, rising seas, rising emission levels, and a rising temperature. With the stakes so high, why haven’t we moved beyond peaceful protest? Continue reading →
As an energy crisis looms, nimble young activists are using superhero-like moves to switch off wasteful lights that stores leave on all night.
Kevin Ha extinguishing a store’s lights last month. Mauricio Lima for The New York Times
Paris— After taking a few steps back to get a running start, Hadj Benhalima dashed toward the building, pushed against its wall with his foot, propelled himself upward and stretched out his arm.
At the peak of his leap, he flipped off a light switch, more than 10 feet off the ground. A click sound rang out, and the bright lights of a nearby barbershop went off instantly.
“Oooh,” his friends cheered, as Mr. Benhalima, a thin 21-year-old dressed all in black, landed back on the sidewalk. It was the second store sign he had turned off on a recent nighttime tour across Paris’s upscale neighborhoods. Many more would follow as he soared up and dropped back down across the city. Continue reading →
When I started graduate school 34 years ago I was 25 years old. I had scored sufficiently high on the math section of the GMAT to be accepted into a program that assumed all students would be comfortable with calculus. Not only was I years since my last math class but I had never taken calculus. The experience of starting a quantitative program of study for which I was mathematically unprepared was no fun whatsoever. But there is a funny story to share, another day. For now, all eyes on this book, which a while back I had read an excerpt of here:
As a boy in the first weeks of algebra class, I felt confused and then I went sort of numb. Adolescents order the world from fragments of information. In its way, adolescence is a kind of algebra. The unknowns can be determined but doing so requires a special aptitude, not to mention a comfort with having things withheld. Straightforward, logical thinking is required, and a willingness to follow rules, which aren’t evenly distributed adolescent capabilities. Continue reading →
Five Native American tribes will work with the Bureau of Land Management to plan and conserve Bears Ears National Monument in Utah, officials said.
Bears Ears National Monument, whose red-rock landscape sprawls across more than 1.3 million acres in southeastern Utah, will be managed jointly by the federal government and Native American tribes in what administration officials said represents a “one-of-a-kind” model of cooperation. Continue reading →
Maggie Carter, a Starbucks barista in Knoxville, Tenn., keeps a stack of union cards with her. Audra Melton for The New York Times
We wrote one time previously about the Starbucks union drive, wondering why Starbucks is against it. We know the typical corporate reasons, but Starbucks has represented itself as atypical. So, we wanted to know. And in related news, the company’s efforts to keep unionization at bay has a new leader. Today we consider a related question, this time from workers’ perspective:
Jaz Brisack became a barista for the same reasons that talented young people have long chosen their career paths: a mix of idealism and ambition.
Most weekend mornings, Jaz Brisack gets up around 5, wills her semiconscious body into a Toyota Prius and winds her way through Buffalo, to the Starbucks on Elmwood Avenue. After a supervisor unlocks the door, she clocks in, checks herself for Covid symptoms and helps get the store ready for customers. Continue reading →
From the velocipede to the ten-speed, biking innovations brought riders freedom. But in a world built for cars, life behind handlebars is both charmed and dangerous.
My first bicycle was not, in fact, a bicycle. I rode it in 1968, when I was two years old and as tubby as a bear cub. It had four wheels, not two, and no pedals: strictly speaking, it was a scooter. But Playskool called it a Tyke Bike, so I say it qualifies, and aside from the matte-black, aluminum-alloy number that I’ve got now, which is called (by the manufacturer dead seriously, and by me aspirationally) the Bad Boy, the Tyke Bike may be the swankiest bicycle I’ve ever ridden. Continue reading →
We missed this documentary film last year, perhaps because it was not reviewed in any of the news outlets we regularly monitor. But if you click the image to the right you can preview the film for a couple minutes. You will see it is about a man who spent his life protecting what he cared about. Since that is the underlying theme of the nearly 12,000 posts we have shared on this platform since 2011, it is cued up for viewing in our home this evening. The film came to my attention in The Economist, and the accompanying photograph is unique in the history of obituaries in that publication or elsewhere:
As soon as spring arrived, the young Lawrence MacEwen shed his shoes. Barefoot, he ran to school down the only road on Muck, a mile and a half of gravel mixed with grass. Barefoot, he jumped among the fallen basalt stones of the dykes built long ago by kelpers, who had made a living gathering seaweed from the rocks. Barefoot he climbed the craggy western cliffs, hanging on to heather for dear life, and scampered to the top of Beinn Airein, the highest hill, to look out past Eigg and Rum to Knoydart and the Cuillin Hills. Barefoot he would stand for hours on the beach below his house, so mesmerised by the rolling tide that he could not stir until his mother called him in for tea. His feet would sink a little into the white sand, embedding him in the place. Continue reading →
Sunrise has already shifted the conventional wisdom about climate change. Now it wants to create a mass movement, combining street protest with policy negotiation, while there’s still time.
On the evening of November 12, 2018, six days after being elected to Congress and six weeks before being sworn in, the socialist Democrats Rashida Tlaib and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez walked into an Episcopal church in Washington, D.C. Inside, more than a hundred activists in their teens and twenties milled around a font of holy water, wearing nametags on their flannel and fleece, eating pizza from paper plates. Continue reading →
If you have been following the pipeline news stories and you care, but not yet found a way to get involved, the Standing Rock Sioux tribe offers you a simple first step to help them end the DAPL. Click on the DAPL EIS Countdown Alert signup image below to show support, by asking to be alerted when public comments open:
The fight to stop the Dakota Access pipeline isn’t over, and you can help right now! This month, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will take public comment on DAPL’s fatally flawed Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). Sign up to be first in line to tell the Corps to conduct a proper environmental review — without interference from the fossil fuel industry. We’ll let you know how to make your voice heard as soon as the comment period opens! Thank you for standing with Standing Rock.