Giulia Maci, urban planner: "Urban intelligence will no longer be provided by a declining architecture star-system, but rather by emergent networks of alternative practices, community projects and urban NGOs. Where rising populism on the right and the left exploits the grievances of those left behind in the global economy, initiatives and collaborations at the local level are becoming a mechanism to address them head on. Livable streets are in fact exchange places rather than just movement spaces. How will future tourists be able to truly appreciate the city without its inhabitants?"
After we recently wrote about concerning decline of population of insects and the collapse ecosystem is faced with, scientists have warned about another part of the ecosystem that is stumbling under the burden of human influence. They counted 500 dead zones in the world’s oceans, and the level of oxygen in general in the oceans has declined 2%. "There are also many places around the Mediterranean, including the Adriatic, that have had problems with oxygen decline as a result of high nutrient inputs from agriculture, sewage and burning of fossil fuels", said Denise Breitburg, lead author of the new research published in Science.
Fawwaz Traboulsi, Lebanese historian and author: "Technically Lebanon should be bankrupt but you don't bankrupt it because you can't get anything in return. World Bank has loaded us with a concept which is empty. What is corruption? For them it is a sign that you have an overloaded public sector which you should reduce and a heavy budget which you should reduce. That doesn't change anything in how people benefit from public money. This is why you never get a solution for something called corruption - because it means the corrupt are the politicians, and business is moral".
Cornelia Abel, Regional Coordinator for South East Europe, Turkey and Israel at Transparency International: "From Trump and Putin to Plenković, we see a global tendency of 'shaming' the independent media and declaring wars against them. Just like Trump calls any news that he finds harmful to his rule, so does PM Plenković brand any news questioning his policies and decisions as a 'hybrid war'. Such statements are made typically in controlled societies, including authoritarian regimes, where consolidation of national ranks serves covering up of a multitude of problems, usually economic in nature, for which the ruling elite has no effective solution".
"We were poor before, but we had rivers, we went fishing, we grew some food and we lived well. Now our children can only see that on TV. The course of the river has been changed, the forest has been cut, and we are prisoners in our own village", explains Hilario Vega, resident of the village of Boqueron in the northeast of Colombia. The whole village has been waiting to be relocated for seven years. The air pollution coming from the coal mines surrounding the village is so severe that it is endangering their lives.
"2016 was the deadliest year on record for environmental defenders, and 2017 is on its way to be even worse", said Katharina Rall, High Commissioner from Human Rights Watch (HRW) at UN Climate Change Conference in Bonn this November. Rall was the advocate for human and indigenous rights during negotiations on COP23. The rate of killing of environmental defenders has risen to four per week. Of the 200 defenders that were killed in 2016, 40 percent were indigenous, even though the total population of indigenous people represents approximately five percent of the global population.
Zola Jesus: "I struggle with making music that doesn't directly change the environment in a way. To endure the pain of performing these songs night after night, but knowing there is a possibility that some sort of paradigm shift will happen to someone in the audience, is really rewarding. I try to be more mindful and critical about my capitalist upbringing, of this feeling installed in me – the feeling of never being satisfied with what I have or who I am. This quest for more and what's next, doesn't allow space and time to just be."
Angela Nagle, author of Kill All Normies: Online culture wars from 4chan and Tumblr to Trump and the alt-right: "I was interested in how the new right wing movements emerging from forums like 4chan had the aesthetic sensibilities of the countercultural left and how the new online cultural left had the sensibilities of something more puritanical and humourless. Some people tried to claim that I was 'attacking the left' but in fact the book is attacking those who constantly try to destroy the left from within."
The abundance of flying insects has fallen by three quarters in only three decades. The situation is alarming and the whole food chain could collapse, the authors of the new research warned, stating that industrial agricultural is the prime suspects for insect decline. "Actions should be taken now to minimize negative impacts of agriculture on our natural world, and this includes minimizing effects of pesticides", the lead author of the research Caspar A. Hallmann said for H-Alter.
The end of September marks fourteen years without Edward Said, literary theorist and an intellectual of a wide range. Many of the things Said wrote about – from the way West perceives and represents The East to the question of Palestine – remain a hot topic today. To commemorate Said and recall the magnitude of his works, we are in conversation with Judith Butler, Laleh Khalili, Avi Shlaim and Illan Pappé.