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Society

Essays and videos on social issues, history, political life and the future
Ever more land and labour | Aeon
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Global history

Ever more land and labour

Centuries of capitalism saw the global countryside ruthlessly converted into cheap commodities. But at what cost?

Sven Beckert & Ulbe Bosma

Dancing with water | Aeon
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Environmental history

Dancing with water

As storms, droughts and floods become more intense, what can the world learn from Japan’s profoundly wet history?

Giulio Boccaletti

The Antarctic paradox | Aeon
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Earth science and climate

The Antarctic paradox

The most protected place on Earth has become one of the most threatened – and threatening. Can its problems be solved?

Alejandra Mancilla & Peder Roberts

A new Earth rises | Aeon
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Earth science and climate

A new Earth rises

How did the planet replace the nation-state to become the prime political object of the 21st century?

Erik Isberg

The power of shit | Aeon
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The environment

The power of shit

Our excrement is a natural, renewable and sustainable resource – if only we can overcome our visceral disgust of it

Lina Zeldovich

Contaminated kinship | Aeon
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Environmental history

Contaminated kinship

If your hometown were beset with toxic dust, like Australia’s Broken Hill, would you feel any less connected to it?

Lilian Pearce

The Waste Age | Aeon
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Design and fashion

The Waste Age

Recognising that waste is central, not peripheral, to everything we design, make and do is key to transforming the future

Justin McGuirk

The miracle of the commons | Aeon
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The environment

The miracle of the commons

Far from being profoundly destructive, we humans have deep capacities for sharing resources with generosity and foresight

Michelle Nijhuis

Human crap | Aeon
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Environmental history

Human crap

We are demigods of discards – but our copious garbage became a toxic burden only with the modern cult of ‘disposability’

Gabrielle Hecht

Slow hope | Aeon
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The environment

Slow hope

Climate change is an emergency but despair is not the answer. The world is full of untold stories of people-powered change

Christof Mauch

The planet is burning | Aeon
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Deep time

The planet is burning

Wild, feral and fossil-fuelled, fire lights up the globe. Is it time to declare that humans have created a Pyrocene?

Stephen J Pyne

Little Ice Age lessons | Aeon
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Environmental history

Little Ice Age lessons

The world’s last climate crisis demonstrates that surviving is possible if bold economic and social change is embraced

Dagomar Degroot

Turn and live with animals | Aeon
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Animals and humans

Turn and live with animals

The slaughterhouse ethic of Soviet and American whalers tells us we must look beyond communism and capitalism to survive

Bathsheba Demuth

For Rachel Carson, wonder was a radical state of mind | Aeon
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Nature and landscape

For Rachel Carson, wonder was a radical state of mind

Jennifer Stitt

Did European colonisation precipitate the Little Ice Age? | Aeon
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Environmental history

Did European colonisation precipitate the Little Ice Age?

Dagomar Degroot

It’s wrongheaded to protect nature with human-style rights | Aeon
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Human rights and justice

It’s wrongheaded to protect nature with human-style rights

Anna Grear

When the monsoon goes away | Aeon
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The environment

When the monsoon goes away

The imperious monsoon rains have ruled India for centuries. Already unstable, what happens if they shift fundamentally?

Sunil Amrith

An act of resistance | Aeon
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Food and drink

Reclaiming the dignity and spiritual roots of chocolate production in Mexico

4 minutes

Uranium communities cast a shadow on the nuclear future | Aeon
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Human rights and justice

Uranium communities cast a shadow on the nuclear future

Stephanie Malin

A lethal nostalgia | Aeon
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Environmental history

A lethal nostalgia

Steel mills, coal mines and blast furnaces have killed and poisoned thousands of Americans – so why mourn their passing?

Deborah Rudacille

Out of the ashes | Aeon
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Environmental history

Out of the ashes

It took a lot of fossil fuels to forge our industrial world. Now they’re almost gone. Could we do it again without them?

Lewis Dartnell

Burning like a mountain | Aeon
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Ecology and environmental sciences

Burning like a mountain

Fire has come roaring back into America’s West after a century of attempted extirpation. Can our land take the wild heat?

Stephen J Pyne

The fire burns yet | Aeon
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Rituals and celebrations

The fire burns yet

Native American peoples are still here and still caring for their land. Can their conquerors say the same?

Peter Whiteley

A people’s truth | Aeon
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Ecology and environmental sciences

A people’s truth

The Hanford nuclear site was meant to be safe for its neighbours. Now they are fighting the experts to tell their story

Kate Brown