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Wild geese in Prospect Park, Brooklyn, New York City, USA, 2017. Photo by Rebecca Norris Webb from the book Brooklyn, the City Within with Alex Webb/Magnum Photos

Essay/
Nature and landscape
A place of silence

Our cities are filled by the hubbub of human-made noise. Where shall we find the quietness we need to nurture our spirit?

Liam Heneghan

At the Extinction Rebellion protest in London, 9 October 2019. Photo by Crispin Hughes/Panos Pictures

Essay/
The environment
Habermas and climate action

Jürgen Habermas offers a framework for action on climate change – justice and deliberation are as important as the science

Emilie Prattico

Winter Landscape with Ice Skaters (c1608), by Hendrick Avercamp. Avercamp was deaf and mute and specialised in painting scenes of the Netherlands in winter. Courtesy the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Essay/
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

Antarctic Beeches (Nothofagus moorei) in temperate rainforest, Lamington National Park, Queensland, Australia. Photo by Minden Pictures/National Geographic

Essay/
Nature and landscape
Rooted

What if, rather than mere props in the background of our lives, trees embody the history of all life on Earth?

Dalia Nassar & Margaret M Barbour

Photo courtesy the Wildlife Conservation Society (formerly the New York Zoological Society)

Essay/
Animals and humans
Prison, spectacle, refuge

Modern zoos are proud of their contribution to animal conservation but will always be haunted by their histories

Nigel T Rothfels

Coloured scanning electron microscope (SEM) of a water bear (Paramacrobiotus craterlaki) in moss. Photo by Eye of Science/Science Photo Library

Essay/
Evolution
Life is tough

Human life is fragile but tardigrades and other extremophiles show that life itself is in little danger of disappearing

David P Barash

Herdsmen in the monsoon rain near the village of Walpur, Madhya Pradesh, India. Photo by James P Blair/National Geographic

Essay/
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

UN forces patrolling the streets of Port au Prince in Haiti after a devastating earthquake, 22 January 2010. Photo by Jerome Sessini/Magnum

Essay/
Poverty and development
After the storm

Few things tell us more about the nature of state sovereignty, and the threats to it, than the politics of disaster relief

Saptarishi Bandopadhyay

‘Ground zero for PFAS pollution.’ The DuPont Washington Works plant in Parkersburg, West Virginia. Photographed on 28 October 2015. Photo by Maddie McGarvey/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Essay/
Ecology and environmental sciences
Time-bombing the future

Synthetics created in the 20th century have become an evolutionary force, altering human biology and the web of life

Rebecca Altman

Photo by Robert Postma/Design Pics/National Geographic

Essay/
Cognition and intelligence
The elephant as a person

Elephants might have the necessary capacities for personhood – we just need to help them acquire the cognitive scaffolding

Don Ross