Pandemic of Hunger

Linda Nordling

Nature | October 18, 2020

It’s 4 p.m. on a Friday, and dozens of children have begun to line up outside a home in a street in Delft, a working-class neighbourhood in Cape Town, South Africa. On a busy day, the queue will grow to be hundreds of metres long, sometimes snaking off into other streets. There is still an hour to go until the food is served — it’s chicken and vegetable curry with rice — but they are content to wait. They’re hungry.

The day has been warm, but it turns chilly as the Sun dips behind the single-storey houses. The children wait patiently, some dressed only in shorts and T-shirts. They keep their place in the queue and their distance from each other. From toddlers to teenagers, they all wear cloth masks over their mouths and noses. The older children look after the youngest.Read More »


How China could be Carbon Neutral by Mid-century

Smriti Mallapaty

Nature | October 18, 2020

Aerial view of a wind-solar hybrid power station, China.
China will have to massively increase its solar and wind capacity to become carbon neutral by 2060.Credit: Li Zongxian/VCG/Getty

China, the world’s largest emitter of carbon dioxide, has promised to become carbon neutral before 2060, and to begin cutting its emissions within the next ten years.

President Xi Jinping made the ambitious pledge to a virtual audience of world leaders at a meeting of the United Nations General Assembly last month. The news came as a surprise to many researchers, even in China, who weren’t expecting such a bold target. It’s the country’s first long-term climate goal, and will require China to rein in CO2 and probably other greenhouse gas emissions to net zero, which means offsetting gases that are released, for example by planting trees or capturing carbon and storing it underground.Read More »


Protect the Antarctic Peninsula — Before It’s Too Late

Carolyn J. Hogg, Mary-Anne Lea, Marga Gual Soler, Váleri N. Vasquez, Ana Payo-Payo, Marissa L. Parrott, M. Mercedes Santos, Justine Shaw & Cassandra M. Brooks

Nature | October 18, 2020

Tourists walk past a small building surrounded by penguins and gulls with a ship anchored off shore of the Antarctic Peninsula
Humans, marine mammals, penguins and other seabirds coexist on the Antarctic Peninsula alongside ships and buildings. Credit: Sharpshooters/VW Pics/UIG/Getty

Among the windswept glaciers and icebergs of the western Antarctic Peninsula is an oasis of life. Threatened humpback and minke whales patrol the waters. Fish, squid and seals swim alongside noisy colonies of chinstrap, Adélie and gentoo penguins on the shore. It’s a complex web of life. All these species feed on small, shrimp-like crustaceans called Antarctic krill. And many are themselves prey for leopard seals, killer whales and predatory seabirds such as skuas and giant petrels.

This delicate and iconic ecosystem is in peril. The western Antarctic Peninsula (the northernmost part of the continent) is one of the fastest-warming places on Earth. In February, temperatures there reached a record 20.75 °C, with an average daily temperature that was 2 °C higher than the means for the preceding 70 years1. Most of the region’s glaciers are receding. And sea ice is dwindling — spring 2016 saw it retreat to the smallest extent since satellite records began in the 1970s. If carbon emissions keep climbing, in 50 years’ time, the area covered by sea ice will have halved and the volume of ice shelves will have shrunk by one-quarter2.Read More »


What’s Wrong With Economics?

Frank Stilwell

Progress in Political Economy | December 18, 2017

Failure to anticipate the global financial crash that began a decade ago was expected to precipitate embarrassment, if not a major crisis, for the economics profession. Even the Queen of England publicly asked why economists had got it so wrong! Ten years on, the storm has evidently been weathered without fundamental change to mainstream thought and practices. Public attitudes to the economics profession exhibit more scepticism but, for the economists themelves, it is pretty much business as usual.Read More »


the dreamers’ ark
(the haven, tynemouth)

Paul Summers

Culture Matters | October 09, 2020

the dreamers' ark

the oak is seasoned
the sawyers done

each board & beam
is shaved & steamed

rendered immaculate
in barrel curves

planed & polished
to perfect laps

the wrights slip-
glazed by noble toil

each limb in balance
each peg set tight

like lovers’ vows
immoveable in situ

caulked with hope
& dogma pitched

our lines are tied
the mast is set

beyond the lash
of briny rain

the sirens call
a kelpie chorus

in refrain beseeches
us to join them

on their barricade
of angry waves

then truths & lies
file two by two

the ghosts of all
our champions too

then faith & doubt
complete the crew

the flexing muscle
of a lunatic tide

will raise us off
our silt-kissed keel

our petards primed
the mainsail draped

we’ll voyage toward
some promised land

towards a haven
of our communion

this ark of gesture
& good intent

within the warp
& weft of oily sheets

the reek of sheep
the thrill of transit

its canvas chest
heaved out in pride

repels the barrage
of this storm

its swell embellished
with gilded words

non nocere
do no harmRead More »