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Climate Culture

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  • An American reflects on the problem of poverty

    Almost 30 years ago I returned from a long stay in India with my mind, body, and senses full of dust and color, peace and violence, holiness and crassness, all the contradictions of a land so different from my own. I thought I would remember always the faces of the villagers. I was pained by […]

  • An excerpt from Seven Wonders: Everyday Things for a Healthier Planet by John C. Ryan

    When the Dalai Lama of Tibet met with economist John Kenneth Galbraith, he asked the Harvard professor a simple but penetrating question: "What would the world be like if everyone drove a motor car?" The Tibetan leader probably did not intend it, but his question constitutes a koan, a paradoxical riddle of Zen Buddhist tradition. A koan has no logical answer -- "What is the sound of one hand clapping?" -- but the search for a solution may lead to a flash of enlightenment.

  • Children of the Corn

    News about genetically engineered crops breaks so fast that it’s hard to keep up. For those who look upon biotech foods with suspicion, much of the latest news is surprisingly good. The companies who splice strange genes into our corn and potatoes and soybeans are pushing their products so recklessly that they are alarming not […]

  • Facing the Music

    Of all the tragic characters in Greek myths, the one who gives me the most shivers is Cassandra. The god Apollo gave her a wonderful gift — the ability to foretell the future — then followed it up with a terrible curse — no one would ever believe her. I can just imagine Cassandra, standing […]

  • Six

    • approximate number of species that go extinct per hour • percent by which electricity demand is rising annually in China and South Asia • percentage of the energy used in U.S. manufacturing that goes toward food processing and packaging • percent reduction in the average household’s water pollution if it converts from buying conventional […]

  • The Deep Six

    Months ago, the United Nations decided to make an event out of the fact that the human population meter would soon click over another billion. They picked an arbitrary date — October 12 — and declared it the Day of 6 Billion. What kind of event should this be? A day of repentance? A celebration? […]