How to avoid climate breakdown

A note from the editor

Hazel Healy

Exit apocalypse

My nine-year-old son, Laurie, looked up at me from the sofa the other day. ‘I know!’ he said, apropos of nothing. ‘What if we found something to put into cars that didn’t make the world too hot?’ I’d been talking to him about climate change while working on this magazine; he tends to absorb things quietly and it’s only later you realize that he’s been working them through.

I felt slightly embarrassed or ashamed – it’s hard to place the emotion exactly – as I answered, crushing his light-bulb moment: ‘Well, the thing is, we already know how to make cars run on clean energy. In fact there’s a way to do almost everything we do now using clean energy. We are, um, just not doing it.’

It’s like the good news and the bad news, all rolled into one.  So many of the solutions that can limit climate breakdown are staring us right in the face, but we will need to mobilize like never before to put them into action. In this issue we don’t linger on apocalyptic predictions but instead look closely at how to wean the industrialized world off dirty energy and meet the people and movements fighting to make that happen – farmers, scientists, striking schoolchildren and others.

Elsewhere in this edition we feature a photo-essay that explores the expectations and challenges for young South African people, 25 years after Mandela’s ‘rainbow nation’ came into being. And we speak to Kurdish-Iranian author Behrouz Boochani, who wrote an award-winning book using WhatsApp while detained in Manus Island detention centre.

Hazel Healy for the New Internationalist co-operative.
www.newint.org

The big story

There’s still time to mitigate the worst effects of climate change. Can we pull it off?

There’s still time to mitigate the worst effects of climate change. Can we pull it off?

Photo: Sandra Kaas/Unsplash

Habitable Earth

There’s still time to mitigate the worst effects of climate change. Can we pull it off? Hazel Healy makes the case for conditional optimism.

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The Big Story

Action & info

Climate science; Transition policy; Action; Listen.

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How do we get to zero-carbon emissions?

How do we get to zero-carbon emissions?

Current emissions; Halving by 2030; Policies to zero by 2050.

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Illustration: Nadia Akingbule

‘Real education happens outside the classroom’

Pacific Climate Warrior Brianna Fruean and Anna Taylor of UK school strikes movement talk what inspires them and how to avoid activist burnout. Conversation moderated by Hazel Healy.

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World in motion

In order to limit global temperature rise to 1.5°C, over 80 per cent of known fossil-fuel reserves simply cannot be burned. As political systems fail, Danny Chivers writes about the social movements are targeting mines, rigs, infra­structure and investment to keep carbon in the ground. Illustrations: Jason Ngai.

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Footsteps disappear

Lifestyle changes are no substitute for collective action. But personal carbon-cutting still matters – it’s a powerful way to signal the climate emergency to those around us, move the needle on policy and set bigger cultural changes in motion. Mike Berners-Lee lays out an nine-step carbon detox.

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Photo: Johannes Plenio on Unsplash

First-class lifeboats

The super-rich are preparing for doomsday. Only problem is, the rest of us aren’t invited. Tom Whyman explains.

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Gary Bentley was laid off after 12 years working down the mines in Letcher County, Kentucky.Photo: Lance booth

Life after coal

Can we move away from fossil fuels without destroying the communities that rely on them? Sam Adler Bell looks to the devastated US coalfields of Appalachia.

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Members of the South African National Youth Orchestra walk on a beach in Cape Town after a performance. Zinhle Mfaba and Nina Cilliers became friends through playing in the orchestra. ‘When we’re playing together, we’re in sync – we’re there for a common cause. That brings us together and makes us one,’ says Mfaba.Photo: Ilvy Njiokiktjien

South Africa’s born-frees

This year, South Africa marks 25 years since its first democratic elections, which ended white minority rule, made Nelson Mandela president and gave all South Africans equal political rights. Ilvy Njiokiktjien photographs the young South Africans who have known only life in the post-apartheid ‘rainbow nation’.

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Images from the women's gathering in Chotacaj. Mayan spirituality plays an important part in indigenous feminism, but the issues dealt with are tough - racism, violence and abuse, unequal rights. Photo: James Rodriguez/Panos

From a place of healing

Indigenous feminists in Guatemala encourage women to speak out against male violence, and to heal and defend themselves as they defend their ancestral territory. Frauke Decoodt listens to their stories of resistance.

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Armed enforcers: members of the Cameroonian national police force patrol a square in the majority anglophone southwest province capital Buea during a political rally of President Paul Biya’s ruling CPDM party. Photo: Marco Longari/AFP/Getty

‘Licence to kill’

In Cameroon, civil war is brewing along linguistic lines. Its origins lie in the botched decolonization of the country’s anglophone territory, but President Paul Biya’s repressive regime has poured fuel on the fire. Lorraine Mallinder reports.

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The Sateré-Mawé people of Brazil are preparing to retake their land.Photo: Raphael Alves/AFP/Getty

Bullet ants and stolen land

Jair Bolsonaro may be in power, but the Sateré indigenous people are not taking his hostility sitting down. Sue Branford reports from the Brazilian Amazon.

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Opinion

View from Brazil

View from Brazil

Will pensions unite the Left against Bolsonaro?

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View from India

View from India

India’s record on children is puzzling for a country that is the world’s largest importer of arms and has a billion-dollar space programme. Nilanjana Bhowmick writes.

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View from Africa

View from Africa

A history of violence. For Nanjala Nyabola, the sentencing of Trump’s campaign chair tells us a lot about the West’s relationship to Africa.

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Currents

A soldier surveys the wreckage of an al-Shabaab suicide bombing in September 2014.Photo: Mohamed Abdiwahab/AFP/Getty

Somalia: secret wars

The United States has conducted more than 100 airstrikes in Somalia since 2017.

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Myanmar: vampire grins

Myanmar: vampire grins

Blood-red patches stain the streets of Myanmar’s capital Yangon.

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UK: safer sex work

UK: safer sex work

Scotland’s prostitution laws.

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Brazil: doll power

Brazil: doll power

A shop in Brazil has achieved a win for racial diversity by only selling black dolls.

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‘…cutting branches, cutting down entire trunks… this is all illegal’ – a sign in Mondulkiri province, Cambodia alerts people to the dangers of participating in illicit logging. Photo: Bjorn Svensson/Alamy

Vietnam: green fingers

Jack Davies reports on the EU's failure to do due diligence to prevent illegal timber trading between Vietnam and Cambodia.

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Haiti: where’s the money?

Where is the Petro-Caribe money??? #PetroCaribeChallenge

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Reasons to be cheerful

Plastic-free Taiwan; Smarter spending; A matter of life and death; and who knew?

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Regulars

Letters

Letters

Praise, blame and all points in between? Give us your feedback.

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Illustration: Sarah John

The careful image

What is required to be an authentic person? Parsa Sanjana Sajid ponders the answer from the bright lights of a photo studio.

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Seriously?

Penal labour is still big bucks.

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Inequality Watch

Inequality Watch

Vietnamese garment workers vs top five clothes companies.

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‘I march, you march… he leaves.’ An Algerian woman takes a stand against 82-year-old President Bouteflika. As a result of mass protests, Bouteflika has decided not to stand for a fifth term.Photo: Ryad Kramdi/AFP/Getty

Sign of the times

I march, you march… he leaves.

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Open Window

Perilous journey by Shahram Rezaei (Iran).

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Photos, clockwise from top left: Children at the Deari elementary school in Keren; portrait of Meriem Mohammed Omer, a former practitioner of female genital mutilation who now advocates against the practice and is proud that all her granddaughters are uncut; Adanesh Gebrehiwo serves lunch to some of the 12 children living in a group home for orphans in Keren; a dry valley in the province of Anseba.Photo: GIACOMO PIROZZI/PANOS

Country profile: Eritrea

Eritrea, an abbreviation of Red Sea in Latin (Mare Erythraeum), was carved out of east Africa by the Italians.

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Cartoon History - Beyond Truth

The death of daredevil lawyer Digna Ochoa, a child of Veracruz.

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The debate: is it time to quit social media?

It’s the place where you can find everything – from an academic painstakingly listing forgotten medieval words, to the rambling stream-of-consciousness of the US president. But with research showing links between its use and depression and loneliness, is it time we gave up on social media altogether?

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Photo: Alex Ellinghausen/Fairfax Media

The Interview: Behrouz Boochani

The Kurdish-Iranian writer has been imprisoned on Manus Island – part of Australia’s notorious asylum detention network – since 2013. But that hasn’t stopped him from writing an award-winning book. Using WhatsApp, Husna Rizvi interviews Behrouz Boochani.

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Photo: Rahmat Alizadah

Southern Exposure: Rahmat Alizadah

Highlighting the work of artists and photographers from the Majority World.

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Agony Uncle

Agony Uncle

Ethical and political dilemmas abound these days. Seems like we’re all in need of a New Internationalist perspective. Enter stage: Agony Uncle.

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Film, Book & Music Reviews

Mixed media: books

Mixed media: books

Future Histories; I Will Never See the World Again; Days in the Caucasus; Under Red Skies.

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Mixed media: film

Mixed media: film

Malcolm Lewis reviews Woman at War, directed and co-written by Benedikt Erlingsson; The Third Wife, directed and written by Ash Mayfair.

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Mixed media: music

Mixed media: music

Louise Gray reviews The Medicine Show by Melissa Etheridge and Play Wooden Child by Nodding God.

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Photo: Marlon James

Spotlight: Anthony Joseph

Trinidadian musician Anthony Joseph tells Subi Shah about how important it is for his children to know about Windrush.

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