NI 525 - The fight for clean air - May, 2020

NI 525 - May, 2020

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The fight for clean air

A note from the editor

Amy Hall

A world of change

As I’m sure is the case for everyone reading this, a lot has changed at New Internationalist over a very short span of time. We are all now working at home, some of us with young children also at home full time or trying to support those around us on the frontline of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Like so many businesses, the pandemic has hit New Internationalist hard financially. We are giving it all we’ve got to come out the other side of this and keep delivering socially responsible journalism.

In February we started a new project as part of the Nesta Future News Fund. Working with On Our Radar, who major on surfacing unheard stories, we held two community journalism workshops with clean air campaigners in Newcastle. The second had to be held remotely and tips on doing interviews with people on the street became tips for doing community journalism in a time of social distancing. The participants have been collecting stories on experiences of air pollution in their community, some of which can be read in ‘I don’t want to live like this’.

Nearly every article in this magazine was written before Covid-19 became a global pandemic. As one global health emergency unfolded, I had become obsessed with another one – air pollution. The more I read, the more the threat loomed large. How much impact has living near main roads had on my health? How much did it have to do with my father’s stroke or his siblings’ dementia?

Elsewhere in the magazine, Jelena Prtorić writes about the troubling permissiveness towards the hard right in Croatia, Maaza Mengiste talks to Subi Shah about the women who fought Mussolini in Ethiopia and Neil Vallelly analyses why the state keeps passing the buck to the individual.

Amy Hall for the New Internationalist co-operative.
www.newint.org

The big story

A young boy wears a gas mask to protect himself from the fumes during a fire in Kibera, the largest slum in Nairobi, Kenya.

A young boy wears a gas mask to protect himself from the fumes during a fire in Kibera, the largest slum in Nairobi, Kenya.

Photo: Donwilson Odhiambo/Sopa Images/Lightrocket via Getty Images

To protect life

Covid-19 has shown us that swift action on global health is possible, even if it still falls short. What could we achieve, asks Amy Hall, if we took an urgent approach to air pollution, another widespread killer?

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The Big Story

Action on Air Pollution

Links for campaigning and more reading on air pollution/air quality.

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Toxic Air - The Facts

Toxic Air - The Facts

How many die?, Air inequality, Noxious journeys, and Cleanest vs dirtiest.

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In a jam: sitting in traffic in Metro Manila, the Philippines.Photo: Joline Torres/Unsplash

How to stop progress

Dana Drugmand explains how the powerful car industry has continually blocked change to keep us hooked.

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Opposite page: Child’s play – a boy jumps across boats wedged on a mixture of crude oil, water and sand, near Bodo in the Niger Delta. Oil production is a major pollutant in the area.Photo: Petterik Wiggers/Panos

Fed up with the fumes

Dirty air in Nigeria takes a huge toll on lives and livelihoods. But civil society is not short of ideas for change, as Michael Simire finds out.

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Top of the class

Top of the class

Dirty air is not an impossible problem. Beth Gardiner assesses some places cleaning up their act.

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‘I don’t want to live like this’

‘I don’t want to live like this’

Community journalists from the northeast of England on the impact of air pollution on their lives.

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Room with a view: Residents of Mahul’s resettlement colony are forced to live in a polluted industrial area.Photo: Ishan Tankha

Unfit for habitation

India’s air pollution crisis affects millions, and not just in Delhi. Aruna Chandrasekhar meets people forced to live, and resist, at Mumbai’s toxic perimeter.

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Photo: Stijn Te Strake/Unsplash

The hidden polluters

Agricultural air pollution seems to be a tough nut to crack. Amy Hall explores the air-pollution problem down on the farm.

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A father and his young daughter visit the Stone Flower monument at Jasenovac. Designed by the famous Serb architect Bogdan Bogdanović, it is a memorial to the victims of Ustasha atrocities during the Second World War.Photo: Ferdinando Piezzi/Alamy

Why won’t Croatia face its past?

The country’s political class is letting fascists off the hook and allowing history to be distorted. Jelena Prtorić asks: Whose purposes does this serve?

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Illustration: Marco Melgrati

The self-help myth

The state is in retreat. So guess who’s in charge? Why you, of course. At least that’s what the dominant political rhetoric from Right and Left would have us believe, argues Neil Vallelly.

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A view of Hebron from the Tel Rumeida quarte.Photo: Fabio Conti

For a different Hebron

In Palestine, Futura D’Aprile meets the peaceful change-makers who want to create hope for their divided city’s future.

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Photo: Ryoji-Iwata/Unsplash

Hitting the population brakes

Popular wisdom has it that everything is speeding up, including population growth. Danny Dorling shows just how wrong that is – and argues that we are actually in a time of slowdown.

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Opinion

View from Brazil

View from Brazil

Leonardo Sakamoto on why black women are so active in fighting growing misogyny.

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View from India

View from India

Nilanjana Bhowmick on the dangers of ignoring concerted anti-Muslim violence.

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View from Africa

View from Africa

Nanjala Nyabola questions why the West always has to put itself at the centre of the story.

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Currents

Refugees stranded: a little girl stands by the barbed-wire fence in a temporary tent camp near the overcrowded Moria camp on the Greek island of Lesvos.Photo: Angelos Tzortzinis/PA

Greece: breaking point

Zoe Holman reports that Greece is at breaking point as refugees cast out by Europe.

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Illustration: Emma Peer

Introducing... Mary Lou McDonald

Richard Swift introduces Mary Lou McDonald, who led her party to an astounding result in the Irish Republic’s general election.

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Human rights defendants acquitted

Human rights defendants acquitted

Vanessa Baird reports on a landmark ruling in Peru.

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Outbreak of support: Julie Siddiqi and Nick Garcia from the Slough branch of the UK's Covid-19 mutual aid network are volunteering their time to do food deliveries, prescription pick-ups and dog walking for vulnerable residents.Photo: Baylis Media LTD

Covid-19: Helping others

Husna Rizvi reports that many people refuse to treat the vulnerable as expendable.

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Exit denied: Palestinian workers disinfect a mosque as a preventive measure amid fears of the spread of coronavirus, in Gaza, which is under blockade by Israel.Photo: Majdi Fathi/Nurphoto/PA

Covid-19: Those most at risk

Husna Rizvi writes that informal settlements and refugee camps are perhaps the most dangerous places of all.

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Long live Shaheen Bagh

Long live Shaheen Bagh

Report from India by Husna Rizvi.

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Illustration: Emma Peer

Reasons to be cheerful

Land justice; Ebola-free; Transition triumphs

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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

Letter from Johannesburg

Befriending a namesake leads Yewande Omotoso down paths she hadn’t followed before.

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Borderlines

Borderlines

Tables turned, by Nils Adler

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Seriously?

Seriously?

Minister for women and equalities?

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Sign of the times

Sign of the times

Climate Crisis reporting vs Corona Virus reporting

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Inequality Watch

Inequality Watch

Hospital beds per 1,000 inhabitants

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(clockwise from top left): A billboard in the town of Mikolaiv has a clear message for Russia’s President Putin – ‘Out of Ukraine!’; Lidia Radenko Timifeevna stands in front of the ruins of her house in the village of Nikishyne – one of the first areas of the oblast of Donetsk to be bombed when fighting broke out between pro-Russian and Ukrainian forces in 2015; a traditional singer welcoming Spring at the Slavic pagan holiday of Malenitsa; the Osokorsky metro station in the capital, Kyiv.Photos: Iva Zimova/Panos

Country profile: Ukraine

The photos, facts and politics of Ukraine

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Cartoon History: Simón Bolívar

ILYA recounts the illustrious deeds of South America’s independence hero, ‘the Liberator’ Simón Bolívar

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The debate: Celebrity activism

The debate: Celebrity activism

Does celebrity activism do more harm than good? Andrés Jiménez and Paul Cullen politely disagree on this tricky issue.

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Photo: Bilal Hassan

Southern Exposure: Bilal Hassan

Karachi-based photojournalist Bilal Hassan encounters a kick-ass personality.

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Photo: Sonali Pal Chaudhury/Nur Photo/PA

Hall of Infamy: Amit Shah

Is Amit Shah, the scandal-ridden Indian home minister, too cunning for his own good?

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Lazinho and Lucas di Fiori.Photo: Alessio Perrone

The Interview: Lazinho and Lucas di Fiori

Lazinho and Lucas di Fiori of Brazil’s famous Banda Olodum talk to Alessio Perrone about 40 years of drumming up change.

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Illustration: Marc Roberts

Only Planet

Protecting the vulnerable, by Marc Roberts.

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The fight continues: indigenous groups and their allies blockade government buildings in Victoria, Canada to protest a natural gas pipeline through Wet’suwet’en territory.Photo: ZUMA Press, Inc./Alamy

Temperature check

Danny Chivers is buoyed up by three decisive victories led by indigenous groups against fossil-fuel interests in Australia, Brazil and Canada.

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Illustration: P J Polyp

Big Bad World

Bull market, by P J Polyp.

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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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Illustration: Andy Carter

What if…

We had binding quotas for women in politics? Vanessa Baird looks at what gender parity can do.

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The Puzzler

Crossword Puzzle, Association Words and Wordsearch

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Film, Book & Music Reviews

Mixed Media: Books

Mixed Media: Books

Barn 8; Footwork: What your shoes are doing to the world; Sinews of War and Trade; The System: Who Owns the Internet, and How It Owns Us

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Photo: Nina Subin

Spotlight: Maaza Mengiste

Maaza Mengiste talks to Subi Shah about the women who fought Mussolini in Ethiopia.

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