NI 451 - Adapt or die - April, 2012

NI 451 - April, 2012

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Adapt or die

A note from the editor

Hazel Healy

Lurching through the streets of Dhaka on a narrow rickshaw seat, I thought I would be catapulted out at any time.

Then I peered through the dust around me. I saw all sorts of precious cargo balanced on passengers’ knees: sleeping infants, panes of glass, towers of egg boxes.

The driver understood his environment well, I realized, and could navigate the many hazards on the roads.

A nail-biting journey by rickshaw struck me as an analogy for how Bangladesh is navigating the impacts of climate change: with grit, ingenuity, limited technology and no safety net.

I chose not to run photos of natural disasters and floods in this issue. Devastation is already well documented on rolling 24 hour news channels, but we hear less about Bangladeshis’ resilience in the face of encroaching seas and erratic rains.

I also met those people for whom the only adaptation option was migration. This brought with it the danger of cross country border-crossings or the misery of destitution in bursting cities.

Adaptation to climate change charts a path between ecology, climate science and competing models of development. The latter is the subject of both our Argument and special feature this month.

Our debaters consider whether aid should be cut to countries with poor human rights records, while Andrew Bowman considers some of the downsides to Bill Gates’ brand of ‘venture philanthropy’.

Worldbeater returns this issue, taking aim at Equatorial Guinea’s Teodoro Obiang: ‘ruthless kleptocrat and good family man’.

Hazel Healy for the New Internationalist co-operative.

The big story

Hazel Healy

Ready or not: can Bangladesh cope with climate change?

New Internationalist co-editor Hazel Healy travelled there to find out how people are adapting to a warming world.

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It is hard to believe the village was built from scratch. It looks as if it has always been here. Tidy kitchen gardens sit next to thatched mud houses raised on to plinths. Banana trees and betel nut palms line the paths; chickens, goats and children muck around in the dust. Cows munch steadily, tied to stakes. Green rice seedlings stand in the fields.

Just three years ago all this was a sodden pile of mud and ruined homes, after Cyclone Aila blew into Bangladesh on 25 May 2009. ‘We heard [ne...


The Facts

Why climate change poses a major threat for Bangladesh.

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Bill Gates

The flip side to Bill Gates' charity billions

Microsoft's former CEO has made massive donations to global health programmes but an investigation by Andrew Bowman reveals some unpleasant side-effects.

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Web exclusives

‘I was the fall guy’: Julian Assange in his own words

The Wikileaks founder on state surveillance, media scrutiny and the Cablegate affair.

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Isa and John

Mapping Utopia

It’s time for John Jordan and Isa Fremeaux to turn their dream into reality.

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Raise your glass to a sustainable pint

Libby Powell investigates the making of Green Beer.

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Action listings

Action listings

Get busy with it! Groups and campaigns fighting against global warming and supporting the poorest nations to adapt.

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Since the death of Steve Jobs, allegations have surfaced accusing Apple of exploiting it's workers.

The unpalatable reality of working for Apple

A fresh wave of reports unveiling exploitation in the iPad empire are forcing Apple to clean up up its act, reports Mark Engler.

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Should donor nations give aid to countries with poor human rights records?

Human rights lawyer Errol Mendes and aid campaigner Jonathan Glennie go head-to-head - read their arguments and join the debate.

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A devastated landscape: Suncor
Canada’s oilsands upgrader facility on
the banks of the Athabasca River.

Putting the 'I' in ecocide

22 April is Earth Day. Should punishment be made to those personally responsible for destroying our planet?

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Dirty work: a digger at
the Marange diamond
fields in Zimbabwe.

Kimberley Process 'whitewashes' blood diamonds

Aoife Allen describes how The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme is not doing enough to clean up the gems trade.

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Act Against ACTA

Act Against ACTA

26 April World Intellectual Property Day

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SUN Ji: “Memory City I #2” (2005) Pigment print on fine art paper. 75.5cm x 50cm - Edition of
10; 120cm x 80cm– Edition of 10.

Southern Exposure

Chinese artist Sun Ji blends past and present Shanghai in his photo collages.

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Adonis, Arab poet, critic and thinker.

A word with Adonis

One of the greatest Arab poets of our time speaks to Giedre Steikunaite about creativity and consciousness.

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The dirt on Teodoro Obiang

Time to take aim at the tyrannical President of Equatorial Guinea in this month's 'Worldbeater'.

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Map of Zambia

Country profile: Zambia

Mary Namakando digs out facts and ratings on one of Southern Africa's most politically stable countries and probes President Sata's grapple with corruption.

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When a winning smile is not enough

Beauty contests are now big business, but have lost their appeal for Lauri Kubuitsile in her latest Letter From Botswana.

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 Essay: Deindustrializing humanity

Essay: Deindustrializing humanity

Neither humanity nor nature are commodities. It’s time the old ideology was dissolved, writes Jeremy Seabrook.

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Josie Long

Being nice and doing good

Having opinions on social justice may seem like common sense so why does it incite people to shout in your face? wonders Josie Long.

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Film, Book & Music Reviews

Home will never look the same again

Horatio Morpurgo discovers filmmaker Patrick Keiller’s unusual way of seeing the world.

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Films, books and music from around the world.

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