Across the Dessert

This book is both an adventure and a denounciation of a crime against humanity.

Hardly ever has a book touched me like this one. A way only reality can touch you. Together with Fabrizio Gatti I have crossed the Sahara on board of a truck full of (future) illegal immigrants. It’s a business Continue reading

Free Tibet!

Tibet is not free. It’s not even autonomous even if that’s part of it’s official name. Who is going to do something about it?

My blog is already censored in China (meaning inaccessible) for which reason I don’t think this title will be much of a problem. How can it be anyway? It could be if I was Chinese and living in China. There, the topic Tibet is still as hot as anything and you better don’t mention it. Luckily, I’m not Chinese because I happen to be thinking about that little mountain region with the famous monks. Continue reading

What People Will be Killed for in This Century

What are the greatest dangers of our time? A new book by Harald Welzer tries to find out.

Apparently, the climate will play a big role in defining who lives and who dies in the future. In a summary in the Global Journal they describe Welzer as “a sociologist, measures climate change by the amount and extent of violence, as societies search for strategies to adapt to new realities.” The book, published in 2008 in German and now available in English looks deeper into these outbreaks of violence. Continue reading

If We Weren’t Doomed To Be Prisoners

“Therein is the tragedy. Each man is locked into a system that compels him to increase his herd without limits – in a world that is limited.”

These words, written by Garrett Hardin in 1968, seem to desccribe nicely the situation we are in as far as the use of natural resources is concerned. We all use too much because Continue reading

Equality is Better for Everyone

Let’s imagine for a moment that there is a simple solution to most of the problems our societies have these days. Let’s call this solution equality.

It’s not my idea really, even if it does seem quite logical to me. It is however the main idea of a booked called The Spirit Level. Who is behind the book? It’s the same man who said that if Americans want to live the American dream, they better move to Denmark.

The New York Times has been asking this week: “Is the US still a Land of Opportunities”?

Continue reading

Growing Growing Growing

We grow, the buildings around us grow and so do the piles of books and other things we own. The thing is, growth has its limits.

Inspired by a series of articles in which TAZ discusses the limits to growth, I will be looking at what happend to the idea in 40 years. Continue reading

Natural Capitalism – A Paradox

Thanks to a Kosmos 9 reader I got to know Paul Hawken. And thanks to Paul Hawken I started to think about Natural Capitalism.

Behind the idea of Natural Capitalism, which Hawken describes in the book with the same name, lies the idea that capitalism must be taken to a new level: an ecological one. Hawken describes how the economic system we are still having today was created in a cornucopian view present during the first industrial revolution. But let’s wake up to reality: resources are not never-ending. Continue reading

Food Definitely Rules

Michael Pollan has one outstanding rule about food: whatever your grandma would not have recognized as such, is not food.

Which means that for example mashed potatoes is food, whereas weird shapes of fried potato derivates are not. “Michael Pollan’s Food Rules began with his hunch that the wisdom of our grandparents might have more helpful things to say about how to eat well than the recommendations of science or industry or government.” Continue reading

The Truth About Orange Juice

We drink orange juice because it is a natural alternative to all those sugar drinks, right? Let us have a closer look at the orange delight.

“The leading orange juice companies tell us many stories about orange juice: it’s natural, it’s pure and simple, it’s squeezed from oranges grown on pristine looking trees. But they leave out the details about how most commercial orange juice is produced and processed.” Author Alissa Hamilton explains further: the notion of ‘not from concentrate’ is mainly a commercial trick used by the big juice companies. Continue reading

Tango for Three

Did you know children’s books can be banned? Even if the book is about something as harmless as penguins.

The book And Tango Makes Three is inspired by the real story of Roy and Silo, two penguins living at New York’s Central Park Zoo. Having been a couple for a while, they wanted to have a family and ended up with a daughter, Tango. Continue reading