Loading...
Global Challenges
Issue no. 6 | November 2019
Endangered Earth
Start reading
Articles for this issue
Global Challenges
Issue no. 6 | November 2019
Endangered Earth

Soil is an essential component of the Earth's ecosystem. It contributes to and fulfills a wide range of environmental and societal functions such as food production, water filtering, carbon storage and the preservation of biodiversity essential to the survival of the human species. While soils have witnessed significant environmental degradation in recent decades, lands have been the object of increased economic competition and financial speculation. The commercial and financial scramble for land has never been more intense as transnational actors and governments such as the Chinese seek large scale bids for land in the Global South that have been likened to new forms of neocolonialism. The consequences of this double tension include the loss of biodiversity, floods, climate change, famines, forced migration and conflict. 

It is the assumption of the present Dossier that issues such as large scale exploitation of land and natural resources, soil degradation, biodiversity, food security and climate change are closely interdependent and cannot be treated in isolation. Seeking to explore and better understand the interlinkages between the material degradation of soils and the increased extractive, commercial and speculative pressure on lands, the Dossier aims to address some of the broader stakes the Anthropocene is currently facing: How irreversible is the damage that has been caused to earth's soils? Have we reached a point of no return? How many people is the earth able to feed and for how long? Are we trapped in a Malthusian logic? How will climate change depend and interact with changing patterns of soil distribution and depletion? What is the impact of large scale deforestation and natural resource extraction on the environment, particularly the soils? What are the governance patterns and technological solutions emerging to address land depletion and scarcity? What are some of the cybernetic loops and mechanisms of autoregulation through which the earth reacts to human interference? 

Articles for this issue

Endangered Earth
  • I
     
    Grayscale Monochrome Art. Neuroart Background. Grayscale Abstract Art. Magic Spell Concept. Black And White Pattern. Neurographic Lines. Hand Made Imaginary Topographic Map.

    Soil Degradation: At the Core of the Anthropocene’s Intricate Fragility

    Reading time: 4 min
  • 1
     
    Ancient Egypt frescoes.

    The Ground beneath Our Feet: Food, Agriculture and Climate Change

    Reading time: 5 min
  • 2
     

    Food Security and Land Use in the 21st Century: The Return of Malthus?

    Reading time: 6 min
  • 3
     
    Mining dump Missouri used to dump waste material vintage line drawing

    Abandoned Mines: The Scars of the Past

    Reading time: 4 min
  • 4
     
    Land grabbing stole land to farmers.

    Land Grabs, Big Business and Large-Scale Damages

    Reading time: 5 min
  • 5
     
    World map texture in a dried and cracked soil

    The desertification myth?

    Reading time: 4 min
  • 6
     
    Aerial view from space of ecological disaster of fires in the Amazon, South America

    Darkness at Noon: Deforestation in the new Authoritarian Era

    Reading time: 5 min
Other Issues
Issue no. 9 | March 2021
image
The Moving Fault Lines of Inequality
Global Challenges
Issue no. 9 | March 2021
The Moving Fault Lines of Inequality

While poverty has been diminishing in absolute terms and relative income has been growing on a global scale for over two centuries, inequality – as measured by instruments such as the Gini coefficient – has been increasing steadily since the early 1980s. With the financial crisis of 2007, the growing digitalisation of the economy and the current pandemic, global inequality has further worsened, seeing the fortunes of the superrich attaining unprecedented levels and revenue concentrating in the top percentiles of societies.

Concurrently to the aggravation of the social fracture, additional fault lines have been opening or hardening along logics of race, gender, ethnicity and religion. Identarian revendications and logics of difference and exclusion have come to complement, compete with or supersede more traditional struggles for equality in a postmodern and neoliberal context that has normalised inequality, homogenised societies and done away with earlier grand narratives and collective agendas. 

The consequences of inequality(ies) are dramatic, as reflected in the polarisation and fragmentation of societies, worsening health and mortality indicators, political tensions and violence, a decline in democracy, and mistrust in state institutions. The objective of the current issue of Global Challenges is therefore – by reverting to the analytical tools of social science – to reflect on the causes behind the multifaceted growth of inequality(ies), anticipate their noxious fallouts and explore potential remedies.

Issue no. 5 | April 2019
image
New Grammars of War:
Conflict and Violence in the 21st Century
Global Challenges
Issue no. 5 | April 2019
New Grammars of War: Conflict and Violence in the 21st Century

The Dossier aims to explore new trends and expressions of violence in armed conflict in the 21st century. Taking as a starting point the changing paradigm of armed conflict – from conventional wars with clear contours towards more non-linear, fragmented and protracted types of civil and international conflict — it adopts a broad approach to portray changing forms of violence across different types of armed conflicts (including terrorism, international/civil wars or urban warfare). In the context of a fragmenting international order, with increasingly blurred lines between state and non-state, combatant and civilian, domestic and international, the number of actors involved in conflicts and concurrent strategies of violence have multiplied. In face of the ubiquity of violent conflict — despite an overall decline in interstate conflict and global number of casualties — the Dossier aims to shed light on new or changing forms of violence, their contexts, actors and victims. It explores the novelty, heterogeneity, scales and vectors of violent practices in contemporary conflicts by investigating the impact of a series of factors such as new military technologies (drones, robots), new communication tools (social media), gender, migration, or the subcontracting of security to private actors.