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Global Challenges
Issue no. 6 | November 2019
Endangered Earth
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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. 5 | April 2019
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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.

Issue no. 4 | October 2018
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Epidemia of Walls in an (Un)free World
Global Challenges
Issue no. 4 | October 2018
Epidemia of Walls in an (Un)free World

We currently face a baffling paradox. While since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 a seemingly inexorable process of globalisation has been foreshadowing a peaceful and frontierless world, the number of walls across the world has been rising at a steady pace. Liberal and open societies buttressed by trade, international law and technological progress were supposed to implacably contribute to the erosion of frontiers and walls between nations. However, in a context of surging populist discourses, securitarian anxieties and identitarian politics as well as concomitant flows of migration alimented by climate change, conflict and poverty, nations have recently started to barricade themselves behind new walls.