March 2015

Renewable energy

Renewables have the potential to be much more democratic and decentralized than fossil fuels, but in our urgency to tackle climate change, we may throw our support behind any and every renewable energy project without being discerning enough about the possible negative consequences. Yet, says Danny Chivers, if we avoid these traps and do renewables properly, they really could break the power of the current energy monopolies and change everything for the better - which is why the battle for their control is so fierce, and so important.







Stories making the news this month
6 Sundarbans spill in Bangladesh
6 Fishy goings-on in Europe
7 Western Sahara: rubbing salt in the wound
7 Introducing Beji Caid Essebsi
7 Green Muslims grow
8 Indian barefoot lawyers bring rape justice
8 NGOs under fire in Kenya
9 Ethiopian men tackle gender inequality
9 Femwash most foul
PLUS: Scratchy Lines by cartoonist Simon Kneebone and Reasons to be Cheerful.

The Big Story
The great green energy grab
10 Whose renewable future?
Author and activist Danny Chivers on why we shouldn’t let big business muscle in on renewables, and how to build a democratic clean energy future.

12 The FACTS – renewable energy

16 From best to worst
Inspiring examples of democratic, renewable energy – and also how not to do it.

19 ACTION – what you can do and where to start

20 Desertec: clean energy colonialism
Desert solar plants planned for North Africa are just another exploitative resource grab, argues Hamza Hamouchene.

22 Why the war on wind?
Surveys tell us that the public love wind power, so why do certain countries see such fierce campaigns against it? Helle Abelvik-Lawson investigates.

24 Power to the people?
Community micro-grids, government-controlled energy, or both? Aldo Orellana Lopez, Dr Lawrence Jones and Pujarini Sen thrash out the options for getting clean energy to the people who need it.
28 Too great a toll
Migration offers an escape from poverty – but the reality for many Indonesians is very different. Michael Malay reports from West Java.

32 Race science rears its ugly head
Racism disguised as academic research must be robustly challenged, argues Gavin Evans.

Mixed Media
34 Music reviews
War Is a Wound, Peace Is a Scar, by Hanoi Masters; Convoque seu Buda by Criolo.

35 Film reviews
Dreamcatcher, directed by Kim Longinotto; Love is All, directed by Kim Longinotto; Still Alice, directed by Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland.

36 Book reviews
Signs Preceding the End of the World by Yuri Herrera; The Radical Imagination by Max Haiven and Alex Khasnabish; Sex in China by Elaine Jeffreys with Haiqing Yu; Dear Leader by Jang Jin-sung.
PLUS: Also out there…

30 Kate Smurthwaite
Abortion wars on brand new shores.
PLUS: Polyp’s Big Bad World cartoon.

31 Mark Engler
The Trans-Pacific Partnership: let’s not work together.

4 Letters
Deaf people denied; oil spells trouble; and our devastating lust for gold.

5 Letter from Bangui
The charming city is coming back to life, but only for some, says Ruby Diamonde.

26 Country Profile: Romania

38 And Finally
Algerian author Mohammed Moulessehoul tells Graeme Green why he writes under his wife’s name of Yasmina Khadra, and why he ran for president.




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