Blog Archives

Indigenous Mining Protest Leader Found Dead

In yet more violence against indigenous leaders who protest resource development in South America, Shuar leader José Isidro Tendetza Antún was found dead, his body bound with rope, in an unmarked grave. Tendetza has been protesting the development of the Mirador copper and gold mine that is estimated to destroy over 450,000 acres of Shuar homelands. Mirador

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Amazon Rainforest and the Climate

It is well known that rain forests play essential roles in climate regulation, serving to channel water inland along aerial rivers. Together, the world’s three great rain forests, the Amazon, the Congo, and the Malesian (Malaysia, Indonesia, and New Guinea), are critically important drivers in climate processes. Now, a new report based off of analyses

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Animals as Ecosystem Engineers

First it was George Monbiot’s short film on How Wolves Change Rivers. Now there’s another short film on the role elephants, as seed dispersers, shape forests in the Congo and influence regional weather patterns. “Without elephants, forest diversity goes down.”

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The Digital Age of Loneliness

Thomas Hobbes once characterized the lives of “primitives” as “nasty, brutish, and short.” In George Monbiot’s article in the Guardian, he writes instead that our lives have become “nasty, brutish, and long” due to the social isolation which afflicts the modern world. Social isolation is more deadly than obesity and smoking 15 cigarettes per day.

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Navajo Language and Politics

There’s a new election in Dinétah (the Navajo reservation) in which a young Navajo man has been barred from running for office due to his non-fluency in Navajo. This Guardian article highlights the new politics of language and identity in a world where indigenous languages are rapidly disappearing.

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Chris Gregory on Capital in the 21st Century

The economic anthropologist, Chris Gregory, provides a great review of Thomas Piketty’s best-seller, Capital in the 21st Century. As he argues, this is not a revitalization of Marx. The title is just to get people to buy the book. At heart, Piketty owes his economic foundations to Ricardo and taxation. In this review, Gregory reflects on

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39,000 year old Cave Art in Indonesia

A study in Nature reports Pleistocene cave art dating from 39,900 years ago at a minimum. The art included hand stencils and graphic depictions of a “pig-deer.” Exciting stuff as this report indicates that Pleistocene art is likely much more widespread than previously thought.

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Expansion of Cerebellum in Ape and Human Evolution

Researchers in the journal Current Biology argue that cerebellum expansion has been ignored at the expense of research on the neocortex. The cerebellum is important for the temporal organization of complex behaviors like tool making and language.

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Biocultural Landscapes

The Christensen Fund has a multimedia website that allows users to click through and learn about biocultural landscapes. See it here: Biocultural Landscapes

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Understanding the Nature of Resource Conflicts

Dr. Kylie McKenna provides a short synopsis of the nature of resource conflicts. In her brief, ‘Greed and Grievance’ or ‘Scales of Justice’?, McKenna argues for a three part analysis of resource conflict that examines not just the economic motivations behind conflicts, but also addresses cultural and political questions.

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