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Dovid Ben-Meir

Back in 2012, on a visit to the Israeli-occupied “West Bank,” hunkered down in what Benjamin Netanyahu insists will be a fine capital of any future Palestinian state — the city of Ramallah — I set out to speak with someone who refers to these gorgeous lands as “Judea” and “Samaria.” That is to say, with a Jewish settler.

Neskantaga (copyright Allan Lissner/Neskantaga)

Ring of Fire

It would be difficult to go a day without stainless steel. The Old Faithful of materials is ubiquitous at home, work and play. And that steel would not be stainless without ferrochrome — the end product of chromite mining. In northern Ontario’s Ring of Fire region, exploitation of chromium deposits generates controversy, as it inches closer to reality.

Fungi

Gerard Verkleij and Sybren de Hoog

Picture a landscape buried beneath a sky-high heap of dead plants and animal corpses. This is what Earth’s surface would look like if it weren’t for fungi. Fungi are the biosphere’s recyclers. It’s an activity that fills us with horror when the material being recycled is damp basement drywall or the moist, warm skin between our toes, but one that human society depends upon absolutely.

Afriek

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Mention Rwanda to someone, what comes first to their mind? Bloody genocide, most likely; certainly not swank men’s fashion. Think again. Over the past year, two Dutch entrepreneurs have been marketing boldly colored made-in-Rwanda men’s blazers in clothing shops across the Netherlands, under the trade name Afriek. First they take Amsterdam — then they take Berlin.

Ethiopian Seed Diversity

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Think about resources crucial to human survival. What comes to mind? Fresh, clean water for sure. Food tops the list. Earth’s primary living products – plants that grow from seeds – are the foundation of humanity’s food supply. Wheat, barley, oats, corn, potatoes and a dizzying variety of beans and legumes … Conserving these seeds of survival is one of humanity’s greatest challenges.

Canaries in Coal Mines

Diana Daunheimer

In the rolling foothills of the Canadian Rockies, where cattle peacefully graze and ranchers retire to handsome chalets, a purple haze hovers. Gases burned off in the course of “completing” southern Alberta’s thousand-odd hydraulically fractured oil and gas wells are being blamed not only for air pollution, but for a litany of health complaints. Local resident are calling for air monitoring.