Human habitat

Articles

Beautiful Resistance

For those who’ve never visited a Palestinian refugee camp, these are not dense tent or tin shacks encampments. They’re more like barrios; densely packed, tightly knit, fully functioning communities. On a very recent trip, the GPM visited one of Palestine’s largest refugee camps – Aida – in the southern West Bank town of Bethlehem.


Genocide by Home Demolition

In the seven months since Hamas’ daring incursion into southern Israel, the Israeli military has demolished over 300,000 Gazan homes — almost three-quarters of Gaza’s housing stock — killing an estimated 35,000, most of them women and children. Countless thousands of Gazans remain buried under the rubble of their humble homes. Armed with US bombs and missiles, Israel demolishes Palestinian homes in an instant. Palestinian suffering and trauma will endure for generations. What’s its aim? Ethnic cleansing, genocide, and the consolidation of the settler-colonial regime it established in 1948, says Israeli author and activist Jeff Halper. Halper is a founding member of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions. He’s also the author of a host of books, including An Israeli in Palestine (2010), War Against the People (2015), and Decolonizing Israel, Liberating Palestine: Zionism, Settler Colonialism and the Case for One Democratic State (2021).


Land & People

Clinging to the walls of a fertile valley beneath the city of Bethlehem, a half dozen kilometers south of Jerusalem, alienated from the holiest of Palestinian towns by walls, barbed wire and a string of mega-colonial settlements, boxed in by settler-only roads and militarized checkpoints, Mazin and Jessie Qumsiyeh and their friends are planting native Palestinian seeds, growing fruits and vegetables, raising chickens, rabbits and fish, and offering up habitat for birds, insects and other wildlife. Rescuing their beloved landscape cruelly scarred by land thieves without true roots.


Day of Two Suns

The Day of Two Suns: 70 years ago, the Pentagon conducted its biggest-ever atmospheric H-bomb test at Bikini Atoll, in the Marshall Islands, in the central Pacific. The 15-megaton Bravo shot spewed radioactive fallout on thousands of Marshallese, and long-lived radioisotopes all around the planet. Nearby Rongelap Atoll suffered the worst. Seventy years later, the people of Rongelap and Bikini have yet to go home.



The Fire Beneath

Living on the edge of inferno. Perfectly normal for the people of Iceland, where volcanoes and ground cracks spew red hot magma. The GPM speaks with an Icelandic Earth scientist. Magma and the rock it turns into can be put to work, pumping carbonated water into it, turning atmospheric CO2 into limestone, for good. We speak about this with a Columbia University geologist.


Geology Futures

The geology of cities — built out of stuff mined from the ground. That’s where all cities will end up, broken down and fossilized. The GPM speaks with a geologist who gazes into the future. Some human-made molecules won’t break down either. Forever chemicals, they’re called, and they’re everywhere. In non-stick cookware, cosmetics and clothing. They last forever, and they’re toxic. On a happier note — the human microbiome. All those bacteria living on us and in us, delivering crucial services. Nothing more amazing than the bacteria in the gut of a pregnant woman, steering healthy fetal development.


United States of War

The United States of War: The United States of America has been waging wars for all but about a dozen years in its 250-year history, some of them genocidal. The GPM speaks with David Vine, author of a book called The United States of War: A Global History of America’s Endless Conflicts, from Columbus to the Islamic State. American military bases make its wars – and its nuclear weapons arsenal — possible. The Marshall Islands, in the middle of the Pacific, were the scene of 67 US nuclear weapon tests between 1946 and 1958, and continue to act as a bullseye for US intercontinental ballistic missiles.


Algorithmic Warfare

Artificial Intelligence — to translate voices or access your bank account; to select targets to bomb and a few people to kill, along with thousands of others you weren’t targeting. The GPM speaks with the Realities of Algorithmic Warfare Project. Wherever you are in occupied Palestine, Israeli soldiers target everyone and everything, children’s theaters included. Last July, the GPM spoke with Mustafa Sheta, founding director and General Manager of the Jenin Freedom Theater. Today, he sits in an Israeli jail, one of 8000 Palestinian political prisoners.


Waging War On Refugees

Hamas didn’t parachute into Gaza from another planet. The Islamic Resistance Movement, its leaders and militants are an organic part of a packed population of refugees, with no other place to fight. The GPM speaks about this with Israeli-British historian Ilan Pappe, author of The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine. Israel’s response to Hamas’s October 7 attack? Collective punishment. The GPM speaks with international law expert Toby Cadman.


Gaza’s Children – A Single Cloth

The Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas), its leaders and armed militants are alien to Gaza and its people. They’ve parachuted in from some other place and are hiding out in the Gaza population — criminally and cynically — using ordinary, innocent Gazans as human shields. Such is the wisdom of the highest authorities. Ilan Pappe sees things differently. “They’re an organic part of the population,” the Israeli-British historian told the GPM. In his groundbreaking 2006 work, The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, Pappe described the origin of Gaza’s people, driven from their lands in the 1948 Nakba. Listen to our conversation.


Punishing the Amalekites

The dreadful events of October 7 didn’t happen in a vacuum. As Israel retaliates, reducing little Gaza to rubble, in the occupied West Bank, Israeli soldiers and settlers work hand in hand, driving Palestinians from their land. Gazing on Israeli super-violence, genocide comes to mind.


Mayhem in Palestine-Israel

The GPM speaks with Michael Lynk about the unfolding situation in Gaza and Israel. Lynk is Associate Professor of law at Western University, in London, Ontario, specializing in labour, human rights, disability, constitutional and administrative law. Between 2016 and 2022, Lynk served as ‘UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967’.


Lake Chad Drying Up

Six out of nine planetary systems key to the survival of the human species are under threat. Is Earth still a safe operating space for human beings? And, a mega-engineering project to save an endangered African lake — on the drawing board, and very worrisome.


Planetary Boundaries Breached

Six out of nine planetary systems key to the survival of the human species have been compromised, breaching the estimated boundaries of Earth system stability and resilience and pushing it “well outside of the safe operating space for humanity.” The GPM spoke with Katherine Richardson, lead author of “Earth beyond six of nine planetary boundaries.”



Bosses Old & New

In West Africa, French colonialism officially ended in the 1960s. Six decades later, neocolonialism lives on. These days, America is the world’s preeminent imperial power and NATO its most powerful tool. In Cambodia, French colonists are long gone. Military chiefs and their rich clients rule the roost, much to the detriment of biodiverse ecosystems.


Poisonous Legacies

Uranium mining in Niger: a filthy, toxic business. Fifty years after the end of America’s war on Vietnam, traces of US chemical weapons linger. And, the Anthropocene. A geologist talks about humanity’s transformation of Planet Earth.