Doughnut, anyone?

A full moon ris­es over a snowy Aberdeen. The mer­ci­ful, white blan­ket cov­ers not only streets and gar­dens, but also the lit­ter at the side of the road. Last week I found a lot of plas­tic while run­ning (it turns out this new sport is called plog­ging), but I can’t moti­vate myself to go out …

Agroecology

In the past few weeks we have been work­ing hard at our WWOOF loca­tion on Chiloé. Fred­dy has been har­vest­ing giant gar­lic, Ajo Chilote. These are sold in indi­vid­ual cloves, so the major task now is peel­ing them. Clos­er to the house, I sowed new let­tuce and chard. The work is almost hyp­not­ic; with each …

Charity or honesty

Two arti­cles in the Dutch news­pa­per Trouw caught my eye this week. The first was titled “Bill Gates and the British tack­le malar­ia with mega-fund”, about the fact that gov­ern­ments do not have enough bud­get for inter­na­tion­al devel­op­ment and are increas­ing­ly look­ing for pri­vate mon­ey. I have noticed that too in my own work; more …

Cheap labour

In April 2013 Rana Plaza col­lapsed, a ran­dom fac­to­ry build­ing in Dha­ka turned into a name that is engraved in the his­to­ry of Bangladesh. The day before the dis­as­ter it was clear that some­thing was wrong because cracks appeared in the walls. That is why the shops on the ground floor had already closed their …

Forest of Peace

We recent­ly watched the BBC series Plan­et Oil. An inter­est­ing sto­ry about the his­to­ry of oil, but with a depress­ing end­ing. Our addic­tion to fos­sil fuels has thor­ough­ly dis­rupt­ed the eco­log­i­cal bal­ance of the plan­et. It is frus­trat­ing to see how slow alter­na­tive ener­gy is devel­op­ing, main­ly because noth­ing hap­pens at the pol­i­cy lev­el. In …

Darwin at Tahiti

Because today is the birth­day of Charles Dar­win, I have browsed the essays of Stephen J. Gould to find some­thing to write about. Gould was an evo­lu­tion­ary biol­o­gist, with a great inter­est in the his­to­ry of sci­ence. He is one of my favorite authors. We have one book of him, a yel­lowed Pen­guin edi­tion of …