• Magazine

    Taking stock of Canadian mining

    Marcia Ramírez hopes to set a precedent in Canadian courts that will benefit peasant farmers and indigenous peoples across the Global South. A community leader in her mid-20s, Ramírez is one of three Ecuadorian plaintiffs suing the Toronto Stock Exchange for over $1.5 billion.

  • Magazine

    The battle for the atmosphere

    December 2009’s Copenhagen climate summit fell far short of expectations. Explanations for the failure to reach a legally binding, fair and ambitious agreement to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions are legion but, in the end, the summit produced little more than the hastily negotiated Copenhagen Accord, a face-saving effort that does not commit nations to any binding emission reduction targets.

  • Magazine

    Letter from the editor

    As this issue goes to press, three thousand rallies are taking place in communities around the world calling for action in Copenhagen on climate change. In February, anti-poverty and indigenous rights activists will take to the streets of Vancouver to protest the Olympics.

  • Magazine

    Water fight in the Thompson Okanagan

    “A lot of people have got their hearts broke, trying to make a living off this land without any water” Wolverine tells me. We are walking down the hill from his house towards a small field planted with flowering squash. His dog, Bingo, trails behind.

  • Magazine

    Food politics and the tyranny of rights

    It’s the end of October in Montreal. About 20 of us have stepped away from what could be the year’s last sunny autumn evening for an opportunity to hear from one of Canada’s most important elder activists and thinkers. Brewster Kneen is in town to talk about his new book, The Tyranny of Rights (Ram’s Horn, 2009).

  • Magazine

    Teamsters and turtles

    Turtles and teamsters, together at last. Ten years after the anti-globalization movement shut down the World Trade Organization negotiations, that slogan, and the vision it embodied of trade unionists and environmentalists joining forces to halt neoliberal globalization in its tracks, continues to inspire activists in both camps.

  • Magazine

    Days of smoke and roses

    Every year from May until August, initial attack crews are deployed from Canadian district fire bases to help contain fires (and occasionally conduct prescribed burns) in Canada’s boreal forest. Like intelligence operatives, fire rangers often work in isolation and obscurity, in a remote and dangerous world hidden from public view. Welcome to the Big Wild.

  • Magazine

    Cutting the global economy down to size

    For over a century, we’ve thought of work as the use of human labour and technology to transform natural resources into tradeable goods. This economic model has brought us unparalleled prosperity – and exhausted the planet’s capacity to support us.

  • Magazine

    Letter from the editor

    This ship may not yet be going down, but it’s certainly heading straight for the rocks. How do we change course? Or failing that, where are the lifeboats that can preserve us and carry us back to shore? In less nautical terms, these are the sorts of questions with which this issue of Briarpatch is concerned.

  • Magazine

    Six big ways to work for a smaller world

    Thank goodness for freegans, who have excelled at showing us how much food we waste every day. Freegans do for wasted food what the 100 Mile Diet has done for eating locally grown food. People who practice freeganism are also showing us how we can pinch pennies and save money in this recession.

  • Magazine

    Why less is more

    As humanity finds itself in the throes of twin crises – the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression and an ecological crisis that could threaten the very viability of our civilization – more and more people are grappling with the realization that the human project has somehow gone dreadfully awry. Many now recognize that endless economic growth on a finite planet is a recipe for disaster, yet until recently there has been very little exploration of the alternatives to this growth-at-all-costs system.

  • Magazine

    Old growth, new approach

    In December 2007, the Council of the Haida Nation and the Government of B.C. ratified a Strategic Land Use Agreement for Haida Gwaii, also known as the Queen Charlotte Islands, off the north coast of B.C., following four years of participatory planning in island communities. The agreement is a bold challenge to traditional economic policy, representing a major shift from an export-driven, resource-based economy to an ecologically grounded approach to a sustainable economy on Haida Gwaii.

  • Magazine

    Salt and earth

    I first visited Whole Village in April 2007; over the course of the next 18 months, I lived on the farm in installations, working the land to earn my keep while photographing the community.

  • Magazine

    Envisioning ecological revolution

    Underlying the goal of ecological revolution is the premise that we are in the midst of a global environmental crisis of such enormity that the planet’s entire web of life is threatened and with it the future of civilization. This is no longer a controversial proposition.

  • Magazine

    The myth of the wealthy environmentalist

    Conventional wisdom tells us that because Finland is wealthy, its citizens have the necessary resources to take action on environmental issues – that prosperity and a healthier environment go hand in hand. Unfortunately, the world doesn’t work this way.

  • Magazine

    Kick-starting the environmental movement

    Some serious socio-economic changes have to be made. We’ve got this unsustainable way of life, particularly in the Western world, particularly in North America. The atomization of the population and the drive towards unwarranted consumerism and indebtedness have created very serious social, economic and cultural problems which have to be overcome.

  • Magazine

    Slower by design

    The world economic crisis has nations around the globe in panic mode, working feverishly to get their economies growing again. But as Peter Victor suggests in his book Managing Without Growth: Slower by Design, Not Disaster, citizens of the richer nations may actually be better off if they stop trying to grow their economies.

  • Magazine

    Shifting down

    The current state of human affairs, characterized by rising levels of joblessness, depleted natural resources and deep-rooted attitudes of indifference and powerlessness to do anything about it, would prove little surprise to E.F. Schumacher, author of Small is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered, a seminal text of ecological environmentalism first published in 1973.

  • Magazine

    The activist cookbook

    How to make five foods you thought you had to buy, how to can tomatoes, how to live without a fridge… and more!

  • Magazine

    The herbivore’s dilemma

    The Vegetarian Myth argues that strict vegetarianism is not the best diet for our health, for animals or for the planet. The stance is controversial in environmental and animal rights circles, but the subject matter is thoroughly explored, exhaustively researched and very persuasive. Keith is adamantly opposed to fast food and factory farming, but believes that strict vegetarianism isn’t the answer either, arguing instead for a sustainable food system based on mixed farming and a diet that includes moderate amounts of animal products.