About

This site is intended to promote discussion about human society and its interaction with nature. It is written from a socialist standpoint. The focus is on ideas and interpretations: it is not a news or campaigning site. (You can find that stuff elsewhere, including via some of the links.)

One key theme is that ruptures and breakdowns in the relationship between people and nature – e.g. excessive carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels that cause global warming, the upsetting of the nitrogen balance by industrial agriculture’s use of fertilisers, or unsustainable use of water resources – should be seen not as the result of human activity in general, or the result of there being too many humans, but as the result of human activity carried out in particular social relations. It is the capitalist social relations of the early 21st century that are producing the unsustainable economic madness.

Another key theme is that the way that capitalism may be superceded by movements towards socialism – without which the ruptures in the people-nature relationship are unlikely to be overcome – needs to be rethought, not least by socialists themselves.

We (a small group of friends and I) hope to cover subjects that may seem very diverse: energy, industry, agriculture, global warming, natural resources, the ways in which social movements intersect with issues seen as environmental ones. A convincing understanding of the people-nature relationship will no doubt involve issues normally thought of as technological, historical, anthropological or demographic, too.

The site aims to provoke discussion among socialists, but hopefully it is presented in such a way that others will read it too.

I attempted to explain my starting-point in a more theoretical way in an article, People and nature: working out a socialist approach, posted here. Everything else on the site is listed, under subject headings, on the Site contents page.

Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan

The original plan for the site was to stay focused on the discussion of underlying ideas, mentioned above. But I have always been an activist, and practical issues that have come up in the former Soviet countries – to which I’ve been travelling from my home (in the UK) since Soviet times – seemed worth writing about. The massacre of Kazakh oil workers by security forces at Zhanaozen on 16 December, 2011, is the subject of quite a few articles (start here), and on top of that there are some pieces on Russian political prisoners, e.g. here. In 2014, the overthrow of the Yanukovich government in Ukraine and all that followed has been the subject of furious debate, and that jolted me into publishing stuff by Ukrainian and Russian friends, as well as my own comments, on the issues.

Discussion wanted

Please use the comment facility (bear in mind the “my front room” comments policy, below). Send correspondence to gabriel.levy.mail@gmail.com. Guest posts are welcome, too.

You can follow People & Nature on twitter  (@peoplenature) or facebook (although the time between updates will usually be weeks or months, rather than minutes or hours!).

Gabriel Levy

gabriel.levy.mail@gmail.com

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The “my front room” comments policy

Great to have you visiting. Please bear in mind that this site is the work of a very few people on a zero budget, i.e. is a space both public and personal – and treat the comments sections as you would my front room. Not a street corner to insult people on. Not a lecture theatre to pontificate in. Not Wetherspoon’s to grumble incoherently in. My front room. Say what you think; tell us where you don’t agree. Bigots of all types: get lost. Climate science deniers, creationists and people concerned that giant purple frogs are eating Manchester: I don’t have the time. Take it elsewhere. Everyone else: let’s have a good conversation. Note that I approve comments when I get to the computer, but am sometimes away from it for hours, or even days. Comments that don’t conform to the “my front room” policy are deleted.

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