August 2014

Chief's wives in Bargaja, Niger. The average woman in Niger gives birth to seven children. The country's population is among the fastest growing in the world.

Chief’s wives in Bargaja, Niger. The average woman in Niger gives birth to seven children. The country’s population is among the fastest growing in the world.

Alan Weisman‘s Countdown, which we’ve been urging our followers to read since it was first published in hardcover last September, has been named an Editors’ Choice in the New York Times Book Review’s “Paperback Row” column. The editors call it a “rousing sequel” to Alan’s previous book, The World Without Us.


Every day, you have a close personal encounter with methane, a key ingredient of something we don’t usually mention in polite company: farts…. Unfortunately, neither propriety nor intestinal discipline can suppress its unpleasantness lately, because now not just us, but the Earth itself is farting.

Newly discovered methane-spewing craters in Siberia are one more sign of a planet in trouble, writes Homelands’ Alan Weisman in an opinion piece on

Alongside the toll of death and broken lives, perhaps the saddest reality of the latest Gaza war, like the Gaza wars before it, is how easy it would have been to avoid. For the last eight years, Israel and the U.S. had repeated opportunities to opt for a diplomatic solution in Gaza. Each time, they have chosen war, with devastating consequences for the families of Gaza.

Why have the U.S. and Israel pursued policies in Palestine that have failed again and again? In an op-ed piece in TomDispatch, Homelands’ Sandy Tolan looks at the history, psychology, and cold political calculation behind yet another tragic confrontation.

[Sandy’s piece was republished in; you can check out that version and read the comments here.]

Kuna Yala from the air

The Kuna Yala region is home to Panama’s healthiest forests. Photo by Bear Guerra.

Ruxandra Guidi and Bear Guerra recently returned from a two-week visit to the indigenous communities of Kuna Yala, on Panama’s Caribbean coast. They were exploring the Kuna people’s relationship to their mainland forest, which is among the best preserved in the region.

Their trip was supported by a Mongabay Special Reporting Initiative fellowship on the role of community forest management in efforts to limit climate change.

recent report by the World Resources Institute looked at deforestation and greenhouse gas emissions in the world’s most heavily forested countries. The researchers found that land held by local and indigenous communities tends to be significantly less affected by deforestation–and to produce far fewer emissions–than land managed by governments or private entities.

Rux and Bear will publish their print, radio, and multimedia stories this fall.

Photo from Peru by Bear Guerra.

Homelands’ inaugural Facebook profile picture by our own Bear Guerra.

Move over, Rupert Murdoch. First a website, then a blog, then a Twitter account… now Homelands is making its move on Facebook, a Silicon Valley start-up that describes itself as a “social utility that connects people with friends and others who work, study and live around them.”

We understand it also provides companies, governments, criminal syndicates, and other institutions a convenient way to to keep track of everything we think and do. If you do Facebook, please visit us, talk to us, and like us!