The voices of women have typically been written out of the history of conflicts and omitted from efforts to rebuild societies in the aftermath of war. In Syria, one organisation is looking to change that.

Words: Aarathi Prasad
Illustration: Rose Wong

Late in 2012, a mortar shell hit the Syrian home of Alia Omran, a young pharmacist and mother. Her children’s school was destroyed in the same random attack. “At that time,” she says, “it became clear that the area I was living in had become extremely unstable and very dangerous for my two children.” Alia saw no choice but…

Rising sea levels, unstable weather patterns, famine, floods and drought have all been mooted as causes of future conflicts. But are society’s structural inequalities the real risk to life as our planet becomes less stable?

Words: Phoebe Braithwaite
Illustration: Oscar Bolton Green

At 8pm every night during the months of March and April, confined to their homes and without other means of protest, Puerto Ricans bang pots and pans in defiance of their country’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic. The practice, cacerolazo, named for the casserole dishes used to make the din, signals the depth of Puerto Ricans’ discontent after…

After the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic eased, people around the world started to enjoy their newfound freedom. In fact, due to the expansion of anti-terrorist legislation, many were emerging into a much more restricted world than they’d known before.

Words: Suddaf Chaudry
Illustration: Sebastian König

Denial and obfuscation permitted the spanish flu pandemic of 1918 to 1919 to rage across the globe. As thousands of soldiers returned from the front lines after the Armistice, leaders were keen to play down the threat of this new respiratory disease for fear of appearing unpatriotic in the wake of a war…

The US war on drugs has raged for over half a century, criminalising, incarcerating and killing hundreds of thousands of people in the process. Has it all just been to keep Latin America in its place?

Words: Jack Guy
Illustration: Kate Prior

Watch Narcos, El Chapo or another one of the crop of shows which claim to tell the story of the global war on drugs, and you could be forgiven for believing in a tale of swashbuckling smugglers enjoying a glamorous life of cash, cars and power. But the story actually began in the meeting rooms of the United…

In times of war and instability, historic governments worked hard to ensure the food security of their people. But the recent pandemic has shown how vulnerable our food systems are to shocks from pandemics, politics and conflicts.

Words: Athlyn Cathcart–Keays
Illustration: Yann Bastard

When The Community Farm (TCF) saw its veg-box orders more than double in the space of a week in late March 2020, the Somerset-based community-supported agriculture (CSA) project was ready to act, and within 36 hours had put systems in place to deal with the demand. As lockdown loomed large, almost overnight the farm saw orders rise…

Historically, foreign aid has been touted by policymakers as an altruistic endeavour, but its links to colonialism and military interventionism suggest it is anything but.

Words: James Bramble
Illustration: Franz Lang

In the 1950s, the US and Afghanistan were embroiled in the Great Game — the strategic battle for territorial dominance in the Middle East that had its roots in the British and Russian empires of the early 19th century. The US, keen to win the hearts and minds of the impoverished Afghan people, built, at vast cost, a hydroelectric dam in the Helmand Valley, which provided vital electricity to…

Military aggression has allowed civilisations to expand territory, secure resources, magnify religious influence and counter attacks. But have the reasons for going to war changed over the millennia, or do we simply couch our excuses for warmongering in different terms?

Words: Francisco Serrano
Illustration: Avalon Nuovo

A tall, athletic warrior holds the hair of several kneeling enemies in his left hand. With his right, he wields a sword high above his head, poised to deliver the final blow to end the lives of his vanquished foes. This image is etched deep into a wall of the Temple of Amon in…

In our post-industrial, software-driven age of dwindling resources, we need to learn lessons and take action faster than ever before, says Tim Brown.

The modern world is full of complexity, but often the simple narratives we hear from politicians, the media and in wider discussion fail to clearly and effectively address the realities and repercussions of how complex global systems interrelate. That’s a problem, because human beings are drawn to simple narratives like moths to a flame — it’s one of our great evolutionary strengths, but also a debilitating weakness.

Early forms of storytelling were necessarily simple to ensure our…

Humanity faces extinction if it doesn’t change its unequal systems of production and consumption. The Green New Deal offers an alternative.

Words: Ann Pettifor
Illustration: Anthony Russo

We are facing extinction. The Earth’s complex life support systems of atmosphere, oceans, land surface and life forms are at the point of breakdown, according to the world’s top scientists. As George Monbiot argues “only one of the many life support systems on which we depend — soils, aquifers, rainfall, ice, the pattern of winds and currents, pollinators, biological abundance and diversity — need fail for everything to slide.” …

There are numerous proposed strategies for addressing inequality and tackling climate breakdown. Using them all in tandem could be the best way to drive lasting change.

Words: Jocelyn Timperley
Illustration: Timothy Hunt

Climate change is unfair. We already know that the poorer and more vulnerable you are, the more you’re likely to be affected by the impacts of climate breakdown. You are also far less likely to be responsible for its cause.

Consider Bangladesh, one of the nations most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. By 2050, some 27 million people are expected to be at risk from rising sea levels. But the average Bangladeshi’s greenhouse gas emissions are just a fifth of the global average, and one-sixteenth of those of a typical US resident.

Weapons of Reason

A publishing project by @HumanAfterAllStudio to understand & articulate the global challenges shaping our world. Find out more

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