This week's guest editors

A nuclear-free world: in reply to Achilles Skordas

Achilles Skordas recently argued in openDemocracy that legalising nuclear weapons could help ensure they are never used. Now, a former Naval Commander makes the opposite case: not only must the use of nuclear weapons remain illegal, but the dangerous current crisis offers an opportunity to push for their complete abolition.

Don't panic: taking the terror out of terrorism

What is the best means of defence against attack by nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons? A former member of the US military offers a practical, purposeful guide for his fellow-citizens. The ingredients of survival: calmness, common sense - and canned food.

Decoding broken promises

Five years ago, the company deCODE made the first bid to set up a comprehensive, medical records database, in Iceland. A leading activist explores the ways in which the equation of medical data with economic promise can lead to the erosion of truth, raising the key issue of presumed versus informed consent and other challenges for any democratic society.

Liberate Iraq on the world's terms

The slogan ‘No to war: No to Saddam!’ leaves the world polarised and incapable of concerted action. What would it take to reconfigure this crippling divide so that a clear choice helps the world move forward? Could the European Union’s foreign policy coordinator, Javier Solana, lead the way?

The Long History of Weapons of Mass Destruction

Recorded use of weapons of mass destruction goes back to the Middle Ages. Whenever the rules of war fell into disregard, the target moved from the enemy’s soldiers to his people. The weapon of choice against a civilian enemy became biological, then chemical and nuclear, as soon as scientific advancement and technological development made them available. This timeline aims to give a broad overview, in time as well as space, of the development of WMDs as a lengthy prelude to recent events in Iraq.

A right to use nuclear weapons?

The use of nuclear weapons, the ultimate nightmare of contemporary warfare, has never been properly judged as lawful or not in international law. This ‘gap’ is the starting point for a subtle, provocative and challenging argument: could a right to use nuclear weapons in law be the best defence against their use in practice?

Hard proof or soft evidence: the case of biological weapons

Of all weapons of mass destruction biological weapons are the hardest to detect. Only a miniscule amount of agent is required to have the same deadly large-scale effect as chemical or nuclear weapons. None the less, at this point in time UNMOVIC is looking for them in Iraq. The political and scientific framework of their mission is outlined here.

Energy wars and the future of planet earth - part three

Climate change: the history of the 21st century starts with scientific understanding of what is really happening. In its light, what choices can and should we make?

Weapons of mass destruction: a practical guide

A world-renowned Brazilian author offers an original perspective on the Iraqi weapons crisis. Its solution may not lie in Baghdad, or even under the US president’s bed. Rather, take a Security Council mandate to George Bush’s psychoanalyst.

Energy wars and the future of planet earth - Part two

The history of the next five years

International law or US hegemony: from chemical weapons to Iraq

A former official at the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons describes how an effective international system to reduce the threat from weapons of mass destruction was sabotaged by the US government.

Energy wars and the future of planet earth - Part one

Behind the clash of arms and ideas over Iraq, the power politics of the 21st century will also be shaped by climate change, technological advance, and challenges to corporate interest. Oil, gas, and the form of industrial society will be key areas of contest.

Genes and ownership: a scientific approach

Genetic testing and stem cell research are two areas of recent development which are receiving considerable public and political interest, and which have very important social, economic and political repercussions. But the scientific concepts at issue are poorly understood, which may well fatally distort the debate.

Genetic privacy unveiled

How will data revealing the health risks embedded in our genetic make-up affect our health insurance and employment chances? Will we ask policy-makers to regulate the emerging market for genetic testing? Or, can market mechanisms be trusted to protect ‘genetic privacy’?

Hard facts and soft law: what's the evidence?

Before taking action in Iraq, the United States is writing a new chapter in the law of nations, by recognising the need for evidence. But the factual cornerstone for Bush’s policy remains contested.

Fun with models

Equity may be more difficult to define and measure than GCI models suggest.

The only game in town : a response to Benito Muller

Aubrey Meyer of the Global Commons Institute defends his pioneering ‘contraction and convergence’ approach to climate change as the only path to survival.

The moral dimensions of global climate change

Antigua and Barbuda is one of the small island states around the world whose very existence may be threatened by the long-term effects of global climate change. Its ambassador to the United States, Lionel Hurst, gave this speech on 28 June 2002 at the International Red Cross Conference on Climate Change and Natural Disasters in The Hague, Netherlands.

Where justice and realism meet: a climate change solution?

What should be done, and what can be done, about global warming? The key to a sustainable future for the planet may lie in tying together these two questions, says the Swiss-born philosopher and mathematician Benito Müller. In an interview with Caspar Henderson, the Globalisation editor of openDemocracy, he proposes that the application of ‘distributive justice’ may just help to change life on Earth for the better.

Why Fly?

1. Two Fathers, One Question

The only time I have seen my father agreeing with a priest was when he and Father Elijah shook heads as I, seventeen and proud of my first purchase of any mode of rebellious transportation, unpacked a paraglider on the lawn.

The joy of single-engine flying

Antony Woodward’s aerial adventures are a source of discomfort, tiredness, and risk – but the freedom, spiritual release and learning they offer are incomparable.

Skating and the city

From the skateboard, you feel differently about the city – and come closer to who you really are.

The peach wins! Why I like my bike

Fast, healthy, exciting, convenient, stylish… and the bike is pretty good as well. openDemocracy’s globalisation editor on the only way to go.

Motorway culture and its discontents

The sheer ugliness and anonymity of motorways seem only to reinforce their destructive environmental impact. Yet even motorways have their poets and celebrants. But what are they doing to our soul?

The war against the car

The love affair between the city and cars is an illusion of the age. In fact, they are at war: an elephant and an army of ants. Cars rescue people from cities, offering a way of escape from urban concentration – to the freedom of low-density living.
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