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This week’s editors


Francesc Badia i Dalmases is Editor and Director of democraciaAbierta.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

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.

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.

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.

Why Fly?

The author wonders the skies in pursuit of the goal of maximising journeys per mile, not miles per hour

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?

Reclaiming cities for citizens

In a vigorous response to Martin Pawley, the Amsterdam-based editor of the ‘Carfree Cities’ project argues that people can thrive in a dense urban fabric – but only if the tyranny of the motor car is lifted.

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.

Radical Walking

In a country obsessed with property and passion, the mere act of walking has often been seen as a political challenge. Yet English history is full of characters who have pushed against the boundaries to reclaim the empire underneath their feet.

A letter from the future

Restless movement was to be an instrument of freedom and social advance. In an email to, a critic of “hypermobility” argues the opposite: travelling more and further, we know and understand less.

Advertisements for my feet

Before the Great War, the author’s grandfather mapped the route from the Welsh mountains to industrial Salford. More than thirty years later, his own escape from the mean streets of post-war Manchester to the Pennine hills begins the process of walking into that past experience and its still relevant truths.

On street safari

A mother who takes her small children around their north London streets to walk, shop, play, smell, imagine and interact describes their endlessly various explorations. In an environment dominated by cars and speed, does this represent a different way not just of moving, but of being?

How you travel is who you are

‘Transport’, before it is policy or statistics, is the experience of movement; and the ways we move imply different patterns of living and being. The Ecology & Place co-editor opens our transport debate by reaffirming this truth, and looking freshly at the most elemental form of movement: walking.

Whose cells are they, anyway?

Scientific research using stem cells may prevent disease and save lives. But concerns over intellectual property rights and the use of human embryos may block its advance. Can science survive if it becomes privately owned?

Three pinches of salt

Bjorn Lomborg’s “The Sceptical Environmentalist” is guilty of the very faults he ascribes to the green movement: from exaggeration to selective quotation and uncertain logic. In taking pot shots at a caricature, he discredits his own case. Environmentalists have nothing to fear from serious criticism. This is not it.

Chemical warfare in the bathroom

The morning shave and hair wash was once so simple. But life for a man is getting harder… especially when you examine the shampoo bottle.

The business of genes

Mike Ashburner's article 'Privatising our genes' recounts how the race for the human genome raises questions about the forces of scientific advancement and their relationship with both governments and private companies: most urgently, whether patents can be extended into the human genome. Here are some openDemocracy readers' reactions to the story.

Privatising our genes?

Money and power, as well as the passion for knowledge, drove the race to map the human genome. One of the world’s leading geneticists sees lessons for the public realm beyond the laboratory.
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