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Foreign Policy May/June 2017

FOREIGN POLICY is the premier, award-winning magazine of global politics, economics, and ideas. Our mission is to explain how the world works -- in particular, how the process of global integration is reshaping nations, institutions, cultures, and, more fundamentally, our daily lives.

United States
Foreign Policy
6 Issues

in this issue

1 min

Katharine Hayhoe is an atmospheric scientist and director of the Climate Science Center at Texas Tech University, where she is also a professor. In 2014, Hayhoe was named one of TIME’s 100 Most Influential People as well as an FP Global Thinker. She is producing Global Weirding: Climate, Politics and Religion, a short series for PBS Digital Studios. Luc Forsyth is an independent photojournalist and filmmaker based in Mexico City. Before relocating to Latin America, Forsyth spent nearly a decade in Asia, where he covered social, political, and environmental issues. His photography and videography have appeared in such outlets as the New York Times, the National Geographic Channel, Al Jazeera, and ESPN. Geo_ Dembicki is a freelance journalist and author based in Vancouver, Canada. His work has appeared in the New York Times, the Atlantic,…

2 min

Mexico City’s Last Living River The most populous city in North America has only one living river not confined to underground pipes: the fragile Río Magdalena. The forest ecosystem that nurtures it is the same one that supports the majority of Mexico City’s water sources, including the vital Cutzamala reservoir system. Though the Magdalena feeds into the water grid, it turns from clear to sludgy shortly after it makes contact with the periphery of the city. The river becomes a “disgusting sewer,” says photographer Luc Forsyth, as soon as it hits the urban sprawl. “I have never seen so dramatic a shift in a river within a few hundred meters.” Urbanites living along its banks could easily go their whole lives unaware that the Magdalena remains pristine just a few miles upstream.…

3 min
the things they carried

WHEN THE SEA ICE around Tuktoyaktuk in the Northwest Territories of Canada melts in early July, hunters in the Inuvialuit community on the shore of the Beaufort Sea head out in aluminum boats packed sparsely to make room for their prey: beluga whale. Emmanuel Adam, a 64-year-old hunter, trapper, and native of Tuktoyaktuk, says calm weather helps the hunt. His community of 850 people can bring in as many as 70 beluga in a season. However, he says, “Numbers were kind of low last year because of weather.” Among the effects of the warming climate are melting sea ice and permafrost, along with more storms. Whale harvesting has been critical to survival in the northernmost stretches of North America since around the year 1100. Today, country food—whale, seal, caribou, muskox, and fish—offsets…

6 min
the exchange

Is There a Case to be Made Against Baby Making? As the effects of climate change become more pronounced and overpopulation threatens the planet, individuals and policymakers are increasingly forced to consider the environmental implications of personal childbearing decisions. Here, two philosophers, TRAVIS RIEDER of the Berman Institute of Bioethics at Johns Hopkins and REBECCA KUKLA of the Kennedy Institute of Ethics at Georgetown, discuss the morality of deciding to have children in a world threatened by environmental degradation and the fraught ethics of encouraging people to opt for smaller families. TRAVIS RIEDER: It is morally uncomfortable to ask whether we should have smaller families—and for good reasons. But so far, we have focused almost entirely on per capita emissions: deeply decarbonize, change our infrastructure, until we’re not actually adding anything to…

4 min
how to fund a refugee camp school

BAR ELIAS, LEBANON—The dirt paths in the encampments turn into rivers of mud when it rains. Cold leaks through the canvas tents in the winter; some refugees have frozen to death during particularly vicious storms. But now it’s spring, and the fields outside the town of Bar Elias are green with budding wheat and potatoes. Inside the blue-and-white tents dotting these fields, however, the struggles to build a life remain as daunting as ever. There are no well-ordered, state-run refugee camps in Lebanon; everything is haphazard. The tent encampments are built on private land, placing the refugees at the mercy of landlords, and scattered at random across the eastern Bekaa Valley, making it difficult for humanitarian organizations to coordinate support. Many of the 1.5 million Syrian refugees in the country live…

5 min
don’t call it brexit radio

OXFORD, ENGLAND_Union JACK Radio broadcasts out of a low-slung, graffiti-covered structure that its staffaffectionately refers to on the air as “the dumpy little building.” On a nondescript Oxford Street, the building is technically two stories but looks shorter; the ceilings are low, the carpeting worn. When I visited recently for a tour, one of the first things I learned was that there are bomb shelters underneath dating back to World War II—the days of Churchill, Spitfires, and Britain’s finest hour. Had it launched at any other time, Union JACK might not have attracted quite so much attention. The concept behind the station is straightforward. As the name implies, it plays only British music, by British artists. Its target audience is people 45 to 59 years old. This demographic is reflected both…