FERN’s Friday Feed: The ‘village of millionaires’

Welcome to FERN’s Friday Feed (#FFF), where we share the stories from this week that made us stop and think.

The resurrection of Hiware Bazar

FERN and Grist

In the 1980s, this drought-stricken Indian village had collapsed—ecologically, economically and spiritually. But, as Puja Changiowala explains, a new leader rallied residents and together they rebuilt their community around sustainable agriculture and water conservation. Today, Hiware Bazar is known as the “village of millionaires,” and it has become a model for solving the nation’s farmer suicide crisis.

Should we care about animal liberation?

Harper’s Magazine

“The political scientist Erica Chenoweth has argued that you have to persuade about 3.5 percent of a population to take action for a cause before you can enact real change. This sounds simple, but depending on the location that figure can represent an enormous number of people,” writes Elizabeth Barber. “Achieving that goal requires the constant conversion of hostile opponents into passive supporters, and passive supporters into active participants. According to Matt, that means you have to get media attention, and to do so Matt believed you needed something beyond protests. His suspicion is that journalists don’t give a shit about protests, but that they do care about people going on trial. Most readers care about humans, not pigs.”

A mining company takes aim at the Okefenokee

The Bitter Southerner

“When in early 2019 I caught rumblings that a company wanted to mine on the doorstep of the Okefenokee Swamp, I pretended not to hear. Having to fight all the time to protect things you love will wear a person out … And I was given the burden of loving a place that people are always chasing,” writes Janisse Ray. “If you don’t know the Okefenokee, it’s a gigantic, ethereal, god-touched swamp in southeast Georgia that’s like no other place on earth. It’s a world wonder — nearly 700 square miles of labyrinthine wildness, the largest blackwater swamp in North America and the largest wilderness area in the eastern U.S.”

How China targets the global fish supply

The New York Times

“Over the last two decades, China has built the world’s largest deep-water fishing fleet, by far, with nearly 3,000 ships. Having severely depleted stocks in its own coastal waters, China now fishes in any ocean in the world, and on a scale that dwarfs some countries’ entire fleets near their own waters,” write Steven Lee Myers, Agnes Chang, Derek Watkins and Claire Fu. “The impact is increasingly being felt from the Indian Ocean to the South Pacific, from the coasts of Africa to those off South America — a manifestation on the high seas of China’s global economic might.”

Should we ‘vandalize’ classic recipes to make them climate-friendly?


On the 30th anniversary of the publication of Marcella Hazan’s Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking, Paul Greenberg talks to Victor Hazan, Marcella’s husband, longtime collaborator, and guardian of her legacy, about the possibility of updating her recipes for a carbon-conscious world. “[W]hen I think of Marcella’s genius, the place my mind has always gone to has been her Bolognese,” Greenberg writes. “I started thinking back to my own clumsy attempts at coaxing plant-based ingredients into something resembling Hazan’s magical blending of meat and milk, wine and tomatoes … So, to begin with, I asked Victor if it would be permissible to make a few replacements. Could we try mushrooms, for example, instead of beef? Could we swap in a smooth Ligurian olive oil, which has about half the emissions of butter? Could oat milk take the place of milk from a cow?”