Legend has it that a pilgrim was once sailing home from the Holy Land when his boat became caught in a storm. Forced to take refuge on a strange and rocky isle, he met a hermit there who spoke of an opening among the cliffs leading straight to purgatory, from which agonised moans of the tormented dead rose. The hermit told how he had also overheard demons in the pit complaining about the power of prayer to rescue their victims. Upon his return, the pilgrim told this tale to the Abbot of Cluny, who decreed that the very next day, November 2nd, should be set aside as a day of prayer for the dead.
All Souls’ Day continues as a date of remembrance in the Roman Catholic calendar, although its traditions such as leaving out and food for the dead and ‘going souling’ – singing carols and requesting alms or soul cakes – are no more. Isonomia, however, has been cultivating something of an interest in neglected customs and festivals, so last month we took to the streets of the Land of Blog to sing our carols and raise alms for the souls of blogs passed. Happily, the hamlets of Blog are prosperous and we gathered enough soul cakes to bring forth a spirited bunch of November articles. So, if you missed the chance to meet them while they were with us, what did you miss?
Perhaps appropriately, last month’s best read article was itself an act of remembrance of sorts, as Steve Watson took us on a journey into the infinite to explore the birth of the recycling symbol. Steve’s article showed how graphic designer Gary Anderson (still very much alive and working in town planning) used concepts from the worlds of mathematics and art to create a lasting and evocative symbol for the material reuse process.
In fact, Steve was dead busy in November as he also scooped a share of second and fifth place in our monthly chart. His two-part interview with father of the waste hierarchy gave Ad Lansink the chance to share his thoughts on both the hierarchy and contemporary concepts such zero waste and the circular economy. Ad has become a valued contributor to Isonomia, and we were pleased to be able to work with website be Waste Wise in presenting his responses to a range a questions sourced from the online waste community.
In third place was Peter Jones, whose October article on the EFRA Committee’s report ‘Waste management in England’ refused to rest in peace. Concentrating on the alleged high expense of separate food waste collection, Peter’s post-mortem revealed how evidence had been dug up from several sources before being stitched together and sent out into the world, much to the horror of those who would advocate increased food waste recycling. He therefore remains nailed to his perch as our all time most-read author.
November gave our readers the chance to welcome two new voices to Isonomia’s choir eternal, both of whom were carried our way through the channels of digital media. Firstly, we donned our PPE as EcoMENA editor Salman Zafar exposed us to the dangers of poor asbestos management in the Middle East and North Africa. Salman’s passed on many EcoMENA articles to us in the past and we are delighted to have him become a contributor himself. One of these was a description of the grave state of waste management in Nigeria, from which rose a lively conversation on a Linked In forum. It took little prompting for Benneth Obinna Obasiohia to summon forth an article on a rather more life-affirming aspect of Nigeria’s waste system – a new facility that is helping Delta State make its waste management problems history.
Lastly, an honourable mention for Emma How and Peter Jones who conjured up the ghost of Christmas past: their 2012 article on festive recycling campaigns escaped from blog purgatory to emerge as November’s sixth most read piece.
Thanks to the efforts of our many authors we were once again able to offer a breadth and depth of articles that few can rival. We’re grateful for the positive comments we continue to receive, both on the site and on LinkedIn, and thank all those who take the time to share their thoughts. Offering a platform for a variety of opinions and generating debate is what we’re all about, so if anything you’ve read here has left you stunned, sleeping or even pining, please do tell us, whether by leaving a comment or with an article of your own. We try to provide an informed but accessible viewpoint on a wide range of environment issues, so whether an article has imbued you with a new source of renewable energy or given you anaerobic indigestion please do get in touch.
It’s easy to shift from visitor to commentator to author, and we’re always glad to hear from you. Whether you’re from Delta State or Holgate, Nijmegen or Nuneaton, with your help we will create a space where thoughts on topics from across the environment sector can be expressed and explored, enabling communication and cross fertilisation of ideas.
What parade of spirits might yet visit Isonomia before Christmas? Mike Brown could appear, asking us to reflect not on our life’s deeds, but upon the claimed renewability of energy from waste; be Waste Wise’s Ranjith Annepu may bring us baleful warnings about waste management protests India; and the unexplained sound of chains clanking could be Peter Jones calling for waste crime prevention measures in Scotland. Lastly, we will of course be bringing you the annual Isonomia Christmas article, which we hope will put all previous efforts into the shade – but there’s no peeking to see what it might be just yet.
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