Editor's note

Many Native American languages are dying. Alaska Gov. Bill Walker recently declared a “linguistic emergency” to save the state’s 20 native languages that are fast disappearing. University of Montana’s Rosalyn R. LaPier writes the language loss should be of concern to all of us, as they are “holders of complex systems of knowledge” with cultural insights crucial to our relationship with the natural world embedded in them.

Key American values – liberty, equality and the pursuit of happiness – are often associated with the Declaration of Independence, or with the Pilgrims of Plymouth Rock. In fact, write archeologists Lewis Borck and D. Shane Miller, these ideals can be traced back thousands of years to the nomadic, freedom-seeking native peoples who occupied North America well before Christopher Columbus “discovered” it.

Kalpana Jain

Senior Religion + Ethics Editor

Top Stories

How the loss of Native American languages affects our understanding of the natural world

Rosalyn R. LaPier, The University of Montana

Many Native languages are dying, and their loss has deep and profound implications for our world.

Indigenous people invented the so-called ‘American Dream’

Lewis Borck, Leiden University; D. Shane Miller, Mississippi State University

Anti-immigrant policies ignore that American ideals like liberty, equality and the pursuit of happiness can be traced back to the indigenous pioneers who once moved freely across North America.

Politics + Society

World politics explainer: Deng Xiaoping’s rise to power

James Laurenceson, University of Technology Sydney

China is one of the world's largest economies, and Deng Xiaoping was arguably the man who made that happen through his visions of economic reform.

Peer mentoring program shows promise for preventing African youth violence

Kwadwo Adusei-Asante, Edith Cowan University

A new crime prevention program in Western Australia is training young Australians of African descent to become peer mentors to at-risk youths in their communities.

Science + Technology

Why more women don’t win science Nobels

Mary K. Feeney, Arizona State University

Progress has been made toward gender parity in science fields. But explicit and implicit barriers still hold women back from advancing in the same numbers as men to the upper reaches of STEM academia.

No black scientist has ever won a Nobel – that’s bad for science, and bad for society

Winston Morgan, University of East London

We need action if black scientists are ever to receive the highest level of recognition.

Environment + Energy

New UN report outlines ‘urgent, transformational’ change needed to hold global warming to 1.5°C

Mark Howden, Australian National University; Rebecca Colvin, Australian National University

Limiting global warming to 1.5C is a tough challenge but still within reach, according to a landmark report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change commissioned after the 2015 Paris summit.

The UN’s 1.5°C special climate report at a glance

Michael Hopkin, The Conversation; Emil Jeyaratnam, The Conversation; Madeleine De Gabriele, The Conversation

Here are the essential facts from the UN's special report on climate change.