Arts and Entertainment

Mohammed Ali  used to boast that when boxing,  he would float like a butterfly and sting like a bee. So it is with Germiane Greer. She writes lightly, gracefully even when agitating for a cause. But the words still sting. And unsettle. Here she consciously creates a quasi-religious epic out of a part of her remarkable life when she decided to restore a small, wrecked rainforest in Australia, her homeland. The tone is apocalyptic, themes existential and critical: (wo)man not against, but ardently for wondrous, pitiless and predatory nature. She, the Lionheart, is awed, meets devastation, fears cataclysms, intuits prophecies, bears historical and biological guilt,  seeks redemption and takes stupendous, fervent  action. It really is some story.

Palm oil deal 'a threat to the rainforest'

EC's Renewable Energy Directive will allow greater mix in petrol and diesel

Leading article: Sceptics have their uses

The climate change sceptics have done us all a favour. This may seem a curious view for a newspaper so committed to the cause of environmental sustainability. But, by challenging the consensus view of global warming, the sceptics have tested the flabbier assumptions of that consensus and forced the proponents of the majority view to sharpen their arguments.

Best for Harley heaven: California

There comes a time in life, normally when hair starts thinning and waistbands begin to stretch, when a man's thoughts turn towards a motorbike. Specifically, they turn towards a Harley Davidson, those roaring kings of the open road upon which we can deludedly dream of being transported back to free-spirited days of our youth.

My Week: Lucy Hawley

One of the keepers at London Zoo reveals how the small furry animals in her care reacted to the snow that gripped the country this week

Review of the Year 2009: Climate change

The heat of the moment

Queensland: The Sunshine State offers a taste of sun, sea, sand - and the Outback

Australia's most diverse territory has it all

Swann the shining light as pace men struggle

England 329-8 dec South Africa XI 167-7 <i>(Match drawn)</i>

Best children's books for Christmas

Composing new nursery rhymes that actually work is no easy matter, but Faustin Charles has done so in The Selfish Crocodile Book of Nursery Rhymes (Bloomsbury, £6.99). With a CD included, the book has characters that range from Little Jack Zebra to Twinkle Twinkle Butterfly, all riotously illustrated by Michael Terry. Joanna Skipwith's I Choose You! (Silver Jungle, £5.99) also comes off well. Illustrated by Lisa Jones, each of its creatures has its own rhyme. Order it directly from www.silverjungle.com and £1 will go to help preserve monkeys in the rainforests, away from the pet trade.

Small Talk: Asian Plantations to bring palm oil to Aim

This newspaper has done a sterling job in the last few months highlighting the destruction that is being done to many of the world's rainforests so we can all consume more palm oil.

On The Road: Trials of a rainforest trek, on the hunt for an elusive bird

A loud rustle came from the undergrowth at the edge of the boardwalk. I stopped and waited, holding my breath as I listened. The noise came again, louder this time. Expecting a bush turkey but hoping for a bigger bird, I craned my neck to see more. From under the dry leaves crawled a monitor lizard.

Norway and Guyana sign rainforest deal

Report in <i>The Independent</i> key to $250m investment, says Guyana President

Leading article: A climate change warning we ignore at our peril

Alarming new temperature forecasts show the need for urgent action

Top food firm switches to sustainable palm oil

A leading food manufacturer says it will switch to a "sustainable" source of palm oil for its most famous brands, such as McVitie's, Jaffa Cakes and Penguin.

Claude Levi-Strauss: Intellectual considered the father of modern anthropology whose work inspired structuralism

Claude Lévi-Strauss was the most famous anthropologist of his generation, and one of the leading intellectuals in post-war France. His writings inspired a major intellectual movement, and at least two of his books have already become classics of French literature. He was largely responsible for the development of social anthropology in France.

What lies beneath the rainforest

You want the Amazon to survive? Then pay us not to pump the oil, says Ecuador. Huw Hennessy in Quito reports on a bold initiative
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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

But could his predictions of war do the same?
Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs: 'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs
Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities, but why?

Young at hort

Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities. But why are so many people are swapping sweaty clubs for leafy shrubs?
Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award: 'making a quip as funny as possible is an art'

Beyond a joke

Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

Sadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire: The joy of camping in a wetland nature reserve and sleeping under the stars

A wild night out

Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire offers a rare chance to camp in a wetland nature reserve
Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition: It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans

Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition

It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans
Besiktas vs Arsenal: Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie

Besiktas vs Arsenal

Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie
Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

As the Northern Irishman prepares for the Barclays, he finds time to appear on TV in the States, where he’s now such a global superstar that he needs no introduction
Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to Formula One

Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to F1

The 16-year-old will become the sport’s youngest-ever driver when he makes his debut for Toro Rosso next season
Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

But belated attempts to unite will be to no avail if the Sunni caliphate remains strong in Syria, says Patrick Cockburn
Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I would end up killing myself in jail'

Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I'd end up killing myself in jail'

Following last week's report on prison suicides, the former inmate asks how much progress we have made in the 50 years since the abolition of capital punishment