Excellent at exploring philosophy and art, Athens was not able to find the same balance in its relationship with nature. Twenty-five centuries later, can we really consider that lesson learnt? Can we tackle the current crisis in the knowledge that we must take matter into account, since even the virtual world needs a screen and energy to function? And that the growing importance of financial activities in the economic system – the escape from reality – is wreaking havoc?  This issue focusses on a problem that looks rather technical. Even the words used by experts (i.e.: compliance schemes, that is programmes to involve manufacturers in the collection of their goods once they become waste) keeps the masses away. Yet, we are talking about something that we see every day....