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Malthus was Real


“Must we not go with either a bang or a whimper, but in an orgy of mutual self-gratification, and congratulations?“   What good is it to escape the climate gallows if, as we walk out the jail door into the sunlight, we are greeted in the courtyard by Malthus, bearing a sythe? On the sythe […]

Build a global Earth observatory


An enclosure for measuring gas exchange between plants and the atmosphere at a station in Finland.Credit: Juho Aalto Climate change. Water and food security. Urban air pollution. These environmental grand challenges are all linked, yet each is studied separately. Interactions between Earth’s surface and the atmosphere influence climate, air quality and water cycles. Changes in […]

A Quarter of the World’s Population Could be Living in a Desert If Paris Agreement Isn’t Met


Buzz60 is designed for the way we live now. Short, quirky video snacks that are a little sassy, and always smart. Buzz 60 — and the Buzz60 channel on YouTube – produces all kinds of news video clips for web viewers who want more than just repurposed content. Our team is a diverse group of […]

The Book That Incited a Worldwide Fear of Overpopulation

The Book That Incited a Worldwide Fear of Overpopulation thumbnail

As 1968 began, Paul Ehrlich was an entomologist at Stanford University, known to his peers for his groundbreaking studies of the co-evolution of flowering plants and butterflies but almost unknown to the average person. That was about to change. In May, Ehrlich released a quickly written, cheaply bound paperback, The Population Bomb. Initially it was […]

What’s killing the world’s bees? New study claims a surprising culprit

What’s killing the world’s bees? New study claims a surprising culprit thumbnail

Scientists have found what they believe to be the strongest factor leading to the worryingly steep decline of bumblebees… fungicides. The discovery has now been added to the growing list of threats that could potentially lead to the extinction of the essential pollinators. The revelation that common fungicides are having the strongest impact on the […]

Half the world’s population reaching below replacement fertility

Half the world’s population reaching below replacement fertility thumbnail

According to the most recent UN estimates (United Nations 2017), almost one half of the world’s population lives in countries with below replacement fertility (BRF), i.e. with a total fertility rate (TFR) below 2.1 births per woman. Of these, one quarter have TFRs close to the replacement level, i.e. between 1.8 and 2.1; the other […]

What’s the Ideal Number of Humans on Earth?


Earth might be looking a little worse for wear, after the last four-hundred years of reckless wide-scale resource extraction, but to its credit it hasn’t collapsed entirely. Despite our best efforts, it continues to gamely welcome our rapidly expanding population, barring the occasional earthquake. Whether the planet might be a little better off with fewer […]

The Bananapocalypse Is Nigh

The Bananapocalypse Is Nigh thumbnail

The bananapocalypse is coming. That’s the likelihood that sometime in the next decade, bananas may disappear, victims of a fungal pathogen known as Panama Disease. The disease is on the march throughout the world, threatening the future of the world’s most popular fruit. Panama Disease may be the cause of this disaster, but it’s also […]

What Will It Really Take to Avoid Collapse?


Fifteen thousand scientists have issued a dire warning to humanity about impending collapse but virtually no-one takes notice. Ultimately, our global systems, which are designed for perpetual growth, need to be fundamentally restructured to avoid the worst-case outcome. For a moment, the most important news in the entire world flashed across the media like a […]

A Matter of Degree


“Did we really imagine people would feel threatened by the number 2?“ USAnians are a very strange lot, as Alexis de Tocqueville observed on his road trip with Gustave de Baumont in 1831. The Bible-thumping, coon-skinned, populist utopians fascinated him. Tocqueville blithely compared the young country’s despotic democratic government, then hip-deep in the ethnic cleansing […]

Exxon To Disclose The Real Risk Of Climate Change


According to a new filing by Exxon to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Exxon said that its board “has reconsidered the proposal requesting a report on impacts of climate change policies” by major shareholders at its annual meeting earlier this year. The company will disclose more information regarding “energy demand sensitivities, implications of two degree […]

How the oil industry set out to undercut clean air


On sunny days, when his classmates run out to play, Gabriel Rosales heads to the school nurse for a dose of Albuterol. The fine mist opens his airways, relaxing the muscles in his chest. Without it, recess could leave the nine-year-old gasping for breath. He gets a second dose at the end of the day […]

The Last Great Exploration On Earth Is To Survive On Earth

The Last Great Exploration On Earth Is To Survive On Earth thumbnail

Evoking images of calving icebergs, and endless white icescapes, Antarctica has been described as a “silence deep with a breath like sleep”. Some say that its profound beauty haunts you for the rest of your days. And, one man who understands this better than most is Robert Swan OBE. In 1986, he made the longest […]

The Unreal Effects of Ozone Layer Depletion


Ozone layer depletion is probably at the top of the list of events that have the potential to wipe humanity out from the earth’s surface. It is the prime cause of increasing global temperature – which at this rate does not augur well for humankind. But, thankfully, concerted efforts over the years from scientists, researchers, […]

How Greed, Fear, And Our Own Biases Blind Us To The Reality Of Climate Change


The Climate Science Special Report that the Trump administration released last Friday is straightforward and relentlessly sobering. Scientists from 13 government agencies agree that the long-term global warming trend is “unambiguous” and that human activity is responsible. There is, they tell us, “no convincing alternative explanation.” Meanwhile, the president whose administration released the report maintains that climate change is […]

Ice Apocalypse


Eric Holthaus at Grist has a look at Antarctica’s melting glaciers – Ice Apocalypse. In a remote region of Antarctica known as Pine Island Bay, 2,500 miles from the tip of South America, two glaciers hold human civilization hostage.Stretching across a frozen plain more than 150 miles long, these glaciers, named Pine Island and Thwaites, […]

Source of “extremely high” radiation in Russia a mystery

Source of “extremely high” radiation in Russia a mystery thumbnail

Russian authorities on Tuesday confirmed reports of a spike in radioactivity in the air over the Ural Mountains. The Russian Meteorological Service said in a statement Tuesday that it recorded the release of Ruthenium-106 in the southern Urals in late September and classified it as “extremely high contamination.” France’s nuclear safety agency earlier this month […]

Six Years After Fukushima, Robots Finally Find Reactors’ Melted Uranium Fuel


Four engineers hunched before a bank of monitors, one holding what looked like a game controller. They had spent a month training for what they were about to do: pilot a small robot into the contaminated heart of the ruined Fukushima nuclear plant. Earlier robots had failed, getting caught on debris or suffering circuit malfunctions […]

The Keystone pipeline just spilled another 210000 gallons of oil

The Keystone pipeline just spilled another 210000 gallons of oil thumbnail

Sometime before 6 a.m. local time, operators noticed that pressure had dropped in a pipeline capable of pumping 590,000 barrels of crude oil products every day from Canada down to the Gulf Coast. The oil was likely diluted bitumen, or dilbit, a mixture of tarry oil and thinning agents that let the commodity flow through […]

Environmentalism’s Worsening Anti-Human Infection


As I wrote in The War on Humans, environmentalism has become increasingly anti-human, both in proposed policies — such as those that would reduce economic vitality and thwart human thriving — and in the goal of reducing human population. The latter goal would require particularly tyrannical impositions to actually effectuate. Voluntary family planning offers great […]

Puerto Rico’s ‘Gentle Killer Bees’ Could Prevent the Bee Apocalypse

Puerto Rico’s ‘Gentle Killer Bees’ Could Prevent the Bee Apocalypse thumbnail

Through a series of events that seem more like the plot of a Marvel movie than real life, the world’s only colony of gentle killer honey bees, a hybrid of African and European strains, turned the island of Puerto Rico into their home. It all started in 1958, when a group of ragtag African killer […]

15,000 Scientists Issue a “Warning to Humanity”

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More than 15,000 scientists from 184 countries have issued a warning: Mankind must take immediate action to reverse the effects of climate change, deforestation and species extinction before it’s too late. The warning, issued by the Alliance of World Scientists and published in the journal Bioscience, comes on the 25th anniversary of a similar warning from the […]

Radioactive Cloud Floating Over Europe Is Nothing to Worry About, Experts Say


Don’t mind the cloud of radioactive pollution floating over Europe – it’s harmless, the French nuclear safety institute IRSN said Thursday. Officials in Europe said they began detecting unusually high levels of ruthenium 106, a radioactive atom that does not occur naturally, near France in the last week of September. The IRSN immediately “mobilized all […]

A Sixth Extinction—fair warning or fake news?


A new National Academy of Sciences study concludes the planet is facing a real threat of “biological annihilation.” The scientists who carried out the research call the decimation of the world’s large mam- mals a “global epidemic” and say the rate of decline is accelerating. Up to 50 percent of all individual ani- mals have […]

Resource Limitations


Chris Nelder, William E. Rees, originally published by Energy Transition Show How do we know at what level our consumption is sustainable, and when we’re in planetary overshoot? How do we quantify what the planet’s capacity is to meet human demands, and how much of that capacity is renewable, and how much of it is […]

Soil matters more than you think

Soil matters more than you think thumbnail

As I walked through the verdant fields filled with a dazzling array of sorghum, hairy vetch, daikon radish, collards, cowpeas, clover, millet, kale, and other crops, I was struck by how different this field looked relative to so many other farms I’ve walked over the years. When we conducted a spade test, digging out a […]

We cannot continue to grow in a finite space


As we consider the Sussex County Comprehensive Plan, please read what I wrote, and what appeared in The Cape Gazette (Nov. 2007), 10 years ago. It is readily apparent that we must better appreciate the land, open space and natural resources, and the needs of people. As Dr. Seuss wisely conveyed in The Lorax, we […]

Life in the Anthropocene, Field Notes From The Santa Rosa Fires

Life in the Anthropocene, Field Notes From The Santa Rosa Fires thumbnail

Anthropocene: relating to or denoting the current geological age, viewed as the period during which human activity has been the dominant influence on climate and the environment. The call came a little before 5 am, the morning of Monday, October 9. I stumbled toward the phone and retrieved the message. A neighbor’s voice, “Get ready […]

7.5 Billion People — That’s a lot!


As the inimitable Yogi Berra once said, “It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.” And indeed it is. Some guesswork is always involved and surprises crop up that change the course of events. Yet, it is probably clear to most of us that the world is likely to become an increasingly and unpleasantly […]

What we’ve learned from largest methane gas leak in the U.S.

What we’ve learned from largest methane gas leak in the U.S. thumbnail

Invisible disaster: Infrared images from the Environmental Defense Fund show a huge plume spewing from the ground. Two years ago today, the largest U.S. methane leak was discovered. The leak in northwest Los Angeles County focused attention on the state’s aging gas wells. Disaster snapshot The leaky well was one of 115 wells connected to […]

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