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Why Climate Solutions Will Fail… or Not

Enviroment

“70 million USAnians voted for Krusty the maniacal clown instead of Mr. Rogers. Is it that we genetically crave that kind of entertainment?“ Image after Victoria Van, Tiger Times student newspaper in Texarkana Last week I took a look at the McPherson Paradox and explained why it failed the real-world test of the Covid Pandemic. […]


How long do most species last before going extinct?

How long do most species last before going extinct? thumbnail

The majestic blue whale has plied the seas for about 4.5 million years, while the Neanderthals winked out of existence in a few hundred thousand years. But are those creatures representative of species overall? How long do species usually last before they go extinct? It turns out the answer we find now could be very […]


The Great Pause Week 34: Dragon Dimming

Enviroment

“Pandemic lockdowns curtailed jet travel, closed shops and schools, and reduced global dimming by more than 20%. So what happened then?“    There was a famous experiment on May 21, 1946 that cost the Manhattan Project physicist Louis Slotin his life. In 2016, Alex Wellerstein revisited it for The New Yorker:   Slotin’s procedure was […]


Is ‘insect apocalypse’ close-by?

Is ‘insect apocalypse’ close-by? thumbnail

The global health of insect populations is far more complicated than previously thought, new data suggests. Previous research also indicated an alarming decline in numbers in all parts of world, with losses of up to 25% per decade. Reports of the rapid and widespread decline of insects globally have caused great worry to scientists. This […]


Greenpeace Claims Fukushima Water Release Could Change Human DNA

Greenpeace Claims Fukushima Water Release Could Change Human DNA thumbnail

Contaminated water that could soon be released into the sea from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant contains radioactive carbon with the potential to damage human DNA, environmental rights organization Greenpeace has warned. The environmental group claims that the 1.23 million metric tons of water stored at the plant — scene of the 2011 Fukushima […]


The Tragedy of the ‘Tragedy of the Commons’

Enviroment

Fifty years ago, University of California professor Garrett Hardin penned an influential essay in the journal Science. Hardin saw all humans as selfish herders: we worry that our neighbors’ cattle will graze the best grass. So, we send more of our cows out to consume that grass first. We take it first, before someone else […]


The Great Pause Week 31: The Inevitable Glide Path

The Great Pause Week 31: The Inevitable Glide Path thumbnail

“This week I am starting to build raised beds from street rubble and found bottles.“ I gave a talk on Tuesday of this week at the Scaling Biochar Forum put on by the Sonoma Ecology Center in California. I canned the talk at the end of September and posted it to YouTube because I worried […]


Japan decides to release Fukushima water into the sea

Enviroment

Japan will release more than a million tons of treated radioactive water from the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant into the sea in a decades-long operation, reports said Friday, despite strong opposition from environmentalists, local fishermen and farmers. The release of the water, which has been filtered to reduce radioactivity, is likely to start in 2022 […]


Who is “we”?

Who is “we”? thumbnail

We humans have made a mess of things, which is readily evident if we face the avalanche of studies and statistics describing the contemporary ecological crises we face. But even with the mounting evidence of the consequences for people and planet, we have not committed to a serious project to slow the damage that we do. One reasonable response to those statements is, “Who […]


A Master Class on Overconsumption and Climate Change

Enviroment

Hope Jahren is a formidable scientist, and a formidable writer about science. With this, her second book, she shows she is also a formidable science educator. She’s covered education, youth and housing issues for a decade now, and we’re lucky to have her. Jahren describes how her heart sank when she was asked to teach […]


Peak grain

Enviroment

The depletion of groundwater sources in parts of the United States High Plains is so severe that peak grain production in some states has already passed, according to new research. An international team of scientists, including experts from the University of Delaware, has extended and improved methods used to calculate peak oil production to assess […]


“One Planet, One Child” Billboards

“One Planet, One Child” Billboards thumbnail

A bold billboard campaign has launched in Vancouver to increase awareness and knowledge about overpopulation. The “One Planet, One Child” ad campaign is an effort to hasten progress toward a small family norm, leading to a sustainable world population. Billboards and transit stop ads in high-traffic areas feature a variety of sustainable population messages. Some […]


1% of the world’s population is responsible for the most carbon emissions

1% of the world’s population is responsible for the most carbon emissions thumbnail

The richest 1% of the world’s population was responsible for emissions of more than twice as much carbon dioxide as the poorer half of the world from 1990 to 2015, according to new research published by the Guardian. Carbon dioxide emissions have increased by 60% over a period of 25 years, but the increase in […]


What went right this week: Lego’s plastic pledge, peak oil and more positive news

What went right this week: Lego’s plastic pledge, peak oil and more positive news thumbnail

Children inspired Lego to axe plastic packaging, BP predicted we had reached peak oil and green hydrogen was given a boost, plus other positive news Lego pledged to ditch plastic packaging A slew of letters from children concerned about plastic pollution has prompted Lego to pledge to switch to cardboard packaging for its products from […]


The Raw Materials Challenge of the Green Energy Transition

Enviroment

My friend Simon Michaux has been burning the midnight candle, doing some amazing research. THIS could be the most important video on why complex civilization will NOT see a green energy transition you’re ever likely to see. share widely…..  


Matthew Yglesias Thinks There Should Be ‘One Billion Americans’

Enviroment

There will never be one billion Americans. Matthew Yglesias, the author of “One Billion Americans: The Case for Thinking Bigger,” thinks it would be great if America were that populous. He also admits that there’s no real political constituency for such a policy. Conservatives think the country is already full, he notes, while liberals tend […]


Humans exploiting and destroying nature on unprecedented scale

Enviroment

Animal populations have plunged an average of 68% since 1970, as humanity pushes the planet’s life support systems to the edge Mass soybean harvesting in Campo Verde, Brazil. Intensive agricultures has contributed to the collapse of some animal populations. Photograph: Alffoto/WWF Wildlife populations are in freefall around the world, driven by human overconsumption, population growth […]


How Big Oil Misled The Public Into Believing Plastic Would Be Recycled

How Big Oil Misled The Public Into Believing Plastic Would Be Recycled thumbnail

Note: An audio version of this story aired on NPR’s Planet Money. Listen to the episode here. Laura Leebrick, a manager at Rogue Disposal & Recycling in southern Oregon, is standing on the end of its landfill watching an avalanche of plastic trash pour out of a semitrailer: containers, bags, packaging, strawberry containers, yogurt cups. […]


As much as half of the world’s water supply is being stolen

As much as half of the world’s water supply is being stolen thumbnail

Global water supplies are under stress from rising populations. Agriculture is mainly to blame for illegal water abstraction. Climate change is adding to the number of water crises across the globe. As much as half the world’s water supply is being stolen, with agriculture responsible for much of that, according to a new study. Writing […]


Elon Musk forecasts grim future of human race

Elon Musk forecasts grim future of human race thumbnail

Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s grim forecast of humanity suggests that a “population bomb” would lead to a worldwide collapse in humans in the coming decades and everybody would start to see the evident effects by 2050. Musk’s prediction was triggered by a tweet from a page called World of Engineering that said: “1950 (historical) world […]


The US is in a water crisis far worse than most people imagine

The US is in a water crisis far worse than most people imagine thumbnail

When I was a little girl, my father would sing songs to me all the time about water. Sometimes, we would be playing down at the creeks and he would make up little tunes: “See that lovely water, trickling down the stream, don’t take it for granted, someday it might not be seen.” My dad […]


The End of Oil Is Near

The End of Oil Is Near thumbnail

THIS PAST SPRING, coastlines around the globe took on the feel of an enemy invasion as hundreds of massive oil tankers overwhelmed seaports from South Africa to Singapore. Locals and industry analysts alike used the word armada—typically applied to fleets of warships—to describe scenes such as when a group of tankers left Saudi Arabia en […]


How much growth is enough for human need?

How much growth is enough for human need? thumbnail

Seven Olympic-sized swimming pools. That’s what the water from the melting ice sheet in Greenland last year would have filled every second. In absolute terms the Greenland ice sheet shrank by 532 billion tons in 2019, equivalent to a million tons per minute. Scientists led by Ingo Sasgen, of the Alfred Wagener Institute in Bremerhaven, […]


Amid COVID-19, Americans don’t care about climate change anymore

Amid COVID-19, Americans don’t care about climate change anymore thumbnail

Battered by pandemic and economic collapse, do Americans have the capacity to care about the environment? Not so much, judging by a national poll we just conducted. We asked a panel of U.S. adults a series of questions about today’s most crucial issues, environmental policy options, and their own behavior. In all three categories, I […]


Extractivism

Extractivism thumbnail

One could simply define extractivism as a productive process where natural resources are removed from the land or the underground and then put up for sale as commodities on the global market. But defining extractivism is not really this easy. Extractivism is related to existing geopolitical, economic and social relations produced throughout history. It is […]


Are children going out of fashion?

Are children going out of fashion? thumbnail

When footballer Mesut Özil married model Amine Gülse last year, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan served as a witness at the ceremony. In his speech, Erdogan asked the couple to have at least four children. Why? More than 200 years ago, the Reverend Thomas Robert Malthus hypothesised that when population grows exponentially, it rapidly outpaces our capacity […]


Richard Heinberg: Avalanche

Richard Heinberg: Avalanche thumbnail

How bad could it get? For the United States, it seems there is no bottom. Back in March, I wrote that the nation’s response to the coronavirus pandemic would likely shape its economic, political, and geopolitical fortunes for years or decades to come. Four months later, it’s time for a check-in. How’s that pandemic response going? Not […]


Fears devastating fungus could starve world’s population to death in global famine

Fears devastating fungus could starve world’s population to death in global famine thumbnail

A little-known yet devastating fungus could starve the world’s population to death if it spreads far enough, scientists fear. Stem rust, caused by the Puccinia graminis fungus, is considered a serious disease that affects cereal crops such as bread wheat, durum wheat and barley. It has been blamed for crop failures and devastating famine in […]


Fewer people, or less consumption?

Fewer people, or less consumption? thumbnail

It’s one of the great ironies of 2020 that in a year spent trying to save so many people, we’ve come to the conclusion we have too many on the planet. That was the gist of a large number of emails (our inbox was certainly overpopulated) that Upside readers sent in on the subject of […]


The Arc Of Our Future

The Arc Of Our Future thumbnail

In last week’s open post, I noted that I didn’t have anything in particular planned for this fifth Wednesday of the month, and asked my readers what they wanted to hear about. Quite a few subjects got brought up for discussion—among others, the novels of Hermann Hesse, Carl Jung’s concept of synchronicity, and the metaphysics […]


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