You Eat a Credit Card’s Worth of Plastic Every Week

What is our hidden consumption of microplastics doing to our health? BY KATHARINE GAMMON Martin Wagner was annoyed that his colleagues were always talking about microplastics in the ocean. It was 2010 and the Great Pacific Garbage Patch had been headline news. Here was this massive gyre, formed by circular ocean currents in the Pacific Ocean, reportedly brimming with plastic particles, killing sea turtles and seagulls. Wagner, a professor of biology at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, whose lab focuses on the impact of plastics on human and ecosystem health, felt like scientists were pointing to marine systems … Continue reading You Eat a Credit Card’s Worth of Plastic Every Week

Climate Change Is Turning Us Into Sleep-Deprived Zombies

Sleepless in Seattle… and the rest of the world. by Miriam Fauzia Not getting enough sleep? Well, bad news: Climate change might just make things much, much worse. In a new study published Friday in the journal One Earth, researchers in Denmark have found that as the planet warms due to climate change, how much sleep we get a night may tank because of how poorly our bodies respond to heat. This reduction in such an essential bodily function could have an even bigger negative impact on people vulnerable to heat, like older adults, or those living in low-income areas and countries. “In … Continue reading Climate Change Is Turning Us Into Sleep-Deprived Zombies

Against human exceptionalism

In a tight spot, you’d probably intuit that a human life outweighs an animal’s. There are good arguments why that’s wrong Jeff Sebo is clinical associate professor of environmental studies, affiliated professor of bioethics, medical ethics, philosophy and law, and director of the animal studies MA programme at New York University. He is also on the executive committee at the NYU Center for Environmental and Animal Protection and the advisory board for the Animals in Context series at NYU Press. He is co-author of Chimpanzee Rights (2018) and Food, Animals, and the Environment (2018), and the author of Saving Animals, Saving Ourselves (2022). This January, a … Continue reading Against human exceptionalism

Space Is an Ecosystem Like Any Other. And It’s in Peril.

Artificial satellites, thousands of which now clutter low Earth orbit, have essentially become an invasive species. BY THOMAS LEWTON OUTER SPACE isn’t what most people would think of as an ecosystem. Its barren and frigid void isn’t exactly akin to the verdant canopies of a rainforest or to the iridescent shoals that swim among coral cities. But if we are to become better stewards of the increasingly frenzied band of orbital space above our atmosphere, a shift to thinking of it as an ecosystem — as part of an interconnected system of living things interacting with their physical environment — may be … Continue reading Space Is an Ecosystem Like Any Other. And It’s in Peril.

Prolonged exposure to magnetic fields — high voltage power lines, electric blankets and other appliances — linked to a type of childhood leukemia: Study

By Dr. Gracelyn Santos A recent sudy has found that prolonged exposure to magnetic fields is linked to childhood leukemia. Examples of sources of magnetic electromagnetic fields include high voltage power lines, electric blankets and other appliances. The Environmental Health Trust, a scientific think tank focused on public health and prevention, highlighted a recent systematic review and meta-analysis published in Reviews on Environmental Health. The reviewconcludes that prolonged exposure to magnetic field electromagnetic fields are linked to a type of childhood leukemia. Children can be exposed to magnetic fields at the levels studied in the paper when they sleep near sources such as electric blankets, … Continue reading Prolonged exposure to magnetic fields — high voltage power lines, electric blankets and other appliances — linked to a type of childhood leukemia: Study

The power of shit

Our excrement is a natural, renewable and sustainable resource – if only we can overcome our visceral disgust of it Lina Zeldovich is a journalist and author. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Scientific American and Undark, among others. She is the author of The Other Dark Matter: The Science and Business of Turning Waste into Wealth and Health (2021). She lives in New York City. Every fall when the grey sky over Kazan swelled with dark heavy clouds so full of water that the rain never stopped until it turned to snow, my grandfather prepped our small family farm for the … Continue reading The power of shit

Nature does not care

Too many nature writers descend into poetic self-absorption instead of the sharp-eyed realism the natural world deserves Richard Smyth writes features, reviews and comment pieces for publications including The Guardian, The Times Literary Supplement and New Statesman, among others. He is also a crossword setter, a cartoonist and an author whose books include the novel The Woodcock (2021) and the history An Indifference of Birds (2020). Iworry, sometimes, that knowledge is falling out of fashion – that in the field in which I work, nature writing, the multitudinous nonfictions of the more-than-human world, facts have been devalued; knowing stuff is no longer enough. Marc Hamer, a British writer … Continue reading Nature does not care

We must not own animals

We will never truly advance our ethical relationship with other animals until we stop treating them as chattels for use Gary L Francione is Board of Governors Professor of Law at Rutgers University School of Law in New Jersey, US; visiting professor of philosophy at the University of Lincoln, UK; and honorary professor of philosophy at the University of East Anglia, UK. His most recent book is Why Veganism Matters: The Moral Value of Animals (2021). What’s wrong with eating meat and other animal products, such as dairy or eggs? The usual answer appears to be simple: these products involve a great … Continue reading We must not own animals

The power of water

Far more potent than oil or gold, water is a stream of geopolitical force that runs deep, feeding crops and building nations Giulio Boccaletti is an author, entrepreneur and senior executive. He is co-founder of the tech startup Chloris Geospatial, an honorary research associate at the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment at the University of Oxford, and the author of Water: A Biography (2021). He lives in London. Edited by Pam Weintraub Agreat river encircles the world. It rises in the heartland of the United States and carries more water than the Mississippi and Yangtze rivers combined. One branch, its … Continue reading The power of water

How an Aboriginal approach to mental health is helping farmers deal with drought

Psychological tools developed with Aboriginal people can also support Australian farmers whose land is suffering the effects of climate change. By Georgina Kenyon Acoal truck roars past, stirring up red dust that blows over the famished cattle and sheep lying in grassless paddocks. The carcasses of dead kangaroos lie next to empty water troughs. There is no birdsong. Some say it has been the worst drought in a century here across the central and eastern part of Australia. As in other parts of the world, climate change and land clearing are driving soaring temperatures and extreme weather events, including heatwaves and … Continue reading How an Aboriginal approach to mental health is helping farmers deal with drought