Millions of tons of nuclear wastewater from Fukushima will be dumped into the sea

By Brandon Specktor The water contains more radioactive material than the plant’s managers previously stated. Japan’s government announced on Tuesday (April 13) that it will dump more than a million tons of contaminated wastewater from the Fukushima nuclear power plant into the Pacific Ocean, beginning in two years. Roughly 1.25 million tons (1.13 million metric tons) of water have accumulated around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in northeastern Japan since 2011, after a magnitude-9.0 earthquake and resulting tsunami devastated the region. The twin disasters killed nearly 20,000 people, according to NPR, and caused meltdowns in three of the plant’s six reactors, triggering the worst nuclear disaster … Continue reading Millions of tons of nuclear wastewater from Fukushima will be dumped into the sea

Gaia, the Scientist

What if the first woman scientist was simply the first woman? BY HOPE JAHREN There exists a social hierarchy within science that strikes people who are not mixed up in it as ridiculous. It goes like this: Mathematicians are superior to Physicists, who are, in turn, superior to Chemists, who are of course, superior to Biologists. There’s also a pecking order within each of these disciplines. Take biology, for example: Geneticists are superior to Biochemists, who are superior to Ecologists. The system breaks down when we come to sociology, psychology, and anthropology and devolves into a debate as to whether the social … Continue reading Gaia, the Scientist

France is banning any short flight that can be replaced by a train trip

If you can get there within 180 minutes on the train, you won’t be able to fly. BY ADELE PETERS It takes around two hours to take a train from Paris to the city of Lyon. That train ride has a far smaller carbon footprint than flying between the cities—and now the French government plans to ban the flights, along with other short routes that take 2.5 hours or less by train, to shrink the country’s transportation emissions. Another proposal would have ditched all flights shorter than four hours than could have been replaced by train rides, but politicians compromised after … Continue reading France is banning any short flight that can be replaced by a train trip

The global future is looking dark and stormy

A new 20-year-forecast for the world: increasingly fragmented and turbulent. by Bryan Walsh, author of Future The big picture: A major report put out this week by the National Intelligence Council reflects a present rocked by the COVID-19 pandemic. How the next two decades will unfold depends largely on whether new technologies will ultimately unite us — or continue to divide us. Driving the news: Many, if not most, of those trends identified in the new report from the U.S. government are trending negative. “Shared global challenges — including climate change, disease, financial crises, and technology disruptions — are likely to manifest more frequently and … Continue reading The global future is looking dark and stormy

NASA just released the first direct evidence that humans are causing climate change

It was clear humans were warming the planet for some time — now we have official confirmation.  by Tibi Puiu By now it should be no surprise to learn that the planet is warming very rapidly. The vast majority of this warming is not natural, over 99% of scientists say, but rather the result of heat-trapping greenhouse gases released by human activity such as burning fossil fuels. Yet with all the thousands of studies about climate change and its connection with human activity, it was only recently that researchers at NASA have provided direct observations of the driving force of climate change. … Continue reading NASA just released the first direct evidence that humans are causing climate change

Nature’s playbook

From termite queens to the carbon cycle, nature knows how to avoid network collapse. Human designers should pay heed Ruth DeFries is Denning Family Professor of Sustainable Development at Columbia University in New York and a member of the US National Academy of Sciences. Her most recent book is What Would Nature Do? A Guide for Our Uncertain Times (2021). She lives in New York. Edited by Sally Davies Nature is famously, gloriously complex. But it wasn’t always so. When the Earth was young, physics ruled. Steam spewed from prodigious volcanoes and seeped through the cracked surface, transforming our planet into an ocean-covered … Continue reading Nature’s playbook

What pastoralists know

Pastoralists are experts in managing extreme variability. In a volatile world economy, bankers should learn how they do it Ian Scoones is professor at the Institute of Development Studies, and co-director of the ESRC STEPS Centre, both at the University of Sussex in the UK… Edited by Sam Haselby What are the connections between a banker working on a trading floor in London and a pastoralist herding animals across the grasslands of East Africa? More than you’d think. Let me explain how they’re connected; and why they can both learn from each other. Both bankers and pastoralists must, as a matter … Continue reading What pastoralists know

The Amazon Rainforest Now Emits More Greenhouse Gases Than It Absorbs

Climate change and deforestation have transformed the ecosystem into a net source of planet-warming gases instead of a carbon sink By Alex Fox The Amazon rainforest may now emit more greenhouse gases than the famously lush ecosystem absorbs, according to new research. Long considered to be a bulwark against climate change because of its capacity to absorb carbon dioxide, a new study suggests rising temperatures, increasing drought and rampant deforestation have likely overwhelmed the Amazon’s ability to absorb more greenhouse gases than it emits, reports Craig Welch for National Geographic. The sobering findings appear in a new study published earlier this month in the … Continue reading The Amazon Rainforest Now Emits More Greenhouse Gases Than It Absorbs

To Drink Tea Is to Taste the Earth

Zenju Earthlyn Manuel reflects on drinking tea as meditation practice. By Zenju Earthlyn Manuel Orchids in pots along the windowsill bloomed weeks ago. Air seeps into the bedroom. The blossoms dance. I yearn for heat. A hot spring running alongside the house would be perfect. Tea will do. I sniff the steam of oolong. The tiny cup is hot. The tea will soothe the animal in me that wants to growl when it doesn’t get what it wants. The sound of tea being poured grabs hold of the beast. If there’s nothing to have, there’s still the listening, the simplicity of … Continue reading To Drink Tea Is to Taste the Earth

We’re Hurtling Toward Global Suicide

Why we must do everything differently to ensure the planet’s survival by Ben Ehrenreich On January 13, one week before the inauguration of Joe Biden as the forty-sixth president of the United States and seven long days after the storming of the Capitol by an armed right-wing mob, it was easy enough to miss an article published in the journal Frontiers in Conservation Science, despite its eye-catching title: “Underestimating the Challenges of Avoiding a Ghastly Future.” The headline was itself a train wreck: six dully innocuous words piling up in front of a modifier more suitable to a 1950s horror comic than a … Continue reading We’re Hurtling Toward Global Suicide