Unknowns Swirl Around How Plastic Particles Impact the Climate

Top: Microplastics found washed up on a beach. About 11 percent of microplastics in the atmosphere over the western U.S. come from the ocean. Visual: Alistair Berg/DigitalVision via Getty Images Airborne microplastics can absorb or reflect sunlight and seed clouds. How might that change the planet’s trajectory? BY NICOLA JONES PLASTIC HAS BECOME an obvious pollutant over recent decades, choking turtles and seabirds, clogging up our landfills and waterways. But in just the past few years, a less obvious problem has emerged. Researchers are starting to get concerned about how tiny bits of plastic in the air, lofted into the skies from seafoam … Continue reading Unknowns Swirl Around How Plastic Particles Impact the Climate

Monsanto and the Struggle Over Scientific Consensus

Visual: Richard Hamilton Smith/Corbis Documentary via Getty Images In “Glyphosate and the Swirl,” Vincanne Adams explores the history and debate surrounding a potent herbicide. BY COLLEEN WOOD ALMOST 90 percent of scientists believe that genetically modified foods are entirely safe. Yet, just 37 percent of the general public think these foods are safe to eat. Why are so few on board with the scientific consensus? Are they just anti-science? In “Glyphosate and the Swirl: An Agroindustrial Chemical on the Move,” medical anthropologist Vincanne Adams deciphers competing claims about the history and epidemiological impact of glyphosate, the main ingredient in Roundup, the powerful herbicide … Continue reading Monsanto and the Struggle Over Scientific Consensus

There’s no planet B

Scientific researchers on a bat-collecting expedition in Sierra Leone. Photo by Simon Townley/Panos The scientific evidence is clear: the only celestial body that can support us is the one we evolved with. Here’s why Arwen E Nicholson is a research fellow in physics and astronomy at the University of Exeter in the UK. She has developed Gaian models of regulation to understand how life might impact the long-term habitability prospects of its planet. Raphaëlle D Haywood is a senior lecturer in physics and astronomy at the University of Exeter in the UK. Her research focuses on detection of small, potentially terrestrial … Continue reading There’s no planet B

The golden fuel

On the outskirts of Kunming, the capital of Yunnan province in southwestern China, 6 November 2006. Photo by stringer/Reuters Asia’s rise to economic power and food security has been powered not by rice but by American maize, the ultimate flex-crop By Peter A Coclanis, is the Albert R Newsome Distinguished Professor of History and director of the Global Research Institute at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is a co-author of Plantation Kingdom: The American South and Its Global Commodities (2016) and the co-editor of Water and Power: Environmental Governance and Strategies for Sustainability in the Lower Mekong Basin (2019). Maize is … Continue reading The golden fuel

Is winter as miserable for animals as it is for us?

If dogs are out in coats and boots, how are the squirrels feeling? by Bridget B. Baker While the weather outside may indeed get frightful this winter, a parka, knit hat, wool socks, insulated boots and maybe a roaring fire make things bearable for people who live in cold climates. But what about all the wildlife out there? Won’t they be freezing? Anyone who’s walked their dog when temperatures are frigid knows that canines will shiver and favor a cold paw – which partly explains the boom in the pet clothing industry. But chipmunks and cardinals don’t get fashionable coats or booties.  In … Continue reading Is winter as miserable for animals as it is for us?

Why it matters that humans and nature are growing apart

Our relationship with nature is changing. UNSPLASH Our relationship with the great outdoors isn’t quite the same as it was a few decades ago. BY ZAYNA SYED Are people less connected to nature today than previous generations? And does a disconnect from nature influence how much we care about climate change, biodiversity loss, and other environmental issues?  These are questions at the heart of a new study from the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research and the Theoretical and Experimental Ecology Station in France. Scientists reviewed existing studies that examine humans’ relationship with nature, and found that, overall, we have been interacting less with … Continue reading Why it matters that humans and nature are growing apart

Book Excerpt: The Unknown Risks of Microplastics in Indoor Air

Visual: Amy Bader/Getty Images Microplastic fibers are swirling in the air around us and under our feet. But how are they affecting our health? BY MATT SIMON TAKE A LOOK around. If you’re on a bus or train, you’re likely sitting on a plastic seat surrounded by people in synthetic clothing, all of it shedding particles as they move. If you’re on the couch or in bed, you’re sunk into the embrace of microfibers. The carpet underneath you is probably plastic, as is the coating of a hardwood floor. Curtains, blinds, TVs, coasters, picture frames, cables, cups — all of it’s either … Continue reading Book Excerpt: The Unknown Risks of Microplastics in Indoor Air

Risk On: The Dramatic Rise Of Genetically Modified Food

POSTED BY: CAMILLE SU VIA THE EPOCH TIMES  Technocrat tinkering with life is risky to human life and well being. While skating by the the Department of Agriculture as “substantially equivalent” foods, our human food supply is permanently tainted. The biggest risk is to the human biome and the immune system. Each year large numbers of food items are added to the GLO shelf in supermarkets. ⁃ TN Editor Gene editing has long been primarily used for research, treatment, and disease prevention. Currently, this technology is increasingly being applied to modify agricultural products to create more “perfect” species. More and more … Continue reading Risk On: The Dramatic Rise Of Genetically Modified Food

Fortune favours the shrewd

Attaining and maintaining power lies at the heart of almost all animal societies. And it’s as devious as human politicking by Lee Alan Dugatkin, is professor of biology at the University of Louisville. His books include Power in the Wild: The Subtle and Not-So-Subtle Ways Animals Strive for Control over Others (2022) and, along with Lyudmila Trut, of How to Tame a Fox (and Build a Dog) (2017). The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power … We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention … Continue reading Fortune favours the shrewd

‘Dangerous’: Greenpeace slam Saudi Arabia ski resort as Kingdom wins 2029 Asian winter games bid

By Charlotte Elton  Campaign group Greenpeace has slammed a “dangerous” ski resort being built in Saudi Arabia. The warning comes days after the desert kingdom won its bid to host the 2029 Asian Winter Games. Saudi authorities claim that the new Trojena resort in the country’s north west will operate on “sustainable infrastructure” and renewable energy. But Greenpeace campaigners have questioned the project’s environmental credentials. “You’re changing a natural ecosystem which can have compounding impacts,” says Ahmed El Droubi, regional campaigns manager for Greenpeace. “If you change something in one place, it may change something else in another place, and so on, and it can have impacts … Continue reading ‘Dangerous’: Greenpeace slam Saudi Arabia ski resort as Kingdom wins 2029 Asian winter games bid