Why Bill Gates and John Kerry are wrong about climate change

 Modern windmills. Image courtesy of Pexels/Pixabay By John Carey There’s a recent phenomenon in which smart people, mostly white men, parachute down from a higher plane to tell us mere mortals the truth about fighting climate change. Colorfully dubbed “first-time climate dudes” by journalist Emily Atkin of the newsletter Heated, they invariably offer some version of doom and gloom, whether it’s Bill Gates calling any attempt to rapidly reduce greenhouse emissions to near zero “a fairy tale”, or novelist Jonathan Franzen proclaiming in the New Yorker that we must “accept that disaster is coming.” Sorry, climate dudes, but I think you’re dead wrong. Wrong too is John Kerry, … Continue reading Why Bill Gates and John Kerry are wrong about climate change

The secret social lives of trees

by JONNY THOMSON Have you ever heard a tree scream? Trees demonstrate an incredibly complex array of social behaviors. Urban trees are cut off from their natural social groupings and do not thrive as they would “in the wild.” Many trees live on a timescale that humans find difficult to fathom. There’s a short story by Roald Dahl called The Sound Machine. It involves a man who invents a machine that allows him to tune into the frequency of surrounding plant life. When he first tries it, he can hear the shrieking of the roses, as his neighbor trims and cuts … Continue reading The secret social lives of trees

The myths that hint at past disaster

10th May 2021Myths and fables passed down over thousands of years are full of fantastic creatures and warring gods. But they also might contain evidence of environmental disasters of the past. By Mark Piesing For those affected, it could seem like the end of the world. Residents of Stinson Beach, a popular tourist destination near San Francisco, are coming to terms with studies that show large parts of their neighbourhood will be under a foot of water in less than 20 years. The affluent are able to build homes on raised foundations and afford expensive sea defences that will hold the … Continue reading The myths that hint at past disaster

What’s the minimum number of people needed to survive an apocalypse?

A surprisingly small population could save our species. By Patrick Pester – Staff Writer  From all-out nuclear war to a giant asteroid strike, it’s not hard to imagine ways human life on Earth could abruptly end. But assuming there are some survivors, how many people would it take to keep our species going?   The short answer is, it depends. Different catastrophes would create different doomsday conditions for surviving human populations to endure. For example, a nuclear war could trigger a nuclear winter, with survivors facing freezing summer temperatures and global famine, not to mention radiation exposure. However, putting some of these conditions aside and focusing on … Continue reading What’s the minimum number of people needed to survive an apocalypse?

Experts Say Humanity Faces a Grim and “Ghastly Future” – State of Planet Is Much Worse Than Most People Understand

By FLINDERS The global population could reach 10 billion by 2050; explosive population growth is contributing to a broad array of other challenges for the planet. The state of the planet is much worse than most people understand and that humans face a grim and “ghastly future” unless extraordinary action is taken soon. A loss of biodiversity and accelerating climate change in the coming decades coupled with ignorance and inaction is threatening the survival of all species, including our very own, according to the experts from institutions including Stanford University, UCLA, and Flinders University. The researchers state that world leaders need a … Continue reading Experts Say Humanity Faces a Grim and “Ghastly Future” – State of Planet Is Much Worse Than Most People Understand

The Mother of All Accidents

Odds are, if an asteroid hadn’t crashed into Earth, we wouldn’t be here. BY SEAN B. CARROLL In 2001, Seth MacFarlane was the 27-year-old executive producer and creator of the not-yet-hit animated show Family Guy. Having broken into the entertainment big leagues at such a young age, MacFarlane was invited back in September to address his alma mater, the Rhode Island School of Design. After giving a talk, he went out for what turned out to be a late night of drinking with some professors.  The next morning, September 11, MacFarlane raced to catch an 8:15 a.m. flight out of Boston … Continue reading The Mother of All Accidents

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

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