Where Aliens Could Be Watching Us

More than 1,700 stars could have seen Earth in the past 5,000 years. BY LISA KALTENEGGER Do you ever feel like someone is watching you? They could be. And I’m not talking about the odd neighbors at the end of your street. This summer, at the Carl Sagan Institute at Cornell University and the American Museum of Natural History in NYC, my colleague Jacky Faherty and I identified 1,715 stars in our solar neighborhood that could have seen Earth in the past 5,000 years.1 In the mesmerizing gravitational dance of the stars, those stars found themselves at just the right place … Continue reading Where Aliens Could Be Watching Us

The Whale Who Will Come Soon

A whale-watching trip is a voyage into the psychic dimensions of ocean in the 21st century. BY REBECCA GIGGS The beachfront narrows to an ocherous ribbon, belted by blue, above and below. After a while, a handful of shearwaters appear in the air above the Cat Balou. The birds flash around us; like knife-thrower tricks at a circus. Diving through the water, each is crowned in a diadem of bubbles. The shearwaters come from Antarctica, like the humpbacks, and also Siberia, South America, and Japan; they arrive in Australia, where they often die in large numbers from exhaustion. Such bird deaths, … Continue reading The Whale Who Will Come Soon

Circles of the Damned

by Ed Simon  Maybe during this broiling summer you’ve seen the footage—in one striking video, women and men stand dazed on a boat sailing away from the Greek island of Evia, watching as ochre flames consume their homes in the otherwise dark night. Similar hellish scenes are unfolding in Algeria, Tunisia, and Libya, as well as in Turkey and Spain. Currently Siberia is experiencing the largest wildfire in recorded history, an unlikely place for such a conflagration, joined by large portions of Canada. As California burns, the global nature of our immolation is underscored by horrific news around the world, … Continue reading Circles of the Damned

Could climate change make humans go extinct?

By Patrick Pester  There’s good news and bad news. The impacts of climate change are here with soaring temperatures, stronger hurricanes, intensified floods and a longer and more severe wildfire season. Scientists warn that ignoring climate change will yield “untold suffering” for humanity. But if things are going to get that much worse, could climate change make humans go extinct? Scientists predict a range of devastating scenarios if climate change is not kept under control, but if we just consider the direct impacts, then there’s some good news; it’s unlikely to cause our extinction.  “There is no evidence of climate change scenarios that would render human beings … Continue reading Could climate change make humans go extinct?

The Social and Environmental Perils of Magical Thinking

We can’t just assume that the pandemic, the climate crisis, and other pressing societal issues will work out fine. BY LOUISE FABIANI  THERE HAS BEEN MUCH coverage in recent media of citizens who fail to acknowledge the existence of such global crises as Covid-19 or anthropogenic climate change. They are said to be skeptical or in denial. They refuse to participate in any solution for the simple reason that they believe them to be non-issues. Just as dangerous to the common good is a person who fully accepts the existence of a problem, yet believes as a matter of course that everything will work out … Continue reading The Social and Environmental Perils of Magical Thinking

Why is the Gulf Stream slowing down and what does it mean for the future of the UK’s climate?

The Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation ocean current plays a key role in the climate of the UK, and it’s shifting. By Jason Goodyer What exactly is the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC)? The simplest idea of it is just these very large-scale ocean currents in the top thousand metres of the Atlantic. That’s kind of a system of currents that transports warm, salty water northwards throughout the Atlantic and then at high latitude, in the subpolar North Atlantic, the water gets cold, becomes dense and it sinks down to below a thousand metres and it flows back southwards. It’s a loop … Continue reading Why is the Gulf Stream slowing down and what does it mean for the future of the UK’s climate?

The great climate migration is happening and you might be the next to move

Let’s unpack the migration of the future By Aspen Pflughoeft@AspenPflughoeft   So far this year, wildfires have displaced tens of thousands of people in the U.S., Canada, Greece and Turkey. Monsoons have displaced thousands in the U.S., India and Bangladesh. And massive floods have displaced over a million more in Germany, China and Myanmar.Report ad During just one week this summer, at least 40 countries experienced extreme weather events, reported Down To Earth. Countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, North America and Oceania were all affected. The photos and videos from these disasters have looked like horror movies filled with apocalyptic scenes. Right now — through shaky videos shot on the phones of fleeing victims — we’re watching a movie … Continue reading The great climate migration is happening and you might be the next to move

A Forgotten Prophet Whose Time Has Come

Ivan Illich’s radical critique of our modern certitudes resonates loudly amid today’s crises. BY NATHAN GARDELS Nathan Gardels is the editor-in-chief of Noema Magazine. Beset as we are these days by the cascading consequences of climate change and the descent into dysfunction of our social institutions, it is worth remembering Ivan Illich, a forgotten prophet whose time has come.  Fortunately, two books on the 1970s apostle of the era of limits remind us of his prescient relevance: “Ivan Illich: An Intellectual Journey” published by his friend and long-time interlocutor David Cayley this year, and “The Prophet of Cuernavaca: Ivan Illich and … Continue reading A Forgotten Prophet Whose Time Has Come

2021 Is The Year Of Catastrophic Climate Change, But Capitalism Doesn’t Care

By Andy Worthington Since I first saw it on Twitter last week, I’ve been haunted by the photo above, showing holidaying diners by the sea, or by a lake, seemingly oblivious to the wildfires engulfing a forest on the hills behind. It may or may not be from Turkey, recently ravaged by uncontrollable wildfires. Or it may be, as one commentator suggested, from similar wildfires in Oregon four years ago. It may even be photoshopped, but in the year that wildfires have engulfed forests in country after country across the globe to an unprecedented degree, in yet another year of record-breaking heat in … Continue reading 2021 Is The Year Of Catastrophic Climate Change, But Capitalism Doesn’t Care

Why The World Is Starting To Panic Over Climate – Analysis

By Robin Russell-Jones Scientific background Climate change is the biggest threat that humanity has ever faced. Warming of the troposphere as a result of releasing man-made greenhouse gases into the atmosphere was predicted as long ago as 1896. Levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere have been measured continuously since 1958 at the Mauna Lao Observatory in Hawaii. CO2 has risen from a pre-industrial level of 280 parts per million (ppm) to 415 ppm (2021). Methane is the second most important greenhouse gas and has risen from a pre-industrial level of 722 parts per billion to 1,866 (2019). Methane levels … Continue reading Why The World Is Starting To Panic Over Climate – Analysis