Category: People & Place

Bald Eagle in flight in Alaska, USA. Photo by Andy Morffew / Flickr

For Rachel Carson, wonder was a radical state of mind

In 1957, the world watched in wonder as the Soviet Union launched Sputnik 1, the first artificial satellite, into outer space. Despite Cold War anxieties, The New York Times admitted that space exploration ‘represented a step toward escape from man’s imprisonment to Earth and its thin envelope of atmosphere’.

General Sherman, a Californian giant sequoia, is the biggest tree in the world. For a brief period in the late 19th century it was renamed Karl Marx.

A future just, green and free, under a tree named Karl Marx

California has long been seen as the place where the future takes shape, and the state has drawn to it seekers from all over the world and across the political spectrum. It’s a Mecca for the local- and organic-food movement’s pilgrims as well as for today’s disciples of techno-libertarians such as Peter Thiel and Elon Musk.

Liz Miller/Shutterstock

How to rewild your garden and create a tiny rainforest

Many scientists believe that halting global warming at 1.5°C will require us to invent Negative Emission Technologies – machines that can suck climate warming gases like carbon dioxide (CO₂) from the air. But such technology already exists and has done for over two billion years.

The Okavango Delta, Botswana

African countries and the state of their environments: the best and the worst

Social and economic changes in Africa are being driven by increasing prosperity and heavy foreign investment. Money has been poured into activities such as road building, forestry expansion, livestock intensification and increasing urbanisation. All have increased pressure on the continent’s environment.

How did elephants evolve such a large brain? Climate change is part of the answer

Elephants have long captivated our attention, partly because of their sheer size and majesty. But we’re also struck by their complex behaviour. In some ways, we’re fascinated because this behaviour echoes our most humane feelings. For instance, elephants have repeatedly been observed using tools and grieving their dead.

Opinion: Calling all hackers – endangered wildlife needs you

In recent months, there’s been a global push to get tech companies to help combat terrorist activities – to make it harder for terrorists to communicate and publicize their heinous attacks online. We need the same kind of resolute effort – led by hackers and savvy computer users – to fight illegal hunting and trading.

It’s been four decades since the first credible, global report on the effect of carbon dioxide on the global climate. Shutterstock

40 years ago, scientists predicted climate change. And hey, they were right

Forty years ago, a group of climate scientists sat down at Woods Hole in Massachusetts for the first meeting of the “Ad Hoc Group on Carbon Dioxide and Climate”. It led to the preparation of what became known as the Charney Report – the first comprehensive assessment of global climate change due to carbon dioxide.

Government negligence, rampant development and illegal land clearing spark wildfires in Indonesia that annually ravage thousands of acres of forest. AP Photo

Resource depletion is a serious problem, but ‘footprint’ estimates don’t tell us much about it

Experts widely agree that human activities are harming the global environment. Since the Industrial Revolution, the world economy has grown dramatically. Overall this is a success story, since rising incomes have lifted millions of people out of poverty. But it has been fueled by population growth and increasing consumption of natural resources.