Category: Comment & Opinion

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.

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.

Pellet makers say they use only lumber mill waste, treetops and limbs, and crooked trees to produce wood pellets. Industry critics argue that companies are increasingly clear-cutting forests to meet growing demand. Losing standing forests means losing natural carbon sinks, biodiversity and protection from storms and floods. Photo credit: USDAgov on Visual Hunt / CC BY

UK’s net-zero emissions 2050 pledge undermined by biomass energy loophole

The United Kingdom and the European Union are setting goals to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. But that declaration is deeply flawed, analysts say, due to a long-standing United Nations carbon accounting loophole that turns a blind eye toward the conversion of coal burning power plants to burning wood pellets.

Global scientific eating plan forgets the world’s poor

A team of 37 world-leading scientists from 16 countries have just released the world’s first ever scientific eating plan. The diet sounds like a silver bullet, but we have found it to be slightly problematic. It doesn’t recognise the enormous differences across the world when it comes to food consumption and production systems.