Africa (Ensia) – Climate change’s effects on humankind may prove most severe on the African continent, due to widespread poverty and unstable governance in many countries. Yet scientists and policy-makers on the continent suffer from a serious lack of access to Read More
China (Sputnik) – Two ‘vertical forest’ towers, with thousands of trees and other plants growing on their sides and roofs, will be built in the Chinese city of Nanjing. The buildings will help to clean the air in the city of Read More
World (Ensia) – Insetting does more than just offset carbon emissions — it helps companies boost resilience and care for the ecosystems that provide their raw materials. Ten years ago, serendipity set Tristan Lecomte on his path to planting millions of Read More
Patagonia (GV) – On January 10, 2017 Argentine armed forces opened fire on a community of Mapuche indigenous people in the Chubut region fighting to reclaim ancestral lands currently in the hands of the multinational corporation Benetton. According to local news, Read More
China (GPA) – In an unprecedented move, China has scrapped plans for 85 new coal burning power plants and several other coal energy facilities across eleven provinces. Following China’s recent announcement to invest $360 billion on renewable energy by 2020, the Read More
The US Department Of Agriculture (USDA) recently announced an online resource for climate shift information. Joining a broader network, it’s intended to educate the general public on climate change adaptive strategies.
Released by the Climate Change Resource Center (CCRC), the online resource also connects land managers and environmental decision makers. Described as “interactive”, the resource details climate adaptive endeavors sought by the USDA Forest Service, USDA Climate Hubs, and other agencies.
“Natural resource managers”, reads a USDA blog, “are already observing changes in their forests and range-lands.” Such changes manifest unprecedented challenges for land managers, from flooding to droughts. This ranges from bone gripping drought in California, to intense southern and east coast tropical storms.
Switzerland (CK) – Among the diplomats, corporate titans, politicians and celebrities circulating at the World Economic Forum in Davos this year will be a fresh face: Chinese President Xi Jinping. It is no accident that 2017 marks the first year that Read More
World (Ensia) – It’s time to deliver on the goals we’ve set for a more peaceful, resilient planet. When you look to the year ahead, what do you see? Ensia recently invited eight global thought leaders to share their thoughts. In this interview Read More
(TFC)— Michael Wood Jr. is a former US Marine and Baltimore cop of 11 years. In 2015, a year after leaving the force, Wood shared his experiences on Twitter. Those posts relayed various forms of misconduct he’d witnessed or done. As Read More
Challenges of this scale require people to want to solve it, and we’re not there yet.
When you look to the year ahead, what do you see? Ensia recently invited eight global thought leaders to share their thoughts. In this interview with Ensia contributor Lisa Palmer for the 2017 Ensia print annual, IT Technology Review editor in chief and publisher Jason Pontin responds to three questions: What will be the biggest challenge to address or opportunity to grasp in your field in 2017? Why? And what should we be doing about it now?
The challenge in 2017 existed in 1989: the civilizational challenge of climate change. Technology created the problem, and technology plausibly offers ways to ameliorate and manage it. But we have to want to solve the problem. Great civilizational challenge of that scale requires government, academia, business and ordinary people to want to solve it, and I don’t think as a species we are there yet.
Want to solve big problems? Start small.
Seeds of Good Anthropocenes, a website created by an international team of sustainability scientists, seeks to do just that. The site showcases more than 500 initiatives from around the world that, while not widespread or well known, might contribute to a sustainable future.
The purpose of the project, according to its founders, is to provide a middle ground between gloom-and-doom reports, which may inadvertently spur feelings of powerlessness and resignation, and those that are overly optimistic and risk inciting complacency. Writing in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, the founders argue that we should break through this dichotomy by looking to “seeds” — environmentally beneficial tools and techniques that are neither untested proposals nor established practices. Each seed offers an idea that helps in some way to address challenges posed by the Anthropocene, such as environmental awareness, urban sustainability and equitable decision-making.
The mighty Gulf Stream, which keeps Northern Europe and parts of Western Russia warmer than other parts of the world that share their latitude, may collapse if greenhouse gas emissions persist, an international team of researchers warns.
Global warming and the melting ice may seriously weaken the powerful Gulf Stream current and ultimately lead to its collapse, which would have incalculable consequences for precipitation, sea ice, sea levels and natural calamities in the North Atlantic and elsewhere on Earth, an international group of researchers predict in an study which was published in the scientific magazine Geophysical Research Letters.
According to Danish climate professor Sebastian H. Mernild, CEO of the Nansen Environmental and Remote Sensing Center in Bergen, Norway, the melting of, above all, the Greenland Ice Sheet may result in a marked freshwater influx that could substantially weaken the Atlantic Ocean’s intricate system of surface and deep ocean currents, including the Gulf Stream, which is responsible for keeping Europe temperate, Danish newspaper Berlingske reported.
“Regardless of the approach or transformative pathway chosen to change food systems and trade regimes, African countries need to undertake radical change in agricultural production systems, adopt agribusiness and promote regional agricultural value chains as a vein for regional integration.” The statement was made by Stephen Karingi, Director of the ECA’s Regional Integration and Trade Division this week in Cote d’Ivoire, at the opening of a symposium themed: Implementing Agro-Industrialization and Regional Value Chains for Africa’s Agricultural Transformation.
“Despite a handful of landmark political commitments, Africa is the only region in the world that has witnessed an increase in the number of food insecure people and has a mushrooming agricultural and food trade deficit,” said Karingi.
For the last few months, the Dakota Access Pipeline has captured the nation’s attention. After Energy Transfer Partners started construction on a pipeline near the Standing Rock Reservation, local Native American tribes protested the pipeline on the grounds that it could pollute their water supplies. Word of the protests spread and thousands of protesters flocked to Standing Rock. After months of confrontations between protesters and militarized police, the Army Corps of Engineers paused the project pending an environmental impact assessment.
The Native American tribes and environmentalists hailed this development as a victory, albeit a temporary one. Donald Trump, who will soon be taking office, has vowed to complete the DAPL and has signaled a willingness to carry out this campaign promise by filling his administration with oil executives and people who have invested heavily in the project. As a result, anti-DAPL protesters are gearing up for a long protest season.
Interest in medicinal use for psychedelics is exponentiating within the confines of American consciousness. Perhaps successes in medical cannabis aided the humble psychedelics to transcend cultural stigma, but that’s less important.
What’s important is compounds like LSD and psilocybin have qualities besides medical benefits. Namely, the psychedelic experience: a journey through the self, outer world and, some report, those beyond. Psychedelic research oftentimes introduces scientists to a “god-line” separating simple medical curiosity, and “the other”. How is western– particularly American–science to navigate the god-line? Is our culture prepared for the consequences of crossing it?