World (Ensia) – The cotton industry is turning to innovation to help it weather challenging growing conditions ahead From well-loved jeans to linens, sneakers and T-shirts, cotton is woven into the products we love. Indeed, it is the most widely used Read More
World (Ensia) – Scientists are using audio recordings to understand and reduce negative effects on underwater ecosystems In 2013, Katherine Indeck listened to recordings of sounds made in a channel between the Gulf of Mexico and Tampa Bay, Florida. Some of Read More
Nepal (Ensia) -The world is facing a global poaching crisis. But who are the people on the front lines pulling the trigger? And why are they killing so many endangered species at such an alarming rate? This video takes viewers Read More
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
(Ensia) – Investment in industry-level research and development can give consumers a meaningful metric of sustainability. In 2010, fresh out of college with a degree in economics, I began a new job as a corporate sustainability professional at a major apparel 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
World (Ensia) – Cities are hubs of commerce, politics, population — and evolution? Yep. Due to human-wrought environmental change, biological evolution moves more quickly in cities than in other areas, according to a new paper published by an international team of Read More
World (Ensia) – The digital technology behind Bitcoin is poised to revolutionize how we certify sustainability, use renewable energy and more “A lot of crypto-currency proponents say that blockchains are going to save the planet. Well, I just can’t see it.” Read More
World (Ensia) – Manmade chemicals may alter ecological processes, yet few scientists are studying the role of these chemicals in global environmental change, say a group of researchers from the U.S. and Germany in a scientific paper published today in the Read More
World (Ensia) – For public land managers, policy-makers, natural resource specialists, farmers, ranchers and others in the business of protecting and renewing the world’s diverse ecosystems, it’s easy to get lost in a sea of studies and strategies. How does a person 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
World (Ensia) – Power producers around the world are increasingly turning their attention to the heat beneath our feet. At 2:46 p.m. local time on Friday, March 11, 2011, Japan was rocked by the largest earthquake ever to strike its shores. Read More
The rise in recent decades of diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease and rheumatoid arthritis suggests that factors in the environment are contributing.
In 1932, New York gastroenterologist Burrill Crohn described an unusual disease in 14 adults. The patients had bouts of abdominal pain, bloody diarrhea, and lesions and scars on the bowel wall. Doctors in other parts of North America and Europe were seeing it in their patients, too. They called the rare condition Crohn’s disease. After World War II, the number of new people getting inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s disease and a related condition called ulcerative colitis) skyrocketed across the West in countries such as the U.S., Canada and the UK. In the last three decades, IBD has begun to crop up in newly industrialized parts of the world like Hong Kong and China’s big cities.
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.