The most important lessons drawn from geology are that the earth’s climate can change radically and that the pace of change can be rapid. The precision of measurement is currently too poor to give an exact answer to a critical question, At what carbon dioxide level are we in danger of melting Antarctica? However, while crude, these estimates suggest that this threshold will be reached in 150-300 years, if carbon dioxide levels continue to rise at the current rate.
Both of us are interested in the intersection of the environment and public health, and we wanted to explore a public health issue about which we felt ignorant. Water kept coming up in our conversations, because we felt that while water is a global issue, it often gets overlooked domestically among our peers. As such, we put together a six-week cross-country road trip, along which we are collecting stories about regional water issues.
On Monday, June 2, President Obama will announce proposed federal rules aimed at curbing carbon emissions from existing U.S. power plants–possibly a landmark in U.S. climate policy. It is uncertain how far the rule will go, and the announcement is being closely watched around the world.
Nanotechnology is one of the fastest growing areas of science, engineering and industry that is used in more and more consumer products each day. It has great potential to transform our world for the better. But what are its implications for human health and the environment?
Earth Institute field researchers study the planet on every continent and ocean. Projects are aimed at understanding the fundamental dynamics of climate, geology, ecology, human history and more. Here is a partial list of upcoming expeditions.
Rushing around SW Bangladesh by boat and car, we managed to install or repair four GPS sites in record time. We caught up our lost day and managed to get to the ruins of the Shakher Temple in the Sundarban mangrove forest.
Countries vary dramatically in their records of environmental responsibility. Some nations such as Switzerland and Norway are well known for their willingness to sacrifice for the future good, while countries such Iraq and South Africa lag far behind. There are certainly socio-economic reasons for these stark differences, but is it also possible that human psychology shapes our perception of environmental responsibility?
Western ecologists and conservationists have been portrayed at times as modern imperialists, forcefully imposing a radical ideology of environmentalism on the developing world. These so-called “eco-imperialists” are depicted as arrogant and uncaring elites, concerned with the protection of pristine nature, but indifferent to human welfare. But the future of wild places is entwined with human welfare, and the protection of wildlands is in fact critical in the long run. This piece investigates the perception of modern conservationists as eco-imperialists, and argues against that view of environmentalism.
Understanding the climate history of Mono Lake will help scientists understand the future impact of climate change. This is no esoteric question for Los Angeles, which depends in part on Mono Lake’s watershed for drinking water, green lawns, agriculture and industry.