eco matters Archives - Page 5 of 21 - State of the Planet

Conservation & Environmental Sustainability – Fall 2013 Courses

The Earth Institute Center for Environmental Sustainability (EICES) at Columbia University provides executive training in environmental sustainability through courses in science, economics and policy. We invite you to join our leading experts and practitioners, strengthen your understanding of human-ecosystem interactions, and become an effective environmental leader and decision-maker.

by |August 2, 2013

Climate-Vulnerable Species in Need of Conservation Attention

As the Earth progressively warms with climate change, species that are not able to adapt to shifting temperatures will be propelled towards extinction. Yet according to a new study by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) published in research journal Plos One, the majority of species that are most vulnerable to climate change are not given conservation priority.

by |July 25, 2013

A Moon Holiday to Get Away From It All

A national park on the moon? Preposterous? Not if the Apollo Lunar Landing Legacy Act, put forward by Congresswomen Donna Reed (D – Maryland) and Eddie Bernice Johnson (D – Texas) passes. We could very well be on our way to having a national park on the Moon protecting sites of historical value – where men first set foot on the moon.

by |July 24, 2013

Sustainable Intensification, Jumbo Shrimp, and Peacekeeper Missile: Which of these is an Oxymoron?

Lists are immensely popular these days and there are lists for almost anything. I was curious if there is a list for oxymora, or contradictions in terms, and sure enough there is – I was prompted on my search because of the recent appearance of the term “sustainable intensification” and I wanted to see if it appeared on the site. It turns out Sustainable Intensification is not listed on, which begs the question as to whether someone should go online and add it to the list?

by |July 17, 2013

World Population Projected to Cross 11 Billion Threshold in 2100

In 2011, the U.N. announced that the world population had reached 7 billion. This year’s new projections for future population growth are higher than previously expected. Projects like Millennium Cities hope to alleviate many of the pressures that crowded cities place on infrastructure, public services, and the environment.

by |July 15, 2013

Urban Trees Fight CO2 Emissions

Trees play a vital role in cleaning air and absorbing carbon dioxide.

by |July 12, 2013

Mysterious Honeybee Deaths Remain Unsolved

According to a comprehensive federal study, the collapse of American honeybee colonies stems from a complex slew of factors, including pesticides, parasites, poor nutrition and a lack of genetic diversity.

by |July 10, 2013

Birds, Ballasts, and the Fate of the Biosphere

The Biosphere really needs its own newspaper. Yes, there are lots of newspapers out there, but when it comes to the Biosphere, important stories just don’t get the top billing they deserve. Take discoveries of new species, for example. Just in the last month, a new spoon worm, white toothed shrew, corpse flower, and tailorbird were all discovered – this would be front-page material for the Biosphere Times, if such a paper existed, but good luck finding these stories in the mainstream papers.

by |July 10, 2013

Strange Bedfellows in the Climate Change Saga: Taiga to Tundra

In the nine-hour drive on the great Dalton Highway to Toolik Field Station one starts out in the boreal forest, which is also called the “taiga,” but the forest eventually disappears. More accurately, trees disappear. Leaving Fairbanks, one drives through beautiful stands of spruce, birch, and aspen trees, but as one gets closer and closer to the Brooks Range, a beautiful mountain range one has to cross to get to the tundra, the climate gets colder, the permafrost builds, and the forest begins to disappear.

by |June 25, 2013

Strange Bedfellows in the Climate Change Saga: The Quest for the Arctic Wolf

When you travel northbound on Alaska’s famous Dalton Highway heading toward the Arctic Sea, the northern edge of the world, you carry a radio to communicate with the enormous rigs that roar along the road, the giant trucks made famous by the History Channel’s Ice Road Truckers. Radio messages between truckers and non-truckers are simple and polite. They let each other know when it’s safe to pass, if a wide load is coming your way, or if the conditions ahead are dangerous or treacherous – snow drifts, slush flows, avalanches, washouts and the like.

by |June 17, 2013