Judged by health criterial almonds are a supper food. You can't go wrong. But, analyzed from social and ecological criterial the almond boom doesn't look so good.
Animals and plants have way more resilience than we give them. No doubt there is some greenwashing here by the military, but this looks like a fascinating case in which animals adapt to extreme circumstances. Just look at the picture above.
The Grafenwoehr installation is now home to more than 3,000 plant and animal species, 800 of which are threatened, endangered or legally protected. These include the rare kingfisher, sea eagles, wildcats, a large beaver population, green woodpeckers and even lynx.
Still, biodiversity overall can benefit from the landscapes created by military training, officials say. Tank tracks or grenade craters from war games, for example, have become new breeding grounds and habitats for some endangered species.
No doubt there will be pains (all energy and economic transitions experience "pains") but this is poor reporting. Nearly the entire example rests on one case, one guy and his (minor) misfortune.
Data are still preliminary, but they suggest that both approaches can bring rapid benefits — not just to fish, but also to the habitat on which they depend.
Cool stuff and a movement to watch.
A World Health Organization report found that the fossil fuel economy and industrial civilization is already leading to 1 out of 8 deaths among humans each year (the number would be high for non-humans too). That is an immediate danger, more immediate than what climate change may be contributing to now. In the developing world, the main culprit is burring biomass for cooking and heating, with women being at greater risk than men. In the developed world, the main culprit are fossil fuel automobiles and industrial production.
A beautiful, moving essay by Zadie Smith on climate change and mourning a world we lost:
Oh, what have we done! It’s a biblical question, and we do not seem able to pull ourselves out of its familiar—essentially religious—cycle of shame, denial, and self-flagellation. This is why (I shall tell my granddaughter) the apocalyptic scenarios did not help—the terrible truth is that we had a profound, historical attraction to apocalypse. In the end, the only thing that could create the necessary traction in our minds was the intimate loss of the things we loved.
Great new article in Nature by Emma Marris that critically examines the focus on charismatic mega-fauna in ecological restoration and wildlife management. A similar story could be told about Pacific Salmon. Though they are not predators, they are considered a key-stone species.
Encouraging discourse from the top echelons of the Chinese Communist Party. Those interested in an unfolding cases study of rapid economic development, socio-ecological transformation, and hyper industrialization should pay attention to China. Changes everyday.
An excellent new website from Harvard Graduate School of Design's Urban Theory Lab. Check it out for all things urbanization and urban theory, including lots from theorist extraordinaire Neil Brenner.
Fascinating idea: moving from an extraction economy to a tourist economy by creating a gigantic marine sanctuary. Worth following this development. Bonus story: they will be using drones to help enforce the ban.
Not good. Not good at all.
Interesting article and accompanying data that indicates that the growth in solar panel installation is being driven by the middle-class, not the upper-class, in the US.
Your first thought is probably that the wealthy are the only ones putting solar panels on their houses in large numbers, but according to a new report on residential solar in Arizona, California, and New Jersey, that's not the case.
The reason? Solar leasing.
Important question: how can folks work to bring working-class folks into the solar revolution and distributed power? This is an area that sorely needs to be addressed in research and action.
The lights from the urban areas really put the size and scale of this fire into perspective.
Pregnancy has allowed me for the first time to understand how hard it is to tell good information from bad. As a science journalist, I make my living by being able to decipher the two, but all these warnings bewilder me. As a result, I feel like I can see a bit more clearly how misinformation can become epidemic, leading to collective panic and seriously bad policy making.
And suddenly, I began to understand something else: exactly how — and why — so many people opt to ignore the looming threat of climate change. Or to cherry-pick the facts that convince us that environmental problems are vastly overstated. Or to think that those preaching the most alarming outcomes are being melodramatic.
Sixty-three percent of those polled in the US also support the scientific consensus, which is down 7% last year, and only about 50% of those who support the consensus think humans are causing it, according to Yale School of Forestry.
“Our world appears to be on the brink of disaster, an appearance that is itself disastrous. The disaster of disaster is that disaster is everywhere, all the time: while on the one hand it appears obvious that disaster should be the exception that proves the rule of a generally non-disastrous world, in actuality no non-disastrous moment arrives.”
Timothy Morton, “Romantic Disaster Ecology: Blake, Shelley, Wordsworth.”
Why waiting for peak this or that and waiting for doom and gloom is a bad strategy. Capitalists and technologists continuously find ways to circumvent "limits" and "barriers." We need to take on the inequalities and socio-ecological harms the fossil fuel economy creates, rather than wait for the system to implode. They're not waiting.
Awesome web design and a cool way to perceive the vast distance between the planets.
Should we bring animals back from extinction? The how to do it is within our grasp. Stewart Brand has a good rundown of the argument, science, and politics involved. I believe that in 100-years time it will seem funny that we even debated this. Still, intentional geo, bio, and eco-engineering frightens, and irks, some as hubris.
The global warming meme is this web of cultural expressions about the human relationship with nature (Harmony), with one another (Cooperation), and the threat of extinction for the human race (Survival) that evokes a wide diversity of sentiments about expert authority and political power (Elitism).
And yet the core themes of the global warming meme evoke exactly this kind of crippling anxiety. Are we out of harmony with nature? Is it going to kill off everyone we have ever loved? Does this mean there is something wrong with us? Who has the audacity to claim that humans have the power of gods to shape the planet in such profound ways? Questions like these cause people to react defensively or shut out the conversation entirely. Our research shows that these are the questions that arise when climate memes enter the minds of people, explaining why both denialists and advocates respond so strongly to the different threats they perceive from the global warming meme.
This is why global warming won’t go viral. It is psychologically toxic to the human mind and won’t spread on its own.
Worth a look at this study and their conclusions about what could be done to further the conversation of global climate change and specific action.