climate change

When will the Earth become uninhabitable?

Earth is our home, but how much longer can it remain so? In this episode of the Stuff to Blow Your Mind podcast, Robert and Christian explore the many threats to terrestrial habitability, from the cosmically distant to the frighteningly close at hand.

Science Communication Breakdown

Science enabled humans to ascend out of the darkness and tackle life’s problems with systematic, self-correcting rigidity. Yet, when faced with scientific consensus on climate change and other issues, some citizens, politicians and even scientists dig in their heels and deny the shape of our current understand. Why do some people doubt scientific consensus? What’s wrong in science communication? Robert and Joe attempt to find an answer.

Anthropocene: The Age of Man

When viewed from the standpoint of geologic time, what is humanity's ultimate contribution to the planet? As destructive and game-changing as the cataclysmic events separating whole epochs, have we ushered in an Age of Man with our agriculture, industrialism and war? What was the world like before our steam-powered industrial ascension? In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Julie and I ask hard questions about humanity's relationship with planet Earth. Will we continue to remake the world as we see fit, or will we become true stewards of the planet?

There Was a Limited Nuclear War so We Got a Snow Day

I've blogged before about the whole nuclear winter versus global warming issue and it's still something that always comes across as a relevant comparison of two man-made atmospheric changes or the bland witticism from the type of person who doesn't believe in climate change and who fails to see the downside to nuclear warfare. It all depends on who's doing the talking. In this latest bit of news, it's NASA scientist Luke Oman.

Peruvian Potatoes Uproot, Try Their Luck in the Arctic

Today's a big day in potato preservationist circles. Yes, there is such a thing. It marks the beginning of a massive collaborative effort to safeguard one of the world's most important crops: the potato, of course. South American potato farmers and plant scientists worried about the fate of our favorite tubers have decided to start sending seeds from more than 1,500 different South American potato varieties to the Svalbard Global Seed Vault in remote Longyearbyen, Norway. Quite a change for potatoes used to their historic mountainous home in the Peruvian Andes.

Are we to blame for beached whales and dolphins?

In my last post, I talked about the two varieties of whale stranding and Dr. Gregory D. Bossart 's Science on Tap lecture on the topic at the Georgia Aquarium. This time around, I'm going to run through some of what Bossart had to say about the possible causes behind mass strandings. Sadly, a number of the cases point back to human alteration of the environment.

The Laws of Science (and Faith)

Devout environmentalism is now tantamount to religious conviction -- in British law at least. No, the UK hasn't made a mass return to its Druidical past, enshrining the cycles of the moon in law or worshipping sun gods with parabolic solar collectors. But the employment laws that protect religious freedom have been extended to include the belief in man-made climate change.

Fear in a Handful of Dust

Whether you're a struggling sub-Saharan farmer or just a hippie dosed to the gills at Burning Man, the sight of an advancing wall of abrasive darkness is never a good thing. Also known as sandstorms, dust storms have served as harbingers of drought, famine and death for thousands of years.

Thailand: Sinking Cities and Fading Deltas

Thailand's enormous capital is crisscrossed with canals and bisected by the snaking path of the Chao Phraya River. As such, some travel writers have dubbed Bangkok the "Venice of the East," and as with its Italian cousin, there's also more than a little concern about what happens if sea levels rise.

How much does unappealing language hold back messages about global warming, um, I mean the "deteriorating atmosphere?" That's what the nonprofit PR firm ecoAmerica set out to study. Its findings suggested that no, people don't want to hear about "global warming," or even "climate change" -- it makes them freeze up and think about Al Gore -- but they wouldn't mind listening to a few value-focused "talking points." Although the ecoAmerica study was just released yesterday, it's already been around the block a few times. About a month ago, a summary meant for government officials and environmental leaders was accidentally e-mailed to several news outlets, including the New York Times. More recently, Grist reported on the document, which focuses on nearly every environmental buzzword out there.