Category Archives: Civilization

Climate change and the threat to civilization

Daniel Steel, C. Tyler DesRoches, and Kian Mintz-Woo write: In a speech about climate change from April 4th of this year, UN General Secretary António Guterres lambasted “the empty pledges that put us on track to an unlivable world” and warned that “we are on a fast track to climate disaster”. Although stark, Guterres’ statements… Read More »

The story of America’s ‘lost crops’ shows that the reign of corn was not inevitable

Sarah Laskow writes: The development of agriculture, the Marxist archaeologist V. Gordon Childe declared in 1935, was an event akin to the Industrial Revolution—a discovery so disruptive that it spread like the shocks of an earthquake, transforming everything in its path. Childe’s work on what he termed “the Neolithic Revolution” focused on just one site… Read More »

Climate change threatens not only our future but also our past

Melissa Gronlund writes: At Bagerhat in southern Bangladesh, a city of 360 mosques from the 15th century, salt water from the encroaching Indian Ocean is damaging the foundations. In Yemen, torrential rains are decimating the improbable mud-brick high-rises of Shibam’s 16th-century architecture, newly exposed owing to strikes from the conflict there. In Iraq, the country’s… Read More »

Understanding planetary intelligence

Adam Frank, Sara Walker, and David Grinspoon write: Almost a century ago, the revolutionary idea of the biosphere gained a foothold in science. Defined as the collective activity of all life on Earth—the tapestry of actions of every microbe, plant, and animal—the biosphere had profound implications for our understanding of planetary evolution. The concept posits… Read More »

How science is uncovering the secrets of Stonehenge

Tim Adams writes: Among the many treasures in the British Museum’s forthcoming Stonehenge exhibition is a collection of carved and polished spherical stones, each about the size of a cricket ball. The stones are 5,000 years old and have mostly been found singly in Scotland. The most famous of the 400 or so discoveries is… Read More »