Category Archives: Ecology

How long can humans survive?

Tom Chivers writes: In the deep ocean, occasionally, a whale carcass falls to the bottom of the sea. Most of the time, in the state of nature, creatures have just about enough to survive. But the first creatures to find the whale have more food than they could ever eat. These scavengers live lives of… Read More »

Waste is central, not peripheral, to everything we design, make and do

Justin McGuirk writes: The opposition between ‘nature’ and ‘culture’ is problematic for many reasons, but there’s one that we rarely discuss. The ‘nature vs culture’ dualism leaves out an entire domain that properly belongs to neither: the world of waste. The mountains of waste that we produce every year, the torrents of polluting effluent, the… Read More »

The threats to mountain ecosystems

Mountain ecosystems are threatened by: 🚜Expansion of agriculture & settlements upslope🌳Logging for timber & fuel⛰️Replacement of alpine systems by highland pastures🌱#InvasiveSpecies💦#ClimateChange —@IPBES #GlobalAssessment#InternationalMountainDay pic.twitter.com/bqLcVFpJNq — ipbes (@IPBES) December 8, 2021

Junk food is bad for plants, too

Anne Biklé and David R. Montgomery write: Most of us are familiar with the much-maligned Western diet and its mainstay of processed food products found in the middle aisles of the grocery store. Some of us beeline for the salty chips and others for the sugar-packed cereals. But we are not the only ones eating… Read More »

How the Western diet has derailed our evolution

Moises Velesquez-Manoff writes: For the microbiologist Justin Sonnenburg, that career-defining moment—the discovery that changed the trajectory of his research, inspiring him to study how diet and native microbes shape our risk for disease—came from a village in the African hinterlands. A group of Italian microbiologists had compared the intestinal microbes of young villagers in Burkina… Read More »

What to learn from hedgerows

Katarina Zimmer writes: Hedgerows are as British as fish and chips. Without these walls of woody plants cross-stitching the countryside into a harmonious quilt of pastures and crop fields, the landscape wouldn’t be the same. Over the centuries, numerous hedges were planted to keep in grazing livestock, and some of today’s are as historic as… Read More »

Capitalism is killing the planet – it’s time to stop buying into our own destruction

George Monbiot writes: There is a myth about human beings that withstands all evidence. It’s that we always put our survival first. This is true of other species. When confronted by an impending threat, such as winter, they invest great resources into avoiding or withstanding it: migrating or hibernating, for example. Humans are a different… Read More »

The disastrous blindfolded rush to mine the deep sea

Jonathan Watts writes: A short bureaucratic note from a brutally degraded microstate in the South Pacific to a little-known institution in the Caribbean is about to change the world. Few people are aware of its potential consequences, but the impacts are certain to be far-reaching. The only question is whether that change will be to… Read More »