Category Archives: Humanity

Climate-linked ills threaten humanity

The Washington Post reports: The floods came, and then the sickness. Muhammad Yaqoob stood on his concrete porch and watched the black, angry water swirl around the acacia trees and rush toward his village [Bagh Yusuf, in Sindh province, Pakistan] last September, the deluge making a sound that was like nothing he had ever heard.… Read More »

Modern ‘sixth mass extinction’ event will be worse than first predicted, says report

GrrlScientist writes: Tragically, the global mass extinction event that we find ourselves in the midst of will be even worse than originally predicted, according to a recent study (ref). The international team of scientists came to their conclusion after analyzing population trends data for more than 71,000 animal species — including mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians,… Read More »

The microorganism that shaped humanity

Rob Dunn writes: Humans engage in mutualisms (mutually beneficial relationships) with many species; scientists describe a subset of these relationships as domestication, where one species exerts control over the other. For example, we might say that leaf-cutter ants have domesticated the fungi that they grow to feed their babies, or that some ants have domesticated… Read More »

Out of the wild

Samuel Matlack writes: On the Galápagos island of Floreana, a giant tortoise went extinct some 150 years ago, after human settlement. Conservationists are now working to bring its descendants, discovered on nearby islands, back to Floreana. But there is a problem: Rats, which came with the settlers and eat tortoise eggs and babies, run rampant… Read More »

Night skies are getting 9.6% brighter every year as light pollution erases stars for everyone

All human development, from large cities to small towns, shines light into the night sky. Benny Ang/Flickr, CC BY By Chris Impey, University of Arizona and Connie Walker, National Optical-Infrared Astronomy Research Laboratory CC BY-ND For most of human history, the stars blazed in an otherwise dark night sky. But starting around the Industrial Revolution,… Read More »

Why we will never be able to live on another planet

Arwen E Nicholson and Raphaëlle D Haywood write: For decades, children have grown up with the daring movie adventures of intergalactic explorers and the untold habitable worlds they find. Many of the highest-grossing films are set on fictional planets, with paid advisors keeping the science ‘realistic’. At the same time, narratives of humans trying to… Read More »

Preventing the collapse of biodiversity, demands the development of a new planetary politics

Stewart Patrick writes: The planet is in the midst of an environmental emergency, and the world is only tinkering at the margins. Humanity’s addiction to fossil fuels and voracious appetite for natural resources are accelerating climate change and degrading ecosystems on land and sea, threatening the integrity of the biosphere and thus the survival of… Read More »

What does water want?

Erica Gies writes: Walking across spongy tundra, among bonsai shrubs on fire with autumn colours, I came upon a river too wide to cross. Gazing up the valley from which it flowed, I saw that the obstacle blocking my path was just one strand of a broad, braided system spread languidly across a floodplain in… Read More »