September 19, 2017

This Diet is Good for the Planet

(Photo by The Open University)

2014. A new year. The time to make resolutions. It’s when we all join gyms, sign up for dating sites, and start new diets — only to quit them a few weeks later.   If you’re into resolutions, I’ve got one for you to consider: In 2014, try a low-carb diet. Not a low–carb(ohydrate) diet, but a low-carbon one. As ... Read More »

Chill the Drills in America’s Arctic

(Photo via OtherWords)

America’s Arctic is a place like no other. Its unique conditions — extreme weather, long periods of darkness, and its remoteness from infrastructure, make it both extremely harsh and fragile. Here, sea ice meets the northern edge of the continent, and animals congregate in great numbers.   I have been fortunate to spend time in Arctic Alaska. I’ve watched walrus ... Read More »

Climate Change, Migration, and Conflict in South Asia


South Asia will be among the regions hardest hit by climate change. Higher temperatures, more extreme weather, rising sea levels, increasing cyclonic activity in the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea, as well as floods in the region’s complex river systems will complicate existing development and poverty reduction initiatives. Coupled with high population density levels, these climate shifts have ... Read More »

Elephants Are the Latest Conflict Resource in Africa

A herd of elephants in Tsavo West National Park, Kenya. (Photo by Panos/Martin Roemers, via AfricaRenewal)

An average of about 45 elephants per day were illegally killed in 2011 in every two of five protected sites holding elephant populations in Africa, thanks to the growing illegal trade in ivory, which continues to threaten the survival of elephants on the continent. A joint report by four international conservation organizations says that 17,000 elephants were killed in 2011 ... Read More »

They’re Feeding WHAT to Cows?

A dairy farm in Lancaster county in Pennsylvania. (Photo by Tony Fischer, Creative Commons License)

Anyone who pays even scant attention to where our food comes from is likely aware that some pretty unsavory things happen between the farm and your fork (see this month’s big story in Rolling Stone, for example). But some of these farming methods are more than just unappetizing: they could be deadly. One practice in particular could allow for the spread of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, ... Read More »

Asia Leading the World on Carbon Emissions Trading

(Photo by ribarnica)

It is not well known that Kazakhstan — a nation whose landmass exceeds that of Western Europe and which boasts the largest economy in Central Asia — introduced a carbon trading scheme earlier this year. It is the first Asian nation to take on an economy-wide cap and the trading system has been designed to help it achieve its goal ... Read More »

China’s Farmers Innovate to Adapt to Climate Change

Climate change

  The film “Planting for Change” tells the story of how farmers in Guangxi and Yunnan provinces have responded to climatic adversity by using their own innovations and biocultural heritage – and by improving this heritage by working with scientists on participatory plant breeding projects.   For the past three years, this region, which is rich in biocultural heritage and landscape beauty, has been ... Read More »

A Journey Through Arctic Alaska

Walker Lake, Alaska. (Photo by Bruce and Letty, Creative Commons License)

Forward a few paddles…” Joe says in a soft but urgent voice. Three of us—Joe Riis, Neal Conan, and I—are paddling 92 miles down the Kobuk River through the northernmost boreal forest in Arctic Alaska. Five rapids are looming. We can hear them, and because we’ve been cold and wet for the previous three days, we want to make sure ... Read More »

Why Renewable Fuel Standard Is Good for the Climate

A six-row corn harvester during the feed corn harvest at the John N. Mills & Sons farm; a family-owned business located in the Hanover and King William Counties of Virginia, on Sept. 20, 2013. (Photo by USDAgov)

Eight years have passed since the Renewable Fuel Standard, or RFS, was first enacted; today, legislators are examining the effects of this landmark law. The ongoing debate often centers on corn ethanol and its effects on corn prices, the amount of renewable fuel that can be blended with conventional gasoline, and the oil savings and environmental benefits. Critics argue that ... Read More »

Melting Arctic Another Place for U.S. Military to Defend

NOAA scientists explore the Arctic during a 2005 mission. (NOAA photo via ThinkProgress)

For the first time, the Pentagon has a comprehensive strategy for the Arctic. This move is prompted mainly because climate change is causing the sea ice to steadily melt and allow ships to access more of the Arctic Ocean. On Friday in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel helped to open the 5th Halifax International Security Forum by speaking about the Department of ... Read More »