SUVs

Carbon emissions continue to rise despite the cry of a “climate emergency.” Consumers are doing their part to drive self-extinction in their SUVs.

Ghost Gear

Plastic refuse fouling the oceans is a major contributor to sea life decline. The primary source of sizable marine plastic is fishermen who are negligently destroying their own livelihoods.

Neonicotinoids in Japan

Following the environmental debacle of DDT, chemists thought themselves clever by synthesizing variants of molecules that plants themselves produce to ward off their pests. An obvious candidate was nicotine. Neonicotinoids illustrate how clever can kill.

Underwater

A fresh projection of sea level rise based upon satellite readings triples the number of people affected by 2050 than previously estimated. This new forecast is still an underestimate, as will be discovered next year.

Earth’s Carbon

Carbon is one of several chemical cycles which define Earth’s biosphere. Nitrogen, phosphorus, and oxygen are others. Carbon holds the distinction of principally acting, in the form of carbon dioxide (CO2), as the radiative “control knob” that sets global temperature for the air and oceans. While attention has focused on the atmospheric carbon level, that is a small component of a much larger cycle.

India’s Deepening Water Crisis

India currently has 1.33 billion people. The nation is rapidly running out of drinkable water. 600 million already face acute water shortages in major cities across the country. Another 21 major Indian cities will run out of groundwater in 2020, parching a further 100 million people unto death.

The Doom of Dumb Animals

The operational definition of intelligence is a consistent display of appropriate behavior. Behind the behavior is a mental construal of how the world works. Failing to comprehend the environment invariably has negative consequences. In the instance of humans on planet Earth, the diagnosis is clear and the outcome apparent. These creatures face impending extinction and are taking much other life out with them.

Bird’s Eye View

The United States space agency NASA has taken a peek at the Earth below, and found: “the stretching of resources due to the strain placed on the ecological carrying capacity” as well as “the economic stratification of society into elites and masses (or ‘commoners’).” In that regard, “accumulated surplus is not evenly distributed throughout society, but rather has been controlled by an elite. The mass of the population, while producing the wealth, is only allocated a small portion of it by elites, usually at or just above subsistence levels.”

Buzz Off

Pollination is essential to two-thirds of the world’s food crops. Commercial bee hives are often relied upon, but unkempt insects, including bees, beetles, flies and butterflies, are important, as the wild things are more productive pollinators. Pesticides and herbicides, blithely applied worldwide, are indiscriminate killers. Ironically, considering their intended benefit, crop yields are declining because of their use.

Externalities Internalized

Economists refer to pollution as an externality of production. Its cost is not captured in the price of the good produced. Instead, those who suffer the pollution pay with diminished quality of life. Capitalism has been an exuberant exercise in externalities, long tolerated by governments which could have put them in check. Now, the U.S. administration is about to show long overdue notice.