Discussing the Anthropocene in a San Francisco park with Andrew Revkin for his New York Times blog Dot Earth.
The UK paperback of ADVENTURES IN THE ANTHROPOCENE: A Journey to the Heart of the Planet We Made is out today, published by Vintage!
Wishing you all a wonderful 2016, whatever adventures life brings xxx
Hopes are high that the 21st United Nations climate summit in Paris this December will finally achieve international agreement on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. But it’s coming rather late in the day. It’s time now to face up to the fact that we now live on a warming planet with extreme and unreliable climate, and figure out ways of ensuring humanity’s continued survival.
This means urgently focusing global action towards ambitious adaptation strategies for our protection in a warmer world, and investigating geoengineering options to mitigate the situation.
Instead, the world’s politicians and scientists are colluding in the worst kind of charade to spare us from the unpalatable truth: it’s now too late to avoid dangerous global warming. Read more…
In 2008, some 860,000 seeds from nearly every one of the world’s countries were deposited in an underground vault carved into an Arctic mountainside. The Global Seed Vault, in remote Svalbard, 1,300 kilometers from the North Pole, was designed to protect the world’s crops from the worst natural disasters, nuclear war, and pandemic diseases. Even if the electricity supply to the storage system were to be cut, the vault would remain frozen and the seeds protected for another 200 years.
Why the elaborate precautions? This vault contains something far more precious than everything inside Fort Knox: our food.
As global diets start to look the same, we increasingly rely on few crop varieties, causing previous staples to become forgotten. Nowadays, wheat is popular across the globe, whereas millets have fallen out of favour. Already, the world has lost some 75 percent of crop varieties Read more…
As Europe panics over the biggest migration of people since the end of the Second World War, responses have ranged from hostility and rapid barrier construction in the eastern bloc to official welcome in Germany and the Nordic countries. The public attitude has likewise varied from acts of aggression to generosity, including offers to house those arriving from war-torn Syria. In Britain, typically, one of the most prominent public debates has been over semantics, including whether public broadcasters should refer to the masses of people arriving on its borders as “refugees” or “migrants”—the latter having achieved an increasingly negative connotation in recent decades.
It’s easy to forget that humans are a migratory species. Read more…
I’m often asked what difference individuals can make in the face of global climate change? How can we influence the greenhouse gas emissions of nations, particularly when some of the world’s biggest corporations are involved in energy production? Despite the proclamations of green activists, the scale of the problem can be pretty disempowering.
And yet, communities and individuals are indeed having a surprisingly powerful influence on how their electricity is generated and are proving an important part of the global move toward renewable energy.
Producing sufficient reliable energy without exacerbating climate change Read more…