Resistance Is Futile

Illustration by Kotryna Zukauskaite

We do not have time for the patience required for proving the futility of resistance, but this historical perspective is valuable nonetheless:

When Coal First Arrived, Americans Said ‘No Thanks’

Back in the 19th century, coal was the nation’s newfangled fuel source—and it faced the same resistance as wind and solar today

Steven Preister’s house in Washington, D.C. is a piece of American history, a gorgeous 110-year-old colonial with wooden columns and a front porch, perfect for relaxing in the summer. Continue reading

Ocean, The Book

It has been a long time since our last links to a favorite coffee table book publisher. Next month, it could be yours. And inside we see a page with homage to Rudolf and Leopold Blaschka, old favorites:

Ocean, Exploring the Marine World: (Pre-order)Phaidon Editors, with an introduction by Anne-Marie Melster

Price£44.95

About the book

Pre-order now. This title will ship from September 8th, 2022.

Experience the force, mystery, and beauty of the ocean and seas through more than 300 images – featuring underwater photography, oceanographic maps and scientific illustrations, as well as paintings, sculptures and popular films.

Oceanography and art collide in this visual celebration of humans’ relationship with the marine world. Continue reading

Save Our Sequioas

Photo by AP Photo/Noah Berger

Our thanks to Lindsey Botts for this story:

Can the Save Our Sequoias Act Match Up to Its Name?

Dozens of conservation groups push back against a pending forestry bill

As the Washburn Fire last month threatened to scorch the Mariposa Grove of giant sequoias in Yosemite National Park, discussions about how to protect the iconic trees heated up. While most people agree that the trees are treasured monuments that need to be preserved, there is considerable disagreement about how best to do that. Continue reading

Really, Danone?

An aerial view of people standing around the sinkhole in Santa María Zacatepec, a small town in central Mexico. The opening, almost perfectly circular, grew to be longer than a football field. Photograph by Jose Castañares / AFP / Getty

Really, as in, can you not control yourselves? We asked the same of Nestle a couple times in the past:

The Sinkhole That Swallowed a Mexican Farm

A bottled-water company tapped an ancient aquifer that thousands of people and businesses share. Then came the protests.

A Bonafont bottling plant, which was occupied by activists, pictured on September 1, 2021. Photograph by Pedro Pardo / AFP / Getty

On May 29, 2021, a boom reverberated through Santa María Zacatepec, a small town near the city of Puebla, in central Mexico. At first, the sound might have been mistaken for one of the earthquakes or small volcanic eruptions that are common in the area. Then some local children told their mother that a strange hole had appeared in the farmland behind their house. Continue reading

McKibben Smiles

Illustration of a smokestack windmills and trees.

Illustration by João Fazenda

When Bill McKibben is frustrated, you know it. Much less frequently you can find evidence of his ability to take a deep breath and sense some progress, however modest, so enjoy it when it comes, and try to smile:

Big Cat Fever

Ceci n’est pas un chat 1843’s cut-outs of big cats were shot at strategically placed locations across Gloucestershire. To find out how we took the photos go to @1843mag on Instagram

Jem Bartholomew, a freelance journalist in London, and Chris Dorley-Brown, a photographer in London, tell this story in a way that may make you want to visit and see for yourself. The fever is catchy.

Look who’s stalking: the black leopards of Gloucestershire

Frank Tunbridge has spent three decades trying to prove that big cats are prowling England’s green and pleasant land

In autumn 2014, John Bilney was cycling to work at around 6am along a tree-shaded footpath in Dursley, Gloucestershire, when a small cat leapt into his way. “Poor moggy,” he thought, “I’ve scared it.” Then he looked up – and froze. Continue reading

Ever-Improving Solar Technologies & Techniques

Sheep graze alongside a solar array in Dubbo, Australia. JANIE BARRETT / THE SYDNEY MORNING HERALD VIA GETTY IMAGES

Solar power, one of the renewables with the greatest promise, continues to improve:

A solar array in Madera County, California, with panels placed side-by-side on the ground. ERTHOS

More Energy on Less Land: The Drive to Shrink Solar’s Footprint

With the push for renewables leading to land-use conflicts, building highly efficient utility-scale solar farms on ever-smaller tracts of land has become a top priority. New approaches range from installing PV arrays that take up less space to growing crops between rows of panels.

Farmers grow hay between solar fences in Donaueschingen, Germany. NEXT2SUN

From the ground, the new solar farm shimmers like a mirage oasis on a hot summer day. Instead of row after slanting row of shiny panels stretching taller than corn, this array, mounted directly on the earth, lies flat as water. Continue reading

Barbados, Leadership & Climate Action

Sargassum seaweed, which thrives in warming oceans, is overtaking a beach in Barbados. Credit: Erika Larsen/Redux, for The New York Times

The region is likely to bear disproportionate challenges from climate change and this island is not taking it lightly. We appreciate the effort described in this story by Abrahm Lustgarten, published by ProPublica:

Until the recent completion of an infrastructure project, Kenneth Blades was able to keep only part of his farmland watered. Credit: Erika Larsen/Redux, for The New York Times

Barbados Resists Climate Colonialism in an Effort to Survive the Costs of Global Warming

Across the Caribbean, soaring national debt is a hidden but decisive aspect of the climate crisis, hobbling countries’ ability to protect themselves from disaster. One island’s leader is fighting to find a way out.

Late on May 31, 2018, five days after she was sworn in as prime minister of Barbados, Mia Mottley and her top advisers gathered in the windowless anteroom of her administrative office in Bridgetown, the capital, for a call that could determine the fate of her island nation. Continue reading

New (To Us) Creatures Of The Deep

A gummy squirrel – Psychropotes longicauda – is a type of sea cucumber. This specimen is 60cm long with red palps, or lips, with which it feeds on sediment on the ocean floor, 5,100m deep

Discoveries still happen, even as the earth burns. Creatures not previously known are being identified 5,000 meters below the surface of the ocean. Some do not even yet have a name:

A spiny sea creature on the ocean floor

Scientists find 30 potential new species at bottom of ocean

Natural History Museum scientists seek to unlock mysteries of deep sea but some fear activity will disturb diversity of the depths

Scientists have found more than 30 potentially new species living at the bottom of the sea. Continue reading

Strategically Planned Mutual Destruction

An extract from a GCC business card for reporters, shared by former journalist Nicky Sundt

In the long run, no winners will emerge from the obfuscation perpetrated by climate deniers. They and we all have children of the future to consider. Their efforts have assured mutual destruction, no matter how much money their denial earned them in the short run. If you are looking for a better understanding of how concern and action over climate change was strategically weakened early on, this is worth a read:

The audacious PR plot that seeded doubt about climate change

Thirty years ago, a bold plan was cooked up to spread doubt and persuade the public that climate change was not a problem. The little-known meeting – between some of America’s biggest industrial players and a PR genius – forged a devastatingly successful strategy that endured for years, and the consequences of which are all around us.

On an early autumn day in 1992, E Bruce Harrison, a man widely acknowledged as the father of environmental PR, stood up in a room full of business leaders and delivered a pitch like no other. Continue reading

The Surprise Finding With Whale Sharks

Scientists made the discovery while studying whale sharks off Western Australia’s Ningaloo reef. Photograph: Simon J Pierce/PA

We have linked to stories involving whale sharks plenty of times, always knowing their size is impressive. Now this:

Whale sharks are world’s biggest omnivores, study finds

‘Everything we thought we knew may not actually be true,’ says fish biologist in response to finding

Researchers have made a surprising discovery about the dining habits of whale sharks, handing the largest fish in the sea another world title. Continue reading

Unwanted Plastic Renaissance

A worker at a hospital in Kathmandu, Nepal, readies bags of Covid-19 waste for treatment, December last year. Photograph: Prakash Mathema/AFP/Getty Images

The plague of plastic has zombie-like revivification capabilities:

How the plastic industry turned the pandemic to its advantage

With its products proving indispensable to combatting Covid-19, the plastics business is reinvigorated. What will it take to bring this major polluter to heel?

There are only two reasons that the plastics industry will change, a polymer scientist once told me: war or legislation. Continue reading

Tiger Conservation Progress

A Bengal tiger in India’s Kanha National Park. CHARLES JAMES SHARP VIA WIKIPEDIA

Tigers were an important part of our lives when this platform started, and for the following few years of our time in Kerala. We have retained an interest, so this news is welcome all these years later:

Wild Tiger Numbers 40 Percent Higher Than Previously Estimated

The number of endangered tigers around the world is 40 percent higher than previously thought, according to new data from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Continue reading

Monbiot Uncorked

‘The dangerous heat England is suffering at the moment is already becoming normal in southern Europe.’ A firefighter tackles a wild fire in Gironde, France, 17 July 2022. Photograph: Thibaud Moritz/AFP/Getty Images

George Monbiot has never held back, but now the cork is released full force:

This heatwave has eviscerated the idea that small changes can tackle extreme weather

Dangerous heat will become the norm, even in the UK. Systems need to urgently change – and the silence needs to be broken

Can we talk about it now? I mean the subject most of the media and most of the political class has been avoiding for so long. You know, the only subject that ultimately counts – the survival of life on Earth. Continue reading

Packing Well

Digital tablet, smart phone, bag, backpack, passport, sneakers, jeans, shirt, notebook, camera, photography

If there is a smart way to do it, here is a good suggestion:

The Smart Traveler Packs a Book for Every Occasion

As I write this, I’m busy planning a vacation to Maine—a vacation that I will already have enjoyed by the time you read this. There are so many factors to consider—car rental, restaurant reservations, day trips, wardrobe, etc. But perhaps the most important is: What am I going to read? Continue reading

Monarch Butterflies’ Future

A Monarch butterfly, which is now placed in the endangered category of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species, perches at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Burlington, Ontario, Canada July 21, 2022. REUTERS/Carlos Osorio

Butterflies in general, and this species in particular, have graced our pages more than most other insects over the years. Thanks to Emma Farge and Gloria Dickie, from Reuters, for this:

Monarch butterflies rest on a tree at El Rosario sanctuary, in El Rosario, in Michoacan state, Mexico February 11, 2021. Picture taken February 11, 2021. REUTERS/Toya Sarno Jordan/File Photo

Kaleidoscopic migratory monarch butterfly joins global endangered species list

GENEVA, July 21 (Reuters) – The migratory monarch butterfly, which has for millennia turned North American woodlands into kaleidoscopes of colour in one of nature’s most spectacular mass migrations, is threatened with extinction, international conservationists said on Wednesday. Continue reading

What Is Birdsong?

Das Vogelkonzert (The Bird Concert) by Jan Brueghel the Younger, c. 1640-1645 via Wikimedia Commons

If you have been educated to carry out academic research, JSTOR is familiar to you. And if not, but you have the sort of curiosity demonstrated in our pages, then JSTOR daily might be a good companion, as demonstrated here:

Every Good Bird Does Fine

Is birdsong music, speech, or something else altogether? The question has raged for millennia, drawing in everyone from St. Augustine to Virginia Woolf.

To some extent, we all know music when we hear it: a melody, a rhythm, a progression of individual notes that, taken together, elevates the whole into the realm of auditory art. Continue reading

Vertical Farming Super Strawberries

Illustration by João Fazenda

In the early years of this platform we were developing new properties in Kerala, India and food was a focal point. More recently when we indulge in the culinary it is Costa Rica taste of place we are talking about. Occasionally vertical farming makes its way into these pages, but it has been a while:

Selling “Omakase” Strawberries, for the Price of a Full Meal

The founder of Oishii, whose haute-cuisine strawberries have sold for as much as ten dollars a pop, offers a tour of one of his V.C.-backed vertical farms, modelled on the foothills of Japan and built in New Jersey.

Consider the strawberry: red, ripe, an ephemeral pleasure as fleeting as a summer fling. Continue reading

Charismatic Megafauna UK Rewilding

Wild bison released into Kent countryside – video

In Scotland the first such project we became aware of had wild but smaller animals as their focal point. Reforesting and other United Kingdom rewilding initiatives have until now been missing the biggest possible charismatic megafauna:

Wild bison return to UK for first time in thousands of years

The gentle giants released in Kent should transform a commercial pine forest into a vibrant natural woodland

Early on Monday morning, three gentle giants wandered out of a corral in the Kent countryside to become the first wild bison to roam in Britain for thousands of years. Continue reading

Trillion Tree Puzzles

Villagers hired by Eden Reforestation Projects planting trees in the northern part of Goiás State, Brazil. Lalo de Almeida for The New York Times

Zach St. George showcases why the compelling idea is problematic, and why the problematic idea is so compelling:

A plant from which Eden separates seeds to plant in Goiás. Lalo de Almeida for The New York Times

To fight climate change, companies and nonprofits have been promoting worldwide planting campaigns. Getting to a trillion is easier said than done.

On a hot morning in April, near the start of Brazil’s dry season, four women and two men walked single file across a sodden field at the edge of Engenho, a village in the northern part of Goiás State. They wore long sleeves and wide-brimmed hats to protect against the sun, and leather gaiters and gloves to protect against snakes. In a plastic tub, they carried an entire forest. Continue reading

%d bloggers like this: