Environmental Studies

Urbanization and Sustainability

Steward Pickett— Sustainability has become one of the touchstones of the twenty-first century. As the human inhabitants of the planet consume an ever-larger share of the Earth’s resources and increasingly tax its capacities to recycle wastes and deal with contaminants, sustainability has become a powerful image. But it is much

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Nature’s Remedies: The Environmental Impact of Chinese Medicine in the Global Medical Marketplace

Tamara Venit Shelton— Nearly three years ago, on January 18, 2017, Chinese President Xi Jinping visited the World Health Organization and presented a traditional bronze statue used to identify acupuncture points on the human body. The gift was part of the Chinese government’s ongoing campaign to promote Traditional Chinese Medicine,

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Charles Darwin, Tortoise Hunter?

Elizabeth Hennessy— On a sunny day in October 1835, a twenty-six-year-old Charles Darwin hiked from the parched coast of Santiago Island in the Galápagos archipelago to the island’s green, damp highlands. After a long walk, he sat in the shade and watched the island’s giant tortoises as they ambled along

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Nine Steps to a Sustainable Future

In our new book A Better Planet, leading environmentalists present long-term solutions for a sustainable future amid our ecological crisis. The forty essays advocate a bipartisan program and cover topics like forestry, agriculture, data, public health, natural disasters, and city planning. We’ve selected excerpts from nine of the essays that

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The Great Whales of Stellwagen Bank

Patrick J. Lynch— Just north of the northern tip of Cape Cod, Stellwagen Bank is an underwater glacial outwash plain that rises above the deeper waters of the southern Gulf of Maine. The bank can be as shallow as 65–100 feet deep at its southern end, but the waters immediately

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Multitasking Trees

Sonja Dümpelmann— Multitasking Trees Since their systematic planting throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, street trees have fulfilled various purposes in our cities. They have been considered variously as aesthetic make-up and creators of space; as territorial markers and instruments of defense, emancipation, and empowerment; as sanitizers and air conditioners;

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Six Tips for the Bird Photography Enthusiast

David Tipling— Ever since I took my first bird photo as a young teenager, I have never stopped learning and developing my technique. Perhaps that is one of the lures that has us hooked on taking pictures and striving for that next winning shot. Below are a few tips that

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Why Is Climate Change An Economic Problem?

William D. Nordhaus— Begin by stepping back and asking a basic question. Why is global warming such a special problem? Why is it a global problem and not a national problem or a household problem? Why is it such a persistent problem? The economics of climate change is straightforward. Virtually

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Running on Fumes

Dieter Helm— Fast-forward to 2050—almost thirty-five years from now. What will the world look like? How will technology have transformed our daily lives? Will it be a world of robots and artificial intelligence (AI)? Of graphene, fusion, and electric transport? Now rewind—back to 1980. This was still a world of

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Water Needs Power Needs Water

Michael E. Webber— In July 2012, the electric grid in India failed, causing the largest blackout in history. It affected more than 620 million people, nine percent of the world’s population. Although there were many reasons for the power outage, it was a lack of water that triggered the Indian collapse. A

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