Environmental Studies

Finding the Future of Environmentalism in its Past

Benjamin Heber Johnson— Most environmental protections are predicated on the use of state power. When Americans feared that a species would soon be pushed over the brink of extinction, they passed laws forbidding or limiting hunting it; when they valued an area for the serene majesty of its old-growth timber,

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An Arboreal Meditation

Fiona Stafford— In spring, you can feel life stirring in the barest twigs and the silhouetted catkins look as if a diminutive duck has run across the sky. One day the twigs are just beginning to thicken and brighten and bulge; by the next they are covered in pincer-paired leaves

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Eclipses and the Lessons of History

Anthony Aveni— “Celestial source of life and light on earth! What envious rival intercepts thy rays? Dares thy own satellite intercepts thy blaze, Or stay thy stream of empyrean birth?…”   The first four lines of a sonnet “tweeted out” by the sixth president of the United States, John Quincy

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Decarbonization and the Fossil Fuels – What Happens Next?

Dieter Helm— The simple answer is that if Paris is the best we can do to decarbonize the global energy system, the companies can relax and carry on as usual. Paris keeps the climate change bureaucracy in business, and the UN in the game, but it emphatically does not do

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Digitalization: The Deadly Threat to Fossil Fuels

Dieter Helm— Decarbonization should eventually bring about the end of fossil fuels, but they face a much more immediate threat. That threat is digitalization. Everything digital is electric. The future of energy is therefore electric too. Whilst there are some people who think that the impact of the communications revolution

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Trump Gets Lucky on Energy

Dieter Helm— The Trump narrative on energy is, like his on manufacturing, full of holes. But this might not matter much. What is going on in the oil and gas markets, and what is going on in the US, may produce results for which he can claim the credit, even

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The Joys of Being a Natural History Artist

Debby Kaspari— I’m a natural history artist, and try to draw and paint from living animals whenever possible. Some of what I do in the field might turn out to be finished art, and some of it will become raw material for studio works. But making the art is only

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Groundwater: Overpumped, Undervalued, and Essential to Water and Food Security

William M. Alley and Rosemarie Alley— Groundwater is the source of drinking water for about half the world’s people, as well as the dominant source of household water in rural areas. Many large cities depend solely or largely on groundwater. Groundwater is also critical to food production, providing more than

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Silent Assassins: How Owls Adapted to Nocturnal Hunting

Mike Unwin— You needn’t be a birder to recognize an owl. The round face and large, forward-facing eyes immediately distinguish it from any other bird. And it is arguably this face—with its superficially human expressions—that explains why owls have maintained such a hold on our imaginations. It has led us to personify the

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Why Israel’s Population Matters

Alon Tal— Some fifty years ago, environmentalists began to speak out about the grave environmental impacts of an exponentially growing population. These concerns resonated with large elements of the public, even as the implications flew in the face of some axiomatic assumptions about modern, Western society. Growing populations are associated

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