Environmental Studies

The Voyages of Joseph Banks

Toby Musgrave— As a young man Joseph Banks (he was knighted at the age of thirty-eight on 23 March 1781) undertook three voyages of scientific discovery. With his first, to Newfoundland and Labrador in 1776, he established a paradigm for the study of natural history as an integral component of

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Pandemics and Farming Practices

John M. Marzluff— Charles Darwin started his treatise on natural selection by reminding readers of how human action has transformed domestic animals. Domestication occurs because artificial selection imposed by humans causes exceptionally rapid evolution. The domestic animals we house in agricultural settings also provide a new theater for the development

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Bird Migration and the Pandemic

Mike Unwin— It’s late May 2020, and I’m sitting in my small back garden on the south coast of England. As I write, Common Swifts are screaming overhead in breakneck flypasts around the neighborhood. These supremely aerial birds are among the last of some fifty Afro-Palearctic migrant species to reach

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Turning Hardship into Healthier Eating

John M. Marzluff— Crises that we face have the power to bring good from evil. As dust storms ravaged the Midwest in the 1930s, farmers embraced the new science of soil conservation. In the aftermath of 9/11, nations enhanced their airport security. How living through the COVID-19 pandemic might forever

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Birding from Home

John M. Marzluff— I’ve been birding daily since entering quarantine at my home in western Washington. My bird feeder is full-frame from my office window, my wooded backyard offers a bit of solace and place to stretch out, and my deck commands a view of the open sky. From these

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Nature from the Safety of Quarantine

Spring is here, and just because we can’t leave our houses doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy the beauty around us. Here are some books to get you back to nature from home. A visually stunning celebration of bird migration—one of the great marvels of the natural world. The vast transcontinental

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The First Earth Day

Richard N. L. Andrews— On April 22, 1970, a handful of volunteers led by Sen. Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin organized the first Earth Day, which grew into what Newsweek magazine described as “the biggest street festival since the Japanese surrender in 1945.” It included mass rallies of up to 25,000

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Environmental Policy

Richard N. L. Andrews— Environmental protection policy includes three elements intended to protect public health and ecological processes from adverse effects of human activities. One is pollution control, including prevention, safe management, and cleanup of waste discharges, accidental spills, and deliberate environmental dispersion of toxic materials such as pesticides. The

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Competition, Cooperation, and COVID-19

Mark Bertness— Microbial pathogens and diseases were our first and are our oldest enemies. They are a direct threat to human survival. COVID-19 and HIV/AIDS are familiar reminders of how pathogenic pandemics can threaten humanity. These are not exceptions in the human experience; they are the rule. Pathogens are formidable

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How Do You Make Electricity?

Ivo van Vulpen— One of the greatest threats to our prosperity and way of life is a shortage of energy. We don’t often pause to think about it, but our Western society is addicted to energy, and without electricity, it would come to a complete standstill in less than a

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