Environmental Studies

Surprises Springing from Trees

Fiona Stafford— At a secret location somewhere in the White Mountains of California is the world’s oldest individual tree. This ancient Great Basin bristlecone pine (pinus longaeva) has been growing there for more than 5,000 years, at least two centuries longer than its nearest rival, which is a mere 4,850,

Continue reading…

Why Preservation Should Matter

Max Page— In our “sour little age,” as playwright Tony Kushner once called the world we live in, lines from a law passed fifty years ago this weekend offer welcome uplift.  “The spirit and direction of the Nation are founded upon and reflected in its historic heritage,” declared the National

Continue reading…

Africa and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change

Carl Death— The Paris Agreement on climate change is set to enter into force on November 4, 2016, after its ratification by more than fifty-five countries representing over 55% of total greenhouse gas emissions in early October 2016. This was hailed by US President Barack Obama as “a historic day

Continue reading…

The Struggle to Define Strong Sustainability

Dieter Helm— The trouble with strong sustainability is that it contains very little by way of guidance as to what we should do, except ‘preserve everything’. It is in essence the claim that natural capital should be regarded as non-substitutable, and hence, following Eric Neumayer, strong sustainability can be called

Continue reading…

The Power of Biophony

Bernie Krause— Nearly half a century ago I was drawn to the recording of wild soundscapes because they connected me to the natural world in ways that imparted a sense of comfort along with a feeling of physical and spiritual empowerment. In those moments, sitting quietly listening to the dawn

Continue reading…

The Discovery of Acid Rain

Gene E. Likens and Richard T. Holmes— Acid rain or acid precipitation or acid deposition as it is variably called, was first identified in North America more than five decades ago at the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest in the White Mountains of New Hampshire.  Scientists who were initiating the Hubbard

Continue reading…

For the Love of Trees

Peter Crane— Recent estimates suggest that there are roughly three trillion trees in the world, almost half the number that are thought to have existed prior to their widespread use and manipulation by people over the past 10,000 years.  Every year it is estimated that perhaps 15 billion trees are

Continue reading…

The Lingering Damage of a Deadly Hurricane

Stephen Long— It can seem like a long wait for Spring to replace the browns and grays of the woods with tints of green. But this time of year has its benefits. Before lush growth turns the woods into a maze of green, we have a chance at an unobstructed

Continue reading…

Thoreau’s Life with Flowers

Geoff Wisner— After graduating from Harvard College in 1837, Henry David Thoreau returned to the village of Concord, where he taught school with his older brother John. At least once a week the Thoreau brothers took the students out for a walk or a boating excursion. On one of these

Continue reading…

A Beginner’s Guide to Science Blogs

Christie Wilcox— I love writing a science blog. I write a lot of things—I’ve written peer-reviewed journal articles and a dissertation; I’ve written for major newspapers, science magazines, and chic, quirky outlets; I’ve even written a popular science book about venoms. But of all the writing I do, I have

Continue reading…