Environmental Studies

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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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,

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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