Berfrois

Only Somewhat

Only Somewhat

Over the course of 2016, the global security landscape darkened as the international community failed to come effectively to grips with humanity’s most pressing existential threats, nuclear weapons and climate change.

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‘The aim is to produce maps that governments cannot ignore’

‘The aim is to produce maps that governments cannot ignore’

Villagers in DRC being trained to use GPS systems. Photograph by The Rainforest Foundation From Environment 360: Deep in the African rainforest and three days from home, a tribal hunter, punting down a backwater, puts aside his spear and takes out a GPS handset. He doesn’t need the Global...

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Leslie Paul Thiele: Sustainability

Leslie Paul Thiele: Sustainability

King Midas turns his daughter to gold, from A Wonder Book for Boys and Girls by Nathaniel Hawthorn, 1893 by Leslie Paul Thiele Sustainability is quickly becoming the lingua franca of public discourse. It is endorsed by government agencies around the globe, championed by increasing numbers of international non-governmental...

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The Editorial Climate by Keith and Orrin Pilkey

The Editorial Climate by Keith and Orrin Pilkey

This good intentioned attempt to warn society has led to an unanticipated hailstorm of criticism and a loss of credibility across a broad spectrum of science. In Virginia, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli launched a civil investigation into renowned climate scientist Michael Mann.

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‘Manure is the flashpoint of exurban consciousness’

‘Manure is the flashpoint of exurban consciousness’

Thoreau’s Cove, Concord, Massachusetts From Design Observer: Currently, the town is embroiled in a minor controversy, played out on the municipal listserv, about a local pond that has been purchased by the town and preserved under a conservation easement. Where there used to be a clothing-optional beach and a...

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‘A quarter-mile of corkline and mesh writhing and splashing’

‘A quarter-mile of corkline and mesh writhing and splashing’

Bristol Bay, Nick Hall From N+1: About half the world’s supply of wild salmon comes from a system of rivers, lakes, and streams in western Alaska that empties into Bristol Bay, a relatively shallow body of water roughly 250 miles long and 180 miles wide. Every summer, 40 million...

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Mark Hudson: The Fires Will Come

Mark Hudson: The Fires Will Come

Bitteroot National Forest, Montana, 2000  by Mark Hudson Readers may have noticed, either from perusing the newspaper or having their house burn down, that wildland fires seem to have been getting worse lately.  The National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC), which tracks the number of acres burned in wildfires every year,...

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Does George Monbiot live in Sector 7G, Fantasy Island?

Does George Monbiot live in Sector 7G, Fantasy Island?

In Fukushima's Wake | by Alexander Cockburn

New Left Review 

The reactions to Fukushima from the nuclear industry’s shills have been predictable—if still scarcely believable—sallies into cognitive dissonance. Thus Paddy Reagan, professor of Nuclear Physics at the University of Surrey: ‘We had...

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Energy Infatuations

Energy Infatuations

Illustration by Milo Winter, from Gulliver’s Travels, Jonathan Swift, 1930 edition  From American Scientist: To follow global energy affairs is to have a never-ending encounter with new infatuations. Fifty years ago media ignored crude oil (a barrel went for little more than a dollar). Instead the western utilities were preoccupied...

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‘It’s we who decide what nature is and what it will be’

‘It’s we who decide what nature is and what it will be’

Henry J. Fair, December 2005 From Environment 360: Human population will approach ten billion within the century. We spread our man-made ecosystems, including “mega-regions” with more than 100 million inhabitants, as landscapes characterized by heavy human use — degraded agricultural lands, industrial wastelands, and recreational landscapes — become characteristic...

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Toads in the Gorge

Toads in the Gorge

From Guernica: Kim Howell is a white-haired giant who wears Kissinger glasses that magnify his eyes. He was born in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, and paid for a degree in vertebrate zoology at Cornell University by working at the school’s Library of Natural Sound. Howell preserved archival recordings of birdcalls collected...

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How can it be that a tree blooms in winter?

How can it be that a tree blooms in winter?

Strip Show: In defense of bare trees | by Miriam N. Kotzin

The Smart Set

Driving alone on a highway through the desert of the Southwest, I passed a sign announcing the “Last Services for 100 Miles.” I asked myself, “How...

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How could someone as smart as Freeman Dyson be so wrong about the environment?

How could someone as smart as Freeman Dyson be so wrong about the environment?

  Kenneth Brower has a number of theories: 1.       Contrariness 2.       He doesn’t really mean it 3.       Educated fool 4.       Old age 5.      Collision of faiths From The Atlantic: In August 2009, Dyson appeared on the Charlie Rose show. His inimitable voice—somehow both diffident and firm, its original British...

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