28 May 2013
Author Michael Pollan has often written about people’s relationship to the natural world. In a Yale Environment 360 interview, he talks about researching his latest book and what he learned about the connections between ecology and human health.
04 Apr 2013
Fishways on rivers in the U.S. Northeast are failing, with less than 3 percent of one key species making it upriver to their spawning grounds, according to a new study. The researchers’ findings provide a cautionary tale for other nations now planning big dam projects.
18 Mar 2013
U.S. climate activists have launched a movement to persuade universities, cities, and other groups to sell off their investments in fossil fuel companies. But while the financial impact of such divestment may be limited, the campaign could harm the companies in a critical sphere — public opinion.
07 Mar 2013
New research shows that scientists have significantly overestimated the damage that logging in tropical forests has done to biodiversity, a finding that could change the way conservationists think about how best to preserve species in areas disturbed by humans.
28 Jan 2013
The mining of rare earth metals, used in everything from smart phones to wind turbines, has long been dominated by China. But as mining of these key elements spreads to countries like Malaysia and Brazil, scientists warn of the dangers of the toxic and radioactive waste generated by the mines and processing plants.
06 Dec 2012
Conservation organizations are working with industry to try to make beef production more sustainable. But some are questioning whether green groups should be accepting funds from the beef industry or whether they should instead be urging consumers to stop eating beef.
19 Nov 2012
No broad-based international agreement on sharing rivers currently exists, even though much of the world depends on water from rivers that flow through more than one nation. But that may be about to change, as two separate global river treaties are close to being approved.
18 Oct 2012
The concept of pricing ecosystem services and allowing them to be bought and sold has gained wide acceptance among conservationists in recent years. But does this approach merely obscure nature’s true value and put the natural world at even greater risk?
13 Sep 2012
Mega-dams and massive government-run irrigation projects are not the key to meeting world’s water needs, a growing number of experts now say. For developing nations, the answer may lie in small-scale measures such as inexpensive water pumps and other readily available equipment.
06 Aug 2012
As shrimp aquaculture has boomed globally to keep pace with surging demand, the environmental toll on mangroves and other coastal ecosystems has been severe. Now, conservation groups and some shrimp farmers are creating a certification scheme designed to clean up the industry and reward sustainable producers.
26 Jul 2012
In China’s sprawling Xinjiang region, where the population is growing and cotton farming is booming, a key river has been running dry in summer. Now a team of international scientists is grappling with a problem facing the Tarim River basin and other mountainous regions — how to secure water supplies as demands increase and glaciers melt.
19 Jul 2012
In fish-crazed Japan, where eating seafood is a vital part of the nation's culture, conservation groups are working with companies to persuade more Japanese to eat certified, sustainably caught seafood. It's an uphill struggle, but one that could have significant impact on the world's fisheries.
12 Jul 2012
The Dead Sea — the lowest terrestrial point on the planet — is dropping at an alarming rate, falling more than 1 meter a year. A $10 billion proposal to pipe water from the Red Sea is being opposed by conservationists, who point to alternatives that could help save one of the world’s great natural places.
05 Jul 2012
American agriculture is steeped in a chemical-intensive system that wastes money and pollutes the environment. But by making use of new technology and innovative approaches, farmers can boost production and profits — while at the same time improving soil quality, enhancing biodiversity, and protecting habitat.
23 May 2012
National security expert Michael Klare believes the struggle for the world’s resources will be one of the defining political and environmental realities of the 21st century. In an interview with Yale Environment 360, he discusses the threat this scramble poses to the natural world and what can be done to sustainably meet the resource challenge.
09 Apr 2012
Large-scale industrial agriculture depends on engineering the land to ensure the absence of natural diversity. But as the recent emergence of herbicide-tolerant weeds on U.S. farms has shown, nature ultimately finds a way to subvert uniformity and assert itself.
15 Mar 2012
From the rainforests of central Africa to the Australian outback, indigenous people armed with GPS devices are surveying their territories and producing maps they can use to protect them from logging and other outside development.
20 Feb 2012
For four decades, Amory Lovins has been a leading proponent of a renewable power revolution that would wean the U.S. off fossil fuels and usher in an era of energy independence. In an interview with Yale Environment 360, he talks about his latest book, which describes his vision of how the world can attain a green energy future by 2050.
16 Feb 2012
The long-held contention that rural forest communities are the prime culprits in tropical forest destruction is increasingly being discredited, as evidence mounts that the best way to protect rainforests is to involve local residents in sustainable management.
24 Jan 2012
With the industry’s support and despite political opposition, new U.S. lighting efficiency standards went into effect this month. This move, along with similar actions in Europe and China, is helping spur new technologies that will change the way the world's homes and businesses are illuminated.
05 Jan 2012
Indian banker Pavan Sukhdev has been grappling with the question of how to place a monetary value on nature. In an interview with Yale Environment 360
, he discusses the ways natural ecosystems benefit people and why policymakers and businesses must rethink how they assess environmental costs and benefits.
15 Dec 2011
One idea promoted at the Durban talks was “climate-smart agriculture," which could make crops less vulnerable to heat and drought and turn depleted soils into carbon sinks. The World Bank and African leaders are backing this new approach, but some critics are skeptical that it will benefit small-scale African farmers.
01 Dec 2011
Sweden has a reputation as being one of the world’s most environmentally progressive nations. But its surprisingly lax forestry laws often leave decisions about logging to the timber companies — and as a result, large swaths of biologically-rich boreal forest are being lost.
28 Nov 2011
A new study finds that Britons are consuming less than they did a decade ago, with similar patterns being seen across Europe. Could this be the beginning of a trend in developed countries? Might we be reaching “peak stuff”?
17 Nov 2011
More than half of the timber now shipped globally is destined for China. But unscrupulous Chinese companies are importing huge amounts of illegally harvested wood, prompting conservation groups to step up boycotts against rapacious timber interests.
09 Nov 2011
David Crane, the CEO of one of the nation’s largest electric companies, has become a leading proponent of renewable energy. In an interview with Yale Environment 360
, he explains how, in the face of government paralysis, the private sector can help lead the shift away from fossil fuels.
07 Nov 2011
No more cost-effective way to make major cuts in energy use and greenhouse gas emissions exists than retrofitting buildings. Now, from New York to Mumbai to Melbourne, a push is on to overhaul older buildings to make them more energy efficient.
19 Sep 2011
A central tenet of demography is that global population will peak at 9 to 10 billion this century and then gradually decline as poorer countries develop. But that assumption may be overly optimistic — and if it is, population will continue to rise, placing enormous strains on the environment.
18 Jul 2011
With global population expected to surpass 7 billion people this year, the staggering impact on an overtaxed planet is becoming more and more evident. A two-pronged response is imperative: empower women to make their own decisions on childbearing and rein in our excessive consumption of resources.
14 Jun 2011
In recent years, palm oil development in Malaysia and Indonesia has devastated tropical forests there. With Brazil on the verge of its own palm oil boom, can sustainable cultivation of the crop actually help save the rainforest, rather than hastening its destruction?
31 May 2011
The idea of economic growth as an unquestioned force for good is ingrained in the American psyche. But a longtime environmental leader argues it’s time for the U.S. to reinvent its economy into one that focuses on sustaining communities, family life, and the natural world.
26 May 2011
Marine conservationist Charles Saylan believes the U.S. educational system is failing to create responsible citizens who consider themselves stewards of the environment. To do that, he says in a Yale Environment 360
interview, educators need to go beyond rhetoric and make environmental values a central part of a public education.
03 Feb 2011
The inland Niger delta of Mali is a unique wetland ecosystem that supports a million farmers, fishermen, and herders and a rich diversity of wildlife. But now, the country’s president and Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi have begun a major agricultural project that will divert much of the river’s water and put the delta’s future at risk.
11 Nov 2010
In China, millions of tons of waste from livestock farms are causing severe water pollution and massive emissions of methane. Now, some large livestock operators are turning to biogas fuel production in hopes of creating “ecological” factory farms.
07 Sep 2010
An activist caravan to bring one of Jimmy Carter’s solar panels back to the White House symbolizes the time that the U.S. has lost in developing new energy technologies – and the urgent need for taking action on climate.
27 May 2010
The tropical forest conservation plan, known as REDD, has the potential to significantly reduce deforestation and carbon dioxide emissions worldwide. But unless projects are carefully designed and monitored, the program could be undercut by shady dealings at all levels, from the forests to global carbon markets.
25 May 2010
Environmentalist David Orr says the easy part of helping the United States live within its ecological limits may be passing laws, such as one that puts a price on carbon. The hard part, he maintains in an interview with Yale Environment 360
, is changing a culture of consumption that causes extensive environmental damage — and unhappiness.
17 May 2010
Is human activity altering the planet on a scale comparable to major geological events of the past? Scientists are now considering whether to officially designate a new geological epoch to reflect the changes that homo sapiens
have wrought: the Anthropocene.
05 Apr 2010
In Africa and elsewhere, burgeoning population growth threatens to overwhelm already over-stretched food supply systems. But the next agricultural revolution needs to get local — and must start to see rising populations as potentially part of the solution.
22 Dec 2009
When the founder of the Whole Earth Catalog
embraces nuclear power, genetically engineered crops, and geoengineering schemes to cool the planet, you know things have changed in the environmental movement. In an interview with Yale Environment 360, Stewart Brand explains how the passage of four decades — and the advent of global warming — have shifted his thinking about what it means to be green.
26 Oct 2009
Green rankings in the U.S. don’t tell the full story about the places where the human footprint is lightest. If you really want the best environmental model, you need to look at the nation’s biggest — and greenest — metropolis: New York City.
05 Oct 2009
As the international community focuses on climate change as the great challenge of our era, it is ignoring another looming problem — the global crisis in land use. With agricultural practices already causing massive ecological impact, the world must now find new ways to feed its burgeoning population and launch a "Greener" Revolution.
28 Sep 2009
The average American produces three times the amount of CO2 emissions as a person in France. A U.S. journalist now living in Europe explains how she learned to love her clothesline and sweating in summer.
15 Sep 2009
Wal-Mart’s push to develop a sustainability index for the products it carries could prove to be a pivotal moment in the effort to make consumers aware of the environmental impacts of what they buy.
03 Sep 2009
Stephen Kellert, a social ecologist, is a passionate advocate for the need to incorporate aspects of the natural world into our built environment. In an interview with Yale Environment 360, he explains what we can learn from cathedrals, why flowers in a hospital can heal, and how green design can boost a business’s bottom line.
26 May 2009
After years of reluctance, scientists and governments are now looking to adaptation measures as critical for confronting the consequences of climate change. And increasingly, plans are being developed to deal with rising seas, water shortages, spreading diseases, and other realities of a warming world.
27 Apr 2009
New solar thermal technology overcomes a major challenge facing solar power – how to store the sun’s heat for use at night or on a rainy day. As researchers tout its promise, solar thermal plants are under construction or planned from Spain to Australia to the American Southwest.
16 Apr 2009
Environmentalists, utilities, and green businesses are turning to behavioral economics to find innovative ways of influencing people to do the right thing when it comes to the environment. Is this approach really good for the planet or just a fad?
13 Apr 2009
It's overconsumption, not population growth, that is the fundamental problem: By almost any measure, a small portion of the world's people — those in the affluent, developed world — use up most of the Earth's resources and produce most of its greenhouse gas emissions.
08 Apr 2009
Kelly Brownell has long studied the relationship between rising levels of obesity in the U.S. and the way our food is grown, processed, packaged, and sold. In an interview with Yale Environment 360
, he discusses the common marketing and lobbying tactics employed by the food and tobacco industries.
06 Apr 2009
Mostly conceived by international architects, China’s eco-cities were intended to be models of green urban design. But the planning was done with little awareness of how local people lived, and the much-touted projects have largely been scrapped.
03 Mar 2009
Yale University’s recently opened Kroon Hall is a state-of-the-art model of where the green building movement is headed. Yet even this showcase for renewable energy highlights the difficulties of creating a building that is 100 percent carbon neutral.
05 Feb 2009
In the last few decades, urban sprawl, once regarded as largely a U.S. phenomenon, has spread across Europe. Now an emerging group of planners is promoting a new kind of development — mixed-use, low-carbon communities that are pedestrian-friendly and mass-transit-oriented.
20 Oct 2008
The U.S. environmental movement is failing – by any measure, the state of the earth has never been more dire. What’s needed, a leading environmentalist writes, is a new, inclusive green politics that challenges basic assumptions about consumerism and unlimited growth.
13 Oct 2008
U.S. cities have been using green planning to spark economic development, helping create a real urban renaissance in America. With a new administration soon to arrive in Washington, these same approaches may finally start being used on a national scale.
09 Oct 2008
In an exclusive interview with Yale Environment 360
, best-selling author Thomas Friedman talks with Elizabeth Kolbert about his new book and about why he’s optimistic that an energy-technology revolution can revitalize the United States and set the world on a new, greener path.
22 Sep 2008
With food prices skyrocketing and climate change looming, the world needs a green revolution like the one a generation ago. But many valuable seed varieties have been lost – and scientists now are scrambling to protect those that remain before they vanish down the genetic drain.
11 Aug 2008
Paul Ehrlich still believes that overpopulation imperils the Earth’s
future. But the good news is we are approaching a demographic turning
point: Birth rates have been falling dramatically, and population is expected to peak later this century — after that, for the first time in modern history, the world's population
should actually start to decline.
04 Aug 2008
Four decades after his controversial book, The Population Bomb,
scientist Paul Ehrlich still believes that overpopulation — now along
with overconsumption — is the central environmental crisis facing the
world. And, he insists, technological fixes will not save the day.
26 Jun 2008
In an interview with Yale Environment 360, best-selling author Michael
Pollan talks about biofuels and the food crisis, the glories of
grass-fed beef, and why environmentalists must look beyond wilderness
19 Jun 2008
With soaring prices for agricultural goods and new demand for biofuels, the clearing of the world's largest rain forest has accelerated dramatically. Unless forceful measures are taken, half of the Brazilian Amazon could be cut, burned or dried out within 20 years.
03 Jun 2008
New evidence suggests that we have already passed a dangerous threshold for the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere – and that the time for taking strong action is slipping away.
03 Jun 2008
In the discussion of the global food emergency, one underlying factor is barely mentioned: The world is running out of water. A British science writer, who authored a major book on water resources, here explores the nexus between water overconsumption and current food shortages.