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Global Change, Sustainability »

[6 Oct 2009 | 3 Comments]

Are humans pushing earth systems towards environmental catastrophe?  Or are we just worrying needlessly about the novel state of the earth that we have now created?  Or both? In a Nature Feature entitled “A safe operating space for humanity” a team of scientists affiliated w... [More]

Global Change, Land use »

[21 Aug 2009 | 1 Comments]

Millennia before humans discovered coal, indeed, millennia before there was civilization, Homo sapiens had discovered fire and was making extensive use of it.  In a study just published by Bill Ruddiman and myself (Ruddiman and Ellis, 2009), we show that early farmers using fire likely cleared... [More]

Anthromes, Ecosystems, Featured, Global Change, Land use, Sustainability »

[23 Jul 2009 | 1 Comments]

Should we conserve nature even if it is not wild?  Humans have transformed 40% of earth’s ice-free land into crop fields, pastures and settlements, and have embedded another 37% within used and populated landscapes (anthromes).  While 23% is still free of people and their... [More]

Global Change, Sustainability »

[17 Jul 2009 | 9 Comments]

Today, the Tata Nano (Wikipedia entry), the first “people’s car” of the 21st century, rolled out of a dealership in Mumbai, hitting the streets at 56 miles per gallon (and 1300 lbs; its a 4 passenger vehicle!).  Compare this with the pinnacle of US auto ingenuity, the Hummer... [More]

Ecosystems, Global Change »

[15 Jul 2009 | 0 Comments]

Not only do humans burn away forests to enhance their food supply, they also do it when they battle each other!  Or so says a study published by Zhen Li and his colleagues this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (Li et al. 2009).  By linking a careful inve... [More]

Global Change, Land use »

[29 Jun 2009 | 1 Comments]

For thousands of years, humans have been changing global climate, maybe even helping us avert the next ice age, all long before the Industrial Revolution.  Interested?  Then you should read Plows, Plagues, and Petroleum: How Humans Took Control of Climate by Paleoclimatologist Bill Ruddi... [More]

Methods »

[15 Jun 2009 | 8 Comments]

I 'm a professor of environmental science at UMBC and have been experimenting with Amazon’s Kindle DX since Friday (June 12, 2009).  When the Kindle DX was first announced in May, I was very excited by the possibility of reading journal articles and other materials in Adobe Acro... [More]

Featured, Global Change, Sustainability »

[8 May 2009 | 11 Comments]

Millennia ago, our species reshaped the ecology of this planet and we have continued to reshape it ever more rapidly and intensively ever since.  Today, we directly use or alter nearly all of earth’s terrestrial ecosystems- the rest we alter indirectly through climate change. ... [More]