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Global Change, Sustainability »

Tuesday, October 6, 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 wit... [More]

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Global Change, Land use »

Friday, August 21, 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]

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

Thursday, July 23, 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 u... [More]

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Global Change, Sustainability »

Friday, July 17, 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]

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Ecosystems, Global Change »

Wednesday, July 15, 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 investig... [More]

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Global Change, Land use »

Monday, June 29, 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 Ruddima... [More]

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Global Change, Sustainability »

Friday, May 8, 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.  I... [More]

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Global Change, Sustainability »

Saturday, March 21, 2009 | 0 Comments

Finally some good news about global change: globalization is making us cooperate!  This is no minor discovery.  Poverty, global warming, environmental degradation and biodiversity loss- all of these will only be solved when all of the people of all nations collaborate sustainably in doing ... [More]