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Global Change, Sustainability »

Thursday, January 27, 2011 | 0 Comments

“Large amounts of energy will be required to fuel economic growth, increase standards of living, and lift developing nations out of poverty.” (Brown et al., 2011; see Figure at left).    A key message from Brown et al. in their must-read empirical and theoretical summary of r... [More]

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Land use, Sustainability »

Tuesday, January 11, 2011 | 0 Comments

Human populations grow until they overshoot their carrying capacity and collapse. Game over.  Thank you Malthus! (1798; and Ehrlich 1968). Not so fast! There’s something wrong with this story: it almost never happens.   Human populations do collapse – but not because of p... [More]

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Global Change, Sustainability »

Tuesday, November 9, 2010 | 0 Comments

What kind of biosphere do you want?  Great question!  And great to see it connected with beautiful prize-winning graphics at visualizing.org.  But on thinking further, it seems clearer than ever that the inspiration behind this- the Planetary Boundaries concept, is going completely in... [More]

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Ecosystems, Global Change, Sustainability »

Wednesday, August 18, 2010 | 1 Comments

“We cannot expect nature to remain in a constant condition and thus provide us with a simple solution to the questions of what is “natural” and what is desirable.”  (Botkin 1990, p 181) .  Just one of many great thoughts in Daniel Botkin’s 1990 classic: Discor... [More]

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Global Change, Land use, Sustainability »

Wednesday, June 2, 2010 | 0 Comments

What happens when humans finally win the war with nature and end up in charge of ecology?  A question for the future?  Think again.  In “Peak Wood: Nature Does Impose Limits”, John Perlin describes what happens when human societies, starting in prehistory, have completely ... [More]

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Global Change, Sustainability »

Friday, March 26, 2010 | 0 Comments

Now that we’re busy hacking the planet, we need all the help we can get.  We humans are pretty good at solving complex problems like choosing the next move in chess- better than most machines.  But as Gary Kasparov notes in Clive Thompson’s Wired piece on the Cyborg Advantage, ... [More]

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Global Change, Sustainability »

Monday, January 25, 2010 | 2 Comments

“Cities are green. Nuclear energy is green. Genetic engineering is green. (Brand 2009).” In 1968 Stewart Brand’s Whole Earth Catalog was embraced by a generation trying to get back to the country, get off the grid, and grow their own. Now it’s 2010, and the quote above, from ... [More]

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Global Change, Land use, Methods, Sustainability »

Friday, December 18, 2009 | 0 Comments

With carbon, climate and COP 15 in the news, Google and Microsoft are now battling over carbon mindshare, introducing the latest web-based “Carbonware” designed to help combat carbon emissions and global warming.  These add to a growing list that includes the many “carbon foot... [More]