Posts


A Primer on Economic Growth and Biodiversity Conservation for COP15

by Brian Czech

With COP15 coming up, it’s time to don the old conservation biologist hat and proffer a primer on the relationship between economic growth and biodiversity conservation. The last thing we want is a COP15 devoid of discussion about the fundamental conflict between growing the economy and conserving biodiversity. In fact, the 800-pound gorilla—GDP growth—ought to be front and center.

For the uninitiated, COP15 is the UN Biodiversity Conference,


Hurricane Ian: A Profoundly Polluting Event

by Brian Czech

If you’re a steady stater, I know what you’re thinking about Hurricane Ian. For starters, of course, you’re deeply concerned about any family or friends you may have in Florida, along with folks in general along Ian’s path. But you’re also wondering, “What about the pollution?”

The marine pollution that accompanies coastal flooding, most notably from violent hurricanes, is probably ignored by the majority of folks,


Economic Growth Takes a Bite out of Fishing

by Stephen Coghlan

“A bad day fishing is better than a good day at work,” proclaimeth bumper stickers throughout my neck of the woods in central Maine. No disagreement here! For humans, fishing is fun and mentally and physically stimulating. Fishing also engenders respect for nature, relieves stress, and sometimes provides a tasty meal; though not so much for the fish.

Fishing is deeply embedded in American culture,


True Conservation: A 21st Century Vision for the Next Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

by Brian Czech

The 21st century challenges to wildlife conservation are unprecedented. The ecological integrity of the nation and planet is unravelling before our eyes. Species and ecosystems are disappearing, if not immediately off the face of the planet, then via slow, dead-end emigrations as they respond to climate change.

It’s not as if climate change was needed to imperil fish and wildlife. Climate change is actually the fourth major crisis in the past 150 years.


#BanFlightsUSA, Before It’s Too Late!

by Brian Czech

In a rational world, we’d avoid doing things that rot our teeth, cause traffic accidents, or…ruin the planet for the kids, grandkids, and millions of other species. Unfortunately, our rationality has been spotty at best. We’ve been rational enough to protect plenty of teeth and prevent numerous accidents, but we’ve done nothing to stop the global heating that is wrecking our spectacular Earth.

That’s why we need to ban flights now.


IPCC Report: Happily Ever After or Miserable Ever More?

by Brian Snyder

If you’ve been following the news, you’ve heard that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recently released the first section of its sixth report (hereafter, “the report”). The report focuses on the physical science of climate change, and projects the most likely ecological and economic impacts as well as possible mitigation pathways. If you’ve read it—and it is worth reading—you might find that the IPCC has managed once again to walk the line between terrifying and cautious.


CO2 Emissions: Accounting for Accountability

by Taylor Lange

In my very first graduate statistics course, the professor often cautioned us about data collection: “Garbage in, Garbage out.” What she said, in no uncertain terms, was that mistakes in the measurement or methodology would invalidate our statistical analyses. I’ve consistently reminded myself of this mantra. My colleagues, students, and I double check the sources and methodology behind any data we’re testing. If we aren’t entirely confident in the integrity of the data,


Wellbeing, Happiness, and GDP Growth: Rhetoric vs. Reality

by James MacGregor Palmer

Several movements are working in opposition to the destructive growth economy of the 21st century. The labels adopted by these movements are largely tied to the regions in which they originated and/or became popular. For example, the term “steady state” is most prevalent in the USA, while “degrowth” is often associated with continental Europe. The widespread term throughout the UK, however, is “wellbeing economy.”

Without prior knowledge of the UK term,


Bad Bros and Their Bitcoin

by Brian Snyder

Bitcoin needs to end, now. And other blockchain-based currencies along with it. If, like many people, you only have a vague idea of what Bitcoin is, you need to know two critical facts. First, Bitcoin is a currency that is “mined” via computing calculations, and second, in aggregate those calculations use about as much energy as the nation of Argentina. To make matters worse, that energy use is growing.

A recent analysis in Nature Communications estimated that by 2024 bitcoin mining in China alone would require nearly 300 terawatt-hours (TWh),


Spaceship Earth and the Alien Economy: More than a Metaphor

by James MacGregor Palmer

The year was 1965, and on the morning of July 9 in Geneva, Adlai Ewing Stevenson II prepared for his final speech to the UN. A former Governor of Illinois and presidential candidate, what he was about to say might still become his greatest contribution. But we’re in danger of forgetting it.

What Adlai Stevenson proffered the world that day was a metaphor. A simple yet powerful idea that,