Editorial

  • Many studies have shown that permanently closed marine protected areas conserve fish populations and fisheries, and there have been several ambitious calls to establish these areas and reserve networks in order to meet global biodiversity targets. Yet it is notoriously difficult to gain community support for permanent marine reserves, …

    Read more
  • Thanks to a much-anticipated new solid oxide fuel cell, Bloom Energy, a California-based tech firm, claims it could soon power America’s green-energy future. Late last February, Bloom Energy unveiled its Energy Server, nicknamed the Bloom Box, a refrigerator-sized personal power plant packed with thousands of energy-producing fuel cells. …

    Read more
  • Last October, the Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy (ARPA-E) announced $151 million in funding for 37 bold energy projects. The agency was created to seed high-risk, high-reward technology companies that aim to transform how America is powered. With a total budget of $400 million, ARPA-E’s stated …

    Read more
  • In 2007, the U.S. military establishment placed itself at odds with the Bush administration by recognizing the link between rising greenhouse gas emissions and the threats posed to national security by climate change. The urgency espoused by the Military Advisory Board, a panel of retired military chiefs, has since become part of the rhetoric …

    Read more
  • The development of megacities has been championed by the World Bank and some environmentalists as the most efficient way to shepherd the Earth’s resources as world population increases. However, a study in the March 2010 issue of the journal Nature Geoscience argues that the drivers of tropical deforestation have shifted in the early …

    Read more
  • Last September I attended the Prairie Festival at The Land Institute in Salinas, Kansas. At the institute, Wes Jackson and his colleagues are undertaking one of the most important agricultural research projects in the world. They have gone back to first principles and are breeding new grain crops that are perennials rather than annuals. To …

    Read more

Feature

Perspectives

  • Early in 2009, the number of mobile phone users exceeded 4 billion— with the majority of users living in the developing world. The implications of this fact are profound: most people on Earth are carrying computers that continually transmit information about their relationships, movements, and even financial decisions to closed databases …

    Read more
  • A week after the November 2008 elections, my civic software company, Front Seat (www.frontseat.org), launched ObamaCTO.org to collect ideas on priorities for one of Obama’s campaign promises—appointing the country’s first Chief Technology Officer. The site took about an hour to build using a service called UserVoice. Shortly after sending out …

    Read more

On the Ground

  • The winter night at latitude 65 degrees North is long, cold, and very dark. But the inhabitants of a small island of black volcanic rocks and white glaciers rarely pay much attention to discomfort—they sit warm and cozy in geothermally heated, brightly lit houses. The occasional earthquake or volcanic outburst rocks the island, but the […]

    Read more

Solutions in History

  • Every Antarctic summer, in front of a spectacular backdrop of calving icebergs, the Southern Ocean becomes the theater for an often-slow but occasionally action-packed show called The Whale Wars. The title of a reality TV program produced by the cable television company, Animal Planet, the phrase also suffices as a description of a conflict …

    Read more

Envision the Future

Interview

  • Dr. Paul Raskin, founding director of the Tellus Institute and founder of the Great Transition Initiative (gtinitiative.org), discusses alternative global futures and ways to transition to a sustainable and livable planetary civilization. The following is based on an interview conducted by Anthony Leiserowitz, Director of Strategic Initiatives …

    Read more

Media Review

  • MTV News producer Todd Brown was sitting in his car outside the UCLA mental hospital waiting for Britney Spears to emerge when he realized his career had taken a wrong turn. After graduate school, he had envisioned becoming an international TV-news producer reporting on social issues from the farthest regions of the globe. That night, […]

    Read more
  • We hear a lot about a postcarbon world, but what might that actually look like? A new media exhibit and website have been created to answer that question. The Future We Want project gives Americans a virtual experience of what life could be like in a “clean-energy economy.” It includes life-size screens that project what […]

    Read more

Text Boxes

  • “To forget how to tend the soil is to forget ourselves.” – Mahatma Gandhi Human activities have a direct impact on the earth’s surface and the thin veneer of soil that sustains us. Scientific studies on agricultural erosion, logging and deforestation, and urban development have quantified human impacts across a wide range of geographic …

    Read more
  • The poet W.H. Auden remarked, “Thousands have lived without love, not one without water.” Having sufficient quantities of water is fundamental to life. Water is an engine of health, industry, energy, and agriculture. Use too much, and supplies dwindle. But quality dictates use as well. When contamination makes water undrinkable, unable to …

    Read more