The Ethics of Wiping out a Mosquito Species

The latest blog post on the Plastocene reflects on a genetic technology that could eradicate an entire species of malaria-carrying mosquito. It sounds like an ethical no-brainer.  Some people, however, are a little more hesitant. "The announcement that a new genetic technology had successfully eradicated a carefully contained population of Anopheles gambiae mosquitoes grabbed headlines last week across …

The Endangered Species Act and the Extinction of Cultural Wisdom

It wasn’t long after the Trump administration’s proposal to weaken the Endangered Species Act hit the headlines that a story emerged about a surprise encounter between two Irish fisherman and a striking piece of Earth’s history. Raymond McElroy and Charlie Coyle were fishing for pollan in Lough Neagh in Northern Ireland in September when their …

The Role of Trust in Tackling Climate Change

Every big weather event provides another platform for contrarians to sow dissent and divide public opinion. On September 14th, USA Today offered climate denier Roy Spencer a venue he did not earn in order to deny that climate change is happening. As Hurricane Florence besieged the Carolinas with record rainfall, Spencer’s opinion piece threw his …

Orangutans, Human Landscapes, and the Processes that Made them Both

In a recent article in Anthropocene Magazine about the future of orangutans, Brandon Keim observes “the key to their survival is us not killing them.” You would be forgiven for thinking that Keim is a master of the blindingly obvious after he offers a statement like this. We all already know that orangutans don’t fare …

A Small Brown Bear with A Big Weight on Its Shoulders

On Tuesday of this week, Rewilding Europe relaunched their work in the Apennine region of Italy. Together with their partner Salviamo L’Orso, the organization is beginning a campaign they hope will lead to a growing population of one of the signature species of the region, the Marsican brown bear. An additional goal is to provide …

Catching Carbon: Why ‘Cheap’ Still Comes with a Cost.

A peer-reviewed study published last week revealed that the cost of capturing carbon directly out of the atmosphere may not be as high as initially feared. Canadian firm Carbon Engineering have been running a pilot plant in British Columbia since 2015 capable of capturing a ton of carbon dioxide per day from the ambient air. …