A Sustainable Planet
All human advances have been connected to advances in producing and using energy from Earth’s natural resources. Those resources are finite, and we are now at a crossroads. The paths we take will be key to our future.
Earth has endured and survived extreme climate change more than once, with varying impacts on natural life. This time is different. We know the history. We know what’s happening and the impact of our own actions. We understand the limits to crucial resources and what will happen if we do nothing. Most importantly, we have the ability to correct our course in pursuit of a viable future. Are we up to the challenge?
Understanding the full economic picture is the first step to making the right choices. What is the true cost and impact of our options? Is there a viable strategy for converting to 100% renewables, increasing efficiency, and reaching zero emissions? How would this impact the world economy?
No period in global history resembles what humanity is about to experience. Explore the key global forces converging to create the complexity of change, our crisis of confidence in facing the options, and how we can take charge of our destiny.
Human history can be viewed as a repeating spiral of ingenuity—ratchet (technological breakthrough), hatchet (resulting natural disaster), and pivot (inventing new solutions). Whether we can pivot effectively from the last Big Ratchet remains to be seen.
With all of Earth’s five mass extinctions, the climate changed faster than any species could adapt. The current extinction has the same random and rapid properties, but it’s unique in that it’s caused entirely by the actions of a single species—humans.
Human social development, says Morris, is constantly generated by environmental and social factors. The amount of energy that can be extracted from the environment through technology defines the social possibilities, and thus influences the attitudes and world view of each epoch.
Travel the Journey
Lesley Stahl, CBS 60 Minutes
Increasing numbers of fishermen, scientists, and foodies in this country are starting to look at seaweed very differently — as a promising source of food, jobs and help cleaning ocean waters. With rising global populations and limited space to expand agriculture on land, they are turning to the sea — and its “weeds” — as a new frontier.
Moises Velasquez-Manoff, New York Times
Farmers and ranchers in California, Kansas, and North Dakota are using regenerative agricultural practices to pull carbon from the atmosphere and into the soil and, in the process, reducing operational costs and boosting crop yields.
Henry Fountain, New York Times
Can the natural process of carbon capture by certain rock formations be leveraged to remove some of the billions of tons of heat-trapping carbon dioxide that humans have pumped into the air since the beginning of the Industrial Age?
International Energy Agency
Major transformations are underway for the global energy sector. Electricity is the star of the show, but how bright will it shine?
Adam Vaughan, The Guardian
Solar power was the fastest-growing source of new energy worldwide in 2016, outstripping the growth in all other forms of power generation for the first time and leading experts to hail a “new era.”
Justin Gillis, New York Times
Global warming is daunting. So here’s a place to start: 17 often-asked questions with some straightforward answers.
Bloomberg New Energy Finance
The late David MacKay’s groundbreaking book offers a definitive and lucid overview of the case for renewable energy. Download it free. Watch David MacKay’s address to the Harvard Center for the Environment.