Thursday, August 24, 2006
Bill McKibben: A Deeper Shade of Green
By Bill McKibben, National Geographic
This is the year when we finally started to understand what we are in for. Exactly 12 months ago, an MIT professor named Kerry Emanuel published a paper in Nature showing that hurricanes had slowly but steadily been gaining in strength and duration for a generation. It didn't attract widespread attention for a few weeks—not until Katrina roared across the Gulf of Mexico and rendered half a million people refugees. The scenario kept repeating: Rita choking highways with fleeing Texans; Wilma setting an Atlantic Ocean record for barometric lows; Zeta spinning on New Year's Day. Meanwhile, other data kept pouring in from around the planet: Arctic sea ice melting past an irrevocable tipping point; thawing permafrost in northeastern Siberia creating so much methane that lakes didn't freeze even in the depths of boreal winter; the NASA calculation that 2005 had been the warmest year on record.
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Monday, August 07, 2006
By Sarah DeWeerdt, World Watch. Posted August 7, 2006.
Lonely, except that in one sense it has lots of company: species that are lost, or nearly so, are increasingly common because human activities are driving them to extinction 1,000 times faster than the normal rate, according to the just-released report, Global Biodiversity Outlook 2. The report echoes the United Nations' Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, published last year, and proclaims that a "sixth mass extinction" is under way, the worst loss of species since the dinosaurs died out 65 million years ago.
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