Elementais one of my favorite projects and I’m honored that they are one of my sponsors. It’s an open access (free) peer-reviewed science journal that focuses on, among other things, adaptation and climate change. They’re holding an open call for submissions.
Spread the word on your university’s listserv or wherever you can! Overview and instructions:
Elementa is an open-access, nonprofit journal, founded by BioOne and five collaborating academic institutions: Dartmouth, the Georgia Institute of Technology, the University of Colorado Boulder, the University of Michigan, and the University of Washington.
Elementa will publish original research reporting on new knowledge of the Earth’s physical, chemical, and biological systems; interactions between human and natural systems; and steps that can be taken to mitigate and adapt to global change. Embracing the concept that basic knowledge can foster sustainable solutions for society, Elementa is organized initially into six knowledge domains, each led by a prominent Editor-in-Chief.The following domains are now accepting submissions:
Atmospheric Science Detlev Helmig, University of Colorado Boulder
Earth and Environmental Science Joel D. Blum, University of Michigan
Ecology Donald R. Zak, University of Michigan
Ocean Science Jody W. Deming, University of Washington
Sustainable Engineering Michael E. Chang, Georgia Institute of Technology
Elementa is published on an open-access, public-good basis. Open access allows research to be freely available to all—including those from developing countries whose academic institutions may not be able to afford costly publications—in the interests of accelerating scientific progress, and ultimately resulting in public good. Open access not only ensures the widest dissemination of research possible, but also the greatest impact, by allowing others to cite, re-purpose, and build upon existing published research.
Elementa is now accepting submissions through its online peer-review system (www.editorialmanager.com/elementa). Benefits of publishing with Elementa include rapid, rigorous peer-review; a detailed manuscript tracking system for authors; and publications of articles through a variety of human- and machine-intelligible formats: XML, HTML, JSON, PDF, EPUB, and Mobipocket. Elementa’s first articles will be published on September 3rd.
A new book, Novel Ecosystems, edited by Richard Hobbs of the University of Western Australia and others, shows how many superficially natural ecosystems are heavily influenced by the introduction of alien species. Whether intentional or accidental, most introductions seem to have human origins.
This is disconcerting. “Over large parts of the globe, the ‘wilderness’ that people refer back to never existed,” says one of the book’s authors, Michael Perring, also of the University of Western Australia.
Nature has always had open borders for alien species on the move. Those itinerants may have been a driving force of evolution. But human activity has dramatically increased their travel options. We move many deliberately, as commercial crops or domesticated animals, for instance. Today, others can hitch a ride on ship hulls or in ballast tanks, aboard planes or on the wheels of trucks or the backs of domesticated animals. This phenomenon seems to have been going on for much longer than we sometimes imagine.
What is Resilience? is a nifty, free, 20page, visual ebook overview defining resilience. It’s free, and published by the researchers at the Stockholm Resilience Centre. (Free ebook is free.)
Resilience is the capacity of a system, be it an individual, a forest, a city or an economy, to deal with change and continue to develop. It is about the capacity to use shocks and disturbances like a financial crisis or climate change to spur renewal and innovative thinking.
This publication presents the major strands within resilience thinking and social-ecological research. It describes the profound imprint we humans have had on nature and ideas on how to deal with the resulting challenges.
The publication is based on three scientific articles that were prepared for the 3rd Nobel Laureate Symposium on global sustainability, which took place in Stockholm in May 2011. The articles were later published in the scientific journal Ambio. They represent a mix of necessary actions and exciting planetary opportunities. They also illustrate how we can use the growing insights into the many challenges we are facing by starting to work with the processes of the biosphere instead of against them.
Chapter One describes in detail the complex interdependencies between people and ecosystems. It highlights the fact that there are virtually no ecosystems that are not shaped by people and no people without the need for ecosystems and the services they provide. Too many of us seem to have disconnected ourselves from Nature. A shift in thinking will create exciting opportunities for us to continue to develop and thrive for generations to come.
Chapter Two takes us through the tremendous acceleration of human enterprise, especially since World War II. This acceleration is pushing the Earth dangerously close to its boundaries, to the extent that abrupt environmental change cannot be excluded. Furthermore, it has led scientists to argue that the current geological period should be labelled the ‘Antropocene’ – the Age of Man.
Chapter Three highlights the fascinating paradox that the innovative capacity that has put us in the current environmental predicament can also be used to push us out of it. It introduces the term social-ecological innovation, which essentially strives to find innovative ways to reconnect with the biosphere and stay within planetary boundaries.
Considering how humans’ affect the climate, land use, oceans, species, and habitats, many scientists think the earth has entered a new period in historic time. But what are the criteria for a new epoch, one defined by humans? A few scientists and a journalist discuss the issue.
Have humans had such a dramatic impact on the globe that we’ve created a new geological era? That’s what some scientists think. They’ve proposed that the Industrial Revolution in the mid-18th century marked the end of the Holocene (a period that began with the last ice age 11,700 years ago) and the beginning of the Anthropocene, the “Age of Man.” Not everyone agrees. In fact, some say the Anthropocene began 11,500 years ago and completely overlaps with the Holocene. And still others say the Anthropocene has yet to begin.
Who’s right? What are the implications for science and the planet?
Dr. Mark Brandon, a Polar Oceanographer (@icey_mark), discusses how humans impact the Arctic. It’s a high-level talk, meaning it’s easy to follow and not very sciencey. He makes much use of the fact that fire retardants are routinely found in the fat of polar bears and other animals to show how our pollution travels north.
Dan Pallotta’s new TED talk criticizing charity systems is great stuff. “The way we think about charity is dead wrong.”
Why you should listen to him:
“The nonprofit sector is critical to our dream of changing the world. Yet there is no greater injustice than the double standard that exists between the for-profit and nonprofit sectors. One gets to feast on marketing, risk-taking, capital and financial incentive, the other is sentenced to begging,” Dan Pallotta says in discussing his latest book, Charity Case. This economic starvation of our nonprofits is why he believes we are not moving the needle on great social problems. “My goal … is to fundamentally transform the way the public thinks about charity within 10 years.”
Pallotta is best known for creating the multi-day charitable event industry, and a new generation of citizen philanthropists with the AIDS Rides and Breast Cancer 3-Day events, which raised $582 million in nine years. He is president of Advertising for Humanity, which helps foundations and philanthropists transform the growth potential of their favorite grantees.
“He liberates charity from its Puritan constraints and cogently attaches it to entrepreneurship.” - Gary Hart
4000 year high for global temperatures, according to a new research study headed by climatologist Shaun Marcott of Oregon State University. The study utilized the most in-depth reconstruction of climate information from over the last 11,300 years, virtually the entire Holocene era, and was released in the academic magazine Science earlier this week. Source
Nice, frank talk with students. Worth listening to if you’re a budding environmentalist. Peter challenges some of the norms students learn in their classes, such as the notion that environmentalists should work with - not against - businesses and governments. There’s also a very good essay discussed in the stream, which you can read here.
Peter Kareiva, chief scientist and director of science at The Nature Conservancy, visited my class “Environmental Communications in the Anthropocene” to talk about the crucial intersections of conservation and communications, science and storytelling.
The Halley Research Station in Antarctica is run by the British Antarctic Survey. The station is used to conduct research into meteorology, glaciology, seismology, radio astronomy, and geospace science.
Recently, the program began focusing on anthropogenic climate change. Halley provides vital information for a global understanding of ozone depletion, polar atmospheric chemistry, sea-level rise and climate change.
The station is mobile, but will likely remain in place for years to come. It took four years to build, and delivered its first scientific research in 2012.
About 20 to 70 people work and live at the station throughout the year, depending on the season.
Background on living, working, research, history, the weather, and even a webcam: here
Curious about Halley’s governing institution, the British Antarctic Survey? Go here
About the architects. The station was designed by Hugh Broughton Architects, which specializes in extreme environment engineering for unique clients.
Our approach requires us to exercise the lateral thinking abilities of an architect to the full, taking us into new territories, exploring new forms of construction and drawing upon the full breadth of available technologies from a vast array of industries. This is epitomised by the success of our work for extreme environments, where we are one of the global leaders in the design of scientific research facilities in the Polar Regions. Via HBA
“Controversial” environmentalist Michael Shellenberger was on Colbert the other day. Shellenberger argues that environmentalists need to embrace new technologies, such as nuclear power, rather than reject them routinely.
I like his thinking. He challenges environmentalists to reexamine their beliefs and positions without uprooting core philosophies. He makes this challenge in a way that is non-threatening and accessible. Reexamining environmentalism is, as many of my dear readers will note, a topic I’ve written about many times.
They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. It is wonderful, then, to end the first year of the Anthropocene Journal with news that it has already spawned several imitators. In 2013, two publishers plan to launch Anthropocene journals. Academic publishing behemoth Elsevier unleashes the first issue of Anthropocene. Meanwhile, in July 2013 BioOne and several universities launch a new open-access journal, Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene.
I wish both journals well. Except Elsevier’s on principle. Elsevier’s approach to publishing is parasitic opportunism. It exploits well-meaning academics working freely as editors yet adds little value itself then brazenly sells the product back to the academic community. This brilliant business model generates mind-boggling profits. And must end.
New Year’s Resolution: open access of all for all.
I’m with Revkin on this. Journals need to stop vampire-profiting off of researchers’ good works. I’ve been peer-reviewed published, and it really bums me out that my work is making profits for the publisher, and not a dime for me.
I’m sure I posted this before, but couldn’t find it in myanthropocene tag. I cannot help but wonder how a theory of capitalism could be a viable response to resolving such massive destruction. I’m not arguing against capitalism - I’ve accepted that it is inevitable long ago. I just cannot see how it can provide solutions at such a huge scale. Blindness prevails…
Epochs last an awfully long time. We’re talking millions of years. Well, some scientists are kicking around the idea that the earth has entered a new one. Technically, we’re still in the Holocene period. But perhaps, these scientists say, humans have so influenced the direction of the planet that we should think of this as a new epoch called the anthropocene. Check out the above video for a visualization of this idea.
In connection with the NPR Cities Project today, NPR Blogger and astrophysicist Adam Frank suggests that the anthropocene is really the epoch of the city. Just look at the east coast from way up in an airplane, he says.
Sea level has risen by about eight inches overall worldwide since around 1900 and the waters are expected to rise an estimated three feet by 2100. “Sometimes we forget that the damage in New Orleans in 2005 from Hurricane Katrina came not from wind or rain, but from the storm surge [that caused flooding] ahead of that storm,” Lemonick says. If sea levels rise as expected, “all of those storm surges are going to be starting from a level three feet higher, which means that they have much greater potential to drive inland, to wash over barrier islands, and to really inundate the coast. … Many, many millions of people and trillions of dollars of infrastructure are in serious danger, if those projections are correct.”
2010 fire-climate paper shows strong East-West difference in fire trends in 21st Century. (West burns.) Temperature to become prime driver of fire. Abstract:
Recent bursts in the incidence of large wildfires worldwide have raised concerns about the influence climate change and humans might have on future fire activity. Comparatively little is known, however, about the relative importance of these factors in shaping global fire history. Here we use fire and climate modeling, com- bined with land cover and population estimates, to gain a better understanding of the forces driving global fire trends. Our model successfully reproduces global fire activity record over the last millennium and reveals distinct regimes in global fire behavior. We find that during the preindustrial period, the global fire regime was strongly driven by precipitation (rather than temperature), shifting to an anthropogenic-driven regime with the Industrial Revolution. Our future projections indicate an impending shift to a temperature-driven global fire regime in the 21st century, creating an unprecedentedly fire-prone environment. These results suggest a possibility that in the future climate will play a consider- ably stronger role in driving global fire trends, outweighing direct human influence on fire (both ignition and suppression), a reversal from the situation during the last two centuries.
A blog about the interactions between the built environment, people, and nature.
I'm a climate change consultant specializing in climate adaptation, environmental law, and urban planning based in the U.S. In addition to traveling and hiking, I research, publish, and lecture on how cities can adapt to climate change.
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