Science Matters archives

  • Photo: Anthropocentric view ignores crucial connections

    Anthropocentric view ignores crucial connections

    January 19, 2017

    For decades, scientists have warned that we're on a dangerous path. It stems from our delusion that endless growth in population, consumption and the economy is possible and is the very purpose of society. But endless growth is not feasible in a finite biosphere. Growth is not an end but a means. More »

  • Photo: We can learn so much from nature

    We can learn so much from nature

    January 12, 2017

    By learning how nature works and how to work within it, we can overcome many problems we've created by trying to jam our technologies on top of natural systems. Fossil fuels were formed when plants absorbed and converted sunlight through photosynthesis hundreds of millions of years ago, then retained that energy when they died, decayed and became compacted and buried deep in the Earth, along with the animals that ate them. Rapidly burning limited supplies of them is absurd, especially when they can be useful for so many other known and possibly yet undiscovered purposes. More »

  • Photo: It's time to heed warnings about humanity's collision course

    It's time to heed warnings about humanity's collision course

    January 5, 2017

    The longer we delay addressing environmental problems, the more difficult it will be to resolve them. Although we've known about climate change and its potential impacts for a long time, and we're seeing those impacts worsen daily, our political representatives are still approving and promoting fossil fuel infrastructure as if we had all the time in the world to slow global warming. More »

  • Photo: Tread lightly to lift the weight of the world

    Tread lightly to lift the weight of the world

    December 15, 2016

    How much stuff will you give and receive this holiday season? Add it to the growing pile — the 30-trillion-tonne pile. That's how much technology and goods humans have produced, according to a "study by an international team":http://anr.sagepub.com/content/early/2016/11/25/2053019616677743 led by England's University of Leicester. It adds up to more than all living matter on the planet, estimated at around four trillion tonnes. More »

  • Photo: Indigenous people hold the key to caribou survival

    Indigenous people hold the key to caribou survival

    December 8, 2016

    Policy-makers have ignored the wealth of knowledge that Indigenous peoples hold about caribou and ecosystems for too long. It's time for Indigenous peoples to share their stories of the land at decision-making tables and to play a leadership role in planning and implementing caribou habitat restoration efforts and other land- and water-management issues, with adequate resources to support them. That would be a big "win" all around — for the caribou, for Indigenous communities, for reconciliation efforts and for all of us who depend on nature for our well-being and survival. More »

  • Photo: Reconciliation requires recognizing rights-based fishing

    Reconciliation requires recognizing rights-based fishing

    December 1, 2016

    Indigenous peoples have been denied their share of marine resources for too long, watching as commercial and recreational fisheries profit from resources on their waters while their boats sit idle. For cultures built on sharing and selling those resources, it's a bitter pill and a threat to cultural survival. It's time for a new relationship built on co-management and equitable division of ocean resources, guided by a shared commitment to ocean conservation. Reconciliation in action would mean restoring the rights of the Nuu-chah-nulth and other Indigenous peoples to fish for a living. More »

  • Photo: Better discourse for a kinder world

    Better discourse for a kinder world

    November 24, 2016

    The U.S. election was a chilling illustration of the atrocious state of public discourse. It doesn't bode well for a country once admired for leadership in education and science. More »

  • Photo: Hard work and love trump fear and hate

    Hard work and love trump fear and hate

    November 17, 2016

    We mustn't let fear overcome us. It's time to stand together to work for justice and human rights, for equity, for liberty, for a cleaner environment, for governments that serve the people rather than corporations — for the values the United States of America was supposedly founded on. We must listen to each other and promote dialogue rather than debate. More »

  • Photo: Extinction crisis signals that it's time to change course

    Extinction crisis signals that it's time to change course

    November 10, 2016

    Clean air, water and soil to grow food are necessities of life. So are diverse plant and animal populations. But as the human population continues to increase, animal numbers are falling. There's a strong correlation. A comprehensive report from the World Wildlife Federation and the Zoological Society of London found that wild animal populations dropped by 58 per cent between 1970 and 2012, and will likely reach a 67 per cent drop by 2020 if nothing is done to prevent the decline. More »

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    "World class" may not mean much when it comes to oil spill response

    November 3, 2016

    Spills and disasters illustrate the immediate negative impacts of our overreliance on fossil fuels. Climate change shows we can't continue to burn coal, oil and gas, that we have to leave much of it in the ground. If we get on with it, we may still have time to manage the transition without catastrophic consequences. But the longer we delay, the more difficult it will become. More »