Science

The Trudeau government has released the Speech From the Throne to open the 44th Parliament. There’s a section on climate action, but it goes on an on about “growing the economy” and doesn’t even mention fossil fuels, much less the need to abolish them. It’s not super encouraging that the speech is called “Building a […]

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Vanier Park, Vancouver 1997 LIFEboat Flotilla

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Every day I’m bombarded with objections to the evidence for human-caused climate change. Most of them sound respectably scientific, like “climate changes all the time; humans have nothing to do with it.” It’s “the Sun,” or “volcanoes,” or “cosmic rays” that are making it happen, or “it’s not even warming,” some argue. … Scientists call […]

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“How do I talk about this … to my mother, brother-in-law, friend, colleague, elected official?” I’m asked this question nearly everywhere I go. … Usually, they’ve already given conversation a try. They’ve boned up on a few alarming scientific facts. They’ve tried to explain how fast the Arctic is melting, or how bees are disappearing, […]

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I have heard the theory that every time we remember something it is influenced by our thoughts, feelings, and beliefs at the time of remembering. That implies that the memories we think most about are the ones that have been most distorted from their original form. An exaggerated version is in effect for stories recounted […]

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Back in 2008, I wrote about the Future Leaders Survey and the gloomy views it uncovered among young people about the future of the planet. Recently, The Lancet published a study based on a survey of 10,000 people aged 16–25 in 10 countries. It demonstrates that apocalyptic psychology is a broad-based phenomenon, not exclusively concentrated […]

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There’s a voguish argument that in an era of easy information availability there is less cause to have any substantial body of knowledge memorized. I have seen articles arguing that the crucial cognitive skills for young people today are the ability to find what they are looking for, given access to the internet. I think […]

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Based on my experience of Canadian environment ministers (whatever the department is called at a given time), there are essentially two types. The rarer type is the genuine environmentalist who thinks they can get things done through the compromises of government. They’re true believers on climate change but rarely have much support from cabinet or […]

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The many human impacts of climate change are complex and often indirect, like how warmer winters in the mountains affect downstream agriculture. The most direct possible effects — however — have been on display in the brutal heat waves on the west coast, as well as elsewhere in the world. CNN recently published an editorial […]

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Promoted by a recent Economist article on biodiversity and Alie Ward’s podcast on foresting ecology, I am trying out the iNaturalist app. My outdoor pursuits mostly consist of walking at a steady pace for exercise, so plant and wildlife observations aren’t my priority. Nonetheless, it’s neat to be able to take a break anywhere in […]

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