Seeds of Change

“Okay,” the young student volunteer said, taking a break from collecting native grass seeds, “we’re going to use these to replant all that disturbed ground,” she pointed over to the old nuclear weapons manufacturing plant site, “then global warming will come along and turn it all into a desert. What’s the logic in that?” Several […]

Dark Days?

“In casting up this dread balance sheet and contemplating our dangers with a disillusioned eye, I see great reason for intense vigilance and exertion, but none whatsoever for despair.” ~Winston Churchill, June 1940 Every day I am bombarded with bad news about politics, society and the environment. Crazy people in charge want to go to […]

Over-ground

Obviously, I do rockets, so I like things that fly. This is not some inherent bias against flying things, but there is a challenge with flying cars in that they’ll be quite noisy, the wind force generated will be very high. Let’s just say that if something’s flying over your head, a whole bunch of […]

The Plot Thickens

“So whether it’s redeveloping dying malls or re-inhabiting dead big-box stores or reconstructing wetlands out of parking lots, I think the fact is the growing number of empty and under-performing, especially retail, sites throughout suburbia gives us actually a tremendous opportunity to take our least-sustainable landscapes right now and convert them into more sustainable places.” […]

The Last Straw?

The last light went out, plunging the neighborhood into darkness. First, a quiet rustling, then silence. Somewhere a dog barks. The rustling resumes. The garbage can lid shifts slightly with a tinny sound. Suddenly, the lid flips off the can and an explosion of plastic straws, disposable water bottles and fast food wrappers cascades onto […]

Out of Bounds

There is an urgent need for a new paradigm that integrates the continued development of human societies and the maintenance of the Earth system (ES) in a resilient and accommodating state. The planetary boundary (PB) framework contributes to such a paradigm by providing a science-based analysis of the risk that human perturbations will destabilize the […]

Our Only Planet

The great hope of the Enlightenment – that human rationality would enable us to transcend our evolutionary limitations – has taken a beating from wars and genocides, but only now, on the problem of climate change, has it foundered altogether. ~ Jonathan Franzen Earth system scientists … say biogeochemical pollution is one of four “planetary […]

Pride and Prejudice

(Apologies to Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith) “It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into.” ~ Jonathan Swift As a regulator, I was often criticized for being biased and letting that bias prejudice my decisions. Of course, it was always the people who disliked my […]