Tag: Climate

The Holocene Hangover

As a child growing up in the early 1980s, I often daydreamed of space exploration and interstellar frontiers. The leap into outer space seemed tantalizingly close. In the science fiction stories I ...

How to Live in Uncertain Times

Doomsday is a messy affair. We fix our anxious gaze on the horizon, awaiting the moment when the air will prove too warm, the sea too toxic, the ground unfirm. We live in a time we are calling the ...

Anthropocene and Empire

In the autumn of 1839, an unusually strong tropical storm devastated coastal communities along the Bay of Bengal in what was then the English East India Company’s premier settlement. A decade later ...

Talk about the Weather

In his series of black-and-white images, Bad Weather (1980), English photographer Martin Parr captured some recognizably damp, gray scenes.

The Inventor of Nature

In 1869 the centennial of Alexander von Humboldt’s birth was celebrated around the world, including in New York City, where bands and speakers gathered in Central Park to honor his legacy. He was ...

Planetary Politics

In 2000, the atmospheric chemist Paul Crutzen and the ecologist Eugene Stoermer proposed that the earth had entered a new age. The Holocene period, the geological term for the past 11,500 years, had ...

Dancing on a Crowded Planet

Thirty dancers are barely enough to fill the shadow of the life-sized blue whale that hangs, mid-dive, in the Milstein Hall of Ocean Life at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. Yet on ...

Papa Can’t Buy You A Brand New Earth

In the lullaby “Hush Little Baby,” a singer tries to quiet a child by promising to give her a slew of new things. “Papa’s gonna buy you a mocking bird,” she croons, “And if that mocking bird don’t ...

Forget Fertility, Get Feral

What’s more important to our planet’s future than little children? Global warming is about them, we’re told, and it’s on their behalf that we have to do better. Climate scientist James Hansen titled ...

Global Warming and Network Think

On August 26th, 2014, in the lead-up to the United Nations summit scheduled for the following month, the New York Times carried a story on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s latest draft ...

Changing Climates of History

Neither Thucydides, Gibbon, von Ranke, nor Braudel ever cited a paper appearing in Geophysical Research Letters. They did not worry themselves about fluctuations in the Siberian High or the Southern ...

Historical Futorology

These days headlines often read like plot points in an apocalyptic science-fiction story: Fossil fuel use has reengineered the earth’s atmosphere and acidified the oceans. Polar ice sheets are ...