Climate, energy, and agriculture are all topics that are closely intertwined with questions of the environment.
My articles on diverse environmental issues
- Environmental Impacts of Farming – A European view into organic vs conventional
- If You Care About Bees, Look Past Neonicotinoids – On bee health and CCD
- ‘Treatment-free’ Beekeepers Give Varroa Mite Free Rein – Many hobby beekeepers swear off all treatments, and may sadly exacerbate bee disease epidemics
- No, Glyphosate is Not a Threat to Bees – Hyperbolic claims are hyperbolic.
- Glyphosate and The Environment – Impacts on resource use, emissions, and tilling
- Glyphosate and Field Ecosystems – A look at pesticide resistance, soil health, and benefifical insects such as butterflies and bees
- Plants Don’t Have Problems – Humans have the ability to care for the environment
- GMOs and the Environment – Reviewing the evidence over effects of GMOs
- Energy Solutions in a Changing Climate – Nuclear and renewables are both needed
- Monoculture – the Great Evil of Modern Ag? – What is monoculture, really?
- Three Ways Science Could Improve the World Through Rice – Rice is as big a source of methane as all the world’s landfills, but biotechnology could change that
- Natural Assumptions – The story about my failure to defend organic farming as the better alternative for the environment
- On Farming, Animals, and the Environment – What is environmentally friendly farming?
- On the Nature of ‘Natural’ – Natural is much more complex than mere good or bad.
On the environment, evidence, and environmentalism
Interesting study, Discursive diversity in introductory environmental studies, published in spring 2015, highlights something that has concerned me quite a bit: how identifying one self as an environmentalist relates to critical evaluation of evidence, or rather, the lack thereof.
The study found that two thirds of introductory environmental science courses in the US covered perspectives from one political ideology only, failing neither to contrast these views with other approaches, nor encourage critical thinking in evaluation of their basic premises.
This is worrisome to say the least. For environment’s sake, lets put the onus on critical thinking and science. There is a promising new movement which aims to redefine environmentalism as an evidence-based practice, avoiding ideologies or preordained conclusions. I rather like that approach. You can read more about the views of the independently founded arm of the Finnish Ecomodernist Association.
Here you can find the original English introduction of the idea: Ecomodernist manifesto.
And I rather like this piece, titled Ecomodernist elevator speech
In addition to treating humans as invasive, traditional environmentalism seems to romanticize a return to nature that may be appealing to those of us in the West who have never depended on nature for survival, but probably isn’t so romantic to a subsistence farmer who has just lost his crop to floods. We can’t expect people in the developing world who fight with nature every single day to be on board with a world vision that doesn’t let them escape that fight. Ecomodernism acknowledges that humans are drawn to the beauty and spirituality of nature and therefore aims to preserve and protect nature by lessening human impact and dependency on it.
Even though humans have caused the problems on our planet, treating humankind as the enemy accomplishes nothing other than causing deniers on the right to dig in further and and the rest of us to throw up our hands and think, “Well, I voted for a Democrat and separated the recycling, what else do you want from me?”
Below you can find my infographics on environmental issues.