Earth Science

Articles

Apes on Steroids

The Great Acceleration: Earth systems commandeered by permanent human growth economics, fueled by coal, oil and gas. A quarter of the planet’s core energy base — natural primary productivity — appropriated for human food, fiber and fuel production. The GPM speaks about human socioeconomic metabolism and appropriation of net primary production with Vienna University ecologist Fridolin Krausmann. And, about the mid-20th century Great Acceleration with Georgetown University historian John McNeill.


Tipping Points

In the heart of one of Canada’s biggest cities, paradise. Below a city dweller’s feet, a pulsating, living network. All around us on this living planet, the clear and present danger of sliding into oblivion.


The Fire Beneath

Living on the edge of inferno. Perfectly normal for the people of Iceland, where volcanoes and ground cracks spew red hot magma. The GPM speaks with an Icelandic Earth scientist. Magma and the rock it turns into can be put to work, pumping carbonated water into it, turning atmospheric CO2 into limestone, for good. We speak about this with a Columbia University geologist.


Geology Futures

The geology of cities — built out of stuff mined from the ground. That’s where all cities will end up, broken down and fossilized. The GPM speaks with a geologist who gazes into the future. Some human-made molecules won’t break down either. Forever chemicals, they’re called, and they’re everywhere. In non-stick cookware, cosmetics and clothing. They last forever, and they’re toxic. On a happier note — the human microbiome. All those bacteria living on us and in us, delivering crucial services. Nothing more amazing than the bacteria in the gut of a pregnant woman, steering healthy fetal development.


Crime of Crimes

Genocide in Gaza — Is Israel guilty of this crime of crimes? One thing is clear: genocidal incitement permeates Israeli society. The GPM speaks with Israeli human rights attorney Michael Sfard. How to stop Israel’s assault? Some call for international intervention. The GPM speaks with Canadian international law expert Ardi Imseis. And, the Anthropocene. A wake-up call from Canadian Earth scientist Martin Head.


Tipping Points

Oceans of clean energy on humanity’s doorstep — wave, tidal, surface heat and, wherever freshwater flows into the sea … salt gradient energy. Tipping points in Earth systems. Unstable states world governments need to prepare for now. And, America’s Passionate Attachment to Israel. Loyalty is a must.


Risky Moves

Risky moves: A Canadian political scientist attends a sanctioned forum in Russia — and asks Vladimir Putin a question. An Italian climate researcher refuses to return to work fast, from the other side of the planet. Slow travel releases less carbon, he tells his bosses. The GPM interviews Radhika Desai and Gianluca Grimalda.


Old Nazis & International Law

A small Canadian lake records humanity’s impact on Planet Earth. On the floor of Canada’s House of Commons, an old Nazi veteran gets a standing ovation. And, when official enemies are to blame, Canada calls for justice. For a beloved ally, Canada calls for justice to be suspended.


Lake Chad Drying Up

Six out of nine planetary systems key to the survival of the human species are under threat. Is Earth still a safe operating space for human beings? And, a mega-engineering project to save an endangered African lake — on the drawing board, and very worrisome.


Planetary Boundaries Breached

Six out of nine planetary systems key to the survival of the human species have been compromised, breaching the estimated boundaries of Earth system stability and resilience and pushing it “well outside of the safe operating space for humanity.” The GPM spoke with Katherine Richardson, lead author of “Earth beyond six of nine planetary boundaries.”



Poisonous Legacies

Uranium mining in Niger: a filthy, toxic business. Fifty years after the end of America’s war on Vietnam, traces of US chemical weapons linger. And, the Anthropocene. A geologist talks about humanity’s transformation of Planet Earth.


Green Planet Monitor Podcast

After years of study, a scientific panel proposes a formal definition of the Anthropocene, naming the spot where humanity’s fingerprints are best observed in the rock record. A Canadian geologist relishes the moment. And, a First Nations elder reflects on the lake of her dreams and memories.


Green Planet Monitor Podcast

Nothing woolly-headed or Utopian about it: A universal, guaranteed basic income. A hundred years later, memories of war that do not fade. And, one of humanity’s great revolutions – the 1950s Great Acceleration has transformed Earth’s surface completely, hurtling our planet into an uncertain future.


Green Planet Monitor Podcast

Humanity’s impact on Planet Earth has a name: the Anthropocene. The start of Earth’s human age can be pinpointed in ice and biological cores, and the bottom sediments of bays and lakes — including a small lake in southern Ontario. But human beings have no control. And now we stand at catastrophe’s door.


Green Planet Monitor Podcast

A US Supreme Court ruling throws American wetlands under the bus. In the oven, wheat and corn flour turn into bread and tortillas; spread on farm fields, rock flour reacts with carbon dioxide, turning into carbonates that get stored – forever. And, sharp questions off his tongue and a smartphone in hand, a Canadian activist ambushes politicians.


Green Planet Monitor Podcast

The roots of the US anti-abortion movement — misogyny, racism and hatred of immigrants. On the edge of a big Canadian city, an oasis of calm where wildlife thrives. And, the latest report from the World Meteorological Organization; its lead author is scared.




Cryosphere

Planet Earth is covered in water. Ninety-seven percent is in earth’s oceans. Most of the rest is frozen solid — locked up in sea ice and terrestrial ice sheets, glaciers and permafrost. Earth’s cryosphere plays a huge role in regulating climate. As our planet warms, its cryosphere is slowly melting, triggering positive feedbacks that make earth scientists worry.