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Suzanne Simard on the networked beauty of forests

From Yale Environment 360: Ecologist Suzanne Simard, now at the University of British Columbia, has pioneered research into how trees communicate. She has shown how trees use a network of soil fungi to convey their needs and aid neighboring plants. Now she’s warning that threats like clear-cutting and climate change could disrupt these critical networks.

The Anthropocene myth: Blaming all of humanity for climate change lets capitalism off the hook

Andreas Malm writes: Mainstream climate discourse is positively drenched in references to humanity as such, human nature, the human enterprise, humankind as one big villain driving the train. Enter Naomi Klein, who in ‘This Changes Everything’ lays bare the myriad ways in which capital accumulation pour fuel on the fire now consuming the earth system.

The Anthropocene is here: Scientists declare dawn of human-influenced era

The Guardian reports: Planet Earth has entered a new geological epoch dubbed the Anthropocene because of the extent of humanity’s impact on the planet, according to a group of scientists. An international working group set up to consider the question voted by 30 to three, with two abstentions, that the Anthropocene was real in a geological sense.

The secrets of the Wood Wide Web

Robert Macfarlane reports:  Individual plants are joined to one another by an underground hyphal network: a dazzlingly complex and collaborative structure that is often called the Wood Wide Web. It allows plants to distribute resources —sugar, nitrogen, and phosphorus— between one another. Even more remarkably, the network also allows plants to send one another warnings.

Suprabha Seshan: Turn off the Lights

The night is under assault, as indeed all planetary attributes are. Things that happen in the night, like plant respiration, the release of melatonin in our blood streams, the pollination of night-blooming flowers by a spectacular diversity of moths, the dark phase of circadian rhythms, the 24-hour timekeeper that nature abides by, are under attack.

Video & Report: Disconnect with nature driving mental illness in urban areas

Science Daily reports: Mental illnesses and mood disorders are common in cities, scientists found that this is partly due to the reduced access to nature. The authors of the study published in the journal Science said that the growing tensions from the necessary role of the urban cities have disconnected humans from the natural world.

Who is the dumb primate, really?

Aseem Shrivastava writes: A species that endangers other species endangers itself. This simple lesson in interdependence is the first principle of ecology, a commonsensical science of such far-reaching and enduring contemporary significance as to merit a compulsory education for all humans; for nothing is more perilous for human destiny today than ecological illiteracy and myopia.

Bookshelf: The Politics of Nature by Bruno Latour

Kurt Cobb writes: Latour understands that the natural world — which politics has always held at arm’s length while nevertheless dealing daily with nature’s demands — must now explicitly invite that natural world to the bargaining table. This is not about being a “nature lover” who only cares about animals and plants, but not about humans.

The dangers of separating science and environment

Manu Saunders writes: What will be the consequences if the perceived connection between scientific endeavor and the natural world continues to weaken? Presenting nature study as a pleasant but scientifically irrelevant hobby may have beneficial effects on our health and well-being, but it’ll damage our understanding of environmental issues and therefore our understanding of science.

Human impact has pushed Earth into the Anthropocene, scientists say

A new study provides one of the strongest cases yet that Earth has entered a new geological epoch. The question of whether humans’ environmental impact has tipped Earth into an “Anthropocene” – ending the current Holocene which began 12,000 years ago – will be put to the geological body that formally approves such time divisions.

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