“You can’t get this experience of listening to these birds second hand through a screen, or through an MP3 player, or YouTube.You get a simulacra.You get something similar but not in any way the same. Because it is a shallower engagement, the result of that is a shallower wish to act on behalf of it.”
So where are my reading glasses? Here, right in front of me, so close that I missed them. The lenses need cleaning. Some of Delhi’s smog still clings to them. Landour would not approve. And here I am, back on my hilltop, pen in hand, spectacles balanced on my nose. The new day has begun.
From The Indian Quarterly: Strange things happen in this forest. A bug sucks and then pees. Droplets of bright water shoot out of its bum and fall rain-like on the forest floor. I saw it today with my own eyes. Orange and black bug on a Heliconia leaf, shadow-spangled, tumbling in the gusting wind, peeing.
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.
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 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.
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.
“A forest is much more than what you see,” says forest ecologist Suzanne Simard. Her 30 years of research in Canadian forests have led to an astounding discovery—trees talk, often and over vast distances. Learn more about the harmonious yet complicated social lives of trees and prepare to see the natural world with new eyes.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.