by Portal Team, 2015-06-23 14:52

Dr. Leichhardt, the Explorer

Drawing by William Nicholas, in: Heads of the People: An Illustrated Journal of Literature, Whims and Oddities, Sydney, 1847.
Courtesy of The National Library of Australia, Canberra, NK720/40.

Newly published items on the Environment & Society Portal: Ludwig Leichhardt exhibition and María Valeria Berros' Arcadia article on the rights of nature in South America.

by Portal Team, 2015-06-05 16:44

El Toro Wilderness is the core of the park as traversed by John Gifford in 1903.

Ian Tyrrell recounts the debate between forestry and conservation in a colonial setting that led to the establishment of Luquillo National Forest in Puerto Rico in 1907.

by Portal Team, 2015-05-21 16:22

Scène de la peste de 1720 à la Tourette (Marseille) by Catalan-born French painter Michel Serre

In this Arcadia article, Cindy Ermus argues that the Plague of Provence represents one of the earliest and most pronounced instances of a rigorous, centralized response to disaster.

by Portal Team, 2015-04-22 15:12

Earth Day Flag created by John McConnell

"Who says you can't change the world?"

Celebrate the annual ‪Earth Day by visiting one of the worldwide events in order to promote ‪‎environmental‬‪ ‎protection‬ and check out the ‪‎radical‬ Earth First!ers activities from 1983–85.

by Portal Team, 2015-04-01 17:42

Ant Spider Bee logo.

Thanks to a generous grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the blog Ant Spider Bee: Exploring the Digital Environmental Humanities relaunches 1 April as a PressForward pilot partner of RRCHNM.

by Portal Team, 2015-02-25 16:31

A lot of exciting things have been happening lately on the Environment and Society Portal. Here is a selection of our most recent and popular publications.

by Portal Team, 2015-02-16 10:53

Martyna Zalalyte

“We no longer live in the Holocene, we live in the Anthropocene—in an era shaped by the actions of humankind,” says Paul Crutzen, atmospheric chemist and Nobel Prize winner. Evidence of this new geological era of humans can be found in the atmosphere. For instance, the Michelson Interferometer for Passive Atmospheric Sounding, a Fourier transform spectrometer onboard Europe’s environmental research satellite ENVISAT, can detect 30 different trace gases in the atmosphere, which could provide information on global warming and the depletion of the ozone layer. In the 1980s, the findings of Crutzen and his team were used as the basis for the Montreal Protocol’s ban on the use of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), identified as the primary cause for the hole in the ozone layer. Without this ban, the ozone layer, which absorbs most of the sun’s UV radiation, would likely be completely depleted within the next 40 years.

by Portal Team, 2015-02-11 10:27

Since the appearance of modern humans some 250,000 years ago, our species has substantially altered the Earth. In the Pleistocene, Homo sapiens was a successful hunter and managed to hunt several species to extinction. In the post-Ice Age Holocene, farming, animal husbandry, trade, and increasing mobility enabled humans to become a major force in the Earth's system. The spread of industry and technology since the eighteenth century is affecting ever larger areas of the planet, and continue to unfold in new and ever-changing ways. Instead of living in biomes, or natural habitats, today we are living in “anthromes,” human-made cultural landscapes that are characterized by intensive agriculture, buildings, and exploitation of natural resources. We are even able to artificially recreate nature, such as a machine that can imitate the movement and sound of birds. We have to decide what role we will allow nature to play and the degree to which we will shape it in the future.

by Portal Team, 2015-02-02 10:00

Geologic Eras
Nika Korniyenko

From climate change to synthetic biology, today’s Earth is rife with phenomena that blur the boundary between nature and culture, between life and technology. Since the Industrial Revolution, the collective impact of environmental changes caused by humans has reached a degree to which it can now be identified in the sediments. Geologists from the International Commission on Stratigraphy (ICS) are responsible for deciding how the Earth’s history should be categorized into epochs and eras based on geological deposition in the earth. Each era must be clearly identified according to layers in the ground that are identical throughout the world. An ICS working group is currently examining evidence to decide whether we are living in a new, human-made era, the Anthropocene.

by Portal Team, 2015-01-25 20:01

The invention of the spinning jenny in 1764 sparked a movement that would change the lives of people worldwide. The economy had been stagnating for centuries. Eighty percent of the world’s population was working in the countryside; many were malnourished, with an average life expectancy of 28 years. However, the rapid mechanization of the textile industry spurred a period of growth, shifting the focus of economic and social life from the countryside to the expanding cities. This trend continues today: by 2050, 80 percent of the population will be living in cities, especially in southern Asia, Africa, and South America. These enormous changes require new solutions for supplying energy and developing infrastructure. Sustainable urban development would be a big step toward a sustainable Anthropocene future.