Erle C. Ellis

Nota: Este archivo abarca los artículos publicados por el autor desde el 1 de Septiembre de 2008. Para fechas anteriores realice una búsqueda entrecomillando su nombre.

Planting trees, even as many as a trillion, will never absorb the enormous amounts of fossil carbon emitted from industrial societies.Credit...Sean Gallup/Getty Images

One trillion trees.

At the World Economic Forum last month, President Trump drew applause when he announced the United States would join the forum’s initiative to plant one trillion trees to fight climate change. More applause for the decision followed at his State of the Union speech.

The trillion-tree idea won wide attention last summer after a study published in the journal Science concluded that planting so many trees was “the most effective climate change solution to date.”

If only it were true. But it isn’t. Planting trees would slow down the planet’s warming, but the only thing that will save us and future generations from paying a huge price in dollars, lives and damage to nature is rapid and substantial reductions in carbon emissions from fossil fuels, to net zero by 2050.…  Seguir leyendo »

Science Alone Won’t Save the Earth. People Have to Do That.

This planet is in crisis. The safe limits within which human societies can be sustained, the earth’s “planetary boundaries,” are being exceeded, a path leading inevitably toward collapse. The experts have spoken. Only if humanity heeds the science, reverses course and lives within earth’s natural limits can disaster be avoided.

Or maybe you believe the opposite: that human ingenuity can continue to overcome those limits, that there is no need for environmental concern.

Both miss the point. In the age of humans, the Anthropocene, there is no safety in natural limits. Or in overcoming them. For those reasons, we should put the idea of limits off limits.…  Seguir leyendo »

Many scientists believe that by transforming the earth’s natural landscapes, we are undermining the very life support systems that sustain us. Like bacteria in a petri dish, our exploding numbers are reaching the limits of a finite planet, with dire consequences. Disaster looms as humans exceed the earth’s natural carrying capacity. Clearly, this could not be sustainable.

This is nonsense. Even today, I hear some of my scientific colleagues repeat these and similar claims — often unchallenged. And once, I too believed them. Yet these claims demonstrate a profound misunderstanding of the ecology of human systems. The conditions that sustain humanity are not natural and never have been.…  Seguir leyendo »

Scientists interested in drawing attention to the human transformation of planet Earth have begun calling the current geological epoch the Anthropocene — the age of man. Naming an epoch is serious business — and in this case the new name is well deserved, given humanity’s enormous alteration of the Earth.

We have acidified the oceans and changed global climate with our use of fossil fuels. We have bent more than 75 percent of the ice-free land on Earth to our will. We have built so many dams that half of the world’s river flow is regulated, stored or impeded by human-made structures.…  Seguir leyendo »