Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Primitive Mind Modern Problems

Its only been a couple thousand generations since humans left Africa, about 60,000 years. Agriculture, the pathway to industrialized society occurred only 10,000 years ago. From an evolutionary sense this time frame is very short. We spent the majority of our time as hominids and as primates living as hunter-gatherers. That behavior is embedded in our genetic code. Now in the blink of an eye humans are living in a profoundly different way. From an evolutionary standpoint we're still in the process of adapting genetically to an agrarian life. Essentially it can be considered an ecological niche shift. Changes in habitat function or utilization by organisms plays a role in genetic divergence and speciation. However these time periods in an organisms life; when it is in evolutionary transition, re-associating itself with the surrounding environment can be very challenging. Often times these tumultuous periods in the evolutionary ecology of organisms can result in extinction. The current shift from a hunter-gathering lifestyle to an agricultural way of life is a fragile period in the hominids evolution. Will we survive it?

Monday, August 20, 2012


The debate over environmental protection and whether degradation is taking place in developed nations or developing ones is a finger pointing game over who is being "green" or not. However energetic consumptive choices, the economic engines of national economies almost never fit into the more or less green spectrum. Environmental decisions made by countries are governed by the need to maintain economic growth and affect the environment negatively no matter what choice is made. How do we as Americans weigh China's decision to build massive hydro-electric projects instead of more coal burning or nuclear power plants? Is hydro-electric power "Green"? What is the cost/benefit of Brazil cutting down rainforest to grow more sugar cane in an effort to move away from a petroleum based economy? Each country has answers to these questions that first rely on meeting the needs within their borders. Although a bevy of International Environmental laws are in place they are practically unenforceable. In rare cases when the crisis is critical to our survival, global cooperation has played a role in solving environmental problems. Think CFC's and ozone hole. Borders however make the cumulative global impacts of less severe environmental degradation invisible to individual nations.These cumulative impacts are reaching scales which are or soon will become critical. Is it necessary to eliminate borders and have a unified globe one United Country to solve the big environmental problems of the future?

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Welcome to EcoTalk

Welcome to EcoTalk. EcoTalk is a place where scientists gather to talk about important environmental topics from a wide variety of perspectives. I am Senior Editor of EcoTalk and have spent over twenty years working as an environmental scientist. Recently I began looking for a place in the eworld to escape the rigors of publishing ideas about environmental issues. What I found was a void in the online environmental community for sharing opinions and information about critical environmental issues. A place that creates a casual space for living room discussions to evolve was absent. Big picture topics that may not have immediate answers are important and need to be heard and explored. These topics never enter into press however because they do not pass peer review or have marketing potential.

At EcoTalk I endeavor to create an atmosphere where experts and the public can merge. By inviting scientists from a wide variety of fields to guest author topics and encouraging dialog between these authors and the reader EcoTalk will become a growing educational resource and Think Tank for environmental issues.

Please join the blog. Post suggestions for topics. Or write me at digablefish@gmail.com with material you would like to publish on the blog.

Looking forward to exploring and learning with all of you.