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EcoUniv Weekend Reads: March 2020

EcoUniv Weekend Reads

8 Mar 2020

Climate: Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, the Westerly winds and Southern Ocean waters are connected in complex ways. And we may be at a tipping point where less and less CO2 will be absorbed by the ocean and will stay in the atmosphere. Read to know a lengthy yet rich scientific review.

Biosphere: In quantitative terms (kilograms), how much of our biosphere is made of animals, plants, and other living things? How much by human being vs other animals? Read these estimates and charts in this paper.

Conservation: Reading about lab-based conservation is often dejecting, because it is the final frontier of conservation of a species — it is explored when a species has gone extinct, or about to go extinct in the wild. Yet, it needs to be recognized as an effort by the human race to right it’s wrongs using the tools of science. If you have read Lawrence Anthony’s ‘The Last Rhinos’, you might be following the efforts to conserve the Northern White Rhino. Read about the last-ditch efforts to rebuild their population from the last 2!

EcoUniv Weekend Reads

14 Mar 2020

This is a Coronavirus special. But in a different way! It has no bombardment about the ‘what’s of Coronavirus. Rather it poses some ‘why’s.

Animal Behavior and Virus: Developing better intuition on the ‘connectedness’ of all things, raises our ability to ask difficult questions. E.g. this paper connecting animal behaviour, land use, and spread of pathogens. Researchers studying the African mongoose found that “complex landscapes may influence host behavior, modifying pathogen transmission dynamics across land type, potentially creating super-spreading areas, or hotspots, of environmental disease transmission”. Spreading of virus-based diseases may have root causes in changes in the animal world, which, of course is getting impacted due to habitat destruction.

Debt and the Virus: After the 2009 financial crisis, you’d think that the financial wizards in corporate castles would have learnt their lessons about high amounts of unsustainable debt. But no! Over the last 10 years, non-bank corporates in the US, China, and elsewhere have built a large mountain of debt, particularly in industries like Oil, Aviation, and Hospitality, which, you guessed it right, was predicated on growth in consumerism. As oil crashes and planes and hotels go empty due to Coronavirus, there is the ugly prospect that the world will find itself in the bursting of another debt bubble. There is no such thing as ‘sustainable development’.

EcoUniv Weekend Reads

22 Mar 2020

Evolution: One of Darwin’s hypotheses, that a species belonging to a larger genus should also include more subspecies, is proven using modern data modelling tools. Further, the models show that Species/Subspecies Richness (the number of species in a genus) is stronger in mammals that don’t live on land — bats and whales.

Animals, Virus, and Man: An article that sheds light on “zoonotic spillover” — areas at the edge of wild animals habitats, where animal-breeding virus can get transferred to man. More habitat destruction may result in more such virus transfer and its eventual spread among humans.

EcoUniv Weekend Reads

28 Mar 2020

Animals, Virus, and Man: A 2012 article from NYT which talks about the Ecology of Disease. It talks about potential epidemic scenarios, as wildlife-hosted virus make it to human populations when natural landscapes get degraded. “Just an estimated 1 percent of wildlife viruses are known.”

Grasslands: An eco-travelogue exploring 51,000 acres of protected Tallgrass Prairie in Oklahoma, US.

Coronavirus and the environment: We all know the lockdowns have resulted in sharp reductions in global emissions. This article compares the emission impacts of past pandemics and economics crashes.

Coronavirus and Globalization: With the controls on reckless global travel here to stay, and supply chains being re-tooled to reduce dependence on China, are we entering a period beyond ‘peak globalization’?

Coronavirus and Climate Change: Our response to Coronavirus, compared with our fight against climate change – a policy analysis article.

Sorry, but the Virus Shows Why There Won’t Be Global Action on Climate Change
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