Category: environment

Hope even for Chernobyl

When the accident happened at Chernobyl’s #4 reactor in April 1986, it changed how people viewed nuclear power forever. Of course, there had already been the accident at the Three Mile Island power plant in the United States. But that was not the same as the meltdown that created a 4,000 square mile exclusion zone …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.introtoglobalstudies.com/2019/04/rethinking-chernobyl/

The future of Global Warming

I’ve talked before on this blog about the danger of teaching a Global Studies course as an introduction to global problems. Why would anyone want to study a field that consists of a long-list of overwhelming challenges? For this reason, I’m always careful to provide examples of people making a difference, alternative pathways, and positive …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.introtoglobalstudies.com/2018/10/doom-the-future-of-global-warming/

Fracking and Canada’s Oil Sands

In 2003 I wrote an article, “Canada’s New Role in North American Energy Security,” which examined Canada’s growing importance to U.S. energy security. This paper was written in the context of 9/11, and looking back I wish that I had talked much more about the environmental costs of this resource. In the years since, so …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.introtoglobalstudies.com/2018/08/canadas-oil-sands/

Book Review: Retreat from a Rising Sea

Pilkey, Orrin H., et al. Retreat from a Rising Sea : Hard Decisions in an Age of Climate Change. Columbia University Press, 2016. As I’ve worked on the previous editions of our textbook with Kim Brown, I’ve become increasingly convinced that it’s important for educators to recognize that our task is not only to teach about …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.introtoglobalstudies.com/2018/05/book-review-retreat-from-a-rising-sea/

Hope, Fusion and the Future

As a kid growing up in Southern Ontario in the early 80s, I enjoyed listening to a science program called “Quirks and Quarks,” on CBC radio. Imagine my surprise to find that -thanks to the wonders of podcasts- I could still listen to this program, which is as good as it ever was. One recent …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.introtoglobalstudies.com/2017/12/hope-fusion-and-the-future/

Hope and Fear in the Amazon

In the 1980s the global media gave extensive coverage to deforestation in Amazonia. Over the last thirty years, there has been a significant decline in media attention to this topic, which partly reflects very real progress that Brazil and neighboring countries have made in slowing deforestation. Still, the problem remains. In 2014, Brazil decided not …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.introtoglobalstudies.com/2017/04/amazonian-deforestation/

The problem with de-extinction

In my “Introduction to International Studies” course my students this spring watched a TED talk by Stewart Brand that discussed the idea of bringing back extinct species. This idea has attracted a great deal of media attention, but major challenges remain As my students pointed out, there is distinction between bringing back an individual and bringing …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.introtoglobalstudies.com/2016/06/the-problem-with-de-extinction/

A Hidden Wonder in Brazil

It’s not true that the age of discovery is over, and everything worth knowing has already been found. We live in an age of revelations, such as the resting site of one of the ships from the lost Franklin expedition, an immense canyon in Greenland, and an unknown tapir in the Amazon. How can an mammal …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.introtoglobalstudies.com/2016/05/a-hidden-wonder-in-brazil/

Dutch Ruling on Climate Change

A Dutch court has required that the government impose mandatory carbon cuts. This is not the first such suit, as others are pending elsewhere in Europe. This article by Lauren McCauley describes the ruling, and the impact that it is likely to have. Environmental groups are now planning to bring similar suits across the globe. …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.introtoglobalstudies.com/2015/06/dutch-ruling-on-climate-change/

Fort McMurray and the Canadian Oil Sands

Years ago I toured the Fort McKay and an Oil Sands production facility. I was struck by the sheer scale of all aspects of the facility: the trucks the size of a small house; the tailings of sulphur, which formed a bright yellow block the size of an apartment building, and the pit, which seemed …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.introtoglobalstudies.com/2015/06/fort-mckay-and-the-canadian-oil-sands/