What is Big Think?  

We are Big Idea Hunters…

We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

Big Think Features:

12,000+ Expert Videos

1

Browse videos featuring experts across a wide range of disciplines, from personal health to business leadership to neuroscience.

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers

2

Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge

3

Big Think’s Edge learning platform for career mentorship and professional development provides engaging and actionable courses delivered by the people who are shaping our future.

Find out more
Close

Journalist Travels Southwest U.S. Chronicling Local Climate Stories

April 30, 2012, 12:07 PM
Southwest

Ari Phillips -- a graduate student in journalism at the University of Texas -- has started a unique project documenting the story of climate change in the U.S. Southwest via Kick Starter.  Below he describes the project and I am hoping he will provide periodic guest posts at AoE over the coming months

--Guest post by Ari Phillips.

The U.S. Southwest is under water duress. More water is used in the region each year than the amount of rain and snowfall – a shortfall accounted for by diminishing groundwater reserves.

The Colorado River – the Southwest's only significant source of water – is already over-allocated and slight disruptions can endanger power generation and water supply in the region A recent study called “The Last Drop: Climate Change and the Southwest Water Crisis” found that climate change could add $1 trillion to the costs of water scarcity in the Southwest over the next century.

Water is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to climate change in the Southwest, where models predict a hotter, drier climate developing over the course of the century.

A Great Aridness,a recent book by William deBuys, explores what climate change could mean to the Southwest. In the book’s introduction, Jonathan Overpeck, a climate scientist who co-directs the Institute of the Environment at the University of Arizona, says, “climate change will produce winners and losers, and those in the Southwest will be losers. There’s no doubt.”

With my Kickstarter project Energy and Climate Change in the American Southwest I plan to traverse the Southwest this summer reporting on what’s happening with these issues right now – and to determine what impact the so-called losers can have on their fate.

I’ve identified nine critical stories – from the surging natural gas production of Midland, TX to the controversial solar parks of the Mojave Desert – that demand attention for the way they are reshaping the Southwest. In some cases literally, such as with forests devastated by wildfires and bark beetles – both growing in intensity due to climate change. It is unclear what will replace traditional piñon and ponderosa trees as the climate of the Southwest changes and flora and fauna migrate accordingly.

In other cases the reshaping is more socioeconomic rather than physical.

This spring the Navajo Nation signed a contract with Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory to study what technologies would be best for developing natural resources on the sprawling reservation. Unemployment hovers around 50 percent in the region and a main goal of the project is to improve economic conditions and prevent industry from taking advantage of the tribe, as has historically occurred with mining and oil leasing. Clean energy production also falls in-line with long held cultural beliefs of the Navajo relating to environmental stewardship and preservation.

Check out the project page for more information, to donate, or to just follow along.

 

 

Journalist Travels Southwes...

Newsletter: Share: