How Economists Are Saving Our Ecosystems
Comic villains are always hatching nefarious schemes. These usually involve forcing a superhero to choose between saving an entire planet or the woman he loves. Why are ecologists finding themselves in the same position?
Today, real-life ecologists are being forced to decide which species to save when it's clear that not all are going to make it. Endangered species—and plans to save them—stir up passions. But some scientists are turning to a rather dispassionate solution for this issue: economics.
For example, breeds of cattle are going extinct quickly, and there's not enough money or interest to save all of them. So Australian researchers have turned to the theories of Harvard University's Martin Weitzman to try to figure out what species has the best chance, and would be the best investment of ecologists' time.
They determined that it makes more sense to save Ethiopian cattle over the similarly threatened Somalian and Kenyan breeds after factoring in not only that Ethiopian cows was the most endangered, but also that the herders would be the most willing to adapt and embrace conservation tactics to protect their breed. Voila!
Giving our solar system a "slap in the face."
- A stream of galactic debris is hurtling at us, pulling dark matter along with it
- It's traveling so quickly it's been described as a hurricane of dark matter
- Scientists are excited to set their particle detectors at the onslffaught
The climate change we're witnessing is more dramatic than we might think.
A lazy buzz phrase – 'Is this the new normal?' – has been doing the rounds as extreme climate events have been piling up over the past year. To which the riposte should be: it's worse than that – we're on the road to even more frequent, more extreme events than we saw this year.
Once again, our circadian rhythm points the way.
- Seven individuals were locked inside a windowless, internetless room for 37 days.
- While at rest, they burned 130 more calories at 5 p.m. than at 5 a.m.
- Morning time again shown not to be the best time to eat.
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