7 expert perspectives on what COVID-19 means for the planet

At the height of the first wave, many people took heart from the drop in air pollution resulting from global lockdowns.


Experts agree that the legacy of the COVID-19 pandemic will be with us for years, even after the immediate threat has passed.

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New data reveals Earth closer to a black hole and is moving 16,000 mph faster

A new study shows our planet is much closer to the supermassive black hole at the galaxy's center than previously estimated.

Credit: NAOJ
  • A Japanese radio astronomy project revealed Earth is 2,000 light years closer to the supermassive black hole at the Milky Way's center.
  • The data also showed the planet is moving 7 km/s or 16,000 mph faster in orbit around the Galactic Center.
  • The findings don't mean Earth is in more danger from the black hole but reflect better modeling of the galaxy.
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    Housebound? This map lets you travel through time

    Interactive globe shows where your hometown was at various stages of Earth's deep geological past.

    Image: Ancient Earth Globe, reproduced with kind permission.
    • If you love travelling, a pandemic like this is not the greatest of times.
    • But here's a way to go somewhere else without even leaving the house.
    • This interactive tool lets you travel up to 750 million years back in time.
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    6 billion planets like Earth? Scientists make stunning estimate

    Astronomers propose new estimate of Earth-like planets in the Milky Way galaxy.

    Credit: NASA/Ames Research Center/W. Stenzel/D. Rutter
    • Astronomers make new analysis based on data from NASA's Kepler space telescope.
    • The researchers estimate there may be as many as six billion Earth-like planets in our galaxy alone.
    • The scientists looked for planets that would be able to host life.
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    #3: Earth at 2° hotter will be horrific. Now here’s what 4° will look like. | Top 10 2019

    Third on the Big Think 2019 countdown reveals this is what the world will be like if we do not act on climate change.

    • The third most popular video of 2019 presents a frightening truth: The best-case scenario of climate change is that world gets just 2°C hotter, which scientists call the "threshold of catastrophe".
    • Why is that the good news? Because if humans don't change course now, the planet is on a trajectory to reach 4°C at the end of this century, which would bring $600 trillion in global climate damages, double the warfare, and a refugee crisis 100x worse than the Syrian exodus.
    • David Wallace-Wells explains what would happen at an 8°C and even 13°C increase. These predictions are horrifying, but should not scare us into complacency. "It should make us focus on them more intently," he says.
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