Disasters

Air pollution is the greatest external threat to human health on the planet. By far the greater killer than smoking, car crashes or HIV/Aids.

Disasters like the earthquake that struck Haiti on Aug. 14 are caused by nature but exacerbated by human inaction.

Tactically, the Taliban has chosen first to conquer the regions that most resisted it during its previous rule. It has made sure its successes are well-publicized. The disaster in Afghanistan.

Among all of the natural disasters people face, wildfires are unique. Unlike hurricanes, wildfires can be fought.

More intense flooding poses a particular challenge to aging subway systems in some of the world’s largest cities.

A 1972 MIT study predicted that rapid economic growth would lead to societal collapse in the mid 21st century. A new paper shows we’re unfortunately right on schedule.

Western countries are going to great lengths to try and separate China. Such divisions and confrontation threaten world peace and development. A confrontational world will only bring disaster to all. 

Biotechnology and the Fermi paradox. Is our species wise enough to survive the technologies we have invented?

Trying to understand why repairs had not begun immediately after the 2018 report outlining the major problems with the building. There is no acceptable answer to that question.

The overwhelming majority of human beings on this planet do not want to perish as the result of a lab accident. Even imperfect risk mitigation would be much better than none.

We’re concerned, however, that our focus on one risk is giving rise to tunnel vision in policy. Our efforts to mitigate climate risk may well raise the risk of other disasters.

Vaccines are beginning to protect millions of people from the virus. We may need an accompanying dose of nature to soften the pandemic’s subtler threats: the disruption, the isolation, the fear. If nature is a tonic, now would be a particularly good time to investigate how best to take it.

And now the pandemic is a huge economic and human disaster, with further such pandemics recognised as likely because of everything from the explosion in global travel to the effects of climate change. Is there a future for another multilateralism?

Among those who went into the pandemic in extreme poverty, hundreds of millions of people are suffering an intensifying crisis over how to secure their basic dietary needs.

I will wholeheartedly grant that humankind has made a mess of nature and despoiled its beautiful designs. But must it take such severe revenge? This year alone we’ve been attacked by COVID-19, Murder Hornets and (soon) cicadas in the millions. What’s next?

Covid-19 is inflicting unprecedented social and economic costs on countries and communities, with the poor and vulnerable hardest hit.

Paleontologen hebben een 512 miljoen jaar oude parasiet gevonden op een schelpdier. Momenteel leven er nog 450 van dit soort.


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